Monday, November 20, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases:
Shattered Earth (Shamans and Shifters Book 3) from Jenny Schwartz.
The scum of the galaxy are using Earth as a nuclear winter death camp. It outrages pirate captain Kohia Jekyll’s sense of justice. No one deserves to die agonizingly of radiation poisoning, especially not on the planet humanity had to evacuate seven generations ago. So Kohia intends to close the prison camp down.

She didn’t count on an infuriating shaman healer hitching a ride aboard her starship.

Nairo Bloodstone isn’t going to Earth to be a hero. He learned the hard way that when you’re a healer, doing your best for people is never enough. One miracle leads them to demand another and another. Heroes die exhausted and alone, and the galaxy continues with billions of people still clamoring for a miracle-worker to save them. 

No, Nairo isn't going to Earth to be a hero. He intends to change what it means to be human.


Amazon 


Maid of Ice by Shona Husk
Stalkers and death threats . . .
For Finlay Ryder, danger means playing a racecar driver on a daytime soap. That is, until he’s forced to reckon with his true identity as an Albah, a magical ancient race, by one of his own kind. Someone wants him dead. And worse, an ancient vampire is on the prowl, drawing blood left and right. Now, Finlay has no choice but to hunt enemies with unspeakable powers—or risk being hunted himself . . .

. . . and that’s just the first date
Ice skater Alina Nyx is using her broken wrist as an excuse for a career change. And when she falls for handsome Finlay, Albah drama feels like her new full-time job. Learning about magic and vampires is exciting, until her life is threatened. Now, as she begins to uncover her own mysterious powers, she must combine forces with Finlay to eradicate their foes for good, or all Albah will suffer . . .

Other News:
The new Book+Main Bites site for romance readers went live last week. The idea is for readers to sample 'bites' or snippets from authors and decide whether to buy the books. There were a few hiccups on the authors' side during rollout (and some NSFW photos from a few authors O_o) but revisions are underway and the site is very browsable. If you decide to try it out - it's FREE for readers - several HBM authors are there, so look for us to Follow: Ruth A. Casie, PG Forte, Linda Mooney and Veronica Scott. 

Bring It Back(list) Feature:
Veronica Scott shared TRAPPED ON TALONQUE, with an alien sleeping beauty...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bring It Back(list) TRAPPED ON TALONQUE Alien Sleep Beauty

Posted by: Veronica Scott
I just thought it'd be fun to talk about this one from my backlist. Part of the story is a scifi take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale...mixed with a lot of scifi action! Plus I love the cover - it's so hard to find stock photos that resemble the heroes and heroines, much less an alien beauty with lavender hair in braids - but for this cover Fiona Jayde managed it!

The story:
Will an alien sleeping beauty awaken to save him, or destroy everyone around her?
When a Sectors Special Forces soldier and his team crash land on an alien planet, they’re taken captive and given a challenge–win at the violent ball game of sapiche and live. Lose, and they die, sending a mysterious, alien beauty to an even uglier fate. To survive, these soldiers must win the game and find a way to free the dangerous prisoner from her locked chamber.
Nate Reilly and his team are in deep trouble. Prisoners on a backward alien planet, they’re brought before an alien ‘goddess’, sleeping in her high tech seclusion. Nate is astonished when she awakes and establishes a psychic link with him. But her news is not good–he and his men must win a brutal challenge set by their captors, or they will die. She’ll give her aid, but in the end their courage and strength must win the contest.
Bithia sleeps in her chamber, as she has for thousands of years, since her own people unaccountably left her there. Viewed as a goddess by her captors, she must hide her ancient secrets to survive. But only the bravest of men may free her. Can she use her psychic powers to keep Nate and his men alive long enough to help her escape, or will her only hope of freedom die with them?
The excerpt:
He stood on the edge of a high-tech chamber out of place on a primitive world such as this one. Ringing the room were strange displays, blinking lights, roving green beams, unknown instruments. The sophistication of the technology was well beyond anything the Sectors had achieved, let alone the dwellers of this planet. Nate spared only a second to glance at these wonders. His attention was caught and held by what occupied the center of a large alcove directly across the room.
The cubicle was lined in shiny metallic material and from the floor rose a graceful pedestal of the same material, topped with a thin platform at waist level. Neatly arranged on a layer of dark purple padding lay a woman, apparently asleep. She certainly wasn’t from this planet, nor any world known to Nate. This mysterious female had ivory skin with the palest of lavender undertones in her cheeks.
“I’ll be moon-damned.” Thom’s attention was riveted on the sleeper as well. “An Ancient Observer?”
“Can’t be—no one’s ever found actual remains,” Haranda said from the other side. “Although this room certainly suggests a high level of technology, it’s not AO. Another sophisticated, highly advanced forerunner civilization. The galaxy is a big place after all.” Roused from his state of funk, he studied the walls, apparently more interested in the devices and displays than in the woman. “I minored in AO studies at the Academy.”
“I don’t think she’s a well-preserved corpse.” Nate couldn’t take his gaze from her, not even to watch what their captors were doing now. He took himself sharply to task for the lapse. What if we’ve been brought here as a sacrifice? He had to be mentally prepared to fight, not gawk at a pretty girl. But the next moment he found himself studying her again, unable to keep himself from indulging in another view.
The woman was tall, probably his equal in height, definitely humanoid. She lay pillowed on her own hair, a thick, sweeping fall of glorious blue mixed with amethyst purple, set here and there with twinkling jewels. From his location across the room, he couldn’t see whether she was breathing, yet he had a definite sense of a living presence.
Her clothing was a simple, silvery white and lavender sheath, like finely woven metallic thread had been spun to make the dress. Thin jeweled straps held the garment at her shoulders. The finely pleated fabric clung to her curves sensuously. She lay on her back, arms stretched out a little on each side, her graceful, six-fingered hands spread open on the cushion. She wore no jewelry save for an elaborate bracelet on her left wrist, studded with colorful stones whose facets caught and amplified the lights in the main room.

Another little snippet:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Conference fun!

Posted by: Shona Husk

Last weekend I went to Genrecon in Brisbane for the first time. As the name suggests it’s a conference for genre writers (horror, sci fi, romance, crime and fantasy). It has a very different feel to RWAustralia, or either of the reader conventions I’ve been to. Many of the sessions were discussion panels about various issues (what writers get wrong, luck vs hard work) but I did go to a few craft sessions.



Even though I’ve been published for 7 years I think it’s so important to keep learning, but to also learn from other genres as good writing is good writing.



There was also an academic stream and I caught a session on crime noir (which I find fascinating even thought I don’t think I could write it).



I would definitely go again, though I’ll have to wait 2 years as it’s not a yearly conference :( 

If you are in Australia I do recommend it. 
~~~

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Why Mistletoe is for lovers...

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
Mistletoe berries are white when ripe
Image from Bigstock.com
’Tis November, and the harvest is in, the leaves are gone from the trees, and the first snows are falling. But in the midst of the short, cold days, one plant is just now ripening…  

But you'll have to look UP to find it!

Mistletoe is unusual in the plant world because it doesn’t grow in the earth at all. Instead, it’s a semi-parasite that lives only in the branches of mature trees (and if you've ever gone hunting for it, you'll know it's usually very high up...). This strange plant not only remains green throughout the winter, but usually produces its ghostly white berries between October and DecemberThis makes November the perfect time to go for a walk in the woods and locate a mistletoe plant for holiday harvesting! 

There are 1,300 species of mistletoe worldwide, with three dozen native to the United States. The most common of them eventually develops into a woven mass of green stems that can reach five feet across and weigh up to 50 pounds! The tangled plants are sometimes referred to as witches’ brooms.

Although today we think of mistletoe as a Christmas decoration, mistletoe has a much longer history than Christmas itself.

The ancient Celts believed mistletoe to be a gift from the gods, associated with good fortune and great blessings. The Romans recorded that the Celts would harvest mistletoe from a tree after the winter solstice. A druid – a Celtic priest – used a golden sickle to cut the plant. Due to its sacred nature, the mistletoe must never come in contact with the ground and so a white cloth was held beneath the tree to catch it. Two white bulls were then sacrificed to honor the god who provided the mistletoe and to ask that the plant’s potency be increased.

Snow-covered mistletoe growing high in a birch tree.
Image from Bigstock.com
The druids were said to be skilled in both herbs and magic, and the mistletoe was one of the most powerful plants in their arsenal. A symbol of immortality, mistletoe was believed to have protective powers against evil spirits and the ability to heal diseases. Although mistletoe is a poisonous plant itself, in skilled hands it was considered to be an antidote to all other poisons. It was also used to promote fertility in both animal and human – and occasionally even used in aphrodisiac potions. 

In fact, the mistletoe was so sacred that if enemies met in a forest and a mistletoe plant was spotted overhead, an automatic truce was declared until the following day. From this grew the practice of hanging mistletoe over the door, or suspending it from the ceiling as a symbol of peace and good will.

The Death of Baldr, by W.G. Collingwood. Note the spear of mistletoe!
Public Domain 
The Norse myth of Baldr added to the mistletoe tradition. The goddess, Frigga, was Baldr’s mother, and exacted a promise from every element, plant and animal, both on the earth and under the earth, not to harm Baldr. She forgot the mistletoe, which grows neither in the ground or on it. The other gods made a game of throwing things at the good-natured Baldr and laughing as they bounced off him harmlessly. Loki, prankster and god of evil, tricked the blind god, Hod, into throwing a spear made of mistletoe at Baldr, which killed him. 

Fortunately, Balder is eventually brought back to life. His mother is so overcome with joy that she reverses the reputation of the offensive mistletoe, declaring that those who passed beneath a mistletoe plant should have a token kiss and be kept safe from harm.

Image from Bigstock.com
Centuries later, both Celtic and Viking traditions were condemned by early Christianity as pagan, and mistletoe was forbidden to be displayed within sight of the church. However, that didn’t stop people from hanging mistletoe in their homes and barns or from wearing sprigs of it to ward off disease and evil. Mistletoe became known as All-heal, and is still used in homeopathic medicine. In fact, it continues to be studied today as a possible treatment for cancer.

The plant’s original status as a symbol of peace and love, however, wasn’t revived until Victorian times. With it came the practice of kissing under the mistletoe. Interestingly, the practice began among the servant class and worked its way up until everyone was doing it! Mistletoe could be hung over a doorway or from the ceiling as a sprig or a bouquet, or in England it was often part of an elaborate "kissing bough". This was made by wrapping greenery, nuts, apples and ribbons around a large wire frame sphere and tying a large cluster of mistletoe below it (remember they had VERY high ceilings to accommodate such elaborate ornaments). 

The kisses could be stolen if someone happened to wander under mistletoe, and it considered bad luck to refuse a kiss. Being Victorian times, it was almost always the men initiating the kisses of course... In some circles it was said that couples who shared a kiss beneath this evergreen plant would have a happy marriage. 

In the United States, the tradition was recorded in 1820 by Washington Irving (author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow). He wrote, "The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas; and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked, the privilege ceases."­ 

One kiss, one berry. It's easy to see why young men often competed to hunt down the BIGGEST bunch of mistletoe for the party!


***************************

LEGEND.  LORE.  LOVE.  MAGIC.


Bringing ancient faery legends into modern-day America...

Watch for STORM CROSSED, releasing January 9th!
Available now for pre-order in ebook, paperback, and audiobook.

See all of Dani Harper's books on her Amazon Author Page -
https://www.amazon.com/Dani-Harper/e/B004FD8RV2

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

When Book ≠ > Movie

Posted by: PG Forte

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the movie is never as good as the book that inspired it.

Okay, so we know that’s not always the case, but it happens often enough that it can seem like incontrovertible fact. Which is why watching the movie version of a book you love is such a risky proposition. When it works, it's magic. But too often it just goes horribly wrong. Like 2007’s abysmal attempt at Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising. Sooo disappointing.

This subject has been on my mind for the past few weeks, ever since I read the book version of Practical Magic for the first time. Now, this is a movie that I’ve loved for years, and I always assumed that I’d at least like the book. Surprisingly, however, I didn’t. For a lot of reasons, not least of all because it was nothing like the movie. In fact, the two are so different that I’m still trying to figure out how the one led to the other.

Seriously. It was almost as jarring as trying to reconcile Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame with Victor Hugo's novel. I remember watching it with my kids for the first time wondering, "how in the world are they going to work this one out?" To be honest, I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

Interestingly, right before I read Practical Magic, I also read its recently released prequel—The Rules of Magic—which I enjoyed a lot more. But, then again, I think that's because it struck me as being more true to the movie than the original book. Go figure.

And it's not just because the movie isn't like the book that I feel this way. I can think of several cases where I liked both the book and the movie even though they were very different from one another —Field of Dreams (based on the novel Shoeless Joe by WP Kinsella) and Under the Tuscan Sun (based on Frances Mayes book of the same title) are two that come to mind. 

But up until now, my most notable movie > book moment was 1984’s The Natural starring Robert Redford. The movie was charming. The book...not so  much. It was dark and dismal and its characters were far more flawed than they were portrayed in the movie. I can't remember now whether anyone in the book ever got a happily ever after, but I'm pretty sure they didn't deserve one.

So, what about you? What book/movie combos have left you disappointed? 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases:
Veronica Scott's latest Sectors SciFi Romance novel is out:
The story:
Larissa Channer, a tough no-nonsense mercenary in the Sectors, is celebrating success on her last job and a big bonus, with no slightest thought of taking on another assignment anytime soon. Out for a night of carousing with her friends at a third rate carnival on a backwater planet, she walks into the tent of a fake fortune teller and finds herself confronting the most intriguing man she’s ever seen. But something’s wrong, ominous currents lie beneath the surface of their encounter and Larissa can’t leave well enough alone.

Samell, a powerful, high born empathic priest, has been kidnapped from his own primitive planet along with a number of his people, and sold to the shady operator of an interstellar carnival. Kept enslaved, pretending to be a fortune teller while forced by his captor to steal information from the minds of all who come before him, Samell despairs of every breaking free.

Until Larissa walks into his tent and he recognizes the warrior who might mean the difference between life and death.


The situation becomes dire when Larissa and Samell come to the attention of the Shemdylann pirates who kidnapped him in the first place and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the empathic alien noble, and derail the Mawreg plot against the Sectors? And will the soldier end up with her prince when all’s said and done?

Buy Links:  Amazon     Kobo     B&N     iBooks     Google

Other News:

Bring It Back(list) Feature:
Ruth A Casie shared her KNIGHT OF RUNES

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bring It Back(List) with Ruth A. Casie

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

The Story Behind: 

Knight of Runes was published in 2011. I didn't plan to write. I always had stories in my head, but I never thought to write them down. A friend of mine mentioned she was writing a romance story. I offered to help, brainstorm or beta read, whatever she needed. We brainstormed and I kept coming up with ideas for a historical time travel. She was writing an erotic fantasy. While the stories didn't quite work together the brainstorming and writing got me started. While she went off visiting colleges with her daughter and training for the New York marathon, I wrote my story. A year later I sold it to Carina Press. Arik and Rebeka are the hero and heroine of my heart.


Back Cover Copy:
When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka Tyler wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style, he's intrigued.

Rebeka is no ordinary seventeenth-century woman—she's travelled back from the year 2011, and she desperately wants to return to her own time. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to find out what's killing Arik's land. But as she works to decode the ancient runes that are the key to solving this mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.


As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik's household schemes to keep them apart, and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.

Available at: AmazonBNiBookKOBO

Excerpt:
England ~ May, 1605
I should not have stayed away from the Manor so long. Something stirs. Lord Arik’s eyes swept the surrounding area as he and his three riders escorted the wagon with the old tinker and the woman. They sped through the forest as fast as the rain-slicked trail would allow. Unable to shake the ominous feeling of being watched, Arik remained alert. At length, the horses winded, he slowed the pace as they neared the Stone River.
“The forest is flooded. I suspect the Stone will be as well. Willem, ride on ahead and let me know what we face at the crossing.”
Willem did his lord’s bidding and quickly returned with his report. “The river ahead runs fast, m’lord. The bridge is in disrepair and cannot be crossed.”
Arik raised his hand and brought the group to a halt. “Doward,” he said to the old tinker. “We must make repairs. There’s no room for the wagon at the river’s edge. You and the woman stay here and set up camp. Be ready to join us at the bridge when I send word.”
Logan, Arik’s brother, spoke up. “I’ll keep watch here and help Doward and Rebeka.”
Arik nodded and, with the others, continued the half mile to the bridge.
“I am not pleased with this new delay.”
“It can’t be helped, m’lord. We would make better time without the wagon,” said Simon.
“I’ll not leave Doward and the woman unescorted through the forest, not with what we’ve heard lately. We’ll have to drive hard to make up the lost time.”
The frame of the bridge stood solid, the planks scattered everywhere, clogging the banks and shallows. Arik leaped from his horse onto the frame to begin the repairs.
“Hand me that planking.” Arik pointed to the nearest board.
Simon grabbed the plank and examined it. “Sir, these boards have been deliberately removed.”
Arik took the board and lifted it before him. An arrow whooshed out of the trees, and slammed into the plank’s edge. Willem pulled his axe from his belt as Arik and Simon drew their swords. In a fluid, practiced movement, Willem spun and found his mark. He sent his axe flying. The archer fell into the river and was swept downstream, Willem’s axe still lodged in his forehead. A dozen or more attackers broke through the stand of trees.
Arik tossed the board into the river and readied his sword. The enemy was poorly dressed carrying clubs and knives. There was only one sword among them. The leader. Arik’s target.
“They plan to pin us here at the river’s edge. Come, we’ll take the offensive before they form up.” They moved forward, driving a wedge through the enemy’s ragged line, forcing what little formation they had to scatter and fight, each man for himself.
A man, club in hand, rushed at Arik. Before the attacker could bring his weapon into play, Arik pivoted around him. He raised his sword high, and slammed the hilt’s steel pommel squarely on the man’s head. Arik moved on before the man’s lifeless body dropped to the ground.
Willem and Simon, on either side of Arik, advanced through the melee. Their swift continuous swordplay moved smoothly from one stroke to the next, whipping through the air. They slashed on the downswing and again on the backswing, sweeping their weapons back into position to repeat the killing sequence. The knight and his soldiers steadily advanced, punishing any man who dared to come near them.
“For Honor!” Logan’s war cry carried from the small camp to Arik’s ears.
Arik stiffened. Both camps were now under attack. He pulled his blade from an attacker’s chest. The body crumpled to the blood-soaked ground. Arik breathed deeply, the coppery taste of blood in the air. “For Honor!” he bellowed in answer. His men echoed his call, arms thrown wide, muscles quivering, the berserker’s rage overtaking them.
The remaining attackers paled and fled headlong into the forest.
Motioning to his men to follow, Arik raced toward the camp. He could hear the shouts, and cursed himself for not seeing the danger. He crested the hill and came to an abrupt halt.
Logan’s sword ripped through the air as he protected Doward. The tinker drew his short blade and did as much damage as he could. But it was the woman Arik noticed. Her skirt hiked up, she twirled her walking stick like a weapon with an expertise that left him slack-jawed. She dispatched the attackers, one by one, in a deadly well-practiced dance. A man rushed toward her, knife in hand. The sneer on his face didn’t match the fear in his eyes. She stepped out of his line of attack, extended her stick to her side, and holding it with both hands swept the weapon forward, striking the attacker across the bridge of his nose. Blood exploded from his face in an arc of fine spray as his head snapped back. Droplets dusted her face creating an illusion of bright red freckles. As he fell, she reversed her swing and caught him hard behind his knees. He went down on his back, spread-eagled. She swung her stick over her head and landed a precise and disabling blow to his forehead that knocked him unconscious.
As she spun to face the next threat her eyes captured Arik’s and held. In the space of an instant, time slowed to a crawl. Her hair slowly loosened from its pins and swirled out around her. His breath caught and his heartbeat quickened as a rapturous surge raced through his body. Something eternal and familiar, with a sense of longing, unsettled him. In the next heartbeat, she tore her eyes away, leaving him empty. Time resumed its normal pace. Another attacker lay at her feet.
   Arik joined the fight.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...