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Muse Monday, Wicked Wednesday,
and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Magical, #Fantasy, and #Horses by Helen B. Henderson


MUSE MONDAY

It's a fantasy Muse Monday. Please welcome Helen Henderson!

On Mondays, the muse is supposed to tell a story and it’s supposed to be personal, so I’ll tell a tale about horses. The pony of my childhood was large enough an adult could ride him without their legs dragging on the ground. He was smart and loyal to his friends, just not necessarily to his human ones. This pony’s friend was a ram. Old westerners have said a mustang could track its chosen rider through storm and dark of night. I took the attributes of that childhood pony (and the horses I’ve since ridden) blended them with magic and legend to create the falaire. Larger than a true horse, the falaire have speed and stamina beyond a real horse with more than a few surprises in their nature and abilities. Maybe the ability to fly?

As to the role of the falaire. The head stallion of the falaire was the mount—and friend—of Lord Dal, archmage and leader of all wizards. And as such, the stallion was in the thick of the action for he treated Dal as one of the herd.

Like the first book in the series, Windmaster Legacy started out as a sword and sorcery fantasy. And like its predecessor, Windmaster Legacy ended up bearing the additional label of romance. But not the kind where the meek heroine is rescued by the swashbuckling hero. Before she met the archmage, Ellspeth was a ship captain and leader of men. To paraphrase one of my favorite authors, Ellspeth is a woman to walk beside a man, not behind him.

The excerpt below blends the two tales, human and falaire as we see the golden falaire, Zethar, protecting her rider, Ellspeth.

If you like adventure and romance in your fantasy worlds of imagination, and like to hang out with wizards, you’,re invited to check out Windmaster Legacy. Or if you prefer to fly with dragons, there are the Dragshi Chronicles, but that’s a story for another time.

Windmaster Legacy

Blurb:  Ellspeth and the dark-haired archmage Dal, escort his mother to her ancestral lands. His mother is fatally wounded when mercenaries under the control of the rogue mage, Bashim, attack. Ellspeth is captured and her sole hope for escape is Nobyn, an untrained wizard going through the throes of awakening magic. However, Nobyn is under a rogue mage's total control.

Dal must make an impossible decision -- Rescue Ellspeth, save his mother, or thwart the rogue mage’s plans. As archmage, Dal might be able to survive killing the future of magic, but as a man could he live with the knowledge he caused the death of a loved one.

Excerpt:
Amorphous shapes detached from the stygian shadows along the wall. Magesight turned what had been unrecognizable blurs into armed men. Dozens more spilled out of the open gates of the compound or leaped up from the low ditch that bordered the road. Their yells resounded off the wall and sent the herd of true horses scrambling. 
Hands grabbed at Ellspeth. Her sword slashed. One of the grasping hands fell away. Without a command, Zethar spun on her haunches. The mare reared and with a scream of anger struck out. A chime sounded as a sword hit the street. Zethar’s front feet dropped to the cobbles. Her iron-hard rear hooves kicked backward. Two of the shadows grunted and folded to the ground.

About Helen Henderson:  Although the author of several local histories, and numerous articles on the topics of American and military history, antiques and collectibles, Henderson’s first love is fiction. Her work in the museum and history fields enables a special insight into creating fantasy worlds. The descendent of a coal-miner's daughter and an aviation flight engineer, her writing reflects the contrasts of her heritage as well as that of her Gemini sign. Her stories cross genres from historical westerns to science fiction and fantasy. In the world of romantic fantasy, she is the author of the Dragshi Chronicles and The Windmaster Novels. In her books, she invites you to join her on travels through the stars, or among fantasy worlds of the imagination.



Friday, June 22, 2018

Saying No to a Major #Publisher by Judy Alter #Indie


FEARLESS FRIDAY


Please welcome Judy with a most fearless story in the publishing world!
Ten years ago, when I first turned my attention to writing mysteries, I was bewildered by the publication process. I had written extensively for young adults on a variety of subjects as well as several historical novels for adults about women in the American West. I thought I knew the ropes, but I soon discovered the mystery world is a territory unto itself.
Take the search for an agent: it can last years, and I heard horror stories of authors who’d been rejected over a hundred times. My agent for westerns had died several years earlier. I did query others, but I knew that a writer’s relationship with an agent is like a marriage, so you better get it right the first time (and boy, did I get it wrong at least once). I never found an agent with whom I clicked. Besides, I was pushing seventy and did not have years to spend looking for an agent. I had stories to tell, and, like every author, I wanted instant publication. I’d paid my newbie dues years earlier.
When I was active in Western Writers of America, Inc. (I’m a past president), I met several agents, and I knew one was with Kensington, a major publisher for mysteries. I wrote him about my first mystery, thinking he might suggest a mystery editor. He replied that he was now editing cozy mysteries. I should have been leery, because his letter indicated he considered this a demotion. But he agreed to read my work. As we’re advised, the proposal also included a brief synopsis of my planned second in the series.
This unnamed editor wrote back that he liked the manuscript I sent him, but he really liked the idea of the second novel better. He wanted me to revise so that the second novel became the first in the series. I took a deep breath and considered.
Here it was—an “almost” offer from one of the important houses. Most beginners would jump at the opportunity to at least negotiate with the editor. I didn’t. I said “Thanks but no thanks.” The back story was built into the first book, and I liked the way it flowed and introduced the main characters. Instinct told me it was good. The editor lost interest in the first book, and I ended publishing with a small press that went out of business after I’d done six mysteries with them. Today I am an indie author.
Do I regret it? Not a bit. If I’d signed with Kensington, I’d have been subject to the pressure that goes with working with a major publisher—produce so many books a year and maintain certain sales goals. As it is, the novel, Skeleton in a Dead Space, was the first of a series that will, come October and publication of Contract for Chaos, have eight titles and will keep on going. In addition, I write the Blue Plate Café Series (four culinary titles) and the Oak Grove Mysteries (two academic titles). And I write at my own pace, without pressure (except my own) to meet sales goals.
So that fearless step I took almost ten years ago turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m for listening to instinct every time.

Blurb

Dallas developer Silas Fletcher sees endless real estate opportunities in Wheeler, Texas if only he can “grow” the town. Blue Plate Café owner Kate Chambers likes her hometown just the way it is, thank you very much, without big box and chain stores. When Fletcher tries to capitalize on a thirty-year-old unsolved murder, Kate know she must fight for her town, and she uses historic preservation of the old bus depot as one of her weapons. A suspicious death and a new murder make her also fight for her own life.
Links for Judy: 

Or

Twitter @judyalter 

Also available from Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and other platforms.


Monday, June 18, 2018

#Cooking Up a #Mystery by Cornelia Kidd

MUSE MONDAY

It's always interesting to see where a story originates for an author. Cornelia Kidd, aka Lea Wait, is sharing how her latest came about.

About eighteen months ago my agent asked if I’d be interested in writing a new mystery series set in Maine. I was already writing two mystery series, both under the name Lea Wait, but this new series would be under a new name.

Was it time to re-invent myself? Why not? I chose the name ”Cornelia Kidd,” the maiden name of my paternal grandmother, and dove in. I’d already set two mystery series in Maine – one along a tidal river (the Shadows Antique Print series), and one in a working waterfront town (the Mainely Needlepoint series.)

So I decided that the new series, which the publisher was already calling the Maine Murder Series, would be set on an island; an island connected to the mainland by a drawbridge, so it wouldn’t be too isolated.

Protagonists? I’d always had one main character (albeit with friends and relatives) but this time I decided to have two. Two sisters who had never met, or even heard of each other, until chapter one of the first book in the series, now titled Death and a Pot of Chowder. Anna would be in her thirties, an islander by birth and heritage, married to a lobsterman and the mother of a fourteen-year-old. Her sister, Izzie, was twenty-three, had grown up in Connecticut, recently graduated from the Culinary Institute and, oh, yes. Her mother was Korean American.

Add in a murder (of course,) some conflicts (naturally,) and a happy ending ... until the second book in the series. Include recipes. I’d never written a culinary mystery and this seemed the right time. And because I love connections to the past, so does Izzie, and each chapter includes an old quotation or recipe from a nineteenth century book on cooking and housekeeping.

Death and a Pot of Chowder debuted last week. And Anna and Izzie will be back next year.

Excerpt from Death and a Pot of Chowder

            No Quarry Island fisherman had been lost at sea since I was five or six. Everyone on the island had been at that funeral. I hadn’t known the fisherman whose sternman hadn’t been able to haul him up after his foot caught in the trapline that pulled him overboard. But I never forgot his story.
            Every May I cried during the Quarry Island memorial reading of the names of every man who’d been lost at sea since a boy had been hit by a book and knocked into the rough North Atlantic in 1689. It was a reminder that island life was challenging, and the sea couldn’t be trusted.
            “Maybe they’ll find him,” said Izzie. “Maybe he’ll be fine, and waiting for you at home.”
            Izzie didn’t know lobsters and ropes and waters. “Maybe.”
            I wasn’t usually the praying sort, but this wasn’t a usual day. I kept saying Carl’s name over and over in my mind. He had to be all right. He had to be.
But I was a lobsterman’s wife. I lived on an island. I knew the odds.
They weren’t good.

Links:  Lea Wait/Cornelia Kidd’s website: www.leawait.com (includes link to free prequel of Death and a Pot of Chowder)
            to buy hardcover:  http://a.co’faCyXPe
            to buy ebook for Kindle:  http://a.co/epugGCT


Saturday, June 16, 2018

#NewRelease #Rafflecopter Let's Celebrate!

Only two days until the official Worldwide Release of the fifth and final book in my Love and Murder Series. The Deep Well of Love and Murder is set in Chino Valley, Arizona, and we're back on the Meadowlark Ranch which was the setting for book two, Southwest of Love and Murder. I'm giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to celebrate. Read to the end of the page for the Rafflecopter Entry Form.

After an abusive childhood and bad marriage, Laura Katz has finally found a home, stability…and possibly love. But her blissful refuge as nanny on the Meadowlark Ranch, miles from Flagstaff, shatters when her ex is released from prison, determined to reclaim her.

Randy Silva, the Argentine foreman, has plans for his own ranch, but a nasty land grab is underway. While the battle escalates, Laura steals his heart, but there are outsiders who stand in their way. He’s in a fight for his land, and the woman he wants by his side.

Stakes are high, as the attacks on Randy and his ranch draw blood. While the vengeful ex-husband stalks Laura, a mob-backed land developer teams with a desperate gambler. Randy can’t be sure where the next attack will come from—or who will be caught in the crossfire.


Although the novel hasn't officially released, it is available here and there for pre-order. Click on the links below:

AMAZON
THE WILD ROSE PRESS
iTUNES
KOBO
GOOGLE PLAY

And to celebrate, I'm having a Rafflecopter. Hope you'll join in and Good Luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

How to be #Wicked in the Kitchen by Dee S. Knight #recipe #chocolate


WICKED WEDNESDAY 


I should say Deliciously Wicked Wednesday. Please read on for Dee's yummy chocolate recipe.

For those who know me as an erotic romance writer, this might sound kind of kinky. But no. Today, I am not writing about prurient couplings but about something far more wicked and compelling. Today I address the wicked subject of…chocolate cake. Yes, that most enticing, desirable, delectable food, chocolate cake, is now available literally in five minutes, from start to finish for those who have the ingredients on hand and a microwave.
  
Now, I know that there are a lot of bad things to say about chocolate: the processed product has loads of carbohydrates, sugar, and cocoa butter (a fat). I realize that there are chocolate allergies and also (sadly) that cocoa production has some ties to human trafficking. I don't mean to downplay any of that. But I'd rather focus on the good things chocolate can bring about. It makes us happy. It gets us "through" and substitutes for rational thought when rational thought can't take place—like when our boyfriends break up with us, we lose our jobs, or our book proposal isn't accepted. It can be our very own wicked little secret.

 And considering all the forms chocolate can take, I like cake best. This recipe isn't my own but I'm not sure it's all that well-known. Why is it wicked? Well, it's fast, it's made with readily available ingredients, and it alleviates all guilt because you don't have a whole big cake sitting around tempting you for a week. I hope you enjoy my wicked one-serving cake!

WICKED 5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug


1.     Add dry ingredients to 12-oz mug, and mix well.
2.     Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
3.     Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
4.     Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
5.     Put the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes on high (1000 watts). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
6.     Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
7.     EAT!
This can serve two but only if you don't want to feel wicked.


Dee S. Knight has written erotic romance for more than a dozen years—taking time out of her writing schedule
for chocolate cake breaks as needed. Find out about her, her latest book, Naval Maneuvers, and some of her friends at https://nomadauthors.com. She can also be reached on Twitter (http://twitter.com/@DeeSKnight).

Buy Link : Amazon

Sunday, June 3, 2018

#Brainstorm With Me-Help Me #Write My Book

MUSE MONDAY

Hundreds of you read my blog, but you never leave a comment. Today, I'm hoping you'll break the mold and give me some feedback. Brainstorm with me. I have a new series simmering, some chapters written, and I'm vacillating on how to continue. Speak out readers and writers. Help me write these books. I don't usually find myself so undecided. I'm kind of a type A, do-it-my-way kind of lady. In this case, I see so many possibilities, I'm mystified. So...help me write this series! Cool?

WHERE THE IDEA WAS BORN
There's an old mining town, hanging on the side of a hill, turned ghost town, turned hippie/art community and is now a popular tourist stop in Arizona. Many of the old hippies who settled there in the 60s are still there.

I've renamed the city Joshua, Arizona. It's those early days in the 60s when the population was only one hundred people that my imagination took off. They were suddenly overrun by newcomers. They were not always happy with the free-wheeling, anything goes artists and anti-establishment people who ended up owning shops,
serving on the city council, and establishing an art community. They were about mind expansion, auras, crystals, vibes, and a little of the occult.

WHAT I HAVE SO FAR
In 1969, Frank MacKenzie, an artist, and Susie Muse, a mystic who has a book/cafe, are part of the hippie settlers. This will be a love story, but also a story of suspense as they try to become members of the community. Two other books of romantic suspense will be about his sister and her brother.

I have three more books planned that take place roughly between 2018 and 2021. These three books will also be romantic suspense about their three children, Magpie, Harlan, and Elidor. Elidor is the only one to have inherited her mother's mystic charms. Magpie is book one, and the murder of her father's girlfriend and disappearance of her boyfriend twenty-eight years ago has resurfaced in some other worldly way. Harlan is book two, and he makes a discovery that is eerie and dangerous. Elidor has finally come home to face her mystical demons. (In the years between the 60s books and current era books, Susie Muse dies.)

MY QUESTIONS FOR YOU
Should I start the series with 1969?
Should I publish the current era's books and then go back and publish the books about the family's beginnings?
Would this be a 6 book series to you?
Would this be two separate trilogies?
Should I write the current decade books and drop in flashbacks to where the family began in the 60s so that I don't do a separate trilogy for those early years but combine them?

HERE'S YOUR CHANCE
I'd love to hear your opinions. Have a hand in this!