Fall is here!

Fall…what a lovely time of year. If only winter wasn’t just around the corner.

I’m trying to enjoy any day the temp reaches 55 or over. Where I live, that can be a challenge in October.

October is a special month for me. My hubby’s birthday is this month, I found out I was pregnant in October seventeen years ago (it wasn’t until mid-November that I learned it was with twins). I love Halloween – the candy, the costumes, the ever present hint of the supernatural. Apples to make pies and applesauce. Hot cider. Pumpkins and squash and Indian corn. Oh, my!

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What do you love about October? The cool, crisp air? Pulling out warm sweaters? The leaves changing color? Digging into a good book? One lucky commenter will win a $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N (your choice!).

Posted in Misty's Posts | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

What Would You Do?

As I write this, I have a cold and I’m not at my best, so I’m stealing an idea from a writer friend, Elle J Rossi. On her Facebook page, she asked an improv question last Friday: “You’re standing in the middle of your living room. You need a weapon and you need it NOW! What do you grab?”

There were a lot of great answers. I said, “A bronze candlestick holder, about ten inches tall.” Actually, I just measured it, and my candlestick is six inches tall, but I have a pair, and I would use both as weapons.

Mary Hughes said, “Cat. Many pointy ends.” The one problem I can foresee with this is that first you have to catch the cat.

Another mutual friend, Morganne MacDonald, who is a Kung Fu weapons expert, said, “Tonfa, sai, bo, tecchu, kama, a sword, a sgian dubh, a pen….they’re all in my living room.”

I love that answer! I sometimes have a pen in my living room – but not the others. Darn. One of the replies was from someone who said he had five handguns in his living room, “always at arms length.”

I might have a character in a future book have something like that. Obviously, you can learn a lot about people by their answers. (I’ve learned that Mary’s cat is much more docile than mine!) So in the interest of learning more about you, if you were in this situation, what would you grab?

Posted in Edie's Posts | 10 Comments

Cats, cats and more cats

It’s been a melancholic week for me after having to put one of my beloved felines to sleep. All week I’ve been cheering myself up by looking at images online from various catmemes to clothing with cats on it and wait for it… cat clothing stores.

Yeah, see I rarely buy myself anything but I’d be down for purchasing a few of these items.  This first one is from a clothing store catering to cat fashions called www.nipandbones.com. You can see this one here. Isn’t she pretty! lol.

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But as Halloween is around the corner – how about a costume to make your cat feel right at home? This one is available for purchase here.

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And for the cat that’s going out and needs a touch of style…consider this wonderful outfit. It’s available here.

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And of course equal outfits for both! This lovely little outfit is available here.

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Or for the well dressed cat, how about an accessory package? This one is available here.

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Doesn’t she look adorable! Not. lol. These clothing items are actually for sale which if you click the links you’ll see for yourself!!

I’ve had cats for the better part of the last 30 years – lost many and losing every one hurts. But the good thing is that each and every time I knew I’d been blessed to have them in my life for how ever long I had them. But I never… ever… dressed them up like this! Now I’m eyeing my golden Persian Pheonix and realize that there is something I could do that would make me smile – forever!

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This wonderful fashion statement is available HERE. Just in case anyone else needs a smile today! :)  Would you buy something like this for your pet?

Posted in Dale's Posts | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Guest post: Historical author Stephanie Thornton

Final Tiger Queens CoverThey say to write what you know, which is pretty sound advice, unless you happen to be writing about the 13th century wife and daughters of Genghis Khan.

Then you pretty much have to improvise.

For both of my prior novels, The Secret History and Daughter of the Gods, I had the benefit of being able to travel to Turkey and Egypt for research, but a series of unfortunate events (and a strained pocketbook) meant that I had to write The Tiger Queens without a trip to Mongolia. Lacking a time machine (or a TARDIS), most of my research came from my trusty old friends: books.

My quest began when I stumbled upon Jack Weatherford’s fabulous volumes Genghis Khan: The Making of the Modern World and The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, the former being up for grabs on a freebie table in my high school’s teacher lounge, and the second which I found a week later in Costco. I’d never heard of Genghis Khan’s powerful first wife, Borte, or his many daughters and daughters-in-law, but I soon discovered that they were fierce as tigers and tougher than nails. (They’d have to be after hanging around Genghis Khan!)

But there was still the problem of how to get those tricky historical details, the ones no historical writer thinks about when they start writing but that quickly become all-encompassing. What kinds of boots did the Mongols wear? What did they eat and drink? How did they build their tents so they didn’t freeze in the winter?

Fortunately for me, the stars aligned and I discovered Louisa Waugh’s memoir Hearing Birds Fly, which provided all sorts of answers, plus I discovered that one of my students had been to Mongolia for an exchange trip. Between the two of them, plus other fun sources like Marco Polo’s Travels, I found out everything I needed to know about Genghis Khan’s world.

Also, for the record, Mongols wore felt boots with the toes turned up so as not to accidentally kick the Earth Mother; they ate a LOT of horse meat, sometimes slipped raw under their saddles and tenderized while they rode; and to this day they have an ingenious system of pounding wool until it’s flat, then rolling it and dragging it behind their horses until it can be shaped into the yurts we’re all familiar with. Also, their tents would have been terribly smoky from the dung fires used for heating and cooking… Great details for writing, but nothing I necessarily want to experience firsthand!

About the Author: Stephanie Thornton is the author of The Secret History, Daughter of the Gods, and The Tiger Queens. She is also a history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a Kindle version of Stephanie’s The Secret History, I’d love to hear about the things you find interesting but wouldn’t like to experience first hand. I’d go first and say I’d love to take a look at Renaissance Europe, but not so keen on the lack of hygiene and flush toilets :)

Posted in Giveaway, Guest Posts | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

5 Places to Travel to Feed Your Muse

Author, writer or reader, we all feel dry sometimes. Here are 5 places to find rejuvenation.

photo credit: Rob Unreall via photopin cc

photo credit: Rob Unreall via photopin cc

  1. London. There are 2 Alpha ++ cities in the entire world, according to Wikipedia. London and New York are both hubs in the global economy. Studded with restaurants, theaters, and libraries, and blessed with an amazing public transport system, London has centuries of history, learning, and arts to feed your mind and soul. Edie Ramer has just visited, ask her about her favorites. I personally enjoyed Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, the London Eye, the BBC, St. Paul’s, and All Flutes.
  2. Your basement or attic. Whichever one gives you less guilt. lol. As an adult these are places we shove taxes and yet to be unpacked moving boxes. But as a child, ah, these are mysterious places full of old, forgotten treasures. So try this. stick your head in your attic or take a short trip to the basement and close your eyes. Breathe in the scent and let it take you back to those days of mystery and adventure.
    photo credit: Brian Auer via photopin cc
    photo credit: Brian Auer via photopin cc
  3. The Grand Canyon. This is one of the places I have yet to go. I’ve heard it’s one of the few that lives up to expectation. Almost 300 miles long. Breathtaking scenery and nearly 2 billion years of geological goodies. The Colorado River. Mule rides. Some of the cleanest air in the US. Condors. How cool is that? I love visiting the Badlands so I hope to get here one day.
  4. 1999augA museum, travelogue lecture, iMax theater, observatory, conservatory, concert, park…? The important thing here is go someplace bigger (or smaller) than yourself, where you’ll see or hear something brand-new. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse and your eyes and ears open.
  5. Books. You don’t have to travel physically to refresh yourself. Treat yourself to a day reading, or just an hour. Move to a different room, pick a comfy chair or indulge in a warm scented bath. Have a selection of books to suit your whims. Biography, romance, history, fantasy, science or science fiction, just pick up a book and do your mind and heart a new world of good. (If you haven’t yet, why not pick up Entranced: A Halloween Box Set for just $0.99? :) )

What’s your favorite way to refresh yourself?

Let’s get to know each other!

In these first months as a Magical Musings blogger, I’m sharing my 10 favorite things and hope to hear about yours. This is #5 Travel/Books (Travel for the mind and soul.) Please check out the latest from Edie Ramer, Dale Mayer, Michelle Diener, Liz Kreger and myself.

Holiday Feast from NY Times, USA Today and bestselling, award-winning authors offers nine exciting stories of romance and mystery, paranormal and contemporary, magical and mystical, ranging in lengths from novellas to short page-turning stories.

Escape to worlds featuring a vampire in love with a human, a powerful telekinetic, a secret lover, a spirit seer, a master magician, a wizard prince, a paranormal ass-kicker, and more.

$0.99 LIMITED TIME AmazonB&NMACL Smashwords

Also at: ikAReaukbuk

Posted in Mary's Posts | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Her Accidental Boyfriend Anniversary + Giveaway

HABFinalCoverToday is the one year anniversary of my novel, Her Accidental Boyfriend! This book holds a special place in my heart and so I thought I’d share a little excerpt from Shane and Kagan’s story with you today…

What was she doing? Danger, Kagan Owens! Flirting with Shane when her fortitude was already caught in his too-likeable presence like a bear’s paw in honey meant trouble deeper than the sea.

“Kay?” he said when she hadn’t continued.

“Nothing.” She popped to her feet. “So what’s this surprise you have for me? It must be something really big since you’ve got nothing on you.” She stretched her neck in a gesture to look around him.

He took hold of her waist, brought her close. She loved that he liked to touch her, that he couldn’t seem to help himself. It was foolish, but true. His muscled chest brushed her soft one and her legs went a little limp. Good thing he held her.

“I’m going to discover that nothing before this week is over,” he said, his voice husky.

Oh my. Zings of pleasure wove a maze through her body. You should go for it, Charlotte had said. And more and more Kagan could see the value of benefits to their friendship. For one, it would ease the growing ache between her legs whenever he stood near. For two, she hadn’t had sex in way too long and who better to help her get back in the game than the sexiest guy she’d ever met? And third, if they really wanted to sell this relationship, the afterglow she was sure would flare like the North Star for days ought to do the trick.

“Umm…” Her brain cells had taken a vacation.

“You are damn cute when you’re flustered, Jelly Belly.”

She twisted out of his arms. “You’re infuriating.”

“And good-looking.”

“Maddening.”

“Hot.” He smirked.

Oh my God. How was it he could be so full of himself and humble at the same time? His teasing voice wiped out any ego.

“The surprise?” she asked, hands on her hips.

***

To celebrate this fun October day, I’m giving away a digital copy of any of my books – winner’s choice. OR a digital copy of any of my Magical Musings pals’ books. Leave me a comment telling me your favorite jelly belly jellybean flavor (I love Shane’s nickname for Kagan) and you’ll be entered. I’ll post the winner’s name in the comments on Friday.

I also want to mention that this month I’m on a quest to try new things. I’m posting my adventures on my personal blog and also giving away a $25 gift card. Details can be found HERE.

Happy October!

Posted in Giveaway, Robin's Posts | 23 Comments

Entranced Release Party!

On Tuesday, October 14, you’re invited to the Facebook release party for Entranced: A Halloween Box Set, along with Mary Hughes, Michelle Diener, Dale Mayer, Liz Kreger and Edie Ramer – all Magical Musings’ authors – plus Lori Handeland, Nancy Haddock, Elle J Rossi, and Leigh Morgan. It’s going to be a blast! Lots of giveaways. Lots of fun. The hours are from 3:30pm – 7:30pm in EDT. The box set is 99 cents everywhere – down from $5.99!

Even if you can’t go, check out the great stories!
Entranced1

Holiday Feast from NY Times, USA Today and bestselling, award-winning authors. Nine exciting stories of romance and mystery, paranormal and contemporary, magical and mystical, ranging in lengths from novellas to short page-turning stories.

Escape to worlds featuring a vampire in love with a human, a powerful telekinetic, a secret lover, a spirit seer, a master magician, a wizard prince, a paranormal ass-kicker, and more.

When Midnight Comes — Lori Handeland
Visit the streets of 19th century New York in a novella based on the legend of the Jack O Lantern. Newly dead Jack Keegan may be doomed to wander the earth forever with only a lantern to light his way unless he atones for the sins of a lifetime. His love for Lucia Casale may be the only thing that can save him.

Midday Masquerade — Leigh Morgan
Can a mask help two lost and lonely people release their inner desires and find love strong enough to vanquish an ancient family curse?

Sian’s Solution — Dale Mayer
Sometimes the depth of love is only understood when it is lost forever… When a vampire discovers the human man she loves has been captured and hung in a blood farm, she goes against her own kind and risks everything to save him.

Breaking Out — Michelle Diener
Imprisoned in a secret facility, powerful telekinetic Kelli Barrack and two other ‘special’ inmates grab a chance to escape, only to confront their worst nightmares on the outside.

The Halloween Prince — Edie Ramer
A sudden storm, a broken van, and a ghost dog take widowed Sarah Lowtower to a cabin in the Wisconsin countryside and an intriguing man who becomes her secret lover. But when he becomes the Halloween Prince, everything changes.

Medium Rare — Nancy Haddock
The ghosts of St. Augustine are spooked, and spirit seer Colleen Cotton must team with a by-the-book paranormal investigator to save them all, or risk losing her own great grandfather’s spirit forever.

Feel the Magic — Liz Kreger
Jenna Carmichael is harnessing the magic of the full moon on All Hallow’s Night in a tricky transformation to earn her Master level, when the past comes back to haunt her.

Masked Attraction — Mary Hughes
Daniel Light loved Zoe Blackwood when he was a gangly dork. Now a powerful wizard prince, a masked ball gives Daniel a new chance to woo her. Coming between them is an ancient parchment with a deadly prophecy.

Midnight Masque — Elle J Rossi
Bar owner and paranormal ass-kicker, Josie Hawk, stresses over her vampire lover meeting her vampire-hunting father, while at her stars-of-country-music masquerade, supernatural forces escalate to code red. If she doesn’t unmask the insidious evil, the party could turn into a mass funeral.

Amazon | AmazonUK | iBooks | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Guest post: A Q&A with Amanda Carlson

Amanda CarlsonToday, I am pleased to welcome Amanda Carlson to the Magical Musings blog. Amanda is the author of the Jessica McClain urban fantasy series and the Sin City Collectors paranormal romance series.

A Q&A WITH AMANDA CARLSON

Jennifer: Welcome, Amanda! Please tell readers about your newest book, Red Blooded.

Amanda: Red Blooded is the 4th book in the Jessica McClain series, and it’s out now! In this installment Jessica takes an unexpected trip to the Underworld and chaos ensues—just the way I like it. I absolutely love writing fast-paced action adventure, and this book is no exception. Jessica races to save her brother and encounters lots of bumps and road blocks along the way. Red Blooded was so much fun to write. I was able to create my own version of the Underworld, and being imaginative is the best part of this job.

Red BloodedJennifer: Can you tell us a little about the series?

Amanda: The Jessica McClain series is about the only female werewolf ever born. It starts out after her first shift, ten years later than any male, and it from there it takes off like wildfire. Jessica soon releases that she holds a very unique place in the supernatural world, and her journey throughout the books is to uncover what that is, and to figure out how to deal with all the changes thrown her way. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but each book is meant to bring her closer to the end game, and once she arrives, all will be revealed.

Jennifer: What appeals to you about the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres?

Amanda: I absolutely love world building. Plain and simple. When an author writes fantasy they have a completely blank canvas to play with. They get to determine the rules, build characters from scratch, choose powers, invent ideas, but the best part? — being able to write an extremely strong female lead. That might be the best for me. Authors who write UF/PNR are able to write heroines who are physically stronger and more capable than regular heroines, and many times our female leads are stronger than their hero counterparts—at minimum they are equal. I think that’s a huge appeal to the genre, and a big reason why readers are attracted to it. I adore strong female leads—females who have a mind of their own, and are fully capable of getting themselves out of trouble.

Jennifer: You also write the Sin City Collectors series. Can you tell us a little about that series?

Aces WildAmanda: Absolutely! This is a brand new PNR series for me—and the first time I’ve written romance (and I have to say, I totally love it!). The Sin City Collectors is a multi-author collaborated world of stand alone PNR novellas. We like to think of each story as an installment. Each book has its own set of characters, set in the same Sin City world, and all have their own HEA. The backdrop is Las Vegas (honestly, what’s more fun than Vegas?) and the hero or heroine (or both) is tied somehow to the Sin City Collection agency—meaning they are the equivalent of paid bounty hunters—and in every book they are tasked with a different assignment. So in each installment contains as stand alone romance, but also some kickass action (which is how I like to write). They are tons of fun, both to read and write! And priced at $2.99, they’re a steal.

Jennifer: Have you always wanted to be a writer? What got you started on your writing journey?

Amanda: I’ve been writing since seventh grade. I used to open yearbooks and make up stories about the people inside. I started writing my first ms (a middle grade) in 1996 after my first child was born. From there I went on to write a restaurant & movie review in a local publication. I also wrote humorous essays on parenting. I started my first UF in 2008, but didn’t finish it until 2010. I sold the same ms in 2011, and here we are! I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love to do.

Jennifer: What’s next for you? What are you working on?

Amanda: I’m editing the 5th Jessica McClain book, Pure Blooded, out early spring/summer of ’15, and finishing up my 3rd installment of the Sin City Collectors, All In, out this November! I might have some sekrit projects in the works as well. To find out more about me, visit my website at www.amandacarlson.com

Thanks for hosting me, Jennifer! It’s always a pleasure to chat with you. You’re such a delight.

Jennifer: Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate it.

ALL ABOUT AMANDA

Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a BA in both Speech and Hearing Science & Child Development. She went on to get an A.A.S in Sign Language Interpreting and worked as an interpreter until her first child was born. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three kids.

You can follow Amanda on the following sites:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authoramandacarlson

Twitter: www.twitter.com/amandaccarlson

Instagram: www.instagram.com/author_amanda

GIVEAWAY TIME

Amanda is offering up 10 digital copies of Aces Wild in her Sin City Collectors series. The giveaway is open to those 18 and older, international. To enter, use the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Guest Posts, Jennifer's Posts | Tagged | 18 Comments

Breadcrumb Trails

alongthewayI don’t think I’m alone in being someone who clicks on something interesting, in my case usually a book that looks interesting, then I see something else interesting in the new place, click again, and end up following a breadcrumb trail of interesting things to finally find something good.

The other day I did this and found a really cool gift for a friend. It wasn’t her birthday or anything, I just followed along until I arrived at a destination where there was something I knew she’d love.

I’ve also found three new books in the last week or so doing this. A book looks interesting, but then I see another recommended book near it, click that and so on until I find something great. I have picked up a really nasty flu bug and the last three days I’ve been feeling very sorry for myself, not writing and reading a lot, and these books are not ones I’ve heard about or seen advertised, if feels like they are special finds, and they have all be terrific.

Do you do this, too, and what great surprises have you found along the way? Isn’t it fun how the internet has created this new way of finding things?

Posted in Michelle's Posts | 5 Comments

The Doctor is IN: Why Time Travel is Sexy

If you follow me on Facebook you probably already know that I have a slight obsession with Doctor Who.  It could be argued that this obsession has more to do with David Tennant and Matt Smith than the Doctor, but in my defense I’ve gone back to the 1963 Doctor Who episodes and started watching from there.  I only have 611 more episodes to go before I can say I’ve seen all of them that still exist today.

I love Who!

I love Who!

Part of why I love Doctor Who, regardless of what face he happens to have on at the moment, has to do with the adventure of time travel.  I love the idea of going back in the past but having all the knowledge of today.  It’s like you know more than they do about so many things, even though you would probably really be lost if you went back in time.  I mean, do you know how they used a toilet?  Brushed their teeth? Would you understand the jargon of the day?  But, if you push all that nonsense aside, you would have such an advantage and could help so many people. And going into the future would be exciting because you’d see things your contemporaries at home could only imagine.  Oh how I’d love to come home with an iPhone 100!!!! And, you could see what is popular, get the future lottery tickets and then go back and plan plan plan!  Uh, not that that is very ethical or anything, but come on, raise your hand if you know you’d do it.  See!

Different ways to time travel. Can you name the book or show these are associated with?

Different ways to time travel. Can you name the book or show these are associated with?

But, there are paradoxes and space-time continuums to consider, so pretty much anything could happen if you time travel.  Oh! And you don’t need a TARDIS, you’d be amazed at the different ways people time travel.  I mean, some of them just touch a stone and wah-lah! You’re in Scotland back in the 1700’s! If you just love a good time travel you can find a huge list of time travel books on Amazon and a big selection of movies and TV shows on IMDB.

Why do we find time travelers sexy? Because they hold that kind of power? Because they understand things we don’t even if they are from the past? Time travel is power and we do like our men powerful.  Give me a Time Lord any day!

What is YOUR favorite time travel story? Who is your favorite time traveler?

Posted in Sheila's Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments