Come to the dark side…recognizing tropes

My husband and I were watching an hour mystery on television the other day–I think it was Castle–and the detectives had just brought in the killer for questioning, when out of the blue my husband says, “That can’t be the killer. It’s too early. The show’s only halfway in.”

I sniffed back a tear of pleasure. “I have trained you well, grasshopper.”

One of the secrets I’ve learned through being an author is how to craft a believable story: tools to not reveal the killer too quickly but still keep tensions high; ways to make the supernatural, like vampires, seem perfectly natural (humor works really well there. Like the pain the poor thing feels getting a fang root canal).

The problem is, knowing the craft behind the story, the bones if you will, now gets in the way of my completely enjoying television, movies and books.

I was reading one of my go-to authors when in an early chapter, the heroine was told not to worry about the murderer, because Constable Reliable (spoiler–not his real name! lol) was watching for baddies, on patrol outside her house.

I knew…I knew Constable Reliable was going to get knocked unconscious in the Chapter Crisis. The reason I was so certain is that the heroine must always face the villain in the climax. Better yet if she does so alone. So somehow, the heroine was going to lose her protector, poor Constable Reliable, so the villain and the heroine could have their face time.

Another tell is when Stuck-at-the-hips Buddies separate. Buddy and Buddy have been together throughout the whole movie and then suddenly for some “reason” they have to go in different directions. Well, sure as anything, one of them is gonna have some bad thing happen.

Apparently DH has listen to me complain search for new ways to enjoy stories despite meme and tropes for long enough that he’s also started seeing the hands inside the puppets and the man behind the curtain.

What about you? What tropes or factors make storytelling a little too predictable for you?

Posted in Mary's Posts | 1 Comment

What Rhymes With Ten?

What day is it? What’s my name again? When did you ask me to do that? I said yes to it? I don’t even know the last time I washed my hair. (Kidding. Sort of.)

I’ll spare you the omg-I-used-to-be-so-good-at-multitasking speech because the reality is times have changed. I mean, hello Instatweetface, how can I serve you today?

Life. It’s about so much more now. Granted, the profession I’m in has set new rules for me, and that’s not the case for everyone. I love to write, but the SMW (social media world) is often like a foreign planet to a girl like me who’d rather stand in the corner. If only I was as quick, sharp, confident and totally unaware as Sheldon Cooper.

Also? How is it that Memorial Day was yesterday? How is the year almost halfway over? Are we living life, or rushing through the motions? I blinked and it was May. I’m going to stay up late reading and wake up in August. And how bummed are you that Forever wasn’t renewed for the fall?

Do you think Dancing With The Stars would take a romance writer contestant? No, not Sylvia Day. Me! Because you know, I don’t have enough on my plate. Speaking of plates, I can’t remember the last time I made a really good meal for my family. Honey, pot roast is coming your way for Father’s Day. Hey, look at that. I’m planning ahead.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is… hang on a minute. I just got a text, and an email, oh, and someone mentioned me on Twitter, and the house phone is ringing, and my son just told me he needs what for a project that’s due to-morrow? Argh. My gray matter is about to explode. Implode? Something like that.

So it’s with a heavy heart that I’ve decided something has to give and that something is blogging. I’ve revamped my website and won’t be blogging there any longer, and this post is the last one I’ll write for Magical Musings. (I do have a guest next month, the awesome Roxanne Snopek, and I hope you’ll stop in to read her post!) It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of this group and I wish all the gals here – past, present and future – the very, very best.

Next month my tenth book is releasing – a milestone that makes me teary-eyed whenever I think about it because I never imagined it – and I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has supported me with blog comments (and so much more) over the years. You all rock.

What rhymes with ten?

Apprecia-shen. 😉

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

BIOTK Graphic

(Available for pre-order now!)

Posted in Robin's Posts | 12 Comments

Moving and the Internet

This last week I removed my keyboard and put on a hard hat and work belt as I moved from one house to another in reno-mode. Now this is not a process I’d recommend. In fact, I’d do a lot to not be here myself! :) Still selling one house and buying a second one and the switch being done in just a few weeks meant chaos on top of chaos.

Adding to the pain is that the second house needs renos… and I’m in the middle of a disaster. Hmmm… more book ideas maybe. :)

As this move also necessitated shutting down my Internet (God forbid) losing my emails and working myself to the bone, chances are good this post will come in late. Hopefully my plans will still fall into place and I will get Internet in time for this to post.

However… knowing my life, I suspect I’m going to be a ghost in the wind for awhile. So have a great week everyone and I will return. Hopefully with my renos done, four walls and a roof still in place, and a much happier person to boot!

Radant road


Posted in Dale's Posts | 4 Comments

Friday Finds

Welcome to Friday Finds! We would love your input for discounted books, free books, book recommendations or new releases and book contests (where books are the prize). Feel free to submit through our Friday Finds Submission Form. The cut-off is Wednesday for that Friday’s post, and please make sure that the offers you are submitting will be running that Friday. Please check the deals mentioned in this post before buying, as some may have expired. Thanks!


tatsBook title: The Turnaround Treasure Shop

Book author: Jennie Jones

Book blurb: Revisit Swallow’s Fall in this beautiful short novel from Jennie Jones about an ex-military man, a single mother and the impossibility of dreams coming true.

Fatalistic, long divorced and doing her best to give her children a good life, Lily works two jobs in her hometown of Swallow’s Fall, saving every spare cent for the day she can lease the empty corner shop on Main Street. She longs to open it as Turnaround Treasures, a second-hand shop bursting with rescued country curios—but there aren’t enough spare cents and Lily’s dream is slipping away.

Ex-Navy diver Nick Barton arrived in Swallow’s Fall a year ago to quietly reunite himself with civvy life. Recognising an instant attraction to Lily, Nick backed away fast. Given his track record of an unhappy ex-wife and the baggage that comes with a Special Forces career, Nick doesn’t think he stands a chance with shy, reserved Lily. He can’t be with her – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t see her.

Lily has spent her whole life cheerfully giving to others. When Nick offers her the ultimate chance for a turnaround, will Lily’s fear of being ‘second hand’ ruin the opportunity of forever love for both of them?


Amazon | Visit Jennie’s blog to win prizes in her release week party

FF sub-divider

angel of the sommeBook title: Angel of the Somme (The Great War)

Book author: Terri Meeker

Book blurb: There’s a fine line between courage and insanity…and he flings himself over it.

The Great War, Book 1

Captain Sam Dwight never thought his pre-war vow to “make a difference for good in the world” would come back to haunt him. After suffering a grievous head wound in battle, he awakens in a field hospital, barely able to utter a word.

How fast would his beautiful, determined nurse call for a straitjacket if she knew that every time a bright light flickers in his eyes, he is transported back to the trenches, reaching out to heal a wounded soldier in a flash of dazzling light?

Lily Curtis has seen many a soldier racked with guilt, but she’s never seen one will himself to induce life-threatening seizures. She fears that next time, her hands won’t be quick enough to save her handsome, apparently suicidal charge.

As rumors of an ethereal battlefield specter reach the ward, Sam becomes convinced that his front line mercy missions are real. But with each trip, he spins the roulette wheel with his own life while Lily’s love and the lives of those at the hospital hang in the balance.

Warning: In between gory and emotionally charged scenes on WWI battlefields and field hospitals, there are tall tales, a lemon tree named Henry, a blush-inducing blanket bath in which something pops up between nurse and patient, and a 500-pound pet pig.

Special price: 30% off at Samhain to May 25 only
Amazon | Samhain | Nook

FF sub-divider

unbearableBook title: Unbearable Desire

Book author: Vivi Andrews

Book blurb: Their history? Complicated. Their chemistry? Incendiary.

Lone Pine Pride, Book 4

Ten years ago, Moira shared one hot night with the bear-shifter of her dreams, but when she took him up on his offer to join him at the Lone Pine Pride, reality landed with a thud. She quickly realized that he was only looking for a momentary distraction, not a happily ever after.

She’s been trying to get over him ever since, but no other shifter has measured up to the big bad bear.

When Hugo met Moira in a Yukon bar, he poured out his unrequited love for his alpha’s mate as he pounded down drinks. While Hugo remembers telling Moira he was emotionally unavailable, apparently she only heard his need for sexual healing.

He’s always felt guilty for unintentionally leading her on. But now that the woman he thought he wanted is finally available, he’s beginning to wonder if the one he really needs is the woman with whom he shared one incendiary night—then let slip through his fingers.

Warning: This book contains a stubborn old bear, mixed messages, mixed-up emotions, and lots of mixed drinks. Before reading, remember that the best cure for a hangover is NOT “hair of the bear”.

Special price: 30% off at Samhain to May 25 only
Kindle | Samhain | Nook

FF sub-divider

Stricken cover_artBook title: Stricken

Book author: Marcia Colette

Book blurb: Personal tragedy convinces half-werewolf Alexa York to get away to the town of McCormick, Pennsylvania where she’s charged with protecting Dr. Aiden Joss, physician to the supernatural community. Not only does she need the money, she needs the distraction. Unfortunately, she gets it in spades when Joss’s personal issues and a myriad of dangerously sick patients make her new job nearly impossible.

A mysterious disease is running its way through the New York Order of the Amazons and leaving bodies in its wake. The same warrior who had chosen her clan over Joss has asked for him help. Even though the disease is real, Alexa has reason to believe his ex’s sincerity is not.

Given the other numerous problems she has to deal with that are outside of her job description, Dr. Joss might be the biggest threat to his own safety. But, protecting him comes first. That’s difficult to do when his efforts to find an antidote put everyone in his remote clinic in danger, including Alexa.

It’s a bodyguard job like no other.

Author Website | Amazon | Purple Sword Publications | Smashwords


tinmBook title: Trouble in Mudbug (Ghost-in-Law Mystery/Romance Book 1)

Book author: Jana DeLeon

Book blurb: Scientist Maryse Robicheaux thought that a lot of her problems had gone away with her mother-in-law’s death. The woman was rude, pushy, manipulative and used her considerable wealth to run herd over the entire town of Mudbug, Louisiana.

Unfortunately, death doesn’t slow down Helena one bit.

DEA Agent Luc LeJeune is wondering what his undercover assignment investigating the sexy scientist has gotten him into – especially as it seems someone wants her dead. Keeping his secrets while protecting Maryse proves to be easier than fighting his attraction for the brainy beauty.

(Note: This book is part of the author’s backlist, originally released in print in 2009 by Dorchester Publishing)


FF sub-divider

against the darkBook title: Against The Dark

Book author: Carolyn Crane


Angel Ramirez left the safecracking game five years ago, and she’s worked hard to make amends and build an honest life. But when a beloved aunt is kidnapped, she must reunite with her girl gang to acquire the unique ransom: Walter Borgola’s prized diamonds. It’s a simple job that turns into a nightmare, thanks to a surprisingly clever—and searingly sexy—security guard named Cole Hawkins.

Cole is one of the Association’s most brilliant agents, under deep cover investigating a ruthless killer. He’s also running out of time: hundreds will die if he doesn’t stop the plan Borgola’s set into motion. Catching Angel is the break he needed–he promises not to turn her in if she poses as his lover and uses her unique talents to unlock the sociopath’s dungeon vaults.

But as pretend passions turn real, Cole regrets drawing Angel into his deadly game…and danger is closer than either of them could ever imagine.

~Book 1 in the series; these books do not have to be read in order.~

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play |
Kobo | All Romance

FF sub-divider

twttBook title: Too Wilde to Tame

Book author: Janelle Denison

Book blurb: Mia Wilde has a reputation for being too wild to tame, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to let someone get away with distributing provocative photographs of her. She needs to find out who is threatening her before her overprotective brothers find out. For that, she’s going to enlist the help of private investigator Cameron Sinclair – – the one man who seems immune to her flirtatious and outrageous personality. But Mia soon learns that appearances can be very deceiving.

The moment Cameron agrees to help, he knows he’s in deep trouble. Because Mia isn’t just your average bad girl. In fact, beneath that wild, untamable facade is a beautiful, too sexy woman who’s been driving him crazy with desire. And if he isn’t careful, the hot passion sizzling between them might just tempt him to do something he might regret. Like propose something hotter and wilder than either of them had ever imagined . .





Book title: All I Ever Wanted: Four book box set

Book author: Rhonda Helms, Marilyn Brant, Lexi Ryan, Caisey Quinn

Book blurb: Winterfest is heating up in Abbott Springs…

As the town’s yearly festival kicks off, cold days turn into steamy nights, new flames will be ignited, and old romances will be rekindled.

All About Us by Marilyn Brant—All Sami Abbott ever wanted was permission to be herself. At home, she aims to be the perfect daughter but never measures up. At college, she’s the bold girl who had a one-night stand with sexy musician, Alex Hamilton. When he arrives unexpectedly in Abbott Springs, her worlds collide and she must reconcile the girl she tries to be with the person she really is.

All I Need by Caisey Quinn–All pink-haired rocker chick Everly Abbott thought she wanted was acceptance in her straight-laced hometown. But her best friend and bandmate Justin Cohen is about to show her that what she thinks she wants isn’t necessarily what she needs.

All for Love by Rhonda Helms–All Maya Monterey ever wanted was to belong. Happiest with the Abbott family, Maya’s been secretly in love with sexy pastry chef Oliver Abbott for years. With a flirty new look, she’ll pull out all the stops to get him to notice her. And if her plan fails, she’ll walk away from the only home she’s ever known–and Oliver–for good.

All or Nothing by Lexi Ryan—After years of placing the wrong bets, all Aubree Baxter wanted was someone to take a chance on her. Golden boy Kennedy Hale plays it safe in life and love, but to keep Bree in Abbott Springs, he’ll have to go all in.



GRIBook title: Ghouls Rush In

Book author: H.P. Mallory

Book blurb: Do you believe in love after life?

Looking for a fresh start, Peyton Clark becomes the proud owner of a piece of New Orleans history: an Antebellum-era two-story house in the Garden District. It’s going to take time and a fat wallet to restore the fixer-upper to its former glory, but after her recent divorce, Peyton could use the distraction.

It’s not long before Peyton discovers she’s moved into the haunted home of a flirtatious paranormal prankster. She’s receiving kisses from unseen lips and caresses from a ghostly hand, and soon she begins to have vivid dreams, bringing her face-to-face with the incomparably handsome ghost of Drake Montague.

When Peyton grows closer to her general contractor, Ryan Kelly—who is as charming as he is alive—the chill in the air could only suggest Drake’s jealousy from beyond the grave. But even though she’s definitely attracted to and interested in Ryan, Peyton also can’t get Drake out of her dreams, or her heart, as she begins to uncover the frightening truth behind his death a century ago…

E-book sale: GHOULS RUSH IN by H.P. Mallory is on sale for $1.99

This is the first book in her Peyton Clark series. The second book, ONCE HAUNTED, TWICE SHY, is also on sale for $1.99

Posted in Friday Finds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Devil Is In The Research – Guest Blog by Diane Gaston

Picture in Diane Gaston Biography dedication photo.docMost of the ladies here at Magical Musings are not writing historical romance, so what can I, a historical author contribute to their blog?

I thought I’d talk about research.

Research is obviously essential when you are writing a historical. I write in the Regency era, roughly from 1810 to 1820, the time of Jane Austen, Lord Byron and the Napoleonic Wars. To write in this era, I need to know period detail. For example, I need to know how my characters travel around. I mean, they must be on foot, on horseback or in a carriage. No trains, planes or automobiles. Not only is transportation different, but clothing, food, houses, daily pastimes—almost everything about setting needs to be authentic to the Regency period.

Not only setting, though. Characters in my novels have to talk like Regency people. They have to think like Regency people, move like Regency people.

To be as accurate as possible, I have accumulated over 500 books and lots of skill on online research. I’ve also traveled to England to visit Regency sites in person and have been known to email museum curators to answer an obscure research question.

Here’s the deal, though. I don’t think the need for research is confined to historical authors. Authors of all genres need to do their research.

Contemporary authors, you need to set their books somewhere. If you use a real place—say, Washington, D.C. near where I live—you need to know how far the Capitol is from the White House and how to get there. You need to know that Adams Morgan is a trendy, culturally diverse neighborhood with restaurants, bars, and shops, not where Embassy Row is located.

Even if you contemporary authors make up a fictional town, there is bound to be something that will require research. If the heroine runs a travel agency, you will have to learn something about how a travel agency works. Or a restaurant. Or a social services agency.

The Contemporary author may have to do some research about character, too. For example, if the hero is coming back from war, what might his reactions to normal life be? If he has PTSD, what would the symptoms be? If you get the specific details about setting and character wrong, some readers will notice.

But what of the Sci Fi or Fantasy author?

I admit, you ladies can get away with making it all up—almost. I’ll bet, though, that there will always be something to research. If you write about shape-shifters, you must know something about how others have explained shape shifters, even if you decide to explain it differently. There are certain conventions that readers might expect of stories about vampires, werewolves, or fairies. If you decide to alter the conventions in your story, you have to know how to explain it so readers will accept the difference. If you don’t you run the risk of readers saying, But vampires don’t behave that way.

And you Sci Fi authors don’t get away with no research either. Your science must be accurate or your fictional world won’t make sense to readers.

Authors differ, though, in how important research is in their stories. Not every historical author would spend an hour researching just what specific carriage their version of Darcy might ride in. Would it be a cabriolet? A phaeton? Or would it matter if Darcy arrived in a brougham, even though that carriage was not invented until years later? There are historical authors to whom this would not matter a bit, who write wonderful books even so.

So my question to authors and readers today is, how important is it to you that details of setting and character be well-researched?

For my April 2015 book, Bound By Duty, first in my new Scandalous Summerfields series, I had to do a lot of research about Brussels and the Battle of Waterloo, but, for me, the research is half the fun of writing the book.

BoundByDutyCoverBound By Duty tells the story of Tess Summerfield whose life is changed forever when she’s rescued from drowning by the mysterious Marc Glenville and forced to spend the night with him in a deserted cottage. When they are discovered, the only way Marc can preserve Tess’s reputation is to marry her. But his duties as a spy soon tear Marc away from the marriage bed. When they’re at last reunited days before Waterloo, can they rekindle the flame born from the ashes of scandal?





Diane Gaston writes award-winning Regency Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical. Her 25 books with Harlequin have sold over a million copies over the years and have been translated into countless languages, including Japanese Manga. Diane, once a mental health social worker, lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Posted in Uncategorized, Zoe's Posts | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Apology

I have noticed that The Apology is a common theme in romance writing of all kinds: novels, movies, songs.  So I thought I would explore what it takes to write a great apology scene.

Context is the first big feature of a good apology.  Let’s just imagine it is a guy who is apologizing (another pattern I have noticed, and the context may explain why).  A good apology comes from the recognition that something of value has been damaged or broken and he has the power to fix it.  An apology given from a place of “I’m dogmeat and you don’t really understand how hard it is for me” never works for me.  I want to feel like the guy is on his game and steering the ship. Apologizing from a position of strength, a knowing what is ultimately important and that he has the power to fix it, is much better.  Receiving an apology should actually be enjoyable.

Once the guy is in the right frame of mind, there are four steps to a good apology. This comes from psychology and my own experience.  If he covers all the bases the woman (and every readers who is imagining she is her) will actually be glad the bad thing happened because it was a catalyst for this great event.

1. State what you did wrong.

“If I hurt you I’m sorry” is the opposite of accomplishing this step.  What are we talking about here?  Put it on the table.  “I never meant to hurt you” is a statement of self-protection.  Why would that be the big point in an apology?  Focus on the girl and what the experience was like for her.

2. Fix the damage.

Whatever mess has been created, undo it.  If you humiliated her in front of other people, go to them and state that it was wrong and she deserves to be treated with respect.  If you broke something, get it repaired.  In whatever physical what you can, restore things to the way they were before the offending event occurred.

3. Give reasonable expectation there will be no repeat performance.

This could be signing up for AA is excessive drinking was the problem.  Reading a book, taking a course, talking to a friend, making a commitment to give up something of value if it ever happens again.  And then his word is his bond.  If a commitment is made and he doesn’t follow through, the girl has to accept the answer she is being given through his actions and find a safe place for herself.  Forgiveness shouldn’t happen until you know you are not vulnerable to the same damage again.  It is good to receive an apology and give a person you care about a second chance.  It is also good to receive what he is saying through his actions and take appropriate actions. When a character turns a blind eye to abusive behaviour she becomes unrelated-able (invented a word there) and sometimes less likable.

4. Ask what you can do to make it better.

Even when the damage is repaired physically, there is an emotional piece that still needs to be taken care of.  This is also where the girl has to decide what would it take for her to let go of her pain.  There is an imbalance between them and he is saying he is willing to do what it takes to bring that balance back.  She has to know not to make the price so high that she does damage in return.  The fact that he asks is a big message that what she feels matters to him. What she asks for is a visible expression of how strong her connection is to herself (is he going to have to make her feel better about herself of just better about the situation?) and what she sees as valuable in the relationship.  Be careful what you ask for takes on a whole new meaning here.

Have you ever been given this kind of apology?

I can actually say I have.  Most often I get a few of the steps, but when I get the whole enchilada it is magical!

Happy writing!

Posted in Kim's Posts, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Skipping Sex and other Things We Don’t Admit To

I’m going to admit it right out loud.  I’ve never read 50 Shades of Grey.  It’s not that I’ve boycotted it or anything.  It’s just that I find myself skipping sex scenes lately and so the book doesn’t appeal to me.


No. I’m not a prude.  There are some authors who are so good at sexual tension I’m begging for the sex scene to hurry up! I’ve been known to write to C.L. Wilson demanding that the hero and heroine get on with it! Please! Before I die! LOL  I love it when a couple’s chemistry is so amazing that the sex is an extension of their story and you want to read it.

But, lately, it’s been hard for me to find a book that has that chemistry.  Either the book includes sex because there seems to be an expectation to do that or the sex is used to help sell the book.  Foreshadow and foreplay are things that an author must commit to doing as a furtherance of the story, not because it’s expected.

My favorite book of all-time is Jane Eyre.  There’s no sex in that book.  But, when Mr. Rochester finally kisses Jane the sparks fly and I get all fluttery inside as my own heart soars for them.  And let me tell you, I didn’t need anyone to tell me Mr. Rochester would be concerned with Jane’s orgasm.  You know that man put his heart, soul and good experience into making Jane feel loved and pleasured.  Sorry to any Bronte fans who are aghast at my assumption.


I’ve read books that have no sex in them and the stories are amazing.  I’ve read books that have too much sex in them but the story is still amazing.  But, lately I’ve just not been able to find a book where the sex in an extension of the character’s love story.  Where the chemistry is so amazing you’re just waiting for that chapter where they finally make love.

Do you skip the sex scenes?  Or do you read them with wild abandon?  What book or books would you recommend in which you feel the chemistry between the hero and heroine are so strong that you looked forward to the sex scenes?  Do the sex scenes have to be detailed and erotic or can they be simple and we infer they made love?

What’s your opinion?  Skip the sex? Or give it all she’s got?  What kind of sex do you like in your fiction?

Posted in Sheila's Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

The Writing Closet

writingWhat makes a writer a writer?

In my opinion, a writer is someone who writes. Seems simple enough (even though Merriam-Webster’s first definition disagrees, making the distinction that a writer is one who writes as an occupation—and that’s a whole ’nother can of worms).

However, if you’re the person who decides, hey, I’m going to become a novelist, then it’s not always as simple.

For instance, maybe you’ve wanted to be a writer ever since you were in grade school, when your teacher told your parents you have excellent writing skills and the potential to someday write books. Or maybe you played around with writing fiction in high school, or poems or fanfic or whatever. Maybe you have two dozen unedited novel beginnings and a handful of short stories under your bed or on a flash drive.

And then life happens. You go to college and get overloaded with schoolwork, or you start your future high-powered career, or you get married or have a kid or all of the above. And suddenly you don’t write. But you want to.

Then one day, you work up to the moment when you decide, “I’m going to write. I’m going to write a book.”

Six little words that hold so much power for those who utter them and then follow through.

Funny thing, the universe couldn’t really care less that you’ve set yourself a lofty, time-consuming, intimidating goal. The universe keeps on going, just like the rent, the kids’ arguments, the demands of your day job, the house, the yard, and everything else that makes up what you call your life.

Still, you open a file and start crafting your story, one word at a time. While the baby naps. While the husband mows the lawn. While the rest of the world sleeps.

It might take a few months to write your first book. It might take a few years. You might eke out time every day to create a few new sentences, or you might be lucky to be creative a couple times a month. But you keep on keeping on, building your word count, figuring out how the hell one writes a book, getting a kick out of making stuff up.

You’re a writer, right?

You haven’t had an editor or agent say she loved your book. You haven’t printed out your four-hundred-page tome and depleted the family ink supply. You haven’t hit a best-seller list. You haven’t even yet dared to let someone read your work.

But you’re a writer. Because you write.

However, if you’re like most people I know, you haven’t told a soul your secret yet. Because it’s hard to say, “I’m a writer.” Or “I’ve started writing a book.”

I wrote for over a year before I told anyone in my non-writing life what I was doing. It was probably more like two or three years. And I waited until I’d had some positive responses from a publisher before I could fess up. (This was in the olden days, ten years ago, when the only real option once you finished writing your book, if you wanted to publish it, was to sell it to a publisher.)

It’s hard to say to someone, “So I’m writing this book…” Because they never just nod and say okay. Usually they ask questions. Sometimes they support. And sometimes, either silently or out loud, they judge.

I’ve told dozens of people I’m a writer in the fourteen years since I started my first book. And the most common thing people ask is, “What have you published?”

Because, you know, all you have to do is scribble down a few tens of thousands of words and then…voila, your book will be published.

Or maybe not. But…you’re still a writer.

Even now, when it is easier and quicker to publish by circumventing the “gatekeepers” and publishing your book yourself, it’s not a simple or fast process (or it shouldn’t be). You have to write that sucker, then revise it. Send it out to critique partners, who may rip parts of it apart, usually rightfully so. Then you revise it again, and when I say revise, I mean the painful act of cutting entire scenes, writing brand new ones, changing the heroine’s motive from page one and on every page after. Adding in a subplot. Tying up the thread you left dangling in chapter eleven.

And then, maybe you have it in good enough condition to call it a “book.” You still have to have it edited (or snag an agent and editor if you’re going the traditional route). You might hire a content editor, and you definitely should hire a copy editor (shameless self-plug for my other self). Maybe you want the security of a professional proofreader as well. You need a cover artist, and it takes a little back and forth and get your cover as you’d like it. And then…formatting. Either you have some tech skills and do this yourself or you hire someone. And then…your book is hopefully ready to publish!

So, with just a few clicks and uploads, your book is now published…and it might be four months after you started the process or, more likely for your first time, two years, or five…or sometimes twenty. (I know multiple people who wrote for twenty years before their first book was published.)

You can finally answer, “My first novel, ____, is available on Amazon.” Such a proud moment! And then, sometimes, the response will be, “I’ve never heard of ____.” And the person looks at you as if you’re nobody, and possibly an imposter at that. As if maybe you aren’t really a writer.

But you are. Because you write. And in spite of people’s ignorance of what writing and finishing and editing and revising and publishing entails, you should embrace it. Admit it. Own it. It’s hard, but if you write, whether you’ve published or not, it’s okay to say, “I’m a writer.”

photo credit: <a href=”″>14.WhatSay.Hand.Self.SW.WDC.29nov05</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Posted in Amy K's Posts | 8 Comments

Friday Finds

Welcome to Friday Finds! We would love your input for discounted books, free books, book recommendations or new releases and book contests (where books are the prize). Feel free to submit through our Friday Finds Submission Form. The cut-off is Wednesday for that Friday’s post, and please make sure that the offers you are submitting will be running that Friday. Please check the deals mentioned in this post before buying, as some may have expired. Thanks!


516IItIiKbL._UY250_Book title:  Love in a Small Town: The Soldier’s Second Chance

Book author:  Zoe York

Book blurb: Six years. Two break ups. One divorce. They should be over each other.

Rafe Minelli knows better than to tell his wife no, particularly since they aren’t married anymore. She can’t hightail it out of town, though, not when they’ve finally broken through the post-divorce cold war status quo.

Olivia Minelli needs to leave Pine Harbour. It’s just too hard to see Rafe moving on without her—even if he says he doesn’t want to. But when a new and exciting job falls into her lap, she needs to choose: protect her heart, or take the new job and risk getting emotionally entangled with her ex-husband. Again.






Book title: Faery Realms: Ten Magical Titles: Multi-Author Bundle of Novels & Novellas (Faery Worlds Book 2)

Book author: Rachel Morgan et al.

Book blurb: Enter the magical realms of Faery with these ten award-winning, bestselling fantasy authors. Each title in this sampler collection offers a new and different world full of mystery, love, and most of all, fae enchantment~

Over 1400 pages of stories – together, these books have over 300 five-star reviews on Amazon.






Book title:  Mark Me

Book author:  Zoe Dawson

Book blurb: Rory Finnegan had one goal when he got out of the Marines. Find a place where he can settle down and open a tattoo parlor. That’s when his best friend Ethan Fairchild suggests he come to Suttontowne in the Louisiana bayou. It’s there that Rory gets a job bartending for Braxton Outlaw and runs smack full force into gorgeous, too young for him, Savannah Hawkins. To make matters worse, she’s got an over-protective mother and an upper-crust boyfriend. It would be smart he steered clear. But Marines like Rory don’t back down easily, especially after he gets much too involved with the southern beauty.

Savannah Hawkins is not sure what she’s going to do with her life and is quite sick of having everyone dictate to her, especially her family. When she gets a load of pierced, tattooed and gorgeous Rory, her interest goes off the charts. Complication like life decisions and a pre-selected husband seem inconsequential when she gets to know this scarred and battle-hardened warrior. Will she discover the answers she needs or will her coming of age tear her heart apart?

Amazon | iBooks

FF sub-divider



51CxPUrGqfL._UY250_Book title:  Thrill-Kinky

Book author:  Teresa Noelle Roberts

Book blurb: Chronicles of the Malcolm, Book 1

Humans may have expanded to the stars, but they still have the annoying need to work for a living. Which is why Rita, crew member of the space freighter Malcolm, is stuck collecting recyclable slag rather than attending her favorite festival celebrating love and sexuality.

Things go from boring to interesting when she discovers a badly injured man who’s been thrown into a recycling bin to die. The catch, he’s gorgeous, winged, and naked.

Drax Jalricki, reformed (mostly) art thief and reluctant covert operative, is on an undercover mission to protect three planets when someone in his own government brands him a traitor. By virtue of association, Rita and her crew are going down with him.

From their first, hide-in-plain-sight quickie, the erotic spark between Rita and Drax is fueled by danger and adrenaline. But their growing suspicion that there’s more to their connection than lust may not matter if they don’t live through the night.

Warning: Hero and heroine who straddle the line of criminal behavior—and definitely violate public indecency statutes. Exhibitionist, dangerous sex. Dark, sordid pasts. Wild risk-taking. Giggly cat-girl sidekick who’s not just another pretty…tail. And the greatest risk of all: true love.


FF sub-divider



Book title:  Emerald Darkness

Book author:  Sarra Cannon

Book blurb: The Shadow Demons Saga continues with this first book in a brand new series.

Killing a priestess in the most evil organization of witches in the world has its consequences.

Harper Brighton is standing on the precipice of a great and terrible war. The sapphire demon gates have fallen, but the four remaining priestesses of the Order of Shadows and their ruler–the mysterious High Priestess–continue to enslave demons from the Shadow World to steal their power.

Harper and her friends in the Demon Liberation Movement target the Emerald gates–a dangerous and far more cunning enemy than any they have ever faced. No one is safe. Destruction comes in the blink of an eye, and the entire human world finds itself frozen, locked in perpetual darkness.

Now, Harper must battle her darkest fears in order to save those she loves most. Will she lead them to victory or will everything they’ve fought for be lost forever?

Link/s to book: Amazon

Posted in Friday Finds | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Author Spotlight – Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers2Just recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Best Selling Mystery Author, Chris Rogers.

MMG: Welcome to Magical Musings, Chris.
CR: Thanks for having me, Maggie.

MMG: Where did you get the inspiration for your series/book?

CR: You know, inspiration can strike unexpectedly, but this time it came from my immediate surroundings. While writing my Dixie Flannigan suspense series, I took a job as administrative assistant in the audit department of a bank—a new world for me. My second suspense novel with Dixie lingered on an editor’s desk, the third was plotted, but it wasn’t yet selling. I believed in her—at that time no books about a woman bounty hunter had been published—and she had everything I wanted in a heroine. But as the manuscripts continued to languish, I began to doubt myself. Romance was still the big seller at that time, and cozy humorous mysteries were popular. I already knew I couldn’t write romance all that well, but why not try a softer side of mystery? So I decided to change my focus. A male protagonist, somewhat older than Dixie, with a small-town venue rather than Houston, and lots of quirky characters. Booker Krane busted loose from my imagination, and I became as enamored of his as I was of Dixie.

MMG: If the apocalypse happened, which of your heroes &/or heroines would you want to have on hand to help you survive and why?

CR: Dixie’s more kick-butt than Booker, but I’d also have to consider Kirk Longshadow, from the Emissary trilogy. He has the training of a cop, friends in high political places, and a secret “weapon.”

MMG: Who is the celebrity who inspired the characters in your latest book?

CR: Everyday people are more inspiring to me than celebrities. But do I picture a particular actor playing the part of Booker Krane? Give me a minute to think about it—okay, Robert Downey Jr would be great in this role because he can do humor as well serious roles.

MMG: What genre(s) do you write in & why?

CR: Suspense, fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery—because those are genres I loved growing up. I confess to being a little twisted—but only in fiction. My real life would bore most people to tears.

MMG: Are there any particular locations you have traveled to that have made it into your novels?

CR: Texas, of course. Dixie comes from Houston, as I do. Booker lives in Central Texas, as I do now. In her first venture, Bitch Factor, Dixie had to travel all the way to South Dakota to bring home a fugitive. Most of my family live in Wyoming, so I’ve made that trip many times, usually driving and taking different routes each time. In the 4th book, Slice of Life, Dixie traveled to Galveston. Longshadow, in the Emissary trilogy, also comes from Houston, and he travels down in to Mexico, which I’ve done, but not since it became so dangerous to drive through the border towns. My upcoming series is a dark fantasy that takes place on a tall ship in the Caribbean. The ship and story were inspired by a cruise to the Antilles Islands that my son and I took the year he graduated high school.

MMG: If you were not writing, what would your profession be?

CR: Art. I enjoy painting. My artwork provides a respite from the keyboard. At present, I have three paintings in a show at the Texas Gallery in College Station, Tx, but I’ve only recently begun showing. The visual medium engages a different part of my brain, which is almost like vacation.

MMG: What is your go-to snack or meal when you are on deadline?

CR: Loaded question! Right now I’m dieting, so I don’t snack unless it’s on raw kale. Any other time it would probably be Oreos and milk.

MMG: How many more books do you have planned in the series?

CR: At least 5 each in the Booker Krane and dark fantasy series, and as I’ve said, Emissary is slated to be first in a trilogy. I also publish an anthology each year of 7 short stories, which I expect to do for 4 more years, to end with 7 total.

MMG: What would the theme song for this novel be & why?

CR: I’m working with Frank Moore right now to come up with a theme “song” for the trailer. He writes original music, and I asked him to play around with sounds similar to the opening bass guitar notes of an old rock & roll hit by the late Gene Vincent. I’ve only heard that particular opening on one version of the song, but the Beatles song, “Day Tripper,” has a similar opening riff.

MMG: Do you have any other upcoming releases that readers should know about?

CR: The next book, which I hope will publish in early summer, is Paradise Cursed, in which a 300-year-old pirate now operates his schooner as a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Not only does the ship have magic soaked into its hull, the cruise always attracts at least one passenger with a problem of the supernatural type that Captain Cord McKinsey must help to solve.

Thanks for stopping by, Chris! And be sure to check out her latest release.

HERE LIES A WICKED MAN v4 cover draft.front

Here Lies A Wicked Man

When Booker Krane retired early from his career as a white collar corporate investigator, he was sure of only two things: he was done digging up buried secrets, and he loved being near water. After recovering from the bullet wound from his final case, he settles into a leisurely lifestyle at his new home on Turtle Lake—including his new part-time job as a freelance photographer. But the morning his dog drags a dead body onto the shore, Booker and his camera are commandeered by Sheriff Ringhoffer, and in less time than it takes the elusive perfect lighting to disappear, he’s deeply embroiled within the investigation.

While the deceased, a prominent yet awfully wicked man, had many people who’d likely have motive and opportunity to kill him, Booker wants to believe it was simply an accident. An arrow would be an unusual murder weapon, and he can’t picture any of the suspects—the victim’s wife, sons, business partner, sexy mistress, or attractive lessee—as cold-hearted killers. But it turns out more than one of them knows how to draw a bowstring, and Booker’s curious mind can’t ignore the evidence against the victim falling on his own arrow—even when the sheriff rules the death an accident.

Putting his own life at risk, can Booker solve the case for the residents of Lakeside Estates? Or will magazine deadlines, his budding attraction for Roxanna Larkspur, or tension with his only son interfere with his search for the truth?

Available at Amazon!


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments