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

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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

Memorable Idiosyncrasies

I just returned yesterday from a two-week tour of England, Ireland and Scotland, which started and ended in London. Because it’s the end of the tourist season, there were only 18 of us, plus our tour director and the driver. I’m so glad that we went on this particular tour, and that it was smaller. We got to know each other much more than if it had been a bigger group.

The amazing Stonehenge!

The amazing Stonehenge!

When I started on the tour, I planned to try to use this in a future book so I could deduct some of the costs on my taxes. Near the end, I did think of a plot in which I could use all three countries. But when I looked at it a couple days later, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t write it. My books are about people and their idiosyncrasies and what makes them wonderful. They aren’t about places. So though I won’t be able to take deductions for the trip, I have a lot more ideas for characters that I’ll be using.

I could easily use one woman as a heroine. She found out early in the trip that she might have a blood clot in her leg, and there was something wrong with her knee. Instead of booking an early flight home or sitting sedately on her bus seat as much as possible, she was dancing down the aisle of the bus – at one point even saying to me, “I’m going to put on a show.”

She and the friend she was traveling with set the laughing, fun tone on the bus, so that it felt more like a party bus instead of a bus filled with mostly retired adults who’d booked the tour that started after school had started so the crowds would be thinner.

We also had a ‘hat lady.’ She and her husband were from Newfoundland, Canada, but spent half their year in Florida. And she looked so lovely in her hats, that I bought one, too. (I’ll wear it to my next authors’ lunch.) And our tour director spoke very English-y. Words and phrases like ‘quite lovely,’ ‘quite nice’ and ‘quite quite.’ (There were many others, and I wish I would’ve written everything down; a few of the others did.) And at the end of sentences, he liked to put his lips together and say, ‘Hmmmmmmmm.’

On our last evening, my husband and I saw War Horse at a West End theater. I loved it. The ending especially was amazing, and I was crying – and it was a great cry because it was sad and happy. I’ll never write a book like War Horse, but I’d love to write an ending that would make people feel a mix of emotions, with happy winning out.

So though the places I saw were magnificent and they had a great story, so were the people on the bus.

What’s your favorite trip, and what do you remember most about it?

Posted in Edie's Posts | 12 Comments

New release and new covers!

When I realized I really was going to do a 6th book in the Family Blood Ties series I wanted to redo all the covers. The first book in the series was one of the first books I ever released and the cover reflected the times. So with the new release up and coming, my son and I slowly but surely redesigned everyone one the first five covers to bring it line with the character who has grown so much through this series.

Let’s take a look. Here’s the first book it the series and the one that spawned the rest – Vampire in Denial

VID1 R2.2

Vampire in Denial - Final white text 800x1200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second in the series: Vampire in Distress

9781927461266

VID2 R8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book 3 Vampire in Design

girl holding book

9781927461488

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book 4 Vampire in Deceit

9781927461846 

girl holding book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book 5 – Vampire in Defiance

9781927461693

girl holding book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the newest book #6- Vampire in Conflict

9781928122227The blood farm is gone. Those behind it have either died, been caught, or are on the run. Time to return to the real world.

Only normal life isn’t quite what Tessa expected. Good thing, because there is no ‘normal’ anymore. She’s different. Her family is different. Her friends are different. The world around her is different. Trying to find her place is not easy. She wants nothing more than to be a normal teenager and join Cody and his friends on a Friday night out.

Cody wants the trouble to be over so he can get back to living the life he used to with one major addition – Tessa.

Only Ian and Jewel aren’t healing well, Rhia is acting out of character, and Jared keeps tripping over dead bodies. Then there’s David, who’ll do anything to help Jewel… even something he knows he shouldn’t do.

Something is wrong, and once again it’s up to Tessa to figure out what is happening under the surface of this ‘normal’ life.

So what do you think of the evolution of my covers?

Posted in Dale's Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Welcome Bonnie Dodge!

Take This Job and Love It

Finish this sentence. The best thing about writing is …………

  • Selling your book/story.
  • Collecting royalties.
  • Speaking at conferences.
  • Signing books and meeting new readers.
  • Seeing your name in the paper and in magazines.

I bet you can come up with a hundred more answers: Creating characters. Getting back at the villains in your life by killing them off in your stories. Lying. Telling the truth. Realizing dreams by rewriting your own stories.

All of the above are valid reasons, but for me the best thing about writing is getting to hang out with other writers. Let’s face it. Writing can be a lonely profession. You have to box yourself in a corner and write non-stop until your eyes cross and your butt numbs. I call it getting in the zone, but my husband calls it checking out, and he may be right. To create my stories I have to walk away from the laundry, the cooking, the housecleaning, my friends and family—the real world—and enter another dimension. And even though that is fun and exciting, it can also be lonely. Especially when I’m stuck or my characters refuse to do my bidding.

Writers by nature are curious and analytical. We like to take things apart. We like to put them back together again. We like to make things better and bring order to chaos. We can spend hours discussing plot lines, themes, story questions, or why something isn’t working. Hours that can drive non-writers batty. But we thrive on the confusion, the planning and the editing. Without it we’re lost.

And that’s why, for me, the best thing about writing is the wonderful writers I meet. People like me who struggle every day to tell their stories. Royalties are nice. Seeing my name on a book is thrilling. But my writing peers understand me. They challenge me, and make me a better writer.

What’s the best thing about writing for you?

BonnieDBIO  About Bonnie: Bonnie Dodge lives and writes from her home in southern Idaho. Her award-winning fiction, poetry, and non-fiction have appeared in several newspapers, magazines and anthologies in the Pacific Northwest. For more information visit her web page at http://bonniedodge.com and follow her on Twitter @BJDodge

 

Book Blurb
Three generations of Foster women–senior citizen Maxine, attention seeker Grace, and 166_0.488896001409264164_waiting_cv_hraspiring artist Abbie–think they are nothing alike. But they all share a secret. They wait. For love, for attention, for life, for death, for Idaho’s warm, but promising summer to return. In their journeys between despair and happiness, they learn there are worse things than being alone, like waiting for the wrong person’s love. With sensitivity and humor, Waiting carries readers into the hearts of three women who learn that happiness comes from within.

Now available at  Amazon or at B&N.

Posted in Dale's Posts, Guest Posts | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

New series, old worries

I’ve posted about this on my blog and social media sites already, but I wanted to share it here as well. I have a new young adult urban fantasy series that will begin in 2015. Woot! Woot!

It’s called the Black Blade series, and it features magic, monsters, and mobsters. The heroine is Lila Merriweather, a 17-year-old thief who does her best to avoid the Families (mobs) that run her town, a total tourist trap known for the monsters that haunt the area. But, of course, Lila finds herself in the middle of a feud between two of the Families. And there’s a cute guy in the mix too. As of right now, there will be at least three books in the series.

Cold Burn of MagicCold Burn of Magic, the first book, will be released on April 28, 2015. It is up for pre-order at the following sites:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / IndieBound / iTunes / Kobo

I always get a little nervous whenever I start a new series, and the same worries always plague me (hence the title of this post). Will folks enjoy the new heroine and world that I’ve created? Will they like the mix of magic and monsters? Will they like it as much as my other series, especially my Mythos Academy young adult series? What if people hate the book? What if nobody buys it, and it gets the worst reviews in the entire history of book reviews?

Okay, okay, so some of these probably won’t happen, but what can I say? I worry about stuff like that.

What about you guys? Do you like it when authors start new series? Will you check out a new series, or do you want authors to keep writing books in their current series?

And here is the book description for Cold Burn of Magic:

THERE BE MONSTERS HERE…

It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call—get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her…

I’m excited about the new series, and I hope that everyone enjoys learning more about it. Lila has been a really fun, snarky character for me to write so far. Thanks, everyone!

GIVEAWAY TIME

I’m giving away a copy of Killer Frost, the sixth and last book in my Mythos Academy young adult series (U.S. only). To enter, use the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Jennifer's Posts | Tagged | 22 Comments