Challenge Accepted

Zoe shared her top ten obsessions last week and challenged the rest of us to do the same. Since I enjoyed her and Leisha’s lists—and I’m always up for a list myself—I’m taking her up on it. Thank you, Zoe, for the challenge and the idea for a blog topic!

So here are some of my obsessions, in no particular order:

  1. Gel pens. Everything is better with pretty colors, and throw in some glitter or metallic effects and it’s even better. When I sit down to do some brain-twisting technical writing or when I’ve hit a wall in a story and need to resort to paper and pen to work through a plot, I bust out my brightest, sparkliest gel pens. They don’t take away all the pain, but they ease the way.

    I. Need. This!!!

    I. Need. This!!!

  2. Bee Brilliant. It’s a game on my phone, similar to Candy Crush. I’d say it’s mindless, but some of those levels stump me for days, and my 13-year-old son quit playing because it was “too hard” (mind you, he’s into instant gratification). I’m not proud of this obsession, but it is what it is, and those cute little bees are addictive. (Warning: Don’t download it. Don’t!)bees
  3. HGTV. I could watch it day and night. Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, Fixer Upper, International House Hunters, or my absolutely favorite, Beachfront Bargain Hunt. (See obsession #10 below.) I’m a before-and-after home improvement junkie. I’ve had to make a rule for myself of no more than an hour of HGTV per night.hgtv
  4. Kansas Jayhawk basketball. It’s one of the premier programs in the country, and I used to live 100 yards from historic Allen Fieldhouse, the Jayhawks’ home court. If you’re not a sports fan, you probably don’t get it, but let’s just say there’s a lot of Crimson and Blue in my wardrobe.amyandjayhawk
  5. Jigsaw puzzles. The bigger, the better. I usually have one or another in progress on the coffee table throughout the winter months. (And like Zoe, I’m combining my obsessions with this KU basketball puzzle! <3)puzzle
  6. Kansas thunderstorms. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of tornados (an airborne one went directly over my house once), but I love the drama of the almost-daily storms in Eastern Kansas. The kind where, when you wake up in the morning, you can feel a certain something in the air and know with absolute certainty that nature is going to give you one heck of a loud, theatrical show that evening. (photo credit: _IGP0296_adjusted via photopin (license))ksthunderstorm
  7. U2. I’ll cop to being a fangirl. I bought my first U2 album (vinyl, thank you) in 7th grade—Under a Blood Red Sky. I went to my first U2 concert in Ames, Iowa, in 1991 and have hit every tour except one since then (some of them multiple times). Highlights include front row spots on the walkway in both the 360 tour and the current one, innocence + experience and introducing our kids to the U2 concert experience. (This is from the Chicago concert last month. Taken without a zoom.)bono
  8. Mosaics. Texture and color together? Nirvana for me! Just looking at mosaic works of art makes my fingers itch to create my own. I’ve taken one class, just a toe-dip in the water, and I plan to take more. When my kids are grown and out of the house, I aspire to be the crazy mosaic lady. (I don’t know where this is—it’s a stock photo—but it makes me happy.) photo credit: P1010812 via photopin (license)mosaic
  9. Zevia Cola. Weird, I know. With my uber-restrictive medical diet, I can eat approximately 6 foods (only a slight exaggeration), and sugar and soda, with all it’s artificial crap, are not on the list. Zevia isn’t necessarily healthy, but it’s sweetened with stevia and a lot better than my former vice, Diet Coke. The flavor had to grow on me, and now it’s my one daily treat, aka obsession.zevia
  10. The beach. I’m not picky…it can be on the ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. Fine sand and waves are all I need. I’m happy whether it’s high season or winter, as long as I can go to sleep with the waves as a lullaby. My ultimate goal is to live on the shore.
  11. The view from our rental condo on Miramar Beach, Florida.

    The view from our rental condo on Miramar Beach, Florida.

These are a few of my favorite things… Who’s next?

Posted in Amy K's Posts | Tagged , , | 15 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!

FREE BOOKS

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Improper English

by Katie MacAlister

American versus Englishman—will it be a war of wits, or a battle to find their hearts? Alix hasn’t had much luck in her life, but a trip to London, a matchmaking landlady, and the handsome Scotland Yard detective living above her indicate her luck is about to change. Has she truly found her perfect man, or will the disasters that dog her steps destroy everything she’s hoped for?

Alexandra Freemar should be in heaven—she’s just been handed everything she’s ever wanted on a silver plate: a three month stay in London, the time to write the book of her heart, and the chance to finally prove to her mother that she’s not the miserable failure her past indicates. Free-spirited, unconventional, and able to find the absurd in almost any situation, Alix finds that heaven isn’t what it’s cracked up to be when fate, in the form of a matchmaking landlady who promises to fix her up with her perfect soul mate, hands her the devilishly handsome man who lives upstairs. Her perfect man? Hardly! Her perfect man is not a workaholic, straight-laced detective inspector from Scotland Yard who wouldn’t recognize fun if it bit him on his (extremely attractive) behind.

Alexander Black is a man with a mission, and no one is going to distract him from that, not even the uninhibited, carefree American who personifies everything he dislikes in a woman: she belittles his devotion to work, insists on dragging him into the most unlikely of situations, exudes sexuality that makes his mouth go dry whenever he’s near her, and teases him with a brashness that’s utterly foreign to him. But underneath that sassy mouth and devil-may-care exterior, he senses a wounded woman who’s calling out to him, and try as he might, he just can’t refuse answering.

Link/s to book: Amazon

99c BOOKS

ADangerousMadness_300x450Book title: A Dangerous Madness

Author: Michelle Diener

Blurb: The Duke of Wittaker has been living a lie…

He’s been spying on the dissolute, discontented noblemen of the ton, pretending to share their views. Now he’s ready to step out of the shadows and start living a real life…but when the prime minister of England is assassinated, he’s asked to go back to being the rake-hell duke everyone believes he still is to find out more.

Miss Phoebe Hillier has been living a lie, too…

All her life she’s played by society’s rules, hiding her fierce intelligence and love of life behind a docile and decorous mask. All it’s gotten her is jilted by her betrothed, a man she thought a fool, though a harmless one. But when she discovers her former fiancé was involved in the plot against the prime minister, and that he’s been murdered, she realizes he wasn’t so harmless after all.

And now the killers have set their sights on her…

The only man who can help her is the Duke of Wittaker–a man she knows she shouldn’t trust. And she soon realizes he’s hiding behind a mask as careful as her own. As the clock ticks down to the assassin’s trial, the pair scramble to uncover the real conspiracy behind the prime minister’s death. And as the pressure and the danger mounts, Phoebe and Wittaker shed their disguises, layer by layer, to discover something more precious than either imagined–something that could last forever. Unless the conspirators desperate to hide their tracks get to them first.

Amazon | B&N | BookDepository | iBooks | Kobo

FF sub-divider

41OjlOhHwfL._UY250_Petectives: Under Fire

by Robert J. Smith

It’s the 4th of July and the Petectives are feeling the heat! In the midst of a sweltering heat wave, feline detectives Yoshi and Gatsby get word that an old enemy is back and running a protection racket in their neighborhood. When an attack lands Gatsby’s girlfriend in the veterinary hospital, he gets hot under the collar but it may take Yoshi’s cool logic to shut down a gang of animal criminals and clear a dog from a horrible accusation. The Petectives are back and there’s going to be fireworks!

Amazon

NEW RELEASES

51YO11s1WFL._UY250_Spider’s Trap (an Elemental Assassin book)

by Jennifer Estep

Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death …

Amazon Kindle / Amazon paperback / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / iBooks/ Google Play / Kobo / IndieBound

The audiobook is available at Audible. You can also get the audiobook through Amazon.

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51ZcP93MWjL._UY250_
Genesis (Glory, book 1)

by Dale Mayer

Genesis and her sisters are the last of her maternal line, the last of the stargazers – except she is a dropout in the energy worker talent department.

Gentle, non-assuming Genesis Chandler is supposed to be protecting the woods, as is her nature – she’s an energy worker – but since Granny’s death and her sisters leaving town, she’s lost sight of much in her life. While she was living with blinders on, someone else took advantage.

Connor has been called in to investigate the sacred forest. Something odd is happening to the reserve, and it’s affecting the town’s energy source. That also means it’s connected to the sacred pools. He’s got energy problems himself and needs Genesis to get to the bottom of this problem.

Genesis has no love for Connor. His fault. He loved her and left her, not realizing he’d left the best part of himself behind – his heart.

Can they work together to find out who is destroying their energy reserve – a resource that’s key to the life of all who live on Glory?

Their survival depends on it.

Available here: Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Google Play, and other stores soon!

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Book title: Breaking Out: Part 1 & 2

Author: Michelle Diener

BreakingOutPart1-200x300BREAKING OUT: Part I

Kelli Barrack has spent the last three years imprisoned in Dr. Greenway’s facility plotting her escape, but when her chance comes one Halloween evening, it’s in a way she never expected.

Nate Halliway is being removed from the facility, but he refuses to go without his special forces team-mate, Giles. When his resistance lands him in Kelli’s cell, they both get a chance for freedom, a chance they take with both hands.

But as Giles, Nate and Kelli fight their way out, Kelli discovers that the most insidious danger to her freedom might lie within her, rather than in the small army out to stop them.

Amazon

BreakingOut2-200x300BREAKING OUT: PART II

Kelli, Nate and Giles know what it is to be imprisoned. They spent years locked away in a secret research lab. But now they’re free, and they stole something important just before they escaped – a list of others like themselves, sent to other facilities for further experimentation.

Their plan? To break out every single one.

Nina Calvados has been in a new facility for four months. She’s kept a low profile, been careful to be cooperative and helpful. And so far, she’s been mostly left alone. So when two other inmates appeal to her for help, her heart may want to oblige but her head is screaming walk away.

Only, something bad is going down, and Nina realizes she’s been fooling herself. No one’s bought her low profile act. And if she’s going to crash, she might as well crash hard. After all, it’s not as if anyone’s coming for her, is it?

Buy: Amazon

Posted in Edie's Posts, Friday Finds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Friday Finds

Building a Loyal Readership by Marilyn Brant

MarilynBrant[1]Thanks so much to Edie Ramer and to everyone at Magical Musings for inviting me to come back today!! I spent several happy years blogging at MM, and I still miss getting to be here regularly. So glad to see you all again :).

A question Edie asked me recently involved ways authors build a loyal readership. I don’t know how much of this is simply my own experience and interpretation, but I think a strong author-reader connection comes down to a genuine sense of community. Creating a welcoming place and the kind of relationship where conversation is truly a two-way street.

I remember how stunned and pleased I was as an aspiring writer when I sent just a few of my favorite women’s fiction and contemporary romance authors messages saying that I’d loved their books. A couple of them actually wrote back! I was thrilled, not only because I could tell them how much their work had inspired me, but also because I knew they’d heard my praise.

A year or two later I went to my first Romance Writers of America’s national conference and met several other authors in person at the big book signing. Nearly all of them took a few minutes to chat with me. To ask me questions beyond just “How do you spell your name so I can autograph this?” I wasn’t looking to make them my new best friends, but I did very much appreciate having a real interaction with them that night. An opportunity to say, “This character you created in this book really stayed with me…” or even to ask a question about what had sparked a particular plot point or choice of setting. It wasn’t so much a matter of needing a lot of time or information from the writer in question, just the mutual recognition that this author—by the act of writing her novel—had initiated a conversation. And I—as the reader—could share some thoughts and insights on her story. That it was a true dialogue.

large cinnamon rollAs a reader, I’ve stayed very loyal to authors like that. And as a writer, the biggest gift of being on social media and beginning to build my own readership is that I get to experience that feeling of shared dialogue from the author’s side now. If a reader ever has a comment for me about a character in one of my novels, a question about something that happened in a story I wrote, or a response to a personal anecdote I shared online, it’s a privilege to get to respond to that. And I do my very best to reply to everything—on Twitter, Facebook, blog posts, and in emails—whenever possible. I want the readers who visit me at one of my virtual homes to feel as welcome there as they would if I invited them into my house for coffee and cinnamon rolls. (Although, nothing quite beats a warm, freshly baked cinnamon roll…LOL.)

I’ve felt a wonderful sense of community on the social media pages of many of my fellow writers. I think we, as authors, have a responsibility to make those places fully and truly our own and to reflect the relationship we want to have with our readers. Since it’s one of my goals to create a harmonious sense of community, it’s important to me that my sites remain as accepting and tension-free as possible.

In the writing world, I’ve been working to create a warm and friendly (albeit somewhat gossipy) fictional suburb in my new Mirabelle Harbor series, too, so the subject of community has been on my mind a lot. Ultimately, I think there are a few rules—regardless of whether the community is real or fictional. The main one is that its members should know what to expect. That the environment stays fairly consistent. That everyone who is a part of it is on the same page.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]

Not all communities are happy and welcoming, though, nor do they have to be. I know plenty of fictional communities—some set in homicide departments or mafia houses—where a fun and lighthearted relationship between the characters wouldn’t work at all. And I’ve written across genres myself. The community in my romantic mystery, The Road to You, for instance, is rather different from the community in my first two Mirabelle Harbor books, Take a Chance on Me & The One That I Want. Likewise, although I prize an open, drama-free atmosphere on my blog/FB page, I know some bloggers who thrive on being bitingly sarcastic, arguing with the readers, or posting provocative topics that are intended to spark controversy. That’s their choice, and as long as readers/visitors are onboard with that, it’s all good.

miracle harbor

So, in my opinion, to build any kind of strong readership, the readers need to know what they’re getting into when they enter that author’s sphere. And the more we can meet their expectations—though our personal interactions with them and through our stories—the better chance we have to entice them to want to return to our world.

Do you have a real or fictional community you love visiting? I love the story world of Stephanie Plum & her friends in Janet Evanovich’s comedic mystery series, and I’ve always enjoyed visiting Anne Lamott’s author page on FB for her true observations about life and writing. Both fascinating communities!

Author Bio:
Marilyn Brant is a
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy, and mystery. She was named the Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She loves all things Jane Austen, has a passion for Sherlock Holmes, is a travel addict and a music junkie, and lives on chocolate and gelato. Visit her website www.marilynbrant.com and her new Mirabelle Harbor discussion group on Facebook—“The Lounge”.

Links:
The Road to You – http://www.amazon.com/Road-You-Marilyn-Brant-ebook/dp/B00FIXEVY0/
Take a Chance on Me – http://www.amazon.com/Take-Chance-Mirabelle-Harbor-Book-ebook/dp/B011W01AF0/
The One That I Want – http://www.amazon.com/That-Want-Mirabelle-Harbor-Book-ebook/dp/B0106BJVUW

Twitter – https://twitter.com/marilynbrant
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.brant
Blog – http://marilynbrant.blogspot.com/
Email/Contact – http://www.marilynbrant.com/contact/
The Lounge – https://www.facebook.com/groups/MirabelleHarborLounge/

Posted in Edie's Posts | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

My Own Unreasonable Obsession with Cool Stuff and Challenge

I loved Leisha’s post and decided to do my own obsessions. This is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg. I want to challenge all my Magical Musings buds to doing their own obsessions. The gauntlet has been thrown down.

1. The Amazing Spiderman! With an emphasis on amazing. I am a card-carrying, die-hard fan of Spidey. I have all the movies and watch them often. Here I’m showing you a couple of my posters and my mug. Also, Spiderman is super sexy! It’s clear in the picture where he’s lip-locked with Mary Jane Watson. I love his corny quips, his sarcasm and…ah…his suit. Yeah, it’s all about those colors and the design. :-)

spideycollage4421939-8242106038-Spide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. MINIONS! OMG, I love these little yellow guys who are the henchmen of Gru, a supervillain who adopts three orphan girls. Wherever these guys go, whatever they do from singing to trying to be evil, there’s plenty of high-velocity comic insanity. And, really, who doesn’t need a bit of empty-headed frolicking? I have tattoos and figures. I am considering getting some cardboard cutouts. If I do, I’ll post pictures.

3. Mugs. So many reasons to like them and collect them. They hold coffee, tea, and even soup. The slogans are witty and funny. You can indulge your obsession with all the things you love with one of the obsessive items you love. Uh, yeah. Maybe I need to go get some coffee. Then I’ll make sense. Here are a few of the ones I love. The one with the frog on it came all the way from Japan and is hand-made. I had to have it. My green tea needs is own special mug.

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4. Sex and the City. Shoes, fashion and the sex lives of four single women navigating the dating and loving waters in New York City. Sometimes it was gritty, some of the time it was hilariously funny, many times it was heartbreaking, often there were bad trainwreck decisions, but it always boiled down to a deep-seated friendship, the special and supportive relationship women have with each other. I spun out a whole series based on it and added in dogs because I absolutely bought into and loved the relationship between the women in the show. Girlfriends rock and even eleven years since Sex and the City has been off the air, we’re still binge-watching, reliving, reminiscing, and continuing the eternal Mr. Big/Aiden debate. Yeah, I was just in New York City for the RWA Conference and I went on the SATC bus tour and LOVED it. Highlight was walking down the street and standing in front of Carrie’s stoop. I even got a mug (Yeah, there is obsession overlap. Don’t judge me like Judge Judy.).

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5. Games. I have two obsessive time sucks that are as addictive as gambling. I can’t get enough of these games. One is an old obsession and I have been playing it for eight years. World of Warcraft. It’s a massive multi-player on-line role playing game or MMORPG. It’s all about getting stuff so that you can defeat more monsters so you can get more cool stuff. Really, everything is about cool stuff. But I will say that this game has kept me engaged and coming back year after year for the humor, the content, and the awesome people I have met on-line who bring me right back to why I love Sex and the City–friendships. The second game is new and it’s all about LEGO. Most of the time console games (those played with a controller not on the PC) are a challenge for me, but I have discovered that I’m relatively competent at playing LEGO games. Here is a video of my daughter using Wingardium Leviosa. It’s a quirky, finicky spell that I got hours of enjoyment watching her try to build bridges and do puzzles. I hope I pronounced that spell correctly.

gamescollage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. SyFy. Space. Anything and everything that has to do with spaceships, traveling to distant galaxies, and having swashbuckling adventures filled with romance. My top four favs are:

Star Wars

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Star Trek

Enterprise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stargate Atlantis

stargate_atlantis_city_2014___cam__2_by_coldilian-d718kk8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firefly

319386SerenityPoster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could fill a post with what I love about SyFy and I haven’t even included fantasy which would also take up an entire post. Suffice it to say that alternate worlds really spark my writer’s imagination and I can appreciate all the awesome worldbuilding. What? Are you insinuating that there are hot guys in all of these? I hadn’t noticed.

7. Anime. It’s an art form and so freaking awesome that I can’t even list all the ones that I love here. These are just some of my favorites:

Bleach. Soul Reapers in an alternate shifting world of honor and loyalty and pure stinking evil. Oh, yeah and heartbreaking, freaking awesome romance.

bleach___resolve_colored__by_ifragmentix-d6klr0d

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vash the Stampede. A cool as hell take on the space and the old west with romance. OMG! So freaking good!

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Cowboy Bebop is a classic and the birth of anime. Bounty hunters in space and romance. Characters so good, you want to meet them, be them. Yeah.

JesuOtaku-CowboyBebopReview589

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairytale. It’s a guild where magic wielders protect the world. There’s rivalry and romance and amazing comic fun.

fairy_tail_wallpaper__1920x1080__hd_by_say0chi-d7e7mh6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What? You say there are hot anime guys in all of these? Um…hadn’t noticed.

8. Celebrities. Christian Bale and Johnny Depp. Okay, so I love hot guys. Sue me. :-)

Christian plays hard core, tough heroes whether he’s terrorizing bad guys, running from terminators, or fighting dragons.

600full-batman-(christian-bale) christian-bale-300main Men___Male_Celebrity_Beloved_Christian_Bale_057751_

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny plays quirky, lovable, hilarious, cunning, and imaginative characters. He is a genius.

johnny-depp-captain-jack-sparrow-pirates-of-the-carribean 98719862-a354-49f7-8ced-74a2b4ffc9a0

 

 

 

 

 

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9. Pigs. I love their curly tails and really, bacon. Need I say more?

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10. Key chains. They add a sense of personality to what would normally be boring keys. I once got the compliment from my car guy that I had the best key ring he’s ever seen. :-)

keychaincollage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the challenge is issued and you get a glimpse into my mad obsessions. Thank you Leisha for sparking this post. Other than my MM colleagues, what are your obsessions?

My next two releases:

Going to the Dogs 2: Piggy Bank Blues

Piggy Bank Book 1 SmlA penny saved is a penny earned.

Ian Lassiter is living the high life in Manhattan and loving it. He’s a successful artist and sculptor and has just adopted an adorable Mantle Great Dane named Ozzie from his sister, Callie. The bachelor life suits him, so he thinks until he gets a load of AlphaGroup’s newest client.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” O’Reilly is trying to save her art school for the deaf where she teaches. Thinking her clever Border Collie, Georgia who paints amazing huge abstract flowers could be commercial, she reads about grants available from AlphaGroup Investments that could help out. But, the guy she deals with, Ian, is not only drop-dead gorgeous, but he’s a renowned artist and touted as a confirmed bachelor. Lizzie comes from a big family and the man she gets involved with would have to embrace not only a happily ever after with her, but want kids as desperately as she does.

Ian just doesn’t fit the bill, or does he?

To Protect and Serve: Her Master Defender

9780373279395A battle-hardened marine and a driven NCIS agent join forces to survive…

Though survival training is Master Sergeant Tristan Michaels’s specialty, one of his students has been murdered. And sharing quarters with the ravishing NCIS agent sent to investigate is a challenge his expertise hasn’t prepared him for. Tristan has his reasons for distrusting NCIS agents, but Amber Dalton is stirring unwelcome feelings of a different kind…

Despite the fierce attraction between them, Amber is determined not to let it distract her from the mission. But when they’re captured by the killers, escape means combining forces and daring to survive freezing mountain terrain.

Posted in Zoe's Posts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The continuing adventures of Gin Blanco

Spider’s Trap, the 13th book in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, was released on July 28. Woot! Woot! Woot!

Spider's TrapThirteen books … I can’t believe that I’ve written 13 books in this series. My Elemental Assassin series started in 2010 with Spider’s Bite. If you had told me back then that I would still be writing about my heroine Gin Blanco today, I would have laughed and said that you were crazy. I was just hoping that I could write five books and finish out the story arc that I had in mind.

But a funny thing happened — people really enjoyed getting to know Gin and her friends. And I started wondering what would happen after Gin defeated her nemesis. What sort of new problems and enemies would that create for her?

The answer has turned out to be plenty. LOL.  Every time I come to the end of a story arc, I think of all the new challenges and problems that Gin has created for herself and wonder what if this happens, what if that happens … and I’m inspired to write another adventure for Gin.

Thirteen books at about 95,000 words a book is more than 1.2 million words about the same character. And this doesn’t count the various e-novellas and short stories that I’ve written from Gin’s and other characters’ points of view.

Many folks have asked me if I’m thinking about ending the series after Bitter Bite, book #14 that’s scheduled for Feb. 23, 2016. But you know what? I’m still having a blast writing about Gin and the dark, gritty world of Ashland. So as long as people still enjoy reading the books, I’ll probably keep writing them.

So here’s to many more adventures with Gin and the gang. Cheers, everyone! 😎

Spider’s Trap is available at all the usual retailers, including:

Amazon Kindle / Amazon paperback / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / iBooks/ Google Play / Kobo / IndieBound

The audiobook is available at Audible. You can also get the audiobook through Amazon. The awesome Lauren Fortgang is once again the narrator for the audiobook.

Here is the description for Spider’s Trap:

Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death …

You can read the first chapter of Spider’s Trap here. Scroll down and click on the Read Excerpt tab, although beware of spoilers for previous books in the series, especially Black Widow.

I hope that everyone enjoys the book and Gin’s latest adventure. Happy reading, everyone!

Posted in Jennifer's Posts | Tagged | 10 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!

FREE BOOKS

 

 

51o72HR2shL._UY250_Kissin’ Hell

by Jodi Redford

There are two certainties in life soul collector and hellhound Jericho Stryker knows too well—Death never takes a holiday, and women are typically more trouble than they’re worth. That goes double for his personal nemesis and regular pain in his backside, Lola McKenna. Sure, the luscious little hellcat gets his blood boiling in more ways than one, but some scratches are best left un-itched. That determination is strained to the max when a botched soul acquisition job lands him on the same case as Lola.

Fetching a stubborn soul from a haunted bordello should be a piece of cake. Unfortunately for Lola, she has to deal with Jericho horning in on her bounty. Attempting to keep her cool and her wits around her sinfully sexy adversary? Easier said than done. Especially when she finds herself locked overnight with Jericho. Not strangling him before sunrise? A faint possibility. Ignoring the lusty, depraved sexual fantasies he awakens in her? A snowball’s chance in hell of happening. But worst of all is the very real possibility that he could steal the one thing she most fears losing to him—her heart.

Amazon

99c BOOKS

 

 

51fBsGviclL._UY250_Feels So Right

by S.L. Carpenter, Sahara Kellly

They’re ordinary women trying to make a life for themselves, just like everyone else. But these three are about to stumble into the greatest of adventures – love. For Eleanor, it’s a chance meeting at a cheerful country bar, while her sister Jodi opens a new restaurant next door and discovers the bartender has hidden talents. Tracy’s world expands dramatically when she visits her college buddy Eleanor – and learns that domination and submission can lead to unexpected pleasures! They didn’t expect happy endings, but sometimes things just feel so right…

Amazon

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51Le4lpsH+L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Cordially Invited to Meet Death

by Rex Stout

In “Cordially Invited to Meet Death”, Bess Huddleston, a high-powered, high-society social secretary sort of woman, comes to Nero Wolfe with two anonymous letter. The letters involved her and she was afraid that if they went on she would lose her business as a party arranger for the high and lofty. When Archie went to investigate he ran right into the middle of a very unpleasant murder. And then it was up to Nero Wolfe. These mysteries present Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin at their brilliant and exciting best.

Amazon

 

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My Unreasonable Obsession with Cool Stuff by Leisha O. at RoloPoloBookBlog

When the amazing, Zoe Dawson asked me if I wanted to do a guest post on Magical Musings, of course I squeaked and said yes. About a week later I panicked and realized, I’m not that cool and I have no idea what I’m going to write about. The panic continued to increase as each day passed me by. Then I cleaned my office and realized I have a lot of really cool stuff because of my ridiculous addiction to pop culture. That thought led to me thinking about the old “Writing Cave” posts authors used to do for virtual tours. I loved those posts. It was in that moment that the heavens opened, the angels sang, and I had an idea. I work from home (I’m an art history professor) and I sort of love the stuff I have collected so I thought I would share some of it with you :-)

Ten things I am unreasonably obsessed with:

1. My animals! I have three cats, a dog, and five fish tanks. My house is a damn zoo and I love it. The dog and the cats like to keep me company while I’m working:

Picture #1 This is Saint Sherman, an Argentine Dogo mix who really likes to lay on my books. I do a lot of writing for my classes as they are all online which means I constantly have books laying around. Ample opportunity for a puppy :-)

           Picture #2This little beast is Colonel Tiger Ray (aka Tiny Teenager) and she is as obsessed with pens and pencils as I am. No pen or pencil is safe if she is around.

2. T-shirts! I have an embarrassing number of t-shirts. When you work from home, there isn’t a lot of need to dress up which is ideal for a person whose motto since high school has been “Dress for comfort and not for fashion.”

Picture #3 This t-shirt probably tells you more about me than I could explain in a 1,000 words. True story!

Picture #4 BAH!!! I hate math and I’m not afraid to let the world know it :-) Seriously, this t-shirt tells you everything you need to know about how I math. I don’t. :-)

3. Wonder Woman! Yes, I think she is absolutely a real superhero, invisible plane and all.  Each year my husband buys me a new Wonder Woman statue for my birthday and Christmas. In addition to the statues, I have three totally badass framed prints hanging in my office as well as coffee mugs, a lunch box, buttons, and key chains.

Picture #5

4. Harry Potter! I have lost count of the number of times I have read the books and seen the movies. It’s a ridiculous number on both counts . . . don’t judge. In the image below, you can see two of my prized possessions, the Hogwart’s Express bookends and the Hogwart’s Castle special edition collection. The set you see here isn’t for reading but other three sets I own certainly are :-)

Picture #6

5. Yoda! I am a huge fan of Star Wars in general (I liked Jar Jar Binks, don’t judge :-)) but Yoda has always been my absolute favorite character. I have Yoda’s all over my house (you never know when you may need the Force), framed prints, coffee mugs, and of course, t-shirts. Yoda makes me happy.

Picture #7

6. Dr. Who! Yes, I am a total and complete Whovian and not ashamed to admit it. My husband introduced me to Dr. Who and now I am all kinds of obsessed with the show. I can totally tell you my favorite Doctor in order of preference (12, 10, 9, 11) but can’t pick a favorite companion to save my life. In the image below you can see my disappearing Tardis (just add hot liquid) coffee mug and the sonic screwdriver’s for 12 and 10.

Picture #8

7. Einstein! I have no idea when and/or where I became so obsessed with Einstein. It may be the hair – HA!! He is simply one of my favorite historical figures and I have a hard time bypassing new Einstein stuff. I also really like bobble heads as you can see below. The one on the left talks :-)

Picture #9

8. Postcards! For several years my daughter and I participated in a national and international postcard exchange program and we loved it. I still collect a wide range of postcards and really dig sending them to people. As an art historian, I find postcards to be some of the best buys and best images as they are professionally shot photographs. Below are some of the most recent postcards I have purchased. By the way, don’t ever ask me who my favorite artist is . . . . that’s like asking a mom who her favorite kid is :-)

Picture #10

9. Mater! Oh, Mater how I adore you!! My daughter just recently turned 10 so I have spent years listening to Disney and Pixar movies on repeat. To be fair, I sort of enjoy watching them too :-) It took about a half second for Mater to become one of my all-time favorite animated characters. The voice, the look, everything. I love that little tow truck.

Picture #11

10. Magnets!! Last but not least, I am totally and completely obsessed with magnets. My refrigerator is covered in magnets and I generally buy a magnet whenever we visit a new place. I also buy a lot of magnets at the various comic book cons we attend. Yes, I am so that nerd!! In the picture below you can see a lot of interests including Dr. Who, BOOKS, art, Star Wars, Darrell from Walking Dead, Einstein, and my daughter :-)

Picture #12

Leisha is so very cool and I will admit she’s one of my obsessions! She is a fabulous reviewer and has a great blog. You can find her at the links below. Thanks for coming over and playing, Leisha!

Rolopolobookblog
About Leisha

Posted in Zoe's Posts | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

So Many Questions with Author JB Lynn

Hello, Magical Musings readers! I hope your week is going well so far. I had the pleasure of interviewing author JB Lynn today! I got to know JB by after I first started reading her Hitwoman books and enjoyed getting to know her through social media. She has such a fun personality and displays that in her writing. So, let me introduce you all to JB Lynn!

* * *

To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself?

470d4c61b697605fa97e89e9c9853f3bI’m a Jersey girl who’s blooming in the Sunshine State. I’m owned by dog named Smudge. I think coffee and cheese should be considered major food groups. I love purple pens, microfiber sheets, and the music of Sara Bareilles, David Garrett, and Straight No Chaser. I collect house plants, Life Is Good t-shirts, and fabulous friends. Oh, and I’m addicted to writing!

Have you been writing “forever” and if not, when/how did you decide to write?

Yes, I’ve been writing forever, or at least since I was about five. When my teachers would assign us to draw pictures, I would write stories instead. As a result, I can’t draw a lick, lol.

What genres do you typically write?

I write a lot of humorous suspense/mysteries with a touch of romance. For a change of pace, I write romantic suspense.

Do you read in the same genres you write? 

I do! In general, I read widely (but rarely anything historical) and I read a lot of non-fiction…including the backs of cereal boxes.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas for your stories?

In the shower.  Seriously, I get so many of my ideas while I’m showering. I keep dry erase markers in there so that I can write on the walls/mirror. To an outsider, it probably looks like the room was occupied by a crazy person.

Are you on social media? If so, which platforms do you like to use to interact with your readers most?

I love interacting with readers on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s even better to watch readers talking among themselves about my books.  :-)

What is the strangest thing a reader has ever said to you?

I was asked if I was redhead, since Maggie, the heroine of my Neurotic Hitwoman books, is such a firecracker. (I’m not. But my face does turn very red at the drop of a hat….quite embarrassing!)

What do you love most about the romance writing world?

How diverse it is. There’s something for everyone (and every mood) out there. It’s like having a million different travel channels where I can escape into someone else’s life for a a book…or a series.

What do you have coming up?

JBLynn_TheHitwomansActOfContrition10_800pxIn the next few months, I have a couple of releases:

THE HITWOMAN & THE HOMECOMING (book 11 in the Neurotic Hitwoman series) – I can’t believe that I’m writing Maggie’s 11th story. I’m so lucky to have found a readership that loves her as much as I do.

UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT — a romantic suspense novel – This one isn’t humorous, but I’m very proud of it.

They’re very different from one another and I’m excited about them both!

Anything else you want to say to the Magical Musings readers?

I’m always so honored when people take the time to write to let me know that my books have helped them through hard times and/or entertained them. Readers are what makes all the hard work worthwhile. Thank you!!

* * *

Thank you to JB for visiting us today! You can find JB on her Website, Facebook or Twitter! Her most current release, The Hitwoman’s Act of Contrition, just came out on Saturday, July 25, 2015!

Here is the blurb:

Imagine a high-strung, comfort loving hitwoman at a rustic spiritual retreat.

Things are finally looking up for Maggie Lee.

Her almost-lover Patrick is taking steps (albeit deadly ones) to insure they’ll have a future together, her niece Katie is about to be released from the hospital, her sister Marlene has stopped turning tricks and started tossing pizzas, and Maggie has a chance to land a new (legal) job.

If only God would stop hounding her to apologize to her mother, Maggie would be pretty close to content with her life.

When Maggie agrees to take out a new target, using a spiritual retreat as her cover story, she ends up with a spoon (long story), an odd, selectively mute roommate, and a chance to save a life.

As Maggie struggles to balance all the important people in her life and deliver on the deadly contract, she begins to believe that God may be right about the act of contrition he’s demanded…but will she live long enough to do it?

* * *

Readers, do you have a favorite book or author that writes humorous suspense/mystery?

Posted in Amy R's Posts | Tagged , | 8 Comments

And Now For Something A Little Different…

Hi everyone,

I write a lot – a lot every day and those days add up. It allows me to keep publishing at a faster rate than a lot of authors. But what it really allows me to do is keep my fans happy who are hooked on my series AND write something new and different on the side.

I love paranormal. I love fantasy and I always love suspense. I threw all those elements into this next book and added a new type of pet, a little bit of humor and a whole lot of loving.

Which book is this? It’s book 1 of a new series. The book is called Genesis and the series is Glory – a planet not unlike Earth but with just enough differences to make it interesting.

Genesis R0.04

Genesis and her sisters are the last of her maternal line, the last of the stargazers – except she is a dropout in the energy worker talent department.

Gentle, non-assuming Genesis Chandler is supposed to be protecting the woods, as is her nature – she’s an energy worker – but since Granny’s death and her sisters leaving town, she’s lost sight of much in her life. While she was living with blinders on, someone else took advantage.

Connor has been called in to investigate the sacred forest. Something odd is happening to the reserve, and it’s affecting the town’s energy source. That also means it’s connected to the sacred pools. He’s got energy problems himself and needs Genesis to get to the bottom of this problem.

Genesis has no love for Connor. His fault. He loved her and left her, not realizing he’d left the best part of himself behind – his heart.

Can they work together to find out who is destroying their energy reserve – a resource that’s key to the life of all who live on Glory?

Their survival depends on it.

The release date for Genesis is tomorrow! July 28th. :)

Available here: Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Google Play, and other stores soon!

Books 2 (Tori) and book 3 (Celeste) will be out soon!

Tori R0.0

Celeste R0.01

Posted in Dale's Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 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!

99c BOOKS

 

51vuT0mdcfL._UY250_

 

A Dangerous Madness

by Michelle Diener

About A Dangerous Madness:

The Duke of Wittaker has been living a lie…

He’s been spying on the dissolute, discontented noblemen of the ton, pretending to share their views. Now he’s ready to step out of the shadows and start living a real life…but when the prime minister of England is assassinated, he’s asked to go back to being the rake-hell duke everyone believes he still is to find out more.

Miss Phoebe Hillier has been living a lie, too…

All her life she’s played by society’s rules, hiding her fierce intelligence and love of life behind a docile and decorous mask. All it’s gotten her is jilted by her betrothed, a man she thought a fool, though a harmless one. But when she discovers her former fiancé was involved in the plot against the prime minister, and that he’s been murdered, she realizes he wasn’t so harmless after all.

And now the killers have set their sights on her…

The only man who can help her is the Duke of Wittaker–a man she knows she shouldn’t trust. And she soon realizes he’s hiding behind a mask as careful as her own. As the clock ticks down to the assassin’s trial, the pair scramble to uncover the real conspiracy behind the prime minister’s death. And as the pressure and the danger mounts, Phoebe and Wittaker shed their disguises, layer by layer, to discover something more precious than either imagined–something that could last forever. Unless the conspirators desperate to hide their tracks get to them first.

Amazon | BN | iBooks | Kobo
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Karma+Girl+(Bigtime+superhero+series,+Book+1)Karma Girl

by Jennifer Estep

Investigative reporter Carmen Cole gets the surprise of her life on her wedding day when she discovers that her fiancé and best friend are sleeping together—and that the two of them are her town’s resident superhero and ubervillain. Shocked and hurt, Carmen reveals their secret identities and then decides to devote her life to unmasking every superhero and ubervillain who crosses her path.

A series of successful unmaskings lands Carmen a job at The Exposé, one of the biggest newspapers in Bigtime, New York, a city that’s full of superheroes and ubervillains. Carmen is in her element—until she gets kidnapped by the Terrible Triad, Bigtime’s most dangerous ubervillain team.

The Triad orders Carmen to uncover the secret identity of Striker, the leader of the Fearless Five, Bigtime’s most popular superhero team—or else they’ll drop her in a vat of radioactive goo. With that threat hanging over her, Carmen sets out to unmask Striker, but what she doesn’t count on is falling for the sexy superhero. But with the Terrible Triad lurking around, this is one story that just might be the death of her….

** To celebrate the release of FANDEMIC, Bigtime #5 (out now!), the first book in the series — KARMA GIRL — is on sale for 99 cents. Summer of superheroes, anyone? :-)**

Amazon Kindle | BN | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

FF sub-divider

 

 

51gGQbZqKjL._UY250_The Blarmling Dilemma

by S.C. Mitchell

“They’re not animals. They’re people!”

Phoebe Callista’s pleas fall on deaf ears and she’s forced to rescue two helpless Blarmlings from certain death. Fleeing across a backwater sector of the galaxy, with Galactic Marshals in hot pursuit, Phoebe falls into the hands of a handsome but determined bounty hunter.

Rigel Antares has captured wanted criminals throughout the galaxy rim, but he’s never come across anything like Phoebe Callista. The gorgeous blonde is playing the innocent, and something deep inside wants to believe her, but Rigel has problems of his own—a ship that’s falling apart and an unscrupulous Galactic Marshal looking for any excuse to send him back to the prison planets of the Theiler System.

An intergalactic circus, vicious space pirates, and a planet full of backtechers cross their paths as two hearts go into orbit to save a pair of adorable Blarmlings.

Hearts in Orbit — Volume 1: THE BLARMLING DILEMMA is a science fiction romance set in the far-flung space traveling future, and sets a new course across the galaxy that leads to love and adventure.

Amazon

NEW RELEASES

 

 

51oCtvqFCWL._UY250_

Truth About Love & Murder

by Edie Ramer

The truth is that life is uncertain.

Meg Quinn hasn’t been to war, but her father has, and it changed their lives for the worse — and for the better. Now she has a sharp tongue and a mind to match … and she doesn’t trust easily. The best person she knows is losing a fight with death, and Meg is guardian of her friend’s seven-year-old son.

Easy MacLean, the co-guardian, is Meg’s dying friend’s brother. The former Marine has been hibernating in his Colorado mountain home, and Meg lets him know that he needs to be by his sister’s side in Milwaukee now.

Easy is attracted to his sister’s clever friend, but life gets complicated when he gets involved in a search for a missing veteran. After living alone with his rescue dog for so long, Easy and his dog are now sharing a home with a beautiful woman, a boy, and a cat. Even as he watches his sister die a little each day, he’s finding out the truth about life and love … and murder.

Amazon | iBooks | BN | Kobo

FF sub-divider

 

 

51IeS4n+XwL._UY250_

Rules of Love & Murder

by Edie Ramer

Some days life is wonderful. Other days it’s murder.

Former Marine August Reyes is home for good, haunted by images of bloodshed. He meets up again with Elle Styles, the girl he’s never been able to forget.

When August was eight and Elle was six, she changed his and his mother’s lives before she and her widowed mother left the Wisconsin vacation town. Twenty-two years later, she’s returned to Trouble Bay with her four-year-old daughter, but they’re only staying for six weeks. Elle and August are different people now. He sees life through darkness, and she sees it through light. And light and dark don’t mix well.

Someone else was changed by Elle when she was young. A woman who lives by her own rules. Rule Nr. Two—Don’t let anyone cheat you—is in play now. And this might lead to Rule Nr. Three: Don’t kill anyone … unless killing is necessary.

The town of Trouble Bay is about to live up to its name. Life there can be murder… Even when you’re falling in love.

Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

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