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Friday, April 17, 2015

Scary storms and their beaury

One of the themes for this month's blog is storms, and that resonated with me. Couldn't quite find the picture I wanted, and this is closest I could come to picturing St. Elmo's fire.. a phenomenon of nature that occurs occasionally. There is a good picture in Wikipedia, but I didn't feel free to use that one. The fire usually appears during a storm as a glowing ball of light. It appears on tall pointed structures such as church spires or masts of a shipand can be quite luminous. Sailors were in awe of it, as who could blame them when
every pointed surface is glowing with a luminous light.  The light seems to cling and dance, and can be a bright purplish tint. I've never been priveleged to see it, but it must be spectacular.  I had a lot of fun working St.Elmo's fire into the plot of Defiant Pursuit. I needed a natural disturbance in the plot. Well, an elf might have the power  to summon it close to the ship she wanted to board, but that's an author's privilege.

Here's the excerpt.
Minna had been in training as a priestess. She’d been walking along the beach near the harbor, confident she could master her latest assignment if she just concentrated. She was supposed to find a so the excerpt which I had so enjoyed writing...

She'd been asked for a solution to a theoretical problem of what to do with a priestess who harbored sexual longings for one of her flock. She remembered she’d answered honestly, saying if both parties wanted each other they should act on their desires. Life was too short to miss a true opportunity. At the time she’d thought this was surely enough to have her eliminated from the program, she found out later her honesty had made her the only novitiate to pass to the next stage. She also remembered the lightening illuminating the sky and the beach, and the spurts of flame flaring from all the masts in the harbor.

A little buzzing sound hummed around her.

She’d stood spellbound, as flames spurted the night was lit by glowing blue-violet flares. Perhaps the resplendent sight had influenced her answer, as she realized that life was too short not to enjoy all it could offer.

The glowing flames were the most beautiful sight she’d ever seen, and she’d stored it in her memory, asked questions, went to the library, and so found out about St. Elmo’s fire.

The fires were a plasma, as are flames and stars. No wonder they transfixed her that night long ago, and now once again the glowing flames spurted, this time from the every pointed surface on the yacht.

The riding mast seemed aglow, as she watched in fascination.What was this meaning to her loved ones on the yacht? She trusted Jake would know how to take advantage of the distraction, If he was able. She worried about what he might have suffered already at the hands of that monster Cibanoux. Cibanoux was capable of any cruelty, and Jake would be his primary victim.

She could not afford to even wonder about her darling nieces.

Bent over the oars, she rowed with all her strength, intent on getting to the yacht as quickly as she could.
                                              * * * * *

On board the yacht, Cibanoux flexed his whip and brought it down on the shoulders of his reluctant captain. To his credit the man did not lower his gaze, even though his eyes blazed his hatred of the demented man before him.

“I’ll not put my ship and all aboard her in danger by heading out to sea, sir. I don’t know what is happening. I’ve never see lights like this, and do not know what danger they entail. They’re blue in color, and dancing from the mast. We’re safer at anchor. If you eliminate me, I think you’ll find the rest of the crew will not follow you.”

I'm found at all the usual places. Would love to know if any of you have actually seen St. Elmo's fire? Please tell me all about it, if you have.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Interview of Author Kenzie Michaels

Today RB4U is pleased to present an interview of romance author Molly Daniels.

Latest Book: NiKoh’s Chosen: Family Matters
Buy Link: Amazon

BIO: Kenzie Michaels is the 'wild child' of author Molly Daniels. They cohabitate nicely inside the brain of a woman in Indiana who's the mother of three and 'Aunt Molly' to the entire neighborhood. A devout chocoholic, her hubby has learned to watch out when the characters in her head take over and not get too upset when the words are flowing and all concept of time is lost. (LOL)

Q: How did you celebrate publishing your first book?
A: My first book, All She Ever Wanted, arrived in May 2009. The family took me to lunch, then I celebrated that evening at a local coffee shop, where my local writer’s group met. We ate cake, passed out bookmarks to anyone who wanted one, plus explained what an ‘e-book’ was to those who hadn’t heard of them yet.

Q: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A: I try to get in at least 1000 words each day, but since I chose to homeschool my youngest this year, that has been a challenge! I’m thankful I was able to write at all in the past 8 months, ha ha!

Q: What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
A: Market my work on social media, especially the advance promotions. Plus, my publisher hosts seasonal release parties on Facebook, so it’s nice to take an hour to introduce my latest book, and interact with readers and other authors.

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: Surprisingly, very little in this book, except for maybe ViShe, NiKoh’s Domestic (housekeeper). NiKoh’s late wife suffered from severe depression and NiKoh worked long hours, which gave ViShe pretty much complete control over the household. She decides what to fix for meals; takes care of everyone’s needs; and was a substitute mother for NiKoh’s son, once her daughter GiNae went off to the Academy.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: My muse loves, in no particular order, Oreos, pretzels, Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, Dove Milk Chocolate squares, and Fig Newtons.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: The characters generally tell me their names, but if I get stuck, I’ve been known to use the phone book, my HS yearbook, or close my eyes and point to an object! I fell into a bad habit a few years back of taking first names and transposing them into last names. I’m trying to get more creative, ha ha!

Though with my aliens, a friend challenged me to use the character names from Duck Dynasty, so I’ve tried to cleverly incorporate them. For instance, in book #1, Brock introduces himself on Earth as ‘Brock Robertson’. There are at least three hidden in NiKoh’s story.

Q: Covers. Ever get one you wish you could change?
A: I’ve been very fortunate with my cover artists! I can only think of two that I didn’t like the 1st draft and requested a change.

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Don’t get it RIGHT, get it WRITTEN. If you want to write, sit down and write. Don’t talk about the story; write it. Also familiarize yourself with basic grammar.

Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: Take a creative writing course in college and find a writer’s group/book club, in order to begin your career path earlier. I found out there is an annual Writer’s Workshop on the campus of Ball State, even though I attended that university for two and a half years! I didn’t find out about it until nearly fifteen years later.

Q: How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
A: I have several partial stories saved on my flash drive. In 2009, I suddenly realized everything I was writing was stalling out after the first chapter, so I put them away and focused on other projects. I had no idea Heart’s Last Chance (The Chosen #1) was going to spawn four sequels, so as soon as the other three are written, I’ll get back to those partials.

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: Fourth of July has replaced Christmas as my favorite holiday, since it is more relaxing. My daughter’s birthday is the third, so we have a two day celebration for my ‘firecracker’.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A:  I sing in the church choir, plus was recently diagnosed as being 60% deaf in my right ear.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to sing on either Lawrence Welk or Hee Haw, then set my sights on being an archaeologist. Until a certain movie came out when I was in high school. Since I had no desire to be chased by poison darts or large boulders, I picked a career choice which was much safer, ha ha!

Q: Favorite food.
A: I love pasta, bread, potatoes. Plus, milk chocolate.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: Spending three weeks with my grandparents in Florida every summer.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Sweet Tea (esp McDonald’s!) I’ve also discovered I like Guinness beer.

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Definitely hot summer days!

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: I would love to go back to Orlando, Florida and visit Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: LOL…I have days where I’d love to clone myself in order to get everything done, but I’d also like to be able to teleport.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Follow her on twitter:
Secret Cravings Publishing
Freya’s Bower Publishing

Still mourning the tragic death of his beautiful mate, could another Chosen one already be waiting for NiKoh SiLah? To avoid what he’s not ready to accept, he throws himself into his work at Planet Security.

Leaving the Academy behind to follow her dream of working with animals, GiNae SoJae returns home. Preoccupied with work and not ready to take a mate, she’s horrified when her body enters Maturity. GiNae fights the changes occurring within her. But during nightly dreams she cannot control, an unknown man teaches her the secrets of her body.

Will NiKoh and GiNae succumb to the paths they think have been chosen for them or will they discover the true Chosen life that awaits them?

“NiKoh, your pin has something wrong with it.”

NiKoh looked down at the Bonding Pin he had worn for the past sixteen years and frowned. The marital knot in the center of his family crest had separated.“ It may have done that after BeSai’s death.” His voice wavered a bit. “I had not noticed. Did yours do that, Mother?”

ReNae stepped closer to him and examined the pin. “You are young enough to take another Chosen. I have heard of this happening, and it usually means you are close to meeting her or have already done so.” She peered into her son’s eyes. “Are you aware of this?”

NiKoh shook his head, but a sudden vision of him with GiNae in his arms made him blanch and brought him up short. No…it is not possible!

“NiKoh?” His mother’s voice snapped him back to the present.

He shook his head to rid the picture in his mind. “I am sorry. So much has happened lately and I was not paying attention. I need to return to the office. Blessings, Mother. KiRah.” NiKoh teleported back to his office and told LyDie not to disturb him.

GiNae? But she has not reached Maturity yet.

Maybe she is entering the first stages. I have noticed I enjoy her company at our evening meal, and thought she seemed more relaxed around me. I do not think I have been visiting her in the dream state…I may have to activate the sensors tonight. If I remember correctly, BeSai and I had coordinating dreams.

But I remembered those! Surely I would remember dreams. I do not feel any different toward her than I did when she first came to live with us or even returned home from the Academy.

NiKoh paced the length of his office, searching his feelings. Aside from his initial embarrassment at being caught self-pleasuring himself the night GiNae returned home from the Academy, he had not given her much thought, until demanding they join him for the evening meal. Truthfully, it had been ViShe’s conversation he craved, but since GiNae had revealed an ability to tell humorous stories about her day, he found himself looking forward to seeing her. But that did not mean she is my Chosen, does it? It has been nearly twenty years since I went through this!

Available now at : Amazon

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for having me today! I really enjoy hearing from readers, and encourage new writers, so please feel free to email or message me on social media with any questions or comments. Also, Book #1, Heart’s Last Chance, has been nominated in the LRC ‘Best Of’ awards. If you’re a member of the chat loop, I’d appreciate any votes cast my way. Here’s the link, and voting will be open through Saturday April 18th. Most important, keep reading!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's's pouring...

Since April is the month of rain showers, I'd like to share a peek at this book that will release on April 15, 2015.

Just click the link...

Have you ever been caught in a downpour, without shelter...and without your umbrella? Where I grew up, it wasn't an unusual occurrence. Maybe that's why I always loved rain...the scent of fresh earth during a rain storm...the smell of ozone when lightening strikes nearby...

I used to stand in the open door behind the screen and watch the lightning and listen to the sound of the rain pounding on the roof and windows. No matter how cold it got, I would stand there inhaling the wonderful smells until my mother would drag me back, and close the door. And when I began to write, I would often begin a story with a rain storm. But rain storms in high desert county do not necessarily bring spring flowers. Sometimes they bring roiling, roaring flash floods that pour off the mountainside and carry with them rocks (large and small) and lots of soil and weeds.

I have written three books that include storms, large and small...and I never cease to marvel at the beauty of these natural happenings.  The other two books are Woman on Fire and Ride the Night Winds.

 Nature is seldom soft and accommodating in the West. When she unleashes her storms, she often lets them roll across the heavens with fierce beauty and harsh reality. But they are something humans always marvel at...they make us feel so insignificant.

 Nature has a grandeur and terrible majesty we cannot imagine...
So we write about these things...and we marvel at their wonders...

Have a wonderful April...and always carry your umbrella...


Fran Lee

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April Showers, Diamonds, Daisies, My Birthday! by Marianne Stephens

 Yes, it's my birthday! And although I'm OLD, I still celebrate. I love the month of beginnings and a new year older for me.

"April Showers Bring May Flowers"...well, okay, but flowers are already blooming. Warmer weather is a treat. But, we do have to watch the stormy weather since it's tornado season in the Midwest.

"Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend"...sure. Wonderful to look at and so many terrific diamonds in jewelry settings to choose from. For me, the only diamond I wear is in my engagement ring. Somehow as the years have gone by, I've become less interested in wearing jewelry. I have a few more diamond pieces, but do I need to wear them to write? Do the laundry? Go food shopping?

Colors of Diamonds:
and more!
White/clear diamonds are the most fascinating, but color ones certainly catch your eye.
Largest diamond found:
Cullinan Diamond: 3,106-carat diamond in Pretoria, South Africa.

The Daisy: good fortune and blissful pleasure.
Colors vary...not just white petals and yellow center!

I love all daisies and could anyone resist?

Enjoy April!

My newest story will be releasing in May: The Naughty Literati will offer another anthology of short stories: sensual to erotic romance! for details.

My story: Buy Adam:
Under false pretenses, Jessica wins Adam at a Charity Bachelor auction. Secret desires for each other ignite into passionate lovemaking. Will the truth divide them?

Our other two anthologies are available now:
Naughty List
Naughty Hearts

Leave a comment for a chance to win $15 GC for Amazon...and put your email address in with your comment. You can just say "Happy Birthday!" and be entered!

photos:flickr: willclayton, nikilok, and brillanthues photostreams.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Rainy Days and Mondays

Cindy Spencer Pape

It's Monday, and here in southern Michigan, yep, it's raining. Yesterday was full of sunshine, today is cold and damp. I don't mind the rain, and I flat out adore thunderstorms, as long as I'm inside, looking out. No storms today, just wet, but it's still a good day to stay inside and get stuff done.

It's raining projects in my little corner of the world, as well. This week is already on overload. One of the other joys of April is, of course, taxes, which I always wait until the last minute to do. So why did I say I'd have some copywriting piece work done by Wednesday tax day of course? Got me. Then edits landed in my in box. AND it's my husband's birthday this week. Yikes! Plus, of course, I've got at least two books in the works. No rest for the wicked, I guess.

April has its pleasures, too. I saw the first snowdrops in my yard yesterday, and it was warm enough to sit on my front porch and read, while I ate my sandwich. No daisies yet in these climes, but I will have daffodils within the week. The screened porch is all cleaned out and ready to use, and it's finally walk-to-work weather, which will help shed those few winter extra pounds.

Spring inspires me. It's a time for new life, new challenges and new adventures. We have 18 bearded dragon eggs at our house, which is both new live and a new adventure! We're starting renovations this spring on our 145 year old house, so that will definitely be an new challenge. Architectural salvage shopping was an awesome new adventure.And all the raindrops on the brand new leaves resemble diamonds.

What's your favorite spring adventure?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April Is About Storms, Daisies & Diamonds

As a storm lover, I have many fond childhood memories of hurricanes that passed close by, but not quite close enough to hit us. The very air was charged with suspense as a storm would approach. I can still see my father at his desk, charting and tracking an oncoming seasonal monster. Then the bluster and blow would consume us as we were inundated by gale force winds and pelting rain. Refreshing cool air always followed after it passed. The storms of my memories were much less threatening than the intensity of those we are faced with nowadays.

When I looked at the theme for April ~ Storms, Diamonds, Daisies ~ something occurred to the writer in me: the importance of quirky character names.

A picture can be worth a thousand words, and I believe a creative name can go a far way toward giving the reader clues about the heroine, hero or villain.

What sort of character do you envision with the name Stormy?

I see an old man living on a houseboat that is docked in a marina. His face is weathered, his teeth few, his features fierce. Sharp eyebrows and pale eyes give him a perpetual ‘stormy’ look. A salt and pepper shock of wild hair shoots out at strange angles. Maybe he smokes a pipe and wears suspenders. His gnarled hands have fixed many a torn net. His only companion is an equally unkempt and unfriendly looking dog.

Stormy might also be the name of a mysterious Native American woman who moved to a city from a rural location. She has the uncanny ability to magnetize scary thunderstorms into existence and can even initiate rain showers. She speaks very little, has a stormy, tempestuous nature, and tends to destroy anything positive that is about to happen for her. She is only kind to a six-year old mute boy. They seem able to communicate perfectly. 

Daisy, on the other hand, shows herself to my muse as a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl with an innocent and pleasing personality. She is an open book with a simplistic approach to loving and living, and trusts others. She cries easily and laughs a lot. Her sweet, sunny disposition makes her a prime target for the vampires that prey on innocent young people.

Or, is Daisy a tan and beige dairy cow? The pretty cow stands beneath the shade tree in the pasture, wearing a brass cowbell. She has a pretty face, and is pleasing to the eye, with a dreamy expression in her milk chocolate eyes as she chews her cud.

Diamond is a stripper at a dance club. She guards her private life intensely, and her glare withers anyone who asks a personal question. Her mysterious past and temperamental attitude cause everyone to keep their distance, and that’s just how she wants it. She is a tough-as-nails gal who can withstand earthquakes and betrayal, and bounce back from any disaster. 

Would it have the same impact in your mind’s eye if Stormy the old sailor was named Jim?
Does the Native American woman named Stormy sound like a Sheila?

And Daisy, sweet Daisy—could she be a Mary?

There are many bovine names that suit cows, of course, but Daisy suits her.

Diamond the stripper could be called Stormy, and it would work, too. But can you see her as a Betty or Harriet?

This is just a reminder to us all to go deeper when choosing character names. It can so greatly enrich our novels.

Do you have fond memories of a memorable character name that has stuck with you over time? If so, please share.

GEMMA JULIANA is a multi-published author who lives in an enchanted cottage in north Texas with her handsome hero, teen son and a comical dog. She loves making new friends and hearing from readers. Exotic coffee and chocolate fuel her creativity.

You can visit Gemma’s website to email her, see her stories, buy books on all platforms, check for blog hops, and other fun stuff!
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