Sunday, August 30, 2015

Star Cruise Marooned to Start Excerpt Week

Posted by: Veronica Scott
We're kicking off Excerpt Week at Here Be Magic, with various authors sharing excerpts from published and unpublished works. I'm offering a new excerpt from my latest best seller STAR CRUISE: MAROONED.

The story:
Meg Antille works long hours on the charter cruise ship Far Horizon so she can send credits home to her family. Working hard to earn a promotion to a better post (and better pay), Meg has no time for romance.
Former Special Forces soldier Red Thomsill only took the berth on the Far Horizon in hopes of getting to know Meg better, but so far she’s kept him at a polite distance. A scheduled stopover on the idyllic beach of a nature preserve planet may be his last chance to impress the girl.
But when one of the passengers is attacked by a wild animal it becomes clear that conditions on the lushly forested Dantaralon aren’t as advertised – the ranger station is deserted, the defensive perimeter is down…and then the Far Horizon’s shuttle abruptly leaves without any of them.
Marooned on the dangerous outback world, romance is the least of their concerns, and yet Meg and Red cannot help being drawn to each other once they see how well they work together. But can they survive long enough to see their romance through? Or will the wild alien planet defeat them, ending their romance and their lives before anything can really begin?
And the excerpt:
 “Can I get two volunteers to help us get Sharmali settled at the ranger station?” Meg asked. “Keep an eye on her?”
            “Well, don’t look at me,” Harelly said, as several of the other guests glanced in his direction. “I only play a doctor on the trideo shows. The sight of blood makes me ill.”
            Callina and her husband, Peter, volunteered. As the other passengers slowly hiked through the sand to their pavilion by the lake, Meg, Red, and the volunteers headed for the ranger station on the far side of the landing pad.
            “What about him?” asked Bettis, who Meg remembered was Finchon’s employee, a personal assistant or something. He and his wife filed past the groggy charter Primary, who was sitting now, holding his jaw.
            “I’ll deal with him later,” Red said.
            “He’s gonna be pissed. He’s gonna sue you and your company for every credit,” the man predicted, excitement in his voice. “He’ll probably end up owning the whole cruise line before he’s done.”
            “Not my problem right now.” Red’s voice was cheerful.
            Meg admired his attitude. She was dizzy with anxiety and worry, happy to follow his lead for the moment. What in the seven hells had Drewson been thinking, taking off without them?
            The ranger station was ominously quiet. The storm shutters were latched and the usually immaculate landscaping had become overgrown, weeds running riot, untrimmed vines establishing a foothold on the ornamental fence, and even scaling one wall.
            “How long do you guess the rangers have been gone?” Meg said, eyeing the building. She glanced at the living quarters to the left, noticing the same general run down air. The three small houses were tightly sealed, as if hunched against a coming storm.
            “The forest grows fast,” Red said. “Probably not more than a few months. I wonder why we weren’t warned, though.”
            “Warned?” Callina Bettis picked up on his remark. “Are we in some kind of danger?”
            Red and Meg exchanged glances. “He means we should have been notified there wouldn’t be any immediate help onsite,” Meg said, forcing herself to speak the lie calmly. “In case of an emergency, like the unfortunate bite Sharmali suffered.”
            Setting the injured woman on a picnic table, Red went to the front door of the station, Meg on his heels. She tried activating the portal to no avail, punching the tabs hard. “You think the last person out would have left it set to open, general access, in case anyone needed help the way we do.” She thumped her fist on the door.
            “Unless the staff didn’t expect anyone to be here,” Red said. “Are you sure there’s not something you forgot to tell me?”
            “I swear, you know as much as I do.” She leaned closer and lowered her voice. “Drewson was boning Pirankai in the private cabin when I got to the shuttle, coms off, so if there were any bulletins, he missed them.”
            “Idiot.” Red retreated a step or two, eyeing the door. “Well, nothing for it.”
            “Are you going to break it down?”
            Eyebrows raised, he gave her a glance. “Thanks for the compliment but it’d take a battle robo to get through this storm portal by brute force.”
            “What then?”
            He stepped to the keypad, flipping open the cover, and entered a series of numbers and symbols so rapidly she had no idea what the sequence might be.
            “You’ve been here before?” Meg asked.
            He shook his head. “Special Forces, Team Twelve. We each have a special access code enabling our entry into any door, ship, vault, or facility in the Sectors.”
            The storm door jerked away from the threshold and then began to roll into the roof recess. The window shutters on all four sides of the building followed suit a moment later. Meg knew her mouth was hanging open. Biting her lip, she tried to make sense of this new information. “You’re on active military duty, but working as crew on a charter ship? Are you undercover or something?”
            “Retired. Wasn’t sure my code would work, but we have a saying in the Teams—no one is ever completely released from service.” He grimaced. “Not until we die or the Mawreg have been erased from the Sectors. I should live so long.” He pushed the inner door open. “Let’s see what we have here. Stay behind me.”
            The lights didn’t respond to voice command or their physical presence. “I guess the rangers powered down before departing. Shutters must be on auxiliary. I’ll have to check the situation out later,” he said, pausing on the threshold. “At least the windows let in enough ambient light for now.”
            “How long do you think we’re going to be here?” Meg was disturbed by his mention of later.
            “Depends on what the problem in orbit is.” He stopped, giving her a hard look. “Anything like this ever happen before?”
            “No. Drewson is an idiot, but he’d never abandon us. And Captain Jonsle certainly won’t maroon us.”
            “He may not have a choice. I don’t want to alarm you, but we could be in a bad situation here. I hope not, but just between the two of us, I’m not feeling too positive. Whatever spooked the TDJ captain into recalling his people had to be damn serious. I don’t want to alarm our passengers because panicked people are hard to handle. Drewson’s takeoff seems like the act of a panicked person.” He studied her face, the expression on his serious. “You’re not going to panic, are you?”
            “Of course not.” She straightened her spine, irritated he would even ask.
            He squeezed her shoulder. “Good. I didn’t think so. Stay here, let me check the rest of the place, and then we’ll bring Sharmali in.”
            Moving so quietly she couldn’t hear his footsteps, Red left her. Meg sank onto the nearest chair, resting her head in her hands. If she and the people she was responsible for were in survival mode, even for a short time until someone sent help for them, she had to reprioritize her thoughts...
Buy Links: Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     Barnes & Noble
Only .99 for one more month!
Here's the book trailer:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Nostalgic For A Place I've Never Been

Posted by: Regan Summers
Yesterday I went to the Alaska State Fair. My son is seven and his cousin, who is nine, is up visiting. It was crowded, sunny and windy, and the curly fries tasted the same as they ever had.

I remembered going as a child, crowded against my siblings, all grasping some part of my mother or each other, shuffle-stepping along like part of a super illegal kiddie chain gang. Early September in Alaska can be brutal. Hats and gloves were mandatory, as were winter coats. If the rain was particularly insistent, we’d wear garbage bags over those. (This was the eighties and winter coats were uber puffy. If you tried to fit a raincoat over those we’d look like child sausages for a bare instant before physics took over and the buttons exploded off)

There are other places I’m struck with sudden nostalgia for – usually they’re warmer and more exciting, and don’t include the frozen swingset-hands smell of old carnival rides.

They are places like Robin McKinley’s Damar, in the cool blue and searing red of Aerin’s time and the burning heat wave sands of Harry’s. I remember Sarah Connor warmly asking the Big Boy to watch over her scooter, completely oblivious to the metal monster stalking her from the future.


I ran into the German word fernweh not too long ago, with the definition of “homesickness for a place you’ve never been.” I think this perfectly describes these memories – full of sight and taste and feeling – that originate in words on a page but stay with us for a lifetime.

What are the places and faces that have stuck with you? The characters you've never met but know as well as you know yourself?

About the Author

Regan Summers lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband and alien-monkey hybrid of a child. She is a huge fan of the low profile. She likes books, bad action movies, and small plate dining.

If you’d like to support her ongoing dental work, her Night Runner series, including Don’t Bite the Messenger, Running in the Dark, and Falling from the Light is available wherever e-books are sold. The Lady is a Killer, an urban fantasy short story set in the 1920s, throwing a WWI veteran and lethal ingĂ©nue together in a feud between vampires and bootleggers, is currently free on Wattpad, HERE.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Paranormal Spookiness: Bring it on!

Posted by: Angela Campbell
Confession time: I’m a little down in the dumps today because I’ve been so busy and mixed up that I’ve been thinking for a month that today is the day I was supposed to leave for my annual pilgrimage to Dragoncon in Atlanta, only to realize — last night actually — that Dragoncon is next weekend.

D’oh!

So as I glumly sat down to devour a cupcake in front of the TV last night, pouting and moping, I got sucked into watching “Paranormal Witness” on Syfy. It’s a creepy show. I don’t recommend watching it alone at night with only your cat to protect you. Then again, I’m weird, so of course that’s exactly what I did.

“Paranormal Witness” is one of those reality-scripted hybrid shows where actors reenact supposed real-life ghost stories while the real people narrate their stories.

You would think that someone who writes about ghosts and hauntings and paranormal spookiness wouldn’t be bothered by such things, and you’d have been right a year or so ago. I don’t really know why, but these days, I get spooked a lot easier than I used to. I was raised on horror movies because my older brothers were sadistic. My best friend growing up lived in an honest-to-God haunted house and I saw things I, to this day, still can't explain. When I put flowers on my mom’s grave, I generally go at night, er, sometimes after midnight because of my work schedule, and I’ve never been scared to be in a graveyard after dark. I will admit I’ve seen some freaky things there though. Hey, I already said I was weird, remember? 

To be frank, I guess I was pretty desensitized to spooky stuff at a young age. A friend once told me if I opened the door and a man in a mask was standing there holding a knife, I’d probably look at him, shrug, and think “Meh.” Weirdo — that would be me, remember?

Anyway. The episode of “Paranormal Witness” that was on last night was about these people who moved into an abandoned motel that was haunted. Naturally, the husbands on these shows never believe that something spooky is going on because, well, men. Basically it always goes something like this:

Woman: I saw a woman’s head floating in the bathtub!

Man: Are you on your period?

The episode went on to feature creepy shadow men, black-eyed killers, and little ghost girls — gah, I hate the ghost kids, they always creep me the eff out! — and people who had previously been murdered there. As they do.

The point of all this is, I slept with a light on last night. That never, well, rarely happens with me. But I also started thinking of possible plots to use in a future book.

Because that’s not weird either, right?

Halloween is right around the corner — rubs hands with glee — so tell me. Are you a wimp when it comes to the paranormal, or do you love all things spooky like I do?

***

Angela Campbell is the author of the psychic detectives series from Harper Impulse. Learn more about her and her books at www.AngelaCampbellOnline.com.

***
Who knew pet sitting could be so dangerous…or so sexy? 
Socially awkward Emma “Spider” Fisher prefers her laptop to people, so she’s more than happy to oblige her boss when he asks her to pet- and housesit while he honeymoons in London.

It doesn’t take long for accident-prone Spider to lose a dog, get locked out of the house, and set off the house alarm. Thankfully, her hot new neighbour is more than happy to come to her rescue.

But Noah West is a mystery to Spider—and one she intends to solve.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Name That Fantasy Land

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
I'm having a blast writing up a fun little wizard BDSM story for our Here Be Magic anthology. I haven't settled on the title yet, but I'm thinking either "Greeneyes" or "Nightgazer."

The characters tickle me. The worldbuilding and magic system have come together pretty well. But I'm having a problem with names.

Specifically, my main fantasy land or country name. I have no idea what it is!

So I thought I'd give you a chance to name the country and win a cool prize.

This story has a "Howl's Moving Castle" vibe with some elements of BDSM that are crucial to the magic system. The wizard hero is named Oyrin Nightgazer.  His heroine is Matilda the Twenty Third heir to King Harald the Tyrant, but she's better known as Matilda Greeneyes, the cat shapeshifting familiar who brings the obstinate wizard to heel.

A few place names I've created so far:  Willow on the Green and the Grove. The wizard council is called the Stone Circle. So you can see I've tried to stay with "standard" names - e.g. without really weird spellings or extra punctuation.

If you have any ideas for the name of the country these characters might live in, shout them out in comments. If I pick your name, I'll send you a $10 gift certificate to your favorite online book retailer and also name you in the story's acknowledgements.

Fire away with your best creative recommendations!

~ * ~

Joely Sue Burkhart has always loved heroes who hide behind a mask, the darker and more dangerous the better.  Whether cool, sophisticated billionaire, brutal bloodthirsty assassin, or simply a man tortured by his own needs, they all wear masks to protect themselves.  Once they finally give you a peek into the passionate, twisted secrets they’re hiding, they always fall hard and fast.  Dare to look beneath the mask with delicious BDSM in a wide variety of genres with Joely on her websiteTwitter and Facebook.  Be sure to check out her free reads!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Releasing August 25th  Blood Slave: Realm Walker #3







Can she find a killer in a town where the basest desires are allowed to run free?



There are zombies in the Dead Zone and Juliana Norris is sent to take care of the problem. And for there to be zombies, there had to be bodies. When vampires are found to be the culprits, Juliana is sent undercover in the red light district of Kansas City. Lying to her mate, Thomas Kendrick, isn’t something she wants to do, but she’s in another vampire’s territory and Thomas would not be pleased. Besides, she’s more than capable of doing the job and she needs to prove it to everyone. Most of all herself.


Charles Morgan is in control of the Kansas City area, making a rich living off his various enterprises. Juliana goes undercover at the strip club Lust and gets sucked into his dark, decadent world. More victims turn up and the Agency is positive they’ve got their man, but Juliana is not so sure. When the Agency refuses to listen, she reluctantly turns to Thomas for help. He intervenes but finds Juliana unaware of the danger she is in and discovers she may just be too deep for him to save.


Amazon   Barnes & Noble






Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Fantastic Four and Feminism

Posted by: Nicole Luiken


The Fantastic Four and Feminism

For our 24th anniversary, my husband and I went out to the movies. We wanted to see Ant-man, but ended up seeing Fantastic Four instead. In general, I liked the movie’s first half, but felt that it’s second half, once they receive their powers, had too much crammed into it. But that’s not what I want to talk about here.
I want to talk about the women in the story.

First off, Sue Storm is great. I REALLY LIKED the way her character was treated for the most part. She was clearly a scientist and valued member of the team (she designed the suits). She didn’t play the role of a damsel in distress or  prize. The fact that if the writers follow the comics Sue and Reed are destined to marry was barely alluded to at all. We have a vague impression that Reed likes her and a brief scene with Victor telling Reed to back off that makes us suspect Victor has a crush on Sue, too. But there is no indication that Sue returns either of their feelings and no kissing. Sue has just as many relationship moments with her brother, Jonny, and her father, Franklin, than she does with Victor or Reed.

My husband (a comics fan) tells me that in the original comics Sue started out with only invisibility as her power, which was clearly the weakest of the four. I SO APPRECEIATE the fact that movie Sue is given her full powers right away: invisibility, force pushing and force fields. This makes her a combat-effective valuable member of the team.

So far, all is good. And then we hit the scene when the travelling-to-another-dimension project is taken away from the young scientists. Reed, Jonny and Victor get drunk together and decide to do a secret solo journey to the other dimension so they’ll be famous like Neil Armstrong. Reed calls up his childhood friend, Ben Grimm, (whom we’d met in the prologue) and asks him to come along, too.

And they don’t call Sue to join them.

That’s right. Reed calls his childhood friend, but not Sue, who has been working shoulder to shoulder with them for months.

This burns me. Yes, it later becomes useful for Sue to be back on earth so she can do hacker things and get Ben, Reed and Jonny (but not Victor) back from the other dimension. But Franklin could have filled that role just as well. Yes, it could be argued that the boys knew Sue would be smart enough to stop them from going in the first place—because she isn’t drunk off her ass. But that just brings up the other question: why didn’t the boys invite Sue to their pity-party in the first place? She’s equally devastated at having the project taken away.

And the only answer is because she’s a girl.

How much better would the scene have been if Sue had also been there and drunk off her ass, too? (Shockingly, girls can also get drunk. Remember Kara “Starbuck” Thrace?) Sue deserved her trip to the other dimension, too. 

Secondly, let’s talk about the other women in the story. Except, oh wait, we can’t BECAUSE THERE AREN’T ANY. 

Now I realize that if the moviemakers wanted to honor the original comics, they pretty much had to stick with the original skewed male to female ratio of the fantastic four themselves: one woman, three men. So let’s talk secondary characters. Villain: Victor von Doom –male. Project leader: Franklin Storm –male. Board of director spokesperson –male. That’s pretty much it for people who influence the plot. Everyone else is basically a spear carrier. None of those roles had to be male. All of them are.

Even among the spear carriers only three women get lines (that I recall). Ben and Richard’s moms in the prologue have brief appearances (along with their dads). A female military officer confers with Sue on how to track down Reed. That’s it.

I never used to notice things like this until I had a daughter. (Don’t even get me started on the Penguins of Madagascar movie.)

And if you’re wondering if I can walk the walk here’s the gender breakdown of my latest novel THROUGH FIRE & SEA:

Main characters: Leah (f), Holly (f), Gideon (m), Ryan (m)
Villains: Duke Ruben (m), Qeturah (f)
Elementals: Goddess in the Lake of Fire (f), Grumbling Man/Isaiah (m), Thunderhead (m), Poison Cloud (m), Cinders (m), Cauldron (m), Smoking Cone (m), Ocean Elemental (m)
Minor characters, female: Holly's mother, Dorrie, Yudith, Jehannah, Beulah, Shannon, Ms. Prempah, Eleanor, Dana, Paige, Niobe, Zamara, Sabra, Nimue, Cassie Burns, Councillor Ellona, Cook, Belinda, Gilda, Officer Pratt, Samantha
Minor characters, male: Joseph, Kyle, Captain Brahim, Saul, Duke of Poison Cloud, Duke of Cinders, Duke of Smoking Cone, Emman, Daniel, Officer Dunne, Yakob, Chad, Jason, principal, Malachi, ferryman
Women: 25   Men: 26

And no, I didn't deliberately balance the numbers beforehand. When I write both male and female characters naturally spring into my head. The only characters I deliberately gender balanced were the two police officers, Pratt and Dunne.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...