Friday, June 30, 2017

New Book Spotlight and Rafflecopter Giveaway: Quest of a Warrior by Mary Morgan

You met them in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their legends!

Fenian Warrior, Conn MacRoich has traveled the earth for thousands of years, guarding the realm between mortal and Fae. His deeds are legendary. Yet, one mistake will force him on a journey to fix a broken time-line. However, on Conn’s quest, he must face a human female who will eventually bring this ancient warrior to his knees. 

When Ivy O’Callaghan inherits her uncle’s estate, she never imagines there will be more secrets to unravel, including the one she hides from the world. With the help of a mysterious stranger, she learns to trust and step out of the shadows. However, nothing prepares Ivy when she learns Conn's true identity. 

As the loom of fate weaves a thread around the lovers from two different worlds, will the sacrifices they make lead them to love? Or will their secrets destroy and separate them forever?

ORDER OF THE DRAGON KNIGHTS

Dare to journey with the Dragon Knights of Scotland!

They were an ancient order descended from the great Tuatha De Danann, a tribe from the Goddess Danu. Half human and half fae, each blessed with mystical powers. They were also given holy relics and guardianship over the dragons.

With the dawn of Christianity, the dragons were systematically hunted down and slain leaving only one. The Dragon Knights took her from Ireland to a land across the sea, settling in the Great Glen near Urquhart. The clan was known as the MacKay clan, descendants from the MacAoidh.

Yet, there were those who deemed the Order had too much power, and they tried to possess it for themselves. They were evil and twisted, and their plan succeeded one fateful night.

The Clan Mackay is no longer.

The Dragon Knights scattered across the land.

Yet out of the darkness, they will each fight for redemption.

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Morgan/e/B00KPE3NWI/

Excerpt:  
“Intoxication can unleash the beast within a Fae.” ~Chronicles of the Fae
Conn fought the bolt of desire spearing a path throughout his body. Her touch spoke volumes—an invitation to taste. Never had he longed to kiss a human like this wee lass. His heart beat loudly, and he found himself unable to move. She was a Goddess of the moonlight. It danced off her face and hair, and he trembled before her. Ivy’s fingers traced down his cheek and across his lips. He was helpless to contain the growl that escaped from his mouth.

The rush of passion overtook him, and Conn slammed the door on his mind. Grasping Ivy around the waist, he hoisted her up on top of the bridge. Her lips parted on a sigh, and he lowered his mouth to feast on something he dared not take. The first brush of her soft lips against his own ignited a hunger he could no longer contain. Taking her moan deep into him, Conn glorified in the sensation of her mouth—one filled with a honeyed sweetness.

The Fae warrior became just a man for the first time. Something primal burst within him. Emotions he had never felt left him dizzy, spiraling to a physical plane. He craved them all. His lips seared a course down her neck, to her throat, and then recaptured the velvet warmth of her mouth.


Click on the link and enter to win a signed copy of Quest of a Warrior
RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Buy Links:

Author Bio:
Award-winning Scottish paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
 
Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling--writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
Author Links:




Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Review: How Music Works by David Byrne

David Byrne is the front man of The Talking Heads, but son of a gun, he’s also a heck of a writer. How Music Works isn’t a typical celebrity biography. Byrne examines his own career in the broader context of the history of music; where it came from, how it’s created, and the evolution over time responding to the changes in society. His insights are fascinating.

Byrne notes music isn’t produced in a vacuum. Instead, musicians create works to fit the available venue. The first music was African drumbeats made to be performed in the open. As people moved indoors and venues changed so did the music and the audience interaction. He takes readers through advancements in music, noting the differences and continued evolution. Concerts have a completely different sound in a small theater than an outside arena and music had to adapt. With smaller groups, the interaction is up close and personal, the audience can distinguish individuals and their talents, but with growth comes complexity. You can’t pick the contribution of one clarinet from a whole orchestra.

Much of the book is dedicated to technological innovations starting with early wax cylinders up to present day music created not with instruments, but computers. Devices make it easier to acquire music, but music, once meant to be shared, is now often a solitary activity. The use of electronics to format a perfect performance created a strange juxtaposition. A recording was originally the simulation of a live performance. Now performances are considered the simulation of a recording.


This isn’t a book for someone only interested in the entertainment aspect of the music business, although Byrne goes into a lot of detail about his own career with The Talking Heads. Rather, it’s a detailed and thoughtful study for readers with a serious interest in all aspects of music; from history, business and finances, to deeper questions of where music comes from and why does it matter so much to us.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Summer Solstice: Greetings Earth Mothers and Fathers. There's still time to light your fire wheel.

Blogging today at Paranormal Romantics. Here's the post.

Greetings Earth Mothers and Fathers. There's still time to light your fire wheel.

The movement of the sun during the course of the year held particular fascination for the ancients. Rites of renewal often involved the different solstices. Named from the Latin words for sol (sun) and sistere (to cease), the solstices occurred during times when  the sun appeared to magically stop one progression and begin another. The summer solstice in the northern hemisphere is on June 20.  On that day the sun reaches the highest point in the sky, signaling the start of the hottest days of year, followed by more rapid crop growth, and an eventual harvest to fend off starvation. Not without proper mystical intervention, of course.

Pagan beliefs
The summer solstice held the most importance to pagan or nature worshipping religions, and they spanned the globe.  Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Vikings, Native Americans, and Druids among many others had celebrations linked to the longest day of the year. They often encompassed wild abandonment and fertility rituals (rather like spring break today). Ancient Greeks marked the solstice with a festival of Cronus consisting of feasts, games, and the strange tradition of having slaves served by their owners for a day. In ancient Rome, the festival marked the only time married women could enter the temples of the vestal virgins to make offerings to Vesta, the goddess of hearth and home. In Chinese mythology, the summer solstice was a time to celebrate yin (femininity) and earth. As the Catholic Church attempted to lure pagans to its beliefs, it adopted June 24 as the festival of the nativity of St. John the Baptist, appealing to ancient beliefs and encompassing the theme of birth.

Summer solstice festivals in Great Britain's pagan times often involved fire. Flames, smoke, and ashes were believed to have purification powers to drive away evil spirits and protect homes, families, livestock, and crops. Hence the continued use of burning palms on Ash Wednesday. Rituals also involved singeing horses or cattle with embers or driving them through the smoke to invoke magical protection. One of the more bizarre practices is still done for tourists.  Locals roll a giant flaming wheel down a hillside and (hopefully) into a lake and not the neighbor’s barn. The wheel is stuffed with straw or hay. Pagans believed if it rolled all the way to the bottom and into the water the harvest would be good. If it didn’t make it or skewed off the path, the harvest would be bad, and probably make the neighbor with the burning barn come after you with a pitchfork.

Changes in Sunlight and Psychology
Psychological reasons may also explain why the summer solstice holds such importance. A lack of sunlight has long been associated with increased depression. Scientific American reported on a study of tweets done in 2011. Researchers looked at random tweets and analyzed them for emotional content as a function of the time of day, the day of the week, and the amount of actual daylight (i.e., the season). They found the amount of daylight was not as important as the relative change in that daylight. Meaning that when the change was positive (days grow longer), people expressed more positive views. When the change was negative (days grow shorter), attitudes soured.

Myths Associated with the Summer Solstice

  • The seasons change because of the Earth's distance from the sun
The Earth rotates around the sun in a fairly regular orbit and the closest point is during the winter. Seasons change because of the Earth’s tilt on its axis. In the summer, the Earth tilts toward the sun bringing more warmth to the surface, while in the winter, it's tilts away.


  • Summer solstice is the overall hottest day of the year
The solstice brings the most light, but not the most heat.


  • On the summer solstice an egg will balance upright on a table.
Actually, you can do this anytime. Shake a raw egg until the yolk breaks inside the shell. Place the egg back in the carton. Once the yolk settles to the bottom of the shell it will stand upright because more weight is at the bottom. Now, invite family and friends into the room, recite mystical mumbo jumbo about the summer solstice, and place the egg upright on the table. Try not to laugh at their stupefied expressions.











Monday, June 26, 2017

Book Spotlight: Angels Fly by Donna Simonetta

Angels Fly
by Donna Simonetta

Angels Fly is on sale for 99 cents from June 23-July 7

Two years after her husband’s death, Kelly believes her romantic life is done. Until she reconnects with her girlhood crush on social media, and as fate would have it, he lives across the street.

James is over the whole true-love thing. His grasping ex-wife tore that belief out of him, when she left him for a rich, old man. Then he finds out his first love moved to San Diego too, and their attraction burns as hot as ever.

What they don’t know is that Fate didn’t bring them together – the Guardian Angel Corps did, led by two unlikely Cupids – Kelly’s late husband and Zane, a rough and tumble, 19th century cowboy. When a Fallen Angel decides to tear Kelly and James apart, cherubs and harps aren’t going to cut it, and Zane’s unique skills might be just what they need to get a second chance at their first love.

Excerpt
James held Kelly’s hand as he walked her to her apartment building from his car. While they were still in shadows, before they reached the bright light of the entrance, James stopped and turned to face Kelly. He cupped her face in one of his big, rough hands and rested the other lightly on her waist. He traced her cheekbone with a feather light touch of his thumb, and Kelly couldn’t help but turn her face into his hand like a kitten. She did manage to stop herself before she purred, and was pretty darned proud of that achievement.

She felt his hand at her waist tighten, and he dropped his forehead down to rest against hers. When he spoke his voice was low and gruff with emotion.

“Tell me to leave right now, Kel, or all my good intentions to go slow this time are flying out the window, and I’m going to ask you to invite me up to your condo.”

Kelly’s voice was quiet. “I’m not ready for that yet.”

He left his forehead resting against hers, but rubbed his head slowly back and forth. “I know. I should just go, but I can’t bring myself to leave.”

Kelly swallowed, and extended an olive branch, since she wasn’t ready to call it a night yet either. “I think I’m ready for a kiss, though.”

He lifted his head away from hers, and the happiness and blatant hope in his voice made her smile. “Yeah? Really?”

“Yeah,” she replied and stood on the tips of her canvas deck shoes to bring her mouth closer to his.

James bent his head and pressed his lips gently to hers. Her heart pounded and her blood heated in her veins. It had been such a long time since a man had kissed her—and this was James Flynn. Her first love. She snaked her arms up around his neck and pressed her body closer to his.

Buy Links
Amazon:

Barnes & Noble:

Amazon UK:

The Wild Rose Press:


Author Bio
My career has been a winding road. I worked in the business world for years, got my MLS and worked in a school library, and am now living my dream as an author. I love to read and write contemporary and fantasy romance. I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.





Sunday, June 18, 2017

I've Jumped off the Deep End of Audiobooks and Feel Like I'm Drowning

After hemming and hawing, I’ve taken the first plunge into audiobooks. My publisher will begin to offer audiobooks within the next six months or so, but I decided to start with Rimrider, my self-published YA space opera series, to test the waters and get a feel for the process. I read all the articles I can, but still have no clue what I’m doing. I suspect they were written by people much smarter than me.

I chose ACX since it’s owned by Amazon and is the big dog on campus for audiobooks. They brag on the website that the process is painless. That’s not exactly true, especially for dummies like me who, as I said, haven’t a clue. The pages are set up weird and it’s hard to find specific information. After creating the account and claiming the audio rights for Rimrider, I wrote a short audition script. One section of the ACX website says it should be 1 or 2 pages; another says 2 or 3. I did 2-1/2 and hoped no one got mad. I used different passages in the book to get a feel for the actor’s emotional range. I didn’t find any way on the site to set a time limit to hold an audition. I decided to worry about it later and posted the call.

The producer (in this case, me) can put numerous qualifiers on the audition reading, such as tone, range, or emotion (you can ask for flirty, sheepish, and what the hell is a hip voice?)  My book has characters of different ages and scenes that require a range of emotion, so I only put that I wanted a female voice because it’s a teenage girl’s story. I listed the genre as science fiction/fantasy and posted payment information. I also added more details about the book, characters, (ACX adds your Amazon book description) and what I want for overall tone. My audition pages include a pronunciation guide for the characters and several short phrases that occur in Spanish so I know they’re said correctly. I have no idea how to set qualifiers to find the right narrator, but simply throwing my book up there and crossing my fingers the right person will magically appear seems like a terrible idea. I feel like I’m doing everything wrong.


What are my biggest fears right now?

  • No narrator will want to do my book.

  • Narrators will want my book, but no one’s voice will be right to bring the story to life.


  • I’m doing everything wrong.


I'll post updates as I continue my quest to create a audiobook.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Book Review: Footsteps

Footsteps
Literary pilgrimages around the world from the pages of The New York Times

A writer’s inspiration can come from many things; a person, object, or even a particular location. A special place can sink into your bones, color your thoughts, ooze from your pen (or computer.) Some places are so closely associated with a writer as to be inseparable. Say “Charles Dickens” and you immediately think of Victorian England. How would stories have changed if L. M. Montgomery never lived on Prince Edward Island or if Stephen King settled in Arizona instead of Maine?

Footsteps is a collection of articles from an ongoing series in The New York Times that explores how the physical path a writer takes affects the literary journey. Each one is written by a different person who thoughtfully walks in the footsteps of a favorite author. The result is a collection of delightfully different travel essays. The selected authors are an eclectic mix spread across the globe. Some, such as Mark Twain, are well known, but others such as novelist Orhan Pamuk of Istanbul might be new to the reader. All the essays are charming and written with obvious affection and even a bit of whimsy. In a walking tour to trace fictional Sam Spade’s routes through the real Dashiell Hammett’s San Francisco, the essay’s author came across the following tongue-in-cheek plaque on Burritt Street. “On approximately this spot, Miles Archer, Sam Spade’s partner, was done in by Brigid O’Shaughnessy.” There is no mention of the Maltese Falcon or that Sam, Miles, and Brigid never existed.

Many of the essays hold a surprise or two. Bram Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula’s eerie setting came from the English coastal resort of Whitby and not Transylvania.  H. P. Lovecraft was an early king of creepy and he found his doorway to hell in Providence, Rhode Island. Sometimes the negative affect of a place was more profound than the positive. Alice Munro hated Vancouver, British Columbia, but used her time there to craft memorable stories. Some essays have a dash of bittersweet. Not every writer ended up rich and successful. Many weren’t particularly admirable (Shelley and Bryon were two misogynistic dirtbags), but all had been touched by a place that transformed their writing into glorious words.


I highly recommend Footsteps as both a quirky travel guide and a warm-hearted tribute to writers and their inspiration. I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.