Guest Post — Jill Hughey

Happy Halloween!! What better way to celebrate this holiday than with the author of a book called Little Witch. Don’t forget, today is the last day to enter our monthly drawing so come on in and give Jill a warm welcome. 🙂


Nothing Says Halloween Like “Medieval”

jillHi, I’m Jill Hughey and I write the Evolution Series of historical romance set in the medieval age following Charlemagne’s death, in Francia and Bavaria. Just the word “medieval” makes us think of things going bump in the night, dark stone chambers, a dirty old hag stirring a cauldron that emits green steam.

The practice of “magic” was fairly common but also illegal in Charlemagne’s Empire. The Christian church fought the old religions with every weapon at hand. They cut down sacred trees and forbade sacrifices and demanded that the bodies of the dead be placed in Christian cemeteries. Those practicing the old rituals were punished. Those suspected of using the old ways to harm other people were usually killed, along with anyone who was believed to help them.

The most commonly used medieval magic centered on healing or protection. People weren’t trying to do anything evil. They just wanted their sick child to recover, or their horse to remain healthy for the summer, or to know what the future would bring. They waited for favorable days for spinning and traveling. They married on Friday (Venus’s Day) without even remembering the even older religion that started that tradition.

There were less noble brews or incantations to incite a lover’s passion or stunt the growth of your neighbor’s grain. Even some nuns and priests resorted to such practices. Eventually Christianity created its own recitations for the common people to use, and absorbed the major pagan holidays into its own calendar. The church compromised in order to transition the population to its dictates.

Amidst all this, I’ve set four books and short story. Religion has been present in the books to the extent that characters have entered churches for mass or wedding ceremonies. In my most recent book, Little Witch: Historical Romance Novella, I delve into the danger of superstition and the well-documented power the accusation of witchcraft has carried throughout history.

Witch200x300Salena, my heroine, is not a witch, but a vicious neighbor — with her own motivations — has labeled her as one, making her an outcast in their small community. As the situation deteriorates, Salena finds some happiness in her friendship with Nox, the Lord of Ribeauville’s servant, though he withholds his love, scarred by the childhood loss of his entire family. Salena runs away to protect her family from a particularly pointed threat against them, and Nox realizes that she has also run away with his heart.

“The night is dark. The moon is bright. She brings his heart into her light.”

Little Witch: Historical Romance Novella is available at Amazon in print and for Kindle

If you want to keep in touch with Jill Hughey, she blogs at, is on Facebook at, and tweets @jillhughey.

It’s been great fun to visit on Heart-Shaped Glasses! Happy Reading!

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Guest Post — Ally Broadfield

One day left until Halloween… and what better topic than HORROR MOVIES…or how to survive them!! Come on in and join the fun by welcoming Ally Broadfield to the blog!! 😀


On Horror Movies and Being a Wimp

I’ve never seen a horror movie on the big screen. Since being scared to death isn’t high on my list of priorities, I’ve never been a fan of horror movies, not even when I was younger. Probably because I’m a big wimp. I watched Poltergeist at a friend’s sleepover when I was in the seventh grade, and refused to enter my walk-in closet at night for years. And don’t get me started on clown dolls. In high school I watched Nightmare on Elm Street on cable and I’m pretty sure I didn’t fall asleep for more than a week. The worst scare I ever had was driving home after watching Children of the Corn at a friend’s house. I had to drive home alone, after midnight, along an unlit road surrounded by corn fields. I totally blew through the stop sign at the cross street.

Fast forward several years (cough, cough, decades), and I’ve been saddled with a son who loves to watch scary movies. My other two kids are wimps like me, and my husband doesn’t find anything scary, so I somehow became the designated scary movie watcher. At first I was afraid he might get scared and we’d be up all night because he couldn’t sleep, but no. We’ve watched Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Shining, Dead Alive, all the Evil Dead movies, and many, many more, and I still haven’t found anything that actually scares him (though oddly enough, it was just a few years ago that he was covering his eyes during the Tuesday the 17th episode of Psych). He’s also watched Saw, Paranormal Activity, and Insidious at a friend’s house (likely along with many others I never found out about), but still nothing. So I’ve morphed from the mom trying to protect him to the cray-cray lady who is determined to find a movie that will scare the !@#$%* out of him.

Tonight our local movie theater is showing Halloween on the big screen, and we’re going. I expect he will be fine. I probably won’t be. Here are the strategies I’m employing to help me survive the experience:

  1. Arrive early to get a seat in the back row so I don’t have to worry about anyone getting me from behind.
  2. Use the bathroom before the movie in case I’m too scared to go during or after.
  3. Style hair to easily conceal my eyes so evil son won’t make fun of me if I close them.
  4. Carry a concealed weapon. No, not a gun, but I think a good hit in the eyes from a can of aerosol hair spray will slow someone down long enough for me to get away.
  5. Find a way to sneak one of my dogs into the theater. They always warn me when someone suspect is lurking (and will also protect me from an attack by evil squirrels).
  6. As a last resort, shove beloved son toward attacker to buy time for me to get away.  What? It was his idea to go.

Do you have any other suggestions for me? Or, just in case watching on the big screen doesn’t work, can you recommend a movie that will finally scare my son?

Ally BroadfieldAlly Broadfield lives in Texas and is convinced her house is shrinking, possibly because she shares it with three kids, five dogs, two cats, a rabbit, and several reptiles. Oh, and her husband. She likes to curse in Russian and spends most of her spare time letting dogs in and out of the house and shuttling kids around. She writes historical romance and middle grade/young adult fantasy. Her debut release, Just a Kiss, is coming from Entangled Publishing in December 2013.

You can find Ally on her website, Facebook, and Twitter (though she makes no claims of using any of them properly).

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

In the Shower

This is a quicky…

One thing that has cropped up as my life progresses.

In the shower, flipping my head down so my hair hangs toward the floor and I can wrap it in a towel. Every time I do this, I have a flash of panic that I’m not standing far enough away from the tile wall…

And the image that comes to my mind is not pretty! Blood everywhere, unconscious woman, just me and the kids… or worse! Just Darla.

But then I realize I’m still there, standing with my head hung over my waist…

I haven’t hit my head. So, I wrap my wet hair in the towel and get out. Phew!!

Anyone else have really ODDBALL moments of fear and panic??

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Publishing Can Be Scary!

MuffinsandMistletoe 200x300So, you’ve always wanted to be a writer. Seems like a great gig. Eat chocolate, drink lots of coffee, and sit around in your PJs and create stories from your heart. (Okay, I admit that IS a very cool part of the job!)

But what happens after you’ve finished the book? If you choose the traditional route, you take your manuscript that has been critiqued and polished to within an inch of its life and send if off to your list of agents and publishers and wait. Sometimes you get back a generic rejection, if you’re lucky you get a detailed rejection. Sometimes you get “the call!”

Scary? Yes. Rejections are scary. They are play on the inherent fear that every author harbors deep in their souls, the one that dares to suggest we’re frauds and our work is crap. Getting “the call” that your book has been accepted is no less scary. Now you’re signing your name on the dotted line of a contract, you need to promote yourself and your book, you need to edit and revise and pray your book sells. People will love your book or they’ll hate it – and they’ll let you know by posting public reviews. (Scary? yes!)

Now, as authors we have another option. Self-publishing.

The world of self-publishing has exploded in a few short years and no longer is there a stigma attached to saying you are an “indie author.” But is it any less scary?

If you decide to go it alone with your book, you are responsible for getting an editor to make sure you have a polished product. You need to hire a graphic artist to make sure your product is noticed. You need to format your book for all the venues you want your book to be available at, either you hire this out or learn how to do it yourself. You still have to promote yourself and your book. You still have to pray your book sells and still have those good and bad reviews to scare you at night!

We’ve entered into a very exciting time to be a writer, with more than one way to get our work out to the people we’ve been trying to reach – the readers! It’s a wonderful sigh of relief for many to have options – and there is now more than one path to success. Whether you choose traditional, indie or to try both, publishing is still foremost about THE BOOK.

While writing a book and creating characters and plots is an artistic expression – make no mistake that publishing that book is a business. It can be a wonderfully rewarding business, it can be frustrating, get on your last nerve, and make you want to pull your hair out. And yes, it can be very scary!

So, this month in keeping with our Scare Me theme, I will be taking the plunge and self-publishing a holiday novella. Muffins & Mistletoe is the first book I’ve written knowing it would never be submitted to any agents or publishers.

Sometimes we have to face our fears, knowing we’ll be scared, but having faith that it will work out in the end.

Tell me what fear you’re going to face this month and you might win our monthly prize!


About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

Thrill Me, Kill Me

Since we’re talking about scary things this month it’s a great tie in to reading and writing for me. While I love reading contemporary romance, I think my very favorite reads are either romantic suspense or paranormal romance.

First and foremost, there’s got to be a romance. It’s about the relationship. If it weren’t we’d have nothing but police procedurals and straight up thrillers. They have their place, and there are some good ones out there, but again, there must be romance along with the rest. As a reader, it’s not optional.

Broken MirrorA real page turner for me is a book where there’s an out-and-out villain of some sort and a victim. In some stories the victim has a much of a part as the criminal. Someone who’s causing mayhem or committing murder, or well, being murdered. See what I mean? Creepy, huh?

Through the course of my writing, I’ve also discovered I like killing people off in books. Perhaps because in fiction, it’s so opposite of real my life and it’s a way to explore some of the darker sides of our humanity. While I do plot to some degree, the actual manner of death is an organic process. It shows itself as I write and the story unfolds. Which about scared the pants off me when I realized it, but what’s a girl to do? Write it down, of course.

My partner and I have had many conversations over dinner in restaurants about how this or that character could or should die, and it’s turned a few heads. And gave us and our wait staff a few laughs along the way.

Ultimately I think it’s that edge of your seat feeling that comes from good suspense. What’s going to happen next and who’s going to cause it? How is it going to turn out? With a romance involved we know how it’s going to end, but the journey is as individual as every writer out there. And that’s the fun part. I love reading it, and it’s even more of a thrill to write it.

This post wouldn’t be complete without telling you that my favorite romantic suspense author is the ever-talented J.D. Robb. Nora has done such an amazing job with not only the procedural part of the stories but with the ongoing arch between Eve and Roarke. I look forward to reading every one. And I’m a huge fan of J.R. Ward, and LKH’s early Anita Blake novels.

Who is your favorite romantic suspense or paranormal author?

Do tell us in the comments section and you’ll be entered in the drawing for this month’s swag!

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Freak me out!

It’s that time of year! Partly through Fall, and of course, ghosts and goblins are here to come out to play, and I’m sure you’ll be dressed as one or you’ll encounter one before the end of the month.

Usually Halloween makes me think of everything scary…and who wants that? Okay, I may be a little boring and not as thrilling as most but…I’m a chicken all right! I get scared from watching Scary Movie 3 (no joke. I see that girl from the well along the side of the road…and I admit, I get nightmares from funny scary movies. Don’t judge!).

Here’s five things that also freak me out:

1. Killer scenes in my writing when I attempt to write suspense – okay, so I scare myself here, but I can’t help it if my muse likes to mess with me.

2. My wardrobe not fitting me – who can afford to buy a whole new wardrobe? You can? Adopt me!

3. Chucky…and his girlfriend-maybe it’s a childhood thing, but my sister used to make me watch it with her and I would have nightmares for a week straight.

4. Superstitions that come true- my parents are pretty superstitious. Every time they call me and tell me that their eye is twitching and to be careful…I want to hide under the bed covers and bubble wrap myself!

5. Extinction of cupcakes – who can live without cupcakes?

Okay, I may sound nutty, but they’re true!

So tell me, what makes you scared or freak out?


About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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