Autumn Magic

Vienna-Fall-Resized-4-WebThere is something magic about fall, which is hard to explain. The green leaves turn into brilliant shades or red, orange and yellow. The air is rich and crisp, sometimes even foggy here in Vienna and that reminds me of being in London or in a US west coast city.

As a kid, Halloween intrigued me to no end and as an adult, the books I love to write the most are paranormal in nature. Today, I write about witches and warlocks, sorcerers and sorceresses, angels and demons or even the common person who somehow has the inside scoop on keeping us all safe and sound.

While some people are bothered by what I write occasionally, I know it’s the product of my hyperactive imagination and the never ending question of what if…what if demons really did exist? What if God needed help in keeping them in check? What if my heroine had to travel back in time to right a wrong without disrupting the space-time continuum? You know, typical writer-type questions.

For whatever reason, like I said in my last column, I tend to be rejuevenated during the fall. I plan stories, I start writing more and I keep to my plans better. I am a lifelong learner and have decided to add some classes into the mix as well. There is nothing wrong with a writer learning about things that will make their writing stronger.

Along with those classes, I’ve been reading more craft books than usual as well. By craft, I’m talking about the craft of writing books. I recently read a great one from Steve Windsor about the fear of writing called Authorphobia. Yeah, the title is exactly how the book is and if you don’t mind a rather sarcastic approach, I’d say check it out because the author has some good points. I’ve continued on with his series with a book on writing a complete novel in nine days. That’s even a little fast for me but I’m sure there are techniques in the book that will help any writer.Tree-Alley-at-Praterstern-F

I’ve also discovered Udemy where you can find a lot of online courses, some of them even free. So far, I’ve found ones on proofreading and designing your own book covers. There are hundreds to choose from and since I love taking classes, this is another win-win for me.

Then there is one more place I love to look for classes and that’s at edX. Here you can learn all sorts of things from leading university’s such as Berkley, Harvard or Rice University. I took an incredible course in Genetics from Rice University as research into on zombies. Basically, I was looking into if zombies are actually possible. Guess you’ll have to wait to see what I learned on that one…LOL!

With all this planning and class taking, I’ve also found time to write more, faster and in my mind better. I love fall with all the newness it brings to learning and doing more to enhance my writing.

What do you do in the fall to enhance your life? I’d love to hear from you and see how autumn is special to you.

Until next time…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Guest Post, @LandraGraf: My Favorite Spooky TV Show

Today, Landra Graf is guest-blogging to tell us about her favorite spooky TV show (and mine, to be honest) and how we can pre-order her awesome new book, A Rose by Any Other Name. It has zombies and fairy-tale roots. Yay!

–Lori

I should be promoting my new book. It comes out in six days, but instead I wanted to talk about my favorite show, Supernatural.

There are a lot of people who love this show, and most of the big fans I’ve met started watching after the show had already aired about 5 seasons. I’m here to announce I watched the pilot, when it originally aired, and fell in love. I’ve been a Dean Winchester fangirl ever since, and I’m happy to announce that my daughter is now one to.

The show gives a wonderful look at tough, rough and tumble dudes who have to deal with the emotionally draining life of always saving the world, being in danger, and losing the ones you love. It’s not an easy job at all.
Then there’s the monsters. They’ve fought gods, myths, legends, dragons, werewolves, zombies, and a slew of other things. There’s even rumors God may finally make an appearance in season 11.

Add in some awesome guitar rifts, a great classic rock collection, memorable lines, and one of heck of an intriguing character called Death… it’s a show worth watching over and over. The 11th Season is getting ready to start and I never expected this show would be continuing over a decade. But I’ll keep watching.

So what’s your favorite spooky TV Show? Are you a Supernatural Fan?

P.S. My new book is coming out in a few days. It’s spooky, too. Read on for the blurb.


A Rose By Any Other Name

Rose SmallZombies don’t belong in fairy tales….at least not those with a good chance of a happily ever after…

Jason Prince, Charming’s once-upon-a-time star jock, only attends his Charming high school reunion to find his way into the heart of a certain wallflower who had no date for the prom.

Shy, geeky, chemical engineer, Emma Fay has been keeping her love for Jason a secret because she knows Jason and Rose belong together. But, when Rose Briar pricks her finger, fulfilling a prophecy about death and a plague, she throws a wrench into the class reunion that not even the best planning committee can tackle.

Can Jason and Emma stop Zombie Beauty Rose before she turns their loved ones into her undead court and sends them forth to spread the infestation to the rest of the world? Or will human flesh become the daily special at diners everywhere? And will there be enough left of Jason and Emma for romance to blossom?

Pre-Order:

Amazon :: ARe :: Kobo :: Goodreads :: Bookstrand

Excerpt:

Her eyes darted back toward the examination room. He couldn’t hear anything that gave the impression things were worse than they’d been a few moments ago. In fact, the silence in the room made him anxious, and he started to tap his boot on the linoleum floor. The rising tension around them or the number of feelings invoked knowing someone he cared about lay suffering in the other room failed to help as well. He gave a little shiver and involuntarily gripped Emma’s hand tighter. She tried to pull away, but he wanted to hold on to her a little longer.

“All right then, let’s break up this mood. I’m going to read your palm.” He hoped the ploy would cast away her urges to break their bond.

“Palm reading?” One brown eyebrow lifted, but her frame and hand relaxed at his touch.

“Yes, I’ve studied with the finest masters fair corn dogs can buy.”

She giggled.

“I can tell you your future, Miss Emmaline Fay,” he said with a grin. She gave one back and the effect was breathtaking. She’d always possessed a beautiful smile, one known for lighting up rooms, and he enjoyed being the recipient.

“Fine, Master Prince. Tell me my future.”

Jason turned her palm over in his, trailing his fingers along the lines. Leaning in for a closer look, he picked up on the scent of vanilla, flowers, and a hint of something he couldn’t identify beyond pure Emma. The power of the smell made his groin swell again, something he didn’t need at the moment. One glance downward and she’d see the evidence of how she affected him.

So he thought about cold showers and his grandmother’s gnarly hands and focused on the soft palm covered with lines.

“Ah, your life line is extremely long. I also see a man in your love line. This is a man who has loved you for a long time and watched you from afar.”

She scoffed. “Sounds kind of creepy. I don’t know if I want a stalker in my life.”

“Not a stalker, but an admirer. He’s always appreciated your loyalty.” Jason locked eyes with her green ones. “Your kindness and bravery, too. And your ability to push ahead. Strength like that is rare.”

She leaned forward, her nose barely touching his. “How rare?”

“Uh.” His words caught in his throat. To have her so close, too close…exactly where he’d wanted her since he’d seen her sitting behind the wheel of her car. “Rare enough that I’ve only known one other person to possess it. I—”

“The fever is coming down,” Dr. Mason announced, bursting into the room, face filled with relief.

Jason silently swore as she jumped out of her chair and moved toward the entry. “Can we go in?”

“No, not yet. I want you both to stay here, though, in case you come down with the same thing due to proximity. We’ve taken blood, and we’re doing everything we can, but I don’t know if this is contagious.” The doctor moved to a cabinet on the far wall and removed two blankets.

“You can camp out in the waiting room.”

“Completely understandable, Doc. I know we won’t leave until Rose is able to, anyway. We’ll want to be on the nurse-Rose-back-to-health team.” Jason stood to accept the blankets.

Her momentary excitement deflated, Emma shuffled back to her chair. “That’s right. I’ll be nursing our girl back to health or whatever else it takes, so I’m staying until everything is perfectly fine.”

“Good. I’ll see you both in the morning,” Dr. Mason said, leaving by way of the kitchen door. Jason could only imagine the amount of coffee the doctor planned on consuming for the night.

Emma curled up in her seat, slipping her feet out of her brown cowboy boots.

Jason sat down next to her and leaned back in his chair. “He certainly knows how to offer comfortable beds.”

“And there’s the sarcasm I know so well.” She leaned her head on his shoulder.

He tried to ignore how right it felt. “Yes, and that’s why you should just close your eyes and rest. Don’t worry. It’ll all be better in the morning.”

Author Bio:

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Author Links:

Website: http://landragraf.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LandraGraf

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/landra.graf

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7847192.Landra_Graf

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/landragraf/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Landra-Graf/e/B00IESJED4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1440641120&sr=8-1

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

On Things That Go “Eww!” in the Night

I have The-Most-Disgusting-Dog-Ever.

Sure, Sneaky Pete looks adorable, and he is very sweet (and he did line up all his bones in a row ALL BY HIMSELF on the embarrassingly dirty carpet), but don’t let that fool you. He eats many disgusting things. He also eats things that aren’t particularly disgusting before he eats them, but are most definitely so afterwards. Last winter, we noticed an unusual uptick in the number of single socks in the laundry basket. In the spring, when the show melted, we found all the missing socks in the back yard, processed by Pete’s digestive system.  I was chastised for reporting on Facebook exactly what I had to pull out of the dog the other day, so I will spare you all.

But it got me thinking about gross things in general, which is apropos for Halloween.

I write romance, so there’s very little gross in what I write. I don’t particularly enjoy reading disgusting or violent things, although if it’s a small part of a good story that’s okay. But I have an 11-year old boy, and he delights in reading about stuff that’s gross, even more so when he can read it aloud to me while I’m making dinner.

Sometimes I wonder what it is about human beings that we enjoy things that are base, visceral, bloody. I Googled “humans gross” and “why do humans enjoy gore” and learned that I am not the only one who has pondered such things, but I still don’t have an answer.

I had a work colleague once who adored horror movies, the gorier the better. She would wait until her husband and kids were out somewhere and she had the house to herself, then turn off all the lights and fire up the DVD. *shudder*

I, as you have probably surmised by now, am not a fan. In high school I saw Phantasm on a disastrous first (and only) date. Can’t remember the guy’s name, but I still remember that movie. In college I saw Don’t Look Now, a 1973 scary-as-hell psychological thriller with Donald Sutherland. To this day, 30 years later, I still freak out just a little when I see a kid in a red raincoat. I tried to binge-watch Supernatural, which is a great show, but just couldn’t take it–after the Bloody Mary episode I couldn’t look in a mirror for a week.

I will admit, however, to having a strange fascination with vampires. I read and watch them all: Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Angel, and of course, Buffy. (Oddly, I have never been able to get into Anne Rice’s novels, although I have read a couple. Go figure.) I recently finished watching the first three seasons of True Blood–so good, but quite possibly the goriest, most disgusting thing I have ever seen on TV. Thankfully I was forced to stop because the remaining seasons weren’t free on Amazon Prime. I much prefer the way vampires died on Buffy–ashes, the outline of a skeleton, poof.

So what about you? Do you enjoy scary, gross, gore, or violence? Not so much?

About Marin McGinnis

A lawyer in real life, Marin McGinnis feeds the more creative part of her soul by writing Victorian era romance and mystery. She's spent almost half her life in a tree-lined, unabashedly liberal suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She's been married to the same great guy for over 20 years, and has one teen-aged son. They all live together in a drafty old house with their two standard poodles, Larry and Sneaky Pete. While her very first book will languish under the bed, the next book, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next two books, Secret Promise and Tempting Mr. Jordan, are also available from Wild Rose Press. Marin currently serves as President of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Romance Writers of America and is hard at work on the next book. You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

The Best Movie Boogeymen

boogeymenConfession: I read my first horror novel at nine. And it was The Shining, by Stephen King. My daughter is now nine and while she loves to read Goosebumps, I believe I would draw the line before anything by Stephen King. But, I was an avid reader, there weren’t many books around, and my mom loves horror.

My point is that I cut my reading teeth on Stephen King. Now, though, I find horror books (and movies) to be too depressing. I prefer the happy endings in romance novels. But, I know that lots of people disagree about horror. Especially in October. I guess not watching scary movies in October is like not watching A Christmas Story in December–something I do faithfully.

So, from someone who is easily scared but knows a thing or two about horror, here are my top three favorite movie boogeymen.

1. Freddy Krueger

He’s scary. He is so freaking scary. The only way to be safe is not sleep. That is not only basically impossible, but will cause hallucinations after about three days. They even did an experiment in which they dropped a cat into a tub of water every time it entered REM (dream) sleep. The cat died. Granted, this is horrific in it’s own right and they’d never be allowed to conduct an experiement like this today, but we cannot not sleep.

And so, eventually, this baddy is going to get you.

2. Jason Vorhees

The unstoppable, malicious killer. Who cares if he was wronged in his life? There’s something so essentially frightening about someone who kills in cruelly inventive ways and will not be stopped. Not ever. Oh, you may be the one person who survives. But, come next movie… ice pick to the brain.

3. Chuckie

Another cruel little killer. Except not only will he kill all the people you love, he frames you for it and he wants to displace your soul and take over your body. And no one will believe you. I think that’s the scariest part of all. How awful would it be to try to warn someone you love that they’re in danger (or someone investigating you for murder) only to see them die?

Also, Jennifer Tilly is his doll bride. So much win there.

If you’ve never seen these movies, which took on epic proportion with sequels, I strongly suggest you check them out in the spookiest month of the year.

Who are your favorite supernatural villains?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

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. 🙂

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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 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EUA1TI8

If you want to keep in touch with Jill Hughey, she blogs at http://jillhughey.blogspot.com, is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jillhugheyromance, 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!! 😀

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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.

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