Monday, October 20, 2014

Haunted Garden: A Halloween Carving-Win a Book of your choice

Trick or Treat this Halloween with The Wild Rose Press

Amazon Best Seller Jess Russell, author of The Dressmaker's Duke carved these amazing pumpkins for our Haunted Garden.

Welcome to Lobster Cove

The these beautiful TWRP garden pumpkins!



To learn more about Jess Russell and the Dressmaker's Duke, click here.

Rhys Merrick, Duke of Roydan, is determined to be the antitheses of his depraved father, repressing his desires so severely he is dubbed "the Monk" by Society.  But when Olivia Weston turns up demanding payment for gowns ordered by his former mistress, Rhys is totally flummoxed and inexplicably smitten.  He pays her to remove her from his house, and mind.  But logic be damned, he must have this fiercely independent woman.

Olivia's greatest fear is becoming a kept woman.  She has escaped the role of mistress once and vows never to be owned by any man.  Rather than make money in the boudoir, she chooses to clothe the women who do.  But when a fire nearly kills her friend and business partner, Olivia's world goes up in smoke and she is forced to barter with the lofty duke.
 
As their lives weave together, Olivia unravels the man underneath the Monk, while Rhys desires to expose the lady hiding behind the dressmaker. Will his raw passion fan a long-buried ember of hope within her? Can this mismatched pair be the perfect fit?



Do you love to carve pumpkins? Have a fun haunted Halloween tradition? leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of book from the Wild Rose Press.

Haunted Garden: The Acolyte

A Halloween Story

The Acolyte

The tower clock struck midnight. Ravenwood tensed, glanced over her shoulder at the Sanctuary. No lights shone in the mullioned windows. The Masters mustn’t catch her out alone at night. Punishment would be rapid and severe. She might even be banished. Her reputation at the school had suffered for her sister’s sin.
She lit the torch, black smoke billowing from the flame. A darkling shiver crawled down her rigid spine. The voices that had roused her from sleep whispered a warning as she crept into the abandoned barn. A lonely owl hooted from the rafters, ruffling its feathers and blinking. Red light winked in the bird’s golden eyes. She swallowed hard, straining her ears for any sound. The eerie stillness chilled her soul.

Ravenwood had come to say her last goodbye to her sister. Tonight, Mariana slept the peace of the dead in this old outbuilding. Tomorrow, she would be lowered into unhallowed ground. Then only god knew what the fate of a demon’s consort would be. Her breathing rasped loud, puffing white clouds in the October air. She inched deeper into the gloom, shoved the hood of her robe back. Shadows capered in her peripheral vision. A web caught in her hair, clung to her face. Another hard shudder coursed through her, and gooseflesh prickled her limbs. Nausea swirled in her stomach. Frantically, she swiped the crusty fly stuck in the web and the disgusting stickiness from her skin.

Blackness coiled along the rotted wood pile. A mouse squeaked, scurried out and scampered away. The shade loomed larger, distorted in the flickering light. She flinched back a step. With a shaking hand, she clutched the crucifix around her neck. The shadow crossed the pitchfork, fell on the coffin.

Darkness coalesced into the figure of a winged man. Two yellow orbs glowed in his leathery gray face. The wings were shiny, rubbery black with spines and points. A sweet smell rose from him, but she knew the fragrance was a glamour masking the reek of the Pit.

"Daakiel," she whispered.

"Well met, Ravenwood." A laugh rumbled from his broad chest. “Such pretty blonde hair and lovely ivory skin, but beneath your rose and gold beauty is a soul as dark as I am.”

As always, her sister’s lover was naked, his grotesque, swollen equipment proudly on display. She shuddered head to toe, glancing around quickly, studying her options.

There were none.

The creature with hellfire eyes stroked a hand with long, vicious claws over the pine coffin. From inside, came a soft scratching then the lid rattled, an urgent pounding echoing in the ruined barn.

Ravenwood's heart caught in her throat. A sudden silence crawled along her nerves. The owl hooted and took flight, a wingtip brushing her cheek. She flinched, clamped a hand to her mouth, but a little cry escaped. The demon flexed his wings, stirring a tornado of moldy straw.

A malicious grin split the monstrous face. "Come my pretty," and with the rasp of claws, he ripped the lid off the coffin.

Her dead sister sat bolt upright, empty fish eyes locking to Ravenwood's. A terrifying smile spread Mariana’s blue lips. Crimson pinpointed the black irises. Any innocence that might have remained in the once Acolyte had perished. Like a spider, elbows and knees arched at odd angles, she crawled from the casket. Grave clothes clung to her pale, withered body but her breasts were exposed and bloody. She was horrible.

Ravenwood wouldn’t give the monster the satisfaction of screaming. She bit her tongue hard enough to draw blood. The demon turned and stalked toward her, fangs dripping thick, green saliva. Horrified, she backed away, collided with a stack of old cans, sending them clattering to the ground.

"Dear sister." Mariana's corpse spread her arms in invitation. Sharp fangs dented the lower lip of her smile. "Raven, forsake your god. Join me."

Ravenwood ducked, grabbed the pitchfork and brandished the rusted prongs at the demon. Another unholy laugh rumbled from its throat.

"You cannot escape, Ravenwood. Your sister has paid her dues. She is mine. Tonight, Acolyte, you join me in Hell."

Playing for time, she flung the pitchfork at the demon and dropped the torch. Smoke billowed from dry straw. Flames sprang up, reaching for the cracked roof. Laughter boomed in the fire. Engulfed in the holocaust, her sister's horrified face branded the nightmare in memory. The demon's leering smile didn’t falter.
She whirled and fled, her legs pumping, her feet going nowhere. The school seemed hundreds of miles away and her feet leaden. If she reached the Sanctuary—
A claw sliced her shoulder. Pain scalded her arm. Blood oozed warmth down her back. She whirled, staring straight into the demon's burning eyes. Lethal pointed teeth lined the creature’s gaping maw.

A scream ripped the black velvet night, searing her throat. She stumbled a retreat, praying aloud.

“No answer?” Daarkiel cupped a hand to his pointed ear. “Pray to someone who will hear you.”

The ground beneath her feet rolled and tossed. She fell to her knees. Fear lodged in her dry throat, strangling her prayers.

“You have taken my lover from me. Burned her alive, you did.” The creature beckoned with a bloody claw. “You will replace her.”

An image of her sister’s living cadaver blinded her. She shook her head. “Never.”

The earth opened, swallowing her. Down she plunged into a loamy grave, the velocity of her fall sweeping her robe over her head. Her feet scraped something hard. Bones. She didn’t have time to scream. The hole closed over her head, burying her alive.

Insects slithered over her feet. Something crept down her back. She swallowed the horror and the bile burning her throat. The black dirt caressed her naked arms and legs and matted her hair. Trapped in the earth and in her robe, unable to claw for the surface, she held her breath until her lungs threatened to implode. Terror gripped her heart in an icy hand.

I’m going to suffocate.

A desperate gasp for breath sucked the fatal soil into her mouth and nose. Ravenwood whispered her final prayer. For forgiveness.

Linda Nightingale
Author of Black Swan
To Purchase

Haunted Garden: Interview With a Demon

With All Hallows Eve closing in on us, I thought it would be fun to chat with one of my more, shall we say, darker friends from Challenging Destiny. Lucky for us, Kira Rose was able to break away from her hellish duties to be here today.

Cherie: Hi Kira. Thanks for meeting with me.
Kira: My pleasure. Just don’t let me boss find out or he’ll send me back to the pit. I’m not exactly his favorite demon.

Cherie: Your secret is safe with us. So tell us, are there any advantages to being a demon?
Kira: Now that I’m on earth, yes. There’s very little I can’t have if I set my mind to it. Of course, it helps that I can bend peoples will to get my way. I’m starting over, you see, and I’m not going to let anyone get in my way.

Cherie: I think it would be good for all of us to heed that warning. How long have you been a resident of Hell?
Kira: Too long. **sigh** It’s going on three very long centuries, most of which were spent in the fiery underworld.

Cherie: Ouch! From what I understand, you made a deal with a demon that landed you in Hell in the first place. Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time, would you still make the deal?
Kira: Things may not have worked out as I had planned, but I saved my brother from an eternity of damnation. That’s what counts. So, yeah, I would.

Cherie: You and your brother must have been close. Tell us, what’s your fondest memory of being human?
Kira: That’s easy. Every year, on the day after harvest, my parents would throw a huge celebration. Mom would make a big meal, bigger than any other day of the year. My brother and I would help however we could. Dad would play his grandfather’s fiddle. Our friends and family would come. Time with them is what I miss the most.

Cherie: It sounds wonderful. How about we lighten the mood with some fun questions? If Challenging Destiny were made into a movie, who would you want to play you?
Kira: Emma Stone. Not just because she’s one of my favorite actresses, but Emma with her dark red hair and sultry gaze would do an amazing job of bringing out my fiery side.

Cherie: She would be great in the role. What’s your favorite candy?
Kira: Peanut butter cups

Cherie: What are you going to be this Halloween?
Kira: An angel. I like the irony in that.

Cherie: Trick or treat?
Kira: Trick, of course. And remember, I don’t play fair and I always win.


Get to know Kira Rose from Challenging Destiny.
Kindle:  http://goo.gl/Kf0USf
Kindle UK:  http://goo.gl/DnH5Nu
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1rQhlvW
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21457758-challenging-destiny

Friday, October 17, 2014

Interview with characters from Impending Love and War

Impending Love and War - Just released and available at online retailers.
To Purchase from Amazon, BN, or The Wild Rose Press

In my day job I am a journalist, and my column name is Freeman of the Press. I interviewed the two main characters of Impending Love and War, Cory Beecher and Tyler Montgomery which is available at The Wild Rose Press.

Press: This is Courtney Beecher, known to her family as Cory. She is the heroine in “Impending Love and War.” How old are you, Cory, and where are you from?
Cory: I’m twenty, and I live in Darrow Falls, Ohio.
Press: What is Darrow Falls like?
Cory: We have a downtown with shops surrounding a town square but most people live on farms. I’m staying with a widow, Adelaide Thomas, for the summer before I return to teaching.
Press: “The Beecher name goes back to early settlers in America. Tell us a little bit about the first Beecher in America.
Cory: John Beecher arrived in 1637 and traveled with a group of men to settle what is now New Haven, Connecticut. He died during the winter; the first white man to die in Connecticut.
Press: Another descendent of John Beecher is Harriet Beecher Stowe. Do you know her?
Cory: We’ve never met, but I’ve read her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s popular with abolitionists.
Press: Are you an abolitionist?
Cory: With a name like Beecher, I have no choice. I never had to defend my beliefs until now.
Press: Why is that?”
Cory: Miss Adelaide’s home, Glen Knolls, is a station on the Underground Railroad which helps slaves reach freedom in Canada.”
Press: What about Tyler Montgomery. I hear he’s a slave owner.
Cory: Yes, he came to Glen Knolls looking for a runaway named Noah.
Press: What happened?
Cory: I shot him.
Press: Did you kill him?
Cory: Oh, no. It was only a flesh wound, but I was obligated to care for him.
Press: Was that difficult?
Cory: My father is a doctor, and I’ve helped him with patients, but Tyler almost discovered Noah hiding in the barn.
Press: What did you do?
Cory: I kissed him. Only to distract him.
Press: Did it work?
Cory: He didn’t find the slave.

Press: You are Tyler Montgomery from Virginia.
Tyler: Yes, I’m a lawyer. I graduated from Harvard law school.
Press: What firm do you work for?
Tyler: Currently I’m unemployed.
Press: Is that why you were at the Glen Knolls farm?
Tyler: I was looking for a friend.
Press: That’s not what Cory Beecher said. You were looking for a runaway slave.
Tyler: Miss Beecher is mistaken.
Press: She said she had to shoot you.
Tyler: Did she claim it was accidental?
Press: You believe she shot you intentionally.
Tyler: She said she should have taken better aim. Does that sound accidental?
Press: No, it doesn’t. She said she kissed you in the barn. How did that make you feel?
Tyler: Feel? The kiss or the pitchfork she stuck in my midsection? The woman is looking for a husband. Douglas Raymond can have her.
Press: Who is Douglas?
Tyler: He’s a math instructor at Western Reserve College, a gentleman with good prospects. She doesn’t object to Douglas kissing her.
Press: That seems to make you angry.
Tyler: I have nothing to offer. If she wants to marry Douglas, who am I to stand in the way?

Follow Laura Freeman
on Twitter @LauraFreeman_RP
and www.Facebook.com/laura.freeman.5648

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Love is deaf by Lynn Kellan

Before I fell for my husband, I fell for his brother - a tower of muscle and sinew, with shoulders wide as a barn door, rugged features, and nearly completely deaf. He relied on a hearing aid to understand what was being said, and he managed so well that few people realized the severity of his hearing problems. His size and determination was a bit intimidating, but he melted whenever his wife was near. I loved witnessing the transformation. When he returned home from work, he'd have a raging headache from wearing the hearing aid. At those times, he was stoic and unapproachable…but when his wife appeared, the fatigue melted from his face. The instant they touched, a deep contentment radiated from him. She was all he needed to be happy.

His love for her fueled much of the motivation for the hero in Anything You Ask. I loved writing about a deaf man's daily struggles, but his tribulations eased in the presence of one woman. What a wonderful gift - to be loved so completely, just being close to one another is enough to someone with joy.

Anything You Ask is on sale now for .99 until Friday, October 17, 2014.

Lynn Kellan
http://LynnKellan.com
Strong men who have a weakness for smart women.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

One trip, one book. Two trips...

One trip, one book. Two trips...
Judy Nickles writing as Gwyneth Greer
http://www.judynickles.com

Branson, Missouri, is a great tourist town full of clean, family-friendly entertainment. Several years ago a long-time friend talked me into a trip. Though I went reluctantly, I came away with a smile on my face, a song in my heart—and a book to write.

We were leaving the showboat Branson Belle after a tasty dinner followed by a sparkling musical show, when I remarked, “This would be a good setting for a book. I think I’ll write The Showboat Murders.”

Properly horrified, my friend replied, “Oh, no! Write The Showboat Affair”.

So I did.

The story of Jean Kingston, dumped by her unfaithful husband after thirty years of marriage, fit with the guidelines for TWRP’s Last Rose of Summer line. My wonderful editor, Aly Ottomeier, held my feet to the fire as together we refined Jean’s journey to reinvent herself as an independent person with a career and finally with a second chance at love.
When the first edits came back, I remember my face flaming as I read the (only) strong love scene in the book—or in any other I’ve written for that matter! It wasn’t graphic by any stretch of the imagination and faded to black as is my custom. But I couldn’t believe it had actually come from my pen…um, computer keys!

I emailed Aly with my determination to rewrite it. She emailed back, in essence, “Don’t you dare.” So I didn’t, and in retrospect, she was absolutely right.

My only regret is putting the book out under a pseudonym, Gwyneth Greer. Growing up with an unimaginative name, I’d always envied several of my classmates who had lovely alliterative names. This was my chance, and I took it. If I could do it over, I’d use my own moniker.

The cover art by Tina Lynn Stout perfectly captured the essence of the story. She found just the right pictures and wove them together perfectly.

I went back to Branson in September, stopping for a couple of nights on my way home from a writing conference in Springfield. My focus this trip was more time at The Landing. All those shops were calling my name, just as they'd called to Nick Cameron, the male protagonist of The Showboat Affair. However, I decided at the last minute to take the train excursion again. For 90 minutes, in between listening to the intermittent narrative and watching the scenery, I stayed busy with pen and notebook.

So did I come home from this trip to Branson with a new novel?

Time will tell.


Judy Nickles writing as Gwyneth Greer
http://www.judynickles.com

Monday, October 13, 2014

Haunted Garden: How to Host a KILLER Zombie Prom Party

7 Tips to Host a KILLER Zombie Prom Party...on the Cheap!

I love my genre. Paranormal (and the romance, too) is just the coolest one to write, because it gives authors like me the excuse to...
Throw a Zombie Prom Halloween party!

Like I need an excuse. ;)

Here are 7 Tips to Host a Killer ZOMBIE PROM PARTY on the cheap. Check out more photo/ideas from our Zombie Prom Halloween Party on my Pinterest page here: http://www.pinterest.com/dylannewton1/.

Invitations--We made our own and splattered blood (scrapbook spray ink) on the outside of the envelopes. Here is a scanned picture of mine, with the address, etc. deleted.

Costumes--We invite tons of kids and adults to our parties...but they ALL must come dressed. In fact, our invite envelope said "If you're not dressed as a zombie...you are FOOD." Scour the thrift stores for cheap, gaudy, horrible dresses and suits (remember ugly is better!), or be creative and be the zombie janitor (like my hubby--picture below) or the zombie football coach, etc.) then take a pair of scissors, some craft paint and fake blood, and go nuts! Hit the Halloween stores for make-up, dripping wounds, eyes, etc. to complete your look.

Prom Pictures--No prom is complete without awkward prom pictures, so be sure to create a backdrop like we did for our Newton H.S. Zombie Prom last year. The backdrop is some scrap wood that we painted white, then we spray painted a 'Zombie Prom' in runny, red paint, with 'Brains' on the other side. To add extra Zombie ambiance, we put a dead prom queen in the tree behind the backdrop, hanging her limp, lifeless (and completely fabricated) body over the top of the backdrop.
Food--Go for the gore factor. Everything had to be what a zombie would crave, so we had the 'Flayed Skin-Head' ham and cheese dip and the 'Bloodshot Eyeballs' deviled eggs. (This website has some great ideas: http://www.toppartyideas.com/gory-foods/)

Decorations--Create a ghoulish cemetery, complete with some of the graves partially dug up (with a mound of dirt and a shovel sticking out) to hint at the zombie origins. To create simple gravestones, simply use old boards (painted white, with black for the inscription), cardboard boxes faux painted to look like large tombstones (see mine on Pinterest here: http://www.pinterest.com/dylannewton1/) or Styrofoam pieces cut in shapes. We used the pieces that came from packaging material to make ours. TIP: If you use spraypaint on Styrofoam, it almost curdles the foam, creating an instant "aged" look to your tombstone.

Games--We had a "Thriller" dance contest, a contest for the best costume (and at OUR party, you aren't allowed in if you're NOT in costume. Even our 75+ neighbors came dressed in full Zombie regalia!), and also had a Zombie Total Blackout, where each participant was led into our tricked out garage to stick their hands into various tubs of disgusting stuff they had to identify...blindfolded.

Prizes and Favors--No prom is complete without a King and Queen, so be sure to Zombi-fy your prizes. I got old bowling trophies and dance trophies from our area thrift shops, spray painted them black and handed them out to our Zombie Prom Queen and King. All of the guests walked out with a Zombie party favor bag full of zombie-themed candy.

We had a blast at our Zombie Prom last year...looking forward to this year's theme: Witch and Werewolf (to celebrate the release of my novels ANY WITCH WAY, and DESPITE THE FANGS!).

Here's to a spook-tacular Halloween!

Dylan Newton

P.S. Want to jumpstart your Halloween fun? How about a great paranormal read? Check out Dylan Newton's books about psychics, witches or werewolves on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Dylan-Newton/e/B00B4FE2CC

P.P.S. Want to see more pictures from our Zombie Prom? Check out my Pinterest page here: http://www.pinterest.com/dylannewton1/. Enjoy!

Haunted Garden: Halloween Monsters: Werewolves & Shapeshifters

Happy Halloween Season! October is possibly my favorite month of the year, and Halloween has a great deal to do with that. This year, I thought it would be fun to do a little fact finding about the traditional Halloween monsters (werewolves, vampires, and Frankenstein) and their evolution in folklore and literature.

Since my upcoming release - Andromeda's Fall - (release date TBD) involves mountain lion shifters, let's start with werewolves (and shifters in general).

As I researched this topic, I found it very interesting that--unlike vampires and Frankenstein--almost every culture around the world has some type of transformation or shape-shifting mythology (typically with animals indigenous to the area) that go back to antiquity.

In earlier history, shapeshifters were most commonly deities (gods or goddesses) with the magical ability to transform. In Japan they have Kitsune, a fox shifter who is typically benevolent but often a trickster. Korea and China have similar fox shapeshifter myths. In Africa, deities shift into lions or leopards. In South America they transform into jaguars. Some gods/goddesses in Greek, Roman, Norse, etc. mythology can pick their forms.

Another frequent myth seen for shifters in earlier history were humans who were transformed into something by a god or goddess as a punishment. In Greek mythology, Arachne was transformed into a spider. In Roman and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, King Lycaon was changed to a wolf by Jupiter (some attribute this as the beginning of werewolf mythology). But in these cases, the person shifted had no power to change back to human. This theme continued in later European folklore. The Frog Prince and Beauty and the Beast both involve transformation into animals as a punishment.

Enter the Middle Ages where the werewolf mythology became prevalent. Most of the people executed for being werewolves in this time period were later found by historians to be serial killers. The werewolf mythology closely follows witch folklore and persecution. In fact, shifters mythologies were not all that prevalent in North America until brought over by European colonists at the same time as they brought their fear of witches.

Based on what I could find, not a lot seemed to change about shapeshifter folklore for quite some time. Up to the 1940s (and even later) they were truly seen as monsters eliciting terror and revulsion. Early books and movies about werewolves have the happy ending being the death or defeat of the creature.

In my research, I couldn't find a specific trigger for the change in perception of shapeshifters and werewolves as monsters to the view of them today as sympathetic and even heroic. Even books written in the mid- to late-1900s still use a more classic example of shifters. For example, in C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, Eustace is shifted into a dragon - but more as a learning moment or punishment, not at will.

I would argue that shapeshifters we see today are found in literature and movies only in the last 10-20 years. Unlike their earlier counterparts, these people/creatures are not deities (or not always), are not being punished, can change forms at will (or at least aren't permanently an animal), are powerful, are usually benevolent or good, and frequently have an entire sub-culture of like-shifters to support them or deal with in some way.

What a change from the monsters they originally were. Right?

I've found this topic so interesting to research, I'll have to dig more on the psychology behind this phenomenon. My guess is that, like vampires, we've romanticized werewolves and other shapeshifters, giving them more human qualities, behaviors, and values. Dissatisfied by our human frailty, we are intrigued by the thought of what additional power assuming such a form could provide.

It makes me wonder what the next 10, 20, 100 years have in store for these fascinating--and ancient--creatures.

http://www.abigailowen.com
Award-winning author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado, and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe. Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite activity by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

Haunted Garden:SAMHAIN IN SHERWOOD

SAMHAIN IN SHERWOOD

Copyright: Laura Strickland

Midnight approaches on the eve of Halloween—or Samhain, as the Old Ones called it—and the slender figure of a woman slips through the trees of Sherwood Forest. Flickers of moonlight and darkness, like the cloak she wears, conceal her simple nun’s habit, and her identity.
How many nights has she made this journey in her mind? Wishing, hoping, praying she might escape the restraints that tether her, and find her way back.

To him.

For there is and could ever be only one man who possesses her heart, and he is dead.

But on this night, this one, blessed sabbat on the wheel of the year, the door between the living and the dead stands open and passage may be made from this world to the next, and back. For this one night, she might hope to hold him again.

She bursts into a clearing amid the trees, an ancient place steeped in old magic, and beholds the figure awaiting her. Beneath the full moon, wrapped in tendrils of mist, he appears first a man, and then a stag standing upright, bearing a full rack of antlers. Without hesitation she throws herself at his feet.

“Please, my Lord, I beg thee grant me one wish. I have surely earned it in grief and pain, and loneliness.”

“Ask, child, for what you will.” His reply comes up through the soil, surges through the trees and dances in the air.

“Let me but be with him again this night.”

“Name the one you seek.”

“Robin.” She barely dares breathe the name.

And the god replies, “Arise, Marian.”

She comes to her feet eagerly, her heart nearly bursting, and hears a beloved voice call her, like an echo of the god. “Marian.”

Ah, and there he stands! Hale and strong and whole as he was before he fell, slaughtered by his Norman enemies—beautiful to her eyes. Every longing she has known these many years since his death finds answer as she stumbles forward into his arms.

“How long have we?” she asks, even as her lips reach for his. The spell of Samhain, as she knows, is fleeting and he might fade with the moonlight.

His only reply comes in silence as he draws her down onto a bed of moss and loves her full well.

“Do not go from me,” she begs then. “Too many nights have I lain in my bed at the nunnery, longing for you. I would not have this end.”

“Aye, Marian, and what would you give to be with me not just this one night, but always?”

She looks into his beloved face and replies, “Anything.”

He brushes his lips across hers, making her quiver with delight.

“Yet,” she says, “I understand the bargain Samhain offers: for but a few short hours on this night are the dead allowed back across the threshold. Is it not so?” He, who has dwelt in death so long, will know.

“Aye, love, it is so.”

“How long have we?” she asks again, her heart breaking.

And he says, “Before the cock crows I must turn back for the spirit world from whence I came. Only those likewise in spirit may come with me to the land on the other side.”

She wonders, then, whether she might have been better without this one night’s joy, for the grief of losing him all over again.

He asks her once more, “What would you give to come with me? Would you give your life?”

“If I could so choose.” But she knows she cannot. All these lonely years without him have not brought her that choice, nor all her prayers and longing.

But he leans close and whispers, “My love, you can.”

Her heart leaps. More than anything she wants to believe him. She plumbs the mysteries in his eyes and begs, “How? By renouncing the world? By sacrificing all else? Only tell me, Robin, and it is done.”

“Nothing so difficult.” He captures her face between his hands and studies her kindly. “Do you not wonder why you were able to find me this night, of all those Samhain nights since my death? Why the moonlight guided you, the god awaited you, and the portal stood open?”

“So it does stand, on Samhain Eve.”

“Aye, and for the dead more than for the living.” Very gently he says, “’Twas not in flesh you came to me this night, Marian. My love, your body lies still in your cell at the nunnery, where death found you not three hours ago.”

“Dead!” The terrible wonder of it suffuses her. For an instant, she misses her life as once she missed him: bright mornings kissed by a brisk wind, flowers and children’s laughter, and the smell of new bread baking. But without him her existence is but a long, terrible dream, for all her passion lies here with this man.

He lifts her fingers to his lips and his love wraps around her. “And so, Marian, will you bid farewell to the world and follow me?”

She gives him the last answer she ever will, her only answer. “Robin, my love, I never stopped following you.” And gladly, joyfully, she steps over the threshold with him, into eternity.


The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy: www.laurastricklandbooks.com

Click Here To Purchase The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy


Friday, October 10, 2014

Smell the flowers by Annalisa Russo

My son has traveling down to a science, allowing himself just enough time to show up at the gate as they’re boarding. Of course, he travels constantly for work. On the other hand, I like to get to the airport two hours early to catch a meal and settle in with a book near the gate. I imagine when you travel all the time, you stop looking at what’s around you. It would be easy to forget what it is to see something for the first time.

I have a recent addition to my family, a precious toddler named Luci. When you take Luci for a walk, she MUST stop and smell each flower in her path. She wrinkles up her nose and sniffs. She sees EVERYTHING—the wing on a bird, the small moving dot of an airplane in the sky, a dog with his nose poked out between the slats of his backyard fence. She hears sounds I habitually block out—the dishwasher starting, a garbage truck rumbling down the street, the yawn of her cat stretching in the sun by the door. Luci has taught me a lesson.

During the summer, I take an early morning walk each day. It’s more of a power walk than a stroll.
Aren’t we all conscious these days of the benefits of daily exercise? After my first post-Luci walk of the summer, I realized, like the constant traveler, I wasn’t conscious anymore of my surroundings. I habitually looked down at the ground and plotted my next scene in my head for whatever story I was writing.

So, on my next walk, I slowed down and made a point of looking around at my surroundings. I noticed a few items I missed on previous walks: a robin fat with new life, words in sidewalk chalk on a driveway— This is how we roll— with a peace sign, a POW flag flying on a pole beneath an American flag. I passed that same house every day for years.
A lone tulip that survived our unusually brutal winter.

I don’t know why the tulip bothered me so much. It was on the property of an old man I noticed once or twice working in his yard—a beautiful yard kept pristine from the full attention of its owner. Now, I noticed a few weeds, a small broken branch dried and dangling from a tree, the pretty geraniums that always lined the driveway wilting from lack of water. I wondered if perhaps the man was ill. Before Luci, I would have raced by his house without a second thought, oblivious of the neglected yard. I sent up a prayer.

Thank you, Luci, my love, for making me slow down and see.

Annalisa Russo
www.AnnalisaRusso.com/blog
www.AnnalisaRusso.com

The Stuff of Dreams

With surprising frequency, I get story ideas from my dreams. I'll wake up in the morning and hurry to write down the vivid setting or scene which I have just experienced. These nuggets of inspiration are particularly powerful, since I have been immersed in them as a participant...inside the story, so to speak.

That is how I came to develop Dragon Wife, my current release with The Wild Rose Press. I popped awake one morning, having dreamed myself as the heroine, Orwenna. She encounters a magnificent dragon-shifter chieftain, falls for him, and then learns he plans to marry her cousin. It was such a striking experience, full of intense emotions and possibility. I just had to write it down. One thing led to another, and I found myself with a novel.

Last month, I dreamed the beginning of a multiple-worlds fantasy story, and by the time I’d written ten pages of notes, I realized it will actually be a series. Who knows where this gem of an idea came from? Honestly, it feels like a magical gift, popped into my sleeping mind.

Have you ever received inspiration from a dream? Do you think it came from your own subconscious, or is there a possibility we can touch some larger truth or reality in our dreams? I’m curious to know what others think about this.

Diana Green
http://www.dianagreenbooks.com

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Blog Promotion by Kayden Claremont

When I got my book deal with The Wild Rose Press the thought that I would have to do promotion made me light-headed and my tummy queasy. Like all authors I love to write and don’t want to lose precious time doing promotion. I didn’t know how to get started so I hired a social media expert to help me. The first thing she told me was I needed to brand myself. Since I write under two different names I needed two different looks for all my social media including my blogs.

For Kayden Claremont, my paranormal erotica pen name, she found a picture of the universe that I loved then she added a gorgeous hunk on the right hand side. She chose a different font and added my logline ‘A glimpse into the steamy supernatural’. Thus my branding was born.

I hadn’t really spent much time thinking about me as a brand, but I really liked what she had created for me.

Marilyn used the same picture on my Facebook, and Twitter to strengthen my branding.

Then on my About Page she installed my picture and biography. On my Books Page she installed the cover of Hell’s Bounty, release October 10, 2014 from The Wild Rose Press, and she made sure my contact information was there as well. I had never bothered with these two pages,but Marilyn insisted they be done properly so that if a reader wanted to find out more information about me they could find it easily.

We decided that my romantic suspense pen name, Karen Blake-Hall, needed to look suspenseful so she found a picture of a park at night, then added my logline, ‘Where Sizzling Romance and Thrill Suspense Collide’. She added a slightly different biography to the About Page then added the two anthologies that I have short stories in on the Books Page.

My blogs are linked to my Facebook and Twitter so the post is broadcast throughout all of my social media.

I’m an introvert and really I don’t want to be promoting myself, but you have to put some personal information out there for readers to identify with. She taught me there is a difference between being personal and being personable. I’m gluten-free and when I post about food, my numbers increase. Why? Even if you’re not gluten-free you know someone who is and it’s nice to find a different recipe to try.

Share your hobbies, your favorite TV shows and movies. Share what you love and your readers will love them too. Have contests, quizzes and don’t forget things that bring you joy in your life might bring joy to your readers lives too.

Now, am I a master of the blogging universe? Not really, but I can now use blogs efficiently to connect with like-minded readers.

Please visit Kayden Claremont at:

Blog: http://kaydenclaremont.wordpress.com/
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/kayden.claremont

Hell's Bounty Available Oct 10!
To Purchase