Tuesday, March 20

Guest Author Linda Andrews

The use of Ley lines in paranormal investigations and fiction has come a long way from their mundane beginnings. Originally, the lines were simple straight paths connecting villages and spiritual places. It was simply a line of sight navigation our prehistoric ancestors used to travel.

In the 1970's, the meaning shifted from a mere observable geographic phenomenon to something more spiritual. These roads, lanes and walkways became energy pathways. Energy that could be used to manifest other worldly entities. And where one or more of these ley lines intersect, all shorts of paranormal activity could take place.

Oh, the possibilities!

Of course, paved roads, lanes and walkways are the more obvious ley lines. Others include, rivers. Sure the flow of water creates a current, energy if you will for the spirits to manifest. And then there's the human element. Way before long haul truckers came into being, rivers were the natural commercial arteries of nations. Even today, the Mississippi River in the US carries tons of cargo. Add human emotion and tragedy into the mix and you have even more opportunities for otherworldly contact.

Then there are railroads--the friction of steel against steel provides plenty of man made energy to bleed over into the neighboring structures. Not only do you have the fear and excitement of people traveling to new and far away places but there have been horrendous crashes killing large numbers of individuals. We've all heard the Urban Legends about the car/bus that stalls on the tracks.

Aside from the electromagnetic energy that normally courses through the Earth, humans have added high voltage power lines on criss-crossing her skin. Houses that are bordered on two sides by power lines are known for being paranormal hubs.

Recently, I watched an episode of Ghost Adventures. The show concentrated on Tombstone, Arizona and one of the things the investigators talked about was the veins of silver ore running under the city. The Klinge brothers hypothesized that since metal is used to conduct electricity that when lightning storms rolled through Tombstone, there would be an uptick of paranormal activity.

So if you're interested in ghosts or plotting your next novel involving ghosts consider how important setting plays in your experiences and story.

On a personal note, the house that we lived in where we experienced quite a bit of activity was bordered on 2 sides by electrical lines, another I visited had a creek running along the side of it and a railroad about 150 feet away. What about you? Have you have you had a paranormal experience near any of these ley lines?

And now for something completely different. Here's the blurb for my latest story:

The extraterrestrials have landed and they're human.

Rae Hemplewhite didn't believe in aliens until a close encounter with out-of-this-world technology drags her into the extraterrestrial security program. Helping alien refugees adjust to life on Earth is difficult enough, but her first clients have a price on their heads. Plus, her new partner seems torn between the urge to kiss her or kill her.

And that's the good news.

The bad news: Alliances are forming in deep space. If Rae doesn't keep her witnesses alive long enough to transfer their top secret information to the right faction of humanity, Earth will become a battlefield.

Blue Maneuver available now:
Barnes and Noble

Monday, March 19

News Bytes

I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day! I haven't been around much recently, but that'll definitely change soon. I'll be participating in my second A to Z Challenge starting April 1st. I'm very excited about it. I can't wait to begin since I had so much fun last year. Last year my topic was creatures from folklore and mythology. I'm planning on doing that topic again this year. If you'd like to sign up too, click the image.

For book news, Jungle Heat and Techno Crazed are now available at Amazon.com for Kindle, and Jungle Heat, Jungle Fire, Savage Bytes, and Stolen are at Barnes & Noble for Nook.

I also have received two new great reviews. One for Stolen:

"I was really impressed... This was a good book and it kept my attention. I was wondering what was going to happen next all the way through."

-- Addysgammie, Night Owl Reviews

One for Captive Moonlight:

"I enjoyed this paranormal romance... filled with non stop action. The love scenes between Charlotte and Joe are melting hot."

-- Janie Esparza, The Romance Studio

I'll share more news when I have it!

Tuesday, March 13

Guest Author Laura Bickle

The Price of Power
By Laura Bickle

For me, the most exciting thing about urban fantasy is the idea of magic intertwined with the everyday world. Imagining that there’s a secret supernatural world thriving just beneath the skin of our mundane existence leads to a rich world of “what if’s.” What if humans could bend the elements to their will? What if ghosts wandered, unseen, through hospital corridors? What if oracles can tell the future by looking into a flame or shuffling a deck of cards?

I especially love the idea of magic, of humans being able to touch and manipulate unseen powers. But wielding power would make our heroes and heroines gods, unless the magic has a price. Most epic fantasy literature requires that the exercise of unnatural power has a cost to the user, and that idea has permeated urban fantasy, as well.

Vampires, for example, are given immortality. But they sacrifice the day, and must submit to the bestial act of taking blood from another to gain that power (most of them, anyway). Werewolves fall sway to the unreasoning spell of the beast in moonlight, in exchange for physical power and healing. These costs apply to nonhuman creatures, and we’re familiar with that trading of life and magic.

But what about human heroes and heroines? Does bending the fabric of reality to suit their goals also bring suffering upon them? What do they trade to be able to work magic?

I think that human protagonists must also make a trade; there’s no free lunch in the universe. Even if a magical heritage is forced on them, and not something sought out willingly.

With that in mind, I created my heroines with an ambivalent relationship toward their magical powers. In EMBERS, Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest kind of psychic medium, a Lantern. Where other mediums allow spirits to use their hands and voices to communicate, Anya devours ghosts. It’s a talent she had no choice in - she’s always been a Lantern. And it comes in handy in her nocturnal work as a ghost hunter. But she wrestles with the costs.

The first cost is physical. Devouring a spirit leaves a burn, a scar, on her body. The second is psychological - Anya feels apart from ordinary humans, and can’t make a connection with her fellow ghost hunters. And the last one is spiritual. Anya wrestles with the idea of what happens to a ghost after she incinerates it. Does it go forward into an Afterworld? Or has she killed it entirely?

In DARK ORACLE (which I write under my Alayna Williams pseudonym) Tara Sheridan has a more subtle magical ability, but it’s brought her more pain. Tara is an oracle, a criminal profiler who uses Tarot cards to solve crimes. Like Anya, she had no choice in it - it’s a gift given to her by her mother. While pursuing a serial killer with her talents, she was attacked and left for dead. Tara survived, but she was scarred for life and left barren - a very dear physical cost. She exiled herself from society, swore of the cards, and seeks tranquility in swearing off magic - until duty comes knocking. A scientist working with dark matter has gone missing, and the society of oracles to which she belonged desperately needs her help to locate him. Tara must decide whether to pick up the mantle of magic again, to assume the role of oracle, and endure further costs.

Without a price to magic, our heroes and heroines would be gods, immune from the consequences of their actions. We’d all like to think that we’d embrace the reins of power willingly. But I don’t think it would be that simple. By adding a bit of magical karma and conflict to the story, their humanity shines through more clearly.

Question for readers: If you could choose a magical power, what would it be? Would you foresee any costs to having a hidden power in your own life?

Anya Kalinczyk #1
Pocket Juno Books
Mass Market Paperback, $7.99
ISBN: 978-1439167656
April 2010

“One of the most promising debut novels I’ve read in a great while… I’d highly recommend this book to anybody who reads fantasy. It reminds me in many regards…of another exceptional first novel…Emma Bull’s seminal War for the Oaks, and there’s not much higher praise that I can give.”
—Elizabeth Bear on Tor.com

“Bickle has something great in Anya. Embers has everything: demons, ghosts, dragons, love, sex, police, and murder.”
—M.L.N. Hanover, bestselling author of Darker Angels

“Gritty but never grim, Embers is a truly urban fantasy, where the soul of a city haunts every page. I can’t wait for more of Anya and the unforgettable Sparky!”
—Jeri Smith-Ready, award-winning author of Bad to the Bone and Shade

Unemployment, despair, anger--visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit's unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya--who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern--suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil's Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya--with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team --can stop it.

Anya's accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she's risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she's ever faced.

EMBERS is available now from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Read an excerpt at http://books.simonandschuster.com/Embers/Laura-Bickle/9781439167656/excerpt

Anya Kalinczyk #2
Pocket Juno Books
Mass Market Paperback, $7.99
ISBN 978-1439167687
September 2010


Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.

SPARKS is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Read an excerpt at http://books.simonandschuster.com/Sparks/Laura-Bickle/9781439167687/excerpt

Author Bio:

Laura Bickle has an MA in sociology-criminology (research interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She has worked in and around criminal justice since 1997. Although she does read Tarot cards, she's never used them in criminal profiling or to locate lost scientists. She recently took up astronomy, but for the most part her primary role in studying constellations and dark matter is to follow her amateur astronomer-husband around central Ohio toting the telescope tripod and various lenses.

Writing as Laura Bickle, she's the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket - Juno Books. Writing as Alayna Williams, she's the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE.

More info on her urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here: http://www.salamanderstales.com/

Laura/ Alayna’s blogs

http://www.salamanderstales.blogspot.com and http://delphisdaughters.blogspot.com

She’s also at Facebook

Tuesday, March 6

Guest Author Jeffe Kennedy

Feeding the Vampire
By Jeffe Kennedy
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Date Published: August 3, 2011

Through good luck and healthy cowardice, Misty has survived the earthquakes that have torn the world apart, but has no skills to speak of. Or so she thinks. She does have blood, and someone must feed the vampire who has offered his protection and strength in exchange for sustenance. Feeding Ivan is a priority, and Misty finally serves a purpose. But when she awakens tied to his bed, an unwilling gift to Ivan from the townspeople, she discovers he has hungers other than blood. Hungers he expects her to satisfy in the most carnal manner. Under his seductive persuasion Misty discovers she has the power to sustain Ivan in all ways, while experiencing unspeakable pleasure herself.

Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Ellora’s Cave, ARe


I was compelled to feed him. I had no choice, really.

Earl cleared his throat. “Thank you.” Our town administrator looked around for agreement, but they weren’t meeting his eyes either. Like kids ducking the teacher’s gaze. “Thank you, Misty. We all appreciate your…” He trailed off uncomfortably.

Sacrifice? Surely no one wanted to hear that word aloud. Martyr to the cause? No, not much better.

Earl shuffled the papers in his lap. Waiting for me to get to it, I supposed. Well, he had just said that feeding Ivan ought to be the first order of business. We couldn’t very well make plans for our community while the guy in charge of our defenses wilted before our eyes, especially since we needed him alert and focused. Me? I was pretty damn expendable. I hadn’t brought much to the table so far, except my survival, which really was accidental. Right place at the right time. Turns out stolid New England was just the right place to be for the particular form this apocalypse took. Granite bedrock and all that.

My boring hometown was a safe haven and everyone wanted in on our resources. The people turning up every day were let in or turned away depending on what they offered. I counted my lucky stars I’d been grandfathered in simply because my neighbors didn’t have the heart to kick me out. Excellent keyboarding skills and a customer-friendly personality didn’t count for much in this economy. Especially without, um, customers or working keyboards.

I couldn’t afford to be a useless mouth to feed. Their hearts would harden—they already had. Tonight was pivotal. We’d acquired a vampire of our own for defense. Everyone felt better about our future—if we could keep him happy. At least I knew how to make blood. You could say I was a natural. And yet, the certainty that had propelled me to my feet seemed to be bleeding away, frightened off by Ivan’s fixed intensity and everyone else’s obvious relief. They waited, restless, for me to just get on with it. Uncomfortable silence.

Hi, I’m Misty and I’m a Fool. I haven’t done anything really unwise in twenty-seven days. Kind of a record for me really. Apparently I was due.

The vampire just stared at me.

I set my yellow pad on the chair and made myself walk across the circle to where he sat in the tacky folding metal chair. My sandals slapped lightly on the tiles, making tinny echoes. Ivan’s roving gaze sent tremors of anticipation up my thighs.

A few murmured conversations resumed. They probably didn’t like the creepy silence any more than I did. I appreciated their polite attempt not to gawk. I’d never seen a vampire feed—probably none of them had either. I stopped in front of Ivan. He leaned back, long legs sprawled out in careless indolence. He tilted his head at my hesitation and held out his hands as if to help me down from a carriage.

“Perhaps we should step out of the room?” I tried.

“I haven’t the strength to stand.” His grave eyes watched me with avid intent.

If I ran, he would definitely find the strength to hunt me down. After all, he’d walked into this room. Heck, he’d arrived at the bridge leading to our sleepy town only last night, offering his protection in return for our shelter and sustenance. He had to have gotten there somehow.

He wrapped his long fingers around my wrists, cuffing them with bands of steel. Exerting steady pressure, he drew me closer, parting his lips. White fangs gleamed with fluorescent highlights. My heart thumped in panic, hot fear filling me.

“Will it hurt?” My voice sounded thready, weak.

Hunger flared in his eyes at the question. “It always does.”

Ivan snapped me against his hard body. The sharp movement splintered any second thoughts. He pulled me astraddle his lap. My cheap cotton dress hiked up alarmingly. The chafe of his dark denim jeans sent tremors up my fully exposed thighs. Shame and terror flashed through me.

Then all thought and emotion burst in flame, immolating me through the fierce violence of his teeth sinking into my throat. The agony of the deep puncture, fear feeding pain, fired through my blood. I struggled like a wild thing, without thought. Animal instinct screamed at me to flee, to escape by any means possible.

The vampire held me trapped. There was no escape for me, the mouse flailing under the cat’s paw.

My will, never my strong point, snapped. The fight ebbed away with the tide of my blood. The steady drop of pressure left me enervated, without resistance. Darkness filled my brain, prickled with sparking stars. I wilted, becoming a bit of detritus washed upon the shore of Ivan’s body.

Pain filled my veins, pumped through my heart. It replaced my blood, spiraling through my body from the insistent penetration of Ivan’s teeth in my throat. Helpless against the crashing waves, I relinquished my last hold on consciousness and sank into the hot, tarry sea of oblivion.

By Jeffe Kennedy
Publisher: Carina Press
Date Published: October 24, 2011

A successful executive, M. Taylor Hamilton is on track with her ten-year plan. Too bad her personal life consists of hitting the gym and grocery shopping. Enter the seductive Adam Kirliss. They may have a working relationship, but everything changes at an office party when he handcuffs her to the rail of a yacht. Taylor writes the adventure off as too much champagne, but when Adam challenges her to a date, she agrees to meet up with him. And follow his rules. They share a night of exquisite intimacy, brimming with both pain and pleasure. But afterwards, fearful of losing her heart, Taylor pulls back emotionally. Adam is determined to prove that she longs for the loss of control he can give her – and the passionate release it provides. How can he make her see that he wants her, and not just her body?



Kirliss captured her other wrist and held them close in front of her, his warm fingers massaging her skin, while he studied her face. The boat surged over a wave, disturbing her balance. Kirliss’s unusual eyes caught the light, boring into her.

“This is silly,” she tried.

“Do you want me to make you stay?”

“What?” Taylor choked. She couldn’t let him treat her this way. “No! You’ll do no such—”
She lost her breath entirely when he pressed up against her. Thinking he was trying to embrace her, she pulled away and found herself backed against the brass railing.

By the time she gathered her flustered thoughts, her wrists were handcuffed to the rail behind her. Mortified, a bit afraid and—worse—suddenly and wildly aroused…

About the Author:

Jeffe (pronounced Jeff- ee) took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow (2001), was a Wyoming Arts Council roster artist, when she lived in Wyoming, and received the state’s 2005 Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award for a woman writer of exceptional talent in any creative writing genre and the 2007 Fellowship for Poetry. Jeffe has contributed to several anthologies, Drive: Women’s True Stories of the Open Road. (2002), Hard Ground (2003), Bombshells (2007) and Going Green (2009). Her first book, Wyoming Trucks, True Love and the Weather Channel was published by University of New Mexico Press in 2004. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.


Monday, March 5

Transylvania - Score a Kindle and Gift Card

Today we're going Transylvania-themed in celebration of the huge event Barbara Vey is having today on her blog! I helped donate a Kindle and an Amazon Gift Certificate with seven other authors. For the chance to win the KINDLE and $50 Gift Certificate to Amazon, visit Barbara Vey's blog at http://BeyondHerBook.com for more information!

*  *  *

Since Barbara's theme is Transylvania, I decided to share some Romanian folklore today.

A Zmeu is of Romanian folklore and mythology. It's basically a slavic dragon with anthropomorphic features, namely its humanoid legs, arms, and ability to use and make possession such as weapons. His magical powers include the ability to shapeshift, fly, and spit fire. He has supernatural strength.

In Romanian mythology, the zmeu is seen as the embodiment of selfishness and greed. He typically steals something that's very important, and Făt-Frumos, the Romanian version of "Prince Charming," has to gain it back through his selfless bravery. Even though the zmeu has amazing abilities, it's no match for Făt-Frumos.

In Moldavia, a zmeu is sometimes pictured as a vampire-like creature that takes the shape of a flame then goes in the room of a young girl or widow. Once inside, he becomes a man and seduces her.

Interesting Tidbits:
  • The name zmeu most likely comes from the Slavic word Zmey, which is a Slavic dragon with three heads. The plural form is zmei, and the feminine forms are zmeoaică and (fem. plural) zmeoaice.
  • Some English translations refer to a zmeu as a variation of an ogre or giant from western European mythologies. Like ogres, a zmeu kidnaps a maiden to be his wife in his otherworldly realm.
  • The word zmeu also refers to the kites that children fly. It's also the word for dragon in German, Russian, Norwegian, Swedish and Scottish English.
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