Sunday, October 26, 2014

THREE MINUTES with CAROLYN SPEAR

Where did you get the idea for Guarding His Heart?
I’m always creating backstories for people I see in real life and on TV. Why is he so mean? Why is she so commitment phobic? Then I met author Dominique Eastwick at a writers’ conference where she introduced me to the Wiccan Haus series. As soon as I read her novella Shifting Hearts, my mind started spinning a yarn about an unexpected hero from urban legend. I love her shared world; with several authors involved, there’s always a new novella and new characters to love.

How did you develop your lead characters?
Trevor Greene is a shifter whose innate camouflaging ability makes him the perfect bodyguard. He’s been raised to distrust the humans whose insatiable curiosity put his kind’s existence in constant jeopardy. I considered how a shifter from a secretive society would view humanity. Then naturally I had to complicate his life by providing him with a woman whose compassion, beauty and strength make her irresistible.

What drives you to write Paranormal Romance?
Anything is possible in this genre. There is always a struggle between right and wrong, good and evil. Sprinkling in a little magic enhances both the friction between the characters as well as increase the level of conflict. Who doesn’t enjoy being bewitched?

On an island where paranormals walk secretly among humans, can Trevor trust his heart and his secret to a human woman?

School teacher Cassidy Sinclair’s sanity is questioned after claiming to see her hero appear out of thin air. Her savior dies in her arms after intercepting a gunshot meant for her and her student, Allan Branson. The only person who believes her account is the boy’s father who arranges her one-week stay at an exclusive holistic healing spa called the Wiccan Haus off the coast of Maine.

Trevor Green, a paranormal, is recovering—again—from gunshot wounds at Wiccan Haus. His body battered and his confidence broken, he is tasked to protect the woman he almost got killed. The one he’s fantasized about for months and who thinks he’s dead.

Click a vendor's name to read an excerpt. Musa Publishing - Amazon

Carolyn Spear finds magic in nature. The woods, the river, the beach is where she feels connected with the earth. Native cultures on every continent understand the the relationships between the spiritual and physical realms. Carolyn constantly looks for patterns in everything and finds more similarities than differences in the world's belief systems.

She grew up in a rural county in Virginia where everyone knew everyone. Like many kids from small towns, Carolyn intended to get far away from my hometown as possible. Yet, she can't imagine growing up anywhere else and hates all the strip malls and chain stores that cropped up after she left for college.

Learn more about Carolyn Spear on her website and blog.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

NEW RELEASE for CD COFFELT

Musa Publishing is thrilled to announce Mage Revealed Book 2 of The Magic Withheld series by CD Coffelt is now available.

Not many can say they were born twice in a lifetime. Not many would want to.

Struck with enough malevolent Spirit to turn him into a raving beast of a man, Bert Reese fights to remain human. Alone, he walks a slender path between sanity and madness. Then, an unlikely source enters his life to help—one of the now-hated mages.

But Ashleigh is different and calms his butchered senses. Her fierce nature is the only rock that stands between him and the crevasse that is beast. In all ways, she walks beside him toward a new beginning. But at the end of their journey lies the one who used Spirit against him. Questions arise; did Tiarra, head of the Imperium, lose her magic, die, or simply give way to the new order? Or, like a spider, does she wait for a mage to blunder into her web?

Forced on him without a care for his humanity, Bert is the mage who should not exist, born with a different kind of magic.

And the gates of Hell are no match for the magic he wields.

BUY LINK

Please click a vendor's name to read excerpts from other books by CD Coffelt. Musa Publishing - Amazon

BUY LINK

CD Coffelt lives outside Maryville, Missouri with a bemused husband and way too many cats. She adores all things fantasy with a special love for urban and epic.

Learn more about CD Coffelt on her blog and Unicorn Bell a site CD shares with five other authors.. Stay connected on Facebook and GoodReads.

Friday, October 24, 2014

NEW RELEASE for RAY WENCK

Musa Publishing is thrilled to announce the mystery novel The Long Search for Home, book 2 of Random Survival by Ray Wenck, released today.

When death surrounds you it's time to go home.

When the world changed Bobby and Becca found themselves in constant danger. With no where safe the brother and sister decide to take the long treacherous journey home in hopes of finding their family alive. However, along the way, they are captured by a Colonel who is building an army to protect the country from what he feels is an impending invasion.

Bobby and Becca manage to escape and find their father and a new home, but when an invasion actually occurs and the colonel's army is ambushed, they must decide stay home and be safe, or try to rescue the man who would have kept them imprisoned.

EXCERPT
Becca could feel them behind her. They were getting closer. Her breaths were already coming in deep painful gulps, but to quit would be the end. Knowing what they would do if they caught her she raced on, ignoring the pain, but the outcome was inevitable. They were bigger, stronger and more numerous; otherwise she might stand a chance.

Sprinting hard over the open, high grass of what had once been a golf course, she reached down, her hand finding the handle of the long survival knife her father had given her so many years before. In midstride she yanked it free of the sheath strapped along her thigh. With the blade now rising and falling in her hand like a relay racer’s baton, a quick thought of her father flashed through her mind. He was the reason for this journey. Well, if she was going to go down, she would make him proud.

BUY LINK
To read excerpts from other books by Ray Wenck please click here.



Ray Wenck has taught for thirty-four years. He began writing three years ago just for fun. Through the encouragement of his student teacher Ray continued writing and submitted his latest work to Musa.

Learn more about Ray Wenck on his website. Stay connected with Ray on Facebook.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Italics or Quotes?

Titles in a Manuscript
Take a Tip from Helen #14

by Helen Hardt

Use the following rules when a title of a work appears in a manuscript:

Titles of books, newspapers, and magazines should be italicized.
Examples:
I heard that the book A History of Princess Crowns is fascinating.

The astronaut had a subscription to the newspaper Mars Daily.

Marsha likes the magazine Cats Monthly because it has cute photos.

Titles of movies, television shows, radio programs, and plays should be italicized.
Examples:
The gardener’s favorite movie is the documentary Plants are Awesome.

The scientist watches the television show World’s Weirdest Germs every Tuesday night.

Sally’s mom loved listening to the radio show Stuff Old People Like.

The little girl’s favorite play was Cute, Fuzzy Animals in the Forest.

Titles of articles in newspapers or magazines and chapter titles in books should be in quotation marks.

Examples:
Did you read the article “Fun with Flesh-Eating Bacteria” in the magazine?

My favorite chapter in the book was “Germs are Gross.”


Titles of poems and songs should be in quotation marks.
Example:
In high school, Sally wrote a poem called “Johnny Is Cute.”

She also wrote a song called “I Think I’m in Love with Johnny.”

~Helen

To read excerpts from Helen Hardt's books please click a vendor's name.
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Helen Hardt is the Head Line Editor for Musa Publishing and a freelance editor. She is also an award-winning author. Helen writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and erotic romance for several publishers. Her non-writing interests include Harley rides with her husband, attending her sons’ sports and music performances, traveling, and Taekwondo (she’s a blackbelt.)

Learn more about Helen Hardt and her editing service on her website.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ESSENTIALS of LIFE

Essential Oils for Writers
by Elizabeth J. M. Walker

As greener products and lifestyle choices become more popular, so do the ancient practices of yoga, meditation, and homeopathy wellness choices – such as aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy has been practiced since ancient times and is making a big comeback in the twenty-first century. While the use of concentrated scents can be used for general health and well-being, writers can attempt to harness the benefits of aromatherapy to enhance their writing.

Peppermint oil is great for awakening and clearing the mind. If you need some added pep in the morning (or after a nine hour day at the “real” job) adding peppermint essential oil to an oil diffuser near your writing space can waken your senses and help your mind focus on writing. It’s also great for clearing up headaches and nasal congestion.

Citrus essential oils, such as lemon and sweet orange, are also great “pick-me-up” scents. The bright citrus scents are perfect for uplifting your spirits after receiving yet another rejection letter from a publisher or an agent. Lemon essential oil is also great for strengthening the immune system during cold and flu season – the last thing you want is to be stuck in bed with a cold when you have a deadline looming!

Lavender, one of the most popular essential oils, is perfect for calming the mind and retaining focus. It is also commonly used for insomnia – if you can’t sleep because you have too many story ideas or are nervous about some final edits, sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow at bedtime. Soaking in a bath scented with lavender essential oil can also be mind-calming – if you can fit it into your busy schedule.

Romance writers take note – patchouli essential oil is regarded as an aphrodisiac. Patchouli is also recommended as an antidepressant and anti-stress essential oil. Bergamot is another highly recommended essential oil when it comes to relieving stress, anxiety, and depression.

Rosemary essential oil is great for boosting brain power and is often recommended for students taking exams – or writers who need some extra focus on their latest project. It is said that rosemary is a good essential oil for combating mental fatigue and forgetfulness.

It is important to note that essential oils are meant to be gently inhaled or used in a diffuser to fill the room with scent – and not ingested. While some well-practiced homoeopathists may ingest essential oils or recommended this to others, it’s best for newbie essential oil users to only use them as scents. And of course, not all people react the same to all essential oils. While these scents are recommended for the above reasons, it’s best to play around and find out what works best for you. I personally love combining peppermint and lavender in my diffuser for a combination of clarity, wakefulness, and stress relief – I also just really love the way the two essential oils smell together.

Next time you’re writing into the wee-hours and are dangerously close to a deadline – try reaching for an essential oil or two instead of stressing out and brewing another pot of coffee.

I used essential oils when writing my YA fantasy and they helped to keep me focused. Here is a brief intro. I hope you like it.

Trina is more likely to set the palace on fire with her powers than be a princess – could a dragon mage be the next ruler of the magical kingdom of Dorlith?

Trina is a fifteen-year-old dragon mage in a kingdom ruled by witches and wizards – the same people who have brought dragons and other magical creatures near extinction. Trina can barely control her fire powers and is desperate for an apprenticeship, but finding a fellow dragon mage to be her teacher is proving more difficult than coming across an actual dragon.

Then there’s the Royal Tourney – a competition presented by the Queen to find a successor to the throne. Trina heads to the competition in the hopes of sparking some interest in the mage society and earning herself an apprenticeship.

She never intended to be a frontrunner in the competition.

She never meant to catch the attention of the evil witch trying to take over the throne.

She never expected to fall for a wizard.

Now Trina must face tough decisions about who she is and who she could become. Trina must ask herself: Can she really win the Royal Tourney?

To read an excerpt please click a vendor's name Musa Publishing - Amazon


Elizabeth J. M. Walker has published zines for over a decade and lives in her hometown of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She Dreamed of Dragons is her first novel.

Learn more about Elizabeth J.M. Walker on her website. Stay connected on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WARD OFF THAT CHILL

by HL Carpenter

Now that cooler weather has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, the human residents of Carpenter Country have started thinking about soup. And quackers too of course. We’re duck fans, and ducks generally show up in our neighborhood in the fall. However, much as we like both, we restrain ourselves from combining soup and quackers.

Speaking of combining things, did you know January is national soup month in the US? What we don’t understand is why April is national grilled cheese sandwich month. Those two celebrations belong together. Someone should right this wrong.

We think we’ll have soup while we work up a petition.

Won’t you join us in a bowl? It’s big enough for all.

Easy Potato Soup
1 tbsp. butter
4-5 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small – medium onion, chopped or diced
1 tbsp. cornstarch or flour
¼ cup water
2 cups of water
1 cup milk (whole, evaporated, or 2%)
1 tsp. salt
1 packet chicken bouillon

Melt butter in 2 quart saucepan. Add onions and potatoes and cook until soft, 5-10 minutes.

Mix cornstarch with ¼ cup water (pre-mixing prevents annoying lumps). Add cornstarch mixture, remaining water, milk, salt, and bouillon to softened potatoes mixture.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes.

Serve with a topping of shredded cheese or a chunk of fresh bread.

Bonus goodness:
Crave added richness? Substitute ½ cup of whipping cream for half of the milk.

Are you a vegetable fan? Toss in the veggie of your choice, either frozen or fresh, when you add the milk and water. We like frozen carrots and corn. They add color and they cook right along with the potatoes.

Like things meatier? Put in leftover ham or chicken.

Bland potatoes? Mix in sweet pickle juice. Six teaspoons give the soup a little zing.

Want some zest? A ½ teaspoon of dry mustard provides zip.

Need more soup? Add more stuff. The converse works too.

Fighting off vampires? Switch out the regular salt for a teaspoon of garlic salt. If you have a bad infestation, add ½ teaspoon crushed garlic to the soup and serve with a wood spoon.

Looking for a no-calorie accompaniment? Read an e-book while you’re enjoying your soup! We recommend our latest young adult novel, Walled In.

When her father is accused of fraud, seventeen year old Vandy Spencer discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception.

Seventeen year old Vandy Spencer lives like a princess. Sheltered by her wealthy family, she happily makes plans to spend a fantasy before-college gap summer with her gorgeous boyfriend.

Then her dad is accused of a huge financial fraud. Vandy is thrust into a frenzy of media attention as accusations and innuendos pile up daily. The victims of her dad’s swindle vow revenge, and her dad flees.

As her perfect life disintegrates, Vandy struggles to separate reality from lies. Was her perfect life truly so perfect? Did she ever really know her father?

When family secrets come to light, revealing an unimaginable betrayal, Vandy learns to appreciate the simple richness of sincerity and truth.

To read an excerpt from Walled In please click a vendor's name. Musa Publishing - Amazon

To read excerpts from the other books by HL Carpenter please click here.


HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter writing team. Their latest young adult novel is Walled In, the story of Vandy Spencer, who discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception when her father is accused of fraud. Learn more about HL Carpenter on their website.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Can I Call You Mom?

by Anne Montgomery

A painfully thin boy-child sat in the passenger seat of my truck. Close-cropped dark hair, brown skin, crooked teeth. He squinted at the windshield, watching the road that would take us to the Title I high school where I’d been a teacher for eleven years. I noted that he needed glasses. Shocked at the sudden change in my status as a childless adult, we rode in silence.

My inner-city school in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, has a population of students who primarily live in poverty. The Title I designation, among other things, guarantees that the children can eat a free lunch at school and often a free breakfast, as well. Besides hunger, many of our students deal with a plethora of other conditions that plague the poor – drug and alcohol abuse, gang violence, teen pregnancy, neglect, physical abuse, and sadly – for hundreds of them – homelessness.

I teach in a program that allows me to have the same students sometimes for three or four years. So, I get to know some of them well. When summer break roles around, I find myself anxious. I worry about what might happen to them without the structure the school day provides and the meals many of them depend on to survive. On the last day of classes, I always put my phone number on the board. I tell my students that, if they find themselves in a difficult situation with nowhere else to turn, they should call me and I will do what I can to help.

Early one summer I got a call from a student I hardly knew. I had the child for just one semester. We spoke a number of times, chatting about nothing in particular. I sensed there was something specific he wanted me to do. But when I asked if I could help him in some way and he always said no. Before hanging up, he often reminded me that he would be in my class again in the fall.

When the school year got underway, his name was on my roster, but he did not appear for class. I called his number. The phone had been disconnected.

Several weeks went by.

Finally, he called me. He was in a new high school, near the group foster care home in which he now lived: the result of a harrowing family story, the particulars of which are not important here.

“I’m hungry,” he said.

“Hungry? Surely they feed you.”

“The refrigerator and cupboards are locked. And the school won’t let me eat there.” His voice was small. “They said the paperwork would take two weeks.”

“Two weeks!” I was horrified.

Later, I complained bitterly to a woman I work with. “How can they do this?” I said stomping around the hallway like an angry mother bear. “How can they let a child go hungry?”

“Do something about it then,” she said.

“Do what?”

“Call the foster care people and tell them you’d like him to live with you.”

I stopped stomping, frozen in place. “Me?”

I’d never had any children, though I’d tried over the years. Sometimes, I’d felt badly about my inability to conceive, especially when faced with baby showers and children’s birthday parties. I still don’t hold babies. However, I was no longer tormented by the fact that I wasn’t a mom and I’d long ago given up on the idea.

Still, I made the call to the foster care folks. Then, I spoke with the boy on the phone and asked if he’d like to come live with me. After a brief pause, he said yes. I also called a judge I know to expedite the process. Since I was a teacher, my fingerprints and background check were already on file with the state.

Two weeks later the child was placed in my home. Ten Saturdays of foster care parenting classes followed, then braces and homework and house rules and laundry – teenage-boy socks were a shocking revelation – and conversations about curfews and girlfriends and part-time jobs and life after high school.

Three years flew by at a manic pace, making me marvel at the incredible stamina parents must maintain while rearing their children. Strangely, at almost the exact moment boy-child number one headed off to college, boy-child number two appeared. Now, he too has been safely launched. I keep my fingers crossed that we’ll celebrate their college graduations in the relatively near future: an almost unheard of event for children who’ve spent time in the foster care system.

My only problem with my parenting turn is how to explain it.

“Do you have any children?” Well-meaning strangers sometimes ask.

I used to answer by saying, “Yes, well, sort of…” and I’d mumble my way through the details.

Then, I remembered that day in the truck, when I sat silently with a small, frightened boy-child. Wanting to fill the empty space between us, I said, “You know, you can’t keep calling me Ms. Montgomery. The kids in the neighborhood all call me Annie.”

He didn’t speak for a long time. Then, still staring out the windshield at the road before us, he said, “You know, I’ve never had a mom. Can I call you Mom?”

Both of my boys call me Mom. And today, when anyone asks if I have any children I simply say, “Yes, I have two sons.”

Here is a short introduction to my historical novel. I hope you enjoy it.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician...and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

To read an excerpt from The Magician, please click a vendor's name.
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. Her first TV job came at WRBL TV in Columbus, Georgia, and led to positions at WROC TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP TV in Phoenix, Arizona, and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award-winning SportsCenter. She finished her on-camera broadcasting career with a two-year stint as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.

She has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces. Her first novel, The Jerusalem Syndrome: The Wreck of the Sunset Limited was published in 2004 and took second place honors in genre fiction in the 13th Annual Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards.

Anne currently teaches journalism and history at South Mountain High School in Phoenix and is an Arizona Interscholastic Association football referee and crew chief. When she can, she indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, and playing her guitar.

Stay connected with Anne Montgomery on Facebook.