Friday, December 08, 2017

#FridayFeatures Celebrating Southern Magic Authors #Romance #MakingMagic

Author: Aidee Ladnier

Title: Lightheart (a speculative fiction ficlet of the Re.New.Al Anthology)

Released: September 13, 2017

Blurb: 

Re.new.al (noun)
1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut. Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.
Welcome to Renewal.


Excerpt:

Lightheart

The waves of heat shimmered around Alina as she depressed the painkiller' plunger. She wet her lips surprised they weren't cracked and dry. The tatters of her enviro-suit still functioned, protecting her from combustion, but it strained, the heat scorching her gloved palms. She dragged herself forward. Just a meter more to take her place in the pantheon of her ancestors. Just a little farther to die.

Alina panted, the sulfurous air inside the suit smothering. Slickness wet her back, sweat or possibly blood. Her legs couldn't hold her weight anymore. The fall from the cliff made her mission more critical. She had nothing to return to now. Desmona wouldn't want her broken, scarred. Her lover worshipped beauty and power--and Alina as long as she gave up her friends, her family.

One agonizing wrench and Alina glimpsed the molten core of the planet. It crooned the siren song of her ancestors, promising peace, prosperity to her people. A sacrifice, the first in a thousand years. Surely the gods would welcome her and bestow their blessings on the village of her birth. On Desmona. On the elders who had begged Alina to climb the mountain and throw herself into the volcano like a damsel of yore. To summon the Phoenix and bring back fruitfulness to the land. To make the soil yield and the skies clear. To begin anew from the industrial wasteland that was her home.

Alina's eyes burned as she balanced on the edge. And then gravity tumbled her down, the heat constricting her lungs as she fell. She welcomed oblivion.
But it did not come.

Instead, Alina inhaled cool, sweet air and rose on wings of flame. She eyed the unsuspecting village below. Her mission was clear. She must bring the fire and renew the land.



    Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, began writing at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, fold origami, and send ping pong balls into space. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee’s to write both romance and erotica with a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.
    Connect with Aidee at     Website     Facebook     Twitter   



    Friday, December 01, 2017

    #FridayFeatures Celebrating Southern Magic Authors #Romance #MakingMagic

    Author: Katherine Bone

    Title: The Mercenary Pirate (The Heart of A Hero)

    Released: September 7, 2017

    Blurb: 

    Wolfgang, one of Lord Wellington's craftiest spies, is a fighter, an indulgent loner who is cunning and bold enough to go where others do not dare. He hates distractions and complications, especially those involving the fairer sex, and his instincts have always fueled hi and kept him on course, mission after mission. That is, until his talents steer him toward a destiny he didn't know he had and a search for the brother he barely remembers. And when he comes into contact with a brave young woman disguised as a boy, the urge he feels to protect her might just lead him on the biggest adventure of all.

    Selina's wedding day did not go as planned. Instead, she was kidnapped by pirates and ransomed for an exorbitant sum. Her diabolical captors didn't hold up their end of the bargain, however, and kept her imprisoned even after their demands were met. More clever than her kidnappers expected, she managed to escape and disguised herself as a boy. Forced to lie, cheat, and steal in order to stay alive, she loses hope of ever returning to the man she intended to marry. Desperate, she agrees to become a handsome and compassionate sea captain's cabin boy to gain passage back to Cornwall, but the captain endangers the one thing she cannot afford to lose--her heart.

    Excerpt:

    Selina drew her knees up to her chest as fresh tears flowed down her cheeks. Heartrending sobs began to shake her shoulders.

    What had he said?

    Wolf rubbed his neck. He’d ridden miles over enemy territory to deliver messages to Wellington’s staff. He’d been surrounded by danger without food, water, and ammunition. He’d fought in hand-to-hand combat when the odds were against him. He’d been wounded, had healed, and been wounded again while docked in foreign ports, spying on the French. But nothing he’d ever gone through had taught him how to deal with a crying female.

    Ill-equipped and feeling grossly out of place, he crawled onto the bed, but he did so slowly so he didn’t scare Selina half to death. He reached out. “Take my hand.”

    Selina glanced up, her face full of raw emotion, her stare boring into the depths of his soul. “I have to go back,” she said. “It is the only way to find my brother.”

    Wolf’s heart clenched, making it hard to breathe. So this was the connection between them. They both wanted—needed—to find their brothers, though their reasons were different.

    “Do you think Owen can be found?” she asked.

    “I don’t know,” he said without hesitation.” He pulled her toward him. Selina eased into his arms, folding into him and laying her head against his chest. His fingers curled about her short hair, holding her to him as he massaged her scalp. “You have my word that I won’t rest until I’ve returned you safely to your father.”

    What then? Could he just leave knowing Selina would quickly sail off into danger without someone by her side to protect her from evil men like him? Wellington and Hartland had recalled him to London, after all.

    Wolf held Selina until he felt the slow and steady rise and fall of her chest and knew she’d drifted off to sleep. She was desperately in need of a bath, and if his growling stomach was any indication, she was hungry, too.

    Selina Herding certainly was a mystery. Even after their conversation, he didn’t know much about her. For instance, why hadn’t the pirates released her when they’d received their ransom? That wasn’t typical behavior unless someone with an agenda had paid to have the captives disappear. Her brother, Owen, would be a rich man when their father died, which made his kidnapping suspect, and Selina had been on the way to marry a gentleman who intended to get her out from under her father’s roof, presumably a man related to the ton. Was there a connection?

    He glanced down at the woman in his arms, pitying the man who pined for his bride-to-be. Something didn’t smell right to Wolf. And when his senses came alive that way, his instincts were usually accurate.

    His brow furrowed in thought. Few corsairs ventured to Cornwall because the Royal Navy and the preventative guard charted those waters. That meant her kidnappers had been paid handsomely to do so at risk to life and limb. But who wielded that kind of power?


    Wolf intended to find out.


    Katherine Bone has been passionate about all things historical since she was an Army brat traveling all over the world. As a budding artist, she met and fell in love with her own Prince Charming, a dashing lieutenant vowing duty, honor, and country. Whisked away to more Army bases, castles, battlegrounds and cathedrals, it was during this time in her life that the muse called with abandon, introducing her to swashbuckling characters promising adventures that would ease the lonely hours Charming was called away on duty. No longer nomadic, Katherine and her rogue have raised four children and set down southern roots with their fluffy Maine Coon, Christine Daae.

    Connect with Katherine online at     Website     Facebook     Twitter 

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

    Pirates Terms in Georgian London by Katherine Bone!



    Writing historical romance is a gratifying experience that can oftentimes be difficult too. An author makes choices that help modern readers understand the way people spoke in historical times, but must also season the story with historical words that transport readers to that era. Which words to use and when to use them? Well… that’s a talent every writer must master. Fortunately, several books are available to help authors achieve storyline Zen.

    My go-to book for pirate jargon has always been THE PIRATE PRIMER by George Choundas. A fascinating book! A dash of ‘You’re wasting words’ and a smidgeon of ‘What maggot’s burrowing under your periwig?’ goes a long way. (Pirate!)

    Most Regency authors tackle stories of the upper crust. Who doesn’t love daring and dashing dukes, marquises, or earls who champion the day? Even historical aristocrats spoke in gentleman’s code. Several of my favorites include ‘Banbury stories’ (falsehoods), ‘befogged’ (confused), ‘dicked in the nob’ (crazy), and ‘land a facer’ (punch in the face).

    Word substitutes like these aren’t as difficult for the average reader to understand. But what happens when characters hail from the seedier side of society?

    Enter the book CANT, A Gentleman’s Guide, The Language of Rogues in Georgian London. Love this introduction to the book!

    “Planning to go to Georgian London? You’ve collected some period money, got yourself kitted out with the appropriate clothes and had your inoculations. If not, go and do it right now.”

    ~ CANT, A Gentleman’s Guide, The Language of Rogues in Georgian London by Stephen Hart

    In CANT, the language of the London Underworld, readers are taken to places where the poor, thieves, rogues, mayhap pirates and murderers roamed. If one couldn’t speak the speak, one might ‘Catch a Cold’ (get into trouble). Think Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, though it takes place 70 miles north of London in 1837, readers can relate to the characters’ accents and seedier environment.

    Everyday words used in shabbier districts, not far from where aristocrats dwelt, are definitely contrary to the modern ear, confusing, strange, and oftentimes amusing. Used sparingly modern readers relate to the characters, setting, and plot.

    Here are a few that my pirates would enjoy:

    Rum Prancer Do you picture a dancing pirate on the deck with rum in hand? Get ready for this. Rum Prancer refers to a fine, beautiful horse.

    Rum Kicks Sounds like something a pirate might do while hanging from a noose at Tilbury Point, but we’d be wrong. Rum Kicks refer to gold or silver-brocade breeches.

    Rum Clout Something a pirate might have when the rum is never gone. Nope! Rum Clout means a fine silk handkerchief.

    Rum Nab The old nab the rum and run trick, eh? Could work, except Rum Nab refers to a good hat.

    Rum Nantz A man named Nantz who likes to drink rum? Wrong. Rum Nantz refers to good French brandy.

    Words a pirate needs to know in a London Underworld tavern:

    Taverns:

    Tavern/Ale House: Bowsing Ken

    Alehouse/Inn: Touting Ken

    Obscure Tavern: Hedge Tavern

    Rogue’s Tavern: Flash Ken; Flash Crib

    Beggar’s Tavern: Mumpers’ Hall

    Rendzvous Tavern: Stop Hole Abbey

    Fleet Street: The Mitre

    Covent Garden: The Rose Tavern

    Whitehall and Charing Cross: The Rummer

    Pall Mall: The Star and Garter

    Tavern Drinks:

    All Nations: Collection of leftovers collected from bottles and bowls

    Bragget: Mead and ale sweetened with honey

    Cobbler’s Punch: Treacle, vinegar, gin, and water

    Grog: Rum and water

    Huckle my Puff; Twist: Beer, eggs and brandy, served hot

    Kill Devil: Rum

    Punch: Spirits, water, lemon and sugar

    Purl Royal: Canary wine with a dash of wormwood

    Toddy: Rum, water, sugar, and nutmeg

    Vessels and Quantities:

    Pint or Quart: Gage

    Half Pint: Nip; Size of Ale Cogue; Shove in the Mouth

    Bottle: Bouncing Cheat

    Small Bottle: Bawdy-House Bottle

    Large Bottle: Soldier’s Bottle

    Quart Bottle: Scotch pint

    Drinking Glass: Flicker; Romer

    Drinking Bowl: Bubber; Whiskin

    Silver Tankard: Clank

    Rum Clank: Large silver tankard

    Clank Napper: Thief who runs away with tankard

    Full glasses or bowls: Bumpers or Facers

    Empty bottles: Dead Men or Marine Officers

    Drunk much? Here are various ways to say it:

    Lightly Intoxicated: Bit by a Barn Mouse; Chirping Merry; Hickey; Mellow; In a Merry Pin; Tipsy

    Getting drunker: Drop in His Eye; Half Cut; Half Seas Over; Sucky Boosey;

    Drunk: Been in the Sun; Corned; Got into the Crown Office; Cup-Shot; Cut; Disguised; Flawed, Flustered; Foxed; Hocus; In his Altitudes; In the Gun; Nazie; Pogy; Pot Valiant; Bought the Sack; Top Heavy

    Drunk Man: Bingo Boy; Ensign Bearer; Guzzle Guts; Piss Maker, Swill Tub; Tickle Pitcher; Toss Pot; and Vice-Admiral of the Narrow Seas (‘a man who urinates under the table into his companion’s shoes’)

    Drunk Woman: Mort

    Very drunk: Top Heavy Clear; Deep Cut; cut in the Back Leg; Drunk as David’s Sow; Drunk as a Wheelbarrow; Drunk as an Emperor; Floored; Maudlin Drunk; Surveyor of the Highways; Swallowed a Hare

    Sick: Cast you your accounts; Cat; Flash the Hash; Cascade; Shoot the Cat; Flay the Flea; Flay the Fox

    Hung over: Crop Sick; Womble-Ty-Cropt

    Rat: Someone who gets taken up by the Watch and forced into an overnight stay


    And there you have it! Adding ‘cant’, ‘Flash Lingo’, ‘St. Giles’ Greek’, and ‘Pedlars’ French’, to stories provides that extra level of depth needed to help readers travel back in time. As a historical author, I’m grateful to George Chaundas, Stephen Hart, and many other researchers for their brilliant and thrilling books. Like good wine before its time, there’s nothing better than ‘Faking a Screen’ (writing) and ‘Snilching’ (learning to behave) into roguish circles.

    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    Multiple Pen Names: Good, Bad, Ugly



    by Suzanne Johnson, er, Susannah Sandlin

    There are really good reasons for authors to take on multiple pen names. First, they might have a day job and want to keep their writing life separate from it, or write in a genre that might bring them negative attention from family or friends. Perhaps they’re switching genres and want to differentiate between the writings of one name and those of another. Or perhaps their career as Writer A has stalled out and they want a fresh start as Writer B, without any baggage.

    Mine is a cautionary tale, of taking on a pen name and ending up with an illogical “brand” that might never be salvageable.

    It started out as a seemingly good idea, back in 2010. I had sold an urban fantasy series to Publisher A and while cooling my jets waiting for the books to be published, I wrote another book and my agent sold a paranormal romance series to Publisher B. At that time, Publisher A and Publisher B were in a pretty public feud, and we worried that “Suzanne Johnson” might get some negative treatment from Publisher A if they learned about the deal. “Susannah Sandlin” was born. 

    As things would have it, Suzanne’s first book came out in April 2012. Susannah’s first book came out three months later, in June 2012. Because of the different names, I was essentially a debut author twice in the same year, unable to parlay the readers of one series to boost sales for the other series even though urban fantasy and paranormal romance share about 99.9 percent of their readership.

    First lesson learned: Don’t take on a separate pen name if you’re writing in the same or a similar genre. All you do is double your workload to reach the same readers twice. I had a full-time, high-stress day job, sole caregiver duties for a disabled parent, and suddenly found myself with two websites, two blogs, two Facebook accounts, two Twitter accounts, and zero time.

    After five books published in 2012 under two names with two publishers, I was a burned-out wreck. So, second lesson learned: Unless you really enjoy marketing, have unlimited amounts of time, and enjoy the chaos and uncertainty of being a debut author more than once, don’t try to keep your pen names separate. Unless, of course, one name becomes inactive. When J.R. Ward began writing under that name, her previous writing name of Jessica Bird went inactive, so there was no need to keep them both current and actively marketed.

    At that point, my “brand” was still salvageable. Suzanne wrote urban fantasy with romantic elements while Susannah wrote paranormal romance. Then those markets crashed, and I found myself turning to writing a new genre altogether—romantic suspense. Because it was with the same publisher as the previous romance series, I kept the Susannah Sandlin pen name.

    Third Lesson Learned. Keep the genre lines clean between your pen names. Suddenly, in 2013, I had a branding problem. I had Susannah writing both paranormal romance and romantic suspense while, caught in a contract vise, Suzanne continued to write only urban fantasy. Here’s the problem: there is virtually zero overlap in readership between paranormal romance and romantic suspense. So people who read and liked Susannah Sandlin’s suspense novels went looking at backlist and found—eek—yuck—paranormals. Likewise, Susannah’s paranormal readers felt abandoned when she dropped her popular vampire series and began writing all-human suspense novels. She got a lot of emails telling her so.

    Fourth Lesson learned: Fixing a broken brand takes a lot of time and money, and might not even be possible. I spent a lot of time and money in 2013 and 2014 consolidating Susannah and Suzanne into a single website, a single blog, lots of social media messaging, and the task of working toward a single Facebook author page. (There are still two FB and Twitter accounts but I duplicate posts.) It initially led to a lot of confusion among readers, and even now I get at least one “Wait…I didn’t know you also wrote (fill in name of series)” email or message a week.

    Honestly, I have no solutions as to how to fix the brand. In time, if I simply quit writing under one pen name MAYBE it would work. Suzanne has the most loyal fans, but Susannah has BY FAR the most readers. Currently, I’m working on a new book proposal and have no clue whether Suzanne or Susannah should write it.

    So, sure, go ahead and take a second (or third) writing name. But think through:
    ·      Why you want it;
    ·      How you’re going to publicize multiple pen names and juggle any separation, taking into account the time it takes to actively market two or more names;
    ·      How the pen names fit into where you see your long-term career plans going.


    If you don’t answer those questions, take it from Suzanne and Susannah: what can seem like a good idea could turn bad—and downright ugly. (If nothing else, you have to often refer to yourself in third-person.)