Sunday, October 4, 2015

Raising the Dead

What if we had the power to bring back the dead? I’m not talking about zapping someone with defibrillators and restarting his or her heart. I mean really raise a corpse from the ground and give it a second chance at life.

Necromancy, the act of summoning and reanimating the dead, is neither a new concept nor one that is looked upon favorably. The practice dates back to ancient Greece, Rome, and Persia and is most associated with the Black Arts. It was used as a method of divination, is mentioned in the Bible in more than one spot, and was used by occultists and magicians during the Middle Ages and Renaissance as well. Leonardo da Vinci was actually accused of necromancy in 1514 and brought to Vatican officials where his notebook pages and drawings on human anatomy were closely examined.

Some necromancy rituals involved sacrifices, blood-letting, protection spells, meditation, incantations, abstinence from sex, eating and drinking special items, and wearing certain clothes. Most rituals took place in cemeteries, with practitioners preferring to raise the newly dead because these reanimated corpses were thought to have fresher, more clearly spoken revelations. Actual necromancy called the spirit back into the dead body. When the ritual was over, the spirit would be allowed to leave the body again usually by staking the corpse’s heart, burning the body, burying it in quicklime, or eating the flesh.

Hungry? I didn’t think so.

So, even the raised aren’t truly brought back to life though, and they don’t get to have that full second chance. Their reanimated time is usually short and serves the purpose of giving the necromancer requested information.


I would love to see someone cheated out of life get a do-over, wouldn’t you? Imagine being young and vibrant, in the prime of your life, and by accident or sickness, you die. End of the road. You’d be pretty pissed. I know I would be. Especially if I hadn’t had the chance to do something truly important yet.

I believe that a big part of our purpose on this planet is to make a difference in some way. This can come in many forms from the grandiose gestures to the small ways we touch people’s lives. Each of us has a different contribution to make. No two of us will change the world in quite the same fashion, and that’s what makes it all so beautiful. We all have different gifts to share, and the most selfish thing we can do is hoard those gifts. Humans are a community-oriented bunch, therefore the Universe is demanding we interact, we grow, we help, we love.

And we need to do it before we croak.

Not trying to rush you or anything, but let’s face it, not many of us can put necromancer on our resume nor do we have the phone number for a good dead-raiser programmed into our cell phones. If we check out before we’re ready (and are you ever really ready to die?), we’re not coming back for another shot at doing it right. We only get this one life. We have to make it count. Every day. Every moment. No opportunity wasted.

I dabbled with bringing the dead back in my paranormal romance, ABRA CADAVER, published by The Wild Rose Press a few years ago. This is a good book to give a shot during October when you're feeling a little Halloweenish.

What do you think? Should we get a second chance if we don’t make a difference the first run through this life? Would you want one? What would you be willing to sacrifice to get it? Or have you already made a difference and have nothing to fear? 


Out NOW - More Than Candy Corn - A Maple Leaf Series Halloween Novella! Only $1.99!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Just Look at What They've Done to My Beloved Jane Austin!

Everyday I get an email paper called "Lit Flash." Typically, they show four or five books--some new and some best sellers--from many sub-genres of romance. I've been fortunate enough to have some of my books placed there. The exposure is nice. You can order directly from this paper; there's a link to Amazon. And I have done so a couple times when something caught my eye.

Something caught my eye and my stomach and my ire in today's issue. I mean, some of my days have started with my waking from slumber, quoting the opening paragraphs of this book over and over and over. Calvin quips, "Is it going to be another Jane Austin day?" So, to see this put my bloomers in a twist.

Here's the description of the book:
Author Lev Grossman, asks in Time, "Has there ever been a work of literature that couldn't be improved by adding zombies?" In this latest Pride and Prejudice adaption, Jane Austen’s classic is mashed up with zombies, and Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy are killing the undead in-between civilized verbal sparring and romance.  Adapted for a 2016 film of the same name, Booklist asks, “What’s next? Wuthering Heights and Werewolves?” With more than 14,375 five-star ratings, you’ll want to read this while you still have your brains!

Ladies, this thing is a best seller! I just can't get over it. And I know it sounds a little funny coming from a woman who writes stories about men in kilts who shift into bears, but...come on...this is Jane Austin. I hope fire ants build a nest in the author's nose! Not that I'm a vengeful person, mind you.

Although, I must say it's taught me one thing. I've gotten dinged pretty heavily on Goodreads because my heroines cry. Well, I cry. I'm a caring, sensitive person. Show me a picture of a sick child and my waterworks are flowing. So, yes, my heroines are often tender-hearted as well as tough. Yet, have Elizabeth Bennett chase zombies and the book gets over 14,000 five-star reviews on Goodreads! Blows my mind, folks. Never again will I get upset over a review there. In fact, I'm going to stop looking at them.

I know we write to entertain. Mostly, I like to entertain myself, although my editor often has different ideas in mind. She wants what's trending. And this old gal hasn't trended in decades. Amazing, isn't it? What sells and what doesn't? No one ever said this business made any sense.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Things That Go Bump In The Night by Jannine Gallant

October is upon us. The month dedicated to witches and goblins and all things creepy. While slasher movies with lots of blood and gore do nothing for me, I enjoy subtle scary. The type of movie (or book) that keeps you glued to the screen or page as the heroine does something guaranteed to make you scream, "No, don't do it! Don't be an idiot!"

Now, I don't write paranormal, but ghost stories have always intrigued me. A couple of years ago, I just had to give writing one a try. The result was She'll Never Rest, Book Two of my Secrets of Ravenswood trilogy. All three books stand alone, so if October puts you in the mood for a ghostly thriller, give this one a try. Now, you tell me. Does the following excerpt creep you out just a little. Or am I too subtle?

Feather soft…Darby brushed at whatever whispered across her cheek and rolled to her side. Her nose pressed against warm fur. Blinking until her vision cleared, she raised up on an elbow. Green eyes inches from her face glowed back at her. Freaking cat. She dropped onto the pillow and gave Wilbur a shove. He growled low in his throat but didn’t move away. If anything, he pushed closer, edging onto her legs. As her eyes adjusted to the dim moonlight shining through the window, she identified the bulk of the wardrobe and the damp clothes hanging over the back of a chair where she’d spread them to dry. A glimmer of white in the corner drew her attention. The lace curtain? She frowned. No, the window was to the right…
Cold chilled her skin in a ripple of gooseflesh. The white, shapeless figure swayed closer. Heart pounding so hard she could barely breathe, she scrambled backward against the headboard, gaze riveted on the silvery white blur... Wilbur hissed and sank his nails into her thigh.
“Oww, damn it!”
A flash of orange leaped off the mattress and scurried under the bed. Darby blinked—and saw nothing out of the ordinary.
“I did not imagine that.” Flipping back the blanket, she slipped out of bed and padded across the floor toward where she’d seen the…ghost. She felt like an idiot just thinking the word. When the bedroom door flew open, she screamed.

So, are you a fan of shivery books and movies? What's your favorite?

Pick up an e-copy of She'll Never Rest on Amazon. Or check out all my books on my website. Happy October!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

En Garde! Password Protect Everything! A Real Life Suspense Story By Rolynn Anderson

I committed a horrible blunder the first week we traveled in Europe, and have learned many lessons because of it.  The upside? I’m thinking, if I write a suspense story about this experience, I won’t feel as stupid as I feel right now.

It starts with our 180+ mile-an-hour train ride from Paris to Aix En Provence, a lovely experience in our upstairs coach, watching the beautiful French countryside buzzing by.  The ride is so smooth, my husband and I are feeling quite pampered.  I take my computer out of my backpack and unzip it from its protective container, putting the case to my side.  I’ll do a little work as we speed across country. Two and a half hours later, we stop in Avignon.  We notice people get off the train quickly; others get on as quickly, and off we go.  The train barely gets up to speed when we arrive at Aix and everyone is wildly pulling luggage out and preparing to get off the train…it’s a frantic atmosphere that we catch on to, hurriedly putting our things together and edging to the stairs so we’re ready to get off.  The train goes to Marseille next; by the stern looks and impatient whistles from the conductors, their schedule is tight. 

So Steve and I gather our things and get off the train thinking about our next maneuver-catching a bus to Aix.  We get that figured out, bus to Aix, taxi to our new place, and settle in.  I realize I better power up my computer, so I pull it out of my backpack, to realize I’ve left the protective container on the train.  Worse, I mean MONUMENTALLY distressing, my external hard drive is zipped into that missing container.  EVERYTHING I’ve got on my computer is in my external hard drive.  Yes.  EVERY…DAMN…THING!

First, I go on line to determine out how to get my hard drive back.  TGV (the French bullet train) has an English, user-friendly site to claim my loss, and, amazingly, a drop-down category under lost electronics labeled “hard drives.”  No way to call TGV; e-mail is my only recourse.  Magic would have to be on my side to ever get this hard drive back (and I’d have to go to Marseille to get it).

But you’ve already figured out the biggest problem: All my files, my books, my personal stuff, including a file with a list of passwords, is readily available to anyone who plugs in my hard drive.  There wasn’t a way to password protect my hard drive and I did not protect my files individually.  Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.  After a couple of days here, I discover that MAC is well-loved by the French.  There’s a huge Mac store here, packed with people all hours of the day.  My external drive, nursed on a MAC, has a large audience in this country.  Now I’m nervous.  Really nervous.

Important: After you read the last sentence of this blog, go and password-protect your computer in case it’s stolen or lost (I’ve done that now), and give passwords to individual files you don’t want anyone to see (also done.)  You’ve already guessed that my husband and I have changed a couple dozen passwords by now.  I realize we’re supposed to switch out passwords often, but we hadn’t.  It’s done now.  Call that a positive.

I don’t want to think about what could happen to my books should those files get into the wrong hands.  My personal stuff?  To the blackmailer, I'll say everything I write is fiction.  In fact, because I research some of the darker subjects known to humankind, my files probably look like a sociopath’s!  (I’m saying this to make myself feel better?  Really?)

Chances are my external drive lies in a garbage dump outside the Marseille train station (where they clean the train cars).  I hope.

As I said, I plan to use this 'loss' plot in a book or short story soon.  Lemonade out of lemons, I say!

My goal is to write about trauma, not live it, so let's talk about my last novel.  You'll witness the many shades of anxiety in FEAR LAND.  My readers tell me the novel stretched their learning about anxiety and they’re anxious to have their friends read the book.

That makes me smile.  An engaging suspense story with a touch of paranormal to let your imagination run free, a high concept, and a chance to learn something new…that’s what reading is all about!

This is FEAR LAND:
Tally hates to hear rants from people’s brains.  What does she do when those mind-screams threaten
the man she loves?
Tally Rosella, an acclaimed psychiatrist who helps children fraught with anxiety, avoids adults because their brains rant at her.  But the chance to start a second child study and connect her findings to PTSD, sets her squarely among devious colleagues at a big California university.

Army Major Cole Messer, Tally’s new neighbor, won’t admit that trauma from combat tours in Afghanistan, destroyed his marriage and hampered his ability to lead.  As a teacher of college ROTC and single parent, he’s focused on enrolling his highly anxious son in Tally’s study and getting back to active duty.

Someone is dead set against Tally’s presence at the university, and blowback from her battles with co-workers put Cole and his son in jeopardy.  Watch what happens when people struggling with shades of anxiety collide with corrupt, revengeful foes.

FEAR LAND on Amazon

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Grandparenting by Diane Burton

Nothing perturbs me more than feeling my age. And, believe me, I’m feeling my age this week. Hubs is, too. Since we retired, our mornings are very relaxed. If possible, we don’t schedule appointments early. He always dresses before coming out to the living room.I throw on a robe. We make coffee and then with the Today Show running in the background, Hubs reads the paper, and I read email. If I’m up before him, I’ll write. I’ll get dressed when I feel like it.

But not this week.

There’s a good reason we had children when we were young. Getting our kids off to school was a piece of cake. Since Hubs had left work an hour earlier, I did it all. No sweat. Getting grandchildren ready for school takes both of us.

We love our grandchildren dearly. But after that one hour in the morning when we have to get ourselves up and dressed (no time for coffee) before waking the kids, fixing breakfast, making lunches, and walking them to the bus stop, we’re both ready for a nap. Especially when the kindergartener dogs around and proclaims he doesn’t want to go to school. This from the kid who said the first day of school was “amazing.”

That was Monday. Yesterday was worse. It’s “spirit week” at their school. Yesterday was “crazy hair” day. Granddaughter wanted her hair in lots of little pony tails, curled around and pinned. Think Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) in Matrix Reloaded. Since her hair is long and thick, this took more time than expected. Meanwhile Hubs prepared lunches, got breakfast ready, fed the dogs, and even brewed a cup of coffee, which we shared. What was grandson doing during all this? Lying on the bathroom floor, still not dressed. Hubs was not pleased.

In the end, both kids had “crazy hair” and we all made it to the bus stop in time. Despite both of us using our "stern" voices often, we got hugs and kisses before they got on the bus. That alone was worth all the hassle. Since I’m writing this on Tuesday, I have no idea how this morning went. I’m sure we’ll be better at this morning routine than the previous two days. Thank goodness the parents return this afternoon.

As I’ve mentioned before, we moved to West Michigan because we wanted to be close to our grandchildren. We’ve definitely seen more of them this summer and now into the fall. Even though it’s exhausting, I wouldn’t trade the time we spend with them for all the relaxed mornings. The tight hugs at night, the big smiles when they see us are worth the exhaustion. After all, we can always take naps.

Monday, September 28, 2015

WHAT I KNOW by Peggy Jaeger

Lessons I’ve learned about being a published author.

I found out my first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, had been contracted for publication while I was attending the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio, TX. Shocked, thrilled, and terrified, I thought the hard part – finding someone willing to publish my novel – was over.

Yeah, not so much.
Lesson one: it’s not over when you type THE END. It’s just the beginning…

After I signed on the dotted line, the real work began. I’d been published for years in literary fiction anthologies and in non-fiction magazines and periodicals. The literary magazines accepted the work as is, the non-fiction articles were sometimes reworked and refined by editors to allow for spacing considerations. My point is that it was someone else’s job to get the piece publishing presentable.

Not any more. Welcome to the world of book fiction.

Lesson two : the hard work starts after you contract for publication…

My first book went through 3 rounds of edits between my editor and myself before it was sent to galleys for actual publication. And even after it went out to the copy editor, there were still some changes that needed to be made. I was ready to rip my hair out at one point. All I kept thinking as more and more edit suggestions came my way was, “Why the heck did they want this if it needs so much work??”

Lesson three: Editors are the most underrated and undervalued people on the publishing food chain…

All editors are good at their job – they have to be. But the ones who are truly great make a good book even better.  They find the little twists and turns of a phrase, or a word change, or a sentence deletion that is key to making the reader want to read more.

My editor is one of the great ones.

Lesson four: you should have taken marketing classes in college…

I will admit this freely – I was unbelievably naïve when I signed that first contract. I thought the publisher was going to do all the marketing necessary to promote my book, get it on a best-seller list, and generally skyrocket me to fame.

Yeah, AGAIN, not so much!

The minute your book is contracted and the editing begins, you need to start promoting it. Often and everywhere. FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, your website, blog tours, newspaper press releases, your Aunt Maimie’s bridge club. Anywhere, everywhere, and as often as you can, so that when you finally have a release date, the buzz about the book will have started, grown to fever pitch and resulted in so many pre-orders your head spins.

Lesson five: before the first book hits the shelves you’d better be working on, or done with, book #2…                                      
 As a writer you can never – NEVER – rest on your laurels. It is a true axiom of publishing: you are only as good as your next book. So while you are doing all that dreaded marketing, take time each day and write…write…write. I had book two on my editor’s desk before book one was released. Same for book 3. Keep ‘em coming.

Lesson six: you need to take time to breathe and enjoy…

Yes, I was overwhelmed, naïve, frustrated and generally anxious with the release of my first book. But I was also thrilled at having my dream – finally - come true. It was a long road for me to book publication. I was 54 years old when the first one came out, a time when most people are starting to look toward the end of their working life. Not me. Mine was just beginning and I wanted to savor every moment of how it felt to hold my first book in my hands; see my name in print on the cover of a book I’d penned; sign my first autograph on a copy someone had actually paid cash-money for! Don’t let anything ever take away or overwhelm you from that sense of wonderful, soul-soaring achievement you’ve accomplished.

My third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS, was released on Sept.23. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed this time because I knew the basics. Promotion and marketing were all lined up and ready to go, I pre-ordered by print copies so I had them ready, and a book signing was waiting for me.

But the anticipation, the soul-empowering elation of having a book actually published was as spine tingling and heart stopping as with that first one. And I think it will continue to be that way each and every time.
Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.

Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for "The One." When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way. 
Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?
Bio: Peggy Jaeger writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can live with out them.

Newest release: FIRST IMPRESSIONS  available from the Wild Rose Press
Buy links:

Social Media Sites:  Peggy loveslovesloves hearing from people.