Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gods Misbehaving on Magic Thursday with Peta Crake


A little while ago some friends and I were discussing who could be a god in disguise. The answers were not surprising – Joe Manganiello, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Henry Cavill, Tom Hiddleston, Jennifer Aniston, Helen Mirren, Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett, anyone whose surname is Hemsworth. Most of the suggestions, well all of them really, are actors who are easy on the eye but are also quite human with their own quirks and problems. They can be both distant and approachable at the same time.

It got me thinking about ancient gods and the stories told about them. I think one of the reasons mythology still resounds in today’s society is that the gods they talk about had very human traits. They weren't perfect. In fact, their problems took on epic proportions and made ours look inconsequential in comparison. They could be great at one thing but shocking at others. They were basically an over exaggerated version of us.  

The gods in the Ophelia Lind series haven’t changed much since the myths immortalising them were written. They still fight, hold grudges, make mistakes, and misinterpret things. They have learnt from some of their mistakes but can often resort to bad habits when stressed. They are just like us, except when they throw a tantrum they can destroy a whole town.

In Sacrifice, Phi has to walk the line between humanity and the gods, unfortunately, with the gods behaving like spoilt conniving children it can be easy for her to forget just how powerful they are. Or how powerful she has the potential to be.




SACRIFICE
Ophelia Lind has never been your average girl, but since becoming the Harbinger, her life has become even more complicated. Still a messenger for the Olympic gods, Ophelia is desperately trying to balance her new position with her complicated family. The only thing that's been going well is her deepening relationship with demigod Aden.

When a message delivery goes awry, a dangerous artefact is stolen, and a woman beloved of the gods goes missing, Ophelia falls under suspicion and she realises that once again she's become caught up in a sinister plot. And if that weren't enough, someone is stirring up trouble between her and Aden. As the threats begin to escalate, Ophelia must try to clear her name before the gods take action. But will she be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect what she loves most…


To find more information about the Ophelia Lind books visit Peta Crake at:
Twitter: @PetaCrake

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Good New Day


Welcome to this week's good news....

coming to you this week by Nicole Murphy


COVER REVEAL


Nicole Murphy (aka me!) has unveiled the cover for Winning the King, Book 2 of the Jorda series from Escape Publishing. Winning the King will be released January 22.



You can buy Book 1, Loving the Prince, now! Buy links available here.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Enchanted Orb with Peta Crake

Peta Crake writes urban fantasy and paranormal romances. Today she is sharing the inspiration behind her latest release, Sacrifice.

PERHAPS A PLACE

Inspiration for new characters and stories can often come on the lyrics of a song or a random comment by a stranger. But what about series? Is inspiration the same when you are writing the second or third book in a series that features the same main character?

The inspiration for my latest book, Sacrifice, the second Ophelia Lind novel, was totally different from that of my previous two novels, Harbinger and Revelry. While they were mostly inspired by music, this time I was predominantly inspired by locations.

Places I had been to or seen photographs of sent story ideas rumbling through my brain. The Valley of the Giants, which features in both Harbinger and Sacrifice, is near where I grew up. As a kid it always seemed a magical place – peaceful and mysterious. There was always an eeriness too, probably due to the warnings by parents not to wander off or we’d never find our way back. It was the perfect home for a tall green dryad.

Last year I went to Las Vegas and from the moment I walked into our hotel I knew Phi would go there. I didn’t know why, but at the time I presumed it would be to deliver a message. It wasn’t that I thought “hey this would be a cool place to send Phi” it was more that I could actually see her there. I could see her striding down the long shop-lined corridors linking hotels and casinos, I could see her staring at the arid landscape and breathing the hot, dry air. The d├ęcor of the hotel, the entertainment in one of its restaurants and a day trip to go horse riding all contributed as inspiration for a number of scenes.

Of one thing I’m glad, there was no real life inspiration for the first setting in Sacrifice...Tartarus. The closest I could probably get to that would be a lava flow or maybe the inside of an active volcano. Hmmm, maybe I should have gone to Hawaii for added inspiration.

What about you? Have you ever been anywhere or seen a place on television or in a movie and been inspired? Have you ever seen a photo of a place and your first reaction was a feeling more than a thought?




Blurb for Sacrifice:

Ophelia Lind has never been your average girl, but since becoming the Harbinger, her life has become even more complicated. Still a messenger for the Olympic gods, Ophelia is desperately trying to balance her new position with her complicated family. The only thing that's been going well is her deepening relationship with demigod Aden.

When a message delivery goes awry, a dangerous artefact is stolen, and a woman beloved of the gods goes missing, Ophelia falls under suspicion and she realises that once again she's become caught up in a sinister plot. And if that weren't enough, someone is stirring up trouble between her and Aden. As the threats begin to escalate, Ophelia must try to clear her name before the gods take action. But will she be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect what she loves most…

Buy Links for Sacrifice: Amazon | Apple | Kobo | Google | Penguin

Other books: Harbinger | Revelry

About the author:

Peta Crake grew up in a small town on the south coast of Western Australia, where the idea of fairies and monsters residing in the thick forests was perfectly believable. After spending nearly a decade living in Japan and revelling in its culture, she turned her hand to writing.

Now living back in Australia with a husband, two kids, a cuddle-addicted cat, and a thoroughly confused dog, she writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance full of strong sassy heroines, surprising heroes and disturbed side-kicks.

Peta is the author of the Ophelia Lind novels Harbinger and Sacrifice and the stand-alone novel Revelry.

Where to connect with Peta:

Website | Facebook | Twitter




Blurb for

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Magic Thursday with Anna Hackett: Writing Rip-Roaring Space Opera


On a Rogue Planet, the third installment of my science fiction romance series, The Phoenix Adventures, is out this week (cue happy dance!) This series is set far into the future where Earth as we know it no longer exists and treasure hunters and astro-archeologists vie for valuable old Earth artifacts. There's action, adventure, treasure hunts and the dashing, treasure-hunting Phoenix brothers: Dathan, Zayn and Niklas.


The Phoenix Adventures are also space opera. Space opera is a play on the term ‘soap opera’ – these stories are larger than life, emphasize the romantic, are filled with adventure, all in a space setting. They tend to be a little bit lighter on the technology and science aspects of science fiction, and more focused on the characters and the adventure.


I thought I’d share a few of my tips for writing action-packed space opera but still keep it accessible to your readers:


1)      Make your characters larger than life (but give them some weaknesses!)

2)      Introduce some fun, sci-fi gadgets (but don’t overdo it, have some ‘normal’ stuff as well)

3)      Use some fun, sci-fi names (but don’t give everyone unpronounceable names!)

4)      Keep the pace moving fast (but give your characters a few tiny breathers)

5)      Have fun! Starship battles…go for it. Evil aliens…sure thing. Space monsters…why not? 

 ~~~~
 
Unlucky-in-love salvage mechanic, Malin Phoenix, didn’t intend to get caught up in a coup and kidnapped by a sexy cyborg. But she finds herself swept into an adventure to help the deadly, emotionless CenSec, Xander Saros, retrieve an ancient Terran artifact and save his planet. 


Soon she’s racing across uncharted space and is magnetically drawn to the cyborg whose strong arms and muscled body ignite a desire that burns brighter than a supernova. But Mal can never let herself forget that she can’t fall in love with a cyborg who can never love her back.


The crowning glory of the Centax Security program, Xander is heavily enhanced, his emotions dampened to nothing to allow him to be the most efficient, lethal killer in the galaxy. As he and Malin hunt for the remnant of the galaxy’s first computer, the Antikythera Mechanism, their quest leads them into the lair of a dangerous technomancer. But Xander can’t identify his greatest threat—the enemy or the fascinating woman who’s making him feel.

For more info on the book >> Read More

~~~~

I’m Anna Hackett and I’m passionate about action romance. I love stories that combine the thrill of falling in love with the excitement of action, danger and adventure. You can find me at all the usual places: Website | Blog | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Bite Of... Magical Redemption

For this week's A Bite Of... we have Magical Redemption, by Nicola E. Sheridan... (that's me)


 Describe Magical Redemption in five words or less?
Fun, exciting, magical, mythical, romance

Who was the most enjoyable character to write?
I loved writing Jinx, my large nosed Lebanese heroine, who also happens to be a Genie. She was lovely to write and I had a lot of fun with her. I also loved writing Lucian so much from the an earlier book, that I had to give him his own story.

Who would play your characters in a movie?
I actually gave a copy of this book to Jason Momoa when I met him at Comicon last year, because his is a massive source of manspiration for me!
If I wanted anyone to play Jinx, I'd say it would have to be an unknown actress with a regal-sized nose.

And here's the excerpt!

"What is your price?" Lucian's tone was getting colder. He curled his lip as if the words tasted bad.

There was another sinister silence before the woman spoke.

"I want your word you will give me the genie when you have recieved all your wishes."

Jinx heard her own sharp inhalation of breath roar like a vaccum in her head before her stomach launched into her throat and threatened to choke her. She forgot the commodity she was, and for a moment, she almost forgot it all.

This is what being around demon spawn does, she thought. The gorgeous smell that he wears like a cloak must be his evil pheromone. She stared up at him, waiting for his angry rebuttal. Surely, the man who commanded her to hold his hand, who bought her clothes and curry-puffs, wouldn't just hand her over to a faceless magical being in an orange shroud?

She was mistaken.

"Yes," he said, gazing steadily down the manhole.

With that one word, Jinx through she'd crumble. Of course she was expendable. How dare she think otherwise. Once she gave him the three wishes, she'd be of no further use to him, and he'd soon forget her. There was no point in pretending otherwise. Lucian wasn't the kind of man to pretend or play games, anyway.

Her heart wanted to break.

"Shall we shake on it?" the shrouded woman asked.

"Of course," Lucian agreed and pulled his hand free from Jinx.

Jinx looked away. She didn't want to see them shake on it. There was nothing she could say to change it, nothing she could do at all. She was a slave and always would be. 

If you'd like to find out more about me or what I'm up to, check out the links below.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Good News Day


Welcome to this week's good news....

coming to you this week by Nicole Murphy


BOOK RELEASE


Congratulations to Fiona Greene on the release of her contemporary romance Home for Christmas, from Escape Publishing.


What began as an impersonal, but cheerful holiday gift for a soldier far from home becomes so much more…

Sergeant Tate McAuliffe, stationed in Afghanistan, opens his Christmas care package from Australia and is stunned by both its contents and the sender. Fun-loving Christmas tree designer Layla Preston is a breath of fresh air for loner Tate. Although they’ve never met, their email friendship quickly develops and their feelings for each other deepen.

But Layla knows the heartache that loving a soldier can bring and when Tate is injured, her deep-seated fear drives them apart. With their relationship in tatters, can Layla and Tate work through their differences, so Layla can welcome Tate home for Christmas?

Buy links available at the Escape Publishing website.

Read more about Fiona at her website.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Darklight On.... With Jess Anastasi



A Sci-fi Evolution

Someone asked me a while back how I came to love science-fiction so much, and why I decided to write sci-fi romance. It might seem silly, but my answer in the moment was actually "I don't know" because I'd never really sat down and thought about it, probably due to the fact that the evolution of my tastes had developed over such a long period of time. It kind of bugged me that I really didn't know why I liked sci-fi, or how I'd come to a place where I felt I could write it.
I thought back, and realized that my love of speculative fiction had been developing from a very young age, and the reality of this had never occurred to me before.
The first sci-fi show I can ever remember watching was SeaQuest. I was only about twelve, and my parents were starting to let me watch a few more "grown-up" shows.
After only one or two episodes of SeaQuest, I was hooked, and waited every week for (I think it was) Friday night to roll around so I could see another episode. To this day, I have no idea why, but I was just blown away by this futuristic concept and loved every second of it.
And I'll admit, my first TV-crush was on Lucas, played by Jonathan Brandis--a young teen on the ship's crew. My memory fails me now, but I think he might have been super-intelligent or something. But I do remember he spent a lot of time hanging out with a dolphin. What twelve year old wouldn't want a dolphin for a pet?
It was around this time I was also becoming interested in keeping a journal and scraps of writing. Though I've never admitted it to anyone before, I actually wrote a few little stories, scripting myself into the show, doing all sorts of dramatic things like rescuing that dolphin and (gasp!) holding hands with Lucas. Fanfiction in its earliest form, though it didn't occur to me until recently that fanfiction was exactly what I was doing.
After SeaQuest finished, I got into the X-Files in a big way, and that lasted well into my late teens, when I also fell in love with Buffy and Angel. Buffy's character was the same age as me while I was in high school, so it was like we were growing up together. And while I couldn't relate to killing demons and vampires, hanging out in cemeteries, or having a broody, mysterious, older (much older) boyfriend like Angel, I still felt like I could relate to other teenager angsty issues.

After Buffy, there was a bit of a lull. But then my now sister-in-law introduced me to Stargate SG1, and I could no longer deny my geeky side. I loved it. Like absolutely thought it was the most brilliant TV I had ever seen. Everything about it sucked me in; the aliens, visiting other planets, the team dynamics, the forbidden romance between Sam and Jack, the bromance between Jack and Daniel, the awesome way Teal'c delivered those deadpan one liners, not to mention the sexy geek that was Daniel Jackson. Yep, SG1 made nerds look cool, at least I thought so.
My love of SG1 created a ripple effect. The more I loved it, the more I wanted. Yeah, they brought out Stargate Atlantis, and it was great in its own way, but I wanted something else. I branched out in all directions, reading what little sci-fi romance I could get my hands on, like Linnea Sinclair and Ann Aguirre. I discovered Farscape, and the epic romantic story of John and Aeryn, who I still say had the best TV love-interest arc out of any couple on any show ever, not just a sci-fi series. And then I went darker, getting into the mind-twisting shadows of Battlestar Galactica.
Finally, I sat down and watched Joss Whendon's Firefly and Serenity. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say my life was changed forever. Something about Whedon's Firefly universe was beyond my ability to articulate its brilliance. I am one of those people who forever complain that it was axed before it had a chance to shine, and we missed out on something that could have been generationally epic if it had been given three or four seasons to play out. But it wasn't to be, and maybe part of Firefly's cult status is because it became so popular after the fact. Don't quote me, but I think DVD sales far outsold the expectations based on the show's ratings.
So after I had watched and read everything that had caught my sci-fi interest, I found myself at a bit of a loss, and couldn't find anything else to consume that satisfied me in the way some of the books and TV shows previously had.
For a long while, I'd had this sci-fi idea floating around in the back of my mind, and although I read and watched plenty of sci-fi, I had this belief that sci-fi was something smart people wrote. I didn't mean that in the sense that I'm not smart, I think I have a decent level of intelligence and had applied myself to become a writer by this stage. But I thought a sci-fi author need to have like an IQ of one-hundred-and-twenty, or something ridiculous, to pull off writing all that technical stuff that I didn't understand.
I actually don't remember what made me decide I was finally going to sit down and write this book. I think it was possibly just that the idea wouldn't leave me alone, until I finally thought "what the heck, I'll just give it a try."
I do clearly remember sitting down and opening the file to begin, wondering how much of a spectacular failure this was going to be. But the words came, and then kept coming, flowing in a way they never had before in any other book I'd ever written. I had that book finished in a matter of seven or eight weeks, all ninety-five thousand words of rough first draft. I'd really done it, and I'd felt connected to this universe and characters with amazing depth. That book was Atrophy (coming out with Entangled Publishing at some point in the near future) and its path to publication was a long and arduous one, but that's an entire other blog post.
A while after I'd written Atrophy, I decided I wanted to try my hand at a military sci-fi romance, and Escape Velocity was born. It started out life as a simple novella, but through a series of recent events, blossomed into a full length novel.
Sometimes it still surprises me just how sci-fi my writing career has gone. If someone had of told me ten years ago that this is what I'd be writing today, I would never have believed them!
These days I watch shows like Intelligence and Almost Human (unfortunately both cancelled after only one season) The 100 (just returned for season 2) and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, because I think Joss Whedon is pretty much the master of the writing universe. And fortunately, there's now more sci-fi romance books on the market than ever before—more than I can keep up with considering I don't have as much reading time as I used to.
I've found myself in my element, and no longer deny my total sc-fi geekiness.


To get through the pain and torture inflicted on him as a POW, Commander Kai Yang relied on memories of Sacha, his shipmate and the girl he grew up with, to survive. He escapes and returns to his battleship, the Valiant Knox, to discover he'd been declared dead, and a widowed Sacha had been married to his best friend. Desperate to be the man she needs, Kai must overcome both his struggle with PTSD and guilt over loving his best friend's widow.

Sacha Dalton can't believe Kai is alive. She'd mourned him as deeply as the loss of her husband, but Kai's death revealed feelings she'd never known she'd had. However, Kai might think he's falling for her, but she's convinced he's using her as a crutch to avoid confronting his survivor's guilt. Until he's healed, she'll have to keep her distance.

And, as a doctor, Sacha knows all too well many soldiers never recover.

(I don't have a cover yet, but you guys will see it as soon as I do!) 

Find me!

Twitter @JessAnastasi 


Jess has been making up stories ever since she can remember. Though her messy handwriting made it hard for anyone else to read them, she wasn't deterred and now she gets to make up stories for a living. She loves loud music, a good book on a rainy day, and probably spends too much time watching too many TV shows. Jess lives in regional Victoria, Australia with her very supportive husband, three daughters, one ball-obsessed border collie, and one cat who thinks he's one of the kids.