For Love the Bell Tolls

For-Love-the-Bell-Tolls-KindleFOR LOVE THE BELL TOLLS
A Gothic Romance Short Story Anthology
from Stars and Stone Books

Featuring: Cara McKinnon, Sheri Queen, Read Gallo, Serena Jayne, Kylie Weisenborn, and Heather Sheldon.

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Cara McKinnon – “The Doors Between”
Can love overcome an otherworldly evil?

Sheri Queen – “The Circus Train”
Finding love isn’t easy, especially when someone wants your blood.

Read Gallo – “Blood and Petals”
How much would you change to get what you want?

Serena Jayne – “Kiss Me Dead”
With only the light of their love, Simon and Lila attempt to conquer darkness and death.

Kylie Weisenborn – “Undead Men”
When the dead become unburied, so does the truth.

Heather Sheldon – “Lost Love Found”
A haunted gift flips Mandy’s world on end, and her handsome new neighbor might be her only salvation.

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What Is Gothic Romance?

This anthology’s genre is gothic romance, but the authors were allowed to pick their own interpretation of “gothic.” We asked the authors how they decided to interpret gothic, and why they went that route.

Read Gallo – “Blood and Petals”

Initially, I got hung up on the image of a woman in white fading in a dark Victorian garden, so I was very literally gothic at first. But a book I was reading about teen pregnancy in the 50s, where young mothers were encouraged to “surrender and forget” their children struck a chord with me and I transitioned the time period from England in the 1900s to America 1950s. It was surprisingly easy to transfer the way the girls were treated. I think I could have made it more modern and not have lost much of that bite.

Serena Jayne – “Kiss Me Dead”

For me, gothic is all about horror. The horror of living. The horror of death. The horror of tragic love. The Grimm Reaper, such a dark character, made for the perfect gothic hero. Lila’s desperate situation is also dark.

Cara McKinnon – “The Doors Between”

I went for a variation on a traditional 19th century gothic romance. I say variation, because those usually feature swooning virginal heroines and Fiona is the exact opposite of that. But it does have ghosts, possession, a curse, a brooding old house in an isolated location, and family secrets.

Sheri Queen – “The Circus Train”

I set my story in the late 1800s with a focus on the evils that stalk a circus performer and her elephant companion. I liked the history of that era and the voodoo legends that prevailed in NOLA.

Heather Sheldon – “Lost Love Found”

I choose an antique journal because I enjoyed the idea of part of the story taking place in the past. I’m a big historical romance reader.

Kylie Weisenborn – “Undead Men”

I had a hard time with this prompt at first. I immediately thought of dark, creepy Poe-era details, but I had to do some research to make sure I was portraying that time in history accurately. Embalming first began in the mid-1800s, so I had to take a little bit of creative liberties with the exact year the story would have taken place, but it worked out!


The anthology authors will be answering more questions on this blog tour! To check out all of the stops, visit: https://www.starsandstonebooks.com/blog-tour.

What’s Next for the Born to Love Wild Authors?

Born to Love Wild: A Paranormal Romance Short Story Anthology

Take a walk on the wild side of love with this paranormal romance anthology featuring USA Today Bestselling author Traci Douglass and many more.

BORN TO LOVE WILD
A Paranormal Romance Short Story Anthology
Stars and Stone Books

Featuring: USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara McKinnon, Sheri Queen, Pepper McGraw, M.T. DeSantis, Read Gallo, J. Bigelow, and Andie Biagini.

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The Born to Love Wild authors all came together to answer some questions about their stories for the anthology. Here, they talk about what they’re working on now and what’s coming out for them next.

Andie Biagini – “Water Temperature”
An engineering student and a cryptozoologist. One of them can talk to sea monsters, but it’s not who you think.

Right now I’m in different parts of the revision process for two different paranormal novels, one about Victorian-era ghosts causing trouble in the 21st century, and another about a college campus that sits on top of a portal to Faerie. I’m starting to dip my toe into a contemporary romance, which is genre I’ve never written before—less magic and more kissing than I’m used to, for sure. You can follow me on Twitter @andieinitaly to see what I’m up to.

Bigelow – “Focal Point”

Sometimes a wizard from Sweden needs help from a medium from Michigan.

 I’m currently working on a dark fantasy as well as other short stories.

M.T. DeSantis – “Forever Love”

To find a chance… A chance to find…

For the first time in a while, I have a novel-length project that I’m burning rubber on. It’s currently a little secret, but the writing style is similar to Forever Love. I’d go so far as to say Forever Love gave me the confidence to try something longer with lyrical prose. I have a flash piece in an anthology with Transmundane Press releasing later this year, and I’m writing a smattering of short stories, some for Stars and Stone anthologies.

 Traci Douglass – “Blood Strong: A Blood Ravagers Novella”

One guardian demon in love. One witch with a secret crush. One evil threatening their newfound connection.

 This summer is busy, busy for me. I’ve got this short story coming out on July 24th. Then I’ve got book four of my Seven Seals Series, Scion’s Redemption, releasing on July 30th. Then, on August 1st, my first contemporary romance release with Harlequin/Mills & Boon Medical Romance comes out, One Night With The Army Doc. After that, I hope to have the last three of my Seven Seal Series books out before the end of 2018, plus I’ll be working on revisions for book two for Harlequin Medicals, getting proposals together for more Medicals books in the future, and working on edits for two new books for Entangled Bliss set to release in early 2019. Whew. I’m tired just typing all that! LOL.

Read Gallo – “The Flying Saltines”

When a river falls in love with an ordinary person will New York City survive?

Honestly, the October story for Stars and Stones… I’m also trying to sell a fantasy trilogy called Witch, Ghost, Dog, Clone.

 Pepper McGraw – “Full Moon Shenanigans”

The full moon’s coming and it’s time to embrace the wildness within.

I’m working on several upcoming projects. I have three more stories in the Shenanigans series and am also working on the next book in the Murrysville Coalition series. I also have a completely new series on the horizon that I’m not ready to announce yet, but am super excited about.

 Cara McKinnon – “A Change of Heart”

She’s a hybrid shifter who’s not supposed to exist. He’s a wolf who was born to protect her. But her secrets force him to choose: his mate, or his pack loyalty?

I am finishing up a short story for the next anthology from Stars and Stone Books (coming out just in time for Halloween!) called For Love the Bell Tolls. The genre for the anthology is Gothic Romance (with a theme of Hauntings) but all of the authors were given free rein to decide what “gothic” meant to them. I’m going with traditional Victorian gothic—a haunted/possessed house story, complete with brooding male main character and plucky, no-nonsense heroine. I couldn’t quite bring myself to write about a swoony, insipid virginal type, so she’s a world-traveler who comes back home as an adult to discover that the boy she was in love with as a girl has inherited his family’s possessed estate, his wife has died under mysterious circumstances, and his young child would rather talk to ghosts than living people. But the truth about what’s happening in the house is darker than any of them could imagine.

After that, I really need to finish book four in my Fay of Skye series, Secret Magic.

Sheri Queen – “The Robinson Agency”

Some are born with the gift to see into the future. Others create their own destiny.

I have another short story in the works, the third book in my Sleepy Hollow Hunter series that I expect to release this fall, and tons of re-writes on a new series in which I have the first book written.

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Born-to-Love-Wild-Kindle

 

What’s Next for The Love at the Edge of Seventeen Authors?

Spring 18 DigitalLOVE AT THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
A YA Romance Anthology
From Stars and Stone Books

It’s never easy to go through the fraught transition into adulthood, but the teens in this anthology have more to deal with than most: super powers, magic, illness, prejudice against sexual orientation and gender identity, and even death. Fortunately, they all find love at the edge of seventeen.

Featuring: M.T. DeSantis, A.E. Hayes, Serena Jayne, Cara McKinnon, Mary Rogers, and Kylie Weisenborn.

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We asked our authors to tell us what’s coming next for them. And as a bonus question, we also asked them to tell us three things on their desk right now.

M.T. DeSantis, “Be Null, My Heart”

What’s next? I’ll have a story in Stars and Stone’s summer adult paranormal romance anthology. That one involves a fae dance under a violet sky. Otherwise, revising novels and pitching agents.

Three things:

  • Easy Button “That was easy” – This very button sat on the desk of my high school astronomy teacher. I didn’t particularly like him, but I loved smacking the easy button as I walked by. So, at the end of the year, he gave it to me. (Yes, I just hit it now.)
  • My shiny new desktop computer – This may not seem like a big thing, but it’s the very first refurbished machine I’ve ever bought. Also, through a clever combination of gift cards and price drops, I got it for $40. I can hear your jealousy from here.
  • My “Fucitol” stress “ball – Pronounce the “c” with a “k” sound. Got it? Good. A friend in college gave me this for my birthday. It’s shaped like a giant Tylenol, and it remains my favorite stress “ball” ever.

A.E. Hayes, “Her First Fever”

Oh, wow. Well, my second nonfiction work, which is a collection of essays, will be released May 15. The book is called Villain, and while it tells some very personal stories, it also explores the nature of good and evil, right and wrong, and other preconceived notions. It looks at why we, as humans, are quick to jump to conclusions in many situations when it comes to mental illness, tragedy, and the ever-changing world around us. I’ll also be finishing the final draft of a short paranormal horror story for an upcoming anthology titled The Eynes Anthology. If you’re a fan of graphic novels and the supernatural, this one will be for you! On top of those projects, I’ll be attending a writing/book signing in late June, selling my house, preparing to renew my vows with my husband of ten years, raising my amazing six-year-old son, and finishing my legal studies. Fingers crossed for a quieter year in 2019!

Three things:

Since I’m packing up my house to get ready to sell it, my desk is a wasteland of law books, contracts for my upcoming vow renewal, and other documents I don’t want to accidentally store somewhere! So, my desk is my living room couch with my laptop on my lap, at least for now. But I’m a fan of keeping things that have significance to me. Near me, I have a family photo from Christmas 2017, a law book from the end of World War I (an original first edition with lovely, thin, old paper), and the new invitations for my very geeky vow renewal. All of these items mean something and are true to the person I am, so when I look over to my end table and see them, I can’t help but smile

Close-up portrait of a female student holding book in front of her face in the library

Serena Jayne, “Dead Man’s Party”

I’m working on a paranormal romance for an upcoming Stars and Stone anthology as well as a contemporary romance novel.

Three things:

Twisted Mango Diet Coke, star stickers, and my day planner. I’ve been giving myself a star in my day planner for every day I write as a motivation tool. The Twisted Mango Diet Coke is pretty darned good, but Margie Lawson hooked me on Diet Coke mixed with pineapple juice, which is my new favorite beverage.

Cara McKinnon, “Three Jagged Pieces”

I am currently finishing the fourth novel in my Fay of Skye series, Secret Magic. After that, I’m putting together a series proposal for a romance publisher (*fingers crossed*). And of course I have stories in the two upcoming Stars and Stone Books anthologies, Born to Love Wild (coming July 2018) and For Love the Bell Tolls (coming October 2018).

Three things:

  • I have a fidget cube that I play with when I’m trying to work out plot snarls. I originally ordered one for my son, but I like having one, too.
  • Under my monitor are a bunch of pins from various places (Seton Hill, where I got my MFA; Shepherd U, where I taught English; NaNoWriMo, which I do every November, etc.).
  • On my credenza is a Pop! figure of General Organa from The Last Jedi. Carrie Fisher is one of my heroes, and I love that she lived to become a general and not just a princess in need of rescue.

Spring 18 Book Promo 2

Mary Rogers, “The Crayon Thief”

I’m writing my second book, the first book in the Balsam Island trilogy, Finding Home. I can’t wait to tell the story of Rita Sanders, a city girl who only wants the pace and the peace of life on Balsam Island, and Declan Pierce, an Islander who can’t wait to get off to the city. It’s set in the Pacific Northwest, between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle. There’s the local Native American culture, which has been so rewarding to research, and the island culture, with Canadian and American characters, but the one character is a – shall we say – citizen of the world, Mrs. Clausse. (It’s Clow-say, but you know how people like to pronounce that!). I have other anthologies I’d like to be in, time will tell.

Three things:

Right now I’m on the front porch. I have my ever-present cup of tea (on the tea warmer!), a vase of the roses I grow in my front yard, and chapstick. I have had an addiction to chap stick since I was a kid, but the flavours are so much better now (I’m lookin’ at you, mango!). I’m not sure Tessa is a tea gal, but Susan is. Randy, well, whatever he is, I’m all for it! Cindy is a coffee gal. I’m pretty sure Susan loves the best lipsticks, but Cindy, Tessa, and Randy will be chapstick-friendly. As for roses, I assume Randy would buy them, Tessa would be shocked to get them, Cindy would probably buy her own, and Susan would be showered with them!

Kylie Weisenborn, “Now I Am”

I am finishing my debut YA fantasy and romance novel, Just Breathe, in the next few months, and will hopefully start querying agents early next year. I also hope to submit another short story or two in the next few months.

Three things:

I don’t really have anything interesting on my desk since I rarely use it for writing. It’s more of a clutter collector.

Spring 18 Book Promo 3

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Representation Matters

Spring 18 DigitalLOVE AT THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
A YA Romance Anthology
From Stars and Stone Books

It’s never easy to go through the fraught transition into adulthood, but the teens in this anthology have more to deal with than most: super powers, magic, illness, prejudice against sexual orientation and gender identity, and even death. Fortunately, they all find love at the edge of seventeen.

Featuring: M.T. DeSantis, A.E. Hayes, Serena Jayne, Cara McKinnon, Mary Rogers, and Kylie Weisenborn.

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This blog post is basically just a repost of my Author’s Note from “Three Jagged Pieces,” available today in this lovely YA romance anthology. I edited out one tiny spoiler, and otherwise the only spoiler is that everyone gets together in the end (duh, it’s a romance).

I think it’s important to talk about what kinds of characters we’re writing about in fiction, particularly romance. But another part of this discussion is how we should also be carving out space for #ownvoices authors. I absolutely am an advocate for authors who share their authentic voices and their own experiences. To that end, I will direct readers to one of my favorite romance authors, Anna Zabo, who is nonbinary. They have written some amazing books, but my favorite is Just Business. Eli and Justin stole my heart and never gave it back.

OK, on to the Author’s Note!

Most of the people I know who are trans or non-binary took a long time on their own personal journeys to get to where Noah is in this story. I deliberately gave Noah a supportive—and more importantly, observant—family who asked the right questions at an early age, never forced him to be anything other than what he is, and gave him access to the tools and information he needed to make informed choices as a young man. I did this for a few reasons. The first is because I wish that everyone, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, size, shape, or life choices, could be surrounded by acceptance and love—and accessible medical treatment if needed. The second reason is because I didn’t want this to be a story that’s only about Noah being trans. There is more to transgender people than their gender! So, while that’s an important part of him, and though he’s only eighteen, an age at which many of my transgender friends were—for many valid and tangible reasons—unable to come out, I wanted Noah to be out and feel pretty confident about himself as, well, himself. At the same time, though, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m making any sort of statement about when—or even if—someone should transition, or that someone needs to know they’re trans as a child. That’s a deeply personal process, and there are no right or wrong answers, choices, or timings.

On the other hand, there does need to be some conflict in a story, so I gave Sam some truly terrible parents. A year ago, I wouldn’t have written his parents the way I did. They feel over-the-top and cartoonish to me, even now—even knowing that many, many of these people exist, and are out in the open thanks to the changes in the US since 2016. I grew up in the evangelical Christian faith. I was baptized Southern Baptist and after that my parents went around to a number of different independent (non-denominational) churches. The one thing the churches all had in common was fundamentalism: The Bible is the sacrosanct word of God, and Jesus is the only way for salvation. There was a lot of “family values” nonsense and purity culture in there, too, although my parents are definitely on the liberal end of that particular religious cesspool. I got away from it in high school and never looked back. But Sam’s parents could be people I knew from church—maybe even the parents of kids in my youth group. And that’s scary and tragic. I wanted to give Sam a way to escape that many teens don’t have in reality. [Edited to add: As of 5/16/18, my state just enacted legislation to ban conversion therapy.]

Finally, we come to Ava. Ava is the girl I could have been. Some of her story mirrors mine: short, chubby girl who gained a lot of weight because of birth control pills to control PCOS symptoms. We both suffer from body-image issues, although I’m twenty years older than her now and I’ve come a long way toward loving myself no matter my size. But unlike Ava, I didn’t let any of that hold me back when I was in school. I loved to perform, and I was very confident in my voice. I didn’t get the cutest guy in school in high school, but I did get the cutest guy in college (who also happens to be a former wrestler), and we’re married with two kids. Ava gets to have two hot guys. Isn’t she lucky?


Go get your copy of Love at the Edge of Seventeen to find out how Noah, Sam, and Ava overcome prejudice, bigotry, and hate to find a deep and abiding love. #lovewins

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Love Across the Universe Blog Tour: Refilling the Creative Well

Love Across the Universe Banner 851 x 315

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The authors of Love Across the Universe sat down and answered a series of questions about writing, science fiction, romance, and more.

We live in a busy world with lots of distractions and it can be difficult to fit in time to write and be creative. But just as important as time to create things is time to fill our creative wells. We asked the Love Across the Universe authors to tell us what they do to “refill the well.”

Refilling the Creative Well


Elsa M. Carruthers—“All B+ut You”

I read, watch shows, and walk.

M.T. DeSantis—“The Princess of Sands”

I read for the most part. Reading something amazing that someone else wrote makes me want to get back in the chair and produce something awesome. I also take days off every so often. Recharging away from my computer is nice.

Traci Douglass—“A Dream to Build a Kiss On”

Walks, naps, movies, going out with my friends, reading.

Read a Book

A.E. Hayes—“Tristan’s Tryst”

These days, I don’t have time for much else other than writing and editing, but when I do need to take a break, I go out with friends to get coffee, watch a few episodes of a great TV show with my husband, build some LEGOs with my son, or sing whatever my favorite song is that day in my car. I have escapes—I just don’t have a lot of time for them at the moment.

Serena Jayne—“You Only Love Once”

I fill my creative well by reading fiction across all the genres, watching movies and television shows, looking at art in museums, boxing, exercising, and spending time with writer friends.

L.J. Longo—“Breathless”

I read a lot, but I don’t see as much television or movies as I want. I’ve never actively filled the well. I’ve just drawn on it and never found the bottom.

Watch Movies & TV

Oriana Maret—“Renewal”

Reading is the greatest idea stimulator, and after that, walking.

Cara McKinnon—“The Pirates and the Pacifist”

Sometimes, all it takes is getting away from the computer screen for a while. I enjoy watching movies and TV shows, but I had to give up most of that when I started writing full time. Now, I read or get out of the house and go places. I’m lucky enough to live near several state and county parks, two mountain ridges, and a river. There’s always something to do outside!

Sheri Queen—“Red Sand”

I watch movies. It’s a defined amount of time that I can fit into my schedule. I also love to read, but I find I have to mostly listen to books because of how much I travel.

Mary Rogers—“Breakfast on Pluto”

I read! I also watch old movies, and listen to older music (The American Songbook, Broadway, and Modern Classics – I love Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra).

Get Out Into Nature

Emmerite Sundberg—“Fluid”

Hiking in the woods refills my flagging soul which also refills my well of creativity. Trees and a brook do wonders for my psyche.

K.W. Taylor—“Reprogramming”

I’m working at home this summer, and every day unless heavy rain precludes it, I run a slow but steady 4-6 mile stretch of bike path full of trees, shrubs, bits of swampy marshland, lots of friendly people to observe, and lots of animals to watch. The endorphins of the exercise itself keep me emotionally buoyant, and sometimes I’ll have interesting conversations or observations. It’s also a chance to meditate, zone out, and brainstorm my current works-in-progress. Sometimes I’ll listen to an audiobook or podcast on my runs, sometimes music, or sometimes I’ll just think. Any of those options gives me a ton of creative ideas.


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Advice about Love from Romance Authors

Crazy Little Spring Called Love


The authors of the stories in Crazy Little Spring Called Love (order here) sat down to answer some questions for their readers. For links to the full list of interview questions, teasers, and more, visit the blog tour page.


What’s your best advice about love?

traciTraci Douglass

No advice, sorry. But one of my favorite quotes about love comes from Willa Cather. She said, “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.” I think that’s a pretty great outlook to live by. Pursue your dreams and follow what you love and miracles will happen.

SheriSheri Queen

There will be difficult days, when you’ll have to work a little harder to keep that love. We’re human, with human foibles, and our relationships change as we mature, which means our love will have to grow to meet those changes. Maybe it’s true that love is like a good wine that gets better as it ages. Above all, take time to celebrate that love.

MTM.T. DeSantis

 

Stop looking for it. The minute you do, it will be there. Believe me. I know.

CaraCara McKinnon

 

Listen to other people. Don’t just hear. Listen. Be honest, but not cruel. Communicate. And redefine the golden rule–don’t treat other people the way you would like to be treated. Treat them as they want to be treated.

LJL.J. Longo

 

Find your best friend. Kiss him/her. Still friends? Get married. If not … find another best friend?

I might give very bad love advice. I dunno, kidnap him?

Spring 17 Interior Image MR F.1Mary Rogers

Cherish it. You don’t know if it will last, how long you’ll have it, and what will happen if or when it ends. It is a mystery and a gift, even when it is imperfect. So to whomever, or whatever you believe in – give thanks.

Elsa CarruthersSpring 17 Interior Image EC F.1

Hold out for the person or people that makes you excited to get up in the morning and reluctant to go to sleep because you don’t want to miss a second with them. Hold out for someone that “gets” you and loves you in all of your unique glory. But most of all, hold out for someone in whom you see qualities you admire.

Spring 17 Interior Image AH F.1A.E. Hayes

Trust your instincts. I’m not saying that you should rush into anything if your instincts say, “Hey, this person I just met an hour ago is kind and attractive; I should make sure I ask about marriage,” but I do believe that we innately know what is good and bad for our hearts and souls. If you feel a connection, there’s nothing wrong with exploring it. The worst that can happen is that the other person will say no. At that point? Move on (if that takes an hour or a month – rejection is not always easy). If the person says yes? Enjoy every moment that you have – from the first spark to the boring loads of laundry you may do together to the nights where you hold hands as one of you lies in a hospital bed. When love is real, it lasts. Trust yourself. It all begins with you.

Crazy Little Spring Called Love Blog Tour!

Crazy Little Spring Called Love


The authors of the stories in Crazy Little Spring Called Love–of which I am one!–sat down to answer some questions for their readers. For links to the full list of interview questions, teasers, and more, visit the blog tour page.


Question 3: Spring

What do you like best about spring? What do you hate?

Traci Douglass

traci

No negatives for me.

Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons. I love Spring because everything is fresh and growing and it’s a new beginning, a time to break free of the bonds of winter and forge a new path.

It’s full of possibility and potential.

Sheri Queen

Sheri

I love the warmer weather that comes with Spring, so I can sit outside by my decorative fountains to read and write.

But I hate having to weed and mulch, and the heavy pollens are brutal.

M.T. DeSantis

MT

Spring is probably my favorite season. Things are green, and flowers are blooming. There’s a freshness to the air that makes the world feel alive. The thing I dislike most about spring is the fact that where I live now gets about a week of it. I miss weeks on end of spring so much. Now, I get something sort of resembling winter for a while, a week or two of spring, and then sweltering summer.

Cara McKinnon

Cara

I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and so winter is a tough time for me. It’s cold, and dark, and gloomy. But then things start to come back to life and there is color and light and warmth. Unfortunately there is also tree pollen and lots of rain, but nothing in life is perfect!

L.J. Longo

LJ

Confession, I hate Spring. I know, very hipster of me. I have allergies and I walk everywhere all year long. Then suddenly, right around my birthday, I’ve got to start sharing the street with both pollen and pedestrians!

Oh wait, Ghost Tours start again in the Spring. So that’s my favorite part of Spring.

Mary Rogers

Mary
As a northeasterner, I love lilacs, and miss them terribly. Gardenias fill that void here in California. I love the way it seems like spring just happens. From seemingly unending gray skies, snow melt, browned leaves you didn’t get to raking, to crocus, daffodils and pastels everywhere. I love the way it just hits your senses in every way, the look, the smell, the sight, the tastes (strawberries!) and the sounds (birds everywhere!). Here in California where we never get winter, and fall and spring are suspiciously like summer, it happens in a more clandestine way, but if you keep your senses open, you’ll see the wonders all again.

Elsa Carruthers

Elsa
I love the flowers, all of the green that seems to appear overnight. It is breathtaking! I hate the pollen and the fact that I never know what to wear. 🙂

Crazy Little Spring Called Love Is Here!

CRAZY LITTLE SPRING CALLED LOVE
Eight Magical Stories of Fantasy Romance
from Stars and Stone Books

Crazy Little Spring Called Love

Featuring: Elsa Carruthers, M.T. DeSantis, Traci Douglass, A.E. Hayes, L.J. Longo, Cara McKinnon, Sheri Queen, and Mary Rogers

This delightful fantasy romance anthology features eight magical stories inspired by the awakenings and renewal of springtime. If you love gods and goddesses, fairies, djinn, druids, mermaids, dryads, and magic of all varieties, Crazy Little Spring Called Love delivers!

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR AUTHORS


traciTraci Douglass – “When Hermes Met Eos”

One night. Two star-crossed immortals. Will their vibrant connection survive beyond sunrise?

Sheri

Sheri Queen – “The Girl with a Broken Wing”

One damaged fairy. One half-human. One destiny.

MT

M.T. DeSantis – “A Hunt for Love”

Can a djinn and a clueless guy beat the clock, avoid the curse, and maybe even find true love?

Cara

Cara McKinnon – “Love at Dawn”

Sometimes mortals need a little push from a god and goddess to fall in love…

LJ

L.J. Longo – “Seaweed and Silk”

A mermaid: hundreds of miles from her home on the ice, on a ship with a troll, a goblin wizard, and a pack of wolves. What else can go wrong? Oh, right. A flippin’ sea monster.

Mary

Mary Rogers – “Spring Fling”

A druid’s bargain gives Carson revenge against his former lover Carrie–at the price of her memories of them together. But did she truly steal his magic all those years ago? Or was the real theft his heart?

Elsa

Elsa Carruthers – “Welded”

Welding Witch, Rena, is on the run. She’s not looking for love, but all the magic in the world can’t keep the sparks from flying when her rivals, Nate and Duke, find her.

Spring 17 Interior Image AH F.1A. E. Hayes – “A Siren’s Song of Spring”

She is sworn to sing men to their deaths. Until one sails into her heart.


★ STARS AND STONE BOOKS ★ GOODREADS ★ FACEBOOK RELEASE PARTY ★ TWITTER ★ ANTHOLOGY WEBSITE ★

Building a Mindreader’s World in Jessica Knauss’s Awash in Talent

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Awash in Talent is made up of three interrelated novellas. In this alternate version of Providence, Rhode Island, about ten percent of the world population has one of three Talents: telekinesis, firestarting, or psychic powers. Psychic powers are the rarest Talent, between 1.5 and 2 percent of the general population, leaving at least 8 percent to be firestarters and telekinetics. But these figures may result from underreporting, because psychics also have the hardest Talent to detect and control.

Impartial critics have called the third novella of Awash in Talent the most poignant and some of my best writing. It’s narrated by Patricia, a therapist who can read people’s thoughts—whether she wants to or not.

Please enjoy this excerpt, which introduces Patricia and a little bit of the reasoning behind her decision not to register with the government as a psychic. See more about Patricia’s dilemma here.

To my husband:

It comes through the eyes. You have a technical bent of mind, so I think you’d like to know how it works first of all. It’s a sensory experience something like sound, but muted, like the voice in your head. You can tell it’s not passing through vocal cords and over teeth. It only took me until I was five to figure that out. But it’s also a little like watching a movie that flashes and jumps. Psychologically complex people can send me pictures with a muted soundtrack that has nothing to do with what I’m seeing. I married you because you’ve never done that to me. Despite your outward histrionics, you’re a one-note sensory experience.

But I became a therapist so I could act on the information people sent me without registering as a psychic, not so I could describe my experience as a psychic accurately. Let’s call it “thought energy,” to which I and other psychics are sensitive, while most humans are less so.

Because thought energy comes through the eyes, they’ve made special sunglasses “for any psychic who registers,” according to the public service announcements. I don’t know if you’ve noticed them—Soul Stoppers, they’re called. They’re supposed to encourage registry in a population the government can have no real control over—those of us with this, the most reviled of all Talents. They should have spent more time on the design of the glasses, because they draw so much attention to the wearer. Attention is the last thing I want. Those strange slats over the lenses—I think it’s so we’re prevented from looking into people’s eyes while still able to see where we’re going. I can only imagine everyone in the street looks headless. I’d much rather close my eyes and look away if I get an intolerable beam of thought energy, though I’ve sometimes wondered if that makes me look even stranger than the glasses would.

I had a friend in grade school, Danielle. One day in the middle of art class, where we were learning about papier-mâché, she just started screaming. She didn’t stop screaming her wordless terror until they decided to take her to the special school for psychics, where they found out that she was one of them. I didn’t want to be taken away, so I kept my eyes to the floor. Later, Danielle visited our school, obligated by the authorities, who wanted to show children that psychics aren’t dangerous. Any fears I had about her new school were confirmed in the ugly glasses she had to wear and her new demeanor. She was too quiet. You might think it would be a nice contrast from the screaming, but her silence, which went all the way down to her slow-moving, abnormally uncluttered thought energy, terrified me.

Although I never scream, it doesn’t take long for all the thoughts to become too much, too stimulating. I decided to become a therapist because looking into one soul at a time is easier to handle and helps me feel I’m making a difference in people’s lives…

It wasn’t long after I got here that I noticed that in Providence, Friendship is a one-way street. I was comfortable with that, because for me, it really has been. And continues to be.

 

As I built Patricia’s lonely world, I had to employ all my own powers of empathy to imagine what the characters’ thoughts look like to Patricia as well as how their encroachment into her psychic space affects her. In the first draft, I found myself using the usual language to show what other characters might be thinking, and my beta readers called me out on it. I had to remember that with Patricia, it’s not typical empathy. Imagining concrete images and sounds and what feelings they would conjure in order to make her psychic Talent authentic was often terrifying, which helped make the story dramatic. I almost feel like I need some therapy sessions with Patricia after seeing the world through her eyes.

Patricia’s biggest challenge comes in the form of the narrator of the first novella, Emily. Because she’s attempted to kidnap a married graduate student, the courts have required Emily to undergo psychological evaluations and treatment. Patricia should be the perfect person for the job, but she finds that where everyone else transmits their thoughts too freely, Emily shows Patricia only static. How can she evaluate Emily, much less help her, when she has to treat her using the primitive methods of un-Talented therapists? Patricia has never been confronted with this problem before: How can you help someone who doesn’t want your help?

Knauss Awash in Talent

Jessica Knauss’s Awash in Talent was released by Kindle Press on June 7 to praise from readers who love something different.

This is the second stop in a week-long Awash in Talent blog tour. Don’t miss the crazy character interviews and writing advice at the blogs of A.J. Culey, Andi Adams, J.L. Gribble, and Jennifer Loring!

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Born and raised in Northern California, Jessica Knauss has wandered all over the United States, Spain, and England. She has worked as a librarian and a Spanish teacher and earned a PhD in Medieval Spanish Literature before entering the publishing world as an editor. Her acclaimed novella, Tree/House, and short story collection, Unpredictable Worlds, are currently available. Her epic of medieval Spain, Seven Noble Knights, will be published by Bagwyn Books in December 2016. Find her on social media and updates on the sequels to Awash in Talent and Seven Noble Knights and her other writing at her website: jessicaknauss.com. Feel free to sign up for her mailing list for castles, stories, and magic.

 


Links and Contact Info for Jessica Knauss

Essential Magic Blog Tour

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The print cover for Essential Magic!

Essential Magic releases in less than a week!

To celebrate the release, I’m going on tour! I will be visiting various blogs all next week. Here on my blog, I’ll be posting a series on sex and romance, and I’ll be hosting A.J. Culey on Tuesday!

Here’s the tour schedule (click on the host name to go to their blog), so be sure not to miss a day:

If you’re looking for something to read, all of their books are amazing! A.J.’s book releases the same day as Essential Magic, but all of the other books are already out and available for purchase.

And of course you can pre-order Essential Magic now at any of the following retailers:

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

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