Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Guest Author Jillian Jacobs Talks Elementals and WATER'S THRESHOLD

I'm pleased to introduce our guest today - Jillian Jacobs!

Here’s a little about Jillian: In the spring of 2013, Jillian Jacobs changed her career path and became a romance writer. After reading for years, she figured writing a romance would be quick and easy. Nope! With the guidance of the Indiana Romance Writers of America chapter, she’s learned there are many "rules" to writing a proper romance. Being re-schooled has been an interesting journey, and she hopes the best trails are yet to be traveled.

Water’s Threshold, the first in Jillian’s Elementals series, was a finalist in Chicago-North’s 2014 Fire and Ice contest in the Women’s Fiction category.

Jillian is a: Tea Guzzler, Polish Pottery Hoarder, and lover of all things Moose.
The genres she writes under are: Paranormal and Contemporary with suspenseful elements. 
Spotlight Book Title: Water’s Threshold
Series Name: The Elementals Series, Book: 1

Blurb: What happens when a lonely water-girl finally finds her shore?
In a tourist town at the base of the Tetons, Maya Conway, a mythical being known as an Elemental, stands at a crossroads. On her current path, she is content using her life force—water—to protect humans and the environment. Her direction is altered when Mother Nature taps her to guide Terran Forrester, an analytical scientist, on his journey to become the next Elemental—Earth. If Maya crosses into his world, will her lonely heart find a partner or will his rational mind reject her otherworldly existence? When an ancient evil evolved from dark matter shadows their steps, which path will they choose—logic or love?

Short Excerpt:
A low beat of classic rock came from the backyard as Maya stood on Terran's front porch. Always one to forge her own trail, she fought the notion that this pull toward him was predestined. Hadn't she, so many years ago, left behind her birthplace to begin a new life? At eighteen, she had traveled across America by train to California. Forever frozen at age twenty-one, she fought the notion this relationship was chosen for her. Fate did not have her at Terran's doorstep-hope did.
At the door's threshold, indecision raced through her mind. Should she cross into his life and get release for this pent-up need, or should she walk away? If she left, could she keep him safe and ignore the pull attempting to anchor her in place? Could she stand still, neither in, nor out?

Veronica: What prompted you to start writing?
Jillian: Honestly, I needed an addition to my current career. I love, love, love to read, and as I mentioned in my bio, I thought writing would be easy. I quickly discovered being an author is very challenging. I’ve spent the past year and a half learning craft from some very wonderful fellow authors. My goal now is to create work that I enjoy reading. I hope others will enjoy, as well.

Veronica: Which five people would you invite to dinner and why?
Jillian: Elvis, because he’s Elvis.
My grandmother, because I’d like her to meet my son.
Freddy Mercury, because I love his music, and I’d like to hear the truth of his life.
Lastly, a panel of women throughout time, how did they ever make it? Specifically a few brave gals who survived on their own while their loved ones fought in the Civil War. Women who fought for our right to vote. Women who fought for our health care. A glimpse into their strength and persistence would be fascinating.

Veronica: That would make for an interesting and wide ranging discussion. Which word or phrase do you most overuse in a manuscript?
Jillian: Super easy—THEN.

Must watch TV show: Justified- aka that show with Timothy Olyphant
Cats or Dogs: Cats
Favorite Flower: Yellow roses
Tea or Coffee: Tea
Book or books I reread most often: Until You by Judith McNaught and To Tame A Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning. I could go on and on.

Veronica: How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?
Jillian: I don’t really celebrate, because there is still so much to do. I imagine I will celebrate when I get my first royalty check. I’ll probably tell my immediate family, and then get my writing pals together for a mani/pedi.

Veronica: What are you working on next?
Jillian: I’m in final edits for Ember’s Center, the first in my Contemporary series, The O-line. The hero is a professional football player, and NO, he’s not the quarterback. I wrote this series because I feel like all the other players on the team deserve a story. We hear enough about quarterbacks, don’t we?

I’m also in the final chapters of the second in this Elementals series, which will be Flint and Violet’s story. Fire’s Field is the working title.

Where can your readers find you online?

Buy Links for book:
Amazon   Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks   KOBO

Jilian: Thanks, for this opportunity to reveal a little more about my story and myself. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Using Horror to Inspire Setting

Surprisingly, or not, my writing is greatly influenced by horror writers, from Ray Bradbury and H.P. Lovecraft to Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. I study them to write tense, scary scenes because my book involves zombies and demons from another dimension, and while I try to incorporate humor, zombies are scary!

In my Necromancer Books, necromancers played a large part in how demons initially made contact with humans, which led to disastrous consequences and which is part of what Ruby, my necromancer heroine, is dealing with in the books. Ruby travels to the demon realm quite a bit throughout the series. Those scenes were fun to write, but also challenging in how to make that world unique and interesting without copying every other fantasy realm already imagined. I drew upon ancient cultures like the Sumerians to imagine my architecture (in the mythology, the demons actually influenced Sumerian architecture) and added some descriptions influenced by both H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker.

Below is an excerpt from The Necromancer's Betrayal, a scene in the demon realm, illustrating how the above-mentioned horror writers and a particular experience I had when I lived in Brazil, inspired my demon realm. The description of the bottles containing various creepy crawlies is actually true and based on a bar my Brazilian friend and I visited. The bar was tiny and served shots of cachaca from bottles containing the very same creepy crawlies described in my demon realm! (I apologize for the fluctuating fonts and sizes. This is blogger being difficult.)

Tivor turned down a less crowded, narrower passage, and if I’d hadn’t known better, I’d have said we’d entered a red light district of sorts, with demons stumbling about as if drunk. I raised an eyebrow at Ewan, and he just smiled and waved me onward. Tivor ducked into an opening in the rock. Damon had to bend almost ninety degrees to clear the entrance to what could only be a bar packed into a small cave, as dark and musty as an aged British pub. Stone benches lined the walls circling a stone pillar in the center out of which an enormous, multi-eyed, octopus-like creature served up drinks with his tentacles. I clasped Ewan’s arm. “Why is Cthulhu the bartender?”

He laughed. “Ah, Cthulhu, as you call him, won’t hurt you,” he reassured me, but I wasn’t—reassured. “I guess he does look pretty Lovecraft-inspired, but don’t tell him that. I think he much prefers Poe. Damn good bartender though.”
I stuck close to Ewan as we squeezed our way past the patrons to one of the benches. Rock shelves rimmed the stone pillar, displaying a collection of bottles in various sizes and shapes, all filled with a clear liquid. But it was the items contained in the bottles and jars that caught my attention—things that resembled crabs, snakes, spiders, herbs, snails and anything else that crawled, wiggled, bit, or scraped. There were no large mixed drinks poked with an umbrella and sipped over nachos or onion rings here.
Ewan pointed at the bottles. “Locals swear the ingredients carry medicinal properties. This stuff will cure you of shaky bones, swollen joints, heartache, even financial woes.”
“Until you wake up the next morning with a pounding headache,” Damon said with a wry grin.
Ewan ordered something in demon, and we sat across from Damon and Tivor on benches jammed into a corner of the cave. Cthulhu unwound his tentacles, gripping shot cups carved from garnet-colored crystals. I plucked mine from the outstretched appendage, and it curled back to its owner. Ewan and Damon raised the cups, dipped a finger in the alcohol, and rubbed it on their foreheads before knocking back the drink.
“What’s with the forehead thing?” I asked, still holding my drink in front of me, not quite sure I’d survive the demon concoction.
“It’s our toast. May the drink lighten our hearts and balance our minds.”
I snorted. “I’d say.” I eyed the cup. Well, I was part demon.
“Here goes nothing.” I raised my shot and hesitated when I caught the devious glint in Damon’s eye. That didn’t bode well. I took a small sip and immediately sputtered the alcohol out in a spray. I coughed while the demons laughed. I swore I heard a weird gurgle coming from Cthulhu. “What is this, lighter fluid?” Just the tiny drops that soaked my tongue had sent my head spinning.
I met Ewan’s smile and had to smile myself, enjoying seeing his face lit by amusement instead of tension and anger. “You know, you once told me that human alcohol didn’t make demons drunk, but what about this?” I asked.
He laughed and cocked an eyebrow. “Would you like to find out?” He stood and shouted for more drinks in a display of inebriated braggadocio. Tivor frowned in obvious disapproval while Damon slapped a hand on the Chronicler’s knee. “Tivor, my friend, you remain much too cloistered. How long has it been since you bedded a female?”
I widened my eyes, but Tivor appeared unperturbed. He carefully lifted Damon’s large hand and responded in the demon tongue without blinking. Whatever he said made Damon frown and sent Ewan into a fit of unadulterated laughter. I smiled at his carefree display. Tentacles delivered another round, and Ewan and Damon tossed it down while I respectfully declined, causing said appendages to quiver in disapproval.
Ewan’s eyes flashed, and a wicked, unapologetic grin curled his lip. Already, I sensed an air of mischief about him I’d never experienced before. I’d have loved to discover what a drunken Ewan dared. As if reading my mind, he moved closer, trapping me between his heat and the cold stone wall. He leaned over, and I smelled his breath, hot and spiced from the alcohol. He growled. “I sense his touch on you.”
I closed my eyes, my entire body coiled, ready to spring. My breath escaped in shallow gasps. Ewan continued to surprise me with the many facets to his personality, but I’d never seen this insouciance. The alcohol and seedy location had stripped away the barriers holding him back. He ignored Tivor and Damon, too involved in nipping my neck, as if trying to bite away Ly’s touch, holding the skin in his teeth for a brief devastating moment before letting go.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pinterest Story Boards

Eorthe is an alternate Earth where vampires, werewolves, and other assorted creatures live. They’ve never even heard of a human until Dr. Susan Barlow tumbled into their world. (Book One) In this new installment (book 2), we’re traveling to the vampire colony of New Berg, where my hero and heroine get in way too much trouble.

So you can imagine I had to do some world building. Every author who writes paranormal/fantasy series knows what I mean when I say we all have tricks to remember the small details of previous books. I can’t express how much pain and time it used to take me to remember what so-and-so’s eye color is or how did her bedroom look like?

*bangs head*

There were nights I wanted to hit delete on the whole project because I was fed up with—wait, what was his eye color again?

I know writers who use Scrivener and Onenote. I tried them but it felt like work. I work enough at my evil day job and taking care of my kids. Until I discovered Pinterest and fell down the time suck well. 

At least, it was fun.

Then it dawned on me that most of my boards contained pictures of things I wanted to use in future stories. Well, heck, why not past stories too! I created my storyboards. Now, readers can go there and see how I picture my heros, dragons, castles, caves…etc.

Better yet, when I need to remember so-and-so’s eye color it’s just a click, and at least, ten new pins away.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Comet Landing

Much to my family's dismay, I wait until the last minute to complete projects. Well, if I hadn't waited until the last minute to write this post, I would have missed out reporting on a fantastic event. 

Yesterday the European Space Agency’s Philae lander touched down on the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is the first soft landing on a comet that is moving more than 60,000 km per hour. They say it's like transferring an object from one speeding bullet to another.  Historic. Exciting.

Artist's concept of Philae's landing. Image credit: ESA
Anything connected to space intrigues me. I guess that’s why I write science fiction romance. Sputnik went into orbit when I was a kid and I well remember the Space Race with the Soviets. Back in the 1960s, I knew the names of all the astronauts. Every time there was a space launch, I’d be glued to the television. So learning about this ground-breaking event had me trolling the internet and avidly watching the Science Channel.

The Rosetta spacecraft that carried Philae has already had a long journey—ten years and over four billion miles before it caught up to the duck-shaped Comet 67P/C-G. As soon as Philae landed on the comet's head, it immediately drilled down to anchor the lander to the comet. Sure wouldn’t want it to bounce off. Also, immediately the instruments started working and Philae is sending back information about this icy space wanderer.

What do scientists expect to learn? Possibly about the beginning of the solar system.

Since comets are made up of water and dust, scientists theorize that a dry Earth was bombarded by thousands of comets, which left behind water. By analyzing the data from Philae, they hope to determine if that theory is correct. The lander will take pictures of the area around the landing zone. It will take the comet’s temperature on the surface and deep within. The instruments will examine the dust to tell where the comet came from. Analyzing the content inside the comet, they could tell us if it’s the same as the ingredients of Earth, and possibly where life comes from. Pretty good for a lander that’s about as big as a washing machine.

These are exciting times! We’ve had so many years of ho-hum events. I mean, how can you get excited about another trip to the space station with cargo or a change in crew? I’m sure it’s exciting and important for the astronauts. I know so much goes on behind the scenes in preparation for a real event. Philae’s landing yesterday was nearly thirty years in the making.

So what's next? Remember the movie Armageddon? Instead of sending up a team of oil & gas drillers, a project in the works plans to “capture” an asteroid and change its path. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, scheduled to launch in two years, plans to bring a piece of an asteroid home.

Scientists are only limited by their imaginations. We writers could help out with that, couldn’t we?

Diane Burton writes science fiction romance, romantic suspense, and mystery. Her most recent sfr novel is The Chameleon (book 2 in the Outer Rim series). Her latest novel is a mystery, The Case of the Bygone Brother. See Diane's website for more info:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Superheroes and Super Heroes

Something like 30 superhero movies are in the pipeline to be released over the next 5 years. Some people are worried that the film studios are “overdoing it” but over here in Anah&DianneLand, we’re just thrilled.
More superheroes means more super heroes.
No, we’re not being facetious…at least not much. Superhero comics and films are, in general, home to heroes on a grand scale—men and women with larger-than-life personalities, larger-than-life problems, and who find ways to overcome those problems with a larger-than-life obligation to do the right thing. We both love heroes who have an ingrained sense of right and wrong, who are driven to make life better not just for themselves but for those around them, and superheroes almost always fit the bill—even if they’re not always nice while they’re doing it.
And don’t think we’re only talking about male heroes. No way! Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel are high on our lists of favorites, and they’re getting their own movies in the next few years. Black Widow, though she doesn’t have a solo film slated yet, is a huge favorite too. We love her complicated past, and her strong personality…even if we are a little disappointed that the movies haven’t been able to show us her history with Wolverine yet.
We love that shows like Constantine are also being made. Constantine is a classic paranormal comics character from Marvel—though we so wish they’d make a Blade show (or at least another movie). If you’re not familiar with the original John Constantine, you might want to check him out because he’s been toned down for television. 
Original flavor Constantine is an evil-slaughtering, chain-smoking bisexual ne’er-do-well with… not a heart of gold. Gold doesn’t tarnish and Constantine is held together with tarnish and regret. A heart of silver, though, that’s closer to the truth. He may not be a superhero (he’s a super jerk sometimes) but he is a super (anti)hero and we love him for it.
Is the paranormal a place for superheroes? Or super heroes? We like to think so. Werewolves born in back alleys and succubi lurking in penthouses may have a little higher to climb than your average ready-made caped crusader but that just makes it all the more impressive when they reach the heights of heroism. We’re glad to see heroics back in style. 

Until next time,
—Anah & Dianne

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Blasters Don't Solve Every Problem

One of the elements I like to include in my science fiction romances is a strong feeling of the richness of the myth and mystery of the planet where the action is occurs. My most recent science fiction romance MISSION TO MAHJUNDAR is no exception.

I make sure to have science fiction and advanced technology in my novels but I also work in an element of “otherness” to raise questions and open up possibilities. My heroes are Special Forces personnel from the Sectors (the universe where my stories take place).  They’ve learned the hard way on missions all over the galaxy not to be skeptical of powers stemming from sources other than the technology they rely on. Blasters don’t necessarily solve every problem!

For the planet Mahjundar, I envisioned a world where the older beliefs are fading, under assault from new gods favored by the local Empress. The heroine, Princess Shalira, has the knack for channeling the power of the legacy gods, but this ability is no longer respected or needed in the current political situation. The fact that she’s blind further reduces her status in society, to the point where she’s left facing a less-than-desirable arranged marriage.

Over the course of the novel, she and the hero, Major Mike Varone, face a number of challenges, some of which can be resolved by his high tech weapons and gadgets, others which only yield to her connection to the mysteries of Mahjundar’s past.

I always ask myself, What would be really cool to have happen on this planet?

Here’s an excerpt from MISSION TO MAHJUNDAR, illustrating my approach. Shalira has requested a brief stop at an abandoned temple, and asks Mike to escort her to the shrine.

He led her to the round mosaic in the middle of the platform, colors still bright. As they stepped onto the slightly upraised pattern, there was a sudden trill of musical notes and a brightly colored creature fluttered around his head. Automatically he recoiled, free hand going to his gun.
No doubt feeling him tense, Shalira crowded closer. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Are we likely to be in any danger from a bird-butterfly kind of thing?” Focusing on the tiny, brilliantly-hued creature as it fluttered around him, Mike felt a little silly. But there were deadly predators on other worlds that seemed just as harmless at first glance and it wasn’t his nature to take chances.
“I’m sorry, a what?” Her forehead wrinkled as she puzzled over the term he’d used in Basic.
“I don’t know what to call it in your language. They weren’t mentioned in our briefing. Some kind of flying warbler?” The creature set down on his shoulder for an instant, fuzzy antennae vibrating, and then launched itself into the air with another trill of bell-like notes that seemed too loud to be coming from such a tiny being.
“A myrdima of  Pavmiraia! Do you really see such a marvel?” She turned her head left to right. “I thought I heard music.”
“It’s flown off now, to the trees. It was pink and purple and red, with furry white antenna. About the size of your fist.”
“We’d be blessed indeed, to be serenaded by Pavmiraia’s songbird. None has been seen in this area of Mahjundar for centuries. They withdraw, as the old gods withdraw, because the people’s faith wanes.” She shook her hand free of his, not rudely. Arms outstretched, she twirled, dancing, humming under her breath. She made graceful hand movements in time to her tune as she swirled. Pausing for a moment, she said, “I feel so free here, momentary though the sensation may be. I haven’t felt so unencumbered since I was ten and my world fell apart.”
Not knowing what to say to her personal revelation, but feeling pleased she was happy, Mike leaned on the nearest pillar, scanning the ground for snakes or any other menace. He hoped Vreely would let Shalira enjoy her brief excursion for a bit longer. The man had been impatience personified since they’d left the capital city.
“Uh oh, look out, the whatever-you-called-it is back, with a friend,” he said. “Stand still and maybe it’ll land on your hand.”
She closed her eyes and extended one hand, giggling a moment later as the little creature settled on her outstretched fingertips. “That tickles.”
“They have tiny, fuzzy feet,” he told her. “Gave me goosebumps.”
A green-and-blue companion followed suit, touching down on her other hand. Shalira began to sing in a lovely, high soprano and after a moment the myrdima joined in with their crystalline three notes. Mike thought he’d never heard anything so beautiful, on any world. As Shalira continued to sing, in a language he didn’t understand, more of the tiny warblers arrived, in a rainbow of colors, each adding its own three notes to the performance. They placed themselves on the princess’s hair like jeweled ornaments, and more hovered around her in a cloud. Entranced, Mike thought there must be several hundred in all. A few even floated over to where he stood, although none landed on him. The colors ornamenting the wings shone in the sunshine, particularly vibrant against the drab, dusty landscape.
If they’re waiting for me to sing, they’ve got nothing but disappointment coming. He bit his lip, not wanting to make a sound that might interfere with Shalira’s serenade. He wished there was a way to record the scene, or to somehow share it with the princess, who would never know what a beautiful picture she and the magical creatures made. He locked the vision away in his own memory, as one of the most special moments of his life, an unexpected grace note in the midst of a tense and frustrating mission.

The story:
An attempted assassination left Princess Shalira blind as a child and, now that she’s of marriageable age, her prospects are not good because of her disability. She’s resigned herself to an arranged marriage rather than face life under the thumb of her cold stepmother. But then she meets Mike Varone, a Sectors Special Forces officer sent to Mahjundar by the intergalactic government to retrieve a ship lost in her planet’s mountains. After Mike saves Shalira from another assassination attempt, she arranges for him to escort her across the planet to her future husband. She’s already falling hard for the deadly offworlder and knows she should deny herself the temptation he represents, but taking Mike along to protect her is the only way she’ll live long enough to escape her ruthless stepmother.
But what should have been an easy trek through Mahjundar’s peaceful lands swiftly turns into an ambush with danger around every turn. Shalira’s marriage begins to seem less like an arranged union and more like yet another planned assassination. The more they work together to survive, the harder it becomes to stop themselves from falling in love. Caught in a race against time, can they escape the hostile forces hunting them and make it off the planet?
This will be my last regular post on Paranormal Romantics. I've enjoyed the experience of blogging here very much and made some wonderful friends, but it's one of those times where an author has to re-evaluate everything she's involved in and make some adjustments...I'll still be posting regularly on my own blog at  and writing my column for USA Today's Happily Ever After page, as well as working on my novels! Best wishes to all the Paranormal Romantics!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Soul For Your Thoughts

The Essentiants 2, Breaking Heaven is now available!

A soul for your thoughts…

Dresdan Mati thrives on the souls of humans and he possesses the strength to heal. He can conquer the pain of a thousand deaths, but he can’t overcome his desire to bed a virgin, one who is tethered to God. To have and hold her he must show her what he really is—a minion of pure evil responsible for stealing the last breath of the living.

Rosalind Graves leads an austere life helping others. She realizes Dresdan Mati is different the moment they meet. She even knows he’s a murderer who will live forever, yet Ros finds herself inexplicably drawn to the man. Afraid of the desire he elicits from her mind and body, Rosalind is torn between loving God, and loving Dresdan who might break her bond with Heaven.

Life had a way of punching you in the gut when you least expected it. Or worse. Dresdan Mati felt as if God had hurled a thunderbolt into his heart when the woman turned to look at him. Her hazel eyes opened wide in dismay as she stared in his direction. He recognized her loneliness instantly.
Dres had lived with the feeling for over a thousand years.
He had flown to Philly with his friend Ion Toso and followed him to the church. Standing, Dres strode to the front and stopped at her pew. “I’m Dresdan Mati.”
“I know who and what you are.”
“Wonderful, we can eliminate the bullshit.” Dres wasn’t looking for much—he merely sought a diversion.
“I think you’ve made a terrible mistake.”
“The only mistake I could make would be to walk away without getting to know you better.”
After driving to Boston for a medical conference, Dres had returned to the City of Brotherly Love to wait while Ion decided what to do about Sandy Brittingham, a woman who was leading Ion on a merry chase around Philadelphia while she came to terms with the creature he was.
“Mr. Mati—”
“Call me Dres.” He reached for her hand, drew it to his mouth, and sucked her middle finger.
Air puffed through full, unpainted lips. “You’re the devil incarnate!”
“No, sweetheart, much worse.” She tried to tug her hand away, but he held it firmly. “I’m Essentiant. “But you already know that.” He had waited for Ion and Sandy to leave before making his move.
Keeping the light from his eyes took every ounce of energy he possessed. Dres had no intention of bending or mesmerizing her mind. What he desired she must give willingly. “It’s not your soul I’m after.”
“You’ll suffer in hell.”
“I fear nothing there.” This time he placed a kiss on the inside of her wrist. Her pulse quickened beneath his lips. Staring into her eyes, Dresdan said, “And I will allow nothing in that or this realm to harm you.”
He survived on souls, most of them damned. He stripped essence from rapists, murderers, and dying derelicts who struggled to let go of life. Dresdan used their energy to control the minds of the living and to sustain his own life. He was good at what he did, had existed for centuries drinking evil from God’s castoffs. Never had he wanted anything as much as he wanted this woman. Watching the pulse beat in her neck made him wish he were vampire, for he would have bitten her and tasted each day of her life as her blood seeped into his body. That wasn’t going to happen, but damn if he didn’t intend to take everything else.
Dresdan Mati vowed to make the beautiful, ethereal woman his.
Already, visions of her long, thick chestnut hair curtaining him as she sat astride his hips taking his cock deep brought him to a semi-hard state of readiness. And her skin—Christ, he wanted to touch it, lick it, see if it tasted velvety sweet like the dark honey it resembled.
“Your name?”
“I must go.” She stood and trembled. Dres moved his hand to her waist to steady her.
“I can make you tell me.” No need to let her know he’d already sworn to himself never to touch her mind.
“Rosalind Graves. Now, please, I have to leave.”
“How well do you know Miss Brittingham?”
“Well enough to know what you and your friend are.” This time she glared at him with fire. He liked it. “I know what you do.”
It was because he had followed Ion and Sandy that he stood in this church. “If she’s told you about us, you also know I bring no harm to innocents.”
Rosalind cast her eyes to the floor. “She’s only told me that you take people’s souls.”
“I’m telling you I’ve never hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it.” Grasping her chin, making her look at him, he finished. “My eyes will never dance with lights of death before you.”
“But you will continue on this path of destroying what is God’s?”
“Rosalind, I’m far too old to be taught Bible verses. I am Essentiant, will always be, and yes, to survive I will do whatever I find necessary.”
“You’re pure evil.”
His lips curled. “I’m pure nothing. Don’t ever make that mistake.” He released her. “When you kneel to pray tonight, ask your God why he sent me here.” Turning, he strode toward the church’s vestibule until her voice stopped him.
“He would forgive you if you asked.”
Pivoting, Dresdan gazed at her. Her back was straight, shoulders held high in a regal pose. Rosalind was tall with small breasts. Jeans encased narrow hips, and lean thighs topped long, slender legs. The total opposite of what he desired in a woman. His mind said walk away forever because so much goodness surrounded her he damn near smelled it. Dres’s cock prodded him in a different direction.
“No need to ask.” He felt heat build in his eyes and fought the urge to demonstrate his power. Who was she to judge him? No one saw the things he had witnessed. No one tasted the evil he’d drawn into his own soul more than a million times. “I have forgiven myself.”

A soul is a terrible thing to waste...
Healing Hell, The Essentiants 1, also available now at most ebook stores.

J Hali Steele

Growl and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When writing changes from a fantasy, to a possibility

by Maureen L. Bonatch 

November is a time most reflect upon what they’re thankful for. One of things I’m thankful for is the teachers who encourage our young writers.

Recently at a routine appointment for my teen twins, the doctor asked my one of my girls, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I held my breath for her response…
“A writer,” she said.

Part of me rallied in celebration while another part trembled in an ingrained, underlying fear... 
Back in the day, when I was of the age to ponder the same question, I was under the impression there were three options for a woman if you weren’t staying home with the young ins’.
 A nurse, a secretary or a teacher.
Fast forward to today, I’ve been all of them and none of them were what I wanted to be, which was…a writer.

But I wouldn’t dare to say the word aloud because I didn’t think it was an option. The few times I gathered the courage to submit something to a teacher weren’t met with the positive encouragement a young writer requires to build their fragile self-esteem. 

Thankfully, in this day and age, the opportunities and encouragement is more abundant for young writers to test the waters out in writing. 
Because it’s no longer just a fantasy… it’s a possibility.

I’ve been quick to tell my gals that at thirteen they're already writers as they pen their Percy Jackson Fan fiction  on Wattpad  and have had an essay published in Teen Ink (courtesy the encouragement to submit by one of their teachers).
Oh and my girls favorite genre to read and write? You guessed it; Fantasy and Paranormal… must be genetic.


A little information about a few opportunities for young writers: 

NationalNovel Writing Month happens every November! It's a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!That means participants begin writing November 1 and must finish by midnight, November 30. The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.In 2013, over 300,000 adults participated through our main site, and nearly 90,000 young writers participated through the YWP.

Click here to see how educators can  Help bring NaNoWri to the schools and our young writers.

Wattpad is a writing community in which users are able to post articles, stories, fan fiction, and poems about anything either online or through the Wattpad app. The content includes work by undiscovered and published writers. Users are able to comment and like stories or join groups associated with the website. Around half of the users are U.S. based; most users also come from the U.K., Canada, the Philippines, Australia, United Arab Emirates and more.

 Teen Ink, is a national teen magazine, book series, and website devoted entirely to teenage writing, art, photos, and forums. For over 25 years, Teen Ink has offered teens the opportunity to publish their creative work and opinions on issues that affect their lives – everything from love and family to school, current events, and self-esteem. Hundreds of thousands of students, aged 13 -19, have submitted their work to us and we have published more than 55,000 teens since 1989.

Distributed through classrooms by English and Art teachers, and available in libraries nationwide, Teen Ink magazine offers some of the most thoughtful and creative work generated by teens today. We have no staff writers or artists; we depend completely on submissions from teenagers around the world for our content. Teen Ink has the largest distribution of any publication of its kind.

So tell me, what are you thankful for this November?

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