Friday, February 15, 2019

Good Bones on Sale for 99 Cents

Still Moments Magazine Novel of the Year
on sale for 99 cents until March 1


Good Bones
by L. A. Kelley

If the living won’t get justice for the dead, who will?


No matter how challenging the case, psychologist Katherine Fleming never shirks from helping a patient confront a painful issue. Her keen powers of observation and compassionate nature have eased many troubled souls, but a homicide detective with a buried secret of his own stirs more than just clinical interest.

The first time Detective Jake Sumner spied the old house, he sensed the good bones. Little did he know the purchase of the property included an unusual tenant far from resting in peace. Can the new psychologist in town help him treat a ghostly trauma case or is his growing attraction to Katherine Fleming best left buried?  

With the aid of a mysterious white cat and a mystical mirror, Katherine and Jake join forces to solve a murder. Can they stop a killer from claiming the next victim or will their investigation only lead them six feet under?


Excerpt

Jake flicked on the light. Other than faded floral wallpaper, the single decoration on the walls was a large antique gilded mirror. The glass was old, dotted with hazy black splotches where the reflective silver coating had worn away. Katherine’s image was blurred and barely recognizable. She ran a finger over the window sill, and it came away covered in dust. “Your tenant is a lousy housekeeper. This room doesn’t seem as if anyone has been in here in years.”

“Yeah,” Jake murmured. “It’s not her thing.”
“I don’t understand,” said Katherine. “Where is she?” Without warning, the temperature plummeted. Katherine shivered, hugging her arms to her chest. “Why is it so cold?”
Jake’s lips pressed together in a thin, tight line, his gaze fixed on the mirror.
Click…click…click…click.
The lamp flicked on and off. Katherine’s pulse soared. “Detective?”
Jake glowered at the lamp, his face red with anger. He grabbed Katherine’s arm. “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I shouldn’t have brought you here—”
The French doors slammed shut. From outside came a muted thud as the front door closed as well. Katherine shrugged off Jake’s grip. “W-what are you doing? This isn’t funny.”
“It’s not me.” He peered at the mirror. “I’m sorry, Dr. Fleming. This is a bad idea. We should go now.”
Don’t leave me.                          
“W-who said that?” Katherine turned around to face the mirror. Her eyes widened in horror as the black splotches slid toward the center of the glass. “Trick.” Katherine clutched at her shirt. “It must be a trick.”
The blotches whirled together. A misty shape formed. Arms…legs…now torso…now head…an image of a person appeared from inside the gilded frame. Facial features blurred beyond recognition, but the body was definitely female. Katherine’s legs refused to move, a scream died on her lips. Shaking, she raised a trembling arm. Instead of mimicking her movement, the reflection remained rooted in place. “T-that’s not me.”
A plaintive whisper filled the air. Help.
A blast of frigid wind whipped the curtains and knocked Katherine into Jake. With the sound of breaking glass, a vaporous arm separated from the mirror and reached toward her.
Help me…
“Out now!” Jake dragged Katherine across the room. He yanked open the parlor doors and shoved her into the foyer.
Please…
The unearthly plea followed Katherine out of the house.
Pllleeeaaassseee
Jake slammed the front door shut behind them. The muted cry faded away.


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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Body Language for Beginners


What is Body Language?
Communication isn’t all talk, talk, talk. Body language refers to the nonverbal signals. They can be subtle or overt, conscious or unconscious, but all humans give off messages without speaking.  These signals make up a huge part of a conversation, some scientists estimate at least ninety percent of the data exchanged between two participants is in the form of nonverbal communication. For a writer, body language can offer hints to a character’s inner turmoil or beliefs without having to spell it out. Body language can subvert the evil of “telling” an over explanation by showing what a character is thinking.

Types of Body Language

Facial Features
Since most people focus on faces in a conversation, expressions convey a huge amount of information. This information can vary sharply depending on a slight variation in facial muscles. For instance, you don’t need to tell the reader a character is happy if they have a “eyes crinkled at the corners and a beaming smile”. Using the same two focal points of eyes and mouth, anger is present when those same eyes narrow and lips are now stretched across a tight smile.

Eyes are an important focal point. Normal, steady eye contact signals a person is truthful and is trustworthy. An inability to maintain eye contact, send up warning signals to the reader of lies or deception. Blinking can communication something irritating the eye but also surprise or shiftiness.

Gestures
Deliberate movements and signals pass information without words. Interesting enough, the same facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, and fear are similar throughout the world, but gestures can vary widely in meaning. A circled thumb and forefinger means “Okay” here, but in Brazil it refers to a certain body opening that best’s left unmentioned. For a writer, think how gestures can be incorporated into a scene. They often include hands. A girl impatiently waits for a boy. The author doesn’t need to tell the reader her growing annoyance as she paces and constantly checks her phone. They’ll get the message.

Paralinguistics
Paralinguistics is vocal communication separate from actual language such as tone, loudness, inflection, and pitch. The same voice can rise and fall, become shrill or raspy, stutter or blurt depending on the emotional state of the character. A change in tone can change the meaning of a sentence. If a person asks “How are you feeling?” and the answer is “Okay” but the voice is tight, dry, and shaky then something is up.

Posture
Posture takes in the whole body, so when writing a scene where you wish to convey a particular emotion don’t stop at facial features, but envision the complete character. Brighter feeling such as happiness tend to cause more open postures; shoulders up, arms wide or out. Darker feeling such as sadness or anger have more closed, stiff postures, with clenched hands or arms kept tight to the body.

Proxemics
Proxemics is personal space, distance need to feel comfortable with another. It’s influenced by factors social norms, culture, but also has a situational aspect. Two people attacked to each other will move together. Two people repelled will move apart. An aggressive person will move forward and threatened person will back away.

Haptics
Haptic is communication through touch is another important nonverbal behavior. A simple tap on the shoulder conveys sympathy in one instance and an uncomfortable invasion of personal space depending on the situation and the power differential between two characters. Women tend to use touch to convey care, concern, and nurturance while men are more likely to use touch to assert power or control over others.

Appearance
Appearance and clothing also convey nonverbal communication and can be used to define characters. A shy person is unlikely to shave half her head and dress in bold, bright colors to attract attention. Appearances affect physiological reactions, judgments, and interpretations from others. Call it “The Cinderella Effect.” Not even her stepmother at the ball recognized her and all she did was take a bath and slip on a new outfit. Clothing can relay tons of information about character. Loose clothing vs. stiletto heels, tailored suits vs. denim. The choices authors make in a characters outward appearance can give subtle clues to inner thought and desires.

When to Add Body Language

Incorporating Body Language is a great way to create believable and engaging characters, but don’t go overboard. Too much description is a good way to make readers’ eyes glaze over. Body language doesn’t have to be added in the first draft. Think of it as icing on the cake and use it to flesh out a scene, especially where you can “show it” instead of “telling it.” Need a few ideas? Check out the websites below for body language list. 




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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Fortuna Redux, Rimrider Adventures Book 5, Now Available on Amazon


New Release


Fortuna Redux
The capture of Jaden Solis puts the Freetraders and United Earth Corporation at a tense standoff. The time is right to make Earth aware of the existence of leewits. To break the communication blackout, Captain Jane Benedict, Mac, and their friends accept a desperate mission in the heart of enemy territory. A loved one’s ultimate sacrifice launches peace negotiations and sends the rangers and crew of the Double Dare to Earth where discoveries lead to the biggest threat of all—one that can crush the rebellion forever and return control of the rim to UEC.

From the galactic rim to Earth, Jane leads her crew on the final challenge. No matter the danger, her purpose is clear. Fortuna Redux—bring them safely home.  





Thursday, December 27, 2018

The American Writers Museum


Did you know that the United State has a museum devoted to authors? The doors opened in May 2017 on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. The mission of the American Writers Museum is to engage the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence in history, culture, and daily lives. Volunteers and staff strive to educate the public about past and present American writers and help visitors explore worlds created by the spoken and written word to instill appreciation for good writing in all forms

In order to motivate visitors’ love of reading and writing and inspire the young writers of tomorrow, the museum has more than static displays. Recent ticketed events include lectures by authors, book readings for children, and performances by songwriters. Field trips are also available for school groups. Write In is an in-museum program for middle and high school students with specially-designed curriculum that uses exhibits and featured authors to encourage creative writing. The AWM also has a Story of the Day exhibit where visitor can bang away on old typewriters. The best will appear  in https://americanwritersmuseum.org/blog/.


Have a favorite author whose home you always wanted to visit? In addition to programs at the Michigan Avenue building, the American Writers Museum has a reciprocal arrangement with twelve author’s homes across the country. AWM affiliates get free admission below for themselves and a guest. If you’re visiting Massachusetts, I highly recommend a stop at both Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House and Thoreau Farm. (Throw in the Edmund Gorey House for a threesome.)

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House
Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, Concord, Massachusetts

The Beat Museum – Jack Kerouac, San Francisco, California

Pearl S. Buck House, Perkasie, Pennsylvania

Edward Gorey House, Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, Piggott, Arkansas

Frances Parkinson Keyes, New Orleans, Louisiana

Wadsworth-Longfellow House & Garden, Portland, Maine

Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Claremore, Oklahoma

National Steinbeck Center, Salinas, California

Harriet Beecher Stowe House, Cincinnati, Ohio

Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Indianapolis, Indiana


Thoreau Farm
Thoreau Farm, Concord, Massachusetts



The American Writers Museum is open daily from 10-5. For ticket information and a schedule of exhibits, check out the website at https://americanwritersmuseum.org/






Thursday, November 15, 2018

Shop Til you Drop: Fun Stuff for Readers and Writers

Readers and writers on your list? Take the stress out of holiday shopping with my ideas for fun stuff.

Personalized Stuff

How about personalized luggage tags with a book cover instead of a picture? Two-sided luggage tags come in two sizes. Use two covers or a book cover on one side and a business card or address on the other. $5

Every Christmas gift list includes a dull, boring mug with some stupid inspirational saying. Instead, choose a handmade mug with room for a short log line from a book. $25

Imagine wearing your book cover or blurb.
Personalized scarves for are more fun when you use a book cover and blurb. $37 

Why stop at a just a t-shirt? Check out the rest of the Bags of Love site and choose from among beanies, caps, sarongs, socks, sunglasses, belts, bandanas, ties, aprons and more. Prices range from $34 to $56. 

Housewares and Home Decor Stuff

Add a book cover to a wall mural or the tag line from your favorite book mounted on the wall. Prices start at under $20 for something small and go up from there.

Can’t put down that book even if you’re gross and smelly? Use the bathtub book holder in the tub. $35.99 

Ever dream of having your own bookstore? Now you can build one. The bookstore kit comes complete with book, shelves, ladder, paintings, even electric lights. $39.95

Need some inspiration for your next fantasy novel? Cozy up to your laptop in a crocheted mermaid tail blanket. In small and large sizes, choose from a multitude of colors. $13.85

Books look cooler propped up between katana sword bookends$39.99



Who knew book shelves could bring a smile.  Check out the wondershelves  and bookends by Artori Design, most under $50

Eat your vegetables and learn your grammar. Grammarstuff plates are $12.50 each.

The composition notebook bottle will keep beverages hot or cold. $59.99


For the true book fan - a true
book fan. The folds are made from vintage books. $14.95

Do the best ideas come just as you drift off to sleep? Jot down a few notes on the doodle pillowcase. It comes with machine washable fabric markers. $19.95

Have a book cover printed on the surface of a light switch for $12.95.

Yeah we’ve all been there. Check out the writer's clock$26.95

The book rest lamp holds your place and gives off a soothing light. $60

This book light give off a gentle light and looks cool with any decor. $50

Even if you love the people around you, sometimes they just need to go away so you can get your work done. Hang this cheeky Do Not Disturb sign to make the point. $12.99

puzzle book box will hold secret treasures, once the recipient figures out the trick to opening it. Recommended for people you don't like, but owe a gift. $54.99

Use literary soap to wash the naughty bits with some of your favorite authors. $3.95

Extra Stuff

What obsessive writer doesn't need quotation mark earrings$28.80

book handbag for the fashionable bibliophiles on your list. $99


Yeah, I got nothing to say about this except perfume that smells like a paperback is just plain weird. Prices range from $4 to $40.

When inspiration strikes in the shower use Aqua Notes$10.81

Can a grammar book be fun to read? Yes, if it’s Eats, Shoots& Leaves by Lynne Truss. A delightful book with cheeky wit and grammar how-to’s.  By the last page you’ll be declaring your undying love for the semicolon. It’s available in ebook, paperback, hard cover, and audiobook. Prices range from $6 to $42 depending on format.

Know a writer who is odd? Boy, is that a loaded question. How about one who likes to figure out plot points while strolling down the street? Get the poor dear a PORTOCAM to talk into so people don’t stare. It records and even takes pictures. $67.88

Why just sign your books when you can emboss them, too? Prices for this personalized embosser run from about $50 to $150.

And Finally…Butt Stuff

Writers and readers tend to spend time on their butts. An under the desk elliptical machine for $249 is just the ticket to keep in shape and you don’t even have to stop writing or reading.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

You Don't Know Jack (About Jack O'Lanterns, Stingy Jack, and Spring-heeled Jack)

Halloween is right around the corner, so what better time to explore the legend of the jack o’lantern. Good old Jack has had a long history and you may be surprise to learn originally the term didn’t refer to a vegetable at all. Jack was an all-purpose term, like “bub” or “fella”, use to denote a man. A night watchman who carried a torch or lantern at night was called a Jack o’lantern or “the guy with the lantern”. In the days before electricity, lights at night were creepy especially when they mysteriously appeared over bogs, swamps, or marshes—places where no living being in their right mind wandered at night. Caused by ignited gases from decomposing plant matter, these ghost lights had a variety of names; hinkypunks, corpse candles, fairy lights, will-o'-the-wisps, fool's fire, and good old jack o’lantern. Lacking a scientific explanation, people told stories to explain their appearance. In Ireland, they often revolved Stingy Jack.

Stingy Jack lived up to his name. The legend goes he invited the Devil to a local pub for a few rounds and wheedled the Devil to turn into a coin so neither would have to pay. Jack put the Devil into his pocket next to a silver cross so he couldn’t change back into his demonic form. He freed the Devil only after a promise that when Jack died he wouldn’t claim his soul.

When Jack finally kicked the bucket, God refused entry into heaven for such an unsavory character. Frankly, I don’t get God’s reasoning in this. It seems to me The Almighty should have gotten a big kick out of how Jack tricked the Devil, but there’s no arguing with the divine. The Devil had already promised not to claim Jack’s soul so the poor guy was dumped back on Earth, a wandering spirit with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming ever since. Thus Jack of the Lantern or Jack O’Lantern was born.

On All Soul’s Eve, wandering spirits such as Jack were supposed to be particularly frisky, playing tricks and causing mischief. Making vegetable lanterns was a tradition of the British Isles, and carved-out turnips, beets, and potatoes were stuffed with coal, wood embers, or candles as impromptu lanterns to celebrate the fall harvest. Children would sometimes wander off the road with a glowing vegetable to trick people into thinking Stingy Jack or another lost soul was watching. People began carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten Jack and his cohorts away.

Stingy Jack wasn’t the only Jack to cause trouble though. A wraith called Spring-Heeled Jack first started to appear in 1837. Residents of London began to report bizarre harassment from a ghost, imp or devil apparition in the shape of a large white bull. The strange figure would ring a doorbell and then ravage the clothes of the person who answered. Sometimes he simply ambushed people out walking. He was an athletic fellow, capable of scaling walls and jumping across rooftops. Thus, the spring heels. He often appeared in different guises such as a ghost, a bear, or devil or wearing red shoes or armor. The idea of costumes began to be linked to an apparition named Jack who like to play tricks on unsuspecting souls.

Immigrants from the British Isles brought the legend of Stingy Jack and Spring-heeled Jack with them, along with the custom of carving marrows and tuber and lighting them with candles. Pumpkins were plentiful in the fall and made even better jack o’-lanterns with large surfaces perfect for carving. The two Jack merged and brought the pumpkin with them and combined with local harvest festival traditions. Soon All Hallows Eve became the day to carve crude faces into pumpkins to frighten wandering spirits away. It was only a hop, skip, and a boo from there to our modern custom of exacting tribute from perfect strangers to keep the Jack and his ghostly companions from our doors.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Book Spotlight: The Boss (Fire's Edge #1) by Abigail Owen



The Boss

(Fire’s Edge #1)
By Abigail Owen

The hotter the fire, the deeper the burn…

Finn Conleth leads his team of enforcer dragon shifters with an iron fist and a cold heart. Every dragon seeks his destined mate, but the process to turn the woman he once thought was his killed her and devastated him. He will never risk his heart again. His team is his family now. When his body eventually gives out, he’ll leave, living his last days alone.
Delaney Hamilton moved across the country to escape the freak fires that plague her. But when another suspicious fire erupts and rapidly escalates around her, her hopes for a new life go up in smoke. She has no choice but to turn to the mysterious men who come to her aid.
Finn knows the fire is dragon-caused, which puts Delaney’s problems directly in his jurisdiction. No matter how her wounded grey eyes call to every part of him, he refuses to risk her life in the mating process.
Until another dragon threatens to claim Delaney for his own, and Finn has to sacrifice everything to keep her alive…

Buy Links:


Book Info:
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, Amara
Author: Abigail Owen
Cover Art: KAM Designs
Page Count: 350
Word Count: 90k
Release Date: 9/24/2018
Steam Rating: Hot

Free Prequel Short Story
Get an early start on the series with a prequel short story to the Fire’s Edge series. The Mate will be available for FREE via all retailers 9/17.

Preorder:

OR… Join Abigail’s newsletter to get a copy now. http://eepurl.com/Lw2XH

Praise for The Boss:
✭✭✭✭✭ Abigail Owen is a rising star in paranormal romance!  Her dragons are sexy, suspenseful, and smoking hot--an electrifying new series. ~NY Times Bestselling Author Alyssa Day

✭✭✭✭✭ Paranormal romance doesn't get much better than The Boss. A sexy shifter hero, a spunky, no-nonsense heroine, heart-clenching emotion, and worldbuilding at its best. This story nearly set my Kindle on fire. Bring on the next book cause I can't wait! ~USA Today & National Bestselling Author Anna J. Stewart

✭✭✭✭✭ It is an excellent start to the new Fire's Edge series.  Abigail Owen has a best-seller series on her hands with this one. ~Moonshine’s Corner


Excerpt

Plumes of smoke seeped out of the door she’d left open, but the flames were still hiding inside.
Oh God, I have to fix this.
Delaney had thought she’d be safe here. She’d thought the fires that plagued her in Vermont wouldn’t follow her across the country.
She’d been horribly wrong.
She ran to the water faucet that stuck out of the ground about twenty feet from the barn. A long hose already attached lay coiled beside it. With a twist, she turned the water on full force and dragged the hose toward the barn.
I can’t let Sera’s wine burn.
That reason, more than her own safety, drove her actions.
Carefully, she moved closer to the building. Her aching eyes and fuzzy vision didn’t help, but she kept going. She inched inside until she glimpsed flame, then she aimed her hose at the spot and sprayed, using her thumb to focus the water. The fire appeared to laugh at her pitiful effort like a crazed, caged animal. Flames receded in fizzling, smoldering protest before lunging for her with renewed vigor.
I’m not even making a dent.
Delaney stepped forward, not giving up, dousing more of the blaze.
A snap of sound was the only warning she had before the beams above her crumbled. With a scream, Delaney jumped, feet scrambling as she tripped and fell backwards. Luckily the beam didn’t land on her, but it lay so close, heat singed her skin. Grabbing the hose, she crawled back to her feet and turned the spray on the beam.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” a deep male voice thundered in her ear a second before a strong arm banded around her waist.
Delaney found herself hoisted over a shoulder, the air punching from her lungs with a whoosh as her middle connected with a broad shoulder, as she was bodily carried from the burning structure.
She didn’t struggle.
She also didn’t think to let go of the hose.
Her rescuer stumbled over the line and jerked to a halt.
“Damn,” the same deep voice swore and he yanked the hose from her hands.
Realization sank in that she’d been dousing the firefighter who’d “rescued” her, and a completely inappropriate giggle escaped her.
He took off again, not letting her go, jostling her none too gently as he ran across the gravel drive to plonk her on a boulder beside the main winery building. Delaney lifted her gaze up, way up, over his green flame-resistant pants, yellow long-sleeved shirt, and white helmet. A firefighter, but not any kind she’d dealt with before, not based on the clothing. He pinned her to the rock she sat on with the bluest eyes she’d ever seen.
Delaney blinked.
Anger and frustration pulled his brows down in an intimidating glower. “Are you hurt?” he asked. Yelled more like, his voice a harsh growl.
Delaney blinked at him again, shock taking over and slowing her brain way down—like molasses in the winter.
When she didn’t answer, his severe expression softened. “Are you hurt?” he repeated, no less urgent, but gentler.
Pull yourself together. Delaney shook her head.
“Is anyone else in there?”
“No.”
“Any animals?”
“No.” At least, she assumed the cat she’d saved was the only creature in there. “It’s for wine. State of the art with temperature control.” No way should fires be happening in the building.
He nodded. “I’ve got this now. Don’t go back in there. Wait here for the paramedics.” He straightened and anything soft about him disappeared behind granite determination.
This guy had it.
Relief surged through her followed by immediate the prick of tears that had nothing to do with the smoke.
Why does this keep happening to me?


Author Bio
Award-winning contemporary romance author, Abigail Owen, grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. She attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.
No matter the genre, she loves to write witty, feisty heroines, sexy heroes who deserve them, and a cast of lovable characters to surround them (and maybe get their own stories). She currently resides in Austin, Texas, with her own personal hero, her husband, and their two children, who are growing up way too fast.