Tuesday, December 10, 2019

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. This is another of those posts.

5+ Books That Changed My Life--originally posted April 27, 2016.

The fabulous Michelle Diener challenged us to write about 5 books we love or have recently read or read long ago and still remember. I have many more than 5 books I love, as I'm sure you do :) So here are 10+1 of the first to come to mind, in no particular order.


Sherlock Holmes—Here are all four full-length novels and fifty-six short stories about the colorful adventures of Sherlock Holmes -- every word Conan Doyle ever wrote about Baker Street's most famous resident. So devoted and numerous are the followers of the immortal Holmes ... so timeless are his colorful adventures ... that this shrewd and lovable amateur detective whom Doyle invented when he was a young doctor is the most popular character in the last one hundred years of fiction. As a lasting tribute to the indestructible detective, whose earliest adventures first appeared in print in 1887, and to his famous creator, Holmes's entire career has been brought together between the covers of this handsome volume. It is the definitive, authoritative Sherlock Holmes text as originally published in nine separate books. Also included is a delightful preface, "In Memoriam Sherlock Holmes," written by Christopher Morley, the distinguished author and founder of The Baker Street Irregulars. Here is the whole thrilling and amazing career of Sherlock Holmes, all of his adventures in crime collected in one exciting volume.


I'm not sure what excited me about these stories as a young girl. The adventure, the mystery? The ascetic, brilliant Holmes? His deep and abiding friendship with Dr. Watson?

Bambi—Bambi’s life in the woods begins happily. There are forest animals to play with and Bambi’s twin cousins, Gobo and beautiful Faline.

But winter comes, and Bambi learns that the woods hold danger—and things he doesn't understand. The first snowfall makes food hard to find. Bambi’s father, a handsome stag, roams the forest, but leaves Bambi and his mother alone.

Then there is Man. He comes to the forest with weapons that can wound an animal. Bambi is scared that Man will hurt him and the ones he loves. But Man can’t keep Bambi from growing into a great stag himself, and becoming the Prince of the Forest.

The non-cartoon version of this story caught my second-grade mind. Adventure, romance, the mystery of the deep forest, and that sense of living in a social structure unlike our own (though I didn't know that was a hook at the time lol).

Carbonel: The King of Cats—Rosemary's plan to clean houses during her summer break and surprise her mother with the money hits a snag when an old lady at the market talks her into buying a second-rate broom and a cat she can't even afford to keep. But appearances can be deceiving. Some old ladies are witches, some brooms can fly, and some ordinary-looking cats are Princes of the Royal Blood. Rosemary's cat ("You may call me Carbonel. That is my name.") soon enlists her help in an adventure to free him from a hideous spell and return him to his rightful throne. But along the way Rosemary and her friend John must do some clever sleuthing, work a little magic of their own, and—not least— put up with the demands of a very haughty cat.

Magic, an intrepid heroine, and a cat who is all alpha male snagged my young imagination.

The Nameless RomanceThe first actual adult romance that grabbed me was a regency-era about a tomboy who was supposed to be a lady. Different than the usual bluestocking or masquerading as a man. I vaguely remember a scene where she escapes in a tree. It turned me on to romances. Wish I could remember the title or author!

Bridge to Terabithia—This Newbery Medal-winning novel by bestselling author Katherine Paterson is a modern classic of friendship and loss.

Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie's house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.

A children's book I read as an adult. My then-middle-school child recommended this to me. I wept. Seriously good if a kid's book has that much power.

Crocodile on the Sandbank—Set in 1884, this is the first installment in what has become a beloved bestselling series. At thirty-two, strong-willed Amelia Peabody, a self-proclaimed spinster, decides to use her ample inheritance to indulge her passion, Egyptology. On her way to Egypt, Amelia encounters a young woman named Evelyn Barton-Forbes. The two become fast friends and travel on together, encountering mysteries, missing mummies, and Radcliffe Emerson, a dashing and opinionated archaeologist who doesn't need a woman's help — or so he thinks. First book in an excellent series.

Romance, mystery, and 19th-century snark at its finest. I adore whatever Elizabeth Peters wrote, but Amelia Peabody is my favorite. This series is summed up best by Ms. Peters herself. "Another dead body. Every year it is the same. Every year, another dead body..." - Abdullah, p. 151, Lion in the Valley

Black Orchids—Not much can get Wolfe to leave his comfortable brownstone, but the showing of a rare black orchid lures him to a flower show. Unfortunately, the much-anticipated event is soon overshadowed by a murder as daring as it is sudden. It’s a case of weeding out a cunning killer who can turn up anywhere—and Wolfe must do it quickly. Because a second case awaits his urgent attention: a society widow on a mailing list of poison-pen letters leading to a plot as dark as any orchid Wolfe has ever encountered.

I recently reread the Rex Stout Nero Wolfe mysteries. Considering other stories often don't stand the test of time wow, is Stout's writing energetic and fresh. Still.

Changes—Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked and left struggling with the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Now, she needs Harry's help. Harry's enemies have found the secret she has hidden for so long, and he will have to unleash the full fury of his untapped power.

Because this time, he's fighting to save his child.

I always liked Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, but around this book, I began to love it.

If anyone asks, I'm Team Murphy.

The Atrocity Archives—Bob Howard is a computer-hacker desk jockey, who has more than enough trouble keeping up with the endless paperwork he has to do on a daily basis. He should never be called on to do anything remotely heroic. But for some reason, he is.

Charlie Stross's Laundry series is fabulous. Geeks meet demonology, a writing style that sings, and a take on bureaucracy that is both funny and dead on. Add in Bob's romantic interest Mo, a violinist (musician yay!) who gets her own story later on, and I'm hooked.

  Borderline—A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.

For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she’ll have to smooth-talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown. But stronger forces than just her inner demons are sabotaging her progress, and if she fails to unravel the conspiracy behind the noble’s disappearance, not only will she be out on the streets, but the shattering of a centuries-old peace could spark an all-out war between worlds.

No pressure.

I'm reading this now, so I can't tell if the ending will throw off my take on it. But it's so insightful on its own that it almost doesn't matter. Add in the gritty reality of the fantasy elements, and the book becomes one I quote endlessly at my husband.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

December 1T Status Update

Night's Kiss successfully launched! Thank you to everyone who bought, loved, shared, and reviewed. You're the reason I could stay with the series as long as I have.

I hope to have important, exciting news within days for Night's Bliss, the final book in the Ancients series. This is the story many, many of you have been waiting for. Elias is in a face-off with Lord Umbra...will the Ancient One find love at last along the way? Three chapters done, full story map done. I can't wait to get back to writing it!

But first this month I have my 3rd semester of school to finish. Then, over winter break, it'll be back to Night's Bliss, along with a short Vampire Vignette (New Orleans's Nobody) for my April Fools For Love author friends.

This month also sees the usual holiday music work, such as playing for our local animal shelter's Festival of Trees. January it's back to school for my final full-time semester.

Here's a fun little reading my husband and I did from Night's Kiss via Instagram... (also on Facebook)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Brand New Release!

Second last book in the series. Don't miss out!






As a human who hunts vampires, I risk death each night I take to the streets. Bloodsuckers are stupidly fast. I have only my wits, my practice, and my weapons.

Oh yeah, and my rage.

Vampires killed my parents before my eyes when I was young. My revenge? I'll destroy every last one of the evil bastards, starting with their king.

But only one man can help me locate the king. Achingly tall, dark, and too-sexy-for-his-own-good, Ryker is gorgeous enough to be the vamp king himself. But the devilish arch to his black eyebrow, his white, unfangy grin, and rocking the daytime are good clues that he's human.

We’ll have to work together as uneasy allies if I hope to get my final revenge on the king—only now it seems evil monsters are also after our prey, and they’ll stop at nothing to see us all dead. And why are we having so much trouble finding the king?

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

3T Writing Tidbit

We've all read that book. The one where the character bops from action to action, running around doing stuff.

Because doing stuff is interesting, right? Exciting?

Only in this case, it falls flat. The character is cardboard and the stuff is lifeless. Why?

Stacy Dawn warns of the She did, He did trap. Action without understanding is a dry, lifeless point of view.

Bottom line--as a writer, asking why a character is doing is more important than the doing.

Get more insights from Stacy with her Demystifying Deep POV.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. This is another of those posts.

4/1: 4 for 1 and 1 for all! -- Guests Roxy Mews, S.L. Carpenter and Kayleigh Malcolm--originally posted March 31, 2016.

Tomorrow is, in US terms, 4/1. Across the world it's April first, better known as April Fools. It's the officialholiday of that fun pack of authors, those April Fools For Love, Roxy Mews, S.L. Carpenter, Jodi Redford and Mary Hughes, this year joined by Kayleigh Malcolm, and their sassy, sizzling books.

Last year, Lust With a Laugh brought you four stories centered around our favorite holiday, April Fool's Day. For 2016, we couldn't not do it again.

What does that mean for you? We're bringing you four short stories to whet (or wet!) your appetite for only 99cents each! Four new books, all about April Fool's love, lust, and happily ever after. 4/1=4 under $1.

These are great tales to keep you occupied if you accidentally get glued to a toilet seat, or while setting up your own elaborate prank!

We've even got a fun badge for you to use as a profile pic, or badge on your website. Grab this little goodie (above) and show your love for the holiday that is all about making people smile. Or flat out laughing at them. ;)




Roxy Mews wrote her first story at age six on an electric typewriter. It was about a cat and a haunted house. Thankfully, her stories and technology have matured since then. Roxy spends her days fighting the evil day job in hopes of conquering the stories that run rampant in her head.

To connect with Roxy Mews, find her babbling on Twitter, friend her on Facebook, visit her Blog, or find all these links on http://roxyrocksme.com.

Bestselling author Kayleigh Malcolm (and her alter ego Corinne Davies) is a firm believer that all love is beautiful and everyone deserves a Happily Ever After....well except for those involved with cancelling Firefly. She's still holding a grudge over that one.

Sticking with one genre is a talent she hasn't achieved yet and can be found creating worlds as normal as our own or as fantastic as her dreams. Her characters have to face real life challenges, as many of us do, but love always finds a way to conquer all.

A social media junkie, she can be found haunting many different sites and loves to hear from her readers. Connect with her at http://kayleighmalcolm.blogspot.com.

My name is S.L. Carpenter and I'm a writer and an artist, a husband and a father, a slave to the wife and an inspiration to other people I don't know. I call California home and have been here my whole life. I know...poor me.

I've been writing my special brand of insane little stories for many years, but it's only been in the last decade that I've managed to persuade folks to publish them. I expanded my backlist to include single titles, anthologies and several books co-written with my writing partner (and webmistress) Sahara Kelly. My most recent books are available at Amazon.com/Kindle Unlimited, and also at Samhain Publishing. Find me at http://slcarpenter.net/index1.html

Bottled Up: April Fools For Love by Roxy Mews A clogged drain. A pretend plumber. An April Fool’s Day to remember. Amazon | Amazon UK

Toy Story: April Fools For Love by S.L. Carpenter This is a totally different type of buzz and woody… Amazon | Amazon UK

Must Love Menage: April Fools For Love by Kayleigh Malcolm Will Ben and Sam to risk everything by inviting Chloe into their lives? Amazon | Amazon UK

Cin Wikkid: April Fools For Love by Mary Hughes A fairytale romance meets 4G. Amazon | Amazon UK

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

November 1T Status Update

Sooo excited for the release of Night's Kiss: the Ancients series book 2. I'm pulling out all the stops for this and Elias's story, Night's Bliss, now in development.

Preorder is live now!

As a human who hunts vampires, I risk death each night I take to the streets. Bloodsuckers are stupidly fast. I have only my wits, my practice, and my weapons.

Oh yeah, and my rage.

Vampires killed my parents before my eyes when I was young. My revenge? I'll destroy every last one of the evil bastards, starting with their king.

But only one man can help me locate the king. Achingly tall, dark, and too-sexy-for-his-own-good, Ryker is gorgeous enough to be the vamp king himself. But the devilish arch to his black eyebrow, his white, unfangy grin, and rocking the daytime are good clues that he's human.

We’ll have to work together as uneasy allies if I hope to get my final revenge on the king—only now it seems evil monsters are also after our prey, and they’ll stop at nothing to see us all dead. And why are we having so much trouble finding the king?