October 30, 2012

Halloween Hauntings by Karilyn Bentley

Happy Halloween! I love this time of the year. While it's not my favorite holiday - that spot goes to Christmas - it is definitely up there in second place. What's not to love about leftover chocolate candy? We all know Halloween is a special time for kids - and some adults - to dress up and go around begging for treats, but do you know how the traditions started?

Halloween has its history in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced sow-en). Samhain is a celebration of the end of harvest season and the upcoming winter. November 1st was their New Year's Day. October 31st was New Year's Eve for the ancient pagans and it was on this day that they believed the walls between the world of the living and the world of the dead thinned, allowing the deceased to come into the world of the living and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. A bonfire was part of the Samhain celebration.

October 25, 2012

WHO DOESN'T LOVE A GOOD SCARE? by Kathy Ivan

It's getting close to that time of year where we all love a good scare. It's become something of a ritual to scream on Halloween—the more bloodcurdling the better. Tales of terror have been passed down for millennia about ghouls, ghosts and goblins inhabiting the dark places, waiting and watching for the perfect opportunity to frighten the unsuspecting.

As kids who didn't sit around telling scary stories? Maybe it was around a campfire with other teens, darkness all about except for the flickering of the firelight and the deep, dark shadows surrounding you. Remember the one about the man with a hook? Tell me you didn't scream when it was being told and somebody tapped you on the shoulder. Maybe it was a slumber party, a sleep-over with your friends, sitting around in your PJ's, the lights dimmed and one person held the flashlight under their chin, telling a spooky ghost story.

October 23, 2012

Blog: Jillian Burns-Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

Never Give up! Never Surrender!

That quote from the movie Galaxy Quest has always stuck with me.
Like most people, I’ve had some adversities in my life to overcome. An abusive boyfriend, the loss of a baby, teenagers… (hey, don’t underestimate the heartache they can cause)
My mother used to say “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.” That quote, from a popular song when she was a child, was her generation’s version of “Never Give up, Never Surrender.”
And sometimes we all have to choose, when we’ve been beaten down by life, whether we’re going to pick ourselves up and start over, or whether we will surrender.
Being a writer puts that choice to the test almost daily. Whether you’re published or pre-published, challenges are ready to knock us down. It could be a scathing rejection (or any rejection) from an editor or agent. It might be a scene you’re working on that’s just not coming out right, or it could just be life interfering with your writing time.

October 18, 2012

Blog: Vicki Batman-Why Can't We Go on Forever?

Discovering An Author, then... 

Many years ago, I'd browsed my local Half Price Books and picked up a book to read: Maeve Binchy's Light a Penny Candle.

I'd seen the movie, Circle of Friends, with Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver, and loved it. But HPB didn't have a copy of that one for sale. Instead, I picked up Light a Penny Candle, read the back cover blurb, and said, yeah, I could read this. The book was pretty hefty, too, but not intimidated. Since I'd devoured Gone With the Wind several times, I knew I could whiz through this one.

I went to a conference with Handsome and hadn't had much opportunity to read. When time to leave, we were standing outside of the resort's entryway, waiting for the airport shuttle. I had the tome cradled in my arm. A woman--obviously, a book lover--leaned over and said, "You'll love this book. It's a three hankie one."

Three hankie? Oh, dear. Was it too girly and weepy?

On the plane, I began the book and quickly, became engrossed. I found it to be thoroughly engaging. I totally immersed myself in the characters' lives, and when over, did need a tissue. That's rare.

October 16, 2012

Michelle Miles on: Swashbuckling Heroes

Swashbuckler: noun. A swaggering swordsman, soldier, or adventurer; daredevil.

I think the first time I heard the word “swashbuckling” I was nine and it was 1981. Yes, I’m once again referring to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones, the famous archeologist. I like going back to my roots. What can I say?

I got to thinking about all the swashbuckling heroes that were in the movies. I think for the most part “swashbucklers” are associated with “pirates”. But then along came Indiana Jones, who redefined the word for us. Now our hero carried a whip and/or a gun. Sometimes he was from the future and sometimes from the past. Some were sea-faring and some were space-galloping. But no matter who he was, he was guaranteed to make our hearts flutter and our pulses race.

Let’s explore all those famous men who have swaggered with a sword, adventured with a whip, strutted with a laser gun, and served up rapier wit and razor-sharp sarcasm.

October 11, 2012

Princess for the day...T. Michelle Nelson and The Life & Death of Lily Drake

Let's extend a huge, warm welcome to T. Michelle Nelson who's visiting with us today. She's the author of The Life & Death of Lily Drake. Hi, T. Michelle!



How did you get from your day job to writing romance?  I’ve always written stories but when I finished writing the Lily Drake manuscript I felt really strongly about it and sent it out to publishers.  Here we are!

What are your three favorite books of all time? Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Morning, afternoon, or evening person?  Evening, late evening
T. Michelle Nelson

October 9, 2012

Princess for the day...Margay Leah Justice & Sloane Wolf

Welcome to Margay!
Let's get all the inside stuff about her
 and Sloane Wolf
(and how did she get that title?)


How did you get from your day job to writing romance?  I actually started writing long before I ever had a ‘day job.’ I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil.

What are your three favorite books of all time? Oh, that’s kind of a hard one. There are so many, but I’m going to go with some classics here. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill.

Morning, afternoon, or evening person? I think I get more writing done at night lately, for some reason, so I’d have to say night person, in that sense.

October 4, 2012

Princess for the Day! Charmaine Gordon & Reconstructing Charlie

 Princess for the day is Charmaine Gordon whose idea
popped in her head and wouldn't let go!
Hi Kids, I’m Charmaine Gordon happy to be with Plotting Princesses today. A funny thing happened backstage where I had the lead in a wonderful play Off Broadway a few years ago. An idea popped in my head and wouldn’t let go. When the run of the play ended I began to write. And that’s how it all began. A new career.
I write romance/suspense about women who survive & thrive and yet my taste in books is murder and mayhem. Robert B. Parker is one of my all time fave authors-especially his westerns.
I’m an all day/all night person trying to make the best of every hour I can. A little nap helps once in a while and then I’m raring to go again.
I write in quiet. If I hear music, it’s time to stand up and boogie.

October 2, 2012

A Confession by Sylvia McDaniel

Add caption
I love Football! Shame on you! You were thinking I was going to confess something dirty.  Believe me Fifty Shades of Gray is not my life. But back to football.

I could spend all day Saturday and Sunday watching football.  I would love to go to high school football games and watch the young players, the cheerleaders and the drill teams, but I don't.  Most weekends are spent either doing mundane chores around the house or writing. If the Denver Broncos or the Dallas Cowboys are playing I record the games and watch them later when my mind is fried, and I just need to veg.

October 1, 2012

MUSA BLOG HOP: Oct. 1--SURVIVING A COUNTRY'S COLLAPSE by Liese Sherwood-Fabre


When I was working in Russia, one of my colleagues shared a revelation she had during a workshop for women on employment opportunities. At one point, she told them, “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist—" and stopped herself. Her participants actually were rocket scientists.
Such cases were very common throughout the former Soviet Union in the mid-1990s when I was there. With the Union’s fall, the Russian government wasn’t able to maintain all the military, civilian, and university research facilities, and many top-notch scientists found themselves unemployed. Even those who retained their positions might go for months without a salary check. I read of one major regional hospital that tried to pay their medical staff in manure. Through an elaborate bartering process common between companies back then, the regional government had received the manure as a tax payment and offered it instead of actual cash to the hospital staff. The doctors refused and got nothing.
            In that kind of economic environment, what’s a highly-skilled research scientist to do? For some, the answer was to sell themselves or their wares to the highest bidder.
            In his book Biohazard, Dr. Ken Alibek describes a number of countries who recruited former Soviet Union scientists to conduct biological and nuclear research and development abroad, including in North Korea, Iran, China, and Cuba. Western countries were aware of these employment efforts and initiated programs to help the scientists and facilities to retool and reinvent themselves—everything from bio-engineering better potatoes for French fries to using lasers to create designs inside acrylic paperweights.
            Selling trinkets at a market, however, does not provide the same income as a single vial of a freeze-dried virus. Dr. Alibek also discusses the proliferation of private pharmaceutical companies in Russia and the other former Soviet republics offering previously well-guarded agents for sale. Many of these materials, or the information to produce and store them, could be easily carried out of the country.
            I first learned of the enticements being offered to those with such skills through a 1998 New Yorker magazine article and knew I had the basis for a thriller. All the pieces were there—weapons of mass destruction, conflicting governments, and those in the middle simply struggling to survive. I took as my main character an unemployed microbiologist who was also a mother. Her daughter Nadezhda (or Hope) has a heart condition not treatable in Russia, and she becomes willing to do anything to save her daughter’s life--even working in Iran.
            Weaving together actual facts from Dr. Alibek’s insights into the history and state of the Soviet Union’s bioweapons program as well as my own observations of Russian culture and life created Saving Hope, my debut novel, and Alexandra Pavlova’s story—as you can tell from the blurb:
In one of Siberia's formerly closed cities, Alexandra Pavlova, an unemployed microbiologist, struggles to save her daughter’s life. When she turns to Vladimir, her oldest friend, for help, she's drawn into Russia’s underworld. His business dealings with the Iranians come to the attention of Sergei Borisov, an FSB (formerly the KGB) agent. Alexandra finds herself joining forces with Sergei to stop the export of a deadly virus in a race to save both her daughter and the world.

JUST HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO SAVE YOUR CHILD?

TO WIN A COPY OF SAVING HOPE (WILL NEED TO TELL ME THE FORMAT—KINDLE, NOOK, ETC.) LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW. THEN READ THE RULES FOR THE REST OF THE HOP FOR EVEN MORE CHANCES TO WIN!



RULES FOR THE MUSA BLOG HOP:
1) HAVE FUN!!!
2) INVITE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!!! SPREAD THE WORD!!!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: October 1, at Midnight (pst)
    THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, October 7, at Midnight (pst)
    Winners will be drawn and posted October 9th! ***
 Come Join the Party on October 7th at The Romance Review Forum to enter to win more prizes. http://www.theromancereviews.com/forum/
4) PARTICIPATION AT ALL BLOGS IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. REMEMBER, THE MORE BLOGS YOU HOP and COMMENT ON, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES. EVERY AUTHOR & BOOK PAGE IS WAITING TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOU, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO SHOW THEM SOME LOVE!
5) GRAND PRIZE OF A KINDLE FIRE IS FOR US AND CANADA MAILING ADDRESSES ONLY. INTERNATIONAL WINNERS WILL RECEIVE A $50.00 MUSA GIFT CARD.
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE FUN?

***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

To return to the Musa Anniversary Blog Hop, click here.