Monday, September 08, 2014

Guest - Frances Pauli

Good morning and how is everyone today? Here at the Scott household we are doing a little preparation for our beautiful daughter's upcoming wedding. There's the shower, the cake, the coffee, the this and the, you know what I mean. But for now, let's all sit back and enjoy this visit from author Frances Pauli who will be discussing prescience (yes, I've been looking for a place to use that word ;-) ) We have some excellent Cinnamon flavored coffee and luscious Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies (see my newsletter for a recipe). Grab them before they're gone!

And now for our guest!


Writing What has Been Foretold.

Some of my favorite characters from classical speculative fiction and romance have had what amounts to extra-sensory abilities. From the Bene Gesserit of Dune, to Espers, Mystics, and a host of Fortune tellers, I have always loved a character who can see what's coming...and still goes forth willingly despite that.

But when I decided to introduce my own race of clairvoyant aliens in SEEN, I suddenly realized just how tricky fictional precognition can be. For one thing, a character forewarned is a character forearmed. Knowing what is around the corner has a danger of removing suspense and tension. It can, however, also increase the sense of dread in the reader. I know there is a monster behind that door, so why is she opening it! These moments are a lot of fun, but they lead to the second problem.

Why do they still open it?

Each author will, of course, invent their own ways to solve these issues, but one of the themes that kept coming up as I looked further into precognition was the idea that a vision or prophecy is only a fraction of the entire picture. This was a goldmine in its own right for using a snatch of imagery to give a false impression of the future instead of a completely accurate foreknowledge.

Beyond the vision the character has can be an entire big picture that adds up to something quite different than the precognition suggests. In addition, many bad circumstances can resolve into good outcomes. So that, while a character might be walking into the fire, on the other side there could be a very desirable conclusion.

In other words, we might lose the battle and still win the war. The opposite is also true, and chasing after a good vision can lead the character into all sorts of nasty circumstances.
Using prophecy and glimpses of the future is a fantastic way to misdirect. Finding your character's motivation for going forward regardless of the known danger, is a great way to build in strength and heroism. They must, however, have a very good reason for walking into that danger. Of course, the character can be driven by circumstance to take that step unwillingly, which is also a great suspense builder. I know there's a monster behind this door, but the one chasing me is even larger and scarier and there's no other way to turn...

You can probably tell I had a lot of fun with this.

One thing that did trip me up more than once was keeping the vision of a future scene consistent and accurate with that scene when I finally got around to writing it. I am not a scene writer who can skip about (though I envy the authors who can). I must start at the beginning and continue forward until I reach the end, and so, when my character had a vision of a later event, the event was yet to be written.

Which, of course, resulted in a lot of editing on my part. Things changed by the time I reached the preconceived moment, and so I would recommend to all the linear writers out there like myself, that you tag or mark or somehow make it easy to reference the scenes both where the event is foretold an when it actually unfolds. As I found out, you will be doing a lot of flipping back and forth between them in the editing phase.

Unless you decide to make the vision faulty? Slightly off of accurate? What about a character who has visions that are intentionally wrong? A fortune teller who only gets it right every now and again? The more I think about it, the more possibilities arise. Each has its own challenges, but I found the task worth the effort.  The topic is vast and unbelievably fun to explore if you have an interest, and I highly recommend playing with the future.

I know I love many books and characters that do. And I'd love to hear about your favorite clairvoyants as well.

Thanks for peering forward with me!

About Frances
Frances Pauli writes across multiple genres. Her work is speculative, full of the fantastic, and quite often romantic at its core. Whenever possible, she enjoys weaving in a little humor. Once upon a time she was a visual artist, but she's since come to her senses. Now she fills her miniscule amount of free time with things like crochet, belly dance and abysmal ukulele playing. She lives in Central Washington State with her husband, two children, a pair of hairless dogs and five tarantulas.

Princes of the Shroud book two
Coming  Fall/Winter 2014

Rowri is a priestess with prophetic dreams—and she’s dreamt of her soulmate. So when she volunteers to be the gifted bride in a peace negotiation between her own peoples and the Tolfarians, she is certain that the lilac-skinned man in her visions is the Tolfarian leader she is to marry.

But prophecy is never simple, and visions are never clear. Shayd, a seer and one of the Shrouded, is summoned to transport Rowri to her new husband-to-be. When Rowri sets eyes on his lilac skin, she knows she’s made a terrible mistake—one she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life if she wants to save her people and prevent war.

The two are drawn together, and the fates of two races hinge on the decisions they make. On the precipice of volcanic eruptions, galactic terrorism, and mercenary attacks, Shayd and Rowri must give up every hope of happiness for their people, or sacrifice everything for true love.

Princes of the Shroud book one

Vashia’s father is the planetary governor. Unfortunately, he’s also a complete bastard. When he promises her to his lackey, Jarn, she panics. On the run in the nastiest corner of the galaxy, Vashia seizes her one chance at escape and signs on as a bride candidate for the elusive race of aliens known as the Shrouded, unaware that she very well may be chosen as the next Queen of Shroud

Of the seven, volatile Shrouded princes, Dolfan may be the only one that doesn't covet the throne. So the last thing he expects to find in the future queen is the woman of his dreams. If he wants Vashia, he must accept the throne as well. Unfortunately, his long-time rival has the same idea. Now, only the planet’s sacred crystal can decide their fates, but what happens when the right woman is paired with the wrong man? And when Jarn comes after what was promised to him?

Buy Links

About Frances
Frances Pauli writes across multiple genres. Her work is speculative, full of the fantastic, and quite often romantic at its core. Whenever possible, she enjoys weaving in a little humor. Once upon a time she was a visual artist, but she's since come to her senses. Now she fills her miniscule amount of free time with things like crochet, belly dance and abysmal ukulele playing. She lives in Central Washington State with her husband, two children, a pair of hairless dogs and five tarantulas.

Lynda Again --
Hope you've enjoyed our guest today. If you did, please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave a comment to let her know. Remember, if you're a member of my newsletter, you'll get the recipe for the Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies along with the newsletter. Sign up. It's free!

Have a Blessed day!

Contact me


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Guest - Tameri Etherton

Good morning! We've got a terrific post today by Tameri Etherton. Tameri talks about the goal of writers and the desire of readers - to create and experience the act of falling in love. So help yourself to decadent Apple Pecan Scone (recipe courtesy of Dawn Charles of and available to subscribers of my newsletter (See below for a fantastic offer from Dawn). We also have a fantastic selection of coffees available. I bet you'll find your personal favorite in one of the carafes. Get comfortable and enjoy our guest!

By the way, Tameri also has a great offer for commenters - a drawing for a Starbucks gift certificate. She's got the details in her post so Good Luck!


First, I want to thank Lynda and Star-Crossed Romance for having me today and giving me the chance to chat about one of my favorite topics. It’s a pleasure to be here!

Falling In Love On The Page

Love is fabulous. The euphoria you feel when in love, it can’t be replicated or even explained, really. Anyone who’s been in love will probably tell you it’s the best feeling in the world.

Most everyone wants it, and, I would argue, everyone needs it.

Even fictional characters. Those pesky critters who, for writers, live in our heads and chatter at us all day long. Oh, the joy of writing a scene for two characters who are falling in love, and throwing every obstacle at them except the kitchen sink. Hmm, that would actually be interesting in a fight. :)

But I’m not talking about characters falling in love, not really. I’m talking about those characters we, as readers, fall in love with. Maybe you’ve heard about “Book Boyfriends”, or a friend has mentioned a hero she can’t stop thinking about, and who doesn’t have a friend who is looking for her very own quintessentially aloof Mr. Darcy. These are the characters that snag a heartstring and won’t let go. These are the men we fantasize about, obsess over, and sometimes wish were our boyfriends or husbands. Jon Snow? Oh heck yes! Christian Grey? He might not be your cup of tea, but women the world over want to fix him. And we can’t forget about all of the guys in JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood!

So what makes a perfect Book Boyfriend?

The answer to that question is as varied as the women (and men) who read books! Some like an Alpha hero who can wield a machine gun far easier than a diaper, others like the sensitive type who can prevent world domination with one stroke on the keyboard. Me? I like a bit of both.

Intelligence is sexy as hell. But I’m not opposed to an awesome set of abs. Add a sword and I’m positively swooning.

No matter how many times I read over my manuscript, I fall in love with my hero all over again. Right now, that’s Rhoane from my fantasy series. I know I created him, but somewhere along the way he developed into his own character and did things that surprised me. Same with my heroine, Taryn. I might even love her more than Rhoane (shhh! Don’t tell him). Writing is funny like that. We make up these people, let them take up residence inside our heads for however long, and then fall madly, deeply, forever in love with them. When I have to hurt them, it breaks my heart. But without a little pain on their part, the story would suffer. Right? It can’t be all roses and sonnets. Every so often I get so upset with what I put them through that I have to walk away.

It’s the same when I’m reading a book. I want so badly for everything to go right for the characters, these imaginary people I’m falling in love with, that I get angry when the writer pulls them apart. Yes, I am that passionate about what I read and write. And you know what? I bet I’m not alone. But in the end it all works out. At least, I’m happiest when it does. A true romantic at heart, I love me a good happily ever after.

Now it’s your turn. Who’s your Book Boyfriend or Girlfriend? Has a book ever enraged you so much you had to stop reading, only to pick it up an hour later because you had to make sure the characters were okay? Are you a romantic, or are you cool with the hero and heroine being happy for now?

As a special thank you for stopping by and commenting, everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing to receive a $10 Starbucks gift card and a cool bit of swag. To win, you’ll need to send me your mailing address (I promise I won’t sell the information or do anything nefarious with it, just mail you some awesome stuff!). You can send me your email now and that way if you win, I’ll be able to reach you right away, or you can wait until the winner is drawn. The deadline for comments is Sunday, September 7, 2014. I’ll pop back in and leave a comment with the winner’s name.

Here’s a bit about Taryn and Rhoane’s story¦

The Stones of Kaldaar: Song of the Swords Book One

Some say she’s the one of prophecy,
that she’ll bring balance to the world.
Others say she’s the destroyer,
meant to bring an end to Aelinae.
They’re both right.

Everything Taryn knew was a lie. Her life on Earth, the man she thought was her grandfather, even her age, were all fabrications meant to protect her, to keep her hidden until she could return to her home world. Once on Aelinae, Taryn realizes she has more to fear than the creeping darkness that threatens to suffocate her.

Unwilling to become a pawn in the machinations of her scheming family and the world she now calls home, Taryn sets out to learn about her mysterious powers. Reluctantly, she accepts the help of Rhoane, a man who promises to protect her, but whom she's not sure she can trust.

As tensions mount and her loved ones are threatened, Taryn must confront an ancient enemy and stop a sinister plan to bring back a banished god.

On Aelinae they say there can be no Light without Dark and no darkness without light. If Taryn fails, there will be only Blackness. Absolute. Binding. Without end.

Failure is simply not an option.

Available now on Amazon! Click here for more details.

About Tameri
Rocker of sparkly tiaras, friend of dragons, and lover of all things sexy, Tameri Etherton leaves a trail of glitter in her wake as she creates and conquers new worlds and the villains who inhabit them. When not masquerading as a mom and writer, rumor has it she travels to far off places, drinking tea and finding inspiration for her kickass heroines and the rogues who steal their hearts with her own Prince Charming by her side.

Social Media Links:


-- Lynda Again
    I hope you've enjoyed our guest today. I confess I fall in love with every well drawn hero I read about. Do you have a Book Boyfriend? Tell us about him.
     Our recipe for Apple Pecan Scones is contributed by book cover designer Dawn Charles of Dawn is presently working on a long-term project to publish a series of cookbooks and is seeking volunteer recipe testers. To volunteer, please email her at and tell her what sort of recipes you would prefer to test (breakfast/brunch, main courses, side dishes, desserts, party/holiday, or kid's cuisine). 

    Remember, subscribers of my newsletter will receive a copy of Dawn's recipe. Join today.

    Oh, and if you liked this post, please click on the g+ button to expand it in google search. Thanks!

   Have a Blessed day!

Contact me


Monday, August 11, 2014

Sourcebooks Contest

I received this info via email and thought some of you might be interested. Scroll down to a Rafflecopter Giveaway below and click. When you get to Rafflecopter, simply click on the button to enter the Bed, Bath and Beyond drawing. Good luck!

In honor of her July debut, Find My Way Home, Michele is channeling her interior designing main character, Bertie Anderson, and giving away one $25 BedBath and Beyond gift card to a lucky fan! The contest will last from August 11th to August 31st and the winner will be chosen through Rafflecoptor.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

She’s just the kind of drama
Interior designer Bertie Anderson has big dreams for her career, and they don’t include being stuck in her hometown of Harmony, North Carolina. One last client, and Bertie is packing up her high heels and heading for her dream job in Atlanta. But her plans are derailed by the gorgeous new owner of that big old Victorian she’s always wanted to renovate…

He’s vowed to avoid
For retired tennis pro Keith Morgan, Harmony is a far cry from fast-paced Miami—which is exactly the point. Keith is starting a new life for himself and his daughter Maddie, and he’s left the bright lights and hot women far behind. Bertie’s exactly the kind of curvaceous temptation he doesn’t need, and Keith refuses to let their sizzling attraction distract him from his goals. Keith and Bertie both have to learn that there’s more than one kind of escape, and it takes more than wallpaper to turn a house into a home.

Order Find My Way Home Today!


Friday, August 01, 2014

Guest - Miranda Rae Carter

Good morning! I've had a wealth of computer problems these past few weeks. I ended up getting a new laptop but couldn't get my files transferred. So she's off to the computer guy to be repaired or, if not that, ti gave the files rescued. But for now we have a lovely selection of coffee and tea, luscious guilty pleasure cakes and a fantastic guest. Grab a comfy seat and enjoy!


World Building in Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Novels
By Miranda Rae Carter

            Have you ever wanted to write a paranormal or fantasy novel?

            Have you ever read a paranormal or fantasy novel and wondered how the heck the author created such epic details? How did they remember them all?

            Maybe you read a paranormal or fantasy novel and were left with questions about the world.

            Well, there’s no specific template when it comes to building a world for authors; however, a good author will know countless more pages of detail about the world and its characters or species, than what is actually written in the story. Think of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, and her novel The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide. This book contains over 500 pages of interviews, details about the clans, pictures, maps and so much more that was never written in the series itself. She probably has another novel worth of details about Twilight’s characters and scenes sitting hidden in a desk drawer somewhere. The point is, world building is not an easy task for authors; but if you want to do it right and have a paranormal or fantasy world that impresses your readers, your world must—at least—have these twenty-five details. Keep in mind, this goes beyond the page-turning plot and thorough character sketches you’ve established. 

A name for the species you’ve created.  Are they vampires, witches, centaurs? Or, are they something you’ve produced on your own, like I did, when I created the malions?

A detailed description of the world they live in. What does it look like? Does it smell different? Is it dark and musty or full of beautiful castles, meadows, mountains and waterfalls? Do they have their own calendar or special celebrations?

If they don’t live in regular society, they must have a way to make a living and get by. What is that?

A name for their language, and possibly some translations, if you are inventing your own language.

A life span, including details about reproduction, and age of maturity. This is also a good time to include details about how males and females are different, beyond reproductive organs, and circadian/cyclic rhythms. Do they sleep? When?

Details about how relationships, marriages and family structures work.

How big are your species compared to humans? Are the females bigger or smaller than the males, and how soon do they reach their full height and weight?

What do they eat? Do they have a special diet? Is there something specific they need to survive? Is it scarce or plentiful?

Is there something that would instantly kill your species, that may not kill a human? I’m thinking sunlight and vampires, or water and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Do they go to school or have any formal training when they are children? Who teaches them?

A mythology for your species that disproves any current mythology we may have believed up until this very point.

Laws and regulations in your fantasy world, or ones that differ from where your story takes place if you’re writing paranormal.

An explanation of how your species came into the world. Did they come from another planet? Did they come from the cross-breeding of two species? Were they a science experiment gone wrong?

Do they practice any religion? If so, how is it similar or different to current religious
practices? Do they worship a different God?

Detailed maps of the world you are creating.

Exact population numbers, in every area of the map you are drawing.

How does your species dress? Do they wear anything at all? Why?

A list of specific details about any special abilities your species may have, and what they do.

Details of your species’ weakness. Everyone species must have some sort of weakness.
Can your species exist alongside the human world? Why or why not?
Specific details about the enemy, the enemy’s world, and why they have become the enemy.

Is there a hierarchy in your species? What is the person at the top called? What is their purpose during that time and how long can they be in that position? Are there more than one leader?

What is your species emergency plan if they were discovered by the human world?
What is your species here for? Or, what is their purpose? Are they trying to protect something?

Are there human allies they have? If so, how many people know about them, and how do you go about becoming a trusted friend of this species? Is it forbidden to communicate with the human world?

These are some of the most important details of a good paranormal/fantasy novel; they make your story realistic and allow your readers to imagine the place as if it truly exists. The other aspect you must have before you publish your story (or self-publish, like I did) is an experienced editor who works in the paranormal/fantasy field. Even when you’ve built your world, perfected it, had it critiqued and edited by friends or fellow writers, there still may be questions left unanswered, or plot-points that need tweaking, and you only have one chance to impress your purchasing readers before they never pick up your novels again.
Scary, but true.

Good luck and happy writing!


Book Blurb:
Deep underground, an ancient species of mystic healers exist: the malions. Their capabilities are endless. Their strength is colossal. But they are also being hunted and their numbers are dwindling.

One of them has just fallen in love with a human.

On the west coast of Canada, sixteen-year-old Melissa Lawrences's life is about to take a turn for the worse. It could also be her saving grace.

She just can't get caught.


Adolescence hasn’t been fun for Liss Lawrence. And after a year in Vancouver, when she’s finally adjusted to her new situation, a freak car accident sends her life spinning out of control and crashing into the world of the malions, a hidden race silently helping humanity from secret enclaves underground.

Liss’s knowledge of the malions endangers her family when Jaredsons Securities takes an interest in her accident. Few know the men of Jaredsons Securities, an international intelligence company specializing in missing persons cases, are actually the Vykhars, ancient malion enemies whose true purpose is the eradication of the malion race. The Vykhars will stop at nothing to discover if Liss is connected with the malions, and if they do, they will exploit her.

Perhaps more dangerous still are Liss’s growing feelings for Rion, a strong-willed malion scarred by his encounters with Vykhars and carrying a secret that could destroy their relationship. But Liss has a secret and scars of her own, and Rion’s fiercely protective nature threatens to tear them back open.

Can this pair of unlikely lovers survive the dangers of the Vykhars? And can their love survive their own misconceptions?

This is an excerpt from Beneath the Surface, where Rion, the hero, gives the small yet crucial details of fairytale backstory I created to the heroine, Liss. He’s decided to give her these details because it’s time she learned the truth; she’s also in danger of being taken by the vykhars and Rion wants her to be properly informed. This scene happens approximately half-way through the novel. Backstory details are important, but, most importantly, not thrown to the reader at the beginning. Timing is everything.

I took a sip of my hot chocolate and crossed my legs the other
way. “So are all Jaredsons agents vykhars?”

“Yes. Jared was the name of the very first vykhar.”

“Are the stories true?”

“What stories?”

“Caine said that the stories in my book, Moonstone, Mae and
Malion Tales, were true.”

“That garbage came from a publishing house the Jaredsons own.
The original stories were passed from malion to cubshen—child
but the Jaredsons got a hold of a copy, changed the stories around
and sold it to the public, making everyone afraid of us. Once upon
a time, we were known as the Great Malion Healers. Now, we are
known only in storybooks as murderous monsters.”

“You’ve convinced me of the truth.”

“Yes, one of a few billion.”

“So what’s the real story? Because in my book, it says that a
malion kidnapped Princess Alysia and that Prince Jared rescued
her and killed the malion in a vicious fight.”

Rion huffed and growled again. “See what kind of trash that is?”

“I tore up the book at home when I found out you were a malion.
I just couldn’t believe anything it said after all you’d done for me.”

“Good, because the real story is called The King and the Malion
Healer.” Rion walked over to his desk, rustled around with some
papers and a couple of drawers, and tossed a book on the bed
beside me. It had a dark green cover, and a shamrock embellished
at the top. I flipped it open and everything inside it was hand-written
in black ink; the strange letters and symbols must have been
their language.

“The real story dates back more than nine hundred years. King
Jared assumed the throne when his father died, and he took a wife
immediately, the dreg manakacko. Her name was Alysia, but
the lying begins right after that: King Jared was a self-absorbed,                                          abusive man. He kept his kingdom on the brink of starvation while
he bathed in gold. Queen Alysia had to withstand unimaginable
torture; he did not leave her alone until she finally became pregnant.
They had a son, Prince Warren, but when the queen did not
conceive again, the abuse resumed.

“One night, when King Jared was bedding one of Queen
Alysia’s ladies-in-waiting, she fled the castle and paid a peasant to
take her to a malion healer, hoping he could cure her barrenness,
as you may have read. But the malion, whose name was Ranion,
refused to help her. Instead, he offered her a new life with him
in his malion community, with all the safety and protection she
would need.”

“That part was never in the story.”

“Just my point. He had heard of her suffering over the years,
and fallen in love with her long before she ever began her search
for him. When they finally met, he begged her not to return to
the king. But the queen would not leave without her son, so she
returned to the castle, only to find the king waiting for her, furious
as a selkie on the war path. The king’s persuasion ability was so
strong that Queen Alysia was unable to avoid telling him that she
had been to see a malion healer. King Jared was so angry with
the queen he took out his blade, cut off her beautiful long hair,
and dragged her into the forest to kill the malion. The castle guard
followed the king to the forest, but they refused to go near Ranion,
because they were worried about the curses malions were rumored
to possess.”

“Is that true?”

Rion rolled his eyes. “No! It is pegasus dung!”

I laughed. “Sorry for interrupting…go on.”

“Okay, so…King Jared became furious at that point…”
I listened intently as Rion continued. He became passionate
and enthusiastic in his telling; it was as if he himself had been the
one in battle with Jared. If there was anything I loved more than
a garden full of flowers, it was a good story. I jumped when he
used sound effects, and gasped when he began acting out the battle
between Jared and Ranion. He had me on the edge of my seat and
wired with excitement in just a few phrases.

“…Jared took out his sword to stab Ranion in the heart, only
Queen Alysia ran at King Jared, jumped on top of him and fought
to get the sword out of his hands.”

“She jumped in?”

“Yes!” he exclaimed, with eyes wider than I’d ever seen them.
“She was not your typical twelfth century Lady. She actually sacrificed
herself for Ranion. But King Jared was so strong that he
ripped Queen Alysia from his back and slashed her throat…”

I gasped. “Oh Rion, that’s an awful ending—how could you
end a story like that?”

“It is a true story, Melissa. They do not all have happy endings.”

“Well I don’t know if I want to hear any more.”

“Then you will not hear the best part.”

“It better be good!”

“It is…” Excitement smouldered in his eyes. “Ranion’s fury
against the king was so great at that moment, the tore the king
apart limb from limb, and—”

“—He became the greatest leighdur of all time, after the Creator
told him that the he and Alysia would once again be reunited…”
I sensed movement, and looked up see Rasadian standing
behind Rion. “Blah blah blah…spare us the rest.”

“Oh, Krighven,” Rion teased Rasadian. “You were never one
for the story of Ranion.”

“That is because I have to hear it every night. You forget that the
cubshen’s play chamber is right next to mine; I seriously believe
you ought to find another story to tell them.”

“It is their choice. They want to hear it, so I tell it.”

 Buy Links:

Paperback , Hardcover, and Links to $2.99 CAD E-book Formats for Amazon, Google, iBook, Nook and Kobo are here:

Contact Information:

 About Miranda
Miranda Rae Carter has lived in British Columbia her whole life, and is a self-proclaimed home-bug. She spends most of her time doing what she loves, and that is being a mom and wife—and trying to master the art of cooking. The rest of her time is divided between looking in mouths and writing.


Lynda Again --
Hope you've enjoyed our guest today. If you did, please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave a comment to let her know. 

Have a Blessed day!

Contact me


Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest - Neely Powell

Good morning! It's the end of the week so I hope you have some great plans! Tomorrow I'll be attending a family reunion - for a family that sort of adopted me a few years ago. Super people and super food but I'll be away all day Saturday leaving Hubby in charge of my furbabies. But enough about me, lol. We have an assortment of cozy chairs and an addictive cappuccino. For the sweet treat, we've got a Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Scone. So tasty!

Don't forget to follow our guests instructions to enter in their drawing.

A Special World in an Ordinary Place

When we began plotting our first paranormal novels, we found we didn’t want to create an alternate reality as much as we wanted to put the extraordinary in the ordinary world. For us, this provides more of a challenge and gives us more ways to make our fiction believable. Is it so difficult to imagine the beautiful woman working quietly in the corner of the jewelry store is a faerie who thrives in a world of jewels? And maybe once in a while when she sees a couple she thinks are worthy, she adds a special bit of magic to the lovely engagement ring they pick out? As a matter of fact, that sounds like a great idea for a new book!

Since our first book, True Nature, is about a shape shifter and a psychic, we next wanted to create a world of white magic. We went to Ireland for the roots of our coven of witches and brought them to America after the first great plague in the 1700s. They traveled inland and, in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia, found a home that reminded them of the beautiful Mourne Mountains they left behind in Ireland. And that’s where New Mourne was born.

However, peace and prosperity comes at a price for our witches and their home. Since their first long-ago winter in New Mourne, they’ve been cursed by an angry ghost known as The Woman in White. She demands the life of one young witch from each generation. In exchange, New Mourne is a haven for the supernatural. Other witches, werewolves, Druids, shape shifters, wizards and fae populate New Mourne. An ancient dragon is rumored to reside at the top of a nearby mountain. All live in harmony with the Connelly coven, nature and humans.

Having all these magical people walking around in a regular town filled is what we love. We can go to the grocery store and imagine the man picking up his oversized frozen dinner is a shape shifter who needs some protein so he can shift and run in the wild that night. Or that the woman next door can fly. Or that faeries dance in the moonlight on the front lawn. So creating the fictional world of The Connelly Witches has been incredible fun.

Our witches are dedicated to the protection of their family and their town, but the latest generation will not acquiesce without a fight to the fierce spirit’s demands. The time of sacrifice is upon them in the first book of The Connelly Witches, Witch’s Awakening. The heroine is Brenna Connelly Burns, an elemental witch, the strongest of her generation, and destined to become the coven leader. Elemental magic gives Brenna power to control earth, wind, fire and water. She needs all of that and more as she battles a demon, searches for a way to break the family curse and falls for a shape shifting lawman.

Brenna’s younger sister, Fiona Connelly Burns, is a witch and a medium. She communicates with spirits and helps them pass over when unfinished business would otherwise bind them to earth. In Witch’s Haunting she struggles with evil of a ghostly nature as The Woman in White’s promise to take yet another Connelly seems destined to come true. While Fiona tangles with some angry specters, her heart is claimed by a charming reality TV producer who wants to make her and New Mourne infamous, even as he runs from some ghosts in his own past.

Eva Grace Connelly is first cousin to the Burns sisters and closer than most kin; she and Brenna were born to twin sisters at the same moment in the middle of a wild winter storm. In contrast to Brenna’s raw power, Eva Grace is a gentle but strong empath and healer. She’s sacrificed much in her life—never knowing her father, losing her mother to The Woman in White and her fiancĂ© to a wicked supernatural force—so Eva Grace is certain she will be her generation’s sacrifice. Standing with her against that deadly end is paranormal expert Rodric McGuire, PhD, who uses his gentle strength to heal Eva Grace’s broken heart and his special knowledge to help the Connelly witches face their worst enemy.

We hope you enjoy a scene from Witch’s Awakening, the first book of The Connelly Witches:

A barn owl was out and about, having left the nest in the old barn early on this sad night. These birds were usually seen when it was full dark, their wings spread, carrying them with silent speed. Brenna learned as a child that barn owls didn’t hoot. Their call was shrill, almost a scream. Or if threatened, they issued a hiss that could turn your blood cold.

It was fitting that an owl had come out early tonight, as myth and legend associated them with death.

The screeches continued. Brenna turned around, trying to spy the animal’s distinctive and pale heart-shaped face in the gathering shadows. She zeroed in on a ghost-like shape in an ancient hickory tree. Peeking out from around one branch, the bird fussed at her with increasing fervor.

“You feel it, don’t you?” Brenna said to the bird. “This beautiful place is dirty.”

The owl’s low, warning hiss sounded in agreement.

Brenna smelled death and sadness, with a nasty undertone of evil. She could reclaim this little sanctuary and clear it of the spirits that disturbed the land’s natural inhabitants.

The bird fell silent as she set up her candles at five points. With a flick of her wrist they flamed to life. Then she shed her clothes and shoes, tucking them near the altar before moving to the center of the ring of fire.

Skyclad, she lifted her hands, palms up and chanted, “Dirt from the earth, wind through the trees, water to cleanse, salt to set free. Banish the evil, honor my plea. As I will, so mote it be.”

With quick, sure motions she had learned from Sarah, Brenna poured salt and water in a wide circle. She closed her eyes and repeated the cleansing spell aloud. The ache in her heart eased. She felt the calm and beauty of her family’s land push against the darkness.

The owl called out another warning. Brenna opened her eyes and locked gazes with a white tiger.

Huge. Predatory. Standing like a sphinx just beyond her charmed circle. His tongue flicked around his mouth, displaying gleaming, sharp teeth.

Brenna expelled a deep breath. “God, shifter, you scared me.”

Witch’s Awakening will soon be released as an audio book too. Details coming soon!

Witch’s Haunting, the second book of the series, will be out in late fall, and we’re writing Witch’s Healing now for a 2015 release. 

Do you ever wonder about the supernatural that might be lurking just beneath the surface of our everyday world? Tell us more on our Facebook page,, by July 31st, and you’ll be entered to win a free ebook of Witch’s Awakening.

About The Authors
Neely Powell is the pseudonym for co-writers Leigh Neely and Jan Hamilton Powell. The best friends met when they both worked at a rock 'n roll radio station in Chattanooga. They tried writing fiction together for several years, but life and other adventures got in the way.

Their friendship endured as they went on to individual careers. Writing as Celeste Hamilton, Jan published 24 romance novels for Silhouette and Avon Books. Her books appeared on the B. Dalton, Waldenbooks Romance, and USA Today bestseller lists before she left fiction for a career in corporate communications.

Leigh became a successful nonfiction writer and editor of newspapers and magazines, though she was still interested in writing fiction. Something clicked when she focused her talents on the paranormal world. Around that time, Leigh started a novel about a shape-shifting attorney and his dysfunctional psychic best friend and partner. Jan was providing editorial support when Leigh suggested they try the partnership again.

Neely Powell was reborn. The result was the sale of their paranormal mystery, True Nature
to The Wild Rose Press, and The Connelly Witches paranormal romance series to Harlequin. Neely Powell writes about shifters, witches, werewolves, faeries, and ghosts, mixing in shades of romance, mystery, and thrillers—the kind of books they both enjoy reading.

Lynda Again -- Hope you've enjoyed our guests today. If you did, please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave a comment to let them know (and don't forget about their drawing - see above). Also I've included the recipe for the gluten free scones in my newsletter but you register for it. The good news? It's free!). The recipe and other tidbits will be there for you to enjoy

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