Archive for February 2016 | Monthly archive page

Happy New Release Day to OUT OF THE BROOM CLOSET by ASHLYN CHASE. Book 3 Love Spells Gone Wrong Series (light paranormal romance)

Get it on amazon, kobo, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and right here at Lachesis Publishing.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Michele Erikson, a part fey witch, would never harm others with spells, even if it’s the only way to save herself from a crazed stalker wielding black magic, who’s chased her from Portsmouth, NH to Daytona Beach FL.

But Michele doesn’t know that her new friend Vic Matthews has been hired by her stepfather Alex to protect her. The Ex-NFL player turned bodyguard doesn’t believe in hocus pocus until late in the game, when he witnesses first-hand what Michele can do.

As Michele’s loving charm weaves its way around Vic’s heart, he’ll do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means convincing her to step out of the broom closet and come out fighting!

Ashlyn Chase is a best selling author who writes funny and sexy, light paranormal romances and erotic romances. Connect with Ashlyn on her website and on facebook and twitter.

Ashlyn’s  other books in the Love Spells Gone Wrong Series include The Cupcake Coven (book 1) and Tug of Attraction (book 2).

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.

Follow Lachesis Publishing us on twitter.

Image: Vikings TV series.

I was chatting with an author the other day (via email) and mentioned that “back in the day”  okay – in the 1980s! Gasp! I would regularly visit several used book stores in town to keep up my “romance novel addiction”. I easily bought about 20 books a month. I also bought new releases but they couldn’t keep up with my voracious appetite for historical romances.

Back then, it seemed that the publishing houses had a much more “loose” view of the Historical Romance genre – which was my go-to genre for reading. I read so many that I can’t remember the names of the authors and titles of the books (alas). But I do remember that many of them were set in “interesting” locales and eras and countries. One book, featured a blind heroine who was married off to a Viking warrior and the book was set in Sweden I think. Anyway, it was a lovely story. Another book was set in Poland and I can’t remember what era it was,  but the heroine dressed like a boy in order to join the army. It was also a good story and a fun read. After studying A Tale of Two Cities, in high school, I wanted to gobble up books about the French Revolution, but I wanted a HAPPY ENDING, of course!

Lachesis Publishing has begun to revise and re-release some of Patricia Grasso’s gorgeous Elizabethan romances. I absolutely love the Elizabethan era! Especially when we get to hang out with Queen Elizabeth 1. The first one we released was Love in a Mist about a Welsh princess (who is also a Druid – which leads to all sorts of trouble!) who travels to England to meet her birth father and ends up marrying an Earl. We’ll be following up with My Heart’s Desire which follows the daughter of the hero and heroine of Love in a Mist. Both books feature Patricia’s trademark humour and wonderful heroines.

I know that Regency historicals are hugely popular today and we love to publish them (Check out our Regencies by Patricia Grasso, JoMarie DeGioia and Beverly Adam). But I would also love to see more variety out there again. Historical romances set in different countries and eras. There are so many stories out there, yet to be told – the possibilities are endless. What do you think? Are you a die-hard Regency fan or would you love to read more variety in historical romance?

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing.

Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebookand on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

 

If the long-running Law & Order franchise ever spins off to Canada, The Vigilante would make a great template. Jacqui Morrison’s book has the right balance of police and legal procedural with a good helping of character development and social commentary thrown in.

On the police side, we have Lynette Winton, her colleagues at work and her mother at home.

A rookie detective, Lynette is determined to prove herself. At first, however, Lynette seems to be a study in what not to do. When we find out her family situation, it’s easier to understand her behaviour. She lives with her loving, but passive aggressive mother, who is so secretive about Lynette’s biological father that any child would become obsessed with discovering the truth.

Lynette might be wrong about how she finds the truth, but find it she does. She arrests the suspect dismissed by her senior colleagues, while saving the life of the next intended victim.

On the legal side, we have defense lawyer Maxine Swayman.

Maxine is Lynette’s opposite in more than the court case even to having a loving and supportive father. She is confident, charming, and has a sexy surgeon for a boyfriend. One thing both women share is determination. In this case, Maxine is determined that the accused, Wanda Chambers, gets the help she desperately needs.

It’s on the legal side of the story that Morrison really shines. It’s no surprise that the author’s community work has given her experience with social justice and court procedures. My one disappointment is that she failed to mention the robes that barristers wear in Superior Court. Also, unlike the U.S. (and civil cases in Canada) the defendant is customarily addressed as “the accused.” Those, and many more details that Morrison does touch on, highlight the differences we’d see in Law & Order CA as opposed to the US and UK varieties.

The guest star is, of course, the accused. There is no doubt that Wanda Chambers is guilty, the real question is whether the troubled woman will end up inside a prison or a hospital. And which one is justice? Through Lynette and Maxine, Morrison argues both sides of the case.

Since this is the first of a series, the personal story arcs have only just begun to unfold. The Vigilante’s case, on the other hand, is settled more than satisfactorily. ~ Alison Bruce (suspense author)

Jacqui Morrison is a crime thriller author. Her suspense thrillers include Kaitlyn Wolfe: Crown Attorney and The Vigilante. You can purchase both books at Lachesis Publishing. But that’s not where it begins and ends with Jacqui. You see, Jacqui works with victims and witnesses of crimes. Her passion for working in the law started at at a young age, when she was inspired by a character in a popular TV show . . . 

You can get The Vigilante. on amazon, barnes and noble, kobo. You can also purchase Kaitlyn Wolfe: Crown Attorney on amazon

Connect with author Jacqui Morrison online on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our Lachesis Publishing facebook page.

 

 

 

The Mayall 4 Meter Telescope

The WIYN 3.5-Meter Telescope

By day I’m a mild-mannered writer of science fiction and horror. By night, I operate the Mayall 4-meter telescope and the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory outside Tucson, Arizona. These two telescopes have contributed greatly to our understanding of the universe. They’ve played a role in the discovery of dark matter, the large scale structure of the universe, dark energy, planets outside the solar system and much more. Working with these telescopes has also done much to inspire my writing.

 

Giant Star Spot K.Strassmeier, Vienna, NOAO/AURA/NSF

For many years, I specialized in observations of spotted binary stars. Spotted, in this case means that they have spots, like sunspots, only much larger. In some cases the spots can take up over a third of the star’s surface. Binary means that two stars orbit each other. These are very active, violent stars and I visit such a system in the opening scenes of Children of the Old Stars.

I’ve spent many nights at Kitt Peak pointing telescopes at globular clusters. These are great spherical clouds of ancient stars that orbit our galaxy. In fact, the “old star” part of my “Old Star/New Earth” series gets its name from these stellar groups, which in my novels prove to be the home of an ancient and powerful life form. The series’s overall storyline was inspired by taking one of the deepest images of our galaxy’s center and imagining a way for humans to get there and see it firsthand.

Maria Mitchell Observatory

Before working at Kitt Peak, I spent a summer working at the Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket Island, off the Massachusetts coast. Nantucket was once the center of the American whaling industry and is home to many proud, old families. What’s more, the novel Moby-Dick opens on Nantucket Island. When I imagined a character who would sail off into the unknown frontiers surrounding our galaxy and at its heart, I immediately looked to a man born and bred from a long line of Nantucket sailors and you’ll find the island featured prominently in The Pirates of Sufiro, Children of the Old Stars, and Heirs of the New Earth.

Not only does work at an observatory inspire my science fiction, but it has a way of inspiring my horror as well. At one time, one of my co-workers used to joke that those of us who operate telescopes were the vampires of the mountain because you never saw us before sunset or after sunrise. She was also a fan of vampire fiction who introduced me to Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire. Because of that, I began to ask what if a telescope operator really was a vampire? That line of questioning led me on the path to writing my novels Vampires of the Scarlet Order and Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order.

Haunted hallway? Photo by David Lee Summers

Lest you think vampires are the scariest thing you might encounter at an observatory, we do have our share of ghost stories. There are tales of the rocking chair in the 4-meter lounge that rocks all by itself. Last winter police reported getting a 911 call from the observatory. When the telescope operator on duty checked the number, it came from inside a locked, empty elevator. Just a month ago, the breaker to the kitchen tripped mysteriously. The breaker is located in one of the spookiest hallways in the building, where I often feel someone is walking right behind me. Now, all of these stories actually have rational explanations, but the shivers these tales induce helped me to create The Astronomer’s Crypt, the first of a horror series that I have written for Lachesis Publishing.

MilkyWay Over KPNO: P. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF

Writing is a passion and a calling for me, but I’m grateful for my career in astronomy. Even if I were to leave it, I’ve seen wonders and had experiences that will inspire many books to come.

You can purchase David Lee Summers’s books at Lachesis Publishing, on amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Connect with David Lee Summers. online via facebook and twitter, and check out his web site.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

Our DEAL OF THE WEEK is the paranormal suspense Shadow Dreams by Teri Barnett. And it’s FREE! If you like Shadow Dreams, we know you’ll like Teri’s other books Pagan Fire and Through the Mists of Time.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Nestled in the plane of Paran, a peaceful town is shocked when their children start disappearing. Portents point to the re-emergence of the ancient priestess cult of Eitel, one known for stealing souls to gain immortality.

Bethany Doro is a healer and a Knower, assisting the Diggers by connecting artifacts and their owner’s. But even with her psychic abilities, she never envisioned the kidnapping of her own daughter, Sarah. Connor Jessup never forgave himself for letting his wife Elizabeth leave so easily. He turned his back on his Nevada town, and on himself.

When Bethany’s latest excavation places the remains of Elizabeth at the center of the cult of Eitel, she knows she must travel to the Earth plane and seek Connor’s help. Arriving in shadow form, she first meets Connor in his dreams. He believes she’s an angel and gladly goes with her back to Paran. Once there, he comes to understand Bethany’s true nature, and finds himself drawn into the search for her missing daughter and the connection to his wife

Now they must unravel the secrets behind the ancient cult and find Sarah before she’s lost forever. As their quest unfolds, they discover an even deeper unexpected journey – one filled with sorrow, loss, and redemption.

EXCERPT:

Bethany M‘Doro stepped carefully over the grid of string that marked the area where the Diggers were working. The ground was slick and she had to be careful not to slip and fall into one of the holes. Reaching Ian Johns, ducked under the tarpaulin covering his work area and squatted down at his side, feeling a comfortable familiarity in his presence. He handed her the medium-sized silver filigree box he had just discovered. She gingerly turned it over in her hands, carefully washing the red mud away with water from a nearby bucket.

“Did you find the key?” she asked, noticing the container was locked.

Ian shook his head. “What can you tell me about it? If there‘s anything worth saving inside, I don‘t want to destroy the contents trying to get it opened.”

She closed her eyes as several of the workers gathered nearby, eager to hear what the woman had to say about their latest find. Knowers always accompanied them on the digs; they used their ability to read the vibrations left behind on an artifact to tell of its previous owner. This was one of the more important parts of an excavation as it was the Digger‘s duty to help the people of Paran learn of their past.

When Bethany opened her eyes again, the light topaz color had turned a deep azure blue, a sure sign to the men and women around her that she was in the Knowing. She ran her fingers over the elaborate carvings of the box.

“This contains a manuscript,” she started. Then the expression on her face turned from wonder to fear as hundreds of cuneiform letters ran through her mind. “I thought this was only a legend,” she whispered.

“What is it, Bethany? Tell me what you see,” Ian demanded.

“It‘s the Book, Ian. The Book of Eitel.”

“That‘s impossible. The Eitellans are the stuff of myth. A story told to make children behave.”

“Were there any other items with this?” Bethany asked, her voice urgent.

Ian motioned to one of the workers. “Hand me that bucket over there.”

When the worker returned, Ian spread a cloth on the ground. Then, he slowly poured the contents out in front of Bethany. He sifted through the dirt and stones until he located what he was looking for, a woman‘s hair comb. He handed it to the Knower. “Only this. It was located in the layer above the box.”

“Was there anything else?”

Ian leaned over and began sifting the soil between his fingers. “Well, if you look closely at the composition of this dirt, it looks quite a bit like there‘s ashes mixed in. I sifted through some of it and I think there are bone particles here as well, but I can‘t be certain.”

Bethany nodded. She scooped up a handful of the dirt and closed her eyes, waiting for what images may come to her. But there was only darkness. “It‘s no good, Ian.” She brushed one hand against the other, cleaning the dirt away. “There‘s not enough substance left to the bones for me to be able to identify them.” Bethany turned her attention to the comb, moving her fingers over the thin tortoise shell teeth and the slightly raised mother of pearl inlay. This time, the images came.

“I want you to have this, Elizabeth.” A tall man, with thick black hair and piercing eyes, handed the comb to a woman. “I love you,” he whispered.

“Thank you. I‟ll wear it always,” Elizabeth replied, a smile playing about her lips. She rolled her long brown hair into a knot on top of her head and fastened it with the comb. Turning her back to the man, she bade, “Unfasten the buttons for me, Connor. I‟d like to show you just how thankful I am.”

Connor ran his hands along Elizabeth‟s arms in a sweeping caress. He paused at her back and began to remove her dress.

Bethany shook her head to clear it. “I feel like I‘m eavesdropping,” she whispered.

“I couldn‘t hear you, Beth. What did you see? I‘ve never seen you looking this . . . this . . . embarrassed? Is that the word I‘m searching for?” Ian asked. His eyes held a mildly amused look to them.

“Don‘t be ridiculous,” Bethany answered, a little too quickly. If Ian expected her to admit to something, he‘d have a long time waiting! She held up the comb. “I‘ll tell you what I saw. This belonged to a woman. Light brown hair. Tall and thin. It was a gift from a man.” She took a deep breath and looked around at the circle of Digger‘s. “She‘s not native to our land. Her clothing is strange.”

Bethany paused as she struggled to interpret the new images that began spinning before her mind‘s eye.

A light flashed bright in her vision and Bethany unconsciously held up her arm, shielding her eyes. There, within a Paranian kiyolo, the same woman who had received the comb appeared from nowhere. It was as if she came on the very wind itself.

Elizabeth looked around. She was in the altar room. In the middle of the space sat a large stone statue. “An odd place,” she commented, looking over the figure. “I never saw anything like it on Earth.”

Then, as if she just remembered her purpose in coming, she clutched the box to her breast and spoke words that were foreign to Bethany.

When Elizabeth was finished, she held the container out in front of her and admired it. “There now.” She smiled. “If anyone opens you, they‟ll die for certain. A curse you‟ll carry until I say otherwise.”

Like what you’ve read? If you’d like a FREE copy of Shadow Dreams by Teri Barnett, you can get it right here.

Connect with Teri online via facebook and twitter, and check out her web site.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow us on twitter.

CJ Carmichael and BFF Jane Porter

CJC: I first met Jane Porter at a writer’s conference in Victoria. She was traveling from Seattle, while I had come from Calgary. We instantly connected and spent hours talking passionately about our desire to write and become published. Happily it happened for us both within the next eighteen months. Here I chat with Jane about her career, the highs and the lows, and the secrets behind her success.

Jane can you begin by telling us who inspired you early on in your career and why?

JP: I was an early reader and devoured everything I could get my hands on. Some of my favorite books when I was in first through fourth grade were the books by Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder. What I loved about Louisa and Laura was that while they wrote books for little girls, their stories featured aspiring writers. I loved that these were the ultimate book girl stories. They modeled literary success and provided a road map for me by creating a career out of their passion. I wanted the same thing. It was my goal since I was 9 or 10. I will say I am lucky in that I had a lot of help and support early on from my dad. My father was a professor and a writer and he encouraged me when I wrote. He’d go over my poems or stories and talk to me about choices or stanza or rhyme meter. He also found places for me to publish.  Looking back, it was definitely an advantage having a parent make writing seem like the most normal of activities.

CJC: I have especially loved your The Good Woman and She’s Gone Country. I think in both cases I really connected with the heroines and their dilemmas were so compelling I couldn’t stop reading. What is one of your favourite Jane Porter books and why?

JP: It is so hard to pick a Jane Porter favorite but I do love “Odd Mom Out” because it’s honest and real but has a happy ever after which is important to me, and my readers. Another favorite is “Flirting with Forty” because that was the book my husband inspired . . . but the book then inspired ‘us’. I don’t know if I would have thought we could go the distance if the story hadn’t made me believe it was possible.

CJC: I love that answer Jane. You and Ty are not a conventional couple. You are a wee bit older. And he’s a surfer dude from Hawaii while you’re such a book girl. But you really have made a great life together—not to mention an adorable son. Tell me, when did you realize that you were truly a successful author?

JP: I don’t feel like I am a truly successful author. I don’t relate to myself as an author, but a writer. I am most passionate about the work, and the creative act and then about a story when it’s completed. I do set the bar high for each book and I struggle to get it where I want it to go. The words don’t just flow. It can be a battle but maybe what makes me successful is that I stick with it. I believe in giving my readers a great story every time. My focus is always on surprising and delighting my readers.

Flirting with Forty was a hit movie on Lifetime starring Heather Locklear

CJC: That’s a humble answer Jane. You’ve published so many excellent books with Harlequin, Grand Central, Berkley, not to mention Tule, the publishing business you started. And then there was your movie deal for Flirting With Forty. But what advice can you give authors who are just starting out or who haven’t broken through?

JP: Don’t give up. I think that is truly the best advice I can give: don’t give up and keep learning. Focus on the craft. Go to conferences, attend workshops, read writing books, but also read, read, read everything. And then write. A lot. And write some more. Grow a thick skin, ask for feedback and continue to submit and grow thicker skin and work on revising and keep the faith that you’re doing what you are meant to be doing. Writing is a muscle. You’ve got to make it strong and you have to take care of your head so you can handle the ups and downs in publishing.

Jane Porter’s office is filled with the fruits of her hard work and determination.

CJC: I believe Stephen King has given the same advice and I agree. I really don’t think you can read too much, or too widely, if you want to be a writer. Tell me, what are the qualities that make a romance novel a true “keeper”? – a beloved book that you will read over and over again?

JP: I rarely read a book a second time. (I don’t watch movies a second time, either!) But I do have a keeper shelf and that shelf is filled with books that delighted me. A keeper book is one that engaged me and entertained me to the degree that I laughed and cried and felt like a little girl, lost in a story. A keeper story isn’t a perfect story, but a story that made me think and feel and hope and believe.

CJC: I’ve noticed on Facebook that your fans are really devoted to you. You’re real with them and genuinely interested in what they think. What’s the sweetest/coolest thing a reader/fan has said to you/done for you?

Jane enjoys spending time with her reader friends.

JP: My readers are amazing. I think they are the coolest women on the face of this planet but maybe the thing I love hearing most is when a reader says “you made me love reading again”. That is the ultimate compliment. That one means the world to me.

CJC: You love to travel—and your book “Flirting with Forty” certainly conveys how much travel has impacted your life and your work. Tell us about a very special place you have visited and a place you want to visit.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (Banff, Alberta)

JP: I do love to travel and certain settings inspire stories (i.e. Flirting with Forty) and other places become the foundation for a book or a series (Montana or Argentina), and it’s always interesting to me how I can research and write about a place but then visit it, and not be quite as impressed, and then other times I can go somewhere, have no expectation at all, and then be blown out of the water.  Banff and Lake Louise are examples of places that just profoundly moved me.  The first time I went was with you, CJ and it was incredible. I will never have enough words to describe how I feel when in the Canadian Rockies but it’s wonderful and powerful. And where do I still want to go? Jasper! Dying to get there!

CJC: Okay, I see a writing retreat to Jasper in our future. Let’s pencil it in for 2017. Of course you have a few more books to write before then. Tell us about your latest release.

JP: My latest release is a romance novella called The Tycoon’s Forced Bride, and I would describe it as a classic Jane Porter romance because it’s emotional and passionate and a bit mad. I love a great intense read . . . flawed characters who are healed through the redemptive power of love.

CJC: Can’t wait to read it! I did adore your latest Christmas story, “A Christmas Miracle for Daisy.” What do you have coming down the road?

I have the sixth and final story in my Taming of the Sheenan series which is set in fictional Marietta, Montana coming out in May and so I’m working on that, even as I plot my new series for 2017 which will launch with a historical story that will also be my Christmas story for 2016. Exciting stuff!

CJC: Thanks so much for chatting with me Jane. It’s nice to look back sometimes and see how far we’ve come. Now, give us some dirt. We know you work hard and you’re very giving to your family, friends and readers. But what’s your guilty pleasure treat?

Jane, the Tule Publishing gals and CJ at Flathead Lake, MT

JP: Guilty pleasure?  If it’s not hanging out with you in Montana or in Banff, CJ, its going to be reading a book at your cottage at Flathead Lake and enjoying a truly wonderful salted caramel chocolate treat.

CJC: Ah! Flathead Lake! That’s where the ideas for the Montana Born stories were conceived…but that’s a story for another day. Thanks again for chatting with me Jane. I look forward to lots of fun visits and Jane Porter books in the years to come.

Thanks to authors C.J. Carmichael and Jane Porter for joining us today! 

For more info about Tule Publishing you can go to their website, connect with Tule Publishing on facebook. Find Tule Publishing on instagram. Follow Tule Publishing on twitter.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

When I first started at police dispatch, ER was still on. As was Third Watch, NCIS, & CSI. I am a procedural junkie.

I love everything about them. Their formats, their crisis of the week, all of it, but what I love most are the ongoing, longterm character arcs. Seeing the life beyond the craziness of their daily grind.

People are fascinating creatures to me. I like to see & understand all the parts that go into the facade we show the world. What makes an elementary school teacher become a cop, what a hard-charging cop does to unwind. I like seeing who the characters are when they’re most vulnerable. The chinks in armor are what makes them more real to me.

And I approach my work this way, too. I’m all about the action, I love a good chase or fight scene. A countdown to an apocalypse that only the protagonist  can solve. But at the same time, I want to know what they read, what they drink, what makes their world a little more sane. Then my job comes in translating this understanding of them as whole people onto paper.

The technical aspects of the job are the tricky part for me. It’s one thing to have a grand idea of a kidnapping and hostage rescue with all the bells and whistles. It’s something else when you try to write it and not sound like a goof with no idea of how any of that actually works. There are a ton of moving parts to any large operation and conveying them to the reader can be difficult if you’re not clear on it yourself. This where I’m truly lucky.

The unmitigated bonus of 13 years in law enforcement is connections. All kinds of them, and for the type of writing I do, they’re priceless. You want to plan a siege of fortified building with SWAT? One phone call, and it cost me lunch one summer afternoon. Want to learn the finer points of homicide investigation? I have folks who’ve done nothing but hunt killers for over a decade. It doesn’t matter how outlandish the idea, there’s someone available to help you build the framework to make it happen.

I wanted to plan a hostage situation/SWAT rescue for a story, so I called a friend, we’ll call him Anton. Anton is smoking hot eye candy in addition to being a great tactician & SWAT operator. We came out on the job at the same time, same district, but opposite sides of the radio. He let me pick his brain for 90 minutes at lunch, walking me through every scenario I could think of, even walking me through the finer points of shaped charges and explosive entry (he really didn’t need to be any hotter). Then after all that, he hooked me up with a hostage negotiator. I spent about two hours grilling him for info.

All that research and all it cost me was lunch. I love my jobs.

Lachesis Publishing author Alexis D. Craig writes sultry and funny romantic suspense (Give Me Shelter and Imminent Danger) featuring the brave men and women in law enforcement.  She also writes super hot erotica featuring sexy cops (Undercover Seduction). By day Alexis is a police dispatcher so she knows her cops!

You can get Alexis’s romantic suspense Give Me Shelter at Lachesis Publishing and on amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her website, and on facebook,  twitter and goodreads.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

Our DEAL OF THE WEEK is The Possession by J.D. Spikes.

On sale for.99 cents. This week only! Click here to purchase.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Daphne Wentworth is almost seventeen, definitely a red head, and most likely the tallest girl in her class, which is awkward to say the least when it comes to dating boys in her school. But she doesn’t have to worry about school for the next two months since she’s spending the summer at her aunt Dwill’s lighthouse in Maine. What she does have to worry about is seeing ghosts in the lighthouse cemetery, having strange dreams, and hearing the voices of star-crossed lovers who lived two-hundred years ago. And then there’s a local boy named Zach Philbrook who works for her aunt. He’s too gorgeous for his own good. He’s also very tall, with midnight black hair, and the most beautiful indigo blue eyes Daphne has ever seen. Zach is treated like an outcast by the local teens in town. He’s Micmac and therefore not “one of the gang”. Daphne can’t help being drawn to his strength, especially considering that he’s had to live his entire life dealing with ignorance. But the local teens aren’t the only trouble-makers in town. As Zach and Daphne get closer, the lighthouse ghost lovers begin haunting them. When Daphne and Zach try to figure out how to fight them, the spirits get bolder and more dangerous.

EXCERPT: The cemetery wasn’t far and wasn’t scary. Not to me. Just a scattering of old stones with ancient memories written on them. People long gone to another life and no one here who remembers them. I dropped my canvas shoulder bag of goods on the ground near the gate. Wrought iron and rusted, it leaned into the cemetery boundaries at a precarious angle. Thank God I didn’t have to push it open . . . I’d have probably landed on the ground with a rusted spiral in my gut. This place was unfamiliar to me, except in passing. Though I’d known of the cemetery’s existence, I’d never gone in. I had too much to do in the land of the living for my short time here. No one ever came out here, so what difference did the overgrowth make? Aunt begged to differ and insisted I clean the place up. The lighthouse was two hundred years old this summer, she reminded me, and the cemetery belonged to the lighthouse. So, on a bright June day, I found myself alone in a somewhat decrepit cemetery in a clearing in the woods. I made my way around the ancient stones in an attempt to put off the start of my project. Most were upright and clear enough of the tangle of brush that a portion of the inscription could be read. One small stone, nearly buried in the overgrown grass at the north corner, caught my eye. I flattened enough of the green to reveal the single word Sarah, and beneath it Age 3 Months. Sadness flashed through me, unexpectedly. There were babies buried here? I slipped the hand pruners from my back pocket where I’d stuck them and carefully snipped the grass down in front of the headstone. I pulled viney growth from the top corner of the stone, revealing a W. and a P. Sarah W.P. My hand cramped as I diligently snipped away at the grass, clearing the plot. The screech of the gate would have warned me . . . had the gate been in better repair. With its useless tilt, however, I never heard him coming. The bag dropping next to me on the mixed pile of living and dead debris announced his presence. I flipped to the side, tripping myself with my legs, but managed to keep the pruners in front of me. I pointed them into the air in front of my face. Blue-black eyes studied me, one hand hooked into his pants pocket by the thumb, the other paused in front of him, fingers splayed where it had dropped the bag. In books you always read about these moments. Crickets clicked, or birds called, or someone’s watch ticked, marking time. Maybe all three. In real life, the only thing you really hear until you recognize that person is your own heavy breathing, that being indicative of the fact that you are in the middle of nowhere with no possible help nearby. So how do you protect yourself from something that isn’t really there?

Like what you’ve read? You can get your copy of The Possession by J.D. Spikes right at Lachesis Publishing for only .99 cents (this week only) or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe

Connect with J.D. on her web site and on facebook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

Image: latinawellness.com

One of the most important relationships in a romance is often overlooked – that of the best friend. Romance readers know instinctively that if the best friend, the confidante is not on-board with the relationship there will be problems.

This may seem a weird way to open a Valentine’s Day post, but I’d like to you to think about this: who were your first Valentines?

Image: journalistsresource.org

Dad. Or Mom. They got each other something special as lovers (which – yuck – you didn’t realize at the time). And they got you something because they love you, too, and wanted to include you in the day as well as indoctrinate you into that holiday and their tradition with it.

Next came your friends at school, and maybe neighborhood kids. Innocent declarations of specialness {unless you had a crush on someone. Then you were sticking your neck out under the cover of it’s tradition). Some schools also had rules that you brought in a card for everyone, or no one. Still, you knew which cards you signed just a little bit differently.

Image: webneel.com

Then you fell in love, and you scoured the aisles of several stores to find that perfect card. And hoped the one you received in return echoed that emotion. Sometimes it did, and you lived happily ever after. Sometimes the echo started strong but faded, and you basked in it until that relationship went south. Sometimes the echo never came, and you had a heartbreaking rest of February before one of you made the move of breaking it off.

The best Valentine’s Day of all, though, is when you’ve found your everlasting love. And you get to not only celebrate the day with him or her, but with your best friends, too.

The Valentine’s Day that ranks as one of the highest on my list comes after I met my own hero, my husband. He and my brother really hit it off, which was awesome because my brother and I are very close, and my sister-in-law and I were very close, too. Like sisters. Sisters of Spirit. So she and I decided we’d do a Valentine’s Day dinner. She called me to announce it would be a picnic.

In February? What? But it was a cool idea and I warmed to it. We planned the menu and the time and had everything set up. What to wear though? Marcia and I had figured we’d do it old school, us in summer dresses and the guys in casual wear. Well, I didn’t have summer dresses, but she did. She brought out a dress she felt was ‘me’.

OMG. I felt like a Valentine’s sweetheart in it. I felt like a lady. I felt like Marcia really knew me . . . and had a good handle on my hero.

My brother Emile & my SIL Marcia became our first son’s godparents. Check out that ’80s hair!

I got there early on February 14th and she and I set the ‘table’. Tablecloth on the floor, place settings, flowers. We got the food going, and then slipped into our dresses. When my guy showed up and he took my hand, I felt beautiful. The four of us had such a great night, full of fun and laughter.

I have never forgotten that Marcia agreed with me that we needed a super special night. I have never forgotten that what she recognized was that my husband and I had found a love like theirs. She’d bought glasses and a vase combo for our picnic that we used every Valentine’s Day for years, with their festive little hearts, for wine and flowers and memories.

So on Valentine’s Day, don’t forget your besties. Don’t forget your sisters/brothers/parents. Don’t forget the people who have helped you celebrate the day over the years. Send a card if you can, send a prayer, and send kisses. And all good hope that the people you’ve loved have found love, too.

Jeanine Duval Spikes is the author of the novella  “Shaman’s Shell” in the poignant romance anthology the Sisters of Spirit  published by (Lachesis Publishing). The anthology features four romances about four very special friends. The anthology also features novellas by authors Christine Mazurk, Jeanine Duval Spikes and Annette Blair

You can purchase the Sisters of Spirit Anthology at Lachesis Publishing and on Amazon.com, on Kobo, on Barnes and Noble and on itunes (iBooks).

Jeanine Duval Spikes is also J.D. Spikes, the author of the YA paranormal The Possession. You can purchase a copy at Lachesis Publishing or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe

Connect with Jeanine Duval Spikes. on her web site and on facebook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

Image: www.newlovetimes.com

Let me apologize in advance to any Romance Novelist who may be upset over my obvious lack of perception and understanding of your genre and the topic, overall.  When this topic was suggested to me, my initial reaction was to laugh out loud and roll my eyes.  Clearly my publisher had made THE WORST choice to tackle this subject.  I am far from a ‘Love Guru’, how could I pontificate and comment on this topic with any shred of credibility? Like any quest for knowledge when one finds oneself lacking, approach those around you and gather a data set from a diverse population; which is what I spent three days doing.

Image: surfingbird.ru

I asked several colleagues of varying ages and gender their definition and opinion of romance and if he/she was familiar with romance novels.  The results from the male gender were pretty much what I expected. They all vehemently denied any knowledge or familiarity with the genre beyond the occasional “My wife has one or two on her nightstand and no I’ve never picked one up.”  When I pushed for a definition of ‘Romance’ I was taken aback by how guarded the men became.  I got suspicious looks and raised eyebrows and arms almost always folded indicating I’d crossed into uncomfortable body language territory. I swore anonymity yet still wasn’t able to crack that guarded man wall of secrecy. One guy went so far as to question my manhood for even broaching such a topic. It seems that Romance, in the data set available to me, is something not discussed among my gender. Upon reflection I admit that the topic has NEVER come up in conversation when I’ve been socializing with other men at any type of gathering.  The topics have been work, sports, some fantasy football league, and often trashing some politician or even talking about house projects. Conversations at my rod and gun club are limited to fishing, deer hunting, crossbows, rifles etc., but never in my 52 years have I been exposed to guys discussing romance. Okay, message received. Bros don’t discuss ‘Romance’ with other bros lest they lose their male membership card. If there are men discussing romance and the like, I’ve been missing out on those discussions. Could it be me, the type of hobbies and the people I spend time with?  Quite possibly . . . but I deliberately spoke with as diverse a group as possible. My conclusion is that men don’t want to talk about it, at least with other men, especially a writer trying to gain some insight.

Image: http://cordeliahsuphotography.tumblr.com/

The women I spoke to varied in age and, once I explained I was writing a blog, they were more than willing to indulge me in their opinions of romance and why they read romance novels.  The one single comment I heard from each women was that the book they were reading was incredibly well written and compelling. The second most common answer was the novels were a wonderful escape from the mundane of the daily drag of work, kids and reality. I got that, it was pretty much the same reason I read science fiction and graphic novels; for a diversion and an escape from the stress and anxiety of the daily grind. As far as explaining and defining romance, I could sense a bit of hesitation.  I was given great anecdotes from several people but the detective in me wanted a real time answer. What about today, what defined romance for them today?  I got a great deal of rolled eyes and laughter. One funny answer was simply her boyfriend not farting under the sheets at night. One woman my age was much more concise and how shall I say. . . critical with her answers.  I’ll call her ‘Kim.’

It’s Fabio! Image: www.chicagogluttons.com

Kim has been married for several years and has four kids, we talk a lot at the gym while waiting to get on various equipment.  We were using the elliptical trainers and chatting to pass the time when I decided, why not broach the topic and ask her a few questions?  At least she couldn’t run away. I worked up the nerve to segue our light banter from griping about being winded to romance. To my surprise and delight Kim was very direct and honest with her replies. After fifteen years of marriage, changing diapers through four children and having a husband more excited by his new Callaway driver than by her, she began looking for something to fill the void.  She added that her husband was a good man who worked hard and was a great father, but he’d rather spend time his free time at the driving range than having a romantic dinner or a date night.  A friend in a local church group loaned her a copy of a particular steamy romance novel with a real hunk on the cover. She laughed as she recalled the book cover hunk was Fabio.  I remember that name, some big, long-haired blonde guy with huge pecs and biceps. If I remember he also did margarine commercials.  She enjoyed the novel immensely and admitted to getting all hot and bothered by the intimate scenes and the passion found within the pages of that book. From then on Kim decided to spend her evenings and down time with a romance novel tucked in her purse and has become ‘best friends’ with the works of Victoria Dahl and Vivian Arend. “When the kids are in school and he’s at work, I like to curl up under a blanket with a hot cup of cinnamon tea and escape into another world of intrigue and passion. I know it’s never going to happen to me, but it’s nice to pretend and be swept up.” I asked Kim to define ‘Romance’.  She laughed for a moment looked over at me as we were both dripping with sweat.  “Well it’s certainly not this.”  I laughed at her wit and repeated the question.  Kim slowed her pace and took a deep breath, “Greg, if you have to ask me that question and really don’t know the answer I feel sorry for you.  You have the same affliction infecting my husband and a lot of other men.” I winced a bit at the sting of her retort but she then rewarded me with an answer, “Romance is the non-physical acts of love two people show for each other, it’s the little things that make certain somebody feels special, desired and cherished by their partner.”

Kim cranked up her pace and told me to chew on that for awhile, she put on her earphones and got back to her quick pace.  After another twenty minutes pondering, Kim finished her workout, she looked over at me and could tell I was still smarting from her remark.  “I didn’t mean to insult you; if I did I’m sorry.  You’re a nice guy, Greg and I figured you could handle the reality check.”

Image: www.pinterest.com

I left the gym with Kim’s point blank response echoing in my head.  I stopped at my favorite coffee haunt and thought more about Romance.  Were we men, as a gender, all negligent husbands forcing our spouses to seek attention or gratification within the pages of some writer’s imagination?  I reflected back on the first time I fell in love, the way my heart skipped a beat, how my mind was solely focused on her, I knew her scent, every curve of her face and longed just to hear her voice and be with her.  I remember the dates, the long walks and picnics and the hand holding. I recall carrying her across a large puddle because she didn’t want to get her new boots wet and how she giggled as I waded through the ankle deep water carrying her.  I remember showering her with flowers not because I just wanted intimacy, but I loved to see her smile and the delightful squeal she made when she was happy.  I remember spending hours under the hood of her mom’s beat up station wagon and shelling out my own money on car parts not because I had to, but because I knew it was important to her and I knew it would make her happy.  That was romance, that was how I showed her I loved her. It wasn’t the words, it wasn’t the physical joining, it was the gestures and deeds I made when we were together that let her know I cared.  I made her feel special and important and I got love, affection and companionship in return.  Romance is the non-physical acts of love we show our partners.

Image: slism.com

I knew it all along but lost the meaning over the years. I remembered the feeling of falling freshly in love and the natural high that came along with it, the heart skipping a beat, the electric jolt caused by a single touch of a fingertip.  I remembered romance, what I did because of love, the small and large selfless deeds I never thought twice about when I was younger but confess, balk at doing now, or do with a grumble under my breath. Working on my mother in law’s car isn’t always done happily, and often I catch myself rolling my eyes at the thought of stepping out of my comfort zone and expressing myself or my feelings. I often hear the words but fail to listen. I looked back over a litany of self-failings over my iced coffee and wondered what that drop of moisture was rolling down my cheek. How does it all change? Does life and time really have such an impact? What changes in relationships that kill or cool the romance?  What goes wrong?

I’ve never read a romance novel. But I know from those I’ve spoken with that it’s more than just sex; it’s the excitement of discovering a new love, a new connection. I’m sure the male character does all the right things, slays the dragon, conquers the evil or is just there for the support needed or just to listen. I assume that’s the appeal more than the steamy scenes that cause one’s heart to flutter and forms beads of perspiration on the brow. Again that’s my conclusion based on dipping my toe into a pool I’ve never swum before. I believe it’s the crafted tale, the developed characters and story telling complimented by romantic gestures, the non-physical acts of love, that make the eventual physical bonding so powerful and intense (Also a gifted writer behind it). It’s not just the buff, shirtless guy on the cover; it’s the deeds done in the relationship not just inside the bed sheets that have the appeal. I think.

Image: warosu.org

So how does romance work after years of marriage, several kids, two careers, soccer practices, yard work and a “Dad Bod” versus “Six pack abs”?  I honestly just don’t know. Maybe after years together it’s no longer about the grand gestures, maybe the small things have just as much meaning. Maybe making sure the toilet seat is down, emptying the dishwasher and putting away the laundry are just as important as carrying someone across a large puddle or doing a brake job on a car. Perhaps the simple daily acts of consideration can communicate wordlessly what men, myself included, may have forgotten or neglected to do over time. I’m not saying bringing home flowers and candy more than once a year on Valentine’s Day isn’t appreciated but perhaps the simple, yet helpful, gestures go further to prove love is still alive and the fire hasn’t tuned to ashes.  A simple action is worth more than a thousand words . . . even if those words are ‘I love you.’ Showing you care is always better than saying you care. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what romance is all about.

I’m just a Science Fiction writer out of his swim lane, but I think I get the point.

Greg Ballan is the author of the science fiction thrillers Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vegeance. You can purchase them both at Lachesis Publishingamazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

Connect with Greg Ballan on facebook and YouTube

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow us Lachesis Publishing on twitter.