Thursday, August 25, 2016

How Daxen from Beautifully Burned is a combo of Sam and Dean Winchester -- Beautifully Burned -- A New Release Spotlight!



In case you didn’t know, I’m a humongous Supernatural fan, so of course I had to write a guest post that tied into one of my favorite all time shows. So this post is…

How Daxen from Beautifully Burned is a combo of Sam and Dean Winchester
1. Like Dean, Dax loves his pie. He won’t share, with the exception of using it to soften up his dreamcaster. He has a serious sweet tooth, and fair warning:  don’t let him near your maraschino cherry supply.

2. Dax has some book-nerdiness going on and hates it when people take his books without permission. Or destroy them without provocation. While he might not be a techie like Sam, he’s not afraid of some hard-core research.



3. Every Supernatural fan knows Sam and Dean can do a serious bromance. Once their loyalty is earned, you’re solid, but getting past the suspicion takes some hard labor. The Winchesters have nothing on Dax when it comes to distrust. Growing up in a world where abuse is the norm and backstabbing is expected can do that to a boy, and a side of growly going on isn’t surprising. Still, even the prickliest V’alkara can soften up for his dreamcaster, and anyone who messes with his inner circle should be ready for some big-time pain.

4. When it comes to fighting (with paranormal creatures or not), it’s team Sam and Dean all the way. The boys know how to use their weapons, and while the V’alkara don’t use spells, they have their own warfare specialties. Feeding off nightmares might not be the most relaxing way to survive, but taking on those same nightmare creature forms can come in handy at times…probably not if Sam and Dean happened to show up and, you know, mistake Dax for a true monster. That would be a bummer.

5. The Winchester boys have their issues. There are always kept secrets, yearnings for a different life of love and a family all their own, inferiority complexes, acceptance controversies…some major baggage. Dax isn’t any different. He wants a life he believes he can’t have, of love and acceptance. He’s emotionally damaged and fears those wounds won’t ever heal. If he thinks it’s best, he’ll keep secrets to protect the few people he cares about and sacrifice himself, no second thoughts. And just like Sam and Dean, he always chooses the hard way to learn life lessons. Sigh. Men—gotta love ‘em!

Are you a Supernatural fan? If not, what’s your favorite, must-watch show?

Hi, Mia here. I wanted you to get a taste C.J.Burright’s voice, so I put her post before introducing her. 
C.J. Burright is a native Oregonian and refuses to leave. A member of Romance Writers of America and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal special interest chapter, while she has worked for years in a law office, she chooses to avoid writing legal thrillers (for now) and instead invades the world of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, or fantasy. C.J. also has her 4th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and believes a story isn’t complete without at least one fight scene. Her meager spare time is spent working out, refueling with mochas, gardening, gorging on Assassin’s Creed, and rooting on the Seattle Mariners…always with music. She shares life with her husband, daughter, and a devoted cat herd.
I’m privileged to call her my critique partner and friend. She has a new release that just came out this week. I asked her to share a bit about it and she sent me what you’ve just read. 




In my opinion, she’s an awesome story-teller, but you don’t have to believe me, here’s an excerpt to prove it.

Five steps from her truck, Ella skidded to a stop. The sexy, sober book lover leaned against the fence a few yards away, as if he’d been there the whole time.
Her heart somersaulted twice. She might be tired, her thoughts preoccupied, but no way had he been there a second ago. Frick. He didn’t look like the type who scared easily and her nearest neighbor was two blocks away, so screaming would be pointless. With those long legs, he’d probably won some track medals, which nixed running for it. Her best bet was to get into her truck, lock the doors, and take off. Chin lifted high, she finished the short trek to her getaway wagon.
“I must speak with you.” Whether ordering a Shirley Temple or making soft, unexpected demands in a midnight parking lot, his gravelly voice was seductive as sin.
Her nerves tightened and she steadied her hands enough to jam the key in the lock. “Look, it’s late, I’m tired, and you decimated my maraschino cherry supply. Time to go home.”
He pushed off the fence and ambled toward her.
Ella struggled to turn the ancient lock. Stupid rust. “Bartender counselor sessions are closed until tomorrow. Sorry.”
“I have questions for you.” He leaned his hip near the tailgate, too close. “They won’t take long.”
“Oh, you’re a collection agent.” Thank God her voice remained cool and steady enough for the pretense. The truck lock finally gave with a loud snap. “Check’s in the mail.”
“I’m interested in your dreams, not your finances.”
A tremor coasted her spine and she paused, fingers wrapped around the door handle. No way was his dream comment random, but the press to escape dimmed beneath the desire to hear him out, to see if someone in the wide weird world had helpful information about her curse. A little chitchat never hurt anyone, and if he tried anything shady, she knew how to handle him. Her special self-defense was always ready.
She sucked in a breath. Without knowing when or how, he had moved closer, so close she had to crane her neck to look into his face. He smelled faintly of campfire smoke, a fond reminder of the frequent overnight hiking trips she used to take with Gran and Ginny. Back then, fire had made her feel warm and safe.
“A moment. Please.” He planted a hand on the door, keeping it shut and boxing her halfway with his arm. His ‘please’ sounded more like an attempt at manners than a request.
Curiosity warred with concern. If he wanted to attack her, he could’ve already sliced her, diced her, and left her for the stray dogs to gnaw on. What did he want to talk about? What words had the man who lured her mother away used? She wasn’t a mindless sheep, no matter how beautiful the wolf may be, but there was no denying this man did something witchy to her blood. She wanted to know why. Maybe that would set her questions to rest, ease her guilt, cure her curse.
But Ginny depended on her. She had to play it safe and get rid of him.
Ella shifted and rested her back against the truck door. He didn’t move, and a secret thrill coiled in her stomach. Ignoring it, she netted all her emotions and observations, pushed them to the back of her mind, and focused on his blue sea eyes.
“Go home,” she said in the hushed, haunting persuasion voice she used on drunks and perverts. “Forget me. Forget Dany’s exists. Never come here again.”
He went utterly still.
A bewildering stab of loss staked her chest. She’d never see him again. He’d go back to his life and she’d return to hers, no harm done, no questions answered. For some insane reason, she wanted to curl up on the asphalt and have a long, hard sob-fest.
A tiny crease formed between his black eyebrows, and instead of obeying, he studied her with a scientist’s concentration. “Are you trying to compel me?” His voice was gently accusing. He leaned nearer. “I’m V’alkara. I can’t be compelled.”
Ella leaned hard on the cool frame of her truck. Compel was a good explanation for her uncanny persuasion powers, and if he recognized it, getting rid of him would be harder than she thought. “Who are you?”
“Daxen v’al Solanis.” He watched her, unblinking.
“And V’alkara?” She swallowed the sawdust in her throat. Was that another word for vampire? “What’s that?”
“Me.” His small smile made a snarling wolf look friendly. “Ready to talk now?”
“You had all night to talk to me.”
“I wanted you alone.”
A fire bell warning clanged in her head, a command to escape, yet she couldn’t peel her attention from his jaw. Stubble shadowed the hard angles, a darkness contrary to his pale neck. She had a sharp, nearly overwhelming urge to touch him there, to experience the disparity of prickly and smooth, to slide her fingers down his throat to the ridge of his collarbone.
Ella blinked rapidly and gripped the keys tight, breaking the spell. “Are you trying some hypnotic woo-woo on me? Not cool. Kindly remove your hand from my truck.”
He cocked his head and his eyes flashed. “Don’t you want help with your nightmares, Ella?”

And if the excerpt isn’t enough to convince you Beautifully Burned is worth a read, here’s the back cover blurb.  

Grandma warned me to resist him.

I know what he is. Even if he doesn't sparkle in the sun, hiss at holy water, or go by the traditional name of vampire, I know.

He doesn't want or need my blood. He wants my dreams...more specifically, my nightmares. And I've got oodles of those, so many they leak.

He's emotionally scarred, growly, dangerous, and kindles all my senses.  Love isn't on his agenda. Having him for a guardian isn't on my list of fun, either. My touch sends him into darkness.

I shouldn't want him.

I can't want him.

But I do.

If I surrender instead of escape, I'll lose everything--my sister, my will, my life. Gran forgot to tell me the most important detail of all: how am I supposed to resist him when he's everything I've ever dreamed of?

Beautifully Burned is told in dual, third person and may be read as a stand alone.


To find out more about CJ and her novels you can visit:
http://cjburright.com/

In addition, CJ has a book giveaway this week, which you can enter by following this link.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 11, 2016

In the Steps of Edgar Allan Poe-The House at 234 North Seventh St.

Poe's portrait found in the house.

Have you ever gotten a chance to check something off your bucket list?

Recently, I had that opportunity. My family and I were visiting Philadelphia. We’d seen the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin’s print shop and Betsy Ross’s cottage and I noticed that Edgar Allan Poe’s house was within walking distance.

 I’ve been a fan of Poe even before my American Literature classes in High School because of my love of horror flicks, so I was excited to see where he lived. And if you know me even a little, you probably know that my interests inspire research. Here are some facts I discovered about his early life and the events that led up to his renting the home at 234 North Seventh St.



1.On January 19, 1809, Edgar Poe was born. His was the middle child of three. He had an older brother, William who was called “Henry” and later his sister named Rosalie arrived.
2. Edgar’s father left his family when Edgar was about two-years-old. It’s believed he died soon after.
3. Edgar’s mother, Eliza, was an actress and theater-goers thought she was good. They described her performances as “enchanting” and “pleasing.” Unfortunately, Eliza had tuberculosis and she died when she was only twenty-four-years old and Edgar was two.
4. John and Fanny Allan became Edgar’s parents. They sent Edgar to a private school, when he turned five. He was a good student. Teachers remembered him loving writing and poetry.
5. Edgar moved to England with his new family. Unfortunately, the business John Allan hoped would take off in England didn’t, so the family returned to America.
6. Edgar attended the University of Virginia, but he ran out of money and had to leave after a year.
7. He entered the U.S. Army and maybe because he had been such a good student, the army admitted him to the military academy at West Point.  Edgar didn’t like it and began to disobey orders and neglect his duties.  Needless to say, his behavior didn’t go over well. The academy kicked him out.
8. When his foster father found out, he was so upset he disowned Edgar.
9. In 1831, Edgar went to live with his father’s mother, which of course, would be his grandmother, Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, and his brother, Henry. Henry was sick with tuberculosis. They also lived with Edgar’s aunt, Maria Clemm, and her daughter, Virginia. He grew very close to his cousin, Virginia.
10. Edgar knew he had to get a job to support his family. He wanted to be a writer and in 1831 he got Elam and Bliss in New York to publish his second book called, Poems of Edgar A.  Poe. He had to pay for the publishing, so he asked his fellow cadets to help him. When they did, he dedicated the book to them.
11. In 1833, Edgar won a writing contest for a story called Manuscript Found in a Bottle. He earned fifty dollars. His writing career was growing. Soon he landed a job as an editor.
12. In 1836, Edgar’s grandmother died and rather than being parted from Virginia, he married her. She was only twelve or thirteen at the time, but Edgar and Virginia listed her age as twenty-one.
13. In 1843, the couple moved to Philadelphia and rented a house in a neighbor that used to be called the Spring Garden district. They lived there with Maria Clemm. It’s this house that I visited and here are a couple of pictures I snapped.

This is one of the closets. Notice the photo of Maria Clemm, Poe's mother-in-law and aunt.


This is the stairs to the basement, which may have been the inspiration for the poem The Black Cat.


Unlike other houses turned into museums, this house is almost empty—no curtains, beds, dressers, desks or tables or chairs to speak of.  I was told that Poe sold most of the furniture to finance his family’s move to New York.  One online site described the house as being maintained in “arrested decay.” This means that historical society that cares for it allows the paint to peel and the house to age. The caregivers perform just enough upkeep so that the house is safe. The house’s arrested decay actually seems to make it an appropriate setting for the poem, The Black Cat, which authorities believe Poe penned there.
Offerings in the gift shop
Edgar Allan Poe is an interesting person. Many people consider him to be a master of suspense. The Poe Museum credits him as being the inventor of the detective story, a pioneer of Science Fiction, and a master of the psychological horror story.  His life was a little bit like his writings. He suffered a number of tragedies and died early and mysteriously.  His house also retains that eerie quality needed for good Gothic tale.  To my mind, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Sources
https://www.nps.gov/edal/index.htm
http://www.poemuseum.org/teachers-poes-literary.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe_National_Historic_Site
Binns, Tristan Boyer. Edgar Allan Poe: Master of Suspense. New York: F. Watts, 2005. Print.
Gigliotti, Jim, and Tim Foley. Who Was Edgar Allan Poe? N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Lange, Karen E. Nevermore: A Photobiography of Edgar Allan Poe. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2009. Print.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Reaching for the Stars...


by Eilis Flynn


...And having them reach BACK.
Well, not literally. But I’m looking forward to the Perseid meteor showers, which occur every year about this time. This year it’s most easily seen this week, so I’ll have to postpone sleep for a bit to go outside to look. And considering I’m one of those annoying early-morning-rise people (and early-to-bed types), that’s a sacrifice. But these meteors won’t watch themselves (so to speak)!

So do you look at the meteor showers? Why or why not?

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

 
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