Thursday, February 19, 2015

Can a man write romance?

Yes! Here’s an author who proves it!  First, because this is a Thursday Thirteen post I want to share the opening 13 lines from SON OF THUNDER, my favorite novel he’s written.

Header courtesy of samulli

What the heck was this thing?
The supple leather strap felt buttery smooth as Meghan Larson ran her hand over it. It appeared almost new. There were no cracks, no dry spots. She glanced back to the report she’d received about it that afternoon. The leather had been carbon-dated at over two thousand years old. It should have been dry, brittle and crumbling to dust. There had to be a mistake.
            The rectangular metal medallion attached to one end presented a whole new set of problems and contradictions. The Nordic runes on it were definitely Elder Futhark, dating them somewhere in the third to eighth century A. D., yet it appeared to be made of titanium, which hadn’t been discovered until the late eighteenth century.
            The whole thing looked like a belt of some sort, but the buckle, if that was what the medallion was, had no mechanism to latch on to the leather. There were just so many contradictions. Who imprinted a dead language on a new piece of metal, then attached it to a two thousand year old strap of perfectly preserved leather? It didn’t make any sense.

As intriguing as the cover was, these paragraphs pulled me in, and got me to give this author my attention. I liked the story and I’m betting you’ll enjoy his writing, too.

I’ll let Steve introduce himself and tell you a little about his novels.

What is a guy doing writing romance?
Yes, I am a guy. A guy who reads, writes and loves romance. We’re few, but we’re here. I love writing romantic tales set in fantastic worlds, and I’ve created a few of them.
I started out writing science fiction and fantasy, and I am still pursuing projects in those genres, but I found when I mixed in a romantic element, the story always got stronger and more satisfying.

I was an avid comic book collector as a kid, right up into my 20’s. From comics I discovered Robert E. Howard’s Conan series of books. It was only a short jump from there to Tolkien and other fantasy and science fiction authors, my all time favorite is Anne McCaffrey. I’ve spent many wonder filled days on Pern and her other fantastic worlds. It was my wife that introduced me to the romance genre with Nora Roberts book Enchanted. (You never forget your first romance.)

My first published work, Swiftly Beats the heart, is a romance novella about two superheroes, a direct tribute to my early years of neglecting my homework, lost in a comic book. There are a lot of fantasy and science fiction elements (magic, fantastic creatures, dimensional rifts) in my Demons Rising trilogy. And in my novel, Son of Thunder, I was able to blend in my love of Norse mythology as well.

In my latest series, I’ve given myself the whole galaxy to play in. Inspired by Star Wars/Star Trek/Guardians of the Galaxy, Hearts in Orbit is my interstellar playground for adventure and romance. The first book launched in December and is titled The Blarmling Dilemma.

I often have to remind myself that the heart of my story is the romance itself. The fantastic elements are really just window dressing. The real story is two people falling in love. The prize/triumph/payoff isn’t defeating the nasty villain. It’s the love the two discover along the journey. If I stay grounded in the love story, I can add in just about anything else.

Here’s the blurb from The Blarmling Dilemma (Hearts in Orbit-Volume 1) 

“They’re not animals. They’re people!”

Phoebe Callista’s pleas fall on deaf ears and she’s forced to rescue two helpless Blarmlings from certain death. Fleeing across a backwater sector of the galaxy, with Galactic Marshals in hot pursuit, Phoebe falls into the hands of a handsome but determined bounty hunter.

Rigel Antares has captured wanted criminals throughout the galaxy rim, but he’s never come across anything like Phoebe Callista. The gorgeous blonde is playing the innocent, and something deep inside wants to believe her, but Rigel has problems of his own—a ship that’s falling apart and an unscrupulous Galactic Marshal looking for any excuse to send him back to the prison planets of the Theiler System.

An intergalactic circus, vicious space pirates, and a planet full of backtechers cross their paths as two hearts go into orbit to save a pair of adorable Blarmlings.

Hearts in Orbit - Volume 1: The Blarmling Dilemma is a science fiction romance set in the far-flung space traveling future, and sets a new course across the galaxy that leads to love and adventure.

If you’d like to know more about Steve or his novels, here are some helpful links:
Amazon Author Page:

If you'd like to read a sample of S.C. Mitchell's awesome storytelling for free. Follow this link--

And as always, I look forward to your comments.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sweet Reads: Thirteen Plus Messages in my Valentine Sweethearts Box

If you’re looking for portents and secret messages in your candy hearts you probably won’t find them, but you will find many cute sayings.

This is what I found in mine.
  1. I love you
  2. Miss you
  3. BFF
  4. XOXO
  5. Je T’Aime
  6. Best Day
  7.  Pugs and Kittens
  8. Dream Big
  9. Yes
  10. Real Love
  11. Marry Me
  12. First Kiss
  13. My Love
  14. Live N Love
  15. Be Happy
  16. Real Love
  17. Cute
  18. Giggle

While I savored the hearts’ sugary goodness, I did some research. Every year Nesco, the company that has made candy hearts since 1902, updates the sayings it prints. Last year they held a contest where they allowed fans to submit their ideas for new messages. Over one hundred and fifty ideas came from thirty-two states and the winners were:  Girl Power, Pugs and Kittens and Love to Dance. In addition, this year, the company added these new sayings: Te Amo, Je T’Aime, BFF, and the emojis of a smiley face and a mustache.

What message would you like to see on a candy heart? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks.

Works Cited

TUDER, STEFANIE. "The Story Behind the 8 New Messages On Your Candy Hearts This Year." ABC Good Morning America Yahoo! News. Good Morning America, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 5 Feb. 2015. .

Zerello, Amy. "10 Years of Conversation Hearts." Reader's Digest. Reader's Digest, 22 Jan. 2010. Web. 5 Feb. 2015. .

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

To Have and Have Not: The Experiment

By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
We see classic movies from another period and see how they translate to the modern day. So far, it’s been a mixed bag (The Philadelphia Story? Nope. The Marx Brothers’ Day at the Races? Yes! As two examples). Unfortunately, this movie, famous more for the first movie that Humphrey Bogart and the very young Lauren Bacall ever did together (and actually how they met) than the movie’s quality, is good only as a historical note.

The timing of this movie’s production and release notes to what might have been in the minds of those who greenlighted this film into existence. Only a few years after the success of Casablanca, dealing with the same war but taking place across the Atlantic Ocean (in Martinique), we realized that it might as well have been written on the same template. It takes place around a bar, but not owned by Bogart’s character this time (called the Zombie Bar instead of Rick’s), with two hot blondes, because just one wasn’t enough (although the producers had intended for the actress not Lauren Bacall to be the breakout star, and that just didn’t happen). This is, of course, the movie that the 19-year-old Bacall fluttered her eyelashes and purred her famous line about whistling. It enraptured the audience and, it turned out, (the much older, married) Bogart. She was memorable, certainly, and if that’s what age 19 looked like back then, really, women really did mature a lot faster back then!

I have to confess that I drifted off for a few minutes about halfway through, only to wake up to see a few minutes that reminded me and my husband both very, very, very strongly of Casablanca. It didn’t have enough tension or enough twisty things happening to keep my attention (I’m spoiled, I admit it, when it comes to story) to keep me glued or awake. But you couldn’t fault the movie for the cast; it did have Walter Brennan, actors who resembled Sidney Longstreet and Peter Lorre (I did say that Casablanca was an inspiration), and Bacall. And with this movie, this time, Bogart got the girl (Bacall).

If I had had my druthers, the story would have veered away into the Zombie Bar and voodoo. I would have been a lot more interested, but then, they probably wouldn’t have had the cast they had, either. If you’re a movie buff, you might like this film, even without the history around it. But me? I saw it long ago and couldn’t remember much about it. I just saw it again and it wasn’t that memorable! So as far as I’m concerned, it didn’t age well. But to each to his own.

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 more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at and reached at If you’re curious about her books, check out In any case, she can be reached at