Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cook Up Something Special

by Emma Lane

This recipe is only a guideline for making a delicious lunch or main dish during harvest time when fresh vegetables are available. The list of vegetables is easily amendable to whatever your harvest brings. (Not beets!) Be sure to add nurturing bread like corn bread or crackers for a more substantial meal. (Okay, I used corn chex mix, but that was an emergency) A green salad is always a welcome addition.

1 diced onion (not mild and NOT garlic.)
½ diced green pepper (sweet)
2 chopped celery stalks (all sand removed)
1 fat carrot peeled and chopped
Corn kernels (1-2 ears fresh)
1 can diced tomato or 1 lg. chopped fresh
1½ cups fresh green beans chopped (strings removed)
1 can Campbell’s Chicken and Rice soup or 1 cup soup stock, beef or chicken
½ pound hamburger (I use ground chuck) or left over 1 cup chopped meat or chicken
1 med. potato chopped into small cubes (or 2 small)
1 beef or chicken bullion cube (or 2 if stronger broth is desired.)
Sprig fresh thyme or pinch or two dried
Sprig of oregano or pinch of dried
Small sprig of basil or pinch of dried
Sprig of parsley (flat not curly)

Optional Veggies: okra, green peas, yellow squash, small can chick peas
Optional herbs/spices: pinch of chili pepper, tiny clove of garlic, sprig of cilantro.

Tip: if you use fresh herbs tie together with kitchen string to make removal easier.

Sauté meat and set aside.

Wash and chop vegetables.

Fill large pot halfway with water (more or less as needed, but NOT at the last minute as it weakens the broth). Add onions and celery. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add carrots, corn, tomatoes, potato, soup stock or Campbell’s, bouillon cube, sprigs of herbs (remove before serving). Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add meat. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

Veggies will be somewhat crisp. Cook longer if desired. As it sits the flavor will increase. But cool and refrigerate if it’s going to be longer than a few hours before serving.

Here's a brief intro to one of my Regency books to check out while the soup is simmering.

Can an arrogant duke overcome his prejudice against a beautiful but managing female in time to find true love and happiness?

Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king's business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother's estate. Will the strong-willed couple reconcile their differences and unmask a traitor in time to find their own happily ever after partnership?

To read an excerpt from any of Emma Lane's books please click a vendor's name
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Regency Romance author Emma Lane lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Land of Many Faces

by Karen Kennedy Samoranos

The state of California stands firm as number eight in the list of top world economies with numbers one through seven being actual countries. Any person driving through the greater Los Angeles area may not realize it’s the second most populous urban area in the United States, though traffic patterns definitely imply this.

But if you travel northeast to Lassen County, you’ll find miles of open country, often broken only by barbed wire and dirt roads. Rather than tech, manufacturing or retail, Lassen County’s economy is powered by the prison system, both state and federal, and to a lesser degree by ranching and the growing of crops like alfalfa. This fairly recent economic boom for penal control inspired a PBS special on Susanville’s High Desert State Prison, titled “Prison Town, USA.”

Journalism in Lassen County is represented by the Lassen County Times, a weekly publication focused primarily on advertising, with local events in the spotlight. The paper represents as though existence is sustained within a vacuum, with extremely limited references to the world at large. Having been accustomed to the concept of self-sufficiency for the last one hundred fifty years, Lassen County is far from autarkic. Without the prison system, tourism and hunting/fishing, the economy would struggle. The recent Census indicates that approximately 14% of the population still lives below poverty level. Conversely, approximately 75% of registered voters ascribe to the GOP or Tea Party ideology, a stark contrast to urban centers in California, which are generally liberal.

The local radio station, KSUE, regularly broadcasts such personalities as Rush Limbaugh, Shawn Hannity, Michael Savage, and Laura Ingraham. The radio pickings are slim in Lassen County, and oftentimes I’ll wait until the sun sets to turn the dial to “liberal” radio in San Francisco—though, I admit if I’m looking for good laugh at crazy, I’ll tune in to KSUE.

This convoluted perception as an isolated and unappreciated county has inspired a very small number of the population to revive a nearly century-old movement to secede from California, and create the fifty-first State of Jefferson. The subsequent local media and political hype have spawned this kind of response in the local newspaper:

“What a bunch of nutters.”

It’s clear upon further research the State of Jefferson wasn’t sparked by Jefferson Davis, the President of the former Confederate States of America. As it turns out, Thomas Jefferson is the proxy, known from history books as an intelligent and sensitive man—and slave owner. The flag of the State of Jefferson is often displayed at the Susanville city limits, bringing to mind the numerous “patriot” groups listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center that exist everywhere in the state, and are not exclusive to rural counties.

I must admit that the five novels I wrote, and offered through Musa Publishing, were heavily influenced by the social and political climate in Lassen County.

In Road Apples, the main character, Madeline Benités makes the following observation about her brother-in-law, Duke:

Duke was dressed out in khaki shorts, a wife beater, and denim vest, with a large Confederate flag patch sewn onto a front pocket. I was appalled at the redneck motif, which reflected a serious lack of sensitivity for members of the Local Indian Confederation. I imagined Duke wearing this outfit, and driving around Susanville in his rusted Ford truck, complete with “Hannity Up!” scrawled across the tailgate.

My novel The Curious Number was a harsh critic of anti-miscegenation culture that persisted long after the actual laws against interracial marriage ended:

She knew that whites and Indians during that narrow-minded era must observe the taboo between race and culture. The community might forgive a white man of such a lapse, and even the children of an interracial union would be overlooked as an ethical blunder, but between a white woman of higher social status and an Indian man, there was no leeway.

The 2012 collection of short stories, Death By Bitter Waters, addresses the ancient culture clash, and contemporary relationship between Native American survivors of genocide, and the white settlers, who superseded and attempted to control and reduce the Indian population in Lassen County:

Upon approach, the Muir Ranch residence was forbidding, baleful as an evil eye. The original homesteaders, those Founders with their limitless appetites, had all either been Indian killers or Indian rapists. One need only to look as far as the biracial branch of the Parker family tree to see the bare bones of their antique, godlike warfare against the aboriginal inhabitants.

The final two novels, Big Lies in Small Town, and Small Town, Add Vice, were written in short story format with connected characters and events, though deliberately created as stand-alone books. Not only are culture clash and forbidden love affairs addressed in these texts, the subject of religious wackiness adds a dash of spice to the multiple storylines:

Though Judaism was an alien faith in northeastern California, reflected by the lack of a synagogue in Lassen County, Rebecca followed the Hebrew custom of affixing a mezuzah to the lintel of the front door. The mezuzah contained a hand-written parchment with the prayer, “Shema Yisrael,” modestly announcing the presence of a Jewish household to the community. The mezuzah had the added misfortune of attracting evangelical Christians to the home, like moths to a light bulb. If these Protestant crusaders were ever successful in getting through the front door, there would be further confusion in the heavy wooden crucifix hanging above the fireplace mantel.

In no way was it my intent to portray an unfair and biased representation of Lassen County in my novels. In truth, it’s a beautiful place, with gorgeous geography, s rich history, and filled with a multitude of friendly people. Certainly members of law enforcement in Lassen County have treated us kindly, unlike the cops in my current resident community in the Bay Area. But just as in the most open-minded and welcoming of places, the strange xenophobic ideals of a twisted few sadly leave the greatest impression.

An author of Fiction Noir, and Erotic Romance, Karen Kennedy Samoranos co-manages a music education business in the Bay Area with her husband, Clifford, focusing on jazz theory and live stage performance for children ages 5 through 18. She has four adult children, and four young grandchildren. In her off hours, she hikes, is an avid fisherman, and motorcyclist (both dirt and street), and an advocate for regular exercise, the modest consumption of red wine, and adherence to whole foods.

Learn more about Karen Kennedy Samoranos on her website Saraville and her blog Unfiltered Speech in a Politically Correct World.
Stay connected on Facebook.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


                                                      Where did you get the idea for Captive by the Fog?
The idea for the novel originally came from a dream I had. It struck a nerve and instantly woke me up, causing me to jot down the premises. I felt an odd sensation of fear, claustrophobia, and curiosity all at the same time—the excitement of something starting anew mixed with the dread of possibly seeing everything around you crumble. It was too fascinating of an emotional theme to not roll with.

How did you develop your lead characters?
Many of my lead characters went through a ton of changes in the first couple of drafts. My main character is loosely based on a combination of how I see myself and who I hope to one day become. Many of my other characters are also combinations of people who are dear to me in real life and those I created. It’s important for me to have characters who have faults, so the fact that I grounded my characters within real people seemed to work in that respect.

What drives you to write lesbian science fiction?
Great science fiction/fantasy that just happens to include LGBT characters is something that’s very important to me. Things that happen and people we meet in real life don’t fit any particular gender/sexual orientation/racial model. Why should our fiction? Awesome people do awesome things and have awesome adventures because they’re awesome, not because they knock off a row of checkpoints on some list. It’s time our books, movies, and other media fol

Here is a short intro to my book. Please let me know your opinion if the music my friend wrote fits the book.

In order to survive, a prisoner must confront the darkness or crumble with the world around her.

Sam is caught in a life she can't escape as the caretaker for her terminally ill homophobic father, but what she wants more than anything is to find the courage to escape and live her own life.

One fog-filled evening, Sam, her father, and a group of strangers are captured by beings from another world. Held prisoner by this mysterious race, the band struggles to hold on to the hope of freedom.

As Sam finds herself unexpectedly falling into a leadership role, she also falls for the shy smile of fellow prisoner Kisana. But as freedom continues to slip beyond the reach of their prison, the group must find the strength to carry on, maintain their humanity, and most of all—survive.

To read an excerpt from Captive by the Fog please click a vendor's name
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Laura Hardgrave writes science fiction and fantasy with a queer edge. Her current project is a four-part fantasy novel series involving the creation of life and magic, a GLBT host of characters, a talking rock, feline shifters, and lots of sake. She's a bit of a self-proclaimed weirdo. By day, she's also an MMORPG gaming journalist, avid gamer, reader, and animal lover.

Learn more about Laura Hardgrave on her blog Stars Dive Into Sunlight. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Musa Publishing is thrilled to announce TEMPTATION, a Heat Level 4 Erotica FREE READ by Sunny Lane, is now available.

A young woman searches for the sensuous inner female she fears has been lost.

Serena Briolette makes a conscious decision to recapture a sensual portion of her self she worries has become dormant. She enjoys dressing in a sexy and provocative manner while preparing for a night out on the town. Temptation greets her almost instantly and she delights in flirting with the possibilities. Will Serena resist or succumb to the wicked pleasures of the evening?

“When did you become so timid? You were once party girl personified.” Memories flashed of dancing cheek to cheek with a tall exceedingly male body whispering compliments, his arms wrapped possessively around her. Had his lips nibbled her ear and trailed kisses across her face and lips? His muscular legs had pressed firmly against hers, and heat flashed as she became conscious of his need. They swayed sensuously against each other to the slow dance tune. She shuddered with the remembered exquisite pleasure of opening her mouth to him as they held the pose, their eyes locked in the crowded dance hall.

Serena nodded and walked to the closet door where she threw the cocktail dress over her head. It slithered and settled, leaving her with half her breasts exposed and most of her legs. The reflection in the mirror now presented someone only slightly familiar—five-feet-five, a well-rounded woman all on display. Nothing shamed her. Her charms were all there for the world to admire, and the total package was not unattractive. Would it do the job?

Brushing her hair backwards, she slid sparkling, dangling earrings to her ears. Nodding her head slightly she watched the light tease and play across the crystals with each of her movements. She shook her shoulders, and her dress lit up like the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Stockings! She had forgotten her stockings.

She examined her legs, well-tanned and taut from routine exercise classes she attended faithfully. No stockings, she decided. Reaching down, she caressed her bare legs as she peeked over her shoulder at herself in the mirror. “

“My.” The word slipped out involuntarily as she viewed the brief skirt that covered almost nothing, certainly not her modesty.

“Oh, my.” Would she go out in public in such a daring outfit?

To claim your Free Download in any format please click here.

Sunny Lane is as free-spirited as butterflies in summer. She is an author who ventures to walk on the risqué side of life with the introduction of The Duke and the Seduction of Fair Felicity.

Sunny is a Gemini and has many loves that include Traditional Regency as Emma and Cozy Mysteries as Janis. She lives with her patient hubby at the edge of town on a few acres in beautiful Western NY.

Stay connected with Sunny Lane and her devilish teases on Facebook.

To read books from Sunny's other personalities please click a name:
Emma Lane for Regency - Janis Lane for mysteries

Friday, September 26, 2014


Musa Publishing is excited to announce Merm-8, a science fiction novel by debut author Eric J. Juneau, is now available for purchase.

It doesn't matter if you believe in mermaids. She believes in you.

Gene is a rogue-for-hire, using his one-man ship to make a decent living on the flooded Earth. Most of the population has been driven out to Seaplexes--artificial islands glutted with poverty, commercialism, and organized crime. His AI companion, Stitch, does most of the work of their salvage and smuggling jobs. Life is good.

Until a mermaid crawls into his ship's exhaust port.

Now it's not enough for Gene to avoid the mafia he's in debt to, enforced by bio-engineered hulks. Everyone wants to know what this fantasy creature is doing on a dying planet. Corporations want to exploit her. Old friends want to capitalize on her fame. Gene has to choose between protecting her and keeping himself safe. And all she wants is to return home.

The back of the ship coughed, then revved. It made a screeching, sputtering noise, like chalk scraping against metal. A dying whirl followed.

"That can't be good. Is it flooded?" Gene asked.

"It's a salt water engine. It's supposed to be flooded," Stitch said. The monitor displayed a schematic of the engine. Various parts flashed as diagnostics ran their course. "The fluid flow rate in the exhaust vent is below nominal parameters."

"I'll check it out." Gene unbuckled his seat belt and headed out of the bridge. The last time something like this happened, the pipes were clogged with seaweed and trash. He crossed from one end of the ship to the other, through the cargo bay, to the last door marked ENGINE COMPARTMENT.

The room was bathed in orange, full of mechanical gears, camshafts, and pistons as thick as an oil drum. If the engine was on, the pistons would have been pumping up and down. But they remained frozen in mid-thrust.

Gene squeezed through the assemblies and knelt in front of a small hatch stenciled EXHAUST PORT—In case of blockage, run purger. A small green button sat next to it.

"So I run the purger?"

"Yes. But first you should open the hatch and see if there's anything solid in there."

"Oh, Christ." Going into the exhaust port meant getting wet, cuts and bruises from crawling on the floor's metal edges, and definitely tearing his clothing. "Do I have to? It's probably the school of smelt we ran into. The shredder'll blow them out."

"If there's a rock or something, the purger could jam. That could cause sparks, which could disrupt the engine. And the reactor would—"

"Yeah, yeah, exploding ship."

The invention of the salt water reactor was a great boon to dwindling resources. But since it used the ocean for fuel, it had to be tightly controlled. Exposing it to the elements was the equivalent of touching a match to a pool of kerosene.

Gene grumbled and crawled up to a door about a meter high. He rolled up his sleeves and turned the wheel-hatch. Newer, nicer ships had insulated engines to prevent things like this. And they didn't need all this maintenance. "Make me jump through all these hoops. Can't they make anything that—"

Gene pulled back the door. He stopped talking.

"See anything?" Stitch asked.

A few feet in, a young woman lay propped up on her arms. She was naked, or at least topless. Big, natural breasts hung down from her chest, obscured by long, wet, red hair with gold streaks. Her eyes were as wide as dinner plates.

"There's a girl in the pipe."

"What?" Stitch asked.

Gene hunched down to get a better look. She wiggled her hips forward like a seal.

"Say that again. There's a girl in the pipe?"

"No, wait," Gene said. The girl clutched the edge of the doorway with her thin arms and pulled forward. "It's not a girl. It's a mermaid."

Musa Publishing - Amazon

Eric J. Juneau is one of America's most prominent up-and-coming writers. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, two daughters, and a dog that's either very smart or very dumb. He writes science fiction and fantasy and received an honorable mention in the 2010 "Writers of the Future" contest.

Learn more about Eric J. Juneau on his blog Author Quest. Stay connected on Twitter and Google+.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Eric Clapton Was Wrong!

Lie vs. lay
Take a Tip from Helen #12

by Helen Hardt

Ah yes, the lie versus lay debacle. Admittedly, this is a pet peeve of mine -- especially when I see the mistake in New York Times bestsellers. I had a critique partner once who stopped using lie and lay in her writing because she wasn't sure of the difference and didn't want me yelling at her for using them wrong.

Of course, I never yell... :)

BE NOT AFRAID. The whole lie/lay thing is very simple once you do two things: 1. Learn the difference between a transitive and intransitive verb, and 2. Memorize the past tense and past participle of each verb.

Here we go:

A transitive verb is one that requires a direct object. To lay is a transitive verb. You lay something on the table, but you don't lay down. You can lay another person down (physically, you're laying him on the bed) but you yourself cannot lay down, nor can you tell another person to lay down. Yes, I'm sorry, but Eric Clapton is grammatically incorrect when he commands Sally to lay down.

To the contrary, an intransitive verb is a verb that has no object. To lie is such a verb. To die and to sleep are other examples of intransitive verbs. You can't sleep someone, or die someone or something. You and you alone can only sleep or die yourself. You also can't lie something. You can only lie down yourself.

Repeat after me: To lay is transitive. To lie is intransitive.

Now that you know which verb to use, let's look at their forms. This gets sticky for some people because they've said it wrong for so long, the correct form doesn't sound right to them. Trust me, you'll get used to it.

Broken down, here are the forms:

To lay

present tense -- lay
past tense -- laid
past participle -- laid

To lie
present tense -- lie
past tense -- lay
past participle -- lain (this is the one that seems to freak people out)

Let's put them into action:

Today I lie down. Yesterday I lay down. For the past three weeks, I have lain down for a nap each afternoon.

Today I lay the pencil on the table. Yesterday I laid the pencil on the table. For the past three weeks, I have laid a pencil on the table every afternoon.

Simple, yes? I hope this clears up the mystery of lay vs. lie.


To read excerpts from Helen Hardt's books please click a vendor's name.
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Helen Hardt is the Head Line Editor for Musa Publishing and a freelance editor. She is also an award-winning author. Helen writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and erotic romance for several publishers. Her non-writing interests include Harley rides with her husband, attending her sons’ sports and music performances, traveling, and Taekwondo (she’s a blackbelt.)

Learn more about Helen Hardt and her editing service on her website.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


From All of Us at Musa Publishing
We wish you and yours
Healthy and Prosperous
New Year!