Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Surprise Your Family with a New Dish

from Mary S. Palmer

This easy and delicious recipe is called Spinach Surprise because most people can't tell it's a spinach dish. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine.

Spinach Surprise
2 - 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach
1 - 16 oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 - Cans cream of mushroom soup
8 - Frozen onion rings

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Cook spinach per package directions. Drain until as dry as possible.

Place spinach in an oven safe dish. Add cream cheese and blend until none can be seen.

Stir in soup.

Top with onion rings and bake about twenty minutes or until steaming hot.

Here is a brief introduction to Mary S. Palmer's fiction work for your reading pleasure.

When aliens try to take over the world—starting with an attempt on the life of the President of the United States—can photo-journalist Mona Stewart Parker prevent the unthinkable from happening?

Mona's marriage to Rob appears to be perfect. They share many interests: Their jobs at the newspaper, a very bright son, and a home peers might envy.

Space creatures invading Earth change everything. Secrets are unveiled when Mona and Rob become their captives. In the middle of a conflict where the Aliens are trying to force the Svarians to reveal cures for fatal diseases and the key to immortality, Rob has other issues to deal with. Since illegal activity involving high-ranking politicians is about to be unveiled, he has to decide what to do about his implication in it.

To read an excerpt please click here.

To read excerpts from other books by Mary S. Palmer please click a link below.
Musa Publishing
co-authored books
Amazon


Award-winning author Mary S. Palmer earned a Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude)in English from the University of South Alabama.She now holds a Master of Arts Degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of South Alabama. Mary currently teaches English at Faulkner State Community College and Faulkner University.

Mary is also a great collector. Be sure to check out her website and blog.

Monday, September 22, 2014

APPRECIATING ELEPHANTS

by HL Carpenter


September 22 is Elephant Appreciation Day. As is obvious by the picture, green elephants live here in Carpenter Country, so we’ll be celebrating the day appropriately. No, not by telling elephant jokes. Everyone already knows why elephants wear red sneakers.

We admire elephants, no matter the color of their sneakers. In fact, we admire them so much we recently began taking marketing lessons from an elephant—specifically Horton, the wonderful Dr. Seuss creation.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with Horton lately, Random House released a new Horton book, Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories, on September 9 of this year. Yep, more Dr. Seuss goodness just in time for the seasonal shopping frenzy. Even though he’s been dead since 1991, Dr. Seuss is what you might call an elephant in the publishing industry.

What interests us about this elephant are the marketing techniques Random House uses to keep Horton in the hay. Of course, we don’t have the resources of Random House, and you may not either. But we figured we could learn something from promotions that produced sales of 4.8 million Dr. Seuss books in the US during 2013. Those results are more than mere peanuts.

Here are three strategies we gleaned from a recent Wall Street Journal article about the Random House marketing calendar for All Things Seuss.

Tie promotions to specific dates. For example, to celebrate Read Across America Day Random House offers discounted books to readers through a partnership with a nonprofit organization. Earth Day is on the calendar too, with educational kits featuring the cover of The Lorax.

Tie promotions to current events. Horton’s a natural fit with Anti-Bullying Day. After all, a person’s a person, no matter how small.

Create a year-round promotions plan. For Dr. Seuss books, the promotions and events begin in March, on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and wind up at the end of the year when the Grinch steals the day.

Our memory is not quite as good as an elephant’s so we’ll spend Elephant Appreciation Day making lists of appropriate dates for our books and setting up marketing calendars...and perhaps laughing at elephant jokes, like the one about the red sneakers.

On the chance you’ve forgotten, elephants wear red sneakers for the same reason they paint their toenails red: So they can hide in cherry trees. And why, you may ask, would they want to hide in cherry trees? So they can jump out and stomp on people. That’s how Tarzan died, you know, picking cherries.

And for our Australian author friends who are wondering what you get if you cross an elephant with a kangaroo, the answer is: Big holes all over Australia.

Admit it—you laughed! Now get out there and eat that marketing elephant one bite at a time.

Happy Elephant Appreciation Day...and happy marketing!

P.S. If you know any good (or bad) elephant jokes, be sure to share them in the comments.

Here's a little from our latest release. No elephants, but the story appeals to people in all age groups.

When her father is accused of fraud, seventeen year old Vandy Spencer discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception.

Seventeen year old Vandy Spencer lives like a princess. Sheltered by her wealthy family, she happily makes plans to spend a fantasy before-college gap summer with her gorgeous boyfriend.

Then her dad is accused of a huge financial fraud. Vandy is thrust into a frenzy of media attention as accusations and innuendos pile up daily. The victims of her dad’s swindle vow revenge, and her dad flees.

As her perfect life disintegrates, Vandy struggles to separate reality from lies. Was her perfect life truly so perfect? Did she ever really know her father?

When family secrets come to light, revealing an unimaginable betrayal, Vandy learns to appreciate the simple richness of sincerity and truth.

To read an excerpt from Walled In please click a vendor's name. Musa Publishing - Amazon

To read excerpts from the other books by HL Carpenter please click here.



HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter writing team. Their latest young adult novel is Walled In, the story of Vandy Spencer, who discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception when her father is accused of fraud. Learn more about HL Carpenter on their website.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

THREE MINUTES with RHEA RHODAN

What made you choose the specific setting for Buchanan’s Crossing?
Since the Warders of Buchanan’s Crossing descended from a line of Scottish witches, and I wished my book to have authentic roots, I researched immigration of the Scots to America. Although the first wave settled in the South, later waves (still pre-Revolutionary) settled around the Massachusetts/Connecticut area. Further research revealed a former copper mine in East Granby, CT, that had been used as a prison during the Revolutionary War. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect location. It offered not only fascinating historical backstory for the Crossing itself, but also for the Keeper’s talisman, which gelled into a copper ring at that point. The site of the mine/prison remains open to tourists to this day. It’s on my list if I ever get out that way.

How did you develop your lead characters for The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing?
I fool around with tarot card pairings to generate story ideas, scenes, and as an exercise to curb my inner editor. One scenario offered me Clint MacAllen, a man caught between a deep and desperate need for success, his conscience, and a devilish villain.

The perfect heroine to add to his crucible took her sweet time before volunteering for the job. Clint may be drool-worthy hot, but he thinks he likes his women stereotypically trophy-like, while she’s unapologetically short, curvy, and heavily into goth. She knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

How is The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing different from your last release, Finding Grace? What do they have in common?
The only two elements they have in common are that I wrote them (:>), and they’re both basically contemporary romances with paranormal twists. The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing has a stronger paranormal aspect, encompassing the entire plot from beginning to end (as opposed to being incidental).

And while both Cayden and Clint struggle with their demons, neither is truly tortured. The main characters in Finding Grace tend toward over-the-top, while those in The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing are somewhat more down to earth. More magic, yet more reality too.

How fun and inspiring it is not to confine my writing to a single style! As long as there’s at least a bit of magic or paranormal, I’m good to go.

Here's a little from Rhea's intriguing paranormal for your reading pleasure.


What price will destiny demand?

Warding the Crossing has always been Cayden Sinclair’s destiny. With her beloved Gran growing weaker, it’s time the little witch took her place. Juggling substantial curves for her frame and an inconvenient inability to control her power has always been a serious challenge. But not until discovering her fated Keeper is the extremely hot, tragically clean-cut insomniac who’s ignored her for months, does she truly fear failing her legacy.

Now that he’s finally on the road to the top with an offer from a big developer, Clint MacAllen can’t allow his struggling construction company to be threatened by a vicious nightmare or his inexplicable attraction to a goth clerk working the graveyard shift at HandiMart—no matter how potent they are.

J. Milton Developments has its own agenda for Buchanan’s Crossing, and they’ll spill blood to get it.

To read an excerpts from any of Rhea's books please click a vendor's name.
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Rhea Rhodan lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota and has been telling herself stories since long before she could write. She attended the University of Minnesota with a focus on Journalism, then Brown Institute for Broadcast Journalism. After many adventures, misadventures, and a couple of short marriages, she found the love of her life in Regensburg, Germany, and has been living happily ever after since.

She journaled her adventures, but didn't combine her writing and story-telling until several years ago. At that time one of the stories grabbed her by the throat and shook her like a rag doll until she gave in and wrote it. Having tasted freedom, her muse refuses to return to the confines of her head, and has successfully turned the tables, keeping her at the keyboard to appease it.

Her stories always had a twist of magic or a touch of the paranormal. Why the romance? Because she believes in happy endings, and helping people imagine them.

Learn more about Rhea Rhodan on her website. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

NEW RELEASE for DANIEL AUSEMA

Musa Publishing is excited to announce Contagion, Book 1 of Spire City: Season 1 Episodes 1-6, by Daniel Ausema is now available for purchase.

Targeted by a mad scientist's deadly serum, these outcasts band together to fight back.

Spire City is home to mighty machines of steam power and clockwork, and giant beetles pull picturesque carriages over cobbled streets, but there is a darker secret behind these wonders. A deadly infection, created by a mad scientist, is spreading through the city, targeting the poor and powerless, turning them slowly into animals. A group of those infected by the serum join together to survive, to trick the wealthy out of their money, and to fight back.

EXCERPT
With a nudge from her, Tinnesz and Semesz pulled her down the hallway toward the storeroom where they slept with their mom. Before they pushed aside the hanging blanket over the doorway, Semesz tugged on Chels’s sleeve, and she bent down. He rarely spoke above a whisper. “Did you hear about Rani?”

“He’s that neighborhood boy you’ve played with, right? Sleeps down in the Colvern place?”

Semesz nodded, his eyes wide and fastened on hers. Tinnesz filled in the story breathlessly, as if he didn’t fully understand but knew it was something important to older people. “He completed today. A mouse. Right, Semesz, a mouse?”

Complete. What an awful word for an infected people, that final, animal stage that was the future of all of them. Chels swallowed, unsure what to say. “That’s…sad. I didn’t even know he was infected.”

Semesz whispered, “He was just infected yesterday. We saw him last night, and he already had mouse whiskers and a tail.”

The serum was supposed to work that way, the police infecting the urchins and criminals who, from their perspective, overran the city. Turn them into literal pests, the thinking went, that no one could object to having exterminated. Who would notice when the rat-catchers suddenly had increased business? But it so rarely brought such a quick change. Usually the transformation progressed for a time and then halted, as it had with Marrel years earlier. For others, the changes were gradual but constant. Either way, though, there was never any knowing when some latent bit of serum might suddenly trigger the final changes. Then the infected would complete.

“I’m…I'm sorry to hear it. He was a nice boy, and you had fun together.”

Neither said anything, and Chels was sure they were thinking of their mother. The boys weren’t infected, but Pemisza had been infected for years, and in her, the infection was already well advanced. When would they have to say goodbye to her? When would they wake to find her either gone or completed in her sleep?

Without answering, Semesz pulled Chels through the doorway. Pemisza rested on a pile of scavenged blankets. Chels hesitated, but Pemisza waved a half-feline arm for her to enter.

BUY LINK

To read excerpts from the other episodes of Spire City or Daniel's other work, please click a vendor's name. Musa Publishing - Amazon

Daniel Ausema is the creator of the Spire City serial fiction project. His short stories and poems have appeared in Penumbra, Daily Science Fiction, The Journal of Unlikely Stories, and many other places. He has worked as a journalist and educator and is currently a stay-at-home dad. He lives in Colorado, where May blizzards, September floods, and summer wildfires engage in a never-ending war.

Learn more about Dan on his website Twigs and Brambles.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Delicious End for Summer



Summer is on the wan, and fall is in the air, but there's no need to stop the fun. Susan Lodge has the best advice to continue your party spirit. Susan recommends you dish up some romance with a Tasty Regency and a Contemporary Cocktail.


Recipe for Only a Hero Will Do

1. Blend one firm ship’s Physician (not over ripe) and one impulsive female gambler. Toss them together in a large wooden naval ship.

2. Pour into the middle of an enemy sea and leave to simmer.

3. Season with a pinch of sea salt and a good shake of humor.

4. Beat in a battle and then carefully fold in a cup full of heroic deeds and a heap of family betrayal. Moisten with a few tears.

5. Heat gently until it smoulders.

6. Enjoy whilst lounging in a comfortable chair.

Here is a taster.

Hetty’s desperate gamble to avoid an odious match lands her all at sea. Can an overbearing ship’s physician really be the hero she needs to escape her treacherous family?

Marriage to a cruel dandy is not how Hetty Avebury envisions spending the rest of her life. Determined to raise funds to escape the match she earns money the only way she knows how—gambling. Her plans go astray and she finds herself onboard a man-of-war under the care of its stern physician. But Hetty soon realizes that the disapproving Doctor Withington is not at all the man she had first imagined.

If it wasn’t bad enough declaring one of the pressed men as a woman, Robert has been tasked with the tiresome job of returning her safely back to her dysfunctional family. It was ten years ago when his father gambled away his inheritance, home, and any chance of marrying the woman he loved. So when Robert discovers Hetty gambling he takes drastic action to cure her of the habit.

And if that’s not to your taste and you prefer a romance set in the twenty first century then maybe you would like to consider.

Recipe for The Man in the Buff Breeches

1.Take a thirty something career girl and mix with an invitation to a Regency themed ball. This will take some effort as they do not combine easily.

2. Pour in to a long glass with an assortment of men dressed up in breeches.

3. To prevent the mixture overheating add some ice cold cubes of terror and stir with a Regency fan.

4. Relax in your bunny slippers and enjoy.

Here is a taster

What is it about men in breeches? Shona finds out her dream man turns out to be not at all what she expected.

When a man in tight buff breeches examines her with his quizzing glass and calls her Miss Bennet, Shona fears the Regency themed ball is going to be as awful as she predicted. But then she is introduced to the gorgeous Nick who ticks every box for her perfect man.

As Shona looks forward to her first date with Nick, her happiness is marred by some disturbing observations around her flat. She doesn’t usually leave her blind rolled down that far, and she never keeps her bunny slippers tidily by the bed. And what is the man in the buff breeches doing lurking on the street outside?

As both men pursue her, Shona finds one makes her body quiver with desire, the other itch with annoyance. Then the men finally confront each other, and her life turns into a nightmare. Can her judgment regarding the male species really be so seriously flawed?

To read other books by Susan Lodge, please click a vendor's name.
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Susan Lodge’s first publication was a story for a UK national woman’s magazine. Heady with this breakthrough, she went on to write her first novel Only a Hero Will Do. She loves writing contemporary and historical romance, usually with a large dose of humour. After working in several cities including London and Bristol, she moved down to the Hampshire coast to raise her family.

Once asked the most important piece of advice she had been given in pursuit of publication, Susan answered -
The only difference between the unpublished writer and the published writer is the fact that the published writer didn't give up.

Catch up with Susan on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Family Reunions can be Hell

Marci Boudreaux writes romance and under a pseudonym she creates erotica. Now this creative author has taken on a new genre - paranormal - and she has succeeded with a spine-tingling tale The Legend of Sarah Latham. The book releases October 3, 2014 from Musa Publishing, but we thought you might enjoy a peek sure to chill your bones.

Family reunions can be hell.

Nearly four hundred years ago, Sarah Latham and William Fuller disappeared. Legend has it she was a wicked witch and he was her demon. Legend also has it that whenever a Latham descendant reaches thirty years of age, Sarah comes to drag them to Hell.

Good thing twenty-nine-year-old Elizabeth Latham doesn't believe in legends. Or at least she didn't until she happened upon a woman in the family cemetery who just happened to look an awful lot like the paintings in the local museum.

Elizabeth is determined to stay ground in reality, but her idea of reality is shattered when she finally accepts that Sarah and William have returned. She soon realizes that Sarah is about as far from wicked as William is from being a demon.

So if Sarah hasn't been dragging generations of Lathams to hell...who has?

EXCERPT
“This is it,” Elizabeth said. “The Latham Museum.”

“I know,” Sarah whispered.

“What?”

Sarah forced a smile as she looked at the woman next to her. “It, uh, isn’t much, is it?”

“Well, according to the museum, the cabin is exactly the same. Every board has been replaced at some point, and electricity and running water were added in the fifties, but overall, the structure is exactly as it was then. So they say.”

Sarah took a moment to look up at the log cabin again while Elizabeth hopped out of the truck. Thoughts of her life here ran through her mind like a movie as she finally opened the door and put her feet on the ground. Moving toward the house was like being transported through time. Each step made the past feel closer until she could smell the fields and hear axes chopping in the distance as the boys cut wood for their fireplace.

Sarah was pulled back to the present when Elizabeth pushed a door open and caused a bell to jingle. Sarah took a breath as she stepped inside, bracing herself for whatever remnants of the past remained.

Actually, the cabin wasn’t a terrible replica of the home she had shared with the Latham men. Her gaze immediately lifted to the loft where the boys had slept. The fireplace to her left had a huge kettle hanging from a hook and a wooden table had chairs surrounding it, closely resembling the setting that had been there before.

In the window, which now had glass panes, was a Voodoo doll with Xs stitched for eyes and pins sticking out of it. She’d never done that; such a brazen act would have brought suspicion of witchery from her neighbors, but she guessed that was what the museum was going for—the blatant signs of witchcraft that legends were made of.

A stuffed black cat sat on a chair, forever stuck with its paw in the air and hissing violently. The Lathams had never owned a cat. Sarah loathed cats then and now. Black felines were just another stereotype blown completely out of proportion.

One wicked witch, one black cat, one coven who summoned demons from hell, and now all witches were supposed to have black cats, pointy hats, and Satan on speed dial. She shook her head, offended that this was part of her legend.

But then, something else drew her attention and pulled her into the so-called museum. A stand in the middle of the room with a glass case over it summoned her.

“Jasper,” she breathed. She bypassed all the other trinkets and displays, and went straight for the display. His journal. The journal she’d given him and protected with a spell so long ago was there and was nearly as perfect as it had been then.

The book lay opened to a page with a drawing. She’d always been amazed by his artistic ability. He could put charcoal to paper and make the most lifelike images appear with just a few strokes and smudges.

Her smile fell when she stood over the picture exposed to museum visitors. A drawing of her. A perfect drawing in fact. Four hundred years later and she looked exactly as she had in the drawing he’d made. Her dark hair was pulled up and tucked under a bonnet, her clothes were from the old days, but her light eyes, high cheekbones, and full lips were the same.

“Whoa,” Elizabeth said, standing next to Sarah. She looked from the drawn Sarah to the live one. “Remember how I said you kind of looked like Sarah Latham? I take that back. You are a dead ringer for Sarah Latham.”

“So it seems.”

“Creepy,” Elizabeth whispered.

Watch the Book Trailer on YouTube.

To read blurbs from other books by Marci Boudreaux please click a vendor's name.
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Marci Boudreaux, her husband, two daughters, and their numerous pets live in Iowa. She is a freelance writer and appears monthly in a variety of local magazines as well as a content editor for several small publishing houses.

Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new. And since her husband doesn't like when she does that in real life, the best solution is to write it.

Marci has her MS in Publishing and works as a freelance editor for Kensington Publishing Corporation in their Lyrical Press imprint. Marci also does freelance editing including developmental, content, and grammar for authors preparing to start the submission process.

Learn more about Marci Boudreaux on her website. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL

by Kate Larkindale

I’m often asked how to write a book. It’s a question that has as many answers as there are books in the world, I think. I doubt any two writers approach writing a book in quite the same way.

For me, a book starts with a single idea. It can be an image or a phrase or even an issue. Something about that one thing triggers my imagination until a story begins to shape. At this point a lot of writers will outline the story, making sure all the key pieces are in place. I imagine this is particularly important for mystery or thriller writers who need to ensure all the clues are placed in the correct order.

I don’t outline. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work for me. If I outline, I know what’s going to happen and if I know, why bother writing it? Part of writing a book for me is discovering the story. I don’t lead my characters – they lead me!

I start with a single scene. Often it’s not at the beginning of the story I’ve envisaged. Quite often it’s a big scene, a climactic one, and I start with that. If it works the way I want it to, it will be my entry point into the book. Writing in a linear fashion doesn’t always suit me and if I find I’m stuck somewhere along the way, I’ll often skip forward or back in the story to a scene or series of scenes I know need to be there.

A lot of writers do write beginning to end, but if that isn’t the way you like to work, no one is forcing you to. I’ve written 10 novels now, and each of them has followed a slightly different process. There is no right to wrong way to approach the task. It may take time to figure out what works best for you, but that’s okay.

One of my CPs likes to get critiques chapter by chapter as she writes. She revises each chapter as she writes it and doesn’t move on until she feels each one is perfect. It takes her a long time to get through a first draft, but her first drafts are as good as my third or 4th ones.

I prefer not to revise as I go. I like to draft quickly, letting the story pour out onto the page without worrying too much about pretty language or whether each word drives the story forward. My CPs never see my first drafts—no one does. It’s only once I’ve started picking through the pile of word vomit and shaping the book that anyone gets to see it. It’s usually at this point that I will write an outline to ensure the story moves in a way that makes sense and doesn’t drag.

Feedback is crucial to the writing and revising process. If you don’t have impartial readers to look over your work, you need to find some. Join a writing group or an online writing community. I found my crit group on Writing.com, and some of us have been working together for over 5 years now. None of my work would ever have made it to print without these people.

Have you ever written a novel? What’s your process?

Here is a small sample from my YA, An Unstill Life.

Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.

Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years. Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better. Just when she needs them most, her closest friends get boyfriends and have little time for Livvie – except to set her up on a series of disastrous blind dates.

Livvie seeks refuge in the art room and finds Bianca, the school ‘freak’. Free-spirited and confident, Bianca is everything Livvie isn’t. Shaken by her mom’s desperation, her sister’s deteriorating condition, and abandoned by her friends, Livvie finds comfort and an attraction she never felt before with Bianca.

When their relationship is discovered, Livvie and Bianca become victims of persecution and bullying. School authorities won’t help and even forbid the pair to attend the Winter Formal as a couple. If Livvie defies them and goes, she risks expulsion and further ridicule from her classmates. At home, her mother’s behavior escalates to new levels of crazy and Jules is begging for help to end the pain once and for all.

While searching for the strength to make her life her own, Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.

To read an excerpt from An Unstill Life please click a vendor's name.
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Having spent a lifetime traveling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand. A cinema manager, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but she doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.

Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.

She has written eight contemporary YA novels, five of which other people are allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance. She is currently working on a new YA novel that is still looking for a title other than its Twitter hashtag, #juvvielesbian.

Learn more about Kate on her blog and Goodreads. Stay connected on Twitter.