October 1st. #Halloween Guest Post~Author @keke_chanel #paranormal #book

September was a busy month. I went to a few metal concerts, celebrated my 42nd birthday, and worked, worked, worked, worked, worked. You know how it is. I blogged less, but chronicled most of it on IG and Twitter. That was just easier.

Today, Oct. 1st, I’d like to start the month off right, sharing something appropriate for Halloween, my favorite “holiday” season. Author KeKe Chanel just released a book entitled, Silence, and I think you’re going to love it.

Dicey: Tell me why Silence is the perfect novel for Halloween.

KeKe: If you love a good paranormal suspense, my book Silence is the perfect novel for Halloween. If you are looking for a book that isn’t your typical suspense plot. It will leave you on the edge of your seat, trying to figure out what’s happening in the mysterious town of Milledgeville. Silence captures your attention, attacking your imagination page by page. You won’t be able to focus on anything else once you read the first page. Just when you think you know, another element of surprise takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. I dare you to curl up under your favorite blanket, in your favorite reading spot and enter a mysterious world of intrigue, infused with heightened unpredictability. Silence is a must-read, sure to become a welcomed addition to your Halloween traditions.  Savannah Rose awaits…

Dicey: Congrats on the book release, KeKe! I love paranormal suspense and can’t wait to dig in. Thanks for gracing my blog today. Have a Happy Halloweeeeeeen!

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Brief Synopsis: Silence

Savannah Rose was abducted from the Milledgeville County Fair when she was only eight years old. After searching for several months, all hope of ever finding her alive vanished. Her body was never found.

The town grieved the loss of such an amazing little girl, yet someone knows what really happened that day. When Savannah Rose returns, she isn’t quite what the people she encounter imagines. She isn’t the sweet, cheerful, happy little girl they once knew.

Savannah Rose roams freely, thundered with vengeance, stalking the people of Milledgeville for her life being stolen from her in the worse way possible. In her mind, they must pay! As Savannah Rose unleashes her wrath, secrets meant to be kept hidden forever are exposed.

Total damnation lives in the woods surrounding the quiet, close-knit town. It is up to the remaining founding-family members to keep the deal made by their ancestors intact before destruction wipes them off the map.

Seeking revenge on the town’s residents for not protecting her and finding out the true identity of her abductor is the only way Savannah Rose gains any sense of justice and peace. Will she solve the misery of her death so that she can finally transition or will her spirit stay trapped forever? Will the town of Milledgeville still exist once her mission is complete or perish before making good on the oath taken centuries ago?

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Excerpt From Silence 

A soft thump caught his attention. It was darker in the backyard than Bobby remembered. The few lights surrounding him flickered, but he didn’t think much of it. Sometimes the lights did seem to have a mind of their own on their property.

The still of the night soothed Bobby, comforting his weary soul. He sipped his brown liquor allowing the robust taste to carry all of his troubles away. Bobby closed his eyes and exhaled. Suddenly, the wind began to howl, and the stars vanished. Rolling clouds of gray made the sky look as if it was about to reach down and collar him. The forecast hadn’t predicted any inclement weather. Then again, summer nights in Milledgeville were unpredictable.

“What is happening tonight?” Bobby said in a murmur. His eyes scanned the night. Dancing shadows caught his attention in the nearby woods surrounding his property. Rubbing his hand down his face, Bobby shook his head. He was tripping. Drinking alone always made his mind see things that weren’t there. Maybe it was time to join his brothers inside. Just as he was about to make his way toward the back door of the house, something stopped him dead in his tracks. Bobby wiped his eyes. Clearly, he was more than a few levels past tipsy.

Everything around him became calm, silent. Bobby’s eyes darted back and forth. Staggering toward the house, he paused to keep his balance. He could feel a presence close in proximity. He wasn’t alone. The shadows in the woods continued to dance, mocking him. Bobby nearly stumbled and fell. Light whispers engulfed him causing his heart to nearly jump out of his chest. He was unable to move. Although he told his mind to haul ass, his body wasn’t listening.

He focused his eyes. It couldn’t be. There standing, only inches from him was the little girl he had just been thinking about.

“I really should stop drinking,” Bobby said laughing at his paranoia. His brothers were trying to scare him.

“Bart, Blue, Bill and Bull, you sons-of-bitches must want a good old fashion kick in the ass. Stop playing around! I’m in no mood for games tonight,” Bobby called out in a long frustrated slur. He waited until one of them answered or started laughing, but that never came. Instead, walking out of the darkness with eyes that emitted embers was Savannah Rose. She fixated her attention directly on him, ensnaring him in her visage.

“What are you doing here? You’re dead! We left you bleeding to death that day. You can’t be real,” Bobby yelled in a frantic tone.

Savannah Rose didn’t dignify him with a response. She lifted her arm and flung it to the left causing Bobby’s body to go flying through the air. He landed next to an old pickup truck. He howled in pain. She moved toward him using her force to break each window. Glass shattered about, some cutting Bobby on his arms, face, and legs. He used his hands to shield his head. His fingers stung from the shards of glass nicking them.

The impact of the breaking glass should have been enough to get his brothers to check on him. Where were they when he needed them? The more he called for help, the more the silence submerged him. No one could hear him. No one would hear him.

About Author Keke Chanel

KeKe Chanel grew up in the small town of Greensburg, Louisiana in a home filled to the brim with siblings and personalities, so it’s a wonder how she found a quiet space for anything. “I hid under my bed.” That’s the answer she is likely to give if ever asked how she managed it. Sharing a house with three other children was very trying at times. Yet, KeKe always found solace in a book. In fact, she credits her aunt for instilling within her a great love for reading. It is what has brought her this far in the often tedious and exhausting quest for publication.

In third grade, KeKe began writing poetry. Over time, her collection of notebooks expanded as did her love for the art of writing. In 2006, she started work on her first book “Wicked Love” which will be released sometime in the near future. Many more books have been penned since then. However, Deadly in Stilettos is the first to be released. The years of waiting were hard, but KeKe considers herself nothing if not determined. This young author is ready to share her incredible talent -and Deminis Bradshaw’s red bottoms- with the rest of the world.

Starting a blog in 2010 opened up a great platform to showcase her work. Receiving positive feedback from her audience, KeKe decided to put her short-stories into book form and published Passionate Pleasures Volumes I & II. Since then, KeKe has published five novels and three books of short-stories. “I love to write different genres,” says Keke. “I have such a vivid and overactive imagination, I cannot limit it to one genre. I plan to release my first sci-fi novel Childhood Friends in 2015.”

KeKe Chanel won her first Literary Award May of this year “The Artie Award for Literature,” and has been featured in VTWILLI Magazine. KeKe has also been showcased on blog talk radio shows such as My Cultural Conversations with Verona Mitchell and Let’s Talk with Ms. Shanell. KeKe attends events within her community and throughout the state, as well as meet and greets with local Book Clubs who feature her work. “Giving back to the people who support me is very important,” says KeKe. In January of 2014 KeKe along with her best friend and Manager Latarra started The Purple Hugs Foundation. A non-profit organization geared to help teenagers, grades 7-12 prepare for life after high school. Their goal is to inspire and motivate youth with a positive mindset and environment. For more information about The Purple Hugs Foundation please visit: www.thepurplehugsfoundation.org.

KeKe is a wonderful wife and mother to three. She enjoys reading, making up her own songs, watching football and movies, shopping, spending time with loved ones, and playing games on her IPad. She resides in Louisiana with her family. For more information about Keke Chanel visit her website: http://www.thekekechanel.com.

KeKe Chanel can be found on the following social media sites:

Facebook
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@thekekechanel

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@keke_chanel

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#Valentines~Romance That is Out of This World~Author @Clare_Dargin Guest Post

Hi, Dicey- thanks for hosting me!  Happy Valentine’s Day to you and all of your readers!  As a celebration of this wonderful day, I have a freheart with black outline transparente gift to all of your readers!

Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over the world.  But what are it’s origins?  There are many legends surrounding this wonderful day, however most are centered around at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. The legends surrounding them are fascinating. One tells of a priest named Valentine who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. This Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.  Though tragic this one is my favorite, because it is the most romantic and valiant.

Another story suggests that another man named Valentine may have been killed for attemptingcupid silouhette to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. Brave, but not very romantic.  However, another legend, tells of a man name Valentine who was imprisoned and had actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.

But the day we know today was not associated with love in the second and third centuries like it is now.  As you know, today people give flowers, cards and chocolates along with candle light dinners and romantic dates, among other things, to show their affection for one another.  This day became definitively associated with love during the Middle Ages. Back then, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14th was the beginning of the birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

The best Valentines are the ones that aren’t exclusive to February 14th.  Cards, candy and a romantic meal are great, but showing some one you love them any day of the year is the best way to go.  Sometimes the best way to show love is the tiny sacrifices we do for the people we treasure the most.  I call that Romance In Action.  And that’s what we romance writers specialize in.  All of our work centers on the growing romance between the main characters in our books.  But we can’t just have our characters say that they love each other and end the story. They have to show it, not just tell it.  And they do it by sacrificing a part of themselves in the name of love.

In my latest book Wolf’s Blade, wolf shifter Callum Blake lives out his love for his pack by going after a madman from his own pack who is determined to rule all of wolf kind.  Despite the fact that no one in his pack believes him that this rogue member- Eryx Leva is a threat, Callum goes after Eryx because he loves his family even though they don’t see eye to eye.  And the sacrifice he makes grows when he falls in love with Samantha Dixon, another wolf shifter, who turns out is his true mate.  Callum will do anything to protect her from Eryx, who has set his sight on her, and Callum must protect her from himself.  For he carryies a dark secret inside of himself that could possibly kill her.

The question is- will their love be strong enough to conquer all?  Below is an excerpt from “Wolf’s Blade” demonstrating Callum’s desire to sacrifice in the name of love.  Enjoy!

HRwolfsbladeKeep Reading To Receive A Free Gift!

Blurb:

Samantha Dixon rescues a wounded wolf shifter in the woods near her home … and unwittingly gets drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a murderer. Callum Blake is on the trail of an evil man who would be king of all wolf kind, no matter the cost … it’s up to Callum to stop him. How can Callum fulfill his duty to protect his pack and save the woman who is destined to be his mate?

Wolf’s Blade

Author Clare Dargin

Series The Paladins

Book # 1

Genre Contemporary, Paranormal, Shifters, Wolves

Heat Level 4

Words 32,000

Content Notes Intense, Extreme Violence, Non-Sexual Physical Assault

Publication Date 12/28/2015

Excerpt from Wolf’s Blade-

He panted as his heart pounded in his chest. The change was happening again. He whimpered as he tried to stop it. He clawed the wall as his fingers extended, turning into long claws, leaving their human side behind. Sweat formed on his brow as he pushed the beast back.

“Hey, you’re up,” Samantha said, walking toward him. “Are you hungry?”

He turned to look at her.

“What’s wrong?” She rushed to him. “You’re covered in sweat.”

She led him out of the hall to the living room. She brushed the moisture off his brow and looking at him sweetly. He smiled weakly. He thought about how she’d rescued him and was able to bring him back to her house single-handedly. Strong and courageous, she bore the will of a Paladin.

She was such a good woman, she didn’t deserved to be dragged into this mess between him and Eryx. I need to warn her. She has to get as far away from me as possible. “You need to run. Get as far away from me as you can.”

“Shhhhh…” she said, stroking his hair.

“No, you don’t understand. Eryx, he’s—” He grabbed his chest, feeling the beast arise again.

“He ain’t coming in here,” she said, soothing him. “I told you I can protect us.”

“It’s not just him, it’s me. I may harm you.”

She shook her head. “You are a good man, I see it in your eyes. I know you won’t harm me. You’re just upset, that’s all.”

He wanted to believe her. He tried to believe her. But could he trust himself since his mating heat had become so consuming.

Buy Links- 

Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019VS3IZK?redirect=true&ref_=s9_simh_gw_g351_i1_r

Liquid Silver Books-  http://www.lsbooks.com/wolfs-blade-p1090.php

Thanks for reading!  I have a newsletter that is free to all who subscribe.  And if you do, you will receive a free gift from me.  A Free Romance Download by me!  Here’s the link- http://eepurl.com/bPDF6D

Author Bio

Clare Dargin is a multi-published romance author. She has written for several publishers in different genres, including erotic romance, military romance, contemporary, paranormal, and sci-fi. She lives in the mid-west, and when not surfing the web, she is hard at work writing her next romance novel. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Amazon.

Web Links- 

Clare’s Blog 2 The Haven- http://claresblog2thehaven.blogspot.com

The Embraced: Scribal Love- http://theembraced.blogspot.com

Facebook-  http://www.facebook.com/clare.dargin

Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/clare_dargin

Google +  https://plus.google.com/u/0/113201930657713285351/posts/p/pub

Author Page:

http://www.bookstrand.com/clare-dargin

 

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Author Clare Dargin is one of those sweet author souls I met in the cyber world years ago, and hope to always remain closely in contact with. She’s always been genuine, open, giving, and an all-around wonderful author, person, and friend. Love doesn’t have to just be romantic.  It can be an expression of friendship, understanding, and support. So, this is my Valentines tribute to Clare Dargin and all you readers and “lovers” out there. Love you, Clare. Thanks for being in my life and for being you. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Show love all year round.

Thanksgiving = Family & Friends Day. #TeamSinEaters #IndieThursday~Guest Post @KaiLeakes

Kai Leakes is an awesome author, well overdue for some major literary recognition. In addition to her writing achievements, any author proudly supporting #WeNeedDiverseBooks is beyond awesome to me. I invited her to be on my blog today, because I’d like to do what I can to share her awesomeness with the world. Aaaaannnd…since it’s November 19th, what better way to introduce Kai than by sharing her words on THANKSGIVING?

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Greetings and hello to Dicey’s fans and my fellow #teamsineaters/cursed!

Delving into the world of Fantasy, Pararomance, Dark Fantasy, Horror (as some say), and most recently contemporary romance, I am Kai Leakes, the author of Sin Eaters Devotion Book Series, the book short follow-up Rebel Guardians: Sin Eaters Chronicles Book One, current short stories – Love, Lies, and Pleasure: A Brothers of Kemet Story (Romance) and Free Your Mind (a cyberpunk short). Thank you so much to Dicey for allowing me to share her blog for this moment and share who I am and what I write. Allow me to give you my short background:

Born in Iowa, but later relocating and raised in Alton, IL and St. Louis, MO, Kai Leakes was an imaginative Midwestern child, who gained an addiction to books at an early age. The art of imagination was the very start of Kai’s path of writing which lead her to creating the Sin Eaters: Devotion Books Series. Since a young child, her love for creating, vibrant romance and fantasy driven mystical tales, continues to be a major part of her very DNA. With the goal of sharing tales that entertain and add color to a gray literary world, Kai Leakes hopes to continue to reach out to those who love the same fantasy, paranormal, romantic, sci/fi, and soon, steampunk driven worlds that shaped her unique multi-faceted and diverse vision. Kai pic 1

Thanksgiving (or as I call it Family & Friends Day) is coming up, and I want to speak about being thankful. My journey as an emerging writer and stepping into the role of author has been rewarding but difficult. Learning how to take the steps to tighten my writing and create a plan in marketing myself continues to be a struggle. But with having a foundation under you and a support network around you, becoming a writer can be a great adventure. Trust in yourself! I’m thankful for that (my support) and thankful for my readers and followers. Thankful for those who have taken a chance on my writing, and love my books, and thankful for those who’ve gone the extra step in wishing to embody some of my characters in the Sin Eaters series, as well as talking in length about the series. I’m still learning and attempting to get better so that I can reach my goals in my career as an author and continue to bring stories that my readers never forget. Contact and follow me anytime for any questions or to talk.

Thank you and Happy up-coming Family and Friends Day.

Kai Leakes (The Light Always Prevails -K.L.)

You can find Kai Leakes at:

Website: www.kwhp5f.wix.com/kai-leakes

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJkgUZTDZYk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kaileakesbooks

Twitter: @kaileakes

Blogger: http://kaileakes.blogspot.com/

Myspace: https://myspace.com/thatstlphoenix

Tumblr: http://kaileakes.tumblr.com/

Ever feel as if you are not alone, that you are protected by an unseen force? Have you ever caught a glimpse of a shadow in the corner of your eye? Don’t blink! Trust in it, for you are being protected from that wKai pic 4hich hunts and harms.

My ‘Sineaters’ are out in the streets. Namely, the streets of Chicago and St. Louis, battling on our behalf for our humanity and safety. The battle is still growing, the revolution is now!

Take a glimpse in the world of the Nephilim as they fight to protect us all from Darkness, in Sin Eaters: Devotion Book One, Sin Eaters: Retribution – Devotion Book Two, and Rebel Guardians: Sin Eaters Chronicles BTB One out everywhere!

Amazon: http://goo.gl/LyvUc5

Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/MIZ2Au

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In the spirit of Thanksgiving–thanks for joining me on my blog today, Kai! I hope you have a fabulous time with your friends and family next week.

“With a Mind to Achieve” #IndieThursday #Author Guest Post @ProfessorWhen

There are several people I’ve never met before in person that I just click with from afar. In this case–waaaaaaaay far. North America to Australia far. But Wayne and I have been “hanging out” on social media for a few years now. And we’ve been having a grand time. What makes him so special–I can always count on him to engage. By that I mean, he doesn’t just drop a “hey, girl, buy my book” message and disappear. We actually interact regularly, if not daily, on Twitter and FB. I’ve come to know his wife, as well, and consider them genuinely sweet people. It is the development of relationships like this that makes me absolutely love the internet. People I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to meet, are just a fingertip away.

So, I invited Wayne to hang out with us today on my blog. Let’s see what he has to say…

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Hello, Dicey. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your blog. It’s great to be involved.

“With a Mind to Achieve.”

I have always loved the writing process, and I always excelled in my English literature classes at school. There was a time when I would tell people that I began writing my novel in 1988, but I have since found some hand-written chapters that were dated years earlier than that. However, as an engineering technician, and a husband and father, it was difficult to find the time for my “creative stuff”. As the son of a wharf labourer (yes, spelling in Australia is different to US spelling 🙂 ), who grew up in a wharf suburb of a steel and coal town, I was considered strange by many for even being interested in the “creative stuff”.

I have learned perseverence and a different thought process are important! As Dr. Seuss said, “You have to be odd to be nu12202166_10205477211878345_1054290340_nmber one.”

Last century, I only sent my manuscript off to publishers on a few occasions before putting it in a drawer to wait for “more favourable times”. It was a time of ALL POWER to the publisher. I still remember my disgust on the last occasion that 32 of my printed chapters were returned to me with a note saying it wasn’t suitable for that publisher’s list. The pages were pristine and they were still in their original wrapping! I had gone through the effort and cost of sending hundreds of pages halfway around the world so that some publishing prat could move it from his in-tray to his out-tray.

I didn’t give up, and now “more favourable times” have arrived, I am pleased to say. I have now self-published my fantasy novel, To the Honour of the Kings as of August 2011. It is an action-packed love story with struggle and battles and deceit and the loss of innocence …and a hint of magic …with a twist! It runs on more than one level and has some deeper messages that won’t be apparent if the reader likes to whisk through a story. I have had readers say to me “I enjoyed your book. 12202169_10205477208398258_2112933217_nIt was a really good read.” I have thanked them for their feedback, but have sadly thought to myself, “Oh, they missed it.”

My success book was self-published in March 2011. It deals with a lifetime of trying to work out how to actually live a life. We all muddle through in the absence of a User’s Manual. Lindi and I taught personal development courses with a group of friends back in the 1990s, using some of our real life experiences to help others. I see myself as a bit of an expert on balance, because I’ve spent a large proportion of my life trying to achieve it without actually even getting close. We learn more from failure rather than from success.

Susan Jeffers pointed out in her wonderful, life-changing book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, that a plane flying from one city to another is off course most of the time. Multiple corrections during the flight make the difference between arriving safely at the destination …or not. Balance is about:

1. Review

2. Change

3. Find balance

4. Repeat the Process!

A whole chapter in my book is devoted to balance. Sample chapters of both books (as well as some of my artwork and an article on the Dracula Stage Production I’m in) are on my Reflective Bubble website.

Wishing you all, success and balance.

Wayne

Wayne’s Bio: I am an Australian author who lives near Australia’s largest salt water lake, just north of Sydney in New South Wales (NSW). I am married to Lindi, and we have a beautiful, close family – a daughter, son, and their families (including two grandchildren under the age of six).

I am passionate about the creative process. One of my books is a fantasy novel. The other is a success book. A couple of film scripts are in process as well as an oil portrait that I intend on submitting in 2016 for some Portraiture prizes. I run a media business with emphasis on photography and videography and protecting my clients’ corporate identity. I will be in rehearsals soon for a musical stage play based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as Dr. Seward (who runs the Asylum where Renfield is an inmate). My Reflective Bubble Creative Arts Magazine website (www.ReflectiveBubble.com) is another one of my works-in-progress. Also, I have recently become the WebMaster for the NSW Fellowship of Australian Writers (www.FAWNSW.org.au).

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Thanks for your words of wisdom, Wayne, and for being such a cool social media buddy! Perseverance, balance, and creativity are necessary in having a mind to achieve and succeed.

Hellooooo, #Halloween. #Author Guest Post~Ashley Nemer #FollowFriday

Welcome to the Halloween edition of my blog.  And a special, warm welcome to my guest author/blogger, Ashley Nemer. She will tell us why this season is especially awesome:

Hellooooo, Halloween…

Hello Halloween and welcome back to the world of mainstream buyers. If there is any holiday during the year that strums up the most fun in scary and exciting ways its Halloween. As an author I look at Halloween a little differently, I think. When I see the kids, or adults, dressing up and walking the streets I see stories coming to life. It is one of the ultimate Live Action Roll Plays that the whole family can enjoy. Who doesn’t enjoy dressing up as their favorite superhero or villain? It’s your chance to pretend to be the Dark Knight, the Man of Steel, or even Dracula.

Of course it is my desire to one day have an outfit hanging in the costume store that is of one of my characters. But until that day comes I will be happy dreaming of it!

When Halloween hits us I think back to one thing in particular of my childhood. MONSTER SQUAD! Now those of you who have seen this 80’s cult classic will either think I am insane or completely genius. This was my brother and my favorite movie as kids and even more of a favorite this time of year. Sadly both of our spouses think this is the worst movie on earth and believe he and I are crazy for loving it. But whatever, it’s our childhood and we own it!

The reason that’s important is because as an author of creatures that go bump in the night we often times think back to our first experiences with those evil creatures. And MONSTER SQUAD was my first exposure. There the big bad vampire Dracula wasn’t a strong sex appeal of a man, he was a villain, one who wanted to kill and slaughter. Wolf man was vicious and could be killed by silver bullets and only changed at the full moon. Then there was Van Helsing, who chased Dracula but didn’t succeed until the ‘virgin’ said the spell in German.

None of that is the vampires and werewolves of today. Those are the creatures of the past. And I think that is to some degree why my vampires aren’t just sex appeal lovely creatures. They are evil, vicious and cruel.

So what kind of goblins and dark creatures do you like to read about? Do you like the old appeal of vicious and evil or the new trend of sexual and honorable? I’d love your opinion!

Check out my website, www.ashleynemer.com or shoot me an email Ashley@ashleynemer.com and tell me what you think!

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What an awesome question, Ashley. *off to think about it*

Okay, I’m back. I think I like a mixture of evil, vicious, cruel, and sexy. They can skip the honorable part though. 😉

I’d love to know what others think. Sound off below.

Thanks, Ashley! Happy Halloween!

Trouble writing your story? #Author Kevin A. Ranson has this #writingtip.

12182182_10153535926927702_9617671_nI had the pleasure of meeting Kevin A. Ranson at a Creatures of the Nyght local book club meeting a few weeks ago. In an industry where you meet lots of people who just want to know what YOU can do for THEM, not how you can be there for each other, Kevin was a refreshing change of pace. Definitely a cool guy, and an amazing writer to boot. I’m honored that he agreed to guest post on my blog. If you’re in a writing rut, Kevin’s got the skills to pay the bills…so check out his writing tip.

Without further delay…

Taking the Time to Write the Right Story

When people find out I’m a writer, I’m asked, “How long does it take to complete a novel?”

One book took me over two decades to write: The Matriarch, a vampire novel set in and around my old college town in central West Virginia.

Truth to tell, it wasn’t ready to be written. I was telling the wrong story.

The original main character’s name was Daniel, a young man lucky enough to have the love of a young woman. One evening while left alone, the young woman is attacked by something or someone but doesn’t remember what happened. As Daniel mistakes her transformation for severe illness, he is forced to watch as a person dependent upon him ends up no longer needing him. She becomes a creature of the night and destroys her maker in revenge. In the end, she asks Daniel to join her – forever – but he’s too afraid to trust and accept…and she is lost to him.

It was supposed to be an emotional journey, but it never worked. Fortunately, I knew just enough to know I didn’t know enough to make the story work. I had neither the real-world knowledge nor the writing skill yet. After two complete drafts, I shelved it…forgetting it ever existed for a time.

Life went on.

Twenty years later, I found and skimmed through the manuscripts again, realizing the biggest problem: there was no reason to care anything about Daniel. He wasn’t the protagonist; he was a narrator. He didn’t do anything. It was the young woman’s story, and the first thing I needed to do was to give it to her.

In my own life growing up, I had several matriarchs on both sides of my family, willful and capable women who 12182207_10153535927187702_1549625341_nsought their spouses as partners instead of rescuers. My new protagonist, Janiss, needed these qualities but also the opportunity to develop them. I recreated her as an only child encouraged by her father and groomed by her mother, but I also tempered her with a childhood spent with two neighboring brothers, one of whom was Daniel. Janiss had the capability and the means to become whatever or whoever she wanted to be, but there needed to be a catalyst to spark her vampire hero’s journey.

But what to do with former boyfriend Daniel: her safe bet for a normal, peaceful, and uneventful life? He had to die, of course…and Janiss would be the one to kill him. If he couldn’t be a good example, I was going to make him a dire warning. Yes, I tried to save him – I never intended for him to die – but I couldn’t see how he could survive because of the second story problem.

In the original draft, the transformation had been a cakewalk. The flu? Nah. Vampires, I thought, should be both dangerous and deadly, and that needed to be seen and felt immediately. The antagonist couldn’t make it easy for Janiss and neither could I. Killing the person she meant to spend the rest of her life with (after being murdered herself) was truly the loss of everything. Worse yet, how could she go to anyone for help when she might murder them, too? It made no sense telling a story about bloodthirsty monsters if they could too easily resist their killing nature; only living human blood would do.

Daniel’s death also served a greater purpose. The antagonist set Janiss up to choose evil, gift-wrapping the boy like a Happy Meal in a scheme to destroy who she was. Instead, she chose to cling to his memory, a reminder to keep it under control. Vampires in my world are cursed with a piece of the soul and memories of those they kill through blood drain. Daniel wasn’t just her first victim; he would always be with her. Most would call that a curse, but she embraced it to hold into her humanity.

Finally, there was a local legend, a century-old ghost story about a tragic event I knew about but hadn’t before fully researched. Names, places, and a still-unsolved mystery…every element ripe for fictionalization. The novel then took on a life of its own as well as retained a distinctly Mountain State flavor. I could no longer limit the story to one book! Fully formed characters appeared from nowhere that become integral to the series, all of whom were inspired by people or personalities I have known in my life. It’s more than I could have ever hoped for, and it often continues to surprise me what my characters do next.

If you’ve been sitting on an idea for a book that feels unfinished, don’t fret; maybe you’re right. Your creation may not be ready for birth and you may not be ready to parent it into the world. Work on other things and live a little; revisit your idea from time to time. Inspiration is everywhere and in everything, so look for it all around you.

When you’re ready, it will be waiting.

*************************************************************************************************************

Kevin A. Ranson is a content creator, horror writer, and film critic.

Heeding a macabre calling listening to “Mother Ghost Nursery Rhymes” in kindergarten, Kevin started writing in grade school and filled countless notebooks with story ideas while touring the Mediterranean in the US Navy. He is the author of The Spooky Chronicles and the vampire thriller series The Matriarch at CedarcrestSanctum.com, creator/critic for MovieCrypt.com and “ghost writer” for horror host Grim D. Reaper. Jedi master of Google-Fu, Bing-Jitsu, and buttered toast.

Author Blog: http://thinkingskull.com

Social Media:

http://www.amazon.com/author/kevinaranson

https://www.goodreads.com/kevinaranson

http://twitter.com/kevinaranson

https://www.facebook.com/KevinARanson

#IndieThursday **S.M. Dahman #Author #GuestPost~Interracial Romance in Fiction**

Help me welcome S.M. Dahman to the blog today. She’s the author of the current thriller novel I’m reading: Twisted Greens. We met on Twitter one day, and we’ve been “hanging” ever since.

Without further ado…

“First and foremost, thank you Dicey for inviting me to be a guest on your blog! I’m honored you’ve asked me to blab about a topic that has many tongues wagging. Hopefully, I won’t disappoint. 🙂

Now, with the salutation and disclaimer out of the way, it’s time to get to the juicy stuff; the stuff Dicey brought me here to talk about: interracial relationships. This is a subject that hits close to home. Obviously, dear observant reader, IMG_20121202_204342I’m sure you’ve figured out from the photos that I’m in an interracial relationship. It wasn’t until I started dating my then boyfriend that I realized that there aren’t many depictions of interracial couples in the media. It was also during this time (roughly early 2012) that I stumbled upon a little niche in the romance market that has since exploded. Interracial romance (IR) novels, particularly those that have black women/white men protagonists (BWWM) and that are authored by black women have really carved a space out for themselves in the market. Go to Amazon right now and type in BWWM in the search bar and look what pops up. Go on. I’ll wait…

Ah! You’re back! Were you surprised by what you saw? There’s a plethora of BWWM novels out there. Some are good and others are downright terrible. The good IR novels encompass realistic mixing and matching of different races and cultural backgrounds. Although the characters are physically and/or culturally different, they are still people, meaning they don’t fall victim to narrow stereotypical archetypes. The novelty of it is downright enthralling! I’ve tried seeking out other genres that encompassed mixing different races or cultures, but to no avail. That sucks because it’s nice to read positive representations of diverse people. Hell, you may even learn something.

Whether they’re good or bad, IR novels are definitely popular. Hmm. But, why have they become so popular? Is it because black women want to feel just as desirable as their white counterparts in novels? Maybe. However, that still doesn’t explain why it’s particularly BWWM (there are some authors who are expanding this to include men of all races now). Is it because authors want to write what they know? That’s plausible. In fact, that kind of served as the catalyst that got my own words flowing. But statistics show that interracial couples are still in the minority when compared to overall couples. Regardless to whatever the reason may be, I’m happy that these novels exist, primarily because they help open a dialogue about interracial dating and it’s nice to see reflections of other shades of love in literature.

Perhaps the most asked question that most “mixed” couples hear is “what’s is it like to be in an interracial relationship?” It’s even a question that pops up in IR novels, usually from the plucky BFF of the black female protagonist. Frankly, I find the question annoying, but I get what people are asking. Most people tend photo.PNGto date within their own race. That’s understandable since relationships are founded on common ground and sharing the same race (and everything that it encompasses) is one such commonality. However, if you look beyond the exterior, you may find out you have more in common with someone who looks nothing like you. That’s what I found out in late 2011 and I haven’t looked back since. Being married to my husband is great! He’s sweet, thoughtful, considerate, giving, loving, affectionate, patient, encouraging, etc. I could go on forever with the adjectives. With that being said, he’s not all those things because he’s white, but rather it’s because he’s a good man. Period. Don’t get it twisted y’all. There are some douchebag white guys out there just as there are douchebag dudes of any other race. Peep out Investigative Discovery and you’ll see plenty. But, I digress. If we return to the original question posed earlier in this post, then my answer is that being in an interracial relationship with my husband is like being married to a great man that I vibe with on many levels.

Now, I’m not completely blind, deaf, and dumb. I know that we don’t live in a post racial society (although some disagree and they get the side eye) and that there are some out there who don’t condone interracial relationships for various reasons (whether they openly acknowledge it or not). If we’re being completely honest, there are probably more who fit the latter category than we’d care to admit. For instance, I’ve heard people express concern over potential children having an identity crisis (the dreaded “who am I” question). I’ve also heard about black men complaining that black women must not think black men are “good enough” and so they’ve dated or married outside of their race. Both of these assertions are utter bullshit and they both say more about the person making the comment(s) than about the people in the relationship. While it’s true that biracial children may more so identify with one of their parents’ cultures than with the other, I don’t think that classifies them as having an “identity crisis.” In fact, many other factors play into how one chooses to self identify, both extrinsically (e.g. socioeconomic strata) and intrinsically (e.g. inherited personality traits). As far as the comment about thinking black men aren’t good enough, I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that’s not how I feel. The last guy I dated before I met my husband was black and I’ve dated many other black guys throughout my late teens and 20’s. I don’t think less about any of them. We just didn’t work out for a number of reasons. I mean, that is the point of dating, right, to find out if you’re compatible?

Anyway, wiTwisted Greens eBook Cover 6 x 9th all that being said, people are diverse. As such, shouldn’t our books reflect that diversity? That common notion is how the universe introduced me to the Awesome Dicey and her work (Best Friends, Fantasy Lovers and Shameful in particular). What are your thoughts? How do you feel about interracial relationships?

If you’re looking to diversify your reading tastes, I suggest you check out Dicey’s work or check out my own little novel, Twisted Greens. If you’re interested in finding out more about me or my book, find me on social media (Twitter, Facebook) or on my blog!”
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“…people are diverse. As such, shouldn’t our books reflect that diversity?”— EXACTLY. That’s what I keep saying, man. Thanks for reading my books, S.M.! And thanks so much for opening up and discussing something so personal–your relationship–and something so important–diversity! Your post wasn’t disappointing at all. Come back and post again any time.

Now…I have to get back to finishing your book.

Let me go see what AJ is up to now. 🙂