Friday, September 19, 2014

Guest - Rachel Leigh Smith

Good morning! We have a terrific post from a great author, Rachel Leigh Smith. Rachel will talk about how her new novel, My Name is A'yen, was born in a dream. Have you ever dreamed a story that turned into a book? I have. It's fun...well, for me, not for the hero or heroine. I wonder how Rachel's characters will do?

With Fall approaching, I thought I'd offer up some terrific cinnamon coffee and fabulous gluten-free pumpkin muffins! So help yourself and grab one of our comfy seats. Enjoy!

PS Remember - recipes for our tasty treats are free for subscribers to my newsletter and the newsletter is free too. So sign up today!


I Dreamed My Novel

Yes, you read that right. I dreamed this novel, My Name Is A’yen. I’ll never forget it either. May 16, 2012. What should have been my third wedding anniversary. Which is a whole other story.

A’yen walked into my head, saying a word over and over and over. At first it sounded like “laxshmi.” And I was all what the heck is that? But he kept saying it, and it became more distinct. Loks Mé. Which turned out to be what his people are called.

See, he’s an alien. A humanoid alien, but still an alien. The one thing I could not picture myself writing about. Ever. My first completed novel was a historical romance, one garnering some interest from agents. Me? Write science fiction? No way. Never occurred to me.

A’yen had other ideas. While eating breakfast the next day I made notes about the dream and what all he’d been telling me as I slowly woke up that morning and joined the land of the living. I’m not a morning person. I still have all those notes, though a lot changed as the story progressed.

A few days before, I had finished yet another draft on the historical romance, was almost 30,000 into the sequel, but I was frustrated. The market I was writing for didn’t know what to do with what I wanted to write. I decided to run with this “thing” as I called it, because it was easy. And I needed easy.

Boy, was it easy! I wrote a 97,000 word first draft in 86 days. The first 10,000 came out in four days. With a day long break while we painted our swimming pool. I had no life that summer, but I didn’t care, because I was writing again and having the time of my life. My crit partner was not a sci-fi fan really, but she devoured every scene as fast as I could write it and fell in love with the characters. At one point she told me she craved more of the story like a woman dying of chocolate withdrawals.

When I finished it I tried to go back to the historical series. That lasted about a week, and I set it aside to write the next A’yen’s Legacy book, The King’s Mistress. Then I wrote the third one, To Save A Life. Then I wrote the fifth one. Right now I’m writing the fourth one. The historical series is sitting on my hard drive, unfinished.

This world has taken over my mind, heart, and imagination, and I never want to let it go. I hope you’ll give the book a chance and let A’yen move into your heart.

Excerpt from My Name Is A’yen:

            When the transport shuttle broke through the atmosphere and space stretched before him in all its infinite glory, the chains of his grief tightened. Enforcers and keepers couldn’t dictate his every move in space, and definitely wouldn’t follow him all the way to the Rim. So why did he want to curl up in a corner and cry his eyes out?
Maybe because, up here, he’d tasted freedom. Knew the wonders waiting to be discovered. Knew without a doubt no one saw him as disposable, because the only people he’d interacted with were ones who loved him. He didn’t have any of that this time.
Dr. Hart’s reflection smiled at him. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.”
Her hand touched his shoulder for two seconds. “Your face says otherwise.”
He shrugged away from her touch, turning to face her. Something about her, the way she studied him maybe, encouraged him to be honest. This time he listened. “I’ve lost my whole life. Being up here again makes it real.”
Her left hand dove into her pocket. “I want you to have these. I know there are things stored in them.”
In her open palm lay Master’s coding chips. She had no idea the treasures cradled in her hand. His maps, video letters from Mother, a recording of Yanna’s first birthday celebration. Which he’d missed by three days. Maybe he could spend her next one with her. Turning seven was important too. He held his hand out and she dropped them into his palm. “Thank you.”

Bio: Rachel Leigh Smith writes romance for the hero lover. She lives in central Louisiana with her family and a half-crazed calico. When not writing, which isn’t often, she’s hanging with her family, doing counted cross-stitch, or yakking about life, the universe, and everything with her besties. There may also be Netflix binging . . .

She blogs sporadically at, can be found on Twitter @rachelleighgeek, and hangs out on Facebook, You can sign up for her newsletter here.

Buy Links:

They've taken everything from him. Except his name.

The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master's murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant.

Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A'yen's trust. But she's a breeder's daughter and can't be trusted.

Hidden rooms, information caches and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance. When she's threatened he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeder's Association's radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.

Question for readers: Who is your favorite romance hero?

Rafflecopter code: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Win this necklace at the Rafflecopter giveaway. Good luck!


Lynda Again --
Hope you've enjoyed our guest today. If you did, please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave a comment to let her know. Remember, if you're a member of my newsletter, you'll get the recipe for the Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins along with the newsletter. Sign up. It's free!

Have a Blessed day!

Contact me


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tall, Dark and Paranormal from Terry Spear

Hi all! I'm sharing this for Terry Spear, one of our favorite authors. I know you'll be happy to get this message ;-)

Today’s the day!!! Happy Release Day!

Tall, Dark and Paranormal: Ten Thrilling Tales of Sexy Alpha Bad Boys

From some of the hottest names in paranormal romance, this $.99 limited-time boxed set has something for everyone, from werewolves to vampires, ghosts to demons, and witches to wizards. With over 825,000 words in these ten full-length novels, you’ll spend hours falling in love with each of these wickedly hot heroes.

CRESCENT MOON by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Lori Handeland  A cryptozoologist travels to New Orleans to investigate whispers of a wolf in the Honey Island Swamp.

SPELLBOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Opal Carew  What is Lucinda, a tenth level wizard, to do when Destiny pairs her with a man who is utterly domineering, overwhelmingly masculine, incredibly irresistible and, according to her most trusted friend, extremely dangerous?

FOREVER FREED by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Laura Kaye  A reclusive, empathic vampire falls in love with a woman he planned to kill, and must fight his ancient guilt, bloodlust, and an old vampire rival who threatens everything he holds dear.

SINS OF THE FLESH by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Caridad Pineiro  Mick Carrera is a mercenary hired to eliminate problems, but the genetically engineered woman with the superhuman powers is nothing like what he expected.

SPELL BOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Julian  A warrior born to defend. A young witch in need of protection. A dangerous desire neither of them expected.

HAUNTING A COWBOY - A Brand New Story from USA Today Bestselling Author Randi Alexander  When a ranch foreman hires a ghost whisperer to handle the spirit that’s haunting him, the attraction between them is…supernatural

HUNTRESS FOR HIRE by USA Today Bestselling Author Terry Spear  He's bound to get her killed, so why does the huntress desire the vampire-turned hunter more than life itself?

DEAD SEXY by USA Today Bestselling Author Paige Tyler  Can her love save him from a curse worse than death?

ASMODEUS: DEMON OF LUST by Bestselling Author Sara Humphreys  ASMODEUS: When Kai Kelly discovers an unusual ring in the attic it leads to much more than she bargained for. She may not realize what she has in her possession, but the boys in Hell sure got the message.

BEAUTY AND THE BEST by Bestselling Author, Judi Fennell Reclusive artist Todd Best hasn't produced anything since the death of his wife…until aspiring romance novelist Jolie Gardener enters his life and turns it upside down.

If you love sexy men of a paranormal persuasion and want to read 10 novels for a phenomenal price—be sure and get your copy!

If you haven’t picked one up, it’s time because you can start reading NOW! I will give some prizes away at the party and also on my blog. Happy Tuesday! Happy Tall, Dark and Paranormal Day! Facebook Release Party for Tall, Dark and Paranormal!

Join authors Lori Handeland, Laura Kaye, Caridad Pineiro, Stephanie Julian, Opal Carew, Randi Alexander, Terry Spear, Paige Tyler, Sara Humphreys, and Judi Fennell, as they celebrate the launch of their super sexy box set! You’ll get 10 thrilling tales of sexy alpha bad boys for just $0.99 for a limited time! We’ll be giving away prizes, chatting, posting pictures of paranormal hotties, and more!

We’re up at I Love Vampire Novels also!

Make your day a hot, sexy, and fun paranormal day!
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”

Monday, September 08, 2014

Guest - Frances Pauli

Good morning and how is everyone today? Here at the Scott household we are doing a little preparation for our beautiful daughter's upcoming wedding. There's the shower, the cake, the coffee, the this and the, you know what I mean. But for now, let's all sit back and enjoy this visit from author Frances Pauli who will be discussing prescience (yes, I've been looking for a place to use that word ;-) ) We have some excellent Cinnamon flavored coffee and luscious Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies (see my newsletter for a recipe). Grab them before they're gone!

And now for our guest!


Writing What has Been Foretold.

Some of my favorite characters from classical speculative fiction and romance have had what amounts to extra-sensory abilities. From the Bene Gesserit of Dune, to Espers, Mystics, and a host of Fortune tellers, I have always loved a character who can see what's coming...and still goes forth willingly despite that.

But when I decided to introduce my own race of clairvoyant aliens in SEEN, I suddenly realized just how tricky fictional precognition can be. For one thing, a character forewarned is a character forearmed. Knowing what is around the corner has a danger of removing suspense and tension. It can, however, also increase the sense of dread in the reader. I know there is a monster behind that door, so why is she opening it! These moments are a lot of fun, but they lead to the second problem.

Why do they still open it?

Each author will, of course, invent their own ways to solve these issues, but one of the themes that kept coming up as I looked further into precognition was the idea that a vision or prophecy is only a fraction of the entire picture. This was a goldmine in its own right for using a snatch of imagery to give a false impression of the future instead of a completely accurate foreknowledge.

Beyond the vision the character has can be an entire big picture that adds up to something quite different than the precognition suggests. In addition, many bad circumstances can resolve into good outcomes. So that, while a character might be walking into the fire, on the other side there could be a very desirable conclusion.

In other words, we might lose the battle and still win the war. The opposite is also true, and chasing after a good vision can lead the character into all sorts of nasty circumstances.
Using prophecy and glimpses of the future is a fantastic way to misdirect. Finding your character's motivation for going forward regardless of the known danger, is a great way to build in strength and heroism. They must, however, have a very good reason for walking into that danger. Of course, the character can be driven by circumstance to take that step unwillingly, which is also a great suspense builder. I know there's a monster behind this door, but the one chasing me is even larger and scarier and there's no other way to turn...

You can probably tell I had a lot of fun with this.

One thing that did trip me up more than once was keeping the vision of a future scene consistent and accurate with that scene when I finally got around to writing it. I am not a scene writer who can skip about (though I envy the authors who can). I must start at the beginning and continue forward until I reach the end, and so, when my character had a vision of a later event, the event was yet to be written.

Which, of course, resulted in a lot of editing on my part. Things changed by the time I reached the preconceived moment, and so I would recommend to all the linear writers out there like myself, that you tag or mark or somehow make it easy to reference the scenes both where the event is foretold an when it actually unfolds. As I found out, you will be doing a lot of flipping back and forth between them in the editing phase.

Unless you decide to make the vision faulty? Slightly off of accurate? What about a character who has visions that are intentionally wrong? A fortune teller who only gets it right every now and again? The more I think about it, the more possibilities arise. Each has its own challenges, but I found the task worth the effort.  The topic is vast and unbelievably fun to explore if you have an interest, and I highly recommend playing with the future.

I know I love many books and characters that do. And I'd love to hear about your favorite clairvoyants as well.

Thanks for peering forward with me!

About Frances
Frances Pauli writes across multiple genres. Her work is speculative, full of the fantastic, and quite often romantic at its core. Whenever possible, she enjoys weaving in a little humor. Once upon a time she was a visual artist, but she's since come to her senses. Now she fills her miniscule amount of free time with things like crochet, belly dance and abysmal ukulele playing. She lives in Central Washington State with her husband, two children, a pair of hairless dogs and five tarantulas.

Princes of the Shroud book two
Coming  Fall/Winter 2014

Rowri is a priestess with prophetic dreams—and she’s dreamt of her soulmate. So when she volunteers to be the gifted bride in a peace negotiation between her own peoples and the Tolfarians, she is certain that the lilac-skinned man in her visions is the Tolfarian leader she is to marry.

But prophecy is never simple, and visions are never clear. Shayd, a seer and one of the Shrouded, is summoned to transport Rowri to her new husband-to-be. When Rowri sets eyes on his lilac skin, she knows she’s made a terrible mistake—one she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life if she wants to save her people and prevent war.

The two are drawn together, and the fates of two races hinge on the decisions they make. On the precipice of volcanic eruptions, galactic terrorism, and mercenary attacks, Shayd and Rowri must give up every hope of happiness for their people, or sacrifice everything for true love.

Princes of the Shroud book one

Vashia’s father is the planetary governor. Unfortunately, he’s also a complete bastard. When he promises her to his lackey, Jarn, she panics. On the run in the nastiest corner of the galaxy, Vashia seizes her one chance at escape and signs on as a bride candidate for the elusive race of aliens known as the Shrouded, unaware that she very well may be chosen as the next Queen of Shroud

Of the seven, volatile Shrouded princes, Dolfan may be the only one that doesn't covet the throne. So the last thing he expects to find in the future queen is the woman of his dreams. If he wants Vashia, he must accept the throne as well. Unfortunately, his long-time rival has the same idea. Now, only the planet’s sacred crystal can decide their fates, but what happens when the right woman is paired with the wrong man? And when Jarn comes after what was promised to him?

Buy Links

About Frances
Frances Pauli writes across multiple genres. Her work is speculative, full of the fantastic, and quite often romantic at its core. Whenever possible, she enjoys weaving in a little humor. Once upon a time she was a visual artist, but she's since come to her senses. Now she fills her miniscule amount of free time with things like crochet, belly dance and abysmal ukulele playing. She lives in Central Washington State with her husband, two children, a pair of hairless dogs and five tarantulas.

Lynda Again --
Hope you've enjoyed our guest today. If you did, please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave a comment to let her know. Remember, if you're a member of my newsletter, you'll get the recipe for the Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies along with the newsletter. Sign up. It's free!

Have a Blessed day!

Contact me


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Guest - Tameri Etherton

Good morning! We've got a terrific post today by Tameri Etherton. Tameri talks about the goal of writers and the desire of readers - to create and experience the act of falling in love. So help yourself to decadent Apple Pecan Scone (recipe courtesy of Dawn Charles of and available to subscribers of my newsletter (See below for a fantastic offer from Dawn). We also have a fantastic selection of coffees available. I bet you'll find your personal favorite in one of the carafes. Get comfortable and enjoy our guest!

By the way, Tameri also has a great offer for commenters - a drawing for a Starbucks gift certificate. She's got the details in her post so Good Luck!


First, I want to thank Lynda and Star-Crossed Romance for having me today and giving me the chance to chat about one of my favorite topics. It’s a pleasure to be here!

Falling In Love On The Page

Love is fabulous. The euphoria you feel when in love, it can’t be replicated or even explained, really. Anyone who’s been in love will probably tell you it’s the best feeling in the world.

Most everyone wants it, and, I would argue, everyone needs it.

Even fictional characters. Those pesky critters who, for writers, live in our heads and chatter at us all day long. Oh, the joy of writing a scene for two characters who are falling in love, and throwing every obstacle at them except the kitchen sink. Hmm, that would actually be interesting in a fight. :)

But I’m not talking about characters falling in love, not really. I’m talking about those characters we, as readers, fall in love with. Maybe you’ve heard about “Book Boyfriends”, or a friend has mentioned a hero she can’t stop thinking about, and who doesn’t have a friend who is looking for her very own quintessentially aloof Mr. Darcy. These are the characters that snag a heartstring and won’t let go. These are the men we fantasize about, obsess over, and sometimes wish were our boyfriends or husbands. Jon Snow? Oh heck yes! Christian Grey? He might not be your cup of tea, but women the world over want to fix him. And we can’t forget about all of the guys in JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood!

So what makes a perfect Book Boyfriend?

The answer to that question is as varied as the women (and men) who read books! Some like an Alpha hero who can wield a machine gun far easier than a diaper, others like the sensitive type who can prevent world domination with one stroke on the keyboard. Me? I like a bit of both.

Intelligence is sexy as hell. But I’m not opposed to an awesome set of abs. Add a sword and I’m positively swooning.

No matter how many times I read over my manuscript, I fall in love with my hero all over again. Right now, that’s Rhoane from my fantasy series. I know I created him, but somewhere along the way he developed into his own character and did things that surprised me. Same with my heroine, Taryn. I might even love her more than Rhoane (shhh! Don’t tell him). Writing is funny like that. We make up these people, let them take up residence inside our heads for however long, and then fall madly, deeply, forever in love with them. When I have to hurt them, it breaks my heart. But without a little pain on their part, the story would suffer. Right? It can’t be all roses and sonnets. Every so often I get so upset with what I put them through that I have to walk away.

It’s the same when I’m reading a book. I want so badly for everything to go right for the characters, these imaginary people I’m falling in love with, that I get angry when the writer pulls them apart. Yes, I am that passionate about what I read and write. And you know what? I bet I’m not alone. But in the end it all works out. At least, I’m happiest when it does. A true romantic at heart, I love me a good happily ever after.

Now it’s your turn. Who’s your Book Boyfriend or Girlfriend? Has a book ever enraged you so much you had to stop reading, only to pick it up an hour later because you had to make sure the characters were okay? Are you a romantic, or are you cool with the hero and heroine being happy for now?

As a special thank you for stopping by and commenting, everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing to receive a $10 Starbucks gift card and a cool bit of swag. To win, you’ll need to send me your mailing address (I promise I won’t sell the information or do anything nefarious with it, just mail you some awesome stuff!). You can send me your email now and that way if you win, I’ll be able to reach you right away, or you can wait until the winner is drawn. The deadline for comments is Sunday, September 7, 2014. I’ll pop back in and leave a comment with the winner’s name.

Here’s a bit about Taryn and Rhoane’s story¦

The Stones of Kaldaar: Song of the Swords Book One

Some say she’s the one of prophecy,
that she’ll bring balance to the world.
Others say she’s the destroyer,
meant to bring an end to Aelinae.
They’re both right.

Everything Taryn knew was a lie. Her life on Earth, the man she thought was her grandfather, even her age, were all fabrications meant to protect her, to keep her hidden until she could return to her home world. Once on Aelinae, Taryn realizes she has more to fear than the creeping darkness that threatens to suffocate her.

Unwilling to become a pawn in the machinations of her scheming family and the world she now calls home, Taryn sets out to learn about her mysterious powers. Reluctantly, she accepts the help of Rhoane, a man who promises to protect her, but whom she's not sure she can trust.

As tensions mount and her loved ones are threatened, Taryn must confront an ancient enemy and stop a sinister plan to bring back a banished god.

On Aelinae they say there can be no Light without Dark and no darkness without light. If Taryn fails, there will be only Blackness. Absolute. Binding. Without end.

Failure is simply not an option.

Available now on Amazon! Click here for more details.

About Tameri
Rocker of sparkly tiaras, friend of dragons, and lover of all things sexy, Tameri Etherton leaves a trail of glitter in her wake as she creates and conquers new worlds and the villains who inhabit them. When not masquerading as a mom and writer, rumor has it she travels to far off places, drinking tea and finding inspiration for her kickass heroines and the rogues who steal their hearts with her own Prince Charming by her side.

Social Media Links:


-- Lynda Again
    I hope you've enjoyed our guest today. I confess I fall in love with every well drawn hero I read about. Do you have a Book Boyfriend? Tell us about him.
     Our recipe for Apple Pecan Scones is contributed by book cover designer Dawn Charles of Dawn is presently working on a long-term project to publish a series of cookbooks and is seeking volunteer recipe testers. To volunteer, please email her at and tell her what sort of recipes you would prefer to test (breakfast/brunch, main courses, side dishes, desserts, party/holiday, or kid's cuisine). 

    Remember, subscribers of my newsletter will receive a copy of Dawn's recipe. Join today.

    Oh, and if you liked this post, please click on the g+ button to expand it in google search. Thanks!

   Have a Blessed day!

Contact me


Monday, August 11, 2014

Sourcebooks Contest

I received this info via email and thought some of you might be interested. Scroll down to a Rafflecopter Giveaway below and click. When you get to Rafflecopter, simply click on the button to enter the Bed, Bath and Beyond drawing. Good luck!

In honor of her July debut, Find My Way Home, Michele is channeling her interior designing main character, Bertie Anderson, and giving away one $25 BedBath and Beyond gift card to a lucky fan! The contest will last from August 11th to August 31st and the winner will be chosen through Rafflecoptor.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

She’s just the kind of drama
Interior designer Bertie Anderson has big dreams for her career, and they don’t include being stuck in her hometown of Harmony, North Carolina. One last client, and Bertie is packing up her high heels and heading for her dream job in Atlanta. But her plans are derailed by the gorgeous new owner of that big old Victorian she’s always wanted to renovate…

He’s vowed to avoid
For retired tennis pro Keith Morgan, Harmony is a far cry from fast-paced Miami—which is exactly the point. Keith is starting a new life for himself and his daughter Maddie, and he’s left the bright lights and hot women far behind. Bertie’s exactly the kind of curvaceous temptation he doesn’t need, and Keith refuses to let their sizzling attraction distract him from his goals. Keith and Bertie both have to learn that there’s more than one kind of escape, and it takes more than wallpaper to turn a house into a home.

Order Find My Way Home Today!


Friday, August 01, 2014

Guest - Miranda Rae Carter

Good morning! I've had a wealth of computer problems these past few weeks. I ended up getting a new laptop but couldn't get my files transferred. So she's off to the computer guy to be repaired or, if not that, ti gave the files rescued. But for now we have a lovely selection of coffee and tea, luscious guilty pleasure cakes and a fantastic guest. Grab a comfy seat and enjoy!


World Building in Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Novels
By Miranda Rae Carter

            Have you ever wanted to write a paranormal or fantasy novel?

            Have you ever read a paranormal or fantasy novel and wondered how the heck the author created such epic details? How did they remember them all?

            Maybe you read a paranormal or fantasy novel and were left with questions about the world.

            Well, there’s no specific template when it comes to building a world for authors; however, a good author will know countless more pages of detail about the world and its characters or species, than what is actually written in the story. Think of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, and her novel The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide. This book contains over 500 pages of interviews, details about the clans, pictures, maps and so much more that was never written in the series itself. She probably has another novel worth of details about Twilight’s characters and scenes sitting hidden in a desk drawer somewhere. The point is, world building is not an easy task for authors; but if you want to do it right and have a paranormal or fantasy world that impresses your readers, your world must—at least—have these twenty-five details. Keep in mind, this goes beyond the page-turning plot and thorough character sketches you’ve established. 

A name for the species you’ve created.  Are they vampires, witches, centaurs? Or, are they something you’ve produced on your own, like I did, when I created the malions?

A detailed description of the world they live in. What does it look like? Does it smell different? Is it dark and musty or full of beautiful castles, meadows, mountains and waterfalls? Do they have their own calendar or special celebrations?

If they don’t live in regular society, they must have a way to make a living and get by. What is that?

A name for their language, and possibly some translations, if you are inventing your own language.

A life span, including details about reproduction, and age of maturity. This is also a good time to include details about how males and females are different, beyond reproductive organs, and circadian/cyclic rhythms. Do they sleep? When?

Details about how relationships, marriages and family structures work.

How big are your species compared to humans? Are the females bigger or smaller than the males, and how soon do they reach their full height and weight?

What do they eat? Do they have a special diet? Is there something specific they need to survive? Is it scarce or plentiful?

Is there something that would instantly kill your species, that may not kill a human? I’m thinking sunlight and vampires, or water and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Do they go to school or have any formal training when they are children? Who teaches them?

A mythology for your species that disproves any current mythology we may have believed up until this very point.

Laws and regulations in your fantasy world, or ones that differ from where your story takes place if you’re writing paranormal.

An explanation of how your species came into the world. Did they come from another planet? Did they come from the cross-breeding of two species? Were they a science experiment gone wrong?

Do they practice any religion? If so, how is it similar or different to current religious
practices? Do they worship a different God?

Detailed maps of the world you are creating.

Exact population numbers, in every area of the map you are drawing.

How does your species dress? Do they wear anything at all? Why?

A list of specific details about any special abilities your species may have, and what they do.

Details of your species’ weakness. Everyone species must have some sort of weakness.
Can your species exist alongside the human world? Why or why not?
Specific details about the enemy, the enemy’s world, and why they have become the enemy.

Is there a hierarchy in your species? What is the person at the top called? What is their purpose during that time and how long can they be in that position? Are there more than one leader?

What is your species emergency plan if they were discovered by the human world?
What is your species here for? Or, what is their purpose? Are they trying to protect something?

Are there human allies they have? If so, how many people know about them, and how do you go about becoming a trusted friend of this species? Is it forbidden to communicate with the human world?

These are some of the most important details of a good paranormal/fantasy novel; they make your story realistic and allow your readers to imagine the place as if it truly exists. The other aspect you must have before you publish your story (or self-publish, like I did) is an experienced editor who works in the paranormal/fantasy field. Even when you’ve built your world, perfected it, had it critiqued and edited by friends or fellow writers, there still may be questions left unanswered, or plot-points that need tweaking, and you only have one chance to impress your purchasing readers before they never pick up your novels again.
Scary, but true.

Good luck and happy writing!


Book Blurb:
Deep underground, an ancient species of mystic healers exist: the malions. Their capabilities are endless. Their strength is colossal. But they are also being hunted and their numbers are dwindling.

One of them has just fallen in love with a human.

On the west coast of Canada, sixteen-year-old Melissa Lawrences's life is about to take a turn for the worse. It could also be her saving grace.

She just can't get caught.


Adolescence hasn’t been fun for Liss Lawrence. And after a year in Vancouver, when she’s finally adjusted to her new situation, a freak car accident sends her life spinning out of control and crashing into the world of the malions, a hidden race silently helping humanity from secret enclaves underground.

Liss’s knowledge of the malions endangers her family when Jaredsons Securities takes an interest in her accident. Few know the men of Jaredsons Securities, an international intelligence company specializing in missing persons cases, are actually the Vykhars, ancient malion enemies whose true purpose is the eradication of the malion race. The Vykhars will stop at nothing to discover if Liss is connected with the malions, and if they do, they will exploit her.

Perhaps more dangerous still are Liss’s growing feelings for Rion, a strong-willed malion scarred by his encounters with Vykhars and carrying a secret that could destroy their relationship. But Liss has a secret and scars of her own, and Rion’s fiercely protective nature threatens to tear them back open.

Can this pair of unlikely lovers survive the dangers of the Vykhars? And can their love survive their own misconceptions?

This is an excerpt from Beneath the Surface, where Rion, the hero, gives the small yet crucial details of fairytale backstory I created to the heroine, Liss. He’s decided to give her these details because it’s time she learned the truth; she’s also in danger of being taken by the vykhars and Rion wants her to be properly informed. This scene happens approximately half-way through the novel. Backstory details are important, but, most importantly, not thrown to the reader at the beginning. Timing is everything.

I took a sip of my hot chocolate and crossed my legs the other
way. “So are all Jaredsons agents vykhars?”

“Yes. Jared was the name of the very first vykhar.”

“Are the stories true?”

“What stories?”

“Caine said that the stories in my book, Moonstone, Mae and
Malion Tales, were true.”

“That garbage came from a publishing house the Jaredsons own.
The original stories were passed from malion to cubshen—child
but the Jaredsons got a hold of a copy, changed the stories around
and sold it to the public, making everyone afraid of us. Once upon
a time, we were known as the Great Malion Healers. Now, we are
known only in storybooks as murderous monsters.”

“You’ve convinced me of the truth.”

“Yes, one of a few billion.”

“So what’s the real story? Because in my book, it says that a
malion kidnapped Princess Alysia and that Prince Jared rescued
her and killed the malion in a vicious fight.”

Rion huffed and growled again. “See what kind of trash that is?”

“I tore up the book at home when I found out you were a malion.
I just couldn’t believe anything it said after all you’d done for me.”

“Good, because the real story is called The King and the Malion
Healer.” Rion walked over to his desk, rustled around with some
papers and a couple of drawers, and tossed a book on the bed
beside me. It had a dark green cover, and a shamrock embellished
at the top. I flipped it open and everything inside it was hand-written
in black ink; the strange letters and symbols must have been
their language.

“The real story dates back more than nine hundred years. King
Jared assumed the throne when his father died, and he took a wife
immediately, the dreg manakacko. Her name was Alysia, but
the lying begins right after that: King Jared was a self-absorbed,                                          abusive man. He kept his kingdom on the brink of starvation while
he bathed in gold. Queen Alysia had to withstand unimaginable
torture; he did not leave her alone until she finally became pregnant.
They had a son, Prince Warren, but when the queen did not
conceive again, the abuse resumed.

“One night, when King Jared was bedding one of Queen
Alysia’s ladies-in-waiting, she fled the castle and paid a peasant to
take her to a malion healer, hoping he could cure her barrenness,
as you may have read. But the malion, whose name was Ranion,
refused to help her. Instead, he offered her a new life with him
in his malion community, with all the safety and protection she
would need.”

“That part was never in the story.”

“Just my point. He had heard of her suffering over the years,
and fallen in love with her long before she ever began her search
for him. When they finally met, he begged her not to return to
the king. But the queen would not leave without her son, so she
returned to the castle, only to find the king waiting for her, furious
as a selkie on the war path. The king’s persuasion ability was so
strong that Queen Alysia was unable to avoid telling him that she
had been to see a malion healer. King Jared was so angry with
the queen he took out his blade, cut off her beautiful long hair,
and dragged her into the forest to kill the malion. The castle guard
followed the king to the forest, but they refused to go near Ranion,
because they were worried about the curses malions were rumored
to possess.”

“Is that true?”

Rion rolled his eyes. “No! It is pegasus dung!”

I laughed. “Sorry for interrupting…go on.”

“Okay, so…King Jared became furious at that point…”
I listened intently as Rion continued. He became passionate
and enthusiastic in his telling; it was as if he himself had been the
one in battle with Jared. If there was anything I loved more than
a garden full of flowers, it was a good story. I jumped when he
used sound effects, and gasped when he began acting out the battle
between Jared and Ranion. He had me on the edge of my seat and
wired with excitement in just a few phrases.

“…Jared took out his sword to stab Ranion in the heart, only
Queen Alysia ran at King Jared, jumped on top of him and fought
to get the sword out of his hands.”

“She jumped in?”

“Yes!” he exclaimed, with eyes wider than I’d ever seen them.
“She was not your typical twelfth century Lady. She actually sacrificed
herself for Ranion. But King Jared was so strong that he
ripped Queen Alysia from his back and slashed her throat…”

I gasped. “Oh Rion, that’s an awful ending—how could you
end a story like that?”

“It is a true story, Melissa. They do not all have happy endings.”

“Well I don’t know if I want to hear any more.”

“Then you will not hear the best part.”

“It better be good!”

“It is…” Excitement smouldered in his eyes. “Ranion’s fury
against the king was so great at that moment, the tore the king
apart limb from limb, and—”

“—He became the greatest leighdur of all time, after the Creator
told him that the he and Alysia would once again be reunited…”
I sensed movement, and looked up see Rasadian standing
behind Rion. “Blah blah blah…spare us the rest.”

“Oh, Krighven,” Rion teased Rasadian. “You were never one
for the story of Ranion.”

“That is because I have to hear it every night. You forget that the
cubshen’s play chamber is right next to mine; I seriously believe
you ought to find another story to tell them.”

“It is their choice. They want to hear it, so I tell it.”

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 About Miranda
Miranda Rae Carter has lived in British Columbia her whole life, and is a self-proclaimed home-bug. She spends most of her time doing what she loves, and that is being a mom and wife—and trying to master the art of cooking. The rest of her time is divided between looking in mouths and writing.


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