Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest - Neely Powell

Good morning! It's the end of the week so I hope you have some great plans! Tomorrow I'll be attending a family reunion - for a family that sort of adopted me a few years ago. Super people and super food but I'll be away all day Saturday leaving Hubby in charge of my furbabies. But enough about me, lol. We have an assortment of cozy chairs and an addictive cappuccino. For the sweet treat, we've got a Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Scone. So tasty!

Don't forget to follow our guests instructions to enter in their drawing.

A Special World in an Ordinary Place

When we began plotting our first paranormal novels, we found we didn’t want to create an alternate reality as much as we wanted to put the extraordinary in the ordinary world. For us, this provides more of a challenge and gives us more ways to make our fiction believable. Is it so difficult to imagine the beautiful woman working quietly in the corner of the jewelry store is a faerie who thrives in a world of jewels? And maybe once in a while when she sees a couple she thinks are worthy, she adds a special bit of magic to the lovely engagement ring they pick out? As a matter of fact, that sounds like a great idea for a new book!

Since our first book, True Nature, is about a shape shifter and a psychic, we next wanted to create a world of white magic. We went to Ireland for the roots of our coven of witches and brought them to America after the first great plague in the 1700s. They traveled inland and, in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia, found a home that reminded them of the beautiful Mourne Mountains they left behind in Ireland. And that’s where New Mourne was born.

However, peace and prosperity comes at a price for our witches and their home. Since their first long-ago winter in New Mourne, they’ve been cursed by an angry ghost known as The Woman in White. She demands the life of one young witch from each generation. In exchange, New Mourne is a haven for the supernatural. Other witches, werewolves, Druids, shape shifters, wizards and fae populate New Mourne. An ancient dragon is rumored to reside at the top of a nearby mountain. All live in harmony with the Connelly coven, nature and humans.

Having all these magical people walking around in a regular town filled is what we love. We can go to the grocery store and imagine the man picking up his oversized frozen dinner is a shape shifter who needs some protein so he can shift and run in the wild that night. Or that the woman next door can fly. Or that faeries dance in the moonlight on the front lawn. So creating the fictional world of The Connelly Witches has been incredible fun.

Our witches are dedicated to the protection of their family and their town, but the latest generation will not acquiesce without a fight to the fierce spirit’s demands. The time of sacrifice is upon them in the first book of The Connelly Witches, Witch’s Awakening. The heroine is Brenna Connelly Burns, an elemental witch, the strongest of her generation, and destined to become the coven leader. Elemental magic gives Brenna power to control earth, wind, fire and water. She needs all of that and more as she battles a demon, searches for a way to break the family curse and falls for a shape shifting lawman.

Brenna’s younger sister, Fiona Connelly Burns, is a witch and a medium. She communicates with spirits and helps them pass over when unfinished business would otherwise bind them to earth. In Witch’s Haunting she struggles with evil of a ghostly nature as The Woman in White’s promise to take yet another Connelly seems destined to come true. While Fiona tangles with some angry specters, her heart is claimed by a charming reality TV producer who wants to make her and New Mourne infamous, even as he runs from some ghosts in his own past.

Eva Grace Connelly is first cousin to the Burns sisters and closer than most kin; she and Brenna were born to twin sisters at the same moment in the middle of a wild winter storm. In contrast to Brenna’s raw power, Eva Grace is a gentle but strong empath and healer. She’s sacrificed much in her life—never knowing her father, losing her mother to The Woman in White and her fiancĂ© to a wicked supernatural force—so Eva Grace is certain she will be her generation’s sacrifice. Standing with her against that deadly end is paranormal expert Rodric McGuire, PhD, who uses his gentle strength to heal Eva Grace’s broken heart and his special knowledge to help the Connelly witches face their worst enemy.

We hope you enjoy a scene from Witch’s Awakening, the first book of The Connelly Witches:

A barn owl was out and about, having left the nest in the old barn early on this sad night. These birds were usually seen when it was full dark, their wings spread, carrying them with silent speed. Brenna learned as a child that barn owls didn’t hoot. Their call was shrill, almost a scream. Or if threatened, they issued a hiss that could turn your blood cold.

It was fitting that an owl had come out early tonight, as myth and legend associated them with death.

The screeches continued. Brenna turned around, trying to spy the animal’s distinctive and pale heart-shaped face in the gathering shadows. She zeroed in on a ghost-like shape in an ancient hickory tree. Peeking out from around one branch, the bird fussed at her with increasing fervor.

“You feel it, don’t you?” Brenna said to the bird. “This beautiful place is dirty.”

The owl’s low, warning hiss sounded in agreement.

Brenna smelled death and sadness, with a nasty undertone of evil. She could reclaim this little sanctuary and clear it of the spirits that disturbed the land’s natural inhabitants.

The bird fell silent as she set up her candles at five points. With a flick of her wrist they flamed to life. Then she shed her clothes and shoes, tucking them near the altar before moving to the center of the ring of fire.

Skyclad, she lifted her hands, palms up and chanted, “Dirt from the earth, wind through the trees, water to cleanse, salt to set free. Banish the evil, honor my plea. As I will, so mote it be.”

With quick, sure motions she had learned from Sarah, Brenna poured salt and water in a wide circle. She closed her eyes and repeated the cleansing spell aloud. The ache in her heart eased. She felt the calm and beauty of her family’s land push against the darkness.

The owl called out another warning. Brenna opened her eyes and locked gazes with a white tiger.

Huge. Predatory. Standing like a sphinx just beyond her charmed circle. His tongue flicked around his mouth, displaying gleaming, sharp teeth.

Brenna expelled a deep breath. “God, shifter, you scared me.”

Witch’s Awakening will soon be released as an audio book too. Details coming soon!

Witch’s Haunting, the second book of the series, will be out in late fall, and we’re writing Witch’s Healing now for a 2015 release. 

Do you ever wonder about the supernatural that might be lurking just beneath the surface of our everyday world? Tell us more on our Facebook page,, by July 31st, and you’ll be entered to win a free ebook of Witch’s Awakening.

About The Authors
Neely Powell is the pseudonym for co-writers Leigh Neely and Jan Hamilton Powell. The best friends met when they both worked at a rock 'n roll radio station in Chattanooga. They tried writing fiction together for several years, but life and other adventures got in the way.

Their friendship endured as they went on to individual careers. Writing as Celeste Hamilton, Jan published 24 romance novels for Silhouette and Avon Books. Her books appeared on the B. Dalton, Waldenbooks Romance, and USA Today bestseller lists before she left fiction for a career in corporate communications.

Leigh became a successful nonfiction writer and editor of newspapers and magazines, though she was still interested in writing fiction. Something clicked when she focused her talents on the paranormal world. Around that time, Leigh started a novel about a shape-shifting attorney and his dysfunctional psychic best friend and partner. Jan was providing editorial support when Leigh suggested they try the partnership again.

Neely Powell was reborn. The result was the sale of their paranormal mystery, True Nature
to The Wild Rose Press, and The Connelly Witches paranormal romance series to Harlequin. Neely Powell writes about shifters, witches, werewolves, faeries, and ghosts, mixing in shades of romance, mystery, and thrillers—the kind of books they both enjoy reading.

Lynda Again -- Hope you've enjoyed our guests today. If you did, please click on the Google (g+) button to help spread the word and leave a comment to let them know (and don't forget about their drawing - see above). Also I've included the recipe for the gluten free scones in my newsletter but you register for it. The good news? It's free!). The recipe and other tidbits will be there for you to enjoy

Have a Blessed day!

Contact me

Monday, July 21, 2014

Guest - Megan Elizabeth

Good morning! We have author Megan Jones visiting today. Today Megan is talking about writing so it should be interesting. We have some delightful Toffee Brownies and my favorite Roobios tea. Enjoy!


Writing on Writing
By Megan Elizabeth

A friend of mine once asked me, “If I could offer any advice to new authors what would it be?” For a moment I paused, thinking who am I to give guidance or advice to anyone? The truth of the matter is, I am not James Patterson or J.K. Rowling. However, I am a writer who has started from the bottom and am working my way up through the industry in the hopes that one day I will be the next J.K. Rowling or JR Ward. So again I ask myself, what life experience do I have to share with a new writer? I’ll start from the beginning.

Writing is not a talent that one is born with. Sure, there are always those few stories of the phenom, like Steven Hawking who are just brilliant; but for others like myself it’s a constant work in progress. My tumultuous relationship with writing began at a very young age, that is, when I actually started writing, which wasn’t until third grade. Sad but true, I couldn’t even write my name. Why, you ask? I’m dyslexic, and from day one I was behind all the other kids. Little Susie was happily scratching her name on her papers with hearts and flowers; I was ripping mine up and tossing it in the trash. Taking a new paper, foregoing the name writing part and drawing epic scenes that only I would visualize in my head. Was that the making of writer? Could be, or it could be a little girl who watched too much TV and lived in her own world.

My family and I were told that I would never go to college, yet I have a BA and a CEAS. We were told I’d never read or write properly; yet I’ve read hundreds, possibly even thousands of books. I’ve also written two novels and have started a third. So, am I the New York Times best seller here to give advice to the lowly new writer? No, I’m the writer who was told that the New York Times was a pipe dream. Just like they told that little girl she would never read or write. It might not be today, but I will get there. If you want to write, you can and will be a writer. If you have a story to tell, there is someone out there who will listen.

Now the serious part—the part where I share my limited experiences with you, and you can take what you will from it. The first question that I get is, “How do you go about getting your book published?” Deep breath and ready for the answer? Keep in mind this is for works of fiction because the nonfiction world operates differently. Also, you can self-publish or go for a traditional publisher. For those of you looking for that professional acceptance into the publishing world, then traditional is for you, and you may continue reading.  First, write your novel, even if it’s complete garbage. Keep writing until your self-titled garbage is complete. Then edit, edit, edit. Then even if you think it’s perfect, edit some more. Find a critiquing partner who understands your vision of the book and allow them to read it. (Hold your breath and hope they like it.)
 Always be prepared to rewrite.

Next, figure out how you are going to get your name out there. It’s not going to be based on how many “likes” you get on Facebook. In my experience, the best place to meet industry professionals such as editors and agents are at conferences scattered around the country. Find an organization that supports your genre like the RWA (Romance Writers of America) that gives authors the chance to interact with the industry. Here’s the difficult part—conferences can get pricey and so can joining organizations. However, I’ve always thought that the best kind of investment is investing in yourself.

Even so, if that isn’t possible, be prepared to write the world’s best query letter. What’s a query letter, you ask? It is a letter that the publishing industry uses to torture poor writers like myself who need 100,000 words to tell a story. A query letter is a one page letter that you will send to that oh-so-fabulous agent in NYC who can’t wait to make you a star and get you on the New York Times best sellers list. It needs to include a blurb about your book (not to be confused with a synopsis). Think what you would read on the back cover of your favorite book. Think that’s all? Nope, just getting started. It needs genre, word count, your author bio, as well as any previous sales you may have made. Did I mention it can only be one page?

Now you have your wonderful query letter, and you send it to all the publishers and agents you can Google. What next? It’s time to play the waiting game! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you must wait for a reply. You may not call, text, e-mail, Facebook, tweet or fax any of the people you have queried. Turnaround time can range anywhere from one week to three months; or the worst case scenario: no news is not good news. I am the world’s least patient person; I have people who can attest to that. However, it is always important to remember a bad reputation is very hard to change. So wait and be courteous.

You’ve waited, you’ve been polite and courteous, and worst of all patient. You finally get an email back or a prestigious envelope from NYC. You tear it open or can’t move your mouse fast enough to see the wonderful offer you got for your work of art. You open it and then…..REJECTED. Don’t panic! Even the greats like Sherrilyn Kenyon and JR Ward have been rejected, even dropped, by publishers. Cry, scream and curse if you have to, but do not under any circumstances e-mail the rejecting publisher or agent and ask them why they rejected you even if they haven’t already stated. Don’t tell them all the ways they’ve made a mistake, and they need to take you. Take it with a grain of salt, file it away and move on. If that doesn’t work, call your mom and cry to her like I do.

Okay, I forget, are we on number three or four? Moving on, things you will need to submit to an agent or editor. You will need to have a synopsis of your work ready to go. This a one to five page document (depending on the request—you need to save every version you create) that highlights the greatest parts about your story. Always include your ending in the synopsis. You don’t need the ending in your query letter (it’s just a letter to generate interest), but you do need your ending in your synopsis. This a chance to show your writing voice. Don’t just list what happens. Put those awesome skills you’ve acquired to work and show what you’re made of.

Synopsis…done. Next, your manuscript will either be requested in full or partial. A request for a full is pretty obvious. It means they want you to send the whole manuscript (check the submission guidelines for formatting). Make sure you’re sending exactly what they are asking for—nothing more, nothing less. A partial means they are asking for the first three chapters or fifty pages of your manuscript (again, check your formatting). In my personal taste, I like to end my partial at a great point in the story. Keep it clean, and leave them wanting more. Leave them wanting to request a full.

Oh, my gosh! You finally got an offer. Do the happy dance! It’s time to celebrate, go out for drinks, or in my case eat cheesecake. Make sure it’s the right choice and fit for you. If you’re questioning your choice, it is okay to say no, though I doubt you’ll want to after the rejection boat has sunk. Sign on that dotted line, and go straight to New York Times stardom. Hopefully, I’ll see you there.  

When the sins of the past claim the future the craving for more can turn deadly….
When the goddess of Love and father of evil determine your fate do you fight back? Matteaus leader of the Fallen never backs down from a challenge. Not even when his fated female proves to be the most challenging of them all.

A former warrior in the Heavenly Kingdom, Matteaus, leader of The League of the Fallen bears the scars from a past filled with regret and misguided deeds. Renowned for his thirst for redemption and walking the line between saint and sinner, he is a male feared by many and respected by all. Determined to right his many wrongs, his drive for redemption is his only companion. His warrior nature his only passion-until his next assignment brings him in to the fiery path of a beautiful female who’s been on the run for secret reasons of her own.

Taylor has been running from Lucifer’s hot pursuit for years, her only concern has been keeping herself and her young son safe. Having no patience for an unwanted love affair she tries to ignore the instant attraction to the raw magnetism that rolls off of Matteaus. Yet as their desire for each other begins to overtake them, Matteaus’ steadfast determination to earn his redemption keeps him on the path of righteous and away from Taylor’s searing touch. Now Taylor and Matteaus must join forces to protect the ones they love.
Could this be the mission that finally earns his redemption? Or will his past misdeeds cost him everything, including the one female he is destined to love?

About Megan  
Megan Elizabeth is the author of the ground breaking new series The League of the Fallen-a series that mixes fallen angels and Greek mythology. She has written in many genres but always returns to Urban Fantasy and Fantasy. Spending many of her days teaching she is devoted to instilling the love she has for the written word in others. She lives in New Jersey with her son Alex and two dogs who are more like children than dogs. She is an avid reader and is an active member of the national RWA and FF&P branch. If Megan is not in front of her computer typing away she is working with her fellow writers in the Books & Bling critiquing group. If you’d like to know more visit her and The League of the Fallen at

Contact Megan


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 her a comment to let her know. Also I've decided to include recipes for the sweet things our readers can enjoy BUT you have to be a member of my newsletter (you can join below -- it's free!). The recipe and other tidbits will be there for you to enjoy