Thursday, February 26, 2009

Opus Fantasy Festival

I'll be participating in panels, reading and signing my books at the Opus Fantasy Festival, Red Lion Hotel, Denver, on Friday, March 13 (Friday the 13th!) through Sunday, March 15. The fee for the fest is very, very reasonable. I hope you can stop by!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Guest Blogger: Margay Leah Justice

The winner of Margay's book is: Melanie Card! Congrats! Send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Margay. Thanks to everyone who participated.

In The Presence Of Angels

In the paranormal world, walking amongst the vampires and shapeshifters, the demons and fairies, there are angels. Not the pink-cheeked cherubs adorning Christmas cards, but full-bodied, living, breathing angels. Angels with enough angst and dilemmas to rival their human counterparts. And with enough sensuality and charisma to bring a mere mortal to her knees with just a look. Angels are the new models for heroes taking their stand in the paranormal world. But what is the fascination with angels?

I have been trying to answer this question for myself ever since a certain wayward angel took up residence in my brain and started telling me his story. Or, in actuality, demanded that I tell his story. Before that, I was content with writing about mere mortals who lived, loved, lost and rediscovered along the journey that we call life. But once that angel first began to speak to me, I have become fascinated by stories of angels, be they real or fictionalized. Still I wonder, what is it about these heavenly beings that spawns such fascination?

Whether you believe in angels or not, they permeate our culture like no other symbol of hope and purity. Faith and belief. Awe and inspiration. Perhaps one of the most iconic renditions of angels is that of The Sistine Madonna, better known as Raphael’s Angels. Who hasn’t seen this painting of two cherubs watching the heavens with daydreaming expressions staring back at them from a Christmas card or festive ornament? A quick search through Google will show that, although this is perhaps Raphael’s most famous painting of angelic beings, it is not the only one in which they appear. Indeed, they show up in the backgrounds of several others, but are not limited to Raphael’s paintings. Other artists, including Bouguereau, depict angels in their works.

So is it any wonder that Hollywood would follow suit? One of my favorite movies about angels is called Michael in which John Travolta gives a tour de force performance as a bad boy angel living amongst humans. From smoking to burping after a meal, he is the antithesis of the heavenly being we associate with the word angel. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t wise. On the contrary, he gets to the heart of the matter without seeming to care if he does get there. The trick is, he gets the humans to do most of the work. And who can forget that dance sequence to “Chain of Fools” where he manages to seduce every woman in the bar away from her date?

One of the most successful shows on television was “Touched by an Angel,” which always delivered a story with an uplifting message without sounding too preachy. Della Reese was perfect as Tess, a feisty, put-upon angel who was a rallying force behind her charges and loved them like a mother. She guided everyone, including the other angels in her care, with a firm yet gentle hand, nurturing when needed and doling out the tough love when the situation called for it. On the flipside was the ABCFamily miniseries called Fallen, in which a young man, upon his seventeenth birthday, discovered that he was one of the Nephilim, which put his life – and those of everyone he loved – in danger. A somewhat darker tale, it dealt with morality and good versus evil on a different scale than its more uplifting counterpart.

Which brings me to literature and the new fascination with angelic characters. Whether they are heroes or secondary characters, angels are cropping up everywhere. Debbie Macomber writes uplifting stories about angels called Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, who make it their mission to grant people hope and give them the will to love again. One could argue that the angels are secondary characters to those they come to help. On the darker side is a series by Erin McCarthy, the Seven Deadly Sins. In book one, My Immortal, the hero, Damien du Bourg, makes a deal with a fallen angle for immortality, which poses some unique problems when he meets the woman he might want to spend eternity with. In book two, Fallen, the hero is the fallen angel Gabriel whose penance on earth is to be without love forever. So whether you like your angels lighthearted and madcap, like Macomber’s angels, or dark and tortured like McCarthy’s, there is a story out there for every taste.

Thank you for traveling with me on this little journey through angels in our culture and feel free to leave a comment on your favorite angel in art, film, or literature. You tell me, have you ever found yourself in the presence of angels?

For another take on angels, why not take a look at my debut novel, Nora’s Soul? Available on For more information, you can find me at, or on Facebook or Twitter.
Leave a comment here to enter Margay's giveaway. Her winner will be posted here on Tuesday evening.

Somebody in Tokyo likes me!

I got this link from a reader:

What fun! Too bad I can't vote. grin.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Audio Interview: Reader's Entertainment Radio

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guest Blogger: Marie-Claude Bourque

Marie-Claude's winner is: Julie Robinson! Congratulations. Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Marie-Claude. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Can You Cast a Spell for Me?

Can you do a spell for me? This question, oddly, comes more often than you may think. A witchcraft spell, a few simple words said with maybe the right tools and components, and all our wishes come true. Is it possible? Or are we dwelling in the paranormal?

Since I hear the request often and see ads for guaranteed spells constantly popping on my computer screen, then it must be because people believe they work. Love spells, in the last week, were particularly popular.

What is a Witch spell?

Contrary to what people may think, there are as many ways to do a spell as there are Witchcraft traditions. Some traditions are very rigid and have strict rules and steps in their ritual magic: blessing the elements, calling the guardians, casting the circle, reciting the charge of the God/Goddess, etc., before saying or reciting their intention. These can be performed either solitary or by a whole coven. Other Witches don’t follow specific traditions and their ritual can be looser, a simple meditation at the top of a mountain, or by the beach, or a visualization over candles. All those can be spells depending on who performs them. In fact, a spell is mostly a prayer, a gathering of powers by a very focused individual to make things happen.

Does a spell work?

This question is basically asking if this a paranormal phenomenon, a spirituality or scientific truth. Again, everyone has their own answers. Studies indicate that spiritual people seem healthier. But is this a paranormal phenomenon or biology? When the Witch perform the spell, is he/she attuned to otherworldly powers or just more in tune with his/her own sources of strength? Or, perhaps even a certain collective consciousness. I have to say that I personally don’t have the answers. Faith is individual. Some Witches really do believe in a true gods or goddesses outside themselves, while others use them as useful archetypes to work from within and understand what lay inside them.

A Witch friend of mine recently pondered that things happen for a reason. Perhaps it is true, or perhaps it is that when we look for a reason for an event, we actually study the circumstances of the event to help us grow.

Can you buy a spell?

So, can you buy a spell and expect it to work? Can you just buy the right series of words over the internet and win the lottery tomorrow or have that cute neighbor fall in love with you? The question just makes a Witch smile. It doesn’t really work that way. First, a spell has to be “correct” and a wish for “the good of all." So wishing for someone to love you back, might not be the best for all concerned. And then, Witches believe in the “three-fold law,” of the “power of three.” That whatever you send out will return back to you three times stronger. Again, is this paranormal or reality? Well, it does seem that whatever energy you send out there, whether through hard work or good wishes, tends to be returned to you. When you set things in motion, you do make them happen. Perhaps the spell is then just a way for someone to find the energy to do the steps necessary for change.

Hence, if you do buy a spell and expect it to work, you will be disappointed. Because you do have to put your heart and soul into it and have years of “practice” to expect any results. One cannot really do the work for you. And even if you ask a practiced friend to write or perform the spell for you, it may still not work at all.

A year and a day.

Some people believe it takes a year and a day to make a Witch. What this means is that this is a spiritual path. It is a commitment. And whether it is a true paranormal power or simply a more trained consciousness, there is no denying that one doesn’t become a Witch in a week and by purchasing a “Witch kit” for a few dollars over the internet. Just like any other religion or path, it takes time and practice before one can really find the way to harness the power that lay within themselves to make things happen in their life.

The witchcraft in dark paranormal romance ANCIENT WHISPERS.

The way I chose to illustrate spells in my dark paranormal ANCIENT WHISPERS was for my priestess in training to use rituals that are Wiccan-like in nature. And as my heroine enters a trance, she encounters the Goddess, and it is through those encounters that she learns more about herself and eventually manages to make things happen. But it doesn’t come easy. In one of her first efforts, my heroine attempts to perform a healing spell and the Goddess laughs at her arrogance, tells her she is not ready and nearly kills her. Only after training and deep inner work, does the Goddess finally accept the heroine and grant her the power of performing an invincible protection spell.

What do you believe?

You can learn more about Witches and spells at

But, to each his own, as they say. People do or not believe in magic. How about you? Do you believe in spells? Do you perform them? Have they worked? Or have you ever been curious, or maybe so desperate to make things happen, that you were tempted by those internet ads?

And if you could choose one spell? What would it be for? Let me know and you can win a 20$ Amazon gift certificate.
Marie-Claude Bourque is an American Title V finalist with her entry ANCIENT WHISPERS, a dark paranormal romance filled with tortured sorcerers, dark sensuality and gothic rituals. You can find her at and .

And you can also vote for your favorite of four entries in round 4 of the American Title V contest at:

Marie-Claude's winner will be selected and posted here Wednesday evening.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Vampire Shrink Featured at Online Book Launch Party

The first book in my Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series, The Vampire Shrink, is being featured at an online book launch party. No purchase needed to attend; it's an entertaining web site to thank readers with great music, pointers to great books, free games, free fiction, contests, amusing food for thought, and much more. Check it out:

2/14, Second Life Book Reading

Are you familiar with Second Life? I wasn't until one of my author friends nagged me into checking it out. I'm still such a beginner that I wind up stuck in walls or descending through floors every time I go there. But, my friend is certain about the potential benefits of this strange world for authors. I've read things about the high porn content in Second Life, but there is a high porn content in every internet area. In my brief explorations of SL, I haven't had to deal with anything I found unpleasant. (There was one fellow following my friend and I around for a little while. He said he was looking for a d**k, and did we know where he could get one? We told him to scram and he did.)

My friend put us in touch with a lovely woman who holds book/poetry readings in the West of Ireland. Another author (Melissa Mayhue) will join me tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. mountain time) in Second Life for a "performance." She'll be reading from her latest time travel romance, A Highlander of Her Own, and I'll be reading from my latest, Dark Harvest. We'll also be answering "audience" (the avatars of those who have come to the event) questions live. I'll be trying out my new Snowball microphone.

If you're already signed up for Second Life, I hope you'll drop by for the readings. Slurl:
My avatar name: Lyza Darkstone

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm Guest Blogging at TJ Bennett's Blog!

Hi, everyone. I'm participating in my friend TJ Bennett's gift basket giveaway on her blog. She's gathering author posts on the topic, "What Romance Means to Me." Mine will be live on Feb. 11. I hope you'll stop by and leave a comment. The basket TJ has assembled is filled with good books!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

For Autographed Copies of My Books

Nina and Ron Else at Who Else Books at The Denver Book Mall have signed copies of THE VAMPIRE SHRINK and DARK HARVEST. They will ship the books to you with reasonable postage. They might even discount the book! Go here to order your signed copy:

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Live Internet Interview: Fri., Feb. 6, 8:30 pm eastern

Hi, everyone: I'm being interviewed tomorrow night (Friday, Feb. 6) at 8:30 eastern time, 6:30 mountain time by cospRadio, affiliated with Circle of Seven Productions. You can listen live:

There's an active chat session online.

After the show is aired, it is available for download at

Louisville Library Valentines Author Event, 2/7/09

Come join me and five Colorado Romance Writers members/authors to celebrate love and romance at the Louisville Public Library on Saturday, February 7, 2009, from 1-3pm. The event is free, but space is limited so call 303-335-4849 ext 4 to register soon.

The six of us represent different sub-genres of romance. I will be joined by: Melissa Mayhue (time travel/paranormal), Tara Janzen (romantic suspense), Robin Owens (fantasy/paranormal), Renee Knowles (contemporary & Regency) and Elaine Levine (Western). We’ll sit with you in small intimate groups, where we’ll read from our books and answer your questions.

This event is being hosted by the Louisville Public Library and is supported by many of the women business owners of downtown Louisville. They have provided some fabulous prizes to be given away at the end of the event (clothing, books, gift certificates for consultations, framing services, photography sittings, psychic readings and more.)

Our books will be available for sale and we’ll be happy to autograph copies for you.

The library is located at: 951 Spruce Street, downtown Louisville (80027). There is parking under the library as well as on the streets surrounding the building.
(press release by Channah!)

Lynda Hilburn, Paranormal Author

Monday, February 02, 2009

Guest Blogger: Sela Carsen

The winner of Sela's book is: Margay! Congratulations, Margay. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Hey y’all! I’m Sela Carsen and I’m so glad to be here!

Lynda has graciously given me a guest spot on her blog today, so I’d better make the best use of it I can.

I’m part of a group of bloggers at, Beyond the Veil, and one of the things I blog about regularly (when I remember to post – bad blogger Sela) is mythology. I’ve talked about werewolf myths there before, but I wanted to delve a little deeper into the particular myth that I used for the story releasing tomorrow, CAROLINA WOLF.

All it takes is a spark of Grrrrrl power to set the swamp on fire!

Librarian Debra Henry is boring. And she’s okay with that. Really. It’s not as if the teensy amount of witchcraft that flows in her veins is worth getting excited about. Yet someone—or something—thinks it’s worth crawling out of the swamps to attack her. Those “somethings” are werewolves.

When one of them is hurt saving her, the least she can do is take him home and patch him up. Healing him stirs more than her senses. Maddox Moreau awakens the magic that sleeps in her blood. And suddenly, life’s not quite so boring.

A wildlife manager at Congaree National Park by day, Maddox likes being the BWIS—Big Wolf In the Swamp. By night, he lets his wild side out to play lone wolf. At least until he meets the one woman who can share his soul. Perhaps it’s best, though, if he holds off on sharing his preference for raw meat.

Rescuing her seals his fate—but only if he can protect her from a rogue of his kind. A werewolf with a nasty stalker streak…

Onto the mythology, though. In researching this story, I concentrated primarily on some medieval legends.

In the middle ages, Brittany – a peninsula in northwestern France – had closer ties to Wales, Cornwall and Britain than it did to France. Culturally and linguistically, Brittany was merely another arm of Celtic territory separated by nothing more than a strip of water.

In the 12th century, two Breton lays, medieval narrative poems that were meant to be sung by minstrels, that ran across the same theme were very popular.

Bisclavret, by Marie de France, and Melion, by an unknown author, but popularized by Thomas Malory in his Morte d’Arthur, are both knights of King Arthur’s court in these tales, thus tying them even more closely to their Anglo/Celtic roots.

In these stories, the knights are werewolves. Melion is transformed by a ring, Bisclavret turns when the moon is full. Bisclavret, however, must have his clothes to return to human form. It’s my opinion – not backed by the texts in any way – that his “clothes” may be the bespelled pelt of a wolf. One of the ways a human can become a werewolf is by wearing a wolf’s fur around him as a belt.

Each knight has an unfaithful wife. He tells her his secret, then she betrays him by either taking the ring or the clothing. The knights, trapped in their animal forms, subsume themselves to the wolf, living wild for several months or years until they encounter King Arthur hunting in their forests.

Immediately, they become tame for the king (yay for magical, Christ-like Arthur!) The unfaithful wives had run off with their squires, and eventually join Arthur’s court. The wolves attack them and, knowing that the wolves have never attacked anyone before, Arthur investigates. The truth comes out, and the wives are compelled to return the magical items to their husbands, who resume their human forms. The wives are punished and the knights leave them. Not really a Happily Ever After, but at least the knights get to return to their lives. To be honest, the stories are pretty misogynistic. None of the women are trustworthy, but for the purposes of our myth, that’s neither here nor there.

While I was doing more research about werewolf myths, I also discovered that the whole biting thing is a modern invention. For centuries, the only way you could become a werewolf was either evil magic, or being born a werewolf. And werewolves were pretty much always evil, too. There was one case – one – where a man claimed that werewolves were the hounds of God. He was given 50 lashes for heresy.

Myths are great jumping off points for stories. I didn’t retell Melion or Bisclavret, but elements from several myths formed the base for my werewolves in CAROLINA WOLF. A little dash of the wolf pelt, a good chunk of blood magic, a sprinkle of Breton heritage, a hefty helping of Arthurian legend, and a wee little pinch of neo-paganism and voila! A story!

And for getting through all this history, you deserve a prize.

I’m giving away a copy of CAROLINA WOLF to one lucky person who comments here. Please be sure to leave some way to get in contact with you. Good luck! Or as they say in Breton, chañs vat!

Sela Carsen ~ Elegant Whimsy ~ Website and blog
DREAMS & DESIRES, VOL 1&2 ~ Freya's Bower
CAROLINA WOLF ~Coming to Samhain Feb '09

The winner of Sela's book will be posted here on Wednesday evening. Be sure to check back to see if you've won!

Upcoming: Guest Blogger Sela Carsen, Valentine Author Event, Signing at Denver Book Mall

Tomorrow Paranormality will host paranormal author Sela Carsen. She'll talk about wolf/werewolf mythology.

Saturday, Feb. 7, join several romance authors at the Louisville Public Library in Louisville, CO, 1-3 p.m. for a signing/speaking event.

Sunday, Feb. 8, I'll be participating in a group author event at the Denver Book Mall, 3 p.m.