Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#CoverReveal for Loving Avery by @KatieTeller1


Title: Loving Avery (Bearville County Novella #1)
Author: Katie Hamstead
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: TBD

Add on Goodreads

Blurb:
The Bearville County Novella series follows on from Papina.

The Clark and Davis kids are grown up!
Follow Rhett, the Clark's second son, who has loved Avery, the Davis' only daughter, for as long as he can remember. But after her string of high school boyfriends, and Rhett getting beat up at prom, Rhett decides going to college is the best way to start over and forget Avery Davis.
Except Avery finally realizes she can't live without him. But is it too late?

Get the novel, Papina, that starts the series: Amazon


About the Author:

Born and raised in Australia, Katie's early years of day dreaming in the "bush", and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.

Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Upcoming Events in 2015 - Win A Signed Copy of Destruction OR Watch Me Burn!

I've got three events lined up in the first half of 2015 and I'd love to meet (or re-meet) some of my fans in Texas! As a special thank you for coming to see me, I'm giving away 5 free signed paperbacks (your choice) at EACH event! Simply enter your name on the form for a chance to win. You must pick up the book in person, but you can pick up your copy at any of the three events. Please be aware that some of the events do require a ticket for entry, but it should be worth it!




2/7/15 - Deep in the Heart Author's Event, Austin, TX

https://www.facebook.com/events/1444318495827401/

https://www.facebook.com/deepintheheartindieauthoreventfanpage




2/28/15 - Houston Author's Bash, Houston, TX

https://www.facebook.com/houstonauthorsbash





5/22-5/24 - Austin Author Affair

https://www.facebook.com/events/1448346612074544/

Fall into #Fantasy Week 17: Evensong by @Krista_Walsh


Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 17: Meratis Trilogy
Book One: Evensong
By Krista Walsh


Author Jeff Powell wakes up to find the impossible has happened. He is within his own novel—summoned into the fictional world of Feldall’s Keep by a spell he didn’t write. One the House enchantress hasn’t figured out how to reverse.

When the villain he’s been struggling to write reveals himself, unleashing waves of terror and chaos, Jeff must use more than his imagination to save the characters he created—and the woman he loves.

Trapped within a world of his own creation, he must step outside the bounds of his narrative to help his characters defeat an evil no one anticipated, even if he must sacrifice his greatest gift. In the end, he has to ask: are novels really fiction, or windows into other worlds?

Buy it from: Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iTunes
Or add it to Goodreads





ABOUT KRISTA WALSH
Known for witty, vivid characters, Krista Walsh never has more fun than getting them into trouble and taking her time getting them out. After publishing a few short stories and novellas in various anthologies, she has now released her own anthology, the serial collection Greylands. When not writing, or working at her day job, she can be found reading, gaming, or watching a film – anything to get lost in a good story. She currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Find Krista online: Website  Facebook  Twitter



Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
  • Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 12, 2014

Conscious Gift-Giving: A Guest Post From WildCat Magic

My guest post author today is Wildcat, a magic worker who conducts workshops and provides private consultation in Austin, Texas. You can learn more about her and what she does at WildCat Magic.



Did you know that Americans spend on average over $700 per person on holiday gifts, or about 1 1/2% of their total annual budget?  Holiday gifts cost a lot of money (even if you're below the national average), and it's well worth bringing your gift spending in line with the wisdom of your Divine Spirit.

The time and resources spent on gift-giving can be a conduit for love and be used to strengthen our relationships, if we take the time to give gifts consciously.

Gift-giving meditation:

Picture the person you're selecting a gift for, or, better yet, notice them in your daily interactions.  Get in touch with your feelings of affection and love for them.  What is unique about them?  What are they dealing with in life right now?  What are they passionate about?  What are their favorite activities, colors, styles?  What are they talking about wanting or needing?  (You might ask them, if you're willing to give up the element of surprise, but often a little sneakiness in the service of love is a good thing.)  Just notice.  Then, in a private moment, allow your Divine Self to suggest a gift for them.  Go into "3-point attention" and imagine yourself blessing the gift and giving the gift to them. How do they react?

Once you've got an idea for a gift, here are some questions to ask yourself, to be sure that it is coming from a place of selfless love (rather than ego masquerading as the Lover), and will be received as a love-gift.
  1. Is this something this person wants?  Is it something they would have chosen for themselves?  Is it what they asked for?  Does it communicate your appreciation for them as an individual?  Does it support their values?  Will they LOVE it?  (Watch out for the natural ego tendency to give people what you would like to receive.  It works out ok if your loved one wants what you want, but be careful!  If you're really sneaky -- in a good way -- you can also use this as an indication of what someone else might want...  "Let's see, they got this for me last year and that wasn't something I wanted, so that might mean it's the kind of thing THEY would like to receive!"  When in doubt, ask...)
  2. Does the gift include a bit of your individuality (your taste or effort or thoughtfulness) as well as being something the person really wants?
  3. Is the gift good quality, in new condition, with more than the ordinary level of craftsmanship and beauty?  (This criterion eliminates most possibilities for recycled gifts.  Gift-giving is not usually a good way to get rid of something you received as a gift, or bought for yourself and decided you didn't like...  People can usually spot re-gifting.  I once had a good laugh when I received a wedding present from a young couple that still had the gift card in the box from THEIR family member who had given it to them.)
  4. Is the gift at least as high quality as something you would have selected for yourself?  (No one will feel you're being generous if you buy your gifts at Walmart and your own stuff at a boutique.)
  5. Is it extraordinary?  (i.e. NOT an ordinary practical thing you would usually be buying for them even if it weren't a special occasion.  Such gifts are guaranteed to underwhelm or even bore the recipient.)
  6. Have you put care into the packaging and presentation of the gift (including selecting the appropriate time to give it)?
  7. Will it be a surprise?  (Especially important if the person LIKES surprises.)
  8. How will the recipient feel upon receiving this gift?  (One hopes closer to "delighted" than "disappointed" or "offended"!)
  9. Will they perceive it as having "strings attached" (judgment, guilt, duty to use it, expectations of some behavior or reciprocal gift you want from them in the future, etc.)
  10. Does this gift communicate the level of love or affection appropriate to the relationship?  (Generous enough, but not embarrassingly so?  Romantic enough, if it is a romantic relationship?  Platonic enough, if it is a platonic relationship? Magical enough, if it is a magical relationship?)
  11. Is it appropriately generous relative to the gifts you are selecting for others (especially if they will be receiving them at the same time?)
  12. Will the gift bring you closer and strengthen your relationship?
  13. Have you blessed the gift?  (One way to do this is to make the gift yourself, thinking positive thoughts about the person as you do so.  Another is to do a little ritual in which you pour love into the gift, using "3-point attention".)
Remember that gifts do not have to be durable things.  For the person who "has everything," or is difficult to please, you might go to consumable gifts (like food or concert tickets) to avoid the awkwardness of the gift someone doesn't really like but feels they should keep because it was a gift from you.

If this all sounds tedious, go back to the meditation and remind yourself WHY you're bothering to give consciously, and do it from the heart, with the intention of communicating your love, as a spiritual act of devotion to the Beloved.

Receiving can be a conscious process, too...  Remember that even non-magical friends and family have probably gone through many of the above steps in choosing gifts for you.  Give them eye contact and sincere thanks for their care, and forgive them if they bought you a present that is really for themselves!  We're all in this (human condition) together...



Join WildCat at the Candlelit winter labyrinth walk at 5:30 pm on the second Sunday of December (Dec. 14), at Seton SW labyrinth, weather permitting (check facebook if it's raining to see if the walk has been called for weather.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

WildCat has been teaching magic for over ten years, working with a variety of goddesses and gods. Trained as a Witch in the Feri and Reclaiming traditions, she is true to her WildCat name, drilling for spiritual experience in the places between charted territories, and her practice and teaching draw upon a number of traditions. She loves the consciousness she has developed and the ecstasy she has felt practicing magic. She gets a kick out of sharing her experience and co-creating new and powerful transformational magic in each class. For her, magic is an important ethical act as well as exciting -- "what we do between the worlds changes us and all the worlds!" Check out WildCat's current offerings on her website: www.wildcatmagic.org, and sign up for her monthly newsletter.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Winter Solstice Interview with Magical Teacher WildCat

I am thrilled to introduce you to Wildcat, a magic worker who conducts workshops and provides private consultation in Austin, Texas. You can learn more about her and what she does at WildCat Magic. I asked her some questions about the winter solstice...






1) Humans have been celebrating the winter solstice since ancient times. What are some of the ways the solstice is meaningful in modern society?

For me, the principal meaning of the Winter Solstice is bringing the light (of our own Divine Selves) into the world. This is a very compatible image with Christianity and other modern religions and badly needed in today's society!


2) What are some easy ways to honor the solstice?

Here are four ways my family traditionally honors the Solstice:
    • A feast, especially involving Sun Bread, Yule Log cake, hot spiced drinks, and lots of happy people.
    • A candlelit labyrinth walk, using either a 7-spiral labyrinth or a tree of life labyrinth. I host a public version of this ritual (this year it is at Seton SW labyrinth at 5:30 Sunday the 14th), and we have often set up a labyrinth made of Christmas lights in our yard when we lived in the city, with instructions so the neighbors could walk it if they wanted. The meditation is simple -- walk the labyrinth holding an (unlighted) votive candle. Imagine your life as it is now on the way in, from the more public to the more private aspects. Then light a candle from a flame in the center of the labyrinith, representing the light of your Divine Spirit, and walk back out, seeing how your life would change if you brought your whole self into every aspect of it.
    • A private family gratitude ritual. On Yule eve, we gather in front of the fireplace, which is laid with a candle-stand that holds enough pillar candles for each family member to have one. Each person takes an unlighted candle from a basket in turn, and shares with everyone the things they are grateful for from the past year. This can take a long time -- even the teenagers have a lot to be grateful for! After listing the things they are grateful for, the person makes a wish for the coming year (secret or spoken aloud), and lights the candle. We leave the candles to burn until they burn out, as a spell to bring the wishes into manifestation.
    • A Yule tree. This is just like a Christmas tree, but with pagan decorations, instead of, or in addition to, the Christian symbols. And we give Yule gifts, too, in lieu of (or in addition to) Christmas gifts, depending on where the kids are when over the holidays, since we share them with exes.

    3) You mentioned that you celebrate with your kids. What are some good solstice activities for little ones? How did you first introduce your children to the solstice?

    I recommend the children's book "Sun Bread." My kids loved the recipe on the back, as well as the lively illustrations, and still get it out every year to make the bread, even though they are all teenagers now. My friend Anne Hill's book "Circle Round" also has some good ideas and the accompanying CD has good children's songs for a variety of seasons.

     

    4) Most of my readers celebrate Christmas. How do you recommend incorporating winter solstice celebrations into a traditional mainstream Christmas?


    My wife and I are both from Christian up-bringings, and include Christian symbols as well as pagan, Buddhist, Hindu, and shamanic practices in our traditions. Many of our family's traditions above can incorporate people of other faiths without their being uncomfortable. Yule is actually one of the easiest pagan feasts to do in an ecumenical way, because the Christian celebration is so close to its pagan roots, and the Jews, Hindus, etc. all have winter celebrations involving candles as well.


    5) Do you have any poems, songs, or other readings that you'd like to share?

    We love the Revels songbooks and CDs. One year my daughter hosted a Revels carol singalong for her birthday (which is just before the Solstice). We made a recording for her friends who all loved to sing, and gave them the music in advance so they could listen to it and the songs would be more familiar. We had a great time with 7 9-year-olds and their mothers singing Solstice songs. They all have a Renaissance-Faire-pagan feel to them. I also love Renaissance music, such as the CDs by "Anonymous 4" One of my favorite poems for the Solstice is Hafiz: "Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, 'You owe me." Look what happens with a love like that: it lights the whole sky!"


    Over the next few weeks, I'll also be sharing some guest posts from Wildcat, so come back and check that out!
    ---

    WildCat has been teaching magic for over ten years, working with a variety of goddesses and gods. Trained as a Witch in the Feri and Reclaiming traditions, she is true to her WildCat name, drilling for spiritual experience in the places between charted territories, and her practice and teaching draw upon a number of traditions. She loves the consciousness she has developed and the ecstasy she has felt practicing magic. She gets a kick out of sharing her experience and co-creating new and powerful transformational magic in each class. For her, magic is an important ethical act as well as exciting -- "what we do between the worlds changes us and all the worlds!" Check out WildCat's current offerings on her website: www.wildcatmagic.org, and sign up for her monthly newsletter.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    Fall into Fantasy Week 16: The Disciple Series by @lblankenship_sf


    Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

    Week 16: The Disciple Series by L. Blankenship


    War is coming. Kate Carpenter is only a peasant girl, but she’s determined to help defend the kingdom and its bound saints against the invading empire. Her healing magic earned her a coveted apprenticeship with the master healer; now she must prove herself ready to stand in the front lines and save lives.

    She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though. This is no time to be distracted by romance — the empire’s monstrous army will tear through anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical founts. All disciples must put aside their tangled feelings and stand in the homeland’s defense.

    Disciple is a six-part gritty fantasy romance by L. Blankenship. Part I through Part IV are on sale now at all major retailers

    Download PART I for free! 
    FREE at AmazonSmashwordsB&N AllRomance



    Disciple, Part V on sale now

    Look for the final volume, Part VI, in 2015!

    EXCERPT:

    “You couldn’t sleep either?”

    At the whisper, I looked up from struggling to lace my boots with trembling hands. My master stepped into my dormitory room, adding his lamp’s light to my candle.

    “Why must I dress as a boy?” I whispered back. Perhaps I was not so buxom, but I doubted I’d fool anyone. “This makes little sense.”

    “Patience.” Master Parselev placed his lamp on my writing-table and checked my packed bags. “They’re gathering at the chapel already. None of us got much sleep, it seems.”

    The straw mattress creaked when I stood, boots laced and the woolen hose sagging between my thighs. I ran my fingers around my waist, under my layered cotes, to check the drawstring. “Are these right, Master?” I’d strung the hose and braies together as best I could guess and as memory was my Blessing I had no excuse for failing. Men’s underthings weren’t much concern to me — if I saw such, or more, it was while the man lay bleeding on the surgery table.

    “If they stay up, it’s right. Good. This too.” He slung a heavy felt cloak across my shoulders and pinned it on. The hood buried my face in shadows; my blonde braid, even wrapped around my head, would give me away.

    I asked, “Master, this journey will be long, won’t it?” Parselev had given me more clothes than I’d ever owned to pack in those bags. All heavy winter woolens, too. “Shouldn’t you go, then?”

    He looked down at me, mouth quirking to one side. Master was a greybeard, said to be over a hundred years old, but his kir kept his eyes bright and his face lightly creased. I had only been his apprentice two years. Surely I could not be ready for this.

    “It must be you, Kate,” was all he said. He carried one of my bags, and I took the other.

    Wreathed in breath-clouds, we crossed the Order’s campus. Low on the horizon, the slim, waxing crescent of the Shepherd hung golden, all seven of his Flock scattered in the sky behind him. He gave the only hint that dawn was coming. The cloak kept me marvelously warm, even in the chilly breeze. No frost this morning, not yet, but it was only a few weeks off.

    Master un-bolted the side gate and led me to the door of the Grand Chapel. Horses waited on the grass, many horses chewing at their bits and shaking their heads, most of them with knights in the saddles. The knights’ black tabards, worn over suits of mail, had a white horse embroidered on the right shoulder and two gold stars on the left, marking them knights and Prince’s Guard as well. Kite shields and bucket helms hung on their saddles, in easy reach.

    Several of the horses stood with empty saddles, collectively held by a couple of pageboys, and that gave me pause. I’d never been on a horse; I was only a peasant girl. But it could not be so awful, I told myself, so I gripped my cloak a little tighter and followed Master Parselev inside.

    My new boots rang too loudly in the empty chapel, and when I slowed to lighten my step I fell behind. Only one lamp burned on the high table before the icons, and its light was mostly blocked by those gathered below the two steps. Faces were cast in shadow as they turned toward us — all looming in the dim light, some cloaked like me, others not — and I knew none of them. I kept my head down as I joined my master before them, glad the hood hid my face.

    “Not ready, Elect?” one asked, his voice low but strong. “Who’s this?”

    “My apprentice will safeguard the travelers,” my master answered. “She has —”

    “What?” The man stepped closer, his shoulders blocking out the light.

    “Majesty, she’s my finest student.” Parselev put up a hand when the stranger reached for my hood.

    My knees trembled as the word echoed in my head. Majesty. I stood before the king of Wodenberg. Wobbling a bit, I dropped to one knee in obeisance, fist pressed to my heart. The king yanked off my hood while I stared at the flagstone floor, pulse pounding.

    “This girl?” the king demanded. “You trust a mere disciple with this mission?”



    ABOUT L. BLANKENSHIP
    L. Blankenship started writing animal stories as a kid and it's just gotten completely out of hand since then. Now she's out publishing her gritty fantasy and hard science fiction adventures. L grew up in New Hampshire but currently lives near Washington, DC.

    Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?
    • Don't forget to join us at the Facebook party here
    • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
    • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Friday, December 5, 2014

    WATCH ME BURN now available for pre-order!!




    Well, the title of the post says it all! :) Watch Me Burn is officially available for pre-order on Amazon.com. Buy now to have it magically appear in your Kindle on 1/5/15.





    More about Watch Me Burn:

    David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.

    His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl--who happens to be a summer witch--begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic's command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.

    David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.



    If you're new to The December People Series, start with Destruction--99 cents for a limited time!