Tuesday

Welcome Sheri Verlarde!



Love and Wisdom: Gods Behaving Badly Book 5
By Sheri Velarde
Only .99 cents and free on Kindle Unlimited

Writing What You Know vs. What Interests You


There are many opinions about what authors should write about. One is that we should write about what we know. As a romance author, I suppose that is true to some point. We all know the human experience and love, in one shape or another. We all interact with others and know how relationships work or don’t work in some cases. And as much as I do put my own experiences into writing, I also believe that you should write about not just what you know, but also write about what interests you.
I have always loved mythology and it is that love and interest that led to my Gods Behaving Badly series. Greek mythology is full of characters that I want to explore, drama already built into them that I can expand on and make my own. Seriously, who could be better to write a steamy romance series about than naughty gods? I have so much fun putting ancient figures into modern times, giving them my own spin, and seeing how they react.

The very first short in this series, Looted, was originally meant to be one story for an anthology. However the response from the first one was so good and I started to get more ideas for the characters, so a series was born. As I am now releasing Book 5, Love and Wisdom, I am entering edits on Book 6 and there are at least six more books in the series planned. I am having fun recreating some of the mythological creatures and the trouble they get into. While there is a larger overarching mystery in the Gods Behaving Badly series, each book in and of itself is a love story between a couple. That is how I am combining what I know with what I am interested in. I get to research gods of old as I write about the human experience, which is what I really love about writing.

Excerpt:

The next morning dawned with Athena feeling apprehensive yet powerful at the same time. She had forgotten how the gods fed each other’s powers. Zeus had done his job well by turning them all against one another before his hostile takeover. They were all weaker now, but she sensed that was slowly diminishing. The gods were becoming powerful once more. The question was why.
She went into the kitchen to find Bruce already there and cooking. “You cook too? My sister certainly lucked out when she found you. If you don’t mind me saying, you are much more intelligent and down to earth than her usual consorts. I like you, which is rare for me to like anyone.” Bruce looked at her cursorily, clearly not sure what to say, so she clarified a bit. “Don’t look so perplexed, Detective. I am just stating the facts, not coming on to you. I play for the other team, as you said last night.”
“Sophia was right. You certainly are blunt, even for a god.” Bruce chuckled and slid a plated omelet her way. “Janine will be here at ten. She took the assignment as a favor for me. Of that, I am certain. We do need to come up with a plausible story of events, so we do not have to try to explain that you and Sophia are ancient gods.”
They ate in companionable silence, Athena assumed both thinking of a cover story. Soon enough, Sophia joined them. Athena marveled at how enjoyable it was to share a meal with others, to work on a plan someone else. She began to realize how lonely she had become having no contact with her family, or anyone for that matter, and found herself envying the closeness between Bruce and Sophia. She had a reputation for being cold and untouchable, but she needed love just like any other being. She just hadn’t experienced it in so long that she’d grown used to the loneliness and to depending solely on herself. Now, though, seeing her sister and her empath together, all of her hidden feelings came bubbling up to the surface, and she ached with the pain she felt.
Luckily, she was saved by the bell from her musings, literally, as her doorbell rang and pulled her from her thoughts. “That must be your detective friend. I’ll let her in.” Glad for the distraction, she hurried to the door.
Athena tried to push her emotions back. She was a creature of facts and wisdom. Emotions made her feel unbalanced and out of control. She did not like to feel out of control, but it seemed the fates were making her feel just that at the moment for she got the shock of her long life when she opened her front door. A breathtaking woman in a suit stood there, looking strong and serious but friendly at the same time. While being quite the dark-haired exotic beauty, that was not what knocked Athena off her guard. Before her stood the second empath she had seen in the past two days after thinking them all extinct for over two thousand years.
“Hello, I am Janine Cho. A colleague of mine, Detective Bruce Stoker, asked me to meet him here?” Janine smiled, but Athena could see the confusion in the woman’s eyes from the power which no doubt surged through her being in the presence of a god for the first time.
Coming back to her senses and manners, Athena stepped back from the door. “Yes, please come in. I’m Athena, and Bruce called you on my behalf.” She could not help but preen a little, shaking her golden locks ever so slightly and straitening her stance to better show off her figure. She was no goddess of love, but had been greatly admired for her beauty, nonetheless, in the past. Suddenly, that seemed very important to her.

Author Links:

Author Bio:
Sheri Velarde lives in New Mexico with her husband and their two dogs.
Being an avid reader since an early age, she has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She has been writing all her life, but only recently started to actually try to pursue her dream of writing for a living. She specializes in all things paranormal and that go bump in the night. Her heart truly lies in exploring unknown worlds or adding the supernatural to our world. If it goes bump in the night or has magical connotations, Sheri writes about it.
She is constantly putting out new material with various publishers, so it is best to keep up with her on her website www.authorsherivelarde.weebly.com.
In her spare time Sheri is an artist, jewelry designer, independent comic writer/artist and freelance non-fiction writer. Hiking in the mountains, going to live concerts, art openings, museums, and hosting intimate dinner parties.




Wednesday

February is a Book Lover's Budget Killer

Hello My Loves,

As the title suggests...February is killing my book budget. And it's not just because of ALL the awesome releases but because ALL THE AWESOME HARDCOVER RELEASES. *breathes in a paper bag*


SO without much further ado here is a blog post about the top five books my library needs from February's Great Book Drop! (these are in no particular order I flail over all of them equally)

1. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab *insert excited squeal of delight here*


This is the third and final book in the Shades of Magic trilogy. If you haven't read these book you need to stop reading, put on pants, and head to your local book retailer. This is an amazing set of books...alternate universes, wonderful coats, some magic, and of course mayhem. So like Sherlock with actual magic. Oh and dashing bisexual princes, cross-dressing thieves, dashing pirates, magical competitions...AH I could go on and on :) I can't wait to read this one! (Comes out in a week!)




I know absolutely nothing about The Tempest BUT I do know this cover art is breathtaking and Jacqueline Carey could write a thesis about the growth of cumquats and I'd read it incessantly. So...if you want to read a sultry take on The Tempest told by a master storyteller grab this one too.




There really isn't much necessary for the explanation on this one. Neil Gaimain. Norse Mythology. That should do it.




Ok this one came out January 31st but I'm going to call it close enough. I've been in love with Ms. Snyder's world for years. I'd resigned myself to Yelena and Valek's three glorious books. BUT THEN in wish fulfillment only a nerd count truly appreciate Ms. Snyder picked back up one of my favorite fictional couples! So...magic, cross-dressing dictators (I'm starting to notice a theme), assassins, and poison...grab the first one Poison Study if you haven't read any of these.



Because I need a romance on this list I chose this one. I love the cover (if you haven't noticed I'm definitely a judger) and the idea! There are some names I know and love in this set as well as some lovely new authors to try. This one dropped January 30th...again close enough!

So...there you have it! A good list featuring some lovely reads! Did you get or are you looking forward to any certain books in February? 

XO
Monica

P.S. I hope you grabbed A Darker Shade of Magic by now or I'm going to have to hunt you down and force you to read it while I watch to make sure you are properly appreciating it.

Monday

The Internet is Killing Our Brains: 7 Tips to Get it Back

Hello Loves,

Please forgive me for that clickbait of a title. However, it is the truth. How often do you see people commenting on FB about X, Y, or Z and you read it and think...WTF?

For me...way too often.

With the internet, cell phones, and Google people don't need to remember things anymore, we can look everything up, which means you're not exercising your brain as often to its fullest capacity, causing it to lose that ability to stretch.

Insanity! I know.

Well, I'm going to share a few tips on how to get that brainpower back!



1. The first is a method I've been toying with myself and that is: Unplug. I don't mean, turn off you notifications, or simply ignore your email for a few hours. Spend an entire day where you don't look at social media, email, news feeds, blogs, tumblr, Twitter...NONE of it. 


If you're making this face at me...keep reading for a second. Several studies have shown that regular unplugging helps your brain recover from the constant barrage of stimuli. Recovery for your brain is just as important as proper stimulation. Next, it can help bring families closer together if you do it as a group. Your eyes will feel better,  you neck will feel better, and you will get a better quality of sleep! There are a ton more benefits as well I just didn't want to go into a big long spiel. I myself have started trying to spend Sundays completely unplugged.

2. Brain Exercises! Yep...like all muscles the brain needs exercise. Checking twitter 15 times a day does not count as exercise. Studies are showing that humans today have a shorter attention span than GOLDFISH! Come on people...start working on building your memory, your focus, and your attention span. You can use flashcards, you can use an app, you can use pen and paper. Look online for brain exercises and hop in!

3. Get more sleep and drink more water. 


I know...people have been saying this for years. Do you want to know why? Because it's true!! Drink more water and get more sleep...both of these will help your brain! I could also throw eat brain-boosting foods, and exercise regularly in here too.

4. Force yourself into new experiences. I am very aware everyone has their own personal comfort zones. I have my own. When you do something new your brain actually has to structure around this new experience, creating neural pathways that didn't exist. This is growing your brain!

5. Read a book.



Reading accomplishes many of the previously discussed points. It can make you brain have a new experience (not the reading hopefully but the scenes and visual images), it will help you train your focus and attention span, and it's a form of unplugging (well if you read a paperback book). Try a new genre to up the ante! Reading also reduces tension, stress, and allows your body to release feel good chemicals!

6. Be Bored. Something I read in Cal Newport's book, Deep Work, that struck me was this point. Spend time being bored! Once the world got cell phones its as if being bored became a taboo. Practice this by standing and waiting in line (wherever) and just stand there. Taking in your surroundings, explore the people, textures, sensations...you could learn something new and boost your brain! Or you could try talking to people...strangers even...that used to happen.



7. Do the difficult thing. Again with the cell phones and computers all at easy access we don't need to spend a minute adding up our grocery bill by hand. There are number of tasks in the day that we make easier by using technology. This is shortcutting the experience for our brain. By doing the difficult thing we allow our brain to grow and learn from it. Try learning a new language with a book. Try doing math with pencil and paper. Write words with pencil and paper. There are any number of things that we can do per day that could be put into this category. If you even switch up one per day then you are helping your brain!

Let's stop sharing intellect with a goldfish and retake our brain power. The brains of Allen Turing, Albert Einstein, Maya Angelou...and so many celebrated thinkers.

How about you? Have you felt your brain power going? Do you have any tips to share or experience in recovering it?

XOXO

MC

P.S. I spend a lot of time reading books about productivity and brain power...you can see them as I read them on Goodreads if you give me a follow.



Wednesday

Love Books Instafreebie EVENT!

Welcome to our huge Instafreebie event! We have some great FREE reads for you to download. Click on the covers to claim your free books then scroll down to enter the $75 giveaway gift card giveaway.

 








a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday

In My Blood


On Becca Wallins' twenty-ninth birthday, Micah St. Aubin knocked on her door, declared them blood-bonded, and began jeopardizing the law enforcement career she sacrificed everything to build. Deep in the midst of a murder investigation, Becca doesn’t have time for irascible vampires, but with every order Micah issues, she must obey. With each new command, Becca fights for control of her mind, and as they spend more time together, can she resists her body's response to him as well?

You can purchase this book here:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


If you love reviewing books and want advanced copies you can also join the Facebook Review Crew as well. Daily freebie book postings!






Why not add it to your TBR Pile?


Friday

The DARK LEGENDS Boxed Set: Amazon PreOrder


RELEASE DAY IS JANUARY 17, 2017

*B*U*Y* NOW 
~*~ ONLY 99c ~*~

Murmurs around campfires, gossip in smoky taverns, discussions in towns and villages…
Everyone whispers of DARK LEGENDS, of supernatural creatures that walk the night…vampires and shifters, faeries and angels, dragons and sorcerers.

They whisper of danger. They whisper of adventure. They whisper of long-lasting love.
Preorder your copy of DARK LEGENDS today for 99c.

limited-time-only211

This Collection is packed with more than 20 full-length 
Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads from 
New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors!

AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER NOW!


This First Edition is EXTREMELY limited - you can only get the full collection between NOW
and
JANUARY 24, 2017 

~*~ ONLY 99c ~*~

Amazon.com     iBOOKS     KOBO     NOOK


Don’t miss this collection of more than twenty unique twists in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, providing over one million words of supernatural suspense that will transport you to new worlds with smoking hot action and heart-throttling adventure!

The DARK LEGENDS boxed set includes: 
Mermaids, Sirens, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Sorcerers, Warriors, Angels, Faeries, Demons, Witches, Psychics, Ghosts, Mythology, Folk Tales, Legends, Dark Magic, Time Travel, and More!

199ca-14329917_1251498718228846_1745396227627875944_n11

T.F. Walsh with Demon's Mark 
Monica Corwin with On a Red Horse
J.L. Weil with White Raven
Laxmi Hariharan with Redemption
JA Culican with The Keeper of Dragons,The Prince Returns
Muffy Wilson and The Para-Portage of Emily
GK DeRosa with Wilder: The Guardian Series
Marilyn Peake with Shade
Kevin McLaughlin with By Darkness Revealed
Carissa Ann Lynch with Midnight Moss
Vivienne Savage with Making Waves
Anna Hub with Beyond the Shadows
HJ Lawson with New Order
Emma Nichols with Blood Moon
Shelley Munro with Claimed & Seduced
J.A.Armitage with Two of Clubs
Leilani Love with Violca's Dragon
Demelza Carlton with Ocean's Gift
Xyla Turner with Broken Treaty
D.S. Murphy with Scarlet Thread
Jeremy Williams with Winemaker of the North



Meet the Authors and Win Epic Prizes!
January 17, 2017
9am - 12pm PST



Five Tips to Put the Spark Back in Your Writing



When I was a kid, well, a kid of say 20...compared to the refined and seasoned 30 that I am now *snicker* I was looking for a certain kind of relationship. Not just any old relationship would do, being a creative, I needed that fiery kind. The ones where you pour your aching bleeding heart out to each other. The ones that hurt, and burn, and catch fire. The dangerous ones. I yearned for a relationship with passion, fire, romance, and let's face it, hot sex.



Today, I'm older, wiser, and when I seek out a relationship with another human I look for steadiness, calm, reliability. You know, those boring things that often get taken for granted. I think writing has become the same over the years. Between deadlines, due dates, and marketing, I barely have time to put down words. And when I do it's like pulling teeth. Like trying to schedule a date when you have a five kids under the age of six.


In my younger days my writing was flash-like. I'd sit down with a notepad, a pen, and go for hours. 5,000 words a t time without stopping. It was a rush, and it made me feel like Jack Kerouac --a feeling I hope everyone has at least one point in their life. In my later years (yes, I know I am still young) while I'd love a good romp with the keyboard at 5,000 words a go...but I rarely get that.

It's mostly about time, but it's also about that spark. I do miss the heat, the passion, but now...when I sit down to write...I want a steady pace, a schedule, consistency. Again, all those things we take for granted. So...today's post is about bringing back that spark and helping establish that consistency without losing the fire.



1. SCHEDULE 

While yes, I know the muse often doesn't work on a time clock , the human body is a remarkable piece of engineering. If you sit down at the same time everyday to eat lunch in the  same spot, you're body already knows what's about to happen, and muscle memory kicks in and you can eat lunch, likely while glued to your iPhone without a second thought. But, let's say a meeting is scheduled and you have to miss your usually lunch time. Your body is  going to make sure you know that hey, it's time for lunch (insert Bubble Guppies song here).

Your body can do that for you too when it comes to writing. Schedule a time you sit down everyday. Plan it, and then do it. To make it stick you can start small. Plan 10 minutes. One ten minute set a day where you sit down and put words on paper. If you are having trouble figure out where the resistance is. At what point, and what action are you taking, where you say "screw it I won't" and then try to alter than behavior.

2. LIVE INSPIRATIONALLY

No, that's not from a bumper sticker. As a creative mind you constantly need input. It can be from people watching on the bus, or listening to your favorite show while you work. Whatever you find inspiring. Line up post cards on your desk, get a special writing pencil, have the same hot beverage. Do what you need to do to put your mind in a creatively receptive place.

(Yes, gratuitous Jensen Ackles might help)

3. CHANGE IT UP 

If you've got the habit but no mojo, change up your atmosphere. A jerk to the system can sometimes help put a little spark back in. Take your notebook to a local coffee shop and people watch. Or go to the park, a diner, your front doorstep. Doesn't matter really as long as you enjoy being there and it helps. Don't be afraid to try new places, mix it up every day if you need to. 

4. VISUALIZE

One reason I love Pinterest, besides the little chuckle I get when I see my Dad pin something, is for storyboarding. Visualizing characters, scenes, and important artifacts from your story might help spark something in your mind. You can use old fashioned Google, or magazines. I like Pinterest because once my story is written it's fun to share with my readers...so they can see where it began and what the piece looks like in my mind.  

5. DON'T OVER DO IT 

The mind is a delicate instrument. You could feel perfectly normal, but if you are facing extreme stress or a ridiculously demanding schedule, your brain can short circuit on you. Revolt if you will, and your body along with it. Try to fit writing time in, of course, but also take care of yourself physically and mentally. It will help you produce faster, and more work, when you do.



On a final note...it's ok not to feel that aching fever in your blood when you write. It's perfectly fine to sit down with a sensible outline and put words on the page according to schedule.

BONUS: READ A BOOK

That one seems obvious to me. But, everyone has THAT book that makes them want to write, or gives them word envy. Keep it with you for quick jolt of inspiration. If you need an idea try my favorite, 'Zen and the Art of Writing' by Ray Bradbury.

How about you? Do you have any books that make you want to write or give you word envy?? 

XO
Monica