Guest blogging has been so rewarding in 2019, and I look forward to many many more. Please enjoy this post on my friend Lola’s blog, Raising a Baby Activist. We’d love to hear what you think and always appreciate a share, like or comment!
Click here to read my blog post and to learn more about Lola and her amazing blog!
Here’s hoping the holiday season is merry and bright for all!
Sending you love and light all year long,
Author of the #1 New Release, Jake the Growling Dog, (as Samantha Shannon) & of binge-worthy fantasy and paranormal books at Rawlings Books, LLC.
It’s been a busy fall so far. I am still working on guest posts to share my children’s book, Jake the Growling Dog, with families and schools. I’m also chipping away at my SFF book, Synced. Below is my latest blog post about mindfulness and the link to my newsletter with some fabulously spooky deals this month.
I am fortunate to have collaborated with Shannan and her amazing blog, Faithfully Beautiful. She’s done so much for Jake this year, and I had a wonderful time writing this blog post for her site.
She has some amazing blogs to follow about motherhood, travel, fashion & beauty, and homeschool and I just adore her Instagram page: @faithfullyshannan
Check out my guest blog about practicing mindfulness here and all of her other amazing content!
October’s newsletter is full of awesome deals as well! Check them out here.
What a fantastic summer this has been so far. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the tremendous support for my first picture book, Jake the Growling Dog. It has been a #1 New Release in multiple children’s books categories, including books about tolerance, dogs, intermediate readers, and social skills. My illustrator, Kerrie Joyce, and I are overwhelmed with excitement for what is happening and for what is the come. (I may have sent some books to Today and The New York Times Reviewer 😉 )
Guest Blogging Fun!
We continue to collaborate with some awesome momma, family, & literature-loving bloggers.
It is getting cold, but continuing to stay swampy and wet here in Coastal Virginia. I’d say I’m wishing for snow, but we just end of getting ice and closing down for a week. Virginia Beach doesn’t have, or typically need, snowplows. As a result, we get iced in at least once a year. Fun times until the kids are home for a week and you’re tearing your hair out, hahaha.
Last week was an incredible week of first for my family. My oldest turned 10, double digits, on the 10th and won her first ever cheer competition. I wasn’t a cheerleader myself, but she’s gravitated towards it and came out of the gate with a win. It was an amazing and exhausting experience. We are proud of her and how much dedication she has given to the ( should be) sport.
What was your activity, sport, or hobby when you were a kid? We were a basketball, Louisville native, and running family. Though I love to dance, sing, write (obviously), and draw. I would love to hear your stories!
As for what’s in store for you down below, I have a cool FREE ebook contest going on and a teaser from my new romance novel. I promise to give you a peek at the new Sci-fi/fantasy one at the end of the month. In the meantime, I’ve given you a taste of Forbidden, which will be FREE during my February paperback and gift card giveaway (Feb 11th-15th). I’ll share that contest info soon, as well as a Amazon giveaway link for Trust that I’ll send your way next week.
As always, I have some cool deals and new releases from my friends as well, so check them out! Oh, and I have some slots open to be part of my review/ARC team, so hop ono my group or fan page, links below, to fill-out the form and join my team!
Thank you for your feedback, kindness, reviews, and support. Parker
Update on the Madhouse
We finally took the tree down, Sunday, and the kitty was not pleased. I think we need to get something for her, maybe a nice, hypo-allergic tree next time. I was so sick from the real one. Anyone else?
So this big guy went on a big hike with us and somehow hurt his tail. If you’ve ever had a lab you know how crazy they are with their tails. So we babied him and let him nap on our bed, but as soon as he got better, he didn’t want to leave. BTW, that’s my husband’s side.
After her team whooped the competition, I taught her shuffleboard wherein she whooped me. Darn her fantastic hand-eye coordination.
We don’t stay in hotels often, but we knew with some cheer travel that we’d have to, and they love it. I don’t know why I got so teary-eyed, but watching them run down the hall, my youngest with two baby dolls in tow, made me wish they’d stay young forever. Oh, and I’m sorry to the other guest for all the noise, noise, noise (I can’t let go of Christmas!)
That’s it on my madhouse. I hope your madhouse is doing well!
Tired of moving yet again, Cat McLean finds herself in the town of Valleyview when her dad is transferred. And if that wasn’t enough to deal with, shortly after their move, Cat’s involved and in a near-fatal car accident which lands her in the hospital where strange visions plague her recovery. When she wakes to find that she has the ability to see auras and to heal others, she’s horrified to discover an ancient evil that means to destroy her new home.
Cat must join forces with her sister and a new friend in a race to save her new town. Will she learn how to harness her new powers in time?
Or will she succumb to the darkness she fears?h, sweet Death, guide my talons to victory
Verdi is a huntress for Koenigin Corp. She’s augmented. Perfect.
Determined to earn her dear president’s favor and finally have her voice heard, Verdi agrees to target Maria Snow, the favored candidate of the Society for Natural Progression, in an acid attack.
After all, once Maria is no longer so lovely, surely she’ll accept the nanite-based technology that can remove her scar—thus branding her as a traitor to her cause.
But when Maria Snow refuses treatment and Verdi catches her secretly meeting with an enhanced, sapient bird, she realizes Snow might be the one woman who can forge an alliance between the technology-loving corporations and the nature-oriented Progressionists.
Forced to choose between loyalty to the corporation who raised her, and falling in love with the woman who could finally unite the two factions, Verdi’s decision will change the face of the city.
Will Verdi choose loyalty or love?
Read Huntress to find out!
What better way to save a patient, than by biting them.
The aloof methods of Dr. Roman Bellevue are less than conventional, but there’s a dark secret beneath his medical miracles. Isabella DeVaughn, fresh out of nursing school, struggles to save her dying patients while vying for the attentions of a doctor who is too hot to handle. Will Isabella fall for the charm of this hard-body physician with a kind smile and infamous reputation?
Can anything stop the double-edged virus as it courses through the small hospital in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana?
Contains high-heat scenes and action-based violence. This thrilling PNR has no cliffhanger in the main pages, but the epilogue kicks off the next book in the series. Scroll up and one-click to buy this exciting paranormal doctor romance filled with thrilling action and medical intrigue today.
Jillian Johnson, known as the mighty Battlecry, was born into a superhero cult. She craves a life of freedom, far away from her violent and abusive team leader, Patrick. With no education, no money, and no future to speak of, she’s stuck in the dangerous life…until she meets the mysterious and compelling Benjamin, a civilian with superpowers. When Patrick confronts her, she fights back–and then runs for her life.
One by one, her ex-teammates join her until a new team has formed. But Patrick will not let his upstart teammates get away so easily. Humiliated and hellbent on vengeance, he waits for his chance to strike back and kill the new team, and he is happy to murder superheroes and civilians alike. On top of that, Benjamin has joined Jillian and her comrades, angering his own lethal family. Jillian’s enemies begin to close in from all sides.
Desperate and in hiding, Jillian must shed everything she thinks she knows about what it means to lead. Can she rise up to the challenge of defeating Patrick? Can she save Benjamin from his family? Or will she die like every other superhero who’s dared to challenge the cult?
If you like the gritty, understated superheroes in Netflix’s Jessica Jones and the raw urban fantasy of Veronica Roth, you’ll get sucked into Emerald Dodge’s Battlecry!
A Fantasy, Paranormal, and Sci-fi Love Story Continues
Last month I discussed the sources that inspired my love for magic. This topic poured over into our first podcast. I mostly discussed movies that inspired me when I was a young child, I’ve decided to continue the topic by moving it to up in years, which to me is still in the ’80s and ’90s (two of the best decades I might add), and relating to books I’ve read or written as well.
Let’s jump right in!
The NeverEnding Story: 1984
The gloriousness of The NeverEnding Story still translates with my kiddos today. This magical movie touched on bullying and loss as well as the power of believing and letting those you’ve lost still live in inside of you even when it can be too hard to even think of them at times.
The movie opens with our lead character, Bastian, being bullied to the point where he has to hide in a dumpster. Later, the boy received a book and found a place to experience the story. While in his world he only appears to be reading, the viewers are sent through a portal into another world where the “nothing” is hellbent on destroying all of Fantasia. Without giving away those dreaded “spoilers,” I’ll just reveal that the story progresses and this normal human boy somehow has power over a place so magical. He doesn’t even believe it himself and makes fantastic friends along the way.
And I have to talk about Falcor: Yes I have a dog that looks like him, how did I not name him that? He almost got named Walker after looking like those formidable dark side, ground assault monstrosities, but we settled on Bodhi. Hey, I was going to name my youngest daughter Anakin if she was a boy, would have been awesome, right?
Magical Worlds and Dimensions in Fantasy Novels
Other worlds, other dimensions had always fascinated me, especially when a seemingly unimportant human became a part of it before realizing their strength, power, and heart when they never thought any of it was possible. While re-reading A Wrinkle in Time, written in 1962, with my oldest, it had me thinking of how the book also sparked the interest in dimensional travel. I knew I loved the novel, but the deep science in those pages was something I had completely forgotten.
Aside from A wrinkle in time, Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks, stars a 14-year-old girl from Illinois, Nest Freemark has a connection to the darkness that may impact the future. In this story, another normal kid has the power, magic, and a crucial impact on the future. It as the also the first time I read something from Mr. Brooks that had such a strong female as his main character. Something that is now the “it” thing. Finally!
Paving the Way for the Powerful Female Lead
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 1996-2003
We can’t talk about powerful female leads without focusing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No one comes to mind sooner that Buffy when I think of a character I related to, grew alongside, and rooted for every week. I also have all of the DVD’s, and it’s my go-to when I’m bummed or sick.
Buffy was a normal, albeit somewhat shallow (I mean most teenagers are at one time or another, I know I had my moments) high school cheerleader. When she becomes the next Slayer, everything changes. What doesn’t change is the camaraderie with her amazing best friends, AKA Scooby Gang, and she doesn’t give up, even after experiencing heaven.
Human Experiences in a Paranormal World
Joss Whedon and the writing team conquered deep topics on the show. No wonder it’s getting an excellent Buffy sequel to the show. From losing your virginity and the guy turning into a complete “monster,” to losing a loved one, studying for tests, moving, oh and saving the world, the covered it all. I cried alongside Buffy, Xander, Willow, Angel (wait, do vampires cry?), and I continue to love, talk about, and reverently recommend the show to this day.
Buffy also jump-started my love for vampires and werewolves. I admit I am more of a lover of a good vampire/paranormal story in book format, but that may just be due to the trickiness of putting the pictures readers, and the writers, form in their heads to something decent on the big screen. Well, Buffy did it perfectly, as well as a few others. Though when asked who my favorite vampires are I easily list Angel and Spike. Oh, and this guy…
In the film, Blade (1998), was one of the movies that captured another form of the vampire world that I truly enjoyed. Not to mention Stephen Doff’s, Deacon Frost and it’s based on a Marvel comic (don’t get me started on Marvel, but we will discuss soon. We must!).
Though, since I said it already (now I can’t stop thinking about it), Ryan Reynolds was in Blade: Trinity where he proved to be a badass before becoming the Merc with the Mouth, Deadpool. Ahhh, Marvel is everywhere. And I love it!
Lastly, bringing the female lead back into the picture and adding in those werewolves, Lycan, is Underworld. Though this one moves into the 2000s, it was released in 2003, it does star Scott Speedman who was in Felicity, 1998, a very non-paranormal/fantasy/horror show, but worth mentioning nonetheless. I’ve digressed, Underworld stars death dealer vampire, Selene, who thought of all Lycans as the enemy until realizing she’s a tool in a war that started well before her time and over power feuds. Her strength, speed, and glowing blue eyes make her my favorite female vampire of all time.
Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Novels
Continuing forward in time to show the evolution of magic in my life, it was 2012 when I first read The Weird Girls by Cecy Robson. Cecy is the paranormal/urban fantasy author whose characters’ remind me of the female strength and friendship in Buffy. Along with the romance, mystery, and suspense, the novels are pages turners for sure. The Wird Sisters each have powers of their own after being cursed, and they are joined by other creatures, heroes, villains, and those on that blurry line sometimes, werewolves, vampires, ghouls, witches, etc.
I could go on forever, I’m sure, but I’ll button this up for now in hopes that you all will share your favorites in the genres that mingle and intersect on many levels. Let’s focus on science fiction next time so I can give my other faves, Star Wars and Star Trek, some love as well.
Thank you for your continued support and stay tuned for the next podcast that you can find right here, as well as another guest blog by Author Jessica Ozment.
Oh, and Happy Birthday to my dad, the one who inspired by love for all things science, fantasy, and magic!
I wanted to introduce everyone to my partner in crime, my artist with the mostest, my talented co-author and creative master, Jessica Ozment. She’s agreed to jump on the crazy train with me some more and create a podcast. We recorded our first show this week. Right afterward, yes cause I know you’ll love what she brought to the show so much, I wanted to have her put her portion of the show into words for the blog. Below she touches on why she wanted to create a podcast and shares her own experiences that led her to write in the fantasy genre.
You can also listen to the full podcast below. Be gentle, it’s our first time.
Most who know me know that I’m guilty of writing and devouring fantasy novels like there’s no tomorrow and that I’m a graphic designer who enjoys building my business, The Magic Quill Graphics…but there’s actually another side to the indie book world I haven’t tapped into yet, which is odd for me because I’ve dipped my feet into just about everything to do with books. I’ve made it my mission to try my hand at anything I can to make connections with readers who might enjoy the things I not only have to say about the books I read and review, but also the projects I put my blood, sweat, and tears into creating from the ground up.
Expanding our reach
For me, establishing Lit Musings, alongside my incredibly talented co-host, Parker Sinclair, was about allowing me to keep up with my amazing readers in a different way, about gaining those crucial new connections in our community that are geared toward the fantasy genre, and to push the work I’ve stolen countless hours from my family time to create. I like the idea of us not only speaking about books here at Lit Musings, but also many other topics that pop up in the indie world we see from day to day.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who believes the indie community is oversaturated with politics, vague booking, and childish conflicts… for this very reason, it is my goal to steer our listeners into more positive issues that actually have something to do with our profession. I’m looking forward to meeting new fantasy and paranormal authors and having them on the show to speak about what drove them into the Indie pool, and how they’ve grown since then. You’ll also find that I will be doing my best to collect trade tips to help you guys on the road to publishing so that we can grow as a team in this community, rather than every man for himself.
A mother’s lasting gift
The last reason I really want to go this direction with pushing myself to be more transparent in the community is because I lost my mother at a very early age, 14. She always nudged me to put my best foot forward and to develop the creative side of my brain that was always trying to take over anyway. She taught me to read, to write and to love myself. She introduced me to my favorite writer, Stephen King…and through that small action, I was able to connect with her even now, with her being long gone. This show, for me, is dedicated to her memory because without it, I wouldn’t be here today.
Igniting a love for fantasy
THE LITTLE MERMAID
I chose to talk about The Little Mermaid in our first podcast. The biggest reason for this is, I’m a water lover. Anything that has to do with underwater worlds and magic really just draws me in, no matter what it’s about. I think I have probably over 50 fish in my house right now that can attest to this fact! I find it interesting that we still have yet to explore most of the oceans, and that we may find so much more if we just put our minds to it and show a little initiative. I love the story behind the little mermaid because it teaches us to love who we are, to not change who we are because we love, and that there are so many people out there that will take what you love away from you to gain the upper hand. It’s such a strong coming of age movie that I think every girl should watch, young and old.
1.) Did you know that the original story about Ariel actually took off the coast of Denmark, where it is said Arendelle (from the movie Frozen, is set to be closely located.)
2,) Unlike most people I’m sure, I haven’t seen the second movie… which apparently explains that Captain Hook is the one who killed Ariel’s mother…
3.) When designing Ariel, artists used Alyssa Milano’s body as inspiration!
4.) Animating a film is a lot of work, and Disney didn’t have the manpower available. Disney hired the Chinese animation studio Pacific Rim to draw over one million bubbles by hand. Wow!
Another amazingly written series I easily fell in love with is the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter. Yes, I’m a nerd, haha! There are so many factors that pushed me to read the books and watch all of the movies, like the fact that a 10-year-old boy who had no idea he was magical suddenly has an entire world at his fingertips. A world which opened its doors to a misguided boy as if he never left. His struggles to gain acceptance from his peers and learn the truth of his past hit home with me, and from there, my love of fantasy first bloomed.
1.) J.K Rowling came up with the names of the Hogwarts Houses on the back of a barf bag, yikes!
2.) Dementors actually represented Rowling’s struggle with depression.
4.) And Rowling wrote the final chapter early on while writing the books.
Thanks for letting me jump in and guest blog today. Be sure to check out my latest publication featured in, Where There’s Murder, There’s Mystery: A Suspense Thriller Anthology. Now available for pre-order at the low price of .99 cents! Click here to pre-order today!
Listen to our first Lit Musings podcast right here!
It’s true; I am a fantasy and sci-fi junkie. I am not sure if I came out of the womb that way or if my parents influence me to be as such, but it’s true. Yes, I am a grown woman, and I wear Harry Potter and Avengers t-shirts (I’ll get to you some other time Thanos, you snap-happy narcissist), and not just to Disney or Universal Studios, I am talking bus stops, shopping, and if you’re lucky, even at happy hour to my hubby’s dismay.
I’ve been struggling with keeping up with my blog, and I know that is bad bad bad, so I realized I need to talk things I know a lot about that relate to what I do, and those are movies and TV shows that are fantasy in nature. I mean it’s how I got to this writing thing in the first place. Since I couldn’t read right away, I’d have to say it was due to the movies and shows my family and I watched. I’d like to highlight the ones that are my earliest recollections. I’ll only talk about two today, because I know we all have better things to do on a Monday; but hey, maybe I’m not alone, and this will take you down memory lane as well.
Even though this movie came out in 1959, I vividly remember driving in the snow to see this movie in the theaters. It must have been a re-showing, and until that darn awesome mermaid, Aurora was my favorite princess of all time. I won’t leave out Maleficent who, to this child, was the scariest villain ever. It was the magic that drew me, the simple glowing fairies, the eternal cursed sleep, the animals dancing and smiling at her as she sang of love, all of it made me fall in love with the fantasy world.
I did see Maleficent when it came out on DVD. I enjoyed the twist in that story versus the Disney version, but I won’t ruin it for you by telling you what that is, I am not a sociopath. HAHAHA (That was non-evil laughing, maybe).
Beyond The Muppets
The Dark Crystal
Jim Henson and Frank Oz were, as always really, super ahead of their time with this one. I am sure it was a little scary for some kiddos who were the primary target for Henson in most of his work. The high fantasy and adventure tale focuses on elf creatures called Gelflings. Two Gelflings, Jen and Kira, go to task to save their world by returning a shared of crystal to its home. The Skeksis are frightening baddies that suck the souls of innocents, and I still see them in my mind when I am creating my monsters. Ack, their voices even, a screeching, a terrifyingly manic sound that doesn’t leave you, or me, ever.
I’ll touch on more movies and shows in my next post. Maybe I’ll lean more towards Sci-fi next time since those are a huge part of my creative flow as well. Stay tuned for me to dork out with Star Wars and Star Trek, and please let me know some of your childhood faves.
My podcast is coming soon, which is appropriately titles Lit Musings. My friend, and fellow author, Jessica Ozment and I are co-hosts. I’ll post the link on my next blog, but here’s our sweet intro for now.
I hope everyone is finally warming up in your neck of the woods. I think we’ve gone straight from winter to summer in Eastern Virginia. I’m sorry that I’ve been off of my blog for a while. Changing careers, writing, focusing on re-branding my urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, The Alex Conner Chronicles, and the reorganization my life (does this really ever end) have interrupted my blogging plans. My plan for the next few months is to highlight some of the authors who have inspired me in the fantasy genre. So let’s get to it!
Amazing Female Authors
It still shocks me when I think back to the books I’ve read. I don’t think I noticed that mainly men wrote the fantasy books I poured over, but, maybe I did. Perhaps subconsciously I thought about it, and it’s why I never believed I could do it. Then I found Robin McKinley, Kim Harrison, Jeaniene Frost, Patricia McKillip, and Cecy Robson. I watched True Blood on HBO and had to pick up Charlaine Harris’ books and started to feel like; you know what, I can do this. I had been writing all of my life, my mind created worlds, characters and creatures non-stop. I just had to do it.
The sassy, strong, powerful female leads in these novels are alive and kicking ass in these contemporary, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal novels. All my genres of interest had light touches on my first three, and very messy, chapters that I had put together. These female authors continue to motivate me to do and to get better at my craft, so I wanted to highlight the ones I feel have brought me to where I am now. Though many of them may have a newer series and books out, I am focusing on the books that moved me, that set my butt into gear, and brought my stories to life.
May’s highlighted author is: Kim Harrison.
Kim Harrison: The Hallows Series
I own most of the paperback and hardbacks for this series, and I’m on my 2nd read-through. Yes, they are that good. Rachel Morgan is an earth witch and a runner, think paranormal bounty hunter. The series starts out with Rachel leaving a government agency where she’s being treated like to crap to work on her own. Little does she know she’ll soon have two partners, a smart-mouthed pixy and a vampire who loathes herself.
Magic and Action
You’ll immerse in a world that exists after humanity was nearly wiped out by a virus, and the supernatural species came out of hiding. This series packs loads of action, humor, some romance, and magic. The books introduce more and more details about the other species as you move through it, and lots of baddies for Rachel to face off against in ever novel. There’s something for every paranormal lover with witches, demons, werewolves, pixies, vampires, fairies, elves, trolls, and others.
Below are only some of the books, but I wanted you to see her first one, Dead Witch Walking, and then the progression. There are 14 books in all, one of them is a prequel. Rachel also pops up in Kim’s new series about Peri Reed.
Kim has been truly inspirational in my writing and was the first writer to show me all the badass main character can be, strong, weak, clumsy, and unstoppable. Don’t miss this series, Rachel Mariana Morgan is one of the best Urban Fantasy characters out there.
June’s author highlight and another author who has strongly impacted me and my writing will be, Jeanine Frost, and her “The Night Huntress Series.”
Thank you for taking the time to read over my blog. I love hearing from fans, so please contact me at any time!
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