5 Ways Space Operas Can Help You Live a Better Life

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The phrase space opera was coined in 1941 and recently author T.D. Wilson did a Spotlight on Space Opera right here on the blog. He defined space opera as “filled with adventure, conflict, mystery, and romance and beautifully orchestrated for the reader in an outer space setting.”

In other words it’s a big adventure, set in space, with romance, cool technology, exotic worlds and civilizations, and dashing heroes and heroines. Excited? I am.

Okay, so how can space operas help us live a better life right here on regular old Earth? Here we go:

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MORE LOVE – We could all do with more love in our lives and space operas offer some big sweeping love stories. Princess Leia and Han Solo? Flash Gordon and Dale Arden? Dathan Phoenix and Eos Rai? Space operas encourage us to get out of the ordinary and do something extraordinary to show that special someone in our lives that we love them.

INSPIRATION – I find the awe-inspiring worlds and peoples of space operas a real inspiration. I love to see the mixed crews of Star Trek, where prejudice is a thing of the past. I love to see the vast races and worlds of the Star Wars galaxy and believe that anything is possible.

LARGER THAN LIFE HEROES AND HEROINES – Space operas give us heroes and heroines to look up to. Okay, they are larger than life, but most of them are flawed and despite the seemingly impossible odds stacked against them, they just keep getting up and trying to save the day (or the princess, or the empire or find the last remaining fragment of the Mona Lisa). We could all learn something from their determination and perseverance as we face the challenges of our own lives.

COOL GADGETS – Space operas offer us some pretty cool stuff. Ever wanted your own lightsaber? Droids to do your housework? Or a lingual implant so you can speak any language? Space operas show us the possibilities of the future and inspire us to create them. And in the meantime, we can always use these space opera inspired gadgets: Your own Lightsaber BBQ tongs or a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer or maybe a smartphone-controlled robot called MiP.

MORE ADVENTURE IN YOUR LIFE – Space operas are all about grand adventure whether they are escaping from Ming the Merciless, or the Cylons, or going on a galactic treasure hunt. Reading a great adventure helps us spice up our own busy lives or might even inspire us to make our own adventure (get away for a weekend, take a hike, or take the kids somewhere fun).

So if you need a bit more Space Opera in your life, check these out:

  • Books: The Epherium Chronicles by T.D. Wilson, Cosmic Sparks Series by Robert Appleton or lots more here >> Carina Press Space Opera
  • Movies: Star Wars, Fifth Element, The Chronicles of Riddick
  • TV Shows: Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek and Firefly
  • Comics: Flash Gordon and Guardians of the Galaxy (soon to be a movie starring Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Glenn Close and Bradley Cooper)

CONTEST: Enter to win my sci-fi romance novella Winter Fusion (set in the same galaxy as AT STAR’S END). Just leave a comment here at the blog and tell me which cool space gadget (either from this post or from your fav space opera science fiction) you’d like to have.

Dr. Eos Rai has speAction Romance Science Fiction Romance Space Operant a lifetime dedicated to her mother’s dream of finding the long lost Mona Lisa. When Eos uncovers tantalizing evidence of Star’s End—the last known location of the masterpiece—she’s shocked when her employer, the Galactic Institute of Historic Preservation, turn its back on her. Left with no choice, Eos must trust the most notorious treasure hunter in the galaxy; a man she finds infuriating, annoying and far too tempting.

Dathan Phoenix can sniff out relics at a stellar mile. With his brothers by his side, he takes the adventures that suit him and refuses to become a lazy, bitter failure like his father. When the gorgeous Eos Rai comes looking to hire him, he knows she’s trouble, but he’s lured into a hunt that turns into a wild and dangerous adventure. As Eos and Dathan are pushed to their limits, they discover treasure isn’t the only thing they’re drawn to…but how will their desire survive when Dathan demands the Mona Lisa as his payment?

Read a sample

AT STAR’S END available at Carina Press

logoI’m Anna Hackett and I write action romance to thrill you, excite you and leave you inspired. Join the adventure! You can find me at all the usual places: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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As a writer I find inspiration everywhere—sometimes in some really odd places; however, most of my inspiration comes from music and books. The entire Realm Walker series sprang from one Daughtry song and other songs were the inspiration behind specific books. When I write, I have to have music playing and I have a different playlist for each series or book.

And then of course there are books, many, many books. Some of them are in my genre but a lot of them aren’t. In urban fantasy and paranormal romance I love Ilona Andrews, Jeaniene Frost, Jax Garren, R.L. Naquin and Eleri Stone. In other genres, my faves are Tessa Dare’s historicals and Katie MacAlister’s contemporaries. Despite how much I admire all these authors, it’s not always their stories that inspire me. Sometimes it’s the way they build a world, or the way they make me laugh, or even the way the pour emotion into their character interactions.

Death’s Daughter may have come from my brain and my fingers, but it’s a culmination of years of music, books, tv shows and whatever else sparked a bit of creativity in this brain of mine. What about you? What are some of your favorite bands or authors? How do they inspire you?

Death’s Daughter (Realm Walker #2)

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Juliana Norris, Realm Walker with the Agency, is an Altered. A fact that she runs up against every time she’s forced to work with human police officers, and their species-ist commissioner, on cases they can’t solve themselves. Which happens more than they would like to admit.

Her gift—the quality that makes her the best Realm Walker in the business, without boast—is the ability to read magical signatures. Whether the gift came from her father, the dark fae god of death, or the mage mother she can’t remember, is anyone’s guess. And when Altered children start going missing with only wild magical signatures as clues, her heritage is the last thing on her mind.

She can’t afford such distractions, and she definitely can’t afford to worry about the fact that her mate, master vampire Thomas Kendrick, hasn’t spoken to her since she saved him from a demon—maybe it’s because she had to stab him to do so. Because whoever is kidnapping these children must be very powerful to wield wild magic. Very powerful, and very dangerous indeed. Available now from Carina Press




Kathleen Collins has been writing since Kindergarten. And while her ability has drastically improved, her stories are still about fantasy worlds and the people who live in them. The rare instances that she actually finds some spare time, she spends it playing with her two boys. Three if you count her husband. She is currently hard at work on her next book.

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Congratulations 2014 RITA Award Finalists!

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Last week the Romance Writers of America announced the nominations for the 2014 RITA® Awards and we’re thrilled to see that two amazing books from Carina Press were nominated! Congratulations to our authors and all of the other nominees! Visit the RWA blog for the complete list.


Paranormal Romance
Witch Bound by Eleri Stone
Gina Bernal, editor

Book two of Twilight of the Gods

Raquel Lindgren knows what her future holds. An arranged marriage. A new home in Ragnarok, Iowa, with another clan of refugees from Asgard. She should be happy. But there’s a mental block preventing her from tapping in to her true abilities as a witch. And she’s more attracted to the best man than she is to the groom…

Fen can’t believe he’s falling for his best friend’s future wife. As a hound, a wolf shifter, his duty lies with the pack. He’s seen too many hounds destroyed by love, and he’s sworn never to take a mate, never to have children of his own. He can’t deny his desire for Raquel, but she deserves more than he can offer her.

Raquel’s been raised to trust in magic, her clan and her destiny. But when a vengeful demon threatens to break out of Asgard and destroy the clan, Raquel learns she must trust in love if she is to take the future into her own hands.

For more tales of modern-day Vikings, check out Demon Crossings.


CARINA_1213_9781426897603_MineUnderMistleToeRomance Novella
Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham
Angela James, editor

Thanks to a transatlantic house swap, California girl Ashley Turner is finally going to fulfill her lifelong dream of a proper English Christmas. Her holiday plans did notinclude a sexy stranger climbing into her borrowed bed in the middle of the night. But in the light of day, Ashley can’t help but wonder if Santa has delivered early…

Game designer Oliver Stansfeld can’t wait to leave dreary London–and all its difficult holiday memories–for sunny San Diego. But a freak ice storm and a grounded plane have forced him back to his already-occupied flat. To make up for the mix-up, the least he can do is show his pretty houseguest where to get the perfect Christmas tree before he leaves.

The more time they spend together, the more their attraction grows, and soon Ashley is tempting Oliver to give in to the spirit of the season and snuggle up for the rest of the winter. As the ice melts and flights start taking off again, he must choose between giving in to the past or risking his heart on a chance at love.

Crossing The Finish Line (Plus Giveaway!)

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 photo CARINA_0314_9781426898099_DangerousAngel_zpsff2dca61.jpgWheee, I did it! With the release of Dangerous Angel, I’ve completed my first series. This project took over a year and a half to complete, from an idea about a demonic apocalypse, to this moment. Over 231,000 words later, It. Is. DONE.

I love writing in many romance subgenres, from contemporary to cyberpunk (I’m even sharing DANGEROUS ANGEL’s release date with my sci-fi holiday anthology sister, Anna Hackett, so check out AT STAR’S END—it’s already on my Kindle). Paranormal romance (PNR), however, holds a special place in my heart.

Why do I love PNR? The only limit is imagination. For instance, when I read about a demon who could take the appearance of any person, could “know the minds” of all mankind, and had the ability to cause insanity, I had to write about this Great Duke of hell, Dantalion. With devastating abilities like that, can you blame me?

So I had a wicked great villain. Score! But what could defeat him? I came up with the concept of the almost-human Nephilim (angel-human hybrids) living among us. They basically lead ordinary lives… until they have to stop a demonic apocalypse. Though their bodies are mostly human and their angelic abilities threaten their lives as much as any demon, they’re willing to sacrifice it all to save the world for the people they love.

The hero in Dangerous Angel, Kyle, is no different. Descended from an angel who controlled lightning, Kyle’s mostly human brain is always firing—or misfiring, ADHD-style—at an alarming rate. If he’s not careful, his circuits will get permanently fried.

It takes a special kind of personality to roll with the Nephilim, and the heroine of Dangerous Angel is up to the task. Nikita Tesoro went through the worst kind of hell while growing up, so life has prepared her to take things like demons in stride. Life also prepared her to understand sacrifice the way only a human can , and that’s Nikita’s superpower. She might be surrounded by supernatural beings, but it takes her beautiful human heart to return balance to the world.

So, it’s done. I’ve crossed the finish line and written the story of how love, loyalty, strength and sacrifice—the best of our human qualities—can prevail over evil. I’ll miss writing about the Nephilim. But of course, I did leave one character standing alone, with no one to love. Hmmm…



Book four of the Earth Angels series

Miami’s best bounty hunter, Nikita Tesoro will do anything to collar a fugitive, including stepping into a stripper’s stilettos for the night. Outsmarting her rival Kyle Beaudecker is just a bonus. Despite the sexual tension sparking between them, Nikita keeps a professional distance from “Hurricane” Kyle. After all, she can’t get hurt if she doesn’t care.

A descendant of the archangel Barakiel with the power to harness electricity, Kyle should be focusing his energy on tracking down a demon that may be hiding in the human realm. But he’s a lover, not a fighter, and he’d much rather use his special talents for pleasure: specifically Nikita’s. And teaming up to find a bail jumper means spending lots of time together…

But when their case takes a turn for the demonic, Kyle can no longer hide his true nature from Nikita. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her heart—even stop the apocalypse. But he can’t do it alone.

80,000 words

Get your copy of Dangerous Angel at any of these ebook retailers!:

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Google Play | Kobo | Carina Press



Wow, you read all the way to this point? You should be rewarded with… a DANGEROUS ANGEL giveaway! ^_^

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About Stacy Gail: A competitive figure skater from the age of eight, Stacy Gail began writing stories in between events to pass the time. By the age of fourteen, she told her parents she was either going to be a figure skating coach who was also a published romance writer, or a romance writer who was also a skating pro. Now with a day job of playing on the ice with her students, and writing everything from steampunk to cyberpunk, contemporary to paranormal at night, both dreams have come true.

Connect with Stacy on her WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Pinterest!

Would You Ever Pay for Sex?

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Would you ever hire a prostitute? For yourself? For someone else?

That’s exactly what the young married couple in The Submission Gift, Jay and Adriana, end up doing. His suggestion, her decision. It’s a complicated process to set up, involving a little fear and a lot of nervousness and awkwardness.

Their relationship isn’t foundering. They love each other fiercely, and they’ve been through tough times together. They aren’t 100% sexually compatible, but then again, who is? They’ve found the overlap in the Venn diagram of what turns them on. Still, Adriana yearns for domination, and Jay knows he’s not the kind of man who can give it to her. It wouldn’t be true to himself, and it wouldn’t be right for her.

The gift of the title is for Adriana: a few “sessions” with a high end rentboy specializing in domination. She’s nervous, but she wants this. And it’s not cheating. After all, her husband will be right there along with her.

Paul, the man they choose, isn’t a magician or a telepathic dom. He’s just very, very good at what he does. And in the tug of desire, the constant back and forth between love and money, things start getting… complicated.

One of the central questions of this novel—well, other than “how much kinky sex can three people have in 100,000 words?”—is, “how can we control our desire?”

Can you turn it on for money… or to please someone you love? Can you turn it off when it becomes dangerous?

Jay, Adriana and Paul end up with deliciously mixed results when they try to answer these questions. I hope you’ll enjoy their journey!


LA Doms Book 2 (stand-alone)
Genre: Erotic Romance, Ménage, BDSM

Buy links: Carina Press | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | Google Play | iBooks

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

A husband hires a “rent boy” to satisfy his submission-craving wife, with no idea of the consequences for all three of them, in Ames’s debut, a tender, erotic ménage romance.

Newlyweds Jay and Adriana had a happy marriage and a spectacular sex life—until tragedy struck. Wounded in a car accident, Jay spent a year recuperating while Adriana worked overtime as a chef to pay their bills. Though he’s made nearly a full recovery, some aspects of their intimate play will never be the same. It’s a small price to pay, all things considered.

But when a long struggle with the insurance company results in an overdue payout, Jay has a plan. He’ll take some of it and hire a high-end rent boy who specializes in sexual dominance. Not for him, but as a gift for Adriana, for taking care of him for the past twelve months.

Paul is the handsome stranger they choose…and the one who changes everything. What starts out as a onetime session to fulfill a fantasy turns into something bigger than all of them. But when the money runs out and Paul’s dangerous past resurfaces, the sacrifices required to stay together may end up tearing them apart…


About the Author:

Solace Ames has roots in the Southeast US, although her heart lives somewhere along the Pacific coast of Mexico. She’s worked in restaurants, strip clubs, academia and the corporate world and studied everything from the philosophy of science to queer theory to medieval Spanish literature. Rejecting neat categories, her writing sprawls across genres and genders and swings from high art to low art, marching with the erotic avant-garde, tongue sometimes in cheek and at other times… well. Along with writing, education and political activism are her passions. Family takes up most of her time, but she loves to keep learning.

Website and Blog: www.solaceames.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/solacewrites
FB: http://www.facebook.com/solace.ames
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/solaceames
Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/MsLrj


Giveaway Details:

Prizes are one bracelet with three heart charms and two copies of The Dom Project, LA Doms Book #1

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Sharp-Dressed Man…Or Not

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I was asked once on a panel how I come up with a hero and heroine for my books. My answer was something along the lines of: the heroes generally come to me first and then I ask myself what kind of woman would make him cuss and kick his truck tires in frustration. Then I give her a name.

Taken With You was an entirely different story, however. Hailey Genest was first introduced in All He Ever Needed as a friend of the heroine and Whitford’s librarian. She was a fun character to write and, as the series went on, readers started asking me if Hailey would get a happily ever after, too.

So now I had a heroine who needed a guy and Hailey was holding out for a man with a little sophistication and polish. Instead, while out in the woods, she’s rescued by a scruffy guy in flannel who doesn’t smell very good. While he cleans up (very) nicely when his vacation ends and it’s time to put on his game warden’s uniform, Matt Barnett is the total opposite of everything Hailey thinks she wants in a man.

She just needed to find a GQ guy in the land of L.L. Bean.

So tell me, which do YOU prefer: a sharp suit or faded flannel? (I don’t think it’ll be a big surprise I’m a flannel girl.)

Taken with YouAbout Taken With You:

Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she’s happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She’s spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn’t found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she’s probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees.

Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett’s idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety—a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can’t resist pushing her buttons, even though she’s made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn’t for her.

Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she’s determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that’s easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he’s renting the house right next door…

And about Shannon:

lookup_cropped200New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her favorite activities are writing romance and really random tweets when she’s not riding her ATV. She loves mud, books, football & watching way too much TV. She can be found blogging (almost) daily on her website, www.shannonstacey.com and is often spotted running amok on Twitter and Facebook. One of her Pinterest boards is titled Kowalski Stuff of Doom, and her current release, Taken With You, is available now from Carina Press.

Sequel Bait

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Sometimes when I read a book, it’s kinda obvious to me that the author is setting up the secondary characters to have their own book. The most annoying being when minor plotlines are not resolved because best friend Joe Schmoe will be the hero in book two. I say annoying because I like my books all wrapped up in a nice neat bow—I need resolution, damn it!

Such was definitely not the case while writing Wicked Weekend. I had no series or sequel plans. It was actually my editor who really, really wanted to read the best friend, Sawyer’s story. I don’t know why, but the idea had never occurred to me. But Sawyer is such a smartass, bad ass and all around kick ass dom I just couldn’t resist writing his story. And hello, rope bondage! How could I pass up all that kinky fun?

About Up in Knots

Book two of The Pleasure Code

After the loss of her dom and first love two years ago, the time has come for Kyla to again allow herself the pleasure of giving up control. She isn’t looking for anything serious yet, just the comforting embrace of rope and a firm hand on her body for the night.

Rope-top Sawyer is extremely skilled and he doesn’t do relationships—but he’s fascinated by the gymnastics instructor who approaches him at a kink con. By the end of the day he’s vowed to help her feel submissive pleasure again, and to introduce her to a few doms she can choose from.

But as Sawyer breaks down Kyla’s emotional defenses, his barriers also come down. Soon he can’t imagine giving Kyla over to any other dom—and Kyla can’t imagine being with anyone else. When their feelings are put to the ultimate test, they’ll learn that while taking risks in the bedroom is easy, taking risks in love is terrifying.


And then while writing Sawyer’s story in Up in Knots, a few more characters popped up and got me wondering about their happily ever afters. (You can see where this is going, right?) I do promise however that my series stories are self-contained with no dangling plot lines, because you all know how much that annoys me ;)

How about you guys? Do like series? Do you get annoyed like me when everything’s not resolved and you have to wait for the next book? Or are you masochists who enjoy the anticipation?

Up in Knots is now available from Carina Press and through all major ebook retailers.

About Gillian

Gillian Archer lives in Northern Nevada with her amazing husband and two goofy dogs. When she’s not writing (but probably should be) Gillian is usually reading, baking or walking her very spoiled dogs.

You can find her at her website, on Twitter or Facebook.

In the Blink of an Eye

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In a New York minute. In the blink of an eye. Before you can say “let me off this roller coaster.” These expressions indicate how quickly a life can change.

At the heart of danger and suspense is fear. One of the reasons I chose to write romantic suspense is a fascination with that particular emotion, a desire to understand how fear can overwhelm some people, how others overcome it, and why we experience it at all. In my Mindhunters books, which currently center around an agency (SSAM) that hunts serial killers, I explore how fear can be created, encouraged, and exploited. And how love, hope, and trust can conquer it.

But as I explore these themes, it has me thinking, what is it that really scares me? It isn’t the threat of pain, at least not physical pain. (Heck, I’ve given birth three times—without drugs.) It’s the fear that I could lose everything I have, everything I am, in the blink of an eye. The fear of change, or loss, is what drives me to protect what’s mine.

Dark Deeds cover photo DARKDEEDScover.jpgIn Dark Deeds (Mindhunters, Book 4), Becca fears her past is about to catch up with her, and that it could destroy everyone she loves, including the one man who can scale all of her defenses.

Dark Deeds Blurb:

Walking away from sexy Detective Diego Sandoval was one of the toughest things security specialist Becca Haney ever had to do. But her past is a direct threat to his future, to the career he’s working so hard to rebuild. Now, with a witness from a horrific case implicating Diego, Becca must decide whether to listen to her head or her heart.

Diego is a big-city lawman used to cracking the hardest cases, but he’ll never understand why Becca ended their passionate affair. When he’s assigned to help keep her safe from a human trafficking ring, he’s determined to stay by her side and learn about the woman behind the passion—scars and all.

But Becca has another admirer. Known only as “the Fan,” he believes he’s the perfect partner for her—and he’ll kill to prove it. When the stakes are raised in the killer’s deadly game, Diego will be called upon to save lives—including Becca’s.

Purchase Dark Deeds at: Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

What is it you fear? What are the people, things, and/or parts of you that you couldn’t live without?

Dark Deeds cover photo DARKDEEDScover.jpgAnne Marie has always been fascinated by people—inside and out—which led to degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Counseling.  Her passion for understanding the human race is now satisfied by her roles as mother, wife, daughter, sister, and award-winning author of romantic suspense.

She writes to reclaim her sanity. Connect with Anne Marie via:

Newsletter | Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

Slam Dance with the Devil – Are Rock-and-Roll Legends True?

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Rock & roll has spawned a lot of legends. Rock stars have to be larger than life in order to fill the stage and get their music heard. We’ve all heard stories of the wild parties, wrecked hotel rooms, and bizarre contract riders (only green M&Ms allowed). But what about the other legends, the unsubstantiated rumors that surround some stars?

What if I told you some rock stars were really demons who fed on the energy of the audience? Would that change the way you thought of rocker Kent Gaol’s late night bacchanals? He’s the hero of the second Demon Rock book, Slam Dance with the Devil, and his legends go back much further than private investigator Nona Harris could imagine.

All those wild rock stars you hear about? Some of them really are demons, sustained by the energy pouring off the audience…

Wild, destructive and immortal, rocker Kent Gaol has given up the search for his Muse—a demon’s one true source of inspiration, his forever partner. After losing the one woman he thought might be his, he’s convinced she doesn’t exist.

Hard-as-nails private investigator Nona Harris has been hired by a mysterious client to track Kent. She knows nothing of his truths, until one night when Kent tricks her on stage during one of his concerts. Amazingly, she not only senses the energy around the demons, she feeds from it…and it turns her on.

Kent never expected Nona’s response to be so intense, nor that she could enter his world and so thoroughly rock it. This is beyond a tumultuous love affair—this is a sexual and emotional bond that will change them both forever. A bond strong enough that now Nona’s shady client wants them both dead…

When I was younger, we didn’t have the Internet, so rock star tall tales were spread by word of mouth. Here are some I remember, and some I’ve read about. Are they true?

  • Phil Collins secretly witnessed a man standing by and not helping as someone drowned. Then, years later, Phil got the man front row tickets to one of his concerts and played “In the Air” directly to him, indicating he knew what he’d done.
  • David Bowie’s eyes were two different colors because he dropped liquid LSD into one of them.
  • One of the male members of the Thompson Twins assaulted the female member, so she burned his house down.
  • Elvis Presley faked his death. Years later there was even a TV special hosted by Bill Bixby investigating the evidence.
  • Paul McCartney had died. Clues such as references to “the eggman” and “walrus” in songs as well as his position on album covers were seen as unmistakable clues.
  • Blues musician Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.

To find out the answer on the last one, we might ask Kent Gaol. In one of his past incarnations he was also a blues man. A heartbreak from those days has been shaking his life for years and threatens to destroy the growing attraction between Kent and Nona as their worlds are slammed together.

So what are some of the rock and roll legends and fables you’ve heard? Give us some of the lore in the comments and one person will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon gift card (for rock and roll – of course).

Thanks for stopping by. You can find Slam Dance with the Devil here.
And if you want to keep the conversation going, you can find me on:

Helmut Saves the World — Notes from a First-Time Author

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CARINA_0314_9781426898020_HelmutSavesTheWorldThis being my first book release, and the first of anything I have written longer than a term paper, I thought I would talk about my experience as a new author. First off, I’ll tell you a little secret. I’m not a real writer. That’s what I told my editor Jeff after he reviewed my original draft. I got C’s in high school English. I can’t spell. I didn’t know what a dangling participle was (I only kind of do now). So how did I end up writing a novella in the first place?

I’ve always liked sci-fi, fantasy and comic books, and I had the general idea for a comic or novel that I hoped to get someone else to write. So I started by trying to create a world based on ancient history, and spent quite a bit of time on Wikipedia researching ancient civilizations and their religious beliefs. My background of Catholic school upbringing didn’t hurt either.

Once I had a rudimentary universe built, I was sort of stuck. I didn’t know what to do with it. I’ve read enough books to know that a good story requires likable characters, but the idea of creating characters was daunting. So I cheated. I just based the characters on my lifelong best friend and myself. Now it’s not an exact match, but there is quite a bit of realism in their personalities, and many of Helmut’s stories and memories are based on my friend’s life. I changed the names (somewhat) to protect the innocent and the guilty.

Now I had characters, I just had to make them do something that was worth reading about. For that I fell back on my love of detective novels, specifically the stories about Nero Wolfe, written so excellently many years ago by Rex Stout. The mystery was never too complicated, and really was only the backdrop to the wonderful personality quirks of the two main characters, Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe, and the way they played off each other throughout the story.

Up until that point all I had done was Internet research and daydreaming. That was fun. Actually starting to write words on paper was bear. My first thirty or so pages were written longhand in a spiral notebook. I purposefully wrote it more illegibly than my usual chicken scratch, just in case my wife came across it and decided to try and read it.

I didn’t have any expectations for publication when I started, but I wanted at least a little validation. I figured the real version of my main character was my best bet for that.  My goal was simply to make him laugh, so I sprinkled the pages with enough one-liners and references to our favorite cult movie to keep him interested. After I had finished typing the first two chapters onto my iPad, I went over to his house to let him read it. The ten minutes of waiting while he read—he reads soooo slow—were some of the most anxious moments in my life. It was worth it though. He laughed, many times, which gave me the confidence to push on through till the end.

There are multiple references to a cult movie from the 90′s throughout the book.  The first to name the movie in the comments or the Facebook site will have the honor of knowing that their taste in fine cinema is first class.  Here is an excerpt from the book.

My name is Helmut Haase and I’m one half of the Fog City Detective Agency—specifically, the half that pays all the bills. My partner, Shamus O’Sheehan, mostly drinks beer and naps. I keep him around because he’s my friend, but also because he’s a Druid. I’m just a detective, and there are plenty of those in Wudong, the Confederacy of Hesperia. There’s not another Druid for miles.

We had it pretty good until the day we met Alek Pallas. He hired us to track down a thieving employee, and even though something was off, his big fat check was too much to pass up. But the man we found wasn’t what we were led to believe, and neither was Alek.

I’m talking shape-shifters, fallen angels and a conspiracy involving the vicious Cretan Empire. At least we didn’t die. Hope that doesn’t ruin the story.

Why am I telling you all this? Someday I’d like some credit for saving the world. Maybe not the entire world, and maybe not alone, but I still deserve a medal. And perhaps a cash prize.

Helmut Saves the World is available from Carina Press.

About Matt Sheehan:  Moody and sarcastic at the best of times, the author should not be conversed with prior to his morning cup of Joe.  Excels at sitting with his feet up, drinking beer or coffee, depending on the time of day, and reading—but has yet find someone willing to pay for that service.  Has always been, and will always be, his mothers favorite child.   Dreams of someday moving to a deserted island that supports coffee trees and hop vines.

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