Paranormal blog hop: Interview with Ani Gonzalez

Today, as part of our blog hop, I’m interviewing Ani Gonzalez, author of Must Love Ghosts (first in a series!)

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Have you ever dated/married a paranormal creature?

Not that I’m aware of, but I’ve had my suspicions. I’ve had some pretty interesting boyfriends. I do believe in magical love though, a love so strong it’s out of this world. That’s what my characters get in my books. My characters are not paranormal creatures, but (with a little supernatural help) they get a love story that is truly magical.



What’s your favorite paranormal romance book?
I love Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series and Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. The worldbuilding is fantastic. That’s what I aim for in my books. I want to create a world you can lose yourself into.

How did you get the idea for your current book?

I’ve always loved folklore and mythology and when I started writing I knew I wanted to bring in myths and legends into my work. I used to live in Northern Virginia and my son’s Boy Scout troop had a camping trip to the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve in Leesburg. It was named for a Banshee that supposedly lived there. That gave me the idea for a magical town full of ghost stories and folk myths. The books pretty much wrote themselves after that.

What current projects are you working on?



I’m finishing the fourth book in the Banshee Creek series (it’s a spooky Valentine’s Day novel and I love it!). After that I’m going to start my witch series, where a group of young women arrive in Banshee Creek and find out that magic is real and they have quite a bit of it.

Thanks for inviting me over for an interview!


She kindly interviewed me on her blog today. I replied with crazy twaddle.


Other sites in the blog hop:

1) Marilyn Vix Website/Blog

2) J. A. Armitage Website

3) Kessie Carroll (You Are Here)

4) Sara C. Roethle Website

5) Ani Gonzalez Website

6) Sherry Soule’s Website

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Blog Hop: Review of Must Love Ghosts

Today in our blog hop, we post our reviews of each other’s books. I was given Must Love Ghosts, by Ani Gonzalez, and a nice little read it was. My review follows:

Summary:

Seducing the Rational Skeptic…

Abby Reed believes in folk songs, faery tales, and ghosts, but she doesn’t believe in love. She lost her soulmate when her fiancé died while deployed in Afghanistan, but she still has her music, her crazy spectre-filled town, and her pen-pal-slash-best-friend, Mike Stone. It’s a good life and she’s happy, but when Mike arrives in Banshee Creek after his last tour of duty in Afghanistan, Abby starts to have doubts, about music, ghosts and, most importantly…love.


Like a good soldier, Mike Stone follows the rules, and Rule #1 is: Don’t Fall For Your Buddy’s Fiancée. His relationship with Abby has been strictly platonic, and will remain that way, if he has anything to say about it. But when he arrives in Banshee Creek, a town where the impossible is an everyday occurrence, he’ll find out that sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

My review:

This is a nice little contemporary romance dressed up as paranormal. Mike and Abby are both human beings (no falling in love with a vampire here!) and the paranormal part comes from the ghost-obsessed town, Banshee Creek. The town’s economy is in the toilet, so the local ghost hunters are trying to make it a tourist attraction. First order of the day–either debunking Mothman, or finding a real one out in the woods. It’s such fun to see Abby’s embracing of the paranormal, and Mike’s logical arguments against it.

The writing and characterization are top-notch. Abby, Mike, and the oddballs running around town (like Caine) are just like people you might meet anywhere, who obsess about Mothman and UFOs. There’s a couple of smoking hot sex scenes, too.

My one complaint is that the book is too short. But it’s part of a series! Hopefully we get a few more glimpses of Abby and Mike, just to check in and see how they’re doing, as the paranormal weirdness really gets rolling.


Other sites in the blog hop:

1) Marilyn Vix Website/Blog

2) J. A. Armitage Website

3) Kessie Carroll (You Are Here)

4) Sara C. Roethle Website

5) Ani Gonzalez Website

6) Sherry Soule’s Website

Paranormal Romance 2015 Blog Hop

I’m proud to announce that I’m participating in a pre-Halloween Paranormal Romance blog hop! All these books are discounted or free right now, so make sure to check them out!

Paranormal Blog Tour 2015 Banner

For my part of the hop, Malevolent is free for Monday and Tuesday, the 26th and 27th.

Here’s the summary:

Libby is a high school senior who should be preparing for graduation. Instead, she’s been bedridden for six months with valley fever, stuck on her father’s farm in California’s central valley.

When the beekeepers arrive in February, bringing their bees to pollinate the almond crop, one of them looks like a vampire, acts like a vampire, says his name is Malevolent, and tries to murder Libby’s lousy boyfriend. Yet he offers her honey that dramatically improves her illness, and his bees sing words that she can understand.

Mal took up beekeeping in order to preserve the last remnants of his humanity. What started as a simple trip to California quickly turns into something far more complicated, as he meets a lovely girl who is deathly ill, infected by Mal’s own brother. Feeling guilty and responsible, Mal sets out to heal her with his precious, magic-infused honey, and with each passing day, comes closer to breaking his personal creed:

Befriend Many, Serve Some, Trust Few, Love None.

Once healed, Libby has the strength to break up with her boyfriend–touching off a war between Mal and his brother. This escalates into a realm of awful magic Libby has never dreamed of, where she is both pawn and prize in the battle against a Necromancer. In the end, Libby must face her growing feelings for Mal, and decide whether to destroy him–or rescue him from his soulless existence.


Other books in the hop:

Summary: Seducing the Rational Skeptic…

Abby Reed believes in folk songs, faery tales, and ghosts, but she doesn’t believe in love. She lost her soulmate when her fiancé died while deployed in Afghanistan, but she still has her music, her crazy spectre-filled town, and her pen-pal-slash-best-friend, Mike Stone. It’s a good life and she’s happy, but when Mike arrives in Banshee Creek after his last tour of duty in Afghanistan, Abby starts to have doubts, about music, ghosts and, most importantly…love.

Like a good soldier, Mike Stone follows the rules, and Rule #1 is: Don’t Fall For Your Buddy’s Fiancée. His relationship with Abby has been strictly platonic, and will remain that way, if he has anything to say about it. But when he arrives in Banshee Creek, a town where the impossible is an everyday occurrence, he’ll find out that sometimes rules are meant to be broken.


Summary: Truth or Death: “We laughed together, covered in blood and surrounded by corpses, and I knew my life would never be the same again.”

In the middle of the night, Madeline is snatched from her life of chosen solitude into a world where she might actually belong. Due to her empathy and other “gifts”, Madeline is a danger to humans, and finds solace with others like her, despite the fact that they’re also her kidnappers. Still, she knows she should escape, but something about dark, but oddly comforting Alaric has her debating her choices, and questioning her moral fiber.

Blind Man’s Bluff: In this installment, Madeline learns more about the Vaettir than she bargained for, and while a romance with Alaric might seem like a terrible idea, she’s not sure she can resist. He and his sister, Sophie, are the only two among the Vaettir who care to interact with her. They make her feel like she might actually belong, despite the side-long glances and hushed conversations of the other Vaettir. Yet, belonging comes at a price, and it may be one too large for Madeline to pay.

Collide and Seek: “Betrayal is a funny thing. The sting of it often sticks with us longer than the thrill of love, the fire of hatred, or the emptiness of loss. Betrayal eats at us when we know we should be happy, and it overwhelms us when we’re already sad.”

Madeline had hoped to call the Salr home, but hope can be a cruel thing. Now on the run from the very people who introduced her to her new world, she’ll struggle not only with her view of those around her, but with her view of herself.

“I could avoid thinking about the monster at the door as long as I wanted. The monster in the mirror was another story entirely.”


Summary: Imagine falling in love for the first time, the adrenaline, the flutters. Now imagine being told you had to have a baby with somebody else…
Trapped in an unfamiliar room with no way out, Anais has no idea just how much her life is about to change. A locked door stands between her and freedom but as she is just about to find out, the door is the least of her problems.


Also, Marilyn Vix is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Enter her giveaway here!

Musing on how to be a linchpin

I’ve been reading Linchpin, by Seth Godin, trying to get my brain into this “entrepreneur” game. And it’s funny, because the things he’s saying are nothing new. It’s just fun to see them all laid out, kind of like the outline to a book.

A linchpin is someone who:

Goes the extra mile
Invests emotional work in going that extra mile (excitement! Energy!)
Tries new things
Doesn’t follow all the rules because there aren’t any
Generates lots of bad ideas and a few good ones, and the good ones are what deliver
They’re generous, and give freely without asking anything in return

I’m currently reading the chapter on fear, and it can all be summed up in that quote from Ratatouille:

You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true – anyone can cook… but only the fearless can be great.

Thinking about it, I know lots of people who are linchpins in one way or another, or working hard to become so. It’s funny, because being a linchpin is a state of mind, not a job. It requires humility and a willingness to be inconvenienced. I’m finding lots of advice for being a wife and mother, as well as an author. Like the chapter on fear–how much of my child-raising has been governed by fear!

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Inktober pic of an iguana, because iguanas are cool.

It’s great to read shake-up books like this, because it makes me think about everything differently. And the nice thing is, it’s nothing new. Just like the vitamins and minerals shtick, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It’s how it’s applied that makes all the difference.

Accidental water adventures

Over the weekend, we headed down to the mall in Chandler. We thought we’d get there right at ten, beat the crowds, grab our purchases, and get home in time for lunch.

As it turned out, on Sundays, the mall opens at 10, but the shops open at 11.

So there we were, wandering a mostly-empty mall with the mall-walkers, unable to do our errand. So we wound up in the outdoors food court, which had been massively remodeled since we were there.

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Among other things, they had replaced the fountain that never worked with a splash pad.

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So the kids spent a happy half an hour getting really, really wet.

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We’d never been to a splash pad before, and since it was so early, we had the place to ourselves. The kids had a blast.

Then the thunderstorms started rolling in. I snapped a picture of a pretty decent rainbow, when it was raining, but the sun was low enough to shine straight under the clouds. Weird weather!

rainbow

Visit from a house gecko

The other morning, I went into the kitchen, opened the dishwasher, and shrieked. Some large, skin-colored creature flashed across the open dishwasher door and vanished into the crack between the dishwasher and the floor.

Having battled cockroaches all summer, I assumed that’s what this was–a large, pale roach. Or, worse, a scorpion, although I haven’t seen one yet out here.

I wore shoes whenever I went in the kitchen for the rest of the day.

The next morning, I again opened the dishwasher. This time, the creature fell from the gap between the top of the door and the counter and lay on its side like it was dead. Now I got a look at it–it was a little pinkish lizard!

After a minute of excitedly telling my curious family the identity of the mystery creature, the lizard sat up and looked around. Then he foolishly ran into the dishwasher, where I captured him.

house-gecko

Here’s a better picture from Wikimedia:

732px-Mediterranean_house_gecko

Turns out he’s called a Mediterranean house gecko, and they’re an invasive species here in Arizona. They love roaches, and obviously our local population had attracted him. I felt bad, though, because I have boric acid everywhere, and eventually the poisoned roaches would have killed him. We released him in the bushes outside.

So that was our lizard adventure this weekend! With the weather changing, we keep getting odd creatures in the house. At least it’s not mice!

Inktober and homeschooling

A few more inktober pics!

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This year for school, I had planned a very laid-back year–having a baby due at the end of November kind of throws off all my grand academic plans. I found Education.com at the end of the summer (loads of printable worksheets for preschool to 5th grade), and realized that I’d struck gold. So many customizable curriculum options at my fingertips! So we started doing those, in addition to some mathbooks and a very nice dictation book.

Then I read about Thomas Jefferson Education. It’s more or less what we were already doing–I just tried to harness it a little more intentionally. Basically, you work on your kids’ character, as well as studying things that interest them. I couldn’t ever really do “unschooling”, because my kids do much better with a predictable routine and structure–but Thomas Jefferson ed seemed to fit the sort of structured-yet-unregimented style I was looking for.

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So, one morning when the kids made “aquariums” out of glass cups, with water and the stamens of flowers for “jellyfish”, I embraced it. We checked out books on jellyfish from the library, and watched documentaries, and colored pages about the jellyfish lifecycle. The kids can now tell you the difference between a true jellyfish and a false one, that the top is called the “bell”, and a full-grown jellyfish is a medusa, and how baby jellyfish stick to the rock like a plant until it’s ready to break free.

This week, because Halloween is coming on, we’re doing bats. All things bats. Every day we discuss echolocation, and bat babies, and what it would be like to be a bat. Likely I’ll be drawing bats for my next Inktober pic.

We’re still drilling math facts, spelling, writing, and all that good stuff. I also ambitiously started reading Lord of the Rings aloud, buuuuut I think I’m going to switch to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory here pretty soon. LOTR might need to wait until later. 🙂