Why I Write Fiction – Hot Off The Press!

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So glad I’m able to share the Nancy O Magazine article Why I Write Fiction. It was the first in the “Why I Write” series and the inspiration to explore other writing preferences a little deeper (and play with a few ideas). If you’d like to read the others, find them in previous blog posts: Why I Write Ghosts & Why I Write Romance .

Also, to be clear, my website address is: www.loreleibuckley.com

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Nancy O magazine article

Why I Write Romance

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Hormones are molecules produced by the endocrine system responsible for instructing other glands and organs on how to function. They cover everything from digestion to mood. During puberty they rebel, causing body odor, acne, and cringe-worthy terms like horny, moist, and boner. Later in life, they often defy us again with menopausal symptoms in women, and andropausal problems in men similarly sucker-punching us with weight-gain, fatigue, depression and reduced sex drive. Fear not, these industrious messengers aren’t completely wicked. Conversely, among other vital jobs, hormones have the ability to keep us feeling youthful and sexually robust.

On a less understood level the endocrine system happens to align with energy spheres known as chakras giving us, if nothing else, inner-eye focal centers to help enrich overall health. Practitioners in the field believe by caring for one system, the other also benefits.

chakraChart
(borrowed from: auricenergyhealing.com)

A more mainstream practice is acupuncture. In short, an acupuncturist gently inserts fine needles into tiny points known as meridians to free up blocked energy and promote healing. Years ago, radioactive isotopes were injected into meridians and followed with special camera imaging. The process revealed meridian pathways. When fluids from those pathways were tested, among other biochemical substances, they found concentrations of various hormones.

The energy connection is introduced to emphasize the power and mysteriousness hormones still bear. While science has effectively shown us the mechanisms of the endocrine system and hormone productivity, it has yet to explain the role hormones play in that thing we’d kill or die for, that thing called love.

It is hypothesized, chemically, Cupid’s arrow releases adrenaline and norepinephrine, causing an increased heart rate and clammy skin. Dopamine then decreases our appetite and sleep requirement and serotonin keeps our person of interest in the forefront of our mind.

Isolated, none of it is an appealing state to be in, but combined the chemical blast wraps us in euphoria and inspires us to be better, stronger, wittier–we’re suddenly the most fascinating person on the planet locked in a bubble with the only other fascinating person on the planet. Pigeons are doves, puddles are oceans, and concrete is the solid launching pad for our incredible new relationship. We’re fucking invincible.

Once the high wears off a few of us will continue to cultivate a more substantial union, the type science cannot define; the loyal, expansive, sensitive, live for it, kill for it, die for it kind of adoration. As a couple, on occasion, we will attempt to stir in each other that early supreme magic we once experienced, but most days we won’t. The fairy-tale will be replaced by the daily grind.

Some will never settle into a full-time partnership, by choice, or by circumstance; doesn’t mean the possibility can’t be appreciated.

Reading stimulates our imagination which triggers neurotransmitters in the brain thus creating a chemical reaction within the body. Usually, the genre will mold our emotional wave. For women who prefer a surge in feel-good hormones, or want or need to briefly live vicariously through sexy, unique, fiery, adventurous love affairs, you’re why I write romance.

This is the final article in my Why I Write Series.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read Why I Write Ghosts located in my blog, and Why I Write Fiction available in the July, 2016 issue of the Nancy O. Magazine.

Why I Write Ghosts

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Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, in brief, described three layers of the mind. The conscious mind or point of awareness, the place we access for inherent knowledge and everyday interactions. The subconscious mind, the region of short-term memories, the area we draw from, for instance, when we’re recalling the date of a special occasion. And the unconscious mind, the keeper of influential yet difficult to retrieve memories, such as traumas and negative early programs, the locked, cobwebby basement.

Cognitive research has since excelled this model, but for my usage, it’s a perfect template. While my novels are hardly complicated reflections of the human psyche, there are parallels to his three part graph.

Stories contain main and secondary characters. Regardless of how many heads they possess, as long as they think, feel, and strive for something, generally, they’re relatable. They demonstrate our basic awareness, our average behaviors. Because the characters are unknowingly submerged in a plot, but persuaded by clues from their surroundings, the plot, then, represents the subconscious, the hidden information we’re able to reach with a bit of effort.

Based on Freud’s work, in reality (and outside of mental therapies), our unconscious reveals itself in dreams or following severe emotional or physical disturbances. Freud notes it’s the rattled subconscious that taps into the unconscious—the cellar—and releases vague inner demons. Regarding stories, we’ve just come across the inciting incident and unleashed personal hauntings.

None of this is scientific, but it’s a fun correlation and perhaps interesting way to introduce metaphors: An object, activity, or idea that is used as a symbol of something else. This applies to me as much as it does my completed novels.

As of now, my published books include actual ghosts. In a literal sense, I believe they add dimension. They have backstory and agendas. They express a range of emotions. They seek revenge, and if they’ve been wronged the stakes are greater because we’re rooting for both the earthbound protagonist and the unsettled spectral being/s. We’re more deeply invested.

Ghosts mirror and magnify our instinctive states, and they’re sobering reminders of mortality and time. Also, in terms of ghostly tales, communication barriers alone can produce entertaining adversarial conditions.

Clearly, the party doesn’t start until the ghosts arrive.

Returning to my opening topic, I’ve come to the conclusion a fraction of my affinity for ghosts might be representative of the noisy areas inside me. However slight or significant, we’re all haunted by a past circumstance, decision, event. Some more than others, and maybe my internal clattering is a little louder than most. Every so often I wonder if, unconsciously, by finding peace for my fictional ghosts I am encouraging my metaphorical ghosts to do the same.

Why I Write Fiction by Lorelei Buckley – available in the July, 2016 issue of Nancy O. Magazine

Message From The Cosmos

Saturday afternoon (April 2) I braved the Waco Food Truck Showdown. As a vegetarian, finding a meal at these types of events can often be a challenge. But the weather was perfect, eighty degrees and sunny with a cool breeze, so I decided even if my food options were limited, my cave dwelling writer-spirit would enjoy the fresh air.

Following a major letdown at the Indian food truck (only offered shredded meat-stuff until the PM hours), I settled for a pineapple rice dish from the Whole Foods truck. I took an extra plastic fork in case fellow food truck adventurer Holly Hudspeth wanted a taste.

She had just finished a small cup of delicious potato soup, and had no interest in my sticky white rice. Thoughtlessly, I threw the unused fork in my purse.

Came home.

Fed pets.

Did some writing.

Fell asleep on the couch.

Woke up and dragged myself to bed.

In the morning, I again fed and medicated my fur-family, did a couple loads of laundry, and opened emails. I receive daily uplifting messages from Healthy Wealthy N Wise Magazine titled, The Cosmos.

Here’s what appeared in the subject box April 3…

Keep Your Fork

Fork dated

The email in its entirety…

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things “in order,” she contacted her Priest and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the Priest was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.

“What’ that?” came the Priest’s reply.

“This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The Priest stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the Priest.

The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from there on out, I have always done so. I have also, always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.”

“In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie.

Something wonderful, and with substance!’ So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork. The best is yet to come.”

The Priest’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.

She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Priest heard the question: “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the Priest told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

The next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.

Later, I strolled to the kitchen and grabbed my wallet from my purse to pay for an item online. Something flew out with the bill holder and hit the floor. I gazed down and there was the fork I had forgotten about.

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Cosmic intelligence or coincidence? Either way, I choose to believe the best is yet to come.

On my late grandfather’s short list of favorites…

New Ghostly Novel

Halloween is close. Perfect time to share chapter one of Medium Crossing, my latest, sensual, paranormal mystery.

Chapter One…

Another date with the dead. But not before Scarlett purified the air and sealed invisible portals from her previous channeling session. Nothing worse than a houseful of spectral squatters. She shivered at the mistake. Actually, the worst of all realms resided in the herenow.

At the kitchen counter, Scarlett dumped a few cups of Epsom salt in an iron skillet. She doused the granules in alcohol and used a wooden match to set the mix on fire. An effective energetic cleansing technique acquired from a psychic retreat she attended years ago.

A silver cloud coiled upward. She coughed, caught her breath, and then slipped on oven mitts.

The detoxification routine stirred a plethora of praises and criticisms embedded in her brain by mystified clients. She couldn’t explain her rare gifts. For the longest time, she had no idea everyone didn’t see whirling colors around people, or have informative conversations with humanlike shadows in oblique places. Privately, she intuited her unique abilities came from her mother. She also determined painful events during her youth had caused a kind of subconscious trauma that had in essence galvanized her weird inheritance.

Once, sometime in third grade, Scarlett asked a caseworker what had happened to her mother.

The caseworker, a heavyset, vanilla-scented woman said, “She lost her mind and took her own life. Selfish. Plain and simple.”

Plain and simple, two words that never meshed with Scarlett.

As a young girl, passed from one handsy foster family to the next, bawling into her pillow became her reality. Being touched inappropriately for the umpteenth time drove Scarlett so far inward, she’d penetrated an obscure dimension, a confusing place of fear and unrest she’d later describe as a wildly responsive getaway with a consciousness.

Alternating between the peculiar escape and her tangible norm took its toll, and by the time she entered high school, she thought herself insane. She’d also understood what must have happened to her mother.

Self-preservation compelled her to examine the meditative process. She relaxed and, comfortably and repeatedly, slipped away. Following a dozen telepathic conversations with what she determined was the deceased, she realized she’d tapped into the afterlife.

Eventually, her childhood wounds healed and her gifts resonated the way her organs did, as inborn functions of her totality.

Nowadays, jaunts to the other side paid the bills.

“Bless this disaster,” she said, grabbing the handle of the fry pan. She lifted the skillet above her head and aimed smoke at all corners of the ceiling. “Powers and protectors of the universe and its parallels, I ask for assistance in clearing and preventing residual ectoplasm, negativity, unwelcomed discarnate visitors, and earthly nuisances.” She walked her creaky wood floors through the hallway to the living room, observing the empty walls and naked hutch. “Including thieves.”

Back in June, while she channeled at a holistic health fair for six hours, someone had stripped her apartment. The person or people had wedged open her front door and took her life savings, jewelry, pictures, TV, and her computer. All of her valuables gone like an earring lost in an ocean tide.

Her stomach soured.

She peeked through the doorway into her bedroom. The new laptop she couldn’t afford glowed on the bed. “Dammit,” she uttered. She’d forgotten to cancel her account on Keys Best Singles Network. She planned to relocate to the Florida Keys soon and joined the site to see if Floridian men were more grounded than the letdowns in Indiana. Based on the selection, she resigned herself to singlehood.

Regretfully, she’d wasted her entire spring online, chatting with a future boring husband, several directionless boaters, a poetic alcoholic, a metaphysical junkie named Lenard, and Layla the Lesbian who promised to make Scarlett whimper between the sheets. Distressed animals whimpered, not dynamic mediums. Besides, none of them had the gumption to cope with her offbeat profession.

She sighed. A lonely child matured into a lonely woman.

The smoke cleared. Her sanitizing brew had condensed to a blackened gunk. She returned to the kitchen, set the grimy skillet on the stove, and tossed the oven mitts in a drawer. She stuck her arms under the faucet, mindful to wash up to her elbows. For unknown reasons otherworldly energy clung to forearms like cobwebs.

“Are you listening, Universe?”

The grandfather clock dinged six times.

Considering it a sign, she smiled. “Due to financial setbacks, I’ll be here longer than I’d anticipated. It’s not dire, but if by chance you happen to come across a guy unafraid of a woman who mingles with spirits, please, send him my way.”

Scarlett brushed toast crumbs off the table.

While interdimensional travel remained her most important endeavor, she secretly yearned for a partner in fearless exploits and frank conversations. She’d grown weary of glazing everything with syrup. Under the influence of pure honesty, she also longed to retire her vibrator.

Half hour and the newbie—Colt or Hoat or whatever he called himself—would arrive.

On the phone he’d asked if she could contact someone he’d never met.

In the temperate, raspy voice people claimed was her second greatest gift, she said,

“I don’t know what you’re expecting, but deceased presidents, athletes, and sex symbols won’t talk to you.”

“What?”

“And forget about winning lottery numbers. Spirits claim they don’t have that ability.”

“Aw, come on, give me a break. It’s some scumbag who knew my brother. Can you do it or not?”

“For two hundred dollars, I’ll try. And, uh, no refunds.”

“Fine. You come highly recommended.”

“Of course I do. I’m the best.” She simply stated the facts. “For your convenience I accept cash and all major credit cards.”

Awaiting her new client, Scarlett entered the smaller bedroom she’d converted into a regally chic workspace. Rose red walls, same colored drapes, gold, mounted angels, a beverage trolley, a bookcase stuffed with alternative medicine paperbacks, and a four-foot high podium topped with a spiky aloe vera plant to ward off negative energy.

She’d meditated long and hard on the decor.

Because of her benevolent physical and non-physical visitors, residue from her acidic childhood hadn’t corroded her bones. Essentially, their grief, trust, and determination made her a better person. She owed them a peaceful grieving environment.

Scarlett clicked off the overhead Tiffany lamp before sparking a thick beeswax candle in the center of the round table.

Shadows slinked across the walls, and the faint scent of sulfur provoked curiosities. Such as, why the dead preferred dim lighting?

Perhaps the gentle hues soothed similar to a TV nightlight. When her foster mother Rita transitioned to the other side, her foster father Mel couldn’t fall asleep without something motioning on the tube. The fluttering screen must have given him the illusion he wasn’t alone.

That word again.

Were they lonesome?

A question for a truthful spirit. Yeah, right. For the sake of those with a pulse, spirits lied constantly. Nothing she could prove, but perceived as real as the bracelets of stars tattooed around her marred wrists.

The grandfather clock chimed again. Newcomer ran late. She filled a pitcher of water and set it next to the paper cups on the antique beverage trolley in her workroom.

Minutes ticked on. Though uncommon, he wouldn’t be her first no-show.

She prematurely resented the dent she’d have to put in her stash to cover the car insurance.

The doorbell dinged.

Scarlett flattened her hand on her forehead. “Whew.” She put aside money problems, hurried to the living room, and pressed the intercom button. “Yes?”

“We spoke the other day. I have an appointment. Holt Cavanaugh.”

“Sure.” She paused. “If you don’t mind, step out onto the sidewalk so I can see you.”

“Okay,” he said, blatantly miffed.

She understood, but couldn’t risk another robbery, or worse. From now on, she’d follow her mentor Beverly’s instructions. Phase One: Assess their aura, which always came natural. Phase Two: Visceral analysis, or the crap Scarlett used to skip.

She opened the window and popped her head out into the bold August sun.

Three floors below, looking up with one hand awning his eyes, stood a tall, broad shouldered muscleman with a golden military-haircut and a slightly crooked nose. Black T-shirt. Black jeans. An attractive, obvious tough guy packaged in a thick reddish aura.

“A hothead,” she mumbled, and then raised her voice. “Thanks. See you in a minute.”

She closed the window, rushed to the door, and buzzed him in. She’d unbolted the line of locks but left the chain fastened.

He’d flown up the mountain of stairs at record speed. Usually when a client reached her landing, they brought a few choice words with them about the unmentioned workout. But Newbie—she’d already forgotten his name—didn’t utter a single complaint.

“Hey,” he said as he strode through the hall, approaching the door. He stopped in front of the two-inch gap she’d provided for their introduction and raised an eyebrow. “I’m Holt.”

HottieHolt. She’d have to be a complete idiot not to notice his serious hazel eyes, daunting stature, and potent masculinity. She initiated the second phase, energetically slinked inside of him and felt around. He didn’t cause pinching goosebumps or flatulence. A thuggish guy, but benign.

“Can you at least bring me a chair?” he asked, shifting his weight.

“Oh, sorry.” Scarlett slid the mini barbell through the slot. The brass knocked against the doorframe. She invited him in. His gaze burned into her as she locked the row of bolts along the trim.

“Hardcore,” he said. “What are you afraid of?”

Scarlett twisted the final deadbolt. “I was robbed a couple of months ago. Even with the new security door downstairs, I’m still leery.”

“I don’t blame you. Did they catch anyone?”

“No.” Since the subject arose, she swiftly checked the crevices of her questionable memory and recalled locking the back door when she returned from the building’s trash bin.

His head tilted slightly, giving the impression he wanted her to elaborate on the home invasion.

Scarlett didn’t mind if it helped him to relax. “He, she, they, were clever,” she added. “No fingerprints. Other than the front door, they didn’t damage anything. They plucked the apartment clean as if they knew exactly what they were after and where to find it.”

He squinted. “Someone you know?”

She exhaled a slight chuckle. “I have one enemy, and he’s never been in my home. Besides, he’s way too lazy to carry a TV down three flights of stairs.”

“No witnesses?”

She shook her head. “The man across the hall is hearing impaired, and most of the tenants below me were at work. No one saw anything.”

“The world is overrun with life sucking ticks.” He scanned the place.

Most people did and said strange things when they were nervous.

It took a moment for the distrust to melt from his face. When it did, he scrutinized Scarlett. “Your hair is purple. It’s red on the website.”

“Is that a problem?”

“No.” He bothered to give the rest of her a look. His shoulders tensed.

She’d seen it before, people expecting something different than blue jeans, circus hair, ink, and combat boots. What she hadn’t experienced, ever, was the peculiar magnetic pull to an absolute stranger.

His gaze scaled her body. “You don’t look like I imagined.”

She wanted to say the same. “Is that good or bad?”

He stared into her eyes as if he’d recognized her from a dream. “It’s, interesting.”

“If it makes you feel better, spirits don’t register appearance or clothing.” She stood entranced by the multitude of questions swirling around in his pupils. Most likely, he doubted her ability, and his sanity for being there. She thawed his frozen stance with her warmest smile. “I’m Scarlett Prowse, local medium and soon to be retired host of Transcendent Radio.”

“Business is that good?”

“Not exactly. I’m relocating.”

They shook. Her hand seemed to dissolve into his, causing her arm to jerk.

He released his grip, furrowed his eyebrows, and rubbed his fingers as if he had experienced the same sensation. “Holt Cavanaugh.”
HottieHoltHottieHoltHottieHolt—remember. The mysterious vibe between them couldn’t be more than an instant crush on her part. Imperfect women like Scarlett were invisible to guys with his sex appeal.

“You’ve got a nice voice.”

“Thank you. I’m told it keeps listeners from changing the station.” Grief-induced, wisps of gray in his auric field redirected her back to important matters. “Am I your first medium?”

“Yeah.” He pulled at his T-shirt collar.

“You’ve come to the right person. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m the best.” She ushered him into her dimly lit channeling room. “Have a seat.”

He walked to the table and sat cautiously, as if there might be a scorpion on the chair.

She took the spot next to him. “Forget everything you’ve heard or read about channeling. Terms like mediumship, mental and or physical mediums, séances, whatever, they don’t apply here. I’m unique and I’ve established a language that better encompasses my method.”

“Came across random snippets. Nothing you’ve mentioned sounds familiar.”

“Good. Then we’re starting with a clean slate.”

“Okay.” His knee bounced.

“Out of curiosity, how did you find me?”

“Friend of my cousin’s, Olin Gibbs, gave me your card.”

She drummed her fingernails on the wood. “I don’t recall—”

“You supposedly channeled his father. Olin’s a tall guy with a cane.”

She snapped a couple of times. “Oh, no.”

“He’s all right.”

Olin had spilled coffee, and she’d said oh no, which stuck. OlinOhNo. “Yes, I remember him.”

“He sang your praises.”

“Everyone does.”

“You’re awfully confident.” He leaned forward into the champagne hue of candlelight.

“I am.” She looked at him keenly. “My accuracy record is unmatched.”

“Okay.”

“Do you have any questions?”

He clasped his fingers. “I read your website. You what? Go into a trance and talk to ghosts?”

She slanted to the left, lifted a handbell from the floor, and set it on the table. Her last client had a cold. She’d disinfected the room and forgotten to return the bell to the tabletop. “It’ll appear as if I’m in a meditative state. Really, it’s much more complex. But if we have to label what I do, then, sure, trance works. By the way, if I cross a line or make you uncomfortable, please let me know. Let’s start with why you’re here.”

He grunted. “My younger brother was murdered and the dicksmack that put a bullet in his heart died before he got arrested.”

“Sorry for your loss,” she said, echoing what he’d probably heard a thousand times. “So, you want me to contact your brother?”

“No. I want you to contact his killer.”

Anxiety ballooned in her chest. Even though nothing topped nightmares of the herenow, wrongdoers dwelling the afterworld could possess dangerous energy.

“I’ve contacted plenty of murder victims.” She cropped her dialogue before admitting she’d never called on a killer. Even if she couldn’t she ought to get paid for her effort. “I have to ask, though. Why should I engage a murderer? We can’t change the outcome.”

“I have questions. Quinn, my brother, was one of the good guys—a teacher.” He swallowed hard. “Quinn had three hundred twenty-seven dollars cash in his wallet and eight thousand dollars in plastic. The maggot didn’t take a dime.”

“I agree, that’s bizarre. You asked me if I knew my home invaders. Are you sure your brother and his killer weren’t acquaintances? Drinking buddies? Gamblers, maybe weekend card games?”

“I’m positive. Quinn would never associate with a guy like Carl Daniels. The killer. They tracked him to a roach infested slum in Haughville. He had sheets tacked to the windows and used turned over buckets for chairs. Doesn’t make sense. Why didn’t he empty Quinn’s wallet?”

“Please don’t get offended. But was your brother involved in illegal activities?”

HottieHolt snarled and shook his head. “Like I said, Quinn was one of the good guys. His reward was helping underprivileged kids make the grades and qualify for college.”

“What happened to the killer? How’d he die?”

“Carl? Someone threw him off a twelve-story roof. He had cocaine and heroin in his blood. We’re presuming a botched drug deal.”

“Who’s we?”

“I’ve got friends on the force.”

She drummed her fingernails on the table again. “You want me to contact…” She strained for the name.

“Carl?” he asked, radiating skepticism.

KillerCarlKillerCarlKillerCarl.

Scarlett fiddled with the singed matchstick. “I apologize. I can’t remember a name to save my life. Strange side effect of traversing realms.” She released a clipped chuckle. “If it weren’t for alliterations I’d be up a creek.”

“Realms, huh? We’ll see.”

Unfortunately, snarky remarks came with the territory. Especially from superficial types like Hottie. “Okay, so, contact Killer, uh, Carl, and ask him why he murdered your brother…Uh…”

“Quinn.” He winked, forgivingly. “Yeah, basically.”

The flame of the candle flickered, reminding her to cut the small talk.

“All right then. Turn off the ringer on your phone. Oh, and this is crucial, I need you to listen.”

“Okay.” He watched her lips.

“If I convulse or drool or my neck gets feeble, ring this bell as hard as you can.” She pushed the handbell toward him, slightly guilty about her exaggeration.

“Epilepsy?”

“No. In short, I’d be trapped in another dimension. The bell’s vibration would provide a pathway back to this realm.” Partly true, except for the convulsions, drool, and noodle neck. Normally, when clients concentrated on her well-being, their own worries minimized.

HottieHolt straightened his spine and cocked his chin upward. “Are you pulling my leg?”
“This is my primary source of income. If I pulled legs I’d go broke.”

His shoulders relaxed.

“I tune in to a place in the afterworld. I’ve named this process channel one—the sensing. I observe but from a safe distance. Like watching fish in a tank without getting wet or lightning outside a window without getting struck—”

“Or birds in a cage without getting shit on.”

She restrained her tongue. “Yes. That’s what I do—pop in on the departed and sense what they want to convey to the living.

But they’re intangible blurs. So please don’t test me with questions about how someone looks. At this time, I’m unable to tell.”

He squinted. “What happens if you beg for a bib and I don’t ring the bell?”

“I’ll die.”

“Seriously?” The tough guy’s eyes widened.

“I’ve never died. Do you want to continue?”

HottieHolt grabbed the bell and set it on his lap. “Yeah. I do.”

“Give me your hands. It’s a onetime request, if you should come back. Once I attune to your energy we can skip the handholding.”

He followed orders.

Even his fingers had muscles.

Again, their palms seemed to meld. She’d known him twenty minutes and yet felt strangely secure.

“When my arms relax you can get up and stretch. There’s water if you’re thirsty, and plenty of reading material.”

“How long will it take?”

“It varies. Usually about an hour. Are you ready?”

“I guess.”

“Great. Let’s begin.”

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Available on Amazon

Have a great week! And, happy haunting…

Myth and Magic by Mae Clair

Trick or treat?

This is definitely a treat.

Author Mae Clair introduces her newest release, Myth and Magic.

The Spooky House by Mae Clair

There’s one in every neighborhood. When I was a kid, the spooky house was two doors down, part of the urban tree-lined street where my family made their home. A brooding three-story structure of gray stone with a sprawling covered front porch, white columns, and side bump-outs, it oozed mystery. The adults might have been oblivious, but all the neighborhood kids knew it was haunted.

My friends and I were convinced a coven of witches met there, and that if you ventured too close to the sides where the shadows were thickest, you’d be sucked up into a coffin tucked under the eaves. No one would ever know, because an evil twin, capable of fooling everyone, would take your place.

The house also had a ghost who lived on the second floor. We knew this because the south facing room had a trio of beautiful stained glass windows and that was the perfect place for a ghost to languish. Our phantom was female. She was a melancholy soul who’d been separated from her true love and imprisoned by the witches because they were jealous. She spent her time listening to an old-fashioned music box, weeping for her lost love, and looking romantically tragic in a flowing white dress.

Yes, it was silly, but those images stayed with me for a long time, particularly the woman in the flowing white gown. In MYTH AND MAGIC it isn’t a house that is rumored to be haunted, but an isolated lodge frequented by corporate employees. When one of them sees a ghostly apparition “in a flowing white gown,” it’s the start of a sequence of bizarre events that have guests checking out before they can check in. Enter my hero, Caith Breckwood, a private investigator, who has a turbulent history with the lodge’s manager, Veronica Kent. It certainly doesn’t help that Caith’s family owns the lodge, or that he’s been estranged from them for years due to a tragedy that occurred in the past.

If you like myth, mystery, and romance, I hope you’ll give MYTH AND MAGIC a looksee.

It’s presently on sale for just $.99 through 11/14 and is set during Halloween—perfect for this time of year 

I’d also love to know if there were any “spooky houses” in your neighborhood—past or present!

Myth And Magic-highres

Blurb for Myth and Magic:

AS CHILDREN THEY PLAYED GAMES OF MYTH AND MAGIC…

Veronica Kent fell in love with Caith Breckwood when they were children. As a teenager, she was certain he was the man she was destined to marry. But a traumatic event from Caith’s past led him to fear a future together. He left Veronica, hoping to save her from a terrible fate. Twelve years later, Caith, now a P.I., is hired to investigate bizarre incidents at the secluded retreat Veronica manages. Returning to his hometown, Caith is forced to face his nightmares—and his feelings for the woman he’s always loved.

THEN ONE DAY THE MONSTERS BECAME REAL.

After the callous way Caith broke her heart, Veronica isn’t thrilled to see him again. But strange occurrences have taken a dangerous toll on business at Stone Willow Lodge. Forced to work together, Veronica discovers it isn’t ghostly apparitions that frighten her, but her passion for a man she has never forgotten. Or forgiven. Can two people with a tarnished past unearth a magical future?

~ooOOoo~

Buy Links for MYTH AND MAGIC…Just $.99 through 11/4/2015

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes
Kensington Publishing
Google
All Romance eBooks

Mae Clair

Mae Clair Bio
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.

Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter (@MaeClair1)
Google+
Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Kensington Books Author Page
Goodreads
Pinterest

I’m ordering a copy today!

The Griffin’s Secret by Cate Masters

Today, Author Cate Masters joins me to introduce her newest book, The Griffin’s Secret.

What inspired you to write this story?
Thanks for having me on your blog today, Lorelei! My parents instilled a love of books in me when I was young, and I fell in love with all types of stories, but fairy tales have always held a special place in my heart. I still love them, especially the reimagined ones set in current times. So, partly, The Griffin’s Secret came from that, but also because I love rock music, too. Sprinkle in a bit of magic, and a tortured hero who thinks he’s beyond redemption until he finds the right person to love, and you have The Griffin’s Secret.

This is next on my TBR list.

Can you give us a peek into your daily writing process?
The process varies, depending. When I’m in the middle of a story, it’s easier to get into the flow of writing, and I can write nearly all day. I recently finished a 90k novel, and am revising, which is a much slower process. I’m itching to start a new story!

With Halloween two weeks away, I have to ask if you’ve had a personal, unexplainable experience?
Not me, but my daughters have. One lives in a house known to be haunted, and has had cabinets fly open, and heard a child laughing when only the dogs were in the house. My youngest claims to have seen a Shadow Man. I’ve gone on ghost tours and later had orbs show in the photos, but that’s the closest I’ve gotten to anything spooky.

Very interesting.

I’m curious. How would your main character answer this question? Currently, what is your biggest challenge?
Besides staying alive? Keeping the people I care most about breathing—which means keeping them far from me. After the girl I loved died, her mother cursed me to live alone, because if I fall in love with anyone, it’s a death sentence for them. They’ll die, and I’ll be the cause. Being lonely is better than bearing that guilt.

Looking forward to reading The Griffin’s Secret…

Whet Our Appetite…

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Blurb:
In this contemporary re-telling of Grimm’s classic fairy tale The Griffin, two people must risk everything to free themselves from the invisible prisons that keep them from love…

Jackson Grant had it all—the girl he loved, his Harley, and his guitar. Until a tragic accident stole it all away. Now, more than scars and a tattoo remain. Jackson has a secret. Cursed by his dead girlfriend’s mother, he can never fall in love again or his beloved will die. With his heart on lockdown, he keeps to himself—until a roadie gig with Malcontent, the world’s most popular band, entwines his fate with sweet, wounded Layla’s…
Music is what Layla lives for. She has no choice. She’s bound by magic to serve Malcontent, cursed to propel them to stardom with her musical powers. Then Jackson appears and gives her hope that he’s the hero who will save her. A reluctant hero, yet one she can’t resist. But freedom will come at price—and who will pay…?

Excerpt:
The faint scent of an exotic flower on an ocean breeze hit him the second the girl walked in. Every part of his body stood at attention, taking in the way she moved. The curve of her slender hips. Those long legs…they’d wrap around the back seat of his Harley perfectly. Wrap around him perfectly, too.

A flip of her onyx-silk hair sent it behind her shoulder as she sat opposite. “Who are you?”

Good question. He’d been seeking the same answer for too long. “Jackson Grant.”

Her eyes darkened, deep brown to charcoal diamonds. “Why are you here?”

“For the roadie job.” Was she the first gatekeeper? A gate she kept locked, he’d bet. Or maybe she was another test. Kev had warned him there’d be tricky questions and to answer straight. Something told him she asked out of curiosity.

“You think you’re up for such a demanding job?”

Again, the impression hit him she was making these questions up as she went along, ad-libbing off his replies.

He’d play. “I’m strong. Dependable. I follow orders, keep my head down, and stay out of trouble.” And he liked his privacy.

Her features smoothed, hard as porcelain. “Do you.” Not a question.

He’d answer anyway. “Yes.”

Did disappointment curl her lip? Or boredom? Why did he care? If he could, he’d blast out of there before his own curiosity got the better of him. Already, she’d gotten under his skin. Crazy how the tat no longer singed him, but now twisted like a trapped animal.

With a plastic smile, she batted her eyes, and the false flirtation didn’t suit her. “So. You’re a yes-man.”

The way she said it, he’d be no different than any other roadie serving the great rock star, Malcolm Fetterman. Fine by Jackson. The less he stood out, the better. Except for her. He hated to think of her glossing over his presence, but that would be better, too.

He drummed his fingers on the table. “I need the job.” Where the hell was Malcolm anyway? The longer he stayed with her, the more he wanted to. Definitely couldn’t afford that kind of trouble. He glanced at the open door, hoping he wouldn’t have to go through the same interrogation again.

She tapped the table. “You’d have to travel constantly.”

“Perfect.” No different than his usual way of life. Except this time, his paycheck would remain steady.

“You wouldn’t miss your family?” She dipped her head. “Your girlfriend?”

He curled his lip this time. No one’s business but his. He shifted in his seat. “They’re better off.”

Her brows knit, and then her expression became unreadable as the Sphinx. “The hours are long, and the equipment’s heavy. Everything has to be exactly as Mal orders.”

Did he imagine it, or had she winced at her own words?

He shrugged. “It’s his show.” Someday, Jackson would have his own roadies. And would treat them much better than Malcolm Fetterman did, if the stories proved true.

Her steely focus cut into him. “Mal doesn’t hire musicians except for those in the band. And there aren’t any openings in Malcontent.”

He didn’t allow himself to blink. “No problem.”

“But you play, don’t you?” Her gaze dropped to his callused fingertips drumming the tabletop.

He drew his hand down. “No.” A necessary lie. She might suspect, but couldn’t possibly know the truth. Almost like leaving one of his limbs behind, he’d locked his Fender in storage in New Jersey with his paltry possessions for six months. By then, he’d know whether this gig worked out.

Where can we find The Griffin’s Secret?
As it’s a novella, it’s in ebook format, so online at these and other sites:
Kensington
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

Find Cate Masters Here:
Website: http://catemasters.blogspot.com
Facebook
Twitter: @CateMasters
Email: cate.masters@gmail.com

Thank you for sharing your book release here.
Thanks again for having me, Lorelei!

New Book by Author Sandra Cox

Just in time for the ghostly holiday…

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Blurb:
Caitlin King can’t believe that her shopaholic cousin actually bought two ghosts off of eBay. But she can’t ignore the truth when she starts seeing sexy Liam O’Reilly, who’s been dead for over a hundred years. He’s a fascinating specter, and the more time Caitlin spends with him, the closer they become—sending them both spiraling into a star-crossed tailspin. No matter how desperately they long for each other, there’s just no future with a guy who’s already stopped breathing.

Warning: Contains ghosts and shopaholics.

Bio:
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

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Where to find Author Sandra Cox and her books…

EKensington

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Apple

Google

Website

Sandra’s Blog

Twitter

Facebook

And there’s a GIVEAWAY! Info listed on Sandra’s blog…

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Get your copy today!

Check Out Romance Suspense Novel – TOXIC

Introducing the latest book release by my friend, Author Debra Jupe.

Nothing gets the blood flowing like romantic suspense.

And. This. Looks. Good…

To Find the Truth She’ll Have to Defeat His Darkness

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Welcome, Debra Jupe.

“I’d like to say a special thank-you to my dear friend, Lorelei Buckley for allowing me to highjack her blog and announce my newest suspense release, Toxic.”

My pleasure. Please tell us about your inspiration for Toxic.

“Toxic is my first full-length manuscript. I started writing seriously in 2004. I lived in Columbus, Texas a small, picturesque town seventy miles east of Houston. Columbus is my inspiration for the story’s setting.

During that time, I was employed at a wholesale nursery. My story takes place in a nursery, patterned after where I worked. The heroine, Gracie Desoto’s personality is closest to mine. She lives on a river. The Colorado River runs through Columbus, and another inspiration, sans the alligators.”

This is your first completed manuscript, yet you have two novels published before Toxic. Can you share some backstory on the publishing process?

“I completed this manuscript in 2008. I set it aside and left it alone for several years. I moved on, wrote, Echoes in the Wind and Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight then I was ready go back to Toxic. After major revisions, I sent the work to my editor, and received a go several weeks later.”

Thanks for joining me here. I’m always interested in the conception of a story.

“I’m excited to announce its publication. I hope you’ll give it a read.”

Count me in!

Blurb:
Landscaper Gracie Desoto is too busy building her business to worry about her love life. Until she receives news her ex-husband is getting remarried, and she meets the enigmatic Ethan McCarthy. Despite the warning bells, Grace can’t deny her attraction to the much younger man.

Ethan McCarthy is a man on the mission. His job keeps him on his toes, plus he’s dealing with personal issues he can’t figure out. He doesn’t have room in his life for a romance, until an encounter with the adorable Gracie changes his mind.

In a whirlwind weekend of missing plants and a murder with Ethan as a possible suspect, Gracie is determined to solve the mystery and clear her man. Together, they head down a darkened path into an unknown where they may not survive.

Is their love toxic, or is it worth the risk?

Excerpt:
“A model employee, that’s what you are. I’ll tell Mike to give you a raise.” Gracie abruptly broke their connection. “Thank you for the dance. Now excuse me.” She whipped around on the slick floor. One leg slid in front of her, while the other slipped behind. She struggled to regain her poise and not perform the splits in front of the entire nursery industry.

Rough hands glided over her bare arms to steady her. “You okay?”

“I’m fine.” She didn’t bother to look in his direction as he set her back on her feet.

“Might want to go easy on the margaritas.”

She ignored his recommendation. Though grateful for stability, she wanted to get away from Ethan McCarthy pronto. She stood in mid-indignation not sure of her next move. Everyone seemed occupied, and she had no place to go. The bar caught her eye. The hell with his suggestion. Tonight the section of the restaurant was her only true friend.

A large hand encircled her forearm. “Easy, Ms. D.” Ethan pulled her to him. “It’s an observation. I need to know the feelings weren’t mutual.”

“Mutual feelings? With Reed? Why would you want to know that?”

His lips curved. “’Cause, I prefer not to make a move if you’re otherwise involved.”

“Make a move?”

“I’m pretty sure you understand the concept, but in case you don’t.” He brushed his mouth against hers, then smiled. “Consider yourself hit on.”

Downloads are 50% off for a limited time –
www.thewildrosepress.com
www.debrajupe.com
www.amazon.com
Also Available in Print