"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Today is my Blog Tour Day. This blog tour is where writers and authors answer questions about their writing process. My friend Sommer Marsden posted hers last week, and I'd like to thank her for inviting me to join in. You can check out her writing process at http://sommermarsden.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-writing-processand-supposedly-my-ass.html

So, here are my answers to the four questions about my writing process:
1)     What am I working on?
Currently, I’m writing a novel based on a call for submissions from a publisher I’ve always wanted to be published by. Yes, I’m not saying for a very specific reason *winks* It takes place in Ireland, involves witches of course, and also some magical people gone bad who have placed a curse on a family. I’m pushing myself in this novel to have a larger than life main couple and antagonist, as well as non-stop action. Having a lot of fun and wishing I could go to Ireland for research.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmmm, well there are a lot of paranormal authors out there, but for me, I like to have a mix of both supernatural and pagan elements in my stories, as well as create very grey areas around the good verses bad magic. I also try to create very specific spells for my characters to use, and I do this through a lot of research. As far as the romance end goes, well, I often like to include the magic there. Lots of sex spells in my stories. As well as seeking how the supernatural elements of the story play out in bed *smiles*

3)     Why do I write what I do?
Well, for a few reasons. First, I write to escape. Doctors seem to think I was born with a depressive personality. To me, this means I’m often sad without reason and often have more of an issue dealing with everyday life. So, I deal by not only escaping into one I can control, but also one where I can give what I can’t handle a happy ending. Why the paranormal, erotic romances? Well, I like the edge, the over the top feeling that magic lends to stories, and I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Oh, and also, darker things make me happy. What? Well, I can explain that better through a music example. Happy songs drive me up a wall while angry songs, say Breaking Benjamin, Will Not Bow, for instance, pick me up. I think it has something to do with feeling someone gets me?!? I don’t know, even I can’t explain me. LOL

4)     How does your writing process work?
First, I spend way too much time in research. I really love it. Second, I write out a chapter outline so I can braid together all the plot elements of my story, hide surprises and plot twists, etc. I sort of cut and place my research information into this. Third, by the time those two steps are down, I sit down and crank out a rough draft. Four, and another really fun step, is to go back through the rough draft and add in details, play with wordings, etc.

Up Next Week:

Willsin Rowe

Willsin Rowe falls in love with a scent, a playful expression or an act of casual intimacy more easily than with physical beauty. When confronted by any combination of these he is a lost cause.

He has done many things over and over. He has done even more things only once. He has half-done more things than he cares to admit.

He is intelligent but not sensible. He is polite but inappropriate. He is passionate but fearful. He is honest but reticent. He is not scruffy enough nor stylish enough to be cool.

Laken Cane
Laken Cane is an urban fantasy writer living in the Midwest.
Her debut book, Shiv Crew, is a dark urban fantasy and is followed by Blood and Bite, book two, and Strange Trouble, book three. Book four is a work in progress.
Places you can find Laken: Website: www.lakencane.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/laken.cane.3 Twitter: @lakencane Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/lakencane

Cree Walker

Cree Walker lives in Northern Maine with her very patient debate partner and their furry love child, mini rat terrier, Titan. When Cree isn't plugging away at her computer she can most likely be found at the hospital where she works as an advanced psychiatric technician for both children and adults.
To date, Cree has four novel length publications with Naughty Nights Press. Paranormal werewolf romance, Whisper on a Scream, and it's sequel, Urban Fantasy nominated book for 2012, Willing Sacrifice. She also has paranormal romantic comedy, A Winter's Grave, book one to the Reaper series and her most recent publication, Maple Lane Manor, Home for Retired Supernaturals. So far, Maple Lane Manor has been a finalist in the 2013 UpAuthors Fiction Challenge and all have received the coveted 5 star review rating from the Paranormal Romance Guild.

Posted By Kiki Howell
Author Bio: Ever since she was young, Kiki could spend hours lost in a book, and soon she knew that creating lives, loves, and losses with just words had to be the greatest thing that she could do. To that end, she pursued her study of literature and writing, earning a bachelor’s degree in English. She has now had over thirty stories published between eleven different publishers.  In May, 2011, Kiki was chosen as an Ohioana Book Festival author for her novel, Torn Asunder. She's also had three flash fiction stories win writing contests. In the fall of 2013, her latest novel, Hidden Salem, made the Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers Lists in 3 categories: Paranormal, Suspense and Ghosts.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Call For Submissions: Anthology

This anthology call is in honor of my father, who 47 years ago this Sat was wounded earning himself the Purple Heart and Bronze star: “For heroism while engaged in serial flight in connection with military operations against a hostile force: Specialist Quinn distinguished himself by heroic actions in 15 Feb 1967 in the Republic of Vietnam… Although seriously wounded his outstanding display of aggressiveness, devotion to duty, and personal bravery is in keeping with the highest standards of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.”

About the Anthology:
Story Lengths:  Short story or novella. Not setting a specific word count.

Theme/Plot: Fictional stories about a veteran several years out from the war still dealing with war-related issues like PTSD or disabilities, etc. I will not specify a war because I would like to see a range of ages of the veterans, so think WWII, Vietnam, or current wars. The story must be contemporary and the veteran must be out of the war at least 5 years for current wars. Another twist here is for the story to be told through only one point of view, which is not the veterans, but through the eyes of either one of their family members or a close friend, maybe even a girlfriend or boyfriend. For example, I will be contributing a fictional story I wrote, the inspiration for this anthology idea, which is told 40-some years out from the Vietnam war in the point of view of the daughter. Her father is a Vietnam Veteran who has greatly ignored his PTSD until a traumatic life event happens.

Possible Working Titles: 1. Honor Bound; or 2. Service Before Self; or 3. We Go On; or 4. That Others May Live;  or 5. "Non sibi sed patriae" (English Translation: Not Self, but Country)

Timeframe: All dates are subject to change!
Proposed Submission Deadline: June 01, 2014 or until I have enough stories.

Proposed Kickstarter Project: July 2014 – I’m hoping to raise money to pay each author a flat fee, pay for a second set of editing eyes beyond my own, and for cover art (both ebook and print). Beyond actual book related costs, all money raised in the Kickstarert project and all proceeds from sales will go to http://www.operationhomefront.net/ who I will be submitting a fundraiser to through their website. I will be asking each author chosen for the anthology to donate one item to be given to the Kickstart Backers. PLEASE NOTE: If Kickstarter project fails, anthology will still be published, but author stories will be donated and I will pay for all other book costs. I hope each author will help to shout out about the project.

Edits, etc.: July – August 2014

Proposed Publication: September 2014

Submission Format:
Email manuscript to howell.kiki@gmail.com

Subject: Anthology

File Naming Convention: author name_story title (example: Kiki Howell_Coming Back to Life)

Manuscript: Just please keep it basic, Title Page, Times New Roman, 12 pt, please no fancy formatting…

For Fun: Send in your vote for Anthology Title in the body of your email J

About the Editor, Kiki Howell: I graduated from Kent State University with a Secondary English Education degree in 1993. I’ve been a published author since 2007, currently having over 30 stories published with 11 different small presses. I’ve worked as a publishing administrator and an editor, and self-published two of my own stories over the last few years. I’ve been an Ohioana Author and my most recent novel hit three Top 100 Category Bestsellers Lists on Amazon.  Visit www.kikihowell.com for more information.

Questions or concerns, contact me at howell.kiki@gmail.com


Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine's Day - Sacred Sex

As an author who writes both pagan and paranormal stories, I’ve done a lot of my research for my stories in Wiccan books, studying pagan spells and rituals for inspiration. Once I stumbled upon my first sex magick spell in a book, I simply became fascinated with the practice. So, I guess it's no surprise that I’ve written several to date. Here is a re-post of a great article I wrote up on the basics of the practice:
Before I get into some of the basics I see among these spells, let’s get a good solid definition of what Sex Magick is.
Wikipedia says: “Sex magic is a term for various types of sexual activity used in magical, ritualistic or otherwise religious and spiritual pursuits. One practice of sex magic is using the energy of sexual arousal or orgasm with visualization of a desired result. A premise of sex magic is the concept that sexual energy is a potent force that can be harnessed to transcend one’s normally perceived reality.”
As I see it, the energy built during sex is used to power a spell where an intention (what the witch wants or is trying to achieve) is held in the participants’ minds as orgasm is achieved. Sex here can mean anything from masturbation to heterosexual to homosexual even multiple partner situations even incorporating some light BDSM practices to achieve an altered state in which magic can happen. So how is this done? Well, just like any other type of spell or ritual there are many, many ways to go about this. But in my research, I’ve seen few common denominators. Let’s go through those.
First, the solitary practitioner or couple or coven practicing the ritual or conducting the spell, have to center themselves, clear away all the negative energy attached to them. Often this is begun by showering, alone or together. The water helps to cleanse away negative energies while also relaxing the people involved. Many times soothing scents are used as well as candles, etc. I like the spells for couples that mention washing each other as well envisioning clearing away all the energy ties.
Next, a clear intention must be devised. Of course, the practitioners went into this process already having a good idea of what this intention is; it is just at this point that the participants make sure the intention is very detailed, very clear. Some intentions for sex spells may be for a couple to see if they are meant to be together or to heal one who is sick, but really, any intention can be done as long as it harms none in the process. The intention is usually written down in very specific words at this point on paper or simply scratched into a candle to be burnt during the ritual. Also, the participants need to come up with a clear image in their heads, the more detailed the better chance the spell has of working.
Once this intention is set, there are many ritual items that need to be gathered. Of course, if these are things you would need to buy before hand, things you just don’t have on hand, one must shop before the bathing. LOL Pre-planning like this would have already been done, just this is the point of set-up of the sacred space. Moving these things around with purpose helps begin the energy building process. The room would have been cleared prior to the bath.
Okay, back to the items. Lots of them have special meanings like herbs, oils, candles, colors, crystals, etc. So, many of these items can be gathered which represent the intention can be placed on an altar in the room. The interaction with these things depends upon the complexity of the ritual. Sometimes herbs are mixed in a tiny cauldron now, or oils are mixed together to be later used in sensual massages, etc. Next the participants must rebuild their energy. At this point it is important to build sexual energy, not to climax. So, here rituals vary a lot. Sometimes sensual massage is used here or light touching, bodies connected in intimate ways while couples simply lose themselves in each other’s eyes. Other times, sensual spanking, using whips made of ribbons with small knots at the ends are run up and down the body or hit against the skin until the sub at this point starts to reach an altered state of consciousness through sexual arousal. If this step is done alone, say by a woman, she may masturbate in front of a mirror, building her sexual energy slowly, all senses engaged in the process.
Now, this isn’t easy. Participants are brought to a point just before climax many times before they actually get to climax. During this climax though, the intention is thought of, visualized, chanted, whatever depending upon the spell. This takes focus, a lot of concentration gained through practice. And, the spell doesn’t always end here. Sometimes, if the intention is a reoccurring problem, like a sex spell done to break down creative blocks, a talisman will be made. Some sort of amulet, a necklace with a pendant can be covered in the sexual fluids, mixed fluids if a couple is doing the spell, and then worn, carrying the energy of the spell with the person after.
If you are interested in learning more, some great books are:
Modern Sex Magick: Secrets of Erotic Spirituality by Donald Michael Kraig
Sexual Sorcery: A Complete Guide to Sex Magick by Jason Augustus Newcomb
Secrets of Sex Magic: A Practical Handbook for Men & Women (Llewellyn’s Tantra and Sexual Arts Series) byFrater U. D. (This one is on my wish list! But, I think it looks really good!)

Looking for a short, sexy Valentine's Day read? Sacred Sex is only $0.99!

Naughty Hot Shots - Sacred Sex, A Valentine's Day Novella

Just a few days before Valentine’s Day, Margaret visits her aunt’s craft consignment shop hoping for a spell or oil, and any advice on how to re-connect with her husband, Michael, who has become distant since losing his job. Determined to save her marriage, she gets more than she bargained for from Aunt Minny, a practicing witch. Armed with recipes to enhance love, a massage oil love potion, a new Valentine’s Day candle and a book on Sacred Sex Rituals, Margaret prepares to seduce her husband.

But, his initial reaction is not what she planned for…

Follow Margaret and Michael on a holiday of love journey, a throwback to the kinky pagan sex rituals once practiced long ago on this day before it was named after a saint. You may want to take notes to enhance your own Valentine's Day this year!

Genres: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Wiccan/Pagan, Holiday - Valentine’s Day
Please Note: This story was re-released by a new publisher, Naughty Nights Press, after being re-edited and given a sexy new Jimmy Thomas cover :)
Available Now at NNP StoreAll Romance Ebooks, and Amazon 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sweetheart Blog Hop & Giveaway

I just love reading and writing romances, and what inspires those activities more than Valentine’s Day? So, for this Valentine’s Day Blog Hop, I’m sharing my love of reading and writing books, specifically ones with a Valentine’s Day theme J

First, here are two that I’ve written. Both are shorter works where the time frame of the story includes Valentine’s Day. Both are erotic romances that involve one of my favorites, witchy elements of that genre, Sex Magick. Continuing on, where these books differ is time. The first one listed, Love, Creativity and Magick, is a historical, my favorite ‘past’ time, Regency England with a steampunk flair. The second one listed, Sacred Sex, is contemporary and a manual on sex magick if you’d want to read it that way. LOL

So, you can read about those, or scroll down for a few lists of many other Valentine’s Day themed books.

Love, Creativity & Magick: A Steampunk Valentine’s Day Tale - A Novelette

All acts of magick take on shades of gray in the end. Especially for Emma, one of four females witches who by birthright belong in the social circles of the privileged upper ten thousand in London. Yet, by rumor of the unknown and the misunderstood, she stands apart, cut by her peers along with her cousins, because they hold a secret—each is gifted with magick.

Their elders had taught them respect for their powers even when mixed with a spanking amount of fanciful mischief.  On the other hand, if a lesson was warranted, then white verses black magick could be hard to define. No where was the color of steam more evident than in the matters of justice, a slippery term to define. Yet, they’d made breaking the laws of society their mission. Most of their nights at parties and balls were spent creating a magickal comedy of errors, helping the uptight aristocracy side step their fastidious standards.

Only this year, days before Valentine’s Day, a damnable day for women without suitors, Emma is not quite sure what is happening to her. Something dark and seductive, something not of this world, is luring her, possessing her, and she has no comprehension of what or who the presence really is.

Genres: Valentine's Day 2012 Theme, Paranormal (witches and vampires), Steampunk (Victorian England), Erotic Romance  
Available Now from Naughty Nights Press at NNP Store, Amazon, and All Romance Ebooks 


Naughty Hot Shots - Sacred Sex, A Valentine's Day Novella

Just a few days before Valentine’s Day, Margaret visits her aunt’s craft consignment shop hoping for a spell or oil, and any advice on how to re-connect with her husband, Michael, who has become distant since losing his job. Determined to save her marriage, she gets more than she bargained for from Aunt Minny, a practicing witch. Armed with recipes to enhance love, a massage oil love potion, a new Valentine’s Day candle and a book on Sacred Sex Rituals, Margaret prepares to seduce her husband.

But, his initial reaction is not what she planned for…

Follow Margaret and Michael on a holiday of love journey, a throwback to the kinky pagan sex rituals once practiced long ago on this day before it was named after a saint. You may want to take notes to enhance your own Valentine's Day this year!

Genres: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Wiccan/Pagan, Holiday - Valentine’s Day
Please Note: This story was re-released by a new publisher, Naughty Nights Press, after being re-edited and given a sexy new Jimmy Thomas cover :)
Available Now at NNP Store, All Romance Ebooks, and Amazon

And, the list goes on… I searched Valentine’s Day Book lists, and I came up with sadly only two. But before I get to those, I know that Naughty Nights Press has another short, and really hot, Valentine’s Day story by author Abby Hayes, called Seeing Red. I recommend checking it out! CLick HERE to view.

Okay, back to the searching, first, I found a nice list of Mystery themed Valentine’s Day stories. Many sound really good. A great list because each title has links to buy. Click HERE to view. Think I’ll start with How to Kill The Man of Your Dreams just because the title is so creative *winks*

Next, I found a list on Goodreads. Click HERE to view. My TBR list is steadily growing of course *sighs*

But after not having much more luck other than a ton of children’s books, I simply went to Amazon and searched Valentine’s Day, then clicked the Romance subheading. Click HERE to see the numerous search results.

If you are like me, the book shopping is half the fun. Enjoy! Now, onto the blog hop info...

Valentine's Day Giveaway 2014

Welcome to the 
2014 Sweetheart Blog Hop & Giveaway!

Enter to win a 
$100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash!

Browse & link up your Valentine's Day related 
posts in the linky below! 

February 1st - February 14th, 2014



Ready to Party? Great, let's get started!

Enter the Sweetheart Giveaway 
for a Chance to Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash!

Disclaimer: VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Must be of legal age to enter. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Rafflecopter and other social media sites are not related to, or affiliated with this giveaway in any way.  So Simply Stephanie is responsible for winner notifications and prize delivery. One winner will be selected via the Rafflecopter and will receive their choice of a $100 USD Amazon Gift eCard or $100 USD PayPal Cash. Winner will be selected on February 15th, 2014, and announced on SoSimplyStephanie.com. Winner will also be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond another winner will be selected. 

Thanks for stopping by! If you haven't already, be sure to visit our Sponsors! They all donated to the giveaway to make this event possible!


In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.