My next enchanting novel, BEWITCHING HANNAH, is on its way from Mirror World Publishing! Mirror World has a reputation for publishing fantastic fiction, and I’m thrilled to be working with them again.
The young adult fantasy, set in present-day Annapolis, Maryland (lots of scenes are set at the historic sites in my hometown), focuses on Hannah Fitzgerald, a sixteen-year-old Chesapeake witch. And even if being a witch sounds super cool, it’s the last thing she wants.
Hannah, the thirteenth great-granddaughter of the Wizard Earl Fitzgerald, has always known she was descended from a royal legacy of dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W, a Calvert descendant, who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead.
Enemies will hurt her. Loved ones will make her vulnerable. And the impending prophecy that drives her to unleash her magic will cause her to unearth the sins of the past and doubt any promise of a future. Without knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn’t certain she’ll survive, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.
The book is available for pre-order now on Amazon. If you haven’t had a chance to read my first novel, DISENCHANTED, you can find it on Amazon, BN.com, and Mirror World Publishing.
Clothing in the paranormal world of shape shifters
Paranormal worlds are fun to create, but one of the biggest issues writers have to deal with when writing about were-animals is the clothing problem. Traditionally, were-animals remove their clothes, or shed their skins if they are animals changing to humans, in order to accommodate their human/animal shifts. In the case of some, like selkies (seals who become humans), they also have to have their clothes (or skins) back in order to change back to humans.
Having to remove clothing before shifting into animals can be advantageous when the author wants to get the couple together, naked. Needing one’s clothing to return to human form can also create humorous situations, especially when the shifter is trying to hide why they are running around in their birthday suits.
When we began to develop our world of shape shifters, we had to address the clothing issue, in more than one way. Not only do our shifters become animals, but they can take other human forms, too. So, clothing created an additional challenge for us. Should we take the traditional route and have the shifters hide their clothes before becoming animals? Or should we just let their clothing disappear and reappear without explanation?
After bouncing several ideas off each other we decided that we would utilize the magic of the magical bloodstone ring, that is primarily responsible for the shape shifting in our world, to our advantage when addressing clothing issues, with a few twists. The magic in the ring would allow an animal shift to absorb the wearer’s clothing. The ring would become an integral invisible part of the animal, as would anything else on or in the shifter’s body or clothing. Except for the ring’s magic, nothing on his human form would be accessible to the shifter when he was in animal form. This rule allowed the shifter to be able to blend rapidly into the animal or human world and thus keep the action scenes moving. Unfortunately, this meant no humorous birthday suit scenarios or convenient naked scenes, but that was okay, since we decided to make the human shifting follow different rules.
When our characters shift from male to female, their clothing does not change. This rule has created its own set of problems. We have to be careful that we choose appropriate clothing when our characters are going to shift. A rapid exchange of clothes had to be written in once scene when one shifter mimicked another shifter and was about to be caught. We also had a few interesting male /female shifting scenarios created by this rule, especially when a male shifter ends up in decidedly female clothes. It’s not often that you see a male walking down the street in a dress, or tottering on high heels. Fortunately, with the unisex nature of clothing today, this shifting rule hasn’t created a huge problem for us the writers.
However, it did create a conundrum for the police and our main characters in our first book The Promised One. In this story a shape shifter is murdered and returns to the natural persona: a man. The problem was he had been shifted into a smaller female whose dress did not fit will over his muscular male body. Trying to keep the police from drawing the wrong conclusions keeps the main characters busy coming up with plausible explanations for a man in a dress that is too small for him.
The following is the excerpt from The Promised One that points out the issue:
*Disclaimer–this series of books contains sensual scenes that may not be appropriate for a younger audience.
The woman stared at him, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth. “Return the ring, or you’ll be sorry.”
With a short laugh he stood. “Big words for someone bleeding to death.” After dropping the ring into his pocket, he gathered the scattered contents of her purse, and started to leave.
“Wait.” The words sounded thick and slurred . . . two octaves deeper . . . with a Scottish lilt.
Shaw frowned and spun back toward her. The pounding in his chest increased. On the ground, where the woman had fallen, lay a man.
He wore the same slinky blue dress she had—the seams ripped, the dress top collapsed over hard chest muscles, instead of smoothed over soft, rounded curves. The hem skimmed across a pair of hairy, thick thighs. Muscled male thighs. Spiked heels hung at an odd angle, toes jutting through the shoe straps. The same shoes she’d been wearing.
The alley tipped. Shaw leaned against the dumpster to steady himself. He shook his head to clear the vision, then slowly moved his gaze over the body.
A pair of steel-blue eyes stared out of a chiseled face edged with a trim salt-and-pepper beard. Shaw whirled around scanning the alley.
Where was the woman? And who the hell was this guy?
Terrified, Shaw fled.
The dying man called out, “You’re cursed. Forever.”
As you can see the change can be quite startling when not expected. Shape shifters can have a rather costly garment expense unless they are careful. Following are the covers and back cover blurbs of the books in our series, The Turning Stone Chronicles.
In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.
Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.
Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones, and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.
When Delaney Ramsey is enlisted to help train two of the most powerful shape shifters the Turning Stone Society has seen in thousands of years, she suspects one of them is responsible for the disappearance of her daughter. To complicate matters, the man has a secret that could destroy them all. Bound by honor to protect the suspect, Delaney must prove his guilt without losing her life to his terrible powers or revealing to the police captain she’s falling for that she’s a shape shifter with more than one agenda.
The minute Captain Williams lays eyes on Delaney Ramsey, he knows she’s trouble. Uncooperative, secretive, and sexy, he can’t get her out of his mind. When he discovers she has a personal agenda for sifting through all the criminal records in his precinct, and secretly investigating his best detective, he can’t let her out of his sight. He must find out what she’s looking for before she does something illegal. If she steps over the line, he’s not certain he can look the other way for the sake of love.
Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.
Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different-love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?
When mercenary soldier Michael Corritore answers a desperate call from an ex-military buddy, he finds himself in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient war between two shape shifter factions, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.
Shape shifter Fiona Kayler will do anything to keep the shipping company her father left her, including getting in bed with the enemy. But when she believes the man trying to steal her company is involved with kidnapping her nephew, she must choose between family, fortune, and love. The problem is … she wants all three.
Find our books at:
We are a husband and wife writing team whose pen name is C.D. Hersh.
We’ve written separately since we were teenagers and discovered our unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, we believe in true love and happily ever after. Which is why we write it!
Together we have co-authored a paranormal romance series The Turning Stone Chronicles. Current books available in the series:
The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1)
Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2)
Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3)
The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4)
And of course our contemporary novella Kissing Santa which is part of Sizzle in the Snow: Soulmate Christmas Anthology
You can connect with and follow us at our website http://cdhersh.wordpress.com/
Annapolis writes in tips for crafting the next best-selling novel–a post written by Phil Davis, Contact Reporter from the Capital Gazette, November 12th, 2016
Inside a meeting room at the Annapolis Regional Library, a small group of aspiring writers are gathered in a circle with notebooks, laptops and writing utensils in hand.
At the head of the group are five published novelists. They sit in front of a green chalkboard with their names written behind them and their respective works displayed in front of them.
It’s the Annapolis Write-in, in celebration of National Novel Writing Month. Lucia St. Clair Robson, an Arnold-based best-selling historical fiction novelist, is joined by a handful of authors with the Maryland Writer’s Association to talk shop about writing the next best novel.
“Somerset Maugham said there are three rules for writing fiction,” Robson said. “Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. So I have no rules, really.”
Welcome to the 2-week blog tour for Goth Girl, Virgin Queen by JoAnne Keltner.
Follow the tour and connect with wonderful bloggers, read reviews of the book, and meet the author.
Title: Goth Girl, Virgin Queen
Author Name: JoAnne Keltner
Genre(s): Young Adult Paranormal
Length: Approx. 298 pages
Release Date: December 3, 2015
Publisher: Solstice Publishing (http://solsticepublishing.com/)
About Goth Girl, Virgin Queen:
Calling Jackie Turov psychic makes her cringe. But Jackie’s no normal seventeen-year-old. She picks up emotions from people and objects like a freak. The emotions make her sick, and the guilt she feels for lying to her church when she was twelve causes her to deny her psychic abilities.
So Jackie goes goth to make others stay away from her and forget her past. But her past is soon resurrected when her jealous friend Trish invites a demon, a persecutor of healers, to steal away Jason’s love for Jackie. The demon causes Jackie to be bullied for the lie she told and puts her best friend, Jason, in danger.
Jackie must learn how to use her gift to protect Jason and herself and to heal the negative energies of those around her. To do so means she must overcome her guilt and accept who she is before the demon claims her soul.
Enter the Goodreads Giveaway:
Read an Excerpt:
The medicine cabinet mirror—dotted with rust and turning gray—made the powder foundation on Jackie’s face look ashen and her jet-black hair, blurry. She looked like a shadow of a girl. She smeared black lipstick on her lips and shook out her shoulder-length hair. Her straight-cut bangs veiled her mascara-lined eyes, and the layered ends of her hair stuck out in defiant wisps.
Some of the kids at school—the ones she didn’t hang out with—called her Goth Girl. Some, whose memories wouldn’t die, called her VQ for Virgin Queen.
Jackie preferred Goth Girl, to be one of the living dead, to be numb to the emotions that plagued her. But this was what she wanted, not what she got.
Goth Girl or Virgin Queen, she was a freak, absorbing the emotions around her like a sponge. Sometimes the emotions made her sick. Sometimes they made her see things.
Because of this, she kept to a tight-knit group of goth friends—Jason, Zeta, and Trish—and avoided social activities. She attended high school only because Mom wouldn’t let her homeschool. Mom was afraid she’d hang with Babu all day, making piroshki and doing needlepoint instead of studying. Jackie, afraid of what life offered a freak like her beyond high school, had to admit that hanging with Babu all day was tempting.
Typically, Fridays were movie nights for Jason and her, but tonight would be different. Tonight, she’d subject herself to a hodgepodge of emotions from crowds and rides and the very ground she’d walk on to protect Jason. For this, she would need physical and spiritual strength, which she sought from Babu these days.
Babu’s door was cracked, and Jackie slowly pushed the door open. “Babu?”
The room smelled of beeswax and down. A candle burned on the shrine on the dresser. The flickering flame animated the icon of the Virgin of Vladimir and cast shadows across the picture of Babu, Grandma, Mom, and Jackie. Although Babu didn’t speak English, and Jackie didn’t understand much Russian, Jackie knew Babu kept that picture on her shrine to pray for Grandma, who passed away several years ago; for Mom, who divorced Dad; and for the girl who saw the Virgin when she was twelve—for the girl she had become as a teen.
Babu sat in bed, a country quilt spread over her legs, her thumb pressed against a knot of her prayer rope, her head bowed sleepily, and her lips wording prayers.
“I wanted to say goodbye,” Jackie whispered.
Babu crossed herself and then smiled at Jackie, her gold eyetooth shining from the light of the bed-stand lamp. She patted the empty space beside her. “Sadees.”
Jackie sat down beside Babu at the edge of the bed and took Babu’s hand in hers. Babu’s hand was warm and knotted with arthritis. Jackie rubbed her thumb over the bumps on Babu’s knuckles; her black fingernails were a sharp contrast to Babu’s flour-white skin.
She wasn’t afraid to touch Babu’s hands and absorb her emotions. Jackie got a good feeling from her. Babu filled Jackie’s inner vision with white light. She renewed her spirit. And this is what Jackie needed for the commitment she had made for tonight.
“Kooda eedyosh?” Babu asked.
“I’m going out,” Jackie said as if Babu understood her. This is how they communicated: Babu telling her stuff she couldn’t understand, Jackie telling Babu stuff she couldn’t understand. Somehow they carried on fine this way.
“I’m going with Jason.”
Babu rubbed the top of Jackie’s hand and ran her thumb over black fingernails. “Fsyevo kharoshevuh,” she said in a comforting tone and gently squeezed Jackie’s hand. Then she cupped her hands around Jackie’s jaws and pulled her forehead to her lips. Jackie imagined Babu’s kiss imprinted on her forehead and carrying Babu’s blessings and love with her tonight.
Solstice Publishing: http://solsticepublishing.com/goth-girl-virgin-queen
Meet the Author:
JoAnne Keltner is the author of Goth Girl, Virgin Queen (Solstice Publishing, 2015) and Obsession (Musa Publishing, 2013 ed.). As an only child and avid daydreamer, she spent hours alone in her backyard on the South Side of Chicago, which she imagined to be everything from an alien planet to the Antarctic. She currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband, four dogs, cat, and three chickens. When she isn’t writing or freelance editing, she’s obsessively streaming popular TV shows.
Social Media Links:
Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.
Title: The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret
Series: The Last Timekeepers, Book 2
Author Name: Sharon Ledwith
Genre(s): Middle Grade, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, WWII
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Amanda stuffed the acorn in her pocket, then advanced on Jordan. She poked him in the stomach. “What’s your problem, Jockstrap? Three weeks into school and barely a ‘hi’ comes out of your mouth when we see each other in the hallways or in class. Have you forgotten that we’re Timekeepers together?”
How could I forget? Jordan snorted. “My world doesn’t revolve around you or the others,” he replied, rubbing his belly. “Besides, I’ve been too busy playing—” He stopped. Now Jordan knew what was different about Amanda. “Are…are you wearing make-up?”
Amanda’s bronze skin deepened to a reddish hue. “Um, yeah. So?”
Jordan laughed. “Who is he?”
Amanda frowned. “Who is who?”
“The guy you’re wearing make-up for,” Jordan replied. “Oh wait, is it that geek in English class? Or, I know, the dork in math class, the one who keeps helping you out.”
Amanda shoved him. “I’m wearing it for me! It was a gift from Treena for my birthday. You know, the other day, when Melody invited you over for cake?”
Jordan’s jaw dropped. “That was for your birthday? Oh, um, sorry Amanda, but I…I had football practice. I couldn’t ditch that.”
“And I thought you were a team player,” she said, stepping back. “It’s all about you, Jordan. That’s your life motto. That’s who your world revolves around. You could have shown your face after football practice.”
“Whoa, that’s not fair,” he replied, raking his fingers through his tawny hair. “I have obligations. I have responsibilities. You don’t get it.”
Jordan’s cell phone sounded the National Hockey Leagues’ anthem from his pocket. He reached in, pulled it out, and checked his text message. Hmm. Ashley wants to know where I am. His eyes widened, remembering, Oh crap, I was supposed to meet her in the library this morning to pick out books for our English assignment.
“Oh, I get it all right, Jockstrap.” Amanda snatched the red phone out his hand. “FYI—you’re not the only one who has obligations and responsibilities. You need to learn how to juggle.”
About The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret:
Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.
With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.
“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.
Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”
“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.
Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.
“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.
“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.
“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.
“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”
Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.
“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.
“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.
“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”
Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.
Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”
Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”
Mirror World Publishing:
Barnes & Noble:
Meet the Author:
Escape to the past and have a blast.
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.
Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.
Connect with Sharon Ledwith:
Sharon’s Website: www.sharonledwith.com
Sharon’s Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/
Sharon’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwith
The Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Last-Timekeepers-Time-Travel-Series/373953795955372
Twitter: @sharonledwith: https://twitter.com/sharonledwith
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith
Amazon Author U.S. Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Ledwith/e/B0084DUHJO
Amazon Author U.K. Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0084DUHJO