Queen of Swords Release Day!

I am so excited for today!!

It's release day for Queen of Swords- the first book in my Banished Gods series. After working on this series for almost three years, I am so happy that bookone is going to find its way to readers.  Here is a short excerpt:

    The way Morgane saw it, she and Loki had only known each other a few days. It wasn’t like they were joined at the hip, for chrissakes.  Which was why, she decided, she was going to tell him everything.   Right after she went to the Underworld and did what she meant to accomplish.   Like they said, better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?   By the time she jogged into Odin’s throne room, Morgane figured she was about three hours late.  The doors flew open before her. “Sorry, sorry, here I am. Better late than never. Ready to go.” The words were barely out of her mouth when the room went whirling around her, and the drawling, bored voice of Odin floated from somewhere far away.   “About time, you’d think I’m running a country club. Have a nice trip. And remember who you’re bringing home with you.  If you can’t find him, don’t bother coming back.”   The whirling, spinning, dropping sensation didn’t stop for a long time. Finally, she hit something hard, and the pressure of a cold, wet surface punched her in the face. Water dripped from her hair, adding to the disorientation when she sat up in complete darkness, pushing tangled strands away from her face. Blackness rippled around her, the sort of shadowy dark that sucks every thought straight out of you.   Like why she had agreed to come here in the first place.   And how she was totally ready to take on this world.   No, this was the kind of blackness that absorbed you until you disappeared. Tucking her knees into her chest, she felt her ribcage expand against her thighs. Contract back down. Felt the warmth of every breath dissipate into the icy, depthless emptiness around her. If it wasn’t for the cold, hard floor underneath her ass, she would have thought she was floating.  But she was somewhere. And she was sitting in water. And her ass was freezing.   Her skin goose bumped underneath the thin t-shirt.   Wet meant water. Cold meant weather. The idea loosened the tightness in her chest. And breathing meant she was still alive. Or at least, she hoped it did.   Squeezing her eyes tight, she imagined two faces. Holding those images as a shield against the dark, she rose to her feet.   The sound of rushing water drew her to the right. With the roar of it thrumming in her ears, she kept walking until mist coated her face, and continued following a far-away glow. Light was good. Not caring what it might reveal, she hurried forward, thinking anything would be better than this soul-sucking darkness. By the time she reached the bridge spanning the river, things were quite…misty. Odin had told her exactly what to do to make it across. Once she managed that, she knew exactly how far to reach Hel’s gates. But after that? It was anyone’s guess.   Total crapshoot. Which was why she was going to wing it.   The person, which was a charitable term, guarding the bridge held out a huge, stubby hand to stop her. She stopped. Waited. Ask me, ask me the question.   Out of its grotesque mouth, the words twisted and warped, “You have but one wish before you cross over. What is it you want?”   Morgane considered. Told him.  It.   And then palmed the thin sliver of metal that appeared in her hand, frowning. Wondering if Odin could have been wrong. Wondering how she could have been so stupid to trust him, before slipping it into her pocket and waiting for the go ahead to cross.   “Um, I was supposed to receive a powerful, magic dagger? Isn’t this supposed to be big and fancy or something?” The thing guarding the bridge stared down at her from dark, empty eyes.   She swallowed hard. She’d never once considered not making it over the bridge. This was supposed to be the easy part. The in-the-bag part of this whole plan.  Finally, the…thing stepped aside and gestured down the long span of bridge.   She didn’t need any more encouragement than that.   Hours later, standing before impressive, slightly grimy gates, Morgane didn’t bother to look at the blackened, ruined landscape behind her. No reason to lift her head and smell the bite of sulfur in the air, taste the grit of dust between her lips, the searing ache of brimstone in her lungs. She didn’t want to remember any of it, ever again. The only thing that mattered was she’d made it across. And what remained to be done.   The doors swung inward on silent hinges, revealing a gaping maw of darkness and flickering torchlight. What is it with these immortal beings and their penchant for the dramatic?   “Ah, Odin kept his word. I’d wondered.” When Morgane saw Hel standing between the giant doors, looking all Project Runway and shit in a long, black silky dress and lots of bling, she knew she was in way over her head.   Morgane pushed down her rising fear, but her voice, thankfully, didn’t shake as much as it might have. “Came out to welcome me personally?  I’m honored, I think.”   “As well you should be. I’ve been waiting for hours and hours. I thought Odin and I made a deal.”   "He said nightfall, and here I am.” Morgane surveyed Hel’s to-die-for Blahnik stilettos and heavy, diamond hoops that matched the silky dress perfectly. Which meant the Queen of the Dead didn’t spend all of her time stuck down here. “Nice outfit.”   “You’d be surprised how often I get out,” Hel replied, stroking manicured nails through her hair. “Nothing you’ll have to worry about from now on. Any-hoo, time’s a wasting. Why don’t you come on in?” Hel waved Morgane inside, her arm swooping down in a flourish befitting a Barnum ringmaster.   With the sounds of a million claws scraping the stone beneath her, and the rustling of millions more behind the stone walls, Morgane had only one thing on her mind.  Finding the soul Odin wanted and getting them all back up to where they belonged.     Want to read more? Available now at these retailers: Amazon Nook B&N Kobo  Apple/IBooks D2D Scribd      

Never Let Me Fall by Abbie Roads

I just finished Abbie's newest book and as always, she did  not disappoint. Superb storytelling from beginning to end, as she brings two damaged souls together and makes them whole. The third installment in her Fatal Dreams series, Don't Let Me Fall is the story of Thomas Brown and Helena Grayse; Thomas can't see color since a childhood family trauma, and Helena hasn't spoken in ten years, as it was the only thing she had control over in her world.  Continuing the mythology of Nameless and the Bear, and some of her previous characters make cameo appearances throughout the book. Here's an excerpt: She dropped her arms from their defensive position. Even though it was dark, starlight reflected off the snow, providing enough illumination for her to see him. His face was ravaged with some emotion she couldn’t name. The scar on his cheek blazed bright, somehow looking painful. There were no words to utter, so she cupped his damaged cheek. He sucked in a breath as if her touch pained him, but when she tried to withdraw, he grabbed her wrist and held it in place. He wanted her skin on his. Their eyes met. The impact devastating and healing at the same time. She tumbled into his gaze like a free fall. Enjoying the freedom, fearing the fall. And then he broke the connection and let go of her wrist and grabbed her by the shoulders. “Why did you run from me? I would never hurt you.” Truth twined through each of his words. “I was worried out of my head when you weren’t at the hospital.” He shook her, emphasizing his words. “You know how stupid it was for you leave there without a coat, or gloves, or boots?” She nodded, couldn’t help it. Her body had been screaming that same message thirty seconds after she’d walked out the hospital doors. “Why would you do that? You could’ve frozen to death out here.” Not thinking, she shrugged. He grabbed her face in his hands. His fingers warm and rough and perfect against her skin. The world fell away, leaving only him and her. He stared into her. Warming her from the inside out. She no longer felt the coldness of the snow against her backside. All she could feel was him. Inside her. Around her. Over her. He was the air she breathed. The heartbeat in her chest. He was her whole world. And she never wanted this impossible moment to end. She wanted to stay right here. Right now. Forever. “Don’t you do that.” His tone was deep. His volume soft. “Don’t you ever act as if your life doesn’t matter. It matters.” His thumbs brushed over her cheekbones, sending pleasurable tingling along her nerve endings. “It matters to me.” Her ears heard his words, but her brain had a hard time translating them. “Yes, you.” Again, he seemed to be answering the question she didn’t ask. “You matter to me.” He spoke with heartbreaking sincerity. “How could you think otherwise?” Because I’m Helena Grayse. She slammed her eyes closed. “Stop that.” The irritation in his tone startled her eyes open. “Stop hiding from me.” His expression was tense, but one thing didn’t change—his kind eyes. “Good God. You’ve got to be freezing to death.” He moved away from her and stood, then grabbed her hands and pulled her to standing. He took off his coat and placed it over her shoulders. The inside warmth soothed her cold skin, and his scent rose up, surrounding her like a hug. He helped her thread her arms through the sleeves and then zipped the coat up under her chin. The backs of her eyes burned, and she felt the beginning of tears forming. Damn it. She wasn’t going to cry every time he was nice to her. That was just stupid. Stupid. Stupid. “Come on. Let’s get you back to the house and get you warmed up.” He held out his hand in invitation, giving her the opportunity to decide her fate. Her feet shackled her in place. She shouldn’t go with him. She should follow her plan and go find a room for the night. She squeezed her hand holding the ziplock bag, just to make sure she hadn’t dropped it. The more time she spent with him, the harder it was gonna be when he found out her real identify. All he had to do was peek at her ID card. Logic dictated she walk away. Her soul told her to stay. She reached out to him. He turned her hand over and examined the gash that had been there just yesterday but had since healed. She’d always been a fast healer, but even for her, that was record time. His gaze flicked up to her eyes and he smiled, an upturning of the lips that contained satisfaction and truth and happiness. The scar on his cheek completed him, making him more breathtaking, in the same way that a flower’s delicate imperfections only made it lovelier. Together, they trudged through the snow toward the house. Winter didn’t seem quite so cold with him holding her hand. His skin against hers infused her with a heat that traveled up her arm, across her shoulders, and down into her belly, causing warm tingles of arousal to stir. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye to see if she affected him the same way he affected her. He didn’t seem fazed by the chill temperatures. Not at all. In fact, he acted as if they were out for a stroll on a pleasant spring evening. “I’m sorry I wasn’t at the hospital when you woke.” He glanced at her, then back through the woods in the direction they were traveling. “Tonight was my sister’s wedding, and I couldn’t miss it. Evanee’s been through some bad times, and this meant a lot to her.” They broke through the forest and started across the lawn, following a line of tracks that led to his back door. “I told her—my sister and her husband—about you. They were excited.” The corner of his mouth tilted upward. Her mouth went dry, and a stone lodged itself in her throat. Denial looked exactly like this. It looked like a woman and man holding hands while they walked in the snow. It looked like everything was all right on the surface. But underneath…it was all a lie. A lie that had started with him accidentally calling her Helen. A lie she’d perpetuated because she’d never corrected him. She thought about yanking her hand from his and running, but he would catch her and demand to know the reason. Ugh… How did she go from her plan of getting a hotel room for the night to deciding to go back home with him? She was powerless to resist temptation. Here are the links, in case you want to read further!!! Amazon: https://amzn.to/2D9YOGq    Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2yBzMvJ   iBooks: https://apple.co/2OXpMHC    Kobo: http://bit.ly/2OSFpjw   Google: http://bit.ly/2AJe4Yc     Target: http://bit.ly/2zpPQAy

2018 NEORWA Writers Conference

Where to even start with this past weekend?  Every year the NEORWA conference seems to come at the best and worst of times. I’m overly busy, I can’t squeeze in enough time to write, yet alone hold down my day job (the one paying the bills right now).  But I also know when I walk out of there, I’m going to have accomplished a couple of things. First, my love of writing is going to be reignited. Somehow, someway, listening to everyone TALK about writing, TALK about craft, AND deadlines AND plotting AND character, AND even all of their problems and hangups, is going to make me so damn ready to get back to my manuscript.  Secondly, I’m going to leave there with at least one or two new writing connections (this year, I left with three). Yay me! Introvert masquerading as an extrovert. We were incredibly fortunate to have Sonali Dev as our featured speaker this year, and the speech she gave…oh the speech she gave, I didn’t have any mascara left by the end of it, and I say that in a good way.  Perfect start to a wonderful conference, where I learned a bit about pitching, query letters, what an agent is (and is definitely not)looking for right now, a little about contracts, and discovered a wonderful new author, who I sat up until three in the morning reading, because I couldn’t put her book down! Throw in a stellar presentation on outlining (my greatest weakness) by Julie Anne Lindsey, and I came home with a folder full of notes and a head full of ideas. This is a business we get into because we love to write, plain and simple. It is also a lonely business, one that cuts us off from our colleagues, our friends, and sometimes our families. Deadlines keep us from doing the fun stuff, ideas keep us up at night. But when you get a chance to attend a conference, do it. You’ll find your tribe. You’ll talk to people just like you, doing the same thing, facing the same struggles, fighting the same battles. And when you get back home, you’ll find yourself ready do dive in and do it all over again. As always, happy writing!  LA

Fan Girling!!!!!

kmm signing pic la mcginnis I've spent way more time than I'd like to admit obsessing over what to do this year.  Trying to fit in solid, productive writing time, plus working full time (gotta pay those bills) leaves little time for the fun stuff associated with writing- aka, the reading part of it.  My plan this year was to attend some author events, just to see how the big girls do it, and had several on my schedule.  My two favorite authors- Karen Marie Moning and J. R. Ward both had big books coming out this spring, and both (somehow) managed to have signings close enough to me that I could work in a day trip for each. So I decided to trade a big event - the 2018 RAGT (Reader Author Get Together) - for two smaller, more intimate signings.  I'd been to the last 4 or 5 J. R. Ward signings, but had never met Karen, and was really looking forward to it.  So last weekend we headed to Cincinnati. Wow, was I impressed.  Both with the event itself and with Karen.  What a class act.  She'd had her big Dublin signing the weekend before and even though she'd picked up a bug, she was incredibly gracious and sweet.  Interacting with people for six or seven hours is not easy, especially when you're not feeling your best, and it ended up turning into a long day.  So here are my takeaways: Hands down the best book cover of the past 12 months OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I'm about halfway through (trying to finish 3 other books for book club meetings this week and it's actually killing me to know its there and I don't have time to read it) and so far I am, as always, blown away.  Both by her writing style and her story structure.  Incredibly complex and character driven.  She talked a lot about emotional currency, and this book has it in spades. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA She held the event at Newport on the Levee (KY), which is across the river from Cinci, I snapped a sweet shot of the city:IMG_7368 As some kind of bonus, it was 56 degrees that afternoon and we sat in the sun for about a half an hour while we waited, first sun I've seen in almost three months.  Ohio is a cruel state in the winter, I kid you not. All that being said, this was more what I expected when I think of a traditional book signing.  Interaction with your readers, a long, detailed Q&A, focusing on the current book, past books and future WIP's.  It was refreshing to hear that she struggles with so many of the same writer problems, time management issues and general issues with plotting and character development we all do.  I wanted to scream "YES" several times during her talk.  I resisted the temptation.   Plus, I think I must buy a hat.  -LA   If you have never read Karen's work, she had two distinct lines,  one is the Highlander series (paranormal romance), the other is the Fever Series (urban fantasy).  I'd recommend both!!

Final SoG Book Signing!!!

the learned owl shadows of ghosts book signing 2018 I'll be having my final book signing for Shadows of Ghosts this coming Saturday, January 27th from 1:00-3:00 at the Learned Owl Bookstore in Hudson, Ohio.  These last couple months have flown by so fast- I know when I scheduled this it seemed so far away!  A big thanks to all of my readers and supporters who have made this journey the wonderful trip that it's been!  I couldn't have done any of this without you!!! I just sent in the MS for Reflections of Your Heart, book 2, to my editor at the beginning of this month, and finished the first draft of book 3 last week, tentatively titled Echoes of Time (although that will most likely change).  But maybe not, I kind of like it.  That will sit for a month while I work on another project, and then I'll pick it up again in March and edit with fresh eyes. If you are in the area this Saturday afternoon, and have a minute, stop by and check out this sweet bookstore, one of the few independent book stores left in our area. Here are a few pics and a link: the learned owl shadows of ghosts signing 2018  learned owl bookstore shadows of ghosts book signing 2018 The Learned Owl Bookstore     (more…)

Writing Under Glass

  Shadows of Ghosts L A McGinnis 1 So I had this brilliant idea to volunteer for something that sounds kind of like a cool science experiment- writing in a store-front window at a bookstore up in Cleveland- AppleTree Books.   The basic concept: sit in the window, write, maybe talk to some people about writing, get work done, have fun.  Win-win. As a bonus?  The whole month of November was NaNoWriMo, so I absolutely needed to get at least 50,000 words written last month. (I was actually shooting for 65,000-70,000.)  But let's keep it real.  I'd have settled for 50,000- that's solid first draft territory.    I'm currently working on a new series that I'm super-excited about, so every day of last month was spent stealing writing time from real life. You know, my house was pretty much a disaster  (I finally cleaned it up today), we ate tons of take out food, (still ate take out today) and I have a huge pile of laundry that I still need to get to, but wonder of wonders, I managed to end up with 71,644 words!  That's right- not only a solid first draft, but one that's actually divided into (gasp!) chapters, and even has cool stuff like plot twists and some complicated character layering that worked out pretty well in the end.  I still need an ending, but that will come with the first round of editing. But back to the subject....writing in that window. I'd been advised to dress in layers, so that I did, ready to strip down, hopefully not to Amsterdam red-light standards, and there's not a lot of room, so I only brought a laptop and myself, and a big to go cup of coffee.  See?  I was totally prepared.  Like a boss. Shadows of Ghosts L A McGinnis Problem was, the day I volunteered to write in the window it was about 68 degrees out, even though they were decorating for Christmas, which meant it was about 101 degrees up there under glass.  I decided I was tough.  Hell, I'd had kids.  I LOVED the sun!  I could do it.  I stripped down to a t-shirt.  Let's do this people! I lasted all of twenty minutes and ended up writing for two hours at a table in the shade in the back of the bookstore in relative comfort. Such a wuss. If you're ever in cleveland Heights, check out Appletree Books, it's the most charming, eclectic bookstore I've ever been to, and Jane is so helpful and knowledgable! Here's the link: Appletree Books Happy writing!  -L Appletree Books L A McGinnis