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Why My Elves Are Vegetarians


Back in 1977, when I wrote the first draft of The Exile of Elindel, I was an omnivore. I aspired to be a vegetarian but had yet to take that step. In those days vegetarians were considered to be cranks, nutters, Hippies and weirdos who consumed their own weight in lentils every week. Joining this band of social pariahs was a daunting prospect.

I put my aspiration into my main character, the elf Elgiva. She manifested what I wished to become. It seemed logical to me anyway; elves lived in forests surrounded by animals so surely they would have a deep affinity with all natural creatures. I decided they should go one step further and be able to talk to animals as well. It gave me more opportunities to convey my own regard for animals by depicting them as intelligent beings with thoughts and emotions they had every right to express. And this added an extra dimension to the story. There was the human world, the elven world and the natural world: the interaction between them is enriched by interspecies communication. It frequently came in useful for plot purposes too.

Naturally, once the elves were gifted with the ability to understand animals, they stopped eating them. For me it worked the other way round. Once I stopped eating them, I felt a deeper understanding for animals—in fact a greater empathy for all life generally.

I finally became a vegetarian in 1983. Over the years I have seen the vegetarian lifestyle become easier and easier. There are more meat substitutes now than you can shake a breadstick at and every pub, café, restaurant and hotel usually has a vegetarian option on the menu.

Vegetarians today are no longer regarded as lentil-eating subversives. Increasing numbers of UK consumers are moving towards a more plant-based diet, while more than 20% of sixteen to twenty-four year olds claim to be vegetarian. Astonishingly, one in five British households now avoids dairy. Globally, the number of vegetarian food products available doubled in 2013.

Six years ago I became a vegan. During that time, there has been a 360% increase in the number of vegans in the UK. Being a vegan is a challenge at first but it’s second nature to me now and a lifestyle choice I wish I’d adopted earlier. It’s a good feeling that no animal has to suffer or die to keep me alive—but I’m wary of appearing self-righteous. Everyone has their own path to follow.

If a reader reviewed their attitude towards animals or nature after reading The Exile of Elindel, I’d be delighted, of course. A work of fiction should have something important to say even if the message or moral conveyed is just a background theme. But the main purpose of the book is entertainment. It’s a fantasy, an adventure. If readers get nothing more from it than enjoyment, at least I will have succeeded as a storyteller.
Exile double

Buy Links:
Amazon UK

Amazon USA

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New Release for Author Alicia Joseph

Another bound-to-be best seller for Alicia Joseph has just hit the stands in e-book and print. This young author’s style and voice tear at your soul. Joseph delivers more than a pretty tale. Her words create a web that wraps around the reader and draws them into a compelling story.


“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality. After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

Prologue
1993

I was jerked from my sleep while the phone was still buzzing its first high-piercing ring. I glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside my bed. It read 4:17 a.m. I knew something was wrong.

The second ring was abruptly broken up and my mother’s muffled voice carried into my room. I was already sitting upright in my bed when my bedroom door squeaked open. My mother’s slight figure appeared as a shadow near my door.

“Lyssa? You up?” she asked.

“What’s wrong?” My voice was no louder than a whisper.

I watched my mother slowly make her way into the dark room. I couldn’t make out the expression on her face, but the stiff movement of the outline of her body was hesitant.

She turned on the lamp and sat down beside me. Her face was pale. She let out short, shallow breaths. It seemed difficult for her to look me in the eyes.

“What is it?” I asked. “What’s happened?”

Finally, my mother looked at me with pain in her eyes. “Lyssa . . .” She smoothed her hand gently across my arm. “Abbey’s dead.”

I took in her words without an ounce of denial. The reality of what my mother had told me was instant.

My best friend was dead.

Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. Her first novella, Her Name, was published by Musa Publishing in 2014. Her Name is a sweet, romantic story about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Loving Again is her second published novella. Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight Epic Fantasy

Thanks to CD Hersh for hosting me today

C.D. Hersh

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Carol Browne

Burning Willow Press is excited to present the epic fantasy The Exile of Elindel, The Elwardian Chronicles Book 1, by Carol Browne. This exciting novel is filled with action and adventure and will keep you glued to your e-reader to the last page.

Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.

Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.

A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.

When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.

There is…

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Author Leigh Goff’s Bewitching Punch Recipe for Halloween

by Leigh Goff

No trick here. This is a treat all you adult ghosts and goblins are sure to enjoy.

BEWITCHING PUNCH

1 750-ml bottle orange vodka
2 750-ml bottles Prosecco
2 1-liter bottles of orange-flavored seltzer
½ gallon orange juice
½ gallon lemonade
2 pints orange sorbet

Gently mix vodka, Prosecco, seltzer, orange juice, and lemonade in a large punch bowl.

Scoop the sorbet into the punch bowl, so it has time to melt. Add the ice ring to keep the punch cold and colorful.

ICE RING
Water
15 seedless red grapes
10 maraschino cherries, halved
1 orange, peeled and sliced thin

In a 6 – 6½ cup ring mold, arrange thin citrus slices and grapes or cherries in an attractive design. Pour water into mold to partially cover fruit. Freeze.

When frozen, add water to fill mold ¾ full. Refreeze. At serving time, unmold and float fruit side up in punch bowl.

If you prefer, freeze ring without decorations. Or, instead of water, freeze with orange juice. This will keep punch cold without diluting it.

Serves 12 – 15

Here’s a little from my latest novel to put you in a Halloween mood.

Hannah, the thirteenth great-granddaughter of the Wizard Earl Fitzgerald, has always known she was descended from a troubled legacy of alchemy and 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 who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the secrets she must unlock – including one that reveals the location of an unimaginably powerful elixir.

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 the game Fate is playing, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.

EXCERPT

The imposing entrance segued into the main part of the old family chapel. Shadows flickered across the white walls as candlelight streamed down from an ornate iron chandelier cradling clear-colored hurricanes. Angelic sculptures hung between the arched windows and beneath the cloud-painted ceiling that Michelangelo himself would have envied, four wooden pews graced each side of the aisle.

I tiptoed farther in and spotted another black-lined white envelope on the altar. I was definitely in the right place.

My fingers trembled as I traced the letters that formed my name. This was way beyond ordinary, but why and—more importantly—who?

“W?”

A hint of the Shadow’s amber and woods scent mixed with the faint candle smoke of the chapel. “No. Way.” I spun around ready to stomp right out of there.

In that moment, a heavy gaze fell on me and the air felt charged with electricity. I searched right and left, seeing no one. “W? Whoever you are, show yourself.”

“This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.” His potent voice reverberated off the walls and seemed to come from everywhere, including the inside of my head.

I locked my wandering gaze on the loft above the entrance where I spotted his silhouette. “Was leaving me in a burning wreck the hardest thing you ever had to do? Was it?” I raised my volume. “Who are you? Why did you leave me for dead?”

His intake of breath was audible. “I would never. I mean. I didn’t want to do that. I don’t.”

“Oh, lucky me.” I stuck my hands on my hips and tapped an impatient foot on the floor. “If you don’t want to finish me off, then you lured me here to do what, exactly?”

“To help you. I want to help you.”

“Ha!” The sarcastic laugh burst out before I could stop it. “You’ve done a bang up job inspiring my confidence and trust in that department.”

He simmered in silence for a moment. “What do I have to do to inspire you to follow my directions?”

Following someone else’s directions was definitely not my strength. I grimaced, but curiosity got the better of me. “What do you want?”

“You read the note.”

His desire to remain in the shadows was increasingly irritating. “I consider myself a very smart girl, so when a guy who left me in a burning car tells me he wants to help me take on a different deadly problem, I have to wonder if he’s not setting me up to fend for myself again. What’s your motive?”

I dropped my eyes to the envelope, turning it to and fro.

“Emme Blackstone is a mutual enemy and means us both harm.” A tinge of anger laced his tone.

The anger, I understood. After all, we were talking about Emme, but there was also a hint of sadness that intrigued me further. “Why do you think Emme means you harm?”
“It’s inevitable—because of what I am.”

What was he besides completely contemptible?

“It’s in her blood and I believe it’s in her destiny to wreak havoc, especially against someone who can challenge her in talent like you can.”

I dropped my hands to my sides, still clasping the enveloping. “Whoa. Like me? You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. How could you? I’ve been gone for the last year.”

A chortle caught in his throat. “What’s a year when you come from a bloodline with hundreds of years of history? A history that’s written down and available to certain people with the right—pedigree.”

Confused, I creased my brow as I continued to stare at his silhouette. “Have you been cyber-stalking me on Ancestry.com or something?”

“Hardly.” There was disdain in his voice as if he considered cyber-stalking to be worse than leaving a girl to die.

“Look, whatever you think you know about my family, I’m not like them. I’m not talented, and I don’t want to challenge Emme. I just want to live a normal life. Normal.” My voice escalated. “Do you hear me all the way up there?”

He huffed. “Normal? You don’t get to pretend to be normal when you’re not. It doesn’t work like that. Not in Annapolis. Someone always knows. Someone always unravels your secrets.”

I thought of the Witch’s Grave. I pictured the women’s slender figures dangling from sturdy, gnarled branches. Their tragic endings proved what I already knew. Magic only brought suffering and death. “You make it sound like I don’t have a choice. I’m telling you I do, and I won’t be a part of this.” I stomped my foot hard on the floor.

He shifted from the shadows into a dim ray of light, seething. “You read the note and you know Emme won’t stop. You need my help.”

I glared, trying desperately to make out the details of his face. “I don’t need anything from you.”

“You don’t have to like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are a part of this. You know you are or you wouldn’t have come here. However, if that’s how you feel then you should leave.” The cold in his voice crystallized.

My pulse escalated. “Yup. That’s how I feel. And I’m only leaving because that’s what I want to do, not because you suggested it. Bye.” I marched to the door and wrapped my hand around the knob. I yanked it open. From the moment I’d first laid eyes on him, he’d been nothing but trouble. Horrible, awful trouble. However, as much as I hated to think it, he knew about me and the other witches in town. He was full of answers—answers I needed. I shut the door and turned back around. “How do you know all this about Emme and me?”

Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it’s also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area’s great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch’s Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Why You Should Read My Book

Exile 2017You should read my book if you like epic fantasy. It will take you on a traditional hero’s journey, a quest in which the ancient landscape of Dark Age Britain provides the backdrop for an exciting adventure story.

You should read my book if you want to be entertained, to experience the enchantment of another world and escape the day-to-day routine of modern life.

You should read my book if you like elves and incantations, poetry and legends, swordplay and storytelling, animals and nature.wood

You should read my book if you want to meet characters you can care enough about to stay with to the very end.

You should read my book if you have a sense of humour, admire courage, and value friendship.Grimalkin

And if you believe in magic, you should definitely read my book!

Exile double

BUY IT HERE:
Amazon – https://tinyurl.com/ydayn6n3
Amazon UK – https://tinyurl.com/ybhgaa3c
Amazon CAN – https://tinyurl.com/y8eqxepo
Burning Willow Press LLC: https://www.burningwillowpressllc.com/

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The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers

Let’s Get This Cookbook Party Started
Who doesn’t love the holidays? You get to bond with family and friends, shop till you drop for that perfect gift, decorate the house to your heart’s desire, plan a meal worthy of gracing your table, and attend all those fabulous parties. Wait…hope I didn’t exhaust you already? Yes, we ALL love holidays and celebrations, no matter what time of year they fall, but it can get a little (okay, a lot) overwhelming when it comes time to prepare for those holiday meals and parties when you’re working a full-time job, and taking care of your family’s needs.

How about some relief from the stress and pressure of figuring out what to serve your hungry guests during holiday get-togethers, events, or celebrations?

Cue a holiday-inspired cookbook written by the following thirteen busy authors, of various ages and genres: Carol Browne, HL Carpenter, Sara Daniel, Dominique Eastwick, Leigh Goff, C.D. Hersh, Vonnie Hughes, Alicia Joseph, Emma Lane, Sharon Ledwith, Anne Montgomery, Chris Pavesic, and Sloane Taylor. These wonderful writers have created recipes that will make your life easy and simple when it comes time to prepare tantalizing appetizers, tasty beverages, mouth-watering cookies, and decadent desserts.

The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers is your go-to recipe book for entertaining over the holiday seasons, hosting events, or celebrating that special day. Compiled by Sloane Taylor—a gourmet cook in her own right—and designed by mother-daughter duo HL Carpenter, the included recipes have been tested and approved of by the most finicky family members. Oh, and did I mention that it is FREE?

So why not have your cake and eat it too? Yes, pun intended. You’ve got nothing to lose, and time to gain when you download The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers. There’s a recipe for every holiday, celebration, or event in your life. Give yourself a gift this holiday season with a cookbook from thirteen writers who share their favorite recipes and tips to help relieve the stress in your busy life.

Download your FREE E-Pub cookbook at Smashwords.

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A Writer’s Inspiration by Carol Browne

A big thank you to Linda’s Book Bag for having me on her blog today!

A Writer’s Inspiration: A Guest Post by Carol Browne, Author of The Exile of Elindel

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New Release – This Old Café. A Sweet Romance from Author Marci Boudreaux

Sweet Romance at its finest is what Marci Boudreaux promises and delivers with style. Her books receive top marks for drawing readers into the story with well rounded characters and a plot you can’t help but love. Here is a little from Marci’s new release.

Now serving second chances.

Jenna Reid purchased the Stonehill Café to prove to herself that her ex-husband was wrong…that she could make her dreams come true. Three years later, all she has is a crumbling building, no social life, and her bruised pride.

Pride is something Colonel Daniel Maguire lost long ago and isn’t likely to find living in the alley behind the café. He just needs a little time to get on his feet. In the interim, keeping an eye on the overworked café owner gives him a sense of purpose. He has no intentions of making his presence known until he hears the woman screaming late one night.

He rushes into the café but instead of finding her in dire straits, he finds a broken pipe and Jenna—soaking wet and holding a wrench. With her last bit of hope fading, Jenna accepts Daniel’s help to fix up her building, but it doesn’t take long for them to start trying to fix each other.

This Old Café is available at these retailers:
AmazonB&NiBooksKobo

As a teen, Marci Boudreaux skipped over young adult books and jumped right into the world of romance novels. She’s never left. Marci lives with her husband, two kiddos, and their numerous pets. Until recently, she was a freelance writer appearing monthly in a variety of local magazines. She now focuses on writing and her work as a content editor.

Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn’t like when she does that in real life.

Learn more about Marci Boudreaux on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Laughter – the Best Medicine. Guest Post by Author Catherine Castle

1fd13-agroomformama2_400Laughter—The Best Medicine

Years ago there used to be a joke column in Reader’s Digest called “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” I remember reading the jokes, some which were hilarious belly shakers. Some just gave you a giggle or two. In Prevention magazine, and other health magazines I subscribe to, I often see laughter trumpeted as a good for depression, unhappiness, and health in general. And I personally use it to ward of things I don’t want to deal with. A snarky, flippant comment goes a long way in helping keep emotions that are running high on a more even keel. In fact, sometimes the only thing that gets us through a tough time is life it a sense of humor.

Yep, we all need humor in our lives, especially my poor heroine Allison.

In my new romantic comedy, A Groom for Mama, Allison is in a race against time to find a cure for Mama, who wants Allison to find a husband—now! To keep Mama seeking help, Allison and her mother have made a deal—one date for every medical test. As the disastrous dates pile up, it seems like Mama has the better end of the deal, until Allison learns who Mama really wants her to marry.

A dying mother, a daughter desperate to keep her mother alive, and a man who loves them both hunt for a groom, a cure, and the perfect date on a cross-country trip filled with love, laughter and surprises.

A Groom For Mama
By Catherine Castle

Excerpt:

With a sweep of his hand, Jack spread the photos out on the table in front of Allison and Beverly. “Here’s a few I just grabbed from the database. Any of them interesting?” He studied Allison’s reaction. She didn’t bat an eyelash as she scanned the men’s pictures. Then, without warning, she scooped them up and shoved them at him.
“I told Mama I wasn’t going to do this. It’s a stupid idea.”
“I’ll admit it’s not the ‘some enchanted evening, see a stranger across the room’ romantic way to find a husband, but it’s not totally unacceptable. Several of the couples my company has brought together have married.”
“And lived happily ever after?” she retorted.
“It’s a new company, Allison. I don’t have the stats yet.” He pushed the photos across the table. “Just take a peek. What harm can it do?”
Beverly grabbed the photo of a particularly handsome man. “How about this one? His coloring complements yours. You’d have beautiful children.”
Mama!” Allison snatched the photo away. “We’re not going to discuss my possible, yet unlikely, progeny in front of Jack.”
A flash of Allison kissing this guy flew through his head. He grabbed the photo from her. “He’s not your type anyway.”
“And just how do you know?” she asked.
“I dated you, remember? You ditched me for some suave, corporate hotshot. At least it’s what you said.”
“Allison!” Beverly exclaimed. “You never told me that.”
Allison shot him a fierce scowl. “I’m not comfortable discussing my love life with you, Mama. Besides, what’s done and over with should be buried . . . in the past.” She picked up another photo. “What about him? Or him and him?” She pointed to two nerdy-looking fellows. “They seem corporate.”
Mama leaned over and checked out the pictures Allison had indicated. “Too ugly,” she said. “He’s got to be handsome. Like Jack. I want to know my grandbabies will be as beautiful as you two.”
He grinned. “Thanks for the compliment, but I know I’m not your daughter’s type.” He laid a sheet of paper on the counter. “Fill this out. Then I can get a better idea of what you want in a husband.”
“I don’t want—”
“I know,” he interjected. “But, for your mom’s sake, just pretend you do.”

Want to read more? You can find A Groom for Mama at Amazon.

About the Author:bf028-catherine2bcastle

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing was an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist, and the winner of the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and the 2014 RONE Award. Her most recent release, A Groom for Mama, is a sweet romantic comedy from Soul Mate Publishing. Both books are available on Amazon.
Social Media Links:

Buy links for A Groom for Mama
http://www.amzn.com/B074SZSGB1

Social Media links:

Catherine’s website: https://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com
Catherine’s blog: http://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/blog/
Catherine’s Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/catherinecastle
Catherine’s Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7085414.Catherine_Castle
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCCastle @AuthorCCastle
Facebook: https://facebook.com/catherinecastleauthor

Stitches Thru Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
SMP authors blog site: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/

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Along the Write Lines: Featuring Being Krystyna – A Story of Survival in WWII

My thanks go to author Derek Thompson for featuring Being Krystyna on his blog today.
http://alongthewritelines.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/being-krystina.html

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