The End of Summer means… be kind to Editors and Writers

summer

How can summer already be over?

In North Carolina, the students that do not attend YEAR ROUND SCHOOL (those poor kids!) have all gone back to their classrooms. Summer might be officially over, but the days are still sunny and the nights just right. Hopefully, days of 90 degrees F and higher are behind us. So, too, are days of leisure for folks that work day in and day out for others. Me? I work for myself!

That is not quite true. I am a published author and have had my last two books released by Soul Mate Publishing. My third book in the Warriors in Bronze series is in the hands of my SMP editor, Lori Polito. In the meantime? I am releasing a book that I am self-publishing. What is the difference you might ask?

Here are the basic:

*Publisher: pays an in-house editor to make my book clean.

*Self-published: I pay an outside editor lots of $$ to do that

*Publisher: pays a cover artist to (hopefully) create a book cover I can live with

*Self-published: I find photos, choose colors, pick fonts to make the cover myself

*Publisher: formats the book, adding front and back matter, for ebook and print

*Self-published: do it all myself, including setting the price

*Publisher: advertises my book on their website

*Self-published: I do it all-website, blogs, twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well as creating giveaways and setting up newsletter blasts.

*Publisher: collects the profits and sends me a portion every quarter

*Self-published: Since I am the publisher, ALL the profits go to me!

While writing and editing in a quiet corner of my home, or out on my deck, I find I keep thinking of how I took the chance at writing full-time by retiring from my 40-50 hour/week job as a 911 Emergency Medical Dispatcher.

Being a HYBRID author can be a challenge.

I must work to time each of my book releases so one does not overshadow the other. Advertising, newsletters, and keeping in touch of my readers so they understand all the different genres I write in means a little more work on my part. It is worth it!

September has been designated Be Kind To Editors and Writers Month, so I wish to publicly thank those editors out there, especially the ones who read and correct my work. (Waving to Lori and Kathleen Rothenberger) I am also patting my own back because I am a writer.

Heaven-sent Highlander

Available now HERE

Rescuing Christmas

…and coming soon HERE

 

Devil’s Hoof Prints

One more legend from North Carolina and again, I have seen this one. Hey, I’ve lived in NC for all but 7 years of my life! My mother grew up in Little Washington, NC, which is near Bath so of course when we visited relatives this was one of the stops. I have no photos from our trips of this so I had to search for some.

Devil’s Horse’s Hoof Prints near Bath are a series of small, saucer-shaped depressions that have been there since 1813. Measuring four to five inches deep with sloping sides from six to ten inches, the holes remain one of North Carolina’s most famous and enduring mysteries. There are pine needles all around the place because it’s at the edge of a wooded area and it wasn’t exactly well maintained like a park, but the holes were easily discernable.

The legend goes that on a Sunday morning about church time, Jesse Elliott and some companions planned to race their horses along the main street of Bath. Elliott mounted and spurred his horse, and as it raced off, he leaned forward shouting in its ear: “Take me in a winner or take me to Hell.” Promptly the horse dug its hooves into the soft earth, throwing Elliot against a tree and killing him instantly. So of course some believed that the horse was actually the devil in the form of a horse.

I also found this account in my research – “Actually, he was on his way to a race and was riding along side another man also headed to the race. This other man was mounted upon a very large black horse and was wearing all black with a hat to make his face invisible. Elliott challenged him to a little race on the way to the actual race and as he was passed by the man on the black horse, Elliott’s horse flew into a tree killing both instantly. There is no record of anyone with a straight black horse (no markings whatsoever) at the race. People have also tried to cover the tracks with cement, but nothing worked. They also used to charge admission but now it is free and open to the public.” Attributed to “Sam”

Tradition maintains that the holes, located just off N.C. 1334, about 3 miles west of Bath, have survived every known attempt to permanently eradicate or alter them. No vegetation grows inside them and none of the pine needles surrounding the holes ever remain in the prints. For years, kids have tried to cover them or fill them in only to find that the holes are empty again upon their next visit. I’d never heard about the cement before. Tons of visitors to the site have experienced the same phenomena, and yes, I was one of them. I didn’t get to go back and see if my pine needles were gone but the prints were still there the next visit I made.

Is it any wonder I love writing about the paranormal – such possibilities!! Click on the covers for more information.

   

Severe Weather and New Distribution for ‘Just Wait For Me’ by Dawn Marie Hamilton

August has brought storms to the area where I live. Every evening, so it seems, lightning flashes across a blackened sky and rolling thunder roars. I remember the earth-shattering sound of thunder when I lived in the mountains, but am surprised how loud it can be at sea level.

As the son of the Queen of the Fae, controlling the elements, especially lightning and thunder, is one of Prince Dugaid’s gifts.  He display’s this skill in Just Wait For Me, the fourth tale in the Highland Gardens series.

 

Dugaid stared at the compromised hidey-hole, a snarl curling his lip. How dare his mother remove her protection from the lost bairns? Oonagh was a beautiful woman, sought after by many a man, both fae and mortal, but she lacked even an iota of motherly tendencies. Had the Fae Queen put the bairns in harm’s way?

His pointed ears perked at a commotion deeper in the wood. A lad cried out as if in pain. Cloaked in the glamour of invisibility, Dugaid followed the scuffling sounds.

Two of the woodland bairns huddled together on the ground, faces battered and bruised. Dugaid fisted his hands. No one had the right to hurt children.

An explosive outburst of nature heralded his anger to the world. Lightning sliced the darkening sky. Thunder reverberated over mountains, hills, and glens. Hail pounded the earth. The pungent smell of ozone sharpened the air, making his nostrils flare.

Maclay’s gaze shot to the ominous sky, and the man frowned. Returning attention to the third bairn, the one he held by the shoulders, he shook the battered lad. “Tell me!”

When the bairn didn’t answer, Maclay knuckle-slapped him hard across the face.

The lad cried out. Blood spewed from a broken nose.

Red also wept through a rag wrapped around Maclay’s wrist, but didn’t hinder the man from inflicting pain on those weaker. “Tell me what you ken of the lass traveling with MacEwen, unless you wish for more of a thrashing.”

“Nae. Dinnae hurt me anymore,” the lad pleaded. “She is from the future. ’Tis all I ken.”

Maclay thrust the lad away, grabbed the backpack from the ground, and strode away from the whimpering bairns. Dugaid’s rage boiled. The storm intensified. One especially jagged streak of vertical lightning pierced the ground at Maclay’s feet.

The villain leapt back, tossing weight from leg to leg, attempting to find balance as the ground rolled and splintered around him. Spider cracks spread from long narrow slits. Trees and rocks tumbled into deep crevasses. The backpack Jillian had brought through the time gate slipped from Maclay’s nerveless fingers. It tumbled into a fissure, got caught by the strap on a branch, and dangled just within reach.

He dove to retrieve it, but the earth pitched with a violent shudder. The pack dropped into the hole while the vibration joggled Maclay precariously close to the edge. He crabbed backward scarcely in time. One more quake closed the opening.

In a flash, Dugaid placed a vanishing blanket over the bairns, making them invisible.

Maclay stood, paced in a small circle, and punched a fist in the air. “Where are those cursed changelings?”

Unable to release his frustration on the bairns, the nasty devil strode away from the scene of destruction, muttering obscenities. Dugaid hated allowing the man to leave, but there were certain covenants to which he must adhere. As much as he so desired, he mustn’t kill a human.

Dugaid waited until the man had traveled a great distance before uncloaking himself and the lads. “Can you all walk?”

“Aye.” The lad with the mismatched eyes helped the older, pudgy fellow, who’d taken the worst beating, rise to his feet.

“Hie tail to the Caves of the Gray Women and use the pool to heal your injuries.”

“Many thanks for coming to our aid,” said the lad with a head too large for his child-sized body.

“You are verra welcome. Now run along and forget you saw me.” Dugaid watched them leave, chanting a spell of protection to keep them safe.

Then he, too, vanished, traveling through the nether in search of Caitrina. She would never win the challenge if she didn’t keep her mind on the task at hand. He was more than ready to give her a lengthy scolding.

 

just-wait-for-me-b-b-finalist

New Distribution Channels for

Just Wait For Me

 

Now available at:

Apple and KOBO.

Also available at:

Amazon and Barnes & Noble

 

~Dawn Marie

 

*Lightning Flash Featured Image by Felix Mittermeier from Pixabay

How To Celebrate…International Beer Day

beer and books

The first Friday in August has been designated as International Beer Day and I wonder how many folks imbibe in the brew just because it is a holiday? Trust me, when Cinco de Mayo or New Year’s Eve comes along, there is some celebratory drinking involved!

reading by the pool

People on this planet have enjoyed beer since 6,000 B.C. and brewed either a lager or an ale. Canned, bottled, or a draft at your favorite bar gives the consumer hundreds of choices. Over 50 countries around the world celebrate the day. What is better than cooling off after a swim with a beer and a book?

My suggestions:

Heaven-sent HighlanderHeaven-sent Warrior

You can find all the Buy Links for my books HERE

But you’re on your own when it comes to the beer!

Nancy Lee

Lydia’s Bridge

I talked about the Brown Mountain Lights last month. This month I thought I’d mention “Lydia’s Bridge.” It’s not far from where I live and I’ve driven by it many times. The road has been moved, so cars no longer go that way, but it’s easy enough to see from the new route.

The story goes that on some rainy nights a young woman in a white party dress flags down a car and asks to be taken home. She gets into the backseat and gives directions to her home. The driver heads that way but when they arrive, she has vanished from the car.

When the driver goes to the door, to find if she jumped out and to make sure she’s okay, he’s told that she was killed while walking along the road back in the 1920’s and has been trying to get home ever since. (Here’s where I admit that back when I was writing X-Files fanfic, I used this legend for one of my stories- The Girl Under the Bridge)

I wrote a ghost story after I went pro as well – check out Wraith’s Heart

 

Celebrate the 5oth Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing with a Sale on the Fantasy Romance ‘Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon’ by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Wow! July 20th, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Where did the time go?

The Lunar Module Eagle landed on the moon’s surface at 4:17 p.m. EDT with, if I can believe what I read, less than thirty seconds of fuel remaining. The moon walk took place six hours later.

…one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.

-Neil Armstrong

I was at girl scout camp in Pennsylvania at the time. We hiked up the hill from the tent sites to the activity center where the counselors had set up a television and we watched the events unfold. ‘Twas exciting. When I returned home from camp, I learned my dad had named our new beagle puppy ‘Moon Shot Duke’. The thought still makes me smile.

I’ve held a special place in my heart for the ‘moon’ ever since.

What are your memories from when Apollo 11 landed on the moon’s surface?

Continue reading for an excerpt from Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon. And then, please share in the comments your memories from the Apollo 11 moon landing. If you were too young or not born at the time, share your thoughts on what you know of the event.

Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

Full moon and cloudy sky
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple

Finn inhaled deeply. His lungs filled with fresh mountain air. For the first time in months, he was free of fawning women. Free of the awkward position they put him in.

Patrick’s sword sliced past his face, drawing him from his thoughts. Rain streamed over his bare chest, mixing with sweat. He needed to pay attention. If he weren’t more careful, he’d do a face-plant in the mud.

“You fight like a lass, MacIntyre,” Patrick taunted.

“Hilt is slippery.” Finn cursed under his breath and sought a better grip.

“You must learn to fight under every circumstance. That includes rain. Could save your miserable life someday.”

Grunting, Finn barely ducked the next assault.

Patrick pulled back. “Enough!” He dropped the point of his claymore to the ground and scowled. “’Tis obvious you are not paying attention.”

Trying to catch his breath, Finn gulped air. He glared at his cousin-in-law. “This is supposed to be just for fun.”

“Ach, then. You must try harder to have fun, lad.” Humor lit Patrick’s blue eyes, and he unloosed the leather strip holding back his long chestnut hair. Patrick MacLachlan was a primitive man; to him a workout with the large two-handed sword was child’s play. “At times I forget we live in a modern world.”

Finn shook his head. “You are my fiercest opponent.”

Patrick laughed and placed a hand on Finn’s wet shoulder. “Come. The bairns are at the inn for Rory’s Thursday morning story time. Let us go and warm ourselves by the fire and listen to the old Highlander tell his tales.”

Finn yanked on a soaked t-shirt and followed Patrick across the wet lawn.

About twenty-five eagerly waiting children sat on the plush carpet in the parlor of the Whispering Pines Inn while gossiping moms relaxed on overstuffed floral sofas. A few dads stood nearby, appearing disinterested. Finn knew better. Everyone loved hearing Rory’s stories.

The crackling fire brought much-needed warmth to the dreary mountain morning. Finn joined Patrick at the hearth, hoping his clothes would dry.

Conversation ended when Rory MacNaughton entered from the rear door, his carved walking stick at his side. The elderly gentleman wore dress slacks, a brown tweed jacket with leather patches at the elbows, and a tam covering his white hair. He greeted individuals as he crossed the room and eased onto the tall stool at the center of the parlor. With an age-spotted hand, he motioned for his audience to move closer.

Alert eyes sparkling, Rory glanced at Finn and grinned. One of the men standing nearby snickered. Finn groaned, sure he knew the yarn the storyteller would regale them with.

Taking a deep breath, Rory began…

“The Sithichean, the faeries of the ancient Highlands, had a special affinity for moonstones. Enamored by the pale, lustrous, blue color resembling that of moonlight, they found the best of these unique stones on the shores of their sensuous faerie paradise Tir-nan-Óg—land o’ heart’s desire—having washed ashore on the tides when the sun god and moon maiden were in a particular heavenly harmony.”

Rory leaned forward. “Ye ken this miraculous occurrence happens only once in three, seven-year cycles of the moon…”

He held up an index finger. “Just once in a verra blue moon,” he whispered.

A hush fell across the parlor.

“Handfuls of these precious stones belonged to a beautiful flame-haired faerie with eyes the color and brightness of the most costly emeralds.”

“Caitrina?” a precocious little girl, with red curls and freckles sprinkled across her nose, whispered. Her blond-haired friend giggled, and Rory smiled at the pair.

“She bestowed upon the moonstones magical powers, gifting them to deserving mortals. Some of these charmed stones had the ability to reunite lost lovers. Others gave the bearer the gift of second sight. One especially large gemstone she forged into the hilt of a magnificent Highland claymore, and with a kiss enchanted it with extraordinary power.”

His eyes wide, a boy in front pointed at Finn.

Finn glanced down. He must be a sight, his soaked shirt clinging to his chest and his wet kilt slung low on his hips. He’d grown his hair long and now the knotty, wet strands hung around his shoulders in disarray. Beside him, his sheathed sword leaned against the stone of the fireplace, the large moonstone in its cross-section plain to see.

Rory chuckled, locking gazes with him. With tight lips, Finn shook his head  no. He didn’t want the kids to think his sword was the one of which Rory spoke.

“Over the ages, the sword brought many a worthy warrior fame and fortune. That was until the day an evil, dark power used it.” Rory’s voice rose and his pace quickened. “This could not be borne. With green eyes shooting flames of fire, the one who fashioned the splendid weapon cast it far away to vanish in the Sands of Time.”

The storyteller lowered his voice an octave and slowed his speech. “There are those who believe the lost sword of the fae has been found.”

Finn refused to listen to more of the man’s fantasy. He signaled to Patrick he was leaving.

Patrick followed him into the foyer. “Why the rush, lad?”

“My claymore doesn’t have supernatural powers. It’s just an antique sword.”

“Ach, well. Dinnae take offense. Rory means nae insult. He merely wishes for the bairns to believe in a wee bit of magic. Nae harm in that.”

 

Hope you have a magical day!

~Dawn Marie

Things Heat Up In July

seabirdA recent trip to visit relatives in Florida opened my eyes to how different our world is from one place to the next. I love the sea and grew up within walking distance of our beach on the Long Island Sound in Bay Hills, NY. After college and marriage, we moved to rural Rumney, New Hampshire, with a big lake at one end of our road and a great river for swimming and canoeing down the other end.

When we moved into a house on a Belmont, NH pond that connected by a canal to Lake Winnisquam (New Hampshire’s 2nd largest lake) we enjoyed fishing off the dock, boating, and swimming at our homeowner association’s private sandy beach.

One day we decided to move closer to my family and headed to Raleigh, North cArolina. We are about three hours from the ocean and I miss it, but we try to find the time to head down to Daytona Beach where another relative has a pool and is about six miles from beautiful sandy beaches.

Daytona beachAfter a dip in the pool or the ocean (where, due to seeing a shark last time we visited, I kept to the shallows) we always bring bottles of water, beach chairs, sunscreen, and books!

Heaven-sent Highlander banner Reading a book is a great way to relax and reenergize, so check out all my titles and their buy links by heading HERE. Have a great summer!

Heaven-sent warrior banner