Rainbow Snippets

Since it was freakishly hot yesterday, I hiked out to Ash Cave myself where chapter two of These Haunted Hills is set. So did everyone else in SE Ohio apparently. Still a nice time to decompression and get in touch with nature. I’m picking right up from where I left off last week where Joshua’s inner monologue clued us in as to why Halloran is so depressed and is hoping that Halloran’s son’s death isn’t the reason the man is reaching out to ghost hunters. (also I’m going to have to change Christian’s name as it’s too close to Kristen, his mother. Granted people do that in life all the time but I wonder if it’ll be confusing in print).

So have a pic of me going into the cave area.  photo DSCN0042_zpsp5lojaoa.jpg

And if you want to see even more pictures from yesterday head here.

And oh, the snippet ran a couple sentences long just to finish out the thought…

Joshua knew psychic mediums. One ran across them in the ghost hunting business but he wasn’t one and definitely didn’t want to have to get into that with one of his idols. Still, Halloran had asked to see the haunts of the hills rather than invite Joshua to ghost hunt in his Dublin home. It had to be for a new series, right?

As Halloran closed the distance between him, he took off his sunglasses acknowledging the shade the evergreens provided the area. His eyes were blue, a blue Joshua had wondered if they were contact-enhanced when he first seen it on B.A. Halloran’s various online hangouts. Now, up close, they looked real. Sure they could still be contacts but somehow he didn’t think that a man in Halloran’s position would bother. Joshua’s mind flashed to the Abney Park song Rosie and Max. Max’s description worked for Halloran.

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

More Tales from the Allergic Druid

Today it was nearly 80. In February. In Ohio. Setting aside how messed up that is, and how it is no doubt a sobering sign of a deranged environment, I decided since I can’t change it, I might as well as enjoy it (as it is supposed to storm then snow tomorrow and be nearly sixty degrees colder. Joy). I decided to do what druids do, get out in nature. I headed out to Ash Cave, which is more of rock shelter/recess cave than it is anything else and in spite of using it in These Haunted Hills I hadn’t been to it (and now I see things to tweak).

It’s actually less than 40 miles from me but takes about an hour to get to thanks to the rollercoaster roads and having to slow down thru small towns. I didn’t know, until talking to local friends about These Haunted Hills that Ash Cave was handicapped accessible (I just looked past that one the web site). They have the ‘grandma’s gateway’ trail which is a cement trail all the way to the basin. So it’s a very easy walk even for someone like me who is more arthritis than anything.

Also those aforementioned allergies? They’re to tree pollen. You know like the cedars and hemlocks I was surrounded by. Ah, life. I had my inhaler. And I was more itchy than raspy. It was a really nice setting. People have been carving their names into the limestone forever (I saw some from the 1800s) so if there were any from the original occupants (the Wyandot? The Shawnee? It’s up for debate) you couldn’t tell now.

The waterfall is light and you can literally walk under it if you so desire (the children darting everywhere did). There are a ton of people in my pics because everyone had the same idea as I did. I went to the water’s edge. I explored the recess (but wasn’t sure where the whispering galleries were) then I went behind the water fall. Some pictures of the way the limestone was carved by the water all those centuries ago will pop up on macro mondays.

Pigeons use the recesses to roost in. A couple came to see what I was doing. Or maybe to see why one idiot kept doing his wild animal calls. I decided that since I had the easy walk in, I’d take the natural trail on the upper rim. I climb a jillion stairs up to the rim and set off. It was fairly easy too for that matter…until I get to the part where I have go climb down some ‘rock’ stairs. Wet rock stairs. I decided that since a) I forgot my cellphone like a moron b) was alone it was probably not my best idea to try to get down those. If I’d been with someone and we could have steadied each other I would have been game but as it was, it would have been unwise.

I turned around and about then the ankle I broke in about 6 places as kid decided it had just about enough of my crap and started aching. Once I got back down the steps and on more even ground it was happy again. I did find another trail that wasn’t paved that went a few hundred feet at least before cross the creek back to the cement walk way.

It was a nice walk. I got great pictures and a better understanding of the site and better questions I can ask my friend who is a naturalist out there so I can firm up a few points in These Haunted Hills.

On the way home I stopped at Arch and Eddie’s for a tasting board of beer and dinner only to find out they had opened their own brew pub next door and today was opening day. Yep more beer was consumed and thank goodness I didn’t forget my ereader with my phone because I sat there for a while sobering back up so I could get home.

Have some pictures:

From the near end:  photo DSCN0057_zps2zzo5cz5.jpg

Up close and personal :  photo DSCN0062_zpskzcdzw87.jpg

Splash down:  photo DSCN0063_zpsz94uimtu.jpg

Water in motion:  photo DSCN0068_zpsupv86gvf.jpg

Behind the falls”  photo DSCN0077_zpsotxxn8di.jpg

and  photo DSCN0079_zpsli72w0ut.jpg

neat lens flares:  photo DSCN0080_zps5yyo3w7d.jpg

Lens flare? Wet lens? Ghost?  photo DSCN0082_zpskvtste1n.jpg

Far side of the cave:  photo DSCN0085_zpsk47l1exh.jpg

Pretending I’m not sweating (my god, my hands are like Yato’s from Noragami: Stray God)  photo DSCN0088_zps9u9qj82k.jpg

New Release – Anna Butler Taking Shield 04 : The Chains Of Their Sins!

Taking Shield 04 : The Chains Of Their Sins

PUBLICATION DATE : 13 February 2017

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About the Taking Shield series

Earth’s a dead planet, dark for thousands of years; lost for so long no one even knows where the solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But its drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war that’s dragged on for generations.

Taking Shield charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Against the demands of his family’s ‘triple goddess’ of Duty, Honour and Service, is set Bennet’s relationships with lovers and family. When the series opens, Bennet is at odds with his long term partner, Joss, who wants him out of the military and back in an academic, archaeological career. He’s estranged from his father, Caeden, who is the commander of Fleet’s First Flotilla. Events of the first book, in which he is sent to his father’s ship to carry out an infiltration mission behind Maess lines, improve his relationship with Caeden, but bring with them the catalyst that will destroy the one with Joss: one Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who, over the course of the series, develops into Bennet’s main love interest.

Over the Taking Shield story arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanity’s enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isn’t able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albion’s victory. And some days he isn’t sure, any longer, what victory looks like.

Taking Shield 01: Gyrfalcon

Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab

Taking Shield 03: Makepeace

(2nd place winner, Rainbow Awards 2016)

About The Chains of Their Sins

Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year’s posting before returning to the Shield Regiment after his rotation out.

On the Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeace—ethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furore that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart?

It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan…

Book Title: Chains of Their Sins
Series: Taking Shield
Publisher: Glass Hat Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
Wordcount: c 98,000
Category: Sci Fi, Gay mainstream

(ARCs available)

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Excerpt

More Hornets were out of the tubes, racing to catch up; almost everyone, now. Bennet had the Patroklus squadron on visual, little points of light on his left, speeding towards him. He held the Starboard and Port wings in position, waiting for Patroklus to join him, listening to the continuous stream of inter-ship Comms that gave him the intel he needed on everyone’s position. Captain Sergei reported he was in position.

“Heads up, boys and girls,” Bennet said over the command line. “Bandits will be here in two minutes. Battlecode comm transmissions only.”

All chatter stopped. Everything around him fell silent. It took him a second to realise that the dull muffled thumping that he felt as much as heard, was his own quickening heartbeat. His eyes never stopped moving—to port, ahead, the scanner, to port, ahead, to starboard, ahead, the scanner, ahead, to port…

His gaze flickered to port-side most. His pilots were out there, tackling the outriders to the first wave of fighters. Nothing much to see. The fighters were drones, with no internal atmospheres to give even the briefest flash of light and heat when they were destroyed. If he saw a flash, it would be one of their own.

Port, ahead, the scanner, port, ahead, starboard…

“All advance bandits accounted for,” Kyle said. “No survivors.”

“Casualties?”

“None. Clean strike.”

“Good. Stand by.” Look to port, ahead, the scanner, ahead, to starboard, ahead, the scanner, ahead… “Kyle, you have their left flank. Sergei, their right. Starboard Wing, we’re punching right through these guys to take on the second wave.”

“Yes!” The excitement in Kyle’s voice was unmistakable.

“Ready.” Sergei was more subdued.

“We’re ready,” Cruz said, steady as ever. “We’re all ready.”

Bennet took a split-second to watch them get into position, the usual cold clenching around his guts, knowing they wouldn’t all come back. He had the fighters on visual now, a close-packed phalanx of ships, blotting out stars. There had to be more than a hundred of them, with a second wave of at least another hundred, maybe more, behind. A full complement of a battleship’s fighters all stacked up against the little Hornets.

Bennet opened his private comline to the Gyrfalcon. “Ten seconds, bridge. We’re going in.” He only half-heard Quist’s acknowledgement. He’d already keyed into the battle code comline. A deep breath. “All Attack Wings, intercept attackers and engage the enemy. Go!”
Five seconds later the front ranks of Hornets and fighters smacked right into each other.

Buy Links

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZ9QQYQ/

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MZ9QQYQ/

Available for pre-order at Kobo.

Giveaway

$25 (or equivalent) Amazon voucher.
Signed copy “Gyrfalcon”, Taking Shield Book 01.

Rafflecoptor code:

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About the author

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo.

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Rainbow Snippets

I’ll be in and out this weekend so I might be slow to comment. I’m trying to get some of the jewelry making I have waiting on me done. It’s insane the sheer amount of beads and crap I have so I’m going to a crafting party because I obviously need supervision in order for me to finish things.

I’m continuing with These Haunted Hills from Joshua’s point of view where we learn key things about Brendan I didn’t have in Brendan’s point of view (but explain why Brendan is so depressed). I’m ahead of myself with the picture. They’ll be heading here, the Ridges, the Athens Lunatic Asylum (the original name). It’s a beautiful, very haunted asylum that originally wanted to be a a nurturing place to help the mentally ill (but you can guess that’s not what ended up happening). It’s now the art gallery for Ohio University. There’s a crap ton on the hauntings online if you’re curious. I head over here often.

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We’re picking up immediately after Joshua sees Brendan waiting on him to finish with the Girl Scouts at Ash Cave.

Now that Halloran was here, Joshua found he couldn’t close the distance between them. After several emails setting up times and places to go ghost hunting, Joshua had enough clues to suspect Brendan Halloran was B. A. Halloran, author of one of his favorite YA fantasy series. An unrepentant geek, he would be lying if he said that realization played no role in accepting this job. He had spent more hours drawing fan art of Kiyomi Fujita and John Archer than he wanted to think about, no regrets though.

However, knowing what Halloran had been through in the last few years made him nervous about meeting the man and even more nervous about why he wanted to go ghost hunting. Was it really for a new series or was he trying to contact little Christian. Joshua had no idea what losing a child would do to the soul, didn’t even want to imagine it.

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

Contemplating a newsletter

A newsletter seems to be the in thing and I’ve been studying the what to do and what not to dos of all of this. Lots of people seem happy with mailchimp (though I’m open to suggestions). A few months ago I came across insta-freebie from an author’s blog which has been a good and bad thing. Lots to read but on the other hand, to get the free book you need to sign up for the author’s newsletter. I don’t really mind that. I’m considering it research because I have learned things.

1. Honestly once a month is really all you need unless you have something special like a cover reveal, new release or you’re part of one of these huge multi author giveaways. It’s amazing how many newsletters you can get. Some people do the once a month thing and give you a newsletter with content. Others are there weekly which seems a bit much but still, not so bad. And then there are the others who I swear send out newsletters multiple times a week and with very little new content. That is annoying as hell. That’s a good way to get someone to unsubscribe. You don’t need that much content with your readers and if you’re telling me you wrote 80K in one month and still have time to email three times a week, I have to wonder how good your story is and how much attention you’re giving it.

2. DO put in something fun to read, a little why you wrote what you wrote, something that interests you and/or your characters. Interview the characters, give me something to look at as I scan around for whatever links you wanted me to see.

3. Pictures are nice (though be nice and don’t snitch pictures that aren’t yours)

4. For the love of god spellcheck it. It’s something your sending right to your readers. If I get something full of spelling errors I’m not going to rush to read your work, just saying.

5. Having fun things for the readers can be nice too. I’ve seen some do polls, hold contests for naming rights or little cameos in a work

But yeah seriously, sending out three newsletter a week is annoying (and these aren’t even the people who have made an error and they need to send corrections)

Sunday Small Talk

I did skip last week’s for good reason: I really had nothing new to talk about. I don’t really this week either but I didn’t want to let it go too long. I am waiting on the edits of one scene, the lost scene, from my beta. You have no idea how happy I am to find that scene. It does something important for all that it’s only 1,600K long. But now comes the task of what to cut to shoehorn it in. I have one scene I know is going but I’m not sure they’re the same length (I doubt it).

Once that’s done it’s on to my usual beta and about three pairs of new eyes (and THANK YOU for volunteering. You know who you are!) Once I hear back from them Blood Red Roulette is going back out there.

I am working on rewriting the ending of both Conned (which needs a better title) and Cassadaga Nights (ditto). I’m also struggling to finish my steampunk Christmas story. It has to be done soonish if I’m going to make any of the early cut off dates.

I’m still struggling with my depression but one thing that has made me smile is the reception to These Haunted Hills in the FB community Rainbow Snippets. I’m so thrilled people are liking it. Now to find time to WRITE it. That would be nice. I mean this whole weekend was wasted for writing, for teaching, for literally anything. It’s a shame too. And more a shame that it was warm and perfect for hiking except for the fact it won’t stop raining. Sigh.

Rainbow Snippet

I’m sitting here moving slow as the weather keeps bouncing from 60 to 20 degrees and the arthritis isn’t impressed. It’s supposed to be 60 today so I might haul myself out of here and go hiking in the area I’ve been posting about for the last few weeks. This week we’re still in These Haunted Hills but I’ve moved ahead to ch 2 so we can meet Dr. Joshua Zimmerman (whose doctorate is in ecology), ghost hunter, steampunker, geek. We meet him just after he finishes a talk to a bunch of girl scouts as a favor to the naturalist who works in the park. As it so happens the unnamed (in the story) naturalist is my friend and partial inspiration for Josh. I’ve borrowed his website for Josh. If you’d like to see the real website, head here. Haunted Hocking . Most of the action will be set in Jackson, Vinton, Meigs and Athens county. I live in Jackson. And if you’re poking around the site thinking hmmmm that’s a lot of dirt roads, you’re right. I live where pavement isn’t really a thing.

And oh this area Stroud’s Run State Park is what got me thinking about this story originally. There is a haunted cabin in the park (Athens county if you want to look up the story).

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So let’s meet Josh.

As the girls were herded down the trail, Joshua spotted a couple other hikers inspecting Ash cave. One man watched the water splashing down over the lip of the shelter cave. A Star Trek ball cap in science blue shielded much of his face. Sunglasses and well-kempt beard in deep walnut completed the obfuscation of his features, and yet Joshua knew who he was but only because he was expecting Brendan Halloran. He’d asked the author to meet him here because he thought that if Halloran was going to write a book set in the area he should see some of its most beautiful parts. Halloran wanted ghosts, and Ash Cave could provide those.

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!