Saturday, February 28, 2015

Photo by Serge Bertasius Photography

With heartfelt sadness Musa Publishing must announce that we are closing our doors as of today, February 28, 2015.

We thank all our authors and staff for the fine work they have provided these four years. We also thank you, our readers, for your support.

We will miss you all,

Celina Summers
Kerry Mand
Kelly Shorten
Dominique Eastwick
Jeanne De Vita

Friday, February 27, 2015


Where did you get the idea for A Karma to Kill For?
The idea for my second psychic mystery evolved out of my first story, A Deadly Tapestry. My lead character, psychic Zoe, is learning that her life purpose is to solve mysteries with past life origins, and help heal those involved in the process. This one starts with a funeral, where the dead woman (in spirit form) tells her she was murdered, then vanishes. (Blimey, as her spirit guide, Hamden, would say.) I also wanted to write about a never-mind-spiritual-ethics psychic to showcase how damaging that can be, and Wild Wanda does the job nicely.

How did you develop your lead characters?
Really, they've been dear friends for years. For me its been an intuitive process of simply letting them in and writing their words down. My job is mostly to just get out of their way and allow them to be true to who they want to be as characters. As a psychic myself, I also pull in personal knowledge and experience to augment as necessary.

What drives you to write psychic mysteries?
As a lifelong reader, I have always wanted to write for others. I want to a) entertain and b) lift and inspire my readers. My great hope is that my books help readers release fear, trust that life never ends, and to embrace all that love offers, in all its wonderful forms.

Here is a brief introduction to one of Jen S. Severson's psychic mysteries.

Truth, illusion and the circle of karma... the murdered woman's words to Zoe were more cryptic than clarifying, and even a psychic detective can't predict the outcome!

When psychic detective Zoe Nettlesom is hired by a dead woman's sister to investigate the murder, Zoe goes undercover as a family biographer to unearth the truth--and meets a mad-hatter psychic in the process.

Police detective Ted Andrews agrees to assist although he is uncomfortable with Zoe's woo-woo world and has logical objections to her methods.

With help from her spirit guide Hamden, Zoe races to find who has a karma to kill for... before they kill her!

Jen's books are on sale for 80% off at Musa Publishing. Click here to read excerpts or purchase.

Jen S. Severson began writing professionally in marketing communications, then settled happily (well, most days) into proposal writing for the health care insurance industry (where, very occasionally, she gets to use extended metaphors and run-on sentences).

Along the way, she tripped over larger life truths, studied metaphysics and psychic teachings, and became a trained clairvoyant, ethics and all. Today – some 15 years later – she continues to give psychic readings avocationally.

Jen and her husband who is also a published author have one daughter and a small zoo of three cats, one dog and a miniature rabbit. Jen loves knitting, bird watching, reading fiction and inspirational books of varying stripes. Her goal as an author of psychic mysteries is to tell rollicking good stories that also open windows of understanding to the greater metaphor of life. She is busy writing the next book in her series, Zoe’s Psychic Mysteries.

Learn more about Jen S. Severson on her website. Stay connected on Facebook.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Italian Comfort Food

A small bowl of hot soup is an excellent starter to any meal. You can also enjoy a large bowl of soup as the main course for lunch or dinner by adding a salad and fresh bread. Add a glass of crisp white wine and enjoy!

Minestrone (Italian Vegetable) Soup
½ cup dry white beans, navy or Great Northern
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup zucchini, unpeeled, scrubbed and diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup red potatoes, diced
⅓ cup celery, diced
5 strips bacon, diced
¼ cup onion, chopped
½ cup leeks (or substitute onions), chopped fine
2 cups drained diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock, homemade or canned
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup rice

½ tbsp. dried basil
½ tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic, chopped fine
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a heavy 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Add the beans and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Return the pan to the stove, and over low heat simmer the beans uncovered for 1-1½ hours, or until they are barely tender. Drain the beans and set aside.

Melt the butter over moderate heat in a heavy 10-to 12- inch skillet. When the foam subsides, add the peas, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Toss constantly with a wooden spoon to coat the vegetables. Cook 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

Fry the bacon in a heavy 6-to8-quart saucepan over moderate heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels, but retain the grease in the pot. Stir in the onion and leeks. Continue to stir until the vegetables are soft and lightly brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, vegetables from the skillet, chicken stock, bay leaf, parsley, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 25 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Add the rice, beans, and bacon. Cook 15 – 20 minutes longer.

Combine all ingredients into a small bowl. Stir well.

To Serve
Ladle into individual bowls. Sprinkle with herb/garlic mixture. Pass a bowl of grated cheese.

Leftovers freeze well.

Serves 8



Award-Winning author Sloane Taylor believes humor and sex are healthy aspects of our everyday lives and carries that philosophy into her books. She writes sexually explicit romances that take you right into the bedroom. Being a true romantic, all her stories have a happy ever after.

Her books are set in Europe where the men are all male and the North American women they encounter are both feminine and strong. They also bring more than lust to their men’s lives.

To read excerpts from the erotic romances by Sloane Taylor, please click HERE.

Learn more about Sloane Taylor on her website, and her blog for easy recipes. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How Do You Define Success?

by Dianna L. Gunn

Photo by nonicknamephoto
Success means different things to different people. The media often portrays success as a house, a long-term partner, kids and money, but that isn't everyone's idea of a successful future.

All of your relatives and each one of your friends have their own definition of success. Even the crazy cat lady down the street has her own definition of success. Though success is only one word, it has as many definitions as there are people.

What is true for everyone, though, is that you will never be happy if you don’t strive to reach your own definition of success. Too many people go chasing after their parents’ ideas of success or society's idea of success and end up with careers they despise. They gain all the trappings associated with success–a well-paying job, a house, a family–but remain miserable because it isn’t what they really want.

On the opposite end of the spectrum you have people like me who don't make a lot of money, but are still happy because they love what they do. We've created our own definitions of success and are moving towards them, regardless of what other people think.

If you're not sure what the word "success" means to you, maybe it's time to figure that out.

Creating your own definition of success can be difficult. It requires total honesty with yourself, requires you to abandon everything you’ve been taught about what success is and truly explore what the word means to different people. You'll have to look beyond what society expects and figure out what’s really important to you.

You only have to ask yourself one question, but you might have to ask yourself this a few times before you get to the truth:

If you didn't need money, what would you do with your time? You can imagine yourself being infinitely wealthy, but it's often more effective to simply imagine that all your basic needs will be met for the rest of your life, regardless of money. The point of this exercise isn't to daydream about traveling the world, it's about figuring out what you really want to do with your life.

List everything you can think of in the next 10 minutes.

Now examine each item closely and order them in terms of importance. How much time would you devote to each? Is there anything on the list that you probably wouldn't actually do very often? Anything you would be willing to spend the equivalent of your current work week on?

Your definition of success should include the ability to make time for the things on this list, even if they might never make you money. True success is based on how much you enjoy your life, not how much money you make―or at least that's how it should be. Besides, just about anything you enjoy can eventually be turned into a business if you're creative enough.

As you go through life your definition of success might change, and there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you keep chasing after your definition of success. Keeping your eyes on the prize is the only way to avoid getting lost in the rat race.

So what is your definition of success?


Dianna L. Gunn is a recent graduate and full time freelance writer who dreams of someday becoming a famous fantasy author.

To learn more about her journey as a writer and discover a wealth of advice for every kind of writer, check out her blog, The Dabbler. Stay connected on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Stay Warm with Sharon Ledwith

In my book, Legend of the Timekeepers—the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series—Istulo, a high priestess from the Black Land is a whiz when it comes to concocting potions and elixirs. But I bet she’d trade an arcane secret or two just for a taste of this mouth-watering ham and potato brew. Easy to prepare with a prep time of 20 minutes and cook time of 25 minutes, this heavenly soup will get a thumbs-up from even the fussiest high priest or priestess in your brood.

Thumbs-Up Ham and Potato Soup
3½ cups peeled and diced potatoes
⅓ cup diced celery
⅓ cup finely chopped onion
¾ cup diced cooked ham
3¼ cups water
2 tbsp. chicken bouillon granules
½ tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 tbsp. butter
5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk

Combine potatoes, celery, onion, ham, and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil. Lower temp to medium heat. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper.

Melt butter over medium-low heat in a separate saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Stir in milk lowly as not to allow lumps to form until all. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4-5 minutes.

Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through.

Serve immediately.

Now, while you’re waiting for the potato and ham soup to digest why not put your feet up and relax with a good book? Ready for a trip to Atlantis?

There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

To read an excerpt from Legend of the Timekeepers please click here.

Legend of the Timekeepers Buy Links:


Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE.

Check out The Last Timekeepers series Facebook Page.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing, 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, yoga, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a 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. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Where did you get the idea for Wilder Mage?
The first two sentences of Wilder popped into my head and I built the entire series around “the earthquake wasn’t his fault. Not this time.”

From there it burst like a watermelon dropped from a fifth story apartment on pavement, colorful and with a splat.

How did you develop your lead characters?
Strong willed but with cracks in their persona. My characters question themselves constantly, wondering if their actions are totally boneheaded or only partially so.

What drives you to write Speculative Fiction?
It is my drug of choice. SF, Urban Fantasy, and their parent Epic Fantasy pull wonder out of the air and, like clay between the hands, form into dragons, magic, and sentient marble statues that look straight through a person.

I like all genres, but only SF causes me to read until I’m bleary-eyed, and the stars are fading into dawn.

Here's a little from Wilder Mage. I hope you enjoy it.

Magic. It’s in his blood and out of control.

Justus Aubre is a wilder. A mage unbound to the Imperium, and therefore a dangerous wild card in their eyes. The Imperium wants him, wants his power, but Justus has hidden for many years and now has some semblance of a normal life. All that’s about to change when Sable Rounds walks through the door of his antique shop, looking for work. Justus instantly knows what Sable is, he just doesn’t know the danger he’s in.

Alone, also on the run from the Imperium, Sable longs for a normal life. For somewhere to belong. She finds this when Justus hires her, but she knows it’s temporary and fragile, an illusion. Though she hates to think about it, she knows that one day she will have to move on.

The Imperium is always behind her, waiting. When they finally find Sable, they find Justus. And all hell’s about to break loose.

To read an excerpt from Wilder Mage please click HERE.

View the book trailer HERE.
Please click a vendor's name to read excerpts from books by CD Coffelt. Musa Publishing - Amazon


CD Coffelt lives outside Maryville, Missouri with a bemused husband and way too many cats. She adores all things fantasy with a special love for urban and epic.

Learn more about CD Coffelt on her blog and Unicorn Bell a site CD shares with five other authors.. Stay connected on Facebook and GoodReads.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Horror Films and Their Effects

by LV Barat

Photo by Victor Habbick
I have always loved watching films as a method of storytelling. They come in a close second to books. Sometime in my late teens, I gravitated towards what my dad referred to as “spooky” movies and horror films. I watched movies like “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th”. These “slasher films” kept me on the edge of my seat and got the adrenaline pumping. Curious, I began to analyze my reactions to this type of horror.

Horror is designed to evoke fear but I found slasher flicks evoked actual fear only briefly, for example when the protagonist walked down a dark hallway. The adrenaline would kick in and the fear would dissipate when the monster jumped out and attacked him or her. Then the inevitable blood and gore would splatter out of the mangled, violated body. The gore only evoked the feeling of pity for the character that experienced the deadly attack.

I concluded that slasher flicks had a certain formula: fear then adrenaline then pity/sympathy.

But these slasher movies were, in fact, my least favorite of the horror genre. However, I discovered my male friends to prefer this type of horror. The men seemed to like a quick resolution to a life or death situation that involved a battle and the chance to prove bravery.

The reason most slasher movies left me physically and mentally exhausted is because I felt fear only in brief spurts, followed by an adrenaline rush then pity. I remember seeing Jaws for the first time when I was young. The scene where the captain of the ship was chewed to pieces by the shark saddened me for days afterward. I even asked my father if the man felt excruciating pain.

The horror films that captivated my imagination moved along at a much slower pace and lacked gore. Rather, they invoked feelings of undeniable dread, of gloominess and an inescapable tragic fate that could never be resolved by a brief spurt of violence accompanied by gore. The formula I discovered for the aforementioned genre is: fear which never really goes away but develops into dread, suspense then doom.

I’ve selected three horror films to demonstrate this formula.

The only blood in this movie is a nosebleed. The horror is mostly anticipated, with scenes of traumatized faces and jumpy camera shots of a young girl, her face obscured by long black hair. The plot revolves around a videotape that once seen will condemn the viewer to die in seven days after they receive an ominous phone call. A girl had been strangled by her mother and thrown into a well where she survived seven days. The last thing she saw was a ring of light at the opening of the well, hence the title “The Ring”. How the dying girl or her ghost imprints her experiences onto videotape is never explained. The reason she is inherently evil is never explained either. In one scene, the girl crawls out of a TV and kills a man just by looking at him.

For a week afterward, I found myself dreading the ring of my telephone. And to be perfectly honest, I did not turn on the TV, for fear of seeing a girl crawl out of it. This was the first and only time I had such a reaction to a horror movie. It simply scared the living daylights out of me.

Released in 2001, it tells the tale of a devout religious woman and her children who live in a mansion. One day, three strange people appear who desire work as servants. The woman, Grace, hires them but she is suspicious because they seem to work against her wishes and to be hiding something. Strange noises and happenings lead Grace to believe the house is plagued by ghosts. In the absence of gratuitous violence, the film conceptualizes the feeling of dread that something horrific will happen or has happened to the family. Grace is unstable, paranoid and controlling with her children. One day, Grace ventures out into thick fog and mysteriously runs into her long lost husband, returning from the front lines of WWII. The man is disoriented and traumatized. His apathy for his wife and children and his subsequent abandoning of them, only increases the feelings of impending doom. The foggy landscape, the haunted house with strange voices and noises, the old time Victorian photos of the deceased on their death beds, hardly support a narrative of aggressive violence or adrenaline-inducing suspense, but nevertheless the suspense is there and the plot development superbly conveys it.

This film is one of the few Stephen King novels made into a movie which I thought was very well done as far as plot development and visual aesthetic. Perhaps it was because the director, Stanley Kubrick, was so talented. While blood and gore made an appearance, it was kept to a minimum. We saw butchered twins in the hotel hallway and the protagonist, Jack, take an axe to a man’s head. However, compared to horror movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Scream, this violence was mild. The fear manifested in watching Jack’s slow descent into madness. He stares off into space, he types the same phrase over and over again, he hallucinates a conversation with a bartender and waiter, as opposed to battling raging monsters or crazed killers. “The Shining” was terrifying because of the speculation of how the growing insanity of Jack would manifest in his relationship with his family.

Those horror films classified as “spooky” stimulate my imagination to write but also draw and paint characters into life. The web of dread woven in these films present situations that must be suffered through rather than resolved with gratuitous violence.

Here is a short intro to my novel, Eye of the Hawk. I hope it meets your horror mark.

One shapeshifter is worth a thousand armies.

In an epoch long forgotten, a spell was cast around the island of Jaanaar, preventing its people from leaving and anyone from entering. One lone man, a foreign shape-shifter named Hawk, trained by Jaanaarian Druids, is sent beyond this spell through an elemental portal with coded instructions he barely remembers.

To fulfill his destiny, Hawk must pass through a haunted forest filled with damned souls of the living and dead, where humans are crucified on trees. Accompanied by a Druid Healer who is eerily familiar, they are attacked by undead fiends and a ghost dragon who guards the forest.

In the Crystal Palace of Corvasa, Sillisnae, an Adept’s Apprentice, longs to become an Adept and possibly the mistress of the King. But her wishes are thwarted when she discovers her tutor is a traitor and the Fire Globe, an ancient relic possessing the essence of elemental fire, has been stolen.

To discover its location, Hawk joins forces with the Adept’s Apprentice to steal the heart of a bitter goddess, the only thing which can subdue the power of the Fire Globe.

BUY LINKS Musa Publishing - Amazon

L.V. Barat discovers tales in the most unlikely of places: in the ancient spiritual literature of India, Greece, Scandinavia, Britain and Ireland. An extensive study of the occult in several different cultures led to an awakening of the power of myth in her mind. Myths are woven in the imaginations or collective unconscious of peoples worldwide and the connection to the archetypes can weave tales that inspire!

LV Barat has been writing fiction and non-fiction for twenty years. Epic fantasy is her genre of choice whilst some suspenseful mystery has managed to worm its way into her opus corpus.

She lives in the Rocky Mountains, the spine of North America. An enchanted place of glistening pine needles, massive boulders, jutting gray crags, stealthy red foxes and antlered elk.

Learn more about L V Barat on her website and Goodreads. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.