Nancy's Notes From Florida

Using Myths & Legends to Enhance Your Story

October 18, 2020

Weaving mythology into your novel can add depth and resonance. How mythology influences story structure is explained fully in The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, a book that I highly recommend. But aside from structure, you can use myths and legends to drive your story or an entire series.

Myths and Legends

In Circle of Light, book one in the Light-Years Series, attorney Sarina Bretton is kidnapped from Earth to become the legendary Great Healer. For eons, tales had been told of a savior, but as nothing occurred, the myth faded. Then the predicted signs started coming true and talk of the legend revived. Signs of the Coming included a Comet, Conquerors, Internal Strife, and a Plague.

It was said the legend would come to pass when the Great Healer married a Raimorrdan who was highly placed and who was born under the sign of the circle. The healing aura could only be activated by the power of love. But can Sarina learn to love Lord Cam’brii, the man she will be obligated to wed? Or does her heart belong to the rakish starship captain who transports her to meet her betrothed? In reflecting our own times, the similarities seem uncanny. We have a pandemic, political strife, and conquerors throughout the world. All we are missing is the Comet. Where is the Great Healer when we need her?

Sarina

Moonlight Rhapsody, the next volume in the Light-Years series, is based on the mythical sirens who lure sailors to their doom. Ilyssa, the heroine, has the power to mindwash men with her singing voice.

The Drift Lords series also relies on myth and magic. These stories derive from Norse mythology complete with runes, descendants of Odin and Thor, magic devices and mystical realms. The legend in this story is that “The six daughters of Odin must join with the six sons of Thor to utter the ancient words.” By chanting this spell, they will repel Loki and shut the rifts between dimensions. First the Drift Lord warriors must find their destined mates, and the women have to be awakened to their powers. We start with their team leader in Warrior Prince, book one in this saga that also includes mythological creatures like this sea monster.

Sea Monster

Using myths and legends works in mysteries, too. In Facials Can Be Fatal, there’s the legend of an infamous pirate that plays into the story. This was loosely based on the pirate Gasparilla who sailed off the Florida coast. Here’s an excerpt:

pirate

“A pirate nicknamed Red Ted, because of his lust for bloodshed, plied the waters off the Florida coast. He died in battle with an American naval warship. But when the troops arrived at his camp near St. Augustine, it was empty. No captives, no loot.”

“Yes, I read about him.” Even to Marla’s own ears, her voice reflected her excitement. “Warren mentioned this guy in his journal. He thought they might have uncovered part of his hoard.”

“Before his last voyage, Red Ted was getting set to retire. He’d loaded his goods onto a mule train and told his second in command to take it to Key West, where he planned to hole up in his later years. Then a sighting came for one more merchant ship that appeared to be unarmed. He couldn’t resist this last kill and set sail. The vessel turned out to be a warship hiding under a merchant flag, and Red Ted shot himself rather than be captured.”

“What happened to his mule train?” Marla asked.

“They were attacked by Indians on the route south. The natives made off with horses and mules and left them with fewer pack animals. They had to lighten their load and so buried some of the chests. They didn’t have much better luck as they headed into swampland and were beset by storms as well as bandits. With dwindling resources, they buried more loads along the way.”

“Hopefully someone kept track of those locations,” Dalton said in a wry tone.

“Only one survivor staggered into Key West. He waited for Red Ted until word came that the pirate king was dead. Ravaged by disease, he tried to sell his map but nobody believed him. He headed north, afraid he’d be identified as a pirate and hanged. That was the last anyone heard about Red Ted’s treasure. But the man had a pouch of uncut emeralds on him that provided him with a cushy lifestyle in the end. In my mind, that indicates the tales of Red Ted were true.”

Weaving mythology into your novel can add depth and resonance. #amwriting #writingtip Click To Tweet

Adding myths and legends to your story makes them fun and interesting beyond the ordinary. You can delve into history or mythology and magic while adjusting the ancient legends for your own needs. It gives an added dimension to your work and resounds within our storytelling minds.

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 A COZY BOOKWORM PARTY

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 7:00 – 8:30 pm EDT – Join myself along with Debra H. Goldstein, Cheryl Hollon, Diane A.S. Stuckart, and Maggie Toussaint as we talk about our books to celebrate Fall and give away some great prizes! Save the Date for A Cozy Bookworm Party and bring your friends! https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty

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Cover Reveal – The Drift Lords Series

October 2, 2020

I am excited to share these beautiful covers for The Drift Lords Series. I’m reissuing these books previously published by The Wild Rose Press. All three titles have been updated with added bonus materials. Cover Design by The Killion Group, Inc.

Meet the Drift Lords, galactic warriors sent to Earth to seal a dimensional rift opened by an ancient enemy. To defeat the evil beings, they must join forces with a special group of Earth women, whose legendary powers are just awakening. “Star Wars” meets “Lord of the Rings” in this adventurous fantasy paranormal romance series.

Warrior Prince  Warrior Rogue  Warrior Lord

The inspiration for the series came from the Maelstrom ride at Disney’s Epcot theme park. I loved the idea of evil trolls and so I created the Trolleks, invaders from another dimension. It was huge fun to make up the parameters for this multiverse. Each hero has a quest but he can’t complete it without the Earth woman destined to be his mate.

WARRIOR PRINCE
Book One in The Drift Lords Series
Copyright © 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-13-3
Release Date – November 6, 2020

When mythologist Nira Larsen accepts a job as tour guide for a mysterious stranger, she’s drawn into a nightmare reality where ancient myths come alive and legendary evils seek to destroy her. She must awaken her dormant powers to survive, but the only person who can help is the man whose touch ignites her passion. 

“I’m a huge fan of Nancy Cohen’s Bad Hair Day Mysteries and was thrilled to discover her latest book, a terrific mix of science fiction, mystery, and sizzling romance.” Mary Kennedy, author of the Talk Radio Mysteries 

BUY NOW Pre-Order Sale $.99 (Save $3 off regular price)

WARRIOR ROGUE
Book Two in The Drift Lords Series
Copyright © 2013 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-14-0
Release Date – November 13, 2020

When fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr loses her lead actor for a video-game commercial, a replacement literally drops from the sky. Reluctant to let him leave, she hires him as a model for her studio. When alien invaders attack their flight home, Jen must awaken powers she didn’t know she had to protect them both. Will she be able to keep her heart safe from the man sent to save her planet?

“Cohen’s futuristic, paranormal romance series blends aspects of science fiction with magic and mythology then tops it off with steamy scenes that are so hot you will need a fan and a mint julep drink to cool off.” Manic Readers

BUY NOW Pre-Order Sale $1.99 (Save $2 off regular price)

WARRIOR LORD
Book Three in The Drift Lords Series
Copyright © 2014 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-15-7
Release Date – November 20, 2020

Pottery sculptor Erika Sherwood marries a stranger at a Las Vegas casino after they win a game together and agree to split the reward. It isn’t until her life is threatened that Erika realizes the wedding was for real and her husband is an alien.

“Cohen’s third book in her Drift Lords series is an action-packed thrill ride from start to finish. She effortlessly blends fact with Norse mythology and fiction to create a fabulous tale, layered in detail and rich in texture.” Muddy Rose Reviews

BUY NOW Pre-Order Sale $2.99 (Save $1 off regular price)

The Drift Lords Series mixes Norse myths, magic and action-packed adventure in an exciting tapestry of romance. #fantasy #pnr #romance Click To Tweet

PRE-ORDER SALE! Order all three books now and save $6.00 off the regular prices. Available for a limited time only. CLICK HERE and pre-order all three books individually. They’ll be delivered to your email inbox on the release dates.

 

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The Spark of Inspiration

September 30, 2020

Some writers say they write when the muse strikes them. They might go days without filling a manuscript page and work feverishly when the mood hits. I don’t believe in waiting for inspiration this way. As a professional writer, you have a job, and you must show up for work each day.

The Spark of Inspiration

However, I do believe there’s a certain spark about a story that serves as a creative faucet. It’s what caught your passion in the first place. Or maybe you’re struggling to find this elusive element. That’s where I am with my next Bad Hair Day mystery. Never mind the dozen other distractions demanding attention, such as reissuing my remaining backlist titles. So what’s wrong?

I know what the next Marla Vail story will be about in terms of the murder mystery. But I like to learn something new with each book. That’s what makes the story fun and special for me. In EASTER HAIR HUNT, it was learning about beekeeping, stamp collecting, honey production and Fabergé eggs. In TRIMMED TO DEATH, I researched Florida olive groves and olive oil scams. The range of topics I’ve covered in each of my books varies greatly, but each subject was something that interested me. I haven’t found this spark yet for book #17 in the series.

As an author, you don’t want to repeat yourself. I’ve done the historical angle, especially in FACIALS CAN BE FATAL when I used excerpts from my father’s 1935 travel journal. I should avoid mixing history and mystery for this next one. Science? Maybe, but this might not be a good idea when we’re all so paranoid about viruses. Food? Always an interest of mine, but I’ve already done olives, coffee, honey, and vanilla.

I’ve scanned through the news, hoping some esoteric topic will catch my fancy. Maybe I’m too distracted to really think hard on it. Likely it’ll be 2021 before I can sit down to write this book, because I have too much else to get done before then. However, I could work on the plot once I get involved in the research. Would you call this waiting for the muse? Or is it merely waiting until my mind is clear to focus on this story?

I know the moment will come when the notion hits me. Or I’ll get interested in diverse topics that I will have to fit into the mystery plot. This is similar to putting a puzzle together. I’d write the ideas onto mental index cards and then shuffle them around to see how they can be combined. This is a bit harder than an overall concept but it can be done. Either way, I’ll be excited when inspiration hits. How about you? Do you need that special spark to start your story?

Do you wait for the spark of inspiration to start your story? #amwriting #writingcommunity Click To Tweet



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Upcoming Events Fall 2020

September 22, 2020

Please join me at the following upcoming events:

TONIGHT – Tuesday, Sept. 22, 7:00 – 8:00 pm EDT, Blast from the Past Book Launch Party with Nancy J. Cohen and Maggie Toussaint – Fun & Prizes! Join us on Facebook later tonight.

Blast from the Past

Saturday, Sept. 26, at 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, “Plotting Made Perfect” with Nancy J. Cohen via Zoom for the All Write: Jump Start Your Novel virtual event sponsored by The Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (FMWA), in collaboration with Nova Southeastern University. Free to the public. Register Here – Space is Limited.

Have an idea for a story but don’t know where to go from there? Or are you stuck in the middle of your manuscript? Award-winning author Nancy J. Cohen will discuss the elements of plotting and how to develop your idea into a novel. This workshop will cover character development, plotting techniques, story structure, writing tools, and secrets of the synopsis.

Plotting Workshop

Saturday, Oct. 17 at 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, “Why You Need an Audiobook and How to Make One” with Nancy J. Cohen, Florida Writers Virtual Conference. Register Here to attend virtual conference for only $57.

October 20, 7:00 pm, Booklover’s Bench Cozy Mystery Party – Details TBA https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty/

 



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Starlight Child Reissue

September 22, 2020

I am excited to announce the reissue of Starlight Child. This science fiction romance is book three in The Light-Year Series. It was previously published by Dorchester. This Author’s Edition has been updated with added bonus materials.

Starlilght Child

STARLIGHT CHILD
Copyright ©1995 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press on Sept. 22, 2020
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-08-9
Cover Design by The Killion Group, Inc.

Cultural specialist Mara Hendricks and Commander Deke Sage meet on a mission that takes them across the galaxy and into each other’s arms in this exciting science fiction romance. 

When terrorists from Yanura kidnap her best friend’s infant daughter, cultural specialist Mara Hendricks joins the rescue team. Her psychic ability can aid in tracking the baby’s location. But instead of being impressed by her power, the handsome mission leader is repelled by her unusual gift. Agonizing over his rejection, Mara realizes they’re meant to be together when she reads his aura and sees the ties binding them. Before their mission is complete, she vows to show the virile warrior that their union is written in the stars.

Commander Deke Sage knows the lovely xenobiologist is trouble when he meets her. Not only does she oppose his political views, but she possesses an ability that threatens to steal his sanity. Yet when they’re together, she lifts him to heights of passion he hadn’t known existed. Can he resist her allure long enough to complete his mission?

Praise

“Nancy captures you from the start, takes you on a fantastic ride, and doesn’t release you until she finishes the story. Captivating and wonderful!” Janelle Taylor, Bestselling Author

“The characters and the unusual settings stun the senses. The action is explosive and stimulating; the passion is torrid and sensual. Though the books in this trilogy can stand alone, I recommend you read them all.” Rendezvous

“A futuristic romance both sensual and adventurous, Starlight Child is a captivating story of life and love in the vastness of space.” The Paperback Forum

“The passion between these characters is ‘out of this world.’ If you enjoy a little science fiction, a little fantasy and a lot of romance, this book is a definite read.” The Literary Times

“A rip-roaring adventure through the stars.” RT Book Reviews

Excerpt 

Deke jumped back, abruptly releasing her. “What did you do?” he cried.

 Mara froze, at a loss for words. She had no excuse for her behavior. 

“You tried to read my mind.” 

“No, I can’t read thoughts. I can only sense emotions, even when I’m in someone else’s viewpoint. I… I’m not sure what happened, but you appear to have triggered a separation.” 

He stared at her, horrified. “What do you mean?” 

Agitated, she brushed her hair off her face. “When I was younger, this sort of thing happened all the time. I had difficulty controlling my ability. But never in my adulthood have I experienced anything similar, not even with Pietor.” Her heart sank at the incredulous look on his face. 

“Who in Zor is Pietor?”

 “My former fiancé. His parents didn’t approve of me. Instead of coming to my defense, he agreed with them and… and said hurtful things about my gift.” 

Deke glowered at her. “I can understand why. Gods, does that mean this could happen again?” 

She saw his fear mixed with resentment. He stared at her as if she were some sort of freak.“You’re the only person with whom I’ve ever had a spontaneous separation. This has to be significant. Maybe… maybe we’re meant for each other.” 

“I only meant to take you to bed,” Deke snapped, stepping back as though putting physical distance between them could prevent another occurrence. “Otherwise, there is nothing between us. You’d better leave now.” His gaze frosted. “And take that as an order.” 

Mara stormed out, offended and hurt by his words. Coming on this mission had been a mistake.

Cultural specialist Mara Hendricks and Commander Deke Sage meet on a mission to rescue a kidnapped child in a voyage that takes them across the galaxy and into each other’s arms. STARLIGHT CHILD #sfrom #romance Click To Tweet

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