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Posts Tagged ‘Yasmine Phoenix’

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

by

Yasmine Phoenix

Photo coutesy of Vinay Tadepalli Unsplash

For years I got up, showered, dressed, drove the kids to school, and then joined the masses riding the electric train to Chicago to work. Sweltering summers and below zero wind chill I walked to my office. Of course, I enjoyed city events during lunch time being in downtown Chicago was great. Then at the end of the day reverse commute back on the train, pick up kids, and then home to cook dinner. Friday was family pizza night.

Now I work from home, I don’t have to get all dressed up and drive in the insane Atlantic traffic. And my kids are grown. I’m also an author so sometimes I go to a local café or Starbucks. It’s an opportunity to get out of my four walls and interact on a somewhat personal level with people. In other words, listen in on random conversations.

Technology. ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ to paraphrase Captain Kirk in Star Trek, Wrath of Khan who stole it from Charles Dickens. Writers are introverts and today’s technology is for us the best of times and the worst of times. We don’t have to leave our homes – almost ever. Everything we need is an App away from our finger. We can live our total existence – At. Home.

Want to move? You can sell your home online, buy another one online, and have a service pack and deliver your possessions to the new home. Online, folks.

We write, research, submit, publish, and promote our books from our desks. Gone are the days of submitting via snail mail, traipsing to the post office to mail synopsis, first three chapters, and query. We submit everything online.

It gets even better. Think about everything you can do from the comfort of your home, your bed, your car. Shopping malls are having a difficult time competing with online shopping and many stores are closing. When in Chicago, I go to Water Tower, sit, drink Starbucks, and watch shoppers, mostly young people, tourists, or city residents’ shop. I ride the CTA. Everyone is praying, their heads bowed, nope they’re staring down at their phones. It’s not just the young, older riders are playing games or are on Facebook.

How about attending a basketball or football game? Tickets are sky high, You have to be searched to get in. And it’s damn cold. Why not watch with friends? At. Home. The line to the bathroom is shorter. And of course – order food to be delivered. There’s Apps for that.

Hungry? Grocery shop? I hate walking down every aisle often impulse buying. Now I put together my Kroger grocery list, pay, and schedule a pick up day and time. And I don’t have to get out of my car. Whole Foods, Instacart deliver groceries as well. If I still lived in Chicago, I’d surely take advantage of this in the winter. At. Home.

Order out? Pick up or delivery. Restaurants, including McDonald’s, Taco Bell deliver. And we once believed the drive-thru was awesome. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Jenny Craig, online meal services that setup meals according to your dietary requirements and then delivered to your home. Even comes with cooking directions. Kroger and Publix have started meal service programs. Grub Hub, Door Dash are utilized by restaurants to deliver from a variety of restaurants. You can order Chinese, Thai, American, whatever and have it all delivered. Wait sixty minutes for a table? Late from work? Your family’s dinner can be timed to meet you at the front door. At. Home. And once we thought pizza delivery was a big thing.

Need a doctor? You can arrange – with an App a consultation with a physician via your smartphone. Your medication can be delivered. At. Home.

Need a car? In case you want to venture out of your home. There’s an App. When I lived in Chicago, I used Zipcar. I’d set up a location, day and time for a car. Car came with a gas card and a special parking space. I drove the Prius across the street from where I lived. I had a choice of vehicles luxury, compact. I test drove different makes in case I wanted to buy a car. Did you know you can purchase a car online and have it delivered? At. Home.

Don’t need a car? Lyft and Uber. I used both when I first moved to Atlanta because I had no idea where the hell anything was. Still don’t know, but being driven around gave me the opportunity to learn where places were and sightsee at the same time.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Let’s not forget Amazon. Believe me I’ve tried. The bane of my existence and yours too, admit it. I’d probably ball up in a fetal position if it disappeared. From books, to toilet tissue, toys, small appliances, clothing, food, handbags (yeah I know), items you didn’t even know you needed/wanted can be found and delivered – free (Prime) to your front door. I’ve found myself staring at the Amazon delivery app following the delivery route as they make their way to my front door. I think that would be called stalking if I weren’t paying for the goods. It’s amazing how many empty Amazon boxes I see on a weekly basis in the recycle bin. Prime. When I needed a particular type of bandage after my knee surgery, I couldn’t find it at any nearby drug store. I looked it up on Amazon and in two days it was delivered.

When my daughter’s orders are delivered – I’m not saying she shops a lot on Amazon, but she shops a lot on Amazon. At first, I was concerned but I understand why. She’s a busy professional with an active child and little free time. Having it delivered she saves precious time. As a writer the same applies. Need notebooks, goody bags, and of course copies of your book. There’s Amazon self-publishing.

Alexa. She’s in a lot of homes. Yeah, mine too. Echo show. I tolerate her. Don’t trust her. My eight-year-old granddaughter has Alexa and damn if mine doesn’t respond quicker to her. Netflix and Prime Video. Replacing traditional networks. You can subscribe to individual networks. More innovative and interesting series – no commercials. Plus note only can you watch at home – wait for it – also on your phone, iPad, or Tablet.

Hotspots. Remember when we made fun of the name ‘iPad’ when first introduced by Apple? I just binged Good Omens on Prime. I’m a Terry Pratchett fan. Networks run the same programs over and over and over again. Boring. On Prime Video I can watch the entire Farscape and any other beloved series without commercial interruption. At. Home.

Have you experienced or watched someone when the Internet goes down? Panic, heart palpations, loss of appetite, loss of mind. The world coming to an end? You’re trapped in your home, you’re all alone, isolated you’ll never receive another email again – and that’s just the first ten minutes.

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

Physical proximity is no longer necessary. We have to make time to be out with friends. The smartphone, smarter than us. Tethered to this little beast that weighs four to six ounces. We text each other even if we’re in the same building. Attending a workshop and a friend is sitting on the other side of the room? Text them. We conduct our lives on the phone and sometimes it plays out like a soap opera with no filter. Who hasn’t heard conversations that belonged behind closed doors? We write on our phones, save the document, send via email, and edit. Or play Candy Crush.

Face it we’re trapped in our homes, and its paradise. Need to clean? Roomba.

Next time you’re out with friends, count how many phones are on the table. One of my Sophisticated Ladies makes me put my phone away when we are together. It must be in my purse. So far, she hasn’t slapped my iWatch on my wrist. I FaceTime my cousin. At. Home. All from our personal space – no pants required.

For my call center job, we have meetings in an online meeting room. Easy way to get one hundred agents from all over the country together. One day we’ll have dinner with friends, each of us in our home, chatting away to holograms of each other.

You can hire fitness trainers to come to your home. Or…. I just saw a commercial for a fitness program called Mirror. It’s an interactive exercise program. No more going to the gym when you can work out in front of a six-foot mirror with others, in front of their Mirror, in real time classes or take one of the videotaped classes and then log in and post your results. No social interaction? If your friends have Mirror it’ll be just like going to the gym. Except you’ll be At. Home. In my sci-fi novel, my protagonist tries to avoid her fitness coach who appears in her home via hologram to remind her that she’s missed classes. The future is now people.

Not to be morbid but the old tradition of viewing the deceased in their home could return. Never. Leave. Home.

Like I said, it’s the best of times, we should embrace the goodies, especially now in these scary worst of times. When life is better and the bans are lifted, put on clothes, get out, enjoy the arts, look at real people, eat food in a real restaurant, and enjoy the world. Besides your Amazon order will be waiting when you arrive home.

If fantasy and futuristic romance are your thing then Book Two in my Witches Brew series, a stand alone novel, is a perfect read while you’re at home. Here’s a peek.

When love stalls, who are you going to call? Red a mystical and magical red dress created to help women discover love and recognize their self-worth.

Delphine Richards is the founder and CEO of Plum Events a successful party planning company in Chicago. The holidays are the busiest and Valentine’s Day is the last one of the season. Her employees work hard to create spectacular parties and stay out of Delphine’s way. She hates this day for lovers.

Kevin Poe, her fiancé, broke up with her a year ago on Valentine’s Day. Since then she’s dedicated her life to growing her business. Love won’t destroy her again.

Kevin Poe loves Delphine but her constant interference in his teaching career drove a wedge between them. When one of Kevin’s students needed him, Delphine neglected to tell him. That was the final straw. If Delphine couldn’t stop trying to change him, then they shouldn’t be together.

Enter Red, a mystical and magical red dress sent to help Delphine rediscover love and realize she can’t control everyone and everything – including herself.

Yasmine ‘Yas’ Phoenix was born and raised in Virginia but calls Chicago home. She loves tennis, professional and amateur and plays in local leagues. Her writing block is the four major Grand Slams, Indian Wells, and other tournaments. No, she can’t tape then watch. Yas loves to read, especially murder mysteries. She is a Terry Pratchett, Discworld fan, and scans the news for potential plot ideas. Melding romance and paranormal in her stories is her goal. Yas always asks the question, “What if?” She is a sucker for old black and white movies like Casablanca on one hand, and Deadpool on the other. She believes her family is her greatest gift and support.

Learn more about Yasmine Phoenix on her website. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The paranormal and urban fantasy of Yasmine Phoenix and her new book The Chronicles of the Red Silk Dress. Book Two in the Witches Brew series that is a stand alone novel perfect for all fantasy lovers. Here’s a peek.

When love stalls, who are you going to call? Red a mystical and magical red dress created to help women discover love and recognize their self-worth.

Delphine Richards is the founder and CEO of Plum Events a successful party planning company in Chicago. The holidays are the busiest and Valentine’s Day is the last one of the season. Her employees work hard to create spectacular parties and stay out of Delphine’s way. She hates this day for lovers.

Kevin Poe, her fiancé, broke up with her a year ago on Valentine’s Day. Since then she’s dedicated her life to growing her business. Love won’t destroy her again.

Kevin Poe loves Delphine but her constant interference in his teaching career drove a wedge between them. When one of Kevin’s students needed him, Delphine neglected to tell him. That was the final straw. If Delphine couldn’t stop trying to change him, then they shouldn’t be together.

Enter Red, a mystical and magical red dress sent to help Delphine rediscover love and realize she can’t control everyone and everything – including herself.

Yasmine ‘Yas’ Phoenix was born and raised in Virginia but calls Chicago home. She loves tennis, professional and amateur and plays in local leagues. Her writing block is the four major Grand Slams, Indian Wells, and other tournaments. No, she can’t tape then watch. Yas loves to read, especially murder mysteries. She is a Terry Pratchett, Discworld fan, and scans the news for potential plot ideas. Melding romance and paranormal in her stories is her goal. Yas always asks the question, “What if?” She is a sucker for old black and white movies like Casablanca on one hand, and Deadpool on the other. She believes her family is her greatest gift and support.

Learn more about Yasmine Phoenix on her website. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

If paranormal and urban fantasy are your thing then you are sure to enjoy this debut novel from Yasmine Phoenix. Years of plotting and planning and rewriting gave life to Resurrection, Book One in the Witches Brew series. We hope you enjoy this introduction.

Sometimes to do good you have to do bad.

Sophia Sullivan is a dedicated doctor who is also a powerful but untrained witch. Sophia has worked hard to keep her two worlds apart. Recently her older brother died and her best friend committed suicide. Gabrielle’s mother is furious over her child’s death and holds Sophia’s womanizing brother responsible. Lady Morgan plots to use dark magic to open the portal that separates the living and the dead. She will return Sebastian to life and save her daughter’s soul. Two acts that mean either immediate death or the destruction of Chicago.

Sophia tries to stop the witch, fails, the portal opens, and her brother escapes. Now Sebastian needs a body. And that body becomes that of a young black man. Neither man is delighted.

Now Sophia has hard choices to make that include using her fledging magic. Choices she spent her life avoiding. Can she save her friend’s soul, return her brother to the other side of the portal, and free the young man all within forty-eight hours and not be discovered by the Pagan leaders? She must decide to either honor her oath as a doctor and save a life, or her oath as a witch to protect Chicago even if it means her death.

EXCERPT
“I’m going to save my daughter’s immortal soul. She’s been denied an afterlife because of her suicide. If anyone is unfit, it’s your brother. What did he get for his transgressions when he died? Perpetual reflection. He’s just as much responsible as if he’d poured those pills down her throat. Again the rich and powerful get away with murder.” The word dripped sarcasm and disgust from her lips.

“Lady Morgan, you’re not listening to me. You haven’t thought through what could go wrong.”

“I found an ancient spell that will allow me to save my child.”

“Opening the portal is dangerous and forbidden.”

“I don’t care.”

“You could release him…”

“I don’t care.”

“You could kill yourself and William.”

“I don’t care.”

“You could fail to save Gabrielle’s soul.”

“Then we all die.” She shrieked and raised her knife at me. Then she calmed down and smiled. The type of smile that told you the person believed what they were doing was right and they were crazy.

William mouthed, ‘Sorry’ as tears streamed down his ashen face.

I lowered my head and closed my eyes. Our families had been close for years. Gabrielle and I grew up together. We shared vacations and secrets. She cared for me during my med school days. I found her body. She addressed her suicide note to me. If anyone had the insane idea to save her soul, “t should have been me.

“You aren’t strong enough to open the portal.” I made one final desperate attempt.

“Well look around sweetie. The portal is opening. It seems the all mighty Pagan council and the legendary Peregrine coven don’t know everything.” Lady Morgan tapped her temple with her finger.

Don’t call me, sweetie.

I clenched my fists as anger and sympathy jockeyed for control. My magic raged to be turned loose and battle the witch.

Lightning struck the brick. Bits exploded on the ground. My eardrums throbbed with its loud crackle. Lady Morgan returned to her ceremony and ignored me. I was no threat to her as long as I remained outside the circle. I had to convince her invite me in, and then…. The fog closed in on the circle. I stumbled forward and placed myself between it and Lady Morgan.

Richard offered his arm for support.

“Well she’s gone old school,” he said.

“Resurrection spell?”

He nodded.

“Enlighten me. My knowledge of ancient dark rituals is rather light. And make it quick.”

“If you want to save the soul of a witch who has committed suicide, she must confront the reasons for taking her life. Once they do and beg forgiveness from the person her death hurt the most, she could be forgiven, her soul cleansed, and she might be granted an afterlife.”

“Might? Could?” I tried to dissect the components of the spell. Something was off, missing. Gabrielle had been dead five days. She wasn’t inside the portal – yet.

The fog whirled faster. Its low moan morphed into a high screech. Richard’s mouth moved but I couldn’t hear what he said.

“What?”

“Gabrielle isn’t on the other side. Lady Morgan wants—.

“Sebastian!” She held him responsible for Gabrielle’s death. She was going to make him pay for all the pain she’d suffered.

“No Lady Morgan, don’t release him. I demand you stop.”

I stepped closer. Perspiration sizzled on my cheeks. She ignored me. Richard reached for my arm.

Lady Morgan smiled as if she were winning. Her smile waned when she looked at the fog. Her eyes lit up with fear. A skeletal leg stepped out and then its fleshless bony body.

The immense magic was mesmerizing.

It was beautiful.

Hypnotic.

Deadly.

“Lady Sophia Sullivan.”

Richard’s voice snapped me back. The skeletal figure strolled past me. Its preternatural presence pulled me close. Its confident stride, arrogant demeanor reminded me of my brother. I sensed Sebastian’s presence.

“Lady Morgan’s shoulders slumped. She tried to catch her breath. She’d pushed her magic to the brink and it was killing her. There was no way she could finish, but she’d opened the portal.

“Lady Morgan, I offer my assistance.” The words tumbled out of my mouth.
]
“What? Are you kidding?” Richard squeezed my arm.

I rubbed his fingers and then stepped away. “Trust me and follow my lead,” I whispered. I swallowed the urge to vomit. I wasn’t going to let anyone die tonight and I wasn’t going to let him out.

“I… don’t… don’t… need …your help.”

There was fear and doubt in her voice. I used it, convinced her I was on her side, at least until she granted me entrance.

“Yes you do. You’re weakening under the power of the portal. William can hardly hold himself upright. You need….” The name seared my tongue. “You need a Peregrine. You need — me.”

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Yasmine ‘Yas’ Phoenix was born and raised in Virginia but calls Chicago home. She loves tennis, professional and amateur and plays in local leagues. Her writing block is the four major Grand Slams, Indian Wells, and other tournaments. No, she can’t tape then watch. Yas loves to read, especially murder mysteries. She is a Terry Pratchett, Discworld fan, and scans the news for potential plot ideas. Melding romance and paranormal in her stories is her goal. Yas always asks the question, “What if?” She is a sucker for old black and white movies like Casablanca on one hand, and Deadpool on the other. She believes her family is her greatest gift and support.

Learn more about Yasmine Phoenix on her website. Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Read Full Post »