Getting Inspired with Daredevil + Firefly

You know you’re entering the world of the story when someone asks you want you’re reading lately and all you can think about is your story.

That’s what I’m going through. When I think back to my week, I can only think about the prequel I just finished for my YA fantasy series (Paulette’s story between books 1 and 3, and the next magical contemporary romance novel I’ll be writing soon (the next in my Touchstone series, tentatively called, Bringers of the Rose).

So, not a lot to talk about this week as I dive deep into story.

When I’m diving deep, I do enjoy lots of other stories. I am getting inspired.

This week I binge watched the rest of Daredevil (Oh wow, Charlie Cox as Daredevil is amazing)


and saw a few back-to-back episodes of Firefly (just love it; a great example of a perfect ensemble piece, IMHO).


Also, last weekend Ezra and I saw Antman (We highly recommend it; great writing, humor, and humanity)



and the new Fantastic Four (hmmm, different, darker, less superhero like).


I love inhaling all these stories. Soon I will close the door more and more often to the world as I take my next steps in edits and in crafting a new novel.

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Prizes + Party = Fun

Henrietta and the Dragon StoneI’m excited to be attending Catharine Bramkamp’s Facebook release party on Thursday, August 13.

FUTURE GOLD by Catharine Bramkamp
FUTURE GOLD by Catharine Bramkamp

We’re celebrating the release of book 2, Future Gold, in her series of fun time-traveling strong girls, really young women.

Stop by for prizes and goodies from Catharine and me and the other cool author guests.

The theme is “Girls Kick Ass.”

We do and our stories do.





I’ll be giving away:

More about these books here:

So come join us from 12noon-4pm Pacific/3-7pm Eastern on Thursday, August 13, 2o15.

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Touchstone of Love: About love transcending time

-about love transcending time. It wasThanks to Arianne at Provocative Pages for reviewing Touchstone of Love the first story in my Touchstone Series.

She said:

“This book was about love transcending time. It was quite beautiful. I’d recommend it if you want a short and sweet read :)”

You can read the rest of the sweet and short review here.

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A roller coaster of emotions: 5 Star Review for Henrietta and the Dragon Stone (Book 2)

HEN2 bk reviewThank you, babyjewelz301, for your really lovely 5-star review of Henrietta and the Dragon Stone (Book 2 of the Five Kingdoms Series).

A truly riveting tale of a strong heroine. In this second book of the series Beth takes us on an extraordinary journey full of tears, excitement and adventure. I keep falling in love with Frac as we see how he changes from the first book with his growing feelings for our heroine and his need to be her protector. The writing, plot and character development were all very well executed. I was unable to put the book down as I wanted to join Henrietta, the ambassador on her quest to save the future of the five kingdoms. It is a must read for anyone and everyone. Once you pick up a Beth Barany book, you will not want to put it down until it’s over. Once it’s over you wish it wasn’t. It has definitely been one of my favorite series thus far.


More about Book 2 here. And about Henrietta The Dragon Slayer (Book 1) here.

Thank you, babyjewelz301! I’ll let you know when Book 3 is ready! I’m working on it.

If you’d like to be notified of the next book in the continuing adventures of Henrietta the Dragon Slayer, sign up for my newsletter here.


Special!: Get advanced notice of special goodies, parties, + sales!

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Adventurous Heroines by James DiBenedetto

scene_nine_by_meglikescookiesPlease help me welcome James DiBenedetto as he shares with us on our occasional Monday series on  “Adventurous Heroines.” Enjoy!


Sara, the heroine of my Dream Series, wouldn’t call herself adventurous.  She’d probably say that adventure has been thrust upon her – starting one night in college when she began stepping into other people’s dreams.  Before that night, she was a pretty ordinary person.  Her main worries were getting through final exams, starting on her application to medical school and getting her Christmas shopping done.

Everything changed with the dreams.  Thanks to them, over the course of the books she’s hunted down a serial killer, saved one of her teachers from a would-be murderer, uncovered a blackmail plot between a mobster and a corrupt Congressman, and a lot more.  She’s nearly been killed three times, wound up in the hospital six times, nearly gone to prison twice and performed emergency surgery on two different family members.  That’s adventurous enough for anyone!

Sara hasn’t travelled as much as she’d like to – medical school, residency and life as a doctor keep her busy, and so do her five kids!  But in the eighth book of the series, Dream Vacation, she finally does get to go on, well, a dream vacation, to Paris.  Except it turns into a nightmare when her teenage daughter is seduced by a Parisian boy and runs away.

Sara’s trip to Paris was inspired partly by my own visit there.  It’s a gorgeous city, and I intend to go back, because the 4 days I spent there were nowhere near enough to see even a fraction of the things I want to visit!  There are other places I want to go (Bayreuth, Germany, for the annual Wagner festival; Rome, to visit my relatives who still live in the “old country”), but Paris is on the top of my list.

That trip helped to inspire one of Sara’s adventures, but what inspires me to write about her in general is Sara herself – over the course of nine books, she’s become a living, breathing person, and she demands that her stories be told.  She’s grown from a shy, single 21-year-old student to a wife, mother of five, and an accomplished doctor who runs her own hospital.  I think that’s pretty impressive!



James DiBenedettoAs for me, all I do is put her adventures down on paper by night.  By day, I’m a marketing professional, married to my own lovely wife, well-trained by my cat, Danny, and I love the opera, fondue and my original hometown New York Giants.

You can follow me and my books at my website:  You can also find me on Twitter at and on Facebook at  And all my books are on Amazon at

You can find Dream Vacation, the book I mentioned, at

Dream Vacation Ben walks right up to the artist – a young woman, maybe twenty, maybe not.  She’s wearing a smock that’s got paint all over it, but beneath that is a skirt that’s cut somewhere above her knees, and her shoes are more stylish than anything I’ve ever owned.  She grins at Ben.  “My young monsieur.  I shall make a picture for you, oui?”  Ben looks to me.  Obviously this is going to cost us money, but we’re on vacation, right?

I nod, and he answers, “Oui,” in a passable accent.

Bon,” the girl says.  “You will pose.  You and your – what is the word?  Sister, oui?  She gets up from her easel, takes Ben and then Steffy by the hand, and positions them near the Metro sign.  “You will stay.  I will be rapide.  Fast, yes?  Is that how you say?”  Ben nods, grinning himself from ear to ear.  Steffy isn’t quite as thrilled, but she puts something close to a smile on her face and goes along with it.

Our artist – Helene, we quickly learn – is indeed rapide.  She takes maybe twenty minutes, and she produces a very cute portrait of the twins.  And on closer inspection, she really captured their personalities.  Ben is all wide-eyed innocence, while eyes a lot older than eight and a half peer out from Steffy’s face.  She hands the picture to me – she used acrylic paint, so it’s already pretty much dry – and I hand it around to everyone in turn.  After much ooh-ing and aah-ing, Helene looks to Brian and me expectantly.

I knew this part was coming, and she definitely earned something.  Before I can say or do anything, Brian reaches into his pocket and emerges with a hundred euros, all of which he hands to the girl.  I start to say something – the words make it all the way from my brain nearly to my lips before I catch myself.  We’re on vacation.  And how many people have a sort-of-professionally painted portrait of their children?

She wasn’t expecting quite that much, but she covers her reaction quickly; her wide eyes narrow, and she affects a bored almost-sneer as she says, “Merci, monsieur,” and stuffs the money somewhere underneath her smock. I’m guessing we just paid for a very nice evening out for Helene and a couple of her friends.

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Lovely 4 Star Review for Henrietta The Dragon Slayer (This review made me cry!)

HEN1- -...a wonderful book ( Thank you, Kelly, for the lovely 4-star review of Henrietta The Dragon Slayer on her site

She said:


… Henrietta was a beautiful character and a true to life representation of many people I know, especially in a world like today where most aren’t too forgiving.

The Storyline

I really enjoyed reading this book because of the story line. It’s a plot that I have yet to see in any books I have read and I honestly loved following it. It was less about actually slaying a dragon and more about the characters truly finding themselves and finding their “home”, so to speak. Keep this in mind when you read it! Don’t go into this book thinking that there is just going to be blood and guts everywhere from a dragon slayer doing her job. This book has a lot more depth than that!

The secondary characters…

Meeting the secondary characters in this book was a nice breath of fresh air.

There was no romantic attraction…

This was GREAT! I really wanted to read a book where the heroine was more focused on the task at hand, on finding herself and solving her problems, BEFORE she got into a romantic relationship. This is EXACTLY what I needed and I’m so thankful that Beth wrote her novel this way.

Kelly, you made me cry with this comment:

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Beth Barany for loving Henrietta so much that you made her fall in love the way she’s supposed to; with trust, friendship, and a solid idea of who she is.

Overall, I honestly loved reading about Henrietta the Dragon Slayer and I can’t wait to read the sequel! I’m giving this book four hearts!

Thank you so much, Kelly! The sequel is on its way to you!!!

Here’s some hearts for you!

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Evoking a Fantasy World by Rahima Warren

Tour BadgePlease welcome a guest post on evoking a fantasy world by author, Rahima Warren. I’m excited to share this post with since she’s announcing her second book in her fantasy trilogy, The Star-Seer’s Prophecy, called, Fierce Blessings.  I loved book 1, Dark Innocence, and featured her on my writing blog when that book came out a few years ago.


When reading a fantasy set in a different (non-historical) world or time, I find it jarring if the characters’ names are old familiar ones from our everyday reality.

Why would people in a strange time/place have names like Steven or Julia?

Also, why would they use the same words to refer to time or distance that we do?

Convenient for the writer perhaps, but too familiar for me as a reader.


In my fantasy trilogy, The Star-Seer’s Prophecy, I tried to evoke a different world in subtle ways. For example, I avoid using our familiar measures of time. Instead of “minute,” I use “moment.” Instead of “week,” I use “quarter-moon.”

Many cultures measure time by that clock in the sky, the Moon.

For distance, I just referred to how many days a trip took.

And I had fun making up names and words to help evoke a different world.

I used two methods for creating these new words: listening/intuition, and research.


For most of my characters’ name, I start by ‘listening’ for a name, using my intuition.

Sometimes, that’s it.

I get it on the first try, like Zhovanya as the name of the Goddess in my trilogy.

For others, I play around with the sound of the name until it fits the character. And for some, the name evolves as I get to know the character better.

For example, originally Kyr’s name was Arik (which I believe relates to an old Nordic word for eagle). Somehow, I didn’t like the hard ‘k’ as the last sound of his name, so I changed it to Kyr (“keer” like “peer”), which to me sounds like the high, lonely cry of a hawk or eagle, and suits his character.

Over time, I noticed that there was a pattern in the way I was naming men vs. women, and changed a few names to fit that pattern, though there are some exceptions.

You might check out the Cast of Characters (in Book Extras) on my website, and see if you can detect the pattern.

I also ‘listened’ for the magical commands used by the Warrior-Mage, Rajani; for the names of magical potions; and for the sacred chants. (See the Glossary in Book Extras.)


In the case of the evil sorcerer-king called the Soul-Drinker, I found his name through researching the roots of words in the Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto. The Soul-Drinker’s name is Dauthaz, which comes from the Old English and Germanic roots of the word ‘death.’

This is also how I created the name of the land where the story takes place, and the terms used at the Sanctuary.

The land is named Khailaz, which is a prehistoric Germanic word, ancestor of our word, ‘whole.’ Adding the suffix –itha to khailaz produced khailitha, the root of our words, ‘health’ and ‘heal.’

From this, I made up the words kailitha (divine healing energy); Kailithana (a priestess-healer); Kailithara (healing work of the Kailithana); Kailithos (one who is undergoing the Kailithara); and Kailithama (sacred chamber in which the Kailithana works with the Kailithos).

I don’t recall exactly how I tracked down the roots from which I constructed Aithané (Listener, Confessor), Phanaithos (Speaker, Divulger), or Phanaithara (Divulgence, Confession). I believe they come from Greek roots meaning to listen, and to speak.

A few other words, I just made up. For example, I derived zhan (life force energy) from Zhovanya.

Now, admittedly, I am not Tolkien, creating whole languages, and races of fantastic creatures.

My focus is more on the inner world and healing ordeal of my hero, Kyr, than on detailed world-making.

However, I did do my best to evoke a different place/time by creating new words and names, and avoiding overly familiar names and terms.


As a reader, which do you prefer: familiar names and terms; or new and different ones?

As a writer, what is your approach to evoking a different world?


Tour Notes

Dark InnocenceThis week you can grab the first book in the Star-Seer’s Prophecy Trilogy for just 99 cents. That’s right Dark Innocence is marked way, way down, giving you the chance to explore this thought-provoking fantasy series for yourself.

Get your copy at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or iBooks today!

About Dark Innocence:  In an ancient world of blood sorcery and healing magic, the Soul-Drinker, a vicious necromancer-king, is draining the life from the souls of the people and of the earth itself. Worse yet, he has banished the land’s rightful Goddess, and disrupted the Sacred Balance, sending the mortal and divine realms whirling toward destruction.

The only hope for salvation is a youth named Kyr, born and raised as one of the Soul-Drinker’s blindly obedient slaves. Kyr knows only the pain, evil and cruelty of the Soul-Drinker’s hell–and nothing of the Star-Seer’s Prophecy that declares him to be the long-sought Liberator.

Rescued by strangers, Kyr embarks on a bewildering journey into a bizarre new life, where kindness and love are real. If he is to fulfill his destiny, he must battle his inner demons and fight to find his buried capacities for compassion and courage. Will he be able to surrender the inner ice that has been his soul’s only protection in time to save the world from disaster?


Fierce BlessingsYou can continue the saga with the newly released sequel Fierce Blessings.

About Fierce Blessings: No longer the dark innocent, Kyr has survived the first hell of the Star-Seer’s prophecy. After his sacred and transformative year at the Goddess’s Sanctuary, he has become a man of compassion, courage, and integrity. However, the terrible crimes he committed as the unwitting slave of the Soul-Drinker still weigh heavily on his soul. To atone, he plans to help his slave brothers find the same blessings he received from the Goddess: healing, forgiveness and love.

But before he can begin, his worst enemy tears him from the safety of the Sanctuary, and away from all the goodness and beauty he has come to know. Now Kyr must face the second hell foretold by the prophecy. Left chained outdoors like a dog for months, Kyr is subjected to beatings and derision by his captors. When the rains come, he is taken inside as servant and whore by their leader, who subjects Kyr to sorcerous torture, aiming to turn him into his will-less, mind-bonded slave. Far from any help, Kyr struggles to protect his soul from the seductive pull of all-too-familiar depravity, fight the temptations of hatred and despair, and continue on the hard path to forgiveness.

Will Kyr be able to keep faith with the Goddess Who saved his soul in time to renew the Sacred Balance and restore Her sovereignty? Or will he return to the foul slavery he has known most of his life? The fate of the land and the Goddess Herself depends on his choice.
Oh, and don’t forget to enter our giveaway for your chance to win an autographed copy of Fierce Blessings or a Star-Seer’s Prophecy t-shirt. We have a total of 4 prizes for 4 lucky winners, hooray!

Enter the giveaway right here:

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Henrietta The Dragon Slayer is #98 in Australia in “Other”

Henrietta The Dragon Slayer by Beth Barany, 2012 Grand Prize winner of the California Book Fiction Contest I love how I’m in the category “Other.”

Does that mean that this book is hard to categorize?!

The full category list is:

  • #98 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children’s & Young Adult > Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths > Other

I think this book is hard to categorize.

It is a quest story, but an unusual one. And…

It is a story of going from being a loner to having companions, friends even, but in a way Henrietta certainly didn’t expect. And…

It is the story of a young woman coming into her heart. This totally surprises her.

Readers tell me it feels like Henrietta could be their friend or that they could be Henrietta.

Read an excerpt here.

Read reviews here.

Read about Book 2, Henrietta and the Dragon Stone here.

I’m editing Book 3, Henrietta and the Horse Mesa (working title). I currently have just shy of 73,000-word story. I may write a new beginning. I certainly will lengthen the book as I edit. That always happens.

I was planning to have Book 3 published by January 2016, but now I’m not sure. These things take the time they take. Book 1 & 2 each took me 3-4 years to complete. Why? Henrietta is a so much a part of me that I need to be ready to take each step. As I grow, so does my understanding of the story.

If you’d like Sneak Peeks of Book 3 and other new releases, and a chance at Early Reader Copies, sign up for my about-monthly author newsletter here. You’ll get the Henrietta The Dragon Slayer prequel right away, as my thank you gift for signing up!


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Romance Readers, Sale at All Romance Ebooks Today!

Summer Blast at All Romance Ebooks, 25% off many books
Summer Blast at All Romance Ebooks, 25% off many books

AllRomanceEbooks is running a special sale, June 20th. All books are 25% off.

Stock up on your summer reading!

Our collection, Gargoyle: Three Enchanting Romance Novellas is included!

Gargoyle_cover_Barany-Keppler-Simpson_300x483Gargoyle: Three Enchanting Romance Novellas by Kay Keppler, Patricia Simpson

The mysterious lives of gargoyles. They don’t just hang out on buildings. They right wrongs. They wreak havoc. And they change the lives of unsuspecting people who never see them coming.

ON A WING AND A PRAYER BY Kay Keppler (Humorous Contemporary)
The hero…
Craig knows that Bea is in trouble. But Craig can’t do anything about it—because he’s a garden gargoyle and Bea can’t hear his warnings. When unexpected visitors arrive to help, Craig finds the power he had all along. Now the neighborhood will never be the same.

TOUCHSTONE OF LOVE by Beth Barany (Time Travel)
The touchstone…
When a thunderstorm transports software expert Rose Waldman to thirteenth century France, she meets hunky stonemason Julien, who is secretly creating a gargoyle in defiance of his master mason. Can independent gadget loving Rose trust her life and heart to Julien, and can she really never go home again?

THE MILLER’S DAUGHTER BY Patricia Simpson (Historical)
And the freak just trying to get along…
Sentenced to burn at the stake for sorcery, Merofled volunteers to help jaded warrior Alaric kill a gargoyle that threatens her village. But Merofled soon discovers the gargoyle is not a monster at all. It’s a misfit just like her. Can she persuade Alaric to spare the gargoyle–and herself?

Read an excerpt of “On A Wing and a Prayer” here.

Read an excerpt of “Touchstone of Love” here.

Read an excerpt of “A Miller’s Daughter” here.

Book Extras, including videos here

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Romancing the URL Contest: Please Vote! Viewer’s Choice voting

Author site

I got this email today! So yay, and please vote for me! My name “Beth Barany” is under “Multi-Genre Romance Authors.”

Please spread the word! Thanks!!!

Deadline to vote: Sunday, June 28th, midnight Central time.

Thank you for entering the 2015 Romancing the URL Contest!

Our coordinators are tabulating first-round scores and preparing finalist notifications, but let’s not let the judges have all the say! It’s time for the Viewer’s Choice voting.

Vote now and share widely – everyone can vote once per day until voting closes on Sunday 6/28, and the top vote-getter in each category wins!

Stay tuned for the finalist announcement, and good luck!

West Houston RWA
Romancing the URL Committee

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