Monday, May 22, 2017

In Honor of Eagles 1

I like eagles. I've spent a little time up close and personal at the Wild Raptor Center located in Eugene, OR. It's for rehabilitating and releasing all sorts of raptors including eagles, hawks, owls, and other predatory birds. If you're in the area, you should go visit.

Eagles appear in at least three of my books. Most likely, they got at least a passing reference in a couple others. Today, I'll feature the book with "eagle" right in the title. 

Eagle Quest - MG/YA Adventure Listed $8.99 at Amazon for Print, $2.99 for the ebook. If you want to pay less ($1.49) or get a different file format, then go get it at Smashwords.

Set in the Klamath Wildlife preserves in Southern Oregon, this book is about the Bald Eagle flyout area in Bear Valley. Yes, we have Bald Eagles like they were pigeons in the park around Oregon. And we're danged proud of our big birds. The cover shot was taken by Coralie, a professional wildlife photographer and my long-time friend. See her work on her website at http://www.mrsroadrunnerphotography.com/

Book Blurb:

Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual high school crowd as they are from each other. Mitch, the oldest of the four, is a half-breed Native American, adopted by white parents. Troubled that he doesn't know his tribe, he avidly studies Native American history and lore. 

Learning the nearby Bear Valley Wildlife Refuge is a bald eagle nesting site, he wants to add an eagle feather to his medicine bag and explore the refuge as a site for his Vision Quest, a Native American rite of passage. He and his three friends get far more than an overnight campout as they encounter a black bear, an old man living in the refuge, and a pair of eagle poachers. Bringing the poachers to justice, they test their courage and gain confidence in themselves and each other.

Want an excerpt?

“Hey, you guys!” Billy called out, “Look up ahead.”

“What is that?”

“It looks like feathers. Maybe they’re eagle feathers.”

As the kids walked nearer the pile of feathers, their smiles dropped away as they could discern the body of the large bird. There were feathers scattered around the body, but someone had removed the wings and cut the talons from the legs.

“Oh, man. That’s disgusting. Did something get it, like a bear?” Billy said as he looked down at the remains of the large bald eagle.

“No, it wasn’t an animal. Look at how they removed the wings. Done with a knife,” Mitch said through teeth gritted in anger at the desecration of the beautiful bird.

The stood in silence, looking down at the pitiful remains.

“Should we take some feathers?” Billy asked.

“No. It wouldn’t be right. That’s not how you’re supposed to get your feathers. You find one on the ground because the eagle has left it for you. To do this...this is horrible, just wrong,” Mitch said, feeling tears brimming in his eyes. He gave them a quick swipe, but saw that Fiona’s cheeks showed rivulets of the tears she was shedding.

“Poachers. It has to be poachers,” she said through her tears. “We’ve got to do something.”

“We could go back to the old man’s place. He must know the people in charge and can contact them,” Hap suggested.

The others were nodding, ready to turn around and head back to the old man’s cabin.
Mitch stopped. “No. We should find the poachers first. The eagle hasn’t been dead very long. 

Look,” he said as he pointed toward the pitiful bird, “Blood is still seeping from where they cut off the wings. I think the poachers are close by. If we can find them, we’ll have more information to give the people in charge.”

The others didn’t look too excited about the idea of tracking down poachers.

“I think it’s enough just to tell them about the eagle,” Hap said.

“That’s fine. You guys go back to the cabin, but I’m going to find the poachers.” Mitch began looking at the ground around where the eagle lay.

“Footprints. They head off in that direction,” he said and started following the trail. The others looked at each other, then one by one followed Mitch.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

In Honor of Cats (both normal and fae)

CAIT SIDHE 

Many many, many, many writers are in love with the Celtic myths. I’ve delved into them, too. However, I’m not a big fan of the flitty little cute faeries (or fae or fairies). In Celtic mythology, there’s a fairy (or fae or faerie) for just about any purpose. The “serious” fantasies love the idea of the fairy troupe. More than a few equate fairies to Arthurian legends, more specifically Merlin.

The third book in the Witches of Galdorheim series, Scotch Broom, is set in the Scottish Highlands. Of course, I had to include at least one fairy in the mix or I’d be violating some unwritten fantasy rule.

If you write Celtic fantasy, then you know that Sidhe is pronounced Shee in Ireland and Sith in Scotland. I wonder where George Lucas got Sith lords? Hmm.

Anyway, I found a particular sidhe I liked. She’s a big black cat with a white chest. Aha! I used to have the model for said cat (in a much reduced size) sitting at my door every morning demanding a handout. We called her Bitch Kitty. Yes, she had attitude in spades. So, she's my model for Cait Sidhe, a companion to my erstwhile heroine, Kat.

In the third book of the Witches of Galdorheim series, Kat has already found two companions: Sianach a stag and Cusith (another sidhe) a giant, green hound. They’re tromping through the swamps trying to find the Trow King’s hall in the middle of the Otherworld (the alternate magic world in the Scottish Highlands).

Excerpt from Scotch Broom:

They marched on in a straight line, having no better idea of which direction to go, while Cusith zigzagged ahead of them with his nose close to the earth. Suddenly, the green hound raised his head and bayed. A moment later, he galloped across the moor, water splashing when his huge paws hit the tiny pools.

“What’s up with him?” Kat asked.

Sianach lifted his chin for a better view. “He appears to be in pursuit of an animal of some type.”

“I hope he’s not hurting some little swamp creature.”

“If he is, then the beast is making Cusith pay for the privilege.”

Kat and Sianach walked faster after Cusith, the dog’s trail marked by flying grass and water. When Cusith finally stopped, Kat and Sianach trotted to catch up. The hound was standing over something furry and black that lay on the ground beneath his huge paw.

“No, don’t! Don’t hurt it,” Kat called out. Cusith turned his head toward her, tongue lolling.

“I won’t. It’s not food.”

Kat reached Cusith’s side and knelt down to examine the raggedy clump of ebony fur. It leapt up, scrabbling for a foothold, but Cusith clamped his paw down harder to hold it still.

“It’s a cat!” Kat reached out with her mind but met the same blank wall she had with Sianach and Cusith. So, she tried the old-fashioned way. “Here kitty, kitty. Nice kitty.” An ear-splitting yowl almost knocked Kat back on her rear.

“I am not your ‘nice kitty,’ you rude thing! I am Cait Sidhe; I’ll have you know. Surely, this stag...and mutt...have heard of me.”

Sianach, who stood to one side to stay out of the fray, nodded his elegant head. “Yes, I know you. Not that it is a pleasure.”

The cat hissed and swiped a pawful of razor sharp claws across Cusith’s foot. The big dog quickly released the black cat. “Sorry. Just having some fun.”

Cait sat up and licked a couple of swipes over the white spot on her chest.

“Now you’ve covered me with mud. It’ll take hours to get clean again.”

* * *

SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Kat is on her way to an exciting trip to Stonehenge but is led astray by a jealous rival. Caught in the Otherworld within the Scottish Highlands with a has-been goddess trying to kill her, Kat has to defeat the goddess and rescue her brother from the hag's clutches.

At Amazon in ebook and print.
At Smashwords (all ebook formats). Name your own price, including free.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

In Honor of Orcas

Not All Tall, Dark, and Handsome Heroes are Human

Heroes don’t need to be human or even a sexy male alien. When a witch’s power is speaking to animals, a hero can turn up anywhere, even in the middle of an icebound arctic sea.

In the Witches of Galdorheim series, Katrina the teen witch, has the ability to speak with animals. She doesn’t even know she has this ability until she leaves her home, Galdorheim Island. Since the island is somewhere in the middle of the Barents Sea above the Arctic circle, leaving home isn’t a walk in the park. Crossing iced over water in bitter cold weather is hard enough, but when the ice starts to break up and some dangerous creatures appear, it becomes a life-threatening situation. Kat and her brother, Rune, confront an angry and sleepy polar bear. He wasn’t in the mood to chat.

Fortunately for the kids, a HERO appears. Just because he happens to be an orca (killer whale) makes him no less heroic.

I’ll let the whale tell his own tale.

Salmon the Orca Hero

Chchchchch skreak! That be hello in human people talk. My name be Salmon Hunter because I so good hunting the fish. My friend Kat Witch call me Salmon.

When I meet her for first time, I save her from a white tooth she say human people call polar bear. This first time, I save Kat Witch from sinking too deep in the ocean. I think she should learn swim better, but I not blame her since she without fins or flukes. Funny thing the whitetooth awake. Should be in den this season. Too early to wake up. I think some bad magic wake him up to kill Kat Witch. She says that's truth. A shaman, she says.

Other times I save Kat Witch when she in trouble. All these savings written in books, but I never learn to read human words. Besides, books get too wet in the ocean. Soon fall apart.

The others of my pod don't speak to Kat Witch. They be what human people call stuck up. Think they're too good to speak to her. I think it best thing ever! It like getting new toy. Orcas love play. Spend most of time hunting, but playing is important too.

She a lucky Kat Witch to have me be her friend. I think she die many times if me doesn’t save her. She say I be her hero. Me say I’m just Salmon Hunter, the smartest and best looking killer whale in the seas.

Someday I visit Kat Witch home. It island named Skeckkeeech. It mean witches’ home. It way north and hard to find, but Salmon can find anything! Salmon is a hunter, after all. Here be part of the story showing me saving Kat Witch's life for first time.

Excerpt from Bad Spelling

Over the cracking and groaning of the ice breaking up, Kat heard a loud chitter, and then a high-pitched whistle. She stopped so suddenly Rune ran into her. Catching him before he fell, she moved him to one side and turned back toward the orca, her eyes wide with surprise.

“What did you say?” she asked.

“Chchchchch skreak!” the orca answered.

Rune looked at the orca; then his sister; then back to the orca. He leaned close to Kat’s ear. “You understand it?” he whispered.

Kat nodded, edging back to the orca, careful of her footing on the slippery ice.

Kakkakakkak cheechee,” the orca screeched.

“Thank you. I didn’t think the bear seemed very friendly either.”

Kat looked over at her brother, who stood staring at her open-mouthed. “Better shut that, little brother, before your teeth freeze.” Her eyes sparkled with delight. Rune closed his mouth and zipped the hood up over his face.

In a muffled voice, he exclaimed, “You can… You really can talk to animals!”

“Excuse me a moment, Mr. Orca,” she said to the big dolphin. She turned to Rune, her face lit up with a delighted grin. “I guess I can. But why so surprised? You were the one who suggested I could.”

Kat turned back to the killer whale. “I think it’s because he,” she nodded at the orca, “is a highly evolved being. At least, that’s what he’s telling me.” After a pause, Kat giggled and said, “Must be why you can’t understand him, Rune!”

Rune slapped a glare on her then suppressed a smile. “Very funny, Kat. So funny, I forgot to laugh.”

She chatted happily with the orca when several more huge black and white heads popped up through the gaps in the ice. Rune and Kat had to step back again as the ice splintered with sharp cracking sounds.

“Back up, Kat, back up,” Rune said. For the first time in her life, Kat heard fear in Rune’s voice.
“You don’t need to be afraid.”

“I’m not. At least, I’m not afraid of the whales—”

“Orcas.”

“Orcas, then. It’s the ice breaking up. We could get dumped in the water.”

As if saying it made it true, the ice split once more. The crack exposing the frigid sea raced toward Rune and Kat. Before they could get traction to run, the ice floe created by the splintering tipped up and both of them fell into the water.

Kat’s parka filled with the icy water, and she sank. The sudden, intense cold knocked the breath out of her. She tried to claw her way back to the surface, but the weight of the parka kept dragging her down. Looking up, she could see Rune above her, thrashing toward the air. Blackness clouded the edges of her vision, and her struggles weakened.

Strangely, Kat felt warm. This is nice, she thought. Her arms floated out from her sides as she sank deeper.

Something big and black came up under Kat, and she rose up through the frigid water. She reached out with one hand and grasped a rubbery fin with all the strength she had left. The orca pushed her to the surface and shoved her out of the water. She landed face first on the ice.

About the Book

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Buy Sites: Ebooks 
Free on Smashwords (all ebook formats)

Blurb:

If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home.

Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.

The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Happy Constitution Day, Norway!

Today (yesterday from my Oregon POV) Norway comes together to celebrate syttende mai (17th of May), the anniversary of the signing of the Norwegian constitution. Norway is a Constitutional Monarchy. King Harald V has competed in several Olympic Games (in sailing). Like Queen Elizabeth II of England, King Harald has a symbolic and representational role as sovereign. Parliament makes the laws. Even a king knows his place in a democracy.
Although Norway didn’t become fully independent until 1905, the Eidsvoll agreement of 1814 was nevertheless a pivotal moment in Norway’s history, declaring Norway independent from Denmark. Just a few months later an independent union with Sweden began, so celebrations to mark the constitution were muted for years to come.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

In Honor of Unicorns

A Diamond of a Companion

“There was green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born
The loveliest of all was the unicorn.”
Lyrics and Music by Shel Silverstein

This song kept running through my brain when I wrote about Diamond, a lonely unicorn, who meets up with Kat in her travels through the Otherworld. Naturally, unicorns are drawn to...um...maidens, so Diamond immediately joins Kat’s journey to help her in whatever way he can. That’s what a unicorn is all about, right?

Lately, I’ve seen at least two books which portrayed vicious unicorns, but in both cases, the aberration was a result of some type of black magic. Unicorns are always good, rainbows and lollypops, paragons of virtue, and all-round nice guys when it comes to their attachments to innocent girls.

But is Diamond all good? Does he really have Kat’s best interests at heart? Guess you’ll have to read more than this excerpt from Scotch Broom to find out.

Excerpt from Scotch Broom

Kat spotted Cait Sidhe angling backward to the same spot where Sianach and Cusith were converging. Frustrated by the soggy muck, Kat could only slog slowly across the swamplands. As she neared her three companions, she spotted a pond. About twenty feet across, it was bigger than most of the scattered pools sprinkling the bogs. Tall grassy bunches topped with white, feathery tufts hid much of the pond from view. When Kat finally came near enough to see the surface, she stopped to stare.

Two horses sloshed in the pool. Sunk up to their hocks in the water, they struck at each other with raised forelegs. Strangely, neither horse whinnied or screamed, but the sounds of their huffing breath made it clear they were both near exhaustion. One horse was sky blue, the other snow white. Kat looked harder and thought she saw...yes! A horn grew from the white horse’s forehead. A unicorn! A smile spread across her face before a scowl of concern quickly replaced it. Blood ran down the unicorn’s neck, splashing into the scummy, green pond water turning it a noxious brown.

The two creatures, their muscles rippling, hooves slinging the muck into the air, appeared to be matched in strength. Steamy breaths came out in blasts from the blue horse’s dilated nostrils. Kat lifted first one leg then the other out of the mire, only to have them sucked down again. Now up to her knees, she could hardly move at all. She’d lost one shoe somewhere along the way and would have to spell another up as soon as she figured out what to do about the battling beasts.

Kat reached out with her thoughts, trying to break into the mind of either the unicorn or the blue horse, but hit the same frustrating wall blocking her ability to read animal thoughts. Then, she heard something in her head.

Help me!” It was the unicorn pleading for aid. For a moment, Kat was puzzled. She had not been able to hear the thoughts of the other creatures in the Otherworld. She felt the sincerity in the plea and had to help the unicorn.

The edge of the pond had a raised bank, which kept the water from streaming across the bogs. Kat glanced around but couldn’t see anything to use as a weapon. Pulling her legs out of the muck, she climbed atop the small berm. When the battle moved her direction, she bent her knees and jumped as far as she could. Grabbing the long mane of the blue horse, she pulled herself forward and slung both arms around its powerful neck. At first, she thought she had him when his head ducked toward the water. Her grip didn’t last long.

The blue horse reared back on its hind legs, but Kat held on, her body whipping back and forth under the horse’s neck. When its forelegs came down hard, her hold slipped. Plunging toward the water, her stomach knotted, and she held her breath. But when her feet hit the bottom the water was not quite waist deep. She fell backward onto her rear end with her head just above the surface. Kat let out her breath in relief...until she looked up into a wide-opened mouth full of black teeth surrounded by a flash of blue. It lunged at her head. She tensed her shoulders and brought her arms to cover her face in a feeble attempt to protect herself.

The unicorn had jumped backward when Kat launched herself at the blue horse. Now it lunged forward with its head down, its spiral horn pointed at the breast of the blue horse. The blue reared, barely avoiding the unicorn’s attack.

Kat risked a glance while she struggled to stand. She saw Sianach, Cusith, and Cait Sidhe were all standing around the pond, looking on with interest, but doing nothing.

“Why don’t you help?” she screamed at them.

“Who would you have us help?” asked Sianach with a mild tone.

“Me,” Kat yelled.

Cusith jumped into the pond and slogged his way through the shallow water to her side. “Grab hold, and I’ll get you out.” Kat clutched his neck and pulled herself to her feet. Looking around, she saw that the two horses stood still at opposite sides of the pool, their heads down, sides heaving.

“What is this? I cannot believe you, you people! All I wanted was to take my Winter Abroad. But could it be that simple? No! Instead, I get a bunch of gladiator animals all intent on proving whose attitude is bigger! What is wrong with you...you...see! I don’t even know what to call you!” She waded ashore holding Cusith’s fur to keep herself upright.

Sianach laughed his bugling, grunting laugh. “Not an attitude comparison at all. These two are quite intent on killing each other.”

* * *

SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Kat is on her way to an exciting trip to Stonehenge but is led astray by a jealous rival. Caught in the Otherworld within the Scottish Highlands with a has-been goddess trying to kill her, Kat has to defeat the goddess and rescue her brother from the hag's clutches.






On Smashwords:
Witches of Galdorheim Series (3-Volume Book) $4.99
   Bad Spelling Free on Smashwords
   Midnight Oil $1.99 on Smashwords
   Scotch Broom $1.99 on Smashwords
   Spellslinger Free on Smashwords

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Something Different for Mother's Day

BUY THE EBOOK, LEAVE A COMMENT HERE, GET THE AUDIO BOOK FREE! 
(Free gift via Audible.com, no membership required)

Mothers Day is coming up on Sunday and you still have time to get her something nice. If your mom is in the same generation as my mom grew up in the 20's and 30's, experienced WWII as an adult, and is fond of stories set in rural America, this is a book she will enjoy. Also, if she's sight-impaired, it's available in a Large Print paperback and audio book.

These are stories about my father. He's passed now, but he took great pleasure reading his almost true tall tales. I think you'll enjoy them too. The descriptions of stories below are of particular interest to mothers.

Here are the buy links:
Large Print Paperback Amazon
Ebook:  Kindle Ebook - Buy the ebook for only $2.99 and get the audio book for $1.99 only at Amazon or get it free by leaving a comment with contact info.
Audiobook (also available through AmazonAudible.com $1.99 (most of the time)

Ma’s Story

Mothers have their own joys and sorrows. Too often they keep their feelings to themselves and even their own families don’t know.

WHEN I WAS a boy, my Ma was a woman of few words, which surprised quite a few folks. The town ladies came out to visit on occasion and she’d go to town to return the favor, but mostly she listened. That did set her apart from the gossipers and them that just liked to talk to hear themselves.

Crossin’ the Creek

Kids went to school, but they didn’t exactly catch the school bus outside the house. Getting to school could be an adventure.

IT’D BEEN RAINING forty days and forty nights is what Ma said, but I only counted up eleven days myself. She did tend to put things in Bible sayin’s, so I won’t say she was lyin’, just exaggeratin’ for effect.


The Thief

The Great Depression was beginning to seep into the lives of the people in West Texas. Insulated to some extent, they began to see the repercussions of the droughts by the people who came south from Oklahoma for relief from the dust storms.

IT ALWAYS MEANS a good time when Pa lets me go with him in the truck. I liked the truck a lot and sometimes he’d let me drive a ways, too. This time, Pa planned on goin’ further than Hereford. We were goin’ to go to Amarillo, the trip some fifty miles. It would take us most of one day to get there and do what we needed to do, so we’d have to camp overnight somewhere along the way.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Excerpt from an Unfinished Book

Not having much else to do with my life, I've been trying to write the fifth book of the Witches of Galdorheim series. Here's a reminder of what the series is all about. Buy at Amazon or Smashwords (except the unfinished work which you'll just have to wait for).

Bad Spelling: A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Midnight Oil: Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Scotch Broom: A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Spellslinger (Prequel Short Story): What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart. That things will go horribly wrong is a given. But how does Rune get into and out of the predicament?

Blood Ties Tested (Rune's Story): Traumatized by the events in Scotch Broom, Rune is sent to his father's castle for rest and rehab. Problem is his dad is a vampire living with a family of vampires being pursued by Van Helsing's grand-nephew. How can a teen get over PTSD when he's fighting for his life?

Excerpt from Blood Ties Tested:

“What is it? Don’t tell me it’s  a giant moth, like in the Godzilla movies.” Rune planted his hands on his hips and looked deep into his father’s eyes. Drakos looked away. “What’s it called? Mothra? Got a couple of little Japanese girls singing in a cage?”

Drakos stared upward. “No Japanese girls, Rune. Just a gigantic bug with an attitude.” He sighed. “And it’s a vampire.”

“Rad!” Rune dropped his hands and peered over Drakos’s shoulder. “Where? Can you see it?”

“Aye. And I believe it’s the last of its kind.” Drakos turned to stare through the trees. “It sounds a whole lot like it’s trying to fry itself.”

Rune stepped around Drakos and moved ahead. His father grabbed his arm. “Rune, I’ll go. I’m, um, the adult here. You stay put.”

“But, Dad...”

“Don’t argue. I know you’re stalwart and brave, all that human stuff, but a mahr is more than you can handle. Trust me.”

“Why should we be afraid if the...mahr, you called it...is trying to commit suicide?”

“Not suicide. It’s attracted to the light like any moth, but it also goes to the light because that’s where it finds its prey—humans to be precise.” Drakos put his arm around Rune’s shoulders and hugged him. Rune shrugged him off. The elder vampire took a step back and whacked Rune’s temple with the makeshift club. Rune dropped to the ground like a sack of spuds. Drakos leaned over his son and gently rearranged him into a more comfortable position. He whispered, “Biel will kill anybody who goes after it, son. And I’m not going to let it be you.”

Drakos stood up and slapped the club on his palm a couple of times. He took a deep breath and went into the light.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Book Review - A Gathering of Rebels, Vol. 2 by Aeros

A Gathering of Rebels (2): Volume 2A Gathering of Rebels (2): Volume 2 by Aeros
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if an alien wrote a novel based on their own world, leaving it behind on some abandoned moon of some planet going around a star which can't be seen from Earth?

Say, some future explorers discover the manuscript and find a way to translate it into English, but leave the alien style intact.

It wouldn't be surprising if it read a lot like "A Gathering of Rebels," volumes 1 and 2.

This is what struck me most about this hard scifi 2-volume epic. I feel its alienness while still being able to understand the motives, actions, and feelings of the characters. It will always be not human.

That's what makes this a unique book in my experience. It's as fascinating as finding ancient writings which were only translated by the discovery of the Rosetta Stone.

Don't start reading if you don't want to think hard about what's here unless you're from the universe explored in these volumes.

Just a note: Volume 2 is not a sequel, but a continuation of the story begun in volume 1. I think the two volumes could be combined in ebook format now, but were in separate volumes originally because of the length limitations on deadwood books.



View all my reviews

Monday, May 01, 2017

May Days 2017


My desk calendar lists lots of "special days" each month. While looking at May to find the all-important Mother's Day, I noticed some other special days in May.

May 1st-31st - Mental Health Month (Do we get mental health or lose it?)
May 5th - Cinco de Mayo (Hola, Amigos)
May 14th - Mother's Day (of course)
May 19th - National Bike to Work Day
May 20th - Armed Forces Day (Go Troops!)
May 22nd - Abraham Lincoln Receives First (and only) presidential patent
May 24th - National Brother Day (Go Bros!)
May 25th - National Senior Health and Fitness Day
May 28th - National Burger Day
May 29th - Memorial Day
May 31st - World No Tobacco Day

They didn't mention May Day (workers solidarity), Kentucky Derby Day, Victoria Day (go Canada!), National Brother Day (hi bro!), National Burger Day, and a bunch of other days I think somebody just decided to make a Day of it.

In addition, my calendar provides the following advice in the margins:

Increase bone health with weight-bearing exercises like walk.

Osteoporosis things and weakens bones, especially in older women. For more information about prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, visit www.nof.org.

It's nice of my health insurance company to dedicate most of this month to people just like me. Happy May to Moms, Crazy People, Seniors, and People with Osteoporosis.

I was never in the military, but my father, brother, and husband were, so my best to both active duty and veteran military.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Happy BIrth/Death Day, Will Shakespeare

In honor of William Shakespeare's birthday and, coincidentally, his deathday as well, I thought to give you a taste of how one of my characters likes to quote the Bard, but only MacBeth.

Cailleach the Winter Goddess
From Scotch Broom, Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series

Cailleach is a goddess in the Scottish Celtic pantheon. Descriptions of her looks and personality run the gamut from ugly monster or beautiful protector of the land. This split personality goddess is the winter counterpart to the beautiful Bride (Bridget), the goddess of spring.

Living in the Otherworld after the Celts have stopped worshipping the old ones, Cailleach has let herself go to seed. She spends her days attempting to make sense of the hags’ potion in MacBeth (Double, double, toil and trouble). When she hears that a witch has come into the Otherworld, she begins to scheme. If Cailleach can only steal the witch’s magic, she can be young and powerful again.

Excerpt

The warty witch peered into the cauldron. “It’s time. How did that spell go? You’d think I’d have memorized it by now. Ah, yes.”

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw,

Cailleach dumped the slimy, mottled-brown contents of a glass jar into the cauldron.

Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one

“Let me see. Is this thirty or thirty-one days since I found the frog under the log. It says ‘cold stone’, but I’d think a cold log would work as well.”

Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first in the charmed pot.

Cailleach sniffed. “Hmm, does this look venomous, or just rotten?”

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

“Well, it’s bubbling. That’s good. Now, which of these mortars has the newt’s eye? That one looks more like a lizard’s leg, or is that goat’s gall?”

For five hundred years, she had been trying to make the spell work, and it always thwarted her. Some ingredients the weird sisters named when cooking up the brew just weren’t right. Either the witches made a mistake, or that Will Shakespeare fellow had written it wrong. Still, the notion appealed to her and she had plenty of time on her hands to play with the formula. She pushed the cauldron closer to the fire and watched the noxious eruptions rise to the top, then burst like so many boils on a beggar’s face.

* * *
Scotch Broom, Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Buy the ebook and get the audio book for only $1.99

Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

While dodging the goddess’ minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too. Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Book Review - The Curse Servant by J.P. Sloan

The Curse Servant (The Dark Choir #2)The Curse Servant by J.P. Sloan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second in this series about Dorian Lake, a charming fellow. That is, he produces charms and hexes for his clients thus making a living, sort of. But he has to supplement his income with some rental property and an occasional toe-dip into nether magic--this is not a good magic. As a result of using netherworld curses, Dorian has lost his soul, but is actively trying to get it back again. For a soulless guy, he's pretty nice.

The daughter (Elle) of his friends, Edgar and Wren, is possessed by something, and whatever it is, it does not like Dorian Lake in the least. But the consequence of Elle's possession is killing her and Dorian has to fix it. Since he doesn't possess the particular required skill, he's got to bargain for it from another magic worker. But she wants a certain person who she expects Dorian to deliver to her in exchange for ridding Elle of the demonic presence.

It gets complicated fast with other people after other things requiring Dorian to do some less than ethical swapping around. He ultimately also wants to find and restore his own soul.

No reason to go any further with the plot. You'll just have to read the book. Oh, right. Be sure to read The Curse Merchant (book 1 of the series) to get yourself settled into the urban magic served up by J.P. Sloan.

I really like Sloan's descriptions and use of magic, hexes, spells, curses, and possessions. While I recognize some of the arcane use (what fantasy reader wouldn't?), Sloan is spot on in taking all the magic practices and using them in an updated environment.

Despite the series title, The Dark Choir, the books aren't dark at all. More like fast moving adventure with Dorian Lake running through trying to fix things, and having to get really creative doing it.

The books are hard to describe, but that's a good thing. You won't get your typical wizards and wands, but something quite different. The only thing I can compare them to is Jim Butcher's "The Dresden Files." Just start reading them, okay?

Since I had purchased and reviewed the first book in the series, Curiosity Quills Press, gave me a free copy of this book for an honest review. Okay, I'll confess, they gave me the third one as well. If it was a bribe, then it worked out beautifully for me. I would have bought the books myself anyway.

View all my reviews

Saturday, April 15, 2017

And When I Die

I've always liked this Blood, Sweat, and Tears song because it's so hopeful and positive. It's also a really great song for those contemplating suicide. Now, I don't recommend the latter, but it does soothe the soul. It also is kind of a natural for Easter, eh?

http://www.metrolyrics.com/and-when-i-die-lyrics-blood-sweat-tears.html



And when I die and when I'm dead, dead and gone,
there'll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.
I'm not scared of dying and I don't really care.
If it's peace you find in dying, well, then let the time be near.
If it's peace you find in dying, when dying time is here,
just bundle up my coffin cause it's cold way down there,
I hear that's it's cold way down there, yeah, crazy cold way down there.
And when I die and when I'm gone,
there'll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.
My troubles are many, they're as deep as a well.
I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell.
Swear there ain't no heaven and pray there ain't no hell,
but I'll never know by living, only my dying will tell,
only my dying will tell, yeah, only my dying will tell.
And when I die and when I'm gone,
there'll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.
Give me my freedom for as long as I be.
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me.
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me,
and all I ask of dying is to go naturally, only want to go naturally.
Don't want to go by the devil, don't want to go by the demon,
don't want to go by Satan, don't want to die uneasy,
just let me go naturally.
And when I die and when I'm gone,
there'll be one child born, there'll be one child born.
When I die, there'll be one child born.
When I die, there'll be one child born.
When I die, there'll be one child born.
When I die, there'll be one child born.


Read more: Blood Sweat & Tears - And When I Die Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Miscellaneous Writing Tips

I'm not sure how many of the writers I know manage to post a daily blog. I tend to forget about blogging entirely unless I have news to report. Now that I no longer have new works to report, I'll advise, review, or promo for friends' books from now on.

Cute Kid
I'm supposed to give tips on writing, encouragement to perservere, and funny things that happen in my writing life. Oh, and I absolutely must have a picture of my cute cat, dog, child, or whatever every couple of weeks. Here's one now to fulfill that obligation. She's still cute at 22.

Every once in a great while, I'll post something like this, and I duck my head and wince. Nobody should care what I think about writing unless I have some credentials to prove I know what I'm talking about. Yes, I've published a bunch of stories and ten (or so) books, but that hardly makes me expert.

Still, it is expected, so here I go.

1. Use all the adverbs and adjectives you want. They are perfectly good words in the dictionary. Go ahead. Look them up. Nowhere does the dictionary mention that words are on a scale of 1 to 10 in worthiness.

2. If your book doesn't attract an agent, it's not your query or synopsis; it's because your book isn't the current hot thing in publishing. More teen angst, gorgeous vampires, loving werewolves, and (I don't get this) angels.

3. Money flows from the writer to the writing/publishing world. How many blogs tell you to take classes, go to conferences, join certain professional organizations. All of that costs money. In the long run and on the average you will spend more than you receive in royalties. Writing is NOT a money-making proposition.

4. Write if you must, but don't expect the world to give any notice to you.

5. Writing is a hobby. Treat it as such, and you'll be happier in the long run.

6. "Its" is the possessive form. "It's" is the contraction of "it is."

There. I've done my bloggerly duty and given you a bunch of stupid advice. Use it wisely, hopping Easter bunny.