Friday, April 18, 2014

I'm Visiting Stuart (Tex the Witch Boy) West

Drop over to Stuart West's blog today to read the interview. Stuart is a great interviewer. None of this "what's your favorite snack" deal, but hard-hitting journalism designed to put the author on the spot and, um, try to be funny?

I've invited Stuart to visit me in the near future, so stay tuned to this blog.

* Stuart West is author of the Tex the Witch Boy series of YA contemporary, suburban paranormal novels.

A picture of azalea blooms because every post needs a picture.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

So, What Does It Take?

How about the ENTIRE series on Witches of Galdorheim on Kindle for only $6.99? Is that enough to make you pay attention? I'm not going to keep offering up these amazing deals forever, you know. That's three books plus a short story in one volume. Do I have to throw in my first born son (this being the Passover season and all)? Done! You can have both my first born and second born sons. Hey, I'll even throw in a couple of granddaughters. That may be a problem since they're independent women who could kick your butt. Of course, you have to round them up, hogtie them, and force them to do your will. Good luck with that! And none of them are illegally grazing on BLM land.




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Free Short Story Sampler - Happy Tax Day

FREE TODAY! FISH STORY PLUS. If you're not getting a tax refund, you can at least get this three story sampler containing a whimsical fish tale, a mentalist who accidentally sees a real vision, and a meet up with a cryptozoid in a small town bar.


Even though Tax Day is only in the US, on every Amazon in the world since free is free all round the world. Time zones may affect when the book becomes free.




Monday, April 14, 2014

Scotland Hath Kelpies!

Best ever sculpture of kelpies for a Scottish arts event. A lighting test was carried out on the Kelpies in Falkirk, central Scotland, before they play a key role in a series of events beginning next week.
A night-time arts event, described as the international launch of the Kelpies, will take place at the equine sculptures on April 17 and 18.
Artist Andy Scott's 300-tonne, 30-metre sculptures of horses' heads will be "brought to life" with a light, sound and flame performance by a pyrotechnic company.


Excerpt from "Scotch Broom":

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.”

Kat looked over her shoulder but saw only the unicorn. The blue horse had disappeared. Scanning the land all around, she saw neither hide nor hair.

“Where did he go?”

“Into the pond’s depths,” said a sweet tenor voice behind her. Kat whipped around to find the unicorn standing behind her, his front legs on the berm. “If you could please step away so I can remove myself from his pitiful puddle.”

Kat moved. The unicorn rose out of the pond, stopped, and shook himself violently from ear tips to back fetlocks, spraying Kat with muddy water. The unicorn would have been pure white, despite the layer of mud and weeds. Kat took in the long beard, like a goat, and cloven hooves and decided this wasn’t a breed of horse at all.

She ducked to avoid too much of a soaking, and asked, “What kind of horse lives underwater?”


“He is a kelpie, a water creature. They are quite wild and very protective of their territory. I happened to stumble into his dubh lochan, and he attacked me. He wouldn’t let me out of the pool, so I had to defend myself.”


EPub Editions Now on Nook

The six revised ebooks are now available at B&N. I'm in the process of putting the books up on Kobo, which will also be EPUBs. At Kobo, I'll be able to make the books available for free every one in awhile. I'll let everybody know when. PDFs will also be available soon. Most likely, I'll use that format for giveaways, but directly from me. Here are the links at B&N:

The Witches of Galdorheim series. Follow the adventures of young witch, Katrina Galdorheim, as she learns to control her magical powers while battling evil in the form of an insane shaman, an evil forest elemental, and a has-been Scottish goddess.

Bad Spelling
Midnight Oil
Scotch Broom

Missing, Assumed Dead (also is available in audio book format). Kameron McBride is puzzled when she finds she's the sole heir of a poor Basque sheepherder. This mystery takes her to eastern Oregon where she runs into a lot of people who don't want her to find out just how the man went missing.







My middle-eastern mythology based stories. Fun with genies, flying horses, merfolk, vampires, and other fun stuff.

Setara's Genie: A girl, a genie, a few demons. What happens when a bored rich girl finds herself a genie? She finds adventure, excitement, and some very strange friends.

Faizah's Destiny:  The village magician has gone missing. His students search for him, but are caught up in a war between the forces of light and dark. The magician's best student, Faizah, is chosen by Anahita, the goddess of light, to lead the humans into battle on the side of good. Can a simple farm girl stave off Armageddon?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

All New Ebook Editions

Six of my books are now revised editions of books formally published through MuseItUp. I love the folks at MuseItUp, but when my contracts were expiring, I decided that I'd like to have control of the ebooks since I had already produced the print editions myself. Here's the new ebook lineup. Links to Amazon Kindle editions for now. I'm in the process of putting the books up on Nook and Kobo.

Missing, Assumed Dead (also is available in audio book format). Kameron McBride is puzzled when she finds she's the sole heir of a poor Basque sheepherder. This mystery takes her to eastern Oregon where she runs into a lot of people who don't want her to find out just how the man went missing.









The Witches of Galdorheim series. Follow the adventures of young witch, Katrina Galdorheim, as she learns to control her magical powers while battling evil in the form of an insane shaman, an evil forest elemental, and a has-been Scottish goddess.

Bad Spelling
Midnight Oil
Scotch Broom

My middle-eastern mythology based stories. Fun with genies, flying horses, merfolk, vampires, and other fun stuff.

Setara's Genie: A girl, a genie, a few demons. What happens when a bored rich girl finds herself a genie? She finds adventure, excitement, and some very strange friends.

Faizah's Destiny:  The village magician has gone missing. His students search for him, but are caught up in a war between the forces of light and dark. The magician's best student, Faizah, is chosen by Anahita, the goddess of light, to lead the humans into battle on the side of good. Can a simple farm girl stave off Armageddon?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Missing, Assumed Dead - Reduced Price on Kindle

In order to make the set of ebook, audio, and print look for like triplets, a new edition of Missing, Assumed Dead is now available on Kindle (only for now). While my intrepid publisher, MuseItUp, did wonderful work with this book, it's now time to move on with my own Kindle copy. Soon, the three editions will be grouped under one title. There are 11 nice reviews you can read on the Print and Audio editions.

In celebration of the triplets, I'll be selecting from the commenters for a free ebook or audio book.


Audio Book on Audible.com (Free if you signup with Audible)


The covers all look pretty much like this:


Monday, April 07, 2014

FINAL FREE DAY!


Free on Smashwords until April 7th. Use coupon code PN34E on checkout.


ULTIMATE DUTY - Sexy Space Opera
A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties.

Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Buy One-Get One Free Deal


Click this link for details:
https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/53-our-authors/authors-d/249-marva-dasef

My dear publisher is setting up BOGO for lots of books if purchased from the MuseItUp Bookstore. Yay! You can BOGO my Witches of Galdorheim books using code MARVADASEF (easy to remember). Here's the linky. Matter of fact, buy 4 and get 2 free. Okay, there are only three books, but remember you can buy quantities.

Select the books you want, then at the Checkout, enter MARVADASEF in the Code. One of the books will amazingly become zero! Retail price $5.50/book.

Click to buy any of the three books:



Thursday, April 03, 2014

Three Hours of Audio Down Home Humor

Tales of a Texas Boy AUDIO BOOK is still discounted by Amazon/Audible to $1.99. That's about as cheap as an audio book can get. Even short stories cost more. Try out Tales as your free book selection when you sign up for Audible monthly services. Or pay the modest $1.99 to try it out.

Buy TALES OF A TEXAS BOY at Audible.com (and somewhere on iTunes)

How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.

Ebooks also available at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, and other on-line stores.

Print books available in both standard and large print editions at Amazon.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Two Freebies - NOT an April Fool Joke

Free on Smashwords - No coupon needed

SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Tale
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?

This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.




Free on Smashwords until April 7th. Use coupon code PN34E on checkout.

ULTIMATE DUTY - Sexy Space Opera
A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties.

Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Writing Tips - From Groupon

I belong to Groupon, an on-line coupon service. I've bought quite a few coupons for half-price meals through it. It's a great way to get to know eateries around your town, without paying full freight.

Anyhow, Groupon always has something interesting in a section on every page titled "Groupon Says." These are hilarious for the most part and I'll pop over to look at coupons I don't even want just to read this little article.

Due credit to Groupon and whoever writes the column. I thought this particular column apropos to my author visitors.

The Groupon Guide to: Writing an Urban Legend

Everyone secretly wants to believe in scary stories that might be true. Indulge your friends' gullibility with these tips to crafting the perfect urban legend:

• Make sure the story takes place somewhere nearby, on a similar night—ideally exactly 100 years ago to the night. Or on the devil’s birthday.

• Always include an animal that turns out to be a different animal or an animal where one does not belong—like a dog that is actually a rat, or an alligator in the bathroom of the Museum of Alligator Safety.

• Tweak the details—it's only a few letters’ difference to change "gardener" to "murderer," and only a small white lie to change "was valued by the community" to "possessed double hook hands and a thirst for marrow."

• Always carry "proof"—this can be a monster's tooth carved from soap, a faded newspaper article created in Photoshop, or a scrap of the victim's clothing that is actually just a scrap of clothing you ripped off a terrified hiker you chased through the woods.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Writing Tips - Not Your Usual Advice Column

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. More recently, I've been trying to put something up every other day.

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.

Every once in a great while, I'll post something like that, 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 a couple of 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 your writing.

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, grasshopper.

Monday, March 24, 2014

#Pubtips - Twitter #Hashtags for #Writers

Blatantly stealing this information and passing it along since I use Twitter. I'm repeating this #pubtips post because I keep forgetting to use #hashtags in my own tweets. I'll admit I'm not much of a tweeter or tweet follower. Tweet streams are even more boring than Facebook streams, except it's harder to catch anything useful in Twitter. #Hashtags help you find things of interest and tag things you tweet to send a metasemaphorical(TM) flag for others to find.

Read the entire article at Daily Writing Tips.

Here are a few that I'll be using in future posts:

#amediting posts from people who are editing
#amwriting posts from people who are writing
#novels
#novelists
#pubtips
#publishing
#audiobooks

I also recommend using genre hashtags if you're linking to your book buy site:

#fantasy
#scifi
#romance
#sfr
#historical

and any others you can add. Hey, make up a new one and start a trend!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Writing Tips: Point of View

Many newbie writers have trouble maintaining a consistent point of view (POV). It's entirely possible to develop scenes and chapters in different POVs if you don't allow your mind to meander all over the place. Clean POV also requires a consistent use of person. First, second, third, etc.

FIRST PERSON

Suppose you write in first person. That means you say, "I walked down the path." Third person means you say, "She walked down the path." Let's forget about verb tense for now. If you want to write in present tense, then go for it. However, you're not as likely to have me as a reader.

SECOND PERSON

Second person is possible, but incredibly awkward. Speaking to the reader is sort of like breaking into their apartment and acting like a serial killer. "You are walking down the path." The poor reader might think, "No, I'm not! Wait! Am I supposed to be walking someplace? But I'm sitting here reading. I don't want to walk elsewhere. It's hard to read when I'm walking!"

So, let's just say that second person is out of the picture. I really couldn't advise you on how to do this with any grace or style. If you insist upon second person, then I commend you, but don't expect to sell a lot of books.

VOICE

Okay, 1st person and 3rd person are both fine, but what if you want to get into the head of another character, perhaps the villain? Can you do this when writing 1st person? If both your main character and your villain are talking aloud referring to themselves, it might be a tad confusing, but it's doable if you carefully divide scenes and chapters and make it entirely clear who the "I" is in each. Also, you'll need to be watchful of voice. Oh, right. Voice. Did you think everybody talks exactly the same way? Of course, your MC is nice, good, heroic, etc. and your antagonist is mean, awful, and villainous. Here's some first person examples if you decide to present both MC and villain in first person:

"I walked down the path, my heart yearning for any sign of my beloved, but I continue to be ever watchful of signs that Mr. Blackness had passed this way."

"I stood in the shadows, watching the poor, sad sucker meandering down the path without a clue that I've got his beloved stashed in a dungeon guarded by ogres."

These examples, of course, are exaggerated to make the point of voice incredibly important when you're writing with multiple points of view.

THIRD PERSON

Easiest to do is third person. Everybody can have their say with little difficulty for the reader recognizing who's the star of a given scene.

Thing is, 3rd person is the writer's voice, the omnipotent story teller from on high (imagine your god-like presence hovering over the characters in your work).

Still, separation of points of view by scene or chapter is the best, easiest, cleanest way to keep the reader on track. You can change points of view between paragraphs, but expect your reader to have to backtrack to figure out who is out front in the story.

If you think you absolutely need to change POV without a scene or chapter break, then your last resort is a paragraph break and a time or place changing word to allow the reader a moment to switch gears.

Fred walked along the path, hoping to find some clue to Hilda's disappearance. MEANWHILE, Hilda pounded on the bars and screamed, desperately hoping to attract attention.

Here the time/place changing word is MEANWHILE. It signals the reader that the story is jumping elsewhere.

RECOMMENDATION

Stick to 1st or 3rd person. Change POVs only on a scene or chapter break. Keep the voice consistent to the character.

See? That's not so hard, is it?

Excerpt from "Missing, Assumed Dead"

These scene fragments illustrated changing POV using a definite break between the first part which is in the 3rd person point of view of Ray. It's a flashback to a time when the main character isn't present. Rather than just having Ray TELL Kam what had happened, the point of view shifts to Ray in the past. Both the scene break (* * * *) and Kam asking Ray a question, returns the POV to the main character.

George glanced at the copy of  Riders of the Purple Sage on his desk. “Why don’t you go, Ray? You’re his friend.”

“Yep, but he’d think I was buttin’ into his bizness if he’s okay. If you go, you can say sumthin’ about looking for someone else or what not.”

“So, I should lie to him but really just be checkin’ on his welfare, eh?”

“Yep. That’s what I’m thinkin’.”

George swung his legs off his desk and thumped his boots on the floor. “Well, I s’pose that fits under the category of law enforcement.”

Ray suppressed a smirk. “That’s what I thought. Somebody official should do the checkin’, and that’d be you.”

“I’d be happy to do my duty, Ray. I’ll head out that way tomorrow morning. He prob’ly just got tired of your burnt burgers.” George leaned back in his chair and put his feet back up on the desk “When I get back with the good news he just didn’t want to come to town, I’ll sure as hell let you know.”

Ray nodded. He left George’s office and headed back to the café and his living quarters in the back.

* * * *

Kam leaned across the counter. “What did George tell you?”

“He didn’t tell me nothin’.” Ray shrugged. “I asked, but he just said the judge was takin’ care of it.”

Mitch’s heavy, black brows formed a V. “Ray, if you know something the sheriff should hear about, you need to say.”

The old man took Kam’s drained glass and refilled it from the pitcher. “I don’t know nothin’ for sure, so’s I’m not sayin’ no more.”

**********************************************

MISSING, ASSUMED DEAD
Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets.
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005EN73FI/
PRINT: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1479270202/
Audio: http://www.audible.com/pd/B00HZSMTI6/

When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.

En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem...accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.

Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge’s henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn’t like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief’s office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.