Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bonus 99 Centers

Following my promised big sale on Kindle books, I raised my book prices to $2.99 as threatened.

Then it occurred to me I could continue with a couple of the books for 99 cents as a bonus for readers of this blog.

Just go to my Amazon Author page to find the two Kindle books still on sale for 99 cents.

An even better bonus: Put the titles of the two bonus books in a comment, and I'll send you a free copy in MOBI format, which will work just dandy on your Kindle.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Native American Myths/Legends


It would take hundreds of pages and a lot of researach to even scratch the surface of Native American mythology. No way would I even attempt that. But I did learn a lot for my middle-grade adventure, Eagle Quest (available at Amazon in Print and Kindle editions).

I wanted a half-breed Native American boy searching for his roots. Mitchell, who calls himself Black Crow, believes that a Vision Quest will help him discover his true self. He and his friends decide to visit the Bear Valley Wildlife Preserve, which is one of the several preserve areas in the Klamath region in southern Oregon. This particular preserve is a nesting place for bald eagles. Mitchell would also like to collect an eagle feather for his medicine bag. He didn't know that collecting any eagle parts is illegal. Enough about the story (please read it if you'd like to learn more).

Native American mythology sets great store by the animals around them. The stories imbued each animal with certain spiritual traits. The following information was derived from the Encyclopedia Mythica.

Wakan: Wakan or Wakan Tanka is the name the Lakhota Sioux use to specify the general spirit of god. Every creature and object has its own wakan, a spirit without limitation. Wakan tanka kin, the wakan of the sun, is the most important in the Sioux tradition.

Bear: Bear plays a major role in many Native American narratives. The animal represents the west and thoughtfulness. Many tribes tell narratives with Bear as the central figure.

Crow: Crow is one of the most prevalent mythological trickster characters, particularly for the northwest and Alaskan tribes.

Coyote: Coyote is the trickster character in southwest cultures, but is also sometimes portrayed as the creator, but he may at the same time be the messenger, the culture hero, the trickster, or the fool. He is also a power transforming character. In some stories he is a handsome young man, in others he is an animal, and others present him as a sacred power.

Eagle: Eagles are a powerful medicine. Elaborate headdresses of chiefs and leaders often feature eagle feathers. Sometimes equated to the Thunderbird, eagles are a symbol of strength.

Inktomi (Spider): The Spider, although most tales involve the trickster nature of the spider and center on morality lessons for the young, Inktomi also created Lakhota culture. Interestingly, the Spider has almost identical role in the myths of African cultures (Anansi).

Vision Quests: The Vision Quest is a rite of passage tradition for many North American tribes. Vision quest preparations involve a time of fasting, the guidance of a tribal Medicine Man and sometimes natural hallucinogens. The quest is undertaken for the first time in the early teenage years. The quest itself is usually a journey alone into the wilderness seeking personal growth and spiritual guidance from the spirit Wakan Tanka.

Traditionally, the seeker finds a place that they feel is special, and sits in a 10 foot circle and brings nothing in from society with the exception of water. Occasionally the seeker will urinate in the water as a means to purify it. A normal Vision Quest usually lasts two to four days within this circle, in which time the seeker is forced to look into his soul. It is said that a strong urge to leave the Quest area will come to the seeker and a feeling of insanity may set in. However, the seeker normally overcomes this by reminding him or herself of the overall outcome of the quest, causing the mind to stop wandering on random thoughts. The individual can generally find solace in the fact that he or she will not die in just two to four days. It is noted that few have claimed grand visions on their first Vision Quest. Native American spirits or wakan are said to be capable of speaking through all things, including messages or instructions in the form of an animal or bird. Generally a physical representation of the vision or message such as a feather, fur or a rock is collected and placed in the seeker's medicine bag to ensure the power of the vision will stay with the individual to remind, protect or guide him.

Medicine Bags: Medicine items attributed with various supernatural abilities for the bag would often be procured in a tribal custom known as a vision quest. This ceremony includes personal sacrifice: fasting and prayer over several days in a location isolated from the rest of the community, often involving hallucinogens. The purpose was to make contact with natural spiritual forces that help or guide people to reach their potential. The spirits, or totems would aid the individual to gather magical items, increase knowledge and aid personal growth.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Hope...

I hope Santa was good to you this season. And if not the old elf, then maybe somebody else near and dear.

I've ended my 99 cent sale, but there are two secret books (they must be secret since few have sold) that I'll continue with the 99 cent price point just to see what happens.

My best gift was having my granddaughters down to visit for almost five days. We played poker and monopoly. Didn't get to the movie, but got "How to Train Your Dragon" from Netflix. That was just as good and much cheaper.

Jack got me new headphones for my computer. I wanted a very lightweight set without the microphone part. I just think I might inadvertently blurt something out when I didn't want to. The mic is safely tucked away out of earshot. He also bought a toaster for us "from Santa." Big whoop, you might think, but a 4-slot brushed aluminum with a bagel setting is fantastic. Our needs are few and simple.

Happy holidays to you all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

99 Cent Ebook Sale

All my ebooks only 99 cents on Kindle for Christmas. Price going back up after.

Tales of a Texas Boy:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0035WU1HW/

Little Eddie tells some almost true Tall Tales set in West Texas of the 1930s. Guess what's true and what Eddie fudged on. Was it about the bear? Cage McNatt's prize sow? The skunk in the cornpatch? Guaranteed for a chuckle.

Quest for the Simurgh:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00322P12U/

When the village magician goes missing, his students set out on a dangerous trip into the mountains and run into a big trouble from demons and gods set for a war to end the world.

Eagle Quest:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003JBI2CA/

Take four teens, an old Ranger, and a couple of eagle feather poachers. What have you got? Adventure! Set in the Klamath Wildlife Preserves of southern Oregon.

First Duty:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003TJAW5W/

Nyra Hutchings, a young 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 first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vote for My Book Trailer

My trailer for "Ultimate Duty" is the 15th entry in this month's book trailer contest. You can vote anytime between today and December 26th.

http://yougottareadvideos.blogspot.com/

I hope you vote for my vid. Here it is so you can preview it before voting on the blog.

Monday, December 20, 2010

HUGE Holiday Blitz FIFTY BOOK Giveaway!


33 authors have teamed up with 15 bloggers for your chance to win a selection of over 50 science fiction romance books.


Entering is easy peasy: Just leave a comment. Then visit the other participating blogs, which are listed below for your convenience. Many of the blogs feature print & ebook prizes for readers around the globe, so be sure to visit them all.

The deadline to enter is midnight at EST on Sunday, December 26. The winners will be announced on Monday, December 27 (but feel free to include your email address with your comment).

Here are links to the participating blogs:

The Galaxy Express

SpacefreightersLounge

SFR Brigade

GeekMom

Lisa Paitz Spindler

Enduring Romance

Smart Girls Love Sci Fi & Paranormal Romance

SciFi Guy

Dirty Sexy Books

Love Romance Passion

Panic in the Lingerie!

Queen of the Frozen North

vvB32 Reads

Corrina Lawson

Flying Whale Productions

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Trolls: Love or Hate?


Trolls. What do you imagine? Maybe something like the big ugly pictured here. In my Witches of Galdorheim series, I wanted a cave-dwelling bunch of uglies, but dwarves didn’t seem right for my book. Then I started hearing music inside my head. You know how that goes, right? It builds and builds until it has you screaming in frustration, willing to even listen to some other music to at least swap the tormenting sound.

But before I could find a MP3 file of "Henry the VIIIth" by Herman’s Hermits, I stopped and listened. My muse was whacking me in the head via earworm. The music was Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite. Duh. Trolls.

Despite the canards on trolls from the likes of Artemis Fowl or Pratchett’s Discworld, I thought they could be heroic if given sufficient ale.

From the Free Dictionary/Encyclopedia:

A troll is a fearsome member of a mythical race from Norse mythology. Originally more or less the Nordic equivalents of giants, although often smaller in size, the different depictions have come to range from the fiendish giants – similar to the ogres of England – to a devious, more human-like folk of the wilderness, living underground in hills, caves or mounds.

Hey! They’re not all flesh-eating giants who turn to stone in the sunlight. Some are devious little guys who live in wilderness areas (no doubt protecting endangered magical species).

My Mashup

Bad Spelling (Book 1 of the Witches of Galdorheim)

In the first book of the series, Kat and her smart-aleck half-brother, Rune, (also happens to be a vampire, but has absolutely no resemblance to the Twilight guy except they’re both cute as hell) are directed by Kat’s flash-frozen dad (Rune calls him a pop-sickle) to visit the Troll King. At the Hall, she requests assistance from King Ole, the Norwegian Troll King. He arranges for her and Rune to ride the Trollercoaster, which starts in Norway and ends up in the Ural Mountains. From there Kat, Rune, and a changeling troll named Andy travel to Siberia to find Kat's family.
Scotch Broom (Book 3 of WofG)

Kat is off to England to visit Stonehenge. She takes a route through Scotland and gets stranded in the Otherworld, which is inhabited by the Trows (the northern islands version of troll). Rune follows her and gets some assistance from both the Norwegian trolls, then the Shetland Island trows. The Trow Kingdom within the Otherworld also help Kat’s mother and aunt find both the lost teens.

Clearly, trolls are good. They are nice, helpful, cheerful, and sing fairly well, too. Yet aspersions continue to be cast upon these misunderstood creatures. Shame on all of you for making them the bad guys all these years!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Totally Cool Stuff

An 11,000 year old temple in Turkey. So much for that 6000 year stuff.

National Geographic Gobekli Tepe Temple
Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it's the site of the world's oldest temple.
I worked with a few born-agains who said that dinosaurs were God's way of, um, tricking us? It's totally incomprehensible, not to mention nonsensical. Any time I talk to these people, I ask them where the unicorns and dragons are (Job). They keep saying that God is trying to fool us, test our faith, etc. What kind of egomanical, yet insecure God would do that?

I will not state that there is no God, but I will state categorically that the god these people believe in is a mythological prevarication (I'm using big words so they won't know what I'm saying).

Sorry to deviate from my 'ews' theme. Well, maybe not. There is always confews.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Review for Tales of a Texas Boy

I occasionally take a trip to my book pages on Amazon. Today, I found a lovely review for Tales of  a Texas Boy. Thanks to J. Chambers! I read Jim's book on growing up in the 50s (here's the link. click on it). I'd definitely recommend it. I've captured his review here intact. The ebook is on sale for only 99 cents up to Christmas Day.

5.0 out of 5 stars A time machine to the 1930s, December 16, 2010

By J. Chambers (Georgia, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) This review is from: Tales of a Texas Boy: Large Print (Kindle Edition)
NOTE: I read the regular print edition.

"Tales of a Texas Boy" is a collection of twenty anecdotal stories told by a young boy, Eddie Perkins, who lived on a farm in rural Texas with his mother, father, a younger brother, and a younger sister during the 1930s when the country was deep in the Great Depression. I assume that Eddie is a fictional character, although the stories read like a true memoir.

I enjoyed the book very much. I was born in the 1940s, and I have a special fondness for the period from the 1920s through the 1950s, the period when my parents and I were growing up and coming of age. Marva Dasef has done a marvelous job of capturing what it was like for kids in the rural southwest in the 1930s. They probably never realized how tough their life was, and they actually had fun. Even though I was born a generation later, I related to the stories, especially in how siblings got along with each other.

Some of Eddie's anecdotes might have seemed mundane to another Texas kid in the era, but to me, a suburban kid in the post-WWII era, they were far from mundane. Try to imagine the thrill of hunting for (and finding) dinosaur fossils or going to town to buy livestock. Rattlesnake hunting with the local men was a thrill for Eddie, and little did he know what kind of animal he would rescue from a huge rattler's mouth one day. And handling a 1500-pound jackass? No problem, but make sure you get the instructions for taming the beast!

Some of Eddie's neighbors ("neighbor" meaning they lived no more than a few miles away in the sparsely settled west Texas landscape) were especially interesting, notably the Luck brothers, Fred and Frank. Although they were twin brothers living together, they passionately hated each other and spent most of their time trying to kill each other. Unfortunately they had a habit of taking things that didn't rightfully belong to them, including women, and this kept them in hot water!

Eddie's adventures included a remarkable encounter with a famous movie star. No spoilers, but just think "Come up and see me sometime, boys." Okay, that was probably a spoiler!

The most poignant moments of the book were Eddie's recounting his ma and pa's stories, including his pa's service in World War I.

I enjoyed "Tales of a Texas Boy" so much that I bookmarked some of my favorite stories for rereading. Most of the stories are short and would make great readings to kids today who can hardly imagine a time of grinding poverty with no modern conveniences, and yet a time when kids like themselves made do with what they had and had fun.

Definitely two thumbs up and five stars.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Interview - Karina Fabian (AKA Chainsaw)

(Q) Hi, Chainsaw. Thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, please tell our readers where they can find you.

http://www.fabianspace.com/ is where you can find about about me and all the different kinds of books I write, plus authors can get some great stuff like a primer on developing your own book tour, and a list of review websites.

(Q) Now, why don't you tell everyone a bit about your books including buy links?

I have many books out, so how about I talk about the two that just published?

Infinite Space, Infinite God II is an anthology of 12 science fiction stories. We've had a lot of folks say the stories are a lot like the science fiction of the classic area, and the unique feature of each is that they involve Catholic characters or situations. (It's not just for Catholics, though.) www.isigsf.com for more information and purchase links.

Watch the book trailer here.




Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator is a novel about a zombie exterminator training up apprentices in a reality TV show that crosses Survivor with The Apprentice with Night of the Living Dead. I don't have links for the print yet, but you'll find them here: http://www.karinafabian.com/index.php?name=Content&pid=33.

Watch the Neeta Lyffe book trailer here.

(Q) Where did the concept for the book (or books) come about?

Most of my book concepts come from creating a unique character, usually with a twist on some cliché, or a mix of clichés. Vern: a noir-style detective who happens to be a dragon; Sister Rita, a nun for an order that does search and rescue operations in outer space; Neeta Lyffe, a zombie exterminator hosting a reality TV show. From there, I build their world and the world builds them.

(Q) How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

It varies by book. I wrote Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life with my father in about two weeks. On the flip side, I have a novel I've been working at for several years. It depends on whether I have a deadline (or someone expecting the book) and what's going on in my life personally. I still have kids at home, and they need to come first.

(Q) Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?

Madeleine L'Engle, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, to name a few. They helped me look at the world in a different way than the mainstream.

(Q) Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

Doesn't matter. I write in the car, at my desk, in bed, at the kitchen table… When I'm doing really creative stuff, the most important thing is that I have privacy. Editing, research, non-fiction--those I can do just about anywhere.

(Q) As a writer, what is your greatest fear?

Sometimes, I feel intimidated by the task I've put before me, but I don't really fear anything as a writer. Writing is work sometimes, but it should be fun, not frightening.

(Q) What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?

I have a lovely rolltop desk with way too much junk. Papers from projects I'm working on, my calendar, pencils, pens, electronics, lip balm and cuticle cutters… I have a big desk. I also have some prayer cards and a card from my sister taped to the back of the desk, some photos and stuffed animals and Rob's and my wands on the top. Usually a cup of something rests on the coaster one of the kids made me.

(Q) Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?

I'm on hiatus for awhile while I concentrate on family matters. The only thing I'm working on are some school planners for my regular client. They're about halfway done for regular content, and I'm waiting on their approval of the sample essays before I complete them. It's a fun project and pays nicely, too.

(Q) What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?


Expect rejection. Don't let it bug you. Keep submitting. (But please, please, please--polish that manuscript. Have it critiqued. Don't waste an editor's time on something you tossed together.)

(Q) If you'd like to add anything, please do so.

Just thank you for hosting me.

(Q) How about an excerpt to tantalize the readers?

I'm going to ask your readers to go to http://zombiedeathextreme.com/. They'll not only be able to read a teaser from Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, but meet the characters, read about the episodes from Zombie Death Extreme (the reality TV show Neeta hosts), and have a lot of fun in my world.


Click here to buy a book and feed a starving writer. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just a reminder

Those 99 cent ebook special wil be GONE after December 24th. If your middle-grader has a Kindle or you're getting them a Kindle for Christmas, here's a chance to get age-appropriate books at bargain prices.

Tales of a Texas Boy:

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Texas-Boy-Large-ebook/dp/B0035WU1HW/

Little Eddie tells some almost true Tall Tales set in West Texas of the 1930s. Guess what's true and what Eddie fudged on. Was it about the bear? Cage McNatt's prize sow? The skunk in the cornpatch? Guaranteed for a chuckle. This is a great book for seniors (the social security kind) who grew up in a rural area.

Quest for the Simurgh:
http://www.amazon.com/Quest-Simurgh-Large-Print-ebook/dp/B00322P12U/

When the village magician goes missing, his students set out on a dangerous trip into the mountains and run into a big trouble from demons and gods set for a war to end the world.

Eagle Quest:
http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Quest-ebook/dp/B003JBI2CA/

Take four teens, an old Ranger, and a couple of eagle feather poachers. What have you got? Adventure! Set in the Klamath Wildlife Preserves of southern Oregon.

First Duty:
http://www.amazon.com/First-Duty-ebook/dp/B003TJAW5W/

Nyra Hutchings, a young 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 first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Interview - Heather Kuehl

I'm very happy to introduce you to a wonderful paranormal romance writer. Two of Heather's books are already on the shelves, and a third will be coming out in March.

Thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, please tell our readers where they can find you.

HK – Thank you for having me. Readers can visit my website http://www.heatherkuehl.com or my blog http://heatherkuehl.blogspot.com. I’m also on Twitter (@heatherkuehl) and I have a Facebook fan page as well.

Now, let's get right down to business. Tell everyone a bit about your books including buy links?

HK – Here are blurbs with both Eternal Press ebook and Amazon print links:

Fade to Black: Book One of the Sarah Vargas Series, Eternal Press

Werewolf bounty hunter Sarah Vargas has only one goal in life; to kill the Were that attacked and changed her. However a slew of werecreature murders send Sarah and her partner, Jared Fontaine, on the mission of their lives, ending with a discovery about Jared’s past that might destroy them both.







Malevolent Dead: Book Two of the Sarah Vargas Series, Eternal Press

Werewolf Sarah Vargas thought all she had to worry about was the Blood Moon Corporation's retaliation. She never dreamed that another vampire would arrive, disputing Damian's claim over the throne to Charleston, SC. To make matters worse, he is no ordinary vamp; he's a vampire necromancer. He's exceptionally hard to kill, and Sarah will have to do what ever she can to keep those that she loves safe... Even if it means doing the unthinkable.






Blood Moon: Book Three of the Sarah Vargas Series, Eternal Press (3/7/2011)

After she broke her contract with the Blood Moon Corporation, Sarah Vargas knew that it was only a matter of time before they came for her. What she didn't know is what lengths they would go to to make sure that she had no where to run. Everyone Sarah has every relied on is in danger during a time when friends become enemies, and Sarah quickly realizes that the Blood Moon Corporation will never give up until she is dead. The Blood Moon Corporation is coming, and even Sarah doesn't think she can make it out alive.

Promises to Keep, Eternal Press

Starlette DeFore knows that her father is alive, even though her family buried him ten years ago. When a faerie confirms this she travels to Charleston, South Carolina to hunt down Sivad Night, the only person to have ever escaped from the hands of a power sorceress, the Dark Lady Dreashae. With help from a witch, Starlette travels into Verella a fantasy realm filled with dragons, centaurs, and magic. She is very close to finding her father, but first she must defeat Dreashae. Will Starlette, a mere mortal, have the strength needed to finish her quest and save her father?

Where did the concept for the book (or books) come about?

HK – I can honestly say that I don’t remember how the idea for Promises to Keep came to be. I started writing that particular book in 1999 when I was in high school. In 2006, during NaNoWriMo, I decided to rewrite the entire story, since I liked the plot and characters but not much else.

The Sarah Vargas Series, most namely Fade to Black, was inspired by a song lyric from Sublime during my college creative writing class; “Life’s too short, so love the ones you’ve got, cuz you might get run over or you might get shot.” After hearing that lyric, Sarah appeared in my mind. She was mad as hell for the hand she was dealt, and nothing but vengeance was on her mind. Before I knew it, Fade to Black was finished and I was starting to plan its sequel, Malevolent Dead.

Both Malevolent Dead and Blood Moon are based off of ideas presented in Fade to Black; the fact that Sarah looked like Damian’s dead wife and the Blood Moon Corporation’s retaliation for the events within Fade to Black.

How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

HK – Promises to Keep took over ten years to finish, from that first draft in 1999 to its acceptance in 2009. I started writing Fade to Black in 2006. Once finished, I kept editing and tweaking it until its acceptance by Eternal Press in 2009. Once accepted, I started working on Malevolent Dead. That took only six months to write, and Blood Moon about three months. Ever since Fade to Black was accepted I’ve given myself due dates and stuck to them, hence the shorter writing time from concept to final product.

Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?

HK – Oh yeah! That list could go on forever, so I’ll just name my top five; Brian Jacques (for his imagery), Kim Harrison (for her intricate plots), Charlaine Harris (for her use of setting), Anne McCaffrey (for her world creation), and Meg Cabot (for her fluff factor).

Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

HK – I usually write on my desktop computer, however my Muse doesn’t care where I write as long as I do. However, my Muse craves music (depending on the character). My Muse for Promises to Keep didn’t want music, but my Muse for the Sarah Vargas series did. Evanescence and Avenged Sevenfold were favorites for writing about Sarah.

As a writer, what is your greatest fear?

HK – Getting too comfortable where I’m at. I have two goals, which are being able to walk into a bookstore and find my book on the shelf and becoming a New York Times Bestselling author. I worry that if I get too comfortable with small presses or ebooks that I will never reach that goal.

What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?

HK – A drink of some sort, usually water or Mt. Dew, and my manuscript’s notebook which contains all that I have written thus far as well as the book’s outline and notes. I have a picture of my writing space…lets see if I can find it for you…

Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?

HK – I just finished NaNoWriMo 2010 *happy dance* and with that came Gray Magic. However, that story is no where near finished, as I have a lot of editing to do. Blurb: Tabitha Desdamona Drake is an Enforcer, the person that does the dirty work for the Conclave of witches. The Conclave orders T.D. to find the gray magic witch. A witch wielding gray magic would be able to use dark or light magic without cost, able to end the world with just a thought. The Conclave wants the gray magic witch. With it, they can rule the supernatural world with an iron fist. However, once she gets there T.D. finds that there are more pressing issues to take care of rather than the Conclave's agenda. Witches are being murdered and drained of their magic, and it's up to her to put a stop to it. Enter Dez, a vampire that works for the Lord of Charleston. As mysterious as he is annoying, Dez accompanies T.D. on her search for the witch killer claiming that the vampire Lord has ordered him to do so. But what does a vampire care about murdered witches? Dez's agenda mirrors the orders from the Conclave, and T.D. quickly realizes that she is in more danger than what she's bargained for.

I am also trying to finish Of Wolf and Man, a book I’ve been working on since 2008. Blurb: Juliet knows that Jensen has a dark secret, especially after he uses his super strength to fight three wolves and save her life. Imagine her surprise when she figures out that he's a werewolf. Imagine her greater surprise when she discovers that this knowledge puts her life in danger. The three wolves that attacked her were also Weres, and they want Jensen to themselves. Jensen has to do what he can to save Juliet, when she and her best friend are kidnapped by the Weres during Homecoming. Will he be able to get to Juliet in time, before the Weres change her into one of them?

What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?

HK – Never give up! It’s going to be a long, hard road but it’s going to be worth it in the end.

Please include all the places the readers can find you. Blog, website, FB, Twitter.

HK – Website: http://www.heatherkuehl.com

Blog: http://heatherkuehl.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @heatherkuehl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heather-Kuehl/172267734681

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2945316-heather-kuehl

How about an excerpt to tantalize the readers?

HK – Sure! Here’s an except from chapter one of my latest release with Eternal Press, Malevolent Dead.

When my phone vibrated at 2 am, I knew it wasn’t good.

As I rolled over to answer it, my mind ran through the list of people who could be calling me. Donavan? Nah. He was on his second honeymoon with his wife, Monique. They vacationed in the middle of the Caribbean. Jared? That thought immediately banished as I had to reach over his sleeping body to get to my phone as it crawled across the bedside table. That left only one person.

“What do you want, Damian?” I muttered as I snapped my phone open.

“Good morning to you too,” Damian said, his ancient accent sliding across my skin and slithering down my spine.

I crawled out of bed, doing my best not to wake Jared. Like I even could. He slept so heavily I doubted that Armageddon could wake him. I slipped into the bathroom and shut the door.

“Why are you calling me?” I asked as I flipped on the bathroom light. Damian rarely used the phone. When I did get a call, usually Dez relayed Damian’s orders. This was different and when it came to the born vampire on the other end of my phone, different was bad.

“I need you to come to the club. We have a visitor that would like to meet you.”

Several things made my spidey-sense tingle. One, I lived in one of the guestrooms at Damian’s club, Malevolent Dead. Damian made it sound like I lived somewhere else. Whoever was there, the born vampire didn’t want them to know I lived with them. Two, who in the hell would make Damian that nervous?

“Are you in trouble?” I asked. I heard Damian grunt.

“Immediate, no. Given some time, yes.”

Peachy.

“I’ll be right there.” I glanced at my pajamas in the mirror. “I have to change first. I don’t think ‘Hello Kitty’ will make a good first impression.”

Damian laughed. Even over the phone I could feel his laughter travel over my skin, making me shudder. I flipped my phone closed, disconnecting the call.

Grabbing my clothes from yesterday out of the hamper and my Walther P22 from the dresser, I quickly changed and combed out my black hair. My blonde roots were starting to show. I had to either dye it again, or do something to make it look good while I grew it out. I liked myself better with black hair, but it represented a part of me that I’d rather forget.

Six months ago I tried to kill Jared because I discovered he was the Were that changed me. No, not tried. Did. I threw the silver knife and delivered a mortal wound that only Damian could fix. I despised myself for letting my hatred go as far as to hurt the man I loved. I felt guilty whenever I saw the scar over his heart.

Jared still slept when I left the bedroom and headed toward a little known emergency exit. I cautiously exited the club, relieved to find no bad guys around. The only person outside was Nyesha, an ebony-skinned witch that sold her sweet grass baskets near the entrance of Malevolent Dead.

“Sarah, is everything okay?” She knew damn well I lived here and could easily exit the club from the front door.

I shrugged. “Don’t know yet. We’ll see.”

“And you’ll tell me, right?”

That woman just loved her gossip. “If it’s mine to tell.”

She nodded, her head dropping back down to the basket in her lap. With patrons coming in and out of Malevolent Dead until the early morning, Nyesha made a killing on our corner. The chilly Charleston air sent shivers up my spine, and I wished that I had thought about throwing on a jacket. I walked around the corner to the main door of the club.

From the outside, Malevolent Dead didn’t look like much. There wasn’t even a sign out front, just tinted windows and a heavy bass pounding from the inside. Humans who came here to dance slowly left as I walked through the coffin encased foyer and upstairs. I heard them grumbling about it closing early. I didn’t blame them. Most nights, Malevolent Dead stayed open until 5am.

I crossed the dance floor and opened the door marked, “Employees Only.” Everyone in the room looked up as I entered.

Damian leaned against the wall, his arms crossed over his bare chest. He wore a pair of dark-washed jeans tucked into black leather boots. A Celtic knot necklace hung around his neck. When his eyes caught sight of me, he smiled and held out a hand.

“Phaedra, my love. Look who’s come to visit us.”

Phaedra?

I was careful not to let my confusion show as I took his hand. He guided me into his arms. I looked up into his plum colored eyes, waiting for some kind of explanation.

He said nothing. Instead Damian turned me to face his guests. A man sat on the couch across from us, backed by five Necrovamps. Icky, disgusting Necrovamps. They were the product of a vampire transformation gone wrong. Their bodies slowly rotted, exposing muscle and bone. Gore leaked from them, creating a kind of snail trail on the ground behind them. The worst part of all were their fangs. Super long, the Necrovamps couldn’t even close their mouths because of them. They were mindless killers and took orders from only one type of creature.

A necromancer.

“Marcellus, you remember my wife.”

The man in the chair nodded. “Of course. How could I forget such beauty? But as I heard it, she died.”

Damian laughed. “Does she look dead to you?”

Marcellus shook his head. “Not at all. How is it that she’s still alive?”

“I changed her.”

Marcellus laughed. “I can hear her heart beat, old friend. I’d say she’s human, but she reeks of Were.”

I huffed. There was something important about Marcellus thinking that Damian’s wife still lived. I decided to just go with it and hoped to God that Damian explained it to me later. “Shows what little you know, Marcellus.” I turned to Damian. “How much longer will you be, baby? I’m ready to go home and the bed is so cold without you.”

I stood on tiptoe to place a light kiss on his lips. Damian smiled as he rubbed noses with me, his hand sliding down to cup my ass.

“Not much, my pet. Marcellus was just about to tell me the reason for his visit.”

Marcellus grinned. “I know you killed the Skyner twins, Damian. Only a fool would believe the lies floating around. Only a fool would believe that two Weres from that dreadful corporation did the deed. You know that it’s against our laws to kill another vampire. I’m here for that reason.”

Our laws? I took a deep breath through my nose and finally picked up the scent I hadn’t noticed earlier; vampire. Marcellus wasn’t only a necromancer, but he was a vampire to boot. This didn’t bode well.

Damien’s voice turned to ice. “Excuse me?”

Marcellus stood and slowly walked over to us. “Since you murdered the twins, I’ve been sent here to be the new lord of Charleston. Your position is forfeit.” He drew a sword out of a sheath on his back. “As is your life.”

Damian laughed. I felt his power flowing out, wrapping itself around Marcellus. Damian’s hand cupping my ass moved up and unholstered my Walther P22. He held the gun up, aiming at Marcellus’s face. The gun wasn’t loaded with wooden rounds, but the shot would still hurt Marcellus. It would slow him down enough for Damian to get the upper hand.

“You are no longer welcome here, old friend. Leave and take your rotting scum with you.”

Marcellus hissed as he backed away. I narrowed my eyes as they left, realizing something important. Marcellus had no intention of killing Damian today. He wanted to draw it out. After all, it wasn’t every day that a vampire was allowed to kill one of their own.

Damian sagged against the wall once they left, dropping my gun onto the polished marble floor. “Dammit,” he growled as he raked a hand through his ebony hair.

I sat in the chair Marcellus had just vacated, waiting for Damian to collect himself. “What the hell?” I asked when he finally did. I didn’t need to go further than that. Damian could read my mind like a book. He knew everything I felt curious about. Damian shook his head.

“Not here. I don’t trust it.” He stood up and walked over to a large black door that led away from the club. I stood and followed him, hoping he wasn’t going to keep me in the dark about all of this. I mean, he was the one that dragged me into this.

“I’m not,” Damian said. “We’re going to my study to speak about this.”

Damian’s study was a small room with a bookcase and desk tucked in the corner. A large decorative curtain hung on the wall, and I assumed it covered a window.

The moment we entered Damian’s study I tore into him. “What’s going on? I thought you were safe? Why is Marcellus after you? How can he be both a necromancer and a vampire? And who the hell is Phaedra? And why did he think I was her?”

Damian sighed. “I hope this will answer your last question.” Damian walked over to the far left wall and pulled the decorative curtain aside.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Interview - Cate Masters

Thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, how about a brief bio so the readers can get to know you. Include links to your blogs and websites please.

Thanks so much for having me here Marva!

Here’s a brief bio:

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home for the past 20 years, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. A lover of all great writing, she aspires to entertain and enthrall with her own stories. Most days, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at www.catemasters.com, http://catemasters.blogspot.com, and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Tell everyone a bit about your book(s) including a buy link.

2010 has been another busy year, with six releases. A little something for everyone, I like to think, from two contemporaries, two historicals, a fantasy and a short speculative.

My latest is Follow the Stars Home, a Native American historical romance, available from Eternal Press in PDF at: http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615721696

You can read an excerpt, reviews and view the book trailer at http://www.catemasters.com/follow.html

Here’s the blurb:

What’s left for the Lakota when everything around them is changing? Quiet Thunder and Black Bear fear for their tribe’s welfare when buffalo and other game become scarce. A military captain named Pratt promises to teach them white man’s ways so they can become successful. Quiet Thunder follows Black Bear to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to the Indian Industrial School. The school’s rigid schedule allows little time together, and Black Bear grows more distant as his confusion over his identity grows. Can Quiet Thunder make him believe her love is as eternal as the stars?

Where did the concept for the book come about?

I lived in Carlisle for many years, and often drove past the graveyard of the students forced to attend the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. It made me wonder about their stories. It fascinated me so much, I researched it for years before I even knew I’d write about it, visiting local museums and reading Lakota mythology.

It’s a book dear to my heart because it has local ties, and not many people seem to know about the boarding schools the government set up to “assimilate” Native Americans into white society. I loved creating fictional characters and giving them a happy ending. Many of the actual students weren’t so lucky, especially at the time of the school’s founding, which is where my story takes place.

How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

Difficult to say, because I usually work on several stories at once. I’d guess about eight months to finish the first draft, then it went out for rounds of critique, which took several more. The short answer is about a year.

Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?

I love so many different authors, and my writing reflects my eclectic reading tastes. Alice Hoffman, Margaret Atwood, TC Boyle and Michael Chabon top the list, and I can only hope reading their excellent work has had a positive influence on my own. There are tons of wonderful epubbed authors whose work I’m trying to catch up on too.

Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

Ideas strike at many an odd and inconvenient moment, lol. But I like to follow the advice of the wonderful author Barbara Kingsolver: “Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done!” In other words, I sit down, apply my fingers to the keyboard, and write. Or edit, or promote/social network.

Unfortunately, while music inspires me in other ways, I can’t listen to it while I write. If I put it on, I either end up singing along or tuning it out entirely, so it’s a wasted exercise. Unless I’m dancing while I’m singing, lol.

As a writer, what is your greatest fear?

Overall, I suppose it’s that readers won’t respond enthusiastically to my stories. I pour my heart and soul into them, so it makes rejection sting all the more, lol.

While I’m actually writing, though, I don’t think about readers or reviewers or anything other than the story. I have to write to please myself, or the story will feel contrived to me. I’m a big believer in going with your gut.

What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?

I have a few writing totems – a ukulele-toting Gumby in a grass skirt, a Sergeant Peppers music box, a miniature wire tree of amethyst, my birthstone.

There are stacks of papers I ignore until they begin to obstruct the screen. A mug for black tea is usually filled.

Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?

More than I have time to work on, unfortunately. The most recent is The Magic of Lavender, the first in the Goddess Connection series. I recently had a favorable response to a pitch on a Harlequin workshop, so sent in the first chapter. I’m also knee-deep in an urban fantasy, another historical and a contemporary, with about another dozen started, waiting in the wings for their turns in the literary spotlight.

What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?

Find some honest critique partners who’ll help you make your stories the best they can be. If your story’s rejected, polish it up and send it out again. It can be a depressing process, but keep the faith.

Please tell our readers where they can find you.

Probably more places than they care to know about, lol. In addition to Goodreads (which I’ve yet to figure out) and a few other sites, here are the basic four:

Web site: http://www.catemasters.com/

Blog: http://catemasters.blogspot.com/

Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CateMasters

If you want to add anything please feel free to do so.

I love to hear from readers! Email me at cate.masters AT gmail.com with any comments.

Thanks again for having me today Marva!

Follow the Stars Home is available at Amazon in both  print and ebook format as well as Eternal Press and many ebook outlets such as Fictionwise.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Just a Little Promo

ULTIMATE DUTY
by Marva Dasef

Eternal Press
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print
Mobipocket
Fictionwise
Barnes and Noble Print

Book Trailer

Marva Dasef is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation. Marva has published more than thirty-five stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with her stories included in several Best of anthologies. She has five published books. See a complete list of her work at http://marvadasef.com/.

Ultimate Duty: 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.

Excerpt:

With the protective helmet off, they could now talk. Remy pulled down the rebreather mask. “You guys ready to get the hell off this planet?”

Her mom patted her on the shoulder and her muffled voice answered, “More than ready, sweetheart.”

“Well, hang on. This is definitely going to be a bumpy ride.” Remy replaced her rebreather over her face. Once they got moving, the shuttle’s environment equipment would kick in, and they could take off the masks.

Remy clicked on the communicator and tuned to a close-range channel. She set her infopad near the spare headset and switched it to an electroid number. She could hardly call it music since the robotic instruments reprogrammed themselves at random, making a weird variety of sounds. Remy shrugged. “I guess I just don’t get modern music.” Bill and Ted were monitoring the frequency though and would know that Remy was ready to take off. They’d come in for another diversion run so that she could escape the planet unnoticed. Anybody else who picked up the sound would, hopefully, ignore it.

Her father looked out the passenger side screen and tapped Remy’s arm. “Would three guys holding blasters running in this direction be of interest?”

Remy nodded and goosed the shuttle’s back jets to get them moving across the bleak landscape and into the sky. She boosted out of atmosphere so hard her mom suppressed a squeak. “Slow down!”

“Can’t, Mom. Just try to hang on.” Her mother nodded, her eyes wide with fear. Her dad, on the other hand, was grinning like a kid with a new toy. Remy thought he might not be too old to take pilot training.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I'm on Rosanne Dowell's blog today!

Read my interview on Rosanne's blog.

ULTIMATE DUTY is space opera with a bit of romance. From the cover:

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, December 05, 2010

Interview and Giveaway at Dawn's Reading Nook

Drop in on Dawn's Reading Nook blog today for an interview and ebook giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment.

ULTIMATE DUTY

Oath or love…What is her ultimate duty?

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.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Lorrie Struiff - Christmas Advice and Wild Blackberries Giveaway


Lorrie Struiff, the author of the paranormal thriller, "Gypsy Crystal," is here to offer some holiday suggestions and to giveaway a free copy of here story, "Wild Blackberries." Leave a comment to win. I'll choose a random commenter and announce the winner here on December 11th. If I can contact the winner by email, I'll do so, otherwise you'll need to send a note to mgdasef (AT) gmail.com

Read all about Lorrie's writing on her website.

Now, here's Lorrie:

Hi Marva, thanks for the invitation to your blog. I’m so happy to be here.


Well, it’s that time of year again, the hustle, the bustle, the parties, the food planning and the gift buying. Families gather to share the festivities. We start gift buying on Thanksgiving—or before—for the big day.

I don’t know about you readers, but by the time the holiday does arrive, I’m wishing it were over. In fact, I’m holidayed out way before the big day.

I get tired of the grandchildren yelling, “I want that, I want that” every time a toy ad is shown on TV.

Many of us would like a less commercialistic month, I’m sure.

But what do you do to make your holiday special? And I’m talking about you, personally. Something for yourself, something that gives you a warm glow inside and gives you the true feeling and meaning of what Christmas is all about.

There are so many things you can do.

Sometimes, I purchase a food gift card from the local grocery store and mail it to a needy family that I know--anonymously of course.

There may be an elderly couple I know whose children cannot come home for the holiday. I invite them to share my family and dinner for the day.

There is a handicapped person near who may need to get out shopping. I offer to take them.

There may be a shut-in living near. They appreciate a visit and some company.

There is so much more, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

Even the littlest of things you do can make you and the person feel good.

Help a neighbor carry groceries into their house.

Offer them a cup of hot coffee when they are hanging Christmas lights in the cold.

Shovel snow out of an elderly person’s driveway or sidewalk.

Haul out their garbage can for pickup day.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Amazon Associates

I'm going over to the dark side by setting up an Amazon Associates Account. What this means is that if you click to a book from my page and buy it, then I get a bit of the pie.

I'm giving it a test drive (along with ads on my blog). If any of it gets too annoying for you, my readers, or for me, then I'll toss the whole mess and go back to the way things were.

So here are a couple of the test links.





Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Interview - Brigit Aine

Thank you for joining us today, Brigit. Tell everyone a bit about your book(s) including buy links.

I have a number of books out. I have "Red's Return", the first in a series about a town full of people with talent including being wereshifters. It is available at http://www.decadentpublishing.com/

I have "Cassie's Awakening", the second in the series over at Eternal Press. http://www.eternalpress.biz

I have a short story in the Just Another Paranormal Halloween and Chritmas anthologies. Those are fun lighthearted pixie stories. http://www.mojocastlepress.com

Where did the concepts for the books come about?

Gosh...I just look around me and there is always something to inspire a story. I see magic and paranormal things everywhere I look, even in the mundane world.

How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

1 year for each. By the time I wrote them, and the editing and the editing and the editing :D took place it was about a year, maybe a little less.

Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?

There are a ton of authors I love to read, and I love the stories of but I don't know how much I manage to channel them when I am writing...I wish I could channel them more :D

Patricia Briggs, Sherrilyn Kennyon, Laurell K. Hamilton, JA Saare to name just a few. I am an avid reader and spend more time doing that then writing, so I am always looking for new authors and new stories.

Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

I like quiet. My muse is particularly fussy and comes out only when it wants to, so I am not a prolific writer and I have to have the ability to write anywhere I am, as the urge could strike at any moment.

As a writer, what is your greatest fear?

I think my greatest fear is that no one will want my stories. So far that hasn't happened, but it is still my greatest fear. To have the courage to share the crazy things in my head is hard enough, but then I worry no one will want to read them.

What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?

I don't have a desk. I take my iPad with me wherever I go and I have sticky notes in my purse.

Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?

I am currently in the editing stage of book 3 "Kraig's Kat" of the Torrent's Talents Series (going to come out with Decadent Publishing) and will then go into the editing stage of "Justice for Leanne", a new two book set about a god and his servant.

What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?

Keep trying. Find a good house that will make you edit and re-edit and help you grow as an author. If you find a house that takes you but puts no effort into helping you create something better then you aren't going to grow.

Please tell our readers where they can find you.

You can find me at http://www.brigitsworld.com, http://www.blogspot.com/brigitsworld, http://www.facebook.com/brigitaine

Thank you Marva for having me today.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Sale at MuseItUp Publishing

My last guest is a MuseItUp author, so she won't mind if I insert a quick promo for the 25% off sale going on at MuseItUp for the next couple of weeks.

Holiday Special:

Get 25% off any purchase from today until December 10th.

Use code: HC2010D at checkout in the discount code box before going to Paypal.

From all of us at the Muse,
we want to wish you Happy Holidays!

Click here to get to the MuseItUp bookstore. Browse and enter the code on checkout.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Interview - CK Volnek



Hi Charlotte: Thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, how about a brief bio so the readers can get to know you. Include links to your blogs and websites please.

Hi Marva, thanks for having me today. My name is C.K. Volnek, wife and mom of three, and author of three middle grade titles coming out in 2011 with MuseItUp Publishing. I live in Nebraska with my hubby and four pint-size Papillon fur-kids. Yes, I did say four. What can I say, they’re like potato chips, I couldn’t stop at one. LOL.

I’ve always loved to write and especially to write for kids. But life got in the way of my novels for a while. But I never gave up my dream and here I am, excited to be published and share my stories with the world.

Friends and readers can e-mail me at ckvolnek@yahoo.com

or visit my web page: http://www.ckvolnek.com/
My blog is http://www.ckvolnek.com/blog.html

I’m also on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/CK-Volnek-Author/155523277795732

They can find more about my published titles at http://museituppublishing.com/musepub/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128&Itemid=82

Tell everyone a bit about your book.

My first title is Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island  due to be released Fall 2011 through MuseItUp Publishing

In 1587, 117 colonists disappeared from Roanoke Island without a trace, leaving behind not only unanswered questions, but a terrifying evil.

Now it’s up to twelve year-old Jack Dahlgren to unravel the age-old mystery and save his family from the hateful beast that haunts the island.

With the help of newfound friend, Manny, an Indian Shaman, and an elusive Giant Mastiff, Jack must piece together the clues of the Lost Colony to discover what this evil is and where it came from. Shrouded in ancient Native American folklore, Jack must uncover why the evil haunts his island, but can he destroy it ... before it destroys him?

In Winter 2011, A Horse Called Trouble will be released, also by MuseItUp Publishing. In this story, a troubled teen must overcome her abusive past to save the defiant horse that has taught her to love and trust again.

Tara Cummings hasn’t had an easy life. Abandoned by her mother at the young age of seven she’s been passed from foster home to foster home; not wanted anywhere by anyone. At thirteen she finds herself skeptic and suspicious, with no family, no friends, and forced to participate in horse therapy.

Horse therapy “will teach trust, perseverance, respect and the value of teamwork,” or so says the program’s instructor. Tara is unconvinced. Trust only got her heart broken, perseverance only gets her put down, and no one respects or wants to team up with the misfit foster kid.

At the therapy horse farm, Tara meets Trouble, an angry and defiant horse, bent on destroying everything and everyone around him. At first she’s afraid of Trouble, until she realizes he’s as misunderstood and untrusting as she is. She pushes aside her fear and a special relationship is formed as she alone manages to calm him, much to the surprise of everyone at the farm. Trouble trusts Tara, and Tara in turn finds hope and acceptance as well as the will to love and trust again herself.

In Spring 2012, The Secret of the Stones will be released by MuseItUp Publishing. It is the first book in a series called The Lost Diaries of Northumberland.

In this book, a Merlin-loving tween is thrust into magic mayhem when the gift he’s been entrusted to protect turns out to be the enchanted object detailed in a mysterious prophecy.

Trading places with a squirrel outside his window was the last thing twelve year-old Alex Ramsey expected to happen. Could the gift Aunt Norma gave him be magic? The Merlin’s magic he’d read about in the ancient diary? After the magic unexpectedly causes more commotion, Alex realizes he must discover how it works, and fast. How had the trickery transformed him…and better yet… how did it turn him back into himself?

As Alex struggles to understand the how and why of his enchanted gift, he becomes painfully aware there is more to it than he first thought. Within the magic there is a great power, a power to control, a power so strong that another is willing do almost anything to get it. Can Alex protect the gift while solving the secrets to how the magic works? And can he make sense of the riddles in the diary, the riddles surrounding the prophecy of Merlin’s return?
 
Where did the concept for these books come from?
 
My Muse is a funny character. She comes up with the wildest things at the most unexpected of times. Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island came to be after I read an article on the internet about a recent finding on Roanoke Island and how it had stirred the mystery again. I was intrigued and researched the Lost Colony, all the while, my Muse asking, what if this happened, what if that happened. She’s pesky with her questions like that. ;-)
 
A Horse Called Trouble came to be from my love of horses. I grew up with these lovely creatures and have always wanted to write a horse story. After visiting an equine therapy group, the story just fell into place. I’ve met many characters like Tara and hope this story inspires students to find their inner courage and create their own dreams. Life is all about hope and creating your own happiness.

The Secret of the Stones was my first finished novel, though I shelved it for a few years before tweaking and editing it. It actually started as a humorous short story but my muse wouldn’t let it rest. She took over and 45,000 words later the first book was done with at least two more to follow. It’s a fun adventure for anyone who likes magic and Merlin.
 
Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?
 
I take something from almost everything I read. But I love the voices of Jane Yolen, Deb Caletti and Edward Bloor.
 
Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?
 
My Muse is a very active imp. I wish I could write as fast as she comes up with ideas. I think if I were able to write non-stop from here out, I would be writing for years. I love to write to music and usually turn on Yanni or Jim Brickman. I try not to write to anything with words or I find myself singing along, or worse yet, my characters breaking out into song in the middle of their story. :-O
 
As a writer, what is your greatest fear?
 
My greatest fear is my own self-doubt. This is also the reason I write for middle grade and young adult. Too many times, we doubt we are capable of accomplishing our dreams. As a writer, it took me a long time to get over that fear and send my stories out. I never thought they were good enough. But I’m lucky to have my family and friends, especially those at MuseItUp Publishing who are inspiring, encouraging and supportive. I hope to inspire my readers to realize ‘you may not think you are special, but you are in fact everything to someone.’
 
What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?
 
I write where ever I can. But my favorite place and time is late in evening, sitting in my big comfy chair, surrounded by my Papillon fur-kids.
 
Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?
 
I am working on several pieces at this time. Getting my muse to keep on track with one at a time is my major task. But be watching for new titles and sequels to The Secret of the Stones.
 
What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?

My major tip is ‘never give up!’ It’s too easy to throw your hands up and say ‘I’m just not good enough.’ But that’s not true! Keep after your dreams, learn your craft and never give up. You will find happiness in publication, and the longer it takes, the sweeter the victory!
 
Thanks for stopping by. Anything you want to add?
 
Thanks for letting me visit. I’ve enjoyed the interview.


C.K. Volnek

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Take 2 of Tales of a Texas Boy Trailer


Tales of a Texas Boy is available in a variety of ebook and print formats. It's a great Christmas gift for the young 'uns, grandma, or grandpa.

Ebook half-price at Smashwords. Use Coupon BC99R at check out to buy for $1.50.

Best buy large print edition at Amazon. $8.99 (check the other markets for good deals)

Best buy regular print trade paperback at Amazon. $7.99

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another book trailer

I figure that I'll learn how to make a good book trailer some day, but only by practicing. So, I'm setting about making trailers for my long-published books just for practice and grins.

This one is a stab at Tales of a Texas Boy. I've had the music, Front Porch Blues, for quite some time. I hope you enjoy the music along with the old-time photos I've used to illustrate the book.

Of course, the book is for sale all over creation and back. Just check my website for buy links in both ebook and print formats.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Interview - Nancy Gaffney


PREY FOR CLOSURE

I'd like to welcome Nancy Gaffney, author of the new release "Prey for Closure" from Eternal Press.

Thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, why don't you tell everyone a bit about your book?

Nancy: 'Prey for Closure' is a paranormal urban fantasy. Ellie (the lead character) receives a call from one of the few people she actually owes a favor. A friend of hers from college is caught up with Sam in a bad way. He takes the phrases, 'I want to be with you forever' and, 'I'm never going to leave you', a l-i-t-t-l-e too seriously. She travels to Burlington, Vermont, and 'deals' with Sam. Things are further complicated by the fact that Sam is Ellie's first love and that, while in college together, they had a very unhealthy co-dependent relationship.

Where did the concept for the book come about?

Nancy: There were two motivations behind 'Prey'. One was the fact that I found this latest trend of stories featuring self-loathing women who hem, haw, and ultimately don't do what they're supposed to do a little to prevalent for my liking. Women are awesome. We're flawed. We make bad decisions. We make awesome decisions. We are lovers, fighters, warriors and, yes, insecure. I wanted a story where a woman does what woman has do and she does it.

The second motivation was this: who hasn't wanted to exorcise a former boyfriend (especially one that ended badly) by making him into a narcarssistic vampire with huge abandonment issues and a nasty vindictive streak? (chortles).

How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

Nancy: 'Prey' came to me pretty quickly. I'd say the first four chapters happened in less than two weeks. What was odd was that the last chapter, the climax, where Ellie and Sam confront each other, that was the hardest chapter to write. You'd think it'd be the easiest, right? You've got everything set up (plot wise), all your characters are right where you need them to be. But that final threshold, that dark, emotional place, the place you have to go (as a writer and a reader) in order to make your story read the way it deserves to be read, that was tough for me. Maybe it was because I incorporated more of my own personal emotions into the story or that I parted with more personal emotions as I wrote that last chapter. I really can't say for sure.

Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?

Nancy: Heck, yeah. I love Stephanie Laurens. Her Bastion series is so cool. And it's not because she writes sexy books. It's the way she creates a whole world and all you have to do is read the first paragraph of any of her books and you're instantly transported. Tolkien, CS Lewis, and (sigh) even JK Rowling are authors I admire. I include Rowling - not because she's of the caliber of Tolkien or CS Lewis, because (in my opinion) she isn't - because she accomplished (to a certain degree) what Lewis, Tolkien and Laurens achieved: a whole world where you, as a reader, can believe that what's on the page is that world's reality.

It's that level of believability and creativeness that I strive for.

Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

Nancy: What a fun question! (grinning) I'm a creature of habit. I love to sit at my desk when I write. I have this slightly off-kilter chair. I have my lip balm within reach. There's almost always a cup or glass of some beverage to my right. And yes, I love to listen to music while I write. I'm a child of the Eighties; power ballads, pop, hair-bands - it's all good! Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Bonnie Tyler, Cher (don't be mocking my Cher - she's fabulous!), Lita Ford, soundtracks from 80's movies... Similar music from the 90's through today I also listen to. I also love feisty-female songs. Artists like Pink, Kelly Clarkson, The Donnas, Joan Jett - they all appear on my playlist! I have to admit I don't like rap and I don't find a lot of inspiration when country music plays.

As a writer, what is your greatest fear?

Nancy: Letting my characters down, and by extension, letting my readers down. It's one thing to dream up a fabulous story. It's quite another to translate that idea to 'paper'. It's very easy to take short-cuts, not follow-through on an emotional moment or not deliver a plot-line the way it deserves to be delivered. I've read one too many stories where an author 'bailed' on their story. I'm petrified that I'll do that. I think that's the reason why there was nearly a two-month gap between the four and fifth (final) chapter of 'Prey'. I wrote a couple of endings, but none of them 'delivered' what deserved to be 'delivered'. It wasn't until I told myself that I couldn't hold back and that I had to write what deserved to be written that I actually finished the story.

What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?

Nancy: Fun Question! I have a beverage - tea mostly (English Breakfast, with milk and honey), face-cream (I'm generally not a vain person, but I'm always on the look out for wrinkles). There's Slick; he's always good at keeping me honest. He's a grey-wolf 'beanie-baby', by the way. I have a thesaurus, Barbozoi's Handbook for Writers (an old college text book I can't believe I haven't lost, mangled, or otherwise damaged), a note pad, and intermixed with my pens is a bottle of nail-polish, two different lip balms, an eyeliner and mirror with tweezers and at least three hair ties/elastics. All so that I have things on-hand when I procrastinate! lololol!

Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?

Nancy: I just sent in a contract, again with Eternal Press, for a fabulous, fun, science-fiction adventure story. It's called, Another Way. It's five-hundred pages of space-opera goodness. I'm so excited about that. And, I have a Regency-era series called Valkyrie Park that I'm working on. It's not finished yet, but I have it all mapped out (on paper and in my head). It's not a bodice-ripper. It's definitely an adventure series. It will, though, feature some strong romantic elements. I have to admit, I'm really, really stoked about Valkyrie Park. A very dear friend of mine (who's a very talented digital artist) even created my characters for me.

What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?

Nancy: You know that catch phrase/cliche: just do it? I hate to say it, but it's a cliche/catch phrase for a reason. Write what's in your head/heart. Get it on paper. Send it out to publishers. Yes, you should research 'who' you're sending your story to, but it won't get out there unless you put it out there. Join or create a writing group. Participate in some online groups. Find out what you need in order to help you motivate yourself. *That's* when you'll find yourself celebrating your first - and hopefully - fiftieth by-line.

Please tell our readers where they can find you.

Nancy: Anyone who wishes can e-mail me directly.

I can be found on the Eternal Press website:

http://www.eternalpress.biz/people.php?author=435

I also have a website: http://www.valkyrieromance.com/

If you want to add anything please feel free to do so.

Nancy: Marva - thank you so much! You are a gracious hostess!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Half Off Sale at Smashwords

Half Off (or more) Sale - Meets or beats Amazon discounts til 12/31/10. Use the coupon codes to get the reduced price.


Quest for the Simurgh $1.50, regular $2.99
Coupon code QF84E

Eagle Quest $.99, regular $2.99
Coupon code FQ97G

Tales of a Texas Boy $1.50, regular $2.99
Coupon code BC99R

First Duty $1.50, regular $2.99
Coupon code CX34J

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ultimate Duty Now in Print

Print now available on Amazon, but it's not even dressed up yet with the cover and a cross-link to the Kindle edition.

Sigh, priced at $17.25! I can hardly wait for it to be discounted.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ultimate Duty - Book Giveaway

Ultimate Duty, my science fiction romance, is spreading its wings and flying off to various on-line stores.

I've had a couple of reviews so far. I invite anybody who has read the book or wants to read the book to review, let me know. I'm sure we can find a way for you to do that.

One way is for you to get a free copy. That's as easy as leaving a comment on this post. No silly treasure hunts or having to provide details about my life. Since I don't hand out many details, that'd be very hard to do unless you're one of my close friends. In that case, you already have a copy and don't need another. HOWEVER, if you already have a copy and want one to give for Christmas, leave a comment.

On Friday, I'll randomly pick a commenter and that person will get a free copy of Ultimate Duty.

Here are some buy links:

PDF - Eternal Press
Kindle Amazon
Mobipocket
Powell's Books Says for Adobe Digital Editions, which means PDF.

Excerpt to entice you to want a copy:

With the protective helmet off, they could now talk. Remy pulled down the rebreather mask. “You guys ready to get the hell off this planet?”


Her mom patted her on the shoulder and her muffled voice answered, “More than ready, sweetheart.”

“Well, hang on. This is definitely going to be a bumpy ride.” Remy replaced her rebreather over her face. Once they got moving, the shuttle’s environment equipment would kick in, and they could take off the masks.

Remy clicked on the communicator and tuned to a close-range channel. She set her infopad near the spare headset and switched it to an electroid number. She could hardly call it music since the robotic instruments reprogrammed themselves at random, making a weird variety of sounds. Remy shrugged. “I guess I just don’t get modern music.” Bill and Ted were monitoring the frequency though and would know that Remy was ready to take off. They’d come in for another diversion run so that she could escape the planet unnoticed. Anybody else who picked up the sound would, hopefully, ignore it.

Her father looked out the passenger side screen and tapped Remy’s arm. “Would three guys holding blasters running in this direction be of interest?”

Remy nodded and goosed the shuttle’s back jets to get them moving across the bleak landscape and into the sky. She boosted out of atmosphere so hard her mom suppressed a squeak. “Slow down!”

“Can’t, Mom. Just try to hang on.” Her mother nodded, her eyes wide with fear. Her dad, on the other hand, was grinning like a kid with a new toy. Remy thought he might not be too old to take pilot training.