Wednesday, November 30, 2011

December Events Schedule

There's lots going on in December, so don't miss anything!

1st - 30th: Light Up the Holidays on Mark of the Stars. I'll be visiting Jessica's blog on the 29th. She has somebody new every day in December. These won't be just promos, but essays from the authors equating aspects of SF/F/P to the holiday spirit. At least that's what I'll be writing about.

2nd: Penny Ehrenkranz visits me here with a lot to say about not one, but TWO new books.

4th - 30th: Seasons of Reading Blog Hop. See Jo Ramsey's blog for the hop schedule. I'll be hopping. How about you? This hop is all about giving. The authors talk about either books they've received which impacted them or books they have given that have impacted others. I think there'll be a lot of interesting thoughts. AND PRIZES. Giveaways galore. Just hop and comment to win.

8th: I'm in the Spotlight on J Ramsey's blog.

6th and 13th: Visit the Loglines blog to see featured books. Just the cover, buy links, and logline. Would those loglines make you want to pick up the book?

18th: I visit with Adriana Ryan on her Alphabet Authors segment.

29th: Mark of the Stars hosts my SFR Holidays post.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My OTHER Books - Missing, Assumed Dead

I haven't given enough attention to my murder myster, which was release last July from MuseItUp Publishing. Here's a reminder of what it's about, some buy links, and a short excerpt. If you're a fan of mysteries, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy this book. The main character isn't a cop or a little old lady with knitting needles, but a woman thrust into a situation that threatens her life. She doesn't pack up and go home. She pursues answers with determination and grit, even though she might end up dead. I can almost guarantee that you won't guess the ending until, well, the end.

Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets.

When Kameron McBride receives notice she's the only 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. Her suspicions rise when the probate Judge isn't really a judge and tries too hard to buy the dead man's worthless property. Kam probes deeper into the town's secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. She must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

Amazon Buy Link:

MuseItUp Buy Link:

All Romance EBooks:

Book Trailer:
July First Place Cover:
Kam gasped and jumped down the embankment toward the creek, stumbling through the underbrush. She heard the pickup tires screech and glanced back. Scruffy had gotten out and headed down the slope behind her. She moved faster, gripping her hair spray. A strap broke on her sandal, and she kicked it off. Ignoring the brambles poking into her legs through her jeans, she moved as fast as she could, the terrain preventing her from flat out running.
She heard the crashing of bushes behind her and put on more steam. She knew the pickup would have reached her car by now, but she’d be coming up on the passenger door, slightly downhill from the driver’s side. She switched the hair spray to her left hand and pawed into her purse for the keys. Finding them, she dropped the bag on the ground to free her hands and kept moving.
When she reached the Chrysler, the driver had already skidded down the embankment and was standing on the driver’s side. Thin compared to the other man, but his arms were solid muscle under the tats. She rushed to the passenger side, jerked open the heavy door, dived in, slammed the door and hit the lock button on the key fob.
The driver pounded the window with his fist. The scruffy one had caught up and pulled on the passenger side door handle. Kam hit the panic button on the fob. The deep and seriously loud Chrysler horn went off with honking bursts. Both men jumped back from the car.
The driver yelled, “I’ll fetch the rifle.” He scrambled to climb up the embankment.
Kam’s heart almost stopped.

Monday, November 28, 2011

BAD SPELLING 2nd Place in November Best Vids

As they say, better than a sharp stick in the eye. The book trailer for "Bad Spelling" snagged second place at You Gotta Read Videos for November.

Thank you, everyone, for voting for my little trailer.

Today's top post features the 3rd place winner. Bad Spelling should be top post the 29th, with the curious winner on the 30th. Leave a comment here explaining why the first place trailer got first place. I'll give somebody a free copy of BAD SPELLING if you have a reasonable and logical explanation. Or even a wildass guess.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rae of Hope - Debut Novel for Wanita May

I'm proud to guest YA paranormal author, Wanita May. Isn't that a cool name! Anyway, I had the pleasure of reading an earlier draft of this novel, and I can't wait to read it again.

Rae of Hope
The Chronicles of Kerrigan

Fifteen year-old Rae Kerrigan is used to being invisible. Living in New York with her Aunt and Uncle after having been orphaned at a young age by a terrible fire, her life has been quiet, filled with excellent grades and not much else. Then came the letter from Guilder Boarding School, a mysterious place Rae had never heard of which will change her life. She crosses the ocean to enter a world she's never known existed, one where she's center stage and has a very important role to play.

Will the sins of a father choose her path? Or will she have the courage to change her fate? The decision will be made, by fate or teen, in the Rae of Hope.

The question is, as hero or villain? It seems most of Guilder is voting the later, and it's up to Rae to prove everyone wrong and bring hope to her world. But will she succeed, or will the shadows draw her in and swallow her whole?
Now, on to the Q&A portion of the program.
(Q) Thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, please tell our readers where they can find you.
It’s great to be catching up, Marva! It seems like forever since we’ve chatted…

Where to find me? Are we playing Hide and Seek? ‘Cause if we are, I’ve got to get my 17mth old in on it too – she’s figured out the game and tends to hide in the Tupperware cupboard or the little antique dry-sink we have!

But seriously – I'm home most days – running our online business, or writing/editing or playing with the kids. My website, etc. follow, so cyberly – I’m everywhere.


FB: Author W.J. May

Twitter: @wanitajump

Book Trailer:
Where to purchase:



(Q) Tell everyone a bit about your books.

Rae of Hope is the first book in the Chronicles of Kerrigan. I’ve signed a four book contract so it’s a great series, (obviously biased) – it includes fantasy, mystery, paranormal, bit of romance, bit of everything. Something different than what’s out there now.

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

I’d written my first MS and wanted to challenge myself to find something different than what I’d been reading (I’m a big YA reader so there is lots to choose from, but still wanted something unique). I’m a huge fan of comic, vampire, action, etc… books & movies so I decided I wanted to combine it all. I’ve always been fascinated with tattoos and why people choose particular ones and locations. The idea of having a tattoo appear on you one day and finding it out is possess an particular ability - well, that hit me as something unique. I wanted to have the females marked on their lower backs (which is often referred to as tramp-stamps, which lead me to the idea of being labelled before getting to know someone, or judging a book by its cover.) The idea manifested and grew.

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

I wrote the first draft in about 3 months. Spent another 3 months revising and editing and then off to publishers. I signed my publishing contract with Mitchell Morris Publishing ( on January first and it’s official print date was November 15th. It was preleased in ebook from the beginning of September. It seems to have gone really fast actually.

(Q) What do you do for fun other than writing?

Laugh? Joke around J I love playing with my three kids. We set the tent up in the family room the other day and slept there for the weekend (too cold to be outside, but it doesn’t mean we still cant camp!)

(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?

I do my best writing in the evening. The day it too busy and full of the unexpected to sit down and get some quality work done. During the day, I do brainstorm constantly and send myself emails and notes on ideas for plotting or foreshadowing or characters. I like listening to music – I can’t say a particular band or group because sometimes a random song will come on and it will fit the scene I am working on perfectly. I could have heard the same song two days ago and not even registered the co-relation. So – the Ipods on shuffle or the radio gets switched to anything and everything ? Right now, I’ve got Adele in the cd player.

(Q)  In your ideal world, put in order those of most value to you: true love, family, success at writing, world peace, clean air and water, other.

World Peace (which will help to clean the air/water)

Family (as true love is equal and the same)

Writing success … and a movie made out of one of my books!!  J

(Q) What are your writing strengths? Weaknesses?

Dialogue – definitely my strength.

Enough Backstory, skipping time (cause I don’t want to write about the parts that have nothing to do with the main plot of the story), simple character description – those are my weaknesses. I started out having every character stand in front of a mirror. It gets annoying, let me tell you, and I reread the MS too many times to count. I’ve learned and definitely changed that habit!!

(Q) Coffee or tea?

Both! Not in the same cup and always decaf – I’m sure you can tell from this interview I don’t need the caffeine!

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

My agent has two other MSs that we are working on. One is going through a slight rewrite by me and the other is still in the editing phase. And there is always Works in Progress brewing on the backburner.

(Q) What do you do to market your work? How did you start and where do you learn to market?

Rae of Hope is my first published book. I have been learning the tricks of the trade as I go. Social networking is huge, and word of mouth. I’m lucky to have a publisher that knows loads of advertising routes as well. They already have a base so I just chug along for the ride and try my best to add my input. Blog tours are great, book reviews are even better. I also will be scheduling book signings in my area and at Barnes and Nobles shops (I live in Canada, no B&N here… so I’ll be border hopping.)

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

Thanks for letting me stop by and visit. You helped with editing the first rounds of RoH so it kinda feels like I’m coming home a bit here. It’s great to be able to share starting projects and then show off the finished project. I’m so excited to see where this road is going to take me.

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

Chapter 1
Guilder Boarding School

“You can’t undo the past. The sins of the father are the sins of the son, or in this case, daughter.”

Uncle Argyle’s ominous words had echoed in Rae’s head long after he dropped her off at the airport. “A proverb of truth” he had called it. Who spoke like that nowadays? Some good-bye. Tightening her ponytail and futilely trying to tuck her forever-escaping dark curls behind her ears, she looked at her watch, then out the bus window at the tree lined countryside. It seemed strange to see the sun. All she remembered was rain when she had lived in Britain nine years ago.

Trying to get comfortable, Rae tucked her foot up on the seat, and rested her head against her knee as she looked out at the scenery flashing by. A sign outside the window showed the miles before the bus reached Guilder. It’d be another twenty-five minutes. She popped her earbuds in, blew the bangs away from her forehead and stared out the window across the rolling farm fields, trying to let the music from her iPod distract her.

It didn’t work. Just when she felt the tension begin to ease from her shoulders and she started to get into the song, something caught her eye. Black smoke billowed just near the top of a lush green hill. Rae stared, her heart fluttering as an old memory began to take hold. She knew what that smoke meant. She’d seen it before, long ago.

Someone’s house was burning.

Crap, crap crap, no I don’t want to go there. Her heart started racing and her stomach turned over, making her feel nauseous.

Dropping her knee, she gripped the seat in front of her, burying her face in her hands taking deep breathes, like the therapists taught her to do. She’d gone through years of therapy to treat what had been called “panic attacks”. It didn’t matter what other people called it. To her, it was simply hell; like being sucked back in time against her will, to a place she never wanted to revisit. So she breathed the way she’d been taught, slow breathe in, all the way, then slow breath out, all the time chanting it’s not real, it’s not real in her head.

It helped calm her racing heart and made her feel more in control, but it didn’t erase the memory. Nothing on Earth could do that. Being back in England for the first time and seeing the strange smoke, Rae felt six years old all over again. She’d been in the living room coloring with new markers before bed when her mother told her to take them to the tree house her dad had built for her and play there until she called her in. That call never came. The blaze bounced horrific shadows around the inside of the tree house. The stinky black smoke slithered in and scared her little six year old self in ways the monsters under her bed never had.

Rae shuddered and lurched upright, forcefully bringing herself back to the present. Could this school be any further into the sticks? Glancing around the now vacant bus, she wondered if the driver had purposely left her until last. She’d watched the last few people get off at a school about fifteen minutes ago, Roe-something or other. They all looked the same, all pretty girls with blonde hair, not one of them thin, pale, and tall like her. They hadn’t been friendly. Big surprise there… She was used to it. She tended to fly under the radar at best. So she handled them the way she always handled the ones who instantly didn’t like her for no reason she could come up with. Rae avoided making eye contact and tried to appear immersed in the Guilder Boarding School brochure. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to make friends. She’d just never really had any. Most kids her age either didn’t like her or didn’t notice her.

It bugged her that Uncle Argyle had pushed so hard for her to go when Guilder sent the letter. He’d been the one to move them all from Scotland to New York when she’d come to live with them, taking her away from the horrible tragedy of her parents’ death, and now, he suddenly leapt at the chance for her to go back? It didn’t make any sense. It sort of sucked to leave her current high school. She lacked close friends, but she also lacked enemies, which was a plus in her book. The girls there seemed just as stuck up as the ones who’d gotten off the bus earlier, but they’d simply ignored her. Rae always told herself it didn’t matter anyway. Cliques were so passé in her opinion.

Another weird thing that she couldn’t seem to find an answer to was why Guilder would choose her? How did they even know she existed? …

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spellslinger in Multiple Parts IV

Black Friday Weekend: Bad Spelling on sale for only $3.99 at MuseItUp Publishing.

Previously, Rune's old west town had disappeared entirely and he was left stranded on the glacier. Not only that, but the gate into Galdorheim village had disappeared. Rune was definitely in a desperate situation.

SPELLSLINGER - PART IV (Continued from November 19(Continued from November 12) (Continued from November 5)

He stood, taking a few deep breaths to remind him he was still human, then he quit breathing. His heart stopped beating, blood slowed in his veins. The vampire fever crept into his mind. When he looked up, his flashing red eyes caught sight of the protective bubble. The glimmer of the gate drew his gaze. He swallowed and licked his lips. He leapt toward the gate at inhuman speed, for that was what he was. The vampire reached deep into the legendary past of his species and grabbed hold of an ancient breed, the Fire Vampire of Fthaggua. His body changed to a ball of lightning. The boy who quivered inside this new form whimpered. His last thought was that he loved his mother and hoped she could save him.

This not-Rune creature smashed through the gate and it exploded into flames. He heard a scream and whipped his fiery form toward the sound. He saw only a deep red splotch of light, all else dark except his prey. Blood lust rose up and electricity surged through him. A lightning bolt jetted toward his prey, ready to engulf it and feed from its life force.

The bright white light of his victim separated into three forms, purple, blue, and green. The colors surrounded him and closed in. The hunter became the prey. A boom sounded as the three forms hit Rune at once. Thunder shook the earth, and the flash of multicolored lightning hit him, knocking his fireball to one side. He bent himself like a Beckham soccer ball and splashed down in Lilac’s koi pond next to the rosebush. Rune felt himself cool and his flames dissipate. His vision went black as he lost consciousness.

* * * *

Rune slitted his eyes. He lay in his mother’s arms tightly wrapped in a blanket. Aunt Thordis hovered nearby. His sister’s white face bounced around like a balloon. The healing witch, Glinda, had laid her hands on him and murmured spells. He opened his eyes fully.

Ardyth, his mother, held him closer and wept. Glinda drew back, then stood. “He’ll be fine now.”

The healer moved out of his sight, while Thordis floated nearer. “What happened?” Rune gazed at Thordis. “Your magic quit, then all my magic left. I don’t know why.”

Thordis’s face turned away and she muttered something to someone he couldn’t see. Rune pulled his hand out of the blankets swaddling him and touched his teeth. He was relieved that his canines were back to normal.

“Let the boy up, Ardyth. He’ll be fine.” His mother loosened her hold and Rune sat up.

He touched his head again; it hurt like somebody had laid into him with a frying pan. “I saw the lights. Thordis’s purple, mom’s blue. Who has the orange aura?”

Thordis snorted, then heaved a sigh. “Mordita. She was closest to the gate, so I called on her.”

“Where is she? I’d like to thank her.”

“You can do that later. She went back home right away. You know how she is—a loner.”

Thordis moved to the fireplace in his mother’s home, then faced him. “Where were you exactly when your powers left you?”

Rune thought for a moment, trying to picture where the town had been before it melted away. “I was near the ice cave.”

Thordis glanced at Ardyth who raised her hand to her mouth. She turned back to Rune. “Ah! Well, that explains it then. The ice cave tends to pull the magic right out of a person. The only one who can go there is Kat. She wouldn’t notice whether her magic went away or not.”

“Gee, thanks Aunt Thordis,” Kat said, not attempting to hide the sarcasm. “It’s not my fault if I can’t spell worth a darn.” Kat stomped to the hearth and plopped down with crossed arms.

Rune struggled to his feet, holding the blanket wrapped around his waist. His clothes had disappeared, probably burned to ashes when he’d changed into the Fire Vampire. “Please don’t talk to Kat like that. She can’t help that her magic sucks. You know she’s got plenty.”

“True. But it’d be nice if she could actually do something with it.” Thordis glanced toward her niece. “Sorry. Not your fault.” Rune didn’t think his aunt sounded very sincere.

“I’d like to get dressed now.” Rune headed toward his bedroom, then stopped at the door. “Why couldn’t you tell I was lost out there?”

Thordis’s cheeks turned pink. “I got, ah, busy, but I was going to check on you when the magic booster ran out.”

Rune shook his head. He’d grown up about five years in the last hour. He now knew he could depend only on his own resources. He vowed to double or triple his training to enhance and control his warlock magic. And, more importantly, keep his vampire side in check. No more kid games for him. It was definitely time to get serious about magic.

I hope you enjoyed all four parts of this story. Remember, leave a comment on any of the parts to win a free copy of BAD SPELLING.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Visit Lindsay Below's lovely blog to read my natterings about writing series.


I never intended to write any series, but they kind of happened without my acquiescence or thought. My most obvious series is the Witches of Galdorheim, but I will admit to a couple of others that snuck on me. Read the rest here.


Here's something I've discovered as a reader with a Kindle with that convenient, Make a Note feature.

I should NOT find 25 or more typos in anybody's book. If I find that many, then shame on you, shame on your content editor, shame on your line editor, and shame on whoever else read your work and didn't bother to tell you that your work was loaded with incorrect words, typos, and other junk.

I'm not perfect. I am convinced, after thirty-five years experience writing and editing technical documentation, there is ALWAYS one more typo. It's a Law of the Universe.

But there needn't be these type of mistakes. All are easily searched and corrected.

- Lightening and lightning are different words. Figure it out..
- There, their, and they're are different. Figure it out.
- Sited and cited are different. Figure it out.
- Speared and spurred are different. Figure it out.
- Passed and past are different. Figure it out.
- Sceptical is the UK spelling; skeptical is US. Figure it out.
- Cabaret is correct; caberet is not. Figure it out.
- Pendant is not the same as pendent. Figure it out.
- Surly and surely mean different things. Figure it out.
- Worse and worst have different contexts. Figure it out.
- Do I even need to mention it's and its? Apparently so. Figure it out.
- Bare and bear have different meanings. Figure it out.
- Your and you're are not interchangeable. Figure it out.
- Breath and breathe and different. Figure it out.

That's just a short list. When I read your book for review, then I will be knocking 1/2 star off for every 20 occurrences I find of these errors. Well, probably not since I'm such a nice person. But, please. Figure. It. Out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Light Up the Holidays on Mark of the Stars

Jessica Subject has put together a great Holidays line-up of SF related posts. This is just a heads up to keep an eye on Mark of the Stars blog in December. Here's the schedule of authors. Most (including myself) will show up on Jessica's blog, but I've included the links to the authors' websites so you can check them out on their home turf:

December 1 – D.L. Jackson

December 2 – Lisa Lane

December 5 – Gini Koch

December 6 – Heather Massey

December 7 – Jessica E. Subject @ 30 Days of Decadence Holiday Blog

December 8 – Rebecca Royce

December 9 – Bella Street

December 12 – Sara Brookes

December 13 – Maureen O. Betita

December 14 – Jessica E. Subject @ Jennifer Lane’s blog & TRS Book-a-day Giveaway

December 15 – Ann Mayburn

December 16 – Jeanette Grey

December 19 – Melisse Aires

December 20 – Diane Dooley

December 22 – Azura Ice

December 23 – Eve Langlais

December 27 – Ella Drake

December 28 – Cathy Pegau

December 29 – Marva Dasef

December 30 – Misa Buckley

See you there!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SF Contario 2 - A Big Success

Joanne Elder, author of SF thriller, SPECTRA was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. She attended the University of Western Ontario where she earned a Masters degree in Engineering Science. As a Professional Engineer, she spent several years in the aeronautical industry, and thereafter assumed a research position in the nuclear industry. Joanne has published numerous technical papers. On July 1st, 2011 Joanne’s debut novel Spectra was released with MuseItUp Publishing, the first novel in the Spectra Series.

Living in King City, Ontario, Joanne spends her time writing science fiction thrillers—those which will leave readers on the edge of their seats and their minds spinning in amazement.


Light years away from Earth a mining exploration crew makes an amazing discovery…intelligent life comprised entirely of energy. This living energy is so pure and unique, it could provide proof of the existence of the human soul. Those exposed to the entities gain unimaginable cognitive abilities but at a terrible cost.

A rogue scientific group will do anything to maintain the mind enhancing gifts, even if it leads to the destruction of the peaceful beings.

Only two people stand in their way, and they will sacrifice everything to end the slaughter.

Could the quest for the secrets of life lead to the creation of true evil; one so dark it threatens to tear down the walls of sanity and redefine our very existence?

Buy Spectra at MuseItUp Publishing

SF Contario 2 Report

For fans and writers of Canadian Science Fiction, the place to be this past weekend was the SFContario 2! Lots of big name authors were seen cruising the halls, putting on workshops, and stopping to chat. The Guest of Honour for the event was John Scalzi. I attended a workshop on the business of writing and he was there to provide lots of advice on the dos and don’ts in finding an agent or publisher, and the contract negotiations, marketing and advertising that follow.

Then there were the Aurora Awards… Once again, internationally renowned, award winning author Robert Sawyer took the award for the Best English Novel, this time for his novel Wake. I was happy to be able to meet him and offer my congratulations at the end of the day. Best Related Work went to The Dragon and the Stars, a collection edited by Derwin Mak and Eric Choi. Congratulations to them, but personally I was routing for Douglas Smith’s, Chimerascope. I’m sitting looking at an autographed copy of Smith’s book as I write this.

For me I’d have to say the most entertaining part of the weekend was SF Contario’s version of Idol. A panel of judges were present to critique the opening page of several manuscripts submitted. Yikes!!! They were ruthless, hilarious and insightful with their comments. Kudos to the brave authors who submitted. Personally, I was too chicken.

All in all, it was a great weekend and I’m looking forward to next year’s SF Contario 3.

Joanne Elder
Author of Science Fiction Thriller, SPECTRA

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nanowrimo Tips

Even though I'm not Nano-ing this year, I'm still full of opinions. Matter of fact, a whole lot of writers are giving out tips this month on The Writers Rainbow blog. There's a new tip posted every day.

As you can see from this badge, the last time I actually completed my Nanowrimo task (50,000 words in one month) was way back in 2006. I've tried a couple of other years and failed for various reasons (I'm sure they were perfectly good reasons).

My one WINNER became a teen adventure novella, "Eagle Quest." Set in the Klamath Wildlife Preserves in southern Oregon, a group of teens hike into the Eagle nesting site at Bear Lake Preserve, only to run into more than one danger, plus several shady characters.

The Kindle edition is only 99 cents on Amazon. The paperback is still a bargain for $6.49 on Amazon.

My Tip for Writers's Rainbow is still preserved in the final book (which is now much shorter than 50K). Since it's a self-pub (ahem, INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER TALKING HERE), the cover is pretty basic. I don't believe in spending money for covers and typesetting. I'm a DIY self-pubber; no vanity presses for me. I don't pay anybody for anything I can do myself (with the help of some terrific crit partners catching my typos).

Voting Begins Today on You Gotta Read VIdeos

Click over to You Gotta Read Videos between now and the 28th (or so). I'd appreciate your vote for #11, BAD SPELLING.

Here's a fun slide from the trailer:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spellslinger in Multiple Parts III

Previously, Rune had created his town and had it out with Black Bart. That's when things started getting weird. Really, really weird.

SPELLSLINGER - PART III (Continued from November 12) (Continued from November 5)

Inside, he slid his back down against the wall and peeked under the swinging door. The steel monster was nowhere in sight. He heaved a sigh, and pushed himself up. He really needed a sarsaparilla something awful. But the bartender, the cowboys, and even the saloon gal had disappeared. His mouth dropped open as the bar and the shelves behind it began to drip like burning candles, the wax pooling on the floor.

He tried to stop the melting, but he couldn’t feel the boost of Thordis’s magic. The walls became hazy, then transparent. The glacier rose behind the fast disappearing structure. He glanced at his wrist, activating his built-in magic watch. “Crud. No way is two hours up. Aunt Thordis gypped me.” He tried to rebuild the saloon. When that didn’t work, he changed his western shirt into a heavy anorak with a fur-lined hood. The saloon melted away, and he stood freezing on the glacier.

He searched for any vestige of his western town. Nothing. With tears stinging his eyes from both cold air and disappointment, he began to trudge toward the shimmering bubble protecting the village from the arctic cold.

As he neared, he glanced around trying to find the gate. From the village side, it appeared to be a simple garden gate with a morning glory vine twining around it. From the glacier side, it was barely visible. Mundanes couldn’t see the bubble, much less the gate, but it should have been clear to Rune. It wasn’t where he remembered it. Frantically, he trotted up to the bubble, rubbed his hands where he thought the gate should be. He then moved to his left carefully searching for the extra sparkle encircling the gate. Then he ran back the other way. The gate was nowhere, gone, kaput, disappeared.

Rune stood still, a tiny, sharp edge of anxiety gnawed at his thudding heart. It was only then he realized he was completely and utterly drained of magic. As the bubble faded away, he dropped to his knees and held his face with his hands. He gulped, fighting back the tears, but the sobs rose unbidden in his chest, and he couldn’t hold them back.

When his knees began to freeze, he choked back his crying and stood up. He calmed himself, trying to think this through. Aunt Thordis wouldn’t abandon him out on the glacier, would she? Surely, she’ll be opening the gate any minute, calling him into the village’s warmth. But how long might that take? Maybe she was busy with Council work or taking a nap. He had to find his own way back into the village or risk freezing to death. He didn’t have long before the cold would overtake and drag him down into a final sleep.

All the kids were taught early on that they shouldn’t go out onto the glacier by themselves. It was dangerous, even stupid. He counted on the magic Thordis had pumped into him to work, but for some reason it had disappeared. Why would that happen? It couldn’t be lack of power on her part; she was the strongest witch in the village. It must be something about himself or where he was that caused the magic to go away.

Rune had only one option left. He had to let his vampire out. He’d been trained since he could barely toddle to hold that part of him inside, to never let it out. Mostly, he succeeded, but only because his family kept all temptations away from him. He was not allowed to see human blood. He’d been magically blinded more than once when a witch accidentally cut herself. His mother and aunt had swaddled him in a deep layer of binding to prevent his vampire from coming out. He still had to have blood, but his mother controlled him when he received his daily ration of animal blood.

Now, he had to fight off the damping spell that kept his vampire half in check. With his warlock magic gone, all he had left was the hot blood of the vampire. Vampire speed, vampire senses, vampire strength. But he knew the consequences. If he surrendered to the bloodsucker, then nobody would be safe around him. Even at his age, a vampire is a dangerous creature. He could only hope that the witches inside the village would recognize him and take the appropriate drastic measures. He shuddered, fully understanding it might include his death. But staying outside was out of the question.


Friday, November 18, 2011

My OTHER Books - Quest for the Simurgh

Another of my neglected books is "Quest for the Simurgh."

I like the cover picture which comes from an old Arabic text on animals. The bird? Yes, that's a simurgh. The red is also a very nice color for a Christmas present. The reading level is 5th-8th grades.

The book is available in print and ebook on Amazon.

Print Edition is only $6.99.

Kindle Edition is only 99 cents.

The village magician has gone missing. His four pupils think he has left a clue to his whereabouts in the Magicalis Bestialis--the book of magical creatures. They must seek the help of the elusive Simurgh, the mythical birds who know all the secrets of the universe.

However, this is not an easy camping trip into the mountains. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are not aware they’re being set up by otherworldly forces for a much larger task.

The adventurers--a farmer’s daughter, a slave, an orphan and, a rich merchant’s son--although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Holiday Blog Hop

Beginning December 4th, a multi-author blog hop is off and ... hopping!

The full schedule of authors is available on Jo Ramsey's Blog.

Each author will write a post about either a book they received that had a big impact on their life or a book they have given which impacted the lives of another.

In addition, each author is giving away a free book to a commenter AND donating a book to their local library or school in the honor of the winner.

Stay tuned for further developments.

I'll post the full schedule of bloggers with links to their touching and/or hilarious gifting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chase by Larion Wills

by Larion Wills
Despite the threat of prison or death, Chase had to know, did he have a child or had Tiffany lied again.

Eighteen and in deep trouble, Chase is given a choice, keep his mouth shut about the beating they gave him and leave town or go to prison for rape. Twelve years later he can’t leave the doubt alone. Was Tiffany pregnant? Discovering Tiffany didn’t lie, at least that time, he returned. Suffering the lengths they went to be rid of him, he knows what they’d do if they saw him. Only wanting to see the boy, from a distance, not cause trouble, he never expecting to be allowed anywhere near the child. He gets a startling invitation to stay with disturbing results. Tiffany disappeared years before, both her parents are dead, all three under suspicious circumstances. The lone family survivor, Tiffany’s younger sister, inherited the family fortune and his son. Grateful to Sydney for the care she gives Ryan, fascinated by her, he can’t help seeing something is not right even before he’s told were there enough evidence, she’d be on trial for murder.

My guest today is the double-named Ms. Wills. She writes a variety of genres, so uses a different name to differentiate them. I think you can pronounce the names more or less the same. Now on to the Q&A:

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

My website where I love visitors and something besides spam advertising in my guestbook

Facebook: Friend me anytime.

I also write a blog appearing on the first of each month at: All Day/All Night writing Divas where you can never tell what will happen with other authors showing up on their days.

(Q) Tell everyone a bit about your books including buy links.

Amazon is a good all in one place for all of my books as they’re a bit scattered with different publishers.

For the book I’m going to tell you about today, you can go straight to the publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

(Q) You write multiple genres. Where do the concepts for your variety of books come from?

Ummm, I wonder how many authors are asked that question and have a brain freeze when it comes to answering. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one. Sometimes I can answer. A phrase pops into my head or incidence occurs that set a story off. Other times an idea kind of stews around and connects with other ideas floating around in there. In many I include several aspects of something I’ve experienced or observed, but they became background, not the main story.

One day while driving and thinking about Halloween, the sentence “It was my birthday,” popped into my head. From where? I have no idea, but Evil Reflection evolved from it. It’s Still Tomorrow was the result of a trilogy I enjoyed reading so much, I wanted to create my own story of a witch with a sense of humor while adding in suspense.

The westerns? You can probably blame Louis for those, along with living in a history rich area of Arizona. The country around here is the home base for many of my stories, western and contemporary.

Science fiction? Hey, you’re hearing from someone who never missed Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate—is it beginning to sound like my head full of stars? I won’t even try to list the books I read in that genre. Space travel, time travel, even travel between dimensions has always fascinated me. My first published effort with space ship is Looking Glass Portal. You’ll have to read it and decide for yourself if it actually involved space travel.

As for fantasy, I could tell you I was lazy and didn’t want to research to write a period piece, but the truth is, this world’s history didn’t fit with the story running around in my head. The solution, of course, was to create a world of my own. If you read The Knowing, (mine, not the one made into a movie—they took my title) you may recognize some similarities to our world only.

For Chase, I truly do not remember what started that particular story. Maybe one of the times I caught myself counting the handfuls of spilled cereal and telling myself, no one, including me, cared how many handfuls it took to gather it up but still I kept counting. I’ve often wondered how frustrating it must be for someone with OCD, obsessive/compulsive/disorder to watch while their hands keep doing something no matter how many times their head tells them to stop.

Being me, I had to mix in a bit of suspense. If they were threatened, how would they cope with it? How would they interact with others? Oh, and who could react well or badly with them?

(Q) What inspires you?

Inspiration-or ideas-can come from anywhere. As for the original question, when I read, I find myself wondering a well, where every did he or she get the idea for this story? I’m impressed and awed at times with detail and complexity and find myself wishing I could write a story like that. Perhaps that’s the real inspiration, or at least a catalyst, to sit down and start writing, dragging out details buried in the subconscious of observations, researching to be sure the details are accurate, fitting them together like a giant jigsaw puzzle to turn them into something enjoyable for others to read. I’ve had other authors tell me they nearly ran off the road when a piece they’d been trying to find the right place for finally fit. Others, more than I can count, have talked about being unable to sleep for the bits swirling around waiting to be grabbed and slid into place or for that one little bridge to make them fit.

(Q) What advice can you give to writers, both unpublished and published?

Another question I’m often asked is ‘How can I become a better writer?’ I’m going to paraphrase a quote from a man whose name nearly everyone recognizes even if they don’t read his writing, Stephen King. ‘Read everything you can read and write, write, write.’ Although I don’t agree or practice his style of writing, a nine to five type, that one phrase stuck with me after reading his book, Stephen King on Writing. Everything you read teaches you on a subliminal level, ‘ugh, that stinks’ or ‘oh, wow, I wish I could write like that.’ Everything you write is practice. Then, of course, you have to edit. I don’t care how good you are, it’s never perfect. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and keep on saying it; edit is not a dirty word. Every time you edit you’re getting a grammar, punctuation, and composition lesson. Learn from them. That’s an order I give myself and attempt to pass on.

(Q) How about an excerpt from Chase to pique readers' interest.

Despite the threat of prison or death, Chase had to know, did he have a child or had Tiffany lied again.

Eighteen and in deep trouble, Chase is given a choice, keep his mouth shut about the beating they gave him and leave town or go to prison for rape. Twelve years later he can’t leave the doubt alone. Was Tiffany pregnant? Discovering Tiffany didn’t lie, at least that time, he returned. Suffering the lengths they went to be rid of him, he knows what they’d do if they saw him. Only wanting to see the boy, from a distance, not cause trouble, he never expected to be allowed anywhere near the child. He gets a startling invitation to stay with disturbing results. Tiffany disappeared years before, both her parents are dead, all three under suspicious circumstances. The lone family survivor, Tiffany’s younger sister, inherited the family fortune and his son. Grateful to Sydney for the care she gives Ryan, fascinated by her, he can’t help seeing something is not right even before he’s told were there enough evidence, she’d be on trial for murder.

Billmore gave a snort. “Getting involved with her is not a good idea, Ryan. She’s a worse mess than Tiffany ever was. Between the school, things like football, and church, we all keep a pretty tight monitor on that kid of yours. She takes good care of him for whatever her reasons.”

“Don’t tell me you’re buying into Reed’s theory.”

“If you knew her better, you wouldn’t think it’s so farfetched. She gets an idea in her head, and she never lets it go. As long as she stays on her meds and doesn’t feel threatened, she seems to be okay.” He hesitated, took a breath and spoke with determination. “I could never prove a thing, but my advice to you is do not do anything to set her off and get out of here before she decides either you’re a threat to her in some way or she isn’t going to get what she wants out of you.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I don’t want any more unexplained disappearances or deaths. I can’t prove she had anything to do with Tiffany’s disappearance or her parents’ accident, but my gut tells me she did.”

“Tiffany called the other night.”

Billmore scoffed. “Right, I played that game with her for awhile. Wasn’t anyone on the other end, right? Ask her sometime to show you how the phone program on her computer works and can be set to dial a number any time.”

He gave a good spit. “Nearest we could figure was she and Tiffany got into it over the baby. Sydney wanted it, and Tiffany wouldn’t let her have it. They were screaming bloody murder over it one night, and the next Tiffany disappeared.”

“You’re crazy.”

“No, but Sydney is, crazy, smart, and tricky. Her father kicked her out because he was afraid to have her in his house anymore. She had the kid so things went along pretty good until she went back, demanding money from him when she’d tapped out the trust fund from her grandmother. Cain was strapped and couldn’t come up with what she wanted. He called me after she left, scared out of his skull. She threatened to kill both of them, and guess what, two days later they were both dead. Tiffany disappeared years before, presumed dead by everyone around here, both parents end up dead, the order of their deaths a little too convenient, and who’s left to inherit it all?”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Melisse Aires - Ten Reasons to Try Steampunk

Melisse writes Steampunk Romance (duh!). Here are her reasons why you should read Steampunk. By the way, I'm becoming a steampunk fan, partly because of the Firefly, which isn't 19th C., but is so steampunky in tone. I'll really happy to have Melisse on-blog today.

Ten Reasons to Try Steampunk

1 Victorian clothes are so cool.
2 It is the only genre that might pair a governess with a Space captain.
3 You are a secret Browncoat.
4 The Mad Scientist might be the nerdy but hawt hero.
5 Robots and Flying machines abound.
6 Fine hand-embroidered undergarments add a nice touch to love scenes.
7 Your Gallant Hero might pack a laser gun.
8 You enjoy grand adventure in your romance.
9 You secretly desired Dr. Emmet and Clara Brown's Hovertrain in Back to the Future III

10 A Lady can  be resourceful and use her parasol, laser or hatpin  in sticky situations.

I hope you will give it a whirl. My Steampunks/spacewestern:

The Starlander Frontier Book 1: 
Starlander's Myth

Rangy, handsome Jack Starlander--his plan to live as an isolated asteroid miner is foiled by widow ladies. Story includes a gyphon shifter heroine, slavers, a shoot out, widows, small and illegal children, a strange space beast and hot steamy love. Also, bustles and corsets!


Please check my blog for upcoming steampunk fun:


Jack Starlander crept silently over the rocky outcrop to see what was happening on the other side. The newcomers hadn't been quiet at all. Of course, sounds tended to magnify and distort under the bubble. It sounded like an army of flyers descending, but it was really only four.

Now what was that? A woman and a child, both dressed in the latest frilly fashion seen dirtside, surrounded by a bunch of armed men. Not saloon style clothes on the woman, either. Her shirtwaist buttoned clear up to her neck, with no bare flesh at all except her face and hands. The child wore a pink ruffled pinafore over her blue dress, her hair was well kept, curled into ringlets, held back from her face by a floppy pink bow. You didn’t see well cared for kids among the saloon whores. They tended to be wild little beasts in rags, looking to pick pockets or beg for cryst chips.

The woman sat the child down on a large flat-topped rock and watched the men.

These all looked like city dwellers from Hogtie or Abercrombie; well fed, well dressed and well armed, except for two young men. Worker bees. Jack ducked behind a rock. Why was a group of armed men on that empty claim? Were they after him? Records would give his name as being the claim holder of the adjoining property. Why bring a woman and child out to this deserted place?

They didn't need to know he was overhearing their business. He pulled on his protector hood, not because the bubble had a breach, but because the hood had vision enhancing goggles with audio amplification.

He crawled back up the rock, keeping his head low, and found a better spot to observe the group. He could see more details now. The woman was young, with golden blonde hair. Her gown had layers of ruffles over the rear, the latest puffed-out style, which he didn’t care for at all. He liked to get a sense of a woman’s actual shape down below. She looked nervous and held the little girl’s hand tightly. Why the heck would anyone bring a woman and child out to a mining claim?

Jack recognized Galto, a mining official who’d approved his claim here on Yonder Beltway 7, the asteroid that the Collingwood Mining Company had bubbled for mining. They'd got lucky here. There'd been enough ice to form wells and pools once they'd heated things up so they didn't have to import water. Collingwood was making good profits here, but then so was he. He had a nose for cryst. But Galto was not a man to be trusted. Not that any mining officials were. That was why he had half of his haul stuck to a rock in space too small to be noticed by the mining company.

A finely dressed man with a thick gold chain suspended across his protuberant belly, covered in a bright green waistcoat, hobnobbed with Galto. Jewels flashed on his fingers, tie tack and cuff links, and he sported a thick white handlebar mustache. Whiskers were all the style but Jack kept his face military smooth with a shave every morning. Army ways were hard to shake. Even Galto now sported a thin mustache, which looked out of place on his well fed face.

The two simply dressed men rode cheap flyers, the kind that had to enhance their power cell lift with pedal action. Quite tiring on a long journey and this claim was pretty far from the spaceport. They were both big fellows, heavily muscled. Goons. Well armed goons, he amended when he saw their side arms. The woman and child were the only ones in this little group who were unarmed. Interesting.

“Well, I enjoy working with an educated client, such as yourself, Mr. Galto,” the finely dressed man said in a hearty voice. “You are so right, sirrah! Traditionally the gryphon hunted gold. But I have trained this young woman myself to find cryst. Let me demonstrate. Please allow Yurgy here to hide these bags of cryst.” He handed Galto cloth bags. “If you search the bags you will see that some are high grade ore, some are very poor grade.”

“Come here, Mrs. Farrel.” The woman got the child down from the rock and the child clung to her skirt. The mustached man pulled out a scarf and blindfolded the woman. “Here, friend Galto, please check this cloth yourself to verify that it will blind Mrs. Farrel adequately.”

Galto checked the blindfold and appeared to be satisfied.

“You, sir.” Mr. Mustache waggled his jaw at one of the young armed men who accompanied them. “Take these bags of cryst and take off and drop the ore one by one in those rock hills in the distance. Then we'll see my girl do what she's trained to do.” He turned to the young man on the flier. “Oh, and young man? Bury those samples. We all know cryst is rarely found on the ground just waiting to be picked up, don’t we?”

The man flew off with the bags and was soon out of sight.

Jack decided the child must be the woman’s daughter. Though their coloring was different, their facial features were alike. The little girl pressed closer to her mother. What was their role in all this? Perhaps she was the wife of the mustache? Odd that a man of business would bring a woman and child to a place like this. They seemed nervous or afraid, too.

“Now, this is an exceptionally secret procedure, Mr. Galto. Assure me again that we are in a secluded area. I don’t want to have to shoot some miner who stumbles on our little exhibition.”

“Nothing to worry about, Mr. Snurr. The claim over that ridge is Jack Starlander's but he's got a nice vein of cryst on the far side of his land that'll keep him busy for some time. We are unobserved.”

Jack didn’t appreciate Galto knowing so much about his operation but he was a mite pleased Galto was wrong about his whereabouts.

“Starlander? One of the infamous Starlanders?”

“Oh, a cousin or relative, I think. Not the main family. No doubt using the name for clout.”

Jack grinned, Galto was wrong on all points. Yeah, his vein of cryst was making him rich. That's why he’d bought the robots. They could work without supervision, giving him time to sniff out another vein.

The young flier returned after a bit and Galto retrieved a cloth out of his bag. “Here Gentlemen. Stretch this out between you and turn your backs on Mrs. Farrel, please. She has to disrobe for the transformation.”

“You know what to do, Mrs. Farrel.” Not married to the fat man.

The young woman walked behind the sheet, though from Jack’s angle he could see her from the side. She proceeded to disrobe all the way to what nature had given her. Whoa, not expecting a sight like this. Jack felt heat in his face and other places, too. She was perfectly formed and the corset barely made any difference in her high-breasted lithe figure. She took her bright gold hair down from its low bun and it fell to her waist in a gleaming ripple.

The golden hair seemed to grow. He stared in fascination as her skin turned from pale tan to gold, then wings appeared with golden feathers. Strong legs with claws. A hot damn gryphon shifter! He’d heard about them, they were legends in mining camps, but never thought they actually existed.

“Fetch the cryst, Mrs. Farrel,” Snurr said. He picked the little girl up. The little girl held herself rigidly away from the man and looked on the verge of tears but made no sound.

With a swish of powerful wings the gryphon launched into the air. For such a large creature its flight was graceful. Jack suspected the gryphon was incredibly strong.

The child was the insurance that she would comply, he guessed.

A few minutes later, the gryphon returned with the cryst bags in its beak and claws. It dropped them at Mr. Snurr’s feet.

“Please verify if these are the chunks I had Yurgy hide.”

Galto inspected the bags inside and out. “The very ones.”

“Very good, sir!” Mr. Snurr sounded delighted. His rich voice was beginning to grate on Jack’s ears. “Is she not just as valuable as I told you?”

“Indeed.” Galto said. “I'll take her at the price we agreed upon.”

Slavers. God he hated those!

The men shook hands. “She'll do what you want to keep the child safe.” Snurr said. “I've only used her to hunt cryst, but she's an attractive woman. Wouldn’t you agree? I'm sure you can find some good use of her. The child might be of profit too. Resembles her mother and might have that rare gryphon heredity.”

Oh, now for sure they just need to die.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My OTHER Books - First Duty and Ultimate Duty

I wrote two books with the same plot and characters. The first, "First Duty," is a YA level novella. It was originally published by Sam's Dot Publishing in print form only in 2008. I wanted to turn it into an ebook, so when my contract expired, I did a bit more editing and published it as an ebook and print book with a new cover. The blurb for both books is similar, so I'll just put it here once. The heroine's name is Nyra in First Duty and Remy in 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.

Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble EPub editions cost only 99 cents.

The print edition is also available from Amazon and B&N. I just dropped the price on the print, but it might take awhile for the lower price to catch up on B&N. At Amazon, print is now $6.99.

At Barnes & Noble, it's $8.99 as of today, but the price should drop soon.


I got to know some CDSF writers (character-driven science fiction) and thought that my plot, characters, and the bit of romance in the book suited it to another reworking. I added 22K words of action and some fairly hot sex. I changed the title to "Ultimate Duty" and most of the character names as well. I submitted this book to Eternal Press and it is now for sale at the usual on-line stores.

Note that this book did receive 9th Place (which placed it in award category) at the Preditors and Editors readers poll. So I guess a few people liked it well enough to vote it up over a few dozens of other SF books.

Since it's longer and published through a pro publisher, it costs more to buy the the novella.

At Amazon, the Kindle edition is $6.69.

The Amazon print edition varies quite a bit. It dropped down to around $4 a couple of weeks ago, so I bought a copy for myself. That was a better price than I could get with my discount with Eternal Press.

Immediately, the print price jumped up to $12.94. Such are the mysteries of Amazon pricing. I guess I should have bought a couple of copies when I had the chance.

Barnes & Noble EPUB is $5.56. Not too bad with the discount. However, the B&N print price is higher at $13.94.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spellslinger in Multiple Parts II

Previously, Rune had borrowed some magic from his Aunt Thordis to build his simulation of a western town so he could play at being Sheriff.

SPELLSLINGER - PART II (continued from November 5th)

When the half-town was completed to his satisfaction, Rune spent a moment admiring his handiwork. Then he remembered he only had a couple of hours before the illusion would fade, and he’d be left standing out on a glacier at fifty below zero.

He got his best swagger on, and headed for the saloon. On the way, he added spurs to jingle, jangle, jingle while he walked. He pushed open the swinging door and looked around the smoke-filled room. Deciding he didn’t like that, he cleared the air and added No Smoking signs to the walls.

Rune looked left and added a stairway going up to nowhere. He plunked a piano with a mustached player under the steps. A tinny version of Buffalo Gals overlaid the background chatter. Glancing at the bar, he added a barkeep with a white apron polishing glasses. On the customer side of the bar, he conjured a few cowboys hefting mugs of beer. Looking to his right, he set up a poker table with more cowboys. One player was garbed in a black suit, black hat, black tie, black hair, a black cigar (unlit), and a black pencil-thin mustache. The villain.

Taking a step, Rune paused, and then snapped his fingers. “Right. The saloon gal.” She appeared standing next to the villain with her arm draped over his shoulders. Nodding with satisfaction, Rune clanked toward the poker table. He had to get the action going pretty soon or he’d run out of play time.

“Black Bart,” Rune said with a throaty growl, “I told ya to stay outta my town. Now I’m gonna have ta bring ya in.”

Black Bart jumped to his feet and pulled a derringer from his waistcoat. Rune liked the brocade vest and quickly added a watch chain. Black Bart obligingly stood still waiting for Rune to complete Bart’s stylish outfit.

Rune drew his own gun from its holster. “Don’t make this any harder than it has ta be, Bart.”

“You’ll never take me alive, Sheriff Rune!” Bart pulled the dance hall girl in front of him as a shield. The girl shrieked and grasped the arm encircling her neck.

Rune lowered his pistol. “You can’t hold onto her forever, Bart.”

The villain sneered and dragged the girl across the saloon floor toward the swinging doors. “I can hold her long enough to get out of here.” Rune snapped a glance at the saloon gal, and she put on a show of struggling. When Bart reached the door, he shoved the girl away from him and fled into the street.

Rune chased after him, but stopped a moment to help the girl to her feet. She gave him a simpering smile and a wink. Rune jerked away. “Eww! I didn’t make that up.” Then he forgot about the girl and dashed into the street just as Black Bart mounted his horse—a black horse, of course—ready to ride out of town.

Rune raised his pistol, but knew he couldn’t shoot Bart until the bad guy shot first. It’d be against all good guy rules. Bart obliged by raising his derringer and firing a round at Rune, who easily ducked to the side. The bullet smashed into the wood door jamb. Bart jerked his horse’s head around, and dug his spurs (when did Bart get spurs?) into the steed’s ribs. The horse leapt forward putting Bart’s back to Rune. Good guy rules kicked in again. He couldn’t shoot somebody in the back, even if they were fleeing.

He had to stand and watch Bart’s horse gallop to the end of the illusion and disappear. Rune jammed his pistol back into his holster. This wasn’t right. He should have come out of the saloon after Bart, who’d be standing in the street, then they’d have a shoot out like he had imagined. Bart wasn’t supposed to run. For that matter, Bart shouldn’t have had a horse tied out front at all.

The street stood empty except for Rune. There were people here before; he just had to get them back in place. He closed his eyes and concentrated, imagining the old west folk with their buckboards, cowboys riding down the street on horses. He opened his eyes. Then his mouth dropped open. There were people all right, but not what they should be. Two men dressed in black leather jackets stood next to their Harley Davidson motorcycles. A woman leaned against the wall by the saloon door. Her silver, skin-tight outfit was so not western, and her wraparound silver sunglasses were definitely not. Rune flinched.

He turned around to see his carefully constructed town melting and morphing into something entirely different, a melange of different centuries, none of them the old west he had envisioned. “What the...?” Shaking his head in confusion, Rune disappeared the bikers and the, what was she? A woman from the future or something from a movie he’d watched, he couldn’t tell.

A lightning swift conjure restored the clapboard town. It now milled with cowboys with Stetsons and six-shooters and ladies in long skirts, their petticoats swishing the dust.

Rune scanned the street for any more out-of-place people. Satisfied that only the old west people remained, he turned to go back to the saloon. A horrible metal-shrieking sound made him whip back around. A Conestoga wagon, appearing out of nowhere, began wrenching and twisting, then rising and transforming.

“Aw, jeez! You’ve got to be kidding!” Rune yelled staring up into the face of the impossible robot. Rune grabbed at his holster and drew his wand instead of the gun. He cast a spell toward the metallic giant, but it didn’t poof away. Instead, it took a gut-wrenching, clanging step in his direction. Rune ran for the saloon.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Bad Spelling Trailer on You Gotta Read Videos

Today, the Bad Spelling trailer is featured on You Gotta Read Videos.

Voting begins on the 21st. To be honest, I'm sure my trailer won't win. I'd like to tell you why.

Votes are gathered by the authors by major campaigning via internet and mailing lists. Authors who've been around awhile or are gung ho marketers will find more votes than shy marketers with small mailing lists.

On the trailers, I personally don't vote for any professionally produced trailers. I like it when an author on a shoestring budget (as most of us are) puts together the best trailer they can manage. Choice of appropriate music, clarity of the words on the slides, appropriate stock art or photos are all tools writers have available to them.

Length of a trailer also drives my vote. I've set 1:30 minutes (one minute and 30 seconds) as a prime length target. A few seconds one way or the other is fine, however, I'm not going to vote for your three minute opus. That's just too long to hold my attention. Brevity is the soul of wit as aptly said by Polonius (actually, by Will Shakespeare).

Now, I am running one too long, so I'll end with a plea to take a look at my trailer today (the 11th  is easily remembered and a very popular movie release date this year). And when voting begins on the 21st, I humbly ask for your vote.

So, here's my trailer so you don't even have to click over until voting time:

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Basquing on the Blog

November is all about food and good books on JQ Rose's blog. Look for my recipe and an excerpt from my murder mystery, "Missing, Assumed Dead," on November 9th.

I'll be serving up a Basque-style Chicken and Chorizo recipe.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

No Bad Spelling with Bad Spelling

Today, my MG fantasy, BAD SPELLING, is featured on Teen Word Factory.

This blog features many MG/YA books, as well as information useful to teen writers and writers who write for teens.

Operated by Rebecca Ryals Russell, she opens the forum to many writers to provide information not only about teen appropriate books, but also tips, hints, and techniques.

If you haven't added Teen Word Factory to your "Follow" list and you write for MG or YA audiences, then you'd better do so today. Starting small, but this will be a growing venue for the genres beloved by all of us who are young (or at least young at heart).

Sunday, November 06, 2011

My OTHER Books - Tales of a Texas Boy

I'll take the this lull in the regularly scheduled program to tell you about some of my books that have been out in the world for some time. I tend to neglect the poor things.

Tales of a Texas Boy - Large Print makes a really great Christmas present for those who are still spry, yet their danged glasses don't work as well as they should. My mom's like that. With her progressive lenses, the world in general is more or less clear, but the tiny spot left to the reading part of the lens is difficult for her to find.

The 18Pt type is eyesight-impaired friendly. I can even read it without my glasses.

The trim size (dimensions) is an easier-to-hold 9.7 x 7.4 x 0.3 inches with 138 pages. It's priced at only $8.99, which is a freaking bargain for a print book these days.

I've lowered the price on the print copy to $8.99 and it's eligible for free shipping and handling from Amazon.

Tales is also available as a regular print trade paperback for $6.49 and the 99 cent ebook of course.

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. Bonus story included.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Spellslinger in Multiple Parts

While Nano is going on, many writers are madly trying to churn out 50,000 words in a month that not only contains a holiday (Thanksgiving), but also is short an hour because Daylight Saving Time ends. Okay, that's mostly only true for the US of A. Still, everybody's busy. To fill in the lulls between the lovely writers I'm hosting here and where the few bloggers have granted me parking space, I've decided to serialize my short story, "Spellslinger." Now, if you buy "Bad Spelling" from MuseItUp, this is included absolutely free as a bonus. Still, I'm a generous person, so here comes "Spellslinger," Part Une. It's a prequel to "Bad Spelling," but doesn't give away any spoilers. Well, not too many.

Leave a comment, on any of the Spellslinger segments and I'll put you in a draw for a free copy of "Bad Spelling." Sound good?


Rune stuffed his hands into his jeans pockets and stomped down the street, his shoulders hunched. A clump of dandelions hugging the white picket fence leapt out at him, their squeaky little growls and slashing petals pulled a grin from the eleven-year-old warlock for a moment until he remembered he was in a bad mood.

He punted the attacking flowers with a transforming spell turning them into a tumbleweed rolling along the street. Rune sprinted after and gave it a kick with a Beckham bend. The shrub careened out of control over a picket fence and into a yard. Lilac, a witch who lived in the cottage, stepped out on her porch. “Rune, get that thing out of my garden!”

“Yes’m.” Rune’s cheeks reddened. He pulled out his wand and flicked it toward the offending bush. The shrub shook, then hopped in the air. When it landed, it sunk its brand-new roots into the ground on the edge of Lilac’s koi pond. The rose buds adorning the stems burst into full bloom and a few petals dropped and floated on the water.

Lilac smiled. “Congratulations, Rune. You charmed your way out of a telling-off.” The witch walked back into her home.

Rune continued on his way, his shoulders settling, a frown tugging the corners of his mouth back down. His friend, Dalton, had joined the Wolf Pack and seemed to forget that Rune was his best bud. The Wolf Pack wasn’t exactly condoned in the witch community, but as long as the transformed boys didn’t actually eat anybody, the warlocks turned a blind eye. Rune had promised his mother and aunt that he’d not get involved in the group. As a half vampire, the only vampire, he already had plenty to worry about without also taking on a wolf form. The boys’ play sometimes drew blood. No way could Rune keep from going mega-vampire at the sight of blood.

It sucked. Since he wouldn’t join the pack, they all stopped letting him hang out with them. Now he was stuck in the ?so not cool’ group to which his older half sister already belonged. She couldn’t cast a spell that didn’t blow up in her face, and since Rune couldn’t join the other boys in the Pack, he felt like an outcast. His mind pinged, and the word “outlaw” blazed in his mind. Yeah, that’s what he’d do, spell up a place of his very own. To heck with Dalton and those other boys turning themselves into werewolves. He’d become an outlaw, a real gunslinger. Or how about a spellslinger? That had a nice ring to it.

That’s it. He’d go old west, old U.S. west. He’d watched about a zillion westerns, so he figured he could conjure a proper old west town and he’d be...what? The leader of a bandit gang? The Sheriff of a little town taking on the bad guys? Yeah, he’d be the hero.

Well, that meant a white hat for sure. A huge, white ten-gallon Stetson appeared over his unruly thatch of black hair. He hooked his thumbs in the gun belt that materialized around his waist. An outlaw gleam lit his dark eyes. His walk transformed into a swagger, and cowboy boots made him an inch or two taller. By the time he stood in front of the Witches’ Council Hall, he was well decked out in the western garb he’d seen so many times on the 52” flat screen television stored in the council room.

TV channels couldn’t reach the witches’ island, Galdorheim. No station would bother sending their signals into the far reaches of the Arctic, nor would the signals penetrate the village’s protective shield. Captain Sean, the Irish warlock/sailor, took orders for entertainment and picked up CDs and DVDs when the supply boat made its way to Norway. The witches traded amulets and charms for things they could conjure, like the latest music and movies.

“Aunt Thordis,” he called. Her office door behind the raised dais was closed, which usually meant ?go away and leave me alone’.

This time, though, the door swung open and the tall, blond witch came through. She glanced at Rune, and her lips twitched to an almost-smile. “Well, Rune, it looks like you’ve got something weird planned.” She walked across the platform to its edge, then floated to the floor. Thordis looked him up and down, put her hands on her hips, and snorted. “I do not believe, nephew, that we have any ranches close by.”

“Oh, this isn’t a cowboy outfit. I’m the lawman.” A shiny star appeared on his shirt over his heart saying “Sheriff Rune.”

The regal witch nodded slowly. “I see. What does that have to do with me?”

“I want to spell up a town like in the old west in the United States. It’s got to have some bad guys. Maybe some bandits or cattle rustlers.” He touched his Stetson. “I’m the good guy.”

“Again, why would this interest me in the slightest?”

“I’m not good enough at spellcasting yet to make a whole town. I’m kind of stuck at the saloon. As soon as I try to add a bartender, half the bar disappears.” Rune stuck his thumbs in his gun belt and said, with what he hoped was an authentic western drawl, “I’d be right pleased, ma’am, if’n you’d loan me some magic.”

“A whole town? Where exactly are you going to put this town?”

“Oh, outside the village dome. There’s that big glacier near the ice cave. That should be plenty of room. All I need is the street, a saloon, 'cause that’s where the bad guys hang out, the sheriff’s office, a trading post, and some horses tied up outside the saloon.”

The corners of Thordis’s mouth turned down, and she heaved a deep sigh. “You’re not asking for much, are you?”

Rune pressed his palms together and donned his best begging face. “Pretty please.” Thordis may give him a hard time, but he knew deep down she loved him. He’d just have to wear her down.

Thordis shook her head, but said, “All right, but I’ll only give you two hours of booster magic.”

Rune grinned. “That’ll be plenty, Aunt Thordis. Thanks!”

With a quick spell, Thordis enhanced Rune’s magic for his project. When she finished, she grabbed his chin and leaned over him. “Stay out of trouble, boy. Indiscriminate use of magic can be dangerous.” Rune nodded his head vigorously, and she let him go.

He jogged out of the Council building and rushed down the main street of Galdorheim village. He reached the gate leading out of the protective magical bubble, and hesitated when he thought how cold it was out on the glacier. The translucent shield surrounded the village, maintaining a constant warm spring within. Outside were the harsh conditions of an icebound island sitting in the middle of the arctic Barents Sea.

Rune shivered while he invoked his own little bubble for his project. He went about building the town as he had described to Aunt Thordis. He shivered once more feeling the vast coursing of Thordis’s borrowed magic surging through his body. It almost made him dizzy. He hoped he would someday have that much power for his very own. He smiled when he heard Thordis’s voice in his mind. “Practice, Rune, practice is the only way.” He shook his head ruefully. “Yes, ma’am. I’ll practice.” He felt Thordis slip away, leaving him to his own devices.