Friday, November 30, 2012

Best Sellers - Tales of a Texas Boy

Every holiday, TALES OF A TEXAS BOY, turns into pancakes (sells faster than). There's a reason or two this collection of 20 short stories loosely based on my father's tales of his boyhood in West Texas during the Great Depression sells so well.

I can suggest a couple of ideas of why it's a hot Christmas item.

  • The Greatest Generation is more likely to find familiar ideas in these stories. 
  • People who grew up in rural areas with lots of animals enjoy remembering the good old times.
  • Lots of people love stories set in Texas.
  • Many of our elders have vision problems and the Large Print format is valuable.
  • While e-readers are growing in popularity, folks in their 70s and 80s are less likely to buy one. So many years of reading have made the feel of a paper book the only way to go.

There you have it. A few reasons why TALES OF A TEXAS BOY is a great gift YOU can give your parents, aunts, uncles, or even yourself. Buy LARGE PRINT at Amazon and take advantage of the free shipping, or buy from Texas Boy Publications ( to get an autographed copy. Costs more, but worth it. A standard type copy is also available for a nice savings.

Here's an excerpt to give you an idea of what the stories are like. I will sneakily give you only half the story so you will need to buy the book to find out the rest (it can be had for only 99 cents in all the popular ebook formats at Smashwords).


No Angel
Idle hands are the devil's workshop. So goes an old saying. A boy with nothing much to do can sometimes find the worst possible things to occupy himself.

FROM WHAT YOU'VE heard about me, you might come to the conclusion I was a well-behaved child. Well, I don't mean to give you a false picture of what I'm really like. I know it's hard to believe, but sometimes I did stuff that was not admired by my Ma and Pa. I wasn't exactly the devil, but I weren't no angel neither.

Ma and Pa liked to go to town, that bein' Hereford, on Saturday nights. They'd visit friends and sometimes eat at the diner. They left me home to take care of Sister, which is what we call my sister Dorothy. Generally, we behaved ourselves 'cause we knew the consequences if we didn't. One of them Saturdays, I was outside not doin' much of anything. You know, just watchin' the clouds and throwin' rocks and so on.

I noticed a flock of blackbirds lit on Ma's clothesline, so I went in and got the shotgun. I loaded it with smallshot and snuck around the side of the house so's not to scare the birds. I figured I could get the whole flock of birds if I shot straight down the clothesline from one end to the other.

I had to be real quiet, so's I thought I'd sneak up on 'em like I was a Comanche. I got down on my belly and rested the shotgun across my arms. The grass was high enough so I'd not be seen. I dug in my elbows and pulled myself real slow around the corner of the house. When I got to the lilac bush, I got up behind it and checked if the birds had a notion I was there. They just sat on the line and didn't even look my way, so I hunched over and ran lickety-split to the oak tree. From there, I was right at the end of the line and no more'n ten feet away.

I leaned around the tree trunk and eyed the line. Yep, I could see right down it. My hands aren't big enough to span both triggers, so I pulled them one at a time. I figured I'd shoot the first barrel and then real quick-like, fire off the second. That way, I'd get to hit the flock twice.

I eased the shotgun up to my shoulder and pulled back slow on the left-hand trigger. The first shot blasted off and knocked me back a few feet where I landed on my rear end real hard. I still held the shotgun in my hands, but I wasn't in any position to fire off the second barrel. When I sat up and looked to see how many birds I got, I was in for a shock. All that noise and not one feather to show for it. But Ma's clothesline . . . now that's a different story. The durn thing looked like a dead snake layin' there.

I knew right away Ma would not be pleased with this.

Read the rest in TALES OF A TEXAS BOY...

Thursday, November 29, 2012


A big thank you to Lorrie Struiff for nominating me for The Liebster Award!

What is The Liebster Award you ask?

Well, it's an award given to up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Think of it as a virtual pat on the back. A bit of recognition for doing a good job and encouragement to keep going.

And let's not forget the bloggers that have been blogging for a while and have great blogs.

Hmm. Seems I have to answer the questions below, then nominate a few other bloggers and send them questions. Well, at least you folks get to know us authors a bit better.

And away we go!

Here are the 11 questions that Lorrie asked and my answers:

1. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would purchase?

A brand-new, high-mileage, high-safety car for my granddaughter who recently became a licensed driver. In a few months, it might be something else.

2. Is there something unique about you that you’d like to share with the readers?

I am the only person in the entire world with my name. No, really! Try to find another Marva Gurina Dasef. I dare you.

3. Where is your dream place to live and why?

I live in the best place in the USofA already. We have great weather here with year-long moderate temperatures. It rarely snows in the valley, but it's a quick drive to all the mountainous snow one could want. We're an hour away from one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, but protected from those nasty tsunamis by the picturesque Coast Range. We have big cities within a half-day's drive all along I5 (if you like that kind of thing). Our small airport can take us further if we want to go to Las Vegas or San Francisco.

4. What do you find is the most difficult part of the writing process?

Motivation to write the next piece if my current published work isn't moving well in sales. I don't even care if I make any money. I just want a lot of people to appreciate what I do. Since that isn't the case (but thank you a bunch to you few brave souls), I keep thinking, "why should I bother?"

But if you're a writer (which you probably are since you're reading this blog), you know that the itch to create something new just won't go away. We're like heroin addicts without the drugs.

5. Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know.

Um., can't tell you that. Well, there was this time...nope, that's out too. My final answer is "Nothing."

6. Do you have any pet peeves?

Inefficiency. Ask my husband.

7. Do you have any special habits you do when you write?

I stamp my foot often. This usually chases the cat away for a few minutes. He likes to sit on the floor and stare at me. I don't know why.

8. Did you ever write your friends or family members in your books?

Oh, yeah. My friend Liz got to be a teenager again in my murder mystery. Her daughter is my cover model for the Witches of Galdorheim series. Mordita, of course, bears a striking resemblance to Lorrie. Or so Lorrie tells me. There are others who may remain nameless.

9. What is your favorite drink?

Pomegranate-Berry Diet Ice. It's also a good mixer with cardboardenay (wine in a box).

10. Who gives you the best encouragement to keep writing?

Lorrie Struiff, blast your hide, woman!

11. Do you have a critique group or a special author circle?

I've shared critiques with lots of authors on Critique Circle. Many of them have been acknowledged in my books.

And, thank you readers for dropping over. Please leave me a hello in the comment section so that I know you were here. It’s so nice to know who visited.

Last, but not least, here are my bloggy friends to whom I pass on the coveted Liebster Award. Congratulations to the following bloggers:

Sue Perkins
Penny Estelle
Kim Baccellia
Others to be named.

Here are the 11 questions they need to answer if they accept my challenge:
  1. Do you have a sibling you'd secretly wish you'd smothered with a pillow (mystery writers only)?
  2. Which author would you most want to write like?
  3. What were you known as in high school: nerd, jock, cheerleader, genius, most likely to spend time in prison?
  4. What do you think of first when you hear the word quark?
  5. Briefly describe your perfect mate (this can be the one you already have).
  6. Dog or cat?
  7. What super power would you most like to have?
  8. What does liebster mean? (go ahead and Google, I'll wait)
  9. Choose a new pen name for yourself. Why that one?
  10. What have you done to prepare for a) the Zombie Apocalypse or b) Mayan End of the World?
  11. What's the logline for your latest book?
Have fun!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bad Spelling Paperback Sale

I've marked down the paperback of BAD SPELLING for holiday sales. It will go up to the already reasonable $8 by Christmas. This is a short opportunity to get the paperback for only $5.99. 

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


“All aboard!” the driver shouted. Rune climbed into the car behind the driver’s. Kat thought of it as the engine, something she’d read about in her history book. However, it didn’t appear to have any motive power, just the troll holding the brake.

Andy hugged his brothers, Endy and Indy, for the last time. They patted him on the back and murmured in his ear. Kat assumed they were wishing him a good journey. When she saw tears in their eyes, she turned away to give them some privacy. Maybe Andy would never have left the trolls if it hadn’t been for her. Yet Andy seemed eager to find his original family in Siberia.

Kat asked Rune for cushions. He shook his head and said, “Wimp. It’s only ten minutes. You’ve got plenty of padding already.”

Brothers! However, she realized she’d never have gotten this far without Rune. She swung a leg over the edge of the same car as Rune had hopped in. Not sure what to expect, she sat in the back corner and braced herself as best she could. Andy climbed in and sat kitty-corner from her at the front. Rune wedged himself in the opposite corner from Kat.

It was a good thing she was holding on tight. The driver released the brake, and the train shot forward. Her head snapped back and hit the side of the car, making her very glad she’d also thought to pull up the hood on her parka. She had a certain grim satisfaction seeing Rune wince when his head bounced off the backside of the car.

The train picked up speed until the walls of the tunnel became a blur. As the train rushed forward, spirit lights flicked on before them and winked out once they passed. Kat wondered whether she wouldn’t have preferred to travel in the dark; the motion and the flashing lights were making her dizzy. Besides moving at a horrendous speed, the cars rocked back and forth on the track. Her tailbone suffered in earnest within a minute.

Then it got worse.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review My Books

89 years and still going strong.

Authors: Check out the AskDavid site for free promotion. 

Review My Books at AskDavid:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Girls and Boy Succeed

J.Q. Rose is a mystery writer and, more recently, the author of a book for girls with stories about real successful women. She stopped by my blog earlier this month to talk about Girls Succeed.

Please visit J.Q. Rose today and leave a comment.
Read "Out of the Chicken Coop" from Tales of a Texas Boy

Today, I stop by her blog to talk about a couple of my paperbacks. One features a girl who has no doubt she'll be a success. Fiona's best friends are three boys who already respect her even in junior high school. Together, they go on an adventure in the Klamath Wildlife Preserves in southern Oregon. Click here to read more about Eagle Quest.

The other is all about a boy. He's a real-life guy who grew up to be my father. He's gone now, but "Tales of a Texas Boy" continues on telling his almost-true tall tales of growing up in West Texas during the Depression. Eddie is curious, mischievous, kind, respectful of his elders, and sometimes mean to his sister. In other words, he's just a regular boy. But somehow odd situations find him, and he's more than eager to take them on. Click here to read about Eddie's stories.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Write Short Shorts

Continuing with paperback month, I come to two short story collections. Actually, there's the short, PG book titled "Mixed Bag." I give this away in ebook format a lot.

I added a dozen stories with more adult themes in the book, "Mixed Bag II: Supersized." The majority of the stories were previously published in either print or ezine. In other words, some editor thought they were good enough to publish.

Both books are available in ebook (all types) and paperback formats. Here's where you can get the shorter book. MIXED BAG in all the eformats free:

On Amazon, the ebooks are both priced at 99 cents (the minimum allowed by Amazon outside of the special KDP program).

Mixed Bag II: Supersized

Here's what you'll find in the books. About half of them are in Mixed Bag; all of them are in Mixed Bag II.

Science Fiction
Fish Story
Published in The Fifth Di... ezine and included in Wondrous Web Worlds #7 best of anthology from Sam’s Dot Publishing.

The Delegate
Published in Lorelei Signal ezine and included in the A Time To, Volume 2 best of anthology.

The Great Writing Competition

Published in AnotherRealm

Heather's Pain
Published in Weirdly, Volume 1 from WildChild Publishing.

The Vision
Published in Weirdly, Volume 1 from WildChild Publishing.

The Hunter
Published in Weirdly, Volume 1 from WildChild Publishing.

Country Faire
Published in Weirdly, Volume 1 from WildChild Publishing.

Published in Weirdly, Volume 1 from WildChild Publishing.

Extraordinary Rendition
Published in The Deepening and November 3rd Club

No Deposit, No Return
Published in Diddledog Flash

Chilpequin - 22 Miles
Published in Lorelei Signal ezine and A Time To..., Volume 1 best of anthology.

Cursed Valley
Published in Scribal Tales, Sorcerous Signals and Arcane Whispers best of anthology.

A Visit to Potter's Field
Published in Lorelei Signal ezine and A Time To..., Volume 1 best of anthology

Jonathan Swift Finds Nemo
Published in 5th Story Review

Miscellaneous Bits and Pieces
Big Bessie's Place
Published in Green Silk Journal

If You Could See Her
Published in The Deepening and Lily Lierary Reviw.

Ma 'Yote and Her Cubs
Published in Tales of a Texas Boy

A Good, Honest Dog
Published at Wildchild Publishing On-Line

Published in Stories for Children

Drabbles and Flashes
Four Drabbles
Published here and there.

Published in AnotherRealm.

Fair’s Fair
Published in Bewildering Stories.

Unpublished Stories I Happen To Like

Entomological Horror

Shasta Lake
Literary Realism

Friday, November 23, 2012

MuseItUp Black Friday (Saturday and Sunday) Sale

Black Friday
Save 30-75%
This Friday - Sunday


Friday through Sunday, MuseItUp Publishing is the place to visit for  your e-reading purchases.

We're discounting select books anywhere from 30% to 75% just in time for your holiday reading.

Also, from now until December 7th, purchase $25.00 worth of books from our bookstore and within 48 hours we'll email you a $10.00 MuseItUp Gift Certificate to keep or present to someone special in your life.

Feel free to share the offer with your friends.


30-75% Off
Black Friday Weekend Specials begin November 23, 2012
Offer Expires: November 25, midnight

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Vote for Setara's Genie Trailer

Voting opens today and continues through the 27th at You Gotta Read Trailer Contest. Please consider voting for my book trailer which appeared on November 8th.


A girl, a genie, a few demons. What could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.

As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.

He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

Available from:


Monday, November 19, 2012

Witches of Galdorheim - First Released Paperback

The excruciating process of creating print out of electronic has begun. The first book in the Witches of Galdorheim saga is coming to Amazon's virtual shelves soon. A mere $8.00 (I hate those .99 endings) will snag you a copy of BAD SPELLING with the bonus story SPELLSLINGER included. Here's the entire wraparound cover. Don't be picky; I write, not draw.

Special Offer for readers of this blog: 
Coupon code 9Z94TUUZ for 40% off ($4.80 +S/H)

And I'm happy to introduce the mascot of the series, Teddy the long-suffering bunny familiar for Kat the Teen Witch.

Here's an excerpt showing why Teddy is an unlucky familiar, at least in BAD SPELLING.


She (Miss Mariah) faced the class. “Now then, please take out your chalk and wands for today’s lesson, which is,” she shot a semi-annoyed look at Rune and Dalton, “transformation.” The Wiccan students rustled bags and whispered to each other while they did as told.

When the witches and warlocks in training looked up, she continued. “Although some students can transform without benefit of pentagram and wand, those of you who are beginners, or less motivated—” she paused and gave Kat a hard look, “must practice first with the proper equipment.”

Kat’s face warmed, and she sank lower into her chair. Heaving a sigh, she set her brown bunny, Teddy, on her desktop and fumbled in her bag for her spell book, yew wood wand, and chalk.

Merry, the curly-haired blonde witch sitting next to Kat, waved her arm in the air.

“What is it, Merry?” Miss Mariah asked.

“Can you make Katrina sit somewhere else? Whenever she’s near me, my spells don’t work right. She’s a jinx.”

The class snickered. Kat grimaced at Merry. If I got my hands on her…aw, what’s the use?

“No, everybody stays right where they are,” Miss Mariah snapped. She pasted on a fake smile and continued in a treacle-sweet voice. “Now, class, draw the pentagram on your desktop and place your familiar in its center.”

The younger students practicing their first transformations looked to the board where, under Miss Mariah’s control, the chalk drew a practice pentagram stopping short of completing the last of the five points. She tapped the board. “An unattended pentagram can cause all sorts of problems, the least being a tusser or tomte taking advantage of an open gateway. They’re harmless for the most part but like to play tricks. So be prepared with your spell before completing the pentagram.” More than one kid smudged an opening in their already drawn star.

“Children, you must focus. Don’t let yourselves get distracted.” Miss Mariah adjusted a child’s grip on his wand as she walked by.

Merry curled her lip and hissed, “You’d better not screw me up. If I can’t work this spell right, it’ll be your fault.”

“Tough luck, Merry,” Kat snarled. “If you’re such a great witch, my being here shouldn’t make any difference.”

Turning away from Merry, Kat finished the final leg of her pentagram and set the bunny in the center. “Stay right there, Teddy,” she whispered to her little brown rabbit, setting a chunk of carrot in front of him. He made a dash for the edge of the desk. Kat hauled him back. “Cut it out. You’ll smear my chalk lines.” She stroked his soft fur for a moment. “Hope this works.” He twitched his nose twice, closed his eyes, and hunkered down.

Kat checked her spell book one last time, took a deep breath, and completed the spell with a loud “Fullgerður!” and a dramatic sweep of her arms, just missing Merry’s head with her wand.

Merry shrieked and jumped out of her chair. She glared at Kat while wiping green goo off the side of her face. “Your rabbit stinks. Just like your spellcasting!”

Also available in ebook format at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Roll on Columbia

Did you know that Oregon's official state song was written by Woody Guthrie? Pretty classy, eh? Here are a few lines to get you revved up about exactly why Oregonians love their state song:

Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.

Other great rivers add power to you,
Yakima, Snake and the Klickitat, too,
Sandy Willamette and Hood River, too;
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.

We don't burn coal to make power. We use our amazing waterways to produce hydroelectric power. My home city's electric company (EWEB, a publicly owned entity) also offers wind power as an option. Costs a few cents more, but wind is a good thing, eh?

In honor of Oregon's commitment to clean energy and just being an all-round cool place to live (yes, I was born here), I've got a couple of Oregon-based books to give you a tour of a some of those really cool places, or really hot if it's summer.

Set in the eastern high desert of Oregon (yes, Oregon has a lot of desert), this mystery is about a young woman dragged into a probate hearing of a distant relative she didn't even know she had. She begins to get hints that not everything is as it seems when people start trying to kill her. But she's got moxie, Kam does. She doesn't let the threats stop her from finding the truth behind her distant relative's disappearance.

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.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring. 

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

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

SF-PG and SF-R

I wrote a short story titled "Pressure Drill" umpty-ump years ago. A bunch of years later, I cleaned it up and submitted it to an on-line 4theLove ezine. Matter of fact, it ended up in two different on-line zines a few months apart. With that success, I wrote a sequel story with the same character telling what happened next in her life. Let's see? What was...oh, yeah. I titled this next story "First Duty."

I liked the character (Nyra Hutchings) and the dystopian future in which she lived. Why not write a book using the two completed stories as starter yeast.

I titled the entire book "First Duty." This first go was published by Sam's Dot Publishing, a lovely little SF/F/H press still going after all these years. When the contract ran out, I did a little more editing and added a few suggestions from readers.

I put a simple cover on "First Duty" and released it in both ebook and print on my own. Recently, I spiffed up the cover (see left) to make it look more science fictiony. After all, this is a general space opera, not focused toward female readers even if my main character was a woman. There are a couple of heroes too. Two completely different men for Nyra to consider as potential significant others.

I also noted, during this period, that Science Fiction Romance was taking off as a subgenre. SF for the gals, so to speak. Much of this subgenre ranged from R-rated to (blush!). I went with R and my newly named heroine, Remy Belieux could now knock a man out either with martial arts or "loving" them til they broke.

This hotter version also got some more space action and death-defying scenes. This book, "Ultimate Duty," was published by Eternal Press. Don't worry, I admitted that it was an expansion on earlier book which I self-published in ebook and print versions.

Now, you my beloved blog-reader, can have it every which way, hot or not, short or long, kid-friendly or somewhat spicier.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Special Sale - Larriane Wills SF/F Paperback


Caught up in situation not of his making, a modern day cowboy with attitude is taken aboard an alien research vessel. To put it mildly, all hell breaks lose.

After years of captivity, the other captives knew what to expect and follow the routines set up for them. Garrett doesn't, nor does he blindly accept that things can't change. He is also tuned in to a sinister undercurrent of a change that only meant harm.

Suitable for ages from teens on, "Looking Glass Portal" is a science fiction/fantasy which make you wonder as Garrett did: Do like minds link even over the vast distances of space?

Great for under the Christmas tree, a limited number are now on a special sale at 2/3 the regular price making a printed, autographed book in the same price range as an ebook. The Buy Now link will take you to excerpts and easy purchase. Only $5.00 plus S/H. Feel free to browse all my pages. Though not on sale, I have a wide variety of books from historical to the future.

Larriane AKA Larion Wills
Two names, one author, thousands of stories

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tales of a Texas Boy - Book Trailer

Tales of a Texas Boy is a fictionalized account of stories my father told me about his boyhood in West Texas during the Great Depression. It's available in LARGE PRINT, so is a nifty Christmas present for the senior citizens in your family, especially those who grew up in rural areas. Here's the book trailer to give you an idea what the stories are like.

Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon for $8.99 and standard trade paperback for $7.49. It's also in ebook format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. The ebooks don't have the old-time photos. I got a few of them from the family albums, but I selected others from the archives of Texas University to illustrate the story themes.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vet in the Family? Nice Way to Tell Him Thanks


Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon for $8.99 and standard trade paperback for $7.49. It's also in ebook format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. The ebooks don't have the old-time photos. I got a few of them from the family albums, but I selected others from the archives of Texas University to illustrate the story themes.

Tales of a Texas Boy is a series of related short stories loosely based on my father's stories about his boyhood in West Texas during the Depression.

It all started with a cattle drive. Yeah, right, pop. Nobody had cattle drives in the 1930's. Well, yeah, they did. My father, Eddie in the stories, got to ride herd when he was only eleven years old. That was sure the highlight of that year.

His father, Louis (my grandfather), had been a veterinarian with Blackjack Pershing's American Expeditionary Forces. That's what they called the army during WWI. In the service, he became friends with an interesting old guy who happened to have a bear. When Dad Boles brought Sophie to the annual fair, Eddie loved to sit by the campfire listening to some dandy whoppers.

Eddie had a pretty busy life for a boy who lived miles away from the nearest neighbors. He managed to find plenty of trouble to get into, but had a big heart to soften his bad boy image. No matter that he loved to aggravate his sister, he took care of her when she and her pony were almost swept away by a flood.

The boy cared about the rattlesnakes, the jackrabbits, the jack asses, even old Cage McNatt's prize sow. He went fishing with a special borrowed float, then proceeded to lose it, find it, then give it away.

These are simple tales without any big events, unless you consider the despair of the Great Depression hanging over everybody's lives.

This is really my Dad.
Yes, I made up some aspects of the stories, and I even made up a few completely, but most of the book is as true as a Texas Tall Tale can be.

If these kind of stories appeal to your father, your mother, uncle, aunt, or even yourself, I think you'll be glad to read my father's stories. Since he died last August, I'm proud and relieved to have gotten around to writing the stories, having several published separately, then putting all of them together in one book. I decided to feature Large Print since my father's eyesight was failing.

Excerpt - Pa's Story

World War I took many young men away from their homes and sent them off to foreign shores. Eddie's Pa was one of those young men. He has his own tale to tell.

In 1916, I was still a young buck and not yet married, so I signed up with Black Jack Pershing to go after Pancho Villa. Ol' Pancho and his banditos came into US territory and killed a bunch of folks in Columbus, New Mexico.

I was real good with horses, so soon I was the veterinarian. This was just as well, as I didn't take well to using a gun. I'd never studied vetting in school, but I'd grown up on a farm in Nebraska and knew just about all there was to know about horses and mules. We chased Pancho and his gang just about all over Mexico, but never did catch up with him. A couple years later, I was still in the service, so I ended up goin' to France with Black Jack when he got to be a General. I could have decided not to go as I'd done my time, but I knew Black Jack could put me to good use.

We were on the troop ship for weeks. Everybody was seasick for the first few days. The horses seemed to fare fine in that regard, but I was worried we couldn't exercise them enough. We brought them up from the hold, a few at a time, and let them stretch their legs. We'd lead them in a quick walk around the deck. With the metal decks, we didn't want them to move very fast for fear they'd slip and fall.

I'd hate to have to put down a horse with a broken leg, so we took it real easy. As a result, the horses were not in good fightin' shape by the time we landed in France.

It took some time, but me and Joe, who got assigned to be my assistant, got them in shape again. Mostly the horses were used to pack gear, but a few officers still rode them. Black Jack Pershing liked to ride on occasion, as did Captain Patton. I thought we should only have mules, since they make better pack animals than horses, but there were never enough mules to go around.

We weren't in too many battles directly as we were the supply line for the army, but in 1918 it turned pretty bad when we went into the Argonne Forest. They called this an 'offensive.' I can see why as it offended me a lot. The fighting went on for nearly two months and only ended in November when the big guys signed the Treaty at Versailles.

In that short two months, it was hell on earth. Thousands of men died. One whole division, the 77th, was cut off for near a week and held out surrounded by the German forces. It was some battle, I can tell you. Almost all day long, I could hear the shells bursting and the sharp reports of rifle fire. And I heard the screams of dying men and horses.

The worst part for me was the horses being swept up in the middle of the battle. It broke my heart to go out on the fields after the fighting passed by and after the dead and wounded men were collected. Sometimes the ground was so soaked with blood that my boots were covered before I got back. A horse with an artery torn open bleeds gallons of blood; men only a few pints. It angered me when I thought how much the horses gave. They didn't even have a say in goin' to war. Men, at least, had a choice.

I carried a sidearm and had to shoot more horses than I can count. Those we could save, we'd bring back to the line and see if we could treat their wounds. It was a second heartbreak when they wouldn't heal proper and we'd take them out behind the tents to put them down. We dug a deep trench to bury them for health reasons and we kept digging every day to hold them all.

While we treated the horses, close by we could see the wounded men being brought back from the battlefield. Legs and arms were already gone or had to be cut off by the doctors right there in the field. From the history I'd read about the Civil War, this was just about as bad. If the choice was amputate or die, then they had to do what was necessary. We dug another trench to hold the arms and legs the doctors cut off; the dead soldiers we wrapped in oilcloth to be sent back behind the lines, where we hoped to send their bodies back home to their families.

All told I spent twenty months in France. It was the worst part of my life and I hoped and prayed we'd never see another war like this again.

* * *

Pa's story made me sad in a way, though I was proud of him for what he did in the war. It seemed to me people should learn to get along. I never was sure why Pa had to go to France. Later in my own life, I'd learn what it was to go to war. I was lucky to not go overseas, but somethin' in me wished I had.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


The rest of this month and most of next will be all about paperbacks. Many folks just like the feel of a paperback in their hands. Others want to buy a gift of a book for somebody who doesn't have access to an ereader. I know for certain that the more senior of us often prefer reading a real 'live' book.

In past years, I've found a good audience for my LARGE PRINT books among the folks that remember  when gas was a quarter a gallon. Several of my other books are for the younger audience of tweens and teens.

Here's what I'll feature this month. I also have some friends who have their own books in paperback. They'll be joining me here on this blog to let you know where they can get the bet deal on their paperbacks.

Friday, November 09, 2012

J.Q. Rose - New, Non-Fiction "Girls Succeed"

Warm thanks, Marva, for allowing space for me to crow about all the remarkable women in my non-fiction e-book for girls, Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women.

Hello Readers. Thank you for stopping by. I’m excited to visit with you today. Please leave comments to enter a random drawing for prizes after the tour is completed. More information about that later.

Inspiring and empowering girls to achieve success in their dream careers.

I interviewed fifteen fabulous women about their careers and the path they followed in order to be the best of the best in their chosen fields. I was stirred to write a book for girls after working four summers at Camp Newaygo, a girls residence camp in Michigan. I met the most amazing young women who were counselors and energetic campers who kept life interesting! I marveled at the potential for the futures of these smart, enthusiastic girls. Faced with so many possibilities for careers, I wondered what choices they would make.

Unlike my era of high school graduates when girls were limited to career choices of teacher, nurse, and secretary, today’s girls face so many more possibilities of vocations in science, business, athletics, and more. How could they decide? This e-book gives them information on careers, but the stories also inspire and empower them to pursue their dreams and make them come true.

Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote which I hope will touch the reader’s heart and use it as a reminder to keep her focused on her dream. As I wrote the book, I kept Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote in mind, The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Learning about each woman and who or what influenced her journey to achieving her goal was a privilege. Many of their stories are similar. A doctor, a teacher, and medical scientist were influenced by mentors. A social worker and children’s author suffered childhood illnesses, and a horticulturalist and horsewoman followed their childhood passion turning it into a career.

I could go on and on about these wonderful women, but instead I have chosen to stop and share only one of the stories about children’s author and illustrator Jane Stroschin. Jane is an appropriate choice for Marvas blog because Marva has authored several fun books for middle grade kids. Jane’s latest project, an outstanding mural of six panels depicting symbols of Michigan, is on the Girls Succeed blog at . After finishing this post, please hop over there and take a look at her outstanding talent with paint.


To succeed you have to believe in something
with such a passion that it becomes a reality.”
-- Anita Roddick, entrepreneur, business executive


Practice, Practice, Practice

Eight-year-old Jane clutched the new drawing pad, pencils, and paints to her chest. She treasured the precious tools. The little girl filled the paper pads with her drawings and paintings. Jane Stroschin was enthusiastic about creating art pieces from the time she was just a girl. She grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her twin sister and an older sister.
It was her love of drawing which helped Jane recover from an accident. One day she and her friends were outdoors playing football. Jane was tackled, but could not get up. Her legs were broken. She had to endure surgeries to repair her legs. Doctors told her she would not walk. But through determination and hard work, Jane proved the doctors wrong. She learned to walk again.
During this time of recovery from the accident, Jane worked on her drawing skills and practiced and polished her artwork.
Jane loved sketching so much she continued even after her legs healed. She created cartoons for her junior and senior high newspapers. In high school, her art teacher asked her to join the “grown-ups” painting class in her home town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The artists in the class were impressed with her composition. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in art education. She continued to paint and draw and to learn from respected masters of art in classes and workshops.
After graduation Jane married Mike Stroschin and they moved to Fremont, Michigan, where she and Mike raised their two children, Laura and Brian. Because there were no jobs for art teachers, Jane accepted a job as the children’s librarian at the local library. It was here that she fell in love with picture books. She appreciated the combination of art with the story.
She read lots of books so she could be sure to select interesting ones for the library’s weekly story time. Two of her favorites to read out loud were Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Voirst and Ray Cruz. She wanted the kids to have fun with the stories and to return each week for more.
One summer afternoon Jane and her young children, Laura and Brian, sat on a grassy hill watching the puffy clouds move and change as they crossed the blue sky. The kids told their mom what the clouds looked like…a dinosaur, a kitty, and more. These cloud pictures gave Jane an idea for her first picture book, The Cloudy Day.
Another idea for a book, Emma Lou and the Reindeer Flu, popped into her head when Jane was on the road traveling to a school where she would be teaching kids to write stories and draw pictures. It began to snow.
“The snow was beautiful. It made me want to write a Christmas story,” she said.
As Jane continued on her journey, the story of Emma Lou took shape in her mind. She pictured Santa stopping at Emma Lou’s farm on Christmas Eve because all the reindeer were sick with the flu. She had to get the words on paper, so she stopped at a restaurant, sat down at the table, and began writing the story on the back of the placemat.
“Would you like a menu?” asked the waitress as she placed a glass of water on the table. She couldn’t put it on the placemat after all.
Jane looked up from her writing. “Um, oh no. I’ll just have the special—whatever it is,” she said and returned to her writing.
The words for the story were streaming onto the placemat. Jane didn’t even notice the waitress had brought her food. Finally the waitress stopped by the table and asked if something was wrong with the meal. Jane kept writing and took a bite of the food. “It’s fine,” she said.
When she finished the story, Jane went to the pay phone in the restaurant to call her twin sister. (This was before cell phones were available.) She read the story over the phone to her surprised sister. There was silence on the other end.
“Well, what do you think?” she asked. Still silence. She began to worry. Jane thought her sister must not like the story and was trying to figure out how to tell her it was a rotten idea.
At last Jane heard her sister sniffle and then reply. “I’m crying. I love it.”
This children’s author eventually founded her own publishing company which allows her to write and illustrate books, as well as oversee their layout, format, sales, and shipping. She also works to publicize the books.
Not only is Jane a wonderful story teller and excellent artist, she is also an accomplished art teacher. Children and adults attend her drawing and painting workshops. She travels around the country teaching children to write stories and draw pictures to go with their stories.
Her latest gigantic art project is as tall as a one story building and as wide as two cars parked bumper to bumper. She was commissioned by the City of Fremont, Michigan, to create a mural entitled Celebrate Our Symbols. The colorful painting depicts scenes found in nature and the wildlife in Michigan such as deer, birds, fish and more.
“If you want to be an artist, then study art history and the masters’ techniques. If you want to be a writer, then read the great writers. Develop your style from studying them,” Jane advises. “Be persistent, be passionate, and look for encouragement from your family and friends.”
Jane laughs when she says, “No one can put a pair of ice skates on their feet and then skate. They fall and they get up. They practice, practice, practice. That is what you have to do to be your best.”

Bachelor’s Degree in Art, University of Wisconsin
Published children’s books
Painting displayed in White House as a gift from the American Poultry Association to President William Clinton
Portrait of President Ronald Reagan displayed in the Reagan Library in California

Jane suggests studying drawings by renowned artists. For line drawings look up the children’s books by
For colored pencil drawings study Stephen Gammell’s work.
Check out art books that include paintings by famous artists.
Visit art museums and galleries.
Get out your drawing pad and pencil and draw!

BOOK LINKS: If you would like to download a sample of the e-book which includes the Table of Contents listing all the careers in the book, please go to

Contest Information Janet will be drawing winners from visitors who leave comments during the tour. The prizes for you or a girl in your life are a $10 Amazon gift certificate, a copy of the Girls Succeed e-book in your choice of format, a “Succeed” beaded bracelet kit, and inspirational note pads. (See the Girls Succeed and J Q Rose blogs for photos and blog tour information.). Winners announced on her blogs on Sunday, November 18 at 9 pm EST. Good luck!

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at
Author website

BIO: After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction writing with her first published novella, Sunshine Boulevard, released by Muse It Up Publishing in 2011. With Girls Succeed, she returns to her first love, writing about real people.  Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. Spending winters in Florida with her husband allows Janet the opportunity to enjoy the life of a snowbird. Summer finds her camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Setara's Genie Entry on You Gotta Read Videos

The book trailer for Setara's Genie is the November 8th entry on the You Gotta Read Videos monthly contest.

Voting begins on the 21st. I'll remind you.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Tales of a Texas Boy - Audio

Tales of a Texas Boy

Some of the stories from Tales of a Texas Boy is on YA Lit Review in living sound! The reader did a great job, and the music is cool, too.

Take a few minutes to listen at YA Lit Review - Out of the Chicken Coop

* Note: The website reference has changed since this story was recorded. Check out Tales of a Texas Boy at

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

New(ish) Book Cover

There was something I just didn't like about my paperback cover of "Missing, Assumed Dead." So, being the way I am, I changed it a bit. For one thing, the cover as developed on CreateSpace isn't quite in the right position. The backcover background color slips over to the front cover, and the block of text on the back is too far right. Since I had to tweak that, I decided to change the position of the title a bit. In this new sample, the title appears to be too far to the left, but when applied to the wraparound cover, it should be more centered. The right side of the page falls into the "don't put anything here" area, therefore the whole front shifts right on the print version.

Of course, the change puts it out of circulation for a couple of days, but I'm fairly confident I'm not losing any sales. Anyway, here it is

This is what I work with on CreateSpace:

Monday, November 05, 2012

Girls Succeed Blog Hop - J.Q. Rose

J.Q. Rose will be my guest on November 9th talking about her new non-fiction book. Having two teen granddaughters myself, I recommend J.Q.'s book for any teenage girl who needs encouragement to live a successful in life.

Here's the tour schedule (additions may pop up later, so check JQ Rose's blog for the latest information. and

Date  BLOG
5 Barbara Ehrentreu
7 Pat McDermott
9 Marva Dasef
12 Conda Douglas
14 Lisa Haselton
15 I.B. Nosey TBA
16 Penny Estelle
18 Announce winners of prizes on JQ's blog