Friday, August 31, 2012

BLOG TOUR WRAP PARTY!

The tour is over, comment names are recorded, some draws for prizes have been completed. A few of the host blogs need to okay comments so I can see who left their contact information.

Here are the winners:

Penny Estelle

Joylene Nowell Butler

Patricia Hawkenson

Marysue Hobika

Rosemary Gemmell

Charlotte Babb

Claudette Young

If you see your name here and I haven't yet contacted you, feel free to email me with your choice Setara's Genie OR any of my MG/YA fantasies in the Witches of Galdorheim series. Please include your choice of formats as well (EPUB, PRC, PDF, HTM).



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Last Reminder to Comment for Prizes


Note that there will be free copies of Setara's Genie (or winner's choice of my other books) given to selected commenters on each host's site. I'll also be handing out some MuseItUp spending money to a couple of followers.

8/07 Wendy Laharnar - Question and Answer
8/13 J.Q. Rose - Setara Visits J.Q.
8/14 Teen Word Factory - Promo
8/15 On This Blog - Flying Horses
8/17 Penny Ehrenkranz - Question and Answer
8/19 Barbara Ehrentreu - Genies
8/21 Sue Perkins - Abu Nuwas and Scheherazade
8/22 On This Blog - Quick Character: The Camel
8/23 Meradeth Houston - Demonology
8/24 On This Blog - Quick Character: Seralgo the Witch
8/25 Enita Meadows - The Kazikli Bey
8/20-27 Rebecca Ryals Russell - Poseidon and Amphitrite
8/28 On This Blog - Setara's Genie in a Nutshell
8/29 Pat McDermott - Monsters

8/31 Right here on this blog with a wrap party (going live at 10:00AM)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monsters Visit Pat McDermott

Pat McDermott is taking on monsters from Setara's Genie. Monsters aren't always evil as we all know from the Pixar animated film, "Monsters." But, they can be misunderstood (and often are).


About Pat:

Pat McDermott is a fan of Irish lore. I'd not doubt that at all since her last name begins with Mc (the Irish form) instead of Mac (the Apple form).

Born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts, Pat grew up in a family full of music and myths that have found their way into her stories. She is a member of The New Hampshire Writers' Project, Seacoast Writers' Association, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A frequent visitor to Ireland, she lives and writes in New Hampshire.

Her latest two books in the Roses series are "A Band of Roses" and "Fiery Roses" from MuseItUp Publishing. This is a very neat alternate history story that proposes what Ireland would be like today if Brian Boru (a famous Irish hero king) had not been killed, but had established an on-going Irish royal family.


Setara's Stories in a Nutshell

While Setara's Genie is a novel, it is presented somewhat in the style of 1001 Arabian Nights. The frame story wrapping all Setara's adventures together is all about a young woman in a bazaar listening to the tales told by an old story teller. A few days ago, I provided more information on the story teller, Abu Nuwas, and the greatest tale teller of all-time, Scheherazade. Read about them on Sue Perkins' blog here.

Setara's seven adventures flow from one to the next with only brief interludes when Abu Nuwas interacts with the young spice seller, Najda. The old man is interested in the girl's story and draws it out of her between pieces of Setara's tales.

But Setara's stories also stand on their own as individual tales. That's how they began, with the first story of how Setara met her genie, Basit. Once she's tasted freedom, Setara seeks further excitement and meets additional characters, each of which possesses some type of magic. A cave demon has power over rock, a pool demon over water, a flying horse...well, he doesn't have control over his magic at the beginning, but learns how to use it with help from Setara and her genie.
Here is a summary of each tale. Mind you, there are spoilers here, so proceed at your own risk.


THE SEVEN ADVENTURES (host-posts for more information)

Setara and the Genie (Barbara Ehrentreu)

Seeking adventure, the bored girl finds herself kidnapped by mountain raiders who promptly throw her into a cave. She is to be a sacrifice to appease the demon who lives within. She soon discovers that it is not a demon in the dank cavern, but a genie seeking a new master. Basit, the djinn, decides Setara will do nicely as his new mistress. But there's always a catch when one finds herself in possession of a genie. There are rules, Basit claims that prevent him from solving all her problems for her. He will only help her when she discovers the solutions to her predicaments.


Setara and the Cave Demon (Meradeth Houston)


Weeks after Setara escapes from the clutches of a band of raiders, she decides she'd better return to the cave, where she had been held prisoner, to see if the raiders had captured some other poor soul. She summons her djinn, Basit, to guide her back to the cave. Setara, Basit, and Sheik, her dog, return to the cave where she was held captive. They find someone in the cave, but not a prisoner as they expected. Setara, Basit, and Sheik take on the raiders again to help a very lonely demon named Azizah find a new home. Kairav, the water demon, takes a liking to Azizah, and the demoness settles into a cave overlooking his pool.

Setara and the Sultan's Horse (On This Blog)

After taking care of Azizah, Setara discovers a beautiful new horse in her father's stable. Hasib, the Sultan's Horse, is lucky to meet Setara, a girl with resources, to help him find and rescue his lovely mare, Habiba. Hasib is not quite in control of his magical abilities, so obviously needs some help. Setara calls on Basit, her two demon buddies, and Sheik, her faithful, but not too bright, dog to help Hasib in his quest. The adventurers must find the stolen horse and confront a band of merciless pirates.

Setara and the Dragon Demon (Pat McDermott)

After the fighting and rescues are done, Setara finds herself bored yet again. She decides to pay a visit to her demon friends, Azizah and Kairav. Finding them missing and with suspicious footprints leading into the tunnels beneath the mountains, she and Basit must investigate and wend their way through the caverns. They come upon the two demons in a furious fight with Azhi Dahaka, the Dragon Demon whose blood created the flying, fire-breathing warhorse Hasib. Setara, Basit, Sheik, and the mare, Nasreen, must fly to the Sultanate of Semidor to save their friend, Hasib, from death by dragon fire. After a dangerous airborne battle, the friends discover that Azhi Dahaka is the long-lost great great great (and more greats) grandfather of Hasib. In any case, the dragon demon's blood was infused into Hasib's ancestors to create the fire-breathing battle horses.

Setara and the Evil Djinn (Barbara Ehrentreu)

Not too soon after, Setara rides her flying mare Rosetta to visit her friends, the demons Azizah and Kairav. She calls for her genie Basit to appear, but nothing happens! Another genie comes instead to tell her Basit is missing. Setara, her demon friends and Sheik, the faithful hound, must find the hidden tomb of the Great Vizier to seek help. Setara and the demons are placed in grave danger on their mission. Setara must overcome her deepest fear to save herself, her companions, and to rescue Basit from a trap set by an evil genie seeking revenge on the the Vizier.


Setara and the Kazikli Bey (Enita Meadows)

Having lived in the plains her entire life, Setara gets an urge to go on a sea voyage. Asking her genie, Basit, to make arrangements, she soon departs for the teeming port city of Gamaal. A meeting with an old witch sets her on a dangerous course toward pirates, slavery, and rescuing Basit once again. In the end, she discovers she was fated to meet a powerful Prince. Little did she know the old witch had steered her to him with a stolen amulet. Setara returns the amulet to the Prince, and he assists her and Basit to return home.



Setara and the Merboy (Rebecca Ryals Russell and Pat McDermott)

While taking her winged mare, Nasreen, for a flight, Setara saves a mute stableboy from Slavers only to find he has a curse on him. She, Kairav, and Basit must go to sea to discover the boy's true identity, the son of Poseidon and heir to the sea kingdom. Setara and her friends help the merboy overcome his evil uncle's
dastardly plans to usurp the throne for himself.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rebecca Ryals Russell Hosts Poseidon and Amphitrite

Rebecca Russell's host-posted my article on Poseidon and Amphitrite as they appear in Setara's Genie (Kindle Edition)

What, one may wonder, are Greek gods doing in a middle-eastern story setting? My answer would be: Why not? Mythologies of all ancient worlds exist simultaneously, some might even believe they exist outside of space and time. So, I'm perfectly content to have my Persian heroine have a tete-a-tete with a couple of Greek deities. I'm an equal opportunity myth-mixer.

Click here to read the post on Under the Hat of Middle Grade Author Rebecca Ryals Russell.

Read Rebecca's fantasy MG series, Stardust Warriors, and her YA series, Seraphym Wars, set in the same fantasy world. This is one of the richest world-building fantasy series (both together) I've ever read. I'm amazed at this lady's talent. Please check out her blog for her books and links. She does maps too! Talk about multi-talented! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fantasy Trope Quiz

Writing Unique Fantasy

In a sub-genre of Urban, Epic, Chosen One, Quest, Paranormal, Euro-centric, Contemporary, Otherworldly

About Demons, Angels, Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, Magicians, Sorcerers, Witches, Warlocks.

When the main character is non-human or half-n-half (like coffee creamer).

And the secondary character is a hot human, non-human, or half-n-half.

And the villain is an insane, megalomaniacal, just-plain-evil, human, non-human, or half-n-half.

Class, your assignment is to provide a few more subgenres. Also, name some additional Abouts, main character types, secondary character types, and villain types.

When the list is complete, look it over and write some kind of fantasy that does not fit in ALL of the lists above. That is each instance when your fantasy has a different item than those listed above, you score 0 trope points. Score 1/2 or 1 trope point for those that match or pretty closely match.

Provide the title, author, and a link with the Trope Score in a comment.

Extra Credit: Explain how the book that claims not to use the same old tropes still uses the same old tropes.

Can we come up with even one absolutely unique fantasy book?

I'll give this a stab with Setara's Genie:

Subgenre: It's closest to Quest, but since there aren't any quests for magical items or imprisoned princesses, I'll have to call my subgenre silly. Still, given the legendary status of 1001 Arabian Nights, I'm going to have to score 1 trope point.


Main Character: Setara's a plain old human being with no magical powers of her own. She's a lucky gal, though, to have a lot of magical friends, but that won't count in the MC category. Yea! No trope point here. 0 trope points.



Secondary Character: Basit is a full-fledged genie, which has been used, but I don't think it's reached the trope status. I'd say 1/2 trope point since genies are fairly rare secondary characters. More likely, they're a villain since that's what they are in mythological terms. Other secondaries include demons, flying horses, a historical figure, and a merboy, I'll take that extra 1/2 point. 1 trope point.




Villain: There are several villains, but other than a bunch of pirates, the only real villainous villain is another genie. He is really evil, however, so score 1 trope point.

Total: Three Trope Points.

How does your fantasy rank?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Enita Meadows Fends Off Vlad the Impaler

If you haven't met Enita Meadows before, read all about her shapeshifter friend, Coug MountainScreamer, the star of her latest book, The Messenger on this blog. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Then come back to click the link to HER blog where she's eyeing Vlad Draculae who's been patiently awaiting the one and only time in literary history he's the good guy. Find out how I've messed with this historical figure who's become the legend of Dracula. See. Bram Stoker screws with history and myth just as much as I did in Setara's Genie (Amazon Kindle).

Find out how Vlad is the hero in Setara's Genie, click on this sentence. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Quick Characters - Seralgo the Witch

In Setara's Genie, Setara wants to cruise the high seas since she's never been on the ocean; she's only seen it from the beach when she and her gang of magical friends rescue a horsenapped mare from a bevy of thieving pirates. Yeah, Setara and her friends do that kind of thing. Bunch of do-gooders! Rescuing, adventuring, fighting bad guys (both human and other).

After all that excitement, Setara thinks she's due for a vacation, so she asks Basit to arrange a sea voyage.  Before they actually set foot on the sailing ship, Setara (being a teenage girl) decides to go shopping. She discovers something more than a shop full of rugs and trinkets.

Read carefully. You might win a prize if you can answer some easy questions later on this blog.

Setara's Genie at MuseItUp Publishing
Setara's Genie on Amazon

Excerpt

Basit took on the appearance of an older gentleman. Not rich, but well off enough to be respectable. Setara dressed suitably to match Basit’s image as her father. They walked to the market chatting amiably, the perfect appearance of father and daughter out for a shopping trip.

Setara was on the lookout for the merchant who had the scarabs, but he was nowhere in sight. She and Basit ambled down a narrow lane, both sides lined with small shops selling all sorts of goods. The smells of fresh bread, spice, and fruit, tinged with the slightest hint of sewer assailed her nose. She stopped to look at the items, and Basit patiently followed her, keeping a keen eye out for pickpockets.

They approached a small shop which, unlike most on the street, had no goods displayed in the front of the store. Usually, merchants put out tables holding their wares to attract customers. This shop only displayed a sign saying “Seralgo’s Fine Jewelry.”

Setara shaded her eyes with her hands and pressed her nose against the window. She looked around, squinting her eyes. Glass was a nifty new invention, though it had a lot of wavy and smudgy places, which made it hard to see through. But her curiosity was piqued. “I think we’ll have to go in to see what this merchant is selling. I wonder why he doesn’t have his goods outside like everyone else?”

Basit peered at the glass. His eyes narrowed. “Then he probably doesn’t have anything worth selling. Come. I see a rug merchant a few doors down.” He took her arm and tried to steer her away.

Setara pulled her arm from his grasp. “No; I want to see what’s inside.” She laughed. “A good selling ploy, no doubt, forcing potential customers to come inside.”

Basit scowled but waved her in. An elderly woman stood at the back of the store, dusting a shelf of goods with a feather duster.

Good day, madam.” Setara gave the old woman a nod of respect. Sometimes, a courteous overture brought a better price.

The wizened old woman glanced up at Setara. Her eyes narrowed as she surveyed Basit standing in the doorway. “You have a djinn, my lady. You are most welcome here.”

Setara’s head snapped up, and her mouth dropped open. How did she recognize Basit as a genie? “Uh...yes, Mother. Do you have something that would interest me?”

In fact, I do, my child. Step up, and I’ll show you what you need.”

Need? Won’t you show me what I want?”

No, you must have what you need.”

The answer intrigued Setara. Of course, she should have what she needed. “Please, show me, Mother.” Setara bowed her head.

You need this.” The old woman took an amulet from the shelf and held it out for Setara to examine. The amulet was brass or gold but heavily tarnished. Setara could just make out the profile of a woman’s face etched in the metal.

Why do I need this?” Setara asked.

I cannot say, but I know you do. It’s not cheap, however. Do you want it or not? If you say no, then I am mistaken, and you are obviously not the right person to own it.” The woman turned away and began to put the amulet back on the shelf.

No; I want to see it. Perhaps I need it, but I can’t tell without looking more closely.”
The old woman extended the amulet to Setara, who reached out to take it. A spark like a tiny lightning bolt jumped between the amulet and Setara’s hand before she could touch it. She slowly took it from the woman’s hand.

Setara’s vision first clouded then resolved into a clear picture. She saw a man, holding his hand out to her. She realized the man wanted to take the amulet from her, but she knew he was not a thief. He looked at her with pleading eyes. The sharpness of the vision stunned her. Slowly, her vision wafted away, and she saw the old woman looking at her.

Yes, I need it. How much, Mother?”

Basit stepped forward. “Mistress, I do not think—”

The old woman pointed one crooked finger at Basit. “Do not interfere, genie. I mean no harm to your mistress.”

Basit scowled but backed away. The woman turned again to Setara. “For you, only one shekel.”

That seems a reasonable price.” Setara glanced at Basit who, grumbling, took a coin from his money pouch and flipped it to the crone. The woman snatched the shekel from the air, and it disappeared somewhere into her black robes. Setara knew money was not Basit’s problem with the transaction. Despite Basit’s hesitation, she simply must have the amulet.

Setara pulled the chain over her head. Thinking for a moment, she tucked the amulet beneath her blouse. “I think this isn’t for all to see. Thank you, Mother.”

Basit and Setara left the shop and blinked in the bright sunshine. Setara turned around and looked back, but the shop had turned into a vegetable stand. “What the—” She shrugged and headed up the street. “Did you mention rugs?”

Basit stomped along beside Setara muttering under his breath. He stopped and put his big hand on her shoulder. “I don’t like this, Mistress. I think you should remove the amulet and throw it far away.”

It surprised her that Basit was so agitated but suspected it was because the old woman had seen through his disguise. “How did she know you were a genie?”

That’s one reason I don’t like it. If she were a normal human, she’d not be able to tell. Clearly, she is...was a witch.”

Basit, don’t be such a worry wart. I saw something, a vision. I’m supposed to give this amulet to somebody else. When I do, then it will be gone, and you won’t have to fret about it any longer.”

Basit did not seem convinced, carrying a deep scowl on his face, but made no further objection.

* * *
To discover more about the mysterious man in Setara's vision, you'll need to read the book.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Demonology at Meradeth Houston's Write Stuff

Note: I also have a First Chapter from my YA SF, First Duty, on Renee Bagby's First Chapters Blog today.

* * *
Demons, demons everywhere. Setara's Genie has a few demons running around. Find out about Azizah, Kairav, and Azhi Dahaka on...


About Meradeth

My debut novel, Colors Like Memories was released in May with MuseItUp. CLM is a book that is near and dear to me, and I’m so happy it’s found a home and will actually go out into the world for other people to read—and hopefully enjoy a little too ;).

Colors Like Memories Back Cover:


Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident--sort of. 

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life,' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia enjoyed, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend's life--an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia is not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia will lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.





Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Quick Characters - The Camel

The camel is known as the ship of the desert and is one of the most common draft animals in the middle east. A 1001 Arabian Nights style story like Setara's Genie must have a camel somewhere in the mix.

In one scene, Setara is attempting to learn to ride a camel. She doesn't see the purpose since she had a perfectly wonderful horse, Nasreen.

We looking in from the outside know something that Setara doesn't. A tradition on the Sultan of Semidor (the area in which Setara lives) is that young girls coming to a marriageable age (sixteen) ride into the city on the back of a pure white camel.

Setara doesn't add two plus two and realize that the ceremonial arrival marks her as a woman ready to be wed to some merchant or even the Sultan's son (who's in the market for a bride).

The spice girl, Najda, who is the listener to Abu Nuwas's tales about Setara, is in the same predicament. She's on the verge of a forced marriage to an old man. As a fourth wife, she knows she will not be treated very well by wives 1, 2, and 3. But she's stuck in a society which gives her no choice on her potential bridegroom.

This all comes back to the camel Setara must ride the camel to display herself as a possible member of some man's harem.

Read carefully. You might win a prize if you can answer some easy questions later on this blog.

Excerpt

Setara screamed and flung herself from the saddle. “Ow! Ow! Stop! Whoa! Stop!” She dropped six feet, right on her tailbone, screamed again, and burst into tears. Setara’s faithful companion, Sheik, ran circles around her, alternately barking at the camel and whining at his mistress.

Dukak, the camel driver, rushed over and grabbed the dromedary’s reins. He tapped the big camel’s knee, and the beast obligingly folded its long legs. On his knees, the camel turned his head to face the crying girl. He drew his head back then snaked it forward, spitting a huge wad of cud between Setara’s shoulder blades.

Mistress, you should wait for the camel to kneel. You fell from so high, no wonder you are hurt.” The camel driver pulled out a handkerchief and plucked the wad from her back.

Setara stopped crying and struggled to her feet. Dukak offered his hand, but she ignored him. She glared at the camel, which continued chewing his cud. “He stinks, too!”

Are you injured?” Dukak’s brow furrowed with concern.

Not much,” Setara said, rubbing her abused backside. “A horse is a much finer means of transportation, Dukak. I fail to see why I need to learn to ride a camel. They sway and bounce around too much and that saddle! Why is it made of wood, not padded leather?"

Dukak ignored her question and waved his hands as if fending her off. “It’s expected, Mistress Setara. Women must enter the sultan’s palace grounds on the back of a pure white camel. So it is written, and so it shall be.” Dukak spoke as if this explained it all.

I won’t be going until next week, so I have plenty of time to learn how to ride later...much later.”

Dukak ignored her statement once more. He looked at the camel’s saddle, rubbing his chin in thought. “Perhaps I could modify a horse saddle to fit. It requires a much longer girth and padding to protect the camel’s back.”

How about some padding to protect my...back?”

Dukak didn’t bother answering since he was busy measuring the camel for a new saddle.

Setara limped away in a dark mood. It was stupid to go through all this just for a ten-minute trip through the city streets. She didn’t want to meet the boring old Sultan of Semidor anyway. Setara sighed. She did look forward to seeing Hasib, the sultan’s flying horse, again, but she had no interest in the sultan...or his son. When she thought of Hasib, it reminded her of their grand adventure the last time they met. Fighting pirates and rescuing Hasib’s mate, Habiba. Setara thought fondly of the good times.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Abu Nuwas and Scheherazade Visit Sue Perkins

Setara's Genie is primarily the tale of a young girl not satisfied with the cultural requirements of settling down with a husband (probably rich) and being a good wife and mother. She has other ideas which include adventure, with a possible handsome sheik thrown into the mix for the romance angle of her story.

Things don't go as planned, of course. How else should a decent story be? Conflict, adventure, danger, getting into a scrape and out again, only to replaced by something more.

Abu Nuwas, the Teller of Tales, weaves these tales for the poor spice seller. Like Scheherazade before him, he leaves each tale hanging to entice the spice seller back again the next day. While the coins he collects in his cup are nice, there's nothing a story teller likes more than an audience.

Abu Nuwas visits Sue Perkins today (the 21st day of the eighth month) to lay out his rhyme and reason.


Statue of the real Abu Nuwas,
one of the most important poets of Arabia and Persia.
Sue Perkins writes a variety of genres, primarily YA fantasy. She's in the midst of a new book release, the second book in her Dragon series: Dragon Clans. Give her a little love for her accomplishments when you visit her blog. Read an interview with Essie the dragon right here on this blog.



Monday, August 20, 2012

BREAKING NEWS!

Setara's Genie now has an Amazon product page. No pricing info as of this moment, but that should come soon. Here's the open URL if anybody would like to grab it to put in my visit posts to your blog.

http://www.amazon.com/Setaras-Genie-ebook/dp/B00906ZAPU/


Quick Characters - Sulawesi

Besides the main characters, there are a few interesting minor characters in Setara's Genie. I'll be posting brief studies of them here and there.

Sulawesi the Eagle

Sulawesi shows up when Setara is setting out to assist Hasib (the Sultan's flying, fire-breathing horse) when his mate, Habiba, is stolen by pirates. Setara and her friends soon learn that Sulawesi is the servant (he says "invaluable assistant) of the Great Vizier. His task is to watch over Hasib to make sure he's safe. When Hasib has left the confines of the Sultan's stables to find Habiba, Sulawesi follows the stallion surreptitiously. If, of course, you think surreptitious means scaring the Hasib into short flying hops accompanied by pitiful sparking flames. We never said that Hasib was a successful flying, fire-breathing, talking horse, only that he had these skills embedded in his DNA. It takes a genie's boot in his behind to force Hasib to fully take charge of his magical skills.

For more on the flying critters in Setara's Genie, click on this line.

Excerpt

Basit held the eagle upside down by his legs and gave it a shake.

“Squawk, skreak, urk!”

The genie shook the eagle one more time. The eagle turned a beady eye upward. “All right. Just put me down, you big lummox.”

Basit inverted the eagle and set it gently on the ground. The eagle ruffled its wings and preened the right one a couple of strokes before turning its attention back to Basit. “You caught me fair and square, I guess. I suppose I can’t complain.”

“So, eagle, why are you following my friends?” Basit asked.

“If you must know,” the eagle replied, glancing around at the group, “I’m supposed to be watching out for Hasib. So far, he hasn’t landed into any bad scrapes, so I just watch. If he gets into trouble, then I will help him get out.”

“And you’re doing this why?” Basit asked with suspicion in his voice.

“The Great Vizier sent me, of course, balloon face. He doesn’t want to see his investment harmed.”

Hasib snorted. “What do you mean investment? The Great Vizier hasn’t paid much attention to my welfare in the past.”

“Not that Great Vizier, jackass, the vizier who created your bloodline.”

“Isn’t he long dead? That was hundreds of years ago,” Hasib exclaimed.

“Oh, viziers come and go, but they seldom really die. They have to move on after so many years with a sultan, or people begin to wonder about them–whether or not they are immortal. Well, they’d be close to right. Only a few viziers exist, and they go to a different sultanate every thirty or so years to keep up appearances.”

“That’s a relief!” exclaimed Hasib. “I thought you were an agent of the thieves attempting to stop me from looking for Habiba.”

“Even so, why would the vizier care about Hasib?” Basit asked.

“Because of his talents, of course. The vizier still hopes that Hasib, the last of his line, will be able to control the fire breathing and flying. The Great One does not give up easily.



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Setara's Genie, Basit, Visits Barb Ehrentreu


Barbara, a retired teacher with a Masters degree in Reading and Writing K-12 and seventeen years of teaching experience lives with her family in Stamford, Connecticut. When she received her Masters degree she began writing seriously. If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Barbara’s first YA novel, published by MuseItUp Publishing was inspired by Paula Danziger. It won #2 in Preditors & Editors Poll for Best Young Adult Book of 2011. In addition, Barbara has a story in Lavender Dreams, a memorial anthology for which all the proceeds go to cancer research. She has three poems in Prompted: An International Collection of Poems by the Anthologists for which all the proceeds go to Literacy research. Her blog, Barbara’s Meanderings, http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com/, is networked on both Facebook and Blog Catalog. She hosts Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages on Blog Talk Radio every 4th Thursday. In addition, her children's story, “The Trouble with Follow the Leader” and an adult story, “Out on a Ledge” are published online She has written book reviews for Authorlink.com. and several of her reviews have been on Acewriters and Celebrity CafĂ©. She is a member of SCBWI. Writing is her life!

Friday, August 17, 2012

RELEASE DAY!

Today is the official release date for SETARA'S GENIE. Penny Ehrenkranz Q&As me about being a writer and things about the new book. Penny was the line editor for the book, so is pretty familiar with the story. She's probably read it more times than I have (not really).

Penny is not only an editor for MuseItUp Publishing, she's also an author of a number of books of various genres, everything from fantasy to scifi to romance. Be sure to check out her books when you visit her blog, then sign up to follow Penny. She's always posting interesting things.

Comment on all my tour blog stops to win prizes.

FYI: All the main character names in the book are either Arabic or Persian and have a meaning relating to the character's personality or type. Here are the characters in the rough order they are introduced in the tale.

*Abu Nuwas (a real Persian poet in 8th C)
*Najda - courage
*Setara - star
*Basit - one who enlarges
*Azizah - strong, powerful
*Petros - stone
*Kairav - Born from the water
*Hasib - noble
*Habiba - love interest
*Nasreen - wild rose
*Shairan - demon associated with jinns
*Sharif - truthful, virtuous



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lorrie Unites-Struiff - NEW BOOKS!!


The Call on the Dead Club series with BTGN (http://www.bookstogonow.com/).


Story 1&2 will be included in the first book.

Come and meet Winnie Krapski who hugged a cherry tree during a lightning storm. The bolt slammed her, splitting the tree in half. The near-death experience bestowed her with a gift–one she’d rather not have.

Drafted into the C.O.D. Club (Call on the Dead) by Fat Phil Phillips, her mission is to grant the newly deceased’s ghost one last reasonable request. Can Winnie honor her oath?

Well, she tries, but not before she lands in humorous situations that almost get her killed. She’s one spunky broad.

I hope you try a copy and look forward to more of Winnie’s adventures.

Release date coming soon. Just get ready to laff your ass off.

Also coming this fall from MuseItUp Publishing:

A  Heap of Trouble

Cole Walker, Sheriff of Cold Creek, has more woes than he can handle.  He thought chasing rustlers would be the worst of his problems, until the newly arrived, Mattie Wells, jingles his spurs with a smile, and he falls head over heels for her.

Cole's fear of critters comes to light when a runaway monkey named Beggar takes a liking to him. He remembers when his pa's hound dog left teeth marks on his butt when he was just a tyke.

But, Mattie thinks Beggar’s adorable, so what’s a man supposed to do? Now, he’s forced to put up with the little fur ball...uh...ringtail monkey even when the furry thief starts stealing the townsfolk’s trinkets.

The rustlers roaming the hills, stealing the Double J’s cattle are a mighty puzzling crew. JJ blames the farmers and an all out war is in the making.

Trying to keep the peace between the farmers and the cattleman, Cole and his deputies, Wade and Sully, have their hands full. Mayor Farley gives them a month to find the thieves before calling for outside help.
Mattie has a dark secret and vows never to marry. While harboring a secret of his own, Cole pushes to pry out her secret in hopes of changing her mind.

Cole chases Mattie, the rustlers, and Beggar in a town full of fun characters and chaos. 

Can he bring the rustlers to justice, peace and order to Cold Creek, the townsfolk’s loot back to their rightful owners, and win Mattie’s heart?

Yep. Cole has a heap of trouble on his hands.

For more information on my stories, please go to http://struiff.wordpress.com/cod-club-series/

Ya’ll have a great day now and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Horsefeathers! Flying Horses in Setara's Genie


SETARA’S GENIE
A girl, a genie, a few demons. Would could go wrong?
by Marva Dasef
MuseItUp Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/SetarasGenie
Amazon Buy Link: coming soon

* * * Leave a comment with contact info to be in the draw for prizes * * *

HORSEFEATHERS

That archaic term means something is unbelievable, nonsense, hogwash, bull puckey.

What does that have to do with myth and legend? Flying horses, of courses. In legend, Pegasus is a gorgeous black horse with ebony wings. Feathered wings. This has been the tried and true formula since Grecian myth. From the Encyclopedia Mythica:
Pegasus
In Greek mythology, Pegasus is the winged horse that was fathered by Poseidon* with Medusa. When her head was cut off by the Greek hero Perseus, the horse sprang forth from her pregnant body. Percy Jackson’s father does get around. A lot.

I’ve never been convinced that a winged horse would also have feathers. In “Setara’s Genie” I introduce not one, but two! flying horses.

Flying Creatures in Setara’s Genie (other than the genie, of course)

Hasib the Sultan’s Horse

Setara finds a talking, flying, fire-breathing horse named Hasib hiding in her father’s stable. He’s trying to look casual, but Setara notices that he’s whistling and hiding his head in the corner of the stall. Highly suspicious behavior. When Setara approaches, an eagle flies through the stable at head height scaring the horses, including Hasib. He levitates a foot into the air and spits fire out of his mouth, setting the hay on fire.

Setara rushes to the rescue and beats out the flames. She and Hasib have a little chat while he explains that he’s a cross-blood horse, mostly horse, but just a wee touch of dragon blood. This means he can fly (without wings) and breathe fire. However, he’s not very good at either talent. Setara helps Hasib gain control over his magic.

Azhi Dahaka the Dragon Demon

After Hasib has headed back to the Sultan’s Palace (where he lives), Setara and her genie run across Azhi Dahaka, the dragon-demon which provided (unwillingly) the blood to make Hasib a flying fire-breather.

Trapped high atop a mountain, they watch while the dragon heads for the palace. From what he’d said before escaping from the caves (just stick with me here; I don’t want to give away every plot element), Setara and Basit believe the dragon wants to harm their friend, Hasib.



Not exactly Nasreen, but a flying
horse from 1001 Arabian Nights.
Nasreen the Non-Feathered Wings Flying Mare

With the dragon attacking the Sultan of Semidor’s palace, Setara and Basit have got to get off that mountain fast. Basit gives wings to Setara’s mare, Nasreen. But we all know that horses don’t have feathers, so Nasreen’s beautiful wings are covered with the same lovely hair as the rest of her body. The little mare takes to her new appliances immediately, carrying Setara to the Sultan’s Palace to save Hasib.

There we have it. Two flying horses, one dragon demon, but not a one with feathers. Azhi looks like he has feathers, but, c'mon, he's a dragon!

BLURB:

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar telling stories to the passersby he can tempt to pay. 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 bottled him; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

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.

EXCERPT

At the far end of the corridor, she saw Hasib with his head stretched as far as he could through the stall window.

Here. I’m here!” Hasib slammed his front hooves against his stall door. Basit was within reach of the stall. “The groom locked me in and then ran off. I have to get out. I’ve heard Azhi Dahaka is here, and he’s burning people!”

Not taking time to use magic, Basit fumbled with the latch and swung the stall door open. Hasib stepped out, immediately turned left and trotted down the long corridor to the outside door. Basit, Setara, and Sheik kept pace with him.

What will you do?” Basit asked.

I’ll have to fight him, I’m afraid. I’m the only one who can. The blood of Azhi Dahaka runs in my veins.”

The four reached the door and stood looking up at the awesome figure of the dragon demon spouting flame. People ran screaming in all directions. The soldiers were having no luck with their arrows. Trying to shoot straight up to Azhi’s perch on the tower slowed the arrows too much to do any good. The barbs bounced off the dragon’s tough scales with no effect.

Setara saw a crossbow lying on the ground, probably discarded by an escaping soldier. She picked it up. A few feet further on, she saw a quiver with bolts. She grabbed it, too. “Let me on your back. I’ll go with you!”

Basit reached for her arm. “No! I cannot allow you to come to harm.”

She twisted away and jumped on Hasib’s back. “Let’s go, Hasib!”

The flying horse sprang into the air. He needed no wings since he flew by magic. To Setara’s surprise, Nasreen took flight beside Hasib. Setara admired the mare’s bravery but wished she could tell her to go back.

Basit also took flight. Setara knew he wouldn’t let her face Azhi’s flames alone. She hoped he knew some spell to protect her and Hasib from the spouting fire. Glancing at him, she saw the familiar look of concentration on his face when he was making up a new spell.

As the two horses and the djinn soared upward, some people stopped in their tracks to stare. Setara almost laughed. As if a dragon demon perched on the palace tower wasn’t enough, the sight of a winged horse, another flying horse with a girl on his back, and a genie was more than they could stand. Those who were not already running away from the tower decided now would be a good time to do so.

The ground around the tower was littered with fallen arrows and men. Some brave souls attempted to save the wounded men. However, the flames were pouring down so fast they had to weave and dodge to reach them.

She gripped Hasib’s mane with one hand and worked to load a bolt and get the crossbow in position with the other. It wasn’t working, so she let go of the mane, gripping tight with her legs. She didn’t even think about looking down. Her whole attention was focused on the roaring demon wrapped around the tower. They flew directly into the path of its flames.

Hasib fought back with flames of his own. However, he was much smaller than the dragon, and his flame was not big enough to have any effect. Setara fired a bolt toward Azhi, but it fell far short. “We’ll have to get closer!” she yelled over the roaring of the dragon. Hasib spiraled upward, taking a path around the tower. Azhi twisted his body to face the flying horses, the clearest threat to him.

Setara managed to reload the crossbow and turned the winch to draw back the bolt. She held the crossbow up, aiming along its shaft. The dragon demon’s head reared up directly in front of her. She fired. The bolt shot through the air, hitting the dragon’s head. It seemed to stick for a moment, then fell off. Setara groaned. She didn’t think she’d get another chance.

My blood!” Azhi Dahaka cried out. Setara looked to see if the bolt had done some damage, but she couldn’t see even a scratch on the dragon’s shining scales. Of course, while Hasib circled and soared, getting a close look wasn’t easy.

She saw Nasreen turn in mid-air and begin to circle the tower in the opposite direction from Hasib.

Good girl!” Setara called out. The mare was exposing herself to distract the dragon’s attention away from her and Hasib. The dragon twisted toward the mare and drew his head back to spray flames at Nasreen.

With the dragon’s attention elsewhere, Setara loaded another bolt into the crossbow and pulled it back. Hasib drew his legs up and shot toward the dragon. As he brought her next to the dragon’s side, Setara loosed the bolt. It bounced off his scales to no effect.

Azhi Dahaka’s snake-like head whipped around toward Hasib. His eyes widened as Hasib halted in mid-air right in front of the dragon’s nose.

**** and then what happened? Read the book to find out.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Setara's Genie Featured on Teen Word Factory

In the run-up to the Friday the 17th release date, the characters of "Setara's Genie," will be here and there in the blogosphere. Today's visit on the Teen Word Factory introduces the book in all its promotional glory including a sneak peek at Chapter One.



Monday, August 13, 2012

J.Q. Rose Hosts the Star - Setara

J.Q. Rose writes mysteries, so it's a mystery of why she'd want to play hostess to an adventurous girl from a middle-eastern fantasy named Setara. On the other hand, who doesn't like genies, demons, flying horses, and other creatures straight out of the 1001 Arabian Nights. Let's just call this 1002 Arabian Nights (there's actually seven tales) and let you decide. Can a girl and her genie get into and out of mischief? I think the answer is obvious: OF COURSE THEY CAN!

Click on over to J.Q.'s blog to read what Setara has to say. Leave a comment with contact info to win a free ebook.





Saturday, August 11, 2012

Writing Believable Aliens - Jaleta Clegg


Release Date August 10 at
 http://journal-store.com/bookstore/priestess-of-the-eggstone/ 
Jaleta Clegg
http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com/
http://www.jaletac.com/
http://www.nexuspoint.info/


What makes aliens tick? How do you invent an alien species? How do you make them believable? Hard questions, but a lot of fun. This is one reason I love science fiction.

Star Trek did it by making almost all aliens humanoid. Adding face paint was a whole lot easier and cheaper than full body costumes and prosthetics. With CGI, it’s a lot easier to create some very non-humanoid aliens for cheap, true. But are they still believable?

Humanoid aliens tend to act human. It’s the way we think. Their cultures are a lot like ours, because that’s the easy way out. Non-humanoids can be too alien. You have to leave your reader some common ground, some way to relate, even if it’s “I want to eat your flesh.” We understand hunger. We understand curiosity. We understand territorial instincts.

In Priestess of the Eggstone, the Sessimoniss, seven-foot-tall lizard men, are very human in many ways. Their culture was based off baboon culture, though. It’s all about clans and your place within your clan. A baboon cast out from its clan usually doesn’t live very long. But baboon society is fluid compared to Sessimoniss society. Sessimoniss position within a clan is determined by biology. Were you born with the right attributes to be an alpha male? Welcome to the warrior class. Otherwise, you’re a servant. Were you born to be a breeding alpha female? Then that’s what you become, sheltered and hidden after your marriage to another clan. Not born with those genes? You get to stay an immature female and serve the breeders of your clan.

One of my biggest pet peeves about aliens is that they seem to have a monoculture. One culture, one society, one type of everything. If humans can evolve thousands of different societies, why not aliens? If you’re going to have a monoculture, like the Sessimoniss, you’d better present good arguments for it. I blame mine on their biology and the fact that they are on the brink of extinction. But change can and does happen within their society. It takes an external force to initiate the change, but that’s a good portion of the storyline in Priestess of the Eggstone.

What are your favorite aliens? What makes them memorable? How do they compare to human societies? Read your favorite books and pick apart the author’s work. Find out how they did it. It’s one of the best ways to learn how to create your own aliens and make them believable.

* * *

Bio: Jaleta Clegg loves to play with words. She writes science fiction and silly horror, and dabbles in everything else. Priestess of the Eggstone, book 2 in her series The Fall of the Altairan Empire, releases on August 10. Pick up your copy at http://journal-store.com/bookstore/priestess-of-the-eggstone/

Book 1 of The Fall of the Altaiaran Empire, Nexus Point, is available from several sources. Check http://www.nexuspoint.info/

* * *
Let's see if you're paying attention. Leave a comment about Jaleta's nice essay. Include contact info and GIMME THE BOOK, and I'll be sending somebody a real paperback copy of my own science fiction novel, Ultimate Duty. I've got some extras lying around doing nothing, and I want to give them to a good home. No aliens, but some fairly hot sex scenes. US and Canada only please for mailing, ebooks to anybody who wants a copy.



Thursday, August 09, 2012

New Book Release - Dragon Clans by Sue Perkins


Thank you to Marva for her kind invitation to post on her blog.

My latest release is 'Dragon Clans' the second book in the Dragon series. Sie, a human girl, is rescued from the sea by a red dragon. She is welcomed into the dragon clan and makes friends with a young female dragon called Essie. I'm delighted to say Essie has agreed to come along with me today and tell us about her friendship with Sie.

Hi Essie, thank you for coming today.

E: I'm happy to visit. Do you mind if I ask a question? What exactly is a blog tour?

A blog is a series of visits to different blogs usually to talk about book releases or other matters of interest. When did you first meet Sie?

E: I heard her before I saw her. She sent out a plea for help and I heard her in my mind. I convinced our leader Toldar he should go and find her. He rescued her and Benare, our healer, gave her into my care.

Wasn't she scared when she found herself surrounded by huge dragons?

E: I think she was at first, but she soon recovered and we became sisters.

Sisters?

E: Yes. First we became good friends as I showed her how we did things in the Valdra Clan. We decided as neither of us had any family left, we wanted to be sisters. The clan approved and Sie was accepted into the clan.

I understand there was a problem with some of the other clans.

E: Yes, but it was more a misunderstanding. With Sie and Byron's help we were able to sort it all out.

Who's Byron?

E: He's a human who is friends with the Mondra Clan. I think Sie's a bit sweet on him.

And do you have any particular dragon you're interested in.

E: [Suddenly shy] I'd rather not say. I think I should go now. Sie will be worried if I'm away too long.

Well thanks for visiting Essie, it was lovely to meet you.

If you want to find out more about Essie and Sie here is the buy link.



Don't forget to leave a comment and be in to win 
an ebook of Dragon Clans at the end of the blog tour.

Excerpt:

Essi. An orange dragon came forward when Benare called. This is the human you heard call for help. I am making you responsible for her. Find some warm clothing for her and feed her.

With a nod to Sie, the healer turned and moved away.

My name's Essi. The dragon sounded a bit shy. What should I call you?

"I'm Sie. Do you mind if I sit down? I'm feeling a bit dizzy."

Sit over here. Essi indicated a flat rock a short distance away. I'll bring you something to eat.

Visions of raw meat flicked through Sie's mind. What did dragons eat? Essi returned holding a flat rock. Several different fruits and an unusual cake sat on top of the rock, and the young dragon placed it beside Sie, then scrunched down on her back legs.

Eat. We can talk after you have food inside you.

Sie picked up some fruit and bit into it. The juices ran down her throat soothing a path through the soreness caused by swallowing sea water. She took a tentative bite of the cake. It tasted delicious. Made of fruit, it had been compressed and blended to make a cake texture. In moments it vanished.

You have finished? Come, we will find you something warm to wear. Essi led the way to some caves in the rocky walls of the valley. The large opening allowed light into the cave, and Essi began to rummage through piles of hides and skins.

Ah, here we are. The dragon held up a rectangle of thick fur against Sie's body then folded it in half down the narrow edge. With one of her sharp talons she slit the center at the top, leaving a small piece of fur at either end. When Essi offered her the skin, Sie looked at her in bewilderment. What did the dragon want her to do?

Pull it over your head.

"Oh." Sie pushed her head through the slit and found the fur hung from her shoulders to her knees. The flight to the dragon settlement had dried her clothes, and with this extra cover her body warmed up. Essi picked up a bigger fur skin and led the way to a small cave. Near the back Sie could see a heaped pile of animal furs and dried vegetation.

These are my sleeping quarters, Essi explained. You can sleep here for now. I'll be busy outside for a while. Use this as a cover.

The dragon handed Sie the larger fur. Clambering up on the bedding Sie pulled the covering over her and snuggled down.

"Thank you, Essi." A yawn stopped her saying anything further. Her eyelids drooped, and she fell asleep.

* * *
Sue's own personal dragon: