Friday, May 31, 2013

The Village Magician

The Village Magician

The four teen adventurers in “Faizah’s Destiny” are all students of the village magician, who also serves as teacher for the children who have some time to expend on schooling. Master Wafai is an all-round teacher, covering the academic topics such as mathematics and writing. As a magician with minor skills, he also loves to impart his knowledge of magical beasts that roam the earth.

Master Wafai wants more than anything to meet the elusive, all-knowing Simurgh. He feels it’s very important for his students to learn about magic, even though there is very little to be found around their tiny village. Of the Simurgh, he says:

“The Simurgh is a tutelary creature.” Wafai looked meaningfully at Bahaar’s tablet. The boy quickly applied chalk to good use. Wafai continued. “It is so old, according to legend, it has seen the world destroyed three times over.” Wafai folded his long fingers around the chalk, holding his hands against his chest. “Many believe it has learned so much that it possesses the knowledge of all the ages―a great teacher and a guardian. The Simurgh simply are. In the past for all of eternity and in the future for all of eternity.”

One day, Master Wafai isn’t at his little school. His four pupils are puzzled and concerned. Why is their teacher gone without leaving word? A possible answer is found on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. The book was left open to the text describing the Simurgh.


Faizah, a farmer’s daughter and Wafai’s favorite pupil, knows how much the Master loves the Simurgh, she immediately believes the open page is a sign that she and the boys who are also students must seach for the home of the Simurgh.

The boys scoff at the silly idea, but agree to searching the nearby mountains for signs of Wafai’s whereabouts. They only decide to go on the search when they find the adults in the village are content to send word to the Sultan and have troops sent to search for the missing teacher.

Excerpt:

Master Wafai sat at the small table that served him for both dining and desk. One of his prized books, the Magicalis Bestialis lay on the table before him, open to the section on the Simurgh. If only they were real. Wafai sighed. His advancing years never dimmed the hope that someday he would know for certain such magical beasts truly existed.

The stories he had heard of the flying, fire-breathing horse stabled in the Sultan’s palace, helped to keep that hope alive. Still, he longed to meet such a creature, to see it with his own eyes.

He sighed again and stood. He moved into the bare kitchen and carried a bowl of fruit back to the table. In this tiny village, there was not much chance of seeing anything magical. Wafai had long ago accepted the fact he would never be a great or powerful mage. A competent magician in an average sort of way, he could cure most common ailments, cast a spell to clear the air after a sandstorm, find lost livestock, and sometimes water. He could even generate a few small curses, though he seldom chose to do so.

Peeling an orange, he stared, unseeing, at his whitewashed walls, smudged with ochre chalk. His students provided the greatest joy in his life. A mediocre magician though he might be, Wafai was a born teacher. His pupils made jokes about him ‘putting on his teaching voice,’ but when he did, they listened. Although Wafai had always longed to meet a magical creature or two, what he really wanted was for one or more of his students to have the opportunities he had missed.

He thought about his three students and wondered about the new boy. Would any of them become adept? Would any of them ever meet a flying horse, a demon, or a Djinn? Most of the village children came to his school only until they were eight or nine, and then family duties called them away.

Harib, the son of a rich merchant, was the only one free to do as he pleased. He attended school to be with his friends. Left mostly to his own devices when his mother died, Harib had come to the school out of curiosity and boredom. He met Faizah and Bahaar there, and the three of them soon formed a close friendship. School was easy for Faizah and Harib, however Bahaar struggled a bit. They had all mastered the basics of reading and arithmetic and were now engrossed in learning what they could of the magical arts.

Wafai looked down at the Magicalis Bestialis and picked up an orange pip he had dropped. He closed the book and put it aside.

* * *

FAIZAH'S DESTINY
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

MuseItUp (all ebook formats): http://tinyurl.com/faizahsdestiny
Also available at B&N, Nook, and other on-line stores

Blurb:

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

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

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.

Bio:

Marva Dasef lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two ungrateful cats. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation. Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several published books, including six since 2011 with MuseItUp Publishing.

Twitter Handle: @Gurina



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Farmer's Daughter and Warrior Princess

Hi. I’m Marva Dasef, author of “Faizah’s Destiny,” a new YA fantasy release from MuseItUp Publishing. Today, I’m interviewing Faizah, the star of the novel, to find out a little more about her life and times.

(Marva) Keef haalak, Faizah?

(Faizah) Kowayyesah, Marva.

(Marva) Laww Smahti? Actually, Faizah, I don’t speak Arabic, so if you could indulge me by using English, I’d appreciate it.

(Faizah giggles) Min fadlik. No problem.

(Marva) You attend a small school run by Master Wafai. How did you start school when you’re from a poor family of low status?

(Faizah) Luck, I guess. When I was only five, my mother was giving birth. The delivery was difficult, and my mother was in great pain. My father sent my brother, Ali, to Master Wafai. He came, of course, and helped ease my mother’s birth pangs. Without him, she might have died. Unfortunately, my sister did not survive.

(Marva) I’m sorry to hear that. But you credit Master Wafai for saving your mother’s life. Is that what got you interested in the medicine he practices?

(Faizah) Indeed. I watched closely as he blended the pain killing mixture. Beid el djinn is the root of the mandrake plant. It stifles pain and helps a person to sleep. Too much, however, would kill. It’s the knowledge of which plants to use and how much I wanted to learn. Master Wafai watched me watching him. He asked my father’s permission for me to attend school to learn the healing arts. My father saw the wisdom of his daughter having this knowledge.

Laughs Of course, he doesn’t know that Master Wafai also taught me to read and write, mathematics, and some simple spells. Master Wafai says that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, which is why one pursues as much knowledge as possible. It leaves off being dangerous and, instead, becomes useful.

(Marva) Master Wafai is wise. How about Bahaar and Harib, your friends. How did they happen to go to Master Wafai’s school?

(Faizah) Bahaar was sent by his brother, Sayid. Since they have no parents, Sayid must leave the village for days as he works for the caravan drivers. Being a good brother, he sought to keep his hot-headed little brother out of trouble by making him go to school. Harib’s father is wealthy, but he comes to school mostly because Bahaar and I are his friends.


(Marva) Now that the adventures recounted in your book are through, what do you plan to do with yourself?

(Faizah) Master Wafai is staying with the Simurghs for awhile, so he encouraged me to continue my studies of the healing arts at the Temple of Anahita in Gamaal. After that, who knows?

(Marva) I wish you the best. Finally, can you tell us about the day Master Wafai went missing.

(Faizah) Perhaps reading about it in the words you have put down in the book with my name upon the cover is the best way to do that.

(Marva) Absolutely. Thanks for talking to me today.

Excerpt:

One by one, they stepped through the archway into the courtyard. The air hung heavy with the heat, and only the hum of insects broke the silence. The door into Wafai’s house hung open.

Faizah thought this strange. “He’d not leave the door open. It lets in the heat.”

Bahaar glanced around the courtyard. “You wait here. I’ll look.” He entered the house while the other three gathered under the palm tree for whatever relief its shade could provide. Faizah soon grew impatient; Bahaar was taking a long time inside. She was just about to go in after him when he appeared in the doorway.

“He’s not here, and everything’s a mess!”

“Should we wait outside for him?” Parvaiz asked. “What is the proper thing to do?”

“No, we can wait inside. He should be back soon,” Faizah replied. Bahaar stepped aside as she walked through the open door. Harib and Parvaiz followed close behind her.

“Goodness. It’s hotter in here than outside,” Faizah said, fanning her face. “Close the door, Harib. Maybe it will cool off some.”

Harib reached for the door string and gave it a tug. The top hinge broke free, and the door slumped across the opening.

Startled, Harib gasped, “Uh oh, I didn’t mean to break it!”

Parvaiz examined the hinges. “You didn’t. Someone already pulled the hinge right out of the wall.”

“Something’s definitely wrong here,” Harib voiced what they were all thinking. Master Wafai usually kept his home neat as a pin, but not today. Besides the broken door, someone had scattered Wafai’s possessions on the floor. The chair was askew from the table and the curtain partially pulled back from the alcove where he had his bed.

Harib continued, “Maybe he had to leave in a hurry. Maybe somebody got hurt or something.”

Faizah considered this and then answered slowly, “Maybe.” She pointed toward the shelf. “But he didn’t take his medicine bag. Let’s check with the neighbors. It’s possible someone saw him leave.”

They filed out through the courtyard and turned left into the lane. The inn three doors down showed the only signs of activity, so they headed there. The public room was dark and cool after the stifling heat outside. The four friends clustered just inside the door while their eyes adjusted to the dim light. Bahaar carefully latched the door behind them to keep out the heat.

“What do you kids want?” Faluj, the innkeeper asked when they entered.

Harib stepped forward to do the talking. His father’s status in the village guaranteed Faluj would pay more attention to him than any of the others.

After salaaming to show his respect, Harib told the innkeeper, “We’re looking for Master Wafai. We were supposed to have lessons from him this afternoon, but he’s not at home, and his door is broken. We’re worried. Do you know anything?” he asked.

Faluj rubbed his stubbled chin for a moment in thought. “There may be no connection, but some mountain nomads came in here last night. I overheard one of them say their chieftain’s son was sick.” He shrugged, “Maybe they wanted Wafai to treat him.”

“Possibly,” Bahaar agreed, “but it doesn’t look like he left voluntarily.”

“That’s right.” Faizah didn’t try to hide the concern in her voice. “His medicine bag was still on the shelf. He wouldn’t go to treat someone without his potions.”

The four exchanged worried glances. There might be some innocent explanation for all of this, but it didn’t look good. What could have happened to their teacher?

* * *

FAIZAH'S DESTINY
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

MuseItUp (all ebook formats): http://tinyurl.com/faizahsdestiny
Also available at B&N, Nook, and other on-line stores

Blurb:

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

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

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.

Bio:

Marva Dasef lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two ungrateful cats. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation. Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several published books, including six since 2011 with MuseItUp Publishing.

Twitter Handle: @Gurina


Monday, May 27, 2013

Warrior Women - Faizah's Destiny

Befitting for Memorial Day, I'm honoring the women warriors from past centuries.

Before Mohammad, Arabic religion was based on pantheons of gods and goddesses, much like those of the Greeks and Romans. In “Faizah’s Destiny” I’ve called on Ahura and Anahita, the Greek equivalents to Zeus and Hera. Anahita was not only the protector of women, but she was also the goddess of war, a protector of women warriors.

Real female warriors existed in the Pre-Islamic world.

Artemisia (or Anahita in some sources) was a daughter of Hecatomnus, the founder of the Hecatomnid house that had ruled Caria since the beginning of the 4th century. She was the warrior-Queen of Halicarnassus (now in modern western Turkey). She was also an admiral in Persian King Xerxes navy, coordinating a land/sea attack against the Greeks.

She definitely kicked butts and took no prisoners. I do wonder, though, if this fighting queen was real, noting the similarity of her name to Artemis. Still, the Greek Artemis was an archer who led a pack of wild (Amazon?) women.


Persian and Scythian women regularly fought in battles through the 6th Century (when Mohammad appeared on the scene). Of course, most of their names were scrubbed from any written histories, in the same manner as the war goddess Al Uzza. An interesting an informative essay is on artist Thalia Took’s site (http://www.thaliatook.com/AMGG/aluzza.php). She creates amazing Goddess trading cards.

Finally, this blog http://apranik.blogspot.com/2009/10/persian-female-warriors.html has descriptions of many female warriors. Definitely worth reading.
Iranic Scythian Female Warrior

Persian Female Warrior

Artemisia in Battle Against Greeks

In my research, my image of Faizah was influenced by these female warriors and goddesses of the middle-east. We learn Faizah’s old enough for marriage. Her teacher and mentor, Master Wafai, laments it would be a waste if she were to marry rather than continue her studies of the magical arts.

Faizah’s best friends are boys (Harib and Bahaar), and we discover early on she’s prepared to fight the town bully to protect the boys. Later, the ex-slave boy, Parvaiz, joins the others at Master Wafai’s school. He becomes part of the group, although remains cool, although willing to join in the search for Wafai.

So, Faizah is smart, educated, no shrinking violet, and she learns that if your friends are boys “you just had to pretend certain gestures, noises, and smells didn’t exist.” Even her background as a hard-working farmer’s daughter prepares her for war as many other of her middle-eastern sisters in myth and history have done.

But first, she has to ‛convince’ the boys she should go on the search for Master Wafai...even if she’s just a girl.

Excerpt:

“Faizah! What are you doing here?” Bahaar blurted. “And why are you dressed like that?”

She grinned, enjoying their aghast looks. “What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever seen a woman wearing trousers before? It’s not that unusual.” She walked past them, starting up the eastern path, as they stared open mouthed. “Come on, let’s get moving.”

Parvaiz was the first to react. “Oh, no. No, you can’t come. You’re a, a?”

“What? A girl?” She turned to face them. “You think you’ll have to watch out for the poor little girl?” Suddenly, she punched Bahaar in the chest. The unexpected blow knocked him flat on his back.

“Think I can’t take care of myself?” She shoved Harib’s shoulder while she hooked her foot behind his leg, sending him to the ground next to Bahaar. “Since when?”

That left Parvaiz. The tall boy was too big for her to take on physically. Faizah stood her ground, fists clenched, as he raised his hand and took a step toward her.

“We told you we didn’t want you along. Just turn around and go home.”

“Who’s we?” Faizah asked; her lips tightened with disdain. “I didn’t hear anybody make you leader! I can go anywhere I please, and you can’t stop me!”

Harib and Bahaar cautiously picked themselves up, their glances darting back and forth between Faizah and Parvaiz, who stood toe-to-toe, glaring at each other.

No one moved or spoke for a long, uncomfortable moment.

“What’s it going to be?” Faizah broke the tense silence. “I come with you, or I’ll follow you. You decide, but either way, I’m coming!”

She turned to Bahaar and Harib. “Well?”

Bahaar cleared his throat and opened his mouth to speak. He shut it again and turned to Harib. “What do you think?”

“Oh no. You’re not putting this off on me!”

“Fine,” Bahaar said and cleared his throat again. “I say Faizah comes with us. We’ve been friends for a long time, and we’ve always looked out for each other.” He glanced at Harib, who nodded. “She can handle herself. We’ve never had to take care of her before. We won’t have to now.”

“That goes for me, too,” Harib added, looking at Parvaiz. “We never should have listened to you in the first place. Just because she’s a girl, doesn’t mean she can’t handle herself. Besides, dressed like she is, nobody would know she’s a girl, anyway.”

Parvaiz never took his eyes off Faizah as he slowly lowered his hand. “All right.” He nodded once, shortly. “But you’d better keep up, ’cause I sure won’t help you.”

“You won’t have to, Parvaiz,” Faizah said over her shoulder as she started for the pathway leading up into the foothills. “You may not think so, but I really can take care of myself.” To Bahaar and Harib, she added, “Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!”

FAIZAH'S DESTINY
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

MuseItUp (all ebook formats):http://tinyurl.com/faizahsdestiny

Blurb:

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

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

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.

Bio:

Marva Dasef lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two ungrateful cats. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation. Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several published books, including six since 2011 with MuseItUp Publishing.

MuseItUp Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/MIU-MarvaDasef
Twitter Handle: @Gurina


Friday, May 24, 2013

Heads Up: Don't Miss Out on Lowest Price Ever

I've had my three-book volume of the entire Witches of Galdorheim trilogy on sale for a lousy fourteen bucks ($14.00) for awhile. Few have taken advantage of the deal, so here's the heads up. Buy the paperback before the end of the month if you want it. On June 1st, it's going up to its far more reasonable and priced in-line with other books its size: $16.95 (or more if I feel particularly grouchy).

I tried. I really tried to sell this book at a bargain price for several weeks. But folks were having none of it. Since people I know aren't taking me up on the deal, then I see no reason to practically give away 446 pages of YA fantasy goodness to total strangers.

Last chance to buy for $14.00. No, let's make that $12.00 until the end of the month. Does that tempt you at all? Oh, look at that! Amazon has even discounted the price to $11.04. That's definitely the lowest this book can be priced.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kid Lit Giveaway Winners!

The names have been placed into the magical cereal bowl of selection. Five names have been drawn. These are the winners of the five ebooks. I will definitely try to notify you all directly. If I can't get hold of you by the end of this week, I'll have to, regrettably, select someone to take your place.

Since two of the books and 2nd and 3rd of a series, I'll let the winners of those opt for the first in the series.

Bad Spelling - Witches of Galdorheim Book 1
Nikki Krutz

Midnight Oil - Witches of Galdorheim Book 2
Tara Tyler

Scotch Broom - Witches of Galdorheim Book 3
Jemima Pett

Setara's Genie
Misha

Faizah's Destiny
Julie Grasso (aka Jambo)





Monday, May 20, 2013

Faizah's Destiny Blog Tour Winners

First, I thank all of you who left comments along the meandering road of my book's release tour. Those of you who stopped at multiple posts: You're the best!

Since some blog posts did not receive comments and others received lots of comments, I decided to put all the names in a plastic blue bowl (normally used for cereal) and draw seven (the number of posts on which comments were written). Each comment is an entry, so the more posts you visited, the more likely you are to win.

WINNERS!!!

Carol Riggs
Marian Lanouette
Wendy Laharnar

J.Q. Rose
Joelle Walker
Joylene Butler
Suzanne de Montigny



If any of the above don't respond by the 20th (I sent notices on the 16th), I'll name replacement winners. 



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kid Lit Giveaway Blog Hop

Follow twitter tag #KidLitGH to track how the hop is doing.

Brought to you by: Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews.

The purpose of this hop is to get the word out about Children's Book Week. I'm excited about this because I write for the tween to young YA audience.

My genre is fantasy, but you won't find any princesses, dwarves, elves, or any of the euro-centric middle-earth stuff. I write in two areas. The Witches of Galdorheim series is set in present day and in the real world. Ranging from the arctic Barents Sea to Siberia to Scotland, Katrina, a teen witch finds adventure and danger.

Setara and Faizah have their adventures when Djinns, demons, flying horses, and simurghs roamed the earth. The two books are not a series, but take place in the same shared world based on pre-Islamic middle-eastern mythology.

Read about Kat, Setara and Faizah on my website. 

My giveaway is any format ebook of any of The Witches of Galdorheim Series (Bad Spelling, Midnight Oil, ScotchBroom), or "Setara's Genie," or "Faizah's Destiny." Maybe I'll get crazy and give away all five ebooks. It all depends on how many of you leave a comment.

Here's the Link List for the Kid Lit Blog Hop. Click your way through the blog posts for giveaways at every single stop. What are you waiting for? Get to clickin'! After leaving a comment here, of course, if you want to win one of my books.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Boo's Bad Day - PB by Penny Ehrenkranz


BOO’S BAD DAY
By: Penny Lockwood
Picture book for children aged 18 months to 6 years
Published by 4RV Publishing
ISBN# 13: 978-0-9852661-5-8


Tagline:
Boo sneaks out of the house and discovers that freedom by himself can be scary.

Blurb:

Boo is a very bored kitten. When Timmy and his mom return home, Boo sneaks out of the house. Boo is frightened by the noises of the big world outside of the safety of his warm home. When Timmy coaxes Boo back into the house, Boo realizes some places are safe and some are not.

Marva, thanks for hosting me. At the end of the tour, I will pick out one commenter’s name and send an autographed copy of Boo’s Bad Day to a United States address only. If the name I pick is someone who lives outside the U.S., I will send a PDF copy of the book. So remember, readers, be sure to leave contact information when you comment!

If your readers missed yesterday’s post, they can catch up at http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com. Tomorrow, I’ll be visiting with http://albertaross.wordpress.com.

Many of my blog hosts have asked me the question: what inspired me to write a picture book about a cat.

My love of cats started when I was a child. My brother and I always had cats and for some reason, we always named them Buttons (his) and Judy (mine). My mom has never been a big cat lover, but she allowed us our kitties, knowing how much they meant to both of us.

At that time, cats were more for catching mice than pets, but we made sure our cats were pets and not just working animals. One of my first cat stories I can remember is my brother’s cat tangling with a huge six-foot-long snake, which my dad ultimately killed. After that I had a recurring dream of a huge snake slithering up the side of our house and trying to get in. Guess I’ve always had a vivid imagination.

My mother continued to allow us cats, even as they became less outside cats and more inside cats. Another of our cats became quite the birder. Unfortunately, one of his targets was a delightful budgie that my dad had trained to climb a ladder, come when called, and whistle wonderful tunes on command. My mother used to let the bird out of the cage so he had free range of the house. One day while she was washing the floors, the cat snuck into the house and grabbed for the bird. The bird put up such a fuss, my mom was able to save him before the cat could race out the door with his prize.

Another of my “prize” cats was a barn cat I found while visiting my grandmother in Pennsylvania. I convinced my parents to haul the kitten home to Connecticut, but the poor little critter never did get tame. She would hide in the rafters of our garage and only come down to eat. One day when I went out, she became startled by something and dropped down onto my shoulders, leaving huge gashes. Afterward, I developed a fever, and I heard the expression “cat scratch fever” for the first time. A couple of days later, after a storm, the cat was no longer around. My parents told me she ran away, but I always suspected my dad might have taken her “for a ride.”

As I grew into adulthood, my love of cats continued. At one point, I had several roommates who all had cats. These were inside kitties and a much different breed from the half-wild ones of my youth. My love of cats intensified and I knew I always wanted to be around them. Their independence, their warmth, and their curiosity all intrigued me. I was hooked.

When I met my husband, I had a dog as did he. Shortly after we began a life together, I was given a tiny kitten by the parking garage attendant at the office where I worked. I brought her home; we named her Kizzy, and she became another one of the dogs. She followed us everywhere and loved to go for car rides, standing on the front seat with her paws splayed on the dashboard.

As the years passed, we acquired more and more cats, always inside/outside kitties. At one point, we had nine (not counting the times we had mother cats with kittens). One of our cats was actually a black cat by the name of Boo. Boo’s adventure, one freezing winter, became the basis for my story Boo’s Bad Day. Living with cats for so many years, it seemed only natural that I should look to them for inspiration in my story. That’s not to say that my dogs aren’t important to me, too, but for some reason, the cats seem to get into more interesting situations, probably because they really are curious about everything. They can’t seem to ignore a challenge or an empty box.

I’ve preferred black cats for many years and one of my favorites was Boo. When he was a teenager, he managed to get stuck in a tall fir tree during an ice storm. Poor little guy knew how to get up the tree, but he didn’t know how to get down! At first, we didn’t realize he was stuck outside in the storm and assumed he was holed up somewhere nice and warm. The next day we called him, and we finally heard him meowing from high up the tree. We tried to reach him, but we couldn’t. His cries got weaker and weaker until we feared he would fall out of the tree. The fire department told us they no longer rescued cats. We called a friend who worked on tall buildings doing construction. He was not afraid of heights or ladders and climbed to the top of our fifty-foot ladder. By reaching as far as he could, he was able to grab Boo and bring him down. Boo was quite content to stay curled up in front of our woodstove for at least a week.

When my grandchildren came along, I decided it was time to attempt a picture book. I thought of Boo and wanted to tell a tale from the kitty’s point of view. Boo’s Bad Day is the result. I submitted it to 4RV Publishing and it was accepted. They have their own stable of artists. I had no contact with my wonderful, talented illustrator Deborah C. Johnson until the book was in galley form. I was fortunate to be assigned an artist who obviously loves cats as much as I do. She captured the expressions of Boo during each of his adventures and really brings the story to life.

Bio:

Penny Lockwood has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications, and non fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications. She edits for MuseItUp Publishing. Visit her web site at http:// pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com. Her writing blog is located at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/.

She has recently released Boo’s Bad Day with 4RV Publishing and has three other children’s books under contract with them: Ghost for Rent, Ghost for Lunch, and Many Colored Coats. She has three romances published by MuseItUp Publishing: Love Delivery, Lady in Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror. Her short story collection, A Past and A Future, is available through Sam’s Dot Publishing and Smashwords.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Interviewed on Flowers and Thorns

Lorrie Struiff puts me under the microscope on her blog today. Check out the interview on Flower and Thorns.

* * * About Lorrie * * *




I live in West Mifflin, PA. about twenty minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.

I like to write in many genres but humor is my favorite. Although, I can get into some real horror stories and Sci-fi.

My main purpose in writing is to entertain readers, give you an easy yet interesting read.

I'm just chock full of information here. lol.

I lead a few workshops, meet with local authors for lunch to discuss the raging world of publishing and promoting. Isn't it changing so fast?

I have a FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/LorrieUnitesStruiff?notif_t=page_new_likes#!/LorrieUnitesStruiff Please stop over and say hi.



I am an ex-ballroom dance teacher and ex-manager  of a popular chain of dance studios. A teacher who completed her tests for a gold medal.

Since retirement, I took up writing as a hobby-at first. Now, I'm really into it. I love writing.

If you go to Amazon and punch in Lorrie Unites-Struiff, you will see most of the publications that my stories appear in. And of course, my new releases.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Faizah Interview on Spellbindings

Faizah (Faizah's Destiny) is interviewed on Rebecca Ryals Russell's Spellbindings blog site. Leave a comment on the Spellbindings post to earn a chance to win a free ebook.


* * * About Rebecca Ryals Russell * * *


Rebecca Ryals Russell writes MG and YA Dark Fantasy while living with her family in a Victorian house on five acres of North Florida countryside. She also runs a Vacation Rental Log House on the property: Florida Black Bear Cabin.

She is a fourth generation Floridian. She was born in Gainesville, grew up in Sunrise, lived in Orlando and Jacksonville before moving outside Lake City to care for ailing parents.

The daughter of an Elementary-school principal and secretary, for fourteen years she taught Middle Grades, preferring English and Creative Writing. She had several students’ works published in anthologies as well as her own poetry, photography and stories. Her main interests are her four teen/young adult children and Irish hubby of 37 years. She enjoys spending her time writing, drawing, going to movies, reading, discussing philosophy with her son.

Over the course of the next few years she has several books being published.

Be sure to check out the special interactive Middle Grade Reader website Tween Books Quest for tons of information about Stardust Warriors and SageBorn Chronicles, her newest MG series.



Thursday, May 09, 2013

Demons Fly, Hop, and Slither to Sue Perkins' Blog

Visit Sue's blog today as she hosts a flock of demons.


* * * About Sue * * *

Hi, I'm Sue and I grew up in Devon, England. My husband and I spent some years travelling the world before starting a family. In 1986 we emigrated to New Zealand and subsequently became New Zealand citizens. My children are now the world travellers while my husband and I live on a 3 acre property at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. My interests include writing, reading, genealogy and Zumba.

Webpage:  http://www.sueperkinsauthor.com
Blog:  http://sueperkinsauthor.blogspot.com

Look for Sue's Dragon series at Desert Breeze Publishing PLUS a bunch of other fine fantasies for kids of all ages from MuseItUp Publishing.



Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Simurgh Flaps Over to Natalie Wright's Blog

Today, the legendary Simurgh flies to YA author Natalie Wright's blog.

* * * About Natalie * * *

Natalie write stories for young adults and adults. She love magic, mystery, mysticism and myth. She also enjoy astronomy, cosmology, physics and the study of life on this planet (and beyond). She find human beings and their relationships with one another endlessly fascinating.

All of this stirs around in her head, percolates a bit, and stories are born. Because of her eclectic interests, anything goes and she sometimes mix genres. Readers have said she write great action scenes and that people enjoy her strong, female characters.

Catch Natalie's work in her series, The Akasha Chronicles, beginning with "Emily's House." The second book, "Emily's Trial," was recently released through MuseItUp Publishing.



Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The Boys Bicker on Children and Teen Book Connection.

Faizah's companions in her fight to save the earth are interviewed at the Children's and Teen's Book Connection.

The Grotto of the Simurghs


* * * About the Children's and Teen Book Connection * * *

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a writer, blogger and book reviewer. Her first Christian children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released by Guardian Angel Publishing in August 2010. Cheryl is also a member of the SCBWI. She also writes under the name C. C. Gevry.

The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection is a branch of The Book Connection. Here you will find reviews of books for preschoolers through the young adult market, interviews with authors, guest bloggers, and special features.


Monday, May 06, 2013

Master Wafai Lectures Ardyth DeBruyn

Master Wafai appears on Ardyth DeBruyn's blog today.


* * * About Ardyth * * *

Ardyth DeBruyn is a native Oregonian with a restless nature and a degree in Anthropology. After hiking over 1500 miles across Europe and living on the Mexican border for a year, she settled back in the Pacific Northwest (for now) to write fantasy stories. She has decided she can type herself into adventures faster than walk. She has fiction published in a number of webzines and children’s novels, ”Chosen Sister,” with Wild Child Publishing, “A School for Villains,” and "A Recipe for Disaster."

Where to find her:

Twitter: @ArdythDeBruyn

Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Gods Descend on Charlotte Babb


Today, check out Charlotte's blog as she hosts some powerful guests: the Persian gods.

* * *

Charlotte Henley Babb is a web designer and college writing instructor in Spartanburg, SC. She loves Fractured Fairy Tales and writes them for your enjoyment. Her website is http://charlottehenleybabb.com  Her novel is Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil

Maven’s new dream job–fairy godmother–presents more problems than she expects when she learns that Faery is on the verge of collapse, and the person who is training her isn’t giving her the facts–and may be out to kill her. Will she be able to make all the fractured fairy tales fit together into a happy ending, or will she be eaten by a troll?
Title: Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil
Series Title: Maven Fairy Godmother (book 1)
Author: Charlotte Henley Babb

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy Humor
Publisher: Muse It Up Publishing http://museituppublishing.com

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Faizah's Destiny the Movie (well, book trailer)

What's a book without a movie? Most of us have to settle for a book trailer. Alas, movie rights sales are hard to come by.



More to come on the Faizah's Destiny Blog Tour.

The Making of...

When creating a book trailer, you need to decide how much information is required versus how much you'd really love to include. The plot of "Faizah's Destiny" is far more complex than shown in the vid, but that's probably true of movie trailers as well. I didn't get to say so much that's in the book. 

Did I do myself a disservice by "dumbing down" the plot to fit the trailer under two minutes? I usually make 1-1/2 minute trailers. I consider that to be about the length a person will go ahead and watch the whole thing. At 1-3/4 minutes, Faizah runs a bit long for my taste.

The plusses that make a trailer successful include:

Killer Music: Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com never lets me down. Every trailer I've made uses a MacLeod theme. 

Killer Cover: Thanks to Charlotte Volnek, the Faizah cover is, in deed, killer. And she produced the right tone and look one the first shot! Of course, Charlotte had already produced a great cover for "Setara's Genie," which required a bit of back and forth. But when Faizah came along, I just said, "You know what you did for Setara? Do it for Faizah, too." And she did. The two covers complement each other. While they are not a series, they are both set in the same pre-Islamic middle-east I envisioned. 

Killer Concept: Okay. I'll claim killer concept for this book because it is a departure from the standard euro-centric fantasy realms. No fairies or elves in this book. I did use flat-out middle-eastern mythology. The gods, demons, and other magical critters were all part of the rich history of Persia.

As for the production values of the video itself, I can only say I did my best to create an entertaining and brief synopsis of the story, even if I had to cadge the facts here and there to simplify.

I hope you enjoy the show.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Faizah's Destiny - RELEASE DAY!


FAIZAH'S DESTINY
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

MuseItUp (all ebook formats): http://tinyurl.com/faizahsdestiny

Release Blog Tour Schedule:

I'll be Visiting These Blogs In May:
TODAY! 3rd - Penny Ehrenkranz: All about ancient Persian female warriors.
4th - Book Trailer on this blog
5th - Charlotte Henley Babb: Charlotte takes on the middle-eastern deities.
6th - Ardyth DeBruyn: Master Wafai visits Ardyth's blog.
7th - Childrens and Teens Book Connection: I interview Faizah's companions, Parvaiz, Harib, and Bahaar.
8th - Natalie Wright: The Simurgh, all-knowing bird of legend.
9th - Sue Perkins: Sue bravely faces the demons from the tale.
10th - Rebecca Ryals Russell - Spell Bindings: I interview Faizah.
11th - Lorrie Struiff: A bit of a Q-and-A.

Book Blurb

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

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

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.

*** Write a comment on any of the posts (including this one) 
to enter to win a free copy of Faizah's Destiny.***


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

WINNER OF DRAGON ICE!

CONGRATULATIONS
PAT MCDERMOTT

Pat is the lucky winner of a copy of "Dragon Ice" by Sue Perkins.