Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Holiday Languages and Winners

Here are the languages cobbled together in some cases to wish holiday greetings. Those who made a correct guess are listed. If you've won, but I don't have your email address to send you your audio book prize, DM me in either Facebook or G+. 
  1. Glædelig Jul og Godt Nytår! WINNER: ANDY AYRES, Language: Danish
  2. Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo! WINNER: ADAM WALKER, Language: Spanish
  3. Schéi Feierdeeg an e Gudde Neit Joer! No winner, Language: Luxembourgish
  4. Eguberri eta Urteberri On! No winner, Language: Basque
  5. Meli Hollidei Mich Saehae Bog Manh-i Bad-euseyo! No winner, Language: Korean
  6. Na Laethanta Saoire Merry Agus an Bhliain Nua Shona! No winner, Language: Irish
  7. Limnandi Zeeholide Kunye NoNyaka Omtsha Onoyolo! No winner, Language: Xhosa
  8. Veseli Praznitsi i Chestita Nova Godina! WINNER: Beth Aylworth, Language: Bulgarian
  9. Aleatalat Milad Saeid Wasanat Jadidat Saeida! WINNER: Renee Duke, Language: Arabic
  10. Mafaro Mazororo uye Nyaya Itsva Inofara! No winner, Language: Shona
  11. Shwinlaann Saw Aarrlautraat Myarr Nhaint Main g Lar Nhaitsait! No winner, Language: Burmese
  12. Leholo Tsa Phomolo le Selemo se Secha se Thabile! No winner, Language: Southern Sotho
  13. Lebedik Holidays aun Mzl Niu Yar! No winner, Language: Yiddish
  14. Meera Chhuttiyaan aur Naya Saal Mbaarak Ho! No winner, Language: Hindi
  15. Merry Holidays and Happy New Year! WINNER: Darrel Perkins, Language: English
  16. HAPPY SATCHRPANGANHANKWANASH! No winner, Language: Short-hand for the holidays Saturnalia, Christmas, Panga Ganapi, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Ashura. Read all about these celebrations here.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Happy Holidays in So Many Words

I've been posting "Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year" in various languages on Facebook over the last few days, and there are more to come.Guess the language of each. Some are easy; some might not be recognized by a native speaker of the language since I had to transliterate into the English alphabet. That makes some of them pretty darned hard to figure out.

Here's the complete list of phrases. I'll fill in the languages after I've posted all of them to Facebook. I want everybody to have a shot at wishing others happiness and joy in many different languages. All of us, of course, speaking the human language of love. Well, most of us anyway.

  1. Glædelig Jul og Godt Nytår! WINNER: ANDY AYRES, Language: Danish
  2. Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo! WINNER: ADAM WALKER, Language: Spanish
  3. Schéi Feierdeeg an e Gudde Neit Joer!
  4. Eguberri eta Urteberri On!
  5. Meli Hollidei Mich Saehae Bog Manh-i Bad-euseyo!
  6. Na Laethanta Saoire Merry Agus an Bhliain Nua Shona!
  7. Limnandi Zeeholide Kunye NoNyaka Omtsha Onoyolo!
  8. Veseli Praznitsi i Chestita Nova Godina! WINNER: Beth Aylworth, Language: Bulgarian
  9. Aleatalat Milad Saeid Wasanat Jadidat Saeida! WINNER: Renee Duke, Language: Arabic
  10. Mafaro Mazororo uye Nyaya Itsva Inofara!
  11. Shwinlaann Saw Aarrlautraat Myarr Nhaint Main g Lar Nhaitsait!
  12. Leholo Tsa Phomolo le Selemo se Secha se Thabile!
  13. Lebedik Holidays aun Mzl Niu Yar!
  14. Meera Chhuttiyaan aur Naya Saal Mbaarak Ho!
  15. Merry Holidays and Happy New Year! WINNER: Darrel Perkins, Language: English
  16. HAPPY SATCHRPANGANHANKWANASH!


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Celebrate the Holiday of Your Choice

HAPPY SATCHRPANGANHANKWANASH!

Tis the season, as they say. Say what? Yeah, I made up that combo-holiday greeting. Covers just about everything celebratory throughout the winter doldrums. So, no matter what persuasion you follow, there's got to be something to brighten the soggy/cold season.

Christmas: A usurpation of the mid-winter Saturnalia Festival. St. Patrick was big on keeping the frolicking holidays, but bending them to his own purpose. Historical records seem to place the actual birth of Jesus in March or April. Facts don't get in the way of the commercial spending binge. All hail the Almighty (dollar/euro/pound/yen).

The big bruhaha this year in the US was all the stores who decided that Thanksgiving was a great day for their employees to not be with their family in a celebration of thanksgiving. So, they opened their doors and let the crowds rush in. Christians don't have to worry about atheists having some pretend war on Christmas. Christians are their own worst enemies. Ask the Pope.

Saturnalia: The Romans liked mid-winter to celebrate something, so Saturn got the festival. This one was usurped for the Christmas myth. Don't get all twisted. Christmas is not a celebration for Jesus. It's a way to get the Pagans to sign up.

Besides Saturn, other pagan dieties are celebrated for much the same reason. Mithra, Horus, Zeus, even Hercules. Christians didn't steal the celebration until 400 AD. Historical accounts have Christ born in the spring, but that would have interfered with the theft of Oestra, the spring festival of fertility.

Pancha Ganapati: The Hindu solstice celebration lasts five days (the Hindus really know how to party) beginning on December 21st. The celebration is in honor of the elephant god Ganesha, who is the patron of arts and guardian of culture. Each day is celebrated by a different color which have special meanings for Ganesha. Golden Yellow creates a vibration of love and harmony within the family, Royal Blue for love and harmony between neighbors and friends, Ruby Red for harmony with business associates, Emerald Green celebrates art and culture, and the last day (which happens to be December 25th) is Brilliant Orange for love and harmony for all. The holiday is celebrated with lights and tinsel, but with a nice picture of Lord Ganesh rather than a tree.

Hanakkuh: This year, the beginning of Hanakkuh December 12th What a perfect time for the Festival of Lights for those of the Judaic persuasion. Since the Jewish calendar is based on different dates than the western one, liberal Jews can have their Hanakkuh, and still celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa with their friends. Anyone want a convertible Hanakkuh bush? Everybody can party like it's 5775.

Kwanzaa: Created in 1966, Kwanzaa was made up by a California guy to highlight African-American culture. Cool thought, but I'd just as soon we'd say: "What? Obama is black? Wow, I didn't know that." Keeping separate ensures separateness. Hey! Doesn't that look like a Menorah?

More recently, Kwanzaa is celebrated in conjunction with Christmas since many African-Americans are Christian. I suppose those of the Muslim faith can also celebrate Kwanzaa since the major winter holy day for Muslims was way back in November.


Ashura is an Islamic holy day observed on the 10th of the Islamic month of Muharram. That was way last September, so Muslims can join in the other celebrations, or just go about your business. If you live in the US, you'll just have to put up with the constant dirge of Christmas Carols. Hey, every other group has to, so you're no exception.

As for Ashura, this is a schizophrenic holy day for the two main Muslim sects. Shi'ite Muslims regard it as a major festival marking the martydom of the Prophet's grandson, Hussein. It's a more solemn holiday involving fasting and re-enactments of the martyrdom which includes some pretty nasty self-flagellation. Nothing says holiday cheer like a bloody back.

For Sunni Muslims this is the day that celebrates the release of the Israelites by the Pharoah. Yes, the Sunnis are pleased the future Israeli people were freed from Egypt. Not sure how this squares with the current state of affairs. However, since the Biblical Old Testament is regarded holy by the triumvirate of monotheistic world religions, there has to be some crossover of beliefs.

Atheist/Agnostic/Pastafarian: The godless like holidays as much as the next person. They just don't have an official date for the FSM's birth celebration. FSM, you ask? Flying Spaghetti Monster has become the avatar for folks that think the FSM is just as realistic as any other god.


So, whatever you celebrate around this time of year, enjoy, be happy, and don't drink too much (not a problem with the Muslims and the Mormons, right?).

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Breaking My Heart

Most people I know heard I had open heart surgery on December 7th (Pearl Harbor Day). Actually, I had open chest surgery. No cutting into my heart occurred.

But, three things were fixed since I was conveniently sliced open. I thought they're interesting since each booboo was independent of the others. What would have happened if I had only one or even two of these conditions? I'd probably be on that infamous "watchful waiting" list from which people are too often excised by dropping dead while being watched.

Lucky for me, I hit the magical trifecta, so hacking and slashing commenced sooner rather than later. Kind of bollixes up holiday celebrations. On the other hand, my mom feels like crap and is certain each day is her last. She's not too interested in celebrations, so it worked out. Our youngest son, Mark, came to visit for a few days. Since we seldom see him, it was a nice surprise. On the other hand, boy is he a pushy bastard! His pushiness coming out in forms such as, "Don't you pick that up! I'll do it." "Sit down, I'll get you your juice." "I'll make your blanket fort (really)."

Back to the trifecta of heartfelt flaws. I've included my doctor's sketch for reference.

1 Ascending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm. This is the first thing that set off alarm bells. Started simple enough. At my doc's for some reason or other. The PA goes over stuff first, checks meds, asks if I have any problems, takes my BP. Frowns. Takes my BP again. Frowns more. Says it's high and Dr. Dave will be in shortly. Dr. Dave takes my BP. Frowns. Takes my BP again. Frowns even more. He says he'll recommend a stress test.*
* Technician ultrasounds the heart to get the baseline. Victim (patient), then walks a treadmill to bring the heart rate up to the calculated amount for the person's height and weight (maybe age, too). Then, they ultrasound again to make out the differences, etc.
I didn't get past the first ultrasound. The tech kept on and on taking shots from many angles, leaving the room, returning, torturing my poor left breast to the point I broke into tears. If I wasn't more or less tied down, I would have made every attempt to deck him. Having observed my mother going through this procedure, it was clear the tech was either the worst one in the entire world, or he was seeing something that shouldn't be there. A whole troop of people come in and said, "we've called an ambulance to take you to the ER." I say, "I can drive over. My car is right outside." You can guess how well that worked. Anyway, I got my first ambulance ride of my life and I felt just fine. I was embarrassed I was somehow causing this total waste of time and money.
At the ER, a bunch of other scans, Xrays, etc. plus way too much time trying to be comfortable for several hours.

Yup, I had a 4.7cm aneurysm in my ascending aorta. Guess when they operate? 5.0cm. Watchful waiting commences.

2 Arterial blockage. I got an appointment for an angiogram. It's a little more complicated than a CT scan or ultrasound. You have to get to the hospital at an ugly time in the am, put on a gown, get lots of this-and-that checks, get slightly sedated, get wheeled into a meat locker (the operating room is colder than hell), have the doctor attempt to introduce a line through my right wrist (this is to put dye into the system). Failing that, I got a hole poked into an artery in my groin. Yes, women also have groins.

Then lots of pictures are taken using xrays. They're taken at every possible angle. This deep dive confirmed the size of the aneurysm, but also showed an artery blockage, and booboo #3.

3 Leaky valve. This isn't uncommon and it can be repaired with keyhole surgery which is great since you're all better in a couple of hours.

So, the trifecta of conditions called for soon, if not immediate, surgery. I chose to have it sooner rather than later since healing time is a couple of months at least, and I'd still have some cardiac rehab to go through.

I also have a very important wedding to attend in February. My eldest son (the producer of granddaughters we worship, so he gets a pass for a lot of other stuff) has found the love of his (later) life, Elizabeth Di Santo. Anyone who can hogtie that playboy deserves everybody's admiration and respect.

So, there you have it. Why I recently got a broken (then repaired) heart. I also got this lovely scar for my memory book.




Friday, December 15, 2017

Weird Christmas - Part 3

Continuing the Weird Christmas Traditions for your entertainment. See the First Part here and the Second Part here.
  • Latvia: A group of "mummers" travel from house to house where they are given a treat in return for their blessing. This sounds more like Halloween to me.
  • Guatemala: Folks sweep out their houses and put all the dirt in a communal pile with an effigy devil on top which is then burned. This must be an "out with the evil" gesture.
  • Cuba: Every December, Cuban city Remedios hosts the Parrandas Festival. The city splits in half, with each side building the biggest, baddest, fanciest light sculpture display ever. My husband does this by himself every year. No competition so far.
  • Bavaria: Bavarian Highlanders dressed in lederhosen fire mortars into the air. Sure, why not? 
  • Greece: The evil goblins, the Kallikantzaroi, lurk in the depths of the earth until Christmas Eve, when they spring up to create havoc. I wonder if anybody has seen this. It seems it'd be a great tourist draw.
  • Slovakia: The most senior man of the house takes a spoonful of loksa pudding and flings it to the ceiling. The more that sticks, the better. What is it with weird things to do with pudding?
  • Japan: Christmas cards are also a Japanese tradition, but they never ever are red. Red, of course, is the color for funerals. I suppose that means the cards could have lots of black, making them dual purpose for Halloween as well.
  • Canada: The Canadian postal service recognizes the address "SANTA CLAUS, THE NORTH POLE, CANADA HO HO HO." Letters addressed this way are opened and replied to by the well-known Royal Canadian Mounted Elves.
  • Finland: Holiday cards have tributes to the dearly departed. Finnish Cemeteries are lit with Christmas lights, making them a lovely sight on Christmas night.
  • Iceland: The kids leave a shoe on their windowsill for the 12 Days of Christmas. Each night, some Finnish elves fill the shoes with candy and other goodies. I like the Finnish elves. They're a generous lot.
  • England: Stockings are hung by the chimney with care with hopes St. Nicholas doesn't just leave a lump of coal.
  • South Africa: A little rotter named Danny ate all of Santa's cookies, the legend goes. Granny wasn't happy about this and killed Danny for being a greedy little punk. This is far worse than getting a lump of coal.
  • United States: In many cities, the Running of the Santas, draws a large crowd of spectators as the Santas rush from pub to bar to tavern getting as drunk as they can on the free drinks provided by the owners of the establishments. Of course, they sell a lot of drinks to the folks who want to watch the Santas get smashed.
That's all the weird stuff I have for now. If I find more, I'll most certainly add it to the lists. In the meantime, consider books as the perfect gift for any friend or member of the family.

TALES OF A TEXAS BOY is just the right present for that hard-to-shop-for older relative. Kids like it, too, but the main character's Texas drawl might be a hard read. They would like you to read it to them OR get the audio book edition and let the talented Donnie Baarns do the narration honors.
  • It's nostalgic
  • It doesn't have any sex (well, there is that thing with the jackass)
  • It's in LARGE PRINT
  • It's funny
  • It's poignant
  • It has lots of animals
  • It's a bargain in the books section
Buy it at Amazon for only $8.99 and make everybody happy. Now isn't that a better gift than cologne? Oh, you can also get the book for your Kindle, other ereader, or for your listening pleasure in audio format. Gotcha covered for Christmas.

Amazon Kindle Ebook $2.99
Large Print Paperback $8.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback $6.99 at Amazon
Audio Book only $1.99

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



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Weird Christmas - Part 2

Continuing the Weird Christmas Traditions for your entertainment. See the First Part here.
  • Estonia: The whole family hits the sauna on Christmas Eve.
  • Wales: Someone is chosen to play Mari Lywd who walks through town with the skull of a horse on a stick. I'm baffled by this one.
  • Iceland: I like this one. If an Icelander doesn't get new clothes before Christmas, the killer mountain Yule cat eats them. 
  • Czech Republic: Desperate for marriage it seems. Czech ladies throw a shoe over one shoulder from the door way. The direction the shoe is pointed determines if they'll be married in the coming year.
  • Estonia: The whole family hits the sauna on Christmas Eve.
  • Wales: Someone is chosen to play Mari Lywd who walks through town with the skull of a horse on a stick. I'm baffled by this one.
  • Iceland: I like this one. If an Icelander doesn't get new clothes before Christmas, the killer mountain Yule cat eats them. 
  • Sweden: Authorities in the village of Gävle decided to install a straw goat statue in the town square. Every other year, somebody burns it down before Christmas. Both are fine traditions.
  • Sweden (again): Rice pudding is standard fare for dessert. The Christmas special has an almond buried somewhere in it. The lucky person who finds it will supposedly get married within a year. I assume only single folks of marrying age have a go at the pudding.
  • Great Britain: Speaking of puddings, tradition calls for each member of the household to stir the pudding in a clockwise direction while making a wish. I guess that's better than a lump of coal.
  • Italy: A witch named Befana is the deliverer of presents to children (not that stodgy Santa). But the kids have to wait for the blessings of Befana until January 6th.
  • Ethiopia: Christian Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7th. Everybody wears white and the guys play ganna, a fast pace game of ... hockey?
More weird stuff coming here in the next couple of days.

TALES OF A TEXAS BOY is just the right present for that hard-to-shop-for older relative. Kids like it, too, but the main character's Texas drawl might be a hard read. They would like you to read it to them OR get the audio book edition and let the talented Donnie Baarns do the narration honors.
  • It's nostalgic
  • It doesn't have any sex (well, there is that thing with the jackass)
  • It's in LARGE PRINT
  • It's funny
  • It's poignant
  • It has lots of animals
  • It's a bargain in the books section
Buy it at Amazon for only $8.99 and make everybody happy. Now isn't that a better gift than cologne? Oh, you can also get the book for your Kindle, other ereader, or for your listening pleasure in audio format. Gotcha covered for Christmas.

Amazon Kindle Ebook $2.99
Large Print Paperback $8.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback $6.99 at Amazon
Audio Book only $1.99

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



Saturday, December 09, 2017

Weird Christmas - Part 1

Christmas, Noel, Jul. A pagan holiday preempted by Christian monks to make their story more palatable to the heathens. Well, Christmas is even weirder than that. Check out Christmas traditions around the world you might not know. Then, look at the bottom of this post to get the links to my book which is the absolutely most fantastically wonderful present you can buy for cheap. Trust me. Aunt Mabel will love it. So, on to the weird with this from Faux Channel. TALES OF A TEXAS BOY is just the right present for that hard-to-shop-for relative.
  • South Africa: Sauteed caterpillar of the Emperor Moth is a Christmas treat.
  • Austria: Krampus! See my previous post on the esteemed Christmas guy worse than the Grinch.
  • Catalonia: The Nativity scenes includes a picture of a pooping man. Um. Along with the pooping guy, they have a pooping log. Now, I don't know about you, but I think Catalonia got too much bug spray sometime in the past.
  • Norway: Brooms are hidden away so witches can't claim possession. What's a witch without a broom? Kelly Conway?
  • Japan: The dine-out place of choice is KFC. Makes sense to me.
  • Venezuela: The religious go to Mass on roller skates.
  • Greenland: Their own version of a Turducken is a Mattak. That's raw whale skin served with blubber) or Kiviak: 500 Auk birds stuffed into a sealskin and fermented for 7 months. I think I'll skip Greenland's Christmas.
  • Germany: They hide a pickle in the Christmas tree. The kid who finds it gets an extra gift.
  • New Zealand: Not so weird, they use a Pohutukawa tree rather than the standard Douglas fir. They're actually kind of pretty with red flowers.
  • Portugal: The Deceased are invited to dinner and have places set at the table for them. What the heck? They don't eat much.
  • Germany: Kids leave a sneaker outside to be stuffed with candy. Bad kinder get a twig instead.
  • Ukraine: Trees are decorated with an artificial spider and a bunch of spider web. Sounds like the Trump Whitehouse decor.
  • Czech Republic: Desperate for marriage it seems. Czech ladies throw a shoe over one shoulder from the door way. The direction the shoe is pointed determines if they'll be married in the coming year.
More weird stuff coming here in the next couple of days.

Now, back to my book, which is much more important.
  • It's nostalgic
  • It doesn't have any sex (well, there is that thing with the jackass)
  • It's in LARGE PRINT
  • It's funny
  • It's poignant
  • It has lots of animals
  • It's a bargain in the books section
Buy it at Amazon for only $8.99 and make everybody happy. Now isn't that a better gift than cologne? Oh, you can also get the book for your Kindle, other ereader, or for your listening pleasure in audio format. Gotcha covered for Christmas.

Amazon Kindle Ebook $2.99
Large Print Paperback $8.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback $6.99 at Amazon
Audio Book only $1.99

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



Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Kramping My Style

Of course, we all love Santa Claus (or Santa Claws from "Nightmare Before Christmas"), but leave us not forget the adorable Krampus. After all, without Krampus, bad children wouldn't just get coal in their stocking, but they'd also be kidnapped, thrown into a sack, and eaten by the lovely Krampus. The Grinch ain't got nothin' on Krampus.

Here's some stuff from Wikipedia:

In folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as "half-goat, half-demon", who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts.
Krampus is one of the companions of Saint Nicholas in several countries including Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, South Tyrol and parts of Northern Italy. The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists have postulated its pre-Christian origin.
In traditional parades and in such events as the Krampuslauf (English: Krampus run), young men dressed as Krampus participate; such events occur annually in most Alpine towns.
As evil as jolly Saint Krampus is, his role of getting naughty children to behave has worked wonders in the Slavic areas of Europe.

Now, if you don't have a child to traumatize for life with the story of Krampus, maybe you'd rather give a very nice present to an older person in your family (Grandma or Grandpa). TALES OF A TEXAS BOY is just the right present for that hard-to-shop-for relative.

  • It's nostalgic
  • It doesn't have any sex (well, there is that thing with the jackass)
  • It's in LARGE PRINT
  • It's funny
  • It's poignant
  • It has lots of animals
  • It's a bargain in the books section

Buy it at Amazon for only $8.99 and make everybody happy. Now isn't that a better gift than cologne? Oh, you can also get the book for your Kindle, other ereader, or for your listening pleasure in audio format. Gotcha covered for Christmas.

Amazon Kindle Ebook $2.99
Large Print Paperback $8.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback $6.99 at Amazon
Audio Book only $1.99

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



Sunday, December 03, 2017

Audio Books for Christmas (or Hannukah)


Bad Spelling - Book 1 of Witches of Galdorheim
Listen to free snips on SoundCloud
Amazon Only $7.49 ($1.99 if you buy the ebook)
Audible Only $7.49 (or get it free if you sign up for free)

Midnight Oil - Book 2 of Witches of Galdorheim
Audible  Only $7.49 (or get it free if you sign up for free)
Amazon Audio Link  ($1.99 if you buy the ebook)

NEWEST: Scotch Broom - Book 3 of Witches of Galdorheim.
Audible Only $7.49 (or get it free if you sign up for free)
Amazon  ($1.99 if you buy the ebook)

Tales of a Texas Boy
Amazon ($1.99 if you buy the ebook)
Audible Only $1.99 **** BEST DEAL ****


Missing, Assumed Dead (KindleUnlimited Ebook)
Audible Only $7.49 (or get it free if you sign up for free)
Amazon Only $1.99
iTunes $14.95

Spellslinger on audio - Listen on SoundCloud Free!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Christmas Gift Idea - A Little Downhome Nostalgia

Have an elderly or sight-impaired relative who could use a little Holiday Cheer? Consider this Large Print book as a gift.

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

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

The trim size (dimensions) is an easier-to-hold 9.7 x 7.4 x 0.3 inches with 138 pages. It's eligible for free shipping and handling from Amazon Prime.

The big news for Tales of a Texas Boy is that it's in audio book now. It's discounted to only $1.99 at Audible.com (also through Amazon). And, of course, the ebook is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and lots of other on-line stores in various ebook formats.

Here's the blurb for the book:

How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.

Here's a brief excerpt to give you an idea of what you might expect to find in "Tales of a Texas Boy." In this story, ten-year-old Eddie is left home with only his sister. Without Ma and Pa around, Eddie usually finds some way to get into mischief. This story is titled, "No Angel."

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

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

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

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

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

I got myself up and was wonderin' what to do next when I looked up and saw the blackbirds flyin' in a circle like they were waitin' for the clothesline to be put back up for 'em to light on.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Giving Tuesday

I hope people I know don't need a day telling them it's a good day to give. However, people get wrapped up in holiday plans and can think, "I'll be sure to do that soon."

Today's the reminder day: November 28th, 2017 is Giving Tuesday.

Join me and help @EnvDefenseFund raise $250K for climate action, habitat conservation, & more. All #GivingTuesday gifts are being matched $4-for-$1. 



Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Sports on TV Day

HAPPY SPORTS ON TV DAY!

Have a great Thanksgiving or a decent Thursday the 23rd if you're not in the US.

Also, Happy Birthday to my mom on her 94th birthday coming up on November 27th. 


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tribute to Turkeys Everywhere

My favorite Thanksgiving Greeting song. Have a nice Thanksgiving day and be kind to turkeys!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

#Free Books on Smashwords

All of the following are free because I'm a nice person or I'd just like people to be able to enjoy the books I have published already.

From the Witches of Galdorheim Series:

BAD SPELLING (Book 1 of the Series)
Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.

SPELLSLINGER (Bonus Short Story)
What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.



Short Stories Series


TALES OF A TEXAS BOY (Illustrated)
How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. 


MIXED BAG (Previously Published Short Stories)
A little science fiction, a bit of fantasy, plenty of humor, and some really shocking horror. These are tales to suit any mood. 







Sunday, November 12, 2017

Review: The Volcanic Rose by Renee Duke

The Volcanic Rose (Time Rose Book 5)The Volcanic Rose by Renee Duke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The time-traveling saga of the Wolverton family comes to an explosive end in "The Volcanic Rose." I'm not giving any spoilers you can't get off the cover. Yes, Mt. Vesuvius is involved.

One thing about the Wolvertons, there are plenty of them to get involved in fixing the things that go wrong in the past. Featured over the four previous books, we follow the current generation of time travelers, siblings Paige and Dane, and their cousin, Jack. In the third book (Spirit Rose), they meet Skookaweethp, a syilx (First Nations tribe) girl from centuries before, who knows not only they are time travelers, but that another time traveler, the evil Khatcheres, wants to disrupt time to his own advantage.

The Time Rose travelers learn they are tasked by time itself to thwart Khatcheres' plot, but in doing so, their ability to time travel will end.

The cryptic writings of one of their time traveling ancestors, Aurea-Rose, leads them through the steps they must take, which involves returning their Time Rose and other time artifacts to a girl named Varteni who awaits them in 79 AD at Ercolano, known now as Herculaneum. Varteni and the town lie in the direct path of the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius. To be sure, time is more of the essence than usual.

This is a great setup to end the series with both dramatic flair, but also to make sure we readers of the series will (sadly) know this will be the end of the Time Rose tales.

It is best to read the books in order even if the travelers are hopping around in time themselves. Lots of clues are provided throughout the series which make the conclusion logical and inevitable.

My only complaint is the cast of characters within the Wolverton clan alone is numerous. However, five plus generations of the family are represented, so it's not surprising there are tons of aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grand-parents, great-grand-parents and even a great-great-great-grand-aunt. It's a bit difficult keeping track of who's who. I'd love to see the Family Tree.

It'd be great if the publisher now puts the entire series together as a boxed set. It'd be a wonderful gift for middle-grade kids who like a rousing fantasy tale.

Highly recommended for kids of all ages. I'm giving this five stars to include the entire series. I'm usually stingier with stars.


View all my reviews

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Veterans Day

Vets' Day Special  - TALES OF A TEXAS BOY

#FREE Amazon Kindle Ebook - Final Day
#FREE Photo-Illustrated Ebook at Smashwords - All November
Large Print Paperback Book $8.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback Book $6.99 at Amazon


This is the real Texas Boy during WWII. Handsome devil. I can see why my mom accepted his proposal within a month of meeting for a blind date. 
“We saw that big sign there and it said ‘Free College’. I’d never heard of any such thing, so Red and me, we thought maybe we’d try it out. But, we didn’t after all, ‘cause we saw we could pick tomatoes. We went down there and signed up for a while. We went to the World’s Fair, you know, in San Francisco. Later, me and Red enlisted in the army.”
Animated now, my father, who isn’t much of a conversationalist, was telling me about things he did in 1939. He and his buddy, Red, were on a road trip in a new 1940 Ford. They’d just graduated from high school and wanted to examine the world a bit beyond the tiny world of Salem High School. He’d told me plenty of stories and I hurried up and wrote them down. Why hadn’t I started this long ago?

The stories flowed, backtracked, started up again somewhere else. Sometimes, he was back in high school on the football team, sometimes in grade school, then forward again, bouncing wherever his eighty-four year old mind led him. His high school yearbook showed his picture with the words ‘Ed the Cad’. Quite a heartbreaker back then, he was. The cool dude, sports jock, class president, too. Who was this guy?

As a kid growing up in West Texas, he’d gone on a cattle drive, collected bones to sell, encountered skunks in cornfields, went fishing with special Arkansas cedar floats. Good stories. Real life stories.

TALES OF A TEXAS BOY holds these stories forever. I hope you might enjoy them.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Saluting My Own Vet

I'd be remiss if I didn't include a mention of my very own veteran, Jack. He served in the Philippines before Vietnam became "official."

He was in Intelligence, which meant he spent his time listening to communications between Viet Cong who were already fighting with South Vietnam for the unification of the country into a single Vietnam under the Communist party. Heaven forbid the US would allow people to choose their own system of government.

Anyway, the US was listening in while only a few "advisers" were on the ground in South Vietnam busily trying to prop up the puppet government.

The result: Millions of Vietnamese dead--soldiers, fathers, mothers, sons, brothers, sisters. More than 58,000 American dead. And none of the killing did anything useful at all.

Nevertheless, whether the fighting and deaths were senseless or not, US military put their lives on the line and many died. That's why we salute Veterans. They did all that was asked of them and did it well, but the war was never going to change Vietnam unification. Vets are not saluted for winning, but for giving their all for their countries. This they did with honor.

In honor of all vets from all wars, I hope you'll accept the gift of Tales of a Texas Boy from either Amazon (through the 11th) or from Smashwords (through the end of the month).

Amazon Kindle Ebook Free Through November 11th 
Smashwords - FREE to the end of November
Large Print Paperback $8.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback $6.99 at Amazon
Audio Book only $1.99

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



Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Veterans Day Specials

Vets' Day Special (all of November)
IF YOU'RE A VET OR KNOW ONE YOU WANT TO GIFT WITH A FREE EBOOK or AUDIO BOOK, CONTACT ME AT MY EMAIL ADDRESS (mgdasef@gmail.com)

TALES OF A TEXAS BOY
How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. Twenty-one nostalgic stories based on the real life Eddie's adventures growing up in West Texas during the Great Depression. But the stories are not depressing at all! If you like animals and stories of farm and ranch life, this is a perfect book for you.

Watch the Book Trailer on YouTube.

Listen to the excerpt at SoundCloud.

Friday, November 03, 2017

A Salute to Veterans

Tales of a Texas Boy are stories my father told me about his life in West Texas as a child. When WWII started, my father signed up, of course. His father (my grandpa) served in the military as a veternarian. This is his story.

Excerpt - Pa's Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

Amazon Kindle Ebook Free Through November 11th 
Smashwords - FREE to the end of November
Large Print Paperback $8.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback $6.99 at Amazon
Audio Book only $1.99

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



Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Happy Trails for Vets Day

NOVEMBER IS FOR VETS
Great Book for Dad or Grandpa - Surprise them with a Veterans' Day Gift of Old-Time Humor

Amazon Kindle Ebook - Regular $2.99 - FREE NOVEMBER 7TH-11TH
Photo Illustrated Ebook in Multiple Formats - Free at Smashwords
Large Print Paperback $8.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback $6.99 at Amazon
Audio Book only $1.99

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


Book Trailer #1 = Tales of a Texas Boy

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween - Last Day of Free Books

FINAL DAY OF FREE WITCHY EBOOKS AT SMASHWORDS

The four books in the Witches of Galdorheim series are all free at Smashwords. They're also for sale for 99 cents on Amazon if you prefer.

I hope you've enjoyed this month of posts on witches, vampires, werewolves, and other spooky and supernatural creatures who star in these books. Here's the rundown on each book with the free book link on Smashwords and the Amazon link at the end of each description. NOTE: If you purchase the ebook at Amazon, you can get the accompanying audio book for only $1.99.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

BAD SPELLING (Free at Smashwords)
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Follow the adventures of Katrina and her half-vampire brother, Rune, as they chase down an evil shaman. Dodging the shaman's curses on a dangerous trip across the ice-bound arctic seas, they meet both friends and foes. Kat and Rune must find the shaman and stop him before their beloved island home is destroyed. Bad Spelling 99 Cents at Amazon.

Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her. Midnight Oil 99 Cents at Amazon.

A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Kat is on her way to an exciting trip to Stonehenge but is led astray by a jealous rival. Caught in the Otherworld within the Scottish Highlands with a has-been goddess trying to kill her, Kat has to defeat the goddess and rescue her brother from the hag's clutches. Scotch Broom 99 Cents at Amazon.

SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Story (Free at Smashwords)
What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart. Spellslinger 99 Cents at Amazon.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween is for Unicorns

A Diamond of a Companion

“There was green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born
The loveliest of all was the unicorn.”
Lyrics and Music by Shel Silverstein

This song kept running through my brain when I wrote about Diamond, a lonely unicorn, who meets up with Kat in her travels through the Otherworld. Naturally, unicorns are drawn to...um...maidens, so Diamond immediately joins Kat’s journey to help her in whatever way he can. That’s what a unicorn is all about, right?

Lately, I’ve seen at least two books which portrayed vicious unicorns, but in both cases, the aberration was a result of some type of black magic. Unicorns are always good, rainbows and lollypops, paragons of virtue, and all-round nice guys when it comes to their attachments to innocent girls.

But is Diamond all good? Does he really have Kat’s best interests at heart? Guess you’ll have to read more than this excerpt from Scotch Broom to find out.

Excerpt from Scotch Broom

Kat spotted Cait Sidhe angling backward to the same spot where Sianach and Cusith were converging. Frustrated by the soggy muck, Kat could only slog slowly across the swamplands. As she neared her three companions, she spotted a pond. About twenty feet across, it was bigger than most of the scattered pools sprinkling the bogs. Tall grassy bunches topped with white, feathery tufts hid much of the pond from view. When Kat finally came near enough to see the surface, she stopped to stare.

Two horses sloshed in the pool. Sunk up to their hocks in the water, they struck at each other with raised forelegs. Strangely, neither horse whinnied or screamed, but the sounds of their huffing breath made it clear they were both near exhaustion. One horse was sky blue, the other snow white. Kat looked harder and thought she saw...yes! A horn grew from the white horse’s forehead. A unicorn! A smile spread across her face before a scowl of concern quickly replaced it. Blood ran down the unicorn’s neck, splashing into the scummy, green pond water turning it a noxious brown.

The two creatures, their muscles rippling, hooves slinging the muck into the air, appeared to be matched in strength. Steamy breaths came out in blasts from the blue horse’s dilated nostrils. Kat lifted first one leg then the other out of the mire, only to have them sucked down again. Now up to her knees, she could hardly move at all. She’d lost one shoe somewhere along the way and would have to spell another up as soon as she figured out what to do about the battling beasts.

Kat reached out with her thoughts, trying to break into the mind of either the unicorn or the blue horse, but hit the same frustrating wall blocking her ability to read animal thoughts. Then, she heard something in her head.

Help me!”

It was the unicorn pleading for aid. For a moment, Kat was puzzled. She had not been able to hear the thoughts of the other creatures in the Otherworld. She felt the sincerity in the plea and had to help the unicorn.

The edge of the pond had a raised bank, which kept the water from streaming across the bogs. Kat glanced around but couldn’t see anything to use as a weapon. Pulling her legs out of the muck, she climbed atop the small berm. When the battle moved her direction, she bent her knees and jumped as far as she could. Grabbing the long mane of the blue horse, she pulled herself forward and slung both arms around its powerful neck. At first, she thought she had him when his head ducked toward the water. Her grip didn’t last long.

The blue horse reared back on its hind legs, but Kat held on, her body whipping back and forth under the horse’s neck. When its forelegs came down hard, her hold slipped. Plunging toward the water, her stomach knotted, and she held her breath. But when her feet hit the bottom the water was not quite waist deep. She fell backward onto her rear end with her head just above the surface. Kat let out her breath in relief...until she looked up into a wide-opened mouth full of black teeth surrounded by a flash of blue. It lunged at her head. She tensed her shoulders and brought her arms to cover her face in a feeble attempt to protect herself.

The unicorn had jumped backward when Kat launched herself at the blue horse. Now it lunged forward with its head down, its spiral horn pointed at the breast of the blue horse. The blue reared, barely avoiding the unicorn’s attack.

Kat risked a glance while she struggled to stand. She saw Sianach, Cusith, and Cait Sidhe were all standing around the pond, looking on with interest, but doing nothing.

“Why don’t you help?” she screamed at them.

“Who would you have us help?” asked Sianach with a mild tone.

“Me,” Kat yelled.

Cusith jumped into the pond and slogged his way through the shallow water to her side. “Grab hold, and I’ll get you out.” Kat clutched his neck and pulled herself to her feet. Looking around, she saw that the two horses stood still at opposite sides of the pool, their heads down, sides heaving.

“What is this? I cannot believe you, you people! All I wanted was to take my Winter Abroad. But could it be that simple? No! Instead, I get a bunch of gladiator animals all intent on proving whose attitude is bigger! What is wrong with you...you...see! I don’t even know what to call you!” She waded ashore holding Cusith’s fur to keep herself upright.

Sianach laughed his bugling, grunting laugh. “Not an attitude comparison at all. These two are quite intent on killing each other.”

* * *


BAD SPELLING (Free at Smashwords)
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Follow the adventures of Katrina and her half-vampire brother, Rune, as they chase down an evil shaman. Dodging the shaman's curses on a dangerous trip across the ice-bound arctic seas, they meet both friends and foes. Kat and Rune must find the shaman and stop him before their beloved island home is destroyed.

Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her.

A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Kat is on her way to an exciting trip to Stonehenge but is led astray by a jealous rival. Caught in the Otherworld within the Scottish Highlands with a has-been goddess trying to kill her, Kat has to defeat the goddess and rescue her brother from the hag's clutches.

SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Story (Free at Smashwords)
What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloween is for Elemental Spirits

AJATAR THE ELEMENTAL SPIRIT

Earth, Wind, and Fire. Wait for it .... Water. The four classical four elements have been part of mythologies since the first time a smarter than average Cro Magnon decided to cash in on his superstitious tribe claiming to have a direct hot line to the somewhat amorphous deities.

Deities and demons have proliferated over the intervening 20,000 years or so, with the winners being those smarties who knew how to cash in on fear. The shamans, priests, and other assorted grifters.
  • Earth: The ground shakes and splits open. Uh oh, the earth god is ticked. If you’ll just give me your hard-won haunch of mammoth, I’ll intercede on your behalf.
  • Air: Windstorm coming up. Boy, are you in trouble for holding back on my share of the cave bear hide. Ol’ Wind is mighty pissed.
  • Fire: See what happens if you don’t listen to what I say. Your whole forest burns because you all are bad people. Just lay a pile of pretty shells at my feet and I’ll see if I can placate the Fire Demon. 
  • Water: Oopsie, a flood. Well, wasn’t I the smart one for building that big boat. Did I mention the fare? All proceeds go to the Water God, of course.
The natural elements wreak havoc and a clever guy makes out like a bandit. As time marched on, the elementals took on different names and personalities. The shyster’s way of collecting for multiple personalities for those four basic elements.

Before a caveman could count, um, one. The world was littered with all sorts of mythological beings lined up by the wise shaman to collect trade goods from the fearful masses.

Besides a plethora of gods and demons which I have mentioned some of already, I selected a lovely forest elemental (notice how the element population is dividing and growing) named Ajatar. She happens to be a Finnish spirit and is the main troublemaker in my second book of the Witches of Galdorheim, Midnight Oil.

Ajatar was known as the Devil of the Woods, so I set her in a magically protected forest glade. She controlled her local flora (writing tree roots, fast-growing brambles) and snakes to protect her cache of boxes, bottles, pots, a bent bicycle tire, laundry detergent, dried flowers, old tennis shoes, and Andy.

Oh, right, Andy happens to be a changeling, a human who spent much of his life in the Troll Kingdom and is now Kat’s main squeeze. Ajatar kidnapped him to draw out her sister, Ilmatar, an air spirit who had been hiding out on Galdorheim disguised as the old witch (she prefers sorceress) Mordita.

Lots of stuff happens, but the sisters finally come together in an epic battle (they’re fighting over a man, wouldn’t you know). Ajatar takes her dragon form, while Ilmatar becomes a giant white roc.

Excerpt

Ilmatar spun, danced, and dived. It was too many years since she had taken her true form. She was the wind, the hurricane, the tornado. Air she was, air she would be. She sighed, and a tree bent with her breath.

She rose with the heat, dropped low and sped across open fields when clouds blocked the sun’s rays. Yet, neither heat nor cold drove her. She flowed over or around as she pleased. When she was in the mood, she flattened everything in her path.

She laughed, and earth-bound creatures cringed at the booming thunder. She smiled, and a gentle breeze danced over hills and valleys. She reveled in her freedom and then grew angry when she thought how Ajatar stole this from her. She’d almost forgotten the power and glory that was Ilmatar.

Now, she’d get payback. Ajatar, she vowed, would regret this day for the rest of her days if Ilmatar the air spirit had any say.

But enough reveling for now. She had a job to do. Gathering free air to her as she flew, she coalesced into a cutting shaft, sharp and deadly as any arrow, and one thousand times as large. She swooped up, down, and sideways, leaving a vortex of spinning air in her wake.

Increasing her speed and the velocity of spin, she smashed through the tops of trees and touched down, a whirling cyclone in the center of Ajatar’s glade. Moss and branches whirled through the forest clearing and trees bent away from her, howling, cracking and snapping, with the thunder of rustling leaves.

Ajatar had heard her coming; she could hardly miss Ilmatar’s roar. Ajatar grew taller, rising above the treetops, spreading her vast scaled wings. Her mouth gaped and fire roared out. With a single downward thrust of her wings, she soared upward. Ilmatar’s tornado followed close behind.

* * *

BAD SPELLING (Free at Smashwords)
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Follow the adventures of Katrina and her half-vampire brother, Rune, as they chase down an evil shaman. Dodging the shaman's curses on a dangerous trip across the ice-bound arctic seas, they meet both friends and foes. Kat and Rune must find the shaman and stop him before their beloved island home is destroyed.

Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her.

A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Kat is on her way to an exciting trip to Stonehenge but is led astray by a jealous rival. Caught in the Otherworld within the Scottish Highlands with a has-been goddess trying to kill her, Kat has to defeat the goddess and rescue her brother from the hag's clutches.

SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Story (Free at Smashwords)
What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.