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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Animal Friends in Witches of Galdorheim II

Katrina Galdorheim is a witchy Doctor Doolittle. She can talk to the animals and the animals can talk back to her. One of Kat's animal buddies isn't very talkative, but he understands what Kat says and communicates his feelings about events in his own way.

Teddy is Kat's Familiar. He's also a little brown bunny. We first discover Teddy when Kat, the klutzy witch, is attempting a transformation in her class. Each student has a familiar, of course. They are witches after all. The lesson is to use the transforming spell to change their Familiar to something else. It doesn't go as planned, of course. Kat also has to contend with Merrie, another student witch, who'd easily make the top of the Mean Girls list in any school. In a school for witches, Merrie can not only be a bully, she can inflict magical grief on anyone she doesn't like. And, for some reason, she absolutely hates Kat.

Excerpt - Chapter 1, Bad Spelling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kat’s mouth hung open for a moment; then she clamped it shut when she glanced down at what was left of Teddy sitting in a pool of slime dripping onto the floor. Merry was right about one thing. The goo smelled like pond scum.

Teddy looked up at his witch with sad, bulging eyes, the top half of a frog’s body floating in the green glop. Kat groaned. Poor, long-suffering Teddy. Green and slimy—that was the good part. The pink nose and floppy ears—not so good. If she couldn’t master transformation and the other mid-level junior spells, she’d be left behind again.

* * *

Bad Spelling and the rest of the Witches of Galdorheim series are available free through the Name Your Price program on Smashwords. Click this link to see all of the books available in the series.

Bad Spelling (Book 1 The Witches of Galdorheim). Price: Free!
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.

Midnight Oil (Book 2 The Witches of Galdorheim). You set the price!
Kat is a nervous wreck waiting for her boyfriend's first visit to her Arctic island home. He doesn't show up, so she's sure he’s given her the brushoff. When she learns he’s disappeared, she sets out on a mission to find him. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe.  The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.

Scotch Broom (Book 3 The Witches of Galdorheim). You set the price!
Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

Spellslinger - A Witches of Galdorheim Story. You set the price!
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, January 29, 2017

Animal Friends in Witches of Galdorheim

Salmon the Orca


When Keiko the famous star of "Free Willy" was a resident of the Oregon Coast Aquarium, I had the privilege of meeting him. He seemed to like people or at least found us amusing. He stayed close to the underwater window anyway. He affected me in one of those mystical connections people talk about but I have never experienced until that day.

Not long after, I wrote "Bad Spelling." I imagined Katrina, the clumsy witch, meeting a killer whale pod while attempting to escape from her home island across the frozen Barents Sea. Of course, Keiko was on my mind when Kat had her heart-to-heart talks with Salmon (short for Salmon Hunter).
Just a note. This is my own photo of Keiko in the Aquarium. He looked right at me and I was stunned. There were a bunch of school kids running around and doing school kid stuff, but Keiko looked at me! I held up by arms and slowly moved them up and down. He emulated the motion. What can I say? He and I had a brief conversation.

Keiko as Salmon appears in the first two book of the Witches of Galdorheim series. If you go to Smashwords, you can get all three books in the series free through the Name Your Price feature. Hey, leave me 99 cents to let me know you appreciate my tribute to this wonderful animal. Unfortunately, somebody decided to put him out to the wild in the hopes he'd join a pod. He didn't do that. He hung out in a fjord near a village of folk who fed him. Was it a good idea? Who knows? He died. Was it because he was set free? I don't know.

Get the complete series on Smashwords for free or pay whatever you think they're worth.
Bad Spelling (Book 1 of the Witches of Galdorheim 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.

Midnight Oil (Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series)

Kat is a nervous wreck waiting for her boyfriend's first visit to her Arctic island home. He doesn't show up, so she's sure he’s given her the brushoff. When she learns he’s disappeared, she sets out on a mission to find him. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe. The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.

Scotch Broom (Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim)

Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

Spellslinger - A Witches of Galdorheim 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.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Xīnnián kuàilè! Predictions for the Year of the Rooster

I like to mention Chinese New Year (January 28th) because...well, why not? For you Roosters out there, a special cockadoodle-do to you!

I found an Chinese Astrology site and thought it'd be fun to share some of the predictions for the coming year.

For the full article, click to Chinese Horoscope 2017.

With Chinese New Year 2017 approaching it’s again time to know the 2017 Chinese Zodiac Predictions. Get an insight on what the Chinese New Year has in store from professional developments to all the general activities of your life with our chinese zodiac 2017. So whether you are planning a holiday, expecting a long awaited raise or even a good turn to your love life we have the answers to it all.
The Year of the Rooster will be a powerful one, with no middle of the road when it comes to moving forward. This year, impressions count. You’ll want to look your best and be clear on your intentions concerning love, money, and business. Stick to practical and well-proven paths to ensure success, rather than risky ventures.
Remember: In a Rooster Year, all of the Chinese animals can reap great rewards by tapping into Rooster traits. Loyalty, commitment, hard work, family values, and top-notch appearances are just some of the characteristics that will be rewarded this year. Read on to see what YOU can expect over the next 12 months – “as the Rooster crows!”
For the full article, click to Chinese Horoscope 2017.
Copyright 2017 AstrologyClub.org
Rooster Horoscope 2017 Overview
The oriental Taoist sign of the Rooster is also known as Hen or Cock. This is your year. You understand the flow of the energy this year. You’ll know when to wait, when to watch, when to act, and when to rest. Your timing will be impeccable. If you arrive late to the party, it was meant to be. If you forgot something, you will find you didn’t actually need it.
The Rooster Horoscope 2017 predicts a time for rebirth, transformation and growth for Rooster zodiac sign, as Rooster benefits from the energy of her own year and begins a new twelve-year life cycle. Rooster must still work hard, but rewards abound in 2017, affairs are under control, order reigns, and Rooster rises in glory. Bravely pursue all new opportunities, dear Rooster. 2017 is a year to renew and restore; replace old furnishing and enjoy a new wardrobe – new plumage.




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Name Your Own Price on Smashwords

For the name your own price deal I've been running on Smashwords to encourage readers to give my books a try. Since the option (set price) is only available at Smashwords, but not any of the retailers who distribute my books, it's the best price in the world. Pay anywhere from $0.00 to $2.99 for ALL books retail priced at $2.99. Even the 3-volume Witches of Galdorheim box set is free and it costs $5.99!

I could change the prices anytime. So, get yourself over to Smashwords and rob me blind. Of course, if you WANT to pay something ($0.99 recommended), feel free. I could use the lift in my spirits to have someone value my hard work. Hey, all of you out there whose books I've reviewed, how about return the favor. I appreciate the reviews. It's not money, but it's something. Please review on Goodreads and Amazon (if they let you). Thanks.

Here's the Name Your Own Price book list. Retail priced at $2.99 or less.

The Witches of Galdorheim Box Set (regular $5.99)

The Witches of Galdorheim individual book series:
   Bad Spelling
   Midnight Oil
   Scotch Broom
   Spellslinger

The Tales of Abu Nuwas Series 
  Faizah's Destiny
  Setara's Genie

Science Fiction
  Ultimate Duty
  First Duty (shorter, PG-rated version of Ultimate Duty)

Short Story Collections
  Tales of a Texas Boy - Illustrated
  Mixed Bag Short Story Collection
  Mixed Bag II: Supersized Collection

Mystery/Adventure
 Missing, Assumed Dead
 Eagle Quest

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Witches of Galdorheim Visit New Zealand

In an exchange program, the Witches of Galdorheim cast and crew are visiting

Sue is a prolific author of multiple series, mostly for middle-grade and young adult fantasy readers. Right now, you can get a free ebook of Reva's Quest on Amazon. This was the first of Sue's books I read. It made me want to read more, which I have enjoyed over the years.

Here's where to get "Reva's Quest" free.

One of her more recent series is the four-book "Cloud Kingdom." Very worth checking out. Here's a link to the FREE first book in the series.  Aren't these beautiful covers?


Bio: Sue grew up in Devon, England and emigrated to New Zealand with her family.Sue and her husband live at the top of New Zealand’s South Island.

Her interests include writing, reading, genealogy and aqua jogging.

Sue’s first romance novel was released in May 2007, quickly followed by a fantasy trilogy, more romance books, young adult and middle grade novels.

Her aim is to write a full length epic fantasy novel. The outline is complete, and Sue hopes to finish the first draft by the end of 2017.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Runes: Magic or Graffiti?

If you're familiar with my series, "The Witches of Galdorheim," you'll know that ancient runic is the basis for spell casting in my fantasy island. One of the main character is named Rune. Why not? It's a good very-old-fashioned Nordic moniker. Also, in the books, I use a couple of actual spells cast in Old Norse runes. The complete series is available at Smashwords. You set the price. Anywhere between free and $5.99 (the complete series) at your discretion. If you tipped me with 99 cents or so, I'd be most grateful. Find the entire series on Smashwords.

Now, to the topic at hand. Runes are a written language, but it's kind of like everybody got to make it up partially as the wrote whatever. The alphabet, called Futhark, is a cross between letters and a single graphic standing for an entire word. For example, fehu means cattle, but it can be used in the context "Einar is fehu." which would make fehu mean wealthy. Check out the entire alphabet at the Rune Meanings site.

It appears that the Norse also used various codes. Passing along secret messages about the next raid? But what can you make of the code which reads "Kiss me?" Um, maybe the Norse were just having some fun with language. Oh, those barbarians! Not only could they read and write with runes, they could also add playful coded messages.

I didn't need a coded message to find this fascinating article about Rune codes. I found it in the G+ Vikings Mythology group. Now that I know the base site, I'll get to explore more of the science behind the myths.

Read Mysterious code in Viking runes is cracked on the Nordic Science website.

Can you figure out the jötunvillur code on this piece of wood? Hint: I mentioned the interpretation above.


If you read runes, maybe you can parse the code from this piece written in both runes and code. The author is a bit of a braggart. Since it's a bit difficult to even see the markings, I'll help you out. It says, "These runes were carved by the most rune-literate man west of the sea."



Saturday, January 07, 2017

7 Come 11

That's either something to do with Craps (the game) or a mini-market for late night beer runs or the dates my short story sampler, "Fish Story," will be free for the taking on Amazon.


I've had a few short stories published as shorts. I put some of them into a collection and titled it "Mixed Bag." The three stories in the sampler are all from that collection. Some time later, I added some more of my shorts, both published and self-published, into a larger collection which I called "Mixed Bag 2: Supersized."

The sampler is free this week (January 7th through 11th) on Amazon. Go get a copy if you wish.

Here's an insider secret just for those of you who read this blog. Both "Mixed Bag" and "Mixed Bag II" are also free on Smashwords. Yes, they have prices attached to them 99 cents and $1.49), but both collections are also set to Set Your Own Price, which includes free if you want. Note that the MMII collection has some adult stories.

So, go get whichever or all of the collections from these links:

Fish Story: A Three Story Sampler free on Amazon PG

Mixed Bag on Smashwords in all ebook formats PG

Mixed Bag 2: Supersized on Smashwords in all ebook formats PG-13