Sunday, April 23, 2017

Happy BIrth/Death Day, Will Shakespeare

In honor of William Shakespeare's birthday and, coincidentally, his deathday as well, I thought to give you a taste of how one of my characters likes to quote the Bard, but only MacBeth.

Cailleach the Winter Goddess
From Scotch Broom, Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series

Cailleach is a goddess in the Scottish Celtic pantheon. Descriptions of her looks and personality run the gamut from ugly monster or beautiful protector of the land. This split personality goddess is the winter counterpart to the beautiful Bride (Bridget), the goddess of spring.

Living in the Otherworld after the Celts have stopped worshipping the old ones, Cailleach has let herself go to seed. She spends her days attempting to make sense of the hags’ potion in MacBeth (Double, double, toil and trouble). When she hears that a witch has come into the Otherworld, she begins to scheme. If Cailleach can only steal the witch’s magic, she can be young and powerful again.

Excerpt

The warty witch peered into the cauldron. “It’s time. How did that spell go? You’d think I’d have memorized it by now. Ah, yes.”

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw,

Cailleach dumped the slimy, mottled-brown contents of a glass jar into the cauldron.

Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one

“Let me see. Is this thirty or thirty-one days since I found the frog under the log. It says ‘cold stone’, but I’d think a cold log would work as well.”

Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first in the charmed pot.

Cailleach sniffed. “Hmm, does this look venomous, or just rotten?”

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

“Well, it’s bubbling. That’s good. Now, which of these mortars has the newt’s eye? That one looks more like a lizard’s leg, or is that goat’s gall?”

For five hundred years, she had been trying to make the spell work, and it always thwarted her. Some ingredients the weird sisters named when cooking up the brew just weren’t right. Either the witches made a mistake, or that Will Shakespeare fellow had written it wrong. Still, the notion appealed to her and she had plenty of time on her hands to play with the formula. She pushed the cauldron closer to the fire and watched the noxious eruptions rise to the top, then burst like so many boils on a beggar’s face.

* * *
Scotch Broom, Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Buy the ebook and get the audio book for only $1.99

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.

While dodging the goddess’ minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too. Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Book Review - The Curse Servant by J.P. Sloan

The Curse Servant (The Dark Choir #2)The Curse Servant by J.P. Sloan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second in this series about Dorian Lake, a charming fellow. That is, he produces charms and hexes for his clients thus making a living, sort of. But he has to supplement his income with some rental property and an occasional toe-dip into nether magic--this is not a good magic. As a result of using netherworld curses, Dorian has lost his soul, but is actively trying to get it back again. For a soulless guy, he's pretty nice.

The daughter (Elle) of his friends, Edgar and Wren, is possessed by something, and whatever it is, it does not like Dorian Lake in the least. But the consequence of Elle's possession is killing her and Dorian has to fix it. Since he doesn't possess the particular required skill, he's got to bargain for it from another magic worker. But she wants a certain person who she expects Dorian to deliver to her in exchange for ridding Elle of the demonic presence.

It gets complicated fast with other people after other things requiring Dorian to do some less than ethical swapping around. He ultimately also wants to find and restore his own soul.

No reason to go any further with the plot. You'll just have to read the book. Oh, right. Be sure to read The Curse Merchant (book 1 of the series) to get yourself settled into the urban magic served up by J.P. Sloan.

I really like Sloan's descriptions and use of magic, hexes, spells, curses, and possessions. While I recognize some of the arcane use (what fantasy reader wouldn't?), Sloan is spot on in taking all the magic practices and using them in an updated environment.

Despite the series title, The Dark Choir, the books aren't dark at all. More like fast moving adventure with Dorian Lake running through trying to fix things, and having to get really creative doing it.

The books are hard to describe, but that's a good thing. You won't get your typical wizards and wands, but something quite different. The only thing I can compare them to is Jim Butcher's "The Dresden Files." Just start reading them, okay?

Since I had purchased and reviewed the first book in the series, Curiosity Quills Press, gave me a free copy of this book for an honest review. Okay, I'll confess, they gave me the third one as well. If it was a bribe, then it worked out beautifully for me. I would have bought the books myself anyway.

View all my reviews

Saturday, April 15, 2017

And When I Die

I've always liked this Blood, Sweat, and Tears song because it's so hopeful and positive. It's also a really great song for those contemplating suicide. Now, I don't recommend the latter, but it does soothe the soul. It also is kind of a natural for Easter, eh?

http://www.metrolyrics.com/and-when-i-die-lyrics-blood-sweat-tears.html



And when I die and when I'm dead, dead and gone,
there'll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.
I'm not scared of dying and I don't really care.
If it's peace you find in dying, well, then let the time be near.
If it's peace you find in dying, when dying time is here,
just bundle up my coffin cause it's cold way down there,
I hear that's it's cold way down there, yeah, crazy cold way down there.
And when I die and when I'm gone,
there'll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.
My troubles are many, they're as deep as a well.
I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell.
Swear there ain't no heaven and pray there ain't no hell,
but I'll never know by living, only my dying will tell,
only my dying will tell, yeah, only my dying will tell.
And when I die and when I'm gone,
there'll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.
Give me my freedom for as long as I be.
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me.
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me,
and all I ask of dying is to go naturally, only want to go naturally.
Don't want to go by the devil, don't want to go by the demon,
don't want to go by Satan, don't want to die uneasy,
just let me go naturally.
And when I die and when I'm gone,
there'll be one child born, there'll be one child born.
When I die, there'll be one child born.
When I die, there'll be one child born.
When I die, there'll be one child born.
When I die, there'll be one child born.


Read more: Blood Sweat & Tears - And When I Die Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Miscellaneous Writing Tips

I'm not sure how many of the writers I know manage to post a daily blog. I tend to forget about blogging entirely unless I have news to report. Now that I no longer have new works to report, I'll advise, review, or promo for friends' books from now on.

Cute Kid
I'm supposed to give tips on writing, encouragement to perservere, and funny things that happen in my writing life. Oh, and I absolutely must have a picture of my cute cat, dog, child, or whatever every couple of weeks. Here's one now to fulfill that obligation. She's still cute at 22.

Every once in a great while, I'll post something like this, and I duck my head and wince. Nobody should care what I think about writing unless I have some credentials to prove I know what I'm talking about. Yes, I've published a bunch of stories and ten (or so) books, but that hardly makes me expert.

Still, it is expected, so here I go.

1. Use all the adverbs and adjectives you want. They are perfectly good words in the dictionary. Go ahead. Look them up. Nowhere does the dictionary mention that words are on a scale of 1 to 10 in worthiness.

2. If your book doesn't attract an agent, it's not your query or synopsis; it's because your book isn't the current hot thing in publishing. More teen angst, gorgeous vampires, loving werewolves, and (I don't get this) angels.

3. Money flows from the writer to the writing/publishing world. How many blogs tell you to take classes, go to conferences, join certain professional organizations. All of that costs money. In the long run and on the average you will spend more than you receive in royalties. Writing is NOT a money-making proposition.

4. Write if you must, but don't expect the world to give any notice to you.

5. Writing is a hobby. Treat it as such, and you'll be happier in the long run.

6. "Its" is the possessive form. "It's" is the contraction of "it is."

There. I've done my bloggerly duty and given you a bunch of stupid advice. Use it wisely, hopping Easter bunny.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Free Kids' Ebooks

Here's a free week of the children's book, "Lemons and Other Kid Tales." There are three animal-based stories suitable for kids. Photos illustrate the stories, but this isn't a picture book. It's for a kid who can read about 3rd grade level, but younger kids would probably enjoy having the book read to them. I need to have the book's KENP established. So, please download your free copy and flip through the tales. Hey, there are even color photos!

The stories are:
Lemons - Karen is horse crazy and works hard for Mr. Fredrichs to earn a ride on his draft horses. She wishes more than anything to have a horse of her own.

One Fine DogDogs weren’t just pets, but working members of the family. Sometimes, they could do amazing things and perform feats that were almost like magic.

A Practical Cat - Boots is nothing if not a pampered and lazy house cat, but he gets it in his head he'd like to explore the world outside the house. 

Free April 3rd through 7th.