Thursday, June 29, 2017

Runes - Magic or Graffiti?

A lot of fantasy novels based on Euro-centric mythologies use Runes in their plots, be it a tattooed rune on the hero’s chest, the discovery of a runic tablet that leads a worthy band of heroes on a quest for dragon’s gold, or a villain who casts his dark spells in the ancient runic language. All very cool stuff. Less well known, archaeologists have discovered runes which were actually graffiti, saying stuff like "Erik Was Here" or "Bjorn is a Dork" (that last word is just a loose translation).

In my Witches of Galdorheim books, I decided to use runes as the magic language. Kat, the teen witch introduced in Bad Spelling, just couldn’t get the pronunciation of the runes right. The results she got were often spectacularly wrong. In other words, she was a bad speller.

I researched runes and found a few I could use to give some depth to the magical language of the witches. Runes are like hieroglyphics in that each run stands for a word or concept rather than a letter. I found a handy phrase chart and stole what I could. Elder Futhark is the oldest known runic alphabet. Each rune has a name. Each rune is a word of power.

My Mashup

In Bad Spelling, Kat’s teacher listens to the misspelling witch as she attempts a simple transformation spell:
Kat held her wand over the pentagram and repeated the spell, omitting the spell’s finishing word. Miss Mariah shook her head. "Katya, you said îgwaz instead of perßô."
Later, Kat’s aunt Thordis uses a runic spell to enable her to speak with Katya’s dead father. I found this spell to raise the dead on an Icelandic runic stave site (how cool is that!).
When she felt her magic to be at its peak, Thordis opened the book to the chapter titled Speaking to the Dead. She zipped through the incantation:

Þat kann ec iþ tolpta,
ef ec se a tre vppi
vafa virgilná
sva ec rist oc i rvnom fác,
at sa gengr gvmi
oc melir viþ mic.

But nothing happened. She slowed down and spoke the spell with precision, putting as much magical force as she could into it. Finally, she felt the spell break through the barrier.

Bad Spelling (Book 1 of the Witches of Galdorheim)
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Amazon Kindle (SPECIAL: $0.99, buy the ebook and the audio book is only $1.99)
Smashwords (all ebook formats - #FREE)

If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home. 

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.

The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Double Feature - On Sale for 99¢

Both TALES OF ABU NUWAS books are on sale for the rest of this month (or longer) for only 99¢ each.

TALES OF ABU NUWAS: SETARA'S GENIE
A girl, a genie, a few demons. What could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.

As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.

He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

TALES OF ABU NUWAS 2: FAIZAH'S DESTINY
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

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.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Demonic Creatures in Mythology

IT'S DEMON TIME!

Setara and her genie, Basit, meet many interesting mythological creatures, but only two should be included in the category Monsters. Here’s a bit about the role each monster plays in Setara’s Genie. For the rest of June: 99 Cents on Kindle or on Smashwords in multiple formats.

Azi (or Azhi) Dahaka

Azhi is a dragon demon who’s supposed to be dead, but comes back to life a little bit ticked off because his blood was used by the Great Vizier hundreds of years before to create a breed of fire-breathing, flying horses.

From the Encyclopedia Mythica (http://www.pantheon.org/articles/a/azi_dahaka.html)
A storm demon from Iranian mythology. He steals cattle and brings harm to humans. It is a snake-like monster with three heads and six eyes who also personifies the Babylonian oppression of Iran. The monster will be captured by the warrior god Thraetaona and placed on the mountain top Dermawend. In a final revival of evil, it will escape its prison, but at the end of time (fraso-kereti) it will die in the river of fire Ayohsust.
Even though this particular description includes multiple heads and pretty bad attitude, I also found an ancient bas relief that purports to be Azhi Dahaka. Decide what you will. A monster is a monster no matter how many heads he or she has.
Excerpt From Setara's Genie Featuring Azhi Dahaka

Setara rounded the bend in the tunnel and stopped dead in her tracks. Azizah and Kairav stood at one end of a huge cavern, heaving large stones as fast as they could. At the other end, about forty feet away, the strangest creature she’d ever seen was shooting jets of fire from its mouth. It had great bat-like wings that created a rush of wind each time the dragon stroked downward. It possessed four legs but had reared up and clawed at the air with the front set. Fangs at least six inches long lined the animal’s jaws. It seemed reptilian with its elongated head and scaly sides. However, it was huge by reptile standards, being more than twenty feet long and barely fit in the end of the cavern. Its scales rippled with colors—green, violet, orange, blue.

Basit flew around the cavern, attempting to outflank the creature. He began hurling balls of light from his fingertips. They didn’t appear to do anything other than annoy the beast, but the interruption did distract it from breathing fire at Azizah and Kairav. When it turned its head to shoot fire toward Basit, Azizah ran forward and threw another huge rock. It struck the beast’s head, knocking it against the wall.

It turned one last time and let out a loud roar that shook small stones off the walls. Then, it shrank rapidly to no more than ten feet long. With a single bound, it leaped into the tunnel on the far side of the cavern and was gone in a flash of purple and green.

Setara ran to Azizah, who dropped the stone she was just about to throw. Kairav and Basit joined them. Sheik ran in circles around the group, barking for all he was worth.

“Shush, Sheik. We can’t hear ourselves think.” Setara chastised the agitated dog. Sheik dropped to his belly panting from the excitement.

“What was that thing?” Setara looked at the grim faces of her friends.

“Azhi Dahaka,” Basit answered.
* * *

Tales of Abu Nuwas - Setara's Genie
A Girl, a Genie, a Few Demons...What could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.


As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.

He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fantasy Book Companions - The Boys Have Their Say

TALES OF ABU NUWAS 2: FAIZAH'S DESTINY

The Boys Have Their Say

(Marva Dasef) I am the author of “Faizah’s Destiny” and decided the three boys in the story might like to share their views while Faizah isn’t in the room.

I’m pleased to have Faizah’s three male companions here today for the interview. How are you doing?

(Parvaiz) Sure, make us out as secondary characters. Typical. Snorts in disgust.

(Marva) A little testy aren’t you? After all, the book is titled “Faizah’s Destiny” not “Parvaiz’s Destiny.”


(Harib) Sorry about Parvaiz, ma’am. He’s a little touchy since he was a slave all his life. He’ll loosen up the longer he’s free.

(Parvaiz) Easy for you, Harib. Your father is the richest man in the territory. He owns slaves!

(Bahaar) Hey, Parvaiz, lighten up. Harib or his father weren’t ever mean to slaves. His dad has even freed most of his workers, and they chose to stay on.

(Parvaiz) mumble...

(Marva) Hey, sorry to hit a sore spot Parvaiz. Maybe if you talked it out a little. Don’t you feel a little grateful to your father for adopting you as his son and heir?

(Harib) What’s that, Parvaiz? I don’t hearrrr youuuu!

(Parvaiz) Yeah, yeah. I am grateful to Ahmadj, but at my age it’s a little hard to adapt to having a father.

(Bahaar) I wish I had even a fake father to get used to. Me and my brother are all on our own. We don’t carry a chip around on our shoulder.

(Parvaiz) All right! I’m grateful! Now can we just drop it?

(Marva) Of course. Tell the readers about your search for Master Wafai.

(Harib) Jabs his hand in the air. Oh, me, me!

(Marva) Go ahead, Harib.

(Harib) One day, we all went to school in the morning at Master Wafai’s house. But he was gone and the room was a mess! We couldn’t think of anything other than he was kidnapped.

(Bahaar) You see, his herb bag was still there. He wouldn’t go anywhere to treat anybody without that. It had to be a kidnapping.

(Parvaiz) But Faizah doesn’t accept that story. Well, she didn’t say Wafai wasn’t kidnapped, but she thought he left a sign we were supposed to find the Simurghs to find out where he was.

(Marva) Why did she think that?

(Harib) His book of magical beasts was open to the page about the Simurghs and a big X was chalked on the page. She figured he’d never mark up a book except for good reason.

(Marva) So you all set out to search for the Simurgh?

(Parvaiz) No way! I thought it was an idiot idea. Faizah being a girl and all...

(Bahaar) interrupting Hey! Faizah can take care of herself. She made that pretty clear when she caught up to us.

(Harib) Yeah. She never hid behind her skirts or us. She always jumped in and started swinging. Remember when Raziq and his gang were beating you up?

(Bahaar) Huffs I could of taken them. But it was nice you and Faizah showing up to help.

(Marva) So, you’re saying at first that you all didn’t want Faizah to go along on the search, but you changed your mind.

(Parvaiz) Well, yeah. I didn’t know her like these guys. She pulled her weight once we got going. She even saved the rest of us from Pazuzu’s ill wind.

(Marva) Ill wind?

(Parvaiz) Yeah, it’s a demon who makes everybody sick. Most of the time, people die, but Faizah knew what plants to use to cure us.

(Marva) Speaking of demons, what was that all about?

Bahaar and Parvaiz turn noticeably red.

(Harib) That jerk demon didn’t take me over like these two.

(Bahaar) We apologized for that! It wasn’t our fault.

(Parvaiz) Right. Harib didn’t even have a very good demon try to tempt him to Dev’s side.

(Marva) Who’s this Dev?

(Parvaiz) God of war. What could we do? Both Bahaar and I wanted to be warriors, and the demons promised we would be great heroes.

(Harib) Yeah. All Nanghaithya did was try to make me feel bad. Not a good way to convince somebody to join the dark side.

(Marva) I know there’s plenty more to tell the readers about your search for Wafai, the battle with the demons, and so forth. But since I’d like to sell a few books, we’ll leave it for now and let folks read about it themselves.

Thank you, boys. You’ve been a great interview.

(Boys) Sure. Anytime. Hey, how about a story starring me?

(Marva) Well, we'll see what the future brings. How about an excerpt from Faizah's Destiny for now?

Excerpt:

She looked at Harib when he said, “Ahmajd is a good man, but he’s hardly the type to run off after mountain raiders. Matter of fact, I can’t think of anyone in the whole village who’d even consider it. You heard Faluj. He didn’t even suggest forming a search party. I don’t think anybody is going to do anything.”

Faizah bit her lip in frustration. The villagers lacked any adventurous spirit. Most preferred to live their lives as quietly and safely as they could.

Leaning over the table, Parvaiz stared thoughtfully at the open page of the book. “I haven’t had the chance to get to know Master Wafai, or anybody else yet, but I have a feeling Faizah is on the right track. Still, I think he just meant for us to search for him in the mountains, not go looking for these birds.”

Bahaar stood looking down at his feet, lost in thought. Now he lifted his head to look at Parvaiz for a second and then turned to Harib. “How about you, Harib? What do you think?”

Harib sighed and scratched his head. “I agree with Parvaiz. But we can’t go charging into the raider’s camp and tell them to give him back. They’d just laugh at us...or worse.”

Parvaiz nodded. “However, we can at least try to track where he is. If we find some evidence, we can come back to tell the village elders.”

“All right. I’ll concede Master Wafai was just directing us to the mountains, but we still need to figure out how to get started,” Faizah said. “Once we convince our parents,” she continued, glancing at Bahaar, “or brother, to let us go, we can work out the rest ourselves.”

Parvaiz stared at her and then gave a short bark of a laugh. “What makes you think you’re going? This is going to be hard enough without having a girl tagging along. That’s the last thing we need!”

Faizah glared at Parvaiz, her face flushed with anger. “I can take care of myself! Nobody has to watch out for me. Least of all some slave boy,” she shouted at Parvaiz. She regretted the last comment the moment she said it. Still, it didn’t make her any less angry that these boys, she thought were her friends, would so casually dismiss her just because she was a girl.

“You have no call?” Parvaiz began and then shut his mouth. He looked at Harib and Bahaar, who were both studying their feet with intense interest.

Bahaar looked up at him and then over at Faizah and shrugged. “Sorry Faizah, I have to agree with Parvaiz. I...I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

Faizah turned to Harib. “Well? Do you agree?”

The boy’s face reddened, and he wouldn’t meet her eyes. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.

She glared at each of them in turn, spun on her heel, and stormed out of the house, her fists clenched and her head high. Stiff-backed, she marched across the tiny courtyard and through the archway. Only when hidden by the wall, did her shoulders slump and the tears begin to flow.

* * *

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


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happy Summer Solstice!

Summer Solstice – More Than Just the First Day of Summer

In historical terms, the Solstice is the exact point of time when the daylight outstrips the night in length. That’s hard to reckon, particularly since the exact point in time depends on where you live. Why should that be?

Take a look at model of the solar system, specifically look at earth. If it’s properly oriented, then it’s a bit tilted, not straight up and down as you might think. Stand back a bit further, and you can see the earth doesn’t travel in a circle around the sun, but in a big oval called an ellipsis.


Since the Solstice varies when it occurs (anywhere between June 20th -23rd), most people won’t know exactly when the earth moves from Spring to Summer. Instead, a variety of festivals from different countries and people celebrate Midsummer. Fortunately, astronomers are available to let us know exactly when the solstice occurs.

This year the official time and date of the Summer Solstice is June 21ST at 5:24AM Greenwich Mean Time. But it was June 20TH, 9:24PM Pacific time. That's really the same "time," but not what your clock on the wall says.

Many cultures celebrate the Summer Solstice. A few of these celebrations are: Adonia, St. John's Feast Day, Jani, Liða, Midsommar, Ivan Kupala Day, Juhannus, Mittumaari, Alban Hefin, Gwyl Ganol yr Haf, Sankthans, Jaanipäev, Keskikesä, and Rasos. Oh, my. That’s a lot of celebrating! Wherever you live, you can have a party.

Another group of professionals other than astronomers who can tell you when the solstice occurs are witches. No, not the evil witches with warts and ugly noses, but the Wiccans who inhabit my books and Galdorheim Island in the Barents Sea. This is a fictional place, but is quite close to some very real islands in the Arctic with very real people who live on them.

Midsummer for Wiccans is called Litha. Just like every people who had some means to really look at the movement of the stars and planets Well, the earth is moving, but from where we stand, it appears the stars are the ones in motion. They are, but I’d refer you to Doctor Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the narrator of the Cosmos series, for exactly what’s going on in the universe.

In the second book of my Witches of Galdorheim series, “Midnight Oil,” the exact time the Solstice occurs is crucial to the plot. The magical midnight oil is a curative required by a tribe of mutant Nenets tribespeople to heal the radiation poisoning which deformed them. It must be administered at the exact time the Solstice occurs. The year I selected had to have that event occur (somewhere in the world) at almost precisely midnight on June 20th. Some confusion about the exact moment of the Solstice almost leads to the restorative oil to arrive late at its destination. After all, the Solstice usually occurs on the 21st (in this century).

A lot happens to thwart my heroes from delivering the oil on time and in good condition. An evil forest spirit happens to possess the oil. But this isn’t simply a “find the magical thing and deliver it” plot. There’s a lot going on in “Midnight Oil.” A kidnapped boyfriend, mutant tribesfolk, Ajatar the forest spirit, a man who was tragically disemvoweled (lost the ability to pronounce a, e, i, o, or u and sometimes y), a witch trapped on the lost island of Atlantis with the Loch Ness monster, and, um, there’s lots more to discover in the book.

So, back to Litha, the Wiccan midsummer celebration. One of the most famous places in the world to observe the Solstice is at Stonehenge in England, but only if the Solstice occurs during daylight hours (not this year). Nevertheless, the midsummer celebrations (June 25th) take place no matter what time the Solstice actually happens. Stonehenge would be a great place to party. 

Fun thing to do: Find out when the Solstice occurs where you live (compare your local time to Greenwich Meantime).

BAD SPELLING FREE on Smashwords
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home.

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.

The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.


MIDNIGHT OIL (see top of post)
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
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.

Mustering every bit of her Wiccan magic, Kat rises to the challenge. She invokes her magical skills, learns to fly an ultralight, meets a legendary sea serpent, rescues her boyfriend, and helps a friendly air spirit win the battle against her spiteful sibling. On top of it all, she’s able to recover the Midnight Oil and help the hapless mutants in the nick of time.

SCOTCH BROOM (See top of post)
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

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.

SPELLSLINGER (see top of post)
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.

That things will go horribly wrong is a given. But how does Rune get into and out of the predicament?

This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Dad's Day!

I hope you've enjoyed the excerpts from Tales of a Texas Boy scattered over the last couple of weeks. There are more stories in the book you might also like to read. Find them all on this blog over the last couple of weeks.

It's still not too late to buy the Large Print paperback at Amazon. So you're a couple of days late with the Fathers Day gift. No problem. Your dad will probably be surprised you remembered him at all. Poor dads. They always get edged out after Mothers Day.

How about a sample of the audio book? It's available at Amazon, Audible.com, and iTunes.


So, here are the links for  Tales of a Texas Boy.

Tales of a Texas Boy is available in Large Print on Amazon. It's also in the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending library on Amazon. And if your father has vision issues beyond the help of large print (as my father did), the audio book is available at audible.com.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

For Dads Who Like a Bit of Racy

ULTIMATE DUTY - on Amazon $2.99 on Smashwords Name Your Own Price
A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties. 

Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaved her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion.

As her heart pulls her toward Phillip, the leader of the rebel group, she finds herself questioning where her loyalties truly lie. Now she must choose, fighting for her life against impossible odds.

NOTE: Read Dave Higgins' brand new review on his blog at https://davidjhiggins.wordpress.com/2016/06/03/ultimate-duty-by-marva-dasef/

EXCERPT

“What’s it about?”

“Man, woman, sex. You know, the usual. Oh, and it’s the one with the whistle line.”

They settled with their backs against pillows to watch. The grainy black-and-white images puzzled Remy. “The color’s missing. And it’s two-dimensional.”

“Hush. It’s supposed to be that way. That’s why they called it film noir.”

Remy shook her head, but figured if she watched, she’d get used to the flat, gray-toned images.

Cassie put her hand over Remy’s. Remy didn’t move her hand away. When the woman named Slim in the vid said the line about whistling, Cassie surprised Remy by leaning over and kissing her lightly on the lips. Cassie drew back and looked into Remy’s eyes, the question from her kiss continuing in her glance.

Remy considered the offer, then shrugged her shoulders and quirked her lips in a lopsided grin. “Why not?” she whispered, then leaned into Cassie, returning her kiss. Remy felt the softness of a woman’s lips, different from a man’s. Or at least different from Kiru’s butterfly touches and deep caresses. She wondered if she should be doing this? Was this right? The tingling in her belly said yes.

Cassie ran her hand under Remy’s shirt and cupped her breast, gently squeezing. When she ran a finger around her nipple, Remy gasped.

Momentarily confused, Remy didn’t know what she was supposed to do. With a man, it was obvious, immediate, primal. With another woman, the need felt different, yet somehow the same. Remy mirrored Cassie’s caresses, trusting her partner to guide her with her own actions. What made her feel good? It must be the same for Cassie.

She felt gentle fingers exploring her body. Remy’s thoughts flashed back to Kiru’s face, his touch, his masculine smell of sweat and cinnamon. Cassie smelled sweet, like lilacs—lovely, soft, and inviting. Remy cleared her mind, determined to learn and savor this new sensation wherever it led. She had to know where her feelings would take her, then she could be complete. She let Cassie lead her to that completeness.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Mystery for Fathers Day

MISSING, ASSUMED DEAD
Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets.
Buy the Ebook, Print, or Audio at Amazon
Buy the Ebook in all formats and name your own price at Smashwords.
Buy the Audio Book at Audible.com or iTunes
Audio Samples on SoundCloud for all my books.

Recent unfortunate events in Oregon (the self-named "militia" who are essentially domestic terrorists) led me to thinking about the villains of this mystery/thriller. I made the terrorist group in the book white power proselytizers. The out-of-state agitators holing up in a Federal building on Federal land no doubt carry the same prejudices around in their pointy heads. For your consideration, I submit to you the ignorant racist elements of civilized society who say "constitution" as if they had a clue what was in that document. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to introduce a very similar bunch of "bundies."

FEAR AND POWER

I didn't want to let the Judge rant on about his prejudices, so I'm covering for him. This is one mean, nasty old man. But one soft spot in his heart does him in.

In "Missing, Assumed Dead," a self-proclaimed 'judge' runs a small Justice Court (really only traffic court) in a tiny town in Southeast Oregon. He has appointed his nephew, George Leiper, de facto town police chief. Of  course, there is no police department, but George loves to wear the uniform and enjoy the comforts of his own office in the City Hall.

Nobody cares to oppose the Judge as long as he keeps his connection to the White Power groups away from Rosewood.
But that's not always the case. He brings the darkness of the Aryan Brotherhood right to the town's front door when he forces his daughter, Miranda, to marry one of the brotherhood, Cole Bristow. Mostly, the Judge want to get his daughter away from a Basque shepherd, Salvadore. When Salvadore disappears mysteriously, the town populace whispers behind closed doors, but don't dare cross the Judge with his connections to the White Power group.

Soon after bearing her daughter, Mirabel, Miranda commits suicide rather than remain married to Cole. The whole town worries, but fear keeps the secrets hidden.

The judge becomes the guardian of his granddaughter, but keeps her away from the rest of the town. Even her uncle admits that she's not right in the head. Something happened to her around the time Salvadore disappeared. What happened to Salvadore, and why is Mirabel insane? Is the Basque shepherd her father rather than Cole, Miranda's husband?

Here's an excerpt from the book that shows you a little about Judge Leiper and how the terrorist groups get their ideas of right and wrong.
* * *
George hadn’t wanted to drive the judge to the meeting. He couldn’t get all fired up about hating kikes, niggers, and spics like those other men. Sure, he wished anybody who wasn’t white would go back where they come from but didn’t feel like doing anything about it. The men, and some women, wore swastika armbands, and the big picture of Hitler gave George the willies. Just ’cause you wanted America to be a good, all-white Christian nation didn’t mean you had to hate like that bastard. He killed a lot of white boys, too.

The ol’ man climbed up on the platform at the end of the meeting room with Hitler peering over his shoulder. George sat in the back just wishing it were over.

His uncle was in fine form. He hollered and pounded the lecture table like an old-time preacher in a tent revival. George’s mind drifted back to when he was a boy and his pa took him to the traveling meetings. George’s ma, the judge’s sister, died from the cancer when he was a boy. All the prayer vigils didn’t help none. The judge was a rich man and showed an interest in his nephew. When George’s pa died, the judge took him in. He owed the judge a lot, and the judge never let him forget it.

George’s attention returned to the lecture. The judge was talking about the Spanish War, the one where Hitler bombed the Basques. He got them all worked up. Seemed like those fellas didn’t know about it, and it gave them a good excuse to be pissed off at somebody close by. Everybody stood up and clapped up a storm. George rose along with them, so’s nobody would notice him.

After the ending prayer, the judge led a group to the local watering hole to discuss the situation some more. It was only at the tavern that George realized the judge was talking about Salvadore Vasco. He noticed Cole Bristow standing next to the judge. George wondered how the judge felt about his son-in-law when he run out on Mirabel and left the judge to raise her. They acted friendly, though, so George figured they’d mended any broken fences.

Cole walked over to George and threw a heavy arm around his shoulders. “How’s it hangin’, cousin?”

George edged away but forced a grin and shook Cole’s hand. “Hangin’ fine. How ’bout you?”

Good, good.” Cole leaned forward and tapped the lip of his beer bottle on George’s chest. “Say, George, I didn’t want to ask the judge, but how’s that little girl.”

Mirabel?”

Yeah, yeah. I wanted to know if she’s come out dark or light.”

George shook his head, confused by what Cole was getting at. Then a light bulb lit, and he realized Cole wanted to know if Mirabel was his daughter. “She’s fair-skinned, Cole. Looks like her mom.”

Cole chuckled deep in his throat and tapped his beer on George’s chest again. George took a step back and glanced down at the beer spot Cole left behind. “Miranda was a hot number, all right.”

George nodded but thought Cole talking about his dead wife like that was, well, it was disrespectful. Before Cole could tap him again, George made his way to the judge’s side. “Shouldn’t we go home soon? It’s a long drive.”

In a minute, George. Find yourself another beer.”

George looked at the group of men standing around the judge, all practically foaming at the mouth talking about going out and ‘taking care’ of Vasco. The judge grinned and clapped them on the back, sayin’ he’d be grateful to whoever helped him out in sendin’ a message to the Basques around Jordan Valley. No good white folks wanted them around, and they’d best move along.

When they drove back to Rosewood, the judge was laughing and happy. “It’s about time something was done about Vasco. Teach the Basques to keep their dirty paws off white women.”

Yessir.” George agreed some, but not with what the judge was saying. Salvadore and Miranda hadn’t been together for years, so George couldn’t see how it mattered anymore.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

For Step-Dads on Father's Day

To all you guys who are taking the job seriously. Special kudos to step-fathers who treat their lady's kids like their own. Also, adoptive dads, a big huzzah for not believing your genes are all that special. You've proven how special they really are.

My husband, Jack, is both a step- and adoptive dad. He went well beyond the call of duty when he not only took on an 8-year-old and 11-year-old as a stepfather but also adopted them when their own biological father (boo on you) signed them over to avoid paying child support (he never did pay any).

I wrote TALES OF A TEXAS BOY  in honor of my own father. I figured the best I could do for him is to immortalize his tall (and partly true) tales. I call it fiction since I can't know exactly what happened when Dad Boles brought his bear to town, when the little red hen took up residence in Ma's kitchen, or how he really met May West in a little diner in East Texas.

On the other hand, nobody else was there, so how I wrote the stories might be the honest truth. Who's to say?

HAPPY FATHERS DAY, JACK!

HAPPY FATHERS DAY, HON!*
* In our family, my brothers and I called my father Honey just like Mom did. Okay, so we were a little whacky; we admit it freely.

Want to get your own father a great gift (or your step-father or your brother who is a great dad or for yourself whether you're a dad or not)?

Large Print at Amazon - Perfect Dads' Day gift.

Ebook at Amazon Free KindleUnlimited subscribers and Kindle Owners Lending Library (Prime users benefit)

Audio Book at Audible Only $1.99 if you buy the ebook from Amazon.

Photo-Illustrated Ebook on Smashwords

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.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Greatest Generation Dad? Here's a Great Gift

Fathers Day is coming up (June 18th). If your dad is in the same generation as my father who grew up in the 20's and 30's, experienced WWII as an adult, and is fond of stories set in rural America, this is a book he will enjoy. Also, if he's sight-impaired, it's available in a Large Print paperback and audio book.

These are stories about my father, which also plays into the "great gift for Fathers Day" concept. He's passed now, but he took great pleasure reading his almost true tall tales. Many of the stories feature my grandfather, who Eddie looked up to and admired. I think you'll enjoy them too.

Here's a bit on some of the stories. Here are the buy links:
Kindle Ebook - Buy the ebook for only $2.99 and get the audio book for $1.99 only at Amazon. The ebook is free for Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library subscribers.
Smashwords Illustrated Ebook. Just like the Amazon version except includes the photo illustrations like the print book. Shhh. Don't let Am*z*n know. It's only 99 cents through Dad's Day.
Large Print Paperback Amazon This is the most popular format. $8.99
Audiobook (also available through AmazonAudible.com $6.95


EXCERPT

Rattlesnakes and Jack Rabbits

Domestic livestock weren’t the only animals that the farmers and ranchers had to deal with. The wildlife of the region didn’t hide out in the bushes all the time. Sometimes they were pretty much in your face. Rattlesnakes came to the farms to catch the rats and mice that populated granaries. Rabbits also took a liking to the easy pickings. Both animals, rattlesnakes and jackrabbits, ended up being a nuisance that the local farmers and ranchers had to control.

I was going along pretty slow, so I wouldn’t step in a snake hole when I heard the squeal of a rabbit in pain. A lot of folks don’t realize rabbits make a sound like that. It’d send shivers up your spine. I went quick toward the sound and found a bullsnake at least six-foot long if he were an inch. He was all coiled around a baby cottontail and his mouth was gaped open holdin’ onto the rabbit. The poor little rabbit was half down its gullet, but the snake made the mistake of tryin’ ta swallow it from the rear instead of the head. The cottontail was strugglin’ and screamin’ so much the snake looked downright annoyed.

Now, we don’t hunt bullsnakes, as they’re the natural enemy of rattlesnakes. And, we don’t hunt cottontails, as they weren’t big enough to do much harm. We pretty much left them both alone. The sound of the little rabbit’s screaming just ‘bout broke my heart. I run up to them and stepped down on the snake’s neck just back of the lump that was the rabbit’s rear end. That stopped the swallowing, but now I wasn’t sure what to do. I laid down my .22, grabbed the cottontail by the ears and commenced pullin’. A bullsnake’s teeth point backwards, so the rabbit was pretty much stuck in the snake’s mouth.

I was tuggin’ and the rabbit’s cryin’ and the snake’s whippin’ round trying to get my foot off’n his neck. No progress was being made by any of the three of us.

My Pa heard the rabbit, too, and he came running over and saw the fix I’d got myself into. He started to laugh some, but when he looked me in the eyes, he stopped right quick. He started pryin’ the snake’s mouth open trying to unhook the teeth from the rabbit. I let up pullin’ to allow Pa to work the rabbit loose.

Soon enough, we’d got the rabbit out of the snake’s mouth and Pa set the little guy down easy. I reached down and grabbed the bullsnake by the neck where I’d been standing and flung him as far as I could. He hit the ground slithering and was gone in a second. Pa and me took a look at the cottontail, which looked somewhat bedraggled. He was laying there pantin’ and started tryin’ to pull hisself with his front legs. It looked like he’d got a broke back and I thought we’d have to put him out of his misery.

Pa picked up his .22 and started to draw a bead on the cottontail’s head when it looked up at him with those big ol’ eyes. He stayed his hand. “Maybe he’s just stunned,” he said.

While we stood there watchin’ the rabbit, a couple of the men came up to see what we’d found. Pa told them about the bullsnake and they thought it a pretty good joke I’d try to save a rabbit from a snake.

* * *
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from "Tales of a Texas Boy" and consider purchasing an ebook, paperback, or audio book. Since you read this far, contact me at mgdasef(at)gmail.com and I'll gift you a free audiobook from audible.com. You don't need to be a member to receive the book.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Is Your Dad A Legend?


TALES OF A TEXAS BOY

You've heard the phrase "A Legend in His Own Time." That's when somebody does something so extraordinary they create a legend around themselves. As time moves on, the legendary aspect grows and morphs into something bigger and, well, more legendary. That legend is helped along by authors writing about the person. Some people have reputations built on very little reality.  19th Century writers hungry for audience share exaggerated the feats of such legendary characters as Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill Cody. These mostly untrue stories made good press for the city folks back east.

Then there's another type of legend. It's when an author bases a book on a real person nobody has ever heard about, but exaggerates the person's feats to make for good reading; the writer creates the legend. Can you think of a case where this has occurred? I imagine there are many, considering possible biographers who hero-worship their subject past the point of reality.

Then I come to my own mini-legendary person: Little Eddie from Tales of a Texas Boy. The stories in this collection are mostly based on some brief vignette passed to me from my father. Those of you who have read the print edition might have slowed down enough to peruse the Foreword where I lay out that Eddie is my father and some additional background on his life. Nothing too exciting there. He just happened to have a few incidents in his life that I could turn from a passing comment into a short story.

I made my father a legend. The stories I wrote about his experiences are so enhanced, they have become the stuff of legends. Yes, a very small part of the population know the stories. However, how long will the Tales books be out in the world? I published the first edition in June, 2007. Coming up on the 3rd anniversary next month. In three years, more than 2000 people have had possession of the book in some form. They may have even read it. If I keep the book in print, how many people will get to know Eddie in ten years? I should mention that the majority of those potential readers picked up the book in the last year.

What's my point here? Not sure other than to state my realization that even not so famous people can become legendary to some extent from some author deciding to write about them.

Tales of a Texas Boy is available in ebook, print, and audio formats. Side note: this book in large print is a popular Fathers' Day gift for those who may have lived through the Great Depression themselves or simply grew up in a rural area. They'll feel right at home.

Large Print at Amazon - Perfect Dads' Day gift.

Ebook at Amazon Free KindleUnlimited subscribers and Kindle Owners Lending Library (Prime users benefit)

Audio Book at Audible Only $1.99 if you buy the ebook from Amazon.

If you've read this far, then you win a free audio book. Contact me privately (mgdasef(at)gmail.com) with your email address and I'll gift you with the audio book via Audible.com. You don't need to be a member to win this prize.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

In Honor of Canine Varieties 4

Dogs Descended from Wolves?
So are Werewolves.

Werewolves: An Alternative Transportation

Werewolf from New Moon
The most well-known werecritter is the werewolf. At this time in the cycle of what’s hot, what’s not, werewolves are getting great press via the Twilight books and movies by Stephanie Meyer.

I have to admit it. Werewolves can be totally sexy guys (gals) in human form. Meyer finally got one legendary being right. Well, she agrees with my concept, which I used before I read any of the Meyer saga. To tell the truth, I still haven’t read any of the books, because the first movie put such a bad taste in my mouth. OMG, Edward loves Bella because she SMELLS good?!?!? Gimme a break.

As we all know, werewolves are shape-shifters. When the full moon rises, your normal guy (or gal) changes into a werewolf. Sometimes, they are portrayed as mindless beasts who’ll rip the throat out of anybody they come upon. Other portrayals show that the maintain their human intelligence when shifted. Since the legends vary so wildly, I decided to not only have my werewolves remain intelligent, but also able to shift from human to wolf form at will.

How do I justify this turning away from the legend? I don’t need to. Some folks will howl in disgust with my tampering with the myths. Let ‛em whine or even bark. I’ve seen authors do just about everything with the tropes: weres, vampires, demons, fairies, angels, ancient gods. That, I believe, is perfectly okay. You want a half-vampire, half-demon? I’ve seen that in paranormal more than once. Gods less than god-like? Yup, been done.

Anyway, I have a six-pack of werewolves in “Bad Spelling.” Here’s a taste (ha ha, get it?) of my werewolf mashup.

EXCERPT

Rune joined them. “Are we going to stand around here all day? Where’s the alternative transportation you told us about?”

Andy tore his gaze from Kat and scanned the slope. “There it is.”

Kat looked where Andy pointed and gasped. “What—?”

“Don’t worry. They won’t hurt us,” Andy said with a confidence Kat didn’t quite trust.

“But werewolves?” There was no mistaking them for regular wolves. Besides being twice the size of the largest of the wolves, the eyes gave them away. Even from a distance, Kat could see them gleaming with intelligence.

“Look behind them,” Andy said.

The big wolves loped along easily; they were harnessed to a sled, bouncing along behind them. The speed with which they approached told her they would have no problem pulling a heavy load.
The wolves came up the slope and stopped in front of them. The lead werewolf looked at each of them with some interest. Kat felt like an item on a menu, like when they faced the polar bear.

The lead wolf said, “Good morning. Hmm. Humans, not trolls. Interesting.” The wolf looked over his shoulder at the others. “Remember, King Olaf hired us to deliver these people to where they want to go. You are not to eat them.” The other wolves nodded, but their long tongues hanging over gleaming, razor-sharp teeth was not a reassuring sight; their mouths dripped saliva in a most disconcerting manner.

The lead werewolf turned his pale yellow eyes back to Andy. “So, where are we going?”

Andy briefly explained what they wanted. The werewolf nodded and said, “If I understand correctly, we are looking for the Sami tribe. Do you realize they’re nomadic?”

“Sort of. All I know for certain is they spend much of their time on the northern coast.” Andy glanced at Kat. “Anything else?” She shook her head.

The wolf stared at Andy for a moment and then said, “Well, come closer so I can smell you. The girl, too.”

Kat hung back. “Why do you want to—? Oh, I understand. You can find the Samis through our scent.”

“Very good, young lady,” the werewolf answered and sniffed at her outstretched hand. He licked it once. Kat jerked her hand back. “Taste helps, too,” the werewolf answered, with a hint of humor in his gruff voice.

“What’s your name?” Kat asked.

“I call myself Mazi in my wolf form. I try to keep my human life separate.” The werewolf raised his head and howled. The other wolves joined in the chorus. Goose pimples rose on Kat’s arms. Then, they all fell silent and pricked their ears, turning their heads this way and that. From off in the distance, Kat heard a faint answering howl.

“Hop on the sled. It’s time to go,” Mazi said.
* * *
BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series (FREE ON SMASHWORDS)
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

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.