Sunday, May 19, 2019

May Giveaway - Midnight Oil




















Midnight Oil #Free May 19-23 - Book 2 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKQXIFY/

Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Review: Alone No More and Greenstar (1-3)

Alone No More by Dave Higgins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Buy the complete series at Amazon

I'm quite enjoying this series. Well, let's call it more like a set of episodes. The only problem with the Seven Stones Vol. 1 is that I thought it would contain more, um, material. It's really a novelette with the first few chapters of the series.

But, Dave Higgins is offering free reads on the series on his website. I do like writers to make a bit of pocket change from their books, so I paid the Amazon going price for this. I really wish it either contained more (like volume 2) or was priced lower (like 99 cents).

Nevertheless, I will be reading the continuing adventures of Reverend Kobb.

Thank you, Dave, for giving us some neat sword and sorcery. I'd encourage everybody to buy the complete series in one volume since you'll want all the books anyway.

Greenstar Season 1, Episodes 1-3 by Dave Higgins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Buy at Amazon

What if Monty Python made a science fiction movie series? They'd come up with something close to Greenstar. If you'd like to take a break from the deadly serious worlds of the usual SF/F genre, pick up on this series. Set up in Episodes (there are more than three books), they're great quick reads or keep going to make it a supersized novel.

Friday, May 17, 2019

May Giveaway: Blood Ties Tested (Ebook and Audiobook Free)

Just ask and I'll give you a promo coupon for a free audiobook

https://twitter.com/Gurina/status/1126918192495046656

FREE MAY 17th, 24th, 31st 

YOU HAVE TIME TO GRAB YOUR COPY

The rest of the series are all having giveaway days in May. This novelette is the last book in the series, but you'll have all month to collect them all.

Blood Ties Tested #Free days in May Book 4 Novelette to the Witches of Galdorheim series.

May 17  -  Every Friday for the full month
May 24
May 31
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BKRVFHC/

Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

Sunday, May 12, 2019

May GIveaway - Bad Spelling




















Bad Spelling #Free May 12-16 - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKQN7XW/

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time? 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Review: To Inherit a Murderer

To Inherit a MurdererTo Inherit a Murderer by E.J. Ruek
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A woman reluctantly takes on the creepy son of her dead friend.

Why would Deborah not just turn the kid over to the state to deal with? First, she has promised her friend to take care of him. Second, she sees in the boy something of herself, a part of her that she has learned to control.

Nobody else can help this child, but will everyone around him come out unscathed? I don't want to give any more details because the answers will surprise you and make your skin crawl at the same time.

Excellent book by Ms. Ruek. I look forward to seeing more of her work.

Friday, May 10, 2019

May Giveaway: Blood Ties Tested

Click for the tweet, then retweet. I'll give you a promo coupon for a free audiobook copy. 

https://twitter.com/Gurina/status/1126918192495046656

FREE MAY 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st 

YOU HAVE TIME TO GRAB YOUR COPY

The rest of the series are all having giveaway days in May. This novelette is the last book in the series, but you'll have all month to collect them all.

Blood Ties Tested #Free days in May Book 4 Novelette to the Witches of Galdorheim series.

May 10  -  then every Friday for the full month
May 17
May 24
May 31
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BKRVFHC/

Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

Sunday, May 05, 2019

May Giveaway - Spellslinger



Spellslinger #Free May 5-9 Prequel Short Story to the Witches of Galdorheim
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DKABHC2/

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.



Thursday, May 02, 2019

Merry Giveaway May

This month, each of the parts (books and stories) of the Witches of Galdorheim series will be free for 5 days each. My purpose here is to leave Kindle Unlimited and spread the wonderfulness further than just Amazon.






Blood Ties Tested #Free 5 days in May Book 4 Novelette to the Witches of Galdorheim series.


May 3 -  then every Friday for the full month
May 10
May 17
May 24
May 31
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BKRVFHC/

Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?



Spellslinger #Free May 5-9 Prequel Short Story to the Witches of Galdorheim series.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DKABHC2/

Bad Spelling #Free May 12-16
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKQN7XW/

Midnight Oil #Free  May 19-23
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKQXIFY/

Scotch Broom #Free May 26-30
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKR8XRG/


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Review: Song of the Robin

Song of the Robin (Sarah Macintyre #1)Song of the Robin by R.V. Biggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Buy on Amazon

I read this book without actually choosing it like I would normally. I met Mr. Biggs on a Forum and he mentioned Song of the Robin was up on NetGalley. I was an approved NetGalley reader, so thought I'd give it a go.

The title is not conducive to selecting this book. Sounds kind of romance-y and not my thing at all. It starts like a contemporary romance, but I proceeded.

Then the book became a mysterious tale of a woman, Sarah, who begins to see visions, flashes of things that looked vaguely familiar, like the tall man who keeps showing up in weird places, then disappearing again. Sarah is perplexed by this stalker, particular since he's transparent sometimes. She begins to doubt her own sanity as more strange occurrences plague her life. She goes home from work and discovers that nothing of hers is in her house. She figures her no-good husband has tossed all her things in the rubbish.

She reveals some of the strange occurrences to her best friend, Rachel, but hesitates to put too much of a paranormal spin on what's going on. After all, she wasn't crazy or was she?

So the reader is slowly dragged into Sarah's visions changing the contemporary romance into something far more sinister. She sees herself in two realities, skipping through time and place without knowing how she got to where and when she is.

There is a little bit too long segment in the book on her life story. When that began and carried on for several pages I became impatient to get back to the crazy hallucinations plaguing Sarah. Eventually, we the readers are given enough information to suss out what has happened to Sarah. It's weird and imaginative story telling which I accidentally stumbled on via NetGalley and I'm quite glad I did.

Still, Mr. BIggs, think about cutting a little bit out of that middle sections (you know the one) because the pace begins to lag and you might very well lose some readers. That's my only niggling complaint.

I will be posting this review on GoodReads as I do with every book I read in its entirety.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Review: Through Better & Worse: A Montana Love Story

Note: E. J. Ruek, Aeros, and C.J. "Country" James are all pen names for D.L. Keur.

Through Better & Worse: a Montana Love Story (A Country James Novel Book 1)Through Better & Worse: a Montana Love Story
by D.L. Keur Writing as C.J. "Country" James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Buy on Amazon in Ebook or Print

Recommended 4-1/2 Stars Rounded Up (that's a pun) to 5.

Not many books are perfect, but this one's darned close for the genre: Contemporary western romance. The details of cattle ranching and division of property I know to be accurate, however it might be a bit more information than the non-country reader would like. I can just hear the romance fans yelling, "Get on with the kissing!" Nevertheless, I very much appreciate a book that doesn't slide by the setting and circumstances with no more than a how-do-you-do along the way. Readers who like technical details will be pleased.

This is not your bare-chested, sexy cowboy romance (though Jake ain't bad). Those western-romance-lite books are mere cotton candy representations of real ranch life and real ranch people. Author, C.J. "Country" James, knows the people she writes about far better than most. She's taken a pen name for the Country series, of which this book is the first.

Not only does the pseudonymous James write truly and honestly about the modern west, but is also an artist and has recorded her own audio versions of the book. With a woman that talented, you can't go wrong reading or listening to her books.

The first encounter between Dree Blake and Jake Jarvis couldn't have been worse. Jake has a teenage mind inside a man's body. Driving his fancy pickup too fast, he wants to get around the old clunker pulling a horse trailer. But there isn't room to pass. Narrowly missing Dree's horse trailer by a hair, he yells insults at the girl driving the rig. Neither one has any desire to see the other. Ever.

But the Fates are fond of creating coincidental meetings. Dree is heading to the Jarvis ranch to help teach the hands a new, more humane, method of castrating bull calves. After a demo, Dree and the two men from the Montana Department of Agriculture are asked to stay around for the upcoming roundup of the calves. Just as she's putting her mule, Cougar, into the stable, who should come driving in all la-di-da except the man who nearly drove her off the road.

Jake figures Dree is at the ranch to rat on him. He waits nervously for the blow up from his grandfather, Franklin. But nothing happens. Relieved, Jake is grateful the blocky little lady has kept her peace about the encounter.

Dree recognizes Jake all right, and figures out he's the heir to the Jarvis Ranch. It wouldn't be in her best interests to cause a ruckus. Besides, Dree does not like confrontation...at all. An incident from her childhood, violent beyond measure, gives her horrible anxiety attacks. The result is Dree is too quiet and too easily dismissed.

With this inauspicious beginning, Jake and Dree are forced to learn more about each other. They each find the other isn't quite as horrible as they first thought.

As the story progresses, a lot happens, but that'd all be spoiler material. However, this is a big R Romance, so you have an idea of how it turns out. What will surprise the hell out of you is how.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Review: Derelict (Halcyone Space #1)

Derelict (Halcyone Space, #1)Derelict by L.J. Cohen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Buy at Amazon

This first book in Cohen's Halcyone series is a great start. The main character, Ro Maldonado, is a prickly and talented young woman with an abusive father. And let me tell you, her father is a major jackass, a criminal, and an all-round candidate for worst father ever. However, his bad parenting is almost equaled by Micah Rotherwood's dad, a disgraced senator in league with Maldonado senior. All of the despicable behavior is in spoiler territory, so 'nuff said.

When Ro discovers Micah in the crashed derelict ship, she wants to move in as well. She's fascinated by the 40-year-old tech and wants badly to fix this abandoned ship for her own. Micah has been using the space for botany experiments, which involve growing some illegal plant material.

Jem Durbin is a brilliant kid who is a little bit infatuated with Ro and eagerly takes on projects to help her revive the Halcyone. His brother, Barre, is a genius in a completely different way involving music, but has a bit of a drug habit. When Jem finds Barre unconscious, he asks Ro to hack the medical system to get rid of any evidence of drugs in Barre's system. As soon as he can get his brother up and moving, he takes him to the Halcyone to hide out from their parents. Jem knows Barre will be sent to rehab if he's found, so off they go to join Ro and Micah on the derelict ship.

Okay, four brilliant teens messing about with an old ship. What could go wrong? Plenty is barely sufficient to cover it.

Overall this is a great setup for the series as we learn about the main actors in the series books to come (there are three in the series as I'm writing this, so hurry up and get started now).

This is a strong opening to an entertaining series which is not all fluffy YA kid stuff. There is plenty of tech here to satisfy the hardcore Science Fiction fan.

Highly recommended. I'll definitely be hitting the other books in the series soon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Review: In the Spirit of Murder

In the Spirit of Murder (Claudia Hershey, #1)In the Spirit of Murder by Laura Belgrave
My rating:  4 of 5 stars
Bonus! Sign up for Laura's Newsletter and get this book free!

Writing B+
Characters B
Plot C

Laura Belgrave's writing is good enough for me to want to read more of this series. That's a big reason to always try another book by a writer when one book leaves you a bit cold, but a second or third might be the best thing since sliced cake.

The problem with this particular book would require me to divulge a huge spoiler, but I'll just say that the conclusion would be in a list of tropes to avoid. Up to that point, it was a great read.

Too bad, because there are many things to like about the writing. I'd recommend the author, if not this book in particular. I'm definitely eyeing the next book in the series, "Quietly Dead."

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Review: "The Somniscient" and "Dead Man's Hand"

Two short reviews for books by Richard Levesque

The SomniscientThe Somniscient by Richard Levesque
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Amazon Buy Link

Richard Levesque has created another vivid world extrapolating technology advances. Don't let the tech talk scare you off. This is a very readable and entertaining book. It is also ripe for being the first in a series. The world of creating and selling dreams, which can only be redeemed by earning Zees just so you can sleep is weird, creepy, and inventive.

Why 4 stars? Because I'm like that. Where others smack 5 stars up (sometimes for crappy books), I dole out stars like they're as precious as Zees. This one comes close to getting the 5th star. How about 4.99 stars just to keep Mr. Levesque on his writing toes.

Dead Man's HandDead Man's Hand by Richard Levesque
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Amazon Buy Link #FREE

Dead Man's Hand is a fun, short paranormal. I'm glad it's a series since Ace Stubble, a lawyer "Representing the Undead and Paranormal Communities," is a Sam Spade type with a big helping of Dresden on the side.

The various troubles of the non-human (or human with talents) populace almost make Ace one of the undead himself. But, being the sharp shyster he is, Ace Stubble can usually pull off a miracle even if it's by accident.

I liked the concept, the writing, and Ace Stubble enough to want to read more.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Review: The Sorcerer's Key

The Sorcerer's KeyThe Sorcerer's Key by Clayton Clifford Bye
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon Buy Link

Jack Lightfoot's parents were on the run from their homeworld of Eden. The nasty sorcerer, Morgan, wanted what the Lightfoot family had: the ability to cross over into Earth to take advantage of the technology that Earth has, something that Eden does not.

When Morgan finds a way to send an assassin after the Lightfoot family to find the key to opening the door between worlds, Jack is thrown into a battle between sorcerers. Only problem is, Jack has lived on Earth his entire life and all the magic he knows is entirely theoretical.

With only the training his father has given him, Jack has to jump worlds and learn to use his magic ... fast. Morgan is out to kill Jack for the key to move between worlds.

The Sorcerer's Key is a fast action tale of magic and action. It's fast moving from the first page onward. I knew I'd like this book from the beginning.

It's modern, rather than medieval, setting makes Jack a young man who might be the teenager down the street. Very modern Jack has to cope with the 19th C. non-technological, yet highly magical world of Eden.

Clayton Bye's writing is smooth and exciting. He keeps the reader on their toes, or at least propped up in bed reading into the wee hours.

I'd definitely recommend this book for all fantasy fans.

View all my reviews

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Review: Old Hickory Lane

Old Hickory LaneOld Hickory Lane by E.J. Ruek
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Purchase at Amazon

Warren Jeffreys wants to be a premiere veterinarian on the horse show circuit. He certainly has the education (multiple degrees) and a special connection with the horses he loves (not to mention the cows, pigs, goats, and mules), but he's got a prickly personality. Who'd care, you think? The top horse breeders are a snooty bunch and want to be catered to by their vet. Warren is not a people person.

Ms. Ruek's sometimes frightening, sometimes humorous story of the aspiring veterinarian is an engrossing read. Not all warm and fuzzy like "All Things Great and Small," it still has elements to tug at your heart strings. You can't help but wish Warren success, but you also want to slap him upside the head to knock the chip off his shoulder. If he was totally likable, I don't think the story would be near as compelling. The characters, the situations, the details of day-to-day veterinary work will keep you glued to the page. I would have read it all in one session, but for the book's substantial size. You definitely get your money's worth.

Highly recommended.

More about the story with spoilers:
Before Warren can realize his dream, he's got to get the all-important work credits. He joins a veterinary clinic in Idaho to gain the all-important experience. Just a couple of years, he thinks.

Unfortunately for Warren, his personality along with being an "Injun" is a prejudiced and tight-knit area, he is scorned and even ripped off by a rotten slumlord. Forced to live in a hobo camp until he can earn enough to afford an apartment, he has to hide so nobody will know his poor circumstances. To the rich horsey set, it'd never do for their vet to be anything but prosperous...and white.

Along the way, he finds himself falling for Elise, whose grandmother raises a rare breed of horse which fascinates Warren. He wants both the woman and the job. Elise likes him, so that's not a problem, but her grandmother keeps pushing him away from having a relationship with the young woman. Prejudice or something more?

Slowly, Warren gains the trust of the farmers and ranchers in the area. His bosses at the Lewis and Clark Clinic see his skill and the something extra Warren adds when he treats animals. A skill or magic? Warren doesn't even know for sure, only that his Cree grandmother taught him ways to feel an animal's emotional state and even tell him what their problem is. Not in words, but in a metaphysical connection to the animal that allows him see and understand more than any normal human.


View all my reviews

Monday, April 01, 2019

Review: Marriage Can be Murder

Indies Rising Author

Marriage Can Be Murder: A Mystery Novella (Love Can Be Murder Mystery Novellas Book 2)Marriage Can Be Murder: A Mystery Novella by Heather Haven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lee Alvarez may be a settled down married woman, but she's still an active detective at Private Investigations, Inc., the agency owned by her mother. Sounds normal, right?

In this continued series of the Alvarez Mysteries, Haven decided that two is better than one, so Lee's new husband, Gurn, is brought aboard. A good thing since the client in this 2nd book in the 2nd series based on the Alvarez family, seems to cooperate only with men. Lee asks the questions, and Delores De La Vega, and aging femme fatale, directs her answers to the handsome Gurn. Lee knew he'd come in handy.

Right from the first page, Lee Alvarez is the same snappy witted woman I loved throughout the Alvarez Family series. Getting married didn't change a thing except she now has two cats and one husband to help her sleuth out the truth of just who's trying to murder Delores or is it all in the has-been movie star's mind?

Heather Haven's books are most delightful when she's imbuing her characters with a smart mouth along with plain old smarts. I've enjoyed reading them all. Lucky me! I recommend the entire two series to any readers who like female sleuths with attitude solving the murders while keeping her Gucci purse and Manolo Blahnik shoes unscuffed.

You'll certainly enjoy the "Nick and Nora Charles of Silicon Valley" as Haven has described the newly-wed, crime fighting duo of Lee and Gurn.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Pa's Story from Tales of a Texas Boy

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  $2.99
Smashwords Ebook Photo Illustrated $2.99
Large Print Paperback $8.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback $6.99 at Amazon
Audio Book only $6.95

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.



Friday, March 22, 2019

Indies Rising - A Site to Highlight Independent Authors

Are you an independent author? Want to get some love from a new site? While Indies Rising is just getting off the ground, the site owner is intent on making this a source for readers to find quality independent authors.

All the books have direct links to where you can buy a copy (ebook and/or print). The presentation for each author is beautiful. A heading banner streams at the top of the page. The presentation for individual books are gorgeous. Here are a couple of my book/series pages. Wouldn't you like to have such a great-looking layout for your book? Go to Indies Rising to browse. Contact the site manager if you'd like to put your indy book on this site. Note that your books MUST be recommended by somebody known to the site manager. Details available on the Indies Rising site (https://IndiesRising.com). 






Sunday, March 17, 2019

Aye and Begorrah! Happy St. Paddy's Day! Slainte!

I only do this because my DNA test says I'm mostly Irish. I can't find a single person in the family tree from Ireland. I think it's my Nordic ancestors who settled in Ireland back in the day and found the Irish ladies most toothsome.

Here's a nice picture for the post display. I suppose a Leprechaun, shamrock, or some other Irish St. Pat's pic should be used, but I'll show you something much cooler than a cartoon character. An ancient Irish castle gives me pause as I think of the history weighing so wondrously on us all.



Thursday, March 07, 2019

KU/KOLL Library

Free with Kindle Unlimited subscription. Free to borrow in Kindle Owners Lending Library. Prices reflect the retail price to buy the ebook.
Witches of Galdorheim Series
 
Tales of Abu Nuwas 2: Faizah's Destiny $2.99

Ultimate Duty $2.99             First Duty $1.99


                       Mixed Bag 2 $1.99               Mixed Bag $0.99                          


          Lemons and Other Kid Tales $0.99        Fish Story: A Three Story Sampler $0.99

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Celebrate Anyway!

The free books event is over. I hope you didn't miss out on the deal. There will be others in the future. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, Happy Valentine's Day and

Happy Birthday Oregon!


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Setara Has Her Say

FINAL DAY SETARA'S GENIE #FREE ON

I didn’t set out to be a hero. All I wanted was a little romance in my life, just the slightest bit of adventure. Was I seeking danger? Did I wish to consort with demons? Heavens, no! I will have to admit, though, the idea of being the future wife of a rich merchant was highly unappealing.

When the mountain raiders kidnapped me, I thought that I’d have neither adventure nor much future at all. Especially when the raiders threw me into the cave as a sacrifice to the demon who supposedly ruled within the mountain.

I’m happy to say that Basit wasn’t a demon at all, but a genie in search of a new master. I wondered what happened to his old master, and he assured me the man died of natural causes. I also wondered why Basit wasn’t in a bottle or lamp as the legends say. Again, he assured me that only the stupidest of djinns would get themselves caught in that manner. Genies choose their masters, and Basit thought that having a female master—a mistress, so to speak—would be a nice change of pace.

Once he forced me to figure out how to get out of the cave, he continued to be of little help. Well, that’s not entirely true. He did change a camp dog into a sheik (a handsome one, of course) when I asked him to, but that didn’t work out entirely. It seems that Basit prefers to have his charge (that’s me) figure out how to rescue herself. Sheik, when returned to his dog self, became my close companion from then on. So, something good did come from my wish for a rescuer. It just turned out not to be as romantic as I first believed.

Once I had tasted freedom and a touch of adventure, I hungered for more. It occurred to me that some other poor soul might be thrown into the cave for the demon to eat (even though there never was a demon), and it was up to me to rescue them.

I wasn’t sure how to get Basit’s attention, since he simply disappeared once I was safely home. It turned out that calling him worked eventually. I’ll have to say he sometimes takes his own sweet time to answer my summons. Not a very obedient Djinn. I got used to him, though, and we enjoyed many adventures together. But our first adventure (after my initial rescue) turned out far different than I imagined. There was, indeed, a lost soul within the cave, but not exactly what I expected.

Throughout our adventures, I gained the dearest of friends. Who would believe I could love demons, fire-breathing horses, sentient eagles, or even a genie? There are many more brave and true companions I met. They taught me the meaning of love, loyalty, and bravery. Yes, they made me a hero. For that, I’ll be forever grateful.

Excerpt:

Note: Several of Setara’s unusual friends take part in the following scene. Briefly, pirates had stolen a mare, the beloved of Hasib (a talking, fire-breathing horse). The friends, determined to rescue the horse confront a nasty array of pirates. All of them show great bravery, but Setara leads them, willing to risk her own life to aid her friend, Hasib.

In just the time that Sulawesi guessed it would take them, the little troop arrived at a dune overlooking the cove where the thieves’ galleon lay in the water. The thieves were already at the beach, preparing a pair of small skiffs to row out to the galleon. The thieves tied the stolen horses together, one horse to the next; nose to tail. A sailor on the ship was rigging a sling to the yardarm. Clearly, they were planning to make the horses swim out to the galleon.

“We need to hurry before they leave the beach, or we’ll not catch them,” Setara said.

“I’m sure I can find something to delay their departure,” Basit replied.

“Allow me,” Sulawesi said, spreading his wings. He soared down toward the beached skiffs. The rest of the troop went over the top of the dune and hurried toward the thieves as fast as they could through the shifting sand.

Setara gasped as she struggled to run but made little progress. “Basit, can you make this a bit easier? Make the ground hard.”

Basit waved his hand, and the sand became firm beneath their feet, allowing the motley crew of adventurers to run toward the captured horses.

The thieves looked up, pulling out knives and swords. Setara thought maybe she hadn’t planned this out well enough but drew her own small knife and hoped for the best. A scimitar appeared in Basit’s hand. The two demons bared their claws and fangs. Hasib puffed real flames with every leap. Sheik barked furiously as he ran. Setara hoped they looked fearsome as they dashed toward the thieves.

The thieves also had a formidable array of sharp weaponry and did not appear afraid of the strange group attacking them. The two groups met in a clash of swords, knives, howling demons, a diving eagle, a leaping dog, and a flame-throwing horse.

“Let go of those horses!” Setara screamed and leaped at a thief. She slashed her knife downward, cutting a long rent in the thief’s sleeve. He rounded on her with a sword, and she held her knife up to block. The sword slid off her knife blade, but the man immediately drew back his arm again. She was not ready with her knife, so she ducked her head, hoping to evade the sword slash. She heard a scream and looked up to see the thief flying away from her. “What the...”

A snort that sounded much like a laugh came from her left. She turned to see Hasib with a horsy grin on his long face and his powerful hind legs hitting the ground where the thief had been a mere second before.

All around, her friends were struggling with the thieves. Those confronted by Azizah and Kairav lost their will to fight and went running down the beach as fast as their legs could carry them in the loose sand. Setara thought it was a wonderful thing to have demon friends.

Sheik had bitten down on the arm of one of the thieves and was shaking the man back and forth. Basit laid about with swift strokes of his scimitar, forcing the men back toward the ocean. Unfortunately, another skiff had just come ashore with several more pirates. The thieves now outnumbered them nearly three to one.

“Basit! You must do something,” Setara shouted. Basit didn’t seem to hear her as he beat off the attack of one of the thieves. She wondered why he didn’t use magic but had no time to think about it. She saw a thief slash down on Kairav, sending the pool demon staggering back with a deep cut, blue blood pouring down his brawny arm. Another smacked Azizah on the side of the head, sending her reeling. Sheik yelped in pain, but Setara could not spare a moment to look while she fended off a muscular thief wielding a heavy club.

Things weren’t going very well at all.

* * *

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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Setara Starring in the Movies

FREE FEBRUARY 10TH-11TH. CLICK THIS AMAZON LINK FOR YOUR FREE COPY OF BOOK 2 OF THE TALES OF ABU NUWAS

Enjoy the book trailer for Setara's Genie. You can have the book free today and tomorrow.


* * *



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.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Story Time with Abu Nuwas

SETARA'S GENIE #FREE Feb. 11th-13th
Storytellers: Scheherazade and Abu Nuwas

 © Mandana2000
at Deviant Art
Everyone knows about Scheherazade’s 1001 Arabian Nights. What you might not know is that the stories said to be originated by the King’s wife to keep her murderous husband from killing her are almost all derived from existing folklore and fairy tales.

The main folklore derivation is Scheherazade herself. The frame story of 1001 Arabian Nights is in itself a folk tale. Various stories were added or changed throughout the years. Modern western society likes the cleaned up Disney-style telling. Sir Richard Burton translated from the Persian in the 19th Century to produce a somewhat bawdier version of many stories. Sir Richard was a remarkable character himself, but I just couldn’t work him into the book. I recommend reading about him and also perusing his translations of various works (including the Kama Sutra). Wiki can provide additional details. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Francis_Burton

Was Scheherazade a real person? Yes and no. Like Robin Hood, this storytelling queen is a legend herself and may be based on a real person. However, it’s not known for sure. Wiki has a pretty good write up on her: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheherazade

Abu Nuwas, who I have used as my story teller, was a real writer/poet in the 8th Century. While my kindly story teller is a poor man who earns a meager living with his tales, the real Abu Nuwas was quite well off and considered to be Persia’s (Iran’s) most famous poet. His reputation wasn’t sterling, and he often found himself in legal trouble. Essentially, he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut sometimes. The Encyclopedia Britannica is a good source of information on the real, and much wilder, Abu Nuwas. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/2288/Abu-Nuwas

A more detailed report is in Wiki, but is flagged as potentially unreliable. It does, however, jibe with other information I’ve read about Abu Nuwas.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Nuwas

In researching Persian and Arabic lore, I was struck by the concept of the frame story. This is the style of 1001 Arabian Nights. The story of Scheherazade provides a framework for the folkloric tales. I had originally written Setara’s adventures as individual short stories. The first two were published as chapbooks by Sam’s Dot Publishing, then as I added another five tales, all the stories were included in a single collection titled “The Seven Adventures of Cadida.” Once the book’s contract expired, I decided to rewrite the stories and include the frame story to make the whole thing flow more as a novel than a series of short stories.

Excerpt

“Oh, goodness. Look at how low the sun sinks. I’m afraid we’ll have to continue tomorrow.”

Najda made a sad face. “I know how you are. You’re just like Scheherazade leaving the story hanging to keep the sultan from killing her.”

“I have met the lady. She was quite clever that way.”

Najda’s eyes grew wide. “You’ve met Scheherazade? That’s fantastic. Where is she? What is she doing now? Does the sultan still love her?”

Abu Nuwas patted the air with his hands. “Calmly, calmly. That was many years ago. She was old; I was young. But, yes, the sultan still loved her to the moment of her death. His heart broke, and he died within days himself.” He shook his head sadly. “A tragic tale in and of itself, yet the sultana left the world with so many delightful tales.”

“She certainly did. A thousand and one stories. Do you know that many, Effendi?”

“Of course!” Abu Nuwas put his hand to his chest and bowed his head. “I know every story. Did you know that she did not make them all up?”

“No! Really! But—”

“It’s true.” He winked at Najda. “It was how she told them that made them so special. I still seek to be as good a teller of tales as she.”

“And in that tradition, you’ll tell me to go home now and come back tomorrow. Is that right?” Najda heaved a deep sigh. “I should have learned that by now.”

Abu Nuwas smiled. “You’re an adept learner, my child. Go home and take care of your mother. I’ll see you on the morrow.”

Najda stood. “Of course.” She walked away until she was hidden within the crowds bustling through the marketplace.

Abu Nuwas pushed his old bones to a stand. He had to bide his time with this tale and hope he would hear from his friend soon.

* * *

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.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Getcher Simurgh Here #Free!

FREE FINAL DAY
(Tomorrow, Setara's Genie Will be #Free)


So, what is a Simurgh? (see the cover above for a picture) If you don't know, then here's a bit of info on the mysterious bird of legend.

What the Heck is a Simurgh?

An early reader of “Faizah’s Destiny” asked the question. When I wrote the book, I was definitely under the impression that everybody in the world knows what a simurgh is, but I guess I was wrong.

If you’ve read the 1001 Arabian Nights or even saw the movie with John Leguizamo as the genie (brilliant!), you’ll be familiar with the intelligent Big Bird. From the Encyclopedia Mythica, http://pantheon.org), my favorite source for all things mythic:

In Persian legend Simurgh is a gigantic, winged monster in the shape of a bird; a kind of peacock with the head of a dog and the claws of a lion. Its natural habitat is a place with plenty of water. According to legend, the creature is so old that it has seen the world destroyed three times over. In all that time, Simurgh has learned so much that it is thought to possess the knowledge of all ages.

I pretty much stick to the traditional description here except for that dog head and lion claws thing. Considering that the Simurgh know everything (really, not like that annoying guy at work who just thinks he knows everything), then it seemed logical to me and my heroine Faizah to ask them where to find Wafai the missing magician.

The boys in the little band of rescuers scoff at her, but it all works out anyway. The search for the bird does get them into the mountains where they need to be to save the world from Armageddon. You’ll have to admit that is just a teensy bit more important then finding an old magician. It’s all good, though. The magician finds the kids and the birds.

Illustration: This is a real page on the Simurgh from a real Arabic text dating back to circa 900 AD. I don’t see any dog’s head or lion claws. Do you?

Excerpt:

Faizah felt the sunlight on her cheek. Morning. She kept her eyes closed, savoring the warmth until something blocked out the sun. At first she thought it a cloud, and she opened her eyes a slit to check for rain.

A huge bird stood motionless over her, regarding her with a steady, unblinking gaze.

Her eyes flew all the way open. The Simurgh was as tall as Master Wafai, the biggest bird by far that she had ever seen. It looked like a giant peacock, save that its beak did not come to a point. The eyes were different, too. Instead of beady black eyes like a peacock, the Simurgh’s matched the iridescent spots on its tail. It also sported a spray of upright feathers on its head, giving it a jaunty appearance.

Was this the only one, she wondered, or were there more? Turning her head slightly, she saw out of the corner of her eye there were, indeed, more. Four more, in fact. One stood by each sleeping form.

“Hello,” she managed to say and wondered what to do next. Sit up, or remain as she was? Would movement frighten them? This last question was quickly answered by Harib leaping out of his blankets with a startled yelp. Faizah laughed as she sat up―the Simurgh standing over Harib hadn’t even flinched.

The Simurgh beside her spoke. “Good morning, Faizah. Welcome to our home.”

* * *

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.