Monday, September 13, 2021

Pondering Finnish Mythology

In the second book of my fantasy series, The Witches of Galdorheim, I freely messed around with Finnish myth for a couple of characters. They are sisters (cousins, whatever) who were at odds. At one point the mythic sisters, Ilmatar and Ajatar, have an epic battle in the skies. Since they're both magical, they can shape shift at will. Ajatar becomes a dragon and Ilmatar a roc. Somebody posted this picture of what could easily be a mating between a dragon and a roc. I'm sharing it because it's really neat.

The entire series revolves around a young witch in search of her own power, a power she doesn't even know she has. Anyway, you can get the entire series in a single volume. The two magical sisters appear together in book 2: Midnight Oil.

Bad Spelling (Book 1)

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

Midnight Oil (Book 2)

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

Scotch Broom (Book 3)

A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Blood Ties Tested (Book 4)

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 (Prequel Short Story)

What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic?

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Here Be Monsters


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.

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.

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 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.

* * *

The Kraken

The Kraken is a fearsome beast. Yikes! Just look at that shot from an old movie. From Encyclopedia Mythica ( we learn that the Kraken isn’t a Greek myth at all. The good old Vikings claim the Kraken as their own.

In Norwegian sea folklore, the Kraken is an enormous sea monster which would sometimes attack ships and feed upon the sailors. It was supposed to be capable of dragging down the largest ships and when submerging could suck down a vessel by the whirlpool it created. It is part octopus and part crab, although others refer to it as a giant squid or cuttlefish.

To find something like the Kraken in Grecian myth, you have to look at Ceto the Sea Serpent (she appears in the Witches of Galdorheim series). In the legend of Perseus, Andromeda is chained to a rock to be fed to a sea monster. Not the Kraken. A sea monster.

Okay, kids. Have we got it straight now? However, what do we care where any legend begins or ends. I mash up myth, legend, and folklore to my heart’s content.

Excerpt Featuring the Kraken:

Basit quickly cast a floating spell on her. At water level, the waves prevented him from seeing very far, so he rose above the surface several feet to see what was going on. What he observed sent a cold chill down his spine.

“A kraken wrecked the boat. I don’t see...wait. There’s Kairav. Dolph should be below the surface if he transformed.”

The huge head of the kraken rose again and struck down on the last broken shreds of the dhow. The sea beast was enormous, its hide an ugly, splotchy gray, with tentacles whipping around its lumpy head. Giant eyes, placed on either side of a beak-like mouth, stared as unblinking as a shark. The creature destroyed the last remnants of the boat; then cast about, searching for any survivors.

Basit dropped back beside Setara and spelled them both invisible to the kraken but visible to each other. He didn’t want his mistress to panic if she couldn’t see him. He whispered just loud enough for her to hear. “Be quiet. When it leaves, I’ll spell you to shore.”

“No,” she whispered in return. “We can’t leave Dolph out here with that monster. We must find him first.”

Basit shook his head in frustration. He could not send her to shore once she had spoken her wishes to him. She had tied his magical hands.

“Very well. But be quiet until—”

The genie hesitated. The kraken had sunk below the surface. Was it gone? Or was it swimming toward them beneath the waves? Basit sank down and looked in all directions but saw nothing in the murky water. The kraken was so huge, it had stirred muck from the bottom and clouded the sea about them, but he could feel the water roiling from its movements. The beast still lurked nearby.

Basit rose to the surface again. The sight of Dolph clutched to one of the kraken’s tentacles while it smashed up and down on the surface struck terror in even his staunch heart. He turned to Setara. “Quick! How should I help?”

“Wait. I think Dolph can handle this.”

“You have more faith in him than I,” Basit responded with a grim frown.

The kraken writhed and twisted with Dolph hanging to its tentacle. It dove again, dragging Dolph down with him. The sea became still. Kairav made his way to their side, and Basit included him within the invisibility shield.

“Shouldn’t we do something?” Kairav asked as he floated nearby.

Setara said, “Not yet.”

“The boy might already be dead,” Basit said, frowning. Why was his mistress failing to send aid to Dolph? Again, he could not go against her spoken wishes.

* * *
If you'd like to be nice to me, you can buy ebook or print here:

Amazon Kindle
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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Excerpt - Ultimate Duty

ULTIMATE DUTY - Amazon 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.

Excerpt R-RATED Nobody should read unless over 16 or accompanied by a parent.

Remy made herself comfortable sitting sideways on the bunk next to Cassie. They set the viewing console between them. “So, which do you recommend?”

Cassie scrolled through the vid list. “That’s good. That one too. Oh, oh! Here’s the best one.” She tapped the screen to select To Have and Have Not.

“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.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

New Book Review

A Taylor Madison Mystery: Diamondback (Taylor Madison Mysteries Book 1)A Taylor Madison Mystery: Diamondback by Elizabeth Dearl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A mystery writer, Taylor Madison, travels to a small town in west Texas (she's from mid-Texas) to confront her aunt about the animosity between the two sisters. Sounds fairly commonplace, but the fun starts when she ends up being deputized to help out the annual rattlesnake festival. If you don't know about such things, the book quickly explains what it is and what happens. Why is Taylor deputized? Good question, but it seems to be because the sheriff's office is shy a deputy, and Taylor is a mystery writer. Also, she's known to some extent in the small town from her mother and aunt both growing up there.

Okay, we get to the nitty-gritty when the Sheriff is murdered in his own home using rattlesnake venom. While we big city fellas might find that odd, you just need to accept that in west Texas, it's not that farfetched.

All of the above is to show you that you're not getting a mystery cozy here. The unusual setting, background of the MC, and all those rattlers guarantee this isn't very cozy at all.

I like Taylor and feel her actions to be believable and sensible (sort of). I suspect the next book in the series will give the audience plenty of unusual crimes and perplexing social commentary on small towns.

Since I'm a hereditary West Texan although I lived there only when I was a wee lass, I have read quite a bit and done additional research for my own writing about the area. I even sent the author a link to my own tale about rattlesnake hunting. I hope she enjoyed it (if she read it).

I'll gladly read more of Taylor Madison's mysteries in the additional books in the series.

Recommended, but not if you're really snake-phobic. I'm not, so I enjoyed the details included in the book.

View all my reviews

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Have a Joyous Solstice!

Summer Solstice – More Than Just the First Day of Summer
(June 20th 8:32PM PDT, June 21st 03:32 UTC)

The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol,” which means sun, and “sistere” which means to stop. The name reflects the fact that the sun seems to pause briefly when it reaches its annual southernmost or northernmost position in the sky before reversing direction. It’s called ‘solstice’ because they are the points in the year where the sun appears to stand still in the sky from the perspective of a watcher watching the sunrise or sunset.

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.

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. 

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).

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 - This is the book depending on the exact time of the Summer Solstice.
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.

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.

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?

Following the events in the series Witches of Galdorheim, this additional tale relates what happens to Katrina the Witch's younger brother, Rune. Half vampire and half warlock, he faces life with a wisecrack and some powerful magic. Whatever happens, he does not want to be a vampire like his father. Unfortunate events lead him to fatally call on his vampire half. This failure leaves him in anguish. How can he assuage the guilt he feels? His mother thinks he needs to visit dead old dad, a vampire residing in the Tatras Mountains of Slovakia.

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

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.

Want the whole series in a single volume? No problem. THE COMPLEAT AND TRUE HISTORY OF THE WITCHES OF GALDORHEIM is only $7.99 and a HUGE savings over buying the books individually.

Also available in other ebook formats at Smashwords for the same price.

Happy Adoptive, Step, and Blood Dads - You're All Special

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?


* 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 ON SALE FOR 99 CENTS

Audio Book at Audible

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.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Celebrate Juneteenth!

If even a single person is not free, nobody is truly free. Celebrate Emancipation Day, even though it took Texas until June 19th, 1865 to be informed they were on the losing side of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. That's why Juneteenth is celebrated, although the Amendment was not ratified until December of that year. I'm showing my home states of Oregon's celebratory logo for the now official Federal Holiday

Saturday, June 12, 2021

A Little Nostalgia for Dads

When my father was in his 80’s, he just happened to say, “Did I ever tell you about the cattle drive?”

Thanks, Dad (I actually called him Hon for Honey—long story). Wait until you’re hitting the down slope of life before you mention to your writer daughter you had something interesting to tell me about when you were a kid.

After a chat with light details based on his failing memory, I wrote “The Cattle Drive” starring my father when he was a kid growing up on a West Texas farm during the Depression Era.

What else might he have to say he hasn’t bothered to mention for the last few decades. As it turns out, quite a bit. A lot of it’s funny. After all, a person remembers the humorous event or odd character. Most of the stories also included farm and wild animals. Even better.

Eventually, I wrote a lot more stories to go with the original six or seven I got published in various zines and sites. He got a kick out of them and believed every word was absolutely true. Well, I had to make up a lot of the details, but they were more or less almost true tall tales.

Before he died, I put together 20 or so stories and put them into a single book titled “Tales of a Texas Boy.” I read the stories to him as I wrote for his comments and corrections. It occurred to me that I was reading the stories to him because he couldn’t read them himself. He was going blind with macular degeneration.

I decided that a large print paperback version of the book would appeal to other elders, particularly those with failing vision and/or who grew up in a rural environment.

Turns out the grandmas and grandpas did, indeed, want to read or listen to these stories about a pet bear, a flying pig, a stubborn jackass, skunks in a cornpatch, and lots more.

I thought since this is my blog, I’d let those who are interested know about Tales. They might have somebody in their life (or themselves) who’d like funny and sometimes sad stories.

So, here’s where you can find the book in ebook, print, large print, and audio formats.

Ebook, audio, and regular print paperback: Tales of a Texas Boy - Kindle edition (on sale for 99 cents)
Audio Editions:
 Audio Book at Amazon   Audio Book at Audible

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.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Have a Legendary Dad?

Large Print at Amazon - Perfect Dads' Day gift.

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.

Ebook at Amazon ON SALE FOR ONLY 99 CENTS

Audio Book at Amazon

Audio Book at Audible

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Book Review: Bad Spelling (The Witches of Galdorheim Series) by Marva Dasef

Book Review: Bad Spelling (The Witches of Galdorheim Series) by Marva Dasef
Review by Heather Haven 

About this book
: Kat can't catch a break. Her mother, brother, and aunt are super witches, but Kat can screw up the simplest spell. Her poor familiar, Teddy the Bunny, puts up with being turned into a half-frog, half-rabbit pile of green goo among other indignities. Every spell just goes wrong, wrong, wrong.

Everyone knows she's got the power, but assume she isn't trying hard enough to master the principles involved in witchcraft. The fault might just be her dead father. A Siberian fisherman, he didn't have a lick of magic, but her mother loved him anyway. Now that dad is buried in a ice cave, Kat decides to find her father's family. Maybe they'd take her since she sure doesn't belong on an arctic island run on magic.

Her super warlock, half vampire brother Rune decides she can't get along without his magic, so the two of them set out across the frozen Barents Sea to Norway, then by troll train to Siberia where her father's family lives.

Along the way, Kat makes some unusual friends, figures out how to use her magic and falls for a changeling troll. Beauty is, as everyone knows, only skin deep.

From Reviews:

• "I think this would be a fun read for any age, and a good 'hook' book for a middle grade reader." — Conda V. Douglas

• "She skillfully plays with familiar themes and myths, but weaves them into an intriguing and original story." — Edith Parzefall

• "There is also a larger narrative in the book which is intolerance." — Vixenne Victorienne "Kymberlyn Reed"

Monday, June 07, 2021

Book Review - Casting Call for a Corpse

Casting Call for a Corpse: A Fun Detective Cozy (The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries Book 7)Casting Call for a Corpse: A Fun Detective Cozy by Heather Haven
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Call me a fan. I've read the entire series of the Alvarez Family Mysteries and have enjoyed every one of them.

I'm giving my rare 5 star rating to this 7th book to honor the previous six. I don't usually stick to cozy mysteries, but Heather Haven knows how to keep a reader wanting more. I hope this isn't the last we see of Lea and the rest of the Alvarez family solving corporate crimes which strangely almost always involve dead people not just corporate shenanigans (the ostensible purpose of Discretionary Inquiries, the family investigation agency).

I needn't add any plot details because that's what readers are for: reading the books and enjoying the plot as it unfolds.

Lucky for you who haven't read these books yet. The full set of 7 books is available as of the time I am posting this review.

One other note: Check out Ms. Haven's other books. They're all as entertaining as these are.

View all my reviews

Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day - 2021

I could not think of any more fitting words than those of Abraham Lincoln delivered at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863 memorializing the fallen soldiers.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Tales of a Texas Boy 
Stories by and about My Father