Monday, August 03, 2020

The Time Rose Series

Read the entire Time Rose series!


Generations Five - The Latest Book in the Series
Amazon
Smashwords

For centuries, the Time Rose medallion has taken the children of a history-loving family into the past to restore the life paths of children whose own histories have been altered. When all such paths have been set to rights, a final task awaits those destined to be the final seekers, aided by some who served the medallion in the four preceding generations. From Iron Age Britain to World War II Holland, these are their stories.


The Disappearing Rose 
Amazon
Smashwords

 No one knows what happened to the two little Princes of the Tower. That’s what Dane, Paige, and Jack are told when they start working on a medieval documentary for Dane’s filmmaker father. Then an ancient medallion transports them back to the fifteenth century and gives them a chance to discover the truth about the mysterious disappearance of young King Edward the Fifth and his brother Richard, Duke of York. But they’d better be careful. The Princes did disappear, and whoever was responsible for that might just decide that their new friends should disappear as well.



The Mud Rose
Amazon
Smashwords

Another journey into the past takes Paige, Dane, and Jack to Victorian London, where they meet two young mudlarks named Hetty and Pip. Even though life is very hard for them, Hetty is leery of seeking help from Dr. Barnardo or other social reformers who might separate her from her little brother. The Time Rose Travellers have an idea for getting around that problem, but they’re about to have another. Jack the Ripper’s grisly attacks on women in the East End has the whole city on edge, and the blood spattered man Hetty and Pip happen across late one night doesn’t want witnesses on the loose.


The Spirit Rose
Amazon
Smashwords

The discovery of an old book provides more information on the medallion, but Paige and Dane will soon be returning to Canada and know it will be several months before they can make another time trip with their cousin Jack. Then, amidst all the preparations for Grantie Etta’s one hundred and fifth birthday, strange things begin to happen. As a result, Jack, too, must go to Canada. Once there, it soon becomes apparent that the only way to stop the increasingly distressing alterations to their modern-day lives is to venture far into the Okanagan Valley’s past and locate the syilx girl who has the legendary Arcanus Piece.


The Tangled Rose
Amazon
Smashwords

On Paige, Dane, and Jack’s fourth time trip, the medallion connects them with children living in Pre-WW II Germany. One, Hani, has Down Syndrome. Another, Nicko, is a gypsy. The Time Rose Travellers know the Nazi regime will soon begin persecuting such ‘undesirables’, but keeping Hani and Nicko from becoming victims isn’t going to be easy. Plagued by enemies from their own time, and not even sure who they’re supposed to be helping, they’re meeting with resistance from Nicko and open hostility from Hani’s sister, Marts, an ardent member of the Hitler Youth.


The Volcanic Rose 
Amazon
Smashwords

The medallion has found the one it seeks. In Italy to attend a family wedding, Paige, Dane, and Jack’s final time trip takes them to a waiting Varteni, who is living in Herculaneum in the path of an already rumbling Mt. Vesuvius. But getting Varteni and her two young charges to safety is the least of their worries. They’re not the only ones to have finally located her. Their nemesis, Khatcheres, has, too, and is preparing to move against her and seize control of Time. To defeat him, the Line of the Restorer must unite and call upon every resource available.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Coming Soon! The Penultimate Time Rose Book by Renee Duke.

The latest and (sob) last book should be out today (August 1st) or at least soon. Publishers, yanno?

Anyway, it is the grand finale of the Time Rose time travel series for kids and those of us who always like MG/YA books over the nasty old adult scribbles.

Until the book is in my hot Kindle and I've had a chance to review it, I'm going to show my reviews for the first five of the books in the series. I'm just grabbing my reviews from Goodreads. I encourage you to check out the entire series if you're a history buff who's a kid at heart. Here's my review for the first in the series. I'll be putting all the reviews up here until I get to GENERATIONS FIVE!!!!!

The Disappearing Rose by Renee Duke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Generally, I liked this book. It was well-written and nicely edited. The history behind the story is fascinating. It sent me off to the internet to research the historical characters. I also liked the description of the Tower being accurate and the up-to-date discovery of Richard III's skeleton. If they allowed a half stars, it would have been 4-1/2, not just 4.

What we didn't get is the danger and running and fighting the bad guys which should be in an MG level book. We don't need bloody and gory, but a bit more in the way of close calls. The future kids should have spent a little time in the dungeon strapped to a torture device or have to fight off the bad guys using a wall sconce in the tower. The worst thing that happens (besides the imminent danger to the two princes) is the future kids might get caught by their grandma as they pop in and out of time.

A little more action and danger would definitely bring this book up to 4 stars. Edited: Rounding up to four rather than down to three is more fair.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Today and Tomorrow Then the Sale is Gone

For the calendar deprived, that's July 30-31. The 99 cent sale on all the books in the Witches of Galdorheim will have run its course of the usual "so what" from the public. I think I'll change the prices to $14.99 a book. Why not? I'll sell the same amount.

Here are the links one last time:

Amazon - Complete Series Kindle format

Smashwords - Complete Series other formats

Buy The Compleat and True History single volume at an even better price $1.50 at Smashwords



Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A Grown Up Texas Boy Tale

This is one of the stories I wrote about my father. Since my book of his Texas Tales ended with high school, I just posted this one to Wattpad. It's not in my collection either, so this is an exclusive. Consider yourself lucky to have found it.



TALES OF A TEXAS BOY tells Eddie's stories as a boy growing up in Texas during the Depression. Lots of people enjoy them. The large print size is very popular as a gift to older folks with limited vision.

Amazon Kindle Ebook
Photo Illustrated Ebook on Smashwords (FREE!)
Large Print Paperback $9.99
Audio Book only $6.95 or free if chosen as the first book when joining audible.com

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.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Story Time

I post most of my short stories on Wattpad for anybody to read if they're interested. A lot of people don't know about Wattpad, so I like to post an occasional short story here for your entertainment. You just have to click over to Wattpad through the following picto-link to read it. It's kind of rough, but no sex or gore. All my stories are available in "Mixed Bag 2: Supersized."

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Miscellaneous Writing Tips

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

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

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

Still, it is expected, so here I go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Nostalgia Sells

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 by Dasef, Marva. Children Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Large Print Paperback: Tales Of A Texas Boy: Large Print Edition: Dasef, Marva: 9781438235455: Amazon.com: Books

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.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Famous First Lines

A couple of posts back, I talked about prologues. One thing I didn't mention about prologues and should have is that they're often big piles of telling the reader background stuff. Snooze city.

Even if you have a prologue, you will need to make your opening page exciting enough to make the reader turn the page or punch the Page Forward button on their e-reader. In the case of presentation on e-readers, you don't even have a traditional length first page. A half page, maybe. With my larger font use, you've barely got a middle-sized paragraph to grab me.

As the world moves faster, so must your magnum opus. Less on the magnum and more on the opus.

Here's my favorite first sentence of all time. Three little words:

"Call me Ishmael."

Melville grabbed the reader in three short words, one of them a name. Maybe not as pop musical as "Call Me Maybe," but I'm not quite sure who Maybe is. Of course, I don't know Ishmael yet either, but his name alone gives me a lot of information. To the original audience in 1851, the name was immediately recognizable. With few books around, and stern parents, even kids had read the Bible from cover to cover. If for nothing else than the Song of Solomon (how about those two breasts like two young roes?). Yup, the Bible was the book hidden under the bed like a stack of Playboys with certain pages worn and smudged with ... well, very well worn.

So, who is Ishmael and why did Melville decide to use the name for his main character? I'll make this brief, since we're talking about opening pages, not literary or Biblical history.

Ishmael was a bastard born to Abraham and his wife's maid servant Hagar. An angel informed Hagar that Ishmael would be a wild man, and he'd hate everybody and they'd hate him right back. Abraham sent Hagar and her son away when Sarah, his wife (at 90 years old!), got pregnant. You can read all the soap opera details in Genesis around about chapter 16-20. It's also got all that smutty stuff about Sodom and Gomorrah too.

Ishmael, then, was an outcast from the favored tribe of Abraham which is the lineage of all the holy folks in all three major religions based on a unitary god.

The readers in the 1850s immediately recognized Melville's main character as an outcast and a wanderer. Indeed, Ishmael continues, "Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world."

No explosions, car crashes, sword battles, or any other action. Just a disaffected young man at odds with his life who decides to try working on a ship. However, I'm hooked, lined, and sinkered. I was when I was twelve, and I am now re-reading that opening and want to read it again. Yay, for Amazon's free Kindle books!

Okay, I've completely lost my thread now because I want to go snuggle on the couch and see what happens to Ishmael next.

I would like you to write a comment with the best opening sentence you can recall. It can even be one of your own books. That's a dare. Make me want to read your book with one smashing opening sentence.


Thursday, July 09, 2020

Pro or Con: Prologs

I've seen plenty of discussions on prologues. Whether they're a good idea or not. Arguments may be made in either direction, but I'll come down firmly on the side of ... maybe.

For what it's worth, I think prologues can be useful, but I have some definite rules:
  • A prologue shouldn't run more than a couple of pages.
  • If the prologue concerns events immediately before or simultaneous to the first chapter, then it's the first chapter. Realize that a prologue reeks of literary pretentiousness, especially in a genre novel. 
  • Prologues are good for background set way before the events of the book and, if possible, with completely different characters.
  • Background information in the prologue should be difficult to deliver by a character without it sounding like a lecture.
You can see I followed my own rules in this example excerpt, and this prologue works (if I do say so myself). It's set 400 years in the past. It has no cross-over characters. It quickly explains why the witches are living on a remote arctic island. In chapter one, I can move ahead with the specific problems facing my main character, and nobody is wondering why the heck she's living on an ice-bound island. 

Go ahead. Tell me why I'm not right. Or, give me an example of how a prologue can work when it breaks my (arbitrary) rules. Don't argue against my rules. They're mine, and I'm keeping them. What are your rules? If you don't have any rules, then you'd better do a bit of soul-searching. That's the premise of jazz. Know the rules, then you can break them.

Now to the prologue of Bad Spelling, Book 1 of the Witches of Galdorheim series.

Prologue from Bad Spelling, Witches of Galdorheim Book 1

November, 1490—Somewhere in Germany

“They took Helena,” Edyth whispered, grabbing John’s arm the moment he walked through the doorway.

Wide-eyed, John looked at Edyth. “But she has never–”

She shushed him. “I know, I know. They’ve cast a wide net. It shan’t be long before they suspect us.”
John gazed around the one-room, thatched hut they called home. “I’m afraid ‘tis nothing else we can do. We must flee.”

Tears welled in Edyth’s eyes. “What they are doing to us, ‘tis hateful. Why cannot they just leave us be?”

He took Edyth’s shoulders, pulling her to his chest. “‘Tis not just us. The inquisitors condemn many not of the craft. They find black magic where it does not exist.”

His eyes darkened. “‘Tis the fault of that wretched Heinrich Institoris and his cursed Malleus Maleficarum. Even the Church has banned it, yet the so-called citizen courts use it to condemn any who disagree with them.”

Edyth shook her head, her face grim. “You speak the truth. ‘Tis shameful they accuse whoever dissents, be they witch or not!”

John nodded. “We shall have one last coven gathering. All true witches must leave this place soonest.”

“But where will we go, John?”

“North. So far north that no mundanes could live there. If we move away from their grasp, we can make our own way in the world.”

John dropped his hands from Edyth’s shoulders. “Come. We’ve messages to send. I do not think it wise to wait any longer.”

The witch and the warlock gathered foolscap and invisible ink. As they penned each word, it faded and disappeared from the paper. They wrote in the Old Runic language as an additional safeguard from prying eyes. Only a true witch could read it.

That very night, the ashes of the messages flew up the chimney, carried by incantation to the far corners of Europe, to all known witches and warlocks. Within the month, the trek northward began. The Wiccans reached the ends of the earth then went further. Finding a tiny island, completely removed from any other piece of land, they stopped and laid their claim. They named their island Galdorheim: Witches’ Home.

* * *

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Kindle, Audio Book, and Print at Amazon
Series page on Amazon
Smashwords
All Galdorheim series ebooks 99 cents this month

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.


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Still 99 Cents

Ahem. In all the COVID-19 fears and a 4th of July celebration which turned out to be the President calling to imprison or even kill those who oppose him, we all might find a bit of respite in light-hearted fantasy tales.

To help fill the doldrums with a little escapism, my favorite witch, Katrina, has decided to offer the entire set of the books following her adventures for 99 cents each. That's the Amazon price for all file until the end of July. The easiest way to put them in your shopping cart is to click to the series page. All are listed there. Here are some beautiful cover shots with blurbs created by the talented Dawn Keur. She is busying herself lately keeping her head down and playing her flute. She's written a fair share of very good books. Find her eclectic bibliography on her website or at Amazon. She writes under different names by genre.

Click here for The Witches of Galdorheim Books series Amazon page.
Click here for The Wtches of Galdorheim Book series Smashwords page.







Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Monsters of the Deep

All of the Witches of Galdorheim Books are 99 Cents 

At Amazon  and  Smashwords


The entire Witches of Galdorheim series has a few characters featured in the first three books. I thought introducing the stars of the series a good setup for the sale going on through July. Oh, yeah, it's going to be BIG! All five books in the series 99 cents each. 

Now on to the Monsters of the Deep.

Two major forces in the Witches of Galdorheim series aren't witches or warlocks, but they are magical in their own ways. 

Salmon the OrcaHeroes don’t need to be human or even a sexy male alien. When a witch’s power is speaking to animals, a hero can turn up anywhere, even in the middle of an icebound arctic sea.

In the Witches of Galdorheim series, Katrina the teen witch, has the ability to speak with animals. She doesn’t even know she has this ability until she leaves her home, Galdorheim Island. Since the island is somewhere in the middle of the Barents Sea above the Arctic circle, leaving home isn’t a walk in the park. Crossing iced over water in bitter cold weather is hard enough, but when the ice starts to break up and some dangerous creatures appear, it becomes a life-threatening situation. Kat and her brother, Rune, confront an angry and sleepy polar bear. He wasn’t in the mood to chat.

Fortunately for the kids, a HERO appears. Just because he happens to be an orca (killer whale) makes him no less heroic.

Ceto the Sea Monster: In the second book of the Witches of Galdorheim series, Midnight Oil, our erstwhile heroine, Kat, gets a little help from an unusual source. Did you ever wonder why there are so few sightings of the Loch Ness monster? Well, Nessie vacations on Ultima Thule, which may be the remnants of Atlantis.

She's not fond of the name Nessie or Loch Ness Monster and prefers to go by Ceto. 

In Greek mythology, Ceto or Keto (Greek: English translation: "sea monster") was a hideous aquatic monster, a daughter of Gaia and Pontus. The asteroid (65489) Ceto was named after her, and its satellite (65489) Ceto I Phorcys after her husband. She was the personification of the dangers of the sea, unknown terrors and bizarre creatures. Eventually, the word "ceto" became simple shorthand for any sea monster. The term cetacean represents a case in point. Her husband was Phorcys and they had many children, collectively known as the Phorcydes or Phorcydides. In Greek art, Ceto was drawn as a serpentine fish. Ceto also gave name to the constellation Cetus.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Virtual County Fair

COVID-19 has closed many an annual celebration. In particular, I believe most people are going to miss their County Fair the most. Eat fried and sugary food, throw up on the Tilt-a-Whirl, check out the homemade food competitions (pies, cakes, canning) and ponder how that heifer got the blue ribbon when the one in the next pen over is much more friendly.

Here's a humorous County Fair story from the 1930's to fill in the empty slot just a bit. Enjoy.

There are has plenty of weirdos who amuse, baffle, and set Eddie to wondering. One of those weirdos is a man named Cage McNatt. See, even his name is kind of oddball. But it's his actions that take the prize, 'cause his prize sow sure didn't one year at the County Fair.

Tales of a Texas Boy is available in ebook, print, and audio formats. Side note: the paperback book (in large print or regular).

Large Print at Amazon - Very popular now. Lifts your spirits with sweetness and humor.
Regular Size Print
Ebook at Amazon On sale for only 99 cents
Audio Book at Audible Audio Book at Amazon Either site is only $6.95 or free if you subscribe to Audible.

Cage McNatt and His Prize Sow

Each evening, when the fair was over, Dad would untie Sophie from her post and let her sit closer to the fire. One night, after things calmed down, Dad Boles and I were sittin’ by the fire with Sophie right next to us. Dad Boles was in the middle of a story about trappin’ when we heard something crashin’ around inside the fairgrounds. Dad decided to go check what was goin’ on, and I followed along since he didn’t say to stay put. We went into the fairgrounds to see what was up. The moon was full so we could see well enough.

A man was goin’ toward the fairgrounds’ front gate and it looked like he was pullin’ a big dog along behind him. When I heard the squeal, though, I realized it wasn’t a dog, but a pig. I could also see the pig was white, so I knew right off it was the Luck’s sow. The trouble was that the man was Cage McNatt and not one of the Luck brothers.

Well, you might already have guessed what was goin’ on. Cage McNatt was stealin’ Whitey, or at least, he was tryin’ to. The problem was Whitey was bigger than Mr. McNatt and she wasn’t of a mind to go along quiet. She was doin’ her best to pull away from the rope. She was shakin’ her head back and forth and kept up squealin’ the whole time. That was about the unhappiest pig I ever saw.

Then, she spotted the open gate. She quit squealin’, snorted a couple of times, and all of a sudden she was doin’ the pullin’ and Cage McNatt was runnin’ behind her tryin’ to keep up. She was makin’ a beeline for the gate where we just happened to be standin’. I figured we’d better just step out of the way. Bein’ run down by three hundred fifty pounds of hog flesh was not an idea I cottoned to.

What I didn’t realize, and Whitey didn’t either, was Sophie followed us through the gate. She, meanin’ Whitey, got about twenty feet from us when she looked up and saw a bear standin’ in the way of her freedom. She stopped short and Cage McNatt ran right by her as he had such a head of steam goin’. When he reached the end of the rope, it came right out of his hand. I could see her sittin’ down on her haunches and starin’ at Sophie like she was wonderin’ exactly what it was she was seein’. All she knew is it was a big, hairy critter and probably smelled pretty bad, too.

The sow made up her mind. She whipped around like she was a cuttin’ horse and headed in the opposite direction. I think Sophie was gettin’ curious about this activity, so she went along after the pig. We took out runnin’ as well. Dad Boles didn’t want to risk Sophie harmin’ any livestock, so he was in a big hurry to catch up with her.

I was runnin’ right behind Dad Boles and I heard Cage McNatt’s footsteps right behind me.

The sow headed straight for the Ferris Wheel. I could see one of the cars was at the bottom and it was open. I think you’ve guessed what came next. The pig jumped up into the car and it shuddered like it was hit by a tornado. The gate on the car slammed shut and the pig was jumpin’ around and the car was rockin’ somethin’ furious.

Sophie followed on up the ramp to get to the pig. I don’t think she meant any harm but was just curious. Sophie went to one side of the ramp then to the other lookin’ for an opening to the car. As she stepped to the right, she pushed up against the lever that ran the wheel. The Ferris Wheel started up and the pig was bein’ hoisted up along with it. That seemed to baffle Sophie, so she just stepped off the ramp and walked calm as you please back to Dad Boles.

All three of us stood and watched the car go up with the pig in it squealin’ like she was bein’ introduced to the slaughterhouse.

Dad came to his senses first and ran up the ramp. He hit the lever and the wheel stopped with the pig’s car about halfway up. Now, he wasn’t sure what to do as it seemed the only way to get the pig back down would be to start the wheel back up. I think he felt sorry for the pig as it was cryin’ like a baby and was clearly real scared to be up so high.

By this time, the carnival folks had come out of their trailers to see what was goin’ on. The head man ran over to the wheel and started it back up again. He’d already seen the only way to get the pig down was to run her clear round the circle ‘til the car come to earth again. Unlike Dad Boles, he didn’t mind givin’ the pig the rest of the ride.

The sow made the trip safe enough. When the car reached the bottom, the carnival man opened the gate and she took off like a streak of lightnin’. Dad Boles started laughin’ so hard he could hardly stand up. In between his guffawin’, Dad Boles couldn’t help but say, “Well, I never figured I’d ever really see a pig fly.”

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Summertime is Here!

Summer Solstice – More Than Just the First Day of Summer
(June 20th 10:42 UTC, 2:43PM PDT)

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 (close to this year's 11:43pm Murmansk Oblast Time). 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, but not this year.

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).

The Galdorheim Series books are all on sale at Amazon until June 30th. The Compleat and True History of the Witches of Galdorheim (all books and stories) is only $2.99 at Smashwords.

BAD SPELLING
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.

SCOTCH BROOM
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.

BLOOD TIES TESTED (Sequel Story)
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.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Step Dads are Fathers Too

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 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.