Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How I Got My Agent 5

Nostrabuttus from the QueryTracker forum contributed his/her/its agent story.

Getting a literary agent to represent me would be easy. The difficult part was convincing the literary agent I was a ghostwriter for several best-selling authors in this country. Everyone has heard of them. I cannot disclose their names because it would violate the terms of my agreement. You see, none of those guys are about to admit I’m the genius who really cooks up all that best-selling prose.

But there had to be a way to prove it without exposing their identity directly. And there was. I told the literary agent to wait until I finished another round of novels for my clients and he would see my name in each one of them. With a name like Nostrabuttus, the chances of it randomly showing up in a best-seller, much less several best-sellers would be extremely rare. In fact, the only way it could, would be if I, the ghostwriter I claimed to be, had put it there.

It took me a few months to pull it off, but pull it off I did in a way that protected the famous authors’ reputations and yet proved my claim. When a new release of four novels hit the best seller list in less than a week, I told my soon-to-be agent to start searching for my name.

The literary agent checked the novels and was able to verify my claim that I had ghostwritten each and every one of them. A day later, the agent begged to let him represent me. I signed with him so he would get off his knees.

For those of you who have never seen the name Nostrabuttus in any best-selling novel, I have explained the reason it is not in plain sight. The ghostwriters for Jesus couldn’t put that stuff in plain sight in the Bible either. Once you learn how to use the software that found the Bible codes, you will be able to find my name in several best-selling novels. Proof positive I am indeed the cook I claim to be.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How I Got My Agent 3

From Tabris at Query Tracker:

When I was twenty, I wrote my first novel and I showed it to everyone in my family. I worked really hard on it,and my grandmother kept telling me, "Don't worry, honey. You just work hard and someone will see how good it is. You're a Tolino, and Tolinos always succeed in what they do."

She told me about Grandpa,who'd made a fortune selling newspapers, and Uncle Tony, who made a fortune doing something I wasn't really clear about, but he'd made a fortune doing it. And her brother Rinaldo, who was doing something now in Brazil after something I wasn't really clear about, but he'd left what she said was a really good business in America. And her other brother Vinny, who was doing real well in Vegas.

Anyhow, when I had a really good draft that my professors said was sellable, I submitted it to about twenty agents. One requested a full, and I was so happy! I told everyone,and Grandma especially was so excited. She wanted to know the agent's name and everything.

I was so disappointed three weeks later when I got a very nice rejection from the agent. She just didn't feel like she loved it enough. I ran right to Grandma, who patted my hand and said, "Don't worry, dear. I'm sure she'll love it soon enough." I tried to tell her the business doesn't work that way, but she said she knew all about business, and I should just wait a bit.

Well, imagine my surprise when the very next day, I got a call from that agent! Offering representation! I didn't know what to say, and she sounded very nervous, but she said she would get right to work selling it, and that she had a few connections who would get it into print. I asked if she thought it would be a hit, and she gulped before saying, "I hope not," which worried me at first, but I went ahead with her anyhow. A few days later, I got an offer she said I shouldn't refuse, and everyone in my family was surprised and thrilled!

Everyone, that is, except Grandma, who looked oddly as if she knew it all along. When I asked her why, she said, "It's because you're a Tolino, darling. And sometimes, family is everything."

I love Grandma. When I told my agent I was going to dedicate my first book to my grandma, she said, "Yeah, you might say you owe it all to her."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Great Any Time of the Year

Jose Cuervo Christmas Cookies

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup or brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila.

Sample the Cuervo to check quality. Take a large bowl,

Check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality,

Pour one level cup and drink.Turn on the electric mixer.

Beat one cup of butterIn a large fluffy bowl.

Add one peastoon of sugar.

Beat again.

At this pointit's best to make sure the Cuervo is still ok, try another Cup just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup
Of dried fruit.

Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.

Mix on the turner.

If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Who geeves A sheet.

Check the Jose Cuervo. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table.

Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can Find.

Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don't forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the wishdasher.

Cherry Mistmas !

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Audible Dot Com

Books on the Knob got my attention by announcing a free audio version of Larry Niven's Ringworld. Loved the book. Who didn't?

Anyway, that got me signed up with Audible.com. I downloaded the freebie from Niven and hope to listen soon. I figured it was a good thing to do while playing my Super Solitaire games.

You can download and install "devices" in a variety of formats. I installed the Audible reader to my PC. There was a big list of the audio devices you can use to listen to books. That's cool, but I don't have those expensive little thingies you carry around to entertain yourself. Hell, I have to pay attention to my walking and driving. Distractions are not a good idea.

However, you of the younger generations who BELIEVE you can walk and chew gum at the same time (you're wrong), can pick up some good literature to listen to rather than having Lady Gaga screaming in your ears.

Distribution by Saturating the Market

Lacking a "real" publisher, I have to get my books out and about. Since I'm a shy person (face-to-face with somebody from whom I'm asking a favor) gives me the heebie-jeebies. I like to write, but I hate to do the marketing thing.

All that being said, I've found that the more editions you have of your self-pubbed book, the broader distribution it gets without you having to do much except create the book editions.

For example, I recently released "Quest for the Simurgh." Uploaded to Lightning Source and through CreateSpace, but used my own ISBN. Large print? Sure, why not. Did that through CS, too, but using their ISBN. I also uploaded ebook format to Smashwords.

So, three different editions are making their way across the cybersphere. Here are the links to all the sites that sell the book in one or more of its incarnations:

Print at Amazon.com
LARGE PRINT at Amazon.com
Kindle at Amazon.com
Print at B&N
Ebook at B&N
Ebook at Smashwords
Large Print Edition at CreateSpace
Print at CreateSpace

That doesn't count all the 3rd party vendors, of course.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Look Inside Now Available

Quest for the Simurgh

Amazon seems to have changed the Search Inside feature to a Look Inside feature. Hmm. Not sure why. However, Quest for the Simurgh - Large Print now has whatever they want to call it.

Here are the links for all the Quest for the Simurgh editions:

Amazon Large Print Edition 214 pages, $9.95 (16pt Garamond)

Amazon Trade Paperback Edition 128 pages, $7.95
Barnes & Noble Paperback Edition 128 pages, $7.15 member price

Amazon Kindle Edition On special for only 99 cents!
Barnes & Noble nook (yeah, that's their e-reader's name) $1.99

And, of course, Quest is available at Smashwords in a variety of ebook formats. $1.99, but ask the author for coupons to match the Kindle price.

Lessee. Well, you can buy both print editions through CreateSpace, but you won't get that free shipping that you'd get from Amazon or B&N with $25+ orders.

Probably already for sale by 3rd party vendors at various other prices.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sit Back and Give Away Your Rights

We thought that Obama and a Democratic Congress would save us from the tyranny of a right-wing Nazi destruction of our Constitutional Rights. T'ain't true. If we want to keep our rights, even just those covered by the first ten in the Bill of Rights, we can't sit back and shrug.

Want to get energized? Try reading Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother." Yeah, it's YA, but don't let that put you off. He has it right. Not only that, but you can read it free.


You have no excuse now. Just download and start reading. Of course, I'd also encourage you to buy the print copy (everywhere/anywhere books are sold).

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Quick Quest Queue

Quest for the Simurgh - Large Print Edition is now available on Amazon for $9.95.
214 pages

I thought it would take them a couple of weeks, but being "in" with the publisher (CreateSpace) gets fast service. I just uploaded the files for the Search Inside feature.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quest for the Simurgh in Large Print

I just approved the Large Print edition of "Quest for the Simurgh." It will show up on Amazon within a couple of weeks, but it is already available at Create Space:

Quest for the Simurgh - Large Print Edition
218 pages

The village magician, Wafa, has gone missing. His star pupil Faiza thinks he has left a clue for her on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. With the page open and marked with an X, she believes Wafa is telling them to seek out the Simurgh, the mythical birds who possess all the knowledge of the universe. She convinces her three classmates that they must seek the help of the Simurgh to find their teacher.

She leads the boys on a difficult journey into the mountains in search of the elusive birds. A strange little man becomes their guide. However, they do not know he is a spirit leading them toward a battle between good and evil. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are being set up by the otherworldly forces for a much larger task than finding their teacher. The students were chosen to take sides in the battle which might spell the end of the world: a battle between the demons and the spirits.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

For Those Tossing Scripture

Try Psalm 109:2:

2: For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.

3: They encompassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.

4: For my love they are my adversaries: and I give myself unto prayer.

5: And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

I think that pretty much describes the Conservatives. Cherry-pick away thou hypocrites. Thy Lord will cast thee until Hell.

That last part is mine, but I think it fits.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quest Editions

Quest for the Simurgh

Just a reminder that Quest for the Simurgh is available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, and CreateSpace. I've also just formatted a Large Print edition of Quest, which will be out as soon as I order and approve my proof copy. I've been looking hard at the PDF, so I think it's pretty clean. Here are the current links. I'll post the Large Print link when it becomes available.

Amazon Kindle

CreateSpace Trade Paperback

Smashwords ebook (various formats)

Barnes & Noble Trade Paperback

Barnes & Noble ebook (for nook and other ebook formats)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ricotta Cheese

Okay, so I want to make a lasagna-like meal. Great! I got some ricotta (non-fat) to layer in with the sauce and noodles. Verdict: Delicious.

Now I realize I've got this leftover ricotta cheese and need to figure out what to do with it.

Here's why I love Google (or any other search engine): I am making biscuits and find that I can throw the rest of the ricotta in the dough. So, the dry mix and wet mix is sitting on the counter over there. <<<<<<<< It's only 4:13pm, and I've got to wait until five or so to bake biscuits, but, somehow, my stomach is telling me to get on it. Can't biscuits be considered hors d'oeuvres? Yes, I looked it up, but found (ta da!) that I spelled it right on the first try. Now, I'm doubly impressed with myself. Biscuits and spelling. Wow!

Writing? Well, I'll get around to that. I'm pondering another sex scene. And I thought I was experienced enough to make those things easy. Not! Maybe I can include ricotta cheese. Hmm.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Dr. Horrible

Too good to miss.

Do you have any fondness for Neil Patrick Harris or Nathan Filion? Tune in and laugh your ass off. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Being a fan of both these dudes, I had to check it out. Now, I'm a solid fan.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Spreading the Love

I thought that in this age of oldsters getting dinged with no COLA, that some might not know that their WWII service may get them a modest military pension.

Yes, there are hoops to jump (harder for the old farts, certainly).

Vet's Benefits for WWII Service

If you or someone you know is a WWII vet, but didn't retire out, then they may be able to get a few extra bucks from the government.

Okay, Repugs, tell us again how less government is better? Oh, right. You should just die. Better for the budget, eh?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Men Who Stare at Goats

I'm so tempted to actually pay the afternoon, old-folks movie price to see this when it comes out. Clooney, McGregor, Bridges, Spacey, Goats! What more could one ask for?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Query Letters

All writers hate them. If they don't hate them, then I am highly suspect of their sanity. Anyway, since I rarely have anything cool to say, I'll start kiping stuff from others.

Nathan Bransford's post referencing Janet Reid's notes on query letters

Notes on query letters via Janet Reid's blog

The original post that outlined what Janet Reid said in her class on query letters (most detailed of the bunch)

Ain't the internet wonderful? Now, who knows where the word "kiping" comes from? Trust me; it's a real word, and I spelled it right.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Jessup County Secret

The Jessup County Secret is a realistic look into a fictional depiction of what happens when young hearts collide in this powerful, coming of age story of love, friendship, and finding something to truly believe in. In this story of a sixteen year olds plight to survive a world of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of his father; and, the invaluable pawn he subsequently becomes; in this well kept, secret life of sex, drugs, lies, and murder, hope arises in the most unexpected of saviors. Amongst many twists and turns, join these strong souls on their journey into a world no child should ever experience. You may find yourself questioning whether the story is truly fiction.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Operation Ebook Drop

Now has a nice logo! >>>>>>

If you don't know about this program, check the Smashwords link that explains what it's all about.

The nutshell is that authors can make their ebooks available free to overseas service people either by sending them a Kindle-loving file (MOBI) or providing a link to the ebook with a coupon that provides a free download.
Check the Smashwords blog post that provides a rundown on how this works. Cool logo, eh?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bruce Boston - New Book!

For Bruce Boston fans fans, this is great! Just to let you know, Bruce has won multiple awards for both fiction and poetry. Masque of Dreams contains a full six novelettes and 17 short stories, in addition to poetry.

Check out his website here for his latest book, Masque of Dreams. Cool cover, eh?

296 pages $13.95
Wildside Press
ISBN-13: 978-1-4344091-1-9

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stuff about queries I haven't seen elsewhere

When you're writing your fantasy query, do NOT say anything that will lead an agent's mind to the tired, old, same stuff written by every other newbie fantasy writer.

I won't go into detail, but just say I had an agent comment on my first page. She had EXPECTATIONS about the story because of some of the names I selected. Point is, her expectations were stupid. If she wanted trite and typical, than her expectations were spot on.

Unfortunately, my story is neither trite nor typical. However, I did get the lesson. If you say ANYTHING that has ever been used in the entire history of the world (e.g., dragons, elves, etc.) make sure your query doesn't lead the reader to believe you have the same old trite typical crap. They'll not get past that first dragon or elf mention without expecting you'll have a trite typical dragon or elf. Don't even use the words!

Just leave it at a mystical race of creatures if you're talking dragons or elves. Say 'dragon' or 'elf' and you've typecasted your book into oblivion.

I'm seriously considering taking a pen name of Kassandra. That way, I will tell the truth, but expect to be ignored. Makes life much easier. Mortals just can't help being stupid.

Since nobody reads my blog anyway, it won't hurt to mention that I've been turned down by a lot of (ahem) less than diligent query-readers who jumped to conclusions so fast, you could hardly see them move. FTL agents. Hey, I like that. We could get our rejects before we even send the queries. Saves a lot of time and stress.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Quest Now On Amazon

Quest for the Simurgh

Now on Amazon!
Print Edition $7.95
Kindle Edition $1.99

128 pages
ISBN: 978-0-578-00499-0
Texas Boy Publications

The village magician, Wafa, has gone missing. His star pupil Faiza thinks he has left a clue for her on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. With the page open and marked with an X, she believes Wafa is telling them to seek out the Simurgh, the mythical birds who possess all the knowledge of the universe. She convinces her three classmates that they must seek the help of the Simurgh to find their teacher.

She leads the boys on a difficult journey into the mountains in search of the elusive birds. A strange little man becomes their guide. However, they do not know he is a spirit leading them toward a battle between good and evil. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are being set up by the otherworldly forces for a much larger task than finding their teacher. The students were chosen to take sides in the battle which might spell the end of the world: a battle between the demons and the spirits.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Now, This is a Smart Writer

A Brit named Roland Denning wrote a book titled "The Beach Beneath the Pavement." It's probably not a book I'd read (sorry, Roland), but his website and meeting the agent short robot movies are a hoot.

Check out Mr. Denning's website here. That link goes straight to the movie page, then you can browse the rest and see if Beach is your cuppa tea.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Clickity Click

I'd like to know how many folks are interested enough in me to go to the trouble to click through to my website to read a chapter from my latest book.

Go ahead and click here. I'll wait.

Dooby dooby doo, la da da....

Here's the FAQs on the books.

Titled "Scotch Broom," it's the third in a series I'm calling "The Witches of Galdorheim." I'm trying to make each book stand alone, more or less like Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. I know I can read them out of order since he provides lots of back info on what happened previously. So, when I skipped from his book 1 to book 3, I didn't feel I missed anything since I hadn't read book 2. Of course, I'll go back and do that, but it was nice to know I didn't need to.

While you were over on my website reading the excerpt chapter, did you notice I had a tab for "Works in Progress?" You can read the blurbs on all three books in the series there. Or right here since I'm not charged by the word:

The Witches of Galdorheim 1 - Bad Spelling: All of Katya’s family are either witches or warlocks, depending on their sex, of course. Katya is sixteen and really ought to be able to turn a rabbit into a toad, but things just don’t work out for her. What she gets is a slimy green hopper. That’s the good part. Unfortunately, it also has long ears and fur. That’s bad spelling. 41K words

The Witches of Galdorheim 2 - Midnight Oil: The further adventures of Katya as she races to find her boyfriend, kidnapped by a forest spirit seeking revenge on her sister air spirit. Katya gets caught up in the war of the elementals. If you like the Loch Ness monster, Selkies, dragons, volcanoes, and other cool stuff, you'll like this book. 47K words.

The Witches of Galdorheim 3 - Scotch Broom: Katya is all set for her Winter Abroad, the trip for graduating witches. She's going to spend Samhain at Stonehenge and couldn't be more excited. However, she gets waylaid into the Otherworld, the magical realm coexisting within the Scottish Highlands. She's trying to find her way out, except a certain evil being is determined to steal Katya's magic for her own. 47K words.

Now, I ask you. Don't these books sound like a ton of fun? Well, agents aren't all excited apparently, so expect these books to go the self-pub route if the last few agents and a few publishers remain impervious to the concept or just don't like my writing. That's why I posted a chapter. Do you think my writing sucks?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Not My Problem

I'm sure you've all heard the story about the Nazis coming for the Jews, and the other religious groups saying it wasn't their problem. Here's another tale of a similar nature. I borrowed (stole) this from Acme Authors Link. DL Larson blogged it. She says she didn't write it, but I thank her for posting it.

Our compulsion to mind our own business reminds me of the following story. I am not the author, merely the one passing it on ...

'A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

"What food might this contain?" the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the barnyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning: "There's a mousetrap in the house! There's a mousetrap in the hosue!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There's a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray ... be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There's a mousetrap in the house! There's a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."
So the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house ... the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it. It was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap. The snake bit the farmer's wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital. When she returned home she still had a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup. So the farmer took his hatchet to the barnyard for the soup's main ingredient: chicken.

But his wife's sickness continued. Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. But alas, the farmer's wife did not get well. She died.

So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, please remember the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and you think it doesn't concern you, remember the chicken, the pig and the cow.

When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Ambrose Bierce Quotes

If you haven't heard the name before, then your education is lacking:

Ambrose Bierce was one of the world's greatest satirists.
Here's his take on the word 'SAW':

Saw, n. a trite popular saying, or proverb. (Figurative and colloquial). So called because it makes its way into a wooden head. Following are examples of old saws fitted with new teeth.

A penny saved is a penny to squander
A man is known by the company he organizes
A bad workman quarrels with the man who calls him that
A bird in the hand is worth what it will bring
Better late than before anybody has invited you
Example is better than following it
Half a loaf is better than a whole one if there is much else
Think twice before you speak to a friend in need
What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do it
Least said is soonest disavowed
He laughs best who laughs least
Speak of the devil and he will hear about it
Of two evils choose to be the least
Strike while your employer has a big contract
Where there's a will there's a won't

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Story Published

My story, Extraordinary Rendition, is up on Fear of Monkeys, a site for political fiction and non-fiction.

This story was previously published at The Deepening.

"If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear - never to see them again - you send them to Egypt." Bob Baer - Former CIA Agent

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What Was That - Again?

I've been hitting the books. Middle-grade fantasy books, that is. I hadn't read the genre much lately and thought I should have a refresher course.

While reading Percy Jackson - The Lightning Thief last night, a bolt of lightning whacked me in the head.


That's what my books are lacking. I don't have my main character repeating over and over how dismal is their lot in life. Apparently, witers, agents, and publishers believe that middle-grade kids (ages 9-12 in my estimation) are not capable of remembering the basic plot problem, so they tell us what it is at least forty-two times within the first forty-one pages.

Percy, you dear little smartass, you didn't need to tell the reader multiple times that you're a failure at school and that you're a problem magnet. True, Rick Riordan shows the reader the various aspects that reiterate Percy's problem. I'm certainly not saying that the book is too much tell and not enough show. Showing is what we writers have hammered into our brains via our dearly beloved (and I mean that!) critters.

However, I found myself getting a little antsy, shall we say, because I really didn't need to be shown yet one more example of Percy's school problems.

Is this because I'm an adult and get it faster than your average 5th grader? Do kids need constant repetition to have the point finally driven nail-like into their little heads?

I'm going to stand up here for 5th-7th grade kids and say that I think they get it much faster than we stodgy adults, but are so used to putting up with the repetition foisted on them at school to be bothered by it.

So, let's all get behind kid's books not needing to be 400 pages long just so adult writers can show their superior teaching methods. Admit it, Rick, that book could really be 200 pages long if you quit repeating yourself.

One last word: I'm enjoying The Lightning Thief a lot. Riordan is a damned good writer. I'm only using his book to illustrate my point because that's the one I was reading when the lightning bolt struck my pointy head.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Review: Prisoners of Gender

Prisoners of Gender
by John Bushore
First off a disclaimer. I am not a regular reader of "spicy" literature. I write kids' books and I generally like to remain pure of heart (quit laughing, you people who know me!).

When John Bushore asked if I'd read "Prisoners of Gender" and I'd seen an excerpt, I enthusiastically agreed.

I'm not sorry. Hey, John! You're a hot guy! No MonkeyJohn kiddie books here for sure.

This is a wonderful fantasy, sexy, fun read.

Princess Marissa and gallant soldier Bardak are the victims of a badly handled curse. They switch bodies and have to learn to live with a huge change in their lives, all the while seeking the nasty Wizard who could make them swap back to their original bodies.

Marissa starts to like the rugged, strong, sexy male body she now occupies. Bardak is torn. He has sworn to protect the Princess, but the Princess is now in two places. Not only is he wearing her body, he has to also protect the mighty warrior occupied by the princess. Confusion ensues.

Well, you can see where the title comes from. As the two learn how to deal with their decidedly different circumstances, they bicker while being mightily attracted to their own bodies worn by the other person. I was reminded of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy arguing it out in the 40's comedies which (way ahead of their time) showed gender prejudice for what it was--a stupid set of societal rules. Unfortunately, there are countries that still think along the lines of weaker-stronger sex.

John has shown this to be the false piece of lies that every feminist has known for years. His handling of Bardak in Marissa's body and Marissa in Bardak's shows his sensitivity to both sides of the physical spectrum.
Now, this is also a somewhat epic fantasy, which I define as set in an alternate fantasy world unrelated to the world in which we live. I say 'somewhat' only because the book is not 200,000 words long with way too many mighty thews. I'm not a fan of epic, so I really enjoyed John's take on the fully fantasy world that epic's usually inhabit.

The writing is crisp and fast-moving. "Prisoners" is a fun romp and a good fantasy book, too.

Stars? Hey, on a five-star scale, I'd give this one 4-1/2 at least.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Operation Kindle Book Drop

A fellow writer has started up a Kindle books collection for servicemen and women overseas. Quite a few have Kindles, but cannot download from Amazon or any other source since they're outside the US.

Edward C. Patterson, formerly SPEC 5 E. Patterson, 6th Batallion, 60th Artillery (1966-1968), is the coordinator behind this worthy project. Writers with Kindle books they can give away can contact Edward through the KindleBoards forum:


I donated two books via Smashwords by providing a link and coupon code for both. Edward downloaded the copies and can send them to as many service personnel as he likes.

Here are the details direct from Edward:

1- I (Edward) will maintain a list of service personnel email addresses as they come in to me.

2- Authors should have available a DRM Free Kindle compatible version of yourbook or books.

3- If you don't have that available, the easiest (and beneficial way to you as well) is to put your books up at Smashwords.com. And then download a free copy to yourself.(One author has suggested using Smashword's coupon system, which is an option. Iwill be emailing my books directly, however, anyway that you can get the book tothe troops, is fine)

4- Once you have the book in place, let me know. I'd like to have your email address. Right now, I'm using PMs, but as this takes off (and I have no doubt that it will), it will be easier for me to email new troop email addresses out to all the participating authors in one email.

5- Once the author has the email address, just send the book(s) - if many, then ZIP -and put in your subject line: Operation Kindle Book Drop. Whatever you want to put in the body of the email is up to you, and I guarantee that among the obvious good deed done stuff, you will get a response from the troop. I plan to save mine, to read on those days when I get a 1-star review and feel that I have failed somewhere.

Readers can participate by getting the word out or helping with nifty links.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I Need to Blog More

According to the technorati, I need to blog a lot more than I do. I try to provide content in an off-hand way by directing you to the really cool blogs that I follow. So, take a look at those in the blog list over there under Scrumptious Blogs >>>>>>>>>>>>

There's tons of great information available. I don't have much of it right here, but I can show you where you can find it.

Like you, I'm learning. I read and read those great blogs and find some great stuff. I suppose I could just copy paste the great posts, but I'll be honest and let you discover them yourself. I'll just provide some links to goodness and feel good being a signpost.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Smashwords Distributing to the Big Guys

If you've been published by an itty-bitty publisher or even self-published, you shouldn't forget about the world of E. Ebooks, that is.

Smashwords announced to its users that the distribution process will begin for selected books within a couple of weeks. The plan is to distribute through Fictionwise and Barnes & Noble by supplying a catalog of books that meet the criteria. The authors can opt out if they want or set their own price (sort of like William Shatner). The memo mapped out the criteria for a book to be approved for the program. A definite upside is that the authors don't have to pay anything for this service. As it should be. It's sort of like having a real publisher. Let's hear a big ol' LOL for that.

I uploaded my latest book to Smashwords at the recommendation of a fellow author. I had to un-fancy my file a bit, since Smashwords doesn't like a variety of fonts or font sizes, and drop caps are a big no-no. However, at the end of the (long) day, after uploading and fixing about ten times, I got a reasonable facsimile of an ebook. Even better, Smashwords provided several formats:

PDF - Reads well on the PC using Adobe Acrobat.
EPUB - My computer fired up Adobe's Digital Editions reader.
PDB - For Palm readers, but also appears to be a flavor usable on the B&N reader.
MOBI - Mobibooks are getting a good market share of the e-market. This format is great for uploading to the Kindle engine at Amazon.
HTML and Javascript - Okay for an excerpt, but tends to find ways to screw up even the most vanilla of Word documents.
LRF - For the Sony Reader.
RTF - Rich Text Format is a universal language for most word processors, however, I don't like the idea of my book being edited by someone without my okay.

I recommend Smashwords for those of you who'd like to publish your own ebooks. Cost to me to upload, have a product page, get into the distribution channels - ZERO. Can't beat that.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Espresso, Anyone?

I received a news update from Lightning Source the other day. They wanted to know if I'd like to sign up to have my books available on the Espresso Book Machine. It's a point-of-sale book printer/binder. Downloading files from the LSI database when somebody requests a given book, it high-speed laser prints, uses the book's cover (no generic covers), binds, cuts to the proper trim size, and spits the book out. Time from request to finish (depending on the state of the high speed connection: about five minutes.

While only dozen of the machines are currently in use, I sure as heck don't mind my book being available to just the current installations:

• New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA
• Internet Archive, San Francisco, CA
• University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor, MI
• Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT
• University of Alberta Bookstore, Edmonton, AB, Canada
• McMaster University Bookstore, Hamilton, ON, Canada
• Newsstand UK, London, England
• Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt (my favorite!)
• Angus & Robertson Bookstore, Melbourne, Australia
• University of Waterloo Bookstore, ON, Canada
• Blackwell’s Bookstore, London, United Kingdom
• McGill University Library, Montreal, QC, Canada
Coming soon:
• Brigham Young University Bookstore, Provo, UT (2.0 beta test site)
• University of Melbourne, Australia

Eventually, your huge Barnes & Noble bookstore will turn into a mall kiosk. Drop by to select your reading material, pay, watch the machine run, go home with a freshly printed book of your choice. Cool, eh?

Watch the video and take a look at the FAQ from this page at Lightning Source.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Glengarry Glen Ross of Writing

I sat for six hours at the Oregon Authors table at the Lane County Fair. I had company.

Bob Welch - newspaper columnist. Everybody who walked up to the table knew who he was.

Dorcas Smucker - a Mennonite Erma Bombeck, Dorcas also has a regular column in the town newspaper. Everybody who walked up to the table knew who she was.

Two other regionally well-known writers also had table space: Bob Blakely writes historical non-fiction about Oregon, especially sports. Bill Sullivan has dozens of books out about every hiking trail in the state.

That’s platform.

I also sat next to Carola Dunn. She does not write a newspaper column. She writes cozy mysteries set in the 20's in England. Her Daisy Dalrympel is related by ink and blood to Miss Marple. Carola has 51 books in print. Her new book comes out in September, and her last book is going to paperback this month.

Yet, here she was, sitting next to me. Every time a person wandered by, she piped up "Do you read mysteries?" She got quite a few hits with that line.

Looking at her books lined up in front of her (she took twice the space as I did), then looking at my four (two published the "regular" way, and two self-pubbed), I tried to figure out how to get somebody to stop and look. If they looked at all, I sent out the telepathic message: Go ahead, pick up the book!

I let the covers for my scifi and two fantasies speak for themselves. Obvious what they were. But my "Stories about my father growing up in West Texas during the Depression Era, but it’s not depressing," was just a tad too long to grab the attention of the browser. Carola was already asking them if they read mysteries long before I finished the sentence.

I had plenty of time to ponder the life of a writer, and had a good look at several successful writers. What were they doing, sitting at an authors’ table at a county fair, pitching their works to passersby like carnival barkers? Didn’t having a big name publisher do enough for sales, that these folks felt compelled to sell their own books at a very non-bookish venue like a county fair? Apparently not.

An agent blogged the question "When to Hire a Publicist?" The answer "Maybe never because the writer will really do all the selling." Gee, I thought I was a writer, but apparently I’m also supposed to be a marketing person with a bubbly, outgoing personality, with buns of steel so you can sit at signing tables (like the one at the Fair) for hours on end without going to the bathroom. So, shy writers just give up now. Even if you get a publisher, you won’t get sales unless you’re a salesperson.

So what happened to the maxim that the money flows from the publisher to the writer? Apparently, the money flows from the writer, but it flows after the book is published. Travel, entrance fees to events (can you believe they charged vendors to get into the fair!?!?), conferences, a publicist. And the agent gets paid first.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quest on the web

Quest for the Simurgh has shown up as mentions in the following blogs:

Book Fizz - please vote

All Childrens Books

Where else will it pop up on its own on the web? I'll report when I find the links.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lane County Fair August 18-23

DAY-BY-DAY LISTING OF AUTHORS at the 2009 Lane County Fair (I'll be there Wednesday):
TUESDAY, August 18:
11am-10pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-10pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
11am-2pm, Bob Kono (history)
11am-2pm, June Harvey (biography)
11am-2pm, Merideth Ferrell (art education)
11am-2pm, Linda Rees (biography)
11am-5pm, Mary Moore (religion)
2pm-8pm, Joey Blum (novel)
2pm-5pm, Katharine Emlen (self empowerment)
2pm-5pm, David Imus (maps)
2pm-5pm, Jane Lindaman (children's books)
2pm-5pm, Patrick Harrison (fiction)
5pm-8pm, Robert Chambers (children's books)
5pm-8pm, Jason Nelson (memoir)
5pm-10pm, Zed Merrill (history)
8pm-10pm, Salome Gershom (religion)

WEDNESDAY, August 19:
11am-5pm, Bob Welch (Oregon, history)
11am-2pm, Pat Edwards (Lane County)
11am-2pm, Katharine Emlen (self empowerment)
11am-10pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-10pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
11am-2pm, Ann Herrick (young adult)
11am-5pm, Marva Dasef (young adult)
11am-10pm, Dan Armstrong (novels)
2pm-8pm, Dorcas Smucker (memoirs)
2pm-8pm, Emily Smucker (memoir)
2pm-5pm, Sharon Brandsma (fantasy)
2pm-8pm, Carola Dunn (mysteries)
5pm-8pm, T. L. Cooper (novel)
5pm-8pm, Gary Hartman (how-to projects)
8pm-10pm, Frog (humor)
8pm-10pm, Salome Gershom (religion)

THURSDAY, August 20:
11am-2pm, Jill Sager (self help)
11am-2pm, Patrick Harrison (fiction)
11am-5pm, Ed Osworth (self help)
11am-5pm, Mike Barker (history)
11am-5pm, Mary Moore (religion)
11am-10pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-10pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
2pm-5pm, Sharon Brandsma (fantasy)
2pm-5pm, Judy Berg (nature)
5pm-8pm, Jane Capron (mysteries)
5pm-8pm, Gary Hartman (how-to projects)
5pm-8pm, Robert Chambers (children's books)
5pm-8pm, Jason Nelson (memoir)
5pm-8pm, Jeff Johnston (steam trains)
5pm-10pm, Dudley Clark (novels)
8pm-10pm, Merideth Ferrell (art education)
8pm-10pm, Jill Sager (self help)
8pm-10pm, Frog (humor)
8pm-10pm, Salome Gershom (religion)

FRIDAY, August 21:
11am-2pm, Jane Capron (mysteries)
11am-2pm, Jason Nelson (memoir)
11am-2pm, Robert Chambers (children's books)
11am-5pm, L. J. Sellers (novel)
11am-5pm, Mary Moore (religion)
11am-8pm, Jill Williamson (fantasy)
11am-11pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-11pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
2pm-5pm, Bob Kono (history)
2pm-5pm, Sharon Brandsma (fantasy)
2pm-8pm, Dan Armstrong (novels)
5pm-8pm, Carola Dunn (mysteries)
5pm-8pm, Dorcas Smucker (memoirs)
5pm-8pm, Emily Smucker (memoir)
5pm-11pm, Donna McFarland (children's book)
8pm-11pm, Bob Pedersen (fiction)
8pm-11pm, June Harvey (biography)
8pm-11pm, Merideth Ferrell (art education)
8pm-11pm, Salome Gershom (religion)

SATURDAY, August 22:
11am-2pm, Donald Webb (humor)
11am-5pm, L. J. Sellers (novel)
11am-5pm, Ed Osworth (self help)
11am-8pm, Kurt Cyrus (children's books)
11am-11pm, Dan Armstrong (novels)
11am-11pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-11pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
2pm-5pm, Jane Capron (mysteries)
2pm-5pm, Joe Lieberman (school shootings)
5pm-8pm, Carl Johannessen (history)
5pm-11pm, Mike Barker (history)
5pm-11pm, Kris Ingram (religion)
5pm-11pm, Dudley Clark (novels)
8pm-11pm, Frog (humor)

SUNDAY, August 23:
11am-2pm, Robert Chambers (children's books)
11am-2pm, Linda Rees (biography)
11am-2pm, Jason Nelson (memoir)
11am-2pm, Linda Rees (biography)
11am-5pm, Ed Osworth (self help)
11am-5pm, Mary Moore (religion)
11am-8pm, Joe Blakely (Oregon history)
11am-8pm, William Sullivan (hiking guides)
2pm-5pm, T. L. Cooper (novel)
2pm-5pm, Carola Dunn (mysteries)
2pm-5pm, Dan Armstrong (novels)
5pm-8pm, Bob Kono (history)
5pm-8pm, June Harvey (biography)
5pm-8pm, Bob Pedersen (fiction)
5pm-8pm, Robert Chambers (children's books)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quest for the Simurgh - Print Edition

Quest for the Simurgh

Ebook in Several Formats at Smashwords Use Coupon Code LE99P for a free download
Print Edition Now Available at CreateSpace
128 pages
$7.95 (send me a message to get a $2.00 off discount code)
ISBN: 978-0-578-00499-0
Texas Boy Publications

The village magician, Wafa, has gone missing. His star pupil Faiza thinks he has left a clue for her on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. With the page open and marked with an X, she believes Wafa is telling them to seek out the Simurgh, the mythical birds who possess all the knowledge of the universe. She convinces her three classmates that they must seek the help of the Simurgh to find their teacher.

She leads the boys on a difficult journey into the mountains in search of the elusive birds. A strange little man becomes their guide. However, they do not know he is a spirit leading them toward a battle between good and evil. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are being set up by the otherworldly forces for a much larger task than finding their teacher. The students were chosen to take sides in the battle which might spell the end of the world: a battle between the demons and the spirits.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quest for the Simurgh (Fre)Ebook

Quest for the Simurgh
by Marva Dasef
Enter coupon code LE99P at checkout

The village magician, Wafa, has gone missing. His star pupil Faiza thinks he has left a clue for her on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. With the page open and marked with an X, she believes Wafa is telling them to seek out the Simurgh, the mythical birds who possess all the knowledge of the universe. She convinces her three classmates that they must seek the help of the Simurgh to find their teacher.

She leads the boys on a difficult journey into the mountains in search of the elusive birds. A strange little man becomes their guide. However, they do not know he is a spirit leading them toward a battle between good and evil. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are being set up by the otherworldly forces for a much larger task than finding their teacher. The students were chosen to take sides in the battle which might spell the end of the world: a battle between the demons and the spirits.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Book Review: The Sex Club by L.J. Sellers

Paperback: 347 pages
Publisher: Spellbinder Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2007) Language: English
ISBN-10: 0979518202
ISBN-13: 978-097951820

Next to fantasy/science fiction, I love a mystery. My usual choices in mystery are the women crime solvers, from Agatha Christie to Nora Roberts.

So, I might not have chosen this book off the bookstore or library shelf. Luckily for me, I met L.J. at a local book and art event and I got my copy straight from the author. She says, "People say they can't put it down." Well, I put it down, but only when I was too sleepy to track the words on the page. She's telling the truth when she calls it a page-turner.

Detective Jackson is a workaholic policeman on the homicide squad of a smallish town (Eugene, Oregon). But we don't start with him. We first meet Kera Kilmorgan, a counselor at the local Planned Parenthood. When a girl who visited PP is murdered, the two come together to find out what happened.

Kera is also threatened by "God's Messenger," a religious fanatic setting bombs in the local PP--Kera's place of work.

Sellers skips back and forth between Jackson and Kera, with stops along the way with some of the teen girls and their parents, some of whom are involved in both crimes.

Can't say anymore because a mystery's ending is sacred to those who trouble to read it.

In my estimation, anybody who enjoys a detective mystery is bound to enjoy this book. If you live in Oregon, especially Eugene (which I do), then the settings have their own fascination. I know exactly which streets L.J. describes. I know which places are real and which are imagination, but it's always a ton of fun figuring out the secondary mystery--where the heck is that!?

I look forward to the next Detective Jackson book due for release in September titled "Secrets to Die For."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Over Mount Fuji by Joel Huan

Over Mount Fuji
by Joel Huan

Available through Amazon and Barnes and Nobel

Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: YouWriteOn (June 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1849238251
ISBN-13: 978-1849238250

I had the pleasure of critiquing Over Mount Fuji while Joel was fine-tuning this book.

The book is sort of science fiction, but extrapolates a very unique reason for the well-researched phenomena of deep ocean earthquakes, ship disappearances, volcanic eruptions, and other disasters. Now, I'm not going to give that reason away here. You'll just have to read the book to find out.

Over Mount Fuji follows the American reporter Eileen O'Neill and Doctor Wulfstein, an expert on deep sea phenomena join to find the reason for the increasing number of disasters seen throughout the Pacific Ocean. Wulfstein posits a strange hypothesis that makes him the laughingstock of the scientific community, but he has proof. Proof that the others refuse to see.

A tense adventure with wonderful descriptions of everything from unnatural storms to earthquakes, Joel presents a unique theory, which will have you convinced by the end of the book.

I recommend the book particularly for those who love a great disaster novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat and turning pages.

Join Joel on Facebook to find out more about this interesting guy of Chinese heritage, living in Australia, and writing about a mountain in Japan. You can't get more international than that.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Wondrous Web Worlds 8

Wondrous Web Worlds Vol. 8 edited by J Alan Erwine {Sam's Dot Publishing}.
Tyree Campbell: The Quinx Solution
Marva Dasef: Final Exam
Mike Robinson: The Cyclops Conference
David Lee Summers: Through Fires and Snares
William Golynn: Poisoned Mouse
Sam Cash: Alienation
Sherry Peters: The Greatest Honor
L. Mad Hildebrandt: Emily's Arms
David Boop: The Devil You Haven't Met
Edward Cox: Siren of Rain
John Bushore: Portrait of a Weeping Soldier
Matthew Keville: Here Be Dragons
Tracie McBride: The Blue Screen of Death
Mark Allan Gunnells: Last Night
K. P. B. Stevens: The Needle of Despair
Theodora Fair: Mayday 45659
Troy Umphlette: Freedom
Kristine Ong Muslim: The Most Secret Rooms
Susan Sailors: Wild Irish Rose
Robert E. Porter: Morituri
Jim Hart: The Tie That Binds
David C. Kopaska-Merkel: Strangers Bloom
Karen R. Porter: The Jersey Devil's Blues
Holly Day: Bad
Cathy Buburuz: Lahnee Chee's Orange Orchard on Mars
Marcie Lynn Tentchoff: Seasonal Color
Richard H. Fay: Explorers
C. A. Gardner: Holding Faerie
Theodora Fair: Sagan's Seed
Cathy Buburuz: A Matter of Respect in the Louisiana Bayou
Marge Simon: Patriots' Day
Bruce Boston: A Man Made of Dreams
U.S. ORDERS: $12.00 + $4.00 S&H OUR PRICE: $11.50 + $4.00 S&H

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Art and the Vineyard - Signing Event

I will be selling and signing books at Art and the Vineyard at Alton Baker Park in Eugene, Oregon on July 5th, 11:30 to 5:30.

The annual fundraiser for Maude Kerns Art Center is humongous, featuring a ton of fine artists, authors, live music, food venues, and wine tasting.

Art and the Vineyard

The featured authors (besides myself) include a number of well-known regional and national authors.

To read the complete list of authors:

Living: Lifestyles "Have a chat with local authors" The Register-Guard Eugene, Oregon

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day

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

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

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

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


* 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.

Monday, June 01, 2009

First Duty Review

By T. Wilson "g33k" (San Diego, CA USA) - Review on Amazon.com

This book is a great example of why I like the Kindle. I grabbed the free iPhone app, and I've been enjoying the under $5 books here in the Kindle store. Overall, I liked this book. The story was good, if a little derivative (miner girl leaves poor home to join the military, eventually joining the rebellion to fight the evil empire), but it still had its own unique flair. I especially like her treatment of the "bad guy", giving us a hint right from the beginning that not all is as it seemed. Marva's prose doesn't really flow yet, but I'm sure that will improve with time. Also, the protagonist takes on more than she'd be allowed to in a real military setting, but suspending that particular point of disbelief, I really enjoyed the story. I'm hoping this book is the first part of a series. If it is, I'll definitely be getting the rest.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Get out the kleenex

I just listened to the new audio story up at The Deepening. I had read the story previously and liked it, but when I listened to it, I cried. Something about a read aloud story that is different, better, more...something. Again, Dawn at The Deepening does a nice reading. Go listen. You won't be sorry, but you might be a little sad.

Hobos and Hotcakes by Liz Brenaman

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book Events Coming Up

A couple of new things going on. I posted about the Chateau Lorane Arts and Wine Festival. I've also been notified that I have another couple of engagements this summer. Here's the schedule:

May 23rd and 25th: Chateau Lorane. I'll be there from 11:30am to 5:30pm. Note that I might participate in the wine tasting and will then give everybody really great deals on my books.
* Saturday, May 23rd has been added since my last announcement.

July 5th: Art in the Vineyard. Located in Alton Baker Park in Eugene, Oregon. I'll be there from 11:30am to 3:30pm. Note that 15% of gross sales goes to charity.

August 19th: Lane County Fair. I'll be with the Authors and Artists from 11:00am to 5:00pm.

If you're anywhere in the Eugene area on these dates, please stop by to say hi.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chateau Lorane Event - Memorial Day Weekend

A ton of authors and artists will be selling their works at the Wine Festival. Here's the information on who and time that I have right now.

Saturday , May 23
11:30 am to 2:30 pm
Jen Chambers: Assistant Editor and contributor to Groundwaters. Author of Living Life Again, due out in September.

Joey Blum: "Bedtime Stories; A Novel of Cinematic Wanderlust," became available last fall. For more on his imaginative journey go to http://josephemilblum.com/.

Jo-Brew: Northwest writer giving voice to woman. A columnist for the Creswell Chronicle and author of six contemporary mainstream novels. http://www.jo-brew.com/

Pat Edwards: historian and author of From Sawdust and Cider to Wine: A History of Lorane, Oregon and the Siuslaw Valley.

Marva Dasef: Tales of a Texas Boy and MG and YA fantasy marvadasef.com

Groundwaters: Eugene literary magazine. Contributors will attend.

2:30 to 5:30 pm
Jen Chambers

Joey Blum

Dan Armstrong: editor of Mud City Press, author of short stories and three novels.

Shirley Tallman: Period mysteries set in early San Francisco http://www.shirleytallman.com/

Marva Dasef


Sunday, May 24
11:30 am to 2:30 am
Carola Dunn: Daisy Darymple mystery series. www.geocities.com/CarolaDunn

Dan Armstrong

Sharon Brandsma: Award winning author and artist. Glory Rose and the Gloaming. Fantasy for teens and older. http://www.smbrandsma.com/


2:30 to 5:30 am
Carola Dunn


Sharon Brandsma

Pat Edwards


Monday, May 25
11:30 am to 2:30 am
Doug Card: Historian and Author From Camas to Courthouse: Early Lane County History

Joe Blakley: Sports History, Oregon History and fiction. http://www.bearcreekpress.com/

Marva Dasef


2:30 to 5:30 am
Doug Card
Joe Blakley
Marva Dasef

Directions: The entrance to Chateau Lorane is approximately 1/4 mile south of Lorane on Siuslaw River Road. As you pass the 2nd store (Lorane General Store and Deli), keep to your right at the "Y." (Don’t make a sharp right onto Old Lorane Road, though.) Follow Siuslaw River Road about 1/4 mile and you will see the entrance to Chateau Lorane on your right. It sits about a mile off of the road. See the map on the Chateau Lorane website at http://www.chateaulorane.com/contact.html

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cage McNatt's Prize Sow in Audio!

Now, at The Deepening listen to one of the stories from Tales of a Texas Boy.

Listen to the story here.

It's both fun and weird to hear someone else read your writing aloud. Dawn of The Deepening did a very nice reading. A couple of mispronounces, but who would know how Dasef is pronounced, and I think you've got to be from the Northwest to know our peculiar pronunciation of Willamette. I told Dawn not to redo for those minor gaffes. After all, do YOU know how to pronounce Dasef and Willamette? The odds are lousy for Dasef and about 50-50 for Willamette, so no harm done.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review of Tales of a Texas Boy

"Tales of a Texas Boy" was originally self-published through Lulu. As I've said before, trying to get an agent or publisher for a thin volume of short stories is as likely as me being chosen to go on the next flight to Mars (I'd also love to do that).

The Lulu Review of Books blog just posted a review of Tales. It's a nice review, and I'd like to share it with you.

Review: Tales of a Texas Boy

An excerpt of the review, written by Linda Welch, author of Along Came a Demon:

I think Tales Of A Texas Boy by Marva Dasef will appeal to both children and adults. In fact, the large print is particularly suited for children and senior citizens whose eyesight is perhaps not as good as it once was. Marva Dasef skillfully brings her colorful characters to life, “a different life than any of us will ever know”, and I could have happily read another one hundred pages and another twenty Tales Of A Texas Boy. I’ll just have to read it all over again. And again.

Can't get much better than that.

Note: The book is available through Amazon in a several formats. A trade paperback has normal print, and there are two different large print editions.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Did a book ever really bug you?

I was getting ready for bed and my nightly reading session. The book I'm reading is from the library, so it's a hardback. It also happens to be 900 pages long. Don't know if that has anything to do with it, but when I picked up the book I saw a couple of ants crawling across the page ends. Then, I noticed that there were ants crawling across my bookshelf-style headboard.
I looked closely at the bottom of the book and noticed a slightly lump in the pages and an ant crawling out.
I took the book into the kitchen where we keep the ant spray (unscented) and after squashing a as many of the ants as I could see, I gave the book a light spray between the book's cover and the wrap-around outer cover.
I opened the the book to the page with the lumpy part and found a chunk of something white and hard. Glue? Don't know, but I pried it off, and resprayed the book. Lightly, mind you. I'm not one for destroying books.
This is definitely a very weird experience considering a story I wrote recently having to do with ants invading a home. Not just your average annoying ants, but ants bent on revenge (at least in the addled mind of the main character).
I'm returning the book to the library without finishing it. I'll get a copy later in paperback. I'll also examine the book closely before purchasing. Oh, the book? Anathem by Neal Stephenson (see the post below).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

Browse Inside this book
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This is not a review.

The reason that it isn't is because I'm on page 29 of the 935 page book, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish it. I will plow ahead, but I have to say that I'm already disappointed in it.

I love Stephenson's books. I'm a huge fan of Cryptinomicon and the Baroque Cycle. Both of these are huge tomes, so the length doesn't faze me.

What bugs me in Anathem is that I feel like I'm reading another language in which I am ill-versed. This is frustrating. I really, really want to love this new book of Neal's, but I'm afraid it will be returned to the library unfinished. When it comes out in paperback, and I can buy a used copy I will most likely give it another try.

But, for now, I'm thinking I should just return it to the library so that someone else can have at it.

I'd be interested to hear from others who have read the book. It might reassure me that either 1) I'm being silly and should plow ahead, or 2) this is incomprehensible unless you're into getting a Ph.D. in Stephenson Arcana.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Chateau Lorane Fine Arts and Wine Festival

I'll be selling books at the Chateau Lorane Winery on Memorial Day, May 25th. I'm looking forward to another Authors event. It's fun to touch base with other local authors and talk to a bunch of people who've just swilled a lot of wine. They do tend to impulse buy.

Chateau Lorane is located south of Eugene in the Lorane Valley, the winery is world-famous (that's what they claim anyway). Oregon does have some primo wines, so I'll take their word for it.

I sure hope the weather's decent. I'm not sure whether the authors will be outside or have some cover. In Oregon, it's as likely to be 80 degrees and sunny or 50 degrees and rainy on Memorial Day.

I'll post more detailed information closer to the date. If you're in Oregon, though, think about coming to the event. Supposed to be great fun.

Here's their website so you can check it out.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sorcerous Signals Anthology

I was just contacted by the editor of Sorcerous Signals that my story "The Cursed Valley" will appear in the 2008 Best of anthology. I'll provide more details (as in release date, etc.) when they become available.

For right now, all I can say is WOO HOO!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fifty Reasons

You've probably already read this one, but why not read it again.

On the Bookgasm blog:

Fifty Reasons Why Nobody Wants to Publish Your First Book

Here's some of the fun reasons out of the middle of the post. You should really want to go read the other 47 reasons.

20. You’re actually the 139th person to submit a conspiracy thriller
involving the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, entitled THE MICHAELANGELO

21. And the 78th to submit a chick-lit manuscript about an attractive
woman’s sweet tooth and affection for footwear, called CHOCOLATE AND

22. You know the part where the protagonist stuffs those puppies into
the wood chipper? It’s not quite as funny as you seem to think.

Monday, March 02, 2009

March Spotlight on Books

Poetry is the flavor of the month. Check out Dianne Salerni's monthly Spotlight. March is for poetry! It is really, really hard to find publishers for poetry, so this month's selection highlights those works that are ignored by the agents and mainstream. Hey! If you're a poet, you're going to have a hard time find a publisher. That does NOT mean your poetry is unworthy. Check it out.

Some of the books for your reading pleasure are:

Mugging for the Camera by RJ Clarken
A Viking's Prayer by Aidan Lucid: This one sounds very interesting to me. Love the historicals!
Gems of Yesterday by Bee Lewis, edited by Erwin A Thompson
Organic Hotels by Matthew Abuelo
Sightlines by Janet Grace Riehl
Night Moves by Edgar Henry

Next month: Murder Most Foul! I can hardly wait. Detective, crime, neat stuff.

All past Spotlights are linked at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

How to Write a Book Review by Bryan Catherman

My good friend Bryan Catherman gives some helpful hints on how to write a book review.
A good book review usually tells as much about the reviewer as it does about the book although the reviewer should seek balance between the two.

What is a book review?
A book review is a reader’s opinion that serves as advice or a recommendation to other readers. In our world of limited time and competing books, a review should help others sift through the marketing. However, one review is just one review and not anything to be taken too seriously.

Elements of a book review:
At a minimum, a good book review should include a brief synopsis of the book itself. It should be fair. Try to accurately describe the book’s plot, argument, or reason for its existence. Even if the book is terrible, try writing this synopsis factually. For example, “Joe Author attempts to explain….” Another example might read, “The Great American Novel is a fictional novel about…” WARNING: Never give away twists or the ending. DO NOT spoil the book for others. (Many reviews, especially on amazon.com, will leave out the synopsis altogether. I advise against doing this in the event that a reader has never heard of the book and has no idea what it’s about.)

The next element necessary for a good book review is the reviewer’s opinion. This is an opinion so it’s not necessary to include statements like, “I think,” or “in my opinion.” But stay fair. And whatever you do, do not use vague, unsupported adjectives like boring and fantastic. Try to explain why you feel the way you feel about the book. Simply saying, “This book is great and everybody should read it,” or “this book was a waste of money,” doesn’t help anybody. Try to explain in detail. Support your statements. Give examples. You can also recommend that people read or not read the book, but your explicit recommendation is not a requirement of a good book review. (Many reviews stick with the implied.)

That’s it. Reviewing a book is not as tough as people make it out to be. There’s nothing to be scared of.

Additional (but not required) items to include in a book review:
A grading system is popular. Give the book a grade or rate it with stars or spoons or something. (I recommend not using a thumbs up or down because that’s an all-or-nothing proposition. A five-star system is good but a ten-star system allows for a greater depth in rating.) Try not to make the grading system complicated; the entire reason for the grade is to simplify the review. And stay consistent in the grading process.

A history of the book or of the author can be informative if it doesn’t clutter or bog down the review.

A counter argument is warranted on occasion, but only if the book is a non-fiction argument. However, your book review is not a counter argument; it’s a review. Include the mandatory items and then include your counter argument only as an expansion of the review.

Pictures often enhance book reviews. The cover is the most obvious choice.

Author background if interesting or relevant to the book.

Sales history if it’s meaningful. Did the book do poorly for a long while and then something changed? Why?

How about an interview with the author if you can get one?

Additional media is nice if it’s available. Websites, videos, trailers, sound bites.

Sampling of the first couple of pages or a chapter helps the reader get a feel for the author’s style. (This is normally done with permission to avoid sticky copyright issues.)

How about comparing and contrasting the book you are reviewing with other books? This works well when reviewing books in a series and the comparison is made against an earlier book. “Book three was not as well written as the first two books….” This also helps readers understand a book they haven’t read by comparing to one they have.

Providing a location or link where the book may be purchased is always appreciated by the author and publishing people. (Even if you give the book a poor review.)

Is the author something other than an author? Does she wrestle tigers or is he also a religious leader or whatever. This may be worth including.

Be creative and make the review fun and informative for the reader. Otherwise, you’re wasting their time in a world where the review is meant to help save time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stimulus Watch

What is your state planning on using stimulus dollars for? Check it out at:


Sort by priorities or whatever criteria you think important.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Amazon Merchant

Anybody who wants can sell books on Amazon. Those are the folks who make up those New/Used lists of sellers.

I'm a merchant for my own books. My value added is that the buyer gets a signed copy of the book and I ship with confirmation, so the buyer can track their purchase.

The supplier for the large print edition in the 8.5x11" trim size raised their prices a while back and I didn't think too much of it, until I decided to order a few more copies to have on hand. I found that I was losing money selling at the price I selected to undercut Amazon's price. The book retails at Amazon for $13.95. I sold the book for $11.95 + $3.99 S/H. Seems like I'd be making a profit, eh? Well, not quite.

My cost for a book from my supplier: $9.72 which includes the shipping to me.

Amazon's piece of the action: $3.85.

Customer pays a total of $15.94 and I get $11.86. Once I mail the book to the customer, my total cost is $12.70. And that doesn't include the cost of the envelope, label, etc. Just the book and postage. Something is wrong with this picture.

The result is that I had to up my Merchant price to $12.95. Amazon takes a few cents more, but I can be on the profit side with this price.

This sucks since I would love to give my direct buy customers as good a deal as I can. Unfortunately, my supplier has made it virtually impossible because they raised their printing price.

I'm considering switching suppliers, but I can only go directly to Lightning Source to get a better cost. To take the book to LSI, I have to cut off my original supplier entirely. This is a process that takes months to get through. Then, when I've gotten them to release the book, I still have to pay another $79.50 in setup fees. How long to make that up? I haven't even run the numbers.

I am thinking my best recourse is to send customers a different book from the one they ordered. This is not a bad thing for them. The other book has all the same text and illustrations, but is a smaller trim size, more pages, and some typo corrections the original doesn't have. That book costs me $3.00. As you can see, I could cut the price to the customer and still make a profit. But is it ethical to send the customers a different book than they ordered even if it's better and they wouldn't be missing a thing?


Saturday, January 31, 2009

February Spotlight on Books

February is the month of love and romance. That and President's Day. However, Dianne Salerni's excellent Spotlight on Books this month is romance and not presidents.

Dear Jane Letters by Amanda Hamm
Waiting for Spring by RJ Keller
Second Chance by Joy Collins
Mozart's Wife by Juliet Waldron
My Splendid Concubine by Lloyd Lofthouse
Love and Brimstone by Lesli Richardson
Dear Heart, How Like You This by Wendy J. Dunn
Pemberley Remembered by Mary Simonsen

Dianne provides covers, a summary, and links to the books. Go see if there's something that strikes your fancy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Review for "Tales of a Texas Boy"

A new review has been posted on Amazon. Thanks to Al Past, author of the Distant Cousin series.
Just for the young? Not necessarily!, January 28, 2009
By Al Past (Beeville, TX USA) - See all my reviews

Tales of a Texas Boy is a collection of 21 reminiscences of rural life in the Texas panhandle during the Depression, told in the voice of an eleven year old remembering his childhood as an elderly man (modeled after the author's father). Each tale is short and complete in itself, and all add up to a convincing evocation of what life was like during those days in that area of Texas.

The boy, of course, would not dwell on hardship, deprivation, or lack of creature comforts. From his point of view, he had regular chores to perform, a loving, fairly strict family to live with, and various spells of an interesting or exciting nature to experience.

These include adventures with snakes, a man who had a pet bear, a livestock auction, driving his father's Model A pickup truck, a wild jackass, various odd neighbors, going on an old-fashioned cattle drive, dogs, skunks, fishing, chickens, and his little sister, to name a few. Each story is preceded by a few sentences of authorial scene-setting--a nice touch--and a small black and white photograph, not credited or explained, but adding a pleasant visual accent to the pages.

The prose style has a countrified flavor, but not excessively so. Each story is well narrated, with the right details in the right place and usually a satisfying and appropriate conclusion.

Tales of a Texas Boy is intended to be a young adult book, but I see no reason younger children wouldn't enjoy it too, or adults, for that matter. I enjoyed it myself, and I am very far from a young adult. It reminded me of some of the stories J. Frank Dobie, the grand old man of Texas folklore, used to love. In fact, parents who are in the habit of reading bedtime stories to their children (an excellent idea) might find children as young as five would be entertained by them--the length of the stories is about right, and they offer a fine opportunity for parental dramatic reading. Indeed, the point could be impressed upon the child that daily life, however prosaic it might seem now, is worth gathering and writing down for the interest it might have in the future. It's easy to imagine a sleepy child asking why the Texas Boy never watched television. Calling grandpa and grandma!

(Al Past is the author of the popular Distant Cousin series and reviews for PODBRAM.)

Interviewed at Christine Fonseca's Musings Blog

Christine Fonseca is an up-and-coming YA writer, working hard to find an agent, get published, and go on Oprah. For now, she's doing what every writer should do: blogging on writerly subjects. She wanted to post about self-publishing. She knew I self-pubbed one book, so kindly asked for my opinion (as if I knew anything).

Excerpt (Read the rest of the interview here)

Christine (CF): How long have you been writing?

Marva (MD): The “all my life” answer that writers usually give here seems a bit disingenuous. Personally, I did not pop out of the womb with pen in hand. The better question is: how long have you been writing for publication? I wrote technical documentation for thirty-five years. I started writing fiction for publication about three years ago. Before that, I wrote stories for fun. The good part is that I dredged out a few of those old stories and have done well sending them out as individual stories. Three of my oldies eventually became books. Lesson: Never throw anything away. Those old ones were on paper only.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot

The preliminary ballot has been released for the prestigious Bram Stoker Awards for horror writing. Ellen Datlow posted the complete list of works receiving enough recommendations for the preliminary ballot. I saw it on her LiveJournal posting.

I'm not (usually) a horror writer, so I'm not too disappointed my name isn't on it. However, my publisher, Sam's Dot Publishing, has several works. I'm proud of my little ol' publisher getting so many mentions. Hopefully, many of them will make the final ballot, then on to a win.

Superior Achievement in a Collection:
Little Creatures by Michael McCarty (Sam's Dot Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection:
The Phantom World by Gary William Crawford (Sam's Dot Publishing)
Virgin of the Apocalypse by Corrine De Winter (Sam's Dot Publishing)

Congratulations to the SDP writers for making it to the prelims!

Just a reminder: SDP published my books, First Duty and The Seven Adventures of Cadida, both available at The Genre Mall.

* Thanks to Ellen Datlow for stopping by to correct my errors on this post.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inaugural Costs

I got to thinking about those costs so I had to do some investigating.

Yup, a total of $150,000,000 for Obama's inaugural. Cost to the government: $49 million. Yup, that's a lot of money. But notice that that is only 1/3 of the total cost. The rest is supplied by donors.The other thing you'll hear on Faux (Fox) news is that Bush's inaugural only cost $47 million. Wrong! That did not include the cost to the government. Total cost of Bush's inauguration? $150 million.This seems to be the amount spent on inaugurations. The good part, as I stated, that much of this cost goes to people in the form of wages. Security, catering, flowers, all the other partying stuff.

The vast majority of it (in either inauguration) goes to paying wages to tax payers. Money well spent on boosting the economy.Your $8 million figure was a tad low. However, it's like the space program to me. People bitch and moan that the space program costs so much money. They seem to think they load up money from the Mint and blast it into space. No. They buy lots of manufactured goods and services and pay a lot of people decent salaries. Yeah, they leave a bit of junk in orbit, but that's miniscule compared to the good done right here on earth.

People get confused and addlepated by these huge (to them) numbers. Supposedly, Everett Dirkson said, "a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon it adds up to real money." That's not the exact quote, since the Dirkson archives claim it didn't happen.

The concept, however, is something that your average wage slave (all of us) find hard to comprehend. In the Greatest Nation on Earth (the one and only thing I agree with Hannity the Nutcase about), we are perfectly capable of affording a grand party for a new president. In Bush's case, it was a waste of money, time, and energy. With Obama, this is more than just another inaugural. It's a turning point in US history.

Some people don't like it one bit. To them, I say: I didn't like your guy being proclaimed president by a bought-and-sold Supreme Court, so shut your face up about my guy.