Monday, October 31, 2011

Q&A on Blackwood's Forest

Lisa Blackwood is hosting me and "Bad Spelling" with a Q&A on her blog, Blackwood's Forest.

About Lisa:

Lisa Blackwood is a writer of fantasy romance, gardener, lover of music and all things book related. She grudgingly lives in a small town in Southern Ontario, though she would much rather live deep in a dark forest, surrounded by majestic old-growth trees. Since she cannot live her fantasy, she decided to write fantasy instead. An abundance of pets, named after various Viking gods, helps to keep the creativity flowing. Freya, her ever faithful and beloved hellhound, ensures Lisa takes a break from the computer so they can rid the garden of cats with delusions of conquest.

Lisa has a book release approaching from MuseItUp Publishing. It's titled "Betrayal's Price." Alas, she has yet to receive her cover art since the book isn't scheduled until February next year, but here's an example from another book of hers. Pretty cool, eh?

Blurb for Stone's Kiss:

As a child, a near-drowning accident washed away Lillian’s memories. Now, her earliest and most beloved memory is of her eight-year-old self awaking at the foot of a brooding, stone gargoyle.

Even as an adult, she still finds comfort in Gregory, her gargoyle, never guessing he is more than cold stone until the day she is attacked by demonic creatures calling themselves the Riven. Long buried instincts and her tenacious will to live fuse into a magic-laced cry for help. Gregory rouses at her summons.

After the battle, Lillian persuades Gregory to talk and shortly one surprise is eclipsing the next in rapid succession. The humans she thought were her family are actually a powerful coven of witches at war with the Riven. Lillian isn’t human, instead she’s one of the most powerful workers of magic–an Avatar to the gods. Gregory has been her protector for many lifetimes, but troubles in their homeland forced him to flee with Lillian to the human world. She soon learns it wasn’t a drowning accident which stole her memories; it was Gregory. He fears Lillian is host to an infant demon, one capable of evil greater than the Riven. To further unbalance her equilibrium, she fears she’s falling in love with her guardian.

While she might be able to defeat the Riven with Gregory’s help, she doesn’t know if her fragile new love can survive the evil growing in her own soul. Nevertheless, she will fight her demon for Gregory’s sake and the chance at an eternal love.

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Now at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon.
Read reviews on Amazon and GoodReads.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

BAD SPELLING The Movie and Reviews

So there you have it. Seventeen days (counting today) all about Bad Spelling. If you didn't get to read everything, it's all still hanging out here on my blog. Every day there's something for you to enjoy.

Some of the characters give us their viewpoint, we cover some topics on items or magic from Bad Spelling, and I get to visit other bloggers' sites with extra stuff. I do believe there is not a duplicate anywhere within those seventeen days. If you can find one (October 14th through October 30th), report back here and you'll get a free ebook of Bad Spelling. See how it was worthwhile to read through this whole paragraph?

Movies always have reviews you might read to decide whether you want to see it or not. Readers write reviews on books (not the book trailer), so here are a few readers' thoughts about Bad Spelling. More reviews come along everyday, so check Amazon and GoodReads for more.

By Charlie (C.K. Volnek) ****
Ms. Dasef has pulled off a bewitching story with charming characters you can't help but fall in love with. From Katrina - a befuddled young witch - to her half-brother, Rune - a vampire-warlock cross - to the delightful animal friends and trolls. (Never thought I'd ever call a troll delightful.:-) ... more on Amazon

By L.K. Below *****
Bad Spelling is a book that continues to cling to my mind.

This book held me spellbound, if you'll forgive the pun. Marva is a wondrously witty author, who had me smiling and laughing throughout the whole book. ... more on Amazon

By Elizabeth Bonecher-Brenaman *****
A little something for everyone in this great start to the series. Plenty of action, surprises around every corner, animal friends, an evil shaman...what's not to love? Appropriate for any age, this book stands out as unique and endearing in a world sloughed down with too many cookie-cutter middle grade and YA novels. Bad Spelling holds its own, and author Marva Dasef weaves an original tale that kept me guessing until the last page. Good stuff.

By Lorrie Struiff ****
Bad Spelling is a fun read for any age. Kat's Bad Spelling gets her into more trouble than she can handle. But, she has help from some very imaginative characters. Kudos, Ms.Dasef for bringing these creatures to life and creating an enjoyable adventure and characters.

I loved Rune, and the trollercoaster they ride. I live near an amusement park, I wish they had one like this.

I can say in all honesty, this book is a must read for the pure enjoyment of good storytelling.
Now, on to the movie (otherwise known as a book trailer).

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

Now available at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon Kindle
Read reviews on Amazon and GoodReads.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Excerpt - Grind Your Bones

Read Reviews on Amazon and GoodReads.
Grind Your Bones

Giants aren’t the most popular neighbors. They tend to be a little selfish, keeping golden-egg laying geese and magic harps to themselves. In Norse mythology, a giant called a jotun (or Jötunn) is literally made of ice or stone (depending on the season, I guess). Frost giants are far more popular in games and fantasy books. There’s just something chilling about a giant made of ice. Since the scene which has the jotun is spring, I went with the stone giants. They could also use the press.

Originally, in Norse mythology, the jotuns live in Jotunheim (well, duh!). The Encyclopedia Mythica ( says:
Jotunheim is one of the nine worlds, the homeland of the frost and rock giants. Situated in Midgard, on the middle level of the Norse universe, Jotunheim is separated from Asgard by the river Iving, which never freezes over. It lies in the snowy regions on the outermost shores of the ocean. Mimir's well of wisdom is in Jotunheim, beneath the Midgard root of the ash tree Yggdrasil.
I’m not much more enlightened, but who doesn’t love a big, bad giant roaring in to cause havoc? When Kat and Rune meet up with the jotun, she finds that her ability to communicate with animals grows stronger the further away she travels from Galdorheim Island.

Now at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon

The path was clearly magical. The foliage, although wild and unkempt, glowed with greenery and flowers. Giant mushrooms, some the size of dinner plates, sprouted under the bushes. Birds twittered in the trees. Kat ducked as a bumblebee as big as her fist droned past her head on its way to another blossom. Here it was spring, just like on Galdorheim under the shield.

Kat pulled off her parka and draped it over her knapsack. Rune soon did the same, even though his tolerance for extreme temperatures was usually much higher than Kat’s. They were strolling along, enjoying the warmth, the flowers, and the buzz of the bees, when Kat looked up to see an eagle riding an updraft in a lazy circle above them. “Look!” Kat pointed. Rune glanced up at the bird.

“Interesting…not! C’mon, Kat, it’s just an eagle,” he replied.

Kat looked down at her feet and mumbled, “I thought it was interesting.”

A few moments later, Rune stopped abruptly, holding up his hand.

“Shhh! Do you hear something?”

Kat listened but heard only chirps and buzzing. “No, but your hearing is better than mine.”

Rune turned slowly in place, trying to home in on the sound. Kat watched, puzzled.

The hillside by the path trembled then heaved upward. Dirt and rocks flew through the air. The shaking earth knocked Kat backward. She plopped onto her behind with a yelp, ducked her head, and covered it with her arms to fend off flying gravel. Peeking out from beneath her upraised arms, Kat's eyes widened, and her mouth dropped open. In front of her, the shaking earth rose and unfolded. Then a monstrous glob of rocks and dirt rose higher and higher into the air. Two huge boulders blinked at her. Kat screamed. A gaping mouth appeared beneath the eyes, and a monstrous nose jerked and wriggled its way to a place between the eyes and mouth.

Rune grabbed her arm, jerking her to her feet. “It’s a giant! Run! Run!”

Kat sprinted after Rune, who quickly outpaced her, as the giant continued to grow and take shape from the rocks and earth. Kat risked a quick glance over her shoulder. A horrendous, rocky fist swung in a downward arc, its target appallingly clear. She tried to force her flying feet to move even faster, hoping to outrace that ponderous, clenched hand. She looked up to see the eagle plummeting downward, its wings folded against its sides. Kat aimed a thought at the eagle. “Help me!” The eagle flared its wings and stopped abruptly in midair. It then turned and flew away. She was disappointed but not surprised when the eagle left. No use. She picked up her feet and raced after Rune.

A wild, high-pitched screech split the air. Kat looked back again. She gasped in surprise, stumbled, and almost fell. Flailing her arms and digging in her heels, she managed to stop upright. She stared with unbelieving eyes as a flock of eagles, dozens of them, circled the monstrous form. The birds dived at the thing’s head, distracting it from its intended victims—her and Rune.

The giant swung its huge hand, batting at the eagles, trying to drive them away. The big raptors easily evaded the lumbering blows. Kat watched as the eagles dove again and again, buffeting the creature’s head with their wings, pecking at its eyes and threatening with their outstretched talons. She wondered how they could possibly hurt stone eyes, but the giant seemed to think they could. It shriveled downward, shedding rocks and dirt as it collapsed. Down and down it went, melding back into the earthen hillside that spawned it.

The eagles flew in a wide gyre around the hillside, preventing the giant from reforming. One of the birds veered away from the flock and flew down to Kat. It landed gracefully on a boulder beside the path. Folding wings and settling feathers, it cocked its head and regarded her with a fierce, yellow gaze.

“Thank you,” Kat gasped, fighting to catch her breath. “Thank you so much!” The great bird dipped its head in what could only be an acknowledgment. Then it spread its wings, uttered a soft “Kkkreeeee,” and launched itself into the air, climbing away with long, powerful beats of its wings.
Rune shut his open mouth and then gasped, “You did it again! Do you believe me now?”

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brynna Curry Nervously Hosts Werewolves

Read reviews on Amazon and GoodReads.
Brynna Curry is throwing a Halloween Bash on her blog. She's got fun horror stuff all month long.

She's hosting my werewolf pack on her In the Shadows blog at

About Brynna:

As Brynna Curry I write light paranormal romance and suspense. The first book in my Elemental Magic series was released Monday December 7th 2009. Since then I've contracted the series with Lyrical Press, Inc. and the fifth and final book will release in February of 2012.

As Brianna Roarke, I dabble in dark paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Gypsy Moon, a shifter novella, is out now with Red Rose Publishing.

So, now I write because I love it. I judge writing contests because I enjoy helping others. I review books of all sorts for You Gotta Read and recently became the moderator for the guest blog there and the review editor for Apollo's Lyre. I still work my 8-5 secretary job and am fortunate to work for great people.

Tada gar irraccht. Nothing without effort.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In the Spotlight with Lindsay Below

Voting from 10/21 through 10/28 on the You Gotta Read Covers blog. Bad Spelling's cover is #16. Please vote!

Read Lindsay's review of Bad Spelling.

Other reviews at: Amazon, GoodReads

Today, Kat and Rune visit on Lindsay Below's blog in her Author Spotlight where she regularly features her fellow authors. I definitely appreciate Lindsay's generosity in sharing her space with others.

About Lindsay:

From the time she could read,  Lindsay Below spent her free time with her nose in a book.  Always  intrigued by the new worlds her imagination conjured, by the time she was thirteen years old,  she was  writing books of  her  own.   Throughout   high   school,   she embraced her nerdiness, and by the time she graduated,  she was ready to pursue a career in  publishing.  Her first published young adult novel,  Lurkers, was written in November 2009,  when she was nineteen years old.  Since then, her active imagination hasn’t given her any  time  off. Even after moving away from the Arctic to St. John’s, Newfoundland, she still spends her days bundled in blankets, typing  away  at the computer screen.

Her latest book, "Lurkers" was released in July from MuseItUp Publishing (hey! my publisher! what a coincidence!). By the way, isn't that a fabulous cover!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Character - Salmon the Orca

Review from Lindsay Below for "Bad Spelling" on her blog. Nice!

Review from Rochelle Weber for "Missing, Assumed Dead" on her blog. Yay!

Voting from 10/21 through 10/28 on the You Gotta Read Covers blog. Bad Spelling's cover is #16. Please vote!

Chchchchch skreak! That mean hello in human people talk. My name be Salmon Hunter because I so good hunting the tasty fish.

I never met a human person who could talk the orca talk. I talk that speech only to Katrina Witch in her head. She talks back to me and both of us understand the other. Only this one human witch girl. She says it's how she makes magic. That is good for me! I like Kat Witch and help her out.

I even save her life more than one time. She's a lucky Kat Witch to have me be her friend.

First time I save her from a mad whitetooth. Kat Witch says human people call him polar bear. Not nice! But orca is big, strong! Not afraid of the bear. When I hear Kat Witch in my head, I heard scared. I heard help me. Curious, me. I went to look and chased off the mean bear.

Funny thing the whitetooth awake. Should be sleeping this season. Too early to wake up. I think some bad magic wake him up to kill Kat Witch. She says that's truth. A shaman, she says.

The others of my pod don't speak to Kat Witch. They be what human people call stuck up. Think they're too good to speak to her. I think it best thing ever! It like getting a new toy. Orcas love to play. Spend most of time hunting, but playing is important too.

Here's the part in the book where I meet Kat Witch for the first time.


Kat’s contact with the bear wasn’t very strong, but she got a frighteningly clear impression of hunger and curiosity. It didn’t know what they were, but it was most likely thinking of them as dinner.

She screwed her eyes shut, clenched her fists, and did her best to send soothing thoughts toward the bear, hoping it’d think of them in a kindly, rather than culinary, fashion. Suddenly, she heard a tremendous splash. The bear let out a surprised grunt. The ice lurched under Kat’s feet, almost knocking her over. Her eyes snapped open to see the bear beating a hasty retreat across the ice. Where the bear had stood, a much larger creature now occupied the space attired in startling black and white and sporting a wide, tooth-studded grin. An orca perched before her with nearly a third of its body up on the ice floe—the ice floe that now tilted alarmingly, cracking under the whale’s weight.

“Run!” Kat screamed, grabbing Rune’s arm and pulling her brother around. They went slipping, sliding, and scrambling back the way they came.

Over the cracking and groaning of the ice breaking up, Kat heard a loud chitter, and then a high-pitched whistle. She stopped so suddenly Rune ran into her. Catching him before he fell, she moved him to one side and turned back toward the orca, her eyes wide with surprise.

“What did you say?” she asked.

“Chchchchch skreak!” the orca answered.

Rune looked at the orca; then his sister; then back to the orca. He leaned close to Kat’s ear. “You understand it?” he whispered.

Kat nodded, edging back to the orca, careful of her footing on the slippery ice.

“Kakkakakkak cheechee,” the orca screeched.

“Thank you. I didn’t think the bear seemed very friendly either.”

Kat looked over at her brother, who stood staring at her open-mouthed. “Better shut that, little brother, before your teeth freeze.” Her eyes sparkled with delight. Rune closed his mouth and zipped the hood up over his face.

In a muffled voice, he exclaimed, “You can… You really can talk to animals!”

“Excuse me a moment, Mr. Orca,” she said to the big dolphin. She turned to Rune, her face lit up with a delighted grin. “I guess I can. But why so surprised? You were the one who suggested I could.”

Kat turned back to the killer whale. “I think it’s because he,” she nodded at the orca, “is a highly evolved being. At least, that’s what he’s telling me.” After a pause, Kat giggled and said, “Must be why you can’t understand him, Rune!”

Rune slapped a glare on her then suppressed a smile. “Very funny, Kat. So funny, I forgot to laugh.”

She chatted happily with the orca when several more huge black and white heads popped up through the gaps in the ice. Rune and Kat had to step back again as the ice splintered with sharp cracking sounds.

“Back up, Kat, back up,” Rune said. For the first time in her life, Kat heard fear in Rune’s voice.

“You don’t need to be afraid.”

“I’m not. At least, I’m not afraid of the whales—”


“Orcas, then. It’s the ice breaking up. We could get dumped in the water.”

As if saying it made it true, the ice split once more. The crack exposing the frigid sea raced toward Rune and Kat. Before they could get traction to run, the ice floe created by the splintering tipped up and both of them fell into the water.

Kat’s parka filled with the icy water, and she sank. The sudden, intense cold knocked the breath out of her. She tried to claw her way back to the surface, but the weight of the parka kept dragging her down. Looking up, she could see Rune above her, thrashing toward the air. Blackness clouded the edges of her vision, and her struggles weakened.

Strangely, Kat felt warm. This is nice, she thought. Her arms floated out from her sides as she sank deeper.

Something big and black came up under Kat, and she rose up through the frigid water. She reached out with one hand and grasped a rubbery fin with all the strength she had left. The orca pushed her to the surface and shoved her out of the water. She landed face first on the ice.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Excerpt - In the Hall of the Mountain King

Special Programming Note: Bad Spelling reviewed on the 23rd on Rochelle's Reviews.

Voting from 10/21 through 10/28 on the You Gotta Read Covers blog. Bad Spelling's cover is #16. Please vote!

Trolls. What do you imagine? Maybe something like the big ugly pictured here. In my Witches of Galdorheim series, I wanted a cave-dwelling bunch of uglies, but dwarves didn’t seem right for my book. Then I started hearing music inside my head. You know how that goes, right? It builds and builds until it has you screaming in frustration, willing to even listen to some other music to at least swap the tormenting sound.

But before I could find a MP3 file of "Henry the VIIIth" by Herman’s Hermits, I stopped and listened. My muse was whacking me in the head via earworm. The music was Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite. Duh. Trolls.

Despite the canards on trolls from the likes of Artemis Fowl or Pratchett’s Discworld, I thought they could be heroic if given sufficient ale.

From the Free Dictionary/Encyclopedia:
A troll is a fearsome member of a mythical race from Norse mythology. Originally more or less the Nordic equivalents of giants, although often smaller in size, the different depictions have come to range from the fiendish giants – similar to the ogres of England – to a devious, more human-like folk of the wilderness, living underground in hills, caves or mounds.
 Hey! They’re not all flesh-eating giants who turn to stone in the sunlight. Some are devious little guys who live in wilderness areas (no doubt protecting endangered magical species).

In Bad Spelling, Kat and her smart-aleck half-brother, Rune, (also happens to be a vampire, but has absolutely no resemblance to the Twilight guy except they’re both cute as hell) are directed by Kat’s flash-frozen dad (Rune calls him a popsickle) to visit the Troll King. At the Hall, she requests assistance from King Ole, the Norwegian Troll King. He arranges for her and Rune to ride the Trollercoaster, which starts in Norway and ends up in the Ural Mountains. From there Kat, Rune, and a changeling troll named Andy travel to Siberia to find Kat's family.

Clearly, trolls are good. They are nice, helpful, cheerful, and sing fairly well too. Yet aspersions continue to be cast upon these misunderstood creatures. Shame on all of you for making them the bad guys all these years!


Jtte collected another drop of blood from Kat, smearing it onto a small piece of glass. She looked at her finger and saw the pinprick already closed. Jtte wiped the spindle point clean with a strong-smelling liquid, then collected blood from Andy, perhaps stabbing his finger with a little more vigor than necessary. Jtte bowed to the king. “I’ll go perform the tests in my workshop.”

“How long will it take?” King Ole asked.

“A few hours at most.” The troll disappeared behind the throne.

King Ole turned to Rune and Kat. “It seems we have some time to kill,” he said with a smile. “We’ll have a banquet. You will be my guests, of course.” Every troll in the cavern cheered the king’s announcement, and many dashed off presumably to prepare for the feast. King Ole stepped behind his throne, motioning for Rune and Kat to follow him. “You, too, Andy. Your brothers may come, as well.”

The triplets followed Rune and Kat. Once they exited the throne room, they walked down a long tunnel until coming into another cavern. This one had fewer stalagmites. Trolls had spread heavy wooden tables and benches around the big room. King Ole took his seat on a smaller throne at a table set on a raised dais. He pointed them to chairs at his table. Quite an honor, thought Kat, having dinner with a king!

Before long, the cavern was packed with laughing, boisterous trolls. The party got into full swing when several ogres entered the hall, wearing long white aprons and carrying huge platters stacked with all kinds of meats, breads, and big pitchers of mead. The ogre waiters first served the king’s table, then the rest of the trolls.

“I didn’t know ogres worked with trolls,” Rune commented to the king.

King Ole smiled, showing huge yellowed teeth. “They don’t usually. We’ve tamed a few to serve us. Stupid as they are, it takes a long time to train them, but, once they learn their tasks, they’re pretty good workers.”

Rune waved down an ogre carrying a big plate of meat. “Is there any rare steak? Very rare?” Kat made a face, but thanked the stars they roasted the meat before serving.

The banquet went on for some time. Kat hadn’t realized how hungry she was until she pushed herself away from the table, stuffed with goose meat, crusty bread, and more than one mug of very good mead. During the long trek across the ice and the ocean voyage, they had only eaten snack food–dried apples and raisins, some bread and cheese for sandwiches–and those supplies had run out by the time they got past the jotun.

When everyone appeared to be finished eating, the trolls broke into song.

So Yes, Yes Yes
I must confess confess
There is nothing in this world, you see
That I'd rather rather be
Than a roly-poly, roly-poly
Roly-poly trolly
Yes, I'd love to be
Why what ecstasy
Yes, I'd love to beeeeee a troll!
“The Troll Song” by Jerome A. Holst © 2007 Lyrics used with permission of the author

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Buy Lavender Dreams

Available NOW: This is a special anthology you can purchase to support cancer research at Dana Farber Research Hospital. All royalties donated by the authors. Click the link heading above or go to the MuseItUp Publishing website to find out more. It's only $1.99 and full of great stories.

MuseItUp Publishing Lavender Dreams Link

Lorrie Struiff Rides the Trollercoaster

Special Programming Note: Bad Spelling reviewed today on Rochelle's Reviews.

Voting from 10/21 through 10/28 on the You Gotta Read Covers blog. Bad Spelling's cover is #16. Please vote!

Lorrie Struiff, author of "Gypsy Crystal" and "Heap of Trouble" (coming soon) plus a lot of short stories here and there asked to take on the trollercoaster. Sure thing, Lorrie. I hope you don't tend to barfing on carnival rides.

Lorrie bravely stands up in the car waving her hands in the air with Kat and Rune. Read all about it on her website. It's not a blog, but she posts Read About pages when she's got something fun to post. Like my stuff. She loves my stuff or she's been lying to me all this time to spare my feelings.

On the other side of the coin, I DO love Lorrie's writing. She's her own worst critic, though. When I read her work, I say, "Dang! I wish I wrote that!"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Character - Mordita

Voting from 10/21 through 10/28 on the You Gotta Read Covers blog. Bad Spelling's cover is #16. Please vote!
In Bad Spelling, Kat wants to leave Galdorheim Island to find her father's Siberian family. With no magic of her own, she needs help...lots of help. Yes, her best bud/bro Rune is always up for adventure, but she has to find a powerful witch to help her out.

She figures it can't hurt to ask Mordita. What's the worst that can happen? Well, maybe electrocution from a nasty door knocker or something crawling up her back.

Still, Kat is not deterred. She goes to the creepy, slimy, unlit shack where the Sorceress (the old lady prefers that over Witch) Mordita resides.

Mordita knows all about Kat's slight, ahem, magic deficit disorder (MDD) and is happy to pull a fast one on Thordis. The two don't get along much.

While Mordita has tons of magic, she prefers to maintain her old hag appearance just to keep the Galdorheim witches from stopping by to visit. Mordita is alone, and she likes to keep it that way. She's not quite alone if you want to count a fat orange tiger cat named Kudzu.

Mordita is a mystery. Why did she come to Galdorheim if she doesn't want to consort with the witches and warlocks? Maybe that mystery will be solved, but not in Bad Spelling. You'll have to wait for the second book in the series, Midnight Oil.


Mordita leaned back from the scrying crystal with a groan. She had been hunched over it for hours, and her old joints and muscles were protesting. In all the time spent staring into the crystal, she caught only brief glimpses of Kat and Rune, but she’d seen enough to follow their progress.

“Time,” she said aloud.

The clock answered, “Five-fifteen p.m.”

Good. Thordis said she’d come to take up the watch at five-thirty. Mordita stretched once more to take the kinks out of her strained back. When scrying, she lost all awareness of her body and the world around her. She should have set a timer to take breaks and stretch.

The door said, “The Witch Thordis approaches.”


Thordis strode into the older witch’s front room, demanding in her usual bombastic style, “Well, what are they up to?”

“Good Even, Thordis. How nice of you to drop by.”

“Sorry, Mordita. Good Even to you, as well.”

Mordita nodded in the direction of the scrying crystal. “The trolls gave them quite a ride through the Mountain King’s caverns. They came out on the east side of the Urals.”
“Hmm. What are they doing?”

“A werewolf pack carried them by sled north toward a Sami village.” Mordita picked up her teacup and tasted. She made a face. “Cold.” She stuck her finger into the cup and stirred. Steam rose from the cup. “They ran into a small problem with some quickmud, but the werewolves pulled them out.” Mordita gestured to the scrying crystal. “Take a look for yourself.”

Thordis sat at the table and examined the crystal. “Hmm, nice. Hardly any flaws.” She settled in the chair, glancing at Mordita. “I’m going to concentrate on Katrina.” She stared into the crystal, and her eyes rolled up in their sockets until only the whites showed.

An hour later, Thordis looked away from the crystal, rubbed her eyes, and accepted the hot cup of tea Mordita offered.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Penny Ehrenkranz Interviews Me

Special Programming Note: Voting opens on the You Gotta Read Covers blog. Bad Spelling's cover is #16. Please vote!

See Penny Ehrenkranz's One Writer's Journey blog for an interview about me and "Bad Spelling."

About Penny:

Penny did the line editing for Bad Spelling, so she's a tad biased in favor of the book. Unfortunately, she can't do a review due to conflict of interest (or whatever), but she can post an interview, and include a bit o' hyping for a book that she absolutely thinks is the best book ever written in any language. Well, that last part is a lie made up by me, but it sure sounds good, doesn't it?

Penny is a writer as well, with a fairly new release from MuseItUp titled "Love Delivery." You'll never think about donuts the same way again. Check out her website for information on her books.
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Now at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Excerpt - Samis and Shamans

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Now at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon

Andy is a troll...sort of. Stolen at birth by the Trolless Gorm to replace one of her newborn triplets, Andy is through and through troll. He loves his brothers Endy and Indy, respects the troll King Ole, and is overall pretty happy being a troll.

However, when Gorm is near death, she tells Andy that he's bortbyting, a changeling. His real family is the Sami tribe of Siberia. Well, we already know that Kat's father is a Sami from Siberia. Hmm. Coincidence? I think not.

You'll find out more about the Troll world in upcoming post "Excerpt - Hall of the Mountain King," but for now, let's talk about the Siberian side of the family.

The Samis (also spelled Sámi or Saami) are a widespread extended clan of people closely related to the North American Eskimos and Aleutes. You've heard of Samoyed dogs, the breed of sled dog bred by these northernmost indigenous people. The Lapps are the same people just a little further west. There is lots of interesting information on the Sami people out on the internet. I discovered them by trundling around the web looking for an indigenous people living in Siberia. I wanted Kat's father to be completely different from the Euro-Nordic witches of Galdorheim. I hit the motherload with the Samis. These are the perfect folks to be the middle link between witches and trolls. The Free Encyclopedia is a treasure trove of information. I spent a lot of time following links and reading. These are people not widely known by the "civilized" world.

The Samis of Siberia are primarily hunter/gatherers with fishing being a major food source. You can imagine that near the Arctic Circle, farming is not possible. Russia pulled the same dirty trick on the Samis as the US pulled on the indigenous tribes of North America: relocation. They moved them all next door to the Barents Sea, which, naturally, is not a desirable piece of real estate. I know we could all go on and on about the injustices of the world, but that's not what I'm doing here. I encourage you to follow the links from the Free Encyclopedia. It's an addictive trail of fascintating information.

But the central idea in the Witches of Galdorheim books is the existence of this type of people exactly where they are in Siberia. Worked out great for my story. In "Bad Spelling," Kat has to deal with a shaman of the Sami people. First she has to find him, and that's a pretty long journey in itself. Along the way, she meets Andy and they travel to the Siberian north to find him.

The Samis practice shamanism with various shamans handling different parts of life.
  • The Tadebya advises on the right time to go fishing or move the village (the Samis are nomadic). He handles the practical day-to-day needs of the people.
  • The Vidutana deals with the heavens so is the go-to guy if you're in need of heavenly guidance.
  • The Sambana is more like the crazy monk living in a cave somewhere. Everybody around knows he's got some kind of power, but he's also dangerous. He can cast evil spells, deals with black magic, and is an all-around unsavory character.
This is very simplistic, and you won't have to try very hard to find differences in my interpretations of shamanistic matters with real-world examples. But, hey, I'm writing a fantasy here and am allowed to mess with all things magical to my heart's content.

For more on Andy and the trolls, see the "Excerpt - Hall of the Mountain King."

Excerpt (the Shamans)

Ivansi rocked from one foot to the other and then rubbed his right mukluk against his left calf. He had much to do before leaving, and he wanted to get on with it. He’d never say it to anybody, but he didn’t think his grandfather was that good a shaman. Even so, it wasn’t his place to question shamans of the tribe. For now, all he wanted to know was whether or not his hunt would succeed, but his grandfather never hurried things along. None of the shamans ever did.

The hunt he proposed was dangerous; that he knew all too well, since his own son, Borisi, disappeared many turns of the sun before. His chances of success were good, for he was a seasoned hunter, and would not be going alone. But even a large kayak could easily disappear into the fierce Barents Sea, never to be seen again.

Ivansi’s mind wandered to Borisi. A few months after his son disappeared, Ivansi had steeled his nerves and gone to seek the assistance of the Sambana, the village shaman who could contact the dead. Unlike the Tadebya, who sought the guidance of the gods in everyday matters, or the Vidutana, who could provide information on the heavens, the Sambana lived alone and away from the tribe. The very nature of the Sambana’s talent made him a fearful presence, so the tribe avoided contact with the old man unless absolutely necessary, which seemed to suit the ancient shaman just fine. The people were convinced the Sambana had gone crazy years before. The rumor was the Sambana’s wife had run away with a witch man. Some said the Sambana had lived for more than a thousand years, but nobody could prove it one way or the other.

Ivansi had feared his son was dead but wanted to know for sure. The Sambana sought Borisi’s spirit in his seeing flame but could not contact him. Usually, the purpose of contact with the dead was to aid the soul into the afterlife. Since he could not speak to Borisi, the Sambana decided the young man must still live. He was lost, obviously, but not dead. The Sambana told Ivansi not to worry; he would protect his son against evil. The Sambana sent a magic shield to seek Borisi wherever he was and surround him.

Ivansi’s attention returned to the present when the Tadebya snuffed out the flame and looked up at him. “Your hunt will succeed, but you must return within seven days. Stay not one day longer, no matter how good the hunting.”

“Yes, Tadebya, I will.” Ivansi exited the shaman’s tent and went to tell the rest of his hunting party they could leave right away. The five other hunters had prepared the two kayaks and loaded the gear needed for the week-long trip. With twenty hours of dark each day, it made no difference whether they began the hunt during the day or at night, although they preferred to travel during the dark times and hunt in the twilight hours.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bad Spelling's Ardyth Visits Mark of the Stars

Special Programming Note: Bad Spelling Gets the Review Treatment on Dianne Salerni's In High Spirits blog. Dianne's daughter, Gina, is the reviewer. She's a tough audience.

One of my characters is doing a blog hop today over to Jessica Subject's Mark of the Stars blog. Ardyth is Kat's and Rune's mother. Learn more about this single mom witch who loves a good-looking guy. That's why Kat and Rune are half-siblings, I guess.

Jessica's Mark of the Stars blog does have a content warning, so it seems like a strange place to be promoting a book for kids, but I figure that while the mom's are reading some of the hot stuff, they might be in the market for something to keep the children occupied. I think "Bad Spelling" can do just that. But Jessica also writes YA, so we're in the same ballpark here.

Ardyth would fit in nicely with this crowd. She's a flirty babe while being a great mom for Kat and Rune.

Her sexy SFR, "Celestial Seduction" is available at Decadent Publishing.

About Jessica:

Jessica Subject lives in the Festival City of Southwestern Ontario, Canada. When not busy feeding kids, stopping toy and crayon wars, running the kids to the potty or wiping their noses, she's usually reading, writing, editing, critiquing or blogging. While she's been blogging for only a year, she'll tell anyone who will listen about the books she love. In her writing, she take a fresh look at the idea of aliens living on Earth and what happens when they try to live as humans. She also believe everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after.

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Now at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Character - Aunt Thordis

Katrina's aunt, Thordis, is both harsh on her niece for her failings as a witch, and her biggest booster -- but never to Kat's face.

Thordis is the most powerful witch on Galdorheim, and the administrator for the practical day to day operations of an island that runs on magic. The witch population combine a share of their personal magic for the common good. Maintenance of the protective shield around the village, lighting, food production all make use of a touch of magic from every resident.

When Kat and Rune run off to find Kat's Siberian family, Thordis takes charge of what the witches will do. She has to make an alliance with a very unfriendly witch, Mordita. Possibly, Thordis isn't the most powerful witch on the island after all.

Thordis is both regal and officious. She demands respect and brooks no nonsense. While the governance of the island falls on a council of witches, just about anything Thordis says is what gets done.

I picture Aunt Thordis as Dame Judi Dench the head of M6 in the James Bond films. Thordis is a bit younger, and her hair long but always done in an elaborate style. In that way, I'm reminded of Endora in the Bewitched series, except with blond hair, not red.

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Now at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon

EXCERPT - Chapter Four: Bell, Book, and Candle

Hands on her hips, Kat’s Aunt Thordis stood in the glacier cave regarding the icebound figure of Boris, the wandering Siberian. She tsked and shook her head.

“You poor, dumb—” She stopped, thinking better of it. Speaking ill to the dead was rarely a good idea. You never knew if they’d come back to get even.

“Boris,” she said, trying a different tack, “we need to talk. Despite the fact you couldn’t navigate your way around a bathtub and were so foolish you tried to dig out an ice cave, my sister did fancy you, and you’re still my niece’s father.”

She held her hand up with the palm facing Boris. Thordis frowned. This might be harder than she thought. Even though Thordis was the strongest witch in Galdorheim, she felt a counter spell pushing at her, like a wall she couldn’t see but only sense. Something around Boris repelled magic.

Thordis squared her shoulders and put real effort into her second sight. Yes, she felt a slight tingle. As she suspected, the icy grip of the glacier suspended the man between life and death. If the witches thawed him out, he’d be d-e-a-d, dead. As it was, he had frozen solid in the instant before he died—the process of death incomplete.

“Ah, you’re still alive. Good.” If Boris were truly dead, she’d not be able to have a conversation with him. No matter what the circumstances, she wouldn’t delve into the black arts. Necromancy—raising the dead—was near the top of the black list.

Thordis removed Ferro, her ferret familiar, from the top of her carryall and set him aside. He chittered at her then hunched down on the ice shivering. She opened the bag and rummaged through its contents. She drew out a little silver bell, a black candle, and a copy of the Magical Book of Runic Spelling.
The fifteenth century Church, Thordis chuckled at the thought, believed they originated the rite of bell, book, and candle. Equally humorous, they thought the items were for an excommunication ceremony. Little did they know the monk who created the ritual was one of her own—a warlock gone deep undercover to keep a close eye on the Church. The very fact it took twelve priests and a bishop to perform the rite didn’t ring any bells with those silly men. Obviously, thirteen people gathered to perform magic made a coven. The long-dead monk probably got a good laugh at that.
Never mind what the Church thought, the true purpose of the ceremony was to communicate with, not excommunicate, the dead. Although Boris was pre-dead, it would serve the same purpose. At least Thordis hoped so. Boris knew things Thordis wanted to know, and she was determined to pry them from his icy-cold brain.
Thordis lit the candle, rang the bell, and prepared herself to chant the spell to wake Boris. She’d never talked to him when he was alive, since he was a mundane, and any non-magical person was simply not worth her time. Now, she had to find out a few things. Specifically, why was her niece so powerful, yet so incompetent as a witch? If her spells just fizzled, she could believe the girl just wasn’t trying. Instead, they failed spectacularly, and often messily, like her recent attempt to transform the rabbit. Perhaps she could get some answers out of Boris, even though she doubted he was intelligent enough to even realize he had them.

When she felt her magic to be at its peak, Thordis opened the book to the chapter titled Speaking to the Dead. The incantation woke the dead, so waking Boris should be a piece of cake. It also provided translation services. After all, why try to speak to the dead if they can’t understand what you’re saying?

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

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

“Boris, do you hear me?”


“Good. Your daughter is having…trouble becoming a proper witch. Of course, I believe it’s your fault; well, maybe fault is too strong a word. I suspect her poor performance has to do with having a mundane father, but now I feel…something more.”

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Lowdown on Bad Spelling Crystology at In High Spirits

Dianne Salerni takes over today on her blog with an overview of the use of scrying crystals used in The Witches of Galdorheim series.

About Dianne:

Dianne's blog, In High Spirits, is always a useful place to find historical information, reviews written by her astute daughters (they know their MG/YA books), and regularly posts First Impressions, where writers can have their first pages analyzed by Dianne.

She's the rags-to-riches story that all writers dream of. Starting with a self-published historical novel, she found herself a publisher for "We Hear the Dead" (Sourcebooks). About two sisters in the 19th Century who bilked the public by pretending to relay messages from the spirit world, the book is based on the real rappers of the 19th C.

She's following up that success with her new novel (another historically based), The Caged Graves (Clarion). As if that wasn't enough, Dianne teaches full-time at an elementary school in Pennsylvania.  Visit her website for more information on her books and where you can buy them.

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Now at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Witches of Galdorheim Series

Made a little error and posted that I was on Lydia Kang's blog today. Not true. It was last month and I dupped the post. My bad. But in other news, the Bad Spelling cover is featured today on You Gotta Read Covers.

This month is all about Bad Spelling, the first book in the Witches of Galdorheim series. Here's a look forward to the next two books.

January 2012
The Witches of Galdorheim 2 - Midnight Oil
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

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 that 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.

April 2012
The Witches of Galdorheim 3 - 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 trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, she has 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’s 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, her brother secretly follows her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger, too. Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save her brother’s life.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Character - Kat

BAD SPELLING: A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Now available at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon Kindle

Tap tap tap squeal!!

Is this thing on? Oh. I don’t need a microphone? Alrighty then.

My name is Katrina Galdorheim, but I'd rather you call me Kat. Try to convince my mother and aunt of that and you’d most definitely bring on one of her lectures. Especially if you try to argue with Aunt Thordis about ANYTHING! She’s the chief administrator and de facto mayor of our little island village full of witches and warlocks.

So when she implies I’m a L-O-S-E-R, everybody pretty much agrees with her. Oh, most of the other witches are nice enough to me, but the whispers behind my back are none too subtle.

A couple more people to introduce for this story.

My mom seems like a ditz, but her magic is just as powerful as Aunt Thordis’s. I think Mom just likes to be the total opposite of her overbearing sister. Don’t tell Aunt Thordis I said that.

My only real friend is Rune even if he is my brother (half) and crazy good at magic. Everything comes so easy for him and it’s enough to make me insane. The only thing he does have trouble with is keeping his vampire half in control. I know how hard it is for him. If he sees even a drop of human (well, witch or human) blood, he totally freaks. Eyes go blood red, canines grow. Yeah. Seriously. But he’s working on it, and will beat the blood-sucking monkey on his back someday.

What else can I say? This book is about me mostly, though mom, Aunt Thordis, and Rune all play a big part in it. So my problem is that I can’t cast spells without them going wrong. Not just little, teensy so-what wrong, but big, gigantic, totally outrageous wrong.

When you’re living on an island populated by witches, and the island runs on magic, being magic-challenged doesn't just suck, it's downright dangerous.

I hope you’ll read the book to see why I’m a klutz of a witch and what I do about it.

Look for the other posts throughout this month with fun factoids and an excerpt or two.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Tis here, tis there, tis everywhere.
The first book from the Witches of Galdorheim series: Bad Spelling.

Today (10/14/2011):

Read all about Andy, the troll turned human on Rosanne Dowell's blog.

To round out the release, I'll have a full line up of articles, character studies and excerpts from now to Halloween. Check the schedule page for the on-going blogs and articles.

BAD SPELLING – Book 1 of the Witches of Galdorheim
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Now at MuseItUp Publishing and Amazon

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 warlock 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. At the Troll Kingdom, a young troll, Andy, joins the siblings in their quest to find the shaman and kill the curse.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Winners of the MG/YA Blogathon

These are the winners from all the various blogs involved in the MG/YA Blogathon in September.

Rosemary Gemmell
Ann Foxlee
Lisa Blackwood
Jan Fischer Wade
Rosalie Skinner
Laura Ann Dunks
Brenda Sills
Margaret Tanner
Heather Haven
Nancy Rosenthal Stewart
Susan Royal

I have contacted all of your in some way, shape or form. Emailed where I could find one, found a couple of you through Facebook, another through Google+, and (hopefully) one of you through the MuseItUp Authors Group. I hope I hear from each of you to collect your prize: A copy of my new MG/YA fantasy, "Bad Spelling" or my adult murder mystery, "Missing, Assumed Dead." Thank you all for writing a comment on one or more of the MG/YA Blogathon blogs.

I'd also like to thank my fellow blogathon hosts one more time. Here they are (with their links conveniently pointed to my visit on their blog):

9/1 Charlotte Volnek
9/9 Rebecca Ryals Russell
9/10 Pembroke Sinclair
9/11 Kim Baccellia
9/14 Chris Verstraete
9/17 Sue Perkins
9/18 Shellie Neumeier
9/25 Lawna Mackie
9/26 Barbara Bockman
9/29 Meradeth Houston
9/30 Barbara Ehrentreu

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bad Spelling Now On Amazon Kindle

Be the first kid on your block to Like BAD SPELLING. Click on the keywords. Write a review. Heck, you can even buy a copy!

The official release date is Friday the 14th, but get an early copy from Amazon.

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More on Thumbnails

If you read my post on using Flickr to produce thumbnails of your covers (check back to this post), I'd like to add another tip.

Put all the thumbnail codes into a text file, then save it as HTML. I just had my codes one after the other. When I viewed the file in my browser (yes, you can view files on your computer in your browser. They don't have to be out on the internet somewhere), the thumbnails displayed in a nice neat row. I used a screen capture tool (on Windows 7, it's called Snipping Tool) to get a single JPG shot of all the covers together. I then used that JPG as the header for my website.

You can see how it looks as a header on a website by clicking here.

If you're looking at this blog live, rather than through a reader, a stacked set of the thumbnails is over there >>>>> in the right-hand sidebar. This is an HTML widget where I just added all the flickr codes. It adjusted to the two-up display naturally to the width of the sidebar.

Here's how the covers look when I snipped and saved them in a JPG file:

Pretty cool, huh? These are smaller than the actual size since it's wider than my blog post width. If I set them to full size, they'd hang out over the right side of this post.

So, you can see that there's lots of ways to get very nice facsimiles of your covers and group them for easy display.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Counting Down and a Bonus

Next Friday (October 14th) is release day for "Bad Spelling," the first book in the Witches of Galdorheim series.

That's exciting for me, of course, but I hope you'll get a little excited about buying and reading Bad Spelling.

For the first time (correct me if I'm wrong anybody), MuseItUp is offering a free short story with the purchase of Bad Spelling. Here's how that happened.

While dallying with ideas for another book in the series, it occurred to me that everybody's favorite boy vampire, Rune, didn't start out as Mr. Perfect. He had a learning curve to master his own magic (at which his sister is a miserable failure). I thought a prequel to Bad Spelling would be fun. Fill in a little of Rune's background. From these thoughts, I came up with the short story, "Spellslinger."

I sent it off to the publisher. MuseItUp offers short stories, but Spellslinger was so entwined with the Witches of Galdorheim books, that we decided to offer it as a bonus to readers who bought "Bad Spelling" from the MuseItUp Bookstore. That's the only place you'll be able to get the story (unless, of course, I decide to offer it as a freebie during the BAD Spelling Book Tour).

So there's an incentive to purchase Bad Spelling. It's part of the first two-fer deal from MuseItUp. I hope everybody who buys the book will enjoy the short story.

I want you to get to know and love the half-vamp/half-warlock rascal as he travels with his magic-challenged sister on her journey. She couldn't have done it without him.

Here's the first two paragraphs of Spellslinger to entice you. Buy the book, get the free short story, and enjoy.

Spellslinger Excerpt

Rune stuffed his hands into his jeans pockets and stomped down the street, his shoulders hunched. A clump of dandelions hugging the white picket fence leapt out at him, their squeaky little growls and slashing petals pulled a grin from the eleven-year-old warlock for a moment until he remembered he was in a bad mood.

He punted the attacking flowers with a transforming spell turning them into a tumbleweed rolling along the street. Rune sprinted after and gave it a kick with a Beckham bend. The shrub careened out of control over a picket fence and into a yard. Lilac, a witch who lived in the cottage, stepped out on her porch. “Rune, get that thing out of my garden!”