Monday, February 27, 2012

LASR, Marian Lanoutte and Writers Rainbow

A triple dose today (if it all works out).

A few friends and I wrote our personal advice on promos, blog tours, marketing, etc. Today, the whole enchilada should show up on the Writers Rainbow. I hope you'll stop by to read the words of wisdom from:

Killarney Sheffield
Penny Ehrenkranz
Lynn Crain
Marion Webb-Desisto
and me.


I got grilled by the fine folk at Long and Short Romances (LASR). Their interview form is intimidating to say the least, but I bravely pushed on to produce nearly 5000 words of (ahem) wisdom on science fiction romance. I wonder how many words will survive. I think I was writing "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy" a couple hundred times. Where's my axe?

Marian Lanoutte can carry a tune...I mean rune with excerpts from both Bad Spelling and Midnight Oil.

I haven't had the pleasure of hosting Marian yet. She writes mysteries and her first book in the Jake Carrington series is scheduled from MuseItUp Publishing September.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

LASR Interview and Runes

Scheduled for February 24th, February 27th Today.

I got grilled by the fine folk at Long and Short Romances (LASR). Their interview form is intimidating to say the least, but I bravely pushed on to produce nearly 5000 words of (ahem) wisdom on science fiction romance. I wonder how many words will survive. I think I was writing "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy" a couple hundred times. Where's my axe?

Now Available!
Marian Lanoutte can carry a tune...I mean rune with excerpts from both Bad Spelling and Midnight Oil.

I haven't had the pleasure of hosting Marian yet. She writes mysteries and her first book in the Jake Carrington series is scheduled from MuseItUp Publishing later this year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Double Feature - Two Blog Hops Today

I visit two blogs today and you can grab a free story just by visiting and clicking on the download link. Add a comment to enter the draw for a free ebook.

Sue Perkins plays hostess to Salmon the Orca, a major player in the Witches of Galdorheim series. He would say the "star" of the books, but that's just how orca's think.

Sue writes tween and YA fantasy for the most part. She recently visit this blog to tell us about not one, but two new books.

Read Sue's post about Reva's Quest and Dragon Flame.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You Gotta Read Voting Starts Today

Midnight Oil's cover was featured at You Gotta Read Covers on Feb 4th. Voting is scheduled from Feb. 21st through 26th.

NOTE: You Gotta Read has a new website at They are putting their trailer, cover, and review features on a convenient one-stop shopping site.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February Promo 3 - Free Books on Amazon

Today's free book on Amazon is a collection of short stories previously published in on-line ezines. Some publisher thought each one worthy of inclusion on their zines. Well, almost all. I added a few drabbles to spice it up. Click on the link today or tomorrow for a free Kindle ebook.

February 19th-20th: Mixed Bag

Don't miss out on the deal.

About Mixed Bag

A little science fiction, a bit of fantasy, plenty of humor, and some really shocking horror. These are tales to suit any mood. All stories in this book were previously published in on-line or print publications. I am re-issuing the stories since an editor somewhere liked them enough to publish them in the first place.

Fish Story - Science Fiction
The Vision - Paranormal/Horror
Chilpequin 22 Miles - Fantasy/Humor
Heather's Pain - Suspense
The Delegate - Science Fiction
The Country Faire - Literary Horror
If You Could See Her - Romance
Cursed Valley - Fantasy
Big Bessie's Place - Humor
The Hunter - Horror
A Visit to Potter's Field - Fantasy/Humor
Extraordinary Rendition - Literary Realism
Jonathan Swift Finds Nemo - Alternate History
A Grab Bag of Drabbles

Friday, February 17, 2012

Kindlegraph Available

Want to get you Kindle book signed? Huh? Sign an electronic book? That's not possible, right?

Well, it is sort of possible. Kindlegraph is a service authors can add their ebooks. If somebody reads the ebook (or you don't even have to buy one), you can get a personalized signing. I won't say signature because it's not the author's real signature unless they have a very steady hand with a mouse or use some kind of stylus device.

Anyway, if you buy any of my books, I can "sign" it for you through Kindlegraph. Go to the site and find the author/book you want signed. The application signals the author they have a signature to produce. The author pops over and writes a personal note to the requester. The reader then receives a Kindle file (under Docs) with the book cover and the personalized note. It's really not all that hard. Here's my Siggy Link if you want my note and dummy signature to be delivered to your Kindle device. It's not actually IN the book, but you can keep them for whatever fannish reason you have. I would like the service to let the author upload a real signature (my writing isn't as nice as shown below), but I guess that could be used to forge checks or something. Click on the box to go to my Signature page.

Another "for what it's worth" is my actual signature which I scanned and put into a file. I guess you can kind of read it. Don't both to grab it for forgeries. I don't have any money to steal.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Website (Redux)

The situation with my domain name is yet to be resolved. Not only that, it is deteriorating. I used to have a link to a page that told people to go to my new site. Now that is gone for reasons I can only wonder about. If anybody can tell me how to change the CNAME and other records for my domain (currently possessed by Melbourne IT), please help me out. Nothing I do seems to work. I cannot make my precious, unique domain name send a reader off to my new pages. Given that, I may never see my domain again.

Please click on my new website's URL to give it a Google boost. Right now, my old website bombs if anybody tries to get to it via (my bought twice and paid for, yet useless domain). Color me LIVID! Click the following instead:

I got most of the information about my books and such moved to the free Google site. Microsoft screwed me over well and truly. And I'm well and truly pissed off.

I did make a new book cover for "Quest for the Simurgh." It will remain an Indie title. I just wanted to feature the cool, old Arabic text on Simurghs. That's really what a Simurgh is supposed to look like.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Little Post-Valentine Romance from Pembroke Sinclair

Pembroke writes:

I write several different genres. I’ve written Westerns, sci fi, fantasy, horror, and even nonfiction. By far, my favorite genres are sci fi, fantasy, and horror. But I don’t shy away from a challenge, and I thought I’d try my hand at romance.

I don’t write romance with a capital R. That genre is way out of my league. The amount of stories I’ve read in that genre I can count on one hand. It’s not my favorite, and those that write the genre pretty much have the market cornered. Still, it was something that interested me, and I had a story rattling around in my brain, so I thought I’d give it a try.

The first story I wrote was published in an obscure magazine, and it wasn’t very good. Then, I was asked to do one for an anthology. It was a paranormal romance with dark undertones, so I thought, “What the heck?” Hence “The Weeping Bride” was created.

Order link: Etreasures Publishing 

Scorned at her own wedding, The Weeping Bride has vowed to make every bride from her hometown miserable until she finds her own happiness. When the groom at a friend's wedding disappears, Melanie and Tyler must solve the mystery of the Bride to save him. Time is not on their side. Will they find him before The Weeping Bride's revenge is satiated?

After that, “The History of My Wishes” wormed it’s way into my brain and wouldn’t leave me alone until I put it on paper. Again, this story is a dark romance with vampires.

Order link: MuseItUp Publishing

When you're told your life is tragic, what else can you do but believe it? To deal with her own tragedy, Stevie drowns her sorrows in alcohol while never venturing beyond a three block radius of her home. A menial existence at best.

Then, a blue-eyed mysterious stranger offers to take away the pain and heartache and show her the world, all Stevie has to do is make a wish...or three.

I decided to rewrite my first romance story, which is called “Second Chances.” That wasn’t the original title, but the changed title fits the theme better. It’s darkish, but has a happy ending. It will be coming out from Musa later.

I also wrote another story called “The Way She Makes Me Feel,” which will be coming out from eTreasures Publishing at some point in time.

In my stories, I like to focus on human reaction to certain situations, and I thought a lot about how guys feel in romantic situations. Two of my stories, “The Way She Makes Me Feel” and “Second Chances,” are told from the guys’ perspectives. I wanted to portray them as real people with real emotions and issues, instead of just hunks of meat for the heroine to fall in love with (that’s the impression I get from Romances, but since I’ve read so few, it might be totally off base).

The goal of any of my writing is to figure out how people react to their surroundings, whether it be fighting zombies or zooming around space. For me, love and romance was just another setting for the characters to react to. Even though it’s not my first choice of genre, and I probably don’t do it justice, they are still fun to write!

Bio: Pembroke Sinclair has had several stories published in various places. She writes an eclectic mix of stories ranging from western to science fiction to fantasy to horror.

Her stories have been published in Static Movement,, The Cynic Online Magazine, Sonar 4 Publications, Golden Visions Magazine, and Residential Aliens, among others.

Her novels, Coming from Nowhere and Life After the Undead, are now available at eTreasures Publishing and Her story, Sohei, was named one of the Best Stories of 2008 by The Cynic Online Magazine. If you would like to contact Pembroke, she can be reached at pembrokesinclair at hotmail dot com or

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Making a Writer Happy

I received a review of Bad Spelling posted on Amazon by a really interesting lady. It's such a great review, I have to share it. A boffo review from somebody I don't know who loves my book. That's the sweetest of the sweet. Vixenne Victorienne, you're my friend for life. Want a free copy of "Midnight Oil?" Just ask and it's yours.

By the way, I know all review are the property of Amazon, but that's ridiculous, so I'll just post it in full here anyway. Let's see if they have a cow.


5.0 out of 5 stars Under the Happy Spell of Bad Spelling, February 11, 2012

By Vixenne Victorienne "Kymberlyn Reed" (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews

(VINE VOICE) This review is from: Bad Spelling (The Witches of Galdorheim Series) (Kindle Edition)

The reason I fell in love with this book had to do with the cover and the back blurb, both of which reminded me of one of my favorite animated films 'Kiki's Delivery Service', directed by the brilliant Hayao Miyazaki. Like Kiki, the heroine of this book struggles to find herself and her place in the world, sometimes with comic results.

Most young adult fiction these days tend to be bad pastiches of the orginal bad pastiche Twilight, so when I discover those rare books in which there's no heroine-fail, no "mysterious but HAWT boy" or the standard (and useless) "love triangle", then you have my interest. I've been wondering for a while what the hell has happened to intrepid heroines like Tamora Pierce's Alannah, Phillip Pullman's Lyra and other go-get 'em girls who weren't content to let things just happen to them and who often embarked on grand adventures. Sadder still is the fact that the dumbing-down of YA heroines isn't being done by men, but by women authors whom one would think knew better.

Bad Spelling brings back the intrepid heroine in all her non-perfect yet still active in her own destiny glory. It is also the first fantasy I've read in which the cultures of the farthest reaches of Northern Europe--Norway, Finland, Siberia--figures prominently while not whitewashing the Asian features of many people who live in these polar regions. I especially loved how author Marva Dasef incorporated Norwegian legends into the narrative.

There is also a larger narrative in the book which is intolerance. The prologue for Bad Spelling is set in 1490 at the height of the witch hysteria that swept throughout Europe and cost the lives of hundreds of thousands (and perhaps an even higher number) of innocent women, men and children:

"Tears welled in Edyth's eyes. "What they are doing to us, `tis hateful. Why cannot they just leave us be?"

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

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

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

The few remaining witches and warlocks decide to leave Europe and travel to a remote island called Galdorheim, where they can live free and out of sight from those they call mundanes (humans without magical ability). The island is protected by a magical shield which renders it undetectable and which makes the normally cold land more hospitable to human/witch life.

Fast forward to present-day Galdorheim. Kat is a young witch with a BIG problem. Her spells, even the simplest, tend to backfire and usually there's green goo involved. Okay, so this is a plot device that's been used before, but that's not the point. It's how such a device is used and not glossed over or turned into something "cute" for whatever hunky, mysterious HAWT BOY happens to eventually come along and save her from. Kat really is a misfit, being the child of a witch and a human. And she's not the only one, her brother Rune is a warlock/vampire and has a rather difficult time controling his hunger around the sight of blood.

Kat feels like an outcast, and little wonder when her mother and her aunt are some of the most powerful witches on Galdorheim. However she discovers that perhaps her bad spellcasting may not be her fault, and so begins a quest to find her father's family, but to save her beloved home from eventual extinction. With Rune as her traveling companion, Kat discovers that her magical abilities work better the farther from Galdorheim she is. On her quest she meets a trio of trolls, one of whom is not all he seems, the Mountain King, a troll advisor who's still upset that a human girl guessed his real name (LOL), , a giant, helpful orcas and some pretty deadly lemmings. She rescues and needs rescuing. Most importantly, Kat's raison d'etre isn't centered around a HAWT boy du jour. She discovers attraction naturally but it's an attraction that also makes sense.

Thankfully there's more to come, but Bad Spelling doesn't end on a cliffhanger. I can't wait to visit Kat and the fantastically modern world of Galdorheim soon Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

Monday, February 13, 2012

C.K. Volnek's Tween/YA Books

Today we have with us, author C.K. Volnek. She has recently published two tween/ya books, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island and A Horse Called Trouble, and her third tween book, The Secret of the Stones, is due out in April. Hi CK, thanks for joining us today!

Hi Marva. Thank you so much for having me.

So tell us, how did you begin to write for middle grade and young adults?

I have always loved writing for children. After reading Black Beauty, I wanted to be the next Anna Sewell. Life took me the long route to attain my dream, but I never gave up on writing for the younger market. I’ve heard it said, you write what you enjoy reading and I have to admit most of my favorite books are still stories I read from my younger years. My Side of the Mountain, Follow My Leader, and The Secret Garden still make a presence in my personal library. But I also write mg/ya because I enjoy this age so very much. Children are great. They are curious and open, full of questions on all kinds of subjects. They love to learn, if you can hold their interest. To me it was a challenge-to create a story to keep their interest while offering something they would enjoy as well as learn from, whether it be history, geography or learning a little bit about themselves.

Can you tell us a little bit about your new books and what you hope your readers to take away from them?

Thanks for asking. In my tween horse story, A Horse Called Trouble, I hope my readers will take away the message that we are all important and worthy of life, love and happiness. One must find a dream and believe in it, then follow that dream to find your life’s passion.

In A Horse Called Trouble, my main character, 13-year-old Tara, must overcome her abusive past to save the defiant horse who taught her to love and trust again. It is a story of growing up to learn you are not what others believe you to be, but what YOU believe you are. Don’t let the traps of society rule you. You may only be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.

And though it is cliché, I also hope my readers learn to not judge a book by its cover. Judging others before you really get to know them not only affects the person you are judging, but also can put you in a position you might not intend to be in. For example, Alissa, my main antagonist, is pretty, wealthy, and popular. But she is also very mean. On the other hand, Tara feels she is a misfit; looked down upon, scoffed at, and mistreated because she doesn’t belong anywhere. But she is really smart and kind beneath her introverted mask. Which person would you really want as a friend?

A Horse Called Trouble

Abandoned by her mother at a young age, Tara Cummings has been passed from foster home to foster home; not wanted anywhere by anyone. At thirteen she’s skeptic and suspicious, with no family, and no friends.

Horse therapy “will teach trust, perseverance, respect, and the value of teamwork,” or so says the program’s instructor. Tara is unconvinced. Trust only broke her heart, perseverance meant more failures, and no one respects or wants to team up with the misfit foster kid.

At the farm, Tara meets Trouble, an angry and defiant horse, bent on destroying everything and everyone around him. Tara is frightened of the enraged horse, until she realizes Trouble is as misunderstood and untrusting as she is. Pushing aside her fear, a special bond is formed, much to the surprise of everyone at the farm. Trouble trusts Tara, and Tara in turn finds hope and acceptance as well as the will to love and trust again herself.

But, Tara’s confidence is shaken as an even greater challenge looms ahead. Trouble’s mean and manipulative owner is the one and only Alissa, Tara’s nemesis. Can Tara overcome her own limitations and fight to save the horse who freed her heart and gave her life value and meaning? Or will Alissa destroy them both?

Where did you get the idea for your book?

I have always loved horses. Such marvelous creatures they are. Proud, elegant, powerful yet gentle and compassionate. I was fortunate enough to be able to call several of these magnificent animals my friend and confidant as I grew up.

I knew I wanted to immortalize some of my treasured equine friends but I never expected to write the story of Trouble in such a fashion as I did. It was after visiting a horse farm that also entertained a horse therapy program for troubled youth that the story sky-rocketed. Tara came to life and shared her entire sad story with me and I couldn’t help but oblige and put it down on paper. And Trouble? He’s a mix of several of the horses I knew. Full of spunk, spirit, trust and devotion. It’s a horse story, full of conflict, with antagonists you’ll love seeing get what they deserve.

This story also revolves around a unique program…Horse Therapy. It was so incredible to spend time at Take Flight Farm and witness their Horse Therapy program for troubled youths. The magnificent horses in this program teach kids the value of respect, teamwork and trust. I know from personal experience how a horse can turn an irritable, scowling teenager into a calm, caring softie. And who can’t use a good dose of self-confidence. Horses can build that confidence.

You also had another book come out last September called Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island. Can you tell us a little bit about this book?

Yes, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island is a tween ghost story with a twist of Native American folklore and based on the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. It is also a story about growing up and realizing you are stronger than you ever realize, though the ghost story plays lead in this book and history is very instrumental in solving the mystery. I hope my readers will look up the facts I have included in Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island and realize that everything that happens yesterday has an effect on what happens today.

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island

In 1587, 117 colonists disappeared from Roanoke Island without a trace, leaving behind not only unanswered questions, but a terrifying evil.

Now it’s up to twelve year-old Jack Dahlgren to unravel the age-old mystery and save his family from the hateful beast that haunts the island.

With the help of newfound friend, Manny, a Native American shaman, and an elusive Giant Mastiff, Jack must piece together the clues of the Lost Colony to discover what really happened. Shrouded in ancient Native American folklore, it's up to Jack to uncover what the evil is and why it haunts his island. But can he destroy it...before it destroys him?

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island is now available in both e-book and print on Amazon as well as other fine book locations.

So what is your next book about?

The Secret of the Stones is more of a fun read. It is also the first book of a series titled The Lost Diaries of Northumberland and revolves around the legend of Merlin the Magician and the wicked Vivienne. It was created mostly to entertain and encourage my readers to read.

Based in present day, young Alex Ramsey is thrust into magic mayhem when the gift he’s been entrusted to protect turns out to be the enchanted object detailed in a mysterious prophecy.

The Secret of the Stones

Trading places with a squirrel outside his window is the last thing twelve year-old Alex expect to happen. Could the gift Aunt Norma gave him be magic? The Merlin’s magic he’d read about in the ancient diary? After he unexpectedly trades places with his sister’s guinea pig, Alex realizes he must discover how the magic works…and fast. How had the trickery transformed him with the animals-and-how did it turn him back to himself?

As Alex struggles to understand the how and why of his enchanted gift, he becomes painfully aware there is more to it than he first thought. Within the magic there is a great power, a power to control, a power so strong that there is another who is willing to do almost anything to get it. Can Alex protect the gift while solving the secrets to how the magic works? And can he make sense of the riddles in the diary, the riddles surrounding the prophecy of Merlin’s return?

Which authors have most influenced your own writing?

I love to read. And I take away something from every book I read. So it is hard to pick just a few authors who have really impressed me but two come to mind right away. Jane Yolen and Jay Asher. The book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher still haunts my thoughts and I adore the rich prose of Jane Yolen. Her book, Briar Rose remains one of my favorites

What do you do for fun other than writing?

I dabble in a variety of things other than writing…spending time with my family is a priority but I also love to dabble with flower gardening, jewelry making, hiking, and taking long walks with my Papillon pups… I am officially known as the ‘dog woman’ around our small town. Lol.

Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

I’m a night-owl. And I have a laptop. So most of my writing is done sitting in my most comfortable chair in the front room with at least two pups sitting by me or on the ottoman. I have my I-pod, loaded with Yanni, and a Diet Coke at hand and I’m ready to write, write, write.

What advice would you like to give to young people who want to write?

There are two important elements I would like to stress to young writers…

One - Believe in yourself. We are our own worst enemy. I still find times where I will doubt myself. I’ll read a really great book, one so good I can’t imagine my stories ever comparing. But that’s when my characters jump in and give me a good kick in the behind and remind me of one of my favorite quotes … To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. Your story might be the saving grace to one person out there. YOU have a story to tell and no one else can tell it for you. If you don’t write it, it won’t get written.

Two – Never give up! No matter what. Write, write, write and write some more. Put one story to bed and move onto another. Don’t let your muse shrivel up. She can cause you great distress if you don’t let her out to play and she will starve if you don’t feed her.

Where can readers find you?

Thanks so much for having me today. I’d love to have your readers contact me at ckvolnek (at) yahoo (dot) com.

They can join me on my web page:, or visit me at my blog:

They can also find me on Facebook (C.K. Volnek) or Twitter (CKVolnek), Good Reads and Jacket Flap.

My book trailers are on Youtube.

My books are available at the MuseItUp Book Store.

A Horse Called Trouble

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
as well as Amazon:

A Horse Called Trouble
Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island

and many other fine book locations on-line.

Thanks so much for having me here today.

C.K. Volnek

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February Promo 2 - Free Ebook at Amazon

Amazon allows authors who have assigned books to the Kindle Lending Library (books free to borrow for Prime customers) can also offer a five-day limited free purchase for those books.

I'm offering a book for free for two days:

February 12th-13th: Quest for the Simurgh

Don't miss out on the deal.

About Quest for the Simurgh

The village magician 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; 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 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.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cool Music and an Update

UPDATE: I mistakenly gave a virtual sex change to MR. Lee Fitzsimmons. My apologies. I often am mistaken for male (I even got rushed by a fraternity), so I know he'll just get a laugh out of it.

EVEN BETTER UPDATE: Lee is willing to swap music for a link on your blog or website. You can contact Lee on Twitter at @LeeFitzsimmons (how easy is that!).

I just discovered a musician and writer, Lee Fitzsimmons. His music clips are terrific and free for download. I asked him about using the music for book trailers, and you do need to buy the license to use at

Lest you go, "aw, damn, I don't have any money to spend on music!" note that Production Trax does have royalty free music (pay once, use many), sound effects, and all sorts of aural and visual goodies. It's worth checking out as an addition to your list of media sources.

Click over to Lee's website to listen/download a bit of soft rock and roll, jazz, symphonic, reggae, or whatever tunes you up.

Lee's also an author. His novella, "The Endarkening" is available at Amazon.

In the darkness, things are not always what they seem to be...

Creating an Urban Legend

I belong to Groupon, an on-line coupon service. I've bought quite a few coupons for half-price meals through it. It's a great way to get to know eateries around your town, without paying full freight.

Anyhow, Groupon always has something interesting in a section on every page titled "Groupon Says." These are hilarious for the most part and I'll pop over to look at coupons I don't even want just to read this little article.

Due credit to Groupon and whoever writes the column. I thought this particular column apropos to my author visitors.

The Groupon Guide to: Writing an Urban Legend

Everyone secretly wants to believe in scary stories that might be true. Indulge your friends' gullibility with these tips to crafting the perfect urban legend:

• Make sure the story takes place somewhere nearby, on a similar night—ideally exactly 100 years ago to the night. Or on the devil’s birthday.

• Always include an animal that turns out to be a different animal or an animal where one does not belong—like a dog that is actually a rat, or an alligator in the bathroom of the Museum of Alligator Safety.

• Tweak the details—it's only a few letters’ difference to change "gardener" to "murderer," and only a small white lie to change "was valued by the community" to "possessed double hook hands and a thirst for marrow."

• Always carry "proof"—this can be a monster's tooth carved from soap, a faded newspaper article created in Photoshop, or a scrap of the victim's clothing that is actually just a scrap of clothing you ripped off a terrified hiker you chased through the woods.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Interview on TBR Today

Cate Master's has started a To Be Read blog featuring interesting authors, new books, a blurb fest, featured authors, and all manner of publishing goodies.

Go to the TBR blog and bookmark it because you'll want to follow it regularly.

From the blog description:

TBR highlights books you haven't yet read but would love to. If you're an author interested in featuring your work, check the available dates under the Schedule tab and email: tbrtheblog [at] to arrange an interview. Please note: This blog is not rated, so all excerpts must be suitable for general audiences, though books of any heat level are welcome, as are books of any genre. We look forward to featuring yours!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

New Website

Here's my new website (at least, my temporary headquarters):

The sad but true tale behind this:

Microsoft Office Live has hosted my website ( for several years. It started out free and they even gave me my domain name for free.

About a year and a half ago, they decided to charge $14.95/year for web hosting. I thought that was still a pretty good deal, so I paid for 2/2011-2/2012. In January, I got the notice that the annual fee would come due soon, so I just paid it ahead of time so I wouldn't forget. That amount I paid in January would provide annual service from 2/2012 to 2/2013. Matter of fact, my subscription from last year doesn't even expire until the 19th of this month. Here's the email I got on January 17th, when I renewed:

Dear Marva Dasef,

This mail is confirmation that you have successfully renewed your subscription to Microsoft Office Live Small Business - Domain Addon. This renewal goes into effect on Tuesday, January 17, 2012. Please retain a copy of this for your records.
On January 30th, I got this email:


On April 30, 2012, we are discontinuing Office Live Small Business. We would like to offer you an opportunity to self-transition to Microsoft® Office 365 for professionals and small businesses.

To get you started, we are offering you an exclusive 6 month free trial, of Office 365 for professionals and small businesses and Office Professional Plus

Whoa! You just made me pay for a service that was supposed to be good until 2013, and now it EXPIRES! All right, jerks, where's my refund? Answer is: Oh, you don't get a refund. That was an automatic payment. You have to (now get this) MANUALLY move everything on your website into the new system. No conversion of the existing site. I can't even use the .OLP backup file. No software can interpret that file type except Office Live. Which will, of course, no longer exist past April 30th.

I wrote a complaint; they obfuscated. The "support" email I received is so laughable it's ridiculous. Of course, the forums are full of other people very upset about this BAIT AND SWITCH tactic.

I'm going to attempt to retrieve my domain name. Apparently, I have to work with the domain issuing company in Australia. I'm not even sure how to do this, except that I have to cancel my existing site in order to obtain the key to the domain name, then email this Aussie company, blah blah blah.

But if I have to remove my site to get my key, I'll have to first move my "stuff" elsewhere. Images are fine since they're all somewhere on my hard drive already, but I have to re-create some things in a different way because the tools that MS provided don't translate to anywhere else. Remember that .OLP file? Totally worthless for this purpose.

I am in the process of rebuilding a website using Google services. Yes, they're taking over the internet world piece by piece. Since I already use most of their services such as YouTube, Pikasa, Blogger, and Gmail, I might as well go with the website too.

I feel like Microsoft defrauded all their Office Live customers. Do any one of us have a way to force them to make good? Nope. I'll have my eyes peeled for a class action suit. I'll definitely join it if there is one.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

I Visit the MuseItUp Blog

Today, I'm blabbing about something or other. Oh, right! It's a Mystery Day on the MuseItUp blog. I'll be sharing today with author Heather Haven, who is a wonderful writer and a generous friend to other authors.

Catch my gig early. Heather takes over at high noon.

My post is on Multiple POVs (point of view) in Mysteries. With one mystery under my belt, I'm sure I'm now an expert. Actually, multiple POVs are not just for mysteries. With ten books and forty or so short stories, I will claim some level of expertise.

If you're fond of old Japanese films like the Seven Samurai and Rashomon, you won't want to miss the post.

Monday, February 06, 2012

I Visit Teen Word Factory

I'm visiting the Teen Word Factory today. My topic has to do with research (boring!) and how hitting the books can bring new ideas to your work in progress.

Pop over to learn about the Nenets tribe of Siberia, nuclear testing, totems, and stone shrines. This is all neat stuff I learned when I was researching Midnight Oil, book 2 in the Witches of Galdorheim series.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

February Promo 1 - Free Ebooks at Amazon

Amazon allows authors who have assigned books to the Kindle Lending Library (books free to borrow for Prime customers) can also offer a five-day limited free purchase for those books.

This month I'm offering three books for free for two days each. Other free book days will follow.

STARTS TODAY February 5th-6th: Tales of a Texas Boy

and on Amazon UK

February 12th-13th: Quest for the Simurgh

and on Amazon UK

Don't miss out on the deal.

February 19th-20th: Mixed Bag 

and on Amazon UK

Don't miss out on the deal.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

February Schedule

What's happening in February. A busy month with me visiting blogs, authors visiting me, free book giveaways, and a book cover contest.

4th You Gotta Read Cover Contest
5th Free Kindle Book: Tales of a Texas Boy
7th Teen Word Factory
8th MuseItUp Blog
10th TBR Blog
13th C.K. Volnek Visits Me Here
13th Free Kindle Book: Quest for the Simurgh
15th Pembroke Sinclair Visits Me Here
17th Heather Haven
19th Penny Noyce Visits Me Here
19th Free Kindle Book: Mixed Bag
20th Anne Johnson
22nd Sue Perkins
24th Marian Lanouette

Not Yet Scheduled:
LASR Interview
Writers Rainbow
Penny Noyce