Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween is for Witches Payoff!



BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
MIDNIGHT OIL - Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
SCOTCH BROOM - Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

The Big Payoff

If you've been studiously follow the last five posts about the Witches of Galdorheim characters (and maybe watching the book trailers), you're a shoo-in for answering some easy-peasy questions.

Why bother? How about a free copy of a paperback book* (don't we all have more than enough ebooks?)? I like those two question marks. Gonna have to use that more often. A question within a question...

Right, where was I? (another question) Here are the questions or fill-in the blanks. Go look at the posts with the label "Halloween is for Witches" to get the answers (the questions are linked to the appropriate post. To prevent cribbing off somebody else's work, send the answers to my email mgdasef (at) gmail (dot) com with something in the description to alert me that you're entering the quiz.
  1. Kat's familiar is named Teddy. When she transforms him, he starts out as ___________ and ends up as ____________.
  2. Rune uses his magical powers to make ___________ and he wants to be ____________.
  3. Ardyth's familiar is _____________ and his name is _______________. (Bonus: what trick does he love to play on Ardyth?)
  4. Thordis wants to talk to Kat's dead father. She's brought some needed items to accomplish this. These items are __________, ___________, and ______________.
  5. Mordita hates most everybody except Kat, Rune, and her __________ named _____________.
* A paperback book is a strange object with many sheets of paper within a sometimes shiny wrapper of heavier paper. On the papers inside the wrapper there are words. When taken all together, the words form a story of some kind. Here are your choices of paperback books if you win by answering all of the above. If you prefer ebooks, I'll be happy to send you any of my books in e-format of your choice. I have some books ready for gifting at Omnilit.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween is for Witches - Mordita the Sorceress

Mordita the Sorceress

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 read the second book in the series, Midnight Oil.

Excerpt from Bad Spelling

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.

* * *

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
MIDNIGHT OIL - Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
SCOTCH BROOM - Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Final Destination Movie: Scotch Broom

Kat goes on yet another adventure, this time leaving little brother Rune behind. Rune has different ideas about that and tracks Kat into the Otherworld of Scotland.

Friday, October 26, 2012

At the Movies: Midnight Oil

After Kat gets her magic mojo, she has to see to the proper burial of her almost, but not quite, dead father. She's on another sea cruise and, as usual, things don't go as planned.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

At the Movies: Bad Spelling

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then even a brief book trailer has to be worth a few thousand. Today's feature: Bad Spelling.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween is for Witches - Rune the Teen Warlock

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
MIDNIGHT OIL - Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
SCOTCH BROOM - Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Rune the Teen Warlock

My alpha, beta, kappa, and gamma readers (not to mention you, the omegas) are clamoring for another book in the series that will star Katrina's little brother, Rune. I'm working on it! But you won't have to wait to get a Rune short story. "Spellslinger" is all about Rune and his own problems: learning magic and keeping his vampire side at bay. The story is included in the "Bad Spelling" release as a bonus.

If Rune is to be the main character of his own book, I first have to send Kat (elder sister) off someplace or Rune needs to leave home on his own adventure. I decided on the latter, so Rune will go to visit his father, Drakos, in Transylvania. However, Kat has a couple more of her books coming up in the Witches of Galdorheim series, so don't hold your breath.

Did I mention Rune is half vampire? I know that sounds like a tired old paranormal trope these days, but I promise you it was my idea first. Matter of fact one publisher told me that it was impossible for someone to be fathered by a vampire and a human mother. I begged to differ.

C'mon! It's paranormal. If vamps can sparkle or hunt their own kind or team up with demons, then my boy can be half vampire. Books I've seen released in the last couple of years have used the half-vamp to good advantage. Just to let all of you know, Rune was first conceived (haha) in 2007, so I'm pretty darn sure I got there first.

I picture Rune as a young Adam Lambert, but there just aren't many 12-year-olds around who can take on that drop-dead glam rocker look.

Here's an excerpt from "Spellslinger," which takes place before the events in "Bad Spelling." It's free with the purchase of Bad Spelling from the MuseItUp Bookstore.


“Aunt Thordis,” he called. Her office door behind the raised dais was closed, which usually meant ‛go away and leave me alone’.

This time, though, the door swung open and the tall, blonde witch came through. She glanced at Rune, and her lips twitched to an almost-smile. “Well, Rune, it looks like you’ve got something weird planned.” She walked across the platform to its edge, then floated to the floor. Thordis looked him up and down, put her hands on her hips, and snorted. “I do not believe, nephew, that we have any ranches close by.”

“Oh, this isn’t a cowboy outfit. I’m the lawman.” A shiny star appeared on his shirt over his heart saying “Sheriff Rune.”

The regal witch nodded slowly. “I see. What does that have to do with me?”

“I want to spell up a town like in the old west in the United States. It’s got to have some bad guys. Maybe some bandits or cattle rustlers.” He touched his Stetson. “I’m the good guy.”

“Again, why would this interest me in the slightest?”

“I’m not good enough at spellcasting yet to make a whole town.” Rune stuck his thumbs in his gun belt and said, with what he hoped was an authentic western drawl, “I’d be right pleased, ma’am, if’n you’d loan me some magic.”

“A whole town? Where exactly are you going to put this town?”

“Oh, outside the village dome. There’s that big glacier near the ice cave. That should be plenty of room. All I need is the street, a saloon, ‛cause that’s where the bad guys hang out, the sheriff’s office, a trading post, and some horses tied up outside the saloon.”

The corners of Thordis’s mouth turned down, and she heaved a deep sigh. “You’re not asking for much, are you?”

Rune pressed his palms together and donned his best begging face. “Pretty please.” Thordis may give him a hard time, but he knew deep down she loved him. He’d just have to wear her down.

Thordis shook her head, but said, “All right, but I’ll only give you two hours of booster magic.”

Rune grinned. “That’ll be plenty, Aunt Thordis. Thanks!”

With a quick spell, Thordis enhanced Rune’s magic for his project. When she finished, she grabbed his chin and leaned over him. “Stay out of trouble, boy. Indiscriminate use of magic can be dangerous.” Rune nodded his head vigorously, and she let him go.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ask David Promos

All three of the Witches books being featured this month on this blog are now displayed on the AskDavid site. I mention this because: 1) it's free for writers and 2) it's a comprehensive description of each book. Job well done by David.

Book 1 Bad Spelling (The Witches of Galdorheim Series)

Book 2 Midnight Oil (The Witches of Galdorheim Series)

Book 3 Scotch Broom (The Witches of Galdorheim Series)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween is for Witches - Katrina the Teen Witch

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
MIDNIGHT OIL - Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
SCOTCH BROOM - Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Katrina the Teen Witch

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.

This excerpt makes clear just how much of a klutz I am. Don't worry, though. Things get worse, but eventually they do get better.

Bad Spelling - Chapter 1 Excerpt

Kat ran up the steps of the schoolhouse as a flash of red light pulsed from the space beneath the front door. A screech of girlish laughter followed by shouts of “yes!” and “whoa!” got louder when she pulled the door open. Her heart sank. Dang it. Late again.

A muffled bang accompanied by puffs of red and violet smoke billowing out from the back of the room gave her cover to rush to the last available seat. When the smoke cleared, Kat rolled her eyes, barely controlling a snort. Her brother Rune’s used-to-be vampire bat now clung to his finger chirping angrily while his best friend’s was-a-rat now stared with hungry eyes at it in the temporary form of a scruffy gray cat.

Unfazed, Miss Mariah cleared her throat and glared at the boys. “Would you please wait for everyone else?” Rune and Dalton grinned at each other and transformed their respective familiars back to their original forms.

Grow up, bro. Really! Kat thought, but a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. She was proud of Rune’s mad skills, since she couldn’t spell herself out of a beanbag chair. She knew she had the power; everybody knew it. What she lacked was control. Every spell she tried to cast went wrong in the most disastrous way.

Rune’s bat flapped to the rafters and hung upside down, glaring down at his owner. Rune dodged a drop of guano, picked up his wand, and tapped it on the desktop. With a high-pitched squeak, the bat dropped to the desk and folded its wings, but it didn’t look happy.

Miss Mariah muttered, “Fiksu aasi noita.” She watched Kat as she hunched over and dropped her book bag on the floor. “Nice of you to join us, Katrina. See me after class about your tardiness.”

She faced the class. “Now then, please take out your chalk and wands for today’s lesson, which is,” she shot a semi-annoyed look at Rune and Dalton, “transformation.” The Wiccan students rustled bags and whispered to each other while they did as told.

When the witches and warlocks in training looked up, she continued. “Although some students can transform without benefit of pentagram and wand, those of you who are beginners, or less motivated—” she paused and gave Kat a hard look, “must practice first with the proper equipment.”

Kat’s face warmed, and she sank lower into her chair. Heaving a sigh, she set her brown bunny, Teddy, on her desktop and fumbled in her bag for her spell book, yew wood wand, and chalk.

Merry, the curly-haired blonde witch sitting next to Kat, waved her arm in the air.

“What is it, Merry?” Miss Mariah asked.

“Can you make Katrina sit somewhere else? Whenever she’s near me, my spells don’t work right. She’s a jinx.”

The class snickered. Kat grimaced at Merry. If I got my hands on her…aw, what’s the use? 

“No, everybody stays right where they are,” Miss Mariah snapped. She pasted on a fake smile and continued in a treacle-sweet voice. “Now, class, draw the pentagram on your desktop and place your familiar in its center.”

The younger students practicing their first transformations looked to the board where, under Miss Mariah’s control, the chalk drew a practice pentagram stopping short of completing the last of the five points.

She tapped the board. “An unattended pentagram can cause all sorts of problems, the least being a tusser or  tomte taking advantage of an open gateway. They’re harmless for the most part but like to play tricks. So be  prepared with your spell before completing the pentagram.” More than one kid smudged an opening in their already drawn star. “Children, you must focus. Don’t let yourselves get distracted.” Miss Mariah adjusted a child’s grip on his wand as she walked by.

Merry curled her lip and hissed, “You’d better not screw me up. If I can’t work this spell right, it’ll be your fault.”

“Tough luck, Merry,” Kat snarled. “If you’re such a great witch, my being here shouldn’t make any difference.”

Turning away from Merry, Kat finished the final leg of her pentagram and set the bunny in the center. “Stay right there, Teddy,” she whispered to her little brown rabbit, setting a chunk of carrot in front of him. He made a dash for the edge of the desk. Kat hauled him back. “Cut it out. You’ll smear my chalk lines.” She stroked his soft fur for a moment. “Hope this works.” He twitched his nose twice, closed his eyes, and hunkered down.

Kat checked her spell book one last time, took a deep breath, and completed the spell with a loud “FullgerĂ°ur!” and a dramatic sweep of her arms, just missing Merry’s head with her wand. Merry shrieked and jumped out of her chair. She glared at Kat while wiping green goo off the side of her face. “Your rabbit stinks. Just like your spellcasting!”

Kat’s mouth hung open for a moment; then she clamped it shut when she glanced down at what was left of Teddy sitting in a pool of slime dripping onto the floor. Merry was right about one thing. The goo smelled like pond scum.

Teddy looked up at his witch with sad, bulging eyes, the top half of a frog’s body floating in the green glop. Kat groaned. Poor, long-suffering Teddy. Green and slimy—that was the good part. The pink nose and floppy ears—not so good. If she couldn’t master transformation and the other mid-level junior spells, she’d be left behind again.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Spooky Movies for the Weak of Heart

Okay, don't laugh. I'm not a big fan of scary movies because...well, I get scared and can't go to sleep. Overactive imagination, I guess. Here are two movies that are scary-themed, but charming and delightful. Can't go wrong with them as a good choice for Halloween viewing, especially if you have little ones in the house.

Director/Producer Tim Burton is my go-to guy for fun Halloween themed movies.

Who doesn't love Jack Skellington? And Oogie (the boogieman) is kind of chilling in his own musically cool way. Nightmare before Christmas is great for October through Christmas. A scary tale of Santa Claws replacing Santa Claus with disastrous consequences.

And how can you not love a love story, even if one of the lovers is, um, fleshly challenged? Corpse Bride was sweet and funny. Who says zombies have to be evil?

Besides, it's Johnny Depp!

Tim Burton has continued with another stop-motion animated movie for this Halloween. Frankenweenie looks like a lot of fun. I'm also waiting for the live action Dark Shadows to creep up my Netflix list.

And for the old school ghost story, what's not to love about Casper? If you're too young to have gone to the movie house and be treated with a cartoon before the main feature, then you might be missing a lot of fun stuff. I lived for Looney Tunes.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cate Masters Has the Spooky Stuff

I'm visiting Cate Masters' blog today. She's doing Halloween specials all month. Please drop by her blog and leave a comment. Many of her visiting authors are doing giveaways, including me!

I'm being as silly as possible. After all, who wants to read the same old author interviews all the time? Since a graphic is always nice on a blog, here's a recent photo of my family. I'm on the right. No, I'm on the left. Whatever.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Capturing Fleeting Moments of Fame

With book sales, authors sweating for the big publishers don't have a clue how many of their books sold until they get a much delayed royalty statement. Small publishers like my own MuseItUp are allowed to look at the sales spreadsheet whenever we want. My publisher, however, can only put in the sales as they are reported to her.

All authors can track their sales immediately by watching rankings on Amazon. As far as I know, no other huge on-line retailer does this. It becomes as obsession if you're not careful.

Amazon recently added AUTHOR rankings. That is, the total of the books sold by a given author provides a ranking within the zillion or so authors whose books sell on Amazon. When Amazon told me about this, I chuckled and went to take a peek at my own author ranking. Knowing there are a zillion authors, I expected to be in at least the six-digit area (the higher, the worse on rankings). Much to my amazement, I was actually in the five-digit world. Well, that's something to write home about, so here's my proof that I'm way up in the world of Amazon authors FOR THE HOUR since rankings change hourly. Still, one captures these highs so they can brag about them. Here's my bragging rights. That 33,931. Yay me!

My publisher also tossed a kudo my way for being in the top ranks of juvie book sales at Omnilit. Also a nice brag, so here's the snapshot I can treasure into my old age. Those three books in the middle of the top row are all mine. Not only best selling, but highest rated!

It's nice to have a brag every once in a while. Keeps me from slashing my wrists and draining all my blood into my keyboard. Validation is a life saver.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Halloween Posts and Quiz Coming Soon

Halloween is for Witches

I'll be doing a Halloween thing with multiple posts starting on 10/21 (see the right sidebar).

The subjects of the posts will be the witches who reside on Galdorheim Island. The series is all out on ebook now. Just to be different, the drop-dead easy quiz about those characters will include a giveaway, not of an ebook (though non US/Canada winners will have to settle for that) but of paperback books which I will send by the speedy US Postal Service.

Not a single one is in the Witches of Galdorheim series (print sometime in the future), but of other books in my arsenal. They range from nostalgic memoirs of a boy in 1930s West Texas to a far-future dystopian science fiction. I have seven books in the giveaway, so chances of winning are very high.

Want to know what you're playing for?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Next Big Thing Tour - Week 2

I'd like to thank Beverly McClure, my sponsor for Next Big Thing. If you visit her NBT post, you can follow the links to other writers you might not know and would enjoy discovering.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the title of your book? 

Setara's Genie

Where did the idea come from for the book? 

Probably from the Seven Voyages of Sinbad. I discovered some of the wonderful middle-eastern mythology such as genies, rocs, evil viziers, and so on. When I decided it would be fun to play with the idea of genies, I did some research. I was disappointed to find that they're actually evil creatures. On the other hand, Disney's Sinbad had the Robin Williams version of a genie, who was anything but evil.

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely fantasy. You can get that from the title. It is appropriate for middle-grade readers and up.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, this is fun. I've never checked for actors, mostly because I always envision Pixar making an animated film from the book, but I'll see if I can find some matches for the main characters.

Mila Kunis is getting a little old to play a 15-year-old, but she has a great look and could totally be Setara.

I'd definitely cast Ian McKellen (aka, Galdalf) or Morgan Freeman in the role of Abu Nuwas, the old storyteller.

Like I said, I think in terms of animated for the book. It would certainly be less expensive for special effects. Flying horse, merman, dragons, demons, a genie that can look like anything at all. Animation is definitely the way to go.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A girl, a genie, a couple of demons; what could go wrong? (Notice how I cleverly used a semi-colon to make my logline into a single sentence.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

While I have self-published, "Setara's Genie," was published in September by MuseItUp Publishing. MuseItUp is a small publisher that does not require agents to submit. Personally, I think the role of agents is shifting in the turn toward ebooks. The major publishers are the slowest to take hold of the new technology, and will end up making themselves irrelevant unless they get with the concept of low-priced books for everyone to carry around on their ereader of choice.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Oh, about 25 years. Setara did begin as a short story titled "Cadida and the Djinn." I not only changed the main character's name, but added six more adventures for the girl who finds herself the master of a not-so-helpful genie. After I wrote all seven adventures, I put them together into a single volume using the frame story technique of 1001 Arabian Nights. What's good enough for Scheherazade is good enough for me.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Uh, um, well. Really, there aren't any. Hey, I went to Amazon and looked, but the only middle-eastern fantasy I found are retellings of what are essentially fairytales. That's not what I've done. So, if somebody comes up with any comps, let me know.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I think this is answered earlier. The 1960s Seven Voyages of Sinbad inspired me to look into the wealth of middle-eastern mythology. It's not been used as much as Celtic or Norse myth, so it seemed a good way to go.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

A fantasy setting different from the Euro-centric standard Celtic and Norse. Lots of humor. Some hair-raising battles with beasts and pirates. I think the adventures of Setara and her genie will appeal to kids, whether by heart or by age.

Next week (October 17th), please visit the Queens of the Deck. 
Oh, look! We've got an Ace up our sleeve as well. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Eagle Quest Double-Signed on Ebay

The very talented mrsroadrunner (she's shy about giving out her real name) the wildlife photographer provided the cover for my YA adventure, "Eagle Quest." We got together and both of us signed a couple of copies. It's funny seeing my book on ebay for $19.99. Hey, but it's signed!

If that's a bit steep for your pocketbook, you can get Eagle Quest as an ebook or print on Amazon for considerably less.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Native Americans and Columbus Day

As a writer with Native American characters in my books, I'd like to say that Columbus Day should NOT be a holiday or celebration of any type. Besides, the jerk wasn't even the first. My Viking ancestors arrived first.

My books with NA characters: 'Missing, Assumed Dead' and 'Eagle Quest.'

Add your book title in comments if you have NA characters and agree that the real Americans got a raw deal.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

HELP! Cybils Nominations are Open

NOTICE: None of my books are eligible this year, but next year maybe I'll have something that is. Thanks to those folks who gave it a shot to nominate. The thought is very much appreciated.

Actually, the public nominations have been open since October 1st. While I can nominate my own books, it's so much nice coming from someone else. My publisher is limited to 10% of their eligible kids' books. That means they'll need to be very choosy.

Go here to read about how to nominate and for links to the public nomination forms. 

My eligible books (published between 10/16/2011 and 10/15/2012) are all from MuseItUp Publishing and Marva Dasef is my author name for all my books. I don't think you need any other information, but I'll include the links to the books in Amazon just in case:

Midnight Oil - Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series

Scotch Broom - Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series

These books can be entered in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category, the Middle Grade Fiction category, and the YA Fiction category. A public nominator can submit only one book in each category, but any single book can be nominated in multiple categories. In other words, spread the love.

If my book is already listed in a category, you don't need to nominate it again. Matter of fact, it will kick you back to the beginning if the book is already listed. Once is enough to get into the judging stacks.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Bev from Missing, Assumed Dead

Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets. 
MuseItUp Buy Link:
Kindle Ebook: 
NOW OUT IN Paperback:


In "Missing, Assumed Dead," Bev is the mom-n-pop grocery store owner in Rosewood, Oregon. She's the go-to woman if you want to find out what's what in town. She has a running feud with Ray, the diner owner, but Kam thinks that the back and forth banter between the two senior citizens is just a coverup for friendlier feelings. I picture Bev looking a lot like the cartoon character Maxine.

Kam first meets Bev: 

An elderly woman, about Ray’s age, wearing polyester pants and a T-shirt emblazoned with “I’m With Stupid” sat on a high stool studying a dog-eared Ladies’ Home Journal. She set the magazine aside and faced Kam over the counter. “So, you decided to get some food that tastes halfway decent, eh?”

Kam jerked, startled by the woman’s blunt words. “Um, yeah, I guess so.”

The old woman gestured with her head toward Ray’s. “That sumbitch can’t cook worth a damn. Thinks he’s so smart with his cute little place. Looks like a hippie hangout to me.”

“I think Ray’s food is fine. I just wanted something easy to go.” Kam wondered what Ray had done to piss her off.

The woman patted her short hair, mostly gray with streaks of strawberry blond, and sniffed. “Well, if you ask me—”

“Um, what’s with the kitty? She looks pretty old.” Kam considered reaching out to pet the cat, but one yellow eye opened warning her off.

“Mrs. Malachai.” The shopkeeper reached over and chucked the cat softly behind one ear. “She’s my sumbitch detector.”

“What—Aw, never mind. How much do I owe you?”

The woman sniffed again. “Six ninety-nine.”

Kam handed her a ten and took the change.

“You’re Kameron McBride, right? Come to town to settle Salvadore’s business. What’s your middle name?”

Kam blinked. “Uh, Hope.” What the hell?

“I’m Bev. Want a bag, Kameron Hope?”

Kam blinked again. “Just Kam. No, I think I can handle it.” Kam turned away and then about-faced. “Did you know Salvadore Vasco?”

Thursday, October 04, 2012

My Review of Dragon Clans by Sue Perkins

Dragon ClansDragon Clans by Sue Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this second book in the Dragon series, Sue Perkins deftly continues the story of the partnership of dragon and human on a colonized world. "Dragon Flame," book 1, tells how the isolated, agrarian humans discover that a race of sentient beings already occupy the planet. It was not a nice meeting.

"Dragon Clans" takes place five years after the dragons and humans have made peace. However, one of the dragon clans, the Valdra, were not included in the treaty.

But they do have human contact via the clan's adoption of a lost girl, Sie. She becomes part of the clan, which is a fortunate circumstance that will eventually have all the dragon clans together again as they were in the ancient days. Byron, just a boy during the initial wars and reconciliation, takes center stage as he teams with Sie to bring understanding and peace to the dragon clans and the humans.

Sue Perkins has created a wonderful world, using the tactic of isolated terran colonists who are pioneers on a rough, new planet. She makes the years passing before the meeting of dragons and humans plausible due to circumstances beyond the control of either group. To say much more would introduce spoilers.

I recommend this well-written and exciting series. If you love dragons as I do, then the two books are must reads. I'm hoping there will be another coming along soon.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Next Big Thing Tour - Week 1

Leading off on the Next Big Thing Tour are a poker hand of of great authors. Visit their blogs and tune in next week (October 10th) to my contribution (I'm the Joker in the deck) and links to the Royal Flush I'm presenting.

Beverly McClure is calling out these bloggers to answer ten simple questions. I'll add links to their blogs as soon as Bev posts them.

These authors will post the answers to the questions about their books on October 10th.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Spunky Waitress - Lizabeth from Missing, Assumed Dead

Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets. 
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I've been posting about some of the secondary characters in "Missing, Assumed Dead." Quite often, secondary characters are flat stereotypes without much personality. I tried to avoid that writing flaw by using the personalities of people I know to make their fictional counterpart unique.


I've mentioned that some of the characters in "Missing, Assumed Dead" were modeled on real people. Ray and Bev are, in real life, happily married for many years. They are both eccentric and have many of the characteristics as described.

Both of these fun folk are the grandparents of yet one other character in "Missing." Lizabeth is a teenage waitress in the Jack and Jill diner. She's a teen soon headed for college. Poor Ray is going to miss her a lot. He see the energetic girl as a granddaughter. And why shouldn't he, since Lizabeth (my friend Liz) is the grandchild of Ray and Bev.

Of course, Liz is just teensy bit older than Lizabeth in the book, but her two beautiful and crazy daughters give me an idea of what Liz was like when she was a teen. Using them, and my own two grand-ds, I think Lizabeth turned into a fun character, a foil to the serious Kam, giving teen advice, which isn't half bad.

Oh, yeah. I used this picture just to drive Liz crazy.


“I’m Lizabeth, Ray’s summertime right hand.” She tossed her head, and her ponytail waved at Ray. Kam raised her head to see him shaking his own, wearing a small smile on his lips.

“She’s a pistol, Kam,” he yelled. “You watch yerself with that one.”

Lizabeth made a face at Ray and leaned across the counter. She spoke in a conspiratorial whisper. “He’s a big ol’ softie.” In a normal tone, she said, “Anyways, what else can I get for ya.”

Kam picked up the plastic-covered menu wedged between the napkin and sugar holders.

“Hm. Something light I think. I don’t want to puke on the judge’s floor.”

The teen whooped. “You sure don’t! He’d toss ya in the clink, for sure.” Lizabeth tilted her head to the side. “How about a half a club with potato salad on the side. It’s the special.”

Kam tucked the menu back into place. “Sounds good.” She glanced at her watch. It was just short of noon, so she could take her time eating. The door dinged, and an older couple came into the cafĂ©. They waved and howdied to Ray, smiled at Lizabeth, and then walked to the end booth.

Lizabeth glanced their way. “Be right with ya!” She bounded away, grabbing filled glasses of ice water without slowing down.

A few minutes later, Ray came out of the kitchen with her plate. “Lizabeth didn’t getcher tea. I oughta fire that girl.” He filled a tall glass with ice, poured the tea, and stuck a lemon wedge on the rim. Ray pointed his thumb over his shoulder toward Lizabeth. “She’s a smart one. Goin’ to college in the fall. I’ll miss her.”