Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Series Worth Reading

Note: This is the 3rd book in the series. I highly recommend starting with "A Band of Roses" and "Fiery Roses." 

Salty RosesSalty Roses by Pat McDermott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Highly entertaining addition to the Irish Boru royal family alternate history.

Talty is out of the alternate dimension-hopping business (the themes in the previous two books in the series) when her and Neil's son, Donal, is born. But, she's had to take on the Crown Princess role while her father, King Brian, has gone on vacation. By the way, he hates it.

The Boru family lives on its own investments and business, not supported by the Irish government. An opportunity comes along to invest in a startup company that's produced a luxury submarine to offer to wealthy (the cost per trip isn't discussed) vacationers. Talty and Neil are invited to take a short trip on the sub to check it out.

Instead of the 3-hour tour (sorry, I couldn't resist), the Borus and their two dimension-traveling cohorts, find themselves transported to a pirate-ridden world. Talty, Neil, Richard, and Nick have to find their way home when there's nobody operating the dimension-hopping machine owned by the wealthy sub owner. But being sent to an alternate universe isn't the only issue. They also have to contend with futuristic thieves bent on stealing Earth's supply of Lutanium.

It sounds confusing unless you've read the first two books ("A Band of Roses" and "Fiery Roses"). Everything about the time machine and why the rich guy happens to have one is perfectly clear and presented at a snappy pace.

What particularly impresses me about Pat McDermott's work is her obvious detailed knowledge of everything she describes. She's used her Irish background and multiple trips to the homeland to build a very rich environment. Her descriptions of the workings of various technologies all the way from pirate boats to a bad-ass combat helicopter to an ultra-modern marine research ship reads right to me. If she's making it up, she's doing it very convincingly.

The alternate universe concept is the only semi-fantastic thing in the books, so don't be afraid you'll get bogged down in technical detail. McDermott makes her case for the dimension-hopping machine with just enough to make it plausible. Maybe more fantastic is that a royal family can be as ready for action as the Borus seem to be. Again, McDermott makes it all plausible.

Overall, I recommend all three of the Roses books. Will Talty and Neil take off on new adventures? We'll have to wait to find out. In the meantime, though, I plan to read another of McDermott's books, "Glancing Through the Glimmer," which stars another member of the Boru family.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Spook (black with a very few white hairs scattered about) moved in with us this month. He's adapted very well. Dusty (our large, white/gray long-term resident) has decided the kid is bearable as long as most treats are going to him. Jack is the favored warm furniture for both of the boys.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Setara's Genie Excerpt - Azhi Dahaka

It seems like the world has forgotten (or never heard of) SETARA'S GENIE. My fault. I failed to keep splashing it around the web as much as I should (could?). I know I get a little annoyed when I see the same promos over and over and over and...well, you get the idea.

But the splash technique must work as other books rack up reviews, pluses, Likes, TBRs, etc. To practice due diligence then, here's a bit about the MG/YA fantasy set in the mythical past world of the middle-east. Maybe I'm just lacking a fairy or elf for those who adore Eurocentric mythology. And I did neglect adding vampires and werewolves for those who enjoy the paranormal romances.

But I do have genies, demons, flying horses (both winged and non-winged), entombed viziers, dragons (not the St. George type), monsters, mermen, pirates, a Sultan, mountain raiders, and a real historical figure who did visit the middle-east while gaining his evil reputation.

So, dear readers, if you're ready for something a little different, I offer Setara's Genie for your consideration.

A girl, a genie, a few demons. Would could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar telling stories to the passersby he can tempt to pay. He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who bottled him; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.


Azhi Dahaka is a dragon demon who’s supposed to be dead, but comes back to life a little bit ticked off because his blood was used by the Great Vizier hundreds of years before to create a breed of fire-breathing, flying horses.

From the Encyclopedia Mythica (

A storm demon from Iranian mythology. He steals cattle and brings harm to humans. It is a snake-like monster with three heads and six eyes who also personifies the Babylonian oppression of Iran. The monster will be captured by the warrior god Thraetaona and placed on the mountain top Dermawend. In a final revival of evil, it will escape its prison, but at the end of time (fraso-kereti) it will die in the river of fire Ayohsust.

Even though this particular description includes multiple heads and pretty bad attitude, I also found an ancient bas relief that purports to be Azhi Dahaka. Decide what you will. A monster is a monster no matter how many heads he or she has.


Setara rounded the bend in the tunnel and stopped dead in her tracks. Azizah and Kairav stood at one end of a huge cavern, heaving large stones as fast as they could. At the other end, about forty feet away, the strangest creature she’d ever seen was shooting jets of fire from its mouth. It had great bat-like wings that created a rush of wind each time the dragon stroked downward. It possessed four legs but had reared up and clawed at the air with the front set. Fangs at least six inches long lined the animal’s jaws. It seemed reptilian with its elongated head and scaly sides. However, it was huge by reptile standards, being more than twenty feet long and barely fit in the end of the cavern. Its scales rippled with colors—green, violet, orange, blue.

Basit flew around the cavern, attempting to outflank the creature. He began hurling balls of light from his fingertips. They didn’t appear to do anything other than annoy the beast, but the interruption did distract it from breathing fire at Azizah and Kairav. When it turned its head to shoot fire toward Basit, Azizah ran forward and threw another huge rock. It struck the beast’s head, knocking it against the wall.

It turned one last time and let out a loud roar that shook small stones off the walls. Then, it shrank rapidly to no more than ten feet long. With a single bound, it leaped into the tunnel on the far side of the cavern and was gone in a flash of purple and green.

Setara ran to Azizah, who dropped the stone she was just about to throw. Kairav and Basit joined them. Sheik ran in circles around the group, barking for all he was worth.

“Shush, Sheik. We can’t hear ourselves think.” Setara chastised the agitated dog. Sheik dropped to his belly panting from the excitement.

“What was that thing?” Setara looked at the grim faces of her friends.

“Azhi Dahaka,” Basit answered.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Dear husband's birthday's today, so I'll wish him a happy day on-line as well as in person. Later, we'll use the birthday coupon from Roadhouse to celebrate.


With his two favorite girls (other than me, of course)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Old Eddie Tells a Story

"Tales of a Texas Boy" is fairly popular, especially with older folks. Large Print doesn't hurt for that demographic. I'd forgotten I'd got this story recorded before my father died. I didn't include it in Tales, since that book is about his youth in West Texas. Still, I thought the story was a fun one and even better since it's my father's own words. I put it together with the illustrations for the stories that are in the print edition of  "Tales of a Texas Boy" so people would have something to look at while they listened.

And since we're into movies here, this is the very brief book trailer. I think I'll be redoing it since it has my old website reference. I do love the background music for this one. It fits so well.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Scheduled for release in the spring, FAIZAH'S DESTINY is set in the same general world of SETARA'S GENIE. Matter of fact, a character from the newest book makes reference to the heroine in the earlier book. Master Wafai is the old village magician. He doesn't have many skills except the usual light magic a village needs to keep itself running: healing, finding water, clearing the air after a sandstorm. However, Wafai is an excellent teacher. His star pupil is Faizah, a farmer's daughter, who is learning the skills of using herbs for healing.

The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.


The village magician has gone missing.  His four pupils think he has left a clue to his whereabouts in the Magicalis Bestialis--the book of magical creatures.  They must seek the help of the elusive Simurgh, the mythical birds who know all the secrets of the universe.

However, this is not an easy camping trip into the mountains.  Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are not aware they’re being set up by otherworldly forces for a much larger task.

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.

Chapter One

Bahaar grunted as Fat Raziq threw him to the ground. Raziq knelt on his chest and then slapped him—left—right—left. His face stinging, Bahaar struggled to throw off his tormentor. The bully’s gang circled, a murder of ragged crows, laughing and urging their leader on.

“Smack him again!”

“Use your fists!”

With Bahaar’s brother seldom in town, the gang often attacked the smaller boy. Still, Bahaar never backed down from a fight, even with the odds against him.

Raziq raised his hand to slap the boy again when two figures burst through the ring of jeering bullies and catapulted into him, shoving him into the dust. Bahaar struggled up immediately, fists clenched and ready to fight. The untucked end of his turban drooped over one eye. Although he reeled from the slaps, his ears ringing and vision obscured, Bahaar didn’t need to look to know his rescuers were Faizah and Harib.

They stood back-to-back, facing Raziq’s thugs. Bahaar pushed the end of the turban out of his face and whispered, “I’ll take Raziq and Ali if you two handle the other three.”

“Yeah, sure, Bahaar,” Faizah replied. “It’s not likely any of us can handle any of them.”

Raziq sneered. “Need a girl to save you, Bahaar?”

Faizah, a farmer’s daughter, shook back her long black hair and raised her fists. “Try me, fat head.”

Slapping the dust off his clothes, Raziq glowered at the three friends. “You’re really going to get it now,” he threatened, raising a fist. “I’m going to...”

“Ah, there you are, my students. You’re late for class,” intoned a deep voice halting Raziq in mid-threat. A tall, gray-bearded figure stepped into the ring of youths. His ragged, once-white robes swept the sandy path as he took Faizah and Harib by the shoulders and pushed them through the circle. “Come along, come along. You too, Bahaar. Mustn’t be late.”

The gang reluctantly parted to let Master Wafai pass through. The village’s resident magician ushered his students away. From a safe distance, Bahaar turned back and made a very insulting gesture at Raziq. Wafai’s wise old eyes twinkled as he pretended not to notice. “They say,” he stated to no one in particular, “that a brave man fights when he must, but a wise man waits to fight until the odds are favorable...or at least even.”

“I could have taken him,” Bahaar said, glancing over his shoulder.

“Oh, yes, I could see that,” Master Wafai replied solemnly. A slight smile belied the serious tone of his voice.

The three students followed their teacher and mentor north along the longer of the village’s two streets and then turned east at the town’s common well into the lane leading to the school. The village, Lulubi, little more than a handful of mud-daubed houses, surrounded a shallow well set in its central square. As a watering stop along the north-south caravan route, it supported a bakery, an inn of sorts, and a blacksmith shop.

* * *

Since an image always makes a post more interesting, here's a rendition of a Simurgh from an ancient Arabic text.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Rules of Crime by L.J. Sellers

I was fortunate enough to wangle an Advance Reader Copy of the latest L.J. Sellers mystery, "Rules of Crime." The novel's release date is February 26th and will first be available at Amazon.

My Rating: On Amazon, I will give the book 4 stars when it is available for reviews.

Cover may change before publication.
"Rules of Crime" is another fast-paced book in the Detective Jackson series. I enjoy the mysteries, of course. Twists and turns enough to keep the reader hopping.

Detective Jackson's alcoholic ex-wife has gone missing. The first thought, of course, is Renee has gone off the wagon and checked herself into a rehab facility. But a ransom demand immediately changes Jackson's mind. The FBI arrives to handle the investigation as is usually the case with kidnappings. Agent Carla Rivers is new to Eugene, but a long-experienced agent. She takes over the case, but keeps Jackson on the team because nobody knows Renee more than he. Even her new fiance, who's supposed to pony up the ransom, didn't know she had a drinking problem.

Meanwhile at the Violent Crimes Unit, Detective Lara Evans has caught a case involving a college student's savage beating and dump at the hospital. The young woman's in a medically induced coma, so she's no help at all in telling anybody what happened to her. Evans has to do it the hard way. Trying to even find a clue since even the crime's location is unknown. The girl is well-liked, quite, studious with no known enemies.

We have, then, two unrelated crimes. But are they? I won't say anymore, since I know readers will want to follow the investigation themselves.

Ms. Sellers builds on each Jackson novel by adding new and interesting characters. In a previous book, she introduced Detective Lara Evans, who has branched out into another series. In "Rules of Crime," we meet FBI Agent Carla River who will, no doubt, get a branching series of her own.

The great thing for readers (fans) of L.J. Sellers' crime novels is how she thinks ahead to keeping us entertained with new and interesting main characters. We'll always love Detective Jackson, but I will happily follow the continuing adventures of Det. Evans and (I hope) Agent River in future books.

Friday, January 18, 2013

MuseItUp Wins Big

My publisher just sent out an email with the standings for the recent Preditors/Editors poll. Not too shabby for a relatively new ebook publishing company.

From the Publisher, Lea Schizas:

I just finished going through all the final tallies, and unless they change, I'd like to congratulate not only those who are listed below, but to everyone who took the time to vote. But to see Pat Dale up there in second place...what can I say...he would have been so proud of his fellow Musers. Thank you.

34 Top Ten Awards in the 2012 P&E

Standings for Horror Novels
5. Born of Blood, SB Knight
6. The Dollmaker, Justin Robinson

Standings for Romance Novels
7. Into the Red, Kelly Whitley

Standings for Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels
2. Lagrange Point, Mike Arsuaga
4. Dark Heirloom, J.D. Brown
10. The Fireborn Chronicles: Revelations, Mary Andrews

Standings for Steampunk Novels
1. Inventing Love, Killarney Sheffield

Standings for Erotica Novels
6. GLADIATOR, Kate Lynd

Standings for Mystery Novels
3. If I Fail, Marian Lanouette
8. Death Runs in the Family, Heather Haven

Standings for Thriller Novels
1. The Tenth Legion, Mike Arsuaga
4. Strays of Rio, Edith Parzefall
9. Concilium, Michelle K. Pickett

Standings for Children's Books
4. The Realm of the Lost, Emma Eden Ramos
7. Midnight Oil, Marva Dasef

Standings for Young Adult Books
1. Darkseed: Awakening, Victoria Ley
6. Wakefield, Erin Callahan and Troy H. Gardner

Standings for Horror Short Stories
5. Family Tradition, Pamela Turner

Standings for Romance Short Stories
2. Twinkle Lights, Vicki Batman
8. Another Way to Die, Amy McCorkle

Standings for Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Stories
4. Butcher's Knoll, Jonathan Fortin
8. Daughter of Subspecies, Mike Arsuaga

Standings for All other Short Stories
4. Corliss, Heather Haven,

Standings for Artwork
8. Rock Crazy, Delilah K. Stephans

Standings for Book/e-book Cover Artwork
9. The Fireborn Chronicles: Revelations, Marion Sipe

Standings for Authors
2. Pat Dale,
9. Heather Haven,

Standings for Artists
7. Marion Sipe,

Standings for Book/e-book Editors
7. B.L. Wilson,
8. Joelle Walker

Standings for Print/Electronic Book Publishers
3. MuseItUp Publishing,

Standings for Bookstore
2. MuseItUp Publishing,

Standings for Writers' Workshop
3. The Muse Online Writers Conference,

Standings for Writers' Resource/Information/News Source
3. The Muse Online Writers Conference

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jumping into the Deep End

Final edits complete and waiting only for a cover artist's scheduling, FAIZAH'S DESTINY is looking like a distant, yet distinct, possibility for a spring release.

Again, MuseItUp Publishing is taking on one of my fantasy books for young adults. And yet again, this book had a previous life as a self-published book. Since I'm impatient (no, really, ask my husband), I played General Sherman marching through the Southlands, laying waste to my many books by jumping on the self-publishing bandwagon.

This gives me an opening to define self-publishing for those of you who still believe convincing a fickle agent of your worth, and then waiting in vain for a publishing contract is the only way to have your work placed before the public. If there are any of you out there who still hold this mistaken, and I'd have to say somewhat pitiful, notion, rest assured you, too, can jump in publishing and STILL end up with a traditional publisher in the future. In the meantime, while you're waiting for the magical fairy dust to settled on your head, you could be building your own reputation as an author.

Will you sell hundreds or thousands of books? Most likely you won't, but you will have gained experience with self-promotion, learned how to create a blog and a website, dive into networking with other authors, and generally learning how to be a published author...without a single agent or traditional publisher anywhere in sight.

To believe you must take the traditional route to publishing is like becoming a baseball player (people love sports analogies), yet never playing an actual game. No, you jump in as an amateur and learn from your experience. If you're any good, you will eventually get a contract with any of the dozens of ebook publishers now in operation. That's what I did, and I'm proud to be in on the conception of MuseItUp Publishing. Their success is growing and, with their success, I have no doubt my success will go along for the ride.

An interesting side note (interesting to me at least) is that my absolutely best selling book has never even passed through a slush pile. Tales of a Texas Boy continues to sell in large print paperback and a good clip. I love January when I collect a relatively large revenue check from CreateSpace.

Since reposts of my blogs look so much better with a graphic, I leave you with the cover of my best-selling book of all time, Tales of  a Texas Boy. In a few days, I'll post a video with a new Eddie story narrated by the old guy himself.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Long Distance Writing Collaborations

Writing Duck Blood Soup - Frank Hofer of The Brothers Hofer with edits helpfully provided by James

How do you write a novel when your writing partner is two time zones and 1500 miles away? That was the first question we had when Jim suggested that we try our hand at writing a fantasy novel. We had just concluded our ill-fated attempt at writing humor. Our fans were each other and a couple of friends. We knew that our web site would never be The Onion but we were having a good time and got some practice writing something other than technical documents.

After a few weeks of no posts, Jim asked me how I planned to continue being creative and suggested writing either a fantasy or a science fiction novel. I agreed to work with him under the condition that we didn't write “sword and sorcery.” I wanted a society with a late 18th or early 19th century level of technology with a blending of science, engineering, and magic. Since I didn't know anything about steam punk at the time, I coined the phrase “muskets and magic” for our effort.

Once we had a technology time period, we needed a story. Giants versus gun wielding soldiers seemed like a good starting point.

We needed some people in our story of course. Harry Potter was really big at the time, and I always felt that Hermione Granger was not only underutilized, but should have been the real hero of the series. To me, she seemed smarter, more rational and level headed, and overall a better wizard than Harry Potter. With that in mind, Jeunelux was born. She would be the first of many strong, independent female characters, including women in combat roles, as a head of state, and a general in the army.

A couple of years after we finished the first draft of Duck Blood Soup I finally got around to reading Philip Pullman's “His Dark Materials” trilogy – The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass and realized that Lyra was the female character that I wanted Hermione to be. My Jeunelux and Pullman's Lyra had a lot in common.

Our initial plot ideas were discussed through email, but we knew that we needed a better methods to actually write the book. The physical challenges of remote writers wasn't that big of a deal. We are both computer nerds so setting up a secure FTP site to keep our work was pretty simple. Microsoft Word with change tracking enabled allowed both of us to see the edits the other made. We also added notes between brackets so that they would be easy to find.

The interpersonal challenges could have been an issue but were not because of our professional backgrounds. I spent a dozen years flying satellites so I came from a culture where it is not only expected but required for people to critique and correct your work. When a multi-million dollar satellite's health and mission depend upon being right all the time, you either welcome people checking and correcting your work or you don't last long in the business.

Jim and I both worked in software development environments where other engineers comment on your designs, point out problems, tear apart your work and insist on changes. While writing Duck Blood Soup we got in to our professional software development mind set Рnothing said is personal, we want to write the best novel we possibly can, and we must be critical of both our own and each other's work. If something wasn't right, or wasn't consistent, or seemed clich̩, flag it to be fixed. If you insist on having a big ego, writing with someone will never work.

The software development mindset also helped with the overall book creation. We would have very general guidelines for chapters; this is what has happened going into the chapter, that is what the output of the chapter should be, anything else is just implementation details. After a chapter was written by one author, the other would “refactor” it by pointing out problem areas or suggesting different ways to accomplish the desired result. Passing chapters back and forth also allowed us to sound like a single author. The reader really doesn't know who initially wrote what chapter or concentrated on particular characters.

For example, we wanted to look at different aspects of the magical creatures we used. Since Giants are common in fantasy novels, we would make sure that ours were unique. And when one author added blood suckers, the other pointed out that their ethics needed to be defined along with their special powers.  Each time one of us came up with a species, the other would always ask, what is special, what hasn't this been done before?

The professional attitudes and communications skills we developed over the years in our “paying jobs” were really put to use when we wrote Duck Blood Soup. Putting our project ahead of ourselves gave us something we can point to with pride.

About Duck Blood Soup (Don't you just love that title!)

When Eizenfeng's leading wizards combine science with magic, the world changes dramatically. Technological advancements, coupled with racial and economic tensions propel the country toward war with a longtime ally. Jeunelux is oblivious to the building turmoil; scorching days harvesting tomatoes and her annoying older brother are more pressing concerns. 

Suddenly, strange dreams that haunt her nights become reality. Jeunelux, along with two other untrained and unlicensed teen wizards embark on a quest to save the girl's father, rescue a giant, and prevent a war. The three friends must quickly hone their magical skills and take on responsibilities beyond their years to save innocent lives.

Duck Blood Soup is available on Kindle through We expect to expand to other e-readers by the end of March.

You can buy Duck Blood Soup at 

You can read more about Duck Blood Soup at the blog and on Facebook: 

About the Authors

James Hofer lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his amazing wife that he still can't believe he tricked into marrying him, three wonderful children who regularly argue about who the favorite is, and their various pets. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri, Columbia with a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Food Engineering. James has very nearly been to lots of wonderful and exciting places, including Australia, Japan, China, Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East, but for one reason or another never seems to leave North America. James has written a number of technical documents that no one should ever be forced to read as well as countless blog posts that no one ever has. Duck Blood Soup is his first attempt to write something that relatively normal people may enjoy consuming.

Frank Hofer lives in Silicon Valley with his wonderful wife, three dogs, and three cats. He used his BS in Computer Science to land a job flying over a dozen one-of-a-kind science satellites. Career highlights over the past ten years include a failed attempt to get the call sign “Gilligan” assigned to his ops team for the joint U.S./Soviet satellite mission known as “Skipper”, and labeling spacecraft anomaly data “The Big Battery Bake-off”, which oddly enough was not well received. Despite his antics, Frank he has managed to survive in an industry known for volatile staffing levels. His current job is testing spacecraft flight software.  Frank is considered an amateur Iron Chef and enjoys trying new cuisine. He spends his vacations visiting National Parks and lately has taken an interest in archaeological sites in the American southwest, especially those with Native American petroglyphs.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


The lucky person who commented on the All This Could Be Yours post, thus winning herself ALL THREE paperbacks in the Witches of Galdorheim Series, selected through the roll of the dice. Drumroll please.


But I'm nothing if not generous, so the other folks who left a comment and would like a free ebook of your choice, let me know what you want, what format, and where I can send it. I'll try to contact you all, but if I can't and you see this post, please contact me at mgdasef(at)gmail(dot)com.

The ebook winners are:

Shane Clark Harris
Tura Lura Wilcox
J.R. Murdock

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Absolutely Last Day of Paperback Sale

If you haven't taken the opportunity to buy the paperback editions of Bad Spelling, Midnight Oil, and Scotch Broom for only $5.99 each, then you'll be fresh outta luck as soon as I change the price to $7.99 each at 5PM PST. There'll be a little lag time until the new price is applied at Amazon, but not much.

I'm saddened that nobody took me up on this offer. I see these books as keepsakes since they're paperbacks and can be shelved for years, given away LEGALLY, or even used to start a fire. Should I even bother with the links? Nah, if you want to buy a copy you know where to find them on Amazon.

P.S. I've sold 30 paperback so far this month of "Tales of a Texas Boy." That's in addition to the 343 copies sold in November and December. That's a lot of people who think one of my books is worth $8.99. Who knows what people will buy and why. I've given up trying to guess.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's in Your Wall...Fantasy Book?

When I explain what my series starring Katrina the teen witch is about, I usually end up facing a person with a puzzled look and slight smile. This means they haven't a clue what I'm talking about. Now, if they actually read the books, it's not all that hard to figure out. I don't even use (too many) strange names, and the setting is right here on good ol' contemporary earth.

Maybe simple lists of characteristics would be easier to understand. Since the series is a continuing story, I'll toss in things from all three books. Randomly, without explanation.

Settings: An island in the middle of the Barents Sea, Siberia, a Finnish Forest, the marshlands of northern Scotland, Otherwhere, the lost island of Ultima Thule, the Hall of the Mountain King.

Characters and Things: A group of witches, a bunny named Teddy, a sorceress, a polar bear, orcas, trolls, vampires (two varieties), werewolves, Siberian tribesmen, elemental spirits, an evil Shaman, a shipwrecked man who'd been disemvowelled, mutants, skrats, the darts champion of Scotland, a has-been goddess, a unicorn, a stag, a hound (green), a black giant, a cat fairy, a sentient ultralight, various flying brooms, a Vespa scooter, snowmobiles, and two kinds of railroad.

Now you know why it's hard to explain the books in a brief conversation.

Bad Spelling available at MuseItUp and Amazon Kindle and Amazon Print.
Midnight Oil available at MuseItUp and Amazon Kindle and Amazon Print.
Scotch Broom available at MuseItUp and Amazon Kindle and Amazon Print. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Last Week of Sale

I've given you all a few weeks to buy the paperback editions of the Witches of Galdorheim. At $5.99 each, these 150+ page paperbacks are practically the deal of the century (how about the best deal so far in 2013?). This is the price at which many ebooks are sold.

Someone will be winning the complete set of paperbacks at the end of this week. I will also be raising the retail price to the average for books of a similar length and genre. I'll go to Amazon with my calculator to figure it out. I suspect the price will be somewhere in the $7.99 to $8.99 range.


Sunday, January 06, 2013

Paying the Bills

My stance is that when a person incurs debts through spending measures (as the Congress has done), they are absolutely obligated to pay them. If this requires raising the debt ceiling, then so be it. It's been raised dozens of times before without the childish hostage taking mentality of the right-wing conservatives.

To cut the budget, take a ton of money out of the Pentagon budget, not from the elderly and sick. What kind of monster would do that? Look at the faces on CSPAN to get the answer.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Tricking Relatives into Becoming Fantasy Characters

With my granddaughters, no trickery is necessary. Haul out a camera and capture the perfect model for Faizah, a farmer's daughter called on by the goddess Anahita to lead the battle against Dev the god of war. Audrey wins the role for her dark beauty. Sorry, Janae, you're just too blond and Nordic for the role of a middle-eastern girl. I'll check around to see if anybody needs a Valkyrie for their book cover.

Coming next spring from MuseItUp Publishing:

Faizah's Destiny
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

The village magician has gone missing. His four pupils think he has left a clue to his whereabouts in the Magicalis Bestialis--the book of magical creatures. They must seek the help of the elusive Simurgh, the mythical birds who know all the secrets of the universe.

However, this is not an easy camping trip into the mountains. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are not aware they’re being set up by otherworldly forces for a much larger task.

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

What's a Synopsis?

Lots of people are willing to play expert on what to include in a synopsis, how long it should be, and the approach. I got a lot of advice on this early in my writing career (fiction, that is). One half of the advice directly contradicts the other half and authors will wrangle over which of the opposing advice is more correct than the other. Agents supposedly know all this stuff, but they're as bad as the amateurs in guessing what a synopsis should be.

Here are some rules to follow:

1. If an agent or publishers says they want a 100-page synopsis written in second person passive voice, you should probably skip them for querying.

What sounds ridiculous probably is. If an agent/publisher doesn't know enough to suggest some stupid things, then they're too stupid to sell your book. Sometimes agents place a high value on themselves which may not be shared by the rest of the world. That tends to make them feel (like politicians) they are above "the law" and any vague rules don't apply to them. Besides, they want to make sure you put in a lot of wasted time following their absurd rules to give them their power rush of the day. Don't bother.

2.  If a writer has not yet published anything, whatever they say is probably wrong. There's a reason why they haven't been published and it might just be they don't know what they're talking about.

3. A query letter should be less than one page long (if printed). It is not a synopsis.

3. The length of a synopsis is not directly proportional to the length of the work. Keep it short.

4. Say how the story ends. This is not a teaser or blurb; it's the story in a nutshell.

5. Pay no attention to any of this advice.

Teddy says if he can't understand your synopsis, then it's too complicated. Happy Querying!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

All of This Could be Yours!


Let's see if I can get a comment or two out of the people that at least look at my posts but never say a word.

I'm giving away all three books in paperback. US and Canada only (sorry). In a sentence, tell me why you'd like the Witches of Galdorheim series for your very own. It's okay to be selfish. After all, Christmas is over.