Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Audrey!

Today, my granddaughter, Audrey,  is able to sign her own contracts, serve in the military, and vote.


Monday, February 25, 2013

More on Series - Clumping

In our modern day of publishing, most small publishers and independent writers first release their books in ebook format. Sell those for a year or two, then maybe put them out in paperback. If a book in a series is short, say the 50K words indicated as the sweet spot for middle-grade to low young adult, the printed books are slender. My three printed books in the Witches of Galdorheim series are each around 150 pages each. I have to sell them for $7.99, which is a really good price for a paperback these days.

But, I said to myself, "Self, if you clump all three books into a single volume, it will not only rival the length of a Harry Potter book, but you can sell it for less per book and still make a small profit."

Sometimes, I listen to myself, so I'm in the midst of stuffing Bad Spelling, Midnight Oil, and Scotch Broom into one volume. I also threw in Spellslinger, my standalone short story about Rune the boy warlock/vampire.

The whole thing is 446 pages, which makes for more than an inch of spine width. I can only hope the CreateSpace production facilities make a sturdy spine for a book that size. Lots of books of similar heft are produced by CreateSpace, thus I feel fairly confident the trilogy (plus one short) will not disintegrate in the buyer's hands. That would be a bad thing.

Here's my suggestion for series writers: Can you stuff your entire series into a single volume? Probably not so well if you're writing 100K word weighty tomes. But you could put an entire series into ebook format and it wouldn't weigh any more than one book. That's a nice feature of ebooks. Easy to tote around.

My ebook publisher, MuseItUp, could combine the three books of the series into a single volume or even offer the three individual books as an Author Bundle. Oh, look, MuseItUp IS OFFERING author bundles at a reduced price. Not my series yet, but maybe soon.

In the meantime, I'll be bringing my own bundle to print in a single book. I'm thinking to offer it for $15.95. That gets the buyer three books for the price of one. Such a deal!

I'll let you know when that happens. I'm still working on the picky details, but here's my current draft of the new book cover for the series. This is the cover preview from CreateSpace. I did the front and back covers and let CS add the spine. It's such a pain to get the spine verbiage in the right place, I'm glad they'll do it for me AND add the barcode when I'm ready to finalize.

If you'd like to buy the books individually in either ebook or print format, they're all available on Amazon. The ebooks are also available at my publisher's on-line store. My author page doesn't reflect all of the ebooks I have at MuseItUp, so I won't bother with my link.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Advice on Writing a Series


There are two ways to write a series:
  1. Planning out all the books in the series ahead of time.
  2. Writing the first book as a standalone, then realizing you could write another.
For those of you who opt for option one, you better find somebody experienced in this multi-book planning ‛cause I ain’t it.

If you hit the payoff end of book 1 and keep writing, stop whatever you’re doing. Type THE END where book 1 naturally ends, open a new file, and take all the stuff you jammed at the end of book 1 and put into book 2.


If you’re a diligent newbie writer, you’ve purchased (or checked out of your library) a few books on writing: how to write novels, how to write scenes, how to write romances, how to write memoirs, etc. Now, look back a few words and note the word “scenes.” That’s key to a series. A series book is one big giant scene. There may be other scenes to follow that biggie, but don’t go there unless you’re James Mitchener’s reincarnation and plan to write the entire history of the world in a single volume.

The elements of a BIG scene (e.g., an entire book) are the same as scenes within chapters, and chapters within books.

A standalone book has beginning, middle, and end (sunset, fade to black, happily ever after).

A series book has beginning, middle, and end with a transition setting up the next BIG scene (e.g., the second book).

You may not know you’re writing a series when you start out, but you should have a good feel whether there is more. You can imagine a reader saying, “And then what happened?”


You might be merrily reading along, enjoying the tale, admiring the writer’s skill (not too many typos), and prepping yourself for the big payoff at the end. But when you get to the end, there is no payoff. You’re left frozen in time. The villain holding the sharp blade sneaking up behind the hero, he brings the blade up and is just about to strike and.....nothing. The writer figured you’d be so enthralled with finding out what happens next that they’ll surely buy your next book.

Nuh uh. The only time this is a valid ending is if you’re in the 1950’s, munching popcorn in the first row watching another episode of Buck Rogers. A cliffhanger is all well and good if you know going into the deal, and you’ve laid down your quarter to enter the theater that Buck most likely won’t get knifed by the villain, and you’re perfectly okay to come back next week to see how said villain is thwarted.

Thing is, that movie house is also offering a feature film with a beginning, middle, and end. That’s why you paid your quarter to be satisfied by an ending that naturally progressed throughout the narrative.


You should care because you’ve pissed me off. Yeah, I’m just one person, so my opinion doesn’t matter. That’s entirely true. But do you really believe I’m the one and ONLY person in the entire world that holds that opinion? You’re sadly mistaken. I’m special, but not that special. If I think that way, then a whole lot of people—potential buyers—think the same. You’ve just lost your audience.

Think about your own life. You live your life in stages. The end of one stage suggests the next, but the next stage is its own part of your life. Sometimes, your life takes a surprising turn. You were headed toward point A, but somehow or other events led you to point B instead. If you could map out your whole life (or, say, your parents could do it for you), you and everybody around you would be bored silly.

So, transitions can be smooth:

You graduate from high school and continue on to the college where you had applied to become a rocket scientist.

Or rocky:

You graduate high school, but you met this guy in the summer and he’s part of a biker gang, which you thought totally cool, so you blew off college and rode the back seat of a Harley across the country.

In either case, the graduation from High School is the natural ending point of that stage. But if you’re sneakily planning to write a series, you briefly mention admiring the black leather jacket on that dude who rode by the graduation ceremony on his Harley. You lock eyes with him. He grins and winks. You feel a little tingly, but shake it off to march into the next phase.

Uh, oh. We’re planning a series, right? Well, you might pack all your bags, have a going away party, and even start the drive to your college of choice. You spot the dude on the Harley as you pass by the diner, but you just drive on.


But you now have a satisfying end to book 1 with a hint of the events of book 2, but you’re not leaving in the middle with the villain stabbing the hero in the back. You (the main character here, of course) may just keep on driving to college. That could be another book in the series. Or you could pull a U-turn in the road and head back to, um, grab a burger at the diner. Yeah, a burger and a handful of tight jeans.

A fork in the road can act as a transition between books in a series. At the end of book 1, you present some possibilities, but you have ended this stage (or book). Book 2 picks up with one of the forks you have offered in book 1.

Obligatory Graphic So References in Social Media Have a Picture to Make It More Interesting
and Everybody Loves Cats. This is Dusty. He only reads catfood can labels.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Murder in a Small Town

There's nothing like a mystery with blood splattered across the landscape. This murder mystery stars an amateur sleuth determined to discover the truth about a man's disappearance.

Leave a comment, win an ebook copy.

Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets.
Buy Ebook at MuseItUp or Amazon
Buy Print Book at Amazon
Book Trailer


I didn't want to let the Judge rant on about his prejudices, so I'm covering for him. This is one mean, nasty old man. But one soft spot in his heart does him in.

In "Missing, Assumed Dead," a self-proclaimed 'judge' runs a small Justice Court (really only traffic court) in a tiny town in Southeast Oregon. He has appointed his nephew, George Leiper, de facto town police chief. Of  course, there is no police department, but George loves to wear the uniform and enjoy the comforts of his own office in the City Hall.

Nobody dares to oppose the Judge as long as he keeps his connection to the White Power groups away from Roseword.

But that's not always the case. He brings the darkness of the Aryan Brotherhood right to the town's front door when he forces his daughter, Miranda, to marry one of the brotherhood, Cole Bristow. Mostly, the Judge want to keep his daughter away from a Basque shepherd, Salvadore. When Salvadore disappears mysteriously, the townspeople whispers behind closed doors, but don't want to cross the Judge with his connections to the White Power group.

Soon after bearing her daughter, Mirabel, Miranda commits suicide rather than remain married to Cole. The whole town worries, but fear keeps the secrets hidden.

The judge becomes the guardian of his granddaughter, but keeps her hidden away from the rest of the town. Even her uncle admits that she's not right in the head. Something happened to her around the time that Salvadore disappeared. What happened to Salvadore, and why is Mirabel insane? Is the Basque shepherd her father rather than Cole, Miranda's husband?

Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets. Find out what those shocking secrets reveal in "Missing, Assumed Dead."

Here's an excerpt from the book that tells you a little about Judge Leiper.

The next morning, George drove up to the Vasco place. He didn’t see anything suspicious but wrote a note for Salvadore to contact him. When he hadn’t heard two days later, he went back. The note was still on the door. He walked around the shack but didn’t see anything except Salvadore’s walking stick, the shepherd’s crook, leaning against the tool shed door. He looked inside, but nothing seemed amiss.

Vasco rarely went anywhere without that stick. George went back to town, worried something might have happened to the old man. He decided to tell his uncle about it. As a Justice of the Peace, he had close contacts with the Sheriff’s Office.

“That’s what I found, Uncle, um, Judge. I think the old man mighta wandered off and got lost.”

Judge Leiper stared at his nephew with watery eyes, then pulled a big, white handkerchief from his suit pocket. He wiped the sweat from his pasty face, nearly as pale as the cloth.

“Don’t think there’s need to worry. He’s a tough old guy and knows those hills like the back of his hand.”

George hesitated to speak up to the judge, but he had to do his duty. “I’ll contact the sheriff and see if I can get them to come out to search for him.”

Narrowing his beady eyes, the judge’s voice went from friendly to mean. “Now, you don’t want to be bothering the sheriff. I said not to worry. I’ll take care of it.”


The judge waved his hand at George. “Now you just forget about it. I’ll take care of it.”

Monday, February 18, 2013


Lorrie Struiff has awarded free ebooks to:


Congratulations for their winning comments on Lorrie Struiff Asks: How do you do it?

The lucky winners have their choice of either of these stories from the Call on the Dead Club series.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lorrie Struiff Asks: How do you do it?

Please tell me how...

How do you do it, authors? How do you keep up with all you must do?

By the time I get on my computer at 10 am, check my emails and answer them, it’s lunch time. Next, I have FB to contend with to make sure I tit- for-tat for the comments I’ve received on my guest blog spots from my dear friends. Now it’s time to post the material I’ve been sent for my blog. It takes time to format and make them look appealing.

Note to self: don’t forget to critique the pages your critique partners sent. Meanwhile more messages pile up in my mailbox. Oops, all the digests have just shown up from my different publishers. The authors reading digest, the readers reading digest, and the gab room digest. About nine of each and they come more than once a day.

Now it’s time to start dinner. I’m away from my computer for a couple of hours.

After dinner, I’m pooped. My eyes are blurry, burning, and I feel like I need a nap.

Wait! I haven’t worked on my story. But I’m sooooo tired that my brain isn’t making the right connections.

There are many of you who work and raise a family.

I don’t.

So…how do you do it, authors?


Whoo-hoo. Winnie’s back with more troubles. This time she is “Goin’ to a Double Header.” And I’m not talking baseball.

Do you know Winnie? Do you know what she does with her life? She is a spook-speaker who grants one last reasonable request to a corpse in a funeral home. What begins as reasonable usually turns out unreasonable for Winnie.

I’d like to introduce my next story in the COD Club series. COD #3 “Going to a Double Header” from BooksToGoNow.

Stories 1&2 are combined in the first download. All of the Winnie stories are a stand-alone.


Poor Winnie protected her new perm by hugging a cherry tree during the rain.

Lightning shot from the sky and cracked the cherry tree in half. Winnie woke after her near-death experience with a gift. She could see and talk to the dead in funeral homes. She wasn’t a happy camper about it. Fat Phil got wind of her gift and inducted her into the Call on the Dead Club. Now Winnie must grant the last request of the spirit so they may move on in peace. Can she fulfill her duty? Let’s say she gives it a good try and leave it there. But, you can read the current adventures of Winnie in her series now. If you like Winnie, she’ll be back soon with another adventure.


While reading the local obituaries, I slurped my morning tea. Being a member of the Call on the Dead Club, I hoped I didn’t have to do any spook-speaking for the next few days for my assigned district. With my head cold, I felt miserable.

“Good Lord,”I gasped. The cup dropped from my fingers, shattered, and sloshed tea over the floor. My breath caught in my throat. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bickerson had a fatal car accident. They lived four blocks over from me with their twin sons.

What a terrible tragedy. I grabbed the broom and dishcloth and, after cleaning up the mess, went back to the paper. I hardly knew them, but the Mister owned the Bickerson Computer Center at the mall. His wife was a teacher at the elementary school. The visitation started tomorrow and both laid-out in the same room. Yep, in my district. Oh, crap!

Ever since I had hugged that darn cherry tree in a storm, got zapped by lightning, and had a near-death experience, I’ve been stuck with this unwanted ghostie talent.

The oath Phil Phillips coerced me into taking, granting the last request of the deceased for the worldwide COD club was not always an easy job. I should know, even ended up in the slammer once.

My bones ached, and a slight headache throbbed behind my eyes. I shivered and pulled my flannel robe tighter. This drastic change of weather from warm to chilly had me coming down with something. What a ducky way to start tomorrow. Two stiffs and the sniffles.

I grabbed the phone. No way was this gal doing double duty when I felt like death myself.

Fat Phil answered on the first ring. “Yeah, yeah, Winnie. I’m reading it now, and you’re gonna beg for help.”

“Your Caller ID’s annoying. You should get rid of it.”

“Sure I will. Well? You gonna beg?”

“Hey! You’re the president of our chapter. It’s your job to find me a partner. You know I can’t work two last requests at a time.”

“But no one else is available.”

“You are. I see your assigned district is clear. Come on, Phil. This’s heavy-duty stuff and you know it.”

He sighed long and hard. “I guess I got no choice.” Paper rustled. “I see they’re going to have viewing for two days.”

“Yeah.” I sneezed and snuffled. “I guess since it’s a double header.”

Fat Phil’s voice grated in my ear. “You sound horrible.”

“I’m not feeling well.”

“Take a few Coldquils. We gotta stick to our mission. Maybe it’ll be an easy one.

* * *

(But…does Winnie ever get an easy request? Find out in her new adventure.)

How would you like to win a free pdf download of either the first/second story or the third? Leave a comment and I will pick one name out of Winnie’s hat and give that commenter the choice of which book they want free. 

Again either Winnie 1&2, or Winnie 3.

Winnie #1 and #2 Amazon buy site
Winnie # 3 Amazon buy site

Where to Find Lorrie On-Line:

Lorrie's Amazon Author Page
Leaves and Thorns Blog

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fickle Gods, Helpful Goddesses

FAIZAH'S DESTINY borrows heavily from Persian mythology, but the gods pretty much match up to the Roman and Greek gods. Essentially, every civilization re-uses the same gods, but give them different names and their own special flavor.

The heroes are often the mighty warrior types: Hercules, Gilgamesh, Samson. Since I’ve written this book for kids, my heroes are teenagers, not at all like the legends (might become legendary themselves). But they’re not in mythology, so you’ll just have to read "Faizah's Destiny" to find out about them (when it's released in the Spring).

As usual, the "real" info is from the Encyclopedia Mythica.

Ahura Mazdah
In Persian belief, Ahura Mazdah ("Lord Wisdom") was the supreme god, he who created the heavens and the Earth, and another son of Zurvan. Atar, his son, battled Azhi Dahaka, the great dragon of the sky (note that Azhi shows up in "Setara's Genie"), and bound it in chains on a high mountain. The dragon was, however, destined to escape and destroy a third of mankind at the final reckoning, before it was slain. Ahura Mazdah was the god of prophetic revelation, and bore both Ahriman and Ormazd.

As leader of the Heavenly Host, the Amesha Spentas, he battles Ahriman and his followers to rid the world of evil, darkness and deceit. His symbol is the winged disc.
The ancient Persian water goddess, fertility goddess, and patroness of women, as well as a goddess of war. Her name means "the immaculate one". She is portrayed as a virgin, dressed in a golden cloak, and wearing a diamond tiara (sometimes also carrying a water pitcher). The dove and the peacock are her sacred animals.

Anahita was very popular and is one of the forms of the 'Great Goddess' which appears in many ancient eastern religions (such as the Syrian/Phoenician goddess Anath). She is associated with rivers and lakes, as the waters of birth. Anahita is sometimes regarded as the consort of Mithra.
My Mashup

I use Ahura more or less as described in the mythology site. Because he was the leader of the Amesha Spentas (the good guys), I decided to portray him like Zeus or Thor, just another god amused at the foibles of humankind, but rarely steps into the action. He is also equated with Mithra, so I have him married to Anahita. Ahura shows up in only one chapter ("Demons and Deities") and he chats with Anahita about the progress of the heroes. He claims to have set up the whole situation (just like a man).

I made Anahita my main character’s supporter. She appears to Faizah hovering over a lake. She tells the girl that one or more of her companions (three boys, wouldn’t you know) will be seduced to the dark side by demons. In typical godly fashion, she can’t give Faizah a straight story; she only hints at what might happen.

Excerpt (pre-release version):

Each time the light dimmed, it returned brighter than before, pulsing in time to the beat of her heart. As the shape within the light grew more and more distinct, a part of Faizah’s mind wondered if she should be afraid. Somehow she wasn’t. Instead, she felt a strong attraction to that glowing figure and walked to the lake’s edge to get a better look.

The apparition hovered a few inches above the surface of the lake. Faizah could now see, through the shimmering aura surrounding her, the figure was that of a woman. She was looking out over the lake to the point where the shooting star had disappeared over the caldera rim. Clad in a golden cloak, a diamond tiara adorned her brow, and two small lions lay at her feet. The figure turned slowly to look directly at Faizah, and a gentle smile curved her lips.

Faizah gasped in sudden recognition. This was the goddess Anahita! She did exist!

Faizah stood entranced as the patroness of all women, the goddess of water and fertility, and of war, came gliding smoothly over the surface of the lake toward her.

As the figure halted before her, Faizah glanced quickly over her shoulder at their campsite. The boys hadn’t moved, and she could hear Menog’s rumbling snore. She turned back to face the goddess.

“They will not awaken, Faizah,” Anahita’s lilting voice sounded in her ear. “I would speak to you alone.”

“Why...what...why have you appeared to me, Goddess?” Faizah stammered, her voice trembling.

“My husband has listened to your thoughts, Faizah. Ahura favors your purpose. He sent Menog to guide you through the cavern.”

Faizah’s eyes widened as she struggled to grasp what she was hearing. Ahura, too?

“Ah...we are grateful to Ahura for his favor. But...but, if he is protecting us, why did the boys become ill? Why didn’t I get sick, too?”

Anahita’s musical laugh was the tinkling of bells in a breeze. “Pazuzu of the southwest wind controls this valley. He guards it jealously and blows illness toward all who enter. This is why no one lives here.” Her smile widened. “And I might have had some small part in keeping you from getting sick.”

“I have read that Pazuzu can kill,” Faizah ventured, “yet the boys only have a cough. Did you do that, too?”

“No. That was your doing. Pazuzu can indeed kill. The medicine you made is what saved the boys. There is magic in you, Faizah, which is stronger than you know.” Anahita looked over Faizah’s shoulder at their little camp then back at Faizah. Her smile vanished, and her look became serious.

“I, too, favor your journey. But your friends,” she continued with a gesture toward the sleeping boys, “have lost their purpose. Be always on your guard, Faizah, for powerful forces oppose you.”

“If you favor our journey, Goddess, can you not tell me where to find Master Wafai?”

“A fair question, but the answer, I’m sorry to say, is no, I cannot.”

“But...but, you’re a goddess! Surely?”

“Master Wafai is safe; you needn’t worry about him. You are destined to follow a different path.”

Faizah’s brow wrinkled with concern. Why would she be selected by Anahita? She stammered, “What path?”

Anahita’s gaze lowered. “Many no longer believe in us, the gods and goddesses. As their belief wanes, so does our influence in the world. I, my husband, Ahura, my brother and sister goddesses, none of us are as strong as we once were. There are those, like your Master Wafai, who serve us still, and so we retain some of our strength. Even you doubted our existence, but your hope that we were real allows me to appear to you.”

“I’m sorry I ever doubted, Goddess,” Faizah whispered. “What must I do? Is it right that we go first to find the Simurgh, or should we be doing something else?”

“So many questions!” Anahita’s musical laugh drifted across the water. In the distance, a peacock’s raucous shriek seemed to answer her. “Listen, my pet calls to me,” she said. Then her smile faded, and her eyes mirrored the seriousness in her voice.

“Know this, Faizah. I will protect you as much as I can and lend you what assistance I am able. Even so, your success or failure depends on you. Your own wits and your own strength are far more important than any aid I may give you.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

RELEASE DAY: C.O.D. Club - Double Header

Winnie Krapski's back with another hilarious tale of her adventures in the Call on the Dead Club. This is the 3rd story in the series. Check Lorrie Struiff's blog for links to all her books.

C.O.D. Club - Double Header
by Lorrie Unites-Struiff
Buy at Amazon for only 99 cents!


Mr. and Mrs. Bickerson are in a fatal highway accident. Both Phil and Winnie work their last requests. Strange that the dead couple want their requests kept secret from one another. Why? What are they hiding?

Winnie works the request and ends up in more danger than she can handle.

Yep, Winnie is in deep poo again.


Morty Slovik, the mortician-owner who lived across the street, watched us through his bay window. We waved at him. After we made a mess of his funeral parlor the last time we were here, I had to ‘fess up to him about the COD Club’s mission. Don’t know why he’d been a bit spooked about it. I mean, he worked with bodies all the time. Or, maybe he felt weird knowing they were watching him.

Now, he was used to seeing me at his funeral home, as this was my usual place to deal with ghosties, and unlocked the door early when bodies were laid-out. We entered the home. The harsh tones of arguing floated down the long hallway before we reached the largest viewing room. I nudged Phil. “They sure are living up to their name Bickerson.”

“Yeah, let’s just go in and sit. Pretend we don’t hear or see them. Maybe we’ll find out what the fuss is about.”

We slipped around the corner and sat on the soft velvet chairs that lined the room. A jungle of flowers flanked the two coffins against the back wall. We kept our faces blank.

The ghosties stood toe-to-toe in front of their caskets. Mrs. Bickerson, a thickset woman with dyed red hair, wore a black pantsuit. Hubby was chubby in his gray suit and continuously smoothed his beard. They hadn’t noticed us coming in; they were too busy running their mouths.

“Told you not to pass that semi on the two-lane road. But no, not you. You had to play chicken with a tanker,” the woman shouted.

“If you wouldn’t nag nonstop, I’d have never pushed the pedal. I figured the quicker we got to the college, the sooner I’d get away from your flapping mouth. So, it’s really your fault.”

She poked him in the chest. “The twins’ll know it’s your fault.”

“How? You gonna tell Donny and Ronny that?” He crossed his arms and smirked.

Her head bowed and her eyes filled with tears. “Oh, dear. What are the boys going to do without me?”

“Probably be happy without you checking up on them every weekend and giving them the third degree.”

She stomped her foot. “You are sooo cruel.”

“You’re no sweetie-pie either.”

The woman’s chin snapped up. “Is that your flimsy excuse for cheating on me?”

He threw his hands up and shouted. “How many times I gotta tell you, I ain’t seeing anyone.”

My nose tickled. I tried to hold back, but the sneeze erupted like a shot. The startled couple turned and looked at us then headed our way.

He eyed us up and down. “Who are they? You know them?”

“No. The woman looks a little familiar though.” The Missus crossed her arms and tilted her head. “Weird looking couple.”

“Yeah, like Laurel and Hardy.” The man snickered.

I peeked at Phil. He wore this silly grin, and his round belly covered half of his lap. Definitely Ollie. But me, Laurel? I looked down at my thin legs clad in denim jeans. When I caught myself twiddling my fingers, I quickly shoved them in my coat pockets.

The woman stood in front of me, studying us. “All the man needs is a wooly caterpillar under his nose, and this ridiculous woman with the jeans and terrible gauche hat could use a few lessons on how to dress.”

That did it. I stood, and Phil yanked me back so hard, my feet bounced up from the floor.
The woman covered her mouth, giggling hysterically. “Look at those ridiculous sneakers.”
I pushed to my feet again. Phil tugged on my sleeve. “Winnie, sit down.”

“I will not. I’ve had just about enough. It’s fine and dandy for Stubs and Chubs to verbally beat each other up, but I don’t have to take their insults.”

Their eyes widened, the woman screamed, and both backed up to the caskets.

“You can see us?” The man’s eyebrows shot up.

“No kidding.” I moved toward them. “What gave you eggheads the first clue?”

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Glimmering with Pat McDermott

A big thank you to Marva for her hospitality here at The Cellophane Queen today. I'm Pat McDermott, author of romantic action/adventure tales set in an Ireland still ruled by the heirs of High King Brian Boru. These tales began with the Band of Roses Trilogy, but today I’m going to spotlight the prequels, Glancing Through the Glimmer and Autumn Glimmer, two Young Adult sweet romance/adventures rich in Irish myth and packing a hefty wallop of fairy magic.

Don’t let the Young Adult label put you off. Readers of all ages enjoy these books, both of which star two teens: Janet Gleason, the granddaughter of the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, and Prince Liam Boru, the King of Ireland’s son.

In Glancing Through the Glimmer, we find Finvarra, the King of the Connaught Fairies, unfazed by the fact that Ireland’s fairies are dying from lack of mortal belief in them. Finvarra would rather dance than worry—but he must have a mortal dancing partner.

When Janet Gleason’s grandfather becomes the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, the sixteen-year-old orphan must leave Boston and her friends behind. Janet is lonely in Dublin and unused to her grandparents’ stuffy social life. A royal invitation to the Ambassadors’ Ball terrifies her. She can’t even waltz and dreads embarrassment. Finvarra’s fairy witch, Becula, overhears her fervent wish to learn to dance.

Seventeen-year-old Liam Boru loathes the idea of escorting another pampered girl to a ball. In fact, he detests most of his royal duties. He dresses down to move through Dublin unnoticed and lands on his royal backside when Janet crashes into him. He asks to see her again, and she agrees. Unaware of each other’s identities, they meet for a date, but the fairies steal Janet away. Liam’s attempts to find her lead to a showdown with Finvarra in the dungeons of Clontarf Castle.

In this “Glancing” excerpt, Janet visits a Dublin dress shop to try on a gown for the ball. She finds more than a gown in the dressing room:

   Janet looked in the mirror and gasped. The reflection of the old woman she'd nearly knocked down on the street smiled back at her. She turned around. “Hello. I didn't realize you worked here. I'm Janet.”
   “Yes, I know, love. You can call me Nora.” The old-fashioned dress was gone. Nora wore the same black slacks and blouse that seemed to be the uniform in Kincora Designs. She opened her hand.
   The golden necklace she held enchanted Janet. It's old, she thought, so very old. Whoever had made it had woven tiny gold beads into the links. The pendant, three interwoven Celtic triangles, enclosed a glittering blue stone, the same sky blue as the gown she wore—and she'd seen enough of Gram's jewelry to suspect that the gem was real.
   “Is it a sapphire?”
   “It is.” Nora entered the cubicle. “Turn and I'll fix it so you can get an idea how it looks.”
   Janet obeyed, lifting her hair from her neck, bracing herself for the metal's chill against her skin. Its heat surprised her. No doubt it had grown warm in Nora's hand.
   “They say this necklace is magic.” Nora stepped back to the cubicle's entrance. “If you make a wish while wearing it close to your heart, your wish will come true.”
   “Ireland is full of stories like that.”
   A chuckle prefaced Nora's reply. “Yes, I know. It's only a legend, but it wouldn't hurt to try. Who knows? You just might get your wish. I'll be back in a few minutes.”
   The curtain closed. Janet gazed in the mirror. The sapphire had fallen to just the right spot on her chest. If only it really were magic! She'd try anything to avoid looking lame at the ball. Maybe she should wish she didn't have to go. That she could go back to Boston. That her parents were still alive.
   You're sixteen, not six, she thought, sighing at her reflection. Then she smiled. Pushing the pendant to the left, she pressed it hard against her skin and squeezed her eyes shut. “I wish I could dance,” she whispered. “I wish I could two-step. I wish I could one-step. I wish I could waltz like a princess! I wish Wish WISH I could dance!”
   Feeling ditsy, she opened her eyes and glanced around the dressing room. No one could have heard her. No one but the necklace.

* * * * *
In Autumn Glimmer, King Brian invites Janet and her grandparents to Glensheelin, the royal family’s country estate, to celebrate Halloween. In Irish, Glensheelin means the “glen of the fairy pool,” a sentimental old name, or so the mortals think. In fact, a clan of fairies still live beneath Glensheelin’s lake, and every seventh Halloween, a few of them must leave their watery home to fill a magical bag with the flowers their queen requires to keep a hungry monster asleep. This year, Blinn, Mell, and Lewy get the job. Blinn wants to see the mortal king’s house. Lewy wants to taste oatcakes again, and Mell goes along on a tragic ride that leaves poor Lewy lost and alone. Can Liam and Janet help him find the flower bag before the monster awakens? Or will Lewy’s misguided glimmer trap the young mortals forever in the palace beneath the lake?

An “Autumn” excerpt:

   Below the bubble, the water brightened to a lustrous cobalt blue. Stars seemed to shimmer deep in the lake. A forest of vegetation waved on the lake bed. The impossible sight of crystal towers emerged beyond the greenery, and Liam wanted to dance.
   Janet raised a hand to her face. “It’s lovely, but why does it smell so bad?”
   She was right. A nasty whiff of something vile had seeped into the bubble.
   Becula raised her arms. “Hasten!”
   The bubble’s downward speed increased. The stench intensified. Trying to pinpoint its source, Liam scanned the ghostly lake. An amber mist glowed in the inky water beyond the light and seemed to be pursuing them.
   “What is it?” he asked, dreading the answer.
   “The Crogall Cú,” Becula said, her nonchalant tone at odds with the stiffened sags and bags on her face. “When it hunts, its nostrils blow foul vapors to confuse its prey. Fear not, young prince. It shall not harm us.”
   A terrible roar tore through the bubble. Janet yipped and clung to Liam. Squashing his lips to keep from yipping himself, he hugged her to him.
   The mist billowed into to a putrid fog that poured like custard to sully the water. Another roar, much closer this time, jolted the bubble.
   Janet screamed. A blood-red eye as big as an autumn moon stared into the bubble.
* * * *
A Little About Me:
I grew up in the Mission Hill section of Boston, Massachusetts. I now live and write in New Hampshire. One of my short stories earned an Honorable Mention for children’s fiction in the 74th Writer’s Digest Annual Writing competition, a boost that encouraged me to keep writing. My Young Adult paranormal adventures, Glancing Through the Glimmer and Autumn Glimmer, are prequels to the more adult “Band of Roses” trilogy, A Band of Roses, Fiery Roses, and Salty Roses.

I am a member of the New Hampshire Writers' Project, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. My favorite non-writing activities include hiking, reading, cooking, and traveling, especially to Ireland.
* * * * *
Glancing Through the Glimmer / E-book Available from

Autumn Glimmer / E-book Available from

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Another Short Story

Yeah, yeah. I don't have anything new to announce, so I'll continue to post short stories when I don't have a guest (coming up on the 9th: Pat McDermott with her delightful Irish Magical Realism series).

This is a longer story. I considered breaking it into two parts, but I think bringing an audience back two days in a row doesn't work. So here is a little paranormal/horror previously published in "Weirdly. Volume 2" from WildChild Publishing. It is also included in "Mixed Bag 2: Supersized."

The Vision

Charlie just had his first real vision, and it couldn’t have surprised him more. He glanced out at Mary Beth in the audience giving him frantic, although subtle, signals. He shook his head and almost heard Mary Beth gasp. Charlie shouldn’t move his head more than a centimeter, and he’d clearly moved it at least ten. Ten left, ten right, and ten left again.

He saw Mary Beth register his confusion. “Charles the Great is tiring, so that’s all the answers for this evening, folks. Next up, Gale and Her Magic Chickens!” she said.

Charlie took Mary Beth’s hint for a way out. He bowed to the audience a couple of times to a light smatter of applause, exiting stage left as fast as he could. Charlie collapsed on the folding chair sitting off stage as the startled Gale trooped by him with her colorful box full of chickens.

Just what is wrong with you?” Mary Beth hissed the instant she arrived behind the curtains.

I don’t know. I just got dizzy for a second,” Charlie said, bending his head down between his knees to emphasize his statement. He didn’t feel dizzy at all, but he wasn’t ready to tell Mary Beth about the vision.  He had to sort it out himself first.

The partners of the mind-reading act of Charles the Great stumbled through the dark backstage to their dressing room. Mary Beth sat at the dressing table, pulled off her costume jewelry, and applied cleansing cream to her face. By the set of her mouth, Charlie knew that the rest of the evening might not be a pleasant one.

Charlie and Mary Beth had a great little mind-reading act. Mary Beth selected a person from the audience and chatted with them for a few moments before holding up the microphone.

Charles, are you receiving anything from this person?” she’d say.

Charlie would already have taken on the glazed look of a person in a deep trance. Staring directly at Mary Beth, he picked up the cues which provided the information he used to ‘read’ minds.

The lady is married,” he intoned. The wedding ring on her left hand provided the clue. Mary Beth’s lips barely moved, no more than a ventriloquist. She held the mike close to her mouth, but angled slightly to one side. Her mouth formed the letters, and more often, the shorthand codes they used.

M. I see an M. The lady’s name begins with M?”

Mary Beth’s head twitched to the right. “No, she’s married to an M.” Mary Beth smiled.

Is it Mike?”

Mary Beth twitched her mouth to the left. “No, no. It is M A, I can see it starts with M, then A.” An imperceptible nod, and her right little finger curled a micrometer.

Marvin!” the woman blurted.

Yes, you are married to Marvin,” Charlie said.

Charlie loved it when the audience did his work for him. The smart ones kept a straight face and didn’t say a word.

Charlie noted the woman’s smile turning downward. Could it be? He took a stab at the meaning of the expression. “Is Marvin no longer with us?”

Yes, I mean no. That is, he died last summer,” the woman sputtered.

I’m very sorry for your loss.” Mary Beth moved quickly to the next person. A raised left eyebrow, and she hauled the microphone through the audience looking for the clues that told a person’s story. Wedding rings, expensive watches, callouses, scars, clothing…open books to Mary Beth and Charlie’s skills.

If the audience knew how they did their tricks, they might be disappointed. Unless, of course, they thought about it for a moment or two. The pair’s ability to guess as accurately as they did even amazed their colleagues who knew the score. The subtle secrets people thought hidden, were clear as glass to Mary Beth and Charlie.

But now, Charlie had experienced a vision, a real one. It didn’t come from Mary Beth’s hints or his own keen observations. The audience and Mary Beth had disappeared from his view, and another picture appeared. No, more than a picture, the scene played right there before his eyes.

Now, Charlie sat in the dressing room watching Mary Beth wipe cream from her face. The vision still vivid in his mind, he wondered what it meant. Maybe it meant nothing. They’d been working hard for several months with a show every night and matinees Saturday and Sunday. Maybe he was just tired. Maybe he’d eaten something bad, like Scrooge’s bit of underdone potato, more gravy than grave.

Mary Beth moved around the dressing room putting things away, not speaking to him. She didn’t have to tell him she was giving him the silent treatment. No. So attuned with one another, Mary Beth knew she needn’t explain the obvious to Charlie. Clearly, he had ticked her off.

I had a vision,” Charlie offered, ready to see what Mary Beth thought.


No, really. I saw it plain as day.”

Mary Beth spun the stool around and glared at him—not a subtle tell at all.

You’ll get us fired if we don’t do a full show. Times are tough, and acts like ours are a dime a dozen.”

It only happened this once. Besides, Gale was all ready to go with her chickens.”

You’re lucky. Most of the time, she’s out in the alley having a smoke before she goes on.”

Don’t you want to know what I saw?”

Well, I can’t imagine it’s important. I mean, you’re not really a mind reader or whatever, so your mind just hiccuped or something.” Mary Beth turned back to the mirror and started pulling pins out of her hair, which she wore in an up-do for the show.

No, it was more than that,” Charlie whispered, looking down at his hands. They rubbed against each other seemingly out of his control.

All right. If it will make you feel better, then tell me about it,” Mary Beth mumbled through a mouthful of bobby pins.

Charlie opened his mouth then shut it again as it dawned on him he didn’t have the words to describe the vision. Start with the setting.

I saw, um, the audience,” he muttered. No, more than that.

Yes?” Mary Beth prompted, “What about the audience?”

Well, at first the people looked just like they did in real life….”


But then they weren’t.”

Weren’t what? What are you talking about, Charlie?” Mary Beth demanded, her voice taking on that screechy tone it got when she became angry.


Mary Beth stared at Charlie for a good three count then slapped her hairbrush down. “You’re too much, Charlie. Okay, so the people were dead. Corpses, rotting? How about me?”

It didn’t last long enough for me to see much detail, but, yes, corpses. I don’t know if they were rotting, but they weren’t just, you know, skeletons.” Mary Beth stared at him. He added, “I didn’t see you.”

So why do you think you had a real vision? Do you really think you’re clairvoyant?” she said with a sneer.
Charlie shook his head, “Oh, I don’t know, Mary Beth. Quit asking questions I can’t answer. All I know is for about ten seconds I was looking out at a bunch of dead people. Sprawled across the seats, their heads lolled over, mouths hanging open, eyes staring. It was creepy, damn it!”

Mary Beth picked up her brush and stroked her hair in silence. Charlie watched her in the mirror. He knew she was considering what he had said, maybe thinking he was nuts. His gut twisted, and a chill made the hairs stand up on his arms. Mary Beth became a grinning skull, her bony hand smoothing a few rotted hanks of hair on her head. Then, the flesh and blood Mary Beth returned.

Charlie let out the breath he had sucked in when the vision started. Again, it lasted only a few seconds. Before he even realized what he saw, the vision disappeared.

The vision was too real to be an hallucination. He leaned over and held his face in his hands, covering his eyes. He didn’t want to see any more.

Oh, sweetie. I’m sorry I was mad at you. Don’t be like that.”

A hand touched his shoulder. He spread his fingers slightly to peek at it. He saw warm skin, and relief flooded through him. He looked up at Mary Beth’s face. Her eyebrows turned down in the middle forming those cute little wrinkles he loved so much.

It’s okay,” he said. “I’m okay now. Look, get changed, and we’ll go grab a bite.”

Sure, babe, that’d be nice.” Mary Beth walked to the small closet and pulled out her street clothes. She slipped off the gold lamé gown and high heels and put on her blouse and slacks. Sitting down, she shoved her feet into a pair of scuffed loafers.

Charlie decided these visions must be simply a result of overwork and stress. Reading minds was tougher when your eyesight began to fail. He sighed. He’d have to go to an optometrist soon. He could hardly read Mary Beth’s signals any more. He’d asked her to keep to the front of the room, but it wouldn’t look right to choose participants from only the front rows.

They left the theater through the stage door. Before the door swung shut, Charlie heard the squawk of Gale’s chickens. He shook his head, amused. Gale’s act was pretty strange, but still popular. Maybe the incongruity of using a chicken in a magic act instead of the standard pigeon appealed to the audience. Whatever the reason, Gale usually received a couple of standing o’s every week. That might be because she was always the last act and everybody was ready to stand up and leave.

The visions began to fade from his mind, and Charlie felt very ready to forget them. He’d happily write them off as some temporary phenomena resulting from overwork and fading eyesight. Still, the vision of Mary Beth’s skinless skull in the mirror hung behind his eyes. He shivered, and Mary Beth clutched his arm closer to her side. He loved her: a good woman, besides being a great performer, with the best tells in the business.

They walked out of the alley. On the street, they stopped for a moment to glance one way, then the other.


Sure, I could go for a steak.” They turned left and walked past the front of the theater. The sign read: VAUDEVILLE REVIVAL SHOW and CHARLES THE GREAT beneath. He enjoyed being the headliner. The show neared the end of its run, so they’d be on the road again, playing one-nighters in small towns. Maybe it was time to get honest work. He felt tired, dog tired, and this thing tonight showed him the end of the act had to come soon. I could sell real estate.

As they walked along the street, he got another flash. Parked cars held rotting corpses. He saw the details now, strings of flesh and tissue hanging from bones. The bodies sprawled back, caught in some strange throe of death. Sudden, sudden death. Charlie restrained his responses. Just pretend it’s not there. But he couldn’t restrain his pounding heart. He questioned his sanity, but wasn’t ready yet to scream for help.

Mary Beth stood still by his side. He clung to her while the flashes of death continued off and on. She looked at him with concern. Tensing, then stumbling, Charlie staggered as the visions came and went.

What is it? What’s going on?” Mary Beth gripped his arm tighter to hold him upright.

I don’t know.” Charlie’s voice trembled with fear. “Let’s go back to the hotel.”

Sure, Charlie.” Mary Beth’s reply shook almost as much as Charlie’s. His eyes were glazing, and he began to stumble. She grabbed his arm tighter and steered him back down the street toward the rundown hotel they had made their temporary home.

The visions came faster, flashing into existence for a second or two then disappearing, only for them to reappear in the next minute. All different, each flash showed a blighted view of reality: the bum grubbing in the trash can sprawled on the ground, mouth gaping in death; the couple walking across the street fell in a heap across each other’s bodies; a dead cat crouched in the alley forever stalking a mouse covered with maggots.

Everything living had died and decayed—horrible.

Worst of all, Mary Beth kept dropping away from him as each vision appeared. Over and over, he saw her ruined body lying on the pavement, her lipless mouth hanging open. The next moment, her warm hand gripped his again, and she led him down the street.

Charlie couldn’t take any more. What’s wrong with me? This was much more than just fatigue or overwork.

Hospital,” he said, barely able to speak through his clenched teeth.

Flash. Mary Beth flagged down a cab.

Flash. The cab driver laid over the steering wheel.

Flash. The streets filled with alternating living, breathing humans, then rotting corpses.

Charlie closed his eyes tight once in the cab; he no longer needed to see to walk. He noticed sound now accompanied the visions. He hadn’t heard anything when the gruesome visions first appeared. The background noise of traffic alternately blared or went silent while the visions continued. The traffic noise signaled the end of a vision flash, and he half-opened his eyes.

The cab pulled in front of the hospital emergency room. Mary Beth paid the cabbie, who helped her carry Charlie to the doors. An orderly rushed over, and the cabbie walked to the door, collapsing just outside. As Charlie turned to the orderly, the entire waiting room fell as silent as the bodies scattered in it.

Charlie closed his eyes, waiting for the end of the flash, but the silence persisted. The ding, ding of an elevator door sounded somewhere—the sound it makes when it repeatedly attempts to close on an obstruction.

The silence and dinging continued, and time stretched into a minute, then two. Charlie stood waiting for the murmur of voices, the strong arm of the orderly to take him.

Charlie knew he had to look. He opened his eyes to the expected moldering bodies. Peering down a long hallway, he spied the elevator. A man’s body stopped the door from closing. In front of Charlie, the orderly and Mary Beth’s corpses sprawled. He began to weep, first a few tears and then racking sobs. The vision continued. Why wouldn’t it end?

Slowly, his sobs faded. A memory came back to him, one he had made great effort to suppress. The memory had led him here to the hospital; Mary Beth’s body still lay on the floor, exactly where it had slumped two weeks before.

Charlie had come in for a bad neck pain. In the shielded x-ray room when the end came, only he had survived. The lead-lined room protected people outside from the minor effect of the x-rays. But the lead lining also protected Charlie from the immediate radiation and death of the neutron bomb.

The last world war came on fast and brutal and finished off nearly everyone in the city. Very few survived, and those who did tried very hard to forget. Charlie had managed to do just that for two weeks, but reality had a way of getting in his face. Charlie looked down at his hands and, for the first time, noticed the suppurating sores. He wondered how much time he had left. Charlie couldn’t forget anymore.

Where you can find my collections:

The first, Mixed Bag, is my "freebie" sampler with a dozen short stories. You can get a FREE ebook copy at Smashwords.

I doubled down on Mixed Bag II: Supersized to include a number of stories showing my darker side. Also available in ebook at Smashwords, I priced it at a bargain 99 cents.

Print editions are also available on Amazon.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Witchery in WANTED by Annika James

Witchcraft in "Wanted"
by Annika James

WANTED features a world where witches and vampires mingle with humans, and everyone is aware of the others. Young vampires can be out in the sunlight and witches have real power. Ashlinn is one such witch. Of course, she won’t come into her full power until she turns 18, but she’s still powerful enough to attract the attention of the Vampire Council. Witch magick is centered around nature, and the four elements. Ashlinn affiliates more with air, but she is able to manipulate all the elements. The more affiliation a witch has with an element, the more they can use it without having to cast a circle and do a spell.

She has a Book of Shadows, kind of like a spellbook, that is a collection of spells passed down through her family. These spells generally require more power and concentration. To do one of these, Ashlinn casts a circle using magickal tools, such as her athame - or ritual dagger. She also uses herbs, oils, crystals, candles, and sacred words. Throughout her ordeal, Ashlinn performs both circle magick and magick using only her power. Big magick is forbidden at school, but she does use calming spells every now and then to help herself feel better.

Vampires like powerful witches, because they can use the witch’s power to enhance their own abilities. By ingesting the witch blood regularly, the vamp gains the witch’s power. As a vamp’s familiar, the witch will also drink the vamp’s blood, this will help the witch live a long life, as long as she keeps regularly ingesting her vamp’s blood.

Once the Council gets wind of Ash’s power, they want her to become a familiar to avoid vamps fighting over her. Since she was attacked and bitten when she was younger, Ashlinn is afraid of being bitten and refuses to be used for her power. She also has trouble controlling her powers when she gets emotional. She needs someone to help her work on her control. This may or may not come with her continued close association with her vamp friends.

When she’s not getting chased by vamps lusting for her power, Ashlinn likes to hang out with Cora, her female best friend, and watch movies and eat ice cream. She also works on her spells at home and practices her control.

To see how Ashlinn does her magick and if she concedes to becoming a familiar, pick up Wanted and get all the details.


Attacked as a young witch and left for dead, Ashlinn is deathly afraid of being bitten again. Having survived until she’s almost eighteen without donating blood to any of her vamp friends, Ashlinn figures she’ll continue to live bite-free.  After her crush reveals how powerful she is, however, the Vampire Council declares she be claimed as a familiar, which requires biting. Ashlinn doesn’t want to be owned, even by hot vamp, Conor. Luckily, her best friend, Matt, volunteers for the job. She is given one week to choose her protector, and the list of willing biters keeps growing. Will she go with best friend Matt, hot vamp Conor, or someone else to protect her? Will she be able to get her power under control by then? Will she overcome her phobia of being bitten? And who says she needs to be protected, anyhow?


He leaned toward me, holding my gaze with his. I forgot how to breathe, how to think. Then his lips touched mine, electricity exploding up and down my body. Soft and gentle, they probed, tasting, testing. I didn’t move to touch him, just remained frozen. There was only the kiss. His mouth moved to my jaw, kissing his way down to my neck. His teeth grazed my skin. I unfroze and found my voice. “No!” I felt a surge of power push through me. Conor flew backward across the room. He crashed into a bookcase, sending an avalanche of books over him as he fell to the floor. He slumped there, holding his head, dazed. He looked up in confusion, mouth opened ready to speak. At that moment, my muscles remembered how to move and I ran for the door. It opened in front of me, not of my power, and Matt appeared. He’d probably felt my surge of power. I hadn’t meant to throw Conor. Panic had overtaken me and I had lost control for an instant. I flew into Matt’s arms and he embraced me. Matt was my rock. His presence calmed me, it always did. He was like a protective big brother. I knew he understood the whole scene in the seconds before I’d found his arms. I buried my face in the T-shirt pulled tight across his strong chest, and breathed in his scent, a mix of fabric softener and cologne. It was familiarity, it was home, and it helped to center me. I peeked out at Conor. He stepped out of the pile of books and straightened his clothing.

“Is she yours, Matthew? I thought she was unclaimed.” Conor was now being formal. Vamps often addressed each other formally, even the teenage ones. He thought I was Matt’s, and to bite me would have been a serious offense to Matt’s family. I was not claimed, nor would I ever be. Matt’s arms tightened around me.

“No. I told you she’s not claimed. Did you try to bite her?” Each word seethed with anger. I had never heard so much menace in Matt’s voice. He trembled ever so slightly. Wasn’t Conor his friend? I felt like there was something else going on here I didn’t quite get.

“I just assumed she’d agree.” Conor’s voice came from right behind me. “I’ve never been turned down before.” His voice wasn’t cocky, not even confident. He stated it like he’d simply said his eyes were green.

“Did you ask her?”

Conor said nothing. Matt must have seen something in Conor’s face, though, because his grip on me tightened, voice outraged. “You didn’t even ask her?” He was furious. I raised my head. There was fire in his eyes, and if looks could kill, Conor would have been so much more than dead. I turned in Matt’s arms, forcing him to loosen his hold, although he didn’t let go completely. Conor’s brow furrowed, mouth drawn into a tight frown.

“I thought it was what she wanted.” His voice was soft and unsure.

About Annika:

Once upon a time, Annika believed her dreams had ended. It took awhile, but she realized no one could take her dreams away from her, and if she worked hard enough, she had the power to make those dreams come true. Getting published is proof of that. She lives in a small, Midwestern town with her husband and two beautiful children, and continues to turn her dreams into reality.

Author links:

Buy links: