Monday, October 31, 2022

A Fond Farewell to Halloween

A FINAL HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

How about a home-made video book trailer to finish out the Blood Ties Tested free days? Before we go, here's the link to the free book on Amazon.

BLOOD TIES TESTED - FINAL BOOK OF THE WITCHES OF GALDORHEIM SERIES
Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?



Saturday, October 29, 2022

Silly Symphonies - The Skeleton Dance

A personal favorite and I'd bet if you're old enough you saw it when you were a kid too.
 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

What's Halloween Without a Group of Recovering Vampires?



BLOOD TIES TESTED - FINAL BOOK OF THE WITCHES OF GALDORHEIM SERIES

Unfortunate events lead a half-vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

Following the events in the series Witches of Galdorheim, this additional tale relates what happens to Katrina the Witch's younger brother, Rune. Half vampire and half warlock, he faces life with a wisecrack and some powerful magic. Whatever happens, he does not want to be a vampire like his father. Unfortunate events lead him to fatally call on his vampire half. This failure leaves him in anguish. How can he assuage the guilt he feels? His mother thinks he needs to visit dead old dad, a vampire residing in the Tatras Mountains of Slovakia.

THE VAMPIRES OF THE F.O.B. CLUB (Forever Off Blood)

ELIZABETH BATHORY

She’s a little old-fashioned and wears clothing appropriate to the 17th C.

Elizabeth Bathory regretted she had thrown away the chance for herself. She had forever forsaken the idea of a family. Her mind cruelly flashed to the sight of her lounging in a bathtub, the water crimson with blood. She shook her head to relieve herself of the flashback to her evil days. She had used the girls brought to her from the village. She paid well. The peasants didn’t want girls anyway and turned a blind eye to the Countess’ dire use. When the girls disappeared, their parents accepted the gold purse and the lie that their daughter had gone off to the city to find work. They accepted they shouldn’t expect to hear from them again.

Finally, the other nobles could no longer turn a blind eye. Tried for murder, she stood mute while the servants who had aided her begged for their own lives with their testimony. It did no good. They were hung in the village square after the jury announced the guilty verdict. But she was a noble and the rope wouldn’t cut her life short. She knew it wouldn’t in any case, but pretending to be dead, getting buried, then having to claw her way out again would have been annoying, but survivable. Instead, they put her in a high tower with the windows and door closed with bricks. One small opening, just big enough for a plate was left to serve her meals.

ANGUS MAC BEATHA

Scottish, 11th C., Mac Beatha - means "son of life." The ancient Scottish Vampire was Glaistig's lover. Glaistig, the Gray Lady, met Rune in Scotch Broom. Angus departed from Scotland when he failed to control his vampire tendencies.

When he learned of Glaistig's death, he was devastated. When her killer arrived on Drakos' castle doorstep, he vowed to kill the youth. In his desire for revenge, he also harms those he loves the most -- his fellow vampires.


COUNT LYONEL PERABO


Lyonel Perabo, with his long black hair, goatee, and mustache was tall and elegant—the consummate Frenchman, except for one little difference. He had left France to join the Viking raids a thousand years before. He had thought it a convenient way to sup on humans since the battlefields were strewn with the near-dead lying in pools of blood. When the Norsemen settled treaties and stopped their raids, Lyonel had to go elsewhere for his supply. To his perplexity, a Draugr followed Lyonel from the battlefield. Eventually, he spoke to the monster and discovered he was a man turned to a monster called Thorolf Draugr. The two became friends and hunted together—Lyonel for the blood and Thorolf for the flesh.

It became more difficult as the years went by. Lyonel and Thorolf had stumbled on Drakos’ villa whilst stalking a Gypsy caravan. They thought it would be nice to stop in for a visit with Lyonel’s own kind, and stayed, converted to Drakos’ philosophy. Thorolf didn’t want blood, so it made no difference to him. Eating an entire elk at a sitting suited him fine.

The Legend of Thorolf Draugr
Drauger- Icelandic Saga- this is an animated corpse that comes forth from its grave mound or shows restlessness on the way to the burial place. This creature is also known as an Aptrgangr (after-goer or one who walkers after death.) The Draugr is the roaming undead most frequently encountered in Icelandic Sagas. Whichever name was used, the undead of Scandinavia was a physical body, the actual corpse of the deceased.

TAO LUNG:

Tao Lung, like the others, had spent years terrorizing the Chin villages for victims. He came across a scholarly man named Zhu Xi sitting silently in a beautiful garden. He crept toward the man, believing him to be asleep. Tao Lung was surprised when the Confucian philosopher raised one hand, palm outward. Tao froze, unable to move, and realized he was in the presence of a powerful magician. The old man allowed Tao to sit cross-legged before him, arms resting on his knees, and strangely his index finger and thumb touching forming a strange shape. They remained in this position for days. When Zhu Xi allowed Tao to move again, the vampire felt at peace. He was no longer driven by blood lust. Zhu Xi died, as humans do, and Tao Lung wandered through the countryside imparting the same peace of mind Zhu Xi had given him. His wanderings brought him eventually to Drakos’ door. As their spiritual guide, he was the key to the family’s success. When the others wavered in their resolve, they went to Tao Lung. He need say nothing. The one who needed strength sat with Tao Lung as he had sat with Zhu Xi. When their mind was at peace, he released them. They bowed and went about their daily business.

The Legend of the Ch'iang Shih
In China, vampires had long, hooked claws and red eyes. They were known as ch’iang shih, which translates to “corpse-hopper.”

* * *

Monday, October 24, 2022

Halloween is for Sea Monsters

 Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim

MIDNIGHT OIL – FREE October 24th - 28th

Ceto nee Nessie

In the second book of the Witches of Galdorheim series, our erstwhile heroine gets a little help from an unusual source. Did you ever wonder why there are so few sightings of the Loch Ness monster? Well, Nessie vacations on Ultima Thule, which may be the remnants of Atlantis.

She's not fond of the name Nessie or Loch Ness Monster and prefers to go by Ceto. From http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Ceto :

In Greek mythology, Ceto or Keto (Greek: English translation: "sea monster") was a hideous aquatic monster, a daughter of Gaia and Pontus. The asteroid (65489) Ceto was named after her, and its satellite (65489) Ceto I Phorcys after her husband. She was the personification of the dangers of the sea, unknown terrors, and bizarre creatures. Eventually, the word "ceto" became simple shorthand for any sea monster. The term cetacean represents a case in point. Her husband was Phorcys and they had many children, collectively known as the Phorcydes or Phorcydides. In Greek art, Ceto was drawn as a serpentine fish. Ceto also gave name to the constellation Cetus.

Ceto in Midnight Oil

Ceto and Nessie become one. She’s not a bad, um, person, but much misunderstood. She finds my heroine adrift in the northern seas sitting on a block of ice. Oh, yeah, I should mention that the block contains the body of her father. Ceto finds this all fascinating and helps my heroine dock the ice block at Ultima Thule and find a messenger to send for help from the Witches' Island of Galdorheim in the Barents Sea.

Excerpt

Kat sat cross-legged on the ice, one hand clutching the rope, and looked down at her father’s face. His eyes were open but unseeing. The deep gash on his forehead didn’t do much for his appearance. She hoped when he reached Siberia for his final burial, the Samis would fix him up a bit. She knew it didn’t matter, but it would make her feel better.

A wave came out of nowhere; the ice block rose and fell almost knocking Kat into the water. She clutched at the ropes and looked in all directions, but the sea remained calm. She frowned, wondering how… Then, a light bulb blazed inside her head when she sensed something large passing under her makeshift boat.

Kat edged herself up on her knees, keeping a tight hold on the ropes. She scanned the water closely, and to her right, she saw a dark shape under the water. A whale, perhaps. Maybe her calls finally got results.

The shape turned and came back toward the ice block. It stayed several feet below, so Kat could only make out a dark shadow as it glided beneath her. The ice block lifted and dropped again. She looked to her left to see a long neck stretched out, followed by a bulky, black body. A short tail emerged from under the block and slapped down on the water. It sprayed Kat’s face with icy droplets but didn’t drench her.

The dark shape rose slowly upward. First, a small head appeared, and Kat thought it might be a seal, and then the long neck emerged. Her mouth dropped open, and her eyes followed the head upward until she had her neck bent back as far as she could. The creature regarded her with huge, dark eyes, seeming too big for the little nob of a head. Its skin was dark gray, almost black. Kat noticed how smooth it appeared. She wanted to reach out to touch it. She thought better of that notion when the creature’s mouth opened and revealed rows of sharp teeth.

A voice spoke inside her mind. “Who are you, little girl?”

“Little girl? Why, I’m almost…” Then, thinking it’d be rude to argue with her only potential rescuer, she finished, “I mean, I’m a witch, from an island…” Kat looked around and waved her hand, “somewhere out there.”

You wear the skin of a seal, and you can speak to creatures of the sea. Are you, perhaps, a selkie in human form?”

“Selkie? No, I’m just a witch from Galdorheim.”

Hmm. How came you to be on that block of ice?”

“I’ve answered your questions,” Kat said, peeved at being grilled by a sea monster. “Now you answer one for me. What are you? And where did you come from?”

That’s two questions.”

“Well, you asked two, so answer up!” Kat sensed she need not be afraid. The sea monster, as she now thought it to be, did not send any warning signals. It was simply curious.

I am me.”

Kat frowned. While harmless, the creature seemed to have an evasive streak. Why did it show itself to her if it didn’t want to talk?

As if it heard Kat’s thoughts, the creature said, “Very well. The world has called me many names. Sometimes Nessie from where I once lived.”

“You’re the Loch Ness monster? I thought that was just a legend.” Kat stared in wide-eyed wonder at the mythical creature who might, if she could work it out, be her rescuer.

No legend, but I left the loch years ago. Too many curious people.”

* * *

MIDNIGHT OIL Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series

Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

Kat discovers that an evil forest spirit has kidnapped her brand-new boyfriend. She sets out with her brother, Rune,

from her Arctic island home on a mission to rescue the boy. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe. The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding that the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.

Mustering every bit of her Wiccan magic, Kat rises to the challenge. She invokes her magical skills, learns to fly an ultralight, meets a legendary sea serpent, rescues her boyfriend, and helps a friendly air spirit win the battle against her spiteful sibling. On top of it all, she’s able to recover the Midnight Oil and help the hapless mutants in the nick of time.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Halloween is for Scottish Winter Goddesses


Break out of the same-old Ireland (not that Ireland isn't neat) and step into the Otherworld of Scotch legend and myth. Cailleach is less known than her sister Bride (Bridget), but she used to be the one with the real power. Now days, not so much.

Cailleach the Winter Goddess

Cailleach is a goddess in the Scottish Celtic pantheon. Descriptions of her looks and personality run the gamut from ugly monster or beautiful protector of the land. This split personality goddess is the winter counterpart to the beautiful Bride (Bridget), the goddess of spring.

Living in the Otherworld after the Celts have stopped worshiping the old ones, Cailleach has let herself go to seed. She spends her days attempting to make sense of the hags’ potion in Macbeth (Double, double, toil and trouble). When she hears that a witch has come into the Otherworld, she begins to scheme. If Cailleach can only steal the witch’s magic, she can be young and powerful again. But the crone is cautious, she sends her minions out to learn more about the witch and to lead her to the goddess. While waiting for news, she learns that yet another witch has entered the Otherworld, but this one doesn’t make any sense. Cailleach determines this being is male, thus a warlock, but also smells of vampire. She decides to draw in this one like she plans for the first. But first, she decides to do a little homework.

She sends Bodach, the black giant, to give a message to Glaistig, the only Scottish vampire, to scope out just exactly who or what this male is: warlock, vampire, or both.

From the Monstropedia on Cailleach (Alas, Monstropedia is no more, but this was what it did say):
She is depicted as as having an eye in the middle of a blue-black face, long red teeth, and matted hair. In several stories she appears before a hero as a repulsive hag and suddenly transforms herself into a beautiful girl. At winter’s end, some accounts say the Cailleach turned into a grey boulder at Beltane until the warm days were over. The boulder was said to be “always moist’, because it contained “life substance’. The Cailleach Beara is ever-renewing and passes through many lifetimes going from old age to youth or flesh to stone in a cyclic fashion.
The Cailleach is seen as a seasonal deity or spirit, ruling the winter months between Samhain (October 31st) and Beltaine (April 30th), while Bride rules the summer months between Beltaine and Samhain. Some interpretations have the Cailleach and Brìde as two faces of the same goddess.
She is a bringer of snows, death, and sharp storms. On Samhain the Cailleach leaves her mountains and walks the Land. The Cailleach then proceeds to "wash her plaid". Her plaid represents the sand. When the Cailleach is done the plaid is white and the Land is covered with snow. She is said to ride on the back of a wolf carrying a wand made of human skin, that she uses to strike down all signs of growth. Behind her follows cold winds, blizzards, and ice. In Scotland, she is also known as Beira, Queen of Winter.

It’s easy to see why Cailleach is so interested in regaining her strength, to become what she had been in the olden times.

Excerpt:

Cailleach groaned when she leaned over and lifted her bare foot high enough to clip her toenails with the gardening shears. She looked up and sniffed twice. The hag dropped her bare foot, stuffed it into her flipflop, and shuffled to the door. Throwing it open, she held her head high, closed her eyes, and sniffed some more.

“Drat! Not another witch.” She sniffed again. “Wait, a warlock. No, a vampire. Hmm.” She closed the door and slumped into a chair. “This is confusing. Maybe there are two.” She went to the woodshed door. Cailleach rapped three times and then stood back as it creaked open.

Bodach, her roommate and minion, dragged his crippled body out of the small hatch. “Yes, Mistrezz,” he slurred, casting one protruding eye upwards.

“We have another foreigner in the swamp. Get out there and find a skrat to check. No, not a skrat. I smell vampire. Find Glaistig and send her to investigate.” Cailleach patted him on the head. “There’s a good boy.”

“Can you tell me where Glaistig is hiding?” Bodach examined his armpit and sniffed.

“Go to the standing stones on the north side of the loch. She has a cave there.”

“Yes, Mistrezz.” Bodach dragged his limp legs behind him. He began to unfold in a way the eye could not follow. When he reached the door, he needed to bend and shuffle through sideways to fit.

“Bodach, stay with Glaistig and do as she says. She might need some muscle.”

“Yes, Mistrezz.” Bodach ducked and went to seek Glaistig, the Gray Lady.

Cailleach closed the door behind the giant and sat again. She twanged the long hair protruding from the wart on her chin. “This is all very disturbing. Two foreigners stomping around in my bog within hours. This second, though, he’s strange. Yes, male. That much is clear. But I smell on him both warlock and vampire. Very odd, indeed.”

She went to the dusty bookshelf beside the fireplace. As she tapped each book with her gnarled finger, it spoke its title aloud. The Compleat Book of Bats. Care and Feeding of Monsters. Selling Love Potions on the Internet. Vampires: The Myths and the Facts. She took this one off the shelf and flipped through the pages. An occasional groan or scream emitted from the book, depending on the chapter topic.

“Ah, here it is. ‘Vampire Half-Breeds.’ Hmm. ‘Cross breedings with werewolves, ghouls, and Sasquatch have been cited, although most of these stories are second-hand accounts at best. It is believed that vampires could breed with any species; however, it is most likely this only occurs when the other creature is in an altered form. The werewolf, for example, must be in its wolf mode, not its human aspect.’”

Cailleach stuck her finger in the book to hold her place and plopped down on her rocking chair. She must be mistaken about the invader. This was a scholarly work, although a little dated having been written in 1549. But it seemed to deny the possibility of a warlock-vampire mix. She’d have to study this a bit more. Still, the vampire smell was strong. Without her power, all she could do was wait for Glaistig to report. The only known true vampire in Scotland, Glaistig wouldn’t waste a minute of darkness beating feet to catch up to the male, determine what he was, and report back.

Satisfied she could do nothing more, she leaned back in her rocker, intending to read the rest of the chapter. But sleep overtook her, and she was soon snoring in her chair.

* * *

SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

#FREE to 10/24  Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKR8XRG 
 
Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

While dodging the goddess’ minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too. Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Halloween is For Unicorns and Faeries

Magical Critters from Scotch Broom
Free Book October 20st-24th

This is an excerpt from the book illustrating two more of the magical creatures - Cait Sidhe (Cat Faerie) and a Unicorn named Diamond. I hope you enjoy the excerpt and maybe get the book free. Reviews are welcome
.
Chapter 21 - Slàinte!

Cait Sidhe stood up on her hind legs and marched left and right with her nose held high. It surprised Kat that Cait seemed quite comfortable walking on two legs.

“What—?” Kat gasped as Cait Sidhe grew taller, her body wavering and twisting as she morphed from a black cat into what appeared to be a human girl the size of a ten-year old. The child-like Sidhe was as black as her cat form with a spot of white running from her neck to her collarbones. Her translucent wings formed a shimmering rainbow growing out of her shoulder blades. Never at rest, the wings flashed pale flickers of rainbow colors around the fairy’s back.

“Oh! Self-transformation. I should have guessed. Sidhe does mean fairy, and fairies are master transformers.”

“Catch on fast, don’t you, witchy.”

“I see your, um, personality didn’t change.” Kat moved to slide off Diamond’s back, but he told her to wait until they got to a dry place. She settled back as well as she could behind Diamond’s withers. “Are there any dry spots in this swamp?”

Cait answered. “Yes, which is why I switched to the less efficient, bipedal mode. I must take this inconvenient form to get Seonaidh’s attention.”

“Who is Show Me?” Kat asked.

“SHOW NEE,” Cait snarled. “Can’t you get any of our names right?”

“Well, don’t get your tail in a twist. They are unusual names, you know.”

“Ha. Your jokes stink, too.” Cait said no more, but flew upward, then flitted away across the bogs.

“Why are we stopping to see this Seonaidh? I don’t want to waste time on another roadside attraction.”

“Seonaidh can see the future. Cait Sidhe believes we can find out what happens to your brother.”

“That’d be great! I want to know if Rune will be okay.”

They soon came to another pool, much like the others dotting the bogs, except the water was clear. Kat could see to the bottom of the pond, where underwater plants swayed to and fro.

“It’s beautiful,” she said and then yelped when Diamond bent his front legs. She pitched forward and planted her face in his mane. Sitting up, she threw one leg over his back and rolled off. She put her hands on the small of her back and leaned backward then forward to take the kinks out.

Cait Sidhe stood by the edge of the pool, looking down. Kat walked over to the pond. It was only then Kat noticed the fairy was naked.

“Seonaidh,” Cait yelled. “Get your ugly butt up here.”

Kat turned her attention away from Cait and looked into the pool. She inhaled and thought the sweet smell of fresh water a nice change from the constant dank smell of swamp. A dark form lay at the bottom among the wavering water plants. Cait pointed to the form. “That’s Seonaidh. If I can get him up here, he’ll want a cup of ale. You’re a witch. Can you produce that?”

“Sure, but how long is this going to take?”

“Not long if you whomp up that ale,” Cait replied.

* * *

SCOTCH BROOM Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim

A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

While dodging the goddess’ minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too. Kat has to go one-on-one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Halloween is for Werewolves

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

Werewolves: An Alternative Transportation

Werewolf from New Moon
The most well-known werecritter is the werewolf. At this time in the cycle of what’s hot, what’s not, werewolves are getting great press via the Twilight books and movies by Stephanie Meyer.

I have to admit it. Werewolves can be totally sexy guys (gals) in human form. Meyer finally got one legendary being right. Well, she agrees with my concept, which I used before I read any of the Meyer saga. To tell the truth, I still haven’t read any of the books, because the first movie put such a bad taste in my mouth. OMG, Edward loves Bella because she SMELLS good?!?!? Gimme a break.

As we all know, werewolves are shape-shifters. When the full moon rises, your normal guy (or gal) changes into a werewolf. Sometimes, they are portrayed as mindless beasts who’ll rip the throat out of anybody they come upon. Other portrayals show that they maintain their human intelligence when shifted. Since the legends vary so wildly, I decided to not only have my werewolves remain intelligent, but also able to shift from human to wolf form at will.

How do I justify this turning away from the legend? I don’t need to. Some folks will howl in disgust at my tampering with the myths. Let ‛em whine or even bark. I’ve seen authors do just about everything with the tropes: weres, vampires, demons, fairies, angels, ancient gods. That, I believe, is perfectly okay. You want a half-vampire, half-demon? I’ve seen that in the paranormal more than once. Gods less than god-like? Yup, been done.

Anyway, I have a six-pack of werewolves in “Bad Spelling.” Here’s a taste (ha ha, get it?) of my werewolf mashup.

EXCERPT

Rune joined them. “Are we going to stand around here all day? Where’s the alternative transportation you told us about?”

Andy tore his gaze from Kat and scanned the slope. “There it is.”

Kat looked where Andy pointed and gasped. “What—?”

“Don’t worry. They won’t hurt us,” Andy said with a confidence Kat didn’t quite trust.

“But werewolves?” There was no mistaking them for regular wolves. Besides being twice the size of the largest of the wolves, the eyes gave them away. Even from a distance, Kat could see them gleaming with intelligence.

“Look behind them,” Andy said.

The big wolves loped along easily; they were harnessed to a sled, bouncing along behind them. The speed with which they approached told her they would have no problem pulling a heavy load.
The wolves came up the slope and stopped in front of them. The lead werewolf looked at each of them with some interest. Kat felt like an item on a menu, like when they faced the polar bear.

The lead wolf said, “Good morning. Hmm. Humans, not trolls. Interesting.” The wolf looked over his shoulder at the others. “Remember, King Olaf hired us to deliver these people to where they want to go. You are not to eat them.” The other wolves nodded, but their long tongues hanging over gleaming, razor-sharp teeth was not a reassuring sight; their mouths dripped saliva in a most disconcerting manner.

The lead werewolf turned his pale yellow eyes back to Andy. “So, where are we going?”

Andy briefly explained what they wanted. The werewolf nodded and said, “If I understand correctly, we are looking for the Sami tribe. Do you realize they’re nomadic?”

“Sort of. All I know for certain is they spend much of their time on the northern coast.” Andy glanced at Kat. “Anything else?” She shook her head.

The wolf stared at Andy for a moment and then said, “Well, come closer so I can smell you. The girl, too.”

Kat hung back. “Why do you want to—? Oh, I understand. You can find the Samis through our scent.”

“Very good, young lady,” the werewolf answered and sniffed at her outstretched hand. He licked it once. Kat jerked her hand back. “Taste helps, too,” the werewolf answered, with a hint of humor in his gruff voice.

“What’s your name?” Kat asked.

“I call myself Mazi in my wolf form. I try to keep my human life separate.” The werewolf raised his head and howled. The other wolves joined in the chorus. Goose pimples rose on Kat’s arms. Then, they all fell silent and pricked their ears, turning their heads this way and that. From off in the distance, Kat heard a faint answering howl.

“Hop on the sled. It’s time to go,” Mazi said.
* * *
FREE OCTOBER 15th - 19th

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Can Kat find her magic in time? If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home. Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman. The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Indigenous Peoples' Day

Two of my books are free on Amazon from Oct. 10-14. See below for links.

Christopher Columbus was a real-life monster. He shouldn't be honored, I don't care what the Italian-Americans think. For one thing, Columbus never set foot on American soil, but he ravaged, looted, and pillaged the Caribbean. Previously, I suggested this should be renamed Saint Bartolome Day. How about we honor the people he worked so hard to destroy through his greed and cruelty. Chief Joseph was a great leader and worthy of honor.

It's fitting to rename this day Indigenous Peoples' Day. That's what I have on my calendar. I hope it's also on yours and Columbus should be forgotten forever.





























I have had Native American characters in a couple of my books. This gave me the opportunity to do a bit of study on the tribes in Oregon. I in no way pretend to be an expert on anything Native American, but I did share some aspects as they fit into the plots of my books. I don't mean to make this self-aggrandizing, but I'm a writer. I can't help it.

BOTH OF THESE BOOKS ARE FREE ON AMAZON October 10th-14th

EAGLE QUEST
Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual junior high school crowd as they are from each other.

Mitch, the oldest of the four, is a half-breed Native American, adopted by white parents. Troubled that he doesn't know his tribe, he avidly studies Native American history and lore. Learning the nearby Bear Valley Wildlife Refuge is a bald eagle nesting site, he wants to add an eagle feather to his medicine bag and explore the refuge as a site for his Vision Quest, a Native American rite of passage. He and his three friends get far more than an overnight campout as they encounter a black bear, a retired forest ranger living in the refuge, and a pair of eagle poachers. Bringing the poachers to justice, they test their courage and gain confidence in themselves and each other. 

MISSING, ASSUMED DEAD
Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its deadly secrets.
When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.

En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem . . . accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.

Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge’s henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn’t like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief’s office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Happy Leif Erickson Day

Yes, I know the Native Americans were in North America for thousands of years before Leif Erikson's crew landed. However, he was here before Columbus. Matter of fact, Columbus never landed on the mainland at all. He's a faker. More on that on the 11th. 

In the meantime, we of proud Scandinavian Heritage honor the horny son of Erik the Red. Read all about it here.

If you've read this far, then you know the Smashwords Coupon code for a 99 cent copy of The Compleat and True History of the Witches of Galdorheim is CR55L.The five-book series centers around a Scandinavian witch and her family. It's a kids' book, so rated cool for everyone.




Saturday, October 08, 2022

On the Campaign Trail

 I'm running Amazon campaigns for the period Oct. 9th-31st for the Witches of Galdorheim series. Yup, covering Halloween although it's not a big book buying period.


Another campaign for "Tales of a Texas Boy" is set to cover the Veteran's Day period. I hope these books will show up in the searches and also as the other suggested books.



Sunday, October 02, 2022

How to Write a Series

 “AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED?”

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.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN TO STOP

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 at 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?”

WHAT I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HATE ABOUT (SOME) SERIES

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 sneaks 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 1950s, 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.

The 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.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

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, 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.

CUT, WRAP, AND PUT A FORK IN IT

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.

THE HERO SERIES

Mystery writers love a series. They develop an interesting main character and, quite conveniently, she already has a cool job as a police detective, a private eye, or even a lawyer (if you like Earl Stanley Gardner). The crime occurs, the main character investigates, and the villain is captured. A complete book with no fork at the end (though it can be done) or anything to hint at the next book. The built-in transition is the character. Easy to do this. When you write your mystery, just add “A Jo Blow Story” on the cover. You have a built-in purpose in continuing to another mystery to solve.

Here’s the catch. In the first Jo Blow book, you introduce Jo and the reader finds out things about her. Why is she a private eye? Is she the lonely dark Sam Spade type, or the gregarious Hercule Poirot? By book 2, the reader of book 1 knows a lot about Jo. But what if the reader picks up Jo Blow Book 2 without having read the first book?

A little bit of backfilling is required here, so the new reader gets to meet Jo all over again. This is a tough job for the writer. How do you fill in the new reader without boring the old reader to death? It’s a subtle thing that I happily leave to sisters of mystery (or brothers as the case may be).

L.J. Sellers knows a thing or two about writing mystery series. I’ll let her take lead here:

Ralph Waldo Emerson reportedly said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. “ He clearly wasn’t writing a mystery series.

Kindle readers have suddenly discovered my Detective Jackson series, and many are reading my stories back to back. This can be a dangerous thing! When the details of previous stories are fresh in their minds, readers are so much more likely to catch inconsistencies.

I didn’t know I was writing a series when I penned the first Jackson story (The Sex Club), and a secondary character who appeared in book one came back in book three with a different hair color. I keep expecting more of these little quirks to surface, but I’m doing everything I can now to avoid it.

Sometime during the writing of Jackson book two (Secrets to Die For)—as I kept searching the manuscript of the first Jackson story looking for specific details—I realized I needed to start a file to track these things. So I created an Excel document and started copying/pasting details into character columns right after I typed them. Parents’ names, make of car, cell phone ring tone—anything I attached to a character I added to my character database.

It’s not that readers want characters to be static. They want protagonists to grow and change, but in a natural and logical way that comes from the story. If the protagonist is exactly the same from book to book, no matter what happens to her, readers get bored and give up the series. So series writers must achieve a fine balance and create subtle, organic personal changes, but without screwing up the details that should be consistent.

CONFESSIONS OF AN ACCIDENTAL SERIAL WRITER

I never intended to write any series, but they kind of happened without my acquiescence or thought. My most obvious series is the Witches of Galdorheim, but I will admit to a couple of others that snuck on me.

First, about Witches of Galdorheim: I wrote the book “Bad Spelling” and ended it nicely with the main character considering her future with another character as her main squeeze. Somehow, I fell into the Fork In The Road scenario. Would Katrina (Kat) continue to grow in her witchy powers? Was she really attracted to Andy, the former troll? Just what’s going on with her half-dead, half-alive father in the glacier?

That last loose end needed a bit of tying up. I decided that Kat’s father should be returned to his homeland in Siberia so I left those hints at the end of “Bad Spelling.” I figured I could write another book or not. The end satisfied every requirement of a standalone book, but definitely left open a few concepts. With lots of pushing and shoving from my beloved critters (critiquers), I decided to come up with something more to do with the frozen father. From this emerged “Midnight Oil.” The opening scenes were obvious. Kat’s grandfather comes to Galdorheim as promised to take his son’s body home for burial.

And then what happened? That’s the crucial question in continuing a character’s life into the next stage. I left a perfectly good and satisfactory ending, but the questions were open to what happened afterward. I thought this over for some period of time, and came up with an idea of the progression in Kat’s life. Her grandfather could certainly have shown up, with her new troll boyfriend along for the ride. That was a boring idea that did not lead to the question, “And then what happened?”

It was clear that some kind of conflict must occur. Okay. I got the idea in the middle of the night, or whenever (I really don’t remember). Troll boyfriend is kidnapped by … okay, some kind of villain. Who would it be? I thought about Mordita, the old sorceress who helped Kat in the first story. Surely, she had some kind of past. Matter of fact, I hinted at a mysterious past without purposely doing so in Bad Spelling. All the things that happen in “Midnight Oil” came about because I had questions about what would happen next.

Well, I’m sure as heck not going to hand out spoilers on what happens in “Midnight Oil.” I won’t even tell you why I came up with the title. However, the blurb is a nice teaser, so here it is:

Midnight Oil: Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

After Midnight Oil, I was still left with the question: And then what happened?

The result is “Scotch Broom.” But now we’re way down the list of what happens next, so no more hints other than to give a taste with the tag line:

Scotch Broom: A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

I have to say that stream of consciousness had a huge role in these stories. What if? What if? That’s what dragged me on into Kat’s story.

So, a series was born accidentally. One thought led to another. Lots of fun research brought ideas I never had until I started down various paths.

I’ve nattered on long enough here. I’ll end by letting you know that my science fiction romance (more SF, less romance) started out as two short stories. Another of my books also began life as a short story, followed by another, then another. I guess, then, that I am a natural series writer whether I try to be or not.

Have I helped you figure out how to write a series? Probably not, since every writer is unique and has their own concepts and ideas.

Please, though, don’t leave a book with a cliffhanger. Leave those for chapter endings and let the reader decide if they ask the question “And then what happened?”