Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Spring Goddess Anahita

FAIZAH'S DESTINY: The Tales of Abu Nuwas 2 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 (but they might become legendary themselves). They’re not in already in the mythology, so you’ll just have to read "Faizah's Destiny" to find out about them.

Since Easter is all about rebirth - the flowers are blooming, the sheep are lambing, the leaves are .... uh, leaving? Anyway, all cultures appear to have a goddess of Spring. Anahita is very apropos to the reason for the season - sex and birth. Even the Christian god, Jesus, was reborn by rising from the dead.


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).
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. The dove and the peacock are her sacred animals. 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.


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 face 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.”

Faizah trembled at the thought that a goddess would depend on her for anything. “Who opposes us?”

“Dev, for one. He relishes the darkness. Darkness begets ignorance, and ignorance begets folly.”

“Dev?” A cold chill ran down Faizah’s back. “The god of war? He is against us? Master Wafai said Dev plots the final war that will destroy the world!”

“This is true. Now you see why it is so important that you succeed in your task.”

Faizah took a deep breath. This was serious. “What else can you tell me? Will we have to face Dev? We’re not heroes. We’re kids. How can we fight a god?” Faizah chewed her lower lip with anxiety.

“I doubt Dev will oppose you directly; he would think that beneath him. Instead, he will send his minions to do his bidding. You must be ever watchful, Faizah, for you cannot know what form they will take. It could be an animal, a human, even a demon sent to turn your friends away from you.”

Anahita’s words did nothing to ease Faizah’s mind. A demon! What could they do against a demon?

* * * *

Faizah's Destiny: The Tales of Abu Nuwas 2
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

 In print, audio, and ebook at Amazon. 
 In all ebook formats at Smashwords

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

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

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

Setara's Genie: The Tales of Abu Nuwas 1

A girl, a genie, a few demons. Would could go wrong?
Print, audiobook, and ebook at Amazon 
In all ebook formats at Smashwords on sales for 99 cents.

This first book featuring Setara doesn't have any Springtime goddesses, but it does have a genie, a flying horse, a dragon, merfolk, and cave demons. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Happy Vernal Equinox!


The Vernal Equinox (Spring to you lay folk) this year is March 20th 9:24PM UTC (Universal Time). Since I live on the west coast of the North American continent, Spring will be officially here at 2:24 PDT. Of course, that only holds true if you're in the northern hemisphere. South of the equator, the Vernal Equinox is in September.

The Vernal Equinox means that there is an equal amount of day and night. It occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator going south to north. It’s called the “celestial” equator because it’s an imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator. Imagine standing on the equator; the Sun would pass directly overhead on its way north. 

On the March equinox, the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere receive roughly equal amounts of sunlight; neither hemisphere is tilted more toward or away from the Sun than the other. Here's a helpful illustration.

Okay, now that's all clear, just what does it mean. For one thing, Spring is the marker when the growing season begins (well, sort of). If that's not something to celebrate then what is?

Humans have recognized this change in the amount of daylight and have noted that there seems to be a bit more greenery for thousands of years. Along with the Spring, these ancestors noted the changes for other seasons. Summer has the most daylight, Fall has equal amounts of day and night, Winter has really long nights (if you live above the Arctic Circle, you'll get only day (Summer) or only night (Winter).

Here’s an interesting fact: Equinoxes are the only two times each year that the Sun rises due east and sets due west for all of us on Earth! While the Sun passes overhead, the tilt of the Earth is zero relative to the Sun, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. (Note, however, that the Earth never orbits upright, but is always tilted on its axis by about 23.5 degrees.)

Sunday, March 05, 2023

Celebrate Read-a-Book Week at Smashwords


 Wallapalooza of a Sale Going On

Many Smashwords authors are throwing down huge discounts on their books. You can find them all at the sale site at Smashwords. Discounts range from 25% to 100% off the retail price. Yes, 100% off makes the book absolutely free. Smashwords Promo Page with all books on sale.

You can also go directly to my books which are discounted a lot. Here's the place to go and the sale price of the book:

To see my sale books with their prices (a whole lot of them are free), just go to my Smashwords Author Page for a complete list with prices.  Marva Dasef's Ebooks on Smashwords


Eagle Quest: A Vision Quest turns deadly when four friends confront eagle poachers in a wildlife refuge.

Missing, Assumed Dead: 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.

Tales of a Texas Boy
How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.

First Duty: 
Nyra Hutchings, a young woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

Ultimate Duty: The same story as First Duty with some sexy scenes and a battle scene or two. 

The Tales of Abu Nuwas Two books in the series and both are free:

Setara's Genie and Faizah's Destiny

The Compleat and True History of the Witches of Galdorheim - 5 books and stories in the series for free free free free free.

Bad Spelling   Midnight Oil    Scotch Broom   Spellslinger   Blood Ties Tested

Friday, March 03, 2023

Just Two Days Until Read a Book Week

 That means lots and lots of free (over highly discounted) ebooks to be had on Smashwords from March 5th to 11th.

On Sundays the 5th click on https://smashwords.com/shelves/promos to find the offerings in all genres and book lengths. If you can't find something to read there, then you're just not looking.

Monday, February 13, 2023

A Little Valentine Romance - Free Book

Just for Valentine's Day. Romance is really not my genre, but I kind of liked this story because it is far away from the usual romance tropes. Mixed Bag 2, the anthology this story is in, is #FREE on Amazon from February 13th-17th.

If You Could See Her
(Originally Published in Lily Literary Review, now defunct)

Mac laughed out loud when Joel Gray sang lovingly to the dancing gorilla. “If you could see her through my eyes...” Cabaret was such a good movie, he thought. He had lost count of the number of times he’d played his DVD. 

Still chuckling at the end of the song, he clicked the pause button. He swung himself off the couch and shuffled into the kitchen for another beer. It’d be nice if he could find someone who’d see him like Joel saw the gorilla. True love was a funny thing. It put up a hazy screen obscuring your loved one’s faults. It was a good thing or nobody would ever stay with anybody else. Just too many differences, or maybe too many similarities, broke up relationships.

He plopped back on the couch with his beer and clicked Play. After this one, maybe he’d put on Moulin Rouge. Man, Nicole was a looker. Ha, was that an old-fashioned saying?  Well, she was beautiful. Heck, that Ewan guy was pretty good-looking, too. They didn’t have to worry about finding love. Not when they were so gorgeous. He sighed and thought it must be nice.

Mac blinked and realized the movie was over, that he’d fallen asleep in the middle of it. That’s okay. He could always watch it again. Must be tired, though, so off to bed. Snapping off the TV, he lumbered into his bedroom. Already wearing his pajamas, all he had to do was roll onto the bed. Brush his teeth maybe?  Nah, why bother?  He didn’t have anybody to look, or smell, good for. He just put on his headgear to keep him from dying of apnea and quickly fell asleep.

In the morning, he woke to birds singing and sunshine streaming through the curtains. Another beautiful day. Rise and shine, sleepyhead. After breakfast, he had to go grocery shopping. He was out of eggs and bacon and another case of beer was a necessity. He’d polished off the last of the beer while watching the movie. 

As he dressed in sweat pants and sweatshirt, size XXX-large, he mentally made up the rest of his shopping list. Maybe he’d get tortilla chips and salsa. It would go great with the Extra-Hungry Man Mexican dinner he already pictured in his mind. Maybe two of them. Guacamole, too. Yes.

He walked the half block to the bus stop and sat on the bench. The sun felt good on his face and he closed his eyes, enjoying the warmth.


He opened his eyes and saw the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen in real-life, prettier than Nicole even. 

“Could you move over so I could sit?” she asked.

“Oh, sure, yeah.”  He scrunched his massive butt to one end of the bench, giving her a little room to perch her petite frame.

He couldn’t help but keep glancing at her. He wanted to take in the reddish-brown hair falling just to her shoulders, green (or are they hazel?) eyes, and the beautifully pure skin. No makeup, he noticed. Of course, she didn’t need any. Her business suit limned her slender frame perfectly. The white ruffle of blouse showing at her neck was a perfect setting for the most beautiful face he’d ever seen.

She turned her exquisite face to him and smiled. His heart beat faster, his stomach flipped; he even felt his toes curling inside his tennis shoes. Mac melted into a huge, glutinous pile of adoration for this lovely woman.

“Nice day,” she commented, glancing up at the cloudless sky.

“Uh, yeah.”  Oh, brilliant, Mac thought. That was certainly charming. “I mean, yes, it is a beautiful day. Much nicer than yesterday, what with the rain and all.”  Again, he winced at his own clumsiness.

“Yes, it is much nicer than yesterday. Still, I like the rain sometimes. It washes all the dirt and dust away; it leaves things fresh and clean–like today.”

“Oh, yes, definitely. I agree with you completely.” Arrghh, what an idiot!

“I’m new to the neighborhood. Have you lived here long?”  Why was she still talking to him?  By this time, most women would be sitting in stony silence.

“Yes, about ten years. I live in those apartments.” He gestured the half block up to his building.

“Oh, really!  I live there, too!  Then, hello neighbor. It’s nice to meet you.” She smiled broadly, flashing perfect white teeth. “I’m Lily.” She held out her hand to shake.

“Ma...Mac. That is Mackay.” He bit his lip to halt the stutter. “I mean my last name is Mackay. Everyone calls me Mac. My first name’s Paul.”

“I like the name Paul,” she murmured. “May I call you Paul?”

“Oh, of course, sure. I mean Mac is just a nickname. Heh, heh, call me anything you want!” He cringed inside again. Back off. Don’t be too pushy or you’ll scare her off.

They sat in silence for a few moments while his mind scrambled to come up with more conversation, anything to hear her speak.

“So, where do you work?  Well, I mean, you don’t have to tell me, you know. But I’m not a stalker or anything.”  Blast it!  Why couldn’t he keep his foot out of his mouth?

“Not at all. I work for an ad agency. I’m a Demographics Analyst.”

“Sounds interesting.”

She asked the question he didn’t want her to ask. “What do you do?”

“Oh, I...I’m temporarily between jobs. Just looking for the right opening.”  Mac glanced at her and saw her head turn away. “But, but I do some freelance work...programming, web pages, stuff like that.”

“I think it’s wonderful when a man can be his own boss. I’m sure you’re the hardest supervisor you ever worked for.”  She laughed at her little joke and he melted again and laughed with her.

“I suppose I am.”

“Well, here’s my bus. Are you taking this one?”

“Uh, no, I’m waiting for the cross-town.”

“Well, then, I enjoyed meeting you and I suppose we’ll be seeing each other a lot since we’re neighbors.”

He waved as she climbed on the bus. On the top step, she stopped, turned, and smiled at him again. Devastation. She was gone. He felt like the clouds had rolled in and covered up his sun. “What light through yonder window breaks?  It is the east and Lily is the sun.”  He didn’t think Will would mind a minor change to his line. He had no illusions he was some Romeo, but now he knew how the young man felt.

His bus arrived. He clumped up the steps and showed the bus driver his pass. The bus was nearly full, so he knew he’d have to stand. That was so hard on his knees, but there wasn’t any way around it. He needed an entire seat to himself. His neck burned as he felt the disapproving glances of the riders, relieved he didn’t try to sit next to them. None of them bothered moving. He accepted that as the way of his life.

* * * *

It was going on five o’clock. He’d pulled a chair up to his window where he’d be able to see the bus arriving. A half-hour went by and two busses rolled through without stopping.

Finally, the last commuter bus pulled up and Lily stepped down. She turned and waved to somebody, maybe the driver, then started up the sidewalk to the apartment building.

Mac jumped up from his chair, knocking it aside, and hurried out to the hallway. He punched the elevator button anxiously, hoping he wouldn’t be too late. The elevator was coming down, so he got lucky and caught it on the way. The car stopped on the ground floor and when it opened...his Juliet, his sun was standing before him.

“Well, hello, Lily. Fancy meeting you here.” He tried to sound light-hearted and, most of all, surprised to see her.

“Paul!  How nice to see you.” She smiled the smile that melted his heart.

He stood in the elevator doorway and suddenly realized that he had to get out to let her in. But she stood right in the way and he couldn’t go around. He cursed his grossness, how fat he was.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m in your way.” She moved to one side to let him out.

“Thank you,” was all he could manage as she stepped into the elevator. She gave him a last smile as the doors closed. He stood watching the floor numbers light up as the elevator ascended. It stopped on the fourth floor, just one floor up from him.

Waiting a moment, he then pushed the button. He rode the car to his floor and went back to his empty apartment.

The next day, he was at the bus stop plenty early. She came and they chatted. It was becoming easier for him. She was so kind, so wonderful. She listened to him as he talked about his life and he listened as she told him about hers. Over the days, they met every morning at the bus stop, every evening in the lobby of the building.

Then a miracle happened.

“Paul, I was wondering if you’d like to come up to my place for dinner some evening. We’ve become such good friends in these little meetings, I thought we would enjoy spending more time together.”

He was dumbstruck. She was asking him for a date?

“Oh, you mean you’re having a party. Having friends over?”

“No, I mean just the two of us. Would Saturday work for you?”  She smiled, he melted.

“Why of course. That would be terrific. I’ll bring some wine if you like.”

“That would be nice. I think we’ll be having fish. I hope you like halibut.”

“Well, you can see food and I are on good terms. I’ll get a bottle of white wine, then.”

* * * *

On the big day, he hurried to the Men’s Big and Tall shop and found a decent pair of pants and jacket to wear. A new shirt. A tie?  Yes, a tie would be right. Did he remember how to knot one?

He showed up at her door exactly at seven. The expensive white wine in one hand and a bouquet of flowers in the other. He felt giddy. Were the flowers too much?  Oh, well, he was here now, so he tapped on the door.

His vision, his dream opened the door quickly and stood aside to let him in. She put her hands to her face in what he considered to be an endearing way. “Flowers!  Oh, Paul. That is so sweet.”

She took wine and flowers from his hands as he just stood there staring at his lovely Lily. She wore a white dress, he thought it was a shirtwaist if he recalled correctly. A belt wrapped around her incredibly tiny waist as her hips swelled just the right amount below and her chest just the right amount above.

The small apartment was the same setup as his, so he knew where everything was. The dining table was set with beautiful flowered china, crystal wine and water glasses, and elegant silverware. A lit pair of candles were centered on the table.

Now, he had seen enough movies to know a romantic setting when it was presented. Visions of Bogart and Bacall. No, Cary Grant and Natalie Wood. Elegance, grace, and style. Suddenly, he felt ugly, fat, and awkward. He was so far from being Cary Grant it was pitiful. He wondered how he could have thought...

“Sit, won’t you?” she asked and sat herself on the couch. He hesitated and examined it closely. He was quite an expert at determining what would hold his weight. Reassured by its overstuffed size, he gingerly placed himself at one end. She slid across the couch to his side. Laying her arm across the back of the couch, she turned her body toward him.  

They chatted for a while just as they did at the bus stop. It was thoroughly pleasant, and he began to relax. He would put aside the fact he loved this woman and be the friend she so clearly wanted him to be. He could not harbor any illusions.

While they talked, he let his eyes wander for brief moments around the room. What would it tell him about this lovely person he didn’t already know?

On a bookshelf, close by the couch, he saw a grouping of photos in silver frames. Clearly, they were pictures of friends and family. The smiling faces and arms around shoulders spoke of the love these people had for each other. He noticed one with two older people, a man and a woman, standing on either side of a younger woman. They had their arms wrapped around each other. He was puzzled at who these people could be. The older woman looked much like Lily, with the same eyes and mouth. The young woman in the middle, though, was huge. Not tall, maybe Lily’s height, but she easily weighed three hundred pounds.

He squinted to see the picture more clearly and her eyes followed his to the picture.

“My parents.”

Paul did a double-take. “Who is...?”

“That’s me.”

He was shocked and quickly looked back and forth between his vision of loveliness and the overweight, yet beautiful, face in the photo.

“I lost some weight, more than a hundred pounds.” She spoke matter of factly and smiled at him.

He didn’t speak for a few moments, then said, “She is...you are beautiful. Either way, Lily.”

"Thank you, Paul. I think you're beautiful, too."  She turned her eyes downward, suddenly shy. 

“Yes.” He paused. “Yes, if you could see her through my eyes.” He realized Joel Gray might have been singing the truth after all.


This story and a bunch more are all available in "Mixed Bag 2: Supersized." The book is free on Amazon from February 13th - 17th. One whole week of free reading if you haven't got a date.

Monday, February 06, 2023

Check Your Spelling

SPELLING BY RUNES (free ebook with Kindle Unlimited: Bad Spelling)

What is a rune? Besides my second most important character in the Witches of Galdorheim series, that is. Briefly, runes make up the oldest Norse alphabet. Yes, those Vikings were busy writers as well as raiders and looters. The Eddas are Norse adventure novels (okay, they’re generally written in poetry form). But well-known books such as Beowulf weren’t written in runes. Believe it or not, Beowulf was written in Old English, not Old Norse. Or maybe that’s the only translation that lasted through the centuries.

Many fantasy novels based on Euro-centric mythologies use runes in their plots, be it a tattooed rune on the hero’s chest, the discovery of a runic tablet that leads a worthy band of heroes on a quest for dragon’s gold, or a villain who casts his dark spells in the ancient runic language. All very cool stuff.

Runes are not just fantasy made up by Tolkien. I researched runes and found a few I could use to give some depth to the magical language of the witches.

Elder Futhark is the oldest known runic alphabet. Each rune has a name. Each rune is also a word of power. The Rune markings in the graphic (see below) match the interpreted Elder Futhark (the Runes in spoken form) shown in the excerpt. The name of the language comes from the first six letters that make up the Runic alphabet.

In one sense, Futhark is simply an alphabet like ours. But in terms of magic, runes are like hieroglyphics in that each rune stands for a word or concept rather than simply a letter of the alphabet. They can be used either way. In magic, the runes are used as words of power that enhance or direct a spell. I found a handy phrase chart and used some real runes in the series, but had to use the interpreted spelling in a form one can sound out even if you don’t know what they mean.

As language developed, written runes were set aside for the more modern Roman alphabet. But the use of runes as words of power survived even Roman conquest thanks to the Druids, the ancient pantheistic religion later smeared by accusations of witchcraft and magic.

Well, witchcraft and magic are fine by me. I wish they really existed. Considering the popularity of fantasy books incorporating magic, I’d say a lot of people wish magic was real.

In the Witches of Galdorheim books, I decided to use runes as the magic language. I call it Old Runish. Kat, in Bad Spelling, just can't get the pronunciation of the runes right, mistaking îgwaz for perßô. The results are often spectacularly wrong. In other words, she is a really bad speller. Who can blame her? This is not the easiest language to learn.

Aunt Thordis is the top witch on Galdorheim and a master of Old Runish spells. If magic can be done, she’s the one who can do it. In the following excerpt, Thordis seeks information from Kat’s flash-frozen father. She wants to know why Kat is such a lousy speller and suspects the girl’s father has something to do with it. Thordis invokes a runic spell to break through to the man’s frozen brain for answers. She must be careful, however, since the spell is used to re-animate the dead. At the end of the excerpt, you can read the translation of the spell. It’s pretty creepy.

Excerpt from Bad Spelling: Chapter 4-Bell, Book, and Candle

Hands on her hips, Kat’s Aunt Thordis stood in the glacier cave regarding the icebound figure of Boris, the wandering Siberian. She tsked and shook her head.

“You poor, dumb—” She stopped, thinking better of it. Speaking ill to the dead was rarely a good idea. You never knew if they’d come back to get even.

“Boris,” she said, trying a different tack, “we need to talk. Despite the fact you couldn’t navigate your way around a bathtub and were so foolish you tried to dig out an ice cave, my sister did fancy you, and you’re still my niece’s father.”

She held her hand up with the palm facing Boris. Thordis frowned. This might be harder than she thought. Even though Thordis was the strongest witch in Galdorheim, she felt a counter spell pushing at her, like a wall she couldn’t see but only sense. Something around Boris repelled magic.

Thordis squared her shoulders and put real effort into her second sight. Yes, she felt a slight tingle. As she suspected, the icy grip of the glacier suspended the man between life and death. If the witches thawed him out, he’d be d-e-a-d, dead. As it was, he had frozen solid in the instant before he died—the process of death incomplete.

“Ah, you’re still alive. Good.” If Boris were truly dead, she’d not be able to have a conversation with him. No matter what the circumstances, she wouldn’t delve into the black arts. Necromancy—raising the dead—was near the top of the blacklist.

Thordis removed Ferro, her ferret familiar, from the top of her carryall and set him aside. He chittered at her then hunched down on the ice shivering. She opened the bag and rummaged through its contents. She drew out a little silver bell, a black candle, and a copy of the Magical Book of Runic Spelling.

The fifteenth-century Church, Thordis chuckled at the thought, believed they originated the rite of bell, book, and candle. Equally humorous, they thought the items were for an excommunication ceremony. Little did they know the monk who created the ritual was one of her own—a warlock gone deep undercover to keep a close eye on the Church. The very fact it took twelve priests and a bishop to perform the rite didn’t ring any bells with those silly men. Obviously, thirteen people gathered to perform magic made a coven. The long-dead monk probably got a good laugh at that.

Never mind what the Church thought, the true purpose of the ceremony was to communicate with, not excommunicate, the dead. Although Boris was pre-dead, it would serve the same purpose. At least Thordis hoped so. Boris knew things Thordis wanted to know, and she was determined to pry them from his icy-cold brain. Thordis lit the candle, rang the bell, and prepared herself to chant the spell to wake Boris. She’d never talked to him when he was alive, since he was a mundane, and any non-magical person was simply not worth her time. Now, she had to find out a few things. Specifically, why was her niece so powerful, yet so incompetent as a witch? If her spells just fizzled, she could believe the girl just wasn’t trying.

Instead, they failed spectacularly, and often messily, like her recent attempt to transform the rabbit. Perhaps she could get some answers out of Boris, even though she doubted he was intelligent enough to even realize he had them.

When she felt her magic to be at its peak, Thordis opened the book to the chapter titled Speaking to the Dead. The incantation woke the dead, so waking Boris should be a piece of cake. It also provided translation services. After all, why try to speak to the dead if they can’t understand what you’re saying?

Þat kann ec iþ tolpta,

ef ec se a tre vppi

vafa virgilná:

sva ec rist oc i rvnom fác,

at sa gengr gvmi

oc melir viþ mic.”

But nothing happened. She slowed down and spoke the spell with precision, putting as much magical force as she could into it. Finally, she felt the spell break through the barrier.

Boris, do you hear me?”


Good. Your daughter is having…trouble becoming a proper witch. Of course, I believe it’s your fault; well, maybe fault is too strong a word. I suspect her poor performance has to do with having a mundane father, but now I feel…something more.”

* * *

Translation of the rune spell:

I know a twelfth one if I see, 

up in a tree,

a dangling corpse in a noose,

I can so carve and colour the runes,

that the man walks

And talks with me.

--From the Hávamál, an Old Norse Edda (collection of proverbs) from the 10th Century

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.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Gung Hei Fat Choi 2023

 The year of the Rabbit (it's your year, Bugs!) begins on January 22nd, the western calendar. Read everything about the year at The Chinese New Year site.

This is a great year for one of my animal characters in the Witches of Galdorheim series. Name, Teddy the Rabbit. Katrina Galdorheim is a witchy Doctor Doolittle. She can talk to the animals and the animals can talk back to her. One of Kat's animal buddies isn't very talkative, but he understands what Kat says and communicates his feelings about events in his own way.

Teddy is Kat's Familiar. He's also a little brown bunny. We first discover Teddy when Kat, the klutzy witch, is attempting a transformation in her class. Each student has a familiar, of course. They are witches after all. The lesson is to use the transforming spell to change their Familiar to something else. It doesn't go as planned, of course. Kat also has to contend with Merrie, another student witch, who'd easily make the top of the Mean Girls list in any school. In a school for witches, Merrie can not only be a bully, but she can also inflict magical grief on anyone she doesn't like. And, for some reason, she absolutely hates Kat.

Excerpt - Chapter 1, Bad Spelling

The younger students practicing their first transformations looked to the board where, under Miss Mariah’s control, the chalk drew a practice pentagram stopping short of completing the last of the five points. She tapped the board. “An unattended pentagram can cause all sorts of problems, the least being a tusser or tomte taking advantage of an open gateway. They’re harmless for the most part but like to play tricks. So be prepared with your spell before completing the pentagram.” More than one kid smudged an opening in their already drawn star.

“Children, you must focus. Don’t let yourselves get distracted.” Miss Mariah adjusted a child’s grip on his wand as she walked by.

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

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

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

Kat checked her spell book one last time, took a deep breath, and completed the spell with a loud “Fullgerður!” and a dramatic sweep of her arms, just missing Merry’s head with her wand.

Merry shrieked and jumped out of her chair. She glared at Kat while wiping green goo off the side of her face. “Your rabbit stinks. Just like your spellcasting!”

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

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

* * *

All the books in the series are available on Amazon and Smashwords. All five books are included in a single volume, The Compleat and True History of the Witches of Galdorheim.

Bad Spelling (Book 1 The Witches of Galdorheim). 
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.

Midnight Oil (Book 2 The Witches of Galdorheim). You set the price!
Kat is a nervous wreck waiting for her boyfriend's first visit to her Arctic island home. He doesn't show up, so she's sure he’s given her the brush-off. When she learns he’s disappeared, she sets out on a mission to find him. 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 the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.

Scotch Broom (Book 3 The Witches of Galdorheim). 
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 has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

Spellslinger - A Witches of Galdorheim Prequel Story.
What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.

Blood Ties Tested - A Witches of Galdorheim Story
Unfortunate events lead Rune, Katrina's half-vampire brother, into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

Saturday, January 21, 2023

AI Conversation

A friend of mine on Facebook used an AI to ask about herself ("who is ....). It turned up a ton of information, but most of it was somebody with a similar name, not her. Foolish me, I decided to give it a shot. My reign as the Cellophane Queen continues unbroken. You probably don't know what that means (if you accidentally got to this blog post), but the conversation with the AI might clarify why this is my chosen soubriquet. 

Me: What books were written by Marva Dasef?

Ans: I'm sorry, but I couldn't find any information about a person named "Marva Dasef" who has written any books. It's possible that the person you are asking about is not a published author. Without more information, I can't confirm if any books exists by this person.

Me: What books are listed on Amazon written by Marva Dasef

I'm sorry, but I couldn't find any books listed on Amazon written by a person named "Marva Dasef". It is possible that this person is not an author, or that their books are not available on Amazon. Without more information, I cannot confirm if any books exists by this person.

Me: Did Marva Dasef write "Tales of a Texas Boy"?* 

Ans: I couldn't find any information about a person named "Marva Dasef" who has written a book called "Tales of a Texas Boy". Without more information, I cannot confirm if this book exists or if this person is the author. It's possible that "Marva Dasef" is not a real person, and the title is made up.

Me: "Tales of a Texas Boy was written by Marva Dasef. What editions are available?

Ans: I apologize, but I couldn't find any information that confirms that "Tales of a Texas Boy" was written by Marva Dasef, nor any editions available for this book. It's possible that this book does not exist and the information provided is incorrect. It would be best to check with other sources or verify the information from an official website of the publisher or the author if the book exists or not.

Notation by me:
* Tales of a Texas Boy was published in 2007 and exists in ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audio formats on multiple sites.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

A Time Travel Conversation

Since Renee Duke and Marva Dasef both have Native American/First Nation characters in their books, we thought it would be nice if they had a chat. Here's Mitch from "Eagle Quest" and Skwkwwilp (pronounced Skookaweethp) from "The Spirit Rose."

Bear Friend: Hi, I’m Mitch, also known as Alisoqualvdi Unalii. That’s in Cherokee and kind of hard to say, just call me Bear Friend. I didn’t know what it was until long after the events we’re describing here.

I couldn’t tell my friends the whole story of my encounter with the bear in the Wildlife Refuge. What I could tell them is in the book, “Eagle Quest” by Marva Dasef.

There are a couple of reasons I haven’t told the whole story. First off, Fiona, Hap, and Billy wouldn’t believe I sort of spoke with the bear in my mind. They let that go, figuring if I wanted to believe it what was the harm.

The main reason, though, is a lot weirder than that. To explain what happened, I needed to have a special person here to help me out. Someone you can read about in another book, “The Spirit Rose”, by Renee Duke. I didn’t quite know how to ask this person here. I mean, it’s not like I could call her up on my phone. But she must have known I wanted her help again because she talked to me in a dream. She said, if I sat real quiet, and really concentrated, she’d come through to my mind. So that’s what I’m going to do…Are you there, Sk…um,,,Skoo…?

Skwkwwilp: I am here.

Bear Friend: Can you help me pronounce your name and then explain what went down when I met the bear in the clearing?

Skwkwwilp: My name? Hmm. You would perhaps find it easiest to say Skook-a-weeth-p. It is good to be with you again, Alisoqualvdi Unalii.”

Bear Friend: You pronounced my name right and everything, but maybe just call me Bear Friend or Mitch since this is in English. Could you tell the readers who you are, where you’re from, and, for that matter, when you’re from?

Skwkwwilp: If by where I come from, you mean a location, I am from what people of your time know as the Okanagan Valley. As to when…just think of it as long, long ago. Millennia ago.

Bear Friend: Before you describe your part in this incident, I’ll set up the situation. Basically, my friends and I were wandering around the wildlife refuge when we come to a clearing. There’s a huge tree fallen in the way. Before we could even get to it, a big black bear looked up over the log. It scared all of us. The others took off, but I heard, maybe that’s not the right word, I felt something that made me stay. That’s when you showed up, out of, like, nowhere, which was a really good thing because, otherwise, I think that bear would not have listened to reason. I didn’t hear you say anything, but the bear sure did. Right after you talked in its head or whatever you did, it came right up to me, sniffed a bit, and looked me right in the eye.

Skwkwwilp: The bear was wiser than you think. And not there by chance. It was looking for you. Your spirit guide, the friendly spirit which now protects you and seeks to help you find your way, required a living form. I had asked the bear to allow it to take its form.

Bear Friend: Yeah, when the bear talked in my head, it said we’d be connected from then onward. All other bears would recognize me and think of me as their friend. It just about blew my mind!

Skwkwwilp: Through your spirit guide, all bears are now indeed connected to you. This is because the manner in which a bear lives its life is one you, too, should follow. A bear is strong and fearless, but not constantly active. Just as a bear goes off to hibernate, you, too, should withdraw from others from time to time, to contemplate your life’s path.

Bear Friend: Cool. I wanted to learn more about spirit animals when we met, but you said you had to leave to help some other kids from this time. Did you have a bear go to them, too?

Skwkwwilp: Yes. Though it was not, like yours, a black one. A bear and other creatures protected Paige, Dane, and Jack from the disruptor, thus enabling them to reach me and claim the power of the golden circle long held for them.

Bear Friend: The disruptor?

Skwkwwilp: He who sought to interfere with their destinies. And still so seeks.

Bear Friend: So, they’re not through having trouble with him yet?

Skwkwwilp: Alas, no.

Bear Friend: Too bad. He must be a really bad dude if it took a lot of spirit animals to see him off. I’m glad I’ve got a bear for mine.  I’ve got a lot to think about. I hope we can connect again sometime in the future. See you later.

Skwkwwilp: Past, present, and future are as one, Bear Friend. Until the time of our next connection, farewell.

SPIRIT ROSE Buy on Amazon and Visit Renee's Author Page on Books We Love and Renee's Web Page

The discovery of an old book provides more information on the medallion, but Paige and Dane will soon be returning to Canada and know it will be several months before they can make another time trip with their cousin Jack. Then, amidst all the preparations for Grantie Etta’s one-hundred-and-fifth birthday party, strange things start to happen. As a result, Jack, too, must go to Canada. Once there, it soon becomes apparent that the only way for the Time Rose Travellers to stop the increasingly distressing alterations to their modern-day lives is to venture far into the Okanogan Valley’s past and locate the Syilx girl who has the legendary Arcanus Piece.

Check out all of the Time Rose books. They're great fun to read and you learn some history as well.

EAGLE QUEST (free on Smashwords)
(Free on Amazon with the Kindle Unlimited membership
Free audiobook with coupon - ask Marva for a one-use code
A Vision Quest turns deadly when four friends confront eagle poachers in a wildlife refuge.

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.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

SciFi Kickass Heroines

Most of my books are fantasies suitable for middle-grade and older kids. I also delve into other genres. If you like Science Fiction, you might enjoy one of these books. They are essentially the same plot, but "First Duty" is a nice PG-rating, while "Ultimate Duty" has adult material. Not erotica by any means, but stuff you could watch on British TV.

Free at Smashwords (you need a .MOBI file for Kindle, .EPUB for B&N Nook, .PDF is for Acrobat reader):
First Duty
Ultimate Duty

Both of these books are also available in audio format. Ask for a coupon code to get either for free. How do you ask for the freebie? Send me an email at mgdasef@gmail.com - Specify which book you want and someplace I can send you the code. Replying to your email would be easiest for both of us.

Tall, redheaded heroines kick ass. 

Yes, they do. But mostly only in fantasy and science fiction. When I wrote a redheaded heroine in my books "First Duty" and "Ultimate Duty," I used as my model a real-life person I had known years ago. She was a natural redhead, close to 6' tall (and more in her Frye boots), and she kicked every single ass while barely moving a muscle.

ULTIMATE DUTY:  A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties.

Facing a life of drudgery on a repressive factory planet, Remy Belieux longs to escape. Her only option for release is to enlist in the Space Service, becoming a soldier for her own world’s oppressors.

She receives her first assignment: guarding a charismatic rebel leader being transported to a prison planet. When rebel troops surprise them, Remy fails to thwart the ambush. Despite a commendation from her Captain, she feels she must redeem herself by recapturing the handsome fugitive.

Shocked by what she learns during the pursuit–her own family’s past involvement in the rebellion–Remy faces a dilemma: remain loyal to the oath she swore as a soldier or join the rebel cause and condemn herself to a death sentence for treason. What is her ULTIMATE DUTY?

FIRST DUTY: Nyra Hutchings, a young woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life.

When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. 

Now, she must decide what to believe, where her first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds. What is her FIRST DUTY?

Friday, January 06, 2023

New Audiobooks Now Available!


A Vision Quest turns deadly when four friends confront eagle poachers in a wildlife refuge. 

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 military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties. Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

Message me on Facebook or write to mgdasef@gmail.com for promo codes for any of my audiobooks.

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Now That We've Got The Holiday Mishmash Out of the Way

Folks hellbent on making Christmas about Jesus have almost every aspect of the holiday wrong. 

First off, it was a rip-off of Saturnalia which was a Roman holiday of debauchery dedicated to the god Saturn. 

When Christians were trying to convert the pagans, they had to 1) get rid of those pagan holidays, and 2) replace them with the more sedate and holier-than-thou holidays of which Christmas is the most full of lies...I mean mistaken history.

They had to clean it up, so they took a few rumors, odds, and ends to at least trade the fun party of Saturn for another reason to convert those pagans to Christianity. So, they made up this whole myth by combining some of the pagan stories and put their guy in the starring role.

First, Jesus was not born in December. That is just their excuse to replace the fun times with their own sorry state of a lie to fool the local yokels.

Things stolen from pagan tradition: 

  • Virgin birth
  • God being born as a human in the dead of winter
  • Gift-giving
  • Christmas trees and decorations

Much of this has been debunked elsewhere, so I'll leave it to Cracked magazine to give us this theft of a perfectly good pagan party to celebrate the Solstice and to confuse the gullible into thinking their god had anything at all to do with the pagan celebrations.

Six Things People Get Wrong About Christmas

They do mention that the replacement for the pagan Saturnalia wasn't really the start of the whole mess. Saturnalia was a multi-day party held from December 21st to 23rd. Quick! Let's invent a pagan holiday that they can then replace with their own myth. Thus Sol Invictus was born and quickly trashed for their own purposes. 

Why December 25th? That has to do with Hippolytus of Rome. He figured it by starting with March 25th, the accepted date of Jesus's death since at least A.D. 200. Add in the fact that, according to Jewish Talmudic tradition, all righteous men died on the same day they were conceived, and Jesus' conception must have also taken place on March 25th. Then basic biology tells us that nine months after conception comes the birth: December 25th.

Did I mention that the Jesus story is derived from a number of precursor heroes who happen to share a number of characteristics?  Note that all of these godly sorts lived years (centuries and millennia) before the Jesus story was mashed together. Interesting similarities no?

This is getting too long for anybody to read, so I'll stop here. There is more to say about Christmas trees, wreaths, gift-giving, and (most importantly wassailing). But I'll leave that as your homework. Surely, if you can research COVID to the point you'd rather die than be vaccinated, you can research the holiday you thought you knew. You really don't know jack about it.

Here are some links from actual reliable sources you can begin with. Consider it homework.