Saturday, November 29, 2014

Success!

Well here it is. The end of November and the wrapping up of NaNoWriMo. Today I have officially completed the challenge and went over 50,000 words. The novel itself is coming to an end and I think I'll complete the rough draft in the next week. Then I can move back to book two of the Cierstos Chronicles and really polish it up and get it ready for publishing.


Friday, November 7, 2014

It's NaNoWriMo! Yes, I'm taking advantage of the challenge to work on the third follow up book for Monsoon Reign. One week and over 14,000 words into it and it's going well. It feels so wonderful to be back to writing once again. For anyone who's ever suffered from anxiety and panic attacks maybe you'll understand, but it was impossible for me to do much but curl into a ball and sleep for the past few months. Now that the new meds have kicked in and side effects have declined I'm feeling much more creative.

I've also got Monsoon Reign rights back now that my contract with my publisher ended. To celebrate, I've decided to make it free. I've been able to offer it free on every venue, including Barnes and Noble, except Amazon. Right now I've got it for $0.99 on Amazon and that's the lowest they'll allow me to price it. If anyone would like to help me out you can find it on Amazon and follow the link that says Tell us about a lower price, then give them this link to let them know that it's free elsewhere. Hopefully if enough people do this they will price match and make it free.

And I realize I mentioned book three but book two is still not out. Yes, it's done, but I'm working through my editing phases. Hopefully I can give a publishing date on that soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Here it is, cover and blurb. Publishing date is set for August 15th. You can pre order through smashwords at the sale price of $2.99. After that it goes up to $3.99.



A princess concealed in a foreign world.
A desperate race between royal assassins and a protective knight to locate her.

Window display artist, Johanna Wesley enjoys her simple life in the city. She’s finally gaining renown and decent paying jobs for her talent. She even hired Jake, an attractive assistant who is intent on becoming more.

Wolf, a relentless knight, shows up and destroys her carefully crafted life and her basic beliefs.


Are his claims the ravings of a mad man or has she lost her mind? Wolf forces her into a world of magic, royal roots and danger. Will she leave everything behind to grasp a birthright she neither wants nor understands? Will she even have a choice?


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Here it is! Cover art for The Ruling of Valedrun courtesy of Tell Tale Book Covers

I highly recommend them for ready to go ebook covers. The prices and terms are more than fair and they work fast!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I've been very lax in posting on this blog in recent months and for that I apologize. In truth I've been lax in working on any writing. I have plenty of excuses but no good ones. I've had Valedrun finished and ready for publishing for several months, yet it sits gathering dust and in need of cover art.

To be honest this past year and a half has been rough. Too much death and anxiety, which leads to panic attacks and an inability to feel creative. But I'm putting it behind me and moving forward with my writing endeavors. As of today I am shopping around for cover art to finally get Valedrun on the digital shelves.

Also on my agenda is to decide once and for all on a title. I keep debating between "The Ruling of Valedrun" and "The Princess of Valedrun". So if anyone has any thoughts on which speaks to them more please let me know. This particular book is more on the romance with a happy ending scope, unlike Monsoon Reign which has a darker feel.

And speaking of Monsoon Reign, I'd finished the first draft of the second book and started on book three quite some time ago. Once Valedrun is settled I will get back to work on those and attempt to get them out this year or early 2015.

Once I pick the cover art I will put a sneak peek up here for all my extremely patient readers.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April was a mini challenge with Camp NaNoWriMo. I took advantage of the event to finish up the second book for the Cierstos Chronicles and get a good start on book three. I've also decided I'm going to go with self publishing the book I wrote during the first NaNoWriMo event I took part in. I've tentatively titled it The Ruling of Valedrun but will post the official title and reveal the cover at a later date.

Anyway, look what I won for all my time and effort :)


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I finally finished my first draft of Soma two days ago. I have so many more ideas for the story but they really will fit better in the third and hopefully final book for The Cierstos Chronicles.

So yesterday I decided to enjoy the gloomy, rainy day with a craft.


I was feeling a little homesick for Michigan. The red thing is supposed to be a heart, marking my home town. I plan on trimming it down so it looks more like a heart but thought I'd share this picture anyway. When my cousin saw it she said "home is where the pretzel is", which made me laugh more than it probably should have.

Today I'm checking out cover art and debating on what to do with The Ruling of Valedrun (self publish or submit to a publisher.) I'm a very impatient person so the idea of waiting months just to get a likely rejection, (traditional publishing can be difficult to get into as a nobody writer), just doesn't appeal.

In the mean time if anyone is interested in an advanced copy (no cover art yet) in return for a review once it goes live on amazon please let me know.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

This is where I'm spending time today in my writing. Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Today marks the start of Camp NaNoWriMo. I decided to go for it and take part. I set my word count limit pretty small, 10,000 words for the month but hope to exceed that. I'm off to a great start so far with over 1300 words for today. I'm using the challenge to hopefully FINALLY finish book two of Cierstos Chronicles.

Here's a glimpse of some pics that have inspired the places I'm describing in this book. You can see more pics that inspire my writing at my pinterest page. See link on the right side of this page.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

If you'd rather download the first chapter of Soma, you can view it on here on Createspace. Please feel free to rate or leave a comment. Feedback is so important to an author!

Monday, March 10, 2014

As promised, here's the first chapter of my current work in progress. Tentatively titled Soma, it's the follow up for Monsoon Reign.



Soma 
Chapter 1

Kathayr finished watering the last row of vegetables in the small garden and wiped the back of her dirty hand over her sweaty brow. She caught a glimpse of the mark on her left palm. A seven leaf clover surrounded with intricate scrollwork of knots that circled it. The sight often caused her stomach to turn with memories of the past she’d fled. Memories of a hateful husband, Nicholai, who used her ability to conceive in order to seize the throne of Fayodale.
Over two hundred years ago Soma suffered a terrible war and the women of Fayodale were left barren. Solais, a secret society founded by Nicholai, learned that the ancients created a pool, Laeos, and used it to steal children. From where or when no one knew for sure. They covered the treacherous deeds under the guise of a false goddess named Minato. Claimed the children were gifts in return for tribute of gold given to the chapel and to this day most citizens still believed in the lie.
Kathayr differed from the rest in the fact that when Solais brought her through the portal of Laeos she was a full-grown young woman. Unsure of her exact age, they guessed her to be around eighteen at the time. Nicholai allowed her a year of training in the local theater, gave her a false history and family; and then purchased her in a connubial auction for marriage. At the time he was a duke, within a year her pregnancy pushed the rebellion of the citizens into action and he claimed the throne.
Not only had Nicholai been ambitious, he’d abused Kathayr in every way possible. In a moment of weakness she’d tried to flee the turbulent marriage and ended up in his best friend, Asher’s, bed. Asher was everything Nicholai wasn’t; rugged, patient, and compassionate. He held no title. A simple hunter and member of Solais, working undercover as a priest of Minato. He also fathered her son, Driscol. Conceived during their one night of passion.
She’d tried to protect Asher when she came to her senses the next day and returned to her husband. But the next few years proved torturous without him. Once Nicholai revealed his knowledge that Driscol wasn’t his, she knew it was time to leave. To save their sons life, Asher and Kathayr took left Fayodale. Thanos, her and Driscol’s teacher, accompanied them with hopes of continuing their training in the ways of the ancient’s magic.
“You could use a bath.” Asher called out, breaking her out of memories best left in the past. He stood on the opposite side of a small fence erected around the garden plot. Meant to keep small creatures out, it stood low enough to step over with ease, and she lifted her tired feet over it to stand before him.
She glared at her handsome husband, for although they never performed the ceremony, he’d always be her husband in her heart. “Very funny, Ash. You know how much I miss being able to bathe in a proper fashion, in a tub.” Washing up with a basin or the creek on warm days, worked well enough, but sinking into a hot, sudsy tub was a luxury she often missed.
His lips twitched at the corners as he took the watering bucket from her hands and led her toward the horse stalls. “I have a surprise for you.”
“Will this take long? I have to prepare dinner.” She trudged along beside him, worn out from another day of chores. Six years had passed since they’d fled Fayodale and began a new life on the slopes of the Meridonial Mountains. While the years in Fayodale had been terrifying, she’d led a pampered life as duchess and then queen. The manual labor involved in taking care of the family’s daily needs still left her weary. She performed the duties a housewife needed to as best she could, but cooking didn’t come as a natural talent. Thanos often joked that the fire magic in her veins caused her to char every meal she prepared, but the truth of the matter was, she hadn’t been meant for this role.
“As much as I look forward to your delicious cooking, I’ll take over the chore for tonight.” Asher gave a sarcastic smirk she found both endearing and irritating. “Driscol and I finished our project in the new outbuilding today.”
“So what is this super secret project? A storage shed?” She hoped so. The extra space to store winter provisions would be a welcome addition to the homestead. The one bedroom cabin was cozy, but left nothing for storing extra supplies. At least, the ceiling vaulted high enough for Asher to build a loft for them. Thanos and Driscol shared a room just large enough to contain their bunks and a small closet for clothes. They’d been creative in using every inch of space available but it ran out on as they grew more settled.
Asher chuckled, “The whole point of keeping a secret is to be able to surprise you with it later. If I just told you, that wouldn’t be any fun.” He paused outside the door to the small, new building. She guessed it to be perhaps, fifty square feet in size at most. Perfect for extra firewood at the least.
“What do you think you’re doing with that?” She backed up a step as he pulled out an old handkerchief and moved toward her.
“Come on, play along this once. It’s a surprise right?” He held the makeshift blindfold up and shook it side to side while grinning with an expression of anticipation.
“Fine,” she sighed. Asher was the single man in the world she trusted enough to blindfold her and he seemed too eager to play this surprise out to the end. He deftly tied the fabric over her eyes, checked to make sure she couldn’t see, and then held her arm as he led her into the building.
The first thing she noticed was how warm the room felt. “Is there a fireplace in here?” But that didn’t seem right either. The heat felt moist, steamy. Condensation dotted up on her skin. “It’s damp in here, Ash. The firewood won’t burn if it’s wet.”
“So presumptuous! You’re so sure I built a storage shed.” He walked her a few more steps inside, shut the door, and pulled off the blindfold. “Surprise!”
On the far side of the room stood what appeared to be a bathtub, carved out of a tree trunk. A spigot jutted through a miniscule hole in the wall behind it and underneath a fire raged, heating the water within the tub. The wall to the right had built in shelves. The best of their meager towels were folded in a neat pile on top and a jar of soapberry juice for washing sat next to them.
“Is this for real?” She rushed over and dipped a hand in the warm water with a sigh. “How did you do this?” Asher’s mechanical skills often amazed her, but this went far beyond anything he’d ever done in the past.
He joined her next to the tub, perched on the edge, and pulled her between his knees before he began to peel her clothes off. “With my building skills and our son’s talent for magic, nothing is impossible.” He kissed her bare shoulder as the shirt dropped to the wood floor, then unbuttoned her breeches and let them slide down her legs to pool at her feet.
Once she stood naked before him, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her body against his. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she murmured between kisses.
He groaned against her mouth and unwrapped himself from her embrace. “As much as I’d love to accept your gratitude right now…” he trailed off and let his eyes roam over her body. “I’ll take your thanks tonight. For now, I want you to enjoy this gift.”
She climbed into the tub, moaned as she sank into the hot water, then dunked her head underwater and re-emerged with a giggle. “Oh, Ash you’ve got to try this. It feels amazing.”
She noted the heat in his eyes and thought he’d cave, but with a shake of his head he leaned over and kissed her before pulling back. “I will later, love. Trust me. But I want you to savor the moment. Stay in until you’re relaxed and your skin shrivels. This is our gift to you.” He took her hand in his and forced her to sit up enough to bring her fingers to a pipe by her feet at the bottom of the tub. “Feel that smooth piece of wood in the pipe?”
She nodded.
“Now find the rope tied to the side of it.”
Her fingers trailed from right to left until she found the thin rope. “Got it.”
“Good. When you’re through, pull the rope and the water will drain out. I placed a trough on the other side of the building to catch the water. I figured we could use it for laundry afterwards.”
“You are and amazing man, Asher Corneyls.” No matter how difficult life proved to be in the wild lands, she never once regretted leaving with him. No status, even queen, was worth giving up freedom or love.
He smiled and pointed to the spigot positioned above the rim of the tub. “This pumps in water from the well and is how we fill the tub. Driscol enchanted the wood of the tub and bathhouse to withstand the flames in the dugout below, so the water can heat without burning down the building.”
“He did that alone? Without Thanos?” She sat back and sank in to her chin once again. “He’s growing up so fast and has long surpassed my level.”
She sighed and Asher read her mind. “Hey, none of that now.” He tilted her head so he could look in her eyes. “It’s enough to have Driscol.”
“I know. I just wish... We were so close last time.” She dropped her chin, remembering the tiny flutters of the last baby her womb held. She’d lost several pregnancies early on in the first few years of their time in the mountains. Then didn’t conceive for so long she thought she’d become as barren as the rest of the women of Fayodale. Her last pregnancy took them by surprise and lasted well past any of the others. The babe should have survived to the end, but then arrived stillborn. The infant she’d prepared to care for, allowed herself to believe she’d cradle and would once again experience the thrill of nursing and nurturing a brand new, tiny life. All those dreams, snatched away in one horrible day of pain and suffering, left her hollow inside and her breast’s full of milk for a child buried at the edge of their cleared out plot of land. Hot tears stung her eyes and Asher kissed them away while she allowed a few moments of weeping.
After a short time and several deep breaths, she composed herself, then gave her husband a small grateful smile. “I’m sorry. I’m ruining the moment.”
“I’m happy with our family.” He handed her the jar of soapberry juice. “You’re not allowed to think sad thoughts while in this bathhouse. That’s the one rule I have if you’re to use it.”
She took another deep breath and her forced smile grew into a real one. “What’s this? A hunter making a demand of a queen?”
“Oh, we’re going to play that game are we?” He teased in return.
“Very well,” she continued. “I’ll grant your request. Now leave me be to enjoy my new chambers.” She giggled as he rolled his eyes and turned to leave. She couldn’t resist one last parting shot. “However, I expect you to join me next time.”
***
Driscol watched as his father left the new bathhouse and walked in the direction of the tree in which he perched. He’d long ago gave up hiding from the man. His father had a special talent for finding him no matter where he went. He claimed it was his hunter ability that helped him. To Driscol, it was just plain annoying and ruined his fun. Hide and search was his favorite game, but he liked to win and couldn’t with his father.
“What are you doing up there, son?” Asher stood at the base of the tree and stared up at him.
“Did mom like her present?” Driscol climbed to a higher branch. In recent days, this had become his favorite tree and he decided to make a room inside so he wouldn’t have to share with teacher Thanos anymore. He liked teacher, but he could be cranky when Driscol wasn’t ready to sleep and wanted to play.
“Yes, she did. Did you finish splitting firewood?” The adults liked to give him more chores lately. They said the physical labor rounded out his character or something to that effect. But whenever they weren’t looking he used magic to complete the tasks faster so he could go play once more. Today he used his talent with wood to split the logs in half the time it should’ve taken.
“Yes, Dad. Was she happy? So happy she smiled?” He didn’t remember much from his time in Fayodale, but he had the vague impression she’d often been sad. The thought always hurt him and she’d cried so much after losing the baby, he wanted to find a way to make her smile return. So when his father had the idea for a bathhouse Driscol thrilled at the chance to help.
“So happy she smiled.” His father agreed with a grin. “We did a good thing together and I’m proud of you.”
“Can I play up here for a while?” Satisfied with his mother’s happiness he wanted to move on to a new task.
“Just until dinner is ready. I think your mother will want you to try out the new bath tonight before bed. You’re certainly filthy enough.”
Driscol glanced at his dirty arms, brushed at his shirt, and sniffed himself. “Awe, I’m not that dirty.”
His father laughed, “That’s not what your mother will say. Have fun up there. I’ll be back to get you in a little while.” Asher turned and went into the cabin, leaving Driscol to start his project.
Driscol ran a hand over the bulbous trunk at the juncture of two branches that were thick enough to create a natural platform for him to perch. He’d had an eye on this tree for a few weeks, flashes of ideas flitted through his mind before he settled on a final idea.
As he continued to caress an extra thick, rounded portion of the trunk, the idea began to take shape. He focused on the wood beneath his fingers, sensing the life flowing through the many layers of the tree. He’d have to be careful, splitting firewood was easy enough, but the tree was still alive, he wanted to reshape not kill it. He raised the other hand and rested it next to the first. With a slight inward push, the bark warped. He slid his fingers sideways into a knot and the wood began to creak and moan in protest. Then, at last, it relaxed into his will and moved in a fluid motion, allowing him to manipulate the shape. He pulled the now elastic fibers in opposite directions and smoothed the edges when he placed them in the desired positions. A knot in the bark that started the size of his thumb now spanned the width of his two hands placed side by side.
He continued to work in quiet patience, breaking from the trance of his creative state just once when he thought he heard someone walk near the base of the tree line. After a quick scan of the area from his vantage point, he decided it must have been an animal. By the time his father retrieved him for dinner, he’d formed a doorway large enough for two Driscol’s to fit through. Both he and the tree needed a rest.
***
Laz cursed under his breath as the female shriek tore through the thin gap of the tent flap. He didn’t mind the idea of one of the girl’s giving birth. In fact, whether the child turned out to be male or female mattered little. A female would grow to take her place as one of his strumpets and a male, if not turned out as he matured, served to protect the women. The few males kept around performed menial chores Laz couldn’t be bothered with. Once in a while they made themselves available to a client if their tastes went that way.
He ran a hand over the stubble, the last remnants of hair, on his head in frustration. The problem he had rested in the location of which the stupid woman decided to allow her body to labor. He’d hoped to reach their destination before her time came, not find themselves stuck in the wilderness of the Meridonial Mountains while she birthed the child.
The Argentumite took a big chance when he brought his brothel on the road and out of Argentum territory. The plan to head east to Aurum, the wealthiest of territories, promised to make Laz a rich man. He had the finest Argentum women to offer the rich, lusty men of Aurum.
He’d spent the last few decades breeding his stock to over twenty beauties and near as many lads worked for him. A business, but with a strange sense of family. A family for which he felt a crushing responsibility.
Another shriek blasted through the morning air, frightening away a flock of birds, then the squall of an infant followed in the aftermath. Iola tossed the tent flap aside and stepped outside, wiping bloodied hands on her soiled apron. The matronly woman stayed with the group for several reasons, two of which were her midwife and herbalist skills. All others got turned out with a bag of gold, as a settlement for a quiet life, once they reached their fifth decade.
Iola moved with slow, careful steps across the rocky ground toward him and dropped a curtsy as she gave a report. “We ‘ave another girl to add to our numbers, Master Laz.”
“Very good. Clean up the mess and give Rika your strongest healing tinctures. I plan to move toward civilization as soon as possible.”
“Yes, sir.” With a weary gait, she returned to her duties within the tent.
“Civilization.” Benjanen sighed from behind him. Laz turned to see the young man reclined against a large rock near a camp fire. “I’ve forgotten what that is.”
Laz joined him by the fire, hunkered on his haunches and winced when his knees popped. A couple of lingering birds in the tree boughs above shrieked at the sound and took flight. Benjanen was the other reason Iola stayed with the group. Back in the days of her youth she and Laz had a short fling, the result, Benjanen.
The circumstance wasn’t too uncommon. Laz prided himself of the cleanliness of his girl’s. The insistence that the client’s sheathed themselves when lying with one of them contributed to his success in the matter. Yet, sometimes one of the girls decided she wished to have a baby and she’d choose a man to father the child. Iola chose Laz and the blonde haired boy grew to be a man a father couldn’t be more proud of, an heir to a business Laz spent a lifetime building.
“A little girl.” Benjanen continued, pulling Laz out of memories of a younger Iola and into the present. “I believe I’ve won the wager.”
“Aye, boy, that you ‘ave.” Laz pulled a gold coin from a pocket and tossed it across the smoldering embers of the fire. “I think I’m getting to old for this.”
“Old?” Benjanen snorted as he caught the coin with deft fingers and made it disappeared into an inner pocket of his jacket. “You’re not much older than Iola. You’ve just reached your middle years.”
“Easy enough for a man of twenty-five to say.” Laz stood again and stretched his tired legs as his stomach rumbled. “These wretched women, someone gives birth and they treat it like a ‘oliday. No one’s prepared a single meal today. Benjanen, hunt down Willa and set ‘er to making dinner.”
He’d just finished uttering the order when a twig snapped and a cacophony of noises erupted in the trees to the left. Benjanen jumped to his feet and his hand flew to the grip of his weapon. An antiquated, but still deadly, gun he’d picked up before they left the borders of Argentum. Laz preferred the modern version he now held in his own grip.
“Stay your ‘and, boy.” Laz motioned for him to relax and put his own weapon away, as three boys stepped through the tree line. A group of scouts he’d sent ahead a few days prior, when Rika showed signs of an imminent labor. “What’ve you found?”
“Master Laz,” the oldest boy of the group, sixteen at the most, addressed him. “We spotted a cabin near the pass and counted two men. We also saw a boy, no more than eight or nine.”
“Did they ‘ave any women?” Benjanen chimed in before Laz could form the question himself. He felt a mixture of irritation and pride. No one wanted to be deemed replaceable, including Laz, but he felt peace of mind knowing his son understood the fundamentals of keeping this business prosperous. Right now, they needed lonely men who would pay for a little of one of Laz’s girls’ time and affection.
The boy glanced at Benjanen with an incredulous expression and darted his eyes back to the boss as if unsure if he should answer the question asked out of turn. Laz nodded and circled his hand in the air to gesture for the boy to continue. “We didn’t see anyone else, if they ‘ave others then they must sleep on top of each other. The cabin size is little more than that of a shack.”
“Not promising, but it could bring a business opportunity. We’ll give Rika a day or two to recover before we move. Our travels bring us to the pass, so we’ll make a quick stop maybe we’ll drum up interest. We need to earn extra coin, to restock supplies in the next town we find.” His stomach rumbled even louder. “Go get a little rest boys, good job. Benjanen, find that blasted girl and have her fetch some food.”

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ok, so Amtrak is offering something pretty awesome. Writer's residency's.
So basically they're accepting applications from writers and will select 24 winners. Those lucky winners get a free ride, complete with sleeper car for one, on a 2-5 day trip. They'll have a place to write while watching the sights of our country rolling by.
I haven't decided yet if I want to try for it, all those pesky responsibilities come to mind. You know, being a mom, wife etc... But the gypsy spirit in me is pulling me toward filling out the form.
Hmmm... we'll see, perhaps.

On another note, I haven't posted much on here lately, I know. But I'm 40,000 words into Soma. After rereading Monsoon Reign, I got to know my characters again and I can't stop messing with them. I just have to keep pushing them to see what they can do. I'll try to put up an excerpt soon.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Now that I'm done with The Ruling of Valedrun, (I'm submitting it for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award), I'm returning my focus to Soma. The follow up for Monsoon Reign. In preparation I spent the past week rereading Monsoon Reign to reacquaint myself with the characters. I did notice a few typos and some punctuation that could have been done better. Also I've been told, and I could see it in re-reading, that some of the passage of time is unclear within the story. So I've made some minor changes, realigned the chapters and put in some dates to help show how much time has passed from one point to the next.

I've uploaded it to smashwords and createspace already. Those should be available in the next couple of days. As for the Amazon kindle version, I've forwarded that to my publisher and they should be putting the updated file up soon. I'll post a reminder when it's all ready.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I hope you will bear with me on this personal post today. I just want to wish a Happy Birthday to my younger sister and post a memoriam to my older sister who passed away one year ago today. I miss you Thresa.





THRESA SUE PALMER Oct. 17, 1970 - Jan. 21, 2013 In loving memory of our beloved Thresa; 

Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Grandmother 

One year has passed since that sad day God called you home - it was His will; You will live always in our hearts until that sweet day when we are together again. Loved and Missed by your Family 



"I am the good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me; My sheep hear my voice and they follow me; I give them eternal life and they shall never perish." John 10

Thursday, January 16, 2014

So I've been meaning to put a post up all week just so it can be known that I am, in fact, still alive. I finished my final, final revision of The Ruling of Valedrun and it's off being proofread. It's been an exhausting few weeks of constant revising. Mix that in with a new workout routine at the gym and hubby gone with the Army for a few weeks and now I'm a zombie.

I decided since it's my birthday today I'd make one of my favorite dishes for dinner. Penne alla Vodka. Of course I was out of Vodka, so I ran to the nearest ABC to get some. They carded me, which was pleasant, but apparently everyone who's carded me in the past year plus has failed to notice my drivers license expired in 2012! How have I missed that? Yikes! So a quick visit to Michigan Secretary of State website and I'm a legal driver once again.

Nothing much else new and exciting to report so I'm going to enjoy a celebratory glass of Witches Brew and share a fun little list my sister shared with me titled 44 Things every short girl can relate to. Being under 5 foot I can say I've experienced pretty much everything on that list except for #44.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Being asked to guest judge the #5minute fiction contest has to have been the funnest thing I've participated online with so far. The contestants were all very talented and I'm so impressed with their ability to come up with compelling stories in such a small amount of time. Each story deserved to win on individual merits but alas only one could take home the prize. Congratulations to Gemma Brocato on this week's win! And thank-you to everyone who participated, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Read the winning entry here. And check out the others as well, they were all good.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

#5 minute fiction is live now. Check it out!
Less than 10 minutes until #5 minute fiction! Get your creative juices flowing and join in the fun. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Tomorrow I have the honor of choosing my five favorite submissions for a flash fiction contest. The blog owner is writer Wendy Strain. She'll post a prompt tomorrow evening at 7:30 pm. CST and the contestants will have five minutes to write their story in the comments section. Once the top five are selected the audience votes for a winner. The winner gets a free copy of Monsoon Reign. I can't wait to have a chance to read all the submissions but I have a feeling picking my favorites will be difficult based on the ones I've read from prior contests.

If you'd like to try it out she does this weekly. Here's the link and I'll update a reminder tomorrow on the blog when the contest goes live.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I took a break from writing for a few days to spend time with the family but couldn't help starting up again a couple of days ago. I started off the New Year printing off my first draft of The Ruling of Valedrun. It's ready for reading and I'm sending them out. If anyone still wanted the opportunity to beta read it let me know ASAP. I'd like to get all input in within a couple weeks before I send it off for proofreading (Sue I'll get to you with a date as soon as possible) :)

Here's a little teaser:

“Alright,” she said slowly and placed her hands on the table before her. “Let’s set that aside for a minute. Who are you? What role do you play in this twisted little tale you’re telling me?”
“I’m a loyal knight of Valedrun. Sworn to defend and serve the Royal family until I breathe my last breath. I brought you to this world and made sure you were safe over the years.”
“Then why did you leave me in that house with those people? If they aren’t really my family and you knew they treated me so bad why didn’t you rescue me?” She felt a sudden simultaneous sorrow and anger. All those years her mother, no her false mother, had been correct. She felt sad for the woman who’d pined for her real daughter and angry that she’d been left in that situation.
“I admit it wasn’t ideal but by the time I realized the situation it was too late. You were already enmeshed with the family and you weren’t in any danger.”
“Not physical.” The waitress reappeared with their food but she continued anyway. “But emotionally it was toxic. You should have done something.”
Wolf waited for the waitress to leave before responding. “I did, Princess. I numbed those bad feelings for you. I helped you not to mind that you didn’t fit in with the family.”
 “Stop calling me Princess!” Several patrons lifted their gazes toward them and she realized she had shouted at him. 
“I’m sorry, your majesty.” There was no hint of teasing in his tone merely a respectful acquiescence proper for a noble knight.
“No, not that either. Call me Johanna. That is my name isn’t it?
“That is the one thing you have in common with your long deceased counterpart. It would’ve been too confusing for you to change your name. You were already two years old when I brought you here. I was lucky enough to find a family that happened to lose a daughter the same age and with the same name. I used a simple glam to make you appear to look like her. Then you were brought to them, a replacement they were meant to believe was really her. For some reason it worked for everyone except the mother.” 
“Why?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know why she saw through it. Perhaps her deep love for her true daughter prevented the glam from working on her.”
“No, I mean why was I brought here? Away from my birth parents?”
“The kingdom was under siege and you were in grave danger. Joachim, the General of the Royal Army turned against the throne leading a rebellion against your parents. He swore to kill the entire royal family. Your parents loved you enough to send you away to safety. They had me hide you and refused to allow me to tell them where. I’m one of two to know the location of the hidden Princess. Not long afterward Joachim conquered the land and executed your parents.”
She quit picking at her sandwich and pushed it away in disgust. The sordid tale he told took away any small appetite she may have had to begin with. “Then why are you here, Wolf? Why bother my quiet, happy little life?”
“Are you happy?” He tilted his head and leveled his gaze at her.
Tears pricked at her eyes but she refused to answer his question. “Why are you here, Wolf?”
“The other person who knew your whereabouts revealed your location to the rebels while under torture. They’ve infiltrated this world and are actively seeking you out.”
“Another knight like you?”
“No, he was the caretaker of the gallery of the gods. Sadly he succumbed to his injuries and is with us no more. Now what’s important is the danger you are facing.”
“Why do they bother looking for me? It’s not like I plan to take the throne back.” Did she actually just speak about this as if it was a fact and not this man’s sick fantasy?
“Your people need you. They lament the demise of their King and Queen and wish to see you ascend to your rightful place. Whether or not this is something you desire your very existence is a threat to Joachim. He will not feel at ease until the threat is extinguished.”
“So you’re telling me I’ve got a bunch of otherworld assassins after me?”
“I’m here to protect you. Even if you don’t wish to return to your royal responsibilities I will give my life for you.”
“Great.” She rolled her eyes. “Do you realize how crazy this all sounds? If it wasn’t for the fact that you haven’t aged and you can travel at impossible speeds I’d say you belong in one of those hospitals my mother frequented.”
“I do age.” He sighed. “I know it’s hard to take all this in but it’s true. The world we come from has a different time stream than this place. In our world it’s only been four years since you left. Three years since your parents lost their lives. I was twenty and one years old when I brought you here, so with the time differences I guess we’re the same age now.”
“So… you’re two decades older than me but we’re the same age?” She rubbed her forehead and tried to wrap her mind around what he told her.
“Believe it or not, Princess.” He smiled sadly. “Some things are weird to me as well. That is one of those things I find hard to swallow. I left you as a darling little girl and in just a few years you’re an attractive woman.”