Friday, September 28, 2012

Week In A Spotlight...

I had a pretty darn good week. I was spotlighted over on the Word Weavers page on Facebook. Monday was just general links on where to find me.

Twitter: @MLChesley

I'm here, I'm on Goodreads. I'm pretty much everywhere.

Tuesday was Q & A day, which I am going to share instead of my usual Friday post. Then Wednesday and Thursday were blog links and an excerpt I have not shared with anyone yet. I'll post it here next week, because I realize lots of you don't do Facebook.

Before I get to the Q & A, though, I have to link to Misha Gericke's post yesterday about word verification on Blogger. Go ahead, I'll wait. If you are new to blogging or you still use the word verification. There's no need. I took off my word verification some time ago and Blogger still catches all the spam. Sometimes something will slip through the cracks, but it is a lot easier to go delete that one silly post than to irritate hundreds of followers who are trying to leave a comment on your blog. TRUST ME. I get so irked, I just leave and honestly, I don't go back. If I do go back to the blog, I'll read it, but won't comment. If I do comment, it's because I actually WANT to bad enough to sit through the stupid word verification process, but if I don't get through the first time. FORGET IT. Speaking of, is anyone else having issues commenting on my blog? I got a couple emails... Email me if you are, please. I'm trying to fix it.

Okay, so on to the Q & A. I had some really good questions! Jeremiah Saint, Erich Johnson, Stephen Roberts and Zombie Zak were totally cool. So to avoid making this post super long, (it's already long...) here it is. Have a great weekend everyone!

Jeremiah Saint:
Q: What inspires, compels you to write? Is it a passion, a vice, a hobby?

A: Hmm... I'd have to say it's a passion for sure. I've been writing since I was 19. At the time it was fan-fic. I branched out, if you can call it that, to writing stories for characters on a MuD called Cosrin. I've got a pretty good imagination to inspire me, but then I see things like Lord of the Rings on the movie screen and just have to go home and write something!

Q: DO you prefer creating a "new" world or using "the" or "an" existing world for your setting?

A: I actually prefer creating my own. I know I could easily use dozens of worlds out there especially our own, but there's something about making up my own. I suppose I don't feel guilty or feel like I am hacking someone else's stuff.

Q: Character development or character destruction, and why? If both which do you prefer to create or even destruct?

A: Muahaha! Erm... I absolutely love to create characters and destroy them. I like creating because there is so much to the human psyche that I can integrate into my characters, but I certainly am not afraid to kill off those same characters no matter how much I love them.

Q: What is one genere you have thought about delving into but have never set out to start?

A: Paranormal romance and I am not a big fan of romance if it doesn't have a good story. So I don't know how well I will write something I don't exactly like. XD

Q: Which would you rather not tackle; Religion or Politics?

A: Augh... I have to choose? Then I would have to pick religion. Sometimes when people start discussing religion they begin to preach rather than discuss. Politics will always be a fight and I am a scrapper.

Erich Johnson:

Q How many times did the map of Eir Du'Brusai (going by the one in the photos here) change before final publication? Were most of those changes subconscious?

A: I actually changed it once. All the changes I made were conscious decisions and more for geographical enhancement than anything else. I didn't think one huge continent surrounded by a dozen smaller ones seemed feasible, so why would my readers think otherwise?  I spent the better part of 5 years on the map and world itself before I even thought of the first story... I worked on it with my husband and a group of friends to try and establish things first. Plus it helped that we were all D & D players. XD

Q: So I imagine there's a ton of cities, villages, and ports that needed naming. It's always a problem for me. What's your suggestion? What's the secret to names?

A: Hmm... I have a dozen links to name generators I can share with you. My favorite by far is . The best way to keep track of it all is to make a list of names, then when you use it, don't scratch it off the list. Write the name of the city/kingdom/port next to it. Give it the geographical location description it needs. I also have a link to a couple language translator sites. One is for real world languages, the others are for Elven and Drow. So if I like a name, I tend to combine Drow and Latin. If you feel like you are stealing from someone using the name generators, mix two or more names together. It is hard for me to give you an exact formula because names just pop into my brain pretty easy.

Stephen Roberts:

Q: When exactly did you decide that you wanted to be a writer professionally and what was it that sold you on storytelling in the first place?

A: What sold me on storytelling was reading the graphic novels, Elf Quest. (I'm showing my geek and my age at the same time!) The exact moment I wanted to be a professional writer.... Well, I had posted some of my work in a portfolio on Writing dot com and someone told me my style was Tolkien-esque. At that moment, I had never read his books and it was about the time the first movie came out. So I went to see it in the theaters and afterwards I sat there, stunned. How could someone say MY writing was like THAT!? Well, that is what gave me the courage to actually continue writing and hone my skill.

Zombie Zak:

Q: Is ye a morning or evening writer?

A: Definitely evening.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What's Your Obsession...

I have random obsessions. Once in a while I will find something and have to immerse myself in it and then the phase is over and I move on. I'm like that with a lot of different things.

But never pirates.

And never men. I love my husband dearly.

I admit to having some star crushes. I love Matthew McFadyen, Gerard Butler and of course, James McAvoy. Okay, so that's barely the tip of the iceberg.

Lately I've been stuck in 'Once Upon A Time...' I watched the entire first season on Netflix and can't wait for the next season to start. I have to stream it on my computer, though. I've killed my TV. In the sense that I don't have cable or even local channels. Just Netflix and my computer.

And since it is officially Autumn, I'm on a Honeycrisp apple kick. I love, love, LOVE these apples. Did I mention I have a birthday coming up? Apples are good.

So what's your obsession? What shows do you have to watch? What books do you find yourself reading over and over?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

World Building Wednesdays: Gods and Goddesses...

In fantasy, the pantheon of gods is boundless as well as important. When you think fantasy, think Mythology and how the mortals worshiped the likes of Zeus, Hera and Aphrodite. There was a god or goddess for all things, it seemed like. War, love, life and death. Mortals wanted to be gods so bad they could taste it and would attempt any kind of trickery to get to that higher, immortal station.

In my world, there is a god or goddess for just about everything. Why? Well, it is my belief that gods and goddesses are the epitome of magical energies and essences. You have the main deity (in my case, this is Ioweth) who created the world and all the creatures within it. His sons and daughters are the gods and goddesses brought into existence by the mortals of the world. So basically, if the people of the world needed something desperately enough and prayed for it, the god or goddess would be pulled from the magical ether and poof! you have a deity.

For example, if people were constantly being killed or robbed while traveling, there is a goddess who protects travelers, her name is Yizanthia. There is a god of worldly abundance, his name is Jerremor. Jerremor is the patron deity of adventurers looking for great wealth or people who dream of being rich. Fizanu is the goddess of law and justice.

Others deal with lakes and rivers, deserts or forests. The two suns of my world are actually twin gods, Halidien and Perriden. The moon is the goddess, Merydwen. The goddess of Life and Rebirth is Pel. There are twin sisters ruling the underworld and afterlife. Ta'arinuru is the goddess of the underworld and reigns over damned souls. Veritru'ul is the goddess of the afterlife and she resides over those kind, good souls and allows them to move on into their next incarnation.

There are lots of fantasy stories out there where the gods and goddesses are invisible. People just have faith like they do in real life that a higher being exists. Other stories have the deities walking the earth and others have them appearing only to special people. My goddess of law and justice, Fizanu, speaks with Black Rose and gifted him with longevity. He acts as her champion, righting the wrongs and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. Basically, you better be good or Rose will come get you and send you off where you belong. Unless of course you are repentant and ask for absolution.

So think about this before you create the world. Do you want it to have just popped into existence with no explanation? Do you want just a single deity responsible for it all? Do the people of your world have free will? Or are they controlled by the gods? Do they require sacrifice or gifts?

Lots to think on! Have a great rest of the week!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Treat, Sneak Peek!...

It's that time of the week, my post with the sneak peek and the recipe for a sweet treat. The holidays are looming! These cookies will be great for any gathering. So without further ado, here we go:

~Chipotle Chocolate Brownies~

8 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped     1 Cup butter
2 Cups all purpose flour     1/4 Cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 Cups sugar     1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon     1 to 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
6 eggs     2 teaspoons vanilla
unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 13 x 9x 2 inch baking pan with foil, extending over edges and lightly coat with a nonstick cooking spray. In a small saucepan combine chocolate and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. In a small bowl combine flour and the 1/4 cup cocoa powder. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, espresso, cinnamon and chipotle powder. Add chocolate mixture. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for one minute. Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition. Beat in vanilla, add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Once all ingredients are in, beat on low speed for one minute more. Spread batter evenly into pan, bake for 35 to 40 minutes, sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa powder.


“You cannot be telling her things!” Polunda, Mistress of the Healer's Guild stood with her hands on her hips and stamped a tiny foot as she reprimanded Farrehn. Geralmin, Master of the Warrior's Guild had come by to see him and they had gone for a short walk out in one of the many gardens the Healers urged their patients to visit. Apparently, Kayta had confessed to Mistress Polunda how she had recalled her name so quickly. The furious Healer tracked down the half-ogre and now stood seething before Farrehn.
“By da Four Winds, woman, I was jest tryin' tae help. Stop yer screechin', yer givin' me a headache, too.” Farrehn stood slightly behind his Guild Master, afraid of the woman howling like a banshee. The image, to anyone else witnessing the event, was quite comical as the half-ogre towered over his Guild Master by at least three feet.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Week Of Me...

Yes, you read that right. All week long, I'm going to be spotlighted on the Word Weavers page on Facebook.

I know you have some questions, so I will answer best I can.

Q: What is Word Weavers?

A: Word Weavers (for those of you who remember me talking about it a few times) is a group dedicated to writers. We support, promote and well, support some more. This is the group I was a part of a long time ago that designed those Author Trading Cards. Well, the cards are back and so is the group!

Q: So what's the spotlight thing?

A: Once a week, we're spotlighting an author. Either an established one or a newbie.

Q: So what's going to happen all week long?

A: Well, Monday will just be a day of links on where to find the author, their website, their blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. At least, this is what is happening for me. On Tuesday, we'll have a Q&A day. Wednesday will be a link to my blog, the one I do on World Building. Thursday will be a sneak peek from my book, Adversarius, that I won't be posting on my blog.

On that note, here is the link to the Facebook page, Word Weavers. So I leave you with that. Drop by and check out where you can find me today, even though most of you are already pretty good stalkers. Share the page, share the love, support an author!

And before I go, I do have a question for anyone who is proficient with Photoshop or the like: Can someone please help me fix my drawing of Laria? I'd like to be able to use it for bookmarks, but the coloring is so washed out and I can't afford the materials I need to make it work. If you are able to help, you know how to contact me! Thanks!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Claudy Conn's Legends Series Blog Tour & Guest Post...

Hey everyone! Below is a guest post question and an excerpt from Claudy Conn. She is currently doing a blog tour for her Legends series. Say hi and check links below on where to buy! Also check the giveaway details at the end of this post!

What process do you use when you write a story - Do you use an outline, or a timeline, to remember who is doing what and when?
I use my writing bible. My editor created it and we add to it. It reminds me who is who, where, what and when. I set up goals and scan back at my notes to see if I am achieving those goals. I can never stick to an outline because my characters are alive and never do as they are told!

Excerpt from 'Catch & Hold':

If I timed it wrong I knew I would have his death sword buried in my gut.

Before I could explore the possibilities and help myself, I was staring at Gaiscioch, who had suddenly shifted into the war room, only ten feet away from where I tottered.
He shook his head and smirked at me. “Well then, just what kind of a warrior are you? Letting one of those things connect with you—tsk, tsk. Not as proficient with your Fae skills as you thought you were, eh, Daoine?”
His tone goaded me and somehow gave me the strength to sneer at him with a great measure of bravado I was far from feeling. Bluster, I told myself, bluster … and get the hell out of here.
Did I listen to me? No.
I prepared myself as instinct took over, guided me, and told me just what he had in mind. I waited as he looked me over. I waited for the moment he would shift at me with his death sword aimed.
I sensed it the moment he went into his mind. I sniffed at his scent and forced myself to wait a fraction of a moment.
If I timed it wrong I knew I would have his death sword buried in my gut.
Just as I felt him shift, I jumped out of his way. His face was a mask of fury, and he lunged towards me, but again, I was ready for him, and this time, I shifted.
Once again I had come face to face with my father’s murderer and I had allowed him to live. I felt heartsick … and then I realized I also felt really sick …
Was I dying? No. I couldn’t die yet, I had to kill Gais—I had to. I couldn’t die without doing that first, and something else, something so important, someone so important.
Danté—I had to see Danté, if only for the last time. My mind exploded with his name, and I heard the anguish in my voice reverberate all through the Dark King’s retreat as I shouted with the last bit of strength I had.

Where to find and buy any of these books: 

Stalker Links: 

 Facebook Fan Page

And finally, the Giveaway:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why Is Bad Writing So Good?...

I've talked about stuff like this before. The reasons behind the popularity of books such as 'Twilight' and '50 Shades of Grey'.

Writers have dubbed these books as horrible, poorly written and slop.

Readers gobble these books up , though, so why is that? If we're going to be Book Snobs, we better be prepared for the inevitable backlash.

One of my best friends loved the 'Twilight' series. We go round and round about it, but she does have a sense of humor when it comes to all the jokes bashing it on Facebook.

Her argument is this: She's not a writer, she's a reader and she enjoyed the story. She didn't sit there and analyze every sentence/paragraph/chapter. She enjoyed the book at face value. The poor writing didn't bother her in the least.

While I have to agree with her on some points, and I do, there is still more to the story I don't like. Even if I think the writing isn't that great.

Because of this, though, I'm not even going to go near '50 Shades'. Lots of reasons behind it aside from the whole debate online about it being poorly written. Plain and simple, it isn't the sort of genre I would choose to read. I can tolerate a good, well written romance, but I won't be delving into this book anytime soon just because of the touchy topic.

No pun intended.

But this is what it boils down to when we are faced with a poorly written book that becomes wildly popular and sells millions of copies:

We hate it.

Why? Because we work so hard at honing our craft and selling the measly 50+ copies a month. We push our books like crack. We pimp them out like hookers. We struggle, we work hard and we sacrifice so much of our selves and our lives. Then comes along some weak, viral sensation and we all stand, mouths agape at the hordes of people clamoring to get said book. Movie deals are made and we still work that second job hoping that someday our skills will pay the bills.

Would we be so jealous of a well written book? I don't think so. I see all the support for authors such as J. R. R. Martin and his 'Game of Thrones'. Same can be said for the 'Hunger Games' series as well as for Ms. Rowling's super success.

Those are the people we strive to be like. One day, maybe we will.

While I don't want to speak for any of you, what are your thoughts on the subject?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

World Building Wednesdays: Characters...

Where would your books be without characters? Boring, actually. Too much information tends to put people to sleep. I have issues with my own writing where I want to put in so much information because there is so much I want to share, that I bore the reader.

I actually bored myself once.

Just once.

Anyway, back story is best utilized through characters and dialogue. Lots of people have said it and I had to learn how to do this.

But everything still falls flat if you don't have interesting characters. Your characters have a story to tell. That is why you are writing!

But how do you get such diverse characters? How can you create well developed characters? How do you get the reader to love those characters?

Give them a voice. Give them a soul.

How many writers out there feel like their characters are a part of their family? Feel like they are literally your children. You did give birth to them and their idea, after all.

No, no. No need to call the men in the white coats. If you deny you have conversations with your character you are a liar. LIAR! Oh and your pants are on fire...

I talk to my characters all the time. Explains a lot, doesn't it? But this is how they tell me their story, this is how I learn what direction to take. When I get stuck, I can't keep writing something else because I'm distracted and can't focus on it because I am listening. I am waiting for the moment when said character whispers in my mind.

"Are you ready to listen?" they say. They remain quiet for so long because I get focused on their story and I just write it all out, listening in on their conversations, putting it all down on paper so I can share it with you, my reader. But they get real quiet once in awhile and suddenly, I've hit a brick wall. I stopped listening to the character tell their story and have gone off on my own tangent. I hit a road block and then they swagger up to me, all cocky and smirky.

"This is how it is supposed to go, got it?" they tell me. "I don't want it to go this way, because that isn't how it is supposed to go. This is my story after all, you're the intruder here. Just write down what I tell you."

That's a good way to get good characters. But diverse is something else altogether. I've said it dozens of times before. Go. Watch. People. But don't get arrested, for pity's sake! Stay in a public place, listen in without being a stalker. Watch people when they think no one is watching them. Oh, the things people do. Like pick their nose and wipe it off under a table in a restaurant.

I kid you not.

These are real people, your characters. You have to develop them, give them their personality. You have to give them their strengths and weaknesses, their skills, their flaws. Give them that eye twitch when they are stressed. Make them chew their nails. Make them grab a toothbrush to bite down on before their mom pulls out the peroxide to clean yet another one of their scrapes from falling off a bike. (Yes, I did that ALL the time.) Give them a sense of honor, purpose and above all, the sense of humor to deal with life. Give them passion, give them love and the hatred and jealousy that sometimes goes along with it. Make them petty, selfish people or make them compassionate givers. Make them hate life or love it, make them your best friends.

Seriously. Who better to pattern your characters off of then your friends and family? Aren't most characters an extension of ourselves? Of who we are right here and now in the physical realm and also who we most desire to be? What kind of person would you be if you were stuck in the Middle Ages or Ancient Greece? What kind of person would you be if you were rich beyond your dreams and didn't ever have to worry about money? What kind of people would your children be? Spoiled? Good-natured? Greedy? Killers or healers? What if you had nothing?

Think about all these aspects because the events in your life make you who you are. So once you know the ins and outs of the human psyche, you can begin to create stronger characters. What makes people do the things they do? What gives them their drive and motivation or their laziness? What events will affect your characters and how will they react? How would you react?

If your characters don't seem believable to you, don't feel like a part of you, then you need to go back and work on them again. Make them shine! They're going to tell you a great story if you give them half the chance.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sweet Treat, Sneak Peek!...

All right! I'm at the point where I can share snippets of my book with you all until it is released. And possibly even after to keep up interest, of course.

So I thought, hmm... what could I do to make this a bit more interesting? Well, since Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas are creeping up on us fast—Cookies!

I'm going to share a cookie recipe and a snippet. So you can make a sweet treat after I give you a sneak peek at my book.

Sound fair? All right, then, here we go!

I'm going to start with this recipe I found in the Better Homes and Gardens Ultimake Cookies and Bars magazine. I have yet to find another special interest issue like it.

This cookie fits Kayta. (Yes, I paired up the cookie with the character...) I have yet to make these, but they are on my cookie list this year.

~Chai Moons~

1 Cup softened butter     1 Cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon leaf chai tea, finely ground     1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda     1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 Cups all purpose flour     Butter frosting      Demerara sugar

In large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer 30 seconds. Add in all ingredients except flour, blend well. Slowly add in flour, mix well. Divide dough in half and chill for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll one half of dough until 1/4 inch thick. Using a 3 inch crescent shaped cutter, cut out dough. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and backe 8-10 minutes. Frost cooled cookies with butter frosting and sprinkle with Demerara sugar.


Kayta sat up, sweat drenched her skin and she clutched at the sheet that covered her. She couldn't breathe, her throat constricted. After a moment, she gasped, filling her lungs with air, tears streaming down her cheeks. She looked around frantically, trying to get her bearings.
“Easy now,” someone moved to sit beside her and held her gently by the shoulders.
“Wh-where am I?” she whispered.
“Shh, do nae speak. Try tae be quiet,” the voice was low, the accent odd to her ears. Kayta pulled up the sheet to her chin and looked around. Beds lined the walls on either side, and lanterns were lit and turned low. In the dim light, she could see the face of the person who sat beside her, trying to soothe her.
“Who are you?” she whispered again. The man chuckled, his long black hair hung loose around his shoulders. There were bruises on his face, a greenish tinge indicating that they were healing as well as a few cuts.
“I'm Farrehn,” he told her. He turned his head to make sure they were not disturbing anyone, and his eyes caught the lamplight. The red of his eyes indicated his race.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest Post: Stuart Jaffe...

Welcome back to Stuart Jaffe! This is his take on World Building: Languages...

Invariably when talking about world-building the subject of languages comes up. Really the question has more to do with what level of detail should a writer strive for. After all, the godfather of the genre, J. R. R. Tolkien, created entire languages both written and verbal for more than one race of fantastical beings. If Tolkien is the gold standard, then shouldn't we all be doing this? The answer seems to be Yes even though many writers want it to be No. After all, that's a lot of extra work.
But if you think about language usage in terms of level of detail instead, the answer gets a bit more murky. How many times have you read the advice not to include every detail you've researched and imagined? Hundreds, probably. So, wouldn't language come into play with that level of detail -- as in, it's great research but too much detail for the book itself?
All right, enough with the rhetoricals. Here's the answer in plain English. Tolkien loved language, studied language, and understood language, so he used that knowledge in his literary creations. If you share that passion, then go for it. For the rest of us, don't worry about it. You don't need to do it like that.
All you really need to do it HINT at another language. That's really all we do with world-building anyway. We drop hints as to what the world looks, smells, feels, tastes, and sounds like. We can't possibly include everything. Besides, over centuries upon centuries, storytellers have learned that an audience's imagination will always be stronger than the author's of the story. Hint at things and the reader will fill in the rest.
When it comes to languages, all you really need to do is hint at the flow of the words. In most cases, that means you'll be dealing mostly with two senses and partly a third. The primary sense is sound. How do the words of your made-up language sound? Listen to the Klingon language. It's rough and harsh, filled with hard consonants and guttural noises. This fits their race perfectly. It wouldn't sound right if the brutal Klingons had a language that flowed like French.
The next sense is sight. A writer communicates with words, and most of the time, those words are read. So, a little care should be given to the way your new language looks on the page. For awhile, it was in writer vogue to use lots of apostrophes in names and languages. As in: K'larta said, "You are the chosen k'gla'tyu. We must all join the ch'hu in ten re't'oo for you to receive the magic w'w'a's'g's'a'wq." Like my last word in that quote, the usage got a bit out of hand and has mostly died away. It was popular though precisely because, visually, it hinted at a more complex and fantastical language.
The last sense to consider is the feel. Here I mean the literal feeling of the words on your tongue, teeth, throat, lips, and all other parts of your mouth. This one isn't as important unless the language is vital to the story beyond the world-building, but it can be fun and it can add another layer of texture to your world.
Just remember -- in all these cases, the key is to use the techniques sparingly. Hinting at things, giving just enough of a taste that the reader can make up the rest, will serve you infinitely more than all the cool descriptions you can think of.

Mel: I love Tolkien's languages and so glad he took the time to come up with them! Thanks, Stuart, for your time. Here is a look at Stuart's upcoming book, Available September 20, 2012:

Friday, September 14, 2012

'If I Were You' by Lisa Renee Jones...

Lisa Renee Jones is holding a contest on her blog for her new release, 'If I Were You'.

Here is the book cover and buy links:

Get it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Friday Favorites, Fantasy Art & A Funny...

It's Friday! And it's September.

I know, 'Thank you, Captain Obvious'! It's my job, I'm good at it.

So let's see what we have for you on this fine eve of the glorious Weekend...

Favorite Books/Authors:

I'm gonna go with creepy. It is getting close to Halloween after all. I think one of my favorite books that scared the pee outta me (aside from 'Pet Semetary') was 'Ghost Story' by Peter Straub. Excellent book! Gave me nightmares for weeks. 'Pet Semetary' surpassed that by far because I never could walk near a graveyard at night. Even when I lived by one. I never could understand how people could LIVE across the street from it...

But I digress!

I also liked when King and Straub teamed up to write 'The Talisman'. Another good book.

Favorite Movies:

If we're going creepy, I am going to pick out 'The Exorcist III'. Great movie made memorable by watching it with my brother. One of those days where the sibs (siblings) got to hang out and watch a scary movie at the cheap seats. If it is one thing I can count on my brother for, it is good movies. And music. And... hehe!

Favorite Music:

I admit, at one point in my life I listened to King Diamond. Creepy, scary stuff. I was just a heavy metal kind of girl. It was my preferred choice of music at a certain age. Everyone went through it. I don't think I would ever listen to his music today, but it was a favorite at one point.

Fantasy Art:

Thank goodness it wasn't one of those sparkly things. But I do like it.

And the Funny!

Heheee! Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sweet Treat, Sneak Peek!...

All right! I'm at the point where I am allowed to share snippets of my book with you all until it is released. And possibly even after to keep up interest, of course.

So I thought, hmm... what could I do to make this a bit more interesting? Well, since Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas are creeping up on us fast—Cookies!

I'm going to share a cookie recipe and a snippet. So you can make a sweet treat after I give you a sneak peek at my book.

Sound fair? All right, then, here we go!

I'm going to start with this recipe I found in the Better Homes and Gardens Ultimake Cookies and Bars magazine. I have yet to find another special interest issue like it.

I figure this would be a good cookie to pair up with my character Nightshadow. She's pretty spicy and she loves her blended herb cigarettes.

~Spicy Molasses Cookies~

1 3/4 Cups all purpose flour     1/2 Cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon     1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger     1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves     1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper     1/2 Cup softened butter
1/4 Cup shortening     1/3 Cup granulated sugar
1/3 Cup packed brown sugar     1 egg yolk
1/2 Cup dark molasses     1 teaspoon vanilla

In medium bowl, mix first 9 ingredients. In another bowl, beat butter and shortening for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add yolk, molasses, and vanilla. Beat until combined, then slowly add in flour mixture. Chill for one hour. Roll into 1 inch balls. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

And since you were so patient through that long list of ingredients, here is the snippet! Enjoy, both the cookies and the sneak peek:


Nightshadow sat up in her room inside the massive mansion Nikkolani had taken over when he first came to Moordigan. This home had been abandoned, overrun with vines and weeds, matching the state of the rest of the city when Nikkolani first arrived. He fixed it up to suit his tastes and used more of the king's coin rather than his own. When he built up his D'raetus Pastiniir, he rewarded his finest assassins handsomely and in different ways based on performance. Being the best at her profession gave her some perks, but it also gave her some heartaches. She worked up the courage to speak to Nikkolani at some length during the night about Farrehn, who now lay in the Healer's Guild because of her. The discussion had been very heated, so much so that she decided to wait to tell him about Sorcha and the agreement she had made.
Dressed in loose leggings and a tunic belted at the waist, Nightshadow now sat before the window, absentmindedly braiding her hair. When she reached the end, she tied it off and stood just as a soft knock landed on her door. She slowly crossed the room, not expecting anyone, and opened the door.
“Nikkolani would like to speak with you,” a young girl told her.
“I'll be down in a moment.”
“I'll let him know.” Nightshadow shut the door and went over to her bed to pull on her boots. As she left her room, she locked the door. Living with thieves, it would be a matter of moments before they picked the lock but she certainly was not going to make it easy for them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Post: Savannah Rayne ~ How Do You Measure Sucess?...

Hey everyone, I'd like you to give a big welcome to Savannah Rayne, author of 'Oh, Deer' and 'When It Leaves'.

Savannah Rayne:

I was once asked how I measured my successes. I guess I’ve never thought of things in that way. I mean, me successful…really? Then I gave it some thought…
So here it is, my story :)
In late 2010, I was offered the chance to work for Hellfire Publishing and in accepting that wonderful offer, I have come to wear quite a few hats. I am the Right Hand Demon (I love the sound of that so much better than being a plain old assistant, lol) to the Executive Editor and owner of HP. I also do some editing, but I am primarily the Senior Copy Editor. All of this keeps me busy and out of trouble!
Unlike most writers, I had never even thought about being a writer. Heck, it wasn’t even on my bucket list! But in January of 2011, an idea came to mind while talking with a friend, and we decided to see if we could turn those thoughts into a story. I co-authored a book and we submitted it for consideration to HP. I knew in my heart it was a really good story. I had never in all of my reading years, read anything like it. Hellfire Publishing agreed and we were offered a contract! I was super excited, and wanted to shout it from the roof tops, only to have that excitement end as quickly as it arrived. There was a conflict with the co-author and to make a devastating story short, the book was scrapped and never published. It also resulted in ending the friendship.
Hellfire Publishing told me that if I ever decided to write on my own, they would gladly give my work consideration. Again, my first thought was really? Not wanting to give up and to show that I did have the talent to be an author in my own right, I wrote my first story Oh, Deer. It was accepted and released in June, 2011. In November of 2011, my second eBook was published with Hellfire and is titled, When It Leaves. I guess some would say, I am now a success! I have several manuscripts in the works and all of these will be submitted to the place I will call home for all my writing—Hellfire Publishing.
I’m grateful that Hellfire Publishing encouraged me to write something on my own. I think the fact that they saw something in my writing skills and left the door open for me to walk through again if I so chose to, gave me the confidence, drive and desire to take the steps needed to reach the new personal goal I had set out to achieve. I was given a very, unexpected gift in finding out just how much I love and enjoy writing! I have always been an avid reader, but never did I think I could be a writer and tell stories that other people would enjoy reading. It goes to show life is full of surprises.
Had someone told me a few years ago that I would be a published author, I would have laughed. But having someone tell you that you’re good at something and sincerely mean it, followed with encouragement, can make all the difference in what you choose to do next. Try to remember that when you’re talking with people, friends or family. What you say and how you say it, may make a huge difference in the path of someone’s life.
I guess how one measures themselves as successful depends on the person. Up until now, I had thought I was successful at being a great Mom, raising two children that have grown up to be amazing, responsible adults. I’m also a great day care provider, as well as running a smooth, clean household. Now I’ve been blessed enough to add to that list, editor, copy editor, personal assistant and published author. I assume the list will keep growing…isn’t life wonderful?
Now, if I could only get over my fear of the dark and flying :)


Thanks, Savannah! Now before you go, everyone, check the link below.

'When It Leaves' is currently free on for a limited time! You've seen my review. Don't just take my word for it, this is a must read! Go here to get your free copy! Who doesn't love free?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Review: When It Leaves by Savannah Rayne...

Title: When It Leaves

Author: Savannah Rayne

Publisher: Hellfire Publishing, Inc.

Pages: 32 (Print), File size: 60 kb


Purchase: Amazon

Summary from Amazon:

Playing in the leaves is something all children do; twins Steven and K.C. are no different. One autumn evening, the five year olds ask to go out to play until dinner is ready. What happens that night will haunt Steven for the next twenty years
Now with a daughter of his own, Steven is left to struggle with the painful, guilt ridden choice of keeping his daughter safe or help the brother he lost, long ago, the one person Steven always thought he would do anything to have back.

This tale solidifies the old adage, “be careful what you wish for…”

My Thoughts:

Just a note, this is obviously a short story. Now that's out of the way, this was a good story! I'm a sucker for a good scare, and this was the perfect short story with the change in the air and knowing Halloween isn't far off.

The twin boys are typical. One is more dominant than the other and the taunting reminds me of my kids when they were that little. While not giving too much away, this story centers on something that takes one of the twins when they're five years old. Fast forward to twenty years later and you've got the remaining twin married, living in the same house and having nightmares every time the leaves begin to turn colors. He has a three year old daughter and when the anniversary of his twins' disappearance comes around, the dreams get worse. The elemental being (that's the only way I can describe what took the one twin) has become the twin and in order to free him, he demands that his brother sacrifice his own daughter.

On the creepy scale, this didn't give me nightmares or make me skirt blowing leaves, but in all fairness, it did creep me out. Like I said, it's an awesome story and one I would highly recommend now that Halloween is on the horizon. Strong writing, good flow, good characters developed quickly but not lingered on for a short story... I give it:

5 skull and crossbones.

Yay! I'm so happy to find good, well written books deserving of such reviews! Well done!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Visit Alex J. Cavanaugh...

Hey everyone! Our very own Ninja Captain, Insecure Writer's Support Group inspiration and founder has me guest posting on his blog today!

Very excited about this. So please stop on over and check it out. I'd be appreciative if you did and love you all the more for the support. Click that blog link. I'll see you there!

Book Review: Sweet Valley Confidential (Ten Years Later) by Francine Pascal...

Title: Sweet Valley Confidential (Ten Years Later)

Author: Francine Pascal

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Pages: 304 (Print), File size: 495 kb

Page Number Source ISBN 10: 0312667574  ASIN: B00457X82Q

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Summary from Amazon:

Now with this striking new adult novel from author and creator Francine Pascal, millions of devoted fans can finally return to the idyllic Sweet Valley, home of the phenomenally successful book series and franchise. Iconic and beloved identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are back and all grown up, dealing with the complicated adult world of love, careers, betrayal, and sisterhood.  WANT MORE SWEET VALLEY RIGHT NOW??  Become a fan of Sweet Valley Confidential on Facebook or Twitter.

My thoughts:
 **Spoiler Alert**Spoiler Alert**Spoiler Alert**

Be forewarned, lots of spoilers in this review!

In true Jessica Wakefield form, I have to say O. M. G.! I don't know how many of you used to read the Sweet Valley High books in school. I did and my husband gave me a strange look the other night when I confessed as such. I loved the books in high school. They were a quick, easy read and an escape from my own teenage angst at the time. I even picked one up for my daughter when she was in high school and she liked them well enough, but didn't fall into the series like I expected her to. But then again, she doesn't read much. But she did like them.

This book, Sweet Valley Confidential... I'm going to blatantly honest. It is NOT worth the money. I bought the Kindle version. Even though we're scraping right now, we do give ourselves a tiny allowance once in awhile so as not to feel completely cut off from having some kind of fun. Well, I bought this book and I want my money back.

Let me start with the characters. I think Ms. Pascal took all the character descriptions, threw them in a hat and just tagged one to whichever character she hit with a dart first. None of them were true to form. First, we have Elizabeth. While the old Elizabeth Wakefield was sweet and kind, this one seemed like a cardboard cut out, at least that was the personality she presented. Jessica took on the role of Elizabeth and Todd was background material. Winston was killed off, Lila remained Lila and Enid turned into Dr. Snob. Oh and Liz and Jessica's brother Steven? Gay. Some of the characters stayed the same, some seemed to grow and mature. But that isn't the half of it.

Now, just to be sure I am not hating on this because of all the radical changes, let me tell you how the story flowed... It jumped from point of view to point of view like a haphazard pogo stick. It went from being in the present from Liz's view to being the past from Jessica's view. It was all over the map. I got confused more than once. But having paid the amount of money I did for the Kindle version I was not going to discard it.

The other thing I didn't like were the expletives that seemed to be dropped in randomly to make the characters seem grown up. Didn't like it. I am all for using expletives in writing, but make it work with the sentence, don't drop it in like an afterthought. That and the sex. It felt as if all of the characters were still seventeen and playing grown-up. They were way out of their element. I don't know, I feel like this was just tossed out there to bring interest back to these beloved characters but now I feel more ashamed of them. Granted, they are not supposed to be like they were in the books of old. They're supposed to be grown up, mature and out in the real world. But I didn't even get a feel for any of that. The work of the twins and Todd was described, but briefly. It all focused so much on Todd and Jessica's betrayal and how Elizabeth felt, that there was no more room for anything else.

Yes, Todd and Jessica were getting married. They went behind Elizabeth's back. That was way out of left field and, while a great twist, just flopped. So, I hate to say it, but I am not even going to read the new e-series. It just seems like a clean up series for the convoluted mess of this book.

Sad, but I give this book two skull and crossbones. :(

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Favorites, Fantasy Art & A Funny...

Wow. It's September already! And I totally spaced the IWSG post. Doh! But I did post about my interview over at the Hellfire Herald.

Can I just say you guys rock! All the support I have, it's overwhelming at times and just makes me feel good. I had over 200 views in one day! That was freakin' awesome!! Thanks to all of you who dropped by.

Okay so on with the Friday fun.

Favorite Books/Authors:

I have to say, even though it has been awhile since I've read the book, I am going with Spellsinger by Alan Dean Foster. That was a good book! The whole series was good, but that first book was my favorite.

Favorite Movies:

I'm going with the Lethal Weapon series this time around. I used to like Mel Gibson. Especially in Braveheart and The Patriot. Lately it seems things are getting to him and he's not the same person he used to be. Mind you, we all change and grow, but sometimes we go in the opposite direction. Doesn't matter, I still love these movies!

Favorite Music:

Here's one for you. Squirrel Nut Zippers. If you like the Brian Setzer Orchestra or Cherry Poppin' Daddies, you'll like the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Hey, don't knock it 'til you try it!

Fantasy Art:

This was something shared on Facebook. Don't know about the whole copyright infringement on that end, but hey, we'll see.

And now for the funny!

Bahaha! Leave it to Snape to state the obvious. Lol! Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Living When...

I tapped into my stash of blog topics to get as many posts up as possible these days while I am working on my edits for my soon-to-be-released book! Adversarius, Shadow of the Rose: Book One is coming very, very soon. As of this moment, the first round of edits has been completed and waiting for round two.

But that isn't the topic of this post.

The topic I have at hand is this:

If you could live in a different time period, when would it be?

I'm sure you all know by now, I would pick the Middle Ages. Renaissance era. I'm a history buff. I love learning about the past of our world. Sometimes, I know more about other countries than I do my own. Sad, I know.

But why would I pick that era? Is it because of the plague? Pssh! No. Thanks, but ... no. The romance of the knight in shining armour? Hahahaha! Nope.

I don't know. I sometimes feel I was born into the wrong century, but that doesn't really explain it either. I'd like to say I would love to live in a simpler era, but it wasn't that simple. Struggling to make a meager living out of whatever land you owned or were allowed to live on. That is if you were a peasant. I'd make a good merchant, but I would not make a good Noblewoman. I know I could keep up with the gossip and chatter of Court, but how tiring would that be?

I suppose the draw to that era is: There was still so much to discover and learn about our world. There's lots to learn now, yes. But you either hop a plane or surf the web and you can find whatever it is you need. That's kind of cheating, if you ask me.

So how about you? What era would you choose? Why?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We Interrupt This Blog...

Hey everyone!

I am postponing my World Building posts today to give you the link over to the Hellfire Herald. This is the blog for Hellfire Publishing and today, they are interviewing...



So here is the link for you all. Drop by, please and comment. Here or there or both. I'd love it! 

First round of edits is done. Second is in the works. Soon I will have a release date and we'll be movin' on! I'm so super excited.

I've also decided, for the moment, to keep my website. I've updated it a bit to reflect what's been going on. I'm trying to work out some issues I am having with Blogger. I'd like to use Blogger as my website as well, but just getting a bit irritated with it. I suppose I just need to take an entire day and work with it. We'll see what I can do.

Alright, hope you are all having a good week! Don't forget to drop by and see my interview!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Review: Brood of Bones by A. E. Marling...

Title: Brood of Bones

Author: A. E. Marling

Publisher: Aether Publishing

Pages: 364 (Print), File size: 1,417 kb

Page Number Source ISBN 10: 0984022317 ISBN 13: 978-0984022311  ASIN: B005QQ3H7G

Purchase: Amazon

Summary from

One unexpected pregnancy is a drama; fifty thousand is citywide hysteria.

Cursed with endless drowsiness, Enchantress Hiresha sleeps more than she lives. Since she never has had a chance to raise a family, she sometimes feels like every woman is pregnant except for her.  This time, she is right.

From virgin to grandmother, all the women in her city have conceived.

A lurking sorcerer drains power from the unnatural pregnancies, and Hiresha must track him by his magic.  Unfortunately, her cultured education in enchantment ill equips her to understand his spellcraft, which is decidedly less than proper.  The only person uncivilized enough to help is the Lord of the Feast, a dangerous yet charming illusionist.  Associating with him may imperil Hiresha's city, yet refusing his help will allow the sorcerer to leech godlike power from the mass births.

My thoughts:

This is a well crafted, intellectual piece of High Fantasy. I feel that my review might clash with the intellect level with which it was written. A. E. Marling has created a very unique fantasy world, at least from my viewpoint, and well thought out characters.

Elder Enchantress Hiresha is a powerful magic user, but with many flaws. The largest being her inability to live in the waking world. She has been gifted twelve gowns and her station requires she wears them all. That alone would make me exhausted, but what causes her drowsiness is not the physical activity, but the magic.

The Lord of the Feast is a very interesting chap and I could see he and Hiresha marrying. (If he were not a damned being.) His cryptic humor as he aids the Elder Enchantress helped keep the story moving forward.

I really enjoyed this book. I can't give too many details without giving the entire story away, as much as I would like to prattle on about it. The world was well thought out, the characters were well rounded and flawed deeply. The story itself flowed well and progressed at a decent pace. Most stories you read where a lot of sleep is involved are usually boring, but Marling presents Hiresha's problem with wakefulness in an interesting manner without putting the reader to sleep as well.

Did I mention I LOVE the cover?

Very clean, well written, highly intellectual... I have to give it:

5 out of 5 skull and crossbones.