Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Insecure Writer's Support Group...

 Wow, the first Wednesday of December! 2022 is almost gone. And what a year it is/was!

Today's post is for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, or IWSG as we lovingly call it! Thanks to our Ninja Captain, Alex J Cavanaugh, who started this and it has exploded into something reliable, respectable and credible.

This month's question is:

It's holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on your writer goals?

For me, it depends. It used to be a time for me to fall behind on writing when I had a lot of family around. My kids and such. However, it's become a time for me to catch up since kids are out of the house, holidays are spent with family, but seems like after a few hours of good food, good fun and all that, we're back home and just doing whatever.

As I'm getting older and have an elderly parent in a care facility, I'm going to be spending time with them as often as possible. I've moved over Thanksgiving, but still spent time with family. I (hopefully) will be starting a new job. So that will limit me more than the holidays will, but I've managed it before, I can manage it again.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and hope you have more happy holidays ahead of you.

Don't forget to go visit the others on this blog hop!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Book Review: Beast Hunters, Book Two: Dark Sovreign

 Boy, for those of you who read book one, hand on tight! Book two is going to take you on a fun ride!

What it's about:

A mysterious corpse, beastly assassins, and a basement full of cadavers dissolving in acid lead the beast hunters towards an enigmatic candidate, favourite to claim the throne of Ashbourn.

Despite not wanting to get involved in the coming coronation, Ara and the two beast hunters cannot deny the beastly nature of the clues they discover. Ara must adopt fake personas, infiltrate political galas, and pursue shadowy assassins. Still, the candidate’s monstrous nature eludes her. With the future of Ashbourn at stake, Ara has to solve the mystery before the new king is crowned.

Strangely, Ara’s abilities from Cornstead seem connected with the incidents that transpire during their investigation. Whispers in her mind foretell of sinister events, which she slowly sees come to life. The venom that grants her powers, seems to intertwine her fate with the dark creature threatening to be crowned king.

The second book in The Beast Hunter of Ashbourn series, Dark Sovereign offers a grand conspiracy, building on the events from the first book. Can Ara escape her connection to the ominous entity manipulating the Capital?

My thoughts:

All right, so we still have our favorite Beast Hunters: Ara, Khendric and Topper. But we get introduced to quite a few more characters and one insane mystery! Christer Lende kept me guessing as to what was going on. Shapeshifter? Doppleganger? Vampire!? Nope, nope and NOPE.

You'll have to read it to find out! I have to say, one event in book one shocked me and I got so mad! I can't tell you, it'd be a spoiler! But things worked out. I wonder if you can guess.

In Book Two, I had a lot more shocks, none to get mad about, but boy! I honestly did not see those things coming, so. Just read it to find out and then we can share notes or something.

This second book is definitely a bit of a wild ride, head scratcher, breath taker kind of story and I love it. It's been a very long time since I was able to read a book that kept me guessing. I've read three now, in the past few months, so that's awesome! Two of those books are the Beast Hunters books.

My Rating:

Totally giving this 4.5 skull and crossbones out of 5! A must read, especially if you've read book one!

Monday, November 7, 2022

Book Review ~ Beast Hunters by Christer Lende...

 It has been a hot minute since I did a book review! But I definitely wanted to review this one. It's fantasy based with some modern elements, such as language and weapons. It might be a bit jarring to be reading about swords and armor and have a pistol mentioned, however, it isn't that jarring in the first of this series, so hang on for the review!

The Beast Hunters by Christer Lende


When a monster brutally kills her parents, Ara is saved by two beast hunters. Becoming their apprentice, she discovers serums, secret bestiary knowledge, and remarkable abilities-all to save unsuspecting souls from the same fate her parents suffered. But, terrifying creatures lurk everywhere and Ara must master the art of beast hunting quickly if she is to uncover the elusive beast plaguing the village of Cornstead.

My Review:

This is definitely fantasy. There are some modern elements, as stated above. In all honesty, the first reference to a gun was a bit jarring and made me think Steam Punk, but no, there are no elements to that.
Christer Lende has created a very interesting fantasy world. Full of unusual beasts, hence the name, it has much more to offer for a fantasy driven story.
His take on Dwarves is highly unique and very clever! I loved every aspect of it all. The beasts, they were the best.
Not to give away any spoilers, there is a book called "The Red Book", used by the Beast Hunters of the story. In it, there are descriptions of the beasts, what harms them, what to look out for, etc. At the end of the book, Christer Lende includes a little more detail about the beasts hunted in this book as well as some other peculiar things.
Again, not going to spoil it! However, it's a great read, especially with your own little "Red Book" at the end. It makes you feel like you could train to be a Beast Hunter in his world.

Ara, the MC of the story, is a great character! I feel like young adults would quickly relate to this girl. The two Beast Hunters, Khendric and Topper, area great duo and the perfect pair to help Ara adjust and train to become a Beast Hunter.

All in all, I do give this 4.5 Skull and Crossbones
There were a few minor errors, nothing that can't be fixed, otherwise it would have been a full 5! Well done!

If you click on the image above, it will take you to the Amazon purchase page.

If you'd like to follow Christer Lende, you can find him:

Twitter: @ChribsterL
This website contains all the social media links you could want, including a link to his podcast.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

NaNoWriMo 2022...

 It's the first Wednesday of the month of November! Not only is it National Novel Writing Month, it's IWSG!

This month's question:

November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

I have indeed participated in National Novel Writing month. I've been a member since 2008. This blog was started in 2009.

I started writing, probably in 2006 or so.

Anyway, I have participated a few times. I've won a couple times and other times, I almost made it but not quite.

No big!

I do like to have buddies and I also get on to Twitter to help cheer on anyone else doing NaNoWriMo. Even if I am not participating.

So far, I've earned two badges this month. Hopefully more by the time you read this. I have a story going that is completely different from anything I have ever written in my life.

It's contemporary. No romance, just a sweet mainstream story. No monsters, no supernatural beings.

If this becomes a best seller someday, I'll give myself a swift kick to the backside, LOL!

I hope, if you are participating, you hit the goal! If you'd like to be buddies, look for Caledonia Lass. That's me!

Good luck everyone and happy writing!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

In Place Of...

 It's Wednesday!

I should have a podcast up this week, but my editor got sick, too. So in place of my podcast, I figured I would do a blog post.

This is the last week of October and we're gearing up for National Novel Writing Month! Yes, you too! We don't do this alone, you know that. Like I said in last week's podcast: A whole month dedicated to the madness and chaos that we call writing.

I've got things set and as predicted in my podcast, I am changing my story. Ha! I knew I would.

It'll be a fun month. I've been working hard on getting stuff done, scheduled and up out of the way so I can concentrate not just on NaNoWriMo. No, no, no, your girl can't just do one thing. Nope. I have to move in the middle of the month, too. I mean seriously, did you really think I'd be focused on a single task?

Psh, foolish mortal. ::cackles::

The best thing about this move... it's into my very own house! We have bought a place. Finally! After many long years of being renters, we've bought a house. I'm so excited to get in there, get settled and save up a little money to start remodeling. Lots and lots of plans!

I will have my own studio, hubs will have his own office. It's perfect. Don't have to worry about paying for mystery damage or getting yelled at for putting a nail in the wall. It's going to be such a huge deal and a welcome adventure.

Hopefully I will have stuff ready to go by Thanksgiving! Keep your fingers crossed.

Are you ready for NaNoWriMo? Add me as a buddy! Find me here.

Monday, October 24, 2022

New Post, New Look...

 It has been a seriously crazy week.

Tested positive for Covid on October 17th, and just now getting back on my feet. My husband and I both were sick, and quarantined. We did good. I slept for 3 days and had weird fever dreams.

Two things I remember...

One, I wondered, if the entire world all stopped/woke up at the exact same time and chanted "Oooohmmmm" for 30 seconds, what would happen?

I sort of imagined a worldwide cleansing much like putting some dirty jewelry into the ultrasonic thing and just watch it fly off into the universe.

The second thing, I had a story sitting in my computer for years. Just a sweet, simple, contemporary thing, nothing fancy. No horror, no weirdness. I plotted that sucker out.

While blearily leaning over my phone and using the speech to text ... 

Yeah. Are you as confused as I am?

Okay. Good.

Once I started feeling better, I really did a harsh self-reassessment. So I got my happy arse to work.

And now I have some nice changes and stuff. Lot more in depth and more focused. I feel like I've spent the last few years being a sloppy writer/blogger.

Well. That's done. So, enjoy and check out links, give things a listen, or a watch if you prefer, and share!

Because you are all awesome for sticking with me for so long. You're the best.

Let me know what you think of things in the comments below. I also have a new page on Facebook, and that's where I'll primarily hang out over there. Otherwise, I'll be on Twitter.

Have a good week!

Monday, October 10, 2022

Updates and Things...

 Hey everyone! Just a short post to update everyone on things around here.

After such a long hiatus with my writing, I have decided to upload chapters to Kindle Vella. Why? Well, for one, it is forcing me to get my stories edited and out there. If I release a chapter a week, it gives me lots of time to prep the next chapter, edit and so forth to get it out there for the world. I'm literally forcing myself to get stuff done! It's a win/win at the moment.

I've also launched my first podcast episode. Going forward, I will be doing author and editor interviews. I'm hoping to add agent interviews to that.

Round table discussions with authors is another feature of my podcast. I also do solo stuff. Q & A being one, and writing tips for another. I've had so much fun doing this podcast already! I have a few done and waiting to upload and now I will just keep plugging along!

I've decided to do ebook formatting for $20 and simple book covers for $20 as long as you have paid for the stock images. If I have to pay, the price will increase and I'm trying to help any indie authors out there get stuff done.

I feel very good about the direction I am taking with these projects. I feel at peace and I'm not so stressed about writing or editing. By doing the Kindle Vella stories, once they're complete, I can format into a book and it's done. Again, win/win!

I have lots of writing projects sitting in the wings. This definitely helps me break it all down into smaller chunks of time so I can still concentrate on my family and elderly parent. Such a relief! Really.

I live in a small town and a couple years ago, they opened up an art center, Painted Sky Center for the Arts. People who are crafty or artistic can teach classes, and you guessed it! I'll be doing a beginning drawing class once a week. Later on, I can include more things if it gets popular. Things like beginning watercolor, making your own paper, upcycling crafts and much more. All the classes are only an hour to an hour and a half, so it isn't like I will be giving up so much time away from my writing projects. I do a lot of my recording in the morning when my husband is at work and the house is quiet.

I craft at night and do cross-stitch during the days when I don't have much to do on the computer, until I lose the natural light. So I think I have my time managed pretty well. If things get squirrely, I can always say no to my outside of the house projects.

That's it for me! Please take a look at my links and help me spread the love!

Wednesday, October 5, 2022


 Hey! It's the first Wednesday of the month and that means, it's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop!

Woo, guys, it's been a crazy month already! Lots of things happening for me in the writing world.

I've decided to do e-book formatting, simple book covers, and my writing podcast launches today! I've also got a couple stories being released as serial episodes on Kindle Vella!

But today is also about IWSG. On my podcast, you'll hear my answer from this blog in audio form, but to be in compliance, you'll get it here, as well.

So this month's question:

What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

So, okay, I have more than one favorite genre. I'll start with fantasy. I love so many characteristics of fantasy. I love the freedom to create basically whatever I want. Characters, kingdoms, races, religions and hierarchies. I don't think there's anything about fantasy I don't love.

My other favorite is horror. I mean, where else can you get away with a murderous rampage, if not in the horror genre? I get asked a lot why I like horror so much and I'll be honest, I have been through some crap in my life. Crap that makes it so I'm not scared of much anymore. Horror is an outlet for me. A way to look at it and say, "What the hell are you doing?"

A lot of horror fans feel the same. A lot of them have been through some darkness and to us, horror is the light. We know it can happen because truth is stranger than fiction. It's an escape, because a lot of it, frankly, is laughable.

All right guys, that's it for this post! Go check out what other people wrote by going here:

Monday, September 19, 2022

Expected Release Date For Podcast...

 Hey all! OMG am I excited about launching this writing podcast! I cannot begin to tell you. 

Well, I can. 

And I will.

I may even be more excited than him!

So my writing podcast will not only be audio, but I am going to brave the world and record myself doing the podcast. There will be lots of opportunity to see/hear it as it will be up on YouTube.

I will announce some things during the first episode, where you're kind of getting to know me. I'll BE HONEST! I tend to swear. A lot. But I am going to tone it down and maybe have my editor put in a suitable beep.

I am looking to launch October 5, 2022, barring there are no earth shattering shenanigans going on, or in my case, real life issues.

Now, with that being said and something DOES happen, well, I'll just release on Dia de los Muertos. The Day of the Dead. {Insert dramatic music and maniacal laughter} Ahem. I love the word Muertos.

I'll still be looking out for authors, editors, agents or voice actors who would like to be interviewed or join round table discussions via Discord. (Once a date is set, you will be invited.)

You now have several ways to get a hold of me to let me know:

Email me HERE.

Find me on Twitter, either my username MelMcC7 or with the hashtag #CaledoniaLass

You can leave a comment here on this page, I will see it.

Or you can just yell into the void and my demon minions will come chitter your name in my ear.

Please leave a comment or share this post. Link will be on Twitter!

Friday, September 16, 2022

Writing Podcast ~ Coming Soon...

 I'm getting very excited about  my writing podcast!!

I would love for you to contact me if you are interested in any of the following:

Author Interview

Roundtable Discussion

Editor Interview

Agent Interview

Audiobook Narrators/Voice Actors

These are just a few things you'll find in my podcast. In between, it will be just little ol' me chatting away about character creation and development, world building, genres, and more.

If you have any ideas for topics, I am more than open to suggestions. Discussion for the roundtable episodes will include things like book banning, cancel culture, why certain genres get a good or bad rap.

I was going to do one of my stories, chapter by chapter, however, the story I had planned out for this changed direction (my characters are divas!), and isn't ready quite yet. So perhaps that will be something to add in later on if there's any interest.

I would love to get some feedback from you, or please contact me about topics or about being interviewed. For now, you can direct message me on Twitter @MelMcC7 or comment here. I will be setting up a web page and email specific to the podcast as soon as possible. Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Bucket List...

 I've been seriously thinking lately about a bucket list. I guess I've hit that age, but to be honest, I've been putting things on my list for some time now. I suppose, as we age, it tends to become more and more important, because, let's face it, we're not going to reverse the aging process, nor are we going to live forever.

I do not want to be immortal. Immortalized, yes. But I don't want to live forever and watch family and friends come and go.

A lot of authors will have a bucket list for their writing. Things like, publish first book. Check. Become a best-seller. Check. Do book signings. Check.

You get the idea. Sometimes, I feel, your personal bucket list would help you with your other types of bucket lists.

For example, my personal life list includes the following:

Visiting Lake MacDonald in Montana. The one with the clear blue glacier water and all the stunning rainbow pebbles. This would help me in my writing, just by trying to detail this impressive are by using all my senses.

Visiting each state and their tourist landmarks. First of all, I could get a pretty good idea of community in each state. Seeing the sights would help in writing about different places. And who doesn't want to see the world's largest ball of string?

Shark cage. Yes, I said it. Shark cage. Oh. My. Goodness. If I am brave enough to get my happy backside into a shark cage, I am brave enough to do anything! What and experience that would be! I'd be at  my book signing telling everyone how I went into a shark cage. And I want to boop the nose of the closest shark!

Researching other counties and cultures can be fun, but it would be even better to sit and talk to native people about their customs and their folklore. Hmm... can I get a grant for that?

So far, that's about all I have. The traveling about would take up a lot of time, but I would do it and be happy. I have other things, like snorkeling, seeing the redwoods and such. But the ones I feel would help me navigate my writing bucket list are the ones you've just read.

So what would be on your author bucket list? Or even just your bucket list? Leave me a comment or find me on Twitter @MelMcC7

Monday, September 12, 2022

Prepping For Take-Off...

 I'll be working in my new "studio" hopefully by next week! I can't wait to get started. I've got my microphone, I've got my sound-proofing and all sorts of cool stuff.

I'll be doing a roll-call for authors who would like to be interviewed and/or join a round table discussion on writing. I also have a discord channel I can invite people to for brainstorming sessions.

When I look at what is ahead of me, I'm so excited. I'm also nervous and overwhelmed, but I know that once I get rolling, things will work out just fine.

I'll be recording several podcasts and get them ready to go before releasing them, that way I have backups on bad weeks. But I will definitely be on a good schedule.

So for some feedback, what do you think is a good time length for interviews of authors? What about the round table discussions? I have a lot planned already, but looking to see what amount of time you'd give to something like this. 

I would also like to bring in some editors and such, maybe get good tips and information from them. Possibly agents as well. We'll see how things go.

Thanks for being a part of my blog and giving feedback. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Project Information...

 My last post consisted of a list of sorts of upcoming projects. I figured the one I'm most excited about, I can give more details.

It'll be the Writing Podcast, name is yet to be determined. I had plans of reading a chapter at a time of a current story, but then those characters, AKA *DIVAS*, decided to turn the tides on me and now I have to go back and re-work things. Eventually, it will be a thing.

Everything else will be discussed. Things such as: 

Introduction: First episode, obviously, will be introducing myself, my writing, etc.

I'll discuss world building, character creation, plotting or pantsing, and things of that nature. After that, I have a list of things from Cancel Culture to benefits of a writing schedule, and book bannings.

Once a month, I will feature an author interview. Also once a month, I will have an open invitation to authors to discuss some of these topics as well in a roundtable discussion.

I will gladly take topic requests and interviews will be done first come, first served.

I know there are a lot of podcasts out there, and I know I'm going to have to learn a LOT of things. But this is something I have been passionate about for a long time.

I plan on having a channel on my Discord for authors to utilize and brainstorm, discuss things, etc. It'd be pretty fun to do an unplanned, unedited discussion with people, buuuut that might get a little crazy!

We'll have to stick to the format. *sighs*

I will be using my personal Twitter account for updates and scheduled posts. I may even get so bold as to record these sessions and put up on YouTube. We'll see. Ha!

You can private message me on Twitter and on Facebook. I will be setting up an email address specifically for this project for people to contact me.

What are your thoughts about podcasts? Leave me a comment! 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Upcoming Projects...

 I think I have a list a mile long of projects I want to do. All while looking for work again. Woohoo! Good times.

Okay, so one thing I will be doing is a podcast for writing. It will include the following:

Author Interviews. I'll be asking people to sign up in about a week or so. I have several things to complete before going on to this.

I'll also be inviting authors to a Writing Roundtable, where we'll be discussing, well, writing topics. I have several topics ready to go and will share them, again, when I'm ready to get going.

I'll also be reading my story, "Walk the Night" a chapter at a time on this podcast. Once it's complete, it will be published in book and e-book form.

That's one project and I'm happy to take topic suggestions. 

My second project is going to be another podcast, but nothing writing related. But I'll be sure to share once it gets going.

I also have crafting to do to prepare for a Christmas Bazaar in November. That's easy peasy, though. I can craft like no other!

I'm still editing "Blood of My Sisters" as well as continuing work on all my other WIPs.

If you're interested in the Writing Podcast, by all means, leave a comment, message me on Twitter or track me down using bloodhounds. There's so many ways to communicate. Drop me a message! I look forward to hearing from you!

Have a wonderful Monday and we'll see you soon!

Friday, July 22, 2022

A Bit Of A Teaser...

 Last week, and then on Monday, I was blogging about my world and some of the things in it. The folklore creatures, the supernatural creatures, etc.

Today, I'd like to share with you the overall premise of my world. The prologue of sorts.

Beginning of The Dagrún: 

As at the beginning of all things, the Dagrún appeared out of “thin air”. Meaning they came into existence much like everything else that is part of the “big bang” theory. The energy the Earth generates is more than enough to create anything; tangible or intangible. This energy is purely neutral until through thought, want or need, something is created. Many paranormal and supernatural beings came to be in this manner.  They were regarded as magical, mysterious creatures. Some, as monsters; even others, as gods.  

The name, Dagrún, came from Old Norse, meaning “secret” or “secret knowledge”. What their name was before that, no one recalls. As time continued and other religions sprang forth, these creatures, even human ones with minor magical powers, became monsters. All were considered pure evil, sent to destroy the humans at the whim of a “fallen angel”. They all became connected to Lucifer. Lucifer, (who had not emerged until after the Dagrún) had come into existence like the rest of them: out of need, fear and energy. 

The more humanity evolved, the further the Dagrún retreated into the shadows. Their stories became nothing more than pages in forgotten books and fireside stories to coerce young children to behave.  

As technology improves, their days of hiding in plain sight are coming to an end. The majority of the Dagrún have chosen to sequester themselves in warded pockets around the world. Others have taken to blending in as much as possible, influencing from within. 

So, there we have it. I hope you enjoyed this little bit!

Monday, July 18, 2022

Defining My Paranormal World...

 Like many authors out there, I want to tell you about my book. I want to gain interest in it, build a platform of readers and all that fun stuff.

I also want to talk about some of the things I have learned in all these years. I know I am not the only author out there who looks at past books and cringes.



All right, fine. First, let's start with NOT putting the cart before the horse.

I had someone open up my eyes a lot when I first got involved in a group that was going to put out some really cool material. Problem was, it was all backwards.

Like anyone else might, I defended what we were doing, didn't think the way we were going was particularly bad or wrong, just different. But it stuck with me.

First of all, there were several authors writing off of one world. I was in charge of finding those authors, getting their submissions, seeing if they were a good fit for the project.

*I* thought a lot of it was DAMN good. But when you are part of a creative team, everyone has to agree, blah, blah, blah. We had to hammer out details.

But what is it that we did wrong? Well, this would be a series of stories by different authors, written off the same world. Think of it as a group of writers for a television series. What is the first thing you have to have?

A Series Bible. Go look it up if you want, but it's basically just a trove of information about characters. Supernatural creatures and what they do. Where the story should begin and where it should go.

This is no small task, especially if you are a seriously impatient writer. Writers just want to get going, they don't want to have to deal with the small stuff unless they're serious plotters.

In my series bible, I have everything I need or even might need down the road. If I don't use something right now, doesn't mean I won't use it later. But I have descriptions of everything.

The one thing I had to put in there and now have to describe to my readers is the difference between a Book Witch and a Blood Witch.

In my world, a Book Witch is one who gets her magical ability from studying magical books. Grimoires, Book of Shadows, ancient texts and scrolls. Books handed down in the family, or gifted to the person, but not books you buy in Barnes and Noble. 

Book Witches also have to use their own blood in some of their spells, because magic just doesn't flow through their veins like a Blood Witch. It's a sort of personal sacrifice. However, it doesn't mean that a Book Witch can't learn other ways to be powerful and not have to carry a cache of supplies with them wherever they go.

Blood Witches, I think is a pretty accurate title already. Witches who are born into strong magical families and their gifts are inherited through the bloodline. They don't need to prick a finger, or spit into a bubbling cauldron. They manifest their spells from the magic in their veins.

Now, of course, any Blood Witch will turn their nose up at a Book Witch, as they feel far superior and that causes societal rifts, much like those with money and those without. But it is a rift that needs to be in place so that Book Witches can strive to be better, stronger and maybe overpower a Blood Witch. Who knows?

Out of everything that I write in this world, I think that is the only thing that needs better definition than I can describe in my books. However, I've been told that, no, I get my point across well. If anything, this post can serve as the answer to any heated debate that may arise. 

I wish. How awesome would that be?

Let me know what you think, in the comments below. Or, find me on Twitter: @MelMcC7 and let's discuss!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Looking At Folklore Creatures...

 All right, so I've been posting about my paranormal world building and giving out little details here and there. I have yet to get into some of these ancient folklore beings. Now, I can be a very paranoid writer, I like to hold my ideas close to the chest until I get my work put out there. So, I won't be telling anyone which ones I'm using.

I certainly won't stop you from integrating them into your work, by all means. We all have different views on these sorts of creatures and folklore. If I get something wrong, I fully expect to be corrected.

Without further ado, let's get into a few. If these inspire you to write about them, perfect! The more the merrier. Our stories and history, our cultures, should not be forgotten or erased.

So first of all, I'd like to start out with Shapeshifters and Animagus.

ANIMAGUS Animagus are shapeshifters who can shift into almost any animal form. The only known “side-effect” is through canine blood when an Animagus who can shift into any canine form sires a child, that child has a chance of becoming a Werewolf. Any other Animagus animal forms do not seem to have that ability. 

SHAPESHIFTERS - Shapeshifters are people who can shift into any other living organism shape, be it animal or human. They cannot take on the true shape of any other paranormal/supernatural creature or being. If they attempt to shift into a Werewolf form, there will always be something odd, like a missing tail, no fur, etc. Same with a Witch or Vampire, something about them will be off or missing.

Now, mind you, these are not the actual definitions. Please don't fill my comment section with nerd rage or anything. I wrote these as a way to differentiate the two and to give them faults and flaws so they're not perfect.

Most of my stories are about these beings hiding in plain sight, but with all of the technology today, it's getting more and more difficult. Humans, however, should be able to see unusual stuff, even more unusual than what they're looking at, which is why I add in the faults and flaws.

CADEJO - These dog-like creatures come from Central American folklore. There are black and white. The White Cadejo protects travelers on their nighttime journey, the Black Cadejo will just kill them.

So as with any type of being, you have your balance of good and bad. At least in this case of the Cadejo, you can actually tell what side they're on.

BTSAN - The Btsan are Tibetan sky spirits. They look like hunters riding red horses. Perhaps in this day and age, they might drive red cars or motorcycles. It would be interesting to see what people come up with.

HONGAEK – Korean for “Red Disaster”. A red cloud of fear and confusion that materializes at the scene of suicide, murder, catastrophic/fatal events that bring people bad luck. 

With everything going on in the world today, we don't need any more bad luck, but what can we do. How would you battle something like that?

All right, that's it for now. I hope maybe this sparks some ideas for you. Let me know what you like in the comments.

What creatures and beings are in your folklore? Did I get these right? Drop a comment or find me on Twitter @MelMcC7.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Paranormal/Supernatural World Building...

 You know, the world building aspect of fantasy was easy. There was so much I could just make up in my head and go with it. That's why I like Sci-Fi/Fantasy. As long as it is believable, the sky's the limit.

With paranormal creatures and horror, all the folklore that goes into it is very basic, mainstream knowledge, so there isn't much work to do, so you can focus on the story.

Or can you?

The thing about writing anything supernatural, whether it be witches, werewolves or otherwise, you're going to have a LOT of people out there either just waiting to point out mistakes OR looking for something new.

Now, I am going to say this right now, I am not, nor will I ever, judge anyone who writes romance or erotica. I personally do not like to read erotica, at all. Romance, well, I will give it a try IF IT HAS A GOOD STORY.

For instance, and shoot me if you must, Nora Roberts. That cookie cutter writer has it in the bag. Granted, most romance I read, I skip the "smoochy" parts and move on with the story. I have several of Nora Roberts books and at one point I liked Amanda Quick, but after a while, the plots seemed too similar.

Anyway, my point is, paranormal and supernatural creatures have become great fodder for the romance world. Even in Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, Angel was a vampire trying to regain his humanity and loved Buffy.

But this is my thing with that, and it honestly may be JUST me. Vampires are undead. They've been turned into these wrecking machines. They're ruthless, bestial killers. They HAVE to drink blood in order to survive. They can keep humans as food, pets, bodyguards or just kill them outright, but the love of the hunt drives them to torture, sometimes.

Werewolves, same thing. They aren't fluffy little puppies running around. They actually have to deal with what they feel is a curse. Kind of like women around "that time of the month". Ha!

Witches. Not all are bad, some are good. It's not the magic of the witch that makes them good or bad, it's the person wielding the magic. And there are LOTS of different types of witches.

Angels and demons... well, angels can fall, demons cannot regain their humanity. At least in my mind.

But there is so much more to paranormal worlds than just these guys. These guys go in and out of style, but horror and paranormal hangs on like a fat leech.

If you dig into other cultures and look at their folklore, and not just what is in Wikipedia, you can find some pretty cool stuff. If you have to, ask people you know in other countries what beasties they have in their cultural background and write about it! There are some VERY interesting stories to be told with these beings.

In your world, make it different, make it unique. If you like fluffy werewolves and angsty vampires, then write about them and I won't judge. I promise.

What are your thoughts on the supernatural/paranormal creatures? What can you think of to make them different or interesting? Please drop a comment and let's discuss! Or, find me on Twitter @MelMcC7 and we can discuss it there.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Getting Into My World...

 When I wrote fantasy (and still do from time to time) I created a whole world. I have a map that takes up an entire bedroom wall (depending on the bedroom size) and everything I created was my own imagination. But I had a background to work from that inspired me.

I played an online text based MMORPG called "COSRIN". Looking back, I played that game from the beginning, when I started working for America Online. (I KNOW!? RIGHT!?)

I won't tell you when that started. Just know I'm dawn of the internet old.

I had characters from that game, names changed of course, because I couldn't use 'Treebeard' without getting smacked down from copyrights. But the story was my own. I did keep the background story of most of the other characters I used, with permission. The rest was all me.

Now that I've shifted from fantasy to paranormal/horror, My stories are still my own, but of course I have a plethora of supernatural creatures to build from.

Fair warning: my vampires DO NOT sparkle. My werewolves aren't cute fluffy puppies. My witches can be ruthless. And there are definitely demons and angels.

But what else does this new world, these new stories contain? Real life moments. Real life issues. I wrote a scene where my MC was being bullied and I had a beta reader stop and put the story down because it triggered them. That definitely was NOT my intent or purpose. But, I was also pulling from real life experience.

I definitely have some real life experiences to write about. They say, write what you know, and I do. I also think it's important to include other things that go on in this world that people don't like to talk about.

The problem with not talking about these things? They get swept under the carpet, nothing gets done and people continue to walk around like everything is rainbows and unicorn poo.

My vampires are the ruthless, soulless killers they're supposed to be. They are part of our folklore, as are werewolves and fairies, along with witches and goblins. If you dig deep enough into any culture, they all have their own mythological creatures. Some benevolent and some... not so much.

Cancel culture is going to have fun with me. Bring it on.

I'll also be including a lot of history later on down the line, because a lot of the beings can be immortal and have seen some shit (pardon the language) and it will have affected them as much as anyone else, if not more and in different ways.

I'm sure people are saying that all this supernatural/paranormal/horror is over done, but I have to disagree. Horror and paranormal have been around and don't go in and out of style like other genres. I will say that the creatures definitely do wobble in and out quite a bit, or are overdone. It just takes a different perspective, like... sparkling.

So what do you include in your writing worlds? Do you show up with some real life issues or do you try to make them light? Do you avoid certain subjects like the plague or embrace them? Let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear what you have to say.

You can also find me on Twitter @MelMcC7 and we can discuss it there, as well,.

Friday, July 8, 2022


 Continuity...what a wonderful little word, but sooooo difficult to do. 

I have a light at the end of my tunnel and it isn't a train, thank goodness. So maybe I will be able to practice continuity more.

My problem is, way too many ideas and not enough time or even energy sometimes, to keep going. I get overwhelmed. I do it to myself, naturally. I have to stop and think about what is more important? Getting all of these little ankle-biting projects done, or laundry? Or dishes, or whatever is hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles.

But then I have to stop and remind myself, you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.

So, my almost finished, rebranded story, Blood of My Sisters, is looking good. I was dedicated to it and plugging along when, out of nowhere like a pop fly ball, Walk the Night shot into my brain and demanded attention.

All because of a Tweet I saw from an agent's MSWL (Manuscript Wishlist). Not that I'm looking for an agent yet, but still.

At first, it was just going to be a short series of stories, until I finally figured out where I was going with the story. Then it became a full-blown WIP.

But, I have enough of it out of my head to continue on with BoMS. It also helps that I now belong to a real life writing group and man! The discussions are amazing, the help and support is just wonderful. 

I was so scared at first, thinking, what the hell do I have to offer to these people? They're going to think I'm some kind of flaky weirdo. Well, I can be. I am. But that's beside the point.

One of our meetings, two of the ladies who started the group were discussing their WIPs and how they were so afraid of not getting the setting right. One writes westerns, the other writes historical books. They were so anxious about it and it really put them in a state of panic and imposter syndrome. They each read a part of their stories where they felt it needed help.

By the end of it all, I looked at both of them, jaw slightly dropped. I told them, their writing styles and their author voices put me right in the scene without knowing anything else about these stories, never having heard any of their previous works before.

They were spot on. The western story was very emotional and I could picture every detail. The characters weren't overly descripted, which allowed me to put my own face to the character. Same with the historical story. I could easily tell that those period details were damn near perfect.

I said as much. I told them, even if they didn't get a certain detail right, yes, they would hear about it, but I don't think they'll get much flack for what they wrote. It was a wonderful, supportive writing moment. 

One of them is to blame for telling me to work on Walk the Night! Ha! It was great fun. So, that in itself is helping me get back to my writing and blogging habit. 

How do you get back into your writing after a long pause? I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

July IWSG Post...

 Wow, July already? That's just incredible. Time seems to move faster the older you get. It'd be nice if it would slow down just an eensy, teensy little bit. Right?

Oh, well.

Let's get to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question!

If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

This is a difficult question for me. There are many, many book worlds I would love to live in, but I think I wouldn't survive most of them! 

If I had to choose, it'd be a tough call between the Harry Potter world or Middle Earth.

In Harry's world, I would hopefully have magic, and not be a Muggle. Because, let's face it, that would suck. Living in a magical world and you're still mundane. That would be more like a torture. But, we're assuming that whatever world we choose, we'd get the gifts of the characters. And magic would be so fun! My house would be spotless as I learn from Mrs. Weasley, all the magical ways of cleaning. I'd have a penseive for those most important, special memories. I hope my Patronus would be a wolf, or even a cat. Ooh! A llama!

If I chose Tolkien's world, it would probably be a pretty dangerous place for a while. But I would love to be either an Elf or Hobbit. Hobbits seem to have a pretty quiet life, full of laughter and friendship. The Elves are respected and quite snobbish at times, but they're elegant and graceful. I'd be the only clumsy Elf alive! So, I think I would choose a nice quiet life of a Hobbit.

It would be a very difficult decision. I have so many other book worlds I would love to live in, such as The Little House on the Prairie book world. Or even the world of David Eddings, the Mallorean world. There's also the world of The Dragon Prince, by Melanie Rawn. It's a magical world with dragons and so many places to go.

Okay, final decision, I choose Middle Earth. I need some furry feet.

Thanks for dropping by and reading my post! Don't forget to hop on over to everyone else's post and at least leave a quick comment! Happy Hopping!

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

I'm Done With Adulting...

 I know I don't post as often as I should on my blog. It has been difficult to get back into it, mainly due to my personal life.

These days, I don't get into my writing much, but I now belong to a local writing group and it has been helping me a lot. I actually enjoy editing my stuff. I know it's okay to keep working on other stories when the urge arises. I do have a goal of getting my work back out there into the world, however, I continuously have to push back that goal due to life.

I miss writing so much! I miss blogging and being interactive here on the internet. I have the support and digital friendships with some amazing people!

Lately, though, all I can think about is getting through each day, politics, and the ultimate goal of any adult out there: What to make for dinner!

Seriously, though. I know I post more about not posting and everything than I do about writing stuff.

So let's change that a bit.

I'm currently working on rebranding myself, I'm sure I have mentioned that quite a bit. If I haven't: Hey! I'm rebranding myself!

I've been working on several different stories. First and foremost, is to edit and tidy up Blood of My Sisters. That was written for a specific group, but as I hold the rights to my work, I'm allowed to change and keep it, make it my own. So I did just that. I created my own paranormal/supernatural world.

So, after Blood of My Sisters, I have Walk the Night; a book about a teenage, runaway witch trying to survive on the streets selling her hexes and potions to the local sex workers who keep an eye on her.

Then I have Nowhere, Arizona. This is about a woman who is fleeing from her abusive husband, whom she doesn't know is a werewolf. She arrives in a small, magical sanctuary town and begins her life as the local Vet, not knowing her husband is tracking her down.

Next, we have my demonic circus story, creepy clowns and all. That is so very close to being done! I'm excited to get it out there.

Those titles listed above are all either single stories or a series. I have several short stories waiting in the wings as well, all sort of connected to this world I have created.

So what are you currently working on? Writing? Real life? Feel free to vent below in the comments! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

IWSG June Blogpost...

 That's right! It's the first Wednesday of the month and that means it's time for THE BIGGEST, and THE BEST bloghop for authors at any level!

This is the Insecure Writer's Support Group, and if you have not heard of it by now, you must be living in a shoebox.

Every month, the IWSG asks a question of the writing community and we either respond to that question or ask our own. Sometimes we offer up advice or just detail where we are in our writing journey.

This month's question is a doozy!! Ready? Here we go:

When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? If have not started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?

Well, I can absolutely relate to both of these questions. I am currently stuck in the first. I have a story I started for NaNoWriMo and didn't finish, but it's very close to being done. But I hit a snag near the end. The story went in a different direction than I had actually plotted out!! I know, I know... I'm a pantser, I should have expected this, but it threw me. It really did. I didn't have an alternate ending planned out or even thought to have one. I was so thrown by this, I haven't looked at my MS since December.

It didn't help that I was trying to find a new place to live and was surrounded by packed boxes and a huge mess. But I do contribute all that to not being able to work at my issue.

I need a somewhat calm environment to write. I'll listen to music, I'll read through the story and try to find some loose ends to gather up and tie together to get to the end of the story. It's worked in the past, but not this time. I'll have to try again, soon, to finish the story and get it ready for the world.

For the second question... man, that is a tough one. Sometimes the story is still forming in the back of my mind. I will jot down notes, or try to remember them... (HA!) and once I feel I have a good beginning and ending, I'll get my BIC (Butt In Chair) and get moving. But even then, I'll get blocked and not really know how to start. That's when I go looking for some artwork that matches the story in my head and start writing some flash fiction about it. Sometimes, that's all I need to get moving. Other times, not so much.

There is all sorts of advice out there on how to get moving and get past the blocks of starting or even how to push through to the end if it gets tough writing, but everyone is different. Everyone will find their own way to get in the groove. And sometimes, it just means writing to the end to hit that finish line and clean it all up in editing. You'll find your clues within your story when you go back to it.

That's it for another month! Make sure to visit the IWSG page and hop over to all the participants and see what sort of advice suits you! Just click the picture below:

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Writing Challenge: Sit Outside...

 I went out to my side yard today. The temperature is warm, mild. A slight breeze caressed my cheek and ruffled my hair.

I stood next to the two cherry trees, both in full bloom. Their flowers were white, their buds were pink like the rosy cheek of a baby. Bees buzzed around the blossoms, paying me no mind as they worked to collect the pollen to bring back to the hive.

The grass has grown tall in my yard; tall and green. The tops waved in the gentle breeze, making a soothing shush sound as the wind passed over and through.

Across the street, cows graze lazily. The grass short and green. Thick and lush. The sun shines down on them, their black hides glistening in the golden brilliance.

Past the cows, a structure can be seen. It's old and dilapidated, leaning to one side as if a good sneeze might knock it over. But it's been there for a while now, strong and sturdy against the elements. Just like I want to be.

The mountains finish off the landscape, their tops still dusted with snow. Each day the line gets higher and higher. At the base, the foothills of the mountains, the area is covered with brush and trees, creating a mosaic of different hues from grey to green and black.

As I live near a highway, I hear the rush of cars speeding by, the thrump-thrump-thrump of their wheels when they hit the rumble strips on the side or middle of the road. Small vehicles, large trucks; they all speed by with purpose. Even above that random noise, I can hear birds chirping in the distance, cows lowing to their calves.

I close my eyes and breathe in the clean, fresh air. The sun is warm on my face and light dapples behind my lids. I need the sunshine. I've been stuck inside for far too long, going outside only to head to another location where I'm stuck inside.

I miss the burbling of my little creek from the old house. I loved hearing the water rushing over the rocks and splashing as it raced past. I still get to hear peepers at night. I love the sound of their little chirps.

**I was given a challenge to go outside and listen, look, smell my surroundings and then write it out. I know I went into other details, but I'll be doing this again in different areas of my town.**