We are moving!

Life likes to put a wrench into things, but sometimes it is for the better.

My husband accepted a job in San Antonio, and we will be moving at the end of September. So now my days are filled with boxes and paperwork alongside my day job, keeping up with the kids’ school stuff, and trying to stay sane with all the mountain of details that is included with selling a house, finding a rental, and moving to a new city more than five hours away. Not to mention ALL. THE. EMOTIONS.

So, the publication of Curse Bound will be placed on hold until we get settled into our new home. Which, we don’t even know where that will be yet. Ack!

That said, I will be quite sporadic for the next several weeks. I look forward to the day when this is all over with and I can dive back into Curse Bound.

But hey! The kids have started back at school and I haven’t dropped the ball yet. Ha! Any of you have kiddos? How did their first day go? Or are YOU going back to school? How’s it going?

Here’s hoping for a great year for all of you!

Categories: Life's Adventures, Life's Journey | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Cover Reveal: Armor of Aletheia

Happy Monday!

Today the kids start school, and I will be diving into another year as a PPCD teacher’s aide. Meanwhile, the writing stuff has been put on hold for this transition. Give me a week or so, and I shall be back at it. I don’t do changes well. So I tend to be more quiet as I withdraw to maintain my sanity. Ha!

But I had to post today. Ralene Burke, my dear friend and fellow writer is revealing the cover to her next novel, and I just had to help her celebrate. So congrats, Ralene!

ARMOR OF ALETHEIA

The death of her king changes Karina’s life forever. Fleeing the royal house, she must leave her life behind to seek out the Armor of the Creator—to save the very people who now hunt her.

Faramos, the evil warlock waiting to unleash hell, knows the Creator has already chosen his warrior, so he sends his bounty hunter to retrieve her. After Tristan abducts her, he witnesses Karina’s gentle nature and strong independence, and he finds he can’t complete his mission.

Together, they set out to retrieve the armor and defeat the hordes of creatures sent to destroy them. But is Tristan’s heart secure as he faces certain death for defending the
queen? And will Karina have the courage to become all the Creator intends her to be? Failure will condemn the world to eternal darkness.

Coming soon!

 

***

Hope you all have a great week!

Categories: Love of Reading | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Spotlight: Book Pourri

Happy Monday!

I love homemade items and supporting others in their creative endeavors. So when a good friend, a fellow writer and book nerd began making book-inspired perfume oils, I had to share these with you guys. I am so excited for her. She sent me a few samples. And they arrived by Owl Post, I might add. 😉

Now, I’m very sensitive to smells, so I’d be horrible person to judge a perfume. But I couldn’t resist. I had to try them.

I was impressed with these samples. My favorite one was Mr. Darcy. I think I’ll be getting a bottle and checking out a few more she has. Like Nevermore or Time Lord! 😀

If you’d love to check them out, you can request a sample at this link: www.tinyurl.com/bookpourriclub

If you’d like to learn more, visit her Etsy shop, BookPourri and see all the cool book-inspired perfumes she has created. She is also on Facebook and Instagram, if you’d like to keep up with her there.

Well, what do you think??? Isn’t that so cool? What bookish scent would YOU love to see? Oh, the possibilities! I’m going to be looking for more book-inspired creative endeavors. Ha!

Have a great week!

Categories: Just for Fun | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Cover Reveal: Black Blood

Happy Tuesday!

Today, I am excited to be part of S. D. Grimm’s cover reveal of the third and final installment of her Children of the Blood Moon trilogy.

So without further ado:

So what do you think?

All I gotta say is: PEGASUS!!!!! 😮

Although, you’ll have to wait until January 2019, but it is up for preorders on Amazon. Eeeeek!

Hope you are having a great week and enjoying the last few moments of summer!

 

 

Categories: Love of Reading | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Plot Twists in Real Life

Photo by Lane Smith on Unsplash

Plot twists in real life can suck, but they sure make a good story, don’t they? Even in fiction.

Sometimes the road we must walk is not the path we would have chosen. A steep curve, a broken bridge, muddy ditches, an edge of a cliff. It doesn’t matter what makes us face those points along our journey, just that at that moment in time, it’s the exact opposite of what we’ve been hoping, dreaming, planning for.

And then nothing.

Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

Nothing but a great burning void. All our thoughts and beliefs challenged and set out in the abyss like spinning ripples of nothingness. A moment of no anchor, no direction. Just a vacuum of empty darkness. For one brief moment, we fear we will lose our sanity, our humanity, our soul unhinged.

But we can’t. Not when the world marches on and demands action from us. So we crawl forward, clinging to scraps of truth we aren’t sure we even believe anymore. If we didn’t, the abyss would suck the breath from our lungs.

It’s never easy when the journey takes us where we don’t want to go. We beat against the prison that suffocates us. Wrestle with bitterness, disappointment, and disillusionment. We grieve over what might have been. What we think should have been. We lash out and hurt others or ourselves. Sad-mad as Oh said from Home. But no matter how we protest, the path won’t change.

We must accept the consequences of our choices, our ignorance, or the circumstances beyond our control, whether or not we chose it. We can’t move on until we do, right?

Except. I’ve had a hard time doing that. I thought I had, but then people ask me questions and it’s the abyss all over again. The past two years have been challenging. A stripping away of lies and dreams. The feelings of being trapped and lost and confused overwhelmed me.

So. I avoided social media. I kept quiet and pressed forward, unsure of my path, unsure of how to even voice the maelstrom in my soul. I’d love to map out a career plan for the next five, ten years, but my path before me is cloaked and broken. All I know is that I’m here, working on Curse Bound, and will publish it when it’s ready. After that? I don’t know.

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

My day job will soon begin again, and I hope that I will do better at managing the challenges of working full-time, parenting, housework, menus, kids’ school stuff, and bringing y’all the conclusion to the Hidden Dagger trilogy. I’ve missed you guys, and I am going to try my hardest to not withdraw like I did. My goal this work/school season is to blog once a week. And now everyone laugh with me, because that is so not going to happen. Ha!

Two good things from all this. Growth. And story inspiration. More than fifteen years ago, I set out to create a story to illustrate the struggle and determination to overcome the lies in our lives. I totally failed on that account. But the irony of the story reflecting my personal journey is not lost on me.

Is your journey taking you down a path you’d rather not go? How are you coping? What are some things you do to help you to keep on keeping on?

Categories: Life's Journey, Writer's Journey | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Worldbuilding: Victorian Life

Happy Wednesday fellow adventurers!

The days are flying past me as life barrels toward an inevitable train-wreck. I’m doing my best to prepare for the collision, but we never can, can we? 19 days people!! I’ll be back at work, returning to my 5am wake-up call, and doing my best to juggle what I cannot.

But in the meantime…

Curse Bound is out for edits and in the hands of beta readers, and I’m over here trying not to think about it too much. Ha!

So, I’m working on a new project!! Well, the idea has been stewing since 2009. I’ve been writing and researching and world-building. And thought, why not share snippets of the process along the way?

😮

I love building worlds and drawing maps. You might think–writing fantasy, I could make it all up. And I could. But the cultures and characters and cities and landscapes need to reflect the appropriate advancement in technology and science for what is demonstrated by the story and the world in which it is set. Research can be awesome and exciting, but if I’m not careful, I can get bogged down in all the details. Starting out, the avalanche of unanswered questions drown me, so I need to pace myself. Ha!

This newest story I’m working on is different than I’ve ever written before. Instead of the 1500-1600’s time frame I’ve dabbled in for the past fifteen years or so (AND all the rest of my story ideas), this one will be heavily influenced by the mid-to-late 1800’s. Everything is so different! And fun!

Right now, I’m reading How to Be an Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life by Ruth Goodman. So, so good! The book details the life from the time a person wakes up and goes to sleep and how each aspect has evolved throughout the 1800’s. It’s amazing! It’s also interesting to see how certain thoughts and practices cycle over the years.

The information I’m gathering is only the basis of where I will start the world-building. Most of it will not make it into the book, but it will definitely influence the creation of the world, which influences the characters and their story. And there will be magical elements. It is fantasy after all!

rough sketch of city-in-progress.

One thing that’s been a bit of bugger is the maps. Most of the story will center within a city, quite a change from the sweeping, epic landscape of Nälu. That said, I am not neglecting the world this city is located in, because we will eventually visit different places later on in the series. Yes. It is a series. Not a trilogy. 😀

I’ve been sketching and erasing and sketching some more, turning to Google Earth for inspiration, and figuring out what types of shops, their names, and where they’ll be located. It’s coming together nicely. Although, the sketch of the city I’m sharing with you today will most likely change before I’m done with this story.

Anywho, that’s what I’ve been up to, aside from some serious spring cleaning and purging and having fun with the kiddos…all before the 14th of August. 😮

How are you spending the rest of your summer?

 

Categories: Writer's Journey | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Buried Lives

Life has a way of burying us. Layers of dirt and grime, fear and hurt, disappointment and lies, silencing our voices and confining ourselves to a box until we forget who we are. If we aren’t careful, those layers will eventually kill us.

Because when life buries us alive and silences our voices, we self-destruct.

It’s the journey I’m on. I could say it started in 2017 when I chose IDENTITY for my word for the year. It went along with Fearless and Bloom from the previous years. Perhaps it began the year I helped Nadine Brandes with her Called2Speak blog tour. But in reality, it’s been going on for a lot longer than that. I just didn’t realize it yet.

I’ve been digging deeper, stripping away the layers, trying to set my soul free, trying to discover who I really am. Not without my moments of self-destruction, nor moments of flying high. I admire those who can open their hearts and be real, sharing their struggles and victories. It reminds us we are not alone. Because when we think we are, the voices get louder and the layers get deeper.

And then I find stories and movies that resonate with me, it shows me I’m not alone. They also show me what happens if I keep allowing life to bury me. If I keep burying myself.

No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending by Esther Fleece hit it square on the head for me. Here was a book that gave voice to my own struggles. I have been shutting down my emotions all my life. Even when I thought I was reaching out for healing. It was only surface level compared to the depth of the iceberg beneath it.

When I finally watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and saw what became of Credence because he tried to squash his true identity, it was a visual representation of what was going on inside of me. The darkness created by words held back, thoughts caged, pain silenced, feelings denied until it exploded. Not without consequences. It was warning me. If I kept denying who I was, I would self-destruct. I could feel it.

Last week I was reading The Story Peddler by Lindsey A. Franklin, and there was a scene that reminded me of Credence. A lady who had buried her true identity, and it was destroying her. Another warning of what happens when we try to squash our true selves.

The same message, three times, and within a year! And what was I going to do about it?

I am tired of the fear, the lies, the layers of dirt and grime burying me, silencing me. Our art, stories in my case, is the expression of the soul, and if we allow life to silence us, then our art fails. And what better message our stories can show than this: we are not alone.

I guess this is what happens when I choose a word like identity for my word of the year, or more like decade. The journey to delve deeper to discover has been wildly challenging, and I have yet to find my voice. But I’m getting there. One step at a time. I’m not sure where this journey will take me or what the next step will be. It will probably get messy. But life is messy.

Isn’t it beautiful when the stories we read can resonate so deeply with us? What’s a story that has resonated with you and your journey?

Categories: Life's Journey, Love of Reading, Movie Nights! | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Book Review: The Story Peddler

Happy Monday!

This past month we’ve been reading The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin in Spec Haven, our Facebook group for lovers of speculative fiction. There is a special nugget of wisdom hidden within these pages that really spoke to me that I will share later this month. But for now, the story.

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THE STORY PEDDLER

Selling stories is a deadly business

Tanwen doesn’t just tell stories—she weaves them into crystallized sculptures that sell for more than a few bits. But the only way to escape the control of her cruel mentor and claw her way from poverty is to set her sights on something grander: becoming Royal Storyteller to the king.

During her final story peddling tour, a tale of treason spills from her hands, threatening the king himself. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as the king’s guard hunts her down . . . and they’re not known for their mercy. As Tanwen flees for her life, she unearths long-buried secrets and discovers she’s not the only outlaw in the empire. There’s a rebel group of weavers . . . and they’re after her too.

Find it on Amazon.

Add it to your Goodreads shelf!

 

***

The Story Peddler is about a young woman who has a special talent to weave stories where her words create beautiful representation of the story to please her audience’s eyes. When she finishes, they crystalize into a lovely object, which she hopes to sell. She is kind-hearted and hard-headed. She dreams to become the Royal Storyteller and live happily ever after. Of course, she is in for a rude awakening.

The story is engaging and well-written. The characters are personable, driving us to turn the page to see how it will all end. While the story wraps up nicely, it also promises us more adventures to come. I look forward to seeing where Tanwen goes next and how her decisions will play out. Highly recommended for those who love stories like Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul, The Last Motley by DJ Edwardson, and Orphan’s Song by Gillian Bronte Adams.

*I received a free copy from Netgalley to read and review.

Categories: Love of Reading | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Progress Report

Greetings fellow adventurers!

I am happy to report that Curse Bound is off to the editor! Commence nail biting and the onset of paralysis of the brain.

You see. As I write this, I’m thinking about this week, this new month, and what to do next. I have so many major projects I wish to tackle in the next few weeks. Two of which are secret projects that I can’t wait to share with you all. Non-writing related, but yet related. Sort of. Plus there’s Clans Divided that went from a short story to a novella. Do not have time for that. Ha! Brainstorm book launch stuff, cover design for Curse Bound, purge and organize the house. Do I work on my next work-in-project? Do I tackle the budding story idea I’m writing with my kiddos? Ack! And the list goes on. I’m torn on which to pursue all the while, hoping to relax a little and focus on making memories with the kids.

They’re only young once. And because summer is going by so fast! Soon it will be time for back-to-school shopping and work preparation. Then my day job begins for me and school for the little ones, and I’m back to having no time at all. I’m hyperventilating just thinking about it. So I try not to. Ha!

I need a Tiki from Miraculous, so I can bounce all these ideas off of someone. Or a Twilight Sparkle to help me organize my thoughts, lists and goals and map out a clear path to tread. Otherwise I freeze up and then I don’t accomplish much. Crazy, eh?

So how is your summer going?

Currently reading: Story Peddler by Lindsay A Franklin

Currently listening to: my husband writing a new song. This time, there’s an Afro Cuban beat going on in the background. When he’s not playing in the background (or when I’m blasting music through my earphones), I’m listening to a playlist with songs like This is Me from The Greatest Showman, Fear is a Liar by Zach Williams, Trust in You by Lauren Daigle, Broken by Lighthouse, God Help Me by Plumb. Just to name a few… Can you tell what season I’m in? I should add these are non-writing tunes. For writing, I’m listening to the Pirates of the Caribbean 1-3 soundtracks.

Current mood: overwhelmed. Ha!

Current TV show: Netflix counts, right? Have you guys seen THE PINKERTONS???? Oh my goodness. I LOVE that series. Only one season, though. 🙁  Just a little research for my next work-in-progress. 😀

And of course, Miraculous. Hey, I have kids. But I need to know what happens after Season 2 Episode 12!!! Back to Murder, She Wrote and Father Brown. The show is growing on me, plus it’s Arthur Weasley! Totally why I started watching it. When I get a chance, like maybe tonight. 😉

So what have you been up to? What songs, shows, books are you really enjoying?

Categories: Life's Journey, Nälu, Writer's Journey | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Blog Tour: Electrical Menagerie

Welcome!

When I saw this cover and discovered such a unique story world, I jumped at the chance to participate in this book tour. Today, Mollie E. Reeder has stopped by to share a glimpse of her story with us. So without further ado, please welcome, Ms. Reeder!

***

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages! I’m Mollie E. Reeder, author of The Electrical Menagerie, a steampunk adventure featuring robots, magicians, and flying trains (also possibly murder… but you didn’t hear that from me).

In The Electrical Menagerie, illusionist Sylvester Carthage and his producer Arbrook Huxley run a one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow full of inventions and magic. Entering a cutthroat royal talent competition is the only way to save their show from bankruptcy, but it means going head-to-head against the best entertainers in the realm — all of whom have their own reasons for wanting to win. One such competitor is rival magician Andromeda Skyhawke.

Andromeda has a compelling backstory that emerged through the course of the book, and I loved writing about her, but I didn’t get to write any scenes from her point-of-view. For my guest post today, I wanted to share a glimpse into the world of The Electrical Menagerie, and I thought exploring the first audition from Andromeda’s point-of-view was just the way to do it.

Illustration by Randi Lynn Jackson (IG: @randilynn_jackson)

Meet Andromeda Skyhawke!

Andromeda Skyhawke: Talented young illusionist Andromeda Skyhawke finds herself entangled with the Electrical Menagerie when she goes head to head with Carthage & Huxley in the royal competition. Andromeda’s short and often difficult life as a young woman has forged in her a wry wit and a fierce determination, but pitted in rivalry against The Electrical Menagerie, Andromeda wavers. Is it a rivalry that spells the end of whatever simmers between her and the beguiling charm of Arbrook Huxley?

Andromeda Skyhawke stared into the looking glass and tried to see what everyone else saw.

Her hands were shaking, and she gripped the edge of her dressing table to steady them. The electric bulbs lighting the mirror washed her in a somehow grimly golden glow. Months of preparation, hours of rehearsal — years, truly, of toil — would culminate in a single audition.

A single, life-changing audition.

Through the curtains, she could already hear the audience. Voices mingled together into a single, indistinct hum, the same warning sound a beehive made. Music floated somewhere overhead.

Was it too late to run?

Prepare to be astonished — that’s what it said on the posters. Right underneath her portrait.

They’d be astonished, alright, if she never arrived to her own show. That would be a most spectacular vanishment.

She imagined, momentarily, what it would be like to entertain the stage fright and simply walk away. Out of the tent. Off of Astoria Isle. Back to obscurity.

But the thought of obscurity turned rancid in her belly. She’d worked too hard, left too many precious things behind, to walk away from the opportunities that loomed ahead. Even if she was nervous — even if she was terrified — she couldn’t turn back now.

She dug her nails into the grooves of the dressing table and stared into the mirror.

A stranger looked back.

Where was the little girl she remembered? The one whose small hands shook? The one who never cried, even when she skinned her knees — too afraid the other children might laugh?

There was a woman in her place. A beautiful woman, with pearls in her ears and quartz pins in her hair. A grown woman, swathed in a dress that concealed the knotty scars across her knees, dusted with powder that hid her freckles. A grown woman, eyes rimmed with unspent tears.

Still terrified the other children might laugh.

Her picture was on the posters. That was her name, printed in holo-ink for everyone to see. She was the Mistress of Illusion.

But when would any of it start to feel real?

When would the applause seem genuine — the attention feel deserved?

When would Andromeda Skyhawke no longer feel like an impostor, and start feeling like herself?

She closed her eyes and pulled a desperate breath.

A single, life-changing audition. Her entire life laid before her, full of possibility.

She opened her eyes.

Yes, she was terrified of fame.

But she was more terrified of its opposite.

She couldn’t run away.

She wouldn’t.

“Whatever happens,” she vowed to her reflection — to this strange, grown-up thing she’d become — “I won’t turn back.”

“Five minutes,” called her manager from the doorway.

She straightened from the dressing table. She didn’t need five minutes — she was ready.

The fear wasn’t exactly gone. The stage was terrifying, but it was inescapable. The spotlight summoned her like a match summoning a moth.

She was Andromeda Skyhawke, Mistress of Illusion.

And she’d never let them see her cry.

 

About the Book

The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.

Sylvester Carthage, illusionist and engineer, has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively — but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially — but none of the scruples.

To save their show, Carthage & Huxley risk everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen.In this stardust-and-spark-poweredempire of floating islandsandflying trains, a shot at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroatworld of critics, high society, and rival magicians —but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there’s more at stake in this contest than the prize.

Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide… and it’s the lies Carthage & Huxleytell each otherthat may cost them everything.

Dazzles from start to finish. In Carthage & Huxley, Sherlock & Watson fans will find another dynamic duo whose ready wit and sizzling banter(and inevitable personality clashes) never fail to delight. You’ll be calling for an encore performance.” Gillian Bronte Adams, author of The Songkeeper Chronicles

“The stuff thatfandoms are built on.” Kyle Robert Shultz, author of Beaumont & Beasley

Purchase on Amazon

 

About the Author

Mollie’s first job was with a major theme park, where she operated a roller coaster, fixed parade floats, and helped Scooby-Doo put on his head. Now, Mollie is a movie producer and the author of character-driven science fiction/fantasy novels for adults who never outgrew imagination. Her favorite things include Jesus, dinosaurs, and telling cinematic stories that blend glitter and grit.

WebsiteTwitterInstagram

Giveaway Time!

Explore the world of The Electrical Menagerie by entering to win this Celestial Isles prize pack, which includes: “High Victorian” playing cards by luxury playing card company Theory11, handmade galaxy mug by DeVita Designs, Science & Engineering Themed Pocket Notebook Set by CognitiveSurplus, and a tin of Electrical Menagerie themed tea (over a $50 value)! (US only.)

>>>Entry-Form<<<

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 4th

Tuesday, June 5th

Wednesday, June 6th

Thursday, June 7th

Friday, June 8th

Saturday, June 9th

Monday, June 11th

Categories: Giveaway & More, Guest Posts, Love of Reading | Tags: , | 8 Comments