Updates, Facebook Party, and More!

Happy Monday!

It’s been a wild three months since my husband accepted the new job. We sold our house, packed it up, and bought a new house within a MONTH, and moved to San Antonio. It’s been a whirlwind.

I’m still recovering. Ha!

I think it is safe to say, we are almost settled in. Although, there are boxes waiting to be unpacked, things to finish, and numerous items still on our check-list. But for now, we are done.

Just in time for the holidays. Ha!

This week, we will be spending some time with precious friends from East Texas right before Thanksgiving. We shall see what adventures are in store for us! It kind of depends on the weather. Ha! But we are planning a trip to Sea World. 😮

Which brings us to…

Progress Report! Curse Bound is back in my hands and I’m already halfway through the revisions. THAT said, it’s the other half I’m worried about. Ha!

So, NaNoWriMo is on hold for now.

And we are throwing another Facebook Party! A Fantasy Christmas. Come join us and invite your friends. There’ll be plenty of bookish fun and prizes to win!

Secrets Kept is on sale for the holidays, plus A Princess No More will be FREE this upcoming weekend. Be on the lookout for the Black Friday through Cyber Monday Indie Blog tour! Over a 150 books will be participating. Secrets Kept will be one of them. And there is an epic book giveaway! So stay tuned!

Hope you all have a great rest of the week!

And those of you from the USA, hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours will be a quiet one. But we’ll be putting up our Christmas trees! Did I say TREES? They’ve multiplied. Ha!

 

 

Categories: Writer's Journey | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Blog Tour: Fairyeater!

Happy Monday!

I am so excited to be able to help Pam Halter celebrate the release of her debut novel, Fairyeater. Today, she gives us a glimpse of what fairies like to eat. So without further ado, please welcome, Pam Halter!

The Food in Fairyeater

The sun shone warm on the village, and Akeela pushed thoughts about running away and her friends’ strange behavior to the back of her mind. She enjoyed squirrel and bread stuffed mushrooms, grilled onions and goat cheese, creamed apples, and flat bread with rich, herbed butter.

Ah, food in stories. We don’t have enough of that in books for me. I love cooking and I love eating, especially when friends and family are around the table.

What started my love for food in stories were the books in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. Man, those mice ate GOOD! I always wished I could be there, enjoying their cakes and raspberry cordial.

Creating recipes and cooking and feeding people are a normal part of my life, so it was only natural that I add that aspect in my writing. It’s been fun figuring out what kinds of food the people in Fedestia would eat. It depended on what part of the country they lived, if they were hunters, farmers, or when peddlers came.

It also depended on which character I was writing. The witch, Tzmet, eats a bit differently than Akeela and the people of Broem.

Here’s something that isn’t too nasty.

Tzmet turned and pointed to her canopy bed. “Lay it down carefully, you miserable creature. And get me something to eat. A cheese and mushroom omelet with goat’s liver. Make sure the liver is properly coated with crushed hicata pepper. I’m in a spicy mood today.”

But Tzmet’s choice wasn’t always so palatable. She eats fried tarantula, muskrat, goat’s liver, and grilled night crawlers. She keeps a raven for eggs. And she enjoys hicata peppers (my version of chili peppers). I had fun in one scene where Brimridge (a boggart servant) comes up with a sandwich, which I called a “hand meal”.

“Here, my lady, allow me to prepare your meal.” Without waiting for an answer, Brimridge sliced the bread and cheese. He poured some oil on the bread and layered the cheese, meat and sage leaves on it. Then he topped it with another slice of oiled bread, cut it in half and set it on the plate.

            “What am I supposed to do with this, fool?” Tzmet wrinkled her nose as she inspected the strange thing before her.

            Brimridge smiled as he prepared another for himself. “We call it a hand-meal. You pick it up and eat it all together. Watch me.” And saying so, he sat, picked up the hand-meal and took a bite.

            “That is vulgar.” But Tzmet was too hungry to get up and fix anything else, so she picked up the hand-meal, sniffed it and took a small bite. Sun, moon and stars, the thing was actually good. She took another bite and oil ran down her chin.

The Kazmura (cave people) eat fish caught from underground lakes, which are boiled in underground hot springs and wrapped in the leaves of lake plants.

The Adacians (forest people) are pescatarian, eating vegetables, fruit, nuts, and fish.

The dwarves are hunters and eat similar foods to the people in the village of Broem, with one exception. Since they mine salt, they use it in various ways in their cooking.

Food in stories. For me, it enhances the adventure, making it more real. We’re told to write with all our senses. Food brings another level to the story that is enjoyable and fun.

***

Thank you so much, Pam!

About The Book

All fifteen-year-old Akeela has ever wanted is an ordinary family who will love her. But the only mother she has ever known is the old hag, Krezma, who berates her night and day. Why did the old woman even take her in?

But Krezma knows her charge is no ordinary child. She can see the auras surrounding living things and can communicate with fairies. And the birthmark on her palm reveals a secret Krezma must hold close for the child’s safety.

A secret that the witch, Tzmet, hunts for night and day, drying and eating fairies for the power they contain. When Akeela discovers her fate lies in being the next Fairy Guardian, all hope for an ordinary life dissipates like the dreams they were. She must protect the fairies from the witch–and an even darker power that threatens them all.

Akeela is unwillingly thrust into an adventure that will not end until she decides to accept her fate and give up on her dream.

Maybe even her life.

If you’d like more information about Fairyeater and see the other stops on the tour, click here!

Have a great rest of the week!

Categories: Guest Posts, Love of Reading | Tags: , | 9 Comments

Career Day

Happy Friday!

San Antonio Sunrise

Well. We’ve made the move. Most everything is unpacked, and we are slowly getting organized here. But life doesn’t wait for us to finish unpacking or getting our ducks books in order.  Although, I do have ONE book shelf up. I can’t wait for the day to be able to say DONE to the unpacking and reorganizing.

But life does not wait. Time to tighten my belt and dive back into writing and living again. National Novel Writing Month is almost here and I am tempted to knock out 50,000 words on my next project as I wait to get Curse Bound back from the editor. So we shall see.

But enough with the progress report.

Guys!! I had something amazing happen to me. Somehow my son’s teacher discovered I was an author, so she asked the school to invite me to present for Career Day. *faint* It’s been forever since I’ve stood up in front of a group of people to speak. Probably back in my college speech class. *cough* I’m sure there were other opportunities, but I’ve probably blocked them from memory. AND I only had a week to prepare. I hadn’t even found the printer’s electrical cord yet. *gasp*

And…um… awkward, introvert here.

But I said YES!

Photo Credit: Imelda De La Cruz

It was awesome! Fourth grade is awesome. I love that age group because I remember my love for books exploding during that time, and I devoured everything I could get my hands on. Especially Matilda and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. Multiple times. THANK YOU Mrs. Okerlund for introducing me to Roald Dahl. You have no idea what those stories did for me.

The presentation went well. I think. Minus a few hiccups and stumbling over myself in word and props. But I enjoyed it! I might have typed up a three page speech–although I knew better! Next time I’ll just write out the highlights. And yes, I just said, next time. I loved talking about books and writing with the students. I hope I can do it again. And do it better.

That’s all for now.

But before we close, I would like to know: When did your love of reading take off? And did you have something special happen to you that encouraged you?

What are you reading? I just read Captain Underpants, books 1 & 2. Hey. I have a fourth grader. 😛

What are you listening to? I’ve been listening to a LOT of Lauren Daigle lately. I just love her newest album. But  I’ve just discovered Plumb’s Beautifully Broken. <3 Thanks Debbie!

Any special plans for weekend? We’re going to try to do something special with kids before we paint our cabinets. And look at stuff we need for the house before we can say, WE ARE DONE. Like more bookshelves, please? 😛

Have a great weekend!

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

Guest Post: World of Aletheia

Happy Wednesday!

We are in the middle of mountains of boxes and paperwork and the BIG move. So naturally, Ralene Burke, one of my close friends and fellow writer (who may or may not have talked me off a cliff a time or two) would have a book releasing. Ha! I feel so bad to be missing in action on this special time of hers, but I couldn’t not participate in her blog tour! So I invited her over to share about the world she created. And to top it off, next Tuesday, she will be throwing a grand party over on Facebook. Go and help her celebrate. Ralene really knows how to throw a good party. 😀 I will probably be in the middle of packing, but I’ll try to pop in and say hi. So maybe I’ll you there?

And without further ado, please welcome Ralene Burke!

***

One of the most interesting (and fun) parts of being a fantasy author is the opportunity to build your own world and populate it with new and different cultures. With Armor of Aletheia, I embraced the chance to start from scratch and build the world of Olam, and the Three Kingdoms (Aletheia, Soter, and Tzedek). Creating the physical world and seeing how that would impact the cultural world was fun and inspiring!

 

The Physical World

From an environmental and topographical perspective, the kingdom of Aletheia is much like Alaska. The northern and western part is a frozen, mountainous tundra, while the southern and eastern sees more seasonal changes. There’s a large forest in the southeast, and a barren wilderness that forges a path between the mountains and the river that divides Aletheia from the other 2 kingdoms.

While we don’t see much of them in this first book, Soter is mostly made up of wetlands, and Tzedek is a plateau of plains.

When it came to naming these kingdoms, I took keys from the premise of the book. A woman is tasked with retrieving the 6 pieces of sacred armor in order to defeat an ancient evil. Each piece of armor has a power attached to its virtue. For instance, the Belt of Truth gives the wearer the ability to see a person’s past and present to see why they are the way they are (also a way to see if people are lying). In Greek, Aletheia means truth. Also, Soter means savior/deliverer in Greek. Tzedek can mean righteousness (as well as justice).

 

The Cultural World

Each kingdom has some very unique aspects of their culture. And it is pinpointing those unique traits and how they apply to everyday life that really help the world to come alive.

Popular among my early readers, Aletheia has a tradition that is used both as a hello and farewell in more emotional situations, called the Blessing of Three Kisses. A kiss on each cheek for love and joy and one on the forehead for wisdom. Also, as a highly religious people, Aletheians often send off people with blessings like “May the Creator’s might be with you,” or “May the Creator’s strength be with you.”

Because their world is so cold for most of the year, much of their clothing is made from heavy wool and is lined with fur. While this doesn’t get highlighted much in the story, it is one of those facts that story enthusiasts may pick up on.

I had so much fun creating the world of Olam as I wrote Armor of Aletheia. I especially enjoyed learning about the Aletheian people. Now, I’m almost finished writing Sword of Soter, Book 2 in The Sacred Armor trilogy, and it has been most interesting to see how vastly different the Soteran people are from the Aletheians. They have different priorities, different ways of doing everything from receiving guests to worshiping their Creator. I won’t give away too much, though, especially since I’m still learning.

So the next time you read a truly unique fantasy (or sci-fi) novel, think about the work that went in to creating that world and those cultures. Each tradition, each environmental challenge is not there by accident. It is intentional and unique, purposed by the world’s creator.

 

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 assignment.

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.

Grab your copy on Amazon!

 

About the Author

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone SHINE BEYOND their circumstances! Her novels, Bellanok and Armor of Aletheia are available on Amazon.

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or at her website.

 

 

Categories: Guest Posts, Love of Reading | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Cover Reveal: Romanov

Happy Wednesday!

Today, I’m excited to help Nadine Brandes reveal the cover of her upcoming novel, Romanov. The story sounds pretty epic, and yes, it is a young adult historical fantasy retelling of Anastasia. But I’ll the blurb tell you more.

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

– Releases May 7, 2019
– historical fantasy Anastasia retelling (YA)
– standalone
So what do you think???
Categories: Love of Reading | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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!

 

 

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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