Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Bazaar -- See YOU There?

Still haven't gotten all your Christmas shopping done?

I'm going to be at a huge Christmas bazaar in Akron THIS SATURDAY.


Several writer friends and I will be sharing a double booth. Come see us!
Tamera Lynn Kraft, Mary Ellis, Shellie Arnold, and me!

For more information, follow this link to go to the Facebook page for the event.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book of the Week: DIVINE KNIGHT

This continues the feature on books set in my weird little town of NEIGHBORLEE, OHIO.

Think of a place that's part Mayberry, part Roswell, part Eureka, and part Buffy's Sunnyvale -- but without the vampires or aliens.

Yeah -- MAGIC!
A little creepy at times, a lot of fun, and always something going on. For those who live there, the odd events are kind of shrugged off with a, "Ho, hum, so what ELSE is new?" attitude. And what's really odd is that newcomers don't really notice. Of course, then there's the "we don't want you here, go away" vibe that some people get, so they don't stick around long enough to notice something strange is going on.

All of this is leading up to the release of the next Neighborlee, Ohio book published by Uncial Press: DORM RATS. Otherwise known as Growing Up Neighborlee, Book 2.

DIVINE KNIGHT


Equinox: Maurice has a day of full-size freedom to spend with his true love, Holly. Their day of fun ends in panic, when Angela is attacked and the defenses of Divine's Emporium are breached. In the search to find out who hired thieves to steal books full of inimical magic from the shop and provided them with magic charms to do it, Angela's memories are stirred. Strange dreams disturb her sleep and she asks questions she hasn't thought of in decades. 

Ethan Jarrod, a particularly gifted P.I. with some mysteries of his own, joins forces with local P.I. John Stanzer to identify Angela's enemies. Is Jarrod the knight from her dreams, or the final weapon of her enemies, to destroy all the magic of Divine's Emporium and Angela herself?


Monday, December 11, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: ICE CHILD, by Evangeline Denmark

Want a lovely little Christmas treat?

This short story takes less than an hour to read, although maybe you should try to read it slowly and savor each line. Like the hero, Sipp, the author has proven her master craftsmanship.

Denmark takes a faerie tale trope that appears in many cultures -- a child of ice or snow, a child with suspicious or unknown parentage, a child who all fear because of so many unanswered questions -- and puts her own spin on it. Sipp is considered evil because he looks different, because the fearful and superstitious and self-righteous believe that what makes him different makes him dangerous. Only two people in his short life have given him love and encouragement. The loss of one destroys his dreams ... and when he finds himself, he fears he must give up the other. (Can't tell you any more than that, because then you might not read the story! And you really gotta ...)

Of course, faerie tales do have happy endings, but like many things in the faerie realms, it isn't quite what we suspect or expect.

Sipp hides from the cold, fears snow, tries not to hear the voices in the frozen wind, but like so many of us, he is hiding from his true nature and letting the fears and prejudices of others blind and imprison him. When he breaks free ... watch out.

Beautiful short story. Parable. Lesson. Promise. Like C.S. Lewis talked about in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, this is one of those moments of near-painful longing and satisfaction, and the hint of otherworldly music. Okay, put another author on my must-read-everything-she's-done list.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 8 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:

            Saturday afternoon, Detective McGee showed up at the old factory building and interrupted Duncan and Josh in a discussion over whether to put a half-wall in the front room of the clinic, or whether to put a service window in the wall.  Neither one knew the man was there until he asked them where he could find Darcy.

            "Hello, Jack," Josh said.  "Darcy?  I think she's in the office, if she's finished with the dishes.  What's up?"

            In answer, McGee dug in his pocket and brought out a clear plastic bag.  Inside was a silver, heart-shaped locket.  Engraved on it were the words: "Darcy, Sweet Sixteen. June 30, 1991."


            "Where did you find this?" Duncan asked, when Josh seemed to go pale, and his fist clenched around the bag.

            "On the body of one of those street punks who beat up on her yesterday," the detective answered.

            Duncan went with Josh and Geneva, accompanying Darcy downtown to identify her assailants in the morgue.  Because it was Darcy's locket, McGee needed her testimony, not just Josh and Duncan's.  Their word was needed too, since they had fought with the gang members.

            The morgue attendant only tugged down the sheets far enough to show the faces of the three dead youths.  Shock was still visible.  They looked very young in death, under the grime and smears of blood.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Book of the Week: HAVE YOURSELF A FAERIE LITTLE CHRISTMAS

Excerpt

Angeloria had a highly inconvenient allergy to mistletoe and holly.

Usually, that wouldn't be much of a problem. How many months of the year did mistletoe flourish, after all?

Unfortunately, Lori's need to run away from the Fae Enclaves coincided with Christmas. The last thing she wanted was to retreat back into the shelter of the Enclave where she had grown up, because that would leave her prey to her matchmaking great-aunts and their odious choices of the perfect husband for her. Lori didn't want to get married to an Enclave wimp--someone who would keep her anchored in the Enclaves for the rest of her life. She wanted an adventurer who explored the Human world on a regular basis. Someone who thought satellite feed and a DVD collection to rival all the major studios were basic necessities of life.

If she went back to the Fae Enclaves any time in the next two months, her great-aunts would force her into dreary formal wear. Then they would drag her through a long chain of visits and teas and social functions that made Socrates' public execution sound like a jolly good time by comparison.
Besides, regular contact with the Human world provided her with a fresh, ongoing supply of dark chocolate and diet cherry cola.

If she could get out of the hotel where she had retreated to hide from the mad proliferation of holiday decorations before she sneezed herself to death, while changing colors and creating rainbow-streaked light shows for a two-yard radius.


"It's not even something a doctor could help me with," Lori explained, when her two best friends snapped their fingers and conjured up boxes of allergy medicine and calamine lotion, and settled down in her favorite suite at the Waldorf-Astoria. "It's psychosomatic. I was traumatized as a child, when Dickens had Scrooge talk about a stake of holly through the heart. I mean, I was there when he wrote it down and read it aloud and laughed at what a clever line it was." She shuddered. "You can't imagine the mental image."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book of the Week: HAVE YOURSELF A FAERIE LITTLE CHRISTMAS

Excerpt

The communications sphere shimmered into being while Harry relaxed in the hot tub--another wonderful invention of Humans. Fortunately for him, and whoever might be calling at this time of the morning, the sphere remained opaque.

"I gave at the office," Harry said, before his caller could identify himself.

Alexi's rich, rolling laughter made him grin. Nothing like a call from his favorite rebellious cousin to take a morning from interesting and frustrating to fun.

"How's that non-magical betting system working out for you?" Harry asked, as he snapped his fingers to bring a towel over and got out of the hot tub. He tapped the communications sphere, activating it so it shimmered into transparency. Alexi and Megan's faces appeared before him. He was glad he had opted for the towel.

Harry wasn't a skinny geek by any means, but Alexi had inherited the family build and good looks, along with the family curse. Harry was white-blond and buff, but Alexi had it squared. No, make that cubed. Harry wouldn't have minded if Megan, who he really liked, saw him in the altogether--if he just didn't have the awful suspicion she would have been comparing him to Alexi and feeling sorry for him.

Still, despite all the advantages Alexi had in looks and freedom and a real job in the Human world, along with a knock-out wife who hadn't needed to trap him by going into Need, Harry preferred his smaller troubles. Alexi had nearly been doomed to spending eternity without magic. Sure, Megan had rescued him from that, and Harry wouldn't have minded being rescued by someone as smart and gorgeous and fun as Megan, but he was aware enough to know it would have rankled. He had a ridiculous, immature longing to be the White Knight, rescuing damsels in distress.


"What's up, Cuz?" He gave an extra yank to his towel, just in case.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Book of the Week: HAVE YOURSELF A FAERIE LITTLE CHRISTMAS

From Uncial Press

Excerpt:

"Sweetheart, you know that our magic is little more than illusions," Megan began. She squeaked and turned red when Alexi nudged her hard enough she nearly fell out of the booth in the dark corner of the casino where they were currently working.

"I don't know any such thing." Bethany pulled out her ace card. She had held it to herself, a secret treasure, for the past five years. "I know you can do real magic. I saw you."

"Real magic?" Alexi gave her a convincing frown of confusion.

"Just as real as your pointed ears." Bethany smirked when he reached up to yank his tangled mane of silky blond hair down around his ears, only catching himself at the last minute. "I saw you two working real magic, that first time we worked together. I've caught you doing magic since. Of course, I've been looking for it." She played all her cards. "So, are you like witches or wizards? Is there a real Hogwarts?"

"Actually--" Alexi jerked, having received a hard nudge from Megan now. He grinned at his wife. "Whether there is or isn't, that doesn't matter. What makes you want an invisibility spell, in particular?"

"Besides the way you two seem to have some kind of force field or invisibility spell, so nobody ever mobs you?" Bethany sat back in her booth and crossed her arms. "I've seen the groupies come after you, when you finish a show. It's like a switch is flipped or something. One minute they see you and home in on you like vultures. The next, they just don't see you, and they go wandering off. And when we're out like this?" She gestured around the room. "When I'm with you, nobody sees me, either. Why do you think I asked you to come up to my suite, instead of meeting somewhere? If someone sees me out on the street before I meet you, it's a lost cause."

"She's good," Megan murmured.

"We're magicians. Illusion is what we do," Alexi said with another grin.


"You're more than magicians. So, what are you?" Bethany sat forward, elbows planted on the table, projecting belligerence and determination as hard as she could.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: 15 DAYS TO WRITE AND SUBMIT A SHORT STORY, by Joe Bunting

This is a workbook meant to go with the writing book, "Let's Write a Short Story!" by the same author.

Keep in mind that with many aspects of creative writing, what works for one person does not mean it must and will work for everyone else. We all have unique brains and unique viewpoints and approaches to the task of writing. This workbook will be helpful for people who have never tried writing short stories, or those who are novices at writing, period. For those who are "set in their ways" in terms of coming up with a story idea, a plot, organizing, researching, revising, this might chafe in places.

The cardinal rule in writing, once you get past the mechanics, is that there basically are no rules. You have to do what feeds your soul and take the route that works for you.

That being said, this is a handy little workbook that is worth following at least once, just to figure out what you can do, how it can help, and maybe even teach you a new approach -- and new approaches can sometimes solve problems you weren't even aware you had. You know, those brainstorm, bolt of lightning moments.

The exercises take some of the fear and angsting (yeah, I made up that word, so sue me!) out of trying to sit down and write a short story for the first time, because the author starts out by asking for only an hour of your time every day. He chops up the tasks and exercises into bite-size pieces. Very helpful. There's wise advice scattered throughout, such as keeping a notebook or recorder or something at hand at all times to capture those moments of inspiration that always seem to come at the most awkward and inconvenient moments. (For me, that's usually in the 10 minutes before the service starts on Sunday morning. Don't know why ... but yes, I keep a thick notebook in my purse. I've also resorted to the Dragon dictation software for my iPhone, to get ideas down when I'm on a long drive and can't pull over to the side of the road every other mile to write down another idea.)

Along with exercises such as reading assignments, there are resources that could prove helpful, and questions to answer to untangle ideas and fill in blanks.

Try it at least once. You might be surprised what help it can give you.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 7 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:

            "Somebody's there," Amanda murmured. She tugged on his arm, taking the lead in going around the back of the building instead of going in through the front door.

            He nodded, feeling the flicker of Immortal energy.  After a long, boring, melodramatic movie in Italian and two glasses too many of wine with his vermicelli, that wasn't a particularly pleasant sensation.

            "It's probably Richie," he said, when they reached the back door and he unlocked it.  "You go on upstairs and I'll see what he wants."


            "Hopefully not some advice for his love life, this late at night."  She smiled as she headed up the steps. "Don't be too long."  She swung her little shopping bag enticingly  and hurried into the darkness.  Amanda had been dropping hints about what she had bought all through dinner.

             Duncan nodded and smiled, but his smile faded as he pushed open the stairwell door and walked through the storage room of the dojo.   A breath of air warned him.  He ducked backwards, then threw himself into a forward roll as a blade slashed through the air at the height of his neck.

            Scrambling to his feet, Duncan raced into the dojo, through the stripes of darkness and moonlight coming through the curtainless windows.  He snatched at the lowest of the katanas in the display on the wall and turned to face his attacker.

            Icy pale eyes burned in a dark ski mask.  A wide-shouldered figure dressed in black lunged at Duncan.  Moving on the balls of his feet, wearing soft-soled boots, the man was a literal shadow as he attacked.  Duncan threw off the effects of his wine and headache and long day, and let his own blade become part of his arm.

            The intruder's sword moved quickly, a silver blur in the shadows and the red glare of the emergency exit sign.  Duncan could barely see enough to block and feint, let alone discern the style of blade.

            Six times their blades met and clashed, throwing sparks through the darkness. The other Immortal bared his teeth in a silent snarl and threw himself at Duncan, turning at the last moment for a blow more appropriate for football.  Duncan sidestepped and brought his elbow down into his opponent's face.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Book of the Week: HAVE YOURSELF A FAERIE LITTLE CHRISTMAS

Excerpt:

Dawn and Stanzer came through the door, carrying cartons of eggnog and brightly colored fruit pastries to contribute to the party. Something else came with them.

Maurice's first instinct was to duck. If his exile spell hadn't bound him to the Human realms, he would have streaked for the closest available slit in reality and taken his chance on whatever dimension he landed in.

The something was alert, sentient, watchful, and buzzed with power. The faint buzz he got from Dawn and Stanzer was soothing and warming compared with this sensation. It made his hair stand on end--on his head, his arms, and his wings. The worst part was that he couldn't see the source of that alertness and power.
Now he had a good idea how Meggie felt, when she knew he was there and she couldn't see or hear him, and they could only communicate when he wrote notes to her. Freaky was a good word to start with.

Then something coalesced into being, walking behind Dawn and Stanzer as they approached the long refreshment table between the counter and the tree. Maurice had an impression of big, silvery teeth and electric blue eyes and...fur?

He nearly yelped and jumped up into the air when the something solidified into an enormous dog, somewhere between an Akita and a wolf, its head level with Dawn's shoulder, walking behind her and Stanzer. It was big and dark blue and black, with electric blue sparks zinging and swooping all over it. What made it worse was that two people walked right through the big dog. It didn't flicker like a bad hologram, and the people didn't react.


"Hey, Angela..." Maurice swallowed hard and wished he had been a smart-mouth again so Angela had exiled him to the position of angel at the top of the tree. Then again, an inter-dimensional big bad wolf could probably find him at the top of the tree, too, without any trouble.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Book of the Week: HAVE YOURSELF A FAERIE LITTLE CHRISTMAS

Excerpt:

The protective net of magic around Divine's chimed pleasantly just then. Maurice had grown sensitive enough to the magic resonance of the people who regularly came into Divine's to sometimes identify them before he saw them.

"Lanie, right?" he said, and spun around in mid-air to follow Angela as she moved out of the room to the main entryway of the store.

The door swung open without anyone touching it--courtesy of Lanie Zephyr's telekinetic talent--and a moment later her wheelchair bumped up the last two shallow steps to enter the shop. The dark-haired woman paused a moment to shake the damp from her hair before rolling through the open doorway.

The weather was cold, but not cold enough to produce snow or even ice yet. The air was filled with a thick, icy fog. Maurice looked past Lanie at the street. So far, her Jeep was the only vehicle parked out there yet. Soon, though, the entire dead end street would be jammed with cars. Hopefully, the soil of the empty lots on either side of Divine's was frozen hard enough to allow parking. Angela's decorating party was the annual kick-off for the Christmas season in Neighborlee.

"So where are her brothers and that goof-ball boss of hers?" Maurice swooped around to keep pace with Lanie as she rolled down the aisle between the shelves to the main room.

The next moment, pressure wrapped around him, not crushing but holding him still. It occurred to him that this was what a tractor beam felt like on Star Trek.


"I'm not crazy, am I?" Lanie mused, as the force pulled Maurice forward to hover about a foot in front of her nose. "Angela, do I get slapped if I clap my hands and say 'I do, I do, I do believe in faeries'?"

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book Festival This Weekend, Columbus, Ohio



The Faith and Fellowship Book Festival is THIS WEEKEND!
Plan on attending?
Hope to see YOU there!

Where is Etna? Look for Columbus, OH and then look to the right/east. Better yet, just plug the address into your map app. Check out this link and see all the authors, all the different kinds of books, the panel discussions available. Oh, yeah, and BOOKS to buy.

I mean, come on, it's time to start CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!

I'm gonna be there -- I hope to see YOU!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book of the Week: HAVE YOURSELF A FAERIE LITTLE CHRISTMAS

This continues the feature on books set in my weird little town of NEIGHBORLEE, OHIO.

Think of a place that's part Mayberry, part Roswell, part Eureka, and part Buffy's Sunnyvale -- but without the vampires or aliens.

Yeah -- MAGIC!
A little creepy at times, a lot of fun, and always something going on. For those who live there, the odd events are kind of shrugged off with a, "Ho, hum, so what ELSE is new?" attitude. And what's really odd is that newcomers don't really notice. Of course, then there's the "we don't want you here, go away" vibe that some people get, so they don't stick around long enough to notice something strange is going on.


All of this is leading up to the release of the next Neighborlee, Ohio book published by Uncial Press: DORM RATS. Otherwise known as Growing Up Neighborlee, Book 2.

HAVE YOURSELF A FAERIE LITTLE CHRISTMAS

Maurice -- the exiled, shrunken Fae with wings even Tinkerbell would scorn--has one wish: to be real for Holly, the librarian. In her dreams, they are in love, but she doesn't remember or see or hear him when she's awake. He is only allowed one day, four times a year, to be full-sized, able to talk with her and try to win her heart. Christmas is coming, and his next day as an ordinary man. As he waits impatiently for his rendezvous with Holly, life goes on in Neighborlee, Ohio. Albeit, life in Neighborlee isn't what most people would call normal. Especially when three couples come to town with various magical dilemmas to resolve.

Bethany is a local girl who became a Hollywood starlet. All she wants is an ordinary Christmas, sans paparazzi. With the help of Harry and his malfunctioning invisibility spell, she just might get it. And a lot more.

Wilfred and Philomena are best buddies, and their Fae relatives want them separated so each one can find their true love. But what happens when your true love is under your nose, and you can't convince him – or her – of that important little fact?

Lori is allergic to mistletoe, and on the run from her aristocratic relatives who want to pair her with an "appropriate" Fae man. She hides out in Neighborlee and meets Brick, who has some romantic interference problems of his own. He believes in magic – but can he believe in Fae or will he think she's insane when she tells him the truth?

Christmas is the most magical time of the year – especially for Fae in search of love in Neighborlee, Ohio.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: HOW TO MARKET A BOOK, 3rd Edition, Joanna Penn

There's a very good reason why this is the 3rd edition of this book: Authors read it, need it, use it -- and the frightening jungle of marketing your own book keeps growing and changing and coming up with new possibilities and hurdles and traps to overcome.

The author learned everything she is passing along by DOING. By paying attention and figuring out what worked, what didn't, and why.

Of course, there's the old adage that 50% of marketing works, but no one is quite sure which 50% it is.

You have to figure out what your book needs, what the specific market and audience might be, and then what will work in those specific circumstances.

One important piece of advice the author repeats: Don't try to do it all. Depending on your progress in the whole writing-and-promoting-and-marketing journey, you won't be ready to do it all, you won't need to do it all, and trying to do it all will drive you crazy, along with using up time and energy you still need to pursue your writing career.

Starting with the basics of marketing principles and book fundamentals, then moving on to tricky things like platforms, social media, self-publishing tips, book launches, video, podcasts, advertising, and more, you can figure out exactly what you need, what you should do, and what you're able to do. Start small, start slowly, build up confidence and skill, and expand your reach when it feels right for you.

This is a book writers can keep going back to again and again, adding to their arsenal. And as the market and marketing possibilities and opportunities change, there will probably be new editions, to take it all in.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 6 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:

            "Duncan MacLeod," Immerman breathed.  For two seconds he stared, then a bright smile lit his face and he held out both hands.  "I cannot tell you how grateful I am you were here to protect our Darcy."

            Our Darcy?  Duncan felt a shiver go up his spine, but he hid the sensation behind a smile and shook Immerman's hand.

            "She really didn't need much help," he said.  "Give her a length of pipe and she's a one-woman army."

            "There were three of them, Uncle Karl," Darcy said.  "Dad took one, Duncan got the other, and I got the one who did this to me."  She gestured at her bandaged arm.


            Uncle Karl? Duncan had a very odd feeling about this.  It made sense, he supposed.  Immerman had probably been the one who sent Darcy to him for lessons, then.  And yet, Immerman was the last person Duncan would expect to send him students.

            "Three of them?  What have I told you about risking yourself, dear child?" Immerman shook his head. "If you can stay around for a while and teach some caution to this girl of ours, I'd appreciate it, MacLeod.  It seems that the centuries of experience her father and I share aren't enough to impress her.  Someone new might do a better job."

            "I'll try."  Duncan glanced at Darcy.  She rolled her eyes in disgust, mixed with embarrassment -- like any teen-ager.  He grinned at her.

            "While you're here, do let me show you around.  I'm rather proud of what we've accomplished so far."

            "We?"

            "Karl is our trouble-shooter and fund-raiser," Geneva said.  She nodded toward the door, pausing in throwing the scraps of bandage and dirty gauze into the covered wastebasket.  "He finds suppliers and saves us money every time we turn around.  We wouldn't be halfway where we are now without him."

Friday, November 24, 2017

Book of the Week: DIVINE'S EMPORIUM

Published by Uncial Press:

Excerpt:

"You must be Maurice," a woman said, and her voice came from high overhead.

Okay, he liked tall women, but this was ridiculous.

Before his neck could get a cramp from looking up and up and up, Maurice's perceptions changed, and he realized that this heart-shaped face and waterfall of hair in ten shades of gold and cinnamon weren't particularly tall. He was very, very short.

Unable to resist, he looked over his shoulder. Wings. Butterfly-shaped, glistening, iridescent, lacy, rainbow-streaked wings fluttering like the lashes of a coy maiden flirting with him, moving a little faster the longer he looked at them. Maybe if he turned around and pretended they weren't there, they would fade away. Fae hadn't had wings for thousands of years.

How could they do this to him?

"Cute, but not you," the woman said. That was laughter sparkling in her big blue eyes, and putting a rich tone in her voice, but she didn't smile. Somehow, her sympathy and attempt not to hurt his feelings just made the whole situation worse. "Especially not with those Italian shoes. I hope you won't end up with permanent holes in that sweater. Cashmere?"


He barely restrained his tongue and changed his words to something less offensive. "Who the heck cares?" Maurice had always been a quick study, and he put all the pieces together here within a few seconds, despite his head reeling from the utter indignity--five inches tall, and wings no self-respecting Fae would wear to a costume ball! "I suppose you're my probation officer?"

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Book of the Week: DIVINE'S EMPORIUM

Excerpt:

Blackness took over. It could have lasted for a heartbeat or a year, or a decade.

That was the irritating thing about the Fae realms, and life in the Fae enclaves. Time didn't run in synch with the Human world, and other Fae didn't have the fine respect for clocks and calendars--and the baseball and television seasons--that Maurice did.

He blinked and found himself sitting on a backless wooden stool, pinned under a spotlight inside an ocean of blackness. He was in his own body--at least his captor had let him wear comfortable clothes, his favorite slate gray cashmere sweater and matching slacks and his new Italian loafers--and he had iron manacles around one wrist and both ankles, attached to iron chains. The leg chains extended into the darkness beyond the pool of silvery-blue light. The arm chain led up into the air, vanishing in the darkness just beyond the stream of the spotlight. No matter how Maurice turned, he couldn't see what it was attached to.


Common sense said not to get off the stool. It was more than possible there was no floor, no ceiling, and no walls in this room--if he was in a room at all.

"Come on, guys! Do you know how much work I put into that scheme? Let me finish the game, at least. The guy was a bully. He deserved what I was going to give him."

Maurice winced as his words seemed to hit a wall a hundred miles, or maybe a hundred years away, and were absorbed. Chances were good that whoever had yanked him away from Sunrise--just at the culmination of his game!--wasn't even listening. Or if he, she, or they were listening, they weren't going to respond.

That was what he would do, if he was on the Fae Disciplinary Council. Lock up the miscreant, leave him alone for a while to squirm and protest and sweat, and then bring him out for judgment. 

Eventually.

It was the eventually part of the formula that worried Maurice.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book of the Week: DIVINE'S EMPORIUM

This week starts a long string of books set in my weird little town of NEIGHBORLEE, OHIO.

Think of a place that's part Mayberry, part Roswell, part Eureka, and part Buffy's Sunnyvale -- but without the vampires or aliens.

Yeah -- MAGIC!
A little creepy at times, a lot of fun, and always something going on. For those who live there, the odd events are kind of shrugged off with a, "Ho, hum, so what ELSE is new?" attitude. And what's really odd is that newcomers don't really notice. Of course, then there's the "we don't want you here, go away" vibe that some people get, so they don't stick around long enough to notice something strange is going on.

All of this is leading up to the release of the next Neighborlee, Ohio book published by Uncial Press: DORM RATS. Otherwise known as Growing Up Neighborlee, Book 2.

The first Neighborlee book is DIVINE'S EMPORIUM.

Maurice used his Fae magic to help the downtrodden and abused. But when he went too far, the Powers-That-Be decided he needed to learn humility, self-restraint, and mercy. They took away most of his magic, shrunk him down to 5 inches, and slapped wings on his back that no self-respecting Fae would be caught dead in. Then they exiled him to the Human realms, to work out his sentence helping Humans.

His destination: Divine's Emporium, a curiosity shop touched with magic, on the edge of the odd town of Neighborlee, Ohio.

His parole officer: Angela, the proprietress of Divine's Emporium, touched with magic and a shadowy past of her own.

His sentence: Help the Humans who come into Divine's to find answers, freedom, their own magic, and true love. Not necessarily in that order.

His problem: How does a five-inch-tall Fae, invisible to most Humans, win the heart of the ugly duckling who has caught his interest, his sympathy, and then his heart--when she can't see or hear him?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: WRITING SUCCESS, Your Book from Start to Finish to Publication

Featuring writing advice and guidance and how-to from names in the writing business:

Karen Ball
Erin Taylor Young
James Scott Bell
Mary Demuth
Tricia Goyer
Cindy Coloma
Erin Macpherson
Allie Pleiter
Susan Mary Warren

Got some questions about a part of preparing to write your book, writing it, revising and editing it, promotion? You can probably find an answer in this book. Or what's better, ideas for how to handle your problems. One great thing about this book is the authors offering their advice are honest enough, humble enough, to tell you that just because it works for them, that doesn't mean that's the ONLY way to handle that part of the writing process. We're all different. We all have different viewpoints, different needs, different barriers. Take what you learn from this book and adapt it to suit your needs. Don't ever cripple yourself by forcing yourself to do it the way someone else does, exactly as they do it, just because that person is famous.

This is a BIG book. There is a lot of useful information in here. Take your time going through it. Even if the section you're reading doesn't deal with anything that's giving you a problem. Probably in the future you will have trouble, and you might just have an easier time because of what you read here. Of course, you'll have the book to refer to in the future. Just saying ...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 5 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:


            Duncan tried three doors before he found one that was open.  The sign above it advertised the soup kitchen and the food cupboard, the latter open twenty-four hours.  He walked down a short hallway smelling of fresh paint and sawdust, which opened out into a long room filled with tables and folding chairs.  The far wall had a four-foot high gap, starting at waist height, running the entire length of the wall opening into a kitchen full of stainless steel tables and cabinets, stove and massive refrigerator.  It was also full of people, moving back and forth between the work tables and the stove.  Duncan checked his watch.  It was nearly ten in the morning.  He smelled the mixed aromas of chicken broth and tomatoes, baking bread and cinnamon.  How soon would the first hungry customers come trickling through the door behind him for their lunch?


            "Can I help you?" a woman said, pausing in the doorway, a few feet down from the serving window.  "We're not quite ready to serve lunch yet, but there's plenty of food left over from breakfast."  She was little more than a woman shape, lost in the shadows, but as she started across the long room to meet him, details became clear.

            Blue jeans, washed until they were faded almost white; a long, golden, tunic-style shirt with the sleeves rolled up and water spots down the front.  She had a red-and-white checkered cheesecloth dishtowel caught through the belt of her shirt, and she wore sandals that clicked softly across the gleaming, clean green tile floor.  Her eyes were bright blue, her face heart-shaped, with only a few wrinkles around eyes and mouth to mar her ivory and gold-toned skin.  Duncan knew those lines came from laughter, not anger or fear or pain.

            Those bright blue eyes widened.  She reached up to tuck a few platinum blonde curls behind her ears as she stared at him.

            "Duncan?" Geneva whispered.  A nervous laugh broke out of her.  "Duncan MacLeod, is that really you?"  Laughing, she spread her arms wide and hurried the last few yards to meet him.

Friday, November 17, 2017

New Book: JENNIFER, Quarry Hall 11

Excerpt:

A flash of green-tinted light startled them both. She and Su-Ma darted around the back of the truck, even as Jennifer wondered if that was smart, or she should go back for the fire extinguisher in the back of her Jeep. She skidded to a stop at the sight of Vincent and George stepping down from the open back of the truck, waving away smoke tinted gray-blue in the working lights that illuminated the narrow workbench down the middle of the truck.

"You're not gonna pass out on us, are you?" Su-Ma said, wrinkling up her nose as a dissipating tendril of smoke drifted past her face.

"If I do, I'll let you know." Vincent winked at them both.

That was encouraging, Jennifer decided.

"Is it dead?" she had to ask, and glanced at the workbench. She couldn't see the silver box or any signs of a small explosion taking place, such as a black ring burned into the surface.

"If it ain't," George said, shifting his shoulders a little, as if to straighten them, "it will be." His eyes narrowed and he stared at something inside the truck for a few seconds. Then he grunted and reached for the side of the truck to haul himself up the step.

"What happened?" Su-Ma asked, when Vincent stayed outside with them. "Do you know what it is yet?" 

"A couple steps up from all the gear they tried to sneak in on you and Haley," he said after a moment's delay, when Jennifer thought he hadn't heard them.

"So …" She wasn't ashamed when a shiver ran through her, and she wrapped her arms around herself. Puck leaned against her thigh. "Who are you calling first? McAllistair and all his sneaky connections, or Col. Sidarkis?"

Thursday, November 16, 2017

New Book: JENNIFER, Quarry Hall 11

Excerpt:

Puck carried a takeout bag clamped in his teeth, while Su-Ma carried a tray of drink cups. Mist had straws and napkins tucked under her wide, rainbow-streaked rhinestone collar. She trotted up to Jennifer and sniffed at her at knee-level, going a full circle before getting close enough to touch. Jennifer swallowed down the tightness in her throat at this sign of the delicate dog's slow emotional recovery. Moving her hands so Mist could see what she was doing, and not startle, she reached to take the straws and napkins out from under the collar, then stroked the dog's back, murmuring praise. Su-Ma was still the only one who could touch Mist's head and neck without sending the dog into shivering semi-paralysis. Despite most of her hair having grown back, she still showed the scars from the abuse she had suffered since puppyhood.

"And you did a good job, too," Jennifer said, turning to Puck so she wouldn't see how Mist nearly turned a somersault to race back to Su-Ma's side. She scratched his head and down his nose before taking the bag from him. "Seven-layer burrito, huh? Just when did Mist tell you that was her favorite?"

"She didn't, but since she doesn't get sick from the bite she gets of mine, makes sense she likes it." Su-Ma stepped back from sliding the drink carrier onto the passenger seat of the truck. She tipped her head toward the back. "Any progress?"


"All I got from George was 'sealed,' whatever that means."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

BOOKSIGNING!!!

Yep, another one!

This Saturday, November 18, I'll be at: 
Around About Books
8 West Main Street
Troy, Ohio 45373

Starting at 1pm.
Lots of other authors will be there, but most notable are my fellow ACFW-Ohio authors, Tamera Lynn Kraft and Sandra Merville Hart.

You like historical romances, or just plain historical fiction? They're the ladies to see.

I'm eagerly waiting for a box of books with print copies of all four of my Guardians of the Time Stream books. Now's a good time to stock up.

Remember: Books are ALWAYS a great Christmas present.
Even if it's just for yourself ....

See you Saturday, I hope!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New Book: JENNIFER, Quarry Hall 11

Excerpt:

"Sealed," George announced. He glanced up at them, offered a flat little smile, then turned and hurried to the back of the truck. Vincent followed, but he shook his head and gestured for Jennifer to stay back.

Not that she needed to see what George was doing. She knew what the inside of the truck looked like, essentially a mobile mechanics shop combined with a high-tech lab. Sophie and Su-Ma and George had gone hog-wild with designing it and configuring it for Internet hook-up and triple-strength power sources so he could run several diagnostic devices at the same time. There was even a small bomb-proof box built into the floor of the truck, with electric and manual release levers, so it could be dropped and left behind, if necessary. Jennifer shuddered, remembering that detail. What was wrong with them, that they had such fun fitting out the truck for George, without remembering that he wouldn't be "playing" with it, but doing serious work?

"Door to door service," Su-Ma called, her voice threading through the trees. Now Jennifer realized what an effective sound barrier those trees made. She didn't hear any of the traffic from the highway or from the drive-thru window of the Taco Bell.


She turned around and saw the dimly outlined shape of Su-Ma trudging down the gravel path. Mist seemed to almost glow, as if her silvery coat of fine hair caught and amplified the light that spilled through from the parking lot. Despite the white of his coat dominating, Puck seemed like a dark shadow in comparison, walking on Su-Ma's other side. Then the three of them stepped into the spill of light from the two sets of headlights, and Jennifer had to laugh.

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Book: JENNIFER, Quarry Hall 11

Excerpt:

The wall of trees turned out to be only a few trees thick, immediately giving way to a clearing. Headlights came on as soon as the Jeep's headlights touched the panel truck that had been George's latest passion for the last two months. She parked lined up with the front end of the truck, creating a pool of strong light. Vincent climbed out of the driver's side. Jennifer slid out of the Jeep and Puck let out a happy yelp and nearly pushed her out of the way as he scrambled out of the driver's seat behind her. He dashed off into the woods, heading for the Taco Bell.

"Power of suggestion," Vincent said, gesturing at the fast food shop with a jerk of his chin.

George stepped out from the back of the truck, rubbing his hands, hunched over and cast into enough shadow that Jennifer saw him for a moment in the classic mad scientist pose. Especially with his stringy hair and slightly misshapen head. Fortunately, he wasn't wearing a white lab coat. The battered old man gave a hop-skip as he held out both hands, approaching her. She couldn't help laughing, the macabre impression fading. This was the George they all knew and loved, eager to play with a new gizmo and learn how it worked. She stepped back to her Jeep, took the silver box from the compartment in the console, and carefully handed it over. George went immediately still, just holding it flat across both palms and studying it, his head tipped to one side.

"Power of suggestion?" she said, hooking a thumb over her shoulder at the Taco Bell.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 4 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:

The yard around the cave-barn echoed in the silence.  Even the softly moaning wind seemed far away, afraid to touch the rocky, weed-strewn oval.

            There.  He caught movement, a flicker of rare sunlight on something bright, a blade perhaps.  Someone peered around the side of the stone farmhouse.

            "I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod," he announced in Chinese, then in French, then German.  He wasn't about to mangle his tongue with what little he knew of the local dialects.  "Show yourself."

            "Doesn't anybody around here know decent English?" a man drawled, and stepped out from behind the farmhouse.  The sun glinted off the curved, heavy blade of his sword.


            "Josh?"  MacLeod took a step back.  "Josh Clay?"  He truly thought his sometime-partner had died, since he missed that rendezvous in San Francisco eighty years ago.

            "It's Josh Porter now, but it's still me."  Josh grinned and scrubbed at his beard, just as black and just as dusty as always, but considerably shorter.  He tugged his wool-lined cap off his head and batted it against his thigh, raising more dust.  "How are you doing, Mac?"

            "The same.  And you?"

            "Lost."

            "Another treasure hunt gone wrong?"  MacLeod smiled, despite the blade still pointing in his direction.

            "Trying to get some friends out of trouble, actually.  We got separated and ... "  Josh finally seemed to see the sword he clutched in his hand.  He sheathed it and slid it back inside his long, stained, dirt-colored coat.  "Put that away, will you, Mac?  I'm not after anyone's head today."  He nodded toward the barn.  "You staying there?"

            "Until night."

            "Nobody comes to this part of the world for the fun of it.  Knowing you, you're probably playing the knight in shining armor again.  Could you use a hand?"

Friday, November 10, 2017

New Book: JENNIFER, Quarry Hall 11

Excerpt:

"I think in this instance, you shouldn't offer the information," Harrison Carter said, when Jennifer voiced her thoughts. "If they ask, then yes, tell them, but … well, I think you need to get that to George and Vincent as soon as possible."

"You're thinking Genghis?" Joan said.

"We are on his radar," he said, while Jennifer muffled a groan and Puck whimpered once and pressed hard against her, offering comfort. "Unless this man from your sordid past has a grudge against you, and the means to follow through on it, Genghis is the most logical option."

Jennifer agreed, and managed to smile at his very subtle joke. She had spoken more with Elizabeth about her past than anyone at Quarry Hall, but it was understood that whatever she knew, she told her husband. Carter had proven it on several occasions, when he offered bits of advice about dealing with the fallout from the destruction of her parents' marriage. More than ten years later, Jennifer was still trying to put the pieces together, and suffering from the delayed ricochet of the metaphorical shrapnel. If her mother had known what long-lasting consequences would result from her affair, would she have continued down that path? Would she have insisted that she hadn't done anything wrong, even as the reactions of others destroyed several Air Force careers and two families?

Considering her mother's current attitude, Jennifer didn't have to think more than a few seconds to know the answer. She made a mental note to try to get in contact with her mother when she got home. Maybe today's unpleasant encounter and reminder of her own bad choices was a sign from God, a nudge in the right direction?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

New Book: JENNIFER, Quarry Hall 11

Excerpt:

Yelling, the man got to his feet, staggering every time Puck leaped on him. He stumbled across the parking lot, cursing in some guttural language Jennifer didn't recognize -- not Arabic, German, Russian, or French. She snatched up the flat silver box. Gunshots rang out, and bullets ricocheted off the cement. Somersaulting backwards, she nearly hit her head on the car bumper to her right.

Shouting the commands to stop, retreat, come back to her, in English and reinforced in Greek, Jennifer stumbled backwards into the shelter of her Jeep. The gunshots halted mere seconds after Puck joined her, shuddering and silently growling.

Fighting to calm her breathing, she wrapped her arms around her companion and listened to the night sounds. Specifically, the lack of certain sounds -- running feet, men shouting and cursing, and the roaring of an engine as a car or truck sped away into the night. She could only guess that whoever had tried to do something to her Jeep had approached on foot. Why?

The family at Quarry Hall was still discussing the possibilities, the theories, when the police arrived. Roger stepped out to deal with them, leaving Jennifer to finish the call. Puck stayed with Jennifer, and she was grateful.

She still had the silver box, long enough and wide enough to hold maybe six pencils, clutched tight in her hand. She didn't want to hand it over to the police, but chances were good they would demand she hand it over if she told them about it.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Booksigning!

THIS SATURDAY.

Hope to see you there:


New & Olde Pages Bookshoppe
856 Union Blvd, Englewood, OH 45322

The booksigning -- well, if you think about it, a FESTIVAL of BOOKS and AUTHORS -- will be from 1-4.

There'll be goodies and freebies and lots of books to choose from and have them signed. Sounds like a great time and place to start your Christmas shopping.

Or just treat yourself to a new book, while meeting real live authors face-to-face.

We don't bite, honest!

Just make sure you bring lots of chocolate ......

Hope to see YOU face-to-face on Saturday!

The War Room



Please mark the date for the Faith and Fellowship Book Festival, and plan on attending!

Where is Etna? Look for Columbus, OH and then look to the right. Better yet, just plug the address into your map app. Check out this link and see all the authors, all the different kinds of books, the panel discussions available. Oh, yeah, and BOOKS to buy.

I mean, come on, it's time to start CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!

I'm gonna be there -- I hope to see YOU!