Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Feature: HOMESPUN, from the upcoming Tabor Heights short story anthology

How, you may ask, can you get hold of this anthology?

Especially since it'll be FREE?

Come to the Mt. Zion Ridge Facebook party on CYBER MONDAY and find out.

CLICK HERE to go to the page and mark that you'll be attending.

First story in the anthology is HOMESPUN

This is the story behind the story, telling how Joel and Emily Randolph met and fell in love and came up with the idea of Homespun Theater, the community theater in Tabor Heights.

Excerpt:

A little body with an amazing mop of black curls squatted in the pool of light from the Green Room door, playing with one of the wooden tops that Gregori liked to carve during performances while waiting for his lighting cues. She looked up as Joel approached and opened her mouth as if she would say something, then shook her head. She stood up and held out her hand.

Bemused, Joel bent over. He had learned a long time ago that no matter how small the children, they hated when adults went down on one knee and emphasized how short they were. He shook her hand.

"Hello. I'm Joel. What's your name?"

"I'm Max."

"Max?" He grinned, sure he had heard her wrong.

"Max? What are you doing out here?" A little woman with pure white curls and a neon orange jogging suit paused in the doorway, leaning on her glossy black cane. "Honey, remember what Mommy told you? Don't go running around strange places." She took hold of Max's hand to lead her back into the Green Room. "I'm sorry. We just got here, and she's been riding for six hours and... well, you know children. If they can't run around once every hour..." Her smile was full of mischief and life, and Joel found himself grinning back at her.

"But it's not a strange place," Max said, all seriousness. "It's a theater. I know all about theaters."

"You do, huh?" Joel gestured for them to precede him into the Green Room. "How's that?"

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: TEAROOM FOR TWO, Susan Page Davis

Book 1 of the Tearoom Mysteries published by Guideposts.

One of the fun parts of going to a writing conference is learning about the projects of other writers, or publishers. At the ACFW conference this past September in Nashville, I was lucky enough to meet up with a Guideposts editor and she gave me this book.

Fun! I'm handing this one to my mother, and I'm sure this is one of those series we're both going to be racing each other to read the next installment. Guideposts' books are part of a club, but I think -- don't quote me on this -- individual books, especially older series, can be bought individually. I sure hope so!

Jan and Elaine are cousins, widows, who decide to combine their resources and their love of tea and open a tearoom in Maine, where they were children together. In the course of picking up bits and pieces for their tearoom, such as decorations and mismatched teapots and tea cups, they stumble into a mystery that turns downright thrilling, and even dangerous at times.

Don't worry -- this isn't Cabot Cove, where anyone and everyone runs the risk of being either the murderer or murdered.

The first mystery deals with an ugly old teapot the cousins pick up for practically nothing at a flea market. Their first clue that something is up is when the dealer tries to buy it back. Then other people get downright rude, invasive, and dishonest, trying to get their hands on it. As the mystery deepens and the stakes rise, Jan and Elaine prove they're smart and tough, even when it could be dangerous to refuse to back down, or do the right thing.

The perfect way to spend a chilly, wet fall afternoon. I was almost glad to have a miserable cold and an excuse to just sit and read for a couple hours straight. Brew a pot of your favorite tea and dive in.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Feature: SHATTER SCATTER

Fantasy from Mundania Press:

Sequel to WOLVES ON THE WEST SIDE

Be careful what you wish for!
Aggie, Brody and Lara learn the hard way that tampering with magic and investigating without the guidance of their mysterious guardian, Anton Dorayn, leads to big problems. All they meant to do was test a few theories, but a supposedly harmless picnic in the park stirs up magic and opens a doorway into another world. Is it the home the three barely remember?

Between finding Werelings who claim to be relatives, a waterlogged ghost searching for her true love, magic that doesn't follow the supposed rules and wizards who suddenly want to kill Lara, it's not a day in the park by any stretch of the imagination. All they know is that they have to protect the friends who fell through into the mirror world with them and unlock the secret of the magical disaster that hit them ten years ago, before unraveling magic destroys the land, and possibly the world.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Feature: WOLVES ON THE WEST SIDE

Fantasy from Mundania Press:

A freak storm dumped two battered children into a river in the Cleveland Metroparks. No clue to their identity or why anyone tried to kill them. Yet that mystery was nothing compared to the secrets the girls protected.

Lara could work minor magic, though she didn't know how she did it. Aggie could turn into a wolf. They knew they came from another world, but didn't know how or why, where that world was, or how to get home.

Their only chance to find answers was to stay together, follow the stray bits of magic that they sensed around them, and find Aggie's twin brother.

But first, they had to survive high school.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: DRAGONS AT CRUMBLING CASTLE, by Terry Pratchett

This is another collection of the late Sir Terry Pratchett's early writings.

What's really fun is seeing all the drawings that he seems to have done to illustrate his stories. These are little more than scribbles, pen or pencil scratchings, not great artwork by any means, but quite enjoyable, giving some added depth to the characters and setting, a clue to his feelings about the fantastical worlds he created when he was just starting out, and another side to the author's personality and talents.

Lots of fun, reading the sly digs at local customs and rivalries and just inspired silliness. I especially enjoyed reading the stories about the Carpet People -- which I discovered at the end of the book were the launching point for an entire book. One of these days, when I get my reading list down a few more feet, I intend to buy the Carpet People book, which launched Pratchett's writing career, complete with his original illustrations.

For writers in general, and for fantasy and humor writers in particular -- especially those who adore Discworld and mourn the loss of the creator -- this is sure to be a fascinating look back at the beginning of things. And encouragement for those of us who are still waiting for that big break to launch us high enough to be discovered.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Feature: THE WOLF THAT WAS

Fantasy from Mundania Press:

Sequel to BITTER SWEET

Tirian grew up knowing she would inherit her mother's duties as village wise woman, but without inheriting her mother's magical gifts. It didn't help that her mother insisted Tirian herself was magic. When an enemy wizard killed her mother, she despaired of ever finding an answer to that puzzle.

Then she met Bran, a man cursed by that same wizard: a wolf by day and a man only by light of the waning moon. Forced to choose between her new friend and the villagers who would never truly love her, Tirian decided it was time to seek answers for them both. Their journey took them to Stonemount, where King Fallon feared his new queen conspired to steal his throne, and a lonely child waited to grow into the most powerful enchanter in the world.

Their search united them, but their answers could tear them apart forever. Could a wolf that was a man at heart, and the maiden with a wolf in her soul ever find a world that would let them simply be, much less be together?

Friday, October 19, 2018

It's That Time Of The Year: OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

You have less than a month to fills those shoeboxes and get them to your local collection center.

Are you excited?
I am.
I LOVE doing Operation Christmas Child, shopping for hygiene and school supplies and special treats for children in other countries, and imagining their fun and excitement as they explore all the surprises.

This year, I'm even more excited, because Mt. Zion Ridge Press plans to get involved by rewarding YOU for being involved.

Here's the plan:
1) Fill your shoeboxes. Need tips or just plain instructions? Go to the Christmas Child page at Samaritan's Purse. (Link provided)
2) Pay electronically for the shipping/processing costs for your box
3) Send a copy of your electronic receipt to Mt Zion Ridge Press: MtZionRidgePress@gmail.com
4) You will then have an entry in a Rafflecopter giveaway for your choice of a FREE ebook from the growing Mt. Zion Ridge Press catalog.

We're still setting things up at the site and figuring out how to process the giveaway, so please don't check the Mt. Zion Ridge Press site for those specific details just yet, okay?

However, there's nothing to stop you from visiting our site and seeing the books available, and coming up, and start shopping!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Feature: BITTER SWEET

Fantasy from Mundania Press:


What can a princess do when Prince Charming isn't?

Vevina started out like any fairy tale princess, with a christening and a magical gift and betrothed to a handsome prince from a neighboring country. The only thing she had to worry about was the typical witch or evil enchanter appearing when she turned eighteen.

Then Fallon, her Prince Charming, revealed he was anything but charming. His plots stole nearly everything and everyone Vevina loved, and he tried to make the rest of the world think it was her fault. There was only one thing to do, and that was to beat Fallon at his own game and reveal his lies to the whole world. With the aid of a friendly spirit, Vevina disguised herself and headed into Fallon's country in search of the magical healer, Ambrose, and some justice.

But as her teacher warned her, using the enemy's tactics led to complications that even magic might not be able to cure.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: PHYSIK, Septimus Heap #3, by Angie Sage

You know what's funny? I have the next book in this lovely, enchanting, addictive fantasy series waiting in my bookshelf, QUESTE, and I'm already planning my next trip to the bookstore to see if there are more. I want the adventures to keep going.

In PHYSIK, our young apprentice to the Extraordinary Wizard is reminded that being the seventh son of the seventh son is a dangerous position. People keep wanting to take advantage of his inborn magical talent and potential. In this case, a nasty, self-righteous queen who wants to live forever -- even though she's a ghost -- and her more-than-slightly crazy son, an alchemist, who has been waiting for Septimus to show up for the last 500 years. He's found out that living forever ain't all it's supposed to be cracked up to be. (I know that phrase is awkward -- live with it!)

Princess Jenna, Septimus' adopted sister -- they were born on the same day -- plays a big part in the story, and she learns that family can be both wonderful and horrifying. More characters are introduced into the saga, and considering the loose threads left hanging at the end of this book, they better show up in the next one.

Lovely, fun story, in a thick book. The kind that it would be smart to set aside large chunks of time for reading, because it's utterly frustrating to have to put the book down and deal with real life. Know what I mean? Start with the first book, MAGYK. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Feature: SILVER AZULI, Chorillan Cycle, Commonwealth Universe

SF from Writers Exchange:


Vidan was again reaching out to the stars: sadder and wiser... and cautious, unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the ancestors. The Commonwealth was born, reaching out to lost colonies and establishing new ones, rediscovering lost technology and how to navigate the star-ways. Many of the lost colonies not only survived but thrived--and they remembered their abandonment and the harsh centuries of the Downfall...

Lucas and Kay'li marry and anticipate a peaceful domestic life, when his duties as lieutenant governor and her duties as Scout recruiter and trainer allow. However, not all their enemies were caught during the revolution and they are still out in the wilderness of Chorillan, waiting for the perfect opportunity to take revenge.

Then a family vacation of exploration and camping, to hide Kay'li's pregnancy from friends and foes, goes suspiciously, horribly wrong. They find sanctuary on the edge of the secret Azuli canyon, and intend to stay there until Kay'li gives birth... if their enemies don't find them first.

Friday, October 5, 2018

ALMOST HERE! The newest Neighborlee, Ohio novel

Yep, LIVING PROOF, the latest misadventures of Lanie Zephyr, the broken semi-pseudo-superhero,
will be released in just one more week.

Check out the Uncaged Reviews issue in the sidebar for the ad for LIVING PROOF.

You can find all my Neighborlee books -- and all my other Uncial Press titles -- at www.UncialPress.com or by searching Amazon, of course.

Enjoy!


ARE YOU GOING TO BE IN TROY ON SATURDAY?

If you are, please make time to stop in at Around About Books, 8 W. Main Street, right off the center of town and the roundabout, from 2 until 4.

I'll be with other authors in the From the Lake to the River anthology, signing the book (new from Mt. Zion Ridge Press) and other books from the participating authors. We'd love to talk with you and tell you about the anthology -- stories set in Ohio, all written by Ohio authors!

Visit the bookstore's website: www.AroundAboutBooks.com -- or call them for information: 937-339-1707.

NEXT WEEKEND, October 13, I'll be participating at the Indie Author Showcase at the Parma-Snow branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. 2121 Snow Road, Parma, OH. There will be workshops for indie authors, from 10 until 12:30, and then a booksigning open to the public from 1 until 4. What a great chance to get a major jump start on your Christmas shopping!

Here's the link for information: https://attend.cuyahogalibrary.org/event/874800

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Feature: CHORILLAN, Chorillan Cycle, Commonwealth Universe

SF from Writers Exchange:


Vidan was again reaching out to the stars: sadder and wiser... and cautious, unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the ancestors. The Commonwealth was born, reaching out to lost colonies and establishing new ones, rediscovering lost technology and how to navigate the star-ways. Many of the lost colonies not only survived but thrived--and they remembered their abandonment and the harsh centuries of the Downfall...

Kay'li Fieran returns to Chorillan, to investigate the conflicting stories about Wildlings and government activities, and learn the truth. She is reunited with Lucas and becomes a friend to the Wildling community. As a Scout captain she has the power to dissolve the colonial government and place it under military rule, if necessary.

And the things she learns, including the abuse and murder of innocents, makes her fear that will be necessary, far too soon.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: LEVERAGE IN DEATH, J.D. Robb

Is there anything better than getting a new book in a favorite series the DAY it officially releases?
How about not having to pay the hardback price? Thank you, Cuyahoga County Public Library system, and being able to order books online!
I ordered the physical book this time, instead of reserving an ebook of the latest In Death book -- the adventures of futuristic homicide cop Eve Dallas.

Is there anything more despicable than an emotionally stunted jerk who's out to punish the world because he decided he was cheated in childhood, and happy little families don't deserve to be happy? And if he can make a profit out of it while he's getting some payback, he should? How about two of these selfish bozos? How about, after threatening people with the torture and death of their loved ones, to make them commit horrible crimes, they turn around and say they were only bluffing, that their victims chose to do what they did, that they're to blame because they didn't call the bluff?

Go get 'em, Dallas, and lock the scumbuzzards up for a couple dozen consecutive life sentences.

As always, the tightly knit plot and search for creepazoid killers takes a close second place to the interaction of the characters and their personal lives, their affection for each other, their teamwork -- and of course, Dallas' continuing bafflement when it comes to things like fashion and pop culture and idiomatic phrases. *sigh* I was in agony whenever I had to put the book down to work and earn a living.

So, when does the next book come out?

Friday, September 28, 2018

Catching Up

This morning's Verse of the Day from my devotions/Bible reading app.

Hard to believe September is almost over!

Tonight is Homecoming at my alma mater, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. Go, Royals!! If you're going to be there, either for the game or just to catch up with alumni, or you're a student or parent, hope to meet up with you. I'll be in the alumni tent and helping with cleanup. You have got to check out the great carnival set up for kids of all ages, and the food trucks and goodies provided by and for alumni.

Incredible developments over the last few months. Some of you probably heard, and others probably haven't: Desert Breeze Publishing, which did my Tabor Heights, Quarry Hall, and Guardians of the Time Stream series .... has closed its doors. All of those books (39 total) are off the market ... but only temporarily. I am turning over Tabor Heights and Quarry Hall and my SFR books, Blue Fire and Starblue to Writers Exchange of Australia. I will be re-releasing the Guardians of the Time Stream series through the new small press, Mt. Zion Ridge Press, starting in spring of 2019.

In fact ... I'm one of the founders of Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Check us out! https://mtzionridgepress.wixsite.com/mtzionridgepress

We have 2 books so far, and are gearing up to release our third late fall, with lots more slated for the next year. Right now we're re-releasing our orphaned DBP books, but we're going to be sending out invitations soon for people to submit for a Christmas anthology for 2019, and then late in 2019 we'll be opening the door for submissions. More on that later -- check out the MZRP site for details.

Here's the cover of our first book, available in paper and ebook. FROM THE LAKE TO THE RIVER: Buckeye Christian Fiction Authors 2018 Anthology. Very proud of this anthology that offers a lot of bite-sized stories for different tastes, genres, and time periods -- all set in Ohio!

If you're going to be in Troy next Saturday, October 6, PLEASE STOP IN at Around About Books, on W. Main Street, right off the center of town -- if you find the roundabout, you're close! I will be there with most of the authors participating in this anthology for a book release and booksigning. It'll be great fun! Check out Around About Books' website for more details.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Feature: BY FIRE AND STARS, Chorillan Cycle, Commonwealth Universe

SF from Writers Exchange:


Vidan was again reaching out to the stars: sadder and wiser... and cautious, unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the ancestors. The Commonwealth was born, reaching out to lost colonies and establishing new ones, rediscovering lost technology and how to navigate the star-ways. Many of the lost colonies not only survived but thrived--and they remembered their abandonment and the harsh centuries of the Downfall...

Lucas Aidan, Kay'li Fieran's childhood friend, faces the greatest fear of children born on Chorillan: Phase. His family tries to hide his condition and ease his torment during the worst part of the illness, but when tragedy strikes he flees into the wilderness. He learns to survive, guarded by Azuli and learning the secrets of the Wildlings who never returned from Phase.

When he is captured and brought back to civilization years later, he is a figure of legend, a leader for all Wildlings, and someone the corrupt government of Chorillan would do well to fear.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Feature: SCOUTS; PRIDE, Chorillan Cycle, Commonwealth Universe

SF from Writers Exchange:


Vidan was again reaching out to the stars: sadder and wiser...and cautious, unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the ancestors. The Commonwealth was born, reaching out to lost colonies and establishing new ones, rediscovering lost technology and how to navigate the star-ways. Many of the lost colonies not only survived but thrived--and they remembered their abandonment and the harsh centuries of the Downfall...

When Miranda dies of the same degenerative disease that killed her father, Ian and their daughter, Kay'li, flee Chorillan to keep Miranda's powerful family from taking the child away from him. Ian returns to the Scout Corps, and Kay'li grows up on board the Leaper ship, Estal'es'cai, seeing first-hand the requirements and the price of true heroism.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Feature: AZULI EYES, Chorillan Cycle, Commonwealth Universe

SF from Writers Exchange:


Vidan was again reaching out to the stars: sadder and wiser... and cautious, unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the ancestors. The Commonwealth was born, reaching out to lost colonies and establishing new ones, rediscovering lost technology and how to navigate the star-ways. Many of the lost colonies not only survived but thrived--and they remembered their abandonment and the harsh centuries of the Downfall...

Scout Captain Ian Fieran cleans up operations after battling a Gen'gineer team that attacked and decimated a small colony. The crime of the colonists? Their genetics didn't suit the exacting standards of the Gen'gineers, who continue the dogma and goal of the Set'ri from centuries ago in their attempt to create the "perfect" Human genome. Captured data leads Ian and his team of Scouts across the galaxy to the Rim colony world of Chorillan, where they hope to track down a Gen'gineer nest.

At the same time, Miranda Riallon, a schoolteacher and daughter of very important members of the Colony Council, worries about one of her students. The boy is an orphan, and she wants to adopt him. However, Ranny shows all the signs of going into Phase--the sensory overload that hits some children near adolescence. No one knows what causes Phase, and there's no known cure. Some fear that the Azuli--sentient canines native to Chorillan--are stealing the children when they escape into the wilderness to ease their discomfort. When Ranny vanishes, Miranda heads into the forests of Chorillan to find him.

She meets Ian and his Scouts. They help her look for Ranny while she helps them hunt down the Gen'gineers. As each side educates the other, they come to a partnership, then friendship. The choices Ian and Miranda make during their hunt will change Chorillan for generations to come.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: COILED, by H.L. Burke

There's been some excitement in the fantasy community over this book -- and well deserved!!

I heard the story talked about on various podcasts and on different Facebook groups, so I was pretty confident buying it.

COILED is lovely.

The simplest description is a re-telling of the Psyche and Cupid legend, and yet .... can I say WOW?

Laidra and her sister, and Calen and his brother are twins -- and more than that, both sets of twins are cursed at birth with what is called a mirror curse. And yet it's not the same curse in that the effects are not the same between both sets of twins. Laidra and Calen, our heroes, are considered the monsters .... and yet that is only physical. The personalities of their twins are truly the "monsters" in the story, and what their parents do to each other, to their children, and the lengths they go to try to break the curse and cure their children ... heartbreaking. And infuriating. I just wanted to reach through the screen and slap some of them. Don't get me started on the creep who put the curse on the innocent babies.

How enthralling is this story? I picked it up late at night, planning to read a couple chapters ... and finally stopped about 2am with dry eyes and about 20 percent of the book left to go. I would have finished it that night/morning, but I needed to get some sleep!

Take my advice and put aside a big chunk of time so you can read from cover to cover. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Feature: TAKSEARHE, Wildvine Book 6

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and with Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet.

Bree has lived with the burden of knowing she's born to be a Taksearhe, the highest level of strength among all the Talents, with the ability to travel between worlds. Yet childhood trauma has blocked her gifts. She knows she travels to other worlds in her dreams yet can't remember where she went or how when she wakes up. The exiles from Rehdonna are depending on her, and she's willing to do whatever it takes to learn what's going on in her brain and dreams to awaken her gifts.

When she joins a dream and sleep study program at Lyndvale University, she's relieved when Dr. Harland, the man her mother is dating, takes her under his wing to protect and guide her. With the help of her roommates and then contacts in other worlds, she learns to awaken and control her gift, but not before she attracts the attention of evil forces that want to use her to open the doorway to Earth.

Bree's wishes come true, but the cost if she takes just one wrong step could deprive her of friends, her heritage, and the soulmate who's reached out to her from another world.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: The JOY SPARTAN Series, by Ruth I Johnson

I remember reading and enjoying these books in the church library when I was in junior high. Funny, but they're almost as old as me ....

Joy Spartan is a PK -- preacher's kid -- in the 60s. A simpler age (allegedly), but still just as uncomfortable and demanding and frustrating and embarrassing for a pre-teen even without the demands of social media. Yeah, everyone still managed to watch every move a PK made, even without the help of the Internet.

Joy and her twin brother Roy got in trouble  with the stuffed shirts at church, as well as with peer pressure and normal problems that still plague kids today. Along the way, they solved a few mysteries and helped straighten out a few troublemakers, and even faced an escaped convict. Being a PK, she got more than her fair share of Bible verses flung at her, but I think she still turned out okay. Read these books for a bit of nostalgia, and share them with your kids, who might just find a trip to the deep dark distant pre-Internet past fascinating.

Joy Spartan of Parsonage Hill
Joy Spartan and Her Problem Twin
Joy Spartan and the Vacation Mix-Up
Joy Spartan and the Money Mix-Up
Joy Spartan and the Mystery in Room 7

Friday, August 31, 2018

Feature: APPRENTICE SOLAR, Wildvine Book 5

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and with Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet.

A secret life is just as much a burden as a secret identity...
Jori's still recovering from her injuries earned on her first adventure in Unipuri when her college life turns upside down. While losing her pain-in-the-neck roommate is good news, she also loses the good one. Two friends in her dormitory rescue her from the dilemma of taking new roommates, and share their dorm room with her. Nothing in the world can compel Jori to mess up her new dorm situation.

However, she's now living in two worlds, and, as a result, some complications just can't be avoided. Jori enjoys learning to be a Solar, charged with protecting the doorway between worlds. The time differential between the Midworld and Earth is a big help in getting her homework done. She can't always hide her dual lives, when she puts her life on the line in the centuries-long war raging in Unipuri. Especially when she realizes her new roommates have secrets of their own. Even her dreams aren't private anymore.

Enemies of the Solars target Jori and manage to follow her from Unipuri to Earth with their magic, threatening her life and the ones she loves most. She was warned and trained, but at the end of the day, she's still just a college freshman.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Feature: OLD SOLAR'S SHOPPE, Wildvine Book 4

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and with Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet.

Jori goes to Willowood College because of a promise her father made years ago when he was a student there. She only has to put in one year and then she can go to whatever college she prefers. When she walks into Old Solar's Shoppe her first day in town, prophecies spoken in another world awaken and claim her.

Lew has already lost one apprentice, and he isn't happy when the dreamstone marks Jori as his new apprentice, but he knows better than to disobey the will of Waetru. Lew and Jori become friends and he teaches her about the world called Unipuri. She believes Lew's stories are just a wonderful, complicated game.
Then an ancient evil attempts to reach across multiple universes and force protective barriers wide open. Jori's game becomes more real than anything she has ever known, changing her life forever...if she and Lew survive their first test as master and apprentice.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Feature: FELIN-RU, Wildvine Book 3

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and with Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet.

Daniel is a mystery, found injured, lost, and unconscious on a mountainside after a freak storm. His miracle recovery and then his brilliant mind make medical history. After witnessing the murders of her parents, Wren loses her memory. The trauma in their childhoods unlocks Talents that will take years for them to explore and understand.

Grown, Daniel escapes his university existence and sets out to explore and search for answers to the mysteries in his life. Taking refuge with a school friend's family, he meets Wren, and the two discover an instant bond of mind and soul and heart. Guarded by the mysterious, interdimensional shadow creatures Daniel knows only as the felin-ru, they dare to try to make a life together.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Feature: ISTORICA, Wildvine Book 2

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and with Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet.

Khyber is Istorica for the exiles, the one entrusted with remembering all their history, everything they've learned. Despite the support of her grandmother, Dayree, Khyber feels she's let down her family by not being able to step between worlds and take the exiles home. She has many gifts, but her talent for telling stories becomes the most important, when it offers the exiles a chance to reach out and find other exiles from Rehdonna. However, enemies have followed the exiles to Earth, and the only way to protect her family and village is to live separated from them under a false name. For the sake of the exiles, Khyber will do whatever it takes...and in the process find her way home.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: THE DANIEL PLAN, by Rev. Rick Warren

Pastor Rick Warren (The Purpose-Driven Life, remember him?) looked in the mirror one day and realized he needed some help on the outside, to be blunt. And so did a LOT of people in his congregation. So he issued a challenge and invitation from the pulpit and a lot of people in the congregation of Saddleback Church got involved.

He also got experts in nutrition and fitness involved. You can read their references and experience in the book.

Yeah, another diet plan.
But this one is DO-ABLE.

A total makeover for your mind and body, with multiple aspects to incorporate. Faith, food, fellowship, fitness. Meeting the needs of the WHOLE person.

Okay, it's going to take me a while to incorporate ALL the steps, all the recommendations, make all the changes, but I started making changes in my eating and activity and lifestyle while I was reading the book. Simple things like being more active, trying to avoid drinking my calories (that one hurt, I love milk, for one thing), and drinking more water. I've lost weight already. I'm down lower than I've been in years.

There are lots of options available and lots of support on the Daniel Plan website. You can do this, and they're there to help you. I kid you not. Can't wait to see where I am a year from now, if just a few changes have made a difference already ....

Friday, August 17, 2018

Feature: JA'HANNA, Wildvine Book 1

Fantasy from Writers Exchange:


In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds, where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from multiple worlds and universes meet...

Dayree was born to a powerful family in the Taksearhe Clan. She was expected to have strong Talents, yet her gifts never emerged. Mocked by some, ignored by others, she took the opportunities offered to her and explored other gifts, becoming a craftsman and then a teacher. In the process, she found her soulmate, Jayx.

Years later, when their village was threatened by rebels who wanted to control their world, Dayree's gift awakened, enabling her talented cousin to evacuate the entire village to safety--stepping through the vortex between worlds, to a planet called Earth.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Feature: LIVING PROOF, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 8

COMING!
This October!!
From Uncial Press

When we last saw Lanie Zephyr at the end of DORM RATS, she was getting used to life in a wheelchair, after having broken her back while saving the life of one of her high school students.

LIVING PROOF starts six years later, when Lanie's semi-orderly life starts falling apart in a big way.

The newspaper where she works is taken over by a conglomerate and she gets switched from the high school sports beat to the ... gag ... lovelorn column.

Her parents are out of town researching another book, and her brothers have moved in with her for the duration.

That's not so bad, but their parents have missed two check-in calls already. Then a friend from the military shows up to let Lanie and her brothers know that their parents have vanished ... near the Bermuda Triangle.

A bunch of strange incidents and close calls add up to only one conclusion: someone is out to get Lanie.

Worst of all ... it's less than two weeks until Christmas, and she hasn't even started shopping.

It's enough to make a semi-pseudo-superhero hang up her cape. If she had one, Which she doesn't!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Feature: DORM RATS, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 7

From Uncial Press:

Lanie and her Lost Kids friends continue growing into their semi-pseudo-superhero powers and responsibilities, and learn more about what it means to be a guardian of the odd little town of Neighborlee.  Sometimes that meant protecting the rest of the world from the everyday weirdness and magic around them.
The transition from high school to college is marked with challenges and mystical, magical attacks from outside Neighborlee's borders. When the academic game-playing and politics of the local college are used to run a questionable experiment on the entire freshman class, Lanie is there in the middle of it. Sometimes those who realize there's something strange going on aren't as enchanted as Lanie and her geek friends, and it takes a lot of fast talking and faster maneuvering to keep the lid from blowing off the entire town.
The threats grow bigger and the enemies grow meaner, but it's all in a day's work for the guardians of Neighborlee. This is home, and they're willing to pay the price. Sometimes, they do. With their lives.
The really big questions remain: Why are they the way they are and how can they do the things they do?  At least when they mess up and use their talents in public, most people don't even notice. It's just part of the background weirdness of Neighborlee, Ohio.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Feature: GROWING UP NEIGHBORLEE, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 6

From Uncial Press:

Lanie was a Lost Kid -- a toddler found by the side of the road, with no one to claim her. She ended up in the Neighborlee Children's Home, where her long journey to become a semi-pseudo-superhero began. She and her friend Kurt, and later Felicity, made up the "rules" for what they were and what they could do as they went along. Most of the time, they borrowed them from comic books.

Lanie could kinda-sorta fly and move things with telekinesis. Kurt could invent and make broken machines work when all mechanical laws said they shouldn't. Felicity gave off uncontrollable EM bursts and controlled dogs. Where the trio came from and how they got to Neighborlee faded into the background when faced with the really big questions: Why were they the way they were and how could they do the things they did? Were they aliens? Genetic experiments? Mutations? Should they look for a spaceship? Should they fear the Men in Black or the CIA?

Adventures and misadventures tested their imagination, their loyalty, and their courage as they explored their abilities and their world. And one thing became perfectly clear: the Lost Kids were as necessary to guard Neighborlee from the rest of the world, as they were vital to protect the rest of the world from the everyday weirdness and magic of Neighborlee.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: THE TEMPTATION, by Alisa Valdes

Subtitle: A Kindred Novel
Which leads to the natural question: What are the Kindred?
Easy answer: soul mates

Shane is a talented musician, going to an exclusive school, dating a boy from a powerful family, popular. The night of her car wreck on a desert highway, all that becomes meaningless. Travis saves her life and changes it forever.

Because Travis is dead. His arch-enemy is out to get Travis to break the rules of those who wander this world, paying for their sins, and condemn him forever. That enemy is out to get Shane now, because danger and harm to those we love is a far worse pain than anything we feel ourselves, and saving them by breaking the rules is an easy temptation to fall victim to.

Shane and Travis are soul mates, with the rules of the Afterworld standing between them, and one false step could destroy him for eternity. But in the end, Shane is the only chance Travis has to save his soul. How? I'm going to have to read the next two books to find out.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Feature: HERO BLUES, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 5

From UNCIAL PRESS:

Superheroes have it rough -- especially when the towns they protect expect them to fix everything, from forgetting to fill their gas tanks to children running wild to the consequences of a lack of common sense. Jane is finally fed up with being the Ghost, notifies the citizens in her town of mental midgets that she’s quitting, and sets off to make a new life and solve some mysteries of her own.
First item on the list: return to Neighborlee, the town where she was found as an abandoned child. Jane knows there are others like her: abandoned children with unusual powers. Where did they come from, how did they get to Neighborlee and other towns like it, and why are the Gifted -- as they call themselves -- the way they are?
As Jane retraces her childhood, she is pleased to discover that some people remember her. She settles in, makes a new place for herself, and is welcomed by the people and the town itself. That’s important, because Neighborlee protects its own -- and those who don’t fit in are soon driven away. She makes contact with others like her and slowly earns their trust and confidence.
However, it’s a bumpy process. Living in the “weirdness capital of the United States, possibly the world,” means being extra cautious. Even when it comes to someone with superhero powers. Or maybe especiallysomeone with superhero powers.
Then someone -- or something -- from outside her understanding makes contact. It or he or they promise Jane not only answers to the questions she’s had all her life, but a way to go home, wherever her real home might be. It’s everything she’s ever wanted … or is it?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Feature: LONDON HOLIDAY, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 4

From UNCIAL PRESS:


It started with an overnight stay at Divine’s Emporium and a high school computer programming assignment. Athena found an unusual video camera, hooked it up to her computer, and videotaped her cousin, London, whom everyone called Doni. She thought nothing of it, after all the other odd events of that night.
After all, Neighborlee, Ohio was the weirdness capital of the United States, and Divine’s Emporium was the caretaker, the way to control all that weirdness and keep the magic tamed. At least, that was what everyone who saw the strange things and people and events chose to believe.
Three years later, in an experimental computer class in college, Athena and her teammates chose to create a social media site as their project. The site, called FlopDrop, needed a hostess. Doni agreed to be the foundation for all the images of the hostess, whom they named London Holiday.
To the surprise of the team and the class--and the disgust of their rivals and enemies--FlopDrop took off. London Holiday and her CGI friends became overnight Internet sensations. London seemed to take on a life of her own.
By the time Athena and Doni realized that their artificial person had become a self-aware Artificial Intelligence, they weren’t quite sure what that harmless experimentation three years ago had created. Were they midwives at the birth of a new lifeform…or repeating Dr. Frankenstein’s mistakes on an even bigger scale?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Feature: DIVINE KNIGHT, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 3

From UNCIAL PRESS:

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?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Feature: HAVE YOURSELF A FAERIE LITTLE CHRISTMAS, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 2

From UNCIAL PRESS:

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 is 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 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.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Feature: DIVINE'S EMPORIUM, Neighborlee, Ohio Book 1

From UNCIAL PRESS:

Maurice used his Fae magic to help the downtrodden and abused. But when he went too far, the Power-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?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Feature: GATHERING, The Hunt #5

Writers Exchange:


The Hunt are children sent from an endangered world in another universe/dimension of reality, to protect them from a despot who wants to command their Talents. Given into the keeping of the Hounds of Hamin, the members of the Hunt have been separated by time as well as distance. They know each other by the scars--rows of teeth marks--on their wrists. Some have been in our world for decades, others only for a few years. Before more enemies show up to destroy them, they must locate each other, soon, to find a way back home to save their world.

The storms are increasing. The Hounds are on the move. Gahlmorag approaches Earth. The time has come for the Hunt to reunite and return home. Somehow.

There will always be unanswered questions, but, after years of searching and investigating, all the members of the Hunt have been accounted for: dead or alive; faithful or traitor. Energy builds up in Neighborlee and something is about to happen, whether for good or ill...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Feature: FINDERS KEEPERS, The Hunt #4

From Writers Exchange:


The Hunt are children sent from an endangered world in another universe/dimension of reality, to protect them from a despot who wants to command their Talents. Given into the keeping of the Hounds of Hamin, the members of the Hunt have been separated by time as well as distance. They know each other by the scars--rows of teeth marks--on their wrists. Some have been in our world for decades, others only for a few years. Before more enemies show up to destroy them, they must locate each other, soon, to find a way back home to save their world.

Iris Davenport hates the memories that come with world-shaking thunderstorms. She doesn't want to remember she's a member of the Hunt. She's perfectly happy with her adopted parents, helping run the lodge on Smokeytop Mountain, exploring the mountainside and working search-and-rescue. The last thing she wants is to face one of the Hunt and be reminded of the vows her parents made when they gave her to the guardianship of the Hounds of Hamin.

Then a plane taking a sick boy to a life-saving operation crash-lands on Smokeytop in a thunderstorm. One of the searchers who come to the lodge is a member of the Hunt, and he reminds her of everything she hoped to forget. She has her own life now--a home, friends, parents, and a boyfriend. She's not willing to give anything up for a world she barely remembers.

The past catches up with them in the form of a traitor to the Hunt. Pieces of an old puzzle threaten to get her and her boyfriend killed if they don't find all the clues in time.