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Showing posts from June, 2015

Would you read romantic suspense with dragons?

My brother used to ask why anyone would read science fiction. It's about people and worlds that don't exist and probably never will. Why should anyone care?

For myself, I used to wonder why anyone read romance. It's about repeated misunderstandings and you always know she'll end up getting the man. Why should anyone care?

Then we grew up. Big brother doesn't read any fiction if he can help it. I guess as a historian he learned that even historical fiction's mostly unreal too. Meanwhile I read pretty nearly anything and everything.

This week I read two books in a series of romantic fantasy novels with winged people, otherwise known as dragons. And I cared. Those people and worlds that don't exist can change our point of view, making us see our own world through different eyes. Those misunderstandings, eventually resolved, give us hope, making us see our own mistakes and failures are less final after all. And the sensual love scenes that I surely never read w…

Do you need a round tuit to write a non-fiction book ?

I want to write a non-fiction book. Shortly after Christmas I was all excited, knew what it was about, and even had a plan to build it up, chapter by chapter, idea by idea. I'd written myself a nice little schedule, detailing how soon I'd have just enough planned and tested, on all those wonderful beta-testing reading who must surely be out there, eagerly awaiting my next inspiring thought. Then...

I'm honestly not sure what happened then. Time ran off without me perhaps. I slipped into a time-warp and couldn't find my way out. Virtual reality took over from real virtuality. And now I'm so far behind with book reviews I have to preface almost every email with an apology. I'm so far behind with writing I feel guilty asking my publishers when the books I've already written might be released. I'm so far behind with social networking I can't remember if I'm meant make friends, help friends, sell books or sell ideas...

Which takes me back to that non…

What entices you to a Little Serious Reading ?

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So many books... So little time to read... and write... and review. It's a serious issue!

And now it's summer so the sunshine (aka yard work) is calling. One of my friends said this morning that he knows when summer comes - his wife disappears into the fruit and flower beds. Not that I've had any success growing fruit, and my flowers are struggling to survive. My friend's wife has green thumbs, while mine are stained with messy virtual ink. So I'm trying to discover if my laptop will function outside; then I might enjoy the sun, ignore the weeds, and read and write all at the same time.

Ignore the weeds... ignore the weeds... It's a serious issue! And why does grass grow so much more effectively where it's not wanted than where it is?

Meanwhile my serious second novel, Infinite Sum, might, I hope, be both a serious and an enjoyable, uplifting read. It should come out soon with Second Wind Publishing. I keep wondering what the cover will look like. Would som…

From Tails of Mystery to Tales of picture books

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I wanted to advertise my upcoming book of children's animal mysteries, so I collected together the pictures I'd drawn and made a quick video. It's not terribly professional, and it's nothing to write home about. But I'd love to know what you think, so here it is:



Of course, Tails of Mystery isn't a picture book: it's a book of children's stories where Fred and Joe (and sometimes Cat and Kitcat) solve mysteries. But here are some reviews of children's picture books to go with the pictures above. Find a brew to match the reading style you choose:

Ernie the Elephant and Martin learn to share by Leela Hope uses short and simple rhymes to tell how not sharing hurts both parties at once. It's a very short book, but it might make a quick bedtime read when there's no time for more. Enjoy with some light crisp one-star coffee.

Little Brown Animal by DiMari Bailey is a nicely surprising picture book. At first I wanted to guess what the brown animal was,…

Do you write Her-story, His-story or history?

I'm working on my history of overdue book reviews, and finding several much-enjoyed historical tales in the mix.

This reminds me of my oft-repeated vow that I could never write historical fiction. As a teen I tried to write a child's life from alternating points of view--parent and kid. I was really enjoying myself. But big brother, then a college student studying history, very kindly took an interest and offered to help. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with too many forgotten facts to know what to do with. I buried the lot in my cardboard box where the novel languishes still, beneath the guest room bed.

But I do write historical fiction. I broke my own rule, and I write about children in Biblical times, Old Testament and New, adding whatever history and science I can find to fill out the tale. I broke my own rule with a fantasy story about a mystical cat setting sail from Ireland to America with its girl in Passage--that's my first and only-published Hemlock story (find it in

Would you rather write or teach dolphins to swim?

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Charles Davis returns to my blog today, bringing dolphins, a lesson on why we write, and a healthy dose of idealism, or not, as the case may be. He's the author of Standing at the Crossroads (click for my review - I loved it!) and Pilgrim of Love (which I plan to read soon). Last time he visited, he brought Toy Soldiers with him; I shall soon have a virtual toy box of ideas. So, pour some coffee, sit down in your favorite chair, and enjoy.

Welcome Charles!

Teaching Dolphins to Swim:
Negative Ambitions & Lamentable Idealism by Charles Davis
Why write? I don’t mean what characteristics define a writing spirit, I had a bash at that in an earlier blog, but what is the underlying motive, what do you as an individual want to do with your writing? It’s a worthwhile question, though possibly one best asked in retrospect. When you start writing there’s such an overwhelming desire to do everything all at once that, if you thought about it too long, you would probably end up doing nothing a…

A striking cover for Striker!

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Today I'm delighted to welcome author Andrea Buginsky to my blog again with a wonderful cover reveal for the next book in her young-adult fantasy Chosen series. So... what do you think? Striking? Cool?
About the book

As a young hunter seeks a trainer, The Chosen prepare for an unforgettable adventure. With Nature and Phantasma back in order, Halli and Silvor have settled into their new life in Drumple. During a visit from Striker, Kaidyla and Lumina, a request from an old friend of Halli’s family sparks a new challenge when she asks Striker if he’ll train their young son, Dylan. Working with Dylan gives Striker a chance to be a mentor once again, as he had been in his past. This brings The Chosen to an area of Phantasma Halli has never seen before. What new dangers might be lurking in the forest? Will Halli have a reason to use her powers? But Halli and Silvor are facing a new journey of their own, one that will change their lives forever. What is in store for The Chosen’s future? …

Do you prefer real life stories or fantasy?

My sons declare I have no taste because I listen to too many different kinds of music and read too many different kinds of books. But perhaps I just have eclectic tastes - I certainly remember seizing on that word "eclectic" when I first learned it, and deciding it sounded pleasingly vital and electrically bright - something I could at least aspire to, if never quite achieve. The problem of course, when I read in so many genres, is deciding which genre works best for filing the reviews of books I've read. And writing in many genres is a problem when I submit my books to publishers as well. What constitutes real life, and what is sci fi or fantasy? It romance if someone falls in love, and how much can I tell...?

Luckily I have a wonderful publisher for my novels - Second Wind Publishing. Divide by Zero sews a patchwork quilt of characters whose lives might be torn apart by crime in a small, quiet town. Then Infinite Sum, coming soon, paints  pictures with a victim of that…

Do you illustrate your own children's books?

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I love to write. I love to draw. And I love to tell simple stories to little kids. But is it possible to combine all these? Can an author illustrate her own books, or is that like a musician trying to record voice and music both at once instead of on separate tracks? Perhaps we have to separate our words from the pictures, so someone else can interpret and invite the reader to a wider world. And yet... there do seem to be a lot of us out there who love to both write and draw.

As for myself, I've released a few children's books with my own pictures, but I rather suspect the ones where my publisher finds the images for me look much more professional. Still, here's a sample from A Bible Book of Colors to whet your appetite, followed by some reviews and coffee suggestions from some children's books not illustrated by their authors (i.e. real professional children's books!)

Finished reading my pictures? In that case, find your favorite coffee mug, fill it with your favor…