falling into the world of Studio Ghibli

When you don’t know what to blog about and you have Kiki’s Delivery Service on in the background, animated movies seem like a fun topic to discuss.  I love animated movies. As an adult I feel no shame in this, as some of the best movies I’ve ever watched are animated. I’m looking at you Disney’s Robin Hood and another personal favorite, Jack and The Cuckoo Clock Heart.

Now aside from Disney, I find Studio Ghibli to be the most consistently awesome for movies. (and yes I know Disney distributes them in america) I’ve not even seen them all, I came to the game very late and started probably in a weird place. The Cat Returns was my first Studio Ghibli movie, given to me by my brother. Then I went out of my way to find My Neighbor Totoro simply because I saw Totoro stuff all over Pinterest and I was intrigued.  When both my girls loved it as much as me, I knew I was on the path to finding all of them that I could. We also found Princess Mononoke which is beautiful even if a bit gross.  Then by sheer luck on my daughters part, we found Kiki’s Delivery Service because she had a stuffed Gigi, the cat that belongs to Kiki, even though we didn’t know that’s where the cat came from. We found it in a bin at the bookstore. And now both my girls love this movie. It has become the, if there is nothing else to do, we watch Kiki’s. My youngest daughter takes our broom and pretends to be Kiki. Albeit a clumsier version.

So, now we’re looking for the rest of the back catalog. I think Howl’s Moving Castle is next. Because, well, castles..So do you watch animated movies? At 9 or 90, they are made to make you smile.

Carnival Ink

In my last blog I talked about the new story I was working on, tentatively titled Carnival Ink. It was going to be a depression era, kinda bleak story about traveling carnivals. Well…now it’s a play on the Robin Hood mythos. And there are pirates. And magic. It’s interesting how a story evolves, isn’t it?

I wanted the magic. It was important to me to have it, and I had to make it work.  We all know that readers don’t really like a story to go, “because magic” so I had to weave it into the story in a believable way, that made it an actual part of the world, not just a mcguffin.

So I took a look at our world, the unrest and the worry and the division, and had an “ah ha” moment. So now my story is alternative history with some pretty major big guys of our past in a whole new light, pushing the story to a reality that isn’t completely out of reach. If magic were alive within us, that is.

The words are flowing and I really, really love the story. It has all of my favorite things. A strong young girl, a sassy pirate, magic and cool steampunk clothes. My goal is to have the story written this month, so I can work on edits and polish it. I want to query this one. Having an agent is the goal, and something about this story makes me feel it might be possible.

I’m back in the saddle again

I thought and thought and thought some more about what to blog about today. You see, I’ve been on a break sort of. Not purposely I don’t think, but more of a I need a break before I go postal sort of thing.  Being an author is a lot of work. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, not even a tiny bit, but it is hard work. It’s not just writing the book, its the marketing and cover decisions and teasers and all that.

Now I don’t want to complain too much. I’m blessed, I know that. I get to write as my job. It’s not a very well paying job, but it’s okay, because I love it. Creating worlds and people and creatures…who doesn’t want to do that?  But even loving it as much as I do, I still got burnt out. Expectations and limitations, and then add in a folded publisher and you have a full on old time recipe for a crash and burn.  Add to that, this is a pen name, which means it’s my secondary writing profile. I write under my real name too and that means I have two totally different genres and age groups warring for space inn my head. It’s a lot. But….here’s the thing. I think I got it figured out. I mean, it’s a simple plan I’ve worked up, but it should allow me ample time for both personas to get the spotlight. And boy do I have some fun stuff planned for the middle grade audience.

Dragon Child 2 is done and waiting on edits and a cover, and then I’m veering off course to write about small town carnivals during the great depression. And lets not forget my viking girl, she’s nearly fully fleshed out and waiting patiently for her story to be written. So, here’s hoping it’s a good year for writing. I hope you’ll stick around for all the fun stuff coming.

I’m adding a picture of my cat Felix, he’s my mid grade writing mascot 🙂

Deja vu anyone?

Sitting down to write my first blog post in a good long while and I realize, the last time I wrote one was for a release for another former Booktrope member. Which is why I’m dusting off the blog once again.  Funny how life works out, right?

Anywho….on to the cover reveal for the quite amazing Kandi Wyatt.

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It’s beautiful right? So lovely. It helps that the author is a kind soul, and the books are a great read. I mean how could I not be a part of that kind of situation.

So there’s the cover, and here is a blurb:

Is there really a right way to braid leather? Ruskya doesn’t know anymore. Is it worth fighting over? Twenty-one winters ago, he was ready to take on the turquoise dragon rider, but now he fears facing his oldest son.

Kyn, Ruskya’s youngling, wonders if he’s going crazy when an image begins haunting his dreams. Soon, he realizes it may be the key to helping not only Ruskya and his son Ardyn, but all younglings and their trainers as they adjust to growing up.

Will Kyn be able to help Ruskya, Ardyn, and the other young riders? Follow your favorite characters from the exciting Dragon Courage series as they empower the next generation and give dragons to their posterity.

Sounds great right? It is. be sure to go out and grab your copy when it drops in early December. Want to be in the loop about the release? Make sure you follow Kandi on her website  and FB

Introducing A Dragon at the Gate

I know I haven’t blogged in a while, cause, well, summer. But I am breaking my vacation to bring you a cover reveal from a former Booktrope  member. Even though we aren’t under the same publisher anymore, doesn’t mean we stop supporting each other.

Today I am pleased to share the brand spanking new cover of A Dragon at the Gate the third book in Micheal G Munz’s series The New Aeneid Cycle

Here’s a little blurb before I go ahead and share the gorgeous cover.

Michael Flynn has lost time. An operative in the worldwide conspiracy known as the Agents of Aeneas, the last thing he remembers is the struggle to retake Paragon—the derelict alien spacecraft found crashed on the Moon. Yet that was three months ago. Now, as he wakes in a hospital back in the high-tech, urban strife of Northgate, his struggle begins anew.

The Agents of Aeneas have vanished.

His friends are either missing, in danger, or altered. Hired killers shadow his every move. And Jade, the mysterious, cyber-enhanced woman watching over him, will give no answers. Thrust into a blind search for the truth, Michael needs allies. Yet whom can he trust when once loyal friends may have turned against him?

Meanwhile, an intelligence thought trapped within Paragon has escaped to Northgate. Driven to fulfill the goals of the mysterious “Planners,” it, too, seeks allies. When it finds them, it will transform the face of Northgate, the world, and the entire human race.

The year 2051 draws to a close, and nothing will be the same.

Sounds fantastic doesn’t it? It really does. Cyberpunk is a pretty cool place to be I believe.  Well, I guess no more wasting time, I give you the cover designed by the amazing Amalia Chitulescu. 

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Biology lesson

We live in an old house, in the woods, in the south. It’s like a trifecta for creepy crawlies to be a presence in my life.  And I’m not just talking about the dirt dauber that just landed on my arm when I went to get a plate. Oh no. We have armadillos that like to dig up our yard. There is our friend the awesome possum who likes to get into our trash. Every once in a while you’ll come across a crawfish that came out of it’s hole, or a lizard who has decided to sun himself on the side of our porch.  Oh and snakes…but I’ll get to them in a minute.

I have a love/hate relationship with all these, plus the ones I haven’t mentioned. I love the ability to teach my girls a lesson in biology, to teach them about respect for living beings (except spiders, those buggers get squished). And as long as they don’t invade my house (I’m looking at you giant snake in the ceiling) I tend to leave them be. (This is true unless it is a danger to my girls. We tend to dispatch the venomous snakes to keep our girls from getting bitten.)

To this end, I have not fixed the torn screen on the window in my daughters bedroom because for a few years now, birds have been nesting there. What better way to teach my girls about the cycle of life than to watch a clutch of eggs hatch and then thrive before leaving as fluffy little mini Wrens off on adventure.  A few times now we’ve seen it from beginning to end. A happy slice of birdie life happening before our very eyes. There hadn’t been an issue until the other night. The girls check on their birds (yes of course they named them) every couple of hours, and the other night when they went to check on them there was a snake in the nest.

It was horrifying on multiple levels. A snake, only one pane of glass away from my girls bedroom (yikes.) The type of snake (hello rattlesnake…again, yikes) And the fact that my girls were completely distraught that it was eating their birds.  Now I had to drag crying girls away from the bedroom so super hero daddy could rid the nest of the snake (it was a rattlesnake, that thing is not going to live, sorry not sorry) and I could explain about predators and prey and the natural cycle of life. I did everything I could not to quote Lion King. It wasn’t a terribly long episode, over in just a few minutes and only one baby bird was lost. But it was a lesson. Not only in the cycle of life, but in how important it is to tell us if they come across a snake, as well as what kinds of snakes we are willing to let live in really close proximity to us. It won’t be but a few days and the baby Wrens will be flying away, and I’m again left with the decision to fix that window screen.

I want to, but then again, that nest that has been used for a few years has been a great teaching tool for my girls, and a pretty quirky addition to our house. So for now, at least, it stays unfixed. And we continue to watch the growth of four babies. And we continue to learn. And how cool is that?

 

** The image is a picture I took of the nest. It’s not a great picture, but if you look really hard you can see a bit of yellow of one of the babies beaks.

Summer is early

It’s that time of year again. Summer vacation. I mean, not mine, as I don’t really get a vacation. I’m mom 24/7/365. My oldest daughter however, she gets a summer break. And she gets it early. Today is her last day of school and it’s not even a full day. In a few hours I’ll head to the school to watch her end of year program, snap a pic or two as she crosses the stage for whatever award she is getting and then I’ll check her out early and we’re off to home. And then….then it’s two months of my girls squabbling (it’s what they do), of swimming, of trips down to the creek, of trips to the library, and basic mischief.

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The signs are already here (in truth, the signs have been here for weeks now). Signs of happy kids that is. The pool is up and full. The skin is tan (and a little pink where I wasn’t as great at the sunblock), the wet clothes are dropped over the old bouncy horse, and the towels hang on the line. This year there will be no big trip, just a sequence of days lunging around the house and driving each other insane. It’s a good life, and one I wouldn’t change at all. Even if summer comes early and doesn’t last long enough.

Well then…..

On this past Friday I had all these plans. I was going to send a newsletter (my first one) out about the release of Alien Like Me. It was due to release on April 30th, though in the end it actually came out a week early. But, I didn’t send out a newsletter. I didn’t shout from the roof with joy over my new releases. Why? You may ask… Because Friday, I received an email saying that my publisher would be shutting doors. Yup, one day before my book was due to release (officially) my publisher shuts down. It’s a bit hard to be super excited about a new book when you know it will only be on the shelf for 30 days before being unceremoniously yanked.

It’s also quite ironic really, that on the day after the publisher lets us know they are closing, the day my book was supposed to be being given to the world, my paperbacks showed up in the mail. So, I mean, at least there is that, yes?

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I think though, and this may just me being Zen and trying to not freak out, I think I’m gonna be okay. Yes my books may be un-shelved for a while, but I will get them back out there. Self pub seems to be the way to go, and I shall be going that way with gusto. So, be on the lookout. Keep up with me, don’t give up on me, this is not the end. Only the beginning of something new. Something better.

So cheers folks, and if you want to snag a copy of either Alien Like Me or The Dragon Child, you should do it now, you only have until may 31. I’m not sure how long it will take me to get them ready to go back live, but it hopefully won’t be that long.

To the creek!

 

 

It’s our spring and summer battle cry, and even when it’s not something we planned to do on a particular day, when the creek is involved, fun is ahead.

We were doing yard work. We were only going to check out the path to see how much we would have to clear this year. We were not going to jump in the freezing cold water. Yeah… two guesses how well that played out.

In the end the girls got soaked. I got soaked. And the dog..oh the sand she brought home with her. But it was worth it. Totally worth it. We had visits by a butterfly and had the first dragon fly sighting of the year. We found our biggest piece of petrified wood to date. And we found the most gorgeous rock.

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It looks like there is a constellation on it. Or the beginnings of a fossil. I had to bring it home to add to our collection. And I’m planning on placing the giant piece of petrified wood into a succulent garden. The creek is our place. A happy Saturday afternoon, a fun and wet Sunday evening, even a wienie roast on a Friday night. And even when the water is still too cold (like yesterday) and the kids are still in their pjs (again like yesterday) the creek leaves us all with a smile on our face, and sand in our toes.

 

*Author’s note. Both pictures were taken by my dear hubs who is an amazing amateur photographer.

 

The joy of Spring

It’s Spring here in the south and that means, oh well, it means time to work. Time to clear all the fallen limbs from the end of winter wind storms. It means clearing all the leaves from the flower beds to be sure the rain hasn’t washed away the bulbs. It means planting flowers, fruit, and veggies (and maybe a new tree or two).  It also means playing outside as much as we can before it gets too hot to do so.  Yesterday the family went to the park to let my daughters ride their scooter but instead we ended playing in the sandbar near the creek that had gotten washed down by the rain. It was a fun half hour in the middle of a day that had us doing all the yard work. It also netted me my first sunburn of the year. In April.

April brings my youngest daughters birthday, which is hard for me, cause I really want her to stay a baby forever. And this April brings the release of a new book. Which brings me to, ah books!! Writing gets harder to do in the spring and summer. So much to do. So much fun to be had. Time at the creek. Time at the park. Time playing with the hose in the front yard. Writing and marketing get pushed to the back burner. And I’m mostly okay with that. While writing is my chosen career, the way I hope to someday earn enough at to afford to maybe take my kids to the movies on (yes, yes, I dream big..lol), my kids are my world. My girls are the reason I get up every day. (well, coffee too) The are also the reason I keep writing, I want them to see me work hard at my dream.  But now that it is Spring, I’ll write really early before the day starts, or late at night after my girls have gone to bed. Tired from playing hard, maybe still a little sandy from the creek. It means a little more laundry for me, but it’s worth it.

So that is my Spring. What does your Spring look like? Smell like? Sound like?