Friday, November 9, 2012

On A Related Note

Sometimes I find pictures that remind me of my characters, and as they appear I will post them here for your opinions. If you agree with my selections, let me know. Likewise, if you don't like my choices, tell why not. I'm open to discussion.

For my first choice - Devon:

The clothing is wrong, he should be in leather pants and a linen tunic, but here is our hero, waiting beside the lake for a clumsy 16 year old acolyte to follow the wrong set of tracks. Waiting under the tree for true love to awaken, Devon only wants to see Vivienne again.

So, what do you think?

On a Related Note...

Starting Today -

I am participating in Carrie Ann's Blog Hop titled "Autumn's Harvest". More than 200 authors and bloggers are sharing their musings on fall. Each one has a prize available, including FREE books, so come along. WARNING: Not all sites are suitable for children, so watch out!

Hope over to www.blonde-not-dumb, to join the celebration of the harvest!

What do you love about Autumn and Fall? What does it remind you of? What about reading? Do you think it's a good subject to read? Tell us your favorite Autumn stories! Well, we authors are ready to share our favorite Autumn stories and why we love snuggling in the cold. *wink* Starting on Friday and ending on Nov 12th, over 200 Authors and Bloggers will share their favorite things about those sexy men we know and love.

And while we do that, we are EACH doing a giveaway. Yep. There will be over 200 giveaways on each blog hosted by that Author or Blogger.

But that's not all....

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet

2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains 10+ paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Nature of Insecurity

Book Two of the Guardian Stories is ready for the last edit before submitting, oh happy day! This story has been up and down on my ladder of attention for most of this year. Now all I need is to work my way through my fabulous editor's suggestions and Vivienne will be ready to continue her adventure across the Kingdoms in search of Devon and her enemies.

Becoming a writer has been a dream come true in many ways. Perhaps the most drastic change has been in my relationships with other people. I have never been the most gregarious one in the group. Now as I find myself writing and promoting, I've made friends with other writers around the country. I admire each of them, not just because they are living their dreams and writing, but they all seem so confident about their abilities.

Big confession time here people: I have always been insecure. There are a variety of reasons, some of which are environmental, others are organic. When in college I found out "Speech Class" meant to give one, not just write one, I dropped the class rather than face my fear of public speaking. Even now, giving speeches or being on a question and answer panel requires days of mental preparation.

I used this crippling sense of unworthiness when formulating Vivienne. Born into a man's world, asked to complete a hero's quest, daunting tasks for anyone, much less a woman whose sense of self-worth is crippled and weak. Only as she grows in experience will confidence begin to mature. Much the way I feel as I navigate the oceans of literature.

Identifying with characters is important. If we don't feel their struggles then we cannot adequately tell the story to others. One of the things I insist in all my personal book choices is a good story line. I call it "The Well Told Tale". The characters I spend the most time listening to are the ones with which I feel the most in common. Such as Vivienne.

What other elements are required for a story to grab your attention? I'd love to know what entices other readers. Leave your thoughts and let's start a discussion on elements. Every story needs them, what happens when they don't meet your expectations?

Monday, October 22, 2012


Coming Soon - Autumn Harvest Blog Hop

Join us November 9th - 12th as we blog hop with our friends from Carrie Ann's Blog Hop. Right now they are doing an "Alpha Male" hop. If you want to read several fantastic writers blogging on their ideal male characters!

But later this week, I'll let you in on the struggles I'm having working out the backstories in Book Two - "The Price for Redemption."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Writing, Writing, Writing...

I just wanted to post an update on what's going on both in my world and Vivienne's. Since we are busy working on book three, Vivi wanted everyone to know what's coming in book two. She is so very thoughtful that way.

Book Two, "The Price for Redemption" is almost ready for submission. I was content with how things were progressing, but at Vivienne's insistence, we sent the story out to the fabulous Greta van der Rol, my editor for "Catalyst - Guardian Rising" for a sanity check. She made some excellent suggestions and so another month was spent revamping. After the final sanity read, it will be off to the publisher.

I must confess book two is my favorite of the first trilogy. First and foremost, Vivienne finds she has more power than she imagined. Alone, separated from Devon, bereft of Minnlin and his plans, she must rely on Theirran to help her reach the Valley of the Pinnacle Library. But that poses its own set of problems.

Theirran is no gentleman. A known womanizer, a warrior with the heart of a poet, he exudes sex from every pore. Never married but certainly never alone unless he wishes it, Theirran is the opposite of his loyal and loving younger brother. His actions tend to be reckless, his adventures extreme. Will long miles across the emptiness of the Central Plains guarding Devon's wife teach Theirran responsibility or will the challenge of the unobtainable woman bring out his brash and roguish side?

Vivienne is alone, still weak from pneumonia contracted during the long winter trek from the Citadel to Pitaq in the Northern Territory. Knowing only she must find the Library ahead of Sauk and Sionn, she turns to Der and the other generals of the North and West for aid in defeating their enemies. But something still isn't right; there are too many things that make no sense. Such as how Sauk always knows where to find her, if the information is secret then who is the traitor? Who has betrayed her? How deep does Sauk's treachery run?

Stay tuned for more insights into Book Two!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The First Rebellion, pt.1

For thousands of years, the Druids maintained the peace among all the Kingdoms. Most people were still struggling to build new lives on the reconstructed surface of the earth. They only brought out from the Sanctuaries the basic information needed to create gardens, build homes, and form new towns. Instructions for sanitary facilities, drainage facilities, even governmental structure were all released piece by piece by the Druids. But eventually a movement began to sweep across the lands, wondering why the keepers of the knowledge were reluctant to give the people wider access to their history.

Inside the Druid centers, the same debate was being carried out. As select students and Masters began to open more and more of the past, it became apparent some of what they were discovering was being hidden from the wider population. Soon the whispers and secrets began dividing the centers. Stealth became the order of the day. Acolytes were selected not for their talents but for their ability to ferret out information.

Soon whispers among the druids began to speak of a library, of books that contained more information than anyone could imagine. But the location was supposedly a deep secret. The druids who maintained this library were members of a closed society. Outsiders were unwelcome, no acolytes from the Five Kingdoms were admitted to their center. The more these stories were told, the more people began looking for this library.

Four thousand years past and the whispers grew stronger. Soon people began to claim this story was no myth, that they had seen the building for themselves. Soon the governments of the Kingdoms began pressing the Druids, asking and then demanding these books be released to the growing human populations. Each demand was met with the same answer. "No, we will not give potential harmful information to the land which could bring about another destruction."

Five hundred years before Vivienne's birth, during the reign of her ancestor King Padrik, an acolyte entered the Druid Fortress. Bright, ambitious, driven to learn all he could from the Druids, this young man was given special permission to study more than one talent. Obviously gifted in Mysticism, for his second talent he chose War Craft. The young man's name was Minnlin.

Given permission to enter the history section of the Druid Fortress, Minnlin used his intelligence to learn the location of the hidden Pinnacle Library. When he was certain of his information, when he had learned all he could, Minnlin started gathering other disgruntled druids to his cause. As their numbers swelled, they approached the Master Druid. Their demand was the same as before: open the library. Denied once again, the dissenters took the ultimate step.

They rebelled against the established Druid Order.

Friday, September 7, 2012

So, What About the Ghosts?

First of all, let me say I do believe in some form of life after death.  The laws of physics tell us energy cannot be created or destroyed only changed. The human brain runs with electric waves of energy. If our bodily energy cannot be destroyed, then upon death it must change. In Catalyst - Guardian Rising the dead return to visit Vivienne in spirit, using their physical forms to identify themselves to her.

Vivienne can see the death easier than others because she can see residual energy in all forms. Attunded to the vibrations of the dead, she speaks with them on a frequent basis. They have provided her with companionship and support since she was sixteen years old. For her, seeing and speaking with ghosts is normal.

Other people can see these assembled ghosts if they possess one of three abilities: 1) if they are master level druids; 2) if they are closely connected to the spirit such as family; or 3) they have the ability to accept that life can exist on more than plane of reality.

Mediums often say they are bombarded by spirits in their everyday activities, wanting them to pass along information to their loved ones. So I removed that barrier, allowing Devon and Vivienne, along with others as needed, to interact with their ghosts as though the dead were still living. They pass along the information Vivienne needs to complete her journey as Guardian.

Ghosts cannot see everything. They can only report on what they have been assigned to watch. Hana and Katarina watch over Devon and Vivienne personally. While forbidden to carry message between the two lovers at first, the women spirits keep our hero and heroine reminded they are not alone with their burdens.

Reave and Minnlin are different. Both were Master Druids, and thereby exposed to more information on the status of the other Kingdoms. Minnlin also had the advantage of being a time walker. In his extensive travels it is not unlikely to say he had run across his own legend more than once. Knowing he would die before Vivienne completed her assignment allowed for him to travel ahead of his personal timeline while still gifted with that ability.

So our ghosts are helpful but they are not infallible. As events continue to move away from expected norms, their vision may or may not be as helpful to Vivienne as in the past. But she will see them as a harbingers of bad news; this opens her eyes to the necessity of depending on the living more than the dead. much to Minnlin's consternation.

William Shakespeare often used the spirits in his works to show  a catalyst for action, an
insight into character, and augments the impact of many key scenes. I have attempted to use my ghosts in the same manner.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Blog Hop Day!

Today I am guesting blogging at Keith Publications Blog Site.

The topic of the day is:
                         How I Spent my Summer Vacation!

Follow the link below and I will be back here again on Friday with another update on Vivienne, Devon, and the world in which they exist.

Until then - Happy Labor Day Everyone!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Working, Working, Working...

It's amazing how many things I can find to do which help contribute to my master's degree in procrastination. While I am currently working on Book Two in The Guardian Stories, I am in re-writes. Personally - I would rather have a dental procedure done without any Novocaine. I decided to ponder on the triggers and resolutions for procrastination.

Book Two is faster paced than "Catalyst", moving our heroine to her inevitable showdown with our villains. I have written and deleted and written and deleted for a little over a year. When I decided it was ready, I sent it out for editing. (I like to have my work read through before submitting to the publisher. It makes the re-writes easier.) After getting her recommendations back it soon became obvious there is a large section of the story which must be switched around.

When I am in editing mode, the best conditions would be late at night, nothing going on with the family, nothing going on television. I am easily distracted. I didn't realize it until I began writing for a living. A song on the radio, a comedy on the television, conversation in the same room, a fly walking on the wall beside me - all these and more can drive me to distraction if I am not focused with laser intensity on the work at hand. And if my own personal shortcomings weren't enough, living with my Helpful Hubby and his TiVO obsession can slow down the process to a snail's pace.

So, the work is going slow. Now there is a political convention on television and I really want to watch the speeches. Okay, well I can plod through some pages after that. So what if it's midnight? So I'm falling asleep over my keyboard, so my fingers can't type anymore - just one more chapter tonight means more three day weekend to myself. Or, maybe I should stop editing for a while and read something fun, something that has nothing to do with Vivienne and her predicament?

Well, maybe tomorrow night will be better!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

At Long Last - Published!

After a long, long road my first novel, CATALYST: Guardian Rising, has been published. It is currently available through Keith Publishing and their genre label D'INKWELL PRESS. Later this week it will be available through

Writing is my first love, and this story and its interwoven characters have been a part of my life for many years. When my children were young and I was up at odd hours with them, Vivienne was the one who entertained me as I slept in chairs and curled up on the floor beside the crib. As the story began to expand and the notebook grew and grew, I began to regard this as a project, then a quest. Now it is a dream realized.

There are many people to thank and many more to acknowledge, but there is room and time for that at a later time. Right now I just want to thank three people: my family.

First is helpful hubby, who patiently waited and picked up my slack as I spent hours staring at the computer and walking around with my thoughts selfishly turned inward. From our first 'official' date I knew he would be my soul mate and these past twenty-five years have been all the sweeter for being with him.

Then comes darling daughter, who has suffered the most for the all meals I haven't cooked and the dusting I haven't done. Thank God she is  self-sufficient and does her own laundry and preparations. But she learned a more important lesson - go for your dreams. If it is meant to be, then fight for it. It will be!

Last but certainly not the least is my soulful son, the musician and poet whose departure from our family nest brought my own personal catalyst to the forefront. He will always be a 'beautiful soul' to me.

So, head on over, purchase my premier novel then settle back for a good read. And let me know if you have questions. If they haven't already been answered her let me know and I will be happy to provide more information.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

So, What Is The Deeper Story Here?

Grand, complex stories have always fascinated me. I love J.R.R. Tolkien. I love how his vision of Middle Earth was complete. Different people groups, different languages, histories, mythologies - no detail was overlooked in his books. Stephen R. Donaldson does the same with his Thomas Covenant stories. Deep layers of entire cultures maintained inside the minds and imaginations of excellent storytellers.

Once of the premises I created in CATALYST and the Guardian Stories is that mankind has been re-populated with limited genetic difference. When only 40,000+ people survived on the planet, in widely spread Sanctuaries, certain genetic traits would be eliminated. (Evolutionists don't cheer too quickly!)

The most predominate trait on the planet is dark hair and dark eyes, mainly black/brown hair and brown eyes. Therefore a large percentage of the new human populations would have dark hair and eyes. As the blood began to change from the radioactive exposure, the new traits were not physical changes, such as hair or eye color. These radioactive treatments gave rise to powers of consciousness. So, let's explore these newly created powers.

Can being a warrior be a power? Of course, there are aspects to warfare that lend themselves to enhanced psychic powers. Night vision without mechanical enhancement, the ability to track the enemy by visualizing their tracks on the ground, these are only a few examples of where natural ability amplified would benefit. What if you could anticipate your opponent's moves? Is that an unfair advantage?

Healers represent the other end of the spectrum, the most wonderful reward mankind could be given. To read a person's energy, to reach into their hidden places and determine what illness or malady afflicts them without the assistance of a machine or labs to decipher a magnitude of test - oh what doctor wouldn't want that ability? To use natural rhythms of the earth and to help the body heal itself is the highest goal of a Healer.

In the next update we will discuss Mystics and their scheming to control mankind and the world they live in.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What About A Villain?

OK, so I have introduced our hero and our heroine. But what about a villain? That is going to be more complicated.

Villain is a hard term to describe. For our purposes, you must follow the old joke:

A small bird fell out of a nest. Lying on the ground wondering how he would ever get back up into the tree, a horse came along and pooped on top of the little bird. Indignant, the bird began to tweet for help. Soon a hawk came along, cleaned the poop of the little bird and then ate him. The moral of the story (and what you need to keep in mind here):

Not everyone who dumps on you means to hurt you, and not everyone who helps you out is working for your benefit!

Cryptic, but appropriate!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Kingdoms

The aftermath of the nuclear holocaust on the earth caused many geographic changes to all seven of the continents. Land masses moved, rivers changed their course and mountains arose where previous only hills existed. While the Sanctuaries were mostly immune to these geographic shifts, the land changed in other ways. The mighty river which split the Five Kingdoms into two distinct areas was now a large Inland Sea. This separation caused not only a physical slit in the land, but a split among the people of the Kingdoms as well.

Originally the people housed in the Central Valley Pinnacle were genetically close to Northern and Southerns. All had common ancestors from the old world from the First Families of North American. The major differences would not begin to surface until many generations had already been raised. Differences in physical changes were few, but major differences came through in their philosophy.

For centuries since the rebirth, the four contiguous Kingdoms began to share opinions in the important area of what direction the remnant of humanity should take to rebuild and repopulate the planet. Prior to the desecration there were close to 8 billion humans crawling across the face of the earth. The first estimate placed the Creator's children after the holocaust at around 140,000. That did not count people groups such as the Northerners who had no regard for the Druids or their creations and had not participated in the Sanctuaries, preferring instead to trust their own histories for survival.

Divided from their fifth brother by miles of turbulent water, the Four Kingdoms learn to trade and band together as a four pronged unit. Now the Eastern Kingdom stands alone from the others, unsure of their place in this alliance and highly distrustful of the new young queen of the West and her supposed 'witch' powers. That caution will become fodder for those who seek to destroy the fragile evolution of humanities' regeneration.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Talent Is In Our Blood

There are three major talent categories: Mystic, Warrior and Healer. Each has their own physical characteristics and each has their own set of codes and regulations under which the Druids have dictated they may function. Not all become full Druids, most function within the wider context of the Kingdoms.

Healers range from full empathic to those who can diagnose and treat illness by merely running their hands over the patient. Some deal with children while others prefer the company of the elderly. Healers are born with grey eyes, which vary in shade by the intensity of the illness.

Warriors come in two types: Blood Warriors and War Masters. Blood Warrior is the term given to the Northern Tribal Warriors, recognition of the purity of their human blood and the evolution of their natural skill into an inborn trait. While not all Northerns are Blood Warriors all Blood Warriors are Northerns. (Say that fast five times!) The most identifying characteristic of Blood Warriors is their eyes. At night, the white of their eyes, along with their iris, become black to help absorb the maximum ambient light. The night vision of a Warrior is regarded as the keenest eyesight among humans.

War Masters are those from the other Kingdoms who demonstrate a natural ability with a variety of war related ares: tracking, battle strategy, swordsmanship, assassination, etc. Although these are skills which can be taught, to be a War Master the acolyte must show talent above and beyond that of regular humans.

Humanity has changed, grown beyond their restrictive natures, to embrace these new traits as simply a continuation of man's existence. This was only partially true. Genetic differences between them and us would be non-existent. The thousands of years of nuclear exposure, though filtered through the air systems in the Sanctuaries. still infused humans with new abilities. Each person is cataloged as soon as they being displaying their particular talent. this is another duty of the Druids, maintaining a roster of each talent and bloodline.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Our Hero - Devon

With an intriguing heroine, I needed a special hero and found one in the person of Devon, a prince from the Northern Tribal Kingdom, youngest brother of the king, Der. Physically he is similar to all the Northern people, tall with dark hair and ruddy complexion. His eyes are green whereas most Northerns have dark brown. They have no individual talents, such as Mysticism or Healing. They are called "Blood Warriors" because they have developed skills which allow them to excel in War Craft. Chief among these is exceptional night vision. The whites of their eyes will darken to black at night to allow them to capture enough ambient light to see through the darkest night.

As the third son of a king, there were no expectations Devon would ever sit on the throne, so he was steered toward more military careers and during his time of study prior to the age of sixteen excelled at Tracking and Reconnaissance. A suitable marriage was arranged to a talented Healer named Hana, from the Hawq Tribe. While several years older than Devon, Hana was a warrior who desired to make a change to the Healing discipline. Everything was running according to plan until the night of the Princess Vivienne's birth, at the winter house of King Der and his wife, Mari. Devon and Hana were home from the Druid Fortress and the middle brother Theirran was also home from his assignment to the Western Army.

That night only Devon and Hana were present for the birth of the baby princess followed soon after by the death of Queen Katarina of the Western Kingdom. Devon was dispersed to reach his brother and King Philippe of the West at their battle field tent. That was the diversion needed to bring Minnlin to the house to deliver Katarina's child. By the time Devon returns, the Queen is dead, Hana is dead and the renegade Druid is holding the moments old infant Vivienne. A small argument ensues and Minnlin shoves the baby girl into Devon's arms, swirls his arms above their heads and created a binding so intense nothing can break them apart.

Bound now to a child through Mysticism he does not understand, Devon become the Life Protector and Commander of the Princess's Guard.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Who are all these people?

My model for saving a remnant of the human race is the creation of Sanctuary. For centuries sanctuaries have been centers of refuge in time of trouble. Scientists, mathematicians, writers, artisans of all trades will build 40 different refuges able to withstand long periods of time after nuclear apocalypse. Within these centers they preserved not only human life, but also plants, animals and knowledge.

The original inhabitants of each Sanctuary numbered 1000, representing 20 distinct ethnici groups While some centers were populated by favoritism, a few were more insightful in their selection methods. These decided to include a cross section of society as a whole, from the rich and powerful to the meek and talented. This increased their chances of success tenfold. The centers which found themselves full of scientists soon found themselves drawing straws to complete menial tasks.

All centers were outfitted with water and air purification systems, controlled farmland, animal habitats, living space and most important, computer centers outfitted with specialty constructed generators. Alternative forms of communication between centers was created, knowing that satellite reception and transmission would be almost nil after the bombs fell. The locations were carefully selected based on geographic stability.

Over the centuries, individual labels such as 'scientist' or 'farmer' disappeared and experts in all fields began to be called 'Druids' after the legendary ancient priests. Men studied all areas of knowledge instead of specializing in one. Things from before the destruction were pondered and debated upon to see if they would contribute to society or lead men down the road to ruin again.

After the air was bearable again and humans returned to the surface for a permanent residence, the Sanctuaries slowly began to fall into disrepair. Most have been lost to time but a few remain. Only the Central Plains Sanctuary remains intact both in structure and in contents. For that reason the exact location of the Sanctuary has been kept and protected by the Central Plains Nomads, direct descendants of the scientists who became Druids after they decided to save the world.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Presenting The Main Characters - Vivienne

Vivienne is the heroine of my story. First of all, any resemblance to any person living or dead is coincidence and not intended. I'm not that kind of person. That said: our heroine is nineteen years old when our story begins, tall (5',9"), thin but well muscled, good old fashioned lean I would say and very much a tomboy child. She was raised to one day govern a country so her education was wide ranging. Archery, swordsmanship, politics and diplomacy were are intended to prepare her to one day be the Queen of the Western Kingdom.

Many years before Vivienne was born, her grandfather Minnlin began planning the genetic combination required to handle the emergency he had foreseen. In the process he gave this royal child two distinct traits. Her eyes waiver from deepest purple when working with elemental energy to the grey of a stormy sky when her Healer traits are required. Vivienne's normal everyday eye color is lavender.

Her second and most remarkable attribute would be her silver white hair. Some describe it as moonlight captured in her hair, but it was actually the silver white of lightning streaking across the night sky. No dye would change it, no cut by scissors remained for long. Whether hanging to her waist or as most often braided it could be seen like a beacon from afar. She's also possessed of a queen-sized case of self-doubt and it takes a lot for her to be convinced of the special talents Minnlin bred into her.

Minnlin was an enemy of the land known as the Five Kingdoms. As a young man he had led an uprising against the established order to obtain the Books of Knowledge left by the Sanctuary located withing the Central Plains. In actuality he was setting in motion a very long game which would culminate in the deeds his grandchild would accomplish. That child was his main concern.

On the day of Vivienne's birth, many things went wrong. These range from the death of innocent people to the loss of her mother in the process of childbirth. But it was the actions undertaken by Minnlin after the delivery that scarred her more than all the other events combine. In order to complete the vision Minnlin had seen of the child as a young woman, he was propelled to twin the information into an older teenager to assist the child with all the tasks she would be required to undertake. That teenager would become Vivienne's lifelong protector and eventual husband - the Prince Devon of the Northern Tribal Kingdom, age sixteen at the time of her birth.

Vivienne is a complex character. Carrying the guilt of her mother's death, even though nothing was her fault, has warped her sense of self-worth. Kept from playing with other children because of her royal status, her only constant companion was Devon. They created between themselves a connection above and apart from simple protection. While many considered them strange, the relationship helped Vivienne in more ways than it harmed.

Having Devon close helps when Vivienne is assaulted by one of her many dreams. For her dreams and nightmares are both memories and visions, sometimes terrifying and sometimes confusing Vivienne needs Devon's maturity to see through the dreams to the truth contained within them.