Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Friday, December 30, 2016

Setting My Sights On 2017

Well, 2016 was a busy year, as you saw from my last post.

Time to charge headfirst into 2017! (Kind of like my toddler does to the door when we put her in a time out... but maybe with a little more focus and intent - lol.)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I won't be publishing as much in 2017. This is mainly because a lot of the stuff that came out in 2016 only needed a bit of polish before it was released to the world. ;)

But that doesn't mean I won't be writing! I'm scared my to do list might be too ambitious with a THREEnager in the house, but we'll see how it goes. I reserve the right to change my trajectory at a moment's notice. That's the great thing about indie publishing -- if real life slaps you silly, you can shift deadlines around. I'll of course keep everyone posted if plans change. The best way to keep track of my upcoming publications, as always, is my newsletter (there's a form to sign up to the left).

Anyway, first I'll list my intended publications, and then I'll list my writing goals for the year! Here we go!

2017 Publications

❦ January 2017 - Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1) - I'll be releasing it to several retailers other than Amazon.

❦ January 2017 - Patreon page! I intend to offer flash stories and poems. If you become a supporter you can even feed me story prompts!

❦ March/April 2017 - Edge of Sorrow (Fortunes of Fate, 6) - Remember Jasp from Reversed? Yeah, that rotten mage Darney asked for help. Well, it's time to get into Jasp's head! This will immediately be available at several retailers, and not just Amazon.

❦ August/September 2017 - Hell On Wheels (Devil Made Me, 2) - So, last time we dealt with Moira's first experiences in Hell. I wonder how things with her and Jared are going... Can't be good, right? Not with her stubborn streak. You'll find out in this sequel to Hell Hath No Fury!

❦ November/December 2017 - GSD (Getting Stuff Done) vs. Everything - This is humorous non-fiction, but if you like any of my humorous fantasy, you may like these essays. I'm hoping to have this published by the end of the year, but it's a side project, and it will be the first thing removed from my to do list if I get behind on my fiction. I'll remain optimistic for now, though, that it'll get completed.

2017 Writing Goals

❦ Complete the first draft of Thorns Entwine the Blade (Trinity Torn, 2).

❦ Find beta readers for Thorns Entwine the Blade.

❦ First draft and revisions of Edge of Sorrow (Fortunes of Fate, 6). And publish it!

❦ First draft and revisions of Hell On Wheels (Devil Made Me, 2). And publish it!

❦ Revisions of Dead As Dreams (Shepherd of Dreams, 1). And get it ready for publication for January/February 2018! This is what I decided to work on instead of attempting revisions of Thorns Entwine the Blade this year. My heart is telling me it needs to be released to the world. Though, if I get enough people demanding the next Trinity Torn novel, I'll be willing to switch my focus back to Thorns.

❦ Start the Patreon page!

❦ Start offering clean and simple ebook formatting services via Haunted Unicorn Publishing. Also consider offering developmental edits, depending on the toddler.

❦ Finish first draft and revisions of GSD vs. Everything. And publish it!

❦ Continue writing 3 blog posts per month and sending out a newsletter every month at most and every other month at the least.

❦ Read more. Always need to read more. I just restarted the Dresden Files series. So many books, so little time.

Well, those are all the main things at least! Personal goals this year mostly focus on my mind and body health. Writing is not a very active career - lol.

What are your plans for 2017? Resolutions or goals? Are they quantifiable or more general? Good luck with whatever you decide to aim for! And if you have any writing goals, remember you can always join us at Writing Quest to share them and be cheered on.

OK, 2017 -- here I come!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Publication Year In Review 2016 & Mind Behind the Mind Countdown Deal

Wow, it's been a crazy year! Both my body and mind are feeling it, and I am overdue for a short break to recharge my creative batteries (not that I don't have a list of ideas, stories, and novels that need to be worked on, but my brain needs to reorganize itself after this year's long journey).

So, while the 2016 publication list below is long, I will be pulling back in 2017 on how many stories/novels/books I publish. I wanted to get my backlog of stories polished and out to the world in 2016, and I've pretty much done that. In 2017 I'll plow ahead with new material or continue tales I've started and am long overdue to get back to. But all of that is for a future post (in about two weeks). ;)

What titles by Alexa Grave made it out into the world in 2016?

Love Fades (Fortunes of Fate, 2) - urban fantasy short story (E-book at all major online retailers)

Hell Hath No Fury (Devil Made Me, 1) - humorous romantic fantasy novelette (E-book at all major online retailers)

Bound - urban fantasy short story (E-book at all major online retailers)

Blood & Booze: Two Urban Fantasy Stories - urban fantasy short stories (E-book at all major online retailers)

Reversed (Fortunes of Fate, 3) - epic fantasy short story (E-book at all major online retailers)

S.O.L. Air (Fractured Fairies, 2) - humorous fantasy short stories (E-book at all major online retailers)

Sunset Street - YA urban fantasy short story (E-book at all major online retailers)

Void of Intuition (Fortunes of Fate, 4) - urban fantasy short story (E-book at all major online retailers)

Beguiling Moon (Fortunes of Fate, 5) - epic fantasy short story (E-book on Amazon, but will be available at all major online retailers by the end of this month)

❦ "Monster in the Room" (Fractured Fairies) in the anthology Monster Maelstrom: A Flash Fiction Halloween Anthology - humorous fantasy flash story (E-book at all major online retailers)

Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1) - epic romantic fantasy novel (E-book on Amazon, but will be available by the end of January 2017 at all major online retailers; Trade Paperback on Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, and hopefully other online retailers soon)

A Very Grinka Christmas (Fractured Fairies, 3) - humorous fantasy novelette (E-book at all major online retailers)

Dancing in the Wind, Fractured Fairies: Immortal Woes & Ode to Buses and Libraries (Fractured Fairies, 1), Dreams in Shadow (Fortunes of Fate, 1), and Tales of Chyraine: Two Short Stories were originally published as E-books on Amazon before 2016, but in 2016 they were released to all major online retailers.

A lot of titles, no? Just typing up the list exhausted me!

I still have a lot to think about as far as plans for 2017 go. I thought I'd originally hammered the plan down, but lately I've been rethinking things. Certain tales are tugging at me to be finished (like a novel that's halfway through it's first major revision!). Hopefully I'll have it mostly figured out for my next post.

Until then, I also wanted to mention a Kindle Countdown deal for Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1). Starting tomorrow, December 16, 2016, my novel will be $1.99 for 3 days and then $2.99 for 3 days after that! You can find this deal in the US store only. But for the entire 6 days, 16-21, those of you in the UK with be able to get it for £1.99.

If you've been waiting to grab a copy, now is the time to do it! The links to the US and UK stores are below. Enjoy!

Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1) - US

Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, 1) - UK

Thursday, December 08, 2016

1001 Reasons Not to Clean - #11 through #15

Welcome to 1001 Reasons Not to Clean! The main goal of this series is to see if I can actually reach 1001 reasons, 5 reasons at a time (the final post, if I get there, will be 6 reasons). I'm sure I can. It's not just my crazy brain being unrealistic, right? Links to previous posts are below. And feel free to share your excuses, and they might get added to my list (with credit, of course)!

#1 through #5 ~ #6 through #10

11. Because you're throwing a Halloween party and right after you spend hours upon hours cleaning the house so your friends don't think you're a slob, you just have to clean it again after they leave.

12. The aforementioned friends at the Halloween party don't notice or care when you clean anyway. They just want food, booze, and conversation (and on occasion Drunken Mario Party -- though as we're getting older, this is happening less and less, unfortunately).

13. NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo trumps everything. (OK, OK, not everything. Don't want my toddler to starve or sit in her filth.)

14. Because you're throwing a birthday party for your toddler (and you know unlike your friends, your mother will criticize everything if it's not clean), and the toddler doesn't care one jot that you cleaned. She never does. And she shows it by the shredded pile of wrapping paper after she opens her presents like a maniac.

15. After all that party prep (and dealing with your overly critical mother), you want to nap with the toddler before she even asks you this time. In fact, you make her go down for a nap early just because you need to avoid more cleaning. Now.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

NaNo Results 2016

November is over! Man, where did the year go, let alone the month?

Anyway, I know you might have been watching my initial NaNo post to check in on my word count, so if you have, you know my total.

For those who didn't though, here it is...

18149

Not the 25,000 I was aiming for, but pretty darn good for throwing a birthday party for my toddler, Thanksgiving, holiday online shopping, left shoulder in pain, and carpal tunnel developing in my left hand (I've had it in my right hand for over a decade). Of course there's also all the daily toddler demands and the grade schooler needs (homework? why should I help you with homework?).

Nope, I didn't hit the Holy Grail of 50,000. Maybe once the kids are in college if my hands haven't fallen off by then. But this year was my second best year (last year was my best with 20.2k).

I exceeded my first NaNo by over 4k. And since I was rewriting the same novel from that first NaNo, you'd think that would mean I'm further into the story of Thorns Entwine the Blade. Nope! Lol. That first NaNo was so bare bones, that I've had to add in a lot. I'm a tad over halfway through that original 14k. Yes, that means I've more than doubled the original (almost tripled). I'm glad to see this. It means I shouldn't need quite as many revision passes as I did in the past, since my first revision would be to bulk things up a bit.

But the best thing about writing this month? The ideas! All the little mind worms were making themselves known. And not new shiny ideas distracting me from Thorns, but thoughts about the story arc and threads of Thorns itself. It's all coming together, which is truly awesome. I hope all of you enjoy reading the continuing story of Tessa and Bastian as much as I'm enjoying writing it.

Ah, but now it's time for a break from Thorns. For this month, at least. I'll be back at it in January. I have the next Fortunes of Fate story to draft this month! And Mind Behind the Mind will have a Kindle Countdown Deal mid-month for the holidays. Other than that, this writer needs a small break (and making my plans for next year and fun graphs and what not in Excel is included in the break - I love planning - heh).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Science Fiction & Fantasy Giveaway - Nov 14-20, 2016

Who wants to grab some awesome fantasy and science fiction ebooks while they're available FREE for a limited time?

Better yet, if you've been interested in seeing what my Fractured Fairies series is like, you can get the first title, Fractured Fairies: Immortal Woes & Ode to Buses and Libraries, as well!

All you need to do is pop on over to the Science Fiction & Fantasy FREE BOOKS Promotion page, then you'll see covers for all the books available. Click on any titles that interest you and the links will take you to Instafreebie, where you can download each title for free! Keep in mind, some authors may require you to sign up for their newsletters. But if you like their work, that's a great way of finding out more about what they've written!

And if you're having trouble finding the Fractured Fairies title, here's a direct link to the Instafreebie Giveaway for it.

Grab these book while you can!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Very Grinka Christmas Excerpt

"Ho, ho, ho!"

Nope, not Santa, but Syndago (very dedicated at playing Santa, though).

Yup, it's time for another Fractured Fairies tale! A Very Grinka Christmas is a new novelette that brings together several of the characters we've already seen in past Fractured Fairies stories and brings in a few new ones as well! But even if you haven't read any of the previous stories, you should easily slip into the humor in this holiday tale.

If you want a humorous Christmasy romp to read this holiday season (the fairies trying to burn the apartment down, Grinka forced to use a Christmas elf illusion, and more), then consider picking up a copy of A Very Grinka Christmas. You can find it at all major online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and iBooks.

And of course there's an excerpt below, along with the blurb.

Have a happy, fractured holiday everyone!

A boy of at least eight runs up to Syndago and jumps in his lap.

"Oof!" Syndago may be big, but he's sensitive. "Be nice to Santa, little man."

Little Man proceeds to yank on Syndago's beard. "You're not the real Santa, and I'll prove it!"

Surprise, surprise, kid. Syndago glued the beard on. Superglue, even. He's one committed Santa.

The boy tugs harder.

"Ow!"

"Carter, cut that out and tell Santa what you want for Christmas." The boy's stalky father sidles up to me, offering a nicotine-stained smile. "Sorry about that. He gets a little overzealous sometimes. Takes after his mom." One corner of his mouth twitches. "There's a reason I divorced her." He winks.

Oh, for the love of immortals. Sadly, he isn't the first one who's hit on me. I mean, I may be in an elf outfit illusion, but it's still my usual hot looking body -- a necessity for my profession. Stripper.

A psychiatrist might say I'm overcompensating with my illusion due to insecurities. I hate psychiatrists more than I hate elves.

But if this obnoxious man knew the truth of what my illusion truly hid, he'd bolt. I'm tempted to let him cop a feel and find out what seashell-covered breasts feel like. The shock on his face would be priceless.

He shoves a business card into my palm. "Call me." His hand lingers on mine far too long.

One of the bulbs in the string of lights above me bursts.

Syndago levels a stern gaze at me as Carter bounces off his lap and pulls his father away. "Grinka, be good."

"Hey, it's only one bulb." I could have blown out the whole set. Or worse.

"They add up. That's nine already today."

"Cheap lights."

"I'm trying. Give me a break -- you know I don't have perfect control." Far from it. "Can we go home yet?"

"Almost. Two or three more kids and our shift is over."

Then I can see what the fairy twits destroyed today. They've been on a revelry bender since the beginning of the month, and it hasn't been pretty.

The holidays will be over soon. Yes, yes. And then they'll go back to their normal level of destructiveness.

I just hope I survive.

A grouchy sea nymph who fancies herself a modern-day Scrooge. Bah humbug.

Grinka's main goal for Christmas: survive without having to celebrate a damned thing. Between playing an elf to her mopey human-sized giant friend's Santa and contending with the fairy siblings' holiday revelries, she's got her work cut out for her. And when some uninvited guests appear on her doorstep, she's forced to face a party of all the people she ran from when she left the Immortal World.

No thanks to that torture! Grinka plots to avoid the party, until she meets a handsome tree nymph who agrees to attend. Maybe, just maybe, this year Grinka will have a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - Coming Full Circle

Back in 2004 I joined in on NaNoWriMo for the first time. Since then I've participated in almost every NaNo (I missed one in 2007 when I was pregnant with my first), and I've joined in on some of the Camp NaNos.

I've never hit 50k.

Some might think this is sad, but I don't think it is. NaNo, for me, is using the crazy energy from all the writers undertaking this endeavor and spring-boarding myself into completing more writing than I normally would have gotten done. I mean, I'm a NaNo Rebel for the most part anyhow. I haven't actually started many "new" novels during all of my attempts. It's about progress, no matter how little, for me on anything I need to work on at the time.

Speaking of being a NaNo Rebel, this year I have come full circle. That first NaNo back in 2004, I started the sequel to Mind Behind the Mind. It didn't have its own title back then (I didn't even have the series title picked out), but I wrote 14k words. And it gave me new insight into Mind, to better direct my revisions at the time.

Most of the words were pretty much crap, though.

So, I had to start rewriting the sequel, which is now titled Thorns Entwine the Blade, this year. I hadn't made much progress before NaNo began. But I intend to make plenty of progress during NaNo!

I am using some of the old words, but things are getting added, rearranged, and cut. I was clearly writing sparsely, as I've added a lot more words already, especially with internal dialogue. While I wasn't a Rebel that first year I started this, I am definitely one this year! Part of the month will be rewriting (not revising - trust me, the writing isn't just getting a little face lift). Then hopefully I'll get into continuing the draft.

This year I'm back around to the first novel I started during NaNoWriMo. Who knows, maybe this will be the year I actually hit 50k!

OK, maybe not that last part - lol. I'm about to have a threenager on my hands. Toddler's birthday is a few days away! My main goal is 25k again this year. Last year I hit the 20k mark - my best year ever, so let's see if I can hit that 25k at least. If I get more, it'll be gravy. I do know I need to avoid the NaNo Plague, which seems to descend on me every NaNo attempt.

And I'm posting this after my first writing session today, so I already have 1668 words on the meter! I'll attempt to keep the cute little emotions updated throughout the month as well, so feel free to check back in on this post. I'll also be updating the meter to the left on the main page of my blog.

Happy NaNoing, everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Halloween 2016 & Monster Maelstrom

It's that time of year! Yes, the time of year where I get way too into Halloween. It's my favorite holiday, after all.

Before I get into some pics of this year's costume and decorations, though, I'd also like to announce the release of a Fractured Fairies story. Last week, "Monster in the Room" released in the anthology Monster Maelstrom. It's a Halloween themed flash fiction anthology, of course! This Grinka-centric story can be found among a lot of other great stories. If you're in the mood for some Halloween reading, please pick up a copy. Oh, did I forget to mention the anthology is FREE?

You can snag a free copy of Monster Maelstrom from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, iBooks, Google Play, and Smashwords. Please visit the Monster Maelstrom page if you'd like further information before you grab it.

Now, onto more good stuff! My yearly Halloween party was this past Saturday. No posts on the blog last week meant I was intensely cleaning the house that never gets cleaned except once a year for the party - lol. (I already have #11 for 1001 Reasons Not to Clean.)

This year I had a hard time getting excited about a costume. I just couldn't think of anything I wanted to be. Thankfully, the brainstorm finally unleashed itself when I was browsing Hot Topic online one day. I saw a unicorn horn and tail set. I figured I could always be simple. I mean, I love unicorns - that's no secret. Then I saw it... A blood splattered dress! Why be a plain old unicorn when you can be a Rabid Unicorn?

If any of you have visited my blog throughout the years, you know that I started a rabid unicorn story a couple years ago. It was a fun, humorous romp that I had to put on the back burner (like so many other shinies because there's only so much time in the day to write when you have an infant/toddler demanding your undivided attention). Of course, now I really want to continue it, but I have Thorns Entwine the Blade to focus on right now. If you want to read an excerpt of the rough draft I was working on, you can visit this old post from May 2014.

What? You want to see the costume? I rarely post pictures of myself, as you know. So, please be kind. Here it is! Note: I wear the heads of my fallen foes on my feet.

And I'll also leave you with a some pictures of the decorations from this year. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mind Behind the Mind, Trinity Torn Book I - Excerpt

Release day for Mind Behind the Mind is tomorrow! Am I nervous? Of course I am. But I'll survive.

I thought today would be a good time to post an excerpt. Promise, I won't prattle on this time. If you like the excerpt, though, please considering purchasing a copy from Amazon. It will be available in paperback in November and other ebook retailers in January!

And now part of the beginning of Tessa's and Bastian's story...

Bastian stepped from the shadows and removed his cloak, draping it over her shoulders. The moonlight touched his face, his expression stoic and firm – so unlike the playful grin earlier.

Tessa inhaled his scent, sweat and spice. He must have used clove oil in his wash water. She felt his longing rise with the close proximity of their bodies, and her own hunger heightened, a warmth tickling her insides.

“What brings a witch hunter to a small town in Shandipur Province?” She lifted her hand and traced her finger along his shirt. His muscles tensed under her touch.

He watched the path of her finger. “Just traveling; no particular job. Funny thing, that’s usually how I find them.”

A twinge, an inharmonic chord, passed through Tessa. Something in his statement felt like a lie. “You must have incredible luck.” She lifted his chin to gaze in his green eyes. “You thought you might find a witch in Sierka?”

He opened his mouth and inhaled sharply.

Bastian attempted to encircle her waist and pull her closer, but Tessa stepped back. She shouldn’t have done that, shouldn’t have gotten so close. So she turned to the starry sky, hoping she could regain her will. The wave rolling off Bastian jumped, still a surge of desire, but confused hiccups marred the consistency.

“Did you think you’d find a witch here? You didn’t answer me.”

Bastian’s emotions drew in. “They can be anywhere.”

Tessa recalled a story her mother had told her as a child – a good distraction. “Well, I think you’re right. There’s one here.”

He moved next to her, hand gripping the hilt of his sword. “What?” All his desire vanished, replaced by eagerness and alarm. And something else underneath, darker and more feral.

“There, the constellation.” Tessa pointed. “The story of the witch in the sky. She follows you, even in a town like Sierka.”

Bastian removed his hand from his sword, the beast inside him quieting. “Yes, I know, but that one’s already dead. The sun is her head, rolling through the sky by day, soaked in blood.”

“So gruesome. My mother told me she’d find her head one day and have her revenge.” Tessa laughed. “Fairy tales.” A tale Tessa wished would come true. If it weren’t for that first witch hunter, she wouldn’t be anguishing over the one standing next to her.

He loosened his hold on seriousness, laughing with her. “She’d never do it. The witch hunter who got her, she’s on the other side of the sky.”

A witch who believes one of her own kind could never kill...

In a world where people believe the crimson sun is a dead witch’s head and the witch hunter who killed her stalks the night sky, a witch who ventures outside of Haven risks losing her life. Tessa is one such witch. Like many of her kind, she hopes to help the people of Leera, not harm them, and she’s on her first mission to heal an ailing man named Jeremiah. But when she crosses paths with a witch hunter, instead of avoiding him like she knows she should, she succumbs to her desires and ends up in his bed.

The local Enforcers believe a witch is behind Jeremiah’s sickness, so they call Bastian to town. He’s a young witch hunter who normally has a knack for sniffing out witches. But when he runs into the striking Tessa, she scrambles his senses. He’s inexplicably drawn to her and abandons his usually cautious nature.

As Tessa and Bastian uncover clues about Jeremiah’s illness, Tessa has to face the possibility that another witch may have had a hand in the incident. And if Bastian learns she’s a witch, he may point his finger at her. Then her head will surely roll.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

1001 Reasons Not To Clean - #6 through #10

Welcome to 1001 Reasons Not to Clean! The main goal of this series is to see if I can actually reach 1001 reasons, 5 reasons at a time (the final post, if I get there, will be 6 reasons). I'm sure I can. It's not just my crazy brain being unrealistic, right? Links to previous posts are below. And feel free to share your excuses, and they might get added to my list (with credit, of course)!

#1 through #5

6. There's a cat in your lap. Curse unto those who disturb the cat.

7. You have too much work (writing) to do.

8. Your toddler tells you not to because she wants you to nap with her.

9. You're sick.

10. You'd rather play Everquest. (Hey, maybe I can just fill up all the reasons with different games -- that's a possibility!)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mind Behind the Mind Cover Reveal and Pre-order

A year ago today, I put up my pre-order for Fractured Fairies, starting my Baker's Dozen Experiment. All of the short stories have been published in that experiment, but now it's time for my long awaited novel to be released!

Coming to the end of the experiment doesn't mean I'll stop publishing - of course not! I have many planned titles, but I just won't be doing a monthly release schedule. Let's face it, keeping up that kind of schedule is hard without kids, and I still have a toddler at home that makes it hard to write.

Oh, you want me to stop rambling? Sorry about that. Force of habit.

Today, the pre-order for Mind Behind the Mind, the first novel in my Trinity Torn series, is up on Amazon! Release date is October 13, 2016. It will be available in paperback and at other retailers in the future; dates to still be determined.

What's the great thing about the pre-order? Well, I have it at a discounted rate. Mind Behind the Mind is currently available for $2.99, but when it goes live on October 13, the price will go up! So, if you want the lower price, snag a copy now.

I suppose you'd like some kind of sneak peek. For now I have the blurb below - you'll have to wait for release day for an excerpt (my newsletter subscribers got to read a snippet, so if you want an earlier peek for future releases, please Sign Up).

And below the blurb is the cover for Mind Behind the Mind. I think it's beautiful, but I'm biased. The cover art (excluding the text) was done by AM Design Studios.

Now, for what you've been waiting for:

A witch who believes one of her own kind could never kill...

In a world where people believe the crimson sun is a dead witch’s head and the witch hunter who killed her stalks the night sky, a witch who ventures outside of Haven risks losing her life. Tessa is one such witch. Like many of her kind, she hopes to help the people of Leera, not harm them, and she’s on her first mission to heal an ailing man named Jeremiah. But when she crosses paths with a witch hunter, instead of avoiding him like she knows she should, she succumbs to her desires and ends up in his bed.

The local Enforcers believe a witch is behind Jeremiah’s sickness, so they call Bastian to town. He’s a young witch hunter who normally has a knack for sniffing out witches. But when he runs into the striking Tessa, she scrambles his senses. He’s inexplicably drawn to her and abandons his usually cautious nature.

As Tessa and Bastian uncover clues about Jeremiah’s illness, Tessa has to face the possibility that another witch may have had a hand in the incident. And if Bastian learns she’s a witch, he may point his finger at her. Then her head will surely roll.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Beguiling Moon - Excerpt

Happy release day! This time Beguiling Moon, the fifth Fortunes of Fate story, is available for purchase on Amazon.

A little bit of passion mixed in with fighting against true nature! Although we get a cameo from Darney in this story, you do not need to have read any of the previous stories to dive right into this one.

And with this release, the short stories in my Baker's Dozen Experiment have come to a close. Yes, I've published 12 short stories in the last 12 months!

But we need a 13 to make it a Baker's Dozen, right? My novel, Mind Behind the Mind will be the end cap to my experiment. If you want an early look at the cover, sign up for for newsletter (that form there off to the left) -- I'll be sending a cover reveal out tomorrow! Next week Friday, though, I'll post here with the cover and a blurb (and maybe even a pre-order link).

Guess I should get on with what you came here for. Without further adieu, an excerpt from Beguiling Moon.

The power surged through Ero. Her legs trembled and her emotional distance shattered. Guilt and shame rushed in. Oh, Aelwyn. She gasped for air.

It drew Keeper Hris's attention. She made haste toward Ero, or as much haste as she could with that damnable cane of hers pounding on the wood floor with every step she took. The jarring couldn't even unsettle the severe bun on the top of her head, her blonde hair, streaked with gray, remaining fixed and immovable.

Once she reached Ero, she leaned in close and sniffed her. A grin spread across her face, like a cat who'd just caught an enormous mouse. "Ah. It's about time, Erolisi. I knew you couldn't resist for much longer."

Wicked woman. What did she know of what a Beguiler went through? She had no magic of her own. Her skin looked washed out, a pale peach that had grown yellower as she aged. It almost looked the color her hair once was.

Ero wouldn't satisfy her with assent.

"You seem to be having some troubles containing the power. I'll arrange a transfer for you immediately."

"No." She wouldn't be forced. There had to be a way to contain it.

"No?" Hris banged her cane on the floor three times. "I've never met such a stubborn Beguiler in all my years."

"Whip me. I don't care." She'd been punished plenty for holding out once she'd hit maturity. The pain of the lash was nothing compared to what the Keeper expected of her.

Hris cackled. "I don't need to punish you. The power inside you will eat you alive if you don't release it. Let's see how far you get before you break down. Again. This time, though, you risk your life by clinging to your stubborn ways." And with that, she dismissed Ero as quickly as she had been drawn to her, heading down the line to inspect and scold the others.

The hunger inside must be fed.

Erolisi's fought against her power her entire life. King Mayven of Cedar is desperate for an upper hand on the battlefield, and he's enslaved the Beguilers so he can use their magic. Erolisi refuses to be used. But in a moment of weakness, she gives in, feeding her need by drawing life force from her best friend, Aelwyn, and shattering their relationship in the process.

Now the energy Erolisi took must be released, fed to a warrior of Cedar to bolster his strength. This time she's determined to resist her power's call and no longer be a pawn. If she succeeds, though, her own magic will end her life.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Adventures of Karriya the Wizard - Origin Story

The Adventures of Karriya the Wizard is a series based on the main character I play in Everquest. Though most of what I write actually happened, many events might be embellished and exaggerated to create a better story. Happy hunting (and reading)!

On the hot summer day of August 17, 2004, Kariya (yes, one R here - not a misspelling!) the Wizard was born in Everquest. OK, I'm not actually sure what the weather was like, and she wasn't so much born as created because let's face it, not many MMOs take characters through childhood. But that's beside the point. Suspend that imagination of yours already!

Now, Kariya was a haughty little High Elf, roaming the Greater Faydark, close to her home of Felwithe. Though the mobs she faced were pathetic, to her they were monumental. Until she grew up and could mass kill the whole zone with a single spell... That may just be the haughtiness showing through, though.

Anyway, she took up with a berserker named Yushuv -- a scarred Barbarian of few words. Together they eventually found a home in the guild Hands of Prophets. That guild changed to Legacy of Prophets before it faded completely, but I think I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

While in Hands of Prophets, Kariya met many friends, most of which have disappeared into the ether. A couple, though, she still cavorts with today. One such being a well-mannered druid by the name of Rondor, and another an uber paladin called Eaiana. And she of course can't seem to shake that sometimes grouchy Yushuv. Never!

And then came a day of doom, where all those in Prophets feared for the outcome of all of their friends. A server merge. See, Kariya started out on Morden Rasp, a rather young server, and Morden Rasp was to be merged with Povar, one of the oldest servers. If someone had the same name as you on another server, the person who had the most time played would get to keep the name. The other person, would receive the dreaded X.

Kariya didn't get by the server merge unscathed (nor did several other of her family living on the same account -- that's how Leera the Beastlord became Maeve... and then following another sever merge, Maevve). The X of doom made her weep. She didn't want to be known as Kariyax! Those who received the evil letter were allowed to change their name, and so Karriya (who thankfully didn't get the X again in a future server merge) had her name legally changed. She still hates the extra R, though.

Time passed quickly in the land of Norrath. Prophets dissolved, she joined a guild called Valheru, which eventually changed to Sanity's Edge, and then she left that guild as well. And then, she made a guild of her own -- Dark Possession. I mean, haughty High Elves need to be in charge, right? Yushuv, the stubborn berserker, eventually joined her, as did some of Rondor's and Eaiana's aliases (*coughs* alts -- the name we give to characters that aren't mains).

It was an active guild for a while, but as we've seen, things always change. Dark Possession is still Karriya's guild, and she's littered the guild hall with cats, dogs, gnolls, and birds. There just aren't as many other active people in the guild aside from her aforementioned cohorts who often switch between many alts.

So, there you have it. Wait. I'm forgetting something? Oh, someone. Of course.

Karriya is the clear hero of the story, and every hero needs a sidekick! On March 5, 2006, Downpour, the Halfling druid who loves to hug everyone in her path was born. She's neglected once in a while, being left behind on occasion when Karriya wishes to venture out on her own, but for the most part Karriya makes sure to drag her along on her adventures, especially since the little druid can track mobs wherever they go.

And so is the origin of Karriya the Wizard (and Downpour the Druid)! Now, over 11 years of adventuring under her robe, Karriya's happy to share her most recent adventures in Norrath. Who knows what she'll find with the stoic Yushuv or dragged into by the fastidious Rondor (who often plays his alt Wondora, a Dark Elf shadow knight, when wandering with Karriya).

Watch for the latest adventure! Maybe she'll even slay a dragon! Or just a bunch of blobs. Not all adventures are glamorous.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Suicide Squad - Fun But Could Have Been Better

No catchy title this time. I think that part of my brain may be on vacation. Sorry about that. Anyway, here's your warning.

Warning, warning! *turns on the flashing red light* SPOILERS ahead!!! If you haven't seen Suicide Squad yet and don't want it ruined, don't read on. If you don't care, well, dive right in.

I could probably go on and on about a lot of things in this movie that could be improved, but I'll try to keep this post under novel length. Promise. ;)

First, I do want to say that I don't think Suicide Squad is a horrible movie by any means. It was fun to watch (though my poor husband missed nearly half of it because the toddler decided she wasn't going to be cooperative in the theater), but it's not one I'm crazy, excited about to see again.

I was looking forward to this movie. But I was also scared they were going to botch things up. Personally, I was mostly looking forward to Harley Quinn - forget all those other bozos. Heck, this should have been a Harley movie (and I hope we get one in the future, as long as they take some lessons on the mistakes of this movie to improve on their delivery). And Harley was fun. Best part of the movie, of course. Margot Robbie played the roll well (which is why I'd love to see her in her own Harley movie).

That said, I think there were several things that could have been improved. I have a pretty long list, too, which I think I'll have to shorten for this post!

The beginning. Oh, the beginning. It was a bit too disjointed for me and contained massive info dumps. Why couldn't they have done briefer story flashbacks as they were pulling the team together? I think the beginning suffers from the Started the Story Too Early Syndrome. The story really starts when this band of misfits is pulled together. Kind of like with Guardians of the Galaxy. Guardians wove the backstory into the movie (aside from the brief beginning when Star Lord was nabbed by aliens), instead of dumping it all at the beginning. And when they were taken to the prison and had their dossiers read, it was brief. Suicide Squad was long-winded with the backstory. Not to mention they told rather showed. It's a freaking movie - we should see more, not just have it all fed to us!

Another thing that bugged me is that none of the characters clicked well. At the end they have this big thing about how they're now a family. Diablo says, "I already lost one family. I'm not going to lose another." Aside from that being overly melodramatic and a tad cliche, I didn't feel it. These characters still felt like merely individuals forced to work together. That little "bonding" scene in the bar wasn't enough for me to make them feel like they were family or worked well together. Not like by the end of Guardians (yes, I'm a Guardians fan girl - I can't wait until the next one). I wanted to see them mesh better, but they just didn't.

Oh, and the whole Slipknot thing (you might be asking yourself, "Who?" - I don't blame you). How was it not clear that he was going to be the example for if they got out of line? They plop him in with no backstory at the beginning like all of the others. I mean, really? You knew his head was going to be blown off rather quickly.

I know some people didn't like the villain in the movie much. Honestly, I didn't think she was that bad of a villain. I liked her as a villain. What I didn't like were her zombies. And you can say all you want that they aren't zombies. They are - mindless creatures intent on killing (you don't need a thirst for brains to be a zombie). I did enjoy the fight scene at the end with Enchantress though. That was fun.

Now, I mentioned I loved Harley. Sadly, her backstory with Joker wasn't done enough justice. It could have been much better. The way they presented it all was very disjointed. The best scene though was when Harley jumped into the chemical vat and Joker followed her. I loved that scene. It had a lot of emotion in it and it showed people not only how much she loved Joker but also how much he loved her. But. You knew there was a but coming, didn't you? That scene was horribly out of place. It's triggered when she looks down a stairwell because she thinks of the drop to the chemical vat, but the placement still felt off with what was happening before and after in the movie.

I'll leave this review on a positive note, though. Or maybe a positive bullet? Heh. Oh, I'm not funny? Fine, then. I loved Harley's revolver. At the end when Deadshot uses it, you see the LOVE and then the HATE etched on the cylinder. I thought that was awesome. Sometimes you just got to smile at the small touches.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Void of Intuition Excerpt

The fourth Fortunes of Fate title released this past weekend! Yay! Interested in seeing Tilly again from Dreams in Shadow? Well, you're in luck because she makes an appearance in Void of Intuition. Right now, you can find Void of Intuition on Amazon, and near the end of November, it will be available at other retailers as well.

Oh, but you'd like to see a snippet of the story, wouldn't you? An excerpt and the story blurb is below. Happy reading, and may the cards reveal a bright future.

She opened the door.

A movie screen blocked the entrance. The white screen wavered, then showed crackly gray, like an old projector filmstrip. Was there a tinge of purple to the gray?

Numbers counted down, 10, 9, 8... delaying the inevitable. The dream had a wretched sense of humor. It knew she wanted this over as soon as possible but it dragged things out, taking every second it could from Cece’s life.

“Come on, already.” Her voice echoed through the house, tinny to her ears.

The filmstrip stopped on 5.

“Sorry,” Cece whispered, so as not to hear the weird echo again.

The countdown continued and finished.

The image of a little girl in overalls appeared on the screen. She skipped down a dirt road, laughing and chasing a cat. The gray cat from the stoop. At least Cece thought it was -- hard to tell in a black and white film.

She studied the foliage on the side of the road. Nothing odd about it really, but she had the sense she’d never seen plants like these before and that she couldn’t find them even if she scoured all of Earth. There was that hint of purple again. Surely her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her if she’d seen it so often.

Who knew with these dreams.

The girl seemed happy, carefree. Cece wished she could be like the child. It had been a long time since she’d experienced that kind of joy.

But as in most dreams, the first picture she saw wasn’t the true one, not if she only looked at it on the surface. And there it was, trailing behind the little girl -- a long shadow, longer and darker than a shadow had the right to be.

And as Cece watched, the shadow grew larger, stretching across the screen, eating away at the scene. It morphed into something misshapen, unrecognizable -- a puddle of ooze seeping along the edges. Until it swallowed the cat whole.

A woman whose dreams come true.

Cece’s tried to ignore her prophetic dreams all her life – they’ve caused nothing but heartache, starting with the death of her grandmother. But now she’s dreamt of a lost child. And the dizziness that only plagued her in her dreams starts seeping into the real world. When she begins hallucinating, she fears she’s losing her mind. There’s only one person she can turn to – an ex-boyfriend who told her he never wanted to see her again. Will he be willing to help her now?

Friday, August 05, 2016

Going Wide

As many of you know, since I started my Baker's Dozen Experiment last October, I've been publishing all of my titles on Amazon only.

Well, the time has come to start offering some of my titles at other retailers! This is where the term "going wide" comes from. It means I won't just be publishing titles with one retailer.

The one negative of this is I can no longer be in Kindle Select, so no more availability in Kindle Unlimited. For now, I'm removing titles from Select one at a time (depending on when my Select term is up), and I do still intend to put future titles in Select for at least 3 months (more if I'm getting a lot of page reads) before I move those titles wide. Of course my plans could change at any moment.

The great thing about going wide, though, is that now if you have a retailer you prefer over Amazon, you can buy my titles from there! Don't worry. Everything is still available for purchase on Amazon too.

I know, the whole Select thing can be a little confusing if you're not a writer juggling all these publication things. If you have any questions or need clarification, don't hesitate to ask! I'd be happy to answer anything I can.

Oh, I suppose you might want some links. You can now find 4 of my stories at Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books, and iBooks, as well as several other smaller retailers (just search for my author name on your retailer of choice to see if my titles are available). The links should take you to all titles by Alexa Grave.

Does your library also use Overdrive? If so, my titles are available through there - try to recommend them in Overdrive for your libraries to purchase!

The 4 titles currently available are: Dancing in the Wind, Dreams in Shadow, Tales of Chyraine, and Bound. Later this month 3 more titles will be available: Love Fades, Fractured Fairies, and Blood & Booze.

I'll be updating my website with this information next week, hopefully!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Heat Wave, Pokemon GO, Kids, and Thorns Entwine the Blade

Welcome to a mishmash post! It has seriously just been one of those months where I've felt like I'm only treading water and not making any forward progress. You ever feel that way? I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I know I've made some progress, though, even if it doesn't feel that way. I did another revision of Void of Intuition (the pre-order is up on Amazon, and it will be released on August 13). And I've started Thorns Entwine the Blade! If you'd like to see a really short snippet of the prelude (this is early draft material, remember), keep reading.

OK, so I haven't updated my progress bars for a while. Ignore those. They lie. It's obviously not June, and I do have some progress on Thorns, really. I'll try to update them next month because this month is already a lost cause for tracking anything.

One of the issues this month is that it's been so damned hot! Last week Tuesday the temp just jumped, and its been hanging in. We don't have central air, and right now our only window A/C is in our bedroom. It's kind of hard to cloister myself in there alone with a toddler (who naps in our bed). This weekend I wanted to run out and get a cheap A/C for the computer room, just so I could be cooler. I can't think in this heat! Right now I'm having a hard time putting words together in this post. And well, you didn't see a blog post last week, did you?

I wish we had enough money to tear up our house for central air, but with radiators for heating, that's not going to happen. If wishes were horses... Yeah, you know how it goes.

I'll admit it, though, it hasn't just been the heat. That first week of July when hubbie was home to work on the bedroom, well once he was done it kind of turned into a vacation for the both of us. Mainly because Pokemon GO was released (the timing couldn't have been any better - it was released the evening of the day he finished the room). I needed the break, anyhow.

Yes, I've still been playing Pokemon GO, but not as often as the first week. This week, though, eldest daughter is done with summer school, so now I have both of my little knuckleheads at home all the time. You'd think eldest could play and entertain youngest while I get stuff done. Oh, no. No no no. Youngest gets mad at everything eldest does, and eldest doesn't know how to interact with youngest to make it so she doesn't scream as much. I'm getting nothing done because when they're both awake, all I'm doing is putting out the flames of an angry toddler. And when youngest is napping, I'm so exhausted from the heat and the tantrums that I make progress on nothing. And even if I try, I have eldest singing the "Can I?" tune every five minutes.

Ah, kids.

That's enough excuses for this post. Again, I have gotten some things done, but at this point, I'm calling summer a bust for huge strides. August I'm going to spend some quality time with my girls, deal with the Void of Intuition release, prep the pre-order stuff for Beguiling Moon, and announce wide status on several stories (more on that in another post). Oh, and I'll aim for 1k words a week on Thorns because if I reach any higher, I'll be sure to splat.

What, have you been waiting to read that snippet from Thorns Entwine the Blade. Well, here's a look at the beginning of the prelude, which is part of the history of Leera, so I'm not spoiling anything that happens in Mind Behind the Mind.

The sun was the color of God's yellow rose. A rose Teela Mahron would never smell again.

It was her choice, of course, which made it even harder. But there was no other way, no other person willing to sacrifice her closeness to God. Her God, who didn't condone blood to be spilled, no matter the reason.

And Teela had a perfect reason. She had to eradicate God's Bane from Leera, lest the witches poison the hearts and souls of all those whom God sheltered. To hunt the witches, she had to step out from under God's shadow and follow her own path.

Today was the day she'd take that first step, on this prairie.

The witch trembled on her knees, hands clasped and raised in a plea, Teela's curved sword blade at her throat. "What have I done?"

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sunset Street Excerpt

Yesterday was another release day! Time to take a different turn compared to those wacko fairies from last month. Sunset Street is a YA urban fantasy, and it definitely has a more somber tone.

Per usual, you can now get Sunset Street from Amazon!

I have also slowly been pulling some of my titles out of Select and going wide with them. I'll have a post in a week or two with more information and links.

Until then, here's an excerpt from Sunset Street.

Rain showered down on the scene, an occasional flash of lightning and rolling thunder in the background. Kind of desolate. I wasn't sure if such a game would help me forget the ache in my chest or if it would only exacerbate it.

I squinted, catching a flash of green behind the rain. A street sign, labeled Sunset. Of course.

The bleakness made me reconsider my afternoon plans. To clear my head, I went to the window. It squeaked, as reluctant to open as I was to put forth any effort, but finally gave. The sweet smell of rain drifted toward me, causing my mind to wander and dream of less lonely times -- those few boyfriends who had ended our relationship before I felt it had even gotten started. My need to be with someone was a show of weakness, and once they realized that, it was all over.

I returned to my computer, determined to do something to distract myself. If the game still seemed too dismal after a few minutes, I'd stop.

But I studied the little scene a bit longer. Maybe the houses hid amazing adventures, the bleakness a facade. What would it be like to stand in the middle of that street? To think I was the only person left in the world?

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, so I could get the full effect of the scent of the rain drifting through the room. The smell grew stronger and stronger. Ah, sweet rain. I imagined my upturned face feeling the drops shower down on me.

When I opened my eyes to play the game, I was no longer sitting in front of my computer. The scent of rain was overpowering -- I had given my imagination too much credit because the rain actually fell on my face.

I stood in the middle of the deserted street.

Be careful what you wish for.

Stuck in her dorm room alone on a Friday night, Leah can’t imagine her loneliness getting any deeper until she pops a new game into her computer... and gets sucked into it. Trapped in a world of darkness and rain, she fears she’ll never see another living soul again. Until she meets Zach. He may be the balm for her heart she’s been searching for, but fulfilling her wish comes with a price. Is she willing to pay it?

Friday, July 08, 2016

1001 Reasons Not To Clean - #1 through #5

So, this whole dealing with the house stuff got me thinking... Yes, I think too much, and I like thinking of silly things.

Which brings me to a new blog series. 1001 Reasons Not To Clean! You don't think I can come up with 1001 reasons? I decided to aim for that high number because I want a challenge. 101 would have been too easy. If you know me, I don't make anything easy for myself. Let's see how many I can list. I have no set schedule as to how often I'll post for this, so we'll see where it goes. Also, this idea exemplifies how much I hate to clean.

1. 5 minutes after you clean the outside of the window, a bird poops on it.

2. It's hard work - hard work sucks.

3. The outdoor hose faucet is right next to a duck who made her nest against your house, so when you go to wash the blinds, the duck attacks you. (NOTE: This is a high possibility. We really do have a duck that made her nest near the faucet. I'm shocked she didn't attack me!)

4. It's a Sisyphean task. Once you clean something, you're just going to have to clean it again, which makes you wonder why you even cleaned it in the first place.

5. You'd rather play Pokemon GO.

Oh, did you want to see the bedroom complete? It's all painted! And all but our pictures and some video games have been moved back in. Here's a picture before we moved everything back in. Yup, I chose the color, and hubbie was non-committal on the purple, so if he hates it, it's his own fault for not speaking up.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Challenge Fail - Onto the Next?

Nope. You didn't see any after pictures of the girls' room. I got everything out! As planned. Then I started slowly moving stuff back in and sorting into piles, but that didn't actually start happening until after Sunday, and then between summer school, swim lessons, and sheer exhaustion, not a lot of progress was made during the week. Because I also wasn't going to do it all on my own. My eldest is old enough to help with her crap.

So, we had to get things ready to deal with the bedroom. Everything (except a bunch of my books) is back in the girls' room, though for the most part in sorted piles. I'm not about to take a picture of that, though, because now there's even more stuff in there from our bedroom. Yeah, things are a mess. Here's a nice picture though of when I emptied the room out!

This means we're onto the next project, and I'll have to finish organizing the girls' room (and my books - I did manage to select one bag of books to be taken to Half Price Books - that's a tough job for me!) after the bedroom is done.

Now, for the most part, hubbie's taking care of the bedroom. I, of course, helped him move everything out, but he'll be dealing with the wall repairs, the priming, the painting, and the ripping out of the ugly brown carpet. It sounds easy, doesn't it? Not in a 100-year-old house it isn't. The walls are plaster, and we have some pretty huge cracks. Plus he needs to be extra careful because there's lead paint in the room. He's not even touching the closet (a project for a cooler week).

Sorry that my blog's been taken over by life stuff, but right now, this is what's going on! Sadly, life can't be writing, gaming, and fun all the time. I'll leave you with one of the before pictures of the bedroom. You can see the horrible blue wall as well as the nose-wrinkling brown carpet. Sadly, I'm guessing the blue and brown combo is back to being an in thing? I sure hope not. Here's hoping the hardwood under the carpet looks nice!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Challenge Accepted! Kind of... Maybe...

This has been a hard week. My husband has been out-of-town for work, so it's been just me with the kids. I feel like I can barely sit down...even when I'm sleeping. I've already been interrupted three times while trying to write this post!

Well, one of my goals this week was to make room in my poor, poor study which has pretty much become a storage room. We need to be able to move our bedroom furniture in there to paint and rip out carpet in the bedroom (and I hope after the bedroom is done I can slowly reclaim my study). And I did it! I moved most of the boxes of papers out and have a nice large space. Sorry didn't do before and after pictures. I mean, a lot of the junk got shoved into the closet, anyway - lol.

But... the girls' bedroom is a complete disaster. It needs some serious organization. I'm not too mad at my eldest with the mess because, well, she clearly takes after me. I'm um, okay, not going to say how old, but you get the picture, and I still can't seem to get my shit together. However, I keep hurting myself when I walk in there, and we want to get the toddler on the lower bunk and the eldest on the top bunk.

My husband told me to wait on taking care of the girls' room until we're done with the bedroom, but I just can't stand it. Everything needs to come out so we can start fresh and put things away nicely. This sadly includes giving up half of the bookshelf that I still have a claim on with my own books (I need more bookshelves!), so I'd fill up the study again, temporarily. We're starting the bedroom next weekend.

So, I said I could have the girls' room done by the end of this weekend. And then my eldest proceeded to take a whole hour to move two stacks of books into the study. Such a pokey child!

Think I can do it? I'm starting to have doubts, but I got to try!

Here's a before pic. If I get it done, I'll write a new post with the results and an after pic (I'm scared it won't look much better, though, because the kids have too much crap - ha).

Monday, June 13, 2016

S.O.L. Air Excerpt

Why yes, it is another release day! It's hard to believe this is the 9th story I've released for my Baker's Dozen Experiment. What a ride.

Well, I started out the experiment with releasing Fractured Fairies, and today we get to read more about Grinka, Syndago, and the fairy brats! The humorous antics continue in S.O.L. Air, which you can now nab from Amazon. As always, this was fun to write. I hope you enjoy it as well! You can find an excerpt below.

And the next Fractured Fairies tale will be coming at the end of November - A Very Grinka Christmas! It'll be longer than the previous stories, but there's plenty of humor to keep things lively. What, you thought I'd stop publishing after the experiment was over? Never! I'll be writing until my body no longer allows it. You're stuck with my stories and characters for a good long time.

Anyway, onto the good stuff!

I take a deep breath as the plane engines rev louder and the flight attendant buckles herself in. Maybe I can jump out of a window. Nope, no way to open this sucker, and someone was smart enough to not seat me in the emergency row. I peer out the window and gulp. Maybe I should have given Syndago the window seat.

I see a flicker of movement to the right, outside the plane, and crane my neck to look closer. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

There on the wing sit the two fairy twits. They wave when they realize I notice them. Guess they’re willing to risk being ground into a sticky pulp so they can make my life more miserable.

“There are pigeons on the wing.” At least my voice is now dry instead of panicky.

“I told you you couldn’t leave them behind.” Syndago frowns. “They deserve a vacation, too.”

“Every day of their lives is a vacation! They drink and drink and drink, and play pranks, and make rude comments, and drive me up a wall, and--” If it weren’t for Syndago insisting we can’t abandon them, the little snots would be living on the street, like proper pigeons, and not with us. The bulb above my head bursts. “And I need a vacation from them.”

“Calm down, Grinka.”

I open my mouth, ready to tick off several reasons why I don’t need to calm down, but the plane lurches forward and fear shoves the anger down my throat.

We’re taking off. No, we can’t. Stop the plane. I need to get off.

“Your mouth is hanging open.” Syndago’s brow wrinkles with worry.

I squeak.

What’s a sea nymph got to do to get a vacation around here?

That whole “life is a journey, not a destination” nonsense doesn’t hold water with Grinka. Especially when she books a flight to Vegas to get away from those two fairy nitwits. She doesn’t quite consider the aquatic ramifications of a sea nymph in the air. Nor does she plan on a chance encounter with her goblin ex-boyfriend, Hrelm. Seriously, what’s it going to take for Grinka to get to Vegas and gamble away her meager savings?

Monday, June 06, 2016

Castle - Series Finale

***WARNING: Yes, there are spoilers. So if you haven't seen the final episode of Castle and don't want it spoiled, move along.

I know it's been a couple weeks since the Castle finale, but I've been planning to post about this for a while. And damn it, I'm still going to post about it, even if I am a bit tardy (at least I'm not a couple months late).

Anyway, I was clearly a fan of Castle - love Nathan Fillion as an actor, and the humor is what kept me coming back each week. Now, though I enjoyed watching the episodes, I do agree the last couple seasons weren't the best. They definitely had their flaws. My husband would usually fall asleep while I watched most times. Perhaps my love of writing kept me more hooked on the show than him (though, really, it didn't have much to do with writing - lol).

Well, when I heard that Castle was going to be cancelled instead of the original 13-episode planned send off, I was sad. I totally understand though that when you lose one of the main characters, played by Stana Katic, it's hard to go on. Someone mentioned to me, though, that in case this happened, they had filmed an extra episode, just in case (and if it wasn't cancelled that episode would be destroyed). This made me feel a bit better. I was hoping the show would have a decent send off at least.

That "extra episode" though wasn't actually a whole episode. Nope. It was a tacked on 30 seconds. And it was horrible.

The final scene of Castle reminded me how so many TV writers have issues sticking the landing with series finales. As a matter of fact, there's only one series finale that comes to mind that was done extremely well, and that's Six Feet Under. I'm sure there are more that were well done, but they're few and far between.

I honestly don't know why it's so hard to end a series well!

For Castle they tacked a seven years later thing on, a little monologue from Castle, and the happy family with lots of kids. This is done just after they're both seen dying on the kitchen floor.

First, the transition is crap. Utter crap. Dying to happy smiling family. Clearly they didn't have a whole episode recorded as a just in case. If we would have gotten a next season, we would have been left with them dying on the kitchen floor. And then next season would have started with Kate dying and castle surviving. That would have been horrible too, mind you. Especially since Castle couldn't be all about the vengeance since Kate's killer was already dead.

Second, it's wrapped up in too neat of a bow. Way too neat. That final flash forward didn't need to happen. Unnecessary.

You think I think I could have written it better? Well, I do think so!

For one, both of them dying on that kitchen floor would have been a better ending. It would have. Admit it. You know it in your heart of hearts.

But I have something better than that. I do! And it wouldn't have taken more than that thirty seconds or so.

End scene with them on the kitchen floor, then into the next with them both being rushed to the hospital. They both survive. Yay! And Kate finds out while in the hospital she's pregnant. Then we could have cut to Castle's monologue. The end.

So simple. And it makes more sense, in my opinion. We don't need to know exactly what happens after seven years. We just need the hint, the hope that they're going to have a wonderful future together.

Enough said. I'll get off my writerly soapbox now. I hope you enjoyed the final episode better than I did!

Monday, May 30, 2016

For The Hippocampi!

Eek! I forgot to blog last week. Sorry about that. I was taking off a week from writing due to a lot of other events going on, but I was still supposed to write up a post! Well, that post will come later this week (I must express my opinion on the series finale of Castle).

For now, I'll give you a glimpse at what distracted me last week. Yup, I was bad. A game did it.

I'm currently taking part in a breeding competition on the Magistream site. My team is in second place! Woo hoo!

We are Team Hippocampi, and we're breeding the Sun Callisto Family. It's fun and crazy times in our team forum. We're all super supportive of each other, and we know that every new egg added to the family helps (and understand if some people can't contribute as many babies as others).

Anyway, Magistream is a creature click site. So, to breed new babies, we have to grow our babies up!

Would you like to help me and my team in this crazy endeavor? If so, please click on the eggs and hatchlings below! (The Snap Links or Linkclump browser add-ons are quite awesome to be able to select more than one link at a time to open them.) The quicker these grow, the more we can breed, and maybe we'll jump into first place!

I will try to update these codes once per day at the least to weed out the adults. Please come and click at least once per day if you can! The competition ends on June 18.

Once the competition is over, I will remove the links and announce what place my team ends up in.

EDIT: We...tied! Lol. It was a crazy race between us and one of the other teams, and we kept going back and forth with who was in the lead. When the proverbial buzzer sounded and the dust settled, the points for our team and the one other team were the same! So, we won, but we just have to share the limelight. Both of our teams got the first place prizes. That was a blast!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Team Cap All the Way!

***WARNING: This post contains spoilers for the movie Captain America: Civil War. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you may want to wait to read this. I take no responsibility in spoiling the awesomeness of this movie if you ignore this warning and read on. If you're still wondering if you should go see it, I highly recommend it.***

Now, I don't promise much thoughtful analysis on Captain America: Civil War. I'm kind of in the Fan Girl Zone lately. So, I may just be listing all the fun things I like about it. We'll see how close I examine some things. I'm always happy to hear other people's opinions and viewpoints as well (even if you hated the movie, really).

Now, clearly from the title, I'm on the side of Team Cap. Like him, I trust people, not organizations. Those darn organizations, they always have an agenda!

True, the Avengers cause a hell of a lot of destruction. Hubbie and I watched Avengers: Age of Ultron again the week after, and that was really the first time he got to see most of it (due to toddler issues in the theater - he kindly let me watch while he took her out), and he was pointing out all the destruction and said he might just switch from Team Cap to Team Iron Man.

Nope, we don't have political debates in our house, we have superhero debates. Heh.

Anyway, yes so much destruction! But I honestly don't believe these big baddies wouldn't be around if the Avengers didn't exist. If the Avengers didn't exist Earth would probably be a smoldering afterthought in space. What's a little destruction when in the end you save the world? I mean, Ultron was Tony's fault, though...

Enough about whose side I'm on because no matter what side anyone chooses, this was a damned good movie! Captain America: Civil War was definitely better than Avengers: Age of Ultron. Hands down. And my favorite Captain America movie (hubbie's is Winter Soldier - how do we live with each other with all of these superhero disagreements? - lol).

They balanced all of the superheroes in this movie well, in my opinion. I know some say that Spider-Man stole the show in the airport battle, but I don't think he did. He lent to a lot of other commentary from the other characters, like when Falcon tells Winter Soldier he hates him after Spider-Man trips them up with a little web action. Awesome.

Speaking of Spider-Man, I was seriously leery about yet another reboot of that franchise, but after seeing him in Civil War, I'm excited. I need the Spidie with a sense of humor! I especially loved the bit where he referenced Star Wars and brought down Ant Man. Especially the following responses.

And that whole Black Widow as the double agent thing in the end (I mean, I know she wasn't really intending to be, but that is what happened) was fitting as well.

Oh, and Black Panther! I'm now looking forward to that movie as well. And it's kind of nice that they used Civil War as more of the origin story set up, so then the first Black Panther movie shouldn't need to be the origin story type.

The battles were some of the best too, the airport scene at the top of the list. You clearly knew they were all pulling their punches - they didn't want to kill each other - they're friends, even if they're of different minds! I thought the end of that fight was also extremely well done. War Machine was hit by friendly fire, and I think that was a good choice, as if he had been hit by the other side, there would have been a lot more animosity between both sides, even by the end of the movie.

Finally, I do want to get back to why I'm Team Cap. I guess Captain America doesn't let his emotions blind him, in my opinion, whereas Iron Man is completely consumed by his emotions when he finds out Winter Soldier killed his parents. I can't help but feel Tony is in the wrong when he goes after Bucky. Yes, Winter Soldier killed his parents, but he was under mind control, for the love of gods! Would he have reacted the same way if say, Cap had done it? Someone who he was truly friends with? Would he have hesitated or reacted the same way? Maybe the latter, since he does fight Cap at the end.

Seriously, vengeance can completely derail the best of people! And Tony "Stank" (best Stan Lee cameo ever) already has the cards stacked against him for truly being a good person at times. I guess it could be said that maybe he supports the Socovia Accords to repent for his megalomaniac actions in Age of Ultron. Maybe.

OK, I've rambled on long enough. I did enjoy the movie, and right now it's in my top four for Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Heck, it might even nudge out the first Avengers movie for me (Guardians is still my favorite, and Ant Man was awesome as well).

Though now I'm a bit scared about the let down I'm expecting from X-Men: Apocalypse. I've heard not good things, and if they end up doing one thing that I really don't want them to do, I may never watch an X-Men movie again. We'll see, and that's a blog post for another day!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Reversed Excerpt

Another release day! The Fortunes of Fate series is one of those series that's close to my heart, and with each story, I learn something new about the world of Fate and the tales unfolding between there and Earth.

So, I'm happy to announce that the third story, Reversed, is now available for purchase from Amazon! It's also on Kindle Unlimited. Remember the Tarot reader from Dreams in Shadow? Well, this story is from his point of view. Will you join him on his journey?

A small excerpt and the blurb for Reversed is below. Enjoy the sneak peek!

Also, Dreams in Shadow should be available from other retailers within the next month (it's no longer available through Kindle Unlimited, but it's still on Amazon). And don't forget Love Fades will be available for FREE from May 18th through the 22nd.

Have fun getting lost in the stories of Fate!

Darney pressed his hands to his ears. The screaming continued in his mind, though. The cards howled. And the heat from them in his pocket throbbed against his hip -- seventy-eight tiny hearts, skipping beats from their wounds.

That rotten child had done this.

Many people didn’t like what the cards told them, but the little girl had been the first to react so violently. The poor Fool card whimpered, creases refusing to even out after she crumpled it. At least half of the other cards were singed. Fire. Of all things, she had to use fire.

Delilah, his mother, had warned him, told him to protect the cards with enchantments. Such magic would have kept them safe for the most part. The fire wouldn’t have touched them. But he didn’t know how, couldn’t find the magic she claimed he had.

The magic he yearned to find.

He traveled from town to town in hopes that the next reading would be the trigger, the one that would spark the glow inside of him. And then he could truly bond with his cards -- they’d be an extension of him, not just a deck of friends he kept close.

The cards won't stop screaming.

Darney's Tarot cards were scorched by a wretched child who set fire to his card table. Their sobs and screams torment his conscience, but he can't heal them because he has no magic.

In desperation, Darney seeks the help of Jasp, a well-known, but cruel, mage. Jasp is his last hope. Or his undoing and the cards' doom.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Fantasy Image Intermission

I need a week off from lengthy blogging, but I thought it would be nice to post something! So, I snagged a few fantasy pictures from Pixabay. These are free use, but if you search fantasy on the site, you should be able to find them in the first two or three pages.

The first one reminds me of a Fate story I started ages ago (Three of Swords - Sorrow) and really need to continue! I won't caption any of the other pictures, but maybe you can get some inspiration from the images below. Or at least they'll put a smile on your face. I love writing fantasy, and using words to tell stories is awesome, but I always appreciate how pictures can tell a story too. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Writing Tip #3: Accountability

Any past Tips & Prompts can be found on my website: Writing Tips & Prompts.

Writing Tip #3: Accountability

Now, I know not everyone is a writer, but this may be helpful to non-writers as well, especially those who have careers that are more solitary and need a lot of self-discipline and self-motivation to keep you on track.

For the most part, writing is a solitary endeavor. Not all the time. I mean, there are the wild parties at the writing conventions. (I know I've had a few crazy nights at In Your Write Mind with my writer friends.) But the biggest chunk of time spent tending to the business of writing is your butt in your chair, typing out thrilling tales. And you're alone. So alone. Unless you count the characters in your head and on the page, but if you start believing they're real, that's a topic for a different writing tip.

When you're on your own, especially if you don't currently have publication deadlines threatening you, it can be hard to focus, to stay motivated and productive. Making your own deadlines or bribing yourself are good attempts at keeping yourself in line, but they don't work for everyone.

Fear not, there is something else that may help.

Though us writers spend most of our time working in solitude, one of the great things is that other writers know what we're going through. They're going through the same thing. And writers are a great bunch who are willing to band together to support each other! You see it with all the writer forums and groups that spring up all over the place. Most other writers are welcoming and supportive of other writers (and if you find some who aren't, turn tail and run -- you'll easily find others who are).

And these fellow writers can help with accountability, keeping you on track. I feel this works best in small groups. What I do follows -- you may need to adjust for your own preferences.

Now, big forums like Kboards, which I frequent, definitely have support, but it's sometimes hard to keep the accountability going with such a large group of writers. This is why I love Writing Quest and my two fellow SHU Writing Popular Fiction grads. These are smaller groups, and even if Writing Quest ever grew to larger proportions, the focus of the group is goals (and cheering each other on).

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know I've been running Writing Quest for some time. It started out as monthly events on Facebook, but now it's Facebook group. At the beginning of each month, we list our monthly goals. We can check in throughout the month, but some people also check in only at the end of the month. Sometimes putting your goals out there to a group spur you to be productive so you can come back at the end of the month and declare your success.

OK, sometimes a group still isn't personal enough to get you in line and working diligently. This is also why I don't know where I'd be without my two WPF cohorts, J. Gunnar Grey and Melanie Card. Because of them, I have kept on task more often than not.

What we like to do is e-mail each other and check in -- see what we're up to, what we've gotten done recently, and what our plans are for the next few days ahead. Now, we don't e-mail every day, but usually at least once or twice a week (OK, sometimes we e-mail daily or even more than once in a day, but that's usually when we're having a lively discussion about something or another about writing or publishing).

This checking in on a consistent basis is helpful because it makes me want to have something to report. I hate the messages that start out, "Well, I got nothing done all week." It makes me feel guilty and unproductive. I want to feel as productive as they are (well, almost -- my production is no where near at their level, but I have a toddler to blame for that).

And the funny thing is, even when I think I haven't gotten that much done, when I type it up in an e-mail or a post to Writing Quest, I realize I actually got a lot more done than I thought. It's encouraging to see your accomplishments, however little, put down in words!

So, if you want to find a way to be accountable, find a couple of other like-minded writers willing to do a mini-group e-mail exchange with you. Or join a small group focused on writing goals. Remember, any writer is welcome over at Writing Quest, so feel free to send a request to join the group!