Monday, 31 October 2011

Calamity's Corner

In the November issue, I'm delighted to present an old critique partner of mine,
mystery writer, Rick Bylina, as Author of the Month. My new friend, writer
and photographer, Alanna, gives us Part 2 in her series on beautiful
Brittany.(What a superb setting for writers to use).

Australian authors Carole Sutton and Dell Brand share their
experiences with the amazing Maned Wood Ducks and the Mt Isa Rodeo,
and the movie quiz from Sheryl might stump you. :) Plus the regular

For this free monthly ezine for writers, readers, travellers, movie buffs etc email me at Calamity's Corner

Happy leisure time. You owe it to yourslves.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

My Book Review of 'Thank You Mom and Thank You Dad For All The Wonderful Things I Have' by Sherri Lubin Carpenter

Sherri Lubin Carpenter’s charming children’s picture book, Thank You Mom and Thank You Dad For All The Wonderful Things I Have, introduces the toddler to the five senses. Written in verse and repetition, it could be set to music. The focus is on the importance of parents in a child’s life and the child’s gratitude towards them. I think this idea helps to reinforce the respect and love that flows between them. Elisa Elaine Luevanos’ beautiful illustrations clearly show this. I found the irregular metre and rhyme not to my taste, but the warmth and sentiment of the visually graphic imagery in the words held me.

Carefully chosen examples to engage the young reader define the five senses, especially when he encounters the smells of raw fish and skunk and the taste of bitter radish, and when he touches the hot slide. I can imagine him laughing and screwing up his noses and using lots of facial expressions, and his wide-eyed wonder as he explores the beach. This would make a lovely bedtime story of young children to be read and reread many times over.

Available at Willow Moon Publishing
meet Sherri at Sherri Carpenter

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Review of Laurel Lamperd's Crossroads at Isca

Crossroads at Isca is a wonderful journey, both for the reader and the characters. Roman Britian opens up before us and draws us in. This is a real experience for historians. If I didn't know better I would swear this was a first hand account. Laurel Lamperd's understanding of the stuggle to survive in a Britian invaded in Roman times brings to life this engaging story of two young women and the men who admire them. Faine and Marella are cousins but quite opposite in their dispositions. It is easy to care about both of them. Some of the scences made me feel uncomfortable since they touched on my personal taboos but were honest in keeping with the times. I found Crossroads at Isca to be well written, entertaining and enlightening. I recommend it to adult readers.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Spitzli's progress.

Spitzli had her stitches out today. She was so brave and the vet so gentle, I didn't even flinch. Her orthopaedic surgeon, is very happy with her progress and said she isn't in any pain. However we must continue to keep her quiet - no twisting or sudden turns- for a few more weeks.

This mini Schnauzer thinks her leg has healed and is anxious to reclaim her active life so we might find the next two weeks a little trying.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Rochelle Weber's book Rock Crazy is published today!!

Welcome to my blog, on your release day, Rochelle.

Can you tell us a little about your sequel to Rock Bound,  Rock Crazy from MuseItUp Publishing?

Rock Crazy is about 41K words, or about 128 pages.

Katie McGowan is bi-polar, and she’s run the gamut of medications, but nothing works anymore.  Everyone says her she should have a microchip implanted in her brain that can regulate her mood swings.  But Katie doesn’t want to be a robot.  In a tough love move, her husband, Scott takes her to the Moon—and dumps her. Katie’s stuck on that God-forsaken “rock,” and thinks she’s space sick. But she’s wrong; she’s pregnant. Now the surgery’s too dangerous and she has to go off her meds until the baby’s born.

Scott’s elated that he’s going to be a father and assumes Katie will take him back.  He has no clue how badly he’s hurt her, how thoroughly he’s broken her trust—or that he may not get her back at all.

That sure is a fascinating concept. Where did the germ of this idea come from? 

In college, I wrote a book called “Comes the Dawn” working through the angst of my own divorce.  Each semester I wrote to my professor, so I ended up with eight different storylines with the same two characters.  My ex-husband dumped me for my best friend (really the only other person I knew) in a town I’d never heard of, 750 miles from home, because he couldn’t cope with my mood swings. 

My own bi-polar disorder had not been diagnosed then. When I graduated from school, I no longer had time to write and the book languished.  Once I became disabled by my disease, I started writing again, that town became the Moon and the disease became the real villain in the book.  Some of the scenes really happened.  Many of the arguments with Katie’s mother are arguments I had with my mother when I was awake and she was alive.  I believe now that she was bi-polar and self-medicating with alcohol.

Oh my goodness. This sounds like a powerful book. I've always said, the most potent writing comes from within, from what we know.

Earth Rise
How did you choose your setting? Have you woven your own environment into your story?
The opening scene on Earth really happened to me and does take place in an area where I used to live.  Obviously, I’ve never visited the Moon.  However, I’ve used a lot of my own experience in the book.

Never visited the Moon? How do you know :)? You might have astral travelled.

Who is your favourite character in your novel?
Goodness, I love the Johnsruds, but Lena Johnsrud cracks me up all the time.  She’s such a typical teenager. 

I put my galleys on my Kindle, because I thought typos and such would jump out better on the different screen and I was reading it at Wendy’s.  Anytime someone walks into Jake’s Cafe when Lena’s working and asks for the manager, or asks for Jake by name, her reaction is, “Sure.  Daddy!”  Hopefully their ears will stop ringing by the time Jake comes out of the kitchen.  I read one of those passages and cracked up.  Then I realized I was laughing at my own book and started laughing at myself.  So there I was sitting alone at Wendy’s having this great laugh-fest for no apparent reason.  So, okay—I’m not certifiably crazy; I’m already certified by the Veteran’s Administration!

If an author can laugh or cry at her own story then it's pretty sure a reader will too. Congratulations.

 How many drafts did it take before you felt satisfied to submit Rock Crazy for publication?

Jiminy!  I did a draft a semester in college, then picked it up and put it down over the years, then gosh—I’ve lost count.

 What's the one thing you hope your readers will take away with them, after finishing Rock Crazy?

If one person laughs or cries while reading the book it’ll be worth it.

If one person recognizes him or herself and gets help for this disease, it’ll really be worth it.  People who are bi-polar are often misdiagnosed.  It never occurred to me that my temper tantrums had anything to do with mental illness.  I just thought I was a spoiled brat who hadn’t grown up. 

Brain Surgery
I saw a psychiatrist for several years and was treated for clinical depression until I had a housemate who recognized the symptoms, gave me copies of “Call Me Anna,” by Patty Duke and “A Brilliant Madness” by Ms. Duke and a doctor, and made me check into the VA for a week of diagnostic observation followed by a week of getting started on the appropriate cocktail of medications.  I always thought bi-polar disorder meant crushing depressions alternating with maniacal highs.  If my roommate and Ms. Duke hadn’t told me my highs could manifest as temper tantrums, I’d probably still be on anti-depressants, but screaming and throwing things at people.

If, by chance, you became trapped inside one of your stories, would you try to escape to your real world?
I am trapped in Rock Crazy.  If I go off my meds, I get violent.  You haven’t lived until you’ve been the only woman on the locked ward at the VA, but I’ve been there, done that several times, and I like it out here in the real world, so I’ll keep taking my meds and hope they keep working.  And if someone invents a chip and I can get the VA to implant it, I’ll be right there!

Do you have a daily writing routine?
I’m sure the Boss Lady is going to wet noodle me, but I’m very bad at sticking to a daily routine.  I get up around eleven and try to spend about an hour on the internet doing e-mail and promo, then write for about three hours, write a review for my Rochelle’s Reviews blog, and read an hour or two while I have a late lunch.  That doesn’t always work, because usually around four my granddaughter wants a ride somewhere and the rest of my day is blown.

Whom do you most admire and why?
My favourite author is Robert A. Heinlein because he wrote intelligent science fiction and he wrote it well.  I would have loved to have met him when he was alive.  I also admire Gene Roddenberry for his positive vision of the future, JK Rowling for her wonderful facility with words in the Harry Potter series, Ginger Simpson for her humor, Cyrus Keith who never fails to keep me on the edge of my seat burning up the pages, Roseanne Dowell for her sweet romances, and our fearless leader, Lea Shizas who is tireless in her efforts to make MuseItUp and each of us authors shine.

Here! here!

When you aren’t writing, what do you enjoy most?
I love spending time with my grandkids, playing Buzztime trivia, singing karaoke, and prowling the Volo Auto Museum and making people feel welcome there.

What's the most important thing you would like readers to know about you as an author?
I try to write honest books with both heart and brains.

Apart from ‘never give up’ what advice as a writer would you give to someone who takes their writing seriously?
Buy a dictionary and Style Guide—the Chicago Manual of Style is what most publishers use.  Study commas, comma splices, semi-colons, ellipses, em-dashes, homonyms, capitalization, etc.  Write your first draft and set it aside until you’ve finished the first draft of your next book.  Go back and look for head-hopping, consistency, info-dumps, passive voice, too many adverbs, and set it aside again.  When you go back to it, do a line edit for spelling and grammar.  Go through it backward if you have to.  Don’t rely on Word; they’re frequently wrong.  Use that style guide.  It’s much more important than a Thesaurus.

Well, Rochelle, it is clear to me you have written a timely book that will be of great benefit to the people who need your help, and to those who care about their fellow man.
Where can we reach you.
See What I’m Reading at Rochelle’s Reviews:
Follow Me on Twitter:!/RochelleWeber
Thank you for being my guest today, Rochelle

Thank you for having me.  Here’s a short excerpt of Rock Crazy.  This takes place soon after they’ve landed on the Moon.  Rock Crazy will be available from today at MuseItUp Publishing. Here’s the link:

Rockton, the Moon 19° North 29° East
February, 2066

Scott came home, and she was doing her hair. It was sticking up all over, and she actually thought it looked cool.
“Whad’ya do?” he asked. “Stick your finger in a socket?”
Now a sane person would have taken that as a joke. But not crazy Katie. She went off on him. She screamed, shouted, and tried to rage around the room, but she wasn’t used to the lower gravity, and she bounced off a wall and ended up on her butt. In fact, she fell slowly, but then she bounced again when she hit the floor. She came back down still in that maddening slow-motion, spluttering and throwing her same arm out to break her fall. Fortunately, she landed softly enough to prevent anymore damage to her wrist.
Falling in slo-mo tends to put a real damper on one’s temper. Scott laughed so hard, he ended up bouncing onto the floor next to her. She glared at him.
“Y-You looked so f-funny floating d-down to the f-floor,” he gasped.
She glared some more.

“And…and then, y-you b-bounced!”
“There’s nothing funny about it,” Katie replied, trying to keep her own laughter from bubbling up at their predicament. Scott stood up, managing to do so without bouncing, and offered her his hand.
“I can do it,” Katie said, stubbornly. She over-compensated the amount of energy she’d need to stand up and bounced again. Scott tried to catch her, and they both went back down.
“C’mon, honey,” he said. “You have to admit it’s funny as hell.” Tears were leaking from the corners of his eyes, he was laughing so hard.

Rochelle has a copy of her novel Rock Crazy to give away to one lucky guest at her Launch Party which follows right. Please enter the garden gate, via the comments, at your own risk, hehehe. Right Here and Now. Welcome! and writers, bring your own characters with you to share in the fun.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Unhewn Stone cover is up for the October award.

I'm excited that The Unhewn Stone is nominated for the October Cover awards at Alternative-Read at

The cover shows a rather cheeky magician with 2 masks. Tiger Matthews from MuseItUp Publishing is the cover artist. It is # 5. Voting has another 17 days to go. I'd love to win if you could spare a vote. Thank you.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Release Day for Exiled: Winter's Curse by Rosalie Skinner

Today I am thrilled to announce the release of  ROSALIE SKINNER's
The second book in the series The Chronicles of Caleath

Alone, Caleath rides south to kill the Tarack queen in her dormant colony, and thus, ensure the safety of the people. His ‘kill or be killed’ mission is not altruistic. Although he justifies his motive, saving the people, gaining his own freedom and acceptance, deep within his soul he battles a yearning for Tarack stim crystal. However, a small child's plea for help dissolves Caleath's simple plan.

His new quest takes him on a desperate path traversed by bandits, dragons, bloody battles, danger, and death. No longer is Caleath alone.

Meanwhile Nasith travels south with Lachlan, Gwilt, and a band of soldiers prepared for the battle with the Tarack. As they travel, Gwilt voices his concern about the malevolence surrounding a newcomer to the group. Convinced his doubts have fallen on deaf ears, he remains alert and wary. His attitude leads to a confrontation from which neither he nor Nasith emerge unscathed.

Winter allows the people of Allorn time to prepare, while other nefarious schemes rise to destroy them.

Caleath curled one gloved hand around the hilt of the Karadorian sword. His finger traced the outline of two missing jewels, used to purchase a pack horse and supplies before leaving Sheldarc. Cold leached through the fabric of the spare blanket draped around his shoulders as he tried to encourage sleep. Deep within the sheltered cowl of his hood, his eyes closed.

Caleath cocked his head to listen. Well beyond the horses resting with their tails to the wind, he heard a wolf’s howl disturb the quiet of the night. The baying stirred a well of loneliness. Gwilt and Nasith traveled elsewhere. They probably spent the cold, dismal night indoors, sleeping on warm beds with full bellies.

Thoughts of Nasith warmed Caleath’s blood, but he quelled them before they ruined his hope for sleep. He cherished the memory of moments spent in her company. They had been desperate moments. Survival dominated his thoughts then, preventing him from savoring her presence. Now assassins no longer hunted him, nor did ghosts haunt his nights. Nor did Nasith ride with him. He rode alone, south toward the growing threat, in a desperate quest to prove his worth to the old mage Penwryt.

With his chance of returning home destroyed, Caleath fought the despair of homesickness. Cold made his inner arm scar tissue ache. Anger warmed him, banishing thoughts of Nasith. Instead, rage focused on Ephraim, the man who manipulated Caleath’s exile. Although Ephraim managed to delay Caleath’s plans for revenge, they fermented even now. Left without galactic citizenship, or a means to get off the planet, Caleath cursed his enemy with every breath.

Outrageous plans and fading memories blurred as slumber edged past dreams of vengeance. Drifting into an uneasy sleep, Caleath’s guard lowered.

A taint of corruption carried on the cold night air.

Adrenaline pumped, boosting barriers within his mind. Caleath flinched. Sleep dulled the alarm, but instinct reacted to the touch of sorcery. Dragged from a dreamlike state, Caleath braced, rousing to repel the probing of another mind against the defenses inside his head.

His fingers clasped the Karadorian blade, already drawn beneath Caleath’s heavy cloak. Caution saw the sword bared against the threat of ice forming in the sheath and preventing the weapon’s release. Despite his precautions, the sword could not protect him from magic. The effort needed to prevent the persistent intrusion caused his heart to pound and his head to ache.

The barriers in his mind loomed as intangible walls, protecting the detritus of dark magic left by dire conjurations. The threat of incursion into the morass of unfathomed magic terrified Caleath. He recognized his feeble efforts, compared to the power ranged against him.

A trickle of dampness spreading along his spine became a river of cold sweat. Fully awake, Caleath trembled as he fought a silent battle against an invasive and invisible foe. The horses shuffled, as if they too sensed the desperate conflict. Caleath didn’t open his eyes, his focus turned inward. Neither cold, nor the scent of corruption, nor the sudden quiet in the forest seemed important as he fought to keep his mind free from manipulation. He called upon all the ways and means of constructing and maintaining barriers, learnt during three years as the source for Karadorian dread lords.

Even so, his efforts seemed futile. Nothing he offered prevented the aggressive sorcery from broaching his wards.

He dragged cold air into his lungs, clamped his jaws shut, and clenched white-knuckled fists around the hilt of the sword. His sense of futility spread, though he refused to capitulate. He tasted blood, smelt bitter corruption and heard Death’s dark humor in the cascade of a nearby creek.

Between one heartbeat and the next, an explosion of burning flame rampaged behind Caleath’s eyelids. He gasped, opening his eyes when the image of a dragon rampart burned into his vision. He sensed a presence; human, insubstantial, but carrying dread potential. Before he could react to the awe-inspiring presence of the dragon, all three apparent threats; dragon, human, and the touch of sorcery dispersed. No longer under attack, Caleath shuddered. Both horses snorted, shying as Caleath staggered to his feet. Blinded by the sudden light, it took another heartbeat before vision adjusted to the darkness before dawn. Caleath stumbled against Enigma’s flank, his sword flailing toward two unseen foes.

“Balls of a hairy goat.” Caleath rammed the sword into its scabbard and tried to shake off the feeling of impending doom. He took time to settle his racing heart, fill his lungs with sweet air and relish his continued freedom.

In the distance the wolf yowled as the morning light crept across the forest floor. Shrugging off the cloak, Caleath adjusted his shirt where damp fabric chilled warm flesh.  The cheerful chatter of crickets, birds greeting the dawn, and the innocent babbling brook mocked Caleath’s rank fear. Again thoughts of Gwilt and his wolf rose to provoke his loneliness. Cursing his penchant to dwell on their plight, Caleath savored a moment wondering how Nasith greeted the dawn.
The forest remained quiet. A white owl winged silently into the gloom. No dragon or sorcerer disturbed the peaceful tableau.

The BALLS OF A HAIRY GOAT AND ADDER'S SPIT competition is in full swing.
Check out the list of prizes available.
at Ramblings from Lady Rosalie
Visit The official
Chronicles of Caleath website 
and send your contest entry to to get your word puzzle.

Thanks to Wendy for having me here today!! 

For those who haven't already read Book One, Exiled Autumn's Peril is now available from Amazon, Museitup Bookshop and Smashwords.

Come and join Rosalie's blog party... ON NOW via the comments.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

My Spitzli

On her 2nd Birthday
Spitzli's knee reconstruction operation is over.
The vet said they were happy with the way things went. When she comes home she will have to be kept quiet. No running for six weeks, at least.