A Brief Announcement…

Ahem, I’ve been putting off making this announcement, but I guess the time has come to do so. As of August 11th, I will no longer be a Lakewater Press author. I would like to stress that this is an amiable parting and I highly recommend Lakewater to any authors who want to go the small press route. I also recommend Kate Foster (head of LWP) as a free-lance editor as she is consummately professional, very talented, and Uber-supportive.

What this means for me, however, is that my Witchbreed series will be on hiatus for an undetermined period of time. And the 1st two books will be out-of-print and unavailable as well.

As of now, the books are still available.

I would, eventually, like to release the books myself and, perhaps, add to the series. However, I have no definite plans for that. Or any definite plans to publish anything more in the future.

My social media presence will also shrink: I will likely delete my Twitter and Patreon accounts as well as this Author Page and my engagement on my personal Facebook page will be severely limited. These measures are as much for my personal well-being as much as they are an attempt to streamline my marketing process. I will retain my personal website, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads accounts as they are.

I want to thank those of you who have shown your support for me and my writing. You are gems and I treasure you.

Book Giveaway!

Hey all! I am giving away the last (and I do mean THE LAST) print copies of both In the Blood and Beneath the Skin. If you’re interested in getting a copy of either, I have 1 copy of In the Blood and 1 copy of Beneath the Skin. Send me a message through the “Contact R. L.” tab  with the title of whichever book you want along with your mailing address. First come, first served. Unfortunately, I can only mail to addresses in the US.

Character Interview: Ottilde Dominax

Photo by Lucia O’Connor-McCarthy

This interview is a long time in coming. Please welcome my very special guest, Ottilde [O – Tild] Dominax!

RLM: Thank you so much for joining me today, Ottilde.

OtD: It’s a pleasure to be here, thank you for having me.

RLM: So, as you know, I’ve already interviewed your sister, Oriabel. And I’d like to ask you pretty much the same questions I asked her.

OtD: By all means.

RLM: If you could travel anywhere where would it be?

OtD: I’ve already done a lot of traveling in my life. During my education and training to become a knight, we were often taken on long trips to expose us to different terrains, climates, languages etc. Honestly, I just want to be home.

 

RLM: If you could keep only 5 possessions what would they be?

OtD: A clean pair of underthings; my heartstone; the drawings my father did before he died – especially the one of my mother when she was pregnant with Oriabel and me; my sword; and a waterproof coat – a hate being wet.

 

RLM: Who do most admire in life?

OtD: My sister, Oriabel. She hasn’t been tainted by cynicism and bitterness as I have. While sometimes I might be exasperated – even fearful – of her trusting nature, I also envy that innocence. That willingness to believe and expect the best of people.

 

RLM: What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?

OtD: I’ve always wished I could garden. Black thumb, though. I love growing things and envied Oriabel and my father their ability to coax life from the ground.

 

RLM: What was your most embarrassing moment?

OtD: On the eve of my knighting, I fell asleep during the vigil in the royal sanctuary. I’d been having an awful nightmare when the duty priest woke me. I was so startled that I punched him in the mouth. Needless to say, I was not a favorite among the priests from then on.

[both laugh]

RLM: Now, I have to ask: What is really between you and Wilder Coomb?

OtD: Absolutely nothing.

RLM: Really?

OtD: Indeed. That man is the bane of my existence and I would gut him if I had half a chance. He’s the most loathsome, self-righteous, thick-headed, beast of a man. And I pity anyone unfortunate enough to spend even a moment in his company.

Why, what did he say to you?

RLM: Ummm…

 

 

My Formative Years (aka: the origin of the Mayhem)

Anyone who knows me at all – like, if you meet me for the first time, you will probably find this out within five minutes – knows that I adore horses and unicorns. Always have. In fact, horses were the center of my beginning as a storyteller.

Before I even knew that “writer” was a possible profession, I loved making up my own stories and acting them out. I rarely shared these stories, though. Instead, I used my collection of various horse and pony figures to give my stories life.

My family, most notably my mother, made sure that I had plenty of horse and pony toys to play with. Every Christmas and birthday I would receive at least one horse/pony. I also had a small collection of She-Ra action figures who would handle any human element in my stories.

Here are some of the figures I had as a kid (I think I had more, but I can’t remember them all):

This was my King of Horses, one of my first Breyer Horses. I named him Skydancer and he was the leader of my little herd.

This was Skydancer’s wife. In her previous life she was known as the Fashion Star Filly, Chloe. I do not remember what I named her (definitely was not Chloe), but she was a totally awesome Queen of Horses.

This was another Fashion Star Filly, originally named Janel, but, I’m pretty sure I renamed her Cecily, or something like that. She was the Queen’s sister and “married” to the stallion below.

Apparently, this Breyer Horse is pretty rare and now quite expensive. In any case, I named him Morgan. At some point early on in my ownership of him, one of his ears got broken. It was sort of his signature look after that. 

I have no idea what I named this fella, but I remember the color of his hide always reminded me of mozzarella in spaghetti sauce (I was weird, what can I say?)

Whatever the horse above was named, he was married to this gorgeous girl, Roxanne. Breyer named her Lady Roxanna, but I liked Roxanne better. This is the one horse figure I still own. She actually sits on my altar. I used to move her around during stories by her tail, holding it like the arm of a teapot.

Like every little girl in the 80s, I had my share of My Little Ponies (plus I adored the show and feature films). I know I had a ton of them, but I honestly don’t remember which all they were. Here are a few I DO recall (they were also incorporated into the herd):

 This one is apparently called Fancy Flower. I believe I had a couple of these slimmer, long-legged G1 My Little Ponies, but I can’t remember which ones I had.

I’m not sure if this is the exact one I had, but I recall having one with super curly hair. And this one looks faintly familiar.


I’m pretty sure I only had one of the Sea Ponies – the blue one with the ducky ring.

 

These were the baby My Little Ponies I owned. I think they were supposed to be the babies of Skydancer and his queen. Have no idea what I named them but I always thought they were super cute (don’t bother asking why these weren’t the babies of my actual My Little Ponies, I told you, I was super weird).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple of Breyer Horses that were added to my collection when I was older and not as in to playing with them:


 

 

 

 

 

And lastly, I had three action figures from the She-Ra franchise. I also had a costume set that included a shield, sword, mask, and arm bands. Yeah, I was soooo cool.

She-Ra herself, of course.

Frosta


And Peekablue, plus I had her horse Crystal Moonbeam (renamed and incorporated into the herd, naturally)


So, now you know I had super-awesome taste in toys and that I liked to tell stories way before I even realized people did that for a living.

A Little Something About Me…

It’s been awhile since I posted anything, and I’ve gained some new readers since then, so, I thought I would share 20 facts about me.

  1. I have a Masters in Library and Information Science
  2. My oldest son and I have the same birthmark in the exact same place
  3. I lived in Japan from about 3 to 5-years-old (Army brat)
  4. During high school I participated in the color guard
  5. I lived in Indonesia for 3 months during college
  6. I’ve never had a broken bone
  7. I passed my driving test the first time
  8. In addition to writing, I’m also a licensed massage therapist (I passed my licensing exam the first time too!)
  9. I am still in my first relationship (married for almost 9 years)
  10. My dream job (besides being a successful writer) is to run and own a healing center that offers massage, Reiki, yoga classes, and nutritional counseling
  11. My nicknames in high school were Robina and Tito, the Turtle-Spank
  12. I hate eating salads I make at home, but love salads at restaurants
  13. I refuse to buy clothing that has to be dry-cleaned
  14. I usually plan out stories while I’m driving
  15. I’m horribly allergic to poison ivy (had to be rushed to the hospital when I was a kid and get a steroid shot)
  16. My favorite month is October
  17. Favorite colors are black and pink
  18. I have one older sibling (sister)
  19. I adore sparrows, horses, and dogs
  20. I get nightmares if I just read a plot summary of a horror movie

Even More Mayhem Now at Hand!

Okay, so I finally took the plunge and created (and launched) a Patreon page! This will be where I put up novels that I don’t intend to try and get published traditionally. I will also post extra stuff like artwork, poetry, background info from projects, etc. Lots of goodies.

The Patreon page and this website will not act in lieu of a newsletter. So, if you signed up for my newsletter and still want to receive updates, my Patreon page is the best place with my website coming in a very close second.

The first chapter of my novel, Dragon Tears, is up now and free to read. Just click here and be whisked away to further mayhem courtesy of yours truly!

 

 

A Few Thoughts on the Ridiculous in SFF

So, it turns out that the desire for “realism” in fantasy fiction stops when it comes to including well-rounded female characters in the story (shocking, I know). I was on a thread last night where commenters were saying that the reason JRR Tolkien did not have many female characters in his books was that he wanted to write more “realistically.”
Let me state first, that I enjoy Tolkien’s work. I adored The Hobbit and LOTR. Furthermore, I really enjoyed Peter Jackson’s LOTR adaptations, but thought his Hobbit was dreadful (mainly because he shoehorned a nonexistent female character and love story into the narrative). I don’t feel a lack in those stories because they are short on female characters.
I get upset when readers and commentators on Tolkien’s book try to say that inclusion of female characters (or POC and LGBTQ characters) is deviating from reality. And this ridiculous opinion does not stop with just Tolkien. This is an on-going debate in SFF fandom that got particularly ugly a few years ago during the 2015 and 2016 Hugo Awards.
Okay, let me get this straight: dragons, orcs, elves, giant eagles, and wizards are MORE realistic than having well-rounded female representation? Uhhh…
Okay, okay. Let’s forget about that fact that we’re talking about HIGH FANTASY here where the rules of “realism” are pretty fluid from the get go. Let’s even forget that “realism,” to their minds, means excluding HALF THE HUMAN RACE. The commenters shrieking about Tolkien’s “realism” said that Tolkien, writing in the 30s and 40s was reflecting his own reality in which women did not participate in war. Patently false. Sure, not many women were soldiers then (not going to say none, because I’m pretty sure there were women who went out on the front lines dressed as men, just like in the Civil War) BUT women were integral to the war effort. They worked as nurses, in government, in factories, took over farm work (you know, so people could EAT), and performed vital services in just about every single capacity possible – even as spies. So, do not come at me with this “women weren’t soldiers so it’s not realistic to portray them that way” because if the only characters you expect in your SFF are soldiers, I say it’s YOUR perception of fiction that is not realistic.
Furthermore, these commenters were saying, “Well, he drew on Norse mythology and that’s all about kings and warriors”. Okay, okay, okay. Stop right there. Both of the largest influences on Tolkien, Beowulf (Old English, by the way) and the Völsunga saga, had female characters in them in pivotal roles. For instance, in Beowulf, Grendal’s mother – the main villain, and female – was not only a strategist but a warrior. How many kings and warriors did she fight and vanquish in her life? Hmmm….
My point here is that the entire argument that SFF literature is some sacrosanct body that is LESSER for the inclusion of well-rounded female characters (as well as other marginalized groups) needs to stop, as do the beliefs fueling it. People who hold these beliefs and spout these opinions are yearning for something that just never was – a world of SFF literature without politics, social issues, or challenging ideas.

Startling Poetry: We’re Not Gonna Take It

Perhaps this is stretching the definition of poetry a bit… Nah, this is protest poetry! Written in the 80s but so heartbreakingly apropos today:

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister

Oh we’re not gonna take it
No, we ain’t gonna take it
Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
We’ve got the right to choose it
There ain’t no way we’ll lose it
This is our life, this is our song
We’ll fight the powers that be just
Don’t pick our destiny ’cause
You don’t know us, you don’t belong
Oh we’re not gonna take it
No, we ain’t gonna take it
Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
Oh you’re so condescending
Your gall is never ending
We don’t want nothin’, not a thing from you
Your life is trite and jaded
Boring and confiscated
If that’s your best, your best won’t do
Oh Oh
We’re right (yeah)
We’re free (yeah)
We’ll fight (yeah)
You’ll see (yeah)
Oh we’re not gonna take it
No, we ain’t gonna take it
Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
Oh we’re not gonna take it
No, we ain’t gonna take it
Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
No way
Oh Oh
We’re right (yeah)
We’re free (yeah)
We’ll fight (yeah)
You’ll see (yeah)
Oh we’re not gonna take it
No, we ain’t gonna take it
Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
Oh we’re not gonna take it
No, we ain’t gonna take it
Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
Just you try and make us
We’re not gonna take it
Come on!
No, we ain’t gonna take it
You’re all worthless and weak
We’re not gonna take it anymore
Now drop and give me twenty
We’re not gonna take it
Oh pledge pin
No, we ain’t gonna take it
Oh you and your uniform
We’re not gonna take it anymore

Startling Poetry: The New Colossus

I’m not sure how, as an American, you can’t NOT like this poem. I only wish its sentiments were still at the heart of our nation and its leaders.

 

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”