Yay! A week to celebrate all things SFF! Check out the Goodreads page to get some great reading recommendations and resources. Just click on the image below
AAAAAND, while you’re poking around on Goodreads, make sure to pop over to my giveaway page and enter for a chance to win one of five print copies of Beneath the Skin (The Witchbreed Book 2). Just click on the book cover image below to be take directly to that page.
It’s release day! Beneath the Skin is now available for purchase worldwide!
Make sure to stop by the Facebook release party I’m throwing from 12:30pm – 4pm (Central). I’ll be joined by special guests and there will be lots of giveaways.
Click on the book cover image below to be whisked away to adventure, magic, and excitement!
Despite all the problems we in the United States are currently facing, there are still so many things to love and treasure about this country. Here are some of my favorites:
A – American Bison (aka American Buffalo)
B – Marlon Brandon (who I think has been reborn as Tom Hardy, which makes sense since the U. S. A., in many ways, is a child of Britain)
C – Charleston, SC
D – Diners (fast-food restaurants, take a seat. Nowhere can you get such good food for so cheap)
E – Edgar Allan Poe (“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore!'”)
F – The French Quarter
G – Grand Canyon
H – The Harlem Renaissance
I – Independent spirits (some might say this is actually a weakness of ours, but I love the wildness most Americans have – even if it is buried deeply under a lot of drek)
J – Jim Henson
K – Stephen King
L – Lincoln Memorial
M – Maya Angelou
N – Native American Nations
O – Orville and Wilbur Wright
P – Public Libraries everywhere
Q – Q-tips (actually cotton swabs, since Q-tip is a specific brand. Invented by Polish-American Leo Gerstenzang)
R – Redwood Forest
S – South Dakota Badlands
T- Television Shows (Golden Girls, King of the Hill, Big Bang Theory, Roseanne, Portlandia, The Office interpretation, Mama’s Family, Murder, She Wrote, Longmire, Firefly, MadTV, The Muppet Show [and The Muppet Babies], Star Trek, M*A*S*H, etc. )
V – Vagina Monologues (probably one of the best and most in-your-face feminist treatises ever by American Eve Ensler. And SOOOO much fun to watch)
W – Walt Whitman and Wonder Woman (because I just can’t have one and not the other!)
X – X-Men
Y – Yosemite National Park
Z – Zippers (yep, invented by an American!)
e-book ISBN 978-0-9944511-0-1
paperback ISBN 978-0-9944511-1-8
A snake. A lion. A return.
In a time when magic is feared, Lady Oriabel Dominax has no choice but to conceal her healing powers while she cares for her father’s struggling estate. One touch of the Witch’s Tree shows her visions of witches hung and burned at the very hands of the people for whom she cares, the people who love her. But with the arrival of a new lord, a man hiding secrets of his own, falling in love might be one wrong move too many.
Incarcerated for an unspeakable crime, fearless warrior Lady Ottilde Dominax is plagued by mysterious dreams of her sister’s death. When a hooded figure offers her the chance of escape, although untrusting, she does not hesitate. Racing across nations to reach Oriabel, her journey is cut short by an encounter with a wedowyn, a formidable beast which she has no chance to overpower alone. Though it is not death that greets her, but something far worse.
Blackmail, betrayal, and murder are only the beginning as a darker magic is awakened. And someone has plans for the Dominax twins, plans more terrifying than anything they could ever imagine.
e-book ISBN: 978-0-9944512-2-4
paperback ISBN: 978-0-9944512-3-1
Abandoned, betrayed, and wanted for murder, Lady Oriabel Dominax is a witch on the run. The deadly magic now awakened inside her is hungry, and it is all Oriabel can do to control it. With no choice but to trust strangers as her guardians, she quickly discovers not everyone is who they say they are and the very magic she fears might be her only weapon to protect those she loves.
Since rescuing her sister from certain death, Lady Ottilde Dominax’s only goal is to keep Oriabel safe and alive. Not an easy task when both the enemy and their so-called allies are hunting them. Placing all her trust in the very man who held her prisoner, Ottilde must open her heart and mind to a future she could never have predicted, a future guided only by love and survival.
Life, death, and tragedy lie ahead as the Dominax twins set out on a perilous journey to safety. But knowing they are mere pawns in someone else’s game means fighting for family is all they have left.
In the past year I’ve discovered something about myself. I’m not sure if it applies to other people, but if it DOES, I hope this post will help them.
Yesterday when I was driving home, I was listening to an eAudiobook checked out from my local library (shout out Norman Public Library!) when I felt this overwhelming sense of dread and depression. The feeling center on the book coming through the speakers and I promptly shut it off, opting instead to listen to one of my music playlists. I won’t give the title of the book because I don’t want to give anyone a bad impression of the book or the author. The writing in this book is deliriously beautiful and the author has a wonderful grasp of plotting and characterization. But it was a very, very, very grim story. Totally to be expected in much of high fantasy today. But as I sat listening to it, I kept thinking, “Is this all there is too life? Endless strife, death, violence, sadness, and failure?” While lovely, the story was unleavened with humor or tenderness. None of the characters cracked jokes or engaged in frivolous, witty banter. No one held another character’s hand or spoke sweetly. I’m not talking about romance. I’m talking about human interaction not based on surviving or gaining the upper hand. And so, I shut the book off and had to take a deep steadying breath.
This sort of thing has happened before. I’m going to name the next two titles and their authors since they already enjoy tremendous success and strong reputation (my puny words aren’t going to hurt them a wit, plus one recently passed away). When I tried to read The Exorcist by William Blatty, I had to stop at the point where Reagan interrupted her mother’s dinner party by peeing on the carpet. In the days I attempted to read that novel, I felt enclosed in dark cloud, the rest of the world was muffled and far away.
The other time I noticed something like this happening was when I attempted Stephen King’s It. Anyone who has even seen this book on a library/bookstore shelf knows that it is MAMMOTH. And, while there is some humor and human tenderness in It, the horrible things endured by the characters just snowballed in my mind until I felt like I was drowning in sorrow and negativity. I got about half-way through before I had to put it away with a shuddering sigh.
It’s difficult for me to say exactly why I had such visceral reactions to the above books. I know I have a hyperactive imagination – just listening to someone describe the plot of The Grudge left me with terrible nightmares the following night! As a child, I would suffer night terrors that caused me to clamber into bed with my sister for protection almost every night. I’ve scared myself into insomnia imagining terrible things happening to my family or myself. So, as you can imagine, I usually avoid the vast majority of the horror genre.
Too, I suffer from depression, which often distorts reality in unexpected and destructive ways. Throw in some mind-bending reading material and we’re talking event horizon here.
But the recent incidents I described above did more than frighten me. They opened a pit inside of me on the edge of which I teetered with arms flailing. Physically, I felt my shoulders bowed, an increase in exhaustion, coupled with an overwhelming anxiety.
Mentally, I was unable to see anything clearly. All interactions with others were filmed in a dark screen that caused me to interpret minor disagreements into irrevocable breaks. My view of the world was steeped in hysteria.
What I’ve learned from these experiences is that, as someone with a sensitive and tenacious imagination (once I see something I can never UNSEE it, for good or ill), one that will hold on to a powerful image and shake it like a dog with a sock toy, I need to be careful and consume material that speaks to my hope. My depression and anxiety already has a stranglehold on much of my life – it’s ended friendships, damaged familial ties, caused financial fallout, and impaired my physical health. If I feed it, it only grows hungrier. But if I surround myself with experiences that speak to my hope, I’m better able to internalize hope.
Now, this is not to say that I want to deny the darkness in the world – only delusionals attempt that. What it means is that I cannot combat that darkness by drowning myself in imaginary darkness.
I, like many people, carry a natural shadow inside myself and introducing more darkness into my mind only deepens, strengthens that shadow. While making sure I get daily doses of figurative (and literal) sunlight ensures the shadow, while not dispelled, is kept to a minimum. This allows me to look on the bad things of the world with an eye toward fixing them – not giving in to them.
Again, I’m not sure anyone else will understand what I’m trying to say here. And I’m not even completely sure what the real point was. But it felt like something I needed to share. Speak to your hope and it will, in turn, speak to you.