Making available

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” ~ C.S. Lewis

Life is a crazy thing, isn’t it? I’m glad I have faith in the Creator otherwise I would be despondent more often than not.

I’m watching my husband battle cancer and trying not to worry. My children struggle to survive (in this day, it’s not easy for young people). And I, well I’m trying to maintain some sort of substantial livelihood should I be left alone. And who knows if that’s what’s in the future? When you get older you ponder on these things often. It seems, as it always has with me, that my creative outlets, even though a form of fantasy, are my real hold on reality.

That and of course my constant home in God which never changes.

All this and wrestling with allergies.

And then there’s the garden. The flowers, the vegetables, the fruits, the never ending pull to be outside under the sun, or the stars in the fresh air and gentle breeze.

Life is give and take. A gospel message of it’s own, this is the story of the grain of wheat, that must die before it can live again. A combination of gladness and sorrow, trial and tribulation which makes all the poets and artists of years past so accurate in their responses to it.

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

It is my sincere desire to pass onto you the same sort of nuggets I have found in other author’s writings.

 

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There’s a giveaway going for Ian’s Realm Saga.

Also, I have two gift certificates for Ian’s Realm Saga available for the first two people who leave a comment telling me they’d like to read it!

Ian enters a portal to another world. Beautiful country, wild horses, a deceptive mountain, dragon worshipers, pirates,  and a mystery.

 

 

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If you nominate Thread of a Spider, and it gets published by Kindle Scout, you’ll get a free eBook from Amazon.

Teens enlist the Fae to win a war in Ireland

 

 

 

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An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody is available for Pre-order at only .99 This is a limited price offer, so grab it now!

“”Campy, fun, for some reason the writing and characterization remind me of The Confederacy of the Dunces…This is a fun, imaginative book. It’s well written and well told. ” -Ingram Sparks Review

 

Have a great weekend, and may the sun shine in your life!

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Making News

Summer is here in the US. I think you can tell by the beautiful weather, or even if the sun isn’t shining in your part of the States, at least the flowers are blooming. Folks are planning summer escapes, and I’m sure there are those of you picking up your kindles and paperbacks and heading off for a relaxing vacation. I know from experience those vacations always include down time, where we kick back after a hard day of play, and read ourselves into another world.

Before I shoot you the link to my new book (or rather the new edition of my old book) I want to give you the story about how this book came about. For those of you who know me, you might have guessed that I can be pretty snarky sometimes. I have my father to thank for that. He was a big fan of the Jackie Gleason Show.

 

For those familiar with the show, the humor was all sarcasm and borderline abusive, but really hilarious. I loved it at the time. But that’s the kind of thing our family watched and that’s the humor we enjoyed. So it’s little wonder that when I found myself brooding over my books not selling I thought, “What am I doing wrong?”

The answer I had was to try a different genre.
Well, at the time vampires were the big craze. Twilight led the brigade for this generation, and hundreds of other authors followed. I couldn’t for the life of me imagine writing a serious vampire story.  But what did I have to lose? I would muster up my father’s snarkiness and write a satire. Because really, if you think about it, vampires are a rather funny lot. Especially if they come from a dysfunctional family made up of an over-zealous half-blood who dies in a train wreck (okay, so he actually died from a railroad tie splinter through the heart when the train wrecked), his spunky wife who regrets ever meeting him and now that he’s dead is determined to find a ‘cure for the curse’, a son who just wants to fall in love with a human and have a normal life, and a incompetent uncle (who never made a very good vampire in the first place), trying to find the truth behind his father’s death. Throw in a buffed and defiant butler, and there’s the story.
So as I begin any book, I started researching. I wanted to know about these crazy creatures. Where did they come from? What are the legends? What can they do and what can they not do?
What are the rules? Here’s what I discovered.
There are no rules.
Even CNN said so.
and I found a Wikipedia chart proving it.

And since it’s fantasy, you can go along with the trend, or not. That’s why Twilight’s vampires sparkle. Did Dracula sparkle? I think not.

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So I broke some rules and made up some others. The Peadlebody’s family line inter-breeds with other races (all predators to humans). Except for Benjamin’s parents. But even Benjamin fell in love with an elf. Then she died. Then his next wife conned him. But I won’t give you any more details about who she is. There’s a chapter in the book devoted to her, and I want you to read the book, obviously.

So here is my suggestion for a fun summer read.
An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody 2nd Edition is a humorous satire about a dysfunctional vampire family tackling a forbidden romance, a curse and a murder.
“Campy, fun, for some reason the writing and characterization remind me of The Confederacy of the Dunces…This is a fun, imaginative book. It’s well written and well told. ”  – Ingram Sparks Review
“A vampire story written from a different point of view with honed in visuals that keep you chuckling. This is a titillating read that tickles and tantalizes. The most fun I’ve had with a book for… I can’t remember when!”  -Shelly Wilkerson, artist and reader.
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Making Stories

Just for fun, and because my blog has been on the back burner far too long, I thought I would post some of the illustrations I did for my series, since they have become obsolete. Perhaps you’re wondering why I didn’t include the illustrations in the trilogy when I republished. (Perhaps not but I’m going to tell you anyway).

When I went to a local school with my books to talk to two fifth grade classes, I talked about the story, and showed them my website. I had them captivated with the Tall Ship adventure, and intrigued with instructions on how to build a yurt. They were entranced with the tale and I think that had I been allowed to offer my  book for sale to their parents, they all would have raised their hands. I let them ask me questions and when they were done I asked them a question.

I asked, “how do you feel about illustrations in the books you read?”

It was unanimous. My target audience didn’t like pictures. Why? Because pictures were for chapter books. Pictures were for books for young readers, and of course being in the fifth grade, they weren’t young anymore. They were ready for big people things.

That’s when I made my decision not to illustrate my stories any longer.

Of course, there are some kids who like the images in my books. Say, for instance, the children I used as models. (Insert a wink here!) Like Elijah, (portrait below) who posed for young Ian in the first book! The son of a my daughter’s friend, I knew Elijah since he was a baby. He made a perfect Ian and there are still more photos I have of him that I’d love to paint.

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Finally, as the orange and pinks of the setting sun shimmered on the water, the sailors came to them and took the nets, reeling them into long rolls and then folding them crosswise. Ian liked the sailors.

His sister’s painting never made it into a book, but the idea was to have a model for the young Cassie (of Cassandra’s Castle) when she appears as a dream in Rubies and Robbers (which is now known as part three in the trilogy Ian’s Realm Saga). I can’t find the file at the moment but I did do a color portrait of her.

Two other young people made it into Ian’s Realm Saga. Cheyenne, whose image represents Abbi as a young girl. Cheyenne posed for me several times, once at the Tilbury Event, which I will tell you more about on another blog post, and again on horseback. I think these photo sessions were memorable for her, because she’s since offered to pose for me whenever I need someone.   Hopefully that will be soon. I love including people in my stories even if I’m not going to physically put the images in the books.

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Below are Ian and Abbi entering Alcove Forest on horseback, led by Ian’s father. This is just before they meet Xylon for the first time, the little computer character who warns them about the dragon. A fun scene!

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To avoid riding in the sun, Alex veered west, following a fork that left the prairie and entered the forest.  As they moved from soft dirt to a bumpy path of rocks and roots, Callie lost her footing, tripped, and sent Abbi bouncing off the saddle onto the ground, screaming.
Alex jumped off his horse and ran to help her.
“I’m OK,” she said.
Ian dismounted. When his feet touched the ground, he heard a grunting sound, alternating with coughs, murmurings, and a clearing of the throat.
“Dad,” Ian whispered. “Listen.”
Alex drew his sword as Ian cautiously stepped next to him; together their eyes scanned the brush and undergrowth of the woods. The sun was high above them and its light glistened through the trees onto the sword ferns. No breeze broke the stillness, only the hum of an occasional horsefly. They saw no one, and yet the grumbling continued.
“Oh no,” Abbi gasped, scooting backwards on the ground. Her surprise turned into a laugh. “Look.” She pointed to a figure in front of her.
A little, bearded man no more than a few inches high wearing black knee breeches and red suspenders was frantically beating a dusty baseball cap across his pant leg. He stopped long enough to punch his fist into the cap.
“Dad, look. It’s the little guy I made on the computer last year.” Ian knelt next to him, thrilled, eyes sparkling with delight.
“So it is,” Alex said.
“He’s talking.”
The little man looked up in shock, and when he saw them all gawking at him, he struck a salute. “At your service, sir,” he said. He held his cap behind his back with his other hand.
“How darling,” Abbi said.
The little man gave her a disapproving look.
Ian scooted closer to him. The creature was the same little avatar he had designed in Anima Draw last year; somewhat balding with curly black whiskers under his chin, and squinty blue eyes topped by bushy white eyebrows. His cheeks were rosy red and he sported a black mole next to his left eye, a detail that Ian had been careful to include.
“You talk?” Ian laughed, surprised and in awe seeing his animated character move about like a real person.
The little man glanced up at him with a grimace. “You do too,” he snickered.
“I didn’t make you to talk.”
“Well, sir, I do. And if you would kindly keep your four-legged beasts from knocking me over and destroying my cap, I would say ‘thank you’.”

Unfortunately you won’t find any more of my books with illustrations. But that’s okay because really, now they’re for grown ups, and the words should be illustration enough, at least that is my attempt.

You can find these words and more in the novel Ian’s Realm Saga. Keep an eye on my Facebook page if you ever want to be in a book, though because just recently I had some models come pose for a cover of my latest.

 

 

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Making Stories

Writing has been a means for me to say things that I wouldn’t be able to speak while in a normal conversation. Ever since I was young I found expressing myself on paper was much easier, and more fulfilling than talking, even if I didn’t have an audience.

When I was younger I had a tendency to be depressed. Often times I would sulk, not knowing why a darkness lingered inside of me. The only way I could make myself feel better was through poetry–both reading poems and writing them. I was a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe at that time of my life. Poe, and Shakespeare. I was searching for meaning in life, raking through the roots of my inner soul trying to make sense of my emotions. Those poets helped me because I saw through their characters, that I was not alone. Forever man has wondered who he is.

That’s why I love to write novels now.

DL_GardnerFSMy characters muse over life, each with their own personalities, each with their own voice. It is very satisfying for me to see the world through all these eyes.

I wanted to let you know that my new novel Thread of a Spider is on Kindle Scout at this very moment and will be for 30 days. I have a chance at being picked up by an Amazon imprint, but I need your help. If you could be so kind as to nominate my book for publication, I would appreciate it. In return, if it does get picked up and published by Kindle, they’ll send you a free ebook!

Please Nominate Thread of a Spider

I really appreciate it.

Posted in authors, Book Covers, Book Reviewers, Books, Ebooks, fantasy, historical fantasy, inspiration, life, musing, musings, Poems, Thread of a Spider, writers, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Cover for Ian’s Realm Saga

I’m thrilled!

All my books are getting a facelift and I have to post them on my blog for you to see. This is the first one, designed by GermanCreator from Fivvr. Let me know what you think. I’m excited!! The print book is being made even as I write. The new covers aren’t on Amazon yet.

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Making up

I’ve been informed by my conscience that I have not been faithful with my blog lately. I find it odd that my moral core would nudge me about writing on my blog, still perhaps I have some duty to the universe about expressing my thoughts, which are varied. Not sure why.

Have you ever analyzed your thinking process? I’m sure all of us have at some point. My mind, for instance, goes all over the place. Lately I’ve been wrapped up in my meager attempts to get my books into hands of readers, which is probably the most difficult project I have ever done. That, and I worry because my husband is going through cancer treatment right now and where he is very active working around the house, he’s losing weight. I’m not a big fan of putting any kind of foreign substance in my body, so to watch him have to absorb chemicals that are meant to kill cells is somewhat upsetting. The doctor says he’s going to be all right in the end, but that doesn’t make the struggle any easier.

IMG_4384With those dark things shaping my thought patterns right now, I prefer to focus on a brighter part of life. For me, it’s my yard.

We have almost 2 acres of rural property. Our front yard is populated with fruit trees and blueberries, and our backyard, well, I’d say our backyard is in continual transition. Up until last year my husband worked long hours driving a bus, and so it was only me trying to make things work. When we bought the place, there was nothing there except hard pan because the owner before us also owned a backhoe and he had removed any trace of topsoil so he could make bumps for his ATV. Unfortunately for him, his ATV riding landed him with two broken ankles and no work so he had to sell the place.

When we moved in we trucked in topsoil and made a garden, then we built a greenhouse and because I’m a private sort of person I planted bamboo. Now we have paper birch trees, dogwood, maple, even an oak tree that my daughter brought me. The back yard is a jungle with assorted plants and grass. Oh. And oregano which I planted years ago and has now gone wild. Everywhere! I call this the oregano farm. I like oregano. You don’t have to mow it. This year my plan is to pull up the grass that is trying to choke out the flowers that are going wild (forget-me-nots, Shasta daisies, columbines, foxglove, phlox,  veronica, lavender, shamrock, wild poppies) and let the flowers take over the hillside inste18361381_10210745139077019_36571630_nad of the grass. I am attempting to eliminate all need for weed whacking.

And it’s fun. I sit under the cherry trees (which are also going wild) and carefully loose the grass and weeds away from the flowers, piece by piece, and apologize if I accidentally sit on something I meant to save.

I find those hours the most pleasant of all my days. Often they bring great inspiration for my stories, but most of all they bring peace. I can’t wait for the hillside to be covered with color.

Maybe that’s the Monet in me.

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Making Free or not to Free

Wow, this post could become political!

Hold on though I’m not talking politics here though I certainly could be. I am actually talking book promotion. The need to promote is screaming at me. This dilemma is tugging in two different directions.

Some well known advisors say “give your books away,” and others say “don’t you dare”.

Here are the logistics.

I thought by moving my focus from my art studio to my computer desk I would discover a less expensive way of using my creative energy. In a sense, the creation part of writing is certainly less costly. Canvas, brushes, easels, and not to mention oil paint (some which could run well over $34 a tube) are certainly (over an extended amount of time) more expensive than a computer and software. The amount of space I consume with unwanted and unsold paintings increases yearly, and if I were to show them to the public, the cost of space at an event is over the top not to mention travel, parking, the labor of hauling, and the risk of destroying a painting or two in the process are phenomenal. It’s somewhat amazing how many people will ask an artist to give their work away when it is so hard to realize the return of all that work (not to mention the long hours of studying to learn the craft).

So when I began novel writing I thought I was going cheaper. My idea was that more people will buy a $15 book, or a $5 e-book, than they will a $1500 painting.

Bear in mind I am not writing for the money. I love to story tell. My first thoughts were of my grandsons who had way too few books to enjoy. In my eyes I see boy children lacking in reading material. Ian’s Realm was created specifically for them. You can imagine how excited it made me when the book first came out and friends were buying it for their grandsons, and coming back with reports like “He’s not a reader but he couldn’t put your book down!” That is fulfillment and I am thankful for it!

This is where I am with giveaways now. I have a total of six books for young adults published. Sadly, none of them have reached a wide audience. I’ve had people tell me it’s the covers, or it’s the blurbs, but even if I change those things (which I’m doing little by little), I’m still not reaching a wide audience like I’d like to. So I took some advice and am now running a ‘free’ campaign. I’m giving away the first 9 chapters of Ian’s Realm (the trilogy), and the complete book Diary of a Conjurer.

Why?

Well because I want to know that more boys’ eyes light up and discover the thrill of reading.

I gave the books to our local juvenile detention center, where boys are locked up and bored and need to find something to do. Feedback tells me that the Saga is well read in that little jail house. I’m glad, because Ian has many issues in the story that boys in our society face. He puts his dad on a pedestal, and when his father shows his human failings, Ian is crushed. He struggles with issues of integrity, weakness, inability to communicate, and not believing in himself, and he has to overcome those issues. By the third book, though still struggling, he triumphs, something those young teenagers will also have to do in their own lives.

I look back IansRealmon my childhood and remember novels that made a difference in my life; books that shaped me; stories that inspired me to break through the walls of insecurities that I built. I honestly believe Ian’s Realm Saga has done this for the few young readers it has reached. I hope this little giveaway I’m doing will span that vast horizon out there so more young people will share in Ian’s adventures.

In any case, you’re welcome to download them.

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