Grumpy Ana and the Grouchy Monsters

My first children’s book is out in print. During my writing break over the summer, I tried my hand at illustration. It was hard and I learned a lot. I have a whole new respect for professional illustrators! You are amazing.

Thank you to all the authors who offered their feedback on the text (a simpler print and no italics). I realize it looks small in these images, but I did order proofs of the book (twice) and the actual size works fine.

I published this through Createspace, and it was a (grizzly) bear dealing with the images. Took me days and days and days to get the dpi right.

I was never going to subject myself to the agent-seeking process again, but I did, rather lamely, send queries to 7 agents in August. No takers, naturally, and I didn’t care a whit. This book was written for fun, illustrated for fun, and published for fun.

I hope you enjoy a few peeks at the illustrations.  And, of course, it has a happy ending.

Only in Print: USA, UK, Canada

Grumpy Ana Goblyn is sour, dour, and cranky. Her lips droop in a frown. She’s bored with every place and person in her friendly town. With the help of her father, she builds a spaceship and travels to a soggy planet where she meets her perfect monster playmates. But there’s a problem! The monsters see her grouchy frown and think she’s a monster. In this children’s space adventure, Ana discovers that her attitude affects her happiness, and she can change it if she chooses.

 

Scattered: #writephoto

Thanks to Sue Vincent for a beautiful photo prompt. I went a little off-world on this one. Hope you enjoy.

*

“I’ll take the risk.” Captain Galles scratched the stubble graying his jaw. “If something happens to me, Corso’s in charge, not that you’ll have any decisions left.”

No one argued. What was the point? Forty chrons without food and water, we ran shy of options. We’d searched the black bowels of the alien freighter, a salvage operation by the looks of it, and found nothing but twisted and charred metal, every scrap incinerated clean. Our damaged shuttle lay on its side amidst the sea of relics.

The exception to the vast darkness was a panel of fractured light, a patterning of sublime beauty suspended over a polished dais. Our mechanical captors had wedged the unit against the compartment’s grated wall shortly after we found ourselves prisoners. Primitive cyborgs, the aliens lacked facial articulation and translation capabilities, the robotic language in all forms indecipherable. All our words and gestures proved futile, and our captain’s demands for basic sustenance went unheeded. They’d installed the contraption and left, its function a mystery.

The eight of us stood at the fringe of light as Galles stepped onto the dais. The array of lights above him hummed in a slow spin and increased in speed until they appeared to hurl backward. His mouth gaped in a silent wail, eyes pooled with terror. He struggled to escape the machine, hammered fists against an invisible barrier he couldn’t break. The lights blurred into a white star and he froze like a holograph set on pause.

His body began to disintegrate, clothing and skin breaking apart and floating like mist, then deeper, his whole shape loosening and scattering. He dissolved into swirling vapor, a haze of bright particles. A burst of blue current blinded me, and when I opened my eyes, he was gone.

I gasped and licked my parched lips, stifling an urge to vomit. Someone to my right heaved a dry sob. We sank to the floor where we’d stood, doomed. A day or two, we’d all be dead.

***

Amak studied the monitor. An unexpected reaction. It appears they are unfamiliar with teleportation. The fear response was extreme.

They are primitive. Rohla absorbed a wave of compassion emanating from the companion. They lack translation capabilities and do not understand the most basic of trinary languages. Their arithmetics are rudimentary. We have no means of communicating with them.

They choose death over the unknown. Amak shared the bafflement, their logic incomprehensible. Are we certain of the teleportation coordinates?

Without question. They were retrieved from their ship’s logs prior to processing.

Thoughts?

Rohla’s aura went silent, and Amak ceded to the desire for contemplation. Once completed, Rohla opened a channel and set the dilemma forth. Either we honor their choice as sentient beings and let them die, or we defy them, apply force, and save their lives.

A Rat Named Lucy and a Backyard Muse

In the mood for a laugh? The muse stories expand to the animal kingdom with two hysterical posts from a couple of funny bloggers. Meet Mike Allegra’s furry rodent muse, Lucy,  and join Molly Stevens as she hunts for her muse in her backyard. I’ve attached intros and links to both posts and, since it’s Sunday, closed comments here.  Enjoy 🙂

Mike Allegra’s Muse, Lucy

A Muse for Youse

by Mike Allegra at Hey Look a Writer Fellow

“You’re lying on the couch,” my muse observes with an arched eyebrow.

“Yes,” I say.

“You’re eating ice cream,” she continues. “While lying on the couch.”

“Yes,” I repeat.

“And you’re watching Spaceballs.”

“Yes,” I say again. “I am watching Spaceballs while eating ice cream while lying on the couch.”

She chitters with disapproval. “Is this a new way to write that nobody told me about?”

“I’m writing,” I reply. “Writing is about a lot more than typing, you know. You need time to, you know, ponder things.”

“Oh, so this is ‘pondering,’ then?” She flicks an invisible speck of dust from her whisker. “Because what you’re doing looks an awful lot like ‘farting around.’”

“Well, that’s why…

(Continue Reading: A Muse for Youse)

 

Images from Pixabay, edited by Molly

Old MacDonald had a muse, e-i-e-i-o-my

by Molly Stevens at Shallow Reflections

The more stories I read about writers getting intimate with their muses-with-issues, the more fearful I was to encounter mine. What if she is a tyrant with no sense of humor? But what would I miss, if she is more fun than a barrel of animatronic monkeys, hanging out in amusement parks? Like Disney World?

I mustered the courage to look for her. And since I didn’t have money in the budget for a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, I decided to hunt for her in my backyard.

I searched for a Muse Hunting Call in the app store, downloaded it, and put it to use. It made a throaty, grunting sound.

To my surprise, a full grown, bull moose lumbered out of the woods, looking confused as to why a middle-aged woman without a gun or a moose-hunting permit would call him.

He asked, “What do you want?”

I said, “There must be some mistake. I was calling my muse, not a mangy moose.”

“Hey, watch who you are calling mangy…

(Continue Reading: Old MacDonald had a muse, e-i-e-i-o-my)

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Paul Andruss, D. Wallace Peach and Christina Steiner.

Many thanks to Sally for capturing a review written at the end of the Rose Shield Series – one I hadn’t seen yet and a final wrap-up of the 4-book experience. While you’re visiting, check out wonderful reviews for Christina and Paul as well. Happy Reading!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

To kick this post off I am featuring our Writer in Residence, Paul Andruss and a new review for his fantasy novel Thomas the Rhymer.

I have read and reviewed Thomas the Rhymer earlier in the year,  here is the link to download the epub version of the books for FREE.

Paul also has a pdf file available and, you can read for FREE by obtaining a copy from Barnes & Noble for Nook readers and also from Kobo.

You can find out how to download from Paul’s site and also links to the other options such as Kindle on Amazon at this link.

http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/amazon-links.php

About Thomas the Rhymer

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and…

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Book Review: Catling’s Bane (The Rose Shield Book 1)

Rob, at IARTICHOKEU Book Reviews was wonderfully kind to read and review Catling’s Bane. With the millions of great books out there, it’s an honor I’m thankful for. Gotta love the book bloggers and share the good news. Thank you, Rob. 😀

iArtichokeu's Book Reviews

61czHDIautLTitle: Catling’s Bane (The Rose Shield Book 1)

Author: D. Wallace Peach

Length310 pages

Amazon

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

When I finished this book, instead of instantly knowing what was going to write about in my review, I pretty much turned caveman mode and felt like rushing to all my friends, grabbing them each by the arms and yelling “THIS BOOK. YOU ALL READ. MUST. NOW!”


5starMy Rating: 5 Lit Fireflies

I absolutely LOVED this book! I’ve been pretty busy as of last month, because of some medical healing issues, and was unable to read for long periods of time. I did however read this book every chance I was free, and only this book. In a way I am grateful for the long progress, because I got to savor every beautiful and exciting moment this book had to offer. Instead of binge reading…

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Soul Swallower – new series WIP

I think that’s the name of the series. I like the alliteration anyway. Better than Soul Gulper.

Perhaps you remember the character Raze from one of Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompts. Well, he’s back with a series of his own.

I don’t have too much to share yet, but here’s a brief peek at the act of swallowing a soul:

***

When the others retired, Raze sat by the hearth, its flames dwindling to scarlet embers. His grief for Briyon unearthed old ghosts, his mother among them, an ageless portrait suspended in the gallery of his mind. Not so his memories of Mirelle. Those lingered with infinite fluidity, entangled with visions of the past and dreams of a future that would never be.

Six years had shuffled by since her death, five since he’d joined Briyon at the freehold, and no lever had proved long or strong enough to pry her from his heart. Loneliness invaded his body so deeply it punched the breath from his lungs and sapped the strength from his back, and no hoping and wishing could bring those people back. A twenty-one he was master of the freehold, a tired soul, angry at a world he couldn’t control.

He turned the pendant over in his hand, keenly aware of its delicate beauty. The white soulstone had transformed, no longer solid but translucent with pale wisps of color swirling like morning mist. Copper wire the breadth of a strand of hair coiled around it, holding a round sliver of peridot in place with a final twist of two tiny leaves. It glowed with a soft light, indicating the presence of a soul. A soul he loved.

With great care, he unhooked the copper leaves, unwound the wire, and removed the green gem that capped a small hole. Inside, an iridescent sphere resembling a pearl shone with a brilliance that startled him. Were all souls so bright? He didn’t know; this was his first. He rolled it into his hand. Would he swallow it? Did he want what Briyon offered? Was there anything to fear?

The pearl of light glowed in his palm, offering no insight. He placed it back into the pendant. No need to choose; no decision pressed him to act with haste. The round gem refitted, he coiled the wires, paused, and then uncoiled them. In one fluid motion, he uncapped the pendant, tipped the sphere into his mouth, and swallowed.

A rush of heat streamed from his belly, up through his heart into his head and down his limbs to his fingers and toes. His body trembled, the sensation alien, but not frightening, and not long lived, for it subsided as quickly as it had overtaken him. Eyes closed, he accepted Briyon’s soul. In the quiet of night, he exhaled a long breath, crept to bed, and dreamed another man’s dreams.

A gathering of muses

What better way to wrap up a series of muse posts than with a pub crawl. They’re dressing up and going out on the town, leaving all their writer’s behind with to-do lists. Thanks to Julie for the fun post and to everyone who took the time to participate. Happy Writing!

Facets of a Muse

A newspaper lays across my desk in my writing office, but it isn’t any newspaper I recognize. It’s not the local Enterprise or Hub. It’s called the Inspiration. The headline reads: “First Annual Muse Gathering”.

Hmmm. Why do I have a funny feeling about this?

Before I can read the article, my Muse sweeps into the office and swipes the paper from my hands. “Hey, I was reading that.”

He folds the newpaper and tucks it under his arm. “Don’t bother. It’s boring.”

Then I notice his attire. No worn jeans here–the ones he’s wearing look like they came fresh from the indigo dye factory. And is that a silk shirt? It’s a rich maroon that adds a little color to his complexion–not that I’m complaining. Oh, no. Sooo not complaining.

“Ah hem. Earth to Julie.”

Ahhh, yeah. “Where are you going? Is that really a silk shirt?”

“I’m going…

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