Thursday, November 1, 2018

Earth to Thoeba: Contest Wnners!

Earth to Thoeba: Contest Wnners!: Cover by Emma Hibbs. Thank you everyone for participating in my contest! Please know that I deeply appreciate all the exposure you have ...

Contest Wnners!

Cover by Emma Hibbs.
Thank you everyone for participating in my contest! Please know that I deeply appreciate all the exposure you have generated for Her True name: Volume Three. The publishing details have been fixed, we're good to go. I apologize for the delay.
Get yours here:

The winners of this contest are no surprise. These people are already supportive of my work on a continuing basis, so it is no great shock that they won. I'd still like to thank my friends, neighbors, writers, a few strangers, and I DID notice people from my hometown of Fox Creek, Alberta came to bat for me too. THANK YOU.

Winners will receive, as promised, paperback copies of Her True name: Volumes One and Two. (The special edition.) Winners have been notified.

Winner #1 is: Michelle Ashley Gordon. She actually managed to talk a couple of her friends into buying Chasing Monsters while she was at it. She had more than double the entries of anyone.

Winner#2 is: FULL DISCLOSURE....Winner #2 is Jody Lean, who is my younger sister, so she doesn't count. Well, she does--She's always so supportive, but I'm going to give her copies just because. And that means the person with one less post than her is Kevin Warren. He is Winner #2

Winner #3 is: Is one of my new readers, and he had only one less post than Kevin did. Congratulations Aaron Jeffrey

Thank you to every last one of you for participating and I hope you all had a fantastic October Halloween Month. Now that October is over, I am returning to the Graveyard shift. I'm going to rest peacefully now that this is all done!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Earth to Thoeba: Reasons to Hate Self-Publishing and How to Fix The...

Earth to Thoeba: Reasons to Hate Self-Publishing and How to Fix The...: Check the cover size before you publish. With traditional publishers locking their gates against new talent, self-publishing has become ...

Reasons to Hate Self-Publishing and How to Fix Them

Check the cover size before you publish.
With traditional publishers locking their gates against new talent, self-publishing has become more popular than ever before. I'm writing this blog in the interest of turning my embarrassment into something useful for independent authors such as myself, or maybe you're just curious. I don't have all the answers, just the few I found in my latest misadventure.

First and foremost. I despise numbers. I don't just hate math. I abhor it with every nerve in my grinding, sensitive teeth. I don't have dyscalculia (Number dyslexia) so much as I have a mental block brought on by a vicious grade two teacher who used physical violence and humiliation to help her students learn better.  I'm sharing this because it might explain why I react to large numbers with hyperventilation, panic and sometimes rage. It might also explain how I made some unfortunate mistakes.

Mistake #1 I chose the wrong cover size. Createspace offers several options in both inches and centimeters. The SMART thing to do, when in doubt, would have been to check previously published novels to compare. I don't really understand inches, but the centimeter numbers were too large. I panicked, and I chose the 8.5x11, because I knew that was about as large as a page, in my mind. I actually needed 5.5x8.5.

Createspace warned me. They told me my formatted manuscript didn't fit my 8.5x11  cover and I still didn't clue in. I had Heather Savage reformat the file. Createspace begrudgingly accepted it, sending me a passive aggressive message about how they 'fixed' the files for me to meet their requirements. Everything else was fine, so I placed my order for print books.

It wasn't until the books arrived that I realized my mistake. Too late. Since these books are Print on Demand, that means they were custom printed for my order alone. No refunds. So now I'm stuck with eighteen paperback novellas the size of a children's coloring book. Did I mention that I accidently ordered double because I didn't think the order went through the first time?

The bright side: Because they are Print on Demand, there's only eighteen of them. Could you imagine a warehouse full of those?

The solutions: I offer them as 'Special Editions', because they're still cool looking, and they're going to be extremely rare when I pull them off the shelf. I call Createspace and speak with a human. The worst is confirmed. Since there is an ISBN attached to that particular edition, I have to START OVER. New file, new ISBN code, etcetera.
No need to change the cover. Whew!

Here is when being Canadian comes in handy. ISBN codes are free in Canada. All they require is that you keep them appraised of your publishing dates and when you sell a certain amount you must send copies to their archives. They give you these codes with the promise you'll pay your taxes on the profits.

I logged in and marked Her True Name: Volume Two as 'Cancelled'. Then I reapplied for an ISBN for Her True Name: Volume II and marked it as 'Forthcoming'. It worked.
During this time, Createspace had sent several notices that they would become amazon/KDP, and if I didn't move all my files over, they would be moved for me. So I went ahead and moved my previous novels over, intending to start HTN:V2 with amazon. How different could it be?

The cover file didn't fit. Createspace had demanded a PDF file, then they demanded a PDF file below 32 MB. Emma did a great job of adapting, switching to a PDf at 1000 pixels without compromising the integrity of the cover, but KDP didn't want it. The result looked like a postage stamp centered at the bottom of the page.

Fortunate happenstance. Before that happened, I had sent KDP an email because in addition to my ISBN number, KDP required a number that proved I PAID for it. Um...A quick google search told me to just re-enter my Canadian ISBN, and it will be recognized. Whew!

Just then, my phone rang. It's KDP with the answer to the ISBN. Do I have anything else I need help with? HELL YEAH, since you're here...

KDP customer service is far superior to Createspace. She put me in touch with a cover designer. He went into my file, and got me to send Emma's cover to his KDP address, where he changed it to a JPEG file. (After all that fuss to make it a PDF...) Then he walked me through Cover Creator. This took over 45 minutes and he stayed on the line the entire time. <3

Ugh... I was mad. Why am I doing all this? THIS is what I pay other people for! I don't even WANT to learn this! I just want to write the damned books! What's all this other crap on my cover? Heather Savage, my editor, is right. Sometimes you have to learn things you don't want to, for growth. It exercises your brain. To be honest, I'm glad I did it. And to that KDP rep? I'm sorry for swearing so much. I know I explained I wasn't mad at you, I was just mad, but I hope you didn't take offense. It really was a s simple as you said it was. I downloaded Emma's JPEG cover, and removed the excess titles, fonts and additional texts with a few clicks, and it was my book cover once again.

So I send the new changes for review, confident that everything is fine and I'm done.

More mistakes? I check my email a couple of days later to see if I'm back on the shelves, and I am greeted by another message from KDP. It basically says, "We can't publish your book. The pages are in the wrong order." WHAT?! How is that even possible from a digital file?! The email came with several suggestions and links, and it also suggested I check the trim, counting my pages and calculating them against this OVERWHELMING number that was about 38 digits long and it included a decimal point and AUUUUGGGHHH!

My editor is in Italy. So I vent to my cover artist Emma Hibbs. Besides being great with art, Emma is also a fantastic writer herself with her own experiences in self-publishing and she has an idea. She needs to go into my file and possibly reformat.
I love you EMMA!!

The solution was simple. They wanted the page numbers on the LEFT side of the odd numbered pages, and page numbers on the RIGHT of the even pages. Page one needs the number on the left, page two requires the page number on the right, etc. That's all they wanted. And Thank God for Emma, and her sweet, calming demeanor. <3

Now Her True Name: Volume II is back on the amazon shelf. You can find it here: Her True Name: Volume Two

If I haven't bored you yet, you must be a writer, and I hope this gives you some insight. This was a learning experience for me, one I hope I'll never repeat. I've also learned to calm down and look for the solutions before I panic. Numbers still suck, but maybe I'll get through this next time without undue freaking out.

Oh...and sharing this blog counts as another entry to the contest. Thanks for indulging me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Earth to Thoeba: Her True Name: Emma's Interview!

Earth to Thoeba: Her True Name: Emma's Interview!: This is part three of my contest. This is also a blog I'd like to see shared and tagged. Why? Because this is EMMA! This is the brilli...

Her True Name: Emma's Interview!

This is part three of my contest. This is also a blog I'd like to see shared and tagged. Why? Because this is EMMA! This is the brilliant imagination behind the cover of Her True Name: Volume Two. So please share and tag. Each share counts as an entry, and I need you to tag me so you can be counted for each one.

Emma and I met through our mutual former publisher, Staccato Publishing with Heather Savage.  I have also participated in her Sophie Lancaster Project,  Dare to Shine. 

As always, she's awesome to work with--Total Sweetie. I finally got around to sending Emma some interview questions. Thank you Emma Hibbs, for the glorious cover, and for taking the time to tell us about yourself.

Emma please list your many and various creative outlets.
I first entered the indie publishing scene in 2012 as a YA fantasy author, and to date I’ve released 6 fiction titles and contributed to 3 charity anthologies, with one of my short stories being featured in the British Fantasy Society Journal. But it wasn’t long before I also branched out into my other lifelong love: art. Most of my work in that respect comes from creating book covers and graphics for my fellow authors, but I work in several other mediums too, including graphite, acrylic on canvas, pyrography, and scherenschnitte (German-style silhouette papercutting). As well as all that, I host a YouTube channel focused on helping my fellow writers and uncovering the real-world origins of fairy tales and folklore. So it’s never a dull day in my house!

Tell us where you're from, where you live now, and the interesting way you spend your winters. 
I was born and still live in Cheshire in North West England, close to the Welsh border. It’s a place of ancient Roman fortresses, steeped in Lewis Carroll lore and award-winning ice cream (believe me, it’s delicious!). But every winter I leave it all behind and move into a log cabin in the middle of the Finnish Arctic. I spend my days telling stories and my nights under the stars and northern lights. I’ve called Finland my second home for four years now and winter is a time of year I always look forward to.

What inspires you? 
Anything and everything! I find that specific themes tend to come out in certain creative outlets – acrylic painting is a way for me to express my love of nature and landscapes, while my papercutting focuses more on Victorian-style fantasy illustrations. But I always find myself coming back to inspirations like dreams, songs, folklore from around the world, philosophy, my own experiences… I suppose I like to capture all the ways I see life and beauty, and explore them in new ways – perhaps even with a message behind it if you care to look for that.

What were your processes for this particular book cover? 
As an author myself I understand how important it is to have an eye-catching cover, but also how it should be a true reflection of what the book is about, so I always try to involve the author in the creative process. I started off getting as much information as I could about the story and themes, and that gave me an idea of colour palettes and designs. I went hunting for some resources – all of which I passed by Donna, and we eventually found ones we both liked but which needed a little work to match the vision of the book. After several hours of digital painting and lighting effects, we ended up with the finished cover. It was an absolute joy to work on.

What in the future for you?
I’m currently on the hunt for a literary agent so I can take my stories to the next level, but in the meantime I’m contributing to a new fairy-themed charity anthology due to be released next year through Dreampunk Press. I also have plans to continue working as an artist and graphic designer, and do some travelling around Europe if I can manage it!

Where can people find you 
and your work? 
The wild Emma is usually found on Facebook (, in the Batty Brigade Facebook Group (, and on YouTube (, but I also hang around Twitter ( and Instagram ( on occasion. You can also find everything about me and my creations by stepping through the Violet Door (

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Earth to Thoeba: Her True Name: Volume Two: An Excerpt.

Earth to Thoeba: Her True Name: Volume Two: An Excerpt.: Cover By Emma Hibbs Here is part two of my month long contest, also to be shared. (Don't forget to tag me!) I will be posting, for t...

Her True Name: Volume Two: An Excerpt.

Cover By Emma Hibbs
Here is part two of my month long contest, also to be shared. (Don't forget to tag me!) I will be posting, for the first time, a nice, long excerpt for Her True Name: Volume Two. Please share this and tag me as many times as you can. Each share counts as an entry.

Also, I would like to point out that Chasing Monsters is a great read for Halloween, and is available at Audrey's in Edmonton Alberta, Amazon, and Ebay.

Her True Name will be available at Audrey's and Amazon.

But enough promotion and babble. Here's the excerpt I promised. I chose the Prologue for Her True Name: Volume Two.

     Freya stared at the groaning surface beneath her feet, watching in fascination as deep fissures spread like spider’s webs. Not terra firma, she realized. Ice. Fragile frozen water. So Odin’s stories were true.
     This world seemed to be covered in pure white, and the air bit into her skin. There were swaying trees--evergreens--in the distance. The sky was just as blue as the skies of Eden, but flat, stretching clouds marred the purity.
     More cracks appeared by her feet as two violent thuds announced Odin and Loki’s landings, and the crunching roar made her ears ring long after the echoes faded.
     Her orange-haired companion sniffed at the air, his russet colored eyes narrowing. “This place stinks of wet pine and rot,” Loki grimaced. “I may have made an unfortunate decision coming here.”
     “Why?” Odin asked, shaking flakes of white precipitation from his black and silver beard. “I like the chill, and seasons here are ever changing. Besides,” Odin winked at them both. “The cold will not last long. Not by our measure.”
     “We should make haste to a drier surface.” The bubbles at the edge of Freya’s toes were interesting, but alarming with their growing frequency. Her feet were growing more wet and cold. “We seem to have damaged this one. We should go to the trees beyond.”     Both men glanced down, agreeing telepathically. A few short, clumsy hops created new confusion. Only then did they notice the smoke, smell the acrid odor of burning protein.
     Freya gawked at the shoulders of Odin and Loki. “It seems our...departure has cost us our wings.” So strange to behold her companions without feathers flowing from their backs, and she knew she must appear as odd.
     “The price of our betrayal,” Odin said. “I had not foreseen this outcome.” He glanced to the skies, his face twisted in regret and agony.
     As terrible as it looked, it hurt worse. Naught left but burns that itched skin and spine, making them sweat. Freya grit her teeth against the unwelcome sensations.
     No matter.” The pain would pass. Freya accepted her fate, her decision, and the physical discomfort that served to remind her why she came to this realm. “We will walk.” Lack of flight would not hinder her. The Energy’s punishment would not discourage her. She would be worshipped, revered. And the humans who would become her chosen were a brief journey away. She could already smell their musk.

Volume One

Chasing Monsters
Aphrodite's War


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Earth to Thoeba: Pears are Great

Earth to Thoeba: Pears are Great: I LOVE Fall. I love the cloudy skies and cool temperatures. I love the colors of the leaves and the CRUNCH they make under my feet. I even...

Pears are Great

I LOVE Fall. I love the cloudy skies and cool temperatures. I love the colors of the leaves and the CRUNCH they make under my feet. I even love the yard work and the wall washing, because those are nice little workouts with the instant result of tidiness and cleanliness. I love harvesting and canning my own home grown foods the most, and a big part of that is canning and processing pears.

It's not really my pear tree....It actually sits in my neighbor's yard. My sweet, easy to get along with and very busy neighbor Ashley. Ashley doesn't have time for canning and is NOT a fan of picking fruit off her lawn. So she gave me her pear tree.

This year's harvest was good, but not even a quarter of what it was last year, so I have to be very choosy about which recipes I use. I've decided to share them here...And I'm including a picture of my new book cover and a link to my page, so sharing this blog will be counted as an entry to my month long contest as well. Advertising...

Donna Milward Books

There. That's done. (Note: Current copies are oversized. Do not purchase if you are looking to buy Paperback size.)

My first recipe that I tried is definitely a favorite--not just to me but to my friends and family. It's a pear liqueur, and I like to put it in pretty little bottles and give it as gifts. DIY Pear Liqueur Last year I ran out of vanilla beans, so I used cinnamon sticks instead. That was delicious as well.

This one is my husband's favorite. That man loves ginger. I hate it. More for him. A few years back, my former boss Nevin Fiske from Drift Food Truck fame showed me how to peel real ginger with the edge of a spoon, thus making my canning life a little easier. Dan has been getting double ginger in these preserves ever since. This recipe is found on page 69 of the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving, but I've typed it up for you.

Ginger Pear Preserves (Makes about seven 250-ml jars.)

5 ½ cups finely chopped cored peeled pears
Grated zest and juice of 3 limes
2 1/3 cups of sugar
1 Tblsp. grated gingerroot

1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
2. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine pears, lime zest and juice, sugar and gingerroot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens—about fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and test gel. If gel stage has been reached, skim off foam.
3. Ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 0.5 cm headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot preserves. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger-tight.
4. Place jars in canner, ensuring that they are completely covered in water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Last year I got buried in pears. I was literally giving boxes of them away, and I STILL had to plow through six weeks of canning every single day. This is the recipe that saved my sanity as well as HOURS of work. Easy Canned Pears (no sugar) I especially liked the fact that no sugar was involved, because my diabetic mother loves canned pears. And I love Pinterest, which is where this recipe came from.

And finally, MY favorite. Pear Bread <3 This is a perfect snack or maybe for breakfast. It's not too sweet, and pretty easy to make.Favorite Pear Bread

Anyway, hope you enjoy. Officially speaking, I have two more blogs to go before the contest is over, but I wanted to switch it up. Next blog is tomorrow, where I will share an excerpt from Her True Name: Volume Two.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Earth to Thoeba: OOPS.....Adventures in Self-Publishing

Earth to Thoeba: OOPS.....Adventures in Self-Publishing: It took me a long time to write this blog because it's humiliating. This is the part where I tell you NOT to buy my book yet. Because ...

OOPS.....Adventures in Self-Publishing

It took me a long time to write this blog because it's humiliating. This is the part where I tell you NOT to buy my book yet. Because if you're expecting a paperback, you might be surprised. Here's why...

Bit of a size difference...

You see, when I began the process of publishing Her True Name: Volume Two, I accidently checked off the wrong size. Createspace told me that my text didn't quite fit with my chosen cover size, but gave me no way to go back and change what cover size I had. I decided to move forward, and fix it later. Guess what? I forgot to look into it and fix it.

I have to call Createspace, and find out how to change this and hope that I don't need to start over. I have to pull this version of Her True name off the Amazon shelf. I have eighteen of these.  I don't think I can return them, as they are 'Print on Demand'.

So here's the thing. I'm still giving them as prizes. They are the wrong size, but they are still beautiful. I'm going to call them a "Special Edition". When I'm famous, these will be collector's items, as they will be in incredibly short supply.  Less than two dozen.

I've calmed down. Someday I will laugh at this, but right now I'm dying of embarrassment. I'm letting you all know because if you do not one one of my 'Special Editions', you might want to drop out of the contest. I will definitely keep you informed of when the proper sized copies are out on my social media.

I'll have a new blog to share for the contest tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


Here it is! The cover for my new novella! This is the continuation for Her True Name: Volume One. Introducing...Her True Name: Volume Two! The woman responsible for this epic artwork is my friend, Emma Hibbs. The character on this cover is Freya, who plays a a huge role in this book.

Note how the goddess Freya is white haired with extremely light blue eyes. That's because I modelled her after my beloved cat.  THIS Freya...
See the resemblance? 

As you can see, we went in a different direction with this cover. It's a little brighter than the others. I told Emma I envisioned tall trees in green, maybe some sunlight peeking through. She gave me ethereal forests, as I suspected she would, and let me choose my favorite. The cool thing about self-publishing and working with a cover artist like Emma is getting to choose pretty much everything you want for a cover, from the font to the model on it. I chose the model, and Emma changed her hair and eyes to match my vision. She put it all together and made it work.Emma, or E.C. Hibbs as she's sometimes known, was fantastic to work with, as always, and I look forward to our next cover for this series. And I finally got around to a quick interview. More on that later.
Here is the back blurb: 

Her True Name is an open-ended series about the human incarnations of Sage and Virtus,

 two angels finding their way through the Earthly realm. Each book can be read alone, or 

consecutively. The gods are often against them, but The Energy will make certain that they 

will always be together, somehow.

                                                          VOLUME TWO

Three naked travellers arrive at a village in ancient Sweden. They learn the language, and possess talents as unusual as themselves. Agneta is suspicious of them, until Freya soothes her with magicks and stories of a land Agneta has never seen, yet longs to experience...again. But the strangers bring betrayal and peril. Can the village trust these 

new gods? Or will it be the ruin of their peaceful way of life? 

Anyway, here's where I tell you about the contest. Her True Name: Volume Two is already available in paperback. I had planned for Halloween, but I was able to get things rolling faster than expected. I want LOTS of attention for it. I'm offering THREE sets of both volumes for the winners. That means three winners will receive THESE...

In paperback. They are on their way to my house as we speak. Here's the link if you want to go ahead and order: Her True Name: Volume Two

For the contest, all you need to do is share and tag.  SHARE this blog, and the next two that follow, (The interview with Emma will be in the third blog.) or anything else from my author page. And TAG me, so I can count your entries. The more shares, the more entries. The tags are important. I can't count your entries, if I don't see them.

Please post them on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. If you share them in another media site, please point it out to me so I can include them.

Thank you, and best of luck! I'm already excited to post the other blogs, and I'm excited to see who wins!

This contest is NOT connected to Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site in any way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Doing Things Differently

What's the saying? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. Change is inevitable, time marches on with or without us, and progress is relative.

It's no secret--I hate marketing, and I suck at it. But I'm open to new ways, and new ideas. Or at least I like to think I am. I talk a lot about trying new things, but I rarely do. Sometimes I cringe at the options. Honestly, sometimes I don't know who to ask, or where to look. I'm hoping that too, will change soon. It's already starting in small ways.

Like how I began a series of novellas rather than full length novels. Novella number two is being processed and is coming soon. Or how about a collection of short stories? Also coming soon.

How about Boosting a Facebook post? Amazon ads and Bookbub ads? Actually, the Amazon ads didn't pull through...I believe it has to do with topless models on the book covers. But the Bookbub ones are going strong, and the Facebook boost introduced new people to my writing.
Cover by Terra Weston

I'm working with a different cover artists. Perhaps you've heard me mention her before....Emma Hibbs has done a great job of the cover for Her True Name: Volume II. We've gone a little brighter in color, and a bit of a different look. I can't wait for you all to see it.

I've recently put copies of Chasing Monsters in Audrey's, a local independently owned bookstore, and they're interested in the new upcoming novella. They've been a pleasure to work with, and I finally got to see my work in a real bookstore. (See above photo)

Whenever I feel worried and uncertain about my future as a successful writer, I am reminded of two things:

1. This is not a race. I'm not going to throw my hands up in defeat because I haven't hit the finish line yet.

2. Change is constant. What doesn't work now, might later, and vice versa. Things I hate to do now might be different years or even months from now. There will be new ways to promote, publish and advertise in the future, and I'll be there to try them and use them to my advantage.

Am I scared? You betcha, but I'm going to keep plodding along. Let's see what fresh hells the future brings, shall we?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

My Next Step

Cover by Terra Weston
Tough blog to write! Maybe it's because I am publicly admitting a certain level of defeat. I have made a decision. I'm going to look for another publisher for my next two books. 

The truth is, I hate self-publishing and I never wanted it. People keep telling me "It's the way to go. The independance is great!" Not for me it isn't. I don't know what I'm doing. I had hoped I would eventually get the hang of it after a couple of years but I haven't.

"You have all the control." I don't WANT all the control! I just want to write books! I don't know anything about advertising or marketing, and I'm too shy and Canadian to push my product on people.  I hate jumping through links and grinding through procedures that will allow me to publish my work. I've discovered there are still limits. Especially if you don't know all the rules.

Oh, and did I mention that everything I learned about computers in high school is obsolete? I know I'm not alone in that regard, but unlike many of my other fellow authors, I cannot just jump in and learn. I was born without ANY actual patience, and would prefer to be shown how to do it. Preferably with alcohol or caffeine and a good friend beside me. And quickly please, I have things to do. With writers being solitary by nature makes this a rarity. Oh yeah....and I don't want to learn it. Just writing this paragraph makes me feel petulant, as though I am being childish and demanding, but it's true. I wish I didn't have to do any of it.

I have recently realized that I procrastinate on doing anything relating to self publishing, and I don't procrastinate on anything if I can help it. But these days, I can't get anything done. I had to analyze why I would aggravate myself by deliberately avoiding something. Why am I procrastinating when I would rather tackle the toughest parts first? Because when I log into Createspace, I am immediately irritated and snarling outloud. I can't focus and I can't breathe. I don't want to be there. So...this is what anxiety means.

I'm not saying that I won't be self-publishing anymore. In many cases, it's necessary. I think Her True Name: Volume Two will be a hard sell due to it's open-ended series status, it's novella size and its historical/reincarnation/romance/mythology based plots, but I have to try.
Found this meme on CJ Rutherford's page after I wrote the first draft of this blog.

This revelation came because I'm learning to slow down. Usually everything is a race with me. I'm always in such a hurry. It's as if I'm terrified that my time will run out before I'm finished what it is that I need to do in this life. I've figured out that if I DON'T slow down, my time might get shorter. I wanted to be a successful writer with at least a dozen titles and at least a few best sellers by now. I'm a bit behind schedule. When I realized that I hated self-publishing and I recognized the anxiety it gives me, I thought about just giving it all up. THEN I thought, "Why am I pushing myself to the point where I'd rather give up than pursue what I love?"
And this one a few hours later. Thanks creepy Facebook algorithms. 

So I'm going to give myself some space. At the end, I might be successful, I might not be. But it's not going to happen overnight. I have to stop living my life in fast-forward, and expecting to find a finish line with the next sunrise. Everything I do today, this blog, my books, my social media--is building a long career, not a one hit wonder. Just writing this out makes me feel better about the future. I'm glad I told you.

So, YES! I'm writing more books! I just might take a little longer to get them to you. Stick with me. I'll make it worth the wait. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Earth to Thoeba: What's New, India?

Earth to Thoeba: What's New, India?: Image from: Quora Sometimes I think about this blog, and realize I haven't written here in ages. But what do I write about? Do I hav...

What's New, India?

Image from: Quora
Sometimes I think about this blog, and realize I haven't written here in ages. But what do I write about? Do I have anything new to say?

Well, I'd like to tell you that I'm working on the third installment for Her True Name: Volume Three. It's set in the Indus Valley, and involves the goddesses Kali and Sita.

For the first time in years, I'm pantsing it, with barely much of an outline. I googled Indian baby names, and my humans are named Mahin, (The Earth) and Druhi, (Daughter). Which I thought appropriate, as Sita is an earthly goddess, and she'll be very involved in their lives. The choice of names is already shaping the story. By the way, they are runaways, victims of the caste system.

The thing with pantsing, is one just writes and watches where the story takes them. Already, I have to go back to research. What do they eat? What kind of weapons do they have? What does Sita look like? Don't worry...These are good questions, and I'm looking forward to learning the answers. These are also things that will help me create.

For example, did you know the Indus Valley has deserts, swamps, floodlands and forests? I've discovered that in the time of 2600 BCE, the Indus Valley had two major trade centers named Harappa and Mohendjo-Daro, and the cities were advanced enough to have sewage systems.

You know what else is interesting? You know how your computer knows creepy things about you and what you're looking at? How the algorithms watch your browser history? Facebook has been sending me new Indian music, and it's AWESOME.

Ever hear of Bloodywood? Indian metal music? Check this out--Ari Ari Bloodywood Now if THAT doesn't me inspire, nothing will.

But there's more! How about Indian music with bagpipes? Scotland meets Punjabi music This stuff makes me giddy, and excited to write, so I had to share it with you.

I'm hoping to have Volume Two out by the end of the year, but I'm also happy that I'm writing the third one as well. This is how I'll get there. By the seat of my pantsing, and with a little help from refreshing new music from India. Check out the links and enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Earth to Thoeba: Seven Facts About Chasing Monsters

Earth to Thoeba: Seven Facts About Chasing Monsters: This cover was also done by Terra Weston Chasing Monsters is my current novel. That was an interesting time in my life, as these facts w...

Seven Facts About Chasing Monsters

This cover was also done by Terra Weston
Chasing Monsters is my current novel. That was an interesting time in my life, as these facts will tell you. The novel attempts to answer the question... What happens when a paranormal investigator befriends a demon with a soul?

1. This novel was inspired by a Friedrich Nietzsche quote: "When chasing monsters, one must be careful not to become one."  I got all SORTS of ideas from that quote, and I ran off with it. My husband gave me a Nietzsche book of quotes. I've learned that while Nietzsche was interesting, he was also a raving lunatic that hated women and Christians. The book starts dry and dull, becomes insightful and ends wacky. I suspect his rambling came from the syphilis that eventually killed him.

2. My main character, Noelle, was named after a beautiful ghost child I dreamed about. My Noelle doesn't look like her. Ghost Noelle was about seven years old with curly brown hair and big brown eyes. The freaky part is, I went apartment shopping with my sister that afternoon and she got the apartment right across from the cemetery I dreamed Noelle was from. No, I didn't look for her, but I'd like to. That might be a great paranormal adventure.

3. The investigators in the novel are real people : I was a member of Edmonton Paranormal at the time. Yes, they knew I was writing the book, and yes, those people knew they were in it. I changed their names, and didn't divulge ALL of their personalities---there was some poetic license. I don't recommend using friends as characters. It's hard to maintain their privacy while remaining true to their personalities.
RIP Gary Larsen Photo by: Julia Hollman

4. One character was as true as I could make him: Because about two months after Gary asked if he could be in the book too, he died. He's 'Joey', and I strived to make his character as real as he was in life. I met him first at my Meatcutting Class, at NAIT, and when I came to Edmonton Paranormal alone, he was the only person I knew. I wanted Gary to have some kind of legacy, because he was only 50 years old, and a kind man who led a quiet life. I don't want him forgotten.

5. Jake's house doesn't exist, but if it did..: I placed it between the towns of Busby and Legal. You would use the left-hand turn off from Legal, and it would be about half-way to Busby. I used to drive that way all the time to meet with my last remaining critique partner, and I liked the area for a story.

6. Oh, and the church exists too: My bestie and I went for a road trip to find museums and we took a few back roads. We were a little bit lost when we found it, so I can't tell you where it is. I'm not even sure I'm showing the right picture, but it was a historic site, and I remember it being white with silver turnip top structures.
I THINK this is.... not sure. We saw lots of churches that day

7. BONUS FACT: The woman who designed this cover, as well as the ones for Thoeba and Aphrodite's War is now a country singer and songwriter. Her name is Terra Weston, and while country music isn't my thing, she'sDAMNED talented. Oh, her voice! I had NO  idea she could sing! I tried to include a link, but it didn't work. Terra, if you read this, can you comment with something?

Monday, April 30, 2018

Earth to Thoeba: Five Facts About Her True Name:Volume One

Earth to Thoeba: Five Facts About Her True Name:Volume One: Cover by Anima Black Her True Name is an open-ended series about the reincarnated lives of two lovers named Sage and Virtus. I'm not...

Five Facts About Her True Name:Volume One

Cover by Anima Black
Her True Name is an open-ended series about the reincarnated lives of two lovers named Sage and Virtus. I'm not sure how many volumes there will be, but I can tell you Volume Two takes place in early Sweden in the time of the Funnelbeakers, and the second edits have gone by without a hitch.

But we're still talking about Volume One which takes place in ancient Egypt. Here's stuff you may not know about this book.

1. It's inspired by a highschool pal: Nicki Cole was my best friend in junior high, and loved aaaalll things Egyptian. She even dressed the part. I had her beta read this novella, and dedicated it to her. It's funny how you can reconnect with an old friend on Facebook, and find a little inspiration. Oh...and she just had a viking wedding. I can't wait to see what she says about Volume Two. She beta reading that one as well.

2. Of course there's a cat: Egyptian's worshipped cats. Bast(or Bastet) is a cat goddess, and a main character, so there had to be a cat. Kitty's name is Hetepheres. I Googled Egyptian girl names for her, and it's actually the name of  an Egyptian queen and it means, "She who wears a satisfied face."  It's pronounced Het-a-fair-us. Although Hetepheres is a Sphynx cat, the breed didn't actual exist the way it does in ancient Egypt. The breed is a genetic mutation from our time.
Photo by:Warren photographic

3. Odji is another villain who wrote himself:  I often wonder how it is that I write villains so easily. When I chose Odji's name, I didn't realize he would truly become 'Wicked'. Plus, I'm a plotter, not a pantser, but I gladly made room for him. His unexpected attitude changed the book in great ways, and it wouldn't be the novella it is without him. spoilers, but if you love a good villain, Odji will satisfy your craving.

4. Did you know?: In ancient Egypt glass beads were as valuable as pearls? Or that the Egyptians were the first to develop clear glass? Or that silver was considered more valuable than gold? That's the cool thing about research. You learn interesting tidbits you wouldn't have come across if you weren't trying to create authenticity for your work.

5..I have always loved the idea of reincarnation, and I truly hope it exists: I have believed in reincarnation since the age of six, because it feels like it has all the answers I seek.  I think this world would be a better place if people knew they would always answer for their wrong doings if not this life then the next. These novellas are about--finding your contented place.and returning to those you love regardless of death and time. BUT I'm using my research for fictional purposes. I've no desire to convert anyone. The reason I bring that up, is because a religious woman I met at a book club had read Thoeba, and was disturbed by my ideas of reincarnation. I had to assure her I write for entertainment purposes only, and I have no intention of being the next L. Ron Hubbard.

So there we are--Five facts about Her True Name: Volume One. I hope you enjoyed it, and that you'll enjoy Volume Two when it comes out.

Next installment will be Five Facts about Chasing Monsters.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Five Interesting Facts About Aphrodite's War

Wicked cover by Terra Weston
Aphrodite's War is my second novel. It had a rough start, and you'll find out why, but you'll also find out how it bloomed too.I shouldn't have favorites...but yeah. Aphrodite's War is probably my easiest labor.

1. Ares wrote himself:  He was supposed to be a charming rogue type. But in the prologue he said, "Harpy slut! No one needed you to teach humans how to fuck." My hands literally flew off the keyboard, and I realized he wasn't going to be who I thought he was. He pretty much did and said whatever he liked from then on.

Amir was supposed to die: Near the beginning of the book, the kitten named Amir was supposed to meet his end in a microwave oven. After six solid weeks of Writer's Block, I realized there was NO WAY I could write that. I really didn't want to. So I changed the outcome, and changed the direction of the novel.

3. The change inspired me to get a cat: It may not be a big deal to other people, but going to the Edmonton Humane Society, and bringing Freya home changed my life. She's my very first pet, and the joy she brought to our lives changed the novel again in great ways. I even went back into the rough draft and changed the goddess Freya to resemble my new kitty. I was so in love, and writing this novel became effortless. And now I'm a proud crazy cat lover.
Perfect girl Freya

4. I learned Kendo for Adrien's sake: Adrien is a defense lawyer, and I worried that readers wouldn't like him. I'll admit, he wasn't likable at first. So he had to have a couple of cool interests. Someone at my husband's work recommended Edmonton Kendo, after I mentioned fencing. What better way to research than to truly experience it? It's engaging and interesting, and a fantastic workout. The people I met and the experiences I had I'll cherish for the rest of my life, and I recommend it to anyone. No one poked fun at me for how big I was, or that I couldn't keep up while jogging.. They knew I'd learn and get stronger, and adapt.. I learned a lot about respect, Japanese culture, and so much more. I lost at least thirty pounds. The reason I'm not still there is because I had too many other obligations, and not enough time or energy.
THIS is the coolness that is Kendo

5. SPOILER ALERT  for Strife: Readers might notice that I didn't mention what happened to Strife. That was not an oversight or mistake. Her character expanded in ways I didn't see coming. Like so many readers expressed, she became one of my favorites. I don't think she's finished...

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Fun Facts about Thoeba

This cover was done by Terra Weston
My first novel is called Thoeba, and I'm very proud of it. If you have never--or if you HAVE read it, you might find these five facts about it interesting.

1. Thoeba was inspired by a dream: When I was fourteen, I dreamed that I was hiding in a huge garden. A dark haired man and his daughter found me. They tried to coax me out, but  I could see two demons flying overhead, looking for me. All I could say was, "Thoeba! Thoh-BAH!" The spelling is something I pictured in my head. Yeah, weird dreams, and it stuck with me all these years.

2. All the flight jargon/airplane stuff is real: My father was a recreational pilot, and I shared his love of airplanes and flying. I used that knowledge to the best of my ability for the book. The Fairchild is a real airplane from the fifties, but I've never flown in one. I chose it because the photo I saw matched my idea of a rickety old aircraft that may or not fly at such an advanced age. (Sorry, I couldn't find that photo now.)

3. A fishing trip changed the location of the novel: Despite the fact that I'd never been to the Eastern coast, I thought I'd set it there. Peter was supposed to be a fisherman by trade. My husband and I took a fishing trip to Cold Lake, Alberta, and fell in love with the place and the people we met there. The campground, the cabin, Pelican Rock, and the pristine lake itself are all things we got to experience first hand. Only the bar and the actual military installation are made up.
This is the campground! Photo by Travel Alberta

4. Thoeba once had a different publisher and a different cover: Thoeba was originally published with Vamptasy Publishing out of Scotland. I got to pick the cover. I chose it because I felt that Thoeba acted as though she were made of stone, but you can see the sadness in the statue's bearing.

Thoeba's first cover
5. I regret naming the book Thoeba: It s a BAD IDEA to name your book something no one can spell or pronounce. Plus you will spend the rest of your life trying to politely correct people when they misspell it or pronounce it badly. For the record--It's pronounced 'toe' with a 'th' in front of it, and Bah, as in Humbug. Thoe-BAH. I still love the originality of it, and I can't bear to change it. I Googled it once, and it only shares a name with an Asian girl on Twitter, whose real name isn't Thoeba, and I'm sure she doesn't know my book exists.

I hope you liked learning five facts about Thoeba. Do you have any questions? There's more coming. Next: Five facts about Aphrodite's War.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Earth to Thoeba: Fathering a Feminist

Earth to Thoeba: Fathering a Feminist: I adored my father. That much is obvious. Yet I was always under the impression that my father would love me more if I was a boy. Maybe it...

Fathering a Feminist

I adored my father. That much is obvious. Yet I was always under the impression that my father would love me more if I was a boy. Maybe it was because they were expecting a boy. They were going to name me Christopher Robin.

When I was five, I was given a black pair of Bauer hand-me-down skates. I knew they were boys skates, my Uncle David's first pair. It didn't matter. Daddy liked to skate, so I would learn how to glide across the ice like he did, no matter that I didn't have the same pristine white skates with toe picks that I saw other girls wearing.

I have a fantastic memory of my father swooping over and asking me what was wrong. "Daddy, I can't skate!" I wailed. He showed me how to push and glide, push and glide--it wasn't at all like walking, and I didn't have picks to help me push off. He took my hand, and together we surfed the ice until I let go. I did exactly as he showed me and suddenly, it was easy. Viola! "Daddy, I'm skating!" In later years when we shared that memory he remembered it differently. He remembered me letting go of his hand and saying, "I got it, Daddy." And off I went. Sure enough, his little girl could skate.

It's a common theme in my life, always wanting to please my father and be good at all the things he loved. Because I believed he would love me more if I was more like him. More like a boy. It shaped who I am in interesting ways.

He played guitar and loved music. I took up drums and learned how to read music. I learned to appreciate all music-- classical, jazz, folk...stuff that wasn't metal. He loved airplanes and got a pilot's license. I became his co-pilot and navigator. I read all the books he used for ground school, weather patterns, cloud formations and how to read flight instruments. Our family went to airshows and my father and I collected T-shirts of our favorite aircraft. I built model airplanes. He loved hockey, both my sister and I learned how to 'speak fluent hockey', and we have our favorite teams of course. I collected hockey cards, and learned the value of those too. I can no longer tell you what Goals Against Average means, but my sister still keeps up with everything from draft picks to playoff games.

Here's where the feminism comes in...When my parents bought an acerage, I made myself useful. There was a lot to do, and if I wanted to spend time with Dad, that meant tough chores. It meant clearing brush and taking down small trees. It meant rototilling the earth and gardening. And lots of weed whacking. Lots, and lots, and lots of weed whacking. With a gas-powered weed whacker, no less. Those things are freakin' heavy.

And I grew strong. 
'Longest Distance Flown' at a Fly-In Breakfast

One day, he needed to bring a pallet of shingles to the roof. He had friends that volunteered to help, but Dad really just wanted to make sure it got done. Everybody seemed to be taking their time, and the roofers were going to be there in just a couple of days. So I helped him. This involved Dad hoisting a stack of shingles on his shoulder, and climbing a ladder. I stood on the roof, and grabbed the shingles from his shoulder by the plastic straps, and placed them in stacks. Such hard work! But it was worth it...After dinner, Dad's friends phoned. They were ready to help. I'll never forget how my heart sang when I heard my father say, "No, it's all finished. Me and my ah....daughter got it done." I could hear his pride. I saw it in the way he lifted his heels just a little when he said it.

We both hurt like hell the next day, but I was chuffed. From that day forward, I felt like I could do anything. I was strong and hard working. My father was proud of me. I'd heard him bragging about me. I'll never forget it.

That was the day I realized I could take any job, and work every bit as hard as a man. I realized my power and I was determined that if I worked like a man, I deserved to be paid like one, I deserved to be given the same opportunities, and I deserved fair treatment. My father believed in me. The best part? I did it. Just me. I didn't have to be a boy.

Looking back, I realized my parents raised a feminist all along. I realized my father simply never told me I can't. He never once said, "You're a girl, you can't/shouldn't do that." Not once. My parents just let me be myself, and I'm grateful for that. I like who I turned out to be.

I am a creative woman with a few odd interests and abilities and I am a good worker with a solid reputation. I'm that person, because my parents never told me, "You can't."

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Year I Got Old.

Dad was about 25 in this picture
This blog was brought on by a friend's loss of her father and an old photo a neighbor found. We didn't even know it existed until now.

When I got the news of my friend's father's passing, my heavy heart dropped. I understand her shock and grief, and I'm going to try and be there for her. This is going to be incredibly difficult, as you can imagine.

As the anniversary of Dad's death approaches, I've realized something. I got old last year.

Right after Dad passed, I felt depressed and exhausted. I quit my job because I had no energy, no focus, and I was constantly walking around angry. I felt weak and heavy. Even my eyes aren't as good as they were.

Not much has changed. I feel overwhelmed with my new job, unmotivated, and hopeless. I've started writing again, but most days I'm too exhausted to do much of anything. Edits are a struggle, even when I'm excited about them. I second guess every chapter. I used to be an upbeat person, now people avoid me because I'm negative. I've lost friends, but some of them stepped up. (Thank you Sharon, Sherri and Judy,  Jesse and Michelle, and always Mel, Colleen, Sylvia, Rita, Kevin and Ashley for being there.) I used to be the anti-procrastinator, now I just add more items to my to-do list and stare at it. I've started writing my will, but that's easier said than done. What an unpleasant task! I talk about the inconvienience  of aging like a woman twenty years older.

I remember the weather in the days after my father died. I remember wishing it had rained, just because it seems to rain for good people when they died. Or if it couldn't rain, why couldn't it be warm? Dad spent the last months of his life wearing layers because he couldn't get warm. Now I realize the weather was appropriate. Grief is a biting, bitter cold that sticks to you.  I wonder if my friend will forever associate this kind of ugly weather with the passing of her Dad. Will it make her sadder too?
So now I have just turned 46, and I feel old. I never really believed that would happen. Why? How did that happen? How do I recover? Why am I writing this?

I think I'm admitting that I'm not okay. I think I'm worried that my friend will experience the same things I have. I think I'm asking people to understand that losing a parent changes your core self. Please exercise patience and understanding.