Friday, October 31, 2014

A Chill in the Air

Image from
It's All Hallows Eve in Wisconsin. Right now, hundreds of goblins like me are rushing home to dress as our alter ego. That's really what Halloween is about in this part of the world. Who ... or What are you?

But there's an unavoidable reality tonight. Fairies, Pirates, Witches, and Superheros will be cloaked in thick winter coats as they brave the frigid winds racing across the area. It's not fair, but it is common in Wisconsin. Maybe next year, I'll be a werewolf. A thick layer of fur should ward off the chill, or at the very least, I'll be able to swath myself in thermal undies. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

In honor of the season

Mythology, Legend, Lore, Fable, Fairy Tale, they all spark an image in your brain, but they are hard to define. In honor of the season, be it Samhain, Harvest Festival, or All Hallows Eve, I've reduced the price of Cairn: A Dragon Memoir to 99 cents (USD). 

It's time to jump into the Legends of the Aurora trilogy. Each book is a complete story so don't hesitate to take advantage of this bedrock price.  

Imagine, for less than a cup of coffee, I promise you two distinct species of dragon, clever trolls, an annoying puffin, a defenseless baby deer, and a hauntingly beautiful Goddess you will never forget. But hurry. As soon as the last leaf hits the ground, this price will disappear.

Amazon/Goodread reviewer "Believer" says:
"Cairn A Dragon Memoir" is an exciting adventure that begins when Troika the legendary dragon with a twisted tail returns home to the lair with the trolkin Leaf. What he doesn't expect is two grisly murders and a dual of wills with the Topaz clan that will leave him in the untenable position of competing for Guardianship of Aurora an Elemental after the death of his grandfather.

The threads of the plot not only follow Troika's integration back into the Sapphire clan, his rise to Rex and his search for the killer of his father Hawk and Falcon, but also Leaf's journey of self-discovery as she becomes a mother to a young fawn and searches for a way to the Heart where she hopes Aurora will disclose her destiny. When the stories converge and you think you know who the killer is Rebecca Farrell Porter skilfully adds a further twist to the plot. With vivid description she brings to life a fantasy world with its troll legends, and dragon culture. In a society that's cold, tradition-oriented and layered in intrigue Troika faces lies, deceit, murder and greed. Like the shifting of the wind alliances change until the only one he can depend on is his friend Leaf.

I loved the spark of humour that Leaf and her motley gang of misfits like the puffin Bay add to the storyline. Even the romance brewing between Troika and the Anemone, a Topaz dragon lightens the dark mood ignited by greed and death. Magic seems to fuel a world where Leaf carries a bloodstone for invisibility and a loom weaves tapestries from Aurora's hair.

The characters are unforgettable and realistic especially Troika the "Promised One" of prophesy who finds his integration back into his dragon family filled with pitfalls and loneliness. Content in Elvsmyr with Leaf's family Gaven and Uredd, he suddenly finds himself struggling to contain his anger and insecurity. The Trolkin Leaf is a loyal friend who's fearless, stubborn and highly perceptive. Aurora's the Elemental who seems like an enigma, aloof and unknowable. Add to these captivating personalities the indomitable puffin Bay, the gentle fawn Fern, Troika's diplomatic, but iron-willed mother Wren and the volatile Sparrow. But it is the destructive behaviours of the cunning and bitter Pearl and the aggressive, tough but narrow-minded Quill that help build the intensity and suspense of a murder mystery as events unfold and tempers rise in the clans' bid for Guardianship.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the last leave broke free and fell to the ground in last night's windstorm. Nature is demanding and I must obey, but don't let a few extra pennies stop you from reading this beautiful look at the world through the eyes of a misfit dragon. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

New Cover for Blue on the Horizon

I have exciting news as I begin writing book three in the Legends of the Aurora trilogy. The new cover art is complete and I'm ready to relaunch my quirky legend, Blue on the Horizon

I like my original cover, and many of you have told me you did too, but the honesty of child pushed me to seek professional help ... from a digital artist. 

(What were you thinking?)

Last year, I entered Blue on the Horizon in the Wishing Shelf Book Award, and it was these words from a young judge that pushed me to make a change:

This [the cover] was by far the weakest part of the book. The young readers felt it was professional-looking and the lettering was simple to read, but they felt it did not represent the genre or the plot. One reader put, ‘The cover looks OK but I thought it was a travel book or, even worse, a romance. But it has nothing to do with trolls.’

I began to study book covers in my genre. The reader was right. My cover didn't look anything like the other book covers in magical fantasy. 

Branding is important to me, so I worked with the same artist who designed Cairn: A Dragon Memoir. She's wonderful and incredibly talented. Thank you Vanesa Garkova. I'll be contacting you again, but first I have a massive amount of work to do. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ten Signs it's time to start writing my next novel:

10. I awoke to a heavy frost, the first sign of the coming cold. 

9. Driving home yesterday, I noticed the birds were starting to form huge flocks, preparing to travel south for the winter.

8. A few nights ago, I had a dream and Lucy Lawless* told me to me, "stop stalling".

7. My football teams are struggling. Well the Green Bay Packers are doing okay, but only because their whole division is struggling.

6. My deadline for The Stoughton Press is looming.

5. I'm seeing quirks of my characters in the people in my everyday life.

4. I've filled my notebook with character profiles, settings, rules of magic, plot structure, and I've even scribbled key chapters.

3. My brain can no longer hold all the little details I have planned.

2. I can already see the book cover in my head.

And the number one sign it's time to start writing again ...

1. My protagonist is so real to me, I feel like calling her to ask her to dinner.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Giant Hair Bows

I wasn't planning to continue with my family photo album, but I seem to have stuck a chord. Today, By their attire, it's easy to see we have moved forward a generation, but notice the giant hair bow. 

I can't imagine a big floppy thing like that on the back of my head. It must be starched, and not lightly. And check out those dresses. I seem to remember I had a low-waisted dress very much like this back in the late twentieth century. 

Fashions rarely disappear, tights became leggings, thin belts are back in style, but I'm not going to plaster a giant hair bow to the back of my head. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Big Hair

I've been busy editing old family photos for a hush, hush project. As I study these old photos for imperfections, my mind wanders. Some make me cringe at the thought that I share genes with these people, others are beautiful, but this one I had to share. 

I don't really know who they are, (sorry Mom, genealogy is your thing, not mine) but it appears that big hair was all the rage at this time. I have long hair, always have, but I almost never wear it up, not even at my wedding. Mom tells the story of her grandmother who had hair so long she could sit on it, and she always wore it up in a bun. Maybe hanging on to my long hair for, well forever, did come down through the blood. 

But let's relate this photo back to the now. Can you imagine how long it took to get that look? And all without "product".