Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Best Review Ever!

Most of us writers--well, maybe all of us--need stroking, a little kindness of words, someone other than another writer, friend, or relative to say something about our book(s) to give our works their due.

I finally got number 14 review over night and believe me, she says everything I've been saying all along about my books

Sabrina Strong series
is NOT a 
Cookie Cutter Vampire Romance!

here is the review:
"The story unfolds with a woman who is a 'touch' clairvoyant & who's past had opened her eyes to 'supernaturals' in the world. Starting with Vampires - and the world they inhabit - and control, down to the revelation of her role within the supernatural. From a woman struggling with her own relationship issues - to being wanted suddenly by many! I thought this would be just another vamp love story - but I was SO WRONG! This is an amazing series - as I finished this book, I went on line and bought the other 3... immediately! The writing is so strong I can almost 'be' her - and it moves so quickly - yet I have no problem in keeping all the characters in order! This may just well be my fav series for the year!!!"

See it here
for anyone who has not read the books, this is the best review so far to come in. 

And by the way, there's a fifth book out, which Shirl B must not have seen. It is Crescendo

Bill Gannon is dead. 

The good news is the dhampire will be born, but not through who you'd expect. When Vasyl learns what Sabrina has done, it creates a rift between them. 

After donating her plasma in order to save Tremayne, and surviving Nicolas' attempt on her life, a group of black witches abduct her and begin draining her of her powers. She's near death when Dante stops them, and he and Vasyl return her home. Dante has a way to return her powers, but in a way that Vasyl isn't pleased with. 

After introducing Vasyl to her brother, wife and children, she warns him about vampires who will try and hurt them. But these warnings go unheeded when they get invitation for what they think is an all expenses paid weekend in Tremayne Towers. With the vampire war raging all around them, the ultimate confontation with Ilona Tremayne is at hand.

P.S. I would love for a nice review of this book. It hasn't gotten any as of yet, and has been out since April.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Fat Bumble Bees

The bumble bees around here are big and fat, my husband and I have noticed. It's like they've taken steroids. You have to get out of their way when they fly because they may give you a concussion. They're large enough to carry off small dogs and children... well, not that big. Around here they nest under ground, so it behooves a gardener to watch where a bumble bee is heading before moving rocks or other things.

My husband has a story of when he was very young, he stole play money from somewhere, and when he went to retrieve it under a rock, he got stung by a bumble. He never did that again--um steal, that is. And, he's never been stung by one again, and always "saves" them if they are trapped inside somewhere.

In the woodland garden, meanwhile, my project is coming along, but the deer seem to love everything I plant. I had dug up some phlox from the ditch, transplanted 4 large plants and found to my dismay that deer do, indeed, love these. One plant was pretty much stripped of leaves--I have reservations as to whether this plant will survive, but the others may, as they've only been munched on. I would have been pissed off in the past, but these days I just shrug, and went and got tomato cages and chicken wire and put these around the plants. I hope to get some deer fence--so called that as it's supposed to deter deer with some scent they don't like. I'd like to see this work, but at the same time wouldn't trust it 100%.

In other news, one morning we noticed some debris coming out of a hole in the catalpa tree, just under where the wood ducks were nesting. Yeah. This was nesting from those ducks. We noticed one broken egg shell. We do have a few raccoons. I didn't want to jump to the obvious conclusion, but one will never know exactly what happened.

I'd become warmer and more humid, have had some rain in past day or so, and more on the way, so work out in my woods is limited. Oh, and the mosquitoes, of course, made their appearance this week as well.

In other news, my first book of series, Ascension, has, as of this morning sold 112 ebook copies for the month. I've never had any one book sell that many copies before. I've had all books sell over 100 in a month, of course, but this is different. In one day I sold 40 copies--hard to believe it didn't go closer to being #1--or at least in the top 100. But not. It was doing well (#90) in different categories like vampires, psychics, etc. But I've seen it better in those too. Must have been a busy selling day, back on Monday, I guess.

Well, I've been off for only two weeks and it feels longer, somehow. I've gotten a lot done around here, inside and out. Yesterday I cleaned the house, and today, not sure what I can do other than work on the book, as there is a threat of rain in area.

I plan on painting the steps which have never been painted--never had time to do it until this year. Also I want to paint the bathroom. Every room needs painting. Even my office needs to have a little light patching with orchid. My husband can't keep up with me. He is amazed at my energy. I'm amazed at my energy. And my ideas won't quit as to what I want to do.

So, this is my update on what's been going on. Sorry I can't share pics because my computer is too old to take any photos from our cell phone and I won't pay for an update. Especially since I'm planning on getting a lap top. I think I might be able to afford one this year.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Getting up with (or before) the sun has its benefits

Morning fog in the wetlands hem us in, but the sun slowly rises as three deer take a stroll across our backyard, and head for my "garden project". I believe they approved as they mused at the artwork of glass jars, the door, and a few other things I've placed there. Oh, and I'd left the wheel barrel out there, just because I was too pooped to move it again. I just hope they didn't eat any more hostas. I have cages guarding them.

Yesterday, while we ate breakfast, Dennis saw the wood ducks shoot in from the ponds/wetlands through the trees. From my window I saw the female dart right into the large hole in the catalpa tree, and Mr. Woody settled on a branch of a nearby tree to take his post as guardian. So, it was settled, we have Mr. & Mrs. Woody nesting in our backyard about thirty feet off the ground. Somehow they must have wrangled that hole away from the squirrels. Today I saw a squirrel poke it's head into the hole and didn't linger but climbed away. He thought better of it. I'm guessing the Missus isn't in the mood for visitors.
Meanwhile, I've been digging, cutting, pulling and transplanting certain plants, which I hope will take hold. Still have a lot to do. I have to remind myself I haven't even been off for a week, and yet I've gotten quite a lot done in my woods. I've gotten mulch down on my pathway. (Maybe someday I'll have pictures, but for now, believe me, this is coming together). The other day I hauled 6 wheel barrels full of mulch (basically wood chips from trees the forest preserve downed--they were the ash trees that had been attacked by ash tree borers), although I had put plenty down in other places on another day, more is needed. My pathway meanders through what once was very wild, with thorny raspberry bushes and weeds of an indeterminable type. The first phase took about 2 springs to work on. I didn't have the luxury of time as I do now. And once summer came in, the bugs too put a kibosh on my work in there. So far the mosquitoes have not hatched, but it's only a matter of time being that we're in the middle a wetlands.

I've stated that I've cleared another pathway through another spot where raspberries grow, and comes out about twenty or more feet just up from the original opening under the white pines. This section will have to come later for further development. Possibly next year's project.

I've determined there are many elderberries growing on our property (as well as in the park). Elderberries have the ability--it is claimed widely--to help the immune system resist certain ailments, including colds, flu, and who knows what-all. As a syrup or any other liquid form, they charge an arm and a leg in the store. I'm going to find a recipe on-line, and gather up the berries this year for our own drink. I've got a lot of faith in the power of natural remedies. This one is highly touted and I'm not one to miff. I've used natural remedies before, including cherries for gout--worked in 12 hours! Asparagus is good to keep kidney stones at bay--and since I've always eaten asparagus, I've never had a problem with such. I've put comfrey root on sprains. I need to get new plants, as mine have somehow disappeared in the last few years. The list goes on for natural remedies that I've tried. I'm a believer. Indians, and old world wise people knew the herbs and what cured what. Why use something that might cause other problems when a natural remedy might be easily obtained and used.

Well, that's my up-date on things around here. hope your week is going well.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Why I Write Vampire Fiction:

I blame it on the old soap opera
"Dark Shadows"

Well, that's my excuse, anyway.

Hello, my various pretties, how are you? I'm on what I shall refer to from here on out as my "UNPAID Sabatical" from my normal bus driving job. 

Yay Me!!!

Well, I see it's only a week away from 
all 5 books  of the Sabrina Strong series 
to go on sale on May 21-27!
So, I thought I might post this up here, even though I've sent it to my publisher to put on his site. This is because I know that those of you who stop by here may not go over there.

The following is about how I came up with my first book (which was at first titled "Vampire Ascending"), Ascension

Now without further ado, I give you today's feature...

I blame the day-time soap “Dark Shadows” for believing in vampires.

I began writing in high school (a very long time ago). In the early years, I must have written a million pages (not at all good), in longhand, and typed—practicing to become a writer. I took writing courses in college, went to a writer's conferences, read books and writing magazines on how to write.

It usually takes a few years to work on a new book, creating the main characters' background, world, re-writing, and polishing. I spent more than a few years working on what was then called, Vampire Ascending”. Part of the job is deciding what sort of world my characters live in—like an “open world”, where everyone accepts that vampires exist (Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison novels for example), as apposed to a “closed world”, meaning not everyone knows/believes there are vampires, werewolves and such. I chose the “closed world” for the majority of the series, except when Sabrina Strong goes to other worlds.

Ascension” Book #1
Touch Clairvoyant, Sabrina Strong
Sabrina Strong is a touch clairvoyant, which means that anything—and I mean ANYTHING—she touches she will get a vision from, which may put her under, or out, for a while. The only beings she does not get any “reads” from are vampires, and other assorted paranormal creatures, like elves, leprechauns, but werewolves she gets a little read from them, if they're in human form. In some cases, she simply “knows” things, about a place, or about people. I didn't want her to be strictly a “vampire hunter”, or become involved with any one guy in the series. She would never become a vampire either. This is not a cookie-cutter type of book(s).

Got Vampire?
When it came to the vampires in my story, each had their own unique abilities, maybe one could see auras, one had a bit of ESP, and so on. But I had to decide about their power and vulnerability as vampires. I didn't care for the newer style of vampire I've been seeing in novels (such as Anne Rice) where they were not affected by crucifixes, etc. If you make a vampire indestructible, then you don't have any way of throwing danger at them, or being able to kill them. I didn't want that. I decided that the older the vampire, the more powerful they would be, and harder to kill. There would be a chain of command, of course, as in any society. Because the world at large didn't know vampires existed—and the vampires themselves do not want anyone to know, but yet have it so they can glide through the human world as though they were one of us—I gave them their own ruling class, and rules/laws to follow, and even their own police (who are demons).

What hurts, or kills them? I wanted to go with traditional holy water, the crucifix, wooden stakes, and silver. Holy water burns, as does the crucifix but for some, depending upon their religious up-bringing, it either does or does not bother them. A stake in the heart can kill, but not instantly. They could survive if it's pulled out. Silver will kill them if it's somehow introduced into the blood, or if it hits them in a vital organ—the heart especially. The silver dagger Sabrina later inherits in Book #2, comes into play a lot.

When Vampires Fly...
I also had to decide whether vampires could fly, or become another being, or mist etc. Only the very old ones can do this. And the ancient ones have wicked looking wings.

oh, and B-L-O-O-D
Sex and blood for a vampire are of equal need/desires, in the series. In other words, the two needs must be met, and at times simultaneously. I decided that for this, they would have willing (paid) “donors”, and especially in Tremayne Towers—the hub of vampire activity for the first book—based in Chicago. It is illegal for vampires to hunt humans (at least in these first few books).

who rules/who's a rogue etc.
When it came to my main/top vampire, the one who hires Sabrina, Bjorn Tremayne had to be bigger than life. And he is. He stands seven feet tall, was a Viking when a living man. If I were to cast an actor to play Tremayne it would have to be Matthias Huse (actor, body builder). I based Tremayne's personality on someone I once knew who had the propensity to use the F-word liberally. It would be one of his many foibles. And his one main hang-up would be/become Sabrina. He wants her, and what Tremayne wants, he will have. Or... will he? Sabrina and Tremayne mix like ice in a hot frying pan.

Nicolas Paduraru, originally from Hungary, a somewhat stoic, and dangerous vampire at over 600 years old, is second in command, with black hair and 5'8”. He looks a little like John Stamos without the smile and personality. He is the one who hires Sabrina, becomes attracted to her, and his particular talent is “mind-melding” and is able to enter Sabrina's (or anyone's) mind. When she is attacked by a werewolf in the beginning, going to meet with him, he turns into a wolf and fights off this intruder, thus, she “imprints” on him, and is attracted to him. Their blossoming relationship is like a house of cards when a new player in shape shifter known as Dante Badheart, who is to become her protector, and later, lover.

Vasyl, the rogue, is the other old-as-dirt vampire. French, blue/violet eyes, long, wavy hair, he looks something like a rock star to Sabrina. In his human life he was a priest who spent his young lifetime looking for the next sibyl, and when he did not find her as a human, and became hunted by Nephilim, he had himself turned so that he could both, hide out, and continue to search for her. I won't go much further on this, as Vasyl's background and history is dealt with in the second book, Trill.

Multi-layered, with plot twists, surprises, and evil lurking in every dark corner, you could say that my books are similar to (but not exclusively), Kim Harrison and Charline Harris (of Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood fame). The Sabrina Strong books are a mixed-genre of horror, mystery, romance, urban fantasy, and adventure. I never wanted her to stay with any one man (not until she finds her “true love”), nor did I want it to follow any sort of formula.

Chickens lay eggs, and so do Turtles

For those of you who don't know my husband is park ranger and one of his main jobs is mowing. He has a large deck (72") Toro Zero T...