Friday, April 27, 2012


Sometimes I get bored with the internet and think to myself, "GOLL, won't SOMEONE please post SOMETHING I can read?"

And then I remember I haven't updated my blog in two million years.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tax Day Free Fantasy Giveaway!

They're here!  They're here!  A whole RAFT OF FREE BOOKS to download as you procrastinate this Tax Day!  Happy April 17th!  And yes, in case you hadn't noticed, my book IS on this list!  You can grab Maggie for Hire but just clicking!  Don't have a Kindle?  Well, you can download a FREE app on Amazon and read all of these books on your phone or your computer.  Many of them are DRM free and you should be able convert them to a different eReader, too.

Dave King: Betrovia

Edward W. Robinson: The White Tree

Cate Dean: Last Chance Jack

Colin Taber: Fall of Ossard

Matthew Musser: Jadeflies

S. M. Reine: Death’s Hand

Brendan Carroll: The Red Cross of Gold

E. Stoops: Corner of a Round Planet

MeiLin Miranda: Lovers and Beloved

Tristan J. Tarwater: Little Girl Lost

J. R. Tomlin: Blood Duty

Christopher Bunn: Ice and Fire

Kate Danley: Maggie for Hire

Monday, April 16, 2012

Author Interview with Cate Dean

Today's author interview for the Tax Day Free Fantasy is with a relative new comer to the indie publishing scene, but a gal who has been writing since she was a wee little one, Cate Dean.  Have I mentioned how much I like her name?  :)  She'll be offering up her story Last Chance Jack for FREE tomorrow!  And if you pop over to her website, she's got all the details on a brand new book that will be hitting the shelves this month.  And make sure to come back tomorrow for the full list of Tax Day Free Fantasy to pick up a virtual armload of magical stories!

1. Tell us a little about Last Chance Jack. What’s it about? How did you get the idea?

Last Chance Jack is about a guardian angel who has failed every assignment he has been given. Now he has one last chance to prove himself, or end up in Hell. I’ve played around with guardian angel stories for years – this is the first one I actually enjoyed writing. I love Jack – he ain’t your typical guardian angel.

2. Who are your favorite authors in your genre and what do you love about them?

Wow – that would be a long list, so here are a few. For fantasy: Barbara Hambly – her characterization and descriptions are so vivid, you just get sucked into the story; Raymond E. Feist – he created a magnificent world, and has written stories from every angle that simply immerse you in that world; Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game was brilliant, and I’ve enjoyed the books he wrote from the viewpoints of the other students. For paranormal: Jim Butcher – love The Dresden Files books. Enough said.

3. What is something cool you’ve done (not necessarily with writing, just in life)?

I’ve done my share of traveling in the past 15 years, and have had some really cool experiences. One that is at the top of the list is hanging out with the kangaroos at Steve Irwin’s zoo outside Brisbane, in Queensland, Australia. They are in a compound, and you literally get to hang out with them. It was a sunny day, early fall, and there were four of them laying around on a hill, enjoying the sun. I sat in the middle of them, and stretched out, taking in the sun. They simply accepted my presence, and graciously allowed me to examine their incredibly strong tails, their soft, sleek fur, and just hang. It was the highlight of my trip.

4. Why do you write?

To get the stories out of my head! I have been making up stories since I was about 6, and writing them down since I was 10. To get them out of my head, and down on paper as close as possible to what I see in my head – that has been my goal since I started seriously writing a few years ago. I get closer with every story.

5. Do you have any writing rituals?

Nothing set in stone – except outlining. I do that before I dig in and write, otherwise I end up all over the place. It’s not pretty. I do have to have background noise of some kind. I cannot write in complete silence – it gives me writer’s block, every time. And I have to write every day, or I get antsy.

6. As a published author, what are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned?

Covers are so important – and don’t wait until the last minute to do them. I have my covers done while I’m writing the book or story – not only is it great to post on my website as a coming soon, but it is fabulous for inspiration.

A good editor is worth every penny you can scrape together to pay them.

Good beta readers are gold, and a gift. Treat them well, and they will enrich your book beyond what even you could expect.

Polish that first release until it shines, send it out, then do it again. Rinse, repeat. Don’t place everything on one book, no matter how brilliant you think it is. The more you have out there, the more chances there are to find readers.

7. Do you have any upcoming projects in the works?

My first novel, Rest For The Wicked, comes out this month. I am proud of this book, because it represents me, in every way. I let it all hang out in this one, figuratively speaking.

8. Any advice for newbie authors?

As much as you may want to, don’t rush that first release. I did, and it wasn’t ready. Fortunately, because it was only in ebook form, I could upload a new file and contact everyone who already had a copy that a new version was available.(This is a time-intensive process, that has to be done by Amazon.) It’s best if you don’t have to do that in the first place. And be aware that if you want a quality product out there, you are going to have to spend some money. Not a lot – do your research, and you will find some fantastic, well-priced options for everything from book covers to editing. And read everything you can find on self-publishing – educate yourself, and treat it like a business. Because that’s exactly what it is – and you, lucky you, are the boss.

9. And just for fun, you’ve just won the MegaMillions lottery. $650M is yours. How do you spend it?

Traveling! And I would buy a house for everyone in my family, then settle in and keep writing, because that’s what I do.  ;)

Many thanks to Cate Dean for coming over to talk today!  Make sure to pick up all the Tax Day Free Fantasy books on the list!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Author Interview with MeiLin Miranda

Today's interview leading up to the big Tax Day Free Fantasy giveaway is with author MeiLin Miranda. She'll be offering up Lovers and Beloveds for FREE on April 17th, which was named one of the "TOP SIX BEST INDIE NOVELS 2010" by the Fantasy Book Critic blog. Very fancy! So get to know the inside scoop on this prolific writer! Want more interviews? I'll be hosting another tomorrow.  Additionally, a bunch of the participating authors are running interviews, too! So check them out!

1. Tell us a little about Lovers and Beloveds. What’s it about? How did you get the idea?

The germ of the entire series is the story-in-story inside "Lovers and Beloveds." Warin and Emmae's story was a sort of serial daydream I had. I read Neil Gaiman's quote about–paraphrasing wildly here–writers just being the people who write their daydreams down and went, really? That's it? I'd been a professional nonfiction writer for 30-plus years but had been afraid to really try fiction. That did it.

As to what it's about: It's easier to talk about the series as a whole. "Lovers and Beloveds" is the first book in "An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom"; I have no idea how many books are going to be in the series, but I'm thinking maybe four or five. The series explores politics, colonialism, gender, sexuality, religion and redemption, not necessarily in that order, and focuses on Prince Temmin of Tremont, who we meet in "Lovers and Beloveds" on the eve of his eighteenth birthday. He's unprepared for court's politics, assassins and sexual intrigues--and even more so, the King's immortal advisor Teacher, the holder of the royal family's hidden magic. Teacher becomes Temmin's tutor, his lessons contained in a magic book. Through it, Temmin experiences everything each story's characters do, and he's forced to confront serious mistakes in the kingdom's--and his own--past.

His present is no easier. He's falling for beautiful twins--brother and sister--who are the human hosts of the gods of love and desire called the Lovers. Being with them is more than sex; it's a religious calling. But an ancient prophecy says if Temmin heeds Their call it may spell the end of the monarchy, and the King fights him every step of the way.

Temmin must choose: Serve the Lovers and lose his father--and possibly the kingdom--or obey the King and risk the wrath of the Gods.

2. Who are your favorite authors in your genre and what do you adore about them?

I don't know if I have a genre, is the thing! I classify myself as epic fantasy, but the History doesn't have a medieval setting. It's Victorianesque, but it's not steampunk, either. The writers I adore are usually people who write about—or wrote in—the 19th century: Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Patrick O'Brian, Susanna Clarke, Georgette Heyer. What I love about them are the sprawling casts of characters, the strictures of class and etiquette, the richness of language modern writers are generally discouraged from using, and, quite frankly, the third person omniscient viewpoint! I like knowing what's going on in other heads than the Hero's, and that is very much out of fashion at present.

3. What is something cool you’ve done (not necessarily with writing, just in life)?

I always say the coolest I've ever been is tepid. :) Probably the most remarkable thing that has happened to me is that in 2006 I died in a cardiac arrest and was brought back to life. At the time I was pissed they brought me back; dying is horrible, but death itself is rather pleasant. But I have reconciled myself to this plane of existence. ;)

4. Why do you write?

I've always written--I can't not write. It's a cliché for a reason. I switched from nonfiction to fiction after the events of 2006, when I realized I couldn't put it off any longer. I was afraid that what might come out would anger certain members of my family, but when I died I realized we really do have only so much time, and that at some point you have to be an adult and stop being afraid.

5. Do you have any writing rituals?

I probably should, but I really don't!

6. As a published author, what are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned?

Don't be afraid of what's inside you. Or if you are afraid, let it out anyway.

7. Do you have any upcoming projects in the works?

Right now I'm working on a few things:
  • A collection of History prequel short stories that I promised backers of my (ridiculously successful) Kickstarter for the second book in the series;
  • A collaboration with four other fantasy writers that we're calling "The Drifting Isle Chronicles"--we're each writing seperate-but-related novels to be released together at the end of the year, mine being "The Machine God";
  • The ongoing serial Scryer's Gulch, which will also have its first 53 episodes gathered into ebook and paperback Real Soon Now;
  • and not least, book three of the History series, already partially written and tentatively titled "Woman King."

8. Any advice for newbie authors?

Write write write. Read read read. Really, that's all it comes down to. The rest is window dressing.

9. And just for fun, you’ve just won the MegaMillions lottery. $650M is yours. How do you spend it?

After the boring stuff like paying off bills and fixing up the house and setting up savings for the kids and retirement? Epic train trips with my family; a housekeeper; lots of Kickstarter backing; and helping other people get health care. As someone who's escaped medical bankruptcy by the skin of her teeth not once but twice, I'd do everything I could to change the health insurance situation in this country and help individuals trapped in the system of misery-for-profit as best I could.

Many thanks to MeiLin Miranda for giving us a little peek into the inner workings of her life!  I'll be posting a complete list of authors and their free Fantasy books on April 17th!  Come back tomorrow for another interview!

Goodbye Sweet Jerry

Jeri 10/19/03 - 4/4/12

Wednesday, April 4th, I heard an odd fluttering sound in my birds' cage.

Jerry had been sick since Saturday. It seemed like he had hurt his foot. He couldn't put any weight on it and every landing was a crash landing. He was eating like a champ and his energy was up, so I didn't worry too much.

I separated him out from his friends (birds sometimes will attack a sick bird.  At first, I found this awful, but having spent some time with birds now and realizing how sentient they are.  They bond and mate for life.  I wonder if it is almost their version of euthanasia.  Better to die quickly at the hands of your flock than to fall from your branch and be eaten), but Buddy seemed really distressed to be separated, so I let them share the same half of the cage.  Buddy sat vigil the entire time.  They had been cage mates for almost nine years.

Jerry was the sweetest little guy.  He was the lover.  He was always shy and polite, but once he saw you were okay, he would preen anything that stood still.  Whenever any of my birds got ill, Jerry would actually nurse them to healthy, carrying them food and water like a mom would for her chicks.

Jerry and Petey

Every night, he would come over to the edge of the cage and sit patiently until I put my nose against the bars. He'd then give my nose a goodnight kiss and then fly off to settle in for the evening.


I made this movie of his second birthday party, for those of you who have hung around this blog for awhile.

Jeri and Buddy

He liked pizza.


His favorite game was climbing around on wicker and chewing up my chair.


He would follow Buddy to the ends of the earth.

Out on Patrol

They tried their best to make everyone feel a welcome part of the flock.


On Tuesday, I had taken Jerry to the vet and learned that it wasn't that he had hurt his foot. He was suffering from degenerative nerve damage, possibly a brain tumor, which is common in old birds. I brought him home and we watched his favorite movies and got him his favorite foods.

When I took the cover off his cage on Wednesday, he was down on the bottom. I took him out and we sat together with the windows open, listening to Mozart. He passed away sitting in my hands as I stroked his ears and told him how much he was loved.

I buried him beneath a tree with his old friend, Todd, who passed away a few years ago. They both rest at the LA Pet Cemetery. The people there are wonderful and I've gotten to know some wonderful strangers who are grieving the loss of their fluffy family members, too. The plot is large enough that when the time comes, all of my guys will be able to be together. But until then, we all miss Jerry terribly. He was a good egg.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Kate-cast with Joshua Zehner

Tune in for the latest episode of The Kate-cast with Joshua Zehner!  Who is Josh?  He is the co-creator of Kooza for Cirque du Soleil, he is the very last person to ever graduate from Ringling Bros. Clown College (as in The Last - his last name ends with "Z" and they closed the school after he graduated), he performed on David Letterman and with The Amazing Johnathan, and is just an all around awesome human being.  Check it out!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tax Day Free Fantasy

Well, I get to be a part of some awesomeness over here!

April 17th, a bunch of us authors will be banding together like the Fellowship of the Rings on the quest to Mordor... wait... like Bill & Ted doing their history project... wait... Well, like a bunch of really cool indie authors who have written fantasy books and want to give them away for free.

The big day is April 17th.  It's the Tax Day Free Fantasy Giveaway!  Leading up to this awesomeness, I'll be hosting interviews with several of these authors, so check back.  In the meantime, here is the crew.  Get ready for FANTASTICAL ADVENTURE!

Brendan Carroll
Christopher Bunn
Colin Taber
Dave King
E. Stoops
Edward W. Robertson
J. R. Tomlin 
Kate Danley
Kate Dean
Matthew Musser
MeiLin Miranda
S. M. Reine
Tristan J. Tarwater

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Download for FREE! 4/3-4/4

Download for FREE! 4/3-4/4, originally uploaded by eyduck.

In honor of the first two days of release, download a copy of my latest story "5:00 Breakout" for FREE!