Saturday, March 31, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Argol and Zortan #ourauthorgang

Rich Feitelberg
feitelberg.net


In previous posts about my world, I described how the Aglaril, a set of elven magic gems, were made and how the elves and humans collaborated. Everything was great until the wizards of Davenar attempted to put an end to war with a spell of peace and prosperity for all. The spell went horribly wrong, and the city was destroyed unleashing demons upon the land.

In response the elves, led by King Argol leaped in action, mobilizing their forces to combat the new evil that threatened the world. Taking Balodol, the magic crown in which the gems had been placed, Argol did battle with the demons until only one remained, the most powerful and the strongest demon of all, Zortan.

The battle between Argol and Zortan is chronicled in Book 1 of the Aglaril Cycle and reproduced here.


The elves were now camped on a flat, desolate plain.
Beyond the camp, rock and rubble were strewn about. Broken and charred trees stood as the last clue that life had once thrived here. All other plants and animals had been blasted clean from the surrounding land, leaving only a bleak and barren tableau where nothing and no one moved.
From the elven camp and out into the ruined city, a lone figure rode a black horse. A silver circlet with seven gems rested on the rider’s head. He wore no armor and carried no sword or shield. No other protection was required with Balodol atop his brow. The long, dark hair that blew in the breeze and the rider’s green eyes identified him as an elf. His fierce expression confirmed his identity: it was Argol.
The elven king rode quickly and unimpeded through the desolation of the human city. The galloping of his steed was the only sound that could be heard. The land sloped gently towards the center of the devastation where the initial explosion had occurred. Argol rode on for several minutes, barely looking about.
He drew near a large crater and pulled up on the reins of his black stallion. Giant hands with claws half a foot long rested on the edge of the crater. Equally large wrists and arms disappeared into the hole.
Argol’s horse snorted. The giant hands moved at the sound. Immediately Argol was off his steed and preparing to summon the power of Balodol. The gems brightened and appeared to come alive. The hands pushed against the ground and the rock underneath each palm crumbled a bit from the pressure. A giant figure emerged from the crater with measured slowness. It had narrow yellow slits for eyes and sharp pointed fangs that looked like spikes protruding over its lower lip. No hair covered the demon’s head and large pointed ears moved as a malicious smile crept over its thin, drawn lips. It seemed to be considering Argol’s strength when its voice boomed.
“Now you will die.”
“No,” said Argol. “Only your end is at hand, evil one.” He concentrated and the light from the Aglaril illuminated the area.
Lightning bolts struck the ground where Argol stood, but the king remained unharmed. Sheets of flame scorched the land around the crater, but still Argol was unscathed. The gems in the circlet flared and a hole in the air formed, revealing a black void beyond. All the nearby loose rock and debris was sucked into the opening. The demon braced itself against the crater and laughed.
“Is that your best effort? It will take more than this to eliminate me.”
Argol knew that Zortan spoke the truth. It was just as Nolendur had said. He must be careful not to underestimate the demon. That meant using the full power of Balodol, dangerous as that was — but there was no other choice.
Argol’s jaw tightened with determination and he redoubled his concentration on the circlet he wore. The seven gems sparkled and glowed with the fury of the sun. Zortan was pulled out of the crater and into the air, tumbling head over heels repeatedly.
“No!” cried the demon. “I am Zortan. I am the strongest and the greatest being that has every lived. I cannot be defeated by a mere mortal.”
Despite his protest, Zortan was pulled towards the dark void. He struggled against the force that dragged him forward, but he had nothing to push against. He tried to fly away and failed. Some unseen force held him tight and prevented his escape.
Argol, meanwhile, felt the stress of maintaining his concentration mounting. His fatigue was like a physical weight, and beads of sweat formed on the king’s brow. Still, he did not relent. Argol could feel Zortan’s resistance like a dead weight — the proverbial immovable object — and he pushed against it.
Zortan reached the opening of the void. He peered into the darkness and gnashed his teeth. The pull on the demon was stronger now and it took all his strength not to be swept into the dark hole. Even so, Zortan could not stop his legs from entering the void. Argol saw the demon look about for something and noticed his opponent’s eyes shifting from side to side rapidly. The elven king wasn’t sure what Zortan was looking for, but it did not matter. In a few more minutes, the demon would vanish into the void and that would be the end of him.
Argol saw a smile come to Zortan’s face, a hideous, evil smile. In a single movement, one of the demon’s giant hands came up, as if to slap Argol across the face. The elven king saw the maneuver and dodged the blow, but Zortan hadn’t been aiming for the elf’s face and, a second later, the circlet was knocked from Argol’s head.
The effect was immediate. The winds and force that pulled at Zortan turned against Argol. He couldn’t concentrate and lost control of the magic that had created the void. Swept up into the air, Argol plummeted into the void, pushing Zortan through as well, just as Balodol struck the ground and shattered.

Thus ended the battle, banishing Zortan from the world and Argol along with him. What happened next I've discuss next time.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Inspiration


Inspiration

By: Christina Weigand





For the last couple of years, I have been writing a series of Middle Grade books. It was an interesting adventure since up until that point I had been writing Young Adult. There were so many lessons I learned while on the journey. One of the lessons I learned is that moving from YA to MG is not as easy as it sounds and even though I managed to write six MG books it is not where my heart lies. But this lesson is a story for another day. The one I want to talk about today is “Inspiration.”

I think I mentioned in one of the comments to one of the posts on this blog, is that I struggle to find my inspiration. Writers use anything from music to photos to nature and the list goes on. For me, like I said, I don’t know what lights that spark that becomes a finished novel someday.

 So, what do the MG books have to do with this. When I agreed to take on the job of writing the series, a gentleman, the creator, supplied me with a list of plots, a group of characters and a script for the first book in the series. It was up to me to take these things that had been the spark for a children’s series and age the stories up to middle grade. For me even though I had the basic bones still proved to be a daunting task. One thing I learned very quickly was that working with someone else’s ideas and characters is not something I do well. I felt fenced in.

This led me to create a character for the stories that was my own, adding him to the already existing framework. Once Sir E. Robert Smythe was created and approved then I was able to move onto the list of plots. They were all simple since they were geared toward a younger audience than I was now writing for. This is where the inspiration comes in. With each book I would take the simple plot and see what other things would come to mind supporting and expand that plot.
The first book I wrote “Sir E. Robert Smythe and the School Bully” didn’t go much beyond bullying, which in and of itself is a serious subject. The main characters that were being bullied chose to try and discover the reason behind the bullying and then try to befriend the bully.


The second book “Sir E. Robert Smythe and the Lost Detective” was a little more fun. We started out with teaching kids about listening to your parents. After some discussion we decided to explore homelessness so one of the characters was a homeless. We also dealt with death, summer reading clubs and had a dog that was training to be a rescue dog.


The third book was about back to school shopping. “Sir E. Robert Smythe Goes Back to School Shopping” had one rich girl with self esteem issues, a middle-class girl with a little bit of a weight problem and the third girl was an orphan with no money to speak of. All three girls were friends and navigated the world of back-to-school shopping. I explored upcycling and dealing with friendship and parent issues.
In “Sir E. Robert Smythe Goes Back to School explored the effects on kids after their best friend commits suicide. There were some foreign students who moved into the neighborhood and some video game writing by a younger brother.
The fifth book “Sir E. Robert Smythe is a Good Sport” started out being a story about winning and losing at sports. I decided to take it a step further and explore the gulf between sports and the arts in schools.
The final book in the series “Sir E. Robert Smythe and the Substitute Teacher” explored a student with ADHD and how she reacted when a well-loved teacher was replaced by a less than understanding teacher. When the town is hit with a hurricane and an aftermath of flooding the teacher and the student had to learn to work together before they both lost their lives. While researching ADHD I found an interesting therapy involving horses that I was able to weave into the story.
A little seed of an idea can turn into a full-blown tree. A little inspiration turns into a remarkable story. It reminds me of a puzzle, you have many small pieces that when put together properly turn into a beautiful picture.
So even if you’re like me and not sure about where your inspiration comes from, just know that it is in you and with a little prodding it erupts.



Sir E. Robert Smythe and the School Bully

Nathan and Paul have a bully problem. Billy, the school bully, has chosen them to be the target of his aggression. Paul, along with Sir E. Robert Smythe of the Galactic Safety Council, discovers the root of Billy’s issues and strives to convince the bully to change his ways.

When Billy runs away from home, Paul goes after him. Billy’s dad, the cause of Billy’s anger, finds the boys and threatens them. They are rescued but not before each are injured and Billy’s dad escapes.
During their recovery they learn more about each other and face Billy’s dad once again. Can they overcome their differences and confront the bullying going on in their school before someone gets seriously hurt?
Buy Links:
MuseItUp Publishing: https://tinyurl.com/y99wyaxz


Sir E. Robert Smythe and the Lost Detective
During summer vacation, while Anna and her brother Ben along with Bridget and her brother, Sam are participating in the Summer Reading Adventure at the local library the town council announces that they are building low income housing for the homeless. While the housing is being constructed a tent community has been established on an old soccer field on the other side of a haunted swamp. Sam is upset by this turn of events, but his anger is only beginning.
In the meantime, unbeknownst to them, the girls befriend Zoe, one of the homeless people living in the tents. The girls spend time together tracking down clues supplied by the books they are borrowing from the library that will eventually lead to a prize at the end of the Summer Reading Adventure.
When Bridget and Sam’s grandfather dies in a tragic car accident Sam’s anger increases it is discovered that Zoe’s father was the drunk driver in the truck that crashed into grandfather’s car. The family lawyer reveals in the will that the farm and house have been left to the community to build low income housing for the homeless.
Sam’s anger reaches a boiling point and he directs it at Zoe and hatches a plan to get back at the people he thinks are taking away everything he holds dear.
For a Sneak Peek: https://tinyurl.com/ya4no22e
Buy Links:
MuseItUp Bookstore: https://tinyurl.com/yczfngm5

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!


A woman, Author Erika M. Szabo, had a vision. That vision turned into a group of like-minded authors who wanted to make a positive difference in the literary world. We share life stories, our thoughts, our books, and what makes us tick.

And you, dear readers and followers, have made it possible for our milestone...we've officially hit 100,000 blog visits. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts!

ERIKA M. SZABO:
I became an avid reader at a very early age, thanks to my dad who introduced me to many great books. I write alternate history, romantic fantasy, magical realism novels as well as fun, educational, and bilingual books for children ages 4-12 about acceptance, friendship, family, and moral values such as accepting people with disabilities, dealing with bullies, and not judging others before getting to know them. I also like to encourage children to use their imagination and daydream about fantasy worlds. You can
learn more about Erika and her books on her page.



JOE BONADONNA:
Hello out there in cyberspace! I write Heroic Fantasy, Space Opera, Sword & Planet Sci-Fi, Sword and Sorcery Fantasy, Children's Books, and I also dabble a bit in Horror stories.

Here's a little bit more about me and my books. You can find out more about Joe and his books on his page.





MARY ANNE YARDE:
Mary Anne Yarde is an award winning author of the International Best Selling Series — The Du Lac Chronicles. Set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Briton and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes. Based on legends and historical fact, the Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed.

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury--the fabled Isle of Avalon--was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood. You can learn more about Mary Anne and her books on her page.

NICOLA  MCDONAGH:
Nicola McDonagh is known for her unique writing style and is the author of the unconventional sci-fi/dystopian Song of Forgetfulness action adventure series. She loves to play around with the written word and the visual image and has been a photographer, actor, director, scriptwriter and other less exciting things, (worst ever job – dishwasher in a trendy bar in Liverpool) before settling in Suffolk with her musician husband, plethora of rescued cats and chickens. You can find out more about Nicola and her books on her page.







RICH FEITELBERG:
Rich Feitelberg is a poet and novelist, author of the fantasy series, the Aglaril Cycle. He also has four short story collections and a collection of poetry available at fine booksellers everywhere.

Rich is an avid map collector, and student of popular culture. Growing up on a steady diet of comic books, science fiction, and fairy tales of all kinds, Rich soon began weaving his own tales at a young age. These activities continue to this day, as Rich is working on the next installment of the Aglaril Cycle, and writing more poems and short stories for your enjoyment. You can learn more about Rich Feitelberg and his books on his page.

CHRIS WEIGAND:
Christina Weigand’s a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a teenage daughter. She is also Nana to four granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania after a short sabbatical in the lovely state of Washington.

She received her BS in Interior Design in 1995, but after a few years of working in the industry God redirected her path with the addition of a fourth child to the family. So she returned to being a stay at home mom, but having been out in the world of school and work she realized she needed a little more, so she took several writing courses and started her second career as an author.  She is looking forward to this next phase of her life as she continues with her two passions, writing and assisting children in developing their God-given gifts of writing skills. You can learn more about Christina and her books on her page.

TOI THOMAS:
Hi there, Toi here. I’m the self-published author of 10 books and counting. I’m also a blogger and vlogger who loves to interview other creatives. A geek girl at heart, I’m also a bit of a techie and foodie, I was born in Texas but consider Virginia to be my home. I enjoy reading, cooking, painting, geek culture, collecting vinyl records, and spending time with my family.

I also work as a special education teacher’s assistant and find comfort and peace of mind in chocolate, green tea, and naps. My husband and I have been married for twelve years and share our home with a tortoise named Betty and a Redbone Coonhound named Margie, who’s totally taken over the house. You can find out more about Toi and her books on her page.

REBECCA TRAN:
Rebecca is an award-winning author, blogger, and book reviewer. While fantasy tends to be her primary genre she also dabbles in paranormal romance, and sci-fi. When not writing Rebecca is a full-time pharmacist, wife, and mom. She has two rambunctious girls at home that keep her busy when she isn't working or writing. When she has free time Rebecca likes combing antique shops and flea markets for unique teapots to add to her collection. She also enjoys sewing and quilting. You can learn more about Rebecca and her books on her page.





RUTH DE JAUREGUI:
I originally studied fine and commercial art, way back when dinosaurs walked the earth and eBooks weren't even a gleam in Amazon's eye. I started my career as a graphic artist as the sign maker at the old Nut Tree in Vacaville, California. After a stint at a print shop (ouch), I began working as a book designer for Bill Yenne at American Graphic Systems. While working for Bill, I wrote my first two books, "Ghost Towns" and "100 Medical Milestones That Shaped World History."

After the book market tanked in the mid-90s, I went on to a government job where I wrote, designed and produced newsletters for in-house and clients, annual reports, and materials for special projects, including the North Bay Stand Down for homeless and at-risk Veterans.

Through the years, I've written numerous how-to, informational and news brief-type articles for websites such as SFGate, AZ Central, DailyPuppy, LiveStrong, PawNation, eHow and more. You can learn more about Ruth and her books on her page.

GRACE AUGUSTINE:
My fascination with the written and spoken word began as a 6th grader. I was like a sponge. I couldn’t get enough spelling, sentence diagramming, and literature. This passion followed me through junior high and high school and into adulthood.

I’m a Jill of most trades: co-owned a weekly newspaper, administrative office work, kitchen design, custom jewelry creation, wedding planning, floral design, preaching sermons, public relations and marketing, designing social media promotions, copy and manuscript editing, and now add the title author to this mix.

I write romance--contemporary, for the over 50 group, paranormal, Christian suspense--as well as poetry and self-help.. I’m originally from Northern Montana, currently live in Iowa, have 2 adult sons and a beautiful torbie cat named Bou, who is Princess of the Manor. You can find out more about Grace and her books on her page.





Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Old Wardour Castle by Mary Anne Yarde #History #CivilWar #OurAuthorGang



Old Wardour Castle



I feel like I should be playing the theme music from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves when I talk about Old Wardour. I think I was about thirteen when that movie came out. I can remember going to the cinema again and again to watch it. It was, and has always been, a firm favourite.

I can also remember my friends and I joking about how well travelled Robin was. Robin landed at Dover in Kent, headed up to Hadrian's Wall on the borders of Scotland, back down to Salisbury in Wiltshire before heading to the North, where he fought a big man from Bristol in a river in Yorkshire, and then a quick trip over to France to go to Nottingham Castle! 





Old Wardour Castle, in Wilshire, was used on the set of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. The castle portrayed, Robin's childhood home, Locksley Castle. It also happens to be one of my favourite castles, which is handy because it is only 40 minutes away from where I live!



Old Wardour has a fascinating history. It was built in the 14th Century and was inspired by the continental designs of the time, which is why it is hexagonal. It sits between a picturesque lake and wood. It even has a grotto. However, if you take a little look closer at its wall, you will see it had a troubled past. There are musket holes in the masonry.

Note the hexagonal shape.




The Grotto

During the English Civil War (1642-1648) Old Wardour's owners, the Arundell family, were staunch supporters of the King. In 1643, Edward Hungerford, a Parliamentarian,  and his men surrounded the castle. Thomas Arundell, 2nd Baron Arundell of Wardour, was away on King's business when Hungerford and his men attacked. Lord Arundell's wife did the best she could to defend the castle, but after only a short siege she had to surrender.



Lord Arundell died and Henry, his son, laid siege to his own castle. Whether he meant to blow it up, I guess we will never really know. Unfortunately, a large part of the castle collapsed. The Parliamentarian's surrendered, and Henry won his castle back. But instead of rebuilding it, the Arundell eventually built a new home in the grounds of the old one.



Nevertheless, it is a great castle to explore. It is not just a hollow shell, as many of these ruins are. You can climb those stairs, you can explore all the room and you can look out the windows at the view.


First published on Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots  24th October 2015



War is coming...


Read the series for FREE with Kindle Unlimited


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Dragon Mythology Part 2

Rebecca Tran


Dragons play different roles depending on the culture their myth developed in. As I discussed in the
last post wyvern's and Welsh dragons were sometimes used as battle standards or on crests. They were majestic symbols, but they were also something to be feared. There reputation for destruction made the commoner respect the mighty beasts. The story throughout Europe was the same.

Courtesy of MzayatClipart.com
Dragons in China are the polar opposite. Chinese dragons represent all the positive aspects the people of Chia wish to portray. They are wise, beautiful, and friendly. Chinese dragons are never feared and are in fact considered lucky. In some places they are worshiped in their own temples.

Chinese dragons come in seven basic colors and are usually broken into four basic groups based on those colors. These groups represent the four cardinal directions and have their own unique properties. 

Blue and Green dragons are associated with serenity, growth, health, prosperity, harmony and the east. They symbolize spring with the colors reminding people of new plants and clear skies. 

Black and White dragons are associated with the Chinese concept of yin and yang. The black dragon represents the feminine or yin which is negative and passive. It also represents the winter and the north. Black dragons are commonly associated with power and storms. White dragons represent the masculine or yang which is active and positive. The color white is associated with the west, autumn, purity, mourning and death. The latter aspects carry over to the white dragon and it is often seen as an omen of death. 

Red Dragons are the dragons of the summer and of the south. They represent luck, fire, and passion. 
Courtesy of MzayatClipart.com

Gold and Yellow dragons are the most revered dragons. They represent the emperor and imperial family. Yellow dragons represent reliability, solidity, and warmth. Even now that there isn't an emperor in China gold dragons continue to represent wisdom, wealth, and compassion. 

When my lead dragon Dr. Lucas Meyers needed a leading lady to fix his broken heart I was inspired
by a green Chinese dragon. I wanted to use a dragon with unique abilities that were a wild card for the domestic dragons. If you want to read the result you can find my box set Dragons of the North here

Blurb:  Stronger Together

Dr. Lucas Meyers gave up on finding a mate. After a bad break up with a witch, he was sure he was destined to be alone. That was fine by him. Lucas threw himself into his work at the hospital instead. When he goes home after a long shift and finds his new roommate Jade he’s forced to re-evaluate a few things. Is Jade really his mate or is she another woman waiting to break his heart?

Be sure to read my next post in this series April 5, 2018.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Making of a Fangirl or Fanguy #ourauthorgang

Are you a fan girl/fan guy?
                  by Grace Augustine

Canadian Singer/Songwriter Garnet Rogers and me 2008

I've been a fan-girl as long as I can remember. I love attending concerts and author book signings, meeting and visiting with the celebrities, and planning events.

Back in the late 90's, I belonged to a Gordon Lightfoot online fan club and met a wonderful gal, who is now more a sister than not. She introduced me to Garnet Rogers' music...insisting I attend a concert if he was ever in the area.  To my surprise, he was in the area ten years ago...and wow. That was the only word to describe it. Here is another photo from March 8th concert.

Garnet Rogers 3/8/18 CSPS Cedar Rapids, IA

In October of 2014, I took a road trip to Toronto, Ontario Canada...partly as vacation, partly to promote my books, partly to meet online friends that I'd known for years. Stevie and Anne Connor, owners of Blues and Roots Radio, the best global online radio station for independent artists, were an integral part of my time in Canada. It was an honor meeting them and attending an award ceremony (which they won their category) and being interviewed by Stevie about my books.  

Anne & Steve Connor

Another of many highlights was meeting author Joanne Jaytanie at a wine/book/music event I'd planned several years ago. The event was held at a local winery and it was very hot and humid!

Author Joanne Jaytanie and me

I have many favorite musicians on the local as well as national levels.  If you have a chance, look up Matt Andersen, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Chad Elliott, and Jordan Danielsen, just to mention a few.
Tom Wilson and son from Blackie and the Rodeo Kings

Matt Andersen

Jordan Danielsen

Chad Elliott

As you see, in my life, music and writing go hand in hand.