Creation Within Creation (INSPIRED Days)

Inspired Days Button

Welcome to the continuation of “INSPIRED Days”! – an approximate month of awesomeness celebrating my J. Taylor Publishing novel which has just this last Sunday reached its 6-month semi-anniversary of publication. ^o^

INSPIRED being a book absolutely all about the characters, I thought it only fitting that its main cast get in on the fun. So here’s our third guest post of the party, brought to you by the novel’s resident dude[ette] with a ‘tude, Uri!


I wonder if Noah felt like this. “Yeah, hi,” says God, “clock’s running down on your world. You and this handful of others may want to get in the lifeboat.

Thanks, but… Dang.

Seriously. That’s like exactly how it happened. What the ever-burning heck?

Yeah, Danielle digi-painted me. She’s into that.

Yeah, Danielle digi-painted me. She’s into that.

It’s not like I was attached to my world, or anything – which totally sounds like sarcasm, but no, for real. Maybe it’s because the place wasn’t fully realized yet. Maybe it’s because I was still in the earliest stages of my character development. I dunno. But I can’t say I miss anything that got swallowed up in the flood of destruction.

Probably the weirdest thing was finding out there’s at least one more layer of reality out there than I figured. I mean, I’ve read books; even read books where, ohmigosh, this whole world’s nothing but a dream / somebody’s computer program / an ant farm / whatever. You see that kind of thing all the time. You don’t expect it will happen to you.

A person of weaker faith could have had her whole religion rocked by what I’ve gone through. But I didn’t see the need for a full-on theology crisis. I’m pretty open-minded. Or almost totally closed-minded, but willing to entertain new ideas so long as they don’t flatly contradict what I believe to be gospel truth. One of those. In any case, I don’t see how having Annabelle and her predecessor as author over my life precludes the existence and omnipotence of an Author, capital “A”.

To quote from a book ranked somewhere below Scripture:

There is creation within creation, and creators can keep creating new things because it is a part of them because they were themselves created. Like a story about a writer who writes a story about a writer a writer who writes a story about a writer, and so on forever, from that single starting place. That first writer. The first creator. And to be the first means he—or she, or something that defies a pronoun—is the only one so great, he didn’t need to be created to be. That’s why he’s worthy to be the God.

The Book of Inspired, chapter twenty-four, verse… Yeah, okay, our novel doesn’t have verses. Regardless, Scripture backs it up.

So God created mankind in his own image.

Genesis 1:27.

Ask a writer. They can tell you: Little pieces of themselves end up reflected in the fictional people they make. Among whatever else, it seems some of us got a mega share of our Author’s creativity, to the point where they, too, can say, “Let there be light,” “Let there be life,” “Let there be this person and this plot point in this crazy story arc,” and whole worlds will appear in the pages for the writer to look over and see that it was good.

So I’m not about to worship Annabelle. (In fact, excuse me while I bust a gut laughing at the thought.) But if the God I serve placed this girl in authority over me, then I’ll do all I’m able to serve her also, and serve her well.

Heaven help us all.


Thanks, Uri! Reader types who’d love to nab the novel featuring this yin-yang chick of light and snark, remember there’s a giveaway on Goodreads with three paperbacks for the winning. Meanwhile, for the e-reading crowd, the novel’s e-version is on sale all month for a crazy-low 99 cents via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. So for anyone who hasn’t gotten hold of a copy yet, the time is now!

Inspired Sale, Kindle and BN


**Coming up Monday**: An introductory scene from INSPIRED, retold from Yves’s point of view!

The Few, the Humble, the Favorites (INSPIRED Days)

Inspired Days Button

It’s Week Two of “INSPIRED Days”! – an approximate month of awesomeness celebrating my J. Taylor Publishing novel as it nears its 6-month semi-anniversary.

INSPIRED being a book absolutely all about the characters, I thought it only fitting that its main cast get in on the fun. So here’s our second guest post of the party, brought to you by the novel’s sweetheart of a knight, Sir Wilbur Lamb!


Being your author’s favorite character can be complicated.

I would like to firstly state that I in no way think I deserve to be Annabelle’s favorite. I— Pardon? Pray excuse me, readers; Uri’s saying something at me… Who do I think should be the favorite, if not me? Good gracious, Uri, I don’t know. Luc, perhaps, if a muse qualifies. He certainly puts in the most work, with her.

A piece of fan art created by my author’s author, Danielle.

A piece of fan art created by my author’s author, Danielle.

Which brings me back around to what I was going to say, which is how a favorite character has a double load of responsibilities. On the one side, you’ve got your story world to think about – your family and friends from home, and whatever portion of the plot you’ve got to hold up. And on the other side, you’ve got your secondary life, the one outside your book, in the free-for-all of your author’s mind, where – if the author’s anything like Annabelle – she calls you out to converse and— I’m sorry, now Abishan’s speaking. Is this urgent, Shan? I’m supposed to be providing a blog post… You should be Annabelle’s favorite? Um, certainly. I’ll be sure to tell her you said so. Pet you now? All right, if you’ll kindly stay quiet while I finish my assigned task.

Where was I? Conversing with the author. That can be awkward, for the favorite. Or perhaps it wouldn’t be so in every favorite’s case, but Annabelle is… well, less than circumspect about her feelings for me. Not that I wouldn’t have been able to see how she felt anyway, since we do share a brainspace. Even could we not read each other’s thoughts, though, it would be frightfully obvious that our affections are, erm, unevenly matched. But of course one doesn’t wish to offend or hurt anyone – (yes, thank you, Uri, I do speak for myself) – especially not one’s author, who does so very much for her characters. I mean, mercy, Annabelle gives us… virtually everything! Everything we ever had before we knew her (or even knew that everything we had was fiction), and far more, for she labors to finish the stories our late author began, that they may endure forever in the minds and hearts of the readers she’ll touch. And what can we provide to even begin to repay her?

Wait, Yves, say that again. …Yes, that is what is ours to offer. We give her purpose. Entertainment. Encouragement. Companionship. Love. Perhaps not always the exact same sort of love she has for us, but I, for one, do love her. And yes, Shan, you for two. And Luc and Uri and Yves for three through five, whether or not any of them will ever tell her in so many words.

And whether or not I remain Annabelle’s favorite in the years to come, she has been my favorite author I’ve ever known. For love and for duty, I will strive in both lives she’s given me to be worthy of her adoration for me.

Pardon, Luc?

“I said, you’re doing fine, child.”


Thanks, Wilbur! A question for the writer types: Have any of your characters stolen your heart as the favorite? As for the reader types who’d love to nab the novel featuring this model of gallantry, remember there’s a giveaway on Goodreads with three paperbacks for the winning. Meanwhile, for the e-reading crowd, the novel’s e-version is on sale all month for a crazy-low 99 cents via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. So for anyone who hasn’t gotten hold of a copy yet, the time is now!

Inspired Sale, Kindle and BN


**Coming up Monday**: An all-new piece of flash fiction, featuring that most illustrious team of creativity, Luc and Annabelle!

Which INSPIRED Character Are YOU? (INSPIRED Days)

Who doesn’t love a personality quiz? ^o^

A) Boo to quizzes!

B) Yay, quiz!

If you chose A, this blog post isn’t for you, and I recommend you browse the Ever On Word archives for something better suited to your tastes. But if you chose B, then you are in luck, because some muse put it in my head to create a quiz based on my nearly-six-month-old novel and share it during “INSPIRED Days”!

Inspired Days Button

You can take the quiz via, and/or right here on the blog. Which of the book’s main cast do you most resemble? Let’s find out!

1) The world is ending. What do you do?

- Run for my life

- Try to save everyone

- Hide

- Make smart-aleck remarks

- Activate my emergency escape plan

- Over-dramatize the whole affair

2) Suppose I told you you’re more powerful than you know?

Inspired, Luc

- I know exactly how powerful I am

- Suppose I told you you’re the one who has no idea?

- I would strive to use all my power for good

- Ah, but do I have the strength to use the power I have?

- Hahaha, well, that’s not dangerous at all…

- Um, could I get some specifics, Captain Cryptic?

Yves, cropped

3) Preferred mode of transportation?

- On foot

- On wheels

- Flying

- Anything but flying

- Horseback

- I have to leave the house? Uh, could somebody drive me?

4) Pick an animal:

- Puppy

- Bird

- Cat

- Sheep

- Firefly

- Gryphon, dragon, something epic like that

Abishan, cropped

5) Pick a leisure time activity:

- Reading

- Skating

- Eating

- Dancing

- Meaningful conversation

- Whatever my friends want to do is fine

Wilbur, cropped

6) How social are you?

- I love being with people

- I want people when I want them. Otherwise, leave me alone

- People? Ugh

- I like to be on the fringes

- I enjoy spending time with a special few

- Imaginary friends preferred

7) Someone’s done you grievously wrong. What do you do?

- Abandon them to their fate

- Put the fear of God in their hearts

- Try to understand the situation from their point of view

- Suffer in silence

- Express my anguish through my art

- Kill them

Uri, cropped

8) Who’s the boss of you?

- I’ll follow any worthy leader

- Boss all you like, but don’t expect me to listen

- I call the shots, whether you know it or not

- God

- My parents

- The voices in my head


9) Who are you hoping this quiz will say you are?

- Abishan. He’s obviously superior

- Lucianíel. What the muse wants, he gets

Inspired, Annabelle

- Wilbur would be nice, but there are so many other wonderful people to choose from…

- Well, it would be pretty lame if I picked all the Uri-est answers and didn’t get Uri, so… let’s not be lame

- Whichever is truest

- Truth, schmuth, give me one of the cool ones!


If you answered mostly gold = You are Lucianíel! A commanding muse with a love of creation, and an inspiration to us all. You not only have all the bright ideas, you’ve got the finesse to steer everyone toward the fulfillment of your goals. To work with you is a rewarding privilege. To work against you is… unadvisable.

If you answered mostly black = You are Abishan! A god among cats and a cat among mortals, everyone loves you, or they’re wrong. No one needs to remind you of your worth, though you’ll favor them if they do. Bonus points if they feed you.

If you answered mostly green = You are Wilbur! Everybody loves you because you love everybody. You’re caring, compassionate, and stand up for others. Just make sure you don’t forget to stand up for yourself sometimes, too, eh?

If you answered mostly red = You are Uri! Let people say whatever they want about you; whatever you say in reply is bound to be a better zinger. You’ve got plenty of ‘tude and the awesome points to back it up. Like it or leave it, world. Or, y’know what? Leave regardless.

If you answered mostly blue = You are Yves! Your quietness makes you easy to overlook, but anyone who truly sees you knows what a masterpiece you are. Stay on the outside if that’s where you feel most at home. Just don’t let it be because of fear. You’re stronger than that.

If you answered mostly purple = You are Annabelle! You can be a bit of a loony loose cannon, but aren’t all the best artists? You pour your whole self into your passion, perhaps to the neglect of things like, y’know, everyday life stuff. But hey, you can eat breakfast any time; right now, there are adventures to dream!

So, who’d you get? ^^ Share in the comments!

(Also, y’know, Goodreads giveaway, e-book sale for Kindle and Nook, more goodies coming on Thursday, yadda-yadda-yadda. Now tell me who you got!)

Of Cats and Other Godlike Entities (INSPIRED Days)

Inspired Days Button

It’s Week One of “INSPIRED Days”! – an approximate month of awesomeness celebrating my J. Taylor Publishing novel as it nears its 6-month semi-anniversary.

INSPIRED being a book absolutely all about the characters, I thought it only fitting that its main cast get in on the fun. So here’s our first guest post of the party, brought to you by the one and only everycat, Abishan! *applause, bows, cans of salmon offered in tribute*


I come from a world of many gods. In my jungle alone, there’s at least one for just about every kind of creature. Of these, naturally, I am the greatest, because I am cats. Not a cat. All cats. Every kind, large and small, their shapes mine to take at my whim. And as everyone familiar with the Internet surely knows, it is the cats, not the humans, who not-so-subtly run the world.

My most human form, as digitally painted by that Danielle person.

My most human form, as digitally painted by that Danielle person.

Accustomed as I am to being at the top of the food chain – literally and otherwise – it came as something of a shock to learn that there are, in fact, powers higher than me. Rulers of worlds that encompass my own. Mighty creators. Masters of fate.

Your Internet knows of them, too. We call them authors.

You might expect a creature of my divinity to resent finding myself thus outranked. And I’ll admit, there are moments when it rubs me wrong; specifically, when my author, Annabelle, shows signs of not having the first clue about what she’s doing. But it’s not all inconvenience. On the contrary, it can be quite pleasant to have someone with the charge of looking after you.

I am equipped to deal with the sort of threats that come with claws and talons, teeth and beaks, muscle, even venom, but worlds of imagination can come teeming with far stranger dangers than that. As my author, it’s Annabelle’s job to see I’m kept safe.

And fed. That’s very important.

Comfort and contentment, likewise important, and Annabelle’s made it her business to provide it all the best she can.

Is “the best she can” always perfect? Not nearly. But I try to be lenient with her. She may be something like a god, but she’s still little enough like a cat.


Thanks, Shan! Reader types who’d love to nab the novel featuring this divine kitty, remember there’s a giveaway on Goodreads with three paperbacks for the winning. Meanwhile, for the e-reading crowd, the novel’s e-version is on sale all month for a crazy-low 99 cents via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. So for anyone who hasn’t gotten hold of a copy yet, the time is now!

Inspired Sale, Kindle and BN


**Coming up Monday**: An inspired little personality quiz… ;D

Meet My Character Blog Tour and “INSPIRED Days”

Blogs are hoppin’ as part of the Meet My Character Blog Tour! Here’s how it works, as explained to me by the author who tagged me:

This tour highlights a main character from your WIP (work in progress), recently published work, or soon to be published work. The person who invites you will have a set day to post. You will post one (or two) week(s) after that, the authors you tag will post one/two week(s) after you, and so on. Here are the questions to answer about your main character:

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

2) When and where is the story set?

3) What should we know about him/her?

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

6) Is there a working title for this novel if it is a WIP, and can we read more about it? OR what is the title of this novel and where can it be found?

If a WIP: 7) When can we expect the book to be published?

It is suggested that authors recruit 2-4 others to continue the chain. There is no pressure to have any specific number; this is just for fun and is a nice way to get more cross traffic between all our sites/blogs. Please send the one who tagged you a short bio and any links to blogs, author pages, etc. you wish him/her to use so he/she can tag you in style.

To begin with, then, here’s the bio for my tagger, Salena Casha:

* * *

Salena Casha’s work has appeared in over 30 publications. Her first three picture books were published by MeeGenius Books. She is represented by Carolyn Jenks of the Carolyn Jenks Agency. Her website can be found at

* * *

I was a while in deciding which of my characters to feature. Gant-o’-the-Lute from lately-launched Wilderhark Tale “The Song Caster”? Marion Hood from my “Outlaws of Avalon” Camp NaNoWriMo project? In the end, I decided to go with the female lead from my novel INSPIRED, since it will serve as a perfect introduction to what I’ve got in store for this blog throughout the month of August. So stick around past the Meet My Character Blog Tour business for details on that!

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

INSPIRED’s FMC (that’s “female main character”, to those unfamiliar with the shorthand) is Annabelle Iole Gray, a fictionalized version of real-life author Danielle E. Shipley. You may have heard of her.

2) When and where is the story set?

The “real world” setting is a modern-day, unnamed Missouri town. Settings on the plane of fiction include (though are by no means limited to) an ancient jungle, a medieval-esque fantasy land, a post-apocalyptic Paris, and hell.

3) What should we know about him/her?

Annabelle loves books. A lot. More than people, with whom she’s suffered a lot of culture clash because, well, she’s an unapologetic weirdo. A hardcore reader, she has no idea, yet, what a great writer she could be, with a little help from a light elemental who’s installed himself as her muse.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

She’s had her head taken over by a group of fictional refugees from the mind of another, lately deceased author. It seems like all fun and games, at first, but it’s only a matter of time ‘til she figures out what Uncle Ben Parker, Rumplestiltskin, and Darth Vader have been telling us all along: With great power comes great responsibility, and all magic comes with a price, though the dark side does indeed have cookies.

Such words of wisdom.

Such words of wisdom.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

To write the stories of all her new character friends – and, ideally, to become rich and famous upon eventual publication of said stories.

6) Is there a working title for this novel if it is a WIP, and can we read more about it? OR What is the title of this novel and where can it be found?

The book’s called INSPIRED, folks, and it’s waiting for you at Amazon (paperback and e-book), Barnes & Noble (e-book only), and Kobo (also e-book only). Oh, and starting tomorrow, there will be a giveaway. And a sale. But more on that in a minute. First, I’ve got tagging to do!

Three author friends o’ mine have volunteered as tribute:

Tirzah Jael Duncan writes novels, short stories, and poetry. She strives to learn the use of a variety of weaponry, from bow and gun to knife and hand. She loves the pen and sword in nearly equal measure.

You’ll also catch her attending St. James Anglican cathedral with reverential glee, obsessing over her favorite fandoms, enjoying her job in customer service a bit too much, role-play storytelling, wandering on late night walks through beautiful places, talking aloud to herself, and trying her hand at theology and philosophy.

She thinks she’d make an excellent companion to rebel time lords and consulting detectives, and is still largely convinced that Narnia is just a wardrobe away.

She wants to be C.S. Lewis when she grows up.

* * *

J. Keller Ford is a Young Adult and New Adult author of speculative fiction. Her short stories, “The Amulet of Ormisez” (Make Believe Anthology) and “Dragon Flight” (One More Day Anthology) are published by J. Taylor Publishing. “The Passing of Millie Hudson” will be released by Hypothetical Press as part of the Reading Glasses Anthology in August 2014. Two of her non-fiction short stories, Baby and Five More Minutes, won reader’s choice awards at Her first YA fantasy novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING—her first installment in the Chronicles of Fallhollow trilogy—is complete and under contract negotiations.

When not at her keyboard breathing new life into fantasy worlds, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, swimming, riding roller coasters and reading. She makes her home on the west coast of Florida with her family, three dogs, and a pretentious orange cat.

* * *

Emma Michaels is a multi-talented bookish girl. Not only is she the designer of beautiful covers, but she has many other accomplishments under her belt. She started book blogging in 2009 and was first published in 2010. She started The Writer’s Voice blog in 2011 as a way to help readers get to know authors on another level.

She moved to Washington at seventeen to be with the man that she loves, who asked her what she secretly wanted to be when she grew up. Naturally, she told him that she wanted to be an author, but at the time she thought “it was a pipe dream.” He encouraged her to pursue her dreams and taught her that “sometimes reaching for the impossible can make a world of difference in your life.” Now she is published and reaching well beyond what most people can imagine.

* * *

So now, who’s ready to hear about what I’ve got planned for next month? I call it “INSPIRED Days”! I’ve got a lineup of cool, INSPIRED-themed stuff to share throughout August, including:

– Guest posts from the novel’s main characters

– All-new flash fiction

– And more! (What, you didn’t think I’d spill all my surprises up front, did ya?)

Not to mention (pfft, forget that – I’m totally mentioning it!) my first-ever Goodreads giveaway, with 3 paperbacks of INSPIRED up for grabs!

But wait! There’s STILL more! For the entire month of August, J. Taylor Publishing and I are running a sale: The e-book of INSPIRED = just 99 cents via Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

It all starts Monday (except for the giveaway and the sale, both of which start tomorrow), so stay tuned!

Inspired Days Button

In Which We Arrive at the End Game

You’ve read my take on books one and two (or, if you haven’t, I totally just linked to them, so at your leisure…). Now, at long last, here’s my short ‘n’ sweet review for the final book of the Paradox Trilogy.

The Book: “Heaven’s Queen (Paradox #3)” by Rachel Bach.

Genre: Sci-Fi / Space Opera

Blurb: From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’ life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that’s eating her alive.

Now, with the captain missing and everyone – even her own government – determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi’s never been one to shy from a fight, and she’s getting mighty sick of running.

It’s time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

Heaven's Queen and Me

My Thoughts: It took me forever to get around to reviewing this (since my head has been in a fog of “Song Caster” launching and Camp NaNoWriMo writing and Bristol Renaissance Faire Town Crier-ing and and and…), so the details escape me, but this much I remember: Of the trilogy’s installments, this was the book that tried its darnedest to make me cry. Though she got there kicking and screaming, Devi’s finally letting her heart have something closer to an equal say with her head, which means more emotions to cope with – both for her, and for me as the reader – particularly as, with a universe-wide battle raging on, there are bound to be some hard losses. But I’m not about to spoil things by saying what the gains and losses are. If you want answers, make like Deviana Morris and go after them, guns blazing.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): It’s Rachel Aaron/Bach. Am I going to tell you not to read this?

Your Thoughts: Put ‘em in the comments, and I’ll know!

A Little Christmas Mad-gic (Jack and the Genre-nauts, Act 1)

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every Saturday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘A Little Christmas Mad-gic’!”


[The curtain rises on a prop house with a faux-snow-covered roof in front of a starry black backdrop. Walking across the top ridge is Allyn-a-Dale, dressed in a nicely tailored Santa Claus suit, a stuffed sack slung over his shoulder.]

Allyn/Santa: Hi-ho, ho, ho, one more chimney to go,

And then home at long last, my first Christmas test passed!

[Steps up to the roof’s chimney and leans over to peer inside.]

Allyn/Santa: Hold a moment. There’s something curious about this one… whoa, WHOA!

[Between the slippery snow and the destabilizing weight on his back, he loses his balance and pitches headfirst into the chimney. While colorful lights flicker, the house turns (having been built on a rotating platform), its hollow back side revealing Allyn spinning around in a horizontally revolving cylinder, like a sock in a clothes dryer. The starry backdrop rises out of sight, revealing a sunshiny, picturesque garden scene, bordered with trees. The house’s platform base having wheels as well as rotation capabilities, it spins and rolls its way offstage, Allyn tumbling out as it disappears into the wings.]

Allyn/Santa [stumbling dizzily up to his feet ]: What in the world…?

[With the house of the way, the stage right tree becomes viewable to the audience, along with Will Scarlet lounging on one of the branches in a long-tailed coat and a top hat embellished with ribbons, feathers, and pins.]

Will/Hatted Stranger [grinning widely ]: What in which world? And where in what world? And why, of all worlds, are you here?

Allyn/Santa: That’s what I’d like to know. I was about to make a delivery of gifts to the home of the Rabbit family when—

Will/Hatted Stranger: Which Rabbit? What Rabbit?

Allyn/Santa: White Rabbit, if I rightly recall the list I checked twice.

Will/Hatted Stranger [grinning more widely still ]: Whoopsy-daisy, that’ll do it! Fell down the rabbit hole; it all makes sense!

Allyn/Santa [frowning ]: Sense? It makes no sense at all.

Will/Hatted Stranger: No sense, nonsense, only sense to be found here is none-sense. Welcome to Wonderland!

Allyn/Santa [moaning ]: Oh, for pity’s sake. I only just completed one crazy quest in time for the Christmas rush. I don’t want any more madness!

Will/Hatted Stranger [laughing manically ]: Bad news for you, friend! We’re all mad, here. And you’re addressing the maddest of them all! [sweeps off hat in a bow-like gesture ] Artifice Cheshirecott, at your service – more commonly called the Mad Hatter.

Gotta love a little mashup madness. ;D

Gotta love a little mashup madness. ;D

Allyn/Santa [bows with a sigh ]: Jack Snow at yours – more commonly called Santa Claus. Now, would you be so good as to help me get home?

Will/Hatter [hopping down from the branch ]: More than good, I’ll be great! Where do you live, Santa Jack?

Allyn/Santa: In the northern polar region of Fairytale Forest.

Will/Hatter: Fairytales? Tsk, tut, you’re well off the track. Wonderland isn’t strictly a part of the fairytale genre, though you’ll find a lot of overlap – hence your stumbling in, just now.

Allyn/Santa [relieved ]: So getting back should be easy.

Will/Hatter: Should be, yes. Will be? [more mad laughter ] Oh, no! I mean to milk this plot twist for all it’s worth. Let our serial genre-hopping adventure begin!


“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Susan Francino and Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘hat or hats’ and ‘artifice’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends:  Will and Allyn out!”

I, HUMPTY, You Humpty, We All— No, Wait…

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.

But if they threw their resources together, they might be able to fund the famous egg’s upcoming biography. And yoooooou can help!

I, Humpty cover

My friend and fellow reteller of fairytales, Eric Wilder of The Grimm Report, has assembled a collection of his once-upon-a-tabloids into I, Humpty, a book which I had the privilege of giving an early read. Behold, my review:

These aren’t your grandmother’s fairy tales! For that matter, they’re not your children’s, either. I, Humpty assembles the lurid scandals behind the curtain of fairy dust, from the courtroom dramas of Hansel and Gretel to the financial felonies of Robin Hood and Rumpelstiltskin – from the marital ups and downs between Beauty and The Beast to conspiracy theories of Wonderland and Oz – with gossip surrounding celebrities from Sleeping Beauty to Cinderella and, of course, the shell-breaking life story of the titular Humpty Dumpty. Shocking, silly, and sometimes hitting closer to home than one would expect from stories begun in lands so far, far away, this is journalism that doesn’t flinch from the grimmer side of “once upon a time”. Fans of the likes of and James Finn Garner’s Politically Correct Bedtime Stories should find much to enjoy in I, Humpty.

To cover the costs of book production, Eric’s got a Kickstarter going, with thank-you gifts including such tempting items as the originals of I, Humpty’s hand-drawn illustrations (courtesy of artist Anna Milioutina) , signed copies of Our Brother’s Grimmest (a collection featuring articles from an assortment of contributors to The Grimm Report, including two by yours truly!), and even a shot at sainthood. Seriously.

Read all about it HERE, and do consider chipping in. If the project meets its goal, Humpty Dumpty’s not the only one who’ll crack up. ;D


Relax, I Read a Ninja Novel

My childhood of learning martial arts under duress notwithstanding, I looked forward to giving this novel a try ever since I took notice of the author talking it up on Twitter. How’d the book measure up against my hopes? Find out, after these messages! (And by messages, I mean the usual details that precede the actual review portion of my review posts.)

The Book: “Relax, I’m a Ninja” by Natalie Whipple.

Genre: Urban Fantasy YA

Blurb: A Clan of ninjas in San Francisco may sound improbable—but as the son of a ninja master, Tosh Ito knows what lurks in the shadows of his city. Or at least he thought he did.

When a killer with a poisoned blade starts cutting down teens, Tosh enlists Amy Sato—newest ninja recruit and his best friend’s crush—and sets out to uncover the killer’s identity. What they find is ninjutsu more evil than they could have ever imagined.

As Amy and Tosh grow closer, they discover their connection unleashes a legendary power that could stop the murders. Problem is, that power may be exactly what the killer is looking for, and wielding it could cost them both their souls.

Me with my copy of the book. I know, you can’t see me. I’m just that ninja-sneaky.

Me with my copy of the book. I know, you can’t see me. I’m just that ninja-sneaky.

My Thoughts: I’d call this one a solid read. I could have done with less training and waiting around bits and more this-is-not-a-drill ninja action on top of the Golden Gate Bridge or something to really get my blood racing, but that was my only real complaint.

I like that the story didn’t go for the obvious. (Because, really, wouldn’t we want a ninja book to be sneakier than that?) Plenty of plot points and character revelations caught me by surprise, or veered in a direction I hadn’t predicted. So props to the author for that, and props to Tosh for being pretty much made for his role as narrator, laying down the facts and expressing his inner conflict well, never leaving me feeling disconnected or frustrated with him for being dense/crazy repetitive/otherwise super annoying.

As for the romance, it felt startlingly normal. And I do totally mean that in a positive way. Like, there were the flirty parts, the mushy parts, the episodes of drama – not to mention the supernatural element – and none of it was completely over-the-top or ridiculously scripted or felt like, “oh, brother, tell me people in real life wouldn’t behave like this.” And can I just say, in a literary world full of those “oh, brother…” romances, I really appreciated that. So more props to Tosh, Amy, and their author lady.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): If I told you that this book legit ninja-flipped out of my hands when I reached the last page, would you give this book a read? Because I kid you not.

Your Thoughts: Put ‘em in the comments, and I’ll know!

The Song is Cast! (“Song Caster” Launch Week)

And now, at last, the day we’ve long awaited: The official Launch Day of “The Song Caster”!

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The dull doom of impending marriage at his back and a reticent royal at his side, remarkable minstrel Gant-o’-the-Lute is off in search of adventure, and you can be sure he finds it – complete with much music, magicked maidens, and a dangerous power so great, Lute might for once find himself outmatched.

The Song Caster

Book Four of The Wilderhark Tales

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The book’s available via Amazon (paperback and Kindle e-book), Barnes & Noble (NOOK e-book), and CreateSpace (paperback), itching with excitement to venture into your homes and wow you. (Hot tip: If you’ve purchased the paperback through Amazon, you can pick up the Kindle edition at the reduced price of $0.99!)

I’m celebrating in usual Wilderhark-Tale-release style, with “Song Caster”-related fun from here ‘til next Tuesday, at which time I’ll announce the Grand Prize winners in my Launch Week Giveaway!

Here’s how the giveaway works this time around:

The Prizes

Normally, this would be the part where I trot out a quartet of original art prints to hang on your walls. But as his novella states first thing, “Jackillen Gant was not the sort that could easily keep still.” So instead of stay-still posters, I’m giving out cross-country postcards!

Day 1’s winner will receive two postcards featuring illustrated lyrics to an original, never-before-seen-by-the-public Gant-o’-the-Lute song.

Day 2’s winner gets two postcards featuring illustrated lyrics to another original Gant-o’-the-Lute song, likewise never-before-seen-by-the-public.

Day 3’s winner gets two postcards featuring a piece of Gant-o’-the-Lute art by my friend/fan/fellow author, Tirzah Duncan.

Day 4’s winner shall have two postcards featuring a piece of Gant-o’-the-Lute art sketched by Tirzah and colored by yours truly.

''Song Caster'' prize postcards

Day 5’s winner will have their choice of any two postcard designs (as pictured above).

Day 6’s winner will get a pair each of all four designs.

For Day 7 – Grand Prize Day – we’ll have three winners. Two will receive select chapters of “The Song Caster” with Author/Character commentary (that’s right – Lute and I teamed up, for this one!), along with their choice of two postcard designs. And lucky number three gets my first proof paperback copy of “The Song Caster” (signed, of course!), as well as a pair each of all four postcards!

Pretty sweet swag, right? Totally makes you want to enter the giveaway, right? Well, here’s how you can:

Entry = Raffle Points

Sharing a selfie of you with your copy of the book is a totally welcome entry, by the way!

Sharing a selfie of you with your copy of the book is a totally welcome entry, by the way!

Post about “The Song Caster” and/or the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter = +1 (there is no limit on how many times you can do this; each new share earns you another point)

Buy an e-copy of “The Song Caster” = +7

Buy a paperback of “The Song Caster” = +10

Leave a review on Amazon and/or B&N and/or Goodreads of any available Wilderhark Tales title = +7 points for each (and yes, copy/pasting the same review to all sites is totally legit! …Reviewing without having actually read the books first? Not so much. Maybe don’t do that)

Buy a copy of “Cry of the Nightbird” by Tirzah Duncan = +10 (plus the warm glow that comes of knowing you’ve helped support my BFF’s upcoming wedding!)

Tra-la. Tons of points, easily earned. Just be sure to let me know when you’ve fulfilled a task (comment on this post, tag/mention me on Facebook/Twitter, whatever), and into the raffle your points go. I’ll announce the first two winners at the end of Thursday’s post – which, ooh-ah, shall be hosted by none other than Gant-o’-the-Lute himself. We’ll see you then!

Book Banner, Song Caster