Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rick Gualtieri Author of Bill The Vampire (The Tome of Bill)

    I recently had the pleasure of reading Bill The Vampire (The Tome of Bill).  I'm sure most of you have heard of Rick Gualtieri.  It seems like every time I go to twitter, someone has written a tweet about his fantastic writing.  Now I'm going to join them because he is AMAZING!  
    I LOVE his blog: The Poptart Manifesto and highly recommend that you visit him there.  But what this post is about is Bill The Vampire

     I'm not much of a horror kind of girl.  I enjoy a mix of fantasy and the classics.  In fact, since our house has been broken into--multiple times--I've avoided scary books altogether.  This isn't scary though and that's one of the many reasons I'm glad I gave it a chance.  You'll be delighted and surprised to find out . . .  this is a comedy.
    Right from the start, I knew this book would be unforgettably hilarious!
    Take a peek:
    There’s an old saying, "death is easy, comedy is hard". Personally I don’t buy it. I don’t think comedy is particularly hard at all. Why? It’s not because I think I’m some kind of comic genius. Trust me, I’m not that delusional. It’s because no matter how lame of a joke you make or how badly you deliver it, someone somewhere will laugh at it. There, comedy! Horror, on the other hand, is hard. Now, I’m not talking about the ‘Jason jumps out of the bushes and you scream like a little girl’ type of horror. That’s fairly easy to do. My four year old could jump out of the shadows and get that result if he timed it right. I’m talking about true horror, the type of horror that makes you afraid to turn off the lights at night. The type of horror that makes you think, and not about good things. 

. . .
If that’s the type of book you’re looking for, then I shall save you the trouble, my friend.
    This book falls into one of my favorite horror sub-genres: the horror comedy. No, I’m not talking about dopey slapstick like Scary Movie or its legion of increasingly unfunny sequels. 

    We're talking about guys who are too busy spouting one-liners or hitting on babes to notice that the world has literally gone to hell around them.
    This is that type of story. So strap yourself in and prepare for the ride. And feel free to leave most of the lights off while you do so. Sure there may very well be creatures writhing in the darkness waiting for you, but sometimes the thing they expect least is to be met not with screams but with attitude.

   This book is currently available through Amazon HERE.

    Now, on a side note, if you're one of my relatives who doesn't even like me using the word "fart," this book might not be the one for you.  There is strong language in this book and it is definitely geared toward adults.

    But, if you don't mind strong language and people telling it how it is--if you like to laugh and read cutting-edge story lines--then I think you'll love this one.   

Friday, March 30, 2012


    Far be it from me to make fun of anyone’s name—I was born with the lovely, lilting surname of Kiewitsky—but I was watching a golf tournament on TV & saw a young golfer by the name of John Huh.  He is Asian, I believe of Korean descent.  I thought of how his life must be frighteningly like the Abbott & Costello routine, “Who’s On First?”.  How many times could someone go through this without exploding?  “What’s your name?”  “Huh.”  “I said, WHAT’S YOUR NAME?” “Huh.”  “I SAID, WHAT’S--YOUR--NAME???????????”   Maybe Kiewitsky wasn’t so bad.

    Well before the age of computers, I used to write a monthly newsletter that went to a dozen or so members of our family.  It was Xeroxed (remember that?) & sent by snail mail.  I tried to keep the family up to date on each other & also included jokes, cartoons & weird articles from the National Enquirer such as, “Male 4 legged space alien mates with human female.  She gives birth to brilliant talking dog!”  Someone had given us a little (8”) teddy bear, made of mink.  We (Bud & I) ran a contest in my letters to name her.  I said the prize would be $100,000.00 or a cookie, depending on the discretion of the judges.  Our daughter & her cousin, who were roommates in Italy, won with the name, THEDA BEARA.  (Theda Bara was a sexy silent movie star—before even MY time.)  I don’t know if there are any still around, but some bakeries used to make cookies that were the size of a pizza (10”?) & decorated them like cakes.  We were going to visit the girls & bring them their prize—which certainly WASN’T the $100,000.00!  The cookie went into a pizza type box & we brought it to Italy.  Customs officials & everyone else who saw the box wanted to know why we were bringing pizza INTO Italy!
    At another time, our “prizewinning” niece was living in Bordeaux, France.  She asked us to visit her, which we did, on our way back to the US.  She booked us into some Godforsaken rattrap a very nice hotel.  The room clerk spoke English & was quite pleasant.  I took a bath in preparation to meeting our niece for dinner.  I tried to drain the tub when I was through, but it wouldn’t drain.  I pushed—or pulled—something & created our own private Vesuvius.  Water was everywhere & we couldn’t stop it.  I called the desk downstairs for help.  Mr. English Speaker had left & no one else there spoke English.  My French is passable under quiet, normal, non-emergency conditions--which these were NOT!  I identified myself & gave him our room number, we were talking—that is to say he was talking, I was panicking--& he asked me to hold for a moment.  He came back on & informed me that he was sorry, but WE WERE NOT THERE!  I finally managed to get him to come to our room, where he saw the bathroom floor covered by an inch of water.  I had built a dam out of towels & managed to keep the lake in the bathroom.  He turned off the water, brought in more towels & blotted it up as best he could.  He informed us that since it was Sunday he wouldn’t be able to get a plumber until the next day, so would we be so kind as to not bathe again that evening?  Because of the inconvenience he kindly offered to take $10.00 off the cost of our room.  But the story doesn’t end there—oh, no!  After we got back from dinner I was exhausted.  We had flown from Italy to France, gone through all this at the hotel, then got cleaned up (or at least tried to), dressed & went out to a fancy restaurant for dinner!  It was very hot & humid (Bordeaux is on the coast) & I felt sticky, but obviously I couldn’t bathe.  I climbed into bed & immediately rolled into the middle, where I felt velcroed to my equally sticky husband.  The thin-to-start-with mattress had, over the years, morphed into the shape of a “V”.  We could not stay separated.  I ended up taking the bedspread, putting it on the floor & sleeping on it.  I guess it wasn’t too bad of a deal—we DID get $10.00 off!
Good thing fishducky’s can swim!        

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Only TWO Days left!

"The Sword of Senack" was just published, so I'm giving away a Kindle Fire to one of my lucky readers!  Now there are only two days left to enter.  (You can find out more at the bottom of this post.)

Feel free to grab this code if you'd like to help spread the word about my newest book.

I'd like to thank these wonderful bloggers who have helped me promote this online:

Been there, done that

The Blog Starts Here

Coming Home to Myself

Crazy World

K. T. Hanna

My Life in Writing

Odie Langley

Padded Cell Confessions

Paige Kellerman

The Poptart Manifesto

Rhyme Time (who's having a book launch today too) ;)

Vive le Nerd

Now . . . onto the giveaway!
How to Enter to win the Kindle Fire

Please make sure to follow the Rafflecopter rules below. You must complete the MANDATORY entries to reveal 82 more easy, possible ways to earn entry points towards the Prize. Please remember, the more entry points you gain, the better your chances are of winning. So Good Luck!

The hosts for this giveaway are:

1) The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom
2) voiceBoks - The Voice of Parenthood
3) Makobi Scribe
4) WikiMommy - The Information Site for All Things Mommyhood
5) Just Married with Coupons
6) Simply Stacie - Product + Book Reviews, Giveaways, and more!
7) Sassy Mama in L.A.
8) About a Mom Blog
9) Planet Weidknecht
10) Coming Home to Myself
11) It's Rhyme Time
12) Good Steward Savers
13) Sweep Tight
14) Moms with Voices Media

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click on this picture to visit my author site:
Please feel free to browse around, 
check out my upcoming books and projects--just have fun.

Dr. Jones and the Bunny of Doom

Yesterday, a great friend of mine asked Dr. Jones--my two-year-old daughter--to model some clothes.  I thought that would be great, but when we got there, a huge surprise waited for us.  My friend wanted the ninja baby to model with a bunch of tiny bunnies!

Dr. Jones' eyes lit with excitement.  I know what that adventurer thought about.  She knows enough to tell when treasure's in her midst.  After all, how many toddlers get to meet the Easter Bunny face-to-face.

The Real Easter Bunny rested regally in the back of the room, far from Dr. Jones' sight.  Its nose twitched, watching her grandchildren "or henchmen" who played with my daughter and faced the greatest peril they'd ever seen.  The bunnies bounced around, playing happily.  Dr. Jones giggled and laughed, acting as if she didn't have a plan, but now I know the truth--it was a ruse.  The whole time, that child wanted to get to the grandmother of the bunnies. She wanted a cadbury egg! 

As those bunnies played, Dr. Jones reached out and snatched one in her grasp.  She held it at eye level.  Have you ever heard that babies have special powers?  Well, I think it's true.  Dr. Jones talked to that bunny.  She interrogated it--Jones style!  I know she did, because they stared at each other in a weird way.  Dr. Jones used some famous line like, "I'm after fortune and glory, kid.  Fortune and glory.  Tell me where the Easter bunny is!"

The baby bunny twitched its nose.

"If you won't give up her location, then tell me where the candy is."  Dr. Jones stopped smiling.  "Where are you hiding it!"

The bunny blinked.

"I'm a scientist, nothing shocks me, now tell me where it is.  It's more important than the grail now," Jones said.

I ran and rescued the bunny at that point.  The second Dr. Jones quit smiling, I knew she'd stop at nothing until she got the treasure.  She's the happiest baby in the world, until you make her mad.  And that bunny hadn't answered any of her questions--it was traveling down a road to darkness.  

As I held that furry, ball of sweetness, Doctor Jones jetted toward the grandmother of all bunnies!  Maybe the bunny I held was a turncoat.  Maybe it had given up the Easter Bunny's location!

I watched as my daughter sped across the room and cooed to the grandmother rabbit.  That creature was regal, something legends are told of.  When its nose twitched it went up in the air, and moved quite slowly. 

I couldn't believe Dr. Jones just talked to her so casually, without bowing or bestowing some sweet compliment.  Dr. Jones, glanced around, realizing her time was short.  The army of baby bunnies bounded toward her, ready to attack because she'd made it to the grand rabbit's chambers.  The baby talked fast then, gathering as much information as she could.  The bunnies hopped closer, closer.  I saw fear run through Dr. Jones' eyes.  She knew she might die.  She's heard the stories about how male rabbits eat their own young.  But just as the ninja bunnies were about to attack, my sweet friend picked up my baby and the Easter Bunny!  She placed them both in front of the camera, put the Easter Bunny's grandchildren behind bars and started taking pictures.

Dr. Jones clapped!  She smiled and laughed.  She could hardly believe she'd been granted an audience with the Easter Bunny.  I watched the two of them and giggled.  I knew Dr. Jones learned a lesson she'd never forget.  She'd won the Easter Bunny's favor--not something just any baby can do.  She knew she might not get any candy, but that didn't matter anymore.   She'd done something great--something fantastic.  That was the day Dr. Jones met the Easter Bunny!


My friend is an amazing photographer and seamstress.

You should check out her awesome blog: Shear Luck Enterprises

P.S. If you're here for "The Sword of Senack" or more info about the kindle fire giveaway and writing/art contest, please go HERE.  If you'd like more info about "The Golden Sky," the book B & N is stocking, please go HERE.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to Write a Story

    Yesterday went so well!  And guess what--I'm going to another school today--not to mention that I got a speaking engagement for next Tuesday at a local college!  Things are getting so busy/exciting.
    Anyway, I spoke for an hour.  Here's a short clip from the end of the presentation.  There were 150 kids at this one.  I really had a ball and just cut loose.

Oh and Cade was actually really nice about the laptop, after he screamed for just a moment.  I took it to the computer shop and I hope they can replace the keyboard.  Thanks for all of your kind thoughts.  You might be the reason my funeral service won't be held this week.

    Anyway, here's how I helped the kids write a story (with music included because it made me less nervous.)

    Here's the basic dialogue in case it's hard to hear:

Me: What kind of story would you like to help me make up today?

A little boy: Something about a dragon who goes into a city.

Me: Perfect. What kind of music should I play for that?  Something scary, right?
*Me playing low notes on the violin*

Me: So the dragon goes into the city.  I bet this is from the dragon's point of view.  Maybe we should have him win something.  Is there a reason he's visiting the city?

A little girl: He's hungry so he found a bakeshop.  But the baker got mad and tried to hurt the dragon.

Me:  What kind of music can I play for someone who's hungry?
*Me playing silly music*
See, that song made me hungry!  So, he sees the baker and the baker's upset.  What should happen next?

A little boy: Some elves come and start a war!  Then the dragon left from his town in . . . Italy and went to the United States.

Me: Oh my.  How do all of you feel about a dragon being in the United States?!
*Me playing Old Lang Syne*
What happens now?

A little boy: Someone fights the dragon with a bazooka!

*Me playing a sharp note on the violin and acting like I got shot*

A little girl: Then the dragon searches for more food.

Me:  And I bet he finds the baker again.  I think we're getting close to the end.  Can one of you make this a happy ending?  Save us!

A little boy: He found some food.

*Me playing a happy fiddle song*

A little girl: The dragon goes back to Italy.  He finds a cave to live in and a girl to marry.

Me: That's perfect.  How does the wedding song go again?

*The kids sing "Here Comes the Bride" and then I start playing the violin with them*

All in all, I think it went great.  I had such a blast! 

P.S. If you're here for "The Sword of Senack" or more info about the kindle fire giveaway and writing/art contest, please go HERE.  If you'd like more info about "The Golden Sky," the book B & N is stocking, please go HERE.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When I grow up . . .

    I don't have much time to write today.  I'm speaking at a elementary school about "when I grow up" and I'm super nervous.  I know I'm supposed to act confident--and even lie on here--if I must.  Too bad for conformity; I'm telling it like it is.  
    Even if I have played my violin and sang at dozens of schools, that was different.  I didn't have to talk and stare people in the eyes.  
    I watched some videos on youtube about public speaking.  Some people say to imagine all the adults are naked--that's MESSED up! YUCK!  Why is it that men are the ones who usually recommend that?  Don't they always picture people being naked anyway?  Another guy said to stare at the back of the wall--which is not my style.
    Well, I hope this will go well since I'm scheduled to speak at five other schools after this--one is a jr. high and one is a high school.
    So, I should say I WAS nervous about talking.  Now I'm just nervous in general because I spilled a coke on Cade's laptop!!!  What do I tell him, I thought it was thirsty?!  This is gonna be bad.  
    But the guy married me for better or worse, right?  I think I'll call him and say, "I did something really bad.  Something unforgivable. . . ."
    Then I'll let him stew--think I did something worse than killing his baby.  It had all his video games and everything on it.  Anyway if he assumes I did something EXTREME, then when I tell him about his laptop, he'll practically run to me and hug me.  Then he'll say something like, "Oh, that's not bad.  And to think . . . I assumed you had an affair!"
    I'll smile and laugh.  "You can be so silly sometimes.  You know what they say about assuming."

    So, that's my day.  I killed Cade's computer and I think God's punishing me because I really should quit drinking coke AND start eating more food.
    Anyway, the talk is today.  I'm going to drink some coffee and be on my way.  They're videotaping it, so I'll post some of it later this week.

    Wish me luck--on all accounts.

P.S. If you're here for "The Sword of Senack" or more info about the kindle fire giveaway and writing/art contest, please go HERE.  If you'd like more info about "The Golden Sky," the book B & N is stocking, please go HERE.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I got a signing at Barnes and Noble!

For a fun fantasy quiz, please go here: Recap

Now, onto the post of the day.

    I'm Elisa.  Yes, I'm twenty-nine years old and I have a bucket list.  Don't worry, I don't have cancer OR the swine flu.  I just have a case of the sillies.  I've made a list--an incredibly long list--that I won't get through unless I become immortal like an angel or a vamp, but at least I have a list.

    One of my dreams was to visit the drive-thru at a gas station.  I didn't know when it would happen, but I knew it would be awesome!
    Anyway, my friend turned into the drive-thru one gorgeous day.  We waited in a huge line and then finally got to the window of perfection. 
    "This is her first time," my friend said because it was the greatest thing in the world just then.  "Would you mind if I took a picture of you, so we can always remember this moment?"
    The guy beamed--literally beamed.  He cocked his head and modeled in the window!  If you don't believe me, then look at this!


   Isn't that the best picture ever?  My friend is a professional photographer, and it shows!  This pic could be an ad for bucket listers everywhere!  Thanks NSteed for the amazing picture!
    "We'd like some ice cream," my friend said.  "Maybe ice cream sandwiches."
    He came back with an ARMLOAD of ice cream.  No wonder the place had made my bucket list!  It was fantastic.
    "Where are you from?  You've never visited a gas station drive-thru?" the guy asked in an accent.
    "I'm from here.  I grew up a few hours south of here," I said.
    Maybe our excitement was contagious because the guy suddenly asked if he could come outside and take a picture with me.  The line behind us had grown massive and the people looked like they were about to turn into the walking dead!
    The gas station employee did get someone to cover his spot, so he could take a break.  And the whole time we waited for him, I kept thinking about how the place was on my bucket list and that guy got to work there.  There's something magical about working at a place everyone goes.  You can see people at their best--their worst.  You can see who they really are and that's usually a beautiful thing.
    Anyway, the guy came out, and here's the picture
NSteed took:

He did the bunny AND I'm holding an ice cream sandwich--talk about the best thing ever!

    So, I've had other things on my list, like going skydiving.

I'm by the same plane DJan once went in!  That makes it even more special to me.

    The manager paired Cade with Jim Croce--a man who died in a plane crash, and me with a guy who I thought looked like my version on Edward Cullen.  I’m not a huge Twilight fan--let me send that thought in the wind.  I thought Edward was obsessive, overbearing, controlling.  If I could pick one literary character to NOT go sky diving with, it would be him or Captain Ahab!  There’s something about jumping from a plane--with a vamp--it doesn’t bode well.  It’s like facing death TWICE!
    To top things off, my cameraman looked like a preacher I always knew growing up.  It wasn’t until the video guy started dropping the “F” bomb that I questioned his faith.
    “Are you related to any pastors?” I asked the “F Bomber” as we prepared to jump.
    “Well, you look like a very successful one I used to know . . .  You could probably make a good living, if you held services before people jump.”
    He laughed so hard.  “Even though I swear a lot.”
    “You could still do awesome.  Pass around an offering plate, tell people this might be their last moment and you’ll be golden!”
    He patted me on the back and chuckled.  "Ya know, you're all right."

    So those were great things to have on my list.  
    I've added new things.  Like how I want to meet the amazing Fishducky and go to a Jewish Deli with her--we might even go to a gas station drive thru--if I can find one.  I also want to meet Yoda--my writing mentor--and have oolong tea with her.  I know it will be amazing, like I grew up knowing her.

    Some other things have been on my list since I was a kid.  I wanted to have a book published.  I also wanted to have a signing at Barnes and Noble.  Well, my first book came out in November and now I'm going to do a signing at Barnes & Noble!  Can you believe it?!  I feel like this is a dream.  They're interested in "The Golden Sky" more than "The Sword of Senack."  The manager read the reviews online and said he was impressed.  
    So, on 4/13--Friday the 13th--from 6 pm -  9 pm, you can expect me to be at the B & N in Layton, UT.  I'll get a three hour break from my kids.  I'm going to order a HUGE coffee and have the time of my life.  I know it'll be epic--I just know it.  Maybe even better than the drive-thru gas station, if you want to know the truth.

    On a side note, today will be a busy day.  I'm talking at two different elementary schools this week.  I hope it will go well.  I also printed out 500 flyers to advertise the signing.  I sure hope people will come.  After all, it's not every day  I get to cross something off of my list.

P.S. If you're here for "The Sword of Senack" or more info about the kindle fire giveaway and writing/art contest, please go HERE.  If you'd like more info about "The Golden Sky," the book B & N is stocking, please go HERE.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Alyssa Reyans Author of Letters From A Bipolar Mother

I'm so excited for today's post because I have Alyssa Reyans here--one of the sweetest authors I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.  Not only is she sweet, she's an inspiring writer.

Isn't this cool?!
I love her author photo.

Get ready for a real treat.
Here is the author of Letters From a Bipolar Mother.

First I’d like to thank my gracious host, Elisa, for having me here today and letting me run rampant all over her blog. I never quite know what to say when I do these guest posts.
    Do I talk about myself? No, that seems too snobbish.
    Do I talk about the book I’m actually here to promote? No, that seems to crass.
    What do I talk about?
    This is the conversation that happens between me and my brain as I type and delete the words that appear and disappear across my computer screen. I never really thought things through to this point when I clicked the publish button. I never thought about actually having to get out there and share myself beyond what I’d already done within the confines of the white shiny pages.
    But that’s what writing is about, exposing one’s nakedness to the world. It’s the underwear dream every middle schooler has at least once in their life. Except it’s not a dream. It’s real and a reality I willingly put myself into it. Which makes me wonder why? Why do I put myself out there, naked and exposed, for everyone to see?
    It’s a question I’ve asked myself often and depending on the day of the week the answer changes. Some days it’s a part of my healing process. A part of how I mend the battle scars etched across my being. Then there are the days it’s for others. For their unseen scars and unshed tears. Somedays it’s just because I’m angry. Angry I didn’t get a choice to be who or what I wanted to be but instead have been handed a life I didn’t want and am left to figure out how to navigate it, but then after the anger passes I realize even though this isn’t the life I would have chosen and it’s not necessarily the life I wanted, it’s still a pretty awesome life.
    I mean it’s led me here to sharing with you all and on the blog of a super awesome lady. That isn’t something I probably would have been able to do all by myself if I had been given full control. I’d probably still be in the little po dunk trailer park I was born in. Instead I’ve traveled the world, sat on beaches with water so clear you could see the ocean floor and taste the sea salt in the air. Once I stopped fighting the life I was given and began to embrace it, I realized there wasn’t much I couldn’t do. Some people call it “crazy, I prefer to think of it as a super power. Kinda like invisibility only ten times more awesome. It’s all about perspective. You can either be embarrassed or strut your stuff. Just be sure you’re wearing the right day of the week’s underwear and the rest will work itself out.

    As a special thanks to Elisa and all of you for having me. I’m having a giveaway on my blog. A signed paperback copy of my book, Letters From A Bipolar Mother and a $10 Amazon gift card. To enter just visit my blog and enter via the rafflecopter.


    To visit Alyssa's fantastic blog, please go HERE.

Friday, March 23, 2012


If you're here for "The Sword of Senack" (which is 99 cents) or more info about the kindle fire giveaway and writing/art contest, please go HERE.
    Now onto the post of the day.  I'd like to welcome the famous Fishducky.

I’m sure that you all have had someone in your life who has passed away, but you wish you could have had them with you forever.  I don’t mean a parent, a spouse, a lover, or even a child.  I mean a good friend.  Larry was such a friend to me & my whole family.
We first met him when he came into my husband’s law office with a personal injury case.  Larry was very tall, very muscular & very black.  He cut quite an imposing figure, but he had the proverbial heart of gold.  One of his previous jobs was as a driver for the Mafia, or maybe it was the Syndicate.  I know it was for some such esteemed organization.  You could trust him with your life.  We gave him a key to our house, in case of emergency.  He would do anything for us, at any time.  Bud said that he felt that he could give him $1,000,000.00 in cash & tell him to deliver it to someone in New York & all Larry would ask was what flight he should take.  There was no task that was too big or too small for him.  Once he got us a live chicken on the 4th of July.  (See “Bring Your Own Chicken” at for 1/28/12)
He was driving us to the airport down a busy street when we passed a car that was parked with the driver’s door hanging open.  He broke us up with, “That guy must keep a spare door in his garage.”
Our kids loved him, too.  They had a great time at his house playing pool & eating his wife’s special macaroni & cheese.  He took them to exotic places where I never went—like the city dump.  One day I was sick & couldn’t pick the kids up from nursery school, so I asked Larry to get them for me.  When they saw him, they jumped up, yelled, “Larry!! Larry!!” & ran to hug him.  He told their teacher he was there to take them home.  Since he obviously bore no physical resemblance to our family (white Jews) she called me for an OK.  Any of us would have gone ANYWHERE with him.
He told our kids, after we bought both sets of our parents a new car for their 50th anniversaries, “One of your white grandfathers drives a Buick.  Your other white grandfather drives a Pontiac.  But your BLACK grandfather drives a Cadillac!”
My favorite “Larry” story took place on the freeway.  He was rear-ended (no physical damage to either of the drivers) & got out to speak to the man who ran into him.  The man was  Latino & whenever Larry asked him a question he replied, “Lo siento.  No hablo ingles.”  (“I’m sorry.  I don’t speak English.”)  Larry went back to his car, opened the glove compartment & took out the nightstick he carried on his job as a night watchman.  He was walking back, slapping the nightstick against his palm, when the other gentleman suddenly remembered he COULD speak English, after all!  He looked at Larry & said, “Hey, man, we can work this all out!”
Larry died while my children were still quite young.  This was the first funeral they ever attended.  There were several nurses in their white uniforms at the service.  I assumed that was because he passed away while he was in the VA hospital.  It wasn’t.  When the casket was opened at the end of the service, many people screamed & some fainted.  I had no idea that this was not unusual at some black funerals.  (I don’t know what denomination it was.)  I had been sitting between my two boys & holding their hands.  When the screaming started I felt two sets of fingernails digging deeply into my palms.  When their grandmother--my mother--died a short time later, I had to convince my sons that this would not be happening at her funeral.  They were afraid to go.  I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have been the case if Larry could have held their hands.

I miss you, my friend----fishducky    

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I have a thing for scurvy pirates! Do you?

For a review of my newest book, please go here:

The Sword of Senack: A Fantastic Fantasy

Now, onto the post of the day.

My favorite character came from deep inside my imagination.  He's wild and brave--half pirate, half genius.  He's not scared of anything!  Let me show you what I mean.  Here's another excerpt from "The Sword of Senack."

Vander Fisher.

     "I always wanted to meet pirates," Vander whispered. "I just never thought I’d get captured by them!"
     One pirate must have heard Vander for he grinned widely and said something under his breath to another buccaneer. The two of them broke out laughing.

     Vander cleared his throat and then spoke in a loud voice. "Will you let me walk? Like a real pirate? I'm tough and strong!"
     Captain Iron Blood laughed. "There’s no reason to damage the goods, men . . . at least, not yet. Untie the boy."
    The men stopped dragging Vander, and a greasy little man hunkered down next to him and cut him free. Vander rubbed his wrists where the ropes had burned his skin, but other than that, he didn't show his pain.
      "A little pirate," a man who’d introduced himself as Gweets yelled in his scurvy, pirate voice. The other men around Vander had missing limbs, scars, tattoos.

    All this excited Vander, but a rebellious streak must have struck him. "I wouldn’t have cared anyway if you scurvy barnacles did treat me like scum or throw me in the ocean," he shouted. "I can breathe in water! I bet I can. I’m real strong. I ain’t scared of sharks. I ain’t scared of planks or jellyfish."
     "You would be, if ya could see the jellyfish that took me other eye," a lanky pirate said.
     "Was it a big one?" Vander asked, immediately intrigued.
     "The fish or the eye?" the pirate asked. His reply sounded exactly like something Vander would say--maybe the kid was meant to be a pirate.

Here's some info about "The Sword of Senack,"

Also, I'm giving away a kindle fire as part of my book launch!  Please click on this link to find out how to enter: 

The Sword of Senack Has Been Published

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Standing For What You Believe In

    So, "The Sword of Senack" was just released.  If you'd like more info about the kindle fire giveaway, writing/art contest or the book--which is on sale for 99 cents--please visit yesterday's post HERE or the tabs on this page.

    Now, onto the post of the day.
    It was a tough year for me.  We'd recently moved from a small town to the big city.  I had no idea one place could hold so many buildings or people. Instead of tractors, I saw fancy cars. I mean seriously, we just had a Wendy's and a McDonald's where I grew up.  The city seemed amazing to a nine-year-old like me.  But despite that awesomeness, when I went to the first day of school, I found the bathroom and cried before school started.  I know it was a dumb thing to do, but I was scared AND a pansy.  
    After calming down, I told myself to be brave.  I walked from the stall, wearing my brightest--fake--smile, and a winning look.  I would make some friends that day, or die trying. Sure I was a religious minority and a kid that past summer couldn't play with me because we didn't believe the same way. I could still be tough like this girl--just several years older! 
    Anyway, I walked with a strut, that probably was overdone, and I waved to everyone! Too bad I had no idea what waited in the future.
    We got to choose our seats, so I sat by the obviously popular kids. They just looked at me--and I waved. "I'm Elisa.  I moved here from a small town. Can you believe I got to eat at Taco Bell for the first time yesterday!"
    The main girl scooted to the side of her seat and said, "I can believe it." I bet she hated small towns, tacos AND tractors! I wanted to smooth things over--tell her how I'd already been rock climbing, how I could hike with the best of them and show those kids neat things! But then the teacher began rambling and no one could move. He talked about introductions and names. He made jokes that I politely laughed at--while smiling at the popular kids. It wasn't until he started talking about religion that my jaw dropped.
    "There are people in other states," he said, "that live in a faraway place called the Bible Belt. Those people believe strange things. They aren't Christians in the same sense that we are. I'd like to call them 'Born Again Crickets' because it's witty and they're like noisy bugs."
    Number one, I was raised as a Born Again Christian! Number two, you don't CLAIM to being witty.
    I felt like a gunman stood in the room. I could just invision that gunner saying, "If you believe in Jesus, stand up so I can shoot your brains out."  I'd have to stand or go to Hell.
    My knees knocked together for about two seconds, but time was wasting. God watched me and something had to be done.  At that moment, it wasn't just to save my soul.  It was to stand for what's right.  That man--that teacher--had made fun of me and that would not do. My path felt suddenly clear.  Being the young martyr I was always meant to be, I stood . . . and I DID NOT WAVE to the teacher.
    "Sir," I cleared my throat. "I don't like what you said because I . . . am a Born Again Cricket."
    Everyone gasped.  The kids looked from me to the teacher, then a few of them bust up laughing.  I was an instant hero--and the teacher didn't like me. I knew I'd have to fight for everything in that class. But you know what, the other kids thought I was pretty neat.     
    So, that's the day I realized it's good to stand up for what you believe in. Because being a Martyr isn't always bad. It can even buy you a ticket to Heaven in some countries.

    I was thinking about this because Melynda and I are going to talk at a few school this next month.  I can't tell this story--for obvious reasons--but it did remind me of something I can teach these kids.  When I'm talking about "The Sword of Senack," how to write, the power of believing in themselves etc.  I thought it might also be great to tell them to stand up for what they believe in.  Because really, there's nothing as cool as doing what's right.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Sword of Senack Has Been Published

Today is a big day for me. "The Sword of Senack" (my first fantasy novel) has been released and I'm so excited about this that I'm giving away a Kindle Fire to one of my lucky readers!

But the great news doesn't end there.
In addition to this, Wayman Publishing will be giving away $50, five signed copies of "The Sword of Senack" AND considering new talent for publication! Please check out The Senack Contest for more information about the art and writing contest.

Here's some info about my book,

Feel free to grab this code if you'd like to help spread the word.
Aliya Fisher knows nothing about her true heritage until a vindictive sorceress kidnaps her brother and sister. The young adventurer must take up her birthright, battle eerie creatures, and find the Sword of Senack if she hopes to best the witch. But even if Aliya finds the famed weapon and survives the perilous oceanic journey, the enchantress is far more than she appears. How does one defeat an immortal who lusts for revenge?

Why did I write this book?
As many of you know, my first book "The Golden Sky" is about my son who died.  Well, years after his death, my daughter struggled with the loss.  So I did the only thing I couldI got her mind off of things by telling her an epic fantasy about how her brother went into the ocean to find his one true love. My daughter followed, hoping to save him.  
    The story led to many adventures with pirates, witches, mermaids and leviathans.  As the saga grew with mysterious characters and twisted plots, my daughter and I somehow found peace through the symbolism and surprise ending.  Most people know none of this while reading the book, but I thought it might be neat for you to remember while reading the following excerpt.  It's amazing how one simple idea led to a four-part series.
    Note: I've called the Scribe "Aliya" and my son who passed away "Jack."  I hope you'll enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I pushed myself from the floor. Small holes ran down its length, and fog piped from them. 
    "Hello?" I said into the haze. "Hello? Is anyone there?"
    "Aliya? Is that you?" Jack asked.
    "I thought you were dead!" I shouted, then rushed through the fog, closer to the sound of his voice. I plowed into my brother. "Jack, you’re alive. You’re okay. Don’t leave me. Do you hear me? Never again!"
    I should have known something was wrong. I should have known. He hugged me back and laughed in spite of himself. "I feel like I’ve been waiting to see you . . . forever. We left home so long ago," he said.
    I looked around. "Where are we?" I asked, releasing him from the hug, but grasping his hands, unwilling to let him go completely. The fog billowed so thickly that I couldn’t even see my own wrist. A strange foreboding crept into my mind.
    "Aliya," Jack said, "I think we’re dead." At the mention of death, the fog reversed its flow. The air cleared until I saw everything around us. The room was quiet. We were in the very center of what appeared to be a meeting hall. Many creatures sat around in a large circle.
    "We have met here to witness the fate of these two mortals—Jack and Aliya Fisher," a Mer-son said. He had fish-like eyes and a square jaw. "We are those who have witnessed their actions while under the water, and we are the ones who may allow them a second chance at life. This is allowed only because a great evil is amassing, and the oceans may need these children."
wore a dark cloak and held a thick staff. He sat in the largest chair, and as his skin caught the light, it shone so brilliantly that it dazzled my eyes. Many of the creatures around him had fish tails, and although they sat in a waterless room, they appeared to breathe quite easily.
    I tried acting brave, remembering stories about the afterlife. I moved forward.  "Did we really die?"
    "Back to your place," an old Mer-son woman commanded. I remembered seeing her somewhere during my time in Malinia.
    "You are not dead, at least not completely," the man said as he looked from me to Jack. "We call this place the Eve of Death, and you are here because a choice awaits you. There are two doors at the side of this room, two different destinies. One door will lead you back to Deltre, to your bodies, but the other door leads to Gault
a Mer-son’s Hell."
    I studied the doors. The left one shone bright and golden with emeralds and rubies, while the right door’s tarnished surface spoke of death and pain. The latter one had a strange feel to it, and a putrid wind blew through a crack beneath it, as if sending poisonous gas into the room.
    "I cannot tell you which door leads where," the leader continued, "Only you can decide that."
    Jack’s brow furrowed and he looked at me. "Do you think there’s a trick to it?" he asked.
    "I’m not sure," I said. 
    "There is one consolation," a Mer-son said, "if you do not choose to open a door, then you can go with us to the place beyond reproach." He tapped his fingers on the arm of his chair. "But know, if you stay, your body in Deltre will perish."
    "I want to go back," Jack said. 
    "As do I," I added.
    "But is it worth the risk? What if we choose the wrong door?" Jack asked, and a silent worry ran between us.
    The leader cleared his throat. "You must choose, for the longer you stay here, the closer you are to death."
I could almost taste the finality of his statement. I turned to the doors, and as if by chance, a butterfly fluttered from the bottom of the ugly one.
    "A butterfly," I said, shuddering, thinking of the choice before us. I’d thought that door led to Gault, but now I thought we must go through it.
    "Butterflies stand for deception," an old Mer-son woman said before cackling.
    "I still want to go back," I said, "our family
needs us. Even though the risks are high, my mother needs me."
    "We'll do this," Jack said, "together." 
    I walked to the disfigured door, the one speaking of death and pain, the one standing to the side of the beautiful golden door.     
    "What are you doing?" Jack asked. "I’ll bet anything that leads to Gault. It doesn’t look like the door to someplace nice."
    "But it’s the way to Deltre," I said. Green wind swirled from under the bottom of the one I wanted to open. It smelled so horrible that I wrinkled my nose.
    "That ugly one isn’t the right door," Jack insisted, placing his hand on the jeweled one. As he was about to grasp its knob, my hand shot to the deformed door next to it. If the butterfly stood for deception, maybe the richly decorated door was a trick.
    "You can’t have death without life," I said, and flung the unsightly door open. The greenness beyond it pulled Jack and me into the opening. As we fell, still hand in hand, through the door, I wondered why I’d thought the smell was so awful before.

I'd like to thank these wonderful bloggers who have helped me spread the word about my book:

Been there, done that

The Blog Starts Here

Coming Home to Myself

Crazy World

K. T. Hanna

My Life in Writing

Odie Langley

Padded Cell Confessions

Paige Kellerman

The Poptart Manifesto

Rhyme Time (who's having a book launch today too) ;)

Vive le Nerd


If you've posted something for this event, 

please let me know and I'll include your name on this list.

Now . . . onto the giveaway!
How to Enter to win the Kindle Fire

Please make sure to follow the Rafflecopter rules below. You must complete the MANDATORY entries to reveal 82 more easy, possible ways to earn entry points towards the Prize. Please remember, the more entry points you gain, the better your chances are of winning. So Good Luck!

The hosts for this giveaway are:

1) The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom
2) voiceBoks - The Voice of Parenthood
3) Makobi Scribe
4) WikiMommy - The Information Site for All Things Mommyhood
5) Just Married with Coupons
6) Simply Stacie - Product + Book Reviews, Giveaways, and more!
7) Sassy Mama in L.A.
8) About a Mom Blog
9) Planet Weidknecht
10) Coming Home to Myself
11) It's Rhyme Time
12) Good Steward Savers
13) Sweep Tight
14) Moms with Voices Media

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click on this picture to visit my author site:
Please feel free to browse around, 
check out my upcoming books and projects--just have fun.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Hippie and The Swashbuckle Chuckle

    When the Hippie's teacher announced that any second grader who could read 100 books this year would get a prize, the Hippie marked it on her calender.  
    She has this crazy calender with EVERYTHING written on it. 
5:59 . . . wake up.   
6:15 . . . really wake up.  
6:30 . . . eat.  
 7:00 . . . brush teeth.  
7:30 . . . read.  
    The Hippie is on a rigid self-imposed schedule and she even figured how much to read each day to attain her 100 book goal.  Now, at the age of seven I hardly even knew what time it was, let alone when exactly I should do certain things.  She must get this from Cade.
    Anyway, every day since the first of the year, I've heard about her reading progress.  
"I read two chapters."  
"I've read five books!"  
    For every chapter book she read, she had to take a test at school.  Soon, I heard how the tests were going and how close she was to her goal.  At dinner she read instead of ate.  At night she stayed up reading--WHEN SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ASLEEP.  There were piles of books in the bathroom and the kitchen.  I couldn't get away from her goal!
    Well, this March, the time finally came when she went to school and I knew she was almost done with her final book.  I couldn't wait to see her face when she came out of school and told me about it.
    But I was in for a surprise.  When the Hippie trudged from school that day, she said in a monotone, "I read 100 books."
    "And that's great, Honey!"
    "Yeah." She frowned.  "Would you like to know what they gave me for a prize?"
    I know it's terrible and I shouldn't have felt a giggle coming on.  The point was I KNEW it would be funny and I couldn't imagine what she'd gotten.
    "I read 100 books. . . .  Hours of my life are gone," she took a deep breath, "for a cheap . . . off-brand . . . soda."  She took a sip of it.  "I don't even like it."  When we got home, she set the soda on the counter and started walking away.
    "Oh, Hon.  You should try to get your mind off of it.  Ummm . . . reading always makes you happy.  Do you want to read something?"
    "Seriously?  Really?  Mom . . . I hate reading now.  If school has taught me anything, it's that reading does not pay off."
    Her eyes were so big--so darling.  I would make it up to her somehow.  I just couldn't believe that's all they gave her.
    So, I told a few people what happened.  One amazing woman--Dee--sent the Hippie five dollars in ones.  A genius AND a sweetheart--Janie's daughter--sent the Hippie a piggie bank from France!  Fishducky sent the Hippie and the Scribe their names in stained glass!
She's sooooo talented!

    I was amazed by this generosity and so was the Hippie.  "Hon, this is amazing!" I said.  "Everyone loves you and is so proud."
    "I know."  She leaned back into the couch and sighed with contentment.  "And to think . . . I've never been so happy about just getting a soda in all of my life.  Those people made everything worth it!"

    I laughed and then turned on my iPad.  That same night, we got a new book from Pat Hatt.  "You wanna read?"
    "Absolutely not," she said, sitting up--healing from the wound only a soda can deliver!
    "But it's by Pat Hatt."
    "Really?!  Well, maybe I'll listen, but only if it's Pat Hatt."
    The point is, we've read two of Pat's novels and the girls LOVE them.
    As I started the eBook, the Hippie's smile spread.  She slowly leaned closer.  It was so darling--SO WITTY--the kids made me read it to them five times!
    "I want this on my bookshelf," the Hippie said.  "Can you get a copy in the mail?"
    "Sure . . . but wait, you said you hate reading. . . ."
    "Well, maybe I'll bend the rules this once.  If every book was like this, then I might consider reading again."
    "Consider it, huh?  Maybe even read another hundred books?" I asked.
    She just looked at me.  "That depends, if those sweet people keep believing in me, then maybe I will.  They made it worth it."
    That night, she asked if she could borrow the iPad before going to bed.  When it was a little past the time to go to sleep, a light shone under her door and when I came in, the Hippie had fallen asleep, reading "The Swashbuckle Chuckle" for the millionth time.  I had to laugh because she'd gone to sleep AFTER the time allotted on her calender--that was practically a sin as far as she thinks.  
    So, maybe she won't read 100 books in a year again, but I'm willing to bet, she might read the same book 100 times.
    It's neat how an amazing book can restore a kid's love of reading.

For more info about "The Swashbuckle Chuckle," please click on this picture:


The Swashbuckle Chuckle

For more info about Pat Hatt, the author, please click HERE.

P. S. Don't forget that my big book launch for "The Sword of Senack" is tomorrow. If you'd like to write something about it, please let me know and I'll include a link to your post on my blog tomorrow.