Selkies' Skins

Selkies' Skins
Current book in series Temple and Skinquest. Enjoy Castle and Well from Amazon, B&N and Smashwords while waiting for that and the prequel's audiobook "Pearls of Sea and Stone: Book of Seals".

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Underlighters by Michelle Browne is available!

We have another guest post (we are drawing to the end of them for awhile unless someone would like slipped into the lineup). Today we spend a little time with Michelle Browne. She's fun, she's funny, she's sometimes flashy, and she's also one of the editors I recommend.

August 30th: the Dust is here! Now available exclusively on Kindle and in print—The Underlighters!

Buy from Michelle Browne’s author page here:

The Underlighters

Nightmares are bleeding into her waking world. Children are going missing. To save them, she must overcome her wreck of a personal life and a closet full of skeletons. She doesn’t know if the horrors in the shadows are real...or if she is going mad.

18-year-old Janelle Cohen is an electrician in an underground city. The world above has been swallowed by mind-destroying Dust. Her small life changes forever when a dragon attacks her on the way home from work.

Her friends worry that she has the Fever, Dust-induced insanity. As more monsters strike down citizens, they change their minds. A terrifying trip to the surface of the world, the ancient and abandoned Up, deepens the nightmare. With no world left above, she and the other Crows cannot afford to fail…

5 stars: “…You will be rewarded with a dive into the depths of imagination that may leave you questioning, breathless and inspired.” –

5 stars: “… Engaging, ground breaking prose that is not afraid to test the reader’s boundaries. “—Sara Celi

5 stars: “…A wonderful read that is full of life, nightmares, fear, and dreams.” –Casey Peeler

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for an exclusive chance to win a very exclusive prize pack! Three winners will be selected…don’t miss out!

Art by Kit Foster, © 2013. used with permission of the artist.

Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Guest Post: Dan O'Brien with "The Hobbes Family"

Dan is touring again. This time he's visiting us with his book "The Hobbes Family." I don't know about you, but I like the stone building on this cover. Let's all settle in, get cozy, maybe have a cup of something sweet and smooth, and hear about the book.

Welcome to the third day of the Hobbes Family blog tour. It will run until September 2nd and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this strange world:

The world had ended abruptly and without warning. How will a family navigate a world that seems bent on destroying them? Follow them in this exciting new serial adventure.

A few questions for the author:

What’s the thing you’re most satisfied with?

I am most satisfied with continuing to move forward in pursuit of my dreams. I love writing and I love helping people see their work in print (or digitally) and I could not be happier with the way it makes me feel.

When was the last time you laughed and what did you laugh at?

It was probably some comedy on TV. I am easily amused, though I don't always laugh until I cry. Honestly, I can't recall.

Are you doing anything which makes you and people around you happy?

Pursuing what I love makes me happier, and therefore makes the people who love me happy. Starting a consulting business and putting together an anthology have really helped other writers feel happy about their dream to be published.

Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:

As Michael looked out the broken window of the convenience store, he recalled the last remnants of humanity that been flushed from him like so much waste that day. 

Winter had set in. 

The tall blue oaks that surrounded the building on two sides were dusted with frost; the ground was an amalgam of crystal sheets broken only by brave stalks of undergrowth that dared the frigid touch of the gales. 

The interior of the building would not serve as a long-term solution. However, it would be useful until the weather broke. 

The trek out of the suburban areas, even ones as small as those in the Sacramento Valley, had begun in the family Subaru. Highway 99 had been so congested, so overrun with smoldering and abandoned vehicles that the Hobbes family was forced to make the remainder of the trek on foot. Winter had not been as absurd as it had been during the past month. Often the snow levels came down into the valley for a day, sprinkling unsuspecting areas with brief, beautiful moments of frozen precipitation. 

This was different. 

A storm had settled in the valley, trapped and angry. 

When the sun managed to peek through the clouds above, there was a moment when it almost felt bearable. But the great star was soon obfuscated behind a gray wall once more, bloated and teeming with fury as a fresh zephyr of snow and blinding particulates dragged the valley. 

Before the fall of civilization, Susanna had begun to gain a little weight; the difference now was drastic. Her high cheekbones were prominent and the sallowness of her cheeks from periodic starvation saddened Michael as much as he was capable. 

He had not fared much better. 

His beard had grown in with dark clumps and gray patches that had no doubt taken residence from the stress that had become everyday life. His neat hair had become bedraggled and curly in places despite its length. Had it been on purpose, he could have imagined Susanna running her long fingers through it and calling it cute.

The store had weathered the apocalypse. 

Shelves remained intact for the most part, though they were barren fields. The coolers had been left open and the power had long since faded. Overturned cans, smashed and left for dead, littered the floor. 

It had served as a last stand for someone. 

The doors and windows were adorned with long wooden planks cast in random patterns. A length of coiled chain looped through the front doors––chime removed. The open register was a dusty beach before the sunglasses tree, broken lenses covering the counter. 

Susanna approached slowly. 

Clara walked beside her mother in silence. 

As they neared Michael, the young girl reached out her arms and wrapped them around her father’s neck. Patting her back, he felt emotion surge in for just a brief moment. He pushed it down and looked at the wide eyes of his wife––the distance there saddened him.

She had been vibrant before the world went to shit. 

Susanna had what could modestly be called a sunny disposition. She was always laughing and hugging people, a bright smile painted on her simple features. That beauty made her perfect in a way that Michael could never properly articulate, especially now that such simple joy was gray-washed by despair. 

Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here:

All of his books are only 99 cents on Kindle right now!

Download Hobbes Family for free on Kindle from 8/28 until 9/1!

Would you like to win a Kindle Fire?

Visit and follow the blog for a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Author Spotlight: John Krauss (Grease Coakes)

Author Interview

Today I’d like for the blog visitors to meet one of the wonderful authors that are published or otherwise assisted by THG StarDragon Publishing. Each of those authors has come to me with their own story and in their own ways, and it has been a pleasure working with them. For this post I’d like to introduce John Krauss, AKA Grease Coakes from Second Life. John is the author of the Ginny Griffin series, currently consisting of "Ginny's First Day of School" and "Ginny and Her Friends."

Sorry that I didn't conduct this in SL, Grease. That would have been fun, but I wanted to give you some time to mull over your answers if you needed to...instead of staring at you through dragon eyes and with sharp horns. My main avatar for some reason seems to scare off and/or unnerve people. I guess even an anthropomorphic Japanese dragon in miko's garb does not always translate as "just another being on the shrine personnel roles." Pictures like you did for the Tarot interview and the Divine Inspirations writing party would have been a cool thing, in hindsight.
  • What got you started in writing?

    I don’t know. When I was a kid I wrote a story based off the NES game Dragon Warrior where the hero actually entered the mouth of a living dragon. I wrote some in high school,but I recently picked it back up.
  • How did you find THG StarDragon Publishing?

    I met the Second Life avatar of Teresa Garcia,  who is Amehana Ishtari, and peeked at her profile. Lo and behold, she offered Tarot card readings so I asked her about that and she was glad to give me a reading.

  • What is your favorite subject to write about?

    Fantasy, and the universe of Ginny Griffin,  which I try to write as an alternate real world except instead of humans everyone is a furry.

    Teresa: For those that do not know what a furry is, those are people that are fans of anthropomorphic characters, such as kitsune, dragon shifters, anime characters with animal features, and even fans of the Bearenstein bears can be classed as furry fans. A lot goes into the furry community, despite some of its less savory reputations. More accurately though this can also a subculture, not just a fandom. If one were to go to a furry convention you might be able to see people in fursuits. I've never gone to one, but I'd like to some day.

    The furry subculture does have some crossover with the otherkin subculture, but the otherkin subculture focuses more on spirituality that can be applied and a feeling of being more animal-like than human. I suggest looking into Lupa's writings on Otherkin and therioshamanism if you are looking for reliable information, or the Otherkin News group on LiveJournal.

  • Other than writing, what sort of things do you like to do?

    I like meditation, role-playing, and playing video games. I also enjoy watching reruns of Star Trek the Next Generation. The series debuted when I was 10. I came late to dinner once when the episode was still running. (No! I have to keep watching to see what happens!)

  • Do you have any favorite books or authors?

    When I was growing up I liked reading Piers Anthony, and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of time series was amazing to read. I picked up the "Black Gryphon" by Mercedes Lackey and that was a good read. Just recently I read the Dark Griffin series by KJ Taylor, that was a good read for three books.

  • What do you feel are your influences?

    Reading lots of fantasy books and I remember Richard scary books with the animal characters. I thought that was neat, animals with a human personalty and intelligence. Also The Black Gryphon where the griffins had a sentience along with human or higher intelligence. Could you imagine if that was part of our day to day activities where you could interact and speak with animals of any species?

    Teresa: That would be awesome. I have had several cats that could say some "words" in context, only using them when getting the attention of certain people (as in seeming to label them with the sound). My daughter's service cat Lightning would certainly be having even more adventures (and probably telling embarrassing stories when fetching help). Ever seen an actual cat try to feed his sick person soup while Mom's out of the room for a second? With the way science progresses, maybe we just might get flying cars and talking animal-people.

  • What is the most important message that you want readers to find in your books?

    The stories I write for "tail sales" are there for entertainment. But I guess the children’s story I wrote, "Ginny Griffin’s First Day of School" is also how Ginny has to keep fighting and how she’s able to do that with her new friends.

    Teresa: I thought there were a few other lessons in your story when I read it. I think that you did a good job of conveying this lesson you've told us of in the book. My daughter could have used that story several years ago.

  • Do you prefer to write on paper, or do you prefer to type on the computer?

    Computer. I make lots of mistakes, and I’m not blond... I don’t put white out on my screen. lol

    Teresa: I'm glad that you don't. Can you imagine how hard that would have made it for the proofreaders if you'd done that? I'd have smacked you if you'd sent me back a copy that hadn't been fixed when I was helping with that. I'm sure I've got a smacker somewhere in my SL inventory since I've got a kiss/hug tool. x.x If I don't I should remedy that just for laughs. (Publisher note: THG StarDragon recognizes very well the dangers of stereotypes, Teresa having grown up under some. In all actuality, one of our authors is blond, in addition to at least one person who has submitted to "The Dragons' Beads Anthology.")

  • Do you do anything special to get in the writing mood?

    I pop my second life avatar at a human club and turn on the music stream, or listen to one of my CD/s or music mixes and start writing.

    Teresa: Ha! So that's what you do. One of these days we ought to set up a writer's party at the Arashiryuu Yashiro Kami-ya. Maybe you could DJ us a stream of your favorite writing tunes, and I can pop that stream addy into the music slot for during that time. Ame-no-Uzume is the patron kami of dancers and entertainment, and writing falls under that heading. We could call it the Divine Inspiration Party, and those so minded can think of it as an offering to Okamisama, while those that are just there for music and to write could do so. I'll have to talk to you about this later.

  • What is your favorite place in the whole world?

    Ohio and Kentucky, but Illinois I will avoid at all costs.

  • Which of your books was your favorite to write? Is there any special story about writing the book, or an experience, that you’d like to share?

    I just wrote the one children’s book, so far I hope to write a sequel in the near future. I liked writing that pirate story. That was a fun adventure I wrote for Tonve as he bought my writing services. It was a good balance of romance and adventure. And one of the main characters got justice served in a good way to her.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to tell us while we’re visiting with you?

    Keep writing about whatever subject you like,  even if it’s bizarre. Even if you write for yourself and the heart and make sure your story is grammatically correct—no typos. etc.—someone may like your idea.
    Oh and if you’re in a RP sim called Cadair in Second Life don’t follow the Minotaur she had Mad Cow disease.

    Teresa: o.O Yipe! Had or has? I will remember this sage advice next time I have the time and energy to explore around SL. I should set aside some time to do so before the next semester of university takes away the time.

  • Do you mind if the publisher shares a short excerpt of one of your books to introduce the visitors here to your writing style? 

    Yes, from my children’s book.

    Ginny Griffin's First Day of School
    Chapter One

      Ginny and her parents just moved from Randyville to the new town of Spoonville because Phil Griffin, her father, was an aeronautics engineer. This allowed the Griffin family to buy a new house and move to a new neighborhood. Phil Griffin is a jet black griffin with brown eyes. Even among griffins Phil was large, he towered over his wife and his daughter which made him scary looking. However Phil was easy going and not one to start any fights or violence.

      The front half of the body is that of an eagle while the lower half is a lion.

      Glenda Griffin was shorter, yet compared to other adult animals she was still tall and a darker shade of pink than her daughter, Ginny. Ginny had taken some tests the day before at the new elementary school, called Spoonville Elementary and Middle school. Like her parents she was very intelligent, so they allowed her to skip a grade from second to the third grade. It was the Sunday before Ginny's first Monday of school in early September.

      Ginny exclaimed, “But Dad I'm scared to go to school. I won't know any of the kids there! They will probably ignore me! Or worse, they will make fun of me!”

      “Nonsense!” began Glenda Griffin, "It’s true there are not many griffins in the world, however those who treasure uniqueness, and a good lady as yourself, will find a new friend, perhaps a few new friends.”

    “You're a smart girl Ginny.” added her father. “Even if there are animal people who do not treat you kindly, there will always be cubs there to treasure you as a friend and stand up for you.” 

      Ginny felt a little better but not very sure about the new school day tomorrow. She ran to hug her Glenda as pink hugged pink. Ginny was bright sure, but she could be shy at times and not exactly brave; despite griffins being brave like the stories humankind wrote about them.

      Ginny released herself from her mother's hug as her beak went up in a sudden thought. “I know Mommy, I could bring my Movie Star “Diva Vixen doll."

      Phil closed his eyes in a frown. “You know Ginny, maybe you could go to school without your doll for once. You're turning into a big girl now; you're probably taller than a lot of children there.”

      Ginny herself was 5'5 as she just turned seven on July 11th. She was slender and not very physically strong, but still probably bigger than foxes, hyenas and the like. Only horses and dragons would outsize her.

      Glenda Griffin disagreed. “You know, Phil maybe she could stop bringing her doll later on. But for tomorrow I think her Movie Star Diva Vixen doll would keep her safe.” Glenda winked in Ginny's direction while speaking. “Ginny is going to a brand new school and she needs all the support she can get.” Glenda looked at Phil with a gentle but victorious stare at the end of her sentence. Ginny loved both her parents but her mother even more since she always sided with her. She wondered why her mother always won... Not that she complained.

      Phil sighed and closed his eyes “OK, OK... Ginny can go to school with her Diva Vixen doll with her tomorrow, but! You do realize you can't go around with that doll all your life Ginny. One of these days you won't need it as much or at all.”

      Ginny's eyes brightened in glee. “Thank you mommy!” She ran to kiss her mommy with an eagle peck on the cheek then she ran to her red and pink room and found her Movie Star Diva Vixen star doll, complete with “Diva Vixen backpack.”

      After dinner, Ginny finished packing notebooks and pencils into her Diva Vixen backpack. She watched the TV show Fatal Clues with her family. Each episode the heroine Dana Dog narrowly escapes death while solving the crime and foiling the criminals. All three of the griffins took guesses at who the killer was. Glenda was right as it happened to be the owner of the car-dealership.

      “I wish I was brave as Dana Dog” said Ginny “She always confronts the criminals even when she could get killed.” 

      “You know this is just a television show,” spoke Phil. “TV is just there to entertain us. It's not real. You don't have to be brave as her; you can still be a brave woman when you grow up in different ways.”

    Glenda said, “That's right honey we’d be scared silly if you decided to chase down killers after school. TV is just fantasy made up stuff... it's there to watch sometimes but not all the time for entertainment.”

      At 9 PM after the show, Ginny began to feel tired and her parents said it was time for bed. Ginny was still anxious about school the next day said, "No." Her parents were firm and said it was bedtime anyway; Phil said he needed sleep for his first day at work, and Glenda wanted to look for a part or maybe full time job. All the Griffins would be busy the next day.

      “How about this?” suggested Glenda. “I doubt I will find a new job right away, so tomorrow after school I could take you shopping for a new kite.” 

      “Really?” squealed Ginny. Her old pink kite with red hearts she had since she was six was tattered with holes and faded from use.  

      Glenda nodded. “Yes, but only if you go to bed.”

      “Okay Mommy, I'll go to bed." Said Ginny as she rolled her eyes like a seven year old would. Ginny got the hint and indeed went to bed, but did not go to sleep. She changed into her light purple pajamas with flowers. 

      Sitting Indian style on her small bed, she began to play "Monster Mayhem" on her Game Pal. She had heard other kids say that there was over 350 monsters to get on the game and she had all of 40 monsters. Her monsters were not that great; like Rotted plant and Musketeer Fox. Her favorite monster of all 3 in her team was the Tan griffin (well of course, as she was a griffin herself!) which wasn't a bad monster to have mid-way through the game. After playing for an hour she began to drift to sleep. She saved her progress in the game and went to bed.

Thanks for this visit and telling us about you and your books. After what we've talked about in other conversations I hope that you get around to another Ginny Griffin story soon.

To find this author’s works:

The Lulu paperback is available at:

The ebook version is available at:

You can also follow his adventures as Grease Coakes by watching for his reports at the Second Life Newser.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Selkies' Skins, Chapter 26: The Mark (part 1)

Earlier today (well, yesterday now) I made the first part of chapter 26 available for the webnovel version of "Selkies' Skins." Here our young half-selkie waterwitch somewhat works together with her rival against one of the Finmen that has plagued her childhood. How does this encounter pan out?

Friday, August 23, 2013

John Krauss and "Ginny Griffin and Friends" in the SL Newser

John Krauss, a personal friend and a client of mine for both editing and spiritual consultations, has been interviewed again for the SL Newser's People section. This interview centers around his latest children's story, "Ginny Griffin and Friends," which is the second in his Ginny Griffin series.

In his series he tells a story of life in a world where a different turn of events followed after World War II, from the children's point of view – specifically Ginny's. What is life like in a world with no more war, where money instead goes to science and education. I was very pleased to go over his manuscript with him when he provided it for feedback and proofing.

Go chat with John Krauss (Grease Coakes in Second Life) and see what he has to say. John will also have an interview coming to this blog in the not too far future.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Guest Post: Mondays with Mephistopheles by Dan O'Brien

Welcome to the fourth day of the Mondays with Mephistopheles: 9am - Rhys blog tour. It will run until August 9th and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this strange world:

Abraham Rogers has an unusual psychotherapy practice: monsters. This first installment is a session with Rhys, the IT vampire who can’t quite connect with the modern world the way he would like.

A few questions for the author:

What do you want from life?

To achieve my goals. I have been moving in that direction and it feels good to stay determined and persevere. I keep making new goals, which will make sure that I am always pursing something. I just want to continue doing what I want to do....

If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?

Is an infinite number of wishes on the table? If so, then that. Otherwise, wisdom, patience, and clarity.

What three things would you take to a Desert Island?

My Kindle with all of my books (I can fashion a charging station out of a pineapple. Don't believe me? Search YouTube), my wife, and my survival bag.

Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:

Abe knew that Rhys suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder, though it was more likely a bout of generalized anxiety tied to some kind of recent drama. 

It had taken Abe several sessions to become accustomed to the idiosyncratic behavior of the moody child of the night. As a psychologist he was supposed to remain composed, but the first few sessions bordered on frightening. 

Rhys had on more than one occasion threatened him with bloodletting if he continued down a particular course of questioning. This passed as the vampire soon revealed his aversion to the sight of blood and the passion with which he dreaded violence. 

“What of social engagements?”

Rhys collected himself before speaking. “In 400 years I have bedded many women, but Eileen was different. She was unfettered by my flights of sorrow. At first she thought it was going to be blood and bondage, but she soon saw that we are just bored with this world.”

“We have not spoken of Eileen in some time, Rhys. Have you done what I suggested?”

“Go out and meet people. Are you quite mad?”

Abe and Rhys came to this point often. “You came to me because you wished to overcome some of your fears, some of the things that were holding you back. You asked me to treat you as any other patient because the alienation and loneliness was at the very center of your concerns.”

Rhys nodded and motioned with his hands. “Do not get flustered. I recall what I said.”

“Very good. So have you?”

“I created a profile on one of this computer dating sites. That is not how a man met a woman in my time.”

Abe smiled. “Things have indeed changed.”

“I get these messages from women wondering if I am a goth or if I am an Anne Rice fan. I find the process disgusting.”

“Disgusting how?”

“I am not a literary character beholden to some novelist somewhere.”

“Do you take offense to the portrayal of your kind in the media? In fiction?”

Rhys leaned back into the couch, his reed-like frame consumed by the cushions. “Not all of them. Stoker did not terribly displease me. I prefer Mrs. Rice’s portrayal of my people, even if we are not as refined and romantic as the masses would hope. These sparkly, brooding types obsessed with teenagers paint us as horny men incapable of satiating our lust for youth. A terrible literary metaphor if I have ever seen one.”

Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here:

All of his books are only 99 cents on Kindle right now!

Download Mondays with Mephistopheles for free on Kindle from 8/21 until 8/25!

Would you like to win a Kindle Fire?

Visit and follow the blog for a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What the winner of the last drawing has to say about Call of the Kami

I thought that I would share what John Krauss ("Ginny's First Day at School" and "Ginny and Her Friends") had to say about the audio version of "Call of the Kami." He also had a few words to say about "Dragon Shaman Book One: Taming the Blowing Wind."
Amazon Review

He left this note on my Facebook profile after I shared his review on my wall.
John Krauss I was actully writing while listening to "Call of the kami the audio version." the kami must of helped with my writing. ^.-
What a lovely compliment. I am glad that it was such a pleasure to listen to. I am very glad that you enjoyed your prize from the drawing.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Guest Post: Dan O'Brien and "The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow"

Dan O'Brien returns to us yet again to tell us a bit more about himself and to share a bit of his book The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow.

Welcome to the fifth day of The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow blog tour. It will run until August 17th and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this strange world:

A plague has covered the land, a single word on the lips of the frightened masses: the Widow. Washing a wave of terror over the countryside and then disappearing like a thief in the night, the Widow holds a kingdom in the palm of her hand. The eyes of Chaos have settled on Prima Terra and heroes must rise. Xeno Lobo, enigmatic and cryptic, hunts the Widow, seeking an object taken from him years before. Will he be able to stem the tide of violence and horror that sweeps the land?

A few questions for the author:

Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?

I make as many decisions as possible. There are always some elements of your life that are out of your control. It is those select few options that appear to be out of reach, but are in fact just scary and push you out of your comfort zone. Those are the choices that you desperately need to make. Too often we do what we think we should do, and miss out on what we love to do. 

Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

A fantasy novella: The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow. A rip-roaring adventure that doesn't stop moving until you read the last line. 

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

I like to think that everyone will enjoy my books, but the reality is that reading is highly subjective. Readers who enjoy fantasy, especially the sword-and-sorcery variety, will not be disappointed. 

Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:

The guest quarters were fit for royalty. 

The bed was a construction of pure mastery. 

The four corners were pillars of ivory that strangled their way into one another. At the top was a grand canopy of linens. The sheets were sewn of the finest silks and were plentiful in the wake of the extreme cold that had gripped the lands. Xeno lay surrounded in the sheets, his body writhing in a nightmare. His arms flailed and his head shook from side to side. 

Muttering, it was the incoherent rambling of sleep. 

The remainder of room was darkness, except the dwindling flame at the side of the bed encased within the iron-cased lamp. The cold winds manipulated the fire like a dancer as the warrior slept. 

The door to the chambers opened slightly. 

Shadows of the hall merged with that of the room. The figure that accompanied the shadow slithered, as if without form. 

Xeno remained undisturbed. 

His mind was still trapped in whatever nightmarish world gripped it. As the shadow neared, the gaunt, featureless face of an imp moved close to the bed. Its wicked fingers gripped a ragged, curved blade. 

Xeno mumbled in his sleep as the creature crept close. Its pale, sickly features curved into a grin of malevolence as it hovered above Xeno. Drawing the thin edge above its head, the imp prepared to plunge the blade into the slumbering warrior’s chest. 

The moon shone behind the listless clouds that drifted by lazily. As the imp brought the blade above its head, the metal glinted in the moonlight and flashed across Xeno’s face, waking him in an instant. The imp screeched and slammed the blade down. It was too late. Xeno rolled and drew his blade from the table at the bedside. 

What in the name of Exodus?” roared Xeno as he brandished the blade. The imp thrashed about the bed linens, spitting and growling like the feral creature of the night that it was. The creature stopped upon hearing Xeno’s voice and cocked its head to the side. Its eyes glazed as it watched the warrior standing there. 

Kill––the––warrior Xeno,” gargled the beast as it leapt from the bed. Approaching Xeno, it slashed at the air with its savage edge. It moved like a beast upon four legs as it rushed toward the warrior. 

Xeno swung his blade from the ground into the air with a deep arc, tearing the creature in two as it leapt. It squealed as it crashed back into the bed and convulsed momentarily, until it moved no more. 

The blood pooled on the sheets. 

Xeno sighed and moved toward the bed. 

The half-light of the moon provided the only visibility; the torch had long since burned down to embers. Moments passed and Xeno felt the pressure of the solitude and silence of the massive castle and the halls that lined it. 

The door burst open, revealing light from deeper within the recesses of the edifice. Hooded, shadowed figures emerged, their motions hurried and confused. 

Xeno strapped his sheath along his back once again and pulled the straps tight, the leather groaning as it gripped against his back and along his chest. He pulled his cloak and wool shirt from the side table as Verifal approached, flanked by Gaition and three faceless guardians of Me’lein. 

Master Xeno, what happened?” queried the sleepy king as he surveyed the room. 

The imp lay in blood. 

Xeno sat in light of the moon. 

He smirked and placed the blades into their hidden sheaths around his waist. He sighed at king. “That is a question I hoped you would answer,” replied Xeno as he pushed past Verifal and into the hallway just outside his room. 

The corridor stretched far into the darkness. People had gathered because of the commotion. They ambled about like cattle in a pasture, waiting for a command, a reason. 

What are you saying?” began the king. 

I’m not saying anything,” interrupted Xeno as he leaned back into the room and glared at Gaition as he passed. The attendant lowered his head as he met the hateful gaze of the traveling warrior. 

Xeno made his way across the room to the opposite end, his head peering out the stone window, looking to the darkened forest below. Shaking his head, he watched as the guards crossed paths and circled around the corner once again. “How many guards are posted along the outer wall?” 

Seven. Two at the gates and five roaming along the wall,” replied Uthen. 

And inside the castle?” 

At least ten or twelve more depending on the hour of the night,” replied Uthen once again as he leaned against the wall. 

What are you driving at, Master Warrior?” queried Verifal suspiciously. His regal robes were pulled tight around his frame, combating the biting cold of the night. 

Unless you are in the practice of keeping forest imps within the castle walls,” began Xeno. Turning with an accusing finger, he continued. “If that is not the case, then an imp with about as much intelligence as a stone wall managed to sneak past almost twenty guards and into my room without even the slightest bit of notice.” 

Are you saying that someone let it in?” queried Uthen trying to follow Xeno’s train of logic. 

Xeno shrugged and looked from the king to Uthen, to the cowering Gaition. “It knew my name. It spoke it before I put an end to its life,” finished Xeno with a sigh. 

It spoke your name? You must be mistaken,” burst out Gaition. It was the first time he had spoken since coming upon the scene. 

You doubt my word,” returned Xeno, his anger seething. It seemed to rise from his person. 

No, it is not that. It is merely….” stammered Gaition, backing away from the angst and venom in Xeno’s words. Uthen glowered at Gaition, and then looked to the astonishment on Verifal’s face. 

Verifal could feel the mounting tension and stepped forward quickly. “This cannot be decided here tonight. We will convene in the morning and discuss this further. Let us leave it until then.” 

Will that be alright, Master Xeno?” queried Uthen, turning toward the hunter. 

Fine, in the morning I leave for the north. I leave these matters to your court.” Xeno turned away from the congregation and looked out the stone window, out into the darkness that held both secrets and truths. 

Verifal motioned for the guards to leave and he followed them, flanked by Uthen and Gaition’s shrouded figure. Leaving Xeno to the solitude and soiled sheets, he would see no more sleep that night.

Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World PlaylistBittenThe JourneyThe Ocean and the HourglassThe Path of the FallenThe Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here:

All of his books are only 99 cents on Kindle right now!

Download The Twins of Devonshire and the Curse of the Widow for free on Kindle from 8/13 until 8/17!

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Progress on manuscripts will be slower for a few days.

This week is going to be a busy one for me. I've got the latest installment of Selkies' Skins up (Chapter 25, part 3).

I have editing on several projects to do, health appointments, spiritual consultations to do, a baby blessing AND a wedding to officiate this weekend. Talk about a ride! The wedding itself will be extremely exciting as my daughter will be assisting me with the ceremony for authors Scott Harper and Desiree Lee. So, if anyone calls the house and I don't return the call swiftly, then it is because I'm away from the phone.

Teresa Garcia Interviewed for Nuclear Winter Entertainment

I was recently interviewed by best selling author Scott Harper for Nuclear Winter Entertainment. I'm also going to be officiating his wedding very, very soon. So how did the interview go? What was asked, since everyone has their own questions?

 Click me to read and find out.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A World of Possibilities: 26 Stories from the authors of ASMSG

ASMSG is an author social media support group, and a great bunch of minds. One of the projects that this group has going on involves the authors working together to create spectacular anthologies of short stories. These stories run the full gamut of emotion, truly a good sampling of "the world."

A World of Possibilities features 26 authors and 26 short stories for your reading pleasure. You can find out more about it (and the group) by visiting the book page on the site, which will also give links to the venues the book is available on.

Interview: Terry Reid of Crashing Down to Earth

In this post we get to have a short chat with author Terry Reid who has penned Crashing Down to Earth. I met Terry thanks to one of the several author groups that I am part of. One of the many great things is that I get to meet authors in countries and areas other than my own. So settle in, grab your beverage of choice, and let's meet Terry Reid!

1) Can you start by telling readers a little about yourself?
A) I’m a relatively new author based in Dumfries, south west Scotland. I have been writing for years but have only recently got into publishing. I’m 25 and I am hoping to have a long, productive career in writing.
2) Can you tell us how you got into writing?

I’ve been writing since before I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed it. I kind of feel like it’s my calling.

3) Can you tell us about your book. What's it about?

My new book is called Crashing Down to Earth. It is the first of a two part series. It follows a young woman called Hayley, who lives with her charismatic, and sometimes annoying, guardian angel, Alex, in Glasgow. Everyone can see Alex but his identity is a secret except to Hayley and a few close friends.

An ex-lover of Alex threatens to kill Hayley, but it quickly becomes apparent that there are bigger dangers coming their way.

4) What inspired you to write a story like this? Are the characters based on anyone you know?
One of the characters in the book, Alex the angel, was inspired by a dream I had several years ago. The setting of Glasgow was also drawn from the same dream.

5) Is there anything that you are working on at the moment and can you tell us a little bit about it?

I’m currently writing the second part to Crashing Down to Earth. 

Sounds interesting! I'm looking forward to reading your book Terry! Angels and spirit guides are both fun to work with and write, and everyone puts their own spin in. I like the cover too, those clouds and lightning in the background are fascinating. Makes me want to paint!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The result of the Divine Inspirations writing party

I, under my Second Life name Amehana Ishtari (Reikaz), have gotten into the SL Newser. Grease Coakes/John Krauss wrote an article on the event which Bixyl Shuftan wrote a very nice introduction for in the main stream of the SL news.

More books were talked about than mine, John's, and the anthology. I also mentioned Michelle Browne's The Stolen as well as others. It was a good turnout with good tunes, including some My Little Pony music. It would be nice to see something like this happen every few months over at the shrine...or even every month if possible. Perhaps small workshops could be managed.

Guest Post: Dan O'Brien's "The Journey"

Welcome back, it's nice to see all of you again. I hope that you've been enjoying having Dan visit us, and meeting some of the other authors that I'm introducing you to. This time we get to hear about "The Journey."

I really like this cover. I've always been a fan of sea scene, and one of my most inspirational locations for me has been the coast around Crescent City, CA. The beaches there look very much like the one pictured here. I also like the subtle contrast between the cover image and the typeface. It's a simple typeface giving a straightforward feel to the whole composition.

Now, without further ado:

Welcome to the sixth day of The Journey blog tour. It will run until August 9th and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this strange world:

The Frozen Man. The Translucent Man. The Burning Man. The Wicker Man. The guide known only as the Crossroads, together these are the signposts and totems of the world that the being called the Lonely inhabits. Seeking out the meaning of his journey, the Lonely is a being consumed by philosophical inquiry and adventure. Filled with exotic places and age-old questions, the Journey is a book that seeks to merge the fantastical and real. Join the Lonely as he seeks out answers to his own existence and perhaps the meaning for us all. 

A few questions for the author:

Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now? 

More than likely not. I have managed to get past outright anger anymore. There are frustrations that creep up now and again, but I imagine anything that long ago has no bearing on me today. 

What is your happiest childhood memory? 

Any time spent playing with my brother. We do not get to spend nearly as much time together as I would like, and it seems that this will not change anytime in the near future. I find that when I visit my family, many of these memories become more distinct, more heartbreaking. 

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? 

Right now. I am attempting to do what I love despite the possibility of failure. It is a tremendous feeling that is both frightening and life-affirming. It remains to be seen if I can make this way of like my only way of life.

Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:

The Crossroads Revisited

The Lonely watched as the world flooded back into view. Slowly ebbing like disturbed water and then eventually setting so that he could see his surroundings once more. 

“You have visited the Frozen Man?” queried the Crossroads. 

The Lonely remembered the tundra and rubbed his hands together. “I visited the Frozen Man, though I’m not entirely certain that it was a man.”

“A relative term I am afraid,” replied the Crossroads. 

“Man?” asked the Lonely. 

He looked upon the Crossroads and the being now resembled a vagrant. A hooded robe covered him, but was torn in places and splotched with dark patches that appeared wet. 

“Yes, the term to which you apply to the being the Frozen Man is not of gender, but of nomenclature. He is no more a man than I am a woman; or you a frog. It is simply what the being is called, only a word.”

The Lonely pondered this for a moment, looking toward the north. He noticed immediately that there was no longer a signpost for the North. 

“Where has the sign gone?”

“Which sign?” asked the Crossroads.

“The one that pointed north,” replied the Lonely. 

The Crossroads moved ever so slightly, his form seemed to shimmer through the air. He gestured with a covered arm, his hands beneath darkness. 

“The North is no longer available to you. Whatever it was that you were to learn from the Frozen Man has been learned. There is nothing for you now in the cold, hence you can no longer reach it,” reasoned the Crossroads. 

“So simply because I have learned it, I cannot return to it again?”

The Crossroads shook his hooded head. 

“Having visited there, you can never visit there again anew. With the knowledge you have now, the visit there would not be the same and the outcome would be different. Hence, you can never truly revisit the North.”

The Lonely crossed his arms over his chest. 

“What was he, the Frozen Man?”

“He was the Frozen Man: the accumulation of the North and its principles––the totem of ice and cold. He was the summation of cold, hard logics that lacked passions of any kind.”

“Was?” queried the Lonely. 

The world around the convergence of the four roads had grown gray and weary. The sky above was darkness and the air around them thick in haze and fog. Had the Lonely walked just meters from his spot, he would have been lost to the fogbank surrounding him. 

The Crossroads shifted yet again, this time taking with him a tendril of the fog around him. “The Frozen Man is no more. For you to have returned, he must be no more.”

The Lonely pondered this. 

“Did I kill him?”

“Would you wish him dead?”

“No, but the way that he thought, seemed to me in many ways to be a form of death. I suppose I felt he was already dead. His logics, his mannerisms, were such that I truly believed him to be the machine that he resembled in the end.”

The Crossroads looked at the Lonely with his vacant stare. “And thus, he is no more. You have yet to understand why you are here. Do you believe that this is a journey with an end or an end to a journey?”

The Lonely shook his head, his arms crossed over his chest. “It is a journey, is it not? I am searching for something, answers to which I do not yet know the questions.”

The Crossroads nodded, but did not respond. 

The Lonely continued. 

“So then my conversation, my words, killed him?”

The Crossroads moved about the dusty patch of land that they occupied. “There are four paths and four totems, one totem for each path, and each life. There is a truth hidden among the four: the Frozen Man, the Burning Man, the Wicker Man, and the Translucent Man.”

“Four totems? Of elements? Totems of what?”

The image of the Crossroads morphed again, now he stood as a wintry traveler. A gray fedora covered his silvery hair and a wool coat wrapped his slender shoulders. Smoke drifted from a pipe at his lips and the bill of his hat covered his eyes. Only his lips moved; the subtle glean of his teeth white. 

“Four totems of life.”

“I don’t understand,” said the Lonely. 

“You are not yet meant to. There is much to search for yet. As I recall, you cannot even remember your name or from whence you came?”

The Lonely hesitated for a moment. 

The Crossroads had not previously been so candid with him. “Indeed, that is true. Can you tell me my name or where I have come from? Even from what time I come?”

“When?” queried the Crossroads. “Have you begun to question your existence?”

The Lonely shook his head, looking to his feet once more: no shoes, tan skin. He was more confused than ever. “I am not certain of anything, though I believe that you know more than you are telling me.”

“I can assure you that I know no more than what it is that I am supposed to know. Just as you are only certain of those things that are most certain to you,” replied the Crossroads. His stoic tone belied the mirth of his riddle. 

“Riddles? Truly?” queried the Lonely with a raised eyebrow. 

The Crossroads seemed incapable of anything except movement––emotions, characterizations; some levels of humanity were beyond him. “I do not wish to burden you with the riddles of the eternal. I will begin again. I believe you remember how this goes. I am the Crossroads.”

The Lonely stood up straighter as if he had been scolded for slouching. “I am the Lonely.”

The Crossroads spread out his hands, the fog dissipating as if it had never been there at all. “What path do you choose?”

The Lonely considered for a moment. “I have already seen the North, witnessed its logics. I feel as though the south calls to me––the Burning Man.”

The Crossroads remained still. 

The fog had settled farther from them now. The Lonely could see clearly the remaining three signposts. “It is just as well, I suppose,” said the Crossroads. 

“Just as well what? What is that you are hiding?” asked the Lonely challengingly. 

The Crossroads shook his hooded head. “There is nothing more than you already know. The South is now your path. Go in peace.”

The Lonely nodded and started south. 

The fog was cold on his face and he closed his eyes, envisioning a broad desert, palm trees in the distance. There in the distance he could see the Oasis, the realm of the South. Time tugged upon him, space toyed with his form, and soon he was transported once again.

Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here:

All of his books are only 99 cents on Kindle right now!

Download The Journey for free on Kindle from 8/5 until 8/9!

Would you like to win a Kindle Fire?

Visit and follow the blog for a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

Thanks for joining us. I hope that you've enjoyed this visit.