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".

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Some old art for "The Shadow Chronicles"

While looking for images to represent the three series that the Hounds world building essay is for I came across this image of Angelina (whose Cowan name is Willow Sanchez) that was done for use with "The Shadow Chronicles" by The Ingram for Solstice of 1999. Here Angelina is crowned as Great Shadow, having been awakened to being the reincarnation of the founder of an order in a whole other world than her own and manifestation of the Creator Goddess of that world. This is a very long way from the Cowan Willow Sanchez, who could never figure out why her father became so jumpy whenever magic was brought up and was raised in a normal US home, going to a normal backwoods public school, and brought to the knowledge that magic was real by visits from Singing Serpent, white dragon of Mount Shasta and her past incarnation's advisor Flightessa, a two legged sphinx.

This and images for "Dragon Shaman" and "Selkies' Skins" will be incorporated into the in Second Life image for my essay, to provide the link from the Astral Sector Alpha Art Fair in the quarter sim plot in Calm Ocean.

I will provide a slurl link for the art fair once I have the landmark for the location.

Later I am going to find time to archive some old scans of old drafts of the first novel for "The Shadow Chronicles" for those in my Patreon. I believe those old works will stay Patron Only.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Review: Naked

Book Review
Title: Naked
Author: Alexandra Christian
Where to get:
Star Rating: 5
Age Rating (IMO): Rated Rrrrr

Fair warning, Naked is an erotica. One would hope that one would deduce it to probably be an R rating just from the title itself. It is more than an erotica though. It is also adventure, spy, mystery, romance, and scifi. Our story takes place in a future, perhaps a not so distant one. We are also given explanation about some past disasters.

In this book we have shifters, some are were animals, some are dragon, and there are vampires. It reminded me in some ways of a story that one of my friends wrote as there was a creature called an “ultra” and she had once talked with me about ultras long before this particular book came in front of me. I can only assume that the ultras are also a shared thing in the shifter subgenre books, so now I am simply going to have to look for more shifter stories to find out if my thoughts are correct.

There is also a little bit of magic, but it is not gone into in detail as to how the ONE person that is encountered can do magic actually gets down to it. I would have liked to know more about that character due to my interest in magic.

I enjoyed the conspiracy theory in this and having to figure out who may or may not have been a double or perhaps triple agent. I enjoyed the genetic aspect to the shifting and how the characters grew. Since it was an erotic book I expected from the beginning that the lead man and woman would fall in love, or at least lust. I was glad to see them as complex characters though and not cookie cutter, which is all too easy to do. Derek Machine to me felt a little flat though, but it is super hard to make a good 3D villain. I wanted to know what made him so crazy, what drove him to such greed and disrespect. Was he simply a psychopathic narcissist or had something happened in his past?

I also have to point out that I greatly liked that Phoebe became a phoenix. I did have to groan though as I know someone that often gets called Phoebe, helps in a virtual library reading aloud, and has a rather fiery avatar in Second Life. I couldn’t help the chuckles. I very much doubt that Phoebe in the book had anything to do with this person, but I’m forever going to giggle about the coincidence.

It was a good book, I definitely enjoyed it, and I will be very likely to look for more. This book leaves an opening for another, so I am indeed curious about what happens with Cage and Phoebe next.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ame Reads: Patreon Poetry May 2017

Guest readers and guest posts are welcome. If you have a reading you would like shared on this blog or posted to the Youtube channel please email me the details and we can arrange it. The same goes on if you have content you would like shared on the publishing blog, such as book launch blogs. You will need to forward the content to me and the name you wish it released under, and it will be posted with a byline, similar to how the SLNewser runs their blog.

World Building: The Hounds, On Patreon for Patrons

I recently finished gathering together all of my thoughts on the Hounds of Hearne, werewolves in general, and the other Hounds in the shared world of Selkies' Skins, Dragon Shaman, and The Shadow Chronicles. Some of this will later be made public, but not all of it. I do want to keep some things as insider bits for patrons, at least until all of the series are complete to my satisfaction.

This essay HAS been submitted to Astral Sector Alpha's multi discipline Art Expo as an example of world building behind the scenes work. It may be read live by myself or a volunteer at the reading portion, but I need to find out again what day and time that will be. Astral Sector Alpha currently resides in Calm Ocean, in a plot with looks rather similar in my opinion to how Seal Point looked at one point in it's history. I have absolutely no idea if that was the intent, as everyone was in a rather piratey mood when the move from Computer was made.

McCloud Fire Muster 2017 Parade Footage

I love our fire department. A large portion of my family volunteers on the department as well. We are in a rural community, so our department of volunteers also works with other departments around the county. THG StarDragon was not able to donate to help support the Muster financially, but we do plan to renew our annual space on the Community Calendar through the McCloud Firemen's Association to help support the department.

This Saturday was the annual Fire Muster in gorgeous McCloud, California. It was extremely fun, and my sunburn was worth it. We started with a parade of different departments that gathered, some from beyond our local area even. Afterward it was a trek to Hoo Hoo Park to watch the firefighter games. There were hamburgers and hot dogs, and several types of beer. I even had a beer, a very rare event, and I can recommend that Blackberry Blonde. There was a raffle and a silent auction for a wood carved yeti (the artist is shown in this video during the pre-parade windup). The Prizes were awarded and this year the trophy stays in McCloud, shared by McCloud CalFire and the McCloud Explorers. Following all of this was a Tri Tip dinner and then a dance.

Here is the parade footage below. I am working on getting footage from the games ready. I filled two cameras.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Candle Flash Sale and a Raffle

Candles go great with books. This is why I've also started selling candles with JIC Nation, or Jewelry in Candles. These candles are 100% soy based, sourced from soy that has been grown completely within the USA. These candles do not tunnel as easily as paraffin candles and do not soot unless you trim the wick incorrectly, meaning less black stuff to get into your lungs and soil your books.

Right now there is a sale going on. Using code FLASH at checkout discounts items from the Jewelry in Candles line, the Basics, and the JIC Naturals items. There is a lot more than JUST candles in the THG StarDragon Illuminations store, but the candles are tarts are what got me deciding to go with this particular company.

I do wish they offered votive candles too though.

Please go and look at what is on offer by clicking the graphic below, pick a favorite scent, and if you get one with jewelry I wish you luck as you could potentially receive a piece worth thousands of dollars.

Additionally, I am holding a raffle. Each candle purchase counts as an entry into my raffle for a Pink Flame candle. If you do not feel you can afford a candle you can also purchase a raffle ticket for $5 directly from me. The winner will receive a Pink Flame candle out of my stock on hand, or I will buy and send the scent the winner wants if I do not have it in my personal stock. My raffle will go until the last day of July. August first I will choose the winner and contact them. 

Raffle tickets are purchasable in person or via Paypal. Remember, every candle purchase from the candle store will also count as an entry!
The Raffle is a three pronged activity, and is in part a benefit drive. 1) I want to share how cool these candles are. 2) The Pink Flame isn't a cheap candle, and I know there are lots of people out there that might like the opportunity to have one of their own. 3) My daughter and I are taking my son to Disneyland for his 8th grade trip. He is autistic and needs to have several adults in case of over-stimulation. This is his first major trip since the passing of his grandfather (on my side) in December of 2008 so we expect it to bring up a lot of additional things for him to deal with. We have met our minimum to take him. However that is just our minimum, and my mother is wishing to extend the trip so that he can have time on the way back up the entire state of California to see some other places as well. This will help fund the extension. Anything left over would be split between a fund to prepare for his high school graduation in 4 years (Disney World is that goal) and toward a fund to pay Illya Leonov up front to record the first book of the Dragon Shaman series. When I contracted him to record Selkies' Skins he also was interested in recording the Dragon Shaman books. I want to make sure that he gets sufficient funding up front this time as the royalty share is taking longer than I had wished to give him a good return for his time.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Direct order pricing adjustments

It is with regret that I am going to have to start imposing payment fees when payments are made through paypal. For my authors the past several years I have eaten the fee that Paypal charges me. I can no longer do that. Paypal charges me 2.9% + $0.30 of the total payment sent to me. For years I have only asked just a bit above manufacture price per author/illustrator-ordered book, far below my share of royalties, and after all of the associated fees I actually have been getting even less than my share of profits with which to pay myself. That makes it difficult to afford to make the business grow. The last order that I set to be fulfilled actually went in the red due to neglecting to calculate the fee Paypal took out of the sum.

New rates

  • For my authors, illustrators, and editors associated with a particular title requesting copies of their titles to distribute locally or at booths copies will now be the base cost of manufacture plus 30% (instead of the 10% since I've not been seeing at least 20% additional coming back to meet my base share). Additionally shipping will still be charged, and taxes since I still have to pay the taxes. Paypal payments will now be calculated to include the 2.9% + 0.30 fees they charge.
  • Single item orders from people not involved in a book will have no discounts.
  • Bookstores, libraries, and other wholesalers contacting me to order a run of books sent will pay base cost of manufacture plus 50%, as I realize they too must have room for markup. Additionally shipping will still be charged, and taxes since I still have to pay the taxes. Paypal payments will now be calculated to include the 2.9% + 0.30 fees they charge.

Larger orders would give me more room to give discounts, calculated on a case by case basis for the time being.

Monday, May 15, 2017

How To: Reviews

When writing a review there are some things you will want to consider and touch on. You don't have to do them all, but the more you do the more thorough the review. This is primarily for books but can be applied to other items.
Main Body
  • Title and Author
  • Book Summary
  • Technical aspects, quality, accuracy
  • Emotional Impact
  • Age range intended vs. Age range you feel it appeals to
  • Suggested Readers
Star Ratings
  • Some places use star ratings for how much the book was enjoyed by the reader.
  • Some places use star ratings for quality purposes
  • Some places do a combined system.
When you have negative things...
  • Point out what you like
  • CONSTRUCTIVELY Point out what you do not like or did not work for you. some criticism is ok, but it has to be done in a fashion that is not harmful and that might help a writer (beginner or not) improve.
  • ALWAYS be polite.
  • ALWAYS be honest.
  • If you feel better bringing up detracting things in direct conversation with the author then it is good to do so. This also helps conversation between author and audience, and you might get lucky enough for that author to talk with you about character motivation or get told about planned future developments or backstory that exists but can't be public knowledge yet.

Book Review: Dark Musings by David Boiani

Book Review
Title: Dark Musings
Author: David Boiani
Star Rating: 5 stars for both enjoyability and structure
Age Rating (IMO): PG13 for most of the stories

This book is a collection of short stories ranging from somber, macabre, all the way through beautiful. Some of them are all of these things. It starts strong and stays strong through the entire book. Some of these stories are going to haunt my head for awhile, such as the child rescued by the teacher, the serial killer, the mother that lost touch with reality, and the one about the birth of Adolf Hitler and his parent’s expectations as examples. There are so many different viewpoints and scenarios, and no character is flat. They live, they breathe, some of them you wonder if you’ll meet walking down the street or getting your morning coffee. Some of them you pray you never will. Yet, it is likely that at some point you will meet someone that might have stepped from these pages.
These are tales that might happen, some that do happen. It is not a journey for the faint of heart. However I also feel it is one that most should read. Some of these are great cautionary tales, and I would consider this a very good addition to a collection of modern folklore. They remind me in a way of books that I grew up with, such as the Scary Stories collections by Alvin Schwartz, but aimed for an older crowd.
It is hard to find anything that I did not like. Some of the stories appalled me, but not because the author dared write them. They appalled me because I’ve read of things similar happening in news and some of the things addressed are real. It is not the author’s job to control his fellow man, and an author’s job is as much to shine light on the good as it is to expose the bad. Therefore I do not find anything to actually detract. It was very well done. I am going to be suggesting this book to several people that I know who will immensely enjoy it.

Personal note for Youtube: It took me a couple days to finish this book. I prefer to read in long uninterrupted sessions, but it just was not able to happen as I’d have liked. If I had nothing else on my plate I would have been able to finish in less than a day. You might prefer to read this one story a day and contemplate to let the full effect seep in, or you might read in spurts here and there and you can grab the time, both would work and if done would lengthen your reading time. If you are like me and like to carve out reading days then you still will be able to. This book fits any reading style due to the short story structure.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Mozilla's Campaign for net neutrality

I have just signed Mozilla's campaign regarding strong net neutrality regulations. This is intended to help preserve the free use of the internet to watch, read, and say what one wants. What is available to us should not be limited by religion or anything else within America, as this is clearly under the 1st Amendment and an issue of free speech. I invite you to join me.
Click here to see the campaign or to sign your name.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Book Review: The Eleventh Hour (The Prime Insurgency #11)

We have come to the end of my personal challenge, the Advance Review Copies, and the series. I greatly enjoyed the chance to read through these books. Having spoken with the author there will be two boxed sets for this series.

  • Books 1-6
  • Books 7-11
Book Review
Title: The Eleventh Hour (The Prime Insurgency #11)
Author: J. D. Stonebridge

First off the end of this made me tear up. Even in winning there was defeat, as should be expected in a storyline such as this, as inevitably someone is going to lose. I don’t think any of the characters in this were truly evil. In this I am reminded a bit of Miyazaki’s works. It is very fast, but at the end, in that last chapter, it gets very somber very quickly.

Even though we have deity-like Primes, the truth of the gods of the various religions, there is no deus ex machina in this. Everything is explainable. Even down to the battle between two “father figures” and a colossal screw up that possibly could have been avoided if not for one thing. Pride. This is what I take from the story anyway.

The story is not ended, not with what the epilogue sets up. Once more Tony goes missing, leaving behind a note begging not to be sought or stopped. Of course Lauren and Lance are going to go looking. I hope to see another series following this storyline.

Once more the writing is good. The characters come alive in this and it is the interplay of character with plot that keeps the pages turning so fast. You get attached to them. You grimace when they get hit, feel bad when they die.

There were a few places that jarred me out of the flow but I was pulled along by the story so fast that by the time I realized I was already too far forward to go back and make note of it properly. This was a very enjoyable book and series, which I would recommend for anyone that likes contemporary sci fi, whether teen or older.

Book Review: Ten Great Beams (The Prime Insurgency #10)

Nearing the end of my personal challenge, the Advance Review Copies, and the series. There's only one more after this! Having spoken with the author there will be two boxed sets for this series.
  • Books 1-6
  • Books 7-11

Book Review
Title: Ten Great Beams (The Prime Insurgency #10)
Author: J. D. Stonebridge

In this book we learn what happens with Tony and get more intimate with Sun Child, or Rathanos. We also discover that this Prime is a huge book worm. I have to compare him with Thoth and with Apollo. We are not brought in his viewpoint to where he met back up with Lance yet, I am assuming that this comes in the next book “Eleventh Hour.” We do however learn more about two plans, Rathanos’ plan, and that of the Zeus/Ivan. I cannot recall off the top of my head the actual name of the storm Prime that was given in one of the previous books. Thus I have to admit falling into the pantheon problem when these beings are more of what is at the root of them all.

So I wonder if this also makes Sun Child/Rathanos the seed for Amaterasu as well, given how some saw that deity is female and others male.

Again the writing is well done. I noticed less strange drop downs in dialogue. This time they really were at logical places such as paragraphs within speech. The characters are still rounded and believable, and growing, living, breathing. It is obvious how much thought each character was given. The story stays intriguing the further one goes. I also very much liked how Tony, the scholar, ends up standing up to Ivan, the host of the Zeus-like Prime, and displaying the bravery that others have commented on.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Book Review: Ninth Wonder (The Prime Insurgency #9)

I am back with another review based on an Advance Review Copy that I was given for feedback.

Book Review
Title: Ninth Wonder (The Prime Insurgency #9)
Author: J. D. Stonebridge
Page count:
Where to get:

This was another quick read. You really want to read the previous books in the series before reading this one in order to fully understand and appreciate what is going on. In this episode Lance and his new Prime body buddy have to learn to work together, which would be a lot easier if Lance was the sort of guy who could share. Lance has to make some more close calls, follow his instincts, and walk a bit in faith in order to meet back up with his battle buddies.

That plan, as one might expect in a war of Primes, does not go exactly as planned, but he does make some new allies and learns a shocking, or perhaps not so shocking, truth. Tony has been lost but now he is found, and Lance is not a happy man.

I was pleased with how the characters continue to grow and develop, and with the way the new characters are introduced into the storyline. It reminds me a bit of folding the batter versus stirring it, to borrow from baking terminology. The books are feeling like they are getting a bit longer than the previous ones in the series. There is more meat in these later episodes. Perhaps it is because the stakes are so high, and there is so much more to take care of now that we are running at speed.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review: The Writer's Digest Handbook of Short Story Writing

Book Review
The Writer's Digest Handbook of Short Story Writing

I borrowed a copy of this from the local library as I have been considering getting a copy of my own. Advice that writers often give each other is to always be reading, whether fiction, history, or books about writing.
I found it to be well worth the borrow and it will definitely be moving up in my mental list of books to procure for when I am stuck with a writing problem. I ended up renewing the book after the first two weeks so that I would have more time with it. I found a great deal of information in it that even though it is a review I found useful to be able to isolate and focus on elements concept by concept. Some of the concepts have more than one article about them and by more than one author to give various viewpoints and methods of address.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book Review: Eightfold Way (The Prime Insurgency #8)

This book is not currently available to the public yet. I get the treat of reading the Advance Review Copy of this book and posting a pre-release review. I will be returning to update this post with the individual link once the book has been released to the public.

Book Review
Title: Eightfold Way (The Prime Insurgency #8)
Author: J. D. Stonebridge
Where to get:

I have to say that I really like how these title names not only work in the number within the series but also trace out a particular spiritual path.

In this book we get treated to memories of the Prime that now inhabits Lance. Two of the Primes that this Prime shares memories of remind me greatly of Zeus and Juno. It almost has me seeking a place to put “Amacaron” within the Greco-Roman pantheons, but I know that if I give in to this urge too much that I could miss a lot. However as I read further I am reminded more and more of Mercury. After Apollo’s appearance, however, I had to look up Amacaron.

The scene in this part of the story regarding the planet itself waging war against the alien invaders has me thinking about the stories of Atlantis and the lesser known Mu and Lemuria.

Overall I would say that a good portion of this episode of the series focuses on the story of how man came to be, what was the event that caused Pangaea to break and begin continental drift, and several other events set into motion in the distant past. It was absolutely fascinating to me.

And then it ended on the usual cliffhanger. Functionally, limiting each book to six chapters seems to be really good at doing that.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reviews: The Prime Insurgency Books 2-7 (out of 11)

Let us start with the most recent of the books in the series that I have finished reading. This review has not gone to Amazon yet as I have been able to obtain an Advance Review copy of books 6 through 11. I am rather happy for this opportunity to read ahead. I really do not like waiting when it is so easy to get so caught up in other things as to forget a series when I am ready for it. I have written to this author and found out that he intends to do two boxed sets for this series, but as of this morning he did not have a set release date for them.

Book Review
Title: The Seventh Circle (#7 in The Prime Insurgency)
Author: J. D. Stonebridge
Where to get: I will place the link here when I see the book has gone to public.

This book took the series on a huge turn in my opinion. The one person that I did not really expect to become a Prime ended up a Prime, and we get close to seeing the transfer. I was glad to see the dynamic duo end up getting split up. Even though I like them greatly as a team it is about time for them to have some solo time. I look forward to seeing how that fares for them in the next book. I also really like how Lance is forced to make some tough calls.

As usual the writing style is very fast. There were a few places where paragraphs dropped down strangely, but I am unsure if that was intentional or if it was a result of the compilation that I was gifted.

Book Review
Title: Into the Hexagon
Author: J. D. Stonebridge
Page count: 63 pages
Where to get:
Author’s page:

When this series was pointed out to me I did not expect how addicting it was to become. With this particular episode the plot of the series is advanced even further. We uncover a corporation conducting illegal and questionable experiments to go along with the Primes. The boys do not find Lauren, but rather she finds them. We meet three new Primes. The usual destruction occurs. Poor Tony and Lance seem to encounter violent explosions wherever they go. So much for being out of the military and any ideas of a peaceful life that Lance might have had. I quite sympathize with his momentary desire to go back to the desert! It would all be so much to take and I think that by this time the progressive forward movement they have to make simply to stay alive is what is preventing mental breakdowns. If you want action, this is a good place to get it. As usual detail is detailed, but fleeting. You do not have a great opportunity to luxuriate or bask. You get to rest now and then, but those are brief. As usual, this is a good read if you are looking for something light but engaging, and I do not mean light as in not requiring thought.

If you have not been watching the Youtube channel, here are the previous reviews.

Book 2:

Book 3:

Book 4 & 5: