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, October 27, 2023

First Meet the Author classroom event for Alexander Saunders and "Treasure of the Ancient Wizards"

 I am so happy about how today's meet the author event went with the Transition Class. We had to roll with an unexpected change in schedule but I could tell how excited the kids were. Over Zoom isn't the smoothest way to get an author into a classroom, but the fact that an author on one end of the country can have a classroom event with a class on the other end of the country is amazing. AND to want him back later in the year! The best part is that these kids see that they, too, can do great things. It is a very important lesson for them. Thank you Alexander Saunders for meeting with the kids.

This class has one of the final proof copies to read, both so that they can read the book and also so that they can see for themselves the last stage of the printing process before everything goes live. This book is of course already published, but I wanted these kids to not only be able to read the story, but also to be able to learn a bit about the publishing process.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Book Review: Mystic Tea by Rea Nolan Martin

Mystic TeaMystic Tea by Rea Nolan Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I greatly enjoyed this book. To me this is a three main-pronged braided storyline. We follow a “Mother Superior” of a convent who is also the current caretaker of her mentor, the previous Mother Superior, who in turn had served directly under and was mentored by the founder of their Order. Then we also follow the growth stories of two young women who are of vastly different background being called (unknowingly by them) to fill the roles of those two women. One of these women had never before considered becoming a nun and only went to the convent because while she was in jail getting sober she received a divine angelic calling/revelation. This young woman also happened to be an unknowing seer, having chalked everything up to drug induced hallucinations her entire life. The other woman was a twin that had absorbed her sister in utero, but grew up with the spirit of her sister stuck to her. Then we come to a fourth plot, the growth of the order itself. There is also a fifth plot, the growth of the individual aged remaining handful of nuns.

As a person whose skeleton has shown evidence of having absorbed a twin, I can relate with that character, although I did not become the religious zealot of a nun she was at the point of meeting the character. I was granted a firm support network whereas she was not. I also found myself identifying with our current on-paper Mother Superior, being a biological mother and a matriarch for my tiny branch of my main family. With similar responsibilities it is an extremely easy thing to do. And yet I also found myself identifying with our untaught seer, since I also would speak to rivers, although it was more often trees where I grew up, and found myself experiencing an interest amount of luck.

I found this to be a liberating tale. I rode the highs and lows of the characters and grumbled at them when they dug their heels on things that they needed to come to grips with. I loved the amount of simple life magic, the angels being a real thing, the transcendence (literal) within the tale. I think this would actually be very deserving a tale to be taken into high school senior English classes for reading and discussion. The religious tone, despite being such an obvious part of the story, also clearly separates the religious from the spiritual… a discussion that needs to be had with young men and women at the point in time that they are figuring themselves out and getting ready to set off on their own foray into adulthood and what it means to be human.

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Monday, September 11, 2023

Book Review: Drowning Mermaids (Princess of Ice) by Nadia Scrieva

Princess of Ice (Sacred Breath Book 1)Princess of Ice by Nadia Scrieva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book One of the Sacred Breath Series, AKA Drowning Mermaids

Although I adore stories about sea creatures I was not as in the mood for a mermaid story as I originally thought I was when I picked up the book. I am glad that I stuck with it despite my quandaries about what sort of story I actually wanted to read because I found it fitting better and better. This is not your usual mermaid tale or tail. These mermaids are like you and me, they just have a second set of lungs meant for the water. There have been stories about suck folk before, able to breathe both water and air (see some of the selkie tales in folklore). Unlike most of the folklore, these seafolk are not shapeshifters.

Since they are like us, and as it is acknowledged that there is a common root in the story between the sea and land folk, they have the same sort of problems we do; abusive fathers, nation wars, espionage, people not believing the truth when they are first told the truth, and many others. You are given the sense of well-developed nations moving behind the scenes and the complex (and often unknown) interconnection of the land nations with the water nations.

I was thrilled to see such a wonderful explanation of the Bermuda, Dragon Sea, and Alaskan Triangles given. The author actually made me fist pump at such an EXCELLENT use of modern and ancient folklore. We even meet the Ningyo people, who are a favorite subject of story research of mine, with their connection to the undersea dragons. Sadly, no dragons are mentioned, but an extinct species makes a living cameo!

The characters are also well done. I could feel the layers of Trevain Murphy (I usually think of Trevain as a surname, so that got my attention) and empathized with him. In many ways, that character was far more like me than I was comfortable with. I also had not expected what his ancestry was revealed to be when first meeting him at the beginning of the book. I loved the complexity of the female lead (Aazuria) balancing secrecy, her regal role, her role as a sister, and her role as a lover. Both of these characters did a ton of growing in this first book. I also particularly loved the metaphor for life that was done with the bonsai scene. Fantastic work. I look forward to reading through the next book of the series.

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Saturday, September 9, 2023

Book Review: Heir of Uncertain Magic by Charlie N. Holmberg

Heir of Uncertain Magic (Whimbrel House, #2)Heir of Uncertain Magic by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We return to the adventures of Merrit Fernsby and Hulda Larkin. Owein, Merrit’s many times great uncle who once possessed a house is still firmly ensconced in a dog. Silas Hogwood, the villain of the last book is dead but his long shadow is still not gone. When the young lovers are settling into their courtship the former lawyer comes into town along with other people from LIKER for the stated reason of an audit on BIKER as a result of what happened in the last book.

This is another great installment to the series and to the world that Ms. Holberg has spun. It is full of twists and turns, red herrings, and yet is neatly tied up by the end. I look forward to the next book, which appears to be forthcoming according to the Kindle library. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves magic, fantasy, and 30-year-olds getting to have adventures.

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Ancient Wizards by Alexander Saunders Proof Copy Unboxing

This was a quick unboxing. I haven't been well lately, so please excuse the shakiness, and the anxiety in my voice. It takes quite a bit of energy to do anything anymore and this is the first I've been able to sit at my desk (due to my back) for a long time.
This has taken quite some time due to my back injury messing with my ability to edit and illustrate. It takes much longer when literally flat on your back and unable to concentrate. Still, one last step for the physical edition... the final read.

Ebook is already available:

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Book Review: Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie N. Holmberg

Keeper of Enchanted Rooms (Whimbrel House, #1)Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been a fan of this author for a while now, stumbling on her work via other stories about magic in the world. This book, even though magic is certainly involved in the normal life of people, is in a very different sort of world. Here, the magic is slowly waning as the families possessing magic in their blood slowly wane in power over the generations. Spells for such things as travel and communication methods understandably become even more treasured.

Magic in general is highly treasured and cultivated in this world. Magic users selectively breed trying to keep magic alive.

In a world like this sometimes buildings gain magic of their own. A building can be enspelled, or it can absorb from those living within its walls. Sometimes, a house becomes possessed by the ghost of a magic user. Here is where problems enter for the group that seeks to preserve such historic buildings. Sometimes non-magical people obtain those houses and want to be rid of the magic.

Our main character inherits an enchanted, or possibly haunted, house. He is warned about it but discounts it as superstition. Merrit moves into his new property rather promptly as the apartment he was renting will not have the lease renewed. After the house decides to trap him is where he meets with Hulda, our female lead who is VERY reminiscent of Mary Poppins in the way that all good housekeepers can be. Our house, our third main character, then sets out to do what ghosts are known for… being annoying… as annoying as a boy in the tweens acting out wanting attention. Of course, just like tweens and houses, a little love and attention go a long way.

No story is complete without something for the main characters to pitch themselves against. We meet our villain fairly early on. What I like best about this villain is that the author writes him in such a way that we can understand how he became what he is, his struggles, and his desires. He is a very human character who inspires pity just as much as he inspires horror.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It is meaty, and yet it is also something that can be enjoyed on days when one wants a light reading fare. I look forward to picking up the other books in this series.

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Friday, September 1, 2023

"Treasure of the Ancient Wizards" by Alexander Saunders available to preorder in ebook

"Treasure of the Ancient Wizards" by Alexander Saunders is available now for pre-orders in ebook format. It goes live via Smashwords on September 3rd and on Amazon on September 4. I am still waiting for the physical proof to arrive for the print edition. An audiobook format is planned for later.

When a young Alex hears a mysterious voice and follows it, his discovery leads him on an epic quest to retrieve a treasure he hopes will help his family. When he and his friends enter into a magical world they together learn about bravery, love, trust, and dependability. The biggest question is, can five teenagers do what many adults have not? Can they get back home if they succeed? If they can are they even going to want to go home after entering a world where unicorns, dragons, witches, wizards, merfolk, fauns, and other such mythical beings are real?

Written from the first person point of view as a young Alex retells his story to his mysterious audience, this tale was crafted for the entire family to enjoy. Perfect for a bedtime read to children, adults can also enjoy this on their own for a moment of respite. Our young hero still holds that passion for justice that many of us allow to die down to an ember but also holds the tenacity to keep pushing to make the world a better place.


A. Buddell has this to say about it:

A surprising read that was hard to put down, this book had impressive scope and a heart of gold.

When a poor boy suddenly finds himself in possession of a magical treasure map, his entire life changes. He gains the ability to do magic, and together with his four best friends, sets off on a perilous adventure through Magicalworld. Along the way they'll learn lessons about trusting your friends, helping others, and keeping an open mind; all the while avoiding deadly traps, and facing unique magical creatures. With so many obstacles in their way, can the group - and their friendship - make it to the Treasure of the Ancient Wizards?

The Barnes & Noble link is still forthcoming.