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.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

YA Book Review: The House Witch

The House WitchThe House Witch by Delemhach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this up because I needed a light and whimsical book. I think this is perfect for those who grew up reading books by Patricia Wrede and Jessica Day George but are now old enough to crack a dirty pun without being hissed at by an adult. I think it's fine for teens, young adults, and older folk... but do be aware if you disapprove of such puns for your teen... Honestly, they hear far worse in the school yard and crack worse during sleepovers. There isn't a lot of it in here, but it's there. I cracked up at the part about waiting for the 8-year-old to "drink properly."

The main character is a male witch (THANK YOU to the author for that, from a witch) trying to find a place in the world for himself. I like him because he's within my dating range bracket (if I were on the market), he's witty, he's easily annoyed by people's nonsense, and he keeps his to a minimum... albeit a bit thick in the romance arena. The female lead has her own agenda, and at first, they do NOT hit it off, but they grow on each other while he tries to hide his true self from an entire castle. Quite the challenge for a cook.

This has themes of acceptance, love for oneself as well as others, fairness, and growing into one's inner power. I LOVE the fact he's in his 30's I'm still maturing and not quite there yet. There's plenty to enjoy for those 14ish and up. Just... watch out for that "son of a mage," which is now my new favorite curse.

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Sunday, July 2, 2023

Ame's Unboxings: Pro Draw BeeJayDel Unbox & Review

This is a very belated video, but this allowed me to not only do the unboxing (yes in my favorite pajama top, it was cold and that was handy) and then my impressions after using it several weeks (now roasting and not needing flannels) of the Pro-Draw Grip designed by illustrator and Youtuber BeeJayDel.

The link below takes you to where it can be purchased on Amazon for cheaper than what I paid for it earlier.

Forgive the slowness in my work. I can't even sit up long without the twinging, tingling, and burning in both legs. Things are changing in my spine and I'm having to readapt myself.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Art Process & story: Celestial Companions (from the Selkies' Skins universe)

 This is a little late posting here, but this was the last piece that I did for this year's Mermay. I am particularly pleased how this fully digital piece created on my iPad turned out, and eventually will be producing it as a poster. Here, in this video, you can watch the time-lapse of the art process. You can also listen to the short story, expounding a bit more of the lore in my Selkies' Skins related books' universe.

You can also read along at my deviant art posting

or my Patreon posting

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Book Review: The Meaning Wars Complete Omnibus by Michelle Browne

This is a great book to review, especially since it is currently pride month. Thanks to Michelle Browne, a lovely lady, for writing this masterpiece.

I love sci-fi, and even better is sci-fi that takes on social issues that mean something in the present day. There is an element of romance, and we follow several couples. Some of those couples are poly, some are straight, and some are not, just like life in the present day. The main plotline though is not the relationships, but the more significant threat that all of these couples, brought together from various space colonies along with a beautiful seasoning of pirates and revolutionaries, are facing. Spiritualism, which can be understood like today's Spiritism & Zen tossed in a blender and ramped up exponentially, and then warped as always happens with large spiritual movements, is now spreading and threatening to take over the whole solar system and ultimately resulting in getting Earth kicked out of the InFed because the aliens are NOT up for tolerating toddler system bs. I think that scene and the following consequences scene were my favorites and share first place, with the pirate station harboring the xenobotanist falling into second. If you like Star Trek, you'll like this.

Getting back to the characters, they were all very well-rounded and personified, even the one who turned villain and participated in the twisting of the non-religion of Spiritualism. The interplay of them all didn't feel contrived except where the author wanted it to. I feel like it would be a spoiler to mention exactly who that is, so I'll leave it to you to find it.

The above is the review that I posted on Amazon, which should cross-populate later to Goodreads. I'm archiving it here as well just in case, for some reason, it ever gets taken down. It happens from time to time and I'm never sure why. I will record this and a reading excerpt to my Youtube. For now, if you want to read this great book, follow the link below!

Or the full series listing

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Signal Boost: Finding Forest Friends With Ivy Drake | Raise Your Hand

Finding Forest Friends is a pilot episode of Raise Your Hand, based in Tennessee, USA.

This is not one of our videos, but my aunt introduced me to the channel. This is a pilot episode for a new program, and as I understand it this lady is a friend of my aunt. So since I'm given to understand she needs a bit of a boost I thought that I would introduce her show to you all. Please go watch the video, leave a thumbs up, and subscribe there. If you've got young minds or know families with them perhaps pass the link along to them!

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Ame's Art Desk Art Process ASMR: Mara's Heartbreak

Here you can watch the development of Mara's Heartbreak, an image done for #drawMermay2023

Monday, April 17, 2023

Ame's Art Desk: Kirsty full seal form (Selkies' Skins Character Art)

This is character art for Kirsty McKay, a half selkie/half-human-witch from my Selkies' Skins books and short stories. Here she is in full seal form hunting fish, her hunger distracting her from her original purpose. It's ok, it wasn't anything pressing. It's still counted as exercising the form to keep her muscles built up! Unseen in this image is the ring mark on her left ring "finger" she gained in her adulthood after marrying David Valnarius. With that in mind this could serve as an image of her at any time after she gained the twining woad color markings on her left wrist that stay with her in any of the forms she's managed to learn to take or are inherent to her.

This was done as someone close to me (you know who you are!) had been asking for more selkies and Kirsty art. I hope that you and he both enjoy watching the time-lapse process of creating this piece. I've not chosen a recording program yet for trying to capture things in real-time, although I have been considering trying to use a camera and boom.

This was done on my iPad with my iPencil in Procreate. I haven't unboxed the special grip yet which I plan to do a test and review of. I'm still recovering from Tax Season.

The manuscript for book two, Selkies' Skins: Temple and Skinquest, is still being finished before final edits will take place. The first book of the series, Selkies' Skins: Castle and Well, is available on Amazon and many other platforms. I have several other books available as well so feel free to check out my Linktree or the other links below to find them.

Sorry, I'm not the Teresa Garcia from the news channel that I keep finding when I run a curiosity check on my name. I'm just the Teresa Garcia author that writes under my name (not a pen name) and illustrates under Teresa Amehana Garcia and LadyRainStarDragon or LadyRainStarDrago. It would be interesting to meet the news lady though. That must be an interesting job.

Music: Open Sea Morning by Puddle Of Infinity

Monday, April 10, 2023

Easter/Spring Challenge is live for Dragon Hearts

 Rain pours down from the skies like the weather dragons have collectively decided to dump the entire year’s worth of water at once. Rivers fill and spill, lakes become small seas, overly large chunks of snow bob along from place to place like freaky misplaced icebergs.

Where’s Fetu…? Well, that’s great.
Help shape the story by playing along at

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Ame's Art Desk: Mushroom Sticker Art

There are other mushroom pieces I will do for a sheet of mushroom stickers. I don't expect I can afford a booth at the local Mushroom Festival this year or get items produced in time for this year. I am focusing on being able to afford my yearly booth at the Lumberjack Fiesta in McCloud and need to double-check how much I owe for this year's calendar ad (only one of the two ladies involved in calendar expenses has contacted me so far). However, perhaps the sheet as well as Lumberjack-related sticker art will both be ready and printed by that time.

The first one played around with in this video is inspirited by the Blue Oyster mushroom. The second is taking extreme liberty with the Inky Cap mushroom.

These are done in Procreate on an iPad (9th generation) using an iPencil (1st). The first one used mainly the studio ink brush in the inking. The second focused on using the waterbrush from the calligraphy set.

Before anyone asks why so much more time was spent on the first it is because I became dissatisfied with the colors. And style. And picky.

Music: "Magic Moon - Restless heart (rnb beat mix)" by RobbH 
2011 - Licensed under
Creative Commons
Attribution (3.0)

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Flash Fiction Fridays: Nancy Stohlman's "After the Rapture" Flash Novel ...

Friday the 24th at 3 PM Pacific Time my interview with Nancy Stohlman, author, performer, and professor premieres on Youtube. I will also publish to my podcast host service to push out to Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, and more. The audio is already posted to my Patreon in a patron-only level to allow my Patreon Patrons a chance to hear it first.

In this interview, I chat with Nancy about her latest flash novel, "After the Rapture," writing, life, routines, and about being a professor, and the importance of college.

Nancy Stohlman is the author of six books including Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction (2020), winner of the 2021 Reader Views Gold Award and re-released in 2022 as an audiobook. Her fiction includes After the Rapture (March 7, 2023), Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities (2018), The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories (2014), The Monster Opera (2013), and Searching for Suzi: a flash novel (2009). Nancy’s work has been anthologized widely, appeared in the Norton anthology New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction and The Best Small Fictions 2019, as well as adapted for stage and screen. She teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder, as well as around the world through online instruction and destination retreats. 

FACEBOOK: /nancy.stohlman

Friday, March 10, 2023

Today's bout of traffic control

 I'd have to ask my brother for the time of the accident that we were almost part of earlier today. He is the one that called it in. Three semi trucks going down the 89 with no chains, two lost their momentum or traction, another tried to get around them and jack knifed. It all happened too fast for me to see although I remember seeing some pale green/teal. I was more occupied with "don't crash into this mess that's exploded." We then had to do traffic control on our side of the accident until CHP arrived, I remember the Super for... Caltrans I think... getting there before he managed to. It seemed like ages that we were there, my brother having to do control and relay messages, and had me tasked with holding a chosen turnaround point open for when the tow rig(s) arrived so that they could be able to back up to the stuck semis.

Tow truck operator somehow did not get the message from CHP that a place was being held for turnaround. He tried it behind the other part of the line. It took the blower to get them out. Quite the mess today was.

However, we are alive. And there were no injuries unless someone hurt themselves after my brother had done his checks. I'm done with excitement now. Thanks. This being in the right place at the right time? I'd like a little more warning.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Testing Pabbly Out

 I am trying Pabbly to see if it can save me time on getting posts sent out when there is news I want on both this blog and in my Discord server.

A Triumphant Return Home And To The Desk

I have been quiet here recently. My foray into Haiku Month got cut short as I was unable to keep up with the one-a-day pace due to, this time, a family emergency which resulted in a very long cross-country drive. This was easier on my back than I expected but there were OTHER health dilemmas that relegated me mostly to the back seat. The hours trapped in a truck barely able to move my feet around at least paid off. I saw two uncles that I had not seen in about 30 years. The one who we were most worried about seemed to be actually getting better while we were there, and hopefully that trend continues so that his grandchildren (my very small cousins) will have a bit longer with him and so he can meet the one currently gestating like an egg under a heatlamp.

For the record, my family seems to have a lot of Pisces and Aquarians... and I'd forgotten, temporarily that one of my cousins and I almost share a birthday.

I have a book review or two I need to type out, which I was unable to write out while on the road. I couldn't even doodle, the roads were that rough. The others I don't know how they could deal with me, and it was a good thing I had stuff on my phone and tablet to read since I couldn't doodle.

Now that I'm home, there's a comic script I'm finally able to read over since THAT apparently hadn't transferred to my tablet. *Raises her eyebrow at her iPad pointedly.* I need to settle in and do some sketches for that, some doodles and an art piece for another person, catch up on those haiku purely because I don't want that dangling over me and irritating me so I won't lose motivation for the upcoming Mermay, recheck where I am on printing out things I've edited for a client to send off to them, review what is left in the files & folders I was derailed on due to health the previous months, and write out questions for an interview.

I also need to remember to answer a cancer history questionnaire for an upcoming video appointment.

Also the spring seasonal quest for Dragon Hearts RPG needs to be hammered out.

So, yes... I'm quiet HERE but still busy behind the scenes.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

When AI Art Becomes Exploitative and Unethical - interesting video

The above is an interesting video by Illiminaughtii discussing AI art, and also touches briefly on the uproar when Deviant Art included (all, originally) artists' work on the platform in the AI training set. Now, an artist has to opt-in to allow their work to be used by the training set, but at the start, it was all included by default. As an artist on Deviant Art, I was among the concerned and was relieved when they switched to being allowed the choice. However, there were many who deleted their work before that happened.

I believe it can be a useful tool, especially if the person continues to rework the piece created by whatever AI art bot they are using. However, it should be up to the artist as to if they allow their work to appear in the training set. There should also be some effort involved.