Feb 22 2015

Be Back Soon – Sorry for being away

My computer has been undergoing maintainance after a low battery error, followed by the Dell blue screen of doom.

I shall return to regular posts as soon as the situation is resolved.

Feb 06 2015

#atozchallenge I volunteer as tribute

I volunteer as tribute! That worked out for Katniss, right? Umm… LOL


A to Z challenge 2015

I’m very excited about the A to Z challenge. This is my forth year taking part, and my first year as an ambassador. Once the list was opened, I signed up (I was at spot 59 last time I looked), and then strolled over to Lee’s page to ask how to “volunteer as tribute.”

 

team member

 

I’ve since been scooped up and am now a proud team member! As a volunteer, I still do my own posts, and still visit and comment on other blogs in the challenge. But if I notice anything wrong (a site turned into a spambot, someone not posting for a week during the challenge, or adult content on an unlabeled blog), I let my co-host know. Honestly, that’s something I probably would have done anyway.

 

Last year, between the theme reveal, April, the reflection, and the roadtrip-  I visited close to three hundred blogs. (Mostly those labeled writing and books, but a few others as well.) That sounds like a big number, until you consider just how many more there were to see. I’m looking forward to checking in with old friends and making new ones this year. A to Z is all about building community. It isn’t just a list of people who blog, it’s a list of people who are looking to connect. Through category codes, snappy blog names, or various themes, we’re people proclaiming, “I am interesting enough to devote at least five minutes to, and I’m hoping that we’ll end up having a common interest so we can spend more time getting to know one another.” Really, that’s the point of this blog hop.

 

With that in mind, I’m going to share a quick recommendation.

First off, it is widely understood among A to Z people that we WANT to get to know each other. Leaving a link to your blog, along with your comment, makes it easier for someone to hunt you down and say hello. That’s why every year there’s a post about how to put a hyperlink in your signature.

Here’s another useful way to encourage comment leavers to provide this: CommentLuv

 

If you use Blogger, here’s a step by step guide for getting the free version-

http://www.mybloggerlab.com/2012/06/how-to-enable-commentluv-on-blogger.html

 

I swear that it is easier than you think. Just go one step at a time. It will not mess up what you have. In fact, one instruction actually backs up what you have now before you make the improvement. How cool is that? Very.

 

For WordPress:

CommentLuv premiumPremium or free version.

The free one is fine. The paid one gives you more choices, especially when commenting on other CommentLuv enabled sites. It also plays well with other plugins, such as Subscribe2.

I cannot speak for other blogging platforms. I would suggest checking with your favorite search engine or web-tech person.

I love that people are more likely to leave me their links. I am inclined to visit my comment leavers. Also, I like that I often get Twitter handles with this, allowing me a second way to connect with guests.

Jan 30 2015

Update of Goals, Dreams, and Plans

goals image
Here are my current goals and review of goals from the past:

 

It isn’t enough just to have a good list of goals. There also has to be a plan, some way to execute them. I feel strongly about my reading goals. Last year I didn’t keep track of everything I read, and I sometimes failed to write reviews (especially for well-known authors). Determined to change this, I’ve become active in two fantasy book clubs, and added another reading challenge into the mix. (It’s the #firstreads one, and it goes along with the New To You one, so that’s cool.)

Fantasy Faction dot com image For
 

And now, without further ado, here’s my goal list:

 

The BIG MAIN GOALS:

  • Publish two decent-selling book series (speculative fiction)
  • Survive at least another 40 years

 

Every smile is a direct achievement
 

2015 Goals:

  • Publish something every week on this blog
  • Have 5000 Twitter followers ~ currently at 4081 — up 116 from last month!
  • Update / redo what-are-they.com and existenceseries.com
  • Download the update for my blog theme, whatever that might entail
  • Support Diverse Books
  • Two Three Reading Challenges
  • After editing fantasy novel, get new query letter out there

 


read something 'new' to you in 2015 and review it
#FirstReads book by an author that @JLenniDorner had not read before
Reading Challenge that is a goal of @JLenniDorner

My post about The Hundred Thousand Kingdom
My post about WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014
My post about Write Good or Die

 

Goals for February:

 

  • Finish up the fantasy writing class
  • Submit the next assignment for the young adult writing class
  • Continue work on my NaNoWriMo fantasy novel
  • Keep up with Twitter follows
  • Tweet for #WriterWednesday  #WW and  #ReaderthuRsday #RR
  • Finish reading 3 books
  • Visit and comment on 20 different blogs
  • Have a great Valentine’s Day with my spouse

 

Goals #writetip from the book Write Good or Die
 

Review of Goals for January:

 

  • Finish up the fantasy writing class
  • Submit the next assignment for the young adult writing class
  • Continue work on my NaNoWriMo fantasy novelMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Keep up with Twitter followsMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Tweet for #WriterWednesday  #WW and  #ReaderthuRsday #RRMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Finish reading 2 booksMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Visit and comment on 40 different blogsMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Help my friend over at ufosavings – she’s looking to start a speculative fiction author spotlight feature on the website
  • Take part in the Fantasy Writer’s blogfestMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal

 


Fellowship of Fantasy Writers Blog Tour January 2015

A guide to who hosted me and when:


JoElle Martín on Jan 6


Lee Dunning on Jan 8


Renee Scattergood on Jan 10


RJ Mirabal on Jan 11


Right here! on Jan 12


Viv Sang on Jan 15


VIVIENNE SANG on Jan 15


Charlotte Henley Babb on Jan 16


C. B. Mac Gillavry on Jan 17


Debbie Manber Kupfer on Jan 18


T. S. Rider on Jan 19


Dee Dee Davies on Jan 20
Fellowship of Fantasy Writers Blog Tour January 2015 larger banner


 

Review of Other Previous Goals:

  • To get 300 signers on the what-are-they.com guestbook. ~ currently at 117
  • To get a literary agent. ~ Still working on it.
  • To finish writing book two of the existence series. ~On hold.
  • Work on Fraction of Existence rewrite ~ No progress this month
  • Work on the other fantasy book series ~ Some progress!
  • Work on Fraction of Existence query letter ~ No progress this month

 

 

Thank you Misha

Thanks for always keeping our bloghop list clean and relevant!

 

 

The Psychology of Setting Goals http://blog.sqwiggle.com/psychology-setting-goals/

 

 

Jan 27 2015

Using #writetip and #querytip to Express Myself plus a Book Review of Write Good or Die by Scott Nicholson

 



Express Yourself Meme November image
This will be split into three parts. The first will include a review of a book I finished reading on Jan 11. The second part will include tips from the Fellowship of Fantasy Writers tour. And the third will be tips from me.

I’ve done this post using images so that you can PIN them for later reference.

 

Write Good or Die

My Review:

Scott Nicholson has created an excellent compilation of the blogged advice of himself and other several published authors. Cut down your research “how-to-write-better” time by reading this book.

It starts with a hilarious and visionary comparison of the craft of writing to the effort of Olympians. Then there’s the comfort that writing gets better with practice.

There’s the A to Z of the industry. The book hits on the harsh realities that come after finding an agent or publishing, and tells you how to get there.

By chapter 31, it’s clear that this book is aimed at indie authors who are ready to succeed with pride.

Chapter 33 does have a link to a site that doesn’t exist. Searching leads to a blog post from Feb 2012 that says it’s “coming soon,” a Goodreads group that hasn’t posted since 2012, and a rarely used Twitter hashtag.

Overall, this is a very good book, and I recommend that new writers take the time to read it.

Goals #writetip from the book Write Good or Die
 

Achievement goal #writetip from the book Write Good or Die
 

Tip about critics for a #writer from the book Write Good or Die
 

Humor funny but true #writetip from the book Write Good or Die
 

One minute synopsis #querytip #writetip from the book Write Good or Die
 

Distinguish your book #querytip #writetip from the book Write Good or Die
 

Marketing with #kindle tip from the book Write Good or Die
 

#writetip on #free #ebook from the book Write Good or Die
 


read something 'new' to you in 2015 and review it
#FirstReads book by an author that @JLenniDorner had not read beforeReading Challenge that is a goal of @JLenniDorner

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Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015

Tips from the tour:

Jean Lauzier #writetip on the blog of JoElle Martin



#writetip Write what is in your heart, not what other people tell you to write. by Sarah Daltry on the blog of Deedee Davies



Robert Brooks #writetip on the blog of T S Rider



Tackling the Ultimate Demon: The Book Synopsis #writetip by DeeDee Davies on the blog of Quan Williams
 -Deedee Davies



movie trailer storytelling tip by Quan Williams on the blog of Renee Scattergood
 -Quan Williams



Danielle Ross #writetip on the blog of cb macgillavry



Maeve la fay #writetip on the blog of charlotte henley babb



Be thick skinned and open minded about constructive criticism. JoElle Martin #WriteTip on the blog of Lee Dunning
 -JoElle Martin



Make sure the buildings and building materials of your people are appropriate for the time, place, and persons that inhabit them. #writetip by T. S. RIDER



#writetip by @JLenniDorner found on the blog of RJ Mirabal

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Tips from me:

Writing motivation quote by @JLenniDorner

Fiction #writetip by @JLenniDorner

Jan 26 2015

Woot woot for #atozchallenge 2015

J #atozchallenge Lenni Dorner is signed up!

I was at spot 63 this morning, but I’ve since slid up to 59.

Jan 25 2015

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin #FirstReads Book Review

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms


read something 'new' to you in 2015 and review it
#FirstReads book by an author that @JLenniDorner had not read beforeReading Challenge that is a goal of @JLenniDorner
Fantasy Faction dot com image
I read this book because it was the Fantasy Faction book club” selection this month. My complete thoughts are on the forum, which contains spoilers.

This book has gods and mortals, and ends with a great twist for both.

There’s more going on in this story than normal. A few of the character names refer more to which body is being referenced than to who that individual is. There’s some real philosophical depth, if you care to think about it. Otherwise, it’s an interesting reading with an unexpected twist.

The narration can be jaunting at times, mostly because it isn’t always clear whom the narrator is speaking with, or which narrator is actually speaking, or maybe even when.

Readers looking for a book with a strong female lead have most definitely come to the right spot. The characters are diverse, but it’s a fantasy world, so it falls under the edge of that umbrella.


Jan 24 2015

I made #timetoread WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014

My review ofWRONG!: A themed anthology 2014

Special Notes: I am one of the authors who won a spot in this anthology.

Proceeds from sales of “WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014″ will benefit cancer patients in writing courses.

Goodreads Make #timetoread on National Readathon Day! Noon to 4 pm January 24th 2015

Review:

 

WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014

There is something for nearly every fiction reader in this collection.

My personal favorites, in the order they appear in the book, were:

“The Devil and Mrs. Morgan” by Marsha Porter

  • A tale of spousal abuse with a horrendous twist at the end.

“Yogatta Be Kiddin’ Me” by Susan J. Nickerson

  • This humorous tale of sugary treats had me laughing my “Smarties” off.

“The Goddess” by Deborah Owen

  • It’s such a ridiculously powerful story! My attention was gripped relentlessly.

“Wrong!” by Jianna Higgins

  • This story was packed a powerful emotional punch. I cheered at the ending.

“Ice Mountain” by S. Joan Popek

  • Here is a strange story that fiddles with the mind.

“The Blind Date” by Regina Puckett

  • I might not read much in the romance genre, but this is one story I would definitely recommend. It’s an I-don’t-care-who-you-are-that’s-freaking-adorable-and-heart-warming. Seriously, if this became a Rom-Com movie, it’d be an instant classic. Someone call a Jennifer (Aniston, Garner, or Lawrence)!

“The True Riches” by David E. Navarro

  • Adventure, wisdom, and a riddle make this a fun read.

“Double Rescue” by Joyce Brennan

  • A good-natured story sprinkled with a romance.

“The Break” by Kara Donadt

  • The main character really grows and changes in this story, so that’s some great plotting. It’s highly relatable, because most of us have had or know someone who has “that friend,” the one who pushes the very boundary of the definition of friendship.

“EGOT and the Pond King” by J Lenni Dorner (my own entry)

  • The story takes place when one character is visiting the other in a care facility. They have a picnic lunch outside. Grammy tells the whimsical story of how she met her husband. To divulge more would ruin the unexpected ending.

“Aftermath” by Mark Trudel

  • I love when a story messes with my head so much that I have to read it twice and then reevaluate everything that I know. Thanks, Mark.

“Back Road Signs” by Cindy M Fox

  • Confession- What I enjoyed about this story is that a large chunk of it takes place where I grew up. I did wonder why there wasn’t scrapple with breakfast, and I’m sure the Amish hosts aren’t actually Amish (but this is knowledge I have, and the main character probably wouldn’t, so it has nothing to do with the story). Either Cindy is from my corner of the world, or she deserves a medal for excellence in research.

“My Favorite Season” by Nya Lewis

  • This is from the poetry section, under the children’s division. This poem has such a strong voice for a young person. I really enjoyed it.




read something 'new' to you in 2015 and review it
#FirstReads book by an author that @JLenniDorner had not read beforeReading Challenge that is a goal of @JLenniDorner
WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014 Click the cup for buy links.

Thank you for reading my review.

Jan 23 2015

Author P A DePaul Blog Tour for the Book Exchange of Fire includes a Contest Giveaway

Author P.A. DePaul Blog Tour for the Book Exchange of Fire includes a Contest Giveaway
Author P.A. DePaul
About the Author
P.A. DePaul is a multi-genre romance author including paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense. She originally hails from Carroll County and Baltimore County, Maryland, but also lived in Macon and Warner Robins, Georgia. She currently resides in a beautiful community just outside Philadelphia. Exchange of Fire is the first novel in the SBG series with the second novel, Shadow of Doubt, releasing April 2015.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest


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Book Info

Series: SBG
Book: Exchange of Fire, SBG #1
Published: Aug 19, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Intermix
Format: ebook
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Faking her death was easy, living with her past is harder, but nothing is more dangerous than falling in love…

Sandra Walsh was a deadly sniper for the Sweet Briar Group, a covert agency with assassins for hire, until her last mission went horribly wrong, accidentally killing an innocent girl. Knowing she’s a danger to her team, Sandra goes off the grid, becoming a Shade—an agent declared dead but secretly hiding among the living. She intends to honor her vow never to pull another trigger or have contact with the spy world again. Until she meets Casper Grady…

Grady is a former Marine with a troubled past and a debt to pay. His life mission has gone from protecting the nation to helping local children and their families. The moment he meets Sandra, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye, but he can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious femme fatale. And when Sandra’s past suddenly catches up to her, Grady is determined to protect her at all costs, no matter how dark and dangerous her secrets are.

As the danger increases, so does their intense attraction. But when they’re forced to choose between each other and the people they’ve sworn to protect, their growing love might not be enough to keep them together—or alive…

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance | Goodreads | BAM | Kobo | iTunes

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What is your favorite visual oddity for a fictional character? (Example: Harry Potter’s lightning bolt scar)

I have to admit this is a tough one. I love to read all kinds of books including paranormal ones. In those, almost everyone has some type of oddity that makes that character unique. I’m going to have to hang my head and admit I’m stumped. I can’t choose between scars, tattoos, injuries (such as lost limps), unusual height, or exotic color of eyes.

 

What is the most unusual character hobby you have ever come across in fiction?

Lol. The moment I read this question, Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series came to mind. She has this badass wizard, a man who is so tough, even his dialogue is cutting, yet, he loves to watch the Lifetime channel. He’s addicted to all the feel-good movies and shows.

 

In your opinion, what makes a character really feel unconventional? 

Hmm…<tapping chin>. I think an unconventional character is one who doesn’t really belong in the story’s world, yet, somehow manages to make such a statement, the story wouldn’t be right without them. This character brings a different point of view, a different approach that can really make a story fun.

 

In your opinion, what makes a character three-dimensional?

This is an interesting question. A character, regardless of whether they’re good or evil, should make a reader feel. A well-developed character will have a reader cheering or booing their actions. In my opinion, the most effective thing an author can do to make a character three-dimensional is to invest time in having the reader understand their motivations. What made that villain evil? Why is the hero/heroine so bent on risking their life to safe X?

 

What is your main character’s most admirable quality? 

I’d say our hero, Casper Grady’s, most admirable quality is his fierce commitment to keeping those weaker than others safe. Be they children or adults who can’t/aren’t able to fight back, he will be their champion.

 

For our heroine, Wraith, AKA Sandra Walsh, her most admirable trait is her huge heart. She only wants the best for those around her and will do whatever she believes is the best for each person. Sometimes that means tenaciously sticking around until that someone lets her beyond his/her walls, while other times that means leaving if her staying jeopardizes his/her safety regardless of the pain it causes her.

 

Is there a way your main character can change the world to benefit other people? If so, what would most motivate him/her to try?

Casper Grady has tried to do this in two different ways but always with the same purpose: Stop bullying. First, he joined the Marines and had survived many tours to the Middle East—global bullying. The second way is when he left the Marines and set up a family fun center so the children of all ages could have a safe place to play and hang out without fear from bad influences or pressure.  His motivation happened in his youth when his best friend died from a fight with a bully and he arrived too late to save her.

 

Wraith, AKA Sandra Walsh, tries to save the world by belonging to a kickass Black Ops unit whose missions task them to eradicate such things as sex slavery rings, drug cartels, terrorists, and crooked people in power. As the sniper of the unit, she’s done her share of trying to save the world, one bullet at a time.

 

 

If your antagonist was there for the creation of the sandwich, what toppings would that character select to place between the bread slices?

HAHA! What an awesome question! In Exchange of Fire I have two villains, a storyline villain named Carlos Osvaldo, and a series villain named Victor Dalmingo. They are two very different men with very different purposes for going after the hero and heroine.

 

I believe Carlos Osvaldo’s sandwich toppings would include hot peppers, spicy mustard and/or Tabascos Sauce.

 

Victor Dalmingo would have more reserved toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, and/or caviar.

 

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excerpt Author P.A. DePaul's book Exchange of Fire
 

The following excerpt is the first time our heroine Wraith (AKA Sandra Walsh—the name she’s using while in hiding) and our hero, Casper Grady, are on the page together. Grady (former Marine) owns Gradwick Adventure Center (a full-scale entertainment center with multiple levels for everything from laser tag to arcade to go-karts, etc) and hired Wraith/Sandra as his Operations Manager. Zach is one of their employees.
 

Zach grinned, his white teeth orthodontic-straight. “I concede.” He held his hands up in surrender to the guffaws of the peanut gallery. “What are my choices again?”

“Either covering Todd’s shift tomorrow night or—”

“Or covering Todd’s shift tomorrow night,” a deep male voice drawled from just behind her.

Sandra’s heart ratcheted up a notch at the familiar, sexy Carolina intonation. Casper Grady. Delicious owner of the entertainment center and her direct boss. Her pulse thumped at his sudden arrival, and she had to catch her lips before they broke into a sappy grin—like all the other women who were in his presence. She casually turned and feasted her eyes on six feet, three inches of pure masculine male with short sun-kissed hair. His biceps bulged at his crossed-arms pose, and his feet were spread to support his strong physique. Marines: It does a body good.

Stop that!

“You’re being too soft on Zach, offering him a choice,” Grady said.

“Hey,” Zach exclaimed. “How was I supposed to know Sandra had freakishly good aim?”

“Really?” Grady laughed, dropping his arms.

Goose bumps raced along her skin at the easygoing sound. Shit. I’m in trouble.

“You didn’t learn that lesson from Todd, who lost to her two weeks ago and had to help us with inventory?” Grady asked, moving until the sleeve of his green polo with the company logo brushed her shoulder—the very sleeve that hugged against his muscles. “Or from Marcie, who tried to get out of restocking the merchandise counter last week?”

Zach’s face reddened. “I thought they were flukes.”

Sandra glanced at the Skee-Ball machines. “I’m thinking it wouldn’t have mattered.” Her score was four hundred fifty, while his was only two-forty. “Maybe you should’ve asked for a different game.”

“Working a Friday and now a Saturday night,” Zach grumbled, shaking his head. “Gena’s not going to like me canceling on her again.”

“Should’ve thought of that before you accepted Sandra’s challenge,” Grady replied. Sandra could almost feel the vibrations from his voice dancing along her body. His arm grazed against hers, sending electric jolts soaring through her system as he positioned his hands on his hips. Every time they were in the same room, he somehow managed to physically touch her without ever appearing to purposely physically touch her. Player skill set? Most definitely, but she couldn’t seem to work up any anger over it. She secretly liked every accidental bump they had.

 

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I would like to thank J Lenni Dorner for hosting me today! This has been so much fun! Also, a huge thank you to the readers for spending some time with me today. I’m open to answering questions—the best I can—if you’ve got ‘em! Note: I reserve the right to use writer’s embellishment! Heeheehee
Sincerely,
P.A. DePaul

The Giveaway!

PA is offering a tour wide giveaway of 5– $10 Amazon or B&N gift cards (winner’s choice) plus 4 e-copies of Exchange of Fire (sent via Netgalley). Just check out today’s post, leave a comment, and then fill out the giveaway widget!

Follow the Tour! Be sure to check out all of the stops! Read fun,new content at each stop plus learn extra ways to enter the giveaway! For the main event page please visit…this page.

Jan 22 2015

Expressing My Favorite Movie of 2014





Express Yourself Meme November image





It’s so CRUEL to make me choose just one!
Stubs of great 2014 movies
three more great 2014 movies
I mean really, LOOK at what came out in 2014!

But, all right, there is one movie that I’ve watched more than five times already, so I think it’s safe to call it my favorite from 2014:
Divergent

Jan 21 2015

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers presents Jean Lauzier

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015

LAST ONE!

Three months ago, Jean posted a discussion in the Fantasy Writer’s group at LinkedIn.
” Jean Lauzier -Independent Writing and Editing Professional:
I’m looking for fantasy authors who might want to take part in big blog tour…”

And thus this Fellowship was born. Thank you, Jean.

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Jean Lauzier started out writing short stories and had quite a few published in online magazines such as Long Story Short, Crimson Dagger, Wax Romantic, Mysterical-e, and many other places that don’t exist now. She’s also won several short story writing contests (once, she took 2nd place in NETWO’s contest) and placed in numerous others.

Jean plays in many different genres. She has a western time travel serial that is online titled I Wish…, a romance serial (also online) titled Where the Heart is, along with a short, mystery story collection, Six Pack of Murder. Her first novel, Dragons of Jade, made its debut April 1st of this year.

Jean lives in Longview where she is the president of Longview’s East Texas Writer’s Association. At home, she divides her time between hubby, kids, 2 Dobermans, training the cat, bonsai trees, and writing.

She is a member of the East Texas Writers’ Association and has now taken the title of President. Jean is a member of North East Texas Writers Organization and East Texas Christian Writers. In addition, Jean writes a weekly column about writing for Long Ridge Writer’s Group.

Find Jean on AmazonFind Jean on GoogleFind @jeanlauzier on TwitterFind Jean on Facebook

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jan 20 2015

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers presents author JoElle Martín

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015

JoElle Martín
JoElle was born in the Pacific Northwest. When she was a young girl, she moved with her family to Guadalajara, Mexico. She has since lived in South Texas,Central Texas, the Bay Area of California, and now her home is in Northern Nevada.
Today she spends most of her time wandering the scenic highways of America with her husband and creating new worlds and characters for her novels.
JoElle comes from a large family. With two older brothers and three younger sisters, she enjoyed the middle spot while growing up. (She was the official tattletale – a title none of her siblings ever let her forget). Though she loved playing outside as a child, she was also a bookworm.
Married shortly after graduating high school, she and her husband have been happily married over 30 years. (Which is a big reason JoElle firmly believes in happily ever afters!)
When they are home, JoElle and her husband enjoy visiting their son, daughter in law, and four grandchildren.
Ever since she was a little girl, and wrote her first multi-page story in fourth grade, JoElle knew she wanted to be a writer. She competed in Journalism in high school, winning several awards in feature writing. JoElle writes both fiction and non-fiction. In addition to her novels, she has written a number of feature stories of community interest for local newspapers on subjects such as volunteering, guide dogs, homeschooling, and the Explorer program. She served as a regional editor for a homeschooling newsletter and has had a number of short stories and articles published in print magazines and e-zines.

Goodreads      Amazon      Facebook      Website


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Fun Facts about the Dreamer’s Forest Series:

The Kingman Family – they are named after the town of Kingman AZ.
Dexy – is named after the band Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Alyssa and Amanda – are named after my nieces. One of them, in the story, studies nursing. One of my nieces actually just finished nursing school.
Rachel Kingman – was named in honor of my son’s German Shepherd Dog, Rachel, who was a guide dog puppy.
Dreamer – was the most difficult character to name. He rejected about five names before he accepted Dreamer. I didn’t find out why until later. Moonlight in the ForestHis name came to me while listening to the Dream Academy’s song Life in a Northern Town.

A Bridge in the Forest – I sent my sister and nieces a list of 12 names for the title of the first novel. They didn’t like any of them. The title didn’t come to me until the manuscript was nearly finished. It made the titles of the next books, A Secret in the Forest and Moonlight in the Forest, very easy.
The inspiration for the story came to me while I was driving through the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests in Oregon during a full moon.
A Bridge in the Forest A Secret in the Forest


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What is your favorite visual oddity for a fictional character? (Example: Harry Potter’s lightning bolt scar)
I really like Harry Potter’s scar. I fell from the back of a (not moving) pick up and had a very similar scar on my forehead while growing up. Had I been a few decades younger, I could have blamed Voldemort. However, I think I prefer personality oddities like Pippi Longstocking, Luna Lovegood, and Sherlock Holmes.

What is the most unusual character hobby you have ever come across in fiction?
Sherlock Holmes and his cocaine habit. He is an unbelievably highly functioning person in spite of his many idiosyncrasies and anti-social personality.

In your opinion, what makes a character really feel unconventional?
I like quirkiness, balanced with intelligence and kindness. I do not think making main characters orphaned or abused is an automatic ticket to unconventional. I like characters to be original in personality and comfortable in being different.

In your opinion, what makes a character three-dimensional?
In math, the three dimensions are height, width, depth. It is the same for characters. They must have that third dimension: depth. Otherwise, they are flat, predictable, and not believable. Depth requires showing what makes the character unique, including flaws, background, individual traits, quirks, etc.

What is your main character’s most admirable quality?
In the novel I just completed, Julianne’s Wish, the male protagonist is Forest O’Connell. He is an elf passing for a human in modern American society. He has such a deep sense of honor and honesty that makes him liked by almost everyone. However, it is so extreme that he sometimes feels guilt and shame for doing things that are not truly wrong.

Is there a way your main character can change the world to benefit other people? If so, what would most motivate him/her to try?
He actually is. The female protagonist, Julianne Carter, is a human female. They fall in love and marry. The reason Forest is in human society is the fae race is trying to see if they can rejoin living among humans. Especially now that he is married to a human, Forest’s intentions are increased.

If your antagonist was there for the creation of the sandwich, what toppings would that character select to place between the bread slices?
Charlene Black hates Forest and betrays Julianne. She is a lying psychopath. Hmm. I think what she puts on the sandwich would depend on whether she is making it for herself or not. No! Given her personality, she would wait for others to create the sandwich, and then just take the credit for it.




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Jan 19 2015

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers presents Quan Williams

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015

A few questions and answers as provided by

Quan Williams, author of “Godmode

Quan Williams

Download Godmode at http://godmode.quanwilliams.com

What do you think makes a good story?
it starts with a unique, intriguing premise, and is followed with engaging, nuanced characters that you as a reader want to learn about and follow around. As long as you have those two elements, then you can add or leave out any other elements of storytelling.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
I think that anything that can clue your readers in to your characters’ personality or your overall story can be beneficial. You can say a lot about a character or about your story with just the characters’ names. I get my names from a variety of sources: whether they be based on people I’ve encountered, or ideas I want to emphasize. I named my protagonist in GODMODE Elijah and put him up against an evil corporation called BAAL specifically to invoke the biblical reference of the prophet Elijah fighting the worshipers of the pagan god Baal. And his chief antagonist, Mulder Foxworth, was a play on the popular Fox Mulder character from the X-Files.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I think I’ve gotten better at handling character development and making that relevant to the plot. early in my writing career, I would often write entire scenes for character development that had nothing to do with the overall story. I think I’ve gotten better at making both character and plot work together.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
All a writer really needs is a way to record his or her ideas and a place to store them. a computer and a decent word processing program like MS Word are all you need to get started. Heck it’s all I’ve had, and I’ve gotten four books published.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
My first book was published through a company with a less than stellar reputation in the industry. They wee essentially a glorified vanity press that tried to pass itself off as a traditional publisher. I was misled and felt horrible, and was on the verge of quitting writing altogether. But historical romance author Anne Mallory (“One Night Is Never Enough”) a good friend of mine.She told me to not give up and to keep writing. That bit of encouragement proved to be what got me out of my funk.

GODMODE by Quan Williams
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Any and all marketing options are fair game. I’ve been all over facebook and twitter, i maintain blogs, all of my books have websites, and I’ve done a number of book signings, and even a job fair. I’ve gotten into merchandising and I’ve recorded soundtracks for my books. I’ve posted banner ads for my book via Project Wonderful and Google Ads. And I’m always looking for people to review my books. Once my book sees print, I take my writer hat off and put my entrepreneur hat on.

Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
Tom Snitsky is a secondary character in GODMODE< but I like his snark and sarcastic attitude. he has a Napoleon complex and he does not like the hero of my story. my original idea was for my hero, Elijah, to be totally and completely alone in the story, but it turned out adding Snitsky as a foil was a great idea.

How about the least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
i think i should have done more to develop Sylvia Rodenberg, who is a high ranking executive in the corrupt biotech company Elijah fights in Godmode. She plays a prominent role in the story, and has a very deep relationship with both the hero and the main villain. I could have explored that bond a bit more, which would have accentuated why her final fate was so important to the conflict between Elijah and Mulder. As it stands now, she comes across as a little flatter than I would have liked. Maybe I can rectify that if there’s a sequel…

Fame, fortune, or respect?
Fortune. Fame and Respect are fleeting, but you can manage fortune and make it grow.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
My second novel, Double Entry, was my most complete work to date. it had well-developed, nuanced characters and an intriguing plot with more than a few twists. Everything fit together, and was picked up by a reputable e-publisher. It was my validation, and something I sorely needed after the fiasco that was my first book with the-publisher-that-shall-not-be-named.

And are there any that you would like to forget about?
I wrote a crime/dark comedy novel called “Bad Meets Evil” a while ago that I guarantee will never see print. it was supposed to be this super irreverent, in-your-face exploration of evil, written to be completely devoid of sympathetic characters, intended to anger and offend everyone who reads it. The book was definitely unreadable, but not because it was so offensive. The characters were 2-dimensional and uninteresting, which is the cardinal sin of writing fiction. You can make your characters as crazy, evil, and despicable as you want; but you can’t make them boring.

For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?

That would be my current book, GODMODE. it encapsulates everything about me as a writer: my approach to character development, the way i set up plots, my penchant for description, and even my overall themes of personal responsibility and the importance of fatherhood. It’s all in there.

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
GODMODE is a science fiction survival horror novel. A man wakes up in a cage and can’t remember how he got there. He escapes and finds himself at the bottom level of a corrupt pharmaceutical company. He is alone – everybody else is dead – and has to fight his way out of the building, through a horde of bizarre and deadly monsters created in the labs. And as he fights, he discovers some very disturbing truths about his captors, and himself.
My next book is already finished, and I’m seeking a publisher or agent for it. It’s a literary love story about two college sweethearts dealing with the harsh realities of post graduate life.
I dabble in music, so I’m currently writing a concept album about a certain world famous superspy. Once I record the songs, i will also release all of the lyrics as an online chapbook. after that, who knows? I’ve got some ideas for a high fantasy story , but I also have this cool idea involving an epic adventure story set in feudal China. I haven’t decided which one to pursue yet.

What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?

The question i most want to hear is the question I’ll bet every aspiring writer wants to hear: “How much do you want for the movie rights to your book?” preferably asked by a movie or television producer, preferably holding a blank check in one hand and an ink pen in the other. Considering it would be my first adaptation and with the slow economy, I would be modest, and only ask for $500,000. What a bargain!



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What is your favorite visual oddity for a fictional character? (Example: Harry Potter’s lightning bolt scar)

in the book “Planeswalker” the main protagonist (Urza) has two gems for eyes.

What is the most unusual character hobby you have ever come across in fiction?

in the Justice League comic book, the evil version of Superman is called Ultraman. he is actually addicted to Kryptonite. he crushes it up and snorts it like cocaine. Weird.

In your opinion, what makes a character really feel unconventional?

There has tobe something about a character that flies in the face of normal convention. we all have preconceived notions about how character tropes are supposed to act. if you have the trope, but there is an element that runs contradictory to the trope, then you have what makes that charatcer unusual and therefore unique.

In your opinion, what makes a character three-dimensional?

two words: depth and nuance. the more a reader knows about what a character does and why, the realer the character becomes to the reader. so glimpses into the character’s internal thoughts and feelings as well as background help flesh it out. Nuance is important because the little details about how a character moves, talks, acts, dresses etc. also help flesh it out and turn it from just a character in a story to a real, breathing, person in the reader’s mind.

What is your main character’s most admirable quality?

in Godmode, Elijah’s coolest quality is his ability to adapt to different situations and think on his feet. He struggles to keep control of the rage that turns him into a raging monster, so he has to use his wits and environment – and whatever weapon he can get his hands on – more often than not.

Is there a way your main character can change the world to benefit other people? If so, what would most motivate him/her to try?

Elijah of “Godmode” is a survivor; he was bullied in school with little support from his parents or the school authorities. he survived a stint in a Juvenile detention hall, and went on to go to college and achieve stellar grades, which he parleyed into a job at a top biotech firm. he was able to navigate the treacherous waters of office politics en route to multiple promotions, and even when that backfired, he stillf ound a way to survive it. he can be an inspiration to people if he were to become a counselor or motivational speaker. and if he makes it through this latest ordeal, he just might.

If your antagonist was there for the creation of the sandwich, what toppings would that character select to place between the bread slices?

Mulder Foxworth of “Godode” is a perfectionist, but he has particular tastes. He would only want the finest, most expensive meats, cheeses and vegetables on the sandwich, along with Dijon mustard and toasted ry bread. the bread has to be toasted exactly to the right level of brown-ness and crispness, or he won’t eat it. You had better prepare it to his exact specifications, and you had better have clean hands when you do it. otherwise, he will make sure you regret it – maybe not at that moment, but when the time is right, and it is to his benefit to use your lousy sandwich against you.

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Jan 18 2015

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers presents author and artist Lee Dunning

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015
Lee Dunning Toon Head
About Lee

Lee has always loved writing, and wrote her first book in ninth grade. It was deplorable, though at the time she thought herself the next J.R.R. Tolkien. Since then Lee has written several short stories and books, but thankfully had enough sense not to publish them. Now as an older, and hopefully more skilled writer, Lee has published the first story she deems worthy of sharing with the world – Exile’s Redemption. She published it through Amazon in July of 2014.
In addition to writing, Lee absolutely loves reading, working on digital art (she did her book cover and has sold several covers to other authors (including Chris Kennedy’s novel, Can’t Look Back), wasting too much time on computer and tabletop gaming, and baking. She’s working on the sequel to Exile’s Redemption and hopes to have it out in the second quarter of 2015.

Links

Exile’s Redemption at Amazon

Lee’s Book Review Blog

Lee’s Author Site

Lee’s Goodreads Page



Exiles Redemption by Lee Dunning

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Telling stories by Lee DunningAbout the Story
Exile’s Redemption is, on the surface, a fantasy adventure tale about good versus evil, but it goes beyond that. It’s about paths taken which changed the course of history and sent a proud race down a road of slow decline – so slow they don’t even realize that one day they’ll exist only in history texts and children’s stories.
One of the individuals from days long past, Umbral K’hul, returns after ten thousand years of exile. He discovers his flare of temper as a boy not only saw him banished but set the stage for pride and ambition to run unchecked among his people. He must come to grips with his failings and work to rebuild his people while keeping them from discovering his true identity. Adopting the name W’rath, the elves’ first-born son, joins with a young, untried warrior and strives to save their people.
While the story tackles serious subjects, the story is written to entertain and amuse. The characters express themselves in unique ways, and carry the story along in a fast-paced manner. Exile’s Redemption is very much a character driven story, quirky characters for certain, but never boring.



Smirking by Lee Dunning
Brief Character Profiles

Umbral K’hul: Ten thousand years ago he tried to murder his father. He failed and found himself exiled to the Abyss to face certain death. Fate has opened a door and given him as second chance.
Raven: A young scholar, she has traveled to Second Home to research the truth about the first child born to the elves, Umbral K’hul.
Lady Swiftbrook: Driven insane by demons, she is rescued and healed by a small, filthy elf, and so starts a dangerous friendship.
Lord K’hul: Newest war leader to the elves, and lover of Lady Swiftbrook, he trusts not the smirking new arrival at his lady’s side.



Lady Raven by Lee Dunning

Excerpt

Okay, this is a scene from Exile’s Redemption between my primary male protagonist, W’rath, and his pain-in-the-arse half-nephew, K’hul. W’rath wants to put a stop to a rather nasty practice going on in the Elven nation of First Home, and K’hul, who has just replaced his father as “First Among Equals” is standing in W’rath’s way. Enjoy.
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Now that they were away from the others, and any possibility of public humiliation, K’hul’s confidence reasserted itself. He faced W’rath, arms crossed, his face hostile. “You have me here now, Exile. What do you plan to do? Chew on my ankles?”

“Really, lad, short jokes? Even among the Shadow Elf population, I’m shy several inches of average. I’ve heard every possible insult in existence. You’ll have to work much harder if you wish to provoke me. Oh, I know, threaten to keep my lads helpless and labeled as inher­ently evil. That will get my attention.”

K’hul raised an eyebrow. “You’re lads? Until a few days ago, you didn’t even know they existed. Until a few minutes ago you’d never laid eyes upon them. How can you call them ‘your lads’ when you don’t know a thing about them? Their own councilors wanted them collared. You just strut in and decide they should have full access to their psion­ics without first finding out why your predecessors thought it was a bad idea?”

“Interesting.” W’rath cocked his head. “That actually came across as a coherent argument.”

“So we’re done with this, then?”

W’rath chuckled. Ah, so young, so naïve. “Of course not, lad. Those collars will come off. But since you went to the effort to put together a logical reason for your obstinacy, it’s only fair I do the same.”

“Or, since we both know nothing you say will change my mind, we could just skip that part and move on to where I pummel you into a jelly. A very small jelly.” K’hul made a show of cracking his knuckles.

“Charming. However, isn’t that a bit archaic? Isn’t the whole purpose of having a council to facilitate communication and the exchange of ideas? Or am I mistaken and it’s really only an attempt to put a civilized face on our government while the First’s descendant continues to bully the rest of the population?”

“I’m the bully? You’ve already made it clear you expect the collars to come off regardless of the outcome of any discussion. In fact, you used threatened violence to lure me here in the first place. So be it. It worked well enough for the First, I’m only too happy to continue the tradition.”

W’rath had only a fraction of a second to chide himself for underes­timating his nephew before the huge First Born smashed a granite-like fist into his jaw. He attempted to roll with the punch, but the lad’s speed shocked him, and W’rath felt the bone shatter. Most people wouldn’t expect someone of such size to also have the agility and quickness of a hunting cat, but W’rath, of all people, realized he should have known better.

The force of the blow sent him flying across the room. He landed and continued to tumble across the floor until a wall brought him to a bone rattling halt. He spat out blood and teeth, but already felt his body regenerating, knitting the bone back together. Another fifteen minutes and he’d completely heal. Of course, K’hul wouldn’t allow him to regen­erate in peace. W’rath’s father hadn’t either.

“I knew without your psionics you’d lose miserably in a fight,” K’hul gloated, “but really, Exile, I still expected better. What were you thinking? Is this how you go about turning me over your knee and giving out a good paddling?”

He swaggered over to W’rath, hands on hips. “Did you think because I’m younger than you, you can lord it over me? Or, maybe you think I’m just some big, dumb fighter you can tear apart with your self-imagined superior intellect? Lesson one, Exile, never underestimate your opponent.”

I agree entirely. With the speed of a striking snake, W’rath lashed out with his legs, hooking onto K’hul’s ankle with one foot, and smashing the side of K’hul’s knee with the other. A resounding crack echoed off the walls as the knee exploded. K’hul crashed to the floor, howling in pain and surprise. The entire dojo shook with the force of his massive body splitting the floorboards.

With reflexes honed from years of surviving in the Abyss, W’rath sprang up and forward, smashing K’hul’s ruined knee, causing the First Born to nearly bite through his tongue in his efforts to keep from bel­lowing in agony. Even so he could not help but cry out as the Shadow Elf launched himself into the air using the shattered knee for leverage. The older elf fell back earthward, smashing the elbow of the hand that had seconds earlier broken his jaw. He tumbled forward and came to rest with his knee against K’hul’s throat. He pressed just hard enough to make it clear how easily he could crush the huge elf’s windpipe.

K’hul went to brush the Shadow Elf from his chest only to find his other arm pinned to the floor by a knife, which hummed with faint magic. Tendons neatly sliced, the embedded knife kept him from healing. For now the arm lay useless. He starred up into W’rath’s furious face in horror.

“If you ever strike me again,” W’rath said, struggling to enunciate through broken teeth, and a partially healed mandible, “your current injuries will seem but pleasant memories. I shall break every joint in your body, and then march up this puffed up chest of yours to smash every bone in your face. If your bloodline to the First survives as unsul­lied as you claim, you may regenerate perfectly, but odds are you won’t present quite as handsome a visage as you’re used to.”

K’hul gaped at the Shadow Elf, confirming W’rath’s suspicions that no one had ever dared speak to the young warleader in such a manner before. K’hul nearly choked on the blood from his partially severed tongue. W’rath grinned. “Oh, yes, the various races of elves may differ in a great many ways, but one thing you can always count on is our vanity. Lad, you may hate me with every fiber of your being, but by all the ancestors you hold dear, you will respect me.

W’rath’s smile widened. “And now … if you don’t mind, I do believe I have won our … debate.”

 

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What is your favorite visual oddity for a fictional character? (Example: Harry Potter’s lightning bolt scar):

I still remember Enas Yorl, a wizard from the Thieve’s World series who had lost a duel with another wizard and was cursed with involuntary shape changing. He was constantly altering into different, disgusting things.

In your opinion, what makes a character really feel unconventional?:

It has to be a combination of things. Just giving a character a weird eye color or a limp won’t do it. They need a background to go with the limp – how did they get it – how does it shape who they are? The character needs a life beyond the pages of a given story.

In your opinion, what makes a character three-dimensional?:

Really my answer to the previous question fills the requirements for this question.

What is your main character’s most admirable quality?:

His honor to those he sees as comrades. He will not abandon a comrade.

Is there a way your main character can change the world to benefit other people? If so, what would most motivate him/her to try?:

He has a great deal of loyalty to his people in general, but the chance to take power as a leader to all elves is also a strong motivator for him. He’s long nursed a grudge against his father and to gain the loyalty of the elves and raise them to their former glory would do a lot to give him as sense of closure.

If your antagonist was there for the creation of the sandwich, what toppings would that character select to place between the bread slices:

W’rath isn’t all that fussy about what he eats. Deprived for a good many years, he’ll consume just about anything in as much quantity as possible. If given the option, though, he is very much a carnivore. He’d make a Dagwood sandwich replete with as much dead animal as he could cram between a couple of slabs of bread.

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Jan 17 2015

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers presents Maeve La Fay

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015



Maeve La Fay
“Stories are how people communicate lessons, feeling and desires. I have learned that even the most fantastic of stories express something fundamental about that author’s thoughts or feelings on any given topic. I have always had a passion for strong, stories that told of far away lands and times and began creating my own at an early age.”

Hailing from Nova Scotia, Canada, Maeve La Fay is twenty-four-years-old and has been writing for at least sixteen of those years, and telling stories much longer. Growing up she always loved reading or hearing old ghost stories and faerie stories. This very soon developed into a love of speculative fiction and several cultures mythologies. Her pen name was born of one of two of these great loves, Mebd the great Irish queen of myth and Morgan La Fey from Arthurian legend. Stephen King and J.K Rowling were staples of her middle and high school years allowing her to branch out into the wonderful world of speculative fiction and folklore.

She is currently studying psychology for her undergrad at university and is writing a novel of the fantasy genre along with several short stories. “The Otter King” is her first of what will hopefully be many publications in the future.


Maeve’s blog

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Maeve La Fay is an avid reader of about any genre, though fantasy is her favourite. She enjoy weaving tales that are character driven and complex in unique worlds steeped in magic. Though she does not have any of novels published as of yet, she does have two short stories published to this date and several stories submitted. The short story “the Otter King” published in Dragon Knight Chronicles 2014 edition is set in her own world and carries strong eco themes.

The advice she would give to other writers is to write, write, write! Also maybe listen to feedback, you don’t need to uproot everything on a troll’s comment, but listen to any criticisms of plot holes and word flow, those can help you master the craft.

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1 art- Maeve La Fay
Excerpts:
Tree of Nine Worlds is an in progress fantasy novel series. I am currently working on the first two novels. The Tree of Nine Worlds series is a multi-perspective Celtic and Norse fusion fantasy taking place in an original world. The tale begins with an unlikely group of characters coming together in the home country of Princess Saoirse and staying at the castle as the group discovers a horrible plot from an unknown dark force to destroy the world and rebuild it in his image. It is also discovered that there may still yet be hope, for if a fairy woman of the lost city of Crannllwynn still lives, and if they can find the Lochbhan they maybe able to save the world from the darkness taking over. Saoirse, Percy, and Aisling take off with Doug to find the city of legend in what is now a war torn land as several kingdoms fight for control both against each other and against themselves.



2 art-Maeve La Fay

Tree of Nine Worlds:Quest for the Lochbhan
Everyone knew what a bride to be singing that song meant. This was the entire reason for betrothal ceremonies before they became an excuse to feast for the sake of feasting.
“Saoirse!” King Agnew cried angrily down at his daughter. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Saoirse inhaled deeply and spoke as she had rehearsed it in the mirror before coming down to the hall. “I am invoking the Bridequest, as is my right by Highland Law!”
Everyone around her let out a gasp, and nobles from both highland kingdoms stared at her, wide eyed or simply squinting in anger. King Ferghus stared at her the most intently, his fair skin reddening by the minute. She knew better than to hope the Sluadaighish king would not be slighted.
“Ach! Ye cannae do this to me lad!” Ferghus announced angrily waving a large square index finger in her face. “King Agnew, your daughter can’t resurrect this archaic ritual.”
“You have to renounce the Bridequest, Saoirse,” Agnew pleaded. “No one has invoked a Bridequest in over eighty years. The match has already been made, this isn’t fair to any of the parties involved.”
Except perhaps me, Saoirse thought bitterly, but said. “It is my right by ancient highland law to name a quest for any suitor who wishes to strike a match, to prove he is a good enough match, and ensure that our sons will be strong. There was once a time that any noble man who wished to marry had no choice but to complete a quest chosen by she who was promised to him.”
“Aye,” Agnew conceded. “T’was a strong tradition, but, Saoirse, but these are dire times and we have to keep making noble matches before more houses die out.”
“Your king father’s right, your highness,” Doug stated without expression. “As my father’s only son, it is important for me to continue the line. A quest could kill me, and thus end it.”
“The bridegroom has the right to refuse the request,” spoke Queen Adelaide, Saoirse knew not to be surprised with her stepmother. “But in refusing the Bridequest, he is also refusing the right to his bride.”
“Adelaide!” Agnew choked, his hazel eyes staring widening.
“I am sorry, your grace? Is it that you want your daughter to wed a man who could not prove his worth?”
“Your grace?” asked Gawaine in amazement. “Our alliance with Sluaghdaigh—“
“Does not depend on my step-daughter’s hand in marriage,” Adelaide stood with her arms open and spoke loudly. “We are one land split into four kingdoms and we are naturally allies against those who would see us harm in this growing world. The princess’s hand in marriage is an act of friendship between two allies, no more, no less!”
“Name your quest, Princess Saoirse of Daoinebhaile and I shall fulfil it.”
Saoirse stared blankly in amazement. She didn’t expect him to accept the quest. She couldn’t remember what she had wished him to do for a second. Disbelief clouded her memory and caught her breath while her heart thudded loudly in her chest. She now remembered what it was she had wanted him to do. Never did she imagine he would accept her quest, but she would happily marry him on the morrow if he gave her the means to do this.
“I want you to help me find the sacred city of Crannllwynn and grant me an audience with the Lochbhan.”



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Jan 16 2015

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers presents Renee Scattergood and a FREE BOOK

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015
 

Renee Scattergood
Renee Scattergood currently lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has 2 cats, Anakin and Padme, and two guinea pigs, Prince and Sith. She has currently written four episodes in the Shadow Stalker series.

Author Pages:
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My Website/Blog:
Renee Writes



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About the Shadow Stalker Series:

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Shadow Stalker is a series of short novellas (episodes) that tell the story of Auren, a young shadow stalker who is being hunted by the Galvadi Empire because of their belief that she will enslave the people of the Serpent Isles.

Episode 1: The Hidden Truth

Auren Trask’s perfectly normal life is disrupted when the Galvadi invade, and she learns a startling secret about her past. A secret that will change her life forever.

Episode 2: The Delohi-Saqu’s Fate

Auren is being targeted by the Council of Elders, and the only one who could put an end to their corruption is her father. But leaving the Dark Isle would turn Kado against her.

Episode 3: Shadows’ Betrayal

After seeing the monster she will become, Auren swears not to leave the Dark Isle. Despite that, the elders are conspiring against her. To escape their scheming, she and Kado decide to explore the Dark Isle. But worse things await them in the forests.

Episode 4: Forbidden Love

Kado and Auren survive a deadly storm, but when Auren is forbidden from pursuing love with another young shadow stalker, will it be enough to drive a wedge between her and her foster father?

Episode 5: Destiny Reconciled Part 1

Auren and Kado accept that they may not be able to avoid her leaving the Dark Isle. Now they have to prepare for that eventuality. Will the training be more than Auren can handle?

title
About Demon Hunt:

Auren longs for adventure and a break from her tedious life on Appolia. It’s the start of summer, and she is looking forward to her yearly camping trip with her foster father, Kado. She believes these trips are for fun, but when they arrive on Luten Isle, Kado informs her that she is a shadow stalker, and she is in training.

One morning, Auren decides to take her training into her own hands. She only means to practice seeing the veil to the shadow world, the world of the shadow people and the source of their power. Instead, she opens the veil releasing a demon, a guardian of the shadow world, into the physical world.

With the deadly beast loose, she and Kado don’t have long to hunt it down and return it to where it belongs, or many innocent people could die.

For the month of January Demon Hunt is free to download as a holiday and New Year gift. You can get it at Smashwords.



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Questions:

 

What is your favorite oddity for a fictional character?

 

I love characters who have very quirky personalities, who have a hard time fitting in with society, but manage to do it somehow. Especially the ones who seem oblivious to their quirks.

 

In your opinion, what makes a character three-dimensional?

 

A character whose personality and actions reflect both positive and negative traits. They need to have bad habits or little quirks that set them apart from anyone else. Also their dialogue (inner and outer) should reflect how they would really speak.

 

What is your main character’s most admirable quality?

 

Her selflessness. The fact that she would give up the things she loves to do the right thing.

 

Is there a way your main character can change the world to benefit other people? If so, what would most motivate him/her to try?

 

Well, yes, in fact that is her main goal in the story. Her motivation is that people are suffering and dying just because her father refused to kill her when she was born. So she believes their suffering is her fault and she is the only one who can stop it.

 

If your antagonist was there for the creation of the sandwich, what toppings would that character select to place between the bread slices?

Honestly? He’d probably think the sandwich creator was a bit shifty and send him to a reconciliation center to be brainwashed…ummm I mean to be cleansed. He’s very much a man who does not believe in mixing foods.

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Shadow Stalker: Forbidden Love (Episode 4) Excerpt

“I have to go,” Mila said. “I’ve got training early tomorrow.”

 

“Oh, okay,” I said, glancing longingly at Etan, before following my cousin out of the water.

 

“I can stay,” he said.

 

“Yeah, why don’t you stay? Kado said you could stay as long as you like.”

 

She was right. He did say that. A wide grin plastered my face as I hugged my cousin and wished her a good night. I rejoined Etan in the water when Mila left, and suddenly I didn’t know what to say. He saved me by doing most of the talking to begin with, then we both talked non-stop. It was amazing how much we had in common. We shared a love for the same foods. Our favorite color was green. He also had a tendency to stretch his boundaries with his mentor. But more, both of us had lost our parents when the Galvadi attacked the Dark Isle, so he knew what it was like to grow up without a mother and father. He had only been a year old and had a five-year-old brother who also died during the attack.

 

“It must be strange having a prophecy about you, though,” he said.

 

“Strange isn’t the word I’d use. It’s been more like a nightmare.”

 

We didn’t speak for a while. At least not with words. Our eyes locked, and we connected as we had before. When I was with him, I could forget about all the pain in my life. I could easily forget about my responsibilities and my training. I wanted to stay that way forever. The darkness made it impossible for us to see each other, though, and it broke the spell.

 

“It’s getting late,” I said, softly.

 

“I know.”

 

“I should probably get back. I’m pretty sure Kado didn’t mean for me to be out all night.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

As we spoke about leaving, our bodies came closer together. Soon my body was pressed against his and our faces were almost touching.

 

“We shouldn’t do this,” Etan said, inching his lips toward mine.

 

“Yeah,” I said a split second before our lips touched.

 

Stop! Kado’s voice resonated loudly in my mind. Get home now.

 

I backed away from Etan, startled. “I—I think I’m in trouble.”

 

“Yeah, me too.”



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Jan 15 2015

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers presents author RJ Mirabal

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015

RJ Mirabal
RJ Mirabal loves the Middle Rio Grande Valley having lived there for most of his life. Los Lunas High School 2006 Teacher of the Year, author RJ Mirabal, went on to win the Excellence in Education Award for NEA-New Mexico in 2007, having taught English, speech, drama and computer literacy. Now happily retired, he purses writing and music while volunteering with a motorcycle club and teachers’ organizations. RJ enjoys exploring New Mexico’s wilderness areas on his four-wheeler and traveling with his wife, Cheryl. “The Tower of Il Serrohe” is his debut novel with the first of two sequels to follow in early 2015.

RJ’s Blog


@rj_mirabal


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The Tower of Il Serrohe by RJ Mirabal
Book title: The Tower of Il Serrohe (Book 1 of Rio Grande Parallax Series)

Author:     RJ Mirabal

 

  • A man who has lost his way.
  • A rundown casita near the Middle Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico.
  • A bat offering a formidable quest to this unlikely hero.
  • A Portal to another valley called the Valle Abajo.
  • Clans in the Valle needing help to overcome the evil Soreyes.
  • A Tower, the mysterious source of Soreye power.

 

Early in the past century Teresa, a young curandera, traveled to the Valle Abajo to bring down the Tower. But the Tower still stands and Don Vargas, an alcoholic looking for escape from failure, may be the only one to destroy it.

 

Don travels through the Portal to the Valle, encountering beautiful Raquela and feisty Nersite who join him to fight the Soreyes. Meanwhile Nightwing, the enigmatic bat, manipulates events behind the scenes. Many surprises and revelations await as this contemporary fantasy unfolds.

 

Though the book ends, the story doesn’t. Coming this winter, Book 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist. Many familiar characters from The Tower return along with new exciting personalities to spice up the adventure:

 

Extreme Dust Storms May Exist:

  • Esther has dreams of a valley much like her Rio Luna home, yet ominously different. A bat slams its body against her window in the night. Markey, her best buddy, thinks she might be going crazy.
  • It is five years after the final events of The Tower of Il Serrohe and Esther, a young cousin of the missing Don Vargas, is drawn to the Portal in Don’s old Casita.
  • In the Valle Abajo, an old enemy of the clanspeople returns. And a mysterious presence makes itself known.

 

Personal Comments: Why New Mexico Fantasy?

I’ve always loved the way fantasy and science fiction take my imagination beyond the ordinary. Realizing the obsessive creation of stories in my head meant I should be a writer, I set out to fashion a unique niche for my musings calling it Southwest Contemporary Fantasy, specifically New Mexico fantasy. Thus Don, Nersite, Raquela and all the other characters were born and sent out on their unpredictable adventures.

But like many children, they have their own ideas, and I struggle to keep up with them, attempting to tell their story as accurately as I can. I admit they share some of my life experience growing up in New Mexico with its unique culture, terrain, and climate. But at times, I wonder where these people came from!

Join me as I chronicle their adventures and challenges.

Buy links for The Tower of Il Serrohe
Black Rose Writing
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

Signed copy from the author or other questions, email: rjmirabal@gmail.com


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Jan 14 2015

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers presents R.R. Brooks

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015

R.R. Brooks
R.R. Brooks is retired after a career in pharmacology research. He has one book about to launch, three books en route, and short stories published. Justi the Gifted (epic fantasy, YA) was inspired by David Eddings The Belgariad. His advice for new authors is to get a critique group. The best writing advice he’s ever heard: Persist. His advice to other writers is “Don’t do it!”


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My favorite visual oddity in fantasy fiction was the look of Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) when she is seduced by the ring in Lord of the Rings.  The hobby of Ce’Nedra, the princess in Eddings’ The Belgariad, may be unusual: she relishes picking on Garion.  An unconventional character has attitude, foibles, and action.  He or she becomes three-dimensional when the reader hears real internal dialog and realistic response.

My main character Justi has the admirable quality of good intentions. His power to defeat the enemies of the Kingdom of the Zell is motivated by a desire to do what is right and to please his love interest, Princess Mercerio.  Justi would probable choose a sandwich with seasoned deer meat, reflecting his rural, hunting upbringing.

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Justi the Gifted

 

Justi the Gifted, an epic fantasy tale by R.R. Brooks ( www.appalachianroundtable.com ) will be published momentarily by LeoPublishing L.L.C. (www.leopublishing.net) and can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstore (they’d love for you to visit).

A gift from a god can be good.  But what if it is damaged?

The Evil Character

Justi the Gifted has more than a few evil characters, including King Brokul, the leader of the Tantrocans, Aduk, his high priest, and Ukor, Aduk’s assassin.

Aduk, a gaunt figure, considers himself “a scholar, a magician, a mentalist, and a channel for the God of Chaos. In his cerebral role, he busies himself analyzing ancient texts, planning ways to find and control the Child of Justice, and advising his King on how the prophecies predict military success. He may call the shots, but it is Ukor who actually does the dirty work. That role places him before the reader, showing by his actions how nasty the Tantrocans can be. Ukor winds up being the more interesting character. Ukor, big and muscular with pale, milk-white skin, is a master of disguise, a thief and killer whom Aduk rescued from execution. The reader meets Ukor as he goes after an ancient scroll paid for by Aduk, but not received.  The assassin kills the old merchant, an act seen by a grandson, who Ukor cannot kill.  This failure humanizes Ukor and foreshadows his difficulties in killing the young Justi.

The assassin’s personality is revealed in my favorite scene when a domestic servant finds Ukor in bed with a slave girl. The servant Patch fears Ukor because of his past cruelty and faces it again when he carelessly notices the girl (“her alabaster skin, thin waist, and ample rump”).  As a test of Patch’s lack of interest, Ukor makes him drop his pants and watch the slave as the assassin dresses. Ukor enters Justi’s home town, where he probes for who might be a gifted child of prophecy.  Convinced it is Justi, he attempts to kill the boy, but is rebuffed and injured by Justi’s power.  Ukor tries again in another location and again fails.

By internal and external dialog, the reader learns that Ukor has no regrets in killing.  Failure to eliminate Justi irks him, and he pledges to finish the job. Besides failure, he fears for his own safety. The author was hoping for a big, tough antagonist with a bit of remorse for what he does, one who remains faithful to his master and to the task at hand.

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Jan 13 2015

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers presents Sarah Daltry

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015

Sarah Daltry is an introvert and a nerd. She’s written more than 15 novels, but only five are available. Dust is a YA fantasy/philosophical fantasy novel. She also wrote No Such Thing as Perfect, which is contemporary women’s fiction/literary fiction about growing up, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: A Modern Reimagining (literary fiction based on the poem), Backward Compatible: A Gamer Geek Love Story, and the vampire NA urban fantasy (18+) Bitter Fruits.

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What is your favorite visual oddity for a fictional character? (Example: Harry Potter’s lightning bolt scar)
It’s not really an oddity but I like Frankenstein’s creature, who doesn’t look anything like the movies portray him to look like.
What is the most unusual character hobby you have ever come across in fiction?
Quidditch – soccer on brooms
In your opinion, what makes a character really feel unconventional?
When they don’t try to be. I’m over “quirky” characters. If Zooey Deschanel could play them, I’m not interested!
In your opinion, what makes a character three-dimensional?
They’re flawed. That’s why Game of Thrones is so good. No one is good or bad – they’re just people (well except Joffrey)
What is your main character’s most admirable quality?
Her refusal to accept things as the way they are just because she’s told. Some may call it bratty but it’s important to define your own experiences and values.
Is there a way your main character can change the world to benefit other people? If so, what would most motivate him/her to try?
Her entire story is about saving the world and she’s doing it because she is expected to but also because she feels morally obligated.
If your antagonist was there for the creation of the sandwich, what toppings would that character select to place between the bread slices?
Whatever he felt gave him power over people.

 

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What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Dust came to me one morning and I don’t really know what inspired it. It’s the story of growing up amidst war when the world has survived by holding secrets. Alondra must navigate the past, specifically that of her mother, to learn about what led to the events that destroyed her kingdom, and she must face the darkest parts of herself.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write what is in your heart, not what other people tell you to write.

What is your best method or website for book promotion?
I don’t really have one. I don’t think I think like most people and I seem to struggle with connecting with them.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
Self-published and small press, because I’m not marketable apparently.

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Jan 12 2015

Express Yourself with Plays and Musicals

 



Express Yourself Meme November image
I tried to find my box of playbills, several of which are autographed, to make this post more interesting. Unfortunately, that box seems to gone into the stack of “things I will not need prior to moving,” and thus will not be seen again for a few months.

Looking back, I was quite the patron of the stage fifteen to twenty years ago. I saw Sarah Jessica Parker in “Once Upon a Mattress.” I was at an off-broadway version of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” I’ve seen live performances of “RENT,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Dames at Sea,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “West Side Story,” “The King and I,” “Hairspray,” “Death of a Salesman,” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” (Honestly, I know there were more, I just cannot recall the others right now.)

Oddly, I’ve also seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” performed live while the movie version ran in the background. And yes, there was audience participation. And also yes, I brought toilet paper. (If you haven’t been to RHPS, do not ask. Just go as soon as you are old enough to get in.)

Jan 12 2015

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers presents author J Lenni Dorner

Fellowship of Fantasy Writers blog tour Jan 2015
@JLenniDorner

J was a Penn State Honors and Scholars student majoring in English and Communication, and a Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Creative Writing Semi-Finalist. The author has been published (under pseudonyms) in several anthologies, a small press magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. J was one of the thirty-two selected for the honor of competing in Write Club 2014. The Creative Writing Institute held a contest that resulted in J Lenni Dorner being published in the anthology “WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014” in December 2014.

J weaves fantasy with lore to unhinge your mind.


Socialize online with J Lenni Dorner:

@JLenniDorner on Twitter WhatAreThey on Facebook pages Author J Lenni Dorner on G+ JLenniDorner on Pinterest Connect with J Lenni Dorner on LinkedIn Author page of J Lenni Dorner on Amazon friend J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads Please follow the blog of J Lenni Dorner

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WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014 featuers @JLenniDorner

“WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014″ features the winners of a writing contest. Entrants were to use the lines, “I have a list and a map. What could possibly go wrong?,” in the story. Stories had to be under 2,000 words. Proceeds from sales of “WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014″ will benefit cancer patients in writing courses. 
J was also inspired by a humorous image on Pinterest. Combining the required lines and that image, J wrote EGOT and the Pond King.

Excerpt of EGOT and the Pond King by @JLenniDorner as found in WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014

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J spent NaNoWriMo working a fantasy book entitled “The Dagger in the Darkrise.” Over a decade ago, J was inspired by an image of a woman with a sword. The story is finally coming together. J isn’t sure it would have made it before, as the cast is diverse (though sometimes that isn’t as heavy a factor in the fantasy genre). Timing is a big factor in the publishing industry.
The Dagger in the Darkrise

Suppose the gift of choice was taken from you. What you’re wearing now, what you last ate, the job you have – imagine having no say in any of it. Alison refuses to live a life that she hasn’t selected for herself. It starts with a ceremony that will tell her what position she’ll get and if she’ll marry. The story climaxes the night her dad is killed, her soul is traded away, and her most intimate choice is stolen. She must embrace the most feared, forbidden ways to fight in the Darkrise, risking it all for the precious gift of choice.

This young woman turns down the opportunity to marry the prince, preparing instead to lead the army. She discovers that the family of the woman her father was to marry is plotting to destroy the kingdom. The future will always come, so she must decide if her path will be the result of her own choices, or someone else’s. The Dagger in the Darkrise is a dark, high fantasy novel with approximately 90,000 words.

(Work in Progress)

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What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Even if you make a mistake, it’s better than making no attempt at all.

What are you reading now?
“Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint,” “The War of the Flowers” by Tad Williams, “The Other Normals” by Ned Vizzini, and “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” by N.K. Jemisin.
The last one is the January 2015 selection for the Fantasy Faction book club.

Do you have any tips on overcoming writer’s block?

Go write a letter of resignation.

Writing motivation quote by @JLenniDorner

If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (it’s the longest one)
Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron
Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Tell me one odd thing about you.

I have lived in a part of Pennsylvania where the belief that photography can steal the soul of a person is still prevalent.

My Lenni Lenape people also hold the belief that a name is sacred. Our people use nicknames or only part of our true name in social settings. (We refer to each other according to the relationship- Mother, Father, Brother, Friend, etc.) Each person for thousands of years has had a unique name. The common custom today of a baby being named shortly after birth by the parents is very different from our ways. A child would be about seven years of age when brought to the Name Giver, who is a person selected by the Great Spirit (or God). The true name may be given at once, or may take years, for the Name Giver must have a vision to discover what it should be. No other may ever have that name. It dies along with our body and travels with our spirit. A witch could kill simply by using our true name. It is believed that knowledge of the true name could also trap a soul.

So please, feel free to just call me J, and to enjoy the sunrise image I use to identify myself online.

Have you ever been involved in a collaborative project with another author? If not, is it something you would like to do in future?

Yes, I’m working on a fantasy project with another author right now. A fellow writer and I are also kicking around the idea of an advice book for high-school aged teenagers – your basic list of “no one told me” items that come up when you turn 18. Nothing preachy sounding, like do this or don’t do that, more of a “Here’s how credit works,” and “Why you can get rejected simply by only applying to one college.” We’re strongly considering taking it to Twitter for input. (Drop thoughts in comments if you happen to have any!)

What advice would you give other writers?
quote by @JLenniDorner -For writing fiction you simply have to do exactly what all the other successful authors have, but in a way that no other ever came up with

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