Archive | July, 2014

What to read while you’re waiting…

Since I won’t have another book ready for Teen / Young Adult readers until September, I thought some recommendations on books that I’ve enjoyed might be of interest.

Lethal Dispatch by Max Tomlinson

This is a terrific book by a terrific writer. It’s definitely not fantasy, but if you also enjoy thriller/suspense, and a little bit of history thrown in, you need to discover this great read. Be careful, though, because it will end up being a gateway drug into the Nina Flores Thriller Series (Adult Thriller / Suspense).

This book is too mature for tweens. However, readers age 14+ will find it exciting, fast-paced, and a great story. I’d tell you about it, but why bother when you can just watch the trailer!

Lethal Dispatch is currently priced at $2.99. That’s a great price! You can pick up a copy on the Lethal Dispatch page at Amazon.com

That’s it for now. I’ve got a few more books I think you’ll like, and I’ll post them as I have time.

Enjoy!

Jill
7/27/2014

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Sneak peek at the “Dragon Tender”

Dragon_Tender_250

NOTE: The following is from the rough draft of the work in progress. Parts of it will change prior to publication (including any errors I haven’t caught yet), but I think it presents a good feel for the title character of the new book. (BTW, the book is still on schedule for September publication.)

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Avenall leaned back against the trunk of the tree, his natural grace helping him to balance easily on the wide branch. He’d received a new flash drive full of music from his human friend Danton today, and he closed his eyes, leaning his head back to relax as he pressed the earbuds into his ears. Danton advised him this new music was called “prog rock”. It was like nothing he had ever imagined. It was so different from the slow, passionless chanting of the elves that they proclaimed as music.

Minutes into the second song, he was startled from his trance when the branches of the tree reached out swiftly to entwine around him. As his mouth opened in a gasp, a branch snaked around his head, gagging him so that he could not speak nor utter a sound. As the tree’s rough arms continued to twist rapidly around him, eventually covering his body completely, he wondered if he had somehow offended the dryads and his fate would end here in this tree as he slowly starved to death within his wooden cage.

Then, in the gaps between the twigs and leaves that covered his face, he caught a glimpse of something that frightened him even more than slow starvation: his father came stamping through the forest toward the tree where he was hiding. Avenall held his breath until he had passed. His father glanced overhead from time to time as he walked and then passed beyond the tree where his son was hidden. Avenall heard his footsteps continue farther into the woods.

Shortly after the sound of the footfalls faded, the branches began to unwrap themselves, treating him gently now. He looked around for the maker of his cocoon. On the large branch slightly above him, Eugenia’s head began to separate from the trunk of the tree, bark transforming to flesh as she returned to her humanoid, ambulatory shape. He turned away, embarrassed, as a bare shoulder materialized, and he realized she might not be dressed when she appeared.

After a few moments, he heard her soft voice. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t have time to warn you. You can turn now. I’m robed.”

Avenall turned his head back to her, smiling. The soft blue gown set off the icy blue of her eyes. “My thanks to you. For a time, I thought I had offended the dryads. I am glad it was only you.”

“It is best to keep in mind what could happen if you did offend us.” She was smiling. He knew she loved to tease him. But to her, he was just a boy. No matter how much of his heart he held out to her, there was no hope that she would ever notice him as anything else. Even to his own people he was a child. The elves would not consider him anything else until he had attained an age of at least thirty years. He had lived only seventeen to this point. He would have lived no further years at all if his father had found him listening to human music with human technology.

“Do you want to hear it? It’s so free…”

“No, I do not want to hear! If your father discovers that the reason you sneak away is to listen to human music and watch those moving paintings on your machine, he will gladly swing the sword at your beheading. How can you be so foolish? You were nearly discovered this time.”

Avenall shrugged. “Perhaps it would be better for everyone if he did find out. He has made it clear to me that I will never be anything but a disappointment to him. I had no control over the nature of the magic I was born with! At least I can tend the dragons. I might have had so little magic that I could only tend the cows, the pigs, and the chickens and be valued by my people only slightly more than humans.”

“There is nothing wrong with the magic you have. Your gift to share the mind of the creatures around us is a blessing. If the elves were not so arrogant, they would hold you in esteem for your gift–to ride in the mind of dragons, to soar above the earth with there–how can they not see the beauty and power of that?”

“It is difficult to believe in my value when everyone but you says I have so little. And even so, I love tending the dragons. I love the fiery intelligence of their minds. I wouldn’t want a warrior’s magic even if I could have it.” Avenall aggressively shoved his long black hair back from where it had crept over one eye. “I would live among the humans if I was able.  There, I would not be the lowliest member of their society. I could be whatever I want to be.”

“Assuredly. As long as that did not include being an elf. Not all of the humans are accepting of fae.”

“No, but I could go to the queen. Look…” Avenall queued up one of the videos Danton had brought him and held it out to Eugenia so she could watch. “Do you see? She wants us all to live together as friends. Like Danton and I are friends, like your sister Euphemia is friends with the queen and her mother.”

“Yes, but she is not the same queen who once led us. Morgan is gone. While I like and obey this young queen, she has not been able to keep the fae united. Your people show her little respect. She must not continue to associate herself with the Abomination or other fae will begin to turn away as well.”

“She says he isn’t Faolan since she removed his memories. And she is the queen–we should listen to her.”

“Avie, I think you only like her because she is human. I fear you want to be human as well.”

Any other elf would have struck her brutally at the suggestion. Avenall only turned his face to the ground and shook his head sadly. Then he returned his gaze to hers and sighed deeply. “No. I just want to be me. And me? I like human music. And I like humans, even though I am elf.”

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That’s it for the sneak peek! I’m getting very excited about the book and Avenall. He has an interesting story to tell. Obviously, there will be plenty about the usual crowd, but I think this new character is going to add excitement to the tale–and maybe even catch the eye of one of our lovely ladies :-)

Jill

7/25/2014

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Pixie dust and “dusters” (Tanji’s blog)

Pixie Dust

Pixie Dust–so completely not what it seems. Picture provided by Dustin Gaffke under a CC by 2.0 license.

So, you may have heard about this already, but I was surprised to find out how many kids in my little town are now “dusting”. I mean, seriously, we’re like two years behind what’s happening in places like New York on most things. But the dangerous stuff? Looks like we can keep up.

My dad says that (in like the thirties or something, when he was cool) there was a drug called Angel Dust (PCP for the science crowd) that got really popular for a while. It’s made out of an animal tranquilizer, and it pretty much made people crazy and violent in addition to getting them high. Like shoot-your-dog-or-your-best-friend crazy. It can even kill you the first time you take it if you react to it badly. Sounds like fun. I know I want to get me some, right?

Now the updated, post Fae Day version of Dust has hit the streets, courtesy of the pixies. After mixing a potion for my bestie Lizbet that was supposed to help her stay awake, I found out the hard way that pixie dust is a drug you don’t want to mess with. I really learned my lesson about using a magical ingredient without looking into the possible side effects. Seriously, I could have messed her up. Even thinking about that makes me want to tear up my sorceress badge.

But look, here’s the thing: pixie dust is useful in some spells. Think Peter Pan. Not *exactly* like Peter Pan because you can’t just get some on you and then fly around the room. But fae who have the magic to move through the aether can use pixie dust to bring other people along for the flight. So, yeah, it’s like beam-me-up-Scotty useful for that.

The flip side is if you ingest it (eat it, snort it, inject it, or whatever), you “fly” in a whole other way. You’re full of energy and feel like you can do anything. But you lose your common sense, too, like you do any time you’re high. That can lead to doing some really stupid stuff you’ll wish you hadn’t done. Never my first choice. I only do stupid stuff I want to do.

Anyway, if that sounds like fun, hold up for a minute before you go out and try to snag a pixie to get your fix. Because the downside is that the high lasts a few hours at first, but then you crash. And you crash big-time. If you don’t get another jolt from the dust, you’re pretty much going to go unconscious where you’re at. We’ve had kids around here who’ve had bad car and bike accidents from falling asleep without warning when the buzz wore off.

Eventually, you’ve got to take dust almost constantly to get the same effect as you started with. I’ve seen pictures of kids who were badly bit up from dusting and then going out to catch pixies to get more dust to feed their habits. That’s just stupid. Leave catching pixies to the professionals. (This is where I put in the plug for Ron Ross’s Magical Pest Control. Smooth, right?)

Anyway, that’s my public service announcement for today. Hit me up in the comments if you have a particular kind of magical creature you’re interested in hearing about, and I’ll see what I can do.

Tanji Ross, Sorceress
Two Months, 6 days after Fae Day

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