Monday, December 31, 2012

Snow dog joins Snowflake Blog Hop for winter frolicking

She may be black but she's a winter puppy snow dog. She just turned 1 year old on December 9th. We finally got a bit of snow over the holidays, and here is Donna the Dog playing in the yard. On the ground is a little plush puppy with a red ribbon that she tosses about it. My backyard is strewn with raggedy stuffed animals that are the fodder of puppy play.

Donna is a German Shepherd. Although her main occupations are being spoiled with beef bones, curling up on the couch, and loving her kitty, she does guard the garden from deer and raccoons, a very important task.

She'll be frolicking along this winter as part of the Snowflake Blog Hop started at Art and Tree Chatter of Aquariann. Join in the cold and snowy fun and browse the snowflake-themed posts of many participating blogs.

Please leave a comment. Donna LOVES attention.

Then find more wintry beauty at:

aquariann's Snowflake Blog Hop

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2 more chapters completed on The Goddess Queen fantasy audiobook

I've released 2 more chapters of The Goddess Queen in mp3 format as I slowly produce the audiobook. I'm really looking forward to having this novel finished in audio format so I can start selling it at Audible and iTunes. Until then, listeners can support the production by buying the episodes as they are completed. Each episode is 2 chapters that equal about 1 hour of audio. I sell them for $1.50 each.

This month Chapters 11 and 12 were finished.

In Chapter 11 Defending the Temu Domain, the war begins. Shan pounds the Sabuto army with his magic, and Dreibrand fights for his life in hand-to-hand combat.

In Chapter 12 Neither Innocent Nor Helpless, Miranda accepts that blood is truly on her hands when carnage and brutality surround her.

Please access all available chapters and listen to an excerpt at Brave Luck Books:

Go to The Goddess Queen fantasy audiobook.

The Goddess Queen is the second part of The Rys Chronicles series. The first novel is a complete 19 hour audiobook. You can listen to sample chapters or buy the Union of Renegades audiobook here

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hardcover Love Lost: Rys Rising Book IV

Now available in hardcover! Love Lost: Rys Rising Book IV
On Christmas Eve I came home to find the proof of my hardcover edition of Love Lost: Rys Rising Book IV stuck inside the door. I produce the hardcovers for the Rys Rising series at the print-on-demand company Lulu. It does a nice job with the casewrap hardcover printing, and I keep these copies for my personal collection. I call them trophies because they are the physical representations of my novels. I like reading ebooks and I especially like selling ebooks, but I do require paper copies of my creations for myself.

Today I made the listing for the Love Lost hardcover live to the general public. Anyone wishing to own this novel or any of the Rys Rising novels in hardcover can visit Lulu. It services multiple countries.

Love Lost retails for $24 plus shipping as a hardcover. 

It is a 6 x 9 inch book of 458 pages. 

I do not distribute these hardcovers to other retailers. They are only available at Lulu.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Excerpt from YA fantasy Rise of the Retics + $50 Amazon gift card giveaway

Rosehaven: The Hidden City launches the young adult fantasy series Rise of the Retics by T.J. Lantz. To promote the series the author presents this excerpt plus a chance to enter the giveaway drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card and paperback or ebook copies of the novel. 

About the novel

For almost a thousand years humanity has been making a concerted effort to eradicate the world’s “retics”, an eclectic collection of non-human, intelligent species. Recently, those efforts have been strengthened and far more successful than ever, though the Council of Rosehaven, the “retics” hidden sanctuary city, cannot figure out why.

No one realizes the danger of this this more than Tyranna Wolfskin, a young girl ripped from her boring, everyday life in the middle of the night by a vicious group of “retic” hunters. Thrust into a struggle for her own survival, Tyranna must find a way to accept what she is and learn to understand a world she never knew existed.
The cast of Rosehaven: The Hidden City
Excerpt from Rosehaven: The Hidden City

    “Hey, Wayde, do you see what I see?”
    “I believe I do, Bull,” answered the second boy. “I thought those things weren’t allowed at the market unleashed?”
    “As did I,” Bull responded. “What is this city coming to when half-bloods can just walk around unchained and free? It’s like a zoo out here.”
    Jaxon Miniheart clenched his fists. If it was just Bull, he might have been able to take him with Rigby’s help, but the large minotaur had two friends with him today.
    “Tough words, Bull. Especially with Wayde and Fhart standing behind you.” Jaxon glared at the three of them. Fhart, a small green-skinned goblin placed his right hand inside his vest, revealing a small, black knife handle.
    Seeing the weapon, Rigby bared her teeth, lowered her front paws and let out a low growl. She was ready to attack if her master might be harmed.
    “You think I need these two, Mongrel?” Bull snapped in response. “I should rip that tail of yours off and choke you with it just to show you how to treat a pureblood retic.”
    “Go ahead and try it, Bull.” Jaxon responded with a smile. “She’ll tear your oysters off before you can even touch me.” He pointed to the dog, her hair raised along her back, as he stared up at the minotaur. Bull was at least a foot taller than he was and probably outweighed him by a hundred pounds. While Jaxon tried to act calm and collected, his heart was pounding with nervousness.
    “What’s going on here, boys?” The deep voice of Deputy Copperbuckle snapped them all to attention as each boy tried his hardest to look innocent. The large centaur limped gingerly down the road towards the boys, careful not to put much pressure on his front right leg.
    “Oh nothing, Deputy,” replied Bull. “We’re just giving Jaxon directions on how to go back where he came from. Apparently he didn’t realize he didn’t belong here.”
    Bull’s two companions tried unsuccessfully to stifle their laughter.
    “That’s enough. All of you get out of here. We don’t need any of ya’ hanging around causing trouble. Especially you Miniheart. I’m not in the mood for your antics today.”
    Bull, followed by his two cronies, nodded an agreement and slowly walked past Jaxon as he left, making sure to roughly nudge his shoulder as he passed him.
    As he went by, he leaned in and whispered into Jaxon’s ear. “You’re lucky Deputy Lame-leg was here to save you. Next time, you might not be so fortunate.”
    Jaxon took a deep breath as he continued his walk into the market, trying hard to maintain his composure. There was no one in town he hated running into more than Bull and his friends, and it had put a large damper on his mood.  As he walked, his thoughts of revenge and vengeance were interrupted by a loud gurgle from his stomach.
    He had skipped breakfast this morning, and was starting to greatly regret that decision. It wasn’t that there hadn’t been food in the house, quite to the contrary actually. His foster mother, Saan, always made sure the pantry was well stocked with his favorite items and she had a standing order for one of the town bakers each week for a plethora of fresh baked delights. No, food options were definitely not the issue.
    The real problem was that he couldn’t stand to be around his house for any longer than he absolutely had to. Everything about the place irritated him. First, there was the horrible odor of the building, like what it would smell like if a barnyard and an outhouse got together and had a disgusting little baby. He had tried constantly holding his breath for the first few weeks he was living there, but he got sick of losing consciousness every few minutes.
    The smell wasn’t everything though. He might have been able to figure out a way to make do with the place if that was the only problem. No, he also had to deal with the sounds. Mostly it was the unnecessarily happy voices of his foster parents as they aggressively tried to talk to him about his day. His step mother, especially, was always asking him such stupid questions like “How are you?”, and “Would you like a snack?” Jaxon breathed in deeply, getting annoyed just thinking about their incessant interrogation.
         But even that part wasn’t the biggest annoyance about living there, not by a longshot. No, the absolute worst had to be the flowers. They were everywhere! Saan had them outside in the garden, inside in ceramic pots; she even tried to put a few in his bedroom. He hated them more than anything else. They were always so perky and colorful, constantly taunting him with their patronizing blooming. Jaxon wished he could just go around and slowly pick the flower petals off each one, chew them up really well, and spit them right back out. They all deserved it. Actually, they probably deserved much, much more, but Jaxon didn’t want to take things too far.
    Needless to say, pretty much everything about living with the Hoofstomps made him sick to his stomach. He’d been with them for three years now, about two years and 364 days or so longer than any of the other fourteen foster families he had lived with over the years. For all the bad things people say about satyrs, and there certainly was a lot of it, Jaxon had to give them some credit. They were, without a doubt, a magnificently stubborn people.

Buy Rosehaven: The Hidden City by T.J. Lantz at Amazon.

Visit the Facebook fan page.

Be sure to enter the giveaway too.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Fanciful and fun 18th century vintage illustrations

It's been a while since I showed off any new additions to my growing royalty free stock art catalog. This month I published some items from a book about the Age of Enlightenment. What a wonderful name for an age! I'm sure enlightenment was really needed considering so-called medical professionals thought bleeding was a good course of action.

On that note I'll introduce what I call the medical quack:

This cringe-inducing vintage image is available as a high 300 dpi resolution jpeg for creative projects print or digital. I can imagine people who make those funny pictures that are endlessly posted on Facebook having fun making a headline for this one. Visit the catalog page for the 18th century doctor illustration.

Switching to a much lovelier subject, I now present the Love Letter.

This royalty free vintage stock image is full of warmth and excitement. The young lady with her little dog and flowers as she savors the words of her suitor is available as a high resolution jpeg measuring 1853 x 2304 pixels (6.1 x 7.7 inches). For romantic creative projects enter her world and view the 18th century vintage illustration of a young woman.

Love letters hopefully lead to fun double dates with your best girlfriend and some charming gentlemen to fawn over you.

Hopefully this is the vintage dinner party image you've been looking for.

To conclude I'll show off the 18th century Italian opera singer. He looks magnificent. Even if I'm the only person in the world who thinks this vintage illustration is cool, I'm still glad I published him.

Browse the entire catalog at Royalty Free Vintage and Fine Art Stock Images.

You can easily follow the stock art collection as I add new images at my Stock Art For Sale Pinterest Board.

Please note that purchased images will NOT have the watermark.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reflections on my finished blog tour

Over the past 30 days I've been touring blogs to promote my recently completed Rys Rising fantasy series. I featured excerpts and character profiles from the four novels Rys Rising, Savage Storm, New Religion, and Love Lost.

I also had giveaway prizes, which I awarded today. My correspondence with the winners this morning was surprisingly gratifying. It truly was better to give than receive. When I contacted the winner of the Etsy gift card, I expected a dispassionate response from someone who had forgotten he or she even entered the drawing. Instead I received a swift and delighted response. She said she loves shopping at Etsy and was thrilled with the prize. I made someone happy!

The lady who won the second prize of the Rys Rising complete series ebooks was also excited. She was pleased to get the novels just in time for her Christmas vacation and she emailed me back to say that she started reading them immediately. I hope she likes them!

Overall, my experience with my blog tour was valuable and positive. I'll be working on a concept for my next giveaway/promotion over the next few weeks. Now that I have 8 fantasy novels published, I'll be in constant promotion mode and seeking ways to interact with readers and bloggers in mutually beneficial ways.

Until then, sample my fantasy fiction by starting either the Rys Rising or The Rys Chronicles series for free. The first novels are always a perpetual giveaway at my websites

Friday, December 14, 2012

1 day left to enter the $25 Etsy gift card giveaway drawing

Since November 16th I've been touring blogs to promote my recently completed fantasy series Rys Rising. A $25 Etsy gift card is the first prize in the giveaway. The Rys Rising complete series in ebook format is second place.

The Rys Rising series is a fantasy quartet. It's a passionate saga told from many angles.

Rys Rising: Book I
Savage Storm: Book II
New Religion: Book III
Love Lost: Book IV

I've networked with some great bloggers and authors during the Feel Real Fantasy blog tour, and I'm very grateful for their participation and support. You can visit the tour stops to read excerpts from my novels and profiles of the characters.

Feel Real Fantasy Tour Stops

November 16th Matt D. Williams online Meet Amar, the bad ass not-a-hero.
November 17th Tara Maya Science Fiction & Fantasy Excerpt from Rys Rising: Book I
November 18th The Dragon's Inkpot Meet Veta, horsewoman of the frontier
November 20th Cynthia Ravinski Wandering Around the Words Meet Demeda, princess of the Sabar'Uto Tribe and Handmaiden of the Goddess
November 23rd Daniel R. Marvello Meet Dacian, king of the rys
November 25th Anna Kashina Meet Onja, queen of the rys
November 27th Jeroen Steenbeeke Meet Cruce Chenomet, militia commander of Nufal
November 29th Art and Tree Chatter of Aquariann Meet Ajel, frontier woman and fleshmender
November 30th To Read or Not to Read Excerpt from New Religion
December 1st Disciples of the Fount Meet Alloi, most powerful tabre of the Drathatarlane Sect and twin sister of Tempet
December 3rd J.R. Pearse Nelson Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Adventures Meet Tempet, most powerful tabre and warrior of the Drathatarlane Sect and twin brother of Alloi
December 5th Scott Marlowe Fantasy Author and Blogger Meet Jafe, bodyguard of Demeda
December 7th Bookish Ardour Meet Urlen, royal scribe and then outlaw and best friend of Amar
December 8th Fighting Monkey Press Excerpt from New Religion
December 10th Matt D. Williams (again!) Excerpt from Love Lost
December 11th Free Book Reviews Meet Gehr, senior commander of the militia
December 12th Independent Bookworm Excerpt from Rys Rising
December 12th (second stop) Illusions of Intimacy Meet Loxane, Shamaness of the Kelsur Tribe and High Priestess of Onja

At midnight Eastern U.S. December 15th the entry form will automatically close the drawing. I'll pick winners and notify them on Sunday, December 16th. Please note that the Etsy gift card is only available to U.S. residents. The ebook prizes are available worldwide.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Documentary Review - Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes

I first saw glass blowing when I was a child visiting Green Field Village in Dearborn, MI. The process absolutely amazed me, so I happily decided to watch Degenerate Art, a documentary focused on artisans that make glass pipes.

The documentary delivers a rapid fire flow of images of exquisite glass pipes. An impressive array of very high end creations and the people who made them are presented. The concept of the glass pipe was spread by the original handful of artists through the Dead Head culture that developed around Grateful Dead tours. The beauty and superiority of glass pipes created an insatiable demand for the products, and glass artists have been attracted to the craft in droves.

Selling glass pipes was a way for the glass artists to finance their operations. They could make a profit and be able to experiment and develop ever evolving techniques.

Because of the endless market for glass pipes, the form itself became the medium for the artists' development. Many fine artists create complex sculptures based on the form that are works of art so beauteous they deserve contemplation.

Unfortunately, these sculptures are denied display in fine art galleries because they are pipes. The point of the documentary was that the glass pipe culture is so large and bubbling with intense creativity that the mainstream art world will have to acknowledge these artists eventually.

Before watching Degenerate Art, I had not considered that glass pipes had any kind of taboo association. I thought they were mainstream. Every town these days has smoke supply shops with large inventories of run-of-the-mill glass pretties. Of course, the lovely works of art featured in this documentary can't be found at any old storefront, but such is the nature of fine art.

Degenerate Art also touched on the absurdity of U.S. Government drug policies. It came in midway after all these entrepreneurs and artists were introduced with their awesome creations and booming businesses. Several years ago a number of these businesses were shut down by federal drug agents. The artists were put out of the work and the business owners had all their assets stolen by the government.

Although this was a setback for a few unfortunate businesspeople, the demand for glass pipes did not abate and artisans continue to passionately pursue their underground art.

It's just pathetic when governments attack artists. It's a sure sign of tyranny. Art comes from the hearts of people and government attempts to suppress art stab straight at the soul of a society.

The documentary did not linger on this unhappy subject and again picked up speed and presented the emergence of the art culture after the crackdown. There remains tremendous support among lovers of the medium for the artisans. They still can make money supplying the glass pipe market and continue to develop the art form.

I'll close with a quote from Carl Jung.

"Therein lies the social significance of art: it is constantly at work educating the spirit of the age, conjuring up the forms in which the age is most lacking. The unsatisfied yearning of the artist reaches back to the primordial image in the unconscious which is best fitted to compensate the inadequacy and one-sidedness of the present."

I contacted the producer of the film M. Slinger, who was kind enough to provide some links to glass artisans, so you can surf images of their work and see the elemental masterpieces coming out of some studios.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My home canning guide is #1 in its Amazon Kindle category

I was surprised to notice this evening that my how to can food at home guide titled The Home Canning Guide for Everyone Who Eats is number 1 in the canning and preserving category in the U.S. Kindle store. After publishing this guide a year and a half ago, I've been happy with its sales, but I only just now checked its sales rank. I honestly could not believe it. It's nice to succeed at something no matter how modest the achievement. Canning and preserving is a niche category and I'm not sure how good you have to be to beat out Root Cellaring, but I remained quite pleased with myself.

The Home Canning Guide for Everyone Who Eats ebook is available at numerous retailers. If you are interested in learning how to preserve delicious food and add this important skill to your sustainable lifestyle, please visit your preferred ebook retailer to learn more about my learn-it-fast reference to home canning.