Saturday, May 31, 2014

Get Savage For a Gentle Price - 30% Off Savage Storm Fantasy Ebook This Week

At Brave Luck Books all week through June 7th Savage Storm: Rys Rising Book II is on sale.

Save 30% off on the ebook (Kindle, PDF, or Epub available worldwide with no DRM).

No coupon codes. Just visit the Savage Storm page at Brave Luck Books and add to cart.  Normally $4.95, fantasy fans can get the ebook this week for only $3.46.

This is no little novel. This is the second book of the Rys Rising series. Savage Storm is a 198,000-word novel. And if I do say so myself, it's one I'm rather proud of.
  • You just have to read it. How else will you find out how Amar becomes the Overlord of the Kez? 
  • Nothing will take you away from your problems like feeling the terror of a grim winter siege at a frontier settlement overwhelmed by hordes of savages.
  • Don't you want to witness the liberation of the rys city of Jingten as Dacian and Onja expel their cruel oppressors?
  • Cities fall in this one and a Goddess is made. 
  • The thrones of the vanquished will be despoiled, I promise you!

Read more about the novel at my web store Brave Luck Books and save 30% this week on the ebook.

Friday, May 30, 2014

My Interpretations of Edge of a Forest with Grainfield

The 17th century landscape painting Edge of a Forest with Grainfield by Jacob van Ruisdael was in the news recently. Believed to have been painted in 1656, the painting was acquired by the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.

This amazing work of art caught my eye in the news because it illustrates a background theme in my current work in progress Journey of the Hunted. It’s the sequel to Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale that is set in 1561 Bohemia. Although the setting for my historical fantasy series is a few years before van Ruisdael’s painting, the painting shows the process of forest cutting that was accelerating during the Renaissance.

Rising population, growing cities, expanding industry, and an enormous increase in ship building meant that trees were being cut down. The Medieval age with its smaller population and stagnant economy was at a close. More land was being cleared for timber and then typically sown in grain.
Edge of a Forest with Grainfield shows this. The magnificent forest is obviously an old one. This is a climax ecosystem that has been growing since the last ice age. In the painting it is cleaved open and lets me peer inside at the shady secrets. This is a place of mysteries and magic. Rare herbs and medicinal mushrooms dwell within. Life from small to large coexists in many harmonious layers.

On the right comes the dull monoculture of grain and civilization. The forest must be able to feel its fate coming. The big broken logs in the foreground and the large dead branches on the trees tell of the stress of ongoing damage.

The painting celebrates the forest. The artists preserves the majesty of the old trees. He lingers on them as if each ring in their long lives inspired him as they waited on their death row. I wonder if he knew they were going to be cut down soon. Far back in the painting a small flock of sheep grazes, harbingers of the fields to come. The fluffy clouds are like white shadows of the great trees as if the artist felt the connection between the air and the trees that influence water vapor and climate.

Since I began writing fantasy set in the historical period of the Renaissance, also known as the Early Modern Period, I’ve spent a lot of time imagining what Europe must have been like before industrialization. But even 500 years ago the big change was beginning to happen. The world was on the cusp of global empires that would enable the cutting of all the world’s forests.

In Journey of the Hunted, I mention little details about forests being logged when describing vistas the travelers see on the journey from Prague to the Tatras Mountains in what will become Slovakia. Readers might not think much about every little thing I mention in a story, but each detail has meaning. In the era I’m writing in, I often describe towns as bustling and bursting with new construction. The historic locations my story moves through are in recovery from previous wars that tore through the Holy Roman Empire and it’s an era of rebuilding and great tension.

I’m close to completing the manuscript for Journey of the Hunted. I’ll be announcing a tentative publication date in the coming weeks. Until then, if you’re interested in historical fantasy with werewolves set in Renaissance Bohemia, please read Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Jennifer Aqualaney Announces New Jason Jetson Novel

Jennifer Aqualaney of Boston, Massachusetts announced this week that she is officially writing the sequel to JJ, the first book of the Jason Jetson Trilogy.

She intends to complete the manuscript by September 1st.

At her blog Wednesday Aqualaney wrote:

"It’s an ambitious goal, I know. The second book promises to be almost twice the length of the first. I’m going at it NaNoWriMo style, with a goal of 1500 words per day.


About JJ:

JJ is your typical teenage Enchanter just months after his thirteenth birthday. He’s brought before the Panel of Assessors to be tested and tiered and assigned to a magical institute based on his creativity and talent.

When JJ surprises everyone with his range of Abilities (Holy crap, is that a bear?!) he finds himself whisked from his sunny LA home all the way across the country to where it all began: Salem.

Salem School of Magic becomes his safe haven. He meets other Enchanters and hones his skills, but even they don’t know all his secrets. A freak among freaks with a talent for trouble. Studying late in the labs one night he falls prey to an accident that lands him in the hospital. There JJ meets Eve, a mysterious girl with a dark past, and the two hit it off immediately. Finally, here, with her, he can be himself. He can breathe easy – for now.

Visit Jennifer's blog to follow her writing progress.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

First World War German U-Boats Threaten English Coast in New Historical Novel Flither Lass

Today I welcome guest author Graham Higson author of Flither Lass, a historical novel set in 1915 England during the First World War. The title is available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Flither Lass a historical novel from a different perspective

From May 27 - June 3 Flither Lass will be available from 99 cents. Here is some background to the tale.

The story is set in 1915, so it's not too far into the dim and distant past. Even so, the lifestyles, people's values and expectations are so very different from what we know today. And if that isn't so much of a culture shock, then the snapshot of this particular remote English coastal village is likely to challenge many people's beliefs of what life was really like in some parts of England, if indeed they ever realised that such places existed.

The story is set around the inshore fishing industry which was prevalent along the east coast, north of the old port of Kingston-upon-Hull, up beyond Scarborough and on to Whitby. This is the stretch of coastline where, traditionally, fishermen went out in sail-powered fishing boats known as "cobles". In those days the North Sea could be, certainly by modern standards, a rich fishing ground for cod and herring that were caught by line fishing.

Forget any thought of thin catgut fishing lines; these lines were ropes over 200-feet long, with numerous hooks baited with limpets. These are the mollusk-type creatures that live inside the conical shells usually found sticking to the rocks, almost with the strength of industrial adhesive. Another name for limpets is "flithers" and they were collected by flither girls.

So there we have the title. These women had been a common sight, many of them traveling in gangs, walking many miles from home, often in harsh weather conditions, scouring the shore for bait to use on their husbands' lines. Hardy, strong, practical, they were experts at climbing steep cliff faces using a single rope, and sometimes just with their bare hands. They didn't allow their highly impractical long skirts to prevent them working and thought nothing of rolling them up to their waists and (horror of horrors!) exposing their bare thighs so they could wade farther out in the water.

My flither lass, Amy, has just gone 16, but she works alone, estranged from the local community which believes, in its ignorance, that she is backward, slow-witted. The reality is that she is a wild, unruly girl, passionately protective of the small bay that she believes is hers. She works things out by instinct and whatever else she can pick up from odd snatches of conversation not obscured by an undiagnosed hearing condition. You wouldn't get that these days. Naturally, sometimes she gets things wrong.

But then no one in the village has an enviable lifestyle, most of them suffering poor living conditions verging on poverty. And now there's a war, the young men have joined the armed forces and many of them will not return. Dark times indeed.

The First World War is being fought hundreds of miles away in France and Belgium, and most people in Britain might feel a certain security in that the horrors are taking place in some foreign land. But to those living beside the North Sea, a major shipping lane, the war is hideously close, with merchant vessels using it to transport essential food and supplies. But here, only a few hundred yards away from Amy's village, the shipping is at threat from bombs, mines, and the German unterseeboots—the U-boats.

This is the backdrop for Amy's story; we might assume she is cocooned in some bubble of comfortable ignorance. But one stormy night her insular little world falls apart when her beloved father is lost at sea. The cards are stacked against her, and then something happens that will change the rest of her life.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Free for Memorial Day at Smashwords - Caitlin's Book of Shadows by Juli D. Revezzo

Grab a short paranormal ghost story by Juli D. Revezzo this holiday weekend.

She just emailed me the coupon code to use at Smashwords for the 5-star Caitlin's Book of Shadows.

Coupon Code: JR55C

Hurry: Expires May 26th!

Copy and paste the code into the coupon box at checkout and you'll get the ebook for free. Smashwords serves multiple formats worldwide so anyone can shop there.

About the story:

Though their fame became legend, a rumor cropped up about the Fulmer family: Something terrifying stalked Caitlin and her beloved Trevor. Something the bits and pieces she left claimed she had to make sense of. When the curator of their collection finds Caitlin's long forgotten diary, she wonders will it explain why she thought her world twisted? If she really became a witch?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Kindle Ebook for Etsy Sellers Explains How to Use Pinterest

I'm sharing this news about How to Sell on Etsy With Pinterest published by CraftBizInsider because I can attest to the helpfulness of Pinterest in sending traffic to Etsy listings or other websites. I actually discovered Pinterest when I started selling on Etsy because of the "Pin it" buttons that appeared on my listings. I also use Pinterest to show off images from my websites, and my reports always show a small yet consistent amount of traffic from Pinterest, and I'm not even really trying. A thoughtful Pinterest marketing campaign would probably be a good idea. 

At Pinterest I maintain an Etsy Finds board where I feature items from my Etsy store Perfect Pages and anything else that pleases me at Etsy. 

To learn more about the How to Sell on Etsy with Pinterest ebook please read the publisher's press release provided here.

SBWire Expert Craft Seller Teaches Crafters How to Sell on Etsy Using the Power of Pinterest (via SBWire)
Charles Huff shares the secret to his success in How to Sell on Etsy With Pinterest (Selling on Etsy Made Ridiculously Easy) La Mesa, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/19/2014 -- Crafters are pinning their way to Etsy success thanks to Charles Huff’s latest craft…

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Werelord Thal is a Different Kind of Werewolf Book

I recently had a nice review come in at Amazon for Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale. The reader was glad to find a different kind of werewolf book. She obviously likes werewolf fiction but was looking for something new and interesting. She went on to kindly call Werelord Thal "Highly recommended to fans of werewolf tales."

So what's different about Werelord Thal?

The difference mostly comes from the fact that I am indie author so I write what I want. I'm not trying to copy anyone or follow a formula. When it comes to werewolf fiction, readers aren't in love with a formula so much as they love wolves. Werewolf fiction is about our recognition of similarities between our species and wolves. We realize part of us is an animal and that does not have to be a bad thing. Wolves are highly emotional and care very much for their family members.

Werelord Thal is also set in Renaissance Europe. The year is 1561 and Thal finds himself in the Holy Roman Empire on his way to Prague to avenge the brutal execution of his witch mother. I love studying Renaissance history and found it to be a great historical period to set a paranormal fantasy. The folklore of the time was full of werewolves and witches, so I made them come to life.

I discovered that there was no "Renaissance" category for historical fiction when I published Werelord Thal. (I guess being an indie also means that I don't study the market like I should.) I never expected this hole in the categories because Renaissance faires are certainly common and widespread, but no Renaissance fiction? I can only hope that I am starting a trend.

This happy review at Amazon also said she was hoping for a sequel. I can happily announce that I am almost done writing it. The title is Journey of the Hunted and it will be published later this year.

Please sign up for my Readers' List so you'll know when it happens. In the mean time you'll also find out when I am running special sales at Brave Luck Books or Amazon. 

Werelord Thal is also available in paperback. You can get a signed one if you buy it from me at Etsy

The ebook is available in multiple formats worldwide at Brave Luck Books.

Other places to buy


Nook US
Nook UK




All Romance

Read a 4-chapter preview from Werelord Thal

Friday, May 16, 2014 Launches its 100% Unique e-Book Cover Creator

Today,, a leading web-based graphic design solution, is pleased to announce the launch of its one-of-a-kind app: e-book cover maker that can create 100% unique e-book covers.

In every respect, digital publishing is a dynamic industry that often needs new concepts regarding e-cover design to make it easy for authors to create attention-grabbing cover designs. Today, launches its exclusive e-book cover maker that authors can use to create 100% unique e-book covers within minutes.

As the CEO of states, it's been observed that most of web-based tools to make covers only provide templates wherein users can input their 'variables' to create their e-book covers, but "in such cases, authors may have high risk to use the same templates and designs some other already used: the only difference would be the words written on the final product. offers more than that!" he reveals.

"Today, has added a new dimension to book cover design as it now offers indie authors an online tool to create unique covers without any hassle. The site features easy-to-use tools to be employed to create a unique e-book cover from scratch within minutes. Graphic design skill is not required to use the web-based application," states the CEO.

While explaining the exclusivity of their e-book cover creator, he affirms that the site offers not only eye-catching templates, but above all premium ready-to go covers, by an option which assures the author nobody else could use the selected cover. 

Once a premium e-book cover is selected by a user, it will be automatically erased from the storefront and not available to any other buyer.

Speaking on the value of unique book covers, the CEO of confirms: "Authors who want a high rate of conversion while promoting their products should have a very good cover for their books. Now, with access to our e-book cover maker, e-book cover creation wont be complex and expensive any more."

As of today, has a high customer satisfaction rate as it is getting more positive feedback from users. "For my third book, I've decided to do a cover by myself and I've been very proud to realize that, me too, I can do a good job! Really, I'm unskilled about graphics, but I may say that the cover I've created is perfect and it's just what I was searching for," a satisfied user comments.

For more information on the web application that now help authors to create unique e-book covers, go to

Media Contact

About is the private label brand of Omniteca Lab, a company that provides services and products that are associated with book publishing, and these include e-book creation, graphic design, online marketing, and proofreading. It started out in 2010; and today, it has helped several authors achieve their goals. Ominteca Lab also owns and sites are dedicated to books, and tools for authors in Italian language.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Godzilla Obsession Has a Long History in My Family

Tomorrow is opening night for the new Godzilla movie. Judging from the trailers, it could be sweetly awesome.

Love of Godzilla in my family goes way back. Actually it started with me. I was a child of the 70s, which means that we had four television stations. Three of the television stations had commercials in the content. (I know it's horrible to contemplate the suffering of couch potatoes before Netflix.)

But even back in that media dark age there was Monster Week. Every few months a local station would show Godzilla movies and sometimes King Kong.

I lived for Monster Week because I could watch Godzilla for five days straight. I entered the bizarre and radioactive world of Japan and watched Godzilla rise from the sea and either destroy cities or fight monsters, mostly both.

Every time he rose from the secret places of the ocean I got chills. I was mesmerized watching a vengeful Earth unleash her champion upon civilization so deserving of punishment.

Even as a little girl I recognized that Godzilla symbolized the superior forces of Nature. The movies showed the fragility of our buildings and our lives that could end in the screeching crash of a passenger train whacked aside like a jungle vine.

All Monster Week long I was plagued by nightmares. There was no escaping the psychological consequences of witnessing Godzilla rampages. My mother pleaded with me not to watch so I could sleep well, but the thought of forgoing Monster Week was anathema to me. Any price was worth Godzilla.

And I'll pay a shocking sum no doubt when I go to the movie theater this weekend. Godzilla might even deserve popcorn. It's a family event at my house, and yes I have a Godzilla-loving heir. He naturally worships Godzilla. I did not push it on him. He found it on his own on Netflix and YouTube. He has gorged on vast amounts of Godzilla content the likes of which my child-self could have never dreamed of. Often I've sat with him and gloried in decades worth of Godzilla movies and cartoons.

I understand him completely. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. And loving the divinely awesome Godzilla is the intelligent thing to do.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Scribd Helps Readers Discover Talented Indie Authors

This week at the Smashwords blog I learned that Scribd had chosen to feature 18 indie authors that, like me, use Smashwords to distribute their titles to various ebook stores around the world. This was a front page promotion for indie authors, and I applaud this merchandising love from the people at Scribd. They recognize that showcasing diverse content will engage more people than solely focusing on popular mainstream titles and celebrity authors like they are selling books at an airport.

With marketers willing to include independent authors, Scribd might just become the place where readers go to discover new talent. By including Smashwords titles, Scribd has committed to creating a balanced catalog inclusive of both self published authors and commercially produced authors.

Self publishing gives authors greater creative freedom and often fulfills its potential to provide readers with viewpoints beyond the status quo. Indies have the option to make the market instead of chase the market.

And since self publishing has become a financially viable outlet for writers, talented authors are no longer so quick to accept publishing deals. Scribd perhaps recognizes that it needs to include independently produced content so it can deliver the best selection possible to readers. 

The Scribd premium catalog subscription is tremendously affordable at $8.99 a month. The subscription model creates an ebook ecosystem unfettered by price points. Scribd subscribers don't have to decide if they want to risk a few dollars on an author they've never heard of. The subscription costs the same no matter what they are reading, so it takes the cost out of the selection decision. Everything is based solely on interest.

As a Smashwords author, I was kindly provided a one-year complimentary subscription to Scribd. I took this as a message from Scribd that the company valued self published authors and realized the marketing value that hordes of happy writers could deliver. I'm writing this blog post precisely because Scribd was so generous. I have been enjoying my complimentary subscription. I can browse any subject that interests me and immediately dig into the titles that catch my eye.

The premium catalog has over 300,000 titles from over 900 publishers, so it's definitely not just about self publishing. It's about reading. Scribd has long been a destination for uploading and sharing documents and can boast 80 million visits a month.

At the end of my complimentary year, I will seriously consider purchasing a Scribd subscription for myself. It is a tremendous value for someone who likes reading.

Of course I'm hoping that people will read my books available at Scribd too. Over the years many people have enjoyed my novels, but, like most authors, the vast majority of readers don't know they exist. I'm grateful to be included at what is shaping up to be a major player in the ebook market.

Tracy Falbe at Scribd

Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale
Union of Renegades
The Goddess Queen
Judgment Rising
The Borderlands of Power
Rys Rising
Savage Storm
New Religion
Get Dicey
My Grandma's Vintage Recipes
The Home Canning Guide for Everyone Who Eats
Effective Use of Press Releases for Authors

Getting the Word Out About the Dragon's Message - Interview with Fantasy Author Lori Fitzgerald

Today I present an interview with Lori Fitzgerald. She is touring blogs promoting her debut novel the Dragon's Message. She's a wonderful writer and receiving great reviews. She has years of experience teaching English and lives with an English major husband. Presumably everyone speaks perfectly at her house.

Enter to Win $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card. See entry form below.  

About the Dragon's Message

A dragon writes a cryptic message with its ember breath in the evening sky...
Lady Rhiannon watches from the turret wall with an ache in her blood. She's the only person who can decipher the message as the sole keeper of the Dragon Tome. When an old enemy threatens the castle, her father charges his knight with escorting her to a safe haven—the same knight Rhiannon had a crush on as a girl. But she must now convince him to change his plans, for she has her own sacred charge to fulfill...
So begins a journey to hidden ruins where magic slumbers in the stones and love lies in the heart, waiting to awaken. As Rhiannon and the knight face seemingly insurmountable odds, only the dragon knows if they can fulfill their destiny...

Author Interview

1. I like Renaissance faires too. What was the first one you went to and was it instant love?

            Instant, passionate, all-consuming, fire-breathing true love! I was in college and it was the New York Renaissance Faire in Sterling Forest. I actually cried on the way home because I felt it was where I truly belonged! I went back many times, in full costume no less. One time that I remember vividly I bought a gorgeous headdress overflowing with flowers and feathers and ribbons that I was so happy to wear...and as soon as one of my friends saw it he told me I looked like a bird exploded on my head! He's lucky I laughed instead of proceeding to the nearest weaponry stall.

            The excerpt from The Dragon's Message that I provided includes a tournament scene. The feeling evoked in that scene is drawn exactly from my first experience at a Renaissance Faire joust. I will never forget the first time I heard the crack of a lance against armor and watched the wood splinter and fly over the lists. It filled my heart with awe, and the music of a long-ago age strummed a tune throughout my soul.


            They dismounted and Sir Gwydion set the horses to graze by one of the stones.  Rhiannon walked slowly around the ruins, her feet sinking into the lush grass, grazing her fingertips along the rough gray surface of the stones in the circle, stealing glances at the knight as he worked unloading the packs and preparing camp for the night.  She walked to the center of the circle and looked cautiously over the crumbling rim into the darkness below.  A damp breeze exhaled softly from the cavern.  She breathed it in deeply, closing her eyes, taking the coolness and slight tang of sulfur into her lungs and holding it there, rolling like smoke inside her.


            She huffed her breath out in surprise, opening her eyes to see the knight directly by her side.  He caught her off guard with his sudden closeness and she started to flush. He put his hand lightly on her waist and led her away from the opening, and his touch coupled with his proximity made a heat rise in her chest and gooseflesh on her skin.  Slightly breathless and annoyed at herself, Rhiannon felt like she did as an awkward smitten adolescent in Gwydion’s presence those many years ago.   Dressed in one of her very best gowns, which she had agonized hours over and then sent her chambermaid into a tizzy over the way she would wear her hair, Rhiannon would sit stiffly next to her father and watch intently for the blue and gold shield and trappings.  Each time she would feel the thunder of his horse’s hooves through the lists and the lightning crack of the breaking lance thrumming through her very bones.  At the tournament’s completion, her father would allow her to award him his prize, a fine new sword or pouch of coins from the castle’s seemingly bottomless treasury, which Sir Gwydion would accept with a bow and a courtly kiss on her hand, and she would float on air and romantic dreams for days.

2. In your blog profile you say that Medieval literature is your passion. What historical work is most meaningful to you?

            Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur and I are true friends that have been through the academic fire together. I used that text in both my Bachelor's and Master's theses. I have two copies: the dog-eared, spine-split, faded and tagged copy I used for research and my lovely facsimile of the London Dent 1909 edition with Arthur Beardsley's illustrations.  I find great meaning in Lancelot's involvement in the Grail Quest. He is an imperfect quest hero: his human fallibility makes him certain to fail, but yet he keeps striving in spite of this until he can go no further in the quest, physically and spiritually. He is the embodiment of the theme that it is the journey and the striving to do your best in life that matters.

3. How long did it take you to write The Dragon's Message?

            Around three or four months. During the summer I wrote a lot of times after my kids went to bed. It was the only time that I could do so without interruption. Since then I've become relatively adept at finding little snippets of time to write throughout the day.

4. You have a lot of experience as a middle school English teacher. What were your strategies for getting kids to love stories and language?

            Enthusiasm and dramatics! I am a firm believer that if you are passionate about something and it shows, other people will be drawn in as well. I tried to connect the literature I was teaching to the students' lives, and we all got the most excited when they would share their "thoughts, ideas, and brilliant perceptions" with the class.  We dissected vocabulary words into roots and affixes and I tried to show them how fascinating etymology could be. I also tried to instill in them the importance of correct grammar, so every day I had two sentences on the board that they would write and edit for the first five minutes of class (it was an excellent getting-settled activity as well), and then we would go over it together on the blackboard. I picked literature I knew we all would love...The Outsiders, A Wrinkle in Time, Johnny Tremain, The Door in the Wall, to name a few, and we read and analyzed not just novels but short stories and poetry and all types of genres. Variety was important to keep them enthused as well. I included a lot of creative writing and art, which they were usually excited to share either out loud or in quiet reading with their classmates. And I performed a dramatic reading of The Princess Bride (yes, complete with voices and acting out scenarios) every day for 15 minutes after lunch and before dismissal. It would make my day when the students would groan that the bell rang because they didn't want me to stop!

5. So far The Dragon's Message has received glowing reviews at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This must be so encouraging to you as an artist. Are you writing another novel yet?

            I am encouraged, thrilled, and so grateful that my work is truly touching readers. I am in the middle of writing my next work, which will consist of two connecting novelettes. The first part, Love Lies Bleeding, or The Lady of the Forest, is complete and I am in the middle of drafting the second one. You will see the medieval contrast of the wild wood and the town in the setting of both. I am very excited about this next work and hope to publish it not only in ebook format but also paperback!

About the Author

Lori J. Fitzgerald lives in New York with her fellow English Major husband and their two little bookworms. Medieval literature is her passion, and she wishes she could spend more time traipsing around Renaissance Faires and shouting “Huzzah” at jousts. She was a middle school English teacher for many years and was best known for her dramatic readings of The Princess Bride. Lori is currently a Staff Writer for the website Once Upon A Fan, the popular fansite for ABC’s hit show Once Upon A Time. You can contact her by email at

The Dragon’s Message, A Dragon Tome Novelette, is available on Kindle and Nook for $1.99

Contact Links:

Twitter @MedievalLit

Facebook Author Page: White Raven Writing

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Monday, May 12, 2014

My First Ghost Tour Was a Blast

Ghost stories are so much fun they are even creepy on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I went on my very first ghost tour on May 4th in Marshall, Michigan, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The guide from Marshall Carriage Co. & Ghost Tours said that ghost tours are part of "dark tourism" that is a $3 billion industry. I know I liked contributing my $25 to that pot.

Marshall is a small town in Southern Michigan founded in the 1830s. It fell short of becoming the state capital by one vote, so it missed its chance to transform into a seething pit of lobbyists undermining civilization. Now it's an interstate stop for antiquing.

Marshall can easily claim to be among the largest historic districts in the country with at least 850 19th century homes and businesses clustered around its historic downtown.

And, so I'm told, enough ghost stories to rival the ancient burgs of Europe.

Marshall Ghost Stories

The tour guide said that his town has an unknown number of bodies buried throughout the historic residential areas. Some people were even buried in basements. At the haunted house he lives in, a weathered tombstone is the back step to his porch. In years past kids used it as a baseball home base so its original location is lost to living knowledge. He specifically chose to own a haunted house, so he thrives on hearing voices in the middle of the night and mystery feet clomping through the house. Apparently house hunters can have their pick of paranormal abodes in Marshall, but it's good to be picky because there were some places that my intrepid poltergeist addict considered "too creepy" to live in.

Some ghosts are friendly, or at least still rather concerned about their property. One ghost in Marshall called 911 twice until the fire department finally found a rag left in a can of varnish. I learned that a rag left in varnish may spontaneously combust. The home owners claimed not to have called 911, but emergency services spoke to someone.

Switching to the sordid, there is a mansion on a hill where a knocked-up servant took a fatal tumble down the grand staircase. No one in town knew if it was the husband or the wife who introduced her to gravity, but their social life suffered nonetheless. That must have been devastating for them.

At one point on the tour our ghost-stalking man-in-charge announced that we were coming upon the creepiest house on the tour.

It did not disappoint.

I know you want to see a picture. (Damn it woman, why didn't you take a picture of it for your blog?)

Sorry. I'm GLAD I didn't take a picture of it. I don't want those pixels in my computer, so my story shall have to suffice.

We ghost hunters labored up the hill toward a pinnacle described as the "highest point in town" and...

Gnarled elder trees of various species leered and staggered in a place of ragged turf like an ent moot gathered at a funeral.

A cheerless home with long narrow dormers hunkered on the hill. Dingy white paint clung to batten plank wood siding. The place did not seem quite alive yet it was right there with flowers blooming.

The guide began his lecture about the threat of Indian attack when the house was built and then dropped the bomb that the family that had resided here forever was heavily into the occult. With their seances they had summoned spirits to the home.

There's even more to this creepy place, but I think I would be ripping the guy off to write it here. 
Paranormal Profits

Ghost tours are on the lighter side of the dark tourism industry. They offer people a spooky frolic at the crossroads of imagination and history. And it's good to think about death and the beyond too. We're all going to join these ghosts, so it's psychologically important to engage with the mystery of death and the spirit from time to time.

Ghost tour destinations can add substantially to the local economies where they operate. The October 2012 article "Ghost tours are scary big business" at the blog of ThunderTix stated that they were worth $300 million annually to operators and local economies.

So where did my guide's figure of $3 billion come from? Well dark tourism gets a lot darker than ghost stories outside the elaborate homes of 19th century shopkeepers. Dark tourism also includes trips to horrible places like the killing fields of Cambodia, New Orlean's 9th Ward, and Auschwitz. A May 2012 article at the International Business Times "Dark Tourism: Understanding The Attraction of Death and Disaster" explored why people visit places of horror. Executive director of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research Philip Stone explained that death is supposed to be part of the public domain. Currently it is privatized and cloistered by the medical industry, so dark tourism lets people process their mortality.

It's nothing new really. Pilgrims in the Middle Ages visited tombs and the death places of martyrs. Death makes interesting stories and gives people a strong emotional touchstone that helps them remember their trip. 

Why did I go on ghost tour? 

I thought a ghost tour would be a stimulating experience that appealed to my love of history. Like most people, I had no expectation of seeing a ghost although the tour host encouraged people to take pictures because something might show up in them.

My expectations were very typical, as supported by this survey published by Boroughs of the Dead - Macabre New York City Walking Tours. Among that company's patrons, 60 percent reported that having a paranormal experience like seeing a ghost was "not at all important" to their enjoyment of the ghost tour. People were much more interested in hearing entertaining stories and learning accurate history about the neighborhood they were exploring.

I'm a novelist and therefore seek a variety of experiences. I knew my imagination would feast on a ghost tour, and it did not disappoint. I have a longing to write a spooky tale for the Halloween season and thought this would be a good way to get the juices flowing.

My experiences get filed for future reference when I'm writing. I took a tour of a cave nearly 20 years ago, and I just recently applied that experience to a chapter in my work in progress.

Although I'm primarily a fantasy writer instead of a horror writer, paranormal phenomena, folklore, and superstitions contribute to my magical tales. I strive to be a logical and rational person but still make room for the unexplained because these things are part of human existence.

Interesting activities, especially of an alternative nature, keep my mental toolbox full so I can build stories for others to enjoy.

Please visit Brave Luck Books to browse my entire portfolio of published novels. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sequel to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Famous The Hound of the Baskervilles Continues Sherlick Holmes' Legacy

Apparently with the blessing of the Doyle Estate, a sequel to the Hound of the Baskervilles called The Widow of Dartmoor and written by Wick Downing continues the tradition of Sherlock Holmes novels. Keeping to the classic Victorian style the book features the nephew of Sherlock Holmes as the hero. This press release even states that Sherlock Holmes holds a Guiness World Record for being the most displayed character on stage and screen.

SBWire Over 100 Years on and a Sequel to the Hound of the Baskervilles Is Released (via SBWire)
London, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/08/2014 -- The most famous Sherlock Holmes story of all time, The Hound of The Baskervilles, has been thrilling readers for well over 100 years and now there is a sequel – ’The Widow of Dartmoor’. Wick Downing, a former…

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Thank You TC Southwell for Supporting the Book Blast

My little blog tours wouldn't happen without the generosity of bloggers. TC Southwell whose many novels have earned her devoted fans started off my Union of Renegades Book Blast yesterday. I'm also an admirer of her fantasy books. See my review of Demon Lord to find out how addictive her fiction can be. (Who can resist a book called Demon Lord?)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Union of Renegades Tours 7 Blogs With Fantasy Ebook Giveaways

For five days from May 5th to May 9th, my fantasy novel Union of Renegades will tour 7 blogs with a book blast meant to promote The Rys Chronicles series.

Every host blog for the promotional book blast will connect readers with the free ebook Union of Renegades at the retailer of their choice.

And all readers are invited to sign up to receive a 100% off coupon for the next book in the series The Goddess Queen: The Rys Chronicles Book II. Coupons will be delivered through Smashwords on May 10th so everyone can download a free copy. I'm using Smashwords to distribute prizes because of its international accessibility and multiple ebook formats.

Every blog will also present my guest post Meet the Players – Insights into the Main Characters in Union of Renegades where I reveal what I was thinking when I created the four major characters in the novel.

Visit and follow the blog hosts to discover an endless supply of great indie books.

Union of Renegades is free at Brave Luck Books and major ebook retailers Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords.

Join my email list through May 9th and I'll send you coupon on May 10th to get The Goddess Queen: The Rys Chronicles Book II ($4.99 value) for free at Smashwords.  
 (This allows people access to the prize around the world in whatever format they like.)

Many thanks to my kind blog hosts.