Sunday, April 13, 2014

Evil Overlord: Part 10

Things I will Remember if I Ever Become Evil Overlord 

* If I ever talk to the hero on the phone, I will not taunt him. Instead, I will say that his dogged perseverance has given me new insight on the futility of my evil ways and that if he leaves me alone for a few months of quiet contemplation I will likely return to the path of righteousness. (Heroes are incredibly gullible in this regard.)

* I will not waste time making my enemy's death look like an accident--I'm not accountable to anyone and my other enemies wouldn't believe it.

* I will make it clear that I do know the meaning of the word "mercy," I simply choose not show them any.

* If I am recruiting to find someone to run my computer systems, and my choice is between the brilliant programmer who's head of the world's largest international technology conglomerate and an obnoxious 15-year-old dork who's trying to impress his dream girl, I'll take the brat and let the hero get stuck with the genius.

* If a scientist with a beautiful and unmarried daughter refuses to work for me, I will not hold her hostage. Instead, I will offer to pay for her future wedding and her children's college tuition.
* I will not appoint a relative to my staff of advisors. Not only is nepotism the cause of most breakdowns in policy, but it also causes trouble with the EEOC.

* My Legions of Terror will be an equal-opportunity employer. Conversely, when it is prophesied that no man can defeat me, I will keep in mind the increasing number of non-traditional gender roles.

* I will instruct my Legions of Terror in proper search techniques. In particular, if they are searching for escapees and someone shouts, "Quick! They went that way!" they must first ascertain the identity of this helpful informant before dashing off in hot pursuit.

* Before being accepted into my Legions of Terror, potential recruits will have to pass peripheral vision and hearing tests, and be able to recognize the sound of a pebble thrown to distract them.
* I will never bait a trap with genuine bait.

* If I have several diabolical schemes to destroy the hero, I will set all of them in motion at once rather than wait for them to fail and launch them successively.

* My doomsday machine will have a highly-advanced technological device called a capacitor in case someone inconveniently pulls the plug at the last second. (If I have access to REALLY advanced technology, I will include a back-up device known as a battery.)

* If I build a bomb, I will simply remember which wire to cut if it has to be deactivated and make every wire red.

* I will provide funding and research to develop tactical and strategic weapons covering a full range of needs so my choices are not limited to "hand to hand combat with swords" and "blow up the planet." 

* All guest-quarters will be bugged and monitored so that I can keep track of what the visitors I have for some reason allowed to roam about my fortress are actually plotting.

* I will install a fire extinguisher in every room--three, if the room contains vital equipment or volatile chemicals.

* If I steal something very important to the hero, I will not put it on public display.

* If the rebels manage to trick me, I will make a note of what they did so that I do not keep falling for the same trick over and over again.

* I will plan in advance what to do with each of my enemies if they are captured. That way, I will never have to order someone to be tied up while I decide his fate. 

* If I have the hero cornered and am about to finish him off and he says, "Look out behind you!!" I will not laugh and say, "You don't expect me to fall for that old trick, do you?" Instead, I will take a step to the side and half turn. That way I can still keep my weapon trained on the hero, I can scan the area behind me, and if anything was heading for me it will now be heading for him.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Feature: The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate

My first book feature is a novel by fantasy author Tara Maya. I have not read it yet, but I downloaded it and I intend to do so! There have been some very positive reviews on Amazon, and I'm excited to see what the author has to offer. Here I have some information about the author, some helpful links, and an excerpt from the book itself. Enjoy!

 Tara Maya has lived in Africa, Europe and Asia. She's pounded sorghum with mortar and pestle in a little clay village where the jungle meets the desert, meditated in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas and sailed the Volga river to a secret city that was once the heart of the Soviet space program. This first-hand experience, as well as research into the strange and piquant histories of lost civilizations, inspires her writing. Her terrible housekeeping, however, is entirely the fault of pixies.


Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.

Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

Tara’s blog
Tara’s Twitter
The Unfinished Song on Facebook
Barnes and Noble

Initiate is free everywhere except on Barnes and Noble (where it’s $0.99). You can download a free .epub version via Smashwords.


Blue-skinned rusalki grappled Dindi under the churning surface of the river. She could feel their claws dig into her arms. Their riverweed-like hair entangled her legs when she tried to kick back to the surface. She only managed to gulp a few breaths of air before they pulled her under again.

She hadn't appreciated how fast and deep the river was. On her second gasp for air, she saw that the current was already dragging her out of sight of the screaming girls on the bank. A whirlpool of froth and fae roiled between two large rocks in the middle of the river. The rusalka and her sisters tugged Dindi toward it. Other water fae joined the rusalki. Long snouted pookas, turtle-like kappas and hairy-armed gwyllions all swam around her, leading her to the whirlpool, where even more fae swirled in the whitewater.

"Join our circle, Dindi!" the fae voices gurgled under the water. "Dance with us forever!"

"No!" She kicked and swam and stole another gasp for air before they snagged her again. There were so many of them now, all pulling her down, all singing to the tune of the rushing river. She tried to shout, "Dispel!" but swallowed water instead. Her head hit a rock, disorienting her. She sank, this time sure she wouldn't be coming up again.

"Dispel!" It was a man's voice.

Strong arms encircled her and lifted her until her arms and head broke the surface. Her rescuer swam with her toward the shore. He overpowered the current, he shrugged aside the hands of the water faeries stroking his hair and arms. When he reached the shallows, he scooped Dindi into his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the grassy bank. He set her down gently.

She coughed out some water while he supported her back.

"Better?" he asked.

She nodded. He was young--only a few years older than she. The aura of confidence and competence he radiated made him seem older. Without knowing quite why, she was certain he was a Tavaedi.

"Good." He had a gorgeous smile. A wisp of his dark bangs dangled over one eye. He brushed his dripping hair back over his head.

Dindi's hand touched skin--he was not wearing any shirt. Both of them were sopping wet. On him, that meant trickles of water coursed over a bedrock of muscle. As for her, the thin white wrap clung transparently to her body like a wet leaf. She blushed.

"It might have been easier to swim if you had let go of that," he teased. He touched her hand, which was closed around something. "What were you holding onto so tightly that it mattered more than drowning?"

Fantasy Blog Swap

I was contacted to do a blog swap with another fantasy author. Quite frankly, I was flattered to be asked! I guess I just assume that no one really pays attention to my blog. I'm glad for this opportunity, though. Anytime you can do something to expand your readership you should do it. And by "you" I mean me. So, for any fantasy authors out there: know that I am quite willing to do the same with you. Send me an email and we can arrange it. I will feature your book on my blog and you can feature my book on yours. Win-win!

So, without further ado, I shall begin my very first fantasy feature.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Deeper Meaning

Something interesting that has happened since publishing my books is that people have started asking me what certain aspects of my book "really mean." I've had questions about whom my characters represent (not just inspiration, but literal translation from person to character), what metaphors I've used, and so forth.

I think that this search or perception of deeper meaning can be found in just about anything--books, music, movies, etc. Sometimes it's there (C.S. Lewis filled his writing with deeper meaning), and sometimes it isn't (Tolkien stated that he hated allegory, yet people still look at "Lord of the Rings" in that light). 

Let me tell you what I think on this matter. I believe that if you wish to see something good and meaningful, then you will. Likewise, if you wish to believe something to be corrupt, you will probably find evidence of it. 

I should make a point of saying that I do not believe that there is no such thing as "bad" media. In fact, I think there are things out there that no one should be watching or reading. However, you can be exposed to truly horrible images or words and choose to take away something profound. Does that mean you should seek out horrible things? No. I think it is important to choose entertainment wisely and with discretion. But this post is meant to be about general things (namely, my books), not extremes.

Now, back to my main point.

A writer (or director or artist) can put whatever deeper meaning they want into his/her work. Once it has been released to the world, though, the writer's intentions only carry marginal meaning. You hand your work to your audience, and it is now up to them how it is interpreted. You can try to control it (many have tried), but you cannot control what another person thinks or feels about your work. Unless it is part of the written story, it is nothing more than the writer's opinion.

I'm sure many people would disagree with me on this subject. After all, isn't the creator of the work the one who knows it best? Wouldn't they have all the answers? Perhaps, but that does not give them control over a world of readers.

I can say that Adesina (my main character) is a metaphor for the decreased population of bees (she isn't, by the way...I just needed a really random example). Since I said it, and since I'm the writer, it HAS to be true! You must now think of her in that way.

Does that make any sense? No, it doesn't. And that, my friends, is why I believe in this principle.

So, to come to the point, I can tell you what I think of my story. I can tell you what the characters and situations and dialogue mean to me. I cannot, however, tell you what the same things mean to you.

I hope that my readers find deeper meaning in my books. I believe it makes reading more interesting. And I also hope that the meaning found is something uplifting and thought-provoking. That would make me feel that I have spent my time doing something worthwhile. I do not know what that meaning will be for each of you, though.

Perhaps, if you feel so inclined, you can share your thoughts and experiences with me (and I with you). Then you can see the story through my eyes, and I can see it through yours. Otherwise, I am content to let you think whatever you wish about Adesina and her world.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Triumphant Return

Hello, my faithful few! I said that I would return, and I have. Granted, I said that I would return when the chaos died down and that has not yet happened. Chaos reigns supreme in my home. Still, the baby is sleeping and my toddler is temporarily distracted by an offering of raisins. I have a few minutes to write this post before Lewis calls me away again.

December was a busy and blessed month for our family. We were joined by a beautiful baby girl, and our lives haven't been the same since. Just as I refer to my son as "Lewis" (for the sake of privacy), I shall refer to my daughter as "Eliza" on this blog. She is a sweet-tempered baby, and she sleeps quite well. My life as a mother of two is definitely an adjustment, but I have been surrounded by such loving and supportive family and friends. When Lewis was a baby I often felt that I wasn't cut out to be a mother, and I wondered how I would ever make it through. Eventually I adjusted, and I felt that I had achieved a good rhythm for all of us. Now I occasionally feel that I'm not cut out to be a mother of two. Eliza is relatively easy to care for, but Lewis has entered the phase of toddler tyranny. He requires so much more attention now (a good portion of that consists of disciplinary measures), and so I feel stretched thin. My brain tells me that I'll eventually adjust and find my rhythm, but it's hard to stay positive when hormones are askew and sleep is limited. It's during times like these that I am so grateful for my wonderful husband (I'm grateful for him all the time, but I'm more aware of it now). I honestly couldn't do any of this without him.

I am able to enjoy quiet moments from time to time--usually late at night, when I'm feeding Eliza. When I'm not too brain-dead, I plan out my next writing project (which will be Book 3 of my current series). I have character outlines completed (where I want each character to go), and now I just need a detailed, chronological outline for the story. I have done a bit of writing, so Chapter One has a beginning. However, I think it will be summer before I start writing in earnest.

Lewis has finished his raisins. My time is up.

Well, that is pretty much all that's going on right now. I will post updates on how my writing is coming, and I will continue to share bits of trivia about the world I have created for my books. If you have any questions you would like answered or anything like that, feel free to post a comment. I will be happy to share any information that will not spoil Book 3.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Evil Overlord: Part 9

Things I will Remember if I Ever Become Evil Overlord 

* I will see a competent psychiatrist and get cured of all extremely unusual phobias and bizarre compulsive habits which could prove to be a disadvantage.

* I will spare someone who saved my life sometime in the past. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do so. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again.

* I will not ignore the messenger that stumbles in exhausted and obviously agitated until my personal grooming or current entertainment is finished. It might actually be important.

* If I find my beautiful consort with access to my fortress has been associating with the hero, I'll have her executed. It's regrettable, but new consorts are easier to get than new fortresses and maybe the next one will pay attention at the orientation meeting.

* I will classify my lieutenants in three categories: untrusted, trusted, and completely trusted. Promotion to the third category will be awarded posthumously.

* I will hire one hopelessly stupid and incompetent lieutenant, but make sure that he is full of misinformation when I send him to capture the hero.

* Before spending available funds on giant gargoyles, gothic arches, or other cosmetically intimidating pieces of architecture, I will see if there are any valid military expenditures that could use the extra budget.

* I will instruct my guards when checking a cell that appears empty to look for the chamber pot. If the chamber pot is still there, then the prisoner has escaped and they may enter and search for clues. If the chamber pot is not there, then either the prisoner is perched above the lintel waiting to strike them with it or else he decided to take it as a souvenir (in which case he is obviously deeply disturbed and poses no threat). Either way, there's no point in entering.

* I will order my guards to stand in a line when they shoot at the hero so he cannot duck and have them accidentally shoot each other. Also, I will order some to aim above, below and to the sides so he cannot jump out of the way.

* I will not devise any scheme in which Part A consists of tricking the hero into unwittingly helping me and Part B consists of laughing at him then leaving him to his own devices.

* I will not use hostages as bait in a trap. Unless you're going to use them for negotiation or as human shields, there's no point in taking them.

* If I come into possession of an artifact which can only be used by the pure of heart, I will not attempt to use it regardless.

* If I have equipment which performs an important function, it will not be activated by a lever that someone could trigger by accidentally falling on when fatally wounded.

* Since nothing is more irritating than a hero defeating you with basic math skills, all of my personal weapons will be modified to fire one more shot than the standard issue.

* I will have my fortress exorcised regularly. Although ghosts in the dungeon provide an appropriate atmosphere, they tend to provide valuable information once placated.

* I will add indelible dye to the moat. It won't stop anyone from swimming across, but even dim-witted guards should be able to figure out when someone has entered in this fashion.

* If I know of any heroes in the land, I will not under any circumstance kill their mentors, teachers, and/or best friends.

* If I have the hero and his party trapped, I will not wait until my Superweapon charges to finish them off if more conventional means are available.

* I will not hold any sort of public celebration within my castle walls. Any event open to members of the public will be held down the road in the festival pavilion.

* If a malignant being demands a sacrificial victim have a particular quality, I will check to make sure said victim has this quality immediately before the sacrifice and not rely on earlier results. (Especially if the quality is virginity and the victim is the hero's girlfriend.)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

MIA -- A Few Last Words

Baby #2 is due any day now, so I may not post on this blog for a while. I will do my best to keep up on Facebook, so feel free to "like" my author page there for any updates I may post.

Just a couple last notes, based on the feedback I've already received about "Legacy of the Blood."

This series is going to be a trilogy, so there's one more book to come before we see the last of Adesina's story. I've typed an outline for book #3, and I've actually started writing the first chapter. However, I'll be taking a break after this baby is born, so don't expect anything too soon.

Yes, I'm aware of how frustrating the ending of "Legacy" is. My husband and my editor both made that very clear. :) Book #3 will pick up immediately where "Legacy" ends, so don't worry about a time gap like between "Threshold" and "Legacy." All loose ends will (hopefully) be tied up by the end of the trilogy.

If you have any questions or concerns about the books, I really encourage you to ask! I love to talk to my readers and to get their feedback. I don't mind answering questions if something is unclear, or if you're simply curious about the details of the world I've created. Like I said above, Facebook is probably the best way to get my attention, but you can also send me an email. The one I have connected to this blog is specifically for my readers (you)!

And finally, I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to write a review of my books on Amazon and/or on GoodReads. I check those reviews regularly, and it's a great way for me to see what you think and to find ways to improve as a writer. I'm just as interested in 1 star reviews as I am in 5 star reviews, so please be honest!

Thank you so much for your support! I couldn't do any of this without all of you, and I am so grateful for such wonderful readers.

Happy Holidays!