Yearning for Wonderland

There is such a place as fairyland - but only children can find the way to it...until they have grown so old that they forget the way. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again...The world calls them singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland. ~ L.M Montgomery

Dark Fairy Queen Literary Gift Guide

‘Tis the season to support indie authors and show a little #indieluv. For your shopping pleasure, I have compiled a list of minion books. These are hard-working, talented people and if you can’t buy their stuff, sharing this post so that other shoppers can find it will be so appreciated.

Books are organized by genre and then author last name (books in a series are listed in order). All prices are current to date of post, 12/16/14 and are not guaranteed past 12/18/14. A lot of them are on sale just for this brief time, so snap them up now!

Special thanks to Joni Lynn and Blue Harvest Creative for designing our awesome #DFQ Literary Gift Guide image!

Click on the book cover or the format links (Kindle/Paperback) to buy.

9473_612771725493317_8948395022403063195_n

 

And without further ado…

ANTHOLOGIES

 

 

 

 

 

Cutthroats and Curses: An Anthology of Pirates edited by Michael Wombat, with stories by Michael Wombat, Lisa Shambrook, Boyd Miles, Marissa Ames, Bryan Taylor, Beth Avery, Eric Martell, Michael A. Walker, Alex Brightsmith, et al. 

Genre: Anthology, adventure.

Kindle: $2.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flash Dogs: An Anthology by 34 authors, including Eric Martell and Rebekah Postupak

Genre: Anthology, collection of 110 stories, proceeds benefit children’s charity.

Kindle: $2.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Creeps the Night: An Anthology edited by Laura Jamez and Marissa Ames, with stories by authors including Ailsa Abraham, Beth Avery, Christine Fitzner, Cory John Eadson, Eric Martell, J. Whitworth Hazzard, Joni Lynn, Kevin Hammond, Laura Jamez, Leslie Fulton, Michael A. Walker, Mary MacFarlane, Marissa Ames, Michael Wombat, Nick Johns, Rebecca Fyfe, Ruth Long, Sorcha O’Dowd, Spencer Stoner and Theresa Miller, et al.

A creepy collection of flash fiction for horror lovers.

Genre: Anthology, horror

Kindle: $3.99

Paperback: $13.32

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior by Christina Esdon, Jennifer Gracen, Steven Luna, Mark Ethridge, Anne Baker, Anna Meade, Jeff Tsuruoka, James Hazzard, et al.

Laugh. Cry. Swoon. Gasp. All the feels in one book.

Genre: Anthology, proceeds go to medical bills of Karen Delabar

Kindle: $3.99

Paperback: $13.35

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood on the Ground and other Short Stories by Michael Wombat

A cornucopia of adventure that absorbs, amuses, thrills and terrifies.

Genre: Anthology, short stories by one author.

Kindle: $2.99

Paperback: $7.33

 

FANTASY

 

 

 

 

 

Minstrel: The First Book of Tir Athair by Marissa Ames

How does playing for the king spark a civil war?

Kindle: $4.99 99 cents (for three days only!)

Paperback: $13.35

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vassal: The Second Book of Tir Athair by Marissa Ames

Peasants tell stories of her sacrifice.
Soldiers tell about him.

Kindle: $4.99 $3.99 (for three days only!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orison by Daniel Swensen

The power to change the world is now in the hands of a sneak thief — if it doesn’t kill her first.

Kindle: $3.99

 

HORROR/MYSTERY (includes Dystopian, Suspense/Thriller)

 

 

 

 

 

Gasher Creek by J. Birch

Jack Devlin awakes with a shotgun pointed at his face. Sally, a whore, lay dead beside him. Jack remembers nothing; could he really have killed her? And if so, why?

Genre: Mystery, Western.

Kindle: $2.99

 

Zombie War by Jean Booth

What began as a cure…became a nightmare.

Genre: Zombie Dystopian.

Kindle Presale price: $3.95 (until Feb. 7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viennese Waltz by Alex Brightsmith

A calculated dance of duty and deceit.

Genre: Thriller

Kindle: $2.00

Paperback: $11.47

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find the Lady by Alex Brightsmith

Somebody’s nightmare, somebody’s dream, but who is Kathryn Blake?

Genre: Thriller

Ebook$2.99 $1.99 (use voucher discount code MD62C)

 

 

 

 

Countenance by Joy Ross Davis

Genre: Cozy Paranormal Suspense

Haunted B&B with secrets, ghosts, demons, and angels.

Kindle$6.00 $5.00

Paperback: $14.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Church of Bacon by Kevin Hammond

A man ends up in prison with a transvestite and a supernatural radio

Genre: Horror

Kindle: 99 cents

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead Sea Games by J. Whitworth Hazzard

One year after the Emergency, the island of Manhattan is a prison.  If Jeremy Walters manages not to get killed, he’ll still face every teenager’s greatest fear: an angry mother.

Genre: Zombie Dystopian

Kindle: $5.95 ($1 Kindle MatchBook program + Kindle Lending Library for Prime members)
Paperback: $15.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Holidays by Jeffrey Hollar

The holidays are not always a time of goodness and light. With this collection of tales, you’ll realize just how dark the holidays can be.

Genre: Short story collection, horror with holiday focus.

Kindle: $1.99

Paperback: $6.64

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Antics & Other Tales by LE Jamez

Collection of creepy Flash Fiction.

Genre: Flash fiction collection, horror.

Kindle: 99 cents

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not a Whisper (A Klondike Mystery Book 1) by D.B. McNicol

Cherie finds herself in the middle of a local crime wave where arson, kidnapping, embezzlement and a decades-old murder are just the tip of the iceberg.

Genre: Mystery

Kindle: $4.99 (on sale Dec. 31, 2014 – 7 am PST to Jan. 2, 2015 – 7 am PST for $1.99)

 


 

 

 

 

Fog by Michael Wombat

When all you know is to run for your life…

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Kindle: $2.55

Paperback: $13.72

 

LITERARY FICTION

Beneath the Rainbow by Lisa Shambrook

It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive, and Freya won’t let death stand in her way…

Genre: Contemporary Drama

Kindle: $3.99 or £2.50

Paperback: $9.99

 

Beneath the Old Oak by Lisa Shambrook

Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too?

Genre: Contemporary Drama YA

Kindle: $3.99 or £2.50

Paperback: $9.79

 

NON-FICTION

 

 

 

 

 

The Complicated Geography of Alice by Jules Vilmur

“I’m always angry because I’m always sad, and I’m always sad because I am a girl.” These were the words that changed everything.

Genre: Memoir/Narrative Non-Fiction

Kindle: $9.99

Paperback: $14.77

 

ROLE-PLAYING GAMES

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming: A Game of Heroism & Sacrifice RPG by Brian Engard

Overthrow the tyrant. Survive the woods. What will you become?
Watermarked PDF$9.99 $4.99
 ROMANCE (INCLUDES PARANORMAL, URBAN AND EROTICA)

 

 

 

 

 

Choice (Origins of the Supernaturals Book 1) by Jean Booth

It was chance, guided by the hands of a god that brought them together.

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Kindle: $4.99

Paperback: $9.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunted Heart by Alison DeLuca

When Tali’s hired to cut out the heart of Prince Kas, the huntress can’t refuse. Tali realizes there’s no escape from the dark magic of the queen’s mirror, though her own feelings for the prince are too complex to understand.

Genre: Adult Fairytale, Genrebent Snow White (18+ only). Proceeds go to SavetheChildren.

Kindle: 99 cents

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn Getaway (Seasons of Love Book 1) by Jennifer Gracen

Genre: Romantic Women’s Fiction

Kindle: $3.99

Paperback: $13.79

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Hopes (Seasons of Love Book 2) by Jennifer Gracen

Genre: Romantic Women’s Fiction

Kindle: $3.99

Paperback: $11.17

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Before Honor by Nicole Zoltack

A medieval knight. A Regency lady. The magical Christmas that brings them together.

Genre: Time-travel Romance, Christmas

Kindle: $2.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Test of Time by Nicole Zoltack

If Katia can’t master the test of time, she’ll never be reunited with Landon.

Genre: Time-travel Romance

Kindle: $3.99

 

YOUNG ADULT & CHILDREN’S (Includes YA and MG)

 

 

 

 

 

Captured: A White Road Tales Novella by Jackie Castle

He will lose everything if their secret is found out.

Genre: YA Fantasy

Kindle: 99 cents

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illuminated: The White Road Chronicles Book 1 by Jackie Castle

If the Wizard of Oz swept you away and Narnia enchanted you, then follow the White Road Chronicles for a new kind of adventure

Genre: YA Inspirational Fantasy

Kindle: 99 cents

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storyteller, Book 1: The True World by Lisa T. Cresswell

Lily Lightfoot can make weird things happen while storytelling.

Genre: MG Fantasy

Ebook: $2.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storyteller, Book 2: The Quest of Galamar by Lisa T. Cresswell

The tale of half-breed fairy Lily continues.

Genre: MG Fantasy

Ebook: $2.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swallow Me, Now! by Melissa Gijsbers

Could life at Sam’s new school get any worse?

Genre: Middle Grade, Age Level 8-12

Kindle: $4.99

Paperback: $15.28

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flight of Blue: Keeper of the Keys Chronicles by A.E. Howard

One boy stands between the Darkness and everyone he loves.

Genre: MG Fantasy

Kindle: $2.99

Paperback: $11.45

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghostnapped by Ashley Howland

Genre: MG

With the help of a ghost named Susan and her trusty Labrador Thuds, Alex must solve the mysteries of the present – and the past – to rescue her brother from a monster before it’s too late!

Paperback: $8.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist by Ashley Howland

Who’s behind the evil red mist, which controls animals and toys? Can Obi and his friends save the day before it’s too late?

Genre: MG

Paperback: $3.61

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bump in the Night by Michael Johnson

A bedtime story for clever children who do not frighten easily

Genre: YA Horror/Dark Fantasy

Kindle: $5.99

Paperback: $13.35

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire by Paul Ramey

Everybody needs a hobby. Edgar’s is digging up a town’s dark, forgotten past.

Genre: YA Mystery

Kindle: $1.99

Idle Hands

This is a piece of flash fiction I wrote for Jeff Tsuruoka’s Mid-Week Blues Buster, inspired by The Smiths song “What Difference Does It Make?”

Two girls with dirty clothes holding hands, (c) William Gedney 1964

Ma always says, “The devil’ll find work for idle hands to do.” So I work from the second I roll off my old quilt to the last bit of light before it disappears behind the mountain. I sweep the uneven boards of our two-room house, stomping bugs as I go. I take the clothes down the stream and scrub till my hands are raw. In the winter, the wet clothes freeze to the line.

Some days, I don’t even wash. Ma don’t care much if I do. In fact, Ma and Pa don’t talk much ‘bout nuthin’. I’m too big to go to school anymore, ‘cause Ma tole ‘em she needed me ‘round the house. Only thing that makes life okay is Reenie next door. Reenie’s a little older than me, ‘bout eleven, but she’s small for her age. She’s got three brothers and six sisters and has to share a bed with four of ‘em.

I dunno know how to say this but I love Reenie.  She gave me my favorite skirt, polka dot bright blue with big flowers painted on. When I wear it I forget how my shrunk ol’ top rides up my belly and the coldness of my bare feet. I stole my ma’s barrette for her soft brown hair. I braid it over and over again.

When Pa heads to the abandoned mine to hammer off enough for the stove, we run to the woods to collect horse chestnuts. We fling ‘em in the pond, then make clover chains and decorate each other. We scavenge from garbage heaps, then hitch a ride to town and smoke cig stubs from the ashtrays outside the courthouse.

In town, we walk hand-in-hand. People always stare, but I don’t care. We swore to love forever and never be done parted. I tole her I’d take a bullet to save her. Though we fight and she makes me crazy, every night I huddle under my thin blanket and dream of her.

Pa caught us kissing by the woodpile behind the house. He shouted, pounding his coal-grimed fist on the stovepipe. Reenie grabbed my hand and we backed against the clapboard siding, feet sinking in cold brown mud.

Pa grabbed up his shotgun – it was filled with birdshot – and cocked it, tole Reenie to git on home now and not come back. I know he just meant to scare her but the gun went off – too close – and a red flower bloomed on Reenie’s faded blue work dress.

I caught her – she jerked and shook in my arms, pale brown eyes staring up at me.

Pa ran for the doctor, but the nearest one’s in Greenville, two miles away, and I know he won’t get back in time. I hum little snatches of hymns I can remember.

I held her on that sawdusted floor till she went still. Pa found me there, two hours later, sticky-dried with Reenie’s blood, “I got the doctor. ”

“What difference does it make? “I said.

Orison: An Editor’s Perspective

As Nine Muse Press kicks off our Orison release week extravaganza, I thought I’d take a look back at the journey with this book.

The job of an editor is a strange one. After all, any decent word-processor can catch spelling or grammar errors.  My job is to cut away the excess verbiage, the clumsy sentences, the lazy cliche, drag away all that obfuscates the luminescence of the author’s vision. If a scene is in the wrong place, if the pacing is off, if a character is redundant, if the ending is weak, if the opening is slow…these are the places where I come forward with ideas to improve. They are only ever ideas; the author has the last word. But I see the potential in a manuscript. Once I get it, the work has just begun.

I do not sell my services. That is to say, I don’t work as an editor for an hourly rate (though it would doubtless be more lucrative). I only edit books that Nine Muse Press accepts for publication. If I’m doing my job right, the author may struggle with whether to strangle or hug me at any given moment.

Perhaps I should take a step back and relate why fantasy matters to me. When I started reading as a child, the fantasy genre was my first love: a common story with gawky, socially-awkward and shy girl. It swept me away to misty mountains, to faery bowers, to the Mines of Moria and the snowy woods of Narnia. I will read fantasy till I die.

It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that the protagonists were almost never like me: that is, a girl who was neither beautiful nor magical. Though there were a few notable exceptions, they were usually male: callow youths or hardened swordsmen.

When I first read Orison, I was intrigued. Calushain felt real to me, those who peopled it felt real too. There was one secondary character named Story that I fell hopelessly, irrevocably in love. Story was not beautiful nor magical. She was an ordinary girl who had been dealt a rough hand, then been given an extraordinary chance to change her life forever.

We decided Orison would be the second novel that Nine Muse Press released. And then Daniel and I started scrubbing away at the book to make it gleam. If we were content with just releasing a pretty good book, we could have published it three or four months ago. That is, a book with no errors or typos. But it would not be the book it is today.

Today, I am privileged to announce that on the last day of February in the year two thousand and fourteen, Daniel Swensen’s Orison will be a reality and you will be able to download it to your very own e-reader. Paperbacks are next, fear not, ye fellow Luddites of mine. We have so many wonderful things in store for you this week.

cover1

Every day, there will be a brand new post from a Nine Muse Press Affiliate blogger that celebrates a different character in the book. Be sure to check them all out this week, as they will have a ton of exclusive, never-before-released content. I have them listed below for your reading pleasure this week.

Sunday, Feb. 23: Ruth Long and Wrynn at 6 pm EST

Monday, Feb. 24: Angela Goff and Dunnac at 2 pm EST

Tuesday, Feb. 25: Lisa V. Tomecek-Bias and Ashen at 2 pm EST

Wednesday, Feb. 26: Tracy McCusker and Camana at 2 pm EST

Thursday, Feb. 27: Emmie Mears and Story at 2 pm EST

Friday, Feb. 28: HAPPY RELEASE DAY!

This book represents a tremendous amount of work and love and I am terrifically proud to be a part of its inception. My most sincere gratitude to my NMP partners, Paul and Tina Ramey. And, to Daniel, for sharing your world with us.

 

In the Shadows of Mount Doom: Month One Without Social Media

Actually, the title is quite tongue-in-cheek. It’s true I have been off Facebook, Twitter and Instagram since January 2nd, but I really sort of like it.

746241

Sometimes habits creep up on you on little cat feet. You don’t realize you’re snacking on potato chips every day or that you click ballpoint pens compulsively or that you tailgate or that you spend all your free time on social media. That’s pretty much where I was. Because I had cultivated such a close-knit group of writer friends, I justified this overindulgence by rationalizing that I was spending time with educated, talented people and that it was inspirational.

This is true. It, however, does not negate the fact that because I was so engrossed in social media I was losing any writing time I might have. I also was opting for quantity time over quality time with my husband, as if being in the same room and staring at separate screens counted as being together. My to-do list was getting longer and I just couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have the time to complete anything.

So I went cold turkey, kaput, in an effort to get my habit under control. I knew if I just tried to cut down, I would eventually just slowly slide back into my old habit. So I took a break. It’s not forever, just a realigning of priorities.

I wish I could say I missed it. I miss my friends, my nerdy fellow writers who understand what it’s like to obsess at 1 a.m. about a sticky plot point. But instead of just checking in, I spent a great deal of time scrolling through my feed, looking for new articles or statuses or thoughts. The act of scrolling is very compulsive and you can just go on and on and on. You may say to yourself: I should turn off my screen and go do something important, but you’re like as not to end up there an hour later. It’s just like casual television watching: all calories, no nutrition.

So here’s just a few of the things I’ve been doing, as I pass through the Wilderness of No Social Media:

Writing: I have taken a very sharp red pencil and stabbed the heck out of my manuscript. I’ve plotted and planned and researched and head-scratched. What started out as a crazy jumble of 27k words in NaNoWriMo 2011 has evolved into a fairly lean and well-plotted historical murder mystery novel of right at 50k. I believe I am less than a dozen scenes away from completion and that is VERY exciting. Once complete, then it’s back to the drawing board to confirm that all the plot lines are threaded and the writing is taut and the herrings are red. And then…and then, my friends, to the editor! *gasp* Yes, even I, Editatrix, know that I cannot edit my own work beyond making it a highly buffed and solid first draft.

Nesting: I have been busy making my house pretty. We have hanged all the artwork and put up some curtains and generally prettified and sorted and tossed. While I would need a serious influx of money to get the house where I would like it to be, we certainly have done a lot with a little. We now have wedding pictures up and my library is starting to come together. Pictures to come.

Kissing: my sweet hubby. Nuff said.

Dreaming: This is something that falls by the wayside when I get busy. Lots of staring off into the middle distance and letting tendrils of my imagination trail off into the vast reaches of improbability.

Healing: Many of you are aware I was in a car accident in December and getting better is a full-time job, between physical therapy, doctor’s visits and other treatments.

Watching: This was actually a secret fear of mine, that I would break one habit only to succumb to another. I’ve been pretty good overall, though I confess to glutting myself on Sherlock and VEEP (my favorite sardonic political comedy). A few days ago, I re-watched my beloved Anne of Green Gables miniseries, which has only burnished beautifully with age. Even after all these years, its gentle loveliness still has the power to bring me to tears.

AnneofGreenGables-2161319992163661324

Plotting: Surely ye did not think I would rest on my laurels. You’ll just have to wait and find out what the DFQ has up her voluminous sleeves.

I expect Minions to weigh in below – it has been too long!

With all faery affection,

DFQ

Visual Dare: Engraved

Sometimes when your heart is hurting, all you can do is write. The prompt is from Angela Goff’s Visual Dare.

dc32a6624cb537a9568b9f3abbf7883a

Even after fifty years of adventures, of hand-holding and dish-breaking, of her winding his watch and him ironing her newspaper, Solomon had thought she’d live forever.

“Set me as a seal upon your heart,” she used to sing, “as a seal upon your arm. For love is strong as death.”

She’d tease him about his name and those Bible verses. “They’re the naughty ones, y’know,” with a mock-demure look through eyelashes.

Now she lay inert, a madonna enwreathed with wires and an irritable chorus of machines.

“…something for the pain,” he said, again.

“Not long now.” The nurse removed the untouched lunch tray.

He held her transparent hand, traced deep blue deltas winding sluggishly to the pulse, that metronome keeping her here.

Solemnly, ceremonially, he detached each plug, then wound his arms around her. He laid his deep-furrowed cheek on her still breast and set his seal upon her heart.