Archive for October 2021

New Release   Leave a comment

Fount of Wraiths, Book 3 of Daermad Cycle (an epic Celtic fantasy) now available on Amazon. Special price for the launch and free copies of the earlier books in the series.

Posted October 27, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

A Spot of Greenery   7 comments

Do any of your characters garden? Or keep houseplants? How about you?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”1ea343d6a56a46b38667fbe3b57f2f87″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/1ea343d6a56a46b38667fbe3b57f2f87” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”>http://a%20rel=</span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”1ea343d6a56a46b38667fbe3b57f2f87″]https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/1ea343d6a56a46b38667fbe3b57f2f87

Fictional Gardening

Wow, I hadn’t really thought about gardens and my characters. I had to actually think about it. This is probably because I do a lot of my writing in the winters here when the weather precludes gardening.

In Daermad Cycle (Fount of Wraiths comes out tomorrow, October 26, getting it on pre-order only costs 99 cents, it goes up to regular price after the launch), Padraig does a lot of gardening because he’s an herbman. His job is to sell and prescribe herbs to people who are sick and injured. He spends the winter in Fount of Wraiths growing crops in the warm and rainy coastal plain. He enjoys watching the plants develop, knowing they will fill his saddlebags with the means to save lives.

Although Lord Howedd in Dun Llyr doesn’t get his own hands in the soil, his plans to grow vegetables under glass during the winter will have a powerful impact on the course of the ongoing war among the Celdryans, which will need to be resolved before the Svard fall on the kingdom.

Peter in What If Wasn’t actively hates the rose bushes his mother left behind when his father divorced her. This topic gives me something to think about for his future.

The town of Emmaus in Transformation Project is surrounded by corn fields. Many of the characters are farmers. Shane isn’t, but he owns two massive corn fields. His father Rob also isn’t a farmer (he’s mayor and he owns a feed store), but his family’s holdings include a Metis allotment that they grow corn on. Because of the EMP, they don’t have adequate heating in their houses, so house plants are mostly dead from the cold.

Welcome to My Life

My front window is filled with plants. Since everything else is icy white and gripped in an ice-nap for 5-6 months of the year, it really helps us to have hope for warmer days. I keep telling my husband we need to spread the greenery around, but he prefers them in one location, so whenever I put a plant somewhere else in the house, he moves it back. We have pothos (absolutely indestructible), spider plants (which spend the summers on our deck and are now HUGE), and a shamrock plant (very finnicky, but beautiful if you learn how to grow them). Pothos don’t mind growing in a northern window, even in the winter. They are like a foundation plant in most offices around here because they’ll even survive under fluorescent lights. I think our bedroom would look lovely with a plant on the corner of the highboy, but he keeps moving them back, so…. He loves his jungle window.

Pothos Plant Care 101: Meet the Vine That Thrives Just About Anywhere - Bob  Vila

In the summers we try to grow a garden. We have to start plants indoors in March and April. This year spring was late, meaning the plants didn’t get in the ground until the first week of June, so we really didn’t get a great harvest. We grew cabbages and broccoli. The broccoli bolted in the July heat and so we have a lot of stalks for soups in the freezer. We only got one meal of actual broccoli. The cabbages didn’t get big — they needed another two weeks when it snowed in mid-September. We literally harvested them in the snow. They’ll get added frozen to stirfry. We’re planning to try bokchoy next summer, probably with carrots. We usually only grow a handful of items because our garden area is only 20-30′ so we don’t have a lot of room. We either plant one half of the garden in peas or some years, we plant the whole garden. Peas are really good for the soil.

What we do grow a lot of are tomatoes and cucumbers on the deck. While our garden is on the shadier side of the house, the deck is in full sun about 15 hours in a 22-hour day. We start the plants indoors in March or April, then move the buckets out to deck in May. Usually, the tomatoes aren’t red by late August, so we move the buckets into the house. We pull them off as they redden. This year we harvested the last of the plants October 15 and we now have two huge bowls of red tomatoes and are eating my favorite sandwich – the BLT — every other lunch. The cucumbers plants this year were very pretty, but they didn’t produce any blossoms so our neighbors bees didn’t visit them and so there were no cukes. I have no idea why. We also accidentally grew some pepper plants, which also never produced blossoms or peppers. They were pretty, but sometimes gardening doesn’t work out.

So now I’m wondering what my fellow authors are up to about this topic. I suspect Richard Dee does some gardening.

Posted October 25, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Rah-Rah, Let’s Go   6 comments

Are any of your characters fans of a particular sports team?

54,984 Soccer Player Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

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It’s the Apocalypse

In Transformation Project, my characters are living through the apocalypse. Terrorists destroyed the major cities and the long-line electric and communications grids and so there’s not a whole lot of time in their days to enjoy their favorite sporting teams, and even if the time was available, the electronics in their TVs and computers have been fried, and Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta–the nexuses of all broadcast channels in the United States–are now all three nuclear wastelands. Shortwave radio and the spy nest in Jericho Springs are about the only sources of news from distant locations. The spies don’t care and the shortwavers are just figuring it out in February — five months after the events that altered the entire country.

In Their Before Lives

Before the bombs went off, my characters were living ordinary lives and, yes, of course, they followed sports teams. Rob Delaney, a career soldier before he “retired” to become a feed store operator and then mayor of Emmaus, Kansas, loved to watch the Army-Navy match-ups in football and of course he tuned in for the Super Bowl every year. His wife Jill would watch with him for the ads.

Both of their sons, Cai and Shane, played soccer in their younger years. Both followed the Colorado Rapids soccer team, although Shane often was out of the country and had to catch up when he came home. In Life As We Knew It, Shane describes his friend Mike as a super fan of Cruz Azul, the Mexico City professional fotbal team. Shane competed as a kickboxer in college and during his time overseas and did keep up with some MMA fighters. Click Michaels, the former-Chicago Times reporter stranded in Emmaus by the bombs, is a big hockey fan. Marnie Callahan Delaney is a huge fan of the Denver Broncos. And Jazz Tully, who spent her formative years training in dance, follows a Christian ballet company called Ballet Magnificat. Alex Lufgren played football in high school and was good enough to get a scholarship to University of Kansas as a Jayhawk. He had to turn it down when his parents were killed in a car accident and he found himself owning the largest farm in Emmaus and raising his toddler sister. He still roots for the Jayhawks. His sister Poppy was an avid fan of the Kansas School for the Deaf’s volleyball team, mainly because her mother played for the team and it feels like the only connection she has to the mother she doesn’t remember.

Under the Circumstances

With the exception of Cruz Azul, it’s unlikely any of these sport teams still exist. There’s something about the apocalypse that just prevents frivolous activities like sports from taking center stage. I suspect, as the country heals, sporting events will return, but they may not be the media events they were before the events of this series.

Other Series

Daermad Cycle is a Celtic fantasy set in a medieval society. I can’t envision what sort of sports they’d follow. The Dwarves versus the Elves — battle axes against bows. Funny image.

What If Wasn’t is set in modern times, but Peter has expressed no interest in team spectator sports. He’s an individual sports kind of guy – mountain biking, tennis, swimming, rock-climbing — his body against whatever looks exciting. Ben does enjoy watching baseball in the stadium (Go, Ducks!) and he will watch football with his family or friends when in season. Trevor is a dancer who is also a hockey fan, but he’s really too centered on pushing his body to the next level as a dancer (and then getting drunk afterward) to follow any sports teams. He just likes watching the games, preferable in the stadium. When I thought about it, I realized that most of the girls in this series are dancers, which is a team participation sport (don’t let the grace fool you), but I don’t think of any of them care about sports you can watch on television at all. I can imagine Alyse challenging the captain of the football team to a contest to see who can stand on demipoint longer. My daughter did that in high school. Bri won by over five minutes and she only stopped then because she was boring her audience and had made her point about the strength and fitness of dancers compared to football players.

This Author….

I don’t really follow sports teams myself. I grew up in Alaska where high school football exists, but Homecoming Game is always played in hypothermic conditions. So, I never really developed that rah-rah spirit. We went to a lot of basketball games when I was in school because they were indoors. I do enjoy the local teams I can see in the stadium — the Goldpanners baseball team were National League heavy-hitters when I was young, spawning grounds for Tom Seaver, Oddibe McDowell, Craig Nettles, Barry Bonds, James Winfield, Dan Pastorini and the Boone brothers (and about a dozen more). And, hockey — well, you can be on the ice six months a year here without a refrigeration unit. My cousins played and I was the backup to the hockey reporter when I was a college reporter. I covered a few games. The local newspaper always expressed surprise that a girl actually knew hockey. Women were rarely sports reporters back then and I never played. My knees and ice skates — not a good match-up.

I am vaguely aware of how the New England Patriots are doing because that’s my husband’s team (although he still really likes Tom Brady, so how we’re vaguely aware of how the Tampa Bay Bucs are doing). Most Alaskans root for the teams from wherever they are originally from and about 50% of our population is from somewhere else. If you were raised here, you’re expected to root for the Seattle teams, but neither my father or stepdad cared for sports other than Gold Panners baseball, so I only root for the Seahawks when they’re playing against New England — because my husband insists. Yes, I do know what’s going on on the field, but I really just don’t care other than for the particular game I am watching at the time. I do follow the Nanooks hockey team from University of Alaska-Fairbanks, but I’m not a very engaged fan. “Oh, they’re up in wins. That’s great. And against some tough competition? That’s better. Now, for something important — like how deeply in debt Congress is putting me.” I go to the Nanooks games maybe twice a winter and the professional team just never gets my notice. And I don’t like to watch hockey on television, so I’m not even sure I know any teams’ names.

That might explain why I don’t focus a lot on team sports in my writing. I’m not all that interested in my own life, so my characters are only marginally interested teams in theirs. My characters are almost all individual personal sports types because that’s who I am. Plus, it’s the apocalypse. They have more important things on their minds. If someone would create a team sport for generating electricity, they’d probably cheer for that.

Posted October 18, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Open Book Blog Hop – 11th October   1 comment

Stevie Turner

Welcome to this week’s blog hop. Today’s topic is ‘What’s on your TBR list?’

This is a scheduled post, as I’m currently away on the Isle of Wight with Sam and his sister and brother-in-law. I will answer any comments on Wednesday when I am back at home. Today is our 41st wedding anniversary as well, and I won’t be reading any of the books on my TBR list as we’ll be out celebrating!

I have many, many books on my Kindle that are in the queue to be read. I like to read memoirs/autobiographies, paranormal fiction and non-fiction, psychological thrillers, anything with a dry wit, and true life/faction family dramas. Here are some of them below. I don’t read much in the summer, as we tend to be away at the van a lot of the time and I prefer to be outside walking and cycling to…

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Posted October 12, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Announcing Latest Book   3 comments

It’s been WAY too long to get to this point, but…

Fount of Wraiths (Daermad Cycle 3, an epic Celtic Fantasy) is available for Preorder on Amazon. You’ll save $5 over the regular price for the ebook if you order before October 26.

The Raven Rises While the Dragon Waits.

Lost, alone, and powerless in the Void, Ryanna must find the postern gate to return to Padraig and the struggle to mend the kingdom. But the Fount of Wraiths holds many unknown dangers and puzzling mysteries.

Padraig’s quest appears to be stalled, but mayhap he waits upon direction and for an ally to catch up. Meanwhile, the Svard build their forces to begin their attack on Celdrya while Gil works to bring in more allies to their cause against an unprepared kingdom.

The One works in mysterious ways, however, as forces marshal from the most unlikely of sources.

Book goes Live, October 26, and also goes to full price.

Posted October 11, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

So Many Titles   4 comments

What’s on your “TBR” (to be read) list?

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.<!– start InLinkz code –><div class=”inlinkz-widget” data-uuid=”32f2812b304c4632b29fb2be80aa1d50″ style=”width:100%;margin:30px 0;background-color:#eceff1;border-radius:7px;text-align:center;font-size:16px;font-family:’Helvetica Neue’,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif”><div style=”padding:8px;”><p style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>You are invited to the <strong>Inlinkz</strong> link party!</p><a href=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/32f2812b304c4632b29fb2be80aa1d50” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” style=”padding:5px 20px;background:#209cee;text-decoration:none;color:#efefef;border-radius:4px;”>Click here to enter</a></div></div><span style=”display: none;”><script async=”true” src=”https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js…“></script></span><!– end InLinkz code –>[fresh_inlinkz_code id=”32f2812b304c4632b29fb2be80aa1d50”]https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/32f2812b304c4632b29fb2be80aa1d50

That Tower Might Crush Me

The Anatomy of the State (LvMI) by [Murray N. Rothbard]

I love to read and I have a collection of books on a thumb drive that are just waiting for me to read them. Uh, yeah — so many titles. All are worthwhile and I do get around to them occasionally when I’m traveling or if the Internet is down at the house. But then there’s the books on Kindle and the actual print books that sway my books shelves. I’ve read most of those at one time, but I’d like to go back and reread some of them again — someday.

What’s on My List?

Conceived in Liberty is a multi-volume series (on Kindle it pretends to be a single book) about the history of the United States — mostly before it was the United States. It’s really in-depth and it is from the perspective of liberty, so where liberty was growing and where it was nearly stomped out. You’d be surprised at some of the things Murray Rothbard uncovered. What we were taught in school — mostly not true. It’s written pretty well so it’s not as boring as some history books, but reading one chapter of a huge series doesn’t make a large dent in finishing the book. I believe I’ve been reading it for five years now–just occasionally. I haven’t even gotten to the French-and-Indian War yet.

Anatomy of the State is another Murray Rothbard book (thankfully not nearly so long) that I’ve been wanting to read for several years and I finally added it to my list a few weeks ago. I think I’ll tackle it this winter. It delves into history a bit, but it has a mostly political philosophy focus.

The fourth book in Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archives came out this year and I just bought Rhythm of War to add to my winter TBR list.

I’m trying to finish Apocalypse Never in the next few weeks. Michael Shellenberger is an environmental reporter who was an extremist environmentalist ideologue for a number of years who finally couldn’t ignore the evidence of real environmental science says he and his fellow ideological travelers are wrong on so many levels. It’s a great book because he is taking himself to task for his crimes against society at the same time he’s highlighting the various issues that fall under environmental extremism. I’m about 60% through.

Michael Malice published an anthology of great anarchist thinkers from the past called The Anarchist Handbook and I’m working my way through it one essay at a time.

My husband has asked that we read The Gulag Archipelago together this winter. I’ve previously read parts of it, but he thinks he could get through it if we did it together. I’ll read a chapter, he’ll read a chapter, somewhere around January, he’ll decide he’s done, and I might finish the entire book.

I also have some light and fluffy books on my list to act as breaks from the heavy stuff.

And then there’s my all-time favorite – the Bible. I’m currently working my way through the Epistle to the Romans.

My TBR Tower Is Much Bigger

I just keep adding to it, so I’m not going through the whole list here. I might read some shorter essays I have on the thumb drive. Or I might dive deeply into something like On Walden Pond. You just never know. Currently, I’m reading a lot of libertarian literature because I have to remake society in Transformation Project and I’m trying to figure out what their secret sauce ought to be. Plus, I just enjoy reading a different tack on the society I live in — how might it be more peaceful and less abusive. I’m pretty fed us with the duopoly and the constant fighting that is just digging us into a deeper hole, so I’ve sought out alternative viewpoints for some hope for the future.

What I Don’t Want to Share   10 comments

Oct 4, 2021 Does ‘show don’t tell’ ever run up against your personal prohibitions?

SHOW NOT TELL' IN STORY COMPOSITION | ACE ENGLISH

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Prohibitions

Let’s start off with the truth. As a writer, I believe showing is better than telling and I do it all the time. Now for a personal confession. I enjoy sex — in the privacy of my bedroom with my husband. It’s an intimate affair. Over the 35 years of my marriage, maybe the cat is sometimes a witness. When we were new-married we had a bedroom without a door and a dog who would jump up on the bed after we’d settled down for the night. She never interrupted sex. Maybe she too understood sex is an intimate affair. She’d also go behind bushes when she needed to go to the bathroom, as if she thought that ought to have some privacy too. We locked the door when the kids were old enough to barge. When we lived in a small two-room cabin, we’d have sex in the living room because we knew we’d hear them coming up the stairs from the bedroom. Once when we were camping, we looked up to see a very startled squirrel watching us through the tent screen. We started laughing so hard we couldn’t finish. A similar event happened once with a moose. We aren’t exhibitionists.

It’s not that I’ve got anything to hide. It’s just that I have nothing I want you to see.

So, no, I’m not going to describe sex to you in my books because that would be like inviting readers into my bedroom and that’s an intimate place. Just two people allowed. No lookie-luus.

Don’t Cheat!

We have a pretty strict rule in our marriage — Don’t cheat! I wouldn’t say that’s the secret to keeping a marriage together for decades — I think that’s probably forgiveness and grace for the other person’s foibles — but breaking that rule has ended more marriages I’m personally aware of than I can count on two hands. So, I always wonder how women (particularly) who write a lot of sex scenes manage to look their husbands in the eye after they’ve mentally cheated on him. Maybe there’s some trick that I just don’t understand, but I know I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t imagine Cai having sex with Marnie in all the intimate details, write that and publish it for the whole world to read, and then turn around and look my husband in the eye with a clean conscience. If you can do that, fine, and go about your life in peace, but I can’t…so I don’t. It’s kind of like masturbation. Does anyone fantasize about having sex with their spouse when they pleasure themselves? I haven’t found a lot of people who do. That doesn’t mean masturbation is evil — it’s darned handy when you’re separated from your spouse by hundreds of miles for months…or if you’re single…or if your spouse doesn’t mind (though never met a lot of those, either) — but it does mean that when you’re doing it, you’re mentally cheating on the person you promised not to cheat on and that’s a problem for me. Whether I do it in a book or just inside my head, that’s a problem for me and I don’t want it to become a problem with my marriage. Marriages are hard enough to hold together without adding that element to it.

Less Is More

So that’s one area where my personal prohibitions won’t allow me to “show don’t tell.” I strive to write realistic characters who have sex and pee and crap in the woods, but readers don’t need me to describe it. With very few exceptions, readers have had the experience I’m referring to and can draw their own conclusions. My characters get dressed a lot. Why would they be naked in a freezing-cold bedroom in the middle of the afternoon? Why would they visit the “squatting pits” while on campaign? Yeah, I think my readers are smart enough to figure that out. And that leaves me with more pages to “show not tell” about other things — wars, sorcery, how to rewrite a constitution, how to save someone’s life. There’s lots of things to write about. I don’t need to write about sex.

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