May 4, 2021

AFQ Review for #TirgearrTuesday

 


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May 3, 2021

Quote of the Week

 


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April 27, 2021

#TirgearrTuesday

 


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April 26, 2021

Quote of the Week

 


For current subscribers, please note that the email subscription service offered through Blogger will be discontinued in July 2021. To keep up-to-date on all things Maya Tyler, please subscribe to my newsletter.


April 19, 2021

Quote of the Week

 


For current subscribers, please note that the email subscription service offered through Blogger will be discontinued in July 2021. To keep up-to-date on all things Maya Tyler, please subscribe to my newsletter.





April 16, 2021

How to Manage Your Social Media

I've used Hootsuite for more years than I can remember... so probably since 2014 (if it existed in 2014?). Recently, the free plan went from 1 user with 3 social profiles and 30 scheduled posts to 1 user with 2 social profiles and 5 scheduled posts. The paid plans start at $49/month. There's no way I can shell out $49/month for social media scheduling... Yet it takes a lot of my time. Time I could spend writing. That's the thing about being a writer these days. Especially Indie, digital only. Your target market is on social media so you need to be there too.

Social Media platforms with regular postings: Facebook; Twitter; Instagram; Pinterest; Blogger.

Social Media platforms used rarely or as read-only: YouTube; Snapchat; Goodreads; BookBub.

I need to be present on Social Media, but I also need time to write so it's a real conundrum in time management. With the changes to Hootsuite, I needed a new (or supplemental) Social Media Management Tool. I started doing some research... After a ton of research, I found three management tools with a free option that supported all the platforms I use.

Here are the contenders:

Agorapulse

Buffer

Planoly

I schedule posts to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest so all three tools meet my platform requirements.


As with any free option, there are limits to posts, channels, and users. Although Buffer looks like you can schedule 10 posts at a time, Agorapulse and Planoly have limits that renew each month. Planoly, in particular, limits by upload—not limited to scheduled posts—so deleted items count toward the total.

After I set-up my accounts (only Agorapulse required email confirmation), I tried some posting. None of these choices have a Dashboard (overview look) like Hootsuite. Agorapulse and Planoly have a calendar you can view by channel while Buffer shows a daily agenda look (viewed by channel). You can also view Agorapulse's calendar by week.

I set-up Twitter and my two Facebook pages on Agorapulse. It was straightforward to set-up a post, and I could post to all three social profiles at once. Posts could be scheduled or posted immediately. Its interface was the most similar to Hootsuite.

On Buffer, I set-up Instagram and my two Facebook pages. Publishing was called "sharing" and you could select a pre-determined time slot, choose your own time, or share now. You could also customize the post per profile in the same place which was a convenient trick.

Planoly's interface is the most aesthetically pleasing of the contenders. I set-up Instagram and Pinterest. I was a little confused on how to draft a post, but then I realized I had to upload media first (add to grid for IG and add to library for Pinterest). Posts have to be composed separately for each profile, but that makes sense as Pinterest asks for different information for its pins. You also have the option to upload media into your library (and save for later) to plan your future pins (remember this counts in your upload limit). It shows both posted and scheduled posts for IG, including the number of hearts and comments. You can select custom or quick schedule.

This is my very, very initial assessment of these tools and, by no means, a comprehensive evaluation. I'll try them out for the rest of the month (at least), and let you know if I pick one to use exclusively or if I use them all. You have to be creative when you are a struggling writer (aka writer in the red). In the meantime, I'll keep writing and hoping to make enough of a profit someday so I can afford to pay for Social Media management.


April 9, 2021

Dimensions of Character

I am a beginner, a novice. No matter how long I write or how many books I complete, each experience is different. My process is very character-based. They are in charge, no matter what I think when I first sit down at my laptop, fingers poised over the keyboard. They never let me forget it. My goal is to help them fulfill their destiny.

Two-dimensional notes physical characteristics. Alina from A Fairy's Quest has blonde hair and green eyes. Three-dimensional includes personality traits. Words like independence and loyal describe Alina. But, four-dimensional... That's when you become immersed into the character. You become Alina. You sense everything she senses. I bring you into her world where her fears, hopes, and dreams become yours.

In this book, in particular, I relied on sensory input to present her flashbacks. Writing devices like dreams, flashbacks, and premonitions may seem confusing to the reader. Especially if the experience is confusing to the character. Alina couldn't understand or control her flashbacks.

***

Excerpt:


    Alina trailed closely behind, muttering softly to herself. They walked through the poorly lit tunnel, following its numerous twists. The dank smell of the unused passageway clung to her nostrils. Only the ceaseless, nagging fear kept her moving forward. Despite the dim light, her head continued to throb incessantly. Every part of her being wanted to stop, stomp her feet, and ask how much farther. She resisted the temptation. The faster they went, the closer she’d be to the exit and the fresh air she craved. The odorous space didn’t seem to bother Rylan as he trudged ahead. The silent trek gave Alina plenty of time to second-guess her decision to follow Rylan. And pretty much every decision she’d made since…
    A sharp pain sliced through Alina’s head. Her smile faded as the images invaded her thoughts like a shaky, poorly shot video. Oh no, not now. 

    She watched herself step outside the cottage and freeze as the unfamiliar sensation of a cold gun butt touched her temple. Everything around her slowed to a crawl. Her vision blurred as she scanned the yard for Kurtis. The sounds of clanging weapons and the thud of successful punches and kicks filled the air. She squeezed her eyes shut. 

    She gasped for air. Her chest vibrated with sharp pain. The darkness acted like a sponge, absorbing her energy, her very essence. She had the unpleasant sensation of falling through the sky. Falling, falling. With no end in sight. 
    “Alina?” 
    “I’m not good in dark places.” She licked her dry lips. “I don’t feel well.” 
    “Stay with me.” He reached for her hand. “If memory serves me right, it is not much farther.”

***

Through a series of flashbacks, I wanted to transport the reader into Alina's world. I hoped to convey a feeling of her helplessness and demonstration of her true strength.

Have you read A Fairy's Quest yet? It's available now. And you may enjoy the rest of The Magicals Series, also available now.

Buy Links:




April 2, 2021

Vote for A Fairy's Quest

They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that. If you like the cover of my book, A Fairy's Quest: The Magicals Series, #3, please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!

   

Click to Vote!

March 30, 2021

Who are the heroes in The Magicals Series?

 Celebrate #TirgearrTuesday with The Magicals. Which hero is your favorite?

The guys... Tall, dark, and dangerous? Silent and broody? Lethal with a conscience?

The gals... Naive and imaginative? Deadly and determined? Independent and fierce?



Sample them all...


March 26, 2021

What's in a Name?

I had a radio interview yesterday on What's Write for Me. One of the potential questions was about how I pick character names... We didn't get a chance to cover this one during the interview. Amazing how the time flies when you're talking to a fellow author and book lover.

My answer? Baby name websites are invaluable. I usually have a first letter in mind or, at least, a country of origin which makes searching much easier. Particular time period requirements (for instance popular in the 1960's) also narrow the search. Then I look at name meanings. And, finally, I google the full name to make sure it doesn't belong to a famous person. I prefer unique names so this isn't usually an issue.

My main character in A Fairy's Quest is Alina Lehrer. Alina means "bright, beautiful, noble" and is of Slavic origin. Variations of the name include Helena (Czech and Swedish) and Adelina (French).

Authors, how do you pick your character names?

Readers, do you prefer common or unusual character names?






March 23, 2021

Origin Stories: Fairies

 What about fairies?


The term “fairy” originated in the European Middle Ages. Historically, fairies were feared as dangerous and powerful beings. Their interactions with humans were unpredictable, sometimes friendly, sometimes cruel. Common characteristics included diminutive size, pointy-ears, beauty, and long life. Fairies were believed to live in their own realm, a parallel universe, separated from ours by an invisible veil.

Gervase of Tilbury, a 12th century English scholar and canon lawyer, made the earliest mention of fairies. He compiled a compendium of stories about the unexplained marvels of the natural world.

There are four main theories regarding the origin of fairies. Folk memories; degenerated deities; personification of nature spirits; or ancestral spirits of the dead (link to the underworld).

In Ancient Egyptian myth, fairies paralleled the Seven Hathors or patronesses of childbirth, those regarded as “fairy godmothers.”

In classical mythology, the Roman Parcae, or birth goddesses, were fata or fees, descendants of the Germanic and Celtic Matres and Matronae.

In Irish mythological tales, fairies are referred to as the Tuatha de Danaan. Their origin is assumed to be derived from ancient goddesses, priestesses, nature spirits, nymphs, druidesses, the Fates.

In Scottish folklore, the good fairies, the Seelie Court, are well disposed towards humans, whereas the “unseelie court” or bad and malicious fairies work their evil against mortals because some fairies are noted for malice and mischief.

Fairies in The Magicals Series


Relationships

A group of fairies is called The Glitter. Fairies have arranged marriages set up by matchmakers.

Special Abilities or Talents

Fairy magic has its own signature. Fairies are born with magical abilities like ESP, future sight, clairvoyance, aura reading, enhanced awareness AND can learn spells. Physical contact enhances connection.

General

A Fairy medallion is a protection rune to ward against wizards (glows in the presence of wizards).

The Royal Court of Fairies

(“The Court”)

Fairy government is set-up like the UK Parliament which consists of The House of Commons (elected representatives), The House of Lords (hereditary peers), and The Crown (monarchy). In The Magicals Series, The Court is the equivalent of The House of Commons with elected members. There are no separate political parties. Among the elected, a leader called Le Souverain is selected, equivalent to the Prime Minister. The lower courts, consisting of inherited positions among the fairy elite, like The House of Lords, disbanded and scattered after the crown heist after they hid The Court. The Court’s main function is to write laws and support the monarchy.

The historical location of The Court was Savoie, France, near the seat of the royal family, the Château de Chambéry. Once concealment was decided, The Court relocated to Paris. The modern-day location of The Court overlooks the Seine River in Paris, France.

The Crown is protected by the Royal Guard. The Elite Guard protects the immediate royal family.

March 19, 2021

Social Issues in Fiction

I've always maintained that fiction holds a lot of truth. I usually find out things about myself, and the world around me, like subconscious observations. This morning, I was thinking about A Fairy's Quest and what message I may have left myself this time.

The obvious answer is about trauma. Traumatic experience is personal for me, and I wanted to incorporate it into my story. The more I learn about trauma, and our human response to it, the more I feel that it is misunderstood. As are most mental health disorders. And I get it. "Invisible" diseases like chronic pain, mental health, cancer (before hair loss), neurological disorders (without physical impairment or "props" like wheelchairs or canes) are exactly how I described—invisible. A person can look perfectly fine from the outside, but that is just the window dressing. Inside the house may be a completely different story. You cannot really understand what a person is going through unless you walk a day in their shoes. That is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

In this book, I wanted to explain, through my character Alina, a little bit about how I feel. And it was hard to describe because I had to live through it again. The darkness. The unknown. How to quantify the agony, but at the same time, offer hope. If you feel like something is "wrong" with you, then follow your instincts. Our bodies were built for survival, but we often ignore the messages. When you face a health crisis—physical, mental—it impacts your life. You look at things differently. You are faced with the reality of your own mortality. Seriously. It places you at a crossroads, and you have a choice to stay the course or choose a different path. Remember, the old road is probably the reason you had a health crisis in the first place.

The less obvious answer is also about choice. It's a reminder about feminism and what it actually means. Advocacy of woman's rights. I am 100% about equality. I've often written about human rights. But, somewhere, along the way, feminism became the quest to "have it all" which included perfectly managing a family and career; and anything less than that was unacceptable. Only a housewife. Just a stay-at-home-mom. "Married" to the career. Feminism—equality in general—is the ability to choose your own path without constrictions of traditionally defined gender roles. More single woman climb the corporate ladder. More Dads become the stay-at-home parent. It's a new world.

Alina comes from a very traditional family—she was even betrothed at birth—but she wants to start her own business before thinking about marriage. Getting established in your career, especially becoming financially solvent, before starting a family is a valid plan. And so is starting a business and never getting married. My intention was to offer support for your plan. Any combination of career and family is a valid choice. And sometimes under the pressure to "have it all" we lose sight of what's really important. Making the best choice for yourself.

Personally, I always wanted to get married and have kids. I may have gotten some grief over the years from my more feministic friends about my old-fashioned life plan. But, in my mind, true equality is the ability to choose. And that's freedom at its core. I can have a career. Get married. Have kids. I can pick two of the three. And I understand the importance of being able to support myself. I have a practical university degree. You don't need to sacrifice your autonomy or independence to be with someone. The right someone will want you to be the greatest version of yourself. Whatever that looks like.


A Fairy's Quest is available for pre-order with automatic delivery on April 6, 2021.

Do you think about the potential lessons hidden in fiction books? Have you ever learned something from fiction?

March 16, 2021

Origin Stories: Wizards

 What about wizards?


The word “wizard” comes from the Middle English word “wys” (meaning “wise”). Up until the middle of the 16thcentury, it referred to a wise man, making no distinction between magic and philosophy. Afterward, the term wizard was used to describe a man with magical powers.

The Westcar Papyrus is a set of tales about wizards from Ancient Egypt told at the court of Khufu, describing magic used to catch an unfaithful wife’s lover; retrieve a jewel lost in a lake; and re-attach the heads of decapitated animals.

Abe no Seimei, a historical figure who lived between the 10th and 11th centuries, was known as the “Merlin of Japan.” A practitioner of onmyogo, a mixture of natural science and occultism, he conducted exorcisms, warded off evil spirits, and prophesized the future. Legends say he was half-human as his mother was a kitsune, a fox spirit.

According to the Golden Legend, a collection of biographies of saints, the Christian St. Cyprian was originally a pagan wizard who summoned demons to do his bidding. When the God of Christianity was shown to be greater than the demons, Cyprian converted.

In Thousand and One Nights, a wizard tricked Aladdin into retrieving a magic lamp for him from a magic cave. The wizard double-crossed Aladdin by trapping him in the cave. Aladdin summoned a genie using the wizard’s magic ring who released him from the cave with the lamp. The lamp provided Aladdin with great fortune, and the wizard tried to steal it back. When Aladdin killed him, the wizard’s brother, who was also a wizard, wanted vengeance, but Aladdin was able to defeat him as well.

Wizards in The Magicals Series


Birth

All wizards are male. Some boys are born with a “magic gene” and can become wizards. First, they train as apprentices. Then they can choose whether to become a wizard. When they become full-fledged wizards, magic transforms them into old men with long white beards, the stereotypical wizard.

Relationships

A group of wizards is called a guild. “The Circle” refers to a specific group of wizards. Historically, wizards were a part of the nobility. Present day wizards serve as appointed guardians of the supernatural world, protectors and defenders for magicals and humans.

Special Abilities or Talents

Wizards use the world and elements around them to create magic. They use wands. They cast spells. In A Wizard’s Choice, Waldor issued a spell that made words rise from a book and line up neatly in the air. Kurtis touched the script, the words surrounded him like a tornado, and he understood the entire book. Then the words returned to the book.

Traditions

A wizard apprentice cannot speak in front of women. Before making The Choice, wizard apprentices have a Rumspringa of sorts called a "raum" so they can make an informed decision. The Choice is whether or not to become a full-fledged wizard. Wizards aren’t allowed to get married. Wizards have their own funeral ritual (tapered candles, people circle the coffin and chant “time to go home” in Latin).

General

Waldor’s cottage has an enchanted lock. It also contains a Spell Laboratory and a secret library.





March 12, 2021

First Review for A Fairy's Quest

 This week, I saw my first review for A Fairy's Quest...

5 Stars on Goodreads

"...I fell in love with The Magicals with the first book A Vampire’s Tale. The magic within each book just seems to get better and better. Once I pick up a book from The Magicals world I can’t put it down until I have read the last page. Once I opened A Fairy’s Quest I was pulled into its depths with all the vampires, fairies, wizards, and its magical world..." -- The Avid Reader

You can read the full review on Goodreads.

Pre-order Now


March 9, 2021

Origin Stories: The Anunnaki

Who were The Anunnaki?


The Anunnaki are a group of deities who appear in the mythological traditions of the ancient Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. The Sumerians considered them to be the most powerful deities in the pantheon, descendants of An and Ki, the god of the heavens and the goddess of earth.

In 1968, Swiss pseudoarcheologist Erich von Däniken claimed that extraterrestrial “ancient astronauts” had visited a prehistoric Earth, suggesting an alien race to explain the origin of religions. He supported his views using interpretations of Sumerian texts and the Old Testament.

In 1976, Russian-American author Zecharia Sitchin claimed that The Anunnaki were actually an advanced humanoid extraterrestrial species from the undiscovered planet Nibiru, who came to Earth around 500,000 years ago to mine gold. They hybridized their species and Homo erectus via in vitro fertilization in order to create humans as a slave species of miners. While on Earth, they built the pyramids and all the other monumental structures from around the ancient world that are considered so impossible to build without highly advanced technologies.

In the 1990’s, British conspiracy theorist David Icke claimed that the reptilian overlords in his reptilian conspiracy theory were The Anunnaki.

In The Magicals Series


Many centuries ago, fallen angels called The Anunnaki came to Earth. Humans classified these beings as aliens as a way to understand the remnants of the advanced civilization they found. In truth, they were the first magicals. Stripped of immortal status as punishment for their serious crimes, they had to depend on magic to survive. Conflict among the demoted beings was inevitable. Two opposing factions emerged. The wizards - das Zauberer. The fairies - la Fée Royale.

La Fée Royale positioned themselves as the superior beings. They treated their counterpart das Zauberer like slaves until, more than a century ago, das Zauberer rose up against their self-appointed overlords. They waged war, setting out to annihilate every last fairy, and their campaign saw much success. The wizards thought the fairies were all dead, but the surviving fairies scattered into hiding. They assimilated deeply into the human population and adopted technology to mask their magical abilities. They swore—when the right time came—to take vengeance on the wizards and reclaim their position of power.

In the wrong hands, magic could be very dangerous. The wizards had seen evidence of the destruction. The fairies had been stopped, but they needed safeguards to protect the future. A magical council was formed. Wizards were appointed as guardians of the supernatural world.

March 5, 2021

The City of Love

The Magicals Series, for the most part, takes place in Chicago. In A Fairy's Quest, my heroine Alina Lehrer travels to Paris where she meets a handsome stranger. And the rest, as they say, is history.

***

Alina squeezed her eyes shut. “Shh… I’m sleeping.” She breathed in and out, in a loud, greatly exaggerated way.

“I’m telling you now. There will be no sleep for either one of us until you give me something. Do you like him? Duh, you must like him. Enough to do the horizontal nasty. Do you love him? Oh my God, you fell in love in Paris. That is the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard. Allie!”

***




A Fairy's Quest, The Magicals Series Book #3, is available for pre-order now. Click here to pre-order. Your copy will be delivered on release day April 6, 2021.

March 2, 2021

Origin Stories: Vampires

Who was the first vampire?


Lilith, according to medieval Jewish folklore, was Adam’s first wife before Eve. When Adam insisted she play a subservient role, Lilith grew wings, flew away from Eden, and has roamed the Earth for 4,000 years. “Lilith” is derived from a Sumerian word for female demon. A winged demon known for preying on pregnant woman and infants, she has been portrayed as the first vampire.

A Hebrew legend casts Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Christ, as the first vampire. In the book of Matthew, Judas, one of Christ’s apostles, betrayed Jesus for payment of thirty pieces of silver. After Jesus’ crucifixion, Judas tried to return the silver to appease his guilt. When his return was refused, Judas hung himself. The book of Agulah, written 843 years later by a Catholic monk named Aed in Aramaic, contains details of the punishment God inflicted on Judas. According to this source, God cursed Judas with immortality, the inability to walk in the sun, and the insatiable craving for human blood. The curse was also extended to Judas’ offspring.

In the Middle Ages, superstitions about vampires were used to explain plagues and other unfamiliar illnesses, in particular, a blood disorder called porphyria. Symptoms of porphyria included sensitivity to sunlight which caused severe skin blisters or burns, receded gums which looked like fangs, and aversion to garlic due to its sulfur content. Some symptoms could be temporarily relieved by ingesting animal blood.

Vlad Dracula, known as Vlad the Impaler, ruler in Walachia, Romania, off and on from 1456-1462, is thought to be the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. According to legend, Vlad killed his enemies by impaling them on wooden stakes and dipped his bread in their blood.

Vampires in The Magicals Series


Creation and Maker Relationship

A vampire “parent” is called a maker. A vampire “child” is referred to as offspring. The offspring have an obligation or loyalty toward their maker, but makers can release their offspring. When you are turned (created) into a vampire, your soul floats away, and human blood becomes your only source of food.

Special Abilities or Talents

Vampire abilities/talents are either a skill obtained during creation or learned later. Some abilities include: flying; reading minds; moving objects telekinetically; seeing the future; possessing super speed, super strength, and/or heightened senses; and healing quickly. Vampires go underground to heal faster. Vampires can erase people’s memories or give powerful suggestions. They speak an ancient, unknown language. Vampire blood has healing qualities for humans, tastes like strawberries, has an intoxicating side effect with a resulting hangover effect, and can be an aphrodisiac. Vampire tears are blood.

Other Relationships

Vampires live alone, with their maker, or in groups (families) called “nests.” Their interactions with humans are limited, as they tend to consider humans a lower life form, with the exception of protection. Vampires can have protection arrangements with wizards. Thralls are humans controlled by vampires, the connection can only be severed by the vampire who bit them or death.

Vampires can procreate with humans. Vampire offspring will protect their mother in the womb. They have a nine-month gestation period and look human. Vampire hunters are the human-vampire offspring who hunt to kill their vampire parent, when their parent’s memories emerge in their mind at puberty, but not all half-vampires become vampire hunters.

Supernatural beings can sense other supernatural beings.

Blood Exchange and Blood Bond

A blood exchange occurs when a vampire gives a human their blood. It allows a vampire to transmit his memories into a mortal’s mind, creates a link between vampire and mortal, and marks the mortal to other supernaturals. Humans can learn to shield against the contactless transmission of memories, but this usually results in a headache. Memories can also be transmitted by the vampire holding the other person’s head (think Vulcan mind meld). Blood bonds strengthen when more blood is shared and when the mortal gives the vampire their blood.

Codes and Law

There is a vampire “code” to keep their existence a secret. There is a vampire “law” not to harm another vampire’s human. Vampire’s mark a human as their own through a claiming ceremony. Vampire claiming is similar to human marriage. The ceremony involves a special dagger and blood exchange, and is sealed with a mating. As a result, the human will gain some vampiric abilities without becoming a vampire.

General

Vampire existence is a curse, death means Hell. The older and purer the blood, the stronger the vampire. The need for and amount of “rest” reduces with “age.” They are immortal, although there are ways they can die. For instance, prolonged exposure to the sun.

They drink human blood to survive. A human goes to a beautiful place during the bite, but vampires don’t need to drink directly from the source. They can tolerate a glass of red wine. Vampire skin is pinkish after feeding. If a vampire is too hungry, the hunger takes over. Their eyes turn yellow when their fangs drop. Fangs can extend and retract at will.

If a human really wants a vampire to leave their home, they can compel them. Anyone can enter a vampire’s home if the deed is held by an undead being (vampire).

Wards are used for protection. Wizards can cast protection spells to make a property virtually invisible from the road or air. Anyone who approaches the property will simply change their course and not realize it. The address doesn't exist, either. There is an actual address on the deed, but not one that can be found by GPS.




February 26, 2021

Origin Stories

Every story has a beginning. My stories aren't told in a linear fashion. Far from it. My characters come with complex histories that we may not fully understand until the end of the series. Whenever the end comes. For now, I'm writing their stories. Marisa and Corgan. Dee and Kurtis. Alina and Rylan.

In doing so, I created a world. A magical world. The world I imagined for The Magicals Series consists of created and born magicals—vampires, wizards, and fairies. Vampires are created by other vampires, not born, and considered an abomination by some (Helene and her line of fairies developed a “vampire cure” mentioned in A Wizard’s Choice). Wizards and fairies descend from the fallen angels called The Anunnaki.

I'm not the first author to incorporate vampires, wizards, and fairies. Where and when did these creatures first appear in folklore or literature?


Check in next week for my next post in the Origin Stories series.

February 23, 2021

Spotlight on love for #TirgearrTuesday

I write romance novels so some of my most poignant scenes are about love. Not bedroom scenes... I'm talking about the great declarations of love. This week, I'm sharing excerpts from The Magicals series... There's something special in witnessing the moment your characters, or at least one of them, realize that they're in love. 


Now, to set the stage... Corgan confesses he has put Marisa in danger from a vampire set on revenge and admits that he can't live without her...


“What were you planning to do? Just sit here like a duck waiting to be destroyed?”

“I didn't care. I was ready to die.”

“Well? Do you care now?” she demanded.

“I will protect you with my life. Claim or not.”

“That's not really answering my question, Corgan. You do that a lot, you know?”

“I care now. I plan to be around as long as you are.” He kissed her hand.

She smiled at him as he looked up at her from under his hooded eyelids. A warm feeling moved through her. It spread over her like a warm blanket. It felt like love? Not a feeling she was exactly familiar with, despite the fact she wrote romance novels for a living. The whole relationship thing never really worked for her. She just figured she wasn't cut out for it. When she wrote about love and relationships, it wasn't from experience, more like super-charged imagination. So, this is what it felt like? Warm and comfortable.

Corgan licked her wrist and grazed her skin with his teeth.

Okay, scratch comfortable, it was more like electric and terrifying. Was she ready to take the plunge? Hell, it didn't matter if she was ready. She moved around restlessly as Corgan made a trail of wet kisses up her arm and around her shoulder.

“Yes?” he asked.

“Yes.” Her voice sounded breathless.

He bit into the flesh just below her shoulder. A series of feelings passed through her—joy, bliss.


Now, to set the stage... Kurtis is looking forward to teasing his old friend Corgan about his new girlfriend, but secretly desires Dresandra, Corgan's maker although he tries to fight his feelings...


Kurtis nodded again. His old friend was besotted with the petite wisp of a woman. He never thought he’d live to see the day, but Corgan’s open adoration of Marisa proved otherwise. He looked forward to the unapologetic ribbing he’d give Corgan later.

While Corgan and Marisa said their good-byes to Waldor, he glanced surreptitiously at Dresandra. Her eyes flashed with a hint of danger, yet her face remained unaffected, a mask of indifference. The exchange of farewells continued with Dresandra remaining apart from the group. She wouldn’t be here if she didn’t care. Yet her tense body language, arms crossed against her chest, told a different story. Like a burning stone, Dresandra appeared cold and impassive on the outside, while a great passion burned within her. Will I get burned? With a private laugh, quickly disguised as a cough, he turned his gaze away from the puzzling female. The “love bug” must be contagious. Not a disease he wanted to catch. Not when his entire life was in a state of internal upheaval.


Stay tuned for updates on A Fairy's Quest, The Magicals Series Book #3... 

February 16, 2021

Spotlight on The Magicals for #TirgearrTuesday

Who are The Magicals?

When I wrote A Vampire's Tale, I hadn't planned on writing a book series. My secondary character Kurtis Warde (see spotlight from last week) just needed his own story. Then a character I introduced in A Wizard's Choice, fairy Alina Lehrer, needed her own story. A book series was born. And I had, inadvertently, created my own magical world.

A Vampire's Tale introduced my vampires, Corgan and Dee, and a group of wizards called The Circle. Fairies and The Anunnaki, the origin species of fairies and wizards, were introduced in A Wizard's Choice. And A Fairy's Quest, coming soon, delves a little deeper into the fairies.

My characters live in a world of magical realism where everything is "normal" just with magical beings like vampires, wizards, and fairies. Vampires are a type of created magical as they are created by other vampires rather than born. Fairies and wizards are descendants of The Anunnaki, initially thought to be a spacefaring advanced civilization. We later discover they were fallen angels sent to Earth as a punishment. They were stripped of their immortality, but retained some magical abilities.

I'm currently working on The Magicals origin stories. So, stay tuned for more magic. And, in the meantime, you can get up close and personal with The Magicals Series.

Available Now:

Coming Soon:

A Fairy's Quest


February 12, 2021

Just Another Friday?

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong hei fat choy!

The Chinese Lunar Calendar, as the name might suggest, records time using the moon rather than the sun (the Western system). This means that the new year can fall on a different date each year, in January or February.

It's the Year of the Ox. According to Asian folklore, people born in the Year of the Ox are strong, reliable, fair and conscientious, inspiring confidence in others.

To my knowledge, we don't have any Oxen in our immediate family. I was born in the Year of the Monkey. My father is a Rooster, my sister is a Pig, and both my mother and husband are horses. My sons are a Rat and a Tiger.

There are twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac. Each has different character profiles. These can be further classified with the element—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—associated with the year of birth. And, like the Western astrology signs, these profiles also include interpretations for compatible signs.

I am a Metal Monkey. Monkeys are known for their intelligence and humour (best traits), and immaturity and deceit (worst traits). A Metal Monkey, in particular, is said to be intellectually superior to other monkeys, independent, and fiscally responsible. And, hopefully this is a good sign, a monkey and horse are a positive pairing. << sigh of relief>>

I hope you found this (very brief) post on the Chinese zodiac of some interest. For more information, see Chinese Astrology: A Guide to Chinese Horoscopes by DJ Burns.

Happy New Year! I wish you great happiness and prosperity!



February 9, 2021

Spotlight on Kurtis Warde for #TirgearrTuesday

A lot of my characters are derived from my previous experiences and perspective. The rest comes from the characters themselves. To be an author, you need to embrace an outside-the-box attitude. Not everything is logical. Sometimes you hear voices in your head, and it doesn't mean you have a mental health condition. Although you might. There is a proposed correlation between creativity and mental illness. Studies have shown that mental health conditions, like bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder, are significantly more common among artists (Kyaga, Simon; Landén, Mikael; Boman, Marcus; Hultman, Christina M.; Långström, Niklas; Lichtenstein, Paul (January 2013). "Mental illness, suicide and creativity: 40-year prospective total population study". Journal of Psychiatric Research. 47 (1): 83–90.). So, whether I can attribute the voices in my head to a creative muse or a mental illness, I listen to those voices. They are my characters. They are an expression of myself.

Kurtis Warde from A Wizard's Choice was a difficult character to write. Mostly because we had a disagreement over his use of coarse language. I don't really swear. I don't suppress the urge; I just don't want to say "bad" words. Perhaps connected to my upbringing as a "good girl" or the great variety of other words at our disposal. Language is a form of self-expression so I won't judge your choices, but there are some words and phrases that may garner a tsk-tsk from me though...

Kurtis was very angry. His anger came from a deep-rooted place, and he needed to express himself loudly, coarsely, without reserve. So, I let him. I let him get everything out. His emotion poured from him like water from a faucet.


It gushed. It cascaded. And it was cathartic for both of us. It made me face the fact that I had been angry too. I'm not angry now. And neither is Kurtis.

Kurtis, like all characters, grows during his journey. He learns things about himself and his world. He has to face great suffering in order to do so.


During one of his hardest moments...

***

He squeezed his eyes shut. “My grandfather died yesterday.”

“I’m so sorry, Kurtis. I didn’t realize he was ill.”

“He wasn’t.” Kurtis opened his eyes, staring past Alina. “I killed him.”

She gasped. “What?”

“Well, technically I didn’t. But it’s my fault he’s dead.”

“I’m sure that’s not true.” She placed her hand on his arm. “Whenever a family member hurts, we all suffer from the what-if guilts.”

“It’s a little more complicated than that. The family tree location spell?”

She nodded.

“It led my grandfather’s killers right to him.”

“You can’t blame yourself for this.”

He narrowed his gaze. “Perhaps I blame you?”

“You’re hurting now and looking for something to take that pain away. You came to me. Your grandfather’s death was a tragedy, but not my fault or yours.”


“I don’t know what to do. That lost feeling I had before? Well, it’s nothing compared to the fucking gaping hole I feel now.”



He clutched his chest, gasping for breath.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, holding him close. “Don’t keep it in. Scream. Swear. Let it out. I can take it.”


***


This sentence eloquently conveys the full breadth of the raw emotion running through him. He's devastated, and he knows how badly "worse" can really feel. It's not the "black moment" of the story, but his grandfather's death was a pivotal one for him. The only familiar and consistent thing in his life is painfully ripped away, leaving him stranded in a strange new world. Sometimes, you need a curse word or two to get the point across.

Interested in learning more about Kurtis? A Wizard's Choice, The Magicals Series Book #2 is available now. The next book in the series Alina's story, A Fairy's Quest, will be released soon.


Dreams or duty? Leaving The Circle would give wizard apprentice Kurtis Warde the freedom to follow his own dreams, and to pursue vampiress, Dee. But there is unrest in the magical world—a long-time feud between wizards and fairies—that threatens everyone Kurtis cares about.

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February 5, 2021

The First Draft

 ... is the story you tell yourself.

I wish my first drafts came out polished and ready-to-submit for publication. They don't. Writing and editing are two different processes. You write with your right brain and edit with your left brain. Loosely speaking, your right brain controls art and creativity and your left brain controls academia and logic. I work together, with both sides of my brain, to produce a polished, ready-to-submit manuscript. It just doesn't happen on the first pass. Or even the second.



The first draft is the story you tell yourself. It will be as rough and unpolished as it needs to be. The reason I write is because I have a story (or stories) to tell. But I tell myself first.

I'm working on Amelie and Niall's story right now. You may remember them as Kurtis Warde's parents, characters I introduced in A Wizard's Choice, The Magicals Series Book #2. In order to protect her infant son from her deranged mother Helene, Amelie left him with his father Niall and went into hiding. We learned in Book #2 that Niall had also gone away and Kurtis was raised by his paternal grandfather Waldor. This storyline raised many questions for me. How did Amelie feel about giving up her baby? What made Niall leave? What happened to Amelie and Niall during the thirty years they were away? Those answers and more will be magically revealed to me during the writing process. It all begins with the first draft.

You can't edit a blank page. A blank page—although intimidating—represents opportunity. Opportunity for me to tell you the story; a story that we both instinctively need to hear.


February 2, 2021

Celebrate love for #TirgearrTuesday

 Love doesn't usually happen at first sight. Unless you are Corgan Halton, an ancient vampire who can see the future.

Their stories had merged. When had he first seen her? The images rolled in her mind. She had summoned them this time.

There she was, running across the grass in front of an old, stone building. Fallen leaves crunched under her feet. She tripped on a stick concealed by the foliage, and fell to the ground, losing a book in the process.

She remembered that day. She'd been late for something. Class maybe?

The day had been full of mishaps. First the trip in the grass, then later she'd spilled coffee on herself. All she needed was one more bad thing to happen, and she was going to head back to the dorm and hide out in bed. The rest of the day went smoothly. She bought more coffee, went to class, grabbed some dinner at the residence dining hall, and went to the library.

She stood at the book return counter.

“What are you talking about?” She shuffled through the pile of books on the counter. “That book is not late. I had all the books in my bag all day. It's gotta be here.”

“Well, it's not here now, is it?” The librarian slid her glasses down her nose and stared at Marisa. “You'll need to pay the late fee before you can borrow any more books.”

“Is this what you're looking for?” a masculine voice asked. He placed the missing book on the counter.

“Yes.” Marisa twirled around toward the sound of his voice. “Wherever did you find it?”

Her Good Samaritan was gone.

It was you.

Yes.

How did you know about my book?

I had a vision… about you. I wanted to meet you.

January 29, 2021

Where Imposter Syndrome Fits in the Writing Process

I feel like imposter syndrome is an integral part of the writing process. That moment when you think everything you write is sh*t and maybe, at that moment, it is. I usually doubt my ability to write in the middle of my first draft. The first half comes to me in a furious hurricane-like storm. It's when I stop to take a breath—which is rather unavoidable—that the doubts creep in.

Today, I felt it again—the word "poser" popped into my head which is just another way to describe imposter syndrome. I was updating my website and I thought—seriously, am I a writer or not? I have two books available for sale now and a third on the way with a few stories available for free via the Chapters: Interactive Stories app. A few years ago, the rights for the first book I published reverted back to me, and it's been "sitting" on the shelf while I figure out what to do with it ever since. Re-publish? Re-write and publish?

So, essentially, I am a two-book author, and I can't even say I'm commercially successful. God, that's depressing. I guess it depends on how you gauge success, in general. My dream was to write and publish—and I've done that and continue to do so. But a writer doesn't really reach the pinnacle of success until they make money (as in royalties exceed marketing and promotional expenses). I'm not there yet. But it just means I have to try harder.

There are lots of legitimate reasons for the short backlist. Writer's block doesn't even factor in. My health is the huge obstacle. When I was healthy, I worked my forty hours and still wrote for three hours everyday—during lunch and after the kids went to bed. I wrote and published my first book in a year. Now? My writing time is a lot less predictable, but as a therapy tool so important. It's the "compare and despair" that gets me. I see other authors... The ones who published thirty books in the last ten years. How do they do it? One word at a time. And I can too. I just need to channel my determination and keep writing.

Despite the doubts—I'm my own worst critic—I do believe I'm a good writer. I love the written word, and I have a crazy, active imagination. Life comes with bumps in the road, and my bumps just happen to be poor health. So, I guess the moral of this story is... don't let my fear and self-doubt stop me from what I'm meant to do. Write.


January 22, 2021

A Time of Transition

January is a month of transition. New year. New month. When I start working on those new year's resolutions with a gusto. Outwardly, things are going well. I'm up-to-date with this month's writing goals. Most of my social media posts are scheduled in Hootsuite. I've even blogged every week this month. Round 1 Edits for A Fairy's Quest are with my editor. I'm working on my next book submission.

But I'm operating under duress. I've had this headache and neck stiffness / pain for over two weeks straight with intermittent GI distress (tummy troubles). What is wrong with me? Something is wrong, but I don't understand what my body's telling me. Both my head and gut have a message. One message would be enough to get my attention, but two means it could be quite serious. I've learned the hard way to listen to my body. [February 2015 - full body shut-down] I never want to go there again. So, I'm paying close attention, and still the answers are not forthcoming.

"I write to know what I think." - Joan Didion

When my brain doesn't have the answers and my body does, sometimes writing helps. There are a number of things going on in my life. Any one of those things could be (subconsciously) bothering me. But it's hard to think when I'm in pain. At least, to think of anything that is not pain. I focus on a happy thought. Despite the suffering, I'm thankful for my life. Everything that's happened has played a part in forming who I am. The person I am today is strong enough to persevere.

I've eased back on the self-pressure and expectations. I am kinder to myself. What does self-kindness look like? Stepping away from judgment and blame. If I'm not feeling well, then it's okay if I rest. It's okay. I'm okay. Everything's okay. Except right now I'm lost. Like a ship at sea without a direction. Like a broken communication connection. There is a concrete wall standing between me and whatever is wrong. It looms behind the wall like a bad feeling. An omen.

"Be prepared." -- The Lion King

And the only conclusion I can draw? I need to be ready for what's next. Message received. Because something is coming. And I will be ready.




January 19, 2021

Spotlight on My Vampire World for #TirgearrTuesday

*** Originally posted as a guest blog on https://meganmorganauthor.com on May 10, 2017. ***


My Vampire World by Maya Tyler

I have been fascinated by vampires for a long time. At times, cast in the role of the hero and others, the villain. Vampires are an enigma, a demonstration in contrasts.

 

My vampire world is consistently full of contrasts. It is filled with darkness, symbolizing death – cheating death through their undead existence, evading death by keeping to the shadows, evoking death of their human victims. We see the darkness. Then, through their eyes, the world is a brilliant and vibrant place. Everything appears sharper, clearer. Their senses, and instincts, are efficiently honed. They have evolved into superior creatures, intent on fulfilling their basic needs, ruthlessly, with a single-minded goal of survival.

 

My hero Corgan’s pre-vampire life was also focused on survival. His maker Dee rescued him from desolate conditions and bestowed upon him immortality. He saw how strong and vital Dee was, nothing could touch her, not pain, not fear, not death. He wished to gain what she had, but an undead “life” is what she gave him, a life he couldn’t have possibly imagined or desired. He can live undead forever, but he still longs for his human form.

 

There is a place, within his world, where he can escape, like a dream, where his consciousness goes when he’s resting. His bite is the key to this world and my heroine Marisa joins him there, experiencing what he experiences, an enactment of his human fantasy.

 

Vampires live alone or with families, nests. Aside from the seemingly chaotic activities of violence and murder, they also have order. Laws. Rituals. Culture. A history which has developed parallel to human existence for thousands of years. A people cannot survive, advance, without some sort of structure. Vampires can offer their protection to humans by claiming them in a ceremony similar to human marriage. Vampire law dictates adherence to this claim, a vampire cannot harm other’s human. But, as in any society, there are those who defiantly choose to live outside the law. And those who choose to rise above their circumstances.

 

Other supernaturals also exist in this world. Humans with magical abilities like wizards or shifters. Creatures beyond earthly barriers like angels and demons. These different sects are aware of each other, can identify each other, and, for the most part, avoid each other. Some actively seek and destroy supernaturals, like vampire hunters. Most wish to conceal their presence from humans. Some form alliances, like the one between Corgan and his wizard friend Waldor.

 

A compilation of contrasts. Darkness and brilliance. Life without a soul. A hidden fantasy world. Order and chaos. Collaboration and conflict. My vampire world.


A Vampire's Tale
The Magicals Series, Book 1


Ancient and powerful vampire Corgan has been influencing struggling writer Marisa's life path. He wants to tell his story, before ending his existence, and chooses her to author his tale. But it’s complicated. Corgan knows his request will place her in grave danger. She doesn't.


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