Category Archives: Authors – Debbie Mumford
get to know Debbie Mumford
Dani Erickson is a hereditary demon hunter. The seventh child of a seventh child, she was born to battle the nasty monsters she sees infesting her small Colorado town. With the help of her best friend Allie and her sensei Wick, she’s getting into fighting trim — just in time for her first day of high school.
I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Dani. She and I have some interesting commonalities. We’re both the youngest kids of large families, and both the only girls! However, I only have FIVE older brothers, so no extraordinary demon fighting skills for me *lol* Not to mention that I’m lots more like Allie than I am like Dani. I totally fell for the “act like a girl! We’ve got enough boys in this family” admonition, so it’s been fun watching Dani rebel
I’ve really enjoyed imagining Dani’s world in these two stories, but boy is she going to get in lots of trouble in the novel I have planned. Watch out Dani! The demons are out to get you … literally.
It’s here: DRAGONS’ FLIGHT
In this second volume of the Sorcha’s Children series, shifter siblings Brandubh and Morag take flight. Brandubh travels to King Leofric’s court to discover if his destiny lies in the human realm, but his visit is marred by the news that dragons have destroyed a human village. King Leofric charges the dragon-shifter with seeking out and subduing the renegades, but the stakes increase when Brandubh meets a fascinating female dragon … who considers humans vermin to be exterminated.
Meanwhile, Morag shows no interest in life among the humans, preferring to live life on the wing. But can she convince the male dragon of her choice that she is the bond mate he has been waiting for? Only time will tell if these dragons will succeed in mating flights.
This is the book I never thought I’d get to write. I was contracted for it with my former publisher, but Sorcha’s Heart and Dragons’ Choice sold so poorly for that press that we decided not to pursue the last two books *sigh* Who would’ve guessed that the series would take off when I Indie published on Amazon? Here’s hoping Dragons’ Flight sells as well as–or better than!–Dragons’ Choice!
Limited Time Offer: I have a 20% off coupon going at Smashwords – now until April 1st!
Coupon Code: FG45K
It’s here: DEMON DAZE
Dani’s family is unusual. She’s the youngest–and only girl–of seven. Being the lone female, her family would like her to be all girly and sweet like her best friend Allie. But Dani is a tomboy born and bred, and on her fourteenth birthday she discovers why.
Life is about to get decidedly strange!
I’ve been having a terrible time deciding where to start my latest Deb Logan novel. Should I begin with Dani’s discovery that she’s a demon hunter? Or should I start with an action-packed battle sequence … one where she obviously already knows who and what she it?
DEMON DAZE solved the dilemma! This short story tells of Dani’s advent: her discovery that she’s not a too-tall, gawky imitation of her very feminine best friend, but exactly who and what she needs to be
Now, as my father used to say, “Let’s get on with the fighting!”
I’m a firm believer in goal setting for my writing. How can you know whether or not you’ve arrived if you don’t have a destination in mind? Consequently, the final week of every year is devoted to reviewing last year’s goals and setting new ones for the coming year.
I’m always over ambitious, and for some, that would be a downer, but not for me. I mean, why be safe and set goals I won’t have to stretch for? I figure if I don’t aim high, I’ll never know if I can soar. I didn’t meet all of my 2012 goals, but I met enough that I’m very pleased with my progress. 2012 has been a very good year. I expect 2013 to be even better!
This year, I’ve discovered a new guide to my goal planning. Dean Wesley Smith is doing a blog series on getting ready for the new year. He starts with a retrospective of publishing changes in 2012 and then moves into goal planning, so be sure to look at the first three posts that he references. I’m currently taking an online class from Dean and learning a ton about publishing and my own strengths and deficits, so taking his advice is a foregone conclusion for me at the moment.
For 2013 I’m planning to follow Heinlein’s Rules as closely as I can:
- You must WRITE.
- You must FINISH what you write.
- You must NOT REWRITE unless to editorial demand. (That means an editor who’s paying you, not one you hire. Fixing typos / mistakes is acceptable.)
- You must put your work on the MARKET.
- You must LEAVE your work on the market.
I’m also setting a word-count goal: 3,000 words/week for 50 weeks, totaling 150,000 words for the year. Dean suggested 250,000 words for the year, but 150,000 will be enough of a stretch for me! That’s NEW words, by the way. He’s not counting revision and editing work (which I shouldn’t be doing since it violates Rule #3), nor time spent on covers and layout and publishing work.
So, depending on how my year works out, I should have a new novel and quite a few short stories, or perhaps two new novels by the end of 2013!
Onward and Upward!!
I’m cheating a bit this week and giving you a modified version of a post from my personal blog. It’s important to me, and will hopefully be informative for you.
Last week I discovered yet another interesting (frightening? disturbing?) effect of the aging process: PVDs
To quote the literature my doctor sent home with me:
A posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is a rather dramatic event in the normal aging process of the eye. The vitreous is a clear gel like substance that fills most of the back cavity of the eye. The vitreous gel has normal attachments to the retina, the all-important nerve layer in the back of the eye. Normally with age, after trauma, or commonly in highly nearsighted eyes, these attachments often pull loose. As a result, these attachments can tug on the retina, or pull loose from the retina, causing transient flashes of light, usually in the outer periphery of the eye and cause a sudden increase in annoying objects floating in front of the eye. The sudden symptoms of a PVD require immediate examination.
I experienced one of these “dramatic events” last week and it was not pleasant. No trauma was involved, just aging, nearsighted eyes.
Imagine sitting at lunch with your best friend having a pleasant conversation, when suddenly a blood-red blob appears in front of your friend’s face. You glance around the room and as your eye moves, so does the blob, remaining in the same quadrant of your vision.
As the day progresses, the blob changes from red to gray-black, but it remains a barrier between you and what you’re attempting to focus on. Occasionally, you manage to look past it enough to become absorbed in your work only to glance away and be reminded that you have a desperate need to clean your glasses or swat a bug crawling on your desktop.
Unfortunately, no amount of cleaning will rid you of the offending detritus. It’s not your glasses. It’s not a bug. It’s your eye.
You visit the doctor the first thing the next morning. The good news: it’s not serious enough to warrant surgery. Hooray!! The bad news: the resulting floater is right in the center of your field of vision, and there’s nothing to be done about it. It’ll probably go away … in several months.
In the meantime, you adapt. *sigh*
I’m still in the adaptation phase. The floaters are new enough that it takes a good deal of work to look past them. Consequently, I’m stressed and headachy, but this too will pass. I still have my eyesight. I’m not facing surgery. I will learn to ignore the lacy black amoeba floating smack dab in the middle of my field of vision.
But at the moment, THIS SUCKS!
I’m currently on the opposite coast of the good old USA from my home. My daughter is rapidly approaching her due date with her second child, and I’m *helping* by playing with my not-quite-two-year-old grandson while hoping to meet my new granddaughter before I have to go home. Happy times!
Anyway, in honor of the new arrival, I thought I’d share a children’s story with you this week. Deirdre’s Dragon was my very first sale, and the basis for my young adult novel Faery Unexpected. I hope you enjoy meeting Deirdre and Roddy!
by Deb Logan
Deirdre rubbed her eyes, and then stared open-mouthed at the dragon squished onto the window seat. He was shiny, golden, and too big to be believed.
The dragon oozed off the cushion onto the hardwood floor. He yawned and stretched, reminding Deirdre of a really big (make that gigantic!) cat.
She stood perfectly still, heart pounding so hard her fingers and toes felt like they might explode. She wondered if the dragon was hungry, but mostly she wondered what dragons ate.
“Caviar,” the dragon rumbled, licking his lips. “You know, little black fish eggs, but I’ll settle for peanut butter and jelly on rye.”
“You, uhh, you talked! Where did you come from? Wait a minute. I didn’t say that out loud.” Words gushed from Deirdre’s mouth. She was standing in the library of Gran’s Scottish mansion talking to a dragon, and all she could do was ask stupid questions.
“Of course I talk,” said the dragon, “and I hear your thoughts, too.” He lifted his lip in what Deirdre hoped was a dragon smile. “As to where I came from, why, you called me.”
“I did? I didn’t mean to. I mean, I’m sure you’re a very nice dragon and all …” her words trailed off. She took a deep breath and tried again. “How did I call you?”
“You touched that silver medal, and on your twelfth birthday, too.” A wisp of smoke escaped his nostrils.
Deirdre hoped he didn’t belch up a flame. With all these books, she’d be toast in a heartbeat! Oh, yeah, the medal. She glanced at the ornament clutched in her sweaty palm. The bright disk boasted a tiny picture of a dragon in mid-flight.
“I am bound to the females of your bloodline,” the dragon continued, “but you must be twelve before I’m allowed to show myself.” He lowered his head and looked straight into her eyes. “Happy birthday, Deirdre.”
“Thank you.” Mom would be pleased. Even with her mind in a whirl, Deirdre remembered her manners. Mom. Aha! “Does my mother know about you?”
“Of course.” He turned his jewel-bright eyes away from Deirdre and glanced around the room. “She’s heard all your Gran’s stories, just as you have.”
“No!” Deirdre cried, stamping her foot. “That’s not what I mean, and you know it.” She decided to be more specific. “Does my mother think you’re real? Has she ever talked to you?”
The dragon ambled to the hearth and curled up in front of the extinct fire. “No.” He yawned and nestled his triangular head onto his front feet. Claws flashed, and then retracted, rescuing the hearthrug from certain destruction.
“The enchantment skips a generation. You won’t be ready to give me up when your daughter turns twelve.” His eyes sparkled, laughter dancing in their depths. “But when your granddaughter comes of age, well, that will be another bowl of caviar.”
“Well … what if I don’t have a daughter? Or a granddaughter?”
His head jerked up, his eyes round as saucers. “No granddaughter? But you have to have a granddaughter!”
“No, I don’t,” Deirdre said, her heart skipped a beat. Arguing with a dragon might be dangerous, but this was important. “Mom says I can be anything I want.” She planted her fists squarely on her hips and stared up into the dragon’s glittering eyes. “Dad says so, too. I’m going to be an astronaut and discover new planets.”
The dragon stared at her. His huge eyes whirled, and the spiky tip of his golden tail beat a rapid rhythm on the hearthrug. “Maybe you could have a daughter before you go exploring?”
She relaxed a little and considered his suggestion. “Maybe, but I might be too busy training. You might have to wait until I get back from my new planet.”
He looked so disappointed. She wanted to ease the sting. “Maybe I’ll name my first planet after you. Say, what is your name?”
He stood proudly on all four feet, wings furled tightly against his back and made a noise that sounded like chewing up rocks and gargling the slurry.
“Oh.” She cleared her throat — it hurt just listening to that name – and said, “well, maybe I’d better just take you along when I go exploring.” She paused, thought about that terrible noise, and asked, “I don’t suppose you have a nickname?”
He grinned his toothy grin and said, “You may call me Roddy.”
Voices in the hall interrupted them. Deirdre turned from the dragon to stare at the closed door. A moment later, it burst open and Dad stepped into the room.
“Hi, Dad,” she said, stuffing the medal into the back pocket of her jeans. She glanced over her shoulder at Roddy.
The majestic beast was gone. In his place lay Gran’s favorite toy — the dragon she’d told all her stories about.
Late that night, Deirdre snuggled under the covers of the huge bed in Gran’s guest room. The old mansion whispered and creaked around her. Another night she might have been frightened, but not tonight.
Tonight Roddy lay stretched across the length of the bedroom floor. His huge bulk protected her from the unaccustomed night sounds.
“What if Mom comes in?” she whispered.
“She’ll see a toy on the floor,” he replied. “Go to sleep, Deirdre, you’re safe with me.”
She closed her eyes and thought about home. What was she going to do with a dragon in Denver?
“Have the time of your life,” came the nearly silent answer. “We’ll have wonderful adventures. Just wait and see.”
Last week was full of learning experiences. I’m venturing into print with my middle grade and young adult fiction. A terrifying and exciting step in my publishing career. I’m working with CreateSpace, which is Amazon’s POD arm, and I just ordered the proof copy of Thunderbird *happy dancing*
I’m really proud of myself because I’ve done all the work with open source software. I’d love to work with InDesign, but it’s just not in the budget at this point in my career. Instead, I used Scribus, and it seems to have done the job. My initial review of the two required pdf files (interior and cover) came back that the book was printable, but that there were a couple of problems I should look at…
- On the interior layout, I needed an extra blank page, because the text of the story was starting on a left-hand page instead of the right. Now that was downright weird since I’d carefully proofed my pdf to make sure the pages were in the correct layout, but evidently something changes when it goes through CreateSpace’s process. So, I redid the interior file, making sure ALL of my chapters started on the right-hand page. Which meant that in Word and the pdf, they all showed on the LEFT-hand page. Talk about counter-intuitive! But it worked. When I uploaded the revised file, everything lined up perfectly
- My cover was a total disaster! Yep. It met their printing standards, but the font had morphed and looked like some Cyrillic alphabet. Totally unreadable *sigh* Also, it warned that the images weren’t high enough DPI and might pixilate when printed. So…back to the drawing board on the cover. Except, I had to recalculate the size because I’d added pages to the interior layout, and while the numbers hadn’t changed a lot, they had changed. The domino effect was at work. I did the new math (thank heavens for a little ebook I bought… Create Book Covers with Scribus …it has a website that does all those calculations for you ), changed my fonts to Arial (because it’s so standard) and uploaded the new pdf for review.
This morning the book passed review, and this time it looks great on their digital reviewer. Now to see what it looks like when I hold it in my hot little hands!
If the proof looks good, Thunderbird will be available in print in the near future! If not…well, this first book is all about the learning curve
My DH (Darling Husband) and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary later this week. “How many years?” you ask. Well, suffice it to say the handsome man and I have been married more years than most of you have been alive *lol*
Because the upcoming day has me thinking of friends and family, I thought I’d share a short narrative nonfiction tale with you. Yes, I know it’s a surprise, but I can write something besides fantasy. I just don’t do it very often…
And so, without further ado, let me introduce you to one of the best pups I’ve ever known:
by Debbie Mumford
My life has been littered with dogs. Miniature Poodles who thought they were wolves; Bullmastiffs who believe they’re lap dogs. All sizes and personalities of canines have enriched my life. But the story that tugs at my heartstrings involves a Black Lab who was never mine…Angus MacDubh.
Angus came into my life when he was barely old enough to leave his mother. My youngest daughter had opted to live at home that year as she trained for a career in massage therapy. Ultimately, this is her story.
A family friend announced that her purebred Lab would soon produce a litter of AKC pups, and my girl jumped at the chance to buy one of Sage’s offspring. Preparations were made, but before we’d convinced our Dalmatian, Diamond, that the addition would be a wonderful boon to her existence, the little black fur-ball had taken up residence in our home…and our hearts.
I’m not too proud to admit it; I was smitten at first sight. I’d recently enrolled in a Scots- Gaelic class, so when my darling daughter asked for name ideas, I suggested Angus MacDubh: “Angus, son of black.” She liked the rhythm and the pup acquired a name longer than himself…a very short-lived problem, I might add.
My beautiful daughter doted on her puppy-boy, and her father and I agreed that we’d never imagined a more amazing grandpuppy. I even found myself singing nonsense songs to the little rascal, much as I had done when my children were small. The only holdout in our household’s puppy love-fest was the aging Dalmatian. Diamond remained convinced the family had been just fine prior to Angus’ advent, thank you very much.
Angus, for his part, adored Diamond, but delighted in baiting the adult dog. He had his own small kennel, but would lay in wait beside Diamond’s much larger den. The moment she stirred from her blanket-strewn lair, he would charge inside with a joyous yip and seize her castle by right of possession.
His mistress enrolled him in ‘puppy kindergarten’ and diligently trained the intelligent Lab. Not to be outdone by the newcomer, Diamond soon learned to wait patiently beside her young protégé. My daughter or I would prepare their food while they sat immobile. We’d place the bowls of delectable tidbits in the expected positions, and still the dogs waited with rapt attention. Drooling, yes. Quivering, undoubtedly. But neither moved until one of us uttered the magic word: Release!
Diamond had never suffered such indignity, but the proud Dalmatian refused to be bested by an upstart of a pup. And so, our high-energy, often out-of-control Diamond became a model dog-citizen—all because a Black Lab puppy shamed her into it.
My daughter, an accomplished figure-skater, had agreed to supervise a young colleague and her brother while their parents were away on business. Since the family had a fenced backyard, Angus accompanied her on his first overnight excursion.
When the phone rang after dinner, my husband and I were unprepared for a hysterical daughter. She’d been busy chauffeuring kids to numerous activities; they’d just gotten home. Angus was not in the yard. The family’s dog reclined peacefully in the unfenced front yard, but the exuberant, joyful Angus had not been found…and the unfamiliar neighborhood backed to a busy highway!
We chivvied Diamond into the rear of our Jeep and rushed to join the search. Anxious though we were to reach our daughter, we slowed to a crawl as we approached the area, scrutinizing the shadows at the edges of the highway for a small, black, broken body. Thankfully, no such apparition appeared.
A few minutes later we wandered the unfamiliar neighborhood calling the pup’s name and shining flashlight beams into darkened corners of suburban lawns. The occasional homeowner emerged to question us, and a few gangs of preadolescents joined in what seemed to them an amusing scavenger hunt, but the search was no game to us.
My daughter berated herself with a running monologue of recent transgressions: she shouldn’t have brought Angus on this glorified baby-sitting job; she should have inspected every inch of fence line; she should have taken him with her while she ferried the kids from activity to activity; she should have left him locked inside the house…On and on until her father stopped her.
“Life happens, sweetheart. You’re a good pet owner and Angus is lucky to be your dog.” He hugged the shaking girl, smoothed her hair from her forehead, and chucked her under the chin. “We’ll find him. A year from now, this will all be a memory.”
We split up. My daughter and her young charges headed one direction, while my husband and I urged Diamond the other. The neighborhood became familiar as we wound through the streets of manicured lawns again and again. Feeling like an idiot, I sang Angus’ baby songs at the top of my lungs, hoping he’d come bounding out to play.
Diamond paid particular attention to one home. We passed it several times and each time her nose twitched, ears cocked forward, and she pulled at the leash. We checked the front yard by flashlight and walked the perimeter of the fenced backyard shining the light into every corner. No familiar puppy exuberance greeted us, but when I sang his songs, I could swear I heard muffled yips and barks. My husband strode to the front door and knocked. No one answered.
We noted the address and continued scouring the neighborhood. Those muffled cries came from somewhere and their existence eased my daughter’s fears.
Exhausted and out of options, we retreated to the kids’ home. Phone calls to the Humane Society and Angus’ vet garnered no information, but put those agencies on alert that a beloved puppy had gone missing. Unhappy and unfulfilled, we parted company with our daughter, loaded Diamond in the Jeep and drove home to a restless night of worry. Angus had never been alone before…he was only four months old…a baby cold and hungry in the wild! Never mind that it was high summer in Colorado and the Boulder suburb hardly qualified as wilderness–my imagination ran amok. My grandpuppy was lost!
The phone rang early the next morning, sending a shot of adrenaline zinging through my system. The vet called to say Angus had been found. The ordeal over, I sank into a chair and waited for my heart rate to return to its normal easy plod.
We called our daughter and arranged to meet her and her charges at the vet’s office to retrieve her puppy-boy. Once he’d been reunited with his mistress, he was coming home with us. Diamond would have charge of the recalcitrant Lab until the kids’ parents returned from their trip.
At the vet’s office, we met the family whose house Diamond had identified. The children had found Angus wandering the neighborhood and had fallen immediately in love. Who could blame them? A more adorable fur-ball has yet to grace the planet! Their parents had fed him and prepared a safe haven for him in their laundry room while the family went out for the evening. First thing the next morning, the parents had called the Humane Society with a description of the little guy.
Thank heavens the organization had been alerted to our loss. Our vet was able to verify Angus’ identity and our daughter was reunited with her precious puppy-boy.
Angus MacDubh is no longer an adorable fur-ball. He has grown into a majestic male with an indescribably luxurious coat, but he will always be the best grandpuppy in existence for this doting human. Last summer when our daughter married a career military officer in a garden ceremony, Angus accompanied her down the ‘aisle.’ My husband escorted our daughter to her soon-to-be husband, kissed her cheek, and in a symbolic gesture, handed her young warrior Angus’ leash. They were a package deal.
Since today is Mother’s Day I thought I’d give you a gift of sorts
Instead of a normal post (whatever that is *lol*), let me introduce you to Janine and Justin Prentiss, the Native American twins who must protect and defend a thunderbird hatchling from the demigod of chaos while lost in Montana’s Absaroka wilderness. Their story makes up my middle grade fantasy novel, Thunderbird.
The Prentiss Twins
Life is so not fair. I mean, Dad tells me all the time how lucky I am. How he knows lots of kids who dream about dinosaurs and would give anything to go to a real live paleontology field camp. Yeah. Whatever. Those kids don’t have a paleontologist for a father and a full-blood Crow shaman for a grandfather.
I’ve spent my entire life around fossils — the rock kind and the legendary kind — and I’m tired of messing around with dead dinosaurs and nonexistent thunderbirds. I don’t care if the Museum of the Rockies is world famous for its dinosaur finds, or if our clan of the Crow tribe thinks it holds the special blessing of the thunderbird. I want to be a normal girl and play with live things for a change. I want to go to cheerleading camp.
Unfortunately, Dad doesn’t think cheerleading qualifies as a legitimate use of my time or his resources. A stance my shaman grandfather supports completely.
“Please, Dad?” I pleaded, resisting the urge to bat my eyelashes. I settled for twirling a lock of straight black hair around my index finger. “Think how good this camp will look on my application when it’s time for college. I mean, cheerleading is an actual sport these days.”
“Invalid argument,” he countered without looking up from his packing. Dad is so organized he could give lessons to a neat freak. “Paleontology Field Camp is a far more impressive credential.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve already been to a million field camps,” I said, sifting through my brain for a new angle. “I need to…diversify. My app will look better if I do more things, show them I’m not just a fossil geek. Besides, cheerleading is a team building experience.”
Dad stopped rolling socks into tight little knots, straightened, and shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. He scowled at me. “I am not paying an arm and a leg for you to run off with a bunch of hyperactive preteens for the summer. I have no idea how well supervised that camp is, but the whole idea gives me a headache.”
“Come on, Dad,” I tried not to wheedle, but my voice cracked under the strain. “Sandra’s letting Haeley go.”
“And that’s another thing; I don’t like you calling your friends’ mothers by their given names. It’s disrespectful.”
“Mrs. Jessup asked me to call her Sandra,” I countered. Haeley’s mom was the coolest. She stayed home, cooked delicious meals, braided Haeley’s hair, made sure everyone in the family had everything they needed, and she liked me. Let me call her Sandra. If Mom had lived, she would’ve been just like Sandra. They would’ve been best friends, just like me and Haels.
“And don’t change the subject. You know Mrs. Jessup wouldn’t let Haeley go if it wasn’t safe. Really, Dad, cheerleading will show what a well-rounded person I am.”
Good one, I thought, folding my arms across my chest and swallowing the smile that threatened to creep across my face. Too soon to celebrate.
“No daughter of mine is going to prance around in a skimpy outfit just so she can show off how well-rounded she is!”
“Dad!” I squealed, shocked out of my shoes. I mean, hello! I’m twelve years old, flat as a board, and just as straight up and down. My cheeks flamed and tears blurred my vision. I turned and ran for the door. “That is so unfair,” I yelled over my shoulder. “I wish Mom were alive. She’d understand about being a girl.”
* * *
Who in their right mind would want to play around with pom-poms all summer when they could be tromping through the mountains with almost no adult supervision?
Justin shook his head in amazement at his twin sister’s idiocy and then flattened himself against the wall outside Dad’s door as she raced past, tears streaming down her face. Girls — especially sisters, just didn’t recognize a good thing when they had it in their hands.
Personally, Justin lived for summers at the paleontology field camps. Lots of dirt and rocks, the excited buzz of the community when an important fossil was discovered, no chores, food he didn’t have to help cook. Fresh air, sunshine, and adults too busy with their own pursuits to care what he was doing as long as he showed up for meals and bedtime. Yep, field camp was a twelve-year-old boy’s dream vacation. He just hoped Janine hadn’t ruined everything by arguing with Dad.
He rolled his eyes at her stupidity and peeked around the door jamb at Dad. The paleontology professor stared out the second story window, hands on hips, jaw muscles twitching. Before Justin could decide whether or not to go in, Dad whirled to the bed, grabbed a pile of tee-shirts and slammed them into his duffle bag.
Justin swallowed hard and crept away from the door. He’d ask Dad about that air rifle later. Getting one was a long shot, but with Dad pissed “no” would be automatic. Besides, if he played his cards right — and Dad was in a good mood, he might convert a refusal into a new super soaker. He grinned. Yeah. A super soaker would be cool.
He bolted down the stairs in search of Janny. He’d need his sister calm if he was to have any chance at finding Dad in a good mood before they left for the mountains. How to pacify Janny? He sure couldn’t get her a trip to cheerleading camp — Gag! Who’d want to? — but there had to be something he could do to cheer her up.
Skidding to a halt in the middle of the kitchen, a brain wave hit him. Oh yeah. Was he brilliant, or what?
“Hey, Janny,” he called, scouting the kitchen and breakfast nook. Not there. He moved on to the great room. “Janine! You in here?”
When only silence answered him, Justin trotted over to the sliding patio door and stared into the backyard. Empty cedar deck, no movement in the garden plot, but he couldn’t tell about the treehouse, not with the oak in full leaf. Scanning the great room one more time, he opened the slider and jogged to the foot of the oak.
“You up there, sis?”
Floorboards creaked and Janine’s tear-stained face appeared above the window sill. “What do you want?”
Justin shaded his eyes and peered up at her. “I heard you and Dad yelling. Want some company?”
“Okay. You stay there and sulk and I’ll keep my idea to myself.”
She cocked her head, eyebrow raised. “What idea?”
“I’m not talking to a tree. You want me to come up, or are you coming down?”
The rope ladder unrolled to hang in front of him. Justin grinned and grabbed hold. “Thanks, Janny.” He scrambled up the rungs and pulled himself onto the smooth sanded floor.
Janine sat cross-legged against the far side of the treehouse. She wiped her face on the hem of her tee-shirt and then folded her hands in her lap.
“Sorry about cheerleading camp,” he said, working hard to keep a straight face. Girls!
“You heard, huh?”
He allowed a tiny smile to slip past and tug at his lips. “Kind of hard not to. You and Dad weren’t exactly being quiet.”
She shrugged. “So what’s your idea?”
“Well, I know I can’t change Dad’s mind, but what if you could spend the next couple of days with Haeley? I mean, I’m sure she’d invite you over, and if I volunteer to do all your chores and make sure you’re packed, Dad wouldn’t have any reason to say no, now would he?”
Janine’s eyes lit and she sat up a little straighter, but then she narrowed her eyes and studied him. “Why would you agree to do all my chores? What’s in it for you?”
“Busted,” he said with a sigh, but smiled inwardly. They weren’t twins for nothing. Janine knew him, just not quite as well as she thought she did. “Look. I want to ask Dad for an air rifle and there’s no way I’ve got even a glimmer of a chance if he’s not in a good mood. What do you think the odds are of him feeling chipper if you’re moping and whining at him all day?”
“I don’t mope and I don’t whine.”
“All right. Fine. I’ve still got a better chance if you’re out of my way.”
“Dad’s not going to buy you an air rifle,” she said, the whisper of a smile in her voice.
“Yeah, well, that’s my problem, not yours. Do we have a deal?”
She considered a moment and then stuck out her hand. “Deal.”
“Great. You go call Haeley and get yourself invited. I’ll deal with Dad.”
To continue reading, buy Thunderbird now.
I’m very excited to have the opportunity to introduce you to my good friend and fellow indie published writer, Thomma Lyn Grindstaff. TL and I have never met in the real world, but we encourage each other on a weekly basis in a private goals group. She’s a great person and writes wonderful tales of love and redemption, but enough from me…let’s hear from Thomma Lyn!
Thomma Lyn Grindstaff
Destiny rarely gives a woman a second chance at love, especially not with a man who died twenty years ago.
As a young woman, Laurel misinterpreted a psychic vision, causing the death of her first and only love. She has lived with guilt ever since. Two decades later, struggling to free herself from a toxic marriage, she’s pulled to an alternate reality where her beloved still lives. There, she’s the dead one, and he and their children are grieving for her. When she tries to contact them, they think she’s a ghost or a product of their wishful thinking.
She desperately wants to remain in her family’s reality and connect with them. By enjoying a long, happy life with the man she loves, she can rectify her mistake and free herself from her guilt. But she’s running out of time. Every shift between realities damages her body further. And her soon-to-be-ex will stop at nothing to shackle her to a life she despises.
Welcome, TL! I’m thrilled you could join us. Now, something I’ve been curious about for a while, how did you get started writing fiction? Was it a childhood dream?
I started writing fiction when I was a little girl, and yes, it was a childhood dream. I started reading at a very young age. The wonderful stories I read delighted me and swept me away. I longed to write stories that would sweep other people away.
Do you classify your writing as fantasy, paranormal, or magical realism? Why did you choose that genre?
It depends on the book. Heart’s Chalice is dark, edgy women’s fiction / magical realism. Mirror Blue, my debut novel, is classified by its publisher, Black Lyon, as a literary love story. Patchwork Stained Glass, another of my novels, is mainstream fiction with romantic elements. As a writer, I tend toward genre-bending. My #1 consideration is telling a good story; genre/classification comes second.
Are you comfortable being categorized as a women’s fiction / magical realism writer?
Sure. I’m comfortable being called a writer of women’s fiction, magical realism, romance, literary love stories, mainstream fiction, literary fiction… however readers experience my fiction is A-OK by me. One recent reader of Heart’s Chalice classified it as a hybrid of fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery! Um, did I mention I tend to be a genre-bender?
Where do you get your inspiration?
All sorts of places. In a word: life. One of my biggies is what I think of as the Magic Mountain. I live near a network of gorgeous mountain trails, and I hike every opportunity I get. The mountain, with its forest and waterfalls, directly inspired Heart’s Chalice: characters, story, and setting. Another tremendous source of inspiration is music, another of my lifelong passions. I’m a classically-trained pianist and I compose songs and instrumental pieces.
What’s your greatest obstacle to writing? What gets your through it?
I’d have to say my greatest obstacle to writing is getting in my own way. When I let the story flow, unimpeded by anxiety, that’s when I’m at my best. When I feel blocked, I spend time at my piano, go for a hike on the mountain, or enjoy a peaceful meditation. One of my mantras is “Let go and let be.” In the context of my writing, “Let go and let be” means to strive for excellence, but to let go of outcomes and write joyfully, in the moment.
Who are your favorite authors?
Here are just a few: Haruki Murakami, Isak Dinesen, Madeleine L’Engle, William Styron, Amy Tan, Khaled Hosseini, Carl Sagan, Dorothy Parker, Charles Frazier, Alan Watts, Pema Chodron, Sherman Alexie, Cormac McCarthy, Jodi Picoult, the Bronte sisters, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers, A.S. Byatt, Dōgen… oh, I could go on and on.
What can readers look forward to next?
My next novel will be a time-travel love story called Maestro. Like Heart’s Chalice, it’s a wild ride. And my hero, a hunky concert pianist (for whom the novel is titled), is quite a hottie, even if I do say so myself.
I, for one, can’t wait to read Maestro! Bring on the hunkie concert pianists *lol*