The Story Behind the Story

I’m sometimes asked where I came up with the idea for The Moreva of Astoreth.

It has its roots in a game a friend and I played in college. We collaborated on a story, taking turns. I don’t recall the details—it was more years ago than I care to remember—but it went something like this. A woman, the daughter of a king, is exiled from her homeland in the desert because she refused to marry a man the king had picked out for her. She travels north. After many adventures, she arrives at a village willing to take her in. The village chieftain is enamored of her, but does not want his people to know since she’s a stranger. The woman genuinely dislikes him. After being at each other’s throats for a period of time, the woman falls in love with him. The chieftain confesses his feelings. They marry.

Meanwhile, the woman’s father, feeling remorseful for exiling his daughter, gathers his army to go look for her. They wander from village to village, searching, but they do not find her. Concluding that his daughter must have headed north, turns in that direction. Still, they do not find her. Frustrated now, the king begins laying waste to every village he and his army come across. Finally, they arrive at the village where the woman is living. The king demands his daughter return with him. She refuses, telling him she is now married and happy. Her father threatens war. The chieftain accepts… Continue reading


It’s been quite a two months. I’m on a The Moreva of Astoreth blog tour at the moment, writing out interviews, writing blog posts, and things like that. I’m still writing interviews, though not for the tour. Can’t say it’s resulted in sales, but my name is getting out there. Maybe that’s a good thing. At least it’s been better received than The Underground. I got trashed on Goodreads. In contrast, The Moreva of Astoreth is getting five stars all the way, except for one who gave me three.

Finished my run on NetGalley. Not too bad, except I got lots of thumbs down for my cover. Well, to tell the truth, I’m not too fond of it, either. The company that made it was absolutely incompetent. They totally disregarded what I asked them to do. Then, little by little, my vision sort of emerged. So eventually I’ll have another cover made, and submit to NetGalley again–see what happens. Using a different artist, of course.

Didn’t make it to Arisia this year–damned flu. And it’s the one event I look forward to all year. If I’m going to sell any books, it’s usually there. But from the Facebook posts I’m seeing, a good time is being had by all. And today it’s over.

So between all of that, I’m looking for job, since I retired from my last one. This is the first time in twenty-five or so years I’ve been in the market, and it has changed. A… Continue reading

Step One

Spent almost the last 24 hours looking up reviewers for The Moreva of Astoreth. There’s a website called “Indie View” and it lists prolific reviewers who either specifically or are willing to review indie books. There are a lot of them–about three hundred, listed from A to Z. So it takes a while to sift through them.

The good news, though, is that many of them review science fiction and romance. Since mine is a bit of both, I sent off a query. I’ve already had two responses, which kind of surprised me, considering how many requests they must get. Anyway, I’ve no idea how many queries I sent off and to whom. It didn’t occur to me to write it down as I was going along until after I’d finished. Not good business sense on my part, but I’m still learning.

Now, it’s on to Step Two.

Later, gators!


A New Addition to the Family

Yes, yes–I haven’t been around much lately. But that’s because I’ve been so busy birthing The Moreva of Astoreth. And I’m happy to say I’m now the proud Mama of a brand new book! TMOA went live on Smashwords on November 1, 2015. Since then, I’ve been working hard to get it into other distribution channels. It’s available on Amazon in both print and e-book form. It’s available on Kobo, and will soon be available on Nook as well. I’m keeping my eye out for other distribution channels (I’m working on Ingram right now) and when I find ’em, I’ll put ‘er up.

As with any kid, once you have one, you have to raise it. That means looking for opportunities to market your work. And there are lots of ways you can do that, many without leaving the comfort of your desktop. But it’s not necessarily easy. Book reviewers are flooded with authors clamoring for them to review their work. Some require payment (which is not always feasible if you’re on a budget). Personally, I don’t  think there’s anything wrong with paying for a review, as long as it’s an honest one. And face it, the big publishing houses have long-standing relationships with outfits like Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, so the chance of an indie getting into their main review magazines is well-nigh impossible. Kirkus will publish a review for a price–and like I said, nothing wrong with that–but the price is steep. That’s really my only beef with… Continue reading

Kickstarter Project!

Hi, everyone–

To help me with the costs of marketing The Moreva of Astoreth, I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign. My goal is to raise $6,000 in the next sixty days. If you donate, you can get lots of nifty things, including a signed copy of my book! And if you donate $500, dinner’s on me! Just click on the link to the right to get to my project page! Kickstarter Project


At long last, here’s the cover for The Moreva of Astoreth. One of the things I learned about this process is how difficult it is to communicate your vision to the artist. I painted a word picture for them, but there was so much I left out. Now it’s finished, and here it is!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00027]

Cover Art

Work on THE MOREVA OF ASTORETH progresses. I’m now in the final editing stages of the manuscript. And I’ve contracted with a cover artist. The last time I contracted for cover art, I went through Createspace. I was–and am–unhappy with the cover of THE UNDERGROUND. Maybe it’s because there’s only so much you can do with stock photo images, but it is barely what I wanted to see. The elements are there, but they don’t mesh in the way I envisioned. So why did I give it my okay? Because I got tired of going around and around with them on what I wanted. Sometimes I thought they were doing this just to make me tear my hair out.

But back to TMOA. We’re not there yet, but it seems we’re on our way. Here’s something I’ve learned through this process: communication is key, and it can be hard. I painted a word portrait of what I wanted. Much of it was there, some of it not. But some of it wasn’t there because though I saw it in my mind’s eye, I didn’t clearly put it down with pixels. So I’ve taken to sending pictures (or pics, as the Brits abbreviate) to illustrate what I mean. And, of course, she has some great ideas, too. It never occurred to me to put clouds in. I like what she did. All we need to do is take out the moon and substitute a sun, and we’re golden. At least for… Continue reading

In Progress…

The MOREVA OF ASTEROTH is now in the editing stage. According to my editor, it should take about a month or so, not counting our back-and-forth on comments and line changes. So while I’m waiting, I’m looking for a cover artist, and now have a short list.

Balticon 49, as always, was mega fun. It was wonderful seeing old friends. I sold a copy of THE UNDERGROUND, which puts a few dollars more into Blackrose Press’s coffers. Believe me, with the money I’m spending on MOREVA, every little bit helps. Next year is Balticon’s 50th, and George R.R. Martin is the Guest of Honor. Definitely going to that one. But mark my words–with Martin as the GOH, it’ll be a zoo. Also, BSFS had a contract with a new hotel, one that’s a little closer to where I live. I imagine it’ll sell out quickly, so I’ll have to be on my toes when the announcement goes out that reservations are being accepted. I almost missed out on 49, and I made my reservations in April.

The other thing to do while I’m waiting for edits is to go back writing to JAHANNAN’S CHILDREN. I really need to think up a new title, since the book’s focus has changed significantly. I see a brainstorm with betas in my future. Anyway, I was amazed at how far I’d gotten into the story when MOREVA came knocking at my head.

That’s where I am at the moment. Talk to you again, soon!

Guest Author–Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan (1)Help me give a warm welcome to Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, my guest for today. Her new book, “Seasons’ Beginnings,” is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Today, Sandra’s got a quiz for us to take, “What Type of Avatar Are You?” Let’s find out!

In the world of the fantasy Season Avatars series, gods and goddesses gift chosen mortals with Their power. These gifted people are called Avatars. The country of Challen has Four Gods and Goddesses, each with their own type of Avatar. If you lived in Challen, what type of Avatar might you be? Please take this short quiz to find out.

1. What’s your favorite season?
a. Spring
b. Summer
c. Fall
d. Winter
e. I don’t have a favorite.

2. What’s your favorite color?
a. Yellow
b. Green
c. Red
d. Blue
e. White

3. What type of magic would you prefer to have?
a. Healing
b. Plant magic (making them grow)
c. Animal magic (communication/healing)
d. Weather control
e. The ability to make magical artifacts

4. What role would you prefer to have in a group?
a. Leader
b. Devil’s advocate
c. Mediator
d. Conscience
e. Teacher

If you answered mostly “A,” you would be a Spring Avatar and serve the Goddess of Spring. She would grant you healing magic and the ability to create a telepathic/magical link with Avatars from the other seasons. The Goddess of Spring is the leader of the Four Gods and Goddesses, so you would also be… Continue reading

Here In Spirit…

Have had some physical issues that have kept me away from the computer, but I’m pretty much back now. Well, for now. Anyway, one thing I’ll say about enforced idleness, it gives you lots of time to think up new stories. I’m just brimming with ideas.

Okay, need to go. Talk at ya later!