Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cruise Photos at Google Photos

Uploaded photos from my phone from our recent cruise through the Adriatic and Aegean Seas. Figured I'd go sort them out later. Came back to find Google had created an album from a good chunk of the pictures. A lot are redundant and not such great shots, but I can edit this album if I wish.

I think this is a nice feature to offer for lazy cell phone camera photogs. Heck, we don't know what they're doing, so I'm glad somebody else takes up the slack.


Here are a few shots from Santorini. They have an interesting cable car system to take folks to the top of the cliffs OR you can go by muleback.





Friday, August 25, 2017

Our Hotel in the Mediterranean

The SS Westerdam of Holland America Lines. 8/25-9/9. A vicious cat and about 10 neighbors will be watching our house, so don't bother to rob us. We spend all our money on travel anyway.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

KWL Advice

No, that's not a new, hip way of indicating goodness, but the initials of the Kobo Writing Life blog. Since a lot of writers self-pub on Kindle, they may not be aware that Kobo also has a self-publishing platform. Introducing their blog, here's a bit of one of their latest tip posts and the link to the site.


The 6 Most Common Writing Mistakes That Are Missed When Editing
(Shared by implicit permission from the KWL blog site)
By Freddie Tubbs
Grammar and punctuation can be tricky subjects to master, even for the most experienced writers and editors. But they can make a huge difference in the impact your writing has and the authority you demand. If you’re highly knowledgeable about a topic, but the grammar is not spot-on, your credibility on the subject can suffer overall. Ensure you aren’t making these common writing mistakes by keeping a close eye out for them while editing.

Incorrect prepositions

Prepositions are those words used to describe the relationship between two words in a sentence, and they often confuse writers and editors. To the untrained eye, these errors may go unnoticed. But for someone with knowledge of their use, they will be picked up on immediately. If you’re unsure about which preposition to use, State of Writing can be an excellent resource to tap for some help.
Incorrect: Mary was unable to download her photos, because her phone wouldn’t connect with her computer.
Correct: Mary was unable to download her photos, because her phone wouldn’t connect to her computer.
Freddie Tubbs is an eLearning project manager from Fort Myers, Florida. He works as a language researcher at UK Top Writers and is a contributing author at The Atlantic.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Writing Tips: Starting Off with a Bang

A few posts back, I talked about prologues. One thing I didn't mention about prologues and should have is that they're often big piles of telling the reader background stuff. Snooze city.

Even if you have a prologue, you will need to make your opening page exciting enough to make the reader turn the page or punch the Page Forward button on their e-reader. In the case of presentation on e-readers, you don't even have a traditional length first page. A half page, maybe. With my larger font use, you've barely got a middle-sized paragraph to grab me.

As the world moves faster, so must your magnum opus. Less on the magnum and more on the opus.

Here's my favorite first sentence of all time. Three little words:

"Call me Ishmael."

Melville grabbed the reader in three short words, one of them a name. Maybe not as pop musical as "Call Me Maybe," but I'm not quite sure who Maybe is. Of course, I don't know Ishmael yet either, but his name alone gives me a lot of information. To the original audience in 1851, the name was immediately recognizable. With few books around, and stern parents, kids had read the Bible from cover to cover (something evangelicals don't do or they might realize how stupid they are). If for nothing else than the Song of Solomon (how about those two breasts like two young roes?). Yup, the Bible was the book hidden under the bed like a stack of Playboys with certain pages worn and smudged with ... well, very well worn.

So, who was the Bibical Ishmael and why did Melville decide to use the name for his main character? I'll make this brief, since we're talking about opening pages, not literary or Biblical history.

Ishmael was a bastard born to Abraham and his wife's maid servant Hagar. An angel informed Hagar that Ishmael would be a wild man, and he'd hate everybody and they'd hate him right back. Abraham sent Hagar and her son away when Sarah, his wife (at 90 years old!), got pregnant. You can read all the soap opera details in Genesis around about chapter 16-20. It's also got all that smutty stuff about Sodom and Gomorrah too.

Ishmael, then, was an outcast from the favored tribe of Abraham which is the lineage of all the holy folks in all three major religions based on a unitary god.

The readers in the 1850s immediately recognized Melville's main character as an outcast and a wanderer. Indeed, Ishmael continues, "Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world."

No explosions, car crashes, sword battles, or any other action. Just a disaffected young man at odds with his life who decides to try working on a ship. However, I'm hooked, lined, and sinkered. I was when I was twelve, and I am now re-reading that opening and want to read it again. Yay, for Amazon's free Kindle books!

Okay, I've completely lost my thread now because I want to go snuggle on the couch and see what happens to Ishmael next.

I would like you to write a comment with the best opening sentence you can recall. It can even be one of your own books. That's a dare. Make me want to read your book with one smashing opening sentence.

* * *

Okay. Should sell books with each post, so here's the link to my author page on Amazon and my book list page on Smashwords. Plenty from which to choose.





Monday, August 14, 2017

Prologues: Pro or Con

I've seen plenty of discussions on prologues. Whether they're a good idea or not. Arguments may be made in either direction, but I'll come down firmly on the side of ... maybe.

For what it's worth, I think prologues can be useful, but I have some definite rules:
  • A prologue shouldn't run more than a couple of pages.
  • If the prologue concerns events immediately before or simultaneous to the first chapter, then it's the first chapter. Realize that a prologue reeks of literary pretentiousness, especially in a genre novel. 
  • Prologues are good for background set way before the events of the book and, if possible, with completely different characters.
  • Background information in the prologue should be difficult to deliver by a character without it sounding like a lecture.
You can see I followed my own rules in this example excerpt, and this prologue works (if I do say so myself). It's set 400 years in the past. It has no cross-over characters. It quickly explains why the witches are living on a remote arctic island. In chapter one, I can move ahead with the specific problems facing my main character, and nobody is wondering why the heck she's living on an ice-bound island. 

Go ahead. Tell me why I'm not right. Or, give me an example of how a prologue can work when it breaks my (arbitrary) rules. Don't argue against my rules. They're mine, and I'm keeping them. What are your rules? If you don't have any rules, then you'd better do a bit of soul-searching. That's the premise of jazz. Know the rules, then you can break them.

Now to the prologue of Bad Spelling, Book 1 of the Witches of Galdorheim series.

Prologue from Bad Spelling, Witches of Galdorheim Book 1

November, 1490—Somewhere in Germany

“They took Helena,” Edyth whispered, grabbing John’s arm the moment he walked through the doorway.

Wide-eyed, John looked at Edyth. “But she has never–”

She shushed him. “I know, I know. They’ve cast a wide net. It shan’t be long before they suspect us.”
John gazed around the one-room, thatched hut they called home. “I’m afraid ‘tis nothing else we can do. We must flee.”

Tears welled in Edyth’s eyes. “What they are doing to us, ‘tis hateful. Why cannot they just leave us be?”

He took Edyth’s shoulders, pulling her to his chest. “‘Tis not just us. The inquisitors condemn many not of the craft. They find black magic where it does not exist.”

His eyes darkened. “‘Tis the fault of that wretched Heinrich Institoris and his cursed Malleus Maleficarum. Even the Church has banned it, yet the so-called citizen courts use it to condemn any who disagree with them.”

Edyth shook her head, her face grim. “You speak the truth. ‘Tis shameful they accuse whoever dissents, be they witch or not!”

John nodded. “We shall have one last coven gathering. All true witches must leave this place soonest.”

“But where will we go, John?”

“North. So far north that no mundanes could live there. If we move away from their grasp, we can make our own way in the world.”

John dropped his hands from Edyth’s shoulders. “Come. We’ve messages to send. I do not think it wise to wait any longer.”

The witch and the warlock gathered foolscap and invisible ink. As they penned each word, it faded and disappeared from the paper. They wrote in the Old Runic language as an additional safeguard from prying eyes. Only a true witch could read it.

That very night, the ashes of the messages flew up the chimney, carried by incantation to the far corners of Europe, to all known witches and warlocks. Within the month, the trek northward began. The Wiccans reached the ends of the earth then went further. Finding a tiny island, completely removed from any other piece of land, they stopped and laid their claim. They named their island Galdorheim: Witches’ Home.

* * *

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home.  

Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo.  A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.

The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.


Friday, August 11, 2017

The Village Magician - Faizah's Destiny

The Village Magician

The four teen adventurers in "Tales of Abu Nuwas 2 - Faizah’s Destiny are all students of the village magician, who also serves as teacher for the children who have some time to expend on schooling. Master Wafai is an all-round teacher, covering the academic topics such as mathematics and writing. As a magician with minor skills, he also loves to impart his knowledge of magical beasts that roam the earth.
* * * 99 cents on Amazon and Smashwords ***
Master Wafai wants more than anything to meet the elusive, all-knowing Simurgh. He feels it’s very important for his students to learn about magic, even though there is very little to be found around their tiny village. Of the Simurgh, he says:

“The Simurgh is a tutelary creature. It is so old, according to legend, it has seen the world destroyed three times over. Many believe it has learned so much that it possesses the knowledge of all the ages―a great teacher and a guardian. The Simurgh simply are. In the past for all of eternity and in the future for all of eternity.”

One day, Master Wafai isn’t at his little school. His four pupils are puzzled and concerned. Why is their teacher gone without leaving word? A possible answer is found on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. The book was left open to the text describing the Simurgh.


Faizah, a farmer’s daughter and Wafai’s favorite pupil, knows how much the Master loves the Simurgh, she immediately believes the open page is a sign that she and the boys who are also students must seach for the home of the Simurgh.

The boys scoff at the silly idea, but agree to searching the nearby mountains for signs of Wafai’s whereabouts. They only decide to go on the search when they find the adults in the village are content to send word to the Sultan and have troops sent to search for the missing teacher.

Excerpt:

Master Wafai sat at the small table that served him for both dining and desk. One of his prized books, the Magicalis Bestialis lay on the table before him, open to the section on the Simurgh. If only they were real. Wafai sighed. His advancing years never dimmed the hope that someday he would know for certain such magical beasts truly existed.

The stories he had heard of the flying, fire-breathing horse stabled in the Sultan’s palace, helped to keep that hope alive. Still, he longed to meet such a creature, to see it with his own eyes.

He sighed again and stood. He moved into the bare kitchen and carried a bowl of fruit back to the table. In this tiny village, there was not much chance of seeing anything magical. Wafai had long ago accepted the fact he would never be a great or powerful mage. A competent magician in an average sort of way, he could cure most common ailments, cast a spell to clear the air after a sandstorm, find lost livestock, and sometimes water. He could even generate a few small curses, though he seldom chose to do so.

Peeling an orange, he stared, unseeing, at his whitewashed walls, smudged with ochre chalk. His students provided the greatest joy in his life. A mediocre magician though he might be, Wafai was a born teacher. His pupils made jokes about him ‘putting on his teaching voice,’ but when he did, they listened. Although Wafai had always longed to meet a magical creature or two, what he really wanted was for one or more of his students to have the opportunities he had missed.

He thought about his three students and wondered about the new boy. Would any of them become adept? Would any of them ever meet a flying horse, a demon, or a Djinn? Most of the village children came to his school only until they were eight or nine, and then family duties called them away.

Harib, the son of a rich merchant, was the only one free to do as he pleased. He attended school to be with his friends. Left mostly to his own devices when his mother died, Harib had come to the school out of curiosity and boredom. He met Faizah and Bahaar there, and the three of them soon formed a close friendship. School was easy for Faizah and Harib, however Bahaar struggled a bit. They had all mastered the basics of reading and arithmetic and were now engrossed in learning what they could of the magical arts.

Wafai looked down at the Magicalis Bestialis and picked up an orange pip he had dropped. He closed the book and put it aside.

Bahaar, too, lived mostly on his own. Although an indifferent student, he preferred staying in Wafai’s classroom with his friends to begging in the streets. Still, he had his strengths―the fastest runner in the village, he could easily outdistance the bullies, but his bravado made him face them instead.

Faizah neared the age when Wafai would reluctantly release her to help take care of her father’s household, although he knew the girl really wanted to continue her education. He thought it most unfair that just because she was a girl, her parents expected her to stay home and help raise her younger siblings. Soon, it would be time for her to marry and have children of her own.

With her almond eyes and long dark hair, she was pretty enough to attract a prince, but with her parents’ low standing, the best she could do would be to marry a merchant. Particularly sad, Wafai thought, because of his three students, Faizah was the only one with a real talent for magic.

This talent provided the reason she was still in school. The herbs and simple cures she had already learned from Wafai earned a few extra coins for her family, so her parents considered Wafai’s classroom a better use of her time than doing laundry...for now. All too soon, they would take her out of his school and marry her off to some merchant or farmer.

Such a waste.

* * *

The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

The village magician has gone missing. His four pupils think he has left a clue to his whereabouts in the Magicalis Bestialis--the book of magical creatures. They must seek the help of the elusive Simurgh, the mythical birds who know all the secrets of the universe.

However, this is not an easy camping trip into the mountains. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are not aware they’re being set up by otherworldly forces for a much larger task.

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.



Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Where Do You Get My Audiobooks?


Note: If you buy the ebook on Amazon, you can get the audio book for $1.99. With Whispersync, you can switch back and forth between reading and listening. Or, you can listen while you read.

See all my audio books on audible.com

Tales of a Texas Boy $6.95
Amazon  $1.99
Audible  
iTunes    

Missing, Assumed Dead $14.95
Amazon  $1.99

Bad Spelling - Book 1 of Witches of Galdorheim $14.95

Midnight Oil - Book 2 of Witches of Galdorheim $19.95
Amazon  $1.99

Scotch Broom - Book 3 of Witches of Galdorheim $19.95
Amazon  $1.99
Spellslinger on audio $6.08

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Re Re Reminder: Book Sale Throughout July

Lucky July half-price sale at Smashwords. All ebook formats available.

Only a couple days left for the good deals on Smashwords. Find my books on my author page: Marva Dasef's Smashword Books. Here are most of those half price. A few other books were already free or only 99 cents anyway. Authors will be setting their discounts throughout the month, so new books are available every day. Use code SSW50 to receive 50% off.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Slàinte!

Today's excerpt is from Scotch Broom, the third book of the series. Hey, we've got fairies here for the first time in the series. But, oh my, what a fairy is Cait Sidhe!

Chapter 21 - Slàinte!

Cait Sidhe stood up on her hind legs and marched left and right with her nose held high. It surprised Kat that Cait seemed quite comfortable walking on two legs.

“What—?” Kat gasped as Cait Sidhe grew taller, her body wavering and twisting as she morphed from black cat into what appeared to be a human girl the size of a ten-year old. The child-like Sidhe was as black as her cat form with a spot of white running from her neck to her collarbones. Her translucent wings formed a shimmering rainbow growing out of her shoulder blades. Never at rest, the wings flashed pale flickers of rainbow colors around the fairy’s back.

“Oh! Self-transformation. I should have guessed. Sidhe does mean fairy, and fairies are master transformers.”

“Catch on fast, don’t you, witchy.”

“I see your, um, personality didn’t change.” Kat moved to slide off Diamond’s back, but he told her to wait until they got to a dry place. She settled back as well as she could behind Diamond’s withers. “Are there any dry spots in this swamp?”

Cait answered. “Yes, which is why I switched to the less efficient, bipedal mode. I must take this inconvenient form to get Seonaidh’s attention.”

“Who is Show Me?” Kat asked.

“SHOW NEE,” Cait snarled. “Can’t you get any of our names right?”

“Well, don’t get your tail in a twist. They are unusual names, you know.”

“Ha. Your jokes stink, too.” Cait said no more, but flew upward, then flitted away across the bogs.

“Why are we stopping to see this Seonaidh? I don’t want to waste time on another roadside attraction.”

“Seonaidh can see the future. Cait Sidhe believes we can find out what happens to your brother.”

“That’d be great! I want to know if Rune will be okay.”

They soon came to another pool, much like the others dotting the bogs, except the water was clear. Kat could see to the bottom of the pond, where underwater plants swayed to and fro.

“It’s beautiful,” she said and then yelped when Diamond bent his front legs. She pitched forward and planted her face in his mane. Sitting up, she threw one leg over his back and rolled off. She put her hands on the small of her back and leaned backward then forward to take the kinks out.

Cait Sidhe stood by the edge of the pool, looking down. Kat walked over to the pond. It was only then Kat noticed the fairy was naked.

“Seonaidh,” Cait yelled. “Get your ugly butt up here.”

Kat turned her attention away from Cait and looked into the pool. She inhaled and thought the sweet smell of fresh water a nice change from the constant dank smell of swamp. A dark form lay at the bottom among the wavering water plants. Cait pointed to the form. “That’s Seonaidh. If I can get him up here, he’ll want a cup of ale. You’re a witch. Can you produce that?”

“Sure, but how long is this going to take?”

“Not long if you whomp up that ale,” Cait replied.

* * *
The three books in the series:

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Follow the adventures of Katrina and her half-vampire brother, Rune, as they chase down an evil shaman. Dodging the shaman's curses on a dangerous trip across the ice-bound arctic seas, they meet both friends and foes. Kat and Rune must find the shaman and stop him before their beloved island home is destroyed.

Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her.

A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Kat is on her way to an exciting trip to Stonehenge but is led astray by a jealous rival. Caught in the Otherworld within the Scottish Highlands with a has-been goddess trying to kill her, Kat has to defeat the goddess and rescue her brother from the hag's clutches.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Last Free Days

I have indicated I no longer want to offer my book, Tales of a Texas Boy, in the KDP Unlimited program. Why? It's not getting sufficient page reads even when people get it free.

The final day this book will be free on Amazon: July 24th.

So, from today (July 20th) to July 24th, go get your free ebook copy. Flip through some pages so I'll get the miserly amount for page reads (this is how authors make money when books are borrowed).

TALES OF A TEXAS BOY EBOOK - FREE THROUGH JULY 24TH


Friday, July 07, 2017

Mordita, Sorceress of the Arctic

All Witches of Galdorheim Books Are Only 99 Cents on Kindle and Smashwords!

Mordita the Witch (She Prefers Sorceress)

Hands down, readers' favorite witch on Galdorheim is Mordita. She's powerful, all right, but it's her wicked sense of humor that makes her a fan fav. She also has some secrets, which are revealed in Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim, Midnight Oil.

Kat meets Mordita in Bad Spelling. In Midnight Oil, the two have become close friends. Even Aunt Thordis gets along with the sorceress since Mordita helped rescue Kat and Rune. Well, they pretty much rescued themselves in Bad Spelling, but Mordita's skill with a scrying crystal helped greatly.

While Mordita has tons of magic, she prefers to maintain her old hag appearance just to keep the Galdorheim witches from stopping by to visit. Mordita is alone, and she likes to keep it that way. She's not quite alone if you want to count a fat orange tiger cat named Kudzu.

Mordita is a mystery. Why did she come to Galdorheim if she doesn't want to consort with the witches and warlocks? Simple. She's on the run, hiding from her evil sister, the elemental forest spirit Ajatar.

Many years before, the two sisters fought over a man. Not that he was all that special, but neither sister wanted to concede anything to the other. Sibling rivalry at its worst, and most dangerous.


Excerpt from Midnight Oil:

Kat sprinted up the cobbled pathway to Mordita’s door. She remembered the first time she’d come to the old witch’s home, she’d gotten zapped by the spike and horseshoe doorknocker. She learned fast—don’t use the knocker. She rapped on the wood instead.

The door swung open. Kat walked into the dimly-lit living room, and the door closed behind her. Glancing around, she waited for her eyes to adjust. She didn’t see Mordita, but her familiar, a fat orange tiger cat, curled on one of the damask-covered chairs by the fireplace.

“Kudzu, where’s your mistress?” The cat opened one eye a squinch and nodded toward the door leading to the kitchen.

“Thanks.” Kat hurried over to the kitchen door. “Anyone home?” One never walked through a closed door without an invitation from the home’s occupant. The door swung inward, and Kat stepped into the tiny kitchen. Mordita leaned over the stove and pulled a tray from the oven.

“Ah, Katrina, I’m glad you stopped by. I made cookies for your trip.”

“So, you heard already?”

The old woman chuckled. “You know I hear everything.”

Kat smiled. No doubt Mordita kept track of current events. “Thanks for the cookies, but I have to hurry. We’re just about ready to leave.”

The sorceress tossed the cookie sheet into the air. The cookies flew off, circling the kitchen twice. Kat ducked to avoid the flying disks, which grouped into a neat pile and dropped into a waiting basket. The lid slammed shut, and the basket jetted over to Kat, who caught it on the fly.

“Quick enough for you?” The old woman cackled. Kat knew Mordita’s patented cackle was worse than her bite, so she just grinned. She stepped in front of the witch and threw her free arm around her shoulders.

Mordita raised one hand and patted Kat on the shoulder. “Now, now. We’ll see each other again soon.”

“You promise?” Kat asked, hoping she might know for certain.

“Just an educated guess,” Mordita replied, slipping out of Kat’s hug. “But I have something else for you.” The crone reached into an apron pocket and withdrew an amulet hanging on a silver chain. She slipped it over the young witch’s head.

Plucking it up from her chest, Kat looked down at it. It, too, was silver, but tarnished so heavily it seemed almost black. “What is it?” She squinted at the dim shapes and symbols etched into the silver disk.

“It’s a good luck coin. I know it’s hard to see, but that’s Medusa. I got it from her…um, that is, my family passed it down to me. Medusa personally handed it to a great, great, great something-or-other relative of mine.”

“Wasn’t Medusa evil?” Kat asked, a frown tugging at her mouth.

“Not all the time, dear. Mostly, people just misunderstood her. Don’t you worry. The amulet protects against snakes.”

“Snakes?” Kat’s voice rose an octave.  “Why will I need protection against snakes? Will I run into snakes?”

Mordita frowned and then made shooing motions with her hands. “Now, now. I don’t see anything like that. It’s just a gift.”

“Thanks.” Kat gave the witch another hug. The old lady squirmed from Kat’s grasp.

“Enough, girl. Run along and find the boy.”

“I’ll try. See you later.” Kat sprinted to the front door, and it opened just in time for her to pass through. Pausing, she looked back, wishing she’d said something more, but she had no idea what.

Bolting down the walk, Kat was glad she’d cleaned the slime off the stones, even if Mordita didn’t appreciate it. I still owe her a three-fold favor.
BAD SPELLING 
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Follow the adventures of Katrina and her half-vampire brother, Rune, as they chase down an evil shaman. Dodging the shaman's curses on a dangerous trip across the ice-bound arctic seas, they meet both friends and foes. Kat and Rune must find the shaman and stop him before their beloved island home is destroyed.

MIDNIGHT OIL
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
Traveling with her newly-found grandfather, a raging storm catches them unawares. Kat is tossed into the icy seas, while her brother and grandfather travel on to find help. Kat is rescued by an unlikely creature, and Rune is captured by mutants. Only the magical Midnight Oil can save her brother, but an evil forest elemental is trying to stop her.

SCOTCH BROOM
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Kat is on her way to an exciting trip to Stonehenge but is led astray by a jealous rival. Caught in the Otherworld within the Scottish Highlands with a has-been goddess trying to kill her, Kat has to defeat the goddess and rescue her brother from the hag's clutches.

SPELLSLINGER - A Witches of Galdorheim Story
What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.

Monday, July 03, 2017

ALL My Books Free or 1/2 Price

Lucky July half-price sale at Smashwords. All ebook formats available.

Find my books on my author page: Marva Dasef's Smashword Books. Here are most of those half price. A few other books were already free or only 99 cents anyway.


To find ALL the half-price books across the entire Amazon Library, click here. Authors will be setting their discounts throughout the month, so new books are available every day. Use code SSW50 to receive 50% off.


Saturday, July 01, 2017

A Randomly Selected Unpublished Story

I sent this story out only once in 2007. I had no idea where it might belong, so didn't bother subbing it again. The result is that it never made it into my collections (Mixed Bag and Mixed Bag II: Supersized). Since I've run out of promo material, I'll unleash this upon the world just for fun. 

Double Date

"Ted is Mike's his best friend, so he can’t be too bad. You do like Mike. So come on, please!"

My best friend, Freida, was begging me to go out with this guy, just to make it a double. Rats! I didn’t want to go on some blind date, but what can you do when your oldest pal begs. How bad could it be? One evening, a little dinner, some conversation, a couple of drinks and I’m outta there.

I dressed carefully. I didn’t want to look too sexy. Shouldn’t give any impression that I want to do anything except talk. Yes, pants and a nice top. No dresses or skirts. Too dangerous. Men!

I said I’d catch up with them at Tony’s, a pleasant Italian place with excellent food. I asked Freida who decided on this restaurant and she said Ted did. Okay, he had good taste. That was a plus.

When I walked in, the place was busy as usual. Diners sat at little tables with those cute red-checked tablecloths. It was noisy, but you've got to expect that at a popular restaurant, especially with the waiters singing 'O Solo Mio' to collect extra tips. I looked around to see if the others had shown up. I saw Freida waving to me from the back of the room and I wended my way through the tables.

He stood up when I got to the table. Hmm, he had manners. We shook hands as Freida introduced us, "Jean, this is Ted, Ted, Jean, Mike, Jean, Jean, Mike." She giggled at her joke. She never giggles unless Mike was around. I pasted on a grim grin and took a good look at Ted, my putative date for the night.

Red hair. Uggh. He tended to fat. Maybe it was muscle? Nah, look at that arm, it was fat.

He held out his hand and said, "So, Jean, Freida says you’re a computer programmer. How do you like that?"

"S'okay," I said as I pumped his hand once. It was limp and damp. I suppressed a shudder. I sat, picking up the cloth napkin and drying my own hand as surreptitiously as possible.

"Uh, Ted owns his own business, Jean," Freida jumped in when she saw I wasn’t exactly gushing over this guy.

"Oh. What is it?" I asked to be polite. I really didn’t give a rip and figured it was going to be a long evening.

"I own Krazy Komics down on Fourth Street," Ted informed me. He grinned, looking proud of his status as a business owner. My God, a comic book store! He fairly oozed nerd from every pore.
He asked, "Do you read comics?"

"Not since Uncle Scrooge," I countered. No reason to encourage him, even if I did pick up a few of the avant garde illustrateds on occasion.

I pretty much clammed up after that. No way was I ever going see this guy again in my entire unnatural life. Why bother?

The three of them kept up the conversation without me. Ted glanced at me often. Trying to read me? Well, they didn't publish me in his comic book world.

After dinner, we, or I should say they, decided to walk down to the city park. On mild evenings, freelance musicians hung out there, playing for tips. Some were even good. A walk in the cool night air would be okay, I thought.

I should have thought twice. Ted quickly put his arm around my shoulders and tried to guide me along. What did he think, I needed a seeing eye dog?

I twisted deftly out from under his arm and walked a little faster. He actually broke out in a trot to catch up to me! He was about three inches shorter than me, so I could cover more distance than he could. I made sure to stay ahead of him, but not so far that it looked like I was running for my life.

I was trying to think of some way to end this debacle, but I knew Freida would be pissed at me if I dropped out before ten o’clock. So, in the interests of friendship, I hung in through the walk (run!) and the stop at the coffee house for some cappuccinos. In the booth, he tried to put his arm around me again. I scooted clear to the wall, regretting that I had been forced to get in first. Trapped! I would have climbed the wall if they hadn't covered it in smooth plaster.

I gulped my cappuccino and yawned. With a certain amount of stretching, I managed to push his arm away.

"Well, I guess it’s time for me to go home," I finally declared on the stroke of ten o’clock.

"Oh, but it’s still early," he said.

"Gotta go to work tomorrow." Why didn’t he get it?

"Well, I’ll call you. Maybe we can go out again. Next weekend? A movie?"

My God, he wouldn’t give up!

"Uh, well, thanks anyway, but I don’t think . . . " I began when he interrupted.
"We do need to talk about how many kids we’re going to have."

WHAT! I looked at Freida and she shrugged. I glared at Mike and he suppressed a grin.

I shoved Ted out of the booth and he almost fell on the floor as I fought my way in front of him. He grabbed my hand. Luckily for me, he still had a half-full cup of coffee in front of him. I elbowed it into his lap. When he grimaced and grabbed at his crotch, I got my hand away.

As I sped out of the coffee house, I heard Ted call after me, "Does this mean we aren’t going out again?"

No shit, Ted.