Friday, March 30, 2012

Do you believe the dragon


this is an end snippet for the "Choose Your Own Adventure Bloghop". If you want to read the whole adventure (or at least a whole path of it, since there are more than one), please click on the start logo.

Do you believe the dragon and run to the dojo to search for the relic?

You allow the dragon to take you to the dojo. A weird blue light surrounds the house, and your knees shake when you pass it. Nothing happens. Inside, you find Sensei on the ground in a fetal position. He snores gently. Gingerly, you step over him and walk into his office. You close the door. Somehow, it doesn’t feel right to search his belongings while he’s sleeping so close.

You are thorough in your search but you don’t find anything resembling a toothpick. On the other side of the wall, the dragon’s deep rumbling voice hollers.

"See the picture of the woman at the wall? There is a secret compartment behind it. Maybe, it’s there."

You turn to the picture. It showed a beautiful young woman in traditional garb in a zen garden. The snoring in the neighboring room increases in volume as you reach out for the picture. Wasn’t it a portrait of Sensei’s wife? You remember he told you she left him years ago.

Your fingers touch the bamboo frame. It swings sideways, and everything goes black. When your senses return, the dragon is calling.

"Oh, come on. Hurry up. We’ve only got a few minutes left."

Feeling dizzy, you kneel. Breathing the way Sensei had taught you, you manage to stand up. There must have been a protective spell on the picture. You focus your gaze on where the picture had been before. The compartment was hardly an inch deep and lined with black velvet. Two toothpicks hung in loops – one as long as your arm, the other shorter than your index finger. Why two? You wonder why the dragon hadn’t told you about the second one. For a moment, you ponder which one to take when you realize the snoring had stopped.

"Hurry up, he’s waking." The dragon says.

You pull the big toothpick from its hold. What would a dragon do with a pick the right size for a human anyway? In a few strides, you’re out of the room, hurry past Sensei, and leave the dojo. The dragon is waiting outside.

"Stop!" Sensei comes running after you. The blue light that surrounded the dojo wraps around you and holds you prisoner.

"Throw me the relic," the dragon calls.

You look at the toothpick with the carving of a beautiful woman curled around the top. Then, your gaze travels to Sensei who’s approaching fast, and to the dragon eagerly reaching out for the relic. Now is your last chance to reconsider. Should you believe the dragon or Sensei?

Your resolve hardens; your arm draws back and flings forward in a flash. The toothpick sails through the air and lands in the dragon’s outstretched hands.

"No!" It screams as blue mist swirls around it.

"No!" Sensei cries and drops to the ground beside him.

The blue mist falls in on itself, leaving a human figure spread face down on the ground. The blue light that captured you dissolves setting you free. You hurry over to the unconscious person. The woman is naked. Sensei steps beside you with a blanket.

"Cover her with this. She’ll be furious when she wakes." He’s smiling at you. "I didn’t think you had it in you."

Not grasping the meaning of his words, you stutter, "I thought it was a man. The voice was so deep."

"Don’t you know a thing about physics? The longer a cord, the deeper the sound. And a dragon’s vocal cords are much longer than a human’s. Even in mind-speech." Sensei picked up the naked woman and wrapped her gently into the blanket. When he turns her, you gasp with surprise. It’s the woman from the picture – Sensei’s wife.

"I’m really glad to have her back, but she won’t like it one bit," he says. "How come you took the pick that would turn her back into a human? I’m sure she showed you the one with the dragon curled around the top. It would have sealed her in dragon form for good."

You remember the tiny toothpick. Laughter bubbles up inside of you. Well, it was the woman’s own fault for putting so much pressure on you. With more time, you’d have picked the right one. You watch Sensei carry his wife into the dojo. It’s so hard to stifle your laughter.

The End

Go Back: Dedicate Yourself to the Dragon’s Cause
Go Back: Run to tell sensei about the dragon instead
Start Over: Begin a new story

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another Choose Your Own Story Bloghop


Year of the Dragon

I'm happy to announce that on the 29th of March (yes, next Thursday) I will put up two snippets of Kerri Cueva's Choose Your Own Adventure Bloghop. This year, it will all be about a dragon (and believe me when I say that the story-lines are really great).

Promise you will look in.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

review giveaway


over on Megan's blog, she's giving away one 50 page critique. All who enter have a chance to win it.

You get additional points for telling others about this and for commenting. I personally think getting a review is always worth a little time spent on following the guidelines. Megan is a young girl who reviews for Inkpop (a writing site for young authors), and a reading-addict. If you write MG or YA, this is a great chance to get an insight from your traget audience. So what are you waiting for? Enter!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

My first offical review on this blog

Review of the Veiled Rider (Book one: Turning of the Wheel)

BEWARE: This book is not for kids, and not for narrow-minded people.

The novel tells the story of a young man trying to save what family he has. His only help is a demon-god (The Veiled Rider) who might need his help more than the young man needs him. In this first installment of the series, the reader gets to know many interesting characters that will be interesting to follow through the next novels. Most characters (aside from a few minor ones on the side) are well thought out and three dimensional. I especially loved the way the Veiled Rider didn't seem to know what to do with the human he got, and the clueless stumbling of the main character when he realized he couldn't get away from the Veiled Rider no matter where he went.

I found the story well written with captivating characters and a story line interesting enough to keep reading. There were a few rather quiet chapters (especially after the main character recovers from his first adventure) where I would have loved a more prominent hint or two at the bigger conflict. It would have made sense had the main character felt more threatened, maybe watched by unknown deities/daemons or at least an itch about “something not right”. As it is, he seemed blissfully unaware of the problems he was facing until near the end. But maybe that was the author's intention. It was definitely nothing that hindered my reading pleasure.

The only (minor) drawback I had were some missing explanations. A few events and their backgrounds could have used a little more explaining (the mother’s secret visitor for example). For the reader, some things were difficult to understand because the main character didn't explain, and neither did anyone else. But this was a minor point and one that'll surely be alleviated in the next books of the series.
I'm looking forward to the sequels.

You should really check this out. It's available on Amazon for only $0.99.

Enjoy the day,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Interview with Roger Eschbacher


I've had the pleasure to get to know Indie author Roger Eschbacher. Currently, he is a professional television animation writer who's worked for Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network. He's been traditionally published (with the picture books "Road Trip", and "Nonsense! He Yelled" both for Dial Books) but decided to go Indie with his MG novel DRAGONFRIEND

If you think it was all good deeds and fancy ideals back in the days of Camelot, think again. Most people don't know this, but for a time things went seriously bad; Arthur was imprisoned, Merlin had vanished, and a vile demon had taken over the throne. Young Leonard, page to a poor but kind knight, finds himself in the middle of this mess and now must do whatever it takes to set things right - even if that means doing battle with dangerous monsters, trying to outwit Camelot's dark overlord, or taking a bath!

I found Roger to be a fascinating person, so I had him answer a couple of questions for you. I hope you find his answers just as interesting as I did.

How did you get started? Was it a childhood dream?
I think I always knew, at least on a subconscious level, that I would write books someday. I’ve been an avid reader all of my life and absolutely love books. After college, I moved out to Hollywood and eventually worked my way into writing jobs for television, mostly animation. I was working on a cartoon where a number of the artists were aspiring children’s book illustrators. This inspired me to try my hand at writing a picture book. I sent my first manuscript out to a bunch of publishers and, to my delight, an editor at Penguin bought it. I did another picture book after that. I’m very proud of the books, but let’s just say the sales on both were modest, so publishing and I parted ways for a while. Then in 2007, I ran across NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a wonderful event where you’re challenged to write fifty thousand words in the month of November. I signed up and a month later had the nearly completed first draft of DRAGONFRIEND, my middle-grade fantasy adventure novel.

Why are you focusing on speculative fiction?
To be honest, I only read fantasy and science fiction. They’ve been my go-to genres for pleasure reading from the very start and I have a depth of knowledge of each category from reading so many books over the years. Naturally, my first novel had to be spec fic.

Are you comfortable being categorized as a fantasy author?
Yes, I’m quite proud of the label, as a matter of fact.

Is there a kind of character, or an activity-like description, or dialog, which always seems alien to you?
Adverbs seem alien to me. I avoid them unless absolutely necessary as, to my eye, they’re a writing crutch. I’m also not a big fan of over description when it comes to character and location. I tend to write lean and think my best writing is when I can fully describe someone or something using as few words as possible. Not big on the flowery stuff.

What formats do you offer your readers?
DRAGONFRIEND is available in paperback and as an eBook (Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords).

What experiences have you had promoting your work. How about a highlight, an uplifting moment?
When my first picture book came out, I learned quickly that, aside from sending out review copies, publishers don’t really do a lot of promotion for unproven children’s authors. This was the case on my second book, too (although they did spring for some nice promotional postcards). What that meant was that I had to scramble to get any kind of attention for the books at all. I learned how to write a press release, how to set up an author website, who to talk to at bookstores to set up a signing, and which of the local newspapers were willing to do a story on me and my book. I’m a somewhat reserved individual so much of this took me out of my comfort zone. The uplifting part about all of that is that I found I really liked doing it! It was actually fun getting out the word about my books and easier than I thought because I was “selling” something I was very proud of. As you can imagine, those early experiences with promotions and marketing are really paying off as I move into self-publishing (and as publisher, I made the executive decision to print postcards and bookmarks).

What’s your greatest obstacle in writing?
Getting started. Once I type that first word, I’m golden. But there always seems to be something that needs to be done beforehand, doesn’t there?

Who is your favorite Indie author?
There are so many talented Indie authors out there these days. It’s truly an embarrassment of riches. One of my favorites is an author named Keith Robinson. He has an excellent YA fantasy series called Island of Fog about a group of “modern” shape shifter kids who travel into a dangerous world of magic and mythological creatures. A great read.

Who is your favorite traditionally published author?
Living: J.K. Rowling. Dead: J.R.R. Tolkien. Apparently, I’m fond of initialed authors as I’m also a big fan of C.S. Lewis and P.D. Eastman.

Tips for other Indies?
Make yourself and your book available for potential readers. I’m always surprised at the number of Indie authors I run across who don’t make the effort (whether through shyness, laziness, or lack of knowledge) to connect. Don’t be afraid to market your book. It’s all about getting your story, the story you worked so hard on, into the hands of a reader, right? That won’t happen unless you, the Indie author, make it happen.

Enjoy the day,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

win a copy


author Roger Eschbacher is hosting a giveaway for my book "Urchin King" on his blog. Want to win my book? Head over to his post and leave a comment.

Good luck,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

half price


I am taking part in Smashword's Read a Book Week. This means for you, that my YA historical novel "Urchin King" will be available for half price until the 10th of March. If you are interested, click on the new, improved cover.

The blurb again:
Street-urchin Paul learns that his miserable existence keeps him safe from an ancient law that decrees the killing of all second born twins. He agrees to stand in for his twin brother, the mentally challenged Crown Prince, but finds that his skill of going unnoticed is now a liability. Can he defeat a vengeful sorcerer and a soul-devouring ghost without getting his friends and family killed?

I hope you'll like it,

Monday, March 5, 2012

Another award!


Kerri Cuevas gave me the Sunshine Award. Thanks so much Kerri.

I’m taking part in another one of her Choose-Your Own Adventure Bloghops (this one has a dragon in it!), and it’s going to be fabulous. I get to write two end snippets.

The rules for this award are as follows:
-Thank the person who nominated you (check)
-Write a blog post about it with the answers to the questions (check)
-Nominate 10 other bloggers and let them know (check)

Favorite Color: green
Favorite Animal: my dog Fredo (German hunting terrier)
Favorite Number: 13
Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Milk
Facebook or Twitter: Neither
My Passions: family, writing, motorbike, garden (in this order)
Getting or Giving Presents: both
Favorite Pattern: Arabic caligraphy
Favorite Flower: Anemones

I'm nominating the following people:
Naresh Khoisnam
Jennifer McMurrain
Shelly Brown
Nick Hight
Kevin Hiatt
Deniz Bevan
Brenda Sills
Alexander Levin (Blog is German)

Have a good time cheing out those blogs,