Guest Post – Serang by C.S. Boyack

It is my pleasure to host author, C.S. Boyack on my blog today. I’m going to let him tell you about his neswest book, Serang!

Thanks for having me over today, Jan. I’m here to promote my newest book, Serang. This is supporting story to the Lanternfish trilogy, but it will stand on its own for those who haven’t read Voyage of the Lanternfish.

I’m trying to let the hosts have some input about what I present, and Jan asked for an excerpt. Excerpts are a great way to tease the story, so I’m happy to comply.

In this scene, Master Yong left Serang alone at their shack while he went to a village for supplies. A heavy fog rolled in, and it’s stayed for days. He’s about to return, so we’ll pick up the excerpt here:

Yong strode confidently onto the porch. Serang wiped her brow, then flicked her wrist to get the heavy moisture off.

“Where are you?” Yong asked in a soft voice.

“Here, Master.” She walked to the patio area.

“Have you done your chores and exercises?” He sat an overloaded basket on the ground.

“Yes, but something’s wrong.”

“How so?”

“The fog is unnatural. The animals have gone silent.”

“What do your meditations tell you?”

“To be cautious.”

“Have you been meditating? Tell me the truth.”

“I don’t need to. Something is wrong.”

“Do them now. Clear your mind.” He smirked at her. “I’ll protect you from the forest.”

She sat and crossed her legs but kept the wall to her back.

“What do you hear?”

“Nothing, Master. Not even insects.”

“Listen again.”

She took several deep breaths. “A light wind in the high leaves.”

“Shouldn’t wind blow this fog away?”

“Yes, that’s what I mean. Something is wrong–”

“Stop. Try again. What do you smell?”

“Brine… And charcoal.”

“Taste?”

“More brine. Master the fog is cursed or something–”

“Tut!”

Serang tried to focus.

“What do you feel?”

She remained silent for a long time. “Concern. Worry even. Apprehension.”

“Is that you, or the natural world?”

“Both, maybe.”

“At least you’re honest about it. Your feelings are correct. We are witnessing something that has not been seen in fifteen hundred years. Breathe it deep inside. Let it surround you.”

She opened her mouth for deeper breaths.

“Do you feel danger? Fear?”

She kept breathing. “No, Master.”

He knelt before her. “We are in the presence of lóng de hái ze.”

“The child of the dragon? I don’t understand.”

“Something is wrong with our world. Lóng de hái ze, lives between the worlds and heaven. This one is here because it is concerned. Try again. What else do you feel?”

“Yang, but also a female presence.”

“Very good. This dragon’s child is female. She is trying to decide whether to return to her world or go on to the sea. There she will evolve into a dragon, then try to set things right. To restore balance.”

“Will she… eat us?”

Yong sat before her and crossed his legs. “Someone has needed to tell you this for a long time. Dragons have been known to kill people but do not make a habit of it. They are more concerned with the natural world, and equity among all things.”

“But my father–”

Monastic life is all about duty, service, harmony. For Serang, a young girl abandoned at the temple by her mother after the death of her father, that life becomes all she knows. The monks give her purpose, and become her new family.

When political upheaval causes chaos throughout the land, Serang again loses everything and everyone she loves. Alone, she struggles to survive. She convinces a wandering monk to take her under his wing and complete her training. Thus begin her adventures through strange lands and her trials to become a confident, capable, independent adult.

This is a coming of age story set in a fantasy world. It’s filled with monsters and martial arts, difficulties and dangers. The serious situations preclude the story from the levity of its predecessor, Voyage of the Lanternfish, but it provides a compelling look at the origin of one of the saga’s most fascinating characters.

Purchase Link http://mybook.to/Serang

Social Media:

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I hope you enjoyed Craig’s introduction to Serang! Hop on over and pick up your copy! I did! And don’t forget to follow him on social media. He’s an entertaining author!

Thank you for visiting!

Why do we do it?

The Author’s Guild has just published their 2018 Author’s Income Survey.
The largest survey of writing-related earnings by American authors finds incomes falling to historic lows to a median of $6,080 in 2017, down 42 percent from 2009.

For more on this survey, you can click this link: https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/authors-guild-survey-shows-drastic-42-percent-decline-in-authors-earnings-in-last-decade/

Hmmm. That doesn’t bode well for us authors. And to be totally honest, I’d be ecstatic to make $6,000 per year from my books. I don’t personally know any Indie author who makes that much money per year from book sales alone.

So, I have to ask myself, “why do it?” Why spend hours, days, weeks and months toiling over work that only a handful people will read?

As most of you know, I never intended to be an author. That was never my goal in life. I just had a story that had to be told and I was the only one who could tell it.

But, since the last of the four books were published in 2017, I haven’t found a place to stop writing. It truly becomes a passion. I looked up “passion” in Merriam Webster’s dictionary and found this:
intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction
a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept

Yep. That pretty much describes it.

The photo says it all. I dared to follow my passion, to tell a story that burned inside me, and it has now lead me to my purpose. That purpose is to write — whether it be stories (true or fiction), magazine interviews, or record reviews — it is now my purpose in life.

Of course, I would love nothing more than to be able to make a living writing. But, based on reality and the statistics shown by the Author’s Guild, that isn’t likely.

There are simply some things in life that are more important than money.

Passion and Purpose!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the survey and your passion for writing. Does it give you purpose? Do you ever think about stopping? What would you do with yourself if you did stop? Have you ever tried?

I can’t imagine what I’d do every day if I suddenly stopped writing. Nope. I’m going to keep on writing money be damned!

Taking a break?

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Or is it? Are you like me and feel that you have to work like a Trojan workhorse every day, day in and day out?

But what happens when we do? I can only speak from my own personal experience.

  1. Creativity all but comes to a screeching halt
  2. I find it hard to shut my brain off at night for sleep
  3. I feel exhausted all the time
  4. I get grouchy when I am not creating
  5. I get tunnel vision

Here’s the truth of it. Most of us are ambitious and anxious to write great books and get them into the hands of readers. But, no matter how much we do, there is always more to do: more writing, more marketing, more admin. A writer’s work is never done.

Writer's Work

I have one novel already written and two more in the series vaguely outlined and waiting. I fear I have failed miserably, as an author, this year. Yes, I put out several short stories and maintained my blog, but have not given much more than a glance toward my next full-length book. There’s a couple of reasons for that. I have been in this state of limbo since last year, waiting with bated breath to see if a publisher will take the first book of The White Rune Series. Guess what? I’m still waiting.

So, why couldn’t I force myself to work on the next one while I’m waiting? That would be the smart thing to do. I guess the truthful answer is I need to feel like it is worthwhile. Yes, I know. Everything we are inspired to do is worthwhile in some way or another. Maybe the better word for it is validation.

In telling Rick’s and my stories, I had passion. I was driven to get the story down and out into the hands of readers. I need to feel that burning passion again.

burning passion

I’m open to any advice. My sister tells me that if you don’t write a story, you lose it. I don’t want to lose them because they are good stories. Such a dilemma.

Then I have to ask myself this question. If the publisher that currently has the manuscript passes on it, what then?

Yes, I know I can self-publish, but I don’t have another $2,000 to $3,000 to invest with little hope of ever recouping. Since I suck at cover design and formatting, I’d have to pay for both of those services plus editing. If anyone ever said writing and publishing books is easy, they told a big lie.

So, the bottom line to all of this is that I took a break from working on the novels. Is that good? I suppose only time will tell.

How about you? Do you take breaks? Do you have books waiting to be published? Please tell me I’m not in this boat alone.

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Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing for my latest collection of short stories, “Two Shorts and a Snort.” I’m giving away three eBooks.

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This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Obsessed:

How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.

Maggie:

It is possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.

Friends Instead of Lovers:

Sometimes it’s better to remain friends instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

Hunger

I originally wrote this as a song, but never got it recorded. Think old Tammy Wynette style when you read it.

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HUNGER

BY JAN SIKES

I MET A MAN ON THE STREET JUST THIS MORNING.

HE HELD A SIGN THAT SAID, “HELP ME PLEASE.”

I STOPPED AND DROPPED A COIN IN THE CUP BESIDE HIS KNEE.

AND AS I TURNED, HE WHISPERED TEARFULLY,

HE SAID, “HUNGER WILL MAKE A MAN DO FOOLISH THINGS.

I ONCE HAD A WIFE, A HOME A FAMILY.

ENOUGH WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME.

I WANTED FAME AND FORTUNE – THOUGHT IT WOULD SET ME FREE.

I LOST A SENSE OF ALL REALITY.”

 HUNGER WILL MAKE A MAN DO FOOLISH THINGS.

HE’LL TRADE HIS SOUL TO GRAB THE BRASS RING.

HE’LL LET WARM LOVE TURN COLD,

JUST TO TOUCH THE RICH MAN’S GOLD.

THEN, FIND HIMSELF BROKEN ALONE AND OLD.

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 SHE SAT SILENT, ALONE WITH TEARDROPS FALLING.

DIM LIGHTS OF THE BARROOM HID HER FACE.

I ORDERED HER A DRINK, HER SORROW TO ERASE.

SHE SAID, “I DON’T BELONG HERE IN THIS PLACE.

HUNGER WILL MAKE A GIRL DO FOOLISH THINGS.

I ONCE  HAD A HOME, A MAN THAT TRUSTED.

HE GAVE ME ALL THE STABLE THINGS IN LIFE.

FOR YEARS I WAS A FAITHFUL, GOOD AND LOVING WIFE,

THEN WANTING WON AND NOW I PAY THE PRICE.”

 HUNGER WILL MAKE A GIRL DO FOOLISH THINGS.

SHE’LL TRADE HER PRIDE FOR A ONE NIGHT FLING.

SHE’LL LET PASSION RULE HER HEAD, TAKE A LOVER TO HER BED

AND IN THE END, HER WORLD IS LEFT IN SHREDS.

HUNGER SURE CAN MAKE FOLKS DO FOOLISH THINGS.

 I hope you enjoyed this poem/song. If you’d like to hear other songs I’ve written, they are on the CD, “I’ll Be Home When the Roses Bloom Again.”  I’d be honored! 

Jan and Gitjo
The first instrument I learned to play – a Gitjo. Rick took a Banjo and put a guitar neck on it. 🙂 I was very young.

A story as big as Texas itself!

Jan’s Website

Mike Blakely – CD Review

Award-winning novelist and singer/songwriter Mike Blakely has published 18 books, released by major New York City publishers.

As a performing songwriter, Mike has released 12 CDs, performed all over the U.S., and made 16 tours to Europe.  His songs have been recorded by Alan Jackson, Gary P. Nunn, Red Steagall, Flaco Jimenez and Raul Malo, John Arthur Martinez, Randy Brown, Geronimo Trevino III and Johnny Rodriguez, Johnny Bush, Pauline Reese, Debbi Walton and others.

And now he has a new CD release which I had the pleasure of reviewing.

Keepsake

KEEPSAKE – MIKE BLAKELY

Independent Release

 Nothing describes Mike Blakely’s vocal and songwriting style better than straightforward and genuine.

Listening to his new CD, Keepsake, is like going on an easy rambling trail ride. Mike’s “no frills” music touches something deep inside.

Larry Nye (Guitar), Kurt Baumer (Fiddle), Duke Davis (Upright Bass) and Shane Lively (Drums) accompany Mike on Keepsake, while Annie Blakely, Walt & Tina Wilkins and Larry Boyd sing backup vocals.

The album begins with a poignant song, “A Town Called Paradise,” written by Blakely and Ken Garrett. It is the perfect escape song. “My Same Old New Mexican Dream” is a clever play on words. “Easy Ramblin’” is all about slowing down.

Annie Blakey joined Mike in writing “Keepsake,” and it is a beautiful love song that fits the couple perfectly. “I missed you before I met you/I loved you before I knew you/Before we found each other/I was yours/you were mine.”

“Moonlight Colorado,” captured me completely. The melody and words weave a tantalizing dance.

Walt and Tina Wilkins lend their perfectly synced background vocal harmony on “I am Nobody.” The message carried in the lyrics is uplifting. “I am nobody/Nobody’s perfect/Therefore I’m perfect/Perfect for you.”

Written by Jeff Posey and Walt Wilkins, “Skipping Stone” is sweet and tender.

“Miranda’s Warning” is a haunting melody. He should have heeded Miranda’s warning. “The Island with No Name” has a Mexican flare and features Larry Nye on the acoustic guitar.

The album ends with “Don’t send Flowers” and is the longest track on the CD at five minutes. Wistful poetic lyrics weave a wish. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard a more authentically beautiful song about death.

If you enjoy listening to lyrics that have meaning, tell a story or carry a message while the melody flows like a cool mountain stream, you will enjoy Keepsake.

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Purchase Keepsake

About Mike Blakely

AND, Mike Blakely will be our speaker and entertainment at the Texas Authors Institute of History Fundraising Gala at The Main Street Gardens in Dallas on October 6th!

 

#RRBC Spotlight Author, Carol Marrs Phipps

It’s time to Spotlight another #RRBC Author! Today it is Carol Marrs Phipps!

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Fairy Tongue

Fairy Tongue

Fairy Ring1

 

Fairy Ring

Our green haired Fairies including Meri Greenwood speak what the people of Niarg know as Archaic Modern Niarg, the ancestor of what they were speaking at the time of our epic tale. It sounds like some sort of Germanic or Nordic language, yet it is quite easy to understand and it makes the Fairies come to life.

Phipps

What Archaic Modern Niarg happens to be is Middle English with most of the obsolete words eliminated so that the uninitiated modern reader can read it without difficulty. It is no harder to read than a note full of misspellings passed by grammar school kids, yet it would be understood at once by people in the London area, six hundred years ago, since we have based its spelling, grammar and word order on the writings of John Wycliffe and Geoffrey Chaucer.

Phipps2

Thirty years ago, my husband/co-author, Tom, learned to read Middle English using the rules of pronunciation based on a vowel shift which was thought to have occurred by the widely respected E. T. Donaldson and others, which made the language patently incomprehensible to the ear, and made Chaucer’s poetry not rhyme very well. As a Botany major, Tom had no stake in revering his work and he didn’t think he supported his claim very well. So, Tom started reading it with Appalachian vowels and found that it not only rhymed much better, it was now easy to understand when one listened to it.

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When Tom read some Middle English to his Navajo students, they thought it was eerie because it sounded like a foreign language except that they could understand it perfectly well.

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Author Bio:

Carol Marrs Phipps is a teacher turned author. She was born in Missouri, grew up in Illinois and lives on their farm in Illinois with her husband and her menagerie: a parrot, a raven, two cockatiels and her Siberian Forest cats. The books she has written with her husband, Tom Phipps include, Elf Killers which takes place a millennium before the books of the Heart of the Staff series: Good Sister, Bad Sister, The Collector Witch, Stone Heart, The Burgeoning, The Reaper Witch, the final book of the series, Doom, and Heart of the Staff: Complete Series boxed set and Heart of the Staff: Complete Appendix. Recently, Carol and Tom launched a new Dystopian/Urban Fantasy series with the first book of a planned trilogy, Wham! (Book1 Timewalker). All their books are available as eBook or paperback except the boxed set and the appendix.

Carol taught with her husband on various Native American Reservations in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, where they learned a great deal from their students, the very first fans of their writing. Not long after they married, she discovered to her joy that he also loved to write. They have been writing together full-time ever since.

 

 

Links

 

*Wham! is currently exclusive to Amazon.*

Universal Amazon Link for Wham!  getBook.at/8ba

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/carol.phipps3

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Car01am

 

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Carol-Marrs-Phipps/e/B005HB8MC0/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Blog: http://niarg.com

 

 

Other Links for Heart of the Staff Books:

 

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3ACarol+and+Tom+Phipps&keywords=Carol+and+Tom+Phipps&ie=UTF8

 

Amazon UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/278-2820750-5307210?url=node%3D341689031&field-keywords=Carol+Marrs+Phipps+and+Tom+Phipps&x=13&y=19

 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/carol%20marrs%20phipps%20/_/N-0

 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=%22carol+marrs+phipps+%22

 

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CarolMarrsPhipps

RRBC Author Pic Carol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lady Who Walked her Talk #RRBC – Kathryn Treat

Once in a great while, someone comes along in life who is unforgettably kind, compassionate and giving. For the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, that woman was the late Kathryn Treat.

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Kathryn was an honorary board member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, where she served as Membership Director from Dec. 2013, until September, 2014.  Kathryn is the author of “ALLERGIC TO LIFE:  MY BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL, COURAGE AND HOPE”  .  She inspired and encouraged many with this book so if you have not had the pleasure of reading it, please head to Amazon and get your copy.  

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The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is dedicated to honoring Kathryn as “she was one of the most supportive members we had…not just to one, but to all.”

Join us in celebrating Kathryn’s life today and pick up a copy of her inspirational book. In her own words, it is the story of her battle for survival, courage and hope! Click here to order!

For more information about Kathryn Chastain Treat and why we honor her, click here!

Curious about the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB? It is a community of writers and readers who support, encourage, promote and propel each other! Sound like a good fit for you? If you join , please tell them Jan Sikes sent you!

 

What the heck is it? #RRBC

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Just what is the Rave Reviews Book Club anyway?

The word that comes to mind immediately is Community.

Here is the definition of Community, according to Webster:

com·mu·ni·ty
kəˈmyo͞onədē/
noun
  1. 1.
    a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
    “Rhode Island’s Japanese community”
  2. 2.
    a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
    “the sense of community that organized religion can provide”

    So, based on the official definition, I would say that the Rave Reviews Book Club is a  Community of authors and readers, sharing fellowship and common attitudes, interest and goals. 

Having been a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club for two years, I can openly and honestly state that the members of this club adhere to the idea of supporting, uplifting and promoting each other.

Rise by lifting others

If you are of the mindset that being an author and selling your books is a competition, then the Rave Reviews Book Club is definitely not a good fit for you. If you understand the simple truth, that in supporting others, you are supported, then please, by all means, take a close look at this community.

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And, if you decide this is a community you’d like to be a part of, tell them Jan Sikes sent you!

#Musings from Don Ricardo

This blog came across my inbox recently from my friend, Richard J. Dobson, aka Don Ricardo and I felt his words were worth sharing.

Ricardo_bio_pic

“It’s an old habit, this saving of clippings. I cut out a page of excerpts from commencement addresses that included this from Jessye Norman, opera singer, to graduates at Oberlin College, Ohio: “You see art brings us together as a family because it is an individual expression of universal human experience. It comes from that part of us that is without fear, prejudice, malice or any of the other things that we create in order to separate ourselves one form the other. Art makes each of us whole by insisting that we use all of our senses, our heads and our hearts, that we express with our bodies, our voices, our hands, as well as with our minds.”

I often find myself thinking about art and what it means, what it can do. What is an artist, anyway? For me at this point it’s a person who over a lifetime accumulates a body of creative work. Along the way he or she must gain enough support from the larger community to keep on creating. Success, while helpful, may not be required. Too much of it, and you’re prima donna bound, and risk trading your voice for that of a public persona.

Influence

People who write about art and artists look to trace influences. They want to know who it was that helped mold the artist, and thereby suggest a link to some known figure or movement. But when you’re young and starting a career, your greatest influence might be your old roommate, or an English professor who liked your early stories. Or a guitar picker only a handful of people ever heard of, like the reclusive country-bluesman John Grimaudo down in Rockport, Texas. Or Jack Saunders in Florida churning out a lifetime in prose he never sold; or Jason Eklund, street singer-roofer living out of his car and printing his hand-written manuscripts at the copy shop. These people, and others I could name, have probably influenced me as much as any better known artist.

Considering the economics, I’m still amazed that anyone would choose a life making music or writing books or painting. The answer to that one, of course, is the life chooses you. This opens up other questions about success, and what that might be. Artists are forgotten like everybody else. Only a tiny handful are remembered. Success might be nothing more than survival. I might have given a different answer thirty years ago.  Now I would say honoring your vision and your muse, carrying on, and doing your work. That’s your joy, and that might be what success really means. The hobbyists, the people who never had a vision, or didn’t really want it bad enough, tend to winnow out. What you’re left with is artists. Shorn of all the romance and bullshit, just people going about their work”.

If you like what Don Ricardo has to say, visit his website, take a look at the books and extensive catalog of music he has published.

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RRBC Author – Mohana Rajamakur

PIF Author

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. She has since published seven e-books including a memoir for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me, a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories, and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace.

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Mohana’s award-winning books have focused on various aspects of life in the Arabian Gulf nation of Qatar. From Dunes to Dior is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf and named as Indie Book of the Day in 2013. Love Comes Later is a literary romance set in Qatar and London and was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013, short listed for the New Talent award by the Festival of Romance, and Best Novel Finalist in eFestival of Words, 2013. She currently lives with her family in Qatar, where she teaches writing and literature courses at American universities.

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Connect with Mohana at:

Email: indiawriter@yahoo.com
Blog or Website: http://www.mohadoha.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/moha_doha
Facebook Page URL: www.facebook.com/themohadoha