Archon 43 – Highlights

Just got back from Archon St. Louis. This is my fourth year attending and my third attending with my son Joey. We had an amazing weekend. I was on five panels and also sold books in Author Alley. This was my first time in Author Alley (previously I’d been in the Huckster room) and I liked it. I liked watching the world go by.

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On the first day I was a little worried that they would just go back and not stop and chat about books. I needn’t have worried. Oodles of folks came by including familiar faces from last year and new friends. There was one wonderful woman who showed me all her kitty pictures (I will never say no to kitty pictures!). They were the cosplayers that stopped and chatted like this one from my favorite book – Good Omens and even a huge dinosaur that stumbled up and down the corridor.

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And then the best bit (at least for me and Joey). On Saturday afternoon we got to transform into enraged Plutonians and run a puzzle hunt over at the Doubletree hotel. It was awesome. Sixty people in nine teams worked their way through the puzzles and even learned (and sang) the Plutonian national anthem along the way.

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Sunday morning’s panel was storytime in children’s programming. I read my upcoming book Wanda’s Wand which Jessica Mathews read her new book The Lazy Vampire. The audience was small (just one little girl and a few adults) and for the last book instead of us reading the little girl took a turn and read my book, The Great Bobbert aloud to us!

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So that was it. On Sunday we finally trudged back home, tired and a little sad it was all over. Thank you to everyone who came out to see us. I’ll be running my puzzle hunt on my sister page Paws 4 Puzzles over Chanukah in December. For now it’s time to get back to Pluto!

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Oh, one more thing – today is the last day to pick up the P.A.W.S. Saga for just 99 cents/99p each!

Catch up on the P.A.W.S. Saga

 

Archon and a 99 cents sale

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Hi folks, I’m off to ARCHON this weekend with my son and co-puzzler, Joey and my friend and author and youtuber, Steven Thomas.

We’ll have a table in Author Alley plus you can find us at a number of cool panels throughout the weekend.

On Friday evening at 8pm learn to Publish Your Book (Without Spending a Fortune) in Marquette B (Gateway Center) with Steven Thomas. Steve has run this seminar in many locations around St. Louis and St. Charles and is now taking it to Archon. You can also pick up some of Steve’s awesome action adventure novels from our table in Author Alley.

On Saturday morning (10:00 am – Doubletree Madison C&D) Steve will also be joining me, Jennifer Lynn, and TW Fendley in a panel about Audio Book Creation.

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Who likes puzzles? A few years ago at Archon, Joey and I ran a successful panel about puzzle construction. This year we’re back, but instead of learning about puzzles we’re running an interactive puzzle event, ESCAPE FROM ARCHON. It seems the Plutonians have got news that the people of Earth do not take the planet as seriously as they should, so they’re journeying to Archon to help educate the Earthlings.

Come join is in Madison C/D at the Doubletree at 4:00 pm to help save planet Earth.

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Back over to the Gateway Center (Marquette A 6:00pm) and I will be joining Jennifer Lynn, Jessica Matthews and TW Fendley for a panel about Speculative Fiction for Children and Teens.

Finally on Sunday morning I’ll be reading stories with Jessica Matthews in Children’s Programming at 11:00 am. Come listen to my brand new tale, WANDA’S WAND and take home your own wand and coloring sheet. Unfortunately I won’t have copies available for sale yet, but I will be taking preorders.

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Not able to make it for ARCHON?

Well just for this weekend I have all my P.A.W.S. Saga books on sale for just 99 cents each on Kindle.

Catch up on the P.A.W.S. Saga

 

Announcing YASH fall 2018

I’m excited to announce that once more I’ll be participating in the awesome Young Adult Scavenger Hunt along with a whole slew of amazing YA authors and hey I’m on purple team … and purple’s my favorite color.

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TEAM PURPLE

A.G. HOWARD–C. J. REDWINE–CARLY ANNE WEST–CHANDA STAFFORD–CHELSEA PITCHER–CHRISTY SLOAT–DEBBIE MANBER KUPFER–ERIC LINDSTROM–JC WELKER–JESSICA RUDDICK–JULIA DAY–JULIE ESHBAUGH–KRISTY CENTENO–MACKENZIE FLOHR–MADELINE DYER–MELINDA R. CORDELL–OLIVIA HINEBAUGH–S.A. LARSEN–SHANNON A THOMPSON–STEVIE RAE CAUSEY

The YA Scavenger Hunt begins October 2nd and ends on the 7th. Never joined the hunt before? It’s easy. You can start on my website or on the YA Scavenger Hunt website the day of the hunt and then you hop from blog to blog completing one team at a time adding up secret numbers as you go. When you’ve finished one entire team, you enter the total of all the numbers you found for that team on the rafflecopter on the YASH website to try for the grand prize which is one book from every author on that team. You can stop there or try for every team on the hunt. There are loads of giveaways since most authors do their own as well so mark your calendars. The hunt begins soon!

Y is for Yummy and Yuri – Blogging from A to Z

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Hi Everyone,

Adana here and we’re nearly at the end of the alphabet – Can you believe it? The last post will appear on Monday.

Today though we focus on the letter Y.

First up we have MY YUMMY CORN written and illustrated by  Surendhra Kumar Padayatchi.

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This is a story about a mouse that lived a content life in a corn field being usurped by a city dwelling mouse to enjoy the fruits of an urban living. Did the mouse settle down in the city? What happened after the mouse departed with his new acquaintance?

Pick up your copy in Kindle or paperback today.

Secondly, I’m going to cheat a little. I’d like to introduce you all to YURI SHAMNE. Yuri is an artist and puzzle maker from Russia and he has been providing picture puzzles for Debbie’s puzzle blog, Paws 4 Puzzles, on Wednesdays.

You and children can catch up on all of Yuri’s puzzles so far on this page. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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That’s all for today. Join me on Monday for the letter Z!

Adana

 

 

T is for Tree – Picture Books from A to Z

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Hey folks, Adana here,

TODAY we reach the letter T which is dedicated to one of my favorite things the TREE. There are some lovely trees in my home in Dragon Land, but not one like this one featured in a book by Mary Ann Vitale with art by Milena Radeva.

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The Street Where the Dollar Tree Grew is a story of Lincoln, a young boy who happens to find a dollar tree in a very special garden. Strange things begin to happen when he doesn’t share his treasure with others. The child learns a great lesson about the acts of giving and receiving.

Pick up the book on Amazon in Kindle or paperback.

And check out Mary’s other books on her Amazon page.

As an added bonus today how about a little Christmas puzzle in April? This puzzle of course features a TREE. Click the picture below to download the PDF.

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That’s all for today. Come back tomorrow to go UNDER the sun and meet a UNICORN.

Adana

 

Introducing Adana the Earth Dragon – The Small Brown Dragon Who Can Do Big Things

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This is Adana. Adana is an Earth Dragon and Adana is very sad. The other dragons don’t want to be her friend. Adana thinks it’s because she’s “small and brown and boring.”

Adana the Earth Dragon will be released to the world on Earth Day – April 22, 2018. I’m so excited about this one. I wrote the story several years ago but only recently found my awesome illustrator, Tina Wijesiri, who brought my little dragon to life.

The book is now available on presale directly from me for $15 including shipping. You can also pick up a companion coloring and activity book for just $5 more and for another $5 I’ll even throw in a copy of Esmeralda Grunch and the Red Tulip. All signed of course.

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Order your copy today and I promise you will have them before release day.

Prefer to read on Kindle? Preorder your Kindle copy here.

Add Adana the Earth Dragon to your Goodreads TBR list.

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Fantasy Bookshelf – September Giveaway

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Hey folks, want some free fantasy books? Of course you do. Over on Instafreebie I’ve got together with a bunch of awesome indie authors for a fantastic September giveaway. My story in this collection is my werewolf tale, Alistair, but there are loads of others including Perfect Storm from E.A. Copen, City of Skies by Farah Cook, and Alone by Holly Hook.

Also scroll down the page for a chance to win all of Sarah J Maas Throne of Glass paperbacks! What are you waiting for – click here to get started.

But wait, there’s more. The puzzly side of me also had a new release this week. I have a puzzle in this collection of cryptic crosswords now available on Amazon. Check out the details over on my sister blog, Paws 4 Puzzles.

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Hi folks – I’ve got a lot of cool stuff coming up this week, so wanted to give you all a heads up. Firstly anyone here solve Cryptic Crosswords? If so, head on over to 1Across which is running a contest this week with a prize of Paws 4 Logic, the puzzle book created by me and my son, Joey.

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Next come join me tomorrow – Monday 29th May – at 8:30 pm (CT) at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Author and Artist Faire. And stick around all week to meet oodles of awesome sci-fi and fantasy authors.

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Did we just say Awesome? Well if you like awesome indie authors you’re going to love the AweThors – come meet us on Tuesday May 30 and help D.R. Perry celebrate 1000 likes! I’ll be hosting at this one at 9:00 pm (CT), but you’re definitely going to want to come early to this one to catch all the fabulous AweThors.

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The third Facebook event I’m part of this week is a celebration for the release of Megan Crewe’s BEAST. If you like you’re YA dark you’re going to have to check this one out. I’ll be hanging out here at on Thurs June 1st at 5:30pm (CT). Come on by!

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Also on June 1st I’m excited to announce that I’m part of not one, but TWO online scavenger hunts.  Firstly there’s this one. But you’re going to have to visit Doris, the Vacuu-Droid with an attitude for more details!

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And secondly there’s the YA Summer Scavenger Hunt – starting June 1st. My secret word and bonus contest will be right here on this blog. Click the banner below for the master list of participants – and there are a lot of them!

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And last, but not least to celebrate this week of awesomeness I have Tea & Dark Chocolate on sale everywhere for just 99 cents!

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Sins of the Past – The Mysterious Matt Lovell

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It’s Sunday, and Sunday on Paws 4 Thought means Sins of the Past. Today we introduce the second author in the book, Matt Lovell. Tell us a little bit about yourself Matt.

I’m an insomniac writer, actor, director, puzzle-maker, computer geek, music and TV aficionado, cat-lover, night owl, and internet addict.

Who are your favorite authors?

I’d have to say Douglas Adams and Ray Bradbury are at the top of the list. This list changes of course.  But really anyone that is very clever with words. Both of those authors were amazing wordsmiths in different ways. Adams was a master at taking words and overanalyzing them from a satirical point of view until you forgot what his main point was. That’s pure comedy gold. I’ve seen authors try to write comedy before in genre fiction(fantasy, sci-fi, etc). And they end up just falling flat. They made likable characters but their comedy just wasn’t funny. That takes a special gift really I think. I don’t really think you can teach someone to write comedy. It’s something you have…and absorb from other comedians (whether authors or actors or comics, etc). Anyway he’s a huge influence on fusing comedy into stories, even serious ones. As his stories are usually ABOUT something serious, which makes the comedy work even more.

(Totally agree about Adams and comedy writing. He’s up there in my top writers list too, DMK)

Bradbury on the other hand…every time I read a Bradbury book or short story I feel like I’m reading a free verse poem. Look at things like The Halloween Tree. There is more imagery in one page of that than a whole book of poetry. And even though he is “sci-fi”, most of his stories really are incredibly grounded in reality. No aliens or star wars stuff. A lot of “what if” future sci-fi. And really he melds sci-fi and horror quite seamlessly as many of his stories do NOT have a happy ending. Another thing I learned from him is not to over-explain things. He simply acts as if everything in his little world is common knowledge until suddenly while you reading, it IS! He doesn’t write down to people but assumes they are intelligent. I really like writers like that.

Tell me a little about your story Sic Semper Susurrus.

The first thing that came to my head for a historical time period was Julius Caesar with vampires. Sic Semper Susurrus is what came out of that. It’s about a bored Roman senator who suddenly gets in the middle of a treacherous conspiracy. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean something’s not out to get you. For research of course I watched Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part I’. Treasure Bath!

What inspires you to write?

Everything. Absolutely everything. However it’s a matter of whether I’m actually aware and ambitious enough to catch hold of that story idea that comes floating into my life and lasso it to the page. Usually I just absentmindedly let it float by in my laziness and go back to humming tunes stuck in my head. There are a couple of things I do that help me develop ideas. One is taking a shower and the other is going for a walk. In both cases there is just me. I am isolated. There are no distractions. No internet, no computer, no TV.  Just me and my thoughts. And I just force myself to think about my story issues and suddenly other ideas join together until I have a solution.

Let’s talk puzzles – tell us a little bit about the interactive stories and puzzles you’ve created?

Oh wow. I’ve been doing puzzles for several years now. I got involved in helping with various puzzle events at Microsoft. Seattle has quite a thriving puzzle community. Think crossword and word search puzzles on acid. The types of crazy things you found in Games Magazine (or today Games World of Puzzles). That magazine started my love of them. So I started making puzzles for these events. Usually relatively simple puzzles, but they’d always have a twist. My favorite is doing weird things with word searches. I created a word search that was crossed with a cryptogram that got all its clues from music files once.  I love music and like to inject my music favorites onto other people whenever possible. Some of my puzzles have actually been huge undertakings and were very interactive. I made a 4-part adventure puzzle which forced competitors to run to different parts of the Microsoft campus while having to solve four different puzzles based on Rush songs.

What do you like to do to relax?

I watch TV. Yeah, yeah I know. Lots of people say “OMG TV is so bad for you! I never watch TV!” I love TV. Wonderful stories are told on television. In fact it’s probably the number one source of comedy there is. I don’t take TV seriously. In fact I try to learn from it. I often come across a series that does things with a story in ways I never expected. It is great finding a great original new show. Of course if it’s that good of an idea it will probably be cancelled. Ha! I also like listening to music. Again for the same reasons. My favorite is 70s progressive rock. Lots of wonderful musical stories they are.

I’m a big fan of TV sitcoms too – do you have an all-time favorite?

Whoa, that will require a list for sure. Most of my all-time favorites were not exactly standard sitcoms. Topping that list I think is Futurama. The satire and stories are just brilliant. Sometimes really scifirific, sometimes very poignent, sometimes very biting, and usually hilarious.  (Great choice, DMK.)

Others on the all-time list are M*A*S*H, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Red Dwarf, Blackadder (yes the British do comedy better). For more standard sitcom fair, I always really liked NewsRadio, Frasier, The Office (the Brit version is brilliant but the American version, once it found its own voice, was flat out uberbrilliant and hysterical to boot), Night Court, Seinfeld, and the original Bob Newhart Show…and how could I forget Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. So most of my favorites are odd in their own way. I think you need that unusual setting or style in order to be really funny.

So music, what are your favorite bands and artists?

I so adore the stories and music landscapes of progressive 70s rock. Rush is my favorite. From 2112 and Hemispheres Grace Under Pressure, science fiction worlds are explored, philosophies pondered, and musical masterpiece achieved. You would really think Bradbury were writing the lyrics to so many of these gems. Also in that list are Genesis and Yes.

Genesis told more fantasy and dark stories with both humor and pathos. More briliant playing and tons of atmosphere. Steve Hackett’s swirling acoustic guitar really takes you on a journey. Yes, is like a bite of poetry that you taste that lifts you up and lets you float away on it. It is a bumpy ride, but at their best there was magic in their sound.

Pink Floyd – another seminal group. Everyone knows them, sure. I think their early middle period was best The Meddle/Dark SIde Stuff. Of course Wish You Were Here is also brilliant. (My favorite, DMK) These are groups really that every time I listen to their songs, there is an entire story playing out in my head to match, and oftentimes a different one than the last time I heard it. Can’t forget Beatles and Bowie of course….but there are tons of others I like. Too many. I must go listen to them all now.

Oh and one more thing .  I got a stereo for Christmas when I was young. I had it into adulthood. It was a very cheap and nothing stereo, but it had a turntable on top. One day I was listening to “Welcome to the Machine” by Pink Floyd, you know the song that starts with this robotic motor sound winding up and has this thump all through it…well at the end, once it is through (listen to it on youtube to hear what I mean), at the end, the song literally winds down. The wind up from the beginning is reversed, the synthesizer pitches up like an alarm sound and then winds all the way down to a low note and a last thump…when it got to that part….my stereo….stopped beating forever…and died. Was the most wondrous and sad music moment ever.

So the question I’m asking everyone in these interviews. If you could travel to any time and place in the past where and when would you go?

Probably wherever Doctor Who is so I can stow away and become the next companion. Then find a way to go back to the period where Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee were the Doctor. I liked them. I’d steal the scarf for sure. Somewhere in Europe would be nice though. Middle Ages maybe. I’d make sure I was aristocracy of course so I could wear all the cool clothes and not be gawked at and called a mere cosplayer. Live in a castle or manor house. Of course I’d get all the vaccinations I could first…and bring my computer. Do you think castles had wifi?

(Love it – I want to be Tom Baker’s companion too, DMK)

So what’s next from Matt Lovell. What are you currently working on?

Working on a few word puzzle projects right now. Unfortunately the letters don’t always cooperate and I have to keep yelling at the screen to get them to line up properly. As for writing I am going back through a number of short stories which I’m compiling into a YA horror anthology book. I probably have a couple more to write to get it complete. Maybe something about zombie fish or wereflamingoes. The world needs more of them. No wait. Wereunicorns! I hear they are fabulously scary!

(I’d go with the wereflamingoes – definitely – actually I kind of had one of those in Argentum, hmmm … DMK)

How can readers connect with you?

They can pick up the nearest object and throw it at me. Once I turn and shout things at them, we can then have what’s called a conversation. Of course, the days of throwing rocks at each other is a bit passé. I suppose most folks are on Facebook. Here’s a link that I THINK works, although they just YET AGAIN changed how Facebook is displayed so who knows?

Want to read a sample of Matt’s story? Sure you do:

I paid little attention to the orations today.

“And let us send this to another vote shall we, Senators? But first…discussion.”

Same dull lot blathering on. Persuvius….Glomus….Horatius… Dullus, dullus, dullus. They may as well ALL be called Dullus. What are they saying? I don’t know and I don’t care.

“And the temple gates need replacing…”

The hard stonework of the benches did little to improve my mood. Oh, my gluteus maximus.

“There is an ink shortage. Perhaps we can send an expedition to capture a creature called an octopus…”

Oh good, Carius Litus, he of the flashy purple toga. That’s all I need.

“The toga weaver requires yet more cloth and dye to make our new togas…”

I think I moaned.

I could use some mulled wine about now. Maybe I could chat up that fellow Homer and see if he has a new play to boost my spirits. The one about that captain that sailed away and lost most of his crew fighting monsters was a good one. That was exciting. He should write another of those. Things with monsters.

“-alus?”

Everyone is looking at me. Why is that?

“Galus?”

“Uh…what?” I replied.

“Galus, is something wrong? It is your turn to speak.”

“Monsters?” I said.

The onlookers and gawkers chuckled at me.

“Galus, are you feeling all right? You look…”

“How do I look?”

“You look…sad.”

“Sad,” I replied sitting back down, “I look sad. Sad hail Caesar.”

I stared at my sandals. Grey. Like my heart. I didn’t need to look up again to know they were still staring at me. Leaning into one another, covering their mouths with the sides of their hands. As if that hid their gossip from me. Their words were of a poison proportional to the number of teeth they showed. Thankfully, it didn’t last long. They quickly went back to business, i.e. talking at length about themselves to make themselves look good. I left before they finished. I really needed to get out of there.

To read more pick up a copy of Sins of the Past today!

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Evil Tegs, Puzzling Puzzles, and Assorted April Stuff

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Whoa, we’re half way through April already. April’s a busy month for me.

This April I’ve set myself TWO challenges. I’m doing both Camp NaNoWriMo and over on my puzzle blog I’m Blogging from A to Z.  Plus tomorrow I’m going to be on Changes with Sally Ember talking all things bookish and puzzly.

Pleased to report the writing part is going well. So far each day in April I’ve completed my assigned one thousand words. I try to write them in the morning before turning on my internet. That way I don’t get distracted. Here’s a little excerpt from today’s writing. Max is reuniting with a certain evil Teg – we know that’s unlikely to go well.

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Anyway Stella knew you’d be hungry. She picked these berries just for you. Don’t they smell scrumptious? They are rich and juicy. Won’t you try one?”

“No, I’m not hungry,” lied Max.

“Stella’s sorry, did she not make it clear? If you want to leave this room and see your darling Celia you must eat. The choice is simple. Eat a berry or stay here in this room until you die.”

“You’re bluffing Stella. Gromer told me. You don’t age in the shadow world, so I would never die.”

“Oh I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Stella and her sister have some interesting ways of disposing of their guests when they are no longer useful. Interesting and painful ways … and entertaining too. It gets so boring down here, nothing like a little bit of torture to relieve the monotony.”

Max gulped.

“So what will it be? Eat a berry … or die? And certainly if you choose the second option I can make your demise particularly interesting and rather painful. Won’t that be fun … for me?”

Want to read more about the Teg? Pick up a copy of Argentum today!

Now the puzzly part. Over on my puzzle blog is L day and L of course is for Logic problems. You can download a sample from Paws 4 Logic AND all this month both the paperback and kindle versions are on sale – Just 6.99 for the paperback or $2.99 for the kindle.

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And finally there’s Changes – watch tomorrow morning when I meet with Sally Ember via Google Hangouts and Youtube. Who knows where the conversation my lead!

Happy April Folks!