DebisZoo

Fantasy worlds. Magical inhabitants. Timeless battles between Good and Evil.

About debiszoo

Although I live in beautiful New Mexico, which is an excellent place to live, I find the world at large to be a trying place in which to exist. Therefore, I work hard to remove my readers from this world and transport them to one where good overcomes evil, and evil is punished; good is either inherent or learned, and good is always rewarded; and love—for a human, a cat, or a dragon—always wins. I revel in, angst over and would enjoy living the worlds I build, although I would need to learn to wield a weapon and dress a deer. And finally, I wish only to ensure that my worlds of fantasy keep the worries of life from seeping into them. I cannot; however, say the same for evil mages and misled trolls. I retired from writing for the federal government, where I took federal laws and turned them into plans and procedures understandable by the human brain. I have one wonderful husband, two amazing kids, and seven great cats. I also enjoy oil painting and crochet, probably in that order, on those infrequent occasions when I'm not writing.

How Much Do You Love Your Cat?

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Living with Elliot, Moggy, PeiWei, Anny Catt, Chiisai, Cookie, and Fred

Call me crazy, but it’s true—we have collected seven cats. The youngest two are foster failures, that is, we were foster parents and somehow they, along with two other orphans, so ingratiated themselves into our hearts that we could never bring ourselves to return them to the shelter. They were adopted. We’re so weak! Another cat is Anny Catt (do you buy yarn? Do you recognize the play on a name?) and she is very tiny—5 pounds at her last vet visit. She is nice enough to share her bedroom suite with us and hates all other living beings except my husband and me, and after ten years, I am still on probation. The other two are brothers (Elliot and Moggy), and they are a geriatric pair.

We have a huge house, a sunroom, and a 30-foot outdoor cat tower, in other words, our cats are very protected and very spoiled. Now that you’ve been introduced to our feline menagerie, I’d like to talk about medicating cats. Both Anny and Moggy have hyperthyroidism. One day I happened to notice that Moggy seemed to be a shadow of his former self but also running around like crazy cats. And as we thought about it, it seemed Anny Catt was much the same. We knew something was wrong. No matter how much we fed them, it wasn’t enough, they grew thinner, pooped like madcats, and continued to run around all day and all night. The vet gave us the same medication for both cats, and thus began the battles of wits, strength, and unrelenting determination. Yeah, cats got that, too. I think they are part donkey.

There are things to remember when trying to get a pill smaller than a baby aspirin into a cat:

  1. Expect pain. They have teeth like little knives; those small jaws shut fast and tighter than a clam.
  2. Expect more pain. They have claws that are just as sharp (trimming claws? No, thanks) and almost as fast.
  3. Yeah, yeah, more. They’re stronger than they look, something along the lines of a wolverine, and fight administering the pill worse than said critter.
  4. They are fast! They have the reflexes of ninjas when confronted with “the pill.” They react a lot quicker than we do to when being clutched and to external stimuli!
  5. Forget purrito’ing them. Even with a Kevlar blanket and Velcro, their ninja-like skills thwart every attempt. There hasn’t been a towel made that will hold Anny in a purrito.
  6. They’re drama kings/queens. If by some chance, the medication does touch their lips, they promptly present a Lawrence Olivier Shakespearean death scene. Poisonnnn…and out it comes.

Moggy only has one tooth left in his head, and it’s a canine, but he will still snap at me if I try to pill him. The vet was fast and elegant, like a ballerina. She deftly placed the offending tablet in its desired location, tipped his head back and it was gone! When we try, it’s a creepy feeling—like poking your finger in a bear trap. The two times we did manage to get it into him, he waited, and then actually spit it out, just like in the cartoons! Phoot, and it’s gone. Our daughter, on the other hand, has skills as if trained by Ringling Brothers. Without chair or whip, she gives pills and trims claws for any cat in our house (except Anny Catt, who sits under (and in the middle) of our king-size bed and growls). She has the other brother cat, and a foster failure, too. We think she practices the dark arts.

After another visit to the vet, where she said, “It’s just like this, just pop it in!” and gave us sympathetic looks, we (brainstorm!) decided to buy a pill grinder and hide the pill in food. We tried a variety of food: hamburger, raw and sautéed; chicken, white meat, dark meat, innards—grilled and minced; sardines (never again!); and even canned tuna for humans. After many failed attempts, we discovered a cat food that is so nasty it must be heavenly, yet it disguises the taste, because now Anny Catt takes her meds every morning, like a little pig.

Not so the wise and cranky Moggy. O Moggy, of the eighteen years, brother of the alpha cat, Elliot. Yes, he thinks he is royalty. And therefore, he shall not take that pill. We tried cat food after cat food, all the way up to paying almost $3 for a small, single serve can. The other cats became resentful of that tiny bowl of precious yummies, and growling would commence. It got to the point where Moggy was afraid to put his face in the bowl, lest someone ambush him. So he quit eating his “Exclusive Kitty.”

We next tried half-and-half. We warmed it up. Nope. Next came whipped topping. Moggy liked that well enough, as long as it didn’t have meds in it. I guess he smelled it; he sulked and crept away, shooting us dirty looks over his shoulder. My hubby, Steven, puzzled as to why the cream method was no longer working, actually tasted a ground-up pill. It was awful. The taste lingered for over two hours, he reported, with more sympathy for the furbabies.

Finally, we hit upon cream cheese. It must be able to disguise that taste, given its own strong flavor (and smell). We tried softened cheese at first, but it was a royal pain to mix a crushed orange pill into a tablespoon of cheese (any more is just too much, for some reason, and he won’t finish it), so we switched to whipped cheese. It worked! For a while. So we warmed it up a bit, and he ate it up.

And that’s where we stand now. Every morning, he gets his little spoonful of cheese, with the pill, on a TV tray, because the slighted cats decided they would have a go at cream cheese if it meant they were getting something special.

And we wonder what lengths others go to in order to keep their uncooperative pets healthy.

 

Top Customer Review from the U.K.

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Since I can’t get Amazon to share my Amazon.UK reviews with you on my two books currently available, I thought I would share them with you here. All of these reviews were copied from Amazon, UK, exactly as written, except that I’ve removed names and left their initials. Thanks to my American and British readers, as well as those from other countries, where I haven’t figured out yet how to retrieve their comments. I really appreciate so much the reviews that are left for my books!.

 Dragon Rings

Magical fantasy!!  5.0 out of 5 stars

By ML H.on 26 November 2017

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Magical fantasy remains my enduring favourite genre for the rich talent it produces. There are a lot of authors and new releases to choose from and often it is hard to separate the wheat from the chaff but occasionally an author appears on my radar who really grabs my attention. This was the case with Dragon Rings (The Ring-Witches of Nesht Book 1) which to my mind is a fine example of fantasy fiction. Of particular note here is the imaginative world building, which is a must for all good fantasy whilst characters and their development is up there with the best.
It’s hard to write in any genre without falling back on established tropes but these remain in the main avoided with a strong narrative and a highly intriguing plot where multiple threads are skilfully handled and resolved. Overall Dragons Rings proved an excellent start to a series I think many readers will enjoy and I for one am eager to read the next instalment.

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Very Good! 5.0 out of 5 stars

By J. E J. on 11 November 2017

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Dragons and witches-what a wonderful combination! As a fantasy fan, Debi Ennis Binder had combined two stalwarts of fantasy fiction and made them into a wonderful story that is hard to put down.I am always a little shy of new authors but any concerns I had proved mis-founded as page after page I found myself enthralled by her story. Written in an easy going style that keeps all the elements of the plot in focus, I turned the last page and was only disappointed that I had finished the book.

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Enjoyable.  5.0 out of 5 stars

By C. S. 13 November 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

I suspect I am addicted to this genre but I increasingly find myself abandoning books half way through because they fail to meet my expectations. Mostly it’s a plot that ends up meandering along and you know it’s not going anywhere but with this novel I had no complaints at all. It’s hard to bring something original to the table when there are so many novels about witches and Dragons but this one was and very well written as well. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think other Fantasy fans would too.

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Summerbird Rises

Excellent book!  5 out of 5 stars

ML H. 10 December 2017

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

For anyone looking for a new Fantasy genre author who writes a wicked story then Debi Ennis Binder should be on their list. I first read Debi’s Dragon Rings Dragon Rings (The Ring-Witches of Nesht series) and was impressed with both the quality of her writing and the breadth of her imagination. Choosing between her two books would be hard but with Summerbird fresh in my mind it just takes the edge as my favourite so far. In the main this is down to the character of Summerbird Asii. Described as a truly inept seer she is wonderfully nuanced to create a vibrant and endearing character that readers will warm to. I certainly did! Beyond Summerbird’s character the story hangs nicely on a superb plot with more wonderful world building. Definitely a book for genre fans who appreciate good writing and are looking for a thrilling new series.

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Very much enjoyed this book  5.0 out of 5 stars

19 November 2017

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

A tale of ying and yang. Of good and evil. Having already read Dragon Rings I was keen to get stuck into Summerbird Rises, and whilst I loved Dragon Rings this is hands down my favourite of the two. It is beautifully written, and Debi weaves her own enchantment to create magical worlds and characters that really get into your mind as you read. As with Dragon Rings, the plot is quite complex, but what I really like is that despite the multiple threads they all find the right degree of resolution towards the end. Very much looking forward to the next release in this series.

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Good strong Fantasy  5.0 out of 5 stars

By C. S. 20 November 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

The backbone of any good fantasy novel has to be the world building. If an author is to transport a reader to a different time and place then they need to make it believable and this is what Debi Binder does really well. I felt immersed in Summerbird’s world (worlds) from the first page as they are quickly brought to life through an endearing back story and whimsical prose. This is my second novel from the same author and on both occasions, I have enjoyed reading them immensely.

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Binder does a very good job in weaving them together in a believable fashion  5.0 out of 5 stars

By: G. L. 28 September 2016 – Published on Amazon.com

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I read this book while it was still in its early version. I thought it was perhaps a little long at 750-pages. I was wrong. The writing in this book is very well done for a first-time novelist and Ms. Binder carefully avoids the rookie mistakes most authors make. In particular are the characters she portrays in this story are well-thought out and very real. In particular are her descriptions: while vivid, they are not overdone. I had no real philosophical problem with the way the story ran or the method of advancing the plot. The only possible criticism I can make are the sheer number of characters in this work, but in the end Ms. Binder does a very good job in weaving them together in a believable fashion. For fans of this genre, I give it five stars and hope to see more from Ms. Binder in the future.

4 people found this helpful.

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Absolutely fabulous   5.0 out of 5 stars

By: D. B. 23 November 2017

Published on Amazon.com

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Summerbird Asii is truly an inept Seer, If that description isn’t intriguing enough to grab a readers attention I have no idea what is! More importantly, it sets the tone for what is an absolutely fabulous fantasy novel. One that doesn’t meander through endless pages of waffle but takes us on a spritely adventure full of vivid characters and wonderfully imaginatively described settings. One of the most enjoyable fantasy novels I have read in a long time.

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Summerbird discovers her roots and we get to tag along for the Ride!  5.0 out of 5 stars

JLC 22 May 2017 – Published on Amazon.com

Format: Kindle Edition

Summerbird Asii knew she was different. She could actually “see” things, but she could never tell others just what she “saw”. That meant she used real “Magic”, her crystal ball showed “real” events, and that could get one killed in these parts, that would just not do! The land of Isterr had changed, people watched everything, everyone was suspicious of everyone else. You had to keep your thoughts to yourself even. Summerbird remembered when her Grandfather was around, things were vastly different. You could walk around, birds chirped, people sang, were happy. Then everything radically changed when that dark Castle appeared.

Debi Ennis Binder has spun a tale. A magical fantastic tale full of mystery, suspense, intrigue with a touch of Romance twinned in amongst the pag es. It’s a tale of adventure as well as a tale of becoming. Summerbird’s true self emerges as the events unfold. This opens up the complex, well developed worlds of Isterr and Emythor, one is very dark, dangerous the other very magical and light. The companions she takes with her or meets on her journey, Orkney, her sweet cat, Miffin Griffin, and others are not exactly as they seem. There is more to them, they only show Summerbird the side they want her so see!

I really enjoyed this early glimpse into these worlds. Debi weaves a well written tale that kept my interest. So if you like adventure, magic and fantasy with romance, pick up a copy! You will not be disappointed!

I was given a copy but the Honest Review is freely given.

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Summerbird Rises is a nice first effort by Debi Ennis Binder   4.0 out of 5 stars

M. 4 March 2018 – Published on Amazon.com

Format: Kindle Edition

Summerbird Rises is a nice first effort by Debi Ennis Binder. It’s not a perfect novel, but I found it enjoyable to read overall. By the end, I was interested in reading the next book in the series to see how the story progressed. Since the second novel isn’t out yet, I’ll have to wait. This book would be nice for fans of light, easy-to-read fantasy stories.

 

Revisiting Dragons and Witches

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Dragon Rings (The Ring-Witches of Nesht Book 1) by [Binder, Debi Ennis]

I’d like to invite you into the magical, sometimes frightening beginnings of the realm of Ring-witches and dragons–the world of Nesht.

Meet Mayra, a powerful Ring-Witch who has been raised an adventurer as a reever, the king’s formidable enforcers. After many years, she finds herself seeking new adventures on her horizon. But for the present, she is second in command of an investigation into mysterious and deadly attacks on the kingdom. Where she runs into Wolfe, who is she soon learns, a Ring-Witch in hiding, and also an effective assassin. The dark and austere man wants to complete one last job before returning to his homeland. Their immediate attraction doesn’t startle them nearly as much as figuring out that both of them have been hearing and seeing things that should be the stuff of nightmares, yet couldn’t possibly be, not when there is evidence of their reality. When at last the two witches come face-to-face with the creator of those mysterious and frightening messages, their lives are set on a course that will alter the futures of every human upon their world.

Gaulte, a powerful, tragic black dragon, has been magically captured, along with all of the males of his Aerie, and used by evil humans to kill and ravage seemingly without cause. Other of their kind have taken all of the Aerie females and nestlings as hostage. He survives on dreams of revenge until he links minds with an astonishingly feisty creature–but how could this–dear gods, it is a female human! How can it–she possibly help? And yet, she does! She risks her own life to help him. It takes the magic of witches to free Gaulte and his kind. It will take the blood of the other humans to satisfy his revenge if the witches aren’t able to help him free his family.

As a reward for freeing the dragons, Gaulte begins teaching the witches the many ways that their kind and dragons belong together, how they can help each other. Even he doesn’t know that such proximity will alter the magic of dragons and witches alike and finally fulfill an ancient prophecy that tells how the mingling of their powers will create superior beings, enhanced, but not necessarily nobler. And only one dragon and one human have a will strong enough to ensure that doesn’t happen.

The adventures of Gaulte, Mayra, Wolfe, and the other witches and dragons start in “Dragon Rings” and end in “Dragon’s Revenge” (due out later this year).

You can find “Dragon Rings” here: https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Rings-Ring-Witches-Nesht-Book-ebook/dp/B075H39PVD/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Trying to Write in the Modern World

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Sometimes I wish I had a typewriter again. Or a moveable type printing press of my own that I could hook up to Amazon and be on my way. At this time, I’m not a fan of Word! We were having mini wars and major battles galore! And Word was winning! I’m working on Chapter 13 of “Dragon’s Revenge” and was at a standstill. So I bought another license for Word 10, and it wouldn’t download and work, no matter what. I bought another, installed it, it works and now I’m trying to get my money back. Edit😐 But at least I get to jump back into Chapter 13. The dragons are waiting!

That was a post in My Books on FaceBook, a month or so ago. I happen to glance at it again, and decided I needed to expound upon it. It was written in the throes of passion–well, in the clutches of being really angry and panicky. How can I write and keep up that wonderful flow, if my word processor won’t keep up with me? In case you aren’t aware, I got rid of my beautiful laptop a few months earlier, replacing it with a basic model of another make. My other lappie was sleek and silver, this one is black😐.

So no, I don’t really want a typewriter. What I want is a pink lappie. With dark pink accents. I want it to have a satin finish, and for the backlit keyboard to be dark, dark fuschia. That would be so cool! Color is so important to humans, but I personally think it’s more so to those who create. It calms and excites, stirs those creative juices and ramps me up to where I’m raring to create and write! In fact, it’s second only to music for changing my mood, enabling me to jump back into a world I created, find the realm that needs my attention, make my way to the people and situations I left behind and GO! By the way, I do change my music depending upon the scene. Examples: a romantic scene needs Stevie Nicks or Sarah McLachlan; something exciting and medieval definitely needs Blackmore”s Night. And Kitaro! And Verdi…oh, I have to stop. Time to go listen to something that will help me rescue a lot of irate dragons from a cave, where they’re being held by humans, and have my witches make it out in one piece!

 

The Computer Formerly Known as Sami

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I had a nice laptop, it was silver, with nice silver and gray keys, and that should have been my first warning. It was slick, with lots of bells and whistles (yes, the second warning), and it hated me. That should always be a signal. We as writers develop relationships with our computers and get to know them fairly well. They have good days and bad days, but if it’s a nice, well-working system. most of those days are good. Not so my late, departed lappie. Yes, she was a 2-year-old lappie, a sweet little–well, never mind.

The Warnings. The first one I mentioned was the keypad, gray on silver. Within a week, I couldn’t read those backlit little–um, keys, to save me. So I bought a nice, pink keyboard skin and that helped until the keys started sticking. I swear I could pound on them before they’d magically advance–8 keys at a time. The second issue–it was simply too much computer for me. I didn’t need all that memory and speed, there wasn’t even a game on it that I used. I wrote on it. That’s it. So when it started kicking me off the Internet, or completely off the thing, I didn’t know where to turn. I took it to a popular store with a popular “Squad” and they mulled it over a while, and finally told me something to the effect that there was a conflict with the network manager. So each time I started the computer, I would right mouse click the main button down there in the lower left corner, go to Device Manager, down to Network Connections, and delete a whole bunch of drivers, then restart the system so it could find my WiFi. You can’t make this stuff up. That’s how I knew it hated me.  So, sadly, I began looking for another system.  I found a basic one that Google assures me is good for writers. I sent my old faithful to my brother for him to happily take apart and revamp. I don’t care what he does with it, as long as he doesn’t sleep in the same room with it.

As I write this, I am having to resave everything at least three times. Nothing works. But earlier today, we decided that our current Internet company was to blame for a lot of our problems and next week we’re changing companies, after over 15 years with the current one. I don’t know what they changed, but it was a BAD decision.

So, if not for the sticky keys, the fact that I couldn’t see the keyboard, and that it kicked me off for no reason, I guess I could have kept the other one and saved myself $350. Or maybe it was cursed. The gods know I cursed at it enough for it to get an attitude.

 

Writing – It’s More than a Pursuit

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​Fantasy writers are unique in that they take a flat piece of paper, build a world on it, then populate that world all the way down to the size of the points on an elf’s ears. Swear words, pets, fashion, politics, and what’s for dinner–we create it all. It’s a true work of love! 

My favorite task in starting a new book or series is the naming of characters. That involves a series of steps (for me, anyway). First of all, I must decide where my world will be based, e.g., language, customs, mythology, etc. Usually I use the Celtic world, followed by Germanic or Japanese. The latter surprises some people, but I lived in Japan twice in my life, for several years. In my “Ring-Witch of Nesht” series, the codes the dragons live by are based on bushido, the codes of morals developed by the samurai. I tweaked the Eight Virtues of the Samurai until they were dragon-centric, and became the Eight Virtues of the Great White Dragon. Such fun! They are like a religion to the dragons, and the dominant dragon, Gaulte, has realized that his Clan might not be able to live by those rules and live with witches, as well. How will the others of his Clan handle that?

Once I’ve placed my characters into a suitable culture I get to start developing them, including what they look like, their strengths and weaknesses, are they rich, do they fight, do magic, or something else, and so on. And then their names. I’ve been accused of trying to make them hard to say, impossible to remember, and just plain weird. A character’s name may change several times before I find a fit. I say them aloud, talk to them, give them a voice…in short, they’re now a person. More fun! 

Now each major character is ready to climb into my head and take over. Seriously, sometimes it’s difficult to make them behave. So, we start working on the story. And that’s a story for another day!

Editing and Killing off Characters. . .

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“Summerbird’s Quest” is undergoing edit now (by me–eek!), and what an undertaking it is! I admit it’s difficult to take a knife blade to one’s own work, but every time I find something to fix, I seem to come up with another thing to fix that I think will make it better. And…you guessed it, I return still later and put it back the way it was! Has anyone come up with suggestions for developing a way to pretend that what you’re reading isn’t yours? How do you untangle yourself from your own characters and plots?

I know Faulkner is credited with saying, “In writing, you must kill your darlings,” but these guys are hitting back! I admit I’ve never brought anyone back to life (or unexpectedly killed them) after deciding their fate, but some of these characters are making me pull out my hair!

Ooh—I just told a fib! In “Dragon Rings” I went back and killed off someone after making them a minor character and had to make some major revisions for a couple of chapters to address her loss. She was a kid. It was kinda sad. Well, back to the editing grindstone.

If anyone out there wants to help—you get your name in the acknowledgments and a free e-book. And you get to make suggestions!

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