Books by Debi Ennis Binder

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

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Hope — There’s No Keeping It Down

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My cat, Fred, had been missing for a few days now. He must have gotten out through the garage when we were getting rid of packing boxes. We moved here a few months ago, but were saving the boxes–oh, that just doesn’t matter.

He is MY boy, he sits on my lap. He’s soft, a flame-point mix with white fur and crossed blue eyes. He’s very timid. And he’s gone.

I keep telling myself we’ll find him, then I sink into depression and tell myself he’s gone, he’s too naive to make it out in the wild on his own. I convince myself to stop worrying and thinking, I’ve called around, I’ve put a notice on Next Door, and even on a national pet connection site. I called our old neighbors, in case he somehow makes his way back to our old house on the other side of town. It has been known to happen (that’s called HOPE).

As I’m doing other things, I go to the door and call him. He’s such a little scaredy-cat, so timid. Being cross-eyed, everything must look scary to him. After reconciling myself to the fact that he might be gone–hit by a car or taken by the coyotes or the huge dogs around here, I still keep catching myself watching out the windows to see a flash of white, and calling for him.

I suppose that’s what hope is. I can’t make it go away. Until I either have him back, or know that he is gone, I can’t make myself stop hoping he will return. Hope must be a gift, something to keep you from falling into a cauldron of self-despair while you’re waiting for the bad thing to go away. Like a virus or an illness or a condition.

My husband just got a pacemaker and it’s making him feel so much worse. I’ve gained 18 pounds in the last two months. How does a person even do that? But there’s that hope–I will try harder to get those pounds to shrink back down, and he will visit the cardiologist today to figure how why his new hardware is wonky.

And Fred will come home.

Furry Fred

Introspection from a Quarantined Family

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Being quarantined has resulted in some strange goings-on in our household of two humans and six cats. Since we’re retired, we spend more time at home than other people we know, so the cats are fairly accustomed to our hanging around in their house more than we used to. Yes, we have cats that old. While there are some disagreements as to whose turn it is to sit in what chair, we generally send them flying off the item in dispute by throwing the treat bag across the room and leaving them to fight with it for a while trying to get to the treats.

Another, more insidious issue, is the TV. We have a large-screen TV, a “must have; I’m retired” item that has taken over our living room. Hubby used to be a news junky, but not anymore, it’s just too repetitive and depressing. I thought—wonderful! No more of that awful news! He will spend more time in his workshop, leaving me at peace in my office (right next to home-theater-sized TV), and we can have a nice lunch, watch some TV… But no, instead, he has discovered YouTube. I watch YT at times 😉; I like to read about entitled people getting their comeuppance, and cheating spouses getting their comeuppance, and spoiled kids—yes, there’s a theme here. And I love to watch cats. Don’t we all? But hubby has discovered other kinds of videos. A man who demonstrates wood turning. Another one who talks about welding equipment and dismantling a pickup truck. We get the spend our lunch watching dashcams from various parts of Europe—those people have some serious driving issues! They are trying to kill each other. On a 5-lane road with no markings! It’s a free-for-all! And even more vidoes of people from here in U.S., trying even harder to kill each other! More videos, with people “brake-checking.” Apparently, this is something where you’re driving really fast, then out of nowhere, a car whips in front of you (I suppose at some time you irritated the driver, or your car is the wrong color), anyway, he jumps in front of you and slams on his brakes! And then they get incensed when you hit them! I just stare in wonder that these people are even driving. There’s a channel that does some nifty DIY stuff, he’s only marginally interested in that…so we watch it for a while. And then—this cracks me up—magnet fishing! Hubby used to have a metal detector many years ago; it’s in the garage sonewhere. He recently exchanged the idea of a metal detector for a magnet that must be 2-feet wide that he drags around the property, picking up metal objects. That’s legit—no one one wants the mower to launch a 4-inch nail through the air. But these videos show young men, or in particular, a young man and his dad, using magnets to troll rivers in the U.K. It’s great for bonding; that’s apparent, but can you imagine the wife at home—well love, what kind of crap have you found today and dragged home? Ah, an old, rusted bike frame and a road sign? You shouldnt have! And six old spikes and a piece of a bed frame? I can use those! They did find some money once, in fact, several bags of money… wrapped up with wax and other weird little things in bags–OMG, put those back! They’re voodoo or something! They found empty safes by the boatload. Where are all these safes coming from? That’s what I want to know! So, this is often our lunch and early afternoon viewing pleasure. I want to watch the cats—I get to watch a puma named Messi, who lives with a delightful young Russian couple! He is adorable! I recommend him: I Am Puma. But avoid the river magnet people. They are sooo boring. Even finding a gun or a grenade can’t liven them up.

Another quarantine issue, which I recently shared with FB friends, is that I am experiencing really dry skin now; unlike I’ve ever had before. Like “arms and legs with dandruff ” dry. Or “living on Mars in the summer with snowflakes coming off your body” dry! I don’t think the house is overly dry; I don’t get electrocuted when I walk across a carpet. Of course, I only have one carpeted room—my office. Where I spend a lot of time. Writing and being quarantined. And scratching.

My final quarantine observation has to do with ordering food online to pick up. Since a lot more people are doing this, the time between ordering and pickup can be two or three days. So I start out with an order of around $40, just essentials. And some pretzels. They’re important! Close up the order, pay, and tell Alexa to remind hubby a half-hour before pickup, the day after tomorrow. If you read my blog, you know that Alexa runs our lives. Anyway, not ten minutes later, I remember we need mustard. So I open the site, search for mustard, add it to cart, add that to order that hasn’t been picked up yet—anything else, dear?—and close. An hour later. Hubby: did you remember to put cat-litter in the order? 😬 Me: I asked you if that was everything! 🙄 Well sorry, I forgot! So shoot me. 😠 Open site, type in cat-litter, add to cart, etc. Order is now $48. By the next day, the order is up to $101. BTW, the first order had several large things–sodas and the like, so I didn’t request a 10¢ each, plastic bag for the things to be packed into. The employee could just toss them into the back; most of it was going into the garage refrigerator anyway. Once you say no to bags, you don’t get to go back and beg for bags. I’m not going to tell hubby that tomorrow morning, $101 worth of groceries are going to be tossed into the back of the car, while he sits up front, with the windows rolled up, in his mask. 😟

We will get over this, of course we will, even if it takes a little longer than we hoped it would. Some of the things that have changed in our lives are huge. But it’s still the little things that seemed to get under your skin. And make you itch.

A Room with a Scream

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When we moved to our idyllic little house in the mountains, I was so happy (still am!). A small slab of mountain behind us, and one across the freeway. Freeway? Yes, the freeway, or at least a small section of road, is visible from our front yard. And our picture window. But when we were viewing the house, we sat inside with the doors and windows closed, and then with the windows open, and we couldn’t hear anything, so we decided that really didn’t matter. We’re still in the beautiful mountains, in our sweet, little village. NOTE: There is also a substation next door, but I’ve addressed that in an earlier post.

The day comes when we move our furniture from the city to our little cottage in the–yeah, yeah you get it. We now live in the mountains. After an exhausting day of directing the movers where to put what (they don’t follow directions very well so there was a lot more work to do after they left), it’s time to make the bed and fall into it! It’s so quiet, serene, cold… we like it cold. It’s November, in the mount–yes. We open the windows and snuggle under our quilts. The bedroom cat crawls under. She’s like, what the hell? It’s cold out there! NOTE: Anny Catt (bedroom cat) is 4 lbs of terror; she hates everything on earth but hubby, tolerates me, tries to kill our other 5 cats on sight (remember, she weighs 4 lbs) so she lives in our bedroom. One of our cats weighs 18 lbs, another 20, the others aren’t much smaller A fight is not a pretty sight.

So, we’re all fast asleep, when in the middle of the night, coyotes run by. We’re accustomed to that, we had them running through the arroyo behind our old house, howling and freaking out the cats. It’s kind of a cool sound, sometimes it makes the hair on my airs rise, but it so nature! Only these coyotes sound like they’re standing under our window! They are so loud, they wake me up, my heart pounding. They go rushing by, probably running in the dry creek bed behind our house, or alongside the mountain on the other side of the creek. But they go by fairly quickly and me, hubby, and cat soon so back to sleep.

And then it happens. A ghastly scream breaks the dawn. We both fly up. Cat runs further under the quilts, growling. Silence, then another scream, and another. Dear God, is someone killing someone in our backyard? Hubby runs to the window and slams it shut. No dear, you can’t make the killer go away by shutting a window. By the time he gets to the other window, the next scream ends with a tiny, doodle-doo… Another scream-doodle-doo. It’s a freaking rooster. It sounds like a woman being stabbed to death! I swear!

“Why aren’t the damned coyotes eating that thing?” I demand blearily. “Is that what they’re doing down here, hunting for it?” Can we call animal control? Probably not, we’re living in nature now! Hubby Googles, “how long do roosters live?”

It’s now March and that damned thing wakes us up at dawn nearly every morning, unless we sleep with the windows shut, which we rarely do. Even in the middle of winter, they’re open a crack. Apparently, that’s all the room the sound needs to filter through.

I’m at wits end. I’ve wondered if there’s such a thing as a noise-sensitive floodlight. Or, we can get a screaming goat. You’ve seen them on YouTube. They also sound like a murder victim. If the rooster awakened them, would they scream back? Maybe an airhorn? I don’t know; it’s hard to think rationally at 6 a.m.

So, that’s the view from the bedroom.

In other news regarding the view from my office (substation), we’ve contacted the electric company. The bemused gentleman who came and looked agreed–we need something to put between our house and the eyesore. He wonders why the people who lived here before didn’t do it. I don’t care. I just want to look out my office window and not see an EMP-machine living next door.

Self-Quarantined? I'd Like to Invite You to Read Books One and Two from an Epic Fantasy Series

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The first two books from my series, The Ring-Witches of Nesht, Dragon Rings and Dragon’s Revenge are on sale through 04/04/2020, for .99 each! And as always, both are free on KU.

Something dark and terrible is striking unseen in the night, bringing death and ruin to the peaceable lands of Nesht, and then vanishing back into the cold mists of the surrounding mountains. Two powerful Ring-Witches, Mayra and Wolfe, join uneasy forces to investigate the ongoing—and very puzzling—destruction. How can something be formidable enough to incinerate entire villages and tracts of forests, slaughtering people and animals, yet leave behind massive amounts of valuable gold and jewels? What do these savage invaders want? As they investigate, they hear and feel a large, powerful presence—but it refuses to show itself. When they probe, it brings scorching, mind-rending pain to Mayra—and then inconsolably apologizes for its actions! When Mayra finds a huge, bloodstained talon, she finally knows what that destructive force is—a dragon. A creature so long unseen they are a myth. Once upon a time, dragons treasured witches as allies. What has changed? Why are they attacking humans? Mayra and Wolfe must learn the truth and stop a war the humans cannot possibly win. But joining the dragons would be more than just betraying their king, it could mean their deaths. For Mayra and Wolfe and their small, fierce assembly of witches learn that there are some things worth more than a life. Some causes that even mighty dragons will die for. https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Rings-Ring-Witches-Nesht-Book-ebook/dp/B075H39PVD/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Powerful Ring-Witches, Mayra and Wolfe have fled their kingdom, accompanied by their witch-warrior friends, escaping with the dragons they rescued. But once they reach the dragon’s cold homeland, they find an empty Aerie. Where are the dragon females and the younglings? Barely do the witches have time to rest before they are winging their way to rescue the stolen dragons—but this one is challenging from the beginning. The witches quickly find themselves trapped in a vast system of caverns with Hagan, an evil, fanatical dragon. With his helpers—a greedy shapeshifter and a wrathful gnome, he has stolen something precious from the dragons and hidden it away. Mayra is running out of time. If she doesn’t wrest a powerful talisman from Hagan’s control before he can use it, he will take control of all the noble dragons that Mayra loves. Hagan threatens to kill his hostages—the female dragons and their tiny offspring, unless Mayra leaves him to collect his terrible treasure from its hiding place. Can Mayra and Wolfe rescue the dragons—large and small—and the talisman before Hagan and his irrational accomplices destroy all that the mighty dragons hold dearest to them? It won’t be as easy this time, for Hagan, a wielder of dark dragon magic, dares the humans to battle him—the most savagely horrific dragon ever hatched. https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Rings-Ring-Witches-Nesht-Book-ebook/dp/B075H39PVD/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8tore

A Room with a “View”

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We moved to our wee village in November, 2019. When we purchased our property, we knew (since we can hardly avoid seeing it) that there was a bit of an eyesore on it, that is, the village substation which takes its royal place as part of our property. We went ahead and purchased it because we were aware of laws that require the electric company (EC) to put up landscaping to make our property a bit more pleasant. We can’t imagine why the previous owners never requested the EC plant trees to hide the Decepticon from view, but getting the EC to pay for and plant landscaping is just the sort of challenge Steven (hubby) lives for.

This Blight is what I see out my office window. Steven brushed up on the pertinent laws and contacted the EC. According to them there is money in the budget, and they sent someone out to have a look. We contacted them again yesterday, after giving them two months to think about our plight. The conversation:

EC: Yes, we should get trees. However… trees must be watered. Where will this water come from?

Steven: We have city water, and a well that we use to water our property. You can use that. We just want the Blight hidden so my lovely, patient wife doesn’t look out her window and think of Transformers, versus the elves and witches she prefers to write about.

EC: Hmm… not sure if that’s doable. We’ll get back to you soon!

So, here we are. I am sitting at my desk, looking out my window at the Blight. We installed lovely burgundy mini-blinds, so I can shut those, but then my cats can’t look out at the birds (those of us with cats know what blinds that are attempting to thwart a cat look like). I will update my woeful tale if or when details become available.

The View from my Office

The Warrior Vegetarian

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In my series, The Ring-Witches of Nesht, the female protagonist, Mayra, is a vegetarian. So is one of the males in her group of witch-warrior adventurers.

In Dragon Rings, a chef serves Mayra a delicious stew—I’ll let her describe it:

Mayra sank into her bed, pleasantly full of savory stew. She had enjoyed the thick creation, made from various vegetables and grain that a resourceful cook had used to create a thin dough. He had then shaped the dough into wide noodles—Mayra had smiled at the funny word. The kitchen retainer explained how he had cut the dough into long, threadlike pieces—the noodles—boiled them with the stew, and allowed them to soak up the spicy flavors. It was delicious. She would have to track down the means to prepare such food for herself. With thickly buttered fresh bread and crisp, sweet fruit, her solitary meal had been a feast.

from “Dragon Rings

While the gang is traveling, they take her food choices in stride. She simply ensures she has something nutritional to eat while the others are chowing down on a side of some sort of ungulate. Also, they are aware that she doesn’t want to watch any preparation.

In Dragon’s Revenge, Mayra and the other vegetarian in her crew eat fish for the first time. Again, from her perspective:

Mayra leaned back against Wolfe, savoring the warmth of the fire as it grew, fed with small pieces of wood, and enjoying feeling full. The fish—well, they were fish. Unintelligent, neither magnificent nor spirited, not the typical food of one who had always been a strict herbivore—but Wolfe had at last gotten her to try the cold, scaly things, convincing her that their nutritive value was essential to her well-being. Two of the witches had cooked the repulsive things within leaves that had made them tender and sweet, and almost palatable.

from “Dragon’s Revenge”

At last, we know Mayra’s reason for not eating meat—she sees animals as intelligent, spirited beings not deserving to be eaten. She does have trouble explaining that to dragons, but these great beasts are altruistic and they try to understand. Gaulte, their leader, has bonded with Mayra, and they will not be eating in front of the humans. That might say a lot about dragon table manners–dainty they are not, and they are considerate.

It would have been simpler never to have made Mayra a vegetarian, but it was such an essential part of her personality. In a world of warriors, being unwilling to eat meat is a shortcoming that others might perceive as a weakness which must be defended. But I never have either of the two vegetarians have to defend their choice. Accepting her choice is a testament as to how the witches feel about each other, and ultimately, how the dragons feel about them, as well. Dragons know all humans are odd, and some are more peculiar than others, but they have proven themselves to be fierce warriors, and because of the Enhancement Rings they wear, they are part of the dragons.

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Dragon Rings

Purchase on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Rings-Ring-Witches-Nesht-Book-ebook/dp/B075H39PVD/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

2.99 $

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Dragon’s Revenge

Purchase on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QWQDCLQ?ref_=dbs_pwh_calw_1&storeType=ebooks

3.99 $

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Autumn Returns (Again), Bringing Soup and Socks

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I want to make this an annual posting, as Autumn comes every year (I hope!), so if you’ve read it before–read it again! Maybe I snuck some stuff in below and you’ll never know!

Autumn is my favorite season, and not just because it’s so beautiful, nor because that’s the season when I used to have a birthday, back when I celebrated such an occasion. Alas, I stopped having birthdays two years ago, when the aging process stopped for me. I do love all the best wishes from my friends, but mentally, they are simply, Happy Happy Day. Which could mean anything! Just don’t forget the Happy Day present. And cake.

No, autumn is putting-on-your-sock-in-the house weather. Getting out your sweaters and long-sleeved shirts. Turning on the heater in the morning. Autumn means hearty soup for dinner and leftovers for lunch. Filling the birdfeeders so the birds can stock up on their way south. Digging up the garden and raking leaves (*snrk* I don’t do that anymore, since I had an a-fib, I lug oxygen around with me. See, I told you there would be changes!). 

I decided to add that part above quite intentionally, because as the years pass, we have things happen in our lives. But Autumn, and the other seasons, still pass. This is going to briefly turn into an object lesson. Get out there, rake some leaves, then kick them all over the place. Even better, have your kids/grandlings rake them up, and then kick them…you know the rest. Enjoy each season for what it brings.

As I did previously, I’ll finish with reminding you that family is so important to keep with you; they will be the ones to help you through the changes that time brings. Autumn means Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming and those are also my favorites–the holidays that bind families and make memories. But Spring is planting flowers, going camping, planning your summer vacation, and Summer is going on that vacation (unless you live in NM like me, then it’s sweating your butt off and figuring out how quickly you can move from your air conditioned car to the air conditioned store/house/hospital). And thank goodness, it’s Winter again! Freezing off my butt now–my butt is never happy.

I’ll close this time by noting that I’m not very good at these heart-felt posts, but that’s OK. A lot of my readers (yeah, my fantasy is kind of dark) have trouble relating to them! So enjoy life. You only get one.

A Scene is a Thing of Beauty…

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What does that mean? To me, a scene or a plot point or a character is a Thing I created. I made is as surely as if I had gone to work Monday morning, clocked in–if you ever did that sort of thing–and sat down at a desk, or a machine, or in a company vehicle, and produced a Thing. Therefore…

Don’t you hate it when you’re plotting and preparing a scene and you write it and work it and twist it and BOOM! It isn’t going to work. It doesn’t have the oomph you wanted or it isn’t going to take the reader where you want them to go. You love that Thing. It spoke to you, it had meaning. It was your baby!

What do you do? Euthanize and bury it? Highlight and delete it? Shudder. That’s awful! No, there is an alternative…

I, in a manner of speaking, set up that scene/character/plot point so in the future, I can “plagiarize” myself! I cut and paste it into a file called OLD EXTRAS. Yes, you put the scene and plotting aside and visit them once in a while, just to remind you what’s there! Who knows, maybe someday, the scene, or parts of it, might be able to be tweaked and used somewhere else. Just like old fabric, reclaimed yarn, or pieces of wood or hardware, you can recycle them. Your old noodle worked hard to create that Thing and make it just right. Just like that leftover piece of prime rib…

Never waste a great idea.

“Summerbird’s Quest” Cover Reveal – It’s Coming!

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Alone… is one who will never have another, not a voice, or a touch, or even a thought to share. Alone is… one. Only, ever, one. The Færa Mourne

Summerbird’s Quest

Taken to Emythor by a magical griffin, Summerbird Asii has learned as much magic as can be stuffed into her in such a short time. And in that time, she has realized there are concerns her companions have, they are hiding things from her, and the “task” Miffin Griffin used to lure her away from her village in non-magical Isterr, is much, much more.

Summerbird sets off on her quest with an assembly of powerful beings, guided by Ùilteine, an enigmatic thief with dangerous secrets and questionable loyalties. Ùilteine appears to know his way around magic and hides that knowledge with fierce determination. Her companions aren’t happy—he is a peculiar man who shows far too much interest in Summerbird.

The party’s goal is to locate Treaty: an all-powerful entity some travelers aren’t even certain still exists. As they travel, they encounter a cursed woman who becomes a monstrosity to eat; an enchanted tree who tells riddles; pale-skinned lake denizens of folklore; a vile troll who dines on travelers; and a psychopathic old liege who has imprisoned a revenge-seeking dragon. Worse still, every step of the way they are tormented by an ancient and familiar evil creature that hungers to consume Emythor and its magics.

On a long and treacherous journey where nothing is what it seems, Summerbird learns that her destiny, utterly entwined with Ùilteine and his devastating secrets, is far more life-changing than the once-lonely seer could ever have imagined.

For she alone must find the strength and courage to defeat the evil creature that threatens both Emythor and Isterr, even when it takes on a final form that nearly renders her powerless.

The Fun of Juggling Manuscripts

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As I work on my manuscript for the upcoming Summerbird’s Quest, I’ve also started working on the third book in the An Act of Entreaty series, titled, The Dark Odes of Peregrim. Since one book melds into the next (even though Peregrim takes place approximately three years after the end of Quest), it really is easier to write them at the same time. But it can be tricky, one has to be careful not to place the wrong characters in the wrong place and time! But fun!

And so, here is the synopsis for The Dark Odes of Peregrim:

The Dark Odes of Peregrim, Book #3 of An Act of Entreaty…coming in 2020

Deep within the magical lands of Emythor sits the small castle of Darkleaf. Darkleaf guards the Garden, home of the powerful entity, Treaty. But the Garden does not exist alone, for it, too, guards something. Beyond and yet magically within the Garden, lies the mystical and dark land of Peregrim.

After creating Emythor, Treaty desired a place to live and made the Garden, Treaty fashioned a land of bold Fey warriors to guard it—Peregrim. But Treaty soon realized that all was not well with Peregrim’s people. The then Lord of the Peregrim asked Treaty to give the lands located above the Garden their autonomy; thus Mourshyn, the Riven Land, emerged.

Magic is not welcome in Mourshyn. Over the many years since, the forsaken land has grudgingly acknowledged an uneasy alliance with Peregrim, for they do not trust the Fey. They do not care that Emythor is once again peaceful and prosperous. Despite the trade lines enjoyed with Peregrim, Mourshyn wishes only to be left alone, stagnant in time. As Mourshyn—and Tarfta, the town of the Lord-Governor—are isolated and hostile, they are the perfect quarry for someone—or something—seeking to bring conflict to the Fey. For Treaty cannot forget the last words of the demon Borrea before he died:

There will be others come after me…

Beautiful, dark, verdant Peregrim is ruled by the Lord of the Peregrim, the Guardian of the Garden—Ránulf ai’Wryth. When Ránulf meets Clariss de’Oriste, Tarfta’s Learned Recluse, sparks fly, but these two must overcome a lifetime of mistrust and disinformation their lands have against each other. Clariss loves and defends the people of her village, much as Ránulf does those of Peregrim. But Tarfta’s governors are an unappreciative group of untrusting overseers. In their eyes, the Learned Recluse wields far too much influence over the people; there are sometimes rumors she might have magical abilities.

When Clariss takes the punishment meant for another, she is taken to the Peregrim to save her life. She finds herself in a land that should terrify her. Instead, though grievously wounded, her dreams take her through an exquisite garden, filled with the plants she loves, huge, heady blooms she’s never seen. Fragrance surrounds her, along with something unseen, telling her something that fills were with both longing and fear. The Peregrim are waiting, for the dark and the light, and the over and the under to come to them.

When she relays the tale to Ránulf, he is filled with disbelief. She describes things in the Garden she could not possibly have seen. And the words bring up memories from his childhood, of endless tales told by Treaty to the children of Peregrim. What do they mean?

No sooner do Ránulf and Clariss learn of her connections to Peregrim than they find themselves caught up in a fear-fraught entreaty from Treaty and the King and Queen of Emythor—

Something malevolent has found its way into Emythor through Mourshyn and its evil is already spreading out over the land. The people of the Riven Land will need the help of the Peregrim and even Emythor, itself, if they are to survive this attack. For while trust must be earned and nurtured, sometimes there isn’t time for that. Human must simply trust other humans, because they are, after all, the same.

Books by Debi Ennis Binder https://debiszoo.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=383&action=edit

Dragon’s Revenge, Book 2 – The Ring-Witches of Nesht

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Cover-new-with-skins

Earlier, in the magical realm of Nesht, Mayra ara’Ferren, a powerful Ring-Witch, and her Clan, were tasked to investigate deadly attacks on the kingdom by something dark and unknown. By defying her Clan and her King, Mayra discovered that their attackers were enslaved dragons. With her sword, her powerful magic, and fierce witch-warriors to assist her, Mayra freed the dragons and helped them escape the clutches of a power-hungry king and a fanatical dragon. She quickly became the leader of her small band of witch-warriors. What none of the witches expected was how quickly and deeply they bonded with the bedraggled dragons they saved.

Enroute northward with the dragons, Mayra and her lover, Wolfe are leading the adventurous witch-warriors to the dragon’s home, a huge, stone Aerie to help dragon-leader Gaulte and the other rescued males liberate their mates and young ones. The missing dragons were taken by Hagan, an intensely evil dragon, and used as coercion to ensure obedience from the male dragons. But Hagan has taken more than females and young dragons; he has stolen something deeply magical—a talisman that only dragons can use to magnify and perform dragon magic. Valuable tool or deadly weapon—the object doesn’t distinguish good from evil, it is the intent of the dragon that decides whether it will benefit or destroy.

Meanwhile, Mayra wonders if she has made a terrible mistake. She had been with her Clan and its charismatic leader almost all her life—he is the father she never had. He betrayed her, but can she be a leader without his guidance?

Mayra has found her mate in fellow Ring-Witch Wolfe Sieryd, and her soulmate in the massive black dragon Gaulte. Wolfe, an assassin and wielder of powerful magic, is a strong shoulder to lean on for a new leader and a witch who isn’t always sure who her enemies are. And Gaulte, who still can’t quite grasp that a small human female rescued him, can only think about his stolen family. Mayra has mastered mind-speak—the art of varying levels of telepathy—and is resolute in rescuing Hesta, Gaulte’s mate, and their youngest nestling. He can’t help feeling affection for Mayra and his elder two nestlings already love her—but wait until Hesta, a fiery red dragon, finds out. Can she accept Mayra into this odd family group?

Mayra has found her mate in fellow Ring-Witch Wolfe Sieryd, and her soulmate in the massive black dragon Gaulte. Wolfe, an assassin and wielder of powerful magic, is a strong shoulder to lean on for a new leader and a witch who isn’t always sure who her enemies are. And Gaulte, who still can’t quite grasp that a small human female rescued him, can only think about his stolen family. Mayra has mastered mind-speak—the art of varying levels of telepathy—and is resolute in rescuing Hesta, Gaulte’s mate, and their youngest nestling. He can’t help feeling affection for Mayra and his elder two nestlings already love her—but wait until Hesta, a fiery red dragon, finds out. Can she accept Mayra into this odd family group?

Hagan is a deeply evil dragon, stolen from his powerful and altruistic father, and raised by a gnome who taught him to hate all other dragons and humans. With a shapeshifting female and a gnome to assist him, Hagan will stop at nothing to prevent Mayra and Wolfe from saving the captured dragons and the magical talisman, even if he has to kill every dragon and every human in the cold north to do so.

When Mayra and Wolfe finally find Hagan, they quickly realize they and their witch-warriors are in for a battle even more challenging, and even less certain that the previous one. With Mayra still unsure whom to trust, she soon finds herself trapped in the depths of Hagan’s vast cavern home. Will she realize that a greedy female shapeshifter and a half-crazy gnome, who have duped Mayra with their pleas to help escape Hagan, might be just as dangerous as the evil dragon? And Hagan has no scruples, no pity, no conscience; he will torture and kill anyone to escape with the stolen talisman, no matter how long it takes and no matter who must die to ensure that the magical talisman finds its way back into his long, covetous talons.

Dragon’s Revenge

Dragon's Revenge EBook

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The Dragon Story- The Ring-Witches of Nesht

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The two volumes of The Ring-Witches of Nesht tell the tale of Ring-Witches Mayra and Wolfe and the mighty black dragon, Gaulte–from the magical beginnings as they fight to free the enslaved male dragons of Ceshon Aerie, to their battle to find the Aerie’s stolen females and their young. Humans and dragons must learn to trust one another as they seek a common enemy–an evil dragon who has stolen a powerful talisman from the dragons, one that will enable him to control any dragon for his evil purposes–even Mayra’s beloved Gaulte. The talisman is so deeply steeped in dragon magic that even the powerful Ring-Witches may be helpless before it. For the dragons are hiding a secret so magical that they will kill to protect it–a secret that may cost the witches their lives.

Alas…The End is in Sight

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Alas…the End is in Sight

I’m winding up “Dragon’s Revenge,” which is the sequel to “Dragon Rings.” Denouements can be difficult, not as a final product—the book—but as the end of what I’ve been writing, I have to decide what events are worthy of remaining unresolved till the end of the book. and what should be taken care of right away. I have to figure out what will best satisfy the reader. I want to hear lots of ‘Ahhh, that’s what that meant…’ and ‘No! You’re kidding me! I love it,’ but please, no ‘Crap, that’s stupid.’ Or ‘You have got to be kidding me!’ See the subtle differences? Hopefully, my endings leave the reader with a warm, contented fullness and not gas! And you want to find another of my books (like ‘Summerbird Rises’) not the Delete button!
Looking forward to hearing from you!

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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 Reviews 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!

Christmas Shopping

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I’m done shopping! So happy, however, my fingers are so tired from all that Christmas shopping! Yes, I am an impersonal, lazy, online shopper. In the last few years, I have found it quite difficult to handle the crowds in stores. I get all shaky and nervous, then all sweaty and nasty. I finally have to cut it short and get out. Nothing leisurely or happy there.  Once in a while, I’ll try to sneak back into Walmart or Toys-R-Us…but this past holiday season, and the one last year, was beyond description. I won’t ever so into a large store at this time of year again.

So I discovered Amazon (among others), and everyone is happy again! Ok, some people might find that impersonal or lazy, but I spend just as much time shopping online, actually more, than the average frenzied shopper. I do more comparison shopping. I am a happier person and enjoy the holidays so much more.

Before I go, I want to let you know why I wrote this. I am a fairly honest person, and I do miss the smell of the cold and the old nip on the nose when out and about, but I don’t miss the awful crowds of loud people, no where to park, fighting over the last newest high-tech robot-killer, the endless lines at the checkouts. I miss hearing children laughing and seeing new toys, but not the ones screaming abuse at their parents and each other. I guess my point is Christmas was starting to be one long, horrible shopping trip in hell. By going online, in my jammies, with my coffee and cats, I search and pick and hunt. I think of the expressions on the faces of my loved ones when they open their weird gift, or their funny one, or the one they’ve wanted for many years. It was such a joy to finally find it.

My laptop is my new Santa.

Fantasy – Never Call it Dull

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In a recent post from Doctor MC, an author whom I follow, he says, “Lastly, fantasy means a simplified story. To explain what I mean by this, I have to tell you what a “story” is.” And he goes on to define the term story. If you follow me or my blog, you know that my books are primarily of the fantasy genre. Therefore, I felt compelled to write back to the good doctor, and gently correct some of his misconceptions.

You can find his article here: https://doctormcmadscientist.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/on-writing-fiction-and-writing-fantasy/

Here is my response.

Dear, dear Doctor,

I thought you were going to give us your thoughts about writing fiction and fantasy, but I see only your opinions on defining the two genres.

In the dry sense of defining fantasy it can mean a classification of fiction, indeed, but most who read the once-defined “swords and sorcery” kind of fantasy have a much grander of definition, where they know they will see a variety of creatures—non-familiar and not, doing magical things, fighting bad guys, triumphant good guys, all in a world that might be similar to ours, but might also be as different as orange skies and seas, blue people, and dragons soaring across the skies.

But in the sense of writing fantasy, you must first start with world-building. Your fantasy world must be developed and be a place where people can live, work, have families, and do what people do everywhere-exist. You must then create jobs, governments, laws, communities, houses, in fact, everything you would use to describe a city, town, or village anywhere in the world.

Once you have decided where and how your people will live, you must define them. Their appearance, kinds of people, their wants and dreams, what they aspire to and how they plan to get there.

In other words, fantasy must include a place where the reader can find themselves, and live the adventures alongside the characters. Because there must be adventures, that aren’t limited to our world’s rules and confines.

I don’t see a fantasy as a simplified story by any means. If anything, they are more complicated than your average work of fiction, because most of those writers are working with a civilization that already exists. They have only to decide where they will place their characters and plunk ‘em down. Half the work is already done.

You define a story quite well, but you certainly can’t be serious when you imply that fantasy doesn’t meet your definition of a story. How can you say it has no crisis, that it “goes nowhere,” that it is mundane, tedious, or relies solely on some central element that plods along (sex and violence, especially) dragging the poor reader with it.

If the writer’s story consists only of the elements you list, then no matter what the genre, it will not be an interesting story. It won’t take the reader anywhere; that reader will not get the opportunity to take a wonderful journey to a place that exists on pages and in their mind. How boring! I did note that you said ‘simplified story,’ but your sad elements could apply to any poorly written book.

I, too, would read my own books, and love the world-building and characters. Our versions of fantasies, as defined and written, are very different. But the world of books would be boring if they were the same, wouldn’t it?

Ta Da – A New Cover!

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I’m so happy to release the cover of “Summerbird’s Quest,” which will come out sometime in mid 2018. Thanks so much Adriana Musetti Dávila, for your talented, hard work! This manuscript is completed and I’m in the process of editing it so it might come out earlier (I hope!). Don’t forget, Book 1, “Summerbird’s Rise,” is available now, at it’s reduced price, only $1.99, until “Summerbird’s Quest” is released. You can find it on Amazon here:

Enjoy!

Summerbirds-Quest

The Unseelie Audience

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How many writers have ever jumped up in the middle of writing a scene and acted it out? You speak the words–if multiple parts so much the better! You go through the motions, express the emotions, use the proper facial expressions, perhaps even try out multiple ones that might better match a specific tone or words.
And then turned back to your computer to capture the moment–and four cats are standing there watching you. It’s clear from the expressions on their furry little faces that they find you quite fascinating, though not always for the right reasons. No, they are judging you…and finding you somewhat…lacking.

Don’t listen to them. They’re just upset because you weren’t using this time to feed or pet them or pay attention to them in the thousands of ways cat demand. But don’t assume for a moment that they don’t know what the Seelie or Unseelie Court is. Not for a moment…they’re still waiting for you to figure out which they belong to!

So Excited I Can Hardly Sit Still!

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Book Viral’s Magical Layout – Click Here! 

Please open my link and discover a page done for Dragon Rings that has me singing their praises! It’s beautiful and I’m so hoping it introduces my books to others who will walk into the world of Nesht and come out loving dragons as much as I do.

Please leave comments!

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