Some News and a Free Book (or 2)

changelingsebookcover-flat4Cue the trumpets! Toss the ticker-tape! It’s finally time to tell you Book 2 in the Changelings series, Changelings: The Rise of Kings, will be available for pre-sale on May 30!  It only took 3 years, 3 job changes and a move to the city, but it’s the best birthday gift I could think to give to myself!

And today – to celebrate (since everyone I meet seems to be fresh out of ticker-tape) and to honor the 101st anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin – Changelings: Into the Mist is FREE on Kindle (if you use Kindle Unlimited, it’s always free, by the by!) through tomorrow, April 25.  Three Ghosts, my modern Irish thriller, is also free through tomorrow.

From now through May, I’ll have cover reveals, teasers and a look into the world of the Changelings – and if you’re a blogger and want to participate in a blog hop for Changelings: Rise of Kings, let me know in the comments below, email ktirsh at gmail dot com, or message me on Facebook!

And don’t forget, if you pick up a copy and like what you read, reviews are always welcome!

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Living Musically, Or The Son of Paleface Returns

D: The Son of Paleface is the return, A. I mean, even the song is a reprise.

A: I know, but there is the whisper of a ‘saying’ in my head, which escapes me – and may not even be real–

D: Go figure.

A: Cheers, D. Regardless, it either has to do with Paleface or the Return of the something – and no, not Jedi.

D: I wasn’t going to go with Jedi. That’s your nerdgasm, A.

A: And that is my Ewok song. *Ahem.* So, where did you hear that word?

D: I live your head. I can’t account for what I pick up.

A: Point taken.

D: So, what exactly is returning, may I ask?

A:  You may. What is returning is news. See, with the new compliance rules at work, I can’t visit blogs, but I can read them on my email. So, I’ve gleaned a fair bit of news that I haven’t been able to respond to, or even “like!”

D: This is painful for you, isn’t it?

A: It’s almost physical, that’s how difficult it is not to casually stroll by blogs. I’ve managed a workaround, which I only discovered this week —

D: She’s bright, folks, but she never claimed to be quick.

A: . . . (Teeth gritting) Thank you, D.

D: Anytime.

A: As I was saying, I can link titles to my Facebook page to show my appreciation, but really, it’s just easier to put all the articles I enjoyed into a blog post, like in the good old days.

D: The good old days? Like, when you used to write every day instead of being . . . Oh, I don’t know, what’s the word. . .?

A: Busy?

D: No.

A: Mom?

D: No . . . oh wait, I have it: a bloody social butterfly. Who are you and what have you done with my A?? I want my writer back.

A: Your writer is still here, D. She just went through a bout of creative burnout. Being moderately social is my cure. There is only so much inspiration I can find within my four walls.

D: So, being ridiculous at a painting bar helps you write?

A: You better believe it, D.

News

A: First, stroll by Green Embers Recommends for Part 2 in my Battlestar Galactica review.  AND check it out, the Not-So-Shocking-News Dialogues are now on iTunes!! You can actually subscribe! Because Green is awesome.

D: That’s not even in the original Battlestar Series.

A: No, but it is in The Plan – in fact, it is the best part of The Plan.

D: Good point. Next, check out Terrible Mind’s writerly prompt (and I hear A might actually participate – stay tuned).

A: And last week, at Legends of Windemere, Charles discussed wedded bliss – or lack thereof – in fiction. The wedding palace was particularly funny–

D: And this week he’s debuting a series of villain teasers from the world of Windemere – head on over and check it out

A: There’s a challenge a-brewing. A book review challenge series, hosted by the lovely Rosie Amber, which started today! Check out the first post, How I Write a Book Review.

D: And in “Making Monday’s Fun” News, John and Marie have a lovely “Top 10 What Not To Do” involving the camera. A should take notes.

A: Cheers, D. Last week, Jack Flacco posted a great article – and he’s right: 1999 was one of the best years in film, although I do disagree with Phantom Menace. Sure, it made a lot of money, but . . . but . . . sigh. To answer his question, The Mummy, Sleepy Hollow, The Bone Collector, Lock Stock and the Matrix stick in my memory.

D: In case you missed it, that delightful dilettante and mistress of prose, Helena Hann-Basquiat bade us a (temporary) farewell with the raw, moving epistle: Leaving Arcadia. Start reading it here. In her absence, her creepy alter-ego Jessica B. Bell is now in charge of the blog.

A: There’s a new site in town, Good People Doing Great Things, and they need YOUR help. While you’re there, check out Marie Ann Bailey’s guest post: A Random Act of Kindness.

D: So, A and I aren’t the only ‘characters’ of the literary (and I use that term loosely) to make an art form of talking to themselves. Ionia Martin, of Readful Things is extending a fabulous interview opportunity to all the writers out there with Mirror Interviews. First up? John Howell (writer, not historian)!

A: And finally, she had me at space pirates . . . check out JS Collyer’s promotional goodies for her marketing crowd-funding campaign. From the looks of it, the campaign has been successful in less than three days – that is spectacular!

D: Speaking of pirates . . .

A: That is my very favorite one (sigh). Hope you all have enjoyed our Living (movie) Musically News Spectacular. Thank you all for reading and have a great day.

A Not-So-Shocking Adventure: He’s got it Pegged

adventureswithD-final (1)D: I think I have it figured out, A.

A: Have what figured out, D? Is it the question that beggars the answer, 42?

D: No.

A: Have you figured out why there is something rather than nothing?

D: No, A. I figured—

A: Have you figured out what happens next?

D: Yes! Yes I have, A and what happens next is Simon Pegg is going to be my voice actor.

A: . . . You’re still going on about a voice actor?

D: So long as you insist on talking to the internet about cats, celebrities and a cacophonous conglomerate of craziness, I’m going to insist on having my own voice.

A: Please note that there were no cats mentioned in the recording of the Green Embers Recommends podcast, except in the title. Go on, go listen. We’ll wait.

* * *

D: As I was saying—

A: And may I interrupt here and say, that was an amazing array of alliteration, D.

D: Now you’re just mocking me.

A: I thought it was the other way around.

Is this the voice of D?  Nah!

Is this the voice of D?
… nah!

D: . . . Can I get back to Simon Pegg being my voice actor, please?

A: Of course.

D: Thank you  . . . of course, I don’t have anything else to say about that. Set it up, A.

A: Please. Set it up, A, please.

D: Fine. Please. . . and thank you.

A: That’s better. Why do you want him to voice you, D? I mean, he’s funny, certainly, but I’m just not seeing it.

D: You don’t have to see it, you have to hear it. I’ve heard him do different accents, A. I’m fairly certain he could handle mine.

A: I know, I know – and as I’ve said before, I admire his work, but are you sure he could do you justice?

D: You just don’t want people to hear me.

A: Actually, I don’t want to pay an actor to voice you, but should I fail in that endeavor, I’d like it to be right.

D: So, the comic genius who you and The Boy rave about is out?

A: Are you funny?

D: I see your point. But put him on the maybe list – I think he has potential, A.

A: (Eye roll) I’ll do that, D. I’m sure Mr. Pegg is so relieved you think so.

D: As well he should be. Enjoy the podcast everyone – A and Green certainly seem to.

Dream-maker

This is *not* from my dream - it is however, a landscape inspired by another dream... one with a Druid, two orphans and the Faerie realm.

This is *not* from my dream (okay, the milk bottle may have been inspired by that beautiful, beautiful apartment, but that’s it. Honest). It is, however, a landscape inspired by another dream. That dream is home to a certain Druid I call D. 

I don’t remember my dreams very often. Those I do are worked into books (thanks, D), pondered because they’re just weird, or immediately discarded because they’re so horrible, I’m afraid of incurring the feeling of them throughout my day.

Sometimes though, the dreams I remember are heralds. Not in a way that is prophetic – there are no lotto numbers rattling around my subconscious, nor are the answers to the universe (besides, I think someone already figured that out and it is 42). The closest I’ve come to prophesy is when my dream life tells me my girlfriends are expecting. This is only useful if said friends are coming to a party, and I need to make sure there is something for them to imbibe.

By heralds, I mean the dream shows me something – something about myself I want to shine brightly, or something I know I can do and want to incorporate into my life. I dreamt one such herald three years ago. It started out with a field trip. I can’t recall if we were students in high school or college, but we were on a bus, heading back to dorms. It quickly shifted to having to return to school. I was given a choice: stay in the city or go back to school.

I stayed.

I said goodbye to all my friends, promised to call and began living my life.

I remember feeling a tremendous relief that I never had to go to school again, that I was never going to be expected to measure up to someone else’s metric, that I could learn for its own sake, do things for their own sake and live how I wanted to. Never mind that I had not been enrolled in school for at least 3 years at that point.

The freedom of not being beholden to anyone was a beautiful feeling. I remember rushing through this delightful city (still don’t know where it was – or whether it is a real place) and made my home in some sort of warehouse or loft. I have no idea how long I stayed – long enough to decorate though, and let me tell you, it was fabulous. It mixed up the best of shabby chic, art nouveau, reclamation and all sorts of wonderfulness in a way that I have only ever – pardon the pun – dreamed about. I still draw pictures of what I remember so I can have the ideas when the time comes to move and redecorate an apartment – which, if the gods are kind, will not suffer Wisconsin winters, and perhaps make use of that EU/Irish passport languishing in my drawer.

So, aside from lusting after the apartment, what made this dream shine in my memory was that I was leaving. Again. I left the apartment, and the leave-taking was done in rather short order. Not only that, but I had with me a single suitcase and box. I was travelling light, and although the apartment was incredible, I wasn’t sad to see the things go.

The box, by the way, was for those items that were not mine. I had the wherewithal to recognize that I had pilfered some of my best friend’s things and would have to send them back to her. See, Christine, you’ll get that purse back. Eventually.

The final leave-taking of the dream was bittersweet – not in the dream, mind, but for me upon waking. It was also the only true herald it contained – so far.  In the process of packing up my life (and that gorgeous apartment), I realized I was leaving my then-boyfriend. It took two years for this part of the dream to become a reality, but even then I knew, in the dusty recesses of my heart, that the relationship wouldn’t last, that it was a thing I would eventually have to grow out of. It wasn’t a bad feeling; it just took a while to acknowledge.

I am not ashamed to admit that I also lied about this part, when I shared with said boyfriend this ‘really awesome’ dream I had (forgetting that I’d dumped him at the end). It’s not really nice to tell your then-paramour that the best part of the dream was the fact that you were leaving him. It’s just not polite. But now, I can admit that the leaving was the best part. I was headed off into god-knows-where, but I was happy. I was relieved. And the world held in it a promise of more.

It’s something I need to remember more often.

For today’s WordPress Daily Prompt, Sweet Dreams.

In the News

A: Green did his own version of the Daily Prompt, here. And thanks to Green for reminding me that these daily prompts exist. Because I had no idea what to put out there today.

D: Of course, that implies that she has an idea of what to put out all the other days she manages to post.

A: Oi – watch it, Druid. There’s all sorts of leave-takings–

D: But never mind the creative genius glaring at me from the corner.

A: Nice save, D.

D: I thought so. In other news, John W. Howell’s new book, My GRL is available in a few new locations. Check them out and tell him the Druid sent you.

A: Because that will make his day. Our favorite Dilettante is going places, too – there’s a new installment of the Jessica B. Bell Bayou serial, and there’s a twisted little tale over at the Community Storyboard.

D: Not only that, but her Kickstarter has reached 55% of its goal – stop by and congratulate her, and while you’re at it, sign up yourself. There’s less than a month to go, and there are some delightful benefits for participating!

A: Also, Scott Navicky, a new-to-me author of the novel, Humboldt, or The Power of Positive Thinking, had an excellent interview with the Chicago Literati. My favorite takeaway: Mr. Navicky considers himself a “magpiethinker.” That word sang in my head for the rest of the interview.

D: And finally, Ms. Marie Ann Bailey had a wonderful interview with Paperbook Collective curator, Jayde-Ashe Thomas. It’s a wonderfully cozy, informative and charming interview. Both Marie and Jayde are lovely, and the interview is a delight to read.

A: And that is it for today, folks. Thank you for stopping by and reading and have a fantastic day!

A Not-So-Shocking Adventure

adventureswithD-final (1)D: Ever want to hear A’s actual voice?

Me neither, but apparently, Green thought otherwise, and the two of them have ventured into Podcast Land to bring you The Not So Shocking News Dialogues at Green Embers’ Recommends.

Personally, I think A needs to hire a voice actor for me. I have a short list of those I think would be suitable.

A: Um, D . . .

D: Yes?

A: There is no way any of those men are a) interested b) remotely affordable in terms of “hiring” and c) I don’t think that one is alive.

D: Kill joy.

A: Indeed. Head on over to Green Embers’ Recommends, everyone, and enjoy the podcast. It’s 20 minutes of harmless nonsense, and we had a lot of fun putting it together. Plus, there’s links. And a raccoon with rocket launchers. It can’t get much better than that!

Docile

Zeke and Friends  Picture Courtesy Google Images, labeled for commercial reuse.

Zeke and Friends
Picture Courtesy Google Images, labeled for commercial reuse.

The Zombie looked to the left and immediately regretted it. There was Jenny, from Human Resources.

She was after him, he just knew it.

Not after him, like he’d broken the rules . . .  again . . .  but after him, like she dug the skin-peeling, gangrene-smelling, reanimated corpse look.

Bill-Z in Accounting said she had a dominance thing. She liked the fact that Zombies – or Zs – were docile.

Then what was she doing, going after him? He was docile, sure. It was tough to avoid the medical cocktail that made Zs productive members of the workforce, but there was never a company rule he met that he didn’t want to break.

It wasn’t his fault. The man he’d been before the Change had nearly taken down the firm dodging the SEC, the NSA, and the FBI, to name a few. But man, it had been fun, and the money he’d made. . . .

Nah, those days were gone. Joining the ranks of the Z was meant to “forgive” the faults of one’s humanity.

And forgiveness meant he was now fodder for Jenny in Human Resources. Because he was docile. Right?

No. Bill-Z in Accounting was docile.

“She liked to tell me I’d been a bad boy,” Bill-Z told him once while they lingered over the manufactured meat product cooler. “And I just never could. I’m not a bad boy, Zeke.”

So, that was Jenny’s game. The punishment factor. Yeah, he’d been a bad boy, once upon a time. He had been a fast-talking corporate shark with a yen for pretty young things – man or woman, it didn’t matter, just so long as everyone was having a good time.

And everyone had a good time with Zeke. Even now, he could still throw down. Sometimes. Usually it was his left arm, but it always got a laugh out of someone.

Every once in a while, he thought the stiffs up north had a point: to be a Z was to be enslaved. We didn’t start out docile, they said. The docs had to cure the overwhelming hunger for living flesh and the need to feast on brains.

Of course, a new Z rarely got a chance to say no to the cure – it was done within the first three minutes of the Change. Those that weren’t seen to . . . well, they were up north, talkin’ hot but keepin’ chill.

How’s that for a resistance movement slogan?

Huh. Up north.

Maybe.

But maybe he could have one last fling before he ditched this land of endless cubicles.

He looked back at Jenny and winked.

Yeah baby. I’ve been a real bad boy.

***

D: There is a modern phrase your people use, which I think describes your response to Papi Z’s prompt, “The Zombie looked to his left and. . . “ beautifully.

A: Pray tell.

D: You are sick in the head, woman.

A: Since I talk to you on a regular basis, I’m pretty sure everyone already knows.

D: I understand. But sometimes saying it keeps the night-terrors at bay.

A: (Eye-roll) Whatever helps you sleep at night, D. Personally, I kind of like Zeke.

D: I can’t believe you gave him that name. I can’t believe you invited a zombie into your head as a character. He’s stinking up the place, A.

A: Oh, cut him some slack – he hasn’t made it up north yet, and Jenny did give him a run for his money.

D: Words cannot describe how vile that is.

A: Well, while you’re speechless, I’m going to share some tidbits with the good people. You okay with that.

D: (retching noises).

A: Oh, that’s just gross, D. Anyone would think you haven’t seen someone’s arm come off before. Geeze.

Anyway, Charles is organizing a February Giveaway and has a donation request for the published authors out there.

D: And SK Nicholls is giving an autographed paperback copy of her book, Red Clay and Roses away at Goodreads.

A: The Community Storyboard has some amazing news: IT’S BACK!! Ready and raring to go with new guidelines, the Community Storyboard is once again accepting submissions. Check it out!

D: Speaking of wonderful places, with wonderful people, Ionia, at Readful Things, featured A and I as bloggers of the week last week. It was so unexpected, and so delightful, both of us are still smiling about it.

A: He’s not wrong (for once). Thank you Ionia! We love you! We also love The Year Long Story project at Line by Line, which she has put together with Julian.

D: Not to mention her ponderings at Ionia’s Thought Catalogue. which is a window into, as she says, the crap that doesn’t fit into her main blog. Gotta love a woman who’s so honest!

A: Speaking of honest, and delightful – the woman who may or may not be the most reliable narrator (but no one cares because her narration among the most amazing I have ever read) is out with a new Jessica B. Bell story, Eat My Pussy.

D: . . .

A: Stop snickering, D. Seriously, how old are you?

D: Chronologically or bodily?

A: . . .

D: That was rhetorical, wasn’t it?

A: Yeah. Anyway, go read Helena’s story, AND the continuation of the Bayou Bonhomme serial, and when you are done with those (believe me, you’ll gobble them up) check out the fact that Volume 1 of her memoirs are about to debut. Last I checked, she was looking for cover reveal volunteers! I’m so excited for her, D!

D: Me to. And not just because she titles some of her stories—

A: That’s enough, D.

D: Killjoy.

A: Takes one to know one.

D: Point taken.

A: And, case rested. That’s all for tonight, folks! Thank you for reading and have a wonderful evening!