Update on the status of Kilts and
Catnip (The Shrouded Isle, Book 1)
Shortly after the publication of my book in February 2019, I had the
opportunity to get back my rights. The choice was difficult. I’d been pleased
with the publisher’s work and how this freed me up to write while they provided
such things as editing, book covers and formatting. In the end, however, I made
the decision to self-publish.
Many avenues exist in the world of self-publication. After much
research, I opted to publish through Draft2Digital. I’m tech-challenged and
when I thought of formatting and distributing books myself, my stomach ached in
It’s been a long journey. Life has thrown me many curve balls. (Personal
life 2019/2020, I name thee Chaos and Loss!) I’m slowly adjusting to the new
norm. My book will soon be available for preorder on some of the most robust
I’m excited, and a little scared, but after everything I have weathered
lately, I know I can handle this and move on to finish editing my next books.
For those of you who have read my books, thank you. I can’t even
describe what joy that gives me. For those who haven’t, I hope you will give
this sweet fantasy romance a chance.
This will age me but,
when the first book in the Harry Potter series was published, I lived in
Scotland and, intrigued by the description, bought a copy of J.K. Rowling’s Harry
Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to read to my firstborn. (The book was
later published titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US.)
My children grew up with Harry, Hermione, Ronald, Neville, and Draco. Even my husband jumped aboard the Potterhead bandwagon eagerly reading the books, and insisted on being the first in the family to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. (Usually, he was the last. We are cheap and bought one copy of each book to share.) He even stood in line at midnight for the release.
Of course, I’ve taken
the Sorting Hat Quiz—numerous times. As Inigo Montoya said, “Let me explain.”
As I took the test for the first time, I was often torn between answers and was
so conflicted. I knew that, depending on interpretation and mood, my choices
would be different. Was I really in this House? Feelings of ambivalence
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken that test and
many others to discover my true House nor can I tell you if there was one House
I was sorted in the most. I can tell you that the most recent, official
Pottermore test pegs me a Slytherin.
Regardless of which House one is sorted to, the biggest
thrill, I suppose, would be actually getting to attend Hogwarts and study magic.
I have, however, always found it fascinating that only one House was deemed
evil. I think that all Houses have their good and bad individuals. I believe
that their defining, overt passion to succeed at all costs—and I do mean
all—marks Slytherins unfairly.
It makes me wonder what secrets the other Houses have.
Perhaps, Slytherin House is just more likely to reveal their bad side. Then
again—bad is subject to interpretation.
I found Rowling’s treatment of Severus Snape, one of the most prevalent Slytherin in the books, intriguing. He’s a very unpleasant person through most of the series, and yet, the author reveals parts of his past showing the main character’s most beloved godfather and father in an unfavorable light. By the time of his death, Snape is a sympathetic character. When his treatment by popular Gryffindors and his loss of Lily to one of the worst offenders is exposed, one can understand his behavior. Despite the fact that Harry so resembles his father, Snape fights to protect him. Additionally, it is possible he fights to resist caring about Harry, seeing hints of his mother, Snape’s love, in the boy. Considering the behavior of the Marauders, Gryffindors didn’t always behave honorably.
Harry was almost sorted in Slytherin. Now, some may argue that because he contained a Horcrux, this affected the Sorting Hat’s decision, but I choose to agree with the Hat, he would have done well there. I also find it hard to believe that Severus didn’t want to be in the same House as Lily. Did he neglect to tell the Hat his desire?
Another Slytherin, Draco Malfoy, is also revealed to have a softer, vulnerable side. He spends time with Moaning Myrtle sharing his feelings of fear and loneliness and his inadequacies with her.
Like Gryffindors, Ravenclaws also had their not-so-nice moments. Luna had to search for her belongings at the end of school because fellow Ravenclaws would steal and hide them. Gilderoy Lockhart was a vain, cowardly fraud who used Memory Charms to become famous. Quirinus Quirrell did the Dark Lord’s bidding until his death.
The Hufflepuff House contains the fewest badly acting individuals. The worst thing any Hufflepuff did was to blame Harry unfairly for being the second Hogwarts champion in the Triwizard Tournament.
Look at the most infamous Slytherin, Tom Riddle. One could ask if he accurately reflected the spirit of Slytherin House. He hid his true self and deceived all. Slytherin are sly—it’s in the name, but they don’t tend to lie about who they are. They revel in it and admit to the baser traits that most hide. Was Tom always irredeemable? He certainly revealed the antisocial tendencies of a sociopath even as a child and hated and sought to destroy Muggle-born—even though he was one. I would argue that though he is one of the most well-known, Lord Voldemort isn’t the best representative of Slytherin.
takes place in a village in Ireland where people are dying. A motley group
including a werewolf, magpie, banshee, cop, and troll join to solve the murder mystery
and find the culprit.
books that include mythology and folklore. This book has them in abundance. The
story is intriguing and the characters well-described. I think my favorite was
Enzo, the magpie. The addition of a sentient inanimate object tickled me.
Doras would have benefitted from extra editing. There were several places where
I wasn’t sure who was speaking and I saw some head-hopping. This book has light
scenes interspersed with very dark ones. The lighter ones allow the reader to
get to know the characters better. The dark ones illustrate how dangerous and
horrible their foe is.
the tale and am curious to see other books by the author.
Book 0 of the Borderlands series, is comparable to Grimmdark meets
Bronzepunk—two subgenres I’m unfamiliar with. Loving fantasy, I was excited to
try something completely different.
the forts, brave fighters, derring-dos, and circle-the-wagons vibes, this
novella reminds me of the old frontier movies. (Quite a compliment, since I’m a
big John Wayne fan.) The further the company travel, the more dire the danger.
Will they all make it back? Will any
of them? The vivid descriptions of the land and the monsters encountered paired
with the first person, present tense point of view makes for an intense sense
of urgency that works extremely well.
caught me by surprise a couple of times with interesting plot twists. (Kudos,
sir.) The world-building is top notch and the characters well fleshed out. The
ending is a cliff-hanger, so I am anxious to read Book 1. I found Prelude a
riveting tale of survival, conquest, and heroism and strongly recommend it.
During a blizzard,
a man hears a scream. He finds a dead body outside his home. Rushing inside to
call the police, he discovers the phone is as dead as the corpse bleeding out on
the snow. As he waits out the storm, he hears noises. How can this be? He is
alone—or is he?
I read this book on a bright sunshiny morning. Afterwards, I thought I heard
the door upstairs creak. The murmur of voices. The rustle of curtains. This
short story scared me so much that I had to search the house from top to
without the Poe reference, EAP’s influence is abundantly evident. As a child,
my cousin three grades ahead of me read the eerie short stories out loud. I
felt that same shivers down the spine sensation when reading Stone Storm that I
felt all those years ago.
has crafted an excellent horror, skillfully building the tension to a shocking
revelation. I’m no newbie to this genre, so believe me when I warn you, don’t
read this at night.
A wish is made upon a dandelion setting in motion a terrifying series
of events. Lucy, a young lady nearing her 18th birthday, must travel
to the enchanted Dewdrop Forest to find answers before it is too late to stop
her descent into madness.
I’ve always been a big fan of fairy tales and love reading them, so I
was immediately drawn to this book.
Despite the cute, Disneyesque title, this is a fairy tale in the vein
of the original Brothers Grimm, replete with disturbing, often violent scenes.
I was hooked from the beginning. With foreboding, I read of the wish in the
first chapter. The mere appearance of the weed hints at the troubles to come.
The lines between reality and fantasy are blurred and there are cyclic
elements to the story. Plying ethereal language, the author visits the
similarities between such dichotomous duos as love and hate. The prose has a
lyrical quality. I am still pondering the cryptic ending.
Although the book would benefit from tighter editing, I thoroughly
enjoyed it. The Lost Fairytales of the Dewdrop Forest has an inventive plot and
is a well-written, phantasmagoric story.
Linx’s entertaining book introduces children to the concept of school.
The vocabulary in this engaging story about Kitty the Calico’s first day is
geared toward emerging readers. The colorful, detailed illustrations by the
author immediately drew my eye, especially since the main character is a
kitten. This book would make a perfect gift for any child.
In The Month of April, the main character, April Boyd finds out her
mother has died and returns to her hometown with her girlfriend, Abby. Her
mother left instructions to cremate her body, take the ashes to New Orleans,
and scatter them in the river in front of the Jackson Brewery. Inside a box of
personal items, they discover an account April’s mother had written about her
trip to New Orleans the year before April was born.
They read about how April’s mother, Dani met the love of her life in
the Crescent City. The account, entitled “The Month of April,” chronicles the
couple’s brief time together and what transpired afterwards during Dani’s time
in the military.
Though grief-stricken after reading the sad tale, April understands her
mother better and feels closer to her. Caring for her girlfriend and
emotionally moved, Abby encourages April to take steps to bring closure to the
tragedy and together, they investigate the occurrences and right
As a fan of epistolary books, I especially enjoyed the sections of
Dani’s story. The setting descriptions
transported me to a city I’ve briefly visited, but never had the opportunity to
tour. Ard’s admiration of Raymond Carver is evident in his writing. I would
characterize this novella as dirty realism. The sparse, unadorned prose conveys
the author’s meaning succinctly. As a poor, unwed mother, Dani epitomizes the
kind of characters which populate the genre.
I found the dialogue somewhat flat, however, that too, could be
attributed to an aspect of realism. I do
not typically read this style of writing and the fact that I found the first
few pages too compelling not to finish reading the novella says much about this
author’s exceptional writing ability.
It’s been just over a month since my book was released and I’ve been so happy with the reviews! (Reviewers, I love you, full stop!) I hope Book 2 will be well-received too.
Speaking of which, Tartan and Thyme (The Shrouded Isle Book
2) is written! I am currently deep in edit mode—an unpleasant, yet necessary
task. I have a short story available for free upon signing up for my
newsletter. Don’t worry about being inundated. (Trust me when I say, I’m not
putting ones out unless I have something to say—or to confirm rumors of my
death are exaggerated.)
I do have another, untitled novel (first of a series) finished which I’m undecided about when and how to publish it. It’s a bit grittier than the Shrouded Isle universe. I am thinking about sharing the first chapter in one of my newsletters. I’ll keep you posted.
I’ve been busy writing guest blogs, editing, outlining Book 3 (YES!), and working on various short story projects. It’s been awhile, I know. I’ll try to be better about blogging. Mwah!
This book has an interesting take
on the afterlife. After death, in an incorporeal state, beings wait to be
reincarnated. As they wait, they act as soul watchers. A soul watcher will
choose one person on Earth to help. Soul-watcher Soledad, returning to the
afterlife after committing suicide, chooses Ally, a relative from her most
recent life, to aid.
Ally is my favorite character. As
the one, able-bodied individual in her small family, many duties fall to her.
Though exhausted and frustrated at times, she loves her family and strives to
do everything possible to keep them safe and happy. Ally is a middle child. Her
older sister, Jessica, is an intransigent, forty-year-old, type one diabetic in
need of a kidney. Ally’s sweet, younger sister, Alyssa, was born with special
needs and requires twenty-four-hour supervision. Their mother’s heart problems
prevent her from performing many activities.
Ally is an animal-loving artist
who loves riding motorcycles. I think that, since she has many
responsibilities, she needs that freedom to fly—be it on the canvas or the
road. Though confident in other areas of her life, after her divorce, she finds
herself gun-shy around men. As Soledad spiritually guides Ally, we learn about both
women, their goals, desires, mistakes—and come to care deeply for them. The
secondary characters are written with equal care and detail.
Race for the Sun is a
life-affirming journey. The author packs an emotional punch in her writing. I
cannot recommend this book enough.