Sunday, February 23, 2014

Trolls as Told by The Brothers Grimm!

Then there are red riding hood trolls!

They were big and little creatures. Some were hairy with long, thin tails, and some had noses long as pokers. Some had bulging eyes and some had 20 toes. In they came -- crashing through the door, sliding down the chimney, crawling through the windows. They shouted and cried. They banged pots and pans. They twirled their tails and tapped their toes upon the wooden floor. He watched as the trolls gobbled the food and threw the plates and drank everything in sight. They continued to shout and scream, to scratch the walls and pound the floors and slap their tails upon the table. The tiny trolls were the worst of all. They screamed at the top of their lungs and pulled each others' tails.

The Brothers Grimm 

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Wondrous Journey of an Independent Writer!

Fear - That is the word that drives home.  I have never sent my books to a publisher due to straight out fear.  However, I had read an article out of Woman's Day Magazine about a woman who worked from home writing books.  She had put her kids through college, bought a house all through Createspace and Amazon.

I thought, wow, my mom has this little story she has always told. We should try that.  So my friend, Rebecca Hunt who drew dragons that would appeal to a child's eye, agreed to illustrate and the two of us set about creating How the Dragons Got Their Colors.  A rework of my mom's bedside story.  It was mildly successful.   We immediately got to work on a second book about the angst an older child goes through when mom is expecting and Not An Egg! was born. Later we converted them for Kindle download as well and made them part of Amazon's Kindle Select Program. 

This gave me the confidence to go ahead and tentatively put out my first Novel - Outcast.  I figured I had nothing to lose, if it did not do well, the only thing I lost was some time. There is no upfront outlay to Createspace.  I followed the forums on how to self promote as an independent author.  I got another friend to do my cover, Heather Scoggins.  I think she will be a bit surprised when she gets April's percentage that she and I agreed upon. I think she didn't expect it to really go anywhere.

Yesterday, for a time, Outcast was in the top 30 in the US in coming of age, it was #25 in the UK and had crawled it's way up to #16 in Epic Fantasy in Australia.  As I sit in amazement and wonder, the downloads of the ebook just keep rising.  I have been furiously working on the sequel per reader request.   My editor, yes I have one, pushes me constantly to re-describe and to re-work. I have him to thank in the success of Outcast as well as my own creativity and the support of good friends!

No, not all my reviews are good.  Either you love the way I describe the slow journey into adulthood and the details of culture and the intertwining of the characters or you hate it. There has been little in the way of middle of the road reviews.  Another writer told me not to sweat that, everyone has a taste for the type of books that they like to read.  If you want a frantic tale of battle and climax and a sweet ending, well I am not the writer for you.  The Blue Dragon's Geas books each have a minor climax but the main story is spread out over them.  We don't grow up over night, so I refuse to have Alador do so.

I guess the most wondrous part for me was at my day job, someone was telling me I needed to knuckle under because I "need this job."  I stood there for a moment and slow smiled.  Then I responded. "No.. actually.. no I don't." I am going to make it as a writer.  Maybe not every book will get the accolades of Outcast. Maybe not everyone will love my style.  But today, I realized Ms. McDonald, my English teacher in High School was correct.

 I was born to WRITE!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Keensight Finally Poses for a Picture!

A major play in future stories, Keensight is introduced in Outcast and also is discussed and has a cameo in The Blackguard. He is beginning to brave the world for interviews and sneak peaks.  His own book is down the road. There are still stories he will not share with me, his only living mortal friend!

This picture is not to be used except by express permission of Rebecca Hunt! 2/19/13

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Interview With an Author and a Dragon. Meet Theresa and Farloft.


I met Theresa and her dragon friend, Farloft, on Twitter. Theresa is a writer with a backlog of novellas. Farloft lives with Theresa part-time and steals her Twitter account on the last day of every month in order to tweet to ‘his’ followers.

I thought you all would enjoy meeting Theresa and Farloft. My friend and visiting dragon, Keensight, decided to sit in on this interview with me...
More after the jump!

Monday, February 17, 2014

My First Author Interview

Today, I got my copy of my first online interview.  I didn't think I was nervous as I was typing back my answers but it definitely is very wooden.   I will have to realize that in an online interview, you have to let who you are show through and not just answer the questions.  It is currently posted with my book at:  

It is a great site for promoting independent author's that gives you a little more insight into the books than just the allowed descriptions on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  I will post you a teaser here, but you need to go to the site if you want the rest of the interview.  They took the time to post it up, lets support them in looking at a few books. 

I love you all and I appreciate the messages I get.  Yes, I am writing the sequel and am in Chapter 14.  No it will not be out next week. *smiles*  I am shooting for a June release by the time we are done editing.  If I am lucky, might be done in May but as many of you pointed out.  I need to proof it one more time.  

Interview Teaser:

Why you must read
Cheryl Matthynssens’ Outcast

Alador is a half breed caught between two cultures. It is the story of teenage angst at growing up. The rage of dealing with bullies. The criticism and judgments that many of mixed races face.
In Alador’s case, he is combating racial prejudice, magic and a cruel bully trying to fit in and win the love of his best friend. It is a lot to overcome for just one young man. Then we add to all that, the fantasy element of a dragon’s geas.

A dragon’s what?

I am often asked, what the heck is an geas. It can be either a magically imposed act that must be fulfilled or a prohibition. In Alador’s case, it is a imposed quest, a task that he is pressured by magic to complete.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My First Bad Review

Today I got my first bad review.  You expect them.  But I had jumped into the limelight with such a solid start that it still caught me off guard.  I was luckier than some writers.  My first reviews from strangers, not friends and family, were highly complimentary and positive.  I still have some things to tweak in that first novel.  Being self published and without a budget, you use friends, family for feedback.  You proof your own work again and again and again.  But friends are kinder then they should be, and well once you have read your own work so many times it gets harder to see the errors.

I have two things I know to look for: Homophones and Question Marks.   I totally know exactly what word goes there and where a question mark really goes.  However, sometimes my question marks pop in when I am hearing the character's tone of voice.  And as far as the homophones, my brain when I am in the zone just seems to grab the first spelling; right, wrong or indifferent.  If I catch it, then I totally know it is the wrong one.  These two errors are deadly for me as a writer because proofing programs do not catch them. It takes the human eye to catch them.

I expected this to be the topic of any first bad review, surprisingly it was not.  As I read it, I realized that this was just a case of a reader with a different eye for a story than my previous non family/friend reviews.  My publicity editor pointed out he actually did me a couple of favors with the bad review.   The first favor he pointed out was the mating rituals in the book.  Though I try not to get vulgar or explicit, my mentor pointed out that sex sells.  The second favor is that it can look contrived if all the reviews are good reviews. I had not thought of either of those.

So today I have weathered my first bad review.  I am sorry that the individual did not like my book.  I am grateful for the honesty.  I look forward to future reviews as my skills seem to only be improving based on feedback and practice.  I am also grateful that it was not my very FIRST review.  I was really frightened as many new writers are, to put my work up for public scrutiny.  However, the joy I get in knowing that for the most part, people are liking where I am headed gives me the energy to continue to write part two.  Coming soon.... The Blackguard - Part Two of The Blue Dragon's Geas.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fantasy tastes of...

“Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end.” ― George R.R. Martin

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Contrived Superstition - How to control a populace.

“Imagine a land where people are afraid of dragons. It is a reasonable fear: dragons possess a number of qualities that make being afraid of them a very commendable response. Things like their terrible size, their ability to spout fire, or to crack boulders into splinters with their massive talons. In fact, the only terrifying quality that dragons do not possess is that of existence.

Now, the people of this land know about dragons because their leaders have warned them about them. They tell stories about cruel dragons with razor teeth and fiery breath. They recount legends of dragons hunting by night on silent wings. In short, the leaders make sure that the people believe in all the qualities of dragons, including that key quality of existence. And then they control the people — when they need to — with their fear of dragons. The people pay a dragon-slaying tax … everyone stays indoors after dark to avoid being snatched by swooping claws … and nobody ever strays out of bounds for fear of being eaten well and truly up.

Perhaps somebody will wonder if dragons aren’t, after all, fictitious because — despite their size — nobody seems to have actually seen one. And so it is necessary from time to time to provide evidence: a burnt tree or two, a splintered rock, the mysterious absence of a villager. The population is controlled by the dragons in its collective mind. It’s contrived superstition, and it is possible because the people do not know enough about the way the world works to know that dragons do not exist.”
― David Whiteland, Book of Pages

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fear of Rejection

Fear is the bane of any unpublished writer.  I have started many books and left them on the wayside. I wish I had copies of them as a few were pretty good ideas.  But I would get to that point of decision; I am either going to finish this or toss it.  I would toss it every time.  Why?  It was not that I did not think it was a good story. It was that I knew if I finished it, I would have to do something with it.  So despite teachers telling me to finish, friends... family... doing the same,  I would give up and not write for awhile.  

The problem is, I am one of those people that can't live without creating.  So I channeled that energy into roleplaying games and SCA for a time.  It was never quite the same but it eased that need to create. Overcoming this fear was the biggest hurdle in my life and I am not young.  I am a grandma, really not young.

A popular positive thinking guru taught in one of his seminars that FEAR stood for false evidence appearing real.  He went on to teach that surveys showed that people feared speaking in public more than death.  I feared rejection of my writing more than death.   Rejection and speaking in public rarely cause death.  I mean for speaking in public you pretty much have to be assassinated.  Yet this fear feels so very real, as if behind that rejection letter or that podium is a real tiger lurking. 

When I overcame my fear for the first time, it wasn't even with my work.  I took something my mother had written and with her permission reworked it.  However, when I didn't receive instant rejection, I tentatively put out a second children's book of my own.  I have a great illustrator named Rebecca Hunt that created a friendly looking children's dragon type for my work. 

Emboldened by that experience, I finished one of the many novels I had started and with great hesitation, put it out there.   It got positive acceptance.  I realize now that even if it didn't get positive acceptance, it was not the publishing of it I needed most in my life.  It was the writing of it.  When I pushed that send button to send it out into the world, I achieved a life goal.  I realized my goal was to be published,  being liked was the icing.  

I still had one real fear left.   I had to get myself out there.  I created a website, a blog and learned how to use twitter.  That done, I braved my last real fear, I stepped into a bookstore and sold myself.  I walked out with my book on their shelves and a book signing scheduled for March 22, 2014 in Omak, Wa.  The last of my huge fears had been conquered.  I could have danced all the way to my car. I might have actually.

For those still writing but not publishing, I actually recommend if you want to independently publish that you look at  I started with Createspace but that limits you to Amazon.  I have no objections to Createspace.  They have been great and supportive.  But they want to corner you into the Amazon world.  I want Nook readers to have my book too. 

I have one fear left, flying. But I have learned I can handle that one.  So, if any of you want to meet up, just find a bookstore willing to let me sign for a day and I will come where ever I am bid.  After all, it will give me more opportunities to put this last fear down as something I have overcome!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Farloft's Rhetoric: My 1st Interview with Katherine Logan

I want to share this writer with all my own fans.  She is truly amazing but more amazing is her friend, Farloft.  He is a dragon with exceptional human tolerance.  I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.  This interview made me smile.

Farloft's Rhetoric: My 1st Interview with Katherine Logan: Greeting Everyone, Yesterday Theresa and I sat down with Kathy to chat for a bit. This is the resulting interview. Thank you, Kathy ::gri...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Blackguard - Early Released Teaser

Below is a teaser from the upcoming book: The Blackguard. It is second in the series of The Blue Dragon's Geas. This might be tweaked more during edit but it gives you a taste. This goes out to all those pushing me to get it done. I am on Chapter 15.

Renamaum and Keensight sat on the mountain top looking down into the valley below. Renamaum had a wing in front of the red dragon to keep him from sweeping off the ledge in rage.  Below them, in that dark vale, were eight young dragons.  They differed in age and color but each one had one thing in common.  Large chains bound them to the ground.  These chains wound up over their wings so that none of them could unfold enough to get a proper thrust off the ground.  
“Do you see him anywhere. I know he is down there.”  Keensight rumbled in fear and pain that only a father could feel.  
“No.  He would have barely hatched. I do not see any that young, old friend.” Renamaum was eyeing the entire valley below them carefully.  “Perhaps in that cave but it is too small for either you or I to enter.   If we wish to save fledglings from this fate, it will have to be done by a creature much smaller than you or I.”  Renamaum eyed the red flight leader with sorrow. His mate had been killed in her nest.  The egg she had nurtured had been missing.  The broken swords and dead were Lerdenian.  There was no doubt that the egg was headed to this place.  It was called a bloodmine for the dragons blood that was spilt yearly.  Each chained dragon below was bled every year until they became to large to handle. Then they were outright killed and left to fester where they lay.
Renamaum closed his nostrils down for even from this far distance, the smell of blood and death wafted on the wind. He felt for his friend. He had lost mate and fledgling all at the same time.  Though most Lerdenians believed them to be nothing but magical beasts, the truth was that such losses stayed with a dragon his entire lifetime.  Dragons had very long lifetimes.
“I will kill them all.  Let us fly down and release our brothers. Let us rise up and burn every last one of them. I want every one of them to die.”  Keensight snarled in rage. He bellowed his rage into the wind and all the dragons below them answered in a mournful call for help.
“Keensight. I understand your anger but that is to declare war for all the flights. It is not ours alone to do. Besides, look closer. They have their spears of wood aimed at every dragon.  We or they would be dead before we freed the first.  We cannot help them alone.”  Renamaum wanted to console the dragon but how did one repair such a loss.
“I will demand a war of the council. I will demand they rise up and lay waste to their spiraling cities and their crops. I will see their floating wooden toys sunk into the sea they travel.” Keensight rocked back and forth and Renamaum knew he had little time to talk sense to his friend. “They have declared this war, not us!”
“You could do this. This is true.  And more of our kin will fall. There is a better way brother, but one that will take time.   We find one who can do this work.  One who can go into that cave and pull out our eggs and newly hatched.  One who can love without constraint and protect without thought.  This is what we find.”  Renamaum pleaded against the red dragon’s anger. “We must lose these brothers to win a war much greater than our own pain.”
“This is my fledgling you speak of, you fool.  You want me to sacrifice MY fledgling that yours might live?  I will not do so. I will find him and I will free him if I have to claw my way into that cave.”  Keensight pushed Renamaum’s wing out of the way and dove for the valley below.  Renamaum knew it was hopeless and let out a wail of sorrow for his friend’s impending death.  
Keensight dove for the first of the spear throwers, his fire rained down with deadly accuracy as his sweeping path took out two of the wooden constructs.  He banked up sharply but before he could turn to  make another pass, the sound of releasing war machines filled Renamaum’s ears. He keened with sorrow as four of the chained dragons were killed before his eyes.  The Lerdenian keepers would rather see their prizes dead, their blood draining into the ground then released.  
Keensight must have realized the fate of the other four.  He banked sharply and flew off into the distance.  His howl of frustration, of rage and loss filled the air and miles around, it echoed in the wind as dragons picked up his cry .  Renamaum watched him go, a single tear fell from his great eye.  “I am so sorry, my friend.” He whispered into the wind.  He then too, took up the cry as the dragons of the isle sang the song of sorrow for the fallen.  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Money Is Magic That Everyone Pretends Is Not Magic!

“All money is imaginary," answered the Calcatrix simply. "Money is magic everyone agrees to pretend is not magic. Observe! You treat it like magic, wield it like magic, fear it like magic! Why should a body with more small circles of copper or silver or gold than anyone else have an easy life full of treats every day and sleeping in and other people bowing down? The little circles can't get up and fight a battle or make a supper so splendid you get full just by looking at it or build a house of a thousand gables. They can do those things because everyone agrees to give them power. If everyone agreed to stop giving power to pretty metals and started giving it to thumbnails or mushroom caps or roof shingles or first kisses or tears or hours or puffin feathers, those little circles would just lay there tarnishing in the rain and not making anyone bow their noses down to the ground or stick them up in the air.”

 ― Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Whirlwind of Change!

All my life I have been told I should write.  My English teacher in High School, Ms. McDonald, actually had a published author come in and work with me rather than taking regular English courses.  Unfortunately, at the time I did  not see the gift this was in all areas as the teenager in  me saw that I had two teachers to give assignments to for English rather than one like everyone else.

However, these private lessons stuck with me as I continued on in life.  Yet, no matter how well I did in some individual work for an employer, a boss or even in writing; I could not quite bring myself to face the dreaded rejection letter.  I know those are a part of writing but I was so scared of them that I just didn't do it.  So over time, many stories were written and left by the wayside.

Finally, I had a chance to have my mother's story illustrated and published through Createspace.  While it is a cute story, How the Dragons Got Their Colors, I really wanted it published to give to the grand kids an have a piece of my mother saved. She is getting older and I wanted a memory of her that lasted through time.  But the benefit of this is I realized I could submit the novel I had almost completed without a rejection letter.   If no one liked it, it could fade back into obscurity and while it would hurt, no one would be the wiser.

So imagine my shock when it didn't fail.  Outcast has been getting four and five star reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads. The comments back launched me to get the next part of the series out as people asked me when it was coming out.  I learned how to publicize and tripled my sales in the second month.  My free time is now spent in publicity and writing.

With that has come new friends and mentor; my editor, Alex Hunt, is relentless but has honed my skills and continues to do so as I pick up knowledge that had become rusty by not creatively writing.  Most of my work the last two years has been for employers or non-fiction.   I met this dragon on Twitter named, Farloft.  Turns out his best friend Theresa and I are very much alike.

So yesterday, I faced my last big fear.  The first being to put my work out for judgement had been successfully mastered and now if I get a bad review, I know to take it in stride.   However, taking a bad review and facing a real person and asking them to sell your work was way different.  I dressed up and stood quivering outside the bookstore. Finally I gained the courage and went in with the children's book and Outcast.  She took them.  It will be on commission so she is not out the expense but I am good with that. Then... she asked me to do a book signing.  I have heard of these, of course, what writer has not. I just never considered I would do one.    Now I am scheduled to do a book signing in March.  If this continues, I am not sure how to keep up my forty four hour a week counseling job and keep up with all the things I am being asked for as a new writer.  Today, I did my first author interview.  It was a good thing for me, they asked questions I had not considered before today.

If you had asked me a year ago if I would be doing a book signing, thinking of cutting back work hours and enjoying reader feedback. I would have laughed. Wow, what a difference a year can make!