No review today

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I’m a bit whooped. Next Tuesday, I’ll write my review for The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle.

In the meantime, I’m happy to announce that Sigyn’s Flowers is now available on Kindle and as a paperback. I’m waiting for NOOK Press to finish processing the story so I can knock the price on Amazon from $2.99 to $1.29

Here’s the ebook link: https://www.amazon.com/Sigyns-Flowers-Elise-K-Rasha-ebook/dp/B01HORM41E
Here’s the paperback link: https://www.amazon.com/Sigyns-Flowers-Elise-K-Rasha/dp/0997118679

The Ragnarok has come to the Gods of Asgard. As predicted, Odin has fallen in battle to Fenris, the great wolf son of Loki, and he believes he will never awaken again. Yet, he is conscious of a change, of a place and a time he’d believed to be gone beyond the reaches of time.

A new Ragnarok follows him, a new battle that he must win, lest the cycle be broken.

Permanently.

Sigyn’s Flowers – Almost ready to roll

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Sigyn’s Flowers is now currently being processed through Amazon Kindle and NOOK Press. The ebooks will probably be available several hours sooner than the noon time I announced in my author’s event on Facebook, but that’s absolutely fine with me. The paperback is already available through Amazon and CreateSpace. I approved the story on Friday in order for it to be ready for purchase come tomorrow.

Tomorrow is also when I’ll be holding a meet and greet at the Bixby Ihop location (8222 E. 103rd at S. Memorial Dr.) from 10 am to 2 pm. I’ll be providing cake and coffee for those who are interested.

The next meet and greet will be at the Tokyo in Tulsa event from July 15-17, rather impromptu. I’d like for it to be on Saturday, as Saturdays at conventions (in my opinion) are some of the best and busiest days with the best turnouts for fan gatherings. However, with my slightly changing schedule, it may be on Friday instead. Either way, I will be in attendance at Tokyo in Tulsa.

Today is the last day to get The Sons of Thor for free through Kindle.

I feel a little wrung out from fifteen days of almost non-stop promoting on facebook. I really do. In between working and just trying to figure out a few major life choices – I find it a bit sad and disturbing that I’m 38, almost 39, and have no idea on what I want to do in my life beyond becoming a mother and being an author – the promoting has worn a little thin for me. ^_^ But it’s all been worth it, quite honestly. I won’t be re-enrolling in Kindle Select. I don’t care to be exclusive to one distribution channel. That’s one of a few hang-ups that I have with Amazon, but I’m also going to chalk it up to being a personal preference.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue getting the word out for all my stories and get back to writing.

That’s what I really, really wanna do right now.

Up tomorrow, at some point, book review of The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The Fun of Arc of Fantasy/Fiction Fridays: Preview of Sigyn’s Flowers

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For those who have read Portal to Gaming and The Sons of Thor, you know some of the major plot twists already. In Ravensrealm, New Atlantis, and The Intergalactic Chase, there will be more.
One of the fun things I’m enjoying is the not only the elements I’ve already introduced but the fact I also want to write a gaming story in a similar vein to the old Dungeons and Dragons and Dragonlance novels I read as a teenager. Beholders, Kobolds, Orcs . . . a little something for all gaming fans with a nod to how role-playing games have evolved from table top sessions with friends (love those) to the single, private player games such as Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Star Ocean to the ever popular MMORPGs like Dungeons and Dragons Online and World of Warcraft.
Of course, it’s also a testament of my love for epic fantasy adventures like The Lord of the Rings and Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. ^_^ Those I can say are among my all-time favorites for epic fantasy.

Now for the preview of Sigyn’s Flowers!

The Sigyn he remembered, while a twig of a woman, had plump cheeks and a smile almost permanently etched onto her features. Rare were the moments when she lost her temper. The woman before him was gaunt, her eyes rimmed with the red of tears and the darkness of sleepless nights.
“Sigyn,” Odin murmured.
“Allfather,” she replied, tilting her head slightly in his direction. “I see you have made it. Fenris may not be too far behind then.”
“You are expecting him?” He raised an eyebrow at her.
“I am,” she confirmed. She reached over and plucked a blackened wildflower, the leaves dark brown with decay. “As well as Thor and Jörgmungandr and Loki, to name a few. As I was told to do.”
“What is this place?” He stopped in front of her. “And why . . .”
“Why am I here?” She raised an eyebrow at him.
“Yes.” He nodded.
“It is an in-between place,” Sigyn replied. “One of many in the great expanse of Yggdrasil. This is where I came upon my . . . departure from my Loki.”
“Departure?”
“I have already answered your question on where you have arrived, Allfather. Please do not question me further on how I came to be here for it is too painful of a telling. Just know you are still connected to Yggdrasil and be happy on your journey away from here.”
Odin nodded. He knew this. For some reason, he’d forgotten.
‘Why have I forgotten something this important? Did I choose to forget somehow?’ he mused. ‘And why do her words feel like she is dismissing me from this place? What is going on?’
“May I join you?” he asked.
“Join me?” Sigyn blinked then glanced around them. “Why would you want to do that, Allfather? My home is dead. The flowers, the love, and the care Loki and I cultivated have long since passed on from the previous realm, from this very place as well, even as Asgård grows all the brighter for the Nine to see. Why would you want to sit in a place of death with me?”
“We are friends, are we not?”
“We were . . .” She let out a sigh, and her shoulders slumped. “We were, once, Odin, before you and all of Asgård took Loki and myself for granted. Or have you forgotten one of Loki’s original titles as the God of the Hearth?”
“No.” Odin blinked away a stray tear and shook his head. “No. How could I? Though Asgård shines bright around us, I know there is no heart in it. Not anymore.”
“Much went wrong,” Sigyn murmured. “Loki is not completely without fault, Allfather. I know this. I do not seek to excuse his actions. I . . .”
Around them, the branches of Yggdrasil shook. A strong gust of wind dusted them with green and golden leaves.
Invisible fingers of ice clutched at his heart. Odin glanced at Sigyn. Her eyes were cast upwards. Tears flowed freely from them, and the despair . . . it radiated from her in tangible waves so strong, it filled his mouth with the taste of soured mead.

The Sons of Thor free as an ebook, starting today/Environmental Impacts of Books vs. Ereaders

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Starting today, The Sons of Thor is now free on Kindle through Monday. Don’t forget on Tuesday, there is a meet and greet with me at the Ihop in Bixby, located at 8222 103rd St. where the two meet at S. Memorial Drive. If you’re in Tulsa and would like to meet up, I’ll be there from 10 am to 2 pm. Sigyn’s Flowers will be released on June 28th as well in ebook and paperback formats. Mark your calendars!

You can get your copy https://www.amazon.com/Sons-Thor-Fantasy-Turning-Reality-ebook/dp/B012XDRNQA

Speaking of ebooks and paperbacks, earlier in my facebook feed, a friend wrote about the ecological impacts of ebooks and ereaders over traditionally published books. It was an interesting read, though she didn’t cite where she found some of her statistics, like which sites said how many books a single tree can produce. She noted that the statistics vary, almost wildly so, but no actual sources were cited. It’s certainly an argument in favor of purchasing an e-reader of some kind and going more for ebooks than traditional books.

I have a problem with this particular blogger’s argument because, as someone presenting an idea over an environmental impact, she failed to note a few key things.

And to note here, I am not anti-technology. I do embrace technology. I love my laptop and my cell phone. My laptop has not failed me as of yet, hasn’t taken a nosedive over anything, and my cell phone has outlived things that should have killed it. I’ve had my cell phone since July 2013, and it’s taken quite the licking on occasion. Seriously. Several months ago, when I was trying to go down the basement stairs (proverbial geek, living in mom’s basement), I had way too much stuff to carry, and I’m not one who likes to make many trips. The less I have to run up and down the stairs with my stuff, the better. I’d just gotten back from work, and my server’s apron hit the floor at the top of the stairs. I forgot that my phone was in one of the pockets.

I kicked it down the stairs. A few things went flying, including my cell phone. It landed in three pieces – batter, back cover to hold the battery in place, and the phone itself. I put it back together and just carried on. And, yes, it still works. The only reason why I’m even contemplating a replacement is for business purposes. A somewhat larger phone will help me to display the cover art for my books better than my little rinky dink phone.

In terms of technology, the only things I am anti on are the constant need to replace something. I don’t believe in rushing out to buy the latest cell phones that have more application options to them than the ones released six months prior. I don’t believe in buying a new computer simply because it’s outdated when a new operating system is released.

I’m also going to make this note. It’s an argument I’ve heard before from my best friend, but she also went into greater detail on the environmental impact. It isn’t just the harvesting of the trees. It’s the process of making paper, of making the dyes for the inks used to print the words and create the covers. All of this includes a very toxic process thanks to the chemicals used to make the products. It’s the pollutants going into the air and into the water.

And that brings me to some of the key things the author of the blog failed to note. The argument is that, over time, the negative impact of purchasing an ereader (like Kindle or NOOK) will become a positive by the reduction of the number of trees used to print books.

1 – Printed books are not on unlimited runs. There are very few exceptions to this rule. The classics, like The Three Musketeers and The Lord of the Rings, are some noted exceptions. I’m certain that, if I wanted to, I could find a way to order brand new copies of titles by Stephen King, like Carrie or Christine (these two in particular due to their 1970s publication dates). Popularity is key here. The more popular a title or an author is, the more likely one is going to find newer, mass printed copies of their books. Otherwise, all books published under a traditional contract are on a limited run. In an economic sense, it just does not pay to constantly print books no one is buying. While it’s true the same book could be on an unlimited run as an ebook, unlimited printings of every book by every author ever published just doesn’t happen.

2 – The harvesting of trees.

I grew up in an area that had (and has) no less than sixteen different tree farms. I knew of at least two before leaving the Cadillac, Michigan, area. Upon asking, my stepdad there were sixteen tree farm companies. And that’s just to sell Christmas trees. So these are trees that, upon reaching a certain age, are being harvested once a year to sit in people’s homes for however long a person has a Christmas tree up before being discarded to either rot or be used in some other product. These are companies that plant trees almost as often as they harvest them. Yes, it’s a time-consuming process, but it does happen.

In following this particular line of logic, a publishing company, in my opinion, is likely to have a contract with a tree farm or at least have permission from a state park to harvest trees that are sick/dying/decaying.

3 – Trees are not the only products used to make paper.

I did real quick google search for types of plants used to make trees. According to the one site I clicked on (called gardenguides.com), not only trees are used for making paper (trees like birch, various elm, and willow) but certain plants can be used as well, like tobacco, milkweed, thistles, and stinging nettle. Banana leaves can be used, too, and even bamboo.

As for what publishing companies use to make paper, I don’t know. That would be something we, as readers and those concerned about environmental impacts, would have to ask the publishers about. Some publishers may not even know, but at least we can make the effort to find out.

4 – Paper can be recycled.

When I was in sixth grade and when my school district had the sixth grade as part of the elementary schools, I attended what was called Sixth Grade Camp. We were three different elementary schools coming together in the winter and the spring in order to acclimate to one another. At the winter camp, we were shown how to recycle paper.

Not all printed books are done on freshly minted paper. Some books are on recycled paper. Some books come printed on pages recycled from other materials, like denim. Anything that is printed on recycled materials says so on the back of the book or card or whatever it is you’re purchasing.

5 – Trees are harvested for more than books.

The harvesting of trees, the clearing of trees is not going to end because you’ve purchased an ereader. Sad but true. There are thousands of acres of rainforest land cleared away for nothing more than to be used as space for people to live. Buying an ereader is not going to stop the deforestation of land. If anything, it’s going to actually increase it, and the reasons why will be noted in the next aspect the blogger failed to note.

6 – Ereaders are in constant mass production.

Books, for the most part, receive a limited run. Ereaders are not on limited runs. In fact, ereaders require a lot of resources to make. I would love to tear apart an ereader to see what’s inside of it. I’m certain there is metal in an ereader. Land will be cleared to for the construction of factories or for the mining of metals. The metals are mined in toxic conditions that could rival the dye and paper-making processes. There’s the manufacturing of the plastic, the refining of the metals to make the wires or whatever is used to conduct the electricity that powers the ereader, and let’s not forget the type of working conditions people face in the manufacturing process of the Kindle or the NOOK, conditions that, if they were in the U.S. or Europe, would have the company shut down for OSHA and labor safety violations. (This is true for pretty much any electronic device these days.)

If we are going to be real about the environmental impact of books over ebooks, we cannot look at the ebook itself as a means of a saving grace. The ebook needs something in order to be read. So let’s get real here. Very, very real.

And there isn’t just ONE type of ereader. A quick search on Amazon has yielded me Kindle Paper, Kindle Fire, Kindle Oasis, Kindle Voyager, and even they’re varied. Six inch, seven inch, WiFi capable, HD versions, and so on. The same goes for NOOK. Four different variations for varied reading experiences, from simple black and white text to high definition and digital. Yeah, there are benefits to ebooks. You can shut your device down and never lose your place. You can change the font. You can change the color of the font. You can get an ebook that plays out like a video game, if you want.

These ereadrs are in CONSTANT production. You might only need one for the rest of your life, but it does not change the fact they are in constant production. They are in constant refining and upgrading. They are no different than your everyday computer and cell phone. Companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble want you to be buying new every so often. They will make it so you eventually cannot download ebooks to your old ereader. No company is in the business of you hanging on to your old Commodore 64 for the rest of your life or your cell phone from 2001. It’s just not how they work, and, let’s face it. Electronics can be easy to break.

So how can we reduce our environmental impact? In truth, I don’t know that we can. We can do our best to stick with one cell phone, one computer, one ereader for as long as we can. It won’t stop the mass production, but we’re not constantly throwing out devices that still work, that can still get the job done. I don’t have a Kindle or a NOOK, but I don’t need one, either. I have my laptop. That works for me. I presume it works for others like me, too, people who are unable to afford ereaders and constantly buying new phones, new computers, and the like.

As far as what to choose for reading goes, the choice ultimately is not up to me as to what other people choose. I’m not even going to go as far as to say what the blogger did and tell people to stick to the library for printed books. That’s not my decision to make for anyone else. Ultimately, as an author, what matters to me is that people read. You want a printed book? Go where you can get a printed book, be it the library, bookstore, or through a print-on-demand option. Want an ebook? Get an ebook. You don’t need an ereader for those. Your laptop, tablet, or phone will do the job.

Are ereaders here to stay? Barring a severe apocalypse in which it will take mankind generations to rebuild everything, yes. Ereaders are here to stay.

And so are printed books.

I know this doesn’t help for people who want to reduce their environmental impact on our planet. It really doesn’t because some of what I present seems to favor environmental damage by the harvesting of trees. However, I wanted to present more facts and a different perspective than what the blogger I’d read did. Knowing the number of trees used to print books alone is not enough to make an informed decision. Knowing there’s a chemical process for manufacturing paper and inks and that it pollutes the air is only half the conversation. It isn’t the only process involved. I feel it’s foolish to presume that ereaders (not ebooks) don’t have an impact on our environment, even more foolish to presume that ereaders use less resources to make than printed books. Like I said, if we’re going to be real about this book business, then let’s be real.

If you want to learn more, I recommend reading this article published in January 2015. Use it to make your decision.

E-Readers Vs. Print Books

Words of Wisdom Wednesday – Writing Tip on Research

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This has been a bit of a slow burn with me, something I’m aiming to do better at myself on particular subjects. No, I won’t say which. Just know some are always ongoing. ^_^

Research.

At some point or another, every author will have to do some kind of research on a given subject in order to weave some fantastic tale. Stephen King researched how to steal construction equipment for a short story (then totally wrote it wrong so no one could actually, you know, steal construction equipment – I think it was a bulldozer. I know the story. I’ve read it. I just can’t think of it right off the top of my head.) Fantasy authors delve into myths and legends and folklore, weaponsmithing, and armor. Crime writers consult with police and forensic experts (or at least watch enough shows, I surmise, like Forensic Files and other investigative shows into true crimes. Unless you’re John Grisham. Then you just make a career switch.)

Even fanfiction authors have done some research here and there. I know of some writers for the series Gravitation that have researched as much as they could about Japanese culture and society and kept up with current events of the times in order to weave some fantastic stories. I’ve read some stories that did the barest of research on laws regarding gay marriage in particular parts of the U.S. but never delved further, resulting in quite the reader backlash. It’s the one thing I feel safe in saying that gets harped upon by most every author out there and the value it holds.

Now doing the research itself isn’t enough. It’s also a matter of execution of the research and twisting in such a way that’s engaging to the target audience (another area of research for authors). We can research our given subjects to the death. We can be that passionate about a subject! ^_^

When doing your research, don’t half-bake yourself. It’s going to be difficult enough as it is to not come across as preachy or in a droning monotone. The latest story I reviewed, the author did her research. I won’t say that she didn’t. However, she twisted things to suit her purpose without, at least in my opinion, sufficiently explaining why certain events played out the way that they did but maintain some sense of “faithfulness” to the Norse myths. For those who only skim the surface, the story is probably a great one.

To expand further, when choosing a genre and a setting, like Westerns, for example, know what types of weapons were used during any given time period. When writing a period/historical Romance, know the clothing styles and the rules of the society at the time. If you’re writing about dinosaurs . . . you get the idea.

And it’s a complaint any writer can expect to hear when playing fast and loose with the research. You can do so, but at your own risk. So I encourage my fellow writers to do the best that they can. Know your timeline. Know your setting. Most of all, know the story you want to tell. This will help you with your research.

Oh, and don’t forget to ask why. Why is Character A turning against his compatriots? The more you ask questions (this is part of your research, after all), the more interesting your story will be.

Book Review Tuesday – movie Crimson Peak/What I’m Currently Reading

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First up, the reading list.

What I’m Currently Reading
The Rites of Odin by Ed Fitch
Icelandic Magic by Stephen Flowers
The Complete Book of Chakra Healing by Cyndi Dale
The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturloson

In the Waiting Wings
The Age of Aztec by James Lovegrove
Runelore by Edred Thorsson
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Sagas of the Icelanders

Itching to Get My Hands On
Hans Christiansen’s Fairy Tales
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Celtic Myths and Legends
Norse Myths

Now for the movie review

Continue reading

Moving Forward Monday

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So my copies of all of my stories are now on order for next Tuesday’s (June 28th) meet and greet. I’m holding it at the Bixby Ihop located at 8222 103rd St., at the corner of S. Memorial Drive from 10 am to 2 pm. I will be providing cake and coffee. If you’re in Tulsa and got some free time, swing on by!

I’ll also be at Tokyo in Tulsa on Saturday, July 16, with possible appearances in the afternoons for Friday and Sunday over the duration of the convention. I’m currently weighing out the costs since it will be a general admission for me. However, Saturday, for sure, I will be there, and I’m planning on having more signed copies of my stories available for those who are interested.

Today is day three of the Portal to Gaming free ebook promotion. You can get your copy here. https://www.amazon.com/Portal-Gaming-Fantasy-Turning-Reality-ebook/dp/B00MQ68JNQ

A reminder that Sigyn’s Flowers (a short story) will also be released on June 28th. I’m counting down the days. I’m so excited!!

And Sigyn’s Flowers will be my last attempt at writing a short story. The novelist in me likes to go into background and to go longer. The critiques I receive tend to want more than less.

On a personal note, on this full moon summer solstice, I’m aiming for healthier. In mind, in spirit, and in body. It’s going to be rough, I’ve got some addictions to face that I didn’t realize I needed to face (seriously, we have a major sugar problem in this country), but I’m letting go of the negative and the crap that’s been weighing me down and trying to keep me weighed down. I’m doing better than upon my return to Tulsa. I’ll continue to keep doing better.

Love! Enjoy your Monday. (Don’t complain about it being Monday, either. It’s the start of my “weekend”! LOL)