Tale of a Story: Exposed

The writing process–how Kathy’s story took form.

Finding Faeries

The wonderful Jolene Haley has delighted horror fans with her fall author/illustrator showcase for years. It began six years ago with the dark carnival, then each year she has hosted hosted stories and art for themes of haunted house, harvest festival, haunted hotel, summer of screams (summer camp stories), dark seas, and this year urban legends! I found and started participating in the second year with the haunted house theme and had so much fun that I join in each year.

So today, my story is up on her blog for the…

Go read EXPOSED here!

I’ll wait, then we can talk about the fight that was writing this story.

Okay…so…when you sign up to participate in the #SpookyShowcase, there is no fear of rejection. Everyone gets to have their story posted. All the authors and illustrators are super nice and supportive. It is truly a wonderful time. Which…

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Kathy’s Story is Up!

Kathy Palm, from Scribes, read us a short story about urban legends, and it’s up on Jolene Haley’s website today.  Typical Kathy.  Immediate.  Emotional.  And creepy:)  (Not a as a person.  She’s really nice, but she writes creepy stuff).


A New One Hour Read

It’s October, and that got me excited about witches, shifters, demons, and vampires.  As the good guys:)

I love writing novellas.  On Amazon, there’s a special section for One Hour Reads.  That got me excited.  I looked at the top one hundred, and that made me even more interested in trying to write one.  BUT, being the slow learner that I am, the requirements are stories that are 33-43 pages.  So I wrote a manuscript that on my computer came to 46 pages including the title page, blurb, etc.  I was pretty happy with myself.  I even made my own cover on canva.com using an image I found on canstock.com.  I didn’t break my arm patting myself on the back, but I was pretty happy with what I’d done.  Until I loaded it.  I’m still happy with the story, BUT for any of you reading this who might want to try the same thing, remember that Kindle pages and manuscript pages are not created equal.  My story came to 62 pages on Kindle.  Lesson learned.  Next time, I’ll write even shorter.

Stephen King once did an interview and said that he liked to write short stories and shorter pieces between books to clear his mind.  I like to do the same thing.  I’d just finished a draft of my fifth Jazzi Zanders mystery, and I had ideas for the sixth one, but I needed a break between them.  And that’s why I started writing Muddy River.

For me, the shorter the story, the harder it is to write.  And when I write things that are really short, I can’t justify (to myself) putting them on Amazon and charging money for them.  So I post them on my blog for fun.  But novellas are long enough that I feel they’re worth selling.  I used to write LOTS of them as Judith Post.  My favorites were the Babet and Prosper series.  Muddy River gives me that same satisfaction.

This is the first time I’ve written about Hester and Raven, had them fight their enemies and win, but left one tiny part of the problem unsolved.  I couldn’t get to it in 46 pages.  I’m going to have to deal with that later, but at the moment, I have no clue what that next story might be.  I already have a longer Muddy River all mapped out, and it’s not part of it.  So I guess someday, sooner rather than later, I’m going to need to tie up that loose end.  That gives the little grey cells plenty of time to come up with something:)

In the meantime, my DH’s brother is coming to stay with us from the 15-22, so I probably won’t find time to post a new blog this coming Thursday.  But I hope that doesn’t mean that when the cat’s away the mice will play.  I’m reminding you to keep writing, and may the words flow for you!  And if not, hey, hope you enjoy yourselves anyway.

Muddy River 3.5 (Under Siege) cover

99 cents @  https://amzn.to/2nLM42G


A Yummy Hero

I read some books and the guy who’s the hero is just plain hot.  And I remember him.  A hot hunk isn’t enough to make me love a book, but let’s face it, it doesn’t hurt.  But M. L. Rigdon has a habit of writing wonderful male characters AND one heck of a good story.  In her newest fantasy, THE GRACARIN, she combines a hero who endeared himself to me the longer I read about him, with a heroine whom I’ve loved since I read about her in the trilogy Seasons of Time.  I love Sorda, and it hurt when she became Lorin’s consort in that series instead of his wife.  But it was so typical of her, content to play second-fiddle in the background.  Until she meets Torak–my heart throb–in The Gracarin.  And oh, how I hope she and Torak end up together.  So, I invited M. L. Rigdon to my blog to tell us more about her new fantasy trilogy.

Q&A with M. L. Rigdon

You wrote a three-book series, SEASONS OF TIME. And now you’re continuing that storyline with plans for another three book series, SEASONS OF WAR. Your first book in that series, THE GRACARIN, released today. Happy Book Birthday! And thanks for visiting my blog.

Thanks Judy/Judi for this invitation!

What draws you to fantasy?

The joy and high of unrestrained imagination. Other genres have parameters, often strict boundaries, such as regency. History cannot be changed, but with fantasy, the mind can go anywhere and do anything. There’s a lot of power in that freedom. The most difficult aspect is containing/directing it.

In The Gracarin, Torak’s civilization is centered around religion and music, a respect for the land. In your first series, Omirr’s religion is faith-based, wary of technology. But each land respects the other. Explain how their two religions differ, and why you chose to write each that way.

So much of what comes out of my head is pants writing, but like all writers, a product of what we’ve learned, read, experienced. I’ve always enjoyed the differences in nations and cultures. There’s so much to learn from each other. Omirr’s religion is fundamental, has strict rules and codes. Gracarin’s culture centers around reverence for the land, music as a way of worship, leaving one’s spirituality and journey a uniquely personal responsibility. Now that you’ve asked, I see similarities to Native American plains tribes.

Both Omirr and the Gracarin respect women, but in different ways. How do they differ?

In both cultures, women are equal in status to men. The Gracarin women have an edge because of the Council of Elders, women who make legal decisions, turning over those edicts to the men to decide the punishment.( It wasn’t until after I wrote this aspect of Gracarin culture that I remembered reading about early Native American tribes in the East having women as leaders and female councils making tribal decisions).

Regarding relationships, in Omirr, marriages are often arranged. In Gracarin, the women chose and propose publicly, a challenge, physical and vocal to all comers, winner gets the guy. The guy has a choice, yes or a polite no. Most don’t decline.

Both series are written with an overall story arc that starts with book one and finishes with book three. What’s the story arc for SEASONS OF WAR?

Each book deals with conflicts and threats created by a sorceress abetted by a Gracarin aristocrat. This culminates with a BBM (big, black moment) and battle for survival for both nations.

You write wonderful male characters. What inspired you to write Torak?

I have no idea. These people (characters) come into my head whole, like a weird adult birth. I used to worry that I “did” male characters wrong. Being female, I worried I’d not be able to relate to masculine mentality. It wasn’t until book events, where men waylaid me to talk with great excitement about the men in my books, that I was surprised to learn I did it right. They loved the male heroes, found them accessible, relatable. Who knew we are so alike? My late husband’s explanation was that we are alike with the exception that men are visually driven and women rely on emotional responses.

Sorda is one of my favorite characters in your first series, but you were downright mean to her in The Gracarin. Why?

Bad things happen to good people. Torak needed to confront some inner conflicts. Plot needed to ante up. Bad people do bad things, which in this case, provided discovery and helped to drive the story forward. I may write by the seat of my pants but some writing ingredients have to be added to the mix.

The fflorin were in your first series and this new one. Care to introduce them to us?

Part dragon, part bird. Capricious, clever, obnoxious, in turn adorable and affectionate versus fight-loving and vicious in battle. Blue-skinned, fluffy white wings, opposable thumbs and three fingers with retractable talons. Doesn’t like the taste of human flesh but not averse to tearing a human enemy into shreds. They chose human associates like we would a puppy and sneer at humans who cannot communicate in their musical language. They align themselves with humans because they provide plenty of opportunity to engage in fighting.

Any more thoughts you’d like to share with us about The Gracarin or Seasons of War?

It’s dedicated to John Robert Malas Jr., aka Badaz, on the anniversary of his father’s death. This may seem odd, but it’s another way to celebrate a man who profoundly influenced others, and to thank John Jr. for his suggestion to continue with the world of Omirr and for his service to our country.

An excerpt?

How about a blurb and an endorsement:

To avenge a vicious assault on his lands, Gracarin overlord Torak-en-Dorath seeks an alliance with Ladnor-Sha, Omirr’s most powerful ruler. Under the guise of attending a conference, he instigates a campaign to take the throne of his enemy but gets caught in unforeseen conflict—one that includes Sorda of Vos, legal consort to the heir of the House of Sha. Called the Beloved by the winged fflorin, Sorda becomes key in the restoration of his blighted lands and an unwilling catalyst of war.

“Strong, compassionate characters from two different cultures where religion, magic, and power prevail and come together to rid Gracarin of an evil, profligate ruler.  Highly recommended.  A great follow-up of the Seasons of Time trilogy.”  Judi Lynn, USA Today bestselling author

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I got to beta read The Gracarin and loved it! Hope you give it a try.


The Gracarin Cover Stock

Please follow on her blog
or her website http://www.MLRigdon.com

Welcome Charles Yallowitz

Since it’s October, and the ghosties and ghoulies will soon trick or treat, I invited Charles Yallowitz to my blog to promote the sale of his vampire series.  Each book in his 3-book series is only 99 cents!  See what you think:

Collage of 3 for Charles Yallowitz

War of Nytefall Info for Charles Yallowitz:

War of Nytefall: Loyalty

In the wake of the Great Cataclysm, a new predator will emerge from within Windemere’s shadow.

For fifty years, Clyde has been trapped beneath the earth while the vampire kingdom has been gradually losing its war against the Sun God’s followers. Only Mab believes that her partner survived his holy execution and is determined to bring him back to the city of Nyte. Retrieving the vampiric thief is only the beginning as he comes out of the ground stronger, faster, and possessing abilities that their kind have never witnessed throughout their ancient history. Thrown into the war, Clyde must be careful to hide his true nature while fighting alongside his old friends. Too bad he is having so much fun being free that keeping his secret might be the furthest thing from his mind.

Will anyone be ready for the inevitable rise of the Dawn Fangs?


War of Nytefall: Lost

As the Vampire Civil War of Windemere rages on in the shadows, a mysterious girl appears to deliver mayhem to both sides.

Rumors of old-world vampires disappearing and mortals being attacked by an army of humanoid monsters have reached Clyde’s ears. Still learning how to rule the city of Nytefall as a strong, but fair leader instead of a vicious warlord, the former thief assumes he has rogue agents on his hands. Instead, his people stumble upon Lost, a teenage Dawn Fang looking for her father and aided by a decrepit bunny that might be an animated corpse. Bounding from one side of the Vampire Civil War to another, this carefree girl will turn out to be more trouble than she looks as all of the demons of her past emerge to get what they have been promised. Yet, her chaotic actions are nothing compared to the secret of her creation, which will change the very fabric of the Dawn Fangs’ world.

It is time for the womb-born to be revealed.


War of Nytefall: Rivalry

Seeking the pleasure of revenge, an ancient rumor will reveal herself to be a deadly legend.

Lurking within the shadows for centuries, the Vampire Queen has been drawn to the conflict that surrounds Clyde. Only whispers have been spread about this elusive figure, who has amassed a kingdom that can rival Nyte and Nytefall. All that she is missing is the strongest vampire to crown as her king. In one fell swoop, she has taken the most powerful of her kind, including Clyde and Xavier Tempest. Hosting a tournament where the rules seem to change at her whim, the Vampire Queen threatens to shatter the already strained world that lurks beneath Windemere’s surface. Yet, there is more to her desires, which seep from a soul that is pulsing with fury. For her kingdom can never be complete until she holds the head of the one who wronged her centuries ago.

Can Mab stand against her ancient rival and save her beloved partner?


Amazon Link for Series: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KBFS2LK?ref_=series_rw_dp_labf

Author Bio:

Charles E. Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After spending many years fiddling with his thoughts and notebooks, he decided that it was time to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house with only pizza and seltzer to sustain him, Charles brings you tales from the world of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and drawing you into a world of magic.


Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

Author Photo for Charles yallowitz

There you go!  Three books.  Three epic battles.  Hope you enjoy them.  And thanks for stopping by my blog, Charles.  Good luck with your books!


My birthday’s actually at the end of September, but according to the zodiac my birthday month is September 23 to Oct. 22.  So October is a special month for me.  Every year, when I reach it, I feel more energized, like I’m starting a new year.

Also, October is the month in Indiana when the leaves change color and the air grows nippier.  And at the end of the month, there’s Halloween.  I’ve always liked fairytales, paranormal, and supernatural.  And All Hallow’s Eve is when the veil between our world and the spirit realm thins.  Witches celebrate Samhain and put out a saucer of milk for Cat Sith.

Cat Sith inspired me to write a short story for Muddy River.  No horror or ghosts or goblins.  It’s how the supernaturals in Muddy River celebrate the holiday.  You can find it on the Muddy River Snippets page here: https://writingmusings.com/snippets-page/.  

And today, for the Thursday Snippet, I put up a Halloween story for Jazzi and Ansel.  The body on their front stoop isn’t a stuffed dummy.  It’s real.  https://writingmusings.com/the-body-in-the-lake-a-jazzi-short-story/.

Another reason for me to celebrate lately is that I finally finished the plot points for Muddy River Four.  I’m often tempted by the desire to just wing it and see what happens, but it never works for me.  It always costs me more time and effort than if I make myself pound out ideas for chapters so I can see the cause and effect that take me to a book’s end.  When I write willy-nilly, letting my characters lead me, I run amok.  My characters must not be trustworthy.  Not sure what that says about me:)

Anyway, I’m going to try to pound out a Muddy River by the end of November, because my next Jazzi mystery is due on May 4th, and I’ve learned the hard way that I don’t get as much writing time in December as I usually do, so I’ll rub my hands together and plot out Jazzi 6 in-between holiday things.  I mean, it’s more important to see friends and family and have fun:)  Once January hits, I can hibernate and hit the keys every week day to make my Jazzi deadline.

At least, that’s the plan.  For now.   But you know how Life goes.  The best laid plans and all that….

So, I’m wishing you an awesome October, and happy writing!


Carnival Row (spoilers)

I don’t watch a lot of TV.  We have BritBox, so I can watch British mysteries, and my husband loves the Great British Baking Show even more than I do, but when I saw the clips for Carnival Row on Prime, it had all of the elements I like in a story.  A Victorian feel.  A gloomy setting.  Supernaturals and Fae.  And a scary monster that guts people to take their livers.  Yes, the show is dark.  And the humans aren’t depicted as much nicer than the monster.  The way they treat the supernaturals, for me, was gut-wrenching.  (Oops, there’s that word again.  Sorry).

And it made me love this series, it was so complex.  And in my opinion, and this is JUST my opinion, the plotting was brilliant.  I love mysteries, especially puzzles where each little clue becomes important at the end of the story.  Carnival Row was like that.  We start out following a detective who’s determined to stop a killer from beating Fae women with a hammer, killing most of his victims.  I thought, Aha!  The story’s big question.  Hardly.  The other cops who work the area aren’t much concerned about the women’s deaths.  What’s one less Fae?  Good riddance!

We get a glimpse of Philo’s private life, living in a boarding house.  The woman who runs it has fallen for him, and when we see them in an intimate scene, we learn that Philo has scars on his back from the war he fought in.  (If nudity and sex bother you, be warned).  Being a soldier has shaped him, and he  doggedly follows each clue that comes up until he confronts the killer.  And then there’s a twist.  The killer tells him that the Fae haven’t only brought their strange religions and customs to Carnival Row, they’ve brought a dark monster, and the evil has only begun.  Then the killer throws himself off the top of the building, killing himself.

We wonder why Philo cares so much about the Fae when no one else does.  And then we learn, through a flashback, that while fighting the war, he was stationed in a Fae bastion, and he fell in love with a woman there.  She ends up in Carnival Row, too.  And we know the two will meet and the plot’s going to have another twist.  We also learn that the scars on Philo’s back are because his mother was Fae.  She had his wings cut off when he was a baby so that he could pretend to be human growing up and have a better life, and she placed him in an orphanage so that he wouldn’t be associated with her.

When we return to present day in the story, Philo’s now tracking the dark monster that’s stalking the area.  I’ve shared enough spoilers, so I won’t say more except that there are subplots that add more layers to the story, and the twists keep coming, and the story gets more and more complicated.  It’s as much a maze as a mystery with each person’s story  weaving in and out of each other.  The over arcing storyline builds more and more tension with each episode, and the characters were well developed, even minor ones.  Predictions seem like one thing and then morph into another.  There was even decent social commentary if you chose to notice it.

I write cozy mysteries.  Even my Muddy River stories with supernaturals don’t push the envelope too far.  But I think I could learn a thing or two by studying the plotting of Carnival Row.  Writers can learn a lot from movies that inspire them.  How were they put together?  What made them better, more compelling than other movies you’ve watched?  I was impressed with the writing of this eight episode series.

October is almost upon us with days that get shorter and shorter, (at least, where I live).  All Hallow’s Eve will soon arrive with its thinning of the veil.  Enjoy the changing of the leaves, the brisk temperatures, and let’s hope that happy writing is in your future!