Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blogs Combining

I've decided that maintaining two blogs-- one for Maggie Faire and one for Maggie Jaimeson--takes way too much time. Time that I need to be writing another book. So, I am combining my two blogs into one at my Maggie's Meanderings blog.

I know that many people who follow this blog also follow that one already.  So, I hope this will make it easier for you.

I'll be moving the posts from here to there over the next few weeks.  But I will no longer be posting here.  Please join me at Maggie's Meanderings from now on.


The third one in the series is scheduled for December just in time for Christmas, Chameleon: The Summoning.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Give Books for Kids and Teens

NOTE: This is a duplicate post to the one I put on my Maggie's Meanderings blog last week. I just wanted to make sure all my readers and other authors, who only see this blog, access the wonderful work of Dawn Lowery and Wee Care Community Outreach.

As an author and an educator I sometimes take literacy for granted. I was blessed from early age with a grandmother who loved to read and every Christmas I saw books under the tree.  My father also loved stories and enjoyed writing (though he never published his writing).  I've been a reader as long as I can remember and a storyteller since I could first form words.

The Romance Writers of America take literacy very seriously.  At every national conference, the profits from book sales at the author signing (usually more than 500 authors are signing) go to literacy.  Many local chapters do something similar.  My own chapter used to have a literacy fundraiser in the form of a luncheon.

So, it was with great happiness that I recently learned of a special person on Goodreads. I was running a giveaway of my YA Fantasy books under the Maggie Faire name. One of the entrants wrote me to let me know she was hoping to win.  But the reason was not only to read my books; it was because she and her family have founded a community outreach program for poor families in Georgia where they help people of all ages learn to read and/or improve their reading.  Every book she wins, or buys, or receives as a gift goes to the center's library.  They want to have a large variety of books so they can always find something of interest to the new or expanding reader.

Well, she didn't win my giveaway but, after researching her organization (which is an official IRS Non profit) I knew I would send her copies of my books.  I am hoping that those who see my post here will also do the same.

Donated books can be sent to:

Wee Care Community Outreach
C/O Dawn Lowery
3985 Shelton Drive
Resaca, Georgia  30735

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Best Me Ever

One of the things that authors have to do is to put their face out there.  It goes on your website, on your facebook page, on your twitter account, on your blog, sometimes in the newspaper, and even on the back of your book or the inside of your book.  In other words, it is in so many places that if you don't love your headshot you can get depressed about your looks pretty fast.

I don't know about you, but I have always had things about my body I don't like.  As I've gotten older, I've accepted a lot of things about my looks, my wrinkles, the little bits of grey in my hair and of course my girth.  So, when I went to the photographers to get a new headshot I had to decide if I wanted to be me or someone else.  I wanted to be me, but the very best me possible.  I think the photographers did that in this, one of my favorites of the pictures they took. In the larger version you can still see a few wrinkles, the sprinkling of grey, the fold in the neck but they did smooth my skin tones.

Some women--even those who are thin and beautiful--look in the mirror and see fat and ugly.  I'm the opposite. I'm heavy and have all the things that come along with aging, but when I look in the mirror I see a younger, thinner, prettier person.  Most of the time I still see that 28 year old who is inside me. Why 28? I have no idea. I think because it was a time when I was in good shape and felt the most physically confident--not psychologically confident but physically.

When I try to describe this phenomenon to people, some say I'm simply in denial. Others don't believe me. I'm not in denial, if I look hard I see the "real" physical me. But I don't spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, fussing. And I don't bother with looking at every detail that is not perfect. I've never been perfect. So, I really do see the person inside me manifested on the outside with only slight changes.  Weird?

The only time it's a real problem is when I go shopping and pick out a cute size 12 outfit. I get to the dressing room and I'm temporarily shocked I don't fit into it. (Now that's not really true. I know better than that. But I do have a problem picking out sizes that are too small).  The other time I'm pulled back to reality is if I get on a scale (try not to do that much) or when I'm walking beside people who are actually 28 and fit and beautiful. Of course, to me they look they are in high school. It's all relative. :)

Do you have an age you think of for yourself on the inside? If so, what age is it?  If you are a young person, how do you feel about body? Are you comfortable with it, no matter what size you are?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It's Here! It's Here! It's Here!

The second book in The Forest People series is here!  I had hoped it would be released at the same time as the first book, but it didn't work out that way.  In the end, I'm glad because truth be told managing a release for one book took a lot of energy as it was.  But now, for all those who have just finished the first book, you can now get the second.  And if you were lucky to get in on the 99 cent preorder deal at Windtree Press, you should be seeing emails with download links today.

The ebook is only $4.50 and available around the world now.  The print book is $14.00 and will be released next week.  You can get it online through Amazon & Barnes and Noble, as well as through most booksellers who purchase books through Ingrams or Baker & Taylor.

In both ebook and print, my motto is always BUY LOCAL.  Check with your local bookstore for availability.  Many local bookstores now also have ebook links too.

Just as a reminder, here's a look at Book 2 - Chameleon: The Choosing

Having survived the Kintala and liberated her father, Camryn knows two things: 1) her feelings about Ohar or Dagger can't be trusted; and 2) her newly found magical powers are darn scary and out of control. Though she has learned how to manage when she changes into other people, now she has the added burden of controlling her magic before she kills someone by accident. 

The first step is to bond with the most powerful creature in the universe, a thunder dragon. They are the only ones who can take her to the void. They are the only ones who can answer her questions about her gifts. They are the only ones who understand the burdens of life and death--of balance and control. The choosing is never easy, and only the worthy are chosen.
Camryn is committed to stopping the lichen mutations that are killing the Forest People. She knows that her gift as a Chameleon will allow her to discover why the Agnoses experiments are being escalated and how they use the lichen to enhance powers of both Forest People and Agnoses.

In her first battle of control, Camryn comes face-to-face with her own inner demons. What price is she willing to pay in order to save the Forest People? Camryn can see the war coming. Her gifts have the power to save both worlds, but in the process she may end up destroying everyone and everything she loves.


Buy Links: Windtree Press | Jan's Paperbacks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple | Xin Xii

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Being Part of a Writing Community

I am a member of two primary writing communities, RWA and the Authors Guild.  I've also been a member of my local RWA Chapter, the Rose City Romance Writers for going on ten years.  I very much believe in writer's communities whether you are just starting out or a seasoned pro.

I joined Savvy Authors in September 2012.  I must admit, I haven't been very involved with the site due to too little time and too many books to write. However, I do subscribe to their feed and often take a few moments to read an interesting article or learn more about the changes in publishing. Savvy Authors is dedicated to helping writers and I jumped at the chance to be a small part of their blog tour to help people learn more about their new and improved site.  Today I'm hosting Elizabeth W. Gibson in a guest post about her experience with Savvy Authors.

Unlikely Bedfellows

You’ve seen it before.  If not in your own home, on Facebook or Pinterest, the fearless kitten snuggling with the big family dog.  You see it and suddenly you’re in an oversized terry robe you’ve borrowed, along with rabbit slippers, (yup, the ones with the big floppy ears) and you’re holding a warm cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows floating on top.  Plus there’s a smile or maybe a chuckle, whichever, you’re feeling all’s well with the world.  
Okay, perhaps I’m projecting here.  But, the warm and cozies I get with this image of pure heaven is how I feel about online writing communities.   They bring writers with diverse backgrounds, varying levels of experience and a trainload of different genres to bed down together.  Figuratively speaking of course.  Although, romance and erotica writers can get pretty frisky, but it’s all on paper.  But, it doesn’t matter what you write, if you’re published or unpublished the door is open 24/7.
I joined Savvy Authors, around November, 2010 and I’ve spent most of my free time hanging out on the site.  I met my crit buddies in a workshop and we have met online in the chat room every night for the last two and half years.  We sprint, critique, make fun of each other, talk about books, the business of writing or simply support each other to keep going.  In our little group, which we call, Critters, Clubs and Corsets we have different styles of writing and write in different genres.  Nonetheless, we still managed to help each other grow.  In the group, one writer now has a contract with Entangled Publishing and another recently went to a conference and had agents pushing their business cards on her after reading her first page.  As for me, I’ve had an editor ask for a full manuscript.  
Now would any of this have happened without the writing community or the critique group.  Probably.  We’re a determined group, but I believe the environment that Savvy fosters, writers helping writers was a key to our continued growth.  
Another group within Savvy Authors I’m honored to be a part of is the Fantasy Forge.  I’ve been with this group almost as long as the other one.  We formed our own blog for the diverse genres we write in called Speculative Salon.  I considered these women my dear friends too.  
I’ve also been a volunteer moderator at Savvy Authors for two years plus.  For me, it’s a way of giving back the wonderful experiences I have had within their cyber space walls.  Savvy Authors has also giving me the opportunity to co-write a monthly feature interviewing different professionals that might pique the interest of a writer as a profession for their characters.
I suppose, I’m biased regarding Savvy Authors because they continue to give me the warm and cozies.  But let me list the benefits for you:
         1. Learning in workshops with professional writers
         2. Opportunities – pitching for agents and editors
         3. Friendships
         4. Networking

I could go on but I think you get the idea.  Whether it’s Savvy Authors or another online writing community, it’s a place where you can gain your confidence as a writer.  I could sing the little ditty in the Army’s recruiting commercial, but I won’t.  
Do you belong to an online writing community?  If you do, share with me your experiences.
Till next time,

Elizabeth W. Gibson writes YA Fantasy with romantic elements.  She is a member of SCBWI, RWA, Savvy Authors and YALitChat.  At Savvy, she is a moderator and co-writer of a monthly blog featuring industry professionals.  Over at YALitChat, she is the staff coordinator for Agent Insider.  Elizabeth is also an artist and studied in Paris for four years.  
Contact Elizabeth on the Web:
Website | Speculative Salon Blog

Join the Savvy Authors admin and volunteers as we tour the blogosphere in anticipation of the launch of our improved and updated website. We are excited to share our love of Savvy, and all writing communities, with each of you during the summer months. Below is a list of stops we’ll be making – please feel free to stop by and say hello! (and definitely check out the new look of our site)

June 10th – Ella Gray on The Speculative Salon
June 12th - Elizabeth Gibson on Maggie Faire and on Maggie's Meanderings (You are Here!)
 June 19th – SharonPickrel on Pen of the Dreamer
June 21st – Riley Darkeson Writing Secrets of Seven Scribes
June 25thLeslie Dow on A Writer’s Musings 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dark Musicals Trilogy - Phantom and Demon, Books 1 and 2 by Laura DeLuca

Who doesn' t like Phantom of the Opera?  I know when I saw the play on Broadway I was mesmerized, then memorized most of the music.  Now comes a thriller trilogy of stories inspired by musicals of that type. The first two books in the trilogy involve young actors putting on the musical and running into mysterious problems. First is Phantom of the Opera, and the second is The Demon Barber of Seville. I'm dying to know what the third book will be titled. Are you? In this Book Blast, Laura DeLuca is featuring the first two books in that trilogy in a Book Blast today.

I have to say they definitely intrigue me and I will be adding them to my TBR pile.


The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.

Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.

Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.

Buy Links: Amazon * Smashwords * Barnes & Noble



When Justyn and Rebecca set off for the New York School of Performing Arts, they think their dreams are about to come true. To their dismay, they aren’t in high school anymore, and the competition is steep. Rebecca must compete against accomplished singers for a role in the production of Demon Barber, including a stunning Gothic diva with her sights set on Justyn.

It doesn't help that things keep disappearing from their apartment or that Rebecca's father refuses to accept that Justyn is an essential part of her life. Yet, all this seems minimal in comparison to the serial rapist terrorizing the campus.

Consumed by fear and obsessed with revenge, Rebecca and Justyn start living the story of Sweeney Todd—both on and off the stage.

Excerpt from Demon

“What the hell are you looking at?” Livy demanded.

At first Rebecca just ignored her hostility. She walked back to her cubbyhole and opened it to stowaway her bags until practice was over. She was going to forget the whole stupid idea and just walk away. But Livy was still standing there, leaning against the lockers, looking just as sad as she did angry. Rebecca couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She was reminded of how horribly everyone had treated Justyn during the production of Phantom and thought perhaps Livy was just as misunderstood.

“Livy,” she started, “can we talk for a minute?”

The Goth just gave her a dirty look. “I don’t know what we could possibly have to say to each other.”

“I just wanted to apologize about what happened at the party,” Rebecca spoke with as much sincerity as she could muster. “No matter how we feel about each other, I never meant to … to embarrass you the way I did.”

Rebecca had never seen the cliché of flashing eyes come to life like it did at that moment. “Don’t you dare!” Livy spat. “Don’t you dare pity me!”

“That’s not what I meant,” Rebecca tried to explain, though she knew she was fighting a losing battle. “I just regret—”

“Do you want to know what I regret?” Livy interrupted and actually shoved Rebecca against her locker. “I regret not ripping every strand of hair out of that pretty little head of yours when I had the chance. This isn’t high school, Becca! We aren’t going to be friends. And I’m not going to stop until Justyn is mine and you run back to New Jersey with your tail between your legs. Is that clear enough for you, deary? Don’t try to make nice with me again.”

Livy stomped away, and Rebecca just stood there, feeling shocked and a little stung. She couldn’t believe how vicious Livy could be. So much for olive branches. Instead of trying to hand her one, Rebecca should have shoved it straight up her….

“Wow.” Frankie came up beside her, shaking his head. “It’s girls like that who give PMS a bad rep. I seriously think the next play she should star in is the Taming of the Shrew.”

“There’s no taming that one,” Rebecca replied, still shaking her head.

Buy Links: Amazon Smashwords * Barnes & Noble

If you haven't read the first book in the series, now is a great time to get your copy. To celebrate the release of Demon, Phantom is now on sale for only $1.99 exclusively on Amazon!

About the Author

Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the editor of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years. Her current works include Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, Phantom, Morrigan, Player, and Demon. She also has short stories featured in two anthologies called HerStory and A Celtic Tapestry.

Catch Laura on the Web:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Pinterest

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

Laura will be awarding to a US Only Winner: a signed copy of Phantom with original cover, crystal geode, rough crystal point, stone pendant, sterling silver pentacle pendant, mini Buddha figurine, smudge stick with abalone shell, 2 Gothic style key chains, incense set with leaf holder and lavender purification bath salts to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow The Rest of the Tour Today!

Be sure to check in as many places as possible to increase your chance of winning the prize.  Here are all of the stops happening today!

1:  My Love For Films And Novels
2:  All in One Place
3:  Fantasy Powered by Love
4:  Welcome to My World of Dreams
5:  It's Raining Books
6:  Books in the Hall
7:  Straight from the Library
8:  Long and Short Reviews
9:  LizaOConnor
10:  Lindsay's Scribblings
11:  Rookie Romance
12:  Love, Laughter, Friendship
13:  Author Jinni James
14:  Woody's Favorite Books
15:  Jodie Pierce's Ink Slinger's Blog
16:  Bunny's Review
17:  Farm Girl Books
18:  Maggie Faire
19:  Maggie's Meanderings
20:  Beckstar Reviews
21:  Nickie's Views and Interviews
22:  Margay Leah Justice
23:  Sandra's Blog
24:  Out of the Lockbox
25:  Frankie Blooding's Bookshelf
26:  Hope Dreams. Life... Love
27:  Reading In Twilight
28:  Andi's Young Adult Books
29:  Imagine a World
30:  Jacqueline's Reads
31:  Andi's Book Reviews
32:  Charity Kountz
33:  fuonlyknew
34:  Queen of All She Reads
35:  Pen and Muse
36:  Jodie Pierce's Ink Slinger's Blog
37:  The Write to Read

Saturday, June 1, 2013

First Book Available in Ebook NOW! Print on June 8th.

Surprise! First book, Chameleon: The Awakening, is now available throughout the World in ebook for 99 cents.  That price is only good for June though. So get your copies because then it goes to the normal retail price of $4.50.

For my FB and Twitter fans in Europe you can pick it up in your own currency on Apple, Amazon, Kobo, XinXii and several other places. For My UK fans, it is at Amazon UK, WH Smith, and Barnes and Noble UK in pounds sterling.

The print book is "officially" available June 8th.  I haven't even received MY copies yet, though I understand they will be arriving any day now. :)  But I did see a few places that had it in print ready to purchase.  So, I know they are out there.

Book 2 is looking more like release June 15th or so. I'll keep you posted. 

Thanks everyone for your great support.  I'm hoping to start seeing some reviews soon. Saw my first one on Amazon today. Thanks romancehound!

Buy Links:
Windtree Press | Jan's Paperbacks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | XinXii

Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble UK | WH Smith

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chapter 6 - Return to the Forest

I meant to get this up this weekend, but...time got away from me with all my anniversary celebrations. :)  You can see my post all about my anniversary at the Windtree Press blog today.

So, here's the next chapter in the saga. By the way, someone asked if all these pictures at the beginning of each chapter are going to be in the print book. The answer is No. These are pics I chose or put together just to add some interest to your advanced reading.  I didn't do anything past Chapter 8, and the publisher does not have the time or inclination to hire someone to do all the chapters.  So enjoy them while you can!

If you are just finding this blog, you may want to go back and read the book from the start. Here are links to each posting. These sample chapters are from the eARC, which means it is an uncorrected copy.Typos and such are still going through copy-editing and will be corrected in the final book released June 8, 2013!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Coupons Gone But Sale Still On

In a previous post I talked about using a coupon code to pre-order the first two books in my YA Fantasy series about the Forest People and get a 78% discount.  Well, the coupons are no longer available. 

But never fear! Windtree Press is keeping the books on sale at 99 cents each through June 30th.  Instead of having to enter a coupon, you simply click on the title and you can purchase it for only 99 cents. Much easier, right?

Windtree Press offers ebooks in all reader formats, MOBI for Kindle, PDF for tablets and desktop computers, and EPUB for all other readers (e.g., Kobo, Nook, Sony, etc.) and tablets and computers.  Never downloaded a file that wasn't at Amazon or Nook or Kobo originally.  Not a problem.  Windtree Press also offers a handy FAQ (frequently asked questions) section to help you load the file onto your reader.

The next chapter of Chameleon: The Awakening will be posted at the end of the week. Enjoy the sale!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Chapter 5 - The Escape AND Cover Reveal for Book 2

It's here! It's here!  Another amazing cover from Christy Caughie.  This one is for the second book in the Forest People series, Chameleon: The Choosing.  Are you wondering about the dead guy covered in lichen? If so, you need to pick up the book ASAP.

Here's the short version of the blurb:

Having survived the Kintala, Camryn knows two things: 1) her feelings about Ohar or Dagger can't be trusted; and 2) her newly found magical powers are darn scary and out of control.  The first step is to bond with the most powerful creature in the universe, a thunder dragon.  The choosing is never easy, and only the worthy are chosen. In her first battle with the Agnoses, Camryn must first face her own inner demons in order to save the Forest People. She must learn to resist the call of the Abaddon, or risk the price of letting it take her. Death.

For those who are reading along, this week I'm also posting Chapter 5 of the first book, Chameleon: The Awakening.  If you've been following my posts, with this chapter you now have 126 free pages you've read. You are nearing the half way point of the book.  Only two more chapters and it will be release time.  Stay tuned for some special deals for people who read my blog or visit me on Facebook.  OR, for those who want to be the first to find out about deals, check out the Windtree Press Sales and Coupons page.  You won't believe the deal on these two books during May and June if you use the coupon code there.

If you are just finding this blog, you may want to go back and read the book from the start. Here are links to each posting. These sample chapters are from the eARC, which means it is an uncorrected copy.Typos and such are still going through copy-editing and will be corrected in the final book released June 8, 2013!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Chapter 4 - The Plan

Last week you saw the amazing cover for Book 1 of the Forest People, Chameleon: The Awakening. Next week you will get to see the cover for Book 2, Chameleon: The Choosing.  Again, done by wonderful cover artist Christy Caughie at Gilded Hearts Design. These first two books in the series will be released on May 30th. 

For this week I've posted the next chapter in the book, Chapter 4--The Plan.  Camryn is planning to leave Starlight Center, but it won't be easy.

f you are just finding this blog, you may want to go back and read the book from the start. Here are links to each posting. These sample chapters are from the eARC, which means it is an uncorrected copy.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chameleon Cover Reveal and Chapter 3 - Sweet Sixteen Available

Hooray! Ta Da!  My book cover for the first Chameleon Book is now done.  Special thanks go out to amazing cover artist, Christy Caughie at Gilded Heart Design.

It's time for Chapter 3. Like last week I'm posting it in it's entirety, instead of dividing it into two parts.  Several people have written me privately and said they prefer reading an entire chapter instead of ten pages at a time.  So that will be the way I post future chapters as well.

If you are just finding this blog, you may want to go back and read the book from the start. Here are links to each posting. These sample chapters are from the eARC, which means it is an uncorrected copy.

Chapter 4 will be posted the end of next week.

Review Copies Are Gone
The 50 review copies Windtree Press provided for me to give directly to readers of this blog and my Facebook page have now been assigned, so there are no more eARCs to giveaway at this time. Thank you to everyone who signed up! You will be getting an email from NetGalley in early May describing how to download your copy.  I'm really looking forward to reading your reviews.

Other Giveaway Opportunities
I will be doing a giveaway of three print books of both Book 1 and Book 2 on GoodReads in May and June. Watch my FB page for when that is posted.

I'll also be doing a pre-release blog tour with Beyond Words Book Tours in mid-May which will include a giveaway of the special necklace Camryn wears in the book AND a coupon to each commenter to purchase eBook 1 and eBook 2 for only 99 cents each.  That is quite a deal considering the regular ebook price is $4.50 each. Sorry, no discounts on the print book. :(

The necklace is pewter (see the picture) and comes with a leather thong, instead of a chain, and a scroll describing the meaning of this magical owl. You'll learn about this necklace in the chapter posted today. The owl is a special spirit animal for Camryn which serves as a warning and guiding spirit.

Now, enjoy Chapter 3!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Good and Evil in All of Us

Whenever I see/hear headlines like what happened at the Boston marathon, it takes me back to every other time some horrible evil has become a part of my consciousness--times where it appears that evil won that day.  I have to admit, I don't understand it. I don't understand what kind of darkness comes upon a person's soul to make them believe that killing others is helpful.  They must believe it is helpful, right? Why else would you do it except to change the world into a better place for yourself or those you love? What darkness must make killing "good" in someone's mind? Does a person put on evil one day, like a coat that protects them from even worse elements in their life? And when the deed is done, does the coat come off and good is returned for some period of time? Even if one is "redeemed" but whatever method (spiritual, legal, societal acceptance) does the evil of that coat stick to you -- forever calling your name to return to its warmth?

Writers and storytellers have been attempting to explain this tug-of-war between good and evil from the dawn of mankind. Stories of how the earth was formed often has that tug-of-war of violence and calm. Stories of the gods in every mythos tells of the struggles between good and evil. From the Bible to the latest fantasies, like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, stories provide us a common basis for that constant struggle--whether it is beyond our world and power and the struggle within each of us.

Some believe that we need both good and evil in the world to achieve balance. The rationale is that without evil, we wouldn't know what good is. I don't personally believe that. I would be perfectly fine with a world that only knew good.  Everyday I wake to that world of good. Everyday I try to create that world of good in some small way so that when I go to bed, I can wake to it again. But even wearing my best pair of rose-colored glasses I can't stop the evil from knocking on my consciousness.

In my undergraduate college years, I took a class from a Catholic priest that explored the potential for evil in each of us. It was centered around the holocaust and the culpability of not only the German people but the culpability of people in every nation. We talked about the seemingly smallest decision to ignore your neighbors being ousted from their homes and marched away "for the good of the country" (look at what happened to the Japanese in our own country, or to the Native Americans before then) to the larger decisions of politics and isolationism that chooses to ignore what is happening in other places.  It is not coincidence that the words "ignore" and "ignorance" come from the same root-- a Latin word "ignosco", meaning "not know."  The difference is one of choice. In The Handmaids Tale Margaret Atwood put it best: "Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it."

That college class deeply impacted me. I wish I could say I came away from that class confidently knowing I would have been like the family who harbored the Franks. But that isn't what happened. Instead, I realized I could have been one of those people who ignored what was going on. I could have been one of those people who at worst allowed fear for my safety to rule my decisions; or at best put the onus for my decisions on some authority figure to keep me one-stepped removed from the burning consequences. Believe me, that is not a comfortable realization about oneself.

As I've become older and been faced with many examples of evil in the world, both in politics and closer to me and my work, I've often been faced with difficult choices. I've come to believe that understanding my own ability to do both the good and evil and my own ability to make a conscious choice for good is the only way to fight evil in the end. Ignorance is NOT bliss. Ignoring does NOT erase my culpability. If I can choose good in the small things every day, that practice will stand me in good stead when I am faced with a larger evil and have to stand up to it. That practice will make it easier for me to make the right choice if I ever have a horrific choice to make one day. I hope that day never comes, that test like the holocaust or that test where I have to choose between my safety and the safety of someone else. I believe that now my answer would be different than it was in college.But I won't know for sure until the day comes.

In the meantime, the only way I can deal with the evil like that of the Boston marathon, or the world trade center, or shootings in a mall or a theater, or reading about a parent killing her child, her husband, and then herself, is to continue to make a personal choice for good.  If each of us does that, I have to believe good will win in the end. I have to believe that constant practice prepares us for the ultimate fight of our lives.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

RETURN by Charity Santiago

Today I am featuring a new YA Fantasy author.   I've become particularly addicted to YA books in the last three years because they tend to push the boundaries of cross-genre writing more frequently than adult books. I also love the drama. :)

The book I'm reviewing here is the first book in a trilogy by Charity Santiago.  The good news is she already has the other two books out--Regret and Redemption, so you don't have to wait for them. So, if you like this one, you can get all three right away.  

I love authors who are clever and title their books similarly, yet stay with the theme.  I also LOVE the cover of Return. The heroine looks like someone who can definitely kick-butt on her own. :)


For the last three years, eighteen-year-old Ashlyn Li has been running from her destiny. A free-spirited ninja, Ashlyn would rather loot an abandoned city or challenge a fiend to battle than assume leadership of Toryn, her father's kingdom. However, when a series of attacks reunites Ashlyn with the friends who helped her save the sun three years ago, she discovers that her kingdom is at war and her father has presumed her dead.

Suddenly Ashlyn is faced with not only fulfilling her birthright, but also making sense of her feelings towards two very different men- Drake Lockhart, the enigmatic vampire who captured her heart three years ago, and Vargo, the charismatic assassin who was once Ashlyn's sworn enemy.

Will Ashlyn ascend the pagoda and become Lady of Toryn?


Ashlyn frowned, trying hard to focus. "I only asked you to start thinking of yourself as a man,         Drake, instead of a monster. That's hardly the same thing."
"I'm asking you to think of yourself as a leader," he said. "You've spent so long running from responsibility that you think yourself incapable of fulfilling your birthright."
"We haven't seen each other in three years. You don't know what I'm capable of-- I don't even know what I'm capable of."
He grabbed her hand, abruptly, and brought it up to his chest. Through the cloth of his shirt, his skin was warm to the touch, and Ashlyn let him press her hand against the solidness of his shoulder, confused as to what he was doing.
"This," he said, his voice low, "is where I was struck by Devlyn's sword."
After a moment, he slid her hand lower, until it was resting directly above his heart. Ashlyn paused, entranced by the lack of a pulse beneath her fingers, the scent of him filling her senses and enveloping her like the rain against the roof.
"This," Drake said. "This is where I would have been struck, if you had not deflected the blow."
She met his gaze, breathing so hard that she felt light-headed. His eyes bored into hers, piercing her straight to her soul.
"I know what you are capable of, Ashlyn," he said. "I know better than anyone."

My Review

Note: This review is also posted at my Maggie's Meandering blog
First, I have to say that Ashlyn Li is a great character. I loved that she wasn't the typical girl--she's Asian and a ninja.  Second I loved her combination of snark and caring. It's pretty hard to write that type of character, and I think Ms. Santiago pulls it off. 

For the most part I enjoyed this book.  In the beginning, I had a love/hate relationship. I was drawn in by Ashlyn, the heroine of the story, and her immediate willingness to take responsibility for a war that started in her self-imposed absence.  I liked her lets-go-get-them-and-make-things-right attitude.  I also really loved Skye's down-to-earth and often profuond advice. On the other hand, I was frustrated with the two setups of the story that were too pat: 1) She didn't pursue a relationship with Drake because of a perceived slight when he smiled at another girl three years ago; and 2) Accepting responsibility for a war that occurred when she was gone--as if she had any control over that.  Also, in the first 20 pages or so I had some problems with the passive voice, a lot of telling to bring the reader up to speed on the background, and some missed editing.

However, after those first 20 pages or so, the character of Ashlyn made me forget those things as her combination of wit, caring, and youthful exuberance propelled her forward to right all wrongs. Like many young people, Ashlyn is very focused and when it comes to saving her kingdom, she is not going to stop until she's accomplished that. Being a ninja has always been her calling. Not only is she proud of it, but she is very good at fighting and killing if need be. It was her three year absence from her kingdom that set up the situation where it was taken over by the bad guy.

Once the reader is brought up to speed on the background, the book becomes non-stop action. There’s a definite love triangle with Drake and Vargo. I won't tell you who I like best, it is up to you to choose. Personally, I would have liked a little more relationship development but I can't complain about the page turning action.  I am definitely going to pick up the next two books in the series so I can see what happens to Ashlyn and her friends.

 This book is available for only 99 cents at Amazon. 
If the blurb, excerpt, and review sound good to you, run and take advantage of such a good deal.  The other two books are $2.99. So still a nice price.


In February 2011, Charity Santiago's 7-month old son was admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory issues. While Charity stayed at his bedside, she kept them both entertained by downloading several books on her new Kindle and reading them out loud. It was during this time that Charity learned about Kindle's self-publishing program, and realized that she had an opportunity to share her writings with the world.

Charity is a native of southeastern Arizona, and a writer since childhood. She wrote her first manuscript, Guinea Pig Code!, at age nine. When she’s not writing books, Charity spends her time wrangling children, watching Sylvester Stallone movies and pursuing a degree in Education.

Contact Charity on the Web: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

* * * Giveaway * * *

Charity will be awarding one $10 Amazon gift card for a random commenter. She is also awarding a Grand Prize: winner's choice of any mini gift basket from (a $24.99 value).  All I can say is Yum Yum!!! 

Follow the Rest of the Tour

Remember, the more you comment on other blogs on the tour the better your chances of winning the prize.  Here are all the stops. Check out the one's before me and after me to learn more about Charity and her trilogy.
Tour Schedule

 4/1/2013 Unabridged Andra
4/2/2013 Beyond My Writing Space
4/3/2013 Margay Leah Justice
4/4/2013 Sue Perkins Author
4/5/2013 Straight from the Library
4/8/2013 Long and Short Reviews
4/9/2013 Racing To Read
4/10/2013 Maggie's Meanderings (You are Here!)
 and Stop 2 Maggie Faire YA
4/11/2013 Books in the Hall
4/12/2013 Let's Get BOOKED!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Chapter 2

This week I'm posting all of Chapter 2 at once, instead of dividing it into two parts.  The past two weeks and this coming week have been pretty crazy for me, both for writing deadlines and a death in my family. I'm not sure with all that is scheduled this coming week that I'll be able to get back and post again.  So enjoy!

If you are just finding this blog, you may want to go back and read  the Prologue , the the first half of Chapter 1. and the second half of Chapter 1 before tackling Chapter 2.

Chapter 3 will be released the third week of April. 

If you are interested in receiving a free advanced reading copy of the book and will post an honest review, please contact me at my email, maggie AT maggiefaire DOT com. In late April, Windtree Press will be sending out at least 50 review copies to readers and bloggers.

As always I love hearing from you.  If you prefer getting entire chapters at once instead of having them broken up. Let me know.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chapter 1 (continued)

Here is the rest of Chapter 1. If you are just finding this blog, you may want to go back and read  the Prologue and then the first half of Chapter 1.  Next week, I'll post Chapter 2 first half. If you are interested in receiving a free advanced reading copy of the book and will post an honest review, please contact me at my email, maggie AT maggiejaimeson DOT com. In mid to late April, Windtree Press will be sending out at least 50 review copies to readers and bloggers.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chapter 1 - The End

Here is the first half of Chapter 1 for my YA Fantasy, Chameleon: The Awakening, which will be released in May.  If you haven't already read the Prologue, go back and read that so you know the set up.  Again, I'd love to hear your feedback. Do you want to see more?

If using the reader is too small of print for you, clicking on the far right arrow, in the black box, will open the PDF file in a new page and full size.  If that still doesn't work, you may need to download Adobe reader. It is a free program.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Prologue for Chameleon: The Awakening

As promised, I will begin providing excerpts of the first book, Chameleon: The Awakening, which will be released in May.  Here is the prologue.

If using the reader is too small of print for you, clicking on the far right arrow, in the black box, will open the PDF file in a new page and full size.  If that still doesn't work, you may need to download Adobe reader. It is a free program.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Two Chameleon Books coming in Late May

Finally, the release of the first two books in my Chameleon series is getting close.  So, I've started this blog devoted only to talking about YA Fantasy books. I'll be sharing not only information about my books, but also about other YA Fantasy authors I enjoy.

I'm still building the blog pieces on the outside, but I will be posting here regularly.

The first two books in my Chameleon series are coming out in late May. Yippee!! I first conceived of this series in 2010 and pitched the idea at a workshop with Michael Hague. It was so well received by the attendees, that I knew I had to actually write the books.  At that time I was planning the usual trilogy. But about 200 pages into the first book I realized the story was much larger than a trilogy. It would take seven books to really tell the story of The Chameleon and the Forest People.

I'll be sharing the covers as they become available, and between now and the May release of the first two books, I'll start sharing consecutive excerpts from the first book.  If you keep visiting, you'll get an advance look at the first 60+ pages.  And for those who participate in this blog, by visiting and commenting and sharing your ideas, you'll get the first book for free!  How is that for a deal?

There will be other surprise giveaways at random intervals along the way. So be sure to subscribe to my feed or by email to make sure you know when the next post is delivered.

Thanks for following!