Coffee with the author

Before I moved to Texas I lived in Phoenix, Arizona. Scottsdale, the next city over, was home to a world famous bookstore. The Poisoned Pen specialized in mysteries and thrillers. The shop was so well known that stopping there was an absolute must for any author on a promotional book tour.

Authors like Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, Earl Emerson, Harlan Coben and others did more than simply sign and promote sales of their books. They served on panels or were guests at author chats. Fans of their works could sit and listen to their favorite authors talk about the tribulations of trying to get published (James Lee Burke received 114 rejections before finally getting a novel accepted for publication; it took Jonathan Kellerman eight years to get a novel accepted). The authors talked about whether they worked in offices or coffeehouses, whether they wrote full time or tried to squeeze writing in between holding down a job or maintaining a home. They revealed if they got up early to write, or stayed up late, if they created an outline first or just winged it.

I now have a shelf full of books signed by authors I admire, even home addresses and treasured personal correspondence. And I learned a lot from them, not only about how their books came together but about life and work as a novelist.

I’ve missed that resource—until now. The Friends of the Library has started a series called Coffee with the Author held at the Ellis Memorial Library in Port Aransas. The Friends invite a local author to read from his or her work and take questions from the audience. Attendees can ask anything. (OK, maybe not “boxers or briefs?”)

I was thrilled to be the first guest author. Where once I sat in the audience, now I was the one answering questions. I read a scene from my most recent work, The King’s Redress, and managed to talk for about two hours about where I got the idea for my epic fantasy book series, whether I thought print books were dead, what it was like to collaborate with three other writers on Naked Came the Sharks (the coastal thriller that we co-authored), and answered a host of other questions.

Ruth Matlow AsherNow it’s my turn to sit in the audience again because the next Coffee with the Author will feature Ruth Matlow Asher. A writer of beautiful poetry, engaging fiction and nonfiction, Ruth has penned The Secrets of the Snow Queen, two chapbooks, Inside Yesterday and Elephant of Japan, poetry published by Texas A&M, University of Texas and Rogers State University, and articles in The Prairie Journal, Fieldstone Review and The Nashwaak Review. Ruth’s nonfiction won awards in the Winnipeg Free Press and the Writers Collective. A Winter Texan, Ruth lives in Manitoba when she’s not in Port Aransas.

Secrets of the Snow Queen by Ruth Matlow AsherShe refers to The Secrets of the Snow Queen as an “eco-tale,” a story with an underlying environmental message about food, animals and living in harmony with nature and one another. It’s a children’s book that adults can enjoy (or maybe it’s a book for grown-ups that children like.) It’s also a work of visual art: the illustrations are photos of fabric collages by Karen Wardle.

Come Saturday, April 25, beginning at 10 a.m. No RSVP necessary. The Friends of the Library will have coffee and snacks on hand. Ruth will have copies of her book available and you can also get it on

For more information about Coffee with the Authors contact the Ellis Memorial Library at 700 W. Ave. A in Port Aransas, or call 361-749-4116.  I’ll see you there.

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Guest Post: What Makes it Fantasy? | Alesha L. Escobar

Guest Post: What Makes it Fantasy? | Alesha L. Escobar. I’m still trying to figure it out.

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Great grazing

Have you ever been to one of those progressive dinners? You know, the kind where you move from one location to the next to sample different dishes?

“Meet the Chefs Food & Wine Extravaganza” is a little like that except you don’t have to travel very far. It takes place March 30th and features six of the top area chefs from their respective restaurants all gathered in one place, the Port Aransas Civic Center, 701 Avenue A.

Lezlie KeeblerThe chefs will serve heavy hors d’oeuvres and appropriate wines they have personally selected to go with their culinary delights, all to help the Kiwanis afford educational and beneficial programs to the children locally and around the Coastal Bend.

Kris Amundsen, Lisabella's, Port AransasThe participating restaurants are:

  • Lisabella’s Bistro, Chef Kris Amundsen
  • La Barataria Restaurant, Chef Lezlie Keebler
  • The Black Marlin Restaurant, Chef Kaharim Becerra
  • The Phoenix Restaurant, Chef Tiana Worsham
  • The Venetian Hot Plate, Chef Mark Pulich
  • Stingrays Taphouse & Grill, Chef Gordon Johns

It all begins at 6:00 p.m. and goes until  8:30 p.m. The cost is $45.00 per person and all proceeds go to the Port Aransas Kiwanis Club to benefit community youth.

Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 in Detroit, Michigan, and became an international organization with the creation of the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario, the following year. At first members focused on business networking but a few years later the organization changed its focus to service. The organization expanded worldwide and there are Kiwanians in 11 European nations.

The Port Aransas club was chartered in 1996.

Meet the Chefs will be limited to 200 guests. Tickets may be purchased at either the American Bank or the Value Bank, both on Alister Street in Port Aransas or by contacting M. R. Yogi Barrett, the Event Director, by email at, or by phone at 410-971-9804. You may also contact the club President, Heath Lauseng at or call 361-749-1858. Checks may be mailed to P.O. Box 968, Port Aransas, TX 78373 for “Will Call” purchases.

For more information about the club, visit the Web site at, send an email to or write to Port Aransas Kiwanis Club, P. O. Box 968, Port Aransas, Texas, 78373. I’ll see you there. —

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Now it can be revealed

I have done book cover reveals in the past but none with as much excitement as this.

I present to you the cover of Masters of Time, A Sci-Fi and Fantasy Anthology coming July 2015.

Masters of Time
Let expert guides like best-selling authors Samantha Lafantasie, Alesha Escobar and me introduce you into worlds with no clear distinction between past, present and future. Seize your daring and curiosity and take the hand of capable escorts like Timothy C. Ward, H.M. Jones and Alice Marks. Go on journeys that you won’t soon forget.

Think of the picture postcards you can send back ;-)

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“Heart Song”—better than ever

I am so delighted to announce the relaunch of Heart Song.
heartsongebookusatodayRelena wants freedom, depending on herself and not having to answer to anyone, but a betrayal takes that away. The last thing she expected was the incredibly handsome Marren to free her.

The catch?

She has to fall in love with him, fulfill a prophecy involving their heart song, and rejoin the two realms. But Jiren, the last Ancient of his kind, isn’t convinced and will stop at nothing to maintain his throne, even if it means breaking their most sacred law.

Available Now





Take the Quiz

Join the Party

For today only, there will be fun, games, and special appearances by Marren and Relena. Don’t miss it!

Party’s over here!



“Spring is definitely in the air.” I giggled to myself as Marren’s arm tightened around my hand.

“It is, indeed.”

He led me down a path that forked to the right and opened into a small field of the most beautiful, tallest, red tulips bordered by trees, as if he had cut out a place for these flowers, and they grew with the magic that had won over my heart. I held my breath for fear that letting it out would make them fade.

“By the Gods, this is beautiful!”

“I thought you would like it. Go on.” He motioned toward the field.

I looked into his eyes, as if to make sure he wasn’t joking, and then stepped tentatively into the field of flowers. Their light scent danced in the air. It was sweet and mild.  At about the halfway point, I looked over my shoulder at Marren, still standing on the path. I smiled, facing him and cocked my head to the side. I wondered what was taking him so long to join me. He nodded toward me a smirk pulling at the corner of his lips. I turned back around taking another step, finding a rock that rolled underneath my foot. I fell to the ground and started laughing.

I was pulled up by Marren so fast it took my breath away. “Are you okay?”

I nodded.

Slowly, he placed my hands on his shoulders then slid his down the side of my arms, along my back, and coming to a rest at my waist. He pulled me into him, pressing our bodies together. I took in a deep breath as a rush pulsed through my veins. The woods became silent, and the wind stopped blowing, as if the world stilled for us. We started to sway, slowly, from side to side. It was awkward, like he was nervous, which made a giggle bubble out of me, shaking my frame against his. He chuckled in response and started spinning me as we glided through the flowers, twirling one way and the other in motions that were graceful, magnificent, and magical. My feet barely touched the ground, like we floated in the air.

We dance in circles, through every inch of the flower field as we gazed into each other’s eyes, looking into forever. Eventually, we slowed, returning to the center of the field and shifting back into the sway before stopping completely.

“I want you to promise me something . . .” Marren said. I worried that there was something on his mind, a weight that burdened him.

“What?” I asked.

“Promise you’ll remember this day, no matter what decision you make.” His voice was sad and fearful.

“What decision am I to make?” I asked, twirling a strand of his hair around my finger and losing myself in his eyes.

He pressed his lips to mine. The sweetness in his kiss filled me, but his lips were almost too soft. “You’ll see . . . just promise me you’ll remember today.”

About the Author

IMG_3842.33A Kansas native, Samantha LaFantasie spends her free time with her spouse and three kids. Writing has always been a passion of hers, forgoing all other desires to devote to this one obsession, even though she often finds herself arguing with her characters through much of the process. She’s primarily a fantasy writer but often feels pulled to genres such as sci-fi, romance, and others.

Samantha became a bestselling author with the Pandora Boxed Set (which includes Made to Forget: Nepherium Novella series–Part One) on both Amazon and USA Today.

Samantha loves to take time to enjoy other activities such as photography and playing her favorite game of all time, Guild Wars 2.



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Staring time in the face

Meet Timothy Ward, another Master of Time.

I am so captivated by what sparked his story for Masters of Time, A Sci-fi & Fantasy Time Travel Anthology. Tim talks about staring at one spot for so long that it leads to time travel. I can’t wait to read his story in the anthology, due out July 2015.

Daily Savings Time still has me all out of whack. I keep waking up at 3 a.m. This morning when I awoke I had this image at the forefront of my brain. So I fired up some graphic design software to see if I could bring the vision to life.Masters of Time, A Sci-Fi and Fantasy Time Travel Anthology

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More fun than the law allows

I’m not sure what possessed me to sign up for the Wine, Whine and Design workshop at the Port Aransas Art Center. The workshop was described as a “stress free and creative” exercise in creating a painting one step at a time. I’m an author, not a visual artist. But I had been in a bit of a writing slump lately and thought I would exercise different creative muscles.

For a $40 donation, the Art Center provides canvas, paints and tools and instruction. Participants are encouraged to bring wine to drink and a snack to share. The Art Center even provides the wine glasses. The classes are held on a Sunday and run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Port Aransas Art CenterI was told that this is a very popular program and that they sell out quickly, so when I showed up for the Feb. 15 class I wasn’t surprised to find the classroom filled. I joined a dozen or so other people at the worktables.

Our work areas were already supplied with stretched 16” x 20” canvases, palettes of acrylic paint, brushes and sponges, and stencils. Arlene Hughes stood at the head of the class ready to guide us in creating a scene studded with four palm trees. (Different artists take turns leading the workshops and the subjects vary by workshop.)

Sure there was a lot of “paint by numbers” to this. Arlene instructed us to “put a strip of this color here, put a strip of that color there. Make a tracing of the palm tree fronds there,” etc. Still there was certainly room for individual artistic expression. Ever the rebel, I decided to have five palm trees, not four, and another student chose to deviate with regard to the colors for his striped background.

In between the different stages of making the paintings we took breaks to nibble on the snacks, refresh ourselves with the beverages and get acquainted with our fellow artists. If we got so involved with our work that our glasses ran empty, Arlene’s helpers circulated around the workroom to see if anyone needed a refill. The evening went by like a flash. I found it not only fun but therapeutic: three hours during which I was so focused on the task at hand that there wasn’t a brain cell left to worry about a single other thing.

Port Aransas Art CenterYes there was wine and design but absolutely no whining. The energy was high, paint brushes flew and the artists laughed, oohed and ahhed with delight not only over what they were able to create but what the other students produced. Although we all worked with the same canvas, the same tools and the same design, we ended up with unique paintings. It was quite astounding.

We ended the workshop with a group art exhibit and a toast to Arlene and the Art Center staff for a job well done.

Before the night was out I signed up for the March 22 class (we’ll be painting an angelfish) and the April 19 class (the subject’s a parrot). At this rate I’ll soon need a gallery of my own to exhibit my work.

For more information about the Port Aransas Art Center Whine, Wine and Design workshops, or any of the other classes or events, stop by 323 N. Alister St. Send an email to, visit the center’s Web site at, visit the group’s page on Facebook or call (361) 749-7334.

P.S. As for the Author me, I’ll be the guest of the Friends of the Library “Coffee with the Author” event on Saturday, Mar. 14, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Ellis Memorial Library, 700 W. Ave. A. I’ll read an excerpt from “The King’s Redress,” my latest work, and take questions. Want to know where I get my ideas or how long it takes to write a novel? Come ask, enjoy free coffee and donuts plus some surprise treats from me. I’ll see you there.


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Whom to trust? #TrustBlast

Whom to trust?

Can her dream survive a man who seeks to capture her heart?

Publication Date: March 6, 2015Genre: Contemporary Romance

The history of my relationships reads like the Titanic meets a tornado during an earthquake. Disaster after disaster. For some reason, I’m always attracted to lying jerks. I finally decided that it’s better to just have a good time and no one gets hurt. That philosophy worked for my last two years of college.Then I let myself get pulled in again by a pair of broad shoulders, pretty hazel eyes, and kisses that turned my brain to mush. Of course he was lying to me. All my friends told me something wasn’t right, but I’m such a fool.When it all went wrong, I didn’t expect his tall, dark, and handsome roommate being there to catch me. I think I love him. But can I trust him? He makes me happy. Can I trust myself?

Ashley graduated from college and isn’t looking for romance. What she needs is a job and the career she’s worked so hard to achieve. Can her dream of working overseas survive a man who seeks to capture her heart?


I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among writers, artists and weird Hispanic and Native American myths and folklore. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and earned a living doing everything from making silver and turquoise jewelry, to construction to computers. I currently split my time between Baltimore and Albuquerque.

I made silver and turquoise jewelry for almost a decade, ended up in nursing school, then took a master’s in business. Along the way I worked in construction, as a newspaper editor, and somehow found a career working with computers.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Where to buy the book:

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Daylight Savings Time

Masters of TimeFor those who observe it, Daylight Savings Time took effect today, Sunday, Mar. 8. So, did you remember to turn your clock one hour ahead before you went to bed last night, or have you been out of sync all day today?

I would like to corral my fellow Masters of Time to do something about this annoying DST thing. Meet another one of the Masters, Alesha Escobar.

Don’t you think it sounds like just the sort of job for Logan, the hero of her story in the forthcoming Masters of Time sci-fi and fantasy anthology, which can’t get here soon enough?

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This looked like fun.

BOOKNITURE – Furniture hidden in a Book

BooknitureBookniture is a book that unfolds into a flexible item of furniture.



BOOKNITURE is an extremely compact furniture. You can store it or carry it around just like a book. In just a flip, it unfolds from a book to a piece of multifunctional furniture.

BOOKNITURE can be used in endless ways: it can be a stool, a foot rest, a nightstand, a standing work desk… and many more!

What’s more? Stack it up and make a table & chair set; Add a wood board on top of 2 BOOKNITUREs to make it a bench; Stack a few layers more and it becomes a shelf! Possibility with BOOKNITURE is endless. As long as you don’t limit your imagination!

BOOKNITURE is also light and portable. Fold it back into a book and take it out everywhere! BOOKNITURE makes sure you can sit anywhere with style and comfort.

Its all about craftsmanship
Each BOOKNITURE is make by hand with book binding method

Mike started as a platform to share his design perspective. His well-known designs Pieces are Eyeclock, Moon Reach Ladder, Dear Vangogh, The BIG BIG PIXEL series.

He thinks good design is to make a good statement, which truly reflect the daily living inspirations. Mike’s designs are bold and yet easy to be understand by his audience, and he sees the customer satisfactions as his great reward.

2010 he was selected as 36 young designer in Asia by Korea Design Net magazine.
2011 Mike was selected to participate the 1st Beijing International Design Triennial – One of the representative of Hong Kong design.
2013 he won the Hong Kong Young Talent Design Talent Special Mention Award
2014 March, Mike represent HK as a young talent designer and showing his Contemporary Chinese Design Series on the 1st Maison & Objet Asia held in Singapore
2014 April, Mike was invited to the Bankkok Design Talent, represent HK design talent.
2014 October, The Contemporary Chinese Design Series was selected by the A2Z art gallery at France ‘Beyond the Unknown Exhibition’

Source: BlogsRelease

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