Changing genres: Experimentation in writing | Michael Stephen Daigle

Writers: In a slump? Some thoughts about that here. Also, observations about tackling a different genre.

Source: Changing genres: Experimentation in writing | Michael Stephen Daigle

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Enter the dragon’s lair

After two Facebook takeovers, Inky decided he wanted his own group. Thus, something new: Inky’s Lair.  He asked me to share this invitation:

Welcome. I am Inky, author Devorah Fox’s guardian, or in more contemporary parlance, personal assistant. This is my lair, a crucible if you will. Here you will get a bird’s eye, or rather a dragon’s eye, view of what goes into her wonderful fantasy stories and mysteries that you so enjoy reading. You will help me with important decisions about character names, story titles, and book cover concepts. I’ll share sneak peeks at upcoming works, links to free stuff, and other delights. So don’t be afraid … enter. (No advertising unless approved by me.)

So come, join us in this slightly magical place to hang out, enjoy book talks, and savor the best toasted marshmallows, not mention dragonalia of all sorts.

Inky's Lair, a Facebook group for book lovers

The address:

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The world of Riftmaker

Riftmaker by Phoebe DarquelingRiftmaker by Phoebe Darqueling
Character spotlight

Guest post by Phoebe Darqueling

The world of Riftmaker is populated with characters who have an unusual background. Or perhaps I should say they had a completely usual background for their species, then one day they were ripped from our plane of existence and woke up in a human body on the other side of a rift in space and time. Before Cirroc became a man and was given his human name, he lived in mountains of central Asia. Like his snow leopard brethren, he lived a mostly solitary life in the frozen drifts, hunting down prey and trying to survive.

About a dozen years ago, all of that changed. The silent, white world of his mountain home became awash in purple light as a portal opened. The dazzling gash hung in the air and sang a song so beautiful, he could not help but walk toward it. As the rift enveloped him, his essence remained but his body was torn apart and reassembled in his new form; the pale blue of his eyes and the dappled silver of his hair the only remnants of his former shape. With his new body came a new and utterly malleable mind. And that’s just the way The Commander likes his recruits.

Cirroc’s world expanded, new and exciting thoughts could take shape, and he became part of a community where everyone was considered a brother or a sister. The Commander, who was also the spiritual leader and teacher of The Chosen, painted a picture of how special people like Cirros were. They were closer to nature, closer to their instincts than the spoiled and haughty citizens of the clockwork city of Excelsior. But despite their superiority, they’d been relegated to living in the shadows, afraid that they would disappear at the hand of their oppressors and never return. The Commander has made powerful allies to further their cause, and assures his people that their deliverance is at hand. All they have to do is everything he says.

Meet CirrocFor a decade, Cirroc has done just that, and even been promoted through the ranks. But with his expanded mind came to power to question the world order. The more questions he asks about the mission of The Chosen, the less he likes the answers.

Here’s a little introduction to Cirroc and his Commander.

He replaced his handkerchief, took a final deep breath, and rapped on the door.

“Enter,” came the terse response. Cirroc reached for the handle, but the door was already being opened for him by a servant. He stepped a few paces into the long room and stood at attention. The Commander was standing at the other end of the room with his back to the sergeant, perusing a map on the wall. Cirroc did not need the meager light to see it, he recognized the shape of the Excelsior city walls easily, as well as the places marked as gateways for driving in the chimeras. As a keeper, he was all too familiar with these places and the Commander’s keen interest in them. The supplies they carted away through these makeshift doors every night were the lifeblood of the camp.

It stung Cirroc’s pride to be kept waiting, but he also knew he was in no position to aggravate his teacher and most high commander. The more recruits they brought in, the more important discipline had become, and the Commander did not hesitate to quash anyone who strayed out of line. So Cirroc held his pose of attentive readiness and would do so until he was told to do otherwise. After what felt like an eternity, the Commander finally spoke from his dais, but still did not turn to face him.

“What know you of justice?” “We know none,” Cirroc replied. “For we are those who are forgotten.” This call and response mantra was one of the first things drilled into a new recruit’s head upon entering service. Usually, the words rolled out of Cirroc without even thinking, but as their strange duet continued, he grew more uneasy.

“What know you of the light?”

“We know none, for we are those who walk in the shadows.”

“What know you of hunger?”

“We know none, for we are those who are provided for.” Cirroc did his best to keep his glassy stare straight ahead when the Commander finally turned and regarded him. His leonine mane was loose about his shoulders. The candlelight glinted in the depths of the Commander’s good eye. The milky white ruin of the other stood out against the dark scars that ran down the left side of his face.

The Commander’s next question was not in the monotone of the exercise, and he arched one eyebrow as a small glimmer of mirth to entered his voice. “And what know you of loyalty?”

“We know none—” Before Cirroc could finish the line, the Commander leaped nimbly across the table and stood only inches from his face as he stuttered, “except for those among our ranks.”

The Commander was not a tall man, but it didn’t make him any less imposing. Though the violent action of the moment before did not show in his breath, his muscles were visibly tense as he leaned in closer to Cirroc’s ear and snarled. “Are you sure about that, Sergeant?”

Will Cirroc follow orders or follow his conscience? Check out Riftmaker by Phoebe Darqueling to find out!


For a limited time, Riftmaker is available for $1.99 from Amazon and a variety of other e-book retailers. So grab your copy before Feb, 14! Print price is $18.99 from Amazon and the Our Write Side store.

Find more character spotlights, book reviews, guest posts, and interviews with Phoebe Darqueling during the Riftmaker blog tour, Jan 24 – Mar 6.

Do you like free books? Sure you do! Get a FREE COPY of The Steampunk Handbook right now.

You can find more of Phoebe’s antics on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Beyond the Mask Release Day Giveaway!

Source: Beyond the Mask Release Day Giveaway!

It’s “Beyond the Mask” release day! If you preordered an ebook copy, it should now be in your hot little hands. And please join us on the Facebook page hosted by C. L. Cannon for our release day party. Meet the authors and learn a little more about what’s beyond the mask. Of course, there will be games, prizes, and giveaways. Inky the Dragon and I are taking over today, January 29, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

“Beyond the Mask” includes my story, “Lady Blackwing Gets Her Moniker.” This is the second adventure for Mercedes, a part-time college student, barista, and aspiring writer. You can read about the accident that endows her with her baffling powers in “Lady Blackwing.”

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This has absolutely nothing to do with books or writing, mine or anyone else’s.

Yesterday I spent half a day assembling a rocking chair. I had bought it online and had failed to see the fine print: “some assembly required.” So it was an unpleasant surprise when it arrived in a flat pack.

I swore that I would never do another one of these. I know that a considerable amount of thought, creativity, and engineering goes into designing these projects such that the parts can be loaded into a box and shipped, and upon arrival can be assembled with a few tools (usually supplied) and even less expertise by blooming idiots. However, the designers of RTA furniture fail to take into account someone like me, a COMPLETE blooming idiot. I have no talent or patience.  I had to research hex nuts to find out which end is “up.”

I could have returned it. But I really wanted that chair, so I tackled it. Four hours, three split cuticles, two broken nails, and several colorful metaphors later, I had it put together. In my defense, one bolt was ever so slightly misaligned and required some editing with a mallet on my part. Indeed, the instructions did advise that two people might be required to align the holes for the fasteners.

I will readily admit that even with the supplied “single end wrench” I did not get all the bolts as tightened as they probably should be. But I gave the chair a test sit and it didn’t collapse. This morning it’s still there on my patio, all in one piece, rocking gently in the breeze, seductively murmuring “come hither.”

My compliments to the designers. This is a very comfortable chair. It has a nice high back and wide arms. It rocks back just so far and then stops at a perfect angle. I foresee many a pleasant hour sitting on the patio drinking coffee or perhaps an adult beverage (like the one I sorely needed after my construction exercise). It’s roomy and supportive for reading. Or writing. So maybe this post is about books after all.

resin wicker RTA rocker

By the way, about those hex nuts? Study the nut and you’ll see that one end is flat and the other end is slightly crowned. The crowned end is “up.”

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New: The Quest by Karina Kantas

Newly launched, The Quest by Karina Kantas

Book 2 of Illusional Reality duology.

The Quest by Karina Kantas

YA romantic fantasy the exciting concluding part of Illusional Reality.

Published by Asteri press – The Quest –  Paperback – The Quest Amazon.UK – Paperback

Karina is a prolific writer and has had 8 books published in various genres. It was her love of Tolkien and Pullman that Karina wrote her romantic fantasy, Illusional Reality, which has turned out to be her bestseller. Readers have taken Thya and Alkazar into their hearts.


When Hati, notices a Tsinian crystal glowing, she knows she must stick to her word and return to her homeland as Thya. Knowing her kinsmen needed her, there was no hesitation. Even though there was more to lose than just her life.

Once more a prophesy was given that informed the reader of oracles, that only Thya could stop the war and save not just her people, but the rest of Enumac from Kovon’s psychotic future plans.

Along with three other companions, Thya is sent on a perilous quest to locate a dark crystal which holds evil known as the Dark Force. The group are tried and tested throughout their journey by monsters, death and courage. New friendships will be formed and other lost. Thya’s power becomes stronger and a second will threatens to take over her mind body and soul.

A terrifying surprise waits for them in the city of Helkon.
Will they survive.
Will Thya return to Tsinia and for the final showdown with Kovon.

Find out by reading the thrilling concluding part of Illusional Reality.

  •  Karina Kantas is the author of the popular OUTLAW series.
    Thrillers involving outlaw motorcycle clubs and the highly rated romantic fantasy ILLUSIONAL REALITYShe also writes short stories and when her imagination is working overtime, she writes thought-provoking dark flash fiction.There are many layers to Karina’s writing style and talent. As is displayed in her flash fiction collection, Heads & Takes. And in UNDRESSED she opens up more to her fans. Giving them another glimpse of her warped mind.

    When Karina isn’t busy working on her next bestseller, she runs affordable indie author services. KKantas AuthorAssist. Social Media Consultant, Book Trailer designer, Narration, Branding and Logo design, Marketing and Promotion Manager, design and VA.

    Karina writes in the genres of fantasy, romance, sci-fi, horror, thrillers, and comedy. TWITTER BLOG Goodreads Amazon author page FB Illusional Reality book page

Join Karina’s mailing list where you will receive a monthly newsletter with offers, latest news and more. All new subscribers receive a complimentary gift.

Buy The Quest in paperback and get the eBook of book one of Illusional Reality for free.

Please send proof of purchase to receive your free eBook. – The Quest –  Paperback – The Quest Amazon.UK – Paperback

The Quest in e-book will be released 14th February 2019.

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From the sublime to the ridiculous

I promised you a report on my weekend of experiences. That it’s taken me until Wednesday to get to it should give you a clue as to how busy it was.


Saturday I attended the 37th annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival held by the First Christian Church in Corpus Christi. Capping the Christmas season and celebrating Epiphany, it’s an Old English retelling of the coming of the three kings meeting baby Jesus. Originally presented at Queens College in Oxford in 1340, it came to be a holiday tradition in English manor houses and later in colonial America. A Renaissance-era story, it depicts a medieval pageant. This was quite the spectacle and I cannot praise the organizers and actors enough. It would have been sufficient to enjoy it solely for the entertainment value. But I found myself thinking this was the type of exhibition that the lords and ladies of The Bewildering Adventure of King Bewilliam might have enjoyed. I’ll be keeping the sight, sound, and pacing in mind should the Muse want to revisit the Chalklands.

Something Else

Sunday I attended a day-long class to qualify for a Texas License to Carry a concealed handgun. The class began with a four-hour presentation on the various laws governing the licensing and the responsibilities of license holders. Students had to pay attention because a written test followed. I aced it although there was one question that I thought was badly worded. Throughout my career, I’ve written a lot of test questions so I felt justified in criticizing but others shared my opinion.

Then we all drove out in the country to the Corpus Christi Pistol and Rifle Club range for the shooting part of the qualification. Applicants must show that they know how to carry a handgun safely, arm it, and ready it to fire. The targets were cardboard slabs mounted on a stand. A green silhouette of a roughly human form was marked with a bull’s eye and three concentric rings.

It’s been decades since I even held a handgun. I have vague recollections of going plinking with a friend and can’t recall if I managed to hit anything.

The instructor organized groups of three shooters at a time. Other than me, the students had handgun experience so the instructor asked me to go last. I spent the time observing and even helped one student load her magazine (“Do NOT call it a clip!” said the instructor) which was part of the test.

It was late in the day by the time we got around to me. The sun was sinking and I worried about being able to see the target much less aim accurately. I was also concerned because though I had recently purchased glasses with distance correction I had yet to receive them. Still, I knew that I’d only stew about it and I didn’t want to put the test off for another day. I figured that even if I blew it, I could try again. The state allows for three chances to pass the shooting test.

The instructor lent safety gear. License applicants must show that they have consideration for their personal safety. Though it was an outdoor range it was still a noisy place. Shooters need hearing protection (earmuffs or plugs). Eye protection in the form of safety goggles or glasses is also a necessity, especially with brass casings flying through the air like bees swarming.

Not only did I not have experience or my own safety gear I also didn’t have a handgun. I had worried that I would find the firearm heavy and awkward to handle. The instructor lent me a Ruger .22 and I had absolutely no problem with it. The “red-dot sight” with which it was equipped made aiming easy. I anticipated recoil of which I had read so much but because .22 is a fairly small caliber, this handgun didn’t present any that I noticed. I did observe another phenomenon of which I had read: muzzle flash.

So, how did I do on the test?

The shooting test requires 50 rounds of ammunition fired at three distances:

  • 3 yards – 20 rounds fired
  • 7 yards – 20 rounds fired
  • 15 yards – 10 rounds fired

It’s a timed test. The Texas LTC shooting test passing score is 175 points out of 250 points or a score of 70%.

LTC shooting testI scored 243.

The day-long class was conducted by Michael McKinley of CCIT. Enthusiastic about handgun operation and safe shooting practices, he was knowledgeable about the subject and patient with a rank beginner. That I passed is a testament to his skills as an instructor.

He did charge us with evaluating our preparedness to shoot someone, especially in a crisis situation. It’s an important consideration but it wasn’t why I applied for the license or took the class. I write a lot of crime fiction and simply need to know more about firearms.


Monday I answered a summons for jury duty. Different states handle this in different ways. Here in Nueces County, citizens report to the Central Jury room and wait, sometimes for hours, sometimes all day, for the court personnel to sort potential jurors into groups. The groups are then assigned to pending cases. Jury candidates might proceed immediately to a courtroom or be instructed to return at a future date at which point attorneys will select jurors from the pool of candidates.

OK, “ridiculous” is a little harsh but it can be tedious. I get summoned at least every other year and occasionally more often so I’ve been through the drill many times. To make some use of the waiting time I bring a book to read or one of my works-in-progress to write. And at least one occasion has provided material to put in my Story Ideas file.

So there you have it. Three experience-packed days all of which yielded grist for the story mill. Now all that’s left is the writing.


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Happy new year

A year ago I had my house listed for sale and was consumed with finding a new place to live. I sold the house, the closing date approached, and I still didn’t have a new address. For a while there it looked like I and my two cats and my characters would be homeless. Truly. I was quite desperate. At the last minute, I found a place with the right spaces for us all. Sorting and shredding and packing and moving and unpacking proved more stressful and time-consuming than I would have imagined.

But it’s a new year, new ambitions, and writing projects galore. I plan to have new reads for you to enjoy in 2019.

Despite my new full-time job of getting myself relocated I managed to get some writing done. In “Lady Blackwing Earns Her Moniker,” the heroine of my Fantasy/Science Fiction mini tackles a new adventure. This story is one of several in the “Beyond the Mask” superhero anthology. Launching Jan. 29, 2019 it’s available for preorder. I’m especially pleased to be a part of this project. Proceeds from your purchase will go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand to benefit childhood cancer research. So you’ll not only enjoy some entertaining reads, you’ll be a superhero yourself.

Beyond the Mask, A Fiction-Atlas Superhero Anthology

Murder by the Book by Devorah FoxI made time to do National Novel Writing Month in November. This was my eighth writing marathon. I worked on a new adventure for Candy Wadsen, the heroine of “Murder by the Book,” a mystery mini. I hope to have “Dying to Get Hung” out for you before the year ends.

Ah, the things we authors do in pursuit of verisimilitude. Tune in next week for a report on my upcoming “learning experiences.” Meanwhile, I hope 2019 is off to a good start for you.

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Health insurance for horses

We’re situated not too distant from ranchland where horse ownership is common. I thought this might be of interest.


When purchasing a horse you probably didn’t realize all of the other purchases you would need to make. Tack, feed, lessons, boarding costs, they all add up. Another expense you may not have considered is for veterinary care. Fortunately, health insurance for horses can help ensure that you are never faced with making a decision on the health and well-being of your horse based on finances.

There are several different types of horse insurance, but health insurance includes mortality and medical coverage. You may want a separate liability coverage if you keep your horses at home. This is something to discuss with your home insurance provider. Health insurance for horses addresses medical care due to injury, disease or accidents.

Mortality insurance is similar to life insurance for humans. It covers your loss in the event you lose your horse due to death or theft. The premium, as well as the payout, is based on the age, use, and breed of your horse. The replacement value will be determined between you and your insurer.

There are several different medical insurance offerings available to help with medical expenses. It is important to understand that health insurance for horses is not meant to cover regular preventative care, such as vaccinations and health certificates. Rather it covers treatment for illness, disease or accidents. Lameness and EPM are some examples of ailments that may qualify under a major medical plan.

Many insurance providers also offer surgical coverage only option. This is a way to cover your horse if he should need an expensive surgery, but leaving you responsible for general major medical care, such as ongoing treatments for lameness. The surgical only option can be a tremendous stress reliever if you find yourself in a situation where your horse is colicing and surgery is the only available option.

There are insurance plans to meet every need. Talking to an agent that specializes in health insurance for horses allows you to discuss and understand all available options. Horse ownership is expensive, and it is important to make decisions that are in both your horse’s and your finance’s best interest.

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Cover reveal: Peter Blade

Peter Blade by Y. Correa

I am delighted to help get the word out about Y. Correa’s new release, Peter Blade, a psychological drama, slated to release October 31, 2018, at all major book retailers.

Autumn 1970, Manhattan, New York“♫ Life gives you surprises but Surprises give you life, oh Lord … ♪”

A single night can carry both contempt and horror.

The notorious Peter Blade is on the hunt … just like many nights before. Adhering to his father’s words, “You’ve got to get deep into the gut, that’s how you’ll be able to bleed the animal. It’s the only way to get him clean …” Peter ensures that every hooker he kills is bled to pristine flawlessness.
Dancing with the phantasms of a murky past and the reality of an ominous present, Peter Blade trades places with his victims for the foreboding remembrances which cometh after dark. This night is entrenched in the unexpected and Peter finds himself contending with life and death. From dusk to dawn, Peter Blade is inescapably haunted but to what end? Which could be worse, living the terror or dying by its hands?

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