RTA

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
http://bit.ly/TQPPAM – The Quest Amazon.com –  Paperback
http://bit.ly/pptquk – 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.

THE QUEST FOR THE TRUTH BEGINS

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.

    http://bit.ly/TwittKK TWITTER
    http://bit.ly/BLOGKK BLOG
    http://bit.ly/KKGRE Goodreads
    http://bit.ly/KarinaKantas Amazon author page
    http://bit.ly/IRFBPAGE 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. http://eepurl.com/daKief

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

http://bit.ly/TQPPAM

Please send proof of purchase to receive your free eBook.
https://www.facebook.com/bolidepublishing.

http://bit.ly/TQPPAM – The Quest Amazon.com –  Paperback
http://bit.ly/pptquk – 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.

Sublime

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.

Ridiculous

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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Responsible kids

Are you kids back in school? Sure they’re busy learning but here are suggestions about what they can learn at home too.

Four Small Ways to Teach Your Kids How to Take on Responsibility

Kids learn the most from their parents in a safe, positive home environment. That said, teaching your kids how to be responsible is one of the most important things you can do for their futures. Not sure where to begin? Take notes from the following article on four small ways to teach your kids how to be responsible/take on responsibility.

Assign Chores and Set Up a Rewards and Consequences System

Chores for kids are little things around the house that they are in charge of taking care of. Dependent on age, chores could be anything from feeding the pets, to washing the car, to sweeping the kitchen, and keeping their bedroom tidy and organized.

When you feel the time is right for your kiddo to take on some responsibilities, assign them a small list of everyday, or weekly, chores, with a visible rewards and consequences system. Use stickers, magnets, or markers on a chart that adds up what they do, or don’t do, over the course of 7 days. It’s a classic method, but effective.

Be a Role Model of Responsibility

Your children look to you for guidance, so guide them with your own example. Don’t put off your own responsibilities. Instead, meet your obligations head on and get them done to show your kids what being responsible is all about.

Include a Lesson on Respect and Compassion with Volunteer Work as a Family

Compassion and respect go hand-in-hand with being responsible. As a family, encourage your kids to help others and take on a role of responsibility in your community with volunteer work. Help out at a soup kitchen on the weekends, hand out food gift baskets to sheltered elderly neighbors, gather blanket donations for animal shelters, or simply do random good deeds throughout the day.

Be Realistic About Your Expectations of Your Children

Don’t expect your child to give up being a kid to take on their fair share of responsibilities. Understand that they can be both responsible and still a youngster, which means rebelling against chores sometimes. Use a good consequences system, like no chores = no electronics, to show them that being responsible and getting work done comes before fun and games.

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Do you believe in #magic?

When your world has been blown apart, and you must bring the magic that puts it back together.

 

An Ill Wind by Devorah Fox
Inspired by true events: #Hurricane Harvey, which made international headlines, and one that probably didn’t make it to your news feed. But, like all good fiction writers, I found myself thinking, “What if it didn’t end that way. What if …?”

An Ill Wind is among the captivating #Fantasy stories in The Magic Book of Wands anthology. It’s available for preorder now and then when it’s released on October 31 it will appear in your Kindle. Like magic!

The Magical Book of Wands

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The Quest for the Missing Muse: Victory

The Quest for the Missing MuseThat was a relatively short and painless quest. I encountered no murderous hordes, terrifying dragons, or quicksand. Which would have made a great story and while I’m not writing that one, I am writing. For a while there the act of writing seemed so foreign. I couldn’t remember how it felt to do it, and couldn’t picture doing it again. I wondered what would I do with myself if I wasn’t writing.

However, the advice to break through a writer’s block by writing proved valuable. I reconnected with my writing self enough to sign up for the July Camp NaNoWriMo writing challenge. I’ve unearthed a project that I began last year. A nearly complete first draft, the story has a beginning and an end but needs more middle. I’m patching plot holes and fleshing out secondary characters.

So, you writers, take comfort. Should you find yourselves blocked, try doing what I did. Write. Write anything. Don’t worry if it’s any good, if it will ever be finished, or if anyone else will ever see it. Just write. It worked for me and I’m calling this quest finished, with thanks to all those who rooted for me while I was on the trail. Now I’m on a new mission: to achieve the Camp NaNoWriMo goal that I set for myself, and to complete that novel.

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The Quest for the Missing Muse: Memory Problems

This could be working.

To reconnect with my missing Muse and reestablish my writing habit, I charged myself with writing to a daily prompt. The intent of writing every day was to break whatever dam was blocking my creativity.

Today I won’t be posting what I wrote to the daily prompt. I haven’t done it. (I’m going to be optimistic and say I haven’t done it yet.) It was to list foods that remind me of summer and to describe them using all senses. It would be a good exercise but I’m finding that these prompts result in writing that’s memoir-ish, and not satisfying.

I’m not cut out to be a memoirist. The joke among my friends is that if it happened more than three weeks ago, I don’t remember. That’s proving to be a handicap for logging in to Web sites. Security protocols ask who my high school mascot was, what street I lived on when I was six years old, what bank gave me my first car loan, and I can’t answer those questions. I have to keep a cheat sheet of the responses which pretty much defeats the whole point.

Writing every day could be having a positive effect, though.  I find myself called to revisit a story that I began last March and never finished. It’s been so long since I worked on it, I don’t recall all the details. Instead of writing to today’s prompt, I’m rereading what I wrote (about 25,000 words) to refresh my memory and pick up where I left off.

I’m not ready to say I’ve found my Muse. I don’t feel that irresistible compulsion to write. My characters still aren’t talking to me. Maybe, though, there’s a crack in that dam.

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