Meet Mariah Avix

This week I’m introducing the editor of the amazing podcast 600 Second Saga, Mariah Avix. You may have heard a few of my stories published there and they couldn’t have found a happier home. In addition to the podcast, she is also the author of Dangerous Metal, Oak Stream Hollow, and Summer Solace, the first novel in the Smoke Jumper series.


Malcolm needs a summer away to decide if he wants to stay with his cheating wife. His daughter Daisy never wants to see the people who betrayed her.

In a cabin as far from the city as they can get, Faye, the park ranger, warns them of fire, woods, and wildlife.

Will either learn to love or trust again or will the forest devour them first.

Now for the interview.

1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.

I am Mariah Avix and I’m currently working on a rewrite of a novella in my Smoke Jumper series. I’ve also got a rewrite of an urban fantasy novel in progress…progress used in the most loose way possible here.

I can’t wait to read more about Faye!

You As A Reader

2. When did you first fall in love with books?

When I was small. I was talking recently with my mom and sister about this after hearing LeVar Burton speak and I was absolutely sure that my grandma had recorded herself reading Ramona Quimby to me. And yes! I wasn’t imagining it. She’d read both Ramona Quimby and The Secret Garden into a cassette recorder and I was able to listen to those. That was definitely a moment of falling in love with books.

3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

In addition to those I loved Swan Lake. My recollection of this was that my mom would read it to my sister and I while the music played. (I had a chance later to see the Swan Lake ballet performed in St. Petersburg which was incredible.)

4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?

I think all of the books have changed me a little. It’s a great part of what books do, they make you change and see the world differently which I love. The most? I’m not sure I could answer that. Maybe Hitchhiker’s Guide? Maybe Shards of Honor? Maybe a few of the books I read as a pre-teen that I don’t remember the names of, or even if my recollection of them is accurate any more but some ghost of them still haunts my experiences? 

5. What’s the last book you read and your current favorite? 

The last book I read would be Ancillary Justice. I listened to the audiobook and the second was done by a different narrator so I’ve been very hesitant to jump into it. My current favorite is all of them? I’m sort of floating around in a I Love Them All space so no favorite.

I’m sure most readers can relate to that happy state of being. I know I do right now. They’re all so good!

6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

This is hard! I’m not sure because there’s the whole don’t meet your heroes thing. I think any author I could meet would be one who would want to be my friend and hang out with me and discuss the minutia of being an author with me. (I’ve been incredibly lucky to have made some great friends through NaNo, FB, Twitter, and through doing the podcast.)

You As A Writer

7. When did you first know you were a writer?

I’m really not sure. I’ve always loved making up stories, but putting them down on paper with some seriousness has only come in the last 5 years or so.

8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?  If so, what was it about?

I’m not sure it was the first, but I have somewhere a nice little handwriting book that I wrote a story in when I was maybe 5 or 6? I don’t even know what it was about. Hopefully I’ve gotten better at story structure since, but I think I’ve gotten worse at handwriting.

I’ve never met an author who actually likes their own handwriting.

9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey?  The best part?

Deciding to rewrite or kill. I’m not sure sometimes, often even, if I should rework the entire story or chuck it and start over knowing the things I know now. There is a huge cyclical nature to it and I’d like to use that better when I can. But I get so hung up on I put SO much work into this story and I hate throwing it all out and only keeping the knowledge that I’ve gained when I feel like I should keep more.

The best part is the bringing the story to life. I love that moment when I do the final audio record and even though I’ve worked and reworked and re reworked the story to death it still pulls at my heartstrings and makes me feel all the things. I love those moments.

I know what you mean about deciding whether to keep working on it or to move on. It’s hard to know if/when any idea becomes no longer worth the work.

10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?

All the writing advice is wrong. Seriously. The best thing to hear is that all the super prescriptive “you have to do it this way Or Else” things are wrong. Work your way.

11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.

Always working on Smoke Jumper’s stories. Shifters and protecters of the woods. And a thousand pieces of flash fiction.

For the record, I totally blame you for my newfound obsession with flash fiction. I’d never written anything that short before and now I can’t stop. And it’s all your fault.

Fun Stuff About You

12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?

Podcast! Audio!

I love audio, I love taking a piece of work and turning it into something else. Giving that additional layer of life and breath to the story. I do audiobook narration and of course the 600 Second Saga podcast (and if anyone hasn’t listened to your episodes, especially Ann, they have to!).

Aww, thanks.

13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?

Being charming. Just being perfectly, incredibly, impossibly charismatic. It’s a skill that is so far outside my universe I’m not even sure how it works, it is one of 2 things that I think are legitimate magic in our world. (The other being impossibly large amounts of money.)

14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world.  Where would you go?

Antarctica is pretty appealing. But really? Space. I want to go to space. I know you said in the world, but I reject that and say an all expense paid trip I entered would be for space. Up. All the way.

That’s awesome!

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

Twitter is great, @MariahAvix and my website insani-x.com.

16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Stories are very important. Tell them.

Thanks for sharing a bit about you, Mariah!

Be sure to check out her podcast 600 Second Saga and if you like what you hear, consider giving your support through Patreon. If you’d like to read or listen to Mariah’s books, they are available on Amazon and Audible:

Summer Solace ebook

Summer Solace audiobook

Oak Stream Hollow ebook
Oak Stream Hollow audiobook
Dangerous Metal ebook
Dangerous Metal audiobook

Podcast Ponder 1: I Should Be Writing

I Should Be Writing Ep. 378: Preparations

This episode of I Should Be Writing is actually a good one to start with if you’ve never heard the podcast. About halfway through, she explains what it’s all about and even a little about her other podcast, Ditch Diggers. One of my favorite aspects of this podcast is how each episode feels more like a conversation with Mur Lafferty than like she’s imparting invaluable wisdom from some lofty pedestal. When I feel alone in my struggles, I can come to this podcast and feel like I’ve got someone in my corner rooting for me.

In this episode she talks about her struggles with being prepared and how being a pantser (writing by the seat of your pants) makes that difficult. Even though I’m an outline junkie, I can still relate to the constant state of unpreparedness. No matter how much I outline, research, plan, etc. I never feel ready to start writing or keep up with this blog. For instance, this post was supposed to have been written this past weekend, but I never actually got around to it until yesterday. In fact, I’m typing this up while my two year old is climbing on me and shoving a bottle of kids vitamin gummies in my face. (For the record, he’s already had two and I know all too well what too many of these can do to your digestive system.)

I suppose part of that unpreparedness has something to do with all of the various responsibilities life and motherhood come with. It’s exhausting trying to be prepared all the time! And any time I’m fully prepared in one area, I’m therefore lacking in another.

Mur addresses this as well with her example of feeling ready to record a recent Ditch Diggers podcast episode, only to discover an important part she’d forgotten to prepare for. It’s like getting the dishes in the sink done only to find more in another room later on. Or finishing a school worksheet only to get marked down the next day for not doing the work on the back you hadn’t realized was there.

Then she brings up the usefulness of checklists. I have to admit to a bit of a chuckle at that point. Not because it’s not a fabulous idea or an excellent tool. I know they work wonders for many people, but even though I enjoy making lists (outline junkie, remember?), I have two main problems with them. 1. I always lose the lists or can’t remember which app I saved them in, which means I spend more time looking for the lists than using them. 2. The minute I make a to do list, something major inevitably crops up to put a huge dent in my plans for the day. Like the results of too many vitamin gummies.

Mur then spends the last half of the episode giving practical suggestions and tools to help prepare for writing. She never says you have to do any of them to be a successful writer, though. They are simply tools and methods to try out in order to figure out what works for you. I use some of them and am intrigued by others. Mostly though, I’m just grateful to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t have it all together. That any time I’m feeling like a failure and that I’ll never amount to anything, I can always turn on this podcast and be reminded that not only am I not alone, but that success isn’t dependent on always being prepared for everything.

Do you ever struggle with being prepared? Or are you one of those rare breeds who manage to remember everything? More importantly, have you ever had too many vitamin gummies? It’s quite unpleasant.

Meet A.S. Akkalon

This week I’d like to introduce you to the talented and hilarious A.S. Akkalon, aspiring author and blogger. Get a taste of her humor and read her exceptional short stories at www.asakkalon.com

A.S. Akkalon planned to run away and join the circus until the fantastical worlds of David Eddings, Katharine Kerr, and Raymond E. Feist inspired her to become a fantasy author. 

By day, she works in an office where computers outnumber suits of armour more than two-to-one, and by night she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

If life has taught her anything, it’s that the cat is always right.

1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.

My name is Alecia and I’m definitely not obsessed with cats or dragons. Sorry, I can’t say that with a straight face. 

As well as cats and dragons, I’m moderately fond of medieval castles, and manage to maintain my romantic illusions about them because I’ve never actually visited one. Nor have I visited a hobbit hole even though I live in Middle Earth.

I am working on making friends online with people I will never have to meet, ridding the world of coffee by drinking it all myself, and editing my high fantasy novel, which is still WAY TOO LONG.

I’m trying – and failing – to not judge you for the hobbit hole thing. Not that I’m jealous of you for living in Middle Earth or anything.

You As A Reader

2. When did you first fall in love with books?

I think I’ve always loved books. It’s possible in a past life I was a book.

3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

I loved so many books as a child, but one of my favourites now from back then is Winnie the Pooh because it’s cute, funny, and at least a little profound. I’m working on collecting it in as many languages as I can… and then learning the languages. Collecting the books has turned out to be easier than learning the languages.

4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?

I left this question for last because it was the hardest. Is “the heavy one that I dropped on my foot, breaking it” a valid answer?

I can’t decide whether to roll my eyes or be impressed that you managed to break your foot with a book.

5. What’s the last book you read and your current favorite?

The last book I read was Catling’s Bane by D. Wallace Peach. I just finished reading it for the second time. The first time I was beta reading for Diana, the second time was just for fun. If you enjoy beautifully written fantasy I recommend you check it out.

Sorry, I can’t pick just one favourite book. The others might get offended and smother me in the night. Or maybe that’s the cat.

6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

Shakespeare, because then I could say I met Shakespeare. Also, I could see if he talks as funny as he writes. 

You As A Writer

7. When did you first know you were a writer?

I write every day, but I’m not convinced I’m a writer now. In fact, I’d rather not be.

There’s something about labelling it that feels limiting. If I’m a writer then I ought to be like this and behave like that, and I’m automatically *not* a whole pile of other things, like a vegemite sandwich. It’s easy to do both writing and vegemite sandwiching. It’s much harder to be both a writer and a sandwich.

8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?  If so, what was it about?

I’m not sure it was the first story I ever wrote, but I remember writing and illustrating a story about a pricess (not being able to spell “princess”). She started out as a little pricess and turned into a big pricess. Somewhere along the way she was captured by an arch-villain called the Big Thing. Don’t worry, she escaped in the end. And possibly was eaten by a plastic crocodile.

9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey?  The best part?

I find plotting difficult. It took me six months of planning before I started writing my current work in progress. Then there was the time my Roomba ate the index cards of my first draft. [asakkalon.com/wall-e-roomba] That was a desolate day.

I was horrified just looking at the pictures!

Every evening when I get to sit down and work on my book is the best part, except when my cat bites me for reaching over his back to type.

10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?

“Stuff happened” is not a plot. Even if it was exciting stuff.

11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.

Right now I’m editing my fantasy novel RAIN ON DRAGON SCALES, and today I love it. Tomorrow might be a different story. 

The very short summary: An impetuous arena fighter must mend a powerful duke’s alliance with a clan of dragons if she’s ever to return home.

I’m also working on improving the very short summary for RAIN ON DRAGON SCALES, adding two posts a week of random humour and snippets of life to my blog, and writing a short story to give to people who sign up to my blog. The short story is called THE DRAGON’S APPRENTICE, and it’s about a human boy who is apprenticed to a dragon. It turns out I’m very slow at writing short stories.

Fun Stuff About You

12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?

Reading about writing. Oh, and world domination.

Does your cat know? Because His Royal Fluffiness might have some objections.

13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?

Learning! (And no, that’s not the same as wishing for more wishes.) Because then I could get to be an expert in anything else, obviously.

14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world.  Where would you go?

An isolated cabin in the snowy mountains somewhere, with a log fire and reliable internet.

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

I blog at www.asakkalon.com, or you can find me on Twitter way too often (@AkkalonAS).

16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Thanks for having me here. It’s been fun! And cats are better than dogs.

Thanks for gracing my little blog with your unique flair.

If you enjoyed A.S. Akkalon’s answers as much as I did, leave a comment and let us know, then check out her blog for more hilarious fun.

Introducing . . . Podcast Ponder

I’m a busy mom of two little boys, so I rarely have time to sit and read anymore. As a result, I’ve migrated from reading about writing craft to listening to podcasts, like Writing Excuses, Manuscript AcademyDitch Diggers, 600 Second Saga, and many others. Now I can learn about writing while doing dishes, folding laundry, and hunting for that special sippy cup that I swear looks like all the others.

While brainstorming ideas to write about here, I began writing down my thoughts on some of these episodes for fun. Then I thought, why not share them with all of you? And Podcast Ponder was born.

So now, every other Wednesday, between author interviews, I will share about a recent podcast episode on which I’ve been pondering.

Check out the links above for a sneak peek at what I’ll be pondering about. And let me know what you think about them.

Meet Carl Rackman

This week I’m introducing mystery thriller writer Carl Rackman. He’s the author of Irex and Voyager, both of which can be found on Amazon. If you’re a fan of Clive Cussler or Robert B. Parker, you’re sure to love these as well.


1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.

I’m Carl, which is a pen name (Carl is actually my brother’s name!) I’d rather be known as Carl Rackman to the outside world. I’m British and live in Southern England. I used to be an airline pilot and flew professionally for 15 years – I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica! I had to stop flying two years ago when a mystery virus damaged a nerve in my inner ear. I began to lose my balance and become disorientated. For almost two years it kept recurring; for long periods I was housebound, couldn’t drive, couldn’t socialise or even speak on the phone for more than about 20 minutes. It was a genuinely crushing personal experience. But from that low I began to write, and have since realised I have a great passion for creative writing and have almost finished my third novel in a year.

You As A Reader:

2. When did you first fall in love with books?

I’ve always loved reading. I learned to read very early as a young child, so I’m told, and used to devour any story. My Mum would read bedtime stories most nights (if she wasn’t working) and as I got older I read some of the classic British children’s fare: Roald Dahl’s stories, Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Dolittle books, Norman Hunter’s Professor Branestawn. 

Who doesn’t love Roald Dahl and Doctor Dolittle?

3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

My absolute favourite books as a child were Willard Price’s Adventure series, about two American teenage brothers whose dad ran an animal centre for exotic animals. They went around the world capturing rare and amazing animals for the world’s zoos, while having some hair-raising and quite brutal adventures along the way. It was so un-PC by today’s standards but they were my Harry Potter!

4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?

The book that changed me the most has to be (cliché alert!) the New Testament of the Bible. It’s funny how people don’t regard religion as anything much when they have control and mastery of their lives, the way I did for decades. Then the world flips you upside down, everything you knew changes, and you have to make a radical reassessment of your entire self and your values. It literally changed everything about my life: the way I see the world, the things I care about, and the way I choose to express myself in relationships.

The “normal” book that changed me was Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast Of Champions. It was the first book I’d read to make me realise that the message of a book didn’t have to have anything to do with the story. To my 15-yo self, it was the most amazing, original and worldview-changing thing I’d ever seen. I had a similar feeling reading JD Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye as a college student, and again when I read Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange.

5. Last book you read and current favorite?

Last book I read was Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, a wonderfully-written, imaginative urban fantasy set in London, which was my home for years. It wasn’t all good, but I loved the writing. My reigning favourite book is Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I could feel almost every fibre of the main character Rabo Karabekian.

6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

Honestly, I’m not big on heroes or idols or whatever. In the end, they’re just people like everyone else, and would be as uncomfortable meeting me as I would be meeting them! But yeah, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 🙂

Great thought to remember! Even Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was once an amateur.

You As A Writer:

7. When did you first know you were a writer?

When I recovered from my illness and realised I would rather write than fly planes.

8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? If so, what was it about?

I used to write creative stories for homework in primary school. One was about a nightmare and it got submitted to a national competition. I obviously didn’t win or I would have heard something. But it was framed outside the headteacher’s office for the rest of the year!

That’s still great encouragement for a youngster!

9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey? The best part?

The most difficult part of my writing journey has been other people. Their sympathetic but glassy-eyed lack of understanding has caused me more self-doubt and angst than anything to do with actual writing. 

The best part of my writing journey has been other people. Their support, love and incredulity on reading the finished product (“I can’t believe you wrote this!”) has brought me more pleasure and self-worth than anything to do with actual writing.

10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?

My father-in-law said to me, “You should write. I think you’ve got a book inside you.” He was right.

As a self-published author, the best piece of advice I received was “Get an editor. You can’t do it on your own. Unless you want to do it badly.” They were right too.

It must have worked because your writing is impressive.

11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.

My 75% finished work in progress is called “Jonah”, a claustrophobic mystery/thriller set on a WW2 destroyer in the Pacific. The main character is a young sailor who was the sole survivor of a deadly kamikaze attack. Not only that, he was completely unscathed even though everyone else around him was killed. He already has a reputation for being lucky, but now he is ostracised and bullied by others afraid of the circumstances of his escape. The crippled ship must sail alone back to the West Coast, but on the way home the crew are beset by visions and hallucinations, especially of a sea monster that threatens to pick them off one by one. Our ‘lucky’ MC is the only one unaffected, and he begins to incur the animosity of the others as they suspect him as the cause of their misfortune.

Fun Stuff About You:

12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?

I build scale models of aircraft and ships. I build to a very high standard and have won several awards for my work, and made some good money from building commissions and selling my finished models. Like writing, it’s a great blend of research, creativity and skill. Unlike writing, I’ve actually made some money from it!

For you readers, I’ve seen pics and he’s talented. Really talented.

13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?

Espionage. I’ve always wanted to be an intelligence agent. I’ve made several applications to the security services in my life, though that would be telling.

14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world. Where would you go?

French Polynesia (Tahiti, Bora Bora). I never got to “do” the Pacific when I was a pilot, and it’s one of the only appealing places left on Earth for me.

Final Thoughts:

15. How can people connect with you?

I’m always on Twitter. @CarlRackman please feel free to connect. I also have a website and blog at rackmanbooks.com and a lame Facebook page (because Facebook IS lame) but I prefer to interact on Twitter.

16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Thanks very much for asking me to take part. It’s been emotional.

Thank you for sharing. You certainly have a unique story. I’m still enjoying Irex and can’t wait to read more of your books.

If you’d like to buy Carl’s books, you can find them here:

Irex

Voyager

Meet Shari L. Tapscott

For this interview I’d like to introduce a personal favorite of mine, Shari L. Tapscott. She is the author of the Eldentimber series, the Glitter and Sparkle series, and her newest additions, Moss Forest Orchid and its sequel Greybrow Serpent which is available for pre-order.


1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.

Hello! First, thank you for the interview, ML! As you’ve probably gathered, my name is Shari. A lot of people think it’s pronounced like “Sherry” but it actually rhymes with “starry” and “sorry.” I am the mother of two amazing kids, the wife to a hardworking man, and I have two incredibly spoiled pups. We live in western Colorado, in the mountain bike mecca of Fruita. 

Right now, I’m writing Sugar and Spice, the third book in the Glitter and Sparkle series, and outlining both the third Silver and Orchids book and the fifth Eldentimber book. I’m also working on edits for Greybrow Serpent.

A fifth Eldentimber book?! Eeee!

You As A Reader:

2. When did you first fall in love with books?

When I was six, my parents bought property up by a local lake and began building a cabin. It turned into a massive weekend project that spanned more than ten years, and a lot of that time I was bored to death. Mom and Dad were always working on something, and though I love to be outside, there were only so many times I could prowl the property. Thankfully, when I turned nine, I received Little Women and two Babysitter’s Club books, and I ended up devouring them. My parents encouraged both my reading and writing hobbies, and I remember being gifted with a never-ending supply of books.

3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

This is such a hard question! I got Battle for the Castle by Elizabeth Winthrop from a Scholastic school catalog in fifth grade, and that’s standing out right now as one of my most favorites. I remember reading that book over and over. I just loved it. 

4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?

This is another throwback to my childhood. The Saddleclub Books by Bonnie Bryant changed me the most. I started reading them when I was in fourth grade. They are what inspired me to write. I filled notebook after notebook with stories similar to the ones I read in that series.

5. Last book you read and current favorite?

How I Met your Brother by Janette Rallison (very cute) and…another hard choice. Since I’m in a contemporary mood, let’s go with A Different Blue by Amy Harmon. It’s another book I’ve read multiple times. I love Wilson, the main guy character. He’s funny and sweet and charming. Blue is flawed and real, and her growth is amazing. Awesome book. 

6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

I would love to meet Marissa Meyer. I am a huge fan of her Lunar Chronicles, and I adore her writing style.  

I couldn’t agree more. I could go on for hours about her books.

You As A Writer:

7. When did you first know you were a writer?

I wanted to write since elementary school, but I didn’t know I had a knack for it until seventh grade. Mrs. Maguire, my language arts teacher, held up one of my essays, complimenting it in front of the class. It made me feel amazing, and I started to think that I might actually be able to pursue this “writing thing.”

8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? If so, what was it about?

Oh, goodness. No, I’m afraid I don’t. (That’s horrible, isn’t it?) I do remember the first book I completed, though. It was a retelling of the Jorinda and Joringel fairy tale, which I titled Smoke and Mirrors Songstress. It needs all kinds of work, but I’d really like to get it out there someday, even if I have to rewrite the entire thing. 

That’s awesome that you haven’t given up on it. It’s excellent encouragement for writers still working on their first novels (in other words, me).

9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey? The best part?

I took a correspondence writing course when I was newly married. The information was amazing, but I got an advisor who I did not click with. At all. She writes sports non-fiction, and I…do not. After struggling through it, I stopped writing for awhile. My husband and I wanted to start a family, and I began to doubt myself and my writing ability.

About three months after my son was born, I started writing again, just for me. Then I couldn’t stop. The best part of my writing journey was when, years later, I published Pippa of Lauramore, and the paperback finally showed up on the Barnes and Noble website. It’s crazy how something like that can make you feel “real.” (Kind of like the Velveteen Rabbit!)

10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?

Write for you. When I stop loving my story, loving my characters, and loving what I’m doing, then my manuscript suffers. I cannot write for my readers–I’ve tried that, and the pressure is unreal. I’ve stopped reading most reviews, and I just do what I love. I absolutely adore my readers, but I cannot please everyone. Once I accepted that, writing became easy again. 

11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.

Sugar and Spice is Harper’s story. I love the Glitter and Sparkle books because they give me a much-needed break from the intricate world of fantasy. Sometimes a girl just needs a little modern-day fluff. This one, like the first two in the series, is a fun romantic comedy.

Greybrow Serpent picks up where Moss Forest Orchid ended, and it is a continuation of Lucia’s story. I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s more magic and romance and Flink. The third book is taking a little longer to flesh out than the first, but I know the story–I just have to work it all out.

The fifth Eldentimber book is a little ways out (still untitled), but I’m hoping to release it soon after the third Silver and Orchids book. It’s going to be set a few years after Audette of Brookraven. In the story, Bran and Dristan’s father has stepped down, and Bran is now the king of Triblue. I’m toying with dual viewpoints on this novel like I did in Puss without Boots, but I’ve never done it on an Eldentimber book, and I’m not sure I want to change things up. 

Pardon me while I scream in fangirl excitement! Just when I thought I had to say goodbye to the Eldentimber universe, and it turns out I get to go back one more time! Yay!

Fun Stuff About You:

12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?

I love to be outside! Our family has a camping/hiking blog (bunnytrailbooks.com), and eventually, we want to explore all of Colorado and write campground guides. Right now my favorite activity is biking because the whole family loves it, and the kids will bound out of the house with smiles on their faces if we suggest it. I also love gardening, making candles and soap, and remodeling our ’84 pickup camper. (I have no idea what we were thinking!)

13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?

You know those people who have traveled everywhere and seen everything? They can spout off facts about everything from cool places to native animals to cultures of different regions. I want to be that kind of expert, focusing first on the United States. I want to go everywhere, soak it all up, and then I want to write about it and let it fuel my fiction. 

14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world. Where would you go?

I want to go to Italy and tour all the little coastal villages, especially those of Cinque Terre! I want to eat the food, swim in the ocean, try gelato, and pretend I’m very cultured!  

Final Thoughts:

15. How can people connect with you?

You can visit me on Twitter, Instagram, or on my website, shariltapscott.com. I am not on Facebook anymore, so please don’t reach out to me there!

16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

If you join my newsletter, you will get all kinds of goodies, including Fire and Feathers: Prequel Novelette to Moss Forest Orchid.

Thank you so much for sharing a little about you. I can’t wait to dive into the new series and especially to read Bran’s story in the fifth Eldentimber book.

If you’d like to dive into Shari’s books as much as I do, you can find them on Amazon here:

Pippa of Lauramore

Glitter and Sparkle

Moss Forest Orchid

What Does Mom Really Want For Mother’s Day?

Moms can be really hard to shop for. What we want this week isn’t necessarily what we’ll want next week. And neither are what we wanted the week before. So to help you out, here’s a foolproof guide for what moms want on Mother’s Day.

1. She wants breakfast in bed, but she also wants to join in the fun she can hear coming from the kitchen.

2. She wants red roses and fancy chocolate, but she also wants handpicked dandelions and cards with wet handprints.

3. She wants a luxurious bath with candles and relaxing music, but she also wants epic pirate battles that get water all over the floor.

4. She wants to watch that sappy, adult movie without interruptions, but she also wants to watch that Disney movie you’ve all seen five million times and quote it all the way through.

5. She wants a quiet dinner at that distinctly NOT kid friendly restaurant, but she also wants a family barbecue in the backyard.

6. She wants a shopping spree with her girlfriends, but she’ll wind up buying more for her kids than for herself.

7. She wants to relax while Daddy handles bedtime, but she also wants to read that story that her kids say she does perfect voices for.

8. She wants to read that book collecting dust on her nightstand, but she also wants Mommy and Daddy movie night.

9. She wants Daddy to take care of the baby in the middle of the night, but she also doesn’t want to miss out on the cuddles which just aren’t the same at naptime.

10. She wants a whole day to herself, but she also wants a whole day to spend with her family.

Okay, so it’s not all that foolproof. We’ll always be hard to shop for, but the truth is, if you put your heart into it, we’ll love it no matter what it is.

What did you get your mom for Mother’s Day? Did she love it? Feel free to share in the comments.