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Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teaser Tuesday! Poem

Part of Teaser Tuesday - Enjoy!

Spin and tumble in my head,
Churning, spinning,
Building pressure like steam in a kettle,
Seeking escape.

Buzzing in my brain
Like a wasp on a window,
Watching with alien malevolence
Waiting for me to approach,
To smother or smash into complacency,
Only to be stung as the words demand release.

Burning like a flame,
Searing their path through my mind,
Consuming, devouring,
Building to a raging inferno,
Demanding complete submission.

Erupting like lava,
Cascading in fiery torrents from my fingers,
Flowing from my brain,
Liquid stone, blazing with heat,
Destroying my peace, shattering my world,
Until the passion settles.
The words rest cold and hard,
Set in hexagonal columns
Like basalt,
Form immutable.

Lie before me,
Holding all the fire
of my empty soul.

Nothing more,
Nothing less,


Monday, August 30, 2010

Author Interview - Debra L. Martin

Today, we welcome author Debra L. Martin. Pull up a chair and get comfy as we get to know her better.

What genre do you write?
I write fantasy/science fiction with my co-author, David W. Small.  We have been writing together since 2006.

What do you currently have in print and where can we find them?
We have two full-length novels in our RULE OF OTHARIA series, Quest for Nobility and The Crystal Facade.  The books revolve around royal Otharian twins, Darius and Dyla Telkur and their struggle to maintain control of the throne of Telkur.  The reader will delve into a world of PSI powers [telepathy, empathy, telekinesis], betrayal, intrigue and murder.  There is an evil mastermind bent on eliminating the twins and, of course, there is a deliciously evil telekinetic assassin.  There is also a connection back to Earth which Darius and Dyla uncover.  To unravel the mystery, they must shift through the clues from the Arthurian legends of Merlin and the Lady of the Lake.

We also have two novelettes in our DARK FUTURE series, Path to War and The Right Path. The stories are set in a bleak post-apocalyptic world where only the strongest survive.  Food and water are scarce and gangs roam the streets preying on the weak.  System cops try to keep the peace any way they can but it’s not always pretty. 

You can find all of my books through my Amazon author page here:

What inspires your stories?
I get inspiration from many things from catching snippets of conversations during the day to reader comments.  It’s amazing how you can spin a story from one seemingly innocent comment.

I do the same thing. I take comments off on wild tangents to see what happens. What is your current WIP?
Dave and I are actually working on two manuscripts at the moment.  One is a new fantasy involving assassins, witches and an ancient prophesy.  We hope to finish this in 2011.  The second project is another novelette in the DARK FUTURE series tentatively titled, Zia’s Path.

Those sound like a lot of fun. What hobbies do you have that you want to share?
I have a home-based business making decorated light boxes with my friend Sandy.  We sell them in the fall at our local craft shows. This is our second year and we’ve been pretty successful so far.

Do you have cats or other pets?
Believe it or not, but I have 4 cats.  Yes, I know that’s a lot of cats, but each one of them came to us as either a stray or rescue cat.  They are all females and our youngest, Isabelle, has taken over as queen bee although Crystal gives her a good swat every now and then to let her know she only rules because Crystal lets her.  Yes, my house is a zoo.

What are your favorite movies, tv shows, or books to read?
I’m more drawn to action/law enforcement type TV shows.  My favorites are Burn Notice, Bones, and Justified.  I read a variety of different genres, but my favorites are fantasy and science fiction and, of course, I have a soft spot for assassins.  Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy stands high among my favorites.

All great shows and books. How can we find you? Website, blog, Facebook, Twitter?
I try to visible as much as possible on the internet and frequently comment on forums such as Kindleboards and Bestseller Bound.  You can also find me here:

Thanks so much for joining us today! Best of luck with your current books and future endeavors.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday Recipe - Salsa!

I'm arguing with the 7yo about brushing her hair. I look forward to the day when I don't have to tell them to brush their teeth and hair or change their undies or clean their rooms. I love my kids, but I'm not one to hang onto stages of their lives. Let them grow. Let them move out. Let them become adults. I'm good with it. To every thing there is a season.

Speaking of which, it's finally the season for fresh tomatoes from my garden. And peppers. I let the 7yo plant the garden, otherwise everything would have died. I've got a black thumb when it comes to anything but weeds. One of my favorites for tomatoes is fresh salsa. Here's my take. Enjoy!

Fresh Salsa

2 c. fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c. sweet onion, minced
1/2 c. pepper, minced (Your choice of bell, banana, anaheim, you name your own heat level)
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced fine
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1 t. salt
1 T. vinegar or lime juice

Stir everything together. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Optional add-ins:
1 c. cooked black beans
1 c. corn, fresh or canned, but cook it first
1 T. minced parsley or, it hurts to type this because I detest the stuff and it's mutual, cilantro
1 small can chopped green chilies
1/2 t. cayenne pepper, if you want it spicier
1/2 c. minced jalapenos, fresh or bottled
1/2 c. chopped avacado, although it's better in this:

Fresh Guacamole

3 ripe avacados
1 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. salt

Mash all together. You can add 1/4 c. sour cream if you want. I'm not a believer in adulterating my avacado with anything else.

And another variation:

Fresh Fruit Salsa

2 c. fresh mango or pineapple
1/4 c. minced sweet onion
1/2 c. chopped red or green pepper
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. salt

Mix together. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Great with seafood or chicken.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Archaeology and Spelunking under Kids' Beds

My have-to list won yesterday, one reason this post is late. My closets and storage rooms reached the point where I couldn't put things away until I put the things that were jammed inside in a better order. We were also rearranging a few bedrooms. I had three move out in the last six months, leaving spare beds and other such things in their wake. I thought cleaning out the bedrooms won't take that long. Ha!

Here are some of the things I discovered yesterday:

7yo girls are drama queens. Tears, tantrums, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth - we saw it all yesterday. She's my only girl at home now, both sisters have moved on. She gets her own room. She is the one child that doesn't want her own room. The extra bed in the room needed to go. She had her choice of keeping her white princess daybed or taking her sister's loft bed. Her 15yo brother wanted the loft bed. It's a beast to move. We discussed trading bedrooms. The two boys wouldn't mind sleeping in a purple and blue fairy room, would they? She wouldn't mind having the space bedroom to herself. Ha! I'm an idiot somedays.

So we discussed trading beds. My boys have a bunkbed and a twin bed in their room (result of a son leaving last spring). My 9yo wouldn't hear of moving to the bunk bed and giving up HIS bed. Have I mentioned my boys are all either autistic or borderline autistic? They would rather sleep in a nest of rabid squirrels than change something. The 15yo saw the possibilities of the loft bed, with a desk space underneath, and gave in to change. He wanted it. 7yo decided it was HERS and no one was going to take it. We made her change the sheets. That almost made her change her mind. Almost.

To make the very long soap opera much shorter, the 7yo has the loft bed. The princess bed is in the basement, taking the place of the dead couch that no one could sit on because the cushions were always part of the fort construction. The bottom bunk is cleaned out to use as a reading spot because the 9yo still refuses to give up his bed. And I still have piles of junk to help clean and sort in the 7yo's room.

In the process of putting things away yesterday, I organized four other rooms in the house. Sort of. I shifted things just enough to fit in the stuff I was putting away. I didn't clean the dead spiders out of the corners. I only sorted one shelf in my pantry.

I did go spelunking under a few beds. Only people with strong stomachs and welding gloves should attempt that feat.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday Recipe - Cauliflower with Mayotard

I'm still catching up on everything. That wedding and back-to-school stuff with the other kids have both totally wiped me out for a while. My email is stacking up, my living room is buried in wedding stuff STILL, my bills need paid, I've got piles of things to return, but at least my laundry is now caught up. We won't even talk about the state of my house or yard. Suffice it to say that it's 11 am and I'm still in my pj's on my computer.

So, I'll share this quick and easy recipe with you. My mother served the original version when I was growing up. My kids added their own touches. Feel free to experiment. That's what real cooks do.

And here's a picture from the wedding:
My daughter and son-in-law. I'm a mother-in-law now! Where did the years go?

Cauliflower with Mayotard

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets (Oo, I'm using fancy words today)
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. mustard (your choice here, but standard yellow is always good)
Totally optional stir-ins: crushed garlic, tabasco sauce, horseradish, siracha (Thai hot chile sauce, the new ketchup at my house), chopped green onions

Mix up the mayo and mustard with any optional stir-ins you want. Serve as a dip with the cauliflower. My kids will eat lots of raw cauliflower as long as the mayotard holds out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Good Things Happen

It's been a long weekend, but a wonderful one. My daughter got married Saturday. One down, seven more to go. My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Sunday. I finally checked my email late Sunday night to find more good news. I sold another story to an anthology and I was awarded this:

Thanks to Ruth E. Day for the award. Here's her post.
I'll save the rest of the award stuff for later, I'm still recovering!

I've been thinking a lot about marriage lately, for obvious reasons. I'm closing in on my 25th anniversary next February. I'm more in love with my husband now than I was then. He's my best friend. I can share anything with him. That doesn't happen automatically. It requires effort and commitment, and a lot of patience.

So here's my two bits of marriage advice.
1. Marriage requires more than love, it requires commitment. If you truly want a lasting marriage, you're going to have to work at keeping it together. It's worth it.
2. An old Irish blessing states, "Let there be spaces in your togetherness." True love does not require that you spend every second of every day for the rest of eternity watching each other breathe. It does not require that you both love the same things. Give your spouse space to be an individual as well as your partner. Let the wind blow between you occasionally. True love fosters trust and integrity. Those times apart can help renew your relationship.

I have to talk about writing in here somewhere, I am an author, too. I quit reading romances for two reasons. They end before the relationship really gets interesting and more and more, they are anti-marriage. I believe deeply in the institution of marriage. It is a good thing. I also enjoy a good romance. My series has a romance as a major subplot. It's not just about falling in love, it's about building a relationship that can withstand trouble. It's about trust and family and friendship.

Okay. Enough of being Dear Abby. I'll think of something silly for next week's post. Humor is a necessary part of life.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday Recipe - Tropical Southwest Chicken

Crazy at my house. This dinner was almost an accident. It was late and dinner wasn't made. So we dumped some things together and ended up with a very tasty meal. Sometimes the magic works.

So have fun with this recipe. We did.

Someone told me I should post photos of the recipes. Ha! That involves knowing where my camera is and making the food look pretty and getting the picture before my kids devour it. I'll try next week, after I'm through hosting a wedding.

Tropical Southwest Chicken

1 bag (20 oz?) frozen pre-cooked southwest flavored chicken strips (or cook your own, season with cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper)
1 16 oz can coconut milk
1 20 oz can pineapple tidbits
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, sliced
Steamed rice

Dump everything except rice in a saucepan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until hot through. Remove the lid. Cook and stir for another 4 - 5 minutes to help thicken sauce. Serve over rice.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Post - It's Monday!

It's been a crazy week. I was planning on doing a book review today, but I'm so far behind, I won't be able to do it justice. So, instead, here is some insanity from my life this week.

Wedding plans - ARGH! I just had to get that out. My daughter's wedding is in six days and counting. I'm debating about barricading myself in my closet until then. I have flowers and dishes and tablecloths and decorations and presents and just STUFF in piles all over my house.

Bills and government stuff - paying bills always makes me happy. Ha! What a liar I am. I hate paying bills. I also got to deal with government agencies recently. I need a new drivers license, and because I have to prove who I am, I need my SS card, but I misplaced it somewhere in the mass of dead tree matter that covers my desk, so I had to go apply for a new one. Fortunately, I did find my birth certificate so I didn't have to mail stuff to another state again to request another copy. But I got grief because I no longer use my first name that's on my birth certificate but not on my other stuff because I LEGALLY CHANGED it when I got married. That mess is now straightened out and dealt with. Now I just have to track down the phone numbers for the insurance situation and straighten that back out.

I also edited two stories and wrote more on a new one this morning while sitting in the dr's office with my daughter. I submitted those stories, too. Woohoo, go me.

I also made it to the BSA office to register two new cub scouts in our pack and buy new program guides for the leaders.

Birthday present for myself- I'm going to slaughter zombies now. After I run three more errands...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday Recipe - Stuffed Zucchini

I'm noticing a trend with my recipes. Almost every one I post is a dessert. I love desserts, cookies especially. I also love fresh produce, picked from my backyard. But I discovered several years ago that I have a black thumb. I kill plants just by looking at them. This year, we have tomatoes, peppers, radishes, beans, eggplant, and popcorn. I think it's because I had nothing to do with planting them. My youngest daughter did. She can charm anything.

The one thing we can't get to grow in our yard is zucchini. My neighbors think I'm weird when I go begging for their extra zucchini. If you've ever grown it, you understand. Forget the zombie apocalypse; it's the zucchini apocalypse I'm worried about!

Anyway, here's one of my favorite ways to cook those really big zucchini you always find the day after you just picked the plants clean.

Stuffed Zucchini

1 large zucchini (at least 12 inches long)
2 T. real butter, melted
1 t. garlic salt
4 c. garlic croutons
1 c. sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Split zucchini lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Discard the seeds. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the zucchini, cut side up, on the sheet. Brush zucchini halves with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes, until squash begins to soften.

Meanwhile, lightly crush croutons until they are coarse crumbs. Toss croutons and cheese together. Fill the centers of the zucchini, mounding filling onto the cut sides of the squash. Bake another 15 - 20 minutes until the squash is tender and cheese is melted.

Slice each half into 6 - 8 pieces to serve. The skin of such a large squash may be too tough to eat, but the rest is delicious.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teaser Tuesday! Fun short story

Just for kicks and giggles, I'm sharing an old favorite short I wrote years ago. If you like it, more can be found on my website - Thanks for reading!

Let There Be Light
1. And behold, in those days there was no light, only darkness; yea, such utter darkness that there was no light; all was darkness.
2. And there was also coldness, yea coldness such that it was very cold.
3. And lo, a voice cried out in the darkness and the cold saying, “Let there be light!”
4. And there was light of such glorious brightness that the darkness was no more; and behold, the light banished the cold also.
5. And a voice was heard saying, “Do you want the cherry or the grape popsicle?”
6. And the One who had commanded the light to come forth was taken by the Voice.
7. And the light and warmth went also with the One who had spoken.
8. And behold, all was darkness such that there was no light anywhere. And all was cold once more.

from the Book of Squid, Chapter 33

Convention Etiquette for Barbarian Warriors

I just returned from another SF/F con (SpoCon in Spokane - great fun and great people!), so to continue my theme of etiquette posts after each convention, here's one for the barbarian heroes out there.

1. It is unnecessary to enter rooms by kicking in doors with weapons drawn. Most people at a con are very friendly. However, entering rooms in such a dramatic manner may get you applause. It may also get you evicted. Choose your entry manner wisely.

2. The wearing of real animal skins is no longer politically acceptable. Substituting stuffed animal skins is perfectly fine. The soft fuzziness is also much more comfortable. But DO NOT, under any circumstances, hunt and kill stuffed animals present at the con. Try hunting at your local thrift store beforehand.

3. Building fires and roasting freshly caught game are time-honored barbarian customs. Please don't do it in your hotel room or in convention spaces, unless such spaces are pre-approved for barbecue usage. And the game you just caught? If it meows or answers to a name like "Fluffy," it may be time to leave before the cute little old lady with the 50 pound purse finds out.

Have fun at your next convention. I know I will - FenCon in September. Will Texas survive a visit from me? Tune in next month to find out.