Monday, June 29, 2020

What's a Boggart? and #Fantasy Creatures


Sorry, HP fans, I'm not referring to the shape-shifting non-being that takes on the form of its observer's worst fear... 

Isn't it amazing how authors can characterize the same fantasy creatures in many different ways? Every enchanted world has it's own magical beasts, properties, and setting. Some creatures retain traits from one story to the next, but some are vastly different. Like the disgusting goblins from The Hobbit compared to the crafty, banker goblins in Harry Potter to my own nerdy goblins in Beast World. Authors have the prerogative to put their own unique spin on the creatures and settings in their worlds.

And today, for an IWSG treat, I'm hosting a special guest who's going to tell us about the boggarts in her new MG Fantasy series...

Elaine Kaye
Picture Book and Middle Grade Author

What is a Boggart?

Boggarts are the worst of fairies. They're squat, disfigured household fairies. Dirty and smelly, they wear wrinkled clothes that need to be washed. They have tempers, and enjoy playing nasty tricks on humans. Because of that, they are not welcomed into human homes. If they do get in to your house, they won’t leave willingly. They love to break things, rearrange furniture, and make the phone ring at odd hours in the night.

To get rid of a boggart that has caused you stress in your home, bang pots and sing loudly. Sort of like how you’re supposed to scare bears away from campsites with a lot of loud, obnoxious noise.

In BAD FAIRY, boggarts are a threat to the good fairies. They live just outside Pinecone Grove, in the forest. Thistle Greenbud and her family’s house is beneath a fern bush with blackberry vines around it to keep away critters and boggarts.

After a tornado devastates Pinecone Grove, the threat of boggarts increases as they come looking for things to break. But since the tornado already broke many things, the boggarts are even nastier than usual.

BAD FAIRY by Elaine Kaye
A Bad Fairy Adventure (Book One)
Age Range: 8-12

Thistle Greenbud is not a bad fairy. She simply doesn't like rules. It's just her luck that her homework is to create a new rule for the fairy handbook. But first, she has more important things to do. Like figure out how to get back at Dusty and Moss for playing tricks on her.
Before she can carry out her plan, though, disaster strikes and she finds herself working alongside the very fairies she wanted revenge on. Can they work together and trust each other, or will things go from bad to worse?

About the Author
Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup Disaster. Bad Fairy is her middle grade debut and the first of A Bad Fairy Adventure series.
Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher’s assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

1 lucky winner will receive 3 Signed Paperback Picture Books:
Pea Soup Disaster, Doctor Mom, The Missing Alphabet

Hurry! Giveaway Ends: June 30, 2020

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a FANTASTIC week! And a safe & happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Summer #shortstory - The Day Dave Broke the Internet - 2

Dave didn't know he was lonely until his friends pointed it out. But when he gives in and tries an online dating site, something catastrophic happens - talk about a bad omen.

The Day Dave Broke the Internet
by Tara Tyler


RECAP 1: Instead of a light bulb, a thunder cloud flashed over Dave's head as he realized they wanted him to enter the horrific scene of online dating.

He shook his head. "No, thanks."

"But you didn't hear our suggestion."

"I don't have to. No."

"Aw, come on, man. What have you got to lose?"

"My dignity, my money, my sanity."

Nathan leaned back. "Okay, dude. But when we start having kids and you're still all alone, our lives will change and you'll be left behind, the same, lonely guy. Crazy old Uncle Dave."

"Sounds good."

Sunni looked at Dave with puppy dog eyes. "Please, Dave? For me? Just try it once. I really want to see you happy. And I know several friends who've found great matches at this website."

"He's chicken." Nathan flapped his elbows. "Bawk, bawk, bawk."

"No, I'm not."

"Oh, I never thought of that." Sunni tilted her head. "Dave, I bet there are tons of women who would love to go out with you. You're a great guy."

"I know I am. I'm not afraid. I'm just not interested."

Kyle had been noticeably silent, chewing on his burger. When Sunni gave him a squinty, pirate eye, he swallowed and spoke up.

"Oh yeah, Dave. You should try it. If you don't, there's always my cousin Eloise."

Dave remembered Kyle's cousin Eloise from a picture of his family reunion. She could probably bench press Dave.

They all looked eagerly at him. If he ever wanted to eat again in peace, he would have to give them a positive response. He chose to string them along for a bit without committing to anything.


Nathan shot a finger gun at him. "The sooner the better."

Sunni clapped her hands. "That's as good as a yes. I won't stop bugging you until you go on your first date!"

# # # # #

Sunni held to her promise. She continuously badgered Dave to try her proven, data-driven online dating website: Nerds Unite. He groaned just hearing the name. When that didn't work, she had them all over for dinner and got him drunk.

Dave, not really that drunk, finally relented and opened a free trial account. With help from his friends, he filled out the information: likes, dislikes, allergies, preferences, etc. That part had actually been fun.

He hoped he could leave it at that and let the free trial lapse into infamy.

But a week later, Sunni was at it again, spoiling his favorite lunch, pasta primavera.

"Any prospects from the website?"

Dave cringed as he was about to take a bite. "I forgot to publish my profile."

Nathan shook his head at him. "I'm disappointed in you, Dave."

Sunni frowned. "I don't know what's wrong with you. We just want you to be happy like us."

"I am happy. A happy uncomplicated bachelor."

With a pout, she stood up. "I give up. I'm done bugging you. If you don't want to try it, don't. I have a wedding to plan. Come on, Kyle."

Kyle shrugged at the guys and followed his fiancée.

Dave couldn't figure out why Sunni was so upset. And he sure wasn't ready to be tugged on a leash like Kyle.

Nathan saluted and left him alone at the table.

Were they trying to teach him a lesson? Dave tilted his head as he watched them walk away. They acted like he'd betrayed them. What was wrong with being single?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Do you Want to Read More?

As a student, I did not like to read. **Gasp!**
This was mostly because books were forced upon me, and I like to do things my own way--I'm such a rebel.

But when I saw some cool fantasy covers in the store, I picked them up and read the backs. Imagine my mom's surprise and delight when I chose a couple of books to buy and read over the summer. Piers Anthony and his Split Infinity series got me hooked on reading.

Back then, we didn't have our phones to keep us occupied and connected to our friends 24-7. We didn't have 24-hour TV with thousands of shows and movies to stream. Reading used to be a great escape--it still is! But now with our faster paced, easy-access video entertainment society, reading is very low on the list of options. Even for me.

Source: Washington Post

I believe most people want to read more, but they have lots of excuses why they don't. After doing some research, the number one reason for people not reading is: "I don't have time."

What about you? Do you want to read more? I do!

But it takes self-discipline. Just like any improvement you want to make in your life--healthier eating, exercise more, have a better attitude, achieving your goals--you have to work at it and stick with it. If you do, the results will make you a better person, just not over night.

If you truly want to read more, you will have to make the time to do it. To make time, you will need motivation! Here are some Suggestions to Motivate Yourself to Read:
  1. Read With a Friend - surely you have a friend who also wants to read more. Choose a book together. Knowing your friend is reading, you'll be more likely to read so you don't let each other down and will look forward to discussing it together.
  2. Join a Book Club - If you are braver, open-minded, and eager for book suggestions, this is a wonderful way to connect with other readers and a great method to motivate you to get reading in time for the next meeting.
  3. Set a Goal - Make your reading goal as big or small as you want, just make it reasonable. If you haven't read a complete book for a while, then your goal can be to read at least one book by the end of the summer, or even the end of the year. This will also help you gauge your time and interest when making future goals.
  4. Keep Books Visible - Leave your book in a place you will see it frequently--kitchen counter, side table, night stand, bathroom!--and it will serve as a reminder to continue your story. If you ebook, put up a happy post-it or two. (Don't nag yourself!)
  5. Set a Timer - use your phone to set a reminder: daily, every other day, weekly... at a time you should have free to take a break and read for a bit. Even if you can't, it will remind you that you want to read... like a chirp of encouragement.
  6. Read Out Loud - to yourself, your kids or even your pet! Some people don't like the silence of reading. Reading out loud can help immerse you into the story--change your voice, really get into it! Others can't read unless they have silence, an escape from the chaos of life. Silliness or silence now and then are both great things, and reading can bring out both!
Reading gives you knowledge, inspiration, and entertainment. It exercises your brain in ways just watching videos cannot. I hope you will choose to make it a point to read more. And I'm with you!

BTW, Many of these suggestions can help accomplish other life improvements, too. Give it a try!

Lastly, when you aren't sure what to read, look for reviews!
I'm lucky to have lots of great writer friends that keep me reading with a long TBR list. I recently finished AND THEN YOU FALL by Heather M. Gardner, book 3 of the exciting Maguire's Corner romance series...

AND THEN YOU FALL, Maguire's Corner #3

Assistant Police Chief Bobby Maguire can handle any challenge. But between his stalker ex-girlfriend and a drug-dealing cult, it could prove too much for him. So it’s real bad timing when he gets propositioned by the intriguing new bartender.

Cassidy is excited to be the brew master of the new local bar in  Maguire’s Corner. Expecting nothing more than a momentary, albeit intoxicating fling with the infamous Bobby Maguire, she finds not only is her heart at risk, but her life as well.

When Bobby is accused of murder, a chain of events play out leaving him broken down, hollow, and raw, and the whole town is now in danger from the cult leader’s wrath. Will Bobby be able to save himself, help his family, and get the chance to prove to Cassidy he’s more than his reputation?

Here's my Review:
Another exciting, enticing love story blooms in Maguire’s Corner. This one stars the young, cassanova Bobby Maguire—handsome, heroic, and hard to catch. Until Cassidy comes to town. She’s opening a new brewery and everyone seems to know her except Bobby, but there is something about her, and there’s no denying the attraction.

Cassidy is excited to be returning to her hometown, as long as she can avoid the dark side of her past. And what a tempting surprise that her old crush has the hots for her. Not surprisingly, he’s still single. She’ll have to keep her emotions in check and be careful not to fall for him.

But fate always makes things difficult! And then you fall!

I wish you happy reading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Summer #shortstory - The Day Dave Broke the Internet - 1

This summer, I'm sharing a short story that made it into an anthology that never was... I'll be posting segments from it every other week. I hope you enjoy it!

Dave didn't know he was lonely until his friends pointed it out. But when he gives in and tries an online dating site, something catastrophic happens - talk about a bad omen.

The Day Dave Broke the Internet
by Tara Tyler


Dave carefully selected the freshest looking meatloaf plate. The food in his office building's cafeteria left something to be desired, but it was better than packing a sack lunch. He sighed and headed over to his friends' regular table. Life after college hadn't changed much. Even though Rapid Technologies consisted mostly of nerdy types like Dave, there were still sub-divisions with a definite hierarchy of rule-makers, rule-followers, rule-breakers, and grunts.

But Dave was okay being a rule-follower. His life was satisfactory. Why make waves?

As he sat down, his buddy Nathan seemed to be in a particularly good mood.

"Guess what, Dave?"

"What, Nathan?"

Looking over Dave's shoulder, Nathan changed his mind and poked at his lunch.

"Never mind, I'll let her tell you."

Sunni plunked down next to Dave. The short, spunky girl wore a white lab coat and round glasses.

"Hey, Dave!"

"Hey, Sunni. Tell me what?"

"Oh, nothing." Sunni posed her hand on Dave's arm. That was strange. But Sunni, like most women, did weird, inexplicable things that went over his head.

He lifted an eyebrow at her. "Okay."

Sunni pouted. "Dave."

"What?" He didn't like silly games. He ignored her and stuck a fork into his meatloaf. While he chewed a piece, he judged it as marginal and dumped some ketchup on it.

“Daa-aave.” Sunni put her hand under her chin and wiggled her fingers at him.

He finally noticed the engagement ring, but decided to give her a hard time. She started the game, it was only fair.

"You got a manicure? How nice."

She swatted him. "Kyle and I are engaged."

Speaking of Kyle, the tall, gangly guy dawdled over and sat across from her, completing their foursome.

"Oh. Congratulations, Kyle."

Sunni cleared her throat.

"And Sunni." That's what she got for working with a bunch of nerds. She should know better. But it didn't keep her from spouting with excitement.

"We'll be getting married in six months."

"Sounds nice."

"You're both invited."


"And Dave, you should bring a date."

Dave coughed into his iced tea.

Nathan laughed. "That's right, bro. You're the only single guy left at the table."

Sunni and Nathan had been trying to fix Dave up for years. He refused to go on any more blind dates and was perfectly happy at the prospect of living the rest of his days as a bachelor.

Sunni put her hand on Dave's arm again.

"Don't worry. We aren't going to set you up."

"We're going about it scientifically this time," Nathan added.

Instead of a light bulb, a thunder cloud flashed over Dave's head as he realized they wanted him to enter the horrific scene of online dating.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

What can we do?

The world is in distress. I'm not going to get into the horrible details, I just want to say I hope it gets better in so many ways.

It's been hard to watch and taking all my motivation to write "entertaining stories" that seem meaningless in comparison...

I will say, after I watch a bit of news, I've been glancing at tik-tok and feel comforted with most of the thoughtful commentaries in my feed. It feels like most of the country is united against violence and wants to work on solving the root problems.

How is it affecting you?

As it is IWSG day, I'm going to complain a little. Then I'm going to give myself a few suggestions... and welcome anything you'd like to add.

Lately, I feel helpless and useless. I wish I could do something for those who are hurting. All my emotions are tied up. I feel selfish when I try to do other things to take my mind off it all while so many are suffering. What can little ol' me do to help?

Here are a few things I thought of to do. It isn't much, but it's something...
  • Positive Posts. I don't get political - that is immediately divisive. I always try to encourage and say positive things about life and writing. And I will continue to do that, as much as I can.
  • Tweet No More. Twitter has become a haven of trolls. I can't take all the negative. I'm very close to eliminating Twitter from my life. There are other ways to communicate with my friends, and it doesn't seem to do much good for my writing career anyway... Once I set up a new way to meetup with my writing friends, I'm outta there.
  • Donate. As soon as things calm down--and they will, they have to!--I plan to donate to small business funds for rebuilding their livelihoods. I don't have a lot, but I want to contribute, maybe donate some time this summer too.
  • Pray. Been praying a lot. Praying for peace. Praying for those who are hurting. Praying for the ones causing hurt to have a change of heart.
  • Take a break. It's so intense and frustrating. But I really need to take a break from watching the coverage. I feel guilty that I have the ability to just turn off the TV, but I'm not doing my own family any good by being in a bad mood and snapping at them because I'm upset about the world.
If you have anything to vent or add, I'd love to hear it.

And I'm ending on a positive note...

IWSG is carrying on with its annual anthology contest and it's OPEN!

Guidelines and rules:
Word count: 4500-6000
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme: Dark Matter
Submissions accepted: May 6 - September 2, 2020
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.

Images immediately came to mind when I heard the theme! I'm adding it to my list of projects for the summer - an excellent distraction to work on.

How are you dealing with life these days? 
I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe in these troubled times.

What do you think the future hold for us?
Some are predicting zombies or aliens... sounds about right for 2020!

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