Justice (Deck of Lies, #1)

Get it everywhere online books are sold!

The Tower (Deck of Lies, #2)

Visit the Books page for free samples

Death (Deck of Lies, #3)

Get book downloads on the Free Stuff page

Judgment (Deck of Lies, #4)

Get the boxed set edition to get even more secrets!

Hope's Rebellion

Get it now!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Turning Pages in the Tower

"Really sucks you in and keeps you turning the pages as more and more twists arise."


"Such a great follow up to the first book in the series!"

Eastern Sunset Reads recently reviewed The Tower (Deck of Lies, #2). Read the whole thing to find out what the reviewer liked (and didn't like) about the book.

Writing 101: The Red Herring

Pick out the criminal in this lineup:


Which one do you think is the guilty party? Maybe this long-haired guy in the center? How about this Amish-looking fellow in the end? Maybe the guy with the short hair is trying to fool everyone, and he's the real perpetrator. From where I'm sitting, they all look like wrongdoers to me. 

But I'm actually the one who's wrong. 


This is a photo of the Beatles, not potential criminals. But when you look at the picture the right way, they look like they're up to no good. This is how a red herring works. 

Gone Fishing

It's not a fish when it's used in fiction. In fiction, a red herring is a person who looks absolutely guilty. You know they're the one who committed the murder, or stole the painting, or cheated on so-and-so, or whatever. But what you don't know is that you're seeing the character through a distorted lens, and a clever author is actually fooling you into thinking that person is guilty.

They're totally innocent when they're a red herring - that's what it's designed to do. You're busy suspecting this person and the real killer (or whatever) is hiding right there in plain sight on the page, probably charming you. Probably wooing you. And perhaps making you their next victim (not literally...just literarily).

Red herrings are, most often, characters. Sometimes they're objects, however, such as an item that appears to be the murder weapon but something else is actually the murder weapon. Red herrings are most commonly used in mysteries in order to lead you away from the real killer, but they can be found in many different types of fiction. 

A really good red herring won't start to stink until the end of the book, when the real truth is revealed. In the best-case scenario, the distorted lens is swept away and the red herring can now be viewed clearly. That sinister maid with the ulterior motive becomes a hard-working single mother. The professor who knows perhaps a little too much is simply a well-read, socially awkward man with a secret crush on one of the other characters. You get the idea. The point is, readers shouldn't suspect that something is fishy...until you want them to. 

Start sprinkling red herrings into your books, and see if you can misdirect and divert your readers long enough to keep them guessing until the very last page.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Writing 101: The MacGuffin, Good or Bad?

Many advice-givers, like me, will tell writers that every single word you put on the page should drive the plot forward, or otherwise give the reader important information. But that's not entirely true. When it comes to the MacGuffin and writing...well, anything goes. 


The MacGuffin remains a very controversial plot device, and some writers hate it. So today we settle the argument: is the MacGuffin good or bad?

Good Enough for Me

At this point, you may be wondering what the heck a MacGuffin is, anyway. This is a plot device that moves the story and gets characters where they need to be, but actually has nothing to do with the eventual outcome. MacGuffins usually appear, serve their purpose and promptly fade away.

You see the MacGuffin more in movies than in books, but a plot device like this can always span mediums. One of the most famous storytellers of all time is notorious for using MacGuffins in his plots. Looking for a few good examples of this technique in action? Turn to Alfred Hitchcock. 

His movies are riddled with the MacGuffin, and once you start looking you'll find it everywhere. For instance in Psycho, the missing $40,000 gets Marion Crane in position but then becomes utterly meaningless. Hitch emphasized the uselessness of the money by letting Norman Bates sink it in the lake. By the time the end of the movie comes, no one cares about that money anymore. That's a MacGuffin.

And it's a plot device that has served many noble writers very well. Sometimes, characters need to be in a certain place or meet a certain person before the rest of the story can unfold. If you use a MacGuffin to put them in that place, is it really a big deal?

Some critics will say that it is, and there are some who are very much opposed to the use of a MacGuffin. But I say what was good enough for Hitch can work for anyone (and haven't film students been trying to copy his work for decades?). When a book is well-written, a MacGuffin (or several) really doesn't matter. Readers aren't going to care as long as the story is interesting and feels complete, but you don't want to throw too many useless distractions into any narrative because that just makes it feel cluttered. 

So is the MacGuffin good or bad? Like any plot device, it's both. In the hands of a master, like Hitchcock, it works perfectly to create an intricate story. In the wrong hands, it just feels like sloppy writing. Choose your MacGuffin wisely, write it believably, and you won't go wrong.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Writing 101: Are You Writing for You?

Be honest: how often do you look at the Amazon bestseller list? How many times have you wished you were the one who wrote The Hunger Games? It's not a problem...unless you let it dictate what you're going to write next.


Being Popular

Everybody wants to be popular in whatever situation they happen to be in. You want to a lot of friends at school, at work, on Facebook...popularity contests pretty much never end. For authors, they're a way of living. If you're a self-published author, it's a full-time job. You have to work to gain readers, you need to hustle to sell books and you've got to constantly promote. 

And while you're working your typing fingers to the bone, another Stephenie Meyer or Susanne Collins is cranking out an uber-successful series that absolutely everyone is talking about. It's only natural for thoughts to begin to creep into your head. It's only natural to start thinking that maybe you ought to alter your own writing style. Adapt it a little. Make it a little bit more like a Stephenie Meyer...or a Susanne Collins.

No! Do not do this. It seems like a primrose path to surefire literary success, but it's actually a trap. Once you start trying to write like someone else and attempt to make your material more palatable to a mass audience, you're no longer writing like you. 

Are you writing for you? Ask yourself this question when you're writing your books and envisioning your plots. As long as the answer is yes, you're in good shape. Keep on writing like you and writing exactly what you want to write. That authenticity will show through in the page; readers will pick up on the fact that you're being true to yourself and to your talents. When you try to write for someone else, or like someone else, you aren't being authentic...and it's going to show in your writing. So write for you, and eventually the world will follow.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Unravel the Deck of Lies FREE

Visit one of my favorite blogs, Reading...Dreaming, and find out how to get Justice (Deck of Lies, #1) free. The sooner you start exploring the lies, the sooner you'll discover all the dirty little secrets. 



Get Judged

"The perfect finale for one of the best YA series I ever read."


Click Here to Get Judged!

"A story about friendship, family, love, life changing decisions, the consequences of our actions and mostly about Life and all its comings and goings."

Friend of the blog and avid reader Ruty, the blogger behind Reading...Dreaming recently reviewed Judgment (Deck of Lies, #4). Visit her blog to read the review and find out how you can get started on the series for free!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blogger Book Fair Spotlight: Jaded Hearts

Indie author Olivia Linden is stopping by the blog today with her book Jaded Hearts. Keep reading to find out how you can get it!



Synopsis


At 24 years old, Jade Spencer's life has hit a brick wall. Haunted by the mysterious abandonment of her mother, she found it was easier to live in the shadows of someone elses expectations.  From the strict authority of her  grandmother, the unwillingly guardian to Jade and her brother, to a controlling fiance who she can't seem to please, denying her feelings has been a necessary coping mechanism. Reality has suddenly come crashing in under the strain of denying her own dreams for so long, and for once, Jade is ready to live life by her own rules.

It's time for a fresh start. Turning away from the disappointment of her past, Jade ditches her shady fiance and packs her bags for New York City. With help from her aunt, she looks forward to her new future, her fabulous apartment in the city, a new job, and new experiences. Two fated encounters complicate her world when they both lead to unexpected and powerful emotions. She struggles with her desire to embrace these new feelings, and her habit of denying what she truly wants. In this not so classic love triangle, with a hint of mystery, Jade learns the hard way that sometimes intentions can mean everything and nothing at all, and no matter how far you run from the past, it's never too far behind.

Will she find love or will she leave a trail of jaded hearts? Love, secrets, and lies are all on the menu.


Excerpt From Jaded Hearts

Central Park was streaming with people clamoring to enjoy an unseasonably cool Sunday in July and it was just like I imagined. There were people sunbathing; playing with their pets; jogging; rollerblading, and just strolling along like I was at the moment as I headed to meet John. I was in awe of how green and lush the landscape was compared to the cement and brick metropolis that surrounded it.
Once John found out that I hadn’t checked it off my 'things to do in NY list', he insisted that we come here this weekend. I spotted him walking towards me looking like a college student, down to the backpack he sported. His golden hued hair was longer than usual, and was lightly wind tousled and he sported his signature sleeveless tee this time in white with red shorts and a pair of throwback Jordan’s.
Jordan’s?
He smiled at me and I could only imagine I didn’t look much different with my hair pulled back into a high bun, a snug white wife beater and coral colored shorts that stopped mid thigh and all white old school Adidas. We walked into an easy hug having spent so much time together lately that we were more than familiar. I pointed to his sneakers
“Nice kicks!” I joked.
He glanced down quizzically at his choice in footwear. “What? Are you kidding? These are classic!”
I just shook my head as we linked arms and set off to stake our claim to a blanket sized plot on the big lawn. We settled on a spot that was relatively less crowded and I watched as he set up the blanket, two pillows, a large thermos, hummus, crackers and chips with onion dip.
“Wow, you are really prepared! I’m impressed. What’s in the thermos?”
He shot me a sly grin and handed it over for my inspection, watching as I opened it sniffed and tasted the mystery drink.
“Yum, is this Riesling?” I took another sip.
“Very good Ms. Spencer. You’re a lush after my own heart.”He teased.
I threw the top of the canister at him.
We spent the afternoon relaxing together. Sunbathing with a good book is a very much underrated experience. Well, partial sun because it had grown considerably overcast as we enjoyed our picnic, which was probably what contributed to the cooler weather.  I reclined back on a pillow slightly perpendicular to John while using his torso as a foot rest. My oversized Channel shades concealed the fact that I had stopped reading the hilarious Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter, and was watching him instead. He was intently covering each page of an old National Geographic edition.
Nerd!
A very handsome nerd though, and I could watch him all day. It was so cute the way his eyebrows furrowed and lips pursed slightly as he read. I found myself wondering how his lips tasted. Just then he looked at me and I pretended to be just looking up from my book and he shot me a wink.
Could he tell I was staring at him?
I flashed him a smile.
So what if I was looking?
Especially since I caught him studying me when he thought I wasn’t looking. Often.
After a while he closed and pulled his aviators down.
“So how’s your book?” He asked as he grabbed one of my bare feet and began to knead and rub.
Ah that feels good!
“It’s really not bad. I was skeptical when Donna told me that she was reading it, but it is funny and holds your interest.” I raved.  
He continued to massage my thankfully pedicured foot.
“I don’t know, but I’m having a hard time picturing our sixteenth president hunting and killing vampires in his spare time. Vampires?” He shook his head with speculation.
I laughed in agreement.
“I know! I did too, but I’m telling you it’s crazy because it’s mostly a true story so it almost makes you want to believe the parts that are farfetched.”
He didn’t seem swayed.
“Well, how about I just take your word for it because I don’t plan to read it.” I pulled my foot away and waved my other foot at him for attention.
“Or, how about I read it to you?” I suggested.
John cocked his head to the side as he tugged my foot lightly pulling me of my pillow.
“I think I like that. That’s a creative compromise Ms. Spencer.”
I giggled as I repositioned myself on my pillow and began reading to him about Abe Lincoln meeting Edgar Allen Poe in New Orleans.
Just as I finished the chapter I was reading a splatter of water hit my book.
I knew it smelled like rain.
I looked at John who was wiping a drop from his nose and then we both scrambled to pack up our garden party.
The downpour hit just as we were scurrying out of the park. John grabbed my hand and I followed him as he ran a few blocks west of the park to his building.
“You can wait it out with me until it clears up.” He offered.
I nodded in silent agreement at his suggestion. I was soaked and my bun came loose somewhere between the pouring rain and the running. His building was older but it was very well maintained. We took the large ornate wooden stairs up to his second floor apartment and I leaned up against him involuntarily for warmth at the air conditioned hallway. He opened his door and pulled me into the apartment with him. I wrapped my arms around myself as he put down his back pack.
“Let’s get you warmed up. OK?” He rubbed my arms before he disappeared down a hallway, I assumed to his bedroom.
I loved his place. It had a totally dark wood, Sherlock Holmes without the clutter feel to it. There was a large bay window in the living room that was surrounded by floor to ceiling bookcases on either side. His sectional was light brown micro suede that went perfectly with the tone of his wooden floors. I walked over to one of the bookcases to marvel at his book collection but a glass door at the bottom caught my attention. It housed a record player accompanied by a rather large record collection. Elton John, The Beatles, Neil Diamond, Michael Jackson, Dionne Warwick and Burt Baccarat, Led Zeppelin, Motown Greats, The Big Chill Soundtrack. There had to have been well over 100 records. I kept flipping through and stopped when I spotted the Isley Brothers.
Yes!
I turned on the sound system and gently dropped the needle on the groove for the first track.  
“You find something you like?”  I heard John shuffle back into the room while I was loading the album, and turned around to face him with glee as the soulful ballad filled the room.
He stood there shirtless, his wet hair disheveled and holding a big T-shirt and towel for me. I was captivated by the definition of his body. He wasn't bulky, but chiseled. Every muscle was defined, even the hard lines that led to his hips stood out. He didn’t have a six pack, he had a ten pack.
The look in his hazel eyes was unmistakable as he looked me up and down and I realized what I must look like. My hair hanging in wet spirals around my T-shirt that was soaked, and plastered to my body revealing my black lace bra, and all of my curves.  I flushed red hot even more aware that I was now aroused. I stood wordlessly as he walked over to me holding up the accessories to get me dry.
“You must be freezing,” he observed. '
Every step he took closer to me made my heart beat faster and faster. He thought I was cold.
Not quite. 


The Sequel to Jaded Hearts, Only Her Heart, will be released August 19th!  Check out the trailer for a sneak peek.



Only Her Heart trailer


About the Author


Olivia Linden, a native New Yorker, was raised between Queens and San Antonio, TX. Currently living in Florida with her 10 year-old son, she decided it was time to follow her dreams of becoming a full-time author. Her creative itch began when her elementary school principal posted one of her stories in the halls of her school. She was only seven at the time, but old enough to understand how integral writing would be to her future. From that moment on, reading and writing became her two greatest passions. 

Olivia is a newbie to the industry, but she hasn’t stopped writing since she found her literary voice all those years ago. Jaded Hearts, her first published novel, mixes her big personality, with a sexy yet humorous tone. It is her philosophy that laughter is essential to making it through even the toughest situations.


Find your passion with Jaded Hearts by Olivia Linden.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Guest Post: Why I Love Writing Fantasy

Author Diantha Jones is stopping by the blog today on the official Oracle of Dephi tour to give books away and talk about her favorite genre! 

Reality sucks. That’s pretty much why I fell in love with fantasy books.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m a realist. But when it comes to my literary adventures, I want them as far out of this “real” world as possible. I’m a lover of make-believe, the imaginary, and the impossible. In fantasy books, I get all of that and so much more.

It was not a complicated decision when I decided to write my first series. Fantasy, it was. And Greek mythology? Definitely. After months and months of research and study, I sat back and let my imagination do the rest.

Boy, what a workout that was.

However, the results have been beyond satisfying. Not only do I get a daily dose of fantasy every day I sit down to write, but for that same length of time, I get to be the characters I write about and live in their world. Even if just for a few hours. It’s how I stay sane (or my version of sane) and make it through the day. It makes me happy. It keeps me smiling and I love life simply because I know that I have an escape from it.

And in the end, what’s more fantastic than that?


Oracle of Delphi Giveaway 
Prizes are listed



Prophecy of the Author's Genius Contest  
Solve the prophecy, win a $25 Amazon Giftcard 
(must guess the classic book title and author)


 








About the Author


Diantha Jones was born the day thousands of turkeys sacrificed their lives to fill millions of American bellies on November 22 which also happened to be Thanksgiving Day (Her mother says she owes her a turkey). She is a Journalism graduate who wants to be a career novelist (of books, not Facebook posts). When not writing or working, she is reading on her Nook, being hypnotized by Netflix or on a mission to procure french fries.   
The Oracle of Delphi fantasy series is her first series. She is also the author of Mythos: Stories from Olympus, a companion series, and there is another fantasy series in the works. She also writes (new) adult fantasy/paranormal romance under the name A. Star. Invasion (An Alien Romance) is her first title released under this pen name. Future releases under A. Star include, the Love & Steampunk series, the Purr, Inc. stories, and more.


Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Pinterest  |  DJ's Book Corner

Email Diantha Jones at: theauthor (at) diantha-jones (dot) com

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blogger Book Fair Guest Post: What Are Cozy Mysteries?

 Amy Saunders is visiting the blog today to answer a very important question: what are cozy mysteries?


I blame my mom for my mystery fetish. Every day around three, we flipped on the TV and watched reruns of '70's and '80's mysteries. My favorites included Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, Hart to Hart, and McMillan and Wife. All essentially cozy murder mysteries in TV form. So it's no surprise that's what I wound up writing.

But what are cozy mysteries? To unravel what makes a mystery cozy, let's deconstruct my favorite TV mystery series ever - Murder, She Wrote. How does Murder, She Wrote incorporate these basic elements: a murder, a sleuth, a setting, and suspects (one of whom is guilty)? As you'll see, that's key to making a cozy mystery...cozy.  

Somebody Has Got to Die. On Murder, She Wrote, you see some of the players at the beginning and what they're up to (usually not good), and then the chosen Red Shirt of the episode is found dead. You may see the body, but they skip over the actual killing part. That's rarely (if ever) featured in cozy mysteries.
  • Key element one: the murder happens off-stage.  

Leave This Murder-Solving Biz to Me. Jessica Fletcher, lead character on Murder, She Wrote, is a mystery author and therefore knows more about this stuff than the police or FBI or CIA - combined. She means mystery-solving business. And no amount of threats of severe punishment if she doesn't stop interfering will deter her. She is the only one with a high enough IQ to solve this thing!
  • Key element two: leave the case-solving to the least qualified person you can find.  

Welcome to the Smallest Town with the Highest Murder Rate. Ah, Cabot Cove, Maine, the prime setting of Murder, She Wrote. So many people got killed in this town of like 500 people that eventually they had Jessica start traveling to spare CC more atrocities. She even moved to NYC for a while so they had more people to choose from to get whacked. (Those were my favorite episodes, but I digress.)
  • Key element three: cozy mysteries often take place in smaller towns or cities.  

You Murderized Sooooo Much. So Jessica questions the suspects and shakes their business out all over the place, until finally we come to The Confession. The Confession generally happens after Jessica has proven with her Super Sleuth Powers that So-and-So must be the killer. So, naturally, they start blabbing all the details. Then all is right with the world again and Jessica and Friends share a more lighthearted exchange before the end credits roll.
  • Key element four: you have a few suspects, most with deep dark secrets, and a big group confession at the end.

Those are just the basics, but you get the picture. Like my sis says, cozies feature the "lighter side of murder." They don't take themselves too seriously, and that's the fun of it. The fun of reading (or watching) cozy mysteries, and definitely, for me, the fun of writing them!


A note from Jade: Win one of Amy's books, and fall in love with the cozy mystery genre! 



 About the Author
 
Amy Saunders writes cozy mysteries and is the author of The Belinda & Bennett Mysteries, as well as three standalone mystery novels. Auf'd, book two of The Belinda and Bennett Mysteries, just hit virtual shelves in June. Her novels betray her soft spot for humor and romance - and the ocean. When she's not writing, you may find her baking, reading YA sci-fi/dystopian novels, or dancing around to her new favorite alt rock or pop song. 





Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Interview and Giveaway with A. K. Taylor

A. K. Taylor is visiting the blog today with her character Neiko to give books away and introduce you to her Neiko Adventure Series. A. K. has won many awards for her writing, so be sure to enter the giveaways and get her books free!


 Escape from Ancient Egypt

Seeking his revenge on Neiko for exposing him, Francesco banishes Neiko into ancient Egypt just like he did her friends eleven years ago. During her stay there, she unravels the mystery of what happened to her four friends. Now she's faced with a bigger problem--how to get home. After a series of unfortunate events, Neiko is now entangled with Pharaoh Ramesses II. Francesco also comes to make sure their fates are sealed. Can Neiko and her friends beat impossible odds and return to Hawote and back to the present?





Neiko's Five Land Adventure
The Indians and the Crackedskulls are locked in the turmoil of war and presently in a stalemate. Her enemies, Raven and Bloodhawk, have come up with a scheme to up the ante and break the stalemate into their favor. Neiko later finds out that a land she thought she had only imagined is actually real and contains a legendary and otherworldly evil within it. After a standoff with the malevolent Ramses the Dark Pharaoh in Hawote, she is trapped in Qari by his strange and powerful magic. Trapped in another universe and in a place that is not exactly the way she imagined it, she must somehow find a way to teleport home. That is easier said than done; the odds are overwhelmingly against her and her scorpion cobra-companion Quickstrike as they must travel to find the answer and avoid Ramses' allies, traps, and tricks. Can she come back home and escape the evil that seeks to claim her and turn the tables on her enemies?


Interview with Neiko, star of the series:


JV: I hear that you still like to play with toys. Do you have a favorite?

Neiko: Yes, you heard right. I guess you can say it’s like a secret (well not any more) guilty pleasure. There are some people that won’t understand why an 18 year old would still do something like that. If King Tutankhamen can do it so can I, I always say. In some ways, he and I have the getting an important job and title at a young age thing in common. It can play havoc on you a little and your maturity level. People will say: It’s not ‘normal’. Nothing about my life is normal really. People who say that didn’t weren’t six years old in warrior training, nor did they fight their first battles at age eight. It’s not like I can go hang out with friends whenever I want to since our enemies can blend in just as easily as we can, and they are always looking for a chance to ambush so they can take me. I also lost a bit of my childhood because of all that, and being a stressed out teenager can make someone do some interesting things to release that stress and unwind—like the Tut thing I mentioned earlier. You can also say I do things like they do on “The Big Bang Theory” way before that show made it cool. I am a nerd at heart, so sue me. I was a nerd before nerd was cool—yeah, kind of like that country song. I heard someone mention something about the chieftains and my friends ‘condoning’ it. We’re all friends and that’s what friends do—understand. The chieftains find the stuff I talk about interesting and just wonder where it all comes from. They do it for my benefit and health so I can continuing to defend them. I don’t perform my best stressed out or ticked off. Who would?

Yeah, I do have a favorite: my Ramses action figure even after I find out he’s real and really, really scary. I found that toy during a battle where I was holing up in a barn trying to elude capture (not in this story—a prequel). I always knew it was special, but later I find out why it is and that it was not sold in stores or even made on my own planet…


JV: Why do you prefer to conduct your adventures in the woods?

Neiko: Hawote is located in the woods of the US, Canada, and Mexico, and it is a hidden land that coexists with those countries. The woods offer cover, so the land an all its workings stay hidden. Truthfully it’s much harder to hide things in an urban area—too many US (or CA or Mex) authorities. Think about that the next time you go into a rural area and come across a large stretch of forest!


 JV: You play the French Horn. What style of music do you play?

 Neiko: I play just about anything—pretty much what the Band Teacher or the Choir director puts in front of me. I am an awesome sight-reader. Jazz, funk, movie themes, classical, church music, blues, marches. I also do concert and marching band. Yes I do field drill and parades and cantatas. I’ve been known to participate in a professional orchestra and a college summer band a few times. Done honor bands as well!

I seem to like doing everything the hard way, so naturally I chose the most difficult brass instrument known to man.


JV: Where did you get the name Neiko?

Neiko: I got my Indian name when I discovered my hidden and ancient heritage, which is a plus to finding out I was the “Chosen One”. I also learned about the ancient prophecy about the Chosen One that actually cost one of my ancestors—Chief Fierce Wind by name—his life and the displacement of my tribe to the Southeast to where we are living today. They fled the wrath of the evil Aztec emperor-warlord Tezcatlipocacoatl who lived way way before Tenochtitlan was ever built—to give you an idea how long ago that was. My author will get into all that in the next few books and a possible prequel (one of two) to Neiko’s Five Land Adventure. Anyway, my name comes from very ancient (even before Fierce Wind and Tezcatlipocacoatl) Greyhawk that means “Strong One”. It seemed like the perfect fit for me and my calling as the Chosen One.


JV: Your mom doesn't seem to "get it." Have you ever thought about involving her in your play time?

 Neiko: *eye roll* Tell me about it. I don’t think there is any way possible for her to get it—sometimes things seem like they are implanted in if you get my drift. When I get to play with my eight-year-old cousin, I can get away with it a little bit more since I’m entertaining a kid. If I’m lucky, maybe my little sister will be into that when she’s old enough to play with more than passies, teething rings, and Duplo blocks.

Not a bad idea involving her, but I can’t even talk about it with her without her getting all bent outa shape. Getting her to play is a lost cause. My friends and even the chieftains understand better about that than she does.

I will eventually be able to lay them down after going to the Five Lands for REAL. That did wonders in jumpstarting my maturity level, but not so much for my stress level.


JV: What's Raven's deal? Why is he determined to have you in his family?

Neiko: It’s more about his son Bloodhawk more than him. But from Raven’s standpoint, there’s a lot going on with that. One, I have been picked by Bloodhawk and approved by Raven as the perfect candidate to carry on the next generation, if you get my drift. I am both strong and beautiful—suitable qualities for a Crackedskull queen, which will make a suitable child to be a prince—before it’s over with they want to make it children, but the curse put a damper on their plans since I would die in childbirth, and Bloodhawk is picky—he didn’t like any of the girls from his own tribe for starters. Guaranteed a son says the mantra of the curse, and he will have wings, eagle feet and eyes, and really large stature just like them. Plus, my resistance is just a turn-on, and that’s just my luck with those type of guys and ladies’ men.

 Two, from a strategic standpoint it would look good for the Chosen One to be married to his son and future heir to the throne. That would make the Seven Tribes buckle down to his rule and then he can carry on in taking over the entire land of Hawote. Yes the ol’ cliché domination thing. He doesn’t care about taking over the world, just Hawote. He might throw in the resident Outsiders on the North American continent as a freebie, if he got bored--but I would think the Outsiders would notice a full-scale takeover and war and might become a have-to. They would be wondering what is happening with all the Indians all of a sudden? I don’t think the government would sit out and let it pan out, do you?

Even at his great stature--yes nine feet--the US military could take him out with a tank, bazooka, RPG, or something (not even titanium armor could stop that), so he might have to resort to some different strategy and finesse in taking on Outsiders than just storming the wall and public attacks like he does with other Indians.


JV: Do you ever plan to stop having adventures?

Neiko: Nope. Don’t plan on it. I plan on being around for awhile. There will be tons of adventures some day; it’s just a matter of AK getting them published. *sigh* Publishing sure is slow and have to be so careful. If I ever quit, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself and would be bored slap outa my mind! I don’t know if I can do ‘normal’!




About the Author

A.K. Taylor grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned about nature. She enjoys hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections. She also has interest in music, Native American history and heritage, Egyptian history, and the natural sciences. A.K. Taylor has been writing and drawing since the age of 16. A.K. Taylor has graduated from the University of Georgia with a biology degree, and she shares an interest in herpetology with her husband.