Imagining Fantasy onto the Page – #Fantasy #Writing with Tara Tyler, Broken Branch Falls #Giveaway

Just a brief announcement before I give my blog over to Tara Tyler. Gina Stoneheart was the winner of Mary Waibel’s giveaway and won a copy of The Mystery Prince. Congrats, Gina! Oh, and I’m uber excited about Sharknado 2 tonight. Anyone else watching? Now to Tara…


Imagine a vast, lush, green field dotted with white blossoms, surrounded by thick trees on the right and a rambling river on the left. The sky is bright blue with whispers of white clouds, and in the distance are snow-capped mountains, beckoning climbers to venture up their treacherous slopes.

Okay, that took some major brain power! Can you see it? It’s what I picture if I was standing just north of Broken Branch Falls. Well, Mary has awesome inspirational photos for fantasy settings (and sci fi, too, but that’s another post!) Today, I’m talking about…

Writing Fantasy!

Fantasy - the activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.

Don’t you love that definition? You can make up anything and everything in fantasy – just like in cartoons, nothing is impossible! Traditional fantasy includes:

  • Creatures – dragons are my fave!

  • Setting – forests, mountains, meadows, lots of nature

  • Demographics – not a lot of technology or modern conveniences, castles and villages rule!

  • Magic – the explanation for the anything and everything! Yay for wizards and fairies!

But fantasy has branched out! It now includes:

  • Urban – magic in modern day cities or suburbs

  • Historical – magic altering recorded historical times and places

  • Space/Sci Fi – magic mixing with the future and technology

So many places magic can turn up! We can shrink down to bug size, expand up into giants, shapeshift into flying beasts, and cast spells for good, evil, or just some mischief!

Inspiration for fantasy isn’t far, for me. I imagine the world around me transformed into a magical setting and many times I will give characters an outer appearance to match their personality. (Remember Shallow Hal?)

The tough part of Fantasy is the world-building. We get to create all the magic, but we also have to make rules and limitations, weaknesses to balance strengths, antidotes and cures for spells and sickness. And we have to show the reader our complicated world without droning on with backstory! I think I’m getting the hang of that, now that I’ve had some practice.

What I still struggle with is setting. I tend to describe things mundanely – so I really enjoy coming across photos of magnificent scenes that inspire greatness and require a better description… like from Mary, here. She’s a pro at capturing beautiful settings from way out West (and out of this world!) And here are just a few of other bloggers whose photos inspire me.

Marcy Hatch - northeastern wonderlands

Hilary Melton-Butcher - English countrysides, coastlines, and castles

Rhonda Albom - fun from around the world

There are lots more, but I couldn’t remember them all. Help me out and name some in the comments!


Mary and I usually discuss sci fi, so today was a nice change!

Thanks, wayfaring woman!

NEW! Try this BEASTLY SURVEY and find out which beast you are!

(And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!)


by Tara Tyler

Release Date: June 24, 2014 (NOW!)

Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Gabe is an average fifteen-year-old goblin. He’s in the marching band, breezes through calculus, and gets picked on daily by the other kids at school, especially the ogres. But Gabe wants to break out of his nerdy stereotype and try other things. He has his eye on the new ogress at school. Though it’s against all beastly rules, there’s just something about her.

Gabe starts a fad of mingling with other species, forcing the High Council to step in and ruin things by threatening to destroy the school and split up Broken Branch Falls. With help from other outcast friends, Gabe sets out on a quest to save his town. They’ll show ‘em what different friends can do together!

Available atB&N ~~~ AmazonAdd it to your GOODREADS list!


Tara Tyler has had a hand at everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After living up and down the Eastern US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently, she has two series, The Cooper Chronicles (techno-thriller detective capers) and Beast World (MG fantasy) She’s an adventure writer who believes every good story should have action, a moral, and a few laughs!
Also by Tara Tyler, techno-thriller detective series,
The Cooper Chronicles, Book One: POP TRAVELon sale this month for 99 cents!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow on Bloglovin

Robo Vampire, Colossus and The Amazon Queen, and Topline #scifi #movie Reviews

Dinner and a Bad Movie

Husband Unit and I watch these movies so you don’t have to…

Robo Vampire


1988. Hong Kong.  Godfrey Ho’s Robo Vampire With Alex Jowski, Charley McMullen, mister X and Josh Hadley

So much went on in this movie and it didn’t all seem to belong in the same movie. It begins in the basement of a drug gang and they’re putting drugs in coffins. Oh, wait no, there’s a scene before that, but it doesn’t matter. We’ll start in the basement. A bunch of beings stand around like this…


They start to wake up and attack the bumbling drug stockboys.  Because!! The drugs are not drugs, it’s rice powder, which pisses off the vampires. Fighting ensues involving bottle rockets shooting out of the vampires’ arms, bunny hopping – yes, the vampires bunny hop, which cracked me up every time – and some martial arts.

Never fear! The wizard saves the day by sticking bits of paper on the vampires’ heads. He controls the vampires with a sword, theatric arm gestures, and bits of paper. The vampires work with the drug gang.

Cue a subplot – the ghost and the vampire. This vampire looked like an ape…




His true love is a ghost. Husband Unit said her see-through top was the only plus in the whole movie. Later she goes completely topless. Ooo! Anyway, she makes a deal to work with the wizard to be with her vampire love again. The deal doesn’t last long and I have no idea why. If you want this movie to make sense, you’ll miss out on all the fun.

The ghost and vampire have sex in a ghost/vampire way. I guess that’s what it was. All the same, it made me laugh. 

Another drug gang is in the movie. I wasn’t sure how they fit in exactly. Don’t think too hard about it, though. You’ll just wind up with a headache.

Anyway, the bad guys capture some drug agents. One gets killed and is turned into Robocop. Another dude is hired to rescue the captured drug agents.

I know this sounds disconnected, but so was the movie. The Robocop really had nothing to do with the rest of the plot. I think the plot was about Tommy rescuing the captured drug agents, but I can’t be certain.


To sum up: I was uber entertained by the bunny hopping vampires shooting fireworks out of their arms. Boobs were the only redeeming highlight in HU’s opinion. He said this movie required four beers. I said three. So we settle out at 3.5



Colossus and The Amazon Queen


1960.  Director: Vittorio Sala Stars:  Rod Taylor, Ed Fury, Dorian Gray

After the Trojan War, Glauco is the strongest man amongst the Greeks. His friend Pirro meets two men who offer him a large sum of money to persuade Glauco to sail towards unexplored shores. Pirro accepts the proposal and convinces Glauco with a trick: he hits him on his head. The ship lands at a strange place where Pirro and the other men aboard are drugged and find themselves in the hands of the Amazons. Only Glauco escapes, saved from the Egyptian inventor Sofo and he falls in love with Antiope. Between loves and duels, conspiracies and ruses, the pirates will bring together Amazons and Greeks.

No human-devouring reptiles, but it was an entertaining enough watch. The plot made sense and tracked, which is a bonus. The stars were purty. Men and women scantily clad, another bonus. Lots of wrestling. Men trying to behave like women, which made us both laugh. You can’t lose if Colossus is on your side. Bonus: A nice musical dance interlude.




Husband gives it a one beer rating. I thought it needed two beers to be uber fun. That settles it at 1.5





1988. An Italian movie filmed in Columbia.

Author Ted Angelo discovers an UFO in the Columbian jungle. When he tries to spread the word, he earns more than the usual disbelief: suddenly he’s hunted by almost every organization, like CIA, KGB, the mob, Nazis… and even extraterrestrials – Those ETs obviously do not want to go home.

Warning: There was no manscaping in this movie.

Now that we have that out of the way, the author is a drunk, of course. We all are. You might as well all admit it in the comments. Go on and say how many drinks you’ve had today.

The plot actually makes sense. That’s two in a row that made sense. Wow. And it wasn’t so horrible. Except the film quality was terrible, so sometimes we didn’t know what we were looking at. The view of the alien ship wasn’t clear at all. I wanted a better look at it.

There may have been topless women, but it was hard to tell… the picture quality and all. 

Hilarity ensued with a drunk couple and a truck chase… trucks instead of cars. At times we were much reminded of Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone. Everybody was out to get our hero. Absolutely everybody. One somebody turned into a robot.

My favorite scene: Robot versus a gansta cow! Guess who wins?






At the end a character changes into an alien, and it was actually really cool. Maybe a little slow, but the transformation was worth the price of admission.

Husband Unit gave this a 1/2 beer rating (I’m assuming for boobage, a robot, and aliens). I gave it a 1 1/2 beer rating (gangstas all the way!), which settles out at one beer.


Have you seen any of these? Are you tempted to watch? And you know what I’ll be watching July 30th! That’s right! SharkNado2, baby! Can’t wait.





Follow on Bloglovin

Discovering #Oregon: The Charming Ashwood, A Living Ghost Town, Soulless, and a Party! #SpecFic #Giveaway


The Husband Unit and I love trips out into the quiet areas of Oregon, places so sparsely populated I can hear the Earth breathe. We visited several ‘ghost towns’ recently. I’m not sure I’d classify them as such. People still live there.

Once upon a time, before I was west-coastacized, I wouldn’t have understood the appeal of such out of the way, lonely places. Now I do. These people dwell with unspoiled spectacular scenery that they don’t have to share.

I could stop on the road and take pictures without worry of another car. I usually parked on an obliging shoulder anyway.

In true Husband Unit and I fashion, it took us three hours to get to Ashwood, which is about 70 minutes from where we live. Why does it take so long? Because I stop every quarter of a mile or so to take photos. 

Ashwood had its booms in 1900 and 1910. Nearby Shaniko (which we also visited and I’ll post about later) had the first railway station in Central Oregon. Ranchers herded their sheep there (Shaniko would make $3 million+ in one day during the boom, a whole lot of coin in 1900). Ashwood benefited from proximity in 1900 with lots of sheep ranches. In 1910 they had a gold and silver mining boom. The mines soon played out and the area returned to ranches and agriculture.

It’s currently popular with rockhounds for jasper, petrified wood, and thunder eggs (the Oregon state rock). And it’s also popular with photo hounds. You can learn more about Ashwood HERE


On the way there, we had to put up with these views.










Then we finally arrived in the charming town of Ashwood…


It’s not authentic Oregon if a sign doesn’t have bullet holes.





The church still holds service at 10 a.m. on Sundays













We were amused by the parking meter – in front of the right hand window



So, I’m sure you noticed by now I redid my website. There’s now a ‘Pix tab where I’ll be putting my photos. There are already a few galleries there. Photos I didn’t post here are there and I’ll be adding to the galleries as I get pictures prepared and uploaded. It’ll take time. On this trip alone I took over 700 photos. That’s normal.  I’d say that’s my outdoor hobby.

My home page now lists current events/appearances (I’m on a panel about publishing in July) and my latest releases – Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge  in audio, Worlds on Edge in print, and Heroes of Phenomena.



Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and
lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to
reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her
wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her
people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.
And risk losing everything.
What people are saying about this series: 
“With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations.” –SC, Amazon reviewer
“It’s clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic.” –Jill Jennings, TX
“SWOON.” –Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014


PREORDER your print copy
Sign up for Crystal Collier’s newsletter to receive release news and freebies.




Untethered Realms is celebrating a milestone in followers. This means an awesome giveaway. Ooo! Spread the word.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow on Bloglovin

The Allure of the Fairy Tale. The Mystery Prince by Mary Waibel #fantasy and a #Giveaway


Elena Ringo



Visiting author Mary Waibel:


Fairytales. What is it about these stories that capture our imaginations? Is it the magic? The fantastical creatures? The happily-ever-after?

I have several DVD’s of classic fairytales. Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, as well as Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and Warner Brother’s Quest for Camelot. (Yes, I know this isn’t a true fairytale, but humor me.)


These stories all have several things in common. What are they?

A spell. Whether it be cast by a disgruntled fairy, a fairy godmother, or a knight bent on conquering the world, each of these stories contains a spell. Which leads to our next thing in common.




Magic. Beyond the spell, magic abounds, be it in fantastical creatures, like talking candlesticks, or flower sprites, or dragons. Magic can be used for good, or bad. And magic often leads to a happy-ever-after ending.

I’m a sucker for this kind of ending. Knowing the guy got the girl, or the girl saved the guy, and they can face all their tomorrows together, because of their triumph is such a satisfying ending for me.

Now, it’s your turn. What other things do you think these stories have in common? Please share your thoughts in the comments. One lucky commenter will receive a copy of The Mystery Prince.


The Mystery Prince 300dpi

Cover by CK Volnek


The Mystery Prince, a novella

Tristan enjoys being in the shadows as Prince Rand’s bodyguard. Similar in looks, the two often exchanged places in their youth, but he never expected the king to order him to impersonate the heir to the throne in order to win the hand of a princess.

Princess Zoe needs to find a husband. After a year of searching with no success, her father insists on hosting a masquerade ball for the eligible princes of the nine kingdoms. Not one prince piques her interest, until she meets the mysterious stranger who won’t tell her his name.

When Tristan meets Zoe he finds the girl of his dreams. The only problem? She’s a princess and he’s impersonating a prince―a crime punishable by imprisonment and floggings. Unable to tell Zoe his real name, he gives her a special navigation device. One that leads to the owner’s true love. Will this magic device lead Zoe to Tristan, or will her true love forever remain a mystery prince?


Available From: Amazon


Mary Waibel:

Author Photo- Mary WaibelMary lives with her husband, son and two cats. When she isn’t twisting fairytales, she enjoys reading, playing games, watching hockey, and camping. Her Princess of Valendria series (Quest of the Hart, Charmed Memories, Different Kind of Knight) are available from MuseItUp Publishing and other major retailers. The Mystery Prince, a novella, is available at Amazon. Her Faery Marked (book 1 in the Faery Series), published by BookFish Books, will be available this summer.


You can find Mary Waibel at: Blog / FB / Twitter


Be sure to leave a comment about what Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and The Quest for Camelot have in common for a chance to win a copy of The Mystery Prince.




Follow on Bloglovin

Dilemmas of the Author Kind – Deadlines, Falling Behind, Launch Dates, and Clones #writing


Dilemmas of the author kind, and I have more than one.

     1.  I finished the first draft of The Initiate, yet am way behind – the author mantra. Right? I should be almost done with revising. Instead I’m just starting on the revisions for The Rifters and The Initiate. No matter what, my deadline with my editor stands firm at August 1st. On the plus side, I have the shiny new cover. Isn’t she purty?

TheRiftersBook2 WEBgold

     2.  I should be free and clear for July to put the hammer down on Backworlds #6, Precipice. Instead I’m sharing time with revisions. How far I get by the end of this month will determine when this book will get out. On the plus side, I did a brief outline and started it. It’s so going to rock. Oh the dastardly things I do to my friends.

   3.  I left myself a very tight window to get The Rifters and The Initiate edited, formatted, and uploaded. Since the first book is going to be permafree, the short time was making me nervous. So I pushed back the launch of The Rifters to September 8th. I feel so much better about it. That should be enough time to get it Free on Amazon… me hopes. The Initiate was pushed back one week to October 20th.

     4.  There aren’t enough of me. I seriously need clones.


Also going on…

~ My website has a new look. It took me a whole day to redo it. You probably noticed. The following day, I was monkeying around with plugins and my site crashed. A lovely page of diamonds and question marks. Yikes! I called my brother and begged for help. So what you see is the result of his computer wizardry and magic… my site is restoreth. He also taught me how to backup my website. Very handy to know… something one must do before adding new plugins.

~ Untethered Realms also has a new look. You should see its fierce header. I’ve been blinded by its beauty…

~ I’m on a panel this month! A panel on publishing. I’ll be representing the author-publisher point of view. Also on the panel: Marie Harte ~ traditionally and epublished; Karen Duvall ~ traditionally published; and Dave Edlund ~ articles and novels. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 24th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.  at the Deschutes County Services Building, DeArmond Conference Room, 1300 Wall Street, Bend, OR 97701.

~ I have books on sale this month! 50% off at Smashwords only. Use coupon SSW50 at checkout. Backworlds series on sale, books 1-5. Get caught up! HERE  The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Check it out HERE

How Nerd Am I? Untethered Realms reveals our nerd. Can you top our geek? I dare you. 


InsecureWritersSupportGroupThis is my July IWSG post, which meets the first Wednesday of every month. Created by the farvelous Alex J. Cavanaugh. It’s not too late to join us.




Follow on Bloglovin