Saturday, November 30, 2013


Thanks to all who joined in Giving Thanks week -- I thought every comment was lovely and inspiring. Now for the winners of this week's three giveaways:

Monday's giveaway of the little quilted tote and the print ARCs goes to:

Sara, who wrote that she's thankful for My kids. My kids. My kids. How on earth did they turn out so wonderful? (And annoying, but that's another story.)

Wednesday's Steampunking Sofie Kelly giveaway goes to:

traveler, who named as a blessing in life My husband whose integrity, devotion and kindness is always there for me.

Friday's Publishing Fairy BookWish giveaway goes to: n

petite, who wrote I am giving my son Lady at the OK Corral which I know he will enjoy greatly.

Winners, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to address to so I can send along your goodies. Petite, I will also need the title of the book you'd like for your wish. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Fairy

Last night the Publishing Fairy stopped in to complain that I've never allowed her to appear on the Disenchanted & Co. blog. To appease the magical menace (and to avoid having my next release cursed) I told her she could have today's post -- as long as she grants a BookWish* for one of my readers.

If you'd like to be the one for whom the wand waves, in comments to this post name a book you're planning to give as a gift during the holidays, or a book that you're hoping to receive as a gift, by midnight EST tonight, November 29th, 2013. I'll choose one name at random from everyone who participates and grant the winner a BookWish. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, so please join in.

*A BookWish is any book of the winner's choice available for order online and that costs up to a maximum of $30.00 U.S. dollars (I'll cover any additional shipping costs involved.)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Steampunking Sofie Kelly

Wonderful books are a huge joy in my life, for which I will always be grateful. I've also been very fortunate to have met a few generous authors who in various ways over the years have provided me with guidance and motivation. A writer who brings both into your life is marvelous; to call that soul a friend means you are truly blessed.

For me that particular blessing is Sofie Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of the Magical Cats mystery series. Sofie has been a constant source of encouragement and understanding in my writing life, and a very patient and dear friend in real life. The fact that she also happens to be a natural, beautiful storyteller is but frosting on the cake. I think we all want to be friends with people we admire, who just by being in the world inspire and energize us. Sofie is all that, and so much more.

I talked Sofie into letting us steampunk her for November, so here's my interview with her:

1. The world wants to bring back one person, place or thing from the Victorian era. It can be anything, but whatever it is will be made a permanent part of our reality. Who or what do you pick to bring back?

Natural dyes to replace synthetic ones. The Victorian era was when we began to use synthetic dyes. Natural dyes are kinder to the environment and the colors are richer and more vivid than anything created in a test tube. Personally, corsets. I have not so great posture and the one time I tried on a corset--at a fashion show I was emceeing--I was forced to stand up straight. It made me taller.

2. A secret guild of steam-powered gadget inventors needs to borrow your garage for a month. In return for the work space they offer to make something special for you. What gadget do you want them to invent, and why?

A mechanical, steam-powered elephant. I live in a cold and snowy part of the world. There's no way a mechanical elephant would get stuck in a snow drift and I'd never have to worry about someone parking too close to me necessitating that I get in the passenger side and climb over to the driver's seat. Which now that I think about it, would not have been easy to do in a corset.

3. We know how fond you are of fictional felines, especially the stray variety. Tell us some of the things that you wish people would do to help homeless cats in the real world.

Please don't increase the population. Have your cat spayed or neutered and if you can't take care of your cat for any reason, take it to an animal shelter. Please don't abandon it.

4. If you could spend a weekend writing retreat with three deceased authors (we're going to bring them back to life for you), who would you choose to hang out with, and what would you want to work on?

Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and Kurt Vonnegut. I'd want to work on either a stage play or a screenplay.

5. We want to know you have planned for your readers in 2014, but our internet service is down and our crystal ball is in the repair shop. Can you tell us what to expect next year from Sofie Kelly, and any of your other pseudonyms?

Sofie Kelly will have another Magical Cats book out in 2014, tentatively titled, A Midwinter's Tail. I'm also taking on another identity. As Sofie Ryan, the first book in my new Second Chance Cat mystery series, The Whole Cat and Caboodle, will debut April 1st. (No, that's not a joke.) It has a cat, three senior ladies who think of themselves as Charlie's Angels, a melodramatic teenager, a geriatric computer hacker, a hunky investigator for the medical examiner's office and the owner of a repurpose store who tries to keep them all out of trouble. It's not as complicated as it sounds.

While we're waiting for Sofie's next novel to hit the shelves I thought it would be fun to have a magical cats giveaway, and here's what I have for one of you:

This giveaway includes:

Unsigned copies of all five of Sofie Kelly's Magical Cats mysteries: Curiosity Thrilled the Cat, Sleight of Paw, Copycat Killing, Cat Trick and Final Catcall
The Scheherazade Storytelling Game by Levenger
Tne Writer's Lab by Sexton Burke
Mochi Mochi by Anna Hrachovec
Birds on a Wire photo hangers
What Cats Teach Us 2014 calendar
An Asian Happy Cat tote from BAM

If you'd like to win it all, in comments to this post name someone you consider a blessing in your life by midnight EST on Friday, November 29th, 2013. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner the tote packed with all the books and goodies. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, so please join in.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Giving Thanks Week

I've not yet caught up on my blogging schedule, but I'm determined to get there. Since we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I thought I'd hold some giveaways as my way of saying thanks to all my Toriana readers. Here's the first:

If you'd like to win these print ARCs of Disenchanted & Co. and The Clockwork Wolf (which I will also sign for you) and this hand quilted and beaded mini-tote, in comments to this post tell us something for which you are grateful by midnight EST on Friday, November 29th, 2013. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner the ARCs and the tote. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet so please join in.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Finishing Up the Q&A

Today I'll work a bit more on wrapping up the world-building questions asked back during our June Q&A.

DeeCee wrote: The one aspect that bothers me in Scifi/Fantasy/PNR is money. Characters can complain about it yet, they have it. ???

Money, personal wealth (or lack thereof) and economics in general can be an interesting aspect of world-building; I see it as primarily a tool for characterization and social structures versus a plot element. Other authors, particularly mystery writers, like money or a money-related subject as a plotting device, conflict catalyst, etc. I think it really depends on how much you like to write about money and the innumerable politics it spawns.

Like any element within your world-building your money system should be tailored to fit your universe and function within its boundaries. The traditional system is currency exchange, either in note or coin form, but you're not limited to established forms of money. Think of what would constitute personal wealth in your universe and found your economic system on that. In Frank Herbert's Dune novels, for example, spice is the most powerful (and therefore most coveted) substance in the universe, and as such the mining and control of it and the only planet it's found on determines who has absolute power. All the politics and conflicts within the Dune universe are directly related to spice and spice production, so it also serves as an immensely important story element. It's interesting how Herbert used spice to influence characterization as well as social and political structuring in the Dune series; dig down beneath all the layers of practically any element and at the bottom of things you always find spice as the prime motivation.

A money system can be based on just about anything as long as it functions as a plausible element of wealth and/or power within your universe. If you don't want to work with traditional currency, think about what else has value in your universe. We tend to value things that are very rare, that bestow power, that other people want, and/or that help us live better/longer/more comfortably. If some aspect of your world-building incorporates at least two of these values you've probably got a viable candidate for an alternate currency.

You should also consider at what stage of economic development your world is in, and shape your money system accordingly. For example, technologically primitive civilizations tend to rely heavily on actual physical possession of wealth, so you should build your money system to suit their needs via the tangible and collectible (aka rare minerals, land, slaves, or anything that can be physically taken, held, fought over, etc.) In a far-future society, in which most of the practical/physical concerns of everyday life have been resolved for everyone, your characters will need a very different monetary system; one that may be based on more abstract concepts of value, such as territorial dominance (the practice of aggressive colonization), promoting technological superiority (supremacy through scientific advancement) or wielding faith-based influence (using religion to promote cult behaviors).

Don't be afraid to be inventive with the monetary system(s) within your universe, either. As long as you can convince the reader something has value to your characters, it can serve as money (and to justify this I must once again point the finger at Frank Herbert, whose universally-desired spice in reality was nothing more than giant sand worm poop. I don't think you can invent a more implausible money system than that.) Just remember whatever you use has to have some significant value to your characters, and to figure out what that is you should take a very hard look at what they don't have, and what they really want, and design from there.

Monday, November 18, 2013


The winner of the ARC giveaway is:

Gail Leinweber

Gail, when you have a chance please send your ship-to address to so I can get your package out to you. Thanks to everyone for joining in, and stayed tuned to the blog -- I'll be having more ARC giveaways in the weeks ahead.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Back & ARC Giveaway

I'm sorry I haven't posted here for a couple of weeks, but I'm hoping to get back to a regular blogging schedule shortly. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

I was never able to reschedule one of the series launch giveaways I had planned back in August, so I still have a handmade quilted and beaded Victorian tote on my hands. Yesterday I also received something new and fun to put in it, too:

If you'd like to win this tote, and the two print ARCs (which I will also sign for you), in comments to this post tell us your favorite handmade or homemade gift to give (or receive) during the holidays by midnight EST on Sunday, November 17th, 2013. I'll choose one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner the tote plus the signed ARCs. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet so please join in.