Tuesday, August 30, 2011

#100BlogFest -- Cheers to Martin King, “100 Blogs as a Child Tour”

Today I am welcoming a guest blogger, Martin King, who is on a wild adventure to write 100 different blogs at 100 different websites in August. The topic -- stories from his childhood. Please enjoy and don’t forget to visit him on his blog as well!!!

Here is his story "Cars":

“If you think your childhood was traumatic, then please consider mine. From the age of seven when my parents acquired our first vehicle, I was doomed to public mockings!

Our first mode of transport was a motorbike and sidecar. Yes, you heard me right. That little beauty lasted us for a good few years. Eventually when there was my parents and four kids crammed into the sidecar and another on the way, they decided it was time to go large. Read on because you are never going to believe this...

We moved up market, but not in wheels. That is because they invested in a plastic rocket more commonly called a Reliant Robin (a car with three wheels). Imagine how embarrassing it was being dropped off at school at the age of thirteen in a plastic pig? But not only that but the rare mornings when my step dad would decide to take us to school, he insisted on picking up any of our friends he drove past. I’m not lying when I tell you that there would be as many as eight kids crammed into the back of the three wheeler!

But then we went up market again due us five kids continually growing we got an ice-cream van. I know you are most possibly in complete shock at this point, but it’s all true. Check out blog # 11 for more on this.
Finally we got a Landrover. A pretty normal vehicle you may think. But Landrovers weren’t all hi-tech like they are nowadays. But anyway my story continues with us travelling down a country lane one day when the back door suddenly swung open for no apparent reason. As my sister was sat next to it and in them days most cars didn’t have seat belts...whoosh and out she fell. Thankfully she wasn’t badly hurt.

But the vehicle kept breaking down all the time. Finally my step dad said “Eeee, for two pins I’d get rid of this thing.” That was a bit of a Lancashire saying back then. To which I replied, “I’ll give you two pins for it.” Let’s just say it didn’t go down very well.
These blogs are all about fun and sharing. Thank you for reading a ‘#100blogfest’ blog. Please follow this link to find the next blog in the series: http://martinkingauthor.com/blog/7094550076

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday’s Mythological Creature of the Day -- Kim Qui, The Golden Turtle God

Kim Qui (The Golden Turtle) comes from the Vietnamese culture.

There are quite a few interesting stories about Kim Qui.
One of them is associated with the construction of defenses for the ancient capital of Co Loa. Evil spirits were causing a lot of nuisance during its construction. Kim Qui appeared before King An Dương Vương (257-207 BC) and gifted him its nail to use as a trigger, for a magical cross-bow, that massively rained arrows upon the invaders in only a single shot.

Another one talks about a giant turtle that taught people how to build houses on stilts.

My favorite legend is about a magic sword. A peasant named Lê Lợi obtained a magical sword named Heaven's Will that a fisherman had pulled out of the lake. Lê Lợi used this sword to lead a rebellion against the Chinese armies that were in occupation of Vietnam in 15th century. After overthrowing the Chinese rule and establishing Lê Dynasty, the now emperor Lê Lợi returned to the lake and Kim Qui emerged then asked Lê Lợi to return the sword. The King drew the sword and hurled it toward Kim Qui. Kim Qui quickly caught the sword by his teeth then submerged. Lê Lợi afterwards named the lake 'Lake of Returning Sword', or Hoan Kiem. Reminds me of the King Author’s legend...

And I came across a very interesting article that claims that“the legendary turtle in Vietnam may prove to be true!" Check it out!

Monday, August 22, 2011

When in doubt, close your eyes & jump! -- Adventures in Self-Publishing

Nine Days till the self-imposed deadline for publishing 2.18 on Amazon... (“Self-imposed” is the operative word). As I’ve learnt in the past, deadlines are the only solution to beat my procrastination. And my mind works the best in the stressful situations with seemingly impossible deadlines. (Not completely impossible, just slightly non-realistic ;-)).

That’s what I’ve been thinking, pacing back and forth in the living room for the last half an hour.

Publishing is business, after all. One shouldn’t decide on a whim to publish a book (even if it’s a really really good one, like mine) without a marketing strategy.

Granted, that I had to start from scratch and create this blog (thank you dear followers), a Twitter account (love you fellow twi-people!!!), GoodReads account (thoroughly enjoy your friendships), a Facebook profile (still don’t know what I’m doing with it). Quite an accomplishment, at least in my mind... There are three tiny issues though...

1) I love reading twits of other people & enjoy discovering new blogs
2) I love GoodReads for the great group of readers, discussions, reviews, finding new books and having fun.
3) And last, but not least: giving 30 days to do all that AND create a promotional campaign? Really?

This is a great escapism book. I know you’ll love the characters, with all their quirks: Tessa, a lot of young professional women can relate to her, Camille -- her Guardian Angel, the voice of reason, and, of course, Val -- her Guardian Demon, the tempter and seducer. They deserve to share their story with the readers.

Well, but it does take a village... Doesn’t it? ;-))

Free advanced copies of 2.18 to the book bloggers. If you, girls and guys, are interested in fantasy/PR novels, and demons and angels are your thing-- email, comment or DM me on Twitter and I’ll send you an advanced copy of the e-book.

Thank you LindyLouMac and Lisa on taking a chance on me! I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday's Mythological Creature of the Day -- Baba Yaga

In Slavic mythology, Baba Yaga is a witch and a hag that lives in a forest and devours people. In most Russian folktales, she resides in a log cabin that stands on chicken legs (!). The hut is surrounded by a palisade made out of human bones with a skull on each pole. The keyhole to her front door is a mouth filled with sharp teeth.

She is old, one of her legs can be an artificial one, she is blind (or losing her eyesight) and has huge breasts. (I feel sorry for her!)

She flies through the air in a mortar, using the pestle as a rudder and sweeping away the tracks behind her with a broom made of silver birch. She kidnaps kids and tries to fry them for dinner in her large clay oven.

Baba Yaga is usually portrayed as an antagonist, i.e. when an unfortunate hero drops by and Baba Yaga finds him in her cabin, snooping around, she cuts out skin from his back to make herself a belt (sounds like she had a quirky sense of fashion). Sometimes she is portrayed as a Mother of all Snakes (who are typically the main foes of the hero). But in some tales she supplies the hero (sometimes unwillingly) with something necessary for the further quest.

She is one of the most popular characters in Russian fairy-tales. She has also made an appearance in Shrek Forever After.

If you want to read more here is a link to a Wikipedia article: And here is my favorite song by a band of Baba Yagas in a famous Russian cartoon “A Flying Ship”.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How was the novel 2.18 conceived?

Sometimes I feel slightly envious of the authors who can answer the question “How did you come up with an idea for your book?” in a fun exciting manner. I wish I could do the same, but it wouldn’t be true.

It all started because I was bored to death on one fine November evening in an empty apartment. We moved to another state on a whim, and all the furniture and books were still in some container in route to our new home. All we had was an air-mattress, a small table lamp, clothes, travel necessities and “The Good Omens” book that I got fond of and had finished earlier than I hoped.

It was after midnight, my husband was asleep, and I was staring at the ceiling. So, I grabbed a notebook, where we were noting our travel schedules and to-do lists and started to write down a novel for myself. This is the exact moment the first pages of 2.18 were born.

Afterwards, the scenes and chapters were created and written in the weirdest places – on a desolated highway from Colorado to Wyoming under B-Tribe tune, during a tedious meeting at work, deep down in the catacombs of Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Ukraine, dancing in the darkness under Afro-Celt Sound System band, hiking with my dog in a National Forest. .. It has been a wild journey.

I am thrilled, scared and excited to share 2.18 with all of you. I know you will enjoy it!

Thanks for stopping by, come back and spread the word!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sam’s Castle in Pacifica, CA – New Bizarre Ghost-Filled Attraction

I am excited to share the news that the infamous Sam’s castle is being ready to open its doors for visitors!

The 103-year-old dwelling has been used as an abortion clinic, a speakeasy, a brothel, a home residence, etc. Throughout the years ghostly encounters have been reported by multiple witnesses.

The last owner Sam Mazza filled this place with the eclectic collection suits of armor, statues, swords, busts of Greek gods, organs, coats of arms and a throne. From the sound of it he was an eccentric collector of oddities and curiosities.

Will it become as popular as the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA? I certainly hope so! The Bay Area is full of strange, mysterious places. I believe this one is great, yet undiscovered addition.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/12/BA2D1KMQI8.DTL#ixzz1VFzuGUmA

There are only TWO tours available to public right now through Pacifica Historical Society – this Friday August 19, 2011 and Saturday August 20, 2011. Adult tickets: $25.00. Children under the age of 12 – $10.00

So, if you want to explore this weird collection, please purchase the tickets on the site: http://pacificahistory.org/

Pacifica is a quaint coastal city, located between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay. It’s a popular surfing and hiking spot!

Oh, and if ghost hunting is your thing, I’d strongly recommend to drive to Moss Beach Distillery in the nearby Half Moon Bay for a delicious dinner, ocean view and a possible meeting of the Blue Lady (the story was recreated on a popular NBC TV Unsolved Mysteries). By the way, the restaurant is dog-friendly!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

What's Cooking? -- Sunday's Yummy Pig-out Breakfast!

I lo-o-o-ve good food! Healthy Food! Veggies and Fruits! But from time to time it feels good to be bad ;-) Like today.
So, here is the Sunday's Yummy Pig-out Breakfast:

Ingredients (makes 2 servings, with a bunch of left-over biscuits for any future use):

1 can of Jumbo Flaky Biscuits (the ones that have tiny pieces of butter in the dough ;-))
2 slices of Canadian bacon
2 eggs (fried to your liking, with smoked paprika, pepper and other favorite spices)
2 slices of Swiss cheese
Pomegranate jelly
Green onions and a bite-size piece of watermelon (the addition of these ingredients made me feel less guilty, because I had my “fruits and veggies” ;-))) R-right…


1) Bake the biscuits per the package instructions
2) Fry the bacon on a medium-high heat until slightly browned and slap a piece of cheese on top of it. After the cheese has melted a bit, take the bacon off the heat and set aside
3) Get the biscuits out. Grab one, open it in the middle and put the pomegranate jelly on both sides ( generously )
4) Put cheese, bacon, fried egg on the bottom part of the biscuit. Sprinkle the eggs with green onions.
5) Take the top part of the biscuit and … You guessed it… Put it on top!
6) Garnish with green onions and the watermelon pieces
7) Enjoy and then proceed to the gym! ;-)))

Thanks for stopping by! Come back & bring your friends!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday's Mythological Creature of the Day -- Mardagayl

I have this wonderful Mythological Encyclopedia in Russian from 1991. I like to open it at a random page, select an article and discover/reintroduce a creature/place/etc.


1) I like to learn things 2) It helps in writing 3) I’ve always suspected that there is a reason why certain creatures/monsters/beliefs are common across the globe. Just haven’t figured it out yet ;-)) So, I thought, I’d share with you what I can find from my Encyclopedia and a 30-minute search on Internet during lunch break. If you come across a related article, fun fact, please share!!!

Drum roll please! I am thrilled to introduce a Mardagayl --an Armenian werewolf with a twist.

a) Typically, it’s a woman.

b) It is believed that if God decides to punish a woman, he makes her to eat the food intended for a Mardagayl (the food usually falls from the sky, like hail). After a woman snacks on these kibbles, a wolf skin falls upon a woman and turns the unfortunate foodie into a Mardagayl. At night she hunts with a wolf’s pack, devours corpses, kidnaps children and tears them apart. (Huh? Fascinating…)

c) During the day, the Mardagayl takes the wolf skin off, hides it in a secret place and goes along with her life until nightfall! (I found this part slightly disturbing. So does she actually enjoy the transformation??? I mean, all that devouring and killing the innocent kiddies! Otherwise, why would she go through the trouble of hiding the skin? If she can take it off, why put it on again, voluntarily… And then like a typical sociopath she happily trots through her daily routine, like she did nothing wrong. )

d) The punishment typically lasts seven years, then the wolf skin returns to the sky, and the Mardagayl becomes a regular woman again. (After seven years of nightly gore and pillage how can she go back to being normal???)

e) The creation of the Milky Way is associated with Mardagayl. When a Mardagayl was trying to snack on a visitor, the visitor cut the monster’s breast with a knife, & the milk from her breast spilled over the sky.

I also found a few cool sites for those of you who enjoy the werewolves’ legends.

http://www.ilovewerewolves.com -- this one has a list of various names the werewolves are known in different cultures

http://www.werewolves.com -- a bunch of interesting articles


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The First Look at the Book Cover for my novel 2.18

Hello everybody,

Just wanted to share with you the official Book Cover for my upcoming fantasy novel 2.18. I've been jumping around, clapping my hands, giggling and squealing like a little piggy when I first saw it! ;-))) The cover is created by a super talented artist Bradley Cassani.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

So, what is my novel 2.18 all about?

Hi everybody,

Between final edits of the 2.18, writing a new chapter for the second book, learning Twitter, Facebook and creating this blog in the rare waking moments left between my regular job, family, friends and my dog, I feel overwhelmed but thrilled at the same time. Even yoga doesn't help to relax any more. I used to love to meditate, but I've forgot how to do it now! How does everybody relax? Any favorite tips? What works?

In the meantime, just wanted to share a rough annotation to my novel 2.18 that I hope to make available on Amazon (Kindle edition) on August 31st.

"An ordinary, twenty-three years old, MarCom manager in Denver finds herself falling in love with her seemingly ever-present Guardian... Demon. “Seemingly” is the key word here, because by a bureaucratic mistake, at the time of Tessa’s birth, she was not assigned a Guardian Angel or a Guardian Demon, until just now. And the reason they appear in the middle of an ordinary summer night in her bedroom is a simple one. By another mistake made by somebody in the Archives of the Powers, she wasn’t given a purpose in life.

Tessa Vetrov is offered a new mission -- to hunt down an insane Russian scientist in Geodar, a neighboring realm of Earth under the supervision of her newly-appointed Guardians. She reluctantly accepts the offer, which is guaranteed to take only one minute of her life here on Earth, and the successful completion of which will bring her a hefty reward.

Unfortunately, it turns out that Tessa is just a pawn in a high-stake game of the Higher Powers, and not all of their promises will be kept..."

How does it sound?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hello World!

This is my first blog! And the first post! Hello! Privet! Guten Tag! Bon Jour! Konnichiwa!

The reason behind its creation is a simple one -- shameless self-promotion ;-). I wrote a book and really wanted it published. I've tried to go the traditional route and find a literary agent. That didn't work out too well. And the book is good!!! I know it. The people who've read it agree.

So, I thought about publishing it through Amazon as an e-book. And that's what I am planning to do. On August 31st, 2011. Less than a month... Maybe I am slightly insane to do it in such a short timeframe, but maybe I am not... The name of my masterpiece is 2.18. It is a paranormal romance/ adventure for young adults and not so young adults.

After deciding to give it a try, I realized that in order for my audience to find my book in the myriad of other good books, I need to announce its arrival. It is an e-book, so I need to reach the e-readers. Where do you find them? On the Web. Logical.

There is one tiny problem though. I am not on the Web! (except for a great site www.samlib.ru where I've been publishing the abbreviated version of 2.18, while I was writing it, in Russian -- if my Russian readers have found this blog -- THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your kicks, reviews and feedback).

Being a an avid reader myself, I've solved the issue by buying a book by Susan Gunelis and started to take baby steps into the Web community. I've set up my first Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads accounts and this blog.

Now I have to figure out how to manage all that. All the suggestions are welcome! Please leave comments. Thanks for stoping by. Come back soon and spread the word!

Oh, and a special hi to Vlado, who've created the illustration that I am using for the avatar.