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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bargain Days for Dragon's Curse

As part of launch week for Dragon's Rival, I'm running a Kindle Countdown Deal for the first book in the series, Dragon's Curse. That way if you haven't had a chance to start the series yet, you can get caught up before the next book arrives on August 4th.

The way a countdown deal works, starting August 1st, the book will be at 99 cents for a few days, then go up to $1.99 for a few days, and finish by reverting back to normal pricing ($2.99) on the 8th.

If you have a friend who likes fairy tales, fantasy, or romance, please tell them about my book so they can pick up a promotional copy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Researching for a Fantasy Novel

Yes, even a fantasy writer has to research on occasion. Like, what is it really like to walk on a carpet of coins in a dragon's lair? Do you slip and slide? Sink in?

Well, for your illumination, I have undertaken some experimentation. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Vlog: self-publishing ramble

I decided to do a little vlog last night (that really isn't a word. It doesn't look like a word.). It is just an impromptu ramble about why I chose to self-publish and how it has worked out for me. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Author Interview: Karin Rita Gastreich-Eolyn

Interview with author Karin Rita Gastreich

What was the inspiration behind Eolyn and when did you first get the idea for this story?
The first memories of scenes for ‘Eolyn’ running through my mind date all the way back to college. I did not have names for the characters then, but I knew the story would center on a young woman hunted for her magic. I also knew the man who was her closest friend would eventually become her nemesis. So the foundation for the story and its conflicts were thought up about two decades before I started writing the novel.  Orson Scott Card said once that it takes 20 years to brew a novel, and I suppose I’m a testimony to that fact.

Can you tell us about some of your favorite reader responses to the book? Ones that made you laugh or cry or when someone told you that you made them laugh or cry?
Wow, this is a good question, and also kind of tough to answer. Every reader response I get makes me happy, and some have really moved me too.  I think among my favorites are when people tell me they are staying up late to read the novel.  As a reader, one of my greatest pleasures is to find a book I can’t put down; so to hear that I’ve written that kind of book is the best sort of complement.  
What was the major reason you chose to pursue an audio edition of your book?
Well, it wasn’t entirely my decision, it was my publisher’s.  Of course, I was delighted by the idea. I’ve always liked audiobooks and have wanted to hear Eolyn interpreted as an audiobook for a long time.
I can’t really speak for my editor at Hadley Rille Books, but I suspect a primary motivation was to open up a new market for the novel. There are a lot of people who really enjoy books, but don’t always have time to read. Audiobooks are a good option, because you can listen to them during commutes, your afternoon run, or at other moments when reading isn’t practical but listening to a good story is.  I think Hadley Rille Books wants to reach those readers. Eolyn is one of several of their titles coming out in audio this year.
What was it like working with the narrator of your book?
I really enjoyed working with Darla Middlebrook.  At first, my editor Eric T. Reynolds was the intermediary in our interaction, but eventually Darla and I communicated directly with one another. The most challenging part was at the very beginning, figuring out how to explain the pronunciation of all the names. Fantasy is notorious for having unusual names, and Eolyn is no exception.  So I had to identify my own pronunciation rules and explain these to Darla.  After that, it was really very smooth sailing.  

Is it odd to hear your work in someone else's voice?
It was a little odd at first. I’ve always enjoyed doing readings of my own work, and have even posted a few brief audio recordings on my blog. So I had my own vision of how certain scenes should be interpreted. Once in a while, if Darla’s interpretation strayed from my own, my knee-jerk reaction was negative. But the truth is no one will ever read your story like you would. Early on I firmly told myself to give Darla the artistic freedom she needed and deserved to interpret this story as its narrator. Once I let go of my preconceived notions of what the story should sound like, the experience of listening to Darla’s interpretation was extraordinary.
When Darla finished her recording, and I was able to enjoy to the whole work from beginning to end, it was simply amazing. It was like rediscovering my own story all over again. I laughed and cried with the characters, and relived all the emotion of their journey as if it were brand new. I especially loved the voices Darla crafted for all the characters. She’s truly a gifted narrator.
What is your next planned project?
There are several projects in the works right now. Darla Middlebrook is busy with the audio edition of High Maga, to be released later this fall. I am also working on writing the third and final novel of the series, Daughter of Aithne, which should be available in in print and ebook editions by the end of 2015.
Where can we connect with you via social media?
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or visit me at my blogs.  Please visit, like, and follow me!  I’d love to hear from you.  Here are the links:

Twitter handle: @EolynChronicles
EOLYN [audio edition]
Karin Rita Gastreich (author)
Darla Middlebrook (narrator)

Sole heiress to a forbidden craft, Eolyn lives in a world where women of her kind are tortured and burned. When she meets Akmael, destined to assume the throne of this violent realm, she embarks upon a path of adventure, friendship, betrayal and war. Bound by magic, driven apart by destiny, Eolyn and the Mage King confront each other in an epic struggle that will determine the fate of a millennial tradition of magic.

"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes will satisfy fans of traditional epic fantasy, with a romantic thread." – Publishers Weekly

“Magnificently written.” –Kindle Book Review

Purchase Link:  http://www.amazon.com/Eolyn/dp/B00KROCQCY/

Link to YouTube Preview: http://youtu.be/ymFTCvi8wew

About the Author:

KARIN RITA GASTREICH lives in Kansas City and Costa Rica. An ecologist by trade, her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance.  Karin's first fantasy novel, EOLYN, was released by Hadley Rille Books in 2011. The companion novel, HIGH MAGA, is also available from Hadley Rille Books. Karin’s short stories have appeared in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and A Visitor to Sandahl.   She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency. Follow Karin’s adventures into fantastic worlds, both real and imagined, at http://eolynchronicles.blogspot.com and at http://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com.

Author web links:

Blog Heroines of Fantasy:  http://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com
Twitter:  @EolynChronicles

About the Narrator:

With experience of 34+ years as a Speech-Language Pathologist, more than 20 years as a stage & film actor and over 20 years as a trained singer with knowledge and insight into the mechanics of the voice and speech, Darla Middlebrook brings a wealth of experience to bear to develop character voices (male, female, mature, extremely elderly, creepy, bright exotic, etc) with an impressive emotional range.​
Currently, Darla is one of many voice actors who narrates podcasts for AIRS-LA (an audio internet service for individuals with visual challenges) in addition to narrating audio books.  She is able to produce retail quality audio books from her home studio in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - Canada.

Narrator Web Links:

Twitter: @GypsyCatVoice

Html Code for the Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Faux Menno: Book Review: Dragon's Debt by HL Burke

There's a new review up, this one for Dragon's Debt on The Faux Menno Blog. Check out the link below.

The Faux Menno: Book Review: Dragon's Debt by HL Burke: *I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own and I never commit to a...

If you'd like to purchase the books in this series, click the links below:

Dragon's Curse (The Dragon and the Scholar) (Volume 1)

Linked here and here and here and here

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chased By My Imagination: Book Review: Dragon's Curse; H.L. Burke.

There's a new review up of Dragon's Curse on "Chased by Imagination." Go ahead and drop by the blog and check it out!

Chased By My Imagination: Book Review: Dragon's Curse; H.L. Burke.: So this is one book that definitely took me by surprise. In a good way! It only took me a day to read, it was quite short so it's going ...

Dragon's Rival on Goodreads

I just  finished setting up the Goodreads page for Dragon's Rival which means you can now add it to your "to read" bookshelves.

Dragon's Rival

I'm conflicted about whether or  not to have a Goodreads giveaway for Dragon's Rival. It isn't that I'm not proud of the book, but compared to Dragon's Curse or Dragon's Debt, it just isn't a good introduction to the series. The characters start in a dark place due to the fall out from the end of Dragon's Debt. Shannon is heartbroken and lost. Ewan is losing his humanity. Even everyone's favorite sarcastic scholar, Martin, has given  up to a degree. It's a necessary part to the plot arch before book four (Book four's title is kind of a spoiler to the end of Dragon's Rival so for  now it is the book that shall not be named.), and book four is MAGNIFICENT. I haven't been as proud of anything I've written as I am of how I chose to end this series. It was hard to  end it because I loved these characters. I could've written more about them just to write about them, but the story had come to an end. 

I might revisit in sequels or prequels devoted to various  side characters or future adventures unrelated to the major story arch of the Dragon and the Scholar Saga.

Honestly, I feel like book three is a band-aid I have to rip off really fast for my readers before they get to the grandness that is book four. It's full of sadness and discomfort and has scenes I literally cried when writing. 

That's the sort of book you're in for. 

I'm sorry.
I'm so so sorry.

linked here and here and here

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why I can't read ANYTHING anymore

I don't read as much as I used to, but the meaning of that has changed recently.

Once upon a  time "as I used to" referred to "pre-kids." I mean, when Coryn was a baby it was easy enough to read while nursing, but when she gained the ability to reach up and grab whatever I was holding, that ended. I would still squeeze in a handful of "non-kid" books a year, and I read to my kids consistently, but I was no longer going through one to two books a week like I had been.

Then more recently, another thing got in the way  of my reading. Writing. Writing is time consuming, but even when you've "finished" the book, you get into editing, rewriting, promoting, and networking and I recently added up the amount of time I've devoted to writing, and if I count it all up, it's at least a part time if not a full time job. Every spare minute I used to have is in some way devoted to one or more aspects of my writing career.

I still do some "reading" but it is mostly unfinished works of other authors I'm swapping critiques with. I'm really fond of short books. If I can finish it in an hour (divided up into fifteen minute segments over the course of several days), I'm all over it.

However, this week at the library I saw this cover:

That guy has a zeppelin. And a top hat. I wanted this book.

I've never actually  read Steampunk before.  I was curious about the style, partially because I had included some Steampunk elements in my  last book (the yet to be released Beggar Magic) and wanted to see what the genre is like. I enjoy the decorative style of Steampunk. I like several TV shows, movies, and games that have that feel, but I'd never actually read a Steampunk book (unless you count the Myst reader. Myst has a definite Steampunk element to it, and while I haven't read the book in years, I remember thinking, "Wow, this is pretty good for a book based off a computer game.").

Myst was actually a major influence in my Beggar Magic writing process.

But back to the original point of this post. I picked up Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders (The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin, Book One) and decided to read it. I'm about half way through, but I'm really enjoying it. The style is what I would call "busy." There is a lot going on in every page, a lot of named characters introduced in a short span, a lot of descriptions of things like clothing that I personally don't care about as a reader, and a world that leaves me with a lot of back story questions I'm hoping will be answered before the end of the book. I'm not sure how much of this is indicative of the style and how much is just this particular author, but he definitely is holding my attention. I'm reading through it pretty quickly, considering my "I get to read fifteen minutes and then have to go deal with stuff" reading method. 

But anyway, the story is set in a post-apocalyptic  California that is covered in ice and ruined cities and seas of poison gas called "mustard." Zeppelins representing various factions or "clans" float over these wastelands and do stuff. Which is really similar to something I scratched out an outline for several years ago and still intend to write some day.

My version is set in a fantasy realm rather than our world. The idea is that a Steampunk society with airships and all sorts of things that run mainly on geothermal energy turns out to be built over a super-volcano of sorts and one day it goes off leaving the majority of the Valley a burnt out wasteland. The story focused on three different characters, two  brothers from the north end of the Valley, airship captains, the area which received the least damage from the eruption, and an engineer/scientist who was one of the few people who tried to warn others about  impending doom who was out of the Valley on the southern plains during the eruptions. The brothers, one of whom loses his wife in the blast, go separate ways in search of survivors to rescue while the engineer runs into a spoiled young nobleman who was on a hunting party/safari in the plains with his entourage when the  eruption occurred. All three groups try to gather survivors and put as much of their world back together as they can, and the original plan was a series that followed these families through at least two generations as they deal with things like pirates and scavengers gaining a foothold in the ruins, trying to control resources and just survive. 

Since I write fantasy, there was also a magical element where there was a certain sort of a rock within the ground that "fire weavers" could draw upon to upon this to do certain forms of elemental magic. However, they also develop a sensitivity to this substance that can drive them mad with over exposure or send them into withdrawals if deprived of it for any given time. 

My version is sufficiently different from this book I'm reading, so I'm not worried about plagiarism or anything like that, but dang! I want to write MY Steampunk survival adventure story now. 

I'm going to push on and read this book and save my story for another day, but this happens every  time I read a good book. I get stuck on "my" version of the setting or story or something. It is worse if it is a genre or setting I like to write or had already planned to write, but even if it isn't, I keep coming up with new ideas.

Oh well.

At least I'm reading again.

Post linked:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Free Story Dates: Princess and the Soldier

My short story, The Princess and the Soldier, will be available free July 13th and 14th.

You can pick it up on Amazon through the link below.
The Princess and the Soldier: A New Fairy Tale

I've been really happy with the reviews of this little piece. I have a hard time asking people to pay for something that will take all of ten minutes to read (or maybe I just read really fast. . .it's eight pages long, roughly), but I love sharing it, so I plan to use free days frequently to make it available for my readers.

It is only available as an eBook right now. If I ever get a large enough short story portfolio, I'll combine them into a collection in a paper back "real book," but with my focus on novels, that isn't going to be any time soon. 

However, if you don't have a Kindle, keep in mind that the Amazon kindle aps works on most phones and computers, so if you don't mind reading on either of those, you can still download and enjoy my piece (for free on the free days. It will be 99 cents other days). 

I hope you get a chance to pick it up and enjoy it. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dragon's Rival: Cover Reveal

It's time to reveal the cover for the  next book in The Dragon and the Scholar Saga, Dragon's Rival.

The release date is set for August 4th!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

TypativeMamaCat is now H. L. Burke, Author

I'm transitioning from an insane mix of Mommy Blogging/Crochet Blogging/Humor Blogging to focus mainly on my fiction writing. Because of that, I'm going to slowly be changing things around this blog. The first major change is the blog name.
Rather than Typative Mama Cat, it is now simply H.L. Burke Author. The address is also updated to www.hlburkeblog.com (I also have www.hlburkeauthor.com, but the sites are linked).

Thanks for your understanding during this period of construction and deconstruction.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Faux Menno: Book Review: Dragon's Curse by HL Burke

There's a new "Dragon's Curse" review u, this one on the Faux Menno Blog. Check it out!

The Faux Menno: Book Review: Dragon's Curse by HL Burke: I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I never commit to a positive review prior to...

Monday, July 7, 2014


So about a month ago I started getting notifications from google that my domain name was about to expire, click here to fix it.

Unfortunately, every time I "clicked here" I'd get an error message that said my task couldn't be completed at that time. I made multiple attempts over the last month, always coming across the same message. I tried different methods of logging in. They sent me an email every week or so to remind me to renew, always with links leading to the same error. I tried changing my password. Nothing worked.

Finally I just gave up.

The  thing is, my blog name predates my writing "career." It does not connect to my author name or the name of my books. The only thing it really links to any more is my twitter handle (@typativemamacat) because I got that when my blog, not my fiction, was my primary creative outlet.

I also am already paying for my  author website domain name (not through the same provider as typativemamacat.com was) www.hlburkeauthor.com.

My current plan it to attach an rss feed for my blog to my website so you can find all of "me" through that one domain name. It connects with my author name, books, and is generally a better marketing platform than this blog.

I'm in the process of updating links to this blog throughout the interwebs to reflect the change in web address.

In the meantime, you can still subscribe to this blog through bloglovin, email updates, or G+.

Sorry if this is causing any inconvenience for any of you. I may someday wish to reboot this blog to narrow the focus completely to writing and fiction. Right now the content is kind of all over the place. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

I want a writing vacation

Today I wrote two guest posts for my blog tour, did some critiquing of another writer's book (part of a swap), scratched out a new chapter of Thaddeus Whiskers and-the Dragon, linked my blog on a couple of hops, sent several writing related emails, and spent several minutes trying to decide why one screen on KDP says I've made five sales so far in July and the other says only three (still no idea).

I also vacuumed, emptied the dishwasher, filled it again, made breakfast, lunch, and dinner for myself and the girls, took the girls outside for some painting (outside painting means faster clean up), picked up the house, changed four or five diapers, made various snacks, yelled at the dog for barking incessantly, drank two cups of coffee and one cup of black tea in spite of my frequent heartburn, broke up sibling squabbles and got a headache.

And still it feels like I didn't make a dent in my to do list either for writing or homemaking.

I'll admit I'm trying to do too much right now. I need to focus on one project, writing wise. That really should be final edits on Dragon's Rival. It's due out in a month. I should get it presentable.I thought it was finished, at the "just fix any typos" stage, but I had someone do a fairly harsh read through, and they want me to add some more emotional reaction stuff and explaining stuff and they didn't particularly care for my plot or characters either.

Half of me wants to just write off about 90% of what they said as "style differences" because I was pretty happy with the piece, but to make this book the best it can be, I  really need to look at each individual suggestion and decide on its merits and figure out what tweaks to make to fix each perceived problem. It's going to take a lot of time, and I'm not sure where I can get that time.

Matt is worried about retirement (only in the military is this a valid concern at 32). We do okay financially, but we are no where near where he wants to be, so he's taking on extra work. A lot of Marines around here take second jobs, and several are contractors. Matt is helping some of them. He's picking up valuable skills, but he's been gone constantly. Today  is July 4th, and he left at seven in the morning and didn't come back until almost eight. He comes home after work, changes,  and heads out to do sheet rock or build decks until dusk. It's just me and the girls for waking hours.

I would love a day where I could leave the girls with Matt and just selfishly focus on my writing and edits, but he's simply not available.

I need to go grocery shopping, fold laundry, wipe down baseboards. . . I told Coryn I didn't have time this afternoon to play a board game. I'd like to fit in some exercise and reading. . .but I'm just out of time.

My current financial goal for my writing is to eventually make enough to hire a cleaning service on occasion. That would clear up more time for writing and my kids.

I know this is temporary. If I can wade through to Dragon's Rival's release date, I can spread out the rest of my activity over several months. As a self-published author, my deadlines are self-imposed. If I can get through this, I can space the next several out more judiciously.

So thank you for attending this pity party. I've got a plan to work my way out of it. I promise!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Little Wonder Woman

My six-year-old is really into super hero cartoons right now. Because living in Japan got me used to ordering costumes early (or having my kid wearing the same thing as 75% of the other kids on base because it was too late to order online and the Exchange only ordered like four basic costumes in each size), I ordered her a Wonder Woman costume last week.
It came today, and she's been wearing it since then. Some of the things that have come out of her mouth:
"Mom, I need something that can be an invisible plane. Can we drive around in the car and look for people to act like Wonder Woman at?" (I have a bad feeling she means actual vigilantism.)
Coryn: I want to be a real life Wonder Woman.
Me: Well, maybe you could get a job when you grow up that fights crime.
Coryn: No, because then I could die.
I guess crime fighting is only fun with the benefit of super powers
"Wonder Woman is my biggest fan." (which she probably means the reverse of, but it is hard to tell for sure) 
Then she ran upstairs and brushed her teeth and hair (because Super Heroes have great personal hygiene?) and posed in front of the mirror for 20 minutes, and now she's watching Batman cartoons, still in the costume.
I have a feeling she's going to live in this costume from now on. 
I get her little sister a Supergirl costume, but Claire was less enthusiastic and determined that her sister's costume was better than hers. She did willingly wear the cape, but kept trying to remove all her other clothing and run around in JUST the cape. Other than that, she just kept pointing to what Coryn was wearing and fussing because she couldn't have it. 

I'm overall pleased with the quality of this costume. It looks like it will hold up to play. The skirt is a little shorter than I'd like, but I'll probably just have her wear her gymnastic shorts beneath it. 
Claire I haven't been able to get to try on her costume. It runs big, though, so I might have to work to make it fit. 

I did find this costume which really impressed me:

this "Lady Sif" costume is cool, not revealing, and it is just awesome. I don't mind my girls being girly. They have princess dresses too, but I get annoyed that all the girl super hero costumes incorporate a tutu or are pink. It took awhile to find ones for Coryn and Claire that were silly frilly or skimpy. 
Of course, Coryn doesn't know who Lady Sif is because she's really into DC cartoons, not Marvel. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wordless Wednesday-Costume Plans

Coryn's into super heroes, so we got really excited about Halloween this year. I know it is early, but you want to wear your costume early and often, to get your money's worth.

Coryn's going with Wonder Woman.

Super DC Heroes Wonder Woman Child's Costume - Medium (50 - 54" Height, 27 - 30" Waist)

Claire is going to be Supergirl.

Amanda’s Books and More
Wordless Wednesday Hop