Thursday, March 31, 2016

Reader: Reading right now: Virginia G. McMorrow

Okay, because I work behind the scenes at MuseItUp Publishing, I don’t normally discuss details of our books. Hey, I’m not going to say anything negative because I’ve seen each book come in as a submission and I’ve been part of the acceptance and contract process for each book. I’d more likely cause people to rant about playing favourites. Which is why I only give the bookstore details for the authors I’ve personally work with when I showcase one each month.

So, why now?

Virginia has finished book three in her The Firewing Trilogy and MuseItUp is thrilled to be presenting it to you later this year, early 2017.

So, why am I talking about books one and two?

Simply, because I’m going to be her editor for book three I want to know her Firewing world inside and out prior to working on book three with her. I want to know the story in order to question anything in book three. I need to know her voice and style.

Didn’t I know these during the acceptance process? No. Assess reading is different than editing. Editing requires me to nick-pick and question. Assess reading is a moving through pages for story idea, judgement on what’s going to be needed at first glance, does the story close well, and does it fit our guidelines and audience. Are we the best publisher for the author?

Backtracking to why talking now as a reader…in order to do the best for Virginia as her editor and her readers. Plus I’m liking her story world ;)

Book 1 of The Firewing Trilogy
By Virginia G. McMorrow

Back Cover:
Seventeen-year-old Kathren (Krag), named after a legendary fire-breathing dragon, is torn between the desire to see the world and responsibility of caring for her twelve-year-old sister, Reni. Her knack of going invisible entangles her in a mad rescue adventure to rescue her foster father’s spoiled seventeen-year-old daughter, soon to be crowned queen.

I stared at the mage, caught between the urge to slap the condescending expression from her face and the conviction she was right. “You change my motivation every day.”

“You change your mood every day. I’m just trying to keep pace with you.” She waved Andry farther from me. “Your turn to watch and listen today. Our young mage here is going to work very hard. We’re trying a new method today. Maybe, if we’re lucky, it’ll catch in that stubborn mind of hers and take hold.” When I remained impassive, Brana smiled a very cool smile, correctly reading the nasty names I called her in my head. “Go invisible first since you do that without thinking. All right, stay out of sight. There. Now do what I tell you.” While I clamped a firm hold on the urge to rip her heart from her chest and feed it to her hawk sister for the evening meal, Brana locked her eyes on mine. “Pay attention. You’re drifting in and out.”

I started to protest, but a swift glance at my flickering legs proved her right.

“Better. Now tell me how you go invisible.”

“I don’t know. I’ve always just done it.”

“No conscious steps?”

Still invisible, I thought about it. “No. Only that I calm myself so I can focus, and then, I don’t know, I just do it.”

“That’s what I thought.” Brana leaned forward, tucking her legs beneath her. “Now come back in sight. There.” Her eyes held a challenge, and I felt my entire soul respond. “Do the exact same thing with shielding. No more infantile piles of dragon scales. Imagine the wall in place, protecting you, and transparent.”

I tried to do what the mage suggested, but too many steps intervened.

“You’re taking too long.”

I bit back my angry words.

“I said, young mage, you’re taking too long.” Brana caught me off guard, shoving me back against the chair I’d been using for support, shattering my focus. “Try it again.”

I glared at her in growing fury.

“Just do it, and stop whining like a toothless infant.”

Straining, I tried by sheer force to think myself shielded. Brana shoved me back again, harder, slamming my injured shoulder against the wood chair. My breathing was heavy, and sweat drenched my short-cropped hair.

“Stop acting like a brat and just do as you’re told.”

“Brana…” Andry reached in front of the mage.

“Don’t interfere,” Brana snapped at Andry. “Our young mage wants to be a heroine and rescue her poor sister, who’s probably dead.”

“Shut up!” In a heartbeat, carried by rage and grief, I shielded and went invisible without thought or hesitation, driven by the need to unleash my fury and fear. More by instinct than magic, Brana braced her body as I lunged for her throat, holding my invisible arms locked tight against my straining body, away from her neck.

“Easy, girl.” While I continued to struggle futilely against her hold, weakening from all the attempts I’d made to shield, Brana held me firm. “You didn’t believe in yourself. If I didn’t provoke that fierce temper of yours, you’d go on taking your sweet time, not trusting your abilities. We’ve run out of time to save that sister of yours, don’t you see?” As I released both shielding and magic, she let me go, acknowledging the bitter resentment in my eyes. “I don’t care much that you hate me. I got what I wanted. You’ve done far better than I’d hoped; only needing to believe in yourself.” With a smooth gesture to Andry, she handed me into my friend’s arms. “See that she rests.”

I slumped in exhaustion against Andry, who said not a word for a long, long time. Then, “You’re a lot like her, you know.”

Sitting up, I stared at my friend, appalled.

“I didn’t mean it with ill intent.”

Laughing, I leaned back against the chair. “I know. It’s just that she said the same thing the night before we came here.”

“Do you hate her?”

“No, of course not.” I shook my head, baffled and weary. “I want to strangle her almost every single moment, but no, I don’t hate her. She’s difficult to deal with sometimes. And other times” —I shrugged—”I just don’t understand her.” When Andry’s expression had gone a bit peculiar, I snarled, “Go on. Get it over with.”

“It’s nothing.” Andry tried to hide a small smile that kept escaping. “Really, Krag, it’s not important. It’s just—” The smile became a broad grin. “It’s just that what you described is precisely how I feel about you sometimes.”

Book 2 of The Firewing Trilogy
By Virginia G. McMorrow

Back Cover:
On the eve of Jaime’s coronation, the dragon crown is missing—leading everyone to believe that Jaime’s reign will be cursed if she goes through with the ceremony. To find the thief, Jaime turns to Krag, who “disappears” and pretends to be guilty of stealing the dragon crown and its legendary diamonds. Meanwhile, fingers are pointing to Chase, Jaime’s father and reluctant regent. With behind-the-scenes sleuthing by Andry, her best friend, and the older mage, Brana, Krag leads the team in their investigation. No matter where they search, someone is tailing the detectives and eavesdropping on them—making them all look over their shoulders time and again but finding no one there. Frustrated with too many questions and too few answers, Krag’s only hope is to shadow the shadow.

“Now what on earth is wrong?” Hanna grumbled from behind the door, shaking the knob again before giving the wood a hard kick. “It was fine this morning. There’s no humidity in the air, and no summer-time dampness now that it’s mid-winter, though we are near Maris Waters. But still, why it should stick—”

While Hanna continued to mutter, I grabbed the book, winked myself out of visibility in a heartbeat, and removed the chair from beneath the knob, a mere heartbeat before Andry’s mother slammed the door open, nearly flattening me against the wall.

“Well now, how odd.”

“It’s an old building.” Reni’s voice drifted into the room from behind Hanna’s slender figure. “Maybe it just needs some oil.”

“Maybe it just needs a good swift kick every now and then,” Hanna said dryly, giving the door an extra thump for good measure and studying it from top to bottom. “I don’t know what the problem is, but I’ll ask Davies to have a look tomorrow before we open, if we ever have some peace and quiet in this place. Though I guess I shouldn’t complain about having so many customers, should I?” Hanna waved my sister into the neat room, and I held my breath as Andry’s mother unlocked the chest. “There you go, child. Go on. The scarf is buried in here somewhere, probably in the middle of those light cotton clothes. I’ll have to knit you another as soon as I can find the time. You’re growing too fast for even my nimble fingers to catch up. In fact, you’ll soon be as tall as—”

When the older woman turned away, Reni touched her arm. “I miss Krag, too,” she said. “And Chase.” When Hanna’s eyes filled with tears, Reni reached up to hug her. “They’ll be home soon.”
“Yes, they will,” Hanna whispered, her voice growing louder and more confident as she repeated the words. “Yes, they will. So we must be strong for them, love, and not get sick. You wrap that scarf tight around your neck to keep out the drafts, and remember to shut the door behind you. No reason to let nosey customers think they have a right to snoop inside our private rooms. All right?”

“Yes.” When Reni stepped away, her smile was sad as Hanna disappeared from the room, boots clattering on the stairs as she rushed back to the madhouse downstairs to tend bar. Sighing, the child fumbled through the chest of clothes until she found what she was looking for and pulled out the light wool scarf. Wrapping it around her thin neck, she turned back toward the door, but something caught her attention, stopping her cold. Blue eyes studied the quilt for a long tense moment, carelessly mussed as it was from my body, and most likely still warm. Reni bent to touch the bed, and I held my breath again as the girl’s eyes grew thoughtful. Angry at my lapse, no more reliable than Andry had been with her shielding, it was all I could do to stand rigidly in place as Reni softly called my name.
I bit my tongue to keep from speaking her name in turn, my fingers bunched in a fist so tight, I knew I’d find bruises later.

Cradling the ends of the wool scarf in her fingers, Reni scrutinized the neat bedroom once more. “Krag,” she whispered, “if you’re still here, please listen. I don’t think you’re guilty. You can’t be. I know you’d never do anything to hurt us, especially not me or Chase or Andry. So please hurry home. I miss you terribly. And Krag—” Reni took a deep breath, her eyes welling with tears. “Don’t forget I love you.”

The minute Reni fled the room, as though she knew I wouldn’t be able to contain myself, I sagged against the wall, sick at heart.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Editor: My Muse Author: Graeme Smith – Road Like A River


Author Info Buy Page


Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Tags  Fantasy: Urban Fantasy, Humor, Humour, Greek Mythology, Greek Myth, Greek, Kharon, Charon, truck, trucker

Release  January: 2013

Words:  69211

Pages:  280

ISBN:  978-1-77127-247-6

Price:  $5.95

Back Cover

"Hey, Charlie. You like the truck better? Than the boat, I mean?"

That’s what she said as she walked away from the last ride she should ever have taken. And this one was smart. Kharon, even if he went by the name of Charlie these days, knew she’d be okay.

But this one wasn’t just smart. She was different. Because this one came back.

Charlie's a trucker, an Independent. Meaner 'n snakes, he’s been there, done that and kicked its butt—twice. What Charlie picks up, he delivers. Now Charlie’s biggest customers want him to take on an extra little job—an investigation into missing deliveries. Charlie turns them down flat. Because when god an’ the devil (not God and the Devil—it’s a union thing) are both sounding scared, a smart trucker drives away.

Then Rosie comes back, scarred from a whipping she swears Charlie gave her. It’s not like she’s the first to try to kill him. But she damn near succeeds, and not even the idiot in the lion skin did that. And it’s soon clear that whoever’s stealing souls wants Charlie in the frame—so they can take what’s in his truck.

Now Rosie's pissed. And Charlie’s pissed-er. And someone’s going to pay. Pay a lot more than Charlie's penny. Because nobody— not god, not demon, not poly-dimensional trans-optical hyper-sentient autonomous non-organic entity—nobody touches his truck.


“How did I die, Charlie?”

Charlie smiled to himself. It wasn’t something he did often, and it felt strange. Rosie had been awake for a while, but she hadn’t moved. If he was a bettin’ man, or a bettin’ not-really-a-man, he’d have bet half the coins in the truck that would be the first question. He frowned. No. Not those coins. Never those. He didn’t need to think. He knew every one of them. Every coin, including hers. He could still hear Blair’s voice as it faded into the crackles.

“Plane crash.”

“But...but I landed! At Midland! I remember!”

“Yup. You landed. Smack.”


“See, people…people don’t like dyin’. So they tries not to. Most, they make somethin’ up. Like landin’ at Midland.”

“Most, Charlie?”

“Some remember. Some know. Those memories…they hold ‘em down. Y’all heard ghost stories, right? Haunted places?”

“But there’s no such things as ghosts, Char…” Rosie stopped.

“Right.” Charlie grinned in the dark. It felt a little less strange, as though he was getting used to it. He wondered if that was a good idea.

“But…I landed! There was…well, that guy, Charlie. He…” Rosie flushed. “Was that you, you bastard?”




“Sub-contractors?” Rosie probably thought Charlie couldn’t see the expression on her face saying he might as well have been talking Greek. Which he could, provided it weren’t the modern rubbish. Charlie shrugged. “See, in the old days, they was brung. Now…well, the damn fool got into technology. Bloody Al Gore. He didn’t invent nuthin’. Hermes should sue ‘im. Still, he don’t got no time for bringin’ souls no more. So I got to get ‘em myself. And the truck…well, a truck’s place is on the Road. So I sub-contracts. To get ‘em to the Road. To bring ‘em. Same as you was brung.”

“The Road?” Rosie had clearly heard the capital. Charlie wondered if he was slipping, or if he’d meant her to. He said nothing.

Rosie waited for an answer. It was clear one wasn’t coming. “So what now, Charlie? I still have my lily. It must be round here somewhere. I guess you take me back to the Gates? But…but I don’t have a penny.”

“You don’t?” Charlie’s voice was calm.

“No! See?” Rosie turned her pockets inside out, then reached into her back pockets. Charlie could see her face turn puzzled when her hand came out. In it was her penny.

“I have a penny, Charlie. How do I have a penny?” Charlie said nothing. “So. It’s the Gates.” For some reason, Rosie had a sad smile. She looked at the penny, then shook her head. “Hey, mister. I need a ride. Will this do?” Rosie held out the penny.

So, Charlie thought. There it was. “Ah. ‘Bout that. We need to talk.”

“Talk, Charlie? I don’t like the sound of that. Never got nothin’ good from those four words.”

“Guess them cuts an’ stuff mus’ hurt like hell, missie—um, Rosie?”

“Damn right, you son of a…” The anger was back in Rosie’s voice. She surged to her feet to hit him again. Or she would have if Cerberus hadn’t given three soft growls, and braced three heads in her lap so she couldn’t move. Charlie waited.

“Charlie?” Charlie said nothing. “Charlie? There’s…there’s no cuts, Charlie. And…and it doesn’t hurt. Even where you hit me, it doesn’t hurt.” Charlie said nothing. “Did I imagine it, Charlie? Like landing?”


“You don’t say much do you, Charlie? And even when you say somethin’, you still don’t say much, right?”

“Nope. Or yup. Take your pick, lady.”

“It’s Rosie, Charlie. Rosie. Why don’t it hurt, Charlie?”

“You know what they say, la… Rosie. An apple a day?”

“Apple, Charlie?”

“Know why they say it, Rosie?”

“Charlie. Talk sense. Or at least try. Why don’t it hurt?”

“I cain’t take you to the Gates, Rosie. See, you don’t qualify.”

“Charlie. I got my damn penny! And my lily—it’s here somewhere, Charlie. I know it is!”

 “’Tain’t that, lady.” Charlie stared into the dark. “See, you cain’t die.”

“I know, Charlie. I’m dead already. Even though I… I killed…” Rosie’s voice choked, then she caught herself. “You told me. I landed. Smack. I get it. And it’s Rosie.”

“Right. But it don’t count. Not anymore.”

“Doesn’t count?”


“Charlie. Please. Just for me. Just once. Make some sense?”

Sense. Right. Well, it had made sense to Charlie at the time. Now? Now there weren’t no easy way round it. “You’re immortal.”