Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Is it December 31st Already?

Yes, I purposefully put this post off until New Years Eve so I could finish 2013 with 200 posts even.

Moving on.


Tomorrow, I’m going to say “Seems like just yesterday it was 2013.”

No, really. I’m going to say that.

I wait all year for, well, the end of the year so I can say things like “what are you waiting for? Christmas?” on December 23rd.

Inevitably, though, as fun as these little phrases (that aren’t quite as amusing the rest of the year) are, they mean goodbye to another revolution of the Earth. The end of another 365 ¼ days (unless it’s a leap year, which this isn’t). And every year, as is custom, I recap.

So 2013, how did we do?

Pretty good actually.

I participated in three reading competitions, two of which I won, which was awesome. But not quite the point. I had a blast at all three, and that’s what it’s about. Winning is great, and it fills one with a sense of excitement and accomplishment. But it’s the fun that counts.

I survived another year of grad school. This is no small feat. Really, this deserves a metal of some kind. (K, maybe that’s pushing it.) Truthfully, though, I really feel as I improved as a writer this year. Looking at my work from January compared to now…night and day. I fell in love with my thesis (finally). It only took me almost two years. I completed my final draft! Now it’s just onto the edits, which are going pretty well. I’m in decent shape for my final deadline in April. More on that to follow.

And an excerpt for the daring

I won my first NANOWRIMO. #feelingaccomplished. Granted, I used it to write 50k of my thesis, but that still counts. Believe me.

I met and passed my goal in the 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge, clocking in with 127 of 125 books. Go me. I read some amazing material this year. Some of it was for school. Most of it was for fun. Between Brandon Sanderson and David Eddings, I refound (is that a word?) my love for epic fantasy. They helped in the “learning to love my thesis” project.

Perhaps most exciting, though, I learned to get along where I live. Mid 2012, I left my home of 23 years and followed my family (due to lack of funds) about 800 miles south. I was resistant to this change, very resistant. I hated it here for a long time. Then, this past February, I went to a writer’s group meeting. It took some time, but I adopted these people into my life. I made friends out of them, and now we do the friend thing—movies, parties, general funnies. We’re doing the New Years Eve thing tonight, and I’m grateful for every one of them.

And, of course, thank you to my family for putting up with me for another year.

Looking forward. I’ve got one semester left at Seton Hill. I’ve got lots of edits, two great critique partners, and a group of fellow June 2014 prospective graduates to make the last hurrah…hurrah. I’ve got ideas for new projects. My thesis is going to end up being expanded into a 3 or 4 book series (fingers crossed). Things are gonna happen next year.

And so without further typing of words, let’s welcome the new year.

Folks, thank you for sticking with me this year. Hope to see you back next year. Has been a bumpy but fun ride. I thank you for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

And if you haven’t, join me over at Kit ‘N Kabookle in 2014 for book and author fun! 

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Monday, December 23, 2013

I See Your Christmas and Raise you a Blog Post

Happy week of Christmas!

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, happy season of lights!

As promised last week, it is time for Lockbox Christmas fun.

Please join me for some observations about this time of year and some great videos from some great Christmas movies.


Starting sentimental and with Santa, who represents magic and goodness to me. This is a great movie.

Because, after all, a discussion of “Year without a Santa Clause” isn’t complete without these guys.


Why would you need to say “Sister Susie sitting on a thistle?”

Wrapping presents is not like riding a bike. Once you learn, you have to relearn every year, and only the very last present you wrap ends up looking like someone over the age of 10 wrapped it.

Dominic the Donkey is evil. That is all.

“The neighbors will think. Say, what’s in this drink?” There’s something very wrong with the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

“A child, a child shivers in the cold. Let us bring him silver and gold.” Um, what about blankets and food?

Did you know “I’ll be home for Christmas” had one of those “what the heck song is this” intros? Yeah, neither did I.


I just have one question. What was wrong with the doll?

At least Charlie from the last video would be safe.


And I end with a song I love from my all-time favorite Christmas movie—Muppet Christmas Carol. If this song doesn’t embrace the true spirit of the season, I don’t know what does. Please, have a wonderful week. If you celebrate, have a Merry Christmas. And no matter what, honor this time and keep its sentiments throughout the year. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Disney/Pixar are Gonna Let Me Find More Fish, and I Must Share the Happies!

I has the exciteds, and I must share.


On April 3, CBS News featured an article about the upcoming sequel to FINDING NEMO. Can you say excited?

Can you say excited? …Did I already ask that?

Doing backflips over here. Dory was my favorite character in FINDING NEMO, and I get more fish!

And to just keep swimming.

What’s more than frustrating is I can’t find a solid date of release. Some places say 2014 (which would be awesome), some 2015, and some 2016 (which would be not awesome at all). I will continue the search. (Hmm, Finding Release Date the Movie?)

Anyway, I’m excited? Are you excited? I’m excited. “This is gonna be good. I can tell.”

Hey, peeps, have an awesome weekend! See you back next week for some Christmas Lockbox fun.

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book blog

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This is the Sentence that Never Ends...

You know you want to finish the song. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

*sits patiently*

Done? K, moving on.

He crept around the chair at the center of the room that sat facing away from the door he’d initially entered the room through.


Ever written a sentence like this? After reading it, wondered “what did I do, and how do I fix it?”

I have. I read them, and I cringe. Then I remind myself that it is, in fact, a quick fix.

When you find these kinds of sentences in your writing, go back over the last few paragraphs (or back to the initial description of the scene location). These sentences often result from a lack of initial description. The writer suddenly realizes that “oh crap, the details about the room’s layout are necessary for this scene.” The writer then adds in the necessary information. The result is often sentences that look like this.

DON’T PANIC! (These may or may not be large, friendly letters.)

When this happens, take the sentence apart and make it a few sentences.

A chair sat at the center of the room, its back toward him. He crept to one side, quieting his breathing. There was no sense in letting whatever waited get the advantage.

Not the best, but you get the idea.

Then, if it suits the situation, put setting details in the initial description of the location. Keep action details where they happen. Result: shorter sentences that are less confusing and a clearer picture of what’s happening.

Now go forth and write clear prose.

Thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book blog

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My fingers are typing this blog post?

Technically, the answer to the question posed in the title of this post is “yes.”

However exact technicality of motion and awkwardness of phrasing are two different things, and I’ve come across this one quite a bit lately. And as I do when I repeatedly come across something that bugs me, I wrote a blog post. Here’s my writing advice for the day.

The title of this post exemplifies what I like to call disembodied body part syndrome (DBS for the rest of this post). Here’s another example from a sentence that no longer exists in my thesis.

“A hand rested on Kylander’s arm.”

…to which my mentor commented “was it attached to something?”

Er, yes.

“Natalie gripped Kylander’s arm.”

There we go. (The use of the stronger verb, gripped, is a discussion for another post).

But yes, avoid DBS. Give actions to people, not body parts. Otherwise, we end up with some of these interesting and potentially awkward images.

“His eyes rolled up to the ceiling.”
-flying eyeballs!

“Her arms flailed.”
-random, person-less arms flapping around in the breeze

“Her legs wrapped around his waist.”
-Oh man. This should be potentially sexy, but all I see is a set of legs with no person attached straddling some guy’s torso. *shudder*

So please, avoid DBS.

Now, back to “my fingers typed” for a moment. While technically correct, really I typed with my fingers. So to avoid awkwardness, the sentence should read “I typed.” “With my fingers” can be left off because that is the body part one would type with. However, if the person is typing with a different body part, say nose, mention that. It’s unusual and needs to be specified for the reader to get the picture.

Exceptions. As with everything else in writing, the rule is proved by its exception. (Or maybe that was the English language. Oh well.)

“Her eyes fluttered closed.”
“She fluttered her eyes closed.”

I don’t know about you, but the second one reads very awkwardly for me. You know when you’re so tired you can’t keep your eyes open? Your eyes just flutter closed seemingly of their own volition. This is a safe way to break the DBS rule if I’ve ever seen one.

“Her hair tangled in the wind.”
“She tangled her hair in the wind.”

Why would anyone do that intentionally? The only things that come to mind for me when I think about my hair getting tangled is pain and wasting time trying to untangle it. This is a decent way to break the DBS rule. Though, one might argue that “The wind tangled her hair” would be a better substitute.

There you have it. Disembodied body part syndrome. Now go forth and give people activities to perform.

Thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Friday, December 6, 2013

Frozen Left Me Anything but Cold

Good Friday,

What did you do last night? I saw Frozen. It was very cute…. “Like little baby unicorn.”

You know you saw that coming.

I want an Olaf. That is all.

I also want Idina Menzel’s vocal cords, but I’ll take what I can get. That woman is amazing. I’m talking about the voice of Elsa. You might recognize her from this.

Or this.

Like I said, amazing.

Not that Kristen Bell was any slouch in the singing department. And for those of you who have seen/know a lot about WICKED the Musical, is there any irony in the fact that Idina Menzel is again put opposite a soprano named Kristen who is the girly one out of the two?

“For the First Time” was my favorite song, especially the section where Elsa and Anna sing together.

I kept feeling bad for the male characters in this movie. Then some of them did not-so-nice things, and I didn’t feel so bad anymore. Except for Kristoff. Poor Kristoff. First his occupation. Then Olaf can’t get his name right. Really, he was a bundle of sympathy waiting to happen. I won’t mention his, umm, family troubles.

Without giving away the ending…it surprised me, but in a good way. K, I might have seen it coming a little, but I didn’t expect Disney to go in that direction, and I applaud you, most amazing animated movie makers.

All in all, I really enjoyed Frozen. I think Tangled is still my favorite, but Frozen is definitely worth the movie theatre time for those who haven’t seen it yet.

And look at that, it’s Friday. Go see Frozen. Go on…go.

And have a wonderful weekend!

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I'm Breaking up with CAPTCHA


K, I’ve had it. The last straw is broken. I went to comment on a blog the other day, and the audio version of the Completely Automatic Public Touring Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart (more commonly known as CAPTCHA…because no one wants to say the entire name) didn’t even work. How useful.

For those of you who haven’t read past posts where I’ve mentioned it, I’m legally blind and, thus, unable to operate the visual CAPTCHA challenge. Now, this wouldn’t be so bad if the audio challenges worked. Actually, that’s a lie. They aren’t even helpful when they work. What would fix this? Oh I don’t know, maybe the audio challenges being the same difficulty as the visual challenges? As it is, I can’t comment on anything that uses CAPTCHA to “Please prove you’re not a robot” because the audio challenges are impossible.

Here’s how it works for me. I go to a site. I comment. I click publish (which in a normal universe publishes something). Then I think I’m set…but no. CAPTCHA pops up and asks me to prove I’m human. Fine. Click the “get an audio challenge button.” If I’m lucky, sound comes out. I’m greeted with either a series of beeps, presumably as a warning to get ready to listen, or a too-cheerful automated voice telling me to “please type every digit you hear. Spaces are not required.” Then some garbled-beyond-recognition noise starts up that I have to listen to while typing. Did I mention that my screen reader speaks everything I type? So now I’m trying to listen to the next number while I’m typing the previous number and….

Oeiorgiongieoghuiwegweiojgeiwgoiwengoiwejf!!!!! Owegowengoiewhguewbgowegoijwoef!!!

You get the idea.

And to top it all off, the audio CAPTCHA’s are barely understandable. Don’t believe me? Let’s sample a few.

Here’s an example of one that gives numbers.

I encounter this one somewhat often. It’s not too bad, but it’s not great. They give me the digits twice, and I always think I’ve got it right. Then I click submit, and it says to try again.

I heard the following numbers: 71385830257


K, moving on. The one above was a sometimes. Unfortunately, what I get is more often like this.

Yeah, I don’t know either.

I think this is the type that asks me to “type every word you here.” And then gives me like ten words. Because the visual challenge asks its readers to read ten words. It’s what? 2, 3 at most?

I’m not even going to try and decipher this. Feel free to try and leave your guess as a comment.

Then there’s this one. Holy CAPTCHA, Bat Man! Is that understandable?

I’m pretty sure I got this one right.


Neat, huh?

And only found on YouTube.

Yes, the one that I’m the most certain of is the one I’ve never actually encountered in an actual CAPTCHA-necessary situation. Go figure.

“But, Mary. JAWS (Job Access with Speech) now comes with Convenient OCR, which is image recognition software that allows text to be read from pictures.”

Except not CAPTCHA images

Because reasons.

K, I’ve ranted and quite nicely if I do say so myself. This is usually the part where readers (either to me or in their minds) say something along the lines of “k, you’ve complained. What are you going to do now?”

Short answer—I’ll contact CAPTCHA, which I imagine will have little impact because I can’t be the only legally blind/blind person who’s ever complained. And look how much that’s done.

But then again, I can’t think of a better way to audio challenge people. My guess is that CAPTCHA can’t either, hence the stuff featured above. Rest assured, though, if I think of something better, you’ll see the MAPTCHA test all over the internet—Mary’s Apparently Possible Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.



As always, thanks for reading. Shares of this one appreciated! 

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ringing in the 2013 Christmas Season!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

And now it’s time for a little tradition. Every year on Black Friday, I kick off Christmas by blasting this song as loudly as possible. Please, join me this year...


I saw these guys live last week. If you haven’t, go see them. It’s…there are no words. And this song live. A part of my soul is complete.

Also, to those who celebrate, we are partway into it already. Happy Hanukkah!

And to everyone else, a happy holiday season!

Enjoy the rest of this holiday weekend.

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Wednesday, November 27, 2013



I said I’d get it done, and I got it done. My first Nanowin! Clocked in at 50,132 words last night. Printed my certificate of awesomeness. Uploaded my Facebook picture of bragginess. And now I’m writing the blog post of successfulness. BAM! RAAH! And to quote Hades...

And Kuzco…

I’d like to thank @NanoWordSprints on Twitter . They kept me going the last couple of days. I also got some of my more creative typos from sprints. Here are a few.

Litesen – listen—not too bad
Jayleln – should have been my heroine’s name—Jayleen
Yfo – of—really not sure how that happened

And now info, a pledge, and news.

Even with all this productivity, my thesis is not “done.” I still have a few scenes to write. Much of the 50k went to rewriting chapters that I realized I couldn’t use as they were. I didn’t cheat. It was all new content, believe me.

Nanowrimo is big on continuing the productivity year-round. Motivation is key, and here’s mine. My goal is to finish this draft of my thesis by January residency—Jan 9, 2014. Plenty of time? Let’s hope. But to help keep myself honest, I’ll post weekly updates on here. And when I finish the draft, there will be an excerpt. K, I’ve said it. I’m sticking to it. Keep your eyes peeled for a bit of my thesis upcoming.

And now, the news.

I participated in an aspiring author blog tour this month. My interview went up on Monday, and I’m sharing.

2013 Aspiring Author Blog Tour: Mary DeSantis

Hop on over and check it out. I’m being my usual (interesting) self, and there’s an excerpt from my urban fantasy.

Thank you to Tracee Ford for organizing the event and allowing me to participate. I had a lot of fun with the interview.

Right (Write?). This is DeSantism signing off. If I don’t get back on here tomorrow, Happy Thanksgiving!

A friendly reminder—the Goddess Fish book tours I used to host and all other book/author promo stuff is now done over at my book blog: Kit ‘N Kabookle.

As always, thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Mars and a Haiku

Maven went to Mars today.

There was a Mars haiku contest earlier this year for the Maven. Winners would have their haiku sent to Mars. Everyone who submitted got their name sent to Mars. I missed the deadline—life—but I wrote a haiku.

In honor of the trip, I will share that haiku here.

*drum roll*

It was once a god.

And now it’s just a planet.

What a culture shock.

Have a good night, everyone.

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Whole New Musical World!

Disney’s Aladdin is coming to the big stage!

For those who know me (and those who read my little blurb at the top of the blog) you know this is momentous. Another Disney on Broadway extravaganza! They’ve done it several times before with Beauty and the Beast (1994), the extremely popular The Lion King (1997), Tarzan (2006), and The Little Mermaid (2008).

Casting this bad boy we have Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, and Courtney Reed as Princess Jasmine. And (drum roll please) the most exciting cast announcement—Jonathan Freeman as Jafar. For those who don’t know, he voiced Jafar in the original 1992 animated movie. I’m jumping up and down over here.

The amazing Alan Menken is back to write more music, and the show opens on Broadway on March 20 of next year. I see a trip to NY in my future.

There is one sad face moment. There won’t be an Abu. Really, no Abu? How can you have Aladdin without Abu? Still, the crystal ball shows me in NY next summer.

And possible future spoilers. I read an article that said The Jungle Book might be in the works. How cool would that be? No, really?

Peeps, have an awesome weekend! How are my Nanoites doing? I hit 30k today. Must…keep…writing….

As always, thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Monday, November 11, 2013

Achievement Unlocked: Halfway Mark for NANOWRIMO!

I broke 25k for Nano!!!

Really, that’s all. Lol. And I’m just feeling pretty pumped about it.

How’s everyone else doing?

And while I’m here, week 2 is the slump week. Though I’ve never won Nano before, I have had to keep writing even when I wanted to do anything but. Here are a few things that work for me when those crash and burn moments hit.

-Take a break
People never think of this one. Stand up. Walk around. Dance if you have to. Moving helps the creative juices flow.

-Work on a different part of the story
Nano’s challenge is write 50k, not write 50k in a consecutive manner. If chapter 12 is calling to you, write chapter 12. Anything to keep writing.

-Surround yourself with other writers/people doing Nano
Whether this be local writers or some form of an online writing community, having other people there to encourage you helps. And don’t forget to encourage back.

Feel free to connect with me on nano: desantism

Here’s to the next 25k!

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Friday, November 8, 2013

Showers, Elevators, and Other Small Spaces I Often Think like a Writer In

Hey all,

It’s occurred to me that I have some of my best writing-related ideas in small, sometimes cramped spaces. Or maybe small, cozy spaces.

I’ll elaborate. This morning was a rather typical morning for me since the start of the semester back in July. I woke up at some god-forsaken hour (all right, 6am isn’t really god-forsaken) with my thesis running through my head. Most people can’t get to sleep when something’s stressing them out. I have the opposite problem. I fall asleep fine. My subconscious just wakes me up before I want to wake up with a far-too-cheerful “Yo! It’s thinking time.” At this point, I wonder if it’s actually “Step In Time” or, more accurately, “Quittin Time,” but I keep these thoughts to myself.

The next step in this “fun” process is the thinking, which is an awful lot like dialogue. It goes something like this.

Brain: “So…chapter [#]….”
Me: “Go away. It’s still mostly dark out.”
Brain: “But chapter [#]….”
Me: “Really, I don’t want to do this now.”

And so on. This goes on for about an hour, during which time my end of the conversation becomes riddled with more and more curse words.

So we started around 6, right? Let’s say around…8:15, the following occurs.

Brain: “Well, you could do this.”
Me: “Look, I don’t want to say it again. I don’t…. Wait a minute.” *takes brain’s suggestion and expands on it* “That’s amazing! Chapter [#] problem solved.”

By this point it’s eight thirty, and I’ve been thinking too much to fall back to sleep. So I get up and start my day.

Notice, though, the location of this genius-ish work. Bed. Under the covers and relatively safe. It’s a small, cozy place.

I’ve experienced similar bouts of genius in the shower (those, however, usually disappear by the time I get out from under the water). I’ve also had “uhuh” moments in elevators. I’m wondering if that one’s related to the elevator pitch. Elevators just might be natural places for writers to exist. Hoping that’s not true. I’m not overly fond of elevators.

This brings up another question, though. How desperate will a writer get for inspiration? When I start hanging out under tables, I’ll know I’ve gotten to that point.

Any small, cramped, and/or cozy spaces you hang out to get ideas? Suggestions for new places for my family members to find me and then puzzle over my mind welcome.

Thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween 2013

Hey, that rhymes!

Good Monday,

As promised on Saturday, last week in detail.

Tuesday – Dinner out with writers. Costumes encouraged, which, of course, means I dressed up.

Wednesday – Open mike night with different writers. Costumes encouraged, which, of course, means I dressed up.

I read from my thesis Wednesday night and won first prize. *jumps up and down.* The overall reaction to what I read was positive. That made me feel much better about myself and the project. I’d post the excerpt I read, but I want to use it at my thesis reading next June, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

In addition to reading, I sang Reflection from Disney’s Mulan. I also dressed as Mulan as you can see from the picture. They said we got bonus points for dressing as something related to what we read. No, my thesis is not Mulan, but this post (one of my first ever) explains the relationship.

Writer Point: At every opportunity you get, read your work before an audience. It’s great practice. It helps eliminate stage fright, and it gives you feedback reading to yourself can never give.

Thursday – Halloween night. Halloween party, costumes more or less required.

I’ve always wanted purple hair. A night of fun—games, conversation, food, and drink (both types).

Friday – Nano kick-off (no costumes)

I hit the ground running on Friday with about 2500 words. I’m now sitting just past 7k. How’s everyone else doing?

Stay tuned for more writer stuff and more nano updates. Feel free to traverse the nano with me here with word counts or goals.

Thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Saturday, November 2, 2013

What a Week

It’s another Saturday post thing because I was very MIA this past week. So much happened. Details forthcoming.

For now, NANOWRIMO has begun! Who’s participating? I am (sort of). This month, nano is synonymous with “finish the final draft of my thesis…or at least start finishing it.”

Anyway, I’ll be back in force next week. Have a productive writing weekend nano peeps!

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Friday, October 25, 2013

Five Disney Sequels Worth Seeing at Least Once

Happy Thursday,

I’m not sure what’s so happy about the random days I begin with “happy [day],” but the world needs more happy…or something.

Anyway, I recently visited a friend back home. For more that happened during that trip, see my post about King Richard’s Fair.

This bit is less medieval…er, well, actually. It has some medieval qualities.

If you grew up in America, odds are you watched Disney—willingly or not. Odds are also good you tried one or two Disney sequels and promptly decided “umm, no.” Some of the Disney sequels weren’t so great. Heck, a lot of sequels aren’t so great. The friend I went to visit and I, however, have dedicated at least part of our lives to watching as many Disney animated features as possible. Even if we just watch them once and then say “never again.” We did this with Mulan II.

I can’t speak for her, but I didn’t have that reaction to the five Disney sequels detailed below. Have a read and check them out. Proof II and IIIs don’t have to make you sad.

Five Disney Sequels Worth Seeing at Least Once

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World
Disney does love triangle

As you probably guessed from the title, this film is all about Pocahontas in England. King James sends John Rolfe to open the lines of communication with the Native Americans, and Pocahontas decides to go to England to assist in advocating for peace. Radcliffe is back and out to discredit her. John Smith is back, and there’s that love triangle. So many voices, so many paths. Can Pocahontas learn to “listen to the spirit within” to save her people?

This is really the story of Pocahontas learning who she is. At the end of the first movie, she has an idea, enough to stay while John Smith returns to England. In this one, we get to see her become a woman. And we even get some historical accuracy. What am I talking about? Watch the movie. (I know. I’m evil.)

Also, I have a 16-year-old girl crush on John Rolfe. Carry on.

Opening song: Where do I Go from Here?

Cinderella III: A Twist in Time
Let’s play the “what if” game.

“What if happily ever after never happened?” Cinderella’s step mother and sisters have been put to work in the palace kitchen. Sweet justice, or is it? Anastasia (one of the step sisters) just wants a love of her own. Moving toward this goal, she steals the Fairy Godmother’s wand, but the step mother has other plans. She turns back time to the night Cinderella fit the slipper and makes the slipper fit Anastasia. But Cinderella is sure she danced with the prince. Can she fight her former foes and magic to regain her happy ending?

Why wasn’t this Cinderella 1? Obvious problems with turning back time to events that didn’t happen aside, this was so much better than the first movie. Talk about a real heroine. Cinderella goes out and gets what she wants. She doesn’t sit around and wait for the mice to make her a dress. Then when that dress gets ripped up, she doesn’t run into the backyard and cry. She goes to the palace. She finds a way to stay at the palace. She fights with everything she’s got. And Anastasia—she really exhibits true character development. Watch the movie.

Opening song: Perfectly Perfect Year (Which has been stuck in my head for a week, carry on.)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame II
Rated G? *awah?*

It’s the festival of love. Quasimodo wants a love of his own, someone whose name he can shout as he rings La Fidele (a bell) over Paris. Enter Madellaine. She works for a shady circus owner who wants to steal La Fidele. He sets her the task of beguiling the bell ringer to get him out of the way. But love blossoms fast. Will Madeline turn aside her employer to help Quasimodo protect La Fidele?

After the first movie, this was tame. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this clip of “Heaven’s Light, Hell Fire.” For a kid’s movie, it’s…well, you’ll see. This one is fun. The gargoyles are back, and their all about helping Quasimodo find happiness.

Also, I’m 99% sure Achilles (Phoebus’s horse) was the inspiration for Maximus in Tangled.

Opening song: Le Jour D’Amour

Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure
“I’d give anything to have what you have” “And I’d give anything to have what you have.”

Scamp (Tramp and Lady’s son) is sick of the house dog life. He “wants to be wild and free.” After a messy episode in the house, he is chained outside for a night. He escapes and runs off to join the junkyard dogs. But Angel, a junkyard dog who wants a home, is adamant there’s more to life than the streets. Scamp must make a choice: freedom or love.

Scamp dreams of the life he doesn’t know one of his parents had. This is akin to Melody in the Little Mermaid II. Yes, Disney recycles plots. Lol. It’s okay, though. Lady and the Tramp II is still fun. All the old good guys are back, and there’s even Scamp’s three (identical) sisters. Why is it that, in animated movies, daughters always look like the mom and sons always look like the dad? Genetics? Oh well.

Opening song:Welcome Home

The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride
Two prideholds. both alike in dignity, in fair Sahara where we set our scene.

Kiara is just like Simba was at her age—adventurous and prone to disobeying her father. Kovu has been trained from birth to avenge Scar and take his place as king of Pride Rock. Their paths cross on one fated day when they are cubs, and they become friends. Years later, they meet as young adults. Kiara has grown into a princess and Kovu into a killer. But the power of memory and love is strong. Working together can they bring peace to their warring prides?

The Lion King was Hamlet. The Lion King II is Romeo and Juliet. I’m not sure what the Lion King 1.5 was (Hamlet on drugs?). In any case, II is worth a watch. Timon and Pumba are back and just as funny as they were in the first movie. All the original voices are back as well, even Mufasa…for one line. Speaking of Mufasa, little logic problem.

Simba to Kovu “My father’s law will prevail.” The law about the outsiders (Covu’s pride) being exiled…the outsiders who only became an issue when Scar took control…long after Mufasa’s death. So…what law was that?

Oh who cares! Just watch the movie. 

Opening song: He Lives in You

K, there you have it. If you have some free time and a desire to revisit your childhood, check these out. And if you only watch them once, I only said to watch them once. Brilliant, I’ve just absolved myself of all responsibility.

Thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Has an Excited

Good Wednesday,

In the midst of going crazy for my final deadline for thesis this semester, I realized I can finally share some news I’ve been sitting on since May.

I’m a first reader for Daily Science Fiction—a magazine of speculative fiction.

No really. My name is on the website’s About Us page.

K, I’m done bragging. I just has an excited that my name is on the website.

Speaking of the website, subscribe to DSF’s daily e-mailed stories. It’s free, and they have great content (and not just because I help pick it out). I’m one of several first readers, so I only pick out a fraction, and not all the stories I pick get published.

That said, I need to take a moment to say something positive about the short fiction market. There’s a lot of talk about rejection—why stories are rejected, the grumbles when a story is rejected, what to do to lessen your rejection ratio. From the other side of the desk, there is no better feeling than opening your e-mail and seeing a story you put through to the second round of the submissions process. I’ve seen a few of mine since I started (there was a couple of month delay before we started influencing what was published). One of the ones I saw get published was my favorite of all the stories I’ve read in the cue. I was thrilled I helped that story find a home.

So keep positive about the short story market. There are plenty of readers out there who are ecstatic when that gem pops up.

Thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

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-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book tour blog.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Announcing My New Book Promotion Blog

Good Friday,

Since last December, I have hosted book tours for Goddess Fish Promotions. I am continuing this practice, but the location of the book tours is changing. Starting on Monday, Out of the Lockbox will, once again, be devoted entirely to my personal posts. You lucky kids. You get to put up with me.

For those who come for the book tours, fear not. My new blog is up and functioning. It doesn’t have content yet, but it will bright and early Monday morning. Interested, give it a follow at…

Kit ‘N Kabookle

I know. I’m so creative. (Ok, you weren’t thinking that, but I was.)

Don’t forget about me over here, though. Lockboxes are people too.

Have a good weekend.

@desantismt on Twitter

Follow me…if you dare.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My First Renaissance Fair

Good day,

I pray this post meets you well. What a fine Tuesday morning it is, and what a splendid day yesterday was. I partook in my first ever Renaissance fair—the King Richard’s Fair in Carvershire, MA. And I must say it was a sensational time. Please, join me as I relive such an exquisite experience.

The day started at the hour of seven and thirty. I, High Sorceress Vivelan MonClave, rose and immediately began that task for which I had been commissioned—the protection of the lovely Princess Clarabell, a visitor to King Richard’s fair land. For this task, I summoned a protector demon. The incantation was spoken, my staff woven in the proper sequence. A puff of smoke clouded the gate to the demon realm, and from that gate came…Fynrette—the near child demon-ish creature. He/she/it? Insisted on calling me “mummy.” I was not amused. Her highness was, however, and we continued our preparations.

At the hour of nine, we climbed aboard our carriage and set forth on the hour and a quarter journey to King Richard’s kingdom. The time was well spent in merriment and additional preparations for entering a foreign land. Upon our arrival, Princess Clarabell conducted herself with the utmost grace. Fynrette continued to call me “mummy” *gnashes teeth), and we entered the fair grounds.

Our first point of interest was the talented gentleman Jacques de Whipper. He hailed from the far realm of Texas, and entertained us with his tricks of the whip. With a mustache rivaled by none and the most pure French accent heard this side of the great Atlantic, the princess, Fynrette, and I applauded graciously. I shall say here that we came across the gentleman Jack later as well and witnessed him whipping a whip that was, indeed, aflame. Glorious.

From Jack the Whipper’s performance, we next briefly stopped at a clothing shop. Fynrette wished to learn the ways of the corset. The demon wound up fitting one of the garments, and we proceeded to the jousts.

What a fine group of knights to compete in such a grand competition. My companions and I supported the handsome and brave Sir Geoffrey, who stated his purposes in Carvershire as thus: “to kick arrrrrrrs” and “to drink beer.” Well said, Sir Geoffrey. Well said. And well played. Sir Geoffrey went on to win two of the three events in the joust. He may have too won the third had it not come to a tie and his competition not happened upon a spurt of luck. Still, a great man Sir Geoffrey is.

Ah, and a moment to pay tribute to one of the other knights. Though his name escapes me (for who is as important as Sir Geoffrey?), the announcers introduced him as the “well-manicured.” My fellow supporters of Geoffrey and I found this to our amusement and upon laughed. Indeed, we still laughed when “well-manicured” rode his mount past our seats. The knight, apparently not so amused, told us, in no terms of uncertainty, to “shut up.” Now it is clear, I hope, why I supported Sir Geoffrey.

Now, before I tell of the next great entertainment, pause with me to envision the beauty of Carvershire. Trees climb to the sky. Fields stretch to the horizon. Many a crier shouts of entertainments beyond your wildest dreams. Merchants sell their wares. Scents of meat, breads, and desserts fly on the wind, tantalizing the senses. Such a lovely affair.

Ah, of music, you ask. Well, that is where my companions and I traveled next. “Choice of Voice” a competition of song. King Richard himself, his jester, and the daughter of the Master of Ceremonies judged acts who competed to be selected for teams. Each team would then compete so the audience might select the “most evil.”

“Help choose the bad guy.” Sung to the tune of a certain “God save the people” from an entertainment named Godspell. What voices. Their strength was much. Their talents were great. And their harmonies lovely to hear. This entertainment was divided into two portions. The first culminated with the dividing of the teams into the Killer Clowns, the Nefarious Nuns, and the Vicious Vikings.

Another moment, please. I must here make note of the lovely sisters who sang of being Jocular. Their tune matched that of a certain Popular from a musical performance of the WICKED variety.

Upon the conclusion of the first portion of Choice of Voice, my companions and I sought sustenance. As all other elements of King Richard’s realm, feasting was most enjoyable. Exquisite meat and vegetable filled our eager stomachs. With luncheon behind us, we next traveled to a merchant’s stand where we browsed wears of the finest craftsmanship. It was not long, though, before we returned for the finale of “Choice of Voice.”

The second portion of the performance proved as wonderful as the first. The Vikings (at King Richard’s royal command) usurped the opportunity to perform first and were delightful. The clowns performed second, equally splendid. My favorite, however, and the favorite of my companions was the nuns. After all “girls just wanna be nuns…amen.” Though, the clowns deserve special mention for a tune similar in all respects from Defying Gravity, a song from the musical entertainment of the WICKED variety. And, indeed, the clowns won the competition by bribery. Such foul play, but I am certain King Richard will see them properly punished.

With the most evil selected (and then deselected due to a change of heart on the part of the evil-doers), the princess and I traversed the realm until we arrived at the showing of large felines. Finally, I managed to (if only temporarily) rid myself of the mummy-calling Fynrette. The princess and I, though, enjoyed ourselves and learned much about tigers and their existence and history. A chimpanzee also joined the tigers, and I wish to extend a message to the fair woman beside me who spoke “I can’t take it anymore. I want a monkey.”

At the culmination of Tale of the Tiger, the princess and I regained Fynrette as a companion and treated ourselves to lavish desserts of such grand quality. My cinnamon roll was especially delicious. My compliments to King Richard’s many chefs. After filling our sweet tooths’ demands, we browsed again the venders. The princess purchased two silver rings. I must say, they fit her royal bearing. Myself, I found a pendent talisman of a winged horse. I have heard tales that such charms are of assistance in the reading of thesis-like material, especially when the thesis-like material contains winged horses. I deemed it a perfect match and was more than happy to support the economy of Carvershire.

Oh sad day. My telling of events is almost at an end. But first, a moment to mention two dear friends I made. Of all the performers in King Richard’s glorious realm, none stole my heart so much as a blonde-haired minstrel and his guitfiddle. I danced to his folk music, and he sang for me. We bid one another a happy festival and saw one another no more. But I must here give him compliment on his talent—both instrumental and vocal.

And the last. I dare say I may have been a bit too overprotective of the princess in the beginning. As the day wore on, I became less rigid, but in the beginning, a man came too close. I told him I would turn him into a toad, and he responded in kind as such: “Not again.”

And this concludes my retelling. My only wish is that I could have done more. I must here thank King Richard and all the people of his realm for a day like no other I have ever experienced. I intend to return in future years to the festival.

Fair thee well Carvershire.

And to those who followed this retelling, thank you for your time and attention. I must now return to teaching Fynrette not to eat babies. She is stubborn but developing nicely. I hope to see you here again soon.

Who may be found in the bird’s twittering place @desantismt.

Follow…if thee dares.

P.S. Many awards to the man who dressed in a bathrobe and brought a towel.

Friday, October 11, 2013


THE WAR INSIDE by M. Kircher
Ya dystopian paranormal. Book 1 in the Horizons Trilogy

Q. What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?

It sounds so cliché, but The Lord of the Rings trilogy changed my life. Those books, plus everything written by Anne McCaffrey, made me want to write stories in a major way. I have been a bookworm all my life; my parents used to bribe me to have play-dates! But I’d always say, “No thanks, I’m going to go up to my room to read.” Then, when I was about thirteen, my grandmother presented me with books by Tolkien and McCaffrey as birthday presents and that was it, I was hooked on science fiction and fantasy. I love diving into new worlds and fantastic scenarios, and I really feel that sci-fi empowers readers. The genre pushes the envelope and makes the reader imagine what it would be like to have to special powers, to do that amazing thing, to finish that impossible quest. I’d like to hope that the emotion these stories inspire will carry over into real life. That we can all tap into the courage of our favorite hero or heroine, and do something awesome with our own gifts and talents. And I mean, who didn’t sit in a movie theater watching Frodo destroy the One Ring and get tingles? I want to write stories that inspire action and create tingles.

Q. What genre(s) do you write?

In fiction I write YA Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Romance. (Sub-genres of Paranormal, Dystopian, Metaphysical, and Visionary)

My non-fiction work deals with Relationships, Dating, and Marriage. (Under Melissa Kircher)

Q. The War Inside: Book One in the Horizons Trilogy

The end of the world is only just the beginning. So eighteen-year-old Thea discovers when her solitary life on a dying Earth is shattered by a mysterious dream, a devastating choice, and a strange gift that propels her on a journey towards the restoration of all mankind.

Thea is bitter and alone; eking out her miserable life on the sunless, cloud-covered Earth she inhabits. A terrifying dream convinces her to save the life of an injured girl, and despite her misgivings, Thea decides to rescue sixteen-year-old Viviana. She soon learns that gentle Viv has a life-threatening infection, as well as a freakish patch of glowing skin over her heart. When this light spreads to Thea, causing her palms to glow, she is forced to trust Caden, an arrogant, lazy, and annoyingly handsome boy she despises. Caden has a map to the last city on Earth, and the only place that might have a cure for both Viv's infection and the strange light on Thea's hands. As the trio embark on a journey through the barren wilderness, Thea and Caden discover, and try to fight, their mounting attraction to each other. Along the way they are joined by Rain, Naomi, and Enoch who explain that the light is not a curse, but a powerful gift meant to heal the polluted Earth and reconnect the remnants of humanity. When the group learns that Viv is the key to this planet-wide redemption, and that there are deadly shadows who will do anything to keep humans in the darkness forever, they each must make the difficult decision to help Viv fulfill her destiny...and save the world.

Don't miss THE WAR INSIDE, an exciting young adult dystopian/fantasy novel by debut author M. Kircher.

Q. Spoilers?

Thea felt as if she’d been punched in the stomach. “I’m nothing like you,” she growled in a low, threatening tone.

Caden stood up and held out his glowing palms. “If you had seen these for the first time, right after being attacked by a terrifying creature that obviously intended to kill you, wouldn’t you have left, too?” he asked. “None of this feels real, Thea. But somehow it is.” He reached down to one of the clay pots by his feet and grabbed a handful of dry, gray earth. The light from his palm spread into the dirt, and it became moist, brown soil. He let it crumble and fall through his fingers back into the pot.

“It’s real. All of it. And Viv. She changed me, even before I left, I think. I started to feel things, and it scared me. Is that what you want me to say, Thea? I was scared; I admit it.”

Thea hunched her shoulders, knowing Caden was right. If she had been in his place, she would have walked away. Without a second thought.

Q. For aspiring writers, any tips?

Cultivate skin like a rhino and a teachable spirit. There will always be people that don’t like your work. That’s okay. Writing is art and it is subject to the opinions of others. Don’t let criticism get you down. Keep writing, keep working, and keep putting yourself out there.

But, you must also look for ways to get better. A teachable spirit means that you listen to critics and see if they might have helpful insights. Work with editors, instead of against them. Every editor I’ve had has made me a better writer. Always be open to opportunities that will help you learn and grow. And above all…enjoy your work!

Q. What’s your favorite book/genre to read?

Science Fiction & Fantasy hands down. Give me a well-written book and a new world to get lost in and I’ll stay up waaaaaay too late. I’ll even skulk around in the book sales that libraries have looking for older sci-fi and fantasy gems. You can get some pretty good deals for a dollar. I’ve also been known to get lost in a romance, or two, or three. But they have to have a happy ending because I’m not a fan of tearjerkers. I still have not read or seen The Notebook, I just know it will break my heart.

Q. What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

Honestly, The War Inside is my favorite so far. But I think that will change when I get to the third book in the trilogy. In the third installment, Viviana really grows up and comes into herself. I can’t wait to write it and see her master the true potential of her power. I’m so excited to be writing books now, as well as blogs and magazine articles, and I just can’t get enough of thinking up new plots and characters. I feel like it’s almost easier to write books. You have so much more room to flesh things out and see where the story takes you.

Thank you so much for having me!
-M. Kircher


M. KIRCHER graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts from Gordon College and is currently a writer, blogger, and artist. The War Inside is her first novel, but there are more to come including the second book in The Horizons Trilogy, The Gray Horizon and Dreamcatchers, a modern, feminine twist on the legend of Rip Van Winkle. Since its release, The War Inside has hit Amazon.com’s Kindle Top 100 Bestsellers in “Dystopian” & “Metaphysical & Visionary Fantasy.”

M. Kircher devours YA, science fiction, fantasy, and romance on a regular basis and is immensely happy to pour her time and energy into creating stories for other people to enjoy. Bob Ross and J.R.R. Tolkien tie for her two favorite people of all time. Kircher and her husband write regularly for Relevant Magazine and Simply Youth Ministry. They also just had their first marriage book published called 99 Thoughts on Marriage and Ministry (Group Publishing, 2013) M. Kircher lives in Connecticut with her husband, one energetic son, and a new baby girl.

Check out M. Kircher’s website and blog. Follow her on Twitter at @MKircher83, and “like” her on Facebook Connect with her on Goodreads, and find her on Amazon.

Also, buy THE WAR INSIDE on Amazon.

Hey readers,

You’re welcome, M. Thank you for the awesome interview!

Follow the rest of the tour here.

And don’t forget to comment for a chance at a prize.

The author will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon.com gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Comma Rage

Hi folks,

I raged the other day. The poor comma. It’s one of the most misused punctuation marks out there, probably because there’s so many ways to use, and therefore abuse, it. It’s understandable in some cases. Proper comma usage is confusing. I know I mess it up. There are two uses, however, that are so basic. And yet I see them done wrong all the time. These are direct address and compound sentences.

-Direct address

When someone is addressed, separate their name/title/pronoun substitute with a comma. I’ll use a famous little joke to prove my point.

“Let’s eat grandpa.”
“Let’s eat, grandpa.”

Not only does the comma save grandpa’s life here, it changes the meaning of the sentence. In the first, the speaker is suggesting grandpa would make a nice meal. In the second, the speaker is telling/inviting grandpa to partake in a meal that is, in fact, not comprised of grandpa (or at least not that particular grandpa). I can’t even begin to say how many times I see the comma of direct address left off. Writers, I beg you, it’s a small, simple thing. Do it.

-Compound sentences

“I wanted to go to the party but mom said I couldn’t.”


“I wanted to go to the party, but mom said I couldn’t.”


There are lies spreading that when “and” connects two sentences, the comma is not needed. This is, as I just said, a lie. You need the comma before a conjunction in a compound sentence with “and,” “or,” “but,” “nor,” “so,” “for,” and “yet.” I repeat. You need the comma.

As a matter of style, it is sometimes said the comma can be dropped before conjunctions separating very short sentences. While this may be the case. Don’t do it. You will be taken less seriously as a writer.

As an addendum to this point, don’t add commas when the conjunction does not separate complete thoughts.

“She swept the floor, and made the bed.”


“She swept the floor and made the bed.”


And I wonder what it says about MS Word’s “grammar check” that it didn’t pick up these errors. *faceplant*

Anyway, go forth and use commas in these situations correctly.

Thanks for your comma patience.

@desantismt on Twitter

Follow me…if you dare.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Writer Realization #1

So numbered in case of future, bloggable realizations. Not because it was the first ever.

Good Friday,

A very short piece of writerly advice for the weekend. I need to get back to the thesis. The countdown began a few weeks ago. Less than 200 days till deadline.

Filtering. My mentor hammered the ultimate filtering lesson home for me this week, and here I will try to convey it. Many things with writing, for me, have crested over my awareness like a wave. This was one of those things. It just hit me, and I got it.

Two types of filtering I already knew about.

-Sensory filters – sensory words that pull the reader away from the character
He saw/heard/felt/smelled/tasted

-Thought filters – thought-related words that pull the reader away from the character
He thought/imagined/remembered/believed/any variation of these

I’m going to call the new one I learned this week general filtering – sentence construction that takes the reader away from the character.

Sentence with filter: “He couldn’t understand it.”
Sentence without filter: “Understanding eluded him.”

Sentence with filter: “She would never get there in time.”
Sentence without filter: “There was no time.”

The non-filtered sentences aren’t the only possible rewrites. They’re just there to get the point across. Take filtering out of your pros, and the emotions come through a million times stronger.

Now, go forth and create noteworthy prose.

See you next week.

@desantismt on Twitter

Monday, September 30, 2013

WAKING UP DEAD by Margo Bond Collins

Good Monday,

I have a guest today. I’m pleased to welcome Margo Bond Collins and her paranormal mystery, WAKING UP DEAD, to the Lockbox.


Hi, everyone! First I want to thank Mary for letting me take over the blog for today’s stop on my pre-release teaser tour. I’m discussing my new paranormal mystery Waking Up Dead. It’s forthcoming from Solstice Publishing and available via Amazon on October 8, and I’m pretty excited!

Be sure to add Waking Up Dead to your Goodreads bookshelves.

When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?



I needed someone I could talk to. If such a person even existed.

So I started looking.

Abramsville is a small town, but it still has roughly 15,000 people. Surely one of them had to be sensitive to ghosts. I didn’t, however, consider how long it would take to test that many people. Or even just the adults.

So I started with the ones that I already knew had some sensitivity. I made my way to their houses, stood in front of them, waved my arms, jumped up and down, and screamed until I would have turned blue in the face if I’d been alive.

Some of them jumped a little, startled by something they almost saw out of the corners of their eyes. Several of them shivered and turned up the thermostat or wrapped themselves in sweaters.

And the guy who had seen me behind him in the mirror? This time he really did pee himself. Desperate as I was, I decided that he was too easily spooked to help me. What policeman was going to believe some pee-soaked lunatic who came in blathering about the evidence a ghost had told him about? He’d probably get arrested himself. Anyway, I had absolutely no assurance that he actually heard me when I said, “Please. You have to help me.”


About the Author

Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy, forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.


Connect with Margo

-Google Plus
-Goodreads Author Page
-Facebook Author Page
-Facebook Novel Page

And check out the Book Trailer.


Be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of four copies of Waking Up Dead or a $10 Amazon card--and follow the tour or come back here once a day for even more chances to win!

Enter to Win

Friday, September 27, 2013

Birthday Week

Good Friday,

So on Tuesday I hit the quarter of a century mark. Yes, I’m 25 years old, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it’s been a bumpy, but pretty awesome, ride so far, and I’m excited to see what happens next. On the other hand…. I’m quarter of the way to 100!! *runs in circles and screams*

K, breathing.

I like being an adult. I like understanding the world. Well, there are a lot of things I don’t like about the world, but on a day like today when the sun is shining and the sky is that perfect shade of blue, there’s a lot to love about this planet.

That said, I miss childhood. I miss the days when it was socially acceptable to make a tent out of your mother’s dining room chairs and a blanket. I miss the days when I could believe lions were friendly because, in the movies, they befriended animals who would otherwise be food. (Now I know there’s one person reading this thinking “You don’t still do those things?” Ten points if you admit it in the comments.) Sometimes I want to go back. I want to believe again. I want my dining room to be a forest or the ocean floor or a distant world inhabited by orange dancing bookshelves. (It made sense in my head.) But as I’ve been told countless times, there’s no going back.

I’m going through my stuff because my family is trying to get our two storage units down to one. I opened a container last week and found my Barbies. You have to understand, when I was a kid, I had more Barbies than one could possibly know what to do with. Prior to moving out of my old house, I gave most to my little cousin and kept my eight or so favorites, dressed in my favorite outfits. I opened another container and found all my stuffed animals. I grabbed my teddy bear in a bear hug (pun maybe intended) and didn’t let go for a good ten/fifteen minutes. There are probably video cameras in the unit hallways. I didn’t care. I wanted to feel like a kid again.

My local friends threw me a birthday party last Saturday. (BTW. Thanks, guys!) There was talking, cake, and, my favorite, games. We (a bunch of adults) played Apples to Apples and had a blast. Yes, Cards Against Humanity is the “more adult” version, but Apples to Apples is family friendly. (Plus, with friends like mine, it can be just as horrible.) The point is, we played. A bunch of adults sat down and played a game that didn’t involve gambling, stripping, or drugs/alcohol. That needs to happen more often. My mom says she’s perpetually 12. I think she’s got the right idea.

Now, how am I going to relate this to writing? Maybe I’m not. (Okay, I am.) Below are the 5 books I loved most as a kid. Feel free to add your favorite childhood reads in the comments…beside your admission that you still make tents out of chairs and a blanket.

These are in no particular order.


As always, thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

P.S. I share a birthday with Jim Henson—you know, creator of the Muppets. Happy belated, Jim! For some birthday Muppet fun, check out last year’s bday post.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


ALL THE COLORS OF LOVE by Jessica Freely
A gay young adult science fiction romance

It sucks being the son of a super villain. At home, Harry spends half of his time getting medical treatments and the other half tied up in his father's underwater lair. It was different when his mother was alive, but she disappeared when Harry was six. He can't seem to stay out of trouble at school, and his new roommate, Antonin, thinks he’s a spaz, but somehow Harry has to find a way to stop his father's evil plans.

Antonin Karganilla wants to become a comic book artist, but other than that, being gay is the most normal thing about him. His uncle is an aquatic plant man, his aunt is a molecular biologist back from the dead, and his mom is an overprotective pain in the butt. Antonin's in boarding school and it's starting to look like he and this Harry kid might have a lot in common... and that means a whole new set of problems.

He just wasn’t used to feeling like this, was all. Sometimes when he was alone he shook with it -- pinpricks of terror all over his body. Terror because he couldn’t quite understand how someone as fucked up as him could feel this good.

But then he’d think of Antonin, and he’d remember.

Harry took his customary seat at the back of the class and settled in for an hour of mysteryspeak from Professor Brill. Not Antonin, though. Antonin sat up at the front of the class with his notebook and his pencil, ready to take notes.

Harry had known Antonin was smart from the get-go, and it hadn’t taken long for him to appreciate his fine, fierce beauty either. But it wasn’t until Antonin assured him with calm and deadly certainty that the Old Man was as good as dead that Harry appreciated just how savage Antonin really was. If there was any chance at all of ridding the world of his father, it lay with Antonin along with every other hope Harry had ever had.

Brill was blathering on about the square of the hippopotamus or something, and for no reason at all, Antonin glanced over his shoulder at Harry with a little smile. Later he’d probably nag Harry for not taking notes, but Harry wouldn’t really mind. It was worth it to get that glance and that smile, a snapshot moment of dark eyes and soft lips that he could spend the rest of the day falling into.

He was in such deep shit.


Jessica Freely can't resist a wounded hero. As a reader and a writer, her favorite stories are of soul mates finding redemption in each other's arms. Married to the love of her life in a beautiful relationship based on mutual goofiness, Jessica also warps minds as an instructor in Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction MFA program. Her dog, Ruthie, doesn't seem to care that Jessica's an award-winning and best-selling author in multiple genres. She just wants to play tug of war with Jessica's pages.

Check out Jessica’s website/blog. Visit her Amazon author page. Subscribe to her newsletter. Connect with her on Facebook, and follow Jessica on Twitter @jessicafreely.

Check out ALL THE COLORS OF LOVE at Dreamspinner Press.

Hey readers,

Square of the hippopotamus. ROFL. Pretty sure that’s what math sounded like when I took it too.

Check out the rest of the tour here.

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Jessica will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Hard boiled mysteries

Books 1-3, The complete Series Box Set (Value Pack)

The Sydney Rye series of mysteries features a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. This series is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

This box set includes all three of the Sydney Rye Books.

UNLEASHED (A Sydney Rye Novel, #1)

When the series begins Sydney Rye is named Joy Humbolt. She does not like people telling her what to do, so it comes as no surprise that she was just fired from her last job. When she buys Charlene Miller's dog-walking business on Manhattan's exclusive upper east side, it seems like the perfect fit: Quiet environment, minimal contact with people.

But then one of her clients turns up dead, and Charlene disappears. Rumors say Charlene was having an affair with the victim--and of course, everyone assumes Joy must know where she is. Joy begins to look into the crime, first out of curiosity then out of anger when there is another murder and threats start to come her way.

When police detective Mulberry is assigned to the case, Joy finds a kindred spirit--cynical and none-too-fond of the human race. As they dig deep into the secrets of Manhattan's elite, they not only get closer to the killer but also to a point of no return. One last murder sends Joy Humbolt hurtling over the edge. Her only chance of survival is to become Sydney Rye.

DEATH IN THE DARK (A Sydney Rye Novella, #2)

At the beginning of Death in the Dark we find Joy Humbolt hiding, not only from the law, but also from her past and the mistakes she's made. Living this isolated life doesn't last long though when a visit from Mulberry brings Joy to accept her new identity as the Private Detective, Sydney Rye. To complete the transformation, Joy must learn to control her emotions as well as her giant aggressive dog, Blue. With the help of an expert trainer, Joy learns to fight with her mind as well as her body. However, when the daughter of a close friend is brutally murdered in the desert, Rye turns away from her mentor to seek revenge. Sydney's quick temper and deadly intentions lead her into a trap that she will need all of her new skills to survive.

INSATIABLE (A Sydney Rye Novel, #3)

The third book in the series begins with private detective Sydney Rye living a simple, disciplined life in London, but when a dangerous man from her past calls, Rye finds she cannot turn him away. Robert Maxim explains that the daughter of a powerful friend has gone missing and he wants Rye to find her. In exchange he offers her something she had given up hope of ever having; freedom from her past.

With her dog, Blue, at her side, Rye meets up with her new partner, a handsome man she's not sure she can trust. Heading for Mexico City, they go undercover, posing as husband and wife. After meeting with the bereaved parents, Rye starts to sense that there is more going on than just a missing girl. But it isn't until they arrive in the Yucatan Peninsula, hot on the girl's trail in Paradise, that all hell breaks loose. Sydney has to reach out for help from old friends and deal with the consequences of her past, if she's going to find the girl and keep them all alive.

New release! STRINGS OF GLASS (A Sydney Rye Novel, #4)

STRINGS OF GLASS is the fourth novel in Emily Kimelman's Sydney Rye Series of dark murder mystery novels. This series features a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

Sydney Rye is hanging out in India with her boyfriend, Dan, reading paperbacks and sipping beer. No violence and no reminders of her past. But when she and Blue, are attacked by a pact of wild dogs, Sydney starts to feel that old itch again; to do good by being bad.

Trouble finds Rye when she stops the attempted rape and murder of Anita, a reporter working on a story of corruption and human trafficking. The atrocities Anita describes send Sydney, Blue and Dan on a quest that takes them across India after a dangerous and, up until now, untouchable, figure. While Sydney struggles to accept her true nature she realizes that it is the only way to end decades of abuse and exploitation. But Rye fears that she will lose herself, becoming no better than the monster she fights against.


From UNLEASHED (A Sydney Rye Novel #1)

The photographs in an album I found on their bookshelf showed the Sapersteins as a happy family. Joseph and Jackie at their wedding. She had long dark hair then. He had a bushy mustache. They had gone on vacation to somewhere tropical, when her hair was cut short and dyed blond. He had worn a Speedo. In the autumn of another year, they had gone to a bed-and-breakfast. Joseph had his arm wrapped tight around Jackie and she smiled with her whole body. Nothing foreshadowed that he would have his face blown away and she would be the prime suspect.

In the kitchen, there was leftover Chinese food in the fridge and three apples. In the closet, Joseph’s coat hung above his briefcase. I pulled out the obviously expensive brown leather case and opened it. A gold wedding band and a silver Rolex sat on top of a stack of papers with the letterhead Pilfner and Brown.

Someone was putting a key in the door. I snapped the briefcase shut and shoved it back into the closet. Mrs. Saperstein, wearing loose jeans and a pink T-shirt, walked through the door holding Snaffles on a leash. She jumped and screamed when she saw me. “Jesus, you scared the shit out of me.” She held her hand over her heart. “What are you doing here?”

“I came to walk the dog, but he wasn’t here, so I figured I would wait a while to see if you came back so I could walk him,” I sort of lied.


Emily Kimelman lives on a boat in the Hudson Valley with her husband, Sean and their dog Kinsey (named after Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone). Kimelman has a passion for traveling and spends as much time as possible in the pursuit of adventure.

Her "Sydney Rye Series" are dark murder mystery novels which features a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. This series is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

The first three books in Kimelman's series, UNLEASHED, DEATH IN THE DARK, and INSATIABLE are available in the Kindle store individually and in a box set. The fourth book in the Sydney Rye series STRINGS OF GLASS is due out Mid-Summer 2013.

If you've read Emily's work, and enjoyed it, please let Emily know. You can reach her via email ejkimelman@gmail.com.

Also visit her website. Connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @ejkimelman.

Buy the books in the SYDNEY RYE SERIES at Amazon and B&N.

Hey readers,

That’s an awesome “sort of” lie. Lol

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Movie Review--CITY OF BONES


Hey folks,

I actually saw CITY OF BONES in theatres a couple of weeks ago. I made a few notes and then life. Now, here we are.

I’ll start with what worked. This was a decent book-to-movie translation. The actors were good for the characters (Simon in particular). We got to see more of Jocelyn in the beginning, which I loved. I pictured her just lying down and giving up in the book, and that bugged me. The movie shows her kicking butt.

I also liked that Jace was toned down. There were times in the book he really came off as a jerk. And I don’t mean a jerk to the main characters, I mean an overall jerk. He treated people he didn’t even know like crap. His undying love for Clary was also lessened, and I thought it worked better.

The humor translated beautifully. I particularly loved the image of Clary shoving her notebook at no one at the beginning. I recognized lines from the book, and they were delivered as I imagined they would be.

The pacing was good. The action kept moving. The tension was high. The friends I went with who hadn’t read the book said some plot points were kind of obvious, but hey, it happens.

K, now I’m going to say what didn’t work so well. Stay with me if you’d like.

One of the major complaints I heard going into the movie was that it felt like the entire movie crammed into the novel. I kind of have to agree with that. With a few exceptions, very little was left out. Having read the book, I was able to keep up. The overall reaction from my friends who hadn’t read it was “That was a pretty good movie.” *Ask tons of questions* Good movie adaptation. Clearest book-to-movie adaptation, maybe not.

Shadowhunters with British accents. Didn’t see that coming and not sure how I feel about it. It worked for Jace and the older generation, but it completely destroyed Isabel’s character for me. That’s a personal preference thing, though.

The vampires—in the book, Simon turns into a rat, and the vampires steal him. Magnus says this is probably to spite the shadowhunters (which makes sense given the animosity between shadowhunters and downworlders), and Jace and Clary go to save Rat-Simon. Cool.

In the movie, the vampires steal a human Simon? And hang him up-side-down in an elevator shaft? When Jace, Clary, and company find him, Simon tells them the vampires want the Mortal Cup. Why would the vampires want the Mortal Cup? Unless they want to destroy it, but that was never addressed. So I was confused.

The portal—in the book it was at Madam Dorothea’s. In the movie it was at the institute. K, not a big deal. It just changed when/how certain things happened—like Clary porting to Luke’s.

My bigger issue with the portal was its history. It apparently sprouted out of nothing (I recall Jace saying it was rumored that the Institute was the first building in New York because it was built around the portal.) I can get behind that. What I had more trouble with was Jace saying “No one knows how to destroy it.” Then it mystically blows up when Valentine goes through it at the end. Well, that solves that problem?

Side note—Valentine going through the portal. In the book he went by choice. In the movie, Clary punches him. Ok, girl power. But Valentine is a trained shadowhunter, and Clary is able to get the jump on him because he is too busy staring at the shiny, floating ball of light Jace tossed at him? Err…ok?

And now to my biggest issue—Jace and Clary are siblings. In the book, this made sense in how it was presented. Clary, Luke, and Luke’s people rush to the showdown at the O.K. corral (which, in the book, was at some abandoned hospital, not the institute). Clary rushes through the building until she finds Jace. Jace is clothed and calm. When Clary says they need to get out of there because of Valentine, Jace tells her it’s okay because…his father is there. (Cue Valentine’s entrance). Clary is all like “no, that’s Valentine.” Jace is all like “no, that’s Michael Wayland.” Valentine is all like “I pretended to be Michael Wayland, but Jace really is my son. And, Clary, you are my daughter.” Not the happiest family reunion, but it makes sense.

The movie…not so much. Jace finds Valentine in the institute and does his man-challenge thing. Valentine tells Jace he’s his father. Jace says ‘no you are not, Darth Valentine,’ and they beat each other up. Meanwhile, Clary is working her way back to the Institute. She gets there, finds Valentine and Jace, and is told (rather abruptly) that she is Jace’s sister…by Jace.

What happened to Darth Valentine? And why did Jace suddenly believe Valentine was his father after not even recognizing the guy? And why does Clary believe it too? In the book, this scene was plausible. In the movie, it, well, wasn’t.

Side note: Did Jace never see a picture of the original Circle and have Valentine pointed out to him? Neither the book nor movie addresses this.

One final thing. I saw a comment on a review of this movie that said the person who decided to put the song in the greenhouse scene needed a special kind of Hell. Whoever you are, commenter, I agree with you.

Wrap-up—I enjoyed the movie. It kept me interested. Some things could have been handled better, but for what movie is that not the case?

Lastly, a special thank-you to one of the friends I saw this with for entertaining me by “shouting” (movie theatre style) out similarities to other movies as he noticed them.

Thanks for reading.

@desantismt on Twitter

Monday, September 16, 2013


Books 1 & 2 in the paranormal romance/urban fantasy Coursodon Dimension Series


Meet Hailey - possessed by an otherworldly being who was trapped in her Kindle.

Hailey Parrish was quick-witted, irreverent, and hadn’t had a date in three years. She only wanted an eBook reader because her collection of paperbacks threatened to take over her small living space. Little did she know that the "special offers" that prompted the purchase included much more than a reduced price in exchange for a few ads. The device came pre-loaded with the essence of Sebastian Kess, an erudite womanizer with magical abilities from a parallel dimension. When she inadvertently releases him and he inhabits her body, she finally has a man inside her, just not in the way she imagined. And soon her predicament introduces her to yet another supernatural, the handsome could-be-the-man-of-her-dreams Alex Sunderland. Can Alex and Hailey find a way to return Sebastian to his own body, stay one step ahead of the criminals who want to keep him where he is, and not lose their sense of humor?

Special Offers, the first book of the Coursodon Dimension Series, combines paranormal romance, urban fantasy, a bit of science fiction and a healthy dose of quirky humor.

As I lay in the darkness, it occurred to me that I must be the most boring single 30 year-old ever. I didn’t go out much, I ate crappy food. I couldn’t even remember the score of the games I just watched.

This was not how I had imagined myself at this point in my life. Had my marriage not crashed and burned, we probably would have a baby by now. Yeah, and I would still be married to an asstard. He probably would have spawned asstardlets. I just wanted to feel like my life was going somewhere, like I was accomplishing something. I rolled over on my side and vowed to try to get myself together and move forward.

When I finally fell asleep, I dreamt I went on my first post-divorce date. The guy took me to a fancy restaurant, ordered lots of food and expensive wine and then ditched me for the voluptuous hostess. I was presented with the check but lacked any means of paying it. After negotiating a payment plan with the restaurant owner, which involved allowing him to indulge his foot fetish with my pinkie toes and some flavored whipped cream, I left the place and got into my car, which was really weird, because my date drove.

There in the parking lot were dine-and-dash and the hostess, groping each other with utter abandon. I revved up the engine, threw the car into drive and peeled out towards them. The headlights illuminated their stunned faces as I spun the car sharply, rolled down the window and chucked a lit Molotov cocktail - made from the empty wine bottle from dinner - at them and sped off humming the theme to “The Lion King.”

I woke up thinking I must be making progress. Usually in my dreams I ran them over after I set them on fire.



M.L. Ryan is a profes¬sional woman – not that she gave up her amateur status, but rather that she is over-educated with a job in which she spends a lot of time writing dry, science non-Fiction. In an effort to strength¬en the less logi¬cal side of her brain, she decided to write some of the many stories rolling around in her head. She lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband, son, four cats, two dogs and an adopt¬ed Desert Tortoise.

Visit M.L.’s website. Check out her blog. Like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @MLRyan1, and connect with her on Goodreads.



Trade paperback
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Hey readers,

Improvement is not running them over. Hee lols

Follow the rest of this tour here.

And don’t forget to comment for a chance at a prize.

M.L. will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.