Okay, Fantasy fans- buckle up!!! I’ve got a fun new series for you and you are going to LOVE it! Yep, you’re welcome…

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Lizard Queen Volume 1

300 years ago, in a nameless world, a prophecy passed unfulfilled. A secret society that formed to prevent its occurrence believed it was their doing, while the secret society created to ensure that the prophecy came to pass wasn’t certain it had been stopped at all. Eventually, the prophecy of Lacáruna, a female from another realm and the only being who can read the Lizard Queen’s language, fell into legend.  What no one realizes, however, is that Amy Darlidale is just a tad late.

 

THIS SHRINKING WORLD

Taking a break from a stressful workweek, Amy, a recently divorced CEO, goes out for a morning jog and crosses paths with an orange lizard. Suddenly, she finds herself under a starless sky confronted by oddly marked and strangely colored people who claim she’s there to rescue the world from evil’s grasp and expand it once again. But not everyone wants that to happen so there’s a price on her head. This is far from the relaxing weekend Amy had intended.

 

FROM THE ASHES

Along with the young companions who found her, Licha and Jandro, Amy has accompanied the swaggering Colonel Dack Sangcertigre—a member of the Trotéjo, the secret society sworn to protect her—to his home nation in search of a plan to fulfill the Promise of a New Morphósis. As the body count rises and she is confronted with raving rulers, military machinations, and crafty clergy, she quickly realizes there must be much more at stake than merely finding the prophecy.

 

A SPECTACULAR LIE

The sense of order in this mysterious world continues to collapse. Fires rage, clans are being slaughtered and townsfolk massacred, and leaders have proclaimed a great evil has returned. As Amy searches for clues within the first mythic journals of this world’s origins, she’s begun seeing visions and receiving messages from forces unknown. While she’s trying to understand the extent of her power others have become aware of it as well. Soon a new group with its own mysterious agenda believes Amy may have another fated purpose and only she can save herself from their terrifying trap.

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A huge thank you to H.L. Cherryholmes for appearing on this blog- I am super excited to have such an innovative and fresh author to showcase. Hope my readers enjoy this interview just as much as I did…

 

Easy stuff first- tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you begin writing? What fills your life and lights up your days?

 

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but I’ve lived in Southern California most of my adult life. I started writing when I was very young, mostly to entertain family and neighbors. About that time I also learned to change the names to protect the innocent. Storytelling has always been important to me and I’m never as happy as I am when I’m in the thick of writing a story. Even editing makes me happy.

Your books begin in our ordinary world and take us to new world “under a starless sky.” How does each world color and shape your protagonist, Amy Darlidale?

 

In our world, Amy is a CEO of a non-profit company. She’s recently divorced and just celebrated her fortieth birthday. She is fairly content and, most importantly, feels entirely in control of her life. When she finds herself under the starless sky she’s completely out of her element and feeling at a loss. Nevertheless, she’s still the same strong woman and works hard to take charge of her new predicament.

 

 

How has each world, real and imaginary shaped you as a storyteller?

 

The imaginary world is very much shaped by my real world experiences, particularly my travels. Amy keeps discovering places and things that are very familiar to her, albeit not exactly the same. It’s been so much fun to incorporate places I’ve visited into my writing. I think it’s made me a better storyteller because it’s taken me out of my comfort zone, which pretty much is my apartment.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your publishing process? Are you agented? Self-published? How did your book come into being?

 

I’m an indie-writer. I spent many frustrating years trying to go the traditional route by getting an agent and one day I decided that what was most important to me was having my stories read. Self-publishing a book is so incredibly easy these days, which is why more and more authors are going that route. My series came into being when I decided that’s what I was going to do. I chose to wait until the entire series was done, however, before releasing the first two books.

 

 

What were the benefits and challenges that you found along your journey? And do you have any words of advice for your fellow writers- things to do? Pitfalls to avoid?

 

The benefit for me was being able to work the entire story out before anyone read it. That was also the biggest challenge. As I’m sure any author will tell you, it’s a lonely vocation often and the only validation you get is what you chose to give yourself. One word of advice—the most important, in my opinion—is you must have a professional editor. Thinking you can shape everything on your own is the biggest pitfall to avoid.

 

 

Where do you find your sources of inspiration? Does your muse vary from project to project or do you find the well-spring is fairly consistent?

 

Inspiration most often comes from something I’ve read or watched, or even overheard. Usually it’s just a spark of an idea that pops up and either I’ll pursue it or tell myself I should write it down to look at later but then decide I’ll surely remember it. That’s when the muse snatches it away. You’d think I’d learn, but no.

 

 

Have you learned anything from your readers? Or had a response that especially touched you?

 

What has touched me and meant the most to me are any of the readers who have gone along (or are going along) Amy’s journey. Reading a series is a serious (see what I did there?) commitment so I greatly appreciate anyone who is willing to take it on. Hearing that they’ve loved how the story ends has been especially satisfying.

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We all have our fan boy (or in my case, fan girl) moments. If you could get your books of anyone, celebrity, historical figure, etc. who would you choose to have read them? Please share one man and one woman and why.

 

Anne Rice and Stephen King and both for the same reason: They are master world-builders and both appreciate a strong female protagonist.

 

 

Do you have a favorite book that you wish you had written? What is it and why do you wish you had created it?

 

I can’t say that I do. I love stories and I’m the type of person that goes into any story, be it on the page or on the screen, with an open mind and heart, ready to follow what tale I’ve been offered. I do my best to keep myself out of it and just let it be what it is.

 

 

We all reward ourselves with little treats- after a particularly productive day- what is your favorite indulgence? I’m always looking for a new treat!

 

When I finish a draft of a book my favorite indulgence is a cupcake with buttercream frosting from Magnolia Bakery. And a vodka martini. Not necessarily in that order and never together.

 

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Author Bio

H.L. Cherryholmes, author of The Lizard Queen Series, Come Back for Me, and A Slight Touch was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico but has spent most of his adult life in Southern California. He has a BFA from University of New Mexico and a Master’s degree in Playwriting from the University of California, Los Angeles. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with his husband, Ron Cogan.

Links

Website: http://www.thelizardqueen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HLCherryholmesBooks

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLNA80

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

 

Everyone, and I mean everyone, is fighting battles that you cannot, do not, and will not see. Each of of us wage our personal wars against whatever Dementors have come for us. No one has it all figured out, no one is immune, no one leads that Perfect Life.

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It might be an infidelity, separation from a loved one, an illness, an addiction, an insecurity. Just remember- as in our capacity for joy- we are also joined by our challenges. When that clerk is rude, that bus driver snaps at you, your friend lets you down– they’re just people with feet of clay. It hurts.

It hurts.

It hurts

It hurts.

You don’t know what news they got that morning. You don’t know who they just lost or are about to lose. Loving makes us our best… and in loss, our worst.

Be kind. It hurts.

I’m not made of stone- it hurts.

Here is Hurts by Emeli Sande- she’s amazing. Sing baby, just keep singing. Sing our pain away.

Please see this video, hear this song. Then, remember throughout your day. We’ll all be better for that small courtesy. Hugs to you all. ALL.

Hurts

Baby I’m not made of stone
It hurts
Loving you the way I do
It hurts

Hold tight it’s a sing-a-long
I’m alright, I’m alright, but I could be wrong, baby
I know you remember me
5’3 in the back of the lavory, come on
You could at least try and look at me
Oh man, oh man, what a tragedy, ha ha
Bang, bang, there goes paradise
I chill why we always had to roll the dice, la la
Heartbeat in the regular
Two seats in the back of the cinema, hazy
Ah yeah, you’re forgettin’ it
And all the mad shit we did after that, crazy
Your heart, come on baby
I swear you’re giving me shivers, shivers

Baby, I’m not made of stone
It hurts
Loving you the way I do
It hurts
When all that’s left to do is watch
It burns
Oh baby, I’m not made of stone
It hurts

Hold on it’s a marathon
Run fast, run fast like the rivers run, god damn
Never seen in the restaurant
I took a minute till the penny dropped, you know
My tears don’t fall too often
But your knife is cuttin’ me deep
Deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep

Baby, I’m not made of stone
It hurts
Loving you the way I do
It hurts
When all that’s left to do is watch
It burns
Oh baby, I’m not made of stone
It hurts

It hurts the way
That you pretend you don’t remember
It hurts the way
That you forget our times together
Like the time
Laid in bed when you said it’s forever, baby
I can’t, I can’t explain no more

Baby, I’m not made of stone
It hurts
Oh, loving you the way I do
It hurts
When all that’s left to do is watch
It burns
Oh baby, I’m not made of stone
It hurts

Oh baby, I’m not made of stone
It hurts
Loving you the way I do
It hurts

Emeli Sande- thank you for singing our pain away- wiping us clean and ready to take on another day.
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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

 

 

It’s been a while since I have posted, but then that’s Cross Country season. There is one song I’ve meant to put up for weeks. It’s called Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara. Everyone, man or woman, should listen to this song. Believe it. Live it.

She just wants to be beautiful
She goes unnoticed, she knows no limits
She craves attention, she praises an image
She prays to be sculpted by the sculptor
Oh, she don’t see the light that’s shining
Deeper than the eyes can find it
Maybe we have made her blind
So she tries to cover up her pain and cut her woes away
‘Cause cover girls don’t cry after their face is made

But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful
Oh-oh, oh-oh
And you don’t have to change a thing, yhe world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

She has dreams to be an envy, so she’s starving
You know, covergirls eat nothing
She says beauty is pain and there’s beauty in everything
What’s a little bit of hunger?
I could go a little while longer, she fades away
She don’t see her perfect, she don’t understand she’s worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
Oh, oh
So to all the girls that’s hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within

There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

Oh-oh, oh-oh
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

No better you than the you that you are (no better you than the you that you are)
No better life than the life we’re living (no better life than the life we’re living)
No better time for your shine, you’re a star (no better time for your shine, you’re a star)
Oh, you’re beautiful, oh, you’re beautiful

And there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful
Oh-oh, oh-oh
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

Please enjoy this lovely and inspiring affirmation. Have a wonderful week! You. Are. Beautiful.

 

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

 

I am very excited to introduce a local author and poet to my blog. Author Juhi Kunde has written a truly lovely collection of poetry dedicated to and celebrating motherhood in Expressions of Milk. Whether you are a mom or have/know a mom that you love- this is the perfect mood-lifter and makes a thoughtful gift.
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I was fortunate enough to meet Juhi at our local chapter of the California Writers Club, the Trivalley Writers Club. Her joy and humor is instantly engaging. Once I opened her book I knew she had accomplished something special and I wanted to help share it with the people in my world.
I’ll let Juhi introduce herself through our interview.
Again, Juhi, thanks so much for agreeing to appear on my blog. I just loved your book and I know others will, too.

1.) Easy stuff first- tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you begin writing? What fills your life and lights up your days?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. It’s in my blood. My grandfather wrote novels, my grand-uncle is a famous Indian poet and playwright, and my aunts are editors and poets… The list goes on and on.
I have two brilliant, mostly all-consuming, lights for my days – my two girls (ages 3 and 7).
2.) Can you tell us a bit about your publishing process? Are you agented? Self-published?
I am self-published.
3.) What were the benefits and challenges that you found along your journey? And do you have any words of advice for your fellow writers- things to do? Pitfalls to avoid?
It was difficult to find a publishing house that was open to publishing a book of poetry from an unknown poet. So I just cobbled together money and did it myself. But if I could do it again, I think I would try harder to shop it around. At the time of choosing a publisher, I was dealing with thyroid cancer, so I was easily fatigued and discouraged. Don’t get discouraged – look hard for a publisher because self-publishing and self-marketing is exhausting and difficult. Also, join writers’ groups and ask lots of questions. I was working in a bit of a vacuum and I think that made the process more difficult.
4.) How long have you lived in the TriValley? What do you think of the area for authors? And why?
I grew up in the Tri-Valley, moved away for a while and then moved back when it was time to raise a family. I think it is just the right size for emerging authors. There are some great bookstores that are open to carrying books from new authors, and you can always travel to Berkeley or San Francisco for the big conferences.
5.) I was so touched by your poetry. It must have been a huge undertaking. As a busy mom yourself- what made you decide to dive into this project? Would you do anything differently (writing-wise, that is)?
Thank you so much! Actually, it was just the most natural thing in the world to me. I pay my bills by being a freelance science writer. I found that often I would have some time between assignments or late at night after the girls had gone to sleep. So I would take a little “me time” – a catharsis from my avalanche day – to write, to emote, or even to be a little silly sometimes. After several years, I ended up with over 40 poems. I culled, sifted and organized until I had the best 20 poems that showcased universal themes of motherhood. I edited these poems a lot – it is important to me that this book is easy-to-understand and relatable. So, the poems are as tight and thoughtful as I could make them. I think if I could change the subtitle, I would make it: A Gift Book for Mothers. The word ‘poetry’ sometimes scares people off.
6.) Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight into the computer?
I am definitely a computer typer. For longer pieces, I sometimes will use index cards, but for this one, it all went straight into the computer. Then before I submitted the manuscript to the publisher, I did some old school cutting and pasting of mock-ups so I knew what I wanted for illustrations, formatting and layout.
7.) Where do you find your sources of inspiration? Does your muse vary from project to project or do you find the well-spring is fairly consistent?
Inspiration waits for me in the quiet. My days are full and noisy. So, when I pull away from all that chaos and allow myself the time to breathe, I often discover Inspiration is sitting quietly on a lotus pad wondering what took me so long to show up.
8.) Looking at parents, and moms in particular, what do you think we judge ourselves too harshly on? What do you think we should take a hard look at in our parenting roles?
I think that with so much social media influencing moms, we often have unspoken or even unconscious competitions with other. On my personal news feed, I have one mom posting about her amazing weight loss while another is bragging about her kid’s swimming prowess and a third is always off on some fantastic vacation. And if I allow myself to get into the competition, I will feel badly about my own body image and my kids’ athletic skills and my summer plans. I think we all just need to slow down and keep clear priorities. If we can just find the time and energy to routinely talk to our kids and spend quality time with them, we will win a big chunk of the parenting battle.
9.) Have you learned anything from your readers? Or had a response that especially touched you?
I always thought that corporate moms were somehow superhuman. They manage the demands of work and home in ways that I have never even attempted. And they do it so well that I often think of them as being intimidating or at the very least, difficult to relate to. So I was surprised when a corporate CEO mom read the book and ended up in tears. Her husband sent us a picture of her sitting on her chair with the book in her hands and text said: “What did you do? She never cries!” That was when I realized how truly universal motherhood is. And now I don’t hesitate to share the book with mothers and grandmothers from all walks of life, because I truly know that each one of them could be touched by the poems in the book.
10.) What makes you laugh? What makes you cry?
My husband makes me laugh, more than anyone else in the world. I love dark humor, puns and political satire these days. I cry easily – so anything from Hallmark commercials to singing Que Sera Sera will set me off!
11.) If you could be a fairy godmother for one night- what three people would you visit and what would you bestow upon them?
Such a fun question! I would visit Adolf Hitler and bestow a black mamba snake on him. I would visit my grandchildren on their wedding days and bestow them with lifetimes of happiness and love. And I would visit my daredevil daughter and bestow the gift of flight, because one of these days I am pretty sure she is going to try to jump off the roof.
12.) Can we ask what projects you have currently in the works? Where can readers find you, both virtually and in the 3D world?

I have a couple of short stories in the works… Email me and I will keep you posted!
I am on LinkedIn, and I have my website: http://www.juhikunde.com
For book orders, you can email me at expressionsofmilk.com, or you can order on etsy.com and get free domestic shipping. The book is also available in paperback and electronic versions on Amazon.com
When I am not typing on my computer or taxiing my girls to their activities, you can find me getting my hands dirty in the garden.

Juhi, again, I can’t thank you enough for your time and your talent! It was awesome to share you with my readers!!!

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Juhi Kunde, a lifelong poetry lover and a published writer, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She dabbles in gardening, dreams of laundry-folding superpowers, and delights in giggling with her family before bedtime.
She would love to hear from you. Contact her at expressionsofmilk@gmail.com.
To keep up with the latest book news: https://www.facebook.com/expressionsofmilk/
To buy a fantastic gift for a special mom in your life please go to: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ExpressionsofMilk
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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.
 

Let’s face it. The news has not been good. I wish to be clear on my politics:

  • The news makes me cry. Just about every day now it seems.
  • I support our brave police forces. They lay their lives on the line every day. I thank them and salute them.
  • I believe black lives matter- yes, they all matter, but if I’m a mother of a black child… I’m a little more nervous. And rightly so.
  • I want to be informed, but the information I glean hurts.

This past weekend my sweetie and I went to a wedding. It was the marriage of two people I’d never met. The groom works with my boy. I like the groom. I like the bride. It was a delightful gathering with fun people. We danced. I adore dancing.

Before we go any further… I have to say… these are LOVELY people. I mean really, lovely. And I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, Heather and Brent, for reminding me of what humanity’s greatest defense against hate, intolerance, and flat-out idiocy has always been…

LOVE. KINDNESS. COMPASSION.

Every day people living every day lives… opening a door, giving a hug, smiling while making eye-contact. We survive because of a shared warmth, a community, and desire to better ourselves.

Heather and Brent- As your song, your first dance played, I immediately teared up. I had not yet met you, but I felt a profound connection with you. And that’s our shared connection… that’s humanity. And that is why we’ll get better, we’ll do better. The news has been dark before but we have survived, even thrived. We will do so again… so long as we have someone to Lava

Go… Hug someone…I mean it! Go….listen and find someone to Lava.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh4dTLJ9q9o

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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