The Return of George: the Egotistical Basset Hound

Well, George is back. I didn’t realize it had been so long, but he hasn’t been here since October of 2013. If you didn’t see that interview, you can read it here. At that time, I interviewed George about his first book, George Knows. I also had his peep, Mindy, in the interview. Now George has a new book out, Tillie’s Tale. This time I just had questions for George, and had I reviewed the first interview, I could have probably saved us both some time by not repeating things he had already answered. Oh well, I guess peeps don’t have as good of a memory as dogs.

tilliestale333x500With the success of George Knows, and now the release of Tillie’s Tale, how long do you think you can keep solving cases?

George: It depends on if I can get a new secret-ary. The Peep I have now is very slow and doesn’t always listen to me the way she should. She has a big mouth and spends little time doing her work.

Have you started your next case?

George: A basset’s work is never done. There are some lost spoons that need to be found. I’m sure that there may be lost treats, too.

Do you have a message you’d like people to take from your stories?

George: Peeps, dogs are your friends. Listen to us or things may not go well for your species. Feed us, take care of us, clean up after us, and we’ll teach you about the world outside of your puny senses.

Do you also read? If so, what do you like?

George: Gack! That’s, that’s, that’s just plain disgusting. Dogs have in stinks, we don’t need to read like Peeps do. That’s because they don’t remember anything.

Do you have an issue with all the books where the dog, well, doesn’t make it?

George: Not as long as it isn’t a friend. Didn’t you realize most of those books are fiction? Peeps die all the time in books, so why not the dog? There is a need for superhero dogs in comic books. Superdog just didn’t cut it, in my opinion. Maybe a SuperBasset—they could call him George.

Trixie Koontz had quite a career. Which K9 storyteller do you most respect.

George: Lassie was very pretty. Unfortunately, she turned out to be a he and I wasn’t quite as interested. Now I have my own lovely lass. She suffers from permanent bad hair days, but she’s going to be mine.
Who would you rather work a case with, Blue or Wishbone?

George: Blue? Is he a hound? Like a blue tick? Hounds generally smart dogs. I’m a hound. I’ve heard of Wishbone. Terriers waste too much energy.

Since keyboards were designed for human hands, do you find typing your books difficult, or do you get by with a form of pecking?

George: I have a secret-ary. She takes my dictation. She’s not very good, she doesn’t always listen, and she’s very slow. It’s hard to get good help. I’ve offered her all the cookies she could want. Why is it my fault she doesn’t eat them fast enough?

Benji or Lassie?

George: Please! They are both boydogs. Lassie’s only line is Timmy’s in the well. What did Benji do other than look unkempt. K9 from Doctor Who is pretty cool for a metal dog. I’d hang out with the robo-dog. It wouldn’t take my cookies.

Lady and the Tramp, Milo and Otis, or All Dogs Go to Heaven?

George: If I had to choose, maybe Lady from Lady and the Tramp. She’s a lovely puppygirl. I’d clean her ears any day!

Ok. We’re going to end it there. I didn’t know cleaning ears was a thing with dogs, but whatever. Here’s George’s blog, or ‘log’ if you’ve read the first interview: Basset Bones.

Exciting News for 2015

This will likely be my shortest blog post ever.

I’ve signed the contract with Muse It Up Publishing to have my second novel published. It’s titled THE SQUIRE AND THE SLAVE MASTER, and it’s the first of two sequels to UNVEILING THE WIZARDS’ SHROUD. Here’s the tentative blurb:

The award winning Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud (CLC’s Best First Novel 2014) chronicled Yara, Owen, and Cedric’s quest to revive King Kendrick from a dark, magical spell. After the adventure to save King Kendrick, for Yara, everyday life has grown monotonous. The dull work of learning her father’s blacksmithing trade, and the pressure from her parents to decide what she plans on doing with her life, has her nerves so stressed she snaps at her father’s slightest teasing.

Lucky for her, a surprise messenger from the castle brings the king’s request for her to join a collaborative mission between the Central and Western Domains of Wittatun to stop a recently discovered slave operation in a land to the west. King Kendrick and Owen want her to accompany the mission as a secret weapon disguised as a squire.

She has to keep secret not only her magical abilities from any possible traitors, but also her gender. The people of the Western Domain have a superstition prohibiting girls from sailing. But a chill wind carries the distinct odor of sabotage. Can one girl survive to destroy an evil rooted much deeper than mere slavery?

THE SQUIRE AND THE SLAVE MASTER will release August 4, 2015.

Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud $0.99 Sale!

For a short while, Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, winner of the Literary Classics Award for Best First Novel, will be on sale across all online retailers for $0.99 (USD). That’s a savings of 82% off it’s cover price of $5.50. Scroll down for links to the most popular eBook retailers.

Read more about the Literary Classics Awards HERE.

Literary Classics Best First Novel

Literary Classics Best First Novel


As the only son to King Kendrick, Owen despises the idea of being king one day. Magician may be the only career he’d like less. He has dreaded the days leading up to his fifteenth birthday, when his father will certainly declare Owen heir to the throne. But at the birthday celebration, his father falls ill. The only person in the kingdom that may be able to save him is a magician–the very same magician Owen holds responsible for the death of his mother.

Owen and his companions will have to travel the continent of Wittatun in search of the cure for King Kendrick. On the journey, they will battle strange beasts and harsh climates, befriend extraordinary magicians, and meet a dragon before returning to Innes Castle–where much has happened in the days since he departed.
Get your copy here:

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About the Author:

Eric Price lives with his wife and two sons in northwest Iowa. He began publishing in 2008 when he started writing a quarterly column for a local newspaper. Later that same year he published his first work of fiction, a spooky children’s story called Ghost Bed and Ghoul Breakfast. Since then, he has written stories for children, young adults, and adults. Three of his science fiction stories have won honorable mention from the CrossTime Annual Science Fiction Contest. His first YA fantasy novel, Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, received the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval and the Literary Classics Award for Best First Novel.

Guest Post: Katie Carroll author of Elixir Bound

We had a great time at in August. We started with discussions about comic book movies and graphic novels–two of my favorite topics. And to kick it off, we had the first ever giveaway. I did my first blog swap, with Susan Royal. One of my best virtual friends, Mary Waibel, dropped by with a royal interview (another first) and another giveaway; and we closed the month with a double feature of excerpts (yep, first) by Christina Weigand.

September has a lot to live up to, but it’s prepared for the challenge. In two weeks my social media mentor and self-dubbed book sibling (we both have young adult fantasy novels coming out in November), Erin Albert, stops by with her book The Prophesy. Next week we have another first when the adorable alien author Ace Hansen pays us a visit (I usually avoid alliteration, but I couldn’t resist). To tie it all together, Ace, Erin, and I all have something in common: we share the same spectacular editor, Katie L. Carroll. (Okay, I’ll stop with the alliteration.)

I believe editors are the best thing to happen to books since paper, but Katie joins us this week, not as an editor, but as an author. She’s kicking off a month-long blog tour to celebrate the release of her book, Elixir Bound, in paperback. Katie has sent a short story prequel to her book, titled Winter Solstice. She’s also touring with a copy of Elixir Bound to giveaway at the end of the month, so don’t forget to click on the link at the bottom of this post to enter.

I’ve read Elixir Bound. It’s an exciting fantasy with a lot of action. I highly recommend it. So after you’ve read the prequel, follow one of the buy links and give it a peak (misspelling intentional, right Katie? 😉 ). You won’t be disappointed.

Elixir Bound Blog Tour Banner

Winter Solstice

An Elixir Original Short by Katie L. Carroll

This short story takes place before the events of Elixir Bound. Siblings Katora, Kylene, and Bhar Kase are performing their annual celebration of the Winter Solstice.

“Do you have the acorns and your offering for the sacrifice?” Bhar asked with an impish grin and a glint in his blue eyes.

Katora raised her right eyebrow. “All but one, and Kylene should be getting it right now.” She thumped her younger brother on the shoulder with her fist. “You know the Great Mother doesn’t approve of sacrifices.”

Bhar laughed as he ran deeper into the trees of Faway Forest. Katora shook her head in annoyance and wondered if Bhar would ever be serious about anything. She shifted her backpack and followed his indelicate footsteps.

She stopped in a small clearing. Bhar stood in the center, a series of stacked rocks interspersed at regular intervals around him. She dropped her pack outside the rocks and sat inside the circle, legs crossed.

Katora had been coming to this place on the Winter Solstice for as long as she could remember. Her two older sisters used to participate in the ceremony, but they had recently moved out of the family home. They now held their own traditions. This was the first year they wouldn’t be there, and Katora wasn’t sure she wanted to be there either.

Still, Katora would honor the Great Mother with Bhar and her younger sister, Kylene. As Katora thought of her, Kylene loped into the clearing, cheeks rosy and long blond hair wild. Quick puffs of breath escaped Kylene’s mouth in the crisp air.

“I’ve got it.” From her pocket, Kylene pulled a small nut ending in woody cap. “Freshly fallen from an oak tree.”

Katora help up her hand, and Kylene tossed the acorn. Katora caught it easily and set it on the ground next to three others, each one collected during a different season. A hearty vine with withered essenberries also lay on the cold dirt. As Kylene sat, her gray cloak, the same color as the cloud covered sky, fanned out behind her and touched Katora’s cloak at the corner.

“Let’s begin.” Katora rubbed her chapped hands, souvenirs from years of farming, together. “Bhar, you did bring the trowel, didn’t you?”

Bhar produced the tool from his pants pocket. “Of course. Do you even have to ask?”

Katora grinned and glanced at Kylene, who failed to hide her smile. They both knew Bhar needed to be asked. He took his place next to his sisters. Behind him, his cloak touched each of theirs and completed the circle.

“Please present your items,” Katora said, tapping her offering of the vine.

A playing card appeared in Bhar’s hand, seemingly from nowhere. With a flick of the wrist, he tossed it among the acorns and vine. Kylene kissed a small book and gently placed it on the ground. The three siblings grasped hands and closed their eyes.

Katora chanted, “Mother Nature, we gather and return the fruit of the seasons. Take these and our personal offerings from our hearts to yours. As the cold of winter takes hold, offer in return safe passage to spring.”

A moment of silence passed before Bhar began to dig a small hole. Except for the scrape of the trowel in dirt, he worked in complete silence, the forest quiet as it fell into the sleep of winter. Katora and Kylene deposited the offerings into the hole. All three scooped the soil back over the hole and patted it down.

They grasped hands again, fingernails caked with dirt, and hummed. Their melody pierced the silent forest and rose to the top of the trees and beyond. A gust of wind swirled through the clearing, lifting their cloaks in the air behind them.

Katora’s eyes widened as Kylene’s hand gripped hers tight. Bhar turned his face to the sky. Katora felt her hair fly about her face as she watched Kylene’s locks do the same. Still, they kept humming. When their tune finally ended, the wind abruptly stopped.

A long sigh escaped Katora’s mouth, deflating the pressure in her chest. Nothing like that had ever happened during the ceremony.

“What was that?” Kylene asked in a whisper.

“A coincidence,” Bhar said with no trace of his playful smile.

Katora pounded her fist on the ground. “That was no coincidence. I’ve always been a bit skeptical that the Great Mother paid any attention to our little ceremony. But now…I believe she does.”

“Yes.” Kylene nodded her head repeatedly. “I always believed she did, but this is a nice confirmation of our faith.”

Bhar blew into his hands. “I’m cold. Let’s go home and heat up some milk and chocolate.”

Kylene’s brow wrinkled as she said with hesitation, “It is cold. And we must be home before dark.”

“I’ll catch up with you two.” Katora gathered up her pack as Bhar and Kylene left the clearing.

She heard Kylene tease Bhar about his offering. “What is Mother Nature going to do with a playing card?”

“More than she’s going to do with a book,” Bhar said. “Definitely more than she’ll do with an essenberry vine. Katora’s offering was definitely the worst.”

Kylene laughed at Bhar’s joke, and Katora was compelled to defend her choice. Every essenberry vine on Kase Farm was a gift from Mother Nature. The vines provided a means of wealth, and therefore survival, for the family. She didn’t bother arguing because her siblings’ voices had already faded away.

Just as she stepped back into the trees, Katora spotted a small bluebird perched high up on a leafless branch. Its beady eyes stared down at her. The bird opened its beak wide and let out one sharp chirp.

“You coming?” Bhar’s shout echoed through the forest.

She glanced back up at the oak tree, but the bird had vanished. As she jogged to catch up, Katora felt Mother Nature’s presence. It wasn’t only in the physical bounty of the forest, but also deep inside Katora’s own heart. She breathed deep and the winter air felt fresh instead of cold.

Elixir_Bound_300dpiElixir Bound blurb:

Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.

It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.

Buy Links:

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Author Bio:

KatieLCarrollKatie L. Carroll began writing at a very sad time in her life after her 16-year-old sister, Kylene, unexpectedly passed away. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She wrote Elixir Bound and the forthcoming Elixir Saved so Kylene could live on in the pages of a book. Katie is also the author of the picture app The Bedtime Knight and an editor for MuseItUp Publishing. She lives not too far from the beach in a small Connecticut city with her husband and son. For more about Katie, visit her website at

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Some Amazing Graphic Novels and a GIVEAWAY

As a followup to Wednesday’s guest post by Scott Harpstrite on comic book movies (if you missed it, read it here), I have decided to compile a list of my favorite graphic novels. As Scott mentioned in his post, I too won’t squabble over the difference between graphic novel and comic book. My main criteria for classifying something as a graphic novel: can I get it in a collected edition instead of buying individual issues–I know, this opens up almost every popular title ever printed. I’ll be selective. This is not a Top 10 list, nor are they listed in any particular order. Many great graphic novels remain unread by me–largely due to the fact that I try to get them from the library so I don’t have to buy them. I believe collecting is the biggest vice of a comic book addict. So please use the comment section to let me, and other readers, know some of your favorites. And don’t overlook the giveaway of the Collector’s Set of Wolverine/Gambit: Victims which started on Wednesday.

File:FrankMillerSanDiego crop.jpgI’m going to start, not with a title, but with a writer/artist: Frank Miller. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read everything he’s done. Of what I have read, here are my favorites:

Sin City: Gripping writing filled with obscure metaphors and similes gives these stories a “pulp” feel. Yet, the artwork drew me in even before I read the books. Almost entirely drawn in black and white, color is only rarely used to draw attention to certain characters.

Batman: Year One: Growing up watching Adam West as Batman (in syndication–I’m not that old), this was my first look at a very dark Batman. Okay, I didn’t read this when it was new, and although the Tim Burton film (which came out two years after Batman: Year One), seemed very dark, it couldn’t hold a candle (get it?) to the darkness of Batman: Year One.

300: A fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae. With every page illustrated as a double-page spread, it had more the feel of watching a widescreen movie than reading a graphic novel.

Watchmen: Alan Moore’s alternate timeline where superheros emerged to help the United States win the war in Vietnam. Written in the late 1980s, Watchmen takes the cold-war fears and exaggerates them to the point of the United States being on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. This is another book I read years after publication, and growing up with the Comic Code, I had no idea how real a comic could seem if made without “PG-13” restrictions.

File:WalkingDead1.jpgThe Walking Dead: I know this is a periodical series, but it has been grouped into six volume collections, and it’s awesome, so I’m counting it. I know, everyone loves the T.V. show, but if you watch the show and haven’t read the comic books by Robert Kirkman, you’re shorting yourself. I’ve only seen the first season (I can write more now that I don’t have cable), but the books go so much farther than anything T.V. will allow. Especially with the character of Carl Grimes, a child. As I said, I haven’t watched all of the show, but in the books, Carl does some things, and has some things done to him, I’m sure would never make it to T.V.

Locke & Key: Joe Hill, son of one of my favorite authors, Stephen King, and Gabriel Rodriguez have created a strange and gripping comic where the Locke family moves to Keyhouse (see where the name comes from) and they find mysterious keys which can unlock a person’s mind, strange doors with mysteries of their own, and the elusive Omega Key which opens a portal to allow demons to enter our world. The series will conclude within the next few months. I’m excited to see how it ends, and sad to see it go.

Age of Apocalypse

Age of Apocalypse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

X-Men: The Age of Apocalypse: I know I’m going out on a limb with this last one, but all the issues are available in a four volume set; plus, I blame this, more than anything else, on my comic addiction. Before the Age of Apocalypse, I had a casual interest in comics. But when Legion went back in time intending kill Magneto, he accidentally killed his father, Charles Xavier, and he simultaneously spun the X-Universe into an alternate timeline dystopia where Apocalypse conquered North America , and me into a several year addiction. Every X-title got involved. Magneto led the X-Men, Cable never acquired the techno-organic virus (neither did he get raised in the future nor go by the name Cable), and Wolverine only had one hand (but he still had six claws).

There are some of my favorite graphic novels. I know I’ve missed a lot. Let me know what you like. And don’t forget to enter the contest!

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