• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Changes in… everything… and reconnecting with crazy people

So, long story short, there’s a person I hadn’t talked to in over 8 years.

On purpose, LOL.

But over the last couple weeks, I’ve had this feeling I needed to call her.

I fought it, believe me I did. Because when the two of us talk, or are around each other, we basically try to kill one another. Oops.

But, about a week ago I ended up picking up the phone. The conversations have gone so well, I drove the two hours (each way) to go see her yesterday – for the first time in 8 years.

And that *hugely surprisingly* went well.

some families have kodak moments others have prozac my family

Shared from http://pegitboard.com/pin/ 03056aa23aa837b508c6b305aebe1e3e

My mother is still a crackpot nut job (I come by it honestly 😉 ), but she’s stopped drinking and doing drugs, which means she’s a hell of a lot calmer, more reasonable, and now acts like a caring human being.

Whodda thunk?

I never thought I’d ever be saying this, but…

My mama is invited and will be coming to my house for Thanksgiving this year.

Here’s to hoping we won’t kill each other, LOL.

~ Happy Holidays

Equinoxes and Godesses and Autumn Creativity

This weekend everyone’s talking about it being the first day of fall. And their lovely weather.Free Danish Autumn Stock Images - 870214


Here in Arizona, we’re still hitting over 100 degrees during the day, but I’m (im)patiently waiting for cooler temps. Send em on over 🙂 I love sitting outside and writing in the cool air. And reading on the back porch, the kids hanging out around the trees, is a blast 😀

For some reason, this time of year–fall, cooling temps and Halloween just around the corner–makes me feel more creative. I love planning new worlds, and for some reason, I get more ideas during September through October than any other time a year. 

Of course, once November hits with the holidays, I get no ideas LOL so maybe it all balances 😀

Since I’m in the middle of such world building and researching mythology and recently came across this again, I thought I’d share this tidbit (From a post in 2012)


In the pagan religion, the autumn equinox (the time of year when day and night are equal), is September 21st, and is the celebration of Mabon, or the first day of fall.

Mabon is named after a Welsh god who was stolen from his mom when he was barely three nights old.

If you enjoy Greek or Roman mythology, there are similarities between Mabon and Persephone, both being taken captive to the underworld during the autumn equinox, only to be rescued and allowed to come back during the spring equinox every year.

But the main theme of the celebration was that of thanksgiving.

In older ages, this was the time of the fall harvest, and the gods were thanked for the bounty of food to see the village through the oncoming cold winter.



I love fall, we don’t get the pretty leave turning or even much of a transition here (we go straight from way-too-hot, a few days of just-cool-enough, then straight to get-out-the-jackets weather) but it does mean cooler temps finally:)

So my Q4U: What’s your favorite time of year and why? And for writers, when is your most creative season?

~ Amber

The Knight of the Garden Gnomes… #familylife #countyourblessings

For those new to the Swamp, indulge me and allow me to give you a little backstory. (Yes, I’m aware it’s a big no-no to start any story with backstory).

Years ago when our family (Knight, Prankster Duo, Hellhound and me) moved to the Swamp we brought along the Knight’s Garden Gnomes. This brilliant pair had made a life long career of tending and creating the most stunning gardens–one of which was the Knight’s–and the time had come for them to turn the responsibilities over to the rest of the Gnomish population. Their presence in our humble shack was a blessing–the Prankster Duo blossomed with their smiles and laughter, the Hellhound found a new best bud with Mr. Gnome, and our home was complete.

Then, a few years in Mr. Gnome had a run in with the insidious invader cancercraptis, a sneaky band of miscreants who leave much chaos and tears in their wake. Yet, due to the foresight of having the Gnomes move in with the Knight and I, we were able to beat the invaders back and into submission, until it decided to leave the field. Unfortunately, like many battles, there were no guarantees they wouldn’t try again. But we remained vigilant.

A couple more skirmishes broke out. Once they even brought back-up, hoping to interrupt the steady, solid beat of Mr. Gnome’s heart. Again, with speed and some really good herbalists, we kept the gardens of our Gnomes safe. Years passed, and we grew complacent–no sightings of the creepers meant they were scared to come back.

We were wrong.

Recently cancercraptis have found a couple, very small openings to Mr. Gnome. The herbalists recommend a new concoction, one that would be much easier than its harsher sibling, Chem T. The Knight, Mr. and Mrs. Gnome, the Wandering Sister, and I held a council to discuss our options. Majority decision was to try the new elixir.

It sucked.

The ties to its sibling, Chem T., were too close. It wreaked havoc. We told the herbalist, “No more. It’s not worth it.”

The invader is slow moving, enough so you can’t tell when its there, so Mr. Gnome decided he’d rather tend his garden how he wanted, for however long the sun shone and the rain fell. He’d leave it up to Mama Nature to decide how far the weed-like invaders could reach.

Hard as it is to stand by and not torch everything to the ground, just “to be sure”, we continue to honor Mr. Gnome’s wishes.

This week, the herbalist once again adjusted one of his many herbs. This time to help ensure Mr. Gnome’s heart continued its steady pace. Once again the side effects of the new herb were frighteningly horrible. So after a frantic weekend to determine which herb was the culprit, I’m happy to report Mr. Gnome is puttering in his garden. Not quite his normal self, but close enough for horseshoes. Close enough, for us to smile instead of frown.

So the reason for this little tale–I know we hear it all the time. We see it all over social media. But through these ongoing skirmishes, I have come to appreciate all the beautiful blooms each garden presents. The smile of Mr. Gnome when the oldest of the Prankster Duo continues to dip his head for kisses, just like when he was toddling around no higher than my knees (and yes, that’s pretty damn short), even though he now towers over me and the Gnomes. The laughter of my youngest as he practices his foreign tongues with Mrs. Gnome, creating words never meant to be uttered. Or the quiet ember that glows bright when my Knight, leaves behind the daily encounters and with utter patience, talks about everything and nothing, so Mr. and Mrs. Gnome know they are loved and wanted.

When the dragons of duty torch our days or the scoundrels of stress leave us frustrated and furious, remember to take a moment and appreciate the delicate blooms around you.

Back to school anyone? #AmWriting

Back to schoolYup, its that time again.

School supplies, school clothes, school schedules… (x 4 kids) LOL

It also means days that are more open. Time to get back to BICHOK.

(Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard)

And this summer, I’ve finally accompished finishing/organizing/setting up my office space (See HERE). Back to my writing goals.

So, my Q4U: Do you enjoy the hectic rush that is back to school, or does the calm later in August seem too far away? 😀

~ Amber Kallyn

You Never Really Grow Up…

I ran out of  “orginal” ideas for this week’s blog, so I’m pulling up a post I orginially did earlier this year for Nanny Berry’s GNBStacks Blog.  Please sit back and enjoy!  Don’t foget to swing by Jill Archer’s place on Friday, 9/21/12, to check out my interview with her. If you don’t know (and how could you not?) her debut Urban Fantasy, DARK LIGHT OF DAY was just released so please show some love, I’d hate for her to think I don’t have any friends!

I discovered a very painful and humbling lesson recently…you never really grow up. 

Let’s sketch you a picture of me, so you have a starting point.  I am a mature (okay… over thirty… fine… forty) woman who has labored long and hard to raise two wonderful boys in this crazy world while trying to be the Suzy homemaker partner (minus the cooking part) to her hubby of fifteen years (and that’s no easy feat!) while handling both a job that pays the bills and following that illusive dream of being a writer.  Somewhere in there I also have to lay claim to a walking fur rug, a pair of even more mature than me in-laws, a rowdy critique group known as the 7 Evil Dwarves, a couple of very close friends and, most importantly, my mom.

One of the things I treasure most about my mom is the fact that through the years I’ve had a fellow reader with whom I can spend hours discussing plots, character motivation, description and world building of the books we’ve both read. We’d delve into the worlds of Lisa Jackson, Iris Johansen, Nora Roberts and so many others.  All those romances she had tucked neatly into piles while I was growing up, became my own personal library.  She pretended not to notice when I’d sneak them out to read while I was in high school.  And even when my tastes turned to those stories where magic and mayhem existed side by side, we still found common ground for our discussions.

Now when I was offered my first publishing contract with Black Opal Books for my Urban Fantasy, Shadow’s Edge, she was the first one I called.  I mean, come on… she’s been there from the get go.  From the moment I took over my spot at the dinner table with my electric typewriter, which never moved until I graduated from high school, through the whole artistic college years where I fought not to get a “real” job so as not to dilute my writing dream, to when I wised up about the fact a roof and food might be good things to aspire to, my mom has never once told me I wouldn’t make it.  Instead, she never faltered in her belief of me and my ability to actually get my stories in print. So of course I’m going to call her so I can ramble in this really high pitch voice only my walking fur rug could probably hear, about how “I GOT A CONTRACT!”   Of course, the panicked breathing was probably a dead giveaway of what was happening since I’m not sure she could actually hear the words in-between the squeals.  Regardless, she’s my biggest cheering squad.

The greatest conversation I could ever have occurred shortly after my Urban Fantasy, Shadow’s Edge, came out.  Within days she called me to tell me how this was the first time she actually enjoyed reading an Urban Fantasy story.  I was so thrilled.  My mom loves her romances and her romantic thrillers, so the fact that she had a hard time putting down my book?  Even knowing she’s biased didn’t dampen my joy!

So the months pass, and my second UF, Shadow’s Soul is now off to my gorgeous and highly accomplished editor’s desk (no, seriously, she really is…I’m not sucking up!).   I’m visiting my mom and my magnificent sister and my fabulous nieces, up north.  We’re chatting away about writing and books  and some of my earlier reviews, when suddenly the conversation turns. 

Magnificent sister turns to me and says, “So, since one of the reviewers mentioned there weren’t any sex scenes in your first book, what happens in the second?”  A waggle of eyebrows follows.

Remember the part about me being a “mature” woman? Yeah, well, I can feel my cheeks doing their impression of a sunburn.  “Umm…yeah…there’s a couple of scenes in the second one.”

Magnificent sister with evil twinkle in her eye, “ Reeeaallly?”

I try really hard not to squirm because I am a mature adult talking to other mature adults about something perfectly natural…maybe if I say it enough I’ll actually believe it.   “Yes, really.  So about lunch tomorrow…”

My bid for a subject change whizzes by like a mosquito and is batted away by my sister who’s moving from Magnificent to Tease.  “I’m not so sure I’m going to be able to read these knowing my sister has written them. “

Under the bright eyed visages of both my mom and my sister I scramble for some pithy response.  I come up empty.  Instead I say, “So you can skip the pages.”  I pause and then quickly spit out, “Actually, I’d be thrilled if you and mom would both skip those pages.  I’ll even send you the page numbers if it helps.”

Feminine laughter feels the living room and I get the feeling I’m completely out of luck with this one.  Here’s the thing, when I hit those scenes in Shadow’s Soul, I knew my mom was going to be reading them and I don’t care how old you are, there is something about your mom getting a peek into your lurid side that takes a good twenty plus years off your age.  The hardest part about those sex scenes? Turning off that little voice in my head that kept up a running commentary:  Really? You think that’s a good word choice? Your mom is going to see this, didn’t she raise you better than that?  The little tsking sound a few minutes later—“Really? Good girls don’t even think about that! Are you trying to embarrass your darling mother?”

It took a great deal of very loud music to drown that pesky little voice out, but I managed.  But still, the urge to close your office door, take your phone off the hook and the quick side-glances to make sure your children/spouse/friends aren’t peeking over your shoulder never fade.  Seriously, no matter how old you are, in some things you just never get to grow up!


Back to School…

Ah yes! The smell of new backpacks and crisp notebooks fill the air, while the sighs of the tortured youngsters forced to trod the linoleum halls of learning create its own breeze to ruffle newly shorn hair.  Yes, it is that time again. That time when parents try hard to restrain their mad grins of relief while breaking out into random happy dances.  School’s in and my Prankster Duo is not amused.  I, however, am.

Let’s face it, as much as I love having my two little troublemakers home, by the time the school opens, I’ve got them, packed, pressed and pushed out the door to the bus stop.  The sound of the bell marks the beginning of my ability to reclaim an actual routine. Which for my little OCD heart is almost (I said-almost) as good as a chocolate.  While my darlings are busy learning new concepts, I somehow manage to juggle the job-that-pays-the-bills and my writing much more effectively.  Perhaps it’s the fact I don’t have to stop for feeding time, referee the hotly debated questions of computer usage/Nerf ownership, or find myself scheduling appointments that I’ve put off all year because it may interfere with class schedules.  Whatever it is, the start of their school marks the start of my more effective use of time.

My oldest started his journey into Junior High last week.  We had prepared, as many do, for this adventure.  We’ve discussed choosing your associates wisely, maintaining your shield and swords, and the importance of completing any mission given you.  So far, so good. He’s proven he actually heard all those bits and pieces the Knight and I have given him, even if it didn’t seem like he was listening.  It’s strangely wonderous.

The youngest is off on his adventure this week.  Unlike his older counterpart, he’s quite excited to be rejoining old friends.  Not like Mr. Social Butterfly hasn’t been out of touch during these summer months (I wonder if there is a Skype addiction program out there?).  Yet as this is the first year in a while where my Duo will be split, I think their excited about taking their own paths, knowing, if  they need the other, all they have to do is ask. 

So although I spent the first week of the oldest one’s entry into middle school world choking back my worries and concerns, I’m finding I’m relaxing bit by bit as he begins his journey and discovers how strong he really can be and unknowingly setting a very awesome example for his brother.  As my youngest begins his trip, I take comfort in the fact that his witty humor and inquisitive mind will keep his teachers on his toes, instead of just me!

Missing the Blog Train…

Sincerest apologies! Totally dropped the dagger on the blog post for last week–and honestly, I have no excuse.  Even the fact that the Prankster Duo have revved up their antics, the Hellhound has decided to start experimenting with strange growths near his butt, the Knight in slightly muddy armor has been fending off the dragons single handedly, and me…I don’t think I’ve slowed down since the week prior.

Summer is when the temps rise, so you laze around a body of water (hopefully flying kola free), drink something cold and fruity (maybe a new blush from the Werewolf Monastery), and watch the days pass on by while Swamp Thing’s new and decidedly more colorful garden blooms.  Right?


Summer is when you realize that although every other Swamp resident may get to sleep in, you’re SOL.  Because as soon the sun starts to burn off the miasma of Zombie stench, you should have already:

  • hunted down breakfast for the Hellhound and presented it to him, making sure your presentation is up to Gordon Ramsay levels, because if it’s not you and the entire neighborhood will be forced to listen to his displeasure.
  • made sure Knight’s armor is still slightly muddy, plus make sure he was able to find not only his lunch, but his assorted weaponry before he takes the loyal steed out for his next adventure.
  • confirmed that Eerie’s Zombies did not breach the perimeter security during the night and invite Grandpa and Grandma Wizard to participate as snacks (‘Let’s eat grandma & grandpa!’ takes on a whole new meaning when it’s moaned!).
  • yell at the computer as it slowly decides to find an electronic signal in North Timbuktu so I can do my quick pop in/pop out to all the overwhelming social venues I am now indentured to for the next eternity.
  • straighten up the shack, including but not limited to, putting away the stack of dishes that have re-populated during the evening hours (I so don’t want to know what those dishes are really up to in the wee hours!), push/pull the Prankster Duo from their nesting spots with minimum of cursing, try to find the other boot that disappeared between taking it off and getting up (damn poltergeists!), shoving the detritus that is determined to conquer the entire cabin behind the boys’ doors, and then…
  • discuss, rationally, the pros and cons of sugar coated sugared versus fruit and oats as a nutritional requirement for growing males.

And that’s just the first 30 minutes.  It grows like a snowball of doom after that.

So the fact that I’ve been buried under the avalanche of “responsibilities” has put some serious hurdles into getting Shadow’s Moon some alone time.  I’ve managed to re-write the first couple of chapters three (or is it four?) times now, but think Xander’s finally decided to settle down a bit and share.  Considering the annual trip of the Evil 7 (we’re currently at 8, but unlike Snowhite and the Huntsman, we haven’t decided which one gets to take the arrow yet!), is quickly descending, I CAN NOT WAIT!

Think about it…4 blissful days of no internet (except for research, of course!), no phones (did you know cell phones have off buttons?), no TV (no hardship there, it’s why DVR’s were invented) and no outside responsibilities to pull me away from my fantasy world and the nightmares that inhabit it!  Plus, there is enough food to feed a small garrisson of trolls, witty humor with others who understand the necessity of demonstrating the proper techinques behind breaking necks and can intellecutally debate the merits of various herbal poisons and sharp, pointy weapons.  Ah…nirvana!

Plus, the cherry on top?  Shadow’s Soul is set to hit shelves on JUNE 23rd!

All of this is what will get me through the next week…then I’ll be back and we’ll chat again!

So BZZZ Busy…

So looked at my calendar and realized that OMG I NEED TO GET A POST DONE!  So huge apologies for the very brief post this week but man, oh man, has it been busy. Small fires flaring up everywhere, the Prankster Duo turning my hair gray (not like it had far to go), and then just hours ago realizing that the third revision of chapter 2 for book 3 must be re-written.

And here’s why Chapter 2 is up for another rewrite and a small peek into a writer’s brain–

You have a rogue werewolf who’s chasing down his ex-girlfriend who’s dumped him and was out clubbing with friends before hooking up with a new guy.  Furball takes exception to the rival and leaves him in a bloody heap, not breathing.  Then proceeds to corner ex in a club.  There they argue and she turns her back on him and walks away. Now, what’s more believable?

A.  Furball gets mad, Xander confronts him and he proceeds to head to the alley and the rumble between him and Xander ensues.  This means the humans are still in the dark about the existence of shifters.


B.  Furball gets mad, Xander confronts him and he proceeds to lose control tearing apart the varied humans around him causing a panic which limits Xander’s ability to reach him.  When she finally does, they rumble admist a screaming storm of body parts and panicking humans.  Now Division gets called in, Warrick the Alpha gets called in and it’s one big cluster.

So which makes more exciting reading?

Yep, I’m with you..so back to the drawing board and we’ll start drafting Version B.

*SIGH*  Even with an outline this book is being a stubborn ass from the get go.  Just when I think I have it all figured out, my characters snicker, slap me across the face and dash away.

I love being a writer…



 So we hit this around 6pm last night. Of course, I was driving home. Not only did I try hard not to keep craning to look behind me (not because of the sun, but the zombie hordes were out in full force), I tried not to blind myself, LOL.

The only version we actually ended up seeing was #1 & #2 on the chart. We didn’t get to see a full eclipse. I think we just don’t get to see stuff like this in the swamp. It disrupts the evil aura’s or something. Hmm, next time I’ll have to talk to the witch coven up the mountain, see what they’ll charge me to let it through.

If you got to see more, tell me about it.

As for other changes, well, the kids are out of school this Thursday. Yup! It’s summer vacation already. Mud pies, zombie parts, decaying and moss-covered squishy things leaking from pockets and pillow cases.

I knew it was coming, considering we’ve been 105-108ish degrees for over a week. The swamp waters are a few feet lower than normal. I don’t know if hell fire is leaking through or what.

But really, I’m so not ready for 2 full months with the kids home all day. Not that I don’t love them, I do. And I enjoy having the time with them.

I’d kick them outside during the day like people who live in normal places do, but if they didn’t terrorize the zombies beyond repair, make boots out of C. Rock Adial, they might actually melt, it’s that hot.

So it will cut into my writing. I can admit that.

I also have my first University classes starting early June, extracurricular activities for the kids, and deadlines for books I need to get done.


Yup, things will be changing for the next few months.

Now I just have to figure out how to get everything done 😉

The Vacay is over…

As you noticed, my last post hung around for a whopping two weeks.  Yep, it was deliberate, not a technological malfunction.  I know, I know, normally the tech gremlins are to fault, but this time I just couldn’t hang it on them.  It was all me.  The Prankster Duo escaped from their learning institution and embarked on a week-long pester fest some call “Spring Break”.  Since the knight in slightly muddy armor and I thought we might be pushed to send them out into the Swamp on a Snipe hunting trip (if you don’t know what that is, go ask your parents!), we thought it would be best to pack up and head over to Grandma’s which is over the hill and under dale up north.  North being where white stuff falls from the sky and sticks to the ground in gritty, gray patches.  Luckily, the white stuff was only on the ground and not in the air and where we were enjoying the beautiful sun drenched days of 80 degree weather, we weren’t disappointed with  the 20 degree temperature drop since the sun was out in all its shining glory.

I also decided that maybe, this year, I’d actually make those days off from the job-that-pays-the-bills actual days off.  Shocking, I know, but it’s been a whirlwind the first couple of months this year.  If I didn’t cut myself some slack soon, I might find myself all alone on my own Snipe hunt in the Swamp.

So no blog posts last week, I was MIA from Twitter and barely showed up on Facebook.  And boy howdy, did I realize just how much time all of that took up. The first few days at Grandma’s I had to field a few forest fires from the job-that-pays-the-bills, but it soon died off.  Once we made it back into the Valley of the Sun, and blazed our way home through the Swamp, I was able to conqueror Jack’s nasty beanstalks in my back yard, appease those pesky due collectors, catch-up on entering some fab-u writing contests, make my offering to the cover artist goddesses, and then found out I’m all set for a blog tour in April.  Yep, April which is what? Two weeks away? So after hyperventilating on how soon that was bearing down on me, I needed to make sure I made every minute of my “vacay” worth it.

Once back from Grandma’s I slept in and ignored the hellhound who really didn’t like having his breakfast delayed past dawn.  Tried to make in roads on the leaning tower of to-be-read-a’s books on my night stand while knight was off saving the galaxy from being overtaken by Sith Imperials, or when that got to be too boring, the Reapers who were wreaking a massive hellstorm on Earth.  We even managed to wrangle the Prankster Duo to the Renaissance Festival.  Oh yes, the land of giant turkey legs and over flowing…..bodices of ale!

So now that my vacay is over, it’s back to the keyboard.  Tomorrow Xander, Vidis and I have a meeting…however I’m not so sure how well that will go.  Then I’ll tackle the posts for the upcoming blog tour.  So stay tuned, I’ll have those dates and places up next week!

Until then…don’t get lost on your twisted paths!



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