Tuesday, November 30, 2010

u don't have to

I read an article this morning about how Amazon is lifting free ebooks from my beloved Project Gutenberg and selling them. They are making a profit from content that's available elsewhere for free.

There's a reason they can do that.

Amazon has done a really good job of chaining Kindle users to their website. The Kindle can connect to their website via a wireless internet connection, log in automatically, and boom - you can buy an ebook without removing butt from couch.

Woo! Convenience! Well, convenience sometimes costs you money, honey.

Guess what. You don't HAVE to get all your ebooks from Barnes and Noble or Amazon or whoever else sold you that shiny ereader.

I have a Kindle, so I'm going to talk about that one.

When you plug your Kindle into your computer with a USB cord, it can be read as a mass storage device, like a USB drive. If you download an ebook to your computer and want to add it to the Kindle, you go to My Computer --> Removable Storage Media (or whatever your computer calls it) --> Documents.

Your books are in that documents folder. All you have to do is drag and drop ebook files from the computer into that Documents folder. I'm willing to bet that other ereaders work in a similar fashion.

There is probably a way to download from other sites wirelessly too (on the Kindle itself), but I don't do it that way.

Anyway, now that I have hopefully liberated at least one person from the Kindle store, I will offer direction.

Free public domain ebooks are available at the Project Gutenberg website.


Smashwords has pay and free ebooks by many an indie author who would love to have your support.


Also, many authors (like me) offer free ebooks via their websites. See Fiction Freebie tab above.

That is all. Go forth and download, my minions.
Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Monday, November 29, 2010

Newish Freebie Release Monday!

Under the Freebie Fiction tab, the old freebies have been replaced with one new freebie. Well, it's a newish freebie.
Like Clockwork and A Tangled Mind is a collection of three short stories. Two of them - Amy and Mischief in Reau Garden are previous releases.

The new story is called A Great Man. It's about a guy named Charlie who leaves a bar with a girl and wakes up at her place. She doesn't want him to leave. He doesn't have his car and they are at an isolated location in the country, so he doesn't have much say in the matter.

Amy is second in the lineup. I describe it as a zombie love story. I tweaked Amy slightly for this new release. Some of my reviewers on Smashwords offered constructive criticism that I happened to agree with, so I made changes. I also found parts that I wanted to change. The story is fundamentally the same though.

Then we have Mischief in Reau Garden. This story is a companion to my novel, MacDowell Sisters & Annabeth. The girls in Mischief are the child versions of elderly women in the novel.

I wouldn't call this story a prequel, necessarily, but the relationship dynamic between the girls is one that lasts into their later years. Also it takes place at a Victorian mansion called Reau House, which is a vital setting in MacDowell Sisters & AnnaBeth.

The free ebook can be found in two other places aside from the blog. It’s also on my website: www.LeaRyan.com

If you don’t love pdf, you can find it in a variety of ebook formats on Smashwords.

I plan to release it on a couple of other ebook websites as well in the near future.
Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Thursday, November 25, 2010

guest post Inception, by Gunter Jameson

Inception: Mind Trippingly Satisfying

Christopher Nolan is the not the kind of filmmaker who rushes around from one project to the next. He takes his time, considers his material, and painstakingly puts together worlds and scenarios that twist audience’s minds around in five different directions at the same time before settling on an ending that always leave you wanting more. In fact, Nolan may be the current master of artistically complicated thrillers, and his latest film, Inception, is a master showcase for his abilities.

A dream within a dream within a dream . . .

Inception, due out on DVD December 7th, is a mind-bending thriller that takes audiences deep into a dream world where ideas can be stolen and planted in a high-stakes game of corporate espionage. Dom (Leonardo DiCaprio), is the best in the world at extraction, a process whereby he enters a person’s dreams and steals their ideas, selling them to the highest bidder. But since the death of his wife, he’s been on the run, accused of her murder.

When he fails an extraction audition for wealthy businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe), he is offered a chance to redeem himself and clear the murder charge by planting an idea in the head of the CEO of a rival company. With the help of other masters of dream manipulation (including Ellen Page, and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt), Dom builds the most complicated dream scenario he has ever created, involving multiple layers of dreams within dreams, in order to make the executive (Cillian Murphy) feel as if he was the one that came up with the idea.

What ensues is a head-tripping thriller that not only leaves you sitting on the edge of your seat but also forces you to reconcile multiple dream worlds into an overarching philosophical and metaphysical message about the power of ideas and the strength of memory in shaping our lives. Overall, it’s not the type of movie that you can passively sit through; it makes you work, but following Nolan’s complicated dance feels less like homework than it does like finishing the NY Times crossword puzzle—difficult, but immensely satisfying.

The right cast

Although Nolan is at the head of this crazy train, he could not have pulled off the level of storytelling that he does without the fantastic acting work done by DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard (as Dom’s dead wife), Ken Watanabe, and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt who create realistic and engaging characters with their performances. In addition, Nolan’s dream world is made all the more beautiful and frightening by cinematographer, Wally Pfister, who is also known for his fantastic work on other Nolan films like The Dark Knight and Momento.

Inception is a movie that will stay with you a long time as you continue to mull its conundrums around in your head, proving that Nolan is one of the greatest filmmakers working today.

Gunter Jameson writes about several topics including travel, minimalism and pell grants

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

random wednesday updates

Reading: Algernon Blackwood, Four Weird Tales
Soundtrack of the day: Almost Alice, various artists

Almost Thanksgiving greetings!

Ok, so I'm pushing the free short story ebook thingy release until probably Sunday. I planned to release this week but with the holiday going on, is anyone really going to be paying attention? I probably won't be.

So. Sunday, unless I experience technical difficulties, which is always a possibility. I will blog about/officially announce the release/provide links on Monday. Exciting times! I hope everyone will read it.

The three stories aren't really that long, so if you wanted to read them on a computer screen or print them out on paper, the experience wouldn't be too obnoxious.

That leaves the novella, which may travel toward Lady Editor's desk this week. I like it a lot. The novella is also going to be a freebie, possibly released in January.

I'm trying a few different things with the marketing this time around, so I need some extra time to get that all put together. It is also short enough that printing it or reading it on the computer screen wouldn't be too much of a pain.

AnnaBeth book 2 is up to almost 20 pages. That is the way out into the future release. I probably won't hardcore work on it until the novella is done.

Don't forget - if you want to be notified when things are released (even free things), you can sign up for notifications by sending a blank e-mail with the word 'subscribe' to LeaRyan@LeaRyan.com. I promise not to share your e-mail address with anyone else or drive you crazy by sending messages every other freaking day like DSW does to me.

What else is going on.

Ah, Tron drops next month! I am so ready to go see it. We have the first one on DVD and we plan to watch that a day or two before we go to the theatre, just to refresh our memory of the story. I will definitely post about it here on the blog.

I have one last guest post for tomorrow about the movie Inception. The post is written by Gunter Jameson. He will be the last one for this round of guest posts.

I hope to hook up some author interviews for the beginning of next year. I think that would be exciting!

I may or may not be in Friday. Probably not unless I have some words just burning a hole in my brain.

Have a nice holiday!

Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

guest post, Five-Plus Reasons Why Writing Keeps Me (Us?) Coming Back by Brian Bujdos

Five-Plus Reasons Why Writing Keeps Me (Us?) Coming Back

A lot of us spend so much time writing that we probably never take a step back and admire what we like about plying our trade. I mean, we all enjoy the art of words, but what about writing really gets us going?

1. For me, the one reason I enjoy writing is simple – freedom! I have the freedom to carry on with my words however I want. I can take this blog in any direction, and you can’t stop me. Neither can the government (for the most part). This blog may make little or no sense to anyone, including me, in about 10 minutes, but I’m in charge here. And that’s comforting.

2. Another cool thing about writing is that our skills are constantly evolving. I believe I can be a better writer tomorrow than today. Not sure about you, but when I see a word that I’m not familiar with, I need to find out more. I am guessing most writers are that way. We are creative beings who are naturally enamored with language. For me, the language is kind of like a puzzle with no border (not so different than the Southwestern United States. Wait, this isn’t a political piece, but…)

3. Writing gives us a voice. Typically, writers have plenty to say. We enjoy communicating, and since many of us have chosen this as our profession, we like to communicate effectively. This allows us to influence other people – sometimes with the intent to change their mind, but often simply to report facts or to give them something to think about. Writers have an inherent ability and need to share something with others (or even just ourselves on occasion).

4. The Top 40 always changes. By this I mean there’s always another award-winning, or self-fulfilling story, article, blog or poem to be written. It’s kind of like the idea that hundreds of thousands of babies are born every day, but none of them look like anyone who’s already here. And to top that off, I find it interesting that I could have sat down two hours or to days later to write this “exact” blog, but it too would be quite different from what I am writing at this moment. Man, writer types are deep.

5. Writing is an escape (but you can still get paid for it). Maybe the best single thing about writing is that people will pay you to move your fingers around on a keyboard. For many writers, including myself, I feel blessed to be creative and passionate about writing – and that I can make a career out of doing what I enjoy. This may not be true for all writers, but for me, writing is an escape as well. Irrespective of the positive or negative things in my life, there’s a certain cognitive place to which writing leads me. It’s kind of like the place Bob Ross found when he painted his happy trees. Or something like that.

Of course, there are plenty of other things to enjoy about writing – such as the important contributions the written word can make in the lives of others. This might come in the form of an objective report about a horrible tragedy, or the penmanship of a captivating novel enjoyed on the beach.

If nothing else, I hope my rambling allowed you to reflect on why writing is enjoyable to you.

Brian Bujdos earned his B.A. in Journalism from Syracuse University in 1994. Brian is a guest writer and blogger for Viamedic.com, a safe U.S. medication facilitator with over 12 years of pharmaceutical experience. You can read more about Viamedic & their customer milestone of more than 1.5 million orders processed on PRweb.com.

Monday, November 22, 2010

movie Jonah Hex

Jonah Hex is a movie based on a DC comic book. It takes place during the civil war era.

Hex is a bounty hunter bent on revenge for the murder of his family. His enemy, Quentin Turnbull, is back from the dead and causing trouble. Jonah Hex is enlisted by the government to stop him.

Interesting facts: he can talk to dead people and has a couple of Gatling guns somehow affixed to his horse.

Josh Brolin played the ever grouchy, ever snarling Jonah Hex. The makeup and special effects artists really did a great job of making Brolin’s face look messed up. I did wonder if he had to hold the side of his mouth up the whole time he acted the part or if the makeup people rigged it up that way.

John Malkovich plays Quentin Turnbull. Will Arnett is in the mix too. He’s a Lieutenant.

Special cameo bonus - the guy who plays Broyles on Fringe! YES!

Megan Fox plays Lilah, a prostitute with a soft spot for Hex.

The corset they crammed that poor girl into probably did some sort of internal damage. Her waist looked painfully small.

I read a lot about Megan Fox (mild celeb gossip addiction), people giving her crap, calling her crazy, etc. The girl has skills, not necessarily great acting skills, but skills, nonetheless. She looks good and can pull off action sequences. That’s what she’s good at. Really, what else do we need her to do?

She didn’t really get much screen time until the almost the end of the movie, which I thought was sort of interesting, given that she was so heavily featured in the trailers.

Also interesting was the mention of Eli Whitney. You may know him as the inventor of the cotton gin. In this story, he invented a super weapon.

I read some bad reviews of this movie when it first premiered in the theaters. I actually thought it was good. There was plenty of action and the acting was fine. I’m not sure what those other reviewers were expecting.

I give it an A-.

Tomorrow! Tomorrow we have a guest post by Brian Bujdos about the joy of writing.
Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Chronicles of a Lost Soul, by Michael LaRocca

The Chronicles of a Lost Soul is a collection of short stories and poems written by Michael LaRocca.

I'm not going to go through every story individually because we'll be here all day. So, I'm doing a brief overview with some highlights.

In various parts of the book, the writing style was reminiscent of King, Poe, or Dante. The book had everything from philosophy to suspense to creepiness to humor to goriness.

One thing I really noticed was the author's ability to alter his 'voice'. The stories were each written in a distinct manner.

There were only a couple parts of the book that I didn't love. One of them was a story told from a dog's perspective.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. If you would like to check it out, the link to smashwords is below.


Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Thursday, November 18, 2010

guest post Laura Hogg

Please welcome author Laura Hogg! She is here to share some information about and an excerpt from her historical romance, Descent Into Darkness.

Title: Descent Into Darkness
Author: Laura Hogg
Author’s email: l_hogg@comcast.net
Genre: historical romanc
He has come back from war, fighting Napoleon’s men on a ship. She is a lovely shopkeeper with a great sense of humor. A heroic heart rests inside this insecure, intelligent beauty, and she will be called to prove it. She and her love are pitted against each other for the sake of their families and some terrible accusations. She will be in constant peril as she gathers evidence to convict his dangerous brother of a harrowing crime. His heart breaks when he discovers something about her sister. Can their love survive the results of their investigations? They devise a dangerous plan to get to the truth, which brings them into the heart of Napoleon’s camp in 1812 Russia as spies. Risking everything, they must get to the truth.


“You want me gone?” The corners of his lips turned down.
She brought pleading eyes to his face. “I merely want you separated from your brother.”
“Something happened. He…” She wrung her hands.
He studied her.
“Take me with you.” Her lip quivered.
He curled his fingers around her arm. “No. It would be risky.”
“Where are we going?”
“I pray you, Duncan.” She bowed her head and squeezed her eyes shut. “Please.”
“It’s dangerous.”
She opened her eyes. “I don’t mind that, as long as I'm by your side. If you left me here, it’s a certainty that you’ll come back a widower.” Her beseeching gaze tore at his heart.
He sighed and embraced her trembling form, rubbing his hand in comfort over her back. “You’re truly terrified. All right. I’ll take you. It’s fortunate you speak French. And French manners and customs?”
Her brow narrowed. “Of course, but what does that have to do with anything?” She stood.
“We are to be Monsieur et Madame—what French name do you fancy?”
She could do nothing but stare.
“Where are we going?”
“To see the Emperor Napoleon.”
She paled and fell backward. He caught her around the waist before she hit the mattress.

buy link: http://www.moongypsypress.com/hogg.php

Ooh la la! Sounds exciting! Thank you for stopping by, Laura.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

in which I rambled about books and publishing

Hey hey Hump Day!

I want to remind anyone reading this that my novels are free in ebook form on Smashwords.com this month. The codes can be used up to one gajillion times but the fun ends on 11/30 when they expire.

MacDowell Sisters and AnnaBeth
Coupon code: BE88Q
Expires 11/30/2010

Babylon Dragon
Coupon Code: EL96C
Expires 11/30/2010

If you don’t have a Smashwords account, you should totally sign up for one. There are many freebie books in just about any ebook format you could want. That includes pdf, Kindle (.mobi), epub, palm, txt and even html.

Even if you are not in possession one of those fancy ebook readers, you could download a copy for evaluation purposes and then order a copy on the Amazon if you like it. Hmm? Hmmmmmmm? Yes.

In unrelated news, there is a couple of publishing world stories that have renewed my sense of satisfaction with my indie writer status.

First we have Frey. This guy is crazy. He is pushing this package to fledgling writers. Basically, you give him your novel rights and your name (and maybe a small piece of your soul) and you get, drumroll please, $250! Ok, ok, there's a little more to it than that, but trust me, it's not pretty.


This is a contract for the desperate. There are plenty of people willing to prey on the dreams of others.

Personally, I would rather be indie. I don't feel desperate. I don't have to deal with rejections or the possibility of being rejected for the entirety of my career. But then again, I'm writing because I love it, not for fame and fortune. Although fame and fortune wouldn't hurt a bit.

//whispered aside to traditional publishing: caaallll meee//


So, this next bit of ridiculocity comes from the New York mother effin' Times. This is an entire article written about a literary agency moving their office out of what is considered the epicenter of publishing. Yes. Someone actually reported on this.

Really? You moved across a bridge? How rebellious! How progressive! Gee, I hope they have e-mail and telephones in that wild frontier. Gimme a break.

This really shows how rigid people in this business can be. This agency actually had to consider whether this move might damage their literary agency business. Wow.

And doesn't the NYT have something more important to report?


That's all for today. Tune in upon the morrow for a guest post from author Laura Hogg!

Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

a guest post here, a guest post there, everywhere a guest guest

Heyooo! Today we have two posts. The one from this morning is written by Liz Cutten and is about slashing your book budget, so be sure to scroll down a have a look there if you haven't already.

And then guess what. Fellow author Laura Hogg was kind enough to let the riffraff (ie me) onto her patch of cyber space to post information about my novel, MacDowell Sisters & AnnaBeth, and an excerpt!


Thanks Laura!

She will be this Thursday's guest poster.

That's all I have for now. Have a lovely evening.

Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

guest post Liz Cutten, Ways to Save Big Money on Books

This guest post was written by Liz Cutten. She posts hot deals, as well as promo codes and more all at MyCCFinder.

If you’re a fan of purchasing books, I wanted to give you a few tips and tricks that I use, when I set out to purchase a book that I want to read. What you will find by following these simple steps is that you’re going to be able to save 99% of the time.

#1 Buy used: If you don’t mind buying someone else’s book, you can save a ton by doing this. What you will find out is that you can save 70% on the book alone. Use services like Amazon to find used books, but when you want to purchase one, make sure you’re buying from a legit seller that leaves a good description of the book.

#2 Use price comparison sites: I love sites like Google.com/products, as well as other ones such as PriceGrabber. What you can do is type in the book that you want, or if you have the ISBN, you can search for the book that way too. You will find that they will list a few merchants, and how much each one is charging. It’s a great way to find out who is offering the cheapest price.

#3 Search hot deals: Forums such as SlickDeals.net is a great way to find hot deals from various merchants, as well as items. If you have your eyes set on a particular book, see if you can find a coupon code or coupon for a merchant that is selling the book. There’s a great search function that you can use to find the best deal possible.

#4 Look for printable coupons: If you’re a part of the Borders, or Barnes and Noble membership program, you will want to keep your eyes peeled in your e-mail, as well as online. You will find that they send out coupons all the time. At least once a month, I always see a 30% or 40% off coupon that I can use. Most of the time, you will find that these coupons make the book cheaper than buying them used.

These four tips should help you save a few extra bucks, no matter what book that you’re looking to purchase. Test them out, and see how much you can save on your next purchase either online, or in store!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

movie Skyline

The husband and I saw Skyline today. I know I usually don’t blog on Saturdays but I wanted to write this up while the movie is still fresh in my mind.

Warning – spoilers ahead.

Skyline is a movie that both succeeds and fails.

First, husband didn’t like it. I thought it was okay.

Skyline is about a massive, War of the Worlds scale alien invasion. The story follows one couple in particular but some other people as well. There were some familiar faces, mostly from very good TV shows – Eric Balfour (Six Feet Under), David Zayas (Dexter), Donald Faison (Scrubs), and Scottie Thompson (NCIS several episodes in 2007 and 2008).

Where it succeeds –

The acting was good.

Super awesome special effects. The aliens and their ships are really friggin’ big. Some of the larger aliens look to be a few stories tall and moved as agilely as primates. Others reminded me a lot of those squid looking things in the Matrix.
The action is almost nonstop.

Where it fails –

Lack of variation of setting. Ninety five percent of this movie takes place in or around the same apartment building. I kept waiting to see the characters try to make a run through Los Angeles and that never happened.

The ending was stupid. I didn’t love it because, well, it didn’t really resolve the problems. I think it’s presumptuous when a movie that may not have a sequel ends at what could be considered a to-be-continued point. And given that the theater wasn’t even half full, I don’t foresee a sequel for this one.

Skyline is probably worth a rental on DVD. As far as paying to see it in the movie theater? Maybe, if you are seeing it purely to see stuff blow up on a big screen. I give it a C.
Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guest Post! Cindy Marie Bell - Haibun

My 6 Favorite Haibun

Each of the haibun on my list have something in common despite their many stylistic differences; they are all journey's of the heart, leaving one with what Jeffrey Harpeng describes as "the ghost in the haibun."

So, here are my 6 favorite haibun --

Marjorie Buettner's Forgotten Roads takes us with her, and reminds us, much like Mary Oliver's Poem, Wild Geese, there is space for each of us, but it does so in an intensely rhythmic fashion.

Zolo's Implacable Time And the Long, Slow Pull of the Irresitable Sun is a piece that almost imparts a nostalgia of sorts. It brings, to my mind at least, a bygone era and it's people.

Billie Wilson's Wordless Poems evokes a dream in which anything is possible. It is a haibun that connects with a deep sense of the power words, and especially haibun, to speak on the intuitive level.

Ray Rasmussen's Fly Fishing evokes a zen-like quality in the description of an "everyday" hike. It brings with it a sensitivity to living that I admire.

Jeffrey Woodward's Question's For the Flowers is a scholarly piece evoking a sense of one's place in the ages. It ponders an age old question we all face: Who am I to commit my words to paper?

Ellen Kombiyil's The Night Sky's Answer is a haibun that center's us in place and time, but too, it places us in the greater context of the universe while broaching the topic of life after death.

How about an explanation about the writing form haibun? I've made this cute video and xtranormal.com that explains why everyone can write haibun!


Cindy Marie Bell
The Graphic Haibuneer
Life Begins With the Haibun

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

synopsis working

Today's project was a study of the synopsis. I never feel like I have synopses right. They are basically a huge pain in my ass.

I decided that in order to suck less at this particular activity, I would study synopses for some best sellers.

The goal is to make a reader want to read the book. This can be done in many ways.

The beginning can be the most important part.

Some jump right into the conflict with the first sentence.

Some set the stage first. These tended to be the books that took place in idyllic or exotic locales.

Some began by relating to the reader. They asked the "you" question. What if YOU were abducted by aliens and given an uncomfortable probe? What if YOU had to save YOUR kid sister's pet rabbit from a burning building?

Synopses for sequels began with a quick one to two-sentence rundown of what happened in the previous installment of the series.

They go on to give useful information, such as primary conflict, personal obstacles our hero or heroine faces over the course of the story, and their name, of course.

and the vocab.
Powerful, urgent words!! The standard writing advice says show don't tell, which means you describe what is happening in the story, rather than just spelling it out for the reader.

Instead of - "She was sad", you write something more like, "She buried her face in her hands and cried like she never cried before".

The synopsis seems to be the opposite, probably due to the limited space you have to convey your message to the reader.

Power words I noticed in the synopses included: gruesome, sinister, pitch-black, unstoppable, action-packed, instant, terror, explodes!!!, chaos, shocking, nastiest, madness, riveting, prevail, heart-pounding.

Hopefully I have improved my skills.

Tomorrow is guest post day! The post is written by Cindy Marie Bell and is about Haibun poetry! We all learn something.
Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Guest Post! Margo Smith, The Fiction of Mysteries

I have learned to love mysteries. I like to read them or watch them. I can’t get enough of a good Agatha Christie, either on screen or in print. I need a good dose of a mystery novel or “Monk,” “NCIS,” “Midsomer Murders,” and “Inspector Lewis” quite often or I get a bit edgy. A bit excessive you say? Perhaps it is.

I got to thinking about what the draw is for me. Christie – perhaps the most published mystery writer to date – pokes fun of mysteries herself in her books as being a lesser form of reading. For someone whose favorite books of all time are Hugo’s Les Misérables and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, how did I become such a mystery hound? It isn’t the gore – I usually look away during those parts. I spend a good time while watching NCIS with my eyes averted actually. It is not the plot – once you have seen enough of any one of these, you can generally make some pretty close predictions for the outcome. I do love a good and completely unexpected plot twist, I’ll admit. Is it the characters? In the case of Monk, perhaps the answer is yes. But it is still something else for me.

What is it? Upon further reflection, I came to realize that it is the resolution at the end. Oscar Wilde said it best, “The good ended happily and the bad unhappily, that is what fiction means.” Now there are frequently some good people who don’t make it to the end of a mystery, but the person responsible is always caught or at least known. Unlike real life, we are not left dangling or with something unresolved. They are fairy tales for adults. I guess I still like fairy tales where it is all summed up for me and the bad guys have to pay, while I cheer on the good guys. It’s simple, it’s direct and it’s all wrapped up neatly. That is why I love mysteries.

About the Author
Margo Smith graduated with a B.S. degree from BYU. Working through college and being in the corporate world give her a great deal to say about subjects as diverse as employee motivation to online schools to kite making.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

helllloooooooo there.

Today is a day of free.

But first an announcement.

I am putting together an e-mail subscription list. If you would like to opt in, please send a blank e-mail with the word 'subscribe' in the subject line to learyan@learyan.com.

I know, I know. I had a subscription list before but something happened to it.

I will only e-mail when there are big time announcements like novel or story releases and maybe interviews.

Ok, that out of the way, I have free e-book codes for use on www.Smashwords.com! Woo!!

These are the full novels.

MacDowell Sisters and AnnaBeth
Coupon code: BE88Q
Expires 11/30/2010

Babylon Dragon
Coupon Code: EL96C
Expires 11/30/2010

Please feel free to share with friends.

Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Best Friend's Girl, movie

Today we have a movie post! Yay!

We watched My Best Friend's Girl with Kate Hudson, Dane Cook, and Jason Biggs (American Pie). The movie is a couple of years old (2008), but guess what, it's my blog and I write about what I want.

This movie is equal parts chick flick and raunchy guy humor. You have the romantic story line - Dane Cook's character (Tank) gets paid to go out on dates and be an asshole so the girls run back to previously rejected 'nice' guys. When his best friend, Jason Bigg's character (Dustin) hires him, Tank decides he likes the girl.

The aforementioned funny parts of the movie involve Dane Cook's efforts to repel women. He plays loud, obnoxious music, takes them to inappropriate establishments (one of which serves dog meat), tells crude jokes, makes over the top rude comments, you get the idea.

What I really thought was interesting about this movie was how much Dane Cook's appearence has changed. He has somehow aged ten years in like five actual years. I used to think he was quite hot.

Now he sorta looks like that guy with prison hand tattoos working at the gas station down the street. Get this man a facial and some moisturizer stat, cuz damn!

The movie was good, not buying it good, but definitely renting it good. B+

Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesday as my 200th post!

Hey there blog readers! Today is Teaser Tuesday.

Below is a scene from my novel MacDowell Sisters & AnnaBeth. Links to the book on Amazon and Smashwords follow the excerpt.

There is probably some spoiler-ish material in here, so if you are sensitive about that sort of thing, you might not want to read on. This is a scene from Chapter 6, Night at Reau House.

AnnaBeth (our 19 year old protagonist) has delivered some spare body parts from the funeral home for the MacDowell sisters, her elderly witch mentors, at their request. This part of the scene begins in mid-conversation. The MacDowell Sisters have just finished explaining that they use bones and bone fragments as vessels for their will.

A few quick bits of info. These witches call themselves 'fates' because they deal in people's destinies and Havens Path is AnnaBeth's house.

Vestra and Madeline MacDowell live in Reau House. This scene takes place in the cellar where there are old corpses piled on dirt ledges.


I thought of the pendant I saw Thomas Williams leave with on my first visit to Reau House. The MacDowell sisters didn't want him to have children and he took their will home with him in the form of a necklace, a necklace with bone inside.

"What about Ophelia's teeth?"

Vestra answered, "We were friends with dear Ophelia and didn't want to take much from her.
Teeth are easily accessible and we don't have to break them down."

"We ordered only the teeth out of respect for our friend."

Emboldened by how easily I was getting answers, I asked another question.

"Why can't you use the bones of the people down here?"

"They do in a pinch but they don't hold energy like the fresher ones."

Fresher ones?

"Okay, that's probably enough for today," Vestra declared. She'd probably tired of my questioning. "Maddy and I have to deal with the bones, and it's already so late."

Madeline moved to show me to the door, then I remembered something.

"Cecile said she needed replacement because she took too much."

"Ah, another use for our old friends down here. Is Rachel being cremated?"


"That really is the most earth friendly way to do it." Madeline nodded.

"I think they call it 'eco' now, sister." Then to me Vestra said, "AnnaBeth, before you go, would you pack up two femurs and two tibias into one of the bone bags. Lady Madeline will show you where they are. We'll drop them off at Cecile's first thing in the morning."

"You want me to touch the bones?" I asked disbelievingly.

"Yes, dear. Fates have dirty work too. Our old friends don't mind."

I was willing to bet the old friends would mind if they knew and would say so if they had tongues with which to protest.

Madeline suggested, "Maybe some arm bones too."

"AnnaBeth, help Madeline. I will stay here and get started on this portion of the dirty work."
Madeline and I went back the way we came in. She stopped at a wide stepladder rammed up against the front of one of the ledges. She bent to pick up a canvas sack, shook a cloud of dust from it and handed it to me.

"Here we are."

I was about to desecrate a corpse. There had to be some bad juju in that, bad karma or something. If there is a next life, I would end up as a dung beetle or a feeder rat for someone's pet python. Dinner and a show. I stared at Madeline for a few seconds, hoping she'd expose the assignment as a joke.

Instead, she said, "Try to get the bones from one of our friends in the back. They are the oldest and have the least value to us."

Why did they keep calling them friends?

As I reluctantly climbed the stepladder, pounding came from Vestra at the back of the cellar, rhythmic sounds of metal cracking bone. She was breaking Rachel’s bones down into smaller pieces.

I shuddered. Not that my dirty work was much better, but at least I didn't know these people, these friends propped on ledges.

I reached the top of the stepladder and saw into the spread of dry bodies that went on to the far walls of the cellar. There was a thin strip of bare ledge which allowed room for me to climb up before I plunged into the sea of dead. I lay there on my side, staring into bundles of bones and ancient formalwear.

"Is something wrong, AnnaBeth?" Madeline inquired from the floor below.

"No, I'm just taking a moment to adjust."

"Watch for sharp pieces." She warned.

I shut my eyes tight and put a hand in. It landed on a dirt encrusted, ruffled lacy piece of a dress. Not so bad. Old and dry like everything else on the ledge.

Old and dry, old and dry, I chanted to myself internally as I clawed my way across bodies. I guess the idea comforted me because I preferred them in that state rather than the alternative, which is fresh and moist.

Dust flew where I stirred it and clogged my throat. I didn't even want to think about what that dust was made of. I tried not to breathe, which only left me to gasping when I needed air.

Leaning on clothes to avoid direct skin on corpse contact, I felt bones snap beneath fabric. I officially had enough at the halfway point. I chose a skeleton which unlike everyone else around it did not wear clothing. I wouldn't have to undress him or her.

The bones separated easily at the knees and elbows. I cringed every time I made a pull. The person wasn’t alive, but I still experienced some anxiety for separating the pieces. I wouldn’t want this for my bones or anyone else’s.

"Are you far in already?" Madeline asked me when she heard the sound of bones knocking together in the sack.

"Far enough." The firmness in my voice surprised me.

I was caked in dirt and beyond ready for bed by the time I climbed down from the ledge.

"Here." Still breathless from lack of oxygen, I handed the sack to Madeline. I couldn't remember another day seeming so long and perfectly exhausting. My bones ached, perhaps out of sympathy for the Reau House dead. "I'm going home."

I walked away without waiting for Madeline to respond. I didn't want to see her or Vestra or even Justin for a while. Had moving Havens Path been an option, I would have moved her to the westernmost corner of Hawaii, the farther the better.

"Don't worry about coming for your next lesson. We've covered enough for one week." Vestra yelled from the back of the cellar.

"Good night!" Madeline chirped as I trudged up the stairs into blessed fresh air and darkness.

"Sleep tight!" Vestra chimed.

I added in a weak hearted mumble, "Don't let the bedbugs bite."


MacDowell Sisters & AnnaBeth in print on Amazon

For Kindle

On Smashwords

Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Monday, November 1, 2010

book working + goings on + illustration

Halloween was awesome! I hung out with my babies and took the little one trick or treating. The surly teenager went with her friends for the first time ever and returned home with a suspiciously small amount of candy.

Personally, I think she has a secret sugar stash somewhere in or around the neighborhood. The search is ongoing.

In book working news, I finally figured out what I wanted to change about the novella. I had this epiphany over the weekend whilst doing sketches for cover art.

The story is not creepy enough! Yes! I feel much better knowing what I need to work on specifically.

The story itself isn't intended to be a horror. However, looking back over the title, the subject matter and what will probably be the cover art, I realized what I need to tweak. So, that's the project this week - adding in some creepy and more intensity.

I did some research on the internet to try and come up with some ways to meet that end, but didn't find anything substantially helpful.

Much like the candy stash situation, the search is ongoing. If I find anything truly helpful, I'll post links here.

And here is an illustration I'm calling - dark carousel. Prints are up in AvinaLeo. Please click the pic if you wish to acquire one of your very own.

Tomorrow I'm participating in my very first Teaser Tuesday. People on twitter put up excerpts of their writing either on blogs or on Twitter itself if the excerpts are really really short. So yeah, I'm doing that here tomorrow with a scene from MacDowell Sisters and AnnaBeth.

The post will be longer than the usual because of that.

If you already read the book, the scene won't be anything new to you, but hey, you could share with a friend...or something.

TTFN, ta-ta for now.

Other places to find me:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1