Showing posts from 2014

Holiday Flash Fiction

Used by permission from JosDCreations The Ad by IE Castellano “Baubles bringing you down?  Has your jingle lost its jangle?  Bows have you in knots?  Is cheer a challenge?  Milk and cookies souring on the mantle?  Are you finding that giving the perfect gift has left you listless? “Yes, with frosty days and icicle growing nights, a new bird is here to stay.  Silver bells ring on street corners and in front of shops.  Toys fill the stores.  Candy canes hang from branches.  Holly wreaths decorate doors.  Mistletoe dangles where all can see.  Nutcrackers guard everything sweet. “Yet sometimes, rosy cheeks fail to glow.  Eggnog misses the mark.  Garland falls off the railings.  Jack Frost nips the nose a tiny too hard. “Do not fret!  When standing in lines for hours ceases to delight, it’s easy to keep your stockings hanging with care. “Introducing Holiday Joy!  One dose will have you seeing red and green.  With regular use this holiday season, all that’s tin

Book Fair Appearance

     Who?   Me and about 20 other authors      Where?   Norwin Public Library in Irwin, PA  (Caruthers Lane off of Route 30)      When?   Saturday, December 13 th      Time?  Noon to 3 pm      Books?   Yes My latest all ready to sign I’ll be signing all my titles:  Where Pirates Go to Die , Tricentennial , The World In-between , Bow of the Moon , and Secrets of the Sages Come say hi!  I’ll be sitting at the Laurel Highlands Publishing table with fellow author, Thomas Beck (who will, incidentally, be signing his cozy mysteries). Tom’s new release (just out on the 4 th ) is entitled: The Tommy Two Shoes Mysteries: Entangled .  Lots of intrigue, some head cracking, and a touch of romance splattered on those pages.  I am looking forward to reading the third book of his series next year. In the neighborhood?  Stop by.  Books make great gifts (if I do say so myself).  With roughly 20 authors and many genres from which

Let the Adventure Begin

One ship, a small band of Pirates, and an entire Galaxy in pursuit Where Pirates Go to Die The Chase Begins The elusive and calculating Pirate known as Naria escapes from Torquor Prison, throwing the Galaxy into a panic.  Dignitaries of the Milky Way Circle employ any means necessary to recover what Naria stole.  After the pursuit across the Galaxy, will justice finally be served? The space opera is available at Amazon , Barnes & Noble , Apple iTunes , Google Play , Kobo , and Smashwords .

How Do You Choose?

Recently, I was asked which one of my books is my favorite.  With the upcoming release of Where Pirates Go to Die , I have seven titles—plenty from which to choose.  My easy answer:  how can I? The World In-between series is my baby.  With three novels and a short published, I am waist high into this epic portal fantasy.  Each book adds layers of complexity and a few new characters.  When I was talking about the series, someone asked why I wrote a male protagonist as a female author.  I told him it suited the story.  He looked at me strange.  The male main character tells the story from his point of view.  But is it his story or another’s?  Perhaps by book six, all will be revealed. After writing Tricentennial , the avenue to science fiction opened before me.  I enjoyed the straightforward story line and the faster pace.  Laurel Highlands Publishing is releasing the second edition by the end of the year. The Hunt (in Moon Shadows ) was my first short story

Nitroboosting in ... Three ... Two ... One

My space opera, Where Pirates Go to Die , has a cover and a release date of 12 Nov. The elusive and calculating Pirate known as Naria escapes from Torquor Prison, throwing the Galaxy into a panic.   Dignitaries of the Milky Way Circle employ any means necessary to recover what Naria stole.   After the pursuit across the Galaxy, will justice finally be served? Countdown to launch T minus 27 days. The ebook can be preordered at Amazon , Google Play , Kobo , Apple , and Barnes & Noble .

Moon Shadows Book Signing News Clipping

From the Mount Pleasant Journal  October 9, 2014  I'm on the far right.  :)  Last Wednesday's book signing at the Mount Pleasant Farmers' Market was a sunny success.  I had a great time meeting everyone who came. Moon Shadows is available at your favorite retailer.   Amazon , Barnes & Noble , Apple , Kobo , Google Play , and Smashwords .

Book Signing

In the rural wooded highlands not far from Pittsburgh, a small town called Mount Pleasant nestles in hilly Westmoreland County. On Wednesday afternoons, the Mount Pleasant Farmers' Market blossoms to sell local wares in a parking lot on Main Street. To celebrate the worldwide release of the Halloween themed anthology, Moon Shadows,  Laurel Highlands Publishing has organized a book signing at the Mount Pleasant Farmers' Market. Wednesday, Oct 1st, I will be signing copies of Moon Shadows , the World In-between , Bow of the Moon , and Secrets of the Sages . When:  Wednesday, Oct 1st, 1pm to 6pm Where:  Mount Pleasant Farmers' Market  (Shop Demo Depot parking lot on State Road 31) I will be joined by fellow authors: Fred C. Adams, Thomas Beck, Renny Kalp, and Janice McLaughlin. If you're in the area, come out, pick up the latest book, and say hello.  I'd love to meet you.  

Reading Subscriptions

I never thought I’d say it.   I love my ebook subscription service. When I received my free subscription for being an early adopter author on Scribd , I honestly thought that I’d never use it.   Then, my books were reported as being read.   I gave it a second look. Although I had wasted a month not reading, I browsed the books on their site.   I chose books and added them to my library.   Books were picked by cover and description. After downloading the Scribd app on my phone, I began to read.   Sometimes, I read before bed, and, sometimes, when I didn’t feel like getting up yet.   I found myself reading while I waited for my food to grill or during the rare times I wasn’t writing. My voracious reading habit returned.   I consumed book after book—any book that looked interesting—regardless of publisher or author.   Half the time, I had no idea who I read until afterwards. Some books I did not finish.   But, with a subscription, I can take chances on a book.   Any

Moon Shadows Rising

Seventeen stories touch the unknown, the unseen, and the undead. Visit what we avoid. Step into the shadows of the moon. My short story, the Hunt , is one of seventeen stories chosen for Moon Shadows , a Halloween themed anthology, published by +Laurel Highlands Publishing . Loosely based on the Wild Hunt of European folklore, the Hunt tells the story of one ghost Hunter's destiny. The ebook is available for pre-order at:  Amazon , Barnes & Noble , Apple iTunes , Kobo , and Google Play .

Poetry Wednesday 20 Aug 2014

TOO LATE The screech of car tires quick turn of wheel still hitting a little form that broke upon the steel and lay in a small bundle staining the road red ... "I her too late," was all the drunk driver said. Another drink for the road was too many that day a small precious child would never again play; for the parents - no answers only these words instead ... "I her too late," was all the drunk driver said. By: Dale Sahlberg Poetry: For visually impaired: Novel:

Typing: the Follow-up

In a previous post , I talked about using Dragon text to speech software.  After using it, I have to update my recommendation. I used the software to transcribe the second half of Secrets of the Sages.  At first, I thought it was great.  Then, it wasn’t so great.  Let me explain. Secrets is epic fantasy, which means we authors tend to use strange names.  I taught Dragon names like Baldur, Colvin, Goscislaw, Alvar, and Hatcher.  Half the time, it would not type those names when I said them.  I found that frustrating.  There was no explanation for why Dragon stopped transcribing.  I resigned myself to typing the ancient tongue and ancient Fairy languages. In general, it messed up a lot.  I would have to talk it into corrections.  Those didn’t go so smoothly either.  The command, “Go to End,” became “Good and.”  I always had to say, “Cap Hope” when I wrote about Berty’s niece, Hope.  But that was because I used a regular word as a name.  However, it would automatically capita

Exploring Doran

After receiving an obscene down payment of lons  to begin his search  for the elusive Naria, Dirk takes his ship to Doran—considered an insignificant planet by many—to pick up some regulars for the hunt and then some. From Chapter 9 of Where Pirates Go to Die : Bars and scorpions littered the dusty streets of New Arizona.   Dirk passed the General Store without a peek through the grit-laden windows.   New Arizona was a well-worn city, although no one would admit to ever being there.   It did not have the glitz or glamor of Galaxis.   No fancy boutiques lined its unpaved avenues.   People traveled there to get away from the prying eyes of the Patrolbots and savor more unsavory delights.   A battered wooden sign swung over Dirk’s head.   Reading, “Fox and Hound,” he entered.   An older woman greeted him from behind a desk in a cozy, sterile lobby.   “May I help you?” she asked with a smile.   “I have an appointment with two-two-three,” Dirk said.   The woman p

Digging into Dirk

A monologue from a main character in my upcoming space opera, Where Pirates Go to Die . Name:   Dirk Occupation: Bounty Hunter I know what you’re thinking.   How is it possible to be a Bounty Hunter in this day and age? DNA tracing just shows where a person has been, not where that person actually is.   Full or partial facial recognition doesn’t give you much unless you know the person’s pattern.   Thermal imaging can’t tell exactly who is there. All this data that tracks our every move needs interpretation.   Sure, there are algorithms and all this other schmact that I don’t care about to analyze our thoughts and future actions.   However, they can’t do my job. When a Patrolbot enters a less than reputable den, criminals scatter like cockroaches.   I enter like I’m one of them.   And they always give up information for the right price. Not everyone is cut out to be a Bounty Hunter.   My connections keep my stick tabs full of lons and my ship flying

Flying High

The Blue Angels against a blue sky. The roar of engines tearing through the blue. The smell of jet fuel mingling with sunscreen. Fighting against the tidal wave of the hordes. Yesterday, I attended the Air Show. The flying was amazing. What I learned: What people can train their bodies to endure is incredible. 5 Gs? Most of us would have passed out well before. In a large crowd, half will be pushing strollers. The only shade lies under the planes on display. Unless you have a hangar into which to duck. Everyone holds up their phones or tablets to take pictures. No one uses a real camera anymore, including yours truly, unless equipped with a telescopic lens. The only thing that surpasses my not so great picture taking is my attempt at video taking.  (My brother took the pic above.) I should invest in a portable phone charger. Just by watching how the planes do those tricky moves, my mind begins to roll. I am very excited to get my pen gliding acros

Fly Me to the Moon

There’s a lot of flying in a space opera.   (I know, you’re shocked.)   Where Pirates Go to Die mainly centers around one non-Galaxy-regulated ship, the Tigerlily.   To watch some spectacular flying in person, I’m heading to the Air Show this weekend.   As many of you know, my brother is a pilot.   The aviator’s club to which he belongs gave Air Show VIP passes and is throwing a hangar party all afternoon and into the evening.   And, as a good sister, I get to go, too!   (Yay me!)   There’s a rumor that the Blue Angels will be guests at the hangar party.   Their flying is nothing short of awesome.   (Need to remember to bring earplugs for when those jets pass.)   I hope the rumor is true.   How cool would it be to meet them?   Hopefully, they will be able to give me some of their limited time to ask them plenty of questions about flying those fighter jets.   What I won’t do for research. I’m hoping to pick up a few good moves for Wretch (the Tigerlily’s pilot) to use, especi

Upcoming Projects

After launching Secrets of the Sages , I have no time to rest on my laurels.   Not wanting a big celebration or party, I simply pick up my pen and keep writing. Four books are all at different stages of completion.   First, I am writing Whispers , the fourth book of the World In-between series.   It begins a couple of weeks after Secrets of the Sages ends.   Escalating war leads to a high body count and to happy occasions being crashed.   Second, I can see the end of my space opera, Where Pirates Go to Die .   Think of it as kinda like Firefly meets Pirates of the Caribbean .   It includes some interesting characters, cat and mouse chase scenes, robots (including androids), and high tech thievery. Third, I am thoroughly researching a contemporary fantasy.   And by thoroughly, I mean I read and take notes until my eyes pop out and become bloodshot.   Quite fun.   I am getting some great fodder for continuing the scene that I had to leave hanging because I needed to do res

No Secret Lasts Forever

The magical adventure continues… Book three of the World In-between series. Since first stepping through the portal, Berty has always found the Empire mysterious—full of secrets awaiting discovery. Revealing secrets comes with a price, especially magical secrets. His world begins to unravel. Unless Berty exposes the ancient magical secrets the Seven High Sages concealed from history, he could lose everything and everyone he loves. Secrets of the Sages , book 3 of the epic fantasy the World In-between series is now available. Amazon , Barnes & Noble , Kobo , Apple iTunes , Google Play , Smashwords

Quoting Secrets

Seven Sages Seven Seals Seven Secrets Soon Sinister Steals --The Pixie Priestess A gathering of quotes from the upcoming epic fantasy, Secrets of the Sages .  Book 3 of the World In-between Series. “Our destiny is the product of what we chose to do with our innate abilities.” “I’ve pinned my husband to the wall in under five seconds.   And that was with only one crossbow.” “This world is full of things we have forgotten, things we do not understand and things well out of our control.” “I’m afraid the walls have ears.” “I believe that people have the right to defend themselves, their families and their villages.   If someone chooses to fight for the opposition, then so be it.   People must do what they feel is right in their hearts.   Those who make that choice do not need to learn from us.   If the Empire must teach a person self-defense, then that is because there is an opposition.” “Your brothers can learn how to behave themselves i

A Writer's Outing

On Saturday, I participated in a Writer's Salon.  A topic is chosen beforehand and we set out writing about the subject. At the Salon, we read our musings, then we discuss. Our topic was Creativity and Substance Abuse Being Synonymous.  We were to write about 500 to 600 words. Six of us read.  One was a poem.  Another was a play where the writer coerced other writers to be actors.  One other wrote a short story about muses and the remaining two wrote about personal experiences (not always their own).  It was a fun afternoon of musings, discussion and food. When I thought about Hemingway's quote, "Write drunk, edit sober," I wrote the following: (By the way, I don't condone drinking and writing.  Only drinking after writing, if you must.) The Secret of my Success IE Castellano What is the secret of my success as a writer?   I get asked this question in many interviews, especially after I say that I do not suffer from writer’s block.   Mo

Making the Cut

I love writing to the rhythm of a spring rain.   Sitting in my bedroom, the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof place a spell over my pen.   To the April music, I finished my ghostly short story for Moon Shadows , a +Laurel Highlands Publishing Halloween anthology. The Hunt clocked roughly a thousand words heavy of the 5,000 word upper limit.   It was time to cull my pretties. When I write, I fall in love with each and every word.   I choose them carefully.   I string them together with precision.   How can I possibly eliminate one word, let alone whole lines or *gasp* entire scenes? Brutally. Although pressing the delete key pains me, sentences shortened.   Mind you, tightening of the story would happen during editing anyway.   However, a few words here and there do not lighten the word load. I pruned two scenes.   As lovely as they were, they had to go.   The deleted scenes setup for a sequel to the Hunt , but they were not essent