I published my first book, St. Charles at Dusk, on September 26th, 2011. Four years have passed, and with them, more learnings than I could ever fully wrap my mind around. In those early days, I was a woman alone on an island, getting all my advice from Google. I didn’t know a single other author who had published their work.
Flash forward four years. I’m no longer a woman alone on an island, but one surrounded by hundreds of authors, thousands of readers, and years of experience (with many years still ahead). I have seventeen original titles out (and numerous boxed sets), and an endless quantity of ideas. I’ve been lauded by esteemed authors, and appeared on the USA Today Bestsellers list, twice. I’m nowhere near an expert, and far from perfect. I’ve had successes and setbacks, like any author, and I move forward knowing I’ll have more of both…
“Philosophical ideas woven into science-fiction stories that read like classic stories by the masters, often with a delightful, thought-provoking and unexpected twist at the end.” ~ Jamie Maltman
“Phil K. Dick is up on a cloud laughing with glee.” ~ Ryan Schneider
“I found myself looking forward to coming home so I could dig into the next story. Each story pulls you in to its unique little universe and takes you on a ride where the tracks are hidden, and you can’t see the corners up ahead.”
“Barking at Yesterday’s Moon” is online. Another chapter in my writing life has closed and it’s time to start anew. While there is still a lot of work to do with getting some exposure and working a bit of marketing I can’t bring myself to not have a Word document open. I have to be working on something and my read-through of the Kindle version of “Barking at Yesterday’s Moon” provided me with another storyline. It involves some of the ‘walk-on’ characters from one of the scenes.
Being ‘walk-ons’ in no way diminished their importance to the storyline. The roles they played, while not central figures, provided insight into the main characters and created some interesting scenes. One character in particular made his appearance early in the book, created a little havoc then disappeared. The more I thought about this man the more I realized there is a story behind…
When the mischievous and random Goddess of Chaos gets angry, all of Windemere becomes her plaything.
It all starts with a collection of toys that have taken the populace by storm. People of all races flood the marketplaces to gather figurines of the champions whose adventures are starting to spread across the land. Stemming from the flying city of Nevra Coil, these toys bring with them a terrible curse: Fame. Every town becomes a mob of fans that hound their new idols and the delay is bringing the world closer to the hands of Baron Kernaghan. Perhaps worst of all, the creator of these toys forgot to include a certain exiled deity who is now out to earn herself a figurine.
Who would have thought a bunch of toys could cause so much trouble and lead to the breaking of a champion’s confidence?
A screeching alarm goes off inside the vessel, signaling for everyone to pay attention to the pilot. Jo flicks a few switches above her head, amplifying her voice so everyone can clearly hear her. “We’re coming to Nevra Coil. Get ready for docking at Inspiration Tower instead of one of the Ring Houses. If you want to see the city then come to the front, but you better not complain while I’m giving the tour. I’ll be going too fast to repeat myself. We’re starting with the bottom, so don’t be scared. There hasn’t been a crash in a month. Two months since a fatality.”
The champions gather around Jo’s chair and watch as the clouds part to reveal the underside of the flying city. The steel gray earth has several narrow tubes of yellow crystal spread along its gleaming surface, the enchanted objects creating a spiral that leads to a red, metal rod. An occasional spark falls from the central pole and dissipates into the clouds, giving the illusion of lightning. Jo has the vessel steadily rise to give everyone a clear view and she taps her ear to silently get her passengers to listen. Beneath the sounds of the ship’s rotors, the champions hear a dull hum whenever they pass close to a crystal. Those with keen eyes can see a sapphire orb that flickers like a flame inside the yellow tube’s core, but the strange object is definitely solid like a rock.
“The flight crystals are designed to push off and ride the waves of the ocean. The outer tube is the reflector and the ice gem is the controller,” Jo explains as they flip around the far side of Nevra Coil. She scowls at the whimpering gypsy and begrudgingly slows the vessel down. “The central rod is what keeps us in a small area as we spin like a very slow top. Without that, we’d be floating all over Windemere’s oceans. You’ll feel the rotation at first, but the awkwardness will pass within a few hours. Before you ask, the system does nothing to the ocean below. We keep ourselves at a great height to prevent that and we turn off the crystals if we have to drop. That’s only in case of severe damage, so they would probably be malfunctioning in such an event anyway. Our backup system is a small army of pedaling stone golems that we activate in the core of Nevra Coil. Let’s get to the real event. Hey! Watch where you’re going, you son of an oil slick!”
The vessel swerves out of the way of a small, windowless craft that is powered by a pedaling gnome. Once their heads stop spinning, the champions get their first look at the city of Nevra Coil. Glistening towers are everywhere with a vast collection of flying devices and beasts moving among them. Several structures are missing pieces, revealing metal beams and hardworking gnomes who are trying to finish the construction. The city is a beautiful creation of metal, stone, and glass with nothing on the earthy ground besides several colonies of orange slimes. The burbling creatures feast on the garbage that falls out of hatches, which are built into the lower floors of every tower. Compared to the enormous buildings, Jo’s vessel feels like a rowboat as it weaves among the chaos. Several times they come close to hitting another ship, their skilled pilot meeting each encounter with a slew of insults and curses. They hover when a claxon goes off and the circular tower ahead opens one of its floors to reveal another ring-shaped ship.
“This is where we would normally dock, but you’re wanted on the one-hundred and eighty-sixth and a half floor of Inspiration Tower,” Jo says while waving to the other ship. She waits for them to leave before rising to the higher sky lanes where there is more space. “If you look to the right, you’ll see the Lizard. It’s used by those of us who don’t have a flying device due to no interest, accidents, revoked license, or whatever else can go wrong. I’ll swing by to give you a better look, but don’t stare directly into the golem’s eye. You never know if it’s going to be friendly or . . . churlish.”
Dipping toward a metallic rail, the ship comes alongside a green-scaled reptile with seats grown into its wide back. A throbbing bubble covers the sitting area, the oily membrane protecting riders from the elements until the transport comes to a stop. Gnomes are comfortably sitting in the chairs, most of them reading notes or sleeping. The creature’s tail is merged with the track to prevent it from falling off while it pulls itself along using powerful front legs. A driver on its head opens a hatch in the top of its long nose to drop in a shovelful of screeching beetles. The Lizard slows down while everyone hears the insects getting crunched in the construct’s mouth. When the strange transport hisses at the ship, Jo pulls away and heads for where a trio of metallic birds are sitting on a windowless tower.
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.
We all know I can’t be satisfied with one project in the works. I have to have three, or more, in the works. With two novels in the editing phase, I took on a home project brewing Kombucha and I want to show you how this is coming along.
Kombucha is fermented tea with the health benefits:
*alkalizes the body
*detoxifies the liver
*reduces blood pressure
*relieves headaches & migraines
*aids healthy cell regeneration
*reduces kidney stones
*high in polyphenols
*reduces eczema – softens the skin
*speeds healing of ulcers
*helps clear up candida & yeast infections
*boosts energy – helps with chronic fatigue
*high in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer and promote healthy cellular development
*rebuilds connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism
You can do continuous brew (CB) or batch brew (BB), and I thought, since this was my first time I would do BB, and if I liked it well enough, switch over to CB. At $4.00 a pop in health food stores, it can get quite expensive if you drink a couple of servings a day.
To brew Kombucha at home is really very simple.
You need the following:
A healthy SCOBY (A symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) In my case two. Yes, they’re alive!
1 cup -2 cups strong starter liquid per gallon
A brewing vessel (plain or fancy) a glass pickle jar will do, you can get a fancy ceramic urn with a spigot, or what I have that is a cross between the two, a 2.5 gal glass water dispenser with a spigot. I want to be able to watch the process, but have the convenience of a spigot.
Tea, (green or black)
1 cup granulated cane sugar per gallon (feeds the yeast, not you)
4-6 bags tea bags per gallon
Boil 4 cups of water per gallon.
Add hot water & tea bags to pot.
Steep 5-7 minutes, then remove tea bags.
Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Let tea cool down to room temperature to prevent killing SCOBY! Add to vessel.
Fill vessel most of the way with distilled water, leaving just 1-2 inches from the top for breathing room.
Add SCOBY and starter liquid. (Best source for these Kombucha Kamp, Hannah also sells heater strips for those in cooler climates, as ideal brewing temp is around 74 to 82 degrees.)
Cover with cloth cover and secure with the rubber band.
Say a prayer, send good vibes, commune with your culture (optional but recommended).
Set in a warm location out of direct sunlight (unless vessel is opaque). Mine is in my darkened studio, but I also wrap it in a dark blankie.) The area needs to be well ventilated.
Do not disturb for 7 days. (Mine took 14 d/t quantity)
I purchased my SCOBY, starter and heating sheet from Kombucha Mama at Kombucha Kamp. I can’t say enough about Hannah and her helpers. Her customer service is impeccable. She really knows her Kombucha and if you have a question about the process, she has the answer somewhere on her site.
Once Stuie has done his job (7-14 days, a little longer if you have slow starter or a large quantity. Only three or four days if you use continuous brew method.) the mamas and baby are set aside into the scoby hotel. If you are doing CB, you don’t even have to do this step, just decant a third from the bottom, then pour in replacement fresh sweet tea. I wasn’t sure about the first batch, but will be CBing in the future.
Decant into your 16 oz bottles from the spigot, or you can pour from a jar over the sink. The spigot is a lifesaver. My funnel has a screen which filters the yeasty bits.
You want to fill your bottles nearly to the top so as little space as possible is there for air. This speeds carbonation. VERY IMPORTANT: Burp your bottles every day or two to avoid EXPLOSION!!!
I can’t say enough about Kombucha Kamp and the Kombucha Mama. Hannah Crum is truly awesome and she is available to get you started with all the supplies you need. She also supports you through the process if you have concerns. She’s been in production for seven years and has attended many seminars and appeared on TV shows where she explains Kombucha and how to make it. Here is a cool video where she explains how to flavor during the second ferment:
*This Book Bundle contains the first 3 volumes of the LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE fantasy series.*
Every hero must take that first courageous step into adventure. For Luke Callindor, it’s more of a blind stumble. From battling a demonic assassin to facing the family he left behind, this warrior’s adventuring career has been one awkward mistake after another. Most days the only things that keep him alive, yet never unharmed, are his trusted friends and his reckless courage. How long can his luck hold out before the gods of Windemere decide to cut his legend short?
My book of short stories is available for pre-order today. At 99¢ it really isn’t much of a gamble. You get around a dozen short stories and micro-fiction pieces for one low price. The books will deliver on September 15th.
Here’s how it went down out at the writing cabin. I think I managed to touch upon every story in the book, but you’ll have to read it to see how…
Lisa Burton banked her Grumman biplane left over the meadow surrounding the writing cabin. She’d need to come around and land into the wind.
Tendrils of fog crept out of the window in Craig’s office, and mingled with the fog on the ground. The tail section of an airliner lodged in the end of a fresh trench. It looked like it barely missed the cabin.
She dialed Craig’s number, but there was no answer. She checked the plane’s machine…