Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Welcome Everyone!

I am so glad you all dropped by for my announcement. As you can see from this WONDERFUL badge to the left, created by the very talented Tara Tyler, I am now offering several services to all of you!

Most of you know I am NOT ONE to self promote. Today is just a simple announcement.

Many of you have known me for years and have read many an excerpt, Earthly Angels post, flash fiction piece, character interview, and most recently ... intros for cover reveals and novels.

With so many of you independently publishing, the need for such services are becoming much more in demand. Several of you had suggested I provide these services, and I thought it was a good idea.

On Monday I featured my first published cover in many a year! The amazing Siv Ottem had hired me to illustrate her front and back covers of her debut novel SECRETS of the ASH TREE, and I was thrilled to do it! An illustrated cover is so much more interesting and unusual. Don't you think? Why would you want your precious novel to look like everyone else's ... right? If you missed the reveal, just scroll up. I also wrote the introduction.... I seem to be gifted at writing these, which I hope will be useful to many of you.

I've also heard that many authors have difficulty with book blurbs... My intros are very much like blurbs and any help I give to make yours shine, I'd be more than happy to do. No project is too small. And I honestly mean that.

And lastly, if you need any creative editing, I'm your man. I could help you economize your sentences, help make your scenes sparkle with atmosphere, and give your dialogue some punch. Most of us have problems with our beginning chapters and a bit of creative ending can go a LONG way. Think about it.

At this time I would like to thank the very sweet Tara Tyler for creating my badge design. I had won it in Misha Gericke Pay it Forward contest. Tara has just published her newest book POP TRAVEL... Congrats Tara!

Tara Tyler writes action adventure stories in a variety of genres. Her latest release is Pop Travel - a tale of deception and teleportation. (Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble) On the side and not for profit, she creates blog headers, badges, and other graphics.

How sweet is she! Thanks again Tara! I really love my badge! And all the best with your book!!!!

Don't you guys just LOVE the cover. Man what a reveal I could have written for this baby.... LOL.

I decided that I'd like to leave you all with one of my ABSOLUTE favorite Cover reveals... It was also one of the first Intro's I had created.

Let's see if you can guess which author it is ... Here's a hint... It's someone we ALL know and love...

Another Monday ....

An usual storm rolls over the bright azure skies to a gun-metal gray. Winds kick to unregistered mph as thunder cracks. "Damn. Why does it ALWAYS happen? I'm always lulled into a false sense of security. Chicago weather is so frickin' unpredictable."

I continue my journey, skirting the lakefront. Ferocious winds rip through my face and my fingertips freeze and numb. As I reposition my scarf that unraveled and took flight, a flash sparks out of the corner of my eye.

My head snaps. "What the ...." With bulging eyes, my jaw drops and a massive shiny metal monster floats toward the shore. Fire kicks from the rear of the object, catapulting the vessel to eye level. My lids blink feverishly, not fully comprehending the situation.

A clear voice calls out "Hey, Michael. Need a lift?"

Thunderstruck, I see a flash of a smile. As my vision clears the face smiles again and a hand waves.

"It's me .... Come on board, I need your help."

I shake my head, and the letters etched into the side of the vessel register through my memory. "It can't be?" I muttered. I shout over the roaring jets, "ALEX?"

He nods, beaming brighter than the lights on the aircraft. "Let's go. We're needed elsewhere. I'll fill you in on all the details as we streak to our next destination."

A side door opens and a bridge floats towards me. "Yes, Ninja Captain Alex." The smile already carved into my face broadens. I leap onto the bridge and race inside  ...

The JOURNEY continues ...

I hope you all enjoyed this... It's not my usual intro, but it made me smile reading it over again. So if on your journey within our blogosphere ties you down and you need a lift, I hope you'll think of me. I have a page in my header that has all the A-Z intros and my illustrations if you'd like to see more of my work. Or just click onto the badge and you will be whisked away.

Thank you all for allowing me my bit of self promotion on this very special Wednesday. I wish you all an AMAZING day and upcoming weekend!

Your blogger buddy, Michael

Monday, July 29, 2013


A delicate hand rests on a table. Fingers tap lightly as a young woman stares at an urn, gracing a fireplace mantle.

Of father. I've tried. The rune eludes me. What can I do? 

A tear rolls down her face and splashes onto her hand next to a birthmark. It somehow mocks her in her dispare. It was the mirror image of the rune Kenaz. Memories flood her mind as the kind words of her father explained its existence. "You must be protected by the gods."

"Sure. My life has been one thrill after another. Hasn't it?"

She wipes the next tear away and steps over to the fireplace. A small script of paper scribbled with the Rune alphabet rests next to her father's urn. She sweeps it up into her hands and studies the parchment for any clue. "Nothing."

The burning log crackles, and the light diminishes to a dim flicker. Dropping to her knees, she pokes the glowing embers.

A spark ignites.

An unexpected breeze catches it in flight.

It brightens, reflecting gold an vivid red within the depths of the young woman's crystal blue eyes.

Her heart beats faster.

Between beats, the spark grows and transforms into a beautiful woman no larger than the young woman's hand. The fire spirit began to sing in a foreign language that the young woman instinctively knew.

Glowing brighter, she glides through the front door and down the path toward an ancient Ash tree. With a swift moment, the young woman follows with shovel in hand ...

Swirling clouds shade the moon as they approach the Ash tree. Tingles rushes up her spine as a chilly autumn breeze whisks the fire spirit directly toward the center of the tree.

Sparks fly.

The fire spirit brands herself into the Ash tree.

An acrid smell of burning wood assaults the young woman's nostrils, and her eyes tear from the billowing smoke.

As the brightness waivers, a lopsided F glows in the darkness.

The young woman gasps. The rune Ansuz ....

Her wait is finally over ...

What will she find?

Will the family secrets be buried under this ancient Ash?

Or ...

Will it be clues to who she really is?



Siv Maria Ottem

Don't we all love a juicy secret? I know I do. And this one's AMAZING. My cyber sister, Siv, really knows how to spin a Norse high fantasy tale. I had the supreme pleasure of reading this story and I am honored that Siv asked me to illustrate the covers for her. Many of you may not know that I have an art background and have illustrated many stories over the years. But it has been quite some time since I have had one as lovely as this one published.

I certainly look forward to creating Siv's next cover, if she hires me back. Lol. It was such fun working with her on this project because initially it was Siv's daughter who was to create the cover. But by a lucky twist of fate, I was asked. Siv is a very special friend. Since our meeting in the A-Z challenge in 2012, we have adopted each other as cyber siblings.... 

I hope you all share in Siv's happiness and debut novel. Please drop by her blog and wish her well!

I also hope you enjoyed the intro and reveal! On Wednesday, I have another reveal planned. Something I've been waiting to share with all of you. I hope you'll drop by and share in my new journey....

Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

Friday, July 26, 2013


As the moon wanes, a single beam of light pierces an ancient tree. For millennia this has occurred, but tonight a secret has been revealed. What could it be? Who will it affect? Only time will tell ...

What do you keep hidden in the depths of your soul? .... 

What is your secret?

As for me, I keep only one. 

One deep, dark, and mystical secret, which will come to light as the sun rises on Monday. For an instant you will know. As the earth shifts, the secret will be bathed in darkness once more. But only for a while .... it will return in the autumn when the moon is at it's most alluring.

Like an eclipse, one must prepare for such an event. Mark your calendars for Monday, July 29th at sunrise. Then you too will know....

However, I will grant you a teaser, but ONLY ONE... Do NOT ask for more.

"In the realm of the gods and fairy tales the mystery of life is an endless path with many secrets to be discovered. Some secrets are like dreams, just waiting in darkness hoping to get into the light." 


I know I am.

Two creative minds cyberly linked. A long lost brother and sister sharing in THE SECRET .... 

Until then, my dear blogger friends, I wish you all a wonderful and exciting weekend. Don't forget to return on Monday ... You won't be disappointed.

Friday, July 19, 2013


It takes a certain type of person to face up to their destiny. Whether good or bad, we wake to a new day and crash head on into our lives.

But what if the stakes were set too high? Would you be able to cope? Within you heart and soul, you'd find the answer. Sometimes strength isn't enough. Even if one can hold the world in their hands, what good is it if your fear debilitates you.

Etched lines crisscross the face of a young woman staring into a mirror. Her lower lip trembles as she asks herself these very same questions. Who is she?

She sets her jaw, brushes the streaks of honey-gold hair away from her eyes, and splashes cold water onto her face. As she turns, the bloodline band tattooed around her right arm reflects from the mirror. After one exceedingly long breath, her chest tightens.

It is time ...

Time to face her fear ...

Time to mend broken ties, and join forces with the person she hurt the most ...

Time to live up to her destiny ...

Will she have the courage?

Only time will tell ....

Mark of Nexus-Book II
Carrie Butler

Design: Carrie Butler / Photography: Subbotina Anna & Yuri Arcurs

Are you intrigued? I know I am. 

Carrie's first book STRENGTH introduced this amazing character to us. Don't you want to know her WHOLE story? Of course you do... So don't forget to read STRENGTH first, for the complete experience.

CONGRATS CARRIE, on you newest novel and what a very STEAMY cover... 

Don't forget to drop by Carrie's blog to say hi and congrats.... That is if you haven't already.

I am also THRILLED to say that this is my 400TH POST! And I have over 10.000 comments ... I can't believe it! What a great way to celebrate such an memorable event on my blog. Thanks to all you for visiting, commenting, and showing your blogger love. You guys are the BEST!!!


Title: COURAGE Series: Mark of Nexus - Book 2
Author: Carrie Butler
Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Release: October 15, 2013
Formats: E-Book & Paperback

Note: Courage (Mark of Nexus #2) features four unique points-of-view. While the novel stands alone, it is best enjoyed afterStrength (Mark of Nexus #1).
Book Description: 
Rena Collins never thought she’d long for the past—back when affection from Wallace, her freakishly strong boyfriend, was the most dangerous aspect of her life. But now that the human-altering organization known as ERA has gone on the offensive, nothing is safe. Her bloodline is exposed, her relationships torn apart, and just when it seems like things can’t get any worse, ERA ups the ante. To save mankind from forced evolution, Rena will have to mend her broken ties and form a resistance... hand-in-hand with the one she hurt most.

Add Courage to your TBR list on Goodreads:

Book bloggers may begin requesting e-ARCs via this form. :)

Those who wish to participate in the blog tour, happening October 14th - 26th, may sign up here

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Hi, All,

Well, I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. For the past few days Chicago sport sunny skies, mild winds, and high/dry temps.... YAY! The Dementors have finally left! AND, it's about time!

But since we no longer have dismal skies, a new invasion hit Chicago this weekend. Can you guess? Think summertime ... Think leisure time ... Think vacation. YES! You guessed it! We've been invaded by SUN SEEKERS. This is a breed that sheds EVERYTHING to worship the sun. And the best place to do that is at the BEACH.

It still astonishes me, even after nine years in this city, that Chicago has beaches, and miles of sandy lakefront. The waves roll into the beaches that line Lakeshore Drive, complimenting the massive skyscrapers.

The SUN SEEKERS were out in DROVES since Friday. Not on inch of sand was present all weekend. I had to have superior moving skills to keep up my power walks. Joggers, cyclists, walkers, roller bladers ... all coasting for miles up and down the lake front. CRAZY. Music blaring from everywhere. Voices in several languages rode the balmy breezes.

I must admit, I did enjoy it though. It was nice to see the masses having a good time after our oppressive winter and spring. I just hope this beautiful weather continues for the rest of the summer.

Sorry I haven't been around as often, but I've been really busy. I'll only be posting twice a week now for the summer. I need to query my second novel and work on my projects for the rest of July. In August I will have a bit a news for you guys. Something I hope you'll all be happy about. No, it's not a contract or signing with an agent, but it does have to do with writing, so stay tuned.

Here's a visual for you... I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Hi, Everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful fourth weekend. Chicago certainly was a whirlwind of beach parties, bbqs, and coconut suntan lotion. With the sun and high humidity it was not unlike a weekend at a South Florida beach.

I had no special plans for the fourth. Pretty much just another day for me. I have few friends in Chicago and they had their own time planned with families and closer friends. So, my usual power walk at the beach and a few hours in the gym before it closed, were the highlights of my day. Exciting, right?

The fourth's perfect weather brought out the masses. Every bistro, Starbucks, boutique, and inch of Michigan Ave was packed tighter than a commuters on the subway during rush hour. Now that's a LOT OF PEOPLE. LOL.

As the sun headed west, a friend called and asked if I'd like to see the fireworks at Navy Pier. This certainly is one of THE highlights on the fourth. I usually view them from the beach, across from my condo. But the massive crowds convinced me to forgo my yearly viewing. However, the invite was one I couldn't pass up. A twist of venue convinced me to head downtown.

On Wacker drive, I glanced up to a towering building, piercing the setting sky. Revolving through the doors, I met with security and was told to head to the 35th floor. As the doors opened, my friend met me, carrying an assortment of cheese, fruit, nibbles, and a few bottled waters.

"We're heading to the 47th floor." We jumped back into the elevator and within a minute, the doors opened ... the ceiling to floor windows revealed a panoramic view of the city. A clear shot over Navy Pier, promised to be an exciting fireworks display.

We still had about a half an hour to kill, so we wondered through the expansive spaces. Dozens of windowed offices held views of Chicago's greatest architectural wonders. The TIMES building glowed like a beacon across the Chicago river. My friend disappeared for a moment, and I wandered into a luxurious corner boardroom. The polished paneled walls reflected the city lights. Flashes of red popped out the corner of my eyes. When I faced toward the western windows, my jaw dropped.

On the 47the floor, I had a bird's eye view of the city. I edged to the window and sat on the sill, feeling like I was sitting in a first class, only better. Flashes of ruby, gold, and emerald popped throughout the western and northern skies. A symphony of color choreographed just for me.

Silent orchestral strings played in my head as the city skies took on a living and breathing life of their own. Time had no presence, as perfusions of colors melted from one into the other.

"Hey, Michael. The fireworks are just about to start."

The spell was broken ...

I will never forget those few precious moments. It's times like these that make up for all the hum drum days.

I wish all of you THAT special moment.

Did you ever have a moment like this? I'd love to know.

Have a great Monday everyone!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Good morning all,

Imagine your soul sucked out by a dementor. That's what happens to a person when they are kissed by this horrific creature. Now imagine not being able to write a single word. That too, happens when a writer can't write. Our soul is sucked out of us.

Welcome to another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. This happens to ALL writers at one point or another.

Blame it on the dementors, or on our muse abandoning us. Same thing. One must also remember that our surrounding play a HUGE part in our anxiety to write.

I personally blame it on the dementors! They have been swooping around Chicago since I have returned from sunny Florida in May. Another day without sun. Chilly, overcast, and gray, the dementors are breading again. The fog is certainly on its way.

I know for some writers, this is perfect weather to create ... LUCKY YOU! Now, if I am writing some depressing, intense, drama, this does work for me too. BUT ONLY for a while. I am a creature of light. Without it, I wither.

Now that we know the problem, what do we do about it? Staying in bed with the cover over our heads may be a temporary solution, BUT it's not the answer.

For months I have been slacking off my own work, blaming the dementors, WORRIED I would never get to my work again. I threw myself into other projects. Critiquing, working on my condo, and just working on my current design project for a client. Hardly satisfying....

BUT, the funny thing is .... It worked! I am so wanting to work on my writing now! I have actually created a new query letter for my second novel. I even sent it out! I am going through one LAST revision, which is going amazingly well thanks to my wonderful Crit partner Suzi... who managed to point out so many fine little details to really tweak my ms. THANKS SUZI!!!!!

My cyber Sis, Siv, has hired me to create a cover for her new novel. So now another one of my creative outlet was fulfilled.

SO, if YOU are in a dementor induced slump, my advice to you is keep busy! With anything. Eventually your muse will be released by the dementors and you will be able to write again. Once you start, the fire will stoke, and you will BURN with passion for writing again. Our writing soul never truly leaves us.... it's only held captive for a while.

We all go through so many ups and downs in life. LIFE is TOUGH! And it seems to get more difficult as we get older. Yes, kiddies, enjoy your youth. We are all invincible in our twenties and thirties. Then reality hits. LIFE throws curve balls at you from EVERY direction. But age does have its rewards, we learn how to dodge those balls. It's amazing how limber we become, and experience does give us an edge.

Also remember the beauty in life. Never forget it! Because even in the dark and dank, something exquisite can be discovered. We just need to keep our eyes open to it.

Don't forget to read the other IWSG post for inspiration... Click here and you will be whisked away to another dimension.... The world of Alex J. Cavanaugh.... Thanks Alex for your continued support in our community and this wonderful group!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!