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Monday, January 9, 2017

Chattacon 42 Next Week in Chattanooga!

Who's going to #Chattacon Jan. 20-22 in Chattanooga, TN? I'll be a panelist and have an author table there, so I hope to see you! 

Chattacon is an annual speculative fiction convention held at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. If you plan to attend, love fantasy and science fiction, or just love books, let me know in the comments! Show your love for Chattacon! 

If you want to join in on some fun panels, here is my lineup:


5:00 p.m. - Writer’s Workshop- What Gives Characters Depth?
Part one of a two-part workshop about writing well-rounded characters.


11:00 a.m. - Special Interest- Is “Moana” Disney’s Lord of the Rings?
Disney’s latest animated film is unique in its choice of a Polynesian setting and mythology, but some of its aspects seem Tolkien-esque. This panel compares Moana with LoR, and other kid’s flicks similar to Tolkien and other fantasy epics.

2:00 p.m. - Author Meet and Greet in the Dealer Room Lobby

3:00 p.m. - Special Interest- Young Adult Fiction
Writing for the young adult audience can be both challenging and lucrative. What qualifies as YA fiction and how has the popularity of YA changed the expectations?

5:00 p.m. - No Camelots, Shires or Hogwarts Here!
A look at non-European myths in films and literature.


1:00 p.m. - Special Interest Panel- The Power of Storytelling
A frank discussion on storytelling and its importance, power and necessity to humanity.

5:00 p.m. - Writer’s Workshop- What Gives Characters Depth?
Part two of a two-part workshop about writing well-rounded characters.

Go to for more!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Available Now! "Shadows of the Oak" Dark Fairy Tales

It's a bright, shining new what will you be reading?

How about a brand new collection of dark fairy tales about anti-heroes?

Tenebris Books' "Shadows of the Oak" is now available, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and anywhere fine books are sold!

If you like dark and macabre, magic and mayhem, and tales that don't always have happy endings (but sometimes, endings that are exactly what some less-than-heroic types deserve) then you will love "Shadows of the Oak"!

Go to to get your copy today! (and when you do, be sure to leave a review. We authors like that 😊 )

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Happy Holidays! News, Upcoming Events and a Giveaway!

Whether you welcome the holidays with a sense of mirth (hot cocoa, beautiful twinkling lights, Christmas songs playing on the radio) or a sense of impending doom (fighting holiday traffic, endlessly hunting for gifts you don't even know what to buy people, Christmas songs playing NONSTOP on the radio), there's plenty to be thankful for and hopefully you'll be spending this time with loved ones, friends, or at least treating yourself to some holiday goodies and merriment.

First of all, a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who helped organize
 Monsterama this past October, and CONjuration this November. Both conventions were great, and the time and work everyone puts into these events is enormous. And of course if you're reading this, you were most likely an attendee of one of these cons so THANK YOU for supporting authors, artists, performers and those who are passionate about fantasy!

Now an early holiday gift for you! 
Go to to enter to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for "The Scholar and the Sphinx" newsletter! Enter by Dec. 16 to be eligible to win.

Also, keep an eye out for a brand-new fairy tale anthology from Tenebris Books hitting bookshelves next month, just in time for the holidays:

The sequel to the highly praised "Willow Weep No More," this book will include original tales about anti-heroes, both from classic stories you may be familiar with and all new fairy tales. Perfect for those who love dark fantasy (warning: not for young children).

Stay tuned for the book's official release!

If you live in the Southeast, I'd love to see you at my first 2017 author event, which is going to be an exciting one:

January 20-22, 2017

Chattacon is an annual speculative fiction convention held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the historical Chattanooga Choo Choo. This year's guest of honor is Mike Resnick, award-winning author of 5 Hugos (from a record 37 nominations), a Nebula, and other major awards all over the world!

Panel schedule and more information to come!

Happy Holidays, and stay safe and happy throughout the year. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Is "Moana" Disney's Lord of the Rings?

My husband and I saw “Moana” opening weekend, and overall I really enjoyed the movie. Gorgeous visuals, fun characters, great humor…on the downside, the songs weren’t particularly memorable, and something about the plot struck me as awfully familiar. I thought it was just because Disney liked to stick to certain cinematic formulas, despite its effort to “break the rules” this time by having no love interest for the heroic princess and instead focusing on her quest.

After thinking about it for a while, it suddenly dawned on me why this story seemed so familiar: “Moana” is Disney’s “Lord of the Rings.”

So you’re probably thinking, “Huh? How so?” One takes place in a fictional Polynesian paradise. One takes place in a fictional Celtic/Nordic fantasy world. One hero is a young chieftain’s daughter with a thirst for adventure; one is a Hobbit who is reluctant to be the bearer of the One Ring. But once you start looking at the two stories, there are some interesting parallels that occur (warning: spoilers ahead!):

1.       The One Ring vs. The Heart of Te Fiti - There is a small yet powerful magic item that the hero must wear around his/her neck while returning it to the origin of the item’s creation in order to restore balance to the world. Item also has special carving/engraving on it.

2.       Mount Doom vs. Te Ka - The hero must return item to the lava from whence it came.

3.       Goblins vs. Kakamora - Small impish creatures out to steal the magical item, but they’re not smart enough to accomplish the task.

4.       Smaug* vs. Tamatoa  - Gold-obsessed monster that can be tricked if you distract it with flattery. Tamatoa is even a little bit Gollum in his lust for the Heart of Te Fiti; you can see the craving in his eyes when Moana shows it to him.
*Note:  yes, I know Smaug is from “The Hobbit” but it’s part of the LOTR story arc.

5.       Sauron vs. Te Ka – The main villain is a huge, fiery-eyed creature that can’t outright speak or move from the area it's confined to, but it does its best to keep heroes from getting to their goal destination.

6.       Magical fish hook vs. Sting - One of the heroes has a magical weapon enscribed with markings that glow blue when its magic is activated.

7.       The Shire vs. Motunui  - The hero lives in lush, green paradise that no one ever leaves, until evil presence falls on the land that threatens to destroy them all, and the hero is the only one of his/her people ordained to set out and save the world. Okay, so technically Frodo had Sam, Merry and Pippin come with him, but Frodo was initially the only one given the task to return the ring.

8.       The Fellowship vs. Moana, Maui, Heihei and the Ocean– The hero has to gather “special teammates” to complete quest. These include a comedic companion who mostly gets into trouble and eats (Merry and Pippin vs. Heihei), a great, stocky warrior whose bravado exceeds his abilities at times (Gimli vs. Maui) and the one who endlessly supports the hero, encouraging them to go on even in their bleakest moment (Samwise vs. the Ocean).

9.       Gandalf vs. Grandmother Tala – There is a wise elder mentor who is considered a bit of a loony outsider by the others in the village, is someone very close to hero, who “dies” during the story but comes back in a magical way to help the hero.

10.   The Ending - Hero doesn’t remain living in the homeland he/she saves but goes off in a boat at the end.

So while it’s still to be seen if “Moana” will stand the test of time as a Disney classic, maybe it’ll inspire a few kids to pick up some Tolkien books when they are older.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"Death by Word" Produced at the Theatre of Western Springs' New Plays Workshop!

I just realized, I may have to change the name of this blog to include more than just "Scholar and Sphinx" news...

What an amazing past weekend! The Theatre of Western Springs in Illinois produced three world premiere plays for their New Plays Workshop Aug. 18-21, 2016. "Death by Word" was one of them and was very warmly received all four performances. Thanks to Ed Wavak, the director, the entire cast (see below for names) and crew, and Willy Steele for the original music!

If you live in the Western Springs, IL area, please go out and support this theater and all that they do. They put on fantastic shows all the time, and their next show "Steel Magnolias" is bound to be a hit!
Back row, left to right: Tom Gess, Jay Baldwin, A.R. Cook, Ed Wavak, Karla Hudson
Front row, left to right: Michael-Colin Reed, Mina Dillards-Gits, Noha ElGanzouri, Kathy Racine

Friday, August 12, 2016

For Writers of Young Adult Lit: New Contest through Writer's Digest!

Hello all!
Thought I would share this for any of you who write young adult fiction. Writer's Digest is hosting another "Dear Lucky Agent" contest, in which you can submit the first page of your unpublished YA novel (sadly, no high fantasy or high sci-fi) to be read by a literary agent.

The top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by the agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to, 3) Their choice between two new books coming out in September 2017, the Guide to Literary Agents 2017 or the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2017.

This time, Ms. Andrea Morrison from Writer's House will be judging the contest.

This is a great chance to get your work seen by an agent from one of the most reputable literary agencies in the country!

Go to to learn how to enter!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Launch for "Threads of Fate" and New Play Workshop Coming this August!

Hi folks! Even though "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Threads of Fate" has been out for a month now, it hasn't had an official book launch yet.

Thanks to bestselling author Marsha Cornelius, who just invited me to participate in her next monthly author gathering for their fantasy / science fiction themed evening, the Book Launch for "Threads of Fate" will take place at A Novel Idea in Canton, Georgia!

Here is a listing of my next two author events and if you're in the area, I invite you to come and have a great night out!

A Novel Idea: Book Launch for "Threads of Fate"
Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 7:00 p.m.
The Snug Gastro Pub
190 E Main St, Canton, GA 30114

Theatre of Western Springs New Plays Workshop
Aug. 18-20, 8:00 p.m., and Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Theatre of Western Springs
4384 Hampton Ave., Western Springs, IL 60558
My new play, "Death by Word," will be performed as part of a night of three world-premiere plays for the Theatre of Western Springs New Plays Workshop. Come enjoy a night of brand new theater shows!
For more information, visit