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The Darkening



My friend the amazingly talented Myndi Shafer has just released her second book in the two in her Shrilugh Saga. So today I have a short interview with her, come and meet Myndi!

Myndi Shafer is author of the best-selling book, Shrilugh. Currently she makes her home in Kansas with her husband and four children. Her second book, The Darkening, releases in February 2013.

I hang out on Facebook here: Myndi Shafer Stories

I chat on Twitter using the handle @MyndiShafer

And my website/blog is www.myndishafer.wordpress.com Her blog is really funny you should check it out 🙂

What was the inspiration behind The Darkening?

When I first wrote this story, Shrilugh and The Darkening were all one book, told solely from Aydan’s POV. When I changed the POV, the story really exploded, and needed to be divided into more than one book. Which is why the first book of the Saga ended rather abruptly, and why, if you read these two back-to-back, they’ll feel a bit like one piece of work.
So, really, the inspiration for The Darkening came from the same place as my inspiration for Shrilugh: an old silo on the farm where I was raised. There’s a ladder that extends up past the top of it that looks kind-of like a door, and I’ve always, always wondered where that door would lead. When I began writing Shrilugh that was my goal – to find out what kind of world was beyond that door.

How long did it take to write the book? What was the most challenging thing?

Since I basically wrote Shrilugh and The Darkening (and the two books that follow) all in one fell swoop, it took…um…years. Nearly four.
The hardest part of writing them is the editing process. I’m still learning so much about what makes a book tick that when it comes time to edit, I literally struggle over every word. It’s gotten easier and easier to cut what needs cut, and sharpen the dull parts, but the thing about the editing process is that you have to look at everything with a critical eye…and when I do that, all my trusty doubts come flying to the surface, ready to pounce on any insecurities I may have. It’s a tough battle – getting to a place where I’m confident in my abilities, but willing to see what my flaws are without getting all worked up over it.

How did you decide to write fantasy?

It wasn’t ever a conscious decision. In fact, when I began writing, I didn’t know I was writing fantasy. I didn’t know there were genres like that. I mean, I liked reading (okay, loved reading), but I never paid attention to genres. I’d just read whatever I could get my hands on. I began writing with that same attitude, and the story just kind-of went where the story went.
I don’t think I’ll ever be a writer that sticks to a strict genre. I’ve got a couple new stories brewing in my head – one that’s a little dystopian (hmmm, is there such thing as a little dystopian?), and one that’s a sort-of rom-com with weird fantastical elements (the world around the protag shifts randomly into a pirate’s world). Mostly I think I’ll just write whatever sounds like fun at the time.

You have four kids. How do you find time to write?

Well, the time is there, I just have to plan for it. I keep a pretty tight rein on how I spend my time. If the baby is sleeping, I’m working. If I have a spare minute, I work. Any time that isn’t spoken for with family or cooking or cleaning, it’s pretty much given to writing. But it never feels like a chore – I love what I do, and it’s always been worth the sacrifice of my free time.

What’s coming next?

Couple different things. I’ll be working on the third book in the Shrilugh Saga. Right now its working title is FRUITION, and I’m expecting to see its release in a year or so. I’m also working on a new series whose working title is called SALT MINE. It’s about a girl who has chosen to be mute, a government that’s after her secret, a dog that’s been ‘progammed’ to protect her, and a guy hell-bent on keeping his promise to her dead brother.

The Darkening, Myndi Shafer
THE DARKENING (Book Two of the Shrilugh Saga)

As Aydan Fulbert settles into her new life in a new world, she realizes a few things. She’s healing from losing Brig. She’s coming to terms with her new home. And she’s lonely.

Rein Torvald’s return from his long absence helps alleviate her loneliness, but a darkness comes with him. Unsettling news about her father and the Sovereign has the potential to make her a fugitive all over again – from his world and hers.

Will Aydan allow her heart to be taken places she’s never been brave enough to go? Or will the threat of danger – of the Sovereign’s rage, and her father’s vengeful grudge, send her running?

You can find the Darkening at Amazon or Smashwords.

Superwoman Crazy


I frequently have posted deep, personal, reflective things about myself and my life. This usually happens during the darker, depressed part of my Eccentric Artistic Process. So today, while I’m all Superwoman Type A, I thought I would share with you what a typical day looks like. I can’t have you thinking I sit around in the dark, bemoaning the bleakness of my soul all the time 🙂

I wake up because I have to pee. The sky is light enough, so I know my alarm will go off soon. I don’t want to get out of bed. I roll over, ignore my bladder, and close my eyes.

5:45 My alarm goes off. I think, as every other morning, that I really should change the radio station to something I actually like. I get ready for the day, pee, put in contacts, brush teeth, throw on work-out clothes, and braid my hair.

6:15 Put soap in the washing machine, set temp, wake children, have kid whose day it is to do laundry strip the bed and put sheets and blankets in the wash. Wrestle two-year-old into a clean diaper and clothes. Must put on his shoes. He always has to have his shoes on it’s a bit obsessive.

6:30 Set up breakfast. We have it brought in, so we just set up the trays and get it ready for staff to serve. Listen to two-year-old child screech at me while I put out food. He wakes very hungry. I guess sleeping is hard work.

6:40 Serve breakfast, set timer for kid who needs to leave by 7 a.m. to catch bus, turn on washing machine, or yell at remind child to put the sheets in the washer!

6:43 Do 30 minutes of yoga with kids who want to join me. Desperately try to find inner peace with giggling, goofing off, and (you guessed it) two-year-old screeching.

7:20 Feed rest of children while I eat fresh fruit, which my husband makes me every morning (otherwise I would eat something covered in cheese), fill out paperwork for the work kids (I have to report behavior, contact with family, etc.) Must not add opinions, voice, or style.

7:45 Brush two-year-old’s teeth. I sing the ABC Song twice to make sure we brush them long enough. I tidy the house, make sure everyone is ready for school, switch laundry to dryer, sort, spray, and wash kids clothes. Wow, I sound really functional!

8:00 Make sure kids are with the staff. Three walk to elementary school, and one walks to day care. I take the kids who leave later to my house.

8:05 Sit and write while ignoring endless chatter from eleven-year-old.

8:20 Stop writing and send the middle school kids out to be driven to school.

8:30 Check word count, close up house, get stuff for gym.

8:40 Check in at office, gossip, find out what stupid things The Powers That Be are doing now, and escape the black hole that is the office to meet up with my gym buddy. If you don’t have a gym buddy you should get one. Without mine I would never go to the gym!

9:10 Work out. Today was 30 minutes of cross training on elliptical. I went 2.4miles and burned 347 calories while talking with Amber and checking out the others at the gym. Look! The Guy Who Should Smell His Age is here again.

10:15 Home, make protein shake, take shower before drinking it. The frozen fruit makes it too cold to drink right after working out. Check emails, because I’m addicted and can’t stay away from the internet for long without withdrawal symptoms.

11:00 Drink shake, check email again, do a quick check of Facebook and Twitter. Spend FAR, FAR too long goofing off. Shut down internet and finish meeting word count goal of 1000 words per day.

12:00 Make lunch, eat while checking Facebook, Twitter. Yes again. Stop judging me! Read some blogs.

12:30 Do dishes, start another load of laundry, and begin prepping veggies and such for dinner. Ha ha ha! Fooled you! I’m still on the internet!

12:45 Feeling guilty, so I do some prep for dinner.

1:15 Nap. I love naps.

2:10 Freshen up for work. Check email.

2:30 Work. Check work email and calendar and go to office.

2:40 Bring kids back to the house and feed them snack while asking about their day and seeing what they have for homework, and do the next load of the kids laundry.

3:00 Send kids to the learning center, a blessed place where there are tutors to help them with their homework. Read to and play with two-year-old, fold laundry, do book blurb class homework, and read email and blogs.

4:20 Kids come back. Check their homework, make sure they did their reading, then let them play outside on the playground. I will either read, knit, or push the two-year-old on the swing. Talk to my two personal children when they come home from school.

5:10 Add four more kids to the playground while another staff preps dinner.

5:30 Dinner

6:00 Do last of kid’s laundry, bathe two-year-old, send others into showers, have them tidy rooms and do a chore.
6:45 Bedtime snack for those who are hungry. Two-year-old is always hungry 🙂

6:55 Teeth brushing, and I make sure kitchen is tidy.

7:00 Everyone in bed and tucked in, lights out. I read to kids.

7:30 I sit down and eat dinner hubby made me (I’m vegetarian and allergic to gluten, so I can’t eat what is brought in) and watch So You Think You Can Dance. I’ve missed the first half hour, so during commercials, I check YouTube to see if people have uploaded the routines I’ve missed, then check emails, Facebook, and chat with hubby. Maybe too much multi-tasking? Set my computer aside to knit while watching TV. Hey, I can’t be idle. Cry when they send two dancers home.

9:00 Check on kids, lock doors, turn on alarm, get ready for bed, do belly dance isolations and shimmies while brushing teeth.

Boy child comes downstairs. Why do teenagers want to talk only between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.??

Midnight: Finally get to bed. Dear Lord, I’m going to be tired tomorrow!

And that is what a Superwoman day looks like in my Cycle of Eccentric Artistic Process. A depressed day? Take all the productive stuff not involving the kids and replace that with reading smut and sleeping, LOL.

If only I could harness this! I must admit I can keep my days looking more like this when I eat right, sleep well, and exercise! Of course knowing this doesn’t always stop me from sleeping all day and eating yummy fried things covered in chocolate.

Do you have cycles in your life? Have you ever written down what you do on a “good” day or do you only judge yourself by your “bad” days?

I love Workbooks


Photographed by psd

Not spelling or math or boring workbooks, but the ones that go with self-help/self-growth books. I LOVE THEM. I have this thing for delving into my own emotional world/ psyche / mental state.

Unfortunately for my husband, I can’t always answer the questions. I mean how can I possibly judge how many times per week I am irrational? Or, if the Zombie Apocalypse comes, who will be the first person I will kill? I can’t answer important questions like these on my own; I need help.

Hubby has spent many, many hours helping me answer questions in workbooks, personality tests, and internet quizzes. He somehow manages to be honest without reducing me to tears. He is truly a gifted man.

I can’t remember any of the results of any of these. I’ve done Myers-Brigg’s, Enneagram, and which Star Trek character I am. I can’t remember any of them.

Of course what’s scary is that, depending on my mood at the moment, the answers can be very, very different.
There are the me-I-wish-I-were answers.

Then the bottom-of-the-well-depressed answers.

And of course the feeling-good-productive-type-A answers.

Which can lead me to be three completely different Star Trek characters. If I’m PMS-ing, I always get

Do you remember the “Purity Test” from high school? I took a psychology class as a senior, and my big end-of-year project was about sexual deviance. Yes, I have always been this way. My teacher was impressed that I could talk about such a subject and answer questions without giggling or blushing 🙂

I passed out 100 purity tests to the students. The other teachers weren’t so happy about that. I think the purity test was the first test I took, and it got me hooked.

I also love those books of questions, anything from “What’s your dream vacation?” to “Would you strangle a child if you could end all disease and suffering on the planet?” I love delving into who I am. Well, truthfully, I love doing just about anything that revolves around ME!

Do you have a favorite quiz, personality test, workbook, or book of questions?

And if you go and take the Purity Test make sure to let me know how pure you are 🙂

Also here is a link to get your fandom card. Find out: What house you would be sorted into in Harry Potter. What District you would live in for the Hunger Games. What alien you would be in Star Trek. And much more! So much fun

Korean Teens, Blog Fun, and an Update


Can’t get enough teen RomComs?

I know they get formulaic and trite after a while, which is why you should watch My Tutor Friend 2, a Korean teen RomCom. It is cute, with lots of Korean culture which makes the story unique, well, for non-Koreans at least. There are the misunderstands, pranks, teasing, confusion, deep emotional trauma, and the hot guys and girls that we need in all our teen RomComs, with the added bonus of learning more about life of college kids in Korea.

This was fun silly movie. I enjoyed it and would watch it again.

Sorry the only trailer I could fine is in Korean

Sorry between being sick and jury duty I didn’t have time to read blogs 😦 I will bring you extra special ones next week.

A Brand New Day, Awesome Blogs, and an Update


A Brand New Day is a musical set in 1960s Australia. It is a funny look at the life of an aboriginal boy who is being shipping off to seminary school in the city. He is forced to leave behind his mum and the girl he loves but hasn’t yet had the courage to talk to.

Captain Barbosa makes a wonderful priest who chases our wayward hero from the big city through the outback. Our hero is propositioned for sex many times, is helped by a very stuff hippy and bursts into song frequently.

This is a fun, campy movie. I enjoyed myself and would probably watch it again.

Sorry I could find a trailer 😦

ACK I feel asleep before updating the fun blogs for the week and I have Sherlock LOL’s to share!!!

August reminds us that our workout and our social media should be and can be fun!

Is Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) an otter?

Jon Crispin is a photographer who has an amazing “Suitcase” project, here are the photos from one of the suitcases

Spare Brides, Awesomeness, and Updates


The Decoy Bride stars David Tennant, Kelly Macdonald, and Alice Eve. A super sweet romantic comedy from BBC, as if anything with David Tennant would be bad.

Anyway, in a desperate and pathetic attempt to avoid the paparazzi, David Tennant gets a decoy bride and runs over to a tiny island where the biggest tourist attraction is a public toilet haunted by a cow. I laughed as they avoided photographers, crazy locals, and wildlife.

It is so sweet, I cried several times, and if the old couple dancing doesn’t touch your heart, then you might be a Cyber Man.

I got a lot done, but again no writing this week- well I wrote some blogs and a bit on my ghost romance, but I’m not back in the swing of things. I did go to the gym 4 times- 2 of them personal training torture sessions and I did yoga with the kids 5 times this past week. I need to find space and time for my writing- this is a huge priority!

Blogs of awesomeness!

Growing up if we want to reach our dreams we need to be mature, Kristen Lamb shows us that it’s not so painful.

Do we need the Happily Ever After? Kait Nolan explores the genius of Joss Whedon.

Push yourself, don’t give up, and accept the challenge. Words of advice from belly dancer Kamrah.

For Sherlock fans- this is hysterical and we need to find the farm!!!

Foreign Film, 10 things, and Friendly Blog Friday


Okay as you can see this is a wild variety Friday post. I’m late posting my 10 Random facts post, then I’ll give you my review for your perusal, then to end this blog post a check list to see if your blog is user friendly.
But to start with I got an award!!!

The wise and witty Rance Denton gave me this lovely award. There are rules of course. I need to post seven facts about myself- I’m cheating aka using my time management skills- and my 10 random things will be used for this too. I also need to give the award to 15 other people. I’m not sure who these people will be. I’ve seen this award of other people’s blogs so I want to make sure I give it to new people. So I’m not giving it to anyone in this post.

Okay I was supposed to do this on Monday- then I said I would do it Wednesday- but ranted instead, so here finally are Ten Random Facts about me.

1- I am a minister with the Universal Church of Life as is my hubby. I preformed a wedding for a dear friend and my hubby married my mom and her second husband.

2- I have a certificate in past life regression hypnotherapy.
3- I have lived in 5 states- Georgia, Colorado, Alaska, California, and Arizona.

4- I used to be a dula and certified in Bradley Natural Childbirth education.

5- I hold my breath when a baby is born until it cries.

6- I started my writing career in fanfiction- it is 83 chapters long and got over 2,000 reviews I’m very proud of it.

7- I married a man who will be able to take care of me during a zombie apocalypse- yes I knew this before I married him 🙂 He also cooks and cleans.

8- I almost burst into tears when Comic Con ended this year.

9- At a party I played spin-the-bottle for two hours. In San Francisco who the bottle lands on is who you kiss regardless of gender- fun times 🙂

10- I have done a vision quest- sitting in the woods for four days with no food, only eight ounces of water (we live in the desert I got a perk) by myself seeking enlightenment. I totally got something- no I won’t tell you what is was, but coming back and losing that focus was painful.

Now for my wildly popular Foreign Film

The sixteenth foreign film I’ve chosen … drum roll …. The Host, a Korean horror movie about a mutated – well I don’t remember what it started out as- but it winds up being a nasty people eating monster. Kang-ho Song is the hero- and a very unlikely one at first, he’s a great actor and I will watch a film because he’s in it at this point. The director Joon-ho Bong is also someone I look for in my Korean movies.
Anyway back to the film. There are some jump out of your seat moments, and many fingers crossed moments, and a kind of happy ending- but this is an Asian horror movie which means things don’t work out as you think they will.
Not only is it an original look at the classic monster movie, but because it isn’t American I can’t anticipate exactly what’s going to happen. I’m not saying there isn’t a formula for Asian horror, but I haven’t caught on to it yet which makes the movies fun.

Is your blog reader friendly?

As I read through all of the flash fiction posts there were blogs I wanted to follow but found several things lacking- you might want to check your blogs for these items.

1- Tags I would look for tag lists to see what else the person posted and see if any of the topics interested me. Many blogs didn’t have a visible tag list. Can people see what topics you blog about easily?

2- I couldn’t figure out how to subscribe to the blog. I use wordpress this means if you use blogger I can’t hit the follow button and get updates on your blog. And while many of you had Google+ I don’t use it. Can people subscribe to your blog by email?

3- If I couldn’t figure out how to subscribe to your blog then I would look to see if I could follow you on twitter. Frequently I couldn’t find this either. Do you have a button so people can follow you on twitter?

All of these are widgets which can be added to your blog. Did anyone else find things they were looking for but couldn’t find on blogs you’ve been visiting?