Leigh Goff

Writing Enchanting Ever-Afters ♥


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Author L.R.W. Lee’s New Fantasy Release

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JUST RELEASED!

Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5

Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.

Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!

If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more.

Purchase Kindle and Paperback

THE BUZZ

5 Stars! – “A marvelous book in a great series!” – Erik Weibel (Age 14) This Kid Reviews Books Blog

“Readers of this series have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles, and on an epic scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.” – Richard Weatherly, Author

“One of the admirable qualities I like about the entire series is seeing Andy’s growth from a self-absorbed kid to a more thoughtful teen as he learns how to deal with the various crises which face him, all the while knowing that the future may hold unpleasant consequences.  The watchword for Vision of the Griffin’s Heart is “courage.” – Wayne Walker, Home School Book Review

OTHER BOOKS IN THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES:

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Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Andy Smithson, Book One) ebook is FREE. Download a copy at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, B&N.

Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks.

Book one is also available in paperback.
Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning (Andy Smithson, Book Two) is available in Kindle and Paperback.

Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon

It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook first…Savings of $16!

Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor (Andy Smithson, Book Three) is available in Kindle and Paperback.

Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace (Andy Smithson, Book Four) is available in Kindle and Paperback.

Power of the Heir’s Passion (Andy Smithson, Prequel Novella) ebook is FREE. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Google, B&N, Smashwords. It’s also available in paperback.

Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon

It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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  1. L. R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series.
  2. L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Email

 

L.R.W. LEE INTERVIEW

  1. How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson? Did he just pop into your imagination or did you specifically develop him?

Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.

  1. How did your experience with building a business help with your writing?

It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.

  1. Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?

I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.

  1. What do you love the most about writing for young people?

Young people are moldable. My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.

  1. Which part of the creative process is your favorite? Least favorite?

Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing/revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.

  1. How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?

Usually about 6 months.

  1. I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why?

I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.

  1. Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy?

Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.

  1. How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?

I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that J

 

 

THE DEPTH OF THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES

If you’re an adult looking for a clean series you can sink your teeth into, Andy Smithson is definitely it! In it I develop four layers simultaneously: 1) Andy Smithson in Lakehills, TX 2) Andy in Oomaldee 3) the Afterlife 4) a meaning layer. A few examples to demonstrate the depth…

Symbolism is used extensively (a couple examples):

  • The fog of the curse symbolizes blindness and oppression.
  • The magic key unlocks doors, brings stone statues to life, as well as revives. Put another way, it symbolizes bringing forth, opening up, and revealing (aka taking responsibility).
  • Methuselah is not only a weapon and helper, but also represents justice as it divides good and evil. Consistent with life, justice requires diligence to uphold.

Names are also important in this series (a few examples):

  • Andy means brave or courageous.
  • Alden means helper.
  • Hannah means favor or grace.
  • Imogenia means blameless.

Alchemy used throughout the series (a few examples):

  • Alchemy played a significant role in the development of modern science. Alchemists sought to transformbase metals into the gold or silver and/or develop an elixir of life which would confer youth and longevity and even immortality.
  • In the series, the first instance of alchemy begins with the gold weavers, Max, Oscar, and Henry, spinning straw into gold to manufacture the wealth of the kingdom.
  • The four elementals: air, earth, fire, and water are then seen on Methuselah’s hilt.

 

The titles of the books manifest yet another layer of meaning and reveal Imogenia’s evolution.

  • Beginning with Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Imogenia is furious at what has happened to her and she fuels her emotional hurt.
  • In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Imogenia turns venomous (or spiteful) and cunning in seeking ways to continually punish her brother.
  • Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor has Imogenia act in a manner disgraceful to the honor of royalty.
  • In Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace we see Imogenia’s grace reborn as she begins to reflect.
  • In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Imogenia realizes she is gripped by hatred and distrust she has harbored for so long. Unlike griffins who choose to trust others, Imogenia cannot yet make that leap when it comes to her brother.

 


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Author Michael Weitz-The Wild Life

THE WILD LIFE

by Michael Weitz

Growing up in a small rural community has its charms though we rarely appreciate them until we’ve grown up. One of the things I enjoyed was looking for deer, badgers, coyotes, birds and whatever else might be wild and not on a farm. It passed the time while my dad drove us through the surrounding agricultural fields on our way to a movie or to the home of a friend who happened to live seven miles out of town and surrounded by acres of wheat fields.

Today I live in a larger city that, if they’re smart, animals of an untamed nature tend to shy away from. After all, a raccoon driving a minivan around town to pick up his forest pals just doesn’t wash unless it’s in a Pixar movie, right? Besides, even though a raccoon has “hands” that could grasp the steering wheel, it lacks the size to reach the gas pedal and still be able to see where it’s going. That being said, my neighborhood surrounds a pond that is home to a number of creatures and my wife and I feel very lucky to be able to sit and watch their activities while we relax after a long day.

There are Canada geese, but the Canada moniker seems dicey because every spring we watch the newly-hatched goslings form a maritime train behind their parents in our pond so there is obviously some dual citizenship agreement; frogs and toads perform a nightly chorus that sounds more like broken fog horns than anything of the “ribbit” variety; Mallard ducks build their nests and receive an occasional visit from a colorful Wood duck, and there’s a turtle or two who are only seen when they sun themselves on a rock. We’ve even spied a fox trotting through our neighbors yard, but my favorite is a Blue Heron that appears nearly every day to stand majestically along the shore. It’s all very serene.

We’d recently bought our house and had been living in it for a few months before I finally dug out our binoculars in order to get a better look at the heron we’d arbitrarily dubbed “Simon.” The bright yellow eyes glared down his saber-like beak seemingly fixed in a permanent scowl of concentration. His grayish blue plumage smoothed back as he slowly stepped into the water of the pond. “Honey, come check out Simon!” I called to my wife. “The binoculars really bring him in close.”

She’d just poured a glass of wine and came outside to enjoy the warm weather. I handed her the optics and pointed to where the bird was standing stock-still. She looked through the binoculars and said, “Ooh, he’s so neat. He’s looking at something under the water. I wonder if-Oh! Blegh! He got a frog!”

“What? Let me look!” I said. She handed me the binoculars and I quickly focused on Simon. Sure enough he had a frog the size of a football dangling from the end of his beak. No sooner had I seen this, though, than the bird dropped the frog onto the grass and stared as it leaped twice and back into the water. Two giant steps and a flap of his mighty wings brought Simon to the water’s edge just as fast and with a lunge he snatched the frog and brought it back ashore. Again he dropped it and again he caught it and brought it back from the water.

“Do you want to look somemo…” That’s when Simon cocked his long neck into an S and with Bruce Lee-like speed, unleashed his beak of fury. In a flash Simon stabbed the frog, reared back and stabbed it twice more. That frog was dead, yep, no question. “Never mind, honey,” I mumbled and tried not to retch. The swift and bloody violence was shocking and worthy of a Scorsese film.

But I kept watching. The prey was dead, the predator victorious, now it was time to dine. If you’ve seen a heron, you know their necks are about as wide as a champagne flute and there are no knives and forks available at the pond side restaurant. I was genuinely, if somewhat morbidly, curious to see how Simon intended to down his dinner. In fact, it was a gluttonous scene of maneuvering the carcass into his mouth head first, lifting his head high and swallowing the frog whole. Through the binoculars I was awarded a splendid view as Simon’s neck swelled to near bursting as the night’s menu slid down into his stomach. No sooner had his neck returned to its slender, graceful state than he knocked back a quick sip of pond water. If he had lips I swear he would have smacked them.

That was the first time we’d witnessed Simon dining on the local wildlife and it was the last time my wife took up the binoculars to look upon his beauty. But we still feel blessed to live here on the pond. Simon has grown fatter and the number of frog voices singing the nightly song has diminished, but we’ve seen other birds and been visited by the occasional mammal. Oddly enough though, no raccoon. Although now that I think about it, there were some unaccounted for miles on the car after I left the garage door open the other night…

All my best,

Michael Weitz

 

Here is a short intro to Michael’s mystery novel for your reading pleasure.

Making house calls or meeting people in public places is how Ray Gordon makes his living. He’s not a doctor. He’s not a prostitute. Ray Gordon is a chess teacher.

When one of Ray’s students, Walter Kelly, is found dead in his shop, the police and his family let it go as an accident. Ray, however, doesn’t buy it. As a former cop with a lingering curiosity, Ray snoops around and stumbles into the murky world of methamphetamine, the worst drug epidemic of our time.

The problem? Walter Kelly was sixty-five years old and his only addictions were woodworking and chess. How does a sixty-five-year-old man become involved with illegal drugs? Why is a neighbor glad Walter’s dead? And just how do dead men play chess?

EXCERPT

To take my mind off the task at hand, I thought about Brian Kelly. Was it just the cabin going to waste that rubbed him the wrong way or was it the land value he was afraid of missing out on? Real estate assessments had been big news over the last month or two. Housing prices and land deals had gone berserk and sellers were making massive profits. Maybe Brian was in trouble financially and he just couldn’t take it anymore? Walt refused to sell and Brian killed him for it, knowing the cabin would eventually come into his hands or he would at least be able to talk his mother into putting the land up for sale.

Outside, I heard Ed Carter’s back door creak open and closed. I poured fresh water over the floor and started mopping it up. If Ed planned on being neighborly again, I didn’t think he needed to witness the clean-up process. But after several minutes passed without an appearance from the Kellys’ neighbor, I began my attack on the table saw with a scouring pad.

Just as I got into a nice scrubbing rhythm, Morphy growled low in his throat and raised his head off of his paws. I stopped and watched him. His ears were erect and his gaze was on the window behind me. Goose flesh erupted on my arms. To hide the shiver that ran down my spine, I resumed wiping down the table saw with calm casualness. I kept my attention focused on Morphy, though, and he growled again. This time, the hair over his shoulders stiffened and rose up as his emotions kicked in. Someone was watching or trying to look in the window. Morphy wouldn’t get so angry over something like a skunk or a cat.

I twisted around just as Morphy leapt to his feet and barked. Someone ducked down before I could see a face. I ran to the door and pulled it open. Morphy tore around the corner, barking after the intruder and I followed as close as I could.

In the darkness of Margie Kelly’s backyard, I saw Morphy’s blond fur disappear into the black shadow of Walt’s shop. He chased a dim figure, which ran toward the back of the property, to Helen Parker’s house. I ran full out once I saw the shadowy form of the person who had been spying through the window. Gone were the trepidations of twisted ankles and bloodied shins from unseen objects lying hidden on the grass.

I ran.

Even Dead Men Play Chess

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Michael Weitz is an award-winning author who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, usually reading anything he could get his hands on. He wrote his first novel in the 6th Grade — an eight page rip-off of Star Wars.

A variety of jobs including waiter, gas station attendant, truck driver and a host of others, helped shape his world. After college he landed in the television industry where he wrote and produced a multitude of award-winning commercials, two documentaries about Mt. St. Helens and various other projects.

After a few years in Phoenix, AZ, Michael, his wife, and their dogs are back in the Pacific Northwest. Currently working on the next Ray Gordon mystery, Michael may also be found reading, playing chess or shooting pool. As an avid photographer, he enjoys traveling anywhere picturesque with his wife.

Learn more about Michael Weitz on his website and Goodreads.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.