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“The Uncrowned Queen” is here!

The second book in the “Legends of Kiamada” has arrived!  “The Uncrowned Queen” picks up moments after the end of “The Lost Tayamu”.

Moments ago, Ellie and Jen Aston were in their small midwestern town of Groverton, but now, they find themselves on a parallel Earth, in the magical land of Kiamada.  Accompanied by Alistair Doyle, his twin sister Kira, Kira’s husband Jerry, and the giant Wiler, Theonus, Ellie and Jen have to adapt to their new lives in this similar, yet still different, world.  Weird plants and strange animals aren’t that surprising, but Bar Truga, the sentient island that is home to the Tayamu, is unlike anything Ellie and Jen had prepared themselves for.

While Jen strives to regain her lost memories, Ellie must deal with her Tayamu powers coming in faster and stronger than they should.  When a rare, surprising new ability manifests, Ellie suddenly finds herself with a new partner in life, and must learn to control this ability before she accidentally kills herself.  

Having received word from Nature that the uncrowned queen of Kiamada has returned home, Seaile, the First of the Tayamu, sets out with her apprentice to find the queen and restore her to the throne.  But does the queen even want to rule?  And why did she choose to leave in the first place?

When Doyle is forced to reveal their presence in Kiamada, news reaches the despotic ruler of Kiamada, Mathon, who sets plans in motion to protect his rule…plans that will place Mathon on a collision course with the Tayamu, and bring old friends to a new world in search of help. 


ebook: Buy at Amazon 

paperback: Buy at Amazon


Wow, it’s been a long time!

I just realized I haven’t posted any kind of blog since…well, several months ago.  There IS a good reason for that, however, and that is because I have been busy working on the second novel of Kiamada.  I’m quite happy to report that “The Uncrowned Queen” now has a completed first draft!  

I’m working on editing the first third of the book, which has already gone through the claws of my wonderful critique partner, the amazing Ava Larksen, and I will soon be sending her the second third, once I make a few small changes to it.  The final third was completed as my NaNoWriMo project, which I won.  

I’m really hoping to have the final draft done by February/March, so stay tuned!

First email from a reader!

I got a lovely little email from a reader today.  It might not seem like much, but this is from somebody who was not involved in the critique process of my work, is not a member of my family, and has absolutely no connection to me whatsoever, except that they chose to read my book, and they apparently loved it!

I know, I know….I need to hurry up and write!  My sister-in-law finished the book the other day, and basically told me that she’s not really willing to wait very long for me to finish the sequel, so I’d better deliver it by Christmas.  No pressure, huh?

This is getting real, guys!

Proof copy of paperback

The white stripe around the edges has been fixed already; I ordered this proof copy before Amazon did their manual review and let me know that we needed to fix the cover’s dimensions.  So, this version may not be perfect, but I’m okay with that, as it’s only a proof copy.  It’s still my book, in my hands!


First review of “The Lost Tayamu”!

My first review as a published author!  (from Amazon)


“THEONUS!! Theonus, Theonus, Theonus – just saying – my heart was stolen by Theonus…and Doyle. And Jen. And sassy Ellie. The Lost Tayamu was full of intrigue and magic and THEONUS! Jen was sixteen when she stumbled out of a forest with no memory of who she was, where she came from or what had happened to her. Adopted, she grew up with her sister Ellie, raising Ellie when their parents died. Years later, she’s a news anchor on the local TV Station of Groverton and someone is trying to kill her.

I loved this story. It was a great read, so many mysteries to unravel, the quips from Doyle who had me laughing out loud, and sassy Ellie. The brewing romance between Coach Doyle and Jen was fabulous, and all the things I got to learn about the Tayamu and Kiamada too. And Theonus. And after meeting Theonus, the only thing I want are little Wilers and I’m hoping I’m going to get them in the next book.”

The Lost Tayamu is live!!!

I can’t believe it!  I started this novel around 13 years ago, and now, it is finally out in the wild!  It’s been a wild, twisting path to get here, but I’m finally here.  I hope you enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Buy at Amazon!

Choosing Names for Your Characters

One thing I see a lot of in the Twitter writing community is authors trying to figure out character names.  Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.  Sometimes, I just choose a random name, while other times, I know somebody with that name.  Sometimes I’ll change the name halfway through, while other times, I just know that’s their name.  In one of my non-Kiamada books, I have a young woman who’s part Native American, so I did a search for Native American names, and the name “Anari” popped up.  Something about it just caught me, and I said, “That’s her name.”


In this post, I thought I’d introduce you to the characters of my first book, The Lost Tayamu, and explain how I came up with their names.

Alistair Doyle: I saw the name Alistair somewhere, and loved it.  For Doyle, I had a deck of playing cards sitting near me.  I liked how Hoyle sounded, and thought of Doyle.  It stuck.

Jeniah “Jen” Aston:  Jen was easy.  My sister’s name is Jenny.  (There’s no other connection between them besides the name.) Originally, Jen’s last name was going to be McNamara–chosen randomly–but I didn’t like it, and switched it to Aston.  I used Scrivener’s Name Generator to come up with the name.  It probably caught my eye because there was an older couple in my childhood church who were always very sweet and kind to me, and even attended my wedding as “grandparents”.  They were the Ashtons.  

Elowyn “Ellie” Aston: This series started off with Ellie as the primary character, but has since evolved to be about her and Jen.  As Jen’s younger adopted sister, the last name has the same story.  Ellie’s first name, however, was actually chosen intentionally.  Originally, her name was Kirsten, and everybody would call her Kir for short.  However, the character Kira was also in the book, and that would have gotten confusing.  Besides…I just didn’t like the name.  So, what to do, what to do?  Then it hit me.  My grandfather, one of the people this book is dedicated to, hated his middle name.  He always complained that it was a girl’s name, not a man’s.  I did some research, and centuries ago, it had been a girl’s name, but transitioned to be used more by men, before disappearing.  His middle name was “Elwyn”.  (Fun fact: the man who interviewed me for my first teaching position had the first name of Elwyn.  He was shocked that I knew somebody else with that name.) 

So, to both honor and annoy my grandfather, I added an “o” to his name and came up with Elowyn.  (Pronounced “Elle-oh-winn”.) Like him, she hates her name, so she had to have a nickname, so Ellie seemed natural.  I didn’t even think about this until after the fact, but my stepsister’s name is Ellie.  (Why didn’t I think about it?  Because our parents got married when we were already grown, after my mom passed away.  When I renamed Elowyn, I had only known Ellie and her mom for a year or so.)

Theonus: Theonus is Doyle’s dog.  I don’t want to give too many spoilers, so all I’ll tell you is that he is no ordinary dog.  He is the “otherworldly” thing, as mentioned in the book’s summary, that convinces Ellie that Doyle is not a teacher.  Theonus was inspired by our dog, who has since crossed the rainbow bridge.  Trig (short for Trigonometry) was the most expressive dog I’d ever met.  She could use her eyebrows like a human, and we could clearly tell what she was thinking.  I wondered what she would be like if she could talk…and Theonus was created.  My first thought was that if Trig could talk, the onus of dealing with her would be immense.  The phrase “the onus” became Theonus.  (Side note: the critique partners who helped me whip this book into shape are all self-proclaimed “Team Theonus”, and I hope others will be, too.  He’s my favorite character in this book.)

Kira Vogel: Doyle’s twin sister Kira is a force to be reckoned with.  The name “Kira” just popped into my head one day, and I used it.  If anything, it might have come from my son’s middle name of Kirian, which I made up when he was born.  I created the character of Kira when my son was an infant, so it’s possible his name influenced hers.  I didn’t choose a last name for her until a few drafts in, because I just didn’t care about her last name.  It was such an unimportant detail to me.  I chose it because of my history with studying the German language, and I like how the word sounds.

Jerry Vogel: Kira’s husband, Jerry’s name was also randomly chosen. 


And that’s the story behind the names of the primary characters of The Lost Tayamu.  Maybe I’ll do a second post about the secondary characters.


Honestly…don’t spend a lot of time obsessing over names.  Obsess over the plot.  That’s far more important!


Until next time!



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