Saturday, March 29, 2008

She Says Picture Your Character at Age 65

You know my fantasy author has a Web site for writers (and readers) at where she doesn't really expound on her life issues. That's what this site is for: a writer's life. (And marketing the fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods...)

But today she asked me to do something that writers would get value from. I imagine readers enjoying this exercise as well. Picture a character that you've read about (or, for you writers visiting today, picture a character you're working with; or, for you folks who know Sandy's soon-to-be-ex-husband, who is continuing to be a jerk, picture him). Picture this character at age 65. By imagining this character's later years, you can work on the arc that takes him or her to that point. It's a valuable writing exercise, and I think it's helped calm Sandy just a bit. (You'll understand why as you read on.)

Where is the character? Is he in the modern world, or, like Sandy's soon-to-be-ex, is he in a place where the sky is not the same color as the real world? Is he in a run-down motel room with mildew on the bottom of moth-bitten curtains?

What is the character doing? Is he holding a remarkable woman (or man) who looks up to him, respects him and has carried affection for him since the time he rescued her (or him) from a fire-breathing dragon back in Book III, or, like Sandy's soon-to-be-ex, is he still wondering if anything significant besides his impending kidney failure will happen in his life? Is he staring at an out-of-focus television screen with a half-empty bottle of booze slipping heavily from his limp, pudgy grasp onto his ample belly?

What does the character look like? Is he thickly tone and grayed at the temples with thin but real hair, or, like Sandy's soon-to-be-ex, is he thickly poured onto the chair and oozing out the sides like Jabba the Hut with three-day stubble and squinting eyes because he's lost his glasses in his latest drinking jag? Is he unable to lift the remote to change the television channel from atrophy in his left arm?

What brought the character to this place? Is the hero resting beside a brook with his trusty steed because they've returned from one last quest before he retires with his bonny lass and family on the farm he's desired to rebuild stone by stone and pasture by pasture, or, like Sandy's soon-to-be-ex, has he run here to hide from creditors trying to collect on the thousands of dollars owed to Federal Financial Aid and student loan authorities for the 474 credit hours earned toward the four degrees that he's had since 1994--40 years before.

How will this character die? Will she be well-known, well-respected and well-liked in her industries; full of spunk and humor and the ability to make people laugh despite trials and tribulation that once looked like setbacks? Will she be comfortably situated and in love with a handsome person who respects her and stands by her? Will she be slaying bad dragons, immortalizing good ones, blogging about grammar and tips for marketing, writing reviews for her friends' new novels and making some insane donation to the Archie Carr Foundation? Will hordes of friends fly from parts unknown to visit her in her final days, at a final party where they quote Thoreau and sing Duran Duran songs and watch old X-Files, Star Trek and Stargate re-runs on a huge plasma-screen TV (like in the old days) while breaking off into groups to reminisce about book tours and family reunions before someone notices that she has slipped into her writing den to type one last ending to one last fantasy book before the keyboard goes silent. Or, like Sandy's soon-to-be-ex, will the character's life be wasted trying to run from responsibility and authority until its long arm eventually finds him and its long fingers snuff out his life while he's alone, quiet, unheard of, with perhaps a solitary friend or two to identify the body and mourn while considering what to do with his computer and shoes...

Helen Keller once said, "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." My fantasy author has been asked to deal with yet another chunk of stupidity (this one to the tune of $4,000) because of her soon-to-be-ex's inability to accept responsibility for his own decisions. Of course she's not going to clean up yet another mess for him. He's no longer her son to raise. But she's thought about the situation, and it speaks to her about the condition of so many characters... This is the kind of character she'd never root for in a story.

And neither would I.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

She Wants me to Market the Fantasy eBook

For those of you who want to read new fantasy but don't have the funds to pick up Choices Meant for Gods at the local Barnes & Noble, Fantasy Author Sandy Lender has your answer. Download the pdf from the publisher's site for only $3.99 at

I highly recommend CMFG because it's the story of my amazing warrior bride-to-be, Amanda Chariss, and the trials she goes through dealing with an oh-so-arrogant god whom I think she should just dump by the side of the road. I'm telling you, this deity is not worth her time, yet she thinks she has this responsibility to protect Him just because some prophecy they found foretells it. It's crazy. She has enough trouble trying to keep herself alive with some lunatic sorcerer chasing after her...and does her god-charge seem to care about that? Not at all!

You know, Sandy promised me she'd make life easier on Chariss if I helped with book marketing, yet I'm looking through the pages of Book II, and I can't really see how life is getting easier. I don't think this bargain is working out right...

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

She Wants to go Into Medical Billing

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, says people who work in medical billing must have access to all the most fabulous drugs in the universe because they have no ability to do their jobs. And it's a rampant problem in Southwest Florida. Since her arrival here, she's not seen any examples of medical billing performed correctly on the first try.

It's making her quite fussy.

The most recent screw-up (her phrase, not mine) arrived in yesterday's mail. She received a notice from a health insurance provider that she hasn't had coverage with for about two years. The notice was basically denying payment for a doctor's follow-up visit she had back in February. At that doctor visit, she filled out new paperwork and gave her new insurance information to the folks who would be taking care of filing the medical claim.

So she figures they must all be taking copious amounts of fabulous drugs and she finds it unfair that the rest of the population would get arrested for doing the same thing.

She just left a message for Eileen in the billing department at her doctor's office to let Eileen know that the correct company to use is the company that she gave information for at the most recent appointment. Basically, Sandy doesn't want to get stuck paying $245 out of the blue for something Blue Cross/Blue Death of Florida should be paying. And doesn't $245 seem excessive for an office visit? I guess the office visit price has to be commensurate with the cost of the prescriptions, which are $170 each, per month, after insurance. There's a hit to the bank account. (Can't you buy these things on the black market more cheaply? What? I heard about it on television when you weren't paying attention to me the other evening.)

It does make me wonder. I mean, I've heard her make these kinds of phone calls several times just since I've been in this society helping her promote the novel. You would think these people could do their jobs. At least check the dates on paperwork or something... It seems simple enough to me. But, then, I'm not from this society, so maybe dates are difficult to find on paperwork. I don't know. Maybe something that was filled out in early 2006 is more valid to a medical professional than something filled out in February of 2008. It just strikes me as slightly odd. Perhaps that's why so many old people down here have strokes... They have to deal with the medical billing fiasco every time they go to the doctor's office and it causes them too much angst.

And that's the latest installment of a writer's life.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

She Asked Me to Revisit the Purpose of This Site, Part II

In part one of this "explanation," I told you that my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, asked me to develop this blog to assist with marketing the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods. You might wonder why I would acquiesce when I'm not from this society. I don't typically interact with this world. The bride that I'm madly in love with is in a fantasy realm where I should be even now. Well, here's part two of the explanation.

I’m Nigel Taiman, a 28-year-old gentleman who once lived just south of Arcana City in the southeast corner of Onweald. I'm representing Fantasy Author Sandy Lender here in the blogosphere for two reasons. At first, it was merely because Sandy Lender, as the fantasy author, knows the end of my story. She knows the end of my bride’s story. She said she’d make it “easier” for Amanda Chariss, the heroine of Choices Meant for Gods and the woman I love, if I helped her market and promote the epic fantasy novel. As ominous as that sounds, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep Mandy safe.

The second reason for my involvement has developed during the past 13 months. Sandy Lender is really a neat writer to hang out with. At first, I thought she was going to coerce me into whatever promotional tasks she needed performed by threatening to harm Chariss, but, now that I've spent so much time with her, I see that's not the way Sandy operates. She's really quite a fair and equitable author. And, if you could see the insane schedule she keeps, you'd see why she needs help with promotion. She's on her own.

So I’m her spokesperson. Of course, Sandy Lender has her own blog where she’s not only promoting Choices Meant for Gods, but she’s offering writing and grammar tips (for free!—in this society, I didn’t think people gave away information they’d learned over a 16-year career, but she’s doing it). If you type in, you can visit Sandy’s site. The very name of it makes me shudder, given what I know of The Dragon.

But this site,, will be devoted to the author herself. Why? Because she needs me to promote Choices Meant for Gods.

As much as I need her to protect Amanda Chariss.

If you'd like more information about the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods, I recommend reading the first three chapters, for free, at the ArcheBooks Publishing site at That's also where you can order a hard cover, first edition copy with a 20% discount for your book collection, or download the electronic (eBook) version for less than $4.

To read some excellent five-star reviews of Choices Meant for Gods, visit That's also where you can order a hard cover, first edition copy with free shipping for your book collection.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

She Hasn't Repressed This One, Careless Memory #9

A Glimpse into a Writer's Life
Now this story isn't from her childhood, so it's not so difficult to imagine it being unrepressed, but it still qualifies as a glimpse into a writer's life. She told this story at the Author Island chat* Monday (St. Patrick's Day) when it was far more appropriate than today, but I don't know when you all celebrate your societal holidays, so I deserve a break.

When my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, graduated from college, she started a job at a company that shall remain nameless to protect the people in this story. She worked with several women, two of whom were obsessed with food.

These two women were rather cruel, and Sandy did not enjoy working with them. On days when the company would have potluck lunches…wait… (what's a—okay, will they all know what that is?) Excellent. On days when the company would have potluck lunches, these ladies would usually complain or mock what other people brought to the table.

One of them volunteered Sandy to prepare baked potatoes for a "potato bar" for the office at one of these functions, and actually yelled at Sandy for using too much aluminum foil to wrap the first baked potato. Then the woman stood over her to make sure she wrapped the rest of them correctly before watching her place them in the oven. These ladies also raised a ruckus when the Christmas party planning committee arranged to serve ham as the main course (the ladies thought it should have been beef, and made this clear to the president of the company). One of the ladies, while at a group luncheon one afternoon, requested a doggie bag to take the free chips and salsa from the table back home so she'd have a snack that evening. Sandy's list of their bizarre food fetish examples goes on, but, to get to the specific memory that you readers are going to enjoy, I'll move on.

One St. Patrick's Day, Sandy baked and decorated cupcakes to bring to the office. By decorating, I mean she poured a great portion of a bottle of green food coloring into a can of white icing, stirred it into a soupy, bright green mess, and smeared it on the cupcakes. It was "vivid", she tells me. "It was vivid like a bright green shamrock in a bright green field of shamrocks." (She's actually giggling as she tells me the story…)

Anyway, she forewarned her "normal" co-workers, set the plate of green goodies down, and waited for the aftermath. It took a couple of the sugary confections before the two ladies noticed each other's mouths, but when they did, it was too late. They had green teeth, green gums, green tongues, green lips…Sandy says it's like a leprechaun had shat in their mouths.

(What's a leprechaun?)

Remind me not to piss Sandy off. I'd hate to see Amanda Chariss with green lips in any of the Choices Meant for Gods sequels…

*footnote: The Author Island chat is a monthly opportunity for readers to "meet" authors online at Several authors participate, offer free excerpts from their books, offer books or other prizes through contests through their Web sites or the Author Island site that day, and make announcements pertinent to new releases. The hostess, DeNita Tuttle also arranges for a moderator to gather a series of recipes shared throughout the day and make them available at a later date on the Author Island site. The conversations range from all topics, but tend to focus on books and whatever questions the readers bring to the group. More information about the experience is available at the site.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

She Went to a Barry Manilow Concert While in Vegas

Yes, my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, spent more time working and running around the CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show floors than anything else while in Vegas last week, but she did attend the Terex evening event that I "blogged" about earlier in the week and, on Friday evening, she attended a concert just for the fun of it. No clients were involved. No press badge was necessary. She merely got herself an advance ticket and went to see Barry Manilow's Music and Passion show at the Las Vegas Hilton. And she was very pleased with the way it turned out.

She's been a fan for 32 years so every song he played was something she wanted to hear. The songs included Weekend in New England, Looks Like We Made It, I Made it Through the Rain (which, strangely enough, she posted about at prior to leaving for Vegas), Copa Cabana, American Bandstand, Boogie Woogie Blues, New York City Rhythm, Moonlight Serenade, Can't Take my Eyes off of You, When They Dance (and she tells me that she loves his Mayflower album), Daybreak, Can't Smile Without You, I am Your Child, and, the one my bride in Choices Meant for Gods is named after, Mandy. There were more, of course, but she's unable to list them all.

In summary, Sandy Lender highly recommends attending the Music and Passion show in Vegas, or wherever it may be appearing. For instance, he's taking the show to Kansas City and St. Louis here shortly and tickets are on sale this weekend, I believe. (She gets these updates from the fan club...) The stage is phenomenal; the backup singers are flashy and full of energy; the band is tight and dead-on; Barry's voice is spectacular and his sense of humor is still as sharp as ever; and the show leaves you thrilled at the end.

Now, if my version of Sandy's review doesn't convince you, you can see her version (which is much more fawning) over at, but you have to scroll to Wednesday. That means getting past some bizarre experiment she's done with Cadbury creme eggs today in honor of Easter. I don't even pretend to understand. All I know is I would have preferred she was writing instead of playing around with chocolate.

Have a great day, everyone.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

She Asked Me to Revisit the Purpose of This Site, Part I

First of all, my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, asked me to develop this blog to assist with marketing. She is the author of Choices Meant for Gods, the first of three books in the epic fantasy story of Amanda Chariss.

Chariss has been on the run from a madman all her life. When she finally chooses to stand and fight, she finds that she’s wrapped in centuries of prophecy that require her to protect the gods themselves. This site is managed by me, Nigel Taiman, the son of her current benefactor. I once lived on the outskirts of Arcana City on the continent of Onweald, thus am considered an expert on farming, animal husbandry, crop rotation, reading the weather, swordsmanship and keeping my younger brother from getting the family into trouble.

Oh, yes, I'm also madly in love…

For more information about Choices Meant for Gods, you can read the first three chapters for free at ArcheBooks Publishing at That's also where you can order a hard cover, first edition copy with the publisher's 20% discount for your book collection, or download the electronic (eBook) version for less than $4.

To read some excellent five-star reviews of Choices Meant for Gods, visit That's also where you can order a hard cover, first edition copy with free shipping for your book collection. (The eBook is only available through the ArcheBooks site link above at this time.)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

She Went to a Lionel Richie Concert While in Vegas

Yes, I'll tell all about the Barry Manilow concert, too, but she wants to go in chronological order. (and I think she wants to jot down notes so I don't leave anything out about know how obsessed she is)

First, while my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, was in Vegas, she didn't spend every waking moment working. She also had time to play. The CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show closed each evening and the attendees were to leave the trade show floor. Those attendees possessing press badges or exhibitor badges could stick around because they were still working, but the events they attended were designed to hold their interest. Food was usually involved. Copious amounts of alcohol were consumed. Believe me, if you want the trade press to show up at an evening event at CONEXPO, put "open bar" on the invitation and they'll appear in droves.

An equipment company called Terex wanted not only members of the trade press, but its customers, suppliers, dealers and potential clients to attend its Thursday night event. So members of management rented a ballroom at The Mirage, hired a cover band and dancers, set up several open bars and food stations, and bought a plethora of silly hats and plastic jewelry (some of which flashed) for guests to wear, and booked Lionel Richie to play on the main stage.

Sandy was overjoyed. When else does she get to wear a plastic flashing tiara while dancing to a song called Brick House? It was quite the scene... Luckily, she wasn't the only one. What I found most surprising about the evening was the fact that she'd spent Tuesday, Wednesday and the day Thursday walking around the 2.2-million square feet of the trade show (yes, that's how large it was) and yet she was able to stand the four or five feet in front of the stage to enjoy the concert. When one of the couples she attended the concert with had to leave, she went to the dancefloor area to "boogie." (I'm assuming that means "dance.") Now how does a person with feet that sore dance around for two hours?

Well, I'll fill you in on the Barry Manilow concert tomorrow, or whenever I can get the computer back from her again. She's typing like a fiend trying to get caught up with the magazine and e-mails and blogging. She's preparing her giveaways and flyers for the Naples Press Club Authors and Books Festival April 5-6, and she's got a meme and a contest going over at so she has plenty to keep her busy.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

She's Not Really a Cook

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, has been on a business trip for the better part of a week, and now that she's returned, she wants me to post a recipe from Arcana's kitchen. I think this is silly. There are so many other things to write about. But I bow to her wishes.

Keep in mind that Loetha, who runs the household at Arcana, is not from your society, so the recipe will be a bit "odd" for your kitchens. Sandy has given me tips to modify the recipe for your modern convenience. It will make the stew much faster to produce. Sandy tells me it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to prepare (because you have to brown the beef) and another 10 to 15 minutes to cook. Thus your meal is ready in half an hour, which, in her mind, is excellent. I also applaud this because I prefer her to spend very little time in the kitchen. This gives her more time for writing, you see.

Loetha's Beef Stew

3 cups hot mushroom soup (or cheat using 2 cans of condensed mushroom soup to make life easier)
3 cups hot tomato soup (or cheat using 2 cans of condensed tomato soup)
1 cup dry Bellan wine (that would be red wine in this society)
4 cups chopped cooked roast beef
4 heaping handfulls of chopped, steamed vegetables (or cheat and use two 16-ounce bags of frozen cut broccoli, carrots, etc.)
1 teaspoon crushed, dried thyme
If using Sandy's cheating version, add 4 cups of water (Sandy actually prefers her stew a little less "brothy" and only adds about 1 cup of water)

You put everything in a huge Dutch oven and cook on medium heat until boiling, stirring frequently. Then lower the heat a bit (not a lot), uncover it and stir it once in a while for another four or five minutes until the vegetables are the firmness that you prefer.

This recipe accommodates 10 people. Loetha would double it when cooking for my family and staff at Arcana. You may wish to cut it in half. So you'd only use 1 can each of the condensed soups, 1 bag of frozen vegetables, etc., thus feeding a family of five on a cold winter's eve, which you still have a few of this season...

Rest assured, I'll be posting news from Sandy's trip (this is the blog about the writer's life, after all), updates on her upcoming events, an announcement of today's winner from the Author Island chat contest, and information about the fantasy novel, Choices Meant for Gods, as well as any other pertinent tidbits as they arise. I think the recipe is just something to tide you over until she figures out what marketing tack to take next.

Very strange.

Have a lovely evening.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

She Reminds You That Choices Meant for Gods is Available as an Inexpensive eBook, Too

Whether you enjoy collecting hard cover books for your shelves or not, sometimes cash for such luxuries runs low. Fantasy Author Sandy Lender is in a "low-cash" phase these days due to the divorce, foreclosure, etc., so she empathizes with others in negative cashflow situations.

So, for those of you who want to read new fantasy but don't have the funds to pick up Choices Meant for Gods at the local Barnes & Noble or Hastings book store, Fantasy Author Sandy Lender has your answer. Download the pdf from the publisher's site. It's only $3.99 at

The epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods is the story of the amazing heroine, Amanda Chariss. It tells of love, tolerance, overcoming insurmountable odds, standing up for yourself, not backing down, coming of age, befriending dragons and irritating evil sorcerers…but not everyone in the world is able to shell out nearly $30 for a hard cover, first edition book from a fantasy author they've never read before. Enter the oh-so-economical eBook.

If you're unsure about your $4-purchase, you can read a bunch of five-star reviews of Choices Meant for Gods on Amazon at Then bebop over to (Bebop? What does that mean? Oh for pity's sake…must I use these words in your marketing efforts?) Then link over to ArcheBooks Publishing to order/download the electronic version for much less money than the physical book at You can also read the first three chapters for free at that same link.

I know you'll enjoy the story.

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

She Wants to Push the eBook Version of Choices Meant for Gods Because it's Cheap

And I'm all for it.

You see, the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods is an amazing story, but not everyone in the world is willing to shell out nearly $30 for a hard cover, first edition book from an author they've never heard of. Enter the eBook.

You can read a bunch of five-star reviews of Choices Meant for Gods on Amazon at

And then order/download the electronic version of the book at the publisher's site for a whole lot less money at ($3.99 to be exact) You can also read the first three chapters for free at that same link, Sandy says.

Now, why would a fantasy author encourage folks to buy her book electronically for $25 or $26 less than what it costs in the Barnes & Noble book store? Because it's almost time for the second book in the series to be released and this is called audience-building. If you like the first book, you're likely to buy the second book in the series, too. And she tells me that will also be available in a cheap electronic version. (Wait a minute. How are you going to make any money in this business? Oh. I've just been informed that writers are starving artists, too. What does that mean?)

Well, the point of today's post is to let all you visitors know that the first book in the Choices trilogy is available in an inexpensive format, right now, at the ArcheBooks Publishing site. Fantasy Author Sandy Lender encourages you to download the pdf and enjoy the story of Chariss, who is (What? I'm not describing her that way!)

(Sigh.) Enjoy the story of Chariss, who is a loveable yet kick-ass warrior.


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Saturday, March 8, 2008

She Hasn't Repressed This One, Careless Memory #8

A Glimpse into a Writer's Life

When my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, was about six or seven years old, she lived in Sterling, Illinois. Don't bother looking; she says you probably won't find it on a map.

At that time, her dad worked at a college and was building their house in the evenings, and her mom worked at a lumber yard, so Sandy went to a friend's house after school where the friend's mom ran a sort of babysitting service/daycare service for kids.

This memory is of the time when Shaun Cassidy's Da Doo (oh, by the gods, do I really have to type this?)…

This memory is of the time when Shaun Cassidy's mid-seventies album was released. Sandy was at Heather Kaly's house for dinner and Heather's dad put the new album on the turn-table (I actually understand these terms because Sandy has a vinyl collection that she's schooled me on—don't ask…) and they ate dinner while singing along with Shaun's new songs.

In other words, she was predisposed to be a music freak. You know…she accosted some poor Hall-mark store employee over Shaun Cassidy about five or six years ago…The store was pumping out some tunes (and does that impress you? I've been paying attention to the hip-hop language she spews from time to time) and when she heard the beginning of…oh no…I have to type it…when she heard the beginning of Da Doo Run Run, she pounced on the nearest store employee and demanded he show her the CD they were playing. Of course she bought it because she'd not seen any of Shaun's merchandise on CD before. I call this behavior "odd."

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Friday, March 7, 2008

She Has Another Contest Running at Author Island

Win a spa package from Arcana's bathing rooms when you visit Author Island and Sandy Lender's Today the Dragon Wins blogsite.

To help explain the "goodies" in the spa package my fantasy author is giving away, I must explain where I live. Arcana is the estate where I live in the epic fantasy adventure Choices Meant for Gods. It's the Taiman family home where my great great great grandmother, Arcana Scheld came to live when she (wait, Sandy's having some sort of hissy fit...)

Apparently, I'm being censored because I'm about to bore you all to tears with backstory. Nice. You think she'd treat me a little more kindly if she expects me to promote this contest she has running. It's all about relaxing and she doesn't appear to be relaxing at the moment. She appears to be chasing me off the computer.

In case you haven't already read the novel, Choices Meant for Gods includes the lovely yet stressed out heroine, Amanda Chariss. One evening, while seeking refuge from an evil sorcerer, Chariss takes a break from her training and plotting to just relax in the bathing rooms of Arcana. In honor of the need for all heroines to take a break and relax, Sandy has teamed up with to give away a spa package from Arcana's bathing rooms.

The picture above is of the prize Sandy has assembled. (And notice all that lovely lavender to match Chariss's eyes…) If you'd like to win this prize, all you have to do is leave a comment at letting us know that you're an Author Island fan. And if you'd like to hear more about the story of Amanda Chariss, I'll have information about Choices Meant for Gods there throughout the contest (which you can enter every day if you like).

Or you can just succumb to the pressure now and buy the electronic version of the book at ArcheBooks Publishing's Web site. It's only $3.99 to get the eBook, whereas ordering the hard cover edition is a larger investment. The link is (You can also read the first three chapters there by clicking the "free sample" button.)

Enjoy and good luck with the contest!
All my best,
Nigel Taiman
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Thursday, March 6, 2008

She Sees Such Disparity in Relationships Around Her

The point of this post is to ask for your prayers for a couple in surgery today, but it's a long-winded road I travel to get to that point. You see, I've reported on this blog about my fantasy author's insane and remarkable cynicism after living nearly 14 years with someone who didn't give a flip about her. Now that the soon-to-be-ex-husband is attempting to ruin her financially for the rest of her life, she's turning more cynical (if you can imagine). But she can be moved by extreme displays of love and emotion. There are three acute examples she'd like to share here.

First, a friend in Tennessee has, in the past 12 months, been through a heart attack and lung reduction surgery. His bride of 30+ years was at his side through these situations. While Sandy wasn't in Tennessee to witness their testimony of love for one another, she has received his e-mails and carried on conversations with this self-proclaimed redneck mountain man who dotes on his wife and family like you wouldn't believe. While helping compile a Valentine's Day eBook a couple years ago, Sandy had the honor of reading the story of how these two met and nearly walked away from their relationship. It was a moving story that took guts for a mountain man to tell, but gave incredible insight to a love that has lasted through years of marriage, children, grandchildren, moves, stories, housebuilding, vacations, travels, loss of parents, sickness, health, love, feistiness, art, schooling, you-name-it!

Second, a friend in Missouri suffered a severe and surprising stroke at the tender age of 34 a few years ago, rendering her paralyzed from the neck down, unable to lift her toddler into her arms ever again. In this case, Sandy did have the opportunity to visit this friend in the hospital and witnessed, first-hand, a husband's devotion to his wife, seeing the gentleman care for the woman he loved and hearing him describe with almost breathless hope the ways modern medicine could help her communicate with him. What sticks in Sandy's mind to this day is how he described sitting in the hospital bed next to his lovely bride the night before, holding her while they watched a movie together, and saying how incredibly thankful he was that he was still able to share that with her. He was so thankful to still have his wife…so thankful that she'd made it through the stroke to still be with him. (Side note of great news: her physical therapy and recovery regained some movement in one of her hands, and the advances in medicine and technology allow her to use computers in amazing ways for communication, mobility, continued therapy, etc. Every day is a miracle for her and she writes like a fiend! Sandy is addicted to her Stargate fanfic.)

And now, today, one of her friends from "baseball reunions in St. Louis," fun titles like Empress and Contessa, and too-infrequent e-mails updating each other on life and books, goes through the worry of watching a spouse in surgery. Patrick has battled the fallout from cancer treatments for months on end and found himself at a standstill in the recovery, so the neurosurgeons go in to remove a brain tumor today. This friend who has stood by her spouse, cared for him day in and day out, sent out prayer requests and health updates, asked for loving thoughts, and rearranged her life around the man that she loves now sits alone in a hospital waiting room, receiving random updates from an attending nurse throughout the operation. She expects she'll be able to update immediate family members late in the day or tomorrow; the rest of us by the weekend. (Sandy would like everyone reading to pray for Marilyn and Patrick.)

Do you have someone dear to you that you still feel that deep, unending, romantic love for? When that person is sick do you feel empathy and worry? You see, Sandy had lost that in her relationship. When her soon-to-be-ex had excruciating pain from a kidney stone the first time, Sandy was a wreck. It was horrible to see this person she cared about in pain. She was right there worrying and fretting and wanting answers from the doctors at the hospital.

The second time around was different. His years of continued reticence and neglect had beaten most of the emotion out of her. By the time she got to the emergency room to see why he was there, discovered it was just another kidney stone issue, and learned that she'd missed an hour of work for the nonsense, she wanted to use the tools to get the stone herself and get the ordeal over with. Sure, she felt sorry that he was in pain—who wouldn't feel sympathy for a fellow human writhing around like a worm on a hot sidewalk? But the intense love that the examples above express…that kind of love is special. If you've got it, Sandy and I recommend you cling to it.

Consider these two illustrations:
Sandy went to dinner with a friend last Friday evening. At the two tables behind her were two elderly couples. In one corner booth a gentleman sat across from his wife, slouched over his plate, watching the woman talk on her cell phone (loudly). At one point, he took out a bottle of pills from a fanny pack on the seat next to him and swallowed a couple. The lady prattled on… In the other corner booth a gentleman sat beside his wife, both of them munching away at an appetizer, waiting for their dinners to arrive. The man had a glass of red wine. They didn't say much to each other that Sandy's friend could report to her, but they seemed content to sit together.

Now, which couple would you like to be? Because she's so jaded, I know Sandy would say (yep, she just smarted off and walked out of the room…) I know Sandy would prefer to be with a group of girls discussing how to emasculate any man who walked by the table. But, for argument's sake, I'd like to think that she'd be the woman sitting next to the gentleman who cared for her and whom she cared about. Looking at her friends in the examples above, she recognizes true love and emotion in them. And we both encourage you to hang onto it when you recognize it, too. She put it in her fantasy novel, Choices Meant for Gods (even though the love story isn't the main focus of the plot). And I, for one, am thankful.

The heroine, Amanda Chariss, is a strong, amazing, compassionate young lady, but where would she be without love? Without the love of a sturdy mentor who has trained and supported her as she grew from a child into the lady she is today? Without the love of a god who swoops in to (in my opinion) wreak a little havoc in her life? Without the love of friends and benefactors who hide her from the evil sorcerer who hunts her and wishes her dead? Without the love of a kindly gentleman like myself who wants to fold her up in my embrace and keep her safe for the rest of her life? These forms of love may be played out on the pages of a work of fiction that has its share of violence and mayhem, but they represent the forms of love we can see in the couples Sandy has had the good fortune to know in her life.

Inspiration, she says, is all around, despite the disparity she sees.

If you're interested in learning more about Sandy's first novel in the Choices trilogy, you can read the first three chapters for free, or download the eBook (dirt cheap) at her publisher's Web site at You can also read reviews at

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

She's Playing Favorites

When marketing with the Internet, one aspect of generating an audience is increasing the number of visitors to your blog site. An avenue of increasing traffic that my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, has not pursued yet is exchanging the "favorite" status at Technorati with other bloggers.

The site at is a free network where bloggers register their blogs and receive information, HTML code, ideas, etc., to use with their blogging technique. Sandy visits it from time to time (as time allows, she says), but would like to make use of the "favorite" tool.

If your blog is registered with Technorati, as Nigel Presents Sandy Lender and Today the Dragon Wins are, please let us know that you'd like to exchange favorite status with us and we'll do so to increase our marketing and promotion power. You can click on the link I've provided at the bottom of this blog page to get you there easily. Sandy provided one at the bottom of as well.

Best of luck to you in your marketing efforts!
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Saturday, March 1, 2008

She Hasn't Repressed This One, Careless Memory #7

A Glimpse into a Writer's Life

I have stated in one of these glimpses into a writer's life that when my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, was in high school, she didn't date much because she wasn't allowed out of the house except to go to school and get back home. But, again, she certainly had her "fixations." Here's an example. (And I'm not sure I can believe she's letting me share this…)

There was a fellow in the marching band (and at this point I'm supposed to acknowledge that, yes, she realizes this marks her and everyone else in the story as a nerd, but I'm not sure I know what a "nerd" is) whom she found quite attractive. He'd been to England in the foreign exchange program (Wait. What does that mean? What did your country exchange for him? Ohhhh…I get it now) and returned with a British accent. (Okay…you know what…just give me a minute to get all these colloquialisms figured out because I have no idea what I'm writing here.)

I get it now.

Jason was his name. Jason had returned from England with an accent that all the girls found quite charming, including my little author. But she was just a sophomore and he was a senior (two years older than she) and she wasn't sure how to go about "approaching" said senior. So she plopped a very particular flower with a note in a bag (so no one would see what she was doing) and placed it next to his trumpet case before band practice. Clever, if you ask me. A little on the "stalker" side of things, but clever, none-the-less.

Along comes the end of band practice and she positions herself close enough to hear the reaction, which, luckily, is pleasant surprise. But her courage failed her and she did nothing more. (Silly girl.) At lunch time, her friend Julie gave her one of those sly smiles that girls are so good at and said, "So, you gave Jason a flower, did you?" Imagine Sandy's complete horror. (She tells this part really well. You'd die laughing if you could see her act it out.) Sandy demanded to know how Julie had figured this out. Did anyone else figure it out? How could anyone know? And, most importantly in high school politics and social maneuverings, did Jason know? Turns out, Julie figured it out because Julie (valedictorian of their graduating class, by the way) knew that pink carnations were, and still are, Sandy's favorite flower. Not so clever of my little author.

And then Julie told Sandy the crushing news that Jason already had a steady girlfriend so she didn't pursue him any longer.

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