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  • Update for May!

    Update for May!

    The month of May has been NUTS so far. Between attending a great conference, meeting new readers at the library, and crazy weather here on the mountainside, May has me on the edge of my desk chair.

    The first thing I want to tell you about was the amazing time I had teaching at Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs. I met some truly engaged writers and we talked project management, book distribution, writing craft, and so many other great topics that I know I’ll return to that conference to network.

    I also attended Mountain of Authors last weekend and had a great time. The event lasted for one afternoon that was packed with great conversation, signing books, an amazing panel of expert authors, and seeing some of my local author friends. It was a great way to spend a Saturday and I was honored to attend.

    The weather in Colorado has a knack for punking the weatherman. True to form, it’s been all over the place for the last week. A crazy storm rolled through two days ago and this chunk of pink granite slid down the mountain and landed beside the house. Another rock the size and shape of a football clunked on top of one of my tomato plants. And now it’s raining again! Holy buckets!

    Audiobook Sale!

    The Witcher Chime audiobook is part of a massive sale on Kobo! If you like chills and hauntings, this is a great book for you. Stephanie, the narrator, is perfect for this book. Take a listen. You’ll see what I mean. All books included in the sale will be 3 for $15 from May 1st to May 31st

    Next Appearance

    Western Colorado University in Gunnison Colorado from July 26 – August 2.

    Did you know that May is Get Caught Reading Month? I’d love to see photos of you getting caught reading in May. Respond here or tag me on your socials!

    Eldros Legacy News

    Stonewhisper, by H.Y. Gregor will be released on June 13! Check out the pre-order here. And look at this amazing cover!

    Lola Hopscotch News

    Did you know that The Adventures of Lola Hopscotch is endorsed by the PACER Center for Anti-bullying? We also partnered with StandForTheSilent.org during our anti-bullying outreach when I wrote Book One.

    Book One

    Here are two fun dates coming up in May:

    • May 21 international Tea Day
    • May 23 National Drinking with Chickens Day
    • May Fun Facts!
    • May 5, 1961: Alan Shepard becomes the first American to enter space
    • May 6, 1856: Sigmund Freud is born in Freiberg, Moravia
    • May 8, 1429: Joan of Arc wins the siege at Orleans
    • May 10, 1994: Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as the president of South Africa
    • May 12, 1820: Nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale is born in Italy
    • May 20, 1932: Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic (I wrote a book about Amelia’s fictional sister! Check it out here.)
    • May 25, 1803: Author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson is born
    • May 28, 1961: Amnesty International is founded

    Here’s the latest bloom from one of the gardens here at Penfield. I can’t wait to see what my roses do after all this rain.

    Milk Dud has been right at my side while I’m at my desk lately. We had to come to an agreement because she kept sitting on the keyboard. I told her she had to stay on the other side of the stapler. 😊

    Thanks so much for being a part of my readers group! See you in June.

    M

  • How I started saving $400 per month

    How I started saving $400 per month

    Last year I started looking for ways to simplify my life in order to retire earlier than the traditional age in the US. That started an unbelievably massive process. The word simplify brings about the image of making things smaller and more manageable, which is correct; although, it depends on just how complicated you let your life get in the beginning.

    Let me explain how the subject of this post fits in with the theme of early retirement.

    Saving money simplifies life in more than just the obvious way—overspending complicates things by making issues for your budget, bringing home more consumables than you actually need or consume, and complicates your plans for retirement because that money is going to the wrong place. This idea works off of this equation:

    Simplification + Budget integrity = Early retirement

     For me, saving, by definition is a type of simplification. This step helped me save two important resources: Time and money. Here it is:

    Shop at Costco, make a list, and stick to it.

    I also eat a decent meal and fill a water bottle before I leave the house. Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If you’re like me, you’ll buy everything that looks tasty and that makes sticking to a list really difficult.

    Make the list to include everything for the household from groceries and supplies to putting gas in the car

    -Three tips:

    Don’t buy a list-making app. Don’t even download one. Adding unnecessary things is a complication rather than a simplification.

    Plan on hitting Costco for the bulk of your needs once per month, twice at most.

    Plan on hitting a smaller grocery store to pick up anything that Costco doesn’t typically stock.

     

    To be real, you don’t have to shop at Costco to make this work. I shop at Costco because I find buying in bulk is a good way for me to save money on things I use constantly. You could shop at a different store if you don’t live close to a Costco location.

    The important thing is to stick to your list. Don’t buy anything that you didn’t plan to spend resources on. 

    I go to Costco every other Monday. I’ve been doing it for two months now. I added it up and I saved over $400 the first month and I’m on track to save even more this month.

    I created the list by checking the cabinets, asking my partner what meals sound good, and by writing down anything that needs replenished during the two-week list-planning cycle.

    Added bonus: it makes it easier to keep things stocked so we don’t run out and have to make extra trips to the store.

    I hope you find this step as useful as I did. Have a great week!

    Marie

  • Upcoming Appearance— MileHiCon

    Upcoming Appearance— MileHiCon

    I love to work shows and conventions in my home state of Colorado! Thanks in advance to MileHiCon for having me. I get to see some friends I haven’t spent time with since before the pandemic. Yay!

    I’ll have loads of books to check out and for the first time, I’ll be selling eBooks in person. That should be interesting. 🙂

    MileHiCon 54 in 2022 will be held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center

    4900 S. Syracuse St. Denver, CO

    Here’s my schedule:

    Marie Whittaker
    ● Fri 3p, Evergreen B: Writing a Good Query Letter
    ● Sat 11a, Conifer 3: Blind Slush Panel
    ● Sat 12p, Pint’s Pub Back Area: Wordfire Press Signing
    ● Sat 2p, Evergreen B: How to Handle Rejection
    ● Sat 3p, Conifer 3: Writing Flash Fiction and Short Stories
    ● Sat 7p, Evergreen B: Crowdfunding your Project

    For SF/F and speculative fiction lovers, it’s a weekend not to be missed. The convention will feature authors, artists, speakers and programming on every aspect of the science fiction and fantasy genres.

    For more information head on over to the official MileHiCon website. 

    I hope to see you there!

     

    Read on next time because the stars have finally aligned and I get to go to the Emma Crawford Races right here in Manitou Springs!

    Look at this awesome animation for Embers & Ash! You can find the book on Amazon. If you pick it up, please leave a review? Thanks! (Sorry it’s ginormous. It’s the only way I could get it to stick!)

  • Change.

    Change.

    I love autumn. It’s always been my favorite time of year. Something about the temperature dropping to a chill in the mornings and the bronzing of colors on the hillsides… yep. It’s gorgeous. I’ll spare you of enduring the long list of why I love pumpkin spiced everything. 

    I’m not the only one digging fall! This cutie hangs out in the trees next to Penfield where I live.

    These deer put on thick coats and the bucks antlers are covered in velvet. It’s a sure sign that autumn has arrived.

    I get it. I mean, I’ve been wearing a lot of sweaters lately. Although, none of them are velvet. 😉

    Embracing change can be tricky. I promise, if I didn’t do yoga everyday I’d be too bunched up to get much done. Yoga helps bring down the tension a notch and I can stop and consider rather than panicking about another year going by.

    I also ordered myself an undated bullet journal. This was a great decision because I can create blocks with checklists. That’s the thing with me. It’s not what I do on the daily, it’s the boxes I check off a list. Once one list is complete, I build another.

    Here’s another photo of this bashful sweetheart. See the velvet draping from his horns?

    I’m in love!

    There aren’t that many around after it starts snowing. They’re nearly as common as red squirrels this time of the year. 

     

     

    The arrival of autumn signifies another change— the kids are back to school! Here’s a link to my anti-bullying picture book series for kids. Click the green box below.

  • Happy Book Day to Me! Embers & Ash is Live!

    Happy Book Day to Me! Embers & Ash is Live!

    In 2021 I founded Eldros Legacy with four other authors who have become good friends. If they were good friends before, they’re even better friends now. Founding Eldros Legacy has been a lot of fun and a lot of work. Each minute and milestone has been a blessing. 

    What is Eldros Legacy? It’s a multi-author, epic fantasy universe of sheer wonder. Each of us founders has a continent. Mine is Pyranon. If you know anything about my writing, you know I got my start in horror, and Pyranon reflects that. 

    You can take the girl out of the horror, but you can’t take the horror out of the girl. 

    That sounds odd and dramatic, but it’s true for me as a writer. I’ll always love gothic themes and elements. Embers & Ash, the first of the stories told on my continent on Pyranon, is dark fantasy.

    So, what’s it about?

     

     

    Game of Thrones meets Lord of the Rings in this gothic epic fantasy saga of captivating court intrigue, deadly, reigning evil, and a young queen’s determination to free an empire.

    Princess Mahaela Bellagrave nearly escapes her fate as queen, but murder accelerates her ascension to the throne of Pyranon. Denying her birthright is no longer an option; she must embrace the magic she’s possessed since birth but hidden out of self-preservation.

    Banu Liin, an immortal demon construct and ancient palace knight, lives on as the royal advisor. He’s ruled Pyranon through its queens and their magic for centuries. He’s hidden truths and kept the loyal kingdoms of Pyranon in the dark about life-and-death threats that imperil the mortality of every living soul on the continent.

    Banu sets his trap for the new queen. He refuses to lose his long-lived and lasting power over the fiery continent of Pyranon and the reigning queen of the empire.

    In a world plagued by centuries of evil possession, can a determined young queen embrace inherited magic and free Pyranon from a throne long tarnished by a deadly legacy of deceit?

    You can find it here in eBook, trade paperback, and a gorgeous hardcover.

    Thanks for checking it out!

     

  • Wednesday Book Deals

    Wednesday Book Deals

    Happy Wednesday! I’m sharing three excellent book deals and a boxed set sale this week. Urban fantasy, a touching young adult tale, sword and sorcery fantasy, and a collection of stories featuring strong female leads— all on a special sale for you!

    One of these deals is a set of three books for just 99 pennies!

    In cooperation with my friends in publishing I’m proud to present the following titles on a special discount. Check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

    Deals for Wednesday, July 27, 2022

    Being Noah

     by Cheryl Hardy

    Ten-year-old Noah has a gift beyond the natural gifts of humans.

    This ability allows him to hear the thoughts of the family therapy dog, Ozzie, and to see visions of the future, which go unnoticed by the people who should love him and trust him the most. Noah’s brother Sean is on the autism spectrum and receives more attention from their parents, at least more than Noah gets…which causes him to feel angst, sadness, frustration, and jealousy. Noah wants what all children want, love and acceptance. He needs his parents and grandmother to trust him and help him gain confidence in himself.

    Being Noah is a story of a boy believing in himself, even when others don’t, and finding a way to use his gifts so he can affect change in the world and lives of those around him.

    Being Noah is Margaret Cheryl Hardy’s first and only work, written in the MFA program at Western Colorado University.

    “A thoughtful book that is well-paced and includes enough realism to balance the mystical and spiritual content. A great book for introspection and discussion after reading.”—School Library Journal

     

    Revenant Files Complete Series Boxed Set

    by D’Artagnan Rey and Michael Anderle

    Among ghosts and breathers, there is a saying…

    “There is always something going down in New Orleans.”

    A city as old and as violent as New Orleans is filled with ghosts. They aren’t a hidden phenomenon anymore. They are as real as any living person and capable of causing just as much trouble.

    Fortunately, there are unique bounty hunters like Johnny Despereaux to hunt them down.

    Grab this boxed set and step into a new world where ghosts and breathers walk the street together.

    Fairmist (The Whisper Prince Book 1)

    by Todd Fahnestock

    Within the Thiaran Empire, citizens put on jeweled masks and turn away from those who are taken. As long as one child is sacrificed each month to the Slinks and nobody interferes, their society will thrive.

    But seventeen-year-old Grei’s mind is alive with treason, and he plunges into the heart of a prophecy that will drive the Slinks back to their fiery dimension. All he must do is travel to the capitol city and sacrifice one last innocent.

    ​As Grei wrestles with the prophecy and battles those who would kill him, he hurtles toward his final decision: save the empire, or save his own soul.

    We Dare: No Man’s Land: An Anthology of Strong Female Leads

    Edited by Jamie Ibson and Chris Kennedy

    Fifteen outstanding authors. Fifteen outstanding female leads!

    Ripley facing down the Xenomorph Queen. Sarah Connor fighting the Terminator. David Weber’s Honor Harrington. Science fiction novels and the silver screen are full of badass women kicking butt and taking names. Sometimes it’s the momma bear persona stepping up to defend her young, but, other times, she’s just the meanest one standing—bionic arm or not!

    Edited by Jamie Ibson and Chris Kennedy, “We Dare: No Man’s Land” is a collection of 15 all-new stories with female leads. Whether it’s changing an engine on the outside of a spaceship’s hull or chasing SimNACs through the jungle, these heroines have only one goal in mind—to win at all costs! From defending asteroid bases to searching giant space stations, these women get the job done!

    What makes female leads great? Does it matter—these women are incredible! Be warned though—they may be referred to as the “fairer” sex, but don’t cross these ladies, or you’re gonna get what you have coming! The authors dared write about these awesome women; will you dare to join them on their adventures? If so, step inside. But beware…this is No Man’s Land!

    With stories by:
    Marisa Wolf
    Rick Partlow
    A.K. DuBoff
    Jamie Ibson
    Marie Whittaker
    Griffin Barber
    Joelle Presby
    Chris Kennedy
    Sarah A. Hoyt
    Quincy J. Allen
    Melissa Olthoff
    Jonathan P. Brazee
    Rachel Aukes
    Josh Hayes
    Kacey Ezell

    Happy Reading!

  • Cover Reveal!

    Cover Reveal!

    Cover Reveal!

    Embers & Ash is gothic fantasy, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres to write in. 

    Game of Thrones meets Lord of the Rings in this gothic epic fantasy saga of captivating court intrigue, deadly, reigning evil, and a young queen’s determination to free an empire.

    Embers & Ash Release Day Countdown

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  • We’re giving away 5 books!

    We’re giving away 5 books!

    JULY 2022 FIVE-BOOK GIVEAWAY

    I’m honored to have one of my books in this giveaway! Dave Butler, the organizer, is one of my favorite humans. You’ll want to get his news and updates. The link to enter is below. 

    The Witcher Chime: A Haunting

    is my contribution to this set of fine books. Plus, the cover still has my pen name at the top. =) 

    You likely guessed by the cover that this is a horror story. I had SO much fun writing this one. Coming up with the bad guy, Witcher (absolutely NO relation to that Witcher—I wrote this book in 2014) was a hoot. He is a nasty villain. 

    Horror fans—if you love hauntings and family sagas, this is a great book for you.

    “I’m a hard sell when it comes to chills. I write scary stuff for a living and, let’s face it, we live in scary times, but THE WITCHER CHIME raised some goosebumps. Mainly because Marie Whittaker (writing as Amity Green) knows how to craft characters you care about. And if you become emotionally connected to the characters, you feel their feelings and share their sense of threat. Overall…a fine read for a creepy night!” —Jonathan Maberry -NY Times Bestseller

    And The Witcher Chime is among some fantastic fiction. If you win, you’ll also receive Clockwork Charlie, by Dave Butler, Mako, by Ian J. Malone, Paternus, by Dyrk Ashton, and Chaser, by Scott W. Taylor.

    ENTER HERE 

     And good luck!

  • The Forgotten King

    The Forgotten King

    The Forgotten King

    I absolutely LOVE it when my writer friends have a book release. Mark is a good friend of mine. He put a lot of heart into his book and you can tell when you read it. The Forgotten King is an epic fantasy written in the sweeping Eldros Legacy series. 

    Epic fantasy is one of those genres where you really have to have fantastical creatures to make the story complete. There is no better creature for Mark’s new series, Legacy of Dragons.

    Mark will tell you that dragons are cool. It’s like he has a long lasting fascination with them that stems from childhood. A lot of us do. If you’re among those of us that crave epics, you don’t want to miss reading this book. Here’s a write up to give you more information.

    A millennia of peace shattered. The High King murdered. Dragons have crept back into the land.

    A thousand years ago, King Ora Lightbringer slew the Demon of Evernight, breaking his stranglehold on the land, suffusing Ora’s body with immortality, and ushering in an unprecedented era of peace.

    Ten centuries later, Ora has long since abdicated the throne. No one living even remembers the time when he was king, and he happily travels the countryside with a hand-picked band of adventurers…

    …until his great grandson, the High King, is assassinated. The murder sets off an invasion bent on conquering the kingdom, but only after they slay Ora.

    Now, the forgotten king must rise again and fight to push back the invaders.

    Or not only will his kingdom fall, but all of Drakanon as well.

     

    Suspenseful, right?!

    You can find it here in eBook, trade paperback, and hardback versions.

    Enjoy! 

  • Individual Sustainability

    Individual Sustainability
    I’ve been interested in turning the corner and becoming a more sustainable person. I mean, it’s the right thing to do. I don’t plan to go crazy with it, but I know there are several things I could do to live a lot more sustainably, and these are little things that would make a huge impact. I’d feel a lot better. So, I’m compiling lists. I’m walking into different rooms of our house, looking at the items that are there and asking myself if I really need them. Or, if I run out of one particular thing, do I really have to replace or restock it? I know the answer to a lot of these questions is a simple “no.”
    One thing that I noticed about myself is the habit I have to use paper towels for almost everything in the kitchen. I don’t mean to say that I grab a new one for every little thing. I get one in the morning to have under my coffee cup and spoon and a lot of times that one gets used to clean up different little spills or to wipe something off. Still, for a household of two, it seems like we go through a lot of paper towels. I think this is a great place to start carving away at developing better habits.
    The funny thing is that my daughter found a good solution before I even got the chance to start looking !. She moved into a new house recently and when she started unpacking, she asked herself a lot of the same questions I add above. I think this was also spurred by her realization at how much it actually costs to stock a household on her own. Whatever the case, she logged started Googling and came up with a neat solution.

    Reusable paper towels.

    I was a little put off by the thought of reusing a paper towel, to be honest. I didn’t understand how one could possibly do this without the towel falling apart, the towel being full of residual gunk, or just being made of some different kind of material.

     And that last one is the answer. Reusable paper towels are not made of paper. 

     They are made of a variety of textiles, ranging from bamboo to flannel. I have found quite a few brands available. They range in price, too. These little fabric squares can be quite expensive. But I feel it’s worth it.

     Of course, I was worried about getting them clean after a use, and then more worried about keeping that way in order to truly reuse them. I found three recommendations for cleaning them. First is to simply toss them in the washing machine. Second, they can be put in the dishwasher with the dishes. The third recommendation was to hand wash them in the sink and hang them to dry. 

     My plan is to purchase the three top rated brands. At the same time, I will make sure to try out different materials. Once I start using them, I’ll clean them in the three ways I listed above and find which works best, and why. 

     Full report pending! In the meantime, here are a few of the brands I’m interested in.

    Marley’s Monsters Unpaper Towels https://www.marleysmonsters.com/products/24-unpaper-towels-you-choose-prints

     REusable Paper Towels Gift Ser

    https://www.amazon.com/REusable-Homeostasis-Friendly-Washable-Paperless/dp/B09B3P7RZ2

    Bamboo Reusable Paper Towels from ECOLifeStyle

    https://www.amazon.com/Reusable-Unpaper-Friendly-Products-Sustainable/dp/B07TF9RWM5

     I’ll let you know how it goes!