Fantasy Journeys Book Signing at Cupboard Maker Books – May 18,

Looking for something to do on Saturday?

cupboard maker books flier

Join us at the Cupboard Maker Books in Enola, PA to meet three fantasy authors: Elana Mugdan; A.L. Kaplan; and Devon Taylor.

Elana Mugdan is the author of Dragon Child and Dragon Speaker, the first two books of her Shadow War Saga, the story of a crippled magic user chosen to save the world by a dragon god. Find out more about Elana and her books at

A.L. Kaplan is the author of Star Touched, the story of a healer cursed with fire powers in a post-apocalyptic world, and Wolf Dawn.

Devon Taylor is the author of the YA fantasy The Soul Keepers, the first book of his Soul Keepers series about a deceased teen finding a job aboard the ocean liner tasked with ferrying souls of the dead. Find out more about Devon and his books at

1:00 – 3:00 PM
157 N Enola Rd (Routes 11/15)
Enola, PA 17025

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Elsa Wolf


Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

Today’s guest is Elsa Wolf.


A George Washington University graduate now living in the suburbs within the Baltimore-Washington corridor. Elsa Wolf began with a theater background, which developed into public relations and eventually into the ownership of a small equestrian business. Elsa spends her time writing, traveling, helping rescued horses, and supporting soldiers.

Wolf: I always liked horses. If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?

Elsa: If I could be any animal, it would likely be a wolf running free with my pack. However, I would like to be reincarnated several times with my companions. We could learn from our mistakes and make each life better than the last.

Wolf: Excellent choice. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Elsa: The nicest thing I’ve done for a character is help them find the lost bits of themselves through unexpected sources. In my current novel, Buried Truths-A Daughter’s Tale, the adopted daughter decides to find her birth-mother when she accidentally comes across a novel about a mother giving up her baby.

Wolf: I hope she finds the answers she is looking for. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

Elsa: I have had cats and dogs over many decades. My cats while loving and independent, cannot match the devotion of my dogs. One in particular, gave me unconditional love and was a wonderful hiking companion. He helped me feel secure in any environment.

Wolf: I’m partial to dogs myself. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Elsa: If I had a superpower, I would want to be able to teleport at will from place to place with another person holding my hand. I love to travel and explore new sites as well as visit old haunts. Teleporting would give me lots of options.

Wolf: That’s cool. I’ve been working on a series with a teleport. What five items would you want to have in a post-cataclysmic world?

Elsa: In a post-cataclysmic world, I would have a pot for cooking and purifying water, a flint to lite fires, a pair of comfortable hiking boots, a layered water-proof jacket as well as a knife.

Wolf: Great picks. What story are you working on now?

Elsa: I am currently working on a novel with a military man who falls in love in Savannah, Georgia and then is traumatized in combat. He only sleeps a few hours a night and has mystical experiences in Savannah and then Portugal.

Wolf: I’d like to read that. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Elsa: When I’m not writing I like to take long walks or spend time with friends locally or while traveling. During my solo times, I listen to audiobooks or sew quilts and costumes.

Wolf: Costumes. Awesome. How do you find your characters?

Elsa: I find my characters while I sleep and dream, I find them out in public spaces, I find them in people I know and morph them into a new character, and I find them when I’m traveling.

Wolf: Thanks for visiting. Connect with Elsa through these links.

Star Touched

Now on audio


Wolf Dawn

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What People are Saying about STAR TOUCHED on Audible

Startouched AL Kaplan

There have been some great reviews of Star Touched on Audible. Here are a few.

Overall 5 out of 5 stars
Performance    5 out of 5 stars
Story  5 out of 5 stars
Rebecca Azizov
 “Unusual and unexpected” 

Overall 5 out of 5 stars
Performance    5 out of 5 stars
Story    5 out of 5 stars
Tracie Poling
 “Interesting, and original”

Overall    5 out of 5 stars
Performance    5 out of 5 stars
Story    5 out of 5 stars
Kayla Krantz
 “Powerful Fantasy” 

Overall    5 out of 5 stars
Performance   5 out of 5 stars
Story   5 out of 5 stars
Amazon Customer
 “Surprisingly epic!” 

Star Touched on Audible

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Valerie J. Mikles


Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

Wolf: Say hello to Valerie J. Mikles.


Valerie cosplaying Captain Jack Harkness coming out of the TARDIS

Valerie is a PhD astronomer who found a home at NOAA working on weather satellites. She loves to travel and learn about other cultures, but considers herself a homebody the rest of the year. In September 2017, she published the first novel of her New Dawn series “The Disappeared,” and has since released several more. When not writing novels, she can be found at the community theater, acting, choreographing, costuming, or stage managing. She’s also written and produced a series of comedic short films about asexuality, inspired by her own journey of self-discovery. Her motto in life is “I can be everything I want, just not all at the same time.”

Wolf: That is a great motto. If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?

Valerie: I’d be some kind of fish living in warm, tropical waters. I love the ocean and I always feel cold, so a life at sea in a warm environment would be awesome. If I were a mermaid, I would occasionally beach myself on a rock and spend the night stargazing. I don’t know if I’d ever swim far north enough to see the Northern Lights (it’d just be too cold), but I could dip into the southern hemisphere to see the Magellanic Clouds. I think as long as being a mermaid didn’t require me to wear a sea-shell bra, I’d be okay with it. Otherwise, I’d want to be something simple, blue, and tropical, like a blue tang.

Wolf: How about a shell tunic? (Trying really hard not to start singing “Under the Sea”) If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?


Valerie cosplaying Deadpool at the Farpoint Con book sale.

Valerie: I’m stuck between knife and trebuchet. I feel like the knife is infinitely practical, portable, and reusable. As a minimalist, I also like that it can be used for many different things, like killing chickens, cutting fruit, and stabbing enemies. However, the trebuchet allows me to launch any number of weapons of opportunities a great distance, saving me the trouble of hand-to-hand combat, which I have admittedly not trained in. I don’t really foresee myself launching rocks, but I could totally launch plague-infested corpses into anti-vaxxer territory… sorry, is this getting too political? Also, if I needed an escape, I could launch myself.

Wolf: Not too political. I’m very much pro-science and pro-vaccine. You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.

Valerie: I have broad, soft leaves and bright, rainbow-colored, fragrant flowers. I love roses, both in softness and scent, but I wouldn’t be thorny like a rose bush, nor would I attract aphids and beetles. I am not the kind of plant that bugs crawl on. I naturally repulse them with my super-plant oils. I’d flourish in tropical climates with lots of humidity. When my seeds are tossed into flood waters, the water levels instantly go down, roots spread, and flowers bloom. I’m probably edible, too.

Wolf: Awesome! Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?


Sky (gray), Chase (black), and Hawk (tabby) looking up from a nap because I moved a muscle.

Valerie: I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, but one of my cats thinks he’s a dog. He barks at the squirrels in the back yard. (It’s a cat-like bark, but it’s not a meow.) I have three cats, but I’m a one-cat person. But when I adopted the first one, he was so sad and depressed, and my options were to take him back or try a friend. So, I went back to the person who’d fostered him and picked up a second cat. Things got instantly better for the first cat, but the poor second cat wasn’t able to handle his neediness 24-7. The third guy really balances the house, so now I have three happy cats and I just sit here constantly overwhelmed in my cat-crowded house. I hate when people call me a “cat mom” because I consider us to be more like roommates.

Wolf: Wow. You’re the second person who said their cat was like a dog, but the first on with a cat that barks. I’d love to hear a recording of that. While walking in the woods you come across…

Valerie: A snake eating another snake. True story. I grew up in Baltimore County, north of the city, before the houses turn to horse farms. My family went hiking with our dog almost every weekend. There were places nearby with dense woods, rocky trails, streams and rivers, and the occasional log bridge to challenge one’s balance. Once, we even did an Easter egg hunt in the woods, and left a hard-boiled egg for the woodland creatures because we couldn’t find it again. Though in retrospect, it’s possible something ate it. Which brings me to the snake. We didn’t often see snakes, but one day, I guess it was just that time of year, and the snakes were out. We jumped into a cool refreshing river after a long hike, and then jumped out five seconds later because a snake slithered in. Snakes are not the best swimming companions for humans. We bolted, and it seemed every time our heart rates slowed, another snake appeared on the path. After we crossed the snake eating another snake, we just kept running until we got to the car.

Wolf: That’s a lot of snakes. It must have been a snake holiday. What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)


Valerie at the beach

Valerie: How do I choose? When you swim in a river, your skin and hair get all soft. Fresh water doesn’t have waves, but it also doesn’t sting when you get some up your nose. It’s good for skiing… But the ocean is the ocean. Salt water has this whole other healing effect on the body. It’s soothing to stare at, more-so if you can listen to the waves crashing on the shore. You can choose your shoreline for gentle waves or giant ones. My perfect afternoon is at an Atlantic Coast beach, somewhere in south Florida. So, I guess the body of water is the Atlantic Ocean, at the part where it kisses Crescent Beach, Florida.

Wolf: Nice. What story are you working on now?

Valerie: I’m working on several. Book 6 of my series is with my editor, and I expect to have feedback on that soon so I can get it out later this year. Book 7 is ready for beta-readers, but I promised myself I’d slow down on the series. I also started work on two original novels. I’m super-excited about one called The Qinali Vaccine, which features an astral projecting asexual astronomer who is trying to save the human race from extinction. I don’t have a release date yet because I’m still wearing the rose-colored first draft glasses.

Wolf: Sounds interesting. Let me know when you’re ready for beta-reader for that one. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?


Ghostbuster Valerie emerging from the TARDIS with her first book!

Valerie: I do a little bit of everything. I’m a board member for my local community theater, and have filled many roles on and off the stage. My favorite role is choreographer. I love bringing stories to life through dance. I also love making films, playing piano and guitar, and sewing costumes. A few years ago, my antidepressants sent me into a hyper-mania, and I joined a gym to let off excess energy. I’ve really enjoyed getting stronger and learned some of the basics of power lifting. I can now lift a 50 lb. bag of cat litter with minimal effort. Also, I’m super excited to be able to open the fire doors at work without throwing my entire body weight behind the effort. Being strong is fun.

Wolf: It’s amazing how many writers also make costumes or another art form. The Arts are definitely connected. Thanks for visiting. Connect with Valerie through one of the links below.


Social Media Links: (books) (film) (books) (cosplay)
twitter: @valeriebean

Star Touched

Wolf Dawn

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My Balticon 53 Schedule

Balticon is only a few weeks away.

Here is my schedule.

Saturday, May 25th

Balticon Short Takes – Bite-sized readings from your soon-to-be favorite writers
2:00 PM in Kent

Sunday, May 26th

World building for Fantasy and SF Novels – Authors describe their world building process, what they have to research, and what they have to make up.
2:00 PM in Kent

Making Props – Come hear about the many techniques of making or modifying the props your costume needs.
3:00 PM in room 7006

Autographs – I’ll be signing books with Sarah Avery
5:00 PM on the 5th floor lobby near the Con Suite.

Poetry Open Mic – Come share poetry inspired by science, science fiction, and fantasy. Bring your own or your favorites.
8:00 PM in room 7029

Monday, May 27th

Readings: Authors A. L. Kaplan, Gwendolyn Clare, and Sabrina Vourvoulias read from their works.
10:00 AM in St. George

Hope to see you there.
(There may be a few last minute updates so make sure you check the schedule when you get there.)

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Book Review: Star Touched

Check out this wonderful review that Kayla Krantz wrote.

Author Kayla Krantz

Title: Star Touched

Author: A.L. Kaplan



Eighteen-year-old Tatiana is running from her past and her
star-touched powers. Her power to heal may be overshadowed by more destructive
abilities. Fleeing the persecution of those like her, Tatiana seeks refuge in a
small town she once visited. But this civil haven, in a world where society has
broken down, is beginning to crumble. Will Tatiana flee or stay and fight for
the new life she has built? Only by harnessing the very forces that haunt her
can Tatiana save her friends and herself.

My Review


I loved everything there was to love about this book from poor star-touched
Tatiana to her amazing little sidekick.

a lifetime on the run for her powers, Tatiana has finally found a place she can
call home. Not everyone accepts her, but for once, she is at peace, and she…

View original post 79 more words

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Esther T. Jones


Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

Wolf: Give a big wolf welcome to Esther T. Jones.

EstherA voracious reader, Esther T. Jones has been writing stories in her head since she was five. She calls the United States her home, and when not writing can be found gardening, playing flute and piano, and designing costumes centered around her novels.

At present, Jones is working on her second novel: Thorunn, an exciting new Young Adult Sci-fi work.


Wolf: It’s always nice to meet a fellow dreamer/writer/costumer. If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?

Esther: If I could be any animal in the universe, I’d choose to be a cat. They’re fierce and independent and very aesthetically pleasing.

Wolf: That they are. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

Esther: The weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten (on New Year’s, as part of a friend’s family tradition) was an insect that is apparently a delicacy for pregnant women in South America. Never again. Never, never.

Wolf: I have to admit; I’ve never tried to eat any bug on purpose. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

BookEsther: I favor the bow. One of my absolute favorite stories growing up was “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (and I’ve had the wonderful privilege of being able to visit Sherwood Forest) so I’ve practiced archery on and off since childhood, and I enjoy making my own bows for cosplays and such.

Wolf: I LOVE archery. If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Esther: I think being able to fly would be so neat! I’d be a world traveler.

Wolf: That seems to be a very popular super power. There is a door at the end of a dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?

Esther: Depends on whether or not I have my bow with me. But if I do, I see myself creeping toward the door, holding my breath as it opens a crack, just enough to let a sliver of light peep through. Slowly, I knock an arrow to the bow string and drop into a half crouch, ready to face what lurks just beyond…

Wolf: Spoken like a true adventurer. What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)

Esther: This might seem odd, but I love the gym swimming pool. It’s a place I’ve always associated with peaceful calm, and doing laps is very soothing. The ocean is a close second however – the sound of the waves washes away all stresses or worries.

Wolf: Interesting. I can smell chlorine just thinking about a pool. What story are you working on now?

Esther: Currently I’m working on “Thorunn” a YA novel that is a bit of a culture clash, a little bit of a conspiracy, and a good bit of an adventure story, featuring two teen protagonists – Laine and Kenton – who could not be more different. It’s sci-fi, so I’ve had a lot of fun making up new planets, moons, weapons and transportation, flora and fauna, the weather, and even some deadly diseases that may or may not impact the lives of the main characters.

Wolf: Creating new worlds is a lot of fun. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Esther: When I’m not writing, music is my life – I teach and play flute and piano almost every single day and am actively involved in my alma mater’s community music ensembles. I also love gardening and taking close up pictures of the vegetables and flowers. There’s nothing like fresh grilled zucchini or a sweet-smelling bouquet I picked myself. And of course, I love to read!

Wolf: Sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for stopping by. Connect with Esther at these links:

Social Media Links:



Star Touched 

Wolf Dawn

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