Building Your Story (How To)

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library

Building Your Story

Come join Lee Killough, Linda Madl, and Sheri L. McGathy for a “how to” morning of World Building, Character Development, and a bit of Show vs Tell. Lee will give you the foundation for crafting your world while Linda will discuss the how to’s of character development. Sheri will explain the differences of showing verses telling in your work. Finally, you’ll get a chance to put it all together.

Then, Saturday afternoon, Lee, Linda, and Sheri will present readings from their various works, and discussion various writing techniques from The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels.

Christmas Sale

Ghosts and Christmas? Sure, why not! But like Christmas, the sale will soon be gone.

Ghostly Tales Christmas Sale

Click here

Enter code XN68M prior to completing checkout.

Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: XN68M
Expires: January 1, 2012


Ghostly Tales by Sheri L. McGathy is a collection of four short ghost stories set on the American prairie. They first made their debut in the anthology Trespassing Time. The stories range from the humorous to the scary, with ghosts that might make you smile, cause your heart to sigh, perhaps bring a tear to your eye, or maybe, just maybe, will give you pause as you pass an old cemetery.

Appearance – Writing about Bumps in the Night and Other Frights

Writing about Bumps in the Night and Other Frights

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 at 1:30pm

Gardner Neighborhood Library

137 E Shawnee Street

Gardner, KS 66030

In the spirit of Halloween fun, Kansas authors Lee Killough, Linda Madl, and Sheri L. McGathy discuss their fascination with the supernatural creatures, fantasy beings, and ghosts that inspired their writing. The authors will read from their works and answer questions about their writing and the things that give us all goose bumps.

Lee Killough is published in sci-fi and is known for her supernatural and urban fantasy mysteries. Linda Madl is published in historical romance and short stories, including several ghost stories. Sheri L. McGathy is published mainly in fantasy and has earned several awards for her work.

This and That

What have I been up to lately, you might ask? Or some of you might, that is. Best answer: Just taking a moment to catch my breath and refocus my goals.

It’s been a very busy year or two for me with little time to write. A truth that I hope to change soon. So, your next question might be, just what have I been doing that has postponed my writing? That’s a good question and I’ve really no good answer. Many things are happening in my little world that require my time and attention, leaving me little or no time to write, or maybe the better answer is leaving me too drained to write. But I do see the clouds lifting, by golly there really is sun hiding under there 🙂 Things change, responsibilities shift or fade, stress ebbs and flows depending on the situation and we adjust. Life goes on, as they say…who is THEY anyway? But THEY are right. Hopefully, we come away stronger from the experience.

As for now, I’ve begun plotting an Urban Fantasy Series. Short sets, sort of like the Adventures of… That feels good, just imagining the scenes. I’ve a little research to do before jumping in, but I think I’m ready. And I think I will finally have time to continue on my fantasy novel. Something that I’ve had to set aside, still in sight, but growing dusty from lack of attention. Returning to the WIP will be like revisiting an old and dear friend.

So, there you have it…a little this and that and no real excuses.

Now Doing Freelance Cover Art

This is just a quick post to let everyone know that I’m now doing freelance cover art design. Details and examples to come. If anyone is interested, please drop me a note and we’ll see what we can create!

Sample of an e-book short story cover I created. Book is available here.

‘Tis the Season….

I don’t know why, but as the years flow by I find that this time of year tends to leave me a little blue, this year more than usual. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe because it’s the first Christmas in a long time that the kids won’t be here or maybe it’s the realization that a Norman Rockwell Christmas really doesn’t exist. Or perhaps it’s simply time changes things and the magic I once knew and loved when I was young, has long since faded with my childhood.

When I was young, Christmas was a sort of breathless, tummy hurts with the waiting, eyes wide event. There was a sense of wonder attached to the season that has disappeared. Sometimes I catch glimpses of it through the wonder in my grandchildren’s eyes, but it’s fleeting.

I loved Christmas when I was a child, not just for the presents. Oh they were great, but I also loved the warmth of the season. People treated you differently at Christmas. Kinder. Both Ron and I loved all the bright lights up and down the streets, and the carolers, the Christmas stories told in church though church, the great Christmas specials on TV along with the yearly unveiling of the coveted Christmas LPs dusted off and played on Dad’s console. I can still recall the excitement and fear as we made the yearly trip to visit Santa Claus so we could whisper in his ear what we really, REALLY wanted for Christmas. Santa was the man; he could make it happen as long as he didn’t discover that we weren’t quite as good as we should have been.

Dad always took us to “see the lights,” around the city, usually Christmas Eve, and then it was off to bed because Santa wouldn’t come if we were awake! Voices from the kitchen and the aroma of cooking turkey lulled us to sleep.

Christmas day, up early and a race down the stairs to the living room. And then that pause on the fifth step as we took in the sight. Ron and I would always turn and look at each other with eyes wide and mouths open wider. No words necessary, the amazement on our faces said it all. Toys, toys, toys! All perfectly assembled with big bows – nothing to unwrap, no fuss, no muss. It never failed to amaze us that Santa could some how, some way, get all those toys down the chimney and neatly arranged around the Christmas tree.

We never lingered long in contemplation, though. Usually, it was every man for himself as we raced the rest of the way down the stairs and into that magical toyland! Of course, it was important to pause long enough to check the cookie plate, along with the milk glass, just to be sure it was all real…and wouldn’t you know, Santa had taken the time to eat a few and drink some milk, too. We’d literally laugh out loud when we saw the cookies and milk.


Our stockings usually hung off the stair rails, and normally bulged with oranges, apples, and nuts with a few candy treats hidden in the toes. Before we could really dive into the toys, Mom and Dad would come yawning from their room and then sit and watch us. Sometimes my grandparents would rise early to watch, as well.

I’ll never forget the Christmas Dad bought an aluminum Christmas tree, all silvery and sparkly. It stood in a stand that twirled round and round and played Christmas tunes. Dad also bought a rotating fan-like light that had four colors on the wheel and it changed the tree from red, to blue to green, yellow and back to red as both tree and light spun slowly round and round. I could sit and watch that tree for hours. It was truly magical.

My brother Ron loved Christmas lights. Didn’t matter whether on the tree or hung outside. He loved the lights. He probably managed to find the wonder in those twinkling bulbs until the day he died. I know my Dad loved the lights almost as much. I envied that childlike joy they possessed, and still do.

I do love Christmas lights, though we rarely make the Christmas Eve trek anymore. Fewer and fewer homes have the displays now and somehow the winter wonderland driving parks just don’t hold the same appeal.

When I was young, I especially loved to watch the lights when there was falling snow. You know the type, those big, fat flakes that encase the land in a sort of awed silence. It felt like I’d been transported to another realm and the lights were leading me to a wondrous place. I still feel that when it happens.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Christmas, but it really does tend to leave me a tad blue and more than a bit reflective the older I get. Being responsible for the magic had it’s own burdens, but that mantle has been passed on to my son and his wife. The true magic resides in my grandchildren’s eyes now.

With the passage of time comes change, some good, some bad. Nothing stays the same no matter how much we wish to freeze time. Loved ones leave us even as new loved ones arrive. Life is like that. This year it just feels truly different than all the others, and that is probably why I feel so melancholy.

I have discovered though, that memories are treasures that should be shared even while you’re busy creating new ones, especially Christmas memories …that elusive childhood magic lingers there, whether you are young or old, waiting for you to give it life. They are those Christmas lights in the snow, ready to lead you to your own to wondrous place.

Crosswind Live 1988 DVD Vintage Rock Band

Hi all,

Remaining members of the band known as Crosswind have put together a vintage rock DVD – One More Time Reunion, if you will – with Ron, Max, Jim, Tom and Steve.

The DVD is shipping now, click here.

The net proceeds from the sale of the DVDs will be used to create a memorial to Ron Noe and Max Davidson, Crosswind members who have, sadly, left us.

So, if you loved Crosswind, here’s your chance to revisit the memories.
Details: Crosswind Performance at The Blue River Pub in Manhattan, Kansas, 1988.
Please spread the word.

New Books We Love Contest

Books We Love Sizzling Summer Sweepstakes

Win a Borders Kobo eReader – Entry instructions on the Books We Love website: To enter the contest simply visit five of the author pages displayed on the web page index and sign the guest book of the author you choose to visit.  Then fill out the entry form on the website and click submit.

PRIZES: (1)  Every week until July 31 we will draw one winner to receive their choice of an ebook from any one of our Books We love authors.  (2) On May 31, June 30 and July 31st we will draw three winners who will each receive an autographed copy of one of the print books displayed on the page. (4)  GRAND PRIZE: Borders KOBO EREADERS on July 31st one lucky winner will receive a Kobo and their choice of any five Books We Love ebooks.

Enter Now

Portals – Chapter Seven



By Sheri L. McGathy


(As is, and I really mean that 🙂

Copyright© – No part of this may be reproduced without permission



Chapter Seven

"Alas, Garrick, They Shall Miss You"


Lance checked their packs for what little supplies left them.

There wasn't much. A few more days and they'd know real hunger.

Since becoming separated from the others, Lance and his remaining companions had wondered the Portal tunnels trying, in vain, to learn how the OrbKey worked and discover a way out.

So far, they'd discovered nothing. The only luck they'd had, if one could call it luck, was that they had encountered no others since becoming trapped within.

Lance could only hope that Callie could figure out why the OrbKey attempted to respond to her; just what it was that set it off. If she couldn't persuade it to unveil its secrets by the end of the week, he feared there would be none among them left with the energy to care.

As if his thoughts summoned her, Callie drew up silently on his left. Lance gave her a wry smile as she fell into step beside him. Lately, each time he saw her, he was reminded that she was no longer the short, stubby-limbed child he had whisked from Xenos' cruel clutches so many years gone now.

Callie had allowed her hair to grow long and wore it in a single braid coiled several times about her head, forming a shining, bronzed crown. The braid added to her height. She was tall, matching Col inch for inch, but unlike her brother, she tended to stay grounded on the rational side of things, preferring to think a matter through thoroughly before acting upon it. Where Col reacted immediately, almost thoughtlessly, Callie remained a sane voice, calming Col's impetuous nature. Lance sighed, growing pensive. The boy was never far from his thoughts, or was the realization that he had failed his prince. It was always there, near the surface of his emotions…a raw sore that refused to heal.

Callie looked up as a sigh escaped Lance. Slowly, she lifted the OrbKey for him to see. He looked at the proffered key and then into her brown eyes, confusion apparent in his own.

"It vibrates."

Lance slowed his pace, and then stopped completely to give the OrbKey his full attention. Its center contained a frail flicker of light that spun counterclockwise, round and round, faster and faster.

"Child," Lance said, "very carefully, and very, very slowly, place the orb on the ground and step away."

Callie jerked her head up, alarm clearly present in her stare. Then, taking a deep breath, she carefully lowered herself toward the tunnel floor, the OrbKey extended out away from her body on her upturned palms. As she laid it on the sandy floor, the OrbKey flared to life, erupting into brilliant fire. White light flashed outward, completely engulfing the girl.

Lance threw up a hand in a feeble attempt to shield his eyes. Blindly leaning forward, he tried to pull Callie away, but found he was barred from going any farther. The light pulsed, matching the beat of his racing heart. It filled the tunnel. A loud, ear-splitting crack vibrated off the walls, shaking the floors as the surging light sought to fill every crevice, every crack as it flowed out and away down the passage. In its wake came a sudden eruption of wind, a hot blast winging in from above them. The pressure in the tunnels built, forcing Lance's ears, to open and close in repetitive snaps and pops.

A loud sucking noise rose from the center of the maelstrom as the wind doubled back, as if answering some unheard summons. With it came the light, swirling and swaying in cyclonic action across the ceiling of the tunnel. He looked up just in time to see the roof split open and just as quickly seal itself again. A dull thud and a muffled groan followed, and then, silence.

As suddenly as the wind rose, it died. As if wishing to mimic, the OrbKey went dark, thrusting them into blackness.

Lance sprang forward and reached toward the spot where he had last seen Callie. Latching hold of something, he pulled backward. He was rewarded with the soft form of the child. With Callie safely within his grasp, he called out to Dione and Ri-lee.

"We're okay, Lance," Dione answered from somewhere to his left, "but I don't think we're alone anymore."

Lance squinted into oppressive shroud, relieved to note that the darkness was thinning. The inherent magic of the Portals was resetting itself, the soft inner glow within, which had always present, until now, was beginning to resurface, chasing back the gloom they were netted in.

Lance reached out to Callie, but encountered only emptiness. He swung about, relieved to discover her bending over what looked to be a crumbled mass of fur wrapped in odd straps of leather binding. He pulled her away just as she was extending a hand toward the pile. As he forced her behind him, Lance drew his sword and used the tip to prod the strange mound.

Nothing moved.

He waited. The tunnels were uncomfortably silent after the wash of wind and havoc.

"Is it alive?" Ri-lee asked. "It does not appear so, Nestmate Lance," he answered his own question.

As if bidden, a moan escaped the dingy heap and mournfully echoed out and away, retreating down the silent tunnels behind them.

A shiver raced along Dione's spine. "Lance?" She moved in for a closer look.

"No," the warrior warned, throwing an arm out to block her. "Do not touch it."

Again the pile moaned, then moved. The fur and leather rotating in a wide, slow arc to finally reveal a young lad, near Col's age, flat on his back staring up at them with a mix of awe and wonder shining in his eyes. His face was beginning to show the swollen signs of bruising, and a long, angry looking cut ran the length of his straight nose. Twigs and leaves stuck out from the light growth of hair he wore on his lower face, and his mouth was posed in a silent 'O.'

Lance noted the lad's confusion as he took in his surroundings. "Can you sit up?" Lance extended a hand toward him.

Nodding, the lad accepted the hand and stood.

Once on his feet, Lance realized that what he'd first mistaken as a pile of animal remains was instead a sort of wooly overcoat that the lad wore. The lad was tall and powerfully built, with brown, shoulder length hair both thick and wavy. Under the overcoat he wore a thick vest made of soft, tawny-colored leather, wool pants, and malleable leather boots. Yet, everything he wore was covered with debris and the lad was a mass of cuts and bruises.

"What is that smell?" Dione mumbled as she raised a hand to shield her nose.

"Sheep," the lad answered even as he swayed on his feet. Lance moved forward, but the lad held out his hands to stall him.

"I mean no harm." He lowered himself carefully to the tunnel floor. Coming to rest upon his knees, he closed his eyes, and rubbed a hand across his brow. "I need only but a moments rest." He took a long, ragged breath and then went silent.

The others watched and waited.

"Sheep?" Callie coaxed.

"Aye, sheep. I tend sheep. Or I did," the lad whispered, staring down at his swollen, scratched knuckles. Then, raising his gaze to Lance, he asked, "Will you all be joining me on my death march to the Great Keeper?"

"What?" Callie stammered, looking to the others for help. "What death march? Are you planning on dying?"

The burly youth shrugged his massive shoulders. "I fell from a cliff while defending my flock from a wolf pack. I landed here." He raised a hand and waved it out in front of him, reverently encompassing the tunnels. He kept his confused gaze on Callie. "Is this not the Death Road?"

"Enough," Lance interrupted. "You are not dead, but it appears that you may be walking your death march, and soon, if we do not find food." Lance ran a hand through his hair and looked away.

At his words, the lad jumped eagerly to his feet, earning the tip of Lance's sword at his throat.

"Nay, no harm." He smiled at the large warrior, showing Lance the inside of his hands. "I've food a plenty. I will gladly share."

"And just exactly who would we be sharing with?" Dione asked.

The lad offered her a smart bow. Then, all in a rush, he stated, "I am called Garrick of Argus' Gate."

As his name escaped his lips, the OrbKey flared to life from Callie's outstretched hand, bathing Garrick in a brilliant aura. He jumped back, his eyes wide, his hands held out before him as if to ward against the light. His stance first spoke of flight, but just as quickly calmed as the lad sank down to the tunnel floor and remained there, supporting his weight on one bent knee, head bowed in submission.

"Well, 'tis official now, we have yet another chosen." Lance's sarcasm was barely hidden in his tone. Looking away down the endless tunnels, he mumbled, "I truly hate that damnable Orb."


Copyright© – No part of this may be reproduced without permission