Kim McDougall

Never stop learning

Since a lot of my stories come from my own experiences, I like to top up my well once in a while by learning new things. Experiences are fiction fodder or brain food, and they just make life interesting. In the past 2 weeks, I took a foraging class, visited a composting facility, and spent the day with a beekeeper. Each of these expeditions, left an indelible mark on me, so don’t be surprised if Kyra decides to talk to the bees or finds a giant composting worm in a future Valkyrie Bestiary Book.  

Here are a few take-aways from my recent excursions.

    •    If the zombie apocalypse comes, we can easily eat off the land, at least in the spring and summer. 
    •    Harvest wild plants with care, always leaving enough for the plant to regenerate.
    •    Compost done right, doesn’t have to smell (too bad).
    •    Bees produce much more than just honey. There's bee pollen, propolis, wax and food for us by pollinating our crops. 
    •    Keeping bees is as much an art as a science. They are amazing creatures and I could spend all day watching them.

Will I decide to start my own bee colony? Maybe, but not before we finish our pasture project (pictures in the last newsletter which you can see HERE.) Since we bought our little hobby farm, I’ve noticed how easy it is to jump from one project to another, like a dog at a squirrel-fest. There is so much to do. Last week, I had to talk my husband out of buying hip waders so he could clear up blockages in the 2 little streams on the property. I gently took his finger off Amazon's “Buy” button and steered him back to building my pasture. I’ll add updates about that project as they happen. 

Book News

Kelpies Don’t Fly Audiobook is now on sale for only $10 at Sale ends July 12, 2023. Grab it now to add to your Valkyrie Bestiary collection.

Hidden Coven Series is on sale for 50% off during the Smashwords Annual Summer Sale. Find Hidden Coven and many more at all month! #SWSale2023 #Smashwords

Did you get your free eBook, Tales from the Inbetween? It's not available in stores, but only for newsletter subscribers. See a snippet below.

In Book 7 (Devil’s Don’t Lie), Kyra asks Emil and Gabe to trap Blondi, a specimen that got loose from the science lab at Raven’s school. The encounter with the specimen happens “off-screen,” so to speak, so I included it as a outtake in Tales from the Inbetween, which is free to all subscribers. If you haven’t claimed your eBook yet, just let me know. You can send me an email on the CONTACT page. 

So here’s the encounter, from Emil’s perspective:

Gabe turned and shone his light down the long hall. “So what exactly are we hunting anyway?”

“A mammoth rat eater.” 

Gabe made that scrunchy face he did when something sounded off. “Like an elephant mammoth?”

“No. A spider. A big one.”

“Terrific. Venomous?”

“Mildly. Nothing a big guy like you can’t handle.” Emil patted his shoulder and squeezed the bulging muscle.

Gabe’s scowl turned into a grin. He leaned in and brushed his lips against Emil’s. It felt like a promise of things to come. 

“So what?” Gabe said. “You’ve got some magical trap or special spider pheromones to lure it in?”

“Nope. Just these.” Emil unslung the nets that hung on straps over his shoulder. “I brought one for you too.”

Gabe’s right eyebrow shot up. “You’re kidding me right? We’re supposed to trap a spider as big as an elephant with that?”

Emil laughed. “Its name might be an exaggeration. More cat-sized than elephant-sized.”

Gabe swore and shook his head. “A cat-sized spider. And that’s suppose to make me feel better?”

Emil shrugged. Being alone in a dark room with Gabe sure made him feel better, giant spider or not. He knew Kyra was depending on them, but he wondered how long he could drag out this little adventure. 

A black shape shot from the top shelf and flew at Gabe. Instinct jerked Emil’s hand up. He swatted it with the net, just inches from Gabe’s face. The spider shrieked and flew off on leathery bat-like wings.

“It flies?” Gabe’s voice rose in a squeak. “No one told me it flies! And what was that sound? Spiders don’t make that noise.”

Emil suppressed a laugh. “This one does.”

If you want to see what a mammoth rat-eater looks like, check out Kyra's blog at

What’s Kim Reading

Before I talk about my current reads, I want to invite you to check out the Summer Reading Challenge at Indie Fantasy Fanatics. This is a Facebook Group devoted to great fantasy books by indie authors—fantasy of all subgenera. They have a fun challenge going for the summer where you can join teams and compete for some great prizes. Since I dedicated the rest of the year to reading indie authors, I joined and I’m looking forward to participating. You can see all the info and sign up for the challenge HERE

Now onto my most recent read.

imPerfect Magic
By C.N. Rowan

A heretical priest has been reincarnated for eight centuries to fight evil. Now, he calls Toulouse in the South of France his home, and when that home is threatened by a new power in town, Paul has to use every advantage at his disposal to defeat it. Some of those advantages include friends with strong magics of their own (including one has an angel along for the ride) and some not so friendly allies, who would probably rather kill and/or eat Paul than help him.

imPerfect Magic is a fresh take on Urban Fantasy. C.N. Rowan has brought together some of the best elements of UF in this gritty tale. There are heroes you can root for, side-kicks that do more than just act as wall-paper, amazing creatures, witty banter, and lots of action. I loved the chapters that tossed me back into the 12th century to relive the last days of the Cathar sect. The purity of those chapters somehow highlighted the unapologetic violence of the modern day story. This is not a book for the faint of heart, but it will make any reader who’s dreamed of a real hero cheer.

imPerfect Magic is available in paperback, audiobook and eBook (Kindle Unlimited). The audiobook is narrated by the author and he does a terrific job of it.

Get imPerfect Magic

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