Character Driven

As writers, we need to be more mindful when weaving literary worlds, for they have the power to impact the real one in which we live. Life is bumpy enough a road without writing ourselves into a hopeless ditch, where dystopia takes the wheel, and diversity the back seat. Fiction bleeds into reality through the veins of media, and it’s high time we replace it with new blood, preferably B Positive.   

If we’re to change the world for the better, we must shift our reflection of it. We must create characters that command respect and embrace every culture, creed and chromosome. We must stop feeding the public insurmountable obstacles that starve them of hope and start proposing effective ways to overcome them. Our role isn’t to spread despair, but to conquer it. Life is character driven, and we’ve only one draft to get it right, so make your mark and make it matter.


Man, those were a lot of groans I heard out there when you read my title. Yeah, I know.  Don’t you hate it when you visit a blog only to see the same article about some darn new book you’ve already read on the past 10 blogs? But not here!  Thanks to my low boredom threshold, this post will be unlike any of the others I will write on my DON’T YOU HATE BOOK TOURS? Book Tour.

You want testimonials?  Hey, I got one…from Stephen King yet: “I could not put down Roland’s new book!  The moron put super-glue on the cover of the copy he sent me!”

You want SEX? (Me, too … but that’s another story all together). Here is a quote from my book that Stephen King cannot put down:

“McCord, I will make your last moments such ecstasy that you will not notice when I drink your soul.”

“Ah, could I take a rain-check on that?”

You want the blasted title of my new book?  Jeez, you want a lot, don’t you?

Oh, and NOW you want to know what it is about!  Man, you guys want a lot.

Think an insane Abraham Lincoln and a vampiric Benjamin Franklin out to kill the Texas Ranger who foiled their schemes on his honeymoon aboard the XANADU, the first Air/Steamship in 1867.

Think a bumbling Mark Twain and 11 year old Nikola Tesla making matters worse.

Think an evil immortal (no, not immoral! Jeez, I know where your minds are at!) woman trying to reign in her cruelty so as to hold onto her new husband for just a few days more.

Think mailing me $1000.  Ah, too much, huh?

And revealing my decided lack of humility, here is the audiomachine  music I would play in the movie adaptation of my novel when Captain Nemo fires upon the flying Xanadu as it blasts its own weapons at the Nautilus in a dizzying duel of futuristic vessels.

audiomachine – Chronicles – Sands of Time – Paul Dinletir

Do you guys imagine your novels becoming movies?  Aw, c’mon.  You know you do!  🙂

Come this March, you, too, can board the Xanadu for an adventure of a lifetime!  Passage only $9.99. Book your tickets HERE!

 atoz-theme-reveal-2016 BadgeSign up for the AtoZ THEME REVEAL

Damyanti's AtoZ Divas Badge_Final


IWSG, a community of brilliant writers led by Alex J. Cavanaugh, meets the first Wednesday of every month. Visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website and database! You’ll find  everything from writing to marketing, along with encouragement and support!




Tree of Life audiomachine ebook!

TOL Cover_FinalCover designed by the extraordinary artist and composer, Ryo Ishido!

An Amazon Exclusive

This anthology is dedicated in memory of Tina Downey, our dearest friend, fellow storyteller and firm believer that life is good…

Welcome to audiomachines Tree of Life: Branching Out, a cross-industry collaborative writing project featuring 26 authors from across the globe whose collective story is inspired by motion picture advertising music production house, audiomachine’s Tree of Life album.

During the course of 26 consecutive days, each writer contributed a chapter within 24 hours of the previous installment, spinning the tale in whatever direction they chose, resulting in the ultimate collaborative journey of words and music.

The anthology includes a new epilogue, a memorial story I wrote for “T”, entitled, Epitaph.

Contributing Authors (Tree of Lifers)
Tina Downey
Amy Willoughby-Burle
John Wiswell
M. Pax
Al Diaz
Gary Philip Pennick
DL Hammons
Susan Scott
Ruth Long
Daniel Swensen
KC Hunter
Shannon Kenoyer Lawrence
Beverly Fox
Michelle Wallace
Mina Lobo
Gwen Gardner
Angela Brown
Lisa Shambrook
Sarah Wesson
Leighton Williams
Elise Fallson
Vidya Sury
Damyanti Biswas
C. Lee McKenzie

Sunflower_Jennifer Redstreake GearySunflower by Jennifer Redstreake Geary

All proceeds of the TREE OF LIFE ebook will benefit the Downey Education Fund set up for Tina’s children.


Tina's Sunflowers at Sunset

A haunting tribute from the creative minds of film composer Edwin Wendler and Vocalist Aeralie Brighton.

Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
― Shannon L. Alder


A sea of sunflowers bloom in the sprawling fields of Biltmore Estate. I imagine Tina strolling past the radiant rows of upturned faces…her own spirit outshining their collective smiles. I imagine this is what her heaven must be like…the final glowing streaks of her amazing soul penetrating the sky with a brilliance that echoes a life well-lived…a good life. I imagine her heart is bursting with pride over a family she adores…watching them still, as their future takes shape. I imagine her witty banter as she beams down at us, her friends, while we honor her memory in a myriad of creative ways…our own hearts reaching across the great divide to say farväl min vän…farewell my friend…


In a memorial tribute to Tina, I’m publishing audiomachine‘s groundbreaking TREE OF LIFE: Branching Out collaborative story, featuring 26 authors (including Tina), in ebook format on Amazon, launching this September! Stunning book cover designed by gifted graphic artist and composer, Ryo Ishido.

TOL Cover_Final

All proceeds of the TREE OF LIFE ebook will benefit the Downey Education Fund set up for Tina’s two boys, which you can also donate to directly.

Donation badge

A Movement of Hope

be the change you wish to see in the world

A movement of hope has swept across the globe in the most successful charity event in history! Waves of kindness and empathy have raised over $106 million for ALS–funds that will make the difference between life & death for thousands of souls suffering in the deadly grip of this debilitating disease. 

The overwhelming worldwide support shows the remarkable potential for humanity to unite for a common good. With this massive collective effort, the possibilities of what we can accomplish are endless. It is my fervent hope that this phenomena will inspire us all to work together in a common call to action!  WE can truly be the change we wish to see in the world!

Peter Frates’ story–the driving force behind the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”
Support Gregory Kenoyer (Shannon Kenoyer Lawrence’s awesome Dad) in Denver Walk to Defeat ALS
Donate to ALS Association

In the video clip below, where I met the frigid end of a wine bucket in Biltmore’s front lawn (the setting for my YA novel series, Echoes of Olympus), I challenged…

The Entire IWSG

Along with Biltmore Estate, Hans Zimmer AND my fellow IMAGINE team members, EpicMusicVn, Koke Núñez GómezReally Slow Motion, Epic North Music, audiomachine, & Two Steps From Hell!

Grab a bucket, donate $$, and join us in this historic movement of change!

Tina's Sunflowers at Sunset  Sunflowers for Tina

Join us on September 8th for a community memorial tribute celebrating the spirit of Tina Downey

Epic IMAGINE ALS Ice Bucket Challenges


IWSG, a community of brilliant writers led by Alex J. Cavanaugh, meets the first Wednesday of every month. Visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website and database! You’ll find  everything from writing to marketing, along with encouragement and support!


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Welcome to IMAGINE‘s grand FINALE! The biggest epic music event of the year was a HUGE success—the culmination of the global collaborative efforts between YouTube powerhouse, EpicMusicVn and their fearless captain, Đỗ Sơn Thành, graphic designer, Koke Núñez Gómez, fellow writerly peep, Nitish Raina,  and leaders of the film music industry, Really Slow Motion, Epic North Music, audiomachine, & Two Steps From Hell!

An EPIC thank you to all those who participated! Congratulations to all IMAGINE event winners! Please send me your contact info to receive your PRIZES!



#1) Koke Nunez Gomez

#2) Lukas RE

#3) Cynthia Van Steenlandt

 TOP 3 winners of audiomachine’s Engineers of Epic Machine Head Challenge will be awarded signed albums. The #1 favorite designer will be featured on their official T-shirt, which the winner will also receive. Winning design will be revealed during the EPIC t-shirt launch!


#1) Muay Thai

#2) Samantha Ku

#3) Joel Apelgren

 TOP 3 Winners of TSFH’s Colin Frake book trailer contest will be awarded copies of the Colin Frake ebook & soundtrack, and signed cover art. The #1 favorite video editor will also receive a signed future public album!

epic north

#1) Ruth Long

#2) Djinnia AND Alayna Fairman

#3) FlyingMouse

 TOP 3 Winners of Epic North’s THE CONQUERORS flash fiction challenge will be awarded signed ARCADIA album artwork by Koke Núñez Gómezdigital album, Viking Warriors from Outer Space. The #1 favorite author will also receive digital copies of Origin of Iron and Rising Storm AND be featured on Epic North’s website/social media!


#1) Samantha Ku AND Daniel Wójcik

#2) Alex Aigner

 TOP 3 Winners of Really Slow Motion’s OF MIST AND MAGIC title design challenge will be awarded signed copies of the album FIERY THE ANGELS ROSE. The #1 favorite designs will be featured on the album’s public release cover!


IMAGINE the Possibilities

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The biggest Epic Music event of the year is coming to a close this Saturday, August 9th! In celebration of YouTube powerhouse, EpicMusicVn‘s 2 year anniversary, we gathered leaders of the epic music industry, Two Steps From Hellaudiomachine, Really Slow Motion Music, Epic North Music, & graphic designer, Koke Núñez Gómez, for an unprecedented, global collaboration, where writers, artists, video editors and visionaries have the chance to create something amazing! IMAGINE the possibilities HERE!

It’s been a VERY busy summer, with exciting events and projects coming to a close and many more hovering on the horizon. A major shift in the realm of responsibility happened this week, when my two little girls (1st & 4th graders, previously homeschooled) were accepted into a brand new Charters school, named IMAGINE — I took this as a major sign that we’re traveling down the right path!

Though I’ll miss my kiddos, my days are now FREE for WRITING and freelance film industry projects! I’ve issued a strict final draft deadline this fall for my YA fantasy novel series, Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1). This semester is already booked with collaborations and another round of epic writing, where I’ll mentor gifted teens as they learn to embrace this year’s theme of COURAGE!

An Act of Courage

 First, they conquered Outer Space….
Now, they bring destruction to the promised land…
The Viking Warriors are coming to ARCADIA!

ARCADIA Cover_Koke

Welcome to THE CONQUERORS, a Steampunk Viking flash fiction challenge for the industry release, ARCADIA (produced & published by Really Slow Motion). Pulling inspiration from the exclusive industry track, The Song of the World Tree, by brilliant composer, Tapsa Kuusniemi, and the stunning album cover, by gifted graphic designer & composer, Koke Núñez Gómez, FORGE an epic tale (under 500 words) that conquers the imagination! Submit your entries in the comments section of the Contest Page by August 9th, midnight EST!


JETTA – I’d Love to Change the World

Sixteen-year-old Hutchinson McQueen is trapped in a dysfunctional family. Shackled by poor vision and poor reading skills, he squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. After another suspension from school and suffering through one of his mother’s violent attacks, he escapes to a friend’s house that turns out to be a meth lab. The lab is raided and Hutch lands in juvenile detention. When the court sentences him to six months in a new juvenile program, he meets a teacher with Alzheimer’s who will change his life and hers.

Now available from Evernight Teen!

Enter to WIN a free copy or Amazon spending $$ HERE!

Add to your WANT To READ shelf on Goodreads


IWSG, a community of brilliant writers led by Alex J. Cavanaugh, meets the first Wednesday of every month. Visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website and database! You’ll find  everything from writing to marketing, along with encouragement and support!

IMAGINE: Epic Music Inspires

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Welcome to the biggest Epic Music event of the year! In celebration of YouTube powerhouse, EpicMusicVn‘s 2 year anniversary, we’ve gathered leaders of the epic music industry for an unprecedented, global collaboration. 

Tap into your imagination and show us how Epic Music inspires YOU! Fans will be rewarded with exclusive signed albums, artwork, t-shirts and worldwide exposure, not to mention the respect and admiration of composers & music fans everywhere!

Try your hand at video editing and blow us away with a book trailer that captures the essence of Two Steps From Hell’s Colin Frake enhanced iBook—featuring the world’s first live symphony orchestra book soundtrack!

Want audiomachine fans everywhere to wear YOUR t-shirt design? Give it a shot, in the Engineers of Epic Machine Head Challenge!

How about showing your friends a title design you crafted for the cover of Really Slow Motion’s next public release, OF MIST AND MAGIC?

And if spinning a Steampunk tale is up your writerly alley, then channel your inner Viking and enter Epic North’s THE CONQUERORS flash fiction challenge, inspired by the music and cover art of their film industry release, ARCADIA!

Join EpicMusicVn, official event designer, Koke Núñez Gómez, leaders of the film music industry, and a cool cast of characters, for an unforgettable journey through epic music’s IMAGINE!





epic north

Heroes of Phenomena Book Launch!

Heroes of Phenomena_Jennifer Redstreake Geary

Cover design by Jennifer Redstreake Geary

Heroes of PHENOMENA is a global, cross-industry collaborative campaign encouraging the next generation of authors, artists & musicians!

Epic motion picture advertising music production house, audiomachine, will make a donation to the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra with every download of the PHENOMENA album companion collection.

A dedicated youth section showcases talented aspiring artists and authors fromElevate’s Life & Art Studios, alongside an amazing cast of inspiring industry professionals and the winning entries of PHENOMENA’s Epic Heroes Event!

I’m thrilled to announce the ebook anthology is FREE on Smashwords & Kobo! Available for $0.99 on Amazon *help us push Amazon to price-match by reporting the FREE listings*. Coming soon to iTunes & B&N!

My Epic Writing students from Elevate Life & Art Studios created a really cool book trailer that blends the music of PHENOMENA with the boundless creativity of the next generation—inspiring their peers in a humorous tribute to authors, musicians, artists and dreamers! Special thanks to Braelyn Whiteside (9th Grade) for her brilliant filming & editing skills!

Available now!

Kobo (Free)

Smashwords (FREE)

Amazon ($0.99)


Title ImageDarynda Jones
Susan Kaye Quinn
M. Pax
Amy Michele
Jessica Bell
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Ruth Long
Crystal Collier
C. Lee McKenzie

Aspiring Artists & AuthorsDaniel Pennystone
ms. annegirl
Brennah Whiteside
Carter Lundgren
Braelyn Whiteside
Emma Schneider
Caleb Lotz

Epic Heroes Event Winners
Sarah Aisling
Alayna Fairman
Nitish Raina
Melissa Muhlenkamp
Ryo Ishido
Lukas Jurco
Camille Cabezas
Elizabeth Ann Watts

PHENOMENA Available Now

Reflections of a Dreamer

InsecureWritersSupportGroupIWSG meets the first Wednesday of every month. A community of brilliant writers led by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website and database! You’ll find  everything from writing to marketing, along with encouragement and support!

It’s fitting that today is IWSG. Seeing as how Alex has been an unfailing supporter since my online debut back in March of 2013, it’s no surprise that he’s a winner of a Biltmore-themed commenter prize!

And many composer collaborations later, I’ve finally cajoled Alex into joining my latest EPIC event with audiomachine! More details on the PHENOMENA project will be announced this FRIDAY! We’re accepting writing & art entries for audiomachine’sEpic Heroes” contest through May 15th, so tap into your imaginations and join the fun!A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

I want to send out my heartfelt thanks to everyone who stopped by during the crazy month that is April’s A to Z Challenge to take a peek at my upcoming Biltmore-inspired YA novel “Architects of Illusion“! This novel series is my biggest, most ambitious project to date. Needless to say, I was anxious to hear feedback. I truly value your comments and the time you spent in my world. The show of encouragement from gracious readers & inspiring composers alike have bolstered my passion for this story and will continue to push me towards achieving my DREAM!

Special thanks to my additional commenting winners–you guys rock! (Shoot me an email with your address to receive your Biltmore-goodies:)

Michelle Wallace

C. Lee McKenzie

SD Neeve


Yolanda Renee

To say April was a busy month would be the understatement of the year. Between novel edits, running an international album promotion for PHENOMENA, teaching an AMAZING group of gifted teens through Elevate Life & Art, planning a big book trailer, in collaboration with audiomachine, for Grammarly’s groundbreaking GrammoWriMo Novel, “The Lonely Wish-Giver” (which I also contributed to), AND juggling commenting/minion duties for the incredible #TeamDamyanti (muwah!)–I was ready to drown myself in a barrel of Biltmore wine!

With well over 2K participants, the Challenge was a huge success! There were so many awesome posts I enjoyed, and many more I didn’t have the chance to read. I hope to catch up on what I missed over the next few months. I loved meeting new folks and exchanging witty fun with familiar “faces”. You’re all welcome here anytime, where the bar, the banter, and the imagination, are always open.



Create an original superhero for a chance to be PUBLISHED in an audiomachine ebook!

Open APRIL 15th through MAY 15th.

Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Muse of Music

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the Winter Garden where a glass roof illuminates the center fountain sculpture “Boy Stealing Geese” by Karl Bitter, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!

Muse of Music

GLEAMING CHESTNUT winked in the firelight, its restless strings silent. I could almost feel it trembling, eager to escape my abuse. “No. Really,” I puffed out a sigh, “I can’t play the viol–”

“Tsk, focus!” Euterpe chided, circling me like I was her next meal, her silky crimson sari flying behind her back, struggling to stay in stride.

The Muse of music was nothing if not intimidating. Her piercing eyes, one a gleaming gold, the other an emerald green, could reduce even the most challenging pupil to a quaking pile of flesh.

Euterpe propped a hand on her mahogany corset and cocked her head, studying me. “Your placement. It’s all wrong.” She manipulated my hold on the confounded instrument until I was a hundred percent more uncomfortable than I was five seconds ago.

The elaborate pattern painted on her honeyed skin caught my eye. Burnished henna vines encircled her arms, curling into her palms and winding through her fingers as if it had a life of its own.

“Now. Close your eyes and feel it in here,” she gently touched her hand above my heart.

I humored her and shut my eyes, praying the little bronze boy on the fountain would set loose his geese and disrupt the slow death of my music career.

I’d never played an instrument, unless you counted the xylophone I had when I was five. I was fairly certain my past lives did not include a musical prodigy, if the barely suppressed laughter rippling through the class was any indication.

In lieu of the snickering, I imagined hearing whispers of wonders fill the winter garden, their secrets soaring with abandon to the top of the leaded glass roof.  I fancied the feel of the bow as it glided across the bridge between music and magic, coaxing the voice of the strings to sing.

My eyes flew open, the last of the notes hovering in the humid air, the students shocked into stillness.

Euterpe gently lifted the violin from my grasp, a glint of triumph in her eyes. The intricate leaves and birds that wrapped around her wrists shifted into a symphony of shimmering copper notes. “A soul born of music never forgets how to sing.

© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary



Create an original superhero for a chance to be PUBLISHED in an audiomachine ebook!

Open APRIL 15th through MAY 15th.