Saturday, April 15, 2017

#WritersLife Survey 6 - Inside a Writer's Head

Hoppy Easter!
Hope your spring is in full swing. Here in the Midwest, we are enjoying flowers and baseball and warmer temps!

I also got to go to Ohioana again, my fourth time, with my book event buddy, Julie Flanders! We didn't get to sit together, but we still found time to chat. I know we'll do another event together soon.

And now, here's the latest Writer's Life Survey #6

I wondered how that "character" question might come across.
Here's my answer: I associate most with Monica Gellar (Courtney Cox) fiesty and loud, thinks she's right and a total geek, and rubs some people the wrong way... but I definitely don't cook!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#writerslife Links and Survey Results - What are you looking for?

No fools on April 1 this year. It came and went without any teasing or jests. I was a little disappointed. But that's okay, I'm on spring break and enjoying my extra time off! Yippee!

I don't have any complaints this month for IWSG, so I thought I'd share some Useful Links & Advice for Writers in whatever stage of writing you might be in...

Stage One - Writing
**Believe it or not, this is the easiest stage! Here are some helpful links to get you through...
  • Beta readers/CPs - I have some regulars, but I usually ask someone new with each book to get a fresh perspective
  • Writer's Digest - awesome site for writing advice and writer chat rooms to ask writerly questions. It also takes you through all the next phases, with new agent articles and book event info
  • Absolute Write - a total site for writers to communicate, bounce ideas off each other, and play writerly games - I had to give it up because I was having too much fun playing the games and not writing!
  • The A to Z Blog Challenge - I made so many contacts through this challenge, going on right now! It's changed format to keep up with the times, but if you can get involved, it'll open your horizons!
  • And of course, there's the IWSG! Beyond the monthly blog postings, the website offers many great articles full of writerly advice.
Stage Two - Finding an agent/publisher
  • Query Shark - Janet Reid is the queen of queries and she tears them to shreds to help you get to the core of your query. Read and Learn!
  • MS Wishlist - a continuous feed of agents and what they are seeking, right now!
  • #PITMAD and more - twitter pitch contests held throughout the year with agents reading your blurbs! Hosted by Brenda Drake 
  • Writing Contests - google and enter! smaller publications on your resume is a great start 
  • Writing Conferences - google and GO! You can usually set up appointments to pitch to an agent which  is worth the experience even if you don't get a bite.
Stage Three - Marketing your book
  • L. Diane Wolfe - this woman has tons of experience and great advice for marketing your book and more - check her out!
  • Jane Friedman - I've been following Ms. Friedman since I started writing. She's got links, advice, news, and all the latest trends in the industry. Highly recommend checking her out.
  • Book Events - google and GO! Get out there and sell. You have to start somewhere! (I've got lots of advice on book events)

Now for my #writerslife survey results

What's a good/constructive/funny comment you've received from a CP/Beta Reader or Editor?
It was tough to remember some, but here are a few that stuck out!

"n,lxdjfjgkzmgxdfbbbbbxkbzx... Oh! Sorry. Baby butt." - love this one!
It's a rough draft. Don't worry. You'll make it better. 
You're just sick! Meant in a nice way, I'm sure!
You just made me cry! two people said this =)

And here's one of mine - Hahahaha I always enjoy his brand of insanity in these books!

Lastly, I posted my quarterly newsletter this week with details about upcoming publications, my event schedule - where I've been, where I'm going (besides crazy) - and what I'm working on!


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

#WritersLife Survey 5 - Critical Feedback

We all need feedback to improve our writing. So, this month's Writer's Life Survey Question #5 is all about our writerly friends and helpers.

Hey, I haven't heard much about the A to Z challenge - are you doing it this year? I considered it, but they've changed the procedure - NO LIST this year. 

I understand it's a huge undertaking to maintain the LIST, so I get why they want to try something new. Especially since it grows every year. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to get my post links on the website in a timely manner, since I can't go visit until after work or the weekends. This could be a good thing, though. Only serious participants will play. Good luck!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

How to reach your audience & #WritersLife Survey Results

Hey Guys. It's March. In like a lion, right?

Welcome to my Insecure Writers Support Group post...
Thanks to Alex and his team of hosts this month and every month.

Can you tell I'm in a ho hum mood? It could be the winter blahs. Or it could be I'm in a rut. I guess that's what happens when you don't seem to be making any leaps and bounds progress. With the slow, tedious, time-consuming, snail's pace of the writing process, I often wonder how I ever became a writer! I'm more of a make-it-happen-right-now! person. I've never been one to wait for things to happen to me. If I want something, I have to go for it - and that's' not the greatest trait for some things. So maybe that's why I'm here - to grow my patience, even though I'm a pretty old dog.

So for IWSG this month, I'm going to share some tips on How to Wrangle Up Your Readers! Because sitting on your duff waiting for fans to come to you isn't how it works anymore. You must wave your arms, whisper sweet nothings, or tackle them - and all by using your words!

How to Reach Your Audience:

Step 1: Identify your audience - What age group or type of reader will enjoy your book? - and don't kid yourself by saying EVERYONE! Narrow it down, sweetie.

Step 2: Understand your audience - Now that you're being realistic, what else does your audience like to do? What are the interests of your target age group? What's their latest fad? Do a little research about these prospective readers.

Step 3: Find your audience - Where do they hang out? THIS IS IMPORTANT!
  • Bookfairs are the best.
  • Schools are great too, if you can get in.
  • Conferences are hit or miss, depending on the genre and location and many other considerations.
  • Bookstores are also hit or miss depending on the traffic, genre-again, and advertising.
  • Niche stores are questionable, I've only heard one or two success stories...
Step 4: Perform for your audience - Now, you should have enough material to put together a presentation and go share it! Easier said than done, I know. I will elaborate on Step 4 next month with a whole post on Presentations. It's not as bad as it sounds and it gets easier the more you do them.

Step 5: Appreciate your audience - Don't break the bank, but do bring something that you won't mind if they throw away, because that's usually what happens to bookmarks, book cards, and other small swag - it genuinely is the thought that counts

And now, here are the results from my Writers Life Survey #4 - Getting Creative!

What Writers are Working On...

Here are a few choice words about their WIPs!

Four in Darkness... the Vampire, the Alien, the Lycan, and the Shark

Alex O’Hara is up to her ears in mysteries, investigating potential boyfriends, and following philandering spouses - what a job!

Eszter, Marie, and Caterina feel very lucky they escaped, as they return to the world of the living, traveling and relearning how to do basic things, but there are holes in their hearts for those who didn’t escape with them.

Paranormal murder mystery set in alternate 1959

When Farmer Brown and his family neglect their chores, chickens take matters into their own wings.

How Writers Improve Their Craft

Do you have a Daily Word Count Goal?

And here are a few teasers... It was a dark and stormy night...

“Ah, you’re awake.” The voice came from a white-haired bearded man who stepped within her line of vision, but he didn’t look old.
“Who are you?”
“Ezra Merlin at your service.” I thought you might sleep through it, but you are just in time to see Atlantis rise.”

The man threw his head back and cried out, his back arching off the bed. He collapsed. His chest heaved with each breath. Waves of white energy rippled off his body.

“A little help here,” I called out from the dressing room while holding up the front of the most beautiful dress I’d ever tried on.
“Here, let me—” Ellie burst into the dressing room. “Oh. My. God. Alex, you are gorgeous.”
I wasn’t so sure about gorgeous, but I looked pretty darn good in the emerald satin strapless gown with a side slit that showed way too much of my thigh. Thank God for all the running I did almost every day.

Days like this, Kinley had no strength left to hold herself together.

Mme. Druillet could only give her back material items, and Officer Sauveterre could only promise to try to regain more material items. They were unable to give back any live people, any meaningful links to the past. As the train sped back to Paris the next afternoon, Marie cradled the fur coat in her arms, feeling her last spark of hope going out.

"But they won’t do any good, he’s dead already. I know. I killed him."

November thought she just might be happy for the first time ever.

Pulling off normal was harder than it looked.

They shook their heads and said, "Lazy chickens!"

I really enjoyed these lines and blurbs! I hope you did too. Next month I'll be asking "Where do writers LIVE?" Hope you'll join in!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#Writer's Life Survey 4 - WIP

Is it Spring yet? Is February the longest shortest month of the year or what?

Hope you had a fantastic Valentine's Day - it's great for chocolate anyway, right?

Before we get to the survey, wanted to give a shout out to Patricia Lynne and congratulate her on the release of

by Patricia Josephine

Savannah Janowitz’s perfect life was destroyed the night she and her boyfriend vanished without a trace. When she reappears a year later––alone––she’s a shell of her former self. Robbed of her popularity and her boyfriend, she has no memory of what happened to her. Savannah struggles to move forward as strange, new abilities manifest.

Evan Sullivan never gave extra-terrestrials much thought until the night he and Savannah were abducted. While Savannah’s memory was wiped clean, he remembers every horrific detail. Constantly reminded of the experiments that made him less than human, Evan hides in the shadows and watches Savannah rebuild her life without him. But neither can let the other go.

When their paths cross, Savannah and Evan finally see a glimmer of their old lives return. As they face what happened to them, they soon discover they aren’t safe. There’s more to fear than what’s hiding in the stars.

Available for 99cents at Amazon
Add to Goodreads

And now, for February's Writer's Life Survey!

Thanks for playing - looking forward to your responses! Results will be posted March 1!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Writerly #News and Starving for #Reviews

Wow, this is going to be BIG! When I only post twice a month, the news piles up! But first...

A HUGE THANK YOU!! I thoroughly enjoyed my Cradle Rock Release Party because it really got me back out to visit my friends and make new ones!

Thanks for the tremendous response and supportive comments, everyone!
I'll be tweeting my thanks with links to the posts all month!
M.J. Fifield!
She will receive a $25 GC! 
Plus a free taco and my love! (name that movie)

My reconnection with blog and writer friends leads me to my monthly Insecure Writers Support Group check in. Releases are few and far between, so the IWSG seems to be the biggest reason I keep blogging. And communicating with my writer friends is the main reason I keep writing (that and the stories crammed in my head needing to be told!) I worry all the time that my books aren't selling and I can't seem to build my base - and I worry more that it might be because I'm only a so-so writer, which is very believable.

Last month, I shared my big plans. I wasn't working full time then, so I was very ambitious! Today, I started my long-term assignment that goes thru the rest of the year - great for sending first son to college, terrible for writing and marketing... Especially when I'm not encouraged to keep writing at home. That's why I keep participating in IWSG - you guys keep me going! Thanks!

Enough feeling sorry for myself, many others have much bigger problems than me. On to the NEWS!

>>>If you haven't seen this cover - you're in for a TREAT! LOOK!

by Cathrina Constantine
Release Date: March 10, 2017
Genre: YA/Coming of Age

During the Vietnam War-torn Sixties, a time of peace demonstrations, sit-ins, flag-burnings, and flower power, sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe has to choose between staying an innocent good girl or letting herself enter the exciting world of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

When her brother offers a solution to her dilemma in the form of a little pill, Mary ignores the rumba in her brain and takes a walk on the wild side. She plunges into popularity and a life she’s only imagined, and meets Michael Covington, the hot newcomer. She’s instantly drawn in by his less than flawless exterior and bad boy sex appeal. Drifting from party to party, underground fight clubs, and through a series of drug and alcohol fueled adventures, Mary follows her new crush into a world where young girls are never truly safe from the predators lurking in the shadows and young men hiding from the harsh reality of war.

Feeling buzzed and as if her life is spinning out of control, Mary is assaulted by an unknown man at a party, and she’s left questioning if the enigmatic Michael is truly her hero or if he's the face behind the terrible attack. With every piece of information Mary learns about Michael, her doubts grow deeper, but with every minute she spends in his presence, so does her love.

With the war and her fear threatening to separate Mary and Michael forever, only the death of a friend, a crushing confession, and her own sensibilities can carry her over the threshold between adolescence and adulthood.

Add to your TBR list on Goodreads!

Cathrina is also looking for volunteers to help with her Book Blitz!

>>>I'm also excited to introduce...

by Theresa Milstein
Release Date: March 21, 2017
by Vine Leaves Press

This is Theresa's moving poetry and prose collection, and some of it is autobiographical. It's been a long journey, and she's finally made it! Congratulations, Theresa!

Theresa's Blog

>>>And here's a GIVEAWAY offer!
There's one big thing we can do to help each other is post reviews (I'm reading three books I plan to review soon!) And with second books needing more love, I want to give out some copies for review!

Here's my free offer - if you've read POP TRAVEL or BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, I would love to give you a free ecopy of either sequel for review. Just mention in the comments if you're interested.

>>>Here are the results of January's Writerly Survey about Creativity!

I should've added an "All of the above" choice - that's what the purple really represents!

Here are some interesting characters from the respondants... plus some traits.
  • Corten - mixed race, friendly but elusive about past
  • Angela Mercy - editor of the fictional Persons Magazine.
  • Raz - A drinking bad ass kangaroo. His name came off the top of my head.
  • Gawain, Callan, Darrion
  • Kálmán Ferdinánd Rein (later Shimron Amichai) - left angry, cynical, bitter, ranting, trigger-happy, wounded after surviving four concentration-camps. Plus his fiancée Klaudia and his best friend Móric
  • Arthur Finley - mousey demeanor, high IQ, brown hair, pale skin with freckles; glasses work in accounting but is really a spy, not the action hero kind, but a numbers/information spy.
  • D’Anar Gillin - He feels much, which often translates into action. He has a tendency to often make decisions for those he cares about or feels responsible, sometimes without asking permission. The irritating thing about him is that he is usually right.  He possesses a keen intuition and instincts, and he knows it. high intelligence, but has a blind spot for himself and those closest to him.  Honor is a natural - sometimes at high personal cost.
  • Clarence - likes the water because he's a shark
  • Hutch McQueen - The good guy in bad guy clothing. 
Only a few writers surveyed, have written in mixed genres...
  • Contemporary verse
  • Crime thriller/Romance
  • Sci Fi/Fantasy
I hope you enjoyed this extra long post! More questions coming up on 2/13! This time I'll be asking about "one-liners"

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Sweetheart Month!

Friday, January 20, 2017

I can't believe I SURVIVED!

"This is Chrys Fey reporting for Disaster 5 News. I am in West Palm Beach, Florida where a tsunami hit yesterday morning. I have Tara Tyler with me, a survivor of the tsunami. Tara, can you tell our viewers what happened, and how you survived?"

"Well, I'm a teacher at the middle school, and you know they never cancel school for weather here in Florida. We just do all sorts of drills - hurricane, tornado, fire, and ALICE. That's a lock down. And we hide under our desks or cover our heads at the lockers, or whatever. But we never had a tsunami drill! We had no idea what to do, so I used it as a teaching moment. I needed to keep the kids calm, so as I gathered them up, I asked them questions. What is a tsunami? What might happen? Where would be a safe place? They were great. We figured a tsunami meant mass destruction at the beaches, and probably flooding where we are further inland. We grabbed stuff that would keep us afloat and ran upstairs to the roof, yelling for other classes to do the same. The flooding was pretty bad, all the way up to the second floor. But we survived."

Hope you enjoyed this "I survived" moment sponsored by Chrys Fey as she releases her latest Disaster Crime novel TSUNAMI CRIMES! See the linky list to read more exciting survival stories!

Title: Tsunami Crimes
Series: Disaster Crimes #3
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Romantic-Suspense

Beth and Donovan have come a long way from Hurricane Sabrina and the San Francisco earthquake. Now they are approaching their wedding day and anxiously waiting to promise each other a lifetime of love. The journey down the aisle isn’t smooth, though, as they receive threats from the followers of the notorious criminal, Jackson Storm. They think they’ll be safe in Hawaii, but distance can’t stop these killers. Not even a tsunami can.

This monstrous wave is the most devastating disaster Beth has ever faced. It leaves her beaten, frightened. Is she a widow on her honeymoon? As she struggles to hold herself together and find Donovan, she’s kidnapped by Jackson's men.

Fearing her dead, Donovan searches the rubble and shelters with no luck. The thought of her being swept out to sea is almost too much for him to bear, but the reality is much worse. She’s being used as bait to get him to fall into a deadly trap.

If they live through this disaster, they may never be the same again. 



99 CENTS: Amazon
And everywhere ebooks are sold. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
And don't forget to take the survey from the previous post - results posted Feb 1.

Monday, January 16, 2017

#WritersLife #Survey 3! - Getting Creative

I have only two stops left on my Cradle Rock Release Party blog tour, C. Lee McKenzie (1/16) and Crystal Collier (1/25) Woot! It's been a hoot!

Now, I'd like to continue my search for answers - Writers' answers to Writerly questions! Here's #WritersLife Survey 3, and I embedded it right into my post for your convenience!

What do you think? Hopefully I'll find out soon! Thanks for playing!

If you have any questions to offer, I'm up for asking! And I'd like to know if you have any trouble with the form. I know it's not quite as user friendly on a smart phone... Here's the link just in case.

Hope your 2017 is off to a brilliant start!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 = Shine Forth

Happy Septendecdischili!
And Happy First IWSG of the New Year!

Fellow writers,
This year I invite you to join me as I challenge myself to reach more readers. I have tried several avenues and attempted many ventures, but I know I could do better. I put together a small list of things for us to try or improve upon...
  • A Newsletter - I have a quarterly one that links to my Newsy Blog, but I need to improve it. I have a hard time with it because it's all about me and I really hate to sound like I'm bragging - it's pure fear and adrenaline, but I try to make it sound positive...
    • Offer giveaways
    • Keep it short and informative
    • Don't send it too often
    • Always have a signup sheet at events
  • The Blog/Author page - I'm still deciding what I want to do. I definitely need to neaten it up and make it more professional-looking...
  • Book Events - I love doing these, but I need to be more pro-active and reach out to schools and organizations...
  • Marketing - the dreaded.
    • More creative videos - let's get viral! See my Cradle Rock guest post at L. Diane Wolf's on Monday (1/9) for some ideas on author videos!
    • Pay for ads on social media - sometimes a little will get you a lot
    • Better giveaway campaigns - with a group? with cooler prizes? hmm...
  • Shiny New Ideas
    • With recent feedback, I'll be revising my Pop Travel screenplay - I'm determined!
    • I'm also outlining a new story - taking a break from my two series once they both have three books. Yes, I can see it within my reach.
Let's break barriers! Let's move mountains! Let's finish what we start!

I will take any and all advice you guys have. Join in the fun in planning and dreaming!

Lastly, I have a few stops left for my CRADLE ROCK Release Party!

1/4 Ken Rahmoeller Dragons
1/9 L. Diane Wolfe Marketing Tips - Live & Online
1/16 C Lee McKenzie Grownup Stereotypes
1/11 M. J. Fifield Crazy Road Trip
1/25 Crystal Collier Poetry & Songs in Stories - Writerly Wed

I'm also happy to announce the winners from my Cradle Rock Release Party December Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway