Monday, December 18, 2017

A nice cozy book to curl up with...

It's that time of year. Doesn't a warm cup of cocoa, a snuggly blanket on a comfy couch by a crackling fire, and a spine-tingling book sound awesome? Ahhh.

Funny thing is, I'm waiting for a couple of my author friends to finish their sequels... (Ahem, Christine Rains and M.J. Fifield)

Speaking of sequels, seen Star Wars yet? Don't tell me anything! We're going the day after Christmas with my family. Very excited!

And oh, yes. I have survey results and an announcement of winners from my DISPOSAL Release Raffles! Yay!

First the Results...

I picture my main character, Detective Cooper played by Bradley Cooper or Matt Damon - What actor/actress would you choose to play one of your MCs?

Vannessa Hudgens
Krysten Ritter
Rose Leslie
Manu Bennet from Shannara
Tom Hiddleston, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Chris Cornell, Jason Momoa
Ben Affleck

You all were much more creative - love these choices! (Had to look some up, but wow!)

Which gadgets from the Pop Travel series would you like to try?

Would you like to have a Simulation--clone android--of yourself?

 What world problem should Hasan tackle next?

Which Pop Travel character do you associate with most?

Now, the winners from the survey are...

Krystal Jane & Juneta Key

Thanks to all who participated!

Plus, I'm giving all my Host Volunteers a thank you prize, but the winner of the $20 gift card is:

And I was lucky enough to add two more stops:
December 18 with Heather M Gardner
January 26 with Chrys Fey

It's been a very busy November/December. Now, I must finish trimming my tree and wrapping gifts. And don't forget cleaning for company - I'm looking forward to the folks coming up for a game-filled visit! Yay!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Dare to Do!

I'm so excited to share my most recent release! I know it's IWSG day--and believe me, I'm full of insecurity, just visit MJ, where I'm visiting today--but this week I'm planning my live release party. No matter the turnout, I have my 5th book published, and I'm psyched!

DISPOSAL by Tara Tyler
Pop Travel, Book Three

When Cooper's wild nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship, he immediately drives his uncle Coop nuts--then gets himself kidnapped. Cooper has several surprises and new gadgets to deal with - never a dull moment.

Still lots of time to take my Disposal Release Party Survey and get registered for a prize...

And the blog tour train has been moving right along...

FRI, NOV 17 - Tyrean Martinson - 5 Things that will get you published!

MON, NOV 20 - Christine Rains - The Lazy Housewife talks Garage Goals
THU, NOV 23 - Juneta Key - I'm Thankful for where I am

MON, NOV 27 - Patricia Lynne - Writing a Series & Keeping it Fresh
THU, NOV 30 - Diane Burton - The Lazy Housewife talks Bathroom Blues

WED, DEC 6 - MJ Fifield - Special IWSG: Will anyone like me? Will anyone care?
FRI, DEC 8 - Elizabeth Seckman - The Journey of the Really Real Housewives

MON, DEC 11 - C. Lee McKenzie -

I really appreciate the support of this community - and if you ever need a shout out, I'm happy to help out! Hope your holiday season is off to a tremendous start (I'm actually ahead of schedule this year...)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Everyone has value - No one deserves... DISPOSAL! Available TODAY!

It's here!!
It took a lot of doing, but I got it done! And of course, I didn't do it alone. I appreciate all the help from beginning to beta to edits to reviewers to end and now to giving me a shout! THANK YOU!!

DISPOSAL by Tara Tyler
Pop Travel, Book Three

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived when Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship. He hits the town hard and thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he pursues her and ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan offers him to field-test. Sure, why not? Cooper will do anything to get his family back.

Of course I must give away some prizes to celebrate!
Take my survey and you'll be entered - prizes to be delivered in time for Christmas!

And these are the wonderful peeps helping me spread the word... I'll be posting at their places on these dates:

FRI, NOV 17 - Tyrean Martinson - 5 Things that will get you published!

MON, NOV 20 - Christine Rains - The Lazy Housewife talks Garage Goals
THU, NOV 23 - Juneta Key - I'm Thankful for where I am

MON, NOV 27 - Patricia Lynne - Writing a Series & Keeping it Fresh
THU, NOV 30 - Diane Burton - The Lazy Housewife talks Bathroom Blues

WED, DEC 6 - MJ Fifield - Special IWSG: Will anyone like me? Will anyone care?
FRI, DEC 8 - Elizabeth Seckman - The Journey of the Really Real Housewives

MON, DEC 11 - C. Lee McKenzie -

Thanks for stopping by. Looking forward to seeing you around!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Overwhelmed - #WritersLife 12 Results

Hey Everyone. Time for an Insecure Writer's Support Group LAMENT...
Does it seem like I'm always complaining that I wish I had more time to write and blog? Well, that was nothing compared to what's happening these days. I like my job, even though it takes up most of my waking hours. I'm so swamped! Then add on several changes and dealing with some frustrating situations that have come up all at once, and I can barely fit in any writing at all.

Like, I really wanted to get a story submitted to the IWSG ANTHOLOGY CONTEST. I tried so hard to get it done and came very close, but I just didn't have enough time to finish. (fitting since the theme was time)

I also feel like I'm neglecting my duties to my next release: DISPOSAL on NOV 14th. I've barely planned anything. I'm usually so organized, but lately I feel so behind as I rush around trying to get to everything. I've already cut back to the minimum on blogging and turned off my social media notifications a while ago... Seems like all I do is tutor and grade papers and laundry - don't forget the laundry...

Once this job is through, I know I'll have some time to work on writing, but I'm already filling it with appointments and other things I've been putting off. Not to mention Christmas is looming!

That felt good. Sometimes a good cry helps let the stress out...
Don't worry. I'll carry on and make it through. Just needed to vent.

How about you? How are things going in your life? Managing?

Now for some GOOD NEWS!
I'm so glad I took the time to do the WEST VIRGINIA BOOK FESTIVAL with my steady book event buddies, Elizabeth Seckman and Ashley Chappell-Peeples! Also met some other savvy writers, including Darin Kennedy - a fellow Curiosity Quills writer. Had a lovely time. And sold many books!

And here are the scintillating results from my Writer's Life Survey #12:

Which of these spine-tingling genres do you like the most?

Have you written any horror or scary stories?

How about a mystery/suspense/thriller?

Ever been to an inspirational place for a murder scene?
  • There are some old buildings and castles in England that would be great locations.
  • Just send me out after dark alone and my mind runs wild
  • I've been camping a few places that had that vibe.
  • Lots of back country roads
  • Any place can make a great murder scene!
  • Hiking in the Grand Canyon. Could only imagine the stuff that goes on/has gone on in those canyons!

Well, that was fun! Hope you had a Happy Halloween and got some of your favorite candy!
Thanks to all those who played!

Next month, since I'll be releasing DISPOSAL on NOV 14th - I'll have a special survey to go with the release party. Still time to sign up if you'd like to host a post or give me a shout or read an ARC copy for review.


Also wanted to give a shout out for FULL DARK - What happens in the dark will come to light.

FULL DARK is a collection of eleven short works with impressive depth and range. Twisted tales of ghosts, villains, and the paranormal await you—mystery, heinous fantasy, and pure suspense. Acclaimed and award-winning authors as well as a few talented newcomers have joined forces to be your guide. Venture into the dark if you dare.

Just A Matter of Time by Loni Townsend
Forerunner by David Powers King
Taking Care of You by Carrie Butler
The Apartment by Lisa Buie-Collard
The Caricature by Nick Wilford
Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Seckman
Shadows Falling on Rainbows by Celeste Holloway
Meringue, Murder or Marzipan by Tonja Drecker
Haunted Lake by Michelle Athy
Soul Coin by Laura Rich
Retribution by Melissa Maygrove

FULL DARK is a benefit anthology. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization that does many wonderful things for our country's active military, its veterans, and the countless first responders who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.

Goodreads --- Amazon

Gary Sinise Foundation

Published by Obsidian Books

PS - Is anyone out there doing NANOWRIMO this November? If so, GOOD LUCK!!

Monday, October 16, 2017

#WritersLife Survey 12 - Writing is Scary!

I feel really lame this year. No pumpkins, no fall decor, no Halloween decorations... As my boys keep getting older, they don't care about these things as much. The wonder and excitement is gone to sarcastic teenage apathy. Ugh.

Ah well. I still have pumpkin flavored everything and candy to give out. Halloween is what you make it, right? And I have this fun-filled spooky survey treat for you guys... enjoy!

Thanks for playing! I love finding out who likes what and sharing it with everyone.
Hope your October is full of bone-chilling thrills and tasty treats!

PS - My quarterly newsletter came out this month AND Thanks to those signing up to with my form for DISPOSAL's release coming up November 14. I might have to forego a survey for November... we shall see.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Vanished! #IWSG and #WritersLife Survey Results

I want to express heartfelt grief, sending hope and prayers to all those affected by the recent tragedies around the world. Hurricanes and psychotic terrorism are running rampant! But it strengthens my faith in humanity to see so many people working together to help others.

Now, on to less important drivel...

October? Really? Time has vanished again...
Well, I'm working again, so time is flying and I'm overbooked. I keep chugging along and that's fine with me. But I miss blogging around like I used to. I was so happy to be a hostess last month--it forced me to visit, and I so enjoyed it!

This month for IWSG, I'm dealing with change. I don't like change all that much. I deal with it, but I don't really like it. I like sticking with my old phone, my old computer, and all my old ways of doing things (I hate online banking - too many glitches and cyber-thieves!). If it ain't broke... But life moves on and we have to adjust if we want to succeed, whether we like it or not sometimes. The changes in my life are still up in the air too. We are planning to move soon, but we aren't sure where we want to go. Lots of things up in the air. I'm sure we'll be fine, but the stress of it all is starting to wear me down.

Anyone else resistant to change??

Moving on... Here are the results of my Writer's Life Survey #11 - Getting into Character

Who was your first main character?

A Characterful Word Cloud

Do you normally write characters the same gender/sex as you?

Do your characters have backstories?

Do you identify with any of your characters?

Well, I hope you enjoyed the survey results. Can you relate?
And how do you deal with change?

PS - I'm doing a day of class presentations to some 7th graders on Monday about VOICE - Any advice you think I should pass on? And wish me luck!

BTW - If you're interested in helping me spread the word about DISPOSAL - Pop Travel #3 coming out in November, here's a link to the FORM.

Thanks, y'all!!

Monday, September 18, 2017

#WritersLife #Survey 11 - Getting into Character

Yep, it's late. But better than Never... Tell me what makes your characters come alive!

Had a great time Saturday at Half Price Books - got lots of interest and sold many books. Great to be back out there!

Results of the survey in the next IWSG post, October 4. Yay for FALL!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Loving me, Loving YOU! Survey Results & IWSG

I'm super excited to be a co-host for the Insecure Writers Support Group this month! Join me for a cup of candid coffee!

Ahh. As you may know, IWSG members post woes or words of wisdom then visit each other on the first Wednesday of each month -- we're a big happy family that listens and encourages!

As a participant of the IWSG since its inception (great movie) I have discovered a few generalizations about myself:
  1. I like to try new things and put myself out there,
  2. I encourage others to do the same and give any advice and tips I can, and 
  3. I never have enough time to work on everything I want to get done! but
  4. Most importantly, I really appreciate how we all relate to and boost each other.
The IWSG is about give and take, sometimes I give advice and positivity, and sometimes I need it (Actually, I always need it!) It's not so much about the process for me as the journey.

What have you learned about yourself as a writer during the IWSG?

I usually have enough to write about each month (I do like to talk!), but since I'm a host this month, I will also answer the...

September Question - Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??

When I go back and read older stuff I've written, I often surprise myself with how much I like it or don't like it. I know that sounds contradictory, but sometimes it's really good and that's a surprise. And many times it's terrible, which helps me know what to work on, and I'm surprised I was that bad! What was I thinking?

Meets 1st Wed of MonthI hope you have a chance to visit the rest of the awesome co-hosts for this month's September IWSG. They are Tyrean Martinson, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure! Check them out, they're terrific!

But wait! Time for a

The IWSG Anthology Contest is NOW OPEN!

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller

Theme: Tick Tock. The story revolves around a clock, is time sensitive, or has something about a specific time. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence.

Story Deadline: November 1, 2017

And now for some RELEASE PARTY NEWS!

I'm having a little local signing party to celebrate the release of TWO PRINCESSES, Un-Princess Book 2. It will be nice to get out there again! And in conjunction with my live event, I'm hosting a Facebook Party too. That way, anyone can join in the fun! Plus I'm going to try a live video broadcast! As always, there will be raffle prizes and giveaways. I hope you can make it!

BTW, DISPOSAL comes out in November -- I'm looking for reviewers and blog hosts... form in the works. But you can give me a shout if you're interested


Author Website, Blog, or Both?

How often do you post?

Which blogging website do you prefer? (for blogging and/or visiting)

Do you think blogging is still a good tool for authors?

How often do you visit other blogs?

And I wanted to give a shout out to some of the bloggers who participated (and gave their links) Plus some suggested blogs to visit...

The WEP - lists other great websites, with loads of opportunities!
Fairday Morrow - book blog
NEW blog/website C Lee McKenzie

Check out the new #WritersLife Survey 11 - Mid September
I'll be asking about your Characters!

RECAP! (I know that was a lot of info!)

What have you learned about yourself as a writer during the IWSG?
I hope you can come to my Release/Facebook Party!
What do you think of the survey results?
Let me know if you have something I can shout for you!

TRIVIA--Can you name the band whose song is in the title of this post...?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Writers' Congregation - #WritersLife Survey 10

This month's #WritersLife Survey is about how writers communicate. Long ago (ten years or so), we were once told to start a blog or website - is this still a rule? I've cut way back on blogging, but I will keep at it as long as I can. It's awesome to talk about our woes and accomplishments with other writers. And this community always has positive, encouraging words to share.

I also wanted to thank fellow substitute warrior, Victoria Marie for the Liebster Award! I haven't done an award in quite a while, so this should be fun. Thanks, Victoria!

Liebster Award Rules and Nominees:
Rule 1: Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
Rule 2: Answer the 11 questions the person asked you.
Rule 3: Nominate 11 people (comment on their blog to let them know)
Rule 4: Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions (My questions are at the bottom of this post.)

Here are my answers to Victoria's questions:
1.     You are thrown into a favorite story. [Not your own.] Which story and who would you be?
I always wanted to live in the world of Xanth by Piers Anthony - then I'd get a magic power!
2.     What is the hardest part of writing for you? Why?
Marketing & Promotion, bragging and being pushy like a salesperson isn't what I signed up for!
3.     When and where do you write? How did you discover that was best for you?
Mornings are best, at my desk or on my treadmill!
4.     If you could be anybody or anything, who or what would you be and why?
I would be a dragon. Do I really need a reason?
5.     How do you push forward when the inner critic won’t shut up?
I read or watch movie trailers which make me think, if this person is famous, I could be too!
6.     Do you need to write inside a bubble or library [like me] or do like to listen to music or other inspiring background sounds or “white” noise to write?
QUIET! Before the herd wakes up.
7.     How do you keep the wolves…ahem…I mean convince your children or other people to leave you alone to write? Does it work? Provide tips—please!
I write while they're sleeping or out of the house - sorry, no tips. Kick them out for a while?
8.     Who was your favorite author as a child? Who is your favorite author now?
From Piers Anthony and Michael Crichton to Janet Evanovich and Harlan Coben - and Christine Rains!
9.     If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Why that?
Flying - I hate traffic
10.  How do you find inspiration?
It's everywhere, on a walk, shopping, walking my dog, traveling, reading, even watching TV
11.  What book or movie or writing workshop or blog post has affected your work the most? Why?
Can't think of a specific one, but I do love to read and watch lots of media to keep up with it and be inspired.

Now, here are my nominees (participation is optional, but I recommend you all visit these fabulous people!) My questions are in my survey above, open to all... (yes, I took the easy way out with that one!)
Doctor Faerie Godmother - Rena Rocford writes witty scifi and fantasy, and blogs about it
Tyrean Martinson - Christian writer and blogger and friend
The Faux Fountain Pen - Sarah Foster shares her struggles as a writer, giving us a good relatable laugh!
Defending the Pen - Yolanda Renee isn't just another pen blog, she encourages other writers and helps host a regular writing prompt - WEP
Positive Letters...inspirational stories... - Hilary Melton-Butcher is one of the most interesting people I virtually know. Her stories are rich with history and fascinating facts!
Kidbits - Tonja Drecker is an amazing mom and her video book reviews are stupendous!!
S.A. Larsen - talking about teen and tween tales

And new friends from Twitter...
Christa Conklin - she discusses writing issues, supporting writers, and the path of her book
M.B. Tosi - A fellow Ohioan, but originally from South Dakota, she writes about Lakota life in the Old West
Amy Eyrie - her blog is full of enlightening sci fi and stranger worlds posts
J.A. Allen - hosts guest posters with great stories, as well as her own

Thanks again, Victoria!
And thank you all for playing!! Results of the survey will be posted Sept 6 for IWSG day - and I get to be a host next month!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hot Answers to #WritersLife survey

It's been four months since my last book event and I'm feeling down for not selling or promoting my books.

Meets 1st Wed of MonthHi, everyone. This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post for this month.

I think I'm in book event withdrawal! I usually do at least an event every other month, but had to cut back this summer, and even this fall with one baseball graduate leaving and now a football senior, losing two in a row. I love supporting them, but I feel very unproductive on the marketing/selling front. Like my books are collecting dust and I should sell them before I write more...

But that's how life goes. I'm cherishing the time I have with my boys, and my time to sell will come to keep me busy when they're on their own. In the meantime, I really appreciate the help several of you have offered, and I will get onto promoting online, now that life is returning to normal after vacation. We had fun on the lake, btw. Here are a few pics -

I always appreciate the support - you all keep me going - in blogging and writing!

Now, for the survey results...

I guess YA is still on top, but the regulars are always around - a good story is always hot!

What is your favorite genre to read?

What is a hot topic to write about?

  • Not sure
  • no idea. life's been too busy to pay attention
  • Supernatural (haunting/ possession)

What have you heard Agents are looking for?

  • Agents seem to be talking about historical novels here - Hilary Mantel and 'down'!

What would YOU like to read a story about?

  • I want more fantasy
  • I still love reading paranormal romance.
  • I just want a story that moves me to feel something. Genre doesn't really matter.
  • I would love to read some dark fiction with strong characterization.
  • I'd love to read more Asian historical fiction.
  • I'd like to read about today's family struggles

Do you write what's hot? Or write what you feel?

What temperature keeps you writing?

Where is/would be your writing getaway?
I loved these answers - very insightful and inspirational!
This month, I'll be asking about Newsletters and Blogs - what do writers do? and does it work? Come back and help fill in the blanks!

PS - If you tripped and I said, "Way to go, Grace." Would you all know what that meant? Or am I dating myself? I guess that's my other insecurity as my young editor doesn't get some of my characters' sarcasm!

Monday, July 17, 2017

New #WritersLife Survey! What's HOT?

Summer usually mean travel and vacations...

This year we let my oldest choose the place for our family vacation, since he's graduating and all. So we are going to a lake and renting a boat - fun stuff and plenty of down time to play games, read, and write! I hope. We are also bringing the girlfriends of my older boys. That will be interesting. But I do like having more girls around--the boys actually behave a little better =)

Summer also means HOT TEMPS! Here's this month's Writer's Life Survey about Hotness!

Did you take the survey? Look for the results at the beginning of next month. 

Where in the world are you this summer? Going far or near? Or taking a Stay-cation?

PS Section...
Thanks for the offers to promote TWO PRINCESSES! (ebook) I'm still coordinating a Facebook Party with a local Signing Party for August or Sept.

Also thanks for the offers to read and review DISPOSAL! If you're interested, let me know! Release Blog Tour form coming soon.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

#Writerslife lightning round results

*** Happy Independence Day! ***
4th of July selfie
with my son's American Flag sunglasses!
Well, we're smack dab in the middle of summer here in the Midwest. I must be enjoying it, because it's flying by. But I'm excited to share that I'm getting loads of writing done! (Big News at the end of the post)

Meets 1st Wed of MonthFor this month's IWSG post, I've been trying not to worry about my lowly writer status in the big writing world picture. Fortunately, I've had a few breadcrumbs of hope from strangers that's boosted me since I've taken the summer off from book events, painful as that's been. So, I keep pushing myself to write more and venture into more media... The only thing that will stop me from succeeding is if I give up. And I hope you all are making positive progress, no matter which phase of writing you're in.

Good luck and keep writing!

I also continue to be encouraged by more people taking my Writer's Life surveys each month - and I love the results! Here's the latest---

The red and blue seem appropriate for July. And this month, I will give my amateur statistical analysis...
  • With the majority, I consider myself a multi-tasker, though I'm not sure that's a good thing. Spreading ourselves thinner over a bunch of separate projects means the projects get done at a slower rate. Hmm.
  • I like the 50/50 splits - plotter v. panster, slow v. fast reader, morning v. not! - we writers can't be pigeon-holed!
  • I'm one of the few who likes to write my outline/first draft in a notebook - I love scribbling and doodling and using multiple colors - and especially making maps. I feel it's easier to look back and forth... plus, I can do it anywhere. Recently, I typed a first draft on my ipad for WINDY HOLLOW. I liked knowing my word count, but I still used a notebook for the rough draft.
  • Not surprised by these majorities - pen over pencil, college-ruled over wide-ruled, more righties than lefties, and coffee is awesome!
  • Was surprised by paper book over ebook - I thought everyone was going digital. Nice to see we're not!
  • Lastly, the social media. I will have to do a separate survey just for that. I didn't have blogging on my original form, but a friend pointed out it's a widely used social media, especially by us writers. I guess my intent was to see which other social medias float a writer's boat? And in that field, by my small survey, Twitter beat out Facebook. So is less more? Or is Twitter more of a meeting strangers in a night club and therefore more exciting, while Facebook is more of a family and friends barbecue where you go to catch up? Yes, definitely a whole set of questions needs to be asked!
And so, I hope you will look for my next survey toward the middle of the month.

Finally, I self-published the second novella in my Unconventional Princesses series...


Deja was a happy, trouble-making troll, until she was exiled from her home under the mountains for her perilous pranks. Now she must serve a frilly human, Princess Calleah who's locked in a tall tower to keep suitors away. The Two Princesses from opposite sides of the Valley become unlikely friends in their seclusion, but when the time comes for Calleah to fulfill her duty, their bond is put to the test by propriety, princes, and parents. Deja doesn't take any gruff and will give it right back to protect Calleah, no matter the cost.

JOLISSA - An Anti-Princess Story is UnPrincess #1

I'm planning a release party at a local children's consignment shop in August. Should be cute! Plus a Facebook party... never done one, so we'll see how that goes - you're all invited!
I'll send a free e-copy of either novella to anyone who asks in the comments. Reviews are gold coins to authors!

The self-pub process continues to evolve and I continue to learn. And Amazon continues to grow, extending it's tentacles into every aspect of life! They're making movies and shows for goodness sake! I hope to take advantage of their new ventures...

Happy July!

PS - my quarterly newsletter for the summer is out!