Wednesday, August 7, 2019

How to Organize a #Successful #BookLaunch

It may not be the end of summer, but with school around the corner, it's the end of MY summer... And though I had a rocky start, it's finished out fantabulous! I turned bad news into an opportunity and published my 6th book with more re-publishings on the way. With the Windy Hollow Release Tour complete, it's time to talk about results and PRIZES!

First, I'll give it to you by the numbers...Over the 45 days of my release tour:
  • 563 likes, tweets, posts, and chat participants from my awesome volunteers!
    • which averages to: 80 shout-outs per week!
  • 7 average number of #WedWrant participants per week -- a big hit! (more info in a min)
  • 1073 views of my blog posts
Not only did I reconnect and strengthen relationships with established friends, I also made several new ones!
  • Many new followers on social media
  • New subscribers to youtube channel and newsletter
  • Lots of new connections via guest post comments
And for today's IWSG post, I'm sharing my process.

Success is a relative term. Many people judge success by how many books are sold. And I am pleased to say that the first books in each of my series are always good sellers at events, with previous readers asking for the sequels when I return. But for this release tour, my previous books were whisked away and it's up to me to re-publish them...

As a loner with many responsibilities, and the setbacks I've had to deal with lately, I consider gaining exposure and building connections a big success. Here's how I did it:
  1. Put out Feelers--I asked my friends way in advance if they could help me. Then I asked them how and when they'd be able to help, like:
    • host a guest post
    • shout-out on social media
    • read an ARC for review
    • make a video! like this one Sheri Larsen and I did...It was so fun! We really put ourselves out there--and now that we've tried it, I'm looking forward to more!
    • I also offered a prize drawing for my helpers (see below for winner)
    • An online Form is the way to go!
  2. Organize--I use a calendar and I set reminders. It's the only way I can keep up with everything.
  3. Get Social! Besides the regular guest posts, I took this Release Tour a bit further:
    • Mon - blog posts
    • Tues - Insta/FB/Twitter
    • Wed - CHAT day-#WedWrant
      • #WEDWRANT - we had a blast with this and we WILL GO ON! I had a tremendous response to keep it going. So I will continue to send reminders to those who responded. Feel free to let me know if you'd like to be added to the reminder list!
    • Thu - Insta/FB/Twitter
    • Fri - Videos and misc
    • I planned topics, used old and created new graphics/images, and posted my butt off!
    • Hootsuite made it so easy to schedule posts.
    • And to help my helpers, I sent out emails of things they could post
  4. Challenge the people - I hosted a mini-meme (haha) challenge. It was spur of the moment, so not a lot of participants, but I got tons of visitors!
  5. Offer Gifts--I usually do a Rafflecopter, not sure if they draw attention as well as they used to, but I got some new views that way too.
All in all, I had a hugely productive summer and hope to continue to gain more ground, if at a slower pace. With school about to start, I will have to cut way back to my normal once a month post for a while. But I plan to nourish the new connections and keep promoting, or I'll be forgotten. That's how it is in today's fast-paced world--go and keep going or get left behind. The more active I was, the more attention I received. If you have time, go for it!

This is all thanks to my awesome writer friends and helpers. I couldn't have gotten this extra exposure without your help. Everyone who helped is getting some personalized note stationary! Like these:

And the BIG WINNER of my Helpers Raffle is:

And lastly, here are the winners of my giveaway...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you! And I'd love to help YOU!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Things I love about #Atlanta

Just got back from my favorite place, Atlanta, GA! Every time I cross into Georgia, it welcomes me home. And it's especially dear to my heart because I got married there and my parents still live there. If you've never been, you must go!

Here's a little list of the things I love about Atlanta...
  • Finding shortcuts and driving opposite traffic - many folks complain about the traffic, and it is definitely horrendous if you have to go with the stop-and-go flow at rush hour. But there are so many shortcuts, if you know your way around.
  • The trees and nature - majestic, green, towering, shady trees -- especially nice around a hot ball field! Nowhere else are there trees like these. And I love zipping around on windy, hilly roads. Plus, there always seems to be a cool creek around the corner... and my parents have it all in their backyard!
  • The neighborhoods - there are some grand old homes and beautiful new estates. It's fun to just drive around and look.
  • The restaurants - from eclectic to down-home southern, there's always something new to try. Not only is the food delicious, but the atmosphere is always inviting, with outdoor seating available almost year-round. And many of the restaurants are unique to the area.
  • The low cost - everything is less expensive in Georgia. You can find pricey places to eat and shop, but you don't have to!
  • A fast-paced city with a slow, relaxed southern attitude - get there fast and enjoy your time while you're there.
  • Friendly southern hospitality - service with a smile most of the time, which seems to be harder and harder to find these days.
  • Tons to do - from sports: the Braves, Falcons, and Hawks; to the sites like the magnificent Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke, and Underground Atlanta; to entertainment and parks: The Fabulous Fox Theater and Six Flags over Georgia, plus outdoor theaters, festivals, and more!
  • The rich diversity - culture, harmony, history. I taught in Atlanta for a few years and I thoroughly enjoyed all my students. Kids are all the same with loads of potential no matter where they're from or what they look like.
Here are a few pics from my Atlanta travels... (over the past few years)
my dad added on a lower deck
--it was finished and screened-in this year =)
can you see the deer?
from the screened-in porch!
spotted some duckies while hiking

me by the Chattahoochee River

gorgeous trees in the spring
but watch out for allergies!

my friend Tina and I
at the Flying Biscuit Cafe
I brought home some cranberry apple butter - mmm
Do you have a favorite place to visit? Ever been to Atlanta?

BUT WAIT! I have a special announcement!
The winner of my writer meme challenge is Juneta Key! Here's her creative, funny meme!

And her avatar prize...
Juneta Key
speculative fiction author

Now, here's a funny thing: I'm at her place today for the last stop on my Windy Hollow Release Tour!
The topic was a surprise, but now it's here so I can tell you... 

I hope you have time to stop by. Have a great week!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

#WriterLift MEME Challenge with #Prizes

For the next week I'm challenging everyone to create a writerly MEME that's funny, inspiring, or encouraging, and the best will win a prize!

Here's watcha do:
  • Make a funny, inspirational, or snarky writerly meme from one of your own photos or something online. Here's a sample:
  • Send it to my email (taratylertalks at gmail) or post it online (just be sure to tag me @taratylertalks if posting it somewhere)
  • Dates to Post MEMEs: July 10-20
  • Winners announced: Monday July 22

3 Prizes of A Cartoon You Avatar for:

the Best, the Funniest, and the Most Creative!

Post as much as you like, whenever and wherever. I hosted this challenge with Christine Rains and C. Lee McKenzie as a blog hop a few years ago and will be sharing those great MEMEs as examples too.

How To Create a MEME:
  1. Use a Make a Meme website - I listed a few, never knew there were so many!
  2. OR Use your own program you're familiar with. Photoshop, etc. I use Powerpoint because it's user friendly and I've been using it for years...
    • Choose a photo
    • Add some words (IMPACT is the traditional meme font, but you can use whatever)
    • Keep your quip short!
    • Make sure you can read it!
    • Select your meme pic and words, then Right Click and Save as a picture
    • If needed you can crop it (in a photo program or insert the meme pic back into ppt, it crops images too!)
Also wanted to mention, Windy Hollow & Beast World blog tour going on for a little longer... Stop by these awesome blogs, if you have a chance!

7/15 - Tyrean Martinson - on Hiking - with some throwback pics!
7/17 - Julie Flanders - Gotta Have Friends - includes writer friend pics!

Happy Meme-ing! Can't wait to see yours!!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Get your research on! #IWSG Anthology Contest

It’s a summer of writing. Research is enlightening, in more ways than just looking up past facts.

I’ve been working on my IWSG Anthology Contest submission. I love MG and came up with a fun story. but with historical, I needed to bone up on my history!

Historical fiction requires a ton of knowledge if you want to get your story done right. You have to know exactly where and when things happened, who was there, and how you can insert your fictional characters into the scenes of the past.

The research has been taking up a lot more time than I thought it would. Every time I figure something out, it raises another question. Thank goodness for BING! (I don’t google, I root for the underdog) But I don’t mind all the research because I’m learning so much!

My research has shown me the conviction and tragedies our forefathers endured for freedom. Today’s youth would ne’er dain to glimpse an understanding of it and how it has affected their soft lifestyles. We are so spoiled and whiny.

I love history teachers who enlighten students and not just dispense boring facts and dates—we need more of them. It would also help if we had more parents who didn’t generalize history as “boring”. It’s really frustrating when people don’t research their history before spouting off on twitter—some of the ignorance on there is astounding and contagious! But I’m not about to get political, that’s not why I’m here. I just want knowledge to be spread!


Writing fantasy doesn’t require much historical research, but it does involve creating a logical history for a backstory...Like Beast World! Please visit my lovely friends hosting me on my Windy Hollow blog tour this week!
7/8 - Christine Rains - Levels of Romance
7/10 - Heather M. Gardner - Binge Watching TV

I have a lot of travel this month, so I can't tell you how much I appreciate you guys being in my corner!

And don't forget the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you do historical? Do you love to research?
Happy Writing!

Monday, July 1, 2019

How to generate #buzz for your books!

I'm no expert on this subject, but I know if you keep trying, squeaking, honking, waving your arms, and shouting--eventually you'll get noticed! I'm looking for more and better ways to do that, and for this month's IWSG post, I want to share with you what I found...

When you're ready to release your book, has a great checklist to help you get started. I condensed it and added a few of my own tidbits. The full list is here.
  1. Recruit helpers! Other writers, book bloggers, family, friends, anyone willing. These folks can help with a COVER REVEAL and on RELEASE DAY and with a RELEASE TOUR - whether in person or online.
  2. Prepare yourself. Have a great SYNOPSIS/BLURB, compelling QUOTES from your book and from reviewers, up-to-date BIO and SOCIAL MEDIA HEADERS, and swell SWAG for GIVEAWAYS
  3. Seek Book Buzzers! We all know reviews are imperative, but they can be hard to get! I follow Reedsy, and recently they gave some great advice on CREATING BOOK BUZZ!
    • Build relationships with these important book buzzers. And start as soon as possible! Follow, like, watch, comment--which means you need to choose people you connect with, who would be a good fit for your book, and who are active online.
    • Here's a list of Review Book Bloggers
    • Here's a list of BOOKTUBERS!
    • For example, check out the 4 booktubers I subscribed to after watching a slew. They're spunky, insightful, active, and love to read!
  4. Create Extras: take SPECIAL BOOK PICS, tie in items readers can use like COLLECTIONS, KNICK KNACKS, HOBBIES, RECIPES--in WINDY HOLLOW I made up a GAME. Take vids or pics of yourself or make MEMEs for your characters or quotes, and if you can, make a BOOK TRAILER. These are great for PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, and GIVEAWAYS
  6. Don't Forget - THANK all your helpers and buzzers & ENJOY EVERY MINUTE!
And I'm very excited to have ELLEN JACOBSON - she's releasing a tasty, cozy mystery... and she's a great example of how an author can generate BUZZ!

Poisoned by the Pier—A Cozy Mystery for Serious Chocolate Addicts 

One of the things the readers of the Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery series often say is, “Boy, Mollie sure does eat a lot of chocolate!” It’s true, she does. She always has a bag of chocolate in her purse and she’s constantly stopping by Penelope’s Sugar Shack bakery for brownies.

I try to live vicariously through Mollie’s chocolate consumption. These days, when you’re a woman of a {ahem} certain age like me, it’s a constant battle between chocolate cravings and trying to keep your tummy from resembling a muffin top. I’ve been trying not to eat as many sugary treats these days and when I get a craving for some M&M’S or a chocolate cupcake, I write it into a scene instead of succumbing to temptation. At least I try to. Sadly, I’m not always successful.

In my latest book, Poisoned by the Pier, Mollie’s husband, Scooter, tries to convince her that they should eat healthier. She’s not buying it. In fact, she thinks the media is trying to cover up the fact that eating multiple chocolate bars on a daily basis is good for you.

I had a lot of fun writing the passage below.

What about you? Do you love chocolate and sugary treats like Mollie and I do? If you want to find out more about how Mollie copes with going on a diet while solving a murder mystery, grab a copy of Poisoned by the Pier. Details below.

Poisoned by the Pier Now Available!

Poisoned by the Pier, the third book in the Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery series, is now available in ebook, paperback, and large print.

Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play

When Mollie's husband signs the two of them up for an extreme diet, she's not amused. When someone ends up poisoned by a cake, things get even worse.

While she tries to identify the killer, Coconut Cove’s annual boating festival is in full swing. In between getting ready for her first sailing race and cheating on her diet, Mollie and her cat, Mrs. Moto, uncover clues, interview suspects, and do their best to avoid rutabagas.

Can Mollie nab the killer before someone else is poisoned?

If you like quirky characters, adorable cats, and plenty of chocolate, you'll love this cozy mystery. Pick up a copy of Poisoned by the Pier and laugh out loud from the first page to the last. 

New to the Series?

If you're new to the series, you might want to start with Murder at the Marina. Now is the perfect opportunity as the ebook is on sale for 99c/99p for a limited time.

Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play

About the Author

Ellen Jacobson lives on a sailboat with her husband and an imaginary cat named Simon. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she writes cozy mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy stories.

Connect with Ellen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Blog
Sign up for: her newsletter

I just downloaded the first book, MURDER AT THE MARINA
Perfect read for my Florida vacay! Excited to read the whole series!

One more thing, the WINDY HOLLOW Release Blog Tour marches on...

7/3 - Alex J. Cavanaugh - IWSG Day - Fantasy Movies
7/4 - Tonja Drecker - Independence Day! - Kids in Books

Don't forget to enter the giveaway! (Upgraded)

Last bits & pieces...
My newsletter also came out today - there's a great picture of my visit with Christine Rains!
And thanks, S.A. Larsen! She featured Windy Hollow in her latest newsletter.

Thanks for making it to the end of this loooong post! Stay cool!

Monday, June 24, 2019

How to stay sane as a creative genius

Many people favor one side of their brain or the other, or at least many people think that's how it works...

an article from Psychology Today states:
"...theory about the brain suggests that people who are left brain dominant are more quantitative, logical, and analytical, while right-brained individuals are more emotional, intuitive, and creative free spirits; however, there is no evidence to support these classifications. On the contrary, most behaviors and abilities require the right and left side of the brain to work together to achieve a common objective."

My right brain was surprised to read this, but my left brain was not (haha). With this in mind (groan), it takes a versatile person to be a creative genius--someone who can use both sides of their brain in harmony.

Then, another question came to mind: Why do so many creative geniuses seem to have psychological afflictions? Is there a correlation? After doing a minimal amount of research, most of the articles I read said that though many famous geniuses seemed to share a thread of mental illness of some kind, there was no conclusive evidence to suggest an artist needs to suffer to achieve greatness.

My logical side says:
The human mind is fragile and complex. Being a creative person for a living, you are constantly judged. All that negativity and rejection can do two main things: 1) damage your psyche and 2) push you to be better. That's where I believe the relationship lies. Anyone who can't handle the criticisms and callous judgments might give up and never achieve greatness. It's only those who persevere through harsh words and subjective comments, putting emotion and strength back into their work that become incredible artists.

Lately, several artistic friends have been going through doubt, dry spells, and depression. I'm amazed at how many, really. But I believe every one of them will reach success as creative geniuses because they are sticking with it. I applaud them and pray for them and hope this small bit of logical encouragement helps them understand themselves a little better and proves to them how great they can be. How great YOU can be!

Believe in yourself!!

And as we continue with the WINDY HOLLOW -- Beast World #3 Release Tour...
Last week, in case you missed it...
6/20 - Heather Holden - Reverse Interview, I interviewed the Artist
6/22 - Ellen Jacobson - Fun Interview
Here are the stops this week:
6/24 - Patricia Lynne - Keeping Magic Alive
6/26 - MJ Fifield - Fantasy World-Building

I hope you'll stop by for some Magical, Fantastical Fun!
And don't forget to join in the Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 17, 2019

WINDY HOLLOW - I did it!

Beast World MG Fantasy Series, book #3
by Tara Tyler
Available NOW!

In BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, Gabe and his friends go on a quest to save their school, blowing up all the rules, and discover their origins.

Then they go to CRADLE ROCK and meet some real live humans, scaring them into attack mode. The Beasts realize they have to spread the truth ASAP.

Now, school's out, and Gabe is ready for a break from all the drama...

Gabe and his friends fly over the Great Sea for the wedding of the century: a dragon prince and a beautiful harpy. But Gabe can't relax on this vacation. Besides competing in rigorous wedding events, he overhears the nearby human village WINDY HOLLOW is in danger from an evil human scientist and a vengeful were-ogre experimenting on beasts. Gabe and his friends risk crossing the mountains to help, despite several warnings. 

Maybe he's going too far this time, but he's in too deep to quit. It's do or die, hopefully not die!

After agonizing delays and finally accepting the inevitable, I took my rights back and published Windy Hollow myself. Now, I have to see what's what the rest of my books so I can re-publish them! All in all, it's not been too terrible. And those older books could all use a tune-up anyway. We get better and better with each book, right?

For now, I am soooo excited to have several friends helping me spread the news about WINDY HOLLOW! Check out my Release Blog Tour schedule where I'll be interviewed, guest posting, and more!

6/20 - Heather Holden - Reverse Interview, How does she Create such Awesome Art?
6/22 - Ellen Jacobson - Interview with some surprising questions!
6/24 - Patricia Lynne - Keeping Magic Alive
6/26 - MJ Fifield - Fantasy World-Building
6/30 - SA Larsen - Special Newsletter & a Vlog?!
7/1 - My IWSG post with updates and a Special Guest!
7/3 - Alex J. Cavanaugh - IWSG Day - Fantasy Movies
7/4 - Tonja Drecker - Independence Day! - Kids in Books
7/8 - Christine Rains - Levels of Romance
7/10 - Heather M. Gardner - Binge Watching TV
7/15 - Tyrean Martinson - Hiking!
7/17 - Julie Flanders - Gotta Have Friends
*7/22 - Juneta Key - Surprise Post! (she doesn't even know what it's about yet!)

I'm overwhelmed with appreciation. I'd never be able to do this alone. So glad to have this generous community offering time and talents!

And of course, there's a giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by and playing. Your support is priceless!

Monday, June 10, 2019

How to Self-Publish the RIGHT way!

The traditional route to getting your book published is painstaking, time-consuming, and full of rejection. The only difference between that and self-publishing is the rejection.

While I go through the process of self-publishing Windy Hollow, I'm taking you along for the ride! (ps - Here's a form if you're interested in helping me with my Campaign or Windy Hollow's release)

Steps to Self-publishing:
  1. Write a phenomenal book - I have lots of posts on that...
  2. Edit - Hire a professional - the more eyes & critiques, the better, plus a technical/grammatical final look.
  3. the Cover - I've already given my two cents on covers, here. A definite must to get professional help, especially if you want/need artwork.
And today, I'm talking in general about Formatting.

Once you have polished the contents of your book, you have to go back through and delete stray formatting extras, like extra tabs or spaces. All paragraphs should be uniformly formatted with automatic indentations and spacing. You will have to forget about "Select All" if you need to make changes to margins, line spacing, paragraphs, etc. once you start getting it ready for publication.

There is so much involved in Formatting for publication! Just look at the first 4-5 pages of any book. Title page, copyright/publisher page, dedication page, and the dreaded Table of Contents... which I guess could be optional, but is preferred for some genres like fantasy and sci-fi and middle grade. These pages conform to no formatting used in the rest of the book and are usually not numbered.

You also have to consider that the top of each page alternates between the title of the book and the author's name. Even/Odd page headers are easy enough to deal with, but when you throw in each new chapter page, it throws everything off! New chapter pages do NOT have a header. It's best to start chapters as a new "section" which can be designated with "different first page header" and conveniently linked back to the Table of Contents. I haven't tried linking to the TOC yet, I didn't have the patience, so I did it manually.

If you have any cool/fancy images for new chapters and/or breaks within the chapter or illustrations, those also need special attention. Each one should be checked and re-checked to make sure they all look the same.

At the end of your book are the Acknowledgments and Author Page, plus any other info you want to include. As with the first few pages, these pages each get their own format, usually without a header.

Not too bad, right? Ha! I almost went cross-eyed checking all the formatting. Little things kept popping up and I'd have to re-check the whole thing again to see if the flaws were anywhere else in the book. And there's a whole other set of rules for print pub vs e-pub!

I like to write this stuff down for myself as it's usually a long while between publications and I tend to forget what-all is involved. Hope it helps!

I also want to make a special announcement! My wonderful and brilliant romance writer friend, Elizabeth Seckman recently published her latest novel! Perfect for Father's Day!

by Elizabeth Seckman

Sarah Andrews can hold her own in a courtroom, but when it comes to love, she’s 0-3 and Rich Cooper was her biggest loss to date. 

Now available!

Elizabeth is a mom, a wife, and the caretaker of far too many pets, all of whom her children swore they'd take care of. But they went off to college leaving fur babies in their place. She is a multi-published author of women's fiction and romance. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Life is a bully - always kicking you when you're down

2019 has been a brutal year in my writing life, and there's even more turmoil ahead...

Over the next few months, I'm going to publish WINDY HOLLOW myself. I'm also going to try to get my previous books back and publishable so I can go sell them at events. My heart broke not being able to go to Ohioana this year. I'm trying very hard to be strong in this transition. And since I recently accepted a permanent teaching position--we need $$ to live--I will have very little time during the school year to work on writing. I guess the balance of writing/teaching had to be achieved. Thank you fate, life, yin-yang, Murphy's Law, etc. You suck.

Unfortunately, that's not all. My rant isn't over, so hold onto your seat. This is an IWSG post for the ages...

You see, recovery from losing all my books at once was a blow I could handle, I saw it coming and prepared myself. But as my title suggests, I'm being kicked while I'm trying to get back up off the floor.

The same day my army son drove away to move to his new home base, I saw this...

coming out in 2020
THIS IS BEAST WORLD!! It's SO NOT FAIR! And it's Chris Pratt, my fave actor! Though the story line is a little different, they're teenager fantasy creatures who live in a suburban fantasy world with no humans, going on a quest - HELLO! That is BEAST WORLD! AHHHHHHH!!!!! Wahhh. Oh, and here's their cool trailer. I'm so UPSET!

Those two main characters, Ian and Barley are so close to my camp guides, Trevor and Bonk in CRADLE ROCK. Onward could be their sideline story!
I know this happens sometimes, but to this degree?? It's such a stab to my heart! So what do I do about it? My publisher couldn't even keep their $#!+ together to publish my third book. I've been sent back to the start, slipped down the longest Chute without a Ladder.

Well, I'll tell you what I'm going to do about it. I'm going to go on a campaign to be heard. The least they can do is enlist my writing skills in adapting my Beast World series for sequels!! Right? Well, maybe that's the most they can do. But they have to do something! Anything! It's so not fair that no one can breach the realms of big productions from little hometowns in "flyover" states. I'm not young, I'm not rich, I have no connections, and I have so many responsibilities that I can't just pick up and leave. But I have ambition, determination, and will power. I can't give up. Just like my DARN AWESOME CHARACTERS - I will find a way!

As you know, I always look for a solution and try to find the positives. So through tear-filled eyes and self-pitying sniffles, here is what I came up with...
  • I have the tools--technology, social media, terrific books already written with publish dates before their measly idea was born
  • I have more time--it's summer! though I always have a ton to do, my kids are self-sufficient and I don't have to plan or grade until August... two months of as much writing stuff as I can cram in!
  • I have you guys--I know I've been pretty lame at visiting other blogs, but I always offer my services and shout outs. I don't like asking for something without offering something in return! Here's a volunteer FORM if you have time to help here and there this summer, easy stuff!
Maybe this was the kick in the pants I needed. Maybe I can get one of those people to notice me--they are just people after all. Things happen for a reason and we usually don't know why until we get to the end result (Life, you still suck).

So, Dragons as pets? We'll change that to "drakes" because the real Dragons will make a big appearance in the next one. Just you wait!

Thanks, you guys. I needed that. More news soon. It's going to be a busy summer.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Why Writers are Important!!

First, a great big shout out for the latest IWSG Anthology:

Masquerade: Oddly Suited -- NOW AVAILABLE!

Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/Contemporary
Print ISBN 9781939844644  $14.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844651  $4.99

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual companion or a date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Barnes & Noble - Amazon - iTunes - Kobo - Goodreads

Check it out!!

And now for my IWSG post -


If you want to be a writer, prepare yourself for disappointment, heartache, and rejection. You must have thick skin to take the criticism and low ratings of others. It requires steadfastness and perseverance. You must accept working long hours for no pay. Frustration is also a big part of writing.

And in this day and age, CHANGE is the only CONSTANT.

If you still want to be a writer, if your heart and passion won't be swayed, the public thanks you. Writers provide everyone with an escape from everyday lives. Writing is the basis of knowledge: from the foundations of history to the promises of the future in our world and beyond. There would be no movies, television shows, or books without writers. Writers inspire, educate, and encourage the rest of the world to do great things and be greater people.

Thank you for being a writer. When life gets you down, keep writing. Despite all the negatives, it truly is worth it!

I'm trying to look at the bright side and figure out how to move on now that my publisher is officially closed. I can't order any of my books and no one is responding, not even our distributor. It's been a very tough several months. Luckily I have the cover and the formatted copies, so I am going through with self-publishing WINDY HOLLOW, but it won't be until this summer... I still have to make some tweaks and time is not on my side.

Thanks for your support you guys! Hope things are well with you!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Do you have what agents are looking for?

Time for another IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) session. This month, I'm spilling my guts about how to snag an agent. Uh, no. I haven't snagged one yet myself, but I did snag an editor/publisher. Similar, yet more difficult. Agents are a different breed.

Soon I will be asking myself if I have what agents are looking for when I venture out with my latest WIP. I feel like I have to start over. Maybe that's why this one is taking me so long, not looking forward to the tsunami of rejections ahead of me. But nothing is guaranteed in life, right? Change comes whether we like it or not, we just have to deal with it.

So, I wanted to offer a couple of ways to peek at what agents are thinking...

First, is the very insightful: #MSWishList - where agents spout off story ideas they'd love to see written and offered to them. Trouble is, you have to have what they're looking for right then because sooner than you can write your first draft, they'll come up with a new twist, and yours will be so last month! The best approach is to see if anyone is seeking something you've already written or started.

Second, enter Twitter pitch contests. Like:
#PitMad - where writers tweet a 280-character pitch for their completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts. Agents and editors make requests by liking/favoriting the tweeted pitch. Every unagented writer is welcome to pitch. All genres/categories are welcomed. Upcoming dates are:

June 6, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
September 5, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
December 5, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EST)

#PitchWars, schedule is as follows:

6/24 Mentor Applications Open
7/8 Mentor Applications Close
8/12 Mentors Announced
9/11-25 Mentor Wishlists Posted
9/25-27 Submissions Open
11/3 Mentees Announced
2/5-10 Agent Showcase

and the IWSG has a pitch event as well! Missed it this year, but the next #IWSGPit contest will be in January 2020 (Date - TBA, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm EST)

Last - Research. Always do a search for agents in your genre. Almost all of them have a list of what they are seeking on their websites, though some don't update them as often as they should. And many do interviews where they talk about the industry as well as what they're looking for, like on Writer's Digest.

So good luck to us all. Expect the worst and you won't feel as bad from the rejections. But hang in there, your perfect match agent will find you! And we will all do the silly celebration dance for you!


Happy April! And yay for Spring!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

We have a Cover! - Why a Fantastic Cover is Crucial

First, I want to share my totally awesome, shiny new WINDY HOLLOW Cover!

I'm so enamored! enchanted! encouraged! I have to thank my wonderful, talented cover artist Ricky Gunawan--he's a genius! Covers are vital. Even for ebooks. Covers set the mood of your book, give a glimpse of what adventures await inside, and help readers make up their minds to buy it! So for IWSG this month, I decided to share some tips for great covers...

"Remember: Most people in book publishing believe that a cover is a book’s No. 1 marketing tool." Writers' Digest

Cover Tips I love, from Writers' Digest, KoboWrititngLife, and 99Designs

  • TITLE - Big and easy to read. Keep it simple. And pick a solid font--nothing too fancy or silly, unless your book is a joke book!
  • ART - hire a professional. Or pay for a photo. Don't chintz! Don't frame images. Don't scare readers with crazy colors.
  • AVOID CLICHES - No sunrises, no sunsets, no ocean beaches or fluffy clouds...
  • THINK LIKE A READER - and know your audience. Take a poll on social media.
  • LURE READERS IN - make them feel something, send a message without spelling it out
  • GET FEEDBACK - keep an open mind, listen, and go with your gut

Sounds easy, right? No, I know. It's immensely hard! Your vision isn't the same as your friends or readers. And these are just guidelines to help. If your book is set on a beach -- a beach on the cover works!

Yes, I have a cover, but I don't have a release date yet. Here's hoping and here's the blurb...

WINDY HOLLOW, Beast World: Book 3

Gabe just can't stay out of trouble, even when he's just trying to help.

It's summer break and the young beasts are riding dragons across the Great Sea for a week-long wedding extravaganza. But Gabe suspects Professor Hardaway is up to something more serious behind all the festivities. Sneaking around and eavesdropping, Gabe discovers news of a human village across the mountains--Windy Hollow--and they might be in trouble from the mysterious activity at the old castle above the Mist.

Despite the professor's warnings, Gabe and his friends venture over, risking more than they realize when they get caught up in the dangerous experiments of a deranged scientist who's recruited a large, vengeful beast. Gabe wonders if he's gone too far this time, but he's in too deep to quit. It's do or die, hopefully not die!

And lastly, more encouraging NEWS!
I was honored to be featured in, not one, but TWO high school newspapers!

  • The school where I'm currently teaching is Badin High School -- article
  • Mason High School is where my older boys graduated, and I sub frequently there -- article
Thanks for hanging out! Enjoy the rest of the month. I'm cutting back on posts until things settle down with work and getting Windy Hollow published... Hope things are well with you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Read all about it!

Time for IWSG February installment. I'm really struggling to figure out what to do about my books. I'm trying to stay positive that my 6th book will be published SOON, but it's very difficult when so many of my compadres are in sour spirits!

Then finally, I got some GOOD NEWS!

Firstly, I went ahead and commissioned the new cover for WINDY HOLLOW myself with the same artist who creatively crafted the covers of the first two books in the series. He's fabulous! He already sent me a terrific sketch and he captured the image I pictured perfectly. Can't wait to share it (and hopefully set a release date SOON!)

Good news #2 - I entered another Janet Reid Flash Contest--and I came in the top five, with some much needed positive feedback! And I also won a book--Yay! It was great to see Madeline Mora-Summonte got honorable mention in the contest too!

Then I realized that Ms. Reid is the best at giving authors cold hard facts and solid advice that works! So I sent her a question as I debate what my next step will be with my books... Basically, I asked if another publisher might be willing to pick up my series. I have a feeling that since my sales are but a trickle, it would probably be a No. But I look forward to her advice--Here's what she said...

So my dear IWSGers, the writing business has its ups and downs and we just have to deal with it and keep going. There are times when things get downright depressing. Then there are the moments of wonderful and surprising uplifts, so don't give up!

Keep Writing!

Monday, January 14, 2019

True Apocalypse

When I started this post, I intended to write about how to create a better apocalypse story. With all the tragedies in the world lately--uncontrollable fires, devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, and so many other world tragedies--I was going to relate the true apocalypse of losing everything and starting over in real life to sci-fi world destruction apocalyptic writing. I feel terrible for all those whose lives have been turned upside-down, with surviving as their first priority.

I had lots more to say, but now I have some depressing news myself... not apocalyptic, but still sad.

Lately, I've mentioned here and in my newsletter that my publisher Curiosity Quills has been going through a rough patch. It feels like the entire industry is at an all-time low. People just don't seem to read like they used to with all the other forms of high-speed, attention-grabbing, immediate-response entertainment at their fingertips. Anyway, CQ isn't going under or folding just yet, but they are definitely reorganizing, leaning toward primarily e-book publishing. And many of its authors are taking their rights and running. Funny thing, Susan Gourley/Kelley recently posted about both these turmoils--lack of readers and failing publishers!

With the release of Windy Hollow so close, I'm trying to stick it out, but it has been put on hold temporarily. It's just about ready, but there are a few items that need to be resolved. I have informed my faithful friends and Street Team helping me with my release blog tour. And as soon as I have any news, I will be blasting it. Hopefully it will be very soon!

I still want to give a shout out--this week it's to my fellow CQ commiserate...

Rena Rocford is what happens when a Mad Scientist writes books, has a kid, and herds cats with helicopters--results may vary. She writes Science Fiction and Fantasy for all ages.

Her first book Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon is available now from all major book retailers with sequels and more books on the burner.

I love Rena's sense of humor and writing style--her stories are awesome! We've been writing and bloggy buds for quite a while. I feel partially responsible for her joining CQ by talking it up, and it was great for a time... You can read about the twists in her publishing adventure on her blog.

I'll keep pressing onward.
Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

How to set writing goals in 2019

1/1/2019 -- Just another day? I like to see it as the promise of a new beginning. For some, it's a continuation of your story, maybe just a new chapter. My last chapter was quite tumultuous with moving, kids returning to the roost, and the holidays all bombarding us at once. Some days, I didn't know if I would make it. But here I am, back for a new beginning of a new chapter.

I even squeezed in some writing--subbing day-to-day, I find spots of down time, and it's a blessing to leave the house stress for a bit!

So as we press on and look ahead to a new year, it's time to set some writing goals--the topic of my IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) post for this month.

How to Set (& Achieve) Writing Goals - version 2019
  1. What do you want to get done? Jot some things down, make a list. Then prioritize what you want to accomplish first. Use pencil or a computer doc... change is inevitable.
  2. How much time do you have to work with? Life always comes first, and usually second and third. Writing usually has to take a back seat, but don't let it be forgotten. You need to make time for you, just be reasonable about it.
  3. Don't procrastinate. If you don't feel like writing some days, that's okay. And the list is more of a guideline, you can jump around on it and add to or take away from it throughout the year. Just don't stick the list into a drawer only to find it next December wishing you'd done more on it! Plan to do a little each day.
  4. Limit the Social Media temptation. Checking SM too often brings me down--no new likes or mentions this hour :( And posting all the time to receive more responses takes away time from real writing. My snippet SM advice: it's a great tool, but use it sparingly; remember, you get from it what you give, so lower your expectations; and I've found if I set aside a time to schedule posts for the week, I get more out of them later.
  5. Be realistic. Writing is a long distance marathon, you need to have stamina and deal with all the bumps in the road (or find a way around the chasms!) You can reach the goal, but only if you keep going!
Here are my major writing goals for this year... the list helps me focus on writing toward the goals every day and every way I can!
  • WINDY HOLLOW Release is 1/29/19 and I'm planning the Blog Tour - I made a Book Trailer for it! -- If you'd like to help out, here's the FORM (Fingers crossed my publisher holds it together to get this one out there--after that, the future looks dim. Read my NEWSLETTER for the full update...)
  • Submit FARTHER ALONG to betas/CPs this Spring, then polish to gleaming and Query by Summer/Fall.
  • Finish UnPrincess Story #4 GERTRUDE and self-publish this Summer. Seeking artists for this and future projects.
  • Type first draft of Pop Travel #4 - POWER OF SUGGESTION or CONDUCTION - still debating on the title - by Spring/Summer, then on to betas and CPs.
And I haven't forgotten my Shout Out of the Week!

She's a boss! With a super cute book about a baby bossie (haha) I've known Julie for several years and love it when we can get together for events or just do lunch. I'm lucky she lives pretty close!

A librarian from Cincinnati, Ohio, Julie loves to read, run, go for walks with her dog, and visit new places. She's a sports fan and an Ohio State Buckeyes fanatic. She's also a history buff and loves to weave history into her stories.

Her adult novels are "mysteries untethered by time." Two paranormal thrillers, Polar Night and Polar Day and a historical mystery The Ghosts of Aquinnah. She also recently released a horror novella The Turnagain Arm, a prequel to Polar Night. Her debut children's book, Baby Moo's Great Escape, features the animals of Sunrise Sanctuary in Marysville, Ohio. A sequel, Baby Moo Goes to Hollywood, is forthcoming.

Check out Julie, she's fantastic!

How do you set writing goals? How'd you do last year? Always room for improvement, right?

Lastly, a Shout Out to my Street Team. They are 100% wonderful, and I'm always looking for more perky promoters. Work is minimal, results and rewards mega. Here's the FORM if you're interested in doing something awesome! (name that movie)

Happy New Beginnings and Positive Vibes in 2019!!