Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A Gift that lasts a Lifetime

An inspirational message to my fellow IWSG-ers!

Writers share stories that become a permanent part of a reader's life. No matter what kind of writer...

Historians write the stories of our past for us to learn from and remember achievements and know how we came to be where we are today.

Novelists lead readers through a journey to curl up with and use their imaginations to explore exciting worlds and escape reality for a while.

Screenwriters entertain and educate condensing stories into a fantastic visual, cinematic experience.

Journalists document the news of the day for us to digest and make informed decisions.

Copywriters persuade consumers with their well-chosen words.

Biographers highlight the fascinating lives of people who've accomplished a great deal or been through a great deal.

Even greeting card writers pen quips to help us express sentiments in a funny or sweet way.

So if you ever wonder why you write, or ever doubt if you should keep writing, remember -- we need you! We need your words and your stories to perpetuate our existence and show future generations what we survived and experienced for them to enjoy and learn from us!

And if you want to talk with some other writers going through the same thing as you, join our Twitter Chat TONIGHT and every Wed! 7:30 - 8:30 pm EST. It's a great way to try out Twitter in a positive way!

Just don't forget to use the hashtag! #WedWrant !



Looking back on the year, a lot has changed for me. New home, new job, self-published after my publisher closed... I made it and I'm still going. Thanks for all the support along the way!

I hope you accomplished all you set out to do this year. Whether you had to take some detours (like me) or were able to check off all your boxes -- here's to you! Glad to know you all and wishing everyone a wonderful Holiday Season!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Feedback is life

Welcome, IWSG-ers!

As a writer, we type away, drafting, editing, laughing, sobbing, pouring our hearts an souls into our stories. Then it comes time to push the little bird out of the nest and hope it flies! But before we let strangers see it, we need to know if we're doing it right. We need FEEDBACK!

Constructive Criticism and Honest Praise are essential elements to a writer. Here are some places to seek this valued commodity:
  • Critique Partners - you read mine and I'll read yours and we'll give each other honest opinions and advice
  • Beta Readers - not necessarily writers, but willing to read and give feedback
  • Critique Groups - live meetings where everyone shares their stories seeking feedback
  • Reviews - before and after publishing - serious stuff, just don't freak out over one- and two-star drivel. Those just show you've made it!
Whatever route you go, don't be afraid to ask for feedback. We only improve and expand our knowledge by listening to what others have to say (and using it or not as we see fit!)


Now here I offer a review of C. Lee McKenzie's latest release...

NOT GUILTY
by C. Lee McKenzie

A bloody knife. Wrong place, wrong time, and fits the description. Just like that, Devon's future is over.

How can he prove he's not guilty?

Intense emotion and connections grab you from the beginning. One fateful day everything changes for Devon -- the star of the basketball team about to snag a full scholarship to the college of his choice. And it all happens so fast, accused, tried, and convicted of stabbing one of his arch enemies. But he didn't do it, and no one will listen.

At first, it was hard to take all the negative things piled one on top of the other to the point of hopelessness. But then Devon's devastation opened him up to a whole new world. He had to deal with what happened and gained new friends and a new perspective. Plus a few twists neither one of us expected!

AMAZON   B&N   KOBO   SMASHWORDS   GOODREADS 

Check it out!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Perseverance Pays Off!

Let's hear it for S.A. Larsen! She's done it!

She's re-published her corpse-raising mg adventure:
MOTLEY EDUCATION
The Urd Saga, book I
by S. A. Larsen
MG Fantasy

"A deftly crafted ... and entertaining read!"
Midwest Book Reviews - Children's Watch 2017
Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically and Celestially Gifted Terms of Enrollment
Signed: Ebony Charmed

Ebony should be excited about entering sixth grade to further develop her skills. And she would be. If only her lame abilities let her see more than three ghosts.

Struggling to live up to her gifted family, Ebony is horrified when she is branded a Seeker: someone who is neither Sensory nor Luminary. To top it off, her Deadly Creatures and Relics project – transforming a measly stick – seems destined for failure.

But there are doors to other worlds where creatures have been watching her. And when the truth emerges that her project is more than a stick, she knows she must act. Along with her best friend Fleishman and his pet lizard, Ebony finds herself wedged between prophecies and quests. Oh, and saving the entire spirit world from annihilation.

Ebony is not ready to be a hero. But a dark presence has already stolen more than one local kid. And this time, her failure is not an option.

And check out all the awards MOTLEY EDUCATION has received! 
*FIRST PLACE WINNER, CHILDREN'S CATEGORY, 2016 NEW ENGLAND BOOK FESTIVAL!*
*Bronze Award Winner, 2017 Feathered Quill Book Awards for Best Juvenile/YA Fiction*
*Winner - Purple Dragonfly Awards 2017, Honorable Mention; ebook*
*Gold Medal Award Winner - Literary Classics Book Awards 2017, Grade School Fantasy*
*Gold Medal Winner - 2017 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards, Children's Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Order signed books from The Children’s Book Cellar via message.

About the Author
S.A. Larsen is an award-winning author, childhood apraxia of speech advocate, and Maine-iac ice hockey fan, who has watched more hockey games than she could ever count. She also has a soft spot for the strange and misunderstood, which might explain her love for dipping plain chips in ketchup. 

When she's not chasing her characters around a cemetery or antagonizing them with the wonders of young love, she lives in the land of lobsters and snowy winters with her husband and four children. 

Visit her cyber home at salarsenbooks.com, find her on Twitter @SA_Larsen and Instagram sa.larsen, or on spookymiddlegrade.com, where she does most of her spookiness brewing up all sorts of creepy ideas with a group of #SpookyMG authors. Stop by for a visit . . . if you dare.

I hope you check it out. It's a perfect read for October!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Oh, #Pumpkins !

Yay, it's Fall! Love Fall. Love Pumpkins.
Need to stop cursing. So replacing curse words with pumpkins... Try it. It's pumpkin nuts!! (hahaha)

Oh yes. It's also OCTOBER! Hopefully we'll have more cool days than hot days this month. And as we begin October, welcome to IWSG day.

I actually have a goal for this month, with a deadline of 10/20: I must get Pop Travel re-published!! I have 2 events in November and I'm almost out of books! So my post is about...

How to tackle a big project within a deadline
  1. Know your time constraints. I only have the weekends to work on my writing stuff these days. And I have lots of other responsibilities then too, so I have to manage my time wisely.
  2. Make smaller, reasonable goals. Right now, I'm 1/3 done with my edits. Here's my breakdown for what's left to do:
    • 10/5 & 6 - have 2/3 or more edits done, work on cover tweaks
    • 10/12 & 13 - finish edits, start formatting, finish cover
    • 10/19 & 20 - finish formatting, PUBLISH!
  3. Limit distractions. Ooo, I like the prompt for that contest! No! Bad kitty! Must focus on the GOAL.
  4. Keep the GOAL in mind. I try to work on it whenever possible during the week, if I can.
  5. Celebrate when you reach it! Not only is it a giant relief when you reach your goal and worth celebrating, but it encourages others that they can reach their goals too! Like Heather Gardner just re-released her two awesome romance thrillers--all by herself. ALREADY HOME and ONE GOOD CATCH. Way to go girl!
In other good news... I had a terrific signing at my local bookstore a couple weeks ago. Much better than expected. I also picked up this adorable ipad cozy...


AND I got a fantabulous review for the entire Beast World Series. Check it out here at Pen and Paper. Reviews are priceless!

Hope you enjoy the pumpkin out of October!

Monday, September 16, 2019

It's a September CassaDAWN before the CassaSTORM!!

I'm very excited to share Alex J. Cavanaugh's Cassa Series Book Tour today!! If you haven't had a chance to read it, you're really missing out on an epic space adventure! Check it out!


a new beginning with...
CassaDawn
CassaStar Series Prequel
By Alex J Cavanaugh
Genre: SciFi Adventure, Space Opera 
The prequel to the Amazon best-selling Cassa series!



A pilot in training...

Fighting the odds, Byron is determined to complete Cosbolt training and join the Cassan space fleet. Poised at the top of his class, only one situation holds him back–his inability to work with anyone in the cockpit. Byron’s excellent piloting skills won’t be enough without a good navigator…

**Get it FREE!! **


CassaStar
CassaStar Series Book 1 

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.

Much to Byron’s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?


“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo * BAM





CassaFire
CassaStar Series Book 2

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…



CassaStorm
CassaStar Series Book 3

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

With a talent for worldbuilding and a compelling cast of characters, Alex J. Cavanaugh combines high powered space battles and the challenges of family dynamics to provide readers a space opera with heart.” - Elizabeth S. Craig, author of the Southern Quilting and Myrtle Clover mysteries


Get the CassaSeries Boxed Set! 


Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the award-winning site, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

How to Transition and Survive

Change is hard.

And life is full of changes, getting older, moving, job changes, relationship status, health issues, etc. And if you have to go through more than one at the same time, your stress level can go through the roof!

I'm in the midst of several changes, almost all of the above. I'm dealing with it in the best way I know how, but I know I've been snapping people's heads off when the stress gets to me. Then I feel horrible. I try to keep positive, but juggling all these new headaches is making me crazy.

The hardest part has been losing my writing life and missing out on book events. It's hard enough to be a writer, but when you have a good thing going and it falls apart, it's so hard to start over. It's easy to doubt and wonder if this is the part where I'm supposed to give up and move on...

So for IWSG this month, I'm looking for ways to deal with change. Here's what I came up with:

  • One thing at a time - It doesn't all have to be done at once. I have to ask myself: What can I handle today?
  • Ask for help - I'm so grateful for this community. I got so much help this summer. When you're down, you've got a friend!
  • Don't overdo it - I tend to work, work, work until I fall asleep. I feel overwhelmed and rushed, like I have to get everything done ASAP! But I know many of the things can wait, so I decided to shut down at a certain time every day. Then I can relax a little before going to bed.
  • Make time for family - they're the ones usually taking the brunt of my sharp tongue. I have to show them I can be nice and fun and still love them.
  • Organize the mess - I have several unfinished projects I want to get to, but they are low priority. Seeing them sitting there unfinished is a big stresser. So I write myself a list of the things I need to get to when I make some project time and put the projects away out of sight.
  • Go shopping - or sit outside with my dog and a glass of wine or watch a favorite show... just do something away from the stress. The stuff will still be there, but if I'm too irritated, I won't be able to concentrate and get things done anyway.
Setting aside time each weekend morning in August, I was able to type up, then edit down my submission for the IWSG Anthology Contest. I'll let you know if I make it... Probably keep it to myself if I don't. But I'm proud of myself for getting it done!

I'm just trying to get my life back into a groove, then I think things will start looking up, right?

Do you have any advice for an over-stressed workaholic? 
Hope September is falling into place!

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!

ie - DO YOUR RESEARCH!


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, Bookbub.com 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
  5. Plan GIVEAWAYS, POSTS, SIGNINGS, LIVE CHATS, and fun CHALLENGES
  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.

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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.

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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!

WINDY HOLLOW
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!




HOOSIER DAD
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.