Monday, June 29, 2020

What's a Boggart? and #Fantasy Creatures

Source

Sorry, HP fans, I'm not referring to the shape-shifting non-being that takes on the form of its observer's worst fear... 

Isn't it amazing how authors can characterize the same fantasy creatures in many different ways? Every enchanted world has it's own magical beasts, properties, and setting. Some creatures retain traits from one story to the next, but some are vastly different. Like the disgusting goblins from The Hobbit compared to the crafty, banker goblins in Harry Potter to my own nerdy goblins in Beast World. Authors have the prerogative to put their own unique spin on the creatures and settings in their worlds.

And today, for an IWSG treat, I'm hosting a special guest who's going to tell us about the boggarts in her new MG Fantasy series...

Elaine Kaye
Picture Book and Middle Grade Author

What is a Boggart?

Boggarts are the worst of fairies. They're squat, disfigured household fairies. Dirty and smelly, they wear wrinkled clothes that need to be washed. They have tempers, and enjoy playing nasty tricks on humans. Because of that, they are not welcomed into human homes. If they do get in to your house, they won’t leave willingly. They love to break things, rearrange furniture, and make the phone ring at odd hours in the night.

To get rid of a boggart that has caused you stress in your home, bang pots and sing loudly. Sort of like how you’re supposed to scare bears away from campsites with a lot of loud, obnoxious noise.

In BAD FAIRY, boggarts are a threat to the good fairies. They live just outside Pinecone Grove, in the forest. Thistle Greenbud and her family’s house is beneath a fern bush with blackberry vines around it to keep away critters and boggarts.

After a tornado devastates Pinecone Grove, the threat of boggarts increases as they come looking for things to break. But since the tornado already broke many things, the boggarts are even nastier than usual.

BAD FAIRY by Elaine Kaye
A Bad Fairy Adventure (Book One)
Age Range: 8-12

Thistle Greenbud is not a bad fairy. She simply doesn't like rules. It's just her luck that her homework is to create a new rule for the fairy handbook. But first, she has more important things to do. Like figure out how to get back at Dusty and Moss for playing tricks on her.
 
Before she can carry out her plan, though, disaster strikes and she finds herself working alongside the very fairies she wanted revenge on. Can they work together and trust each other, or will things go from bad to worse?



About the Author
Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup Disaster. Bad Fairy is her middle grade debut and the first of A Bad Fairy Adventure series.
 
Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher’s assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.


PLUS THERE'S A GIVEAWAY!
1 lucky winner will receive 3 Signed Paperback Picture Books:
Pea Soup Disaster, Doctor Mom, The Missing Alphabet

Hurry! Giveaway Ends: June 30, 2020

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a FANTASTIC week! And a safe & happy Fourth of July!


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Summer #shortstory - The Day Dave Broke the Internet - 2


Dave didn't know he was lonely until his friends pointed it out. But when he gives in and tries an online dating site, something catastrophic happens - talk about a bad omen.

The Day Dave Broke the Internet
by Tara Tyler

2

RECAP 1: Instead of a light bulb, a thunder cloud flashed over Dave's head as he realized they wanted him to enter the horrific scene of online dating.

He shook his head. "No, thanks."

"But you didn't hear our suggestion."

"I don't have to. No."

"Aw, come on, man. What have you got to lose?"

"My dignity, my money, my sanity."

Nathan leaned back. "Okay, dude. But when we start having kids and you're still all alone, our lives will change and you'll be left behind, the same, lonely guy. Crazy old Uncle Dave."

"Sounds good."

Sunni looked at Dave with puppy dog eyes. "Please, Dave? For me? Just try it once. I really want to see you happy. And I know several friends who've found great matches at this website."

"He's chicken." Nathan flapped his elbows. "Bawk, bawk, bawk."

"No, I'm not."

"Oh, I never thought of that." Sunni tilted her head. "Dave, I bet there are tons of women who would love to go out with you. You're a great guy."

"I know I am. I'm not afraid. I'm just not interested."

Kyle had been noticeably silent, chewing on his burger. When Sunni gave him a squinty, pirate eye, he swallowed and spoke up.

"Oh yeah, Dave. You should try it. If you don't, there's always my cousin Eloise."

Dave remembered Kyle's cousin Eloise from a picture of his family reunion. She could probably bench press Dave.

They all looked eagerly at him. If he ever wanted to eat again in peace, he would have to give them a positive response. He chose to string them along for a bit without committing to anything.

"Maybe."

Nathan shot a finger gun at him. "The sooner the better."

Sunni clapped her hands. "That's as good as a yes. I won't stop bugging you until you go on your first date!"

# # # # #

Sunni held to her promise. She continuously badgered Dave to try her proven, data-driven online dating website: Nerds Unite. He groaned just hearing the name. When that didn't work, she had them all over for dinner and got him drunk.

Dave, not really that drunk, finally relented and opened a free trial account. With help from his friends, he filled out the information: likes, dislikes, allergies, preferences, etc. That part had actually been fun.

He hoped he could leave it at that and let the free trial lapse into infamy.

But a week later, Sunni was at it again, spoiling his favorite lunch, pasta primavera.

"Any prospects from the website?"

Dave cringed as he was about to take a bite. "I forgot to publish my profile."

Nathan shook his head at him. "I'm disappointed in you, Dave."

Sunni frowned. "I don't know what's wrong with you. We just want you to be happy like us."

"I am happy. A happy uncomplicated bachelor."

With a pout, she stood up. "I give up. I'm done bugging you. If you don't want to try it, don't. I have a wedding to plan. Come on, Kyle."

Kyle shrugged at the guys and followed his fiancée.

Dave couldn't figure out why Sunni was so upset. And he sure wasn't ready to be tugged on a leash like Kyle.

Nathan saluted and left him alone at the table.

Were they trying to teach him a lesson? Dave tilted his head as he watched them walk away. They acted like he'd betrayed them. What was wrong with being single?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Do you Want to Read More?


As a student, I did not like to read. **Gasp!**
This was mostly because books were forced upon me, and I like to do things my own way--I'm such a rebel.

But when I saw some cool fantasy covers in the store, I picked them up and read the backs. Imagine my mom's surprise and delight when I chose a couple of books to buy and read over the summer. Piers Anthony and his Split Infinity series got me hooked on reading.

Back then, we didn't have our phones to keep us occupied and connected to our friends 24-7. We didn't have 24-hour TV with thousands of shows and movies to stream. Reading used to be a great escape--it still is! But now with our faster paced, easy-access video entertainment society, reading is very low on the list of options. Even for me.

Source: Washington Post

I believe most people want to read more, but they have lots of excuses why they don't. After doing some research, the number one reason for people not reading is: "I don't have time."

What about you? Do you want to read more? I do!

But it takes self-discipline. Just like any improvement you want to make in your life--healthier eating, exercise more, have a better attitude, achieving your goals--you have to work at it and stick with it. If you do, the results will make you a better person, just not over night.

If you truly want to read more, you will have to make the time to do it. To make time, you will need motivation! Here are some Suggestions to Motivate Yourself to Read:
  1. Read With a Friend - surely you have a friend who also wants to read more. Choose a book together. Knowing your friend is reading, you'll be more likely to read so you don't let each other down and will look forward to discussing it together.
  2. Join a Book Club - If you are braver, open-minded, and eager for book suggestions, this is a wonderful way to connect with other readers and a great method to motivate you to get reading in time for the next meeting.
  3. Set a Goal - Make your reading goal as big or small as you want, just make it reasonable. If you haven't read a complete book for a while, then your goal can be to read at least one book by the end of the summer, or even the end of the year. This will also help you gauge your time and interest when making future goals.
  4. Keep Books Visible - Leave your book in a place you will see it frequently--kitchen counter, side table, night stand, bathroom!--and it will serve as a reminder to continue your story. If you ebook, put up a happy post-it or two. (Don't nag yourself!)
  5. Set a Timer - use your phone to set a reminder: daily, every other day, weekly... at a time you should have free to take a break and read for a bit. Even if you can't, it will remind you that you want to read... like a chirp of encouragement.
  6. Read Out Loud - to yourself, your kids or even your pet! Some people don't like the silence of reading. Reading out loud can help immerse you into the story--change your voice, really get into it! Others can't read unless they have silence, an escape from the chaos of life. Silliness or silence now and then are both great things, and reading can bring out both!
Reading gives you knowledge, inspiration, and entertainment. It exercises your brain in ways just watching videos cannot. I hope you will choose to make it a point to read more. And I'm with you!

BTW, Many of these suggestions can help accomplish other life improvements, too. Give it a try!


Lastly, when you aren't sure what to read, look for reviews!
I'm lucky to have lots of great writer friends that keep me reading with a long TBR list. I recently finished AND THEN YOU FALL by Heather M. Gardner, book 3 of the exciting Maguire's Corner romance series...

AND THEN YOU FALL, Maguire's Corner #3

Assistant Police Chief Bobby Maguire can handle any challenge. But between his stalker ex-girlfriend and a drug-dealing cult, it could prove too much for him. So it’s real bad timing when he gets propositioned by the intriguing new bartender.

Cassidy is excited to be the brew master of the new local bar in  Maguire’s Corner. Expecting nothing more than a momentary, albeit intoxicating fling with the infamous Bobby Maguire, she finds not only is her heart at risk, but her life as well.

When Bobby is accused of murder, a chain of events play out leaving him broken down, hollow, and raw, and the whole town is now in danger from the cult leader’s wrath. Will Bobby be able to save himself, help his family, and get the chance to prove to Cassidy he’s more than his reputation?


Here's my Review:
Another exciting, enticing love story blooms in Maguire’s Corner. This one stars the young, cassanova Bobby Maguire—handsome, heroic, and hard to catch. Until Cassidy comes to town. She’s opening a new brewery and everyone seems to know her except Bobby, but there is something about her, and there’s no denying the attraction.

Cassidy is excited to be returning to her hometown, as long as she can avoid the dark side of her past. And what a tempting surprise that her old crush has the hots for her. Not surprisingly, he’s still single. She’ll have to keep her emotions in check and be careful not to fall for him.

But fate always makes things difficult! And then you fall!

I wish you happy reading!


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Summer #shortstory - The Day Dave Broke the Internet - 1

This summer, I'm sharing a short story that made it into an anthology that never was... I'll be posting segments from it every other week. I hope you enjoy it!


Dave didn't know he was lonely until his friends pointed it out. But when he gives in and tries an online dating site, something catastrophic happens - talk about a bad omen.


The Day Dave Broke the Internet
by Tara Tyler

1

Dave carefully selected the freshest looking meatloaf plate. The food in his office building's cafeteria left something to be desired, but it was better than packing a sack lunch. He sighed and headed over to his friends' regular table. Life after college hadn't changed much. Even though Rapid Technologies consisted mostly of nerdy types like Dave, there were still sub-divisions with a definite hierarchy of rule-makers, rule-followers, rule-breakers, and grunts.

But Dave was okay being a rule-follower. His life was satisfactory. Why make waves?

As he sat down, his buddy Nathan seemed to be in a particularly good mood.

"Guess what, Dave?"

"What, Nathan?"

Looking over Dave's shoulder, Nathan changed his mind and poked at his lunch.

"Never mind, I'll let her tell you."

Sunni plunked down next to Dave. The short, spunky girl wore a white lab coat and round glasses.

"Hey, Dave!"

"Hey, Sunni. Tell me what?"

"Oh, nothing." Sunni posed her hand on Dave's arm. That was strange. But Sunni, like most women, did weird, inexplicable things that went over his head.

He lifted an eyebrow at her. "Okay."

Sunni pouted. "Dave."

"What?" He didn't like silly games. He ignored her and stuck a fork into his meatloaf. While he chewed a piece, he judged it as marginal and dumped some ketchup on it.

“Daa-aave.” Sunni put her hand under her chin and wiggled her fingers at him.

He finally noticed the engagement ring, but decided to give her a hard time. She started the game, it was only fair.

"You got a manicure? How nice."

She swatted him. "Kyle and I are engaged."

Speaking of Kyle, the tall, gangly guy dawdled over and sat across from her, completing their foursome.

"Oh. Congratulations, Kyle."

Sunni cleared her throat.

"And Sunni." That's what she got for working with a bunch of nerds. She should know better. But it didn't keep her from spouting with excitement.

"We'll be getting married in six months."

"Sounds nice."

"You're both invited."

"Thanks."

"And Dave, you should bring a date."

Dave coughed into his iced tea.

Nathan laughed. "That's right, bro. You're the only single guy left at the table."

Sunni and Nathan had been trying to fix Dave up for years. He refused to go on any more blind dates and was perfectly happy at the prospect of living the rest of his days as a bachelor.

Sunni put her hand on Dave's arm again.

"Don't worry. We aren't going to set you up."

"We're going about it scientifically this time," Nathan added.

Instead of a light bulb, a thunder cloud flashed over Dave's head as he realized they wanted him to enter the horrific scene of online dating.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

What can we do?

The world is in distress. I'm not going to get into the horrible details, I just want to say I hope it gets better in so many ways.

It's been hard to watch and taking all my motivation to write "entertaining stories" that seem meaningless in comparison...

I will say, after I watch a bit of news, I've been glancing at tik-tok and feel comforted with most of the thoughtful commentaries in my feed. It feels like most of the country is united against violence and wants to work on solving the root problems.

How is it affecting you?

As it is IWSG day, I'm going to complain a little. Then I'm going to give myself a few suggestions... and welcome anything you'd like to add.

Lately, I feel helpless and useless. I wish I could do something for those who are hurting. All my emotions are tied up. I feel selfish when I try to do other things to take my mind off it all while so many are suffering. What can little ol' me do to help?

Here are a few things I thought of to do. It isn't much, but it's something...
  • Positive Posts. I don't get political - that is immediately divisive. I always try to encourage and say positive things about life and writing. And I will continue to do that, as much as I can.
  • Tweet No More. Twitter has become a haven of trolls. I can't take all the negative. I'm very close to eliminating Twitter from my life. There are other ways to communicate with my friends, and it doesn't seem to do much good for my writing career anyway... Once I set up a new way to meetup with my writing friends, I'm outta there.
  • Donate. As soon as things calm down--and they will, they have to!--I plan to donate to small business funds for rebuilding their livelihoods. I don't have a lot, but I want to contribute, maybe donate some time this summer too.
  • Pray. Been praying a lot. Praying for peace. Praying for those who are hurting. Praying for the ones causing hurt to have a change of heart.
  • Take a break. It's so intense and frustrating. But I really need to take a break from watching the coverage. I feel guilty that I have the ability to just turn off the TV, but I'm not doing my own family any good by being in a bad mood and snapping at them because I'm upset about the world.
If you have anything to vent or add, I'd love to hear it.


And I'm ending on a positive note...

IWSG is carrying on with its annual anthology contest and it's OPEN!

Guidelines and rules:
Word count: 4500-6000
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme: Dark Matter
Submissions accepted: May 6 - September 2, 2020
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.

Images immediately came to mind when I heard the theme! I'm adding it to my list of projects for the summer - an excellent distraction to work on.

How are you dealing with life these days? 
I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe in these troubled times.

What do you think the future hold for us?
Some are predicting zombies or aliens... sounds about right for 2020!


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Writers Keep Writing!

School's Out!!
We've all been put out of our misery enduring the online learning rigmarole! I'm curious how many of you had to deal with home schooling? As teachers? With kids at home? I was lucky to have a highschooler and a college kid who could function on their own. Several of my teacher friends had to work both sides of it. And I saw a few tik-toks I could commiserate with about kids not turning in their work and/or cheating... quite funny, but I sure hope we don't have to go through it again in the Fall! There's talk of several alternate solutions--from having 1/2 the kids go every other day to waiting to see if another rash of sickness hits and switching to online temporarily to get over it... I'm glad they're thinking ahead!

And how about working? How many of you are working from home? Going back to work? Or looking for work? I know people in every category, but my area wasn't hit very hard so most people are happy to get back to almost normal. I'm thankful for the medical community and all the volunteering I see to help those who are hurting. Hopefully we'll turn it around soon!

Well, we writers keep writing through it all, right? =D
Now that school's out, I'm excited to continue working on my Pop Travel #4 CONDUCTION and UnPrincess #4 GERTRUDE, the Nerdy Princess. I also have a lot of maintenance to do, on the blog and other stuff. And looking forward to getting out and doing an event or two in the Fall!


And to show you writers don't let grass grow under them, here are not one, but TWO FANTASTIC RELEASES you're sure to ENJOY!

A QUICK BITE
by Patricia Josephine

Vampires.
Werewolves.
Zombies.
These monsters tickle our imagination.
Sink your teeth into a collection of tales about paranormal creatures that go bump in the night. Each story is told in exactly 200 words and designed to give you a quick bite no matter how busy your day is.

Are you hungry?

Amazon for 99 cents

Sounds like a delectable collection of short stories!



AND... another paranormal delight with a bit of Special Effects...


MATEO'S LAW
by Sandra Cox

A modern day, shape-shifting sheriff.
He’s the sheriff of a sparsely populated county in Montana. His blood brother and childhood best friend is Chief of Police on the Blackfoot Reservation, but they no longer speak. His deputy is a Southern transplant with the body of a high-priced call girl, a voice of honey and a mouth of a trucker. And if that’s not enough, he’s got a secret that would stun those that know him best. Other than that, it’s business as usual for Sheriff Mateo Grey.




Sandra is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina. Her stories consist of all things western…and more. She is a category bestselling Amazon author, Eppie finalist and Golden Ankh Award winner.





I'm excited to have more reading and writing time this summer! 
And try new things! And go places!
How about you? What are you excited to do this summer?
Are you ready to venture out? Let's go!


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

All cooped up and no place to go? Escape into a new release!

I hope everyone isn't too stir crazy!
And it looks like we are slowly being let loose again. Have you been braving the open air? Getting take-out? What have you been up to in your new stay-at-home hiatus? Or has life even changed for you much?

For this month's IWSG, I'm sharing my experience during these weird times.

Here are a few things I'm enjoying about staying home:
  • Having my college boy home, even though he spent most of him time in the basement with his games and devices... but we've been
  • Playing games, for a while... even invented a new card game!
  • Leisure-wear, and minimal make-up (I still have to work, teaching my classes online...)
  • Casual drinking to relax from the stress of online teaching and technology overload!
  • No dealing with traffic
  • Sleeping in
  • Spring Break - got lots of words written!
And Things I don't like one bit!
  • All the negative results from this stupid pandemic - I feel very bad for anyone who lost someone to it--that's number one. But also having the entire world stand still and cancel everything has been unbelievable - just astounding
  • Sitting at my computer for WAY TOO LONG! I had to switch and use my mouse with my left hand, my right shoulder is kaput, and my vision is going blurry! I'm too old for this! (LOL)
  • Stressed Out! Mostly from all the technical difficulties, self-teaching myself new methods to online educate and pull it off like it's easy (making videos, conducting live zoom classes, and finding creative ways to discourage cheating... not to mention nagging the kids who decided school was over when we left)
To keep busy (haha), I have been able to read a little, but again my online teaching didn't leave me much time or brain power left for things I was hoping to do...

And lastly, I want to show off one of my long-time writer friend's latest:


THE DRAGON'S HEART
by David Powers King
MG/YA Fantasy

Terrible things happen whenever Princess Celesia falls in love—she blacks out and attacks her suitors, which makes an alliance with a more powerful nation impossible. Believing that she’s cursed, Celesia is given two choices: marry without love, or be responsible for her kingdom’s demise. Instead, she sneaks off in search of a remedy.

She doesn’t make it far when she encounters a dragon who bears a curse of his own—he is a prince, desperate to reclaim his humanity before the dragon takes over. He's heard of a stone that can lift both of their curses, but neither of them can find it alone, and they’re not the only ones after it. An evil alchemist is intent on using it to steal the land’s magic and dominate the realm. Only together, with the help of an even greater magic, can Celesia and the dragon stop this evil, or be bound forever by their curses.

Sounds like a tasty fantasy/fairy tale to curl up with!


So how have you been spending your lock-down time?
Do you have a mask? (I'm using a scarf)
And what are you reading/writing?

Monday, April 20, 2020

Welcome to a Murder, Just Because

Yolanda Renee is a great encourager of other writers and full of advice on the details of writing a good Murder Mystery... So glad to have her here today to support her latest release: MURDER, JUST BECAUSE!

Here's a little Q & A to tell you a little more about Yolanda's book, writing, and life...

1.  Tell us about Murder, Just Because. Who is Stowy Jenkins?

Murder, Just Because takes place ten years after The Snowman is caught and imprisoned. The Snowman escapes, and revenge is his goal, especially against Detective Steven Quaid, the man who put him in prison.

Stowy Jenkins is a former resident of West Virginia, a computer graphic designer who lives with his mother. He is charismatic, intelligent, and highly motivated. Stowy Jenkins is evil at its worst.

2.  What does literary success look like to you?

When I think of literary success, I see Margaret Mitchell. She only wrote one book, but it was a fantastic piece of literature, despite political correctness. Her book is a gift to the world. To have her dedication to perfection, even if I only wrote one book, would be ideal.

3.  Tell us about the book you’re working on now.

A Passion for Murder is the sixth book in the Detective Quaid series. I’m returning to the plot where the killer/antagonist is unknown. He/she will be one of the characters, but their identity will not be released until the end. I’m a bit used up when it comes to allowing the antagonist too much reign. My goal is to add more humor and less horror.

4.  What is your favorite season, and why?

Spring! The season of rebirth, love, hope, and magnificent colors. It’s also my birth month, and my name, Renee, means rebirth.

5.  What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

The aurora borealis. I used to fall asleep at night watching the northern lights dance across the Alaskan sky. Words could never express the beauty.

Thank you, Tara, for hosting me today on your blog and for highlighting my book, Murder, Just Because. It’s a fun escape from the world around us.


MURDER, JUST BECAUSE Blog Tour
through MC Book Tours.

Rookie detective Steven Quaid’s reputation as an elite investigator skyrocketed when he captured one of the most sadistic serial killers in Alaskan history: Stowy Jenkins, AKA the Snowman. Some said it was beginner's luck. And that was ten years ago.

Now, Jenkins is back. Escaped from prison and on the move, his bloodlust is stronger than ever, and his methods of torture are even more horrifying than before. As his maniacal rampage continues and the number of mutilated bodies mounts, terrified Alaskans increasingly doubt Quaid’s ability to catch the killer again. Not only is his reputation is on the line, this time, Jenkins is out for revenge…

In a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Jenkins picks off the people in Quaid’s life…slowly, gradually tightening his circle of corpses and drawing ever closer to the most important person in Quaid’s life...his wife. Can Quaid do the impossible again? Can he outmaneuver the killer, or has the detective's luck finally run out?


About the Author...
Author Yolanda Renee
At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influences my writing.

Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!


For more on Yolanda and her writing, connect with her here:
Blog    *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Pinterest    


GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This tour-wide giveaway is for a complete set of the Detective Quaid Mystery series books for one winner, paperback copies of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for five winners, and a Kindle copy of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for 10 winners.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.


Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you enjoy watching a character grow from one story to the next?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

No Foolin Around - Serious #Awards & Announcements!

So much is going on!!
First, my IWSG post in conjunction with the culmination of my Beast World campaign.

The writing/blogging community is the best group of people out there! I've said it before, but they are so supportive! Today, I'm handing out some awards to recognize my helpers who gave me their most valuable asset--their TIME!

Based on the number, here are the top awards:

And here are the stats of all my wonderful volunteers and how much they helped!

I made new connections, found volunteers to review the Beast World series, was blessed with a wonderful new piece of art, and received offers to guest post at other blogs. And I re-pubbed the ebooks!

Never be afraid to ask the writing community for help--they come through!

* * * * *

I'm also more than happy to return the favor!

Today I'm very happy to share my time and blog space with one of my awesome writer friends to celebrate the release of her incredible book, which I absolutely adored!

DANCING WITH DEMENTIA
Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia
by Jemi Fraser

Let's take a little more in-depth look into Jemi's life and her book. Her mom is the star, and with the recent restrictions at nursing homes, Jemi had to find a new way to see her--online!

Jemi: Thanks so much for doing this :) Mom is doing great despite the lockdown. Seeing her and chatting, with the help of the staff, makes everything so much easier for us. So thankful for those great people!

TT: Your book was so real. Though dementia is no laughing matter, it was pretty funny at times. Do you ever insert comedy in your fiction?

Jemi: Thanks!! I’m glad our crazy reality comes across. A strong sense of humour really gets us through!

My upcoming romantic-suspense series definitely has humour in it. My characters often have a sarcastic edge to them and that’s so much fun to write! I also think our family’s gallows humour comes through in several of my characters and the situations they get themselves into!

TT: I had to look up gallows humor--thanks for the new word!

I think you and your sister are saints the way you take care of your “mum” through so many trials and still kept working! Do you think you might write a book about her? or your own life someday?

Jemi: Wow - thank you! Definitely not saints, but we do love our mum! I don’t know if my heart is up to another true-to-life book at this point, but you never know. Mom’s had a fascinating life and I’ve thought about a YA historical romance set in the post WWII era based on it. Maybe one day!

TT: A YA historical in that era sounds fantastic!

The way your mother treated people, especially her second husband, reminded me of my grandmother, bossing folks around and doing as she pleased. It made me wonder if I’ll be that way when I’m older (have a lot of that in me now!) Do you ever wonder or worry how you will be later in life?

Jemi: Love it! Mom definitely enjoys being in charge and she believes she is ALWAYS the most qualified person in the room for any task or opinion. I have a wide and strong independent streak in me but I’ve always been quieter and more private than Mom. However, I suspect more of “Mom” will show up in me as I get older! My kids have been warned!

TT: Now for a couple of easy ones...

How do you like living in Canada?

Jemi: I wouldn’t live anywhere else!! Northern Ontario is beautiful and the people are awesome. Our fall leaves are spectacular. Our biggest con is probably how long the snow sticks around. While it is melting, we still have 2 to 3 foot snowbanks. In late March/early April that’s a definite con!

TT: Yes, you kept saying how wonderful the staff of most places was--I had to remind myself you were in Canada. I was jealous until I kept reading about the snow! haha

And lastly, What writing are you working on now?

Jemi: I’m planning to publish my Bloo Moose small-town romantic suspense series in the fall. Book 1 is ready to go, Book 2 is on the spit-and-polish round, Book 3 is in the final revision round. Book 5’s first draft is done, and Book 4 is still wandering around in my head (it’s the stubborn one). Ideas for Books 6-8 are there but need to be fleshed out. I’m hoping to publish at least 3 of them at the same time. Lots of fun ahead!

Holy Bullwinkle! That's a ton of stories! Congrats! I'll be around to read and help.



DANCING WITH DEMENTIA,
Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia
by Jemi Fraser

◊ Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
◊ Publisher: Just Jemi Books
◊ eBooks
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1-9991258-1-3

Dementia and Alzheimer’s touch the lives of millions around the world, but so much is still unknown.

As first-generation Canadians, we didn’t recognize the early warning signs. We didn’t know the differences between regular aging and the early stages of dementia. We’ve made mistakes but we’ve learned a lot.

DANCING WITH DEMENTIA will help you:
•Identify those early warning signs
•Use visuals to improve communication
•Choose your words wisely
•Redirect and reassure
•Stay calm and cope with your own emotions
•Consider nursing home options
•Improve caregiver self-care

We’ve learned to dance the early steps of the disease with our love and laughter intact. If you are looking for help recognizing early signposts along with practical ways to cope with early Dementia and Alzheimer’s, this book is for you.

DANCING WITH DEMENTIA buy links:

Amazon.com              Amazon.ca          Apple Books       Barnes & Noble          Kobo

Add DANCING WITH DEMENTIA to your Goodreads shelf

About the Author

Jemi Fraser writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her nonfiction work focuses on the ways that dementia has impacted her family. Her fiction work varies from contemporary romance to suspense and flash fiction. Years as a teacher have taught Jemi that life is short and that happy endings are a must.

She lives in Northern Ontario, Canada where snow is always a topic of conversation and the autumn leaves make everything better.

For more on Jemi and her writing, visit her following sites:

Amazon Page        BookBub      Goodreads       Facebook       Twitter

Finally, Enter this giveaway is for a $20 Amazon Gift Card. (open internationally)

Monday, March 23, 2020

Tips on Writing a Screenplay & a big REVEAL!

If you don't know Heather Holden, you should. She's a fantastic artist with a unique style. And she writes hilarious vampire/horror comics. I've been dying (haha) to have her draw something for me, and finally decided to commission Gabe - he needed a new look. And here he is!

Gabe Thorntry by Heather Holden

Now in this snapshot of Gabe, can you see he's short? He's also smart with his book (haha) and a little unsure of himself, but a pretty happy guy in high school. And he's a green goblin. That's a lot to get from a picture, but it's all there, captured by the artist!


And as my last guest post of the Taking Back Beast World campaign, I'm excited to be at Heather's place talking about Gabe's journey in visuals!

THIS JUST IN! 
I re-published BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, Beast World Book One 
for KINDLE! Yippee!


Now, on to the topic at hand:

SCREENPLAYS & SCRIPT WRITING

I love having so many terrific writers as friends--I get exposed to so many great stories! And I'd love to see them up on the big screen or as a series on the small screen. I've even offered to collaborate on writing screenplays with some of them. Unfortunately, it's just one more thing on my never ending want to do list... But it's definitely not at the bottom.

If you've ever pictured your book as a movie, you should try turning it into a screenplay! This is especially good for short stories, and you'll see why in a moment. You can also dive straight from an idea into a screenplay. Here, I've gathered some pros & cons & tips for writing a Screenplay:
  • Downsizing - This is the hardest part. If you start with a 300-400 page MS, you have to cut it down to 100-120 pages! This is because one page of a screenplay = one minute of film. And the pages are severely formatted, think minimalist. 
    • Things that are easy to cut: You don't need paragraphs describing the characters' inner thoughts--they're acted out. No detailed descriptions of scenes--they're part of the set. Any minor scenes that don't move the story along, cut 'em.
    • Things not so easy to cut: characters or scenes you love, but the story could be told without them. It's going to be hard to determine who stays and who goes. And some scenes will have to be rolled into one or rewritten entirely in the interest of time. This is why the movies are so often lacking when compared to the book... 
  • Formatting - There are many programs and software packages that will help you format your screenplay. I cannot afford such things, especially when I am willing to search for a cheaper alternative, which I found. There's a terrific Word Doc Template, and it's very easy to use, once you get the hang of it. But you definitely need to know this important part of the process!
  • Take Control - With all the cutting that must be done, you should be the one to do it. You know the story and know what is necessary and what isn't. You also have to be honest with yourself. You have to cut it down to the essentials only -- and you have to visualize what that looks like. Will it make a good movie? Can you juice up any scenes to make them more visually stimulating? Cut, cut, and rewrite, then cut some more.
  • Don't Lose Control - Make sure you are a part of any rewriting or editing decisions if your MS gets picked up. They never leave it as is. Be flexible, but be heard!
  • Research - So important to research! Go read a screenplay of a movie you know... many are available in the public domain! Sign up for Script Writing newsletters and follow other screenwriters who seem to know what they're doing. Read up on formatting and tips for pacing. SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder is a splendid guideline for writing a screenplay (or writing a book!) It has loads of info you'd never think of, but it's true and eye-opening. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Screenplay writing can be invigorating and exciting. It can also be somewhat traumatizing. Either way, it's something to consider, especially with so many competitive venues for visual entertainment.

One last thing... Funny how things work out!
I planned my Taking Back Beast World campaign post topics over a month ago--that way I don't have to scrounge up ideas to write about. As you know, this last week was Screenplays. Then, by happy coincidence, I just received some exciting news: I made it to the Quarter Finals of a Script-writing contest!

A few months ago, I transformed JOLISSA - AN ANTI-PRINCESS STORY into a screenplay and submitted it to an animated script contest. I was so excited to find out I made the first cut! I don't know how much farther I'll go, but I've been floating with that awesome recognition. Wish me luck!

Ever consider writing a screenplay? Go for it!
Are there any books you'd like to see on the big or small screen?

Still giving away free ebooks! Just ask!

Stay distant, but stay in touch!
Stay smart and stay safe!

Monday, March 16, 2020

7 Ways for #Writers to Get Noticed

Hope everyone is well!
If you're cooped up, it's a great time to write, right?


Last week, I talked about the lonely, secluded life of a writer. This week, I'm telling you to face your fears and get out there and show the world your stuff! If you want your stories to be read, you're going to have to take some risks.

7 Ways for Writers to Get Noticed...


  1. Make Connections - whether virtually or face-to-face, you have to say something if you want to get noticed. Go to a conference and meet other writers and readers. Comment on tweets, follow folks who say stuff you can relate to. See what you have in common and be open to what you don't. You never know who you'll meet!
  2. Come up with a Gimmick - Some people have natural charisma or charm, others have to create something that draws people to them. It doesn't have to be something dumb or fake--it should represent you and your books. Like that guy on tik tok who rides a unicycle all the time - have you seen the one where he takes down a Star Wars AT-AT Walker? It's great! I haven't found mine yet, but I keep trying...
  3. Give Stuff Away - Raffles, Giveaways, Sales, Prizes, Contests... People like free stuff and some of them will notice you when they enter for free stuff.
  4. Post Pithy Prose on the Socials - There are a few twitter peeps I love reading. Some of them come up with great quotes or funny pics or thought-provoking questions. They have tons of followers. That's the way to do it! Unfortunately, I usually come up with my funny stuff while I'm at school away from my phone... (sure, that's it)
  5. Try New Avenues - Find your readers. Where do they hang out? IRL and online. Create videos, pin stuff, make stuff and post pics of your success and/or failure. The more you do, the better.
  6. Give and you will Receive - Guest posts, interviews, reviews, a street team. All great ways you can help other writers and they will help you in return!
  7. Don't be afraid to look Silly! In fact, the sillier the better! But it has to be authentic. Sing, dance, recite, dress up, act something out. As long as nobody gets hurt, go nuts.
Even if you only get noticed by a few dozen people, that's a dozen more than knew you before. Maybe they'll pass along the great story about you to others. You never know... If you don't try, you'll never be noticed. Keep at it!


Speaking of getting noticed, I'm almost done with my Taking Back Beast World campaign. It's going pretty well! I've seen interest, made new connections, and republished. Always more to do, but very happy with how it's going. (Still making my rounds to commenters on my guest posts--a good problem to have!)

Today, I'm guest posting at Juneta's wonderful Writer's Gambit blog talking about self-publishing joys and woes, plus a surprise. And my buddy Christine Rains is giving me a super duper review shout out. Hope you can stop by!

And need some hand sanitizer? I'm doing my part with FREE E-books this week, plus Discounted paper books with a free hand sanitizer with each order! Here's the FORM

What advice do you have for getting noticed?
Ever meet someone who turned out to be a great contact?

Happy Writing!
and Wash your hands =)

Monday, March 9, 2020

#WritersLife can be Lonely

Many writers and artists are introverts. It can be a lonely occupation. We sit alone with our thoughts, expressing them through written words and images. It takes a lot of courage for creatives to put their work out into the public for scrutiny and judgment.

But we must! We need to share our hard work - everyone needs validation and approval, despite some negative feedback which should help us improve and grow stronger, right?

Starting slowly, we send our precious works out into the world. First, we recruit betas and critique partners who are the best encouragers, giving insightful, constructive advice. When we feel confident (haha) to move on, we can hire an editor, or polish it as shiny as possible, and try querying, continuing to improve with each rejection--which will be many!

Once you are published, (and you will be published, but only if you keep at it!) that's when the really hard work starts. Marketing.

As a teacher, I consider myself more outgoing since I get up in front of very critical audiences on a daily basis! I'm not afraid to go to events and put myself out there. But as a writer, I'm a one woman show. I have to set my own writing goals and deadlines. I have to look for the events and try new things and leave my comfort zone. I have to make a commitment to myself to keep writing and figure out ways to market my books without annoying all my friends!

It can be very difficult to keep going with so many negatives to overcome. And it's all on us. The negatives are a direct reflection on our work, so it's hard not to take it personally or let it get us down!

And that's why I'm so thankful (again!) for the writing community. We all know how it is. I can't say enough how much I appreciate my awesome writer friends. They understand and won't let me give up!


If you'd like to join our weekly twitter chat where we discuss writerly things and life in general, we'd love to have you. Don't forget the hashtag!

Now this...
I had another great week during the TAKING BACK BEAST WORLD campaign! ONWARD is out there, and apparently it will make you cry. I don't like to cry at movies, especially animated features.


But like I said, it was a fantastic week! I had so many visitors at C. Lee McKenzie's & Alex Cavanaugh's blogs, I'm still getting around to visiting back! So here's a big

This week, I'll be talking about School Presentations at Sherry Ellis's place. She's also a great example of excellent MG writing and putting herself out there. Hope you can stop by!

Are you an introvert? Do you go to writerly events?
What advice do you have to encourage writers to get out there?

Happy Daylight Savings!

Monday, March 2, 2020

The #WritingCommunity is Priceless

Happy March & Happy IWSG Day!
I am so thankful for the writing community and all the great friends I've made from all over the world. No matter where we're from, we can chat and laugh and share our dreams without judgment--like we're at a virtual slumber party!

Last week, I posted a self evaluation quiz about phone addiction. I was happy to see responses similar to mine. Basically we use the phone as a tool of communication and information, but we could live without it if we had to. This is probably because older generations have lived without "smart" technology. And we need to pass that revelation on to future generations, so they don't turn into zombies... ha ha

One of the best uses for the internet has been connecting with other writers. The support, advice, and shared commiseration I've received from my online writer friends has been essential to me sticking with my writing. I'm especially grateful for the continued Insecure Writing Support Group "meetings" which keep me blogging at least once a month! Thanks, Alex!

My writer friends have been especially wonderful through this latest turn of events and helping me out with my Taking Back Beast World campaign...


The Disney/Pixar movie Onward, similarly set in my Beast World, comes out Friday. So far, the reviews are not good. I'm not sure how I feel about that... I'm not going to judge it--probably won't see it until it's free on Disney +. But it's rather disappointing. Like they've ruined it for me. It also makes me want to go to Dreamworks and offer my alternative (I'm researching it, soooo hard to get a pinky toe in the door, nevermind a foot!). For now, I'm going to finish out my campaign with the help of my wonderful friends, and hope Beast World gets noticed by more folks looking for an inspirational, relatable, comical, fantasy adventure!

Last week, Jemi Fraser left me a couple of fantastic reviews -- I saved announcing them for this week as that's my campaign topic the week.

Also this week, I'm so honored to be appearing at...

Finally, I want to give some back and tell you about a wonderful romance writer I know...

She's got a fabulous new release!

ABOUT US
by Elizabeth Seckman

Hayden Matthews is trying to get as far away from love as possible. After wasting eight years in a failed marriage, she's ready for a nice, peaceful life where she can raise her daughter to be strong, independent, and happy. But to make that happen, she must fix her own life first.

Cam Vorelli has pined for Hayden since he was in grade school. Always in the friend-zone, he stood on the sidelines, his heart breaking, as she said I do to the wrong man. A man he knew didn’t deserve her, who could never love her as he did. But what could he say? She was marrying into his family. Cam would never break a holy vow much less be disloyal to his kin.

Until he sees the bruises on Hayden. Abuse is a game changer.

Hayden knows leaving a husband like Tag, with a hot temper, a badge, and a gun will be tricky. She needs someone she can trust. Not looking for a romantic entanglement, she calls Cam, with her soon-to-be ex fearful of his former NFL cousin as a bonus.

Though Cam comes to her rescue with the purest of intentions, he won't deny fate if Hayden starts to feel the same for him...

And it's available NOW for FREE!


About the Author
Elizabeth is a multi-published author of books for people who are believers in happily-ever- after, true love, and stories with a bit of fun and twists with their plots. The mother of four young men, she tackles laundry daily and is the keeper of the kitchen. She lives along the shores of the Ohio River in West Virginia, but dreams daily of the beach.


You'll love her style. Take it from me.


Don't be afraid to ask your friends for help. 
We're all ready to be there for each other!

Hope your March is off to a Springy start!