Monday, December 22, 2014

Don't let the holidays suck the lifeblood out of you!

Merry Christmas, et al. I have two gifts & a giveaway for you all!

First, I wanted to write you all a Christmas poem. It's not really about Christmas, but it's in there... so here you go!

Meet the Jones

To Mulberry Lane,
In Sycamore Square,
Moved a handsome new family
With skin oh, so fair.

Respected, adored,
Admired by many,
They had wealth to spare
And flaunted it plenty.

In the spring they threw parties,
They lit up the night,
A few lucky chosen
To stay until light.

In summer they vanished,
They left the harsh sun,
Facebooked from down under
To show off ski fun.

When weather turned cooler,
Guess who reappears,
In time for fall fests
And Halloween's spooky fears.

But as winter approached,
The neighborhood thinned.
Where's everyone gone?
Asked the lone, chilling wind.

The family laughed
So full and so jolly.
Christmas wishes were granted
By vain human folly.

When New Year arrives,
The Jones will be gone
To another quaint village,
Fresh blood to feed on.

The Second gift I have, is the lovely and talented, Sharon Bayliss! She has a fun, "You might be..." post to celebrate the coming of her next December People book, WATCH ME BURN!

Dark wizards living in the Mundane world have a lot of challenges. Here are some signs that you might be one of The December People...
  1. Your favorite football team really did lose because you forgot to wear your lucky socks.
  2. You have to move every year because your house keeps getting destroyed.
  3. You're on a first name basis with all of the nurses in your local ER.
  4. If all your kids are alive and safely inside your home, you think you're the greatest parent ever.
  5. You care way too much about the seasons.
  6. You're angry at J.K. Rowling for her unfair treatment of Slytherins.
  7. You celebrate Christmas either way too much or way too little.
  8. If you and your family members stand in a circle, the house might burn down.
  9. You have way too many children and they keep stealing your car.
  10. It's your fault that it's raining.
Begin the series with Destruction for only 99 cents (12/1-12/21 only)!
Semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Review Awards and #1 category bestseller in coming of age fantasy.

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything.

Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.

His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl--who happens to be a summer witch--begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic's command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.

David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.


My good buddy, Andrew Buckley from Curiosity Quills put together a colossal Christmas giveaway. It's a chance to win one of 24 awesome books!

I'm helper elf, Twinkle Fluffenguff, offering POP TRAVEL and BROKEN BRANCH FALLS. Sharon, aka Giggles McJinglebell, has DESTRUCTION in it as well! Check it out!



Monday, December 15, 2014

Historical Romance Requires Endurance

Christmas is creeping (hmm, I might have to make that into a song!) I'm mostly ready... I find as I get older, I have less people to buy for. Yippee! And even though I was going to take December off from book events, I asked around and lucky me, I got to do a book signing at Half Price Books. They were awesome! I gave out some cookies and sold some books, it was great! Just goes to show, never hesitate to ask. And to top the night off, I brought some more Broken Branch Falls cookies to my neighborhood cookie exchange and won most creative cookies! Yay!

Now for the main feature.
I've been friends with Carrie Anne for a long time, you might say we are historic! (Sorry)

Carrie Anne writes historical romance, and her word count often triples or even quadruples mine! It's amazing! She is knowledgeable, descriptive, and romantic. Her scenes are picturesque and informative. In her latest novel, she blends historic Russia with emotional characters. Sometimes it's hard to find an audience, and don't we all know! But I'm pulling for her! And with that, I'll let her give you a fascinating "Behind the Book" post!

Sometime during my first major writing phase, I decided to have Lyuba fall in love with Ivan, her other best friend and the guy who’s stepped up to help to raise her daughter Tatyana after Boris abandoned her right before she went into labor.  Their latest romantic reunion in Chapter 7, “Lyuba’s Time of Troubles,” was originally written as the very first time they’d kissed or Lyuba had declared her romantic feelings.  Then I stumbled onto the idea of Lyuba having secretly been in love with Ivan since childhood.  Ivan no longer had an unrequited case of love for her.  During the second major phase of writing, I came up with the plot point of them having had a month-long clandestine romance which had ended right before the book started.

Lyuba and Ivan both became survivors of traumatic childhoods, with different types of abuse.  This did a lot to explain some of the behavior which hadn’t had any motivation or context, like Ivan’s volatile temper and why Lyuba doesn’t want to get married or have children.  They’re two wounded, scarred souls who instinctively understand one another.  They don’t know how to be normal, even though they know what normal is supposed to look like.  Their whole lives, abnormal has been normal, and Lyuba in particular doesn’t know how to make normal happen for herself.  She’s too used to being hurt and abused by men, and is scared of the thought of being forever with a nice guy who treats her with love and respect.

Lyuba’s former preference for Boris became a pretended preference, and I created the backstory about her mother having drilled into her the importance of marrying a man who can offer financial security and social status, even if he might be abusive or uncouth.  Over time, Boris became more and more of an antagonist, a far cry from the pretty decent guy he’d originally been written as.  Because of Lyuba’s psychological baggage, she lets their charade relationship continue and later goes back to him a number of times.  But all along, Ivan is always the only man in her heart.  She reminds me a lot of Scarlett O’Hara and Amber St. Clare.  They might appear bad on the surface, but when you take a deeper look, you understand what drives them and feel sympathy.

It was beautiful Divine Providence that I gave my female protagonist the name Amy, since the Russian equivalent is Lyubov, which literally means “love.”  It’s such a perfect, fitting name for a character who’s in desperate search of love and its healing power.  I also love the wordplay it creates in Russian when Ivan calls her “my love.”  Not only is she his love, but she’s also his Lyubov.

Had I been older than thirteen when I started the book all those years ago, I would’ve given my male protagonist anything but the most common male name in Russian history, but it really suits who he is.  He’s old-fashioned, solid, dependable, hard-working, with a quintessentially Russian soul. There’s also the frequent symbolic contrast between Ivan II, the Meek, and Tsar Ivan IV, Grozniy.  He was named for Tsar Ivan III, the Great (the first Russian ruler to call himself Tsar), yet he too often is either too meek or lets his volatile temper get the better of him, thanks to his traumatic childhood.

Available now at Amazon!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sprucing up the blog

the US cover =)
Today I have Robin Houghton, applauded author and compiler of BLOGGING FOR WRITERS and BLOGGING FOR CREATIVES. In other words, she knows blogging! I was flabberghasted when she asked if she could use me in her book. And now, I'd like to share some more with you all about her and I twisted her ear to get some "free" advice, too...

TT: Now that I'm published, I have less and less time to blog, but I keep at it. How do you balance blogging and publishing with day-to-day life?

RH: I find planning ahead really helps to focus me and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. This means having an editorial calendar and being realistic about what I can manage. If time is tight, I keep it short – short can be good – I love Seth Godin’s blog, and if he can find the time to blog every day, there’s no excuse for me not managing once a week!  I don’t always stick to the plan, but I think it’s important to stay flexible – my feeling is that life gets in the way and there’s no point beating up on yourself if you’ve missed a blog post.

TT: I've found marketing to be one of the hardest things about publishing. What is your best marketing advice?

RH: Ooh, that’s a big one! I think we can all debate the merits of the various marketing strategies and whether social media, speaking at conferences or mailshots work for selling books. But I think the one crucial essence of marketing is putting yourself in the shoes (and mindset) of your audience. For writers this means first of all your readers, but it also means the publishing industry – everyone from publishers, agents & editors to booksellers and books bloggers. Understanding a person’s viewpoint is the first step towards connecting with them. Dan Blank is someone I admire a lot, and he talks about building your author platform one reader at a time. I think social media makes this possible in a way that traditional broadcast methods alone can’t do.

TT: Blogging has been an awesome tool as a launching pad into writing for me. Now, I'm branching out. How do you feel about managing a website? or a newsletter? Would you recommend these additional formats for writers?

RH: I think if you start with a blog, then a separate website may be redundant – blogging platforms allow you to build static pages, so anything you’d put on a website could sit on your blog. Having said that, I know authors (and publishers) sometimes prefer to have separate website purely for publicity and promotion. Personally, I think if you’re starting out or self-publishing then keep it simple and stick with a blog. 

A newsletter is another thing – the advantage of building an email list is that you have a method of contacting your fans directly when you want to invite them to something, or have something to sell, or an exclusive offer, or want to survey them, or reward them. An email list is yours to build and nurture – if anything happened to your blog or website you’d still have your list of people who have opted-in to hearing from you. Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and it’s easy to put a sign-up box on your blog. If you’re thinking of monetising your list (for example, offering ebooks or courses) then take a look at Aweber.  A newsletter doesn’t have to be long. Minimise the work involved by re-using existing material (blog posts, articles or extracts) and supplement it with something topical or a brief update on a current project. Send something regularly to the list but don’t over-promise – better to say they’ll receive “regular updates” (which leaves it open) rather than “weekly news” which might become a burden.  A newsletter can work well alongside a blog – put it onto your editorial calendar, prepare and schedule ahead as much as you can and use a tool like Buffer to keep your social networks aware of the newsletter and encourage subscriptions.

TT: As for social media, do you have any tips for those of us who need to utilize Twitter more effectively (I'm a twitter twit!)

RH: Lots! Here’s a recent post on the subject – Seven Things to do on Twitter This Week
I suppose my number one tip would be to segment the people you follow into lists, then use a dashboard like Hootsuite and you can create columns for each list. For example, I’m following around 1,500 people which is impossible, really. So I have lists – which include things like ‘Poetry magazines’, ‘Poets’, ‘Publishers’ and ‘Twitter Buddies’ (those who I often chat with, or who retweet or favourite my tweets). By putting people into those smaller groups it makes it easier to follow their tweets.

TT: And finally, could you tell us a little about what's coming up next for you?

RH: Well 2015 is shaping up quite well – I have more guest blog appearances lined up and possibly some in-person events, I’ve another title launching in March called ‘The Golden Rules of Blogging (and When to Break Them)’ which will be fun to promote, as it’s a little different from my other blogging books – less instructional, more entertaining you might say! I’m also working on a new & updated edition of Blogging for Creatives which the publisher tells me is still very popular

the UK cover!
On the poetry front, I’m a founder member of a poets’ publishing collective called Telltale Press, And we’re expecting to have at least 3 more poets joining us, so I’ll be involved in publishing their chapbooks and publicising the Press with events and readings. It’s fun to be on both sides of the publishing process and I enjoy promoting other writers’ work. Alongside that, I’m hoping to see my poems in more magazines, but that’s in the lap of the gods...

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Tara, and for contributing to ‘Blogging for Writers’ – I was incredibly lucky to find so many great writers willing to share their blogging wit and wisdom!

I don't know about you all, but I learned some more great info today - and I love that! Thanks for opening up to us, Robin! And thanks again for the opportunity!

Robin Houghton has over two decades of experience in marketing and communications, formerly with Nike, then running her own business Eggbox Marketing since 2002 specialising in online. She now works primarily with writers and publishing industry professionals to help them make the best use of social media. Robin writes blogs on social media and poetry and has been a guest blogger for a number of sites including Social Media Today and MarketingProfs. She is a published poet and a commercial copywriter for web and print, and an experienced trainer and conference speaker. Her first book 'Blogging for Creatives' was a best-seller and resulted in two more commissions, 'Blogging for Writers' and forthcoming in 2015 'The Rules of Blogging (and How to Break Them)', both published by Ilex in the UK and Writers Digest Books in the US.

Buy the book:
or on Amazon UK

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Will you look at that?

This month for the IWSG, I'm taking a break from worrying and doing a little celebrating! I hope the good vibes from this post will follow you around and holly jolly you out of any funk you might be stuck in!! Get some cheer, cheery, cheer over here!

First, the Insecure Writer's Support Group has published a collection of sage publishing advice! And I'm so excited to be a part of it! And it's FREE right now!

Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

Plus, I know some of you have been looking for a good critique partner - well, you're not alone. Check this out - it's another awesome something I've been wanting to share from the super supportive IWSG organization...

I'm very excited to be close to handing over SIMULATION to my editor! And to give you all a taste of it, Chrys Fey tagged me in the 777 challenge - perfect timing!
In your current WIP, go to the 7th page, 7 lines down, and share 7 lines or so... Here I give you Colonel Crews Hamilton, the conniving, old villain from SIMULATION:

     Crews wanted an electrogun to zap the boy's head off.
     "Pull over."
     "But Crews…."
     "Pull. Over." The Colonel's glare, the original intimidator, beat Jonas' ten to one and took no arguments.
     "Are you sure? We're still downtown."
     The Colonel responded in a low, guttural voice, growling from his clenched teeth like a mean, junkyard dog. "I know where we are and I know where I'm going. Pull over the confounded car, right now."
     The fear that jumped into the young man's eyes comforted Crews. Jonas had crossed the wrong old man.

And lastly,
I took advantage of the lovely Elizabeth Arundel's offer to post about my newest release, BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, over at Unicorn Bell - another wonderful site for writing advice and encouragement and contests and more! If you've never stopped by, I suggest you do so!

Hope everyone is getting ready for the holidays! And staying warm!

My advice this month: Smile through it!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Five Ways to Handle Disappointment and Come Out on TOP!

Hope all my US friends are getting ready to stuff themselves silly! Then get some exercise on Black Friday fighting the crowds - park far away and walk it all off!

Before I get to my topic today, I wanted to announce some awesome news! I am so excited and honored to be a part of Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton. When she asked me to give her a blurb and let her use my blog, I was floored! And when I received it in the mail, I was thrilled! This is a result of perseverance that I never expected.

And this brings me to the topic for today...

From my last post, we are approaching life realistically and have lowered our expectations, right? Though this may sound a little defeatist, but the great part is, even when we are disappointed, good things can still come of it. Here are some hopeful thoughts on dealing with disappointment and turning it into something POSITIVE!

We only go through what we can handle - if it's happening to you, there is a way to deal with it. And if it seems overwhelming, we can't be too proud or afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs support sometimes. That's what friends and family are for - even bloggy friends!

We reach our goals when we are ready to handle them - we want to have success right now. Why am I being rejected so much? Why doesn't anyone want to hire me? Everyone around me is being published, when will it be my turn? These questions are more common than you might think, even from the successful people. We have to realize that some things are too big for us to handle without some development. Many times, if goals are achieved too quickly, there is a greater chance of failure - stress, additional work, and unexpected responsibilities can be overwhelming. But there is a better chance at success if we have patience and gain a little more experience and wisdom waiting for the right situation at the right time.

We usually receive rewards in unexpected ways - we can't plan for everything. I had a simple plan for my life after college - get a job, get married, have kids. These things have all happened, but definitely not in the way I expected! I was engaged and didn't get married. I worked several part time jobs for years before getting a steady teaching job. As I got older, I thought I would never get married and have kids. But I didn't get desperate or depressed, I kept going and was doing well on my own - and that's when my husband entered the picture, when I wasn't expecting it. Happens all the time!

We are stronger than we think we are - when I was engaged, I went out to a club with my friends. I thought, I'm glad I never have to do this to find a husband! And then it didn't work out. I did have to be single for a while. I don't like to promote myself or travel by myself - but I'm doing it and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Don't talk yourself out of things - you can do it!

We cannot let minor setbacks detour us from the ultimate goal - temporary failures are growing pains, stumbling blocks, challenges and dares. They poke and tease and bully us into thinking we aren't good enough. How we deal with these negative pieces of life and the choices we make as a result of them will determine if we succeed or not. The future is in our hands. It's okay to weep a little, then blow your nose, dig in your heels, and stick out your chin! We can do anything!

Have a great week! And safe travels to all!

Adding a shout out for a friend in NEED!

Charity Bradford is making the huge effort to self publish - it takes a lot of work and a lot of capital! She's down to the last three days of her kickstarter and needs to bump it up to 100% funding. To show you more about her awesome work:

Here's the book trailer

You can read the first two chapters

For more info, here's Charity's Website

Thanks for your support!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Five Reasons to Lower Your Expectations

every friday

Happy Friday! Make sure you Celebrate the Small Things with Vikki and friends with her weekly hop! I don't always have a chance to participate every week, but I'm jumping in today! Here's what I'm celebrating:

  • I love November - my birthday month!
  • I made it through my first week in my new job
  • I had a great time visiting my grandma last weekend and hanging out with Elizabeth Seckman at another a nice little bookfair =)
  • I have gotten some chapters done on Cradle Rock, but as expected, I have slowed down with the start of my new job - hope to get more done this weekend!

And now, I'm very excited to bring new buzz to Broken Branch Falls!

Tonja Drecker at Kidbits is posting a review today (that's something to celebrate too!)

Finally, here are Five reasons to lower your expectations...
  1. Not everyone thinks the same way we do, others have different priorities - don't expect to come first, things that are important to you may not be to others
  2. When you accomplish something, people will be happy for you, but don't expect them to throw you a party because they're secretly jealous
  3. Things go wrong - expect the worst, hope for the best, and do what you can - you'll never be disappointed
  4. Don't expect the bad things in life won't to happen to you. Generalizations apply to everyone:
    • your spouse - we forget things, take each other for granted, and don't always communicate well
    • your kids - they go through the phases
    • your co-workers - they have their own lives and problems you have no idea about
    • and especially ourselves - getting old sucks
  5. We all have bad days - don't expect to save the world, it's okay if not everything you wanted to get done gets done today
Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Seven Deadly Sins with Character

Welcome to the November Insecure Writers Support Group! Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh

As long as I blog, I won't miss out on this wonderful event. And today, instead of griping which I very well could do, I'm going to encourage and give out some advice (not that I'm a big authority or anything!)

To fresh, new writers with a story to tell: Write on! Get around those blocks, take short breaks to refresh, and get that story out.

To the editing blues crew: Carry on! Find a good crit partner and then some. Get out of your head and start a new project, then come back and remember what a great story you have that deserves to be polished up. The new project will also be your motivation to finish editing.

To the querulous queriers: Press on! Quick! You have five seconds to tell me what you're book is about, GO! There's your blurb, now expand and tease only a little to write the query. Remember the query is the future back cover of your book - hook an agent/editor/publisher now, hook readers later.

To the modest marketers: Event on! Get out there and sell - yourself. Who's going to promote you better than you? NO ONE. Unless you pay them. And we have no money yet. So bust a move!

Lather. Rinse. Repeat!

Easier said than done, I know. And believe me, it takes years, many, many, too many, rejections, heartaches and backaches and wrist-aches... But it's all worth it!

Now for a couple of BLOG HOPS! I'm so glad Michelle and Tyrean tagged me. I haven't done a hop in a while. Yay!

First Michelle tagged me in the Literary Seven Deadly Sins! (love this pic!)

Here are the questions:

Greed – What is your most inexpensive book?

Besides books I've won, I can't think of any cheap paper books... I do like sales. I've also gotten some free and 99 cent kindle books...

Wrath – Who’s the author with whom you have a love/hate relationship with?

John Grisham - love most of his insanely good story-telling, but don't like that he can publish whatever he wants (a few shouldn't have been...)

Gluttony – What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame?

It takes me a while to read a book through, so reading them a second time? Doesn't usually happen. When I was younger, I read several books in the Xanth series by Piers Anthony at least twice.

Sloth – Which book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

I have a stack... I will say Gone Girl and I've let Cinder sit for too long, half-read as well...

Pride – What books do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

My pride will not let me announce my deception... ha ha ha!

Lust – What attributes do you find attractive in a male or female character?

Strength, humor, conviction, honesty, faults they work around, depth

Envy – What book would you like to receive most as a gift?

A hard copy of Effigy - really digging MJ's book!

Now, I must tag others to admit their SEVEN DEADLY SINS...

Elizabeth Seckman, Vikki Biram, Christine Rains, Loni Townsend, Beth Ellyn Sumner, Heather Gardner, C. Lee McKenzie (I know that everybody is super-busy, so if you decide not to play along, then that’s fine)

And Tyrean asked if I would do a Meet the Character, so yay! Here are her books. And she introduced us to Clara - a teen swordstress destined for greatness.

Now it's my turn to let you all get to know one of my characters...

What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional/historical?

Jeremy Monroe, totally fictional

When and where is the story set?

Modern day South Florida

What should we know about your character?

He's been dating his girl, Jess for three years and just found out he has a terminal brain tumor.

What is your character's goal?

To have a lot of fun and take care of his loved ones before he dies.

What is screwing up  your character's life (main conflict in writerly speak?)

Before he dies, he takes a strange potion his girl got from a Shaman Priestess, hoping to extend his life, but he dies anyway and turns into a zombie! That's when the real fun starts.

What is the title?

The Comeback. It's a short story in CQ: CHRONOLOGY, an anthology by a slew of awesome Curiosity Quills authors. Comes out November 24!!

And now I am tagging CD Coffelt - but it's open to anyone who'd like to participate!

CD's books are:
Wilder Mage
Mage Revealed

Monday, October 27, 2014

Give until it hurts?

Life is chaos - if you try to control it, you'll just get frustrated.
The more life I experience, the more I realize this. So, I've been trying to go with the flow, do my best, get as much done as my frail, aging, human body allows. I want to make the most of my time here.

Unfortunately, I feel blogging is falling by the wayside... And I don't feel I'm alone in this. Many are still hard at it, but others are blogging less. I'm struggling to blog once a week! But that is my goal - and visiting as much as I can - because if I don't visit, I won't be visited. That's how life works. We give, we receive. And I thank you all for giving me your time and attention!

Happily, I have finally reached one of my goals for this year - I put out a Newsletter! It is in blog format and it's still a work in progress. The purpose of my quarterly newsletter is to let anyone who's interested know where I'm at - in person, in progress, in life... I'll be exploring Mailchimp to get the word out soon. I'm also glad I have Crystal's post to refer to for advice!

Also, this past week I had a wonderful time talking at a local Book Club - and enjoyed participating in the madness that was EPICON - geeks galore!

And now, I'm excited to give you my witty, creative, inspiring friend and her latest release!

Book Two of The Magic Withheld series
by CD Coffelt

Struck with enough malevolent Spirit to turn him into a raving beast of a man, Bert Reese fights to remain human. Alone, he walks a slender path between sanity and madness. Then, an unlikely source enters his life to help—one of the now-hated mages.
But Ashleigh is different and calms his butchered senses. Her fierce nature is the only rock that stands between him and the crevasse that is beast. In all ways, she walks beside him toward a new beginning. But at the end of their journey lies the one who used Spirit against him. Questions arise; did Tiarra, head of the Imperium, lose her magic, die, or simply give way to the new order? Or, like a spider, does she wait for a mage to blunder into her web?

Forced on him without a care for his humanity, Bert is the mage who should not exist, born with a different kind of magic.

And the gates of Hell are no match for the magic he wields.

Author C.D. Coffelt’s world of magic started in Wilder Mage with the words “The earthquake wasn’t his fault. Not this time.” It continues in Mage Revealed, the second book of the three-part series. Watch the book trailer on YouTube.

C.D. Coffelt lives outside Skidmore, Missouri with a bemused husband and way too many cats. She is a member of the Missouri Writers Guild. But despite that bit of conventionality, she adores all things fantasy with a special love for urban and epic. With a passion for good writing and Doritos as companions, locating Middle-Earth on a dusty road in rural Missouri wasn’t difficult. All it took was a little Magic, hours of reading, and an overactive imagination.

She blogs as Huntress on, Facebook, Twitter, and her writer’s critique site,

Find her books at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Prioritizing, Maximizing, Economizing

Are you too busy? Do things keep interrupting your schedule? (like stink bugs! lost keys! computer viruses! argh!) Well, that's life, ain't it. I had a packed week, but I wouldn't have it any other way. And the only way I can stay sane is to organize. Here's how I roll...
  • prioritize what I need to get done and put the most necessary "have-to" things at the top of the list, then when I finish I can work on the "want-to" things!
  • I also maximize my time by doing everything I can in one area before moving on to the next.
  • My lists help me economize my time and energy - if I don't write things down, I'll forget something, never fails!
So here's what I was up to... (besides work, chores, and running kids around, that is!)

  • My little guy turned ELEVEN on Thursday. I was happy that he let me sit with him and his friends for lunch - he's the best!
  • The party was Friday - indoor go karting then Dairy Queen with five crazy boys - the SUV was hopping all over town! But mom only let one of them spend the night.
  • Then, as fate/facebook would have it, I found a fundraising VENDOR SHOW (for a very good cause!) at my local community center that needed more sellers. Of course I offered to buy a table (the price & location were perfect!) So Saturday I threw together a raffle basket, set up my table, and sold a few books! alongside jewelry, bag, makeup, and food purveyors. It was awesome! And I even won one of the raffles! Woot! Here's my basket...
  • But that's not all! I also went out for the evening with my husband and some friends to another fundraiser party - the high school's Baseball Bash.
  • And during the spare moments, I'm avidly working on the rough draft of CRADLE ROCK (sequel to Broken Branch Falls) - Don't tell anyone, but I might get to finish it and keep track of my own little NANO! Shh! I don't want to jinx it!
And saving the best for last is what I do - check out Cathrina's hot new cover!!

Title: Wickedly They Dream
Release Date: November 5, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Thriller/Fantasy

Here is the Blurb:
After Seeley is possessed by an evil wraith, Jordan must dig deeper into the Satanic realm. Against Markus’s direct orders, she offers herself, body and soul in a blood covenant to rescue Seeley from the clutches of hell. Jordan assumes her guardian angel will not leave her to fight alone. But there’s trouble in paradise, and Markus has been reassigned. Can Jordan defeat both her internal and external demons to win him back? Or is he gone for good this time?

Find Cathrina here:

Facebook  --  Web  --  Blog  --  Twitter 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Let me take a Shelfie! Winners!

Halloween is coming! Meet my monster tree!

Now for the winners...
The Shelfie Selfie Blogfest is over and it was a scandalous success!

First, a thank you to our fabulous contestants:

Ellie Garratt
L. Diane Wolfe
Gina Stoneheart
Stephen Tremp
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Tyrean Martinson
Tami Aschenbrenner
Elizabeth Arroyo
Chrys Fey
Eric Juneau
Loni Townsend
Rebecca Bradley
Nicki Elson
Susanne Drazic
Carrie Anne Brownian
Michelle Wallace
Sarah Foster
Trisha F


The winner of the 13th Floor Collection by Christine Rains is 
Ellie Garratt

The winners of Wilder Mage and Mage Revealed by C.D. Coffelt are 
Eric Juneau and Tyrean Martinson

The winner of an ebook by Elizabeth Seckman is
Alex J. Cavanaugh
(Alex also receives honorable mention for appearing in the most shelfies!)

The two winners of ebooks by Tara Tyler are 
Chrys Fey and Sarah Foster

The winner of Effigy by M.J. Fifield is
Michelle Wallace

And the winner of an interview by Stormy the Weather Gnome at Heather Gardner's blog is 
Carrie Anne Brownian

And the Grand Prize Winner of $40 is Rebecca Bradley!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again everyone for playing and commenting! It was a lot of fun!
Special thanks to my wonderful co-hostesses:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Win Stuff! Enter Your Shelfie!

Happy Monday!
It was an extreme weekend in my neck of the Midwest. First, two relatives had unexpected surgeries - but are both doing very well now, thank goodness. Then, my middle son was honored as a "Freshman Football Player of the Week!" He got to dress and hang out with the varsity team for their game Friday night. And lastly, I am happy to report I submitted SIMULATION to my publisher. It's the next book in the Cooper Chronicles techno-thriller detective series after POP TRAVEL. It's all been very nerve-wracking and exciting!

In other news...

Today (10/6) is the LAST DAY to enter the SHELFIE SELFIE BLOGFEST!
We will post winners this week!

Here are our fabulous contestants:

Ellie Garratt

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Making a difference

I am happy to say I have been a part of the Insecure Writer Support Group from its inception (love that movie!). Big THANK YOU to ALEX J. CAVANAUGH for starting it! I can't believe it's been three years. But I can easily believe how huge it's become. It's a wonderful mechanism for writers to boost each other! And today is the website’s one year anniversary. In honor of all the celebrating, we are posting entries for the IWSG anthology.

The purpose of the book is to assist other writers on the journey, so we are looking for tips and instructions in the areas of writing, publishing, and marketing. It can be inspirational in nature as long as you provide a solid benefit.

I'm going to post about putting yourself out there once you're published. The dreaded marketing that writers never signed up for.

I have tried many things, but getting noticed is a very slow process. Every new person who finds out about your book(s) will hopefully pass it along. You just have to get out there! So far, I've done book events in Georgia, Michigan, West Virginia, and Ohio. I also did some unconventional marketing while on vacation, leaving fun swag items here and there. So here are some tips for marketing!
  • Go out and spread your good news! The more you tell, the more fans you'll find. Try book conferences, book stores, local fairs, etc - anywhere you can afford to set up a table! I am doing my first sci fi "CON" this month - am really looking forward to branching out and meeting more people!
  • Have swag to give away - good stuff people will remember you by. Food is great, but gone quick and forgotten. The best items are useful things that might actually stick around, like:
    • post it notes, notepads
    • pens
    • jewelry
    • bookmarks
    • bags
    • cups
  • My unconventional swag are frisbees, flying monster/beast toys, slide whistles, and footballs - all with my book title on them - try to have swag that goes with the book
  • Actively seek reviewers - ask around! the worst they can say is no
  • Put your book on a reader's list like: Ereader News Daily, Bookbub, or the Fussy Librarian
  • Be creative and inventive. One of my editors is into video experimentation and is always trying  new ways to promote his book on youtube. I am thinking of getting a karaoke machine to strum up business at my next con... we'll see if I actually do it!
  • There are so many ways to market! I can't list them all, but here's one more subtle way I'm trying to get noticed as a writer. I've made some writer buttons. You can be your own personal advertisement without saying a word! Check them out!
face painting by my inside the book artist at release party!
Keep plugging! There's an audience waiting to read your books!

I also wanted to thank Maggie for having me over for a lovely interview on Monday! Here's the link if you're interested =)

Lastly, there's only one week left for the SHELFIE SELFIE BLOGFEST still going on - post yours by October 6th to win! Here are the awesome entries:

Ellie Garrett

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 22, 2014

Overlooked and Underrated

This title applies not only to Alex's blogfest, but also to the small book fairs out there. Let me tell you about the little old Ohio River Festival of Books I had the privilege of going to this weekend...

Positives of going to a smaller book event:
  • The ratio of books sold to people passing your table is awesome!! (showing off my math skills - I estimate 30% of the patrons bought a book! And more said they would online, yay!)
  • You have more down time to talk with other authors - lots of info to share!
  • You don't have to worry about a mad rush when you leave to use the potty.
  • You get to see some lovely country on your drive to Smalltown, USA
  • You learn to research better...
  • And the best part of any book event - You meet new authors and readers!!
  • Check out more pictures on Facebook with my super cool friends, Elizabeth Seckman & Carrie Butler

Now for Alex's Underrated Treasures Blogfest
post about your favorite unknown –


I'm into music the most, so I'm linking to some of my favorite songs that didn't get overplayed (and thank goodness!)

Change by Churchill

New Low by Middle Class Rut
(Cooper's song)

Unity by Shinedown

House of Gold by twenty one pilots

Comeback by Redlight King
(my inspiration for my short story in CQ's anthology!)

I'm looking forward to reading what participants have to say and finding some gold that got overlooked!

And one more Underrated Treasure is Tammy Theriault!! She's always doing super fun interviews with others, so I wanted to interview her for a change! We did it Broken Branch Falls style...

This is the story of Feistytude the werewolf and Trong the goblin. These two sixteen year old girls live in Broken Branch Falls. Of course, Trong is a math nerd. And Feistytude is a spunky writer.

After school one day, the girls were walking to the square, talking about everything and nothing…

Trong had something on her mind, but didn't know how to ask her friend. So she asked a random question instead. "Hey, Feisty, what's the craziest thing you've ever done?"

Feistytude's yellow eyes scoped around. She grasped her books closer to her perfectly perky wolf chest and whispered, "Trong, I can't say. There's little wolverines around. But, I will forewarn...don't drink the water below the border in the Troll sector. And by water, I mean 'water.' You may end up passed out, dragged out, and brought home by warm furry friends from the den." Her eyes blinked slow, finishing them with a roll. "Besides, that was ages ago when I was young, stupid, and forgot my howling morals. It's all a journey, right?" Feisty pulled on the back of her red stiletto heel, adjusting them. "Just don't ask me for more crazy stories, I have too many to...shed."

The shorter, green-faced Trong straightened her glasses. "Exaggerate much? I always knew you were a drama queen. But that's why I like you. The craziest thing I ever did was TP some friends' houses." She covered her mouth and quickly changed the subject. "Do you have any homework tonight?"

Feisty clawed at Trong's shoulder with a quick swipe. "That was my house you TP'd, ding bat! And it took me until midnight to clean it!" She regained her composure and kept in stride with Trong who was rubbing her scratches. "I will say this, that was some dang good two-ply. Even my wolf bro said something about 'no more dingleberries'."

They both giggled hysterically. Feisty nearly drops her books, tripping over a purple caterpillar she didn't see yelling at them to be quiet. "Stupid Grotto Caterpillars. Think they know everything, writing up the school curriculum each year. I'm up to my pointed ears with Creative Writing homework now! And you know I only took that to be closer to Chet Cheetah. Meeeeeow!"

Trong stomped her foot. "Hold on. First of all, it was dark, I can't see in the dark like you. Second, watch it! Scratch me again and I won't critique your homework assignments anymore and you'll flunk out! By the way, that story about Emily was really good. Um, did your brother know it was me?" She blushed a deep shade of purple and kicked a stick. "I mean, you should ask your brother why they call Chet cheetah, it isnt because he's cheesy!"

Licking her orangey padded fingers after scarfing down some puffs from her backpack in a nanosecond, Feisty replied, "You're so corny. Of course he knew it was you! Only you would make sure each roll of TP careened around each den rock and tree in perfect symmetrical lines. And the cheetah rumor is because he's really quick with his girlfriends."

Trong's jaw dropped open.

Feisty gasped, realizing what she said. "Oh my fleas! I didn't mean it like that! I meant that I'll be next in line because he doesn't keep girlfriends long." She hung her head down. "Something about how he's trying out speeding through the dating pool."

Trong rolled her eyes.

"Don't worry, Trong. I'm a wolf, not a bat. I won't let him leave me hanging or high and dry."

Trong pointed down her throat. "I think I'm going to gag. Just don't let Chet pull the wool over your eyes. Then you'll be a werewolf in sheep's clothing!" Trong laughed so hard she snorted, which made her laugh even more and she had to hold her aching belly.

Feisty's eyes flashed red, but seeing her friend cracking up made her join in. The two friends couldn't stay mad at each other for long, they were always painfully honest. They entered the pizzeria to see and be seen.

The End.

She looks like a spunky werewolf!
Here's a little about what Tammy is currently working on.
I'm in the middle of two writing projects. One with my writing bestie, Elizabeth Seckman. It's all about virgins, the worth of "cherries," and 4 best friends. The second is a spin off from my alias PIMPBOOKMAMA that I do on my blog to pimp others' projects. Think Legally Blonde but for the writer, not lawyer. It's definitely just as comedic and totally lethargic. And on the flip side of all that, my first book, Living Runaway, I'm shrinking a two part series into one. Meaning deletions all over the place, and tons more writing to cram it all into one book. But, I'm in no hurry to tackle that sweat bath.!! So how do I stay so awesome you ask? YOU tell me! I only see awesome surrounding me when I look at all of ya'll!!

And finally, another shout out for our SHELFIE SELFIE BLOGFEST still going on - post yours by October 6th to win! Check out the entries:
A shelfie with the latest of my friends' books

Ellie Garrett

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I now pronounce you dead

Big news for two of my friends today - Elsie Elmore and Carol Kilgore

First, I interviewed my CQ buddy Elsie and she wrote this sweet intro for it...

Tara and I met several months ago through the online writing community; and it really is a community, isn’t it? I was excited for her release of Broken Branch Falls, an MG fantasy through Curiosity Quills. She was also super helpful with my rafflecopter questions. She’s quite in-the-know.

So anyway, Tara, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog for this grand interview during my release tour for The Undead. I’m strapping on my seatbelt now… Okay, let’s do this.

What is your favorite pizza topping? 
People, prepare…. what I’m going to share is often not a crowd pleaser… my favorite pizza topping is… fresh mushrooms. Are those oohs or ughs I hear? Fresh mushrooms add a layer of savory flavor to whatever they’re paired with… especially sausage, but can perfectly dress up a cheese pizza. Canned mushrooms, however, need not apply.
Hey - I like mushrooms! I thought you were going to say anchovies!

In the future, no one has dull hair – what color would you like to dye yours?
I’d love to say red because it’s my favorite color, but I couldn’t pull off red. I’d have to go with a rich chestnut brown... you know, with the light undertones.
Not bright enough, toots! At least have some sparkly glitter in it!

Where is your favorite place to vacation? 
I think instead of a favorite place, I have a favorite group to vacation with… and that’s my family. We’ve had awesome times at the beach, at the mountains, and on road trips to other states. So I’m less about the destination and more about the journey.
Good answer - the company you keep can make or break the vacation no matter where you go!

What's your favorite song to sing in the shower? 
Ha! I sound like hyena during puberty when I sing so I typically don’t sing in the shower or ever. It’s sort of a public service thing. However, in the privacy of my car, I will sing the first few lines of Fancy by Iggy Azalea when it comes on the radio. Jimmy Fallon has forever made this a “stuck-in-my-head” kind of song. Thanks, Jimmy.
I love Jimmy Fallon. He got All About that Bass stuck in my head!

What's your favorite adjective?
Awesome question. My favorite adjective is… WONKY. It’s like this subtle little word that can mean something is slightly wrong or majorly messed up, depending on use. Yep, no doubt. Wonky. (And I have been known to stretch that into WONKIFIED when the proper situation presents itself.)
A good choice, love the sound of it. Lately I've been using FLIPPIN, but I don't know if that counts as an adjective.

Briefly describe a typical day as a teenage grim reaper.
The daily routine of a grim reaper depends mostly on the territory they’ve been assigned. More populated places have more people, which means death lurks around the corner. In smaller cities, like Martin where Eric has been sent, a dwindling population means less work so there’s time to kill. 
Grim reapers receive their assignments on their phones. When a face pops up, so does a time frame and a location. They have to find their target and touch them to initiate the process of death. Once they’re marked, they’re easier for death to find them. And he always does.

With a deadly touch, mingling with humans can be extremely tricky for grim reapers, so most don’t. They’ve learned to exist in the fringes of life and keep a low profile. Eric isn’t like most grim reapers. He tends to push his luck and his boundaries. His current assignment has offered him access to his one passion and weakness, music. He figures a way to incorporate joining a band into his job so he spends some of his free time doing what he loves and what’s forbidden… play music.
And that leads us to the purchase info for THE UNDEAD by Elsie Elmore!!

Amazon US  ==  Amazon UK  ==  B&N

Plus a couple of GIVEAWAYS!

Now, it's Carol's turn...

SECRETS OF HONOR by Carol Kilgore - out now!

By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of the first lady’s dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.


Carol sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially ones with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.

You can connect with Carol and her books here:

And once again, don't forget to click a shelfie selfie for our contest!
My desk shelfie - back by request - I have books spread
 all over the house, so this is the best I have for now...
I'll put up my Selfie Shelfie next week!

Check out the entries we have so far!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I can't believe it's already time to go to the Ohio River Festival of Books this weekend! Anyone in the Huntington, WV area, please come see us! Very excited to hang out with Elizabeth Seckman and Carrie Bulter!! Wish us luck!

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