Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Guest Blog: Nessie Strange, Love Least Expected

Ask The Author

Who is your main character in Love's Not Viral? What do they do, what is their outlook on love and life at the beginning of the story?
Nessie Strange's answer:
Aster Sanderson is the main character and the narrator for Love’s Not Viral. She’s a 24-year-old artist who also works part time as a bartender to help pay the bills. Aster is a spitfire. Free-spirited. She’s kind of a speak first, think later type of gal. And with tattoos, piercings, and light pink hair, her appearance definitely grabs attention.

In the beginning of the story, she’s not overly worried about love and relationships. Sure she’s dated plenty, but she hasn’t found anyone who has really clicked and made her want to commit. Aster loves her independence and following her own rules and schedules. She doesn’t need to be in a relationship. She’s young and still finding her way in the world, but she’s not afraid to march forward and find what she wants. 
I think Aster’s biggest concern is how to find success with her paintings so she can take her career to the next level. Beyond that, she hasn’t planned much for her future. She lives in ‘the now’ and enjoys life on her own terms. She’s not really prepared for something bad to happen.

I enjoyed writing Aster and there will be more of her to come in the future. 

Love's Not Viral is in Love Least Expected:

Twenty-four-year-old bartender Aster Sanderson’s life is turned upside down when drunken Hollywood actor Bradley Stone snaps a picture of her...and tweets to his 12.8 million followers that she's his fiancee. As the internet blows up with the news and gossip flies out of control, she’s left feeling helpless. This has to be a misunderstanding, right? But when the actor in question shows up on her doorstep, it's clear he's unhinged and she soon becomes a prisoner in her own home (literally).

Her savior? Bradley’s handsome—and seemingly normal—older brother, James, who quickly stirs up feelings she never expected. Can they disarm the ticking time-bomb that Bradley Stone has become before any more damage is done? And is their mutual attraction the result of these unusual circumstances...or could it become something more?

~~Love Least Expected, coming February 3, 2015~~
Pre-Order today for only 99¢
All Romance / Amazon / B&N / iBooks  Google Play / Kobo

Love Least Expected Tour Rafflecopter for a $50 Amazon Gift Card

Nessie Strange
Nessie is a Massachusetts native and mother of two who has dabbled in everything from abstract painting to freelance sports reporting. She also loves a good story, whether it’s reading or writing one. Living Dead Girl and Reaper Madness, the first two novels in her urban fantasy Living Dead World series, were published by Etopia press in 2014.

You can visit Nessie at:

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Men Blast -- Guest Announcement

Merry Men Quartet
Heir Final MEDIUMAn Exotic Heir
Weaving a web of revenge can be satisfying, but dangerous to your heart.
London society is shallow and cruel, sending Cassandra Renwick running to Calcutta, the exotic seat of the British Raj. It’s a fascinating place filled with interesting sights – including the dark and mysterious Julian Ritchie. But she never thought that an even greater heartbreak could be here in this alien and enchanting land.
Julian has always been discriminated against for being only half English. Embittered, he plots an intricate plan for vengeance with the innocent and lovely Cassandra as his pawn. But he soon finds that payback can be painful for the avenger as well when the threads of revenge unwittingly turn into the silken bonds of love.
Buy Links
Amazon: http://amzn.to/15ot59G
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/10hNHhj
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1x2Xbko
Kobo: http://bit.ly/12NiZTE
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1dK08HG
A Dandy In DisguiseDandy 4 MEDIUM
Can he lose the disguise... and find himself?
St. John Fotheringay-Phipps has nearly forgotten who he truly is. As the dashing, amusing dandy known to all in society as Fungy, he has hidden himself behind a mask of merriment. But he is reminded that there are pleasures beyond society -- when he finds himself feeling responsible for the innocently lovely and fiercely intellectual Rose, the daughter of a famed archaeologist, and her charming, if socially inept, family.
Rose Grace knows that she cannot gamble with her future. She has suddenly been thrust into the role of mother to her two young sisters, companion to her brilliant, distracted father --and family savior.  She needs to do the right thing -- to forget her own desires and quickly find a wealthy husband before the creditors come beating at their door. Then why is she distracted by the foppishly handsome Fungy, who seems so very irresponsible and pleasure-loving?  Surely he's the last person whose advice she should follow!
Buy Links
Amazon: http://amzn.to/19dNJuE
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1dIIZjO
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1x2Xewy
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1x2XoUJ
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1diXrAd
All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/1x2XCew
New Merry6x8Merry Marquis
Through the beauty of music, brings love and the will to live a life lost.
It is only at the pianoforte with beautiful music flowing from her fingertips that Teresa Seton is happy. New to English society, she feels awkward and unsure of herself.  Only the attentions of her handsome neighbor can convince her that she is where she belongs—a stolen kiss proves that he means what he says. But the kiss is witnessed and the pair are forced to marry for propriety’s sake.
Once known as the “Merry Marquis”, Richard, the Marquis of Merrick, now lives the life of a recluse. Finding a beautiful stranger at his pianoforte strikes a chord within him, bringing back feelings he thought were lost with the passing of his wife. He is mesmerized by Teresa and her beautiful music, but can he convince her, and himself, that he can live and love again?
Chronologically, this is the second book is the Merry Men Quartet:
An Exotic Heir
The Merry Marquis
A Rake’s Reward (coming in January, 2015)
A Dandy in Disguise

Buy Links
Amazon: http://bit.ly/MMzon
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1x2XRGz
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1x2YboD
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1x2Ygc0
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/1x2YnnP
Meredith Bond picAbout the Author
Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of a series of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published historical paranormal romances. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart”, Meredith’s romance novels include her new Medieval Fantasy series, the Children of Avalon, her Regency-set paranormal romances in the Storm series and traditional Regencies (without magic) in The Merry Men Quartet originally published with Kensington Publishers, of which three have been re-released and the last one will be coming out early in 2015. Meredith also teaches writing and publishing at Frederick Community College. If you want a taste of her class in book form, Chapter One is available at your favorite e-retailer.
Website: Http://meredithbond.com/
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1x2Z54B
Twitter: http://bit.ly/1x2Zjsr
Find other sites participating in this blast: http://booksnpearls.com/current-events/december-27-the-merry-men-quartet-by-meredith-bond-book-blast/
Heart Chalk board

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Word Power

Did you ever really think about the power of words? 

We who are writers hold that power. Why with one word we writers can have a character smile, laugh, frown, cry, scream or even live or die. As in, “Ralph lived.” Or, “Ralph died.”

We can make our own worlds. Only us, the writers, see the room, dwelling, neighborhood, town, country where our characters live whether it is placed within the contemporary USA or a Mars colony in 2099. Our room might be a bright blue or a dull slate gray. Springfield, USA might have a street not truly listed on the real Springfield’s street map.

Words are our tools/weapons/brushes and paint. They are our blessings and how we bless others with entertainment and, hopefully, enlightenment. We writers are driven to tell stories because we are blessed with words and the ability to string those words together.

As writers, we can be solitary souls more comfortable with words than with people. That is one way the power of words can work to our detriment. Then there are those wonderful times when we word smiths join together in writing groups or clubs and our words become even more powerful because they are full of cheer, sharing and encouragement for each other.

But the power of words is not limited to writers alone. Non-writers can bestow kind words on family, friends, or strangers which might lighten that individual's life.

Why with one word you--writer or non-writer--can change the world!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Guest Blogger: Nessie Strange, Author of the Living Dead World Series

Welcome to: Nessie Strange on the Reaper Madness Blog Tour

Nessie is a Massachusetts native and mother of two who has dabbled in everything from abstract painting to freelance sports reporting. She also loves a good story, whether it’s reading or writing one. Living Dead Girl and Reaper Madness, the first two novels in her urban fantasy Living Dead World series, were published by Etopia press in 2014.

How did you come to write a series?

When I first started writing Living Dead Girl (book 1), I hadn’t quite planned on sequels, or series. I just had this story in my head that was fighting to get out. It begins with Jen MacLellan, who’s a fairly ordinary young twenty-something woman who happens to have an unusual job: she’s a mortician. She’s kind of going through the motions with life in general--never really challenging herself or venturing out beyond the safe little bubble she’s created. Not to mention, her family takes advantage of her, and her boyfriend doesn’t appreciate her. Basically, she’s stuck in a rut. Then she meets Jack and all that gets turned upside down.

Jack is a musician. He’s a free-spirited, happy-go-lucky type guy. While he’s tattooed and can be a bit of a troublemaker (more of the wise-ass variety) he’s not really what I’d call a typical bad boy. He’s actually a really kind soul. He’s the type of guy who looks out for his friends and the people he cares most about, and with Jen, he finds a partner who has many of the qualities he lacks.

It begins as a hate-to-love, opposites attract type story. The romance between these two builds slowly, but when they do finally get together, their bond grows really strong. They complement each other. Unfortunately, once they find that happiness, tragedy strikes. While it’s harsh, and the things that happen to these characters are terrible, we learn later that this isn’t really the end of things. In this series, death isn’t final--it’s a new beginning.

Living Dead Girl is really a gateway story, because it shows this transition from regular, everyday life to death and what happens after. From book two on, we’re following both Jen and Jack on their journeys through the afterlife. The connections between the characters, as well as their history comes into light, and we learn there is a much bigger picture.

I haven’t decided exactly how many books will be in the series. There will be at least three, leaning more toward four. There is also a book coming from Jack’s POV that begins before and then overlaps some of Living Dead Girl. I look back at when I first started writing Jen’s story, and that first spark of an idea, and I never imagined how complex it would become. I also never imagined how attached I’d become to the characters. It’s funny how that works. Anyway, thank you so much for reading, and I hope you will follow along on Jen and Jack’s journey.

Living Dead Girl is available at: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / KOBO / Etopia Press / GoodReads / ARe

You can visit Nessie at:
her website / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon / GoodReads / Pinterest

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Review: One Wish Away by Kelly Lynn Gets 4 Stars

Kelley Lynn's title caught my attention and I knew I had to read One Wish Away even though it is a YA book and I've passed YA years, let's say, just a bit ago. Immediately the author transported me back to the awkward days of the teenage years though her heroine Lyra who wishes to fit in with the crowd.

Then there is the gradual awareness of young love and the delight of Lyra's and Darren's first kiss. 

All this and more, too, because One Wish Away is a science fiction story with an intriguing concept that develops around the idea of wishing upon a star. Well-written and well-plotted for the most part. 

The only thing I didn't care for was the ending. I prefer books that end with a good solid ta-da, the ending for One Wish Away leaves it open for a follow-up book. Perhaps that will happen?

Still, One Wish Away is an enjoyable read.

The release date is 11/24/14 and the preorder links are:

Book Summary:
Be careful what you wish for…

Lyra has always been ahead of the curve. Top of her class in school, a budding astronomer, and with a best friend like Darren she barely has time to miss the mother who abandoned her family years ago. She's too busy planning to follow in her father's footsteps, and to become the youngest astronomer at Space Exploration and Discovery.

When a star goes missing Lyra is determined to get to the bottom of it only to discover her braniac dad is the mastermind of a top-secret government experiment. They promise to build a perfect world, one galaxy at a time, but with every tweak of the present, a bit more of the future starts to crumble.

Lyra has to go undercover to reveal the truth and let humanity decide if the consequences are worth more than wishing on a star.

About the Author:

Eventually the day came when the voices in Kelley Lynn’s head were more insistent then her engineering professor’s. So instead of turning to her Thermodynamics book, Kelley brought up a blank page on her computer screen and wrote. Somewhere along the way she became a Young Adult author. 

Kelley was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She’s not afraid to sweat and fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don’t want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands. Music plays a large role in her writing process as well as the characters and plot lines within her stories.

You can find Kelley hanging out at her blog, titled in her name, as well as the group blog she shares with her fellow critique partners, Falling for Fiction. Kelley is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.

Author Links:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vera's Version, The Book, is AMAZON Best Seller

Best Seller! I'm thrilled, and, I have to admit, amazed at the numbers game which makes my new book Vera's Version a best seller on Amazon.com.  How funny to me that this humor book is doing so well.

Proof? There it is, number three under Top 100 Free in the category Humor Essays. It is also the number six best seller in the Top 100 Free, in the category Kindle Short Reads, Humor & Entertainment.

Being an Indie (love Indiana Jones!) is such fun!

This is also a plus-plus situation. I'm enjoying revamping my old columns which I wrote as a freelancer. That means I no longer have to store all those clippings. No more clipper clutter. Only the ebook in my Kindle, plus a nice neat paperback to store on the shelf (yes, the paperback edition is close to being launched, too).

Another plus: my humor columns from the 1990s are like vampires, coming to life again in a slightly different form. While they won't suck your blood--and hopefully don't suck at all--they may pull some additional income my way, always a good thing for writerly types. (Note: The FREE promotion ends today, November 17, 2014.) And this will be double-dipping because I got paid for them in the 1990s, too. Oh, happy day! 

Way back when, the essays came out under general headings of "Dear Me" or "I'm Not Andy…But" and maybe a few others I don't remember. It was way back in the 90s. Because they are all my columns and I'd already named this blog "Vera's Version" I didn't have to think until my head hurt about what to call my new book. I applied the KISS principle and it came to pass that Vera's Version, the book, was born.

The book needed one thing to hold it together and to draw the reader into the time period: history. Now, while I like history not everyone does. So, I made the history lesson into a rap poem entitled "90s Rap." (I know, yes…I also thought long and hard about that title, too.) The poem itself is newly written this year. The book is almost like a wedding; something old, something new…but I missed out on the something blue, opting instead to make the cover a beautiful yellow of joy.

Remember: a chuckle a day keeps the doctor away.  The world needs more laughter. Seek it out. Maybe by picking up an edition of Vera's Version (just click on the title)? :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Welcome to Jerry Waxler, Guest Blogger, on the WOW Book Tour: Twenty Years In Choir and the Power of Habits

In high school, I devoted myself to science, and considered self-expression to be a waste of time. My nerdy youth prepared me to earn a living in technology but left me miserably out of touch with my own voice. 
My first attempt to find my voice occurred in my twenties, when I devoted myself to writing in a journal, every day for years. I loved the sensation of self-expression, but the audience was limited to myself. 
In my forties, I read a memoir by Joan Baez, And a Voice to Sing With, in which she expressed hope that no one should leave this earth without experiencing the pleasure of singing. Her appeal made me think about how tired I was of being silent. If I didn’t change soon, I would be one of those people Joan Baez warned about. 
I enrolled in voice lessons at a small music school, where I was 30 years older than most of the other students, and older than my teacher. Each week, she taught me basics such as how to sing pure vowels, how to use my diaphragm, and how to attack and sustain each note. I recorded our lessons and played them in the car, singing scales on my long commute to work. Daily habits supported my effort to learn how to sing.
When I reached a minimum level of skill, I qualified for entry in a choir. Every Wednesday evening, the choir director, a recent college grad, taught us how to follow a conductor, how to harmonize with each other, and how to align our voices on the beat. Week by week, year by year, we rehearsed, taking occasional breaks when our director went on her honeymoon, then had babies. 
Each rehearsal I learned a little more about reading music, and adjusting the dynamics and going straight to the pitch. Finally I was part of a performance, and, after I all the hours and years of preparation, I was able to see my voice reflected on the faces of those to whom I was singing. I realized I had fulfilled Joan Baez’s challenge. 
In my fifties, another hankering for self-expression welled up in my heart. My years of journaling had given me a love for writing. I wanted to expand my audience to readers. I didn’t know how to reach that goal, but experience with singing had proven to me that adults can learn skills. 
I studied books about writing and attended classes, soaking in the expertise of those who had succeeded. When I felt brave enough, I joined clubs. Instead of being intimidated by the other writers, I discovered that being in their company sped up my learning, by giving me feedback and support. Through every stage of my study, I was sustained by a daily writing habit.  By writing every day, seven days a week, gradually I increased my ability to express myself in the written word.
Through it all, I have come to experience the joy of writing as a means of communicating with readers. The feedback from writing is not as immediate as it is when singing. However, writers also have their ways of feeling the appreciation of readers, such as praise from reviewers, and the willingness of people to invest their time. And it was all earned through the power of daily effort.
What can you do?
For any adult who wants to find a voice, there’s no need to feel trapped by inadequate skills. Apply steady persistent effort. Over time, your writing voice improves, your self-confidence grows, and bit by bit, you learn what writers must do in order to reach readers.
If you have never developed a daily writing habit, take that first step. Read Julia Cameron The Artist’s Way. In it, she describes a method for pouring thoughts out on to paper. She calls the daily exercise, “Morning Pages.” Or read my book How to Become a Heroic Writer in which I outline the steps of forming a habit. By writing every day, you will gradually gain familiarity and skill at shaping sentences on a page. 
If you are already writing in a journal and want to learn to learn a more structured form, keep up your daily habit, but turn it toward writing pieces for strangers. Find a critique group, and accept reader feedback. By learning how your writing sounds in other people’s ears, over time you will gain the knack of writing for readers.  
To learn more about the power of habits, read my book Learn to Become a Heroic Writer to help you develop habits, attitudes and social connections necessary to share your words with strangers.

Memoir Revolution is Jerry Waxler’s beautifully written story as he integrates it with his deep and abiding knowledge and passion for story. In the 1960s, Jerry Waxler, along with millions of his peers, attempted to find truth by rebelling against everything. After a lifetime of learning about himself and the world, he now finds himself in the middle of another social revolution. In the twenty-first century, increasing numbers of us are searching for truth by finding our stories. In Memoir Revolution, Waxler shows how memoirs link us to the ancient, pervasive system of thought called The Story. By translating our lives into this form, we reveal the meaning and purpose that eludes us when we view ourselves through the lens of memory. And when we share these stories, we create mutual understanding, as well. By exploring the cultural roots of this literary trend, based on an extensive list of memoirs and other book, Waxler makes the Memoir Revolution seem like an inevitable answer to questions about our psychological, social and spiritual well-being. 

Paperback: 190Pages
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Neuralcoach Press; 1 edition (April 9, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0977189538
Twitter hashtag: #MRevolutionWaxler
Memoir Revolution is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon.
About the Author: Jerry Waxler teaches memoir writing at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, PA, online, and around the country. His Memory Writers Network blog offers hundreds of essays, reviews, and interviews about reading and writing memoirs. He is on the board of the Philadelphia Writer's Conference and National Association of Memoir Writers and holds a BA in Physics and an MS in Counseling Psychology.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ripe to Write

Today I’m sitting in my office and looking out the window into the backyard where our small vegetable garden is reaching its fall stage. If it had produced as it should have over the summer, the tomato vines would be full of red fruit awaiting plucking.

I’m always amazed when non-writers wonder where we get our ideas. The thing is, life is filled with a garden of creative ideas which produces better fruit that my physical garden. All you have to do is look around and pluck one fruit off the vine.  Gardeners like us know where tomatoes come from. Ideas are everywhere.

Plucking one is simply the beginning. That’s when the work starts.

Like a nice, plump tomato, an idea is tasty. But you need to figure out how to serve it up. Shall it be simply washed, sliced and served up fast? Is it a short story idea?

Or maybe combine the luscious idea with more ripe ideas, pressure cook them, and allowed the jars to sit on the pantry shelf until the time is right. Is it an idea that can’t stand alone but becomes more when combined with other ideas? Is it a part of a novel?

Or perhaps put the freshly picked tomato into a pot on the stove, cooking it until the goodness flows and intermixes with the spices you add. Is it an idea which can be a dish unto itself and simply needs a bit of tweaking to become a nice novella or novel?

Let me share the recipe: Take one or more plump, ripe ideas, add a bit of thinking (what-ifs), a cup of characters, a pinch of plotting, then be sure to write hard to make sure all combines as needed. Cook it with a bit of editing and rewriting. Repeat as needed. The result is sure to be a wonderful story all will enjoy. They should ask for seconds.

Now, go out there and pluck a tomato!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Welcome to Guest Blogger on the WOW Book Tour: Kathleen Pooler, author of Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse

How Writing My Memoir Helped Me Find Self-Forgiveness

Once you choose hope, anything is possible." Christopher Reeves

I never really thought writing the stories of my life would be so complicated but I will tell you honestlyas I kept writing, I felt like I was standing knee-deep in a swamp trying to avoid the alligators. I wanted to circumvent the swamp, linger along the edges so I didn't have to get in there and wrestle those beasts. There. I said it.
As my memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, began taking shape, it became clear to me how guilt and shame had haunted me for the twenty-five years I was mired in the cycle of abuse. The guilt and shame related to the self-defeating detours I took as a young woman and the harmful ways these detours impacted my life and the lives of my two children. I had to grieve those lost dreams and poor choices.
The main message underlying my memoir is the power of hope in facing life challenges. Hope has helped me transcend every obstacle and crisis that has come my way. Give me a diagnosis of Stage Four NonHodgkins' Lymphoma and I'll wrestle it to the ground with the tenacity and fury of a pit bull. Put me in a marriage that is not working and after careful thought, I'll pack up two babies and start a new life. Just give me anything that seems insurmountable and I'll do everything in my power to prove you wrong. I will fight with everything in me to overcome it. 
But if you asked me to forgive myself for the mistakes, poor choices, hasty decisions of my past, I would balk and feel mired in the guilt, shame, regret of lost dreams and what if's…
This post at authentic-self.com about giving yourself the gift of forgiveness rang true for me: "You only need to spend some time thinking over the things you feel badly about, thank God (or your Higher Power) for allowing you to see that you are, in fact, imperfect and there will be times you mess up.
 I had to apologize to Yourself and let go.
So, boots on, I was on a mission to trudge forward through the swampland of alligators--my past regrets, with a little help from my friends, Linda Joy Myers and my fellow NAMW memoir writers. One week they challenged me to find a way to forgive the young woman who made all those decisions as it appeared to them through my stories that I was being judgmental of her choices and actions. So, for starters, I decided to have a little chat with my Inner Judge:
The Judge and the 24-year-old Me
Judge (sitting all high & mighty on the bench, looking down): I see you have committed the most heinous crime, hastily deciding to blah,blah,blah....
24-year-old Me (head down): Yes, Your Honor, you are right.
Judge: What ever possessed you to make such foolhardy choices?
24-year-old Me: I thought it was the right decision at the time. I just wanted to be happy like everyone else. I was only trying to fit in.
Judge: (slamming the gavel down) Guilty as charged. You are hereby sentenced to a lifetime of regret, lost dreams, guilt for making these choices.
Fast forward to now~
The Now Me: (looking the Judge straight in the eye while standing toe-to-toe)You were wrong. I am working on forgiving myself. I've learned from my mistakes. Despite it all, I have moved on to live a life of joy. I stand in my truth. Those alligators are really just harmless frogs jumping around.
Judge (caught off-guard and stammering, shrinking right before my eyes): But, I am the ultimate judge and jury here.
The Now Me (by now, looking down on the Judge): If you play your cards right, I may even be able to forgive you.
Soon, I was ready to get back to writing my story. I became ready to begin shedding the blame the fear, the regrets and stand in my truth. It took some practice but the self-forgiveness had begun. 
And, as always, with hope, anything is possible...
Like any skill that gets better with practice, the self-forgiveness has taken hold in my soul. Writing Ever Faithful to His Lead has helped me to face the errors of my ways and take responsibility for my choices. It has helped me to heal and move on.
Writing my memoir has helped me to not only forgive the people in my life whom I perceived to have hurt me, but to forgive myself. This has freed me to live the life I am living now—one of joy and peace.
My greatest wish is that others may find their own pathway to forgiveness through my story.

How about you~ Have you given yourself the gift of self-forgiveness?
If you enjoyed Kathleen's post here, you may want to visit her blog: http://krpooler.com.

Ever Faithful To His Lead: 
My Journey to Memoir 
is available as an 
e-book and paperback 
at Amazon.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Launch: Reap & Redeem by Lisa Medley

Welcome to Lisa Medley! I'm pleased to say Lisa's new book is out: Reap & Redeem. So cool!

Just the Facts:

Urban Fantasy Romance: Reapers and Demons and Angels and Sex. 
Words 78K * 
Series: The Reaper Series, Book 2
ISBN-13: 9781460337769

About Reap & Redeem:

He’s a reaper who has given up on saving souls. Will a dying woman be his salvation?

After a century of enslavement to pure evil, Kylen Larson is finally free. But he’s long past caring. The only woman he ever loved is dead, and he’s tormented by memories of the horrors his demon parasite forced him to commit. Now, he lives for nothing more than hunting down the infernal creatures invading Meridian, Arkansas, and destroying them.

Olivia Evans is in the final stages of cancer when Kylen accidentally saves her from demonic possession. When he rescues this innocent soul, Kylen rediscovers his mission—and his heart. All he wants is to help Olivia stay alive. He’ll just have to fight off an invasion from Hell first…

Excerpt Chapter One

Kylen kicked the head across the floor of the dark shed with his steel-toed boot. Blood dripped into a pool on the floor from his scythe, which he still gripped tightly with one hand. He straightened to his full height and tilted his neck from side to side, listening to his spine crack and pop. Another demon down.

“You don’t have to keep killing them yourself, you know,” Deacon said, grimacing at the black ooze spilling out of the severed neck.

“Yeah, I do.” Kylen turned and walked to the door, taking a quick survey of the cemetery. A dark, sticky trail marked his course.

“You have to admit, he’s efficient.” Nate picked up the head by the hair and dropped it into a black garbage bag.

“That’s one way to look at it.” Deacon pressed his hand, which was glowing with Reiki energy, to the center of the dead male’s chest, directly over his heart chakra.

Kylen watched as light radiated from Deacon, encasing him and the body in a soft glow. The demon boiled forth from the dead human host in a thick black torrent of sulfurous haze. Spreading his arms wide, Deacon summoned the stream, which penetrated through his sternum. His body shuddered and the light around him sparked and cracked like the arc of a welder. The glow intensified to supernova status before winking out. Several smaller streams of gray light flowed forth from the ruined body, too, entering through Deacon’s mouth.

“Well? Did you retrieve all the souls?” Nate lifted the feet and legs of the body onto the tarp he’d set beside it.

Deacon frowned. “Yes.”

“How many?”

“Three.” Deacon rose and grasped the body by the shoulders, helping Nate maneuver it. “And the demon.”

“I really hate this shit.” Nate said, pulling a spool of duct tape from his backpack.

They rolled the man tightly in the tarp, taping both ends so that none of the bodily fluids would discharge in transit.

“How many more demons do you think there are?” Nate wrapped the head in a plastic bag and walked toward the door.

“Grim thinks there are at least two dozen more,” Deacon reminded him.

“Great. Slow and steady wins the race, yeah?”

“I’m not sure we have the luxury of slow and steady anymore. At this rate, we’re never going to find them all. There’s already way too much collateral damage. This many missing humans in town won’t go unnoticed much longer. We need to find their exit portals and shut down the rest of the demons. Sooner would be better than later.”

Kylen waited in the doorway, dividing his attention between the business in the shed and the cemetery grounds. Deacon was right of course. They needed to close the portals. Permanently. As it was, they were playing a game of supernatural Whac-A-Mole. Close one portal and another popped up. New entrance portals continued to open each week, which then had to be closed by Grim and Deacon. And while one batch of demons gathered their fill of souls before sliding down the small one-way shoots to Hell—the exit portals, the next batch waited for their chance. It had become a never-ending battle and the reapers needed to press on.

They didn’t bother cleaning up the black ooze or the blood trail. The only way to make sure the scene was completely clean was fire, but arson would be sure to draw more attention to the mower garage by the edge of the cemetery than a few stains that could easily be oil or fuel. None of them were concerned about the law. There were far worse things for them to worry about.

They’d burn the body at home, and then bury the ashes and bits of bone. Just as they’d dealt with the other eleven. This host’s disappearance would never be explained. Good thing, since the guy’s head was detached.

About Lisa Medley:

Lisa Medley writes reapers. The grim kind. Her urban fantasy romance, Reap & Repent is available now. Look for book two, Reap & Redeem, coming October 2014. A lover of beasties of all sorts, she has a farm full of them in her SWMO home including:  one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees and a guinea pig. Not so in love with the guinea pig. She can do ten pushups IN A ROW and may or may not have a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times. Just. In. Case.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Welcome to Guest Blogger: Sydney Avey -- Her Topic: The Writer's Journey

Book: The Lyre and the Lambs
Find Her Book Here

Sydney Avey, Author

The Writer’s Journey

By Sydney Avey

Make no mystique out of the writer’s journey. Depending on the choices a writer makes, it is a job, a career, a calling, a passion, a compulsion, a crazy quilt of motivations, random and disorganized. 

Each sojourner packs a unique talent for a journey that is theirs alone. Dan Blank, who functions as sort of a travel agent for writers who are overwhelmed by their itineraries, maintains you cannot plan for success on this journey, but you can prepare. No one-size-fits-all formula guarantees you success, but if you prepare yourself for what may be ahead, stopping to take joy in the small milestones along the way, success may present itself in unanticipated ways.

The publishing industry is a tough task master liken to the parable of the three servants (Matthew 25:14 – 30). A man apportioned money to three servants for safekeeping. Two of them invested the money and one buried his portion out of fear he would lose it and be punished. When it came time to account for the money, the two who took a chance in the market were rewarded. The one who was paralyzed with fear and did nothing lost what little he had.

The two who took a chance had no idea if it would work out. They saw the money they were trusted with as a gift and knew they were expected to do something with it. The third man saw only a powerful tyrant. He did not recognize the value of his gift.

All writers have some sort of gift. Preparation for success involves investing your words in the lives of others. That could be a book, a blog, a well-crafted letter to the editor, or an encouraging poem for friend. Success may present itself as a ranking on a best-seller list, but more often it is a heartwarming “thank you, your words helped me.”

It is easy to get paralyzed by tyrannical expectations. Put your words out there and not everyone will like them. That’s okay; it’s a long journey that requires conditioning and training to hold up against the slings and arrows that will come. I’ve put two books out. The reviews are mixed, deservedly so. I wear my faith like a bulletproof vest. The shots will hurt, but they won’t kill.

What preparations are you making for your journey? What risks are you willing to take? What protections are necessary?

I wish you joy for your journey.
About the author:
Sydney Avey is an author of historical and women’s fiction set in California. The Lyre and the Lambs is the sequel to her first novel, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, which won an honorable mention from the Center for Basque Studies (University of Nevada, Reno) in their Basque Literary Contest. Both novels were published by HopeSprings Books, a small publishing house that promotes realistic Christian fiction.
Sydney and a lifetime of experience writing news for non profits and corporations. Her work is has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine). She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley and has studied writing at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She lives with her husband Joel the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

Visit Sydney at www.sydneyavey.com and sign up to receive her monthly News for Readers and Writers. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

What's Your Plan A?

In clearing out some of the multitude of papers in my stacks, I noticed a neat pamphlet entitled “Planning for Emergencies: Three Steps to be Prepared.” Step one is ‘create a plan.’ Have a plan so your family will know what to do or where to meet during a time of emergency. Step two is ‘prepare a kit’ to help enable survival. Step three is ‘listen for information’ to best know how to proceed.

It hit me like a thump on the head: You know what? The three-step plan applies to writing, too! 

Step one is ‘create a plan.’ 
Know what idea you are basing your story upon and where you want your story to go. If you don’t have some idea of where you are going with what you write, your story may become lost and die.

Step two is ‘prepare a kit.’ 
In writing, this means to figure out the essentials (characters, background, character goals, setting, time period, etc.) you need for your story to live. Once you have your survival kit together, you are much more prepared. Your work has a better chance for going the distance to the happily-ever-after chapter.

Step three is ‘listen for information.’
For a writer listening for information may encompass researching (murder weapons, social rules, legal standpoints), or simply being willing to listen to what your critique partner says about improving your work. Perhaps it also includes finding those critique partners so you have sources of feedback, to give your written work the best possible chance for survival on the market.

So what does this mean?
A writer with a Plan A in place, like the family who is prepared for an emergency, is more likely to be successful and to thrive.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Book Blast Saturday: Megan's Book Blast

Welcome to Guest Blogger Megan Cyrulewski!

Congratulations on your new book:

Who Am I?  How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again, by Megan Cyrulewski
Megan’s book, Who Am I?  How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again, is about her journey into post-partum depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, stays in the psych ward, divorce, emotional abuse, domestic violence, law school, how she managed to graduate from law school and a beautiful little girl who emerged from all of this chaos.

Author Bio

Megan Cyrulewski has been writing short stories ever since she was ten-years-old. After attending Grand Valley State University, Megan eventually settled into a career in the non-profit sector for eight years. She decided to change careers and went back to school to get her law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. While in school, she documented her divorce, child custody battle and postpartum depression struggles in her memoir. Megan lives in Michigan with her 3-year-old daughter who loves to dance, run, read, and snuggle time with Mommy. Megan also enjoys her volunteer work with various organizations in and around metro-Detroit.


Buy links

Who Am I?  How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again is available in paperback from all good booksellers.
Links to the ebook version:


On January 18, 2012, we all convened in the courthouse for the Motion for Parenting Time hearing. My dad and I arrived with my attorney, but Tyler loved an audience so he brought his dad, step-mom, and his new on-again off-again girlfriend, Heather. Tyler walked in with his posse in tow, cocky as hell. It took all of two minutes for the judge to knock him off his feet.

The Judge addressed our respective attorneys. “Why are we here?”

“Your honor,” Tyler’s attorney began, “my client has clearly been denied his parenti—”

The Judge didn’t even let him finish. “How?” She turned to my attorney. “Don?”

“Your honor, as you can see in the divorce decree, there was supposed to be a review when the minor child turned twelve-months-old. The Defendant has ignored that review.”

“I–if I may, your honor,” Tyler’s attorney sputtered.

“I see the review in the decree. It’s here in black and white,” she told Tyler’s attorney. “What is the problem? Why didn’t you understand the review? Your client signed the divorce decree.”

Tyler’s attorney tried again. “But your honor—”

The judge cut him off. “There is to be a review conducted by the Friend of the Court referee assigned to the parties. Until then, the Defendant will continue his parenting time schedule as agreed upon in the divorce decree. Dismissed.”

And that was it. After eight police reports and numerous harassing text messages, phone calls, and e-mails, we won. As Don and Tyler’s attorney went to speak with the clerk to file the necessary paperwork, Don told us to wait for him outside the courtroom.

As we exited the courtroom, the hallway was so packed with people that my dad and I were only able to find enough space to lean against the wall. We were talking about the court proceedings when we looked up at saw Tyler and his new girlfriend standing right across from us.

“Why do you lie about everything?” Tyler screamed.

Heather walked up to me and stood about an inch from my face. “As a mother myself, you should be happy that Tyler is the father of your child.”

My jaw dropped. “I’m sorry but I don’t know you.”

She smirked. “Well you’re going to get to know me, bitch.”

Tyler made a big show of pulling her from me like I was going to punch her or something. By this time, everyone in the hallway was watching us. We were pure entertainment.

Heather continued her rant. “Two times in the psych ward, Megan? What a great mother you are.”

“Where is your mom, the real mother of our child?” Tyler screamed. “She’s the one who takes care of Madelyne.”

My dad and I tried to move away from Tyler and Heather but they followed us.

“Do you have to take a Xanax because of your anxiety?”

“Go take your Xanax and sleeping pills, you drug addict,” Tyler shouted.

Finally, Don emerged from the courtroom and pulled us into a quiet corridor. He explained that I needed to call our referee to set-up a meeting to discuss a visitation schedule. I told Don about the verbal assault by Tyler and Heather. Don said he would call Tyler’s attorney to let him know that

Heather would not be allowed in my house.

Upon leaving the courthouse, Heather screamed, “See you on Sunday, Megan.”

I turned toward her and said calmly, “I don’t know you, but you are not welcome in my home.”

That night, Tyler sent me multiple texts attacking my mothering skills, my supposed drug addictions, how he was going to fight for joint custody of Madelyne, how Heather would be accompanying him for his visitations, and a barrage of other insults:
  • “Get a life already.”
  • “Don’t you have something better to do than wasting your parents’ money?”
  • “Go take your pills and relax, oh yeah, then your parents would have to watch our daughter. Oh yeah, they already do.”
  • “Go talk to your friends. Oh yeah, you don’t have any because of how crazy you are.”
  • “Interesting to know you’ve been to the hospital a couple of times. You really need to get it together.”
  • “Better go call your lawyer and make up some more stuff about me.”
  • “Don’t be mad at your sorry life.”
  • “I am sure living with Mom and Dad the rest of your life will be fun.”
  • “When you get a job, then you can pay me child support. Fun.”
I finally had to turn my phone off at midnight.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

On Reviews

Do you review books you read? As an author with books up needing reviews posted to them,  I'm asking you to please submit reviews. If you enjoyed the book, it encourages the author to write more books you might like to read in the future.

I try to do reviews, although I've made it a personal rule to not review a book unless I think it rates at least 3 stars. To be perfectly honest, I haven't given any book yet a 3-star review. Some books I've quit reading because they need more editing or maybe I simply don't like the storyline due to personal taste. 

Here is the latest review I've written and posted to Amazon:

Five stars for Beyond the Horizon and a high five to this emerging new author! Wanda Kay Fittro proves herself a master storyteller in this romantic suspense novel. Josh and Katie overcome their hurtful pasts to find love despite the bad guy. A delightful paranormal element is in the mix--Two Shoes. I would love to see his story or at least his reappearance in a future Fittro novel.

You can find Beyond the Horizon  HERE.

The first review I did, made me nervous. Although I've critiqued other writers' works, never had I written a review which could influence how prospective readers would view another author's books. Never had I put something about another writer out there for the world to see; I did not want to hurt the writer's feelings.

The first review was short and not as polished as my later ones. Still, I got it out there knowing having reviews mean something magical to Amazon's placement of books and their authors in the system. Each review is important individually and counted together. We authors all want as many reviews as we can get. Of course, we want them all to be 5-star reviews; 4-stars will do. :)

How to review: 
1) Be kind.
2) Be fair.
3) Be honest.
4) Talk to the prospective reader as if you were standing by him or her in the library and recommending a book.

So, please take time to review the books you enjoy. Writing is a lonely profession and posted reviews give us solitary authors an opportunity to know we actually have an audience out there awaiting our next book.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

LRHallBooks: Summer Short Story Spectacular, Season 1, Episode ...

If you are interested in short stories, check out LRHallBooks blog. This installment features author David Todd who has a series with a CIA protagonist.

LRHallBooks: Summer Short Story Spectacular, Season 1, Episode ...: Welcome to the third summer Saturday installment of my interviews with some great short story writers - Season 1, Episode 3.  Today we mee...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Writing Lesson From The Bachelorette & The Bachelor

True confession--I love watching The Bachelorette and The Bachelor shows. These are a guilty pleasure. The shows are much like fiction as they are based on reality, with who knows how much unreality woven through them.

There is a hero, or heroine, searching for an ultimate goal which they hope to reach by the end. Over the show’s episodes, what the protagonists want may change; they may experience character growth, and, as a result, now want something different.

Along the story road, toads lurk to be kissed and dastardly villains must be rooted out. The search for love, as with a good plot, has ups and downs. No season has gone smoothly, unless it was one I missed.

Emotions are a huge part of The Bachelorette and The Bachelor shows. Emotions should be a huge part of fiction. The participants within the shows need to be displaying emotion and, hopefully, feeling emotion. The characters within our novels must be grabbing the emotions of the readers.

If all goes according to plan or plot, at the end of the season or story, the protagonist achieves his or her goal. The one they love awaits at the end to sweep him or her away to live happily ever after. At least, that’s what the audience, or the reader, imagines for the pair.

So, long story short, it is time for me to go and watch The Bachelorette. Adios, my friends, I go to cuddle next to my own hero as we watch the drama unfold on screen…

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fun Series Featuring Short Story Authors Starting

I'm excited to let you all know that I will be one of the featured authors with LRHallBooks: Summer Short Story Spectacular! How fun to be included. I will announce the exact date closer to the time. Stay tuned. :)

The first blog interview at LRHallBooks is of Barbara Phinney aka Georgina Lee. Please drop by to see what she has to say:

LRHallBooks: Summer Short Story Spectacular! Season 1, Episode ...: Welcome to Season 1, Episode 1 of my Saturday Short Story Spectacular!   What  better  way to begin the summer than with a summer photo...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Big Easy Blog Tour at Vera's Version

Blog tours are so enlightening. Whenever I’m invited to join in on one, I learn about myself. So I’m saying a big thank you to Ike Keen for inviting me to participate in the Big Easy Blog Tour.

Ike Keen likes the tough guys. So tough guys is what he likes to write. He has been writing since 1986, starting off in the horror field and publishing shorts in Fright Depot, Sterling Web, and Black Pedals. He then decided to go a different route, the hardboiled detective. Mickey Spillane and Max Allen Collins are a couple of his favorite authors. Retired from the Springfield Public Schools, he lives outside the small town of Fair Grove,  Missouri. Ike hopes to include Fair Grove in a future novels.

Three other authors follow me in posting on the Big Easy Blog Tour next Monday: Tierney James, Brandy Nacole and S.J. McMillan. There information is at the bottom of this post.

Okay, here goes on the questions that I--VJ Schultz--am supposed to answer.

1) What am I working on?

Sheeshhh! Sometimes I feel like ‘what am I NOT working on’ and I have to admit my list of projects appears to perpetuate itself with no end in sight. Perhaps that is what keeps me interested in the writing life.

At the moment, the top project is a book I’m thinking about calling Vera’s Version. It will hold my humor columns which were published in the 1990s. That means I’ve been wearing several hats: cover designer, editor, publisher, cartoonist, researcher, and even poet. A poem will be the introduction and bring the reader back to the events of the 1990s to set the stage for the humor from that period.

The focus in my professional life at present is not so much on being a writer with this project, because I’m pretty much letting the humor columns stand as they were published way back when.

Vera’s Version is about 80 percent ready for publication on CreateSpace and as an ebook. My goal is to have it published by the end of this month--June.

I am also in the process of educating myself on author self-promotion and how to best use social media. Developing a plan for getting publicity for my books is on my agenda.

Another project I’m toying with is writing a collection of Bigfoot short stories. Death of Bigfoot & Other Tales got me to thinking about this idea. Can you ever have too many Bigfoot tales?

The other major project on my list is to update a humorous romance which has a serial killer as the villain. See how mixed up I am? :)

Creating entirely new stories hasn’t been on my list much for the past few months. Besides the humor book, I recently put together and published a collection of short romance stories written over several years. It is entitled Undercover Love & Other Tales.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

I write in mystery, suspense, romance, paranormal, and so on. The one thing my stories have in common, I believe, is that I have a quirky sense of humor and like to weave in the unexpected.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I enjoy spinning tales which entertain, cause a chuckle or a shiver, and, hopefully, leave the reader with an ‘ah, ha’ moment.

4) How does my writing process work?

When I am writing--not doing any of the myriad other tasks that a writer in this age has to do--I get really focused. Except when I have to stop to straighten my desk, get coffee/tea, eat chocolate and stare out the window at my garden.

My typical writing day, when I have a goal in mind, is to get to the computer about 10 a.m. and write until I have the number of words done for the day. Say I want to write 2,500 words, I will stay pretty much focused until I reach that number. It could take me an hour or four hours depending upon how the muse cooperates.

When I’m starting a book-length manuscript, I write a bio for each of the main characters bringing them up to the day the story starts.

Plotting is also part of my pre-writing process, although I do not do an intensively detailed plot. It is more likely that I will jot down different ideas for each plot (main and subplots) and later figure out where they should occur. Generally I know the beginning and the probable ending.

Each day I will re-read the pages I wrote the day before and make some small corrections and changes. While this is left brain, it helps me to get focused on where the story is. Then I switch to right brain activity and start creating the next pages.

During the initial writing of the book, I do not go back any further than the pages I wrote the day before. A deeper edit only comes when the whole story is written.

When I finally do a complete edit, I print out a hard copy. Looking at a hard copy is so much better than the words on the screen. I find it easier to do a deep edit on paper. A story is edited several times before I’m satisfied. Then I have a friend read it for feedback and make more changes.

That’s pretty much all there is to my writing process. Of course, if I self-publish the book, I will hire an editor to do an edit, make those suggested changes, let the editor read it again, make those changes, ask one or more beta readers to tell me what they thought and make even more changes. That is how the manuscript gets polished. Writing is much more than putting words down on the blank page.

I enjoy what I do and hope my readers love the stories as much as I loved writing the tales.

Thank you for stopping by Vera's Version. Remember next week the Big Easy Blog Tour continues with these authors Tierney James, Brandy Nacole and S.J. McMillan. You might like to stop by their blogs to get their own take on the tour questions.

Tierney James at http://ptierneyjames.blogspot.com

Tierney has been in education for over thirty years. She currently teaches World Geography for a nearby college. Besides serving as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and attending Space Camp for Educators, Tierney has traveled across the world. From the Great Wall of China to floating the Okavango Delta of Botswana, Africa, she ties her unique experiences into other writing projects such as the action thriller novel, An Unlikely Hero. Living on a Native American reservation and in a mining town for many years, fuels the kind of characters she never tires of creating. By taking readers into the depths of the earth, Tierney hopes her next novel, The Rescued Heart, will show the courage and dangers of loving a hard rock miner.

Besides teaching and writing, Tierney enjoys gardening, reading and offering writing workshops. Other pursuits involve learning Hebrew and research, which sometimes has led to becoming certified with various weapons.

There’s never a dull moment in Tierney’s life. And that is just the way she likes it.

Brandy Nacole at www.brandynacole.blogspot.com

Gemini Brandy Nacole is a writer of urban fantasy books. She is the author of the Shadow World series and the Spiritual Discord series published by Ponahakeola Press. A reader from a young age, Brandy has always loved folklore and stories of beings that go bump in the night.

Brandy lives in Arkansas with her husband, three never stopping kids, two snooty cats, two very lazy bearded dragons, and one mellow turtle. She is a member of the Ozark Romance Authors in Springfield, Missouri. Whenever she’s not reading or writing, Brandy is spending her time outdoors wheeling, hiking, playing amateur photographer, and enjoying a good laugh. www.brandynacole.com

S.J. McMillan  www.mcstubsmusings.wordpress.com

S.J. plays many roles in life. She is a wife to a supportive husband, a mother to three young rascals, an administrative assistant during the week, and an author of urban fantasies and romance novels.

She is currently working on the third book of her City of the Gods series. You can follow her Facebook at www.facebook.com/mcmillansj, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcmillansj, or on her website at www.mcmillansj.com.