My Mission For You:

Don't let #Doubt extinguish your #Sparks. Find the #Sparks you need to ignite your stories, dreams, and life.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Authors for Autism / Black History Month - Monthly Mishmash



My Little Absence: I was slow last week in returning blog comments. My mom had a fall on Monday and needed my help. She's okay. Banged up, aching, with a splint on one wrist, but it could've been worse. 
NEW Anthology: I am a part of an anthology to help raise awareness for autism. Pieces of the Heart came out on Valentine’s Day. My mom is also in the anthology! :D

The story I contributed to Pieces of the Heart is Cancer Can’t. I wrote it for two women I know. The first inspired the initial idea when I got to know her (through Facebook) and learned about the cancer diagnosis she defeated years before. She told me about how she would crack jokes while receiving chemo, how she would yell at her doctors if their opinion wasn’t positive, how she refused to back down. I wanted to write about a character just like her. The other woman this story is dedicated to also conquered breast cancer and I wanted to honor her as well with this story, so I wrote about Harley, a tough woman with a heart of gold who takes on the big C with brass and class.


Blurb

Fifteen incredible authors have come together with stories of love, passion, pain, and triumph in support of Autism research. Pieces of the Heart by Authors for Autism is a collection of romance short stories of various genre and styles. Contemporary, fantasy, comedy, historical, and drama, all combined in an assembly of sweet short reads to fill your heart with emotion. All of the proceeds of every sold copy of Pieces of the Heart will be donated toward Autism Research. This is a cause near and dear to every author involved in this project, and they are all excited to share these beautiful stories with all of you.

Contributing Authors:


Don't forget to order your copy ASAP!


Black History Month:
I’ve been reading a lot of book for Black History Month. One book I read really hit me in a good way. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery chronicles the real story of the youngest person to take part in the Selma to Montgomery March. While I read it, it was as though she sat across from me, telling me about her passion, her fight for freedom, and her fear following Bloody Sunday. It is a great story.
So, Lynda Blackmon Lowery is also my empowering woman for this month along with Michelle Obama. :)

 At the end of the book, we are told about the three individuals killed before and after Bloody Sunday, two of which were white advocates:
- Jimmie Lee Jackson was murdered during a march at night. He tried to shield his eighty-two-year-old grandfather, who was badly beaten, and his mother. A trooper shot him in the stomach.
- Reverend James Reeb answered Martin Luther King’s call for religious leaders. He participated in a peaceful march in which the marchers prayed and then left. Reverend Reeb and three ministers went to a cafĂ© for dinner. When they left, a group of white men attacked them with baseball bats and clubs. Reverend Reeb died.
- Viola Gregg Liuzzo was a homemaker who came to Selma from to Detroit. After the big march, she helped out by driving marchers home. On her last run, with one individual, the KKK forced her off the road and shot her in the head.
The young man with her (the author’s neighbor) used the woman’s body to cover himself, so the KKK thought they had killed him, too. He was nineteen when he ran for his life. He never returned to Selma.


Blogging: I will continue to post every IWSG and on Mondays, but I've decided to suspend the Friday feature for The Wild Rose Press authors. I've been struggling with low blogging motivation for a while now and decided this is best. I apologize.



Question: What are you reading?


Friday, February 24, 2017

D - Dylan Newton - Werewolves, Ghosts and Witches. Oh My!


To support my fellow authors from The Wild Rose Press I will be featuring one author for each letter of the alphabet.

Please help me to welcome the author for D . . . Dylan Newton!



1. What was the first book you contracted through The Wild Rose Press? Tell us about it.

My first book with TWRP was “Despite the Ghosts” in 2010, and features a psychic heroine who is attempting to solve a ghost’s mystery—a quest which lands her in the arms of the spirit’s brother who is a rich tycoon, hot as hell…and a complete skeptic. I like to quip that she’s endowed with psychic abilities, and he’s simply…endowed, lol!

2. Share your acceptance story for that first book.

It makes me feel old, but back then (2008), we submitted via snail mail with an actual query letter! I submitted to a few publishers and agents, and heard back from a few asking for partial manuscripts. The Wild Rose Press was one that asked for a full manuscript, which I sent to the editor. About six weeks later, I got the call offering me a contract for DESPITE THE GHOSTS. I remember my knees actually went weak when I got the offer and I had to sit down!

3. Tell us about your newest release.

Since my first book, I’ve written three others for TWRP:

ANY WITCH WAY features a graduate student with a devastating curse who encounters a Wiccan with a secret of his own. Together they battle an ancient evil, struggling to save their lives and their new-found love.

DESPITE THE FANGS is a paranormal romance that delivers the unexpected—a foul-mouthed, werewolf heroine with overactive follicles, a mysterious hero who’d do anything for his son, and a world that— for the time being— doesn’t know they exist.

PIPER’S PIPING is my newest release and it’s a holiday story with a paranormal twist! As her Irish honeymoon turns nightmarish, werewolf Aribella Lupari must choose between her man, or recusing the pack’s missing were-pups. Santa’s not the only mythical creature working overtime to save this Christmas!


4. What would we find in your heroine’s purse if we went snooping?
Ha! That would be an interesting snoop. Aribella is an Alpha werewolf, so you’d probably find Cheerios (her fav after-hunt snack), breath mints and pepper spray.
5. What is your heroine’s biggest weakness?
Aribella believes because she’s the werewolf leader, that means she shouldn’t need anybody’s help. Ever.
6. Is the hero a bad boy or a gentleman?
Mason is definitely a rebel and as a genetically-modified soldier, he’s been taught to be bad. But he knows how to treat a lady. Even if that lady is a werewolf!
7. What is the silliest thing you ever did while writing a story?
There’s a scene in “Despite the Fangs” where Aribella sticks out her tongue at Mason, the hero, and he catches it. He won’t let go of it, and she speaks around the impediment, so I had to hold my own tongue and see how the line would sound if someone were holding my tongue! (Here’s the line from the book—see if you can hold your tongue and hear what Aribella is asking Mason: “Weeyyyy babing?”)
8. Have you ever experienced something unusual that influenced a story?
The impetus for my first novel, “Despite the Ghosts” happened when my cat’s cold nose touched my toes, waking me up, but I thought it was a ghost. Then I wondered what would happen if it was real, and ghosts regularly poked me awake. Which led to why they’d want to poke me awake, which led to my heroine being a psychic who solved ghosts’ murder mysteries! J
9. Do you listen to music while you write?
I like to listen to heavy rock music when I write. Bands like Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Godsmack—all on my writing playlist.
10. The universe has flipped and now you’re in one of your books, which book is it and what kind of character are you?

That’s easy! I think it would be awesome to be an Alpha werewolf, and if I could be one of my heroines, I’d choose Aribella Lupari, my heroine in “Despite the Fangs” because she’s a world-class human tracker, she delivers amazing one-liners and she kicks ass and asks questions later. J


AUTHOR FAVORITES:
TV Show – “Scorpion”
Movie – “Gone with The Wind”
Book you’ve re-read – “The Stand,” by Stephen King.
Ice cream flavor – Pralines and Cream
Pizza topping – Mushrooms, onions and green peppers
Drink – Margarita on the rocks, no salt.
Outdoor activity – Running.
Hobby – Do writers have time for hobbies?? I’m jealous!


BIO:

Dylan Newton was born and raised in a small town in Upstate New York where the local library was her favorite hang-out. Despite earning a degree in English Literature, Dylan spent more than a decade sidetracked by an executive position in corporate America where she swears she contracted testosterone poisoning. After leaving, she dedicated herself to more estrogen-rich passions, like motherhood, writing romance novels and her never-ending quest for the perfect date night.

Dylan married her high-school sweetheart and they are busy living out their own happily ever after in sunny Florida with their two incredible daughters. 



Author Links:





Thank you for being here today, Dylan!

Please leave Dylan a comment. :)


Monday, February 20, 2017

Diverse Characters - C + D



INTRODUCTION:

There’s been a lot of talk about adding diverse characters to fictional books. Most of the time, this is about including people of color if you’re a Caucasian writer, but all writers can add diverse characters to their books. And why stop at race? In this series, I’m going to list all sorts of diverse characters.

Note: I'm not knowledgeable about all types of people, so I'm skipping my usual tips in favor of letting others share their knowledge. See below 

**I won't be able to list them all, so here's a list of ethnic groups...with a list of even more lists at the bottom of the page. lol




Here are the diverse characters for C:


Cambodians

Cameroonians (Individuals from Cameroons)

Canadians

Cancer Patients/Survivors

Cannibals

Catholics

Centaurs (Fantasy)

Chemists

Children

Chileans (Individuals from Chile)

Chinese Individuals

Christians

Circus Performers

Individuals with Cleft Lip/Palate

Costa Ricans

College Students 

Image from Pixabay

Colombians

Cowboys/Cowgirls 

Image from Pixabay

Criminals

Cubans



Here are the diverse characters for D:


Danish Individuals

Deaf Individuals

Image from Pixabay

Democrats

Demons

Individuals suffering from Depression 

Individuals with Diabetes

Individuals with Disabilities 

Image from Pixabay

Divorced Individuals

Dominicans (Individuals from the Dominican Republic)

Dragons

Druids

Dutch Individuals 

Dwarfs (Fantasy)

Individuals with 
Dyslexia 



SHARE: If you can come up with more diverse characters that start with C or D, let me know and I will add them to my list.

QUESTION: Do you have tips or Do's/Dont's for one of the characters I mentioned above? Share your advice for writing about those characters in your comment.

Have you written about a character from my list?


Friday, February 17, 2017

Abducted Life by Patricia Josephine - Subtlety



NOTE FROM CHRYS FEY: Patricia let us choose from a collection of pre-made posts. I chose this one because I noticed my name was in it. ;)


Subtlety in Abducted Life

One thing readers may notice when they dig into Abducted Life is the strange thing I did with my chapters. Instead of the traditional Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, and so on, I started with Chapter: Xxxx. The next chapter is Chapter: Savannah. It alternates with whose POV the story is in. After a certain point where I stop using Xxxx. The reason for that is I didn't want Evan's name used up until a certain point. His name is in the blurb and mentioned once in that first chapter so readers know who's POV we are in when not in Savannah's, but after that, you won't read it again for a while.

I intentionally avoided using it because Savannah and Evan avoided using it. The chapter titles are meant as a way of showing how Savannah struggles with thinking he's dead and Evan feeling like he's no longer human, and therefore, himself.

Using subtlety is a tricky thing in writing. I know what I want to portray, but will the reader get it. My editor, Chrys Fey, had made a note about it and I had to explain it to her, but other beta readers seemed to have gotten it. I suppose it will depend on the person if they get what I'm going for or not. (Personally, I probably wouldn't if I wasn't the writer. I can be incredibly oblivious sometimes.) At the very least, if I have someone not get it and contact me asking about it, I now have a blog post to direct them to.


NOTE FROM CHRYS FEY: I made a note of this because I'm an editor...I have to. *wink* I also have to know what the author intends. :)


Blurb


Savannah Janowitz’s perfect life was destroyed the night she and her boyfriend vanished without a trace. When she reappears a year later––alone––she’s a shell of her former self. Robbed of her popularity and her boyfriend, she has no memory of what happened to her. Savannah struggles to move forward as strange, new abilities manifest.

Evan Sullivan never gave extra-terrestrials much thought until the night he and Savannah were abducted. While Savannah’s memory was wiped clean, he remembers every horrific detail. Constantly reminded of the experiments that made him less than human, Evan hides in the shadows and watches Savannah rebuild her life without him. But neither can let the other go.

When their paths cross, Savannah and Evan finally see a glimmer of their old lives return. As they face what happened to them, they soon discover they aren’t safe. There’s more to fear than what’s hiding in the stars.

Available for 99cents at Amazon.


About the Author


Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

You can find her lurking on Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Wattpad. Find the latest news at her website or sign up for her newsletter. A link to all her books can be found here.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Empowering Women - Michelle Obama



Every month I am highlighting an empowering woman. This month it is:


Michelle Obama

Image from Wikimedia


NOTE: If you don’t like the Obamas then please skip this post. This is supposed to be a positive post, so I won’t allow negative comments.

Now I can’t talk about empowering women without highlighting our first African American First Lady. Before being First Lady, she was a lawyer, mother, and wife. She actually mentored President Barrack Obama while he was a summer associate at the firm where she worked.

I’ve adored Michelle Obama since her First Lady portrait came out and she was wearing a modern and sophisticated sleeveless dress. She received criticism for that, but if a powerful woman can’t show her strong arms in this day and age then no one should. *wink* Michelle brought new life into the White House.

One of her missions as First Lady was to get children and families active and eating healthy. In 2012, she launched Let’s Move! to address childhood obesity. She welcomed students to the White House Garden to teach them about gardening and the importance of eating healthy. Those students were able to return to see the fruits and vegetables that they planted. They also got to help cook a meal with their crops.

Michelle is a fit woman, too. I remember reading once that she would wake up at 5:00 AM to get a work out in. She’s participated publicly in National Dancing Day and even danced on stage with So You Think You Can Dance All-Stars. She’s not afraid to bust a move.

Image from Wikimedia

She also launched the Reach Higher Initiative to inspire young people to “take charge of their fitness.” She’s also behind Let Girls Learn with the goal of helping girls around the world “go to school and stay in school,” which is a problem when boys are more valued and families can’t afford to pay for a girl’s education, or they chose not to. Joining Forces is another initiative she’s aided in launching, which supports service members, veterans, and their families through wellness, education, and employment opportunities.

In 2016, she participated in the Democratic National Convention and everyone raved about her speech.

“This is the story of this country, the story that had brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters—two beautiful, intelligent, black young women—playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”

Michelle Obama is an empowering and inspiring woman.


QUESTIONS: Have you ever watched So You Think You Can Dance? If you're a woman, would you show off your amazing arms in an official portrait? If I had them, I would! ;)


Inspiring Song



Friday, February 10, 2017

Candace Sams - Meet the Muse - His Holiday Miracle



Welcome to my new feature to support my fellow authors from The Wild Rose Press! I will be featuring one author for each letter of the alphabet. I also created a few new guest post options, which I hope you'll enjoy. For this one, I ask authors to tell us about their muse.

Please help me to welcome the author for C . . . Candace Sams!



1. Tell us about your recent release.

His Holiday Miracle is my most recent release.

Blurb:

Rorn T’Kar, Commander of the allied ship Verdon, returns home after battling Earth's enemies for five long years. His one regret is that the woman he still loves, and who broke their engagement, was killed in battle. If a miracle was what he needed, he’s about to find it…on his front lawn!


BUY LINKS:


2. Who is your muse?

My muses are my fictional heroes…in my latest work-in-progress. These heroes usually come to mind when I’m doing something quite mundane…like grouting tile, mowing the lawn or weeding flower beds. I don’t know how many entire plots I’ve devised while mopping floors or lifting weights. I was cleaning the attic once when I came up with the entire plot to a space super novel that was contracted by Simon & Schuster’s Crimson imprint.

3. What does your muse look like?

Since my muse is my current hero in my current work-in-progress…he’s usually an alpha male; usually something from legend, fantasy or an idea from research. In other words, I tend to write characters who live in a paranormal landscape. Lately, I’ve been very hung up on any man/muse who looks like ‘Thor’. (Maybe that’s because I love binge-watching Marvel movies…Stan Lee rocks!).

4. Describe your muse’s personality.

My muse’s (my hero’s) personality is generally dark. Again, since my muses are my fictional heroes, they’ve got an extensive history that I’ve imagined beforehand, before I’ve ever written anything on paper. I sort of use the old stage technique of ‘method acting’ to devise the character’s personality and history. This makes him more realistic to me when I write. I think about what the character would do, what they’d feel, how they’d act, and what they’d say in any given situation. Then, I can begin to write him. Each of my characters has an entire history, some of which might not be used in the book.

5. How do you tempt your muse to work?

I must write when I feel like it. That means I might write 10 pages a day, or 30 pages or only 3. There isn’t any amount of prodding, from any source, that can force me to sit and write if I’m not in the mood. I don’t promise myself, or anyone else, that I will sit and write 3000 words each day, for example. To me, that’s forcing something that should come naturally. Some days, 10,000 words might seem natural. On other days, I can’t write a paragraph. Moreover, if I try to write when that muse (whatever someone deems that to be) isn’t there…the resulting reading material is quite poor. It looks like it was forced. I wouldn’t line my cat’s litter box with it! So…I write when the feeling is there. On some of ‘those’ days (when I really am motivated by my character/muse) I can write 30 pages without stopping. 

6. When/where does your muse inspire you the most?

My muses hit me when it’s most inconvenient. Examples: cooking, washing the dog, planting bulbs, mudding a drywall, etc. Don’t know why, that’s just the way I get my ideas. That’s when my male characters (my muses) grab my attention. I think it has something to do with the brain being more receptive to ideas when you’re doing stuff that doesn’t require a lot of thought.

7. Has your muse ever gone on strike?

Oh yeah! I’ve had days when I didn’t want to write a single thing again! But it’s not due to the lack of any ‘muse’. This circumstance is usually a result of how difficult this business can be. After twenty+ years, you sometimes get tired of all the stuff you put up with while writing. At The Wild Rose Press, I have one of the best editors in Faith V. Smith. She gets me motivated. I’m lucky to have had her contract my work over the years.

8. What would your muse’s motto be to get your butt into gear?

“If you don’t write me, I’m dead to the world.” That’s the main thing that keeps me writing. I have stories in my brain…heroes who want their stories told. If I don’t get those stories out, then only I ever know about the characters’ lives, loves and adventures. In my mind, while I’m writing, my characters are very real. I write my stories like a movie playing out in my mind. I literally see and her what my characters are doing.

9. What was your relationship like with your muse while writing His Holiday Miracle?

What was my relationship like while writing His Holiday Miracle? Well…there are a lot of Veterans living in my neighborhood. My muse (hero) came to me when I saw what these Vets were going through, trying to get back to their normal lives with family and friends. So, I extrapolated what I was seeing, and sort of blended it into a hero who then wrote his ‘own’ story. Once my muse starts talking loud and clear, I usually have no problem getting his story out.

10. Are you and your muse working on something new?

My latest muse (hero) is from outer space. I seem to be getting a lot of ‘muse motivation’ from the future these days. I won’t give the title away, but my latest muse is, again, a dark character. He’s seen way too much, been through too much, and needs some tender loving care. But, I never write anything without a happy ending. There’s enough sadness in life without me adding to it. So, my hero will get everything he deserves to live happily ever after.


Candace Sams (aka C.S. Chatterly) has published over sixty titles in the fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and action-adventure genres. She’s received more than thirty awards from various organizations, and is a five-time National Readers’ Choice Award® winner. Her Tales of The Order™ series and other titles are now being vetted for movie options. Hailing from Texas, Candace and her husband live in a rural area of the USA. A plethora of dogs and cats have adopted them. 

She loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/CandaceSamsAuthor/ or Twitter (@CandaceSams). Also contact her from these websites: www.candacesams.com or www.cschatterly.com.



Thank you for sharing His Holiday Miracle with us, Candace!

Please leave Candace a comment!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Books for Writers - Guerrilla Marketing for Writers



Guerrilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Conrad Levinson: 100 No-Cost, Low Coast Weapons for Selling Your Work. This is a fat book that helps writers build marketing techniques to promote their books, maximize their sales, and strengthen proposals. Although this book has mixed reviews, if you’re looking for a list of options you can explore to help you with these things, flip through the pages of this book.

Some of the ideas they offer are TV, radio, print interviews, media kits, press releases, webcasts, giveaways, surveys, reading/book discussion groups, newsletters, articles, and audio. They also off “Guerrilla Tactics” that help you take their advice to the next level.

Inside the pages you’ll also find their 15 most important marketing secrets, which include:

1. Content
2. Commitment
3. Investment
4. Consistent
5. Confident
6. Patient
7. Assortment
8. Subsequent
9. Convenient
10. Announcement
11. Measurement
12. Involvement
13. Dependent
14. Armament
15. Consent

To delve deeper into these, you’ll have to check out this book.


Another book a lot like Guerrilla Marketing is 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kramer. I found many of the same tips in these two books, but in 1001 Ways, there was more discussion about making it onto the bestsellers list and how to get the attention of Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times.

John Kramer also suggests publishing in the off seasons: July and August.

An odd marketing tip is to name a street after yourself or your book.

Both of these books can help you to form a checklist of ideas to try.



QUESTION: Do you have a favorite marketing book?


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How Writing Has Changed My Reading Experience / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers.


NEW MEMBER SHOUT OUT:

Please help us to give our newest blog hop sign-ups a warm welcome, IWSG style. Let’s visit their blogs and show them some love today.

NEW IWSG ADMINS!

Heather M Gardner joined our team earlier this month to take over the Conferences Page. Welcome, Heather! 


C. Lee McKenzie has just joined our team on Monday as our Media Relations Specialist. Welcome, C. Lee!



OPTIONAL QUESTION: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

I can spot errors so much easier now, but I think that's more because I'm a freelance editor than because I'm a writer. When I read, I often find myself thinking, A comma should go there. That word got left in by accident. There's a typo. As a writer, though, I know these are common mistakes. They happen. Even after having an editor. No one is perfect. No story is perfect. So I never use this against the writer.

In my last IWSG post, I admitted to a lot of passive voice being in my early published works, as well as comma splices. I recently stole a glimpse at Seismic Crimes, something I don't like to do after a book is published, and noticed a couple of missing commas. There's nothing I can do about that now. Sure, it makes me cringe, but I remind myself that most readers won't notice. That helps a little. What helps more? Denial. HAHAHA




SUBMIT AN ARTICLE!
 
Would you like to be featured in our newsletter? We have 600+ subscribers, so this is a great opportunity and something for you to add to your publishing resume. Follow the instructions below to submit an article.

Topic Ideas: your number one writing, publishing or marketing tip; a motivational pep talk or inspirational story; a snippet about something you used to be insecure about but overcame, or an Aha moment you had about writing/publishing.
 
Length: 200 words or less
 
How to Submit: Send a DOC attachment to Chrys Fey at ChrysFey(at)yahoo(dot)com
Subject Line: IWSG Member Article

*Include a link for your by-line. A title for the piece is also helpful.

I look forward to getting your articles!



OPTIONAL MARCH 1ST QUESTION: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Reminder: The questions are optional and meant as a prompt if you struggle with what to post. You don't have to answer a question if you don't want to. :)



GIVEAWAY: Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway for the chance to win a signed, paperback copy of Seismic Crimes and Hurricane Crimes playing cards.

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