Monday, May 16, 2022

Built Of Secrets

Release Day!

Built Of Secrets is the first book in my new Small Town Heroes series. I'm so excited about this series.


She’s got a secret… 

Okay, she’s got several… 

But only one could get her killed. 

Humiliated after being duped by her ex, Tansy chooses flight over fight. An inherited fishing lodge she can pull off the grid while working on her tech is the perfect hideout. Burned-out FBI agent, Sam is worried about his best friend’s little sister. After a devastating case, he heads to Vermont to check on her. And if he happens to get her to fall in love with him? Even better. When the ex refuses to stay in the past, Sam knows he’ll do anything to keep her safe. Will it be enough?


Early readers are enjoying the book - I hope you will too!

Loved it. It was great from start to finish. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait for the next one!!!! ~ gcgirl7

This is the first book in this series, and I cannot wait to read more from it and this author. ~ Niki T

The author has given us a heart pounding story that pulls us into the lives of Tansy and Sam and does not let go. ~ CJ

I loved them as a couple and was so happy that they found each other. I also enjoyed the strong family and friendship bonds and it was a delight meeting this tight knit group ~ Floral J

Build of Secrets is the first book in a new series, and was a fast moving romantic suspense. I could not put it down, Jemi Fraser can suck you in with her writing. ~ JOLeary

Grab your copy today!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

IWSG & The Best of Times

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!    

May 4 question - It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

So many good times!!

  • drafting - love the first draft!
  • "planning" out a new series and getting to create a whole new world
  • getting to know characters and their stories
  • connecting the new books to older characters and stories
  • writing those scenes that make me smile all the way through
  • epilogues - where there's no stress and all the warm fuzzies I want
  • 5 star reviews ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • happy repeat readers & reviewers
  • emails from readers who love the books

And a few bad times to keep it real

  • writing those crisis scenes - it sometimes takes me days to work up to it. I don't like when things are scary and stressful for my characters
  • feeling like I should be doing more in the marketing department (to be clear, this is likely never going to happen)
  • um...I think that's it???

Overall, the scale tips hard toward the good side. Otherwise, I would be doing something else!

I love writing and creating. I love interacting with other writers. I love learning more about the craft. I even enjoy most of the business side of things (I do love my spreadsheets and learning new things!). I think my bouncy brain is an asset for this indie author business.

How about you? What do you love about writing?

May the Fourth be with you today and always!

Speaking of the best of times...

The release day for Built Of Secrets is sneaking up. May 16th!

This is the 1st book in a new series - Small Town Heroes. The books are small-town romantic suspense with all the feels!



She’s got a secret… Okay, she’s got several… But only one could get her killed. 

Humiliated after being duped by her ex, Tansy chooses flight over fight. An inherited fishing lodge she can pull off the grid while working on her tech is the perfect hideout. 

Burned-out FBI agent, Sam is worried about his best friend’s little sister. After a devastating case, he heads to Vermont to check on her. And if he happens to get her to fall in love with him? Even better. 

When the ex refuses to stay in the past, Sam knows he’ll do anything to keep her safe. Will it be enough?

Preorder your copy today!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

WEP & Brat

 Rain fell and fell and fell.

Brat wondered if it had got into her skin and replaced her blood. She hoped it would keep falling.


When she’d snuck out of the hole she’d dug, he’d been heading for his bottle. She hoped he drank it all the way to the bottom. Even if he went looking for her, he wouldn’t be able to chase her. His thinking wouldn’t be clear enough to find her hole.


He would think demons were messing with him again and hiding her.


Then when he’d recovered enough, he wouldn’t remember.


If the rain kept falling, he wouldn’t be able to follow her. She knew he tracked animals for food. He always complained about how the rain messed up the tracks.


She tried to hide on those days, but her closet wasn’t big enough to hide.


He told her she was lucky. He fed her, gave her a home.


She didn’t feel lucky.


But how was she to know?


Maybe all the places were like this one. Maybe some of them were worse.


If it was worse, she didn’t know how it could be.


But he told her it was.


She knew trees because they were everywhere she looked when she got to look out the window. Was there anything else?


Brat slipped on the mud again but didn’t stay down. She had to keep moving.


And moving.


When she couldn’t walk anymore, she crawled.


And still the rain fell. Hiding her path. Hiding her.


Her hands bled so the rain hadn’t changed her blood yet.


She pushed to her feet again and kept walking, never looking back.


When the trees disappeared, she stopped. This was new. She didn’t know what it was. Didn’t have the words to tell.


The rain kept falling. Brat kept walking.


When she fell again, there was no mud for a soft landing. It was hard and more blood came from her knees and hands.


Brat swallowed hard and then pushed to her feet. Kept walking.


A noise broke the air and light broke the rain.


Brat couldn’t make her feet move. More noises she didn’t know.


Then a voice. “Are you okay? What are you doing out here? Are you hurt?”


It wasn’t him.


Was it worse than him?


Another voice. “You’re bleeding honey. Come on in the car. We’ll get you to the hospital and get you some help. Don’t worry.”


Brat didn’t know all the words, but the hands on her didn’t hurt.


Brat went with the voices while the rain continued to fall.

***

Tagline: A hard rain is just what she needs


The above is part of the #WEP April Challenge: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.

I have to admit I'd never heard of this song before the challenge. It's an intense song with some pretty dark lyrics. I struggled for a bit. And listened to it several times. And still struggled.

The song reminds me of court jesters who were allowed to speak harsh truths disguised as entertainment. We all interpret songs/poetry differently, but this song broke my heart. There's such cruelty in the world.

All of this finally brought me to the story above. I'm a romance author, I'm a teacher, I'm a believer in the power of hope and love and kindness. There will always be a light at the end of my tunnels.

I hope you'll check out the link to find the other stories written for this prompt. And I hope you'll join in!


Monday, April 11, 2022

Alex J. Cavanaugh & CassaDark

Another great adventure!!


Alex has done it again! CassaDark is an epic story that spans planets and cultures with ease. Bassan (son of Byron) is the focus of this story and he's a great main character. Tormented by a sense of not-quite-good-enough and unable-to-act-in-time, Bassan struggles to find his place in the shadow of the great things his parents have accomplished. Who could imagine the son of two talented pilots would be afraid to fly?

To make up for what he views as a mistake, Bassan agrees to travel to another world to present at a conference. And that's where his life changes forever.

New worlds. New friends. New enemies. New challenges.

If Bassan can't find the confidence and the will to act, it won't be only him who won't survive. Can he find the strength to do things he's never done? Things he's never imagined?

You'll have to read to find out! A fabulous story!

***
I invited Alex here to answer a few pressing questions!

What's your favourite part of writing? (outlining, draft, revision, editing, marketing)
Definitely not the first draft! How I loathe the first draft. Revisions and editing. The story is on the page and I can see what I need to do with it at that point. I have something to work with.

Do you write in silence or do you have music (or TV) playing while you work?
I can’t write when it’s quiet. My brain can’t focus. I need music in the background, something that fits the mood of the scene I’m writing. Often the television is on as well. (Muted, of course—that would be overload.)

I know you play the guitar. Do you ever plan to have a character who is a musician?
So far, I haven’t! You would think I would’ve put an instrument in one character’s hands. I guess I just don’t put that much of myself into my characters.

My favourite piece of science fiction "stuff" is my R2D2 flash drive. What's yours?
Either my Starcraft Protoss Pylon USB charger or my Firefly Yahtzee game.

What part of your Cassa series came to you first? (character, plot, location, tech)
I wrote the first version of CassaStar when I was an early teen, so I don’t really remember. Pretty much only the two main characters survived the rewrite, so I guess I’d have to say characters.

***


Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design and graphics, and he plays guitar in a Christian band. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is known as Ninja Captain Alex and he’s the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. 

http://alexjcavanaugh.com  

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

https://twitter.com/AlexJCavanaugh

 

 

CassaDark
By Alex J. Cavanaugh

His world is unraveling…

Bassan’s father is stepping down from command. His best friend almost dies when Bassan freezes. Now, he’s being sent across the galaxy to speak at an important conference. Despite saving the eleven races years ago, he’s paralyzed by fear and doubt. Could things get any worse?

Once there, new acquaintance Zendar convinces Bassan to visit his planet for a humanitarian mission. Bassan’s special connection to ancient technology is the key to saving Zendar’s people. One problem though—it’s a prisoner planet.

On Ugar, he discovers things aren’t so straightforward. As each secret reveals itself, the situation grows more desperate. If he can’t find the right answers, he might die along with Zendar’s people. Can Bassan summon the courage to be a hero again?

Trade paperback, 226 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, LLC
Science fiction - Adventure (FIC028010) / Space Opera (FIC028030) / Space Exploration (FIC028130)
Print ISBN 9781939844842 $16.95 / eBook ISBN 9781939844859 $4.99

Links:
iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1574189874
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0982FL3SH
Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164947033
Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781939844859 
Scribed – https://www.scribd.com/search?query=9781939844859&language=0 
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58461762-cassadark 




***

Thanks for popping by today, Alex! Congrats on yet another awesome book!

How about you? Anyone else love the Cassa series? Anyone else going online in search of Firefly Yahtzee? Who else needs music or background noise to write (I do!)?

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

#IWSG and Audiobooks

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!   

April 6 question - Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? If so, what is the main challenge in producing an audiobook?

I haven't taken the dive into audiobooks yet.

It's cost-prohibitive - or at least it was when I first checked into it a few years back. One piece of advice I received at the time was that it was only smart to do an audiobook if your profits from one month for that title (only the one book) would easily pay for the narrator, which at the time was between $2k and $5k. Um...no.

As a teacher, I've been reading aloud for decades and have pretty good skills in that area...but...I'm certainly not a professional, nor do I have a sound booth or good place for a "studio".

I may try it for Dancing With Dementia at some point but I'm not as sure about the romance. Maybe. It's a whole new skill and at least two new technologies to learn (microphone, program, sound editing...). Even though the idea of learning new skills and tech appeals to me, I'm not sure I have the time for that.

How about you? Are you an audiobook reader? (I'm not because of the bouncy brain and that might be part of my reticence as well.) Have you enjoyed the audiobook process if you're a writer?


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Joylene Nowell Butler & Kiss of the Assassin Ebook Giveaway

 My bloggy-friend Joylene Nowell Butler has a new release! Check the bottom of the post for a chance to win an ebook copy of Kiss Of The Assassin!

The book has a fascinating premise involving a different culture from Joylene's own, so I had a question...

Tell us about the research involved in having a character from another culture.

Anytime you want to write about a subject you know little or nothing about, your best bet is knowledge, whether it's online, from a reliable source, or through education. In Kiss of the Assassin, there are three protagonists: a Soviet official, a Soviet orphan, and a Mexican-born American sergeant who served in Vietnam. 


While writing the first draft of Kiss of the Assassin, I practically lived at our local library because there were no such things as home computers. Not where I lived. 


I studied every piece of work written about the Vietnam War. I read memoirs, newspaper clippings, and watched documentaries. The Russian classics were next. I watched Soviet films and read Leo Tolstoy, Vladimir Nabokov, Ayn Rand, and more. DK Smithsonian: Vietnam War-The Definitive Illustrated History was an absolute must-readI studied Mexican history. I read the classics and current memoirs. 


When I felt ready to begin work on the first chapter, I organized a filing system and kept it close at hand. I understood that writing a novel was an ongoing job that would require easy access to my extensive notes. 


As I gained confidence, I sought out friends and associates I knew could add credence to my work. I asked them if they would read my manuscript and advise me on how to make the story more credible. 


As the years passed and I continued to seek publication, there came a time when notable essays on the Vietnam War were released. I started my research again because I realized I had to update my findings as new information came to pass. 


As I gained knowledge of Russian and Mexican cultures, I gained confidence in my story. 


***

Today let me introduce you to an intriguing new release, KISS OF THE ASSASSIN, by author Joylene Nowell Butler.

KISS OF THE ASSASSIN
by Joylene Nowell Butler

◊ Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc (March 23, 2022)
◊ Paperback: 424 pages
◊ ASIN: B09P7T1ZRS
◊Language‏: English
* File size: ‎ 1138 KB
* Text-to-Speech: ‎ Enabled
* Screen Reader: ‎ Supported

Marina Antonovna, a Soviet spy, and Mateo Arcusa, an American homicide lieutenant first meet in Cambodia during the Vietnam War as enemies. Fearful that the most powerful man in the Soviet Union, KGB Chairman Vladimir Kurenkov, has ordered her death, Marina risks everything to defect to the United States.

 

She promises Mateo that her days as an assassin are over. Vladimir is determined to do whatever it takes to bring her back and, by threatening Mateo’s life, forces Marina to break her promise.

 


Meet the Author: Joylene Nowell Butler


Joylene Butler lives with her husband in the tiny village of Cluculz Lake in central B.C... She is the author of three suspense novels and a contributor to one anthology. 

For more on Joylene and her writing, visit her website and blog, as well as connect with her on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

 Thanks so much for stopping by today during Joylene's visit. Doesn't this sound like an intriguing book, especially for the times we are in?

 


***

Wow - that's a lot of research! Libraries are so useful for us and I love that you had people you could use to help you out as well!

Joylene is offering an ebook (ePub, Mobi or PDF) to one lucky visitor who comments on this blog post. All you need to do is let me know in the comments which type of file you would prefer and you're entered in the draw! I'll choose one random winner on Friday April 1st. 

How about you? Do you know enough about another culture to write about it or would you need to dive into the research? I would need to dive in!

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

IWSG & Romantic Suspense & Time Machines

 The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.


IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!   

March 2 question - Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?

If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably heard me say I have a bouncy brain. I tend to have far too many ideas going on at once.

For instance, I'm currently planning (as much as my non-plotting brain can plan) and writing a new six-book Small Town Heroes series. I've got one written, the second mostly written, the third started, and the other three sets of characters walking around in my head.

I need to know my characters before I write their stories. While they wander my brain, they're telling me their backstories and I'm finding out where the conflicts are. Of course, there are also some secondary characters who want to bump up to main characters vying for my attention as well.

I also have several folks from Bloo Moose walking around in my brain telling me who they need to meet and demanding their turn in the spotlight.

Then I have an outline (in my head) for my third series and the 6 (potentially 7) sets of characters who will be its focus.

Now, to answer the question ๐Ÿ˜Š

I have a really great idea for a speculative fiction series. It would be a long multi-generational series about the future of humanity with lots of cool SF elements.

Here's my conflict.

When am I supposed to fit this in? Would I need a pen name for the new series (SF) as it doesn't follow my current brand (romantic suspense)? Where in the world would I find time to work on building up another pen name???? So far, no answers, just lots of ideas.

Anyone working on a time machine that will give me more hours in the day just for writing?

How about you? Do you have characters knocking impatiently on your skull too? Anyone else with a bouncy brain?

Winners for the #WEP challenge All You Need is Love are being announced today! Check out the winners and the other stories HERE! There are so many talented writers in this challenge!