Thursday, December 2, 2021

WEP Challenge and Little Tommy


“You have the cutest baby ever. He should be in those commercials. They could sell anything using that face.”


Cindy and Tom smiled at each other. It seemed they weren’t just proud parents with a huge slice of bias. Their baby boy truly was adorable. Everyone said so.


Those big blue eyes. Jet black curls. Beautiful.


***

“Candy. I want candy.”


Little Tommy’s pout warned of stormy tears as Cindy stood in the checkout line. Her beautiful boy stared up at her from the grocery cart, those blue eyes shining. Cheeks rosy.


“You have such a handsome son. You’re a lucky mom.”


Tommy smiled at the cashier, and the woman smiled back.


As he charmed the lady, Cindy reached out and added a candy bar to her order.


***

“I want the blue one.”


Tom looked at the red shirt he’d picked up for his son and then to the blue on the rack. “I thought you’d like the dinosaurs on this one. You’d rather have the blue?”


Tommy nodded seriously. “Yes. It matches my eyes.”


Tom laughed, ruffled his son’s curls, and changed out red for blue.


***

Tommy held the truck behind his back. “It’s mine.”


“I had it first!”


Tommy shook his head. “I have it. It’s mine.”


“Now, boys. No fighting. Tommy will have the first turn, you can have it next, Kev.”


***

“Tommy has been struggling to keep his attention on his studies this term.”


Cindy and Tom exchanged a look. “How can we help?”


The teacher smiled. “Well, if you could keep the girls away from him, that would probably help.”


Everyone chuckled. “The girls are always calling the house as well. One even dropped off cookies for him on the weekend.”


“He’s a good-looking kid. There’s probably more of that in his future.”


***

Tommy checked his hair in the mirror he’d installed in his room. The bathroom had better lighting, but his parents were always complaining he spent too long getting ready for things.


They didn’t get it. It was important to always look his best.


***

Tommy gave his best smile to his grandparents. They liked to see him smile.


He even let them pinch his cheeks.


They always slipped him money when they visited.


***

“I prefer to be called Thomas.”


“But, Tommy, you’ve always…”


“I will no longer answer to that name.”


“Okay, Thomas.”


***

“My eyes are halfway through a blink. I need you to retake the photo.”


The clerk frowned at the picture and pointed to the sign that stated unless eyes were fully closed, the picture couldn’t be retaken.


Thomas smiled the way he’d perfected in the mirror. The smile that gave him the maximum results.


The clerk smiled back and the second picture was perfect.


***

Thomas checked his appearance one last time before heading out to pick up the girl. He’d told her to leave her hair down. When she wore it that way, she was the prettiest girl in the school.


He’d told her to choose a blue dress so they would match. His shirt and tie were the perfect shades. They would make a striking couple.


Their pictures would be the best.


***

Thomas selected his courses carefully. All it had taken was a bit of research to find the perfect professors.


It was an easy thing to cruise the internet, find their bios, and check out their pictures.


Adults were easy to figure out. He knew which ones he could work with and which ones would be more difficult. His degree would be a piece of the proverbial cake.


***

Thomas looked out the windows of his penthouse.


Christmas lights were lit across the city. Cindy and Tom had wanted him to cross the state to visit with them. Spend a day traveling to put up with annoying small talk and overcooked turkey.


He’d rather be exactly where he was. He had a dozen invitations but had yet decided which would be most beneficial and least annoying. He might stay in and enjoy his own company. It was far better than idiotic small talk.


Thomas lifted his wine glass and toasted his reflection in the window.





Tagline: Bringing up Tommy, the tale of a narcissist. 


*****

The above is part of the WEP Challenge for December. I really struggled with a story for this prompt! It's always interesting to see which prompts bring stories quickly to mind and which have me really reaching for an idea!


I hope you join in the Challenge for the month! Because it's a busy season for many around the world, we've extended the posting dates from December 1st to the 15th. That will give everyone time to write, post, and enjoy the other stories.


I'm looking forward to seeing how others interpreted the prompt!


We've decided on the prompts for next year and I think you're going to love them!





Wednesday, December 1, 2021

IWSG & Stressors & Delights

 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! 

***

December 1 question - In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

So much!

Stressors

  • conflict - I hate when my characters are in dire situations - but it wouldn't be much of a story without that!
  • updating back matter
  • uploading new releases - hoping I haven't missed a step -  & waiting for reviews
  • paperbacks - which is why I haven't finished that step with IngramSpark...one day

Delights!

  • building a new series - creating the settings, people, backgrounds...So much fun!
  • banter
  • characters - getting inside their heads, learning how they cope, finding what they need, helping them find their HEA
  • those moments when my fingers are flying over the keyboard because the story is flowing
How about you? Whether you're a reader or a writer, what stresses you out about books? What delights you? Any of yours the same as mine?

***

WEP News!

Over at the WEP Challenge Blog, we're ready for the December Challenge - Narcissus!
Because this is a busy time of year, we'll be allowing stories to be posted anytime from today to the 15th of December! Looking forward to all the stories produced by this prompt. My story will be in up in the next day or two.

We're also announcing the themes for the 2022 Challenges (HOW is it almost 2022?????).


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Patricia Josephine & Abducted Life

My friend Patricia Josephine (aka Patricia Lynne) has a new book out today and a fun scavenger hunt to go with it.

After you've discovered the secret word from this blog post (the word artfully highlighted in red), head over to Patricia's blog for the rest of the participants!

***

Savannah and Evan thought they were safe on earth. They were wrong.


Savannah Janowitz had everything: Popularity. Caring parents. A boy she had loved all her life. It all vanished when she went missing. When she reappears a year later with no memory and strange, new abilities, she struggles to fit back into her life.


Evan Sullivan never believed aliens existed until he and Savannah were abducted. Experimented and mutated by them, he is forced to hide in the shadows and watch Savannah rebuild her life without him. But no matter how hard he tries, he can’t stay away from her.

Reunited with Evan, Savannah sees a glimmer of her old life finally return. As they face what was done to them together, they discover aliens aren’t the only danger to them. Someone closer to home is watching, waiting for the order to take out the ‘alien threat’.

Abducted Life is a sci-fi romance about true love over coming all the odds.
Steam rating: Warm (Moderately explicit sensuality.)

AVAILABLE FOR $3.99 AT AMAZON OR READ FOR FREE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED!
Add to Goodreads

***


Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne
Author of paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi novels you can escape into.
◾ Website: patriciajosephine.com
◾Twitter: @pjlauthor
◾Facebook: @pjlauthor
◾Instagram: @pjlauthor
◾Patreon: @pjlauthor

***

Congrats to Patricia! 

Good luck with the scavenger hunt!!





Monday, November 15, 2021

Lynda Young & Book Covers

 My good friend Lynda Young has released her Christian devotional Cling to God and is here to talk about book covers.

***

The Art of Book Cover Creation

Thanks, Jemi, for hosting me today in honor of the release of the new edition of Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional. The topic I’ll be talking about is book cover creation.

Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring someone to create a cover, it’s so important to know what fits for your market. It’s not just about having great art or a clever design. If it doesn’t match the expectations for the genre, then readers will struggle to find your book.

While I strongly recommend most authors hire a professional, I do have a graphic design background, so I took on the cover design for Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional. The first thing I did was research. After gathering up a long list of comparative books, I learned exactly where my book best fit. I also discovered a clear pattern in the style of covers:

Flower art on a white background.

Without the research, I would’ve gone with flower photography, a mistake. The hand-drawn art took longer to achieve, but it was worth the effort. I must admit my first attempts did not pan out. I tried all sorts of different art styles, including watercolor. I ended up going with the clean simplicity of vector art. I wanted it light, bright, and fresh.

Other factors to consider when finalizing a cover design is the typography. The size, the balance, the colors. Each genre has its own style of fonts too. Don’t pick your favorite font. Pick the font that works for the market. A heavy sans serif works well for crime fiction or even many non-fictions, but not so much for young adult fantasies. A floral font with scrolls works well for YA fantasy or romance, but definitely not for science fiction. Again, do your research.

There’s a whole psychology behind color choices too, composition, and visual depth, which I won’t go into here. One last thing to truly understand is this:

Simplicity is key. At a glance, the reader should know where your book belongs, without even reading the title. Cover it with too much detail or noise, and you start to lose that clarity.

What elements on a cover make you pick up a book?


Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional


This special devotional book is a year-long journey with daily inspirational messages and uplifting scripture to help you spend time with God. It includes short Bible-based teachings that will encourage and refresh. It is faith-building and thought-provoking with reassuring reminders of God’s love.

365 days of inspiration and Bible wisdom to lighten your heart.
365 devotions to bring you peace in uncertain times.
365 ways to Cling to God.

EbookPaperbackHardcover


Lynda R. Young has written devotionals, multiple Christian articles, and other inspirational non-fiction, given Bible-based talks, and is always looking for other ways to encourage and uplift. She is also an author of fantasy novels, an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Brisbane with her sweetheart of a husband. You can find her here: BlogTwitterGoodreads

***

Thanks Lynda! I love the cover you designed!

Genre conventions are so important when designing a cover. I did my own for Dancing with Dementia, but I'm glad I've turned over the task to a cover designer who has a lot more talent in that area!

How about you? Do you design covers? Any favourite fonts out there? Any favourite styles of covers right now?

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

IWSG & Titles & Lynda & Home!

 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!  

***

This month's optional question:
What's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

A few years ago, I would have said titles. Now, I know better, although that could change at any moment.

I write romantic suspense and I write in series. Once I landed on the idea of using a repetitive phrase for the title, it became so much easier. The last word in the title points to the theme of the book.

My 2nd series will release next year and I'm using the same idea with a different phrase

Blurbs on the other hand can drive me batty. I've now worked up a pattern that helps...sort of

  • Tagline (1 sentence)
  • intro FMC and her problem (2 or 3 sentences)
  • intro MMC and his problem (2 or 3 sentences)
  • tie them together & give the stakes (1 or 2 sentences)

How about you, writers? Blurbs or Titles - which presents more of a challenge?
For readers, what draws you to a book more - the title or the blurb?

***

Lynda Young is releasing her latest book today!

Blurb:
This special devotional book is a year-long journey with daily inspirational messages and uplifting scripture to help you spend time with God. It includes short Bible-based teachings that will encourage and refresh. It is faith-building
and thought-provoking with reassuring reminders of God’s love. 

365 days of inspiration and Bible wisdom to lighten your heart.
365 devotions to bring you peace in uncertain times.
365 ways to Cling to God.

A great companion for individual worship or for group Bible study.
The perfect gift book or personal keepsake that will be cherished for years to come.

Start each morning with Cling to God to brighten your day and draw closer to God.

Links:
Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HBMG3L8

Take advantage of the launch price and pick up your ebook for $2.99. This discount will be available for a short time only.

Don’t have a kindle? Then get the free kindle app for iOS, Android, Mac, and PC HERE: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/browse.html%3Fnode=8498354051&ref=kcp_fd_hz


Author Bio:

Lynda R. Young accepted Jesus into her life in her early teens and has been active in her faith ever since. She has written multiple Christian articles and other inspirational non-fiction, given Bible-based talks, and is always looking for other ways to encourage and uplift. She is also an author of fantasy novels, an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Goodreads

http://lyndaryoung.blogspot.com.au
https://twitter.com/LyndaRYoung
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832201.Lynda_R_Young

Congrats to Lynda! 

***
Reaching For Home releases on November 16th!

If you're interested in an ARC, head on over to BookSprout - there are a limited number available!

If you want to preorder, check out my website

One left the limelight behind. One is running from it. And one wants to destroy it all.

Nia Alexander is leaving the costume rooms of Hollywood in her rearview mirror and taking her son across the country for a fresh start and a white Christmas. She’s also hoping to leave behind the threats from the jerk who didn’t want to hear the word No.

Jaz LaChance is never going back to the limelight. It’s been almost a decade since his photos were splashed in magazines and on billboards. Funding new businesses in Bloo Moose is better. Until Nia turns out to be a new tenant. Nia saved his ass once, but every time he looks at her, he remembers the humiliation of that night. When Jaz discovers Nia is being threatened, he needs to figure out how to leave the past truly where it belongs.

If they can trust each other they might be able to make a home of their own for the holidays.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

WEP Challenge & Predator

Predator

Nella squeezed her eyes shut and opened her mouth slightly. She couldn’t make a sound, not even the sound of a breath.

Her blood roared through her veins and every muscle strained to move. Run. Get away. Go!


But there was nowhere to go. Nowhere to run.


Adrenaline surged and bounced around inside, making her fingers twitch where they hugged her knees into her chest.


No movement. No sound.


Air in, air out.


Slow the breathing. Slow the blood. Slow the brain.


She had to listen, had to hear. But the white noise of panic filled her head.


In and out.


Nella squeezed her toes and relaxed them. The quietest way she could think of to use up some of the adrenaline-fuelled energy.


Slowly, the panic flashes behind her eyes receded and the white noise ebbed. She only hoped it wasn’t too slowly.


She opened her eyes a slit and then a little more. Blackness surrounded her. She couldn’t see. No one could see.


Could it see in the dark? Could it smell her fear and her panic? Were her tiny breaths audible?


A scrape cut the air.


The smallest of sounds. The largest of threats.


Breathe in. Breathe out. Curl the toes, relax. Look. Don’t move.


Blood raced again. Air thickened and refused to process.


Another scrape.


Nella squeezed her lips together. Pressed down hard.


Her breathing quickened and tears built in her eyes.


When light blazed around her, into her, through her, Nella released the scream.


But the predator was the only one who heard.



***

Tagline: When there's nowhere to run



***

The WEP Challenge for this month is The Scream!



You can join the challenge until October 22. We'd love to have even more writers participating!


There are so many ways to interpret a prompt and the WEP writers always produce entertaining stories!


We're asking writers to include a short tagline/blurb with their stories. But, we'll write one up if you struggle to find one or forget!


Looking forward to the entries!


Monday, October 18, 2021

Tyrean Martinson & NEXUS

My friend Tyrean Martinson has released the 2nd book in the Kayatana series releasing and it is so much fun!

I love the world-building in this series!

One piece of that fun world-building is awak. This is a beverage the characters drink often - similar to coffee here on earth. Or tea for me!

Tyrean:

If you enjoy science fiction, you might have noticed a tendency for writers to give a unique twist to one of Earth’s favorite beverages: coffee. In The Rayatana Series, the beverage “awak” is like a mixture of coffee and tea with similar stimulating properties. In fact, Amaya is a bit nervous about drinking it when she first is introduced to it because she isn’t sure if alien foods and beverages are going to work for her. There’s an answer to this dilemma presented in book one, and if you haven’t read it yet I don’t want to spoil it for you. 

When I came up with the idea for “awak” as a hot beverage, it was in homage to all the other science fiction beverages. Consider Blue Milk, Romulan Ale, Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, Klah, and other beverages from the story worlds you’ve enjoyed. Would those books be the same without the entertaining, sometimes humor-filled details of the beverages your favorite characters drink? 

What’s your favorite science fiction beverage or food? 

Tyrean's mentioned 2 of these beverages that I'd like to try!

Of course, we couldn't have a list without Romulan ale from Star Trek. Over the ST universe, Romulan ale is infamous for its power and the power of the hangover it induces. Don't think I want the hangover, but I'd like to try at least a sip!

If you've read Anne McCaffrey's PERN series, you know they drink klah. Made from tree bark and flavoured with cinnamon (or the PERN equivalent of cinnamon anyway), this one would be fun to try!

How about you? Any beverages from SF land that you'd like to try? Which series/author has world-building you adore? Any other fans of the Kayatana series?


Book Blurb:

Amaya is supposed to bring peace to the galaxy. Which is tough when she’s being held for crimes against the Neutral Zone. Her imprisonment is on her own ship with her own crew. But close quarters create tension.

Honestly, her role as Rayatana is a mess.

She may never get to use her powers for anything good. Not if her teacher continues to keep secrets, and not if her powers keep harming others. Putting her mother in a coma should put her in prison, but she has a mission. She wants to bring peace to her people. She needs to become the Rayatana.

 Nexus: The Rayatana Book 2 is available October 4, 2021 for all online, retail, and all ebook platforms. Published by Tyrean Martinson with Wings of Light Publishing, LLC. Young Adult - Science Fiction/Adventure/Sweet Romance. ISBN for Kindle: 978-1-7357695-5-4,ISBN for  Paperback: 978-1-7357695-6-1, and ISBN for EPub: 978-1-7357695-7-8.

Book Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BMHPQ1X

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09BMHPQ1X 

Amazon AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09BMHPQ1X 

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09BMHPQ1X 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1105272 

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/nexus-the-rayatana-book-2/id1586906824 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/nexus-the-rayatana-book-2 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4248677708 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/nexus-the-rayatana-series-book-2-by-tyrean-martinson 


Official Author Bio and Links:

Tyrean Martinson is a word hunter. She forages for words both sweet and tart in the South Sound of Washington State. An eclectic writer, she writes speculative fiction, contemporary and historical fiction, short scripts, devotions, writing books, song lyrics, and poetry. She has been a fencer (long ago), a kickboxer (for a short minute), and an action-movie fan. Tyrean is a life-long book lover, a Christ follower, and walker. Once upon a time, she was a Girl Scout who sang too loudly, and now she’s a podcaster and praise team member. Since childhood, her imagination has been swept away by fairy tales, science fiction, tales of overcoming the odds, and redemption arcs.

Tyrean’s Writing Spot Blog: https://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/ 

Tyrean’s Tales: https://tyreanstales.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tyreanmartinson/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TyreanMartinson 

Tyrean’s Tutoring Website Words Take Flight: https://words-take-flight.com/