Monday, September 30, 2019

Linda Charles & 5 Things That Transformed Her Writing Life

Please welcome Linda Charles to the blog today!!


Five things that transformed my writing life – by Linda Charles

Writing is a solitary occupation. Characters and scenes become a huge part of our thinking lives and we live with them for quite some time before we even write about them. As such, we rarely share these characters and our plans for them with our family and friends. For years I plotted, planned, learned and wrote my stories on my own. I joined writing associations, read their monthly magazines, checked the stories on-line, but never met up with any groups or other writers. My writing life changed the moment I became social. 
Be social 
A problem shared is a problem halved – we’ve all heard that and it’s so true. Writers love to share their knowledge, gives you contacts to editors (different types of editors), make (gentle) suggestions, tips, recommend writing books, and mention any opportunities – being social means that you can dream big and someone will understand. You might hear a few war stories along the way, which again adds another layer of knowledge for you, and there will be plenty cheering you on when you publish your first book – all of your books really!
Ask for help – be prepared
Don’t ever be afraid ask for help, because people love to help. Most of us remember those early writing years and the publishing world is changing and ever-evolving and knowledge is the key. Getting it will save you time and a lot of angst. Think about what you really need help with and seek out the right person to ask. If you don’t know the right person, ASK and someone will know the right someone. Be prepared and have your question ready (much like a pitch) when you meet up with the right person. The right question can often make all the difference between a waste of time and a golden opportunity.
Find a critique partner and a beta reader you can trust 
There is nothing more satisfying than having a critique partner and/or a beta reader you can trust, enjoy their company and enjoy reading the same genre. It helps if they have an understanding of the genre or reader base your story is geared towards. Over time, they will grow to care about you and your work, and you shouldn’t have any fear in handing your work over to them to read. They too want to be able to critique without fear or favour – it’s a two way street and it’s a wonderful one. It’s a relationship based on trust and respect. 
Join a writing group 
I love my writing group. We have a lot of fun and are all at different stages in our writing career and it’s led to great friendships, and, for some of us, to write a series together, as we have with Bindarra Creek. A writing group is a safe place where we you can reveal the worst of our writing fears. It’s comforting to know that there is always someone on board who can offer some help and advice when you need it.
Attend conferences
Conferences are wonderful. You meet new people, learn plenty and make some great contacts. I met my critique partner at a conference and we still meet up for lunches and at other social events. The workshops are great, especially the Q&A sessions where you hear other people’s questions, which always make things interesting. 
Go out and be social, introduce yourself and make the first move.
Thank you for the invite to write this blog. I’ve been fortunate to be part of the and have just released the third book in the series – No Looking Back. It can be found on Amazon -
About the book:
Sometimes it’s good to take a risk…
Hannah McKenna loves working with horses and is trying hard to keep it altogether after her first horse syndication deal turns sour. Since then she’s been careful and played life straight, and has had enough. She runs into trouble when she meets Blake Hudson – the man who put together the failed deal – who rescues her when she takes a nasty tumble from a horse. 
Blake Hudson is known as Mr Nice Guy, but there are dark shadows in his past. He’s the dealmaker, the perfect go-between who puts together horse syndications and once the deal is done he moves on. Problem is, Hannah is the exception and he can’t keep away, but fears she will walk if she knew the truth about his past. 
He hadn’t bargained on dealing with a mischievous third party called attraction.

When she discovers the truth, both realise they could lose everything, including each other.

Linda Charles has been reading romance since high school. Her reading life started very early, but changed direction after she read Gone with the Wind. She was born in Sydney and spent her teenage years in drama classes, and then taught Speech & Drama for many years.  She still loves to go to the theatre, but her plan was always to write. Linda lives in Newcastle and when she's not writing, she can be found walking, browsing the bookshops or planning her next holiday.

Linda Charles on the web:
Website          Facebook         Twitter           

No Looking Back: Bindarra Creek: A Town Reborn
Hannah McKenna loves working with horses and is trying hard to keep it altogether after her
first horse deal turns sour. She runs into trouble when she meets Blake Hudson – the man who put together the failed deal – who rescues her when she takes a nasty tumble from a horse. She likes him, simple as, and finds plenty of reasons to make him want to stay. 

Blake Hudson feels like an imposter because he knows loved ones would walk if they knew the truth. He’s the dealmaker, the perfect go-between who puts together horse syndications and once the deal is done he moves on. His life takes a turn when he meets Hannah, the woman at the centre of his worst deal. Problem is he can’t keep away, but fears she will walk if she knew the truth about his past. 

He hadn’t bargained on dealing with a mischievous third party called attraction.
When she discovers the truth, both realise they could lose everything, including each other.
Buy on:

Thanks Linda!

I met one of my writing buddies when she was travelling through town, but I haven't been brave enough to check into local writing groups. Thanks for the push - I might have to look into that.

How about you? Are you social with local writers or do you do most of your interacting online?

Monday, September 23, 2019

S.A. Larsen & Motley Education

Please welcome the lovely SA Larsen to the blog!

It’s finally here!
New cover. Completely rebranded. Same corpse-raising middle grade adventure.
MOTLEY EDUCATION: The Urd Saga, book I
by S. A. Larsen
Ages: 8-12
Pages: 354
Ellysian Press, September 10, 2019; Second Edition

"A deftly crafted ... and entertaining read!"
Midwest Book Reviews - Children's Watch 2017

Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically and Celestially Gifted Terms of Enrollment
Signed: Ebony Charmed

Ebony should be excited about entering sixth grade to further develop her skills. And she would be. If only her lame abilities let her see more than three ghosts.

Struggling to live up to her gifted family, Ebony is horrified when she is branded a Seeker: someone who is neither Sensory nor Luminary. To top it off, her Deadly Creatures and Relics project – transforming a measly stick – seems destined for failure.

But there are doors to other worlds where creatures have been watching her. And when the truth emerges that her project is more than a stick, she knows she must act. Along with her best friend Fleishman and his pet lizard, Ebony finds herself wedged between prophecies and quests. Oh, and saving the entire spirit world from annihilation.

Ebony is not ready to be a hero. But a dark presence has already stolen more than one local kid. And this time, her failure is not an option.


*Bronze Award Winner, 2017 Feathered Quill Book Awards for Best Juvenile/YA Fiction*
*Winner - Purple Dragonfly Awards 2017, Honorable Mention; ebook*
*Gold Medal Award Winner - Literary Classics Book Awards 2017, Grade School Fantasy*
*Gold Medal Winner - 2017 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards, Children's Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Order signed books from The Children’s Book Cellar via message.

ATTENTION all US teachers & librarians, follow this link to enter a Twitter contest with amazing prizes! 

About the Author
S.A. Larsen is an award-winning author, childhood apraxia of speech advocate, and Maine-iac ice hockey fan, who has watched more hockey games than she could ever count. She also has a soft spot for the strange and misunderstood, which might explain her love for dipping plain chips in ketchup. Her favorite stories push the boundaries of our world and open harbored emotions to inspire and challenge the heart. She's the author of Motley Education: The URD Saga Book I (Ellysian Press, 2019; second edition), a fantasy-adventure for middle grade readers and Marked Beauty-her debut young adult fantasy-romance (Ellysian Press, 2017). When she's not chasing her characters around a cemetery or antagonizing them with the wonders of young love, she lives in the land of lobsters and snowy winters with her husband and four children. Visit her cyber home at, find her on Twitter @SA_Larsen and Instagram sa.larsen, or on, where she does most of her spookiness brewing up all sorts of creepy ideas with a group of #SpookyMG authors. Stop by for a visit . . . if you dare.


Thanks Sheri - wishing you all the very best with the book!
Love the new cover!!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Alex J. Cavanaugh & CassaDawn

Our favourite Ninja Captain has a book tour & giveaway going on! Check out the news below!

CassaStar Series Prequel
By Alex J Cavanaugh
Genre: SciFi Adventure, Space Opera 

The prequel to the Amazon best-selling Cassa series!

A pilot in training...

Fighting the odds, Byron is determined to complete Cosbolt training and join the Cassan space fleet. Poised at the top of his class, only one situation holds him back–his inability to work with anyone in the cockpit. Byron’s excellent piloting skills won’t be enough without a good navigator…

**Get it FREE!! **

CassaStar Series Book 1 

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.

Much to Byron’s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo * BAM

CassaStar Series Book 2

From the Amazon best-selling author - CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

CassaStar Series Book 3

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

With a talent for worldbuilding and a compelling cast of characters, Alex J. Cavanaugh combines high powered space battles and the challenges of family dynamics to provide readers a space opera with heart.” - Elizabeth S. Craig, author of the Southern Quilting and Myrtle Clover mysteries

Get the CassaSeries Boxed Set Here! 

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the award-winning site, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

If you haven't read this great sci-fi series, you're missing out! Great characters, pace, and storylines!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IWSG & Settings for Self

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.

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!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

September 4 question - If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

There are so many great places where I'd love to write...
  • outdoors under the Northern Lights 
  • a sidewalk cafe in Paris
  • a balcony overlooking Tokyo or NYC at night
  • a comfy chair dropped into the middle of the Serengeti or the green rolling hills of Scotland 
  • a gondola in Venice or a whale-watching boat in the ocean
  • a beach Down Under
But I'm a Canadian girl at heart, so I'd love a tree house overlooking a lake out in my beautiful Northern Ontario forest, surrounded by the amazing fall leaves at their best.

How about you? Where would you like best to write or read? Anyone want to join me?