Wednesday, December 2, 2020

IWSG & Roller Coasters & Christmas Oh My!

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 2 question - Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

I try to write every day (except Saturday which is pure family day). It doesn't always work out that way, but that's my intention. If I can't, I'm always thinking about my stories anyway, so every day should be about the same, right?


My world tends to follow more of a roller coaster track than a toy train track. The pandemic has added a few loops of its own.

Having said that, my family rolls pretty well with the punches (mixed metaphor alert!) and I write fairly consistently throughout the year with a few exceptions.

I love NaNoWriMo and try to have a book ready to draft during November so I'm almost always very productive then. This year I've been working on Reaching For Connections: Bloo Moose #7. It's such a fun story!

I tend to work on 3 stories at a time (sort of) - one in draft, one in edits, one walking about in my head in the planning stages. Currently, that means I'm finishing drafting Reaching For Connections, diving into edits for Reaching For Trust (last year's NaNo project), and I have 2 more Bloo Moose stories walking around in my head.

Let's not talk about the new series walking around in there at the same time. My head is a little crowded...

How about you? Any super-productive times? Any times when life interferes? Anyone else's head crowded with stories waiting impatiently for their turn?


I probably won't post until the new year, so I wish you all the very best the season has to offer. I hope 2020 ends on a great note for you and that 2021 is the year you soar!!

(PS - if you're looking for a Christmas read, check out Reaching for Christmas!)

Monday, November 16, 2020

Shannon Lawrence & Happy Ghoulidays!

 Shannon's latest book is out and about on November 20th!!

In celebration we're talking about our favourite cold-weather holidays.

I live in Northern Ontario in Canada so we have a lot of these! My favourite is definitely Christmas. We almost always have a white Christmas. I actually only remember one year having a green Christmas. That was so weird for us!!

Growing up we had a small in our back yard so we often spent Christmas afternoon taking our new toboggans or magic carpets down the hill. I'm sure our parents were thrilled to have us outside for most of the day!


The holidays can be a stressful time, as we all know, but I'm hoping to lighten up this winter season with a little holiday horror.

Maybe "lighten up" isn't the right term.

The first story begins the winter holidays with Thanksgiving, with stories representing Christmas, Hanukah, Hogmanay (the New Year), Yule, Groundhog Day, and, finally, Valentine's Day. From serious horror to tongue-in-cheek. Read them all at once or save them for their holidays. Or both! 

Release day is November 20, which also happens to be my birthday! Just in time for Thanksgiving week. You can pre-order the Kindle version, with other versions, including paperback, available on release day.

Blurb: Family time can lead to murder and mayhem, especially during the holidays. A turkey with a tale to tell, elves under attack, sorority sisters putting on a killer party, a woman's desperation to save her family, and a stranger ringing in the New Year. These and other tales of woe await you beneath the mistletoe.

Be careful who you offer a kiss. It may be your last.

About the Author: A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes in her dungeon when her minions allow, often accompanied by her familiars. She writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in several anthologies and magazines, and her collections, Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations and Bruised Souls & Other Torments, are available in stores. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast “Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem.” When she's not writing, she's hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings. Though she often misses the Oregon coast, the majestic and rugged Rockies are a sight she could never part with. Besides, in Colorado there's always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. What more could she ask for? 

Release date: November 20

Pre-order link:






Amazon Author Page:

How about you? Are you ready for the Ghoulidays? Do you have any favorite cold-weather holidays or memories?

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Tyrean Martinson & Liftoff!

 My blog buddy Tyrean Martinson has a book releasing today!!

Liftoff is Book 1 of the Rayatana Series. 

Groovy…Wake up and smell the 90s…And I oop… and other Hazards of Slang in Teen Dialogue

The danger of using slang in teen dialogue is that it is timely and not timeless. Add in the factor that most YA authors are actually adults who no longer speak the common slang of the day, and it can be downright unfriendly territory, especially given the current prevalence of the phrase, “Okay, Boomer.” 

So, what do we do? 

Use slang sparingly so our work is timeless instead of timely.

We research. Forms of research can include: films, show episodes, Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, and Urban Dictionary. But, more importantly for modern dialogue, listen to the teens around you. Get feedback from teens on current slang. Slang can be a matter of culture, style, and region, so, next…

We consider our characters. Our characters’ personality and culture will inform their dialogue. This is true for teens, adults, small children, and the elderly. It doesn’t matter how old your character is, what matters is who they are. You might write a seventeen-year-old who says, “Groovy.” You might write a 90-year-old who says, “And I oop,” and maybe even uses it at the right time and place. 

And always, we find beta readers who are either teens or parents of teens. I changed sections of dialogue in Liftoff at the behest of my nineteen-year-old daughter. Feedback helps.

Title: Liftoff

Subtitle: The Rayatana Series, Book 1

A spaceship in disguise,

An Earth girl searching for a sense of home,

And a Thousand Years’ War between alien races,

All collide on a summer afternoon.

An old movie theater welcomes Amaya in and wraps her up in the smell of popcorn and licorice. But one sunny afternoon during a matinee, the movie screen goes dark. The theater rumbles.

Amaya gets trapped in the middle of an ancient alien conflict. Angry and frightened, Amaya entangles herself in a life-changing cultural misunderstanding with Sol, a young alien who keeps omitting key information, even while they’re on the run from his enemies.

What will it take to survive a battle between alien races involved in an ancient war?

Liftoff is a fast-paced read for fans of Code 8, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Cobra Kai. 

Release Date: November 10, 2020

Paperback ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-9889933-8-9 

Ebook ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-9889933-9-6

Copyright Tyrean Martinson November 2020

Publisher: Wings of Light Publishing, Gig Harbor, WA, USA

Professionally Edited by Chrys Fey

Cover Art and Interior Design by Carrie Butler

LINKS: Kindle Barnes and Noble Kobo Smashwords Goodreads

About the Author: Tyrean Martinson is an author and teacher from Washington State. As a former fencer and kickboxer, she enjoys writing fight scenes in fast-paced novels and novellas. As a teacher and writing tutor, she loves to get students writing and reading comfortably by any means: talk-to-text, short writing assignments, short stories, novellas, and adventures. She wrote her latest novella, Liftoff, for herself during COVID, but realized it also fits a dream she’s had for a while: to create a short, fast-paced read for teen/YA readers who love popcorn movies, adventure, and sweet romance. 

Author Links: Blog Newsletter Instagram Twitter Facebook

My Review:

So much fun! Liftoff is a fabulous introduction to a new world and series. Amaya's life is completely disrupted when she heads to a movie with her friends. Instead of enjoying the film, she finds herself on an alien spaceship flying to a different solar system. And things only get more complicated from there! Alien species, new technologies, a heap of expectations, family drama and a cute alien who will do anything for her change everything for Amaya. Fascinating story and I'm looking forward to more!

Hope about you? Anyone using Groovy out there? What's your favourite slang term? Anyone else read LiftOff yet?

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

IWSG & Saving Civilization

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!  

The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria! 


Before we get to today's question, I want to give a shout out to our own Elle Cardy/Lynda Young. Her latest book, Well of Ash is SO GOOD!!! The world-building blows my mind and the characters are amazing! Be sure to check it out!

No one knows who built the Great Wells across the world or why. To linger near makes the skin crawl and the mind drift in nightmares. Yet this one calls to Ash in whispers that pull her closer. Soon she’s caught in a mystery that can kill. She must find the answers before she loses her sanity and her life.

If you like dragons, magic, and a fierce heroine with a wounded heart, then you’ll love Well of Ash, a YA Fantasy novella by Elle Cardy. Available now as an ebook and paperback on Amazon. OR, for a limited time, pick up a free copy when you join Elle’s VIP newsletter club.

November 4 question - Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

Well, I'm not sure Bloo Moose is going to save civilization, but I love the quote!

I've always been a reader and I've "told" stories in my head since I was very small. I was too shy/awkward to share and didn't actually write any of them down until well after my own kids were born.

Once I wrote my first story (a really angsty Star Trek TNG story with all kinds of equality themes going on) I realized that creating the stories was fun. And (strangely) going through the story to make it better was fun too. Learning the craft proved to be fun as well.

I wrote my first short story because the prompt intrigued me. This became my first published story (Until Release in the Tick Tock IWSG anthology) and it gave me the confidence to get my work out there.

Dancing With Dementia was written because dementia had crashed into my family and writing about it helped me process it all in the hopes of helping others.

My Bloo Moose series is contemporary romantic suspense. Reaching For Christmas releases on Tuesday and it will be book 5, I'm working on book 7 for NaNo. I write in this genre because it's all about overcoming obstacles within ourselves and teaming up to take on another obstacle. And Hope. My books are always about Hope. 

So, I guess my rather convoluted answer is that I write because it's fun, it helps me process life and it gives me hope for the future.

How about you? Anyone else start off with Fan Fiction? Anyone write to help process their lives or to bring hope into your own? Or are you out to save civilization? We need that!

I'm also visiting with the amazing Denise Covey today talking about rapid release. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Festive Mayhem Book Blast

If you’re looking for a good mystery with a little holiday twist, look no further. Today I’m participating in the FESTIVE MAYHEM Book Blast featuring 10 talented authors with stories of mystery, crime, and suspense with a holiday flair.

◊ Genre: Mystery Anthologies
◊ Publisher: Marla Bradeen (October 26,2020)
◊ eBooks
◊ File Size: 1232 KB
◊ Print Length: 159 Pages



Ten crime writers of color have teamed up to offer you the gift of escape this holiday season. From Christmas crime capers to Thanksgiving thrillers, historical hard-boiled to contemporary cozies, mystery fans of all genres will find something to love in this limited-time collection of exclusive, never-before-published seasonal short stories.


What you’ll find inside:
• “The New Year’s Hex” by Carolyn Marie Wilkins. Carrie McFarland finds her New Year’s plans derailed when a psychic vision pulls the 1920s African American amateur sleuth into someone’s evil scheme.
• “Pipe Dreams” by S.G. Wong. In this hard-boiled Crescent City short story, infatuation and passion drive Minnie Chen straight into danger as she tries to best the City’s most glamorous private detective in a reimagined 1930s-era Chinese Los Angeles.
• “A Christmas Tip” by Elizabeth Wilkerson. A surprise Christmas bonus becomes too tempting for Philadelphia nursing assistant Brianna Byers to resist—even if accepting requires some skillful skirting of the law.
• “The Stranger in the House” by Stella Oni. This London House Mystery prequel stars Elizabeth Ojo, a Nigerian housekeeper at a posh guest house, who finds her Christmas intersecting with that of a mysterious resident in trouble.
• “What Lies Inside” by Kia Dennis. A tormented university professor falls deeper and deeper into a destructive obsession in this harrowing tale of love and longing.
• “A Pub, Bed & Breakfast & A Dead Body” by Forest Issac Jones. A dark past becomes the deadly present when North Carolina police detective Ike Coates and his intrepid young partner are tasked with determining the cause of a suspicious death.
• “A Deadly First” by Delia C. Pitts. Thanksgiving takes a fatal turn when New York private eye SJ Rook finds himself thrust into his first murder case in this darkly atmospheric tale of noir.
• “The Holiday Murder Mélange” by Myra Jolivet. This Sarah Doucette Jean-Louis short story follows the Creole P.I. around the San Francisco Bay Area on her quest to figure out who killed a man outside of her office.
• “Those Holiday Blues” by Jennifer J. Chow. Jasmine, aka “Jazz,” can’t escape the tragic past when an old boyfriend asks to meet on the anniversary of his mother’s death.
• “Holiday Holdup” by Paige Sleuth. In this Cozy Cat Caper Mystery Short, Imogene Little gets tangled up in a Christmas Eve bank robbery orchestrated by none other than Santa Claus himself.


This anthology is only available for a short time, so grab it now before it’s gone. It would be criminal to miss it!


FESTIVE MAYHEM is available at the following sites:





About the Authors


FESTIVE MAYHEM features a collection of never-before-published short stories authored by 10 mystery, crime, and suspense writers of color: 

Carolyn Marie Wilkins
S.G. Wong
Elizabeth Wilkerson
Stella Oni
Kia Dennis 
Forest Issac Jones
Delia C. Pitts
Myra Jolivet
Jennifer J. Chow
Paige Sleuth


Be sure to enter the giveaway below. If the widget doesn’t work, just click HERE to enter. You can read more about this fascinating book by visiting the other stops on the Book Blast.


Thanks for stopping by today. Don’t you just love a good mystery with a holiday theme?


Monday, Oct. 26 – Just Jemi – Review
Rockin’ Book Reviews – Feature
Nesie’s Place – Excerpt
Writer’s Gambit – Review & Feature

Tuesday, Oct. 27 – First of All – Review & Excerpt
CelticLady’s Reviews – Feature
Bookish Rantings – Excerpt

Wednesday, Oct. 28 – I Found This Great Book – Review & Excerpt
Book Reviews by Pat Garcia – Review
Thoughts in Progress – Excerpt
Author Deborah A. Bailey – Excerpt

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My review

This was such a fun book!

All of these authors were new to me - and I'm looking forward to reading more by each of them.

I enjoyed the mix of mysteries, styles, and settings. It's difficult to choose but I think The New Year's Hex is my favourite. Loved the 1920's setting and I was rooting for Carrie in no time!

The entire book is filled with great characters. I enjoyed the cozy sleuths (Carrie, Imogene, Sarah, Elizabeth & Brianna) as they figured out their mysteries - each in their own unique style.

The "cold" and "chilling" mysteries are well labelled! Definitely chilling - with a few nightmare-inducing elements. So good!

A great collection of mysteries all connected by strong writing and fascinating characters. An excellent read!


How about you? Anyone else enjoy mystery collections? Do you prefer cozy, cold, or downright chilling mysteries?

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IWSG & Working Writers

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! 


October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

For me, a working writer is one who has moved past the hobby stage. I think a working writer is actively planning to publish or has already published a book and has plans to write multiple books to publish.

I spent the better part of a decade learning the craft, finding my voice, deciding on the age group and genre I wanted to write, and dodging life's curveballs. During that time I didn't consider myself a working writer.

Once I published Dancing With Dementia in March, I felt like a writer but not a working writer.

Now that the Bloo Moose series is on the loose and growing I definitely would consider myself a working writer. I plan on growing the series and have plans for at least 2 more series I'd love to write within the romance/romantic suspense world. I also have some SF I'd like to try but I think I'll stay on-brand for the foreseeable future.

How about you? Is your definition similar to mine? Are you a working writer? Do you have plans that are bigger than your time to achieve them? Anyone else write in series?

PS: Reaching For Balance (Bloo Moose #4) releases on Tuesday, October 13. It is currently available for preorder for $0.99. It will pop up to regular price of $3.99 after release, so pick up your copy now!

PPS: If you want to try the series out, Reaching For Normal (Bloo Moose #1) is FREE at all retailers!

PPPS: Reaching For Christmas (Bloo Moose #5) releases on Tuesday, November 10. It is currently available for preorder for $0.99. Its price will pop up to $3.99 after release as well.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Chrys Fey and Frozen Crimes

 Please welcome Chrys Fey back to the blog today!!


Frozen Crimes
Chrys Fey
(Disaster Crimes, #5)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: September 30th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Beth and Donovan are expecting their first child. Life couldn’t get any better…until a stalker makes his presence known. This person sends disturbing messages and unsettling items, but it isn’t long before his menacing goes too far.

Hoping for a peaceful Christmas, Donovan takes Beth to Michigan. Days into their trip, a winter storm named Nemesis moves in with the goal of burying the state. Snowdrifts surround their house, and the temperature drops below freezing.

Except, the storm isn’t the only nemesis they must face. Everyone’s lives are at stake—especially that of their unborn child. Will they survive, or will they become a frozen crime?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks


The crunch of the shovel pounding into the snow and ice filled his ears. It was all he could hear. The rest of the street was silent beneath its wintry blanket. Breathing was difficult with the icy air clogging his lungs. His nose burned. His throat was dry and on fire. But he ignored it, focusing on his task.

Crack, crack, crack.

He jabbed the shovel into a hunk of snow. On the third hit, it shattered into several pieces. He scooped them up and flung them to the side. He surveyed what remained. There was one big ball in the middle of the path that needed to be dealt with next. He moved over to it and struck it. That one impact had it severing in two. He was about to hit it again when something crashed into the back of his head.

Explosions of white light danced over his vision. Pain enveloped his skull. The shovel slipped from his fingers. Blackness cloaked his mind, coaxing him into its depths.

Beth. Her name was a whisper in his head as if his thoughts were being sucked into a wormhole.

His legs collapsed under his weight.

Cold. It seeped into him, consuming him. And then his consciousness fled down that same void that ate his thoughts.

Author Bio:

Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter

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Hosted by:


Congrats to Chrys on her latest release! I like the rapport between Beth and Donovan throughout the series and I'm looking forward to this one too!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Sherry Ellis: Bubba & Squirt's Mayan Adventure

Join me today for author Sherry Ellis’ MC Book Tour for her latest release, BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S MAYAN ADVENTURE.

This is a delightful juvenile fiction story that readers of all ages will enjoy.

◊ Genre: Juvenile Fiction
◊ Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press (Sept. 7, 2020)
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ Paperback: 96 pages
◊ ISBN-10: 1939844703
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1939844705

An ancient Mayan civilization!     

That's what Bubba and Squirt find when they travel through the mysterious vortex for another wild adventure. There they meet archeologists who are unearthing priceless artifacts.

But someone is stealing them. And an encounter with the Tate Duende awakens magic within Bubba. Throw in the mysterious Alux and a new discovery and things get sticky.

Will Bubba and Squirt solve the mystery, or will they be stuck forever in the jungles of Belize?

Bubba and Squirt available at 

Meet the Author

Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano. 

When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. Ellis and her family live in Atlanta, Georgia.

For more information on Sherry and her writing, connect with her on: Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Blog * Website * Amazon Author Page


The author is sponsoring a tour-wide giveaway. She is giving away ten (10) autographed print copies of the book open to all. Be sure to enter below on the Rafflecopter widget. If the widget doesn’t appear, click HERE to enter the giveaway. The giveaway ends at midnight on Oct. 17th.

You can also follow Sherry’s tour for more information and chances to enter by visiting the following sites:

Monday, Sept. 14 - Write With Fey - Guest Post
Alex J. Cavanaugh - Guest Post

Tuesday, Sept. 15 - Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews - Interview
Wednesday, Sept. 16 - The Story of a Writer - Review
Thursday, Sept. 17 - Book Reviews by Pat Garcia - Review
Friday, Sept. 18 - Booked Solid with Virginia C - Feature
Rockin' Book Reviews - Review & Top Ten List

Monday, Sept. 21 - Just Jemi - Review & Interview
Anna del C. Dye Official Page - Excerpt
Tuesday, Sept. 22 - Baroness' Book Trove - Review

Saturday, Sept. 26 - Storeybook Reviews - Excerpt
Monday, Sept. 28 - Elizabeth Spann Craig's Blog - Guest Post
Joylene Nowell Butler - Excerpt
Journaling Woman - Feature
Wednesday, Sept. 30 - Nesie's Place - Excerpt

Friday, Oct. 2 - Thoughts in Progress - Review
Monday, Oct. 5 - The Sexy Nerd "Revue" - Excerpt
Wednesday, Oct. 7 - Willow Writes and Reads - Review
Friday, Oct. 9 - Celticlady's Reviews - Excerpt
Monday, Oct. 12 - Literary Rambles - Interview
Wednesday, Oct. 14 - Writer's Gambit - Feature & Top 10 List

Thanks for stopping by today. Do you enjoy all different types of genres and age-related stories?

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I had a few questions for Sherry...

What's a Fun Fact you learned about the Mayan culture?

There’s a reason ancient Mayan carvings and drawings depict people with flattened foreheads.  Flat heads (and stones drilled into teeth) were considered fashionable. The Maya strapped boards to the foreheads of their babies and made them wear them for six years to achieve the look. Aren’t you glad that’s no longer in style?

Yikes!! I'm SO glad that's no longer in style. Wow - cultures always have such different views of what constitutes beauty!

Would you like to be an archeologist?

Yes and no. Yes, because if I found something unusual and valuable, it would be an amazing experience! No, because I don’t think I’d have the patience to squat down in a quadrant all day, sifting through dirt and carefully brushing debris off of whatever I found. Putting pieces and parts of things together would also try my patience. I think I’ll stick with writing and music.

You're a musician, do you think Bubba and Squirt might ever visit one of the famous composers?

That would be an interesting idea, but as of today, there are no plans for Bubba and Squirt to meet a famous composer, living or dead. I have five books of Bubba and Squirt adventures planned. The next three will be a trilogy. I don’t think the Bubba and Squirt adventures will continue after that, but who knows? Never say never!

Thank you for having me as a guest!

Thanks for the great answers!

Now to my review:

This is SUCH a fun book! I adored Bubba and Squirt. They're interesting characters who have different personalities. This brother and sister team love each other and respect each other, even when they drive each other a little batty!

I loved the visit to an archeological dig and a look at the Mayan culture as well as the current Belize culture. The interesting characters and a plot that keeps spinning in interesting directions will be loved by both kids and adults alike. I'm also looking forward to trying the chicken tortilla soup with the recipe.

A great read for everyone!

How about you? Any budding/wannabe archeologists or musicians out there? Anyone else want to travel through that vortex or check out Mayan artifacts?