Friday, April 12, 2019

Free paranormal reads!

Curl up inside on those rainy days with a good book!


Get hooked on my dark urban fantasy world with Of Blood and Sorrow! It's free for five days.

And if you like something lighter and funnier, check out The Paramours trilogy. More woo than boo!


All three books are free for five days!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

#IWSG for April 2019

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken!

April's optional question: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

I know exactly where I need help. It's that part before the big climax. Something must happen just before the protagonist hits rock bottom. It must be relevant to the plot and yet not take away from the climax which is to come. It's like the second middle. I can get over the hump of the middle, but that second time, it's tough, especially being a pantser.

My insecurities: I put the two novels I had been working on aside. That has caused me a lot of anxiety. I believe in hard work and pushing through, but my muse has never dug in her heels this deeply before. Yet I started a new project and it's flowing wonderfully. Good, yes, but I dislike leaving things unfinished.

How's your writing been going so far this year?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Free and 99c Books Spring Binge!


Start off the spring with a reading binge!

The first three books of my urban fantasy series, TOTEM, are free for five days only.




And if you're interested in hot romance where the heroine doesn't have to choose, check out the Reverse Harem Book Fair!


This fabulous event showcases some of today's hottest reverse harem authors with a mix of genres to suit every mood. Just click on the image.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Word Witch Wednesday - spring patchwork


So many things going on. I'd like to think I will get everything organized and done this spring. Or, at the very least, get them patched together.

First off, pop on over to Untethered Realms (after you read this post!), and check out my review of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It's the 50th anniversary of the book. My experience reading it now is greatly different than when I did 25 years ago.

I've stalled out on the two novels I've been working on. I'm over 25,000 words into both of them, and I know where they're going. Perhaps that's the problem. There are no more surprises for me. I'm poking away at my pen name's novel, but I have not touched Of Death and Sorrow for a while now. Not even the awesome cover is motivating me.

I have written some new short fiction. My latest sci-fi story was given much love from my local critique group this past Saturday. I fixed it up and submitted it to Daily Science Fiction. (That's the first place I send most of my flash pieces.) I have five other stories out on submission. These shorter tales make me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

While I promised myself to step back from excessive marketing, I have been trying a few different things in group promos with my pen name. Nothing has had much success. I know I just need to get more novels out there.

While researching marketing, I came across a genre new to me that thrilled me. It's called LitRPG. Basically it's a story with all the elements of a game in story form. The main feature being the heroes know they're in a game and they must play by the rules of it. (Think Jumanji.) I've read a few books in this genre, but I had no idea it was a thing, and it's HUGE overseas. LitRPG books sell as well as George R.R. Martin. Is it going to catch on here in America? Maybe.

I've hung the carrot of LitRPG in front me. Just finish the two novels I'm working on and then I can write a new LitRPG story. So many ideas have run through my mind. The stories are usually light, snarky, and hilarious. It's possible I might eat that carrot before finishing the other novels, but I keep telling myself that I have to complete them. Hard work and perseverance are vital for a writer. While I'm not under contract to anyone, I started something that I do need to finish.

But that yummy carrot...

How do you resist eating the carrot?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Music Boxes - My Review and a Giveaway

I'm so pleased to share with everyone the wonderful Tonja Drecker's upcoming release. I do know it's IWSG day. I didn't forget! Yet we're a group about supporting one another. Reading, viewing, and sharing is one of the biggest ways to do so.


Music Boxes
By Tonja Drecker
Middle Grade Fantasy / Performing Arts
158 pages
Dancing Lemur Press
Release date: March 5th, 2019
Ages 9 to 12

·         ISBN-10: 1939844568
·         ISBN-13: 978-1939844569


Book Blurb:

“I only desire your talent...”


Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.


When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right...

One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.


Sale Links:




Get a FREE envelope with Swag!

Pre-order/order your book (ecopy or print) before midnight (EST) on Friday night, March 8th, send a copy of your proof of purchase to  tonjadrecker@gmail.com along with an US mailing address, and you will receive an envelope with exclusive swag (bookmark, sticker, etc).

My review: 


Lindsey McKay had to leave her friends, her home, and her dreams in Nebraska when her family moved to New York so that her little sister could go to Julliard. Her parents work a lot, and Lindsey is left on her own to stew in her jealousy. Stopping to pet an adorable dog on the street, she meets Madame Destinée, an infamous ballet teacher. She sniffs out great talent, and Madame believes Lindsey has it. Taking classes with Madame is a dream, but things just aren't right at the exclusive school. When the other students start to disappear, Lindsey discovers the reason is more chilling than she ever imagined. Will she be able to save the other students before she becomes a permanent part of Madame Destinée's collection?

I do love modern fairy tales, especially with a good dose of the paranormal. This YA story hooked me right away in Lindsey's world. The frightening move to a big city, the sadness at having left her whole life behind, and the green streak of jealousy when a sibling gets all the attention. I certainly sympathized, feeling how it all seemed unfair. Lindsey has a strong voice, but not a mean one. She does still love her sister despite everything. Then all the wonder when she meets Madame Destinée and is introduced to her magical school. The details are lovely, and even later when the creepiness sneaks in, it is still hauntingly beautiful, especially with the music boxes.

Madame Destinée herself is a striking character. Mysterious and dominating, yet seemingly kind to her students. All those pretty cakes and treats. Yum! I was a big fan of Robert. I sympathized with him, too, that his family wanted him to play hockey and not dance. The whole cast of characters was varied and enchanting. Or enchanted, as the case had been with some!

I highly recommend this book to fans of YA paranormals. It had me under its spell.

All about the author...


Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea.


Links:



Giveaway

The giveaway will run from midnight (EST) on the night of February 21st, 2019 until midnight (EST) on the night of March 15th,  2019. Entries will be made through the Rafflecopter. One winner will receive a music box (the one found in the book video: https://youtu.be/ww_RY4IVg3w) with the author’s golden signature on the bottom as well as swag (US addresses only). The second winner will receive an Amazon GC of $10 (US). The second winner must be in possession of a qualifying US Amazon account.

The contest is open to U.S. residents only, ages eighteen and over. No purchase is required for entry. All winners must claim their prize 48 hours after notification. Winners will be announced on www.tonjadrecker.blogspot.com on Saturday, March 16th 2019 by 10:00am (EST). All addresses and personal information will be used only for prize allocation. Sponsor, Tonja Drecker, assumes no responsibility or liability of any kind. Please email all questions to tonjadrecker@gmail.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The 13th Floor Complete Collection Gets A Makeover!


Ah, the old cover. The one where I took an image of some stairs and photoshopped a silhouetted couple in it. Not horrible, but not that great either. I wouldn't call this an eye-catching cover any longer.

I've been wanting to change it for a while now, but I could not decide what I wanted to be on the cover. It had to scream paranormal romance. Researching covers, looking at hundreds of them, I came up with a list of what I should have on it.

1) Setting. Dark background. Don't let it overwhelm anything else on the cover. It can just be a faded partial bit.
2) Title/author. It should be easy to read in thumbnail form. Font is important. I had complaints about the font I used on the original cover. The style of it makes the letters uneven. I liked it, but some people thought it was just bad design.
3) Hunky man or dynamic couple. It's tough to find an image or images of a couple that work together for what you want. It's easier to go the hunky man route. But having a person or people on the cover is key. (Sidenote: usually having just a woman on the cover is more representative of urban fantasy than paranormal romance.)
4) Something paranormal. Lots of magical swirls or mist is popular.

Even with these guidelines, it was tough to figure out what to do. The book consists of six different novellas with various characters. I spent hours searching through image sites.

I finally decided I would feature either Marc (The Marquis) or Xan (The Dragonslayer). They are my two most popular heroes. And it was easier to find a dark haired muscle man than a blond one. Marc gets to represent the collection!

I don't know how pleased Marc was with the decision, especially when I knew immediately how I wanted to present him. I imagine some grump going on, but Mae would convince him to be a good sport about it.

I found the background at Pixabay and the model at Unsplash. These two are my favorite free image sites. Lots of variety and beautiful shots.

As I've leveled up my Photoshop skills, I've learned to layer, but I've also learned that if you can get away with a few layers, all the better. Simple and clean without so many things to distract the eyes.

Behold! The new cover!


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

#IWSG for February 2019

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

This month's optional question: Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

Currently the other main outlet I have is playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends. I've been the acting Dungeon Master (DM) for a while now running The Rise of Tiamat campaign. We're nearly at the end! I've used a lot of different things to help me in my position as the DM. I've used puppets for council meetings and perler bead dragons when the heroes were conferring with the metallic dragons. I write little notes and tie them with ribbons. Yesterday I wrote a speech one of the non-player characters would share with one of the heroes. It was 2,000 words!

This month's insecurities: Perhaps prepping all that gaming stuff might be why I haven't done much writing otherwise. But I'm having great fun with it. I figure as long as I'm writing something, it's okay. Just keep the mojo flowing. And even as I say it, I feel guilty. I can't erase that feeling completely.

I've been doing better exercising and eating. I'm almost done a new cover for The 13th Floor Complete Collection. I've been doing a lot of things other than writing my WIP. I tell myself it's okay, but part of me doesn't believe it yet. I need to do it all! I don't, really. But you know how over-ambitious muses can be...