Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fingers on the keyboard, Summer break around the corner

So close to finishing the final book in the Totem series. Then on to revising and cover creation. Please do not mind that I am scarce on the internet for a while.

Tomorrow is my son's last day of the school year. (Where did the year go?!) Another reason I'll be scarce over the next two months.

Enjoy the rest of May!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hero Lost tour - review

Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero's redemption!
My review:
Can a lost hero find the way out of the darkness and into the light again? In this marvelous collection of speculative fiction, we journey through twelve wonderfully written tales to find out if the tortured hero can be redeemed.

The title story, "The Mysteries of Death and Life" by Jen Chandler is a compelling tale of a young homeless writer who meets a dying Death. It hooked me with the first line and wrenched my heart. Depression and loneliness, but yet in that, the wonder of life.

"The Silvering" by Ellen Jacobson has a young man named Caestu who is hiding a terrible secret. He believes he has violated the principles of the Others and is being punished, but all is not what it seems to be. I love seeing how he struggles with what he's always known and the truth come to the light.

A dragon remembers what brought him to his current situation in "Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight" by Renee Cheung. I love that this is a traditional fantasy tale with a curse twined with a twist in the modern world of tech and magic.

In "Sometimes They Come Back" by Roland D. Yeomans, there is the Caretaker who has been in an ancient goddess' house for a very long time he has almost forgotten himself. So much whimsy and humor mingled with the dark in this tale.

"The Wheat Witch" by Erika Beebe has Ethan wondering if he should ever go home, and when he does, he finds something most unexpected. Is what he's discovered worse than what he's running from? Wonderful imagery and a sympathy for a man who's lost everything drew me with wide eyes through this story.

Raynor and his twin sister journey to find their missing dragon slaying uncle in Sarah Foster's "The Last Dragon." They discover the truth about why their uncle left, and it's far more frightening than any dragon. The bond between the twins is strong, and I loved how it played out through the action. Fantastic tension.

We have a great fantasy romance in "Mind Body Soul" by Elizabeth Seckman. But it isn't what the old king thinks it is. I particularly enjoyed the queen, her wisdom, and her persistence. Love stories are even better with age.

A magical Finder named Alternay must find a long lost hero named "Captain Bulat" in Olga Godim's tale. Using an item as her compass, Alternay is pulled in more than one direction and must uncover the truth amidst the confusion. The twist was cleverly done and left me wanting to see more of the fascinating Alternay.

"The Witch Bottle" by Sean McLachlan brings us a pining husband using his servant to help bring back his wife. The wife is a witch and one the servant seems very eager to help the husband catch. Magic battles magic, and I did so like the wicked ending.

In "The Art of Remaining Bitter" by Yvonne Ventresca we meet a young girl named Sylvia who is always in the shadow of her perfect older sister. Sylvia is to undergo a treatment that will make her free of negative feelings, and this story lays out her emotional struggle with it all beautifully.

A once great warrior has become a poet in Tyrean Martinson's "Of Words and Swords." Yet is Maud as good with poetry as he with fighting? His internal struggle is enthralling as he goes off to battle a dragon. Great fantastical fighting action.

The final story is "Breath Between Seconds" by L. Nahay. It is a slow motion moment in time of a fallen soldier at the end of a grand battle realizing the truth of the entire war. Beautifully written with each breath, quite like a poem.

Buy the book here:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - writing and marketing potpourri

I'm so close to finishing the final book of the Totem series. I still do not know exactly how the final twist will work, though. The thrills of being a pantser! Next time, I'll have an end in mind before I start a series. (I've said this to myself every single time I write a series!)

Pantser tip: Don't let not knowing what happens next slow you down. Let the story take you there. It has never failed me yet. Some plots just take longer than others!
I've written a few short stories recently. A couple of them were horrible. I reworked a third one and hopefully it reads better now. I sent it into my local critique group for this month's meeting.
Writer tip: Not everything you write is going to be awesome. Sometimes when we write, it's just for practice. Any writing, brilliant or not, is important for improving your craft.

I've been busy critiquing for my local group and my critique partners. Such awesome stories! I love getting a sneak peek at these tales before anyone else does.

Critiquing tip: Make sure to add comments in about how parts made you feel. Say you laughed at this part or got angry or sad. The author wants to know what kind of emotions they're evoking.

I offered Dark Dawning (Totem #1) for free for the last five days. This time around, I didn't do any promoting apart from my newsletter, blog, and other social media. I had half as many downloads as when I used paid ads.

Freebie marketing tip: Freebooksy is a fantastic place to advertise. It's not the cheapest, but it is where I always go as a reader to look for free reads. Asking other authors and readers, most look to Freebooksy first as well.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Give Mom What She Really Wants! - #PNR and #UF sale and giveaway

I'm not one of those moms who like flowers or jewelry. No way. Give me books!

Check out this awesome paranormal romance and urban fantasy sale happening at Fantasy Book Giveaways. Great reads including three boxed sets. Make sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a fabulous bundle of ebooks!

Plus, for the next five days, Dark Dawning (Totem #1) is FREE!

Happy Mother's Day to all the marvelous moms, grandmas, great-grandmas, and like-moms out there!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Witchy Bundle

Are you counting down to Halloween already?
Only 174 more days!

Here is something to tide you over until the creepy season. Eleven magical books touching every genre. This collection takes us all across our own world as well as into other lands that touch upon ours. There are American witches and witches battling the Nazis in war-torn Europe. There are dark twists on fairy tales and witches in the wild west. There are witches who don't know they have the power or the sight until dire need comes upon them.

The bundle also includes a newsletter bonus book!

Books in the Witchy Bundle
The Tatterdemon Omnibus by Steve Vernon
Hedge Witch by Simon Kewin
Coyote Cal by Milo James Fowler
Academia of the Beast by K.N. Lee
The Full Moon by David Neth
Muddy Waters by Sara O. Thompson
Nine Candles of Deepest Black by Matthew S. Cox
Darknight (The Witches of Cleopatra Hill Book 2) by Christine Pope
Witch of the Cards by Catherine Stine
The Gray Tower Trilogy by Alesha Escobar
*Bonus Newsletter Novel: Darkangel (The Witches of Cleopatra Hill Book 1) by Christine Pope

The Witchy Bundle ends May 18th. So grab yours now!

Maybe I'll be a witch for Halloween this year...

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Snowman Blog Tour & #Giveaway - guest post by Yolanda Renee

I'm excited to host the talented Yolanda Renee on my blog today. I love her books, and she helped me when I had a million questions about living in Alaska. It's where her mysteries are set too!

  1. Setting: How do you bring out the most in your setting; and tension? 

    Alaska, at least to me is, in itself an exciting setting, but this time my antagonist uses the weather to create his horrific art. The Snowman, Stowy Jenkins, originally from West Virginia, hates Alaska and winter, but he decides to embrace circumstance. I not only describe the snowstorms before, and during his killings, I describe the weather in almost every chapter. With each new blizzard, the tension rises. 

    I also use real places, street, parks, and clubs. Although a few are fictional. However, when I lived in Alaska, the window of my bedroom looked out over 4th Avenue and this description is quite accurate: 

    On Fourth Avenue, the busiest street in town, flashing neon signs crackled and whirred in the bitter cold, proclaiming the number of nudes dancing in each risqué establishment. Loud music streamed from the dark interiors of clubs almost in synch with the patrons weaving in and out. Bumper-to-bumper traffic crawled up and down the street as men, eager to blow their wad on booze, drugs, and loose women, searched for a place to park.

    1. Tension - How do you keep it taut throughout the plot?

    My goal in The Snowman, was to keep the story moving. Emotions run high, killings happen frequently, and Stowy becomes more and more sadistic as he tries to outdo himself with each murder or as he calls it, artistic expression. 

    Steven Quaid, newly promoted to detective, is determined and yet stymied by the Snowman’s changing MO (modis oprendi) killing habits. Racism and vengeance are also part of the equation and the ultimate question is, can this killer be caught?

    I think it meets the challenge as a page turner. I’m sure the readers will let me know.

    Thank you for hosting me for the The Snowman tour.

    It takes a true artist to pursue his victims in the art of seduction, and Stowy Jenkins is no exception, especially with blood as his medium. 

    Stowy Jenkins, aka, Stone, and as Alaskans refer to him, the Snowman, is a true artist. His muse, Gigi, is the ultimate inspiration for his painting. Her rejection inspires him to use a very unusual medium…blood.

    While art may be his passion, the taste for blood is his obsession, and multiple murders, the result.

    Rookie, Detective Steven Quaid, is no fan of the Snowman’s murderous exhibitions. A twisted and deadly relationship bond the two men and neither knows who will come out of it alive.

    About the Author: 

    At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I've traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.

    Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure! 

    You can connect with me here:


    This tour-wide giveaway features both print and eBook copies of the four books in the Detective Quaid Series. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, June 6.

    The prizes include: 
    * Grand prize - Winner receives a print copy of all four books in the Detective Quaid Series (U.S. and Canada only).

    * First place - Winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate.

    * Second place - Winner will receive eBook copies of all four books in the Detective Quaid Series.

    * There will be 3 runner-up winners
    and each will win an eBook copy of THE SNOWMAN or one of the other books in the series (winner's choice). 

    To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

    Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her month-long tour. You never know what you might find out.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

#IWSG for May 2017

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: Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone!

May IWSG question: What's the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

Research is one of my favorite things about being a writer. I love discovering little known myths and strange nuggets of history. I often get lost by following links while researching, and when I close the browser, I realize I've spent over two hours on there.

I've researched a lot about crimes, psychology, and dead bodies. Even though I write about the supernatural a lot, I like to have the hard facts in my stories match reality. For my last story (Totem #8), I did a lot of research on astral projection and bears fighting. For me, the weirdest research I did for it was on luxury snowmobiles. They're totally like smart cars on skis!

I can't wait to hear what you've been researching!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Double the Reviews - Freefall and Incense & Peppermints #amreading

I'm proud to be a part of the fantastic group of authors at Untethered Realms. We have such talented writers among us, and I'm excited to share my reviews of two of their books today.

Freefall (The Backworlds #7) by M. Pax

The Backworlds and Foreworlds have banned together with the hope of defeating a terrifying enemy, the Quassers. Craze gave up his friends and livelihood to become the envoy for the Backworlds. All he'd rather be doing is brewing some malt and tending his bar, but there is much more than his pride at stake here. The alliance is shaky, and Craze can't afford to let it fall apart. They have one more chance at survival, and it's all or nothing.

I loved delving back into the rich universe of this space opera series. The settings, characters, and storylines are all marvelously varied, but twine together so very well. I'm often reminded of Firefly with Craze and his friends out to save the universe armed with their good hearts and sometimes good luck. But things don't go their way all the time.

The cast in this series is large, but none of them suffer from lack of depth. Each of them have their own tales, but a powerful love of friends holds them together. The twists in the plot had me shouting "Oh my God!" out loud, and several times, it tugged hard at my heart. Plus there were some clever bits in there like the crusties and the tendrils. This is an immensely heavy book, and I didn't want it to end. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Backworlds.

Buy links:

Incense and Peppermints by Cathrina Constantine

Sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is an innocent girl in the years of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. She has new friends in her older brother's girlfriend and her group. They take Mary out of her reserved shell where she meets a handsome new student, Michael Covington. He's got bad boy appeal, but there's something more to him. Mary is assaulted at a wild party, and Michael rescues her. At least, she's pretty certain he did. Or was he the one who attacked her? What's even more, the more she gets to know him, the more she's falling for him.

This YA read takes place in the late 1960s, but the story is easily mirrored in life nowadays. It's colorful and light, and intense and emotional. The crazy days of trying to figure out who you are when you're a teenager. Mary is immediately likable. She's a good student, a little geeky, and takes care of her family even when they aren't the best. Yet she tumbles into hanging out with the popular party girls and doesn't want to admit it's more than she can handle. Plus the hot Michael is at all the parties, and she wants to follow where he goes. It pulls at your heartstrings a lot.

Buy link: Amazon