Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group and Blogging Hiatus

NOTE: After this week's IWSG entry, I will take a break from blogging until January's IWSG in order to finish some writer's chores and handle all the Christmas logistics of presents, travel, and keeping the neighborhood squirrels well-fed. So Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all, and to all, a good write!

Image: Yooperann

Okay, now let's turn our attention to another month of things that make writers go WAH or maybe WA-HOO, depending on your mood. Thank you to our supportive host, the amazing Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his hard-reading co-hosts this month:  Jennifer Hawes, Jen Chandler, Nick Wilford,Juneta Key, JH Moncrieff, Diane Burton, and MJ Fifield!

December's scintillating question:  In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there? 

Seriously? What is this? A job interview? Gah. Okay, I'll bite.

Where do I see myself five years from now?

(a) enjoying fame and fortune as my novel rockets to the top of the New York Times Best Seller's List

(b) whining that if I could only break my Netflix habit, then I could be awake enough in the morning to put a coherent sentence together

(c) realizing my potential by appropriately iterating cross-unit niches and energetically promoting wireless testing procedures which will dramatically engage quality partnerships and uniquely pontificate multimedia based users

(d) successfully petitioning for my release from the mental health facility my family will have put me in by then

And the ever-popular follow-up: What's you plan to get there?

(a) drop into a coma in which my every dream comes true

(b) inhale, exhale, repeat

(c) Credibly foster flexible scenarios (sounds like writing to me), proactively synergize technically sound deliverables (audio books anyone?), and most importantly, dramatically plagiarize enterprise-wide resources (by legally changing my name to Steven King). 

(d) Write petition now before I completely lose it.

Which of the above choices sums up your expectations for the next five year? Want to grab some of those awesome (c) phrases? Go here.

Whatever your path for the next five years, I hope it's a beautiful one. Peace.

Image: Torley

Friday, December 2, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things

Whoops! I totally skipped last week in the midst of Thanksgiving stoof. Stuff. Too much stuffing. Hopefully you had a wonderful Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it). I'm thankful for our wonderful host, Lexa Cain, and her co-hosts, L.G. Keltner and Tonya Drecker.

 So here's what's new:

Image: scrapkat1 (Not our village, but you get the idea.)

1. We got our Christmas tree up and the other holiday decorations out. Many years ago we started a collection of little houses (you stick a light bulb in the back to illuminate them). Now we have so many, getting them out of the basement, up the stairs, and out of their styrofoam boxes is a huge pain in the gluteal region. But the kids like them. And if I stare at them long enough, I get the strange urge to write a story set in our "village". Some day.

2. Last CTST, I mentioned our new stray kitty. Last night Mr. M and Pretty Kitty got into a huge brawl on our back deck. In the pitch, black dark. Sounded like the image above. Benches knocked over. Green tomatoes everywhere. Mr. M's ears are torn up, but I'm hoping that's the only thing wrong. I have no idea how Pretty Kitty is doing. Why in the world am I celebrating this? Okay, I'm not. But speaking of my last CTST, my daughter did make it into Mary Poppins (ensemble), so yay!

Image: benyclark

3. After years of using a 2G flip phone, the AT&T takeover has forced me and my husband to update our cell phones. Now I've got a . . . 3G flip phone! Bah-dum-dump. Okay, stop laughing. It takes pictures. Really. 

Do you go all out decorating for the holidays? Are you and your smart phone permanently attached?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things and Piper Morgan Book Blast

It's Friday. Are you ready to celebrate? Let's give a big shout-out to our host, Lexa Cain, who would swim through a tsunami to get internet service, and her co-hosts, L.G. Keltner and Tonya Drecker!

Here we go!

Image: Vassilis

1. On Thursday, my older daughter auditioned for her middle school play. She had separate song and dance try-outs for Mary Poppins. I've never seen Mary Poppins, but I now have the song "Anything Can Happen" stuck in my head on permanent replay. It's insidious. Really. But I wish my girl all the luck and I'm super impressed with all the hard work she put into this audition. Now, please dear Lord, get this tune out of my head. Gahhh!!!

The fabulous Mr. Mistoffelees

2. We're a little cat crazy here. When a beautiful stray started coming around when we moved in, we first built him an outdoor house and eventually got him to come inside. Now Mr. M sleeps on my chest. (Can't breathe...)

Image: Martin Kleppe (not our new stray, but close)

This summer, another beautiful stray started showing up and so we did what any responsible pet owner would--we built another house. I spied the new kitty exiting it this week. So yeah. The word is out. We're a cat-HAirbnb! Possums and raccoons allowed. Dinner served around the clock. Severe finger shaking if found fighting.

Image: Kevin Baird

3. This was my last full week of blissful writing days. The kidlets will have most of next week off for Thanksgiving, and the week after that there are days off for parent-teacher conferences. Despite the interruptions in my work schedule, I'm celebrating the fact I don't have to travel for this particular holiday. No airport lines until Christmas!


And now for Stephanie Faris's newest Piper Morgan book!

Piper Morgan To The Rescue


Piper helps some four-legged friends find the perfect home in the third book of the brand-new Piper Morgan series.

Piper is super excited to help out at Bark Street, a local animal shelter in town. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by adorable puppies and dogs all day? And when Piper sees Taffy, the cutest dog she has ever seen, Piper is determined to find a way to bring Taffy home. But it won’t be easy—especially when she finds out someone else wants to make Taffy a part of their family, too!

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan series. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

Stephanie also has a Rafflecopter giveaway if you'd like to win a copy of Piper Morgan To The Rescue.


Have you seen Mary Poppins? Love cats? Have big plans for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Crystal Collier Gets Medieval On Our Funny Bones

Welcome Crystal Collier here today to share her new book and some medieval funnies!

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

BUY: Amazon | B&N


Thank you Tamara for having me here today!

"Good, clean fun." What comes to mind when you hear that? One of the many things that makes me think about is "clean reads." I admit, I'm a bit of a wuss. I want limited language, palpable abuses, and PG-13 (or less) love scenes in my reading. The brain is a funny thing and it tends to cling to everything we put in it. It also sputters out what we put in it at the most inconvenient times. Warning to us all, eh? Best to put the kinds of things in your brain you'd like to see regurgitated. (Yikes. That sounds a little gross eh?)

So being a mom, my goal is to write books I wouldn't be embarrassed having my daughters (or sons) read. TIMELESS, despite having a good deal of romance, is like that. (As are the first two books in the Maiden of Time series.) (Knights, battles, time travel, an epic love story, and special powers...WHAT?!) So what do you say to some good clean fun?

The chore that never ends.

And what did Snow White ALWAYS do? (Ahem, the answer is clean.)

All else fails, throw the trash in the closet.

Cleaning really isn't torture, I promise.

I hope you laughed or at least smiled. And now while you're in a good mood, go buy my books!

And have a nice day.

What is your favorite/least favorite chore? Do you like clean reads? Don't care?

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her online HERE.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things

It's time to once again celebrate the small victories and accomplishments for the week with our host, Lexa Cain, and her co-hosts, L.G. Keltner and Tonya Drecker!

Image: Tony Fischer

1. I voted. My candidate lost, but I did exercise my constitutional rights. I live in Rochester, NY and you may have heard that there was a long line to place your "I voted" sticker on the grave of Susan B. Anthony, which is kind of cool and kind of sad at the same time. Like many people, I'm still in shock, a little scared, and wondering if a dystopian future like those so popular in fiction these days might come to pass. Hopefully not.

On the brighter side, I think someone should install several cats throughout the White House this coming January, just in case you-know-who gets grabby. Cough, cough. I mean crabby. There's nothing like a purring kitten to calm you down. What did you think I meant?

Image: Clintus

2. My younger daughter hurt her ankle and foot at a trampoline park and has been limping since Sunday. Why celebrate? Because the x-ray we got on Tuesday shows it's not fractured. Since she hurt her back at the same place a few months earlier, I want to ban her from ever going back. Unfortunately, it seems to be the go-to venue for birthday parties this year. Ironically, her class read an article about the growing number of injuries resulting from visits to these places about a month ago.

3. I've been rereading my historical novel in what will hopefully be the final edit. Of course, the idea of getting back on the query train is about as appealing as eating a bowl full of mealworms. 

How are you handling the election results? Do you let your kids play on trampolines? 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Trick or Treat! Free Book! Happy Halloween!

Click here for your free Kindle download from

It's called Heart Stopper and Other Stories. See right sidebar for cover image and book trailer.

Happy reading! (It is free through Friday, November 4.)

Thank you Patricia, for organizing this blog hop--you rock! Check out the other freebies, y'all.

Author Sign ups for Trick-or-Treat Reads Book Blog Hop
1. Patricia Lynne  8. Marie Landry  15. Tyrean Martinson  
2. HR Sinclair  9. Deb Atwood  16. Tamara Narayan  
3. L.G. Keltner  10. Jennifer Ellision  17. K.S. Marsden  
4. Heather M. Gardner  11. Tui Snider  18. Anna Tan  
5. C.D. Gallant-King  12. Natasha Duncan-Drake  19. Angeline Trevena  
6. Nicole R. Locker  13. Sophie Duncan  20. Cassandra Giovanni  
7. Amanda N. Butler  14. Wittegen Press  

Friday, October 28, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things

Ah, the Friday before Halloween. I'm still not done with the kid's costumes, sew I know what I'll be doing this weekend. But first, a celebration with our host, Lexa Cain and her co-hosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonya Drecker.

1. Snow. We woke up Thursday to a quarter-inch. (Sadly the rain that followed pounded it into a memory.)

2. Birthday. Also on Thursday, Dove-a-love-a-ly celebrated her first with catnip, a new tunnel, and a tuna cake.

3. Fellow bloggers! Today I'm presenting an author's guide to Halloween and Day of the Dead over at Chrys Fey's Write With Fey, the last stop on my blog tour for Heart Stopper and Other Stories. And I'm also getting a mention on Foxy's Friday Freebies. 

Anything surprise you this week?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bowled Over by Denham's The Bowl and the Stone

I was lucky to read and review an early copy of this novel by Bish Denham. Set on the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin islands in the 1960s, The Bowl and the Stone centers on young Nick and Samantha (Sam), their friendship, and some spooky ghosts. 

Image: luca.porfido

Considering the age of the protagonists, you might think this is a story primarily aimed at the middle school set. Much of the first half of the book goes into delicious details of the rich imaginary life Nick and Sam enjoy. Amazon explorers, pirates, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are just a few of the roles these two take on in games that span the island from the beaches to the ruins of a sugar plantation. They drink limeade, plan a joint 12th birthday bash, and one even wears a crustacean shell mask for Halloween. 

Image: Ian Sane

The life these two lead makes me want to weep in nostalgia for my own childhood. I was lucky enough to grow up on the edge of a huge neighborhood. On one hand, I had miles of hilly, paved roads for biking and rollerskating. On the other hand, my house was surrounded by woods with streams and climbing trees and an old dump where you could find blue glass bottles on a lucky day. We also had a dock on the bay of a huge manmade lake (Lake Hartwell) behind the house. For many years, my dad would take us out on our second-hand speed boat to swim or let my mom waterski. 

It was a childhood where I could hike, wade, or build forts in the real world, not just in Minecraft. I had a huge territory to explore, and no one monitored me as long as I was home in time for dinner. Today, I don't let my kids go to the mailbox without watching from the window. 

So, in that sense, The Bowl and the Stone is for those of us who remember childhoods spent outside, racing the sun home on a bike or splashing through a stream a month before it was really warm enough to do so. It's a love letter to the past. 

But go back far enough in history and the past holds deadly secrets. When the ghost enters the tale, Nick and Sam's friendship is tested as the tension mounts. I appreciate how Denham presents the horror of slavery and the connections between the past and present. How the title elements weave into the story is pure art. Finally, the time spent featuring the relationship between Nick and Sam pays off in a bittersweet ending as well. This is a five star read. I highly recommend it.

The Bowl and the Stone is available now at: Amazon and Smashwords

Bish is running a rafflecopter contest if you'd like to win a copy along with a comprehensive book tour to share more about St. Johns Island, jumbies, and all sorts of things.

What are your fondest memories of childhood?