Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG Co-Hosting and The 2015 Realms Faire


Hello, all and Happy September!

The end of August has forced me to admit that the summer of 2015 was my summer of slugdom. I didn't accomplish any of my goals and even became a total blog slacker. Nothing for it but to move on and resolve to not be a slug for the rest of the year. I know I made the same resolution about the summer, but this time I'm sure things will work out better. Of course they will, right?

At least I won't be a slug today because I'm busy serving as one of Alex's co-hosts for this month's IWSG meeting. I'm excited to visit more blogs and possibly meet some new group members. My fellow co-hosts are Murees Dupe, Dolorah at Book Lover, Christine Rains, and Heather Gardner. As always, if you'd like to join the group please visit here and add your name to the sign-up list!

Since I've got lots of people to visit I'm going to make this short and sweet, as I don't really have anything to post about for the group anyway beyond my ongoing sluggishness. And I can't chalk that up to insecurity, I think it's just plain laziness.

Alex and the rest of the IWSG team have a HUGE announcement to make today though so I'm going to keep quiet about that and just encourage everyone to visit the IWSG site. I know you won't want to miss the latest news!


I also want to share about the upcoming Realms Faire, which is hosted by M.Pax and is returning for another round in November. I am super excited because this year will be my first time hosting an event here on the blog.


My event is called "Who Roams Here?"and each day a famous ghost from movies or books is going to take over the blog. I'll share clues as to the identity of the ghostie throughout the day and whoever guesses the correct ghost first will win a daily prize. In addition, everyone who makes a guess will be entered into the grand prize drawing at the end of the week.

The Faire will be held from November 9th through the 13th and we will have tons of fun and prizes for everyone who wants to get involved. I am going to be sharing about all of the games and their hosts here on the blog as we move through September and October and get closer to the big event.

To read more about the Faire and to sign up to get involved, visit Mary's site here.

I know we are going to have fun in November!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG and the Confederate Ghosts of Johnson's Island


Happy August, all! The first Wednesday of the month means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click here to see this month's co-hosts and the list of participants, and add your name to the list if you'd like to join us!

Earlier in the summer I said I was going to work on two manuscripts at once in the hopes of getting my butt in gear on the writing front. Sadly all I managed to do was stall and get nowhere on two manuscripts instead of one. With the summer winding down, I'm feeling irritated with myself that I have been so unproductive, and insecure that maybe I will just never get these manuscripts completed.

But then I remembered there are still five months left in the year so I have time to make sure 2015 isn't a total wash. I went back over both stories and I still love them and want to finish them, so I'm not throwing in the towel yet. I hope by next month's meeting I'll be able to share some progress.

In other news, a few weeks ago when I was on vacation I traveled around Lake Erie and had a great time visiting some of the towns and sites there. It's only a 4 hour drive from Cincinnati so it's kind of nuts I'd never done any exploring there, but better late than never. Anyway, I actually managed to get some inspiration for one of the stories that I've been stewing over while I was there.



I visited Johnson's Island, which was the home of a Union POW camp during the Civil War. The camp was made up of 13 barracks which sat right on the shores of Lake Erie. During the winter, the icy winds and snow coming off the lake made for miserable conditions for the prisoners, to put it mildly. Over the course of the war more than 11,000 Confederates were housed at the camp.

Today all that remains of the camp is a cemetery which holds 200 graves. There is also evidence to suggest that unmarked mass graves can be found around the island outside the gates of the cemetery. As you can guess, such a place is a fertile ground for stories of ghosts and hauntings.

Source
This statue of a Confederate stands at the entrance to the cemetery and looks out over the lake. There are numerous stories of him coming down and moving around the cemetery, or just changing positions on his base. In addition, several people have reported seeing soldiers moving through the trees or hearing their disembodied voices.

The most interesting story by far to me was about a group of Italian immigrants who were hired to work at the nearby limestone quarry some years after the war. The immigrants spoke no English, yet they were heard singing Dixie, the anthem of the Confederacy. According to legend, the Italian workers heard the ghosts of the dead singing the song of their homeland and picked it up for themselves.

I sincerely doubt that the Italians learned the words to Dixie from ghosts, but it's still a fun story. And as for my own story, it includes a Civil War prison camp in Chicago and a Confederate soldier who is imprisoned there. I wouldn't have thought of it before, but now I think I might just have my ghost sing a little Dixie. :D

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Simulation Cover Reveal!

Hello, all! I'm still catching up with life after being on vacation, (I had a great time and came back feeling recharged and happy, yay!) so I'm turning the blog over to Tara Tyler today to showcase the stunning cover for her upcoming novel Simulation. Tara also has a great bit of writerly advice to share. But first I just want to say thank you to everyone who shared about my free books last week and over the weekend. I really appreciate the support! Thank you all so much. :)

And now on to the Simulation cover!


To go with the cover reveal, here's a bit of writerly advice from Tara Tyler...

I have a terrible memory that gets worse all the time (where's my phone??) So I use a spreadsheet for each book to help me remember names I've used, gadgets and symbols I create, how to spell things, etc. I also keep track of my chapters with my own titles when I have to check on something... How do you remember the details of your writing??

Now,
It's finally here!! I give you the taunting cover of SIMULATION!

SIMULATION by Tara Tyler
Release Date: September 14, 2015

In 2082, androids are an essential part of daily life. Some are helpful, some would make better toasters, and some are so human-like they're creepy. Back in Atlanta, Detective Cooper's latest client has him searching for her boyfriend who she thinks was replaced by a simulation, an illegal clone android. The guy also happens to be a popular new congressman.

To make matters more frustrating, Cooper keeps crossing paths with his ex, FBI Agent Geri Harper who is looking for the same guy. As Cooper closes in, Geri is kidnapped. But when she resurfaces in Washington and goes on a killing spree, he knows it isn't her. Now under suspicion himself, Cooper must find the real Geri to prove her innocence, not to mention hunt down the powerful villain behind it all. Never a dull moment.




Book One, POP TRAVEL
Re-released July 1, 2015

In 2080, Detective J.L. Cooper thought he could avoid pop, until he stumbles onto a video of a traveler who turns to dust. With help from the neurotic, genius “Creator” and a beautiful Southern charmer, Cooper has to expose the deadly glitch and shut it down or die trying. No problem.

Available now!
Amazon ~~~ B&N ~~~ Goodreads


Tara Tyler has a loud voice, loves to help others, and is ever forgetful. That's why she always writes things down, sings, and teaches. She has no idea how she became a writer, but as long as the characters and stories are flowing, she'll never stop! Tara is also the Lazy Housewife, one of the Really Real Housewives of America - a new blog dedicated to doling out tips and advice on how to economize time and money for a happier life.

Twitter ~~~ Facebook ~~~ Blog ~~~ RRH


Also by Tara Tyler, MG/YA Fantasy series, Beast World,

Only a few days left for the POP TRAVEL giveaway!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Get My Books for #FREE on Kindle!




Hi, all! I'm on vacation right now but my books are having a party to celebrate my publisher's anniversary. My titles as well as lots of other Ink Smith books are free on Kindle today through Monday, July 27th.

Click here to get to my books plus the other Ink Smith books that are free for the taking, or visit my Amazon page here for links to all of my titles.

Since Polar Night and Polar Day are both free I thought I'd make The Turnagain Arm, their prequel, free as well so people can read the whole series if interested. Click here to pick up The Turnagain Arm.

I'd love to get one or all of my books ranking on the free charts so if anyone is willing to help spread the word about the giveaway on Twitter I would so appreciate it! I am including some ready-to-go tweets below.

Love paranormal? Mysteries & thrillers? Horror? Get all of @JulesFlanders books #FREE on Kindle now through 7/27! http://tinyurl.com/pjc2dpy 

Take a trip back in time to 1880s #MarthasVineyard in The Ghosts of Aquinnah by @JulesFlanders #FREE 7/23 - 7/27 http://tinyurl.com/m6ef8nu 

Crime fiction with a paranormal twist - the Polar Night series by @JulesFlanders #FREE through 7/27 http://tinyurl.com/pjc2dpy #Alaska 

Thanks so much in advance. I hope everyone is having a great week and I will catch up with you all when I get back from vacation. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Blog the Change for Animals: A Sunrise Sanctuary Follow-Up


It's time for the quarterly Blog the Change for Animals bloghop and today I'm following up with the organization I wrote about on the Blog the Change homepage back in April. I didn't plan to write about Sunrise Sanctuary again but something happened back in June that made me feel like I simply had to once again spread the word about the wonderful people who make the sanctuary a home to nearly 200 abused, neglected, and unwanted farm animals.

On June 8, 2015 a truck carrying thousands of piglets crashed on a state route near Xenia, Ohio, which is about an hour away from my hometown of Cincinnati. I found the headline so disturbing that I couldn't stand to read any articles about the crash, but did see that hundreds of the pigs were killed immediately while the rest were rounded up to continue on their way to their ultimate destination, a slaughter house.

I would not have expected something heartwarming and life-affirming to come out of something so upsetting to read about, but that is exactly what has happened. As it turned out, one little pig survived the crash and wasn't rounded up with the others. Instead, he was found tangled in the wreckage by a Good Samaritan who managed to get the piglet to Sunrise Sanctuary.

Little Nathan sleeping with his toys not long after he arrived at Sunrise. Photo courtesy of Sunrise Sanctuary

Mindy Mallett, the founder of Sunrise, took the piglet under her wing and named him Nathan after Nathan Runkle, the founder of Mercy For Animals. Though traumatized and suffering from a respiratory illness that required hospitalization at the Ohio State University veterinary hospital, Nathan managed to thrive. He now charms everyone he meets.

The darling piglet has become a social media star and I can't deny that his pictures and updates are one of my favorite things that I see in my Facebook newsfeed. My sister and I plan to visit Sunrise next month and we can't wait to meet little Nathan.

When I first visited Sunrise back in April the farm reminded me of a real life Charlotte's Web or Babe. Now the little piglet named Nathan has only added to that feeling. Sunrise is definitely a place like no other and one that will bring a smile to anyone who visits it.

If you'd like to learn more about Sunrise Sanctuary and the amazing work they do for animals, visit their site or find them on Facebook.

If you're interested in joining the Blog the Change hop add your name to the list below and hop around to check out some of the other bloggers. :)


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summertime Blues & The Miracle Girl by T.B. Markinson


I'm over at Untethered Realms today talking about my hatred of summer and how that played a role in the development of my novel Polar Day. I know I'm in the minority when it comes to summer, but I really don't like it at all. By the time we pass the July 4th holiday all I can think about is how anxious I am for autumn to arrive. Anyone else with me or am I totally alone when it comes to the summer season? I have a feeling I'm alone and that's okay, I can take it. :D

Please visit me here at Untethered Realms and check out all the fantastic books by my fellow group members while you are there.




I'm also helping to spread the word about the new release from T.B. Markinson, The Miracle Girl. Congratulations, T.B.! Here's all the scoop on the book, along with a short excerpt:

Tagline: To secure a loving future, she must shed an addicting past.
Blurb:
Newspaper publisher and world traveler JJ Cavendish continually feels pressured to live up to her Miracle Girl nickname. Not many people know she’s living a carefully crafted lie. She may not hide ties to the LGBT community, but she does hide past struggles with addiction.
When the Colorado native is handpicked to take the helm at a dying Denver newspaper, she ends up reconnecting with her long lost love in this contemporary lesbian romance. Only there’s a catch. If JJ fires the most belligerent editor at the paper, she risks losing the love of her life.
Mid-afternoon office romps abound in this romantic comedy while also focusing on what it takes for a newspaper to remain relevant in this age of social media.
Must JJ lose everything in order to gain a life more fully her own?
Praise for The Miracle Girl:

“The Miracle Girl is phenomenal!” Christine

“The best one yet.” Shellie

“I don't often give 5 stars to books, but I loved this book.” Heidi

“Impossible to put down.”  Windowwasher

“I was hooked by the first sentence.” Cheryll

Excerpt:

Maybe it was best to make a clean break. College was over. Like she said, time to grow up.  
         I wiped my eyes, determined to be strong. A small object by the door caught my attention. It took me a second or two to finally figure out what it was. Claire’s matching friendship bracelet, the one we made our first summer together when we were co-counselors for a day camp. Since the day we had made them, neither one of us had taken them off. That was her parting gift: a clean break.
         I snatched her bracelet from the floor and then yanked mine off. While rolling both of them in my fingers, I made a decision.
         Yes, it was time for me to grow up. Leave my college love behind. Move on with my life.
         The next morning I boarded a plane and never intended to see Claire again. It wasn’t until the plane took off that I realized I had made a terrible mistake, but it was too late. Or so I thought.
         Running was easier.

Buy Links:

Amazon US       /      Amazon UK       /     Amazon Canada

Author bio:

T. B. Markinson is an American writer, living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order.

Mailing List:

To sign up to TB’s New Release Mailing List here. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.

Where to find T. B. Markinson:

Twitter        Facebook        Blog        Goodreads     Amazon Author Page


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IWSG, Writing Resources Column, & Tara Tyler's Pop Travel


Happy July, all! As usual I can't believe another month has gone by and we are meeting again for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. This great group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and has expanded exponentially from its humble beginnings. If you're not a member and would like to join us just add your name to the group list here. You can also find Alex's co-hosts for the month and all the other group members at that link.

I'm making my IWSG post short and sweet today and just want to say that my biggest insecurity at the moment is the fact that I've decided to work on two novels at once. This is something new for me and I hope I can pull it off. I was feeling frustrated with my Chicago ghost story so I thought I'd set it aside and start working on an idea I've had for a story set here in Cincinnati that has its origins in my own family history. It also has a ghost, but a friendly one this time. :D

Anyway I realized there's no reason I can't work on both at the same time, so that's what I'm doing. I am just trying to be flexible about it and work on whatever inspires me the most when I sit down to write. Since this is a new process for me I hope I don't end up screwing both stories up, but so far, so good!

Also, I wrote a column on writing resources for College and Research Libraries News as part of my day job, and was happy to be able to include the IWSG in the article. Thanks to Alex for letting me use the logo to go along with the IWSG entry! If you'd like to check out the article and see if it includes any resources you may not be familiar with yet, you can find it here. It was kind of fun to combine my two personas in this way. :D

And now I'm turning the blog over to my buddy Tara Tyler and sharing her fantastic new cover for Pop Travel. Congratulations, Tara!

Julie and I are Queen City Sistas! We both live in the Cincinnati area and I'm so glad we've done several book events together and more to come! 

Doing book events with a friend is pretty awesome. We bounce ideas off each other, give each other advice, and support each other during a long stressful day of wearing a smile through thick and thin!
I'm really thankful to have a book event friend so close!


Thanks Julie, for jumping in to let me stop by and show everyone POP TRAVEL's new cover - it's eye-popping! And the re-release has a sneak peek at the first chapter of SIMULATION which comes out Sept 14th!

POP TRAVEL
by Tara Tyler
Re-released July 1, 2015

In 2080, technology has gone too far for private detective J. L. Cooper. He thinks he can avoid pop travel teleportation, until he stumbles onto a video of a pop traveler who turns to dust.

Sparking a series of murders, attempts on his life, and threats to his brother, Cooper wants to pass off the evidence but knows he’s being watched and can’t trust anyone. And who would believe him?

With help from the neurotic genius “Creator” of pop travel and a beautiful Southern charmer, Cooper must expose the deadly glitch and shut it down or die trying. No problem.

Amazon ~~~ B&N ~~~ Goodreads


Tara Tyler has had a hand at everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After living up and down the Eastern US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently, she has two series, The Cooper Chronicles (techno-thriller detective capers) and Beast World (MG fantasy) She's an adventure writer who believes every good story should have a moral, and a few laughs!



Also by Tara Tyler, MG/YA Fantasy series, Beast World,

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