Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December IWSG & Looking into the Future

Happy IWSG day! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of host Alex J. Cavanaugh and meets the first Wednesday of every month. To join the group, view the list of current members, and learn about Alex's co-hosts for the month, visit the IWSG page here. 

For the last several months the IWSG team has been providing us with a monthly question to answer as part of our post if we choose. This month's question is:

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

This question resonated with me because it's something I've been thinking about quite a bit over the past year. And as 2016 ends, I've decided to change my focus and make some big changes in my writing goals and activities in 2017. 

As anyone who visits this blog regularly knows, I love animals and advocate for animal causes whenever I can. When I first started blogging six years ago, my plan was to blog about this interest and develop a freelance writing career around it. It's safe to say I got sidetracked, but in a great way because of my novels and stories. 

It's been a thrill and a dream to see my stories out in the world and I've loved every second of it. But for now I've decided to focus the majority of my writing time on writing non-fiction pieces about animals and advocacy. I also plan to continue writing children's books that allow me to showcase animal rescues as I did with Baby Moo's Great Escape

Within the next few weeks I'm going to set up a blog on Wordpress called All In For Animals. It's going to be about animal care, wildlife, environmental issues, and, of course, rescues and sanctuaries. I also plan to do book reviews, share cute animal pics or videos, and post other fun things as they arise. I'm taking a course right now on professional blogging and hope to apply what I'm learning to this new venture. 

I'm very excited about these plans and while I know the new site will be hard work, I don't think it will feel too much like it since I'll be doing something I'm passionate about. I'm not shutting this blog down though, and still plan to participate in this group and the weekly Celebrate hop. I'll also always be open to helping spread the word about new book releases from blogger friends. 

Since I skipped last month's IWSG due to NaNoWriMo I wanted to add a quick note to this about my NaNo experience. I was a total NaNo dropout! But I don't regret signing up, because doing so proved to me that the story I wanted to write was better suited to a short story or novella than to a novel. Trying to turn it into a novel made that crystal clear! 

Even though it didn't turn out the way I wanted, I'm still glad I signed up and gave it a try. I now have an idea for a short story collection and I plan to work on that in the year to come. I'm excited to have lots of varied ideas and projects and it feels great to be excited about writing again. 

Hope this month finds all of you well! 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Celebrations & Cradle Rock by Tara Tyler

Hello, all!! Happy December!

I took November off from blogging but now I'm ready to jump back in to the fray with the Celebrate the Small Things hop. Although instead of celebrating the week that was, I thought I'd celebrate the month that was and share my celebrations from November.

In addition to a great Thanksgiving, I had two fun book events in November that I'm still celebrating.

One, I got to hang out with Mr. Cutie-Patootie, Baby Moo himself, at Sunrise Sanctuary's Thanksgiving for the Turkeys. As you can see from the picture, it was COLD and windy as can be, but it was still tons of fun. Sunrise is always a great place to spend time, and since I also sold some copies of Baby Moo's Great Escape it was a great day all around.

Two, I participated in the regional SCBWI's Indy and Small Press Book Festival at Cover to Cover Bookstore in Columbus, Ohio. While he wasn't there in the flesh, Baby Moo was still one of the stars of the occasion. It was a thrill to see him hanging out in the window display!

So that's what I'm celebrating this week. How about you?

The Celebrate the Small Things hop is hosted by Lexa Cain and co-hosted by L.G Keltner at Writing Off the Edge and Tonja Drecker at Kidbits. Visit Lexa's blog here to find out how join in the hop yourself and to see the list of participants.

I'm also thrilled to be helping to spread the word about another great release from my friend Tara Tyler. Here is all the info on her latest, Cradle Rock!


Gabe the goblin just saved his town Broken Branch Falls from splitting apart. He also revealed that humans--horrible creatures of myth and legend--may actually be part of their history! But seriously? Nah!

Now Ona, Gabe’s girlfriend, is headed thousands of miles away to Camp Cradle Rock for Spring Break seeking evidence of humans. Gabe knows better than to tell a stubborn ogress she’s crazy, so he’s letting her go and spending the break at the beach like a normal teenage beast. And he’s determined to have a good time without her, whether he likes it or not.

But when Gabe hears Ona went missing, he and his friends set out for the wilds of the west to find her, no matter what dangerous creatures get in his way. Not even humans.

Check out the Book Trailer!

(insert your comments here)

Here is the list of wonderful CRADLE ROCK RELEASE PARTY POST HOSTS:

12/5 Patricia Lynne Nerds Rule
12/5 Heather R. Holden Vampires
12/7 Juneta Key author spotlight interview
12/9 Julie Flanders Teenagers Now vs 80s
12/9 Elizabeth Seckman Beast-themed Recipe
12/12 Lori L. MacLaughlin Merfolk
12/14 Sharon Bayliss Ogres
12/14 Tyrean Martinson 5 Reasons to use Chapter Titles
12/16 Michael Di Gesu Craziest Spring Break Trip
12/17 Cathrina Constantine Teen Dating
12/19 Christine Rains Hiking Faux Pas
12/19 Alex J. Cavanaugh Beast vs Monster - terminology
12/21 Ann Noser CR Quotes
12/21 Heather M. Gardner Discrimination - joking vs hurting
1/4 Ken Rahmoeller Dragons
1/4 L. Diane Wolfe Marketing Tips - Live & Online
1/9 C Lee McKenzie Grownup Stereotypes
1/11 M. J. Fifield Crazy Road Trip
1/25 Crystal Collier Poetry & Songs in Stories - Writerly Wed

Tara is also giving away signed copies of Broken Branch Falls and Cradle Rock, some Beast World swag, and a $20 GC!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IWSG and #NaNoWriMo

I'm taking a break from the IWSG and from blogging this month because I am participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time in several years and want to focus on writing as much as possible. I hope everyone is doing well and I wish you all a great November!

For my fellow NaNo participants, if we're not already buddies and you want to be I am JulieAF over there. I'd love to be buddies. Good luck and happy writing!!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mâtowak Woman Who Cries by Joylene Nowell Butler & Friday Celebrations

Today I am taking part in the book tour for the new release from Joylene Nowell Butler, but before I get to the book I want to quickly post about this week's Celebrate the Small Things hop.

The hop is hosted by Lexa Cain and co-hosted by L.G Keltner at Writing Off the Edge and Tonja Drecker at Kidbits. Visit Lexa's blog here to find out how join in the hop yourself and to see the list of participants.

This week I'm celebrating the coming weekend, because I have two dear friends who I don't get to see nearly enough coming to town for a visit. We are going to the Bengals game and while I have no hope that the game will be worth anything, the company will make it a fun day regardless.

I hope you all have lots of good things to celebrate this week!

And now on to Joylene's release!

I am excited to share this great excerpt:
Ryan circles the parking lot of the Prince George Regional Hospital. I read over my notes, finishing with my interview with Norse. Additional comments in the margins are kept to a minimum. My penmanship is poor under the best writing conditions (a desk on solid ground). Writing legibly in a moving vehicle is a recipe for disaster. I hope to close Warner's murder, but if left unsolved, I’ll owe it to Cold Case to make notes they can decipher.
My scribble was a constant amusement to Angie, especially early in our marriage. I left scrawl notes on the kitchen table until the day she suggested I print in block capital letters so she could actually read what I'd written.
I feel myself grin; turn my head so Ryan won't notice. The kid is nosy enough without me giving him a reason. I don’t want to trivialize what's going on today. Angie is with me. Her smile. She smiled a lot during the first years of our marriage. Even now the sound of her giggle resonates through me. If Disney had ever heard her, he would have hired her on the spot to play the female version of Dale the cartoon chipmunk. She had the perfect giggle.
Ryan makes a second pass around the parking lot, heads back towards the south side near the emergency entrance. I dial Carrigan's cell. A stickler for old habits, he never answers his phone or even checks the Caller ID window until the third ring. When I once asked him why, he said, “I like to be ready.”
On the fourth ring, I spot an empty parking spot on the Lethbridge Street side, point at it for Ryan.
The phone rings again. Where in the hell is Carrigan?
“Yeah?” Carrigan's voice snaps.
“What's wrong?”
“What could be wrong? I'm stuck in an interview room with four unhappy campers checking Warner's case files. Oh, you mean because I took so long to answer. It's been one of those mornings. My phone was at my desk. Do you need me for something? Say yes.”
“You're there for a reason. I thought you understood that.”
After my first week on the job, I told him if he ever decided to change jobs, CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service), would take him in a second. Nobody caught what Carrigan's eyes saw in a document search. He's proven it plenty of times.
“What do you need?” His voice holds no hint of an apology.
Ryan parks the vehicle, hangs the parking pass from the rear-view mirror.
“Norse's bank records.” I switch the phone to my right ear so I can unbuckle my seatbelt with my left hand.
“Give me a sec, I'm heading to my computer.”
As I wait for him to collect the records, I focus on the big question: Why kill Warner today?
And now that I've whet your appetite with an excerpt, here is all the scoop on Joylene's book and accompanying blog tour. Congratulations, Joylene!

Author Joylene Nowell Butler is on tour this month with MC Book Tours featuring her new novel, Mâtowak Woman Who Cries, being released Nov. 1 by Dancing Lemur Press L.L.C.

You can follow Joylene's tour schedule HERE for excerpts, Q&As,  chances to win copies of her book and more.

A murder enveloped in pain and mystery...

When Canada's retired Minister of National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife's unsolved murder.
The suspect, 60-year-old Sally Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to trust him.
Danny finds himself with a difficult choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister's horribly abused wife or find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him...

Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is available in eBook at the following sites:

The print copy is available at: 

When Joylene's father died in 1983, she wrote her first full–length manuscript to channel her grief. The seven-year process left her hooked and she began Dead Witness within a few weeks of finishing Always Father's Child. Today Joylene is the author of three suspense novels: Dead Witness, Broken But Not Dead, and the steampunk collaboration Break Time. While she'll admit being published didn't fix all the wrongs in her life, she wishes her parents had lived to see her success. Dead Witness was a finalist in the 2012 Global eBook Awards. Broken But Not Dead won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal and its sequel Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is due for release November 1, 2016.

Joylene lives with her husband and their two cats Marbles and Shasta on beautiful Cluculz Lake in central British Columbia. They spend their winters in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico.

For more on Joylene and her writing, visit her website and blog then connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cling to God by Lynda R. Young and NaNoWriMo

I decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo this year in the hopes of finally ending my seemingly endless writing slump. The last time I did NaNo I wrote the story that became The Ghosts of Aquinnah, so I'm hoping I will have the same success this time.

I'm writing a historical mystery that I've been kicking around in my head for years, but got new inspiration for after my trip to Paris over the summer. It takes place in both Cincinnati and France during the World War I era, and it's called A Window Box in Paris. One of the things I loved most about Paris were the beautiful flowers in window boxes all over the city, like this one:

The buildings were already so gorgeous, and these boxes added even more to the city's already considerable charm. So I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that when the end of November rolls around I will have typed "the end" on the first draft of this story!

Anyone else taking part in the NaNo craziness this year? If so, let's cheer each other on. :)

The big news today though is the release of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young. Congratulations, Lynda! I'm happy to have the opportunity to help spread the word about this release. Here is all the info:

Cling to God: A Daily Devotional.

by Lynda R Young

Release date: October 18th, 2016
Published by Freedom Fox Press

Tagline: Cling to God in the chaos of life…

Blurb: Cling to God is a book of devotionals for every day of the year. The aim is to encourage Christians in their faith, to help them think about their beliefs and learn more about God. The devotions are short and inspirational so that people with busy lifestyles will still be able to spend time with the Lord each day. It will appeal to a wide Christian audience, to those new in their faith as well as those matured beyond milk and honey.

Author Bio: Lynda R Young writes devotionals, articles, and speculative short stories. In her spare time she is also an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads









Best wishes to Lynda for a super-successful book launch!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Celebrations

Hello and Happy Friday!!

If it's Friday that means it's time for the Celebrate the Small Things hop. This week I'm celebrating:

1. I had a great time as always with the wonderful Tara Tyler at the Mad Anthony Operation Pumpkin bookfest last weekend in Hamilton, Ohio. We sat outside on Saturday and couldn't have asked for a better autumn afternoon. Best of all, we both sold quite a few books. Can't beat that!

2. The above pic of my poor Clancy was taken in August when he was recovering from surgery for a torn ACL. Just when we thought his troubles were in the past, he tore the meniscus in the same leg a few weeks ago. So he had to have another surgery and, to his total dismay, he had to wear the cone again. But today he is getting his stitches out!! He seems to be doing great, so I am hoping and hoping and HOPING that this will finally be the end of his troubles. Fingers crossed he can go vet-free for the rest of 2016!


Baby Moo's Great Escape is part of the SCBWI Book Blast, which is running until November 18. This is a fun event showcasing hundreds of books for teens and kids, from both traditional and independent publishers. I had a good time making my page for the Blast and I'm excited to be part of it. 

4. And speaking of Baby Moo, I'm still celebrating that the book got a five star review from the Readers' Favorite site a few weeks back. The review totally made my day for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that the reviewer wrote that the book "teaches a child at a very young age that animals have feelings and need to be nurtured and loved." Everyone who visits here knows how much I love animals, so if my book helps to send that kind of message to a child I couldn't be prouder. If you're interested in the rest of the review just visit the Reader's Favorite site here

What are you celebrating this week? Happy weekend!

The Celebrate the Small Things hop is hosted by Lexa Cain and co-hosted by L.G Keltner at Writing Off the Edge and Tonja Drecker at Kidbits. Visit Lexa's blog here to find out how join in the hop yourself and to see the list of participants

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG and Meditation for Writers

Happy IWSG day! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of host Alex J. Cavanaugh and meets the first Wednesday of every month. To join the group, view the list of current members, and learn about Alex's co-hosts for the month, visit the IWSG page here. 

I've been struggling with anxiety a great deal lately, and the tools I've used to manage the problem in the past haven't worked this time around. I never expected to find a new tool in an issue of Writer's Digest, but that's exactly what happened.

I read an article called "Zen and the Art of Writing" by Teri Brown, which was about using meditation techniques to help with maintaining motivation, ending writer's block, managing deadlines, and other issues writers all seem to face from time to time. I've had trouble with motivation and writer's block for a long time now, which has only increased my anxiety, so I read the article with interest.


Ms. Brown mentioned an instructional app called 10% Happier, and the title piqued my interest. The subtitle, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, did so even more, as I am an incurable fidget and I have always been a skeptic about the benefits of meditation.

I downloaded the app and hesitantly started using it. The app comes from a book of the same name by Dan Harris, an ABC newsman who discovered meditation after having a panic attack live on national television.

To my surprise, I immediately connected to the activities and meditation sessions provided by Harris' meditation mentors. My insecurity has always manifested itself in a torrent of negative thoughts in my head, and the idea that I could train my mind to tame these thoughts finally seemed believable to me. After following the program for a few weeks, I subscribed to the app for a full year and I am looking forward to continuing on this journey. I know it's not a miracle cure for my anxiety, but it's given me a great deal of hope when not too long ago I had close to none.

Have you ever used forms of meditation for insecurity or anxiety-related issues? What's been your experience with the practice?

Also, this month's featured question is "When do you know your story is ready?" My answer? I don't think I ever do! I have trouble reading any of my published stories because I keep thinking of things I'd like to add/substract/change, etc. I'm hopeless! :D