Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IWSG: Vacation Time!

Thanks for stopping by! I'm sorry I'm not here to visit with you for Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. I'm on vacation for two weeks so will be unable to comment (so I've disabled comments for this post) or return visits. I'll be back next month, though, and look forward to chatting then.

So I'll leave you with this:

“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that
I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that
I can always tear them up the following morning if I want.
I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me
no further behind than if I took the day off.”
—Lawrence Block, WD

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG: Journey From YA to Adult Cozy

So--I missed my monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group post last month. I remembered, but then I got busy and forgot. Please forgive me if you stopped by and I wasn't here!

If you're a writer and want to join us on the first Wednesday of every month, go HERE.

Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh and his co-hosts:

This month's question: When do you know your story is ready?

Do you ever know? I've let stories out into the world knowing I've done the best I could. But as time goes by and my writing improves, my opinion on whether it was ready to be released changes. If it's been self-edited numerous times, and critiqued, and an editor declares it ready--and if you've done the best you can--then it must be ready!

What is my current insecurity?

I'm taking characters from my YA series and making them grow up. This series will be more main stream paranormal cozy mystery for adults. So--it will still have ghosties, but no demons or soul suckers or baddies like that. It will just be your regular run of the mill cozy murder (which means no blatant violence, gore or sex). I'm gearing a new website towards this series and even having a blog header made which will feature the town where the series takes place. 

The Problem? The YA series never took off due to a myriad of reasons, but mostly my inexperience. So I know writing this adult series with the same characters is a risk.

Also, "cozy" is a special genre of mystery. It's not for everyone because it's very tame when compared to other novels out there on tap. Most indie authors don't write cozy mysteries. I'd love to touch base with some so if you know any, please leave their blog or website in the comments.

Do you know any cozy mystery authors?

Am I wasting my time?

Also, there's this:

The Ghosts of Fire anthology by the authors at Untethered Realms is out now! If you'd like a free review copy, let me know!

Have you ever taken a series from Young Adult to Adult?

How is your writing going?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG: First Endeavors

Today is Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. If you'd like to join, go HERE.

Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh and this month's co-hosts for their kindness in seeing that everyone is supported and part of the group. Please stop by and say hey.

This month's question is: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

Since I've always marched to the beat of my own drum and am a horse of a different color and all that, I went straight to the heart of my desire; novel writing. Givin' Up the Ghost was my first venture into publishing. As is, it has mostly 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon, but I'm really itching to take it down and rewrite it because I know I can do better. Still, the first draft was flat as a stale soda pop. It was written in third person the first go around. As a test, I rewrote part of it in first person POV. Then it came alive! It was so much better that I rewrote the whole thing in first person.

I'm feeling good this month with no new insecurities--just the old ones that pop up from time to time. I'm actually getting some work done thanks to my CP, Angela Brown, holding me accountable--and vice versa. Without her I'd be chasing the next new shiny idea!

How did your first piece of writing go?

Is it published?

How's your writing life going?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

IWSG: On Not Quitting

Today is the first Wednesday of the month which means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group day. If you'd like to join, go HERE. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his minions who put time into this worthy cause every month.

Last week I was feeling pretty down about this whole writing life. I wasn't happy with my writing and or progress. It's a vicious cycle of not enough time to write or improve because of the day job and too tired at the end of the day to feel creative. Realistically, my writing time is only on weekends.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I'd like to write and am sort of admitting and accepting the limitations of where I'm at skill-wise and time-wise. And even though I'm not happy with it, I don't want to quit. Or can't quit. Or whatever this thing is that keeps driving me to write.

That's a good thing, right?

How is your writing going?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

IWSG: Back in the Writing Saddle

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day! Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and everyone who puts this event on every month. They sure do put a lot of work into it and it's much appreciated. If you want to join, go HERE.

I do believe I might be at the end of my writing studies journey. As far as actively studying the craft goes, I mean, because the learning never ends. I finally just read On Writing by Stephen King. I don't know why I held out for so long. I don't read horror, so I don't read Stephen King as a rule, so there's that. But I do recognize how talented he is. Anywho, I loved it! He's down to earth and witty. And of course, a great storyteller!

And it always comes back to story.

I don't know what the heck I've been going through for the last year or so. I come up with ideas and then I outline and move on to the next idea and outline again. I have about four outlines, people! Based on about four different ways of writing an outline that I've read about in my studies. LOL. I don't even know where to start. My brain is on overload.

But at least I feel like I am ready to start writing again. I don't know if my hiatus hurt or helped my writing career, because I know I should have been writing every day to sharpen, hone and improve my skills. In a way, I feel like I'm starting over. But at least I have some better tools! And after I get that rust out, I think I'll be okay.

Ever been on writing hiatus?

How long did it take you to get back in the groove?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG: Spellbinding Sentences

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his minions for all the work they do for this worthy cause! If you want to join, GO HERE.

So...last year was a year of stepping back and reflecting on my writing career and how best to organize and structure the whole thing. I experimented with different types of outlines, from James Patterson's Masterclass to the 7-point structure to Save the Cat!

Apparently this is another year of stepping back. I have three outlines ready to go and one WiP. So, what did I do? I bought another book on writing. Yeah, because I really needed another one. NOT!

In school, I really sucked at English as far as learning all the parts of speech. Boring! But when I skimmed through Spellbinding Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Achieving Excellence & Captivating Readers by Barbara Baig, it looked like something I could use to improve my writing. She breaks everything down so that it's relatable, not just another English lesson, but strengthens your writing. Basically how to go from the mental image in the mind of the writer--to the verbal image made of words--to the mental image in the mind of the reader. Because, simply put, that's what all us writers are trying to do:

To choose the right words to create a particular image
in the minds of our readers so they can see the story being told

Well, I have high hopes that this will help me to improve.

What do you think?

Is this just another procrastination technique?
Or a true desire to be the best writer I can be?

(P.S., I now know four kinds of verbs, y'all! LOL!)
(P.S.S. Be sure to check out the giveaway by Chrys Fey in the post below!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Duel and a Giveaway, Oh My!

I'm sooo excited to have Chrys Fey here today with a guest post for her new release, Seismic Crimes and her already released companion novel, Hurricane Crimes! Such a clever way to offset the two novels against each with a duel..

So without further a-duel....

Here's Chrys!


It’s a Duel!

When it was time for me to write the opening sentence of Seismic Crimes, I purposely made the statement opposite from the first sentence of Hurricane Crimes. And I, of course, had to show a contrast between the first paragraphs as well.

This is a duel!

Hurricane Crimes is in the red corner.

Seismic Crimes is in the blue corner.

Which story will come out on top?

You decide!

Hurricane Crimes:

Beth was going to die.

At least according to the nervous weatherman on her flickering television screen. An image of what was supposed to be Florida wavered in and out, except it was barely visible beneath the swirling mass of a Category 5 hurricane named Sabrina, which seemed to have a vendetta against the sunshine state. She never once sidled away from Florida but came head-on while gaining strength like a warrior preparing for battle.

Seismic Crimes:

Beth didn’t die.

The anxious weatherman forecasting Hurricane Sabrina’s arrival was wrong. She didn’t even die at the big, slightly calloused hands of Donovan Goldwyn, as she had thought she would. Accused of killing his brother, Donovan had shown all the signs of being a murderer, but she later realized he wasn’t a killer despite his suspicious mannerisms. Together, they had taken down one of the police officers responsible for killing Donovan’s brother, but one of the killers got away.

QUESTION: SO...Who won? Hurricane Crimes or Seismic Crimes?

Title: Seismic Crimes
Author: Chrys Fey
Series: Disaster Crimes Series (Book Two)
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Format: Digital and Print
Page Count: 282




An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.

Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.

When a tip reveals the killer's location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?



Amazon CA / NOOK / KOBO 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

IWSG: Stocking Up On Story Power

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day! I know a lot of people are doing the A - Z Challenge this month and are really busy, so I'll keep my post short.

First, thank you to Alex Cavanaugh and his co-hosts for putting this event on every month. If you're a writer and want to join, go HERE.

Even though I'm anxious about not getting much writing done, I'm feeling really good about the decision to switch to some middle grade writing. I wrote first lines to four MG stories that came to me begging to be acknowledged, LOL. And you know how important first lines are!

I'm also outlining an MG story and having lots of fun with it.

I'm starting to wonder, though, if I'm becoming a professional outliner (since I already have two completed outlines for two other novels that I probably should be working on first!).

What do you think?

Am I a Professional Outliner
Just stocking up on story power?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IWSG: Switching Gears or Stripping Gears?

It's the Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. If you'd like to join, go HERE. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his co-hosts for putting this event on every month.

So...I'm working on a couple of manuscripts, both paranormal-ish fiction for adults. I have full-blown outlines already written on both. The thing is, I started the Saving Marley manuscript first, sometime last year. Then I had a shiny new idea and switched to the Jump the Grave manuscript.

And probably guessed it...I'm thinking about switching to something new. I want to work on a middle grade book. From the beginning, it's been my intention to write middle grade. I'm even thinking of pursuing traditional publishing with it rather than self-publishing.

Am I switching gears or stripping gears?

Should I finish my first two manuscripts before starting another project? 

Does anyone else have this issue?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Don't Miss These Reads!

Got a special treat for you today. You know it's special when I'm blogging in the middle of the week and it's not even Insecure Writer's Support Group day!

First up, just releasing today, is Angela Brown's FABLE RANGER: SUMMONS. It's a middle grade novel and something new for Angela. If you're familiar with her work, she generally writes young adult. But, you're in for a treat with this new children's book. I had the opportunity to beta read it early on and I knew some publisher was going to jump at it!

It's a mashup where you'll recognize many of the characters from your favorite fairytales growing up.

Check it out!

Take care of what you wish for. You just might get it.

Twelve-year-old Casey doesn’t think life could get anymore unfair. Plans for her special basketball tournament are tossed aside by her sister’s change in wedding plans. She even has to be a bridesmaid now, with all the lace and silk and - oh the horror! All she wants is an escape, but she never imagined she’d be swept away to a world of Mother Goose rhymes, fairy tales, stories of Arabian Nights, and oh, by the way, all but one fairy godmother is kidnapped.

Casey learns she’s been summoned as the Fable Ranger to lead the search and rescue of the missing wish-makers. She also discovers she isn’t the hero they would accept. In the world of fairy tales, damsels are not meant to swoop in to save the day.

Now all Casey wants is to go home, a wish easy to grant if the veil between worlds weren’t on lockdown. Taking fate into her own hands, she embarks on an airship flight to find the phoenix tears that can help open her way home. Her journey would’ve gone as smooth as the perfect layup if it weren’t for that pesky bounty the evil Dovetail placed on her head. Casey refuses to fail knowing it would allow the legends of Arabian Nights to disappear forever and leave her trapped in a world unraveling one fairy tale at a time.

Buy link: Amazon

Author Bio

Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, A.L. Brown now calls Central Texas home. She's a lover of Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate/chocolate covered delicious-ness. Steampunk, fantasy, and paranormal to contemporary — mostly young adult — fill her growing library of books. Mother to a rambunctious darling girl aptly nicknamed Chipmunk, her life stays busy. Her favorite quote keeps her moving: “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

She is the author of the upper young adult paranormal Neverlove and its new adult follow up They All Fall Down of the Shadow Jumpers series, Frailties of the Bond and Atone of the NEO Chronicles: Characters Revealed series, andBeacon, the first action-packed title in the young adult urban fantasy series, Ripped Ties. Her debut MG (middle grade) title is coming soon from Dingbat Publishing: FABLE RANGER: SUMMONS.

You can find her on her
blog, Dingbat author page, and Facebook.

Buy link: Amazon


In the mood for something more suitable for the older crowd? I'm way behind with my TBR pile, but I did get the chance to read the first book in the series, The Rifters, by M. Pax. It was an excellent read, and sort of a mashup of Steampunk, a modern-day old-western town and a bit of sci fi, with some fun, quirky characters to boot.

A really fun read, and I highly recommend it!

Books I and II are free right now, so find the links below.

Check out the latest novel from The Rifters series, The Reader.

With the rift closed for the season and no more monsters to fight, Daelin Long gets bored as librarian in the podunk town of Settler, Oregon. A job interview and her brother’s arrival present a tempting opportunity to escape, until her brother and her best friend, a ghost, disappear.

While Daelin searches for them, more mysteries pile up: dead people coming back to life, portraits of the town founders replaced with strange white trees, and people on the other side of the rift returning. It’s impossible. The portal that allows monsters from other universes to come to Earth is sealed until next summer.

The Rifters, a secret group protecting our world, believe the troubles are nothing more than the tantrums of an offended ghost. Daelin disagrees. If she’s right, the evil hell-bent on destroying Earth has new technology making the rift more deadly.

Before the monster summons the next apocalypse, Daelin must find it and destroy it.

Book 3 in the Rifter series.

Need to catch up? You can read books 1 & 2 in the Rifter series for free by becoming an M. Pax Reader. ENTER MY DIMENSION

Author Bio
M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons  to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide and has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock. Learn more at

Buy links:

AmazonUK / AUS / CA / DE / FR / ES / IT / NL / JP / BR / MX / IN

iBook / Nook / GooglePlay / Kobo / Smashwords / inktera / Scribd

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

IWSG: First Drafts

Here's my monthly post. Sad that it's always for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Seems a monthly post is all I can handle right now. Ah well, at least I'm writing. Some.

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his co-hosts for putting this on every month. If you're a writer and would like to join, click on the above link.

Here's something I always notice about my WiP: why, oh why, is the first draft always so darn bad? I know, I know. Perfection comes with the editing. I'd never actually claim the perfection part. The final draft is always loads better than the first draft, though.

But you know, back in the day, authors such as Charles Dickens wrote by hand and when you see copies of their manuscripts with some scratching out and words added and such--the original first draft isn't that bad.

How did they do it?

Do your first drafts get better with experience?

Or is it the modern day, quicker process that allows us to zoom on through the first draft only to pick up the pieces in the editing?

Friday, January 1, 2016

IWSG: The Mystery of The Missing Year

The first Insecure Writer's Support Group post of the year (a little early!). Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and those who help to host this event every month!

I do love a good mystery, but this one is just plain baffling...

What in the world happened to 2015?!

It went missing somewhere around March...

Few traces of its whereabouts are left behind...

It's only trace evidence, but here's what I know for sure: 2015 went on its own merry way and didn't invite me along. Poof! It was gone, just like that.

I should have completed three novellas. Instead, I did a lot of studying on the best way to structure a novel. Here are the brief results:

  • Dan Wells' 7-Point Story Structure ( It's simple and straight forward. Each "point" names the required element: Hook, Plot Turn 1, Pinch 1, Midpoint, Plot Turn 2, Pinch 2, and Resolution. Name what each one is, fill in the blanks, then just keep building on it. What I like about this is that it covers every element you need in the novel and tells you where you need to put it.)
  • James Patterson's masterclass outline (Let me just say that James Patterson is the Master Outliner. When you take the class, you receive a copy of his outline for Honeymoon.  I love how detailed the outline is and how he just keeps building and adding to the outline until he nearly has the novel complete by the time he finishes the outline. His classes are on video, each one short, amusing and well-explained. A deal at $99.)
  • Blake Snyder's beat sheet (Snyder is the king of breaking it all down in detail. He's the father of Structure and how to make sure every detail is placed exactly where it needs to be to make the right impression at the right time. It's meant to be for screenplays, but is more than relevant for novel writing. It is a must-read. Having sung its praises, though, I found it too complicated because I had to keep going back to look at examples and finding it all a bit forced for my likings. You know, the square peg being forced into the round hole. Again, though, lots of good information. It really got me to thinking about the necessities of what goes into the structure of a good novel.)
  • Other modified beat sheets (Self explanatory).

What I did accomplish  this year is writing two shiny new outlines:

  1. For my Brother Bart series, I used Dan Wells' 7-Point Story Structure to start, then used it to write a detailed outline.
  2. For my Saving Marley series, I used Blake Snyder's beat sheet which I turned into a detailed outline.
For me, I know I have to work from an outline. My crappy memory doesn't allow for anything else. I enjoyed using the 7-Point Story Structure more than the Beat Sheet.

The real question is, which one is more successful at helping me to write a novel?

We shall see!

I know this for sure: I'm going to keep a tight rein on 2016 so it doesn't go walkabout like its predecessor!

My 2016 goals? Finish first drafts of both outlines.

What are your goals for the new year?