Monday, December 17, 2018

More Cover Reveals: Nick Wilford's Corruption

While we're in cover reveal mode, here's two more! Not mine this time, but for Nick Wilford. First up is his new book, Corruption (Black & White #2).

Release Date: 11th February 2019
Cover design: germancreative

Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerelda Dontible have found themselves in a position where they can make their native land somewhere that lives up to its name: Harmonia. However, they’re setting their sights further afield for their number one task: eradicating the disease that has plagued the neighbouring country of Loretania for generations and allowed the privileged Harmonians to live in a sterile environment.

After dispatching a team of scientists to Loretania, armed with cratefuls of an antidote and vaccine and headed up by their friend, Dr George Tindleson, Welles, Ez, and Welles’s brother Mal – who grew up in that benighted nation – start to worry when they hear nothing back, despite what they had agreed. Commandeering a fishing boat to follow the science team over the sea, they soon find that, while the disease may be on the way out, a new kind of infection has set in – the corruption they thought they had stamped out in Harmonia.

Can they get to the root of the problem and eradicate it before even more damage is done to an innocent people?

*** Warning – this book contains themes that some sensitive readers may find upsetting. ***

Pre-order: Amazon USAmazon UKSmashwordsBarnes & NobleKobo  

Add it on Goodreads

He's also updated the cover for Black & White #1 (now free! so go check it out!)

Cover design: germancreative

Blurb: What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?
As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

Available here: Amazon USAmazon UKSmashwordsBarnes & NobleKoboiBooks

Add it on Goodreads

And you can follow Nick here:  Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon

Friday, December 7, 2018

Cover Reveal: Trust

Look at me making two blog posts in a month! Maybe this will be the start of a slightly more ambitious blogging schedule. Tune in to find out.

I'm happy to share the long awaited cover for my newest (and oldest) book, Trust.

Yes, the first book of my space opera series is finally making its way into your hands! I don't have a release date from the publisher yet, but I'm told it will be before the end of the year, so look for that announcement very soon.

That also means I'm quickly throwing together a blog tour. If you'd like to be part of it (sometime in January), please shoot me an email at or leave a comment here.

At long last, the war that has torn the worlds of the Narvan apart, is over. Anastassia Kazan has brought about the end  to the fighting between Vayen Ta’set’s homeworld of Artor and their rival, Jal. When she offers  Vayen a job on her team of bodyguards, he leaps at the opportunity. He’ll do anything to keep Artor on the path to recovery.

Protecting the paranoid and mercurial woman who’s deals and threats are keeping everyone in line is a tough and thankless task. One drunken night  with Anastassia makes Vayen seriously doubt why he got the job and if he should keep it. But no one else on the team is willing to earn Anastassia’s disfavor by calling her out on her reckless choices. Reckless will get her killed and send the Narvan back into chaos.

Not everyone is happy with Anastassia’s changes on his homeworld and beyond . She’s also on less than friendly terms with her deadly ex-partner. Then Vayen discovers that Anastassia is only middle management. The Council she works for has ambitious plans for the Narvan’s military forces.

How much is Vayen willing to sacrifice to keep the Narvan at peace?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

IWSG December: A glance around my office

If you're not familiar with 
Wow, it's December? Last month flew by in a stream of hosting NaNoWriMo events, book selling events, writing 50,000 words of a YA fantasy novel, and proofing the ARC of my next book. So yes, it was a busy month! I'd say this month is less busy, and technically it is, but it still feels jam-packed. I'm looking forward to January - the month where I (usually) catch my breath.                                                                                                                         I'll be doing a cover reveal here for Trust: Book 1 of The Narvan, in a few days, but until then...                                                                                                                                                                Let's focus on this month's IWSG question: What are five objects we can find in your writing space?

New for NaNoWriMo this November, is my jaunty pirate hat. This year we had an inner-regional word war to help our writers stay motivated. I headed, you guessed it, the pirates. The best part of this hat, was the giant fluffy feather than got in everyone's faces anytime I was nearby. Now it decorates my desk display of books that aren't quite put away between events, since I've had one about every other weekend for a while now.

And if you're wondering, my pirate team sunk our opponents, the ninjas! It was a good battle, made even better by being wordily victorious.

Last year I headed the villain team and also won. I'm sensing I might belong to the dark side.
Just over my head, where I do most of my writing from my comfy chair, is this cabinet. Inside are so many treasures, like a stack of  packages of blank notecards I got for a penny each at a office store sale years ago and seem to be saving for...something. It also houses some of my super old writing that we don't talk about or look at but also can't throw away, a large stash of cassettes from the late 80s and early 90s that I also refuse to part with, and various craft supplies.

One of those crafts is book art, in which I, in one of my many spurts of random craftiness a few years ago, decided to try. I needed something to fill the open spaces in my cabinet and this seemed like the perfect solution. It also mostly hides all the stuff spilling off the shelves behind them. Functional and nice to look at.
Have you ever watched Farscape? No? What's wrong with you? It's one of my favorite shows of the old sci-fi channel, back before they went wonky with a y and focused on stuff like Sharknado. Just. No.

While I love all the characters of that show, Scorpius was my favorite, in all his incarnations. He was a very interesting antagonist and well-rounded. Creepy at times, evil a lot, but also with a compelling backstory. And then we get into the imaginary versions of him. Good times. Now I'm going to have the urge to watch that series again. Darn it, I don't have time for that!

I did a post five years ago on how to make these book page roses. I'd made a bunch of them as an auction item for a NaNo fundraiser. They turned out really nice so I'd also made some for myself. Because I totally need more crafty things hanging around in my writing space to distract me. Remember that time you made roses, they whisper to me. That was fun, what else could you make? You've got a bunch of pages still sitting around in a book somewhere. You should do something with them. Come on.

Evil, taunting craft things. What, you can't hear them too?

Stop and hear the roses wasn't a thing? I swear it was.
One of my long-time favorite crafty things to do is paint. I painted this gargoyle twenty-some years ago. Egads, has it really been that long? (See, lose track of years just as quickly as months.)

So, as it turns out, one of the worst places a distractedly crafty person  can ever work is a craft store. I did. For several years. Oh and several glorious years they were, except for dealing with people (both customers and co-workers), it was heavenly!

You know where you should never put me? In charge of ordering the ceramics and telling me I can paint the display pieces and keep them later. But we had a great selection of  gargoyles, fairies, castles, wizards, and pretty much anything fantasy-oriented in the catalogue.  There are days I miss that job, but the store closed and it was onward to other things for me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

ISWG, NaNoWriMo and Where's My Clone?

If you're not familiar with 
the Insecure Writers Support 
Group, check it out here

Full disclosure, as I write this in October, I'm neck deep (as in someone else standing on my shoulders and we're talking about their neck), in NaNoWriMo and preparing for upcoming Author Events for all you book-loving holiday shoppers.  I love when you comment and I'm very glad you stopped by, but I can't promise that I'll get to check out your own blog post in a timely manner.  I will get there. Eventually.  

Hence my need for a clone. Has anyone got that process dialed in yet? I've noticed a trend in my blogging habits the past couple years. With the new year, I'm all refreshed and energized to spend blog time with you wonderful people. By the end of April's A to Z, I'm dead. And things only get worse from there. By mid-summer I'm down to once a month IWSG posts. I'd say this is a trend I'm hoping to change with the coming year, but again, I'm not going to make any promises. Maybe this is a sign I shouldn't dive into A to Z this year. Hmm. Things to ponder.

My tiny assistant Bitsy, kept
me warm while selling books
at Pumpkinfest in
Montague, MI.
So what's this NaNoWriMo thing? It's my yearly major writing binge where I join hundreds of thousands of other people around the world by writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Traditionally, that's supposed to be the rough draft of a new novel. This year, I'm aiming for 50K of whatever project my eyeballs and fingers agree on that day. As of this morning, my goal is to work on a total rewrite of 2007's NaNo YA fantasy endeavor that is half finished. I'd like to get another YA title out to accompany A Broken Race. I'd also like to generate a few new short stories to get into submissions early next year. I'd also like to get a million dollars, but as I don't play the lottery, the odds of me productively writing are far more likely.

In the further need for a clone category, I'm also on year 10 of acting as an ML for my region for NaNo. This means I'm organizing and hosting events all month, moderating a forum, writing regional emails and answering questions and encouraging the hundreds of writers in my region. While writing my own project. I also added a few extra tons of insanity and booked three weekend days of author events during November. Because who needs sleep? Can I write in my sleep? We'll find out.

This month's IWSG Question: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?
The dress I made my daughter
for homecoming. She wanted
something 50's housewife.

Oh man, it's been a major evolution. When I first started writing, I had time to paint, draw, do needlework, sew, and more crafts than I could name in the time that I have to write this post. My creative endeavors were all over the board. But since I started writing seriously, about eight years ago, almost all of those things have fallen by the wayside. Though I still enjoy doing other creative things, my brain is stuck in creating worlds, characters, and plots.

I have dipped back into sewing in the past few months. After brushing the mental rust off and a lot of swearing at how hard it is now to thread the damned sewing machine needle even with my glasses on, I think I've got following a pattern and the improvising part of things figured out again. After this next project, which I really should do a post about, is finished, I think I'll put the distracting sewing machine back away. There are so many things I could do with it...but writing calls.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG: October and so much reading

If you're not familiar with 
the Insecure Writers Support 
Group, check it out here
When I went on a short vacation at the end of August, I hadn't planned (as usual) to have time to read, but hey, a miracle happened and I did. Yes, we covered my little three book excursion into readingland last month, but it's gotten worse. I've been sucked into an unplanned reading binge. (cue the ominous music)

I haven't done this in a while. And for good reason. All writing stops when I go into reading mode.

Lots of other things stop too, like getting enough sleep, being on time for work, keeping lunch breaks to an hour, maybe hanging out in parking lots in my car for an extra half an hour or longer when running errands... yeah, reading and I have an addictive relationship.

Book shaming time. In the past six weeks, ten days of which I was waiting for shipments of books to arrive, I've read twelve books. And not just short books, 500 to 600+ page books of small type. I even broke down and bought an e-book of one of them because I wasn't near a bookstore at the time. Darn you, J.R. Ward and your Black Dagger Brotherhood.

What makes this series so addicting? It's not your typical paranormal romance. There is a lot going on in the world in which it takes place, lots of action, so many subplots, and lots of well fleshed out POV characters beyond the usual two. Each book ends on a satisfying note, but I had to know what happened next in the greater story. Like. Right. Now. Several of these I read in a day or two. Seriously. And I work full time and have other obligations. Evil damn books! It turns out four hours of sleep is fine on occasion. And...that may or may not be four in a row. Soooooo anyway, yes, I'll be reading the rest of the series soon, but I'm at a good pausing point and I should get back to editing and writing for a little while before November hits.

What started to drive me nuts, because there's always something even when I love a book / author / series. 1. When a word like alacrity gets used a lot, it starts to stand out like sore thumb because it's not a commonly used word. 2. When technology is liberally named throughout a series (like using a Blackberry or hitting send to place a call) and quickly becomes dated.  3. When you read the first book and think certain words and phrases are awesome for characterization, but then realize everyone in the series uses those same words and it's not natural sounding or logical that they would. 4. Overuse of slang. Again, totally cool when a single character uses it because it works for characterization. Not cool when everyone is using natch at the ends of sentences. It's totally not natch.

With reading, preparing for NaNoWriMo, three author events, winterizing my pond before winter this year for a change, still looking for a home for the exchange student we didn't plan on, and getting a head start on sewing my Halloween costume before the week before Halloween... it's been a busy month. From here on out, life only gets more hectic until January. While I'm taking a deep breath and trying not to get freaked out by that last sentence, let's get to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question.

How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

When I'm stressed, I don't have any energy left over for writing. I have a hard time even focusing on editing. So things like a divorce, death of friends and family, or giving birth tend to lead to dry spells of weeks or months or even a year or two. You've got to take care of yourself. The words will be there when you're head is back in the game.

Has writing helped me through anything? I guess I'm not in jail for taking my frustration out on anyone in a physical manner. There tends to be a lot of death and violence in my books. Coincidence? There's a good chance there's a connection. There is something to that whole, 'the quiet ones are the ones you have to watch out for' thing. However, I do try to keep it fictional. If you've ever been my boss, you're welcome.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

IWSG: September and a recharge

If you're not familiar with the Insecure Writers Support Group, check it out here

It has been a wild end to summer around here. I managed to take a few days of vacation after sending Trust off to the editor. We traveled over to the thumb of Michigan, having never visited there before. I don't mean to spoil it for you, but there isn't much there other than farmland and the shore of Lake Huron. In this case, that was fine with me as I really needed some time off from life to recharge. I spent most of my vacation buried in a book, which I haven't done in quite some time. That burst of reading cascaded into three more books and now I have four more on order that should be here in a few days. Not that my TBR stacks are running dry by any stretch of the imagination, but I found a new series to binge on: J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood. 

I also have a new (and very unplanned) exchange student. That's whole long story, but suffice it to say, we're only an interim host family and this is the straw that sent me off on a need for a reading binge to recharge my creative juices and vacation. 

Onward into the reason for this post... 

This month's question is: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I've done both a small press and self publishing with novels. For short stories, I prefer the more traditional route of anthologies and magazines. 

As far as novels, for my first one, I wanted to get my feet wet in a more structured way so I went though the whole query letter and rejection loop until I got accepted by a small press. As it turns out that was a whole learning experience and I'm glad I took the time to do it rather than rushing off into self publishing. However, having figured out the strengths and weaknesses of small press publishing and how they aligned with my goals, I opted for self publishing my next three novels. My upcoming series, The Narvan, is back with the same small press. I find doing both gives me more options and yet a bit of credibility for those who don't hold self publishing in high regard. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

IWSG: August Happenings

If you're not familiar with the Insecure Writers Support Group, check it out here

How can it be August already? I haven't even taken a vacation yet.

I just got done baking several dozen chocolate and caramel cookies for Saturday's author event in Holland, and packing my things, and buying balloons - because they're fun. It's already 9pm and I'm a day late with my post. So hey, I'm like mostly two days behind, but I'm here, so that counts for something.

Without further ado, let's get to this month's question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

1. Paying to publish. Don't. I've stood upon my soap box for this topic before, but in brief: Yes, there are some aspects on the road to publication that you will likely have to pay for. A cover, editing, formatting, etc. However, you do not need to pay an all inclusive service to do this for you and sink $1,000 or much more into getting a box of books that will sit in your basement until you manage to sell them all of by hand one by one. I've heard too many horror stories to not get all soap-boxy with this. Do your research and invest in only what you need to.

2. Not letting anyone read your work because you think someone is going to steal your idea. Get yourself a writer's group. Whether it's online or in person, it doesn't matter, but for your own good, let other people read your story and offer their opinions. There will definitely be parts that need work. There are ALWAYS parts that need work. Learn what those parts are before you start submitting your writing so you have a better chance at getting published.

I could go on and on, but those are the two that I cringe at the most when talking to other writers. Now, I have to get back to doing my audio edits of Trust, because that's wonderful way to catch typos and awkward wording.  Look for updates on Trust soon. I'm told it will be out into the world before the end of the year. I'm looking forward to finally holding it in my hands.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Allergies and Author Events

Where have I been?

Writing, editing, rewriting, more editing and pondering plot fixes. I was being so productive I forgot to come up for air and post here. That's sort of a good thing,  I guess?

Then I was busy getting ready for the Muskegon edition of my Michigan Authors at the Lakeshore event in the Lakeshore Art Festival. That took up all of last weekend. That was a great time. The weather was awesome. There were crowds of people and lots of crafts, art, and books to see.

Now I'm gearing up for the Holland edition, which will be held at the Park Theatre, right across from Art in the Park, on August 4. This one is even bigger than the Muskegon event, as far as authors to organize. There will be 34 of us, a theatre full of books. It should be a lot of fun...once I get past all the organizing.

Right after that, on August 11, I'll be at the Manistee Book Expo, held in the Ramsdell Theatre.

In the midst of organizing and writing, allergy season hit hard. The weather has been hot and dry, creating all kinds of dust and whatever else sets off the explosions in my head. Between blowing my nose, sleeping the yuck away, and the way groovy spacy feeling of allergy pills, my productivity is down to a dismal percentage.

So that's the state of things at the moment. I'm still alive, floating along (sometimes, it actually feels like floating), and attempting to get things done.

I hope summer is treating you well. Relax, be happy, and enjoy a good book.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: June and more free books

I've been busy editing and, for the past couple days worth of free time, catching up on the latest season of Supernatural. It was fortunate that I happened to check my email at lunch yesterday, after realizing I'd been ignoring it all week in favor of said previous activities, and realized the first Wednesday of the month was only a day away. I live in a time vacuum, I swear.

With the weather being nice (finally), I've been busy outside working in my gardens. For the past two weeks, I've been putting the finishing touches on the rock terraces (meaning I moved a LOT of rocks and plants and spread several yards of mulch) on half of my hillside flower garden. This past weekend I expanded my vegetable garden by 16 x 10 feet, built two new raised garden beds, filled them with soil and plants, and remulched the whole area. Who needs to go to the gym?

If you're looking for something to read, take a gander at selection in either of these two giveaways.
Fantasy, or Sci-fi and Fantasy short fiction

My Ask Me Anything wrapped up after a lot of questions. If there's anything you've wanted to know about me or my writing, it's probably answered there.

And now onto IWSG...

If you're not familiar with the Insecure Writers Support Group, check it out here.

This month's question is:
What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Titles are by far more difficult to come up with. Character names usually come to me as I'm writing or I key mash until a string of letters looks interesting and tweak it from there to get the sound and feel of what I'm looking for to fit the story. Yes, that means my naming process is pretty methodical and well thought out. Ha! Because I'm not a planner for the most part, the vast majority of my characters are named before I get to know them and before I have an inkling what their true part in the story will be. It's like meeting a person, all you have to go on is a name and then you get to know them. Knowing this, the fact that names play an important role to the characters in both Sahmara and A Broken Race is a bit ironic.  

Titles, well, they don't usually hit me until the first round of edits when I get a full feel for what the story is really about. Its a theme I didn't originally set out to cover, a feeling, a character moment, a phrase, something that triggers an ah ha moment and poof, there's my title. The poof, makes it sound like an easy process, but its more often a long and painful slog wherein I gnash my teeth over the fact that the book may never have a title beyond Book 2 or Fantasy Story.

Which one is more difficult for you?

Monday, May 14, 2018

So many free books

Do you like free books? Well you're in luck! Check out these links for some great free fantasy and scif-fi reads. You can also find my book, Destiny Pills and Space Wizards there.

This promotion runs May 14-20 and includes both BookFunnel and Instafreebie books.

Need more books? Here are 24 more to choose from. This promotion runs until May 25.

Still need mooooore? Here are 119 Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror titles to choose from. This promotion runs from May 15 to May 31st.

And if you've stocked up on books and want to have fun with some questions about writing, critiquing, gardening, chickens or hair color, I'll be over at Ask Me Anything from May 16-23 with answers. They may not be the right answers, but they're mine.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

IWSG: May and too many other things

So it would seem that yesterday was Wednesday. When did that pop up? I mean who puts a Wednesday right after Tuesday? And who put Wednesday so close to the beginning of the month?

Yes, I missed the
post day. One of these months I'll have some time to breathe and will have my crap together. This is not that month.

I've been busy preparing for Penguicon, both mentally and packing-wise. The prospect of full weekend of intense peopling is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. In part of that preparation, I opened my newly ordered copies of A Broken Race to a page with a typo. OMG, you've got to be freaking kidding me. And the super annoying thing is that it's a formatting typo. I use a laptop to do all things book, and occasionally the cursor isn't where I think it is so whatever key I hit applies somewhere else. In this case it was the backspace. Then come to find out, as took a deep breath and fixed that book file, a similar thing had happened right on the first page of Destiny Pills. So damn annoying. I love my laptop, but we're so not speaking right now.

On the heels of the random return and deleted character annoyance, I then see that the oh so helpful Createspace gods have added random blank pages and in one case, totally screwed up the entire page layout so now my margins are all wrong. And no, that didn't show up on the online proof. And of course I needed books in a hurry for this event and didn't have time to do a print proof and then order because my lovely daughter took so darn long (procrastinating teenagers, ugh) to do her drawings. So I apologize up front to anyone who purchases the slightly wonky versions this weekend.

I'm still trying to catch up on Blogging A to Z posts from all of you who visited throughout April. Too. Much. Going. On. Which brings me to this month's question:

Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

Spring inspires me to get outside and clean up my flower beds, to build new raised garden boxes, to plant my garden, and to clean out my chicken coop. All of those things mean less time for writing. I'm so torn right now because spring is a super short season here, and made even shorter this year by almost a month thanks to a winter that wouldn't freaking quit, but I'm in the middle of edits on Trust. I want to be sitting here in my comfy chair sifting through editorial comments and making changes so that book can get into readers hands, but I also want to be outside doing all the things that need doing before it suddenly is 80 and my allergies make it hard to do outside things, because like, breathing is important or something. At this point, I'm slowly working on both things and shaking my fist and pretty much everything. Spring, you are a pretty, but stressful season.