Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Guest post with Shannon Lawerence - Happy Ghoulidays!



The holidays can be a stressful time, as we all know, but I'm hoping to lighten up this winter season with a little holiday horror.

Maybe "lighten up" isn't the right term.

The first story begins the winter holidays with Thanksgiving, with stories representing Christmas, Hanukah, Hogmanay (the New Year), Yule, Groundhog Day, and, finally, Valentine's Day. From serious horror to tongue-in-cheek. Read them all at once or save them for their holidays. Or both! 

Release day is November 20, which also happens to be my birthday! Just in time for Thanksgiving week. You can pre-order the Kindle version, with other versions, including paperback, available on release day.

Blurb: Family time can lead to murder and mayhem, especially during the holidays. A turkey with a tale to tell, elves under attack, sorority sisters putting on a killer party, a woman's desperation to save her family, and a stranger ringing in the New Year. These and other tales of woe await you beneath the mistletoe.

Be careful who you offer a kiss. It may be your last.

About the Author: A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes in her dungeon when her minions allow, often accompanied by her familiars. She writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in several anthologies and magazines, and her collections, Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations and Bruised Souls & Other Torments, are available in stores. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast “Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem.” When she's not writing, she's hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings. Though she often misses the Oregon coast, the majestic and rugged Rockies are a sight she could never part with. Besides, in Colorado there's always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. What more could she ask for? 


Release date: November 20

Pre-order link






Amazon Author Page


A big congrats to Shannon!

I hope everyone has a nice (as it can be) Thanksgiving and stay safe out there! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IWSG - The Working Writer

Here we are into October already and it's time again for the The Insecure Writer's Support Group.


October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!
My idea of a working writer is a lot different than it used to be. I used to imagine the kind of life James Michener had. Not only was he wealthy thanks to his writing, he was wealthy enough to hire assistants (assistants!!!) to help him do research. He was wealthy enough to travel to the places he was writing about. And he was wealthy enough that writing was his only job. Lucky guy.
On the flip side, a lot of big name writers have to travel, make public appearances, and (gasp!) might actually be required to  speak at said event, a task I'd just as soon avoid.
Today, few working writers live that life and most supplement their income with a 'regular job.' Thinking of what my life would look like if I was a working writer (which I am, just not getting those nice royalty checks), I imagine having a part time regular job, not only for financial reasons but to get out of the damn house for a few days. Having spent as much time at home as I have these last six months, staying home isn't as attractive as I thought it would be. But. I sure would like to be able to travel to some of the places I have written about and the places I do want to write about.
Meanwhile, in other news, I've read four more books, aided in large part by a power outage and the fact that I was almost done with one, and two were short (under 300 pages).
Find Layla by Meg Ellison is about a girl who lives with her abusive mother and little brother in an apartment that should be condemned. It was a good story, and I liked Layla, the girl who's trying to hide her real life from everyone, including teachers, friends, and eventually the authorities.
Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergei Dyachenko is...hard to describe. The story centers on Sasha who is contacted by a strange man who demands she perform certain tasks. If she doesn't something bad will happen. The man says he will never ask her to do anything impossible. Eventually, the man demands she go to a particular school and the story gets more interesting. There, Sasha finds a very different and demanding type of learning environment and classes that do ask the impossible. Only it isn't impossible for Sasha and the other students because they're special, though not exactly the way you might think.
Anyway. I kept waiting for Sahsha to become whatever she was supposed to become and then do something with her changed self, you know, like save the world. I also felt like the authors had written an allegory for the changes adolescents go through (they dedicated the book to their daughter) rather than a story that was complete. Basically I thought it was super interesting but was let down a bit by the ending.
Every heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is an orphanage story and at first I thought the head of the place was evil and planning something horrible for her charges. Rest assured, this was not the case. Instead, Miss West cares very much for her charges, all of who have entered other worlds (think Narnia, except all the worlds aren't so nice) and are dying to get back. I really liked this book a lot and will probably read the next in the series.
My favorite out of the four was The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'Neal. This story revolves four women: Lillian, who's old and showing alarming signs of it, her granddaughter Zoe who has come home to Devon to help and hopefully heal her daughter (Isabel) who has deleted all her media accounts and refuses to return to school. Lastly there's Zoe's mom (poppy) who left her in the care of her grandmother when she was seven and never came back.
Ordinarily I don't read much family drama, but this book took hold and pulled me in, making me want to know would happen next. Could Poppy and Zoe ever find their way to back to a relationship or did the hurt run too deep? What happened to Isabel that she can't tell anyone about? Is Lillian imagining the things she sees or are her suspicions valid? And why did Poppy leave and never come back until it was too late?
The Lost Girls moved me, and, as much as don't like to admit it, made me tear up a bit (okay. A lot), so I highly recommend it to anyone who likes stories about families healing. Plus the descriptions...Now I need to add Devon to the list of places I want to go...when I'm rich and famous.
What does the writer's life look like for you? Read any books? Seen Enola Holmes?

Monday, September 28, 2020

Books and underwear

First the books I have to tell you about, both MG (yes, I read all over the place):

If you like ghosts and hauntings and all the contraptions needed for avoiding them, this is the book for you: Eleanor, Alice, and the Roosevelt Ghosts by Dianne K. Salerni. Here you will find Eleanor Roosevelt as a young girl, living with her cheap-ass grandmother and a ghost that climbs the stairs every day at the same time. This ghost is not to be feared, however, because as he's an 'unaware.' Unaware ghosts do not understand that they are dead and generally don't interact with the living. Friendly ghosts interact with the living in harmless ways. And then there are vengeful ghosts...

Needless to say that is exactly the kind of ghost that erupts at Eleanor's aunt's house where Alice has come to visit, and soon the two girls, at odds to start, will have to join forces before the ghost does more than stack chairs on the dining room table.

I LOVED this book and all the ghostly things in it, like the Manhattan Ghost Diagnostics Guild, The New York Supernatural Registry, the different types of ghosts, and the ghostly advertisements, like for the Edison Lamp: Get out fast and get out safely!

In A Wizards Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher a young wizard named Mona has only the power of sourdough. And yet, she manages to save an entire city. How does she do it? Well, you'll have to read to find out but I will say it involves gingerbread men, a thief, and Bob (the immense blob of sourdough Mona keeps in the basement. And fyi, Bob is in the basement for a good reason...). I adored this book so much! I loved Mona and her sassy attitude and her love of baking. Bob was pretty cool, too :) 


Now to discuss (briefly, pun intended) Underwear. Most of us wear them but I'd be willing to wager that I'm not the only one who has a hard time finding a decent pair of underwear. Here's what I want: bikini style, fun colors or patterns, 100% cotton, and NO RIDE UP!!! Is that really so hard?

Last but not least, Wednesday Art -


A bookmark that took a rather long time. I used pen (micron black .005) , white Gelly Roll, watercolor, and colored pencil. It measures approximately 2.5" x 6" - I'm guessing but it's basically bookmark size, maybe a little shorter and wider. Anyway. It took so long because I had to plot out the spaces evenly, which required a ruler and lots of measuring. Nevertheless, I'm pretty happy with the way it came out and am thinking of doing a larger version to matte and frame. Wednesday is art day so we'll see...


Have a happy week with as little stress as possible.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

IWSG - the late edition

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

September 2 question - If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?
The awesome co-hosts for the September 2 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, J Lenni Dorner, Deniz Bevan, Kim Lajevardi, Natalie Aguirre, and Louise - Fundy Blue!  

If I could have the beta partners of my choice, I'd choose Stephen King and Ursula LeGuin. Stephen King, because he can make the most mundane interesting and Ursula LeGuin, because she knows how to choose her words. Her spare descriptions are some of the most beautiful and memorable.

In other news, I've read 31 books this year, the last two some fun Regency Romances.

Oh. You didn't know I read romance. Probably because I don't read them much any more. But...the two writers who made me want to write are JRR Tolkien and Rosemary Rogers.
Yes, I read Shanna,too, and all I can say is that's my kind of pirate...

But back to the two books I read...

I admit, I have a soft spot for the Regency period in England. It was so decadent, and the die for, so these were both easy sells. I saw them reviewed and thought, well, darn, I haven't read a fun romance in a while, so why not?

I was not disappointed. These were both fast-paced, hot (but not too naughty) romances with plucky heroines who pulled themselves up from rejection and scandal and made a life before Mr. Hotness walked in. I definitely recommend both to anyone who likes romance, but I especially liked Who's That Earl. The heroine is masquerading as an assistant to an author (who's never seen, of course) when in fact she's the author. Then along comes the Earl...

In television I highly recommend The Expanse, a scifi show on Amazon Prime. I'm on season 3 and oh, boy is it good. Also loving season 2 of The Umbrella Academy on Netflix. If you liked the first season, you're going to love the second. And I say that having not finished watching (I'm on episode 6) so no spoilers!

Now, tell me who you'd like for a beta partner or what books you're reading or shows you're watching or anything that's making you happy.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Chris Fey and How to Keep Writing

Today I'm welcoming Chris Fey to share her new book:

Catch the sparks you need to conquer writer’s block, depression, and burnout!

When Chrys Fey shared her story about depression and burnout, it struck a chord with other writers. That put into perspective for her how desperate writers are to hear they aren’t alone. Many creative types experience these challenges, battling to recover. Let Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer's Block, Depression, and Burnout guide you through:

·        Writer's block
·        Depression
·        Writer's burnout
·        What a writer doesn’t need to succeed
·        Finding creativity boosts

With these sparks, you can begin your journey of rediscovering your creativity and get back to what you love - writing.


Amazon / Nook / iTunes / Kobo

When I shared my story about depression and writer’s burnout, I received many emails, comments, and Facebook messages from other writers thanking me for my bravery and telling me about their own trials. That really put into perspective for me how many people suffer from depression and/or burnout in silence. I had no idea those individuals were impacted by these things, just as they hadn’t known that I was, because my outward presence to others was always happy and smiley and bright.
After the supportive response and upon realizing how many writers in my online circles were struggling, too, I wanted to do something to help. I was candid with my experiences and blogged about the things that assisted me through the rough times in the hope that it would aid others.
During this time, I recognized the need for writers to receive support, guidance, tips, reminders, and encouragement during their writer’s block, depression, and burnout. That’s how I got the idea for this book. A book not just about depression or only about writer’s block, but both, and much more.
Since you have picked up this book, that means you may need assistance with one or all of these areas, and I sincerely hope you find what you need here…that tiny spark to get you through whatever you are going through.
As always, keep writing.
Keep believing.
Keep dreaming.
Chrys Fey

Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips on how to reverse writer’s burnout.

Thank you Chris, for making it super easy to post this (it took about ten minutes...maybe) and for thinking of other people. I know I've gone through times where I felt burnt out from trying to write when it just wasn't in me and times when everything completely sucked. We like to put on our happy faces here and keep our sadness and worry hidden but that isn't always helpful. Sometimes sharing is the best way to connect with others and connecting with others is what keeps us human. We all need each other to get through this life.