Wednesday, December 5, 2018

IWSG: December 2018 Edition

I can't believe it's the last IWSG blog hop of the year. Major thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the IWSG administrators who keep the group so progressive and brilliant. Find the entire list of blog participants here.

The optional question for this month:

What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

I love this question. I'm not counting my laptop as one. 
1.Next to it is always my Old Farmer's Almanac Planner. I already purchased the 2019 version a few weeks ago.
2. A drink. Usually ice coffee, water, or tea. Occasionally, a glass of wine.
3. Reading glasses. Who am I kidding. There may be a many as six pairs. I have more than a dozen and they tend to all end up in the same place. The kitchen, my writing desk, or my reading chair.
4. A big, huge, cup, more like a flower pot, full of pens, pencils, a ruler, book marks, scissors, highlighters.
5. My remote to my smart TV that sits across the room. I watch Netflix while I'm blogging. (Not when I'm writing)

I'm really looking forward to the holidays. Almost done with shopping, but the joy of the season for our family is not in the gifts but in the time we spend together. 

"Where there is great love, there are always miracles." Willa Cather

I have been really busy with writing. Last Saturday, I wrote over 12,000 words to finish the first draft of my third novel in Starship Refugees space opera series. That's a record for me. The second book in the series, The Alien and the Amazon, is now available on Amazon.

Speaking of space opera, I'm going to try watching Nightflyers on SyFy. Has anyone seen it yet? I heard it's really dark. I've watched some Christmas movies, all sweet and predictable, but I can take it this time of year. If you haven't watched Christmas Chronicles on Netflix, you should check it out. Kurt Russell is my new favorite Santa.

"The most completely lost of all days is that on which one has not laughed" Sebastien-Roch Nicolas

Did you laugh today? Is your desk sacred space? What was your biggest writing day? Done shopping?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Misty Simon: Deceased and Desist

I'm so pleased to have Misty Simon, a long-time writing friend and successful, prolific writer. There's no one quite like Misty to lift your mood when the business of writing is getting you down.

Hi there and thanks so much to Sue for having me on this great blog!

I’ve been a writer for quite some time, published since 2004 or so when I won a contest with Harlequin when they used to run Writing Round Robins. I loved writing for years but reading even longer. Getting lost in a story is one of the greatest joys of life. I’d get in trouble for getting a little too lost in a story when I was supposed to be reading a textbook and instead had a romance between the pages of the book. Funny enough, one of the classes I read the most in was English. I met my English teacher years later in an airport, totally random, and we laughed about the memory, though she did read my book and then critique and grade me shortly after. I got a 94%, not perfect, but in her class that was about the most you could get so I took it and laughed and laughed.

But it’s not always all laughter with writing. Recently I was really struggling with a book concept. I’ve been trying to come up with a new series and wanted it to be different from the other two mystery series I have written. I kept running up against walls and being turned around by a tornado of doubt. I doubted my process, my ability, my smarts when it came to writing in general and especially when writing mysteries. But I was determined and nothing gets in my way when I dig in my claws. So I kept working with it and after many twists and turns, going back to the writing books I’d read when I wrote my first mystery in 2004, and pacing so much the dogs were tired from following me, I did it! And a new series was born. I wrote the partial and it’s ready to be sent to my agent. And while I wait for that, I’m writing the next Tallie Graver Mystery with glee and with the absolutely knowledge that no matter how far down the rabbit hole of doubt I get, I can always find my way out.

In anticipation of that book coming out, here’s the current one that just had its debut on 11/27!

Window of opportunity . . .
Most house cleaners don’t do windows, but Tallie Graver loves leaving a pane of glass streak-free and sparkling. After a dirty divorce from a filthy-rich jerk, she's started her own cleaning business to make ends meet. On her latest job, prepping a renovated bed and breakfast for a grand re-opening, she's standing outside on a ladder, wiping off a grimy pane, when she spies a man on a bed through the glass. But the B&B isn't open for business yet—and the man's not sleeping. Her family owns the Graver Funeral Home, so Tallie knows a corpse when she sees one.

The victim is a shady building inspector with a reputation for handing out passing grades for a greased palm. With the local police resistant, Tallie launches her own investigation, before she gets a rep as a town crank. But it's going to take more than a squirt bottle and a squeegee to clean up this mess. With the help of her gal pal Gina, Tallie searches for a killer's motive. But she'd better be careful, or it'll be curtains for this window cleaner . . .

Available now from your favorite retailer!


Misty Simon always wanted to be a storyteller…preferably behind a Muppet Animal was number one, followed closely by Sherlock Hemlock… Since that dream didn’t come true, she began writing stories to share her world with readers, one laugh at a time. She knows how to hula, was classically trained to sing opera, co-wrote her high school Alma Mater, and can’t touch raw wood. Never hand her a Dixie cup with that wooden spoon/paddle thing. It’s not pretty.
Touching people’s hearts and funny bones are two of her favorite things, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. She lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel or three. She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at
Connect with Misty:

It's the time of year for a nice mystery to curl up with under your favorite blanket. Have any of your former teachers read your writing? Did you sneak-read books in school? Ever think about being an investigator yourself? Do you find B&B places to be a little spooky?

Thanks, Misty. 

I'll be back next Wednesday for IWSG. Read and stay warm until then, fans.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Diane Burton: One Red Shoe

Please welcome my friend and successful author, Diane Burton. She has an interesting origin tale on how her book came about.

Thanks so much, Susan, for inviting me to your blog and asking me to tell your readers how my story came about.

One Red Shoe started as a writing exercise during a writers’ meeting. We were given a prompt—someone was running toward you at a train station—then wrote for a half hour. The first thing that popped in my mind was: the man running toward her in the subway station wore one red shoe. From there, my imagination took over.

I began writing that story back in the late 1990s. It went through many revisions. In 2004, while at a writers’ conference, I talked some friends into riding the NYC subway with me to check out a research point. I’m not sure how many times I submitted the story to editors and contests with mixed results. Finally, it was contracted with The Wild Rose Press in 2013. This August, my rights were returned and, after more revisions, I self-published it last month. After almost twenty years, One Red Shoe is how I envisioned it. My point? Never give up on a story you believe in.

It Happened One Night meets Knight and Day
When elementary teacher Daria Mason left Iowa for a writers’ conference in New York City, she didn’t expect to come home with a wounded spy. Daria’s life in Small Town, USA is too predictable. She fears turning into a spinster living out her days with four old bachelor brothers. Determined to change, she won’t go into her thirties the same person who let life pass her by. She just wishes she was as strong as the kick-butt heroine in her stories.
Sam Jozwiak works for a shadow agency that gathers intel vital to U.S. security. From the moment he steals digital files from a Russian Mafia kingpin, Murphy’s Law takes over. No matter how he covers his tracks, the kingpin’s assassin finds him. Only because the assassin’s sidekick is such a klutz does Sam escape. With intel too hot to trust to even encrypted email and those two hot on his trail, Sam arrives at a rendezvous in NYC to find his contact is a no-show. Then, the assassins arrive. He’s hit twice by ricochets from the unaware klutz. What’s worse than getting shot in the butt? Accepting help from a tourist.
When Daria races through a restroom, she belatedly realizes someone else is there—a bleeding man. Back home, her farm is a veritable menagerie with the injured cats, dogs, and birds she’s rescued. She can’t turn away from a wounded man, especially when she suspects he’s in law enforcement like her brother. She’ll patch him up and be one her way. He asks for help getting him out of the building. She agrees, but that’s it. He needs medical help. Okay, she’ll get him to a doctor and that’s all. She can’t miss the chance the next morning to present her story to an editor. But when Sam is too weak to go on, she sacrifices the opportunity.
Thus, begins a road trip that takes them from NY to Iowa with the assassins right behind them. Daria proves she is stronger than she thinks. When Sam’s plans keep falling through, she takes charge and keeps him safe. Over five days of close quarters and intimacies shared in the dark, she falls in love with him. They finally get Sam’s intel to the right people, the bad guys are arrested and Sam returns to his old life, leaving Daria with a broken heart.
The old Daria would have given up. The new Daria goes after what she wants. She will rescue Sam from himself. It just takes longer to convince him she’s the best thing that’s ever come into his life.

One Red Shoe is available at:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan, close to their two children and five grandchildren.

For more info about Diane and her books, visit her website:

Connect with Diane Burton online

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert:

Have you ever been inspired to make a novel out of a short story or simple writing exercise? Do you have a story that your worked on for years until you polished it into what you believed it could be? Anyone else wondering how cold Diane and her family are in Western Michigan?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Skye Kingsbury: The Dictionary of Flowers and Gems

The Dictionary of Flowers and Gems by Skye Kingsbury Part One: Something for Readers “The Dictionary of Flowers and Gemstones” contains specialized lists on subjects such as love and affection, friendship, courtship, and refusal. This list covers beauty: Amaryllis: Radiant beauty, Worth beyond beauty Cherry Blossom: Beauty, Female power, “Life is beautiful but transient” (Japan), Sexuality (China) Daisy: Beauty, Loyal love, Patience, Purity, Simplicity, Iris: A message promising love, Beauty, Faith, Majesty, “My compliments”, Perfection, Valor, Wisdom Jasmine: Beauty, Elegance, Friendliness, Grace, Sensuality Lily: Charm against evil, Death of a loved one, Female beauty and sexual attractiveness, Fertility, Majesty, Purity, Wealth Lily, Orange: “I burn for you”, “There’s a flame in my heart” Lily, Pink: “You are pretty” Lily, Tiger: Pride, Riches Lily, White: “It’s heavenly to be with you”, Majesty, Modesty, Perfect beauty, Purity Lily, Yellow: Fun, “I am walking on air”, Happiness Orchid: Beauty, Love, Many children, Mature charm, Refinement, Thoughtfulness Snowdrop: Beauty of spirit, Consolation, Hopefulness, New beginnings Violet: Faithfulness, “I return your love”, Modesty, Sweet beauty Water Lily: Beauty, Enlightenment, Love, Mental purity, Mystic powers, Purity of heart Part Two: Something for Writers I am both a writer and an artist, and quite often I like to include flowers in my work—I often choose the flower(s) with the meanings that fit the best. But I kept finding myself having to search not only multiple books, but also the internet to find a flower with the meaning that I wanted. This led to the creation of “The Dictionary of Flowers & Gemstones.” I use it in my own works now that it's complete, and it has its own place in my shelf of resources. That’s the lesson I learned: If you can't find the resource that you need, make it yourself. You don't have to settle for the half-done books when you can write the complete one yourself. It might be a lot of work, but you won't be digging through thirty texts for the information anymore. Part Three: Book Blurb and Buy Links Sunflowers for health and lavender for chastity; chrysanthemums for wealth and bachelor’s buttons for celibacy. For every emotion and feeling, the Victorians used flowers, bushes, and trees to express it. Not just love, attraction, and desire, but also doubt, indifference, slander, and cruelty. They created beautiful bouquets and tussie mussies to express their connection to the natural world and also their emotions — not all of them pleasant — to each other. We’re rediscovering this bygone way to communicate our deepest thoughts and emotions and “A Dictionary of Flowers and Gems” can help. We’ve taken over 2,000 plants, supplied their scientific name, and arranged them from Aaron’s Beard ([Hypericum calycinum]: Invincibility, Protection) to Zinnia, yellow ([Zinnia]: Daily remembrance, Remembrance). We also sorted the plants according to emotions, from Abandonment to Zeal. Finally, we created specialty lists to cover emotions such as courtship, love and affection, beauty, and refusal, making it easier to create themed bouquets and gardens. A bonus section lists more than 400 gems and crystals and their associated powers and benefits. See which ones strengthen the chakras, encourage feelings of peace and calmness, radiate love, and fortify your self-confidence. “A Dictionary of Flowers and Gems” provides an easy-to-use reference for all practitioners of the floral and gemstone arts. Amazon Amazon Kindle Kobo Apple Part Four: Short bio and media links My name is Skye, and no, it’s not my real name, but it’s the one I go by more often than not. If you’ve noticed that it’s somewhat familiar, it’s probably because you’ve stumbled across my Twitter or Tumblr, Earth_Fire_Skye. If not, then don’t worry too much about it. I’m twenty-one, though not for long if the passage of time has anything to say about that, and I enjoy many hobbies, which range from reading and writing, to drawing and crocheting random stuff. Currently, I live in a town in somewhat southern Pennsylvania with my dog and cat who I love very much, even if they do have the tendency of driving me nuts. Skye Kingsbury’s Link Peschel Press

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: November 2018 Episode

It's time for the first Wednesday monthly IWSG blog hop. Thanks to all the hard working people behind IWSG and especially to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting the whole awesome group. Please visit the website and find the entire IWSG list of hop participants.

Each month there is a voluntary question participants can answer if they'd like.

How has your creativity evolved since you began writing?

Not sure I have an answer to that, but I'm interested in reading what other people say to this query. I would say that I've evolved a lot as a reader. I read across more genres than I did when I first started. I also am a pickier reader and buyer of books.

This past two weeks have had some ups and downs for me as a writer. Big downer was my third quarter royalties report. Ouch! Not buying that Rolls Royce yet. But then, I received a contract for my second book in my Star Ship Refugees series and then!!! two days later my publisher sent me a contract for the third book that isn't even written yet. I've never received a contract before the work is completed before. I'm thanking my small but mighty publisher, New Concepts, for their confidence in me. If you go look, you'll see my newest cover first and foremost on the publisher's homepage. Despite the low earnings, I'm plowing forward.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers

One of my writer friends shared this post listing a number of writing contests covering the next few months. Maybe you can find one that interests you, and many of them are free entry.

The end of Daylight Savings Time always seems like the start of winter to me. I do get a lot of writing done in the winter, but I hate the cold. You're probably tired of hearing that. I do enjoy the scent of numerous fireplaces at work as it cools down, and the fresh air on a frosty morning.

The nose can distinguish between a trillion different smells.   The Old Farmer's Almanac

Speaking of the Old Farmer, I've been shopping for my 2019 planner. Still haven't found one I like better than my trusty Old Farmers Planner so you might be graced with lots more tidbits from it next year. Hope some of them make you smile.

"You have to believe in happiness, or happiness never comes." Douglas Malloch

Do you have a discerning nose? Has being a writer helped you be more creative? Do you love or hate Daylight Savings Time?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Suburban Stockade by Teresa Peschel

Suburban Stockade by Teresa Peschel Part One: Something for Readers. My book “Suburban Stockade” is a series of essays laying out how my husband and I made our lives more resilient, allowing us to better cope with the vagaries of life and the very uncertain future bearing down on us. I really believe that anyone can do this. You start where you are and move on from there. That does not mean it’s easy. It does mean considering the various aspects of your life: is your life what you want it to be? Does your life suit your values? “Suburban Stockade” is not a series of tips (although I do have some, addressing topics I’ve never seen addressed elsewhere such as the Window Dance and daylighting), nor do I wear my tinfoil hat very tight. Everything we did, my family and I, the choices we made to live on less, consume less, and do what was right for us and not for the consumer society around us, now allows us to do what we do today. We are self-published writers. Are we rich? No. Are we hanging on? Yes. And we can continue to do so. We have some resilience and we are not at the mercy of the bank. Part Two: Something for Writers Kings use gold. Gentlemen use silver. Peasants use barter. Slaves use debt. Why did I choose this aphorism? Because writing, for most of us, won’t bring in truckloads of money. However, if you are willing to live low on the food chain, the income generated by writing may be all you need. You can be freer. You can become more financially independent. You can use the power of “NO.” You can become a full-time writer and quit that job you hate. Part Three: Your book blurb and buy links: “Suburban Stockade” is Teresa Peschel’s manifesto memoir about her quest to drop out of the rat race, embrace her peasant ancestry, and prepare her family for an uncertain future. Peschel describes not just how we got here, but how we can escape, by not playing the game where the rules are set by corporations and economists and rigged by politicians and the media. Escape into a world where we pay down debts, save money, buy a home we can age in, keep ourselves secure, and cut spending through simple tasks such as insulating our home, hanging laundry, searching for mongo and obtainium, and effective grocery shopping. “Suburban Stockade” will not teach you how to garden, fill your arsenal, and prepare for zombies and the fall of civilization. It will teach you the value of organization, public libraries, heating and cooling your home through the Window Dance, enhancing your home’s natural light, installing hedges and fences to improve your privacy, learning the rudiments of sewing and cooking, and grocery shopping like a Jedi master. “Suburban Stockade” is a manifesto, a polemic, and a chat with your smart neighbor over coffee about your families’ futures. It is for people who seek answers to the dissatisfaction and apprehension they feel. Following its advice can’t prevent the bad times from coming, but it can cushion the shock when they arrive. Trade paperback: Kindle: Nook: Google Play: Part Four: Your short bio and all media links to you: Teresa Peschel lives with her family, her dog Muffy, and two mostly useless cats in the Sweetest Place on Earth. She has long been interested in sustainability, resource depletion, and finding a balanced life, not too much and not too little. Why take more than you need when other people and animals need lives and space too? Teresa Peschel’s links Peschel Press

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG: October 2018 Version

It's October already. Fall is here though the weather this week is more like late August style. Looking forward to cooler nights. It's also the first Wednesday which means IWSG monthly blog fun. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, we're all able to be part of this supportive group. Find the entire list here and join us in reading some terrific blogs today.

Best wishes to all who have entered the latest anthology contest. There are so many terrific writers in this group that I'm glad I don't have to make decisions about what stories are selected.

The IWSG question of the month:

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

I know many writers have been helped through a difficult time by writing. That is not me. When some major event occurs in my life, I don't write. Writing is a job to me. One I love and enjoy, but it's not where I go as an emotional outlet. 

The first book in my newest space opera romance series is now available on Amazon. The Alien and the Teacher has me very excited to be writing about space again. The second book in the series is on its second set of revisions and the third is started. Adventure in the stars with a bit of romance.

On clear nights in the darkest places, approximately 3,000 stars are visible to the naked eye. The Old Farmers Almanac

On the personal front, my granddaughter is a real joy. She learns new words every day. We dance to music a few times per day. Play chase outside. Go on at least one field trip per week. (State museum last week) Do the shopping and cleaning. Go to library reading class once per week. And that doesn't count all the reading and playing with toys we do. You'd think I'd be exhausted, but she energizes me. Grandma has to keep up.

"Children have more need of models than of critics." Joseph Joubert

Poldark is back on PBS. It started its 4th season last Sunday. The show gives an insight to the plight of the poor and the callousness of the rich and landed in England in the years post-American Revolution.

None of the new shows have caught my interest totally. I watched the new Magnum, because who isn't curious to see how anyone can replace Tom Selleck? It's okay so far. Watched the first Manifest and tuned out in the middle of the second episode. Lot of mystery but it was moving too slow for me. The Gifted is back and again, it's okay. I'll stick with it for a while.

Any new shows catch your interest? I'm looking for recommendations. Is your writing every a comfort or is like me, the job? Signs of fall in your neck of the woods?