Wednesday, September 18, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop Put the Science in the SF

Welcome to the September version of the Author Toolbox Blog Hop created by Raimey Gallant. You can find the list of participants here and learn lots of ways to improve all aspects of your writing career.

I write fantasy and love reading it. But I have more than 20 science fiction romances published by a small press over the last twelve years. My educational background is science and I try to make sure even my science fiction still has the science part though not so much that I overwhelm my readers with too many dry facts.

My very first romance series was a post-apocalyptic Earth. The science part came into the apocalypse part. I was teaching health to high school students at the time and I always had one lesson on steroid usage. A wasting illness spread among humanity and consumption of a natural form of testosterone-laden berry gave people superior strength and stamina. It also carried exaggerated side effects of steroid use. Uncontrollable rage, infertility, and basically turned them into something less than human and very dangerous. I took a known fact about of the health risks of steroids and fictioned it up.

In another post-apocalyptic series, I took the futuristic hope of a universal vaccine and turned it into the near-end of humanity. The universal vaccine shut off the immune system of anyone who took it so a simple cold meant death. Hand the trait down to future generations, and the only survivors were those living in a domed city. EXCEPT, for the rugged individuals who lived off the grid and never received the vaccine. Vaccines and their supposed dangers are always in the news as is the search for vaccines for various ills. Again, I took known facts and fears and fictioned them up.

"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." H.G. Wells

I've used genetic engineering in one series, and again, this is a science issue sometimes making news headlines. Science learns more about human genetics every day. How far away from making super beings like the genetically engineered marines are in my Recon Marine Series. Yes, I fictioned it up.

Though I have a strong background in biology, I'm not a biologist. I know enough to be dangerous and incorporate those light facts into my writing in a way anyone can understand. Then I weave the fiction with the facts. Science fiction is born.

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."  Mark Twain

I think I invented a new word. Fictioned means to take some facts, exaggerate a little or a lot until the facts have morphed into fiction. 

Ho much science do you like in your science fiction? Does your educational background or life experience help you in creating stories? Don't forget to visit more #Author Toolbox Blog Hop.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IWSG: September 2019

It's the month when fall will sneak up on us and it's the first Wednesday so it's time for Insecure Writer's Support Group. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and his awesome comrades in arms, this group blogs once a month and shares wisdom and support. Find the entire group participating in this blog hop on this list.

This month's optional question:
If you could pick one place in the world to sit and right your next story, where would it be and why?

That is a tough question. First of all, I have an awesome office at home and I have it all to myself on evenings and weekends. It's pretty much perfect and I shouldn't be greedy and wish for something better. That being said, I would love to spend a week at a dude ranch in Montana where I could horseback ride in the morning and evening, walk for miles and enjoy the big sky and write in between being outdoors.

My daughter moved to Boston this past weekend to begin her PhD program. I'm not a city person but I appreciate the history of Boston and its many lovely spots to have a seat in a coffee shop and write. Harvard Square is one of my favorite. Yes, I could spend a week writing there.

The question for me, could I stay on task in those beautiful places? I'd like to find out.

"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." Labor speech, 1903, Theodore Roosevelt

Work on my next book is going slow as I dealt with knee replacement and helping my daughter move. This time her move isn't simply going back to college. It's a real move that will last 5-7 years. Those are my excuses for writing only about 15K words the past two months.

I'm back to watching my granddaughter five days per week as her teacher parents go back to school. Such a little bundle of joy. She's speaking in full sentences and knows all her letters. (Her dad taught her the alphabet by watching Wheel of Fortune) She's only 2 and a half as of today. On our agenda, more library programs and swimming once per week to start. She loves learning and trying new things. Play doh last week.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."  Chinese proverb

I'm also back to exercising 5 or more days per week. Since I have my knee fixed, I can actually do downhills again and use the elliptical more than one day in a row. I feel younger with my bionic parts. LOL

I have a writers' meeting tonight, so I'll try to visit as many blogs as I can before and after. I seem to keep volunteering for things I don't have time for.

"Experience is what enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again." Earl Wilson

I'm enjoying the last season of Killjoys. Only a few episodes left. I'll really miss those characters. The last season of Poldark starts later this month. I'm looking forward to the last season of Supernatural starting up in October. There's a new show this fall called Evil that looks interesting. Not sure anything else will catch my interest. Seems I'm depending more and more on Netflix and Amazon when I have the urge for a little screen time.

Do you have an ideal writing spot in all the world? Do you get yourself in trouble by too much volunteering? Do you like the coming of fall?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop Aug2019

Thanks to the amazing Raimey Gallant, this month brings us another chance to share some writing wisdom. Please check out the other participants on this list. I'm excited for all the new members of the bloghop this month. I learn so much every month, I can't recommend joining this group enough.

I've spent the last five days thinking about what I should blog about this month. I'm going through one of those phases where I feel like I don't know anything about anything. It's not the same as impostor syndrome which we all know about. It's a feeling that I'm  not expert enough on anything to give someone else advice. So I couldn't think of a topic to blog about. While mowing our huge lawn, inspiration hit me.

A blog is only useful if it draws readers. Drawing readers means I need interesting content. How do I come up with that content after blogging for over ten years? Here are some ideas I fall back on when I need a topic.

Guests!!! I love guests. Would you like to guest on my blog the next time you want to promote something. I try for one or two guests per month though the summer is a bit slow. I don't post excerpts, but I have some simple guidelines that means creating your post will only take you a short time. Contact me if you have something to promote. sgourleyauthor at gmail.

World Building!  I write science fiction romance and epic fantasy so lots of world building going on in my novels. A few short paragraphs giving examples of herbs or other medical remedies used in a medieval world can be fun. The food in a fantasy world like in this article at Mythic Scribes.

Five Things or Ten Things!  Lists are wonderful things and numbers attract the eye when it comes to reading blogs. Chuck Wendig does posts with guests where they share five things they learned while writing their book. Here's an example by Rob Hart. You can come up with your own lists. Like five reasons you love your local bookstore. Five things you hated about season 8 of GoT. Five books or authors that inspired you to become a writer.

Quotes!  By your favorite authors or quotes to inspire. Google your mood and you'll find lists of quotes. Or find them on Pinterest.

"Nothing is too small to know, and nothing is too big to attempt." Sir William C, Van Horne

"Some people are always grumbling that roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses." Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Workspace!  If you're like me, you rearrange and change your work space whenever you need to procrastinate. Share those pictures and make your fellow writers envious. Check out a few of my recent inspirational additions. My daughter bought me the globe for Mother's Day.

Do you ever run dry of ideas for blogging? What can you add to my list? Want to be a guest on my blog? Are you jealous of my globe and dragon?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG: August 2019 Version

The first Wednesday of the month means it's time for the IWSG monthly blog hop. Kudos to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this amazing group and to all the administrators who keep it running and moving forward constantly. Join us in supporting each other and find all the participants here.

I'm skipping this month's question. The only thing that ever surprised me about my writing was when one of my publishers closed and even that has happened so often I'm no longer shocked when it happens.

A writing issue I am addressing today is writers' groups. Do you know now much it costs to be a member of IWSG? Zero dollars. The runners of this group spend countless hours behind the scene, all voluntarily. I'm on the board of the state-wide, multi-genre group, Pennwriters. Again, everyone on the board volunteers all their hours and there have been many, many hours of work. Members of Pennwriters pay the low price of $45 per year and receive lots and lots of benefits including a discount to the annual conference that amounts to more than the price of membership. That brings me to my point.

I am a long time member of RWA, Romance Writers of America. For over twenty years, I've paid to be a member of this organization and then an additional fee to belong to my local chapter of RWA. Each year as my career moves forward, I feel like I get less for my money. I won't to into the details of that list, but to pay $99 for RWA membership and then $28 to belong to my local group, I want it to be worth it. And I no longer feel that it is. When my membership expires later this month, I'm finished paying out that money.

I'm sure there are other RWA members on this loop, and I would welcome your thoughts.

On a more personal note, this is a dangerous time of year to shop. All those back to school supplies are on sale. So many clever and cute journals, pen, paper clips, and sticky notes. How is a writer to resist even though I need none of it? I managed to buy only one notebook and two post-it notes.

My knee rehab is complete. My orthopedic surgeon called me his best patient ever. Back to walking an hour a day or doing a day on my elliptical.  Full range of motion and all the good stuff. Not quite back to writing 1,000 words per day but I'm getting there. Also, received another contract for the book I submitted in June.

I'm enjoying the last season of Killjoys on SyFy. My favorite show, The 100, ended its season last night and announced next season will be their last. Sorry to see it go, but I also like when a series knows when to end. I was very excited to learn that Amazon has renewed The Expanse for a 5th season before the 4th even airs. Endgame made me cry as much when I watched it at home as it did in the theater. Football season starts soon so I won't have much to say about TV except to complain how much football my dear husband watches.

Do you pay to be in any writing or other creative groups? Think RWA is too expensive? Do office supplies tempt you? See any good TV lately?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop July 2019

Welcome to the July 2019 version of #AuthorToolboxBlogHop organized by the amazing Raimey Gallant. To join or just enjoy all the great ideas you'll discover on this tour, find the entire list of participants here.

I shared in last month's Toolbox that I was having my knee replaced a few days after the hop. All went well and recovery is going smoothly and ahead of schedule. That doesn't mean I'm out jogging around the neighborhood yet, but I'm happy with the progress. On the not so good side, I can't sit at my desk for extended periods of time because my knee swells no matter how I try to prop it up and ice. So my writing progress on my current WIP is slower than I'd like.

My contribution to the Toolbox this month is likely a familiar craft item that all of us have dealt with throughout our careers. I received a contract for my 23rd romance novel from the small press who have published all  my romance novels. Each time I receive a contract, my publisher asks me for a blurb, a short excerpt to share on their website, and a one-liner or a logline. Some authors call it the 'elevator pitch', meaning it can be shared at short notice. Even after 23 novels, I revert to a formula to create my loglines. Here are the two I use most often.

When __________ happens to ____________ (he/she/they) must ___________ or face ___________.

When situation happens, protagonist must act to defeat antagonist and prevent disaster.

The five things I figure out before I write the logline are:
Situation, protagonist, the action, the antagonist, and the disaster. Once I am satisfied with the logline, I can use that same sentence  and expand it into the back cover blurb. Each of those five things can be expanded to a few sentences or combined into short paragraphs.

Do you use another formula for your loglines? Do you find them easy or do they drive you crazy? 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Connie C. Scharon: Protector of the Highlands

A warm welcome to Connie Scharon, a very good writing friend and someone who works hard on her career. Her books are exciting and her characters heroic while still being realistic. If your looking for strong heroines and men smart enough to appreciate them, her Scottish Historical books are for you. Take it away, Connie:

 For Readers

Ever since I was a child I have had a little of what people call second sight, weird dreams that later come true and some non-explainable premonitions. This made me fascinated by the power of the mind, so I decided to make my latest heroine learn how to hypnotize people in order to save herself. I interviewed a hypnotist to make her powers realistic, and I think this gave my latest Scottish Historical Romance, Protector of the Highlands, an interesting twist.

For writers

I self-published my first book in June of 2013 and was lucky enough to have it and my subsequent releases hit Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers’ List. I have published nine books since then. Eight in my Highland Legends series, and one crazy Time Travel Murder Mystery, which I loved, but no one bought. Bottom line is I still haven’t figured out what can make one a magical moneymaker and another have lack luster sales. Every time I do a release, I try to create interest in the book on my social media platforms, do paid advertising, and book signings. Recently, advertising my back list on Amazon has created increased sales across the series. You can do this if your book is Amazon exclusive.


A medieval romance and a murder mystery rolled into one twisted tale of love and betrayal!


A fan of dark and dangerous medieval Scotland, Connie C. Scharon writes Highland Legends, a Scottish Historical Romance series set in the fourteenth century. Multiple trips to the British Isles have continued to fuel her imagination and produce more stories, but that is not her only interest.
After spending thirty-four years in the medical field, she is weaving some of her hospital experience, visits to the morgue, and crime lab into some new mystery novels with a medical twist. No release date yet.

Have you ever been hypnotized or witnessed someone being hypnotized? Have you visited anywhere in the British Isles? Do you have any marketing advice to add to what Connie shared? Don't you love that book cover?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

IWSG: July 2019

Slow down, 2019! It's the first Wednesday of the seventh month meaning the year is more than halfway gone and it's IWSG blog hop day. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the online writing community of Insecure Writers Support Group is going stronger than ever. Find the entire list of participants here.

First of note, thank you to the IWSG administrators for spotlighting me in the most recent newsletter. You really brightened my day.

Second of note, thank you to the administrators for all they do. I was once among their numbers and there is a massive amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of IWSG to make sure the group remains dynamic and offers so many FREE services to writers. I'm on the board of another writing group and I'm currently buried under responsibilities to help run that group. Anyone who volunteers in such a way, sacrifices a lot of their own writing time to give to other writers.

Third of note is the monthly optional question:
What personal traits have you written into your characters?
Are we supposed to do that? LOL I do write my characters to have qualities that I hope I have. Loyalty, honesty, and love of family. Add an burdening sense of responsibility and you have a too perfect character. (Not that I'm perfect or even close) So, always add a helping of traits I hope I don't have. Mistrust, wariness of relationships, and of course, the damage that caused all that.

Fourth note for today, I apologize for not haunting the blogs I usually do. About twelve days ago, I had knee replacement surgery so I've had trouble sitting at my computer for any extended period of time. No worries, I feel great. My top-notch surgeon used high tech robotic surgery. I was in pretty good shape going in. Surgery at 10 am. Woke up at noon. Got out of bed at 2 pm with the nurses' help. Went home the next day at noon. Six days later and I was walking without any assistant devices like a cane or walker. 30 staples are coming out today and then it's just a matter of finishing physical therapy. Unfortunately, my new knee is not bionic and I can't run 60 mph.

Is the year flying by for you? Have any fellow writers or bloggers you really appreciate? Does your personal character show up in your fiction writing? Would you be comfortable with a robot wielding the knife in the operating room?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

#AuthorsToolboxBlogHop June 2019

Thanks to Raimey Gallant, this monthly bloghop of writers sharing resources is going strong. Happening the third Wednesday of the month, check out all the great advice and knowledge provided by the participants on this list.

Writer, Take Care of Thy Self

It's summer in my neck of the woods. The outside calls to me, and I answer as often as I can. Two days from now, I'm having some orthopedic surgery. It's a good time to remind myself of the things we all should be doing to take care of ourselves. Writing requires one to sit down at the keyboard but sitting too long and too often isn't good for our health. Neither is being alone with all those rejections and frustrations. I've put together a list of the ways I'll be taking care of myself during the next few months of rehab while still keeping on with my writing.

*Drink lots of water. So simple but many of us don't drink enough. Remember coffee and tea can be counted toward our fluid intake but watch out for too much caffeine.

*Get around eight hours of sleep and never less than seven. Sleeping is essential for our health. Our bodies need that down time to make repairs. Not enough sleep is linked to things like weight gain, diabetes, emotional health, and more. Read about a few of them here.

*Find your tribe of writer friends who know what your job is like. Avoid people who tear you down with negativism and toxicity. Have coffee with a fellow writer.

*Eat healthy. Summer means more fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat greens. Make a smoothie and throw in some Greek yogurt.

*Get away from the phone, the computer, and electronics in general. Even if only for a few hours.

*Exercise. Walk out in the sunshine. Enjoy an early morning stroll or an evening when the stars start to peek through. In my neighborhood, either time of day means deer and their new fawns are out and about. But watch out for skunks. LOL

*Read. Read. Read. Visit the library. Dig into that TBR shelf. Check out all the books on your Kindle. I read about two books per week even when I'm writing a thousand words per day. Vary the genres too. Read everything.

"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." Stephen King

Can you add some healthy advice for your fellow writers? How much do you read every week? Do you have a favorite smoothie or salad dish?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Windy Hollow by Tara Tyler

Tara had a long journey to get this book published!

Beast World MG Fantasy Series, book #3
by Tara Tyler
Available NOW!

In BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, Gabe and his friends go on a quest to save their school, blowing up all the rules, and discover their origins.

Then they go to CRADLE ROCK and meet some real live humans, scaring them into attack mode. The Beasts realize they have to spread the truth ASAP.

Now, school's out, and Gabe is ready for a break from all the drama...

Gabe and his friends fly over the Great Sea for the wedding of the century: a dragon prince and a beautiful harpy. But Gabe can't relax on this vacation. Besides competing in rigorous wedding events, he overhears the nearby human village WINDY HOLLOW is in danger from an evil human scientist and a vengeful were-ogre experimenting on beasts. Gabe and his friends risk crossing the mountains to help, despite several warnings. 

Maybe he's going too far this time, but he's in too deep to quit. It's do or die, hopefully not die!

Tara Tyler has had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After moving all over the US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her husband and one boy left in the nest. She has two series, Pop Travel (sci-fi detective thrillers) and Beast World (fantasy adventures), plus her UnPrincess novella series where the maidens save themselves. She's a commended blogger, contributed to several anthologies, and to fit in all these projects, she economizes her time, aka the Lazy Housewife—someday she might write a book on that... Make every day an adventure!

twitter: @taratylertalks
Instagram: taratylertalks

newsletter: tara tyler news

Check out the WINDY HOLLOW Release Blog Tour schedule:

6/20 - Heather Holden - How does she Create such Awesome Art?
6/22 - Ellen Jacobson - Interview
6/24 - Patricia Lynne - Keeping Magic Alive
6/26 - MJ Fifield - Fantasy World-Building
6/30 - SA Larsen - Special Newsletter & a Vlog?!
7/1 - Tara's IWSG post with updates and a Special Guest!
7/3 - Alex J. Cavanaugh - IWSG Day - Fantasy Movies
7/4 - Tonja Drecker - Kids in Books
7/8 - Christine Rains - Levels of Romance
7/10 - Heather M. Gardner - Binge Watching TV
7/15 - Tyrean Martinson - Hiking!
7/17 - Julie Flanders - Gotta Have Friends

And of course, there's a giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

IWSG: June 2019

It's the time of month again when this awesome group of writers join in the IWSG blog hop. Alex J. Cavanaugh started this group where everyone gets to share issues with their writing careers, good, bad, and just fun. Fine all the participants on this list.

This month's optional question: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

I write in two genres, science fiction romance and epic fantasy. I love both. Science fiction gives me a chance to include my science background and the space to make up some science. Almost all my science fiction is space opera though I have one dystopian series. I love epic fantasy with the chance to build a word and invent a magic system. I also love the idea of heroes and heroines that go on a journey to grow into the people who will defeat evil so good can triumph. I really like the tales where the protagonist starts out as a nobody who becomes the most important person in the world.

When the chess game is over, the pawns, rooks, knights, bishops, kings, and queens all go back in the same box.  Italian proverb

Hope your summer, if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, offers you some time to relax. I also hope you're not getting wet every day like we have been in the northeast USA. We had nearly twice the average amount of rainfall for the month of May. I have one more week of watching my granddaughter before summer vacation is here for her parents who are both teachers. I love her, but I'll enjoy some time without my adorable little shadow on my heels.

The new season of Luther is here and next month we have Stranger Things season 3, so something to look forward to. In the meantime, I'm doing some re-watches of my favorite shows like Haven. Poldark's most recent season is on Amazon Prime, so I'll take that in also. Anything you're binge watching or catching up on during the summer months.

Do you write in more than one genre, and if you do, do you prefer one over the other? Have any vacations planned for the near future? Are you in a part of the country that has been inundated recently?

Monday, June 3, 2019

Vickie Fisher: Tulips of Love

I attend one writing conference every year. It's great to meet new people and reconnect with friends from previous conferences. Once in a while, I meet someone who is instantly a friend. Let me introduce you to one such person. Vickie Fisher is the most amazingly upbeat person I've ever met. She meets life head-on and with a deep well of humor and understanding. It's dangerous to have dinner with her as she'll have you laughing so much, you might choke on your food. Her books are on my shelves forever. Here's Vicki:

For Readers

It’s common to hear stories about women leaving their jobs to become caregivers for their loved ones. But I wanted to tell a different story. A story of how a man loves his wife so much, that the thought of anyone else taking care of her is unthinkable. I truly believe that love is God’s greatest miracle, so I wrote Tulips of Love, a story filled with love, hope, and miracles.

For Writers

Recently, a friend threw my own words back at me, “not writing your book is you just being selfish.” It was like a slap to the back of my head. I am being selfish. What! How can you say that? Think about your favorite book, how it made you feel, how happy you were to be reading. What if that author had decided not to write? What if they were afraid and never put the words to paper? Instead of sharing it with you, they were selfish and hoarded it inside their head. You would have been deprived of their wonderful book. Being told I am selfish is the motivation I need to push me to write, to get my book onto paper, and to become another wonderful sharing author on the book shelf. How about you, will you share your story with me?


He was never so happy as the day they met, now he’s never been so scared to lose her.
Jeff and Michelle’s lives had felt as perfect as their love for one another. A successful family business, wonderful children, and the hope of a long life together… until an inoperable brain tumor threatens to destroy the happily ever after they thought was guaranteed. 
Will faith and sacrifice be enough to save the woman he can’t imagine life without?


Vickie Fisher writes inspirational fiction and devotionals. She also works for Amtrak as a Chief Entitlement clerk. She has three awesome children and adorable grandkids. After her husband died, she inherited nineteen beautiful acres and a whole lot of work in Carroll County, Maryland. She is waiting for her “Sam Elliot” to come riding in on his white horse. In the meantime, you can find her chasing goats from her flowers.

Have you ever had someone say something as motivating as Vickie's friend who told her she was being selfish? Have you known a relationship where the man was the one to give up his career and stay home to care for an ailing loved one? Have you read a book that gave you hope and inspiration?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Leaves of Fall by Patricia Lynne

Post one: Five facts about trees

Five Incredible Fact about Trees

It's only apt that since trees are a major character in Leaves of Fall that I share just how incredible they are in real life (despite not being able to shape shift into human form.) Here are five incredible facts about trees.

1: Trees can tell if deer are trying to eat them. Due to their ability to detect deer saliva, trees defend themselves by producing excess acids that cause their buds to taste bitter so that the deer will lose interest and leave them alone. (source)


3: One of the most dangerous trees in the world is the manchineel tree found in Florida and the Caribbean. Its sap is so poisonous and acidic that merest contact with human skin causes a breakout of blisters, and blindness can occur if it touches a person's eyes. (source)


5: Trees that live in cold climates stop growing during fall in anticipation of the first frost. Trees that had been embryos during cold winters stop growing a few weeks earlier than the rest of the forest. (source)


Armory was born into a post-apocalyptic world torn apart by war between man and nature. Trees are the enemy. But when she’s kidnapped by nomads and taken far from her home, a tree nymph is the one who comes to her rescue.

Birch promises he can get Armory home. He says not all trees wanted a war. Armory has no choice to trust him if she wants to see her family again.

Together, they trek across the ruins of America, meeting both human and trees who want nothing more than the fighting to stop. But the hatred between the two may be too deep to heal. Armory isn’t sure her friendship with Birch will be enough to convince the human race to take a chance on peace. Birch has a plan, though. He’s just not sure he’ll survive.

Snag on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or Smashwords for $2.99. (or 99cents if the pre-order price hasn't changed yet. ^_~)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Patricia Lynne is the author of Young Adult Paranormal, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi books. She actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head and began learning all she could about writing. That was the start of it, and she hasn't regretted a moment. When she's not writing, she's watching Doctor Who or reading about serial killers. She's an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn. She writes New Adult Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance under the name Patricia Josephine.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Find Patricia around the web.
Website -
Twitter -
Facebook -
Patreon -
Goodreads -
Amazon Author Page -
Smashwords -

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

#AuthorToolBox Blog Hop: May 2019

Much thanks to Raimey Gallant for running the monthly blog hop, Author Tool Box. I learn a few things every month from the talented and smart writers who participate. Find the entire list here. I try to visit every blog because I don't want to miss anything.

Like many writers who have been in this business for a while, I've had publishers close their doors or as one said, change their direction, leaving my published books as orphans. When this happens, there are two choices. Publish the books myself or find a publisher who will take on a previously published novel.

It would be nice if I never had to make that decision because the small presses I've been contracted with never went bankrupt. But it happens all the time. So far, I've had three different small presses go away while my books were with them. The first one declared bankruptcy and all the authors had their rights tied up for months. Fortunately, RWA stepped in with a legal team and helped us. My book hadn't even been published yet, but it was under contract.  I did learn that those bankruptcy clauses in contracts are meaningless.

A little more than two years ago, I had two different fantasy series with two different small presses. I had signed a four book contract with one and had two books under contract with the other. Both publishers closed their doors within weeks of each other and within days of one of my books being released. I had blog appearances and other promotions all lined up when it happened. At least both presses made sure to return rights without any prompting.

It's difficult to tell how reliable a small press is and if they will stay in business. I've avoided self-publishing because I'm too lazy to do all the work involved. I want to write, edit, and rewrite, not design covers or hire outside editors. I don't want to do formatting or deal with Amazon. So, my romance publisher, NCP,  offered to take on the four book fantasy series. It hasn't sold a lot but I trust the publisher to stay in business.

The second series has been sitting while I work on my romance career. I was determined to find a small press that would take on a previously published book. I've gathered three rejections and am waiting to hear back from another submission. I don't send out queries to just any small press. Here are the things I do first:

*Is their website professional?
*Is it more than a one person operation?
*How long have they been in business?
*How many books have they published?
*How many authors write for them?
*Are their book covers professional and attention grabbing?
*Do their books have good rankings and reviews on Amazon and Goodreads?
*I always buy and read at least two of their books in my genre to check quality of writing and editing.
*Check their social media to see if the publisher does promotion.

The small press I'm waiting to hear from fits all the above criteria. Hopefully, by next month, I can tell you if they've accepted my submission. If not, it's back to the search.

Do you or have you worked with a small press? Have you ever tried to place a previously published book with another publisher? Have you had the frustrating and depressing experience of having a publisher close on you?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

D. M. Burton: Rescuing Mara's Father

I'm amazed over and over again by the wonderful books available for young people compared to the number of titles I had access to at the MG grade level and especially science fiction stories. I don't usually include excerpts when I have guests on my blog, but this short one from Diane is too good to not include. Take it away D.M.

Thanks, Susan, for inviting me to share my new release, Rescuing Mara’s Father, a science fiction adventure. This was my first attempt at writing juvenile fiction (suitable for age 9 & up). My older grandchildren (ages 9 and 12) have always known I write fiction and that they have to grow up before they can read my books. An idea popped into my head about a teen girl living with her father on the frontier of space, the Outer Rim. I was busy writing the fourth book in my Outer Rim series, a science fiction romance and ignored the idea. But each night before I went to sleep, the story of the girl and her father returned. Sometimes, a writer has to listen to her Muse.

Every writer knows that somedays the writing flows, you’re “in the zone.” And other days, it’s a struggle. Writing about Mara and her father seemed to flow, most of the time. I’m a pantser, writing by the seat of my pants, instead of a plotter. Generally, I know what will happen in the story. The big, black moment in this story gave me fits. I think I rewrote it five times. But once I found the right scene, the rest of the book flowed.

My grandchildren are reading the book now. Grandson (9) says it’s a lame title. He offered to help with the next story. 😊 He’s nothing if not outspoken. I hope my younger readers (and their parents) enjoy Rescuing Mara’s Father.


3 friends, a hidden starship, a quest

Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.
Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he’s gone.
Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately.
Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.
Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.
Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. Her mentor, old spaceport mechanic, seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off their planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, Mara has to rescue her father.


“There you are!” Jako kneels next to me, his urgent voice and torchlight in my eyes wake me up.
I gasp, my heart racing. I must have fallen asleep. I was dreaming about being chased.
“I’ve been looking all over for you!” He lowers his torch and scoots back.
As I sit up, I shove my hair out of my eyes. My braid came undone while I was sleeping. Automatically, I reach up and use my fingers to comb through my long hair. Jako is breathing hard and heat rises off his small body.
“Why were you looking for me?” I ask as I rebraid my hair.
“I was afraid they got you, too.” He gasps for breath. “I didn’t see you when they took him on board, so I ran back to your house. The Dunpus brothers were laughing about how the goons hauled you away, screaming and crying. I knew they were lying. You wouldn’t cry.” His eyes grow wide. “You should’ve seen their ship, Mara. It was so cool. It was a—”
“Hold on. Took who?”
“Isn’t that why you came up here? To get away from them?”
“Them who?” I might be awake, but my mind is still muzzy. “Slow down. You aren’t making any sense.”
Jako grabs my arm. “Your father, Mara. Coalition goons arrested your father.”

Buy links:

Ebooks:  Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ B&N ~ Smashwords

Print:  Amazon

About the Author:

The first time D.M. Burton saw Star Wars IV: A New Hope, she was hooked on science fiction and space travel. The Star Trek movies made her want to travel to other planets. Alas, she is still Earth-bound. D.M. and her husband live in Michigan, close to their two children and five grandchildren.

Join D.M. Burton's readers’ group on Facebook.
For more info and excerpts, visit D.M.’s website:

She writes adult fiction as Diane Burton, where she 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.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website:

Connect with Diane Burton online.

                    D.M. Burton’s sci-fi adventure group on Facebook
Goodreads:   Diane Burton Author
Sign up for Diane’s new release alert:

 How cool would it be to live on the Outer Rim? I bet the stars are beautiful out there. Did a movie or book hook you on a particular genre? Can you beat Diane's five rewrites on a scene?

Monday, May 6, 2019

Optimistic Outlook

Whew, this writing business can get one down. Low royalty checks. Social media blues. Pirate sites and pirating writers. We can all afford to go after the thieves like Nora is, but we can cheer her on. Oops. I was feeling upbeat when I titled this post, but I might have depressed myself.

Those who wish to sing always find a song. Swedish proverb

Let me start all over again. About ten days from now, I'll be on my way to the 32nd Annual Pennwriters Conference. This year, the conference in being held in Pittsburgh, PA. It's about a four hour car drive for me, but I like driving. I like it best when I'm driving by myself. Lots of plotting gets done during that time. Once at the conference, I'll reconnect with friends I haven't seen for a year and make some new ones. There's is an amazing amount of energy and positive vibes during the three day event. I always come away with dozens of ideas and the motivation to do something with them.

In addition, there are speakers and workshops that will give me new ideas for editing, promotion, and networking. I'm on the Pennwriters' board of directors and this conference takes a lot of man hours (mostly woman hours) to put together. A lot of the work is done before time, but there's also things to take care of on the weekend. And all those hours are put in by volunteers. Most people know that but few take the time to thank all those people working behind and in front of the scenes.

Many online communities are the same. Maintained by volunteers. And they give us so much as they use their time, their writing time or family time, to keep websites and blogs current and helpful. I don't want to start naming the ones I visit regularly and benefit from because I don't want to forget any of my favorites. What I want to say is THANK YOU.

The upcoming conference, the newsletter I subscribe to, and all those websites that give me ideas and motivation keep me going even when industry news tries to knock me down.

Not sure how I'm feeling about this season of GoT. I was so excited about the season going in, but I'm afraid they might drop the ball on all the buildup they've done over the years. All the hints and prophesies couldn't be misdirection, could they? I'll have to wait and see.

On the other hand, my other favorite show, The 100, had a great first episode for this season. Hope it keeps up the twists and tension. And season 4 of Lucifer is coming to Netflix this week.

Also, please return to visit on Wednesday when Diane Burton will be my guest to talk about her MG novel, Rescuing Mara's Father.

In the bad news category, weather forecast is for rain nearly every day this week. Blah. The weeds are taking over my landscape. Please send a little sunshine by way.

When the Sun rises, it rises for everyone. Cuban proverb

Are you a volunteer for an online or other writing group? What motivates you to stay with your writing career if not the income?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

IWSG: April 2019

Welcome to the monthly IWSG bloghop. This amazing group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh years ago. LOL. Each month we share our concerns, give and take advice, and celebrate each other's successes. Find the entire list of participants here.

The optional question this month:

What was an early experience when you learned that language had power?

Can't think of a specific experience, but as I watch my granddaughter learn to talk, I believe that humans learn very early that language has power. Being able to communicate changes everything. She can let us know what she wants, what she needs, and comment on what's happening around her. Not all her words are clearly spoken, and I find myself acting as an interpreter for her with other people, but every day she learns a new word. It's always amazing to watch a child develop their language skills. She has many pieces of songs memorized and a few books such as Brown Bear.

I've finished that first draft of my next space opera romance that I expected to have finished a month ago. I'm letting it sit for at least another week before I start revising. Lots of works needs to be done before I send it off to my editor.

Happy May Day to all. The month of May come from the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. I wish Maia would slow down the growth of all the weeds in my flowerbeds. So much rain is making it impossible to keep up with them. I haven't even thought about planting yet.

Plan your year in the spring, your day at dawn."  Chinese Proverb

Game of Thrones has delivered on a terrific last season so far. I hate to see it end, but am also glad they're not trying to make it last beyond its story. Let's not talk about Avengers: End Game. Too soon.
Supernatural had an amazing cliffhanger to make sure I come back for its final season in the fall. The 100 returned for its short season on Tuesday so I have one show to keep me going through May and June. Killjoys will return sometime in the summer for its final season. Looking forward to it.

I started reading the Expanse books by James S. A. Corey on which the show was based. The books are pretty good. I've only read the first one and the TV series followed the books closer than most adaptations do.

Can't wait for fresh vegetables to be available at the local farmers' market. Cucumbers, sweet peppers, and berries of any kind are my favorites. I'm not so excited to have to mow the grass every six or seven days. A week without rain now and then would be good.

Are you ready for spring? Planting your own veggies this year? Any good TV you're looking forward to in the next few months?