Monday, June 29, 2015

Piles and Lists

Today I'm posting at the IWSG site and telling everyone the secret to getting published. And don't forget that Wednesday is the monthly blog post for IWSG. There is still time for you to join in by signing onto the list.

Due to the recent plumbing issues, the ceiling in my office needs painted. The damage was slight but my husband will not stand for one small water spot on any of our ceilings. Since I had to move my desk for him to take care of it, I decided it would be a great time to shampoo the carpet. But back to moving my desk.

There were piles and piles of loose papers that I've kept for one reason or another. A big stack of them are my notes from the writer's conference I attended back in May.

I also had a small collection of pages I've torn from various writing magazines like Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers. An article about Metadata. Another on using Goodreads in your marketing plan and another about creating loglines and blurbs. Then there's a stray page with some fitness ideas on it. When I was teaching I collected those by the dozens.

All that loose paper makes it a challenge to move my desks. There there are the written lists and a stack of business cards I collected at the aforementioned conference. People I want to stay in touch with.

I realized all this stuff fell into the category of things I intend to do someday. But I'm busy on my WIP so I keep stacking those things up. But like the realization that it was a good time to shampoo the carpet in my office, I realize this isn't the best time to indulge in those things. Write first, catch up later.

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst." William Penn

Do you collect articles and make lists of things you intend to study further or use at some time? Do you ever rearrange your writing space? Do you have a list of things you want to work on that have to do with writing but aren't writing?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Finally

Still waiting for that plumber. Everything cleaned up but one bathroom out of use until he gets here. It's not a job I would want, but plumbers are really in demand and make good money. Probably because we become so desperate for their help, we're willing to pay anything. He promises to be here Saturday, nine days after our first call.

Last week, Spacerguy honored me with the Creative Blogger Award. Thanks Spacerguy. It means a lot when someone with such a cool blog recognizes me this way. Spacerguy blogs about Star Trek and other things sci-fi related. His posts are always interesting.

The rules:

1. Thank the award-giver.
2.Share 5 facts about yourself
3.Nominate 10-20 bloggers for the award.
4. Pass on the rules.

So many of my friends are on blog hiatus for the summer or have been named by one of my other friends for this award, that I'm not passing it on at this time. I reserve the right to name you all at a later date.

Five things about me you might not know. (This part always makes me think I'm a boring person.)

1. I have an incredible green thumb. If I plant it, it grows and grows and grows. Don't know why.
2. Though I have degrees in Health and Physical education with a science minor, my true academic love was always math. Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, they all just made sense to me.
3. There are 3 bars in our small town. If my husband and I go into any one of them, one of our former students buys us a drink. Whether we want it or not.
4. I named my boys, David Michael, Michael James and James David. Good old fashioned Biblical names and if I had to yell at them, I knew I'd get at least part of the name right. Except for when I called them by the dog's name.
5. My family never went on vacation when I was growing up. I was eighteen the first time I went to the beach with a friend.

Do you know Spacerguy? How long have you waited for a plumber or repairman? How old were you when you first saw the ocean? Ever call your kids by the wrong name or have your parents do that to you? Don't you love math? It's so logical.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Keep on Swimming

I've been busy this week in many ways. If you haven't had a chance yet, stop by the IWSG site for a great craft article by Jessica Page Morrell on Crutch Words. Also today I wrote a quick post at the A to Z Challenge blog about making sure people know who you are.

Here in the Northeastern States, we've been getting rained on every day for nearly two weeks. I love summer but the weeds are starting to think we're living in a rain forest. Everything is dripping wet all the time and part of my yard looks like a swamp. I even found a lost crayfish in my pool one day. He was alive when I rescued him but I don't know if he made it after I pulled him out and put him back in the swamp.

Beyond all that, we had a plumbing issue in one of the upstairs bathrooms. You know what that means. Water dripping through the first floor ceiling and then all the way into the basement since no one was home at the time of the disaster. Still dealing with that.

But I had lunch with a friend yesterday from my teaching days. We see each other a few times per year and catch up. She's older than me and listened to all my woes as my children were growing up. I love that woman. So that was a high point.

Keep on Swimming
My writing is going well and I love my characters. My children are having good years. Two sons have been promoted at work with better money and good benefits. My daughter is having a great time and Oman. The elite language program only picks 30 college students from across the country to participate and she's at the top of the group in Oman. Her Omani instructors ask her to speak at one of the universities because she is so fluent and able to do questions and answers.

Kelley in Oman

Some days the swamp, the dripping ceiling and the wet carpet try to get me down, I feel like I'm swimming upriver. Then I think of all the wonderful things in my life and I know better. I'm floating on a raft in a warm swimming pool and life is grand.

Did you visit Jessica's post on IWSG? Is your name visible on your blog? What bad luck hit you lately? What are you grateful for recently?

Monday, June 22, 2015

CassaSeries and On IWSG

Three wonderful things are happening today. Over at the IWSG site, Jessica Page Morrell is our guest. If you haven't heard of her and you're a writer, you probably should have. She's sharing some expertise today on words we overuse. I hope you'll stop by.

Today is also the day you can purchase your very own IWSG tee-shirt. Designed for our members
by the incredibly talented Retro Jeremy Hawkins, this is a must-have for all insecure writers. I already ordered mine and might have to get another one. Isn't it lovely.

Today is also the exciting release of CassaSeries, all three space adventures by Alex J. Cavanaugh in one package and for one low price. 

By Alex J. Cavanaugh 
ISBN 9781939844118
Price - $5.99 eBook boxed set
Science fiction/adventure (FIC028010) and science fiction/space opera (FIC028030)

The Amazon Best-Selling Series!

CassaStar - Few options remain for Byron. Slated to train as a Cosbolt pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth to his instructor, Bassa. As war brews on the edge of space, Bassa must make a decision that could decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission destined to stretch their abilities to the limit?

CassaFire - Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters behind him, the detection of alien ruins sends him to the planet of Tgren. Forced to train a Tgren named Athee and deal with an eager young scientist, he feels invaded. Tensions mount as the ruins reveal a potential weapon, plunging him further into the chaos. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

CassaStorm - Commanding the base on Tgren, Byron watches as a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the planet. When the war hits Tgren, it triggers nightmares in his son. The ancient alien ship begins transmitting a deadly code and the probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago returns. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Find it here:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.

I'm sure you're seeing CassaSeries in a lot of places today. More than ten? Do you know Jessica Morrell? Do you have any of her books on your reference shelf? Do you like to buy book series in bundles?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sharon Ledwith Re-release

Children are the keys to our future. 

And now, children are the only hope for our past.

Book Information:

Title: The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

Series:  The Last Timekeepers, Book #1

Author Name:  Sharon Ledwith

Genre(s): Young Adult, Time Travel, Middle Grade

Tags: #‎YAlit‬ ‪#‎timetravel‬
Length: Approx. 180 pages

Re-Release Date: June 17, 2015

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing

About The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Amazon Purchase Links:

Amazon US ~
The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

Amazon CA ~
The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

Mirror World Publishing Purchase Link ~
The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

Goodreads Link:

Follow the tour to read Guest Posts, Reviews, Excerpts, and Spotlights:

Meet the Author:

Unearthing the uncanny one book at a time.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website:

Sharon’s Blog:

Sharon’s Facebook Page:!/seledwith

The Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page:!/pages/The-Last-Timekeepers-Time-Travel-Series/373953795955372

Twitter: @sharonledwith:

Amazon Author U.S. Page:

Amazon Author U.K. Page:

Goodreads Author Page:

Goodreads Book Page:

Google+ Page:
I'm thrilled today to turn my blog over to my friend, Sharon Ledwith, as she re-releases her book, The Last Timekeeper. Sharon was one of my fellow authors at Musa when that small press closed its door. She's been so encouraging to other authors as we reeled from the shock of losing our publisher. Sharon wasting no time in mourning and found a new home for her book. And now you can check it out again and enter her contest.

Enter the Giveaway:

· A signed paperback copy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

· A custom crafted Babel Necklace

· A signed trading card

· A signed postcard

· Two ‘The Last Timekeepers’ wrist bands

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Coordinated by:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


If you haven't checked in on the IWSG blog lately you need to do that. For the last month, you're read some of the tidbits I've learned at the writing conference I attended in May. I can't begin to share the many things I learned and the amount of networking I did with other writers. More of the good stuff will be shared at IWSG later this summer.

If you can attend a writers' conference, I highly recommend it. You'll come away filled with energy and ready to park yourself at your keyboard. And now, thanks to the work of L. Diane Wolfe and others on the IWSG staff had put together a new page listing conferences near and far. There might be one near you. Some are genre specific but many are for all writers, poets, short story authors as well as novelists and non-fiction writers. Think of all the things you can than share with the rest of us.

Also, don't forget to check in on the contest page on IWSG. So many novelists I know have gotten an agent or editor interested in their book by entering a contest. And it is a great thing to use in a promotion if you've won a contest once your book is published. You might be interested in something on that page.

Hopefully, everyone has recovered from the Sunday season finale of Game of Thrones. A few story lines are similar to the book and a few have deviated. I'm pretty sure the next season will come around before the next book comes out. So all the characters are pretty much in trouble and we'll have to see if they survive. There are a few decent characters on the show so I  hope at least a few survive the hiatus.

Summertime TV fare I'm enjoying or looking forward to: Hannibal, Defiance and Haven are back on or will be. I also like TNT's Murder in the First. I'll probably try The Dome again and check out a few new shows on SyFy channel. I'm also going to see Jurassic World sometime this week. Looks like fun.

Have you attended a conference or entered a contest recently? How much did GoT finale shock you? Any TV you're enjoying this summer?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Turn the Heat Up

It's hot outside in Pennsylvania. High humidity and temperatures 90 degrees or more for this week. I love this weather though I know a lot of people aren't fans of this time of year. You'll find me doing my walking and jogging in the middle to late afternoon or perhaps mowing the grass. But I also understand the dangers of indulging in my love of the heat.
My daughter in Oman loving
the heat

The most common health risk this time of year when working or playing outside is heat exhaustion. High humidity makes it difficult for a human body to cool itself by sweating as it usually would. So a heat index at 90 or above means your body is really struggling to deal with the heat. Ways to take care of yourself:
Avoid the hottest part of the day to exercise and do work. ( I admit to seldom following the advice.)
Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is every important for avoiding heat illnesses.
Use the shade if you must be outside.
If you or another feel nauseous, faint, immediately try to cool off with wet cloths, a cool shower and by drinking lots of cold liquid( without caffeine or alcohol)
Confusion or someone who doesn't c respond to efforts to cool down means a medical emergency.
If you or another stops sweating, this is another sign of an emergency.
More details at WebMD

I'm also turning the heat up in my current WIP. Raising the stakes so my protagonists have to face their fears and figure out what it is they really want. I heard a really good speaker at a conference where the subject was theme and premise. We did a couple of exercises that helped us narrow out them to just a few words. My theme for most of my space opera romances if that 'humans want to live free.' Humanity will rise against oppression. Eventually.

Do you know the central theme of your novel? Do you like the heat or hate it? Have you ever suffered or come close to heat exhaustion or helped someone who has?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I'm having more fun with this first draft than I usually do with such a beast. The sprint journal is helping me keep my ideas in front of me and in order. I love my characters so I'm excited to sit at the keyboard and write their story every day. Also, with everyone out of the house, I have a lot of time alone to work on my writing.

I recently read an interview with Patrick Rothfuss. You may remember I posted about one of his books during the A to Z titled The Name of the Wind. His second novel, The Wise Man's Fear was
also a great novel. That novel was published in 2011 so it's over four years I've been waiting for the next one in the series. Not as bad as George RR Martin but I'm getting a little impatient. That is until I read Patrick's interview.

Despite the amazing success of his novels, Patrick Rothfuss is a family man first. He also uses his blog for charity fundraising. He does a lot of touring and spending time with his fans. Book #3 is int he works but he seems like such a regular guy with his priorities in order. And he mentioned in the interview that he does 'hundreds' of rewrites for each book. Is that impressive or crazy? But his writing is quality so his process works for him.

Another thing Patrick mentioned in his interview is how his degree as a chemical engineer influences his writing. If you've read his books, you understand what he is saying. I find my science background creeps into my writing too. He also makes the point that writers come from very diverse backgrounds and levels of experience. Not all writers have degrees in journalism or creative writing.

Ridley Pearson mentioned at the recent conference I attended that he does a minimum of four rewrites but eight is not an unusual number. I usually do three drafts before I send anything to my publisher though some books have suffered more rewrites than that.

On a personal note, I won't be posting this Friday as my husband and I celebrate our 33rd anniversary. He'll probably buy me flowers and a gift card to a bookstore. He told me he needs some new socks. LOL. I love that man. A quiet dinner out together will be celebration enough for us. We're so content.

"In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on." Robert Frost

Can you imagine doing 100 rewrites on one of your books? Does your degree or day job creep into your writing? Do you feel like your priorities are in order?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Why You Walk Away?

I've set a goal for myself in completing my latest WIP but I'm falling behind. Hours when I should be pounding out new words and getting that sloppy first draft done, I find myself walking away to do other things. Read those tempting books on my TBR pile, wile away times on social media, weed the flower beds. do some cleaning and other things productive and not. I shouldn't be doing that.

Why do I walk away? Probably for the same reasons lots of people walk away from lots of things. I put the writing aside when it gets hard. It's hard when I get stuck in a scene. When I don't know how to move from this plot point to the next one. When the dialogue doesn't feel right. When I know the emotions in a scene are very important and I can't find the correct words. All those things that make writing good prose difficult. Sometimes those things even cause a writer to abandon a story.

How do I fight that urge to avoid the difficult parts? I've learned a couple techniques. When that feeling of it being too difficult comes over me, I make myself stay at my computer and write for just five more minutes. Or just one more paragraph. Sometimes that alone is enough to get me past the hard part or see a way through it. Another I've started using is called a Sprint Journal. We have a guest on IWSG later in the summer who will explain what that is. If I do end up leaving my writing chair, one of my other options for finding a way past the hard part is doing something mindless while I try to think my way through. A walk with my music. mowing the grass, weeding, cleaning, baking, those many things where my hands work and mind can mull over the problem.

"Creativity is the cessation of stupidity." Edwin H. Land

"Don't think about making art, just get it done." Andy Warhol

Before on this blog, you've heard me lament the loss of Borders bookstores. The BAM that took its place just doesn't measure up. My daughter, who is studying in Oman for the first half of the summer, sent me this picture. Needless to say, she's having a great time in that faraway land. Why has Borders survived there and abandoned us here in the US of A?

What makes you walk away from your writing? How do you keep going when the words are hard to get down? Did you know Borders lives on in parts of the world?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Good Habits and Already Home

I posted on this blog a few months ago that it takes about 3 weeks at a certain behavior to make it a habit. As a former health teacher, I appreciate that good habits have to be worked at. I try to walk or jog at least one hour 5 or 6 days per week. I floss nightly and go to the dentist every 6 months. Later today, I'll be visiting the dermatologist for my yearly checkup.

I've probably mentioned on her a few times that I grew up on a family farm. That meant hours and hours in the sun for all those years. And I played sports through high school and college. More sun. After college, at the old age of 21, I started my career as a PE teacher, coach and then watching my own children play sports. Lots and lots of sun. So for almost twenty years now, I go visit the dermatologist. Use that sun screen, everyone, please. And visit that dermatologist anytime you're not sure if something is as it should be. That's my summertime lecture.

Another habit I've picked up over the years is writing at night. 10 pm to midnight are my best hours. I wish I could change that but I haven't managed it yet.

In other real news. Heather M. Gardner's book Already Home: A Macquire's Corner Novel is available to day. Find it on:

Amazon  B&N  Kobo

Coffee shop owner Maggie Maguire doesn’t trust the new police chief her father hired to protect Maguire’s Corner. He’s a stranger, cold, bossy and annoyingly handsome. But, Maggie’s witnessed a serious crime and now someone’s trying to kill her. The man that aggravates her most might be the only one that can help her. 
Police Chief Jack Munro likes his new job and his new town, and unfortunately he also likes the stubborn but beautiful town sweetheart. His self-imposed hands-off Maggie policy is about to be put to the ultimate test when he must keep her close to protect her while he tracks down a ruthless killer. 
Determined to ignore Jack’s charms, Maggie attempts to help him unravel the mystery but when their lives hang in the balance she must decide how much she’s willing to risk to save the man she suddenly can’t resist. 

Writers' meeting tomorrow so I'm pretty excited about that. Then some time writing and reading on the front porch.

What are your plans for the weekend? Do you always use sun screen? What good health habit do you practice? Are you going to check out Heather's book?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IWSG: June Already

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for Insecure Writer's Support Group when writers from all over the world join in the blog hop started by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. Please share your insecurity of the moment or if you have none, share what is going so well that you're riding the high wave. And please tell us how you got there. This is a hop so find the list of participants on the IWSG site. If you haven't already, sign up and join us.

During the next few months, I have a previously published book being released by a new publisher. The new publisher is actually my long time romance publisher where my romances have enjoyed modest success. However, this previously published book isn't a romance. It's an epic fantasy, the first book in that genre that my publisher has taken on.

Like many authors who work with small presses, I've gotten to know the people running the business. When my publisher heard about the two presses going out of business who had contracted my epic fantasies, she offered to take on my books and make them the first in a new line. She's taking a chance on my books, on me. I'm feeling the pressure. Will this pay off for her? Do I deserve her Susan Kelley writing fantasy as Susan Gourley,as a way to draw my romance following to the new books but still distinguish them as a different genre. I'm very nervous about the entire endeavor.
trust? She's created an awesome cover and came up with the idea to use my romance name on the cover,

In other news, I recently read an article in Writers Digest where the author of the piece on promotion talked about hiring a marketing firm, especially if you're a new author. This is where it gets amusing. She suggests planning a 2-3 month campaign at minimum and expecting a reputable marketing firm to ask for a monthly retainer fee of $3,000-7,000. LOL. Even an author signing with a traditional publisher would need a big signing advance to come up with that. Am I wrong to wonder to whom this article was directed?

Some wisdom to get me through the final edits of my next romance novel.

"Be curious, not judgmental." Walt Whitman

"Three, helping one another, bear the burden of six." German proverb

I'm hoping for a few family members to help me finish up some major landscaping projects so I'm going to throw the German proverb at them.

Don't forget to visit others on the list at IWSG.  What writing venture made you nervous lately? Do you spend thousands of dollars per month on marketing? Can I borrow some of that?

Monday, June 1, 2015

5 Blunders: A List by Heidi Hormel

It is my pleasure today to turn my blog over to Heidi Hormel. She is just as entertaining in person and in her writing as she is in this blog post. Enjoy!

List. My Kingdom for a List.
I’m a guilty list lover so for that reason, I thought I’d share my list (in no particular order) of the Five Blunders I regularly spy with my editorial eye (I know this now opens me up for everyone checking my books for these).

The Classics: Its for it’s and their for there or even they’re. But what about rode and road or to/too/two. English is riddled with homophones (words that sound the same but do not mean the same thing). The contractions are easy to figure out. It’s or its easy? Can you say it is? If so, then it’s it’s.
Available now

Quote Marks Run Amok: Just as air quotes are over used and have become their own joke, placing quotes around a word does not emphasize it. That’s what italics, bold, and all caps are for. Quote marks around a word, unless it is a direct quote, is to show a word is being used in a NEW and DIFFERENT way.

Semicolons: Nope. When used to connect two thoughts, it’s just better to break the sentence into two rather than use the semicolon. By the way, semicolons prove nothing except you’ve had a grammar class somewhere along the way. They do not class up a story.

Buzz Wordery: Get thee to a nunnery. (I’m on a Shakespeare roll today.) No paradigm shifting or thinking outside the box or even freemiums. The only way to go is to use language that was NOT created by marketers, public relations folk, or corporate communicators. These linguistic tidbits may even be worse than clichés—and you know to not use those, right?!

Commas: Writers either hate commas and only use them when placed there by an editor OR put commas everywhere, like the bling of the English language. There are hard and fast rules about comma usage, but their use can also be very nuanced and less black and white (cliché alert). Figure out your style and comma accordingly (and, yes, I purposely verbed a noun—and just did it again). I won’t get into the Oxford comma which has been known to cause armed conflicts among Wordies.
Coming in August

Bonus Item—For proofreading help, checkout Word’s text to speech function. It has made my proofreading 50 times* better (*Not scientifically proven).
Finally, remember spellcheck and all of those other nifty tools are not editors. An editor is the person who makes a story its best because she (or he) understands the unwritten rules of language, the expectations of readers, and the voice of the writer. Ain’t no machine can do that.

A former innkeeper and radio talk show host, Heidi Hormel has always been a writer. She spent years as a small-town newspaper reporter and as a PR flunky before settling happily into penning romances with a wink and a wiggle. Her first two (published) novels are from Harlequin American Romance: THE SURGEON AND THE COWGIRL (Book #1, out June 1) and THE CONVENIENT COWBOY (Book #2, out Aug. 4). Visit her online:; Facebook, Heidi Hormel, Author; Twitter, @HeidiHormel; and follow her on Goodreads, Heidi Hormel.

Heidi hit some of my favorites. I had an editor once who wanted to change my sentence structure and use semicolons all over the place. Does it drive you crazy to see the homophones mixed up so often? Do you let buzz words sneak into your writing? Love or hate commas?

Don't forget, this Wednesday is the monthly posting for IWSG. Are you ready to share something this month?