Monday, December 17, 2018

How to Enjoy the Holiday Season by Christine Rains

Please welcome one of my long time blogging friends and chase away those shopping and entertaining blues.


Thanks so much to Susan for having me on her blog today. It’s that exciting time of year with lots of holiday events with family and friends. Even more exciting for me because I finished my shopping last month and don’t have to deal with the insanity of crowded stores!

For some people, they don’t get a chance to do their shopping until the last minute. My sympathies to you. All that noise, the rude people, crazy parking lots, the stress of finding what you need. The best way to deal with getting ready for the fun part of the holidays is to have a book with you all the time. As a voracious reader, I carry my Kindle with me everywhere. Waiting in line, I read. Waiting for a parking spot to open up, I read. There are also audiobooks if you want your hands free. Wrapping, cleaning, baking. You can get through a lot of books this month!

As an author, I lose writing time with the running around and visiting. While some writers love their little notebooks, I have an app on my cell phone where I can jot down ideas, or, if you’re really quick at typing, you can compose a poem or work on your current story. (It’s a free app called Writer Plus!) I usually retire early in the evenings when we have visitors, so I squeeze in a bit of writing time as I’m sitting in bed. If you’re an early bird, getting up before everyone else and putting on the coffee works as you’re sneaking in some words.

Enjoy yourself this holiday season. Savor the time spent with good friends and family, and give yourself the gift of not missing out on writing or a good book. You’ll be happier and that joy will carry through to everything else.

Of Gods and Sorrow (Of Blood and Sorrow, Book #2)
Stopping the undead will seem like child's play when the Cult of Ammut comes calling.

Even after losing most of her adopted family, Erin Driscol continues to console clients at Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home. Keeping the funeral business working smoothly is no longer the walk in the graveyard it used to be. Grieving demons are fighting in the halls. Eyeballs are showing up in teapots. And a so-called psychic and member of the Cult of Ammut claims Erin's boss Cort is a god. All Erin wants is a friend to lean on and a sense of normalcy. But as the cult kills people and repeatedly attacks the funeral home, she must stand strong or lose Cort to the Lake of Fire.

Author bio: Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She decorated for the holidays way too early this year, but it did make everyone smile. She’s a jolly member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. She has two novels and several novellas and short stories published.

Did you get your shopping done early like Christine? Do you always carry a book with you? How do you squeeze in come writing time over the busy season?

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?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bill Peschel: The Casebook of Twain and Holmes

The Casebook of Twain and Holmes by Bill Peschel

Part One: Something for Readers

While writing the seven stories in “The Casebook of Twain and Holmes,” I read a lot of works by and about Samuel Clemens. I read his speeches, his travel books, his memoirs, his sketches, and his short stories. There were also several books about him by his friends and even the family’s maid. From them I drew the pieces that I put together to form the man in the stories.

Here are a few of those personal pieces:

1. Mark Twain was his penname. The flesh-and-blood man was Sam Clemens, and his personality was very different from the humorist.

2. Clemens loved to tell stories. There was nothing he liked better than to sit with friend and talk about whatever came across their collective minds. He also had what appeared to be a bottomless fund of stories to draw upon.

3. When dining with his family, his interest in telling a story was so intense that he would get up and walk around the table, as if he needed to be in motion all the time.

4. He was not above stretching the truth until it was unrecognizable. One favorite story was of the Mark Twain imposter who toured Australia. When he fell ill, the state’s governor-general visited the fraud, and when he died, he was given a grand funeral. No such person existed, a fact confirmed by checking the database of Australian newspapers online.

5. Sam loved to smoke cigars, up to three dozen in a day. If a cigar wasn’t available, a corncob pipe would do. “I never regarded myself as an excessive smoker,” he told a reporter. “I never smoke when I am asleep, and I do not smoke more than one cigar at a time.”

6. He rarely read novels. He preferred nonfiction. He rarely read novels, and those he did seemed to infuriate him. Of Jane Austen: “I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” Of James Fenimore Cooper: “Cooper hadn’t any more invention than a horse; and I don’t mean a high-class horse, either; I mean a clothes-horse.” Of Oliver Goldsmith’s “The Vicar of Wakefield”:  “A singular book. Not a sincere line in it, and not a character that invites respect; a book which is one long waste-pipe discharge of goody-goody puerilities and dreary moralities; a book which is full of pathos which revolts, and humor which grieves the heart.” And Rudyard Kipling: “[He] did measureless harm; more real and lasting harm, perhaps, than any other individual that ever wrote.”

7. Reports of his volcanic temper are accurate. One morning, in the bathroom next to his bedroom, he became upset at the buttons popping off his freshly laundered shirts, and flung each one out the window of his Hartford home. He grew so enraged that he followed them with the rest of his shirts, then the collars, all the while cussing a blue streak.

Part Two: Something for Writers

The thing I learned about Mark Twain from reading his works is that his style was original. I never got the impression that he spoke boiler-plate English. He didn’t use a phrase that had been engraved on the readers’ minds so often that another iteration of it would leave an impression. Nor has time turned his phrases rote. People may quote him, but they do not imitate him.

Twain also saw his profession as a trade, not an art. He was a worker, and pen and paper were his tools. This can be seen in the writing advice he left behind. They emphasize the practical side of the writing profession, as seen in these quotes:

“Let us guess that whenever we read a sentence & like it, we unconsciously store it away in our model-chamber; & it goes, with the myriad of its fellows, to the building, brick by brick, of the eventual edifice which we call our style.”

“Read it aloud. I may be wrong, still it is my conviction that one cannot get out of finely wrought literature all that is in it by reading it mutely.”

Part Three: Book Blurb and Buy Links

Beloved Humorist. Best-Selling Author. ... Consulting Detective.

Now it can be told: Mark Twain’s adventures with Sherlock Holmes, Watson, Mycroft, and Irene Adler.

As part of his autobiography, Samuel Clemens dictated seven stories that he later ordered burned. Discovered at a Pennsylvania farm auction and edited by Pulitzer-Prize winning editor, Bill Peschel, they uncover the Mark Twain nobody knew: who interfered in a marriage proposal, organized a boxing scam, and went grave-robbing. A Twain who also caroused with a young John H. Watson in San Francisco’s Chinatown; needed Holmes’ help with a blackmail plot; tangled with Mycroft Holmes and kidnappers in Morocco; and ran up against Irene Adler and a vengeful German officer in Heidelberg.

Most of these stories — four featuring Holmes, and one each with Watson, Mycroft Holmes, and Irene Adler — appeared in the 223B Casebook series collecting Sherlockian parodies and pastiches. These tales are now available in this exclusive complete edition from the Peschel Press.

Part Four: Short bio and media links

Bill Peschel is a former journalist who shares a Pulitzer Prize with the staff of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. He lives with his family and animal menagerie in Hershey, where the air really does smell like chocolate.

The author of “Writers Gone Wild” (Penguin), he publishes through Peschel Press the 223B Casebook Series of Sherlockian parodies and pastiches and annotated editions of Dorothy L. Sayers’ “Whose Body?” and Agatha Christie’s “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” and “The Secret Adversary.” An interest in Victorian crime led to the republication of three books on the William Palmer poisoning case.

Bill Peschel’s Links

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

IWSG: September

September already and it still feels like summer out with heat index in the 100's. Whew! But it is the first Wednesday and time for IWSG, that magnificent group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and growing every day. Please visit other participants in this monthly blog hop where we share failures, successes, advice, and ask for help. You can find it all at IWSG and the list of members is here.

Optional question this month:
What publishing path did you take, and why?

I sought the traditional path to being published. The first few years, I submitted manuscripts to agents, editors, and entered a few contests. I used to keep those rejections, but it became a fire hazard. The entire time, I continued to work on my next book and attend conferences and join writing groups to improve my craft. There was so much I didn't know at the start. I eventually found a small press that I am still with, New Concepts Publishing, who publishes my romance novels. But along the way, I've had three different small presses go out of business while I was under contract with them. One of them gave no regard to their authors and RWA went to court for us and got our rights back where they were tied up in a bankruptcy case. Not pretty. I had another mid-sized publisher who decided they were going to change direction and they dropped over half their authors. I had three fantasy novels under contract with them at the time.

I'm still working on a fantasy novel that I intend to pitch to the big traditional houses and an agent or twelve, but it's a long way from ready. The path to publication is sometimes frustrating and is seldom a reaping of huge financial benefits. But as long as I enjoy writing, I'm going to keep at it. My most recent novel, The Alien and the Teacher, is the first in a new series of space opera romance. Getting this cool cover helps me to forget the frustrations. It is only available from my publisher at this time.

Anne R. Allen had this interesting post related to today's question. 9 Pieces of Bad Advice for New Writers

Some trivia from The Old Farmer's Almanac because I like Factiods.

At least 182 moons, including those around dwarf planets, are known to exist in our solar system.

A group of flies is called a business.

I have a less kind name for a group of flies. Living in the country with horses and goats living nearby, flies bring a little too much business to my house.

Back full time watching the granddaughter now that school has started. I'd need twenty pages to tell you how fun and amazing she is. Never thought I'd be one of those grandparents, but here I am.

Has your path to publishing been a smooth sail? Ever get some really bad writing advice? Flies getting in your business in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG: August 2018

Yes, it's August! We suffered the wettest July on record here in Pennsylvania. If you followed the national news about flooding in central PA, you probably saw some pictures of my hometown, including the infamous one of the groundhog clinging to the top of the fence. I'm ready for some drying time, Mother Nature. The local news announced last night that July, 2018 was the wettest month ever recorded for our area.

I'm honored to be a co-host for this month's IWSG blog hop. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this terrific group and all the people who help keep it going. You can find all the participants on this list. Try and visit some new folks today.

I'm sharing co-hosting duties with some terrific bloggers. Thank you, Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, and Lee Lowery.

This month's optional question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I would say don't wait. If you have a story inside you that you want to share, write it. Don't wait until the kids are older and you have time. Don't wait until you take one more class or attend one more conference. Butt in chair and write. Right now.

I'd like to thank the bloggers who hosted me for my mini-tour to promote the release to Exile's Savage Lady. I also want to thank my faithful followers who stopped into to comment on my various stops. You guys are the  best. If you missed any posts and would like to science up a little, here's the list.

The Whole Shebang What science subjects did I research for the Survivors of the Apocalypse Series?
Christine Rains  What is minimal viable population for humans?
Write With Fey  How a pandemic could end the world.
Paranormal Romantics Where would you want to spend the apocalypse?
Diane Burton  The Domed City. Can it save mankind?

Let me close this post with some wisdom from The Old Farmer's Almanac.

If an average man never shaved, his beard would grow to be about thirty feet long in his lifetime.

A group of goldfinches is called a charm. (Lots of these pretty birds around my abode.)

Waste not fresh tears over old griefs. Euripedes.

Do you have some good advice to those starting out in the writing business? What's the longest beard you've ever seen? Are you dry where you are, or suffering like us with more rain this week?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Tempting Friendship by Patricia Josephine

I'd like to welcome Patricia Josephine to my blog today. I love it when I learn the characters in a book are based on actual people. Take it away, Patricia.

Real Life Inspirations in Tempting Friendship

When it comes to my writing, I enjoy slipping little details from my real life into the story. It may be a name for a character mentioned in passing or somewhere the main character went that I’ve been to. They’re like little Easter eggs that people in my life may recognize. Here are seven that I slipped into Tempting Friendship.

Gerry the beer snob.
Okay, so my husband isn’t exactly a beer snob, but he likes to try different beers and judge them. He would get along with Gerry great because they could discuss the different flavors of beer and he could trust Gerry to give him a good recommendation. Also, it’s a joke between hubby and I that any spilled alcohol is alcohol abuse.

Grand Taqua Falls
GT Falls is a mash up of Grand Rapids, where I have family, and Tahquamenon Falls which is a huge waterfall and tourist trap near me. Other things in GT Falls that I pulled from real life is 28th Boulevard. There’s a street in Grand Rapids called 28th Street and it’s so busy that any construction has to be done at night. My grandma used to live on Hazel Street, and my last job was on Spruce Street.
The Crown’s Inn
The restaurant is based on one I worked at called Weber’s Rustic Inn, but Adira’s office is based on the office at my last job, Penny’s Kitchen. It was tiny and cramped with a filing cabinet that had stuff piled on it.
Rum and Light Coke
No, I’ve never heard of a customer saying this, but working in restaurants since I was 18 I have heard some pretty weird requests. Like the fish tastes too fishy. That did actually happen. Cajun spice is too spicy. A friend once asked for pasta primavera without the veggies. That’s the point of the dish. Otherwise, you’re just having alfredo. Then there’s the customers who order an item and when you bring it out say, “I didn’t order that.” That one happened a lot.
Quinn and Gerry wanting to kick customers out.
That happened to me a lot during summer time. Restaurants are crazy busy where I live then because of tourists, and after four hours of non-stop cooking, you just want them all to GO AWAY. More than once I begged waitresses to make it stop or to lock the door. If I was cranky, I’d swear about customers.
Keane not wanting to no-show.
You know what really sucks? When your coworker doesn’t show up for their freaking shift! Yeah, there’s a reason Keane doesn’t do it because I’ve had it happen to me countless times and would never dream of doing it to another person. You’d think this would just happen with slackers, but no, I once had a professionally trained chef no-show.
Quinn and Keane
I had real people in mind when I was imagining them. Youtubers, Liana Kerzer and Jeff Holiday where kind of who I pictured when writing. Of course, when it came to the cover, I couldn’t find a model with long dread locks and no shirt, so I had to make do.

Other Easter eggs are Geralt is a reference to The Witcher games, as is Witch Hunter 3, GTA, and Street Rage are references to real games.

I hoped you enjoyed learning about the Easter eggs I threw in the story.

At first, Quinn isn’t impressed by Keane. He’s cocky and has sex on the brain. The polar opposite of her. Despite their differences, something blossoms between the two. 

Never one to take things seriously, Keane is an incubus coasting through life without a care. When he meets Quinn, her lack of reaction to him piques his interest. No human has ever been able to resist him. 

As Keane and Quinn struggle to understand what is going on between them, something sinister rocks their world. Young incubi are vanishing, and Keane's friends go missing. Someone is after his kind. When Quinn is kidnapped, Keane must uncover who is behind the abductions and get to her before it's too late.


Amazon      Smashwords       Kobo     iTunes    B&N

About the Author

Patricia never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can't stop writing.

She writes New Adult under the name Patricia Josephine and Young Adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

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.

Social Media Links:
Website:        Twitter           Facebook            Google+                 Newsletter                      Goodreads   

AmazonAuthor Page             Smashwords 

My kids are really picky about their beer so I appreciate a character like Gerry. And people not showing up for work is the worst. Do any of these character remind you of anyone you know? Did you ever recognize a location in a story as somewhere you've been?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Light of Redemption by Natalie Damschroder

Today's Wednesday guest post is my good friend, Natalie Damschroder. Learn a little about how her writing process and how her latest novel came about. After you meet Natalie, please visit me today at Diane Burton's blog where I'm sciencing again. I just invented that word.

Thank you so much, Sue, for having me as your guest today!

This is the release day for my second superhero book, The Light of Redemption. I’m always looking for a twist on common themes or ideas, and for this book, it was a small-town superhero. Most of us know superheroes as fighting crime in big cities, and that was the case in my first book, The Color of Courage. In that book, the twists were that 1) my heroes operated as a team and weren’t anonymous; 2) the heroine’s superpower is seeing emotions rather than something physical.

Something for Readers

I had the title for my new book before I had the story. That is EXTREMELY unusual for me! I struggle with titles. The Color of Courage took me 45 minutes with a thesaurus after the book was completely written and revised. I knew The Light of Redemption would be the second book before I finished writing the first one. I decided to give the light to Harmony Wilde, a librarian in the town of Pilton, Ohio, which exists only in my imagination but right next to the town where I went to college. She uses her ability to manipulate light to help protect the people in her town (mostly from each other). The redemption was a need given to Conn Parsons, one of those big-city superheroes who’s had it rough and has come to town to hide…I mean, retire. His presence blows up Harmony’s life, both figuratively and literally.

Something for Writers

One thing I learned writing this book was to trust myself, and that’s advice I’d give to any writer who might be struggling with a story. I set this aside many times, sometimes deciding I wasn’t coming back to it, for various reasons mostly relating to things out of my control. But my creative center (muse, inspiration, drive, whatever you want to call it) just refused to let me. Whenever I read through the book to re-orient myself, I found it to be much stronger than I remembered. Not lacking room for improvement, of course! :) But ready to be deepened and tightened and fulfilling. I hope the result is that people will be entertained and happy when they finish the last page.

The Light of Redemption

Harmony Wilde is a unique kind of superhero. She operates as Eclipse in a small town in Ohio instead of the big city, on her own instead of on a team, and in near-complete anonymity. For the most part, she’s satisfied with using her ability, manipulating light, to bust drug dealers and prevent drunk drivers—until Conn Parsons comes to town.

Conn has been a superhero all over the world. Dissatisfied with the little bit of good she can do in comparison, Harmony asks Conn to train her. He refuses, feeling responsible for superhero and civilian deaths in big-city incidents. He doesn’t want to risk the same thing happening here. But the attraction between them is hard to fight, and so is her determination.

Then small-town problems get bigger, and it looks like both Eclipse and Conn are being targeted by CASE, the Citizens Against Superhero Existence, who are responsible for those city disasters. When her town seems destined to become collateral damage and the stakes get personal, Harmony must tap undeveloped powers and convince Conn to work with her to stop their mutual enemy. The only problem is that when they succeed, it may give Conn the redemption he needs to move on, away from Pilton…and away from Harmony.

About Natalie Damschroder

Natalie J. Damschroder is an award-winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance, with an emphasis on romantic adventure. She has had 25 novels, 7 novellas, and 16 short stories published by several publishers, most recently with Soul Mate Publishing, Entangled Publishing, and Carina Press. She recently debuted her Fusion Series, a young adult paranormal adventure series, with Full Fusion, as NJ Damschroder. Learn more about those books here.

Natalie grew up in Massachusetts, and loves the New England Patriots more than anything. (Except her family. And writing and reading. And popcorn.) When she’s not writing, she does freelance editing and project management. She and her husband have two grown daughters, one of whom is also a novelist. (The other one prefers math. Smart kid. Practical.)

 Do titles come easy to you, writers out there? What is your favorite super power? Ever use real towns in your stories?