Friday, September 14, 2018

Where I Want to Be Right Now

My spirit craves the mountains, the rivers, and the trees. Writing in the outdoors with the breeze and the birds is invigorating, and I miss it! My husband and I are eager to go again before the snow falls, but there is so much smoke in the mountains from all the fires, I'm not sure we'll go. Until we can, I'll lift my spirits with pictures! :) 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#IWSG: 2018 Annual Anthology Contest

Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Theme: Masquerade
A Masquerade can be a false show or pretense, someone pretending to be someone they aren't. It can be a ball, a fancy dress party, it can be a mask. Open to interpretation.

Submissions accepted: September 5 - November 4, 2018

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (Double spaced, no page numbers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup . com (without spaces) before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges who will be announced September 5.

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

For more information visit:

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

#IWSG: The Number One Pitfall Writers Should Avoid

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which means it is time for The Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you've not heard of it before, check out the complete details by clicking here.

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

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

My answer: The number one pitfall to avoid is submitting your manuscript (to agents, editors, or anywhere else) before it's polished and ready. Revision fatigue is a real thing, and sometimes as writers, we think we just need to be done with the freaking thing. But either take a break from it and come back with fresh eyes or take the time to have a new critique partner review it. Then revise it again. How do you know when it's done? You'll know, because bells will sound, angels will sing, and the heavens will open and pour money down upon you. Just kidding. There's no way to know for sure, but if you push through the revision fatigue, get another set of eyes on it, walk away from it for a while, and then make one more pass, chances are, your manuscript will be better because of it. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Book Review: THE CHEERLEADERS by Kara Thomas

Oh, this was a terrific murder mystery that had me engaged from page one with just the right amount of suspense and tight writing. Scroll down for my full review.

July 31, 2018
Delacorte Press (Random House)
ISBN-13: 978-1524718329

Description from the Publisher:
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident--two girls dead after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know his reasons. Monica's sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they'd lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it's not that easy. She just wants to forget.

Only, Monica's world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad's desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn't over. Some people in town know more than they're saying. And somehow, Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn't mean anyone else is safe.

About the Author:
Kara Thomas has written for everything from her high school newspaper to Warner Bros. Television. She is a true-crime addict who lives on Long Island with her husband and rescue cat. She is the author of The Darkest Corners, Little Monsters, and The Cheerleaders. To learn more about Kara and her books, visit her at or follow @karatwrites on Twitter and @kara_thomas on Instagram.

My Review:

THE CHEERLEADERS, by Kara Thomas, is a terrific murder mystery with just the right amount of intrigue on every page. Kara Thomas is a wonderful writer, engaging my imagination on page one and keeping my attention through the very last page. 

As the fifth anniversary of the cheerleaders' deaths approaches, the main character, Monica, is determined to learn the truth, because Monica doesn't believe the stories that everyone else has accepted. She knows there has to be more behind how and why her older sister died.

Monica struggles to not only find the truth, but she also struggles to find her place in the world, making some questionable choices along the way.

Some of my favorite lines:

"The empty house has been the subject of my mother's bitching. All the house is doing is existing, not bothering anyone. It's exactly the type of thing that offends my mother."

"In my head, I break down the agonizing wait for Saturday. Twenty-four hours; nine class periods; one dance team practice; one awkward Friday family dinner at Ristegio's, the Italian restaurant in town; and one restless night's sleep. All hurdles to clear before I can talk to Daphne Furman."

" club boys plagued by ill-fitting jeans and cafeteria pizza breath."

"I knew what we were doing was wrong, and I didn't care because I was ready to set my perfect life on fire and walk away while it burned."

I highly recommend THE CHEERLEADERS by Kara Thomas to anyone who enjoys a twisty murder mystery. 

[I received an early copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]

Monday, July 16, 2018

5 Quotes About Writing

A quick inspirational quote always adds fuel to my tank. Here are five of my favorites:

As usual, you're welcome to share these pictures, but be sure to give proper credit to David Purse for the photos and link back to this post.

Do you have a favorite writing quote that motivates you? Please share in the comments.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#IWSG: Ultimate Writing Goals

Usually, this post goes up on the first Wednesday of the month, but since that is a U.S. holiday, the group decided to post today! So, YAY, it is time for The Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you've not heard of it before, check out the complete details by clicking here.

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

This month's question: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

My answer: My ultimate writing goal is to rank on the New York Times Best Seller list. That'd be cool. Really. Cool. I have received a couple of nice orange best seller banners on Amazon. That was cool, too! And yes, I took a screen grab (see below). Next on my ultimate goal list is to receive a starred review from a major industry reviewer like Kirkus or School Library Journal. But honestly, I must say, the ONLY goal I had for my first book, Who R U Really?, was for it to help at least one person by making readers more aware of dangers online. Goal achieved. I've received multiple emails and people have told me in person that the book helped them - even saved them. Sure, I could get a starred review or make a best seller list, but will that top having a reader tell me my book changed his/her life? Probably not. 

As writers, what we do matters. Sometimes we get stuck on a negative review and forget the positive reviews. We need to remind each other that what we do makes a difference ... even if only in providing an escape for a reader from a hectic day.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Book Review: THIS HEART OF MINE by CC Hunter

This Heart of MineThis Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW! This was the best contemporary YA I've read in ages. SO EXCELLENT from start to finish.

THIS HEART OF MINE by CC Hunter is a captivating page-turner, love story, mystery, and so much more.

The idea behind the story had caught my attention, before I ever read the book. Can a transplant recipient feel what the donor felt? Many recipients, including the author's own husband, have reported dreaming specific dreams related to the donor, with information the recipient could not have otherwise known.

Throughout this story, author CC Hunter made me feel ALL the feels: love, worry, anticipation, anger, frustration, sadness, fear, and hope. THIS HEART OF MINE was a non-stop roller coaster of emotions.

Some of my favorite lines from the book:

"Moving behind the mahogany desk, Eric drops into his dad's chair. It creaks as if complaining he isn't the man his dad was." (page 2)

"[Mom] squeezes me, then lets go. 'I love that scar. It saved your life. You are here because of that scar. Because of it, one day, I'm going [to] be in a dressing room watching you try on wedding dresses.' Tears slip down her face." (page 154)

"We changed the motto for graduation. It was Live for the Day. ... Our new motto is The Art of Making Tomorrows." (page 366)

Thank you, CC Hunter for such a fabulous story. I highly recommend THIS HEART OF MINE to everyone who loves to read.

View all my reviews

Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Review: THE DARK BENEATH THE ICE by Amelinda Bérubé

Oh, I love a creepy, thrilling, ghost story, and I was excited to be given the opportunity to read an early copy of THE DARK BENEATH THE ICE by Amelinda Bérubé. Scroll on down for my full review!

The Dark Beneath the Ice
by Amelinda Bérubé

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Expected Publication Date: August 7, 2018
ISBN: 978-1492657071

Description from the Publisher:
Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity in this compelling ghost story about a former dancer whose grip on reality slips when she begins to think a dark entity is stalking her.

Something is wrong with Marianne.

It's not just that her parents have finally split up. Or that life hasn't been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.

She's losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close. Something is after her. And the only one who seems to believe her is the daughter of a local psychic.

But their first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing's rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. Whatever is haunting her, it wants everything she has―everything it's convinced she stole. Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it thinks it's owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.

About the Author:
From Amelinda Bérubé's Goodreads Page, it reads, "I write about ghosts and monsters and other things that go bump in the night. My books tend to include a liberal sprinkling of weird Canadiana and the occasional zombie metaphor. I am an eternal fangirl for YA and SFF, but any book that makes me laugh, makes me cry, or creeps me out will have my heart forever. My very favorites tend to have a thinky, supernatural flavor and don't explain too much. In my other lives I'm a public service editor, a mother of two, and a passionate gardener. I live in Ottawa, Canada, in a perpetual whirlwind of unfinished projects and cat hair."

My Review:

Do you believe in demons? What exactly is a demon? I explore that topic more in this previous blog post of mine: Do Demons Really Exist? I mention demons, because THE DARK BENEATH THE ICE is a terrific, creepy story that poses many questions, one of which is: can a demon cause paranormal activity?

While the opening lyrical prose of this story was beautiful, it also left my mind swimming with confusion, but I trusted there was a purpose, which there was, thankfully.

THE DARK BENEATH THE ICE is a fun-filled ghost story that covers all the possibilities - the occult, religion, psychological imbalance, inner demons, and yes, even ghosts. However, if you don't like scary stories, the f-word, or girl-loves-girl stories, this one might not be for you.

If you like gasping aloud while reading, then dive into Amelinda Berube's fabulous debut novel.

The scariest element of this story was the examination of inner demons, because as a fully invested reader, you can't help but ask, "What parts of me have I been burying and denying? What would I be capable of if I truly accepted and loved myself? And on the flip-side, what am I capable of if I deny myself the love and acceptance I deserve despite my perceived shortcomings and flaws?"

We can't all be perfect ballerinas, but we can be the perfect individual we were created to be.

Some of my favorite lines from the book:

"It was quiet, but a comfortable quiet, a book-and-a-blanket quiet."

"We spent the second night on the beach watching a meteor shower. It was cloudless, moonless, the sky alive and infinite. Looking up into it made gravity seem precarious, like you could lose your grip on the world and tumble into the air."

[I received an early copy of this book for free from Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. This is no way influenced my opinion of the book.]