Monday, November 21, 2016

Tess Hilmo, Amy Allgeyer, Terry Lynn Johnson and me...Plus Holiday Safety and Skies Like These Book Giveaway!

Tess Hilmo

Tess Hilmo

Amy Allgeyer Cook

Amy Allgeyer

Terry Lynn Johnson 

Terry Lynn Johnson

What do these three writers have in common? Me! I know they have more than that in common....They are all amazing writers and each one worthy of you buying and reading their books. All of them write books that make you stay awake wanting to finish reading them...even if it takes you all night. So as you get ready to do some holiday shopping remember books are a wonderful gift!

Tess Hilmo just released her third MG book! 

Cinnamon Moon

Newly Released!

Skies Like These

Skies Like These was short listed for the Spur Award and made a few state lists as well

With a Name like Love


With a Name Like Love was on the School Library Journal Best Books of 2011 List, and Booklists' 'Top 10 Historical Reads for Teens' list and a few state lists (Maine, No. Carolina, Utah and a few others) and also won the Rodda Award (which is the National Church and Synagogue Assoc Literature Award) and two Whitney Awards.

All are available on Amazon. You can click over and follow her on Amazon! I did!

Dig Too Deep

Won the Gold Medal for YA Fiction in the Moonbeams Children's Book Awards.
Won First Place YA in the Idaho Author Awards.

The Iron Bodkin: Lux St. Clare ~ Book One

Ice Dogs

  • 2015 Children's Choice Book Award Finalist
  • 2014 Cybils Award Finalist
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • American Booksellers Association Best Children's Books of 2014
  • A Scholastic Book Fairs Selection 2014
  • Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids 2014
  • Int'l Literacy Association—CBC Children's Choices 2015
  • International Reading Association—Terrific Read Alouds
  • Black-Eyed Susan Book Award—Maryland 2015-2016
  • Maine Student Book Award—Maine 2015-2016
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award—Vermont 2015-2016

Dogsled Dreams

Did you know your reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel and even Goodreads make a difference to authors? At a recent critique group session one very published writer said you hope to have at least fifty reviews on each of your books.


If you like someone's work, let the world know!

The Lovely Tess Hilmo gave me a copy of SKIES LIKE THESE  to give away to one lucky reader. I will announce the winner (chosen by on December 6th. To enter leave a comment on this post. (Please tweet if you have time...These are wonderful writers!)
Holiday safety:
(Tis the season to get scammed!)
Keep an eye on your doorstep! Don't let packages you are expecting walk off with strangers!
Know your charities! Only give to known charities. That person on the corner with an apron on may be scamming you.
Watch out for malware e-cards! Be careful what you open in could get something you don't want downloaded. Use your virus protection!
Use caution on giveaways and raffles! Don't give away personal information or your mobile phone number! Only sign up for things that are through reputable organizations.
(See you back on December 6th to find out if you are the winner.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

When do you know your story is ready?

When do you know your story is ready?
A great question posed by the leaders of IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group).  

For me it's when I can't think of another single thing to add to take away from my story to make it better. I've re-read, revised and rewritten until my eyes are crossed. Various critique partners have read the piece or work and I've reworked it again and again. I've read it out loud. I've acted it out in my mind. At this point I say to myself, "It is done." So I send out a few queries and wait to see if.... I'm really done.

Well, so far, I've been done a few times. I have quite a few (I jest) more projects that are maybe, perhaps, nearly...done.

When do you know?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Self Promotion is Hard, but Sharing Your Writing Partners Good News is AWESOME-Go Theresa Milstein!!


This beautiful woman has been one of my writing partners since about 2009. I'm so happy to be able to celebrate her book cover reveal today! Congratulations my dear friend!!!!

 From Vine Leaves Press Time and Circumstance by Theresa Milstein Publication date: March, 2017 

“The trunk of this family is lost to history / Photo fragments remain as shadows” With subtle wit, and poignant imagery, the unrelenting passage of time connects the vignettes in Theresa Milstein’s Time and Circumstance. This reflective collection of real and imagined poetry and prose, speculates on an erratic childhood, the uncertainty of adolescence, and the reality of parenthood, through flashbacks of love lost and found. “This everyday, why again, sometimes / ignored tune has measured time in notes, / seconds, minutes, days, years, and so it goes. / It’s a measure of the man he will become.”

Time and Circumstance
by Theresa Milstein

Publication date: March, 2017

“The trunk of this family is lost to history / Photo fragments remain as shadows”

With subtle wit, and poignant imagery, the unrelenting passage of time connects the  vignettes in Theresa Milstein’s Time and Circumstance. This reflective collection of real and imagined poetry and prose, speculates on an erratic childhood, the uncertainty of adolescence, and the reality of parenthood, through flashbacks of love lost and found.

“This everyday, why again, sometimes / ignored tune has measured time in notes, / seconds, minutes, days, years, and so it goes. / It’s a measure of the man he will become.”

Time and Circumstance
Please click here to put Time and Circumstance by Theresa Milstein on your want to read list.  (I did!)

Theresa is a dear friend and I am so excited for her! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of her book!

Monday, September 12, 2016

TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal

Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016


In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her Blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

Want the first chapter free? Sign up HERE.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Gift Of Visiting The Setting Of Your Novel (MS) With Your Grandfather (Samuel George Johnston) and Meeting Blog Friends

May is one of my favorite months. Most years I am blessed, by my brilliant husband, with a trip to my homeland to visit my family. Samuel George Johnston never ceases to amaze me. We lost Nanny three years ago, yet at 95 he still pushes on with no issues. To my surprise, Grandad George purchased an IPad before I arrived in England and was already on his way to mastering it, but he had a bigger surprise for me...

We were going on a road trip! Grandad (the correct spelling according the 1918 British dictionary) drove us from the south where he lives to Leek,in the north, where he was born and the setting for my MG manuscript (yet to be published). It took five and a half hours to get there, but we arrived safely and after a short nap we took off on foot...

The buildings, paths and walls were magical. I hadn't been to Leek since I was a little girl. My memories and research about the location were everywhere I looked. But I learned more about my grandad than I ever expected...

On the first night in Leek, we walked two miles to The Pride of the Moorlands. It looks like a typical pub, but it's far from that. This is the spot my grandad was born. Before the pub was built, a WWI corrugated steel Operating Theater stood here. After WWI, housing became an issue. My great grandfather acquired the Operating Theater and it became my grandad's birthplace and first home.

The owner of the pub and the patrons treated Grandad like an old friend. We each had a drink and then walked the two miles back to the former Talbot hotel, now a Premier Inn.

Grandad's second home was a couple houses down from the pub. After a quick pic...

We strolled down memory lane.

The Waterfall Cottages in Endon were beautiful and they were the birthplace and home of my lovely Nanny Phyllis.  They had been renovated, but...

The path behind the house leading to the privy had not been altered. My heart and mind raced with excitement as I saw pieces of my grandparents' love story unfold in front of me.

Nanny and Grandad were married at this Methodist church, not far from her home. Nanny taught Sunday School here.

We think this home was were Nanny's dad worked. It is one of the many places I mention in my MG Manuscript.

We walked up Sandy Lane. It connected Grandad's childhood home to his school. It ran alongside the cemetery.

Seeing my Great Grandfather Samuel George Johnston's grave touched my heart. From his grave you could see both the Pride of the Moorland and Grandad's second childhood home. He was a pretty amazing man. He managed Leek's first electrical company! One of his sons installed all the electrical lines in the then town.

You've heard of Rudyard Kipling, right? This is Rudyard Lake...The Kiplings honeymooned and spent holidays here and named their son after the lake. This was the location of my grandparents first real date.  Talk about a special spot! Grandad took Nanny out in a rowboat.

Although I don't mention this war memorial in my manuscript, it is located in the town square. Grandad walked around it and read the WWII soldiers' names and shared with me the ones he knew.

During WWII iron fencing was cut off and used for the War Effort.

My trip was full of places I recognized and of ones I didn't...

The Green Dragon held a special place in Grandad's heart. He and Nanny held their wedding reception there...a great story goes along with this place, as having a wedding and a reception in two different towns created great hardships during the war. (I'll leave that to another day.)

The Snug, the bar, the hall and The Room were important places in the Green Dragon. The Room has an exceptionally interesting story...

For most of my trip my hair was a great big fuzz ball. I figured out if I put it in a French roll, it looked a lot better.

The Mermaid Inn played a big part in my first version of my MG manuscript. But with help a great agent (Abigail Samoun) and critique partners, I realized my manuscript had to change in the last third of the story. The Inn is still in the story, but plays a much smaller role.

It's no longer a pub and inn, but can be rented as a holiday/event house. A bunch of blokes were having a bachelor party there and were kind enough to show me the mermaid in the capped well in the bar area. (Very cool!)

Do you see the green spire? It's made of copper and Grandad built it right before he joined the RAF. Ecton Hall or Ecton Castle has an amazing story behind it. It's located on Ecton Hill.

Ecton Hill was mined for copper and lead dating back to the bronze age.  The current owner's of Ecton Castle (Claire and Oliver) were wonderful. By the end of the day, I felt like I had made life long friends.

The green in this stone is an example of the copper. It was in one of England's beautiful walls that cover the countryside. We hiked to the top of the hill...

It was well worth the hike.The views were amazing. And Yes, 95 year old Samuel George Johnston did the fact, he led the way!

We walked carefully. We didn't want to fall in any shaft openings.... We went back to the hotel and had a long rest before a special friend came to visit us!

Penny came to see me! If you don't know Penny, she's a blog superstar and she Tweets! And...

We got along like fish and chips.... She brought along another special friend...Her beloved owner Gary Pennick!

Gary is a wonderful guy. He blogs about the world, mental health issues and being a decent human. It's important to realize how many people struggle and Gary stands up for them, if Penny lets him do a post.  :)

We had a lovely breakfast and visit with Gary and Penny. Penny has amazing manners and a wonderful smile! If you don't know them, please hop over to their blog Klahanie and say hello.

(You've got to love my fuzzy hair do, right?)

You would think my adventure was over, but...
                                                                   I will continue it next week.

When you get the chance to meet one of your blog friends...
                                                                                      Go for it!