Thursday, December 18, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: FREE IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond

Hello and welcome to the series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. I hope you have your shopping done and the frenzy of the holidays under control. In case you still have gifts to purchase for friends and family on your Christmas list, may I suggest a good book? This series certainly has hosted great writing talent and amazing mysteries and romances. Take a peek back through the pages to discover the titles and links to purchase published every Thursday this fall and winter.

Today as we close in on Christmas, I gave my authors (and me) some time off, but that doesn't mean I don't have great writing tips for you. In fact there are hundreds of them in The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond. (Yes, I'm happy to say one of my tips is in the e-book.) Here's the information from the IWSG website
Pick up your FREE copy now!

Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

ISBN 9781939844088
235 pages, FREE
Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads.

Book trailer for the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond

Monday, December 15, 2014

Future Readers, This Week, FREE Writing Tips Book

Once our words are inked to paper, they continue to speak for generations to come. A writer has an infinite voice that travels through time, impacting those who wish to hear it. 

Photo by J.Q. Rose

Future Readers by J.Q. Rose
When I read Susan Hornbach's quote above, I got goose bumps. I've had my nose in my WIP trying to "fix" plot holes, enhance my characters, and decide on a satisfying ending to the story. I never thought about the longevity of my writing. Susan is correct. Whether our books are in print or e-books, once we as writers let them go, they are "out there" for the generations to read.

I doubt Shakespeare looked into the future and believed his plays would be performed in the 21st century. Do you think Mark Twain ever imagined folks would still be laughing at the shenanigans of Huckleberry Finn today? To think my great grandchildren, yet unborn, might pick up a book that I wrote boggles my mind. I'm sure they will be reading or listening on some contraption not yet invented. 

Have you ever thought about how your stories will impact both present and future readers? This question drives me to develop the best stories I can write and to believe in the message I am sending through my words. That's a whole lot of responsibility to shoulder. 

As we come to the close of this year, many of us choose goals for next year. Will you choose to write the best stories possible with messages that will resonate with generations to come? 

This Week:
Thursday, December 18--Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing has over 100 writing tips for you in The Insecure Writers' Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond. One of my tips on marketing is included.

I am giving the romance and mystery authors a break for the holidays. 
Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing series will resume January 9, 2015

We'll resume the series on January 8 when mystery author Sara-Jayne Townsend offers her writing tips and advice. Sara's newly released title, Dead Cool: A Shara Summers Mystery, is second in the series of the Shara Summers Mysteries. Find it at amazon, MuseItUp Publishing, and all major online sellers.

They were dying to be famous.
And someone was prepared to kill for it.

# # # #
Take a break during the holidays 
with this quirky, entertaining short story from J.Q. Rose.

The Good Neighbors.

The Good Neighbors
Jim and Gloria Hart, snowbirds from Michigan, always help out the neighbors in their Florida retirement community when asked. 
Who knew being good could turn out to be so bad? 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Humorous suspense author Kathy McIntosh, Giveaways

Hello and welcome to the series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. I scheduled this series on writing tips for the fall months, but I have had such wonderful response from romance and mystery authors, the guest blogs are now scheduled into February! So you may have noticed I changed the poster, taking out "this fall" since we are now into the holiday season. I hope you are gathering some great tips you can use in your writing, meeting and getting to know authors, and discovering great reads.

Needless to say I'm having a wonderful experience with authors and readers during this series. Thank you so much for supporting this event with your views and comments.

This week I am happy to introduce you to author Kathy McIntosh.  Kathy is generously donating an ebook copy and audio book of her first book, Mustard's Last Stand, in the Havoc in Hancock humorous suspense series for door prizes. Two winners! Please leave a comment to enter.
# # # #
Kathy, thanks so much for guesting on the Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing series.
Thanks for a lovely opportunity!
1  What is the best advice for writers that you have received?
The first but definitely not the last time I heard this hint came when Ridley Pearson spoke to Murder in the Grove (a conference I co-founded). He advised writers to keep our butts in our chairs. It later inspired me to write the following as a winning contest entry:

Make writing a whole body experience. Keep your chin up, your feet on the ground, your mind limber and open to new lessons and ideas, your heart set on the goal of becoming a published writer, and your butt in the chair. 

Great advice for sure, but oh some days, it is impossible to do! 

What is your writing tip on Editing?
Alliteration, rhythm and cadence can help you create a memorable voice in your writing. However, these must be added with intention and a light hand. Novelists whose books you can’t put down may have used the rhythm of their words to enchant you. Books that get thrown across the room may have inadvertently abused or overused these devices.
I'm fond of alliteration, but it is easy to fall prey to too much. Do so and the rigorous reader will wish you wouldn't. Giving your characters names that start with the same letter is a form of inadvertent alliteration that can easily confuse your readers. Barney, Bert and Bartholomew are all fine names, but let them appear in separate manuscripts. Even when used for humorous purposes (the triplets, Martha, Margaret and Maeve) you risk confusion. A confused reader may not pick up the book again.
What's going on in your book can influence your choice of rhythm or cadence. Short sentences using short words work well in fast-paced, high tension scenes. Longer, leisurely sentences can set a quieter pace and add a sumptuous tone. 
Alternating short and long sentences changes the rhythm of your words. It's my opinion that you don't find your rhythm in a first draft, but rather recognize it and change it intentionally in second and subsequent drafts. One great way to discover the rhythm (or lack thereof) of your words is to read it aloud. You can also use text to speech software programs such as NaturalReader or Ultra Hal TTS (I love that name) or Text2Speech or TextAloud that will convert your text to spoken words. Most have free versions.
Rhyme works well when you’re creating a slogan or a tagline or a poem. However, inadvertent rhyme in serious writing can bump your reader. I’d chat more about rhyme, but I haven’t the time.
Next time you’re editing an article or some pages from your fiction, take the time to make your words memorable by adding alliteration, rhythm and rhyme.
But remember:  a smidgeon of these devices suffices.
# # # #
Kathy McIntosh writes about 
wacky characters seeking justice, 
environmental balance 
and great scones in North Idaho.  
Back of the Book:
Havoc overtakes a peaceful North Idaho town when feuding brothers combat a proposed safari camp. Mustard's Last Stand is the first in the Havoc in Hancock humorous suspense series.
 BUY LINK          

About Kathy:
Kathy McIntosh, a recent voluntary transplant from Boise, Idaho, to Tucson, Arizona, is enjoying the change in scenery from cottonwoods to cactus.
She recently saw three javelinas strolling through her neighborhood! She assures her concerned readers that she can still write about Havoc in Hancock, her humorous suspense series set in North Idaho, and will finish book two, Foul Wind, as soon as she rappels from the stack of moving boxes! Read more at Kathy's website 
# # # #
Don't forget to leave a comment. Two winners will be chosen from the commenters after 9 p.m. on Sunday evening. Good luck!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

How to Choose and Care for a Poinsettia, Amaryllis, The Good Neighbors Short Story, Giveaways

Traditional red poinsettia

Hello from Elves Headquarters. This little elf has been decorating the house for Christmas. Outdoor lights, Christmas tree, and Christmas plants. Nothing brings Christmas to life like a live Christmas plant. 

Red poinsettias are the traditional plant of the season, but so many other colors are now available including solid pinks and creams and combinations of those colors in one plant. 

How to Choose and Care for a Poinsettia
The former florist in me has a few tips for plant buyers:
  • Please note the little yellow flowers in the center of the poinsettia in the picture above. Yes, those are the flowers, the red "petals" that are distinctive of the poinsettia are actually the bracts or leaves. Do not buy a poinsettia plant unless the center flowers are in it. The plant will last longer if the "flowers" are still there. 
  • When bringing this beauty home, wrap it to protect the delicate flowers and leaves from the cold air.
  • Place the plant in a brightly lighted room, not close to a cold window or near a hot fireplace or register.
  • If you leave the foil on the pot, poke a hole in the foil on the bottom of the plant so water will drain through. If the water collects in the foil, the plant will be over-watered and die.
  • Feel the soil before watering. If it's dry, water it. Place a saucer under the plant to catch any water that may flow through the hole in the bottom. Don't let the it sit in water for hours, so dump the excess water out of the saucer after an hour.
  • In Florida, after Christmas,  we can plant the poinsettia outdoors after the threat of frost is over. All those years in Michigan we struggled to grow poinsettias in pots, but in Florida they grow like bushes as tall as a man.
  • If you are in a colder climate and you want to keep your plant for next year, there is a way to do it, but you have to plan ahead to have a poinsettia turn red in time for Christmas. The hours of daylight are key to the turning. Here's a good article on how to do this  turning-poinsettias-red-again/
# # # #


We always have a poinsettia for Christmas, and this year we have re-instituted the tradition of growing an amaryllis. When the kids were growing up, we always had an amaryllis. Kids love watching them grow. 

This thick-stemmed flower graces a home with wonder and awe when watching it stretch its long stem elevating the bud above the pot. The lily-like flower opens into a large blossom and stands tall in all its glory.
Red Amaryllis
Photo courtesy of by By franky242

I am amazed every year at this miracle. From a dry bulb to an elegant, graceful bloom. It reminds me of the wonder and miracle of Baby Jesus birth at Christmas. 

I have taken pictures to give you an idea of how quickly this plant grows. I'll update you when "Amy" blooms in all her true beauty. Yes, the amaryllis is always named Amy.

Taken the day after Thanksgiving November 28 breaking out of the bulb.

Taken December 3

Taken December 6 shooting up in the air growing almost an inch a day!

Just a few Merry Christmas tips for you. I hope they help. What do you think of poinsettias that are not the traditional red color? Leave a comment below. We love to hear from you.
# # # #
Speaking of Christmas. Check out my Christmas short story based on characters in my novella, Sunshine Boulevard.

Jim and Gloria Hart, snowbirds from Michigan, always help out the neighbors in their Florida retirement community when asked. Who knew being good could turn out to be so bad?
Review from Conda Douglas
Delightful Short Story--I wouldn't have believed that a retirement community in Florida would be a fascinating setting, with intriguing and fun characters. But J.Q. Rose's short story delivers exactly that--I also believe it is an excellent taste of her mystery novel, Sunshine Boulevard, with the same setting and characters, and if so, I'm certainly off to read Sunshine Boulevard! More, please. 

The Good Neighbors is available at Amazon for 99 cents!

# # # #

PS--Sunshine Boulevard was chosen to be bundled together with three other mysteries from MuseItUp Publishing. The bundle of books is called, Sirens on Death, Starke Boulevard. A lot of great reading for only $1.99. Hurry and get yours at MuseItUpPublishing, amazon and major online booksellers.

This Week:

Thursday, December 11--Humorous suspense author Kathy McIntosh shares her writing tips on editing and more on the Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing series. Kathy is generously donating an ebook copy and audio book of her first book, Mustard's Last Stand, in the Havoc in Hancock humorous suspense series for door prizes. Two winners!

Enter to win prizes through December 13!
12 Lucky Holiday Winners 
from MuseItUp Publishing

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Author Marsha R. West with Tips on Dialogue, Setting, and Editing, Giveaway

Hello and welcome to this Thursday's writing tips in the Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing series. Mystery author Marsha R. West shares her writing tips on dialogue, settings, and editing. Marsha has brought along an e-book copy of her mystery, Truth Be Told. 

Win the drawing for a copy of Truth Be Told by subscribing to Marsha's blog. Hop over to the Marsha West blog after reading all her great tips here today. 

      Hey Marsha, thanks so much for bringing tips for us today. What are two of your favorite information-packed writing books? 
There are many, but two that I have are post noted, highlighted, and dog eared (yes, I have the paperbacks) and are great helps with editing. I’m embarrassed to say a couple of judges from the first contest I entered suggested I get these. They also suggested I get one on Goal Motivation and Conflict. (I really knew nothing about the craft of writing fiction, especially genre fiction.) Here are the first two:
THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White

Whether you have a publisher who provides an editor for your manuscript or you hire an editor (And you are doing that, right?) because you’re Indie publishing, you will be ahead of the game to send as clean a copy as you can possibly get to your editor.
# # # #
Thanks so much. Now read more of Marsha's writing tips below.

DIALOGUE: Read your work out loud. That’s the best way to see if it sounds natural. Try to have the characters each have specific characteristics to their speech. In one book, I realized everyone said “hell.” I decided to give a certain swear word to each  of the main characters to help differentiate them. Thank goodness for the “Find” button! I fellow writer, actually had a hero who spoke in really short sentences—like 4 to 6 words! It really worked for her and for him. J

SETTINGS: I’m drawn to settings. I may even start with that before I have the characters. Helping the reader get a real “feeling” for the locale of the story is important to me. I had a friend who wrote a thriller set in one of the hottest on record Texas summers. The heat became almost a character in that book affecting everyone’s actions.

   EDITING: I first learned about Throw Away words from Margie Lawson. I tend to be wordy.
(My first book had 145 thousand words before I began cutting, getting it to 100K.) And this was when agents and publishers were looking for 80 to 90 K. No one would look at such a long book. I had a great story, but no craft skills. The idea of eliminating any of my wonderful words made me ill. Time passes and now I write 75-90 K books. Much tighter than when I began. I got there by using a list of 75 words and phrases I (and others) over use. I’ve added to the original list of about 30 words as I’ve discovered my favorites.
Quick look at my favorites: that, some, little, bit, (as in a little bit), even, began to, tried, just, really, thing(s)
Omit these words to help keep you in deep POV: think, thought, thinking, mused, wondered, see, seeing, looking, believe, considering, hearing.
Not: He thought he heard a noise.
Better. The large crash threw him from his bed.

After I’ve finished all the re-writes I go through doing a search and find for the words. I study each use and decide if I can make it better. If it’s unnecessary, I hit delete.
Most of the time, contrary to what you might be thinking, your word count may go up rather than down when you use more specific language than saying “things.”
I’d be happy to send you the complete list. Then you can add your own favorites. I’ve noticed with different books, I’ll pick different words to over use, so I add those to my list. That’s how the list has grown.
# # # #

  SWAT member teams with her brother's former homicide detective partner to stop a blackmailer. 
Falling in love wasn't one of their strategies.
 Buy Link for Truth Be Told 

About Marsha:
 Marsha R. West writes Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. MuseItUp Publishing released her first book, VERMONT ESCAPE in July 2013. Marsha released the print version of the first book in the fall of 2014. Her second book, TRUTH BE TOLD,  was released by MIU in May 2014.  She’ll release her third book, SECOND CHANCES, in February 2015, the first of a 4-part series. Find out more at She’d love to hear from you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

IWSG: The Social Media Puzzle, IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, This Week, Prizes

Hello and welcome to  the IWSG blog hop. 

What is IWSG? Founder of IWSG and author Alex J Cavanaugh explains the group's purpose 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!" You're invited to become a member of this supportive group.

The group blogs the first Wednesday of every month, The list of bloggers is always available so you can hop around to the author blogs filled with humor, advice, and thought-provoking topics on writing and publishing. You can find the list of participants at Alex's IWSG page

# # # # 

This information-packed guide written by members of the IWSG is filled with advice for writers. Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords,Goodreads.
# # # #

Photo courtesy of  Stuart Miles
The Social Media Puzzle by J.Q. Rose
Social media is like a box filled with puzzle pieces. Somehow one fits those pieces of colored cardboard together to form a beautiful landscape, cute kitties, or an arrangement of beautiful flowers. All are quite pleasing to the eye. 

At this stage in my writing career, all I can say is that social media is a puzzle, for sure, the box full of jumbled pieces. How do I fit my blog, G+. Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and so many other opportunities into a picture filled with friends as well as book sales?

No one has the master plan for creating the finished product as far as I have discovered in my research. Mostly there is no plan as to how much of G+ and Facebook will balance out with Goodreads and Twitter or any other program to make the most of the opportunity for selling books.

I've been studying book marketing by taking classes this summer and fall and finding out all the "secrets" offered by those in the know. Even the folks who offer the classes can't guarantee what actually works.

At this moment I have decided to try to keep up with Facebook, G+, and my blog. But is that enough? Is it too much? I know social media is really meant to "build relationships" and build a network so people will learn about the author and decide to actually buy a book because they like the person. So, I understand it takes time to build a following and to sell books. All I'm asking is "what is the sure-fire way to build a following? Huh?

Have you put the pieces together in your social media puzzle to get results from all your hours spent at the laptop? Do you have the "secret" to how to approach and incorporate social media into your book marketing plan which results in sales? Please leave a comment to let me know your plan, if you have one! Thanks.
# # # #
This Week:
Wednesday, December 3--ISWG Blog Hop

Thursday, December 4--Author Marsha West shares her writing tips dialogue, settings, and editing on the Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing series. Subscribe to Marsha's blog to win the drawing for her romance/mystery, Truth Be Told.

Enter to win prizes through December 13!
12 Lucky Holiday Winners 
from MuseItUp Publishing

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday Special: Mystery Book Bundle, Mystery Author Blog Hop

Sirens on Death Starke Boulevard Mystery Book Bundle 
Black Friday Special and through Dec. 2: $1.99 Four fascinating mysteries bundled together. Stories by authors Conda Douglas, Heather Fraser Brainerd, David Fraser, and Sara Jayne Townsend, and myself, J.Q. Rose, in a four mystery e-book set releasing from our publisher, MuseItUp Publishing. 


Four mysteries by five prolific authors, all packaged in 749 pages of suspense:

Starke Naked Dead by Conda V. Douglas

Jeweler Dora must become a sleuth to solve a murder in the first of the Starke Dead cozy mysteries series.

Death Scene by Sara-Jayne Townsend

Poking around in family closets produces skeletons.

Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose

Mysterious deaths upset the Florida retirement community interfering with their seasonal activities and turning up more than dead bodies.

The Sound of Sirens by Heather Fraser-Brainerd and David Fraser

Thanksgiving dinner with the family can be murder. Especially when someone is actually trying to kill you.

You can order now and get the special Black Friday price-- $1.99 for ALL FOUR BOOKS. Price goes up on December 2. For more information and the buy link, go to MuseItUp Publishing. 

Also available at amazon and major online booksellers.

# # # # 
I am thrilled to have Sunshine Boulevard included in this bundle of suspense, mystery, and mayhem filled with twists and humor.

Today the "bundlees", authors in the book bundle, are getting together to talk about our books. Please hop on over to their blogs to meet all the authors and discover their books.

What Inspired Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose

Sunshine Boulevard is a fun mystery with some quirky characters and situations. Readers ask me what inspired this story.

 The inspiration for writing Sunshine Boulevard comes directly from living life as a retiree in that beautiful state. When we were in the floral business, January was a slow time in the greenhouse and floral shop, so we took our two daughters to Florida to enjoy the tropical flowers and foliage, the beaches, and warm breezes. We gloried in the sunny skies after experiencing the gray, dark Michigan winters. We grew to love the people and places in Florida. 

After selling our flower shop and becoming empty nesters, we set off on an adventure traveling in our RV as full-timers. We spent our winters in campgrounds all around Florida.
After eight years in our fifth wheel, we settled in a retirement community and enjoyed the life of snowbirds living in Florida in the winter and spending summers up North.

We have met some real characters in our travels. So it was only natural to combine those personalities and place them in Florida, famous for its quirky crime and unbelievable events. 

You may not think a retirement community could have much excitement or action for a story. But, you are so wrong!  You'll have to read this mystery with elements of suspense, horror, and humor to discover what I mean.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment below and tell us if you are a mystery lover. Thank you!

Please hop on over to my fellow authors in crime--

Author's Blog Links: