Tuesday, July 31, 2018

IWSG: Be Practical When Publishing Your Book

IWSG Badge
IWSG Blog Hop---the first Wednesday of every Month.

Hello and welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop!

What is the Insecure Writer's Support Group?

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter. 

Alex 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

Aug. 1 question 
What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid 
on their publication journey?
When your manuscript (ms) is ready to publish, be realistic about how much you can spend to get your book in the hands of a reader. Authors have to be practical. You will take longer to pay for expenses when selling a 99 cent eBook versus selling one for $4.99 because you have to sell a LOT of 99 cent books to earn the cash. The folks at CreateSpace, a POD company, told me to expect to pay at least $400 to get a print book ready. You may have to hire a content editor, a proofreader, a formatter, and/or a book cover designer. Depending on your own skills (or your talented friends), you may get by cheaper. 

I've heard writers say they spent $3000. to get their book published. That may be okay if the expense results in a best-selling book and you have an extra $3000 in your pocket, but foolish if you don't. 

A traditional publisher will never ask you for money to publish your work. They make money by selling books. A vanity publisher is in the business to make money by signing you up to sell you services. Be aware of the difference and don't get caught up in their promises. Be practical!!
# # #
The 5 W's of Story Guest Authors Event
Thrilled to have more guest authors this month and beyond sharing the Five W's of their stories! Come back and discover authors and great reads to wind up the summer. And You may win a book too!!

15 Dr. Bob Rich
22 Diane Burton

12           C. Lee Mackenzie

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Storytime Blog Hop: Another Time by J.Q. Rose

Welcome to the Focused on Story blog by J.Q. Rose 
and to the quarterly Storytime Blog Hop!

Huge thank you to Juneta Key, the organizer of the event.
Click below to find bloggers participating in the blog hop and click on the link to read their stories. So many creative, talented, imaginative folks in this hop. Enjoy!! 
Please leave a comment and share. Thank you.

Storytime Blog Hop
Founded 2015 by students of “How To Think Sideways: 
Career Survival School for Writer’s,” 
a writing course created by writer and teacher Holly Lisle

Storytime Blog Hop
Logo designed by Juneta Key
Sundial by [Cox, Sandra]
Sundial by Sandra Cox
 Time travel romance

Today I'm flexing my writing muscles and trying something new. I'm sharing a time travel story with you. I've discovered I'm fascinated when reading time travel stories. 
1. I wonder if there really is another realm of time coinciding with the world we live in and 
2. I love seeing how an author goes about creating the "portal" that takes the characters into another time and world, and 
3. how she leads the reader into the different worlds. 

After attempting to write this time travel, I can tell you transitioning from one time to another and making a reader realize what is happening is difficult. 

I recently read Sandra Cox' time travel, Sundial. The way she crafted the book made it easy to follow and so convincing.

Another Time by J.Q. Rose

Rachel choked on her hot tea when she glanced out the large window of the English Guest House and spotted a tall, young man dressed in a World War I vintage uniform. Trying to stop the cough spasms, she covered her mouth, but kept her gaze on him. He flipped his peaked cap off his head and waved it at her.
            She squinted through the glass into the fading evening light, then jumped away from the window. Kenneth!  
The English Guest House (Bracken House Hall, 2018) across the road from the Moors
Yorkshire County, England
            “No, no, no, not again.” She changed out of her pajamas into her jeans and tee shirt lying on the bed and finger-combed her long black hair as she searched for her sandals. She would just tell him to go away and leave her alone.
            She and Kenneth had a long history together. A very long history. They had fallen in love in every life she had lived clear back in the time when she was Cleopatra and he was her body guard. During the US War of Independence, she was a nurse on the battlefield tending his wounds. As Duchess Charlotte, married to the Duke of Sussex, she couldn’t resist Kenneth in a uniform then either.
            But today, in 2018, she was not going to make the same mistake. Each time they fell in love, he left her. She couldn’t live through the turmoil and the loss of his leaving again, no matter what his excuse. Well, perhaps she could accept the fact he was killed in World War II as a viable one.
World War I Soldier
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay
            She slid her feet into her sandals and scurried back to the window. Pulling the heavy curtains wide open, she leaned on the sill and checked to see if he was still waiting across the street for her. This time she noticed a throng of people near him strolling the fairgrounds on the English moors. The scene looked just like the black and white photos from the 1914 Yorkshire fair displayed on the hallway walls of the Guest House.
  When he spotted her looking out the window again, that irresistible tilted smile lighted up his boyish face. She stepped back from the window as she struggled with the feelings inside her. Her heart ached to be with him. To touch him, love him again. She jerked the curtains closed and turned her back to the window. No, she could not see him again. She would not see him again.
“Ohhh, Kenneth. Why do you do this to me?” With clenched fists, she shouted into the empty room. Rachel whirled around and yanked the curtains open again.
Without pondering another moment about the consequences, she raced out the door forgetting her cell phone and glasses on the desk and practically flew down the hall to the wooden double doors that would open out to Kenneth.
Rachel slammed against the locked doors as hard as her heart was slamming inside her chest. Frantic to get out to him she pushed again until her befuddled mind realized she had to slide the bolt away to open it.
When she stepped across the door jam, the electrified air charged her body. She shut her eyes, feeling the tingling sensation course through her. Opening them wide, she stopped and noticed bent old people, women in long skirts and beautiful hats, and gentlemen in suits swirling around him. Kids in their Sunday best dodged in and out of the fair-goers as they strolled through the grounds laughing and visiting the tents of the vendors. The smell of delicious fair food with the underlying scent of horses wafted through the air.
Music from a calliope added to the festive scene exactly as pictured in the old photos.
Watching the activity, she paused to consider her choices again. She could go ahead and meet with Kenneth or turn around and return to the 21st century just a few steps away through the wooden doors behind her. Did she really want to have her heart broken again by this man? No, but maybe this time would be different. Yes, she nodded her head, this time it would be different.
Rachel raced across the road and threw herself into Kenneth’s waiting arms and clung to him, breathing in his fresh scent of soap and cigar-smoked wool tunic. Encircled in his embrace, the fabric scratched against her cheek when she wriggled against his chest.  The throng of fair-goers bumped into them, but nothing could make her stop holding him, her one true love through all the ages.
When Kenneth released her, she stepped back and studied his blazing blue eyes and his sandy-blonde hair in its usual tousled state. She moved back in his arms and planted a deep kiss on his lips. The heat surge sizzled through her body when he returned the kiss with passion.
            Her eyes searched his as all the noise and people were forgotten. She stepped away. Leaning toward him, she asked, “Are you going to continue to chase me through all my lifetimes? It’s 2018 in my world.”
His eyes sparkled. “Yes, I will never stop looking for you. How could I be so lucky to find you again? But this time, this time will be for always. Nothing will separate us again.”
“How do you know that? Every lifetime we’ve loved each other truly. And then, we lose each other. I don’t think I can take losing you again.” She dropped her arms to her sides, a frown disturbing her fine features.
“No, no, don’t say that.” He lightly cupped her chin in his hand. “You’re here now. Don’t leave. Let’s take these moments and cherish them. Don’t even think about whatever happens next. Let’s just live right now!”
Rachel’s eyes darkened as she stood as unyielding as the MSU football's defensive linemen. “I am not living for right now. I want to plan for my future. You aren’t in it because I can’t count on you to be my life-partner through all these crazy lives.”
Kenneth shuffled back from her, a weak smile on his face. “You’re kidding aren’t you? You can’t mean that.”
“I never want to see you again in whatever time we may meet.” She slashed her arms across her body. “Do you understand me?”
“But, but---,” he stammered.
Rachel spun away and headed through the doors back into the 21st century. Feeling free and happy, she was ready to face the future, or the past, whichever life adventure came first.

Do you think Rachel made the right decision? Why?

Book Bargains through July 31
Mysteries on Sale

TOSB on Sale
Smashwords is having a site-wide sale during July. My mysteries from BWL Publishing are on sale for $1.50. Click on the title to take you to the book page. Click here to take a peek


Girls Succeed!
Inspiring Girls to make their dream jobs come true
On Sale for 99 cents
My non-fiction interactive eBook is on sale too for only 99 cents. This book is
filled with inspiring stories to empower girls to work toward achieving their dream careers.
Available at these digital sellers:

Girls Succeed

Thanks for stopping in today. 

Now it's "time" for you to hop over to read stories from more bloggers participating in the blog hop.

Click on the titles below.
Team Building Exercise, by Samantha Bryant 
Beginning Again, by Karen Lynn 
Under The Bridge, by Katharina Gerlach 
Black and White, by Bill Bush 
Summer Siren, by Elizabeth McCleary 
The Birch Tree, by Juneta Key 
The Zoning Zone, by Vanessa Wells 
Secrets, by Elizabeth Winfield

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The 5 W’s of Story—Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women by J.Q. Rose

Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog and to the Five W's in Story event. Mid-way through the summer season, I want to thank the guest authors who have shared the Five W's of their stories. Each one has been unique in how they approached the topic. 

I look forward to hosting Dr. Bob Rich and Diane Burton in August and to more authors in the lineup this summer. If you would like to talk about the Five W's in your book, please contact me to set up a time. We can extend the event into the fall months if there is enough interest. Thanks.

The 5 W's in Story
I like the idea of sharing the Five W's in a story so much, I decided to jump in today and take a turn at explaining the five W’s in my non-fiction book for girls, Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women. 

The 5 W’s of Story—Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women by J.Q. Rose

Girls Succeed!
Inspiring and empowering girls to achieve success in their dream careers
Girls Succeed! is an eBook filled with stories of women who, just like the readers, had dreams as little girls to embrace their passion and make it their career. The girls will be inspired by meeting the women and how they overcame obstacles in order to achieve their dream careers.

Unique to this eBook is the section about the women’s education and their resumes. Resources are listed to find out more about each profession through books and magazines. Links to websites and videos make the stories about the careers come alive for readers.

Fifteen successful women profiled in Girls Succeed
I was honored to interview fifteen successful women who trusted me to tell their stories in the book. I appreciate their generosity in sharing their stories so girls can see how important it is to believe they can actually make their dream career a reality.

 The stories include women who have discovered cures to stamp out disease, made people laugh, earned Olympic gold medals, and experienced seeing the country from the cab of an 18-wheeler truck. 

They all have some things in common.  First, they are passionate about the work they are doing. Second, they had people who influenced the decisions they made and helped them achieve their dreams. Third, they worked hard to be the best.

Dream Big
Painting by Julie Ann McKevitt

The stories come from all over the United States from Arizona to Pennsylvania, from Michigan to Florida.

The women are contemporary women and contributing to today’s society including trailblazers in their professions.

When I worked several seasons at a girls residence camp in Michigan, I met outstanding young women who were counselors at the camp and smart, energetic campers full of potential to do great things with their lives. I wanted them to know women who achieved success in their chosen professions. These role models can inspire and empower girls to reach for and work toward achieving their dreams.

You can achieve your dreams.
I was driven to put together this book, but I didn’t know too many women who were outstanding in their professions. So how did I start? I made a spreadsheet in 2008 of all the careers I wanted to cover in the book. Then I began my research. I made up a letterhead and wrote letters to each person telling them about my dream to write a book that would inspire girls and I requested an interview. I had a lot of rejections, but amazingly I had women who were excited to share their stories hoping they would inspire girls. (I’ve had adults review the book and they told me the stories inspired them too!)

Email was not as popular then as now, so all of the communication was done through snail mail. I also set up a time for a live interview via phone.

This was an exciting time for me and I value every minute spent getting to know these kind and giving women. Meet the ladies in the video below. 

Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women
Below is the list of successful women in the project and their careers.

Chapter 1--Horse Trainer/Competitive Dressage Rider, Pati Pierucci
True Love
Chapter 2--Bike Racer, Mackenzie Woodring
Speeding Around the Track
Chapter 3--Children’s Book Author and Illustrator, Jane Stroschin
Practice, Practice, Practice
Chapter 4--Medical Doctor, Cate Bradley
Role Models Rock
Chapter 5--Chef, Sue Chef
Cooking Up a Career
Chapter 6--Technology Expert, Diana Stoneberg
Keep Your Sense of Humor
Chapter 7--Christian Minister, Laurie Haller
Serving God
Chapter 8--Horticulturalist, Sharon Loving
Thank You Very Mulch
Chapter 9--Medical Scientist, Juanita Merchant
Confidence Counts
Chapter 10-Olympic Gold Medalist in Women’s Ice Hockey, Angela Ruggiero
Showing the Boys
Chapter 11-Semi-Truck Driver, Barbara Totten
Freedom of the Road
Chapter 12-Teacher/Coach/Athletic Director, Barbara “Chili” Chiles
Aim Higher
Chapter 13-Social Worker, Lenair Correll           
Overcoming Obstacles
Chapter 14-Entrepreneur/Product Developer, Veronica Bosgraaf
Find the Path to Success
Chapter 15-Professional Clown, Brenda Marshall
A Big Red Nose

Reader’s Guide

The Reader's Guide can be used as a companion to the ebook to encourage discussion on themes in the book and to have fun creating projects to further understanding themes of Passion, Persistence, Trailblazers, Feeling Different,  Be the Best You Can Be, Overcoming Obstacles 
Girls Succeed! Now on sale for 99 cents
Girls Succeed! including the Reader's Guide,
is now on sale for 99 cents at your favorite digital bookseller!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The 5 W's: Ellen Jacobson's Murder at the Marina, Giveaway, New Release Joselyn Vaughn's A Penny Saved

Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog and to the Five W's in Story event. I am thrilled to introduce two friends today who have new releases out for you to enjoy this summer! Excellent writers with funny, entertaining stories to share with you. Congratulations to mystery author Ellen Jacobsen and sweet romance author Joselyn Vaughn!
The 5 W's in Story
Because the 5 W's are the essence of a story, student writers usually listen to a lecture about who, what, where, when and why and the H.  We're focused on story at this blog, so I thought we could learn about the 5 W's by seeing how authors use them in their books.

You'll find this series with my guests informative and entertaining and not a stuffy lecture in a dusty, old classroom with a professor palavering on and on and on. 

* * *
Author Ellen Jacobson debuts her first cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina, during her blog tour this month. I love being a stop on her tour. Ellen is an experienced boater so it makes sense she authored a  mystery packed with humor that takes place at a marina. Read on to find out the Five W's in this engaging story. Then, be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a Murder at the Marina ebook. Deadline for entry is 9:00 pm ET, Sunday, July 15!!

The 5 W's: Ellen Jacobson's Cozy Mystery, 
Murder at the Marina

The main characters are Mollie McGhie and her husband, Scooter, who moved to a small coastal town in Florida a few months prior to the start of “Murder at the Marina.” After Scooter buys Mollie a sailboat, they spend a lot of time at the local marina where they meet all sorts of interesting and quirky characters including:

·         Ned and Nancy Schneiderthe owners of the marina; Nancy runs a tight ship, Ned is more easy-going with a soft spot for cats
·         Captain Dan—a boat broker, who uses his dubious southern charm to try to woo the ladies
·         Penny Chadwicklives aboard her boat and teaches sailing classes at the marina                            
·         Jack and Sandy Holt—had hoped to be retired by now; instead Jack runs a business from his boat while Sandy suffers from health issues
·         Ben Moretti—a wannabe pirate often found drinking beer; struggles to make ends meet
·         Alejandra Lopez—a waitress at the Sailor's Corner Cafe; saving up to open her own nail salon
·         Mrs. Moto—a Japanese bobtail cat who has the run of the marina


I've always enjoyed reading cozy mysteries. As a “gentle” read, they can be a nice escape from the real world at times. Cozies typically don't have explicit sex scenes, naughty language, violence etc. They feature likable amateur sleuths, often women, who have a certain hobby, business, or occupation which puts them at the center of the action and provides an opportunity to investigate murders.


Cozy mysteries often take place in a small town where everyone knows each other. I created the fictional tourist town of Coconut Cove on the Gulf Coast of Florida as the setting for my series, inspired in part by my own experiences living on our sailboat in the Sunshine State. I really enjoyed coming up with locations in the town that the tight-knit community could gather at.

Locals and tourists know that you can always find delicious food and a bit of gossip at the Sailor's Corner Cafe. Penelope's Sugar Shack is a great place to satisfy your sweet toothMollie is particularly fond of their brownies. Because there's a big focus on boating in Coconut Cove, Melvin's Marine Emporium does a brisk business. And, of course, Palm Tree Marina, is where all of the action, not to mention mysterious happenings, occur.


The series takes place in present day. I do think it will be fun to look back on “Murder at the Marina” at some point in the future and see how dated it will have become. Will young people chuckle at the mention of antiquated technology like cell phones and computers?


I drew upon my own experiences buying a sailboat with my husband in New Zealand, learning to sail, and living aboard our boat when developing this series. Like Mollie, sailing started off as my husband's dream. Fortunately, unlike Mollie, my husband didn't “surprise” me with a sailboat for our anniversary. After initially chartering sailboats, it was actually my idea to buy our first boat and see if this lifestyle suited me. And I guess it must have as we ended up coming back to the States and buying a bigger sailboat in Florida.

It's been a lot of fun having a sailing theme for my series and introducing readers to what life is like at a marina, the types of people one might meet through this lifestyle, and the highs and lows of boat ownership.


Writing a cozy mystery requires some level of planning. You need to figure out the suspects, their possible motives, and alibis (as well as which one of them did it); the clues and red herrings; and how the murder was committed. When I wrote “Murder at the Marina” all of this evolved over several drafts. I'm currently working on the next book in the series, “Bodies in the Boatyard,” and have taken a much more planned approach including putting together a detailed outline. As a result, the writing process is going much faster and much more smoothly.

You can read more about the process of writing “Murder at the Marina” here - https://ellenjacobsonauthor.com/2018/04/16/cozy-mystery-publishing-novel-writing/

Cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina

Back of the Book

Murder at the Marina is the first in the new lighthearted and humorous Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series.

A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

* * *
JQ's Review: Ellen Jacobson knows boats AND how to tell an entertaining story.  Not only was it a mystery I couldn't solve right away, but also a tall tale filled with engaging characters including a cat! The mystery, the quirky characters, Mollie's antics in solving the crime, as well as trying to discourage her husband's zeal for boating, kept me turning the pages. If you want a fun summer read, this one is for you. I received an advance copy of this book and voluntarily reviewed it for readers. 

Buy Links

You can get a copy of Murder at the Marina at:

* * *
About Ellen

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and sci-fi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

You can connect with Ellen on her:

The Cynical Sailor Blog - http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com/
The Cynical Sailor Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/TheCynicalSailor/
Newsletter Sign-up - http://eepurl.com/dpy5sv
* * *

Released Today! Spotlight on Joselyn Vaughn's Sweet Romance, A Penny Saved

A Penny Saved by Joselyn Vaughn
Marriage is the answer, now what was the question?
Back of the Book:
Penny Pounds has never met a challenge she couldn't plow straight through... until she starts forgetting things and misplacing items, causing her to worry that dementia is creeping into her brain. Recalling her mother's similar descent and the burden as a caregiver, Penny’s solution is to snag a husband.

Ken Hayward, visiting to evaluate the flooding around the dam in Pine Bottom, is the first man she crosses off her list of potential mates. His no-nonsense attitude and ability to see beneath her motives threatens to ruin her perfect plans. He intends to finish his work before he gets swept up in any of Penny's shenanigans.

When Penny breaks her ankle, her brother enlists a reluctant Ken as her primary caregiver. Ken soon learns the motives behind her husband hunt, and he must decide whether his heart will let him prevent her from walking down the aisle with the wrong man. 

BUY LINK for A Penny Saved

Click here for more books by Joselyn Vaughn.

Please leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win the ebook, Murder at the Marina. Don't you love learning about new releases? Leave a note of congratulations for these wonderful writers. Thank you.

Mother's Day Excerpt from Arranging a Dream, Happy Mother's Day, Working Moms

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