Wednesday, July 31, 2019

LAST DAY for the Smashwords' 75% Off Book Sale!!

TODAY is the last day of Smashwords' 75% off SALE
Check it out at

Click here to download these mysteries for $1.50 each 
only through July 31.

Now I'm off to pick the zucchini, beans, cucumbers and green peppers in our garden. 

Please come back next week for the IWSG Blog Hop 
where we writers discuss our insecurities in writing. 
I'm sharing plenty on Wednesday, August 7.

Time's running out on the Smashwords Sale.
Grab those books today!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

New Release: Ellen Jacobson's Funny Cozy Mystery, Poisoned by the Pier

Hello and welcome to a fun blog post! Zany author Ellen Jacobson is here to tell us how her adventure on a sailboat led to writing The Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery series.

Thanks so much, Ellen, for visiting today. Now tell us about the setting of your series and the latest book #3, Poisoned by the Pier.
The Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery Series by Ellen Jacobson
Thanks, Janet.

"How Did I End Up in Florida?" by Ellen Jacobson

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and wonder, “How in the world did I end up in Florida?” Then I have a cup of coffee, the neurons in my brain start firing, and I remember how it all happened—a few years ago my husband and I bought a sailboat right here in the Sunshine State and moved aboard.

Life on a Sailboat
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
Although we've spent time cruising in the Bahamas on our boat, somehow life, work, and boat projects have gotten in the way and we've ended up spending far more time living at a marina in southern Florida than we originally planned. But you know what they say—when life gives you lemons, make a gin and tonic. Or, in my case, start writing a cozy mystery series set in Florida.

While the setting of my books is fictitious—a small town I've named Coconut Cove on the Gulf Coast—some of the places we've traveled to in Florida shape how I picture it in my head. Places like Cedar Key and Anna Maria Key full of cute shops, inviting restaurants, colorful buildings, tropical foliage, and amazing waterfront scenery. Sometimes, Coconut Cove seems so real that I wonder why I can't find it on the map.

It's been a lot of fun to see how my environment influences my writing. When I look back at my first two books, my main character, Mollie McGhie, always seems to be complaining about sweating to death in this insane heat. Funny, that sounds a lot like someone else I know. {Ahem, that would be me.}

Mollie also worries about the alligators swimming in the water at her marina. Me too. I had fun writing a scene where she was worried that the planks on the dock would break, she'd fall in the water and become gator bait. And, of course, there are the deadly coconuts. I tend to skirt around the palm trees at our marina—you never know when a coconut might fall down and hit you on the head. Mollie has the same issue at her marina.

The third book in the series.
It's not all scary stuff like gators and killer coconuts that end up in my books. I've also featured plenty of positive things about Florida too, such as dolphins swimming in the bay and efforts people are taking to protect sea turtles.

There's so much to inspire my writing living in Florida, that I've started to jot down notes for books I have planned later in the series. I'm pretty sure a hurricane is going to threaten Coconut Cove at some point. And I'm already thinking through a scene set in the mangroves—sounds like a perfect place for a dead body to turn up, doesn't it?
Poisoned by the Pier Now Available!

When Mollie's husband signs the two of them up for an extreme diet, she's not amused. When someone ends up poisoned by a cake, things get even worse.

The famous, or infamous, Mrs. Moto, the cat.

While she tries to identify the killer, Coconut Cove’s annual boating festival is in full swing. In between getting ready for her first sailing race and cheating on her diet, Mollie and her cat, Mrs. Moto, uncover clues, interview suspects, and do their best to avoid rutabagas.

Can Mollie nab the killer before someone else is poisoned?

If you like quirky characters, adorable cats, and plenty of chocolate, you'll love this cozy mystery. Pick up a copy of Poisoned by the Pier and laugh out loud from the first page to the last.

Poisoned by the Pier, the third book in the Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery series, is now available in ebook, paperback, and large print.
Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play

If you're new to the series, you might want to start with Book #1-Murder at the Marina. Now is the perfect opportunity as the ebook is on sale for 99c/99p for a limited time. Click the links below to download your copy now.

About the Author

Ellen Jacobson lives on a sailboat with her husband and an imaginary cat named Simon. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she writes cozy mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy stories.

Connect with Ellen on her Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Blog

You can also sign up for her newsletter for updates about new releases, current projects, sales and promotions, and other fun stuff.
Janet's Review of Poisoned by the Pier--When you read a book from the Molly McGhie Cozy Mystery Series, prepare to just sit back and relax and let Ms. Jacobson's wit and silly side take over. Truly escape reality with these zany characters and situations. The solution to the mystery will keep you guessing until the end. I recommend this light read for cozy mystery readers.
July1-31 2019 Smashwords is having a 75% off SALE! Check it out at
Click here to download these mysteries for $1.50 each only through July 31.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

#Author ToolBox Blog Hop: Tools to Speed Up Your PC

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog and to the Author Toolbox Blog Hop #AuthorToolboxBlogHop which meets every third Wednesday of the month to share resources and tips for authors. Thanks to Raimey Gallant for hosting this venture. 

Please join us to learn more about the craft of writing and to meet bloggers who are dedicated to helping each other become the best writers possible. Click here for the list of participants and take a break and visit them. 
I am no technological genius when it comes to understanding how a computer works. A computer is like a car to me. I don't care how it works, I just want to turn it on, put it in gear, press down on the accelerator and drive. So when my laptop doesn't go when I click on it, I am stuck taking it to my computer guru to fix it.
Frustration Attack Due to a Slow PC
Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay 
Don't you hate it when you're geeked up to write the novel of the century, but you have to sit and wait for your computer to wake up or to even open a site? Nothing drains the creativity like a PC that lags.

My most frequent malady is a slow computer. I can spend a lot of wasted time waiting for the PC to perform on request. Fortunately, my guru man downloaded a FREE program that speeds up the computer. The program is Ccleaner.

My computer club guru added AdwCleaner to my icons. 

So with both of these programs, I can often speed up my laptop. But, you really need to use these programs every week to remove the build-up of unwanted programs and junkware and to optimize your PC. These sites will do it at no cost to you.

You can download them by clicking on the links below. Using them is simple. Just watch your screen.

Ccleaner Ccleaner to speed up and optimize your PC

AdwCleaner AdwCleaner "The world’s most popular adware cleaner finds and removes unwanted programs and junkware so your online experience stays optimal and hassle-free."

Hope this helps to take away your frustration caused by a s-l-o-w PC.

Do you have other tips to speed up a slow PC? Please share below in the comments section. Thank you.

July1-31 2019 Smashwords is having a 75% off SALE! Check it out at
Click here to download these mysteries for $1.50 each only through July 31.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The 5 W's of Story: Mark Love's Romantic Suspense--Fleeing Beauty and Giveaway

The 5 W's Guest Author Series
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog!

One of the basics when learning to be a writer is to listen to a lecture on the Five W's.  The 5 W's in a story are:
These questions are the essence of a story. Since we are focused on story at this blog, we need to realize just how important working out the 5 W's can be for creating a great story for your readers.

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. 

Today I'm thrilled to introduce you to my guest author, Mark Love. Isn't that a great name for a romance author? Mark is generously offering an eBook format of his book to a lucky commenter. To enter the drawing, add a comment below by 9 p.m. ET, Sunday, July 14. Good luck. Now let's explore the 5 W's in Mark's romantic suspense, Fleeing Beauty.
Thanks, J.Q.

Here's my shot at the Five W's
Fleeing Beauty (A Jamie Richmond Mystery)
Mystery and Romance
THE FIVE W's: Fleeing Beauty (A Jamie Richmond Mystery) by Mark Love

Who:  Jamie Richmond is the star of the story. Just ask her, she’s not shy!  After working for ten years as an investigative reporter for one of the Detroit area’s daily newspapers, Jamie decided to pursue her passion and write mystery novels. A stubborn redhead who is fiercely loyal to her small circle of friends, Jamie is a magnet for trouble.  Using her skills and wits, she’s often able to unravel the mystery that draws her in.  Keeping her balanced and more than a little distracted is her blooming romantic relationship with Malone, a sergeant with the Michigan State Police.

What:  This is the third book in the series. Jamie’s father was a very successful artist who died suddenly when she was only seven-years-old.  Now, twenty-five years later, his studio is discovered, along with a hidden storeroom packed with crates of his work.  Jamie and her friends undertake the project of unpacking them to make a catalogue that can be appraised. Before they can finish, part of the collection is stolen.  Now Jamie is determined to find out who is behind the theft and recover the missing art.  

In addition to the project and the mystery, there are several subplots. Romance is building with Jamie and Malone. Her mother, Vera and her ex-husband, Bert, are rekindling a few passionate connections. And there’s Ian, a teenage boy who is Malone’s unofficial kid brother, discovers Brittany, a neighborhood cutie.  Along with the artwork, Jamie also discovers several journals that her father wrote, that give her new insights into his life.

When:  It’s a contemporary story, and it takes place during the summer!

Where: Metro Detroit, or as some would say, Motown.  Jamie and her friends live in the suburbs, but a lot of the action takes place right in Detroit, down near Wayne State University, an area that isn’t far from the dark and dangerous side of the city.

Why:  Jamie likes to keep busy. Between writing novels, spending time with her friends and unraveling mysteries, it’s all part of her life. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

EXCERPT:   Fleeing Beauty (A Jamie Richmond Mystery) by Mark Love
In this scene, Jamie and Malone are with her best friend Linda, and Ian, the teenage boy, who is helping unpack the crates in the storeroom.
This sculpture was titled “Fleeing Beauty”.
It was a woman caught in the act of running. Tendrils of slender marble in various lengths and thicknesses extended from her head, as if they were locks of hair billowing out behind her. Part of her face was obscured, turned against her shoulder as if attempting to hide her features from whoever was chasing her. The woman’s body was voluptuous, full of dangerous curves. There was something haunting about this piece. The guys became quiet, which was unusual. Linda slowly moved around it, taking pictures.
“Holy shit,” Ian muttered.
“Watch your language,” Malone said, cuffing him lightly on the back on the head.
“How did he do that?” Ian said, taking a step away. “She looks real.”
“She looks alive,” Malone said.
“Check the file,” I suggested.
None of us could take our eyes off the sculpture.
We spread the file out on the worktable. There were pictures of a woman standing in front of a drop cloth. She was blonde, with an impish smile on her face. She could have been in her early to middle twenties. It was impossible to tell how tall she was. Her figure was eye-catching, with a tiny waist and rounded hips. Most of the pictures showed her in a one-piece bathing suit. There was one where she wore a sheer negligee. There were shots of her standing on a pedestal, others with her arms outstretched, and still others where she was looking over her shoulder. In a couple of photos, he must have used a fan to blow her hair back.
“She’s a doll,” Ian said.
 “Jamie, I think this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” Linda said softly.
“You’ll get no argument from me.”

Click a link below to download Fleeing Beauty at the following digital booksellers:


Mystery Author Mark Love
Mark Love lived for many years in the metropolitan Detroit area, where crime and corruption are always prevalent. A former freelance reporter, Love honed his writing skills covering features and hard news. He is the author of the Jamie Richmond romance mysteries, Devious, Vanishing Act and Fleeing Beauty, and the short story Stealing Haven, which is in the collection Once Upon a Summer.  His mystery series, starring Jefferson Chene includes WHY 319? and the new release Your Turn to Die.  Both Chene novels are also available on Audible. Love resides in West Michigan with his wife, Kim. He enjoys a wide variety of music, books, travel, cooking and the great outdoors.

You can find him on Facebook, Amazon and his blog at the links below.
Mark's Facebook Page 

Thanks for being my guest, Mark!
July1-31 2019 Smashwords is having a 75% off SALE! Check it out at
Click here to download these mysteries for $1.50 each only through July 31.

Don't forget to leave a comment to enter the drawing for 
Mark Love's ebook, Fleeing Beauty!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

IWSG Blog Hop: My Character is ME!

IWSG Badge
IWSG Blog Hop---the first Wednesday of every Month.
Hello and welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop! 
Always on the first Wednesday of the month.
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. To find out more, click this link:  Insecure Writer’s Support Group

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! 
You're invited to become a member of this supportive group. Click here to sign-up to join.

July Question 

July 3 question: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

Very personal indeed! My character, Lauren Staab, is me! Let me count the ways.
Deadly Undertaking
Romantic suspense
On Sale at Smashwords $1.50
  • Yes, she is the daughter of a funeral director just like me.
  • She works hard and is reliable like me. 
  • She eats the same food I do. 
  • Her condo is decorated like a home I would have if I were 35 years old again. 
  • The funeral home she works in is modeled after my Dad's funeral home.
  • She overthinks things like I do.
  • She's smart like me. (wink wink)
In fact, I had a very, very, very difficult time establishing this character because I was too up close and personal with her. When I finally separated me from Lauren and stepped back to get a different perspective of her, I was able to continue writing the book.

I have never had a problem developing a character using my imagination to conjure her up. But since she was me, I guess I couldn't get the brainstorming/creativity to flow. Have you ever had that problem when developing a character? Please leave a comment below and let us know your experience. Thank you!!
July1-31 2019 Smashwords is having a 75% off SALE! Check it out at

Thanks for stopping in today. To continue the blog hop, click the link below and scroll down to the list of participating bloggers! Click this link-- Insecure Writer’s Support Group
To the US --Wishing you all a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

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

YouTube VIDEO: Mother's Day Excerpt from Arranging a Dream Hello and welcome! I wanted to pop in to wish you moms, grandmoms and those w...