Whoa! Last IWSG of the year.

Thank you, thank you to my marvelous crit partner, Jennifer Lane, who gave me the reminder that today's the final 2017 meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Since I'm scrambling, I'll go right into the optional IWSG day question:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

Hmm, I'm torn on this one. On the one hand, I didn't get a heck of a lot written this year, so I wish I'd set myself some firmer, more clearly defined goals from the get-go. On the other hand, I enjoyed separating from my writer-self and seeing that I'm still a whole person without it. It was a good 2017, so in the end, I guess I wouldn't go back and change a thing. 

One thing I've learned though...
When I 'm in the throes of writing, I always feel guilty that I'm not getting as much done around the house as I should - the cleaning, the cooking, the blah blah blah. I used to blame all the time spent writing. But in 2017, without doing so much writing, I STILL didn't get much of that stuff done. Ergo, it wasn't writing's fault! So, in 2018, when I get back to the writing, I can erase that old guilt. :)

Happy December, everyone. Merry, merry Christmas & happy Hanukkah 

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!


Happy NaNooing! #IWSG

HI, everyone! I've been absent from blogland, so I look forward to getting around today to see what's up with y'all. Since I'm using NaNo to get back into the swing of writing, the first half of this month's optional IWSG question is perfect for me:

Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? 

Wellllll, I do NaNo a bit differently. Rather than a word goal, I have a minimum-writing-time-per-day goal. That's worked better for me in the past, so I'm doing it again. And it's definitely gotten me full-on back into writing mode by the end of the month, which is what I'll count as a finish.

Look at me talking all big on day one of NaNo. I think hopping around IWSG will be the perfect thing to get me inspired to rejoin you all in writing world.

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!


Insecure Writers Support Group - October Edition #IWSG

Hi, gang! I hope your Octobers are off to a good start. I sorta blew it on a pact I made with myself during IWSG earlier this year---to finish the first draft of my manuscript by the end of September. I'm not even close to finished, folks, not even close. Nor have I had much of an inkling to seriously dive in.

The weird thing is...I'm totally okay with that.

A year ago, I think I probably would've freaked out hearing myself say that. But the beauty of not making any real money at writing fiction is that I don't feel beholden to it. And right now, I'm truly appreciating the things I do when I'm not writing---more so than I did before I dove into writing, I think.

Here's a picture of one of the things I'm appreciating more. It's a restored prairie across the street from where I live. It's the greatest place to walk and walk and walk whilst I catch up on listening to my favorite podcasts.

Since I feel as if I should talk about something related to writing in this post, here's my answer to this month's optional IWSG question: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

I shall answer with another question: Have any of you not slipped your personal information into one, if not all, of your characters?

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!


The Truth Behind CARRY ME HOME, a new release by @JessicaTherrien

Congrats to Jessica Therrien on the release of CARRY ME HOME! Every book is special to its author, but read Jessica's answer to this one-question interview to learn why this new release is especially meaningful to her.

CARRY ME HOME is a fictional novel inspired by the true story of a teenage girl’s involvement in several Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles. The members of her crew call her, Guera, Spanish for “white girl” and it doesn’t take long for her to get lost in their world of guns and drugs.

The question: If you had to choose one song that best captures the essence of CARRY ME HOME, what song would you choose and why?

Jessica's answer: CARRY ME HOME is my sister’s story. Although I turned it into a fictional novel, most of it is true. One song that sticks out to me is "My Immortal" by Evanescence. Not because it inspired me to write the novel, but because I remember my mom listening to it when we were going through all the trouble with my sister’s character “Lucy”.

Most people probably relate the song to a lover, but it still reminds my mom and I of her…and the time we almost lost her.

After we moved from our ranch town to the city, my fifteen-year-old sister became a different person. She fell in with the wrong crowd and succumbed to a world of gangs and got addicted to bad drugs.

Now that I’m a mother myself, I look back and can’t imagine what my mom went through. To watch your little girl slip away and almost destroy herself…To actually fear your own child…To hate and love her at the same time.

The drugs turned my sister into something she wasn’t, and this song still hits home every time.

“A riveting page-turner…Jessica Therrien broke my heart into a million pieces—and then put it back together again. This book will haunt and uplift readers long after they turn the last page.” ~KAT ROSS, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea


Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.

They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.

But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.

Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.

Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.



For the most part, I remember my childhood as dry weeds and dirt roads, warm sun and birdsong. The silky coat of a mare and filth of pigs in mud. Eighty acres of ranch land is an endless playground for any kid. And in those na├»ve years it was easy to ignore the beer on my father’s breath as I skipped off to fetch him another. My mother’s weepy eyes were nothing to ques-tion, because I didn’t know any better. But time chisels away that purity until there’s nothing left but truth.

Neither one of my parents is happy.

At seventeen, I’m ready to leave. The ranch of my youth is a wasteland of empty, overgrown pastures and rusting barbed wire fences. Much like their marriage, it’s tired and used up. There’s nothing left to give.

Tonight, the air feels heavy. I can smell the tension in the ever-present cigarette smoke. At first the rising pitch of their voices doesn’t bother me. I’m used to them fight-ing. But my heart seizes when I hear him yell, and when Dad’s words become a throat-scratching, red-faced shout, my sister, Lucy, sneaks into my room.

My bedroom has always been a sanctuary for her on nights like these.

She doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t have to. We just listen to the rage as it filters through the walls.

“I’m going out there,” she says.


If she were younger I’d stop her. I’d take her little-girl hand and lead her into the quiet closet like I used to, but she’s fifteen now, and there’s no stopping Lucy from doing anything.

My only choice is to follow her.

I find her frozen in the hallway, stiff-legged as a terra-cotta soldier. Mom is just as still, back pressed against the far wall of the kitchen. Dad’s bloodshot eyes are wide and crazed. Wispy pieces of thinning, grey hair have come loose from his short ponytail.

He’s pacing our living room, whisky glass in one hand, a rifle in the other.

Author Bio

Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).

Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.

Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on an a YA suspense thriller series and a middle grade fantasy series.


A Pretty Cool Distraction + Good Behavior

Ay caramba! I totally missed last month's meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. You know how when you have something big coming up and everything you do is geared toward that big thing and you don't really think past it? Well, that's what happened.

At the end of July, I took off to Cusco, Peru to meet up with my daughter who'd spent the summer there. After enjoying a few days in Incan splendor, we took off to explore more corners of that wonderful country (you can see pictures of these other destinations in my latest author newsletter - I've left the free book download open until September 30, if you'd like to partake). I returned to the States on the August date of the IWSG...and proceeded to sleep for 14 hours straight.

I've been whining at IWSG about not making any progress on my writing, and that's because instead of plotting and researching my manuscript, I was consumed with plotting and researching this trip. I'm more than happy to take a break from writing for such a fun and amazing distraction, but now that my life is boring again, it's back to work!

Because of all this distraction, I'm delayed in giving a shout out to the fabulous Jennifer Lane and her re-release of WITH GOOD BEHAVIOR. With seven published novels under her belt, Jennifer ventured back into her debut novel and scrubbed and polished it so that it's better than ever. I enjoyed its first iteration, so I'm excited to read this new & improved version. Congrats, Jen!

Here's a short excerpt from WITH GOOD BEHAVIOR:
Sometimes Jerry and his fellow parole officers joked about starting their own dating service, matching up the hapless cons who crossed their doorsteps. When they were feeling feisty, they’d brainstorm potential names. Instead of Perfect Match, Jerry suggested Perfect CONnection. Al came up with a substitute for It’s Just Lunch, offering It’s Just Cuffs. And Sheila perverted match.com to myladyleftmewhenIwenttoprison.com.


In the midst of organized crime and dim hopes of redemption, can love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a naval officer who sacrificed himself to protect his uncle, finding that love seems unlikely.

As they start their lives over in Chicago, both fight family influences and run as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside their parole officer’s door, attraction sparks. Too bad a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.

Tell me, what's your favorite distraction?

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!


How Pink Eye Saved the Day #IWSG

Welcome to the July 2017  meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group, a time to vent your writerly frustrations and/or offer encouragement. July 27 is the #IWSGPit event, so get ready to pitch your completed & polished manuscripts. Get the details here.

It's going to be a great opportunity for writers, and I hope you all get marvelous leads from it. I myself have nothing to pitch. You see, to have a new completed & polished manuscript, one needs to actually sit down and pound out some new words first.

But don't worry. That's not a lame attempt at an answer to this month's optional IWSG question:

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Step away and take a deep breath. That's my answer. It can be useful at many different stages during the writing (and publishing) process, but today I specifically apply it to that moment when you receive feedback from your editor.

If you're like me, your first instinct is to go on the defensive. By the time we've handed our work off to the editor, we've rewritten, tweaked, and polished that baby until it's perfect. How dare they stroll on in there and start tearing things apart, especially when they don't know our characters or understand the intricacies of our plot as intimately as we do?

And that's just it - they see it for what's on the page, not what's in our minds. If something in the story catches them up, chances are it will also catch up other readers. I know this. You know this. We all know this, but that doesn't change my gut reaction.

When I received a strong suggestion from my publisher to rewrite the ending of my second novel, oh boy, was I resistant. My head boiled with a whole slew of reasons why the ending they asked for was ridiculous, impossible, and so wrong, wrong, wrong for the story!

But I didn't have time to type out my heated response right then. My daughter had a possible case of pink eye, and we had to get to the doctor. So I stepped away from the keyboard, and a funny thing happened on the way to the clinic...during the drive, I started thinking about how maybe, possibly, I could work out the ending they'd asked for. In the waiting room, I thrashed through ideas for making it happen in a way that would be true to the characters and story. By the time we got home, I realized that yeah, this rewrite was worth trying.

The response I sent to the publisher was much different than the one I'd have punched out if I hadn't had to leave right then. That opportunity to step away and take a deep breath was exactly what I'd needed.

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!


The Smallest Thread of Hope, an interview with Feather Stone #Forbidden

I'm thrilled to be taking part in the tour for this wonderful, wonderful novel. You can click on the graphic below to read my five-star review at Goodreads.

For my part of the tour, I asked Feather to answer one question: If you had to pick one song that best captures the essence of Forbidden, which song would you choose and why?

Feather Stone: What an honor to be a guest on the blog of my mentor. Thank you, Nicki.

Forbidden required that I unleash my very best writing skill to expose Forbidden’s characters’ unforgiveable worst, deepest sorrow, most twisted truth. Hopelessness permeated the plot.

I gave Forbidden’s protagonist characters the smallest thread of hope. Together Captain Sharif and Eliza discovered something that has no form, not bound by rules, and is without corruption. It is more powerful than weapons or armor. It is the power of love.

Only through love did Hashim Sharif and Eliza MacKay discover the truth about their past and move beyond crippling lies. In spite of their dissimilar backgrounds, love defeated cultural barriers or need to change the other. Love laid the fertile ground for trust, compassion, and respect.

Even in the face of terrible loss and death, Hashim and Eliza stood at the precipice without fear. They had the power of love.

The one song that epitomizes Forbidden is "Powerof Love" sung by Celine Dion. Though the lyrics express romantic love, the melody and the passion with which she sings is synonymous with Forbidden’s theme of love. The beat reminds me of a heartbeat, racing during a survival struggle, or in the throes of passion. It delivers the passion that inspired Sharif to forgive his parents, risk aborting his loyalties and face his tormentors. Eliza put her trust in the man who had orders to perform her execution because … well, I shouldn’t say too much. No spoilers here J.

Forbidden’s editorial by Leigh Carter: "There are several love stories in Forbidden - love of a woman for her children, love of a man for his faith and country, love of close friends, and the knife-edge love between a man and a woman.  And if that's not enough to hold a reader's interest, there is also a rip-roaring tale of murder, betrayal, political intrigue and suspense.  Forbidden is a multi-layered page-turner.  No matter what readers hope to find in this book, they won't be disappointed."

Forbidden Book Trailer by Igge Scoce


Let's hug it out. #Giveaway

For the first time ever, all three books in THE IT SERIES
are priced at only 99c each!

Let's follow up that hug with a kiss, eh? Below are three short "first kiss" excerpts from each of The It Series novels.

When It Hits You - First Kiss

“Do you really, truly, honestly believe an electronic device can replace having a man in your life?” He watched her with the same intensity she remembered from Indiana, the look she hadn’t been able to decipher when they’d been boiling corn at the farm. Now she thought she might understand where it came from.

“Afraid you might be replaceable?” she asked.

“I would be if I thought it was in any way possible—which it’s not.”

“I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that.” She looked down at her bottle, swirling it. “Do you want the rest of this? I’m not in a mood to drink tonight.”

Hayden shrugged and took the bottle, tilting it for a long pull before he set it next to the empty near his feet. When he straightened, his mouth flattened into a perfect straight line. He leaned back and turned his face toward her, resting his head against the half wall. His thick eyebrows lowered over his darkened blue eyes that glinted in the firelight. “Can I ask you something else?”

The tender earnestness in his voice inspired her to join him in reclining against the wall, mirroring him as she rested her head and tilted her face toward him. “When have I ever stopped you?”

“This little friend of yours…can it do this?” He lifted his arm and traced his fingertips down the side of her face before cupping her jaw. He kept his thumb at her cheekbone, lightly stroking.

If she hadn’t promised to maintain eye contact, she’d have shoved not only her eyes, but also everything else she had away from him. Alcohol had obviously inspired his open show of affection, but she was still sober and couldn’t as easily explain away the electrified thrill that ran through her at his touch.

He dropped his thumb to her mouth and tickled back and forth over her lower lip, daring her to hold strong. “Can it do this?” His mouth moved to hers, pressing against her lips in the slightest of kisses and pulling back just long enough for her to reluctantly acknowledge that she wanted him back on her.
"A quirky light-hearted romance written in a strong voice. A fun read from beginning to end."
~The Jaded Kat

When It Hooks You - First Kiss

She started at his touch and tilted her head to look at him. As soon as her eyes locked on his, he dropped his arm and shifted his gaze away from her to look across the wide deck toward the lake. The brilliant blue in the east had darkened to midnight. She turned her whole body to be front-to-front with him. Touching her hand to the side of his face, she brought his focus back to her. She was done waiting for him to make a move.

“I know you said it was best to not get physical,” she said, noting the faint press of new stubble against her palm. “But I hope kisses don’t count because I’m going to kiss you, Mr. Helms. If that goes well, I don’t plan to stop until your face turns purple and you’re gasping for air.”

He didn’t move or say anything to dissuade her, but a terrified flash raced across his eyes—now made coppery under the scorched heavens. Trish plastered her mouth against his. She’d take away his fear. She’d pull him up to the surface of his melancholy sea and breathe lightness into him.
"A refreshing contemporary romance. The twists and turns make this a page turner."
~Keep Calm and Novel On

When It Holds You - First Kiss

“So you’re actually a redhead, huh?” Cliff asked.

“I am tonight.” She prowled closer and pressed against him, holding two fingers to his lips. The tips of her long purple fingernails tickled against the bottom of his nose. “I’d rather not talk.”

She gave the side of his neck a tentative lick and then touched kisses up his throat and over his face until her mouth was against his. She dropped her hands to run along the sides of his hips, caressing and groping.

His mind sped. His heart galloped. The cool confidence he’d mustered before her arrival evaporated. He wasn’t sure he could do this. He didn’t know this woman at all and now she was feasting on him. He’d much rather have talked with her for a little while before jumping right into it.

Channeling his inner alpha, he forced himself to return the kiss. He slid his hands over the slick fabric of her cape to the small of her back and pulled her close. She was significantly shorter than him, even in the spiked heels. Her body felt so soft against his. Her lips tasted like strawberries.

I can do this.

He did know this woman. It was Claire, the willful strategist with whom he’d been rampaging the kingdomside. He noticed that though she’d been aggressive in her advance, she kept the kiss to lips only, almost as if waiting for him to take it to the next level. He liked this small show of submission.

I can totally do this.
"I can relate to these characters on an emotional level that has me up and down and turning the pages as fast as I can."
~Avonna at The Romance Reviews

The It Series is always free to read in Kindle Unlimited

WHEN IT HITS YOU - https://goo.gl/GzVjaE
WHEN IT HOOKS YOU - https://goo.gl/Ufms9D
WHEN IT HOLDS YOU - https://goo.gl/H1fwXx



I Quit! #IWSG

Welcome to the June 2017 edition of IWSG. We're just trucking through the year, eh? I love this month's optional Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Yes, I did intend to quit writing once. But I wasn't shouting it with a big exclamation point. I was whispering it to myself. It happened just a few months after I discovered my passion for writing fiction - when I'd learned how much time writing takes away from everything else. I had young kids at the time and a thousand-and-one other responsibilities  I told myself I had to stop.

That decision made me very, very sad. It didn't feel right, but while I was still trying to convince myself to stop, this song came on the radio.

I'd heard the song a hundred times before, but this time every single word zinged straight to my heart. The song was giving me permission to release my inhibitions and write my own story - figuratively as well as literally - rather than the story others would write for me.

Fast forward to 2017, and I'm struggling with the time thing again. I vowed to make June the month I kick my writing back into gear, and I know it's still early in the month, but last Saturday as I procrastinated getttng my butt in chair to write, I accomplished SO miuch! It has me tempted to stay away from writing a little longer. But I'll stick to my promise to myself to write something every day this month, and we'll see what happens  As Natasha sings, the rest is still unwritten...

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!


Prepare for The Resurrection of Dylan McAthie

The Resurrection of Dylan McAthie
by Nancee Cain
Series: Pine Bluff, #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover DesignerShannon Lumetta
Release Date: June 1, 2017

At seventeen, music legend Dylan McAthie ran away from his Alabama home to chase his dreams. Years later, he’s forced to return—coming full circle to escape the nightmare his life has become. Hounded by paparazzi and plagued by the aftermath of personal and professional loss, Dylan craves some quiet anonymity so he can regroup and sort out what lies ahead.

Hired by his estranged brother, Jennifer Adams knows exactly who Dylan is. She grew up next door to his family and has followed his career. But the surly, overbearing man she’s caring for as a private-duty nurse is far from the charming boy she remembers. Nevertheless, she’s determined to be professional, do a good job—and not fail at her first time getting away from home.

As her patient heals, his demeanor softens, and their interactions grow less antagonistic. Soon their chemistry is undeniable—and inappropriate—leaving the inexperienced Jennifer thoroughly confused. Adding to the turmoil, scandal finds Dylan once again, threatening all the progress he’s made and putting Jennifer at risk as collateral damage.

It’s up to Dylan to fix what his fame has so easily broken and find a way to move forward with his life. But will his resurrection mean the death of any relationship with Jennifer?

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iBooks ~ Kobo


During the day, Nancee Cain works as a nurse/counselor in the field of addiction to support her coffee and reading habit. Nights are spent writing paranormal and contemporary romances with a serrated edge.

Authors are her rock stars, and she’s been known to stalk a few for an autograph, but not in a scary, Stephen King way. Her husband swears her To-Be-Read list qualifies her as a certifiable book hoarder.

Always looking to try something new, she dreams of being an extra in a Bollywood film, or a tattoo artist. (Her lack of rhythm and artistic ability may put a damper on both of these dreams.)


A HERO LOST Playlist #BookTour #Anthology

Yay! I'm so excited that I got to ask my favorite authorly question to a whole bunch of the fabulous authors with stories in the brand new Hero Lost anthology. Here is your awesome Hero Lost playlist:

The Question: If you had to pick one song that best captures the essence of your story in the Hero Lost anthology, what song would you choose and why?

Jen Chandler

The song I would pick that best sums up the essence of my story would have to be Sarah McLaughlin's song "Building a Mystery". When I first got the idea for "Mysteries of Death and Life", that song crept into my mind and never left. Honestly, the story that came to me was a lot darker than the one I wrote. I'd love to really dive deep one day, find the darker essence of my characters and their stories. Alas, word counts require condensing. Perhaps there's a novella here waiting to be written one day?

Renee Cheung

“Dust in the Wind” by Kansas is probably a good embodiment of “Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight”. The idea that time erases everything is prevalent in the story in many ways, from the ages of knight and dragons to the state Cormac finds himself in by the end of the story. The song itself has a bittersweet tune that befits the tragedy of this forgotten knight.

Erika Beebe

“Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival would be Ethan Klaussen's song, the main character in The Wheat Witch. It relates to his attitude for a great deal of his life about himself. He has very little faith in humanity or any form of desire beyond his immediate world of work, his mustang and his bar near his house until a moment in the bar redefines him.

Sarah Foster

This was tough because I didn’t really have any songs in mind while I was writing the story (which is actually weird for me). But I think “Smoke and Mirrors” by Imagine Dragons is a good fit, particularly for Mikah’s character in “The Last Dragon.” The band’s name is just a bonus. :)

Elizabeth Seckman

I'll go with "That Old Black Magic" by Frank Sinatra.

Yvonne Ventresca

“Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms because “The Art of Remaining Bitter” focuses on envy. The song is more about jealousy in a romantic relationship, and my story is about sibling rivalry, but there is a longing in both of them that is similar.

Tyrean Martinson

"How You Remind Me" by Nickelback ran through my head on repeat until I wrote "Of Words and Swords." I don't think it fits the story exactly, but the tone fits Maud, the main character.

L. Nahay

For "Breath Between Seconds," the song would be '"Doomed'" by Bring Me The Horizon.

Hero Lost
Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!


Insecure Writers Unite! #IWSG #amwriting

Hey, fellow insecure writers. How's it going?

My writing lately is mostly for the quarterly newsletter I write for my day job - but hey, writing is writing, right? And since space in the newsletter is limited and I have a LOT to cover in it, I get great practice at making every single word count. But it keeps me too busy, so this month I'll move right into the optional IWSG question:

What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

Well, if you've read the blurb for my latest release, I ... uh ... yeaaah, forget that one. I'm gonna go in a different direction here. I'd say the weirdest research I've done for a story was to identify a tasteless poison that could be easily disguised on something like, oh, say ... Smarties.

Want one?


This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!


Rain Rain Go Away #Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the latest giveaway hop hosted by The Mommy Island & The Kids Did It.

What's a great way to spend a rainy day? Why, curled up with a good book, of course! So the giveaway at my blog today is a $5 Amazon gift card. You'll find lots of great books there. ;)

What is it about rain that sparks the imagination? I'm not usually flowery with my writing, but while pulling excerpts from my newest series, I noticed that introducing rain into a scene seems to inspire fantasy-like imagery. Below are three excerpts to show you what I mean:

Rainy Day Excerpt from WHEN IT HITS YOU

Lyssa lay on the high, overstuffed bed with the blankets clutched to her chin, her heart thudding against her ribs. Pounding rain had started twenty minutes earlier, waking her from a light sleep. Every few minutes, an electric show of lights glittered through the thin openings on either side of the window shade. Each crack of thunder that followed was louder than the last.

When in her apartment, Lyssa enjoyed a good thunderstorm, but in this musty place where time stood still, it was pure Psycho. She shut out thoughts of shower stabbings and insane proprietors…only for abandoned hotels and Jack Nicholson axing down her door to take their place.

Grabbing the flashlight from the side table, she shot its beam around the room, hoping to amuse herself with its dancing pillar until the storm calmed. The light caught on the filaments of a web above the closed door. She hadn’t noticed it earlier. Focusing the beam there, she admired the glossy weave and thought about how charming it was to be sharing the room with a tiny spider. A shadow at one edge of the web intrigued her. Sitting up and leaning forward revealed that it was the webmaster. And it wasn’t little—it was huge and hairy…probably hairy, though she couldn’t make out that kind of detail.

She snapped off the flashlight, cutting the vision of the monster, but that only made it grow bigger in her imagination. She flicked the light back on to find that spidey was on the move. Still spinning? Yes, of course. That made perfect sense. It wasn’t a coincidence that the arachnid had set up camp above the door, and the reason she hadn’t noticed the web earlier was because it hadn’t been there. The creature had been lying in wait, biding its time until she was asleep so it could spin its trap over the door.

Good God. If this investment career doesn’t work out, I should try writing B horror flicks.

Rainy Day Excerpt from WHEN IT HOOKS YOU

Rain fell in slick, black sheets. Only the murkiest glimmer of moonlight soaked through the cloud cover, leaving the world in muted shadow. Two faraway streaks sliced through the black, casting a glare and igniting the magical realm surrounding them. Emerald occupants of the jungle stood with their heads forced down by the relentless pelting, bowing to the slate giants in the distance—majestic kings crowned in amethyst. The vision only lasted a few short seconds but stayed imprinted on Trish’s brain.

“Wow,” was her lame attempt to describe the scene. Adam’s awed silence did a much better job of it.

Rainy Day Excerpt from WHEN IT HOLDS YOU

The forest filled with screeches—coming from the humans who zoomed above it. A gazillion shades of green blurred below Cliff while feathery rain licked his face. His chest opened wide, soaking it all in and giving his wildly pumping heart room to dance. Moments after he landed on the next platform, Trish touched down with a delicate hop, her eyes sparking with exhilaration. Lyssa and Hayden also arrived flushed from the thrill.

They jumped again and again. Cliff found slower stretches of the rope course to be even more incredible than the fast ones, allowing him more time to admire the exotic, misty scene. Its serenity was electrified by darting birds shaded in all the colors of the richest rainbow in Oz. He was young and wild and free in the trees. Invincible.

How about you? Do you ever find that rain inspires you to new levels of creativity?

My giveaway for the Rain, Rain Go Away Hop is a $5 Amazon Gift Card.
I am solely responsible for providing this prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop around to the links below for more great prizes!

Insecure Writers' Support Group #IWSG

The Insecure Writers Support Group has started a Book Club at Goodreads! The club is all about honing our craft as writers, so visit the page to learn more and join.

The 2017 A to Z Challenge is on - good luck to all of those participating!  This month's optional question for the IWSG is: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

I'm not participating in A to Z this year since I knew I couldn't commit to daily blog visits, but I've had great fun completing the challenge in the past. I have to be honest and say that I've never looked at A to Z as a marketing opportunity for my books or even as publicity to increase my blog following. I just did it because it was fun. I usually think it's a blessing to not take myself too seriously, but the flip side of that is I often don't take myself seriously enough, and I know that holds me back from achieving all that I could.

BUT I am totally serious about giving away my book for free later this month. If you'd like to help me spread the word, please join my Thunderclap. Thank you!

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!

Be sure to visit this month's Co-Hosts:
Christopher D. Votey
Madeline Mora-Summonte
Fundy Blue
Chrys Fey


March Madness #250 #Giveaway

march madness 

Score Big during the $250 March Madness Cash giveaway where you have the option of choosing between $250 PayPal Cash OR an Amazon E-Gift Card! This event was organized by The Kids Did It & The Mommy Island and sponsored by the awesome bloggers, authors, and Etsy shop owners listed below!

Give some love to the March Madness sponsors and follow them on social media:
March Madness Sponsors:

ONE entrant will be selected by the entry form to win $250 PayPal cash OR $250 Amazon e-gift card. Open for entry WW, 18 years and older from 03/14/17 thru 04/03/17 at 11:59pm ET. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to notification email to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected. See Rafflecopter for official rules.

The Kids Did It & The Mommy Island are responsible for sending the winner their prize via PayPal or Amazon. The winner has the option of choosing between PayPal and an Amazon gift card. Please contact Amanda (joyskidsdidit@gmail.com) if you have questions or you’d like an event organized.


Incense and Peppermints - a Blog Blitz with @cathconstantine #60s #contemporary #YA

I'm so excited to feature Cathrina Constantine's brand new release, Incense and Peppermints! 

Incense and Peppermints
Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: March 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Peace demonstrations, sit-ins, and burning the U.S. flag following the escalation of the Vietnam War are leading to a catalyst known to the world as the Sixties, and a musical revolution, flower power, hippies, marijuana, and drugs are carrying the generations—young and old—into a new decade. All the while sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is caught between being an innocent good girl and an autumn of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. 
When her brother offers a solution to her dilemma in the form of a little pill, Mary ignores the rumba in her brain and takes a walk on the wild side. Plunged into popularity and a life she’s only imagined, she meets Michael Covington, the hot newcomer, and she’s instantly drawn in by his less than flawless exterior and bad boy sex appeal. Caught up in the danger and excitement as they drift from party to party, into underground fight clubs, and through a series of drug and alcohol fueled adventures, Mary follows her new crush into a world where young girls are never truly safe from the predators lurking in the shadows and young men are hiding from the harsh reality of war.
Feeling buzzed and as if her life is spinning out of control, Mary is assaulted by an unknown man at a party, and she’s left questioning if the enigmatic Michael is truly her hero or if he is the face behind the terrible attack. With every piece of information Mary learns about Michael, her doubts grow deeper, but with every minute she spends in his presence, so does her love.
With the war and her fear threatening to separate Mary and Michael forever, only the death of a friend, a crushing confession, and her own sensibilities can carry her over the threshold between adolescence and adulthood.


September 1969
The corners of my bedroom had dulled to a muddy gray by the time my brother leaned on, or rather wobbled against, my door. His glassy eyes floated in their sockets. Stoned, again.

“Whatcha doing, Sis?” Stevie, my older brother slurred.

My gaze slipped over his pasty chest, sprinkled with wiry hair, and past his jockeys to his stick-like legs. Did he realize he was only wearing saggy underwear? Normally, I’d say gross and mock him, but only because he normally treated me like a speck of toe scum.

“Nothing much.” I slipped my diary into my sock drawer, away from prying eyes. Our parents weren’t home, and our little sister was asleep in her crib on the other side of my room.
“You need to grow up,” he said. “Here, it’s party time.” Pinched between his thumb and finger, he revealed an ordinary aspirin as if he’d procured the magic solution.

“Uh… I don’t have a headache.”

“Hey, turd. It’s not an aspirin. Stop the nerd act and get with the program. Grow up.”

Our sibling behavior toppled into the belittling and ridiculing stage. Though I figured it was his way of helping me. Yet, staring at the pill, I was interested, but a hootenanny of cymbals clashed inside my head and my sensible side screamed.

You’ll puke! I hate puking. Wasn’t it only last week Stevie was tripping and heaving guts like a water hose?

Shaking my head, I declined his kind and strange offer and tried using simple logic to get rid of him. “Not tonight. Mom and Dad will be home any minute. Go to bed. It’s late.”

“They’ll be so-o plastered. I can’t stand them like that.” Dejected, his shoulders slouched, and his body seemed to deflate. Until he tossed the pill, saying, “Catch.”

Cathrina Constantine is the Best Selling author of Don’t Forget To Breathe. Her book won Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for 2015 and The Literary Classics Seal of Approval and Literary Classics Gold Award. Her Paranormal Fantasy, Wickedly They Come has been awarded the 5 Star Seal from Reader’s Favorite. Tallas from her dystopian series received Literary Classics Silver Award and Literary Classics Seal of Approval.
Cathrina resides in Western New York with her husband, five children, two Labrador Retrievers and her cat, Bones. Author @chbbpublishing. Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. When not attached to her computer, she likes to take long walks in the woods with her dogs, drink way too much coffee, and is an avid movie watcher. She loves music and doesn’t need a dance floor to shake a leg.