Friday, March 22, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-March 22, 2019



It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

The weather is definitely feeling more springlike. We've had a decent stretch of warm, dry days, so flooding where I live has become less of a concern. The boys have been able to spend their spring break riding bikes and playing with sidewalk chalk. Zoe likes to join in on the fun, though she hasn't quite got the hang of her tricycle yet.

My husband and I have a date night scheduled for next week. We figured we should find a way to fit that in since we have a baby coming in two months. Once the baby comes, it'll be a little while before we get another chance.

I'm also celebrating the fact that I've made some progress in editing my WIP. A troublesome spot kept tripping me up, but I finally like what I've done with it. Hopefully things continue to go well there and I can get some good work done over the next week.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-March 15, 2019


It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

It looks like spring is starting to poke its reluctant head around the corner here. The temperatures have been warmer here. I'm certainly happy about that. Unfortunately, we've also had rain here over the last few days. The combination of rain and melting snow has led to some flooding. A lot of country roads around here are impassable because they're too muddy. It's a mess for now, but hopefully things will dry out and the warmth will continue.

Our new telescope came in the mail. We haven't had an opportunity to use it yet, but the kids are pretty excited. So am I, for that matter. Hopefully we'll have a clear night soon so we can test it out.

Lastly, the kids have spring break next week. We bought a couple of wooden 3D models, so that should make for a fun project for us to do together. If all goes well, I may post some pictures of the results!

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, March 8, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-March 8, 2019


It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

I'm celebrating warmer temperatures over the next few days. I haven't exactly been quiet about the fact that I'm more than eager for winter to be over. We have mountains of snow surrounding our house. One of our cars was literally frozen to the ground. We finally got it to move for the first time in weeks yesterday. Please bring on the warmth! We desperately need it!

We just ordered a new telescope, and we should receive it some time next week. That's another reason to hope for better weather. There's something exciting about trying out a new telescope for the first time. I can't wait!

Lastly, I'm celebrating the fact that I got to go book shopping this week without any kids in tow. As much as I love spending time with my kids, sometimes I need a quiet stroll through a bookstore by myself.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: March 2019


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time to convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has gathered some wonderful co-hosts for this month: Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website for support and lots of great resources for writers!

I've been feeling a little insecure about my writing for the last couple of weeks. One of the reasons for this has to be lack of progress. I've been busy, and when I do find time to write, it's hard for me to get much done. My mind has been focused on other things. I know all writers go through things like this, but it's still frustrating. I just need to keep reminding myself that slow progress is better than no progress.

Now let's move on to the optional question for the month.

Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

I can honestly say I've never attempted to write a story from the point of view of the villain. Why? I suppose I'm just accustomed to telling stories from the POV of the protagonist. That's my natural starting point. I guess most stories we consume are told in this same way. We like to travel alongside the hero and cheer them on through their journey. It's a crucial part of being human.

That being said, I think it would be quite fun to try writing a story from the POV of the villain. The opportunity to get an in depth look at their motivations and the way they perceive the world could be invaluable. I'll definitely have to give it a try some time.

Do you prefer to tell your stories from the POV of the hero or the villain?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker




Music Boxes
By Tonja Drecker
Middle Grade Fantasy / Performing Arts
158 pages
Dancing Lemur Press
Release date: March 5th, 2019
Ages 9 to 12

      ·         ISBN-10: 1939844568
      ·         ISBN-13: 978-1939844569






Book Blurb:


“I only desire your talent...”


Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.

When she meets Madame DestinĂ©e, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right...

One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame DestinĂ©e’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.


Sale Links:




Get a FREE envelope with Swag!

Pre-order/order your book (ecopy or print) before midnight (EST) on Friday night, March 8th, send a copy of your proof of purchase to  tonjadrecker@gmail.com along with an US mailing address, and you will receive an envelope with exclusive swag (bookmark, sticker, etc). 


All about the author...






Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea.







Links:




Giveaway

The giveaway will run from midnight (EST) on the night of February 21st, 2019 until midnight (EST) on the night of March 15th,  2019. Entries will be made through the Rafflecopter. One winner will receive a music box (the one found in the book video: https://youtu.be/ww_RY4lVg3w) with the author’s golden signature on the bottom as well as swag (US addresses only). The second winner will receive an Amazon GC of $10 (US). The second winner must be in possession of a qualifying US Amazon account.

The contest is open to U.S. residents only, ages eighteen and over. No purchase is required for entry. All winners must claim their prize 48 hours after notification. Winners will be announced on www.tonjadrecker.blogspot.com on Saturday, March 16th 2019 by 10:00am (EST). All addresses and personal information will be used only for prize allocation. Sponsor, Tonja Drecker, assumes no responsibility or liability of any kind. Please email all questions to tonjadrecker@gmail.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 1, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things: March 1, 2019


It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

We bought a van this week. Considering I'll be transporting 4 kids around starting sometime in May, this was a necessary purchase. It isn't fancy by any means, but it'll do the job.

I'm also celebrating the beginning of March. Please let this mean spring is coming soon! I'm so tired of all the snow we've been getting. It's insane. Over the weekend, my husband couldn't make it into work due to a massive blizzard we had. The blizzard shut down a 158-mile stretch of the interstate that runs near our house. The kids also missed school on Monday because it took snowplows so long to get everything cleared.

Finally, I'm celebrating the fact that I bought myself a couple of new jigsaw puzzles to do over the next few weeks. I can't wait to get started on them.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, February 22, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-February 22, 2019


It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

First of all, I'm celebrating another successful WEP challenge. We had a lot of wonderful entries for this month's prompt 28 Days. If you'd like to stop by and read some of the entries, you can find the linky here.

I'm also celebrating the fact that I am 28 weeks pregnant. That means I have approximately 12 weeks left, and I'm ready to get to the finish line. I'm getting larger and more awkward by the day. I did get an awesome baby blanket as a gift from my sisters'-in-law the other day. It's so adorable!

Lastly, I'm celebrating the start of a new short story. Inspiration struck, and I had to follow my muse. Hopefully it'll turn out well. This story is definitely different than anything I've ever written before, so writing it is both exciting and a bit terrifying.

What would you like to celebrate?

Monday, February 18, 2019

WEP/IWSG February Challenge-28 Days



It's time for another WEP/IWSG Challenge! This month's prompt is special because it's the result of a IWSG contest. Lots of great ideas came in, and Toinette Thomas submitted the winner.

28 Days. A lot can happen in the course of 28 days. I'm sure we'll have a lot of excellent entries. Here's mine. I hope you enjoy it.


*   *   *


28 Days

My blood runs like ice in my veins.

I double check the calendar and count forward from the star scribbled in black pen. That little star is nestled in the corner of an ordinary Saturday. When I put it there, I didn’t imagine I’d soon be agonizing over it.

28 days have passed.

4 weeks.

672 hours.

No matter how I break it down, the numbers aren’t fundamentally different. They all point to one inescapable truth.

It’s amazing how many events can fit into such a short span of time. You can meet someone who seems like everything you’ve ever wanted in a partner. You can go on a few dates and stay up late into the night talking about anything and everything. You can open your heart and lay your soul bare in front of someone for the first time.

And then that person can take all that trust and hope you’ve placed with them and shatter it. They can disappear from your life as quickly as they entered it.

All those things can happen in 28 days.

I sigh and stare at the numbered squares. I told myself I would wait it out, that I was freaking out over nothing. My stomach rolls as I think about all those lies I formed in my own mind. And I can’t help but form a few more. The stress might be throwing me off, I tell myself. It’ll come. Of course it’ll come. I try to ignore the glaring fact that my body runs like clockwork. I’ve never been late before.

There’s a first time for everything, my brain tries to tell me.

I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Stars burst before me as I press my hands against my eyelids. When I pull them away, it takes several moments for my vision to clear. The brown paper bag I picked up from the store this morning waits for me on the counter. My shoulders slump as I move to pick it up and head to the bathroom.

I triple check the instructions on the rectangular box before I open it. I’m numb as I go through the motions. If I don’t think too much about what I’m doing, then it won’t be real. The thought is ludicrous, of course, but it’s a constant problem for me. If I’m too anxious about a situation, I can’t face it like I should.

That’s why it took you four days to realize Ethan wasn’t going to call you again, my brain tells me.

The truth cuts deep.

I finish the test and sit down on the edge of the bathtub to await the results. The stick sits beside the sink, just above my line of sight. The cool porcelain grounds me a little. The seconds tick by as I try to calm my racing heart.

I wonder where Ethan is. He certainly isn’t about to tear his hair out with worry like I am. He’s blissfully unaware of how unstable the world is beneath my feet. If he knew, would he care? My gut tells me no.

My brain has plenty more to say on the subject. Why did I trust him? I barely knew him. He seemed like everything I ever wanted, but I should have known better. Anyone can pretend to be the perfect partner for a couple of weeks. Why was I so stupid? What will Mom have to say about all of this? She warned you about guys like him, didn’t she? Is finishing college still possible?

The thought spiral threatens to swallow me whole.

Then it’s time to check the test. Results in 2 minutes or less, the box said. I grip the side of the tub until my knuckles turn white. My fingers ache. “You have to look now,” I tell myself sternly. “Waiting isn’t going to change the answer.” With one forceful motion, I push myself to my feet and look at that fateful stick.

+

I let out a shaky breath. My stomach drops, and I wobble in place. Such a little sign. Simple. In elementary school, it resulted in easy answers. 1+1=2. Except that equation doesn’t seem so uncomplicated, either. Not anymore.

The numbers in my world have changed.

9 months.

Then 18 years.
 
No, not 18 years. A whole lifetime. A lifetime of guidance and worrying about another human being. The gravity of it washes over me, nearly knocking me off my feet.         

In a mere 28 days, my world has changed forever.

*   *   *

Word Count: 755
FCA

Big Red Review

Big Red

By Damien Larkin

We have always been here...

Suffering the side effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin wakes up screaming from a gunshot wound that isn’t there. Despite a fractured memory, he is forced to recount his year-long tour of duty on Mars to uncover the mysterious fate of Earth’s off-world colonies and the whereabouts of his shattered battalion.

With time running out, Darren recalls his tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force in New Berlin colony, their brutal MARSCORP masters, and the vicious war against the hostile alien natives.

But as he exposes the truth, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemy may be more human than he is…

Release date - May 14, 2019
$18.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 304 pages
Science Fiction - Military FIC028050/Alien Contact FIC028090/Alternative History FIC040000
Print ISBN 9781939844606 / EBook ISBN 9781939844613
$4.99 EBook available in all formats



Bio:


Damien Larkin is a full-time stay-at-home father of two loud (but happy) young children. When not tinkering with apps as a side project, you can find him reading everything and anything to do with psychology, history and science fiction. He enjoys turning terrifying nightmares into novels and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.

Links:



Dancing Lemur Press offered me the opportunity to read and review this book before publication, and I happily accepted. I'm always eager to read a new science fiction book, after all. 

Without further delay, here is my review!

Big Red can be described in a lot of ways. It’s military science fiction. It’s also an alternate history story. Most importantly, though, it’s the story of people who have been thrown into extraordinary circumstances that test the very limits of human endurance. I found myself rooting for these characters as they struggled for survival and understanding in a hostile environment.

The story opens with soldier Darren Loughlin as he regains consciousness. He is disoriented and trying figure out how he got there and what’s happening to him. The urgency mounts as those around him demand to know what happened to him and the people he was serving with. There is a very real sense that time is of the essence as he tries to pull together the fragments of his memory.

Throughout the novel, the reader journeys with the protagonist between past and present. We learn his history as he begins to recall it, seeing how he ended up on Mars against his will and all that he was expected to do while he was there. There were moments of humor and camaraderie that left me rooting for these characters. There were also moments of heartbreak and horror. As the story unfolds, we get clues that indicate all is not as it seems.

The technology was fascinating, and I thoroughly enjoyed how the time travel aspects of the story played out. This story is full of twists that kept me turning the page, and it all resulted in a satisfying conclusion. All in all, this is a great read for sci-fi fans!


Friday, February 15, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-February 15, 2019


It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

I'd like to start by celebrating an accomplishment I never imagined I'd be able to pull off. I recently learned to solve a Rubik's Cube! Not only that, but I've since done it several times, and I've been getting faster each time I do it. I've seen lots of people who can solve them in under a minute, and I'm nowhere near that quick. I've pulled off doing it in about five minutes, and I'm not sure how much faster I can get. Either way, I'm pretty happy with myself about that.

I'm also celebrating the fact that we don't have much winter left. My boys had two days of school canceled this week because of snow, which is insane considering how many times that's happened in the last two months. My oldest is worried they're not going to have any summer break left at all if this continues, and I can't blame him. No one wants to go to school when it's really nice outside.

Lastly, I shared post on the IWSG Anthologies blog. In that post I talk a little about how my story "Oddly Suited" came to be. I also share a a small excerpt of it. If you're interested, please check it out!

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, February 8, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-February 8, 2019


It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

While we've still had some nasty winter weather this week, it's still been significantly better than it was last week, so I'll take it. Is winter nearly over yet? Please tell me it is.

I've fallen behind in the editing I've been doing on my WIP over the last few weeks, but I dove back into it this week. Hopefully I can keep going with it and make some real progress.

My boys are excited about Valentine's Day next week. They love handing out valentines in class. My husband and I don't have any actual plans for Valentine's Day (other than the fact that we have parent/teacher conferences that evening), but as long as I can use it as an excuse to eat chocolate, I'm okay with that.


What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Insecure Writer's Support Group-February 2019


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you all know what that means! It's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has rounded up another great group of co-hosts: Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website for support and lots of great resources for writers!

First of all, I'd like to encourage you to check out Michelle Wallace's post today. She kindly offered to host a piece talking about the benefits of participating in Write...Edit...Publish. If you'd like to read about 1o reasons why you should join WEP, you should check that out!

Secondly, I have a post up on the IWSG Anthologies website today. There I talk a bit about the theme for the upcoming anthology Masquerade: Oddly Suited.

Now let's move on to the question of the day.

The optional question for February is: Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

I've been doing a lot of jigsaw puzzles lately. I find it relaxing, and I enjoy watching the picture come together as I work on it. Doing puzzles with a toddler in the house has been challenging. I have to keep them out of reach if I don't want to end up with missing pieces.

I also like making bath bombs. While mine aren't perfect (Iowa's fluctuations between extremely humid and dry air make it hard to perfect the recipe to avoid cracking), it's still fun to get creative with colors and scents.

By the way, the picture does not feature any bath bombs I made. This is merely a depiction of what I wish mine looked like.

How about you? What creative outlets do you have other than writing?


Friday, February 1, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-February 1, 2019



It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

It's been a strange week. The weather left us all cooped up in the house for days. I'm certainly thankful that our furnace was able to keep up with our insane weather. The wind chill outside was between -50 and -60 for a couple of days. School was canceled for the kids for 4 days straight, and since it was too cold to go outside, they've been going stir crazy. The good news is that we're on the verge of a warming trend. We should see temperatures of above 40 degrees by the end of the weekend, and I can't wait for it.

I'm also celebrating the cover reveal for the upcoming IWSG anthology Masquerade: Oddly Suited. There's something thrilling about seeing the cover for a new book (especially if you have a story included in it!), so being able to share that with the world felt great.


Masquerade: Oddly Suited
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Release date – April 30, 2019
Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/ContemporaryPrint ISBN 9781939844644
EBook ISBN 9781939844651

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solace, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

I've also been promoting another anthology this week. The Young Explorer's Adventure Guide: Volume 5 came out in December, but the publisher is doing a publicity push this week. I may be biased since I have a story published in this one as well, but I think this is a wonderful collection of science fiction stories for middle grade readers. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, please check it out!


Finally, I'm celebrating another upcoming WEP Challenge. The prompt for this month is 28 Days. A lot can happen in 28 days, so there are plenty of ways for submissions to play out. If you'd like to take part in this one, hop on over to the website and sign up!


What would you like to celebrate?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Masquerade: Oddly Suited Cover Reveal

It's time for a cover reveal!

Some of you may have seen a few puzzle pieces floating around on social media over the weekend. Now it's time to put them together and get a look at the bigger picture.


Doesn't that video look cool? You can thank the talented Anstice Brown for that one.

Now here's a still image of the cover so you can get a closer look.


Masquerade: Oddly Suited
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Release date – April 30, 2019
Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/ContemporaryPrint ISBN 9781939844644
EBook ISBN 9781939844651

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

We're arranging a blog tour to help promote this anthology, and there's a FORM for you to fill out if you'd like to be a part of it! You can choose from an author interview, a guest post, or a book spotlight.

That's all for now!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-January 25, 2019



It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

We had a brief wave of illness hit our house. My husband and Zoe got it the worst, but they're both on the mend now. The boys and I only ended up having a bit of a cold. Still unpleasant, but it could have been worse. I'm definitely glad Zoe is doing better. She had a miserable couple of days where she was attached to my hip most of the time.

Winter finally hit us in full force. Between snow and intense winds that are resulting in wind chill temperatures of well below zero, the boys have missed three school days in the last week so far. One of the days they did have school ended with an early out. As of the time I'm writing this, I have no idea if they're having school today either. The wind chill could get as low as 30 degrees below zero overnight, so who knows? Why am I celebrating this? Well, we've had plenty of family time this week as a result, and we all stayed safe. That's the main thing.

I'd also like to celebrate cookies. I was badly craving something with chocolate in it, so I caved in and bought some. I'll blame pregnancy cravings for that one.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-January 18, 2019


It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

The power cord for my laptop broke this week, but I was able to get a replacement for a reasonable price. Phew! When it first broke, I went through all kinds of stress and worry about what would happen if I couldn't replace it right away. Now I can relax and get back to work.

We're currently waiting for a snowstorm that's supposed to be hitting later today. Hopefully it doesn't get too bad since my husband has to work tonight, but we'll see how the weather goes. Iowa weather can be a tad unpredictable.

I'm hoping to get a lot of good writing done this weekend, as well as some reading. That sure sounds nice, especially since it's going to be a snowy and cold one outside.

What would you like to celebrate?