#ReblogAlert! #Twofer #ThisWeekOnStoryEmpire & Sally Cronin’s #SmorgasbordWeeklyRoundUp

As I promised, I’m starting all my regular weekly features up again for the new year, and today I’m happy to share the news from my friends at both Story Empire and Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord blogs. Enjoy!

MONDAY: To start of the week, Gwen Plano’s post The Writer’s Contract with Readers reminds us how important covers and blurbs are when it comes to attracting readers. Check it out HERE.

TUESDAY: A bonus post from Mae Clair filled with fantastic news: Story Empire has added two new authors to their family! If you missed this announcement, you can find out who’s joining the team by checking out Mae’s post HERE.

WEDNESDAY: New Story Empire member Beem Weeks is off to a great start with a really helpful first post entitled Writing Set-Ups for the Big Reveal. His tips are extremely useful and I can’t wait to see what else he has to share in the weeks ahead. Check out Beem’s post HERE. 

FRIDAY: Mae Clair returns to wrap up the week with a fantastic post, Creating a Promotional Author Video. Not only is this one filled with extremely helpful tips on doing so, it includes a super video of Mae putting those tips to good use. Check it all out HERE.


As always, TONS of good stuff going on at Sally’s Smorgasbord blog.  Lots of things of interest, and some very entertaining stuff too. Be sure you didn’t miss anything this week, and don’t forget to take a look at the videos! Guaranteed smiles!

Check Out Sally’s Weekly RoundUp Post HERE

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About Suzanne Cottrell

It’s time for the first Ten Things post of 2022, and I know you’ll help me welcome my guest, author Suzanne Cottrell, who will get things off to a great start for us this year. Suzanne, the floor is yours!

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Suzanne Cottrell

  1. At age 65, I completed a tree top obstacle course consisting of 41 obstacles and 5 zip lines.    The biggest challenge was stepping off the platforms for the zip lines; but once in the air, the  experiences were exhilarating.
  2. Although I did not acquire my private pilot’s license, I did fly solo in a Cessna 150 and later wrote a story, “Calm Down,” about the experience.
  3. I spent several summers as a camp counselor and swimming instructor in western New York, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.
  4. In October, 2021, I celebrated 25 years of being cancer-free. I’m a breast cancer survivor and now thriver.
  5. One afternoon I discovered a groundhog sleeping in the fork of an oak tree. I didn’t know groundhogs could climb trees. That’s another story, “Up a Tree,” yet to be published.
  6. Two treats I love to enjoy, especially on my birthday, are Boston cream pie and homemade chocolate ice cream.
  7. I love baseball. Growing up, I enjoyed attending Cincinnati Reds’ games with my maternal grandfather, who had played semi-professional baseball. Now I’m a big fan of the MinorLeague Durham Bulls, Triple-A affiliate for the Tampa Bay Rays.
  8. My sneezes come in triplets, occasionally quadruplets.
  9. As a child, I grew up in Oxford, Ohio. Since 1987, I’ve lived in rural Granville County, and my mailing address is Oxford, North Carolina. I have to be careful when addressing envelopes to friends.
  10. Some of my favorite authors are Mary Oliver (poetry), Mary Stewart and Kristin Hannah (fiction), and Sy Montgomery (nonfiction).

Author Suzanne Cottrell

Suzanne Cottrell, a buckeye by birth, lives with her husband in rural Piedmont North Carolina. An outdoor enthusiast and retired history and special ed. teacher, her interests include reading, writing, knitting, hiking, Tai Chi, yoga, and Pilates. She enjoys researching history and culture and loves nature and its sensory stimuli. She particularly likes to write and experiment with poetry and flash fiction, as well as working on collaborative projects, especially with her daughter.

Her work has appeared in numerous online and print journals and anthologies, such as the Best Emerging Poets Series, The Avocet, Poetry Quarterly, Plum Tree Tavern, Parks and Points, The Pangolin Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Three Line Poetry, Inwood Indiana Press anthologiesPersonal Story Publishing Project anthologies, Proverse Hong Kong Poetry Prize Mingled Voices anthologies, Nailpolish Stories, Quail Bell Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Flash Fiction Magazine. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Gifts of the Seasons, Autumn and Winter; Gifts of the Seasons, Spring and Summer; and Scarred Resilience, published by Kelsay Books. She was the recipient of the 2017 Rebecca Lard Award for Poetry Quarterly (Prolific Press).


You can buy Suzanne’s Books by Clicking on the Covers Below


You can find Suzanne on social media here:
Website
LinkedIn
Email: cottrell_suzanne@yahoo.com

Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New! (or, How I Felt Friday Night)

It’s good to remember that we aren’t the first folks trying to speak to the hearts, minds, and souls of others. Some of the truest words ever consigned to paper came long before our arrival on the scene. I think Alfred Lord Tennyson’s words above prove that quite eloquently, especially for the demise of 2021. As he says in his classic poem, “let him go.”  (Full poem below.)

Now it’s time to look forward to what we can accomplish in 2022. Who can we touch with our writing? And how can we make this brand new year better for our families, our friends, our neighbors, and ourselves? Small things can make huge differences in the lives of others, as well as in our own lives, and we have the power to accomplish them. 

Personally, I want to strive to be the best I can be at whatever I’m tackling at any given time. From writing the next Great American Novel to cleaning the bathtub, I’m going to aim to do my very best. And the moment I  wake up each morning, I’m going to remind myself how lucky I am to have another chance to do everything better.

Good plan, huh? But just thinking about it won’t “get ‘er done,” as we say around here. I know I’ll have days now and then when I don’t meet my goals, but ONE day is just that: a day, out of a week, out of a month, out of the year. A bad day doesn’t mean I’ve failed and should just give up on my goals.

So that’s basically where I am today, my friends. I’m back now, and I’ll gradually be getting all my regular blogging features back up and running. And I hope some of you are thinking about being guests on The Write Stuff this year. I’m eager to help you promote your books, and I know many of you will reciprocate when you can. This writing/blogging community of ours is filled with generous souls who support each other, and I’m so blessed to be a small part of it. Whaddya say we make this year a wonderful one for writing, publishing, and sharing with each other? 

I believe in US!!

Happy New Year, and Gloriously Happy Writing!


In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells]

Alfred Lord Tennyson – 1809-1892

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

#GuestDayTuesday – The Prince’s Heir by Deborah Jay

Today, please welcome back a long-time friend and fellow author, Deborah Jay. Deborah writes some absolutely terrific epic fantasy, and today is a Red Letter day in her Five Kingdom Series. But I should let her tell you all about that, so … take it away, Debby!


RELEASE DAY

It’s here at last!

Today sees the culmination of a dream turned reality with the release of the final instalment in The Five Kingdoms series.

I set out to write a trilogy, but my characters had other ideas, and THE PRINCE’S HEIR is the concluding novel of what became a quartet.

                          

BLURB

King Marten’s reign balances on a blade’s edge. Chel’s Casket, symbol of his right to rule, is missing. Can master spies, Rustam and Risada, recover it before someone notices its absence and challenges Marten’s sovereignty? Or is there a more sinister motive behind the disappearance of the casket—a relic that could be used to raise the demon god, Charin.

As a series of natural disasters besets the kingdoms, evidence points towards interference by the meddlesome deity, and the terrifying prospect of war between its two opposing aspects.

When Marten’s beloved wife, Betha, and their infant daughter vanish, Marten faces a stark choice: save his family, or try to save his kingdom from a conflict that threatens all humanity.


Here’s a brief taster:

A loud ‘pop’ interrupted them, and the barbarous figure of a gemeye materialised in the middle of the office’s open floorspace. It took a moment for Rustam to recognise Cat beneath the dirt and blood. Her usually straight brown hair was tangled and matted with leaves, the silver stripe proclaiming the goddess’s favour barely discernible beneath the muck. Dark circles shadowed sunken eyes, and great, bloody scores raked one bare thigh beneath her gem-laden girdle. Her posture twisted to one side, as though she protected an injury, and Rustam barely made it to her side before she staggered towards the nearest chair. He caught her elbow and eased her down.

“What happened?”

Cat blinked up at him and his breath caught at the depth of hopelessness reflected in her unique, brown-marbled eyes. Her chest rose and fell quickly, drawing his gaze to the heavy collar of Cat’s Eye gemstones, each one a perfect match with her eye colour, as were those set in the broad girdle around her waist.

She clutched his arm. “We need your help, Rusty.”

Buy The Prince’s Heir HERE


The Five Kingdoms Series

The series tagline – Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings – came about from my frustration with the Bond writers, who never allowed the character to develop. Thus, Rustam Chalice was born – a shallow, womanising, spy who would have everything he believed in challenged and turned upside down, forcing him to change and adapt. My love of Lord of the Rings helped me choose fantasy as my genre, and boy, am I happy that I did. You can throw so much more at your cast than you can in a contemporary setting!

So, for those of you who haven’t yet taken the plunge, to celebrate the release of the final book in the set, Book #1, THE PRINCE’S MAN, is on sale for a limited time at just 99c – go grab yourself the starter book of a series about which people are saying:

“Randomly browsing thru newer ebooks and came across this gem. Was delightfully surprised after reading the description “Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings” which intrigued me to no end, to find that this was exactly how I perceived the book.”
R Lewis

“Reminiscent of Game of Thrones, this delightful fantasy will hold your attention from beginning to end.”
Rhoda D’Ettore

“Jay paints a vivid world, that we are treated to in this dangerous adventure that tests our heroes to every limit. Including having them question everything they had ever taken for granted.”
Miss K Marsden

“Firstly let me say, if you have enjoyed books by Tolkien, Christopher Paolini, or Robin Hobb – you will absolutely enjoy this book.”
Rachel Braithwaite

Buy The Prince’s Man HERE 


Author Deborah Jay

Deborah Jay writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Fortunate enough to live near Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.

She has a dream day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her first published novel is epic fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in the Five Kingdoms series, and winner of a UK Arts Council award. #2, THE PRINCE’S SON and #3, THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE are both available with the newly released concluding book in the quartet, THE PRINCE’S HEIR.

Her first urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, about a Scottish water sprite, is the opening novel of the CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES. The companion short story, SPRITE NIGHT is available FREE on most ebook retailers.

Newsletter sign up and FREE short story HERE
Deborah’s Amazon Author Page

Reach Deborah on Social Media here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About Amy M. Reade

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming author Amy M. Reade to The Write Stuff, and I know you’ll enjoy getting to know her better via her wonderful Ten Things list. Amy, I’ll turn things over to you now, so take it away!

~~~00~~~

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Amy M. Reade

  1. I played oboe for years when I was in school and my favorite classical music is any piece featuring oboes. I know they sound like ducks, but I love ducks (and I’m not counting ducks as one of my 10 things because everyone loves ducks).
  2. My favorite way to spend an evening is to sit outside in front of a roaring fire. I love everything about it—the woodsy scent, the crackling sounds, and the warmth. I’m always the last one to go back inside and that’s the way I like it.
  3. I don’t want to brag, but I can catch a case of poison ivy just by thinking about it.
  4. A lot of people who follow me on social media or have read blog posts I’ve written know that I love to cook and that I collect cookbooks and read them like novels. What they may not know is that I also subscribe to at least five cooking magazines. When I find a recipe that sounds good, I rip it out and add it to a (forty-foot-tall) pile of folders, each labeled with the type of recipe inside. You know, breads, appetizers, desserts, that sort of thing. Recently, upon surveying the literally thousands of recipes I’ve saved, I lamented that I’ll never live long enough to try them all. It made my middle child cry (she is an adult, so don’t go thinking I said something so callous to a five-year-old), so now I don’t bemoan that issue out loud anymore.
  5. I am one of the millions of people who took up backyard bird-watching during the COVID lockdowns.
  6. I believe that most of us were forced to learn higher math solely in order to help the next generation with their homework. If you majored in math or anything that looks like math, please don’t be offended—just know that you’re WAY smarter than I am.
  7. My idea of a perfect evening snack is a glass of port and a hunk of bleu cheese (eaten with a fork). Bonus fact: everyone else in my family hates bleu cheese … so, more for me. Second bonus fact: if port and bleu cheese aren’t available, a spoonful of creamy peanut butter will do nicely (and not the natural kind—it has to be the processed stuff you get at the grocery store).
  8. I have a weakness for fancy soaps.
  9. My father used to call me “Imelda” (who knows—maybe he still does. I’ll have to check on that) because I also have a weakness for shoes. And yet, shoes are my least favorite thing to shop for, with the exception of anything at a hardware store.
  10. The thing my Alexa hears more than anything else: “Alexa, play songs by Vince Guaraldi.”

~~~00~~~

BLURB

The holiday season should be a time for peace and joy, but for Lilly Carlsen, this Christmas is murder.

On the busiest shopping day of the year, Lilly opens her jewelry shop only to discover that it’s been burglarized. And then … she trips over the body. Talk about a Black Friday.

When a second victim turns up, Lilly finds herself squarely in the crosshairs of suspicion. The clock is ticking as Lilly tries to unwrap the mystery of the real killer’s identity.

Can she figure out who killed the victims before she’s arrested—or becomes a victim herself?

And as if dealing with all this isn’t hard enough, Lilly’s deadbeat ex-husband resurfaces, her mother’s mental health is declining, and her two teenagers are acting just like … teenagers.

Find out whether her family’s Christmas will be merry or scary in this cozy, small-town mystery perfect for fans of Kathi Daley and Jacqueline Frost.

Recipes included!

~~~00~~~

Author Amy M. Reade

Amy M. Reade is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of cozy, historical, and Gothic mysteries.

A former practicing attorney, Amy discovered a passion for fiction writing and has never looked back. She has so far penned fourteen novels, including three standalone Gothic mysteries, the Malice series of Gothic novels, the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series, and the Cape May Historical Mystery collection. In addition to writing, she loves to read, cook and travel. Amy lives in New Jersey and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

You can buy The Worst Noel here:

Amazon
Apple
Google
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
All other retailers

You can reach Amy on social media here:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Page 
BookBub

Email: Amy@amymreade.com

#TisTheSeason – #MerryChristmas – #TakingABreak

It’s that time of year again, folks. Yes! It’s time for LoDeWriMar, and I aim to take full advantage of it this go around. What is that, you ask? Well, simple. Local December Writing Marcia. Yes, I can hear you groaning clear down here in Florida, but I decided what I’m about to do needed its own name, even if it was a total rip-off of another, far more well-known event that generally has WAY more than one participant. Mind games, for sure, but whatever works, right?

So, the bottom line is, I’m about to do something I’ve never done in about 20 years of blogging: take a full month off to focus on my WIP. I admit, I’ve never even been tempted to do such a thing, but then again, I’ve never hit a roadblock on one of my books before. And the roadblock coincides with a month wherein I have NO local wildlife talks to get ready for presentation. So, being the quick-witted soul that I am (once in a great while), I decided this was the right time for me to give all of my attention to this WIP with as few interruptions in my daily writing regime as possible.

Therefore, I will not be present around here for the whole month of December, if all goes well, and my draft starts growing again. I do have two previously scheduled guest posts coming up, and will drop in to keep an eye on each of those, but otherwise, the  plan is that I won’t be doing any blogging from today until January 2, 2022. Whew. Just typing that gives me a weird feeling, but I know that you guys all understand needing some time to focus on what we love doing most: writing!

If you need me for something between now and January, please feel free to email me, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, I wish each and every one of you a wonderful and blessed holiday season.

See you on the other side!

 

#GuestDayTuesday – Scarred Resilience by Suzanne Cottrell

Today, I am welcoming my new online friend and kindred spirit, Suzanne Cottrell, who shares my love of gardening, wildlife, and the North Carolina mountains.  Please help me make her feel right at home as she tells you about her latest release. Suzanne, take it away!

~~~00~~~

Thanks for having me today, Marcia. 

Scarred Resilience is a collection of poems that will resonate with readers as they pause and reflect on their lives. All people deal with different challenges such as loss, medical condition, heartbreak, aging, bullying, abuse, or stress throughout the course of their lives. They can succumb and fall victim to a challenge, or they can choose to overcome it. They may bear emotional and/or physical scars. Most likely, they will empower themselves by gaining new knowledge, skill, confidence, and/or strength. A key message of Scarred Resilience is that individuals, despite their scars, can move forward.

Many of the poems like “Nature’s Solace,” “Enlightened Silence,” “Transformation,” and “Silent Stroll” address aspects of self-awareness. As a survivor of breast cancer and a lumpectomy, I chose to include “Altered Silhouette” and “Yet, We Laughed,” signifying that a change in one’s personal appearance does not alter one’s inner beauty. Accepting, adapting, and laughing can help one heal. “Sole Mate,” “Aged,” and “Waning Time” instill the notion that one should live life to its fullest.

REVIEWS

Suzanne Cottrell’s poems create verbal jewels inspired by the natural world. These poems offer a healing movement-of-spirit, reminding us of why we fell in love with poetry in the first place.
Marilyn Kallet
, Knoxville Poet Laureate and author of How Our Bodies Learned, poems from Black Widow Press

Suzanne Cottrell’s poems, a synthesis of visual details, combine with her all-seeing eye for nuance and change. Her collection speaks of a life spent in the sciences where things are viewed through a microscope, often distilled as in a vintage snapshot that illustrates competition for resources, quick change in circumstances or the eternal struggle to survive. Her poem, “Transformation,” provides a clinical description of biological statistics and specimens. But, in “Silent Stroll,” the poet reveals the inner life of feelings and search for clarity. The poems are a delicate balance between micro-views and personal internal longings.
Lynda McKinney Lambert, Author of Star Signs: New & Selected Poems

An emotional spark subtly ignites from deep within Suzanne Cottrell’s measured words and counted lines. Gently, yet distinctly, the reader becomes aware of the joy, understanding and love for life and nature her words convey.
Maxine Reynolds Chauvaux, Co-founder of the Granville Writers’ Group and Creative Life-Long Learning Workshop Facilitator

Suzanne Cottrell’s third poetry chapbook chronicles life’s difficulties wrapping painful memory with the beauty of nature and offering the possibility to “pass through the darkness into the light to follow your dreams.” Her poems express resilience, finding strength in laughter during darker moments. In her poem, “Aged,” the narrator asks the question — “Have all their pages been written?” I hope for those who love poetry, the answer for Ms. Cottrell would be, “Oh, no. There’s so much more to come.”
Anne Anthony, Author and Editor, Flash Fiction for Flash


Buy Scarred Resilience on Amazon HERE
And on Kelsay Books HERE

Author Suzanne Cottrell

Suzanne Cottrell, a buckeye by birth, lives with her husband in rural Piedmont North Carolina. An outdoor enthusiast and retired history and special ed. teacher, her interests include reading, writing, knitting, hiking, Tai Chi, yoga, and Pilates. She enjoys researching history and culture and loves nature and its sensory stimuli. She particularly likes to write and experiment with poetry and flash fiction, as well as working on collaborative projects, especially with her daughter.

Her work has appeared in numerous online and print journals and anthologies, such as the Best Emerging Poets Series, The Avocet, Poetry Quarterly, Plum Tree Tavern, Parks and Points, The Pangolin Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Three Line Poetry, Inwood Indiana Press anthologies, Personal Story Publishing Project anthologies, Proverse Hong Kong Poetry Prize Mingled Voices anthologies, Nailpolish Stories, Quail Bell Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Flash Fiction Magazine. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Gifts of the Seasons, Autumn and Winter; Gifts of the Seasons, Spring and Summer; and Scarred Resilience, published by Kelsay Books. She was the recipient of the 2017 Rebecca Lard Award for Poetry Quarterly (Prolific Press).

You can find Suzanne on social media here:
Website
LinkedIn
Email: cottrell_suzanne@yahoo.com