Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Relatively Crazy by Ellen Dye - Book Blitz and Giveaway

About the Book

On her fortieth birthday housewife Wanda Jo Ashton is expecting her husband's standard gift of an E and E from T-that being Elegant and Expensive from Tiffany's. However, what she gets is the news that her formerly successful, dependable corporate attorney husband is leaving her to pursue the rich life of a kept man. Left with nothing she has no choice but to escape the San Francisco area, with her sixteen-year-old daughter in tow and head toward the mountains of West Virginia and the quirky family she left behind twenty years ago. Here Wanda Jo must carve out a future, complete with career and home in the midst of family feuds, computer phobias and the occasional homebrewing explosion before she finally figures out life can indeed being again at forty.


Okay, there is was. Looking no different than twenty-two years ago. A small opening in the woods marked by a gray, metal, utilitarian mailbox and a graveled trail that passed for a driveway in these parts.

I was home. Oh God help me. Please.

I depressed the brake pedal, leaving behind the paved surface and tried not to wince as what sounded like millions of tiny gravel bits pinged against the underside of my car.

The azaleas lining the drive still looked the same. The one at the very end caught my attention, I could have sworn it jiggled. Oh no, it couldn’t be. Surely it was impossible now.

Suddenly the bush jumped in front of the car.

I slammed on the brakes, pinning Olivia to the seat with my outstretched arm. In the fashion of mothers everywhere I was protecting my offspring from flying through the windshield by crushing her windpipe while invoking the Maternal Arm.

I looked toward the hood and the half-dozen bobbing azalea twigs in front. I sat resolved as they rose and wre followed by an old pith helmet and a face which looked a bit older than I’d remembered, although it was hard to tell precisely, given the layers of green and black greasepaint. A body followed, dressed in a set of ancient Army –issued fatigues.

“Gun,” Olivia croaked, pointing.

I simply nodded, there would be plenty of time later for my daughter to find out exactly what was swimming around in the waters of the gene pool from whence she’d sprung.

About the Author

At the age of nine Ellen Dye decided she was going to be a writer when she found her Aunt Nettie’s trunk of True Confessions magazines and spent untold hours reading the lot, a bag of Munchos potato chips and a frosty RC Cola at her side. Then, being nine, she promptly forgot all about it as she got lost in the pesky business of growing up, And then one very lucky day she spotted a confession magazine on the grocery store shelf and began to tap out her own stories which were a delight to see published. Now she spends her days tapping out her characters’ happily-ever-afters for The Wild Rose Press.

Visit anytime at www.ellendye.com

Ellen is always up for meeting new friends at Ellen Dye Author on Facebook

Amazon sale link


Ellen Dye will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Revision is a Process - How to Take the Frustration Our of Self-Editing by Catherine E. McLean - Book Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

A first draft holds the possibility of what will be a great story. Revision turns that rough diamond into a spectacular gem worth a reader's money and time.

Writers are individuals but to be a producing writer means creating a system to revise and polish a work so the reader thoroughly enjoys the story. REVISION IS A PROCESS is a guidebook for writers and authors that shows how a simple 12-step process can be tailored to eliminate the most common and chronic maladies of writing genre fiction. This valuable guidebook contains secrets, tips, practical advice, how-to's, and why-to's for taking the frustration out of self-editing.


From Section 9 - Said is not Dead

One of the most controversial aspects of writing dialogue is the use of said as a speech tag. Some think using said is pedestrian and boring, others pepper every line of dialogue with said for fear the reader won't know who is speaking. The fact is that said is nearly invisible to a reader. However, overuse is a common problem, so delete as many as possible without jeopardizing clarity or use beats. (Revisit the Oubliette example on the previous page. Said was not used. Beats were.)

In your review to minimize using said, watch for LY or ING ending speech tags like: "Drop dead," she said dramatically. That tells (and does so poorly). Instead show with a beat: "Drop dead." The anger in her voice was unmistakable. You should avoid such tags as "Of course," he said knowingly (which has an ING and an LY). You may catch the LY and ING tags in the passivity check, which is discussed in Section 11. However, don't mistake the ING words when they're necessary, such as "Oh, that dialogue speech tag has a participle added to it," Marsha said, squinting at the underlined word on the page. 

Yes, that's right, squinting is part of a participle phrase, which can be useful in speech tags.


by Catherine E. McLean * catherinemclean00@gmail.com
(alternate email: Catherine@CatherineEmclean.com)

886 words - with links and links to drawings - DRAWINGS are below

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? 

My advice would be summed up by one word—Ergonomics.
I would shout ERGONOMICS into every new writer's ears if that would help. Why? Because if you are to become a producing writer, one who can turn out a 100,000 word novel every year (or two 50,000 word novels a year), or one short story every month, that means you'll be in front of a computer and typing.

Okay, so someone will dictate into a computer and someone else will write in longhand. It doesn't matter how it's done, at some point they'll be editing or self-editing on a computer. They will be sitting for long hours and typing which means they run the risk of repetitive tissue, muscle, and tendon damage.

I have been typing since I was seventeen and learned on a clunky, manual typewriter. I have earned my living as a secretary and spent forty hours a week, plus countless hours of overtime, pounding the keys of not only that manual but IBM Selectrics, Xerox Memorywriters, Wang Word Processors, and computers. Even now, as a writer, I spend anywhere from five to twelve hours a day at the keyboard. And yet, I have no RSI — Repetitive Stress Injuries because I had a typing teacher who instilled in me the reasoning behind sitting properly, the correct angles for my hands, head, and feet so I could earn a living.

Repetitive stress injuries occur when too much stress is placed on a joint. The severity of the stress occurs from heavy (i.e., hours) of computer, texting, and word processing. Such stress happens to the joints because tendons and muscles around the joint are constantly and repeatedly being flexed to the point of irritation. When the body does not have sufficient time to recover and make repairs, that leads to irritation. The body reacts by increasing the amount of fluid in that area to reduce the stress placed on the tendon or muscle. And therein lies discomfort that leads to the most common damage of— Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which is the swelling inside a narrow "tunnel" formed by bone and ligament in the wrist. That tunnel surrounds nerves which convey's sensory and motor impulses to and from the hand, leading to pain, tingling, and numbness.

But there are other RSIs— 

1. Cervical radiculopathy where there is disk compression in the neck, often caused by the angle (poor posture) from looking at a screen or monitor for long hours. 

2. Epicondylitis: elbow soreness known as "tennis elbow." Often a result of poor posture and too steep or too shallow an angle to the keyboard.

3.Tendonitis: tearing and inflammation of tendons connecting bones to muscles. Once again poor ergonomics (posture and too steep or shallow angles of the hands and arms) contribute to such damage.

Okay, I will confess—when I got my first computer, I experienced neck aches and headaches. I researched the ergonomics for computers. As soon as I reset my workspace, the aches were gone and never returned. As added insurance to stop future repetitive damage, I buy the best ergonomic chair I can afford. My current one was on sale—otherwise it would have been too expensive for my budget. It's designed after a race-car driver's bucket seat. It holds my back and hips in alignment. Even the arm rests are adjustable downward (normally I take off a task-office chair's arm rests because they force my arms to be held up too high, which strains my shoulders and neck). 

Okay, so a chair is a must, so too is the proper height of the desk on which a computer keyboard and monitor reside. Because I always had secretarial desks with a lower wing area for the typewriter-keyboard, at home, my husband built me a simple desk of the right height for my typewriter and later my computer. When we moved into the farmhouse we now live in, and remodeled the kitchen, someone goofed up the measurements to a counter top. Rather than junk the piece, I had the contractor build me a set of bookshelves, at the correct desk height, and set the counter top over them. (The bookshelves gave me added storage.) 

As to the monitor, it sets on a storage-type box, which puts the monitor at the right height and distance from where I sit.  I also installed a board under my printer stand for my computer's mouse (wireless). The printer is heavy enough to keep the board from moving. That board extends past my elbow so my entire forearm is supported. 

And here is something else—I have, to the left of my keyboard—a touch pad mouse (wireless). Why? Because my left hand shares the load of moving and activating the cursor on the screen. Be assured, I am not ambidextrous. I merely want to take the strain from all the right-handed movements I'm forced to make because of the way the computer and computer programs area designed. The benefit of using two mice is faster commands, faster movements to menu items, and time saved when drafting and editing work.

If you intend to be a producing writer, take my advice—pay attention to the ergonomics that will save your body from repetitive injuries. Here are links to better understand ergonomics and drawings that show how you can withstand the riggers of being a producing writer:

About the Author

Catherine E. McLean's lighthearted, short stories have appeared in hard cover and online anthologies and magazines. Her books include JEWELS OF THE SKY, KARMA & MAYHEM, HEARTS AKILTER, and ADRADA TO ZOOL (a short story anthology). She lives on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, she writes lighthearted tales of phantasy realms and stardust worlds (fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal) with romance and advenure. She is also a writing instructor and workshop speaker. Her nonfiction book for writers is REVISION IS A PROCESS - HOW TO TAKE THE FRUSTRATION OUT OF SELF-EDITING.

● Hub Website: http://www.CatherineEmclean.com

● Website for writers:  http://www.WritersCheatSheets.com

● Writers Cheat Sheets Blog: https://writerscheatsheets.blogspot.com

● Linked-In:

● Facebook:

● Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/CatherineMcLea7

● Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/catherinemclean

● Amazon Author Page:

● Link to buy REVISION IS A PROCESS at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0988587440

● Link to buy REVISION IS A PROCESS at Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/revision-is-a-process-catherine-e-mclean/1126295618

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Lovesick Gods by Amanda Meuwissen - Book Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

The elements touch everyone on Earth—Fire, Water, even Light—but every so often someone becomes more attuned to their elemental leaning and develops true power. When an evil Elemental known as Thanatos arrived in Olympus City, it saw the rise of its first hero—Zeus. But the death toll caused by defeating Thanatos changed Zeus, who by day is young detective Danny Grant.

It’s been six months since Thanatos terrorized the city at the start of Lovesick Gods. Danny should be used to his duty behind the mask, but the recent past haunts him. His girlfriend left him, he snaps at the barest provocation, his life feels empty—he needs an outlet, any outlet to pull him out of his depression.

Enter notorious thief Malcolm Cho, the Ice Elemental Prometheus. There was a time when Danny welcomed a fight with Cho, filled with colorful banter and casual flirtations that were a relief compared to Thanatos. Even as a criminal, Cho had recognized the threat Thanatos posed and promised to help Danny stop him, but the day Danny needed Cho, he never showed. Cho was the reason so many people died that day—including Danny’s mother.

Danny decides to teach the man a lesson and fan the fire of their attraction into something more. At worst, he’ll get some no-strings-attached sex out of the deal and finally blow off steam; at best, he’ll get Cho to fall in love with him and then break his heart to spite him. Danny doesn’t expect to fall for Cho in the process, and he certainly can’t predict the much darker threat on the horizon.

The book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour


The sound of the bar door caught Mal’s attention. It was late for the lunch rush, so a new patron was curious. Craning his ears, he realized he recognized the approaching gait, the particular pattern of breathing. He gave credit to his element for his ability to observe his surroundings without a single ripple of unease to disturb his calm, but when the person breached the corner of the booth and slid in across from him, Mal couldn’t place why he should know the man so well.

He made a point of knowing most of the cops in the city who might give him trouble, so he recognized the clean-shaven face and sunset colored hair. The man was one of two detectives who’d run the Elemental Task Force when it formed after Thanatos’s arrival, but Mal had never met him.

“Detective Grant,” Mal nodded, not bothering to pause in devouring a French fry even as his free hand slid beneath the table and started to frost over in case Grant tried anything foolish.

“Quite the dive you got here, Ice Man,” the detective said. 

Mal sat up straighter. Only one man dared greet him with that nickname, especially with such a familiar voice. 

“Sparky?” he drawled with a slow grin, letting his powers dwindle as he returned his hand to the table. “My, my, so this is what Zeus looks like under that mask.” After more than half a year sparring on the streets, he thought he knew his nemesis well, but he’d expected someone older. Although, he had a feeling this kid wasn’t quite as young as his boyish looks implied. “Playing vigilante by night, Detective? What is the world coming to?”

“It’s Danny,” he said with a shift of his eyes around the mostly empty bar, which admittedly wasn’t the best place to be throwing around words like ‘detective’ or ‘Zeus’, “and I didn’t come here for banter.”

Mal downed another fry, more at ease now that he knew his nemesis sat across from him instead of some badge. Zeus made the game so much more fun. He wasn’t hard on the eyes either. “Pity. We’ve gotten so good at our banter. So…” Mal trailed a fresh French fry into his ketchup, “why are you here? Hoping I’d treat you to lunch to make up for that last bank heist?”

Danny folded his hands on top of the table, a serious expression filling his lightning-yellow eyes. “I want to make a deal.”

About the Author

Amanda Meuwissen has been writing and posting online for many years, including maintaining the website and blog for the software company Outsell. She is an avid writer and consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games, and is the author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga and young adult novel Life as a Teenage Vampire. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their two cats.

Author web links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lovesick-Gods-1-Amanda-Meuwissen/dp/1943619336

Amanda will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway