Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas and All That!

Spartacus Jones "Helping" me wrap gifts
Or Happy Holidays, whatever your preference. Yes, I'm still here. Yes, Chasing Monsters is still going to be published. We are still shooting for February.

Where are we at? Edits and formatting are done. ISBN is entered. We just need to finish the cover, And deal with whatever glitches show up. Because you KNOW there will be glitches. I wish I could show you what Terra has done for the cover so far. It's wicked.

I just finished this blog with a long explanation of what I'm doing next year. Then I published it, and realized I just wrote the same blog as last time. So how about a Resolution instead?

Next year, I want to take charge of my own marketing. I hate marketing. I've read countless blogs offering advice, and have asked other bloggers and writers about their strategies, but I can't seem to find anything that works well. What I AM realizing is that social media alone isn't going to do it. (Yeah, I know. DUH.) That was wishful, broke-ass thinking. Anyway, I'm open to suggestions....As long as it isn't blog tours or newsletters. I have zero faith in those, and I could list reasons why, but they would bore you.

If I'm going to make any New Year's resolutions, it's to get my ass in gear and SELL books. I've been complacent too long. People can't buy my books if they don't know they're out there.

Oh Hell...This is going to be fun...Wish me luck!!

And have a great Christmas and may your New Year be everything you hope it will be.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Dreaded Post
Yes, the Dreaded Post. Because the publication of Chasing Monsters is YET AGAIN postponed.
I wanted to have it out before Christmas, and not just because I wanted the sales.  I wanted to have a contest with swag and everything. I have waited long enough to bring this novel to light, to fulfill a promise I made. Sigh...

As usual, life has happened. Heather Savage has been hard at work on edits, and Createspace has accepted our weirdness and italics. Now we just need to add acknowledgments and the all important, ESSENTIAL dedication....which is actually only a few sentences long.

I haven't seen my cover yet, because my artist is EXTREMELY busy, and not feeling so great. I'm lucky she agreed to do a cover at all.

I'm shooting for February. Sorry.

In the meantime, here's what's new. I've finished the rough draft for 'Elaina's Fate', and I'm closing in on the end of 'Her True Name:Volume Two' which takes place in the Funnel Beaker period of Scandinavia. Lots of edits in my new year.

In the meantime, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, however you celebrate <3.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Friends with the Editor

The charm I bought when I finished Chasing Monsters
As of this writing, my fourth novel 'Chasing Monsters' is in the last stages of edits. I'm feeling excited and confident, and it has a lot to do with Heather Savage of Staccato Publishing.

I met Heather through Vamptasy Publishing, the original publishers of 'Thoeba'. When Vamptasy couldn't keep me, they recommended Heather. Heather was, at the time, another Independant Publisher. She read 'Thoeba', liked it, and signed me up.

We've been friends since. I rarely speak to Heather--most of our exchanges take place over Facebook Private Messages. But she's become a valuable friend and business partner.

I can't tell you what it means to me to have an editor I can trust. When you spend several months, a year, sometimes longer working on a book, it's hard to hand it over to someone else to fix all the flaws. My novels are my babies. Trust me, it's like mentally giving birth. You know--the long, painful process that makes you want to collapse with relief when it's over. How you love what you've done, even after all the agony. (At least that's what I assume childbirth is like. No disrespect intended.)

But when Heather is finished with my work, I can breathe a sigh of relief. She's a benevolent spirit who glides through the pages, making them clear and shiny. So polished...It makes me happy and I can barely see where she's been. It's still mine, only better. She makes me look like I actually know what I'm doing.

She understands my vision, my BRAND, and knows what needs to be done. She gets my tetchiness and I can hear the smile in her text when she calls me a perfectionist, even when MY text sounds impatient and itchy. She gets it. After all, she's a damned good writer too. Books by Heather Savage

She recently used the word 'genius' to describe this book. She thinks it's my best one yet, she likes it more than 'Aphrodite's War'. On one hand, I'm exploding with pleasure. On the other hand, I want to run screaming from my keyboard. The pressure! But it's so important to me that she likes my work. And I suppose if it sucked, she would tell me, just when she tells me when phrases and words don't work.

She believes in me. I can't stress how valuable that is. She believes that someday soon all our hard work will manifest into success. I really hope so. For both of us.

Friday, September 23, 2016


Photo by Julia Hollman
If you read my last blog, you'll know that 'Chasing Monsters' will be coming out soon. Hopefully before the year is out. You'll also notice I dedicated it to the memory of a man named Gary Larsen. I've lost track of how many times I've written and re-written that dedication. There actually is something harder to write than a synopsis.

When Gary asked to be in the novel, no one could have guessed he'd be gone two months later. It was a horrible shock. I remember Ehren calling me out of the blue, and I was a little surprised to hear from him. He didn't usually call that early in the day. I asked how it was going, and he said, "Been better."

When he told me, I couldn't believe it. I remember screaming "Oh my God!" several times before I gave in to the tears. I was writing at the time, and tried to continue after the phone call, but I couldn't concentrate. I dropped everything and drove to Ehren and Julia's house, where a bunch of us sat around hugging, shaking our heads in disbelief, crying and trading stories about Gary.

I'm not just frustrated because of the dedication I'm writing.

I'm upset with myself, because I know that 'Joey Bekker', Gary's character, evolved beyond his personality, and any of his friends who reads it will recognize him, but will's not really Gary. I wonder what he would think of the transformation I gave him.

The Gary we knew was a sweet, soft spoken man Danish man who emigrated to Canada with his parents when he was a boy. He had a parakeet he adored, and all animals loved him. He was rarely seen without an energy drink, and he liked to hang outside with the smokers, even though he didn't smoke. He just liked to listen and be part of the conversation. His favorite band was Deep Purple. He had a fart app on his phone. He was a devoted paranormal investigator and enthusiast.

I met him in Meatcutting class at NAIT, January 2000, where we teased him about how such a small guy could eat so much. He was maybe 5'2, but wolfed food like starved quarterback. The day before our class toured the Lilydale chicken plant I dreamed that I entrusted my lunch to Gary, and he ate it. Tried to tell me around a mouthful of Subway sandwich that he didn't know what happened to my Turkey Bacon Sub. When I shared that dream, everyone around us nodded and said, "Yep. That's Gary. Why would anyone trust Gary to guard food?'

And after the tour was over, Lilydale gave us a variety of chicken wings to sample. Apparently Gary was the first NAIT Meatcutter student, in the history of the trade school, to ask if he could bring the leftovers home. He was probably still hungry.

I wanted Gary's character to be special. I wanted Joey Bekker to live longer and louder than Gary could. I wanted Gary's character to be BIG-- Fearless. I wanted Joey Bekker to live where Gary had not.  I guess that's why 'Joey Bekker' doesn't seem much like Gary anymore, but I'm still glad I did it.

We gave Gary a memorial. It was all he got. Gary's parents predeceased him, and he had no siblings, so he was cremated with permission from relatives from Denmark. We'd offered to pay for a real funeral, but God only knows what that funeral home did with his ashes. I'm still really pissed over that.

That's why this dedication and this novel are so important. Gary led a subdued life, and got the bum's rush into the afterlife. He was a good man who deserved more. Now I can finally give him something for the world to remember he was here.

People come into your life for a reason. Sometimes I wonder if Gary came into my life specifically because I needed to understand the full impact of losing a friend to death. Maybe he was here to make sure Chasing Monsters got written and published. Because I promised him.

I'm sorry if I rambled. I'm sorry if I bored you, but I understand now why I needed to write this blog. I needed to write it because no matter what those little sentences say in the beginning of 'Chasing Monsters', they'll never tell you enough about how I feel right now--How the tears still burn behind my eyes years later.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Still Chasing

Chasing Monsters will be dedicated to the memory of this man.
I should tell you now. CHASING MONSTERS is going to happen. I am currently going through it for maybe the...fifth time (?) before I hand it over to Heather Savage of Staccato Publishing for editing and formatting. I still need to get an ISBN code and a cover artist, so I can't be sure WHEN it's coming out.

Sorry it's taking so long...When you're self-published you have to think about COST$. It's your problem when you're self-published, and if you follow this blog at all, you'll know I've had a trying year or two.

But there is a strange advantage to the wait. I haven't actually looked at CHASING MONSTERS in over a year. Which means I can be objective. And I can see aaaaaaaallll the flaws. Thank GOD I didn't put it out as soon as the beta readers were finished with it!

Shout out and apologies to my fellow Staccato family member David Fingerman, the horror writer. (By the way, if you love unpredictable horror? Try "Two Degrees Closer to Hell. Brilliant and fresh. David Fingerman-Closer to Hell) I'm actually embarrassed that I gave him that last version. It must have been a tremendous CHORE for him to slog through, but he gave me the honesty I craved.

I remember taking a lot of his advice to heart, as it was great, but I felt he just didn't like so much of it. Well, NO WONDER!!

The original CHASING MONSTERS reads like a 'Young Adult', which is a genre for teens. NOT my intention. Apparently, I wrote like a goof for a year. I'm not saying YA is goofy, I'm saying I made my characters sound too light hearted and casual for a novel with so much sex and violence in it. Oh, and Noelle sounded a lot like some eighties valley girl. "Omicrap".  (Groan)

I'd like to put CHASING MONSTERS out by the end of the year, but I hate making promises. I can promise I'll try hard to get it done by Christmas. I'll let you know <3

Oh shit...There are dedications, acknowledgments and a back cover to write. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Slave to the Furballs

It's NOT  a shrine. It's a recently started collection.
A good friend once told me that when he dies, he wants to be reincarnated as one of my cats. Of course I laughed. He's just as obsessed with his cats as I am. And every bit as much of a mush as me.

But Spartacus Jones has got me thinking...Am I a Cat-Mom? Or a Cat-Slave?

When we got Freya, we knew we were being manipulated. She made it very clear to us that she didn't want to be in that alcove with the other cats, and that she wanted to come with us. She purred, she nuzzled and gave us sad eyes when we almost left. She was a determined kitty, and she's had us both under her paw ever since.

She has her own favorite spots, her favorite foods, foods she WON'T eat--which must be replaced with something different, specific places to eat and specific cuddling preferences. She's like Hitgirl. She never plays.

I thought she was just a particularly smart and strange cat, and we were gullible because she was our first kitty.
Freya is also perfect. And this is her favoritespot.

Spartacus Jones isn't as smart as Freya, but I think I've underestimated him.  He was SUPPOSED to go to the Humane Society when we found him. Then he made a sneaky, adorable bid to stay that completely suckered us (Mostly me) into keeping him.

Now I wake up between 4:30 to 5:30 a.m. every morning. That's when Spartacus Jones swats lovingly at my nose until I get up and feed him the wet stuff. (Oh--and I alternate the flavors of the wet food--so their palates don't get bored.)  If I don't? He pokes at  Freya. Who, as I mentioned, never plays. Swats to the nose? Or constant hissing and growling from Hitcat? If I shut him outside the room? He cries like he's starving to death. There's dry food, Sweetie. Can't you just eat the fucking kibble?

He's decided he likes brushing. A lot. Every time I walk past the table, he jumps on it, and lounges suggestively. Brush me. Brush me! BRUSH ME MEOW!

Hi Babieeee!

I've decided all his demands on my time are for meditation purposes. When he demands that I brush him, I do it, and he rewards me with purrs and cute faces, and gives me  direction on where to brush him next. When he tries to lure me downstairs for his own prefered cuddle time, (That's his territory) I tell myself it's not so cold, and there's not that many spiders and capitulate. I mean, he's just so sweet. Plus I can get some laundry done, right?

When did this happen? How did I come to this? A weird woman (Okay, I was always weird--BUT) who baby-talks and caters to the whims of CATS? Sigh...I am a cat slave after all.

Here's a photo of our late boy, Sully. This is the face that destroyed the rule of 'no cats on the table'.I couldn't resist him. Sigh...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Miffed but in Denial

Yeah...I think that's how I feel. I should probably be more miffed, but I'm sure the denial helps with that.

It seems that a certain publishing titan is removing reviews based on the fact that the author 'knows' the review writer. Sounds silly, doesn't it?

I mean, isn't that the point of networking? To reach your readers, bloggers and other authors? Isn't that the reason we do blog tours and create author pages? To get people to buy our books, read them, and write reviews? Incidentally, here's a link to my author page: Donna Milward, Author

It's actually been going on for some time, but I've been reluctant to comment on it, because I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me.

It doesn't make any sense. Writers work hard to connect to people in order to entice them to buy our books. I am still a firm believer that if a reader likes an author as a person, they will like their work. So they like your page in order to connect back, and writers are being punished for it? Maybe we're supposed to wall ourselves off from humanity in order to write MORE?  Are they willing to do ALL our marketing for us? Most writers never even talk to all the people who follow them on social media. We're talking hundreds and sometimes thousands of people here!

I'm in denial, because I honestly believe this idea won't stand, and will soon be abandoned. If this titan uses algorithms to remove all reviews, then eventually there will be precious few reviews left for any author. And that's bad business. It's also about control, and that's a little scary. It's anti-community.

I think we should hold our ground. Write those reviews, and let our feelings about removed reviews be known. And you don't just have to review books on their site either. There's always blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. Leave the titan in the darkness of Tartarus if it wants to be stubborn.

I'm going to go about my business as usual. I'm going to write, blog, and write reviews. I will support my fellow authors when I can, and talk to my readers. I'm miffed, but I'm hoping this will all blow over eventually.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Apologies to my Readers

Cover by: Anima Black
Dear Readers. I should be promoting this novella, but I'm sort of avoiding you. The reason is...I feel kind of bad.

Yes, 'Her True Name:Volume One' is available for purchase, but...There is an issue concerning formatting.

It started with a conversation between Sage and the Energy in the prologue. The original version has the Energy speaking  in a stunning Papyrus font, and that's what created the problem.

You see, Createspace doesn't accept any font other than Times New Roman. So it just ignored the font, and replaced it with Times New Roman. I've been trying to fix it since.

Yes, I am aware that I can 'embed' the font, but no, I'm not smart enough to do it. It may as well be math, because that's what it looks like to me..

You know what irritates me? In highschool I had a 92% average in computers. I had a decent grade in typing too. Flash forward a decade or so without using either, and here we are. Everything I learned in highschool computer class is utterly obsolete. I type with two fingers, and I require hands-on help to do the simplest task on my computer. I even needed help to start this blog years ago. Did you know I can't even take a screen shot? I have to pay Heather Savage to do my formatting, because I can't do that either.

I'm digressing. Anyway, my point is, I've made several attempts to fix the problem, but I think I'm making it worse. My novella looks like it was written by a hack. Okay, maybe not that bad, but that's what it feels like. If you'd read any of my stuff, you know I can write! Right?

My big fear is that readers will check out the first chapter of an otherwise decently written novella and say, "Oh for God's sake! This woman can't write! Look at the errors!" Ugh...I'm so sorry.

But I've learned many valuable lessons from my first messy stab at self-publishing. Painful ones that will stick with me a loooong time, so please bear with me. I've still got more books in me--Like Volume Two of this series, and 'Elaina's Fate', which bring me pleasure to compose. I'm hoping to get 'Chasing Monsters' out next, time and finances willing.

If you hang with me, I promise to give you villains to hate, characters to love, and adventures in mythology and reincarnation.

And someday, I will laaaaaugh at this. Thanks for reading <3

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Dare to Publish TWICE!

Cover art by: Anima Black
Hey! Hope you all had a Happy Canada Day!

So...I did this thing since the last time I posted. I published 'Her True Name: Volume One'. Sorry I didn't tell everyone sooner, but I've been waiting for something ELSE to go wrong. (Thank you Heather Savage and Kathy Steinemann for your endless patience.) It didn't, so here we are...HER TRUE NAME: VOLUME ONE Finally!!

As you will notice, it's e-book only in the U.S. That's because it's only twenty-five thousand words. Hardly worth printing. Also, it's a series, and since I don't really know how many installments there will be, I can't expect readers to buy them all at an escalated print-out price. After all, it starts in ancient Egypt and ends this century.

The bad news, is that it's ONLY available through Amazon. The good news is that's because  I signed up for Kindle Unlimited. Think of it as Netflix for books. You pay one price, and you can read as many books as you like for the month! That means my other novels and any others signed up for KU. I also signed up to Amazon's terms because they'll take care of a lot of marketing and promotions for me. You know...The stuff I HATE doing? We'll see how this goes. Right now, I'm just really relieved things are going well. Oh, and if you don't want to sign up for Kindle Unlimited, my novella is still available to all. You might wish to wait until Amazon puts it on special.

CORRECTIONAL NOTE: Yes, this book is available in Canada through Sorry, I should have mentioned that. I think it's international as well.

Would you like an excerpt? I hope you like it.

     Salvia swallowed her trepidation and forced herself to calm. She was never good at hiding her emotions, but she would have to learn if he was to come to her home every day. She picked at the folds of her garment, trying to present herself as tidy as possible. She wore white. Her jewelry marked her importance as lady of the house, with her hair up, bejeweled in gold scarabs. He would respect her importance.
     Salvia stood straighter. “Yes?”
     Her servant lowered her eyes as she entered the room. “The scholar has arrived.”
     Salvia nodded. “Bring him to me.” Her stomach dropped the moment her maid turned her back. Why did her knees shake? What was wrong with her?
     Too quickly the servant returned with Theophrastus, and Salvia found herself gifted with amazement.
     His clothing was washed and white, no longer dusted with memories of his long journey and in good repair. His hands were clean and his head shaved. His demeanor suggested supplication she hadn’t expected.
     She caught her breath at the sight of him, remembering his naked torso glistening in the moonlight, how his song touched her now racing heart. It was unlike her to feel this way. It excited and mortified her.
     “Mistress Salvia,” He was smiling at her. She didn’t trust it. “I am pleased to be in your presence, and I look forward to teaching your children.” Awkward silence ensued, even after the servant excused herself from the room.  He sighed and tried again to elicit conversation. “You were only a child when I left for the city. Did you know it was I who delivered you? I was a few years younger than your age at the time.”
     “I am aware of that.” Salvia couldn’t bring herself to let her guard down. He was only being contrite because her husband hired him. His pleasantries were meaningless.
     Theophrastus dropped his gaze to the ground. “I must apologize,” he said, and Salvia felt her anger lifting. He was full of surprises today. “I should not have placed judgement on you. Femi told me of your generosity and kindness. As an educated man, I should know better than to form opinions based on appearances. I ask for forgiveness.” 
     The gods must be playing with her. Where did this sudden change of heart come from? Worse still she knew she would relent.

I'd also like to tell you Volume Two will take place in Uppsala, Sweden, in the time of the Funnel-beakers. I hope to have that one out next year, barring any other 'glitches'. Enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Dare to Publish

I finally got my own copies of 'Dare to Shine', and I'm SO PROUD. Oh, and check out the new dye job. I'll be putting the black back on the ends too.

Things are looking up around here. I'm still working pretty much full time. Hours are dwindling, as usual during summer, but for once I'm not panicking.

My troll has more work, and we're doing alright. He doesn't even need to leave the city for it either, much to our relief. It's business as usual, and things are pretty much normal.

Even the writing thing is going well. I'm proud to announce that both 'Thoeba' and 'Aphrodite's War' are now published under my own name via Createspace and Amazon. I have signed them both up for Kindle Unlimited, because there are some very distinct advantages for doing so both for myself and readers. Don't worry...if it turns out to be a bad thing, I can back out. But to me, it looks like a pretty fair shake.

Best of all? 'Her True Name: Volume One" is another step closer to making it to market.
Cover by: Anima Black
I've fixed the tax issue, which was more complicated than it needed to be, but at least it's over. The issue is now a formatting glitch. Unfortunately, it was my fault it happened, but I need help to fix it. That means dragging Heather Savage of Staccato Publishing away from important stuff to get it done. She's doing her best, but she's a very busy woman. Sorry Heather...And I'm sorry to my readers too. I'm hoping this will be the last time this will be so damned complicated. I'm hoping that after we fix this little problem, it will be a matter of a few quick clicks.

It is my hope that from there, we can finally find the time and money to put out 'Chasing Monsters'. I know I've been saying that for a couple of years now, but life got in the way. I'm hoping that this will finally be MY year to get my work out there. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, I implore you to get your own copy of "Dare to Shine." ONE HUNDRED percent of sales go to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, and it's a cause I'm proud to be a part of.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

While He Was Away

Cleaning out my bathroom.
I feel like a terrible wife.

My husband FINALLY got some work, and three weeks of it was out of town, hundreds of miles north. When I wasn't at work, I was all alone with the cats in the house. I was a good girl. Why am I a terrible wife? I'm getting to that.

If you know me, or even follow this blog a bit, you'll know that I've been working full time after my husband got laid off. I didn't really mind. I enjoy it, and I've dropped a couple of sizes. The bills are getting paid, including the mortgage.

While he was away, we kept in touch through e-mails, because cell service was dubious. I learned that the food wasn't great, and that he had to share a few bathrooms with the whole floor. He had to buy sandals, because the bathroom floor was always wet. Sleep? Forget it. It's constant daylight up there right now, and the curtains didn't help much. I KNEW I should have sent him with tin foil and maybe a sleep mask...Not that he'd wear one.

Before he left, I joked with my friends about whether or not I would actually experience 'loneliness'. I don't get enough alone time these days. Almost twenty years with the same man--you'd think I'd be pining for his embrace, longing for his touch...

I slept like solid stone. The first night, as I warily turned out the lights, (not really fond of the dark) and the tv, (or silence) and wondered how I would sleep, I dropped off. And woke more well rested than I had been in months, possibly years! Well, aside from the nightly cat fight, of course. I can't believe how well I slept! No snoring, no random muttering or arm waving, no cuddling that shuffled me to the edge of the bed, no pillow stealing, no heavy leg dropped on my person...I threw off the covers upon rising, threw them back over. Voila. The bed is made again. Slept. Like a stone, I tell you.

I got lots done. The first thing I did when I got home from the airport was clean the house. And yeah, it still looks pretty good, but I know the toast crumbs are coming. I know I'm not the first wife, nor will I be the last, to say that nothing gets done when hubby is home. Right? I finished most of my spring cleaning, mowed the lawn, weeded the garden and wrote to my heart's content. I kept occupied, not just to ward off feels of missing him, but because I had all the time in the world to do what I needed to get done. The power bill went down by fifteen dollars.
This is how the bathroom looks when it's clean and there's no stuff in it.

Turns out, it was as I suspected. I am an extrovert who appreciates her own company. I don't know what 'lonely' means. In fact, it felt like a little vacation. Does that make me a terrible wife? The fact that I didn't miss him as much as he missed me? That I could easily do it again?

Actually, the one thing I REALLY missed was his presence. I missed not being able to talk to him whenever I pleased. Often times I turned to read him what I'd just written, only to realize he wasn't there to listen or offer his opinion. Okay, that made me feel a little lost. Not to mention that's a lot of yard to tackle by oneself.

Times are tough these days, and if you find yourself home alone while your spouse is it work, here's what I know, and I hope you find it useful

DON'T mention your spouse's absence on social media---EVER. While your friends may be trustworthy, there's always a random chance some hackers, or even just someone who trolls can find you, and know when you're not home...or worse, when you ARE.

DON'T tell your neighbors. They all talk amongst themselves. Especially the renters next door. Let them wonder and be unsure. There's a DO on that, but I'll get to that later.

DON'T forget to lock all doors, even your shed doors.

DO tell your co-workers. Mine don't even know exactly where I live, but they know if I don't show up for work--there's a serious problem. My manager knows my address,

DO use an alarm system, if you have one. Although my alarm system is no longer connected to the server. (we cut it to save money) I sleep better knowing it will STILL beep LOUDLY in the event someone comes through that door while I dream.

DO tell the neighbors you trust. Mine are across the street. I trust them so much, they are family now, and they have keys to my house. They check in on me frequently, and they know my cats. My cats like them. (Thank you to the Raju family <3)

DO spend some extra time comforting and loving your pets. Mine, and many other pets, are smart enough to figure out that luggage means someone is leaving, but there's no way of telling them when that someone is coming back. I saw behavior in my furkids that I wish I could have fixed. Although Spartacus Jones is MY baby, Dan's prolonged absence had a disturbing effect on his appetite and attitude after two weeks.

Now that he's home, they've gone back to acknowledging him when they want food. All is back to normal. I'm off to work, but I know the troll will be the one to mow the lawn this time.

And it's really nice to know he'll be here when I get home. That actually cheers me a great deal.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


It's finally here! DARE TO SHINE was released on World Goth Day, and our anthology, the beloved labor of several like-minded people came to fruition in support of The Sophie Lancaster Foundation...or S.O.P.H.I.E.

My story is called 'Late Bloomers'. It's a short story about an ex-hippie, cat-lady widow who befriends an awkward goth kid with the help of their guardian angels. They find that despite their age difference, they're not so different after all. They're just odd to everyone else. You'll like Triam. He's the mastermind behind the meeting.

That's all I'm willing to tell you...for now. ONE HUNDRED percent of the profits of this project belong to S.O.P.H.I.E., So I'm not sure how much I can tell you about the contents. I can tell you that it's important to us. Many people donated time and talent to get this done. For free, because we believe in the anti-bullying campaign. I can tell you Emma Hibbs put her heart and soul into this, despite her busy life, and when this settles a bit, I'd like to interview her for this blog. This was her idea.

Okay...I CAN tell you my story includes cats and talks about music from the sixties right up to current. Also, local drag queen Chelsea Horrendous makes an appearance. I can tell you it was surprisingly easy, as I picture myself as Julie someday. The setting is in my neighborhood, in my own house, although the cats are fictional.

So I would encourage everyone to buy this book. Again, every cent will go to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. Here's a link!Dare to Shine

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What's New Mimsey?

My friend Mims just celebrated 200 blogs posts. Not only that, but he has a couple of brand new releases, titled. “The Girl Who Loved Dan Landis’ and ‘The Rose Bandit.’ Check out the trailer!

Rose Bandit Book Trailer

Jay would you mind telling us a little bit about them?
So, here’s the most important tip I can give any writer: Save every idea! The story of a serial cat burglar, who leaves a rose at every home in a small town, only for a murder to be blamed on the burglar, is an idea I’ve been kicking around for ten years. I loved it. It wasn’t until I started writing the Dan Landis stories that I realized: Of course Dan would believe the cat burglar isn’t a murderer. It was perfect! I also realized, shortly after starting writing my first book, The Five Santas, that The Rose Bandit should be a prequel. The book is set in West Falls, and if you pay attention, you’ll actually see hints about events that finally take place in The Rose Bandit.
The short story was another idea I’ve had FOREVER. Roger the Bear has been in Dan’s office from the beginning, and I knew there was a story there. I knew the entire story almost from the beginning. The story is an eight year old girl hires Dan to find her missing teddy bear. And, what’s really nice is: It all flows together. You can read The Girl Who Saved Dan Landis which leads directly into The Rose Bandit which flows into The Five Santas.

Nice! You’ve got several titles now, despite a full time job. Where do you find the time to write?
Working and writing is probably the hardest thing to do. One of the easiest and worst pitfalls as a writer to fall into is NOT WRITING. Which, once you are an actual author, with published books, you are forced to be your own social media guru, chief cook and bottle washer. It can get hectic. I am fortunate to have a clear idea of each book in advance. I have thirteen books in total planned, and have a clear idea of the plot for each. I tend to write in spurts, so when I’m in the zone, I can usually write at least a chapter or two of each. I’m fortunate to be blessed with a very understanding and compassionate spouse, so that’s always nice. I can just grab my laptop and start going. The most important thing, though, is to keep writing. At the end of the day, you MUST KEEP WRITING!

And as if you weren’t busy enough, you have a huge new project that involves actors. What’s going on with that?
So, a funny thing happened in this thing called life! I actually have an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) in Film Directing, and Dan himself was a result of my MFA portfolio film. So, I’ve been wanting to do a movie with Dan and friends almost since the beginning. I recently found out about a short film grant, which allows independent filmmakers to apply for matching funds to create a ten minute film.
So, for those that don’t know, I so happen to have a short story, The Girl Who Saved Dan Landis, which I have adapted into a ten minute film. We have a cast, and are now just waiting to hear if we got the funding for the short. If it works, the goal will be to use this short film as part of a fundraising campaign to bring Dan Landis to the big screen.

Exciting! Where can we find this ten minute film, and can you let my readers know how to find you so we can keep posted on Dan Landsis’ big screen debut?
Absolutely, the best way to keep track of the film and any information about my antics is on my Facebook page and of course you can also find my blog at If you’d like to learn more specifically about the movie I’m doing, check us out on

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Come Meet TM Smith!

Have you met T.M. Smith? She's a friend of mine who writes M/M Erotica. She's a mom of three, and I don't know how she's managed it, but I think this is her ninth novel in three years. Check it out! Want to get to know her? Check out the interview! Did I mention she's doing a giveaway?

Dare to Hope
 an All Cocks Story book 4
Release Blitz

Tristan is the second oldest of the Brennan brothers and the odd man out. Most of the Brennan men have careers in law enforcement, but as a psychiatrist, Tristan chooses to help people in a different way. Quiet and restrained, he is content to hover in the background of his more gregarious brothers. Then he meets two men, each broken and damaged from losses beyond their control. 

Gabriel Simenson is mourning his lover’s death. The random act of violence that took Gio’s life has left everyone at All Cocks reeling. The only thing keeping Gabe from drowning in misery is the friendship he’s forged with Micah, the newest model at All Cocks. He continues to struggle, and at the urging of his All Cocks family Gabe agrees to counseling with Tristan under one condition: Micah t go with him. 

Micah Solo can relate to unbearable loss, having lost his leg and so much more in Iraq. The past two years he has been alone, adrift and vulnerable — the memories of war haunting his dreams, spilling over into his daily life. At All Cocks, Micah has found the acceptance he craves and the family he lost, but still he yearns for happiness and peace within. 

The friendship between the three is instant, the mutual attraction evident. They circle each other, wanting more, yet unsure if it is truly possible. Is life the mundane reality they’ve each come to accept for themselves or do they dare to hope? 

The All Cocks Stories is a series set within the world of online gay porn. 

*Warning* Micah’s PTSD is told in detail, including flashbacks to his time in Iraq. 

Grab your copy now! 

Buy links: Amazon | ARe | Smashwords

Read the other books in the All Cocks Series...

Gay for Pay - Book 1

 Fame and Fortune - Book 2

How to Deal - Book 3

 All Cocks Series Box Set 

A military brat born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia;
TM Smith is an avid reader, reviewer and writer. A Texas transplant, she now
calls DFW her home. Most days she can be found curled up with a good book, or
ticking away on her next novel.

Smith is a single mom of three disturbingly outspoken and
decidedly different kids, one of which is Autistic. Besides her writing, she is
passionate about Autism advocacy and LGBT rights. Because, seriously people,
Love is Love!

Q&A with Author TM Smith

Where are you from, and where do you call home?

I was born and raised in Georgia until I was 24. I was born military and married military so when my ex got out of the Army, we moved to Texas and I’ve been here ever since.

What inspired you to start writing?

I love to read, and the more I read fiction and fantasy, I started coming up with different outlandish stories in my head. One day I decided to sit down and try to turn it into something. The rest, as they say, is history.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing Opposites in 2010. So, 6 years now.

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

Be very sure that this is what you want to do, because for every fan you find, there will be a hater lingering in the background. Overall, the LGBT writing community is an amazing group of people. There has to be a few bad apples though, and the negativity occasionally hits you where it hurts. You just have to let it roll off and keep going. There is one rule to live by if you want to be an Author, never engage the crazy. Comment and leave praise for those positive reviews all day long. But do not, I repeat, do not comment on a negative review, ever! It never ends well.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Oh hell yes, don’t we all? Sometimes I have to make myself write, I might trash 90% of it in the end, but that 10% I get to keep is pretty fucking amazing. Other times I have to walk away and recharge. I have hit a wall a couple of times trying to take the story in a direction it didn’t want to go, or trying to force a character into a story. I’ve learned that if the character stops speaking to you, you’ve probably pissed them off, so figure out why and fix it. And if you can’t, either scrap them all together or kill them off and make it intense.

What Author’s in the genre do you read?

That list would take all day to complete. Some of my very favorites though, I’m talking auto buy just because of who wrote it, or books I have re-read multiple times… Sandrine Gasq-Dion, Andrew Grey, Mary Calmes, Morticia Knight, AE Via, Cardeno C and Amy Lane… just to name a few.

What comes first, the plot or characters?

That is a trick question, both. Sometimes someone just starts talking and I start writing and I mold his or her part of the story around them. Then there are times I come up with an amazing storyline in my head and I have to work the characters into it.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?

I am actually, lots of goodies for 2016! Gay for Pay is out now in audio, but I’m also having it translated in French through Juno Publishing. My editor is pouring over the Opposites series books as I type, helping me clean them up and I’m going to re-release that series. Opposites was the first book I wrote and I did it without an editor, don’t do that people. I think that cleaning them up is going to give the series new life and that makes me happy, I love the dichotomy of that series so much.

Describe the perfect writing space.

Sitting at my desk with my headphones in and a Mimosa next to me. I think I might like sitting on the beach with my laptop and a drink with an umbrella in it as well though. 

Do you do research for your books? If so, what does that entail?

I do actually. I like to have an element of reality in my stories. For the Opposites series I had to research high points of elevation, water lines, fault lines, different cultures and economies. For the All Cocks stories I have had to endure hours upon hours of sexy, sweaty, hot man sex. I know, it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Then there are aspects to some of my stories that aren’t as much fun to research, but I’m afraid if I don’t, someone that has lived through it would be offended at my ignorance.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

5 novels and 2 novellas. You might as well ask me to pick my favorite child, that is a no win scenario.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I do actually, I love to stay in touch with my readers. 99.9% of my emails from fans or messages on facebook is hearing what they liked or didn’t like about the books, asking when the next book is out, things like that. I remember about a week after Fame and Fortune released, I got an email from someone that was a survivor of sexual assault and she was telling me how impressed she was with the reality of the situation that I got right while not going too far or downplaying what happened in the book. She said while it was hard for her to read, it was very well written and conveyed. Brought a tear to my eye it did.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Have I Crashed my Plane?

I used to dream of airports. I often dreamed about long rows of plastic chairs lined up on smooth gold floors with hundreds of people rushing by with luggage. Jets screamed past massive windows, and voices echoed over PA systems. The airports are always gold, with statues, moving sculptures or spiral staircases.

Sometimes I found myself strapped into one of those blue economy seats, pointed straight up at the sky. Why do my airplanes always have an open fuselage? No matter the size of the aircraft?

Photo by: Whaldener Endo
I never quite understood what those dreams meant, until the other night.

I was dangling from a parachute, watching as my banana yellow biplane glided away from me, its Bear engine smoking and sputtering. I twisted in my sleep, disturbing my husband.

"What's wrong, Honey?" he asked.

I distinctly remember telling him: "I need to learn how to fly in airplanes again." before going back to sleep.

I haven't been writing much lately. The ITIN still isn't here, and with each passing day, I grow more anxious.

What happens if it isn't approved? How many times must I keep trying? SHOULD I keep trying? Is it worth all this stress? Will Her True Name and Chasing Monsters ever come to print? Or is all the time and money spent all going to go to waste?

I come home from work, thinking about yard work, washing walls and how very little energy I have to do either, never mind write. Is this all there is? To spend hours everyday in a tiny windowless kitchen while I suppress my dreams? Have I forgotten how to fly?

A year, maybe even six months from now, I'm going to look back at this with a smile on my face. I'm going to chuckle at my own doubt. I'll have my muse at my shoulder and another completed novel and/or novella. What's the use of telling new writers to persevere if you can't live by your own words?

Don't worry. As soon as that ITIN is in, the novella will be out. In the meantime, I'll still be writing, even if I have to do it in tiny, exhausted increments. Stand by for take off.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hellooooo GLITCH!!

Cover by Anima Black
Hi Peeps! Remember awhile back, I published this beautiful picture and proclaimed it my brand new cover? For my brand new novella? Due out before the end of February? Yeah, hold that thought...

I was all set to launch, I pretty much just had to set a date. But wait...What's this?  An alert on my Createspace dashboard? It's about TAXES. Oh, goodie.

Turns out, that since I am a Canadian, (Non-US Resident) I require a host of different rules from the average American citizen. They're important too. I could be taxed twice  Who would want that?

I mean, with piracy, glutted markets, and limited marketability it's hard enough for writers to make a buck. Let's throw a roll of red tape in there, shall we?

Fortunately, and thanks to Google, this isn't going to be as hard as it sounds. Even I was able to figure out what to do.If you're a Canadian writer, you might want to pay attention.

First of all, go here:How to get an ITIN

From there, you need to get your passport certified. I had to google that too. See Here: Passports Canada, and go to "Find a Form". Near the bottom of the page is a link called "Request for a True Certified Copy of Your Travel Document." It will give you a form to print and fill out. You take that, and your passport to your local Passport Office. (The ones in Edmonton are GREAT! I've never seen such efficient government workers!)

Then you take your Createspace letter, your certified passport and your W-8, and mail it off to the IRS. Voila!

Or so it would seem...I'm still waiting. When that letter comes in, I'll have more information. Until then, I'm still writing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Femmuse#1 And Deservedly So

I've saved the best for last. MALALA inspires me as no other woman in the world can.

What can you say about a fourteen year old who defies her government to exercise her right to an education? Though it almost cost her life? Her bravery and determination astound me.

I'll be the first to admit, when I was going to school it mattered...but not enough. I took it for granted. I was late, absent, and spent more time at work than school. I did try. But not hard enough.

Then came this small girl in a country where education for girls, among other human rights, is frowned upon. She not only overcame obstacles to GET to school, but she braved her society and made speeches about why it was the right of every female child to get schooling. She knew full well what the Taliban was, and that they would try to stop her. Did she know they would go to such extreme lengths?

I read the book 'I am Malala'. Here's the link to Amazon: I am Malala I learned how her government's politics worked, and how her father, a public speaker himself, not only created schools for girls, but encouraged his daughter to speak her mind. She became an orator as well.

I can't imagine what she felt when that man boarded her bus, and shot her in the head. Just because she wanted an education for herself and the girls of her country. Because the Taliban wants to treat their women like livestock. What kind of madness compels men to shoot children for wanting to better themselves?

She was rescued. Flown to England so that they could perform life-saving surgery on her. Why? Because the world NEEDS Malala. She was too valuable to the world to lose.

And what does she do once she recovers? Right back to school. Back to making speeches. Business as usual. Gobsmackery right there.

I read how she saw the clothes she was wearing when she got shot in a display case, and burst into tears. She was with the man who she shared the Nobel Peace Prize with. ( Also deserving of the Nobel Prize. I am ashamed to admit I didn't know of Kailash Satyarthi until I learned of Malala's sharing of it with him. Also an inspiring person.) I'm guessing the enormity of her mission, and its consequences finally hit her.

But she's a brave soul. I intend to keep up with her. She's only 18 now. She's already done all this, and she has her whole life ahead of her. Imagine what she'll do with it...

Malala-1, Taliban-0. Give 'em Hell, girl. This is why Malala is the number one Fem-Muse.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


It's here! The beautiful cover Emma Hibbs has worked so hard on is finished! Soon, the book we ALL worked so hard on will follow and I can't tell you how proud I am to be a part of this.

THIS is the Anthology I mentioned a few months back. The fundraiser for S.O.P.H.I.E. and the crusade against bullying.

A lot of writers, AND editors put their time, effort and hearts into this. All for a good cause. Would you like to meet us?

SUNDAY 22 MAY 2016


In August 2007, Sophie Lancaster was viciously attacked and later passed away from her horrendous injuries. The only reason she was targeted was because she looked different.

Now, authors from across the world have come together to present an anthology of stories inspired by the joy of individuality.  From science fiction and paranormal to fairy tale reimaginings, fall into a celebration of life and difference, all to benefit ​The Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

 Registered charity number - 1129689


E. C. Hibbs

E. C. Hibbs has lived all her life in Cheshire, north-west England. A lover of stories from an early age, she wrote her first 'book' when she was five, and throughout school was a frequent visitor to the younger classes to read her tales to the children.

Living so near the coast, she loves anything to do with the sea. She studied Animal Behaviour at university and longs to work with marine mammals in the future. As well as nature and animals, she also has a soft spot for history, and loves paying visits to castles, cathedrals and museums. She also runs Elphame Arts; creating unique portraits in both digital fantasy and graphite mediums, as well as book and CD covers.

There are many things she could be without, but writing isn't one of them. She carries a pen everywhere, in case an idea appears, and takes pride in still seeing the world as brimming with magic. Besides writing, she reads obsessively, her favourite genres being the classics and all kinds of fantasy. She enjoys Disney and horror films, practising Shotokan karate, drawing, archery, hiking up mountains, and playing with her very cheeky cat Millie-Moo. She also models for the UK Alternative Fashion Fest in aid of local charities and S.O.P.H.I.E., and is an avid supporter of WWF.

Elphame Arts:

Donna Milward

Donna Milward lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her troll and two cats. She is a proud old-school headbanger of 30 years who has always embraced her individuality with determined ferocity.  She loves Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Skinny Puppy, Sepultura, Rammstein and anything unique and her. Besides writing, she likes gardening, canning, and all things to do with cats, mythology and the paranormal. She is the author Thoeba and Aphrodite’s War.


Mystell Oshay

Mystell Oshay is a 24 year old from Fife in Scotland. She started writing when she was nearly in her teens and always enjoyed reading books as a child. Her other hobbies include gaming and listening to music. She loves to escape reality and travel to other worlds and has even made her own world. Music inspires her to create things and gaming is a great pass time as well as writing to escape everyday life. She is an animal lover and has gerbils. Her favorite genre of book is fantasy.


Rose Titus

Rose Titus works two jobs to support her writing habit. She exists somewhere in cold, dreary New England, with two manipulative cats and a very out of date Macintosh with which she creates horror and fantasy fiction. She also has a restored classic car to ride around while in search of adventure.

For travel she has stayed for the night in an allegedly haunted castle, has taken a boat ride on Loch Ness, and has visited the fabled Bermuda Triangle without getting lost.

Her work has previously appeared in Lost Worlds, Lynx Eye, Bog Gob, Mausoleum, Midnight Times, Blood Moon Rising Magazine, The Bugle, Weird Terrain, Descend, Wicked Wheels, The Dead River Review, and other literary magazines. Her novella Night Home has been published with Bathory Gate Press and is available with Amazon, Barnes and and Smashwords.

​When she’s not writing or working or messing around with her old Buick, she waits by her mailbox for the next issue of Fortean Times to arrive.


Bobbie Palmer

Bobbie Palmer is a Delaware Author who is very involved in her local writing community.  She currently has three novels out and has short stories in two anthologies.  She writes Young Adult, Fantasy, and Murder Mysteries.  In addition, she has a full-time job, but in her spare time she enjoys hanging out with her family and reading.


Mari Brown

Mari has been writing as far back as she can remember. She spent most of her teen years writing short stories for her friends, it was a hobby for her even though she was published in the school newspaper.

She met and married her very own Alpha male 20 years ago and they have a 19 year old daughter, and two sons ages 16 and 15. They have 4 dogs and 2 cats. There is never a dull moment around the house. They live on the beautiful Gulf Coast of Alabama and are blessed to have a home on the river and to have the beach just 20 minutes away.​​

Over the years she wrote a few short stories in-between raising babies but it wasn't until 2012 she decided she needed to pursue her dream of writing a full novel. It took a while but in January of 2014 her debut novel was self-published. There is always a story in her head and characters talking to her. She enjoys being able to share her characters with others.


Lilly Rayman

First and foremost I am a wife and mother.  I was born in England where I had a dream at the age of 14.  That dream was to chase cattle on horseback across the Australian Outback.

In 2008, I had the opportunity to follow that dream, and found myself travelling to Australia on an Outback working holiday, and I've chased cattle, on horse back, across the Outback.  I met my soul mate, whilst on my working holiday, married him, and we have two beautiful daughters, and I'm still loving life in Australia.

I love to read, much to my husbands dismay sometimes when I have my head metaphorically buried in the pages of a book (I mean, how can that be literal since the dawn of e-books?)!

I love fantasy, I used to take myself away from my nasty world of bullies and appear in some wonderful land of dragons and magic! Pern was my all time favourite hide out world, God bless Anne and Todd MacCaffery.

When I immersed myself in my fantasy worlds, I used to re-write the plots in my head, starring myself as some great, sword drawn character who wouldn't give two hoots what the local bully thought! That eventuated in my actually writing down my own stories.

More recently I was inspired to start writing again, and I picked up on the whole craze of werewolf and vampire. I have had the most enjoyment writing AN UNEXPECTED BONDING, and the two books that will follow it!


MP Ashman

MP Ashman debuted in 2012 with Black Hollow, a fantasy fiction novella about Jessica Bannerly, a girl who believes herself to be far from special, until she is whisked away into a magical kingdom, where an ancient wizard believes her to be his only way of escaping a mystical prison. This was followed, a year later, by Black Hollow Part II, in which the wizard uses Jessica's best friend Ciara, and her brother, Justin, to finally win his freedom.

In 2014, Ashman turned to science fiction, with the novella Time's Child, following Nina Summer, a technophobic 21st century teen who discovers that the life she has is not the one to which she belongs.​

With The Water Tower, Ashman begins a whole new saga in the Time Twins science fiction series for young adults.

MP Ashman lives in Toowoomba with his family, including his cat, Prue.​​

Author Facebook:
Time Twins:
Time Twins Facebook:

Allana Kephart & Melissa Simmons

Allana Kephart

Allana Kephart has been making things up and bending people to her will from a very young age. She loves animals and reading and spends a large amount of time thinking up ways to torment her characters. When not writing she can be found walking one of her many furbabies, working at a local pet supply store, or jamming out in her car. She lives south of Denver, CO with her six fur-babies.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.%20com/author/show/7376577.Allana_Kephart

Melissa Simmons

Melissa Simmons loves music, reading, her cat and her husband-not necessarily in that order, of course. She is obsessed with all things Disney, Supernatural (TV show) and comic book TVshows/ movies and doesn’t care who knows it. Her favorite superhero is Batman and she will defend his awesomeness to her last breath. When she isn’t writing and plotting, she loves to bake and spends her days helping other authors promote their work. She resides in upstate NY with her husband and their adorable cat.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.%20com/author/show/1639094.Melissa_Simmons

The Dolan Prophecies:

Fiona Maher

Fiona Maher is the author of the dark fantasy The Last Changeling and also the ‘Horror in a Hurry’ series of novellas. She also co-organises The Legendary Llangollen Faery Festival and loves anything fae and fantastical.

Legendary Llangollen Faery Festival:
The Last Changeling:
Horror in a Hurry:

Please share this, and support us in our cause. The world is a better place when we don't judge others by the way we look.