Guest Post

HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cj

Sunday, January 28, 2018

100 Best Websites for Writers

cj Sez: Edit Write Teach passed along information on Facebook about The Write Life version of the 100 best websites for writers. 

Says The Write Life's Dana Sitar:
The world offers a lot of ways to become a writer.

You can go to school for journalism or creative writing, get a Ph.D. and publish in journals, start a blog and turn it into a business, write a book and become famous…The paths are innumerable.
Whatever kind of writer you want to be, you can probably find a blog or online community to help you get there.

Each year, The Write Life celebrates these vast resources available to us online by releasing a list of the 100 Best Websites for Writers, and we’re excited to do it for the fifth year in a row.

The list and their comments about the websites can be found here:

Log on to Facebook to access editor/author Mahala Church’s Edit Write Teach at

Well, that that old adage “once in a blue moon” is happening again this month. this 2018 version, however, is really rare. A blue moon, a supermoon and a lunar eclipse will all fall on the same night on January 31 in an event that hasn’t happened in over 150 years.

These three lunar events separately are not uncommon, but the last time there was a blue moon, a supermoon, and a total lunar eclipse at the same time for North America was on March 31, 1866.

There must be a werewolf story in there some place.

South African author Robbie Cheadle collaborates with her 12-year-old son, Michael, to create the wonderful world of Sir Chocolate, a series of children’s books. She's a multi-talented lady and recently penned The Dandelion poem that is just about perfect for Lyrical Pens.

Visit Robbie and Michael at

After completing a ten-day Story Arc class with about 50 fellow Guppies, I began a six-day class on Short Story writing. I am now filled to the gills with writerly information. Both classes were exceptional and led by exceptional authors/teachers. Ramona DeFelice Long steered us through the Story Arc sessions, and Kaye George followed up with Short Story notes. Modern-day writing is not only about a 180 degree difference in tone and form from 19th century novels, it’s continually changing as reader habits and interests change. Continuing education is the key to staying on top of those fluctuations. Now to put all that knowledge to work. There’s another adage for that: Use it or lose it.

Writers, if you have a book launch coming up this year and want to schedule Lyrical Pens on your blog tour, drop me a note.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Great deals on romance novels, just in time for Valentine’s Day

Bad Day at Round Rock” in The Posse a Western anthology of 8 short stories @99 cents
California Kisses—10 book publisher’s bundle @ 99 cents (includes Deadly Star)
The Great Outdoors  8 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)
Bodies in Motion — 10 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Top of mind chatting

cj Sez:  Saturday was the end of the ten-day on-line course on Story Arc taught by fellow SinC/Guppy writer/editor Ramona De Felice Long who did an OUTSTANDING job of leading me step by faltering step through the process.

Now I have a working synopsis and draft plot outline, even though I’ve written only “most” of the first act of one of my novels-in-progress. That’s a new experience for me because I’m a linear writer. I meander my way through the story, beginning to end, doing humungous editing as I go. Ergo, I’m more of a pathfinder than a plotter. Perhaps I’ve learned that plotting won’t diffuse the thrill of creating new conflicts for my characters. Perhaps this new skill will make me a faster writer. We’ll see.

If you’re a member of SinC/Guppy and ever have a chance to take one of Ramona’s on-line courses, I highly recommend it.
I’m always looking for good sources of writing information, and C. Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers Newsletter is one of my favorites. Her newsletter has been on the Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers list every year since 2000.  Hope has a free newsletter and a paid subscription version as well. Find out more here:

The latest addition to my to-be-read pile is a Western romance. Unfortunately I’m not reading very much so the stack will get taller for a while longer. My eye problem continues to interfere. I’m back to later than dusk…but the abundance of floaters in my eyes breaks up the words when I try to read a book. My writing has also suffered, until a friend recommended that I zoom more and use a dark page background with white letters. That’s working better. Not perfect, but better. Zooming is what got me through that Story Arc class.

It's time for me to buy a laptop. I truly dislike having to work on one of those, but the main use for this one will be doing PowerPoint presentations. The good thing about that is I don’t need to get a super-duper model, because I won’t be keyboarding much.

Not being a techie, I need some advice: What kind of laptop would you recommend?
Okay, you-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Great gifts for Valentine’s Day, and only 99 cents for a bundle of romance stories:
“Bad Day at Round Rock” a short romance in The Posse anthology
California Kisses—10 book publisher’s bundle @ 99 cents (includes Deadly Star)
The Great Outdoors  8 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)
Bodies in Motion 10 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)
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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Taking classes and submitting

cj Sez: I’ve written pretty much nothing over the holidaze so I’m resetting my creativity gene by taking an online class entitled Story Arc (through my Sisters-in-Crime/Guppy group). 

   The first half that ended January 12 included scene arc, chapter arc, character arc, secondary storylines, and a bunch of other almost ad infinitum topics. In other words, this online class/workshop will be a whole how-to shebang for successful novel writing crammed into twelve days. I even learned to plot a little. As a pathfinder writer, that’s a bit outside my comfort zone. Having to analyze my languishing work-in-progress is giving me fresh perspective and many ideas that I now have three WIPs. I’m hoping to finish at least one of them this year. 

  Taking a class is a marvelous way to get the author juices flowing.

   Because I’ve become so ambitious, it seemed like a good idea to find out if my current eBook publisher (Crimson Romance, an imprint of Simon & Schuster) is accepting submissions—and they are. If you’re a romance writer, here are some of the guidelines:

Crimson Romance Writer’s Guidelines
Our digital-first romance line is open to submissions in five popular subgenres: romantic suspense, contemporary, paranormal, historical, and spicy romance. We’re looking for previously unpublished full-length novels (between 50,000 – 90,000 words) and novellas (between 30,000 – 50,000 words). All authors—agented or unagented, beginner or veteran writers—are welcome to submit any works that have not been previously published in whole or in part in any media, including self-publishing (Kindle, CreateSpace, etc.).

While your work can include other genre elements, Crimson Romances must focus first and foremost on a couple’s emotional journey together towards love. Romances, by nature, must be between consenting adults of any gender, race, creed, etc., and have a happily-ever-after or at least happy-for-now ending. We are strictly a romance publisher and will not look at manuscripts for memoirs or other non-fiction, women’s fiction or chick lit, young adult, mysteries and thrillers, horror, or general fiction. 

So if you’ve got a romance that’s a little offbeat, something other publishers won’t take a chance on? Send it our way! At Crimson, we believe variety is the spice of life — especially a reader’s life. We’re happy to consider a wide variety of plot lines and characters, but we’re always looking for:

Smart, savvy, confident heroines with strong goals
Heroes of all varieties — alpha, beta, anything in between! 
New twists on favorite themes

What they don’t want to see is also listed on the submission page. For more information on how and what, go to:

My footprints
  On the home front, the weather in Mobile, AL, has taken a decisive turn to winter, uncharacteristically so. In December, we had our first measurable snowfall since about 1995. We usually get “cold snaps.” That's when temperatures drop into the middle twenties for a night, then they climb back up into sweatshirt weather. Tonight I'll break out the down coat I brought with me from Michigan. The temperature is forecast to drop into the twenties and stay down for a few nights. We’re in for a hard freeze that the outside water faucets may not tolerate—even after precautions are taken. Water pipes in the deep south are not buried 42 inches or so deep as they are in the northern climes, so a long spell of freezing weather can do damage. Got my fingers crossed…you can cross yours for me, too, if you like.

  That’s it for this post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


Now a word from my sponsors…
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cjpetterson/author on Facebook   
Amazon Central Author Page
Simon&Schuster Author Page
Romance stories…perfect for Valentine’s Day…a lot of gift for a little money:
Choosing Carter  — Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook
Deadly Star —  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo
Bad Day at Round Rock” in The Posse a Western anthology of 8 short stories @99 cents
California Kisses—10 book publisher’s bundle @ 99 cents (includes Deadly Star)
The Great Outdoors  8 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)

Bodies in Motion — 10 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Goals, not resolutions, for 2018

cj Sez: Hope your celebrations ushering in the 2018 New Year were safe, warm, and happy! 

The unusual cold weather in Mobile kept many of the local exuberant, gun-shooting celebrants indoors so I actually got to sleep before 2 a.m. The extra sleep was appreciated because I was entertaining guests for lunch on New Year’s Day, complete with the Southern tradition of making a blackeyed peas dish and cornbread. Both turned out quite tasty, if I do say so myself. Hopefully, this will start me off on the right foot for 2018.

Be it hereby resolved: This year I resolve to not make any resolutions that I historically never keep, except this one:

Instead, I am setting measurable goals.
1:  Make four visits to the Wellness Center each week instead of three.
2:  Write three short stories instead of two.
3:  Revise the most aggravating work-in-progress I have ever created and get it submitted.
4:  Restart writing WIP number two.
5:  Start two more novels … or maybe novellas.

That makes five goals, but wait, there’s more! (My new favorite, inane expression.) There’s always more; I just don’t know what it is yet. I do know that I’m not planning on attending any out-of-town conferences this year. Those I’ll save until I have something new to promote.

On the home front: Over the fall season, a tribe of feral cats arrived on my patio.

So far I’ve had three males neutered and three females spayed.
The latest female is a beautiful all-black kitty about eight months old named Shadow—she wasn’t part of the original group. She crept in later and fell in love with Buster, the gentle giant. He is eleven pounds of feline muscle and is one of the cats featured in the Familiar Legacy post.

The other newer arrivals are all Shadow suitors: Stubby, an all-black Manx, Brindle, and the puma-like BMC (Butterscotch, Marmalade, Creamsicle). He should probably be called BMOC, because he is the Big Man on Campus, bigger and fuzzier than Buster. He will let me pet him, so perhaps I can trap him out also. I’m not sure how I got to be the crazy-cat-lady, but here I am.

I wrote a post about the tribe for the Familiar Legacy Mystery series blog. It's scheduled to run on January 16. Please stop by, and be sure to visit frequently. They share wonderful posts by other authors.

And . . . . next Saturday, the first Mardi Gras parade of 2018 winds its way down the main drag of Dauphin Island. In other places, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is a day—February 13 this year to be exact. In Mobile, it’s a season.

New releases to share with you: Small Town Trouble … by Laura Benedict, the 5th book in the Trouble Legacy Series.

Amazon blurb: SUMMER SECRETS ...KIDNAPPING AND MURDER. Erin Walsh arrives home to tiny New Belford, Kentucky, from college only to clash with her young stepmother, Shelby Rae. When Shelby Rae is kidnapped and a dear friend of the family is murdered, Erin discovers that both victims had secrets connected to the violent death of her mother seven years earlier. In a small town the pool of suspects is limited, but it also means the danger to Erin’s own life is deathly close

Enter Trouble, the wise and wily black cat detective. His paws have barely landed in the bluegrass when he realizes Erin is about to put herself in danger. Can he lead Erin to the truth before she becomes a victim herself?

Twelve Angry Librarians … The paperback version of book 8 (of 9) in Cat in the Stacks Mystery Series, by Miranda James, is now available.

Amazon blurb:  The author of the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks series is back with more Southern charm and beguiling mystery as Charlie Harris and his cat Diesel must find a killer in a room full of librarians.

Charlie is stressed out. The Southern Academic Libraries Association is holding this year’s annual meeting at Athena College. Since Charlie is the interim library director, he must deliver the welcome speech to all the visiting librarians. And as if that weren’t bad enough, the keynote address will be delivered by Gavin, Charlie’s old nemesis from library school.
  When Gavin drops dead, no one seems too upset. But Charlie, who was seen having a heated argument with Gavin the day before, has jumped to the top of the suspect list. Now Charlie and Diesel must check out every clue to refine their search for the real killer among them before the next book Charlie reads comes from a prison library.

Okay, that’s all for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Be sure and let me know if you want to do a guest post for a new release. I’d be happy to host you, but just remember that I’m a PG-13 site.

More than Friends Choosing Carter Crimson Romance 6-book bundle
Choosing Carter  -- Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook
Deadly Star --  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo
Publisher’s romance bundles still available on Amazon for 99 cents:
California Kisses (Deadly Star) 10-book bundle
The Great Outdoors (Choosing Carter) 8-book bundle
More than Friends (Choosing Carter) 6-book bundle

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