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 cjpetterson@gmail.com cj

Sunday, May 2, 2021

April novel releases and opening lines

cj Sez: My second thriller/suspense, DEATH ON THE YAMPA, LAUNCHED! 

   Find out where you can grab a copy of your next new adventure here:  https://books2read.com/u/bxe1AP (Also available on Kindle)
 
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Another thriller/suspense story with a touch of romance, THE DAWGSTAR, launched April 15, 2021. 

The Dawgstar is a Jane Bond-ish read. Find your favorite retailer, including Kindle, here:  https://books2read.com/u/3LRRG5 

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Excerpts from one of my archived posts:

   The importance of a good, inviting opening line, opening paragraph, or opening chapter probably can’t be stressed enough.

   There’s a lot of advice that says writers should start a story in the middle of a drama, some captivating situation. This is the hook with which a writer can snag the reader’s or agent’s interest.

   Ken Follet, in The Pillars of the Earth, starts off with “The small boys came early to the hanging.” Wouldn’t you want to find out more?

   This one from Toni Morrison’s Paradise speaks volumes:  “They shoot the white girl first.”

   One of my personal favorites is from Prison Letters, Corrie ten Boom’s memoir of her time in a WWII concentration camp: “From time to time, I wrote short sketches on scraps of paper.”

    Stephen King is quoted as saying: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story.” He goes on to say, “For me a good opening sentence really begins with voice.” He believes readers are drawn into a story because the voice of the writer appeals to them.

   In each of the opening-line examples above, I believe you get a good sense of the author’s voice and how the rest of the story is going to be told.

   Here’s my first line from The Dawgstar, my thriller/suspense:  “I am not going to die; I am not going to die.”

   And from Death on the Yampa:  "Bryn McKay’s body ricocheted off the passenger door as the pickup, engine roaring, veered from one side of the Colorado mountain road to the other."

   Do you start your stories in an active scene? Or are you in narrative voice? Whichever it is, please make sure the opening is not in backstory.

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 Writerly quotes: 

   The Six Golden Rules of Writing: Read, read, read, and write, write, write.” — Ernest Gaines

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 On the home front: 


   Son Jeff D. Johnston’s photo that he titled “The Chase,” because one of those eagles has the fish the other one wants. 

   And this is not a Photoshopped image. It’s a live-action shot he was lucky enough to catch in Homer, Alaska. 

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

cj

P.S.  TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

   The store has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

 ➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: under re-construction

 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Challenge of writing mysteries and, count 'em, two thriller/suspense releases in April

 

cj Sez: My favorite genre to write is thriller/suspense, and I have two releases in April for you. They both have a touch of romance to keep give readers the warm fuzzies, but writing a romance novel this year has some challenges:

 
From Facebook

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   On today's writing front, I’m thinking up another challenge for the protagonist/sleuth in my work in progress, and it is Work. Writing a mystery is presenting a huge learning curve to me. Thriller and suspense genres I have managed (see the news of my April releases below), but a mystery is a whole ’nother story. Here’s what I know so far:

   What is the same among the genres is that my protagonist detective/sleuth must be likeable, have some personality quirks, and a bit of backstory baggage to be dropped intermittently into the story (no info dumps, please). My sleuth has a confidant, which is another recommended device. 

   My setting is rather unique as non-cozy mysteries go in it’s not in a big city, and there’s a love interest to add a little jazz. Each of the major characters, including the bad guy, will have a piece of history or secret that affects how they react, and—I hope—generate some degree of sympathy.

Jeffery Deaver: “I like the way words go together and I like the gamesmanship of poetry. It is such a challenge.”  

(cj Sez: Works the same way for me with novels.)


   Clues and red herrings are struggles for me. Where and how do I place them so they invite the reader to try to solve the mystery but don’t reveal so much that they can do that too soon. I am a pantser or, more accurately, a pathfinder. I find my path through the story by throwing roadblocks in the paths of my characters then figuring out how they escape. For a mystery, I’m going to have to do a bit of ::gasp:: plotting. Before I can hide the clues and weave in the red herrings, I have to figure out where they need to be.
 
   I recently heard of a program called Plottr that was said to be good at telling the writer where a red herring or clue could/should be inserted. If you’ve used it, what did you think?

   It’s said that Hallie Ephron struggles with these same problems, so that makes me feel better. I guess this struggle might be problem for many mystery writers. I do know that, like all manuscripts, my characters, clues, and red herrings will change and be rearranged with each future edit cycle.

Diablo Cody: “I don’t have a formal rewrite process. I just compulsively groom and re-groom scenes like a cat with OCD.”  (cj Sez: My method exactly. I can groom the words right off the page.)

   What I really like is that I’m learning new things. One of my personal goals is to learn something new every day, and writing a mystery is certainly helping me reach my goal. How about you? Do you have a personal goal?

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Thriller/Suspense releases in April:
 




THE DAWGSTAR launched April 15, 2021.  ebook pix

The Dawgstar is available at these fine sites: https://books2read.com/u/bojq91





DEATH ON THE YAMPA, is currently available for the pre-order price of 99 cents!  

At these sites: https://books2read.com/u/m0KWa0    ebook pix

Death on the Yampa launches April 30, 2021

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Writerly quotes: 

 “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” Mark Twain   

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Something personal:  Jeff D. Johnston (my son) migratory bird photo.
Red-breasted Grosbeak. Taken on Dauphin Island, AL—a rest-stop for birds as they migrate north.

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

cj

P.S.  TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us
 
  The store has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: under re-construction

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Another new re-release...

 cj Sez: Another new re-release with new edits, new info, new cover, and new genre:
Launches April 30, 2021


DEATH ON THE YAMPA is a fast-read suspense/thriller.

"A woman and the man she loves are rafting the Yampa River through the delicious scenery of Dinosaur National Monument when they encounter a sleeper terrorist cell. She must confront terrorism that never seemed as horrible as it does when the face she sees is that of her brother—and she fears someone she loves could die."

   The eBook is scheduled to launch April 30. Available now for the pre-order price of 99 cents. https://books2read.com/u/m0KWa0  

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THE DAWGSTAR launched April 15.

   "Protagonist Mirabel Campbell spots a mysterious point of light in the night sky that puts her in the crosshairs of a madman. Mirabel and her CIA ex-husband reconnect in the midst of an action-packed suspense/thriller where a sociopath’s money can hire an assassin, turn friends into traitors, and threaten the world with a bioweapon."

   The Dawgstar is available at these fine sites: https://books2read.com/u/bojq91

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Writerly quotes: 

From Elmore Leonard:  “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”      

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Something personal: 

This is one of my feral cat visitors. 

She's got one white hair, neon-yellow eyes, and is full-grown but as small as a half-grown kitten. I call her “Girlfriend” because after I trapped and had her spayed, she shamelessly flirts with all the tomcats that show up. She’s a sweetie who's become my in/out house kitty and will occasionally hop up on my tummy for a quick, purring push/pull.

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

cj

P.S.  TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

 The store has re-opened to limited hours, so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: under re-construction

 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

A fresh look, ready for fresh eyes, and a giveaway!

cj Sez:  Fresh cover, fresh edits, new info, new ISBN, new name, and ready for fresh eyes: THE DAWGSTAR 


The novel formerly known as Deadly Star, launches April 15, 2021. Find out where to order your copy here:  https://books2read.com/cjpettersonauthorBooks

   Place your pre-order, send a copy of the receipt to me    ( cjpetterson at gmail dot com ) and I’ll put your name in the running for one of three prizes! Pre-order price of 99 cents goes up on launch day, April 15, 2021.

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   An invitation to apply for a grant from Sisters in Crime: The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award. Submissions Open March 15 - May 15

   “The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award is an annual grant of $2,000 for an emerging writer of color.

   'This grant is intended to support the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. The grantee may choose to use the grant for activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work.

   "An unpublished writer is preferred, however publication of several pieces of short fiction and/or up to two self-published or traditionally published books will not disqualify an applicant.”

cj Sez: To find out more visit:  https://www.sistersincrime.org/page/EleanorTaylorBland

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   Do you know the difference between ellipsis and ellipses? From Fiction University comes this post on How to Use an Ellipsis in Writing (Without Overusing It)  

   “Sometimes informally referred to as “those three dots,” Merriam-Webster officially defines ellipses as “marks or a mark (such as … ) indicating an omission (as of words) or a pause.”

   "In Latin and Greek, “ellipsis” means to fall short or leave out — an omission. At its core, that’s exactly how it’s used in grammar, to indicate words have been omitted or left out.” 

Read the entire post here:

https://thewritelife.com/how-to-use-ellipsis/?utm_content=bufferb01e2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer&fbclid=IwAR0xXTAoLTqTeK-v5XEgl4EsyoGFhSbQXccSqm_oBYlPVTS_CGeK2wMLvrI 

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Writerly quotes: 
   cj Sez: Love this . . . 

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

cj

P.S.  TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

   The store has re-opened to limited hours, so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.
 
Follow me . . .      
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

A day to celebrate miracles

 cj Sez:  Wishing you a blessed and happy Easter.


ALMOST 2,000 YEARS AGO 

JESUS CELEBRATED PASSOVER WITH HIS DISCIPLES. 

 TODAY CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE EASTER 

WITH JESUS, THE RISEN SAVIOR.


 

Wishing you the Gift of Faith

The Blessing of Hope

And a Life filled with Love

 

 

And for my friends celebrating Passover…


חג פסח

 



SHALOM

שלום

Sunday, March 28, 2021

THE DAWGSTAR is coming

 cj Sez: I’m excited to show you the cover for THE DAWGSTAR…tentatively scheduled for release on April 15, 2021:
   
   I was recently contacted by one of my former editors, now the acquisitions editor of an eBook publisher, who thought my romantic suspense novels, Deadly Star and Choosing Carter would be perfect for their new eBook suspense application. That lit a fire under my derriere so I headed for the computer to re-edit the stories, then to Draft2Digital to self-publish Deadly Star as THE DAWGSTAR. (Choosing Carter comes next, also with a new name and information…more about that in a later blog.)

    It’s amazing to find that many of the ideas about nanosatellites and international political intrigue that I incorporated in the original story have actually occurred. That meant new material for the story and the need for a new ISBN…ergo, I went with a new title as well.

   This is my first effort at self-publishing so I have a bit of a learning curve. I’m waiting for a response from D2D on a couple of questions I have, but once those are answered, I’m hoping to have the manuscripts uploaded a couple of days later. So far I’ve found the D2D application pretty easy to follow, especially after watching a few of their video presentations.

    Will the eBook publisher find the revised versions acceptable? Don’t know, but with any luck, the stories will be available at eTailers in the near future.

    (p.s. The cover design is by ashley byland @ red bird designs…the lady who does Bienvenue Press covers.)

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Writerly quote: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. (Oscar Wilde: Lady Windermere’s Fan)

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

cj

P.S.  Signed copies of my stand-alone novels (suspense with a touch of romance) are available at The Haunted Bookshop. TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

The store has re-opened to limited hours, so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . . 
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Spring's siren call

 cj Sez: Of the Earth’s four seasons, spring and autumn are my favorites, so I’m celebrating this year’s Vernal Equinox with a nature lesson from photographer Jeff D. Johnston. 

Male Yellow Warbler - Ottawa County, Ohio. 
D500/200-500mm ISO 1600 1/640 @ f/6.3

JDJ:  “The next time you hold two quarters in your hand, you'll be holding about the same weight (or more) as this and most other warblers. The Yellow Warbler is only about 5 inches long.

   Think about how small that is. Then think about what they go through every year as they move back and forth across the Western Hemisphere.

   This bird is known to winter as far south as South America and nest as far north as Canada. If you look at the attached map, you'll see that the minimum distance any bird migrating from South America to northern Ohio (where I photographed them) would have traveled is over 2000 miles. They make this trip twice each year, relying on the sun, stars and the earth's magnetic field to help them navigate the way.

    They are genuinely amazing little creatures.”
                                       §§
cj Sez: I think a character in one of my stories will have to make mention of the awesome variety of birds that stop to rest on Dauphin Island, Alabama, during each year’s migration when they answer spring's siren call. (To keep things honest: photographer Jeff D. Johnston is my son.)

  Spring and autumn are my favorite seasons because of the color they bring into the world. There are the neon lime/yellows of new growth in the spring, and the glorious, final burst of kaleidoscope color in the fall.

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   A fellow writer was grieving and questioning what to do about a one-star review on Amazon that complained about something that wasn’t even in the novel. Obviously, the reviewer hadn’t read the book.

   One- and two-star reviews can be devastating, both for future sales and on the author's psyche. Wherever there’s an opportunity to post a review, there will be trolls waiting with itchy fingers to type in low ratings—whether warranted or not. I’ve seen reviews by people who purchased a product on Amazon then gave it a one-star rating because they thought delivery took too long. Had nothing to do with the quality of the product.

   So where am I going with all this? It’s to reinforce why comments and reviews need to be put in perspective. Hiding within the electronic wafers of the Internet are nameless, faceless, and wretched on-line trolls. (Whew! I feel better now.)

   We can’t realistically expect all reviews to be five-stars (okay, we do, anyway). I admit to having desperate pangs when someone dings one of my stories. Yes, it skews the “average,” but then I re-read the good reviews that I do have (some posted, some not) and calm down a bit. I remind myself that I cannot please every reader out there.

   If you receive a poor review from an on-line troll, I suggest you consider the source, and please do not respond to the reviewer. That might dig a deeper, darker hole than you want to dive into.

   For a review like that mentioned in my first paragraph, perhaps a conversation with Amazon (if that’s where it was made) might get the unfair/unjustified review removed. Might.

   In the meantime, if you’re like me, you might console yourself with a treat.

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Personal observation truism: People watching is next to Godliness and cleanliness for writers. It's the reason I can't go to a library or a park or a coffee shop to write. All I do is people watch

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

cj

P.S.  Signed copies of my stand-alone novels (suspense with a touch of romance) are available at The Haunted Bookshop. TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

 The store has re-opened to limited hours, so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

There's money involved

 cj Sez: A contest from Sisters in Crime that offers a $2000 prize! Here’s their call for submissions:

   “The Pride Award submissions are open through March 15--that's this Monday! Are you, or do you know, an emerging LGBTQIA+ crime writer? You don't have to have an entire manuscript completed in order to submit. Make sure to check out the guidelines for this $2000 award. This is great opportunity, so get your materials together and submit. Happy writing,”  

(also at https://www.facebook.com/sistersincrime )

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   Well, didja? Huh? Huh? Didja?  Did you remember to Spring Forward to Daylight Saving Time last night? DST arrived in the wee hours this morning, and 2 a.m. became 3 a.m. Alexa changed her clock for me, and I got up when I was supposed to…the cats and wild birds were very happy, because they could not care less about DST. I, however, will be taking a nap this afternoon. 

   Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we have to wait until the first Sunday in November to gain back that lost hour. (Maybe that’s good news because there’s hope.)

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*Excerpts from a report by Alex Newton at K-Lytics

   “Let's talk about an emerging genre of its own,
Paranormal Women's Fiction or PWF. It features powerful heroines kicking their midlife problems to hell with sass, magic, mystery, and adventure.

   Think of movies like The Witches of Eastwick or Practical Magic, and you got it.

   You can find the occasional PWF title on Kindle published as early as 2011. But about a year ago, some experienced authors from genres such as paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and cozy mystery decided to define a dedicated place (i.e., a genre) for PWF books and differentiate them from other genres.
/ / /

   “The evolution of PWF underscores the continued rise in popularity of women's fiction. But not only that. It proves what indie publishers can achieve in no time, thanks to their innovation, agility, hard work, and persistence.

   Could PWF be something for your writing or inspire you to develop your own genre-defining ideas?  Check out this new K-lytics research report!"

https://k-lytics.lpages.co/paranormal-womens-fiction/

https://www.facebook.com/K.lytics

(*cj disclaimer: I do find these reports interesting enough to do further investigations. However, I’m passing along the information, not endorsing K-lytics products.)

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

cj

P.S.  Signed copies of my stand-alone novels (suspense with a touch of romance) are available at The Haunted Bookshop. TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

The store has re-opened to limited hours, so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Featuring author Candice Marley Conner

cj Sez: I am so excited about fellow Mobile Writers Group author Candice Marley Conner's debut books (yes, there are more than one) that I want to tout her achievements again.

Credit: Owl Hollow Press

   Her publisher recently published their interview with Candice, and you can read it here: https://owlhollowpress.com/2021/02/12/author-spotlight-the-existence-of-bea-pearl-author-candice-marley-conner/ 

 For an autographed copy of the Haunted Bookshop's best-selling YA:

https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/.../con.../19745...

   Be sure to visit Candice's website if you preorder (she has a giveaway for the early birds):

https://candicemarleyconner.com/preorder-the-existence.../ 

   Candice is on a publishing roll. She recently learned that her second book has a NEW release date (and it precedes Bea Pearl). I’ll let her tell you about it:

Here's that sneak peak at Sassafras

“I’m excited to share a sneak peek of my brave little bristle-tailed squirrel who finally has a release date!

Look for my picture book, SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL, illustrated by Heath Gray, to release June 8, 2021!”


   

(cj Sez: Congratulations, Candice Marley Conner!)

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   If you haven’t been to Sisters in Crime's website lately, you're in for a surprise!


   They have a new website with great information about chapters, events, social media and much more! It's mobile friendly now, too!

Stop by: https://www.sistersincrime.org/

SinC is also on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/sistersincrime/ 

§§ 

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


cj

P.S.  Signed copies of my stand-alone novels (suspense with a touch of romance) are available at The Haunted Bookshop. TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

The store has re-opened to limited hours, so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . .       
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

If you haven't already, maybe it's time . . .

cj Sez: Writers’ organizations are great for learning and honing the craft and for networkinggathering information and making those all-important connections.


   I’m a member of Mobile Writers Guild (https://www.mobilewritersguild.org/ ), Alabama Writers’ Forum (https://www.writersforum.org/ ), Alabama Writers’ Conclave (https://www.alabamawritersconclave.org/ ), Sisters in Crime ( https://www.sistersincrime.org/ ) and their online Guppy chapter. 

   Each of these organizations is important to my growth as an author 

   If you’re not in Alabama, I’ll recommend the international group, Sisters in Crime. When you become a member of SinC, you’re eligible to join the 1000-member Guppies (i.e., the “great unpublished,” but they don’t kick you out of the group even after you’re multi-published). 

   The feedback from member/writers of these groups is
informative, super supportive regardless of your level of expertise, and on the money. Not only do they have a large list of specialized groups (for agent searches, querying, critiquing of specific genres, manuscript swaps, et al.), they also offer a variety of virtual skill-building classes.  

   If you haven’t joined a writers’ organization, maybe you should think about doing that.

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   Speaking of writers’ groups, here’s a cover reveal of a new YA book from one of my fellow Mobile Writers Group authors, Candice Marley Conner. Sale-priced pre-order is available on Amazon...be sure to look for the launch on June 15, 2021.

 “Sixteen-year-old Bea Pearl knows her brother isn’t dead. Even if her parents don’t agree. Even if the entire town doesn’t believe her.”

§§

Celebrating Black History Month 

“The richer we have become materially, the poorer we become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down.” ―  Frederick Douglass 

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


P.S.  Signed copies of my stand-alone novels (suspense with a touch of romance) are available at The Haunted Bookshop. TO ORDER my autographed books or any book of your choice on-line from an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

   The store has re-opened to limited hours, so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . .       
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6