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, April 14, 2024

Reading 'n writing



  Feelings of inadequacy can often overwhelm any confidence of competency and send us running for a big spoon and the nearest half-gallon of ice cream (chocolate for me) for comfort. But think about this: Bona fide professionals, those people we consider successful, do not, cannot rest on their laurels. Okay, that’s a cliché, but truly, professionals continually work to improve and perfect their skills.

  Every time Donald Maass, author of WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, leads a workshop on writing, I’d venture to guess he’s included something new since his last workshop. He’s a professional writer/lecturer/teacher who keeps polishing and improving his craft. Pro golfers take lessons; powerhouse baseball hitters have trainers as do Olympic runners and skaters. 

  The lesson is clear. The way for writers to improve their writing craft is to practice; i.e., they must read stories in all genres,* (but especially in their chosen genre), and network with fellow writers. And those tasks never cease.

  By accident or intentional research rabbit hole, I try to find some tidbit that I can incorporate into a work-in-progress or add to my growing list of helpful hints. Really, though, I love to learn something new most every day, Reader or writer, I wish you the same success.

[  *  Book coach Robin Henry’s essay on Jane Friedman’s blog explains more about how best to read to improve writing practice. Find out more here:    How to Read to Elevate Your Writing Practice | Jane Friedman  ]
 
§§

Tax Day is April 15, and I am breathlessly relieved that my taxes were eFiled—Friday, April 12. I was beginning to think I’d have to file for an extension, but hey, they got done…YAY! 

§§

  Okay, that’s it for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Raising prayers for a happy and safe you and yours.

cj

Now some words from my sponsors:



  My novels, THE DAWGSTAR and DEATH ON THE YAMPA are fast-paced, thriller/suspense stories with sassy banter and a touch of Jane Bond romance (behind closed doors). The books are available on Amazon or through your favorite eTailer and bookstore. Got a library card? You can read the ebooks free from Hoopla.

  Little note: Angela Trigg, the RITA Award-winning author and owner of The Haunted Book Shop has a few signed copies of my paperback books in stock. TO ORDER, contact: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us 

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

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Gothic stories reviews

 cj Sez:  Having just read ‘The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton for a Gothic Reads Facebook group, I’m reminded of other gothic stories I’ve read. 

  (If you'd like learn more about the Gothic Reads group, open your Facebook page, then find this link: POSSESSED: Timeless Gothic Reads | Facebook )

  Here is a refresher of a few of my reviews of gothic tales, and if these books are not on your To-Be-Read list, I think they should be.

    Buy DARKLING

THE DARKLING 

  A Gothic/horror novel from USA Today Bestselling author Carolyn Haines.

  When Berta and Bob Henderson open their home to foster Annie, a young amnesiac found wandering the streets of a nearby city, bad things begin to happen.  

  As tragedy strikes the family one by one, it becomes clear something is stalking the Henderson family.

A 5-star read!

///



MURMURS OF EVIL (The Possession Chronicles Book 2) by Carrie Dalby
  

  Protagonist Magdalene Jones is hired as a companion to a wealthy woman who is despondent over the death of her daughter.

 Magdalene soon finds herself immersed in an economic class she knows nothing about and is immediately tempted and challenged by the heir-apparent of her employer, his father, who, himself, is tempted by her. 

  Intrigue abounds in this recommended read. 

  I gave this book 5 stars.


///

THE RECKONING by John Grisham 
 
Buy RECKONING
  I thought this book would be a legal thriller—it is anything but. To repeat the Amazon description, “The Reckoning is Grisham's argument that he's not just a boilerplate thriller writer.”

  If Southern Gothic is one of your favorite reads, THE RECKONING by John Grisham is for you. If you don’t know what Southern Gothic literature is, it includes dark humor, violence, destitute characters, discrimination, angst, and a strong sense of place—THE RECKONING hits the high notes and then some of all of these characteristics.

  Grisham has told a suspenseful tale of betrayal and lies that drive a town’s favorite son (a World War II hero whose Bataan Death March experience is detailed) to commit a horrific crime. The negatives were the sometimes too-long paragraphs that seemed to ramble and didn't add a lot to the narrative. 

  I gave this angst-driven story 3 stars.

§§


  And this on Jane Friedman’s blog:  "When mystery, thriller, and suspense authors plot their stories, one of the biggest consistent hurdles is designing twists that work."  Author and book coach Samantha Skal asks (and answers) the question: "How do we ideate twists that work?"


§§

  Okay, that’s it for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Raising prayers for a happy and safe you and yours.

cj

Now some words from my sponsors:


  My novels, THE DAWGSTAR and DEATH ON THE YAMPA are fast-paced, thriller/suspense stories with sassy banter and a touch of Jane Bond romance. The books are available on Amazon or through your favorite eTailer and bookstore. Got a library card? You can read the ebooks free from Hoopla.

  Little note: Angela Trigg, the RITA Award-winning author and owner of The Haunted Book Shop has a few signed copies of my paperback books in stock. TO ORDER, contact: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us 

➜ Follow me on . . . 
➜ Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CjPettersonAuthor
➜ BookBub:   https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cj-petterson
➜ Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6
 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

A day to celebrate miracles

 cj Sez:  Wishing you a Blessed and Happy Easter.


 

MORE THAN 2,000 YEARS AGO, 

JESUS CELEBRATED PASSOVER WITH HIS DISCIPLES.


 TODAY CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE EASTER
 
WITH JESUS, THE RISEN SAVIOR.


 

I wish you the Gift of Faith

The Blessing of Hope

And a Life filled with Love . . .

 



 

 

 

Sunday, March 17, 2024

A week of celebrations

cj Sez: Today, March 17, is the start of a week of celebrations: St. Patrick's Daya day when everyone can claim to be Irish. Wishing you a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day.

§§

  The next celebration on the calendar is the arrival of Spring. It may or may not feel like it where you are right now, but I’m here to inform you that Spring arrives on March 19. Well then, my question is, can mosquitos be far behind? If you live where I do, they’re already here.

Now for the science behind the changing of the season:

  The vernal equinox is not a “solstice". The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, and the summer solstice is the longest day of the year.

  An equinox occurs two times every year—March and September—when the Earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun. It’s that instant of time when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the sun. That’s when the sun shines directly on the equator and the lengths of day and night are nearly equal.

  Seasons are reversed on either side of the Equator. The equinox in September in the Northern Hemisphere is called the autumnal (Fall) equinox, but it’s the vernal (Spring) equinox in the Southern hemisphere.
(Source Attribution: Various Google sites)

§§

  I'm thinking there must be a story in there somewhere. Here’s the story prompt: What if the instant the equinox occurred could trigger some kind of awful device that put all of earth in jeopardy? What if the world powers have hired the protagonist to find the person(s) holding the earth ransom, but he has only a few short days to prevent Armageddon? The characters can be in any country in the world.

§§

Mobile and near-Mobile readers and writers: Save the Date to celebrate:


  The Mobile Literary Festival at the Ben May Main Library is the place to be on Saturday, March 23, 2024. Come on down to see what’s going on at this FREE event.

  Here’s a copy of the schedule so you can pre-plan your day. 

  Check out the names of the prestigious presenters on the schedule—everyone from a NYT best-selling author to a Harper Lee Award winner to a State of Alabama former Poet Laureate.  

  And it’s an open-house kind of event, so come and go as you please.  

  P.S. The Haunted Book Shop will have a pop-up sales store (including some of my stories), and some local authors will be in attendance to sign your purchase.

§§


Writers, published and unpublished, take note:

  On Jane Friedman’s blog, the latest post by author Amy L. Bernstein makes “The Case for Pursuing a Traditional Publishing Deal Without an Agent.”

“But, dear authors, securing an agent is not the only path to getting happily published (outside of self-publishing).”

  Read more here:

§§

  You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Raising prayers for a happy and safe you and yours.

cj

Now some words from my sponsors:


  For your to-be-read stack: My novels, THE DAWGSTAR and DEATH ON THE YAMPA are fast-paced, thriller/suspense stories with sassy banter and a touch of romance. The books are available on Amazon or through your favorite eTailer and bookstore. Got a library card? You can read the ebooks free from Hoopla.

  TO ORDER on line from The Haunted Book Shop, contact: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us . Tell them if you’d like a signed copy, and I’ll run down and personalize it for you.

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

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Simply a matter of delayed discipline

cj Sez: It used to be that I thought if I gave myself a deadline, I’d have the incentive to keep working hard on the WIPs I have on my computer. Found out that’s not true.


  I manage to bury any deadlines under weeks of what I have called “research.” It seems that the more I research, the less creativity I have. I’m getting bogged down in discovering fascinating facts, and the stories are suffering.
 
  I suppose some of you might call that procrastinating…I’m calling it delayed discipline.
 
  How about you? How do you kick research to the curb and stay on track?

///

  Speaking of research, I came across the word "bildungsroman" while I was spiraling down a research rabbit hole looking for more information on coming-of-age stories. In literary criticism, a bildungsroman is a literary genre.

  Bildungsroman is the combination of two German words: Bildung,  meaning "education," and Roman, meaning "novel." Fittingly, a "bildungsroman" is a novel that deals with the formative years of the main character, but takes a slightly different tack than modern coming-of-age stories. The bildungsroman usually ends on a positive note with the hero's foolish mistakes and painful disappointments over and a life of usefulness ahead. 
 

§§
 
Buy Nigel Now 
  And speaking of bildungsroman: “The Apprenticeship of Nigel Blackthorn” is a Western historical fiction coming-of-age story from author Frank Kelso, a friend of mine.
 
  In 1853 Texas, thirteen-year-old Nigel Blackthorn is the spoiled son of a Protestant preacher. When his missionary family fall victims to a Comanche attack, his easy childhood crumbles in an instant. How will he find the grit to survive?

   It’s 4.5-star novel with more than a thousand ratings.      

§§
 
Writers take note:

  Jane Friedman takes issue with a recent article at Vox that said: “With any book, but especially nonfiction ones, publishers want a guarantee that a writer comes with a built-in audience of people who already read and support their work.” Ms. Friedman says it doesn’t hurt to have a platform, but it isn’t the all-end-all.
 
  Read more here:
https://janefriedman.com/author-platform-is-not-a-requirement-to-sell-your-novel-or-childrens-book/
 
§§
 
Mobile and near-Mobile readers and writers: Save the Date



  The Mobile Literary Festival at the Ben May Main Library is the place to be on Saturday, March 23, 2024. Come on down to see what’s going on at this FREE event.

  
Here’s a copy of the schedule so you can pre-plan your day. 

  Check out the names of the prestigious presenters on the scheduleeveryone from a NYT best-selling author to a Harper Lee Award winner to a State of Alabama former Poet Laureate.  

  And it’s an open-house kind of event, so come and go as you please.
 
  P.S. The Haunted Book Shop will have a pop-up sales store (including some of my stories), and some local authors will be in attendance to sign your purchase.
 
§§
 
  You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Raising prayers for a happy and safe you and yours.
cj
 
Now some words from my sponsors:


  For your to-be-read stack: My novels, THE DAWGSTAR and DEATH ON THE YAMPA are fast-paced, thriller/suspense stories with sassy banter and a touch of romance. The books are available on Amazon or through your favorite eTailer and bookstore. Got a library card? You can read the ebooks free from Hoopla.
 
  The Haunted Book Shop has signed copies of my paperback books in stock. TO ORDER on line, contact: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us  .
 
➜ Follow me on . . .  
➜ Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CjPettersonAuthor
➜ BookBub:   https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cj-petterson
➜ Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Winter is warming

cj Sez: Lyrical Pens readers, take heart. I have proof Spring is about to get sprung.  In the midst of a dreary day in my yard yesterday morning, I found ample evidence that winter is warming into spring. There, just there, at the edge of my “eyebrow garden” . . .


§§

Writers Alert:

  If you’re self published, you might want to look into this Writer’s Digest competition (Info from their website):

 "Writer’s Digest’s Self-Published Book Awards is now accepting submissions. This is the only Writer’s Digest competition exclusively for self-published books. Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter the premier self-published competition exclusively for self-published books."


///

  Tropes: Hate ‘em, love ‘em, or meh, who cares? Everyone has an opinion. What’s yours?

  A recent post on Jane Friedman’s blog by romance author and book coach Trisha Jenn Loehr (@trishajennreads) delves deeper into the discussion.


§§

Mobile and near-Mobile readers and writers:

  Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 23, SAVE THE DATE, and come on down to the place to be …



Best of all, the awesome Mobile Literary Festival is FREE.

  And here’s the schedule so you can pre-plan your day. 

  At this one-day conference published authors will present panels on character development, setting, marketing, and plotting. The Haunted Book Shop will hold a pop-up sales store (including some of my stories), and some local authors will be in attendance to sign your purchase.

  For more information and to learn more about the panelists, click this link: 



§§

  My Covid update: I’m feeling blessed. My bout of Covid turned out to be mild—now over and done. I’ll be back in the gym come Monday morning, working to re-new my energy. (yay) 
 
  You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Raising prayers for a happy and safe you and yours.

cj

Now some words from my sponsors:



  For your to-be-read stack: My novels, THE DAWGSTAR and DEATH ON THE YAMPA are fast-paced, thriller/suspense stories with sassy banter and a touch of romance. The books are available on Amazon or through your favorite eTailer and bookstore. Got a library card? You can read the ebooks free from Hoopla.

  The Haunted Book Shop has signed copies of my paperback books in stock (and they’ll have more at the Mobile Literary Festival). TO ORDER on line, contact: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us  .

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

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Things to do coming soon

cj Sez: Let’s get to the Important News first: Local or near-local readers and writers, mark your calendars for Saturday, March 23. SAVE THE DATE, and come on down to the place to be . . .


  At this one-day conference held at Mobile’s Ben May Library in conjunction with the Mobile Writers’ Guild, published authors will present panels on character development, setting, marketing, and plotting. The Haunted Book Shop will hold a pop-up sales store, and some of your favorite local authors will be in attendance to sign your purchase.
  
  Best of all, the amazing Mobile Literary Festival is FREE.

  For more information, click this link: 

§§

A reminder (From a dot com news article.*):

    Hey, all you local Mobile-area peeps and post-Mardi Gras revelers! There’s a way you can put all the shiny Mardi Gras beads you snagged at the parades to good use, and it’s a two-fer: You can give back to the community and get rewarded with a sweet treat at the same time. 

  On March 2 and March 3, bring 12 pounds of Mardi Gras beads (the article said "about a grocery bagful") to Augusta Evans School (6301 Biloxi Ave.) and get a Krispy Kreme coupon good for a dozen original glazed donuts. Augusta Evans students get the beads ready for resale, and the proceeds help support programs at the special needs school.


 §§

  There are no absolutes in writing (my words), and I just found a bit of support for that comment in a recent post by author Randall Silvis on Jane Friedman’s blog. Read on: https://janefriedman.com/writing-rules-that-beg-to-be-broken/

§§

  Health follow-up: Son Jeff bested his Covid bug and is doing fine. I, however, did test positive for Covid . . . actually turned out to be one of my birthday presents . . . and I am now in quarantine. According to CDC guidelines, if all continues as it has (praying it does), I should be “free to move about” the world in a couple more days.

  You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Raising prayers for a happy and safe you and yours.

cj

Now some words from my sponsors:



  For your to-be-read stack: My novels, THE DAWGSTAR and DEATH ON THE YAMPA are fast-paced, thriller/suspense stories with sassy banter and a touch of romance. The books are available on Amazon or through your favorite eTailer and bookstore. Got a library card? You can read the ebooks free from Hoopla.

  The Haunted Book Shop has signed copies of my paperback books in stock. TO ORDER, contact: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us 
 
➜ Follow me on . . .  
➜ Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Call for applications

 cj Sez: Sisters in Crime is accepting applications for their 2024 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award.


  The Eleanor Taylor Bland grant is administered by Sisters in Crime, a 4000+ member international organization of mystery authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians.

 “Submissions Now Open through March 31st!

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

  You do NOT have to be a member of Sisters in Crime to submit an application.

  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.

  For complete details on thee award and the process of submission, go to:

§§

For readers and writers:

  Mark your calendars and SAVE THE DATE . . . 


. . . for an upcoming one-day reader and writer event—The Mobile Literary Festival at Mobile’s Ben May Library in conjunction with the Mobile Writers’ Guild. Published authors will present panels on character development, setting, marketing, and plotting. Pick up a book and have it signed by the author!

 And best of all, this amazing literary festival is FREE. For more information, click this link: 

§§

  Okay, that’s it for today's abbreviated post . . . lots of life taking my mind in another directionson Jeff was diagnosed with Covid after spending two days being the official photographer for a couple of Mardi Gras krewes events. I tested negative but will need to do that again in a couple of days.

  You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Raising prayers for a happy and safe you and yours.

cj

Now some words from my sponsors:


  VALENTINE’S DAY PIECES, A Mobile Writers Guild anthology. Available for $1.99 on Kindle at the time of this post:

  Filled with wonderful short stories and poems perfect for every day of the year.


  Also for your to-be-read stack: 

  My novels, THE DAWGSTAR and DEATH ON THE YAMPA are fast-paced, thriller/suspense stories with sassy banter and a touch of romance. 

  The books are available on Amazon or through your favorite eTailer and bookstore. Got a library card? You can read the ebooks free from Hoopla.

  The Haunted Book Shop has signed copies of my paperback books in stock. TO ORDER, contact: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us  

  If they happen to be sold out, shoot me an email for a personalized copy. I have a small stash (for a discounted price plus shipping).

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

 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Quiz: And the day before Lent is called . . . ?

cj Sez: After weeks of parades with brilliant kaleidoscope floats, wonderful cacophonies of marching bands, and thousands of carnival throws, the revelry all comes to an end on February 13—Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent, Ash Wednesday.


  Plush toys, shiny beads, and tasty Moon Pies are the favorite things masked krewe members throw from their parade floats to the outstretched hands of excited revelers.

 Knights of Revelry Krewe    

  What is a krewe you ask? 

  Krewes are clubs or organizations that exist to celebrate carnival. They introduce their ceremonial kings, queens, and royal courts at elegant formal balls.


Little history lesson:

  “Mardi Gras” is French for "Fat Tuesday." In Mobile, AL, however, Mardi Gras has evolved beyond a one-day celebration into a weeks-long carnival that begins on January 6. New Orleans’ claims notwithstanding, Mobile is the birthplace of America's original Mardi Gras.

  The first celebration took place in 1703 and was revived after the Civil War when Mobilian Joe Cain, dressed as his imagined Indian Chief named Slacabamorinico, paraded through city streets.
 (unknown photographer, photo in public domain)

  When I lived in Detroit, Mardi Gras was a one-day affair that many in the area called Pączki Day. Pączki (pronounced "punch-kee" or "ponch-kee") are Polish pillows of pastry with a variety of possible fillings—my favorite was cherry. Detroiters lined up outside of bakeries to buy dozens of the special treats on Fat Tuesday. 

   A generous co-worker in the office next to mine would get up at 5 a.m. to make a paczki run to his favorite bakery in the Polish community of Hamtramck where he might have to wait in  line in sub-zero weather, in the snow, barefoot (ha ha, not) for up to an hour to bring in several boxes of goodness for the crew (that part is true).

§§

For readers and writers:

  Mark your calendars and SAVE THE DATE. . . March 23, 2024 . . . 


for the upcoming one-day reader and writer event—The Mobile Literary Festival at Mobile’s Ben May Library in conjunction with the Mobile Writers’ Guild. Published authors will present panels on character development, setting, marketing, and plotting. Pick up a book and have it signed by the author! And best of all, this amazing literary festival is FREE. For more information, click this link: 

***
  Which is the correct spelling: “gray” or “grey”? Well, it depends… on where you live and how the word/spelling is used. Find out more here:  https://www.grammarly.com/blog/gray-grey/

§§

  Okay, that’s it for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Raising prayers for a happy and safe you and yours.

cj

Now some words from my sponsors:

Mardi Gras season is alive and well in Mobile. 
Laissez les bons temps rouler

  Available! These two Mobile Writers Guild anthologies are filled with wonderful short stories and poems to celebrate upcoming special days. They each have a theme, but the content is perfect for any day of the year.

  Also for your to-be-read stack: My novels, THE DAWGSTAR and DEATH ON THE YAMPA are fast-paced, thriller/suspense stories with sassy banter and a touch of romance. The books are available on Amazon or through your favorite eTailer and bookstore. Got a library card? You can read the ebooks free from Hoopla.

  The Haunted Book Shop has signed copies of my paperback books in stock. TO ORDER, contact: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us  

  If they happen to be sold out, tell them you want a signed copy and I'll run down to the shop and sign one. Or shoot me an email. I have a small stash.

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