Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Preparing to Launch a Book: Three Keys to Choosing Comp Titles


Choosing anything is difficult for me. I get decision anxiety when someone asks me a question that starts with "What is your favorite...?" or "If you could pick only one..."

So, choosing comp titles is just as tricky for me. I have struggled with this for Liftoff as much as I've struggled with my book blurb.

So, I did some research, and I came up with these three key components for choosing comp titles:

1. Comp Titles and Your Audience

Knowing who your ideal book audience helps with book creation and book marketing. I have a tendency to write for an imaginary audience with some similarities to myself. In the case of Liftoff, I literally wrote the book to entertain myself during the early days of COVID, but I after writing it, I realized I really wrote it for a younger me, or the younger me inside of me. 

My ideal audience is a nerd teen fangirl of SFF, pop culture, literature, action flicks, and sweet romance. Teen fanboys and adults who are all good with finding their inner teen spirit are all welcome, of course, but my ideal audience is pretty specific.

So, what Comp Titles work?

I originally thought of Captain Marvel (strong heroine, action-packed movie, SFF), Cobra Kai (pop culture, 80s references, action, cheesy/sweet romance), and Code 8 (action-packed, SFF, Netflix Movie, popcorn movie.). I liked these, and then I thought, wait, what about books? I named all movies. Is that okay? I don't know. Aaaagh. 


So, after a momentary panic, I went back to my idea cave, and I thought, maybe a better comp title might be:

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. 

But then, oy. Am I comparing myself to Brandon Sanderson? That's...crazy.

Maybe Guardians of the Galaxy...wait, movie again.

And, then I remembered. My novella is supposed to be the text equivalent of an action-packed popcorn movie. I wanted it to be that way. Maybe all movie/show comps are okay?

2. Comp Titles and Your Genre

 Knowing your genre and understanding the books/movies/music in your genre can help you understand your audience more, or even hone in on your audience.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson is an excellent teen girl driven Science Fiction novel, so it's in my genre, but is it really in my genre when I think about sub-genres? Skyward is more serious in nature than my novella. It does have sweet romance, but it's a slow build sort of sweet romance, mine moves a little faster. It does have action, but it also has plenty of think time for the character. Hmm. It is also a full novel. Mine is a novella. Okay, so the more I thought about it, Skyward isn't a really good comp title for my book.

Liftoff is a little more space opera and quite a bit more like a popcorn movie - fast, action-packed, with tropes (On Purpose!)

I would really love my audience to look a little like this when they are reading it:


If I were going to have the temerity to pick a Brandon Sanderson novel to compare to Liftoff, I would go with Steelheart, from his Reckoners Trilogy about teen superheroes. Liftoff has more in common with the themes in those books.

3. The Promise of the Comp

Oy. This is the one that was really a problem for me when I was comparing my novella to Sanderson's work (any of it). I don't know if my novella really would satisfy fans of Sanderson. He writes some really in-depth, detailed descriptions in most of his world-building. I don't. I love world-building, but honestly, I leave a lot of it off the page and just stick with the hard and fast necessities. 

One of the original reasons I chose Code 8 (Netflix Movie) for one of my comp titles is that I wanted to let the audience know the level of novella I've written. I haven't written the next best SF novel for teen readers. I haven't written something comparative really to some mega-star author's book. I have written a fun, entertaining, popcorn-movie style novella. It's definitely more like Code 8 and Cobra Kai than any of the other comp titles I could come up with. 

So why Cobra Kai? It was a Youtube show created by people who loved the Karate Kid series. It leans into tropes and it bends them a bit. The romance is definitely sweet teen romance, complicated by drama, assumptions, and miscommunication. There are some beats there that suit my novella. Plus, it's action-packed and really fun to watch. 

Do you see the refrain: action, fun, tropes, entertainment, popcorn.

So, I went back to my comp title selection and re-configured it a bit.

For SFF and sweet romance readers who like the action-packed levels of Cobra Kai, Code 8, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

So, why did I drop Captain Marvel? Because although I do have a strong heroine, and there are some parallels to the story (aliens and humans), I think Liftoff is a little more like Guardians of the Galaxy than Captain Marvel in tone and pacing. 

So, yeah, I think I found my comp titles. 

Although if I think about it too much I feel like this again:


So, how do you choose comp titles? Do they inform your reading decisions? Please let me know in the comments.

Liftoff on Goodreads

Monday, October 12, 2020

Blurbs, Newsletters, Tropes, and Other Questionable/Questioning Writer Activities: Preparing to Launch the #liftoffnovella

 My book launch for Liftoff: Rayatana Series, Book 1 is less than a month away at this point.

I have checklists. 

I have awesome help and encouragers! 

Although I am happy to have more help and more ARC readers - please let me know if you are interested!

And, because I struggle to decide anything, I always have questions.

Please feel free to chime in on any of these questions or questionable activities in the comment section.

PRIORITY 1: Blurb Writing and Blurb Question

I think writing a book blurb is far harder than writing a book. I think I've written the blurb for Liftoff at least a dozen times. I've had help. I've changed things. I changed things again. I know it's down to the wire, and I have the pre-order option up, my final cover is being finished for my paperback, and I really should have this finalized, but...

Out of these two blurbs, which would you pick up?

Transplanted from sunshine to rain in the aftermath of family loss and her parents’ divorce, Amaya has struggled to find a sense of home and self. The old movie theater in town welcomed her in with popcorn, licorice, and a chance to escape from grief. 

But during a matinee, the movie theater rumbles, lurches, and throws Amaya off her feet. When Sol, the cute guy who can make even the dorky movie uniform look good, shows up to help, she questions the rips on his uniform. Because of her hesitation, she becomes involved in an ancient alien war.

On the run from alien enemies in a battle she doesn’t understand, Amaya must make choices for her own safety and the safety of Earth. What happens if she makes a mistake based on a cultural misunderstanding? How can she survive a war between enemies who have fought for a thousand years, who have a deep distrust of one another, especially when she finds out she might be an enemy to both sides? Or, even worse, they may expect her to save the galaxy?


An old movie theater welcomes Amaya in and wraps her up in the smell of popcorn and licorice. But one sunny afternoon during a matinee, the movie screen goes dark. The theater rumbles.

 A spaceship in disguise,

An Earth girl searching for a sense of home,

And a Thousand Years’ War between alien races of The Great Galaxy

All collide on a summer afternoon.

When the spaceship rumbles to life, it traps Amaya in the middle of an ancient alien conflict. Angry and frightened, Amaya entangles herself in a life-changing cultural misunderstanding with Sol, a young alien who keeps omitting key information, even while they’re on the run from his enemies.

What will it take to survive a battle between alien races involved in an ancient war?

I feel like the first is too wordy, and the second is too glib. Argh. I leaned toward the second for my cover reveal, and then within a day, I leaned back. Oy. Must make a final decision.

Question 2: Newsletter Content

If you could choose, would you like or not like:
1. News about the research the author has done for writing, updates on projects, and news about new releases, and possibly book excerpts.
2. Quizzes, updates on projects, news about new releases, and possibly book excerpts.

Question 3: Tropes and Blog Tour Content

I have some wonderful bloggers helping with my blog book tour, and will be focusing on sci-fi tropes for many of my blog stops. If you had a choice, which of the following tropes would interest you most:
1. Aliens Among Us 
2. Interstellar Travel: lightspeed, warp, gates, and cryosleep
3. Simple Solutions to Language Barriers: Babel Fish, Translators, Downloaded Language Lessons, and Trade Languages
4. We all breathe oxygen: Aliens Just Like Us
5. Ancient Alien Artifacts Are the Key to Life, Peace, and Understanding the Universe
6. War of the Worlds and Alien Take-overs
7. The Chosen One, Again
8. Four Alien Typecasts: Just Like Us, Q, Tribbles, Monsters
9. Spaceship Captain Bad-boys: Kirk, Mal, Han, and More?

Other Questionable/Questioning Writer Activities

So, originally, I thought about just shooting from the hip for all of my trope posts, but then I went down a rabbit-hole of searching through lists of tropes, lists of movies who used various types of interstellar travel, deciding if I wanted to include in-solar-system travel (The Martian), and other stuff. I even thought maybe I should re-watch a bunch of trope-filled movies (it's for "research", really). I think I read about fifteen different articles on various subjects, then decided I might be over-thinking it. 

What do you think? Is it easy or tempting to go down a rabbit hole of research in the last month before a book launch? How factual do you expect blog tour posts to be? 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

October IWSG: Working Writer and a Cover Reveal for the #LiftoffNovella


The Insecure Writer's Support Group is here for you, writers!
Come join us by posting and by visiting blogs by other writers.
Hosted by Founder: Alex J. Cavanaugh and an awesome group of co-hosts: Co-Hosts this month:

OPTIONAL QUESTION: When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if the latter of the two, what does that look like?

What I mean by a working writer is someone who works persistently at their craft, even if they've had a few weeks or days, or even longer, where they've had a sulking cranky-pants fuss at their own inability to create awesomesauce, marketable writing every time they sit down. By "they" I mean me. I've had those bad days.

A working writer hones their craft, finishes their work (at least to publishing standards of 95% error-free), and sends it out into the world in some form or fashion. By sending out into the world, I mean a working writer can submit their work to magazines, anthologies, news outlets, traditional publishers, small press publishers; Or, the working writer can send their work into the world via blogging, social media, online forums, fan forums, and self-publishing platforms. This doesn't mean a working writer finds acceptance for every piece, or gets glowing reviews for every published item. A working writer keeps writing, finishing, and sending out work.

My insecurity these last few months: even though I've done it before, do I still know how to self-publish a book? And, can I do it "right?" That last question gets under my skin, but I am working at doing my best. 

Today, I'm hosting my Cover Reveal for Liftoff: Book 1 of The Rayatana Series! This cover was brilliantly created by Carrie Butler, author and designer.

The Rayatana, Book 1

A fast-paced read for fans of Code 8, Captain Marvel, and Cobra Kai.

An old movie theater welcomes Amaya in and wraps her up in the smell of popcorn and licorice. But one sunny afternoon during a matinee, the movie screen goes dark. The theater rumbles.

A spaceship in disguise,
An Earth girl searching for a sense of home,
And a Thousand Years’ War between alien races of The Great Galaxy
All collide on a summer afternoon.

When the spaceship rumbles to life, it traps Amaya in the middle of an ancient alien conflict. Angry and frightened, Amaya entangles herself in a life-changing cultural misunderstanding with Sol, a young alien who keeps omitting key information, even while they’re on the run from his enemies. 
What will it take to survive a battle between alien races involved in an ancient war? 

Liftoff is an action-packed science fiction novella for teen/YA book lovers who enjoy space battles, fistfights, and a hint of romance.
Release Date: November 10, 2020
Paperback ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-9889933-8-9 
Ebook ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-9889933-9-6
Cover Artist: Carrie Butler
Editor: Chrys Fey

Pre-Order Price: 99 cents. Pre-order for Kindle Here.

To enter a hashtag giveaway for a chance to win an eCopy, post on Twitter or Instagram with #liftoffnovella and one of the following messages and/or images:

A spaceship in disguise, an Earth girl searching for a sense of home, and a Thousand Years’ War between alien races all collide one summer afternoon at the movies. #liftoffnovella

Girl meets alien boy at the movies in the middle of an ancient conflict. #liftoffnovella

And add a photo of your choice from the cover image or these:

In a completely unrelated way, I'm hosting a challenge on social media sites: #101daysgratitude. If you'd like to join, you can join anytime and post as often as you would like. If you use the hashtag, I will be able to find your posts on Instagram and Twitter. 

The next #IWSGPit is coming early in 2021. Are you ready?

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Frozen Crimes Blog Hop

Before I jump into the Frozen Crimes Blog Hop, I want to invite anyone who's interested to join my #101daysgratitude challenge. It doesn't matter if you start late, or if you can't post every day. I would love company. I'm posting at Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for the challenge. Guidelines are on the image below.

And, I started a Patreon Page. Check that out here.

Frozen Crimes Blog Hop Prompt: Whom would you want to be stuck with during a blizzard, and what would you do? 

(Family members and spouses don’t count. Have fun with the question. Think silly. Actors, singers, celebrities, your favorite author, etc. Feel free to pick an entire TV show or movie cast. Your answer doesn’t have to be long, but keep it PG. lol)

My Answer:

Hmm. Again with the decision making? But I can be creative? And pick a whole cast? Well... 

It's still tough, but I'm definitely going to be creative and loose with the rules.

Once upon a time in an unexpected blizzard, trees fall across my family driveway, our power goes out, and the internet dies. Snow is falling thick, the temperature is falling, and gusts of wind make the remaining trees bend sideways.

 My husband aka better-than-McGuyver man, goes out to start the generator. 

When the power surges back on, a strange portal appears in our hallway.  

I scream and arm myself with my fencing saber. My husband comes running, but then stops in his tracks when the portal opens. 

Out of the portal Princess Leia Organa emerges, followed closely by Han Solo, Chewbacca, C3PO, and Lando Calrissian, all with their weapons out and looking like they stepped out Empire Strikes Back. 

We hear the beeps of R2D2, but the portal flashes, and shifts. 

As Leia asks where they are and C3PO declares the impossibility ratio as 0.00001 chance, the portal opens again. 

Tyrion Lannister, carrying a crossbow and looking furious, steps out. He takes aim at Han, but Chewbacca grabs the crossbow with a roar.

Lando steps into the fray. "I know, Chewie. Just calm down." He glares at Tyrion. "No one is shooting anyone until we figure this out."

Han stands up and brushes off his vest. "Watch it, little man."

"Oaf!" Tyrion sticks his nose in the air and glares at me. "Why have you brought us here? I demand an audience with the ruler of this ... place." His tone is derisive.

The portal flashes and opens again. Troy and Abed from Community step out, both looking amazed and impressed. 

"Cool." Troy says.

"Cool. Cool. Cool" Abed says, getting close to Chewie. 

"This is our best visit to the Dreamatorium ever, Abed." Troy says.

They give each other their signature double-clap handshake. 

The portal gives a high pitch shriek, lightning flashes, and the lights go out again.

Someone screams. (It sounds like Han.)

Chewie growls. 

"No, I'm fine, Chewie." Han says grouchily. "Something clawed my pant leg."

"That was our cat," I tell him.

My husband turns on a flashlight to reveal our cat looking smugly at Han.

Tyrion Lannister leans back and puts his hand over his face. "What foul sorcery is this?" When he realizes no one else looks amazed by the flashlight, he clears his throat and glares at me again.

"I don't know how you all came to be here, but would anyone like a cup of mint tea?" I ask.

"Do you have anything stronger?" Tyrion asks.

"Well ..."

"We have some slug bait in the shop." My husband suggests.

"Slug bait?" Tyrion looks furious.

"It's old, cheap beer," I explain.

"Shop?" Lando asks.

"It's actually a workshop connected to our car port," my husband says.

"Never mind that. Cheap beer suits me just fine. What do you think, Princess?" Han asks Leia.

She smiles graciously at my husband John and I, "I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I'll have some tea." 

Troy winks at her. "I'll join you, Princess Leia."

"Great," I say, then glance at my husband. "Can we get power on again, do you think?"

"I'll try to get the generator started. If it doesn't work, I'll get the camp stove. Anyone want to lend a hand?" My husband asks.

Chewie growls assent. 

Abed nods. "I'm in."

Han and Tyrion eye each other warily, but both step forward.

Lando looks at them, and then Princess Leia, Troy, and I. "I'd like to check out this 'car' port. See if there's a ride we can borrow."

"Um." I step forward, not sure how to tell him he's in the wrong galaxy, or the wrong dimension.

Lightning strikes the yard outside, lighting up a snow-covered yard. 

"Lightning in a blizzard? What is this, Revenge of 2020?" I groan.

The others want to know what I mean and I explain about 2020, the year we will never forget in our lifetime.

"The probability of such a grouping of events is 1 in 10 trillion. Near impossibility." C3PO states. He turns and tries, but fails, to whisper quietly to Leia. "I fear we've found ourselves in the home of some madwoman. There is no way such events would occur all within such a short time frame."

"She's not lying." Tyrion states. "I would know."


"This is like ... well, I don't think we ever had an episode like this on Community." Abed says.

"Maybe we should try it on our next one?" Troy suggests.

"No. We're already on the brink of disaster in most episodes. We don't want to be too unrealistic," Abed says. 

I sigh. "I know, most publishers would never publish 2020. Too many plot development issues, and a complete lack of realism. But reality is always stranger than fiction."

"I haven't seen that movie yet, don't ruin it for me." Troy says.

"No, I'm not quoting Stranger Than Fiction. I mean it's like the saying 'Truth is stranger than fiction.'" I tell him.

"True." Abed says.

I'm not sure it's healthy that I'm agreeing with a fictional character from a TV show.

My husband pipes up. "Walk and talk, people. The generator isn't going to fix itself."

I stare at him. "Really?"

"I don't want to freeze."

"You're right. I'll find the candles." I turn on my phone flashlight and go to the closet with Leia, a muttering C3PO, and Troy following me.

My husband goes outside with the others and they are gone so long we have ten candles lit and I've pulled all of the spare blankets out of the closet. There aren't enough.

My husband returns with beer. Han, Chewie, Tyrion, and Lando all carry firewood in their arms. 

Lando puts his firewood down and opens his arms expansively, addressing the room. "None of the cars would start, except that one in the small garage, and it's in pieces. It would take us days to get ready for travel and it's not equipped for this weather."

"Wait, you mean the bug-eyed sprite that's been out there for ten years?" I glance at my husband. "Why would the electronics be fried in the other cars?"

"I don't know. But none of this makes much sense," my husband says.

I put my arms around him and we hug. "I like stories, but I don't know if I like being in one," I say. 

"Stories. That's what we need." Tyrion holds up a beer and stands up on one of our armchairs. "As payment for the ale, better than some of the swill I've had before, and a place out of the storm, I think we should play a game. Everyone should tell our hosts a story, and we should all judge whether they be true, or whether they be lies." He waits for everyone to respond.

Leia nods. The others slowly take their seats, giving some form of agreement. My husband lights up the camp stove and I make tea. 

Everyone finds seats on the couch or on the floor by the glowing embers of the fire which my husband has started. One by one, our guests start to share stories, strange and wondrous - tales I've never heard before in any canon. 

Later, much later, when my eyelids droop and I can barely think, the portal reopens, again and again, and they all return to their home dimensions and my head is left full with stories. My husband snuggles in next to me. Our cat and dog are curled up next to us.

Outside, the wind stills. I fall asleep and dream vivid dreams.

When dawn breaks, the power is back on again. My husband checks on the cars, and they all start. 

Together, we work to clear the fallen tree from the driveway.  

I wonder, for a moment, if our strange visitors were a part of a strange dream, then I find a note from Tyrion, signed by all the rest, even Chewie. "Thanks for the slug bait."

This was a panster story, not exactly to the rules since I included my husband, but ... 

How would you spend your evening in a blizzard? And, do you think this unlikely combination of characters would be able to hold a civil conversation or share stories with one another?

Hop around to the other participants to read their answers: Frozen Crimes Blog Hop

When disasters strike around every corner, is it possible to have a happily-ever-after?

BLURB: Beth and Donovan are expecting their first child. Life couldn’t get any better…until a stalker makes his presence known. This person sends disturbing messages and unsettling items, but it isn’t long before his menacing goes too far.

Hoping for a peaceful Christmas, Donovan takes Beth to Michigan. Days into their trip, a winter storm named Nemesis moves in with the goal of burying the state. Snowdrifts surround their house, and the temperature drops below freezing.

Except, the storm isn’t the only nemesis they must face. Everyone’s lives are at stake—especially that of their unborn child. Will they survive, or will they become a frozen crime?

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes


The crunch of the shovel pounding into the snow and ice filled his ears. It was all he could hear. The rest of the street was silent beneath its wintry blanket. Breathing was difficult with the icy air clogging his lungs. His nose burned. His throat was dry and on fire. But he ignored it, focusing on his task.

Crack, crack, crack.

He jabbed the shovel into a hunk of snow. On the third hit, it shattered into several pieces. He scooped them up and flung them to the side. He surveyed what remained. There was one big ball in the middle of the path that needed to be dealt with next. He moved over to it and struck it. That one impact had it severing in two. He was about to hit it again when something crashed into the back of his head.

Explosions of white light danced over his vision. Pain enveloped his skull.

The shovel slipped from his fingers. Blackness cloaked his mind, coaxing him into its depths.

Beth. Her name was a whisper in his head, as if his thoughts were being sucked into a wormhole.

His legs collapsed under his weight.

Cold. It seeped into him, consuming him. And then his consciousness fled down that same void that ate his thoughts.


Prizes: 4 eBooks (Disaster Crimes 1-4: Hurricane Crimes, Seismic Crimes, Tsunami Crimes, Flaming Crimes) + Girl Boss Magnets (4), Inflatable Cup Holder (1), Adventure Fuel To-Go Cups (2), Anchor Fashion Scarf (1), Mermaid Nail Clippers (2), Citrus and Sea Salt Scented Candle (1), Snowflake Handmade Bookmark (1), Insulated Cooler Bag (1)


Eligibility: International

Number of Winners: One

Giveaway Ends: October 30, 2020 12:00am EST


a Rafflecopter giveaway


To get the exclusive prequel to the Disaster Crimes series, sign up for Chrys’ newsletter. By signing up, you agree to receive Chrys Fey’s newsletter. After you confirm subscription, you will receive an email (so check your inbox and spam folder) with directions on where to snag your eBook copy of THE CRIME BEFORE THE STORM.

Click here to sign up and get The Crime Before the Storm FREE!


Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links:

Website / Blog / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

Monday, September 21, 2020

Patricia Lynne's Gorgeous New Book Covers! And a #101DaysGratitude


Patricia never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can't stop writing. Her young adult stories often have a paranormal, fantasy or sci-fi twist.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. She also writes New Adult Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance under the name Patricia Josephine.


  • Website: -
  • Goodreads –
  • Amazon Author Pagee –
  • Facebook Page -
  • Facebook Group -


Links to Books:

  • Being Human –
  • Snapshots –
  • Leaves of Fall –
A Quick Bite –

Being Human

Tommy forgot his human life when he became a vampire...but it didn’t forget him. 

Like all vampires, Tommy must do one thing: survive. With no memory of his life before death, his only connection to humanity is his twin brother. When Tommy rescues a young girl, he learns not all monsters are undead. After returning her to her family, Tommy struggles to understand why he felt so protective of her when she has no connection to him. 

As the years pass, and with his twin’s help, Tommy moves on with his ‘life’ but never forgets the young girl or the monster who hurt her. When she re-enters his life as a teenager, Tommy struggles with his vampire need to survive and his desire to protect her. He will be forced to decide which part of him is stronger: The vampire? Or the human? The answer may destroy him.

Buy link:

Leaves of Fall

Armory was raised to hate nature, but not all trees wanted a war.

Armory was born in a world torn apart by the war between man and nature. The threat of another attack looms over Armory and the survivors hidden in the remains of New York City. When Armory is kidnapped, a tree nymph is her unlikely savior.

Birch claims he can return Armory safely home. Can she trust a tree? If she wants to see her home again, she has no choice. As they travel across the wasteland of America, Armory meets both humans and trees who want the fighting to stop. 

But the hatred between man and nature may be too deep of a wound to heal. In a world destroyed by hate, can Armory and Birch’s friendship change minds and forge peace? Birch has a plan to make it happen. He’s just not sure he’ll survive.

Buy link:


Cyclop can see other people’s futures, but his own is clouded by a past he can’t escape and a man he calls Master. 

It’s not Cyclop’s albino skin and mismatched eyes that make him stand out, but his ability to see the future and a dark past he escaped. Only those close to him know his secrets, and with their help, he has carved out a normal life. But his past refuses to let him go, and when the man he calls Master finds him, he is forced to return to his old life.

Imprisoned, Cyclop clings to the hope of freedom. To do so, he must break Master’s control over him. Will he find the strength to become the master of his own life? Or is his past destined to be his future?

Buy link:

And, if you haven't joined yet, please consider joining in on my #101DaysGratitude Challenge. 

I'm doing this because I feel a need to encourage myself and others by seeking the treasures of beauty, joy, and gratitude each day for the rest of 2020 and for the first day of 2021. 
Challenge dates: 9/23/2020 through 1/1/2021.
Join in when you can.

Monday, September 14, 2020


 I challenge you to join with me on a challenge that will take us from September 23rd through January 1st!

It's lengthy, and if you can't do it everyday, don't sweat it. Join when you can.

Latin Flavors Blog Hop for Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure #bookrelease

Latin Flavors Blogfest



Prompt: What is your favorite Latin-flavor recipe?


As noted in a previous post, I have a tough time making decisions, so the word "favorite"  always puts me in a quandary. So I am going with our most recent family favorite, and not our bell pepper based chili (my kids couldn't eat tomatoes for many years) or our fiesta lime chicken-potato bake.

Instead, I give you Navajo Tacos Okay, this is the name of the recipe my daughters found and I hope it's not offensive to anyone, because I don't know if anyone from the Navajo Nation eats these. So, I renamed them:

Spicy Southwest Tacos with Flatbread

Because I had use substitutions for many years for my daughters and I, you will note there are substitutions and possible additions listed. Thankfully, many of our food digestion problems lessened with many years of avoiding corn and gluten-based foods.

Ingredients Needed:

Flatbread (either your choice of store-bought or homemade)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (or your favorite cooking oil)

1 to 1.5 lbs Ground beef (or turkey)

1 16 oz can of black beans (or your fave beans)

1 yellow/sweet onion, chopped before you start to cook!

1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes or freshly diced tomatoes (OR two extra bell peppers, sliced and/or ground up for juiciness)

1 Red (or orange) Bell Peppers, diced (if you substitute bell peppers for the tomatoes, you need more) Use just 1 with the regular recipe)

1 small can (4 oz?) of green chilies (or freshly diced green chilies)

1 Tablespoon Chili Pepper

1 Teaspoon Cumin (may do more if you are avoiding salt or like the flavor)

1 Teaspoon Paprika

Salt and Pepper to taste (tiny amounts)

Grated cheddar cheese or cheese substitute (amount? Depends on how much you like cheese)

Additions you can add to the cooking process: Garlic, corn

Additions you can add after the cooking process: green onions, avocado, sour cream, olives


Step 1: Get all the ingredients out, chopped, and ready to go in your prepped cooking area. This may seem obvious to some, but sometimes I try to cook "on the fly" and it goes badly, so I recommend making yourself do this step. 

Step 2: Heat the oil on medium to medium-high heat in a really large saucepan or a soup pot. Add the chopped onions and cook them until they turn golden. (If you do garlic, this is the time to cook it, too.)

Step 3: Add your ground beef (turkey) to the pan. Cook until it's a cooked brown color. After it's cooked, you can either drain the oil from the meat or you can keep it in the pan - it's really based on taste. My family prefers it drained. I've seen people cook it the other way, too.

Steps 4-5: (you need to stay focused here, put your favorite book down, and cook like a pro!): Put the beef and onion mix back in the pan if you drained the oil/grease, and add in the diced tomatoes, diced bell pepper, the can of black beans, green chilies, and all spices. Mix this all well while cooking it on a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Then, put the heat on low-to-medium, cover the whole pan, and let it simmer for 5-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If you want corn, add it to this step.)

Step 5: While the main dish is simmering, warm up your flatbread via microwave or pan, depending on your comfort level. Grate the cheese, if you haven't already. 

Slice up those avocados and green onions, if you want them to top your dish. And get out the sour cream at this point. Set the table, etc.

Step 6: Get the family, say your blessing or words of wisdom for the day, and serve up the yummy food by topping the flatbread with the pan-fried mix of meat and veggies. Add cheese or any other extras on top and eat it with a fork or by hand. Enjoy the heat!

Even if you don't have to use substitutions for health reasons, try them for variations on this recipe. Add cucumbers to the final product, or cook in some summer squash with the main dish. You might find an unexpected flavor combination you really enjoy! 

You can also eat the main dish over a large salad bowl of greens or serve it up over your favorite chips or taco shells.

Page Count: 96 
Digital Price: 3.99 
Print Price: 7.95



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BLURB: An Ancient Mayan civilization!


That’s what Bubba and Squirt find when they travel through the mysterious vortex for another wild adventure. There they meet archeologists who are unearthing priceless artifacts.


But someone is stealing them. And an encounter with the Tate Duende awakens magic within Bubba. Throw in the mysterious Alux and a new discovery and things get sticky.


Will Bubba and Squirt solve the mystery, or will they be stuck forever in the jungles of Belize?

About the Author: Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano. When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. Ellis has previously published, Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China; Don’t Feed the Elephant; Ten Zany Birds; That Mama is a Grouch; and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN. Ellis lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


Author Links:

Website / Blog / Goodreads

Facebook / Twitter / Amazon



Thursday, September 10, 2020

Celebration for a New Cover for A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts


I gave one of my books a new cover, and while I was at it, I added ten new sections of writing tips and a dozen more prompts. I felt it needed a bit of an uplift. 

What do you think? 

While I am working on new projects, I'm also working on revamping some of my old ones. I am trying to decide how much to celebrate each of these changes, and when to release some of them. I don't want to take away focus from Liftoff, coming out in November.

I will be coming out with new covers for The Champion Trilogy (all three books, plus a cover for an omnibus version), the Dynamic Writing Curriculum books (which are also receiving an interior upgrade), and The Horse in the Well (a short biography/memoir which will have quite a bit more added to the interior). I'm also going to work on combining the handful short flash fiction romance/relationship stories I have into one title. 

At this point, I am debating having The Champion Trilogy covers come out between December and March next year, but I'm not sure if I should string them out like that, or have them all come out at once, or have them come out later ... I debate a lot of small details like this.

Anyone have any tips/thoughts/advice on this?