Monday, November 23, 2020

Thanksgiving All Around


A while back, I challenged myself to keep a daily log of 101 Days of Gratitude to end 2020 and enter 2021 with a more faith-filled, centered on thanksgiving mindset.

It's been a challenge. More than I expected. Originally, I meant to post about it every day. I've skipped a few days on social media, but I have posted many times on Instagram and Facebook. Sometimes, the challenge was finding pictures to fit my Thanksgiving, and sometimes, I just struggled with my attitude. It depended on the day.

Yet, as I have turned my mental landscape more towards thanksgiving, I have found more and more reasons to give thanks. Here are 26 reasons I can think of today:

A - Anna, one of my daughters.

B - Blogger buddies who have encouraged me to grow in my writing and who have hosted me at their blogs for my recent book launch!

C - Clyde, my dog. He's snoring next to me as I write.

D - Dads, specifically my dad, for his love and steadiness this year and every day.

E - Emily, my cat. She came to us pre-named, and she is a purring delight, even as she ages a bit.

F - Family. 

G - God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

H - Help with health stuff. I am currently going to PT for Achilles Tendonitis and I'm thankful for my PT and my current doc.

I - Inklings and ideas. Sometimes I have too many. On the days I feel dry, I have a file. :)

J - John, my husband.

K - Kindness. I've experienced, seen it, and I hope to act on it. 

L - Love. Seems simple, but it isn't. It's complicated and can mean so many things, but it's always good to love and be loved.

M - Moms, my mom, and being a mom. I never expected to love being a mom as much as I do.

N - Naps. I take them. Not every day, but every once in a while they really help me get back to speed for the afternoon.

O - Octopi. I know this seems random, and it kind of is, but I live near the Puget Sound (visible in winter if I stand on the roof of my house - which I usually don't), and the sound has several protected areas for Giant Pacific Octopi, which can get up to 150 pounds. with an arm span of 20 feet. Although I've never seen one outside of an aquarium, I think they are really cool. 

P - Pastors. My church has two good ones. I've had some as friends over the years. They are unique people who truly love others in God's name.

Q - Questions. Questions help me dig into my story ideas and characters. 

R - Rest. Didn't I already say "nap"? Yes, I did. Rest is good, and it doesn't have to mean sleeping. Rest can be comprised of any kind of activity that renews us.

S - Saturday morning Bible study on Zoom with sisters in Christ.

T - Trisha, one of my daughters.

U - Uniqueness. I believe every single person on the planet is unique, and has something unique to offer to the world.

V - Ventures of the imagination. :)

W - Wildlife. I may groan about the deer who eat all the flowers - I don't have roses anymore - but I enjoy hearing our local owl hoot and the pileated woodpeckers rattling away at a tree for food. When the coyotes take up their howl in the back yard, it's still really cool as long as the cat and dog are inside. They keep the resident rabbit, fox, and racoon population under control while the owl deals with the mice. I think they may have eaten an older cat I had long ago, but it's been ten years, so I mostly forgive them. It's probably a different pack at this point. They keep us alert to the presence of wildness in our world, and I think that's a good thing.

X - Xanthum Gum. It's used with gluten-free flours as a thickener and stabilizer. My daughters and I have healed/changed from many of our food issues. Our early diagnosis of gluten intolerance was either wrong or our gut bacteria changed and healed so we can have gluten, but I am thankful for knowing this source of alternative thickener in baking and gravy-making. 

Y - Yumminess coming on Thanksgiving. We can't gather all together as a family, but we will each eat some yummy food.

Z - Zoom. I use it at least four days a week, and it has certainly helped in all of this crazy CoVID stuff.

Can you think of 26 things to be thankful for today? I challenge you to take an A to Z Thanksgiving Challenge with your family or on your own. See if you can come up with 26, or 52, or more things to be thankful for.

And, I am super thankful for all the help for my book launch! Thank you, all!

I'm glad I was able to finish and publish Liftoff this year and I'm looking forward to revising book 2 for the Rayatana novella series soon.

If you haven't picked up a copy yet, it's a fast read, perfect for Thanksgiving weekend. :)

Title: Liftoff

Subtitle: The Rayatana Series, Book 1

A spaceship in disguise,

An Earth girl searching for a sense of home,

And a Thousand Years’ War between alien races,

All collide on a summer afternoon.

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.

Amaya gets trapped 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 a fast-paced read for fans of Code 8, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Cobra Kai.

Release Date: November 10, 2020

Paperback ISBN:  978-0-9889933-8-9

Ebook ISBN:  978-0-9889933-9-6

Copyright Tyrean Martinson November 2020

Publisher: Wings of Light Publishing, Gig Harbor, WA, USA

Professionally Edited by Chrys Fey

Cover Art and Interior Design by Carrie Butler

LINKS: Kindle       Apple               Kobo               Smashwords                Bookbub         Goodreads

Monday, November 16, 2020

An Interview with Fantasy Author Elle Cardy to Celebrate Well of Ash and the Liftoff Blog Book Tour Continues!



Well of Ash by Elle Cardy

If the whispers call your name, run!

Seventeen-year-old Ashina has more in common with an untamed fire lizard than the people who are supposed to be her new family. After running away, she’s drawn to the city’s mysterious Great Well. No one knows who built them across the world or why. To linger near makes the skin crawl and the mind drift in nightmares. And yet this one calls to Ash in whispers that pull her closer.

Despite the warnings from a handsome stranger with gorgeous eyes, Ash searches for answers in dangerous places. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of peculiar events she can’t explain or escape. When both her sanity and life are threatened, she realizes she has more to lose than she thought. Ash must find the answers before she loses everything she holds dear.

If you like dragons, magic, and a fierce heroine with a wounded heart, then you’ll love Well of Ash, a YA Fantasy novella by Elle Cardy. Jump in today to unravel the secrets.

Available now as an ebook and paperback on Amazon.

OR, for a limited time, pick up a free copy when you join Elle’s VIP newsletter club.

Thanks, Tyrean for having me. I’ll dive right into the interview questions:

Interview with Elle Cardy

1. Tell us about yourself. (like what you do for a living, hobbies, etc.)

I used to create art and do 3D animation for a living, but now I write full time. Best job in the world! My hobbies include photography, anything creative, and eating chocolate—that’s a hobby, right? I’m also a full-time geek and part-time gamer. I grew up in Sydney and moved north to sub-tropical Brisbane four years ago. I’m still not used to shops opening late at 9 or 10am, but it has forced me to slow down and chill out.

2. What is your writing process? (A special place or how you outline, or do you just jump into it. Or, what you need before you sit down to write: coffee, tea, cookies)

This is a difficult question to nail down because each book has been different. Wielder’s Prize, my debut YA fantasy, was halfway written without an outline and I typed it directly onto my laptop as I sat on the couch. I got to a point where I needed to map out the story on a whiteboard and outline the rest to pull all the loose threads together. Once I started outlining, I loved it. My next few books were thoroughly outlined after that, but I handwrite all my first drafts now. Occasionally I’ll still write by the seat of my pants. It’s fun.

Drink of choice: water or genmaicha tea (a Japanese green tea with roasted brown rice)

Chocolate of choice: 70% dark.

3. From start to finish, how long does it take for you to complete a novel?

Another tricky question. It depends on what is happening in my life. If I’m able to focus, then the book gets written super fast. The problem is the editing stage. That takes longer. Much longer. During a pandemic, focus is a rare commodity. So, Well of Ash, which was meant to be a quick rewrite, turned into a three-month project.

The first book I ever wrote took nine years. I’m currently working on rewriting it for publication. Wielder’s Prize took six months then I shelved it, picked it up years later and fixed it for publication, which took another year. Wielder’s Curse took three years, but there was a lot going on in my life then. Wielder’s Fire took about a year, probably less. I think I can write a full-length book from first word to publication in six months, but I want to do it faster--without taking shortcuts, of course.

4. How did you come up with the idea for the unique world you’ve created in Well of Ash?

Well of Ash started as a completely different genre. It was traditionally published in an anthology as an urban fantasy novelette for adults called Birthright. I’d written it specifically for the anthology with a picture prompt of a girl in a red cloak standing in a snowy forest, looking up at a castle.

When I got the rights back, I let it languish. Now that I’m a YA epic fantasy writer, this adult urban fantasy had no place. But I loved the basis of the story. The market just needed shifting. So I changed the main character from a twenty-nine-year-old to a sixteen-year-old. I also changed the setting from Florida to a fantasy realm. That’s when the city of Prudentia was born.

I’ve written a lot of realms based in medieval times or seventeenth/eighteenth century technology. I wanted something different. After research, I decided I liked the Romanesque architecture best. I then meshed Roman(ish) with nineteenth century tech.

The next thing I did was add dragons. I’ve always wanted to write a story with dragons. They are my favourite fantasy creatures. Well of Ash got a brief outline. The funny thing was, once I started writing, I had to throw out most of the original story. The base is still there but the rest is completely different. So much for a quick project. But the story insisted.

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Just write. Keep writing. Make a habit of writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s rubbish. Keep writing. It doesn’t matter if you can’t catch the eye of an agent or publisher yet. Keep writing. Remember why you love to write. Bring those stories to life and revel in your accomplishment. I’m a firm believer that no writing is wasted writing. So, keep writing.


Where to find Elle Cardy:






The Liftoff Blog Tour Continues This Week at These Awesome Blogs!
On November 16th:
Alex J. Cavanaugh:  Space Travel is Easy
Natalie Aguirre: Shout-Out

On November 18th:
Erika Beebe: Shout-Out

Please stop by and join the conversation!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Book Launch Day for Liftoff!

 Today is book release day for Liftoff: The Rayatana Series, 1

And I am thankful for these key ingredients for finishing this novella:

  • A dozen awesome readers, writers, family, and friends who read my early, tiny draft of the novella and commented on it
  • Three cups of professional editing and encouragement from author and editor Chrys Fey
  • Two cups of professional cover design and interior book formatting from author and artist Carrie Butler
  • A dozen ARC readers who reviewed/are reviewing the novella
  • Priceless bloggers who are hosting my launch tour, along with family and friends who are putting out some shout-out posts

Many thanks to all who helped me finish through encouragement, professional work, and volunteering as launch help!

Book Blog Tour Stops

August 10th Launch Day Stops and/or Social Media Shouts Planned
Susan Gourley A Guest Post on Alien-Human Interaction Tropes
Jacqui Murray A Shout-Out Post
Jemi Fraser A Guest Post on the Hazards of Teen Dialogue
Beth Camp Interview Guest Post on My Writing Process
Jemima Pett A Shout-Out Post
Cathrina Constantine Author Interview

Amanda Tillet on Facebook
Stephanie de Leon on Facebook
Jessica Roberts on Facebook

August 11th Book Tour Stops
C. Lee Mckenzie - Language Barriers Lifted SciFi Tropes
MJ Fifield - Ancient and Advanced Aliens SciFi Tropes
Patricia Lynne - Aliens R Us SciFi Tropes

August 12th Book Tour Stops
Diane Burton - The Chosen One SciFi Trope

August 16th Book Tour Stops
Chrys Fey - Why Write a Novella?
Toi Thomas - SciFi Trope: The Resiliency of the Human Mind
Lynda Young - A TV Guide to Writing Teen Dialogue
Alex J. Cavanaugh - SciFi Trope: Space Travel is Easy
Natalie Aguirre - Shout-Out Stop

August 18th Book Tour Stop
Erika Beebe - Shout-Out Stop

Title: Liftoff

Subtitle: The Rayatana Series, Book 1

A spaceship in disguise,

An Earth girl searching for a sense of home,

And a Thousand Years’ War between alien races,

All collide on a summer afternoon.

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.

Amaya gets trapped 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 a fast-paced read for fans of Code 8, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Cobra Kai.

Release Date: November 10, 2020

Paperback ISBN:  978-0-9889933-8-9

Ebook ISBN:  978-0-9889933-9-6

Copyright Tyrean Martinson November 2020

Publisher: Wings of Light Publishing, Gig Harbor, WA, USA

Professionally Edited by Chrys Fey

Cover Art and Interior Design by Carrie Butler

LINKS: Kindle       Apple               Kobo               Smashwords                Bookbub         Goodreads

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

November 2020 IWSG: Why Do You Write What You Write? and Liftoff


The IWSG is an awesome place to find encouragement and support. To participate in the blog hop, sign up on the list here, write a post, then read posts and comment on them. To get more reads and follows,  it helps to go read and comment. :) 
The IWSG was founded by our Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
This month, the co-hosts are:


Albert Camus once said, "The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself." Flanner O'Conner said, "I write to discover what I know." Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

I write fantasy and science fiction because I think there's always room for wonder and possibility, but also because I had a tough time in my younger childhood years. I was bullied at school so I spent lunch recesses in the library. I found inspiration in books where dragons of all kinds might be defeated by a lion's roar, a bar of chocolate, or small sword called Sting in the hands of an unlikely hobbit.  

Because of all that and other experiences, I write fantasy and science fiction, where worlds of wonder await, where heroes and heroines can defeat evil, and struggle against any darkness inside themselves. There's always hope on the horizon. That's where my love of God and my faith come into it. 

While I have written overtly faith-based work, my newest novella is something I wrote for entertainment value. My main heroine is a tough young woman, but there's more to her story than just a few fistfights. If you like action, science fiction, and sweet romance, you might like it.

LIFTOFF is coming out on November 10th!

A spaceship in disguise,

An Earth girl searching for a sense of home,

And a Thousand Years’ War between alien races,

All collide on a summer afternoon. 

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

A fast-paced read for fans of Code 8, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Cobra Kai.

Liftoff on Goodreads

I have a new newsletter: Newsletter Sign-Up 


No one knows who built the Great Wells across the world or why. To linger near makes the skin crawl and the mind drift in nightmares. Yet this one calls to Ash in whispers that pull her closer. Soon she’s caught in a mystery that can kill. She must find the answers before she loses her sanity and her life.

If you like dragons, magic, and a fierce heroine with a wounded heart, then you’ll love Well of Ash, a YA Fantasy novella by Elle Cardy. Available now as an ebook and paperback on Amazon. OR, for a limited time, pick up a free copy when you join Elle’s VIP newsletter club.

I read this one, and definitely recommend it! 

Elizabeth Seckman has a new romance read out! I recommend this one, too! 

For Danni Lowry, going home for her aunt’s funeral means facing reality, and that’s not something she’s eager to do. Since leaving North Carolina, she’s lost her money, her husband, and all hope for happiness.

Lil LaChance has been hiding a major secret from her family and friends for three years. But now the man who attacked her has escaped from jail and she just wants to be home for Christmas.


Exhausted from a tour promoting his latest thriller, Max Fortini needs space to figure out if he has another book in him. Instead, he finds a dog snoring in his guest room and a sexy intruder in his bed. 

This is the 5th book in the Bloo Moose Romance Series by Jemi Fraser and can be read as a stand-alone novel. Book Page Link. Coming on November 10th! 

If you like romance, you will like these books - recommended. 

(If I missed yours, let me know and I'll highlight it next time.)


Friday, October 30, 2020

Root Deep: A Short Story

 In a post that has nothing to do with my new book release which has been consuming my time and thoughts for many days, I've decided to share a short story about acceptance.

Root deep, Gareth felt autumn’s chill sinking into his world. Winter always made Gareth sluggish, and when he was unattached, he would have quit his human job and returned to his tree for the season.

But this fall, everything was different. He had a human wife.

It wasn’t something he’d planned. Spring had woken a yearning for connection and Laura came to his tree every day in the park. He loved the books he read over her shoulder, the photographs she took on her phone, the way she conversed with herself in writing. He had to meet her. Once met, the connection between them became undeniable. They met in the spring, married in the summer, and as the fall days weighed on him, Gareth didn’t think he could keep his secret.

Standing in the park, next to his root tree, Gareth felt a pull toward it. A tall cedar with curved branches which dipped close to the ground, Gareth’s tree could withstand any storm and stay green in all seasons. He loved his tree, his other self. He almost reached out and touched the trunk, but he stopped himself and shoved his hands in his pockets. He had to talk to Laura. She was meeting him here.

The sun light hit the golden leaves of a nearby maple tree, setting it on fire. As Gareth felt the sun’s warmth soak into him, Laura came around the trunk of the maple.

Laura’s graceful walk showed her connection to movement, her training as a dancer and an athlete. It was one of the many things Gareth loved about her. He held out his hands to her as she came up to him.

Taking his hands in her own slender ones, Laura gazed at him intently. “What is it, Gareth? You seemed so tired this morning and your voice, on the phone, sounded worried.”

Gareth wanted to pull her close, but he didn’t. He had to see her expression as he told her the truth.

“Laura, what I’m about to tell you, it may sound unbelievable, so I’m going to ask you to trust me long enough to demonstrate something.”

She frowned. “This doesn’t sound good.”

Gareth bit his lip, then spoke in a rush. “I’m a dryad, Laura. This is my tree.”

Laura stepped back and let go of his hands.

Gareth wanted to grab her hands again, but instead he reached out and touched his tree. The bark glowed and his hand became part of the trunk, his skin darkened to match the bark, and he knew his eyes had turned green.

Laura moved closer to him with her lips parted. “What are you?”

“A dryad. A tree spirit. I can stay in human form nearly all year long, but in the winter, I long to step into my tree, to sink into the roots for the season.”

Laura reached her hand out. “Don’t leave me, Gareth.”

Gareth took her hand. “I won’t leave. I’ll be right here.”

A tear formed at the corner of her eye. “When will you come back out?”

“In the spring, or sooner if I can.”

She threw her arms around him. “Can you wait, just one more night?”

“Yes.” He withdrew his other hand from the bark and held her in his embrace. “Winter hasn’t come yet. I can wait until then.”

“Good. You have a lot of explaining to do.”

“I do.” He kissed her on the top of the head.


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:

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