Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Merry Christmas! Follow the Star!

This is my last post of the 2020 year. This year has had many ups and downs, days have sometimes felt like weeks, and months have felt like years. It has been a year that has held a multitude of emotions. All years do, but 2020 felt a little more sharp and dramatic. 

From humorous memes to divisiveness all over the world, to personal sorrows and stress brought on by fearmongering and toilet paper hoarding, and the fact that we have acknowledged UFOs, I don't really know how it all fit in 2020. 

I'm thankful for the Christmas 'Star" showing up on the 21st as Saturn and Jupiter draw near to each other in the visible night sky. If it is not raining or covered in clouds here, I'm hoping to see it.

No matter where you live, who you are, where you've been, and what you believe, I wish you a Warm, Merry, and Bright Christmas, Joyful Holiday, and Happy New Year!

May each day and each night be filled with light. 

Follow the star. Find hope. Discover Joy. 

 For the rest of the post, I'm re-sharing a 449-word poetic retelling of King Wenceslas who was actually a very young king murdered by his brother in his twenties - despite all the depictions of him as an old, St. Nicholas figure. 

Footprints in the Snow

In a land far away and long ago,
a man followed footprints in the snow:

By his cozy hearth window, he had seen
A family laboring in the harsh cold
Bringing wood in stacks tall and clean
To Noble house hearths and stoves.

As the day waned and darkness fell,
The wood-cutter family walked home.
Their arms were empty, but they rang a bell,
Singing Christmas carols to praise the Son.

The King marveled at their joy so replete.
In his wondering he gazed at his empty luxury,
And with a sudden shout, he leapt to his feet.
With a hurried dash, he called out to me.

And together, we packed a full leftover feast,
including candles, dishware, presents, and all
For a celebration fit for Wise Kings from the East.
Then I followed him out into the cold snow fall.

We followed the family into the night.
Following deep footprints in the snow.
My young king laughed with joy and might
He hardly seemed to feel the freezing cold.

His purpose clear as he knocked on their door.
They answered but bowed exceedingly low.
But instead, he knelt down on their dirt floor,
Presenting himself as their servant now.

My king served them every morsel sweet,
He even cleaned every spoon and dish.
No one, not even I, could stop his feet.
As he danced about, as was his wish.

His song and laughter rang through the dark
and in the early morning, as the family slept,
My king and I, we woke with the morning lark
To leave the presents on the hearth he'd swept.

Back in his castle and his royal-filled life,
Nothing seemed to sate the Nobles greed.
My King had to deal with much Noble strife.
But they caught him looking to his servants' need.

Time passed, plots made, the passing of a year.
As winter's chill grew in the castle yard,
My king went out to pray with his brother dear.
But his brother's heart had become tarred.

The deed was done, my king was brought low
In bloody, muddy footprints in the snow.

The nobles wanted a puppet on the throne,
But the truth pierces the darkest of hearts,
So the light has ever, ever shone,
and the king's brother fell to love's darts.

He repented his sin, his murderous deed.
From that day forward, he ruled as his brother,
And now, with my help he has decreed,
On Christmas, we give to one another.

No one is to live in greed,
but all are to give to those in need.

For once, on a chill winter's night long ago,
My King followed footsteps in the snow.

And I, I follow my King.

Monday, December 7, 2020

An Interview with Author Sherry Ellis to Celebrate Bubba and Squirt Adventures!


Sherry and I swapped author interviews. To see mine, head to her site! 

Interviewing Sherry Ellis, Author and Musician!

What/who inspired you to start writing the Bubba and Squirt adventures?

Multiple what’s and a who’s inspired the Bubba and Squirt adventures. 

Here are the what’s: When I was about 8 years old living in Florida, I decided I wanted to dig a hole to China. I got my shovel and dug in an empty lot near my house. Since we were so close to sea-level, my hole filled with water rather quickly, so I didn’t exactly get to my destination. But I always wondered what would’ve happened if it had worked. Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China is an imaginative possibility. Both Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China and Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Adventure are set in places I have visited. I enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures and history. I wanted to write something that could both educate and give kids an idea of what other countries are like. 

Here are the who’s:  The characters Bubba and Squirt are roughly based on the personalities of my own two children when they were younger. Not quite the same, but the character of Bubba captures the playful, imaginative nature of my son when he was young, and the character of Squirt captures the nurturing big sister.

I saw on a recent blog post that your trip to Belize inspired Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure. Can you describe a place, a scene, a person, or a moment on the trip that you included in the book or that inspired a particular moment in the book?

So many scenes were inspired by my trip to Belize. The storm and the muddy road scenes were based on an experience there. We didn’t have a tree fall in front of us, but the roads were nearly impassible due to the heavy rainfall from a hurricane. I also visited a village and had a little monkey, like the one in the story, sit on my shoulder.  The village was very much like what is described in the book. Finally, the scene where Bubba comments about the grass growing all over the pyramid was taken from my thoughts of seeing such a pyramid at Altun Ha. I too, thought somebody should get a lawnmower and fix it.

You're a professional musician and author. How do these two creative endeavors work together for you? 

Both appeal to my creative muse. I think being a musician gives me a good sense of rhythm which helps the word flow in my writing. If something doesn’t sound right, I intuitively know I have to change it. 

If you could give your younger writer self a piece of advice, what would it be? 

Everything about writing and publishing is a long process. Be patient!

Thank you for having me as a guest!

Thank you for your insights and your creative adventures, Sherry!

If you're looking for a great holiday gift for young readers, I highly recommend reading the Bubba and Squirt Adventures! These are really fun reads! 

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?

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 ChinaDon't Feed the ElephantTen Zany BirdsThat Mama is a Grouch; and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN. Ellis lives in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about her work, she invites you to visit her website at

Sherry hosted me for an interview at her blog last week! If you would like to read about my process of writing Liftoff, please come check it out!

Also, Creative Colloquy has a great post up at the Insecure Writer's Support Group Site- "From Solitude to Connection."

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

DECEMBER 2020 IWSG: Productive Writing Times


Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this encouraging blog hop!

The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Sylvia Ney, Liesbet @ Roaming About Cathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!

OPTIONAL QUESTION: Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

Yes. I participate in NaNoWriMo so that makes my November really productive, but I'm also productive in October as I gear up for November. In December, my writing becomes centered on personal and faith writing, but in January I begin to write more fiction. February is usually a quieter month, followed by an uptick in March-April-May. I usually have a slower June, but in July and early August I write hard. September is iffy.  In certain months, I am more contemplative and I spend a lot of time reflecting and planning. Other months, I just write. I used to try to fight it, but now I accept it. I write when and where I can.

And certain months have specific meaning to me.


Advent is the beginning of the Christian New Year in the older traditions of faith. While I attend a new non-denominational church, I grew up in a Lutheran Church and served in my 20s as the church council representative for the worship and music committee. On that committee, I learned the meaning behind the colors and times of the church seasons. While I don't think those are necessary to know for salvation, I find them to be tools for going deeper into my daily faith. December is a faith-writing month for me. I will still work on fiction projects, but most of my writing will be spiritually based. 

For all who helped, encouraged, and cheered my book launch last month, 


If you missed out, it's still on sale (wink, wink), and I'm always happy to get more reviews (winking harder, possibly creating a small private windstorm - just kidding). 

Book Page    Apple    Amazon    Barnes and Noble    Bookbub    Kobo    Smashwords

Liftoff is a scifi novella centered around the adventures of Amaya, a teen girl who packs a bit of a punch. 

And why do I want to write strong heroines? While I don't think a woman has to know martial arts to be strong, the cause behind the following fundraiser is one of the reasons I want all of my characters to be strong enough to survive hardship and fight for freedom.


What is Dressember? It's a fundraising campaign to end human trafficking. 
Why a dress? Wearing a dress all month is to raise awareness, and to take back the dress as a symbol of strength. If you aren't into dresses, you are welcome to wear ties or dress shirts.
If you want to join the campaign, you can go to my fundraising page HERE.
And here is the Dressember Website for more information.


On the bright side, our community of writers is going strong and the admin team is preparing for upcoming events!

The #IWSGPit is coming on January 20th! See HERE for details.

Our Goodreads Book Club is changing things up! 
We will have quarterly book selections now, giving us more time to read. We will also have one fiction book selection and one writing craft book selection. Members can read both or choose between them. Finally, we won’t be offering 5 optional discussion questions anymore. Instead, we will be utilizing the polls that our members enjoy, so there will be one poll question for the fiction book and one for the non-fiction book on Discussion Day.

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