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



Amazon/ Barnes and Noble


Smashwords, Kobo


Amazon UK/ Amazon CA


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?

Monday, September 7, 2020

Monday Motivation - Storytelling to Transport Us

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”

 – J.K. Rowling

Why do we need stories to transport us?

Wednesday, September 2, 2020


The Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop List can be found HERE.

Hosted this month by founder Alex J. Cavanaugh and Co-hosts: 

OPTIONAL QUESTION: If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

Just one? Agh. Why just one?

Okay, I actually had an initial, popped-into-my-head answer. And, it's probably the right one. Maybe.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) Professor of Ango-Saxon (Old English) at the University of Oxford, author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and many other stories, essays, letters, and translations. Friend of C.S. Lewis, one of the co-founders of the Inklings. 

A few years ago, I would have chosen C.S. Lewis, and he's still my second choice, but the more I learn about Tolkien, the more I wish I could get some feedback on my writing from him, although I think C.S. Lewis would get my quirkiness a bit more. 

Okay, it's still a toss-up between those two. 

If I had to choose a living author who I don't know via RL or the blogging world, I would choose either Jessica Day George or Melanie Cellier, both fantasy authors for children and YA readers. 

So, as you can see, I don't make decisions easily. Never ask me what I want for dinner, because I might want tacos, but after some thought, decide I want a cheeseburger, or pizza, or spaghetti, or kebabs, or a salad instead. To make dinner, I either have to plan it in advance, or I have to just go with the first meal that pops into my head. If I ask my family members, well, they might want grilled chicken, or hot dogs, or spaghetti, or tacos, or chicken pot pie homemade, or ... we could be at lit all night or until one of us gets seriously hangry* enough to make a decision.

And, this actually is the introduction for a more serious topic and one that I've been sweating over for the past week. I decided to ask myself the question, and answer it. If you have any better answers, please add them to the comments below.

How do you know you're really, really finished polishing that final draft of your novel before querying or for Indie publishing?

1. Get help. By this, I mean, get outside eyes on the project. Don't go after your mom who will tell you it's all good, or your daughter who will tell you it's all in need of serious renovation. Find a professional editor and pay them to gaze professionally at your manuscript and give you some serious feedback.

2. Read it out loud. Oh, this is good, cathartic, and sometimes incredibly painful, but necessary. In fact, it probably should be done before #1. I recommend reading your work out loud more than once: before the professional editor and right before you go to query or print.

3. Make any last formatting changes you need to make. Double check these against any standards the agents/publishers have. Hire a professional formatting expert if you feel unsure or timid.

Bonus for Indie Publishers: Get as many ARC readers to read it as possible. This goes back again to #1. Get outside eyes on it.

I had some awesome responses from many of you who said you could help me with my launch for Liftoff (formerly known as Crash). It's a SF novella filled with action, tropes, and a tiny hint of romance for teen/YA book lovers. If you think you might be interested in helping, please fill out my Google Form HERE

Many, many thanks!

Also, it's the very last day to enter a SF story about Dark Matter into the 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest! Check out the site for details.

*hangry is slang for hungry and angry (or hunger-based tetchiness)