Monday, June 14, 2021

Reveal of a NEW Title for Book 2 of the Rayatana Series AND a Call for Book Party Help!

 My new title for Book 2 of the Rayatana Series is: NEXUS. 

This title came out of some changes to the manuscript, some feedback from my editor, CPs, and betas. I wasn't thinking about businesses or border patrol between Canada and the US. Even now, thinking about those...well, I'm still glad I made the change. 

Plus, I love what my cover artist Carrie Butler did with the title! Check it out here:

In early July, I'll be revealing my cover for Nexus: The Rayatana, Book 2.

And as of today, I'm starting a Call for a Book Party!

In many ways, I have struggled to truly celebrate my books. Usually by the time of the book release, I am a storm of nerves. 

So, I am going to throw a party for my new book.

I know, rationally, it's only semantics. I'll still need blog/website stops for the moveable Book Party, along with some party-streamer-throwing shout-outs, and I definitely plan on having a live celebration at a local restaurant with some video feed streaming. Party favors will be given away - swag. 

The dates are: 
October 4th: Streamer-Waving Shout-Outs
October 4th: Party Events Streaming and Live

October 5-15:
For the Moveable Book Party (Book Blog Tour), I hope to do the following:
1. Write guest posts about weird beverages/food in speculative fiction settings.
2. Have blog hosts post about their favorite kind of "awak" beverage or their favorite "awak" beverage holder (mug, can, bottle, glass). Awak is a cross between Earth tea and coffee, so hosts can post about any beverage that keeps you awake.

So, why beverages? This is a YA novella, but while brainstorming for this book blog tour, I wanted to stick to one area and I had just reviewed a scene where the characters sit down and drink "awak" - a beverage which keeps them awake like coffee or tea, but with more of a kick and less addictive properties. And yes, I know, naming things is not my strong suit. 

Plus, what good party doesn't have some kind of beverage, whether it's soda water, tea, or something else?

And the last, biggest CALL for help:
Could you/would you read an ebook ARC between July-September? All hands on deck are needed for this. Reviews are as precious as gold, especially for books in a series.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

IWSG June: How long do you rest/shelve a rough draft? and What I've Learned from Podcasting


Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and all of the co-hosts this month: J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

OPTIONAL QUESTION: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?


I've always believed resting the rough draft of a novel was an important step in the writing process. I rested every single one of my books between rough and second drafts, until last year when I took Liftoff from rough to second to third to edited and revised drafts in several months. 

My critique group, beta readers, and my editor all helped me polish it and make it a decent read. It never had a full rest, because even when it was in the hands of my editor, I was thinking about it.

I believe that the project itself, or the writer's relationship with that project, determines how long the draft needs to be shelved. I still have many shelved drafts. MANY. 

But then, there are short projects that I've written and sent out into the world without any rest at all. Those projects are sometimes just as successful, or sometimes more successful than the ones I "rested" between drafts because sometimes (often), I revise things into a corner. I did this recently with book 2, cutting so much that the third draft didn't make as much sense, which meant I had to put stuff back in. 

And that leads me to...


In January, my church started creating podcasts. First, our two pastors did the majority of them, and then they invited a group of people to help. I was one of those people. I had never created a podcast before. Most of the ones I created at the beginning were recorded on my phone, or my old laptop with malfunctioning speakers...neither of which were ideal. 

On the podcast schedule, I created and recorded a podcast once every eight days, February through May, as my church put out the podcasts five days a week. This schedule didn't give me a lot of time for "revision." I researched the set of Bible verses I was given, reading them, reading commentaries, delving into word studies and cross-referencing the verses. Or, at least that's what I did for most of them.

At one point, I had forgotten to record my podcast until 10:30 the night before the podcast was supposed to air. I had read the verses earlier in the week. But I read them again twice, prayed, and recorded. I deleted that first recording because I sounded like I was falling asleep, wrote down some hasty notes, made myself jump up and down a few times to wake up, recorded it again, and then sent it to my pastors. 

From the feedback I received from listeners, the podcast I created last minute was just as good as the ones I spent hours working over, recording multiple takes, and micro-managing my words/phrasings.

What I learned from this podcasting experience:

  • Deadlines work.
  • Work I dawdled over was not any better than work I created in a short, intense burst.
  • Having good tools/tech is helpful, but it is possible to work with less and still do a good job.
  • Scheduling helps (see deadlines above).
  • Short bursts of writing/recording/speaking work for me.
  • Authenticity in a podcast is just as important as "professionalism" especially when one is sharing an experience, or faith-based thought. 
  • I really like podcasting, even if I still haven't added in any sound effect frills yet.
If you are interested, have time, or like podcasts, check out One Hope Church's One Hundred Essential Bible Readings HERE

Other News and Notes:

The IWSG Science Fiction Anthology from our contest last year Dark Matter: Artificial is out! 

If you don't have a copy, I highly recommended getting one and reading it. The stories in here are really fun reads!

Dark Matter: Artificial
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Discover dark matter’s secrets…

What is an AI’s true role? Will bumbling siblings find their way home from deep space? Dark matter is judging us—are we worthy of existence? Would you step through a portal into another reality? Can the discoverer of dark matter uncover its secrets?

Ten authors explore dark matter, unraveling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, C.D. Gallant-King, Tara Tyler, Mark Alpert, Olga Godim, Steph Wolmarans, Charles Kowalski, Kim Mannix, Elizabeth Mueller, and Deniz Bevan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition!

Website - IWSG Anthologies

Science Fiction: Collections & Anthologies / Space Exploration / Genetic Engineering
Print ISBN 9781939844828
EBook ISBN 9781939844835

Print and eBook:
Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes and Nobel

And, next up, the IWSG Annual Anthology Contest for 2021 

Please see the site and the publisher's website for details and guidelines. Write your best. Get some feedback. Send it in. 

Word count: 5000-6000

Genre: Sweet Romance

Theme: First Love

Submissions accepted: 
May 7 - September 1, 2021

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group. You must belong to at least one aspect of the IWSG to enter.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

Plus, as a reward for some finished writing, I had some fun and created a wall calendar for writers. If you're interested in an 18-month calendar with quotes from sixteen different authors, literary dates and celebrations (Ex: US National Library Month and AA Milne's Birthday), from July 2021-December 2022, check it out here: Write On! ( 

Although I initially created it for me, I thought a few more people might like it, so if you're looking for an 18-month calendar, please feel welcome to purchase one. My favorite page I created is this one:

I created most of the images via although I did include some of my own photography, too.