Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Legends, Tresure, a New Book, and an Interview with Katherine Briggs

Do like books? Want to read about legends and treasure in a fully immersive fantasy world, I recommend checking out this interview with Katherine Briggs and her new book The Eternity Gate! 

1. Katherine, can you name five of your favorite stories in books, movies, or shows? (These don’t have to be the top 5.) 
Katherine: This is a good and difficult question! There are many excellent stories. Some that have captivated and shaped me include The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, "Little Daylight" by George MacDonald, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, Casablanca directed by Michael Curtiz, and the film Beauty and the Beast.

Tyrean: I love many of those, as well, especially The Horse and his Boy, and Beauty and the Beast

2. What have you learned from these stories, either as writing lessons or life lessons? 
Katherine: I admire growth, and I love redemption. Seeing these written well encourages me to press on in my own stories to try to offer these beautiful experiences to deserving readers.

4. Are you a plotter, a discovery author, or a mixture of both? What do you like best about plotting, discovery, or mixing both? 

Katherine: I think I'm a plotter and discovery writer blend. I plot bookseven scenesbefore beginning to write, but often things do not go according to plan (which is sometimes horrifying but always rewarding!). I tend to discovery write during idea creation before drafting and later when transforming plot holes and deepening characters while editing.

Tyrean: I do a combination of discovery and plotting, too. :) 

7. Which character was your favorite to write in The Eternity Gate? 
Katherine: One of my favorite characters to write in The Eternity Gate is Geras. He's the oldest surviving character through all the versions this story took in my mind and on the page. He also claims the prize for being one of the two most difficult characters I've ever tackled. I'm working on a third challenging character now, and she takes residence in the duology's Book 2.

8. I love the specific word choices you've given your characters to show they are in an alternate world with a different language than ours. How did you come up with those? 
Katherine: Thank you so much! That's a lovely compliment. I lived outside my home country for a few years, and I didn't have very many friends or access to books written in my language. So, I read lots of old books, especially the Bible. I think I drew a lot upon that time period and to shape the characters' vernacular. Verbs are particularly powerful.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Katherine! 

>> Book Blurb
Destroy the key. Save her people and herself.

The Eternity Gate is found, and kings and monsters battle over its legends of treasure. But rumors whisper that someone stole the gate's ancient key.

Seyo, handmaiden to the princess, keeps three secrets. First, she's gifted in fire, not light, and may as well be cursed. Second, she translates a prophecy warning that the gate does not offer treasure but judgment. Third, Jorai, the scorned prince and Seyo's confidant, entrusts her with the key and disappears.

Surrounded by war, Seyo and her companions embark on a journey to seek help from a faraway empire and find Jorai, unaware of the trap awaiting them. But what should Seyo do with the key? Who can survive judgment, especially someone as flawed as her? Will hiding the key—or destroying it—save her people or ensure their defeat?

>> Book Links

>> My Links

Website/Newsletter |

>> Short Author Bio
Katherine Briggs crafted her first monster story at age three. Since graduating from crayons to laptop, she continues to devour and weave fantasy tales while enjoying chai tea. She, her coadventurer husband, and rescue dog reside outside Houston, where she classically educates amazing middle school students, teaches ESL to adults, and enjoys studying other languages. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Fictional Werewolves: Guest Post by L. Diane Wolfe, Author of In Darkness: A Werewolf

Welcome L. Diane Wolfe! Today I'm celebrating my friend L. Diane Wolfe's newest book release, In Darkness: A Werewolf as part of her book blog tour. L. Diane Wolfe is the CEO of Dancing Lemur Press, a professional speaker, a multi-book published author, a Christian who writes and works in the secular side of publishing, and someone I consider both a mentor and a friend via the IWSG, an online group. We've never met in person, but I hope to, someday.

For today's post, I asked L. Diane to share some insights into Fictional Werewolves in celebration of her latest release In Darkness: A Werewolf.

Well, technically, there aren’t any non-fiction werewolves. Not in the truest sense, although the legend of a man who could become a beast goes back centuries.

There are many famous werewolves, both in books and movies. I thought I’d touch upon a few of them.

The Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King / Silver Bullet

This began as an engaging and unique book by King and eventually became a movie.

The book is a month-by-month account of a werewolf terrorizing a small New England town and the boy who tries to solve the mystery of the killings. The movie compacted the events into half the time but it’s no less effective. While scary and sometimes gruesome, the movie is a story about redemption.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Also made into a film, this book introduced readers to Remus Lupin, a werewolf bitten by Fenrir Greyback who serves under Lord Voldemort. Remus taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts. He is a sympathetic character who ultimately dies defending what is right.

The Wolf Man staring Lon Chaney Jr.

This was the first of five movies with Chaney playing the werewolf. While not the first cinematic werewolf, it was the film that launched the creature into stardom. It was part of the Universal Monsters line of movies and Chaney endured 5-6 hours of makeup time to prepare for his scenes.

 The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer

First a series of four books and then five movies, it featured Jacob Black, a werewolf and Native American of the Quielute tribe in La Push. Love them or hate them, this series established a sympathetic and vulnerable side to the werewolf legend.

 Hotel Transylvania

An animated series of four movies, it features many famous monsters and creatures. One of the most amusing it Wayne the werewolf, voiced by Steve Buscemi. Wayne is Dracula’s best friend and has dozens upon dozens of kids with his ever-pregnant wife. Beaten down by his huge brood, he is one tired but funny werewolf.

Yes, the last one was thrown in for fun, but kids will know Wayne for sure! (And those of us grownups who are suckers for such movies.)

In Darkness: The Werewolf

By L. Diane Wolfe

Souls shrouded in darkness…

On her own in England, Vicki trains at a prestigious fencing school. Face marred by a birthmark, she’s suspicious of Nicholas’ attention. A dinner date reveals his genuine interest and they begin to connect. Nicholas is attractive and she wonders why he’s so shy and reclusive.

Then one evening she happens upon him changing into a lycan. Every werewolf legend is challenged by the gentle, fearful creature before her. Vickie accepts his secret, but Nicholas knows he’s an unpredictable beast. Can they trust love enough to overcome their physical challenges?

Release date – Sept. 5, 2023

Romance/Paranormal/Shifter, Romance/Paranormal, Fantasy/Paranormal

$3.99 eBook ISBN 9781939844927

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s the senior editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. - Spunk On A Stick - Spunk On A Stick’s Tips - Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Links for In Darkness: A Werewolf:

Amazon -
iTunes -
Barnes & Noble -
Kobo -
Scribed -
Goodreads -

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Happy Birthday, IWSG!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group day. Writer's post their thoughts on their own blog, talk about their doubts and the fears they have conquered, discuss their struggles and triumphs, offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling, visit others in the group and connect with fellow writers--aim for a dozen new people each time.

Celebrate with us. Answer this month's question. 

Remember, the question is optional!

September 6 question: The IWSG celebrates 12 years today! When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect, and how has it helped you?

I discovered IWSG right at the beginning, sometime after I had participated in an A to Z Challenge, hosted by Arlee Bird, in which Alex J. Cavanaugh's posts had made a positive impression. As I was striving to build my platform, I caught the IWSG bug and signed up for this awesome group of supporters.

IWSG has changed over the years as Admins have come and gone (including me), as blogging has changed, as those who participate have changed. But one aspect of IWSG has remained true; the kindness and encouragement from involved authors who make this group one of the best gatherings of the internet once a month in the blog hop and who create a helpful and encouraging community on every IWSG platform. 

It would take me hours to properly describe all the kindness of the writers I've met through IWSG.

I've met writers who are willing to be ARC readers, who have given me feedback on book covers and book blurbs. I learned about the various types of publishing platforms through the IWSG blog hop, following along with the publishing journeys of a few hundred writers. I've hosted really cool release day posts and book tour posts and been hosted in turn. I've met individuals who became friends I've kept in touch with outside of IWSG through email and other platforms. I've been given help on social media shout-outs, and more, but more importantly, I've read encouraging posts when I needed them the most and had kind comments written here on my blog when, again, I needed them the most. 

Again, IWSG has helped me in countless ways, and I am thankful for all the kindness, encouragement, and support. 

Happy Birthday IWSG!

If you are new to the IWSG community, start at the website, or go find the founder Alex J. Cavanaugh.

A little about Alex:

Alex Cavanaugh is a writer and promoter. He works in web design and graphics, and he plays guitar in a Christian band. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. 
Sign up for the blog hop HERE.

And please thank this month's co-hosts: 

News and Something I Have slowly learned on Kindle Vella: 

First, I want to say Thank You to all who commented last month and offered to help with the eventual paperback and eBook release of The Dragon and The Ranger under my pen name Rene Hawthorne!

Second, well, mainly I've been writing, writing, writing, and marketing, marketing, marketing. Every day is similar, but different, and I am thankful for this life. 

 Third, Dark Blade: Forged, the serialization I started with on Kindle Vella has received over 1700 thumbs up - this is by no means phenomenal when looking at the top runners on the platform, but I am thankful for those who have read it.

Meanwhile, The Dragon and the Ranger under my pen name, also has over 1700 thumbs up despite being on the platform a shorter length of time. Why? I suspect it's because it's fantasy romance and not fantasy action adventure, but I also suspect it has something to do with something I learned about the platform. 

Something I've learned in a turtle-like fashion: 

Kindle Vella stories with more likes typically have more episodes for the entire story. For example, the front runners which have over 100,000 "likes" contain 121-187 episodes and they aren't completed yet. 

How this has played out in the above "like" average for two of my stories on there:

Dark Blade: Forged is around 68,000 words in a Word doc, but I split it into 41 episodes (chapters). It has over 1700 likes gained slowly over two years. 

The Dragon and The Ranger is around 71,000 words in a Word doc, and I didn't upload it to the platform until earlier this year, but I split it into 74 episodes. It has over 1700 likes. 

Each "like" is for an individual episode, so a story with 1700 likes doesn't have 1700 readers unless those readers all liked one episode and stopped there. In fact, not every reader will finish the story. 

Instead of switching titles for a new book in a series, the front running stories on Kindle Vella, simply state "Season 1 and 2," or "Seasons 1-5" to show these serializations contain more material than one would expect in an average book. I've read at least two seasons of Elven Heartbound (one of the front runners), and the amount of material is similar to reading two standalone books in a series. 

So, belatedly, I realized splitting the Dark Blade Trilogy into more than one title on Kindle Vella was a mistake. Argh. I'm remedying that the best I can by making "book 2" into a combination of book 2 and 3 with the plan to have 150 episodes of it by the time I'm finished with it. It's currently sitting at a modest 374 likes with 31 episodes, but readers are required to leave Dark Blade: Forged and find Dark Blade: Tempered. Kindle Vella doesn't make that easy.

If you decide to write for Kindle Vella, I recommend writing a series under one title name with many short episodes of 1200 words or less.  

There are reasons to have several Kindle Vella titles of shorter lengths, but to break into the top 250 Kindle Vella titles, a singular, massive title is more likely to get there. Romance also helps. Cliff hangers at the end of every chapter also help. 

BTW, the top 250 titles are the ones most new readers are reading on Kindle Vella, so that's why I consider it a benchmark.