Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

IWSG, IWSG Anthology Voyagers: The Third Ghost, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

This month's question is: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?
When
When I need help getting into the zone I putter in my writing area. I clean up my desk, go through notes and keep or discard and/or straighten and dust books. Generally I work to make my work space neat. It seems to help me get inspired.
***

I'm excited to announce that
Voyagers: The Third Ghost is OUT!!

People have asked why I decided to try my hand at writing a story for this anthology. Here's my answer. 

When I saw what the theme for this anthology was going to be and that it was for middle graders, I knew immediately the story I wanted to tell.

Because my family has lived between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for over hundred years and because I was raised in the VI, most of my stories have a strong Caribbean flavor. For research purposes I have a small collection of books about the islands. One of those books, by Isidor Paiewonsky, is Eyewitness Accounts of Slavery in the Danish West Indies also Graphic Tales of Other Slave Happenings on Ships and Plantations. It was in this book that I read excerpts from the journal of a twelve-year-old boy named Jacques B. Romaigne who journeyed from France, to Africa, to the island of Guadeloupe on a slave ship.
Jacques' story haunted me for years. He lingered behind a near opaque curtain which he pulled aside from time to time, casting ghostly shadows across my mind, reminding me he was still there and that he wanted his story told. Finally I gave in and wrote, “The Blind Ship.” I tried peddling it around to various children’s magazines, but no one was interested. I knew my writing wasn’t the problem so my guess is that it was too dark and serious. Whatever the reason, his story has languished in my files for a good 15 years, yet in all that time, Jacques has never left me.
I had to lengthen the original story from 1000 words (which is the max most children's magazines want) to 3000 or better. That was challenge and it took me a week. But he crept back onto the page and whispered things in my ear. Now, at last, he has come out of from behind the curtains, and his story can be told.

Blurb
The journal of a twelve-year-old boy reveals the horrors of a slave ship, and when its cargo and crew go blind from a highly contagious eye disease, the situation only gets worse.

***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for, what else? The Newly Released Anthology!

What are you thankful for? Got any rituals to get into the zone? Have you ordered your copy of Voyagers: The Third Ghost? Purchase links below. Hint, hint.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Beverly Stowe McClure - Book Tour



I’m delighted to be participating in author Beverly Stowe McClure’s Blog Tour today for her latest release, GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL.

The author is offering a tour-wide giveaway. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL
by Beverly Stowe McClure
* Paperback: 214 pages
* Publisher: Freedom Fox Press
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1939844665
* ISBN-13: 978-1939844668

Gabe Montana is clumsy. He's overweight, and he's dyslexic. Worse yet, the bullies make his fifteen-year-old life even more miserable-so miserable he wants to die.

Charley, his guardian angel, says no to that idea and comes up with a different plan. He'll give Gabe self-confidence so he can solve his problems, not run away from them. But Gabe wonders why the angel doesn't just help with the bullies. What's with this self-confidence stuff?

Can Charley help Gabe stand on his own two feet? Will Gabe give up hope life can improve for him? Or will he finally listen to the angel's advice?

GABE'S GUARDIAN ANGEL is available at the following sites:
AMAZON PAPERBACK
AMAZON KINDLE
BARNES AND NOBLE PAPERBACK
BARNES AND NOBLE NOOK BOOK
KOBO

Excerpt from Gabe's Guardian Angel

“Stop!” Miss Blaire called, her voice amazingly strong for a small woman. When the boys slid to a halt but didn’t turn to face her, she added, “Get back here, this instant! I want to talk to you.” The way she snapped out each word left no doubt they’d better do what she said, and they obeyed without further hesitation. Gabe stood still, head ducked, ashamed of the way he looked with his bruises and cuts and how he’d let the boys trick him. To add to his troubles, a teacher now saw him in this pitiful condition. Can the day get any worse? he wondered.

Miss Blaire glanced from Gabe to Mick to Bud and back to Gabe, her arms crossed over her chest. She did not comment on his injuries but simply said, “What happened here?”

He sighed. Great! What do I do, now? Tell the truth? Lie? Either way, I’m in trouble.

“When he offered no explanation, she turned her attention to Bud. “Do you have anything to say?”

He shook his head. “No, ma’am.”

Her forehead wrinkled, she focused on Mick. “How about you?”

“Yes, ma’am, I think Gabe had an accident,” he said, a hint of worry in his voice. “We didn’t see what happened, but he may need help.”

Whoa! What an actor, Gabe thought. He said every word with a straight face. I should have smacked him one and suffered the consequences. Think, brain, think how to explain.

“Um, you see, Miss Blaire.” He chewed on his thumbnail. “I’m clumsy sometimes. I don’t know how I did it, but I tripped over my own feet.” He touched his nose. “A bloody nose is no big deal. I’ve had lots of those.” He swiped at his face with his shirttail. “Anybody have a tissue?” he said, trying to sound funny.

No one laughed.”

***



For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds.

She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.

Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.


GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Author Beverly Stowe McClure is giving away one print copy of GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL to a lucky US winner.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Beverly on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you think Guardian Angels come in all shapes and sizes?

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/019b32f8347/

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Yolanda Renee, Book Tour

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Yolanda Renee’s MURDER, JUST BECAUSE Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

The author is offering an awesome tour-wide international giveaway. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

MURDER, JUST BECAUSE
by Yolanda  Renée
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: Yolanda Renee
◊ Series: Detective Quaid Mysteries
◊ Paperback: 291 pages
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ ISBN-10: 0985820632
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0985820633
◊ Contains explicit sex & graphic violence


You can find her book on Amazon and Smashwords.

"While this book does contain explicit sexual language and graphic violence, it could easily be taken from the daily headlines. The content is plausible and realistic as we look at the world around us. The events in the book are not overly done but give a pragmatic look at the terrifying actions killers can and sometimes do take."

Excerpt:

It was a matter of beginner’s luck, but rookie detective Steven Quaid’s career and reputation as an elite investigator skyrocketed when he captured one of the most sadistic serial killers in Alaskan history: Stowy Jenkins, AKA the Snowman. But that was ten years ago.

And now…Jenkins is back. Escaped from prison and on the move, his bloodlust is stronger than ever, and his methods of torture are even more horrifying than before. As his bloody rampage continues and the number of mutilated bodies mounts, terrified Alaskans increasingly doubt Quaid’s ability to catch the killer again. The detective’s reputation is on the line, and he’s going to need a lot more than luck, because this time, Jenkins is driven by more than the thrill of a random kill.

This time, it’s more personal. He’s out for revenge…and his ultimate target is Quaid. In a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Jenkins starts picking off the people in Quaid’s life…slowly, gradually tightening his circle of corpses and drawing ever closer to the most important person in Quaid’s life...his wife. Can Quaid do the impossible again? Can he outmaneuver the killer, or has the detective's luck finally run out?

Author Yolanda Renee
For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her in her own words.

At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influences my writing.
Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

For more on Yolanda and her writing, you can connect with her here:
Blog    *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Pinterest    


GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This tour-wide giveaway is for a complete set of the Detective Quaid Mystery series books for one winner, paperback copies of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for five winners, and a Kindle copy of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for 10 winners.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.


Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you enjoy watching a character grow from one story to the next?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

IWSG, How Things Are, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

This month's question is: 
The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

It is the worst of times and the best of times. It is a supremely strange, surreal, and scary time. (Note my cleaver use of alliteration, humor must be maintained.)

I had a long dreary post detailing my angst but I figured we are all pretty much feeling the same thing so why belabor the point? It's also very easy to get bogged down in the quagmire, get sucked into the quick sand, get swirled around in the whirl pool and become depressed.

Therefore, I am choosing to share up-lifting quotes and pictures.


Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
Lois Lowry
Oak Tree at 176 Nile Street, Nelson

I've only written four songs in my whole life, but I've written those four songs a million times.
Bob Dylan

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the the overcoming of it.
Helen Keller

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud. Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.
Maya Angalou
Rainbow on Rara Lake

What else is love but understanding and rejoicing in the fact that another person lives, acts, and experiences otherwise than we do?
Nietzsche


What is the purpose of anger and hate? Does it bring you joy? Does it bring you happiness and contentment? Does it bring you love? If the answer is no, then why give anger and hate safe harbor in your heart when, like a category 5 hurricane, it will destroy the harbor and your heart as well?
Bish Denham
Pillar Point Harbor

Here's a little humor. I wrote new words to the song 
Loco-Motion. It's a brand new dance called...

The Hunker Down.

Everybody’s doing a brand new dance, yea
(Come on baby and do the Hunker-down, now)
I know you’ll get to like it if you give it a chance, yea
      (Come on baby and do the Hunker-down, now)

My little baby sister can do it with me
It’s easier than catching this new disease
So come on, come on, do the hunker-down with me.

You gotta buy TP, now
      Come on, baby
Snatch a pack, jump back
      Well I think you’ve got the knack

Now that you can do it share it on your phone, yea
      (Come on baby and do the Hunker-down, now)
A snatch and grab motion and a dash for home, yea
      (Come on baby and do the Hunker-down, now)

Do it nice and easy, now and don’t lose control
A little bit of rhythm and a whole lot of soul
So come on, come on, do the Hunker-down with me

Move around the floor in the Hunker-down
      (Come on baby and do the Hunker-down, yea)
Do it bumping elbows (stay six feet away) now
      (Come on baby and do the Hunker-down)

There’s never been a dance that’s so easy to do,
It’ll make you happy when you’re feeling blue
So, come on, come on do the Hunker-down with me


Being Thankful
***
Despite everything going on, I have plenty for which to be thankful.
My family and friends in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are well. We have enough food.
We have shelter, water, electricity.
And, it is spring.

I will leave you with these pictures which remind me that no matter what, life will continue.
Blue iris

Claret cactus


First spring bouquet, 
bluebonnets and columbines

***
What are you thankful for? Have a favorite inspirational, uplifting quote?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

IWSG, In the Spotlight, Being Thankful



Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure
Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts: Jacqui Murray, Lisa Buie-Collard, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!

This month's question is: Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

Not that I can recall.

Now on to other things. 

I am the featured In the Spotlight author on the IWSG Anthology Blog and I'm sharing here, what I wrote for the blog.
***
When I saw what the theme for this anthology was going to be and that it was for middle graders, I knew immediately the story I needed to tell.

Because my family has lived between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for over hundred years and because I was raised in the VI, most of my stories have a strong Caribbean flavor. For research purposes I have a small collection of books about the islands. One of those books, by Isidor Paiewonsky, is Eyewitness Accounts of Slavery in the Danish West Indies also Graphic Tales of Other Slave Happenings on Ships and Plantations. It was in this book that I read excerpts from the journal of a twelve-year-old boy named Jacques B. Romaigne.

Jacques’ story haunted me for years. He lingered behind a near opaque curtain which he pulled aside from time to time, casting ghostly shadows across my mind, reminding me he was still there and that he wanted his story told. Finally I gave in and wrote, “The Blind Ship.”

I tried peddling it around to various children’s magazines, but no one was interested. I knew my writing wasn’t the problem so my guess is that it was too dark and serious. Whatever the reason, his story has languished in my files for a good 15 years, yet in all that time, Jacques has never left me.

Now, at last, he has come out of from behind the curtains, and his story can be told.



Excerpt:
At last we are on our way, He wrote a few days later. Le Rôdeur is 200 tons and we now have on board 160 Negro slaves.

Jacques reread his words. He had already commented on the fair weather carrying him toward the Caribbean. He tried not to think about what lay in the close dank, dark quarters of the hold. It was enough that he could hear their muffled moans and cries through the decking.

He took up his quill and continued writing.

I know you will miss me while you tarry in France, but Father needs me on the plantation. Besides, I long to see the green hills of Guadeloupe and the blue waters of the bays. Take heart, Mother, soon you will follow and we will be together once again.

At dinner a few days later, M. Gagne and Captain Boucher spoke of shipboard issues. Jacques, as a paying passenger, ate with the men. They talked over his head, as if he wasn’t there.

“The slaves have brought ophthalmia on board with them,” said M. Gagne.

“Ophthalmia?” asked Jacques. “What is that?”

“An eye disease that causes blindness.” said M. Gagne. “At worst the blindness is permanent. Most often, if treated properly, vision will return, though in some cases one’s sight will be permanently impaired.”

“How bad?” asked Captain Boucher.

“It is spreading at a frightful rate. There are already more than I can manage.”
***
The release date for VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost 
is May 5, 2020,
but purchase links are available,
and you can preorder a copy now.

Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press

Amazon - Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/193984472XKindle https://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Third-Ghost-Yvonne-Ventresca-ebook/dp/B083C4WPR5/

Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voyagers-yvonne-ventresca/1135912991?ean=2940163430857

ITunes - https://books.apple.com/ca/book/voyagers-the-third-ghost/id1493413956

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/voyagers-the-third-ghost


***
You can check out an interview with me on C. Lee McKenzie's blog HERE.
***

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for the rain we got.

What are you thankful for? Have you ever included family traditions or customs in any of your stories? If you haven't checked out the other anthology authors who have been featured on In the Spotlight, drop what you're doing and go over there RIGHT NOW! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

IWSG, The Agony of Defeat, IWSG Anthology, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!

This month's question is: Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?


I'm sure I've been inspired at some point in my life, but I've written so many stories, so many partials, so many snippets, that I can't remember anything specific.

***

The Agony of Defeat

So, at the end of January I had this fabulous opportunity to submit a novel of mine to Simon and Schuster (without an agent!). It looked to me like it was, on many different levels, the perfect fit for the particular editor who was accepting unsolicited manuscripts. I worked so hard on it - days, weeks, months - to edit/revise and generally make it as clean as possible. But then...right there at the end...as I exported it from the editing program - which I really like - back to my computer, all of the formatting was lost and I was left with a garbled mess of single/double spaced paragraphs with/without indentations with/without page breaks.

There was no way I could possibly reformat 200 plus pages manually to get it sent off in time. I'd already been up since three in the morning and it was 4 PM when it happened and I had to be at work by 5 PM and wouldn't be back home until 7:30 PM - I know just 2 and a half hours - and I was already exhausted.

I sobbed and wept and cussed a blue streak. Poor hubby, he did a good job being supportive and compassionate even as I yelled at him to shut the f**k up I don't want to hear about how you understand what I'm going through.

via GIPHY
Truly, this has been the single worst writing experience of my life, worse than losing stuff on my computer when it went nuclear. Worse that any rejection.

via GIPHY
All I can tell myself is that there must be a reason for the agony of this defeat. Can somebody please tell me what it is? Is there another editor/publisher out there that's even more perfect?



***
Here is the link to IWSG Anthologies where you can meet the contributing authors of Voyages: The Third Ghost. Stop by and a learn a little about who we are. 

***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for...
I'm thinking about it...
Today I'm thankful for...
Chocolate.

What are you thankful for? What has been your single worst writing experience? Have you written a story that was inspired by a photo or piece of art?



Wednesday, January 8, 2020

IWSG, Voyagers and Other News, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff!

This month's question is:  What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?


Happy New Year!
This is a longer post than I intended...

My writing journey began when I was eight years old. My mother was homeschooling me at the time with the Calvert Course, as it was called then. Now it's Calvert Education with over a 100 years of homeschooling experience. It was quite something. They shipped everything that would be needed for each grade in a big box: books, paper, pencils, teacher's manual, etc. EVERYthing.

Anyway, one assignment was that I write something about my family. I doubt my mother expected much, a page perhaps of misspelled words because I was then (not so bad now, though still not great) a most terrible speller due to dyslexia. But apparently I wrote three pages describing my family in great detail. It was in this treatise that I wrote about my sister and me as two grils. From then on we have often been affectionately referred to as "the grils." Even my husband has been known to use it.

My mother, impressed with my effort, became extremely supportive of my writing. Many years later, as an adult, I was going through a slump and somehow she knew. Out of the blue she sent me THE ARTIST'S WAY by Julia Cameron.

The book worked. It got me writing again. And now I'm going to reveal a little secret. Embedded in each my three self-published books - and in any book I may publish in the future - are those three words from her, "follow the way."


***
Big news for me. My story, "The Blind Ship," will be in the next Insecure Writer's Support Group Anthology!
 Journey into the past…


Ten authors explore the past, sending their young protagonists on harrowing adventures. Featuring the talents of Yvonne Ventresca, Katharina Gerlach, Roland Clarke, Sherry Ellis, Rebecca M. Douglass, Bish Denham, Charles Kowalski, Louise M. Barbour, Beth Anderson Schuck, and L.T. Ward.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a voyage of wonder into history. Get ready for an exciting ride!

Release date – May 5, 2020
Juvenile Fiction: Historical (JUV016000) / Action & Adventure (JUV001000) / Fantasy & Magic (JUV037000)Print 9781939844729 / EBook 9781939844736

A Writer’s Digest Best Site for Writers and The Write Life’s Best Site for Writers.
Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a monthly newsletter. www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com


***


I'm also thrilled to announce that I have an article in the prestigious travel magazine, Destination, which publishes magazines geared towards specific locations in the Caribbean and around the world. My article, "Yard Culture and the Fellowship of Food" is in Destination: US Virgin Islands/British Virgin Islands. The magazine is published only once a year, so my article will be in the hands of readers for a whole year.




***
Being Thankful
What's not to be thankful for?
2019 was a bit rocky, but ended on a high note.
I have a loving husband and sister.
I have a roof over my head, running water, electricity, food
and,
I have my health.

What are you thankful for? How did you begin your writing journey? Do you feel good about what you accomplished in 2019? Are you looking forward to 2020?