Wednesday, October 07, 2020

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

October 7 question
- When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

Are you ready?

When I began this journey, I wanted to be a working writer. And I got off to a great start with 7 books in just 5 years.

But I also wanted to run a publishing company and that slowly took over.

At this point, I don’t know what any of that looks like.

Add the drama of this year with the virus and the over-lockdowns and the violations of our constitutional rights and the crashing of the economy and the riots fueled by Antifa and the clashing of the
political parties and the sense that we really might be in the end days, and I have no idea what a writer looks like anymore.

Maybe I need to move to Sweden. Or Florida – I heard they are wide open. Maybe then I would feel normal again and could return to being a writer.

At the very least, I need a vacation. Someplace OUTSIDE of crummy NC.

At least I have my beautiful patio and firepit!

Plus I was able to get out to the zoo recently.

Anyone else feel as writing lost as me?

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Adventure and Latin Flavors Blogfest

What is your favorite Latin-flavor recipe?

One thing I remember very fondly from living in Albuquerque, NM for four years is getting authentic Buñuelos at the state fair every year. We’d track down the Hispanic food center and chow down on at least two delicious treats. And they were big, too. They are similar to sopaipillas but flat and round.

Here is a recipe for Buñuelos.

Now, get excited – today is release day for Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Adventure by Sherry Ellis!

Page Count: 96
Digital Price: 3.99
Print Price: 7.95


Amazon/ Barnes and Noble


Smashwords, Kobo


Amazon UK/ Amazon CA

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?

“Readers will be mesmerized by the story. They’ll eagerly turn the pages to see what happens next.” - children’s author, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

“From wild action to education to recipes, Ellis’s Mayan Adventure brings it all in this entertaining read.” - Virginia Wright, author

“Bubba and Squirt are delightful characters… I recommend Bubba and Squirt’s MAYAN ADVENTURE for Middle Grade Readers and older readers.” – Beverly Stowe McClure, award winning children’s author

“Highly-recommended for fans of middle-grade Latin American fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and Mayan Indian culture.” - June
McCrary Jacobs, author

“It is a very exciting book… It is right for middle-grade readers who aren’t advanced but are just starting reading chapter books.” – Kids Book Buzz, 5 stars

“…if a child loves a book that is full of action and suspense as well as mysterious, then I wou
ld suggest they give this book a read.: - Whispering Stories reviews

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

What is your favorite Latin recipe?

Visit other participants:

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

The Insecure Writer's Support Group and Sherry Ellis & Dave Cole Tours

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Sept. 2 question – If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

I write so many genres. Who would I pick?

I’m going for Napoleon Hill, author of Think Big and Grow Rich. A lot of my success principals in Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK! are based on what I learned from reading his books and listening to his tapes. He would’ve been an amazing person to learn from.

Today is the last day to enter the IWSG anthology contest. Remember, genre is science fiction, theme is dark matter, and it must abide by the guidelines set up by Dancing Lemur Press.

Gabe’s Guardian Angel

On sale Aug. 31 – Sept. 4 for $2.99 Amazon eBook
Pick it up at Amazon US, UK, CA, and AU

In just a couple weeks, Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Adventure by Sherry Ellis releases. If you can help announce the book or participate in the Latin Flavors Blog Hop, please do so! The author will be very limited on live events which were a big part of her launch for the first book, Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China, two years ago.

Dancing Lemur Press’ next release is The Window by Dave Cole.

It’s a YA paranormal / paranormal romance / horror with thriller elements.

If that is your genre, please let me know if you can host the author during February.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Your Best Writing May Not Be What You Think

 By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

One of the biggest writing problems I see among people in my mentoring program, and others who hire me to improve their writing, is that they're afraid to write like they talk. Perhaps they fear “wordiness”, but sometimes writing like you talk is less wordy.

For instance, they never use one-word sentences. Or fragments. Those, for sure, are not wordy!

They refuse to start sentences with words such as "and" and "but" because an elementary teacher way back when told them not to.

They try to sound important when they write. So they use long words in long sentences that make up long paragraphs.

They remove all slang from their writing so it's clean and pure. And often, boring.

Business coach Michael Angier agrees.

"Too many times, I see people who are good verbal communicators try to put
on a different air in their writing," he says. "It doesn't work. It's much
better to be conversational."

Writing like you talk is one of thirteen tips Michael offers for writing clearly and convincingly. It was one of the lead articles in an issue of Joan Stewart’s free subscription newsletter, The Publicity Hound.

Lisa Cron’s book, Wired for Story (, shows us how humans were storytellers long before they were writers and how the processes in their lives wired us for story. Story and anecdote. It works for articles like this. It works for novels—great novels. And you’ll see it appearing more and more often as part of news stories. Another book I recommend is Tom Chiarella’s Writing Dialogue ( published by Writer’s Digest. You may find it inexpensively on Amazon’s New and Used feature.

In the newest book in my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writing, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically, I remind authors that the best blurbs and endorsements come from people who compliment their books and their style in off-the-cuff conversations. When asked to write a blurb or endorsement, the same people may use language that is stiff, official—and unconvincing. I tell them to ask their contacts (or reader) if they can use what their reader just said to them rather than having them back up and make it into a brittle, lifeless twig.

And in the second edition of my Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips, to be released September 1 and now in pre-sale mode on Amazon, I talk about how fear of breaking grammar rules (that often, by the way, aren’t really “rules” at all!) leads to unnatural dialogue. This little book also contains some of the word trippers I see most frequently in my clients’ work, and that is where there is no room wiggle room for making the wrong choice.

Readers probably spent many years reading staid textbooks. They may now prefer to learn what they need quickly. When authors make their point with stories (and do it colloquially), they find their readers more easily bond to them. It’s about connection. Think loyalty.

Have you ever wondered why many are turning to the Web for information even at the risk of fake news and unprofessional advice. They are in a hurry. They’re after easily absorbed information (retention). You can provide both. Sure. Watch for wordiness. But don’t skip the story your readers’ brains crave. They’ll love you for it. 


About the Author

Carolyn Howard-Johnson writes fiction, poetry; and the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning third edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; . and the second edition of The Great First Impression Book Proposal. The newest in the series is the second edition of her Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers. Her blog, lets authors recycle their favorite reviews absolutely free. Find submission guidelines in a tab at the top of the home page.


Thank you, Carolyn! If you ever get a chance to meet her in person, do it.

Now, what do you think, readers?