Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group and Raleigh Supercon Experience

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

Today’s option question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I don’t teach a seminar on book publishing for nothing - study the publishing industry in depth! Take a few months and learn about both paths, traditional and self-publishing. Understand how publishers work, how to write a query letter, what’s expected of you as far as marketing. And if you self-publish, learn all about book covers, editing, formatting, distribution, etc. You need to know what you’re doing because if you do it wrong, it can kill your career.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group has some great announcements today.

The 2018 Annual IWSG Anthology Contest

Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Young Adult Romance

A Masquerade can be a false show or pretense, someone pretending to be someone they aren't. It can be a ball, a fancy dress party, it can be a mask. Open to interpretation.

Submissions accepted: September 5 - November 4, 2018

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (Double spaced, no page numbers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges who will be announced September 5.

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group has partnered with Write…Edit…Publish (WEP).

From their site:
Write…Edit…Publish (WEP) is an online writing community now partnering with the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG). We post the third Wednesday of every second month. Check out our program for 2018 in our sidebar and Pages. WEP challenges are open to all. *Submit your name to InLinkz (free) on the first day of the challenge month. The winner for each prompt wins a $10 Amazon Gift Card with winners’ badges for second and third prize.

From the IWSG Goodreads Book Club:

Our book selection for August/September is: The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
This one is for our memoir writers and anyone who has ever thought of writing a memoir. The discussion will start September 19th and will go to the end of the month, but it will be up indefinitely, so you can hop in whenever you're able.

GIVEAWAY: Book club members have the chance to win a paperback copy of Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. This is a used copy, but it’s in great condition.
To enter, go to this Rafflecopter Form. It’s free to enter, but you have to be a book club member. We will verify this, so join us on Goodreads!
One winner will be randomly selected on August 8th, and Chrys Fey will email the winner to get mailing details. All info will be kept private.

This past weekend, Dancing Lemur Press had a booth at Supercon - and it was amazing!

In addition to selling a ton of books, we met a lot of incredible people. The cosplay costumes were stunning. You can visit our Instagram to see dozens of them holding our books.

We also got to meet a few celebrities. I got an autograph from Michael Dorn, Worf from Star Trek.

I also got to speak for a moment with Henry Winkler - he is just such a nice guy! I also attended Steve Whitmire’s Q&A session and was the second person to ask him a question. (He was with Jim Henson productions for years - I love Muppets.)

Probably one of the best moments was Saturday morning just as the crowds were coming in - Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Spin City, etc.) was wandering through the booths and stopped to ask us about our books. And he was gracious enough to pose for a picture with me!

All in all, it was a great experience and we look forward to Supercon 2019. Our next con - Cape Fear Comic Con in Wilmington, NC on August 25!

Please visit The Circle of Friends for the release of our latest book, Unbroken by Annie Highwater.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Is That Convention or Festival a Good Fit For Authors?

Getting out to events is a great way to network, learn, and sell books. But not all conventions and festivals are the same. You have to know exactly what kind of audience they attract and go prepared. Otherwise, you might be disappointed.

Book Festivals
Usually these are geared towards readers and encourage the purchase of books. Some are a few hours long while others span a three-day weekend. Be aware of the cost of a table or booth and if there will be travel expenses. Check past attendance and talk to authors/publishers who attended the previous year. A high-cost table coupled with hotel expenses will likely result in a financial loss - unless exposure is also a major goal of yours. They also provide a great opportunity to network with other authors/publishers.

Book Expos
These are often similar to book festivals, but some expos are geared toward the publishing industry and book buyers. (Think Book Expo where publishers give out hundreds of free books.) It might be a better opportunity for networking.

Writer Conferences and Conventions
Geared toward writers, these are rarely good opportunities for selling books unless your book is aimed specifically at writers and authors. It is a great opportunity for networking and learning, as there will be many panels and sessions during the event. There may even be publishers and agents on hand to take pitches.

Sci-fi and Comic Conventions
Geared toward fans of sci-fi, comic books, horror, etc., these are good for selling books in the sci-fi, fantasy, graphic novel, comic book, and horror genre. Again, check price of booth and past attendance. There are opportunities for networking, plus you can place ads in the program guide and offer giveaways for bags and auctions.

Trade Show
A trade show is geared toward one basic type of product - boat shows, car shows, etc. They attract an audience that is interested in purchasing that type of product or has one and is a big fan. If your book fits the subject matter and would be of interest to attendees, it might be a good opportunity. Again, check booth cost and previous year’s attendance.

Art Festivals & Fairs
These feature artistic and craft items, along with a ton of food and general vendors. Sometimes books are considered art and sometimes not. They are usually not the best place to sell books though. Research each one carefully before considering.

General Festivals
These tend to focus even more on food and general vendors. Only with a very specific and targeted book will you sell well if at all.

Know what type of convention or festival you are looking for and research carefully before plunking down money for a table or booth. And always go in with an open mind, a good attitude, and a willingness to network.

Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. will be at a sci-fi convention July 27-29 - Raleigh Supercon.

We’ve sent bookmarks for giveaway bags and books for auctions and door prizes and we’ve placed ads in program guides. But this will be the first time we’ve had a booth at a science fiction convention.

Attendance for this event was huge last year (its first one) and it came highly recommended by another author. Factor in the cost ($425 for the booth which includes two $75 3-day passes) and the fact it’s within driving distance every day, and we decided it was worth the investment to see what happens.

We also booked three other smaller shows - Cape Fear Comic Con in Wilmington, NC on Aug. 25, Fayetteville Comic Con on Oct. 20-21, and Fanta Sci in Raleigh, NC on Mar. 22-24, 2019.

We’ll be taking photos of cosplayers (holding our books of course) and posting them on Instagram all weekend. Follow us there for some fun photos from the event.

We also posted a pre-show video on Thursday night:

Of course, if you can, come see us this weekend, July 27-29, and register to win free books!

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group and Murder at the Marina

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

We are posting a day early since Wednesday is the 4th of July here in the US.

The IWSG’s Twitter pitch party is July 19. You don’t want to miss this opportunity. We signed a wonderful book coming out this September, Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China, from a #IWSGPit tweet.

Today’s question - What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

I started off with the goal of published author when I was 13. I’m now the author of 5 fiction and 2 non-fiction books.

While I still want to continue writing - and I am working on something now - my goals shifted to publisher. Now my goal is to help the authors we sign achieve their goals.

One of those authors is visiting today. She’s part of the IWSG anthology Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life and here to talk about her own book.

Murder at the Marina

One day, when we were living in Scotland, my husband announced that he wanted to sell everything we own, buy a sailboat, move aboard, and go cruising. I assumed he had developed some form of early dementia and changed the subject. Then he mentioned it again, and again, and again. Turns out this wasn't just a passing fancy. He was serious about this boating stuff and went on a number of sailing trips with his buddies, as well as crewing on boats in the Mediterranean.

When we moved to New Zealand, he was beside himself with excitement. Auckland is known as the “City of Sails” and it was here that he put his “Brainwash Ellen into Loving Sailing” campaign into operation. We chartered boats a few times and it turns out that it was kind of fun. Eventually, I suggested that we could save money by buying our own small sailboat, rather than chartering. That's when he declared his campaign to be a success. We were buying a sailboat and it was my idea.

My experience getting into sailing isn't unusual. Often, it's the guy in the relationship who dreams about getting a boat and the woman gradually warms to the idea over time (or doesn't). When I decided to write a cozy mystery series, I thought it would be fun to make the main character, Mollie McGhie, a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth. Her husband, Scooter, like mine, is obsessed with sailing, so obsessed that he thought presenting Mollie with a dilapidated sailboat for their wedding anniversary was a good idea. He couldn't have been more wrong.

I enjoyed writing about Mollie's reactions to the sailboat, her confusion over sailing terminology, and her experiences learning to sail, as well as have her meet the different types of characters you might encounter at a marina. You could say that there's a little bit of me in Mollie, especially when it comes to our love of chocolate. Although, I do draw the line at investigating murders.

Over the course of the series, Mollie will encounter other aspects of boating life that may not exactly be her cup of tea, while investigating mysterious happenings. Perhaps Scooter will suggest that they sell their house and all their belonging and move onto their boat full-time. Mollie may have to learn to cook on board in rough weather in a cramped, overheated galley. They may join in a regatta and sail to the Bahamas. Maybe something will go terribly wrong with their boat, requiring repairs while at sea. The possibilities are endless.

If you want to follow along as Mollie learns to sail and solves murders, the first book in the series, Murder at the Marina, is available now and the second book, Bodies in the Boatyard, will be released later this year.

Print ISBN 978-1-7321602-1-7
eBook ISBN 978-1-7321602-0-0
A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery #1

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and sci-fi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

How has your ultimate writing goal changed? And what would you do if your husband got you a sailboat for your anniversary?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Pros and Cons to Having a Pen Name by Chrys Fey

To have a pen name or not to have a pen name. That is the question.

Many writers just starting out or who are contemplating publishing for the first time (including published authors considering publishing under a different genre) wonder if they need a pen name or not. Well, need is a silly way to think of a pen name. No, you don’t need a pen name. But do you want one? That question could leave writers divide. Yes and no, they’d probably say. So how can they decide? Weighing the pros and cons, of course!

Take a look at the list below. As you read them, create your own pros and cons tally. Do you love a pro? Add a tally under pros. Does one of the cons bother you? Add a tally under cons.

Now, are you ready?

Pen Name Pros:
1. You can tailor your pen name to your brand (the genres your write and your image). Imagine the last name Law for a writer of crime mysteries.
2. Stand out with a unique pen name (if you have a common name). My real name is very common, but Chrys Fey is unique, which is why I love it.
3. Anonymity. No one has to know it’s you. You can even keep it a secret from your friends and family. Or at the very least, it’s anonymous in that no one has your real name.
4. You could use a pen name to publish in a specific genre far from what you usually publish.
For example, say you published non-fiction under your real name, but now you want to publish erotica or paranormal romance, you could use a pen name to distinguish the two.
5. You can create an identity/persona not unlike yourself but more mysterious, romantic, or fun, depending on your brand/pen name.
6. You can honor someone you love by using their initials or first name as part of your pen name.
7. How you thought of your pen name is a story you can share later when you publish.
8. Gender neutral pen name. Sometimes, you want to attract a specific readership or all readers, regardless of gender. A gender-neutral pen name can help with this.
9. If your name is hard to pronounce, a pen name is a good idea to make it easier on book buyers, publishers, agents, and…yes...readers. The pen name doesn’t even have to be so different. You could easily shorten your name to a nickname or use half of your last name.
10. You can use a pen name to “start fresh.” If you want to distance yourself, for whatever reason, from another pseudonym or from your real name, a pen name can help with this, especially if you create a new persona and go for anonymity.

Pen Name Cons:
1. You don’t want to lie in your bio just because you have a pen name. Be truthful. However, you can use your pen name’s persona to make your bio’s tone fit your brand.
2. If you use a pen name to publish under a different genre, you have to start fresh with building a readership for your pen name, especially if you don’t reveal you are the author. Even if you let your readers know, you’ll have to learn to target a different set of readers.
3. It takes times to come up with a pen name you want to be known by…forever.
4. You have to get used to people referring to you by another name. At first, it can be weird.
5. You have to practice signing another name. And remember to sign it, too! Signing your real name would be a big OOPS!
6. You can’t make your readers feel as though you’re not real, so don’t be over-the-top or pretend to be what you’re not. Be a real person but with a different name.
7. You have to set up accounts for Facebook, Twitter, and all social media platforms for your pen name, which means having to build followers from 0. You’ll need a new website, too, which could mean two if you plan to publish under different names.
8. If you want to protect your name, you’ll have to copyright under your pen name. Copyright done with a real name lasts for the life of the author plus 80 years. Copyright done with a pen name is protected for 95 years starting from the publication date.
9. You have to make sure to fill in your pen name whenever you do something publishing related, such as submitting a query letter or entering a contest.
10. Promoting under two names can be a strain, unless you combine your accounts and let readers in on your secret.

Some of these may not apply to you, and many of these cons can be conquered. Basically, the decision falls under whether you want your books to have your real name on them and if you want readers to know you by your real name. Even if you use a pen name, though, that doesn’t mean it’s not you. You become that name and will feel a sense of pride seeing it on your books.

If you like the idea of using a pen name to your advantage, then do it.

If you’ve already published under your real name and think managing a pen name on top of that will be too hard, then you don’t need one.

Consider each pro and each con. Ask yourself what you envision, what you want. Then stick by that choice. Pen names are great, but so is using your birth name.

There is no right answer for everyone, only the right answer for you.

For more information like this check out:

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication by Chrys Fey

Barnes & Noble / iTunes /Kobo / Amazon

BIO: Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book! From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. Fey is an editor for Dancing Lemur Press and runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Goodreads book club. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog Write With Fey for more tips. @ChrysFey Website: Chrys Fey

There’s also a giveaway:

Do you have a pen name or considered using one?

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

IWSG and News, Write With Fey, Bayou Writers Conference

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

I’m a day early because a new book comes out today that is perfect for writers.

Today’s question - What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Neither, really. Most of my characters came to me pre-named. Others came from the Bible. (Matthew, Mark, James, etc.) My fiction series title was a suggestion from my husband and my non-fiction books are titled after seminars I teach. So, I don’t find either challenging.

I’m speaking at several events this fall, including the Bayou Writers Conference in Lake Charles, Louisiana. “A Bridge to Publication Conference” takes place on October 13 and all writers are welcome. I'm doing one session and taking pitches from writers that day.
Plus! I have brochures for the event. If you live within driving distance of Lake Charles, LA (western LA, near Texas border) and would like some brochures to share with other writers, please leave a comment. I’m happy to share them with you. (I live 1000 miles away and not many writers here will be making that trip. LOL!)

IWSG News:

The IWSG anthology contest opens September 5th.
The genre - YA romance.
The theme will be announced on September 5th, so don’t miss it.

The next IWSG Twitter Pitch Event is July 19th. Get the details about #IWSGPit at the site - rules, hashtags, hours, etc. This is the 3rd IWSG hosted pitch party and there are hundreds upon hundreds of agents and publishers invited to check the stream that day.
Do pitch parties work? Yes! Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. signed Sherry Ellis and her book, Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China, comes out on September 4th.

The July IWSG post day will be on Tuesday, July 3rd instead of Wednesday, July 4th. (Fourth of July national holiday here in the United States.)

Today, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C./Freedom Fox Press is delighted to announce the release of an amazing book that’s perfect for writers! 

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You From Idea to Publication by Chrys Fey

Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You’ll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.
• Spark One: Being a Writer
• Spark Two: Story Essentials
• Spark Three: A Book’s Stepping Stones
• Spark Four: How To
• Spark Five: Character ER
• Spark Six: Editing
• Spark Seven: Publishing
• Spark Eight: Marketing
• Spark Nine: Writing About
• Spark Ten: Final Inspiration
With so much information, you’ll take notes, highlight, and flag pages to come back to again and again on your writing journey.

Available June 5, 2018
6x9 trade paperback, 370 pages, Freedom Fox Press
Creative Writing / Publishing / Marketing
$19.95 Print ISBN 9781939844484
$5.99 eBook ISBN 9781939844491

“Publishing a book can seem overwhelming, but Chrys Fey breaks it down in this indispensable guide for writers. Fey's step-by-step instructions and encouraging style help with everything from pre-writing to marketing a published book.” - Elizabeth S. Craig, author

“Solid, sound basic writing book for the writing daring to be an author. The "10 Sparks" cover a wealth of topics with abbreviated, concise guidance, giving authors a fantastic place to check off all the necessities.” ~C. Hope Clark, The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mysteries, Founder of

“A must-read book for those who are serious about writing, but are clueless or doubtful of their writing capabilities. I would suggest this book to all who write as a desk reference book - it will be worth it!” 5 stars - Readers Favorites

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series and an editor for Dancing Lemur Press. She started her blog, Write with Fey, to offer aspiring writers inspiration, advice, and hope. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, and since then she has been a dedicated citizen in the writing world.

Again, if you live in Louisiana or Texas and would like some brochures for the writers conference in October, please leave a comment.

Now, are you ready to Write With Fey? Visit her site and enter to win some really cool writing swag.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What You Might Not Know About the Author Behind Some Very Messy Medieval Magic

C. Lee McKenzie has a new release today.

But before we get to that, I asked her to share some things you might not know about her. This was she told me:

I wanted to be an archeologist and had that as my life plan until I hit college. Then I discovered how woefully ill-equipped I was. I’m not a patient person. I tend to rush to the end of things so I can move on to the next item. Using a delicate brush to very carefully reveal tiny shards from the long-lost past, just wouldn’t have worked. Besides, I turn into a crispy critter in the sun (there are a lot digs in the desserts of the world), I truly dislike being cold (I’m thinking Iceland and Vikings here) and closed spaces make me crazy (Siberian caves would send me off screaming).

This may or may not be a secret, but I’m a neat freak. My husband doesn’t dare set anything down where it doesn’t “belong,” or i put it away. My grandmother was like this and my mom, so it’s in my DNA. My husband often says he wishes he’d known this proclivity of mine sooner. He always says this just before he stomps out the door looking for that tool he set aside to do a repair job. “Sorry, dear.”

I love to cook, and I seldom repeat a menu because there are so many delicious things to try. My favorite foods are Indian (all kinds from north to south of that continent) and anything middle-eastern. It’s the cinnamon, turmeric, and garam marsala that appeal to my taste buds.

I prefer to grow my own veggies, and often graze in my garden while I weed or prune stuff. A lot of my produce never sees a kitchen. Tomatoes and carrots are often lunch.


By C. Lee McKenzie

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again...

$13.95 Print ISBN 9781939844460
$3.99 EBook ISBN 9781939844477
Juvenile Fiction - Fantasy & Magic (JUV037000) / Boys & Men (JUV005000)

“A gripping adventure back in time, with action around every corner.” - Stephanie Robinson, author of The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

“A great addition to middle school classrooms and libraries, as well as your own private library.” - Beverly Stowe McClure, award-winning author of stories for children and teens.

“This third book in the Adventures of Pete and Weasel series was as much fun as the first.” - Kai Strand, author

“A rich cast of characters who bring the story to life – both in modern and historical times. I highly recommend librarians and teachers get this series on their shelves.” - Hall Ways Reviews

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand.
Website / Facebook / Twitter

Purchase/find Some Very Messy Medieval Magic at Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes / Amazon / Foyles / Goodreads

Plus check out the book trailer for the series:

Who’s ready to get messy with some medieval magic?

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group and Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime

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

I’m a day early because I have big news.

Today’s question - It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others or not?

Inspired or not, I’m usually too busy with releases and DLP stuff to write much. But summer is more my season since it’s so hot here. It’s a good excuse to stay inside and write.

The big news is the release of the 3rd IWSG anthology!

Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

$14.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 204 pages, Freedom Fox Press
Mystery & Detective (FIC022000) / Crime (FIC050000) / Thrillers (FIC031000)
Print ISBN 9781939844545 eBook ISBN 9781939844552
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

“Each story is fast paced, grabbing the reader from the beginning.” - Readers' Favorite, 5 stars

“I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of thought-provoking crime stories.” - Denise Covey, author

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 and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter.

Tick Tock links:
Purchase at Amazon / B&N / iTunes Kobo
Find on Goodreads
Follow the Tick Tock Mystery Blog and Tick Tock Mystery Facebook Group
Watch the trailer on YouTube, created by Mary Aalgaard

I also recently updated my How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now!
All new links and information.
You can buy it here for only $2.99:
Amazon / iTunes / B&N / Kobo / BAM

Are you inspired to write? Inspired to pick up Tick Tock or the updated How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now?

* Due to crunch time with two upcoming releases, I will be mostly offline May 7-11.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Dancing Lemur Press Seeking Intern

Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. is seeking an intern for marketing research and development.

Location not an issue but person must be available between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm Eastern. Must be someone comfortable with Internet navigation, compiling data, and phone calls.

Depending on performance, skills, and quick response, internship could quickly lead to a paid freelance position. At the moment, there will be a trade of work for a large database.

Visit Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and send an email stating interest and qualifications.

If you can spread the word, we’d be most grateful.

@DancingLemurPre seeking intern - apply through #intern

Thank you!

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group, Revolution 2050 Release

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

Today’s question -
When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing? 

What writing life?

I think I actually write better when times are darker. Writing is an emotional release for me and I use it as such to get through those rainy days.

Now if someone could just give me a 40-hour day, I could write.

* * *

Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. is launching a new marketing campaign aimed at libraries. This includes library request forms that readers can email or take directly to their local library. The form presents the library with all the information it needs to order a copy for their shelves.

We’ve sent request forms to some of our authors, but I know many of you are also fans of these authors and are in a position to help. If you would like a pdf copy of the form of any of the following titles, please let me know or send an email to inquiries @ This is a great opportunity to support a fellow author and if you’ve not had a chance to buy the book, a chance for you to read it courtesy of your local library.

Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain
CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh
Cling to God by Lynda R. Young
Corners by Corrina Austin
Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh
He Gave Me Barn Cats by Maria Santomasso-Hyde
Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life - IWSG anthology
Parallels: Felix Was Here - IWSG anthology
The Remnant - William Michael Davidson
Revolution 2050 by Jay Chalk
Some Very Messy Medieval Magic by C. Lee McKenzie
Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime - IWSG anthology
Tornado Warning - Tamara Hart Heiner
Under a Purple Moon - Beverly Stowe McClure

* * *

I’m happy to announce the next release from Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.:

Revolution 2050

by Jay Chalk

Samuel Moore is living a dystopian lie…

After a civil war, the North American Commonwealth now dominates the eastern half of the former United States. Controlled by a totalitarian regime called the Directorate, the NAC demands compliance, awareness, and unity. A Directorate member and teacher, Sam enjoys the benefits while skirting the forbidden.

Then Sam encounters Katie Spencer. She sneaks him a short wave radio and he hears the Western Alliance broadcasts. Katie also reveals a video she captured of NAC death camps. Sam realizes he’s involved in a nightmare that could shake every foundation.

With the video broadcast date approaching and several students desperate to escape to the Western Alliance, Sam is forced to decide. Remain loyal to the Directorate? Or abandon all he’s ever known to fight for freedom?

Release date - April 3, 2018
$19.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 330 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science Fiction (FIC028000) /Dystopian (FIC055000)
Print ISBN 9781939844439 / EBook ISBN 9781939844446
Order through Ingram, Follett Library Solutions, or from the publisher
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Jay Chalk is a twenty-year veteran high school teacher of government, U.S. history and English. He's the author of several novels, two of which are speculative fiction, and he's currently working on a third, hoping to tie them into a possible trilogy. He lives in East Texas and when not teaching or writing, he's flying or playing the guitar.

Purchase at Amazon / Barnes & Noble / BAM / iTunes / Nook / Kobo / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Goodreads

Monday, March 19, 2018

JL Campbell and Why You Will Love the Hero

Please welcome JL Campbell as she discusses the hero in her latest book, The Thick of Things.

Three reasons readers will love the hero:

For mature people, a lapse in decorum means it’s time to take stock. Douglas has an out-of-character experience, however, he’s not someone to wallow in his mistakes. Instead, he convinces Khalila that she needs to take a chill pill, face reality and get past their initial foul-up.

Despite Khalila's reluctance to interface with him, Douglas salvages the situation with style and grace. So why should readers love this hero? Here’s my two cents worth:

He’s a nurturer: He puts up with Khalila’s foolishness and doesn’t drag her off to his cave by the hair to drum some sense into her head. Instead, he’s kind and patient, wearing down her defenses and getting her to see beyond their blunder.

He’s long-suffering: Khalila would try the patience of Job with her inability to get past her mistakes and move out of the rut she’s stuck in. Douglas is a breath of fresh air, who shakes things up and reminds her she’s very much alive and has needs like any other healthy forty-two-year old woman.

He’s a fire-starter: From a single encounter, Douglas revs Khalila’s sexual engine but also wants her to understand that their relationship goes beyond the physical. Having lit her fire, so to speak, he has a hard time keeping Khalila at bay, but Douglas has uncommon restraint which drives Khalila nuts.

Few men would go out of their way to track down a woman of questionable character. Douglas shows himself to be a unique individual, who not only does exactly that, but makes Khalila want more of what he has to offer, although she does get in her own way half the time.

The Thick of Things by JL Campbell
GENRE: women's fiction with romantic elements, contemporary romance

Life has a way of going awry when you least expect it, and Khalila Skyers learns this lesson the hard way. In one devastating blow after another, she loses her cosy existence. Then Douglas Blythe overtakes her life like a flood, and she’s not equipped to deal with an attraction that seems forbidden and overwhelming. But her body and heart want what they want, and leave her wondering if she ever knew herself at all.
Douglas is determined to help Khalila move beyond her obsession with the past and reach for love a second time. No matter how long it takes. No matter the distance. He’s going to prove he’s worth the risk.

Buy Links:

Would you love that kind of hero?

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group and Corners

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

March’s question - How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story?

It’s been a while since I finished a story. But I do know what it’s like to bring a book to fruition. And today is a special one - one of the best books Dancing Lemur Press, LLC has ever produced. I believe in all of our books, but this is one of the best stories and best written.

“Austin’s message of true friendship and selflessness will resonate...strong addition to the realistic fiction genre.” - Library Journal

By Corrina Austin

Everyone needs their own special corner...

It’s 1969 and ten-year-old Davy is in a predicament. With two weeks remaining of the summer holidays, he’s expelled from the public pool for sneaking into the deep end and almost drowning. How will he break the news to his hard-working single mother? She’s at the diner all day, Davy has no friends, and he’s too young to stay by himself.

The answer lies in his rescuer, mysterious thirteen-year-old Ellis Wynn. Visiting her Grammy for the summer, Ellis offers to babysit Davy. She teaches him about “corners”–forgotten or neglected areas fixed up special. Together, the kids tackle several “corners” and Davy learns what it means to bring joy to others.

Davy begins to wonder, though. Why does Ellis want to be his friend? Why doesn’t she ever smile? And is Davy just one of Ellis’ “corners?”

Release date - March 6, 2018
$10.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 136 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Juvenile Fiction - Boys & Men / Fiction - Coming of Age
Print ISBN 9781939844392 eBook ISBN 9781939844408
$3.99 EBook available in all formats

“This book was so engaging! Five out five stars.” - TDC Book Reviews

“This is a story about love and loss, wrapped in a blanket of friendship... reminds me of the storytelling method used in The Princess Bride.” - Gina @ Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

“I hope you enjoy making a corner once you've read this sweet emotional read.” - Nayu’s Reading Corner

Corrina Austin grew up in the 1960’s. She became a mother of four and an elementary school teacher, but always found time between work and family for writing. From childhood to the present, if she wasn’t reading a book, she was writing one. While honing her craft as a writer, Corrina strives to infuse the ordinary with beauty, whimsy, and connection. She lives in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.

Due to this release, a presenter’s expo, and other obligations this week, I will not be able to visit others and thus comments are turned off. Many thanks to those who visit and/or help me spread the word about this amazing book.

Be sure to visit other Insecure Writer’s Support Group members.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Checklist for a Great Query

What makes a query letter stand out from the pack?

Obviously a good summary of a great story is important. Writers need to cover the who, what, when, where, why, and how in just a couple paragraphs. They need a great hook. They need a quality story worthy of querying.

But beyond the synopsis, what else can a writer do to insure his query is the best it can be? It’s all in the details, and those little things are important.

Here’s a good checklist:

  • Make sure the publisher accepts your genre. Don’t just judge by what they publish or a list elsewhere. Check their submission guidelines.
  • Is the publisher currently open for submissions?
  • Do they accept works that have already been self-published?
  • Do they accept queries via email, snail mail, or through a form?
  • Select the right editor or agent for your query. Get a name and spell it correctly.
  • What do they want in a query? Query only? Synopsis or outline, too? Marketing plan? Other details? Send ONLY what they request.
  • Make sure everything is the proper length and includes all details. A query letter should only be the equivalent of one page. A synopsis should be double spaced and 2-5 pages in length. An outline is also double spaced and 3-10 pages in length. A marketing plan should be one good-sized paragraph to one page and cover online and offline plans along with social sites and real-world memberships. A writer’s bio should be between a line or two to one paragraph.
  • Include name, address, and email address in the query.
  • Do they accept attachments? If not stated, assume they don’t.
  • Send only one personalized query at a time - no mass emails.
  • If mailing, send on white paper with black ink and include a SASE.

Beyond that, personalize each query according to what the publisher or agent requests or likes:
  • Would comparing the manuscript to other published books be a plus or a minus?
  • Are they open to author illustrations? (Most aren’t.)
  • How much success with other publishers or self-published books should be noted?

Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll give your query the best possible chance.

I also had an article on Friday at Frugal Book Promotions - Ten Tips For Formatting a Book

And Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain is on sale until March 8 for just 99 cents!

EBook ISBN 9781939844262

Grab it at: Barnes & Noble / Amazon / Kobo / iTunes

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group and Favorite Genre

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

Today’s question - What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

I write in several genres, none of which I really consider the genre I write most often.

My five book series The Circle of Friends is NA/YA. There wasn’t NA when the books came out, which is where they actually fit. While I’m not a big fan of YA (too much angst) I do like NA and the aspect of adults beginning their lives. A big element of that of course is falling in love, and I like a bit of romance in my stories.

I’ve also written a self-help book, along with two seminars and many articles. I’ve read hundreds of self-help/success/leadership/goal-setting books and I love the message that dreams are possible if we make it happen by becoming the person we were meant to be.

There’s also my publishing and promoting book, based on the two seminars I teach - and a lot of experience as owner of Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. I’ve put together two other seminars and many articles that are instructional, and I think this is one area I feel really comfortable in. My natural skill is organizing and I like sharing what I know with others.

Currently I am working on a series of stories for a paranormal romance book. There will be 4-5 stories - the vampire, the werewolf, the ghost, the alien, and the shark. (I really do need to finish this book and explain that last one.) Again, it comes back to a little bit of romance but also room to explore new areas and not be confined by the real world.
You can see all five boards I've created for these stories on Pinterest. (They are the Four in Darkness boards.) If you're on Pinterest, please follow a board or two so I can find you.

What do you love about your genre?

Monday, January 29, 2018

CassaStar Special and Next Release

Today through February 10, 2018 - just .99 cents:

By Alex J Cavanaugh

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.

Much to Byron’s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

Science fiction/adventure (FIC028010) and science fiction/space opera (FIC028030) - eBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-3-8

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

EBook available at Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Kobo / Amazon UK

Upcoming release:

by Corrina Austin

Everyone needs their own special corner...

“Austin’s message of true friendship and selflessness will resonate...strong addition to the realistic fiction genre.” - Library Journal

Release date - March 6, 2018
$10.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 136 pages
Juvenile Fiction - Boys & Men (JUV005000) / Fiction - Coming of Age (FIC043000)
Print ISBN 9781939844392 eBook ISBN 9781939844408
$3.99 EBook available in all formats

Ready to take a chance on a .99 book?
Do you have your own special corner?

It may be a day or two before I can return visits. I really hurt my back this weekend and need to focus what I can on DLP first.  My back can only handle a chair so long.

Monday, January 15, 2018

#IWSGPit - January 18 & Success Story and Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime Cover Reveal

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Twitter Pitch Party - #IWSGPit is this Thursday, January 18, from 8:00 - 8:00 pm EST.

Are Twitter pitch parties worth it? Do publishers and agents sign writers who participate?

Last July, during the first #IWSGPit, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. hearted numerous pitches. Out of about nine queries, we requested a couple partials and one full. In the end, we found one delightful middle grade story and signed that author last fall.

Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China by Sherry Ellis is now scheduled for release on September 4, 2018.

So the answer is yes! There are success stories. And your manuscript could be one of them.

The rules:

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On January 18, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.

Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every hour per manuscript.

Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines. (Writers, please do not favorite/heart pitches.)

No images allowed in pitches.

Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit.

#C - children’s
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult
#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crime/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction

And now the cover reveal and announcement for the next IWSG anthology:

Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

Release date - May 1, 2018
Freedom Fox Press
Mystery & Detective/Crime/Thrillers
Print ISBN 9781939844545
EBook ISBN 9781939844552

Will you be participating in #IWSGPit or picking up Tick Tock?

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Fire that Inspired Flaming Crimes by Chrys Fey (Part 1)

AUTHOR NOTE: Many scenes in Flaming Crimes (Disaster Crimes #4) came from real life. For this short blog tour, I am sharing my memories as a ten-part continuous story, so hop along for the entire experience.


Series: Disaster Crimes #4
Page Count: 304 
Digital Price: 4.99 
Print Price: 16.99
Rating: Spicy (PG13) 



My best friend and I waited for her dad to pick us up from school. I could smell a hint of smoke in the air, but I couldn’t see anything. It wasn’t until I was seated in the backseat of my best friend’s dad’s car and we turned away from the school, toward home, when a smoke plume became visible. It was stretching above the trees, reaching higher into the sky. The color went from light to dark gray. While staring at it, my mouth went dry, my palms became slick with sweat, and it felt as though my heart sank down to my gallbladder. For a reason I could not explain, that smoke plume terrified me.

We all looked at it. And then my best friend’s dad said something to me I’ll never forget, “It looks like it’s right next to your house.”

The seed of panic that had cropped up at the sight of that smoke grew to full-blown panic. My heart raced. The closer we got, the larger the smoke plume became.

When we turned into my neighborhood, that smokestack was right in front of us, expanding and growing darker.

My best friend’s dad stopped the car at the end of my road to talk to someone, and my panic exploded into a trillion pieces. Looking down the street, I saw fire feasting on the trees next to my house.

It. Was. Right. There.


Excerpt from Flaming Crimes:

Beth’s heart clenched at the sight of the smoke stacks, as if a fist had driven through her chest and was squeezing the meaty human drum, paralyzing it. She gripped the door handle. The faster Donovan drove and the closer they got to home, to those tiers of billowing, dark smoke, the more anxious she became. Donovan’s words replayed in her head.

It looks like it’s right next to our house.

Her heart woke from its coma and punched her ribcage like a boxer attacking a speed bag. Perspiration dampened her underarms and slicked her palms. Please, God, no. I can’t lose my home again.

The story will continue on these blogs:

1/8Circle of Friends Books - Part 1
1/9Sandra CoxPart 2
1/10Elements of EmaginettePart 3
1/11Julie FlandersPart 4
1/12I Think; Therefore, I YamPart 5
1/15Alex J. CavanaughPart 6
1/16Just JemiPart 7
1/17Sandra DaileyPart 8
1/18FundinmentalPart 9
1/19Elizabeth SeckmanPart 10

About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links:

Thank you for reading this post! Don’t forget to hop along to the other posts on their designated days for the full fiery story.

SHARE: Your fire story with me.