Wednesday, May 04, 2022

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Goal-Setting Webinar, and Meeting Visions of Atlantis


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

Today’s question - It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

Connecting with readers is always a high. When a reader gets it, falls in love with the story, or what you wrote helps them, it’s a wonderful feeling.

It’s low when a book just doesn’t find its readers, when marketing your brains out doesn’t seem to help.


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We have a new admin joining the IWSG - Sandra Cox.

Sandra is a very welcome member of the team.

Stop by and say hi to Sandra.




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Webinar rescheduled!

This is one of my first and funnest seminars - and it’s online. If you need a little boost with goal-setting, this one’s for you.

Achieving Personal and Business Goals Webinar
May 12, 6:30-8:30 pm
Free for anyone – register HERE
Is your life or business stagnating? Do you need motivation? A new level of success can be achieved by adjusting your mindset! L. Diane Wolfe delivers focused training on the five keys to success - a positive attitude, people skills, self-esteem, overcoming fears, and setting smart goals. Individuals and business owners looking to energize their productivity are encouraged to attend this spirited seminar!


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And on a personal note, I got to meet one of my favorite bands, Visions of Atlantis!

I never thought I’d see them in concert since they are from Austria. But they toured the States and at the beginning of April, we drove to Greensboro to see them. AND – my husband gave me an early anniversary present. He got us the “Meet & Greet” package, so we got pictures with the band, they autographed posters for us, and then they sang four songs acoustic. There were only ten people meeting the band, so it was small and intimate. What a treat!


What are your writer lows and highs? Need some help achieving your goals? Have you ever met a favorite band?

Monday, April 25, 2022

Working with a Cover Artist by Sandra Cox

First, I’d like to thank Diane for helping me get the word out on Mateo’s Blood Brother a sequel to Mateo’s Law then chat with you about working with cover artists.

When it’s time to market your book, deciding on a cover is one of the most important decisions you make. A cover can mean the difference between someone looking at your book or barely glancing at it before moving on to the next.

I’ve had a lot of great covers that have come out of the publishing presses I’ve signed with. All asked for my vision on creating the cover. Most have a limit on how much they are willing to change once the cover has been created. And that’s understandable. When you publish indie that cover is your only concern. When publishing with trad your cover is one of many. There’re pluses and minuses for indie and trad. Traditional and small press want your book to succeed so they’re going to do their best to make sure you have an attractive cover AND you don’t have the out-of-pocket expense of paying for it. But that doesn’t guarantee you’re going to get the exact cover you want. I had one trad cover, while it was okay, it was obvious the artist had never looked at my request sheet. There was nothing on the cover I’d requested.

Many indie authors create their own covers. There’re software packages like bookbrush.com that make this much easier than it used to be. For those that aren’t that comfortable with creating their cover or don’t have the time, there are a plethora of artists that create covers. Prices range from in the hundreds to under twenty. If you go by the dollar amount, you’d think the best covers are the highest price. I’m very pleased that hasn’t been the case for me.

I started out with an artist that charged just under a hundred if memory serves. The first cover I absolutely loved. The second I was okay with but asked for a change and she kindly told me I could make that one myself. Needless to say, at that point I started looking for a new cover artist. A fellow writer told me about Fiverr and I hopped right over. I tried a couple of artists there but I wasn’t satisfied with the covers. Then I discovered pixelstudio (at Fiverr) and I’ve been there ever since. They have a range of services starting at ten dollars. The process is pretty straight forward. You make your payment, pick out color and font and leave your specifications along with what background picture you want. For this you are sent to a commercial platform of licensed stock photos that pixelstudio has an account with to pick out your background picture. The downside is, it can be very time consuming. There have been times I’ve spent a couple of days looking for the background picture I wanted for my cover. On the upside, the covers are so reasonably priced if you decide, down the road, you want something different, you can go back and have another made quite cheaply. Turn around time is usually three days…

Cover done.

For the other Indie authors out there, where do you have your covers made? Or do you make them yourself?


Behind the amicable fa├žade is a man who’s tough and determined. He’s Mateo’s Blood Brother.



Blurb:

They were friends, close as brothers. Then they weren’t.
Mateo and Jesse are cautiously working their way back to friendship when Jesse discovers the unthinkable. Layla/Delilah, the sultry shifter who’d had affairs with both men, is still alive. The tumble she took over a mountain ridge—a fall that nearly killed Mateo—should have finished her.
Now, there’s no choice but for the two men to work together to take down a she-devil straight from hell. As the stakes escalate and the hunt becomes more intense, another wolf appears on the scene. Always where Jesse’s at. Always when he’s in trouble. Jesse is divided between ending Delilah, a new love interest, discovering the identity of a certain brown wolf and staying alive.
Available at Amazon

Excerpt:
“She’s alive.”
Mateo studied Jesse. The chief’s face stoic except for eyes that sparked with an emotion the sheriff couldn’t read. Still, it made him shift uneasily in his chair. Anxiety and fear pheromones rolled off Jesse. And Jesse didn’t scare easily.
The outside door banged open, distracting him. Boots clomped. A moment later, Adam stuck his head around the door. An aspiring attorney, the young man did their paperwork during the day and took classes at night. “Boss—”
“Later, Adam.” Mateo’s eyes never left Jesse.
“Sure, Boss.” Adam’s head swiveled from one to the other before he disappeared.
“Who’s alive?” The words were no sooner out of Mateo’s mouth when a premonition, so terrible it chilled his blood, hit him. Hard. The hair on the back of his neck rose. And he knew. Knew before Jesse uttered the word.
“Layla.”
On some level, he’d known before now. For a week, he’d been hearing eerie howling that set his teeth on edge and made his hackles rise. And the old wolf, his dad, and the wolf pup had been acting strangely. The old wolf always staring into the distance with his ruff on end and a continual low snarl rolling out of his throat. The pup cowering close to the old wolf. “That’s impossible. The fall killed her. Nearly killed me.”
“I saw her.”
“Saw her?”
“She was half-wolf. Half-human.” Jesse scrubbed his face with his hands.
“Shit.” Mateo’s extensive vocabulary limited this morning.
“She’ll be coming for you. You and Blair.”
“She won’t get her.” He growled. Literally growled.
“Down, wolf.” For the first time, Jesse smiled.

About Sandra Cox:

Award winning author, Sandra Cox writes All Things Western and more, is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina.


She spent a number of years in the Midwest chasing down good Southern BBQ. By the time she moved to North Carolina where Southern BBQ is practically a staple, she’d become a vegetarian.

Pineapple is a must-have on pizza, along with black olives and onions.

She loves pumpkin waffles or pancakes. Pumpkin cream cheese, not so much.

You can find her at: Sandra Cox, author / Cowboy Trivia / blog / Twitter


Last but not least, a funky little giveaway:

Our lovely hostess will draw a commenter out of the proverbial hat for an I ♥ Books beady bracelet.
Have a creative day.



What has been your experience working with a cover artist?

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

CassaDark Release and the Insecure Writer’s Support Group

I’m posting a day early because Dancing Lemur Press has a new release today!



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


April 6 question - Have any of your books been made into audio books? If so, what is the main challenge in producing an audiobook?

Twelve of Dancing Lemur Press’ book are available in audio.
The biggest challenge is finding just the right narrator. There must be passion and personality in the voice.
We also must select just the right book. Several of our titles sell every month and a couple sell only a few each year.
Overall, we’ve been very pleased with our audio books!

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AVAILABLE NOW!

By Alex J. Cavanaugh

His world is unraveling…

Bassan’s father is stepping down from command. His best friend almost dies when Bassan freezes. Now, he’s being sent across the galaxy to speak at an important conference. Despite saving the eleven races years ago, he’s paralyzed by doubt. Could things get any worse?

Once there, new acquaintance Zendar convinces Bassan to visit his planet for a humanitarian mission. Bassan’s special connection to ancient technology is the key to saving Zendar’s people. One problem though—it’s a prisoner planet.

On Ugar, he discovers things aren’t so straightforward. As each truth reveals itself, the situation grows more desperate. If he can’t find the right answers, he might die along with Zendar’s people. Can Bassan summon the courage to be a hero again?


Print – 9781939844842 $16.95
EBook – 9781939844859 $4.99
Science fiction - adventure/space opera/space exploration

“Cavanaugh returns to the world of his Cassa Series…for a fourth inventive space opera.” – Publisher’s Weekly

Praise for his other Cassa books:
“…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


Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design and graphics. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is known as Ninja Captain Alex and is the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. His Cassa books are Amazon Best Sellers and winners of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Website / Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Links: iTunes / Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Scribed / Goodreads




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Another of our authors had a release last month from The Wild Rose Press:


Kiss of the Assassin
by Joylene Nowell Butler
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc (March 23, 2022)
Paperback: 424 pages
ASIN: B09P7T1ZRS


Marina Antonovna, a Soviet spy, and Mateo Arcusa, an American homicide lieutenant first meet in Cambodia during the Vietnam War as enemies. Fearful that the most powerful man in the Soviet Union, KGB Chairman Vladimir Kurenkov, has ordered her death, Marina risks everything to defect to the United States.

She promises Mateo that her days as an assassin are over. Vladimir is determined to do whatever it takes to bring her back and, by threatening Mateo’s life, forces Marina to break her promise.

Joylene Butler lives with her husband in the tiny village of Cluculz Lake in central B.C... She is the author of three suspense novels and a contributor to one anthology.


For more on Joylene and her writing, visit her website and blog, as well as connect with her on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.


What’s your take on audio books?

And order CassaDark today through any of the links or through Dancing Lemur Press direct. (Extra bookmarks and swag included with print orders!)


Wednesday, March 02, 2022

The Insecure Writer's Support Group and Free Publishing/Promoting Seminars


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

March 2 question - Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?

Actually, I’ve a couple story ideas that have been with me for a long time. But I will never write them. When I first began this journey, my husband cautioned – don’t write anything you wouldn’t want our pastor to read. And I have stuck with that. (And proud to say, our former pastor Bill Wilson contributed to my Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK! book.)


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I will be doing my full Publishing and Promoting seminars for Wilkes Community College on March 22.
They are virtual!
Anyone can register – you don’t have to live in NC. And they are FREE.
Go to this page and scroll down to the marketing section to register HERE.


Seminars - Publishing & Promoting 101 & 102

Are you filled with aspirations of being an author? Are you considering starting a publishing company? Dancing Lemur Press owner L. Diane Wolfe walks you through the steps of creating a marketable product, business setup, production, printing, and distribution, as well as manuscript querying. She shows you how to develop contacts, build an online presence, and generate publicity. You’ll learn how to use the Internet as a resource and platform and tap into the eBook and audio book revolution. The industry is changing fast and new information and websites appear daily. Those serious about book publishing and promotion are encouraged to attend these informative seminars. Handout and resources provided.


I’m also doing my Achieving Small Business Goals webinar for Roanoke-Chowan Community College on March 15 at 6:30 EST.
Again, free for anyone to register! They are geared towards businesses and business owners, but any individual looking to set and achieve goals will get a lot out of them.
Go to this page and scroll down to marketing – it’s the only seminar listed - HERE.

Is your business stagnating? Do you or your employees need motivation? A new level of success can be achieved by adjusting your mindset! L. Diane Wolfe delivers focused training on the five keys to success - a positive attitude, people skills, self-esteem, overcoming fears, and setting smart business goals. Small business owners looking to energize their productivity are encouraged to attend this spirited seminar!

Have you been conflicted? Interested in learning more about publishing, promoting, or goal setting for free?


And Tara Tyler interviewed me, the publisher, on her site today. You can read that HERE.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

My Magic Summer, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, and Jeremy Hawkins Tribute

I’m a day early because Dancing Lemur Press has a new release!


My Magic Summer
With the Moon Maidens

By Brian Carmody
Print 9781939844804 $17.95
EBook 9781939844811 $4.99
Young Adult – Contemporary Fantasy/Coming of Age/Boys & Men

Who are these moon maidens?

Summer of ’94 and Connor Whelan is excited to spend the last three months before his senior year with his uncle in Texas. Aware this trip is due to his mom’s cancer treatments, he still hopes this will be a season of magic.

He gets his wish when he encounters three magical women one night. Claiming to be from the moon itself, bewitching Iluna, flighty Eiru, and motherly Cassiopeia are about to make Connor’s last summer of childhood one to remember.

However, his interest in local girl Laura puts him in hot water with her tough boyfriend. His fascination with Iluna also confuses him. Will the moon maidens’ lessons about joy, wonder, and hope get him through this crazy summer?

An award-winning screenwriter and author, Brian Carmody is a dreamer, a wisher, a hoper, a prayer, a pretender and a magic bean buyer. He’s had moondreams from Texas to Virginia, and now California, where he has plenty of other flax golden tales to spin by his fire.

Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes / Kobo / Scribed / Goodreads

“A beautiful, magical coming-of-age story that shouldn’t be missed.” - Jessica Leake, author of Beyond a Darkened Shore and Through the White Wood

“My Magic Summer With the Moon Maidens is a beautifully written coming of age fantasy with characters that will stay with you long after you read the last page.” - Christy Cooper-Burnett, author of the award-winning Christine Stewart Time-Travel Series.

“This was a fun, sweet, coming of age meets fantasy story.” - Wendy @ Wall-to-Wall Books

“My Magic Summer casts a magic spell!" - Okey Ndibe, author of Foreign Gods, Inc.

“I was thoroughly charmed.” – Sandra Cox, author





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

Feb. 2 question – Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn't around anymore? Anyone you miss?

I had a mentor when I began this journey, even before I opened Dancing Lemur Press. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding, a couple authors throwing me under the bus, and the friendship fell apart. Sadly, life is full of meetings and partings.



Jeremy Hawkins Tribute

On January 3, we lost an amazing guy – Jeremy Hawkins.
On February 2, we are going to pay tribute and give back to one who was so giving and involved in our community.

I got to know Jeremy through the A to Z Challenge the year I was a helper. He loved movies and music and always posted such fun stuff on his blog.

When I purchased an IWSG t-shirt, I noticed he’d also designed a Minions one, and I had to have it.


Jeremy is one of those people who affected a lot of lives, even if most people don’t realize it. He did a lot of graphics for people and featured several of DLP’s authors. He will be greatly missed, as people like that are few and far between. Rest in peace, Jeremy.


Who supported or influenced you? Are you ready for a little magic?

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group – Anthology Winners!


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

January 5 question - What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

I regret starting on the wrong path and not learning all I needed to publish correctly. But I did study, I did learn, and I did publish correctly through Dancing Lemur Press.
And now I have a whole slew of authors I can help publish right.


The Seventh Annual IWSG Anthology Contest Winners!


The genre was sweet romance and the theme first love.

Thanks to all who entered – it was a record amount of entries this year.


Now we present the authors of First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts:

The Art of Making Doughnuts - Linda Budzinski
Paper Faces - Sylvia Ney
The Real Thing - Sammi Spizziri
My Heart Approves - Melissa Maygrove
Oliver’s Girl - Michael Di Gesu
Clyde and Coalesce - Kim Elliot
My First Love(s) - Templeton Moss
How to Save a Princess - Katie Klein
The Castle of Ohno - SE White
Marmalade Sunset - Denise Covey

A special thanks to our official judges:

Author Nancy Gideon
Agent Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates
Author Susan Gourley
Author Jennifer Lane
Author Meka James
Author Loni Townsend

I'm very excited to work with these authors and publish First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts through Dancing Lemur Press' imprint, Freedom Fox Press.




#IWSGPit is January 26. See the site for details.

Dancing Lemur Press has four authors who came from this Twitter pitch event, so contracts do happen!


Who's ready for some love doughnuts now?