My Mission For You:

Don't let #Doubt extinguish your #Sparks. Find the #Sparks you need to ignite your stories, dreams, and life.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Organization Tip: Word Count Calendar #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


This next tip is great for motivation as well as keeping record…a word count calendar.

A word count calendar is a calendar where you can write down the daily word count you reach inside that day’s box. Do this at the end of the day when you don’t plan to write anymore.

After you turn off the computer, if you end up writing in a notebook and type it up the next day, add those words to that day’s word count. After all, typing up your written words counts. When I do this, I tend to revise, so you’re putting in the same effort and thought.

I like to jazz this up with stickers. I’ve seen writers posting pictures on Instagram of their calendar full of stickers to represent how much they wrote. And I had wanted to do that because it looked like a lot of fun.

I use heart stickers or writing days and thumbs-up stickers for other accomplishments, like sending review requests and recording YouTube Videos.

What I like about combining these two methods is that you have the actual word counts visible and you can add a sticker as a reward. I use bigger stickers for those word counts that are 2,000 or more and smaller stickers for word counts that are under 2,000. Even 500 (and 100) words gets a sticker!

It’s neat to look back on the week and month and see your progress. Or even to see which days resulted in more or less words.

QUESTION: Do you keep track of how much you write?


I'm looking for bloggers to help me announce the release of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication on June 5th. 

***The release day announcement will contain a blurb, buy links, cover photo, bio, author photo, and a giveaway, so you can add it to any post.***

You Choose: Any day from June 5th - 18th

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Bactine for Criticism (IWSG)

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.
RECOVERING: I may or may not feel up to visiting on IWSG Day due to recovering from a tonsillectomy. I will visit as soon as I'm up for it, though.

Getting harsh criticism is tough and is certainly hard to swallow. When you get harsh criticism, you could want to bite back and list all the ways they’re wrong. I have a remedy to stop you from doing that.

Get a dammit doll. My mom made me one years ago. People sell them on Etsy, Ebay, and several other places. There’s even a website:  

Dammit Dolls are for stress relief.

This is the saying:

“Whenever things don’t go so well,
and you want to hit the wall and yell,
here’s a little dammit doll,
that you cannot do without,
just grasp it firmly by the legs,
and find a place to slam it,
and as you whack the stuffing out yell,
“Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!”

When you get a rude critique or nasty review, hit your dammit doll against your desk. Get out all of your frustrations. If you don’t want a dammit doll, punch a pillow or couch cushion until you’re exhausted.

If a reply is necessary, such as through email exchanges with a critique partner, send a reply back to that critic thanking him or her for their suggestions. Even if you have no intentions of using them. That’s it. Kill ‘em with kindness. In any other case, don't even respond or comment. That's when the trolls come out and you could land yourself in a mess.

Get a dammit doll. That is my technique to staying out of trouble when it comes to nasty critiques.

QUESTION: What do you hit to relieve tension?


I'm looking for bloggers to help me announce the release of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication

***The release day announcement will contain the blurb, buy links, cover photo, bio, author photo, and hopefully a giveaway, so you can add it to any post.***

You Choose: Any day from June 5th - 18th

Friday, March 30, 2018

Death by Adverb by Rebecca M. Douglass

Also CHECK OUT the review for Rebecca Douglass' ABC picture book, A is for Alpine, on my mom's blog!


Isn't this such a great title for a book?!

And I just love the intriguing cover.

Welcome, Rebecca!

JJ MacGregor doesn’t actually want to kill her annoying boss, but someone did, and now JJ needs to find the killer before more people end up dead.

Title: Death By Adverb (Pismawallops PTA Mysteries #3)
Author: Rebecca M. Douglass
Genre: Cozy mystery
Ebook: 85,000 words
Paperback: approx. 285 pages


JJ MacGregor’s having a rotten summer. Her arm’s in a cast, her jeans are too tight, and her son is spending his vacation with his dad. To make matters worse, her relationship with Police Chief Ron Karlson is up in the air and they haven’t spoken since June. Maybe the only good thing is that she’s got a writing job at last. Wilmont Charleston-Rutherford want her to help him with his memoirs, and JJ doesn’t care if he’s making it all up. All she has to do to make some much-needed money is keep her mouth shut and fix some of the worst prose she’s ever seen.

Of course, keeping her mouth shut isn’t JJ’s strong point. When she loses her temper so does her boss, and she’s back to job-hunting. That’s bad enough, but when Wilmont Charleston-Rutherford turns up dead, everyone remembers JJ fought with him. About the time the police are wondering if JJ might have tried to avenge the English language, her sewer backs up, and the dead man’s missing daughter shows up on her doorstep—only to disappear again before morning. JJ has her work cut out for to find the girl, the killer, and a new septic tank before anyone else dies—but at least the murder has her talking to Ron again.

Purchase Links:

“What the—hey, watch that thing!” I yelled as the man in white brought his saw toward my immobilized arm.

Nurse Chu patted my shoulder comfortingly, but she didn’t loosen her grip on the casted limb she held against the table.

“Don’t worry, Ms. MacGregor,” she said, “The doctor hardly ever slips and cuts off anyone’s arm.”

I swallowed hard, reminding myself that these were medical professionals. Despite appearances, they weren’t planning to torture me, cut off my arm, or damage me in any way. I was in the Pismawallops Clinic getting the cast off my broken arm at last, a happy event.

I cringed anyway as the saw started to cut the plaster. “Easy there,” I said, trying to sound like I was joking. “My insurance runs out in a couple of months, and I need to be healthy when that happens!” In fact, I was doing plenty of worrying about insurance. Once my coverage under my ex-husband’s policy ran out, I was going to be scrambling to make payments on even the cheapest insurance. It was worth it, to be free of the man I thought of as pond scum, but I still worried. I fixed my gaze on the educational poster on the wall in front of me, and resolutely ignored the whining saw.

Dr. Salisbury finished cutting the cast loose and peeled the remains away. I stopped staring at the poster enjoining me to wash my hands and avoid the flu, and looked at the thing lying on the table.

The exposed arm looked white and dead, and I wasn’t sure it was attached to me.

First two books in the series on sale for 99cents!

Author Bio:

Rebecca Douglass was raised on an Island in Puget Sound only a little bigger than Pismawallops, and remembers well the special aspects of island life.  She now lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area, and can be found on-line at and on Facebook as The Ninja Librarian.  In addition to the Pismawallops PTA Mysteries (Death By Ice Cream and Death By Trombone), her books include three Ninja Librarian book, tall tales for all ages, and the humorous middle-grade fantasy Halitor the Hero.  Rebecca is a long-time volunteer and servant of her local schools, now due to retire (and seek now opportunities to serve).  She spends her free time bicycling, gardening, reading, and supporting her grown sons. For a vacation she likes nothing better than hiking, camping and backpacking.

Author Links:

Thank you for visiting, Rebecca!

Please leave Rebecca a comment. :)

Monday, March 26, 2018

Hurricane Crimes AudioBook! / Monthly Mishmash

AUDIOBOOK: I had no idea how quickly the audiobook would be ready after I approved it. This was my first time completing the process and my publisher didn't let me know how soon it could be done, so SURPRISE! I have an audiobook for Hurricane Crimes!

Remember when I first listened to auditions and chose a female narrator? Well, for some reason she took way too long to get back to us with the sample chapter, so we had to cancel the contract. But Craig Long, the narrator for Hurricane Crimes, did great. is still odd hearing a man trying to sound like Beth, my heroine. Bwahahaha! Nevertheless, he did a fine job.


TONSILLECTOMY: Wednesday I'm having my tonsils removed. I'm not looking forward to is after the nurse told me how miserable I'll be afterward. I've been through harder surgeries, but is still surgery. Hopefully, I'll be feeling better for IWSG Day. She said recovery time is two weeks...

IWSG BOOK CLUB: We're reading a different kind of writing-related book for April/May, which should be a lot of fun...

Save the Cat:
The Last Book on Screenwriting That You'll Ever Need
by Blake Snyder

The discussion will start May 23rd.

QUESTIONS: Did you listen to audiobooks? Have you ever considered learning how to write screenplays? 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Organization Tip: Expense and Earning Logs #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


PLEASE NOTE: I am not a tax pro. This post isn't really about taxes but keeping track of your expenses and earnings. 

With the start of a new tax year, it’s time for you to implement a good strategy to keep track of all of your expenses and earnings. This is a great way to keep you in your budget as well as organized. Even if you don't make enough for taxes, you will want to keep track of your expenses and earnings, as you never know when you'll need the info.

I have a red binder next to my desk with sheets of lined paper where I can jot down every expense, big and small, as well as my earnings, including sales and service fees I make.

In that same binder is an envelope where I store receipts.

For online receipts that I receive through email, I put them in a folder in my inbox. You can print them as they come and keep the emails for backups.
I also use PayPal for all of my writing expenses and for my editing service fees. PayPal is a great way to keep track of what you spend and earn, because PayPal does the work for you. You can use it to double-check your logs and as another source of proof if you lose the receipt email.

When it comes to expenses and tax deductions, keep a careful record of everything. No matter how small.

Here are the things I’ve put in my expense log:

-      Book event table costs
-      Books bought for events
-      Book event SWAG
-      Copyright application fees
-      Business cards, bookmarks, postcards
-      Author banner
-      Formatting fees
-      Illustrator fees
-      Editor fees
-      Website renewal fees
-      Postage/shipping supplies for mailing books (Make sure you use Media Mail)
-      eGift cards and giveaway items
-      Ads paid for
-      Award contest fees
-      Book easels for my table at events
-      Money lock box for events
-      Rolling cart for events
-      Desk and bookcases
-      Computer/laptop/devices
-      Printer ink and paper
-      Notebooks and pens
-      Internet costs
-      Mileage/Gas for traveling to events                                                                                

Anything and everything you spend as a writer/author should be added to your expense log. I like to divide my expenses into months and calculate each month’s expense. Then I add those numbers together to figure out the total amount I’ve spent. I do this throughout the year.

By doing these things, you will be able to handle your budget better and be ready for taxes.

QUESTION: How do you keep track of your expenses and earnings?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Bactine for Rejections (IWSG)

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: When my mom and I were looking for reviewers for her new picture book Pea Soup Disaster, we were disheartened to see that nearly all of the book bloggers stated they don't accept self-published picture books. That left very few for us to contact. It was because of this that my mom and I decided to start reviewing picture books on her blog. We want to review traditionally published as well as self-published books, because we know firsthand that not all who self-publish skimp on the details. And we know there are many talented self-published authors out there with great books. Do you have a picture book you'd like us to review? Check out our Review Policy.



When you get rejection, don’t let it bring you down. Yes, it can feel very personal, but it’s not a personal attack. Change how you view rejections and how you take them.

Instead of seeing a rejection, see a badge of honor. All writers get them. Collect rejections like merit badges. The more you have is a testament of how much you’ve tried and how much your dream means to you.

The more rejections you get, the closer you are to an acceptance. Each one is a stepping stone. Visualize yourself standing on that rejection and leaping off it. The next stone you step on may be another rejection or it may be an acceptance. Follow those stones to your dream. It may be a short path, or it may be a winding one. The point is, all paths lead to something. You must stay on that path to get there, so keep hopping from stone to stone, rejection to rejection.

When you get a rejection, change how you react. Don’t mope. Reward yourself. Not for being rejected but for having the courage to send out a query or manuscript in the first place…and for having the courage to accept the rejection.

Go to the movies or rent a movie. Heck, pop a bottle of wine, but make sure you’re toasting your bravery for taking the next step as a writer, not drowning your sorrows.

When you get a rejection for a partial or full manuscript, give yourself a bigger reward. No, give yourself an AWARD. Many writers never get a partial or full request. Do you have a collection? Add a new item to your collection.

Then when you get that acceptance, when you get that contract, celebrate even more. Go out to dinner, throw a party, buy a memento to represent your story, do something to mark the milestone.

After all, those stepping stones of rejections lead to milestones of acceptances.



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?”

Book Details:
Juvenile Fiction - Boys & Men / Fiction - Coming of Age 
$10.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 136 pages
 $3.99 EBook available in all formats

Buy Links:

QUESTION: How do you deal with rejections?

Monday, February 26, 2018

Souper Blog Hop / Monthly Mishmash

Thank you to everyone participating in the Souper Blog Hop. If you're visiting, I hope you enjoy the recipes we share. Don't forget to check out my mom's picture book Pea Soup Disaster!

When I was little, I loved soup. I even would say it was my favorite thing to eat. And, yes, I did what Gregory does in Pea Soup Disaster and brought a thermos of soup to school for lunch. And...yes again...split pea soup was my favorite, followed by tomato soup.

I was about ten years old when I made soup from scratch for the first time. My mom would peel the potatoes and cut the onions for me, but I diced the potatoes and other vegetables by myself. I'd add carrots, celery, and diced tomatoes at the end. And I'd season it with way too many spices. My favorites were basil, celery seed, celery salt, onion powder, and garlic salt. So, my soup would be quite salty and a bit spicy, but I was very proud of it.

As a teen, my friends would beg me to make chicken Ramen Noodle because they claimed I made it so well. Once again, I'd add far too much seasoning. Yup, celery seed, garlic salt, and basil. Oddly enough, they loved it.

The recipe I'm sharing today does not involve celery seed or Ramen Noodle, though. Thank goodness!

Easy Pea Soup with Tomatoes

1 cup small, diced potato (peeled)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 large tomato, chopped
1 can chicken broth
1 can Campbell's Condensed Green Pea Soup
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix 1 can Campbell's Condensed Green Pea Soup with 1 can of chicken broth.

2. Add potato, onion, and tomato.

3. Add dried sage and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender.

5. Fill up a bowl and enjoy!

And now, a round of applause for my mom's picture book...PEA SOUP DISASTER!

BLURB: Gregory Green loves his mom’s pea soup, but when he eats it at school, all of his friends make fun of how it looks. He doesn’t think it looks like bugs, and it tastes good! Then at recess, his friends run from him, screaming, “He’s a monster!” Gregory doesn’t know why his friends are being mean until he sees his skin is green. The teasing gets worse until an unlikely friend comes to the rescue—his teddy bear, Sammy. Sammy usually only comes to life for Gregory and his family, but Sammy has an important lesson to teach Gregory and his classmates.


Elaine Kaye got the idea for Pea Soup Disaster from her son who loved to eat her homemade pea soup. Pea Soup Disaster is the first of many fun stories featuring Gregory Green and his teddy bear, Sammy, as part of the Gregory Green Adventure series.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Find Elaine:
Website / Instagram / Litsy - @ElaineKaye
Goodreads / Amazon

Visit the other Souper Blog Hop participants:

New Family Member - The last time I had a betta fish was about 9 years ago. He was named Poseiden after the Greek god of the sea. I've wanted another betta fish for awhile and finally got one. Meet Neptune! He's named after the Roman god of the sea. ;)

New Tattoo - I got this tattoo in honor of my paternal grandmother who died from ovarian cancer when I was one. This symbol is from her necklace. I wanted to start wearing it every day, but the first day I did, it got stuck on something and broke in three places. I put it back together but decided it would be safer not to wear it. Years ago, though, I had thought this symbol would make a cute tattoo, so that's what I did.

QUESTIONS: Whats your favorite soup? Do you have or did you ever have a betta fish? Do you have tattoos?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Organization Tip - Writing Goals #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


At the start of each year, and sometimes each month, we create goals for our writing and publishing. A couple of my goals for the year are to set up a blog tour for Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication and submit the final book of the Disaster Crimes series to my publisher. These are some pretty big goals.

I often tell writers to take their big goals and break them down into smaller, more manageable goals.

For my blog tours, I figure out all the steps I need to do to make sure the tour goes off without a hitch, such as writing out guest posts, finding tour stops, and emailing the hosts. Part of figuring out those steps is knowing when I need to complete them, so I don’t have to rush last minute. For more information see this post: Organization Tip: Release Day.

For submitting the final book of my series, I first need to write it. Haha!

Writing and submitting a book to your publisher/editor in a year could be a daunting goal if you don’t break it down.


Here is a break-down of goals if you need to write and submit a book this year:

1.    Write a chapter a week. 

For a book with 25 chapters, writing a chapter a week would have you finishing it in about 6 months. If you're able to write more some weeks, you'll finish sooner! 

Thinking about writing one chapter a week is a lot less daunting than telling yourself you need to finish your book in X amount of time. Remember, managable goals. Goals that won't stress you out!

TIP: Plotting out the story helps, even a little plotting if you’re a pantser. The key is to always know what you need to write next. So plot out a chapter at a time. You can Do this before the start of each new week.

2.    With a weekly goal, you can devise a daily goal, such as to meet a specific word count. Chapter lengths vary. They can be long (20 pages) or short (5 pages). They can even be longer or shorter depending on the story.

No cheating by having a bunch of tiny chapters, though. Something needs to happen in that chapter. Check out Dan Brown. He's a pro at exciting, short chapters.

What your daily goal is will depend on you and any time constraints you have. I aim for 1,000 – 2,000 words a day. It changes, though, as it should. Some days I write more, some days I write less. Both are fantastic. Any words written should be celebrated.

3.    The above goals will help you write a book, but if your goal is to submit it, you need to do more, such as revising. Again, this will depend on your story and when you feel your story is ready. I typically revise for a couple of months. Some writers take longer. Try to anticipate how long you'll need to revise it before beta readers.

4.    Using beta readers or critique partners should also be a stepping-stone to your goal. Allow them a month to give you their notes.

5.    Are you self-publishing? Then your next goal will be to hire a freelance editor.

6.    If you're aiming to traditionally publish, once you implement necessary changes based on what your critique partners and/or editor said, create the query letter and synopsis.

7.    With your manuscript, query, and synopsis ready, your next step is to find agents/publishers. I like to use Writer’s Market, Manuscript Wish List, and Writer’s Digest.

8.    Now, submit away! Follow all guidelines and cross your fingers.

Whatever your goal is, no matter how big, chip away at it until it’s a bunch of tiny goals.

What can you do each month to reach that goal?

What can you do weekly?

And what can you do daily?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Minder by Sandra Cox + Word Search


Thank you so much for the opportunity to visit on your blog today and interact with your lovely followers and fellow bloggers, Chrys. I’m so excited to be here.

I don’t work a lot of crossword puzzles but I love word search puzzles. But whether it’s doing a crossword puzzle, a word search or writing a book, it’s all finding the right word. It’s about wordsmithing. I’m hoping everyone out there enjoys word search puzzles as much as I do because, just for grins and giggles, I developed one for MINDER. Anyone that wants to play please feel free to download it. If you find all the words and want to give a shout out just leave a comment that says ‘I did it.’

Now for a little bit about Minder.

MINDER a YA/NA Paranormal Romance with light elements of horror


On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Aurora Valente goes through disturbing changes. She purrs and craves raw meat. Most alarming of all, she’s taken to chasing wildlife. 

Her aunt gives her a beautiful, antique choker and tells her a story about a shape-shifting
Minder princess and the beast that hunts the Minder’s descendants. To Aurora it’s only a story...till later that night when her world takes a turn into terror.

Available at Amazon


A movement along the edge of the cliff caught my attention. A small rabbit nibbled at a tuft of clover growing between the rocks. I came to attention like a pointer. My nose quivered, my mouth watered. I twitched my butt.

Without thought, I bolted out of the house after the rabbit. My blood raced. I breathed in short, sharp pants. I could hear the creature’s heart pound and smell his warm vibrant flesh.

He took three frightened leaps and disappeared into the forest. I skidded to a stop, trembling so hard my teeth rattled. What’s wrong with me? I wanted to take a bite out of a poor, defenseless little bunny.  I pursed my lips and screwed up my face. Gross didn’t begin to cover it.  

This is way past PMSing.  Tears welled up and spilled down my cheeks.  

I turn eighteen tomorrow. Surely, there’s no connection.

A sharp wind blew off the water. My eyes closed. I stood perfectly still, except for shudders that racked my achy body as fear and revulsion washed over me like the loud pounding waves below.

Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA fantasy, and suspense and historical romance. She lives with her husband, a menagerie of pets, and an occasional foster cat in sunny North Carolina. You can visit Sandra at:

Thanks for the fun word search, Sandra!

Please leave a comment for Sandra. :)


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