Monday, August 31, 2020

Spoiled by Choices

Another quality post brought to you by Steve!

I remember as a child we got to go to McDonald's maybe once or twice a year.  McDonald's was less a "sometimes food" as Cookie Monster would say and more of a "seldom if ever food."  But it made getting an actual Happy Meal something akin to an event!  I treasured those toys, I delighted in that little tiny paper packet of fries, I luxuriated in that Coke.

Hmm.  I should probably luxuriate in Coke more often.

Anyway, you kind of carry that with you in a nostalgic way, or I did, anyway, and when I got to be a teenager with my own income and pretty ready access to McDonald's I went there a few times but it just wasn't as exciting.  I could just, like, have a Big Mac.  Who wants that?

Funny thing is, I also remember reading and re-reading books.  I would read THE HITCHHIKERS' GUIDE TO THE GALAXY until the spine was worn out.  I read my Warhammer rulebooks until I probably could have recited the stats and history of Grom the Paunch of Misty Mountain to you verbatim.

Now, though I hardly even read the books I have.  Certainly I have a massive stack of them, a few shelves, actually, and I'm constantly reading something.  But the thought of going back and reading, say, HEIR TO THE EMPIRE for the fifteenth time practically give m an anxiety attack.

And, while it may seem like I'm just throwing random life circumstances at you, I think it boils down to something that occurred to me yesterday, when my girlfriend instituted a mandatory no-work, all-movie day after the biggest installation in our little balloon shop's history.


Fear of Missing Out.

It's stupid, I know, but I was sitting there with a remote in my hand.  I have cable (yes, I'm the guy) with On Demand, and thus access to a plethora of movies.  I also have Netflix, which has a million movies, half of them proprietary.  And Hulu, more or less ditto.  I also have access to a friend's Plex account, which is sort of like another little smorgasbord.  And I have my own rather veritable collection of DVDs, if I do say so myself, with a solid dozen I've never even pulled out of the plastic.  And from all that I couldn't pick a single damn movie!

I don't know.  Maybe it's just me.  Maybe I'm just Andy Rooney over here.  (Kids, ask your parents.)  But I kept thinking, every time I spotted a movie that might be good, "Sure, it might be good, but if I spend two hours on it, what if I could have been watching one that was even better."  And, even worse in a way, every time I saw a movie that I knew I liked, that I had fond memories of and that my gf might even enjoy, I had to think, "You're going to watch this again?  When you have ten thousand movies at your fingertips that you could be watching...for the first time?"

And it's not just movies and books.  Food, too, like I mentioned earlier.  I can press a button on my magic spellcaster and a dude will just fucking show up at my door with anything on the planet I can imagine.  And I can never make a fucking choice anymore!  It used to be that you could just get pizza, and pretty much flip a coin between the two places that delivered to you, because maybe one of them had better fries or something, and that was fucking it.  That was a fun Friday night.  And then you popped one of your eight VHSs in the VCR and called it a night.  (Kids, ask your parents.)

But, there I go Andy Rooneying all over myself again.  I don't know, maybe it's just a regular part of becoming an adult, and it just seems new to me because I'm becoming an adult for the first time, but I feel like I was happier when I didn't have any goddamned choices.  Back then, actually getting a choice was like the clouds parting and the choir singing!  "Chicken McNuggets or a cheeseburger?  Hot damn!"  Now technology has put the world literally at my fingertips, and it all just sounds so drab, perhaps as a consequence.

It could be worse, I guess.  Imagine being Picard and magicking up (sorry, magic-like sciencing up) a meal or an ancient race's flute or whatever the hell you want at the push of a button.  No wonder those guys are always going out looking for evil sweater-wearing cyborgs and shit.  It must be boring as shit to have a techno-genie as a home appliance.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Meet Laurie Buchanan

By Cheryl Oreglia

It's my utmost privilege and honor to introduce one of my favorite authors, Laurie Buchanan, of the infamous Tuesdays With Laurie, numerous inspirational novels, and not to brag, but she’s also an engaging public speaker. I know, she’s the complete package, but like all good plots, there’s a twist to her story, something you would never expect…

Read on.

Laurie’s earliest memories mimic my own, that of a devoted mother diligently reading to young Laurie and her sister, thus creating an avid reader in the process. Laurie was beyond thrilled to see her very own name printed on a library card which she used every Saturday morning, gathering new material to “devour during the week.” This love of reading is what prompted Laurie to become a writer.

Why can't people just sit and read books and be nice to each other? David Baldacci

I offer my praise and thanks to all the parents out there exposing their children to good literature and creating “readers” in the process.

  • THE BUSINESS OF BEING: SOUL PURPOSE IN AND OUT OF THE WORKPLACE shows you how to thrive, soul side out, regardless of where you are.
  • NOTE TO SELF: A SEVEN-STEP PATH TO GRATITUDE AND GROWTH closes the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Laurie is a retired holistic health practitioner and transformational life coach. Of course, she is because her first two books listed above are non-fiction and reflect her practices in health and well-being.

Here’s where it gets weird, some of Laurie's favorite authors include David Baldacci, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Robert Dugoni, Keith Houghton, and Robert Bryndza. Have you guessed the genre?

Robert Dugoni says, “We live for the quiet, intimate moments that mark not our calendars but our hearts.” I can see why she’s attracted to this author.

Laurie developed an unexpected passion for suspense and thriller novels. Who knew? After writing two nonfiction books, she wanted to try her hand at fiction - in the genre she enjoyed reading! I say bravo Laurie.

Laurie’s next book, INDELIBLE: A SEAN MCPHERSON NOVEL, BOOK ONE, launches a suspense/thriller series that takes place in the Pacific Northwest. When asked what it's like, she says, "imagine Chief Inspector Gamache meets The Last Mrs. Parrish." Yowza!

I love this about Laurie, she says, “my primary audience is readers who enjoy a ticking-time-bomb of simmering tension with no downtime.” This feels much like my life at the current moment!

Outside of her mission to inspire her audiences, she chooses to be “a positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing influence in the lives of those she touches.”

Her author-side aims to “it’s to scare the living daylights out of her readers.” I don't know about you but I captured by the charisma of this talented writer.

I’m sort of nosey so I asked Laurie how she connects with other authors, Laurie says, “whether I’m a presenter, or in the audience, I make a point of connecting with other authors at writing conferences. I also connect with authors on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and my favorite social media platform, Instagram. Why? Because it's uplifting to connect with like-minded people.” Do you love her or what?

When asked about the importance of research in her writing Laurie says, "for her recent Sean McPherson novel research was critical. She met with Vickie Gooch, a detective in the Major Crimes Unit of the Idaho State Police, and Rylene Nowlin, a DNA Specialist at the Idaho State Police Crime Lab, and finally Dr. Glen Groben, a forensic pathologist." This woman does her due diligence and I'm sure that will be revealed in her latest work.

Next to her desk, she keeps a dog-eared copy of Forensic Speak: How to Write Realistic Crime Dramas, by Jennifer Dornbush, who says, “Want to find a suspect? Start with your kin.” Oh, that’s rich.

Laurie writes in a small studio, two walls of which are windows that offer an inspirational view, I’m so jealous and yet immensely grateful she has this stunning environment in which to create. Win, win.

Attending and speaking at writing conferences continues to strengthen and stretch Laurie as a writer. She has an excellent writing mentor, Christine DeSmet of the Writers’ Institute at UW-Madison. She’s a “tour de force for all things literary and makes me a stronger writer.”

Laurie retired at the end of 2019 and currently writes full-time. Her Sean McPherson novels are her primary area of focus, but she is also a monthly contributor to the online magazine, Unbound Northwest, not to mention her hi-traffic blog, Tuesdays with Laurie, that has over a million views.

When I asked Laurie, “what does literary success look like to you?” She said, “literary honors are nice, and I’ve won them. But to me, if one - just one - reader answers the question, ‘Who is your favorite author?’ with ‘Laurie Buchanan,’ then I consider myself a successful author.”

I asked her how essential or burdensome social media was with respect to the promotion and publicity of her work? Honestly, I find the whole process exhausting and laborious but Laurie says, “I stay active on social media. Part of a writer’s success is having a strong writing platform, and part of that platform includes visibility and influence on social media. If I could only post on one social media network, it would, without a doubt, be Instagram.” That was really intriguing to me because I barely use Instagram, so I recently followed Laurie, and plan to emulate her marketing plan.

Laurie says it takes about a year (sometimes longer) for an author to write a book. If you read a book and enjoy it, the best thank you that you can give an author is to write a brief review and post it on Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub (just cut and paste the same one). Most people don’t understand how important reviews are—they’re an author's lifeblood.

The review can be as simple as one sentence: “I like the book because _____.”

To learn more about Laurie Buchanan, please visit her author website at

Laurie Buchanan is a former holistic health practitioner and transformational life coach. She holds a doctorate in holistic health with an emphasis in energy medicine. Her first two books—Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth, and The Business of Being: Soul Purpose In and Out of the Workplace, are nonfiction titles designed to motivate, inspire, and transform. Coming soon, her third book, Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One, launches a suspense/thriller series that takes place in the Pacific Northwest.

When I'm not writing for Across The Board, I'm Living in the Gap, drop by any time. 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Google Search - How often...




How often….


Like many of you, I am a child of the internet. Most of my useless information comes from middle-of-the-night Google searches and YouTube video black holes that send me spiraling from “how to boil an egg” to “did Catherine the Great really get down with a horse.” I know much of the information on the internet is dubious at best, but I am still (always) amazed at how much knowledge we have at our fingertips, and how little of it we use, content to scroll our lives away.

(No judgement. Give me Twitter or give me death.)

Before we dive neck-deep into the intricacies of the paint strokes in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, let’s start with something simple.

How often should I poop?

Not only is this first on the list, it’s listed twice. I get it—most conversations don’t start with “Hey, are you regular?” We’re not all Jamie Curtis clutching a cup of DanActive. I poop once a day, twice if I’m lucky, and almost always after my second cup of coffee. You’re welcome.

 How often do you rotate tires?

This is also on here twice and, honestly, something I’ve never thought about. Being on the phone with a mechanic makes me break out in hives, but because it’s for ALL OF YOU, I called my repair guy who told me you should rotate your tires when you get your oil changed, about every 3,000 miles. YOU’RE WELCOME.

 How often should you wash your hair?

Do you stink? Feeling itchy? No? Then don’t worry about it. MOVING ON.

 How often to water grass seed?

If you ask the people who own the EXTREMELY POMPOUS apartment building down the road, you water your grass when it’s raining, after it rains, and just before it rains. (Can you feel me rolling my eyes?) Grass pretty much takes care of itself. If it’s going a little brown, give it a spritz. If it’s green and lush and a carpet of itchy wonderful, leave it be.


Go forth and adult. Tell ‘em Kat sent you.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Back Jacket Hack Job - Jingle Balls

 Hey there! It's my turn for a Back Jacket Hack Job this month and I'm going to hack up Jingle Balls!

(It doesn't sound quite right when you put it like that, does it?)

Jingle Balls is a rom com charity anthology, with ALL proceeds benefiting the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation and will release September 29.

The actual blurb for the anthology reads:

Jingle those balls for a great cause and get a head start on the holiday spirit with this spicy collection of romantic comedy stories. Twenty of today’s most entertaining rom-com authors have teamed up to go #Nuts4Books. Proceeds from this steamy set will benefit the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation.

How my "hacked" version would read:

What happens when twenty rom-com authors get together at happy hour? Mostly a lot of talk about publishing, craft and collaboration. And balls.

The dancing kind. 

Kidding/not kidding.

There's a real-life charity ball called the Jingle Ball every year to raise money for testicular cancer awareness. There's nothing funny about testicular cancer, but twenty rom com authors writing their take on the Jingle Ball? Pretty hilarious.

Jingle Balls is up for preorder now and will be released September 29. It will be available only until October 31 and then it's gone forever.

Monday, August 17, 2020

In Praise of Character Cards

A post by Mary Fan
What are character cards anyway? I'd never heard of them until I started following book bloggers on Instagram. They're portraits of characters from a book -- usually one character per card, though sometimes cards can feature couples/pairs or small groups. I believe they originated from book subscription boxes, particularly YA ones, as swag for subscribers.

They're great fun - a way to see an artist's interpretation of a favorite character and see a book's cast come to life. I know some authors don't like seeing their characters' faces, preferring to leave that up to the imagination, but personally, I've always been a big fan of character art, whether official (e.g. on a cover) or unofficial (e.g. fan art).

The last time I finished a series, the JANE COLT trilogy, I commissioned a set of illustrations from artist Fauzy Zulvikar Firmansyah to celebrate:

This was before I really knew what character cards were, so I didn't really do anything with them other than post them on social media and print them out for my wall at home.

I just finished another series, the STARSWEPT trilogy, and I decided that this time I was going to do character cards. Partly for marketing purposes, but mostly just for fun as a reward to myself for completing the trilogy and for any fans out there who might enjoy them.

I hired the fantastic artist Niru Sky, whose fantastic character work I'd spotted in my Instagram feed a while back, to draw up a series of portraits featuring 8 major characters from the series and then hand them printed as cards:

It was really amazing getting to work with such a talented artist to bring these characters to life - to get to see them after spending years visualizing them in my head. I felt Niru really captured not only the characters' physical traits, but their personalities as well.

So what do you do with character cards once they're printed? Why, you give them away to fans, of course! Outside of subscription boxes, some people use character cards as a preorder incentive (e.g. "send proof of preorder and receive a set of cards") or a raffle to grow their followings (e.g. "RT and follow me for a chance to enter a set of cards"). 

I decided, however, that I just wanted to give them to anyone out there who might like the STARSWEPT series enough to post about it, so I set up an image challenge instead, essentially saying "post pics of the Starswept trilogy's book covers and get a set of cards," on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

Guess what, y’all?? Starswept character cards, featuring gorgeous artwork by, are printed and ready to go! Which means it’s time for... ✨ STARSWEPT CHARACTER CARD GIVEAWAY!!! ✨ For instructions, swipe through the album above or read below. ✨ To celebrate the completion of the #Starswept trilogy, I’m giving away sets of cards featuring 8 major characters from the series. To enter, complete the following image challenge (no purchase necessary!). *Public accounts only, please.* ✨ Yes, this giveaway is 🌍 INTERNATIONAL 🌏 ✨ No, there is no deadline :-) ✨ STEP 1: Post one image each of the following: Starswept, Wayward Stars, Seize the Stars, the whole trilogy. So 4 images total. Can be photos, digital images, just the covers, whatever! Can be individual posts or an album. (See album above for examples). You can download the cover images from my website,, the Snowy Wings Publishing website, or Goodreads. ✨ STEP 2: Use #Starswept in your caption and tag me (so I can see your post!). ✨ STEP 3: Fill out the form with your mailing address (link in profile) ✨ STEP 4: That’s it! Please be patient with me as I package and ship the cards :-). If you have any questions, please feel free to DM me or email astralcolt at gmail dot com!

A post shared by Mary Fan 🐲 范诗蓉 (@astralcolt) on

And here are some of the entries that have come in!

View this post on Instagram

Look at these amazing pics of the #Starswept trilogy by @moonlightpages!!! 🙌🙌🙌 So gorgeous 😍 ✨ Posted @withregram • @moonlightpages So heyyy 🌿 This is my first time editing the book cover! 🙈 I told myself that I'm never gonna do it because I know it'll be a mess, but here we are ✨ And I wanna say I kind of proud that I posted it for everyone to see? HAHA 😅 But honestly, I'm just ready to risk it for Starswept series, which was THE ONE that got me into science fiction!!! 💫 Thank you to @astralcolt for creating this story 🥰 Seize the Stars will be out this month which is the final installment of this series!! and I couldn't be more excited to be able to follow Iris throughout her story 🥺 I'm excited for it but also sad that it's gonna end. But what's more exciting is that it'll be out ON my birthday?!! heck yeah!💃🏻💜 #starswept #waywardstars #seizethestars #maryfan #bookstagram #bibliophile #book #booklover #bookworm

A post shared by Mary Fan 🐲 范诗蓉 (@astralcolt) on

If that gets me some publicity on social media, awesome! I also figure I can use them as an incentive to pick up the whole series at events once those start up again (e.g. "if you buy the whole set, you also get a free set of character cards!"). But as with any marketing venture, it's hard to say how effective it'll be. If nothing else, they're just a delight to have :-).

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Extrovert's Advice for an Introverted Profession: Join an organization

Morning my friends. I don't know about you, but I'm at the point of summer where I want it to stretch infinitely. Typically when mid-August hits, I am all about the return to school. But now I simply want summer to extend itself as far as it can. I'm not ready to embrace cool temps and pumpkin spice. Not during a pandemic. Not if Halloween is cancelled, which it probably will be. Not if it's too cold to social distance outside, which hits early in NEPA. I'd consider a move to a warm-weather state but that comes with its own special host of problems. I think I gotta learn to snowboard or something.


Anyhoo, not sure if you could tell from my posts, but I am an extrovert. A full-fledged, card-carrying member of Outgoing Not-Anonymous. I like to talk. I like to talk a lot. And I need people. I need people to bounce ideas off of, to tell stories to, to be around. I gain my energy from others. When I'm alone too often (which isn't easy to be with three kids), I wilt. And writers are naturally alone a lot. And that might fly well if you're an introvert--someone who needs solitude to recharge. 

But, again, I am not that person.

And if you're also not that person, and lockdown has got you let down, might I suggest joining a club that will have you as a member.

I am a member of Sisters In Crime, a mystery writing organization founded in the mid-1980s by V.I. Warshawski author Sara Paretsky so that female authors could have equal representation and advocacy in the then mostly male-dominated crime fiction genre. SinC is still making sure that women authors are receiving their fair due in terms of coverage and book reviews, but they also offer webinars, education grants, lectures, and resources. There are also many regional chapters where writers get together monthly for discussions, lectures, and community. Unfortunately, the Poconos doesn't have a chapter, but give me time. 

SinC is so welcoming, and unlike some other groups it doesn't make you feel other by offering different membership tiers based on your publishing status. There are indie, trad-published, and querying authors all working toward their goals of making dents in publishing. And helping each other to boot.

Although I've been a dues-paying member for years, I recently decided to volunteer. A friend suggested that I email the SinC president and ask if there was anything I could do to help. And, at first, I was hesitant. Despite loving to talk, I also worry that I am annoying people. But also who doesn't want help? Turns out there was a special project I could do, and put my librarian skills to the test, by assessing the archives. 

And you know what?

This small project has made a world of difference to my author headspace. By joining a group of like-genre writers, I am feeling community, and thus, not feeling so lonely. I'm contributing to the profession while also connecting with others. And I've stopped focusing on myself and my email inbox. 

Writing doesn't have to be solitary for extroverts. And while the #writingcommunity on Twitter is a great place to connect, it may not provide enough sustenance for those of us who need all the benefits of a well-established writing organization. 

Whether you write romance, westerns, fantasy, historical fiction, there is a group for you. Start with the big ones--for example, SinC, Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, Historical Writers of America--and evaluate the cost of their dues with their opportunities to connect. Do they do virtual lectures? Do they host an annual conference? Do they offer mentorship? Are there local chapters or small sub-groups that fit your needs? 

Maybe a big organization isn't a good fit. Are there smaller clubs in your genre that you could join? Or a regional writing group that performs much of the same functions as the bigger groups but for writers of all genres and levels? 

Think big and then narrow down your options. 

I'm sure a lot of us belong to Facebook groups within our respective genres, but by contributing and volunteering in these organizations, we're not just rounding out our writing careers. We can institute change in our fields. We can support marginalized authors. We can embrace new opportunities. We can participate in things that are bigger than ourselves. Bigger than hashtags or social media posts.

Do you belong to a writer organization? Let us know which one in the comments.

Monday, August 10, 2020

To Write Something Memorable, Remember That People Forget

P.T. Phronk
A post by P.T. Phronk,
of Forest City Pulp fame

Can you remember the ending of the book you were reading this time last year?


I can’t. Maybe you can’t either. But I’m putting my neuroscientist hat on again to emphasize a fundamental fact about the human brain: it is normal to forget pretty much everything.


That applies doubly to non-essential reading. This article in The Atlantic describes some of the reasons why we forget a book we just read, or a series we just binge-watched, especially in a time when we offload much of our memorizing to smartphones like friggin’ cyborgs. It comes down to a lack of rehearsal. Our brains aren’t video cameras recording everything they see. Instead, they only retain information that is rehearsed multiple times, which is pretty smart, because why waste storage space on things that weren’t even important enough to come up more than once? But it’s also pretty dumb, because I wish I could remember what happened in the first season of The Umbrella Academy as I’m starting the second one. Why’s the knife guy so angry? Something to do with a monkey on the moon? Who knows.


Let’s not be too hard on our memories, though. Even on a sentence-by-sentence level, our brains are performing some pretty amazing feats every time we read—just think of how you accurately keep the beginning part of this long, m-dash-bloated sentence in your short-term memory the entire time you’re reading it, just to understand the point I’m trying to emphasize, which is that yes, your memory capabilities are pretty amazing.


Plus, we always remember something about every book we read. For me, and I suspect most people, it’s largely emotional. Even if I don’t remember a single character’s name, I can tell you if I liked a book or not. I can conjure up a muted facsimile of how it made me feel, whether it’s the existential dread of the best cosmic horror, or the frustration of a really bad ending—even if I don’t remember what actually happened in that ending.


I try to apply this to my writing. The particularities of every little description, character, and plot point don’t really matter as much as how they come together to invoke emotion. If something does need to be remembered, then I’d better repeat it a few times, and ideally that’s in service of a climactic collision between the current chapter and the memory of past chapters that delivers an emotional gut-punch. 


There’s a great Maya Angelou quote that sums this up better than my rambling blog post:


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


In writing, in reading, and in life, we forget pretty much everything, but emotions will stick around for the long haul.

Friday, August 7, 2020

How Anthologies Keep me in the Game

I'm certainly not the first ATB contributor to talk about how hard it is to keep writing and publishing in The Age of COVID. But I composed several posts before COVID was even a rumor in the US about how much I've been struggling to write. In fact, I'd be out of the writing game completely these days if not for this blog, my roll as an assistant editor at Cast of Wonders, and my participation in anthologies.

Thank goodness for those hard working editors determined to put out great collections of short stories, and thank goodness even more that some of them have been kind enough to invite me to participate.  I've had trouble wrapping my brain around the idea of cranking out a 90,000 word novel, but a few 5,000 word short stories have been doable goals.
My last novel (Touch of Smoke) was released in February of 2019. I've started work on 3 (THREE!) manuscripts since then, but they're all languishing and collecting dust. However, since February of 2019, I've release short stories in two anthologies, and I have two more on the way. Yay me! I've found that having deadlines imposed by someone other than myself is tremendously motivational. Below is a highlight of some of those short story anthologies that are keeping me in the game.


The pulp magazine era was bristling with brawny men and statuesque women globetrotting, getting
into and out of danger. Their exploits quickened the pulses of their readers, young and old alike. They have rise to some of the most enduring heroes known the world-round.

To honor and celebrate a bygone era, Crazy 8 Press has assembled a stellar line-up of writers to produce new thrills and chills, spanning mystery, sword and sorcery, horror, science fiction, romance, and adventures.

Featuring my story: The Green Lady and the Rogue
The Revolutionary War has devastated Tamsyn Gruene’s small North Carolina hometown. Having suffered overwhelming losses of personal property along with deaths of their husbands and sons, the community is on the brink of starvation and ruin.
For months Tamsyn and her band of merry outlaws evade British soldiers and militia men while thieving enough plunder to keep their community going, spawning legends and songs up and down the east coast of the Green Lady. She makes a grave mistake, however, when she and her gang try to rob the charming yet devious Gabriel Labeau, a blockade runner who makes his living smuggling supplies to the highest bidders.
Tamsyn sacrifices herself to ensure her gang’s freedom and becomes Labeau’s willing captive. Convinced she can seduce him and negotiate her release, the two spend a night of passion together that leaves both Tamsyn and Labeau uncertain of who actually captured whom.


To celebrate bad-ass moms everywhere, Crazy 8 Press has assembled a fantastic line-up of authors to
create stories spanning numerous genres, including sci-fi, contemporary, historical, and fantasy. Since moms and badassery come in infinite forms, the authors were given only one criteria: that their story be about a bad-ass mother or mother figure, whatever that meant to them.

From grandmas to new moms, biological moms to adoptive moms to mom figures, this collection features a fantastic range of stories. A human mom on the PTA of a school for supernatural kids. A new mom who adopts two babies with special powers. A hard-boiled detective who stumbles upon a mystery while looking for childcare. A grandma who fights back against an unsavory mayoral candidate. A witch who battles dark magic while wrangling her kids. An artificial intelligence who nurtures delinquent boys sent to her care. And much, much more.

Featuring my story: The Art of Crafting Resistance

It's campaign season in Faffton and an uncanny, silver-tongued stranger has come to town with plans of winning the election for Mayor. He quickly charms the locals into giving him their support, but Lucy and Grandma Winnie soon discover his political plans threaten the beliefs and traditions they both hold dear. Lucy and Grandma Winnie team up to craft a grassroots resistance that fights back with truth, common sense, a lot of yarn, and a little bit of magic.

Paperback available on AmazonBook Depository, and IndieBound

Winter 2020: Thrilling Adventure Yarns; 

Volume 2

Another great collection of pulp fiction inspired short stories from Crazy 8 Press and editor Bob Greenburg, coming soon. Featuring my historical romance: The Constantinople Affair

Set in the classic Hollywood golden era, Meg, a spunky and ambitious young screen writer and  Lex, a famous Hollywood playboy, are hired for the same film. They butt heads on stage and on the streets, but soon they'll be making sparks in the sheets. Meg thinks Lex is a shallow heart-breaker, but when her screenwriting partner and studio execs try to push Meg out of the scene, Lex might just be the one to help her save her job and make her name in Hollywood.

February 2021: Untitled YA "Transformations" Anthology

The theme of this anthology is “transformation,” which can mean so many things. Does your character have a revelation that alters the way they see the world? Do they experience a life-changing event? Do they make a choice that changes them forever? Does their physical body look different at the end of the story than it did at the beginning? Are they a shapeshifter of some kind? All are fair game.

I'm still working on my ideas for this one, but there will certainly be updates here on ATB along the way.

I hope that these short stories are the bits of fuel that keep my engine going, helping me make it over this Writer's Block Mountain. There are novels to be written on the other side, and I'm looking forward to getting to them in the coming year.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Publish Like a Motherfucker...Again?!?!

Another quality post brought to you by Steve!

Hey, everybody.  Back in May I first introduced you to "Publish Like a Motherfucker (With Stephen Kozeniewski.)"  I really enjoyed it so I decided to do another entry...and this time I roped some other motherfuckers into it!

Wile E. Young
These two questionable characters are people I trusted and respected enough to collaborate on my work with.  And if you know what a control freak I am, you know that's saying a lot.  We had a really nice panel discussion about co-writing, and if it's something you're thinking about pursuing, you could do a lot worse than to watch the video below.

Oh, and if PLAM tickles your fancy, let me know on social media or in the comments below what you'd like to hear about in future episodes.

Stevie Kopas
Course 5:  Collaborating With Some Motherfuckers
Syllabus:  Now that you know how to write, can you learn how to write together?  With special guests Stevie Kopas and Wile E. Young, in this episode we'll be discussing:

- when is the right time to collaborate?  when is it wrong?
- how can two animals as solitary and persnickety as writers come together?  what are some methods to the madness?
- is a writing duo better than the sum of its parts?

Blogger Template by Designer Blogs