Monday, July 12, 2021

Damien Larkin's Release: Blood Red Sand

 Mars will run red with Nazi blood…


After World War Two, Sergeant McCabe knew the British army could send him anywhere. He never imagined facing down another Nazi threat on Mars.


In New Berlin colony, rivalry between Generalfeldmarschall Seidel’s Wehrmacht and Reichsf├╝hrer Wagner’s SS threatens bloodshed. The Reichsf├╝hrer will sacrifice everything to initiate the secretive Hollow Programme and realise his nightmarish future for humanity.


McCabe, Private Jenkins, and the Mars Expeditionary Force must overcome bullet, bomb, and bayonet to destroy the Third Reich. While Jenkins fights to stay alive, McCabe forms an uneasy alliance with MAJESTIC-12 operatives known as the Black Visors. Will this be the final battle of World War Two or the first confrontation in an interstellar war?


Release date – July 6, 2021

$17.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 252 pages

Science Fiction - Military FIC028050/Alternative History FIC040000/War & Military FIC32000

Print ISBN 9781939844781 / EBook ISBN 9781939844798

$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Order from Ingram, Follett School Solutions, or publisher direct


“Brilliant follow up to Big Red.” – Tripp Ainsworth, author


“I’m awed by Damien Larkin’s imagination… So truly Heinlein.” – Phil Parker, author


“Blood Red Sand is top class military sci-fi with plenty of heart pounding action sequences, excellent characterisation and a growing sense of mystery that readers will crave to uncover.” – Book Nest


Damien Larkin is an Irish science fiction author and co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community. His debut novel Big Red was longlisted for the BSFA award for Best Novel. He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

IWSG - School, Marketing, & Getting Pumped

 It's July! Time for the next Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG exists to give writers a forum to air their insecurities in order to seek and provide support. All are welcome to join. Simply click on Alex's name and sign up, then be sure to post the first Wednesday of each month.

This month's co-hosts are:

 Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

This month's optional question is: What would make you quit writing?

I'd say school, but I've slipped a few new stories in here and there, so that wouldn't be true. It has made me set it aside temporarily, for the most part, though.

The "political" climate in speculative fiction is off-putting in many ways right now, with people who don't share certain ideas being ganged up on by other writers, and some even being pushed out entirely. That won't stop me from writing, but it's certainly making me narrow my circles and be cautious.

If family needed me and I had to give it up, I'd do it then. Until I could return to it.

As far as insecurities this month, I'm actually feeling pretty hyped up. I'm just about finished with a digital marketing class, and my brain is burgeoning with ways to incorporate what I've learned. I also intend to share a lot of it once I've worked out how to apply it all to the business of writing. I've started jotting down ideas to update my various platforms, including my website, and I've planted some ideas in my husband's head so he can start thinking about how to make the technical parts happen so he can help me rebrand. That will be the first thing I do when I finish my degree, and I'm absolutely pumped to get started. Not only that, but I feel like once I have a firmer grasp on how to make it all work for writers, I can help other people, too.

Onto submission stats. In June, my stats were:

2 submissions

7 rejections

0 acceptances

12 stories currently on submission

I need to turn around those 7 that are just sitting there and get them submitted

One of the stories on submission has been out to that market since August. It's at 308 days out. The longest I've ever had a story out before this was 324 days before receiving a rejection. It's looking like this one will set a new record. 

What would make you stop writing? What are your insecurities? What's making you excited right now? Are you submitting?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021


 It's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group for June, and I almost forgot, because the holiday and school ending have completely thrown off my schedule. So today will be a super brief post, because we haven't had a hot water heater since Sunday, and my fibromyalgia flareup doesn't understand WHY I have not taken my hot bath for the last couple days. It's almost 2 AM and I am not going to be until I've taken a bath! Because I am basically made of pain right now. BUT since I just finished a class, I'll probably be taking today off, so I can finally spend more time visiting you guys during the IWSG!!

So with that intro (haha), let's get into it.

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG serves to create a community of support around our writing insecurities. Anyone can join. Just click on Alex's name, go to the IWSG tab, and put your link in. 

Co-hosts this month are: J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

My insecurities this month have caught me by surprise. Since my writing career has been mostly on hold, other than still writing a story here or there, and still going through spates of submissions every once in a while, I haven't felt much like part of the writing community lately. More than that, I feel like I'm watching everyone else go on ahead of me, and that I'll be playing catchup.

Most of this is, of course, irrational. There's no race happening. I don't feel I'm in competition with others. It's hard to explain the conflicted feelings I've had during this. It's taken until my forties to be able to go to college, and I'm so incredibly privileged to be able to do it now. It's just very hard to set aside something that is such a big part of me, because it's not like I've been able to shut off that part. I'm pushing it down continuously and ignoring, for example, urges to write. I jot down ideas, but can't take the time usually to pursue them yet. So it's a building list of "later."

I had a weird realization that I get a pang when I see a project come out that I saw the call for, but simply didn't have the time to write for. So we're not even talking about being upset by rejections. It's me being upset that I could have possibly had a chance to be in this project, and that I didn't do it. So again...weird.

Anyway, that's my insecurity. I just need to finish up school and jump back in. And as of tonight, I've finished another class, which puts me at exactly halfway through the classes this term. 22 credits to go, with 7 of those having to do with capstone projects. That means only five more actual classes to go before I hit those final projects/papers.

Stats for May:

17 short story submissions

5 rejections (because the spate of submissions came on the 24th of May, so very near the end of the month.)

20 stories currently out on submission

I'm seriously looking forward to visiting people today, because I didn't really get to last month due to a pending final.

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

IWSG - Finally Some News - New Release!

 It's time for the May Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG exists to give and seek support about our insecurities. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and enter your blog.

Thank you to this month's co-hosts: 

Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!

If you've read my last few month's IWSG posts, you know that I was struggling with not having sold a short story in a while. Well, guess what?! I sold one this month. And it's already out. I can't even tell you what a relief it was. I was starting to think I'd never sell another story again. That I'd somehow forgotten how to write.

I'm also on season break (just two weeks) from my podcast. We've reached over 1000 downloads, so that's an exciting benchmark. 

So I'm finally having a good writing-world month, even if I haven't written a word since April 1. Well, it had been a month until yesterday, when I rewarded myself for completing 12 credit hours of college classes in one month by taking a day off to go to a local cafe to write for a bit. It felt nice to let the words flow, for as long as I lasted there, anyway. It was a bit too busy for my liking, and I was highly distracted, but I did still get 1000 words down, which was nice. Plus, I treated myself to a Thai tea, a salad, and a lemon blueberry muffin. 

I've also gotten out on a couple hikes on nice days. I almost melted at the last one! It was mid-80s outside. Of course, this being Colorado, it snowed the next day, and we've had rain the last two days. Gotta' love the mood swings here. Sometimes I do, but admittedly, I'm done with snow for the year. I'm ready to be outside. I'm ready to be on the porch each night, relaxing with my husband.

I hope something positive has happened for each of you this past month, even if it was getting a bit of sun, treating yourself to something nice, or accomplishing something.

Before I jump to my submission stats, I figured I'd share my new release, plus one from Dancing Lemur Press. The publisher for my newest release gave each of the authors a personalized image to share with the info and our name, which was quite fun. They were quite pleasant to work with, and are taking submissions for the next themed books, as they're doing the entire alphabet. 

I is for Internet includes my story "Watched."

If you're interested in submitting, they have their next few themes up. J is for Jack-o'-Lantern is open for submissions through May 31. They must be horror short stories.

Dancing Lemur Press has put out the next IWSG Anthology, Dark Matter: Artificial!

Dark Matter: Artificial
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Discover dark matter’s secrets…

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition!

Release date: May 4, 2021
Print ISBN 9781939844828 $14.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844835 $4.99
186 pages

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; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter. A Writer’s Digest 101 Best Website for Writers and The Write Life’s Best 100 Website for Writers


Congratulations to everyone in the IWSG anthology!

Okay, submissions stats:

0 submissions
1 acceptance
3 rejections
8 short stories still on submission
2 novel queries out

Like I said last month, I'm kind of holding off on submissions until I decide if any of the current stories should be held back for the next anthology, which would likely come out in October. Until I make some decisions, which I need focused time for, I may only submit a story here or there if I see a specific, relevant call for a story like that one. Other than that, I probably won't submit much while school's going on solid fast forward.

If you haven't checked out the podcast, now's a good time to check it out or catch up! New episodes return May 19, with "D is for Dangerous." It was nice to have two weeks off from researching, recording, editing, uploading, and posting, but I'm ready to get back to it. You can always find episode information and the last few episodes at, or find us on your podcast or music provider.

Any news to share? What are your insecurities? Are you submitting? What were your stats for April?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

IWSG - Pushing Boundaries

 It's time for the April Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG serves to provide support to insecure writers and for writers to support each other. Anyone can participate. Click on Alex's name to view the rules.

Thank you to our co-hosts this month:  PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton!

I've just finished classwork and am tiiiired and ready for bed, so today's post will be short.

Optional Question: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

I do try to stretch myself and try new things, including different styles and genres. I've written in all POVs. I've changed up my style multiple times. That's the beauty of short stories. There's more latitude to explore. And, yes, as I write horror there can be controversial topics involved. It's kind of the point of horror, other than to terrify, horrify, make uneasy, etc.

As for insecurities, I got some writing done during my week off between school terms, and I've submitted those stories. It felts amazing! I'm itching to work on projects I want to work on, but I need to focus more on school for now. I'll relax once I've gotten ahead of the schedule I need to be on, and then I'll have time and freedom to write.

Monthly submission check-in:

9 submissions

6 rejections

0 acceptances

13 stories currently on submission

I'm probably holding submissions that get rejected so I can consider what stories I might want to keep for my next collection and which ones I want to keep submitting. Some stories are, by nature, harder to find a home for, and I often know before I start submitting them that their chances of finding the right editor who loves them are low, but I often try a couple place that are possible first. After that, I keep them. The reasons for this can simply be because they have gore or another hard aspect that's a hard sell (most of the semi-pro and pro horror magazines want literary horror, which is not something I write much of), that they're horror comedy (which a lot of markets aren't interested in), or that the overall aspect of the story isn't something that will fit into niche markets. I do also check in to see if there are new markets that might be more receptive to a certain type of story, but otherwise, I hold those stories until I can put them out on my own.

I did address that I'd be changing things up in the future (when school is over), but for now I'll keep submitting what I've already got written so I don't get rusty, and because that's at least an aspect I can keep going during school. But ARGH, the new and different projects want my attention NOW!

Are you writing? Submitting? Publishing? Any personal publication news you want to share? What are your insecurities? Do you push boundaries with your writing?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Solution for Mom & Open Markets

Since I haven't posted open markets in ages, I figured I'd do a market roundup post for April. But first I figured I'd post a couple mini updates and a solution that freed up a little time for me a couple nights per week. 

First, I finished my first term of college classes. Forty credits done. I've got forty-seven more to go by October. I did take a week off instead of trying to finish another couple of classes this term, but I needed it. I've been able to use the week to relax, but also to get end-of-year tax stuff done, as well as a couple other projects. My new term starts tomorrow, and I'm ready to go. 

Second, with school more than full-time I needed something taken off my plate. I didn't even plan that pun. Anyway, I decided to give Hello Fresh a try, which is a meal service. We do it three days a week, so my husband, son, and daughter each choose a meal for that week, then they prepare it. We do pizza night once a week with a family movie, so that only leaves three days a week I have to worry about dinner. With my time stretched so thin, we'd been grabbing food to go a lot, anyway, and this actually turned out to be cheaper. I highly recommend it if you're the cook in the family and would like a break. Though I'd make a couple notes:

1. Set limits on types of food (example: they'd pretty much all choose pasta for every meal, so I've limited it to one pasta dish per week).

2. My next step needs to be to teach them to clean up after they mess up the kitchen. :p

3. I add an extra meal for the week if there's something I really want to try or if the things they chose aren't "real" food. Like if they choose flatbreads, quesadillas, or things like that, I'll probably make some sort of meat and potatoes dish.

4. Some meals need additional seasoning. At least in my opinion. 

To be clear, this isn't a sponsored post (though if they want to sponsor our podcast, that would be awesome.) But there's something called emotional labor that comes into play with meal planning, grocery shopping, meal prep, cleanup, etc. I'm not just making dinner constantly. I'm having to think through what I'll make for the next week, then go through all the steps. It takes up more mental space than people not in that role understand. The same goes for stuff like planning all the family appointments and planning what we do each week, etc. Doing this, I was able to do a month's worth of shopping for easy meals, stock the freezer and pantry, and with the HF meals coming into play, I'm no longer doing extensive meal planning all the bloody time. Yeah, I still end up dictating who makes their meal and when, but this is such a huge relief, so I wanted to pass it along in case anyone else could use something like this, and hadn't thought of what else it could relieve. 

Oddly, with this little taste of freedom I've been baking more fun stuff, like muffins, making fresh smoothies for snacks. I run to the store for fresh produce and oat milk when I'm out, but this even makes the produce thing easier. Before, I'd have to basically use up produce early on in the week then move onto things that weren't necessarily so fresh, but now I have exactly the amount of produce I need, and I don't have to waste anything if I don't get to it in time. The only produce I have to get now is fruit and veggies for snacks, plus I get salad stuff, because we can add a salad to any meal. Easy.

(I forgot to take a picture of the meal I made that first week. My husband hadn't chosen one that week, because we switch off some weeks, depending.)

Due to my kids being trapped in the house for a year, courtesy of the pandemic, we've also started taking them out once a week to pick a dessert somewhere. We've hit a couple local bakeries, a convenience store (for candy bars), an ice cream place we hadn't tried before, and locations like that. It gets them out of the house, gets us out of the house, and we get a real dessert once per week. Plus, we get to support a small business.

Okay, on to publications accepting submissions.

Bear in mind, I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Goodman Publications is seeking sword and sorcery fantasy short stories for their magazine Tales From the Magician's Skull. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.04/word. Deadline tomorrow, April 1.

Ninth Letter is seeking short stories with the theme "distanced." Up to 3500 words. Pays $25-$75, depending upon type of submission. Deadline April 5.

The Novelette is seeking YA and NA stories for Aesthetic: A Dark Academia Anthology. Any sub-genre. 1000-15,000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline April 10.

Grist is holding a writing contest with no entry fees with the theme "Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors." 3000-5000 words. Prizes range from $300 to $3000. Deadline April 13.

Cloaked Press is seeking science fiction and fantasy short stories for their anthology Summer of Speculation. 4000-10,000 words. Pays $15. Deadline April 20.

Shooter Literary Magazine is seeking short stories with the theme "Escape." 2000-6000 words. Pays 25 pounds. Deadline April 25. 

Cryoseism Press/Frost Zone Press is seeking horror short stories for the anthology Handmade Horror. 600-5000 words. $10-$25 CAD, depending upon length. Deadline April 28.

Bronzewood Books is seeking gaslamp fantasy (fantasy paired with historical fiction) for their anthology Gaslamp Fantasy. 2000-8000 words. Pays $.015/word. Deadline April 30. 

Denver Horror Collective is seeking horror short stories for their anthology The Jewish Book of Horror. 3000-7500 words. Pays $30 for the first 3000 words, then 1/2 cent per word after that. Deadline April 30.

From the Farther Trees is seeking deep time fiction and poetry for their magazine The Mesozoic Reader. 1000-15,000 words. Pays $10. Deadline April 30. 

Accepting Submissions First Week of May:

Improbably Press is seeking cryptid short stories for their anthology Cryptids Emerging: Tales of Dark Cheer. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline May 1.

Spider Road Press is holding a writing contest with no entry fees for women and those who identify as women only. 20-100 words (microfiction). First prize is $150. Deadline May 1.

The First Line is seeking stories beginning with "Lena was raised on violin lessons and minimal parental supervision." 300-5000 words. Pays $5-$25, depending upon entry type and length. Deadline May 1.

Have you tried a home meal delivery kit? Which one? How did you like it? Any of these markets of interest? Anything to add?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Book Release: Jennifer Lane's Rivals


Title: Rivals
Author: Jennifer Lane
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: March 19, 2021
Cover Design: Dan Irons, Designs by Irons

“I embrace my rival. But only to strangle him.”
~Jean Racine

After landing her dream job as head volleyball coach at Ohio State University, Lauren Chase’s career has become a nightmare. Her only hope of saving her job is to recruit a star player to her team. Too bad the player’s twin has signed a football scholarship for OSU’s chief rival, Michigan. And too bad Michigan coach, Jeremy Trent, sends sparks through Lauren every time they cross paths. But no way will she pursue an attraction to a man who represents the university she hates.

Jeremy detests his boss, and he hopes that signing the nation’s #1 recruit is the ticket he needs to become a head coach himself one day. Lauren Chase is already a head coach, and Jeremy has to admit that she intrigues the hell out of him. He wants to know why her performance has tanked after winning a national championship. He wants to see beneath Lauren’s fast pace and dirty mouth. But he can’t get with a Buckeye, right?

Maybe rivals don’t have to remain enemies. Maybe they can learn to appreciate their opponent’s strengths. And, if they’re lucky—if they excel at the game—maybe rivals can bring out the very best in each other.

"Absolutely loved this book. The rivalry was spot on. This book has it all, humor, love and sports." ~Michelle from Besties & Books
"The uncanny portrayal of recruiting high-profile athletes in Rivals completely transported me into the story. I became so invested in Lauren Chase's success! When Coach Chase met Coach Trent, the chance of finding love on the recruiting trail turned into such a charming contest--a game more meaningful than they could ever imagine on the court or field." ~Gwynn Harrison, Head Swim Coach, Bridgewater College
"Fun read that captures the best of the greatest sports rivalry in the midst of a smoldering romance."~Kevin Kropf

Psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane invites you to her world of sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist!

Jen fell in love with sports at a young age and competed in swimming and volleyball in college. She went on to become the Honda Award Winner for Division III Athlete of the Year. She still gets high from the smell of chlorine and the satisfaction of smashing a beautiful volleyball set.

Jen’s latest novel is Rivals, a romance between coaches from rival universities. Her Blocked trilogy also explores the transformation from hate to love. Particularly in this time of division, Jen’s favorite theme is finding common ground.

A romantic suspense trilogy (The Conduct Series) and a psychological thriller (Twin Sacrifice) complete Jen’s collection of stories. She calls Ohio home and shares writing space with her two trusted feline collaborators: Tuxedo and Tessa.

Whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time, she likes to exercise and visit her amazing sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.