Wednesday, September 21, 2016

S.A. Larsen Cover Reveal - Motley Education

Today I'd like to present S.A. Larsen's Motley Education cover reveal!

Title: Motley Education (Book One: The URD Saga)
Author: S.A. Larsen
Release Date: October 10, 2016

Forget having a lively after school social life, Ebony Charmed is fighting to keep the entire Afterlife alive.

Ebony’s less-than-average spirit tracking abilities are ruining more than sixth grade at Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically & Celestially gifted. Her parents argue so much her dad moved out. And, even though he’s scared of his own shadow and insists on bringing his slimy, legless lizard everywhere they go, Ebony wouldn’t survive without her best friend, Fleishman.

When Ebony’s Deadly Creatures & Relics’ project goes missing, she learns her missing project is one of the keys to saving the spirit world. Now Ebony and Fleishman must battle beasts from Norse Mythology to retrieve her project before spirits are lost, the Well of Urd dries up, and Ebony loses all hope of reuniting her family. But someone lies in wait, and he has other plans...including creating a new world of spirits without them in it.

Motley Education has been aligned with Core Standards for grades 4-7. A guide will be available on the author’s website to download for FREE after the book’s release date.

About S.A. Larsen

S.A. LARSEN is the author of Motley Education, the first book in a middle grade fantasy-adventure series. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Look for her debut young adult novel, Marked Beauty, set for release in 2017. Find her in the land of lobsters, snowy winters, and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty years, four children, a playful pooch, and two kittens.

You can visit her online at

Follow her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram and connect with her on her Website & Blog.

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Five lucky winners will each receive a signed bookmark and assorted swag! Contest runs from 09/15/16 to 09/23/16. Winners will be chosen my

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Direct link to giveaway:

What do you think? It raises interesting questions, doesn't it?  

May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 19, 2016

It's Baby Moo and Julie, Too! (& Links)

Today, I'm featuring Julie Flanders and her new book Baby Moo's Great Escape. If you've been by Julie's blog, you know she cares deeply about animals and works to bring attention to ways to help them. Now she's taken that love and put out her first children's book.

Without further ado, here's Baby Moo! (Man, I keep rhyming.)

Baby Moo has a dream. He wants to travel the world and sing on the stage of the Sydney Opera House! While he loves his home at Sunrise Sanctuary, it hasn’t been the same since a piglet named Nathan showed up and stole all the attention away from Moo. Jealous of the new baby, Moo decides now is the time to make his escape and pursue his dream.

But the world outside the sanctuary gates is not quite the fun and exciting place Moo imagined, and he quickly finds himself in big trouble. Moo's friends Missy the dog and Ruthie the cat rush to help him, and land in some trouble of their own.

Lost and frightened, Moo and his friends must rely on each other to find their way back home. Will they ever see Sunrise again?

Release date: September 8, 2016 from Native Ink Press


Julie Flanders will donate $1 to Sunrise Sanctuary, home to Baby Moo and numerous other rescued animals, for each copy sold in September. 


Now for some links! Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing any of these links, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

The Patchwork Raven is open for submissions of children's bedtime stories aimed at kids 3-9. Pays $25. Deadline September 30.

The Fantasist is open for novellas. They have a whole big list of stuff they like, so I'm going to leave it up to them, but fantasy and YA, in general, though YA is not required. 15,000-40,000 words. Pays $50. Deadline September 30.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is looking for stories matching the theme Best Mom Ever! Up to 1200 words. Pays $200. Deadline September 30.

Karen Walker is putting together an anthology called Still Me After All These Years. She's looking for contributors age 50 and over. I don't believe this will be paid, which I usually wouldn't share, but this is a passion project for her, so I agreed to share, anyway. Deadline September 30.

The Last Line is open for flash and short fiction ending with the line "It was hard to accept that from now on everyone would look at her differently." 300-5000 words. Pays $20-40. Deadline October 1.

Robert N. Stephenson is looking for submissions of speculative fiction for the anthology The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Vol II. 4500-10,000 words. Pays AUD$100. Deadline October 15.

Disquieted Dreams Press is seeking body horror short stories for the anthology In Our Bodies. 2000-5000 words. Pays $10. Deadline October 15.

Helios is looking for fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art. Theme for the December issue is RE_ACTED, and they're looking for stories that explore the dark side of human progression. 500-1500 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline October 15.

Blog Hops:

The October theme for the Write Edit Publish blog hop/challenge is Constellations. Up to 1000 words. Post October 19.

Of Interest:

I thought this was interesting and helpful: Beta Reader Etiquette.

Sounds cute, doesn't it? And isn't it awesome she's donating money to Sunrise Sanctuary for all September purchases? What do you think of Baby Moo? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? Publishing or submission news?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Horror List Book Review: Needful Things

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling and M.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.) To see the books I've reviewed so far, you can view the list at the end of this post where I rank them.

This week I'm reviewing Needful Things, by Stephen King.

I thought I'd read this already, and then I found it on my unread books shelf (yes, I have one of those...doesn't everyone?) and realized I never had. I decided to read it, not realizing it was on this list, so yay!

This novel is about a small town (Castle Rock, which has featured in other stories, like Cujo, The Dead Zone, and The Body (Stand By Me)), and a man who shows up, opening up a mysterious shop called Needful Things. He gives everyone their most secret desires, but he exacts a price, ultimately causing the town to degrade into disturbing violence. It's amazing what people will do out of greed for their desires.

The main characters are the sheriff and his girlfriend, a local seamstress. She has horrific arthritis and is in constant pain. They're also the only ones to be able to see through Leland Gaunt's--owner of Needful Things--friendly veneer. 

The first we see violence in the book, a plan come to fruition for Gaunt, it's two women tearing each other apart, literally, in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. This is after several awful things have occurred to each woman, attributed to the other woman. Muddied sheets, rocks through windows, and a dead dog.

If you can't stand violence against animals and children, this is not the book for you. Stephen King pulls no punches (does he ever?). No one is safe in this book, not puppies, not cats, not birds, not children. Fair warning.

As always, King gets to the base of each character. He intricately weaves the lives of the townspeople together, hinting at, and eventually telling about, past sins. For a small town, they sure have big secrets.

Once the violence really gets going, it's an insane maelstrom of greed, rage, envy, you name it. In fact, I'd say all of the cardinal sins are covered. And for the most part, the breakdown in civilization in the town of Castle Rock is built up just right, so the violence makes some odd sort of sense. You can see why it happened, anyway.

The people being blamed (and attacked) for committing various evil deeds are not the people actually doing those. The plot is carefully set up, with a bunch of disconnected actions ultimately coming together and making sense as you read on. 

As a bonus, there are references to other King novels set in the town, with a character returning from The Body (I won't tell you who, but you'll know when he shows up). If you've seen the film, you'll know why I kept looking for the line, "I killed my wife. Is that wrong?" Yeah, it's not in the book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, even though the animal and child deaths bothered me. It's a slow (not boring) buildup to an explosive ending. 

My new rankings:

1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
3. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
4. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
6. The Year’s Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection (Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling)
7. Needful Things (Stephen King)
8. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
10. The Stranger (Albert Camus)
11. Dead in the Water (Nancy Holder)
12. The Witches (Roald Dahl)
13. The Damnation Game (Clive Barker)
14. The Wolf's Hour (Robert McCammon)
15. Berserk (Tim Lebbon)
16. Prime Evil (Douglas E. Winter)
17. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
18. Flowers in the Attic (V.C. Andrews)
19. The Tomb (F. Paul Wilson)
20. Shadowland (Peter Straub)
21. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)
22. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
23. My Soul to Keep (Tananarive Due)
24. Penpal (Dathan Auerbach)
25. World War Z (Max Brooks)
26. From the Dust Returned (Ray Bradbury) 
27. The Red Tree (Caitlin R. Kiernan)
28. In Silent Graves (Gary A. Braunbeck)
29. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
30. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
31. The Doll Who Ate His Mother (Ramsey Campbell) 
32. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)
33. Naked Lunch (William S. Burroughs)

Have you read Needful Things? Where do you rank it among King novels? What did you think of the buildup? What would your weakness be in terms of desires Gaunt could take advantage of?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cover Reveal: Timeless, by Crystal Collier

Crystal Collier, she of the author feature where they give two truths and a lie, is releasing her new novel, Timeless, in November. You can't read it yet, but here's a preview of her cover!

Timeless is a YA Paranormal Historical novel, the third in her Maiden of Time series.

Time is the enemy.

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil, and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

Timeless will be released by Raybourne Publishing November 1, 2016.

If you're eager to jump in, the first two books, Moonless and Soulless can be purchased HERE.

Crystal is running a giveaway. Enter to win!

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What do you think? It's a gorgeous cover, isn't it? Have you read the first two novel in the series? Have you played two truths and a lie on Crystal's blog?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

IWSG - Self-Doubt, Stats, & Links

It's the first Wednesday of September, which makes it time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by the one and only Alex J. Cavanaugh.

The purpose of the IWSG is for writers to share their doubts and fears, while offering support to their fellow writers. We post the first Wednesday of each month. Anyone is welcome to join by going HERE.

This month's co-hosts are C. Lee McKenzie, Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman,Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata! Stop by and visit them, and be sure to thank them for hosting.

Let's see...insecurities. I realized the other day that I was avoiding working on my novels. At this point, I've become somewhat comfortable in the short story world. I have my process down. I enjoy writing short stories. But I've got all these ideas for novels, too, plus one needing to be finished, one needing to be edited, and another needing some major rewrites. I haven't worked on them much over the last few months. It took me this long to see it was nerves for various reasons. Part of it is that I feel like if I sell a novel I won't have time for the short stories anymore. And then I'll be sucked into the constant marketing, working on the next novel, etc. The thing is, that's where I aim to be, but I fear I won't like it, and I hate to lose the short stories, because I have too much fun with them. I wonder if I can balance the two once I get past the writing stage.


Before I jump into links, it's time for my August stats. 

Note: These are all short story submissions.

8 submissions
6 rejections
2 short listed
10 currently on submission

No acceptances or new publications this month. 


Link time! Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing these links, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting. Note: I got behind on these, so some close pretty soon. I'll try to get caught back up this month so that they're a month out.

Accepting Submissions:

Apt is open for essays, poetry, comics, and longer short works of between 10,000 and 15,000 words. Pays $50 and contributor's copy. Reading window closes September 15.

Meerkat Press has an open call out for short fiction for their anthology Behind the Mask. Superhero themed. 3000 to 6000 words. Pays $.02-.08/word. Deadline September 15. 

Farolight Publishing is taking submissions for Horror Library. 2000 to 6000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline September 15. 

Splickety Publishing Group is accepting submissions for Splickety Prime with the theme Christmas in Crisis. 300 to 1000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline September 23.

The Letters Page is accepting essays, fiction, travelogues, poems, and tons more. It needs to be in the form of a letter. Must be mailed, not electronically submitted. Pays £100. Deadline September 25. 

Pentimento is open for submissions for their winter issue. Essays and fiction concerning disability. Up to 6000 words. Pays $25-250. Deadline September 30.

The Nashville Review is open for fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Up to 8000 words. Pays $25-100. Deadline September 30.

Recompose is open for short prose and poetry that combines speculative fiction with literary fiction. Up to 1000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline September 30.

Enchanted Conversation is accepting fairy tale inspired prose and poems. 700 to 3000 words. Pays $10-30. Deadline September 30.


Brilliant Flash Fiction has a flash contest with the prompt "It came in the mail." There's also an image prompt. 500 word limit. 50 euro first prize. Deadline September 15.  

Concis is holding Pith of Prose & Poem Contest. Up to 200 words. Cash prizes, plus postcards with your work on them. No entry fee. Deadline September 15. 

What are your insecurities? Have you found a good way to balance novels with shorter works? Have you submitted anything this month? How did it go? Any publishing news? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Horror List Book Review: The Witches

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling and M.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.) To see the books I've reviewed so far, you can view the list at the end of this post where I rank them.

This week I'm reviewing The Witches, by Roald Dahl. 

This is one of two Middle Grade books on the list, the other being Coraline, which I've already reviewed. So my review will be pretty simple. 

The Witches was a good scary book for kids. At the very beginning, it introduces witches as real things in a convincing way, saying they look normal, rather than scary. Then it tells the child reader the teacher reading to them is probably a witch. It sets up a scare and casts doubt on the adult reading the book to them. Seems like a good way to give kids a thrill.

I imagine many of you already know the story, whether from the book or the movie. A young boy's grandmother tells him about witches, warning him of signs to look out for. They go on a trip together, and he ends up in a room full of witches, who hate children and can smell them wherever they are. He's caught and turned into a mouse, leading to his grandmother and him taking on a mission to destroy the witches and stop their evil plans.

Though it's a children's book, there are solid scare tactics and writing tricks employed that make it worth a quick read (and it IS a quick read) for horror authors. The story and details are basic, as you would expect, but it's entertaining.

My new rankings:

1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
3. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
4. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
6. The Year’s Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection (Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling)
7. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
9. The Stranger (Albert Camus)
10. Dead in the Water (Nancy Holder)
11. The Witches (Roald Dahl)
12. The Damnation Game (Clive Barker)
13. The Wolf's Hour (Robert McCammon)
14. Berserk (Tim Lebbon)
15. Prime Evil (Douglas E. Winter)
16. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
17. Flowers in the Attic (V.C. Andrews)
18. The Tomb (F. Paul Wilson)
19. Shadowland (Peter Straub)
20. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)
21. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
22. My Soul to Keep (Tananarive Due)
23. Penpal (Dathan Auerbach)
24. World War Z (Max Brooks)
25. From the Dust Returned (Ray Bradbury) 
26. The Red Tree (Caitlin R. Kiernan)
27. In Silent Graves (Gary A. Braunbeck)
28. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
29. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
30. The Doll Who Ate His Mother (Ramsey Campbell) 
31. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)
32. Naked Lunch (William S. Burroughs)

The next book I review will be Needful Things, by Stephen King.

Have you read Roald Dahl books? Which is your favorite? Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you read it as an adult or a kid? Did you read it to your kids (or better yet, students)?

May you find your Muse.