Brief description of book:

Fragile but practical Shelby Stewart and ambitious, confident Astrid Ericcson just want to start their PR careers in 1980s Boston and maybe find a nice guy to hang out with. But long-buried memories of incest at the hands of her local hero stepfather keep interrupting Shelby's plans, affecting her health one way after another. And when will she actually date someone her friends think is good enough for her?

Astrid thinks she wrote the book on How to Get Ahead by Flirting but is forced to re-visit her career advancement strategy when her boss Brad takes the innuendoes to a whole new, scary level, threatening her job and her safety.

Suddenly, instead of taking charge of their lives, both women find themselves spinning out of control.

In this fast-paced story for the #MeToo generation, the women reach new highs and lows in life, work and romance, while struggling to make sense of the abusive relationships that haunt them.

Publisher: TouchPoint Press
Genre: New Adult/Upmarket
Format: Paperback and ebook
Release date: Sept. 27, 2019
ISBN-10: 1-946920-71-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-946920-71-3

Pre-order links:
TouchPoint Press:

Author bio:

S.M. Stevens began writing during back-to-back health crises: a shattered pelvis and ovarian cancer. She has self-published Shannon's Odyssey (Middle Grade) and the Bit Players series (Young Adult). When not writing, she provides marketing and PR to solar energy companies. She lives in New England.

Author website and social links:


The Blogger Recognition Award


I’ve been nominated for the blogger recognition award, and I’d like to thank @alexis_clear on Twitter for nominating me!!!! So, about the Award: The Blogger Recognition Award is given by bloggers to other bloggers. This award is an avenue of acknowledging the hard work and talent of our fellow teammates and allows their stories to be showcased and shared among a wider audience.

The Rules:

Thank the blogger who nominated you and add a link to their blog

Write a post on your site displaying the award and explain why you started your blog.

Write two pieces of advice for new bloggers.

Nominate and notify 15 other bloggers.
















Why did I start blogging? Hmm….I loved to discuss books, writing, languages, and anything else that I like. I saw that people were doing it, so I decided to do the same thing. Why not? In my life, I had let fear stop me from doing many things that I wanted to do until the day I told myself that I was no longer going to allow my fear stop me. So, I started blogging about books and writing. I love reading and writing. And, maybe something that I say will help someone do the same thing that I told myself years ago.

Advice for Bloggers

1) Blog about ANYTHING you want!!! If you aren’t engaged about what you’re writing then the readers won’t either. Why waste the time not enjoying what you’re doing? You love books? Blog about book reviews. You love to write? Blog about your writing process, tips, or strategies. It doesn’t matter…you must love it yourself.

2) Don’t do it to make money. Success will come to those who put in the effort. Be consistent. Stay focused. Pour your love into it. Then, you’ll be successful!

Author Interview with Michael Sahno, the author of Whizzers


Q: What got you into writing?

A: I was always a writer, even as a youngster. People who knew me in high school or college will remember me as Class Poet, or editor of the literary magazine. When I got into my late teens, I started writing more fiction, some short stories. Then I started my first novel when I was about twenty-five. Once I finished the first one, I launched into writing the next one without ever looking back.

Q: Tell us about your new novel, Whizzers?

A recovering alcoholic, Mike, discovers his six-year-old cousin, David, travels through time as a whizzer to bring comfort to those in need. Mike soon finds himself along for the ride, and while he gets the opportunity to bring solace to some of his greatest heroes, he must also confront his own greatest demons.

Q: Is any of this based on your own experience, or is it strictly fiction?

A: A couple of characters from my previous novels bear a slight resemblance to real people, but very slight indeed. However, Whizzers is a different story: the narrator is a fictionalized version of me, and he meets up with a variety of people, including some fictionalized versions of relatives. And yes, all the standard legal disclaimers apply. I think if you or someone you love has ever been bullied; faced addiction or alcoholism; or wanted to give or receive comfort, you’ll like it.

Q: Who would you say have been your greatest influences?

A: The biggest influences on my fiction were probably John Gardner, Kurt Vonnegut, and Hunter S. Thompson. Then Balzac, Faulkner, Fitzgerald--lots of others. Balzac and La Comédie Humaine will always top the list for me. I’ve read maybe 30% of his work, so I’ve barely scratched the surface, and he gets me every time. He really knew all levels of society and human nature.

Q: When is Whizzers coming out?

A: It's available July 21st from all your favorite online retailers: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and so on. You can find it here or here.

Author Interview with the Amazing Writer of the Isle of the Dead Novel: Jody Neil Ruth


Judy Neil Ruth, author of the Isle of the Dead Series, took the time to allow me to interview him for my blog. Take a minute…or a few. Buckle up because you’re going to read some great answers by an amazing person!

download (1).jpeg

So, Jody, what drew you into the world of writing?

“When I was a kid I had a problem with one of my feet, so my legs were placed in a brace for a long time. I think my mum said it was around two years! So, being immobile a lot of the time I was encouraged to read and write from a very early age.”

I love it when a person can use such an experience to empower them. Did you use your experience in braces as a motivator for your stories?

I don’t think I’ve ever used that moment, as such, but I’ve definitely taken other incidents in my life and turned them into tales. I had a pretty bad brush with mental health issues a few years ago. I blogged about it and it was then made into a documentary which has been seen all around the world! The book I’m currently working on is a self-autobiographical version of the events at the time, sprinkled with some creative fiction. It’s almost ready to be sent to agents and publishers, and I think if anything is going to get me “noticed” it’s probably this book.

That WIP sounds life altering. Do you think of how your work could affect someone else?

The feedback I had from my original blog about mental health issues stunned me, in a good way. People reached out to me to tell me their problems and to thank me for making them realize they weren’t alone. The documentary did the same, times ten! The book I’m finishing will resonate with many people, but in the end, it is a dark comedy and I think if anyone reads that then that’s what they’ll be expecting anyway.

Do you think your experiences with mental health gave you a true insight into the psyches of your readers?

Only the ones who have struggled themselves! And I don’t think I have an insight in all of them, but I can certainly sympathize and empathize.

I've read your novel, Isle of the Dead, what was your motivation for the story?

A lifelong obsession with zombies! Ha ha! It started when I was a kid and my dad ran a shop renting video cassettes (remember them?) and I used to watch Romero’s films and any other zombie flicks in stock. I think I may have watched every zombie film ever... oh, and I’ve been an extra in two of them! And the lead in a zombie music video... and I have a zombie tattoo... so, yeah, “obsessed”!

So, you would say that you're an expect on Zombies? lol That is quite interesting. Most pre/post-apocalyptic tales that involve zombies revolved around a very similar theme/trope. How is your story different than most?

For starters, because I wrote it! Ha! It’s different because I’ve set it on the Isle of Wight, and I’m 99% certain no one else has ever set a zombie story there. It’s perfect as it’s jus off the coast of mainland England, has around 170,000 people inhabiting it, and was rife for a tale of people trying to fight their way off it for a long time. So I stepped up and wrote the story!

Do you have any other plans for the series?

Yep! The sequel is about two of the thirds way through the first draft, and there will be a third book to make up the trilogy. I’m definitely open to expanding the “universe”, as such, but it will be a series I dip in and out of to extend. My priority is to get the trilogy finished as well as the mental health story, and then I’ll push on with other projects.

I found it very fascinating that you used your home area for the setting. How important was that? Not many people use their hometown, etc

Gotta “write what you know”, right? Ha! And I know zombies and I know the Isle of Wight, and I know the people who inhabit it. I lived there over three decades and I was a taxi driver there for 11 years. I don’t think many people know the place as well as I do, warts and all!

Oh, a taxi driver you say? How many stories have you heard? I bet you have countless stories inside of your head!

Oh man, like you wouldn’t believe. I drove a school bus as well. I used to write Facebook statuses about the stories and they became a staple in people’s lives! And of course I’m turning that into a book as well! It’s an active file on my desktop which I add to every few days when I remember old stories or if they pop up on Facebook in those “memory” things you wake up to each morning.

You said that initially you tried to seek traditional publishing for your novel. What made you decide to go the self-publishing route? We both know that some people place a divide between the two different styles.

I submitted my zombie story to agents and publishers, knowing full well the market was flooded with books like mine. I got nice replies from some agents saying they liked my writing style but they couldn’t market my book, but I did get four offers from small publishers. However, these guys would only advertise it in the US. I knew I could promote it and sell it myself in the UK, so that’s what I did! I self-published Isle of The Dead last year and it’s slowly gained momentum. It now sits at number one in the Smashwords free horror charts, and that’s something I’m extremely proud of. It also reached number 5 in the “paid” horror charts!

What are some tips that you'd give other aspiring writers when it comes to publishing? What's the real tea!

I'm going to stay away from the old cliched tips and go with something I've found super important for my writing. GET YOURSELF A BUDDY. Find a writing friend who will tell you how shit is. Someone who won't lie but will encourage you. I've got an A-star friend called Cheyenne who reads what I write, points out my mistakes, notes inconsistencies, tells me when things don't make sense, yet she's also one of my biggest supporters. If you can get a friend like that it is a MASSIVE help to your writing. I'm 43 and have been writing all my life and even today she's helped changed a tiny aspect of my writing that I didn't even know I needed changing.

As an active member of the writing community, have you noticed any trends among writers?

Yeah, and not a good one. Some "writers" who I newly follow then send me an automated link advertising their books or "services". One guy sent me a message in text speak asking me if I'd like a PDF of his "best selling ebook on how to promote myself". Here, let me copy and paste it: "R U an author? Market UR Books On Twitter? STILL Struggling 2 get SALES?" So I sent him a reply asking if the fucking PDF was written in text speak as well. He didn't reply. I unfollowed. But I get more and more of these automated replies from people and sometimes I can't sift the fake accounts from the new ones, so I go through their tweets and if it's just a bunch of retweeted adverts, etc, I get rid of them. Maybe it isn't so much of a trend, and maybe it's more of me having a bug up my arse, but one certain way to get yourself unfollowed by me is to send me an automated message the second I follow you. It's so impersonal. Rant over.

I understand, I get those as well. I’d rather pay a PR person honestly. If I had the money. So, what other genres do you plan to write? Fantasy? Romance? Etc

Fantasy for sure. I’ve got an idea bumming around my head that I need to get down. Romance is actually something I’ll be working on soon, but I’m busting to write myself a western! I love a good cowboy story! The only thing is I know there’s going to be a dark streak through everything I write. I just can’t help it!

I feel that is part of your voice as a writer. When did you realize that you had found your voice as a writer?

Probably back when Facebook really blew up and I started writing funny statuses about taxi and bus driving. I think that’s really when I found the rhythm in my style of writing, as a lot of people reacted to my tales and I grew it from there.

So, what is your ultimate goal for your Isle of the Dead Series? Tv? Movie? Graphic novel?

Ah, I think it would make a nice little lottery funded or channel 4 film movie. Here’s to hoping!

You said that you have a son. How would you feel if your son came to you and told you that he wanted to be a writer?

I have three kids! If any of them wanted to take up writing seriously I would encourage them, but also remind them to get a full time job to pay the bills!

That is amazing. You know, some people would discourage a writing career because it can be risky. But, I feel that those people are too scared to follow their dreams. One never knows. Besides a theme of zombie craziness, what other themes do you want a reader to get from Isle of the Dead? It's such a compelling story and quite realistic in my opinion.

Themes? I’m not sure. I kinda just want people to enjoy it without me laying any subversive undercurrents! It’s a tale of the undead attacking people on a small island. I just hope people enjoy it. The reviews have been great and it’s number one, so I guess I’m doing something right!

And, you are. Your story is so well done. I really enjoyed it. And from your reviews, I can tell that people do enjoy it. So, what else do you want the readers to know about you?

Thanks Jacob! I hope the sequel is just as well liked! I’d just like them to know I’m very approachable if they’d like to talk.i can be found all over the net. With a name like mine there’s never any room for confusion! Ha!

Do you offer services to other writers? Critique Partner? Beta Reader? Etc.

Well, I don’t really advertise anything, but I have written menus for restaurants, brochures for charities, and pretty much anything anyone asks me to. I wouldn’t say I offer services, but I can also say I’ve never turned anyone down! Ha ha!

I think that is what makes a better writing community. When a writer can give back, I truly believe that someone who doesn't have a clue where to start and they come across you, it relieves pressure. Makes someone feel like they aren't alone. And, we all know the writing world is so vast and abundant that I can scare some.

I hear that. You can type in #writingcommunity on twitter and lose hours of your day getting involved with it all! The info a ration, advice, and friendships you can create just off of that hashtag alone really sums up what being a writer and what being friends with other writers is all about.

I have met some great people in the Writing Community on Twitter. Some helped me during my launch of Augur of Shadows. So, where can readers find you? You have a personal website?

Sure do!


Blog Tour - 'No More Lies' by Robert Crouch




Kent Fisher gets more than he bargained for when Detective Inspector Ashley Goodman enlists his help with a ten year old murder. She’s on a mission and needs a big case to put her career back on track. 

And they don’t come much bigger than Miles Birchill, Downland’s wealthiest and most divisive resident. 

Not for the first time, Kent has doubts about the case, forcing him to make choices. But who do you trust when everyone has something to hide? 

Caught in the middle, he has no alternative but to solve the murder, unaware that his every move is being watched. 

The Kent Fisher novels offer a fresh and contemporary reworking of the classic whodunit and murder mysteries of authors like Agatha Christie.


No More Lies is the fourth novel in the Kent Fisher Mysteries Series. I give this novel a strong 4/5 stars. The plot was well executed. I didn't find any plot holes, and I was entertained throughout most of the story. This isn't my usual genre, so the spots that required me to push through I won't hold against the writer.

The characters are well developed and realistic. I believe that many readers will find them relatable. Even the characters that I ended up hated...I hated because they were portrayed really well.

The best part was the ending (which I will NOT ruin for the readers...) It was well done.

I recommend this series if you like thriller/murder/mystery.

About the Author


Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

To discover more, visit

Social Media

Website –
Twitter –
Facebook Author Page –
Amazon Author Page –
GoodReads –

Dark Dominions - A Fantasy Anthology


The Founders and Editors of WriterWriter have released information on their upcoming Anthology Dark Dominion-A Fantasy Anthology.



The Founders and Editors of WriterWriterMorgan Wright and David Collins, have assembled a group of emerging and award-winning fantasy authors alike to present you with an anthology consisting of 20 epic, dark and grimdark fantasy tales of fear, courage, love and sacrifice in worlds of death and tyranny.

Together with the stories, there will also be at least 10 striking black and white illustrations (depending on the stretch goals we hit, we'll be adding even more!!) by talented artists like Mike Cook, Michael Mitchell Jr., Nizar, William Zablocki Jr., Gillian Annandale and many more.

We are striving to launch a fantasy anthology that comes out with a BANG, an anthology that stands for something and means something.

This anthology is Dark Dominions

One of the first of its kind to support Gender Equality

This means:

  • 50% of our authors are male and 50% of our authors are female. 

  • Both genders are treated and paid equally (no preferential treatment).

  • The anthology features both strong male and strong female characters (no damsels-in-distress to be found here).

  • And last but not least, this anthology proves that women can write fantasy equally well as men, doing away with the gender bias against female writers in a male-dominated field.


Because Gender Equality is something we're deeply passionate about. For generations people all over the world have been fighting for gender equality and yet we have still not achieved the point where we can say women are considered equals to men. Where women's voices are heard equally. 

Gender inequality continues to plague our society- more so than most of us are aware. Across the world, time and time again, we see women being treated as inferior to men. You might find yourself thinking that in the modern society in which we live, women are treated  as equals but, upon closer examination, you'll notice that isn't the reality of the matter.

Women in every industry and every country are still deemed less than men. This is most evident in the gender pay gap that still exists today. In the UK, women, on average, are paid 16% less than men across all industries and sectors. In the USA, this figure is closer to 20%.

In the 21st century, we owe it to ourselves and to future generations to live outside such stereotypes and institutionalised discrimination. We owe it to ourselves to make a change. And with your help, we can.

By supporting our Kickstarter, you are standing up with us against gender inequality and against injustice. You are giving a voice to all those women who have been on the receiving end of inequality all their lives and empowering them to keep fighting. Help us make our project a reality and stand with us in our effort to obliterate gender inequality altogether. 




Street Teams: What To Do & What Not To Do

download (2).jpeg

It has been a while since I have written a blog post that pertained to anything writing related. For the past few months, I have been preparing for the release of my debut novel Augur of Shadows: The Destined Series Book 1. Now that the book is out into the world, and people are purchasing it and reading it, I have a little more time to do a few other things. Well, when an author releases a novel, the real work starts: ACTIVATING YOUR PROMOTIONAL/MARKETING SKILLS.

However, this blog is not about how to promote your novel, what marketing plan is the most effective, or how much should you spend on hiring a PR person. What this blog is about is Street Teams. Street teams are a way of promoting/marketing, but their stage in the release game and tactics are different.

What is a Street Team, you ask?

A street team is a group of individuals an author gathers to help him, her or they to receive an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) and leave a review on the day of your release. Yes, the author needs to have ARC’s ready for their street team. Street Teams are also meant to help promote your work. And, Yes, the members of your street team need to promote your novel. Think of the phrase Street Team…a team on the streets, promoting your work and gaining new individuals who learn of your story and who may want to pre-order your novel.

In my recent experience with my Street Team, I had done everything my research showed. I made a preliminary list of individuals who I thought would consider joining the cause. After my list was constructed, I created a google doc sign-up, and I posted on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. I set a time frame for people to sign-up. Also, a Facebook group was created so that the members had a place to discuss weekly tasks and ideas.

This is part of the blog where it gets interesting…

download (3).jpeg
download (4).jpeg

For Authors & Participants:

1) Do NOT sign up if you aren’t going to participate. The purpose of joining a team is to help the author gain more pre-orders/reviews/press for their upcoming novel. You are effectively affecting their release day. Do not join a team if you aren’t going to be helpful.

2) Authors, do NOT take just anyone just because you feel the need to have an actual team. It is better to have a smaller team who will help you out rather than a large group of people that waste your time. This is about YOUR release day, not their ego.

3) Authors, do as much research for your team prior to inquiring. Having all the information makes your life easier when your team comes to you with questions/suggestions. You should be the pro. Again, this is about your novel’s release day…the day that you want to shine the brightest…so do the work.

4) This number goes with #1. If you’re on a team, DO NOT say you’ve completed a task, etc and not have done it. The author will check up on it. It isn’t because he, she or they don’t trust you, but they are trying to increase the reach of their audience. Why wouldn’t the author double check?

The DON’Ts are quite short and simple. If you don’t want to do the work, DO NOT SIGN UP FOR ONE. I had too many people sign up for my street team, and a vast majority did not participate when the requirements were posted and conversations were had.

Should an Author expect a few of the people to sign up and not participate? Yes, life is tricky and busy. While things happen and people’s lives can change a moment later, it is still vital that all members retain constant communication for sheer respect for one another.

download (5).jpeg

For Authors & Participants

1) Authors, once you give your team members an ARC, be open to their constructive criticism. Maybe they see something that you or your editor missed. It will only help you out in the long run.

2) Authors, tell your team members where you want your book/series to go. Retaining members who love your story/writing style will ease future street teams.

3) Authors, assign weekly tasks so that your street team knows what to do. You can NOT be upset with the team if they don’t know what they need to do.

4) Authors, have your street team speak with bookstores, news outlets, book reviews, bookstagrammers, BookTubers…anyone who has a reach. The more exposure you have, the better.

If you are contacting anyone for a review/book spotlight/author spotlight/blog tour, you MUST be respectful and considerate of the individuals because…newsflash…you are NOT the only one contacting them. DO NOT be disrespectful.

5) Have your street team post pictures with their ARCs (even the eBook version). It’ll allow future readers to see others are truly excited about your story.

6) Have your members add your book on Goodreads (GR). Have them also post updates on their reading status. People do look for those things.

7) The street team should be speaking about your book to everyone.

I am NOT saying that the street team needs to do nothing but concentrate on your book. Come on…it doesn’t take long to post on FB, GR, IG or Twitter.

8) Street Team can also share your blog post to others as well. As stated, getting your name out there is the most important.

9) If you have a giveaway, have your street team share that information as well.

10) Create an “easy-to-use” sign-up sheet/form for your street team.

***Author, you are the manager of the group. If you can’t take the time to do at least the state above, then maybe you shouldn’t form a street team till a time that you are ready***

The above stated is not everything you can do for your street team. These are only suggestions. From my recent experience, I have members who decided to not participate, but I did have members who fulfilled the requirements I posted prior to starting, and I am very much appreciative of their hard work. Because of their and my work, I had a successful launch day. I also have learned what not to do the next time I form a street team. Now, everyone’s street team can be different, but the ultimate goal is always the same—maximum exposure of the author and his, her or their novel.

I hope you find this information helpful, and I wish everyone success with their future book launches.

download (6).jpeg

Murder on the Rocks Blog Tour!!!!!!


Title: Murder on the Rocks: A Welsh Cosy Murder Mystery (Jordan Jenner Murder Mystery #1)

Author: J.S. Strange

Pages: 416

Blurb: When PI Jordan Jenner returns to work following the death of his mother, his first case involves a murdered writer...

James Fairview has been killed. As a member of a prestigious writing group hosted by bestselling author Joseph Gordon in the heart of Cardiff, Jordan not only has to cope with solving the mystery, but also deal with press attention. 

As Jordan investigates, he discovers his mother's death may not have been so simple. And when another writer is murdered, Jordan realises the killer could strike again... 

A murdered writer, a mysterious death, and a group with jealousy at its heart, this is Jenner's toughest case yet.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Cover: B+

My true rating is a strong 4.5/5.0 for the novel. This genre isn’t my normal taste, but I was approached to give a true and honest review. The author takes us on an adventure (make me think of Clue) on how and why members of a writing group are being murdered. 
Jordan, the protagonist, has a lot going on. His mother passed, his father is mourning and Jordan himself is dealing with all the emotions that come with losing a parent. 
An idea comes to his head, “does my mother’s death have anything to do with it?” He goes on the journey of solving the mystery. 
The story does give a very classic murder/mystery vibe, and I enjoyed it. It maintained my attention throughout the pose. 

The cover get a solid B+.

A great start to the series. I do recommend this novel to anyone who likes thriller/murder/mystery.

Author Photo2.jpg


Murder on the Rocks - Blog Tour.jpg


Do you have a pen name and why?

I write under the pen name J.S. Strange. It’s because of a few reasons. My name is Jack Strange, but there is already someone writing under that name. And that is their pen name! So basically, they stole my name! But that’s okay because they’re cool. So J.S. Strange was chosen. It is my first name, Jack, my middle name and my last name, Strange. I like writing under the pen name, as I feel it holds some weight.

What makes your writing unique compared to others in the genre?

I have a unique setting for Murder on the Rocks, and that’s Cardiff, Wales. There has been talking that people won’t want to read Welsh fiction, and that publishers won’t touch it. There are other Welsh setting novels out there, and Crime Cymru is champions of that Welsh fiction. It’s time Wales was put on the crime literature map because it’s a great setting and there are great stories to be told. Murder on the Rocks also features a gay male detective, in a bid to improve representation within the crime genre.

What made you choose this genre?

I had been writing horror novels. They were Winter Smith: London’s Burning, and Winter Smith: The Secrets of France. I hit a wall with that series, after originally planning three or four, and I needed to get out of my writing slump. I was a reader of crime and thriller fiction, so I set out to write one of my own. I ended up with a murder mystery novel.

What’s the story behind your book title?

My new book, out now, is called Murder on the Rocks. The name actually came from a misheard Fifth Harmony lyric! I had been writing about a writer that died from poison in whiskey. That whiskey was neat and poured over ice. Instead of whiskey on the rocks, I thought I’d play on words, and Murder on the Rocks became the name. I did find out that wasn’t what Fifth Harmony was singing, but I’m glad I misheard it that way!

What’s the basic plot of your book or series?

In Murder on the Rocks, Private Investigator Jordan Jenner has returned to work following the seemingly natural death of his mother. His first case back is that of a murdered writer, who has died in a prestigious writing group. Jordan begins to investigate, learning along the way his mother’s death is related. Murder on the Rocks is the first in the Jordan Jenner Mysteries series. I’m currently writing the second.

Which is your favorite character and why?

Jordan Jenner himself is my favorite character right now. He’s a complex man. He’s shy, misunderstood, sarcastic, blunt and hurting. He closes himself off from people without meaning to, because he’s worried about getting hurt, or trusting the wrong people. He can come across mean, but he’s not a nasty man. I like writing to him because he offers a lot.

How do you develop your characters?

I’m quite observant of people and their behaviors and personality in real life, so I use a lot of what I’ve seen in my writing. I also like writing backstory and like to invent situations as I write. I like to know their ages, who they’ve been with, what music they like, that sort of stuff. It helps make them real to me.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book?

I’d say just do it. A lot of people say they have a book in them, but make excuses as to why they haven’t written anything. Just do it. Write down your ideas, write down the characters in your head, and don’t panic about how you’re writing and what you’re doing right or wrong. If you want to know how to do it, pick up some books, watch some tutorials, but just write and see what happens.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing book two of the Jordan Jenner Mysteries. I’m hoping it will be published at some point this year, but we’ll see. I might hit a dead end again with the curse of book two!







Book Trailer:


I Love YA Mega Blitz



The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen

Publication Date: June 7th, 2018

Genre: YA Science Fiction/ Dystopian

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.

On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.

A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.





Ugly.  That was the first word that came to mind.  Deadly was next. 

The twisted creation was courtesy of a new client, a scientist.  The nightmare had been tormenting him for the past couple of weeks. 

The monster stood roughly fifteen feet tall, walked on two legs, and stretched two muscled arms in front of it, but its elongated head was a grotesque combination of goat and demon.  Treacherous horns protruded from either side of its skull, torso, and upper thighs, making it difficult for anyone to get close to the beast.  Not that we especially wanted to, but it was part of a Bender’s job requirement to eradicate nightmares.  So, we took up battle positions—Syd to its right, me to its left—crouched in anticipation of this formidable creature’s attack. 

“I’ll go high, you go low,” I called to Syd.  Besides a hideous appearance, the goat thing screeched like a deranged bird, and we strained to hear each other, even with the com units. 

“Got it, Evan.”  She unsheathed a ten-inch dagger from her utility belt, the silver blade glinting in the eerie cast of yellow-green light in this nightmare-scape.  Being somewhat vertically-challenged (she hated it when I said short), Syd might not look intimidating, but give the girl a knife and she was absolutely lethal.  The creature’s leg tendons would be sliced to ribbons in seconds.

Syd dived to the creature’s right, spinning and coming up behind it, as she avoided an angry kick to her head.  She carved into its left limb, and it let out an ear-piercing shriek.

I withdrew an iron mallet from my own belt and catapulted myself off the wall, soaring over the goat-demon and landing a blow to the left side of its skull.  Its head jerked in my direction when I came down on its other side.  The sharpened tip of the horn caught the left side of my rib cage, and a warm flow of blood seeped through my shirt.  Wouldn’t be the first time I’d walked away from a nightmare with a permanent scar. 

Syd scrambled around its legs, careful not to be trampled.  Her dagger was a silver blur as she slashed the gray-haired appendages, the goat-demon staggering in its efforts to avoid her blade. 

The ground was wet—possibly blood.  But with dream or nightmare creations, you couldn’t be sure.  Because this thing’s creator was a scientist, they tended to more detail-oriented.  Odds leaned in the blood direction. 

The light around us took on a red hue.  Did the ambient illumination correlate to the creature’s anger level?  If yellow-green meant annoyed, did red mean take no prisoners?

-The Gemini Connection


Purchase Links:


Author Bio:


Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Visit her online at


Social Links:









Giveaway Details: Signed Copy (US) Digital Copy (International)




Dear Jane by Marina DelVecchio

Publication Date: January 3rd, 2019

Genre: YA/ Coming of Age

Kit Kat is a fifteen-year-old adoptee who writes letters to her favorite literary character, Jane Eyre, as a means of surviving a violent childhood in Greece and a harrowing adoption in New York that requires her to silence her memories and her voice. In writing letters to Jane, Kit Kat discovers a connection to literature that saves her life. Dear Jane is about family, love, forgiveness, and the power of a good book.





“For the next two weeks that I was in possession of your story, it was as if someone had seen me, claimed me. I had a sister, a mother, an aunt, a place in which I was loved and understood and cared for. I was connected to something solid and real, for even if the story wasn’t real, a real woman had written it, had understood the pain that comes with being rejected and lonely; the angst that comes with being a girl severed from her roots and family.”

-Dear Jane


Purchase Links:



Author Bio:


Marina DelVecchio is a college professor of literature and women's studies and lives in North Carolina with her family. Her work can be found online at Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Tishman Review, Her Circle Ezine, and The New Agenda.

Social Links:






Giveaway Details:

Signed Copy (US) Digital Copy (International)




Till It Stops Beating (The Maddie Chronicles #4) by Hannah R. Goodman

Publication Date: July 5th, 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary


Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman has always coped with anxiety by immersing herself into the latest self-help book. Then her grandmother is diagnosed with cancer, and she spirals so far downward that she almost risks losing everything she holds dear.

From applying to college to solving the mystery of why she detests jelly doughnuts to writing a novel for her senior project and reconnecting with an old flame (or two), the ever-mounting stress leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers what she needs in order to really live.

If your heart has ever hurt from beating widely, whether from anxiety or love, this book is the one to read.




Purchase Link:




“I need to be with Bubbie. I want to be there every day. When she is sick or tired. When she needs help.” I take breath. “I will stay and take care of Bubbie and go to school in January.”

“I don’t like this idea,” Mom says.

Dad sips his coffee instead of gulps. “I don’t know if the deferment is a good idea or not,” he says. “But staying in California for that long? I think it’s sweet to want to stay and care of Bubbie, but what else will you be doing?” He looks at my mom.

Then Mom explodes. “Stan, she is not deferring.” Finally, she looks at me. “You are not deferring. I’m calling Emerson tomorrow to straighten this out.”

This is so ridiculous. When are they going to get it? I stand up. “You know what? This is crazy. I’ve been losing sleep and getting all panicky again over this for the past few weeks and for what? For what reason? Fear of disappointing you? And now here I am full blown disappointing you both and I did not fall apart or die. I am still here. And so are you guys.” I think of Susan’s opening lines to her speech. Welcome to the last day of childhood. “I’m an adult now, Mom. You guys have to let me make my decisions, without trying to guilt me into doing what you want.” And with that, I walk my adult self out of the living room, and they don’t follow.

-Till It Stops Beating


Author Bio:

Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreen, OC87 Recovery Diaries,, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, those were all were self-published. This time around, publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating in July, 2018. Literary Titan’s review praised Till It Stops Beating for “tackling a difficult issue like anxiety and making a story that was funny and sweet without making light of the issue.” Hannah is a member of  ARIA  (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College's Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe.



Social Links:






Amazon Author Central:






Giveaway Details: Signed Copy (US) Digital Copy (International)





A Step Away by G. Randy Kasten

Publication Date: Soon

Genre: YA Thriller


Three friends, Brianna, Sean, and Robert, happen across a body buried in their neighborhood.

Because a police investigation might reveal that the trio is connected to a stolen motor, and that Sean’s mother was having a relationship with a neighbor, the three friends decide they must solve the apparent murder before contacting authorities.

In the process, they sneak into a house, befriend a vigilant neighbor with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and develop a friendship with a kind, older man.

Brianna becomes convinced that clues point to Sean’s father and realizes their detective work is doing more harm than good.

She makes tough choices that affect families and friendships.




Purchase Link:



Right below the pipe, a human hand and wrist poked out from the dirt, its flesh partly rotted away. The fingers pointed at us.

I let out a panicked yell identical to Robert’s but stood frozen. A hot, prickly feeling crawled up my back as Sean as shouted to Robert. “You okay, Robber?” When Robert murmured a response, Sean scrambled down to the creek. “Cover it up!” he demanded as he went, pointing at me me. “Cover it back up!”

                  “We can’t just…” I started.

                  “Cover it up!” Sean was bending over, one hand on Robert’s shoulder. “Just do it!”

I shoveled dirt and leaves at the void, breathing as little as possible and only glancing occasionally at the rotted appendage sticking out at me. Each scoop of crumbly soil slid back down, so finally I started stomping on it to get it to stay, right on top of the hand. I felt as if I was pressing down on something evil. Trying to keep it back. After a minute, Sean stood next to me working with Robert’s abandoned shovel. With his head turned away from the hole, he didn’t help much.

Robert sat where he was, letting out little wails every now and then. It wasn’t a sound like the pain of a sprained ankle or something. It was more like the desperate moans of someone who’d forgotten how to talk.

Once we managed to get the hand covered, we scrambled down the bank, grabbed Robert by his arms, then half carried him and the tools back to the workshop we’d taken over from Sean’s dad. After breathing the rotten stench of the creek, I barely noticed Robert’s smell and couldn’t get that image of the decaying hand out of my mind.

We set Robert down in one of the beaten-up old armchairs we’d dragged in there, then sank down ourselves, panting. The hot prickly feeling was still crawling all over me. Sean and I looked at each other for a few seconds, then away. Robert stared at the floor.

I’d never seen a real skeleton — or a dead body – before. The tuna sandwich I’d eaten an hour earlier seemed to be on a climb back up. I imagined the scene once we called the sheriff; Sean’s parents would arrive home to a flock of cop cars in the driveway. Maybe there’d be a coroner’s van. They’d love driving into that mess.

Then things went from bad to worse. Sean leaned forward and pointed one finger at me and one at Robert. “We can’t tell anyone about this.”

Robert peered out from under the layer of the coarse black hair fallen in front of his eyes. “But Sean, somebody buried a body.”

                  “We know that, Robert,” Sean snapped. His nasty scowl reminded me of his father. “But nobody else is going to know that.”

                  “Why not?” that high voice again. “That body where it is, it’s not by accident.”

Sean turned to me, “Brianna, you know why we can’t tell anyone.” Like he was pleading with me. “You know.”


Author Bio:

After some childhood acting and living in England for a year, I graduated from Reed College, then attended law school. As a litigator in California and Washington State for thirty years, I learned a great deal about what people really want, and also how humor helps in tough situations.

Writing remains my main interest. I am the author of Just Trust Me: Finding the Truth in the World of Spin (Quest Books, 2011), a book about discerning truth from appearances. My young adult novel, A Step Away, will be published by Black Rose in 2019.

I have also written a couple of short plays, which were performed at a local theatre in Marin County, CA. The Ribbons Agency is a nearly completed satirical book about the arduous task of securing a literary agent. On a more serious note, I am working on a non fiction book that presents a unique, logical reason to believe that greater international peace is inevitable.    

A resident of San Francisco’s east bay for most of my life, I have lived along Hood Canal (a fjord and part of Puget Sound) in Washington State for the past three years. I’m still adapting to the weather, though it keeps me inside and productive most of the year. When not writing, I’m enjoying the outdoors or playing improvisational piano.




Giveaway Details: Signed Copy (US) Digital Copy (International)




Literary Tropes: What are they and should you stay away from them?



Are they good or bad?


First off, let’s ask ourselves, “what is a trope?”

The term trope is used in a figurative sense, i.e. irony, or a reoccurring theme in a story, i.e. forbidden love. The previous statement kind of has two different definitions of what a trope is. In this blog, I will be referring the second part (the reoccurring theme in a story) In the writing community, the term trope is thrown around a lot, and when I was starting my writing journey, I had no idea what the term meant. The only thing that it did to me was turn me off from interacting with other writers because of my own lack of writing terminology.

So, we have answered what a trope is…still confused? Oh, no worries. I was so confused that I had to have many different writers explain to me what it meant until they gave me examples. So, below, I have listed some examples of literary tropes, and hopefully these examples will help you.

Examples of Literary Tropes….ONLY A FEW EXAMPLES

Forbidden Love

Evil Queen

Evil Sorcerer

Abusive Parents

Love Triangle

The Unlikely Hero


Now, here is the next question…should you stay away from them? And here is another question, is there a way to stay away from them?

Here is another heated debate whether or not a writer should stay away from using an overly used trope. My opinion, I say no. If you have an idea for a story that is the “Unlikely Hero” trope…go for it. Humans are creatures of habit, which includes reading novels with the same tropes. I love unlikely hero stories because it brings me to a time in my life when I felt so bad about myself, and I never thought that I would ever mount to anything (oh teenage angst. I don’t miss it.)

To be a successful writer, I truly believe that you MUST stand by your story…your writing style. If someone says, “oh don’t write that story because it’s too close to another or “oh that trope is overly used” screw them. They aren’t being supportive or useful. Stand by yourself. Because these people may not see the vision you have, so as a writer, it’s your job to bring them the story.

My opinion: Tropes are AMAZING and FUN

So, we’ve learned what a trope is AND I insisted that you make your own mind up about your story. I hope you find these helpful. There are numerous resources on tropes and writing on skillshare (Jenna Moreci has GREAT videos on it).

Book Reviews: How and Why are They Important?

Hello My Amazing Readers!

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get back to blogging. I hope you all had an amazing/relaxing time with friends, family or alone. It’s a time of reflection and spending time with those you love.

So, what am I to blog about today? After making a few lists, one particular topic kept showing up: Book Reviews.

This can be a somewhat heated topic with some people, but here at the Writer’s Alley, we believe in a well-structured, FREE, book review, and I am going to get into why.

First off, why even pursue books reviews? Well, the answer is really easy. A book review for any author is paramount. The book review has a few, key reasons: one, someone will read your story. Two, leaving a review on the social media platforms. i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, Bookbub, Goodreads, will tell a potential reader that your story was read. Also, building a review rating will help your novel more exposure. On sites like Amazon, after a certain number of reviews, you novel will occur more in searches after a certain number of reviews. I don’t want to say it’s 25 reviews because I’ve heard conflicting reports on it. Pursue as many friends, family, book bloggers, Booktubers or anyone else. This is your novel; marketing is part of it.

And here is where it can get tricky. I believe that ANY review is better than no review. I would rather take a 1 star review says more than no star. The person may have hated the story (you should be realistic that not everyone will like your story. Someone will hate it. Someone will bad mouth it. BUT the number of people who like it/love it/reread it is way more likely). Before you start sending your story out into the world, build the thick skin about reviews. You will survive. I’m sure someone didn’t like Stephen King’s novels or JK Rowlings. I mean come on!

Secondly, you need to fully understand what a good review consists of. Here is another touchy/tricky subject, should you pay for a review? My answer is NO. Why should you pay for a review? Well, think about it. How would it look? If you were a reader, and you know the author paid for a review (it’s just an example lol), don’t you think that the review could potentially compromised? I completely understand that as a writer, you want to have as many reviews as possible, but you want authentic, genuine reviews. I reader will understand if your novel has a low rating or a high rating.

Thirdly, another important thing about getting a review: Asking before you send something! There is nothing more annoying to have someone send a novel to you without speaking to the reviewer. That is a NO-NO. Don’t do it. If someone sends me their story without speaking to me, I will not review it.

Now, I love to review novels. I read any genre; fiction or non-fiction. I don’t care what format. I am super approachable. I will make time for a book review. After we discuss what I require, I will find a date, and I immediately respond with a date to the author. I know dates are very important.

Check out my book review policy if you ever want a book review!!!!!

So, what should you take away from this blog:

1) Reviews are very important

2) Don’t pay for a review

3) Ask a reviewer before you send your novel

Contact me if you have any questions about book reviews or suggestions on how to approach book reviewers.

Have a great evening/day!



What makes someone a good writer?

I was recently asked this question by a fellow author (Allen T. St. Claire), “what makes a someone a good writer?” Throughout my day, I was pondering what traits does one require? If you go further, what makes someone a writer?

So, let’s analyze the inquiry.

What makes someone a writer?

I know that everyone has their own opinion when it comes what makes someone a writer. Does it take a four year degree? Do you have to be able to outline? Are “pantsers” writers? Do you have to sell a certain amount of books before you’re consider a real author?

In my opinion, a writer is someone who has an idea. The difference between a writer and an artist is how we express our creativity. I express my inner words by putting them on paper…or a laptop. Do I have a four-year degree in Creative Writing? No. Do I outline? I actually outlined the 2nd book of my series to see how it would go….and I actually liked it. Have I sold any books? I actually have a good amount of pre-orders, so I feel confident, but that isn’t why I consider myself a writer. As I stated above, I put the worlds I create on a piece of paper, and I share them with the world. I pray that everyone loves them, but not everyone will like my stories.

Even though I am a new writer, there seems to be a common theme on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that I am seeing. There are newer writers make statements that they aren’t true writers or they can’t wait to be a writer. And I say, “you are a writer!”

Believe in yourself….trust in your talents. Writing is a skill, and a skill that will forever grow.

What makes a good writer?


To me, a good writer is someone who completely believes in their stories. There story truly embodies the writer’s heart and soul. I truly believe that a reader will be able to tell how much effort you put into your story.

So, please writers, believe in yourself. You don’t need someone else telling you how amazing you are!

Check out Allen T. St. Claire’s blog:

***If you want to check out my debut novel Augur of Shadows, check the links below*** (eBook) (Paperback and eBook) (eBook)


jacobrundle-thedestined-augurofshadows-paperback-promo (2).jpg

Well, the past week here at the Writer’s Alley has been filled with many developments! Some of them I can speak about in this post, and some of them you will find out in the coming weeks.

One of the most amazing things is scheduling of my Virtual Book Tour!!!!! I have a great opportunity to partner with Silver Dagger Book Tours! ***In the post below is the link that leads to the sign up sheet.*** The book tour will occur March 1-April 1. I hope you will stay tuned for all of the fun!!!!!!

The Book Tour will happen with many bloggers who sign up, including guest posts, reviews, and more. There will be a giveaway during the time. You don’t want to miss the amazing prizes that I have planned!

If you have a website/blog, and you want to participate, please come join us and sign up! If you know someone who would want to participate, share the link!

There is more exciting news! I have a book signing set up! More details later, but I wanted to share to you all the exciting news!

Well, I have to get back to editing my manuscript, but I hope you all are doing well. Please, don’t hesitate to contact me or message me. I am always willing to speak with any of you.



Pantser versus Plotter...Does it matter?

Since I had started writing my debut novel, and interacting within the writing communities of Facebook and Twitter, there was a term that showed up constantly, Pantser. The term Pantser showed up in conversations, newsfeeds, blog posts, and I really could continue. So, I looked up the term, and the term indicates that someone doesn’t create an outline for the writing.

I wanted to blog about my experiences of the pros and cons of both because I see a lot of shade being thrown on both sides. As an author who doesn’t use these terms, there are some people who don’t know about them, and they may or may not be receiving negativity because they may not outline their novel, or they get flack because they take the time to outline.




-Without having an outline, you allow the story to fully develop as you write. If you don’t like a certain part of the story, you may change it. If you want to add another character or a scene to further development backstory, you may add as much as you want without worrying about redoing your outline.


-If you hit a case of the “writer’s block” syndrome, it may be a littler more difficult for you to get over the hump. Unless you push passed the writer’s block, the chances of you not finishing the project may happen. Also, the story may goes in many directions without any guidance. So, just be aware of your story’s direction.



-You have planned out your entire novel. You know where the story is going to go. You know exactly the number of characters, arcs and the ending. Also, someone who outlined their story may write their story faster (doesn’t mean better).


-This is a HUGE reason why I am not an “outliner”. The writer is bound to their outline. If you want to change something, you may have to change the entire outline, which takes away from your writing.

So, the question of this blog is: Does it matter? Does it matter that you are a plotter or a pantser? In my opinion, it doesn’t matter. I truly believe that as writers, we need stop worrying about whether we are plotting the “right” way, or are we going to be accepted by our peers if they find out that we don’t plot. The ONLY thing that we need to worry about as writers is our stories. Our stories are what we make us authors.

When someone reads your novel, do you think that the reader is going to wonder, “wow…how long was this author’s outline?” Nope. Trust me. If you concentrate on your stories then I can bet that you will be a happier writer, and your story will flow out of you.

Well, I hope this blog was informative and helpful. Please, like, share and comment on the blog. I would love to hear your thoughts. We can start a constructive, positive conversation.


Jacob J. Rundle

P.S. Have you read the first two chapters of my debut novel? No? You need to! Go…go do it…like…now! :)

The First Two Chapters of Augur of Shadows!!!!!!

Hello all!

I am so excited to share this piece of my soul with you all. I started this novel some time ago, and I have been diligently working to make it a perfect reflection of the world that I see in my mind when I think of Augur of Shadows: Book 1 of the Destined Series. Please, read the first few chapters, and leave comments, ask questions. Let’s continue to support each other, and let’s get those conversations started. I hope you all enjoy the introduction to my debut novel.


Jacob J. Rundle

***There will be grammatical and formatting mistakes. My MS is still being editing and revised***





New York City fostered some of the most architecturally exquisite infrastructures in the world. The buildings that once reached to the skies, now barely stood a few feet tall. The remaining enacted structures had pieces falling towards the streets, leaving massive indentations in the war-ridden streets. Sheets of darkness covered the skies in every direction. There was no sign of life except for a woman, Trish, her daughter, Abby along with a few other survivors.

The winds echoed with the screams of the thousands of departed souls. Numerous abandoned cars filled the inner-city streets and interstates. The once vibrant city had become a snapshot of an apocalyptic scene. The aroma of engine fluid and gasoline filled the surrounding areas, making the lonely warriors’ trek extremely difficult. Trish’s group made their way through one of the world’s biggest graveyards in order to find any remaining signs of life, and she hoped to find a safe place. Trish found staying alert was difficult with the city had possessed a disorientating essence.   

“Abby, keep going baby. You have to keep going. And you will not stop!” Trish tried to urge Abby to continue, but her little one couldn’t move anymore.

“Momma, where are we supposed to go?” Abby fought back her tears, yet she was unsuccessful. The whispers of the others in the group drowned out her mother’s reply. Abby began to panic, and her breathing became erratic and uncontrollable.

“Abby is right. Where are we supposed to go, Trish?” She turned around, and saw that Tim Stevenson had asked the sarcastic question.

“Tim, anywhere that is safe.” Trisha answered. He rolled his eyes with disapproval of her answer. Trish saw that he didn’t agree with her plan, yet she didn’t care because the only person that she worried about was Abby. She couldn’t believe how far that Tim had fallen since the attack. She remembered him as the most energetic spokesperson she heard, and she loved how he delivered messages of hope on Sundays.  

“I don’t know. We just have to get away from the city. I do know that we can’t stay here anymore, and we can’t let them find us,” Trish attended Abby, who started having a panic attack. Trish was determined to comfort Abby, but she found it difficult because Abby’s attack worsened as time passed.

“Breathe, baby. Slow your heartbeat and breath.” Trish rubbed Abby’s back. She prayed Abby’s nerves calmed.  

“Why, momma? Do they want to hurt us?” Abby ran into her mother’s arms due to the fear of the mysterious predator.

“Baby, I have no idea. I do know that if they find us baby, they will try to separate us. You need to know that I won’t let that happen.” Trish firmly hugged Abby, not letting her daughter move an inch.

“Momma, I am really scared.” Abby locked eyes with her mother, and she channeled her mother’s strength.

“My Abby,” Trish kissed Abby’s forehead.

“Momma, I will protect you. I am strong.” Abby stood tall for her mother to see.

“Baby girl, you are powerful because you are my daughter.” Trish gathered Abby and her belongings, and she motioned to the others to continue moving.

They continued their pursuit to find a safe area. None of them had seen any other survivors. They had been running in between the debris of fallen buildings, catching sight of the hundreds of abandoned vehicles on the streets, and avoiding what appeared to be falling brush fires from the sky. The ash from the tree fires filled the air, creating a non-breathable environment for them.   

“Momma, why did people leave these cars?” Abby pointed to the abandoned vehicles.

“Well, baby, they had to leave them. They left them the day the light appeared in the sky, remember?” explained Trish. Her inner monologue started to rush through her head, ‘How are we going to get through this? Oh my God, I don’t know what to do. Who were those things? I can’t let my baby hear the fear in my voice. Who are the ones in cloaks? I don’t think that we are going to survive.’

All the emotions and thoughts washed over Trish, leaving her feeling disorientated. A wave of fear paralyzed everyone, hearing the impact of burning debris hit the ground. The shock waves spread throughout all of the remaining areas. The survivors stood still, reminiscing of what once was. An entire flaming tree crashed down in front of their eyes, which forced them to scramble. The impact of the tree threw Trish into the side of an abandoned vehicle.

“Momma! You’ve been hit! You have burns on your arms! Momma! We need to get you some help!” Abby tried to examine her mother’s injuries, but Trish shielded the horror from Abby’s innocent eyes.

“Honey, listen to me. You have to stay calm, and be quiet. They will hear you. Do not worry about me,” Trish hushed Abby.

Out of the corner of Trish’s ear, she heard, “Will you tell your daughter to shut up?” She immediately came to Abby’s defense as a lioness readied to pounce on her prey.

“No one will speak to my daughter. You have a problem then you can leave.” Trish stood ahead of the group, and she wait for a response.

Trish heard a faint whisper, “Abby.” She turned to see which one whispered Abby’s name, yet she found nothing. She examined the area for any indication of a new survivor. Trish only saw the same individuals that she had been with the entire time.

“What the hell?” She thought that she had started going crazy. Her felt that her fear started turning into extreme paranoia. She took another step, and she heard the same faint whisper, “Abby.” Trish braced herself for a fight, yet she was left standing against herself.

“Momma, what’s wrong?” Abby stared at her mother.

“Oh, nothing baby. Keep moving.” Trish felt horrible for lying to Abby, but she knew that she would make the situation worse had she mentioned hearing a ghostly voice.

“Abby.” The voice materialized within the somber mists. Trish about-faced to catch the culprit, and what she found left her speechless. She squinted her eyes to see if what she saw was real. She couldn’t believe her eyes.

She bored into the eyes of a mysterious boy. She was in disbelief. The boy didn’t look over the age of seventeen years old.

“Hello?” Trish tried to gain the boy’s attention, yet he didn’t respond. The boy’s face was inconclusive. Trish became relentless with finding out the boy’s identity.

“Abby.” The boy mourned for Trish’s ears, which forced her to cease her pursuit. She stood face-to-face with the boy, and all she saw was his pajamas he was wearing. She saw glimmers of blue markings on the boy’s face, hands and arms.

“What are you?” She rushed over to the boy with the sight of a falling, burning bush.

“Watch out!” Trish lunged to rescue the boy, however; she passed through his corporeal body, and she crashed into the ground. She whipped around to see if the boy had survived, but there was no evidence of anyone being there. Trish became a firm believer that her mental instability and delusions have won, and she had officially lost her mind.





Henri suddenly woke from a deep slumber, and jolted him self out of bed. He felt disorientated from his dream. He tried to focus his sight onto a stationary object so that he could regain focus. His senses were on high alert, and he continued to hear the screeching sounds of falling debris, and the whimpering screams of the survivors from his dream.

He felt the droplets of sweat coursing down his face and back, and the aroma of burnt tar was lingering in his nostrils. He knew that his equilibrium was off balance, which left him feeling as though he had spilt him self into two. One name continued to mull over in his mind, and he couldn’t take the throbbing migraine from the recycling of the name, so he tried to relinquish her from his thoughts, “Abby!”

His mother ran into the room, “Honey, what’s wrong? Why are you screaming?”

“Where is she? Abby!” Henri locked eyes with his mother, and for a second, she didn’t recognize who was looking back at her.  

“Henri, calm down. Please, stop screaming.” His mother stared at him while she held back tears. Henri freed himself from the trance when he realized that he was sitting on the edge of his bed. His mother stared at him, alarmed and confused. Henri became annoyed at his mother for still starring at him.

“Honey, you’re all wet. Your heart is racing. What is wrong, Henri?  And, Who is Abby?” She examined Henri from head to toe to find anything that explained why he screamed bloody murder.

“I…. have…. no idea,” his disorientation forcedly pulled his attention from the present reality. He realized that Abby was the little girl who was in his dream. For a second, Henri contemplated whether or not he knew her. Henri snapped out of his bewilderment, and he scanned his entire room to regain a sense of where he was. He noticed that he was looking at the poster his parents gave him for his tenth birthday, of his favorite comic book character, Phoenix. For as long as he could remember, Henri wished that he could be like her. He didn’t want the responsibility of having a cosmic influence because he could barely handle doing his morning chores, but he loved the idea of escaping from his reality. His mother did love to remind him constantly. He did, however, wish that he could to somewhere new. He wished that he could fly away.

Henri had a wave of thoughts rush into his head, ‘was that? A dream? It felt like I was watching a movie. It was not normal. I could feel the mother’s pain of losing her daughter. The little girl was ripped away from my fingers as well as her mom’s. I could also hear the voices of the people running around, searching for sanctuary. All of the panic and fear came over me as if I was the one experiencing this terrible event. I could feel the heat on my skin. The scent of burnt concrete was nauseating; and I could feel the adrenaline as if it was still pumping through my veins. What is happening to me? I didn’t watch any scary movies last night. Maybe, I ate something bad.’

“Are you okay, Henri? Your screaming terrified me. I have never heard you scream like that before,” his mother pulled him into her arms if it was her first time holding her child.  

“Mom, would you stop it. I don’t need a hug right now. I’ll be okay. It was just a nightmare…. that’s all,” he readied him self for bed. He was not in the mood to discuss what he had just experienced, and he didn’t want to hear how church could make him feel better.

“A nightmare? About a girl named Abby?” She continued to examine him to see if he had hit his head on anything; maybe that would explain what her son was saying to her.

“Henri, you are really worrying me. You have become distant, and we don’t talk anymore. What is going on with you?” His mother instantly started crying at the thought of her son pulling away from her. She stood up front his bed, and she started to walk towards the door. When she reached the threshold, Henri stopped her,

“You know me, Mom. I just love those Indie horror flicks. I can’t get enough of them.” Henri mumbled under his breath so she didn’t hear him.

“Um. Mom,” Henri stopped himself from telling her his secret, but he the internal struggle again, and the idea of telling his mom terrified him. There had been so many times that he wanted to just say the words, but every time, Henri found an excuse not to tell her. He looked at his alarm clock, and he noticed that many minutes passed, and he needed to get his mother to leave.

  “There is something that I want to say, but I don’t know how you will take it.” He slowly glanced at her to see her expression. For a moment, Henri told himself that he decided to tell his mother. He didn’t want his fear to get in his way anymore. He went to say three simple words, yet his fear popped its ugly head in, and Henri shut his mouth before he said anything to his mother. He hated the idea of not telling her the truth because he knew how much pain that she was feeling because his dad was gone, and he knew that she had a problem with blaming her self for his withdrawal. Henri knew that his secret was the reason for the dissolution of their relationship.

“You need to get some sleep. Your first day of school is tomorrow, and I don’t want you to be exhausted. If you need me, come and get me.” She walked over to him, and kissed him on the forehead. To re-assure his mom, Henri smiled, and he uttered, “Night, Mom. I’ll see you in the morning.” He hated how things were anymore, and he knew that things would change when he told his mother the truth. He wasn’t ready for the possibility of losing his mother.

“Good night, Henri.” She left the room, and returned to her room. Henri sat in his bed, replaying the dream in his mind. He wondered what was happening in his dream. Everything about the dream felt unbelievably real. For what seemed like hours, his thoughts of Trish and Abby raced in and out of his thoughts.  

Henri wished that his dad could be with him. He knew that his dad would listen to him. His thoughts returned to his dream. Henri wondered about the light Trish had mentioned. He didn’t know why the city was abandoned, and there were almost no other people around. He couldn’t stop asking himself what had happened. Yet, he was intrigued by whom or what the light was, but a part of him didn’t entirely want to know the identity of the light either. He remembered the smells and the sounds. The eerie chills that filled the city’s rubble, and Henri felt an enormous presence in the city.

My Article on Stormgate Press!!!!!

Hello everyone!

I hope that everyone is having a great Friday. The weather in New Orleans has finally mimicked the weather that I experienced, growing up in Illinois. The nice, cool, crisp breeze brushes against you, and you get the chills all over. If anyone of you have never been to New Orleans, the weather is usually extremely humid and very hot.

Now, onto the point of this post, which is not to give you all a weather report. So, a week ago, I was given the opportunity to write an article as a guest on Charles Millhouse’s online blog Stormgate Press. I am proud to announce that the article launched this morning at 9 a.m., and there has been a good amount of positive feedback already! I want to thank everyone who took the time to read the article. Please, continue sharing the article with others who you think would love it.

I take great pride in the fact that I am self-publishing, and all the knowledge I have gained because of my experience self-publishing.

So, if you haven’t visited Charles Millhouse’s site, you should. You are missing out if you haven’t already.


Hey everyone!

So, I thought that I would do something fun today, and I would write a poem for the first time ever. ***Disclaimer*** I have no technical training in poetry, but I thought it would be fun, and I have said before that I love to learn. So, please leave comments so that I can learn! Also, I needed a break from editing my fifth draft, so why not write some poetry?!


Glossy, Lucid

Showing, Healing, Loving

Ever so dazzling



Constant, Silent

Spreading, Lingering, Returning

Never ending


What Should I Write?

In the course of writing my debut novel, title to be revealed really soon, I started to ask myself, “what should I write? What genre is popular?” I have compiled a significant amount of research for writing a novel, and one of the sources stated to write a book in a genre that is selling well. I ask myself, “why would I want to do that?” I don’t understand why someone would write a novel in a particular genre so that it sells? And through the course of the past couple of weeks, I have noticed a trend on social media, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

I truly believe that writing should come from a place of joy, excitement and motivation. One would want to write the genre that has the magic lasso that binds them. If you love fantasy, then write fantasy. You love contemporary realism then go for it. Write what you love. Please, if you remember anything from this blog, remember this, no one sees the world the way that you do. So, if you have an idea for a story, start writing. Don’t look back. Don’t worry that your story may or may not be like someone else’s. It doesn’t matter because, as I stated earlier, no one sees the world that you do. Write your beauty. Write your love. Just write!


Writing has shaped me

For years I wanted to write a piece that would motivate someone in any way possible. As many other individuals in their lives, I allowed my self doubts get in my way. Anytime that I had an idea for a story, I shrugged it off. I locked it away in the vault of my mind.

Am I good enough? What if no one reads what I wrote? Worst off, what if someone hates what I wrote? These are some of the self-damaging ideas that ran through my mind. There comes a point in your life when you need to stand up for yourself even if the villain in your story is you.

I always did well in school when I was a child, so I knew that I had talent; however, my grammar is not always perfect. I do make run-on sentences, and I still to this very day hate semi-colons. Should I have allowed these insignificancies stop me? The answer is always no.

One afternoon on a day off, I had the idea to write. I had no idea why I had the idea run through my head. There was a few moments when those pesky old insecurities came creeping back, and I started to doubt myself and my abilities. After a few minutes of mental torture, I said enough is enough. I picked up a pen, and I started to write. I wrote for hours and hours. At the end of the day, I examined my writing, and I wrote more than 10K words!!!

A very important lesson, that I have learned in the time that I started writing, is that the only person that gets in your way is you. We all need to love who we are, and we need to find the self-confidence in ourselves so that we can share the stories that we have. I truly believe that each and every story that one has in their minds will affect someone. Maybe that one person needs your story to get through a hard time. Maybe a young boy or girl is confused, and they read a story where the Main Character (MC) is going through a similar situation.

I have embraced who I am as a writer. No one is perfect. Not everyone will remember where the comma goes ( I really do hate commas). You will make mistakes. Someone will give you a bad review (I believe that you aren’t a true author till you get a bad review). And you will doubt your abilities, but you must get through the bad spot, the writer’s block. You will get through it. I know that writing has made me a much better person, and I love who I am. So should you. <3