Tag Archives: Guest Post

Murder at the Marina by Ellen Jacobson

Thanks for hosting me on your site today to celebrate the release of my cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina. This is the first book in the lighthearted and humorous Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series, featuring a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth.

My own sailing adventures and misadventures inspired me to write this series. My husband and I bought our first sailboat in New Zealand in 2012. After a couple of years cruising in those beautiful waters, we returned to the States and bought a bigger boat which we moved onto in 2015. We’ve since cruised in Florida and the Bahamas, labored over endless boat projects, and worked to keep our cruising kitty (savings) topped up.

I wanted to reflect my experiences learning to sail, cruising and living aboard a boat, and being part of the boating community in my cozy mysteries. You could say that there’s a little bit of me in my main character, Mollie.

I thought I’d share one of the boating tidbits which I wrote about in Murder at the Marina—namely, pets on boats. Mollie encounters a Japanese bobtail cat, Mrs. Moto, at the marina who lives aboard a boat with her owners. Mrs. Moto loves to run around the place, jump on other people’s boats, and chase seagulls on the beach. Mollie falls in love with the cat and quickly discovers that Mrs. Moto has an uncanny ability to find clues which help solve the mystery.

While we’ve had a dog and cats when we lived on land, we don’t currently have (or plan on having) pets on board. So, I like to live vicariously through other people’s pets. At our current marina, we have friends with dogs who have to be carried up and down ladders while their boats are up on the hard. A few slips down from us, there’s a boat with a cat door which enables its resident tabby to go in and out as she pleases. It’s fun to watch these critters explore the marina and make friends with them.

If you’d like to learn more about Mollie and her sailing adventures, you can find details about Murder at the Marina below.

About the Book

Murder at the Marina—A Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery #1

by

Ellen Jacobson

Print ISBN 978-1-7321602-1-7
eBook ISBN 978-1-7321602-0-0

 

A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

Where to buy

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Kobo

Barnes & Nobel | Apple iBooks | Google Play

About Ellen

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and scifi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn’t working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

Ellen’s Links

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Twitter |

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Guest Post: Editing for Children by Stephanie Faris

I’ve always known that writing for children was a lot harder than writing for adults. The author has to get it just right or their young minds wander and then they are done.

Today I have a children’s author willing to share the secrets of her editing process. pull up a chair and welcome Stephanie Farris.

 ~~~oOo~~~

I feel like I’ve been edited in almost every genre imaginable. I started my career as an aspiring romance novelist and although I was never published, I had plenty of revision requests to teach me what romance editing was like. I also wrote for confessions magazines like True Story and went through multiple drafts, although those edits were mostly self-inflicted!

As a professional freelance writer, I deal with daily edits on the nonfiction pieces I write. In fact, I spent part of today editing an article on business marketing. At its very foundation, editing is editing is editing. However, children’s writing can be different from any other type of writing you’ll ever do, and the editing process is definitely different!

Editing for Voice

Voice is critical when writing for children. My chapter books have a completely different tone and sentence structure than my middle grade novels. Not only do my editors have to look for typos and grammatical errors, but they have to make sure I’m capturing the voice for the age group with every sentence I write. When we decided to age Piper up to seven from her Junie B. Jones-inspired age of FIVE, that meant a great deal of rewriting. But once we got the voice down for the first book, I could carry it forward to the books that followed.

Editing for Age Appropriateness

If you write for anyone under the age of sixteen or so, you always have to keep in mind that you’re writing for impressionable young people. This is especially true of picture books, chapter books, and middle grade fiction. Even with my middle grade books, I find some parents get upset if the characters have crushes or (God forbid!) kiss. Since the books are recommended for children between the ages of nine and thirteen or so, my editor keeps those things in mind, as well. Some of my edits have simply been to keep the books age appropriate.

Editing for Continuity

Piper Morgan is a series, and sometimes months pass between writing the next book. That means I need to go back and refresh my memory every time! Fortunately, if I miss something, my editor is always there to catch it, like a fairy godmother. But I suspect this type of editing isn’t limited to children’s writing. It’s something you take on if you decide to do a series.

Children’s fiction is challenging and fun, whether you’re plotting, writing, or revising your latest manuscript. I’ve been very lucky to have extremely talented editors who catch things I miss during the revision process. Without them, I can honestly say my books wouldn’t be nearly as good as they are!

 

 

Piper Morgan Makes a Splash

By Stephanie Faris

 
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About the Book:

Piper Morgan tries her hand at acting in the fourth book of the charming Piper Morgan series.

Piper’s mom is helping out at a local pool shop, and the owner wants to shoot a commercial for his store. Piper thinks it’s the PERFECT opportunity to get in front of the camera and experience a little bit of showbiz. But will Piper’s contribution to the TV commercial make a splash—or will it go belly-up?

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

About Stephanie:

 

Stephanie Faris is the author of the middle grade books 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the Piper Morgan chapter book series. An accomplished freelance writer, her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Pacific Standard, Mental Floss, and The Week, among many others.

Contact Links:

 Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

 

 

Tsunami Crimes Blog Tour Stop

Everyone who knows me knows I love mysteries, but I also love a good thriller and even some horror once in a while. So when my dear friend, Chrys Fey, offered to share how much work went into building a thriller, I jumped at the chance.

Take it away, Chrys.

~~~oOo~~~

As much planning as it takes. *wink* Okay, okay. I’ll give a better answer than that.

With my Disaster Crimes Series, it takes me a year to write the first draft. While I am writing the current story, I am thinking ahead to the next book. Since I know what’s happened so far, and what’s happening at the moment, I let my mind weave stories for the next book. What could happen? And why would it happen?

One of my favorite times is bedtime because I get to lie in bed and ponder the plot. I fantasize about my characters. No, not sexually. Get your mind out of the gutter! What I mean is that I put on movies in my head. I let my characters do whatever they want and say whatever they want. Okay, so that still sounds sexual. And occasionally, it might be an intimate scene, but really these imaginations are opportunities; events that can happen in the next book.

When I’m able to begin working on the book I’ve been thinking about, I map out the main ideas that have dominated my mind for so long. Then during the next week or so, I create a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline to link all of those moments together.

As I write, my planning doesn’t come to a complete end. Every now and then, I may write something that changes a later event. Or I may decide I don’t like something I have mapped out, so I’ll cut it from the outline.

Planning doesn’t actually end until the book is done. So, with a year of day-and-night-dreaming, and a year of writing, I’d say two years of planning go into my thrillers.

~~~oOo~~~

About the book

tsunamicrimes_w11205_750Beth and Donovan have come a long way from Hurricane Sabrina and the San Francisco earthquake. Now they are approaching their wedding day and anxiously waiting to promise each other a lifetime of love. The journey down the aisle isn’t smooth, though, as they receive threats from the followers of the notorious criminal, Jackson Storm. They think they’ll be safe in Hawaii, but distance can’t stop these killers. Not even a tsunami can.

This monstrous wave is the most devastating disaster Beth has ever faced. It leaves her beaten, frightened. Is she a widow on her honeymoon? As she struggles to hold herself together and find Donovan, she’s kidnapped by Jackson’s men.

Fearing her dead, Donovan searches the rubble and shelters with no luck. The thought of her being swept out to sea is almost too much for him to bear, but the reality is much worse. She’s being used as bait to get him to fall into a deadly trap.

If they live through this disaster, they may never be the same again.

To Enter giveaway Click here

Where to buy

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

NOOK / KOBO / The Wild Rose Press

P.S. Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes are on sale for 99 Cents!

About Chrys

chrys-fey-croppedChrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series. She is a blogger, reader, auntie, vegetarian, and cat Lover. Get Lightning Crimes (Disaster Crimes 2.5) for FREE!

LINKS:

Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Website / Amazon / Goodreads

 

Guest Post: 5 Tips on World Building

I’m very lucky to have a guest today. She’s sharing some of her secrets. Let’s welcome my good friend, Lori L MacLaughlin.

Thanks so much, Anna, for having me over!!

One of the fun parts about writing fantasy and science fiction is that you get to create vast new worlds with whatever kinds of topography, history, and peoples you like. You can keep things similar to Earthly civilizations from whatever time period, or you can go all out of this world with green skies, pink trees, and characters with multiple heads and limbs.

Before you start putting words on paper, it’s a good idea to do some serious thinking about the world in which your story will take place. What races of people will live in your world? How well do they get along (or not)? What horror is threatening them?

One of the best articles I’ve read about world building was written by Chuck Sambuchino on the Writer’s Digest site. He lays it all out in a way that’s not overwhelming, which is great because, let’s face it — the thought of creating a new world or civilization with all the details right down to what ceremonial outfit the priest wears on religious holidays or what elves eat for dessert is daunting, to say the least.

Here are some basic tips for world building as suggested by Sambuchino:

  1. Start with the conflict, the pro-and antagonists. What sort of environment/society is needed to create the conflict you envision?
  2. What races live there? Do they live in villages, cities? In the mountains, on the seacoast? How do they interact?
  3. Think about the history and customs of the various races. What made them the way they are today?
  4. Imagine as many details as you can, but don’t get so caught up in building your world that you lose the story. Include just enough description — sights, smells, sounds — to make the reader feel immersed without drowning them. You need to know all the details. The reader doesn’t.
  5. And my favorite tip — draw maps! They don’t have to be complicated. Rough drawings can help you envision the landscape, the locations of the different societies/races, and where the action takes place.

The more depth you give to your world, the more rich and alive it will be to your readers. And that’s what it’s all about — drawing the reader in until they live and breathe your world.

Check out these links for in-depth guidance on world building:

******

 

road in steppe receding into the distanceTITLE: Trouble By Any Other Name

Sequel to Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble

AUTHOR: Lori L. MacLaughlin

RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2016

GENRE: Fantasy

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About the Book:

Tara Triannon is no stranger to trouble. She’s yet to find an enemy her skill with a sword couldn’t dispatch. But how can she fight one that attacks through her dreams?

With her nightmares worsening, Tara seeks answers but finds only more questions. Then her sister, Laraina, reveals a stunning secret that forces Tara to go to the one place Tara’s sworn never to return to. Her troubles multiply when Jovan Trevillion, the secretive soldier of fortune who stole her heart, is mentally tortured by an ancient Being intent on bending him to its will. And worst of all, the Butcher — the terrifying wolf-like assassin she thought she’d killed — survived their duel and is hunting her again.

Hounded by enemies, Tara sets out on a harrowing quest to discover the true nature of who she is, to come to grips with the new volatility of her magic, and to defeat the evil locked in a centuries-old trap that will stop at nothing to control her magic and escape through her nightmares.

Buy Links:

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Kobo        iBooks

About Lori:

Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry LoriLMacLaughlinBrooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She’s been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.

She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids’ shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.

When she’s not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

Contact Links:

Website/Blog        Goodreads    Facebook    Google+    Pinterest

10 Crimes in Seismic Crimes From Chrys Fey

10 Crimes in Seismic Crimes:

 1. Assault

2. Theft/looting

3. Drug Trafficking

4. Murder/Attempted Murder

5. Aiding and Abetting

6. Attempted Kidnapping

7. Use of a deadly weapon/Carrying

8. Disturbing the Peace

9. Prostitution

10. Death Threat

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Title: Seismic Crimes

Author: Chrys Fey

Series: Disaster Crimes Series (Book Two)

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Format: Digital and Print

Page Count: 282

 

DIGITAL LINKS:

PRINT LINKS:

ABOUT THE Seismic Crimes:

An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.

Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.

When a tip reveals the killer’s location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?

HURRICANE CRIMES 99¢ SALE!

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HURRICANE CRIMES DIGITAL LINKS:

Amazon CA / NOOK / KOBO 

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