#IWSG Blog Hop–Writing Schedule

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It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month (even though WordPress will probably say it’s already Jan. 4th, I promise it’s only Jan. 3rd 7:25 pm EST). Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

January’s question–What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for writing and publishing?

I’m a pretty fast writer, being able to write a first draft within a month or two. My problem is that I’m a slow reviser. I plan on doing something about this in 2018.

Joining the 365 Writing Club 2018 on Facebook holds me accountable to writing at least 300 words a day, or 10 minutes a day. I plan on using my phone as an alarm (or stop watch) to set 1 hour every day to write. 2-3 hours if I’m editing. I think this will help me tremendously. Granted, I’m pretty realistic and don’t really think I’ll write every day, but I’ll try my best.

For every story I create, I’ll draw myself a mock book cover. This will be motivation to get it into print. If there’s a goal I can see tangibly, then it won’t just feel like a dream–a dream that I can stall with.

Instead of writing multiple drafts at once (and working on them in different stages), I plan on focusing on one story at a time. I’m going to see if this will help me with productivity. I’m always looking for writing buddies, someone to swap feedback with. I’m back on Absolute Write forums again, instead of just lurking. Hopefully, I’ll stay in the groove of helping other writers as critique partners and beta-readers. Maybe one day they’d like to pay it forward and help me back. If not, then at least I’ll feel good about helping them. Reading stories before they publish makes me feel like I’m in on a secret.

Hopefully, my new process will work. If not, then I’ll go back to the drawing board.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

P.S. I’m excited to see who made it into the IWSG Anthology!!!

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Flaming Crimes BlogFest

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Prompt: What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?

If there was a fire, I’d save the toilet tissue and my toothbrush. I’m a pretty practical person, and I know I would need these items in case I had to spend the night at a friend’s house or in a hotel room. Have you ever stayed at someone’s place and they have like one sheet left on the toilet tissue roll? It’s embarrassing when they don’t have anymore stored in the bathroom. Like what could you do??? Plus, I’d need my toothbrush. With the drama of the fire, no one would probably be thinking of going to the store to pick up items. I wouldn’t want stinky, morning breath the next day.

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Series: Disaster Crimes #4

Page Count: 304

Digital Price: $4.99

Print Price: $16.99

Rating: Spicy (PG13)

BUY LINKS:

Amazon/Barnes and Noble

The Wild Rose Press

BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Donovan escapes what could’ve been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they’re trying to build.

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…

Chrys Fey - Cropped

About the author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links:

Website/Blog/Goodreads

Facebook/Twitter/Amazon

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

2018 Writing Goals

HAPPY 2018!!!

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It’d be awesome to see readers holding my books 🙂

My 2018 Writing Goals:

  1. Try different promotional and marketing ideas to get my books in hands of readers. Instead of always blogging, I’m going to try YouTube and getting on podcasts too.
  2. Continue learning the craft of writing and learning the business side of self-publishing. Right now, I’m taking a free online course: AZ of Self-Publishing by bestselling horror author Iain Rob Wright. Trust me, when I say, I’m absorbing all of the information he’s willing to share.
  3. Utilize websites like Critique Circle more, plus join writer forums to meet authors looking for beta-readers and critique partners, so we can swap works-in-progress.
  4. Instead of working on multiple projects at once, I’m going to try a different approach of writing one story at a time. This way I can stay focused. I’m going to draw a mock cover of my work-in-progress as motivation to finish in a timely manner.
  5. If Createspace ever ceases to exist, then I’ll have to rethink my strategy with paperbacks. I love doing local book signings, but I may have to stop if there’s nothing affordable. Createspace allows author discounts. I’ll have to do research on other companies. As of know, KDP Print does not have author discounts.
  6. Submit short stories (I just finished a 52 week challenge of writing a story each week!) to magazines, anthologies, and online journals. I also hope to share more shorts with my newsletter subscribers and this blog.
  7. My biggest wish is to one day have a book of mine in a multi-author box set. I’ll have to research how other authors do this. And, I had so much fun working with Avrin Kelly on The Glass Witch. I’ll look into collaborating with other horror and suspense authors with stories.
  8. I joined the 365 Writing Club for 2018. This Facebook group keeps me motivated to write at least 15 minutes a day. In 2018, I’ll push myself to write at least an hour or an 1 1/2 hour each day. Much longer on the weekends. Wish me luck 🙂

For all the writers out there, what’s your goals for 2018?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: 13 Wicked Tales of Witches by Avrin Kelly

Whether it’s around Halloween time, or one of the other 11 (boring) months out of the year; you are going to love these 13 stories from Avrin Kelly…

Dear Reader,

I present thirteen stories to horrify you, make you question existence, and even those around you. Thirteen tales of treachery, magic gone wrong and spells done right. Stories about people, just like you, who had a run-in with a Witch…or who are Witches themselves. 

You don’t know who the villains are until the end. You won’t know who the monsters are until they strike, but isn’t that the best part about horror?

The unknown?

If you are feeling particularly brave, I encourage you to explore the uncanny world of Witches, with me as your guide. Snuggle down with this creepy read, and come with me into the depths of wickedness and strange magic. To a place where nothing is ever as it seems, where the danger could be lurking in the shadows behind you or right beside you, in the light.

Thirteen tales of terror; every one of them involving a Witch…

–A handyman recalls the horrifying details of a job he wishes he’d forgotten.

–An overly curious English teacher gets way more than she bargained for when she sets out to solve a mystery concerning her next door neighbor.

–A Witch out for revenge on an unfaithful lover, finds he may have beaten her to the punch.

–A veteran cat burglar underestimates a wealthy old woman in the dead of night.

–A young handyman tells what happened when he went to work with his father one Saturday afternoon.

–A Warlock in college is having issues with his unruly doppelganger. 

–And more…Read “Thirteen Wicked Tales of Witches” and treat yourself to some twisty, turny (is that a word?) Halloween frights!!!

Signed Sincerely,

Your Guide

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I really enjoyed this short story collection. When I think of horror, I want to read about monsters or evil people. Some of these witches were pretty dark, right up my reading alley.

Ms. Burgess’s Pets:

Sam and Little Frank were plumbers who answered a call to an old lady’s home. Flour was all over the floor as they worked. My favorite line: “Honestly, at that point I just figured she was a little senile. And who could blame her? She was out here in the country all alone, all the time.” I enjoyed the twist regarding “pets.”

The Flags in Barrymore Village:

13 years old Ducky and Isaac watched the Witch Flag hang. Suddenly, very bad weather arrived in town. The story was full of suspense with the boys being locked in a basement for sinister purposes. My favorite lines: 1) “You should always be cautious in Barrymore Village. This place is not Mayberry.” 2) “It’s not snow.” Ducky sniffed the air, his face contorting into true horror. “It’s bone.”

Ajax:

This was one of my favorite stories. I loved the twist at the end. Cam was being bullied and wanted revenge. His cousin was psycho. My favorite line: “You wanted revenge, right?” I nodded. “How better to get that than to wash the smiles right off their faces.”

The Stick Lady:

This was very short. An old lady hung sticks from top of a tree. My favorite line: “It was the first of many emails I’ve received as of late. This is easily the least disturbing one.”

189 Martin Lane:

This was one of my favorite stories. A burglar climbed into a window of an old lady’s house to steal from her downstair’s safe. It was an eerie and chilling scene when she confronted the burglar. She was badass! My favorite line: “S-s-stay away from me.” I whispered, inching away from her. “You’re a monster.” I’d seen what was in her safe. I knew I was in over my head. I wish the author would’ve revealed what was in the safe.

The Crossroads:

The opening sentence: “Blood gushed from my side where Norman had stabbed me” hooked me right away. Two ex lovers faced off with witchcraft. I liked the twist at the end.

Neighbors:

This was one of my favorite stories. Red rain water flowed into a couple’s yard. They got it tested and figured out it was human blood from the neighbor’s yard. It was creepy (in a good way) how Ms. Aster stood naked, glancing at their cameras. There was great tension between the married couple. I cared about the characters. This was a depressing story; that witch was vicious! My favorite lines: 1) “She didn’t move. Didn’t blink. Didn’t flinch.” 2) “Yet.” I added. “She hasn’t hurt us yet. That blood came from somewhere…”

The Burrstreet Witches:

Viana was the head witch with 12 in her coven. I loved the twisty ending. My favorite line: “All thirteen of them were horrified.”

Night Owl

This was one of my favorite stories. Clarity was suspicious of her gorgeous coworker Suzette. An owl was stalking Clarity. A creepy owl! I was sad that Clarity’s fiance had died. The story was eerily spooky. Well done to the author. The villain was truly a villain. My favorite lines: 1) “The entire time, I felt like someone was watching me. Like something was watching me.” 2) “The elevator’s interior lights flickered off, abandoning me in total, suffocating darkness.”

Twine:

The story started with the reveal of a real live zombie gerbil. The little sister brought things back to life with a string, with bad consequences of course. I loved the twist of the little sister. I never saw it coming. I wish the ending would’ve shown if the main character (brother) escaped or not.

Fetch:

A fetch (or doppelganger) was trying to kill a guy in college. No mirrors or reflective surfaces were allowed in the guy’s apartment. A guest accidentally left his cell phone on the couch, so craziness happened. My favorite lines: 1) “Don’t worry, just say the word.” I told him. I sounded more confident than I really was. 2) He rolled his eyes and got to his feet. “Sorry,” he mumbled as he rubbed his head. “Almost dying will give a person an attitude sometimes.”

Old Hag Syndrome:

Eric talked to a shrink because a witch kept attacking him in his sleep. His life was out of control and everyone thought he was crazy. Gaining strength, the witch started haunting Eric and Barry in the daytime. Barry was already committed to an insane asylum. Eric was being threatened with the same fate. I was a little confused by the ending.

Low Gravity Charms

A warlock was supposed to be a guide on a spaceship. The crew got attacked by an outside force.

The Truth About Wildwood

This was one of my favorite stories. A coven of witches lived in the middle of the woods. I loved how the main character was talking to us, the readers. It made the story seem more real. I enjoyed the twist of the main character and Henry. My favorite lines: 1) “I’m not ashamed to say I was scared. I’d rather be out here in the woods by myself than make a decision concerning my future. What an idiot.” 2) “She shook and cowered away from me. Embarrassed. Confused. Horrified.”

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Abode by Morgan Sylvia

***I received a free copy for an honest review***

A TERRIFYING HAUNTING

This is the place where the harrowed ghosts of a dozen generations whisper in the shadows of their ancestral home, where one family’s dreams of a new beginning turned into a nightmare that ended in tragedy.

A CURSED BLOODLINE

This is the place where a line of witches bound themselves–in blood–to a primeval entity. Here, nightmares and reality meet beneath frozen skies, and even time and space fall under the power of the demonic being that rules this remote northern woods.

A CHANCE ENCOUNTER

This is the place where the path of a tormented survivor meets that of an unknowing innocent. Past and present collide, and secrets long buried crawl back into the pallid light of day as the shadow of the Beast falls over them both. But even the bloodiest dreams of that demonic being may pale in comparison to what lies buried within the human heart.

This is the place where evil dwells…

ABODE

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I absolutely loved this creepy book! It scared the crap out of me that after a few nights reading, I had to switch to only reading it in the daytime. I’m talking hairs on my arm and neck standing up, chills running down my spine, me looking over my shoulder, me jumping at any sound my house made.

The opening line: “You don’t know me” hooked me right away. The entire book was written as emails of a deranged man contacting his little sister who he believed died. As a reader, I thought it would’ve been cool to see how she replied, but I understand why the author didn’t show any of that. It would’ve taken the suspense away from the explosive ending.

My favorite lines: 1) You were a tiny thing, but you looked at me with an expression far beyond your years. 2) There was something behind me. I heard it. I felt it. 3) I have no answers. Only memories. 4) This may sound crazy. I cannot argue that. I agree, actually. It not only sounds crazy, it is crazy. But that doesn’t make it less true.

As a little boy, the main character moved into a haunted house in Maine with his parents and younger sister. These ghosts weren’t Casper the friendly ghost. They were viciously wicked. Not only ghosts, the family had to deal with demons and monsters in the woods. The author described each haunting and supernatural creature in great detail, making this book very spooky.

The setting (70’s) reminded me of the Amityville era. The parents really frustrated me because they were so passive. There was no excuse of not trying to get help for their haunted home, especially when their children were getting hurt. The entire town knew about the Murder House down the lane. The kids were much braver than the adults, and I applaud them. I loved when he got some answers from his best friend Lane’s aunt, Phyllis.

The slow build up was great. There were many suspenseful moments in the book because of the slow build up. The twist at the end was great. I hadn’t seen it coming.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Dear Santa by Yawatta Hosby

***If you’re easily offended, stop reading now***

Dear Santa

by Yawatta Hosby

Copyright 2017

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Can you please make my baby sister disappear? I want all the Christmas gifts.

Thank you,

Douglas

Two weeks later on Christmas Eve, Douglas jolted awake by blood curdling screams. His seven month old sister had been mauled by their family’s pitbull. Douglas was the only one to open his gifts on Christmas morning at his grandparent’s house. He didn’t even want his toys and electronics anymore.

Dear Santa,

Can I have my daddy back? I miss him so much.

Thank you,

Tonya

Tonya didn’t know why she found her mommy crying in her neighbor’s arms two weeks later. Her curiosity taking over, she stood in the hallway and overheard her mommy on the phone in the kitchen. Tonya’s daddy had just died in Iraq, and her mommy was making arrangements to ship him back home. Tonya didn’t want to see her daddy in a casket as worm food. Not now. Not ever. Her body shuddered.

Dear Santa,

I want a bike, one that rides very fast. And can it please have a basket on the handlebars?

Thank you,

Kim

Two weeks later, Kim was delighted to get her navy blue mountain bike with the small basket on the handlebars. It was the perfect size to hold her lunchbox, so she could bring snacks with her when she played with her best friend Molly. Molly lived three blocks over. Kim’s delight didn’t last long though. By afternoon in sunny California, her brakes stopped working as she rode through the edge of the park. Kim went full speed into traffic, and a van smashed into her. Lying on the road with broken bones, she didn’t even want her bike anymore. She closed her eyes and took her last breath.

Be careful what you wish for…you never know if an evil troll will put a bad spell on all of the letters written to Santa in the West Gate Mall.

THE END

***If you liked this horror Christmas short, consider signing up for my newsletter. My subscribers got a bonus Christmas story. Happy Holidays!

Interview With Jewel E. Leonard, Author of Alight

Please welcome my special guest Jewel E. Leonard. She’s a paranormal romance and Steampunk author. I had the pleasure of sharing my Six Plus One script on her blog, so I thought it’d be fun to return the favor by giving her an interview on the release date of her new book! Please enjoy her insightful interview.

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1.  Do you have advice for other writers trying to get published?

I think patience is a virtue that is especially important in this industry. If you’re aiming to get published traditionally, it could take a very long time and an awful lot of rejections before you get there (but you probably already know that).

On the other hand, if your goal is to be published independently, patience will serve you well to put out the best product you can. Indie books certainly have a reputation for being “thrown onto Amazon.” Patience with the process (a load of editing and proof reading prior to hitting “publish”) should certainly help an indie author’s book from having that “thrown onto Amazon” appearance. If enough indie authors did that, someday maybe that stigma will be nothing more than an ugly memory.

2.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

As far as the The Witches’ Rede goes: I really hope they enjoy the ride. The benefit to approaching a series like this one the way I did (here’s again where patience plays a significant role) is that I’ve planned the big things out thoroughly, beginning to end. I encourage readers who finish the series to start over with Alight. There are lots of what seem like throw-away remarks that are anything but–and you won’t know it until you get to the end.

As an aside, to those who enjoyed reading about Rhea and Surfer Boy: I haven’t forgotten about them, either.

3.  What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their work?

The expectation publishers now have of authors to self-promote was actually one of many things that made traditional publication unappealing to me. I fairly well hate marketing. I’ve always been a bad salesperson, and not having to promote myself would have been a massive perk to finding an agent/publisher. But since trads are expected to do that, too, I kind of felt like…I’m having to put in the same amount of work as an indie author and split my profits? No, thank you!

4.  What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?

My work is polygenreistic (my word processor informs me this isn’t a word–well, it should be!). When I have to pigeonhole it, I call it either paranormal romance or Steampunk.

I love the combination and juxtaposition of science and magic in my world. As far as in other authors’ books, I think it’s the vampires/magic/werewolves fighting for the right to exist in worlds that often don’t accept them that appeals to me. As someone who feels like an outsider in everything she does, it’s a concept I can really relate to.

My least favorite aspect? I hate that the paranormal romance genre was declared dead. Its fans beg to differ!

5.  What are your current/next projects?

Alas, I’m going to be working on The Witches’ Rede books for many years to come. The 2nd and 3rd novels are currently in varying states of doneness.

It’s a bit risky, I know, that until 2021, my new books will rely on readers having read–and enjoyed–my backlist.

I need to figure out how to write stand-alone novels! LOL!

6.  Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?

I actually write with a partner. My husband contributes so much to my books that his name really should be beside mine on my book covers. It is his decision that it’s not. He can deny it all he wants, but these projects to now are practically 50/50.

I have a wonderful alpha reader, whose opinions and feedback are invaluable to me.

I have a very small group of betas which I hope as time goes on, I can expand. I have yet to put out a public call for betas–or for ARC reviewers. This will likely change as well. I am the type of person who gets easily overwhelmed so I need to start small or I’ll succumb to the temptation to quit.

7.  How do you find time to write?

I don’t, really. I steal some time here and there–when my daughter naps, or between the time my work shift ends and my son comes home from school. I forego sleep as much as I can. Often when there’s quiet play (having Bob Ross on TV really helps mellow my son out!), I’m able to settle down and get some writing done with the family nearby.

Now that I have a new workspace in a bigger home, as our new schedules “gel,” I hope I might find more time for solitude to get those words out. They’re pretty seriously backlogged currently, and I have (self-imposed) deadlines to meet.

8.  Did you always want to become an author?

Oh yes, without a doubt. The desire to write and to have my words read by other people has always been inherent in me.

9.  Is there any writing rituals you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?

As a pantser, no, not really. I grab my notebook and pen, and just get to work when the muse bites. Planning (and lots of editing and revising) comes later. I admit it’s a bit backward, but it works best for me.

10.  Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?

My manuscripts are a mess. I generally write the scenes that are most clear in my head, or whatever I’m inspired to write at the time. One of my hubby’s greatest talents is for rearranging scenes into an order that makes sense.

For the sake of streamlining a process that most established writers wouldn’t recommend to their worst enemy, I’m making a valiant effort (going forward) to write chronologically. I got maybe 20,000 words into book 3 of The Witches’ Rede series before I had to jump ahead if I wanted to keep writing. So now I have to go back and start filling in the gaps.

11.  Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Hate is such a strong word.

And yet, it isn’t strong enough to describe how I felt about Possession, the book that follows Alight in my series. I wrote it during NaNoWriMo (and won, for what it’s worth) and when I attempted reading through it, I came dangerously close to throwing out everything related to it–the hand-written pages as well as Shift+Del’ing the computer copy.

My husband promised there was good in it, and that he would find it. He kept his promise–and then some!

It took a lot of editing to make it readable…and the next thing I know (many, many, many months and tears later), Possession is now my favorite of the books I’ve worked on in the series.

12.  Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?

Novel. Er, novel series. My worlds grow, my characters get complex–I really don’t know how to do novellas well or stand-alone books…at all.

13.  While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?

I’ve had dreams from my characters’ POV.

Lots of my characters share several of my traits…and one shares many of my life experiences. I guess in writing some of those scenes, I very much did feel like I was in her shoes (again).

In working out new ideas, my husband and I often “role play,” and create some of the more fun exchanges between my two main characters.

14. How did you come up with the title?

Alight has had 4 different titles over the years (excluding the inspired “Untitled” title, and the equally uninspiring “Naming Book 1 the Same as the Series Because This Wasn’t Actually Meant to be a Series” title).

Alight was another of my husband’s brilliant ideas, and I’m so grateful for it. It’s a perfect fit for this book and a great start to the series.

15.  What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?

Well, my latest WIP is the 3rd book in the The Witches’ Rede series, and it follows the adventures of my main characters, Rafaele and Maeve, as they hunt down a prized possession that was feloniously taken from Maeve during the course of the 2nd book.

They encounter numerous road blocks along the way (including a literal one) and wind up in a fight for their lives against a charismatic Native American demigod on a fiendish mission from a higher authority.

16.  Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?

Yes, absolutely!

You can find me on…

Thanks again, Jewel, for being a guest on my blog. It’s awesomesauce that you’re an old school writer like me and still write in notebooks! I thought I was the only one LOL. Good luck with your new release 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby