Monday, September 22, 2014

The Underrated Treasures Blogfest

The day is here! The Underrated Treasures Blogfest is being hosted by Alex Cavanaugh, Tell the world about a little-known band or artist, book, movie or TV show.

As to my underrated treasure - Shinehead is an artist who was somewhat popular in the 80's. He's Jamaican by birth, but has lived in the United States for most of his life. He's quite talented—raps, sings (very well) and deejays, but never made it big over the duration of his career. Not sure what he's doing with himself now, but here are a couple of my favourites from him.


Which band or artist is listed among your obscure treasures?

Remember to prepare those entries for submission to the IWSG book. A word of caution—in the event that you plan to use quotes by authors, do your best to paraphrase in the interest of avoiding copyright infringement issues. Interested in submitting? Go here for the details.

Have fun on the hop and do have a look in the side bar. My tour and hop are mighty lonely!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG Anniversary & Compilation

It's that time again when we share our insecurities and support each other through those writing blahs. Do ensure you visit writers you haven't visited before and offer support in the IWSG spirit.

To join the group, click through to this link and sign up. Posting is on the first Wednesday of every month. Try to visit as may new blogs as possible to spread some cheer and encouragement.

A Special Announcement

Today marks three years since the very first IWSG post. Next month marks one year since the IWSG site and Facebook group opened. And we’d like you to help us celebrate!

The IWSG Team is putting together an eBook that will benefit all writers - The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. And we invite all IWSG members, Facebook members, and followers to contribute.

Here are the details:

The three topics will be writing, publishing, and marketing.

Each contribution needs to be between 200 and 1000 words. Focus on one of those three aspects and give us your best tip or procedure. The essay can include bullet points, top ten lists, and recommendations. (Websites, software, books, etc.)

You can either post it for your October 1 IWSG post or email it directly to or (Since the length can go over the standard IWSG post length.) Include a one sentence byline and a link to your site. Also state that you give us permission to use it in the book and which topic it falls under. (We will only edit for misspellings and grammar mistakes.)

All submissions need to be sent or posted by October 2, 2014. We will compile them into an eBook and aim for an early December release. The book will be free and available for all eReaders.

Thank you for making the IWSG such a huge success!!

As to my own insecurity, I've realized that although I've cut back on my working hours, I'm still not putting enough time into my writing. My aim for September is to be more focused and get more done. What plans do you have for September to keep the writing going?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Perfectly Ernest by E.J. Wesley

Perfectly Ernest by E.J. Wesley is now available for sale! The book was released last Friday and sounds like a wonderful New Adult story.

A gripping story of striking out and winning big. From a distance, Ernie’s life seems perfect—he’s a star college baseball player adored by the student body and coveted by professional teams. Up close, he is a disaster. Since the death of his mother, he’s been trapped by a promise he made and forced to live her dream instead of his own. He reaches his breaking point in the biggest game of his young career and sets off a chain of events that will either define or destroy the rest of his life.

 Ernie grudgingly joins a quirky campus counseling group that empowers him to heal himself and right his wrongs. By testing old friendships, forging unlikely new ones, and exploring an exciting romance, he begins to unravel the jumbled knot his tangled inner-psyche has become. But old rivals, mental illness, and the risk of a forbidden relationship soon threaten his progress. Will Ernie’s new direction and friends be his salvation, or confirmation that he is forever doomed by his imperfections?

 Perfectly Ernest is a New Adult contemporary novel with romantic elements by author E.J. Wesley. Ernest offers a smart, funny, sweet, sexy, uplifting, and oftentimes poignant perspective of one person’s difficult transition into adulthood. It is a story about overcoming the demons of mental illness and struggling with the profound burden of expectations—both real and imagined. But it’s mostly a tale of friendship, hope, and love.  


 Amazon |  Barnes & Noble |  Goodreads |  Book Page

 About the Author:
Growing up in small-town Oklahoma, there were limits on the amount and types of entertainment at my disposal. Perhaps that’s why I set my imagination free. After collecting degrees in psychology and counseling, life brought me to Missouri, Texas, and Northern California–where I currently read, write, and live. I fill my spare time playing video games, watching movies, planning for the zombie apocalypse, reading graphic novels, and playing with my dogs.

 My passion for New Adult literature led me to producing the weekly New Adult Lit Chat on Twitter and contributing to the NA Alley Blog. I’m also the author of Moonsongs, a series of New Adult, urban fantasy novelettes. Find me on Twitter @EJWesley or Facebook and we’ll chat!

1 New Adult sports books bundle (INT)
1 $15 iTunes gift credit (INT)
1 signed paperback copy of Perfectly Ernest + Ernest team jersey. (US)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 25, 2014

Authors Supporting Authors & Encouraging Growth

The writing journey has presented me with many opportunities to grow. A long time ago, I realized that learning the craft of writing was something I'd never regret. To that end, I did my apprenticeship—learning to write through 'how to' books, an online workshop, oodles of articles and by interacting and exchanging critiques with better writers than myself.

I haven't regretted anything I've learned along the way and technology is such that yesterday I recorded answers to interview questions that will be used during a book talk show later this month. (I'll share the link as soon as I have it.)

The truth is we should use every opportunity to learn something new. Technology is advancing at such a rapid pace that what's new and hip today stands the chance of being obsolete a few months down the road.

If you think you don't need to learn simple things such as formatting an ebook, you might want to revisit that mindset. And if you're an indie writer who has to pay each time you need to make changes to your book files on a limited budget, now might be the time to find out how formatting works. Not to say you shouldn't outsource the jobs you can, but the way I look at it is that it can't hurt to open your mind to learning something new.

While you're here, don't forget to sign up for the October Island Adventure Romance Blog Train, which kicks off on October 20, with the Who's Your Hero Blogfest that will be co-hosted by the lovely, Michelle Wallace. Just hop to the sidebar to sign up. 

From August 25-31, I will be participating in a giveaway promotion with over 100 other writers. All you have to do to enter to win any of the books listed is to sign up on one of the four Rafflecopters listed. This giveaway has been organized by book enthusiasts Allyn Lesley and Debra Presley.

Thanks for visiting and for participating.

Have a great week!

 Giveaway #1: a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Giveaway #2 a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway #3 a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway #4 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Julie Musil: On Crossing Lines & Adding Thematic Symbols to Fiction

Congratulations are in order for Julie Musil whose has a new release - The Summer of Crossing Lines. Julie is here today discussing how to add thematic symbols to our stories. Without further delay, here we go …

How to Add Thematic Symbols to Our Fiction

Thematic symbols add depth and meaning to fiction. Think fire and bow and arrow with the Hunger Games series. In my latest release, The Summer of Crossing Lines, there are two thematic symbols--a giant oak dubbed “The Mary Tree” and police tape.

How should writers choose a symbol? And how can the symbol be added organically to the story? Here are my thoughts.

  Choose an object or symbol that’s had an impact on you. Is there an image from the Bible that resonates with you? Do Egyptian hieroglyphics fascinate you? Is there an item from nature--an iceburg, a cavern, bougainvillea--that you find spooky or beautiful?
For The Summer of Crossing Lines I added a large oak tree that I pass almost every day. It had been burned out in a wildfire. The remaining trunk resembles the image of Mary looking over Jesus in the manger. Locals have since turned The Mary Tree into a shrine, adding photos and flowers to makeshift shelves.

  Uncover or create meaning behind the symbol. If it’s an established symbol, like something biblical or Egyptian, research the meaning behind it. If it’s a symbol you’ve designed, you can create an intriguing backstory.

At The Mary Tree, people have set up lawn chairs in a semi-circle. On important holidays, like Christmas, families gather there. It became a place to pray, hope, and remember. The meaning had already been established, and I used this to my advantage in my story.

  Integrate the symbol into your story. What does the symbol represent? Inspiration? Bad luck? A dangerous cult? A family heirloom? When your characters encounter the symbol, either add the meaning or keep it mysterious by slowly dripping in details.

In my story, The Mary Tree became a place for reflection. The main character is searching for her missing brother, and she finds clues at the tree. This symbol served more than one purpose.

  Add the symbol to the book cover. With the thematic symbol on the cover, readers can tie-in the outer image to the one described in the book. It adds another connection.

Instead of adding The Mary Tree to the cover, I opted for police tape. “Police Line Do Not Cross” resonated with me, because my character crosses moral lines while searching for her missing brother.

I don’t set out to add thematic symbols--they happen naturally a few drafts in. How about you? Have you added thematic symbols to your fiction? If so, what? Did it happen naturally or did you plan it from the start?

Julie Musil writes from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Her YA novels The Summer of Crossing Lines and The Boy Who Loved Fire are available now. For more information, or to stop by and say Hi, please visit Julie on her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Title: The Summer of Crossing Lines
Author: Julie Musil
Release date: August 19, 2014
Category: Young Adult (YA)
Genre: Contemporary Mystery

Short Summary

When her protective older brother disappears, sixteen-year-old Melody infiltrates a theft ring, gathers clues about his secret life, and falls for a handsome pickpocket. At what point does truth justify the crime?

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