Fantasy Fans Gather Round!

Hey, gang! I'm back to share some great news. My author pal, D.A. Botta, has just released the fourth book in his Elyzian Chronicles saga, Hexametyr. DA has a great sense of humor and takes his craft seriously, so I have no reservations recommending this one to folks. :)

To celebrate the launch, I'm helping spread the word about the entire series, beginning with book #1, Hysterata. Here's the skinny:

Emily Hobbs is off to Salem State College when a chance encounter with a fortuneteller changes everything. Emily is transported to the realm of Elyzia and learns that she is, in fact, one of the most powerful witches in existence.

Madame Lavache, the strict headmistress of Cedalion Covenstead, has her sights set on Emily. In her desperate cling to power, Lavache attempts to protect her tyranny by invoking sinister forces, including bloodthirsty pirates and The Devil himself, to rid Elyzia of the rebellious witch.

Along with her companions – an old hermit, a small coven of witches, and their totems – Emily sets out on a collision course with destiny.

Just as the tarot foretold.

A powerful witch
A simple tarot read
And all hell breaks loose

The Elyzian Chronicles 

Hysteriata - Book 1
Sinfluence - Book 2
Sycamortem - Book 3
Hexametyr - Book 4

You can enter for a chance to win the entire series below! Here's a little more about D.A. -

D A Botta has written four New Adult Fantasy novels, The Elyzian Chronicles, and has also published a collection of poems There in Them Blues. D A is currently working on a New Adult Mystery series, Seriously Confidant, projected for debut in the fall of 2015. D A is a Fantasy Representative for NA Alley and frequents #NALitChat on Twitter. When not writing, D A plays guitar and dabbles in graphic design. D A lives with his family in Massachusetts.

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Quick Update & Thank You

Hello, gang. I've been VERY quiet here on the blog the last several weeks as I've worked through some things in my personal life--many of you know about it if you're connected with me elsewhere.

Anyway, I haven't jumped the blogging ship completely, I'm just try to manage things as best I can.

I cannot say how much your words of support and encouragement have meant during these rough stretches. I also want to say thank you to everyone stopping by for the Blitz and the excellent Soak-a-Bloke, Realms Faire fun.

Y'all have definitely added a spark to my week! :)

I'll be back to blogging real soon,


Author Interview - L.G. Kelso, FIERCE

Hey, gang! I'm coming to you with a rare weekend post to share an interview I did recently with author L.G. Kelso. L.G. is a good friend and a talented author, plus FIERCE is a truly unique book that features a tough as nails heroine. So I know you'll love her and it!

5 Questions With Author L.G. Kelso

EJ - Your novel, FIERCE, is about a woman chasing her dream of being an MMA fighter. It's a struggle for her both inside and outside of the ring. Any similarities between her journey and your journey to become a published author? (I know I've had my ass kicked in this business more than once. :)

LG - What a great question. I hadn't really thought of it, but I think you could say yes. Tori faces a lot of doubt and negativity from external sources, and I think that is something every writer faces, no matter what stage of the publication process. Both areas get a lot of criticism, and certain MMA groups are more respected than others (similar to the various kind of publishing and stigmas still attached to them). 

If I had to give one, solid answer it would be this: Tori had to fight to become who she is and she struggles with that identity. Publishing her story was a fight in some ways, because she isn't what the market "is" and doesn't fit the market mold. I think while Tori worked to accept who she is, I had to work to accept what I wanted for the book and strive to get it. Tori tries to fit in and it's rough, in both the MMA world and the "regular" world (as she calls it), and that's because of her history and her experiences, and that same characterization did add to the struggle of publication.

EJ - FIERCE uses a confrontational sport to take on some very real and complex social issues. (Notably, the struggles of women who wish to feel empowered and be respected for their actions--not necessarily categorized by their gender first.) As a writer, what were some the challenges in bringing that to the page? Anything you'd approach differently next time around?

LG - Confrontational sport. I like that term. It's very accurate, and women aren't normally associated with "confrontation". Actually putting those struggles and issues on the page wasn't an issue. The challenge was making sure that both the highs and the lows were there, that readers would see these very real problems but also see the very real beauty of it. For being one of the most popular sports in the US right now, MMA is often misunderstood. Does it have problems? Oh, yes. So do many other male-dominated sports. But there is also lots of beauty in it, and I didn't want people to judge it solely based off the problems, but I also didn't want to sugar coat it. I did in some ways as far as language is concerned, but I didn't want to sugar-coat the issues.

EJ - You box in real life. You get five minutes in the ring to take out your frustrations on any one part of the writing/publishing process What is it? Why?

LG - Can I pick two? I just can't pick one. What would I chose:

1) The stigma associated with the various forms of publishing. I hate this stigma of traditional verses indie. I hate the misconception that indie authors are forced to go indie and don't have choices. I know most of us do, and even those that feel like it is their only choice, well, that doesn't mean their work shouldn't be seen! If anything, this publishing journey has taught me how different our tastes are and that there is little reason to judge another work when it comes to things that are subjective, because it may not work for me but it may be the best thing ever for you. The stigma goes even deeper than just the indie vs. traditional. I've seen it with digital only imprints and so on. It needs to stop.

2) Marketing. I'm not a good self-pimper (yes, I said that, just go with it). I really enjoy certain aspects of marketing-like making teasers. Time suck of my life, people. Love making teasers. And I did a program on gender-stereotypes that was really enjoyable and could fall into the marketing side of things. Overall, though, I hate being like "BUY MY BOOK!" Also, I would prefer to be writing instead of pimping, so you know...

EJ - FIERCE is technically New Adult fiction (though it could definitely fit in upper YA, because it's not erotic or overly sexy). You encountered some interesting resistance creating the main character, Tori. What do you think a writer's role is in reshaping social and reader perceptions/expectations? Can we really walk a line between authenticity--or progressiveness--and mass appeal? Or do you have to sacrifice some of one for the other? 

LG - Yes, it is technically NA (college-aged kids with NA themes) but I do feel it fits into upper YA as well. Tori is not the mold, and that was one reason that I decided the publishing route I did, because changing Tori drastically enough to fit the mold would have meant not only changing the story on a huge scale, but also would lose the ave authenticity. Tori grew up in the fighting world, and that really did create her persona. 

I do think we can walk that line. I think we do have a duty to help reshape reader expectations. If we as writers don't give readers that diversity, then how will anyone know if anyone wants to read it or not? If that's not even an option, or a very limited one, of course it's not going to have mass market appeal just because of the fact it's not greatly available. 

I do think that if you want to fit into the mold of what is currently a big deal in the mass market, then sometimes authenticity does have to be sacrificed. I, for one, can't do that. Honesty is something that is important to my writing. I'm not saying that every big name book and author out there sacrificed any authenticity, but I do think some of them have had to. The only way to change that is for writers to not being willing to do that, and that's a whole different discussion since we're talking about peoples paychecks here.

In short, I do think we can walk that line and I think walking that line is going to be the way we can, even if gradually, help grow and diversify reader expectations.

EJ - Last question, and our favorite! Where can we find FIERCE and more information on your writing endeavors?

All about FIERCE--

New Adult Contemporary Sports Romance 

Tori's MMA career was taking off ... until she beat the wrong man. Her training partner, nursing a bruised ego, snapped—shattering her trust and confidence.

Three years later, Tori’s keeping her fists to herself as she struggles to put herself through college. But when a group of gangbangers hassle her at work, old habits kick in and her fists fly. Max Estrada, a frequent diner customer, steps in and gets them out of hot water, but Tori is still fired... days before tuition is due.

With no other option, she’s forced to take a desk job at her old pounding grounds, where her demons still haunt the cage and the temptation to go glove-to-glove with familiar pro-fighter, Max Estrada, is too much. The sexy Colombian draws her back into the world of MMA and revives her dreams of becoming a professional face-puncher—until Will, her old partner and current Middleweight Champion, struts back into the gym. The secret they share is an unexpected liability to his career, and he's determined to keep her silent.

With her life on the ropes, Tori will have to face the past for a shot at winning back her future, or carry the weight of a loss even greater than before.

Praise for FIERCE

"A unique twist on the fighter trope-- FIERCE is a compelling, original read with my favorite kind of heroine (a kick-ass one)."

- New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Cora Carmack

"If you're looking for a strong heroine who stands out in the New Adult contemporary world, L.G. Kelso's Fierce is the book for you. Why I loved it: A complex heroine dealing with inner and external obstacles; a romance that isn't the character's main goal (though it is hot!); powerful voice and an authentic journey into the MMA world."

-Diana Gallagher, author of What Happens in Water (Fall 2015, Spencer Hill Press)

Fierce Links: | Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | SmashWords | Pinterest | GoodReads | Website

About the Author

L.G. Kelso is a fantasy and contemporary novelist. Having grown up watching Xena and Hercules with her grandmother, she inherited her passion for all things magic, paranormal and mythological. She also has a probably unhealthy obsession with martial arts, and as a boxer she strives to give readers an authentic view of MMA in her contemporary sports novels. | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | NA Alley| GoodReads | Pinterest | Amazon

The Big C Hop

Hey, gang! Today I'm taking part in the 'Big C Bloghop' being instigated by our blog friend Michael Di Gesu in honor of another blog friend, Melissa Bradley. 

Melissa is currently undergoing cancer treatment, and the bloghop posts will be collected for an anthology that will be sold to help with healthcare costs for M. As well as provide donations for an organization (Gilda's Club Chicago) dedicated to helping women fight endometrial, cervical, and ovarian cancers.

Melissa has been a great talent and feisty spirit in our blogging and writing community for a long time and she needs our help. There has been a GoFundMe page established by her friends, and I know she greatly appreciates your donations and sharing.

Get well, M! We are in your corner.


Please visit the others in the hop and show your support for, Melissa.

1.Michael @ In Time ...2.Denise Covey
3.Elizabeth Seckman, Author4.Julie Kemp Pick
5.Julie @ Empty Nest Insider6.tammy theriault
7.Tyrean's Writing Spot8.Nicki Elson
9.Jemi Fraser10.Melissa's Imaginarium
11.The Girdle of Melian12.Livia Peterson | Leave it to Livia
13.Scattergun Scribblings14.Life by Chocolate
15.Write with Fey16.Ella's Edge
17.WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS18.Positive Letters and Stories
19.Far Away Eyes20.Confessions of a Watery Tart
21.E.J. Wesley, Author22.The Cancer Assassin: Ken Wins!!!
23.Donna Hole24.Aloha! Mark Koopmans says hi from HI
25.Michelle @Writer-In-Transit26.Stephen Tremp
27.PK HREZO28.Elizabeth Hein-Scribbling In The Storage Room
29.The Murphey Saga30.Robyn Campbell
31.Theresa Milstein @ Theresa's Tales32.Elizabeth Hein-Scribbling In The Storage Room
33.Sweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell

(Note about my entry: Melissa is one of the funniest people I've met, so I've added a touch of humor and sarcasm to my essay just for her. :) I give full rights to this work to Melissa and allow her to use it however she sees fit.)

5 Things I learned About Cancer Living With An Oncologist

I’ve never had cancer, but I have a pretty intimate relationship with it. My wife is an oncologist, so I hear about the struggles and triumphs every day. I see how determined she is, even after logging seventy to eighty hours away from home on an average week, to stay persistent and encouraging in the face of such brutal diseases and treatments. And she tells me that most of her dedication comes directly from the courage she sees in her patients.

Ultimately, she gets to go home. Lots of people aren’t so fortunate. So, other than being grateful for whatever health I’m given every second of every day, what other things have I picked up living with an oncologist?

1. Cancer hates weekends and holidays … and pretty much every other special moment in life. It’s like a demonic Santa Claus. It knows when you’re sleeping. It knows when you’re awake. It knows when you haven’t eaten or seen your family in three days, and it doesn’t give a damn. People have it 24/7, and those people need to be taken care of 24/7. It’s a vicious cycle for everyone involved.

2. Cancer sucks. Cancer treatment can suck more—at least in the short term. What do you do to a disease that’s trying to kill you? Why poison it—and you—naturally! Seriously, it’s like Agatha Christie invented modern oncology. There are also surgeries, needle sticks, ports, and pretty much everything else evil in the world. When you hear about people ‘fighting cancer’, that’s exactly what it is in most instances. A knock-down-drag-out brawl to reclaim their health. When a doctor tells you a procedure or treatment ‘isn’t fun’ that’s code for “this will probably be worse than being mauled by a lion".

3. The psychological toll of cancer is often harsher than the physical toll. “You have a life-threatening disease. Have a great weekend!” That’s not how a typical visit with an oncologist goes down. A huge portion of cancer treatment is counseling the patient and their families. It’s preparing them and getting them the help they need for the inevitable depression. It’s educating them on treatment options (remember, some of which really suck, see #2) and side effects. It’s helping folks stare down their mortality—even for the good kinds of cancer. (See - #4) You can’t be diagnosed with the Big C and not have your insides turned out.

4. There are good kinds of cancer. Okay, poor phrasing. No cancer is good. But there are WAY worse kinds to have. Doctors get really excited when a patient has one of the good ones. It truly makes their month (sometimes year) when they get to tell a patient the goal of treatment is cure, because that’s definitely not always the case. Way too often they’re dealing in weeks and months, not years or forever, when it comes to prognosis. So they live for those appointments when they get to talk about curing a disease, not just treating it. 

5. Speaking of forever, when you live with an oncologist you quickly realize almost nothing is. Absolutes make all doctors crazy, but especially cancer doctors. They see lives yanked out from under folks like shabby rugs on a daily basis and it’s their jobs to help them get back on their feet if they can. They understand that diseases are random and unilaterally unbiased. Good people, bad people, old people, young people, smart people, funny people, silly people, loved people—anyone can get cancer. This might seem like a depressing or alarming amount of knowledge to have (and it can be a really poor party topic at times), but it’s mostly empowering. You want a VIP pass to enjoy life? Get real about how precious and beautiful it is, and how so many people are stripped of the ability to live it to its fullest.

E.J. Wesley


Remembering Tina

A college fund has been established for Tina's children. Donations to can be made here--

IWSG - Time Marches On

Hey, gang! Today marks the 3rd(!) anniversary of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. To say that this group has become a light of encouragement in our community is a gross understatement of its importance.

Like so many artists, writers are often ruled by our insecurities. Our desire to share our creativity with the world is often the very thing that terrifies us the most. Having this group of likeminded individuals--many of whom I look up to a great deal--sharing their trials and successes each month has sometimes been the only thing putting my butt back in the chair to keep writing.

So often I've felt that I was doing this writing thing wrong. That there was some piece to this cosmic puzzle that wasn't included with my set. Then, IWSG rolled around and I'd invariably find that ONE other writer who expressed exactly what I was feeling at any given time. And in our business, a small bit of affirmation can go a long way.

IWSG doesn't just give you spoonfuls of confidence and encouragement, it dishes it out in heaps. (There are over 300 members as of this post.) So if you've ever needed a boost, please click the pic below and give the group a look.

Time Marches On

My insecurity this month really isn't an insecurity, just more of a bitter fact of life. I can't control time for others, only what I do with my own. And I REALLY wish I could stop it altogether sometimes.

I live far enough from my 'growing up' home that I'm only able to visit most of my family once every 6 months (sometimes not even that). I'm the youngest of 4 children, my parents are elderly and not in great health. Every time I visit I wonder how much more time I'll have with them. My nieces and nephews grow an inch (or three) between every visit now. My siblings get a few more gray hairs and wrinkles. When you memorize everything about someone because you think about them all the time, it's jarring when your mental images no longer match up to the real thing.

I have a 15 year old chihuahua named Eddy. He has been by my side for many moves and adventures. I'm losing him, and I'd give just about anything to be able to hit a pause button and keep him with me for another 15 years. A dog that is able to grow old and die in a loving home is a lucky dog, because so many have hard, hard lives. But I'm still greedy enough to always want one more day with him.

We've lost some people in our writing-blogging community of late. People you see flash by in your feeds every day. People you've had conversations with. People who've lifted us up. We grow so accustomed to feeling their presence it's absolutely glaring when it's suddenly gone. My heart aches for their families, because I know they are feeling (x 1,000) what I am about time right now. We just need more of it with those we love. Always.

But that's not how life works. It keeps moving even if we stop.

Sometimes I listen to the wonderful Passenger song "Life's For The Living" when I get overwhelmed with these kinds of thoughts. The chorus really brings me back to the proper perspective.

Don't you cry for the lost
Smile for the living
Get what you need and give what you'r given
Life's for the living so live it
Or you're better of dead

Tears for what we've lost or missed are okay and good. But they won't give us any more time. It marches on and we have to try to keep up as best we can. We only have the moments we are given, and it's up to us to cherish them.


*sings* Happy Book Birthday To Me!

Hey, gang! Sorry for the blog silence the last couple of weeks. I've been busy trying to get everything ready for today's release and traveling around the country for various things. But I'm back and definitely ready to party. :)

Today, I'm officially releasing my novel Perfectly Ernest into the world. This was one of those projects that started as an interesting/fun story idea and morphed into something near and dear to my heart.

I never intended for this to be a touching story necessarily, and especially not a "feel good" story. But it somehow became those things via all these fun characters who suffer from one form of mental illness or another learning to rely on each other.

My educational background is in counseling so it's something I've always wanted to explore in my fiction. But alas, this is fiction and my character's journey is over in just a few hundred pages. So many "real" people are shackled in life by anxiety, depression, and more, and it's not something that just goes away.

That's why I wanted to donate 10% of the annual proceeds from this story to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. ( It's a way for me (and readers) to hopefully contribute something meaningful to the cause.

Though there is the common thread of mental illness, this story is equally (if not more so) about friendship and love. There's even some baseball and humor thrown in for good measure! My hope is that I've crafted a story that will appeal to a lot of different kinds of readers.

But enough about my thoughts! Here are the details for the story. As always, I greatly appreciate any shares, and more so all of the encouragement and support you've given me over the years. My fellow writers and this blogging community have kept me afloat through some tough times of doubt and setbacks. I'm forever grateful for that.


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. 

**Special Labor Day Release Sale - eBook only .99c for a limited time!**

“EJ Wesley has written a modern day Breakfast Club.”

"E.J. tells a college love story with a real life feel. He has created a flawed and pitiful character who quickly becomes a rallying point for all the other characters of the story. Ernie is the sort of boy I could easily imagine myself being friends with in college and cheered on through life in general, but certainly the story." 

 "EJ's tale of a college baseball star and the demons he fights is powerful and captivating. Once you're involved in Ernest's world, you are invested for the ride. Fans of this genre will say EJ hit it out of the park!" Alex J. Cavanaugh, Amazon bestselling author of the Cassa series 

 "Great cast of characters. Lots of fun humor. Romance. Win! Definitely recommend!" 

 "This is not so much a "coming of age" story, as it is a "coming of self." I loved reading it" 

 "It is an inspirational, heartwarming story in which any reader is likely to get lost."

 "This story made me laugh and cry and it was so great to read something sweet and awesome from a guy."
“Perfectly Ernest offers an emotionally genuine tour through depression, friendship, and love.”
“It's wonderful when a story's voice is so strong as to drag you into someone's head so it feels natural. I devoured Perfectly Ernest.”
“…captured my heart from page one.”

Book Trailer
**Perfectly Ernest Social Media Shareables**

'A gripping story of striking out & winning big.' Perfect Ernest, only .99c #LaborDaySale #KindleBooks #newrelease

"A modern day Breakfast Club" Perfectly Ernest, a #NewAdult contemporary novel by @EJWesley .99c for a limited time

'heart & soul woven throughout the pages' Perfectly Ernest, a contemporary #novel about life, love, & friendship

"an emotionally genuine tour through depression, friendship, and love." Perfectly Ernest on sale now .99c


"E.J. Wesley has created a modern day Breakfast Club."
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.
**Labor Day Release Sale - eBook only.99c for a limited time!**
*The author will donate 10% of the annual proceeds of this book to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness and support for those who suffer from mental illness.
"Captured my heart from page one."
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.
**Labor Day Release Sale - eBook only.99c for a limited time!**
*The author will donate 10% of the annual proceeds of this book to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness and support for those who suffer from mental illness.

IWSG - Fiction's Dirty Little Secret: Size Matters

Hey, gang! Welcome to your monthly dose of hot mess we affectionately call the Insecure Writer's Support Group around these parts. Not familiar with IWSG? Click the IWSG button below for all the details!

On the E.J. news front, my New Adult contemporary novel, Perfectly Ernest, is releasing Labor Day weekend. (Less than a month away! *dry heaves from nerves*) 

I'd love to have your help spreading the word! Here's a sign up for a book blast/cover reveal. It is scheduled for the last week of August/first week of September. 

Even if you don't have openings on your blog during that two week period, I'll also send some canned tweets and Facebook messages. Any little thing you can do to help me get the word out is greatly appreciated. 

Here's what this story is all about:

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.

Add Perfectly Ernest to your TBR!

Fiction's Dirty Little Secret: Size Matters
Click for more info on IWSG!
I have a confession: I have a little bit of a size inferiority complex. No, I'm not talking about naughty things. (Hey, eyes up here!) Nor am I talking about the fact that I'm only 5'6" tall. (Someone has to stay small enough to sit in the middle on road trips. I proudly wear that badge of shame.) 

I'm talking about the fiction I write. You see, I have a series of novelettes out. Each individual story ranges from 12-17 thousand words. They're short by design, meant to be enjoyed like your favorite TV shows or a fun-sized candy bar. A couple of delicious bites that simultaneously curb your craving and leave you wanting more.

I get the occasional complaint that the stories are too short, but those have mostly come from folks who didn't read the product description. (Or don't realize it's an ongoing series for whatever reasons.) By and large, the feedback I've gotten is that they are enjoyable stories by themselves. So no big worries there.

But then I wrote (and completed) my first novel, Perfectly Ernest. I outlined a story and wrote that story to the best of my ability. While I'd originally planned for it to be around 75k, it ended up being 60. Why? Because that was the story. Anything else I would've added would've been filler or fluff in my mind.

So what's the big deal, E.J.? Sounds like you're happy with the results. 

I'm truly thrilled with how the book turned out. It packs the emotional punch I dreamed it would when I first came up with the idea, and also has this weird ability to leave readers feeling warm and fuzzy. (I say weird, because I never planned on this being a feel good story--but I think it somehow is now.) Also, early reviewers are telling me it's a page turner, which is something I always put high on my to-do list.

The big deal is that some readers balk at anything less than 80k being worthy of the title of novel. I've known about the reader size bias for a while. Because of my experience with the Moonsongs series, I know there are readers who won't touch shorter fiction. It's just their preference.

But when an author friend did an informal poll on Facebook the other day, I had my eyes opened to a new kind of size bias: The price Vs size bias.

This friend asked her followers what the single most important factor in making a book purchase was. Many people listed positive reviews, recommendations from friends, and other common factors. But there were many who said they first look at price and word count on the product description.

Most were reluctant to pay more than .99 cents for anything under 80k--no mater what the reviews said. I guess it took me by surprise, because my first concern as a reader is if I'm going to enjoy the story. I've also loved a number of short stories and I realize size isn't going to necessarily indicative of how much I'm going to enjoy a read.

Here's a list of the word lengths for several great novels. I find myself wondering just how many great reads these people are missing out on. Is Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five worth less than a buck because it doesn't hit 50k? A chunk of Ray Bradbury's stuff doesn't hit 70k, neither does John Green's A Fault in Our Stars. The Great Gatsby is around 47k. 

Now, I realize these are certified classics, and that Unknown Indie Author X (ME) is in a different class. But lots of someones have to read these stories before they become classics. Seems like a shame to miss out on something possibly great because of arbitrary things like word count and/or price point. 

Ultimately, this all leaves me feeling a touch vulnerable when it comes to Perfectly Ernest. How many people are going to walk right by it because it's not going to take them a month to read, or because the author had the nerve to charge $3 for it? 

If they saw how much time, grief, and money we spend writing these things, it would probably make more sense. I'm thinking about putting that info in the product description from now on. 

"This book took me 8 months, 3 lost friendships, 17 marital fights, 1 disgruntled dog, 2 neglected children, and $2,500 to produce, advertise, and distribute. Thanks for parting with $2.99 and being entertained for hours. Sorry if my blood, sweat, and tear stains slow you down!" LOL (Actually, not a bad idea...)

What do you think? Does size matter when you're browsing for new reads? What about price? 


Author Interview - M.J. Fifield - Effigy

Hey, gang! Absolutely stoked to be able to bring you a recent sit-down I did with longtime blog friend and debut author, M.J. Fifield. I've known M.J. to be a passionate fan of fantasy fiction, so I can't wait to see how she has carried over that love into her own work.

She has interesting things to say about the female role in fantasy (both as an author and for characters), and her list of influences might surprise you. Let's get to it!

The survival of a once-mighty kingdom rests in the hands of its young queen, Haleine Coileáin, as it slowly succumbs to an ancient evil fueled by her husband’s cruelty.

A sadistic man with a talent for torture and a taste for murder, he is determined to burn the land and all souls within. Haleine is determined to save her kingdom and, after a chance encounter, joins forces with the leader of the people’s rebellion. She gives him her support, soon followed by her heart.

Loving him is inadvertent but becomes as natural and necessary as breathing. She lies and steals on his behalf, doing anything she can to further their cause. She compromises beliefs held all her life, for what life will exist if evil prevails?

Her journey leads to a deceiving world of magic, monsters, and gods she never believed existed outside of myth. The deeper she goes, the more her soul is stripped away, but she continues on, desperate to see her quest complete. If she can bring her husband to ruin and save her people, any sacrifice is worth the price—even if it means her life.

Author Interview, M.J. Fifield

EJ: Effigy sounds like a massively epic fantasy novel (see what I did there?)--full of swords, sorcery, and all the world building trimmings. However, one big thing jumps out at me: Unlike many fantasy series, a strong female protagonist takes the lead here. What/who was your inspiration for Haleine, and how does tackling the genre from a woman's POV alter the 'typical' fantasy experience? (Or does it?)

MJ: Haleine popped into my head one summer and wouldn't get out until I committed to writing her story. I didn't know a lot about her in those early days, but I knew she was queen and that she would work in a sort-of behind-the-scenes capacity to support a rebellion against her husband. She obviously developed more over time. All along, though, I wanted to write a character who was in a position of power, who was expected to be almost an infallible superhuman figurehead, but was very much human—and a flawed one at that. Whether I was at all successful at this remains to be seen, but that's what I set out to do.

And not to be all 'I am woman; hear me roar' or anything, but I like to think that writing a fantasy from a woman's POV doesn't alter the experience at all.

EJ: Part of writing successfully in the fantasy genre (or any genre, really) is being aware of what's been done before. Who are your writing and reading influences? If one of your favorite authors read Effigy, do you think they'd be surprised by anything?

MJ: I read a lot of novels across a lot of genres, and I admire so many authors out there, but I count Ellen Emerson White and Phillipa Gregory as probably my two biggest reading/writing influences.

Ellen Emerson White wrote a YA series about a girl whose mother is elected president that I first came across when I was in middle school. I re-read that series once a year now because it just taught me so much about voice and characters. It was funny and smart, and I've been obsessed with it since I was 12. Fun fact: Ellen Emerson White and I once had a multi-day online conversation about the awesomeness of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica. In doing so, I achieved a life goal I didn't know I had.

Phillipa Gregory is a brilliant historical fiction novelist, and every time I pick up one of her books I'm awed by her ability to weave together language in such a intelligent and moving way. Her novel, Wideacre, is an incredibly crazy story in which you spend the entire time wondering how she could possibly end it in a satisfactory manner, but she does so perfectly. Likewise, her novel, The Boleyn Inheritance, is so gorgeously written and put together that it quite literally took my breath away.

If either of them happened to read Effigy, they would probably be most surprised to find that—given the fact they're my influences—Effigy is a fantasy.

EJ: Effigy was a long time in development--which isn't at all unusual for epic fantasy due to the enormous amount of world building involved. What was your greatest challenge during that time, and is there anything you'd tackle differently now that you've survived the experience?

MJ: I think my greatest challenge was probably figuring out what the story was supposed to be, and how I was supposed to tell it. The characters were in my head a long, long time, and it took me a quite few drafts to really work out the right way to tell their tale. Next time, I plan to plan more ahead of time. That doesn't mean the characters will cooperate, because they very seldom do, but I will have tried, at least.

EJ: What about Effigy would translate really well into a film/movie? What wouldn't? Who would you pick to play your main characters?

MJ: Effigy has a lot of human drama—conversations that are meant to be deep and meaningful, a bit of a love story that leads to a couple of sex scenes—that would translate easily onto the screen. There's one character—a tiny, talking pegasus—who would pose more of a challenge. Call the WETA workshop...perhaps it could be an exciting new challenge for Andy Serkis?

As to whom I would cast as my main characters...If I could get the Cate Blanchett who portrayed Elizabeth I in the 1998 film Elizabeth, I would cast her in a heartbeat because she would be so perfect in so many ways. I also adore Rose Leslie (Ygritte in Game of Thrones). Effigy's male lead is a lot harder to cast. I've never really settled on an actor who I think would fit the role. Past considerees, however, have included Joseph Fiennes (1998's Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth), and Heath Ledger.

EJ: Last and best question: What are your plans for the The Coileáin Chronicles? And how can we get our hands on Effigy and learn more about you?

MJ: If all goes according to plan (ha!), there will be six books in the Coileáin Chronicles. I'm working on the second book,Second Nature, right now. I'm allergic to spoilers and like to avoid them whenever possible, but I will say that the first three novels cover the three Coileáin sisters. The second three will revolve around the next generation of Coileáins. Or is that too much information? If it is, forget I said anything.

There's currently one planned spin-off—if I can figure out how (and when) to write it. I created a character last November whose only name for the longest time was 'Mercenary Guy.' Mercenary Guy (whose real name is now a well-guarded secret) makes his official debut in Second Nature and is now demanding his own spin-off. Since I like him quite a lot, I'm inclined to give in.

Effigy is currently available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon and Amazon UK. You can also purchase it on CreateSpace. The EPub version should be available soon. I hope.

About M.J.

Armed with a deep and lasting love of chocolate, purple pens, and medieval weaponry, M.J. Fifield is nothing if not a uniquely supplied insomniac. When she isn’t writing, she’s on the hunt for oversized baked goods or shiny new daggers. M.J. lives with a variety of furry creatures—mostly pets—in New Hampshire.

Where to find M.J.


Twitter: Goodreads:

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Soul Twister ... Left Hand Awesome!

Hey, gang! I'm taking part in the Soul Twister blog tour today. It's the 3rd book in my pal Robyn Jones' Touched Girl series. Robyn is a serious paranormal diehard (reader and writer) and layers tons of snark into some truly wild and imaginative fiction. Hope you'll check out her work!

Welcome to my stop on the Soul Twister (A Touched Girl #3) by Robyn Jones Blog Tour!

Soul Twister (A Touched Girl Novel #3) by Robyn Jones
 Genre: Paranormal Romance

Goodreads Summary: Months into recovering from the bloody events that took place in Soul Bender, Anna Pierce is ready to get back out there and fulfill her self-crafted destiny. Sadly, no one in her life feels the same way. The emergence of buried memories and out-of-the-blue powers send her straight into regular sessions with the school counselor. If only she could talk about her overly protective vampire boyfriend or the real threat posed by former friends turned enemies or her new guide who makes her former guide look like a bowl of sunshine. Anna has a lot going on, but at least she's too busy to think about her first Christmas at Ella's.

For a limited time, the First 2 Touched Girl novels are on sale for $.99 at Amazon!
Purchase Links:     Soul Walker |    Soul Bender

Get to know Betsy from Soul Twister

Name: Elizabeth (Betsy if you know what’s good for you)

Description: Shorter than everyone she knows, long blond curly hair, sharp features, yet she still pulls off the angelic look during school hours, princess pink nails, and blue eyes

Top pet peeves: Anna driving Betsy’s car, Anna playing with Betsy’s hair, Anna standing too close, the list goes on and on

Family: Ella, her cranky great aunt, Sara, her teen mom best friend and cousin, Sam, Sara’s baby boy, Anna, her pain in the ass cousin, and her parents she never talks about and always tries to avoid

Surprising traits: Fiercely protective of Anna despite referring to Anna as “weird girl” on a regular basis, terrified of the movie The Ring, never talks about boyfriends but believes the only way to get over heartache is to move on quickly

Hobbies: Who knows what she does when she’s not hanging out with Sara? The girl does not share details about herself other than the fact that she is awesome. It’s suspected she listens to a lot of indie music and goes to parties. Anna also believes she practices her snark in the mirror.

Shining Betsy moments (according to Anna):

“Anna, space?” I hadn’t noticed, but I was practically sitting on Betsy's lap. “Do you really have to play with my hair?”

“Yes, it's so soft and curly. It tickles my fingers.” Had to give the little cousin credit for how hard she fought the smile that made her look like a completely different girl. A sweet one. (Soul Walker)

“Leave Anna alone,” Betsy said. “She’s my family.” The world shifted by a few inches. I realized I had gone up on my tiptoes. The sun shot diagonal beams of light at us as we stood just outside the front doors to St. Lucy’s, and all I wanted to do was twirl in the warm rays. I was Betsy’s family.

“Moment’s over, Anna,” my newest hero said quietly from a few feet away. We were alone and I had slipped into a twirl.

“Are we late?” I asked.

“No, but you know how to freak out a bunch of spoiled shits.” (Soul Bender)

The screen door barely had time to screech before the front door flew open. “Same damn spot, Anna. Shit. I can’t handle those clothes anymore! Give them to me.” Betsy’s stern expression and outstretched hand proved too much. I cracked up, moaned, held my stomach, and cracked up again. 

“No? Fine. Get your ass up and no crying about your stab wounds.” Peter snickered next to me because Betsy saved irate for very special occasions. Usually, she went with annoyed or amused in a bad way.

“Where are we going? Are you allowed to leave school at lunch?”

“Never mind that. You like salsa. I’m banking on you spilling a shitload on your clothes and Ella deeming them unfit.”

“Ella stopped looking too closely at my clothes, Betsy.”

“Argh! Peter, get your girlfriend in my car. Then go away. You’re not invited.” It was my most favorite hostile date. (Soul Twister)

About Robyn Jones:

I laugh when people fall down. It's a glitch in my programming, but even my mom has suffered this quirk. I have a BA in Studio Art from the University of Puget Sound. My boys make me laugh every day. I steal pens; I try real hard not to. I collect those free bookmarks at the checkout counter at libraries. I've had more stitches than anyone I know. I love stories; writing them, reading them, watching them. You can email me at Blog / Twitter / Goodreads

Giveaway: 8 Winners!

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Big Giveaway Event & Lots of News!

Hey, gang! Hope everyone is enjoying the midst of summertime. :) I have lots of announcements today!

- Have you seen Crystal Collier's cover for Soulless, the second book in her Maiden of Time series?  Just gorgeous!

- It's release week for my pal ST Bende and the second book in her Elsker saga, Endre. Stop by and wish her luck. But feast your eyes on her pretty cover before you go. :)

- Another release new release, and also from someone I've featured on this blog before. SJ Pajonas is offering up (for a very limited time) her book, Face Time - A Love in the Digital Age Novel, for .99 cents. SJ introduced the story on a site called Wattpad with lots of success, and has now released the full novel.

- Speaking of, are any of you on Wattpad? I am! I've shared a couple of the Moonsongs stories there already, and I'm finding it to be a really fun community to connect with readers. I would love to connect with you there as well, if I haven't already. Just let me know in the comments and I'll find you! (That came out way more threatening than I'd intended...)

- Fellow author-blogger M.J. Fifield is looking for help with her upcoming book launch. This is her debut novel, and we can all sympathize with how challenging-exciting-awesome-terrifying that can be. :)


I just wrapped up the final edits on my first full-length novel. It's New Adult contemporary (with romantic elements!), with a publication date of September 1 (Labor Day weekend). 

Perfectly Ernest is a coming of age story about a college baseball player who is perfect on the field and anything but off of it. It's a tale about the roller coaster of mental illness, but it's mostly about friendship and falling in love. Here's a short description:

“Not far, but near, I stood and saw it all.” Robert Frost

From a distance, Ernie seems perfect. He’s a star college baseball player, adored by the student body, and coveted by professional teams. Up close, Ernie is a disaster. Since the death of his mother, he has self-destructed at every turn, opposed his coaches, and destroyed most of his relationships. His personal implosion is complete when he gets booted from the team.

Ernie is forced into group counseling in an attempt to salvage his mother's dying wish and revive his baseball dreams. By testing old friendships, forging unlikely new ones, and falling in love, Ernie begins to unravel the jumbled knot his tangled inner-psyche has become. But when things start going wrong again, will Ernie's new direction and friends be his salvation, or confirmation that his imperfections will forever rule his life?

If this sounds like your cup of tea, I'm looking for folks to send ARCs to. Sign up below, and I'll get in touch with the details. :)

Now for something fun you can take part in tomorrow. It's the summer's 'can't miss' Facebook party for fans of book series! 

This Thursday, July 17th (6 PM Eastern), 12 authors will be giving away the first books in their series along with gift cards and a Kindle Fire HD. I'm one of them!

Here's a little video about the event:

So how do you go about scoring some of those sweet, sweet prizes? Simple!

First, just show up and interact with the authors. Ask us about our books, find out who we cheered for in the World Cup, tell us about your book boyfriends and girlfriends, share LOL cat videos--do whatever it is you do to party. 

Second, check this infographic:

Third, pay attention to see if you've won stuff. It's that easy! 

This is truly going to be a ton of fun, and you're guaranteed to get to hang out with some super fun folks. And who knows? Maybe you'll score the Kindle loaded with all of our books!

Hope to see you there!