June 29, 2018

Murder at the Marina by Ellen Jacobson / Guest Post

Hey, everyone! Let's give a warm welcome to Ellen Jacobson. She's telling us all about Murder at the Marina and her sailing adventures with her husband. Welcome, Ellen!

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, getting on and off of a boat at the dock. I like to think of living aboard a boat as a form of yoga. You're constantly stepping over things, bending under things, and contorting your body into strange, and sometimes painful, positions. Mollie has a bit of trouble climbing aboard her boat. To be honest, I'm surprised she made it on board in one piece. I know that I've had a mishap on more than one occasion.

What makes it even worse is when a powerboat passes by at high speed, creating a huge wake which violently jostles your sailboat from side to side. While you're trying to keep your balance, you can hear things falling onto the floor and breaking. What fun. It will be interesting to see over the course of the series how Mollie copes with the physical challenges of the boating life.

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

Title: Murder at the Marina
Series: A Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery #1

Print ISBN: 978-1-7321602-1-7

eBook ISBN: 978-1-7321602-0-0
Genre: Mystery


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?


Author Bio:

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.


June 25, 2018

Busy, Busy / Monthly Mishmash

Hi, everyone! 

I was awfully busy this past month. Here are the highlights:

GUEST POSTS - For the release of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication I've been on several sites for writers with guest posts. 

Writer's Helping Writers - Boost Your Creativity Mindset Naturally

Live Write Thrive - 10 Ways to Spark Your Story Ideas

Insecure Writer's Support Group - 10 Great Places to Promote Your Book

Sharing with Writers - Using Litsy as an Author

And today's post  is on Spunk on a Stick's Tips - Pros and Cons to Having a Pen Name.

WRITING - I wrote a story of 78 pages this month! I hope to self-publish it sometime next year, but first I have to write and publish two other short stories that come before it. This will be a series of short stories/novellas that I am very excited about.

I also revised a full manuscript and have started to rework the sequel. These books and the short stories involve the same main character. 

BOOK EVENT - I was at a two-day book event June 1st and 2nd. I sold half the books I brought! That surprised me. What surprised me more was how so many people came out to me during the author speed mingle (sort of like speed dating) and said something like, "Oh my God, Chrys!" or "I love your YouTube videos" or "I want to get your book." Last year, at the very same event,  no one knew me. I even felt invisible to the other authors. And I sold one book...to M.J. Fifield, and in return I bought hers (twice the cost of mine because hers are so big it's awesome lol). If this year went like last year, I wasn't going to return, so I'm glad it was different. My mom went with me as a featured author, too, and she nearly sold out of all of her books for her 3 children's books!

My mom and I. Oh, and Sammy the Teddy Bear!
All of the featured authors crammed together.

BOOKBUB - I finally claimed my author profile on Bookbub. If you haven't done this yet, you can do it for free. And whenever you have a new release and you claim it when it comes out, Bookbub will send a new-release email out for your book at no cost to you. (Or so I hear.) And when you get 1,000 followers, you can do paid pre-order ads, which I also hear doesn't cost a ton. Well, I have 35 followers at the moment. HAHA

Follow me on Bookbub, and I'll follow you back!

NEW AUDIOBOOK - This month I also finished approving the audio chapters for Seismic Crimes. The narrator is Bill Nevitt, a different narrator than the one who did Hurricane Crimes. Bill is currently working on Tsunami Crimes.

SALE -  On top of my new release (Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication) I also am having a 99 CENT SALE on the first 3 eBooks of the Disaster Crimes series. Sale ends on the 29th!

Hurricane Crimes - AmazonNook / Kobo
Seismic Crimes -  AmazonNook / Kobo
Tsunami Crimes - Amazon / Nook / Kobo

GIVEAWAY - Finally, last call to enter my giveaway, which closes on July 6th. Enter for your chance to win a personalize coffee mug, a Writing Sparks notebook, and a tote.

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QUESTION: What have you done this month?

June 18, 2018

Organization Tip: Bullet Journals #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


I love journals, and when I found out about the concept of a bullet journal, I was thrilled because it combines journaling and lists, two things I use to stay organized.

There are bullet journals with actual dots scattered across the pages. The dots are like the lines on lined pages; you write between the dotted lines. But you don’t need an actual bullet journal, any journal will do.

NOTE: I'll also add that you DO NOT have to follow the bullet journal "guidelines" below. I actually don't use the symbols anymore. I just use bullet points to keep track of the writerly (and fun) things I do each day. You can make it your own!

There are several things you can do in your bullet journal:

-      Number the pages so you can create an index at the front of the journal. Whenever you add something new to your journal, you can put it in the index so you can find it easily.

-      Monthly Log – On a couple of pages, create a list of all the dates down the left margin with the first letter of day.

For example:

Then use the log to keep track of things on your schedule, such as appointments, birthdays, and big tasks.

-      Daily Log – Put the date at the top and beneath it, record the tasks you need to do that day or the things you did, events, and notes. Either create the daily log as you go or the night before. Don’t do it so far in advance, because things change.

-      Journaling – At the end of the day, you can write about your day on the next page following the daily log.

-      Symbols:
          - A bullet is for a task.
          - When you complete the task, change the bullet to an X.
          - If you have to have the task to another day, change the bullet to >
          - If you scheduled the task (such as a dinner date), change the bullet to <
          - And events like a birthday are represented by an O
          - For any notes you jot down that day, indicate it with a –
           - An asterisk shows priority to a task. *
          - Did you get a new story idea, use an exclamation point. !
          - If you need to look into something (research), draw an eye.
          - For tasks that are no longer relevant, simply cross it out.

     For more information visit: www.bulletjournal.com/get-started/

   Bullet Journals for Readers:

     On Litsy, I’ve seen the most creative bullet journals made by readers that lists the books they want to read that month (these people can read a ton!). Many of them turn a spread of pages into an actual bookcase and hand-draw tiny books with the titles on their to-read list. It’s impressive! But others just make a good-old-fashioned list. Doing this helps them to keep track of any reading challenges they may be participating in, and there are many on Litsy.

     Bullet Journals for Writers:

     I don’t actually use my bullet journal to store my to-do lists. Instead, I put my to-do list on a scrap piece of paper on my desk. I have a new one for each day, and whenever I complete a task, I cross it off. At the end of the day, I create a new one for the next day, transferring over any tasks that weren’t completed, and throw out the retired to-do list.

     For my bullet journal on the other hand, I like to keep track of all the things I do (from my to-do list) for my writing career, from writing and editing to publishing and marketing. I love this because it’s a log I come back to it if I need to know when I completed a specific task. It’s also great proof that writing is my full-time career, if that should ever be questioned. lol And it’s nice to see all that I accomplish.

     What I Put in My Bullet Journal:

     - How many words I write.
     - How many pages I edit.
     - How many review requests I send out.
     - If I write/schedule blog posts.
     - If I record or upload new YouTube videos.
     - Updates I make on my blog or website.
     - When I order SWAG or items for book events.
     - When I schedule or send out a newsletter.
     - Blog Hops I participate in.
     - Anything I do for a blog tour or upcoming release.
     - Any promotions I set up.

     You get the idea. Everything is documented. Even non-writing things are documented, such as fun family stuff and errands I do. I’ve actually needed to look at my bullet journal to find out when I had a car repair done, so when I say this journal is something that you’ll come back to again and again, I mean it.

     Other Lists You Can Create:

     - Things you want to try in terms of book promo.
     - The steps you need to take to self-publish your next book.
     - A chapter by chapter outline for your current WIP.
     - Character profiles.
     - Story ideas.

     Oh, and you don’t need an actual bullet journal. Mine isn’t.  Use what you want and make it your own!

     QUESTION: Do you journal or make lists?


Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!


Open to all from June 4th 2018 – July 6th 2018

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June 06, 2018

Creativity Boost from Your Power Element + GIVEAWAY


Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You’ll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.

•        Spark One: Being a Writer
•        Spark Two: Story Essentials
•        Spark Three: A Book’s Stepping Stones
•        Spark Four: How To
•        Spark Five: Character ER
•        Spark Six: Editing
•        Spark Seven: Publishing
•        Spark Eight: Marketing
                                                            •        Spark Nine: Writing About
                                                            •        Spark Ten: Final Inspiration

With so much information, you’ll take notes, highlight, and flag pages to come back to again and again on your writing journey. Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes / Kobo


Creativity Boost from Your Power Element:

For me, a power element is an element that you’re connected to on a deeper level that can boost your creativity and inspire you when you write (or any other time). This does not mean you are an element (that’s silly) or that you control an element (that’s not possible). This just means there’s an element that moves you in some way more than the others.

This may not be for everyone, and that’s okay.

The Elements:

How to Determine Your Power Element:

To determine what your power element is, go to a place where you can experience each element. Stand on a hill on a breezy day, sit by the ocean, watch a blazing fire, or walk in a forest. Just relax and feel. Which element brings you peace, strength, and inspiration?

Don’t judge past experiences of loving the beach as a reason to pick water as your power element. Immerse yourself in EACH element one at a time and compare each experience.

My Story:

I used to think earth would be my power element because of my deep love of trees and my enjoyment of gardening. Nope. My power element is fire. I feel comfortable and confident wearing shades of red, can meditate easily by looking into a candle flame, and I write so well while listening to the sounds of a campfire.

Coincidently, fire is an element I have the most experience with and fear the most, due to the brush fire that threatened my childhood home when I was a kid. That experience influenced Flaming Crimes.

Now, I listen to campfire sounds while writing and editing, I use candle flames to meditate, and wear red more often. Fire inspires me with my work, helps me to concentrate, and makes me feel confident.

But I still like to be around nature, stare at ocean waves, and dance to my own rhythm (air). I even listen to windchime music. It’s my second favorite meditative music to write and edit to. I chose one or the other depending on my mood.

Boost Your Creativity with Your Power Element by...

1. Listening to meditative music for that element as you pursue a form of art.

2. Writing in a place where you can be closer to that element. (By a fireplace, in a park, by a pond, on the…roof. lol)

3. Wearing the color associated with that element when you write or have to be authorly, perhaps for a public event. Earth – Green, Air – Yellow, Fire – Red, and Water – Blue.

4. Putting an image of your power element above your computer that you can gaze at while you daydream about your story's plot.

Whatever your power element is, experiment with music, colors, locations, and images associated with that element. See if it boosts your creativity or inspires you in some way. If it doesn’t, that’s all right. If it does, neat!

QUESTIONS: How weird do you think I am right now? Haha. Have you ever felt a connection to one element more than the others? 


Support for Fellow IWSGer!

C. Lee is going through a tough time. Let's show her some love! This is her new release. Some Very Messy Medieval Magic

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again... Amazon / Nook / Kobo / iTunes


Open to all from June 4th 2018 – July 6th 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway