Monday, March 25

Meet the Muse / The Co-Parent Project by Sandra Dailey / Guest Post

Please help me to welcome Sandra Dailey, a fellow The Wilrd Rose Press author. She's sharing her newest release with us and talking about her muse.

Title: The Co-Parent Project
Author: Sandra Dailey
Genre: Sweet Romance
Length: 276 Pages
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Format: Print and Digital

Buy Links:
Wild Rose Press:
Barnes and Noble:

1. Tell us about your recent release.

Luca Wolff and Joy Sullivan are competing for guardianship of their estranged, teenage nephew, Eric, after his parents are killed in a plane crash. Evidence shows the crash wasn't an accident. Neither was a recent explosion that destroyed Luca's house. When a fire is intentionally set in Joy's home, suspicion points to Eric--and that's not the end of their trouble. Eric has been in his share of mischief, but now he has a chance to clean up his reputation. That's hard to do when the only people who believe in you are the ones you're accused of targeting. Just as Luca and Joy give in to romance, new information comes to light that could tear them apart along with Eric's dream for a happy family. The three have to set aside their grief, personal issues, and disagreements to figure out who is out to kill them…and why.

2. Who is your muse?

Her name is Trixy. When I was six years old I was devastated to be separated from my twin sister in first grade. Trixy came to tell me stories and distract me from my loneliness. She got me into plenty of trouble with all my teachers, but I couldn’t resist her.

3. That is so cute! What does Trixy look like?

Trixy is a pixy. She’s very small and dresses in gold and green. She flits around with pretty wings. She could be mistaken for a fairy, but she’s not.

4. My muse has wings, too, but she's not a fairy or a pixie. Describe Trixy’s personality.

Trixy loves scary stories, but she also has a great sense of humor. She giggles a lot, which makes me laugh as well. We like to play the game what if....

5. How do you tempt Trixy to work?

There’s no need to tempt Trixy. She’s always by my ear. Sometimes I wish she’d give me a break.

6. When/where does Trixy inspire you the most?

Trixy loves long car rides. She’s told me she’d love to ride on a train someday.

7. Has your muse ever gone on strike?

Trixy avoids me if I get depressed, but she can’t stay away for long.

8. What would your Trix’s motto be to get your butt into gear?

She doesn’t have a motto. When she wants me to work, she sings annoying songs in my ear. Let me put it this way. She’ll never star in a Disney movie.

9. What was your relationship like with Trixy while writing The Co-Parent Project?

She was a little crazy. Sometimes I’d be in the middle of a scene and she’d land on my shoulder. “Do you remember that scene three chapters back? I’ve got a great idea to make it better.”

10. Are you and Trixy working on something new?

We’ve been discussing a five-part series that takes place in rural Florida. Each will be a standalone romance with a soft suspense, but there’s a hint of a mystery that runs through them all.


From childhood I've moved from place to place, from Indiana to Florida, stopping in several places in between. I also moved from job to job; as a waitress, soldier, retail manager, dental assistant, etc… The one thing I never had to leave behind was my imagination. Storytelling has always been my favorite way to pass time. I've often been told I should write a book. Finally, I did. It was so much fun: I felt I must write more, so I have. I've been a student of Long Ridge Writers Group and once won a short story contest with Harlequin. I currently live in North Florida with my husband, whom I torture with crazy story lines and half written manuscripts.

Author Links:

Thank you Sandra for sharing Trixy with us!

Please leave a comment for Sandra and Trixy.

Monday, March 18

Interview with Kim Mendoza, Cover Artist for the Disaster Crimes Series

Everyone, please help me to welcome Kim Mendoza, cover artist from The Wild Rose Press and the woman who had created all of the covers for the Disaster Crimes Series.

Welcome, Kim!


1. How did you become a cover artist?

I was working in the chapel in the U.S. Army and had nothing to do day-in and day-out. Then the graphic designer quit to have a baby and I asked if I could take her job. That was my first exposure to graphic design, which I did as a career for fourteen years. Then, I published a book with TWRP (way back when it first began). At the time, there were only two artists and one of them was one of the owners. The company was growing so fast, and they needed more artists, so I applied and got the job.

2. You have an amazing background. (Read her bio below, everyone!) What program(s) do you use to create your beautiful covers?


3. Where do you find the images you use?

TWRP has used various vendors, but right now we use Deposit Photos.

4. Is there a book genre you enjoy making covers for the most and why?

Definitely Crimson Rose. I love the mysteries. There is something just dark and fun in creating them. I can use a more edgy touch, than I can for the really sweet and romantic ones.

Chrys: “Crimson Rose” is the romantic-suspense line.

5. The couple of the covers of the Disaster Crimes Series books look similar, how do you find images that look close to images used on previous covers for the series?

I just have to have an eye for what looks similar. The author gives me some idea what the book is about and then I try to find something that fits that general concept. Once the first book is done, it is usually easier to match the tone of the next one.

6. Many people point out the Golden Gate Bridge on the cover of Seismic Crimes. What architectural structure did you have the most fun adding to a cover?

I love working with haunted mansions and cityscapes. They always just give a nice visual to the book. But probably one of my favorites was just a London phone booth with Old Ben in the back.

7. Hurricane Crimes was the first cover you ever designed for me and I just love the blended layers of images. For those of us less knowledgeable about this technique but are interested in cover design, can you walk us through the steps you take to achieve that effect?

This is basically two pictures. The scene and then the faces. The faces are placed over the scene and then the opacity is turned down so that it becomes more see through. I then took all the color out of the faces. Then I use blending tools and erasers to make it fit within the scene smoothly.

8. Have you read any of the books you’ve designed covers for?

Back in the beginning, I used to order them and read them. Also, a few authors sent me a copy. But as the company grew, and I was doing way more covers, so did my life. I just finished my dissertation in 2018, so I haven’t done much “fun” reading in a while.

9. Congratulations on finishing your dissertation! Do you enjoy other creative artistic outlets other than creating fantastic book covers?

I’m a novelist and playwright. I direct plays and teach humanities courses at a college. And I’m starting to learn how to be a stand-up comedian. Stay tuned.

10. If you could design covers for any author, who would it be?

Probably Stephen King or Dean Koonz. That's the kind of covers I typically like doing.

Dr. Kimberlee Mendoza resides in Southern California with her husband and two adult boys. She is the Director of Instruction at San Diego Christian College and has been an adjunct professor for San Diego Christian College, Northwest University, University of Phoenix, and Landry Academy. She is
also a cover designer for The Wild Rose Press, and the author of over a sixteen novels, one non-fiction book, dozens of plays and several poems. She has a Ph.D. in Leadership and Higher Education and an MA in Humanities
with an emphasis in literature and playwriting, and is working on a MFA in writing. She is also the winner of the Sherwood Eliot Wirt Writer of the Year Award for 2006.


Thank you so much for your talent and creativity, Kim. Your artwork gives my stories to life. I hope to have you design a couple more covers for this series. ;)

Everyone, please leave Kim a comment. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 6

Bactine for Writer's Burnout Part 6 (One Day at a Time) / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.
Sign up here: Insecure Writer’s Support Group

NOTE: I am one of Janice Hardy's part-time contributors for the year. I'll be contributing 4 guest posts to Fiction University. My first post is 6 Gadgets to Take to Your Next Book Event.

What is writer’s burnout?

Burnout is very different from writer’s block. It’s worse. Writer’s burnout is something you feel deep down…bone-deep. It’s just like when athletes burnout from working themselves too hard and too much for too long. They can lose their love of the sport, physically and mentally. You can get writer's burnout from doing anything related to being an author.

To read my story and the tips I previously shared check out:
Bactine for Writer's Burnout Part 5 (Free Your Mind with Walking) Tips 14 - 15

More Tips to Help You START Reversing Writer’s Burnout: 

One Day at a Time

Yes, I know you’ve heard this one before. Everyone who has ever been in a tough spot has heard the phrase “One day at a time.”

But it’s a good one.

Looking too far ahead can stunt our growth, paralyze us, and prevent us from going forward. Looking too far ahead can be…in one word…daunting.


I’ve hurt myself by looking beyond the day I am in while in the midst of my burnout. I would think about what I “should” be writing now and how much in order to publish certain projects at specific times. I kept reminding myself that I needed to have the final book of the Disaster Crimes series submitted to my publisher by the summer of last year (2018) in order to have it released early 2019. (I’ve been trying to release one book in my series a year.)

This thought hindered me and contributed to my burnout. I couldn’t begin that book. And reminding myself I had to begin it, and now, stopped me dead in my tracks. No words came on that project. Worse, because I told myself I had other stories I could write and publish instead, that prevented me from going forward on any of those, too.

Thus, my depression strengthened.

Don’t do this to yourself.

I’ve learned my lesson. Take it from me, one day at a time is the trick.

BACTINE #16: Only look at the day you have.

What can you do TODAY? Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next month. Today and today alone.

What can you do today?

Take a deep breath.

Feed your artistic soul.

Go for a walk.

Surround yourself with nature.

Read. Anything.

Take a nap.

Play with your pets and/or kids (nieces/nephews, grandkids).

Write in a journal.

Go to a writer's meeting.

Write about yourself.

The next day, do it again.

The day after that, repeat. And so on and so on.

BACTINE #17: Know that personal deadlines can be delayed. Even canceled.

My personal deadline of publishing the last book of the Disaster Crimes series early 2019 inhibited me. It took me a while to realize that I didn’t have to write and submit this book on the original timeline I had set for myself. I could write it and submit it whenever. My readers could wait and would understand if Books 4 and 5 were separated by two years instead of one.

Since I came to this conclusion, I canceled my deadline. And that lifted so much pressure off my shoulders, freeing me to write something else, anything else that I was capable of working on while I reversed my writer’s burnout, which mostly was writing about my childhood.

Give yourself permission to cancel any personal deadlines that are bringing you down and preventing you from writing.






Another Bactine post for Writer’s Burnout coming soon!

QUESTIONS: Have you tried any of the techniques I've shared for this Writer's Burnout feature? Have any of these tips helped you?

Monday, February 25

Meet the Muse / Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker / Guest Post

Please help me welcome Tonja Drecker to Write with Fey for her release Music Boxes! This story is wonderful. A real magical, mysterious adventure into the ballet world.

Music Boxes
By Tonja Drecker
Middle Grade Fantasy / Performing Arts
158 pages
Dancing Lemur Press
Release date: March 5th, 2019
Ages 9 to 12

ISBN-10: 1939844568
ISBN-13: 978-1939844569

1. Tell us about your recent release. 

Music Boxes comes out March 5th and is a fantasy/modern fairy tale with slightly dark moments for the middle grade audience, ages 8 to 12.

The blurb goes like this: Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.

When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right...

One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.

2. Who is your muse?

My muse is quite the little character. Cal is about 2 inches tall and claims to somehow be related to Calliope, one of the original 9 muses…although I don’t trust that claim. We met when I was very young, probably around three years or so. I found Cal on the playground at the park we lived across from, cowering in the far corner of one of those metal tubes, which kids once crawled through (and that’s revealing my age). I thought Cal was cute at the time, and it’s been with me ever since. Usually, Cal sits perched on my shoulder or somewhere else on the side.

3. What does your muse look like?

It depends. When working on Music Boxes, Cal tended to take on the appearance of a sweet, little pixie dressed in blue. The story before that, A Glowworm, it was a very young version of my husband’s aunt. For one of my recent manuscripts, Cal’s morphed into a little battle leprechaun with armor and a sword…gosh, I don’t trust Cal with a mini sword!  For another story, he’s a large-sized (well, for 2 inches anyway) burger guy with an apron. That spatula he carries around is more intimidating than his sword, not to mention he loves to pace while throwing droplets of grease in all directions, when appearing as a burger dude. I think Cal enjoys that too much.

4. Describe your muse’s personality.

Full of attitude. Although Cal tries to slip into a different personality with each of its ‘morphs’, it doesn’t quite work. For Music Boxes, Cal fluttered around, spinning and dancing as if it was a ballerina with wings—very delicate, glittery and giggly. But one wrong move on my part and the usual snark and arrogance exploded right back.

As said, I’m not sure I can always trust Cal and try to sleep with one eye open.

5. How do you tempt your muse to work?

Sweets. Cal’s sweet tooth is bigger than mine. Which is saying something.

6. When/where does your muse inspire you the most?

Depends on Cal’s mood a little, but usually then when I’m busy with something completely unconnected to writing—splitting wood, painting walls, weeding the garden.

7. Has your muse ever gone on strike?

Nope. Cal is bursting with ideas and has been for many, many years. I think that’s why it’s so bad-tempered. My fingers and bouts of writing time can’t even match a tiny bit of what Cal spits out at me. That’s the only reason I believe Cal’s claim that it’s related to one of the 9 muses—the waterfall of inspiration never ends.

8. What would your muse’s motto be to get your butt into gear?

Besides screaming it’s head off at me? Which probably is its motto, I guess. Cal isn’t very diplomatic. Just not one of its traits.

9. What was your relationship like with your muse while writing Music Boxes?

Very good. I gave Cal tons of attention at that time, something Cal loves. When the rockier road of querying, and agent ups and downs rolled around for a long period of time, Cal didn’t get upset. Editing isn’t something which bothers Cal, and during the waiting periods, Cal’s more than willing to step into the next project. As said, Cal never shuts up.

10. Are you and your muse working on something new?

Yes, we are (as if Cal would ever let the answer be ‘no’). While I have one project in the background that I absolutely love—and Cal does too, but Cal needs to wait because I can only do so many at once—I’m currently working on a co-authored project, which I’m super excited about (Cal found a friend for once). It’s a darkish fantasy with characters with very distinct and strong personalities. Right now, it appears to be for the Young Adult audience. We’ll see. I’m super excited about it, especially since my co-author is so talented. And wow, does the first chapter grab! (I really am excited about this one.)

Also, Cal had me swing into another middle grade novel, one set for a series. It’s a mystery with a heavy concentration on STEM, which takes odd, real life crimes and throws them at a group of very diverse 7th grade friends, who really aren’t interested in solving mysteries. Although STEM related, it keeps humor close and should be well suited for more reluctant readers too—writer hopes!

Sale Links:

Amazon / B&N / Kobo

Get a FREE envelope with Swag!

Pre-order/order your book (ecopy or print) before midnight (EST) on Friday night, March 8th, send a copy of your proof of purchase to along with an US mailing address, and you will receive an envelope with exclusive swag (bookmark, sticker, etc). 

All about the author... 

Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea.



The giveaway will run from midnight (EST) on the night of February 21st, 2019 until midnight (EST) on the night of March 15th,  2019. Entries will be made through the Rafflecopter. One winner will receive a music box (the one found in the book video: with the author’s golden signature on the bottom as well as swag (US addresses only). The second winner will receive an Amazon GC of $10 (US). The second winner must be in possession of a qualifying US Amazon account.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest is open to U.S. residents only, ages eighteen and over. No purchase is required for entry. All winners must claim their prize 48 hours after notification. Winners will be announced on on Saturday, March 16th 2019 by 10:00am (EST). All addresses and personal information will be used only for prize allocation. Sponsor, Tonja Drecker, assumes no responsibility or liability of any kind. Please email all questions to

Thank you for being a guest, Tonja!

Please leave a comment for Tonja.

Monday, February 18

Interview with Lori Graham, Editor of the Disaster Crimes Series

I am thrilled and honored to have my editor, Lori Graham, from The Wild Rose Press here today. She is the one who gave me a chance and brought me into the world of publishing when she saw something in Hurricane Crimes and offered me my first contract.

Welcome, Lori!

1. What’s your editing process?

An author submits a query along with a synopsis and the first five pages of the manuscript through our query email address. This query goes to the senior editor from the appropriate genre line for the initial review, and if appropriate, the query is assigned to an editor.  The initial review will look at whether or not the manuscript would be a good fit for our publishing house, both technically and subject matter.  There is a meeting then between that editor and the senior editor to decide upon a contract.  Once a manuscript is approved, there are several rounds of edits, and each editor has their own style with which they do this.  For me, I do an initial review editing everything that comes up which could involve pacing, point of view control, and plot issues as well as some punctuation, grammar, etc. With the second and subsequent edits, we go deeper into that polishing process.  The final edit looks at formatting, chapter length, etc.

2. Hurricane Crimes was the first story I sent to The Wild Rose Press and the first book we worked on together. What attracted you to Hurricane Crimes and made you believe it’d be a good fit for The Wild Rose Press?

Hurricane Crimes very quickly brought to light the depth of the characters.  Yes, there were some technical issues and even some plot hiccups (not many mind you), but that’s to be the case of most first time manuscripts.  The overcoming factor, though, was truly the characters.  Immediately, Beth and Donovan made me like them and care about what happened to them.  When there is enough richness in the characters, most anything can happen.  😊  The other aspect that was appealing was it being a shorter manuscript.  Our readers like to have some short and yet truly suspenseful manuscripts.  Nicely done!

3. Yup, I remember a small head-hopping scene I had to fix in order to receive that coveted contract. ;)  You’re the senior editor of the Crimson Rose line (romantic-suspense). Romantic-suspense is my favorite genre to write. What do you love about it and is there another genre (or genres) you also enjoy editing?

When editing, an editor finds they quickly become more adapt at particular queries.  While I personally read many genres, editing them is another story.  For example, editing a historical manuscript would be a very bad thing for me to do. 😊  However, suspenseful stories really draw my attention, and the puzzles are what my mind likes to solve.

4. How did you become an editor and start working for The Wild Rose Press?

My background is an education and work experience both in the field of English and Accounting/Business.  I couldn’t decide which was the better way to go.  What I have found is that it truly does work best if I can keep a little bit in both areas of my life because each avenue helps me do the other better.  Working with numbers a little bit each week actually helps me to focus more words.  So I do some accounting work on the side, but my passion remains with books. 

5. You’ve edited all of the Disaster Crimes books to date (Hurricane Crimes, Seismic Crimes, Tsunami Crimes, Flaming Crimes). Do you have a favorite?

To be honest, it really depends upon the day.  😊  They are all so uniquely done and yet so incredibly well connected that I can’t pick just one.

6. Who is your favorite character from the Disaster Crimes Series that you enjoy reading about the most and why?

Again, I don’t know that I can choose a favorite.  I really enjoy Beth because I can see myself in some of her walk of life.  Granted, I haven’t been involved in the depth of disasters that she has, but I can put myself in her responses.  I felt I had a vested interest in her confidence growth.

On the flip side, I really like Donovan.  He truly is a hero who I would like to walk through life with.  He has an internal strength that is physical and yet truly romantic and caring.

7. What disaster that I haven’t written about (yet *wink*) would you like to see me and my characters conquer?

Maybe something having to do with the snow????

8. You will have your wish. lol Being an editor, do you struggle to read for pleasure?

Actually, yes, sadly.  Unless the manuscript is really well done, I find myself finding the mistakes as opposed to getting into the story itself.  That being said, however, when I do find that good manuscript, it truly becomes a gem and takes me totally out of reality.

9. What tip would you like to give to new writers working with an editor for the first time?

Here’s the best tip – research the house to which you are submitting and follow their directions to the letter.  The editors truly do want to help authors because without authors, they don’t have a job.  So please remember the editor does want to help.  Even when they need to reject it, they will give you as much information as they can to help you grow your work. 

10. Is there a published book you wish you could’ve edited (either to make it better or to have had the honor to be a part of it)?

There are so many books I have enjoyed throughout my life.  Every editor thinks about getting a run-away hit and helping a new author reach their highest heights.  But honestly, books are something I treasure, but there isn’t any one that I can think of that stands out more than the others.

Lori Graham is the Senior Editor of the Crimson Rose Line for The Wild Rose Press. She has been there for 13 years.

Thank you for participating in this interview, Lori! 

Please show Lori some love and leave comments for her. 


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