10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me by T.X. Troan – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me

1. My parents were never married.
2. I was three times regional chess champion.
3. I have no children (only dogs).
4. My fifth dog was named Sophia Freeman.
5. My favorite foods are Pho and barbecue duck.
6. My favorite color is blue.
7. People still asks for my ID for alcohol 😊
8. Almost lost my wife in 2022 from a car accident.
9. I lived on Gabriola Island for about 6 months.
10. Married a crazy dog lady that I love very much!

What begins as a special trip for eleven-year-old SOPHIA FREEMAN and her billionaire father, leaves her trapped on a mysterious island with a tree boy and other fantastical creatures.

The moment Sophia thinks her situation can’t get any crazier, she is shocked to learn the island is under a deadly eternal curse. All living things are rapidly decaying and soon nothing and no one—including herself—will be left alive.

From competing in a three-round yearly held competition to reviving a long-lost magical spell, Sophia and her new companions must gather every ounce of courage, wit and skill as they are stepping closer to breaking the 150-year-old curse. But will they make it in time while surrounded by enemies and traitors aiming to stop them at any cost?

Enjoy an Excerpt from Book One

“So, what’s on your agenda today, my dear?” Grandma asked.

“Dad and I are going to explore his new island after this,” she replied, sitting on the edge of her seat.

“Oh, yes, your father told me about that on the phone last night,” said Grandpa, then gave Sophia a serious look. “My girl, do you know why all the previous owners vanished?”

Sophia shook her head slightly, but kept watching him without blinking.

“Rumors say the place possesses some sort of magical energy. As dusk arrives, the island comes to life: boulders begin to quake, monstrous trees uproot themselves, and mysterious creatures crawl out of their homes. They will do
anything to protect their island … especially from humans.”

Sophia’s eyes widened and her hands began to sweat.

“Joe, that’s enough!” Dad ordered. “You’re scaring her.”

“That was very mean of you, Joe,” Grandma added.

Grandpa chuckled. “Well, it looks like I haven’t loss my touch. You’re still that innocent girl that I used to know.”

Sophia sighed with relief. He must have been teasing.

When she was a lot younger, Grandpa used to tell her ghost stories and it would frighten her every time. The all-time best story was about an invisible spirit that watches us from behind since the day we were born. It would one day transfer our soul to a magical place when we are ready to go. He told the little girl it was time for him to go and would never return. She burst into tears and tried to convince him it wasn’t time yet. She stayed with him that whole night and never let him out of her sight.

About the Author:Thuan Doan is an award-winning author of the Sophia Freeman series. He conceived his first middle-grade fantasy novel, Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain, during a trip to Gabriola Island, British Columbia in the summer of 2013. Then he took his work and settled in a small town of Enderby, where it’s peaceful and quiet.

Thuan is writing under a pen name of T.X. Troan. “X” stands for Xu, his grandmother’s name who passed away. And “Troan” is a combination of his parents’ names.

“No matter how this turns out, I want my family to be a part of this wonderful journey.”

T.X. Troan married Sarah, his original fan and longtime love, in 2016. They live in Enderby with their pack dogs!

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Lessons I’ve Learned from my Main Character by Phoenix Blackwood – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Lessons I’ve Learned from My Main Character

There are a few lessons I learned from Phee, the main character of The Family that Finds Us. She’s a complex character, one with a unique voice and a lot of different things feeding into how she perceives the world. She has a great family – one that’s found and born out of companionship rather than blood. Her birth mother is challenging to say the least, and a very complex relationship throughout the book.

The first lesson that set in from her experience, was that no matter what way you get there, it’s okay to be yourself no matter how much you’ve struggled with it. I’m speaking specifically in her queer identity – I hear a lot of older trans people talk about how frustrated they are that they didn’t transition until later in life, that they spent so long denying themselves when they knew it from an early age. No matter how you get there, there’s nothing wrong with it. Phee spends a lot of time fighting with herself, and didn’t even realize things until the world was opened up to her. It’s okay to not be ready. It’s okay to need to stay closeted for a while. There’s nothing wrong with you, there’s nothing wrong with needing time. This world is harsh, especially towards trans people. Sometimes, we have to prepare ourselves for what life will be like if we decide to transition, all the pros and cons. Being trans isn’t a choice, but transitioning is. It’s an option there and one that holds wonderful benefits for those who experience gender dysphoria, but we have to be ready for what the world will throw at us if we do. I denied my queer identity for a very long time and often felt that frustration with myself, but in writing Phee I learned that sometimes we need to hold more patience for ourselves in such a difficult position.

The second lesson I learned from Phee was that it’s okay to push back when people hurt you. You don’t have to forgive and forget, especially not right away. There’s a few scenes where she openly shows disdain for her mother and really feels badly for it, because it’s her mother. The truth is, that it’s okay to let people know when they’ve hurt us. If they react badly to being told that something they’ve done is hurtful, then it’s a lot more telling about them than it is about you. Standing up for yourself is difficult, and you should be praised for it rather than punished. If the reaction is to punish, then that person isn’t one you want to keep in your life. It doesn’t matter if the person is family, a friend you’ve had for years, or someone you view as important. If they’re not willing to hear that they’ve hurt you and take ownership of it, then they’re the one in the wrong.

There are many more lessons she taught me, but these two are the biggest.

Phee hides her secrets well, until they become too much to bear. Her biggest secret is one she’s kept even from herself. Her longest-kept secret is one that hurts her every day. Her final secret is one that will set her free.

In a school that doesn’t accept them, Phee, Theo, and Alex fight for a community close to their hearts. The community desperately needs the trio to help the rest of them leave the shadows without fear of violence and discrimination. Through some heroic activism, the three push the school officials to their limits — forcing them to act — for better or worse.

For Phee, the fight for a place where she can be herself doesn’t stop when she gets home. The strain of taking care of her alcoholic and abusive mother threatens to break Phee away from her family bond forever. Her mother can go from a messy drunk to an angry one in an instant, turning Phee’s home life from an obligation to a war zone.

Theo’s house offers respite to Phee. With compassion scarce in her life, Alex and Theo are Phee’s light in the dark. They protect and cherish her. At Theo’s, Phee is free to be herself and explore her identity safely — her chosen family ready to catch her if she falls. That’s what family does, how family finds us when we feel lost and alone.

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“Thank you, my preciou-ous-es son.” She slurred her words as she spoke into the table, and I sighed inaudibly.

At least she wasn’t angry-drunk. This was the drunk I could handle, the drunk I knew how to care for. I’d been doing it half my life, it would be strange if I weren’t good at it by now. I finished the dishes and laid them out on the drying rack after wiping them dry with a kitchen towel, then sat down in the chair next to her at the table.

“Do you need anything, mom? Have you eaten? Drank anything?”

“Mmno.” She rolled her face to look at me, her deep dark eyes glistening but not completely there.

I got a plastic cup from the cupboard and filled it with some ice water and handed it to her. Her hands shook as she tried to lift the cup from mine, so I helped her guide it to her mouth and take a couple sips, then set it back down on the table in front of her. I rummaged through the fridge to pull out some milk and went to the pantry for some cereal. Only, as lifted the milk to pour, I felt objects hit the side of the carton. I opened the cap to take a whiff and gagged; the milk was sour. Sighing, I dropped the carton into the trash and opened the barren fridge to search for another option.

About the Author Born and raised in New England, Phoenix has always been a creative – whether it’s painting or writing. From a very young age, Phoenix has envisioned and created characters, writing them into existence and exploring them through visual arts. Having graduated to first-time short story author, Phoenix is embarking on a journey towards novel writing as they finally bring characters they’ve known for years into the world. Phoenix is neurodiverse and intersex and hopes to bring more representation to both topics with their writing. They believe in creating relatable characters that people can find themselves in and empathize with.

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Helluland by C.R. Lindström – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddes Fish Promotions. The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


In a remote corner of the Arctic, unexplained phenomenon haunt an isolated community. Several people have disappeared, and somehow young Erika Holstrom knows why. Still reeling from the loss of her mother, she escapes to university, only to be followed by unsettling visions of the future.

When a Russian submarine vanishes in the far North, Erika’s nightmares suggest the answers lay buried deep in her family history. Now, just as the melting polar ice releases its sinister secrets, Erika and her friends are in a race against time to convince the sceptical authorities what is really happening in her Arctic homeland, before it’s too late.

Will they succeed, or is the frozen North lost forever…

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Erika moved to the music, allowing the rhythm to guide her. She watched Michelle from the corner of her eye, trying to process what had just happened and how she felt about it.


Erika hesitated while the others kept dancing. Something terrible was about to happen, but what? She scanned the room. Erika could see Sandra and Nicole had moved towards the corner of the dance floor with their French-Canadian boys. She looked up to see a giant speaker hanging from the ceiling by silver chains. Erika desperately tried to clear her head.

She shuffled towards Sandra, Michelle following her with a dance move.


Erika’s senses honed in on the speaker chains. They were going to give way. She had to act now. Masking her actions as a drunken stumble, she slammed into Sandra, sending them both into a row of chairs beside the dance floor. As they hit the ground, the chains holding the dangling speaker broke, sending the huge piece of equipment crashing to the ground. Sparks flew from the massive box. Several people nearby screamed, pushing themselves away from the electrical calamity. The music stopped.

From her position under a pile of chairs, Erika could hear Michelle calling out to Nicole. “Gibson, where are Holstrom and Bruster?”

<>About the Author:C.R. Lindström is a debut author with a passion for lore and history.

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Greystone by B.L. Ryan – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. B L Ryan will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

All Mouse could remember about her father was sitting on his lap while he told her stories. She wished she could remember what he looked like. When she hangs a white pendant that belonged to her father in her bedroom window, this wish becomes the key to great adventure in another world. A gate appears with a dragon twirling in the air above a colourful garden on the other side of the gate. Zeeta, the royal dragon, greets Mouse and invites her into the garden. The garden is part of Sweet Water holding, home to Lady Jane, who is the seer for Prince Ruler Jared.

As Mouse and Zeeta struggle to complete a quest, Mouse searches for her father. Their journey takes them across the plains of Norlanda and south to the Border Mountains.

The seers have foretold that a far traveller will appear and lead Norlanda against its enemies. This does not seem likely, as Norlanda is prosperous and peaceful at this time. Meanwhile, dark forces gathered in the Border Mountains have recognized the presence of Mouse in the lines of destiny and have started to move towards her.

How will the presence of a child, a far traveller from another world, affect the destiny of this world?

Enjoy an Excerpt

King Henry regarded Jared impatiently.

“It has come to my attention that you and members of the Royal Guard have taken up with all manner of disreputable people. I have been told that you visit mead houses and the common rooms of guild holdings throughout Greystone City.”

“The Royal Guard are not responsible,” said Jared.

“No, they are not!” His father slammed his hand on the table.

The King’s scribe, sitting in the corner, jerked and dropped one of his ink brushes. It fell off the desk and rolled across the floor. He knelt and picked it up quietly.

“I had hoped Captain Hawke would subdue your more eccentric tastes in companions!”

“Are not the common folk my people?” Jared asked. “That is not the issue,” said the King, his voice rising with irritation.

“You disappear with Zeeta for days at a time. It is time you acted as the future King of Norlanda.”

“Father, how else can I know this Kingdom and its people?”

“An excellent sentiment!” the King said. He pressed both hands on the table and leaned forward. “A grand tour would give you a chance to meet some of your other loyal subjects as well as suitable maidens.”

Jared’s jaw tightened; his grey eyes narrowed. “I would meet only the maidens the Council deemed suitable,” he returned shortly.

The King glared at him. “You have a life of great privilege and responsibility. By the grace of the Etu, your life belongs to this land and its people.”

“By the grace of the Etu, I would not ask for such a life,” his son returned tersely.

The King signaled the scribe to leave the room and came around the table to stand by his son. He tried to speak reasonably. It had been a long day. He was not feeling well, and he knew his temper was not helping. He placed a hand on his son’s shoulder.

About the Author:Born in Saskatchewan, Betty has lived in several areas across Canada, from Ottawa to Vancouver Island while growing up. Her fondest memory as a child is of her father building a tent trailer and her mother sewing yards and yards of canvas for the tent. The family travelled across Canada and down the eastern seaboard of the United States for several summer vacations.

Betty worked as a drawing office assistant in Oxford, England, for almost two years before returning to Canada to work as a topographical clerk in Edmonton, Alberta. She pursued a BSc. in Agriculture with a major in Horticulture from the University of Alberta. While raising her children, Betty worked as an Office Manager for a non-profit society and took writing courses at night school and from the Institute of Children’s Literature, Connecticut.

The garden has always been a source of inspiration and joy for Betty, as are all the beloved cats and dogs who have walked into her life. Betty believes stories are the foundation of our life. The stories we enjoy, the stories we tell ourselves, our children and others, reflect how we view the world around us. She enjoys writing fantasy for the youth genre because she feels there is still so much of the wonder of life, and the attitude that anything is possible, from this age group.

Greystone is her first novel. She is currently working on the sequel, Greystone: A New Beginning.

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Toothbrush Animal Hunt by Carleen Dehaney – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carleen Dehaney will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Embark on a delightful adventure with Toothbrush Animal Hunt, the perfect children’s book to encourage daily toothbrushing habits in a playful and enjoyable way.

From a clapping sea lion at the beach to a cheeky squirrel in the forest, children will be fascinated as they learn about toothbrushing through the actions and antics of these charming creatures. And don’t forget to spot the toothbrushes hidden throughout the pages, making this hunt, a delightful game of discovery.

Say goodbye to toothbrushing struggles and let the adventure begin!

Enjoy an Excerpt

About the Author: Meet the author, Carleen Dehaney! Carleen is a mother and wife. She hails from the UK but now calls Canada home. This enchanting book draws inspiration from a tenacious 2-year-old in need of some toothbrushing magic. Carleen embarked on a whimsical journey, incorporating playful animal sounds into her daughter’s brushing routine, and thus, the idea for this captivating book was conceived. Today, her little one, who has since outgrown her toddler years, recites this tale back to Carleen, forging cherished moments between them.

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The Making of a Fantasy Writer by Kevin King – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kevin King will award a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Making of a Fantasy Writer

A writer, of any genre, is made by three things. First, loving stories. Second, daydreaming stories. Third, writing stories. If you do those things, you’re a writer.

If you’d like to make money at writing, that requires a few extra steps. But making money isn’t what makes you a writer. Writing is.

Love of stories is what will carry you through the journey of writing. Do you love to read stories? Watch stories? Listen to stories? Do you feel at home in imaginary worlds? Do you daydream of fairies and dragons and wizards? Congratulations, you have the heart of a Fantasy writer. I spent my childhood at the library, reading every Sci-Fi and Fantasy book I could get my hands on. I consumed Fantasy until it filled me up and spilled out my fingertips. I devoured all the words. All the worlds. Apparently, you are what you eat.

Imagination is the greatest tool of writing. Every other necessary skill can be learned, but imagination is grown. Cultivated. Your mind needs space to dream. The first stories you tell are the stories your mind tells itself. I got my idea for this book while working a job where I spent a lot of time waiting, with nothing to do but daydream. One day, a question drifted into my head. What if someone was cursed, but a side effect of that curse gave them a unique ability, and that unique ability ends up being what saves them? That question spawned a flock of other questions about what that would look like, how it might happen, and how it might end. It was the seed that grew my story. But if I’d never had that time to daydream, it never would have happened. You can’t create stories if your brain is always full of other things. If you want to be a writer, give yourself time to daydream.

The final step to becoming a writer is to write. The first things you write will be terrible. That’s okay, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. Some things you will write and keep working on until they are good. It may take a while, but it can happen. Some things you will write and then delete. Even those are not wasted. Master painters all start by repeating simple exercises, copying past masters, experimenting to find their own style. Good writers do the same. I’ve discarded many times more words than I’ve shown to the public.

Making money and becoming known are nice, but not a required part of being a writer. If you just enjoy writing and don’t care about making a living off it, that’s good. Don’t worry about the rest. But if you want to go a step further and make money writing, there’s more work to do. You’ll want to study craft books, go to conferences, join critique groups. Dig into the details of what you like and don’t in other people’s writings, and the reasons why. Show your work to others who will give you honest critiques, and learn to filter that feedback and find the parts that show you where you need to strengthen your skills. Even once you publish and start making money, never stop learning and improving your work. Being a writer requires a fine balance of believing in yourself while recognizing your shortcomings. Accepting something as good enough while recognizing that it could be better, and being okay with that.

The most important thing is to never lose your love of stories. Keep reading, listening, watching, drinking in the stories that fill your soul. And keep dreaming. As long as you keep doing those things, you can’t help but be a writer.

Raendel is one of the Adoël, the cursed people. Passed on to each generation, the curse drains his body of color, leaving his skin and hair a ghostly white. To protect himself from the commoners who fear what they don’t understand, all of the Adoël live as servants to the royal family, using their unique skill with illusion magic to entertain bored nobility. Raendel is bound by traditions, but also by his own lack of self-confidence. Prince Kenan is the younger of two princes, frustrated by his gilded cage and the combat tutoring that feels pointless in a secure and peaceful kingdom. He dreams of adventure, of making a name for himself with heroic deeds. An unexpected assault from an ancient enemy sets the two on a quest that begins as pursuit of vengeance, but soon leads them into a struggle for survival that will teach them both that they are small pieces of a long, dark history. But even the smallest actions can change the fate of a kingdom.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Raendel wove through the room with practiced ease, gliding between isolated clumps of noblemen scattered across the room, passing the time with idle gossip as they waited for the guest of honor to arrive. His gaze flicked along the way in front of him, choosing the path that would keep him farthest away from the guests. Most of them wore enough perfume to give him a headache from five yards away. The enhanced sense of smell shared by the Adoël only added to Raendel’s trepidation. All the nobles stank of pride. The smell of fear drifted in clouds, especially near visitors who had never seen one of the Adoël before. Raendel spent most of his day inside the castle, serving Prince Kenan.

His distinctive features would have drawn stares even without the stories. The name Adoël had been used to frighten children for generations. Mothers would clutch their children as he passed in the street. Don’t go outside at night or the Adoël will get you. Don’t wander into the woods, the Adoël will catch you and suck the life out of you. Each passing generation believed the stories a bit more than their parents. To encounter an Adoël in person resurrected the terrors planted in the hearts of children now grown.

Whispers swirled in his wake. Ghost-child. Cursed. Tainted. Touched by the Necromancer. Raendel had heard them all before, but he still flinched with every sting.

About the Author:Kevin works as a software developer in the Seattle area by day, and an author by night. He enjoys Renaissance Fairs, bookstores, fencing, and daydreaming. He has been reading fantasy from age six, and writing from age twenty-two. He loves exploring fantasy worlds, especially exploring human nature through fiction. Fantasy is his first love, but he also dabbles in sci-fi, creepy horror, and devastatingly sad dramas. He posts regular flash fiction stories to his Instagram account and website.

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Out of Body by Kimberly Baer – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Those weird dreams Abby Kendrick has been having? Turns out they aren’t dreams after all. They’re out-of-body experiences, like the ones her cousin Logan is having. At first Abby has fun with her new ability, using it to spy on her neighborhood crush and spook a mean girl. But when Logan gets in trouble on the astral plane, the game changes, and Abby must bend the rules of out-of-body travel as she journeys to a distant realm. Her mission is a perilous one, and success is not guaranteed. Can she save Logan and find her way home again? Or will the cousins be lost forever on the astral plane?

Enjoy an Excerpt

It had been a tiny, meaningless dream. Not much to offer plot-wise. Why was it thumping so insistently inside me?

You know why, said a firm, quiet voice in my mind.

But I don’t.

You do. It’s because—

I walked faster, trying to outrace the voice. Knowing I couldn’t.

—because there was something different about that dream.

No, there wasn’t!

Something strange.

“No,” I said, as if uttering the word aloud would give it more weight. “It was just a dream. A normal, stupid dream that didn’t mean a thing.”

Except it didn’t feel like a dream.

Yes, it did.

It felt like real life.

That’s crazy! That’s impossible! That’s—

Like. Real. Life.

The words slammed into me like three bullets. I stopped walking.

Like real life. That was how Logan had described his dreams before he’d realized they were out-of-body experiences.

Had the Roscoe dream been an OBE?

“No,” I moaned, sagging against a hefty oak tree in the Hoffmans’ front yard.

It wasn’t true. It couldn’t be. Out-of-body travel was Logan’s thing, not mine. I was letting my imagination run wild. My mother always said I was impressionable.

Then again, was it so crazy to think I might have the same weird ability Logan had? After all, we were cousins. Maybe it was a trait we shared, like our thin brown hair and knobby knees.

A violent shiver rippled through me, even though the sun was once more warming the air. The notion that I might have left my body like a dead person and flown off into the night was terrifying.

And also exhilarating.

About the Author:

Kimberly Baer is an author and professional editor who was born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a town marginally famous for having endured three major floods. She even lived there during one of them. She enjoys power-walking on days when it’s not too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, or too windy. On indoor days, you’re likely to find her hard at work on her next novel or binge-watching old episodes of Survivor, her favorite guilty pleasure.

Kim has had her nose in a book practically since birth. Her first story, written at age six, was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl’s Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. These days she writes in a variety of genres, including adult romantic suspense, young adult, and middle-grade. Her books are published by The Wild Rose Press and have won several awards.

Out of Body Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYzqrZ2gl-I

http://www.kimberlybaer.com | https://twitter.com/KimberlyBaer14 | Instagram | Facebook | TikTok | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | BookBub Author Page

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Go, Gabbie, Go! by Hollie Noveletsky – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Go, Gabbie, Go was written as a gift to my illustrator and friend Gabbie Studley. Gabbie is a young woman with a big dream to fly. The only thing bigger than Gabbie’s dream is her heart. Read along as Gabbie achieves her dream of flight. Thank you, Gabbie, for your beautiful illustrations and friendship.

About the Author: The author is an ornery old woman who lives with her crotchety old husband in the woods of New Hampshire. Her greatest joy is watching her grandson, Pip, on his great adventures.

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Critique Groups by Dana Hammer – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dana Hammer will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Critique Groups

As a writer, it’s important to let others read your work, and get feedback on it. When we create, we have blind spots, things that make sense to us, but maybe not to a general audience. We make typos. We repeat ourselves, or use certain words over and over and over again. We head hop and skip around in time and forget who we killed off in previous stories. And so, we need to get other sets of eyes on our writing, which is why critique groups are so important.

I have been a member of a few different critique groups, and I have found them to be valuable, not just in terms of having my work critiqued, but also in terms of networking and building my audience. I highly recommend joining a critique group, no matter what type of writer you are.

That said, you have to be careful when taking critique, because — and I cannot stress this enough — NOT ALL CRITIQUES ARE GOOD. And that’s because, like in any group, there are people who know what they’re talking about and people who don’t. Here are a few of the types of people you will find in most critique groups, and my thoughts on whether you should listen to them or not.

1) The Friend Who Doesn’t Write Much
This person is in the group for social reasons. She might write the occasional short story, but she has no real intention of pursuing writing as a career. She is super nice, and has wonderful compliments for everything that is submitted. She usually brings snacks. You should treasure this member as the lovely person she is, but she will not tell you if something you wrote sucks.

2) The Dude Who Fancies Himself a Bit of a Professor
This person is kind of a pretentious prick. He has lots of thoughts on your writing, and he will deliver them with the wry, sardonic tone of a wealthy dilettante addressing the help. He will quote genius writers, a lot. He refuses to read anything written by anyone who is still living. Take his advice if you want, but it will only encourage him.

3) The Soulful Genius Who Hates Himself
This dude can seriously write, but everything he submits is dark, and depressing, and you feel horrible after reading it. He will not submit his work to agents or markets of any kind, because it does not meet his high standards. You should absolutely take his advice, because he knows what he is talking about. But he may not fully appreciate comedic works, or romances.

4) The Socially Awkward Cat Lady
This lady is in every critique group, and usually there is more than one. She writes cozy mysteries or fantasy novels. She reads more than she writes, and she writes a lot. She has lots of other interests, like crocheting and gardening and witchcraft. She is fun to talk to, and you should try to make her your friend. She will absolutely read your book when it’s published, and write a nice review, especially if you praise her cats. If you write in her genre, you should absolutely take her advice, because she is an expert. If you write in another genre, her advice will be to make it more like a cozy mystery or fantasy.

5) The Student
This woman has a masters degree in creative writing, and it will come up, a lot. Her critiques are all things that she heard her professors say, like “Show, don’t tell” and “Your protagonist has to protag” and “don’t use adverbs”. She has no tolerance for experimentation, improper formatting, or works that do not follow the same structure that Star Wars does. She has strong opinions about fonts. She means well, but her creative spirit has been crushed by academia. Disregard.

I love my critique groups. I’ve made some wonderful friends and colleagues there, and have received some truly valuable feedback, which has improved my writing tremendously. I have also met some insufferable blowhards who need to shut up. When you join a critique group, which I hope you do, you will meet all kinds of writers, and each of them will be useful to you on your writing journey — either because they gave good feedback — or because they are the inspiration for a villain in your next book.

Dion Isaacs (the reincarnation of Dionysius), Athena’s brother, is wreaking havoc. After to an unfortunate bee-venom poisoning at his wine business, he is down on his luck and crashing at Athena’s place. But the former god of wine, feasting, and excess is a bad influence on Fanny’s best friends, with his partying, wacky business schemes, and general debauchery. Sure, Dion is a fun guy. But there is such a thing as too much fun, and Fanny seems to be the only one who sees it.

Meanwhile, Fanny’s mother is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, which basically means she pukes all the time, because she’s pregnant. With her mom unable to work, her dad is taking extra shifts to make more money, and things are getting tense at home. Fanny is excited to be a big sister, but all this sickness and stress over money are starting to take their toll on her.

Can Fanny save her friends from Dion’s negative influence, while also solving her family’s money problems? Of course she can. She’s Fanny Fitzpatrick.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I wake up in the morning to the sound of my mom puking. She’s not a quiet puker. It sounds like she’s trying to vomit up all the organs in her body while also running a chainsaw or something. And, worse, she’s been doing it for days now. Last night, we were eating dinner and she couldn’t keep any of it down. She said it was the onions, but she normally likes onions, so I think she’s just very sick.

At first, I thought it was just a stomach bug or maybe food poisoning. I remember one time I got food poisoning from some bad tacos, and it was the worst thing ever. I was so miserable I wanted to die.

But like I said, it’s been days now. She should be feeling better. And for the first time I’m really worried about Mom. I wonder if it’s something serious. I remember a couple years ago when Toya’s mom was vomiting all the time because she was having chemotherapy for breast cancer. Her mom is fine now, but she was really sick for a long time.

About the AuthorDana Hammer is a novelist, screenwriter and playwright. She has won over forty awards and honors for her writing, few of which generated income, all of which were deeply appreciated. She is not a cannibal, but she is the author of A Cannibals Guide to Fasting. Dana is also the author of middle grade fantasy My Best Friend Athena which was inspired by a desire to write something her 9 year old daughter could read.


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Rocketship Ride by Franco D’Auria – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner.Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Come for a journey through the minds of two loving brothers as they explore the world around them using their imagination!

Join them in their rocketship as they barrel through space, meet with remarkable aliens, get in and out of extraordinary situations, and find the time to enjoy the company of amazing friends and family.

Let them take you on this incredible journey, and hopefully they inspire you to have your fantastic adventures too!

About the Author: Franco D’Auria discovered a passion for writing and world-building through his long career as a game designer for HitGrab Labs. Lending his voice to the game MouseHunt and its whimsical fantasy world of Gnawnia, his imagination was bursting for new creative outlets.

What started as an innocent request from his children to sing a bedtime song about rocketships gradually evolved into this book. It celebrates the boys’ love of books, their special relationship as brothers, their adventures with family, and the spark of imagination that they share.

The book is FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

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