Monday, October 30, 2017

Writing Tip

Kathy Akins:
"Use a timer, set for one hour, for your writing session. When it goes off, get up and move for five minutes to get blood circulating and clear your head. Reset and start again as often as you need. Also, do this for research sessions. It helps keep you on task. I love research and can get lost for several hours without moving unless I set a timer."

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Featured Blog - Kelley Benson's Books

Do you really want the church to grow? Church growth is not about money, buildings, our plans, or our dreams. It is about sinners coming to Christ. The growth of any church is determined by the mindset of the people within the body of Christ about the lost. Congregations burdened with pride, apathy, laziness, negativity or critical attitude will never grow. These were some of the attitudes that the churches John addressed in Asia (Revelations 2-3) were dealing with.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Writing Tip

Heath Stallcup:
"Read aloud what you've written. If it doesn't flow, fix it. If you confuse yourself, imagine what a reader would go through. Your words need to a stream. Not rage like a river during a flood."

Friday, October 27, 2017

Writing Tip

Debra Chandler:
"Try not to double up on adjectives too much in setting the scene. One good adjective is better than two okay ones."

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Horror for Halloween!

Forneus Corson: The Idea Man
By Heath Stallcup

Horror - When Steve Wilson stumbles upon the best kept secret of history’s most successful writers, he takes advantage of it. It will come back to haunt him in ways he’d never have dreamt. With his name discredited, his friends persecuted, the authorities chasing him for something he didn’t do, Steve goes on the run. When a man hits rock bottom, there’s nowhere he can go but up…unless he’s facing an evil willing to dig the hole deeper.
Buy on Amazon      
Buy on Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Short Stories to Thrill You!

Short Stories!

"Saved By The Bell"
By Wendy Blanton
An author challenges her murderous muse to save her family.
Buy on Amazon for Kindle

"Fairy Penance"
By Wendy Blanton
Fairies can't be beholden to humans, so if you're wronged by one, make their penance good.
Buy on Amazon for Kindle

"The Third Wish"
By Wendy Blanton
Be careful what you wish for. Wishes from a Fairy Godmother can have unintended consequences.
Buy on Amazon for Kindle

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Writing Tip

Stephen B. Bagley:
"Don't head hop. Unless your character has telepathy, stick to his/her thoughts exclusively in a scene. Yes, I know you can find published books that do this, but that doesn't make it correct or helpful. Staying in your character's head--whether writing in first person or third person--builds reader identification and helps to pull them into the story."

Monday, October 23, 2017

Review of "5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter" by Chris Fox

(Please note: All book reviews are unsolicited and unpaid. The reviews represent the viewpoint of the reviewer alone and are offered as an aid to other writers.)

(Book Review by Kathy Akins)

5,000 Words Per Hour
Write Faster, Write Smarter
By Chris Fox

The author discovered the first part of 5k/hr system by accident in 2009 when he took a job as a customer service employee at a local credit union. He would write between phone calls–usually in 2-5 minute increments. He never allowed himself to go back and edit what he was writing and the word count quickly became 1,000/ day. He kept a word count log and watched it grow to 2,000/day. Now 5 years later (when this book was written) it could reach 5,000/day. The best part of this system is that you see immediate progress.

Chris breaks his system down into several parts that start small and build on each other. Here it is in a nutshell:
Writing Sprints – This is a predefined length of time where you will do nothing but write. There is a clearly defined begin time and end time. Set a timer and writer until the timer goes off. Begin with 5 minutes and build up to 30 minute sprints each time.
Do Not Edit.
GOAL – to get you into a flow state where your brain naturally focuses on an activity you’re good at to the exclusion of all else.
This teaches you  three things – You learn to complete projects / You begin to see things at a larger level….such as common problems that reoccur over and over, character tics, etc. / You learn story structure
 Figure your WPH by multiplying the word count for 5 minutes x 12 = WPH
Tortoise Enclosure – A sacred space where your mind is primed to enter the creative flow. A time and place where your mind will associate with writing.
The key for a successful author is consistency. You need to establish a writing habit and practice it the rest of your life.
A space where you do not do other activities is recommended.
Set boundaries – both physical and time. Write as early in the day as you can. To quote Mark Twain, "Eat the frog or he’ll croak at you all day." Write before the pressures of the day begin to mount.
Track Everything – Anything that can be tracked can be improved on.
Set up a spreadsheet – Date / Words / Sprint Type / Start / End / WPH
You may want to add Edit and Written
Clear the Decks – Make a list of things that typically distract you from writing – add a column labeled solution
Organize Your Scene – Save yourself from staring at a blank screen by creating a general plot.
Protagonist? Antagonist? Major conflict between them?  What is the Epic Ending?
Set up a timeline – use the 3 Act example – Inciting (Interruption in Protagonist’s life) 1st Doorway (World will never be the same) 2nd Doorway (Final confrontation with the Antagonist begins). Now ask Why?
When do characters appear? Time and place of each scene? Major action? Goal? Emotion? Purpose?
Planning is your best friend if productivity is your goal
Increase Your Speed – Better typing or Voice dictation
Fast isn’t always bad – Master writing quickly, and then master the rest of your craft.

Write your entire novel first – then edit. The process should be:
Content – Chapter by chapter ( add new characters or change something fundamental about a character during this edit)
Proof – Grammar and Spelling

Biggest killer of a writer's creativity is burnout. Combat burnout by using:
Reward System
Set realistic goals and keep it fun.
Write socially – online forums or writing groups

Mindset is everything.
Become Positive – You are the sum of your closest friends.
Start networking with the kind of people who have the kind of success you want. They will support you and nurture you.
Raise your standards – Of friends / Mindset / # of words
Make sure your standards are higher today than they were yesterday.
Visualize what you want as if it has already happened.
Write down where you want to see yourself in 5 years.

I recommend this book. ***** stars.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Featured Blog - Kelley Benson's Books

Revelations 101
By Kelley Benson

Sometimes what looks good turns out to be bad, and what looks bad turns out to be good. That’s no mystery to anyone who has lived very long on earth. God can use bad things to do good (Romans 8:28), or Satan can use good things to make our lives bad (1 Chronicles 21). What’s bad is when we try to “sell” the bad as good, or vice versa. Isaiah 5:20-21, “What sorrow for those who say, ‘evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.’ What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.”

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Writing Tip

Stephen B. Bagley:
"I’m writing a story and use the Internet to look up how quickly hemlock can kill a person...and then an hour later, I’m looking at funny dog videos. The internet has seduced me away from getting my writing done. Has this happened to you? Maybe this tip will help.

"The tip is: Turn your internet off. My router is next to my computer, so when I know I would rather surf than write, I reach over and turn it off. If I want to look something up, I can turn it back on, but it takes a minute or two to boot up, which is usually enough time for me to acknowledge I’m trying to avoid writing.

"If your router isn’t close by, there are several programs for your computer that will turn off your internet for a specified amount of time. Programs such as InternetOff, Anti-Social, Freedom and several others are available. Some of them are even free. They will all help you keep your writing time for writing."

Friday, October 20, 2017

Bone Chilling Urban Fantasy!

Bone Sliver
By D.E. Chandler
Fantasy - The World is Changing... Maxwell Edison, agent of The Office of Human Protection is given an assignment. Sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma, he's staking out a spreading rash of anomalous activity unprecedented in the world so far. With agents and civilians dying all around him, it’s up to him to find a way to stop the oncoming paranormal cataclysm that has been engineered by a mysterious shadow organization. In the face of unstoppable magic, can he hold on to his humanity?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dark Fantasies for Your Kindle!

Short Stories
"Saved By The Bell"
By Wendy Blanton
An author challenges her murderous muse to save her family.
Buy on Amazon for Kindle

"Fairy Penance"
By Wendy Blanton
Fairies can't be beholden to humans, so if you're wronged by one, make their penance good.
Buy on Amazon for Kindle

"The Third Wish"
By Wendy Blanton
Be careful what you wish for. Wishes from a Fairy Godmother can have unintended consequences.
Buy on Amazon for Kindle

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What's 30 Minutes?

What's 30 Minutes?
By Debra Chandler

If you’re a struggling creative like me, the idea that anyone (sometimes even you) ever will take your work seriously as a job can seem like a distant daydream. Any artistic endeavor seems to be susceptible to what I like to call time-suck.

The chores, maybe a job, the family, the internet. The never-ending time-suck vortex sometimes overwhelms us so completely that it makes any progress at all seem impossible. If it sounds like the voice of experience talking, that’s because it is. Between school, the house, helping the husband with his running for the shop, and my own insatiable “research” addiction (you know, social media), there just never seemed to be enough time to really get into any sort of writing groove.

If I ever wanted to make a career of writing, I had to solve the time-suck problem. What was it that kept my days so full that, even after quitting my full-time job to go to school, time to write seemed as rare as it ever had been? I puzzled on it for a while and then forgot about it. The busy got me again.

Through all of it, I noticed one set of phrases that kept popping up not only coming from my beloved and friends and family, but from myself as well. “Oh, it won’t take but a few minutes,” or “You have time to___ right?” and the humdinger of them all, which almost always came from me: “What’s thirty minutes?”

Once this pattern solidified in my mind enough to be recognized (it only took about a year), I decided to make a list. It was easy enough to push my issues off onto others, but my real problem was self discipline. So I got up, set the kitchen timer on the microwave for thirty minutes, and set to work. Here is a partial list of things that I came up with.

What’s 30 Minutes?

·      A chapter read in a novel
·      Hair and teeth brushed, breakfast made
·      Two pages written in my journal
·      Living room and kitchen vacuumed in RV
·      I wrote most of this article in thirty minutes (Not counting editing)
·      A poem written
·      Half a chapter of fiction written
·      Listened to a video lecture on writing
·      Made two phone calls to potential colleges
·      Filled out a college application
·      Edited about ten pages of a 100 page document (Got paid for this one)
·      Read three chapters in a book on writing (Nonfiction)
·      Organized the desk (It was actually clear!)
·      Created an invoice form

I didn’t include a time for fiction writing, mostly because how fast it goes varies so much. Granted, the same can be said of anything, especially poetry, but then poetry is the one thing I never push. The journal can be pushed to get the juices flowing, and the nonfiction and sometimes even the fiction to a certain extent, but the poetry only comes when it chooses.

Again, this is just a partial list, and this is just me.

What can you get done in thirty minutes?

Time it.


(Copyright 2017 by Debra Chandler. All rights reserved.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Chills & Thrills for Halloween!

Blackbirds Second Flight

Enjoy these dark fantasies:
A writer challenges her murderous muse.
Dragons and riders stage a daring rescue.
Gangsters face off over the world's fate.
Warriors duel to their deaths in the sky.
A dad battles ghosts to save his daughter.
The sidhe never forget nor forgive.
It's Malone's way, or the fur will fly.
A shaman invades Tulsa on a killing hunt.
And much more!

Kindle version!
Print versions!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Review of "Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life" by Terry Brooks

(Please note: All book reviews are unsolicited and unpaid. The reviews represent the viewpoint of the reviewer alone and are offered as an aid to other writers.)

(Book Review by Debra E. Chandler)

Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life
By Terry Brooks

In this book, legendary fantasy writer Terry Brooks takes on the writing life, and offers aspiring writers and other readers a glimpse into his own writing journey. Along the way, he offers some serious gold in the form of lessons learned and a list of five “rules” for writing, which I will summarize here for you.

For anyone unfamiliar with the name, Mr. Brooks is the author of The Shannara Chronicles series of books, and has written for the screen as well, writing the novelizations of such films as Hook and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. While Mr. Brooks’ experience is arguably with the “old school” of publishing, many of the guidelines he offers still bear weight in today’s writing world. The life lessons he offers up are as priceless as they are timeless.

But this is much more than just an autobiography. Brooks leads the reader (presumably one who is interested in either writing or Brooks’ journey) along his path to publication, and gives them an in-depth look at some of the pitfalls and serendipitous events that it entailed. From wild triumph to deep despair, he holds nothing away from his reader. Not that it comes across as all that dramatic, but it is a gripping read. And then there are the rules.

Just to give you a sample of some of the goodness offered in this book, here are the ten rules he lays out, somewhere near the middle:

1. Write what you know – but not literally—use research to fill in the gaps fir your reader.
2. Your characters must behave in a believable fashion. (Must feel right in the context of the story.)
3. A Protagonist must be challenged by a conflict that requires resolution.
4. Movement equals growth equals change. Without change, nothing happens.
5. The strength of the protagonist is measured by the threat of the antagonist.
6. Show, don’t tell.
7. Avoid the grocery-list approach to describing characters.
8. Characters must always be in a story for a reason.
9. Names are important.
10. Don’t bore the reader.

These are pretty cut-and-dry, as I’ve condensed them here, but he goes into much more detail in the book and actually gives the reader the whys and wherefores of each one. While much of this is review for a seasoned writer, as a relative newbie, it was earth-shattering for me the first time I read it. It’s clean. It’s basic. And it’s totally worth the time of even a seasoned writer who has already covered this ground until they’re sick of hearing “Show, don’t tell.”

While there isn’t just one sentence that sums up why he writes nicely with a bow, he says that for him it naturally evolved out of playing pretend. He simply needed a bigger playground, and the only one he could find was in his mind. He goes on to say that “writing is habit-forming. It is addictive.” Then later he says that if he doesn’t write, he grows bad-tempered and unsatisfied, and that it is not only an emotional response, but a physical one as well. He feels writing has become so much a part of his identity that if he was to not write, he might cease to be.

I suppose it’s possible somebody might love this book more than I do, but I happen to think it’s one of the best written. And that is from someone who hasn’t read much of Mr. Brooks’ work. I know, gasp…. But I can tell you this: I will be reading much more from him.

Recommended. ***** stars.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Featured Blog - Kelley Benson's Books

Uniquely Qualified
By Kelley Benson

One comedian said about single-life, “It’s just like magic. When you live by yourself, all of your annoying habits are gone.” If the church were made of only one person, there wouldn’t be division, but that’s not how it is. We can get frustrated with the hardships that come from a melting pot of different personalities, different fears and strengths, different levels of maturity, or different abilities all found within the body of Christ, OR we can stand in awe of God’s amazing design for it.

If Christians are to be the salt and the light to a lost world, it makes sense that we need as many capable people serving as examples as possible.
Read more at Kelley Benson's Books.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Available now for pre-order!

The Potbelly Pig Promise
By Barbara Shepherd & Illustrated by David Barrow
Picture Book - Dylan made a promise to his friend, Patrick. He’s going to take a photograph of a real potbelly pig at his grandparent’s farm. When he arrives, Dylan quickly discovers Grandpa raises everything but potbellied pigs. Later, they visit the county fair hoping to find them. Dylan sees pigs of all colors, shapes and sizes, but no potbellies. Their pens are empty. Will Dylan ever find a real potbelly pig? And will he be able to keep his promise to Patrick?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Perfect for Halloween!

Blackbirds Second Flight 
Perfect for Halloween! 
Featuring thrilling stories and poetry from Stephen Bagley, Wendy Blanton,
Gail Henderson, Ken Lewis, 
Jean Schara, and Heath Stallcup!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review of "Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer" by Roy Peter Clark

(Please note: All book reviews are unsolicited and unpaid. The reviews represent the viewpoint of the reviewer alone and are offered as an aid to other writers.)

(Book Review by Kathy Akins)

Writing Tools

50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer
By Roy Peter Clark

Roy Peter Clark is a writer who teaches. He is the Vice President of the Poynter Institute, one of the most prestigious schools for journalists in the world.

This is an excellent book for every writer to have in a personal reference library. It is one that can be referred to and re-read again and again.

In the introduction, Mr. Clark recommends that we think of writing as carpentry, and consider this book as your toolbox. It contains practical tools that will help dispel your writing inhibitions by making the craft central to the way you see the world. These tools come from: Great works on writing, Great authors, Productive conversations with professional writers and editors, and finally, America’s great writing teachers.

He has divided the content into four parts. Each part has sub-topics that relate to the different areas of writing.

Part 1 – Nuts and Bolts. This section discusses the grammar tools such as verbs, adverbs, use of ing, and the difference between active and passive. Mr. Clark says, “The best writers make the best choices.”

Tools of thumb:
Active verbs move the action and reveal the actors
Passive verbs emphasize the receiver, the victim
The verb to be links words and ideas

Part 2 – Special Effects. This section gets into details. Use details that appeal to the senses. Pay attention to what will draw the reader to have an emotional connection.
Pay attention to names – interesting names attract the writer and the reader
Vary sentence length and paragraph length
Choose words the average writer avoids but the average reader understands
Learn when to show and when to tell, and when to do both

Part 3 – Blueprints. This section refers to the story itself. You need a plan.
Index the big parts of your story. If you don’t outline, then consider Mr. Clark’s method – Reverse Outline. Write the first draft, then go back and create an outline. If the story flows coherently, your outline will be easy and you will be able to explain your story to others. If not, then you need to revisit your story and rearrange some things
Use dialogue as a form of action
Reveal character traits
Generate suspense – use internal cliffhangers
Build your work around a key question

Part 4 – Useful Habits. This section makes suggestions for general writing habits.
Draft a mission statement for your work
Plan and write your story first in your head
Do your homework – research
Keep a file box – save scraps of information that you might use in a story later
Break long projects into parts
Do your best – that helps others, such as editors, publishers, photographers, etc, do their best
Learn from your critics

No matter the type of writing you are involved in, non-fiction or fiction; this is a helpful list of strategies for improving your writing.

I recommend this book. ***** stars.

(Copyright 2017 by Kathy Akins. All rights reserved.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Writing Tip

Debra Chandler:
"If you want to engage your reader, engage their senses. Use all five senses to describe what is going on in the scene. Not just the setting, but the action as well. Think Surround-tactisoundeflavosmellovision."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Writing Tip

Kathy Akins:
"Read books in the genre you want to write. If writing for children, choose an age level as well. Read, read, read. Understand the genre to write it well."

Monday, October 9, 2017

Available for Pre-Order now!

The Potbelly Pig Promise
By Barbara Shepherd & Illustrated by David Barrow
Picture Book - Dylan made a promise to his friend, Patrick. He’s going to take a photograph of a real potbelly pig at his grandparent’s farm. When he arrives, Dylan quickly discovers Grandpa raises everything but potbellied pigs. Later, they visit the county fair hoping to find them. Dylan sees pigs of all colors, shapes and sizes, but no potbellies. Their pens are empty. Will Dylan ever find a real potbelly pig? And will he be able to keep his promise to Patrick?
Available for Pre-Order now!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Writing Tip

Stephen B. Bagley
"When I edit, I work backwards. I start at the end of the book or short story and read the last page first and proceed backwards. Somehow that increases the number of errors and mistakes I catch. I think it must disrupt the flow of reading to allow the editor part of my brain to the front. One of my college professors suggested actually reading an article backwards, sentence by sentence. It does help with certain difficult passages."

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Writing Tip

Barbara Shepherd:
"In poetry, every word should be important to the poem. If you say everything you meant to say in four lines, limit that poem to those four. Transfer that logic to prose: Every word needs to earn its keep and move your story forward."

Friday, October 6, 2017

Book Review of "Outlining Your Novel (Map Your Way to Success"

(Please note: All book reviews are unsolicited and unpaid. The reviews represent the viewpoint of the reviewer alone and are offered as an aid to other writers.)

(Book Review by Kathy Akins)

Outlining Your Novel (Map Your Way to Success) 
by K.M. Weiland

K.M. Weiland writes in several fiction genres as well as non-fiction books that help other writers get their stories out of their heads and onto the page. She also mentors other authors through her blog

I found this particular book to be great at explaining why she thinks outlining is so important to getting your novel finished with a polished story you will be proud to share with the world.

Outlining Your Novel is divided into eleven chapters. She included a checklist and Q and A with a different author at the end of each one. Her approach addresses all writing personalities, lifestyles, and writing preferences by suggesting ways that each individual can enjoy the process of mapping a novel so that the author and reader will benefit from a well-written story.

The introduction begins with the comparison of two ships on the wide-open sea of possibilities. There is the Art of Fiction, a wave tossed ship that goes where the sea takes it, And there is the Craft ship under the expert guidance of a captain who can decipher the map to carry through the story on the precisely right course. Craft is all about organization – where the outline (map) becomes so important. The best part of outlining is that it is entirely learnable.

Each chapter tackles different aspects of writing and finishing your novel. Chapter one asks the question – Should you outline? Before you answer a resounding NEVER! – look at the misconceptions of outlining: requires formal formatting, limits creativity, robs the joy of discovery, and takes too much time. The benefits, however, are: It gives balance and cohesion to your story, prevents dead-end ideas, provides foreshadowing, indicates preferable POVs, maintains consistent character voice, and gives motivation and assurance.

Before you begin your outline, decide what method would work best for you. Ask yourself:
Are you short on time – try an abbreviated method
Are you worried it will impair creativity – Jot down scene ideas and keep a file
Are you a visual learner – Try colored note cards pinned to a bulletin board
Do you like full-blown challenges – go with the extensive sketching and planning method

K.M. prefers the full-blown challenge for her own writing. She recommends YWriter by Simon Haynes. This is free software.

With the progression of the book, different parts of the story – premise, structure, character motivation, desire, and conflict, setting, POV, and discovering your story - are explained is understandable terms.

She sums up the use of outlining with this conclusion: The trick to using your outline to gain the maximum productivity is remembering an outline is as fluid as you want it to be. An outline is a guideline, not law etched in stone.

I plan to add this book to my personal library and recommend the same to all authors. ***** stars.

(Copyright 2017 by Kathy Akins. All rights reserved.)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A bit about Blackbirds

The anthology Blackbirds First Flight featured stories from Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Jean Schara, and Tamara Siler Jones.

To quote Pru Simmons: “Blackbirds First Flight is an anthology of stories and poetry with a dark, sensual twist. The stories run the gambit from thrilling Gothic adventure to modern urban fantasy to fantastic encounters with the macabre. The poetry is uniformly excellent and tells dark stories of its own, many related to mythology.”

Here's a bit about the authors:

Stephen B. Bagley wrote Tales from Bethlehem, Murder by Dewey DecimalMurder by the Acre, Floozy & Other Stories, and EndlesS and co-authored Undying with Gail Henderson. His works have appeared in Writer's Digest, Creations 2014, Creations 2013, Creations 2012, ByLine Magazine, Free Star, Nautilus Magazine, OKMagazine, and other publications. He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. He is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. Visit for more info.

Kent Bass enjoys writing Gothic action/adventure stories. He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business and from the University of Oklahoma, with a Master of Science in Accountancy. He and his family live in Dallas, Texas, where he works for the nation’s leading tax software company. Blackbirds First Flight was his first publication.

Wendy Blanton published three fantasy novels, The Dragon’s Lady, Rogue Pawn, and Sword and Scabbard under the pen name Elizabeth Joy with co-author Scott Carman. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Management from the University of Mount Olive and served in active duty for the United States Air Force for eight years. She is an apprentice bard and tells Celtic folk tales at Scottish Highland Games and other venues. Visit for more info.

Gail Henderson co-authored Undying with Stephen B. Bagley. She collaborated with noted Oklahoma photographer Michael Duncan to produce Bare, a book of poetry and photography. Red Bird Woman, a collection of her poetry, was published in 2013. Her work has appeared in Creations 2014, Creations 2013, Creations 2012, and ByLine Magazine. She holds a Masters of Education in English and Social Studies from East Central University. Visit for more info.

Tamara Siler Jones is a wife, mom, writer, quilter, and cat-wrangler from rural Iowa. She has numerous novels in print/eBook, including Ghosts in the Snow, winner of the Compton Crook Award for best first novel of the year in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror genre; Threads of Malice; Valley of the Soul; SPORE; and the newly released Morgan's Run. Visit for more info.

Jean Schara retired from a 28-year career in the United States Air Force in 2008 and took up residence in Texas. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and of the Troy State University with a Master of Science in Adult Education. She has had several book reviews published in the Air Power Journal and several articles published in Vision: A Resource for Writers. Visit journal for more info.

Blackbirds First Flight is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, and other online retailers. Visit for more info.