Friday, March 8, 2013


Goddess Fish Book Tour

A young adult suspense

Like a flash, the discharge from the gun lit up the inside of the dimly lit, filthy trailer Ashleigh called home. Ashleigh sat curled up on the stained pink carpet next to the pull-out bed in the living area where she slept. The victim lay dead, slumped against the wall of the trailer. Ashleigh looked at the motionless body. She was petrified.

Meet Ashleigh Mae, a seventeen year old high school senior living in the small town of Micah, Texas. Her boyfriend Billy calls her a wild child. Her momma is always telling her she makes bad choices. No matter what, no one really understands her.

Ashleigh dreams of a life with Billy. Their love is true, she thinks. When her mother forces them to leave Micah in the middle of the night and move in with her momma’s old boyfriend Casey, on the outskirts of a town called Amos, Ashleigh’s life is torn apart.

This is her fight to get it back….


-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?

My father owned a television commercial studio when I was a teenager. I grew up working on film sets. I learned that telling stories is a magical, challenging craft. I have a journalism degree from the University of Kansas, but I really didn’t start using it until several years ago. I guess life finally seasoned me enough to have something worth writing about. Now I can’t stop writing. I’m at it every day.

-What genre(s) do you write?

I certainly do a lot of nonfiction writing with all the reporting and magazine work I am securing. I’ve also written a how to sort of book for graduation coaching this past year, called Graduation Coach: Rescuing One Child at a Time. My fiction writing is falling under young adult right now, but I refuse to be limited by genre. If there is a story I want to tell, I am comfortable jumping around genres.

-2 sentence blurb.

A high school senior and poor country girl, Ashleigh Mae is forced by her mother to pick up and move in with her momma’s old boyfriend on the outskirts of Amos, Texas. At school, she meets a wealthy Hispanic boy, Manuel, who falls for her – but Ashleigh is torn – between Manuel and her old cheating boyfriend Billy. All the while she has to deal with painful secrets of her past. It’s a coming of age story with suspense, murder, and a whole lot of drama!


“You do that, an’ I’m gonna have to take yours off too,” Ashleigh said as she reached down to grab the ends of Billy’s white wife-beater. As she was lifting off the shirt she spilled Coke onto Billy’s head and chest. “Oh dang!” she laughed.

“Ashleigh!” Billy said excited by her actions. He peeled off her sticky t-shirt and aggressively kissed her full lips. Ashleigh held onto him tightly. The two dove into each other, absorbed in their flesh and passions.

Billy’s powerful arms lifted up Ashleigh and set her on the pulled down back gate of the pickup. Ashleigh felt Billy’s power overwhelm her. Her mind drifted, no longer there, but somewhere up there, in the sky amidst stars in the blackness of the night. She was not in her body but floating in an endless sea of oily blackness. “Ashleigh,” she heard her momma’s loud voice in her head, “ya never make good choices!!”

-For other aspiring writers, any tips?

I had a professor in college who said writing was like basketball, if you want to be good, you have to keep on practicing. Also -- working at a high school, I am so impressed by young people’s points of view. The stories are certainly there. Don’t be afraid to dive right in and tell the world your story from your point of view.

-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?

As much as I am enjoying fiction writing, I LOVE a good biography or autobiography!

-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

Between Micah and Amos is probably my favorite right now – and I’m not just saying that because I’m plugging it. After listening to young people’s struggles for the past nine years, I kind of wanted to send a message back to them – I was listening -- and you are going to be okay!


Alan Oakes is a Graduation Coach and Counselor at a Texas High School. He is a featured writer for Green Building and Design magazine and a contributor to other magazines including Texas Architect and New American Luxury. In the past, he served as Associate Pastor of Saint Austin Catholic Church and Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at UCLA.

Alan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts degree from the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C.

“I have a very unique title at the Texas high school I work at: I am a graduation coach and counselor. I’ve been helping students who are at risk of dropping out for almost 9 years. I’m fascinated by sustainable design and architecture. I’ve been a featured writer for Green Building and Design magazine since it came out several years ago. I’ve also written for Texas Architect and New American Luxury magazines.

If you look back far enough you will also see I have worked on documentaries, including the award winning PBS documentary, The Painted Churches of Texas.”

To learn more about Alan, visit his website. He can also be found on Goodreads.

Also visit the website for BETWEEN MICAH AND AMOS, and like the book’s page on Facebook.

Check out the book at the publisher’s website.

Want to buy it?

Get it on Amazon as an ebook or a paperback. It’s also available as an ebook from B&N, and it’s available at Goodreads.

Hey readers,

Please join me in thanking Alan for a great interview. Thanks, Alan!

Want more? Check out the rest of the tour.

And don’t forget to comment for a chance at some awesome prizes.

Alan will be awarding gift cards to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour. The characters are always going to Sonic – so he is giving away gift cards in the names of the main characters:
Grand Prize: Billy-sized $25.00
2nd Prize: Manuel-sized: $15.00
3rd Prize: Ashleigh-sized: $10.00

If the winner prefers, they can get either an Amazon or gift card instead of the Sonic card.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Goddess Fish Book Tour

An Action adventure with romantic elements

Revenge is not always sweet…

Isabella Mumphrey can’t leave a puzzle alone. This time she attempts to use her anthropology knowledge to uncover who is stealing priceless artifacts from an Aztec Temple in Mexico City. The discovery will certainly prove her worth to the World Intelligence Agency.

Tino Costantine is in Mexico City, too. He has infiltrated a drug lord’s organization to find enough evidence to not only prove the man’s illegal activities, but to bring him down for numerous deaths. Namely those of Tino’s family.

But when the love of his life, Isabella, strolls into his enemy’s home, Tino’s challenged by the choice of saving her or fulfilling his revenge.

Isabella uncurled and rolled her shoulders before removing her glasses and rubbing her eyes. She’d examined two ledgers of artifacts extracted from Templo Mayor. Five more volumes stood on the end of the table in the inventory room in the basement of the museum. Her stomach rumbled and she looked at her watch. One. Morning would come too fast. Getting back to the hostel, finding something to eat, and sleeping were warranted with the way her body and eyes felt. The rest of the books could wait until morning. She wanted clear evidence of the missing items before Saturday. Once she determined Garza stole the artifacts, she’d tell Tino and then the director.

She stood, stretched her arms above her head, and turned to leave. A man stood in the shadows of a bookcase. Her heart thumped two hard beats as she swallowed a startled gasp. To show fear would give him the advantage. How had he entered without her hearing? Easy, she was so absorbed in the findings she blocked out all else. I’ll have to work on staying alert at all times.

Slowing her breathing and studying the man who’d yet to move, she readied her stance for evasive actions. Years of taekwondo with the addition of her WIA training had her prepared for an attack.

The man walked out of the shadow and as soon as she witnessed his movements her heart raced not of fear but of anticipation.


Award winning author Paty Jager is a member of national and local writing organizations. She not only writes the western lifestyle she lives it. With thirteen books and a short story published, she is venturing into the new world of self-publishing ebooks. Her contemporary Western, Perfectly Good Nanny won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance, Spirit of the Mountain, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, placed 1st in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest, and Spirit of the Lake was a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.

Check out Paty’s website. Visit her blog. Find her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @patyjag.

Also check her out on Goodreads.

Hey readers,

Ancient artifacts and drug lords, oh my.

Check out the rest of the tour for a bit of variety at each stop.

And be prepared to comment often.

Paty will be awarding a $5 Amazon egift card at each blog for every twenty people who leave a comment and a $25 Amazon card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

3 Reasons a Writers Group is a Must-Have for Serious Writers

Hello folks,

I’m a little late this week, but better late than never, right? Go me for being a good writer and not using cliché sayings. *cough*

Anyway, a bit about writing groups. I somehow ended up a member of four of these at once a few months ago. Things have settled down some, and I now have 2.5. Two actually meet and discuss writing. The third wants to meet and discuss writing but never seems to quite get there. That’s just fine by me considering my thesis crit partners count as a third group. I really need to crack down on that thesis.

Aside from the dreaded thesis, though, there is still writing to be done. That’s where the other 2 functioning groups come in. I met with one last night and got some great feedback on a short story that, fingers crossed, will be published soon. And that’s what I’m here to talk about today—3 reasons a writing group is a must-have for a serious writer.

Back in January, one of my professors told us during residency “Go home and get two things. A first reader and a writing group.” A first reader is that person who, well, reads your stuff first. The initial “this is good” or “this is bad” person. Pretty self-explanatory. Everyone, regardless of what they do, needs someone to tell them the truth. So the need for a first reader is, hopefully, obvious.

But the writing group. This one’s not so clear-cut. Many writers, including myself before I started at Seton Hill, argue “But writing is a solitary process.” True. Writers may get together, sit in a room, and write, but ultimately each individual person is the one to put the words on paper. No one can write for us.

So what’s the point of a writing group? Hopefully these three factors will shed some light.

-Getting your work looked at

“Isn’t that the job of that first reader you were talking about?” Yes, initially. That first reader gives you the okay to show your work to other breathing humans. The first reader doesn’t need to be a writer. They just need to be an impartial party. A writer’s group is a group of writers. Think of them as the level before the lit magazine/agent/editor/whatever you’re submitting to. They write. They know the pitfalls and what works/what doesn’t work. They’ll give you a bit more detail than that first reader, which brings me to reason #2….

-Get your work critiqued

You need to let people critique your work. In the cases of short works or poetry, you might be able to get away with just submitting and getting it published. Even so, still give it to a group of writers to pick apart. Where longer works are concerned, I repeat—you need to let people critique your work. There comes a point where you just can’t see your own mistakes anymore. That’s the point at which you need someone else to look. It’s amazing what another set of eyes will find.

-Learn to critique others

If you are serious about writing, odds are very good you will need to critique someone’s work at some point in time. Writing groups, especially friendly/relaxed atmosphere writing groups, are an excellent place to start. And yes, it is important to find a group that you are comfortable with. Critiquing or being critiqued by people that you are walking on egg shells around helps no one. If you're not sure where to start, listen to the feedback others give. If they are doing it right, it should be supportive and constructive. Start there. Stay there. Even if you have a lot to say, always be supportive and constructive. It keeps relationships positive and ensures that both you and your groupmates walk away with usable feedback.

There it is—3 reasons why a writer’s group is a must-have for a serious writer. Writers, I hope you will take this and run with it. The industry is too competitive to do it all yourself. Everyone needs help—supportive and constructive help.

As always, thanks for reading.

Oh, and per last Monday’s post, 5 bonus points to Zeee for correctly identifying Donald Duck’s middle name as Fauntleroy.