Thursday, September 29, 2022

New release: Miriam’s Story: A Biographical Historical Novel - by Elizabeth Ajamie-Boyer


Find this book on Amazon HERE

In the late 1800s, Miriam Baalbeky emigrated from Baalbek, Lebanon. Only about thirteen years old, she was torn from everything she knew for a new life in the United States of America.

5-star review on Amazon:

This book is written beautifully. The author conveys just how Miriam (my great grandmother) must have felt leaving her home in Lebanon. And she nailed it with my Great Aunt Florence! I got a chuckle or two out of reading about her! I knew and loved these people until they passed, and Elizabeth brings out their personalities with panache. A great read for adults and young adults alike. I thank Elizabeth from my heart for writing this lovely biography. Miriam's hopes and dreams were fulfilled, and she did indeed create a family numbering as many as the sands of the seashore. So many memories.... With love, Gillian Salem

About the author:

From Phoenix, Arizona, Elizabeth graduated from East High School, South Mountain Community College, and Arizona State University. She writes her own books, and co-writes with her husband, TJ Boyer, primary author of The Mirror Gate Chronicles series. As a Christian, Elizabeth is called to write gentle romance and historical fiction. Elizabeth and TJ have two children and three grandchildren.

Find out more about Elizabeth HERE.

Monday, September 26, 2022

New Release: My Nana's Special Gift is... - by Tracy T. Agnelli


Written by Tracy T. Agnelli and illustrated by Claudie C. Bergeron, this children's picture book is about a bonding between Nana's and their grandchildren, and the special gifts they teach them.

Find it in print on Amazon HERE

Tracy grew up in Arizona, where he writes children’s books. Tracy has worked at an elementary school for over 25 years, where he enjoys reading to the children when he can. When not at work, or working on writing, he enjoys meditating, yoga, and being with family. Tracy has two children and one grandchild. He tries to get healthy but loves cookies. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Decluttering your life, your manuscript, your closet - by Vijaya Schartz

Find all my titles at: amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

Minimalism is on the rise. In the aftermaths of the pandemic, we developed an appreciation for uncluttered living spaces. Besides, clutter is unhealthy, can cause depression… or harbor ghosts of your past. After decluttering, you will be healthier, happier, and free to move on with your life.

Eight years ago, I left a husband and his big house to live with my cat in a tiny apartment. Since then, I moved again, and each move is an opportunity to get rid of clutter. And despite the fact that I am a minimalist at heart, I still have to remind myself to declutter from time to time. Usually, it’s when I run out of hangers, or I can’t find the top I want to wear in the impossibly tight closet.

As our body changes, we buy new clothes but keep the old ones. Just in case? Why? Get rid of the clothes you no longer wear, like old bras that don’t fit anymore. If you ever lose the weight to fit in those skinny jeans again, they will be out of style and you’ll want to buy new ones anyway. Get rid of the shoes that hurt your feet, tired flannel shirts, cropped tops from another decade, work clothes from a previous job, etc.

As I’m turning in my October release to the publisher, ANGEL SHIP, Book One of a new sci-fi series with romantic elements titled Blue Phantom, I thought a few days of decluttering would keep me busy while waiting for the edits.

Here is the stunning cover of ANGEL SHIP
Find other books in the Azura universe: 
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

But this is easier said than done. I still have favorite shirts from two decades ago. I know I can never wear them in public, but I still love them. I don’t go out very often, and except for maybe four times a year, I only wear yoga pants, sports bras, and loose tops while typing away at my computer or going to my Tai-Chi classes.

To make it easier on your soul, start with a smaller space, like your car. Then you can move to the trash, the broken things, the chipped mugs and plates, the reminders of unhappy times, the junk drawer, old jewelry. Trash the unflattering photos and digitalize the good ones. Get rid of expired medications, expired food in the fridge and kitchen cabinets. Extra kitchen utensils, bowls, pans, spatulas. Donate, recycle the empty plastic jars, have a yard sale, sell the good stuff on eBay, etc.

My dilemma is often what do I trash? What do I donate? Sometimes, it’s difficult to be objective, and I need another pair of eyes. A friend can give you sound advice in that matter.

As a writer, the same goes with your manuscript. Clarity is key. You don’t want to confuse the reader with too many characters and unnecessary details. You can sometimes consolidate two or three secondary characters into one who will serve the same purpose. Also, if a subplot doesn’t enhance the main story, get rid of it. Give your characters breathing room, so they can be free to express their true feelings on the page.

In the meantime, enjoy the last of summer. Almost time to take out the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations… Then it will be Christmas again… then New Year.

Happy Reading! Find all my books at:
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats


Monday, September 12, 2022

New Release: Intestinal Fortitude - by Earl Llewellyn Goldmann


Find this book in paperback and eBook on amazon HERE

Part autobiographical and part expose, Intestinal Fortitude weaves Earl Llewellyn Goldmann’s battles with physical injury, alcohol abuse, depression, and recovery even as he succeeds as a basketball standout, teacher, and coach.

In this compassionate and moving memoir of vignettes, Earl reveals how a not-so-ordinary young man with great potential from a small town on the Oregon Coast, faced repeated trauma and stress in his life. His brave, truthful, and detailed stories address head-on the implications of alcohol, an unhappy marriage, and tragic loss in his college years. His stories flow into our hearts and souls as we experience his unflinching optimism during a search for his identity through sports.

Earl proves that a strong man with resilience, perseverance, and gratitude can find himself in a place of immense pride in his sobriety, family, and life journey. His self-reflection and wisdom, a beacon of hope for all of us, create this must-read for anyone asking questions about their life’s purpose.

Earl L. Goldmann launched his first memoir Bounce Back in 2017 at age 82. Born and raised in Tillamook, on the Oregon Coast, he now resides in Scottsdale where he wrote his second memoir entitled Intestinal Fortitude. This one was just released in May, 2022. Earl taught history and government at Canby and Estacada High Schools in Oregon while coaching girl’s golf, boy’s track, and basketball for over 25 years. Earl also sold textbooks, managed a golf course, and owned a bar/restaurant before retirement in Oregon and his move to Arizona. He played basketball and baseball at Oregon State University in the 1950s, only to lose his scholarships due to a horrific car wreck. After a lengthy recovery, he earned two degrees from Portland State University, including a master’s degree in education. Find out more about Earl and his wife, Patricia L. Brooks, on their website HERE

Thursday, September 8, 2022

New Release: Camp Verde Chamber Resource: 2022-2023 - by


Find this title on Amazon HERE

Camp Verde Chamber Resource Book has the answers to your questions regarding the services which are available in the business community of Camp Verde. Some are calling this ‘book’ a PHONE BOOK ON STEROIDS because it includes everything that the old Yellow Pages used to include—but adds the internet functions.

The Camp Verde Chamber & Business Alliance has compiled an extensive listing of businesses in Camp Verde. This list includes the following sections: Emergency; Move to Camp Verde (Water & Power, Trash Disposal & Sewer, Phone & Internet, Satellite, Propane, Propane Refill, Auto Repair, Auto Parts, Laundromat, Dry Cleaners, Transportation, Licenses, Schools, Realtors); Community Resources (Seniors, Health Care, Military Veterans); Business (Downtown, Finnie Flat, Montezuma Hwy, Hwy 260 East of I-17, Hwy 260 West of I-17, Rimrock, Surrounding Areas); Restaurants; Churches; an Index and Chamber Information.

The Camp Verde Chamber Resource is available in color, b/w paperback as well as E-Book. Look for all of the editions 

 Glorybound is owned and operated by Sheri Hauser since its inception in 2005. She wrote the first book and, finding publication difficult, opted to launch out to learn what is needed to start her own publishing company. Sheri studied graphic arts at Las Vegas University. It took 3 years to learn what was needed regarding papers, distribution, and binding (at that time). Then, she further augmented her career change (from being an ICU Nurse) to Publisher by learning web design. Through several years she assisted writers to publish their books by conventional methods as well as printing and binding in her garage-office. By 2018 Sheri Hauser had published over 600 books in 5 languages and moved the company from a home office to a store front back to a home office located in Camp Verde, Arizona. She was the Camp Verde Chamber Board Member (CVCBA), Director of Education Board Member, 2017-2019, President, 2019- 2021, Secretary, 2021to present

Monday, September 5, 2022

Back to Basics - by Ashley E. Sweeney

 Back in 8th grade English class, fusty grammarians in drab housedresses and sensible shoes hammered parts of speech into our brains. Remember diagramming sentences? Scouring the dictionary for transitive and intransitive verbs? Learning proofreading marks? With all stereotyping aside, it’s the Mrs. Carrizzos of the world that might very well have set us on the path we find ourselves today.

Oftentimes, though, we’re so caught up with publishing and marketing that we don’t take time to review craft. In this column over the next year, we’ll do just that: work on craft.

This month, we’ll review basics—and then dig deeper to see how choosing the right word is our job #1. By identifying heroes and villains in writing, incorporating robust words in our manuscripts, eliminating unnecessary words in our work, and editing productively, our manuscripts—and our readers—will thank us for it.

* * *


NOUN: A word that indicates a person, place, thing, or idea, i.e. girl, classroom, pencil, satisfaction

PRONOUN: A word used in place of a noun, i.e., she, he, they

 VERB: A word that specifies action, i.e. run, talk, sing

ADVERB: A word that modifies a verb and tells how, when, where, why, how often, or how much, and often ends in – ly, i.e., loudly, strongly, bravely

ADJECTIVE: A word that describes a noun, i.e., experienced, powerful, new

PREPOSITION: A word or group of words that show the relation or position of the noun, i.e., before, alongside, across

CONJUNCTION: A word that connects other words, i.e., and, but, yet

INTERJECTION: A word that indicates surprise, and often ends with an exclamation mark, i.e., Yikes! Wow! Ugh!

* * *


Nouns and verbs are the heroes in writing and form complete sentences in and of themselves. Writing guru Natalie Goldberg, in her iconic Writing Down the Bones, advises writers to name your nouns.

“Be specific,” Goldberg writes. “Not car, but Cadillac. Not horse, but palomino. Not fruit, but tangerine.” By using concrete nouns, you place the reader in the setting.

When selecting verbs, we can also be specific. Goldberg goes on to say, “Verbs are the action and energy of a sentence. Be aware of your verbs and the power they have and use them in fresh ways.”

Take the verb “walk” for example (there are more than 30 synonyms for “walk,” beginning with amble and ending with waddle). By using vivid verbs, you can convey your character’s mood.

Let’s consider the sentence: Anna walks toward the house. 

What kind of house? The blue split-level at the end of the cul-de-sac? The stately mansion on Garden Avenue? The squat adobe squeezed between First Methodist and the Lucky Lady Saloon? 

And how is Anna walking? Does she amble, hobble, or march? Stagger, shuffle, or stride? Or does she tiptoe, trot, or trudge? 

With these specifics, we give our readers two important pieces of information: what is Anna’s mood (verb) and what is her destination (noun).

If we say Anna ambles toward the blue split-level at the end of the cul-de-sac, what picture/mood do you conjure when you read this sentence? By using “amble,” we could assume 1) she’s not in a hurry and/or 2) she might not be looking forward to going home for some reason. By using “blue split-level at the end of the cul-de-sac,” we could assume 1) she probably lives in suburbia and/or 2) she’s from a middle-class family.

Now use the verb “stride” in the second example to “feel” how Anna walks toward the mansion. Use the verb “trudge” in the third example to “feel” how Anna walks toward the squat adobe. See what a difference vivid verbs and specific nouns can make? It’s so much clearer than the original sentence: “Anna walks toward the house.”


Most authors agree the villains in writing are adverbs. Used sparingly, they can be effective. But if you overuse them, you fall into what author Steven King, in his classic book, On Writing, says is the “fear of not being taken seriously; it is the voice of little boys wearing shoe polish mustaches and little girls clumping around in Mommy’s high heels. With adverbs, the writer tells us he or she is afraid he/she isn’t expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or the picture across.” Ouch. 

Another caveat about adverbs: Show the reader! Don’t tell the reader! And always use either says (present tense) or said (past tense) for dialog tags instead of using an adverb. For example, have your character slam his fist on the table instead of saying “he said loudly.” Or have your character whisper to her friend instead of saying “she said quietly.” Let your dialog and action show, not tell, how the character speaks.

The same goes for interjections. Using sparingly, they can be effective. But! If you use them, too much, they can be ineffective! Right?!

As to the other parts of speech, use as needed and be intentional in your writing.

* * *

Now let’s turn our attention to our manuscripts and how to edit them, keeping in the forefront of our minds that every word matters. 

Rule #1: Edit with dispassion and ruthlessness

Rule #2: Separate yourself from your work (note to self: your work is not your persona

Rule #3: Seek and be open to critique and advice from early readers

Rule #4: Be brutal in revisions

Gary Provost, in his The Seven Beacons of Excellent Writing, writes: “Don’t think about what you can put in. Think about what you can leave out.”

How to do this? 

First, in your final edit, analyze every sentence by reading aloud. Ask yourself, “How is the flow? Is there a stronger word to use?” Then go to print or online helps—dictionary, thesaurus—and audition new words. Read the sentence aloud again with new choices and don’t stop until you’re satisfied with one sentence before going on to the next. This is a lengthy yet invaluable process. And remember that sometimes the original and simplest word is best.

Once you’re satisfied with word choice, its time to slash away. Unnecessary words bog down a manuscript. The biggest culprits are the articles, a, an, and the, followed by superfluous words, including:

That     Each     Other     Every     More     Yet     Very     Actually     Just     Quite     Really     Rather     Like     Simply     Best     Up     Pretty     Down     See     Which 

How to find them? Search document for culprit words and use online helps such as Scrivener, ProWriting Aid, Grammarly, Autocrit, Word Hippo, or My Word Count. You can often trim your manuscript by 1,000+ words by removing inessential words.

You can, as my editor always points out, “take or toss” any writing advice. In the end, the choice is yours. It’s your story in your words.

Until next time, Happy Writing! 


Ashley E. Sweeney is the winner of the 2017 Nancy Pearl Book Award for her debut novel, Eliza Waite. A native New Yorker, she is a graduate of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, and resides in Tucson. Answer Creek, released in May 2020, is her second novel. Her third novel, Hardland, is set in the Arizona territory at the beginning of the 20th century. It is scheduled for release on September 13, 2022. More about her HERE.