Monday, July 15, 2024

New Release: Leaning into curves - by Linda Sandel Pettit


Find it on Amazon   HERE

International Speaker, author, and mentor, Dr. Linda Sandel Pettit has written a compelling tale of an intuitive intelligence that guides us through life— mystical, magical, and practical. LEANING INTO CURVES is a story of hope that our journeys through life can be sure-footed when we listen from and follow the way of the heart, the beingness of love. LEANING INTO CURVES is, first, a love story. It is a poignant tale of forbidden love between a 24-year-old woman and a Catholic missionary priest twice her age; of two souls who crossed the boundaries of religious beliefs and dogma to honor their hearts. It is a tale of crushing loss when a tragic car accident on Christmas Eve ends their earthly relationship. It is tale of one woman’s trust in the spiritual wisdom unfolding from her soul to guide her through suffering and death to a new love. Available at

LEANING INTO CURVES is one woman’s search for the sacred feminine, divine female power. It is a candid, insightful and lyrical story of transformation that explores: judgment and forgiveness, separation and connection, desire and surrender, mystery and miracles, intuition and synchronicity, and faith and love.

With over five decades dedicated to writing, four decades immersed in counseling psychology, and two decades serving as a spiritual mentor, Dr. Linda brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her writing, speaking and client work. She holds a doctorate in counseling psychology, a master’s degree in counselor education and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. More at   

Monday, July 8, 2024

Martial arts in my action-packed science fiction novels - by Vijaya Schartz


Preview of my upcoming novel's cover (October 2024)
Find more of my books on my website HERE

Once a Martial artist, always a Martial artist. My fascination with Martial arts started early. I remember being the smallest in my Judo and Karate Club as an early teen, in France, learning the ropes from big men three times my size and weight. It made for good fun when we did David and Goliath public demonstrations, as the teacher pitted me against the tallest, biggest, baddest, strongest man in the club. The spectators cheered when I threw him across the mat.

I practiced other sports over the years, Gymnastics, surfing, skating, etc. But Martial Arts always remained on my mind.

Later, in Hawaii, I discovered Aikido and immersed myself in that discipline. There, too, we did public demonstrations, to show that technique and agility always overcame brute strength. For a 5-foot, one-hundred-pounds girl like me, it was the perfect equalizer. Then I learned to wield the sword, the long pole, the knife, the night-stick, and other weapons.

After many years of daily practice, I became the teacher. With age, I realized I didn’t have to take hard falls on the mat, day after day to keep my skills sharp. I moved to a more peaceful form of Martial Art, Tai-Chi.

But all these disciplines have become part of me, like a second nature. And, of course, this is reflected in my novels. Whether they are Samurai, bounty hunters, rebels, spaceship captains, Valkyries, Amazons, avenging angels, soldiers, or law enforcers, I write strong heroines and brave heroes, fighting for justice, to save the galaxy, or to defend what they love.

If you like action adventure with a hint of romance, check out my science fiction novels. Here are some recommendations. Find them on:

amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

Happy Reading!

Vijaya Schartz, award-winning author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

Monday, July 1, 2024

Looking for Comp Titles Catching Up with a Whole Genre by Adrienne Miles


When it comes time to submit a manuscript for representation or publication, agents and publishers need to know where it fits among all the books that are currently being published. One bit of shorthand for this is a list of comparison titles, or “comps.”

Fair enough. That said, filling a box on a query form labeled "List some books that are similar to yours. (500 characters or less)" can be daunting to the uninitiated. Speculative fiction is only part of what I read, and for most of my adult life, my reading hours have been limited by, well, life.

What to do? I thought hard, perused Writer’s Digest’s gargantuan array of information and instruction, thumbed through several books, researched online, and pored over awards lists. I consulted the most recent Locus Recommended Reading List (—which is awesome, by the way, for finding reading material. I found a zillion new favorite authors but no comps—at least nothing matchy-matchy, which is probably a good thing. But what was I supposed to type in that dratted rectangle on the query forms?

I started making headway at answering this question when I found the podcast, The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, whose delightful presenters critique real query letters submitted by listeners and often feature a guest speaker once the critiques are done. They have a Substack, too.

Then I discovered more agents who are actively demystifying the publishing process. I almost tripped over the Short Fuse Guides from Fuse Literary when researching agents to query. I sprang for the paid version of Kate McKean’s Substack, Agents and Books, when I read her post, “Don’t Be Dr. Frankenstein,” about comp titles because not only did that post answer my questions about comps, I learn something new every time she posts.

I learned some more at the Las Vegas Writers Conference in April 2023. They had an entire track on what to do with a finished manuscript.

One common thread running through almost all the advice I read or listened to was the recommendation to ask for help from a librarian to build a list of potential comparison titles. Then start reading. You want to make sure that the titles that look like comps actually are.

Duh. I’m a retired librarian; I have done reader advisory interviews by the bucketful. The tools for finding “readalikes” have not changed much since I retired, so I dug in.

First I did the lazy thing. I went to Goodreads, selected books that came close, and went to the “Readers Also Enjoyed” display at the foot of the screen. This can be tricky because that list appears to be a list of other books that people who clicked on your target book also clicked on. I’m not the only person in the universe with eclectic taste in literature. But once you’re in the ballpark, eliminating the obvious duds is pretty simple. Amazon and Overdrive have similar services; the same caveats apply. I also had a great time on, looking for books my favorite authors recommend.

As I plowed through the lists, it occurred to me that looking for comp titles is a little like networking. The best networking is rarely focused; it happens when you live your life and pay attention to the people around you. With that in mind, I added titles to my to-be-read list that may or may not be comps but I think I’ll enjoy reading.

Then I went into librarian mode and dived into some databases my local public library makes available: Books and Authors, Literature Resource Center, Novelist, and WorldCat. Most aren’t free, but many public libraries offer free access for library card holders.

The gold standard for reader advisory, though, is finding somebody who knows the genre inside and out. Somebody like the sweet, motherly children’s librarian where I used to work. She was our resident authority on true crime books.

But wait! My local library lists a resource called Your Next Great Read in alphabetical order on its web page, right after WorldCat. It’s their own form. Fill it out with the names of books and authors close to what you seek, give them your email address and library card number, press submit, and it’ll be in the librarians’ inbox.

You bet I filled that form out. Sure enough, a living, breathing librarian sent me a list of authors to try. While some on the list are familiar, many are new to me and I can’t wait to read their work. 

If you are looking for me, I’ll have my nose in a book. I am re-learning the genre inside and out.

Adrienne Bengtson, who writes science fantasy as Adrienne Miles, picked back up her lifelong interest in writing after retiring from the U.S. Air Force and a 25- year career as a librarian. She is getting ready to publish her debut novel, Spider’s Wyrd, with Brick Cave Media later this year. In addition to reading and writing, she enjoys travel, hiking, fiber arts, and doting on her daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren. She plays Celtic traditional music on the penny whistle and keyless flute, and sometimes plays the great Highland bagpipes in public. She lives in Mesa with her husband and their cats. For more: