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Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month

April 14, 2024 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

Featruing Marianne H. Donley

Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Pennslyvania with her husband, son, and a very very active dog. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, The Charmed Connection, Sisters in Crime, The Guppies and Capital Crimes. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances, or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor. She also could be knitting.

Stoke the campfire and get ready for some chills and goosebumps when you open this paranormal addition to the award-winning Bethlehem Writers Group’s “Sweet, Funny, and Strange” anthologies.
Among our twenty-seven stories, we bring you Jeff Baird’s “Bailey’s Mountain” which shows a romp with man’s best friend through Mother Nature morph into a visit to the supernatural. Dianna Sinovic’s “Point of View” describes a mysterious shifting painting and its sinister effects on its new owner. Jodi Bogert brings us “Old Man Omar,” and shows us that sometimes those we consider crazy might just know some things we don’t.

In DT Krippene’s “Hell of a Deal,” a man buys a house for a price that’s too good to be true—until he discovers the bizarre strings attached. Kidd Wadsworth’s “The Beast” brings a ghost story to life—but can her characters escape with theirs?

In addition, we have new stories of the unexplained from favorite authors Courtney Annicchiarico, Walter Bego, A. E. Decker, Marianne H. Donley, Headley Hauser, Ralph Hieb, Jerome W. McFadden, Stanley W. McFarland, Emily P. W. Murphy, Christopher D. Ochs, Paul Weidknecht, and Carol L. Wright. Also included are the winning stories from the 2017 and 2018 Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award by Suzanne Purvis and Christine Eskilson respectively.

In Marianne’s story “The Roman Coin” a harried husband’s wish is granted, and he discovers what his life would be like without his wife.

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Other Anthologies with Marianne’s stories.

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The 2024 Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award

April 13, 2024 by in category Contests, From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group, Writing Contest tagged as , , , ,

The 2024 Short Story Award Deadline is April 30, 2024

The theme: Season’s Readings

Bethlehem Writers Group is seeking never-published short stories of 2,000 words or fewer for a chance to win.

Winners will receive:

First Place:
$250 and publication in our upcoming anthology: Season’s Readings: More Sweet, Funny, and Strange Holiday Tales

Second Place:
$100 and publication in Bethlehem Writers Roundtable

Third Place:
$50 and publication in Bethlehem Writers Roundtable

Click here for submission rules

The Guest Judge is Marlo Berliner is the multi-award-winning, bestselling author of The Ghost Chronicles series. You can read an interview with Marlo here.

Other Books Published by BWG

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Debut Author Book Launch Checklist

April 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

As a new debut author, it’s amazing how once you get the green light to publish, there are so many little details for an author to complete. And quickly. I’m in the process of building a debut author checklist to help me keep track of everything. One is specific to book launch, while the other is for a debut author overall.

blog header with title debut author book launch checklist by denise M. Colby with laptop graphic on right side

I’m sure there are lots of helpful lists out there. I’ve seen many posts and emails related to this over the years. I’ve even taken lots of notes during workshops. But it’s sooo different when you are finally in that moment yourself.

So I’m compiling my own list and would love to have input from all the other authors who are part of this blog. Please share lists you use or your own ideas in the comments below. And keep reading to see if I’m missing anything.

Book Launch Checklist

Your book is being published, and you have a date. Now what? Here’s what I have experienced so far with my first book, When Plans Go Awry, launching June 4, 2024.

Book Cover for Denise M. Colby's Debut novel When Plans Go Awry
  • Cover design
  • Announce cover reveal in newsletter and social media
  • Sign up for some blog interviews close to book launch date
  • Back cover copy
  • Send file out to authors to write endorsements
  • Final edits
  • Final inside matter – map, dedication page, acknowledgements, author’s note, endorsements, author bio
  • At the end of the book include a link to sign up for newsletter
  • Teaser for next book
  • Galley Proof
  • Update facebook header with new book cover
  • Book page on your website
  • Book page on your publisher website
  • Book page on GoodReads (and link to author page)
  • Pull quotes from book to create graphics

Are there other things you do with each book? Since I work full time and my son is getting married the same month my book launches, my husband and I agreed a book launch manager would be beneficial for my first book since I wanted to do an official launch team. Additional tasks for this include:

  • Recruit people to be a part of book launch team (with google form for signups)
  • Identify giveaways for book launch members (see my rooster below)
  • Create content for book launch members to use
  • Create special content for members
This Rooster Squishmellow is a giveaway for a debut author book launch denise colby
One of things I’ll be giving away to a book launch team member

Debut Author Checklist

I’ve been working on this journey a long time and even though I’ve established my website and social media, I’m finding my debut author checklist is long for all the things I still want to do. Of course working on Book 2 is on the list, but there are other things that need to happen so I can maximize this first book launch.

  • Create an author GoodReads page (this is a bit of a process without an ISBN number, but it is possible. I was able to get this built and link my book page together) Need to have this account use the email that you use for your website
  • Newsletter set up – build newsletter list
  • Update website pages where needed (make sure all references to previous book titles or content have been updated)
  • Create a new updated logo (my son is designing one for me)
  • Create Amazon Author page
  • Booksweeps account
  • Bookbub account
  • Fictionfinder account
  • Take new head shots
  • Post a lot on social media to generate buzz and gain momentum

Again, I’m sure there’s things I’m missing and I would love to learn what others have done or wish they would’ve done in the very beginning. Let’s hear it! Post in the comments below.

All-in-all, I’m enjoying this new stage of my writing journey, even though it’s all new for me and feels a bit never-ending. This year I chose the word grow as my focus word. As you can see from the list above, I am growing in lots of knowledge on how to be a debut author and manage a book launch.

If you are interested in joining my book launch team, I’d love to have you. Sign up on my book launch team google form. And have a chance to win the stuffed rooster.

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Since I’m on a mad crazy deadline and it’s TITANIC time, enjoy these short scenes I recorded from ‘The Runaway Girl’ A Titanic love story

April 11, 2024 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m down to the wire, typing madly to finish up SISTERS OF THE RESISTANCE (sequel to SISTERS AT WAR), but every year I commemorate the sinking of the grand ship TITANIC with a post.

So,,, grab a cup of herb tea and a biscuit and listen to me reading short scenes from THE RUNAWAY GIRL on Boldwood Bedtime Stories where we meet Ava before she boarded the TITANIC.

I enjoyed bringing these characters in Queenstown Ireland to life… Enjoy!

Boldwood Bedtime Stories: The RUNAWAY GIRL Introduction


Boldwood Bedtime Stories: The RUNAWAY GIRL Part 1: Queenstown, Ireland Ava needs a place to stay


Boldwood Bedtime Stories: The RUNAWAY GIRL Part 2: Ava ends up in a dosshouse in Queenstown, Ireland


Boldwood Bedtime Stories: The RUNAWAY GIRL Part 3 Ava bargains with Florie Sims at the dosshouse


Boldwood Bedtime Stories: The RUNAWAY GIRL Part 4 Ava fights back against unruly gent in dosshouse




Two women hold the keys to his heart. Only one will survive that fateful night…

When Ava O’Reilly is wrongly accused of stealing from her employer, she has no option but to flee Ireland. The law is after her, and she has only one chance at escape – the Titanic.

Aboard the ship of dreams, she runs straight into the arms of Captain ‘Buck’ Blackthorn, a dashing gentleman gambler who promises to be her protector. He is intrigued by her Irish beauty and manages to disguise her as the maid of his good friend, the lovely Countess of Marbury. Little does he realise, that the Countess is also in love with him.

As the fateful night approaches, tragedy strikes further when Ava is separated from Buck, and must make a daring choice that will change her life forever…

A sweeping historical romance set aboard the Titanic, from the author of Her Lost Love (Christmas Once Again).

Praise for Jina Bacarr:

‘A delightful holiday romance that has all the charm of a classic Christmas movie. Christmas Once Again is perfect for anyone who loves a holiday romance brimming with mistletoe, hope, and what ifs.’ Andie Newton, author of The Girl I Left Behind

‘A breathtaking holiday romance that is sure to stay with you long after reading’

‘A mesmerizing holiday romance that is sure to sweep you off your feet and take you away to another place, another time.’

‘A fabulous book you won’t want to miss’

THE RUNAWAY GIRL e-book, print and audio book:

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Encouragement for Writers in Perimenopause by Kitty Bucholtz

April 9, 2024 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz tagged as , ,

I am having the worst time going through perimenopause. Seriously. It seems I’m angry or stressed or anxious or angry-stressed-anxious almost all the time! A year ago, I finally saw a doctor and started HRT (hormone replacement therapy—bioidentical from plants, not the old stuff from pregnant horses). Things started getting better, and I even wrote in my journal one day that I felt almost 100%.

Then it started sliding downhill again. I’ve been trying to figure out what changed, in my body or my life, to make things feel worse. The best guess my husband and I could come up with was that my doctor changed my prescription around September or October, and that seemed to be around the time I got worse.

But today, minutes before I started typing this, I spoke to another friend going through this and she said since I had Covid in October, it was probably that. I had no idea Covid could compound my symptoms! My friend is a therapist (I can’t remember if she’s a psychologist or something else) and she said, “It’s true. It can make it worse.”


Why am I talking about this? Because around half the people reading this blog post have recently gone through or are going through perimenopause or know someone who is. (Maybe you’re married to someone like me. I’m so sorry. My husband might start a support group.) And if your hormonal changes haven’t been kind to you, you’re not getting much writing done. And if you’re anything like me…that really bothers you.

I don’t know what it is about my personality, but pretty much every really difficult thing I’ve gone through in my life, I process by writing about it in such a way as to help others through it. So that’s what I’m doing again.

I’ve just started outlining Encouragement for Writers in Perimenopause, one of the first books that will come out in my Encouragement for Writers series. Hopefully, it will release later this year. But…the other thing perimenopause seems to steal away, for a while at least, is confidence. This seems true in every field—my architect friend and my actress friend report the same. We’re afraid to get gigs or pursue clients because we’re afraid our brains will be in “brain fog” condition just at the time we need to use them in front of the people who’ve hired us!

Five years ago, just 2019, I couldn’t find very much helpful information online. Mostly I was reading articles by (here I go, being unfairly prejudicial to a group; sorry, but at least I recognize it!)—white, male, American doctors. And nearly everything I read then pretty much said, these are the symptoms and there’s not much you can do, but don’t worry, it’ll go away in five or ten years.


Talk about making me angry!

Whew…okay…taking a breath now.

But in the last few years, a lot more helpful information has become more easily available (i.e., I found more of it when Googling), mostly written by women who were struggling themselves. I even found two white, male, American doctors on YouTube who were super helpful! (Haha!)

Unfortunately, just like when we were teenagers, everyone is different. There are things that will make a small positive difference for me that might make a huge positive difference for you, and vice versa. And there are SO. MANY. SYMPTOMS. Some of them are really weird—like itchy ears! (I’ve got that, too! Only recently read it’s something enough women have complained about to add it to the list of potential issues.)

If you’re going through this and want more answers, or if you were able to figure out some helpful answers for yourself, please leave a comment and/or email me at kitty @ kittybucholtz .com. Maybe you have some useful information that can go into the book!

I’m determined to help myself and others get through this easier. And I’m doubly determined to help women and men stop being embarrassed to talk about it. We all know that we all went through hormonal changes as teenagers, and everyone accepted it as a normal part of life. We need to look at perimenopause in the same way—it’s just a normal part of life, nothing for any of us to be embarrassed about, and the more we understand it, the easier it will be to deal with it.

Imagine not wondering if your friend, sister, wife, mother, or coworker was considering divorce…or had started to hate her job…or hated your guts for some unknown reason. It’d be a wonderful life if we understood each other a little more.

So of Kitty’s Books


Buy now!


Buy now!


Buy now!


Buy now!


Buy now!


Buy now!


Buy now!
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