Meet The Authors Volume 5 Interview Tour: Grumpy Old Trickster Gods

*Warning: Reading Grumpy Old Gods anthologies can lead to uncontrollable laughter, grinning, snorting, and other signs of glee. Eating or drinking while reading this book may lead to choking with laughter. Ask your doctor if laughter is right for you. Seek professional help if your grin doesn’t go down after forty-eight hours. Not recommended for children, politicians, war criminals, or Zeus.

What happens when trickster gods wane, retire, or just decide they need a change of employment? Trouble. Lots of trouble.
Meet The Authors of Volume 5 Grumpy Old Trickster Gods

Grumpy Old Trickster Gods Volume 5 Trailer Created
by Ronel Janse van Vuuren

Interview Tour Schedule
The Authors and the related stories in the anthology.

3 May J. Malcolm Stewart  Anansi and Robert go to Queens

5 May Vanessa Wells  The (Mostly) Retired God of Mischief

6 May E.J. Tedrow  Huehuecóyotl and the Dead Irish Hero 

10 May Melanie J. Drake  Rules of the Game 

12 May Ronel Janse Van Vuuren  Blaze of Glory

13 May Raven O’Fiernan The Werewolf’s Old Clothes

17 May Lyssa Medana  It’s a Deal 

19 May Kaelan Strouse Ganesha the Trickster.

20 May Vanessa Finaughty  That Kind of Mojo

24 May Jemma Weir  Granddad Swap

26 May Carlton Herzog  Bastille Day

27 May Katharina Gerlach  The Worst Trickster God of All

31 May Juneta Key  Subterfuge, Sleep Deprived

Catch this SPOTLIGHT on website blog of Western Romance Writer and Paranormal Author Sandra Cox.

The Grumpy Old Gods are back in this fifth installment of mythical fun!

Thirteen writers took up the challenge with total irreverence, a great deal of wit, and, in some cases, more alcohol than was strictly necessary. This mythical author alchemy led to an anthology that is nearly-always amusing, somewhat insightful, and completely irreverent as we imagine the trickster gods of yore in retirement:

In Anansi and Robert go to Queens by J. Malcolm Stewart, the spider trickster Anansi is about to pull off the greatest prank in the history of the cosmos – and a humble spider named Robert from Queens is honored to be a part of it, at least until he isn’t.

When Thor’s hammer is stolen from Asgard, Loki reluctantly puts down his laptop long enough to get up to his old tricks in The (Mostly) Retired God of Mischiefby Vanessa Wells.

Only an idiot would try to trick a trickster god – right? In Huehuecóyotl and the Dead Irish Hero by E.J. Tedrow, we find out there’s always one smartass who thinks he can get away with it.

In Rules of the Game by Melanie J. Drake, the Goddess of Thieves desperately wants to retire – she just needs to find the right sort of patsy – er – person to take her place.

A group of retired Gods and Goddesses dragoon the Goddess of Mischief into a contest of wit and wiles in Blaze of Glory by Ronel Janse Van Vuuren.

What’s trickier than an ancient Goddess in the form of a cat? Certainly not a werewolf pack. We find out who is the cleverest in The Werewolf’s Old Clothes by Raven O’Fiernan.

Taranis and Cerne come out of retirement when some local musicians need a little help from some retired Gods on Harleys in It’s a Deal by Lyssa Medana.

Clever Ganesha is forced to get a little crafty when some bureaucratic nonsense upsets the order of the cosmos in Kaelan Strouse’s Ganesha the Trickster.

In That Kind of Mojo by Vanessa Finaughty, some young tricksters come to understand the value of experience when it comes to pranks.

Jemma Weir introduces us to a seemingly prosaic retiree named Ernie in Granddad Swap; another reminder that looks can be deceiving.

A bored nature deity with a lot of friends is a dangerous nature deity – just ask the president. In Bastille Dayby Carlton Herzog, Pan and his coterie of gods and goddesses form the Beguilers; they might not be able to dazzle them with brilliance, but they can certainly baffle them with bs.

Hailing from the bloody past of the Aztec empire, Huehuecóyotl is forced to make the decision between his pantheon and the innocent people who will die if they are revived in The Worst Trickster God of Allby Katharina Gerlach.

In Subterfuge, Sleep Deprived by Juneta Key, we visit the underworld to figure out who kidnapped the God of Sleep – spoiler alert, Hades isn’t a happy camper without his shut eye.

Grumpy Old Love Gods: Be My Valentine!

Be My Grumpy Valentine!

In any era, it’s hard to be a love deity (we privately think it might be harder for anyone who has to deal with one). In the fourth installment of the Grumpy Old Gods Anthologies, our writers took up the challenge of writing love gods with total irreverence, a great deal of wit, and, in some cases, more alcohol than was strictly necessary.

In Pan’s Lavatory by Greg Nagler, our favorite witchy duo of Lilly and Mable are back in action with a spine-tingling tale of a zombie adult film star and the Grumpy God who arranged for her to rise from the dead. Remember: if you are ever tempted to make a deal with an ancient deity that smells like lavender and hangs out in women’s restrooms around Valentines… don’t. Just don’t. More Story Blurbs on Amazon!

We’re seven days away
from February 14th

You know what that means- 

Love is about to get Grumpy:

If you are looking for a sweet romantic read for your Valentine’s weekend, keep moving cupcake. In a tongue-in-cheek nod to the pinkest holiday of them all, the Grumpy Old Gods authors took a stab (sometimes literally) at love in some of its many forms. 

In the fourth installment of the Grumpy Old Gods Anthologies, our writers took up the challenge of writing love gods with total irreverence, a great deal of wit, and, (in some cases), more alcohol than was strictly necessary.

In Pan’s Lavatory by Greg Nagler, our favorite witchy duo of Lilly and Mable are back in action with a spine-tingling tale of a zombie adult film star and the Grumpy God who arranged for her to rise from the dead. Remember: if you are ever tempted to make a deal with an ancient deity that smells like lavender and hangs out in women’s restrooms around Valentines… don’t. Just don’t.

In Hit or Miss by V. S. Stark, St. Robert has to fill in for Cupid, even though he’s mostly in charge of weather and parking. Oh well, he’ll just go with what he knows and hope everything works out.

Mortality by Vanessa Finaughty takes us to a fantastical world where vampires roam… and even with eons of experience, our hero might still need the help of a trickster god and some serious firepower to get the girl. For… reasons.

Award-winning author Katharina Gerlach reimagines the story of Venus in her heartrending story, Searching for Love. Proving that time, space, and gravity are merely obstacles to be overcome.

In Maid in the Mist by Joe Kogut, we meet a young detective who is already in love–though encountering a Naired might make his ‘happily ever after’ kind of…deader than he’d prefer if he isn’t very, very careful of how he handles the case.

Hearn Goes A Hunting by Nic Steven is the story of how the hapless God Hearn learns how to use the internet for a new type of hunting. Spoiler alert: he might find that he is the prey.

In The Guessing Game by Stella B. James, the long-suffering niece of Artemis is desperately trying to start a nice, normal relationship, while the goddess of the hunt tortures… well tests him to make sure he’s worthy.

A Magnificent Mistake by Shelby Kisgen tells the tale of the best-looking guy and the ugliest girl in the village while reminding us you should never, ever, ever demand anything from a trickster goddess.

The L.O.V.E. Council by Ariel Barrios involves a god who might be known by another name–and the group of goddesses that will not take no for an answer when the fate of love is at stake.

Fatherly Love by Jocelyn Lasley takes us on a journey of discovery wherein a young demigoddess learns that love can’t be borrowed, earned, or taken by force–it has to be given freely or it means nothing. (No matter how many upgrades you make to Cupid’s arrows.)

In The Muse of Marketing by Vanessa Wells, Eros isn’t happy with his current be-diapered state (and who would be?). A new Muse might be the answer. After all, good PR can solve a lot of problems.

NOTE: The stories in this anthology deal with love and sex. This stuff is funny, but it’s not going to be everyone’s particular brand of vodka.

ALSO: if you are too young to drink vodka, you need to ask yourself if you are old enough to read this.

IWSG Book Club: September 23rd, 2021 Reads!

IWSG Book Club Upgrade!
The IWSG is getting an overhaul. We’re so excited about the changes, so let me just stop here and turn the explaining over to the fabulous Toi! (Toi’s msg taken from club newsletter.)

How to join IWSG and participate in the book club and the blog hop, and the many things for author’s sponsored and hosted through Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Find out here!


Hi there, I’m Toi.

Perhaps you’ve seen me around the IWSG community. I’m number 36 on the blogging list, and I’m kind of a ghost in the Facebook group, but I do pop in and out from time to time. I’ve been very active in the IWSG Book Club on Goodreads and have recently been asked to take it over. Fortunately, my wonderful co-mods (Juneta Key and Ronel Janse van Vurren) will be there for support the whole way.

We are so excited to announce the new direction the book club will be taking and hope that you will join us. Before we kick off our new traditions, we’ll have our final discussions about the craft of writing, featuring the titles: Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine and They Called Us Enemy by George Takei and Justin Eisinger. These final discussions, on August 25, 2021, are simply fun poll questions you can answer and then, if you so choose, share your thoughts and or review of the last books we read. Click here and here to join in.  

Starting in September, the book club will now serve as a spotlight of member talent. That’s right. We will be reading, sharing, and supporting the works of IWSG members and hope you will join in the fun. While spotlighting writers, we hope to take the book club in a direction that appeals to readers as well. Even if you don’t have time to read the books we choose to spotlight, you can still participate and spread the love. And just remember, your turn will eventually come around.

We have decided to honor the IWSG and its members in the month of September by featuring two of the group’s anthologies: Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime and Parallels: Felix Was Here. These anthologies are themselves a showcase of the talent present within the IWSG community. Since many members of the community are only published in the anthologies, this gives those members a chance to be featured.

Each month, we will feature two books from IWSG members, and whether a long-time veteran or a newcomer, your time to shine will come. The co-mods and I will be picking titles from members based on the blogging list. We’ve divided the list into three parts: 1-50, 51-100, and 100+. We will alternate each month which part we choose from, that way we’re not just showing attention to members in one portion of the list.

As the new admin of the book club, each month I will share tips on ways for members to help their books become more searchable, increasing their odds of being featured. The co-mods and I have also come up with some fun ways for the IWSG community to get involved, even if they are not ready to join the Goodreads book club. After the spotlighted books are announced in the IWSG newsletter, we encourage interested members to share which of the books they are excited to try out, the first Wednesday of the month, in their IWSG day post.

The second Thursday of the month will be when we post our group polls. We are even taking suggestions from members about poll topics to feature. The third Thursday of the month will be our #iwsgbookclub check-in, where we head to social media to share which book(s) we are reading and our thoughts at the moment. Finally, the fourth Thursday of the month will be our discussion day. We’ve decided to help connect readers with the IWSG authors by hosting micro discussions- 3 questions dedicated to each book featured; plus, I’ll be sharing additional questions on social media to indulge the avid readers. Even if you don’t have a chance to read the books, we encourage you to join the discussions. We all know how much writers thrive on feedback.

Wow. There are so many new and exciting things coming your way from the book club and I hope you’ll join the current book club members on this new journey. Personally, I am excited to be part of a community that provides so much support and so many opportunities. I can’t wait to see the IWSG Book Club on Goodreads thrive even more as we continue in the spirit of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

See you on post day.
Here on September 23, 2021!!

Thanks, Toi Thomas
Author at #thetoiboxofwords
Founder of Lit Carnivale. For more info, click here.

Book Marketing Fundamentals Hank Quense

Book Marketing Fundamentals Hank Quense

Don’t try to market your book without finding a mentor!
So, what if you had an experienced author to guide your marketing plans?

Author Hank Quense has self-published and marketed over 30 books. He’s written and marketed both fiction and non-fiction. He also lectures and holds webinars on self-publishing and on book marketing.

Imagine developing a detailed marketing plan for your book and then implementing it.
In this book, you’ll learn:
– How to develop your author’s platform material
– How to write your marketing content
– How to engage in marketing activities
– How to get more book reviews
– What kind of events to hold
– How to get publicity
– How to use (or not use) advertising.
– What other authors say about book marketing
Available on Amazon

Book Marketing Fundamentals Hank Quense

Marketing content is a crucially important element in your book marketing plans.

Marketing content is all about developing material that can be used in marketing activities.  Much of the copy you generate can be used by itself in marketing, some of it will be incorporated with other marketing content to produce additional material.

Here is a partial list of topics that can be used as your marketing content.

    ◆      Book blurb

    ◆      Keywords

    ◆      Sig files

What follows are brief descriptions for each topic.

Book Blurb

The purpose of the book blurb is to grab the attention of a potential reader.  Once you have her attention by means of a great pitch line as the opening sentence, you need to follow that up with a few more sentences that tell her what’s different about your book and what’s in it for her. 

Many new authors consider a book blurb to be a short synopsis.  This is a mistake.  Book blurbs and a short synopsis are two different animals and they have different purposes.

Here are descriptions for each of the three elements involved in developing a book blurb.  Some of the material you developed in your strategic marketing plan will be helpful here.

Pitch Line: This is the first statement and it is the hook to grab the reader’s attention.  Its purpose is to persuade the reader to keep reading the other two statements.  It should be simple, one or two sentences at most, and it must make a clear statement about your book.

What’s in it for the buyer? This is a statement that explains what the reader (i.e. a book buyer) will get in exchange for money.  This must be explicit.  This statement is not the place to get cute. Tell the reader what benefit he’ll get from buying the book.  Think of this statement in this way; if your book is surrounded by hundreds of similar-sized books on a shelf in a bookstore, what would persuade the buyer to choose your book instead of one of the others?

What’s different about this book? With all the books published every month, what makes your book stand out from the others?

The secret to creating an effective blurb is to keep rewriting and condensing it until it expresses the ideas with a minimum of words.


Keywords are frequently referred to as tags.

Readers will often search for a book using the name of a best-selling author but readers can’t enter your title or name if you don’t have any name recognition and if your book has been recently self-published

Another way readers will search for a book is by using a short descriptive phrase such as ‘fantasy quest’ or ‘regency romance’.  This is the situation where you want your book to appear in the search results.  To accomplish this, it is vital that you develop a set of keywords that will ensure your book title will show up in the reader’s search results.

The keywords you want to use are ones that readers in your genre will use when browsing for a book.  These keywords are not necessarily what your book is about: they are the terms a reader will type into a search engine.  Let’s say your book is a fantasy novel filled with elves and dwarfs.  You may think ‘dwarfs’ and ‘elves’ would be great keywords.  They are not.  A reader looking for a fantasy novel won’t use them, but instead will search on keywords like ‘fantasy adventure’ or ‘fantasy quest.’  Consequently, it is important for your marketing efforts that you develop a relevant set of keywords. 

Google has a free keyword planner you can use to help generate your keywords.  You can access it using this link:

Another free keyword tool can be found here:

If you have a publisher, it will generate your keywords.  If you self-published your book, check if the keywords should be updated.

Signature Files

Email signatures (usually called sig files) are a free way to publicize your book every time you send out an email.  Think about how many times a day that happens!

Sig files are those links you see beneath the name of the person who sent you the email.  Here is what yours could look like:

Your name

Title of your book

Location of your website

The last two lines would be linked to a webpage, the first to a book buying page like Amazon, the second to your blog page.

Sig files are easy to implement and only take a few minutes.  For the Mac mail program, open mail, click on preferences and then on signatures.  This will open a new screen. On the left is a list of your email accounts (if you have more than one).  The middle column lists the signatures you have established.  Right now, it’s probably blank.  Click on the (+) button and type a file name, such as ‘sig 1’.  In the right column, you can add the sig files you want and they will be linked to the sig name.  To do this, type the name of your book in the right column, highlight the book name, right click on the mouse and click on ‘link’ and then type or paste the URL of your book page.  Close the screen and every time you send out a new email, the link to your book’s page will go with it.

With Gmail, go to the settings page and scroll down to Signature.  There you’ll see a text box to add whatever you want appended to your signature.  You can add links as you need them.  Other email programs will have a similar process to build a sig file.

If you use Outlook, this link will provide information about sig files in that program:

The material in this article is based on my new book, Book Marketing Fundamentals, available in ebook and print editions at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other book sellers

Visit my Writers & Authors Resource Center for much more content, most of it unique.

Book Marketing Fundamentals Hank Quense

Book Marketing Fundamentals Hank Quense


Early in his writing career, he was strongly influenced by two authors: Douglas Adams and his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Happily, Hank has never quite recovered from those experiences.

He lives with his wife in northern New Jersey, a mere 20 miles from Manhattan, the center of the galaxy (according to those who live in Manhattan). They have two daughters and five grandchildren all of whom live close by.

For vacations, Hank and Pat usually visit distant parts of the galaxy. Occasionally, they also time-travel.

Besides writing novels, Hank lectures on fiction writing, publishing and book marketing. He is most proud of his talk showing grammar school kids how to create a short story. He used these lectures to create an advanced eBook with embedded videos to coach the students on how to create characters, plots and setting. The target audience is 4th to 7th graders. The book’s title is Fiction Writing Workshop for Kids.

He has a number of links where you can follow his work and his occasional rants:

Hank’s blog:

Strange Worlds website:

Follow him on twitter:

Follow him on Facebook:

Book Marketing Fundamentals Hank Quense