Some promotion for ME – Susan M. Toy

I’m so busy promoting other authors all the time that I don’t get around to tooting my own horn about my books or myself as often as I possibly might do. So it always comes as a great surprise and delight to me whenever any of these authors I’ve been promoting in turn offers me some means of getting my name out there or posts a review of one of my books!

Michell Plested, who was previously featured on Reading Recommendations, interviewed me for his own series, Get Published, and that has been posted here on Irreverent Muse. Hope you enjoy listening!

And I recently received a second 5-star review from Tricia Drammeh, this time after she read my novel, Island in the Clouds! Here’s the link to that review on Goodreads. The first 5-star review Tricia wrote was for my novella, That Last Summer, and you may read that review by clicking here. Tricia Drammeh will be featured on Reading Recommendations later this week.

And, still available until Nov. 1st, you may enter the Goodreads Giveaway I’m running to win one of 5 print copies of Island in the Clouds or – if you prefer an eBook edition, comment on this blog post to win either the novel or the novella. It’s as simple as that!

To see a complete list of reviews of my books and interviews I’ve done, please click here.

Goodreads Giveaways – offered by Reading Recommendations Authors!

There are currently 5 Goodreads Giveaways on offer for books written and published by Authors previously featured on my promotion blog, Reading Recommendations!

If you are a Goodreads Member and you live in Canada or the US, you may enter:

Allan Hudson’s Giveaway – 3 copies of his novel, Dark Side of a Promise – you must enter by Oct. 26th.
Allan was featured on Reading Recommendations in Feb. 2014.

Tim Baker’s Giveaway – 5 copies of his latest novel, Eyewitness Blues – you must enter by Nov. 12th.
Tim was featured on Reading Recommendations in Nov. 2013.

Kevin Brennan’s Giveaway – 5 copies of his latest novel, Occasional Soulmates – you must enter by Nov. 4th.
Kevin was featured on Reading Recommendations in Mar. 2014.

If you live in Canada, the US, Great Britain, or Australia, you may enter:

Rebecca Heishman’s Giveaway – 5 copies of The Misadventures of Millie – you must enter by Nov, 22.
Becky was featured on Reading Recommendations in Feb. 2014.

And if you are a Goodreads Member living in Canada, the US, Great Britain, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand or South Africa, you may enter:

Susan M. Toy’s Giveaway – 5 copies of her novel, Island in the Clouds – you must enter by Oct. 31.
Susan M. Toy is the brains behind Reading Recommendations, so has her own dedicated page on the promotion site …

And, if you prefer to read eBooks, I have an additional contest running on my blog so that readers may win eBook copies of my novel or my novella, That Last Summer, simply by commenting on this blog post!

Easy peasy!

Best of luck to everyone entering any of these contests!

Goodreads Giveaway – another 5 copies of “Island in the Clouds”!!

Now available and running until November 1st, Goodreads members can enter another Giveaway I’m offering on the site to win one of 5 print copies of my novel, Island in the Clouds!

If you live in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or South Africa, and have not already read my novel, you’re encouraged to enter this contest. Previously in three other contests, readers from Canada, the US, Great Britain, Portugal, Netherlands, New Zealand and Germany have won copies and I’ve received a few glowing reviews of the book, as a result. For more information about the book, click on the Goodreads listing for it, or click the Island in the Clouds page here on this blog.

Since you are required to be a Goodreads member to be able to enter, it’s simple and free to join. Just check out their website. If you love to read, you will enjoy all the reading recommendations available to you on this site – not to mention all the Giveaways that other Authors and Publishers run every day for their own books.

Also, as a special offer to readers of my blog, I’m running a separate contest right here … If you prefer to read digitally and would like an eBook or PDF copy of either of my publications, Island in the Clouds or That Last Summer, just make a comment below and I will randomly select the winners. It’s as simple as that! (This offer is open to anyone, living anywhere, and not limited to the countries listed in the Goodreads Giveaway.)

So, there you go, Readers – two ways to win copies of Island in the Clouds!

(Please share this blog post with your friends and other readers so they may consider entering, as well.)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Island in the Clouds by Susan M. Toy

Island in the Clouds

by Susan M. Toy

Giveaway ends November 01, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Finally!! Warnings and solid information about Chikungunya!

Since I first posted this, Caribbean 360 has published a very informative and comprehensive article about Chikungunya, which everyone who is planning on travelling to the Caribbean should read. Forewarned is forearmed!

Just this morning, a friend in St. Vincent posted a link to a song and video produced in Jamaica that warns and informs Caribbean Nationals, in a way they can all understand, about the threat of the Chikungunya virus that has been wreaking havoc throughout the region since Dec. 2013.

Chikungunya Song from Jamaica by Wayne J

Then, I also received a comment on the post I published yesterday, Chikungunya … and it just keeps on ticking!, from another fellow-sufferer living in the Dominican Republic. (And if you are just discovering this blog of mine, because you too have been researching this virus, you may be interested in reading the 4 previous posts I published: Chikungunya – you cannot begin to imagine …, Papaya Leaf Juice … right under our noses!, Blame it on the Chikungunya …, Stop hiding the problem of Chikungunya!)

I sent an email to Darlene immediately, because in her comment she mentioned taking medications that had helped to alleviate the symptoms. She replied with a very comprehensive and informative description of Chikungunya and the treatment for it that she had gleaned through online research, and that she has been undergoing herself. I have her permission to post that email message for the benefit of all my blog readers and those who are also suffering from this virus. I hope what Darlene has to say will be of help to all of you when seeking medical attention.

Hi Susan, thanks for what you have been writing. I wish I had seen it earlier.

So, here in the Dominican Republic most doctors don’t even speak English and almost all online research is in English. I did all my own research after spending hundreds of dollars on meds that did not work.

Then I cleared everything with an American doctor who continues to help me.

First, swelling of feet or any other part are not connected to long term issues. What is connected is that 3 month window. IF the symptoms are NOT improving then you are LIKELY in for the long haul. In some people, the virus deposits “things” in our joints and near our joints, that is what causes our symptoms, apparently. Until that “clears” which can take up to 2 or 3 years, we are left battling symptoms. There is NO evidence of long term damage in otherwise healthy people.

*** I started on the following meds: 3 times a day for 5 to 7 days:

1. Omeprazol 20 mg. This helps protect the stomach, take this and then eat something.

2. Mefanac – Acido Mefanamico – powerful anti-inflammatory 2 x 500 MG

3. Dexametin – steroid – .5 mg

*** THEN once the symptoms went down (swelling decreased and no pain): 2 times a day – 8 to 10 hours apart for about 2 weeks:

1. Omeprazol 20 mg. This helps protect the stomach, take this and then eat something.

2. Mefanac – Acido Mefanamico 2 x 500 MG

3. Dexametin – steroid – .5 mg

*** ONCE stable:

1. Omeprazol 20 mg. This helps protect the stomach, take this and then eat something.

2. Mefanac – Acido Mefanamico 1 x 500 MG

3. Dexametin – steroid – .5 mg

*** IF all stays stable – no increased swelling or any pain: 2 times a day IF symptoms return go back to previous dosage:

1. Omeprazol 20 mg. This helps protect the stomach, take this and then eat something.

2. Mefanacx – Acido Mefanamico 250 MG

3. Dexametin – steroid – .25 mg

It is important to be monitored by a doctor! Steroids cannot be started and stopped at whim. It will throw other things into havoc.

I am still on 2 times a day at 500MG and .50 mg of meds. IF I miss a dose my feet and hands start to swell. It is anticipated that this can be needed for up to 2 or 3 years as evidenced in some studies. IT WILL GO AWAY.

Please tell people to not waste money on xrays and studies etc. It is not arthritis and not RA. Doctors just want to diagnose with that because they do not know what else to do! Yikes.

Thank you so much for this, Darlene!!

Fellow sufferers, please note that, as Darlene has mentioned, this treatment should always be monitored by a doctor. But at least you now have some solid medical advice as to how to be treated to alleviate these symptoms.

I would love to hear from anyone else currently suffering with this Chikungunya Virus, whether you’ve contacted me previously or have just now happened upon my blog. Please make a comment below and tell us of your experience, what medical treatment you sought that was effective, and any other information you have that might be of interest and help to the readers of my blog. I will be linking this blog post to social media, as I always do, but also ask that readers share this link with their own friends – especially those either living in or visiting the Caribbean. I don’t want to sound an alarm and scare everyone away from visiting the Caribbean, but believe that if you have all this information I’ve been publishing you will be prepared and can take measures to ensure that you not be bitten by mosquitoes. Or, if you do contract the virus, you at least know the symptoms and can seek medical attention immediately, not wasting valuable time through being misdiagnosed.

And to everyone out there who is currently suffering with this virus, I wish you all a speedy recovery!

Totally Off Topic


More on the importance of professionally editing and publishing a book of quality and value – from a Reader/Author who explains how she chooses books to read and what turns her off.

Originally posted on Poetry by Pamela:

This has been bothering me for quite some time but today it finally just reached my boiling point. So, what else to do about it but write a blog.

I am an avid reader, although not nearly as much as of late with all the demands of my personal life. But I do read an awful lot of books. I read mainstream books AND I read tons of indie authors. Ever since I discovered the world of indie publishing, I have enriched my life by reading from so many different authors.

I have spent more money on books than I care to add up. Most are worth every penny. I’m always amazed at the prices of books and think that the emphasis on cheaper and cheaper isn’t a good thing. Even books I receive as ARCs to review, I still purchase to support the author. Does my $2.99 make a…

View original 405 more words

Chikungunya … and it just keeps on ticking!

I am now coming up to Week 12 of suffering from this damn mosquito-borne tropical virus, Chikungunya! While I feel infinitely better than I did in the beginning, I have to say that I know I am still not over this wretched virus. My joints still ache, my hands still get numb at night, I’m still tired all the time yet still experience insomnia most nights, and I am still very slow at everything I do – including thinking.

The good news is that I can pretty much “do” for myself in everything now ((like standing up from a chair or the bed, dressing, chopping vegetables) and, other than not being able to open tightly screwed-on jar lids or write legibly with a pen and paper, my daily life has pretty much returned to normal.

I did find I was limited last week when I travelled and had to walk or stand for longer periods than I’d been accustomed to these past few months. They do say that, when you think you’re over this virus, rest some more. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do this week, turning down going swimming with my sister and trying not to move too far away from the computer. (Which is a good thing as I have a lot of computer work to do right now!)

I’m hoping I have now reached the magic 3-month mark and that all remaining symptoms will now miraculously disappear. In fact, I’m counting on it as I have some more travelling to do, starting next week after Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend. Most people I’ve talked with or heard from/about Chikungunya seemed to recover quickly after that 3-month date. I know that others have also suffered from a relapse after those 3 months … I’m counting on me being part of that average group who completely recover at this point.

I can honestly say that I would not wish this virus on my worst enemies! And the only good thing about it is that we will never catch this again, our bodies now having built up an immunity to further infection.

Oh, there is one other good thing about this Chikungunya, and that’s that I’ve met a number of fellow-sufferers who now keep in contact with me, and all because I wrote about this virus in the first place on this blog. People from the UK, St. Martin, Grenada, upper New York State, Dominica, Texas, Newfoundland and St. Vincent who have suffered with this or who know of the virus being a threat in their area have commented on my blog and written to me privately, where we compare symptoms and progress in beating the virus. Thanks to all of you for your support and concern through this ordeal. Your well wishes really have meant a lot to me!

And now – forward to a healthier, virus-free future for all of us!

On Second Drafts …

Since I am currently helping a writer by editing his first draft so he may then work on the second draft … and, since I hope to be working again soon on rewriting, editing, and preparing the “second” draft (it’s actually about the 11th draft, but who’s counting?) of my own second novel, I found this blog post published today by Chuck Wendig, AKA terribleminds, to be an excellent pep-talk and encouragement in an often daunting, but necessary, part of this writing business.

This is a post that writers should bookmark and go back to reread on a regular basis – not only for the information on how to tackle working on a second draft, but also just so you know YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and that most, if not all, authors struggle at this point in the writing process. And that you should struggle.

Remember … Write Fast, Edit Slow(ly). Even if the time taken in editing does not fit into your publishing agenda then rework your agenda to allow for a good thorough edit so that, in the end, you produce a book that is THE BEST IT CAN BE!!!

After all, you owe this to your future readers.

Here’s a handy-dandy guide I found online to help you with this concept:

Practice Fast Writing & Slow Editing – From New Connections, May 2013, by Sonja K. Foss & William Waters
FstWritingSlw Rev_Handouts

Who Wants to Read Your Self-Published Book?


“The main thing is that readers want great books.”
So true. So true.

Originally posted on chrismcmullen:

Love Indies Pic


You may have read an interesting article in the Washington Post recently, entitled, “No, I don’t want to read your self-published book.”

This particular article evolved from a letter from the editor in Horn Book Magazine.

The context of the letter is to explain, essentially, to indie writers why publications that review traditionally published books can’t consider reviewing self-published books.

This is in spite of the big “BUT”—i.e. but there are a few outstanding indie books, yet there are also some bad traditionally published books.


I think it’s great news for self-published authors:

  • In the beginning, traditional publishers and professional book reviewers simply IGNORED self-published books.
  • Self-publishing has grown tremendously. There are many millions of self-published books being sold and read each year, taking up a very significant market share.
  • We’ve finally caught the attention of traditional publishers and, now, even editors who…

View original 1,933 more words

Chad Ingram – a listening recommendation

Welcome to Listening Recommendations , the second in a series of recommendations of musicians and musical groups I enjoy! Just like my other Author promotion blog, Reading Recommendations, I introduce blog readers to interesting and exciting Indie Musicians who are recording and performing right now, anywhere in the world!

Chad picture 3 Chad Ingram

What type of music do you perform?
I don’t really have a latest release. I’ve recorded some demos of my own music here and there and would like to record a full-length album of my own material at some point, when time allows. I’d classify my own music as some kind of eclectic rock. It’s rock-based, at least. I have a YouTube channel where I post quick iPhone videos of myself performing. A few with my percussive accomplice Tim Tofflemire. It’s mostly cover songs on there. A few originals.

Quick description of the songs you perform and your musical influences.
I’m influenced by too many musicians to name, from a wide swath of genres and timeframes.

Certainly the music of my parents – the pop and rock of the 1950s through the 1970s – has had a major impact on me. Buddy Holly, Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Band, Bowie, Dylan, Van Morrison, all the Motown artists. They made up the soundtrack of my childhood.

The music of grandparents was important too, this being mostly classic country – Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, etc. – on the paternal side, and big band – Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, etc. – on the maternal side.

Grunge rock was big in my youth, with bands like Nirvana, Sound Garden, Pearl Jam, Silverchair and Oasis providing the musical backdrop to elementary school. During high school I was obsessed with the Dave Matthews Band and Radiohead and in post-secondary years my focus turned more to funk, blues and jazz, as well as jam bands such as Phish and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

When performing cover tunes, I’ll often funk-ify them a little bit. I think the key to performing covers is not to try to recreate the originals, but to make them your own as much as possible. Play the song as it feels natural to you. Sing in your own voice.

Chad picture 1

Your brief bio:
My father and his father both played guitar and my grandmother was a conservatory-trained pianist, so music was always around. I started playing guitar when I was 10. My grandparents would take me to the country music open mic sessions at the Moose Lodge in Lindsay on Sunday afternoons. That’s where I first got on stage.

I played bass guitar in concert and jazz bands in high school and also in an alt rock band – Also Known As – with some friends. I started writing songs during that period, at 17 or so. I also played bass in a band with some friends at university in Ottawa.

While I still play bass occasionally, it’s mostly guitar – and mostly acoustic guitar, at that – these days. I have a rotating roster of musical friends who join me for shows, mostly in Haliburton County, where I live and work as a journalist.

Where may people hear you perform?
The Dominion Hotel in Minden, Ontario
Canoe FM Concert Hall on Oct. 18th (then archived)
The Highlanders Bar in Haliburton, Ontario
Chad’s YouTube page where he uploads his recordings

What are you working on now?
Nothing in particular. I’m playing a live show at the Canoe FM concert hall in Haliburton on Oct.18. Would like to do some recording during the winter.

Please recommend the name of a musician or band whose work you’ve enjoyed hearing lately. Right now I’m listening to a lot of alt-j(∆), an experimental rock band from Britain, Shovels and Rope, a gritty, husband-and-wife country duo from South Carolina and a Canadian band called Half Moon Run.

Chad picture 2

Kill Your Darlings (maybe I misunderstood)


If Tim Baker is going to start killing off some of his darlings in the Ike/Flagler Beach series of suspense/thriller novels he writes then I hope he is at least going to write a few prequels so we get to visit with those much-loved characters again – whoever they may be!! Harumpf!

Originally posted on blindoggbooks:

“Kill your darlings.”

If you’ve been in the writing game for any length of time you’ve heard this quote. Some people attribute it to Allen Ginsberg, others to William Faulkner, some believe Stephen King said it. The earliest known use of the phrase actually came from Arthur Quiller-Couch, who used it in his 1913-1914 Cambridge lectures “On the Art of Writing.”

darlingsRegardless of who said it when…the context of the quote is the need for writers to be relentless in the editing of their work…to eliminate unnecessary fluff…to get rid of every paragraph, sentence and word that doesn’t contribute something essential to the story.

Given the work of King, Faulkner and the others, I’d say it’s advice worth following.

I think I may have taken it a bit too literally while working on a short story this week. The story will be included in my upcoming anthology tentatively…

View original 619 more words

S.K. Nicholls


A Writer's Life For Me.

Blog of Author Mishka Jenkins

Knite Writes

The Official Blog of Therin Knite

Sweat, Tears and Digital Ink

Personal blog of freelance writer MGMason


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,710 other followers