The Celwyn Newsletter Issue 7

In this issue: book recommendations, articles on book searches, editing info, book blog background, a reader’s point of view, author interviews.

Books Books Books!!! As recommended by friends and a great new Goodreads reader group.
These are Thrillers, Mysteries, Cozies, Classics, and Fantasy books with many cross genres thrown in. Every month there will be new books featured. Contact me at to make your suggestions.

Time Traveler’s Wife by Audry Niffenegger

Six Months to Live by Lurlene McDaniel

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Black Tower by P. D. James

Caraval by Stepfanie Garber

If we were Villains by M. L. Rio

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

A Stitch in Key Lime by R A Hutchins

Candy Slain Murder by Maddie Day

The Dragon Legacy (trilogy) by Nora Roberts

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Cat of Schrodinger by Robert Anton Wilson

Murder at the Bookstore by Sue Minix

The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

The Woman in the Window by A J Finn

The Secrets of Magic by Michelle Madow

Genealogy Of A Murder by Lisa Belkin

The Inheritance Games (Y A)

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

A Reader’s Point of View

This will be an ongoing column, and if you’d like to be interviewed, please let me know at:

Questions asked of reader “Nikki”

What is the best book you ever read? Why? It would be hard to pick a single book. A good book must tell a complete story. The Patrick O’Brien series of Master and Commander was a great series of books. The characters were like friends and I was always excited to read about the next great adventure and how their friendship endured through good and bad times.

My favorite book, or the one that I remember as being great, was Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, a historical novel of the medieval times and what it was like for ordinary people; how different life was and the struggles just to survive.

Recently, what was the worst book you’ve read, and what made it bad? It was a mystery/ detective book. It didn’t solve the initial mystery and threw in a murder that was solved, without giving many clues, so the author could continue to write another book on the initial crime. The story and characters were not believable. I’ll withhold the title for now.

When a book ends on a cliff hanger, and is part of a series, are you ok with that? Or do you prefer a complete ending in each book? I like books that are a series, but each book should tell a story. I often read a book that is in the middle of a series and do not care for cliff hanger endings.

Do you think cross-genre books are great, or irritating? (examples: a mystery/romance or a science fiction/horror, etc.) As long as it’s part of a good story I don’t mind. Some things are just part of life and the books should reflect that. If it makes the story complete, then I would like it.

If you could give a new author any advice from a reader, what would it be? Most people read for pleasure, so tell a good story with characters that are believable; good or bad. By the end of the book, most questions should be answered.

As a reader, do you have a personal rule on when to buy a paperback verses an ebook? I don’t have a rule, but when ebooks are on sale, I will try a new author.

Celwyn’s Cats
This is Ivan. Don’t let the innocent blue eyes deceive you.

Tips from an Editor

Disclaimer: Joseph is my editor, and if he was using my writing in his examples of what not to do, this would be a much longer article—and involve bad comma usage.

Writers have an abundance of tools at their disposal. And, for the most part, this is a good thing. But like any tool, knowing how to use it properly makes all the difference. And to that point, let’s talk about the good old thesaurus. (Insert dad joke about literate dinosaurs here) Now that whatever joke you made up is out of the way…

When authors write, they tend to find their favorite word of the week, and that word will be used more times during those writing sessions than throughout the rest of the book. For example, (and I promise this will tie around to my main point) I have an author who loves the word ‘glare.’ There is nothing wrong with that word. Two people can glare at each other. One person can glare at someone or something else. A group of people can glare at blah blah blah, you get the point. But when writing romance, erotica, steamy scenes, whatever you want to call them, the word ‘glare’ is not commonly be used. Unless, of course, the characters are having ‘hate sex’ or angry relations. Why, you ask? Why can’t they glare? Because glare evokes negative emotions. You don’t glare at your newborn child affectionately. You gaze at them.

Let out a long breath… and to the point of a thesaurus, gaze and glare both mean to look at something. There is no argument there. But the intent in which something is looked at is all the difference. And that is where a quick browse of a thesaurus would serve a writer poorly. The list of terms in a thesaurus speaks to the word’s general meaning—in this instance, to look at something. But glare, gaze, stare, peek, rubbernecking, ogling, look are all words that serve the same base function—to look at. To a writer looking to pepper in some unfamiliar words, this may look like a fail-proof way to vary their vocabulary but beware. As stated, different words evoke different emotions. Rubbernecking or ogling an attractive person is far less serial killer vibes than glaring or staring at the same person.

In the end, learning new words and synonyms is a great way to engage your reader, but be wary of falling into the writer who does a find/replace while writing a letter to an adoption agency and ends up signing their name Baby Kangaroo instead of Joey. (A good Friends reference if there ever was one.) Until next time, keep writing!

Jospeph Mistretta is an editor with 4 Horsemen Publications and can also be reached at · or at

Interview with Mystery Writer M. J. Miller

A lifelong teller of tales, MJ Miller grew up inspired and mentored by an entertaining collection of master storytelling matriarchs. Women who could spin a yarn better than anyone. A native New Yorker and mother of two amazing women, MJ and her fabulously supportive husband share their Tucson home with their resident feline geniuses, Darwin and Miss Chloe. A hopeless romantic, MJ loves to tell tales filled with romance, mystery and mayhem that keep the reader turning pages long into the night.

Stay in touch! Sign up for her newsletter or just send her a note at

1. Does a new writer need an agent?

My Goodness! What a loaded question. A dream come true for any writer I used to imagine. But wait, not so fast. I think there is still a place in the literary world for agents. But they aren’t quite as essential for all writers. The first question to ask “what are you writing?” Then, “why are you writing?”

You might want to ask yourself, do you want to see your book in every bookstore you visit? Is fame and fortune your motivation? The idea of a successful writer as changed so much with technology. Authors have found they can self-publish a book and become a bestseller without all the traditional channels. But don’t imagine that it’s easy. The marketing of a book requires an extensive amount of time and effort. Personally, I self-published my first three novels and felt good about their success. But the minute I slacked off on my marketing, the sales disappeared. What choices did I have? I wanted to write. The stories in my head demanded to be let loose. So I wrote, and submitted. And got rejection after rejection from agents. But publishers weren’t so quick to dismiss my work. And I ended up landing a contract without an agent. Which circled back to my realizing that nobody is going to market your book and ensure higher sales than the writers themselves.

2.  Do you write for an imaginary reader or for yourself? Which do you recommend for a new writer?

I most definitely write the story in my head, for an imaginary reader. Sometimes, I even pause, read a passage aloud, and wonder if my imaginary reader is laughing, or crying, or ripping their hair out. I’ve also been known to talk to them on occasion, even asking for advice. I’m quite sure I’m not the only writer who does that! I haven’t yet given them a name, but I have a feeling that the more books I write, the more I’ll need different imaginary readers, and naming them might just be necessary.

3.  How important is a review to you, and do you recommend paying someone to review your book?
Reviews for me are everything. And nothing at all. If they are genuine, good or bad, I will learn from them, and they most definitely can drive sales. But I don’t pay for reviews unless it’s a reputable, published reviewer such as Kirkus. These are the type of reviews you can add to your editorial content on Amazon and are helpful. Paid reviewers for me aren’t genuine, nor helpful. I want to know what real readers thought of my book, without bias or monetary reward. And the genuine feeling of joy I get when they love my work is priceless.

Mary says:
My most recent, and ongoing series, is the Luckland Mysteries which are based in a quirky, matriarchal town with a whole posse of rabble-rousing women of a certain age. I have had so much fun telling their stories, revealing the mysteries plaguing the historic town of Luckland, and all told through the eyes of my new favorite heroine, Pippa O’Leary. 

She’s spunky, brave, and finding herself embroiled in one disaster after another courtesy of her mother’s best friends. Every book in the series unveils a new mystery. From the paranormal, to the extraterrestrial, to murder and mayhem and hidden goldmines. Everything and anything goes in Luckland! Which certainly keeps me entertained as I head into my next adventure. I can only say that haunted inns aren’t always as they seem. And neither are their guests.

Tips from Gina Rae Mitchell: Blogger, Reviewer, and friend to authors

“What is a book blogger?”

A book blogger is someone who runs a blog or website dedicated to books and reading. Their primary focus is on sharing their thoughts, opinions, and insights about books, typically in written form.

Book bloggers are passionate literary enthusiasts who have carved out their own unique space in the digital realm. These avid readers devour books and skillfully dissect, analyze, and share their thoughts with an engaged online audience.

With the power of their words, book bloggers guide readers toward captivating narratives, hidden gems, and literary adventures. Through insightful reviews, thoughtful critiques, and lively discussions, they connect authors, publishers, and fellow bibliophiles, creating a vibrant community that celebrates the written word in all its glory.

Whether it’s uncovering the next bestseller or diving into the classics, book bloggers are the modern-day curators of the literary world, weaving stories with their words and shaping the literary landscape with their passion.

Click here to read my top ten tips to excel as a book blogger.

Here is the link if the above doesn’t play well with your programs. ‎

Ideas on Researching Authors

Have you ever saw a title, or heard an author’s name and wanted to know more about their books? Or you would like to know when the next book from them will be out? Besides the obvious, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, there are other sources.
Try a Google or Bing search with what you do have, and scroll. You’ll likely see an author’s website which will be a treasure trove of information. Be sure to look at the actual address above the search return listing to be sure you have their official site. It will list the author name, not an organization.
There are also organizations for authors who list their members and usually info on how to contact them:

Romance Writers of America

Mystery Writers of America

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

Many writers also have a listing at Linked In. You can search there for their names.

Goodreads will have author pages:

In our next issue, there will be an article on finding out of print, and hard to find books.

Interview with faith-based mystery writer Jessica Scachetti

Jessica is an independently published mystery author of Christian Romances with a Twist. They are gritty fictional romance stories containing sinful characters who make or have made poor choices.

She is also a proud child of God, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Jessica was born and raised in the Midwest but moved to the East Coast when she was 18 and where she been ever since.

1. Do you plot out and outline your books, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

When I start writing I usually write by the seat of my pants, letting the story flow along as I go. That is actually how I wrote all four of my published books.  However, with my latest book in progress, “Into the Light,” from my faith-based mafia series, I’ve been running into some writer’s block. Moreso, I just haven’t been very motivated to sit down and write. A lot of things in my personal life, coupled with trying to push and promote my already published works have taken a toll on my writing capability.  So, I’ve started an outline for my next book. It continues my mafia saga, with the story of side characters from book one, “Out of the Shadows.” There will be a human trafficking rescue in the plot-line and an update on book one’s main characters as well. It is panning out pretty well so far. I am actually quite excited to complete this one.

2.  Talk about your latest book please?

My latest release, “Into the Light” is the third and final installment of my “Wonder of Light” series. It tells the story of the next generation in the series, Lukas and Catherine. Lukas is a jaded Christian who is grieving a devastating loss, which has essentially led him to turn his back on his faith and those that he loves. Catherine is his childhood sweetheart, who refuses to give up on the love of her life even though Lukas is spiraling and has made it clear he wants nothing to do with her. Along with their families, Catherine endeavors to lead Lukas’s soul back to the light. 

3. How difficult was it to kill off one of your characters?

I have killed off a beloved character from my first published series “Wonder of Light.” I won’t name which character dies off, as not to give away any spoilers. Thus far, I haven’t gotten any real negative feedback on said character’s death. Only that it caused some tears and was a bit of a heartbreak. To be honest, I was personally emotional when I wrote about the incident, but it certainly helped to develop the story-line.

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