Sunday, October 31, 2021

October 2021 Reading Challenge: A BINGO Update

Five in a row...Bingo!


I scored a quick Bingo win for October with five in a row. Yeah, me! Here's what I've read so far (Amazon links included):

Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen (Young Adult) - 5 out of 5 stars!
Must've had a great spine. Picked this one off the library shelf, not knowing anything about it. Glad I did, new favorite author.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (Middle Grade) - Highly recommend!
Recommended by my daughter. She loved it and with good reason. A great read.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Suspense) - 4 out of 5 stars.
Read the book so I could finally watch the movie.

Dealing with Blue by Stacia Leigh (Young Adult Romance) - 5 out of 5 stars!
I published this in 2015 with the goal of writing what I wanted to read: laughs and love, and I enjoyed it all over again. Having read it with a 2021 perspective and through a more experienced lens (more writing, more publishing, judging contests, and critiquing), I did see areas to tighten up and improve. Updates have been made. The latest version will be out soon, so stay tuned!

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (An 1892 Classic) - Nope.
Daughter enjoyed it, hubby thought it was okay, and I was left scratching my head. But at 19 pages long, it blocked out a BINGO square for the win.


Follow the BINGO wins here:
June 2022 Reading Challenge: BINGO Blackout!
February 2022 Reading Challenge: BINGO Update

January 2022 Reading Challenge: BINGO Update

March 2022 Reading Challenge: BINGO Update


Want to join the fun? Click here to get your own BINGO card on Etsy.

Friday, October 01, 2021

A Fall/Winter 2021 Reading Challenge: BINGO!

By the time October rolls around, we're getting ready for rain, fog, snow, big holidays, boots, and plaid flannel. 'Tis the season to stay warm and cozy under a pile of dogs and blankets. With hot chocolate on one side and an open book on the other, let's settle in for a month or stay through the's time to read until we blackout, literally. It's reading BINGO! 

Need a place to start? Might I suggest heading to your favorite book store, like Powell's in Portland for instance, and ordering a stash of books by Stacia Leigh? Burnout would check the "One-word Title" box, Dealing with Blue would check the "By an Indie Author" box and Hanging Around for You would check the "YA Romance by Stacia Leigh." Sounds Complicated could fill the "FREE" space and Distance Between would check the "Art, Poetry, or Play" square. A quick win with five in a row. But since autumn's just getting started, you might as well keep reading. Another twenty books and you'll hit blackout gold status and be a true champ.

Print the BINGO card if you can, otherwise the list below sums it up...

R1C1: Read a book with a one-word title.
R1C2: Read a book set in the northwest.
R1C3: Find a book you've read in the past and read it again.
R1C4: Read a book someone's recommended to you.
R1C5: Read a picture book.
R2C1: Read a non-fiction book.
R2C2: Read a book by an independent author.
R2C3: Read a book with a number in the title.
R2C4: Read the book sitting at the bottom of your To Be Read pile.
R2C5: Read a book with a blue cover.
R3C1: Read a book from a Little Free Library.
R3C2: Read a book about your dream job.
R3C3: Free to read whatever book you want!
R3C4: Read a holiday story.
R3C5: Read a memoir. Or an auto-biography. Or whatever because rulz are made to be broken.
R4C1: Read a book with a nature setting.
R4C2: Read a book about a different culture.
R4C3: Read a book that's been made into a movie.
R4C4: Read a young adult romance by Stacia Leigh, because Stacia Leigh made the rulz.
R4C5: Read an old classic.
R5C1: Read a science fiction novel or a fantasy.
R5C2: Read a story based on true events.
R5C3: Read something that is scary.
R5C4: Read an award winner: Newbery, Caldecott, National, Best Independent Book Review, etc.
R5C5: Read a book about art, poetry, or read a play.


Bingo Queen by WizardMode

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Summer 2021 Reading Challenge: Alphabet Letter S

Summer, sunshine, and super fun times.

The county library is finally open for business, so I perused the shelves today, pulling off a short stack. After check out, I studied the titles and found a common thread to create a summer-time reading challenge. I've done alphabet ones in the past for A, V, and F. Now, the 19th letter is up for grabs. The theme: Read titles that contain the letter S.


The Letter S in the Titles
Say what?

1.) Sanctioned Hitwoman by Jeffrey A. Pitts

2.) Snow and Rose by Emily Winfield Martin

3.) Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

4.) The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

5.) Sleeping in My Jeans by Connie King Leonard

6.) Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon


Book Letter S
 Vintage Reader's Digest Book Letter S
Letter S Book Folding Pattern

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Premade eBook Cover Designs

In between writing, gardening, and turning an old 1977 single-wide trailer into a cute farm cottage, I've been designing book covers for a fellow author, and enjoying the process! I have a deluge of photos from my photography days that I decided to make into premade eBook covers for those in need. Here are the first eight out of the chute!

Check out my ESPIALdesign Etsy shop and if you see an eBook cover you like, buy it and make it yours. Want to collaborate on a full wrap paperback version? I'm only an email away. Contact me (stacia_design at espialdesign dot com) and let's discuss.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Six Ways to Market Your Book Organically

When I say organic, I mean a marketing approach that’s on a slow, meandering path. It lets your book sit out there and percolate on its own without all the fuss of budgets, time management, and digging deep into a niche skill set. It’s also easy--

Oops. First, let’s get our expectations in order by me telling you what organic marketing isn’t. It isn't loud and flashy. It doesn't quickly rake in readers and reviews, bring in the bling, or get you big awards for awesomeness. It's not a "Show me the money" type of direction.

What is it, then? Well, let’s get back to the easy part. Organic marketing is easy, unassuming, and introverted. Your book will be out in the world, laying in wait for potential readers to stumble across like a hidden gem, and because it’s so quiet, you probably won't even know when this beautiful thing happens. That's the way it goes; that's life. So let’s get started!


1.)  Donate Books to Little Free Libraries

Are you traveling to another city or heading out for a walk around your neighborhood? Before you go, visit the Little Free Library site and map out the locations of those cute little book houses nearest you. Load up a backpack of your finest stories to donate and take a walking tour, leaving your gem on the shelf for others to find. Then, move onto the next one, slowly lightening your load. Not only is it a great workout—books are heavy!—but it's fun, too. Sorta like looking for Easter eggs or geocaching.

 The Neighborhood Little Free Library

Maybe you're an avid reader with a hefty Already Read Pile. Besides giving away your own books, you could share those you’d recommend. But before donating, stamp the first page with your author name and website. Readers who read what you like and recommend might stop by your website to see what you’re about.

A Little Free Library Gift
Readers Gonna Read!

2.) Tuck a Bookmark in There

A big investment doesn't have to be made here. Write a note, stamp a piece of paper, make a bookmark from scratch. As long as it's providing your author name and website address, it's doing the job. When I'm in a crafty mood and have the time, I create corner bookmarks using the milieu of scrapbook paper I've accumulated over the years. I'll tuck one into a random book I donate in hopes of giving some fellow reader a smile. If they hate it and throw it away, so be it. But I'd rather assume my gift is being used and enjoyed, and maybe, just maybe, the reader likes YAROM, too. If so, they might be interested enough to check out my website. Hey, it could happen.

"My weekend is all booked."


3.) Provide a Sample Chapter

If you’re worried about copyright infringement, then this option might not be for you, especially in a world where pirated content gets passed around like candy: movies, music, quotes, photos, memes and the like. Otherwise, sharing a first page or even a first chapter could whet the appetite of a potential reader. Imagine that special someone hanging on your every word until they reach the end where you've left a link to purchase. How can they resist? They're one click away from reading the rest of a great story, and you're one click closer to a book sale. It's a crazy just never know.

I have an account with Wattpad where I provide a sample first chapter for each of my books, followed by a link to purchase. I can direct readers there via social media to introduce my stories or just let the chapters be. They're out there ready and waiting to be read by whoever happens by.

4.) Create an Email Auto-Signature

This is my all-time favorite, because it’s unobtrusive while actively getting the job done. Every time I send an email out, the auto-signature is there, sharing my message in a non-braggy way: “Hi. I’m an author and this is my book.” 

My email auto-signature is below. Hanging Around for You is a link to Amazon for purchasing, and Stacia Leigh is a link to my website. I've included a snappy logline to share what my story's about in the hopes of garnering a quick look and some interest. Ideally, a logline should be in the thirty-words-or-less range to be succinct and eye-catching. Graeme Shimmin has a great formula to follow when creating one and says it best in his article, Writing a Killer Logline.

My Email Auto-Signature
Click to enlarge

5.) Pinterest Pins and Boards

If Pinterest is one of your social media outlets, then use it to your benefit by creating “mood” boards for your stories. I’ve compiled one for each of my books for writing inspiration of characters, scenes, ideas, and quotes. It’s there to share with potential fans, too. Care to know which musician inspired a motorcycle thug in my adventure-romance, Burnout? You can see my mood board, here.

Young Adult Romances by Stacia Leigh
Pinterest "Mood" Boards


6.) Advertise Via Amazon Product Links

I signed up with Amazon’s Affiliate Program so I could advertise my books on the sidebar of my website with an Amazon product link like this one: 

Dealing with Blue by Stacia Leigh
Amazon Product Ad

If you’re not familiar with this Amazon feature and have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a concise Amazon description:

"The Amazon Associates Program is one of the largest affiliate networks in the world that helps content creators, publishers, and website owners monetize their traffic. Not only do Associates earn commission on products they refer traffic to, they may also earn on other products their readers may purchase on Amazon." 

Bonus: Make Book Announcements for Free

I found an extensive list of websites listed by Savvy Book Writers in their article called 65 Top Websites to Announce Your Book for Free. The only caveat is the article was written in 2012, so will need a keen reviewing to see what's changed. All the same, it's a good place to start exploring, to answer those questions of who’s who out there and what part are they playing?

So does this organic marketing stuff really work? Admittedly, it’s hard to measure the efficacy when only time will tell. It's not like the measurable energy and fund output for the more extroverted avenues of marketing: book tours, trailers, interviews, email promotions, momentum building, and buzz.

But with a little effort up front you can set those organic wheels in motion. Make your book available for readers to discover on their own; let the winds of the internet take your gem on a journey to make those chance encounters. Where will it go? Who will find it? Life's a mystery...


“It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit.” ~Antoine Rivarol

Friday, April 30, 2021

May 2021 Reading Challenge: It's All About Family

Wife, Husband, Son, and Sisters
Book Family

I picked up Husband of Hitwoman by Jeffrey A. Pitts, which inspired May's reading challenge: It's all about family. For me, this means a group with common ancestry, related by blood or marriage. Perfect timing since Mother's Day is coming up this month--happy Mother's Day to all the loving moms and grandmas out there! Keep up the good work. Dad's day follows shortly after, so I'll throw out an early happy Father's Day to all the awesome dads and grandpas, too!
I'm determined to read what I already have on my shelves, so no library books, no thrift store finds, and no online shopping for this one. Here's my book family for the month:



"Love the people God gave you,
because he will need them back someday."
by The Rustic Buckle Co. at Etsy

Sunday, March 21, 2021

One Massive List of Character Flaws...Over 450!

Character flaws are not physical descriptions like being overly hairy, wearing dirty socks, or having one leg. Instead, character flaws are what drives characters through their story via their internal arc (If you want to dig deeper into this, check out a Discovering Story Magic workshop).
"Everyone has baggage and flaws. It's how they choose
to deal with it is their character." ~ Unknown
 The protagonist needs to overcome their flaw in order to succeed against the antagonist and to show internal growth by the story's end, so choosing the right flaw is very important. It helps define what your story is ultimately about.

A few might argue that some of the words on my list below defy my definition of not being a physical description, but they are the first step in offering a spark of inspiration or working as a starting point in a drill down by always asking the question...why? Why is the character a kleptomaniac? What do they need, fear, or believe that causes them to have this affliction? Is the disability of only having one leg a character flaw? No, but the character's feelings or beliefs about having one leg is, and this is what the hero needs to overcome when entering the ring with the villain.
Get your imaginations ready, and check out over four-hundred and fifty flaws below! Let the fun begin...


Abandoned, Abrasive, Absent-minded, Abusive, Acts superior, Addicted, Addled, Adulterous, Aggressive, Aimless, Alcoholic, Aloof, Angry, Antisocial, Anxious, Apathetic, Arrogant, Artificial, Authoritarian, Avoiding, Awkward

Bad negotiator, Belligerent, Biased, Bigmouth, Bigot, Bitchy, Bitter, Blames others, Blunt, Boastful, Bold, Boring, Bossy, Boorish, Bratty

Calculating, Callous, Careless, Catty, Caustic, Center of attention, Changeable, Charmless, Chatter-box, Cheap, Childish, Close-minded, Clumsy, Coarse, Cocky, Cold-hearted, Combative, Competitive, Complacent, Compulsive, Conceited, Condemnatory, Confident, Confrontational, Conservative, Controlling, Covetous, Cowardly, Crafty, Crazy, Critical, Cruel, Cunning, Cynical

Day-dreamer, Defensive, Defiant, Delusional, Demanding, Denying, Dependent, Depressed, Desperate, Despondent, Destructive, Detached, Dictator, Difficult, Directionless, Dirty, Disabled, Disapproving, Dishonest, Disloyal, Disorderly, Disorganized, Disrespectful, Disruptive, Distant Distracted, Doesn’t listen, Dogmatic, Dreamer, Driven, Drug-addicted, Dull

Easily offended, Easily swayed, Egocentric, Egotistical, Emotional, Enervated, Entitlement, Envious, Erratic, Evasive, Evil, Excitable, Extravagant, Extreme

Facetious, Failure, Faithless, Fake, Fanatical, Fastidious, Fearful, Fickle, Fierce, Flaky, Flippant, Flirty, Follower, Foolish, Forgetful, Frail, Frivolous, Frugal, Fussy

Gloomy, Gluttonous, Goal-oriented, Gossipy, Greedy, Grim, Grumpy, Guarded, Gullible

Harsh, Hateful, Haughty, Headstrong, Hedonistic, Hesitant, High social standing, High-strung, Holds grudges, Homicidal, Hostile, Hubristic, Humorless, Hypochondriac, Hypocritical

Idealistic, Ignorant, Ill-behaved, Ill-tempered, Immature, Impatient, Impious, Impolite, Impoverished, Impractical, Impressionable, Impulsive, Inadequate, Inattentive, Incompetent, Inconsiderate, Indecisive, Indifferent, Indulgent, Inefficient, Inept, Inexperienced, Inferiority-complex, Inflexible, Inhibited, Insecure, Insensitive, Insincere, Insulting, Intolerant, Irresponsible

Jealous, Judgmental

Killjoy, Kleptomaniac, Know-it-all

Lacking initiative, Lacking skills, Languid, Lazy, Lewd, Liar, Liberal, Listless, Lofty goals, Lonesome, Loud, Low social status, Low self-esteem, Lustful

Machiavellian, Macho, Malicious, Manipulative, Masochistic, Materialistic, Mean, Mechanical, Meddlesome, Meek, Megalomaniac, Melodramatic, Merciless, Messy, Meticulous, Mischievous, Miserable, Miserly, Mistrusting, Modest, Moody, Morbid, Mouthy, Murderous

Nag, Naïve, Narcissistic, Narrow-minded, Nasty, Naughty, Needy, Negative, Neglectful, Nervous, Neurotic, No direction, Non-adventurous, Non-receptive, Non-supportive, Nosy, Not detail-oriented

Obnoxious, Obsessive, Obstinate, Offends easily, Offhand, Opinionated, Oppressive, Ostentatious, Outrageous, Outsider, Over-achiever, Over-reacts, Over-critical, Over-sensitive, Over-ambitious, Over-confident, Over-dramatic, Over-emotional, Overly affectionate, Overly optimistic, Over-protective, Over-zealous

Paranoid, Partier, Party-animal, Passive, Patronizing, Perfectionist, Pessimistic, Petty, Phobic, Picky, Player, Playful, Plodding, Pompous, Poor planner, Poser, Possessive, Practical, Predatory, Predictable, Prejudice, Pretentious, Prideful, Prim, Prissy, Procrastinating, Promiscuous, Prudish, Psychotic, Puritanical, Pushy, Pyromaniac


Rebellious, Reckless, Remorseless, Resentful, Responsible, Results-oriented, Ridiculous, Rigid, Risk-taker, Roguish, Rowdy, Ruthless

Sadist, Sadomasochist, Sanctimonious, Savagery, Scatterbrained, Scattered, Scornful, Secretive, Self-centered, Self-deprecating, Self-destructive, Self-giving, Self-important, Self-indulgent, Self-martyr, Self-righteous, Selfish, Selfless, Sensitive, Serious, Shallow, Shameful, Shameless, Short-tempered, Shy, Sickly, Skeptical, Sleazy, Slovenly, Slow, Sly, Small-minded, Smart Ass, Sneaky, Snobbish, Snoopy, Snooty, Soft-hearted, Somber, Sordid, Sore loser, Spendthrift, Spies, Spineless, Spiteful, Squeamish, Stagnant, Static, Status-conscious, Steals, Stingy, Stressed, Stubborn, Stupid, Submissive, Subservient, Superficial, Superiority-complex,
Superstitious, Surly, Suspicious

Tactless, Talkative, Tardy, Tasteless, Tedious, Temperamental, Tense, Thief, Thoughtless, Thrifty, Timid, Touchy, Tough, Traitor, Treacherous, Troublemaker, Truculent, Trusting

Unaccomplished, Unappreciative, Unbalanced, Unbending Uncaring, Uncharitable, Uncommitted, Uncommunicative, Unconventional, Uncooperative, Uncouth, Undependable, Undisciplined, Unethical, Unfair, Unfaithful, Unfeeling, Unfocused, Unforgiving, Unfriendly, Ungrateful, Unimaginative, Uninformed, Unintelligent, Unkempt, Unkind, Unlucky, Unmotivated, Unpredictable, Unreasonable, Unreliable, Unresponsive, Unrestrained, Unscrupulous, Unstable, Unsure, Unsympathetic, Untidy, Untrustworthy, Unworldly, User

Vague, Vain, Vengeful, Verbose, Vicious, Vindictive, Violent, Vision-less, Volatile, Vulnerable, Vulgar

Wasteful, Weak, Weak-willed, Whiny, Wild, Willful, Wimpy, Withdrawn, Workaholic, Worry wart, Wrathful




Thursday, February 11, 2021

March 2021 Reading Challenge: "F" Words

Reading "F" Titles for March

Let's get a jump start on the next reading challenge with "F" words! Everyone's got a favorite and mine is currently Finneus, the title of a new release by Jeffrey A. Pitts. I have to confess, I've already read and enjoyed it. So much so, I wrote a blurb to sum things up: 

"Delve into Montana’s formidable back country with a scarred man whose vicious history won’t stay in the past. It’s a mix of survival fiction, unwavering suspense, and romance…fierce as it is tender.”


Finneus by Jeffrey A. Pitts

It's a five-star read that looks AWESOME, if I do say so myself, and yes, I'm totally bragging, because I designed the front cover using the beautiful photo taken by Teresa Fox. Needless to say, it inspired my next reading challenge: "F" words in the titles. Let's get started...

1.) Survival and suspense: Finneus by Jeffrey A. Pitts

2.) Writing Craft: Fast Fiction by Denise Jaden

3.) Young Adult Paranormal: Fallen by Lauren Kate 

4.) Romance: Fair Play by Deirdre Martin

5.) Motivational Self-Help: Find the Good by Heather Lende

6.) Young Adult Romance: Five Ways to Fall Out of Love by Emily Martin (to be released March 16, 2021)

I've got quite an "F" stack to read through, and I'm looking forward to it, too! My weekend is all booked.


"F" Books and a Heart Corner-Bookmark
"Friday: My second favorite 'F' word."

Thursday, February 04, 2021

New at the ESPIALdesign Etsy Shop

The ESPIALdesign Etsy shop has had a busy 2021 so far, shipping orders to Eastern Washington, Alaska, Virginia, and Arizona! The support for my art and my little shop really means a lot, so thanks again, and know that the proceeds will go to funding my next book with editing and proofreading costs. I have to draw, cut, and glue so I can keep writing. A rough life, I know.

Now, it's time to stock those shelves. I had to think twice about selling the alien blackout-poem originals because they're some of my absolute favorites. But then, why keep 'em when they're published in my first book collection, Sounds Complicated? So, I made them a bundle to keep them together and included pictures below. Check them out and stay tuned! There's more to come.

Aliens (set of 4)

 Preparedness 101
"He'd forgotten how to keep his head from popping off in outer space.
Why was he here again?"
My Space

"It meant something good when it was over.
I need my space."

"Careful. Something was in the air...something pitter-pattering like a heart."
It's Complicated

"He ordered a large side of feeling and the avoidance maneuver roll
since they were sharing a can of love."

Friday, January 01, 2021

Fabulous Five: Favorite Reads for 2020

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Whew! One tough year in review since I scrambled to the one hundred mark just in the nick of time. Was it lack of focus? Was it the difficulty getting library books with Governor Jay Inslee's lockdown? Was it the more-than-usual people milling around the house during the day? 

I dunno, but all the same, I managed and lined up my top five favorites for 2020. Check 'em out:




Meet my new friend, Gretel, who's got a recommendation of her own:
A bonus NONFICTION read: