Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Welcome Lea Schizas

Welcome to Lea Schizas, author and owner of MuseItUp Publishing. Thank you so much for being here, Lea.

Thank you for having me today, Roseanne. Glad to be here.

1: First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing? When did you start your own publishing company?
I joke with everyone that I began writing while in my mom’s womb when I mistook the umbilical cord for a neat writing implement. Once I popped out and was introduced to the world, I never stopped penning but this time in words and not ‘goo goo, gaa gaa’.

As for my publishing house…as a writer we set our long term goals and opening up a publishing house was in my list from the start. I waited, educated myself, learned the business, and when the time was right and I felt ready I decided to put forth the plans to open up for business. We’ll be hosting our launch party December 1, and have a few goodies in store for that day for our readers, one of them being a Sony e-Reader.

2: What inspired you to start your own publishing company?
Roseanne, I’m known for helping writers and this is just another reflection of that. Does this mean an automatic acceptance for writers who know me or ‘of’ me? No. What it does mean is that each rejection will have the editors’ assessments to help the writer better understand why we rejected it, and then invite them to resubmit if they are willing to rework the areas we found were weak or lacking. This helps writers because as a writer myself I know how it puzzled me to see the rejection but unsure the answer to ‘why?’.

3: What do you like the most and least about running your own publishing company? What do you like least?

I love the interaction with writers, editors, and cover artists. And now with our readers group, mingling and networking with them is only a plus. I’m a people person and this is a high point for me.

The least? In all honesty, haven’t come across that yet. Maybe next year when we’re to begin offering print there may come a snag or two but for now…nadda.

4: Tell us about your company, what type of stories are you looking for? How to submit, what length stories and where can we find the submission guidelines?
There are two houses so I’ll break them down for you:

MuseItUp Publishing is for mainstream fiction:

Dark fiction/horror
Romance and its sub-genres
Young Adult
MuseItHOT Publishing is for romance erotica in all the various genres. If it has erotica, it goes to this publishing house. We have three heat levels:
Naughty but Nice

Naughty with sizzle

Naughty and sizzling HOT!
For both houses we accept stories from 3,000 words and up.

You can find our submission guidelines by visiting our houses:
MuseItUp Publishing: www.museituppublishing.com

MuseItHOT Publishing: http://www.museithotpublishing.com/
In both houses we also have three themes that also can be from 3,000 words and up:
Muse Divaz - Who says plus-size females can't have fun? Muse Divaz are stories where the main character is a plus-size female who gets her man at the end.
Muse Redemption - Muse Redemption are stories where a main character plays a dangerous sport (mountain climbing, race car driving, martial arts, etc) - a sport that leaves them injured and the other main character believes in them, loves them past their pain and helps them get back into the winner's circle.

Muse Dark Sleuths - Muse Dark Sleuths are stories (anywhere from 3000 words and up) that contain paranormal entities (vampires, shape shifters, werewolves, etc) who work for the police at night.
If any of the above themes contain erotica, then the stories need to be clearly marked that it’s a MuseItHOT submission.
All submissions for both houses go to:  sub.musepub@gmail.com

5: Tell us about your authors.
Do you have a year or more? I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of them, their work, their interaction in our reader and author groups…they are fantastic. Each of them brings a different energy to the group but the reason I’m so proud is because they’ve all clicked, helping each other, offering tips, blogging and twittering about everyone’s books…the list can go on and on. They bring a family atmosphere that I find is crucial to a publishing house.
There are far too many authors right now to mention each of them but suffice to say the quality of work they brought to the table has been exemplary. It’s actually wowed me with each contract I’ve sent.

6: As an editor, what makes you accept or reject a manuscript?
For me it’s always been the beginning. We all know that the first three chapters need to sparkle before you submit it to a publisher or agent, so when I get a first chapter riddled with typos, backstory even before the main character is introduced, the passive telling voice, or head-hopping, then I know the rest of the manuscript is the same. So I’ll offer comments and suggestions along with the rejection to show the writer’s weak spots.

7: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
A big one - never allow anyone else’s negativity sway you to stop writing. This applies to rejections too. These are part of a writer’s life so get used to it. Always keep and remember the passion and why you began writing and move forward. Family and friends may not understand why we live by our computers, typing away at different hours in the day or night, or why we’ve hidden notebooks on our night table, in the bathroom, den, living room…you’ll turn blue in the face trying to explain it to them time and again but they won’t get it. You need to have that drive, determination, perseverance and love for writing to fully understand it.

8: I know you’re also an author, tell us about books you’ve writte
I have a Young Adult paranormal story with eTreasures - Doorman’s Creek about three teenaged boys who discover a cave and an unknown entity that places them in the path of a serial killer.
Bubba and Giganto: Odds Against Us with 4RV Publishing deals with high school and bullying. I offer not only the dangers of bullying but give a small glimpse into the bully’s point of view and why he feels the need to act the way he does.
And there are three children’s picture books in the editing or ready to be released stages:
I Don’t Want a Haircut by Guardian Angel about a little boy’s first haircut experience and what he imagines happens to him. The imagination part actually were things told to me as a children’s stylist for twenty years.
Robbie and Katie Get A Hairy Scare, also from Guardian Angel is the first in a series of books about these twins. The aim of this series is to age Robbie and Katie each year until finally they will have their own adult novels to reveal their ups and downs.

The last one is Libby the Odd Squirrel by 4RV Publishing about bullying again but showing it through the eyes of a squirrel.
I’ve also written for several anthologies.

9: Where do you get your ideas and what inspires you to write?
Ideas pop in my head quicker than I can breathe. I really don’t think I’ll have time in this lifetime to write them all so I offer my ideas to others freely. I’m not sure what inspires them. Might be reading the newspaper, listening to a song, watching TV, and bang, I rush to get that notebook left in the downstairs bathroom because the upstairs was occupied. 

10: What are you currently working on?
I was writing a novel about five years ago, The Blind Prophecy, but never had a chance to finalize it and then kicked myself because Twilight came out and it so resembled my own. So now I’m back to the drawing board to add and delete elements to make it different in case I’m called a ‘copy cat’. This is why writers should really finish their WIPs and not be faced with this type of situation.
The Gifted is another one of my favorite young adult storyline: what would you do if you had the power to grant wishes knowing that for every wish granted something from your family would be taken away? Would you grant that wish?
And there are several others, one being a sci-fi, Zylorp and the Brothers Three, about an alien warrior and hero who finally discovers that the war he fought was all lies. One act now finds him facing the Council and a possible execution, the same people he fought to protect.

11: I know you wear many hats, tell us what else you’re involved in.
There are many hats, indeed. Apollo’s Lyre is an online e-zine published every two months. Jim Harrington is the flash fiction editor, Betty Dobson our poetry editor, Earl Staggs our Write Tight editor, and Charles Mossop brings his expertise in Worlds Apart. www.apollos-lyre.tripod.com

There’s also the annual and very FREE Muse Online Writers Conference held each October. This year it will be October 11 - 17 : http://www.themuseonlinewritersconference.com/
Registrations are now open, and deadline is August.
I founded the MuseItUp online critique community but have now given ownership to each individual critique group to the moderators.
Cheryl Malandrinos took over for me and has been doing a fantastic job with another site I founded: Musing Our Children: www.musingourchildren.tripod.com This site’s aim is to bring writers together to help foster a love for reading and writing to schools around the world.
I also edit for a few houses but obviously now cutting back to work full time on my own publishing houses.

12: What do you do for fun and relaxation when not working?
Roseanne, this is my fun and relaxation. If I’m not on the laptop communicating with writers, helping writers, editing, writing…well, what can I say, I love what I do.
But I do go to the movies, enjoy a good book, watch TV, play with my two dogs, and bug the living daylights out of my kids. Hey, what are moms for?

13: Do you have a personal website? Blog?

My personal website is: www.leaschizas.com Which reminds me it needs updating.

My blog:

The publishing house blogs are:

14: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

The one thing…already said I’m a people person…then it has to be that I care, I really care and respect writers. Career wise that’s the one thing I would want new writers who don’t know me to understand there’s no pretence from me. As a matter of fact to show you an example how much I care, one of our authors, Frank Scully, has an amazing series, The Decade Mystery Series, and I was wowed along with the editors with his first submission. Then he subbed book two and I came right out and asked Frank why no agent signed him up. Now here comes the struggle that most writers face: he said he tried over the years, came close but with no end result. Did I contract book two? Yes. Did I contract it right away? No. I told Frank about the Muse conference and asked him to consider pitching to the agents there or at least to have a look at the agents in case he has a chance to get signed with one of them. To make a long story short, Frank checked, told me his reasons for offering to MuseItUp Publishing, and I thanked him for that honor. Recently another author told me about two agents looking over her manuscript and I told her wait for their response and then come back when you want.

15: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or your publishing company?

Not about me, but I need and want to rave about the editors and cover artists. I’ve already mentioned how proud I am of the authors but the editors and cover artists have been doing an amazing job. The giggles, jokes, fun and relaxed atmosphere they’ve built is nothing short of another novel in the making.


Roseanne Dowell said...

Great interview, Lea and beautiful covers. Congrats to the artists. The covers alone make me want to read the books and the titles are intriquing also. Thanks again for being here.

Hales said...

Great interview. I like reading about new houses opening up and what they have to offer. That You have such diverse genres is great. I've heard wonderful things about MuseItUp conference.I'd planned on trying to register for this year!

chastitybush said...

Great interview ladies! I am so happy and excited to be a part of Muse It Up!

MuseItUp Publishing said...

Hi Chastity, Hales, thank you for stopping by.

And Hales, the registration is on for our conference. Visit www.themuseonlinewritersconference.com and click on registration. If you have problems, feel free to email me.

Annie Melton said...

It's great to see a new publishing house delving into other genres besides romance. Not that I have anything against romance--I write it myself! But it's still nice to see the diversity. :-) I'm pleased to be a part of the Muse family and can't wait til December :-)

Irene Sonia Switankowsky-Roth said...

Hi Ladies,

What a great interview! I am glad to be part of Muse it Up!


Heather Haven said...

Read the illuminating interview, saw the quality of work and am still stunned that I am a part of it all. My muse was clicking the day I found MuseItUp and they decided to publish my book!

Terri said...

I am so excited to have been able to join with Lea and MuseItUp. Hey, just the chatting on the Authors Loop is worth it. :-)

Ginger Simpson said...

I'm very proud to be part of anything Lea undertakes. Muse It Up Publishing is allowing me to spread my usual "historical" wings and venture into the realm of Young Adult. Shortcomings, available sometime next year, is my first, but hopefully not my last, book in this genre. I have a message to impart to young girls, and I hope my story conveys that.

P.S. I have to add that the collective personalities on the author's loop are some of the most helpful and friendly I've found. Loved the interview, but love the interviewee even more. :)

Trailowner said...

Lea is so positive -- I joined her publishing house in the hope that some rubs off on me.

Chris H.

Earl Staggs said...

Lea, I always enjoy learning more about you and I'm always amazed at all you do. I'm still convinced you're really three people masquerading as one. One person could not possibly do so much so well. I'm also still convinced you're a blonde.

Rhobin said...

Looking forward to the launch of MuseItUp Publishing!

MuseItUp Publishing said...

Earl, I'm a brunette, but cheat at times with a few blond highlights. :)

And I really am one person who thinks she's more than one and that's why I have a nice padded cell in a very cozy home.

But seriously, I want to thank everyone for stopping by and reading more about our publishing houses.

Paul and Karen said...

Great interview and thrilled to be a part of MuseItUp Publishing. Lea, you rock!

Karen :)

Lin said...

Great interview. I am so glad to be part of MuseIt and have a chance to work with Lea.

Katie Hines said...

My God, Lea, I knew you were busy, but didn't realize the extent of it! I think I would go crazy and have to visit the funny farm for a long time were I to try and do half as much as you! good luck in all your endeavors.

Vivian Zabel said...

Interesting interview. 4RV is proud to have Lea as one of its authors, but we share her with several, don't we.

Viviane Brentanos said...

Great honest interview. I share with my fellow 'Muses'their thoughts on being signed to this new, exciting publishing house. Wonderful support, honest feed-back and never-ending encouragement. Thank you.

Viviane Brentanos

Mary Andrews said...

Great interview Roseanne--attractive layout too. The book covers were nicely placed. (Thanks for showing them. =)

I'm one of Lea's MuseItUp authors (Mary Andrews: The Fireborn Chronicles:RESONANCES) The almost options and opportunities Lea provides us is amazing. It really is like joining a family. She's an inspiration to us all.

Thank you for spotlighting our fearless leader...Now, back to working on book III.
--Mary Andrews

Debra K. Dunlap said...

Great interview, Lea. Thank you, Roseanne, for spotlighting our favorite publisher!

Nancy Famolari said...

Excellent interview. Lea's publishing company sounds like a very special place for writers. The covers are terrific. Love them.

Roseanne Dowell said...

It was a pleasure interviewing Lea. I presented a program at one of her conferences and she was a pleasure to work with. I knew she wore many hats, but I had no idea exactly how many and she's devoted to all of them. I don't know how she finds time to write.

Lin said...

I am a woman who thought she wore many hats, but I am staggered by the seemingly boundless energy of our Publisher, and her generosity in sharing her wisdom. I have never met anyone more willing to spread her pearls and that makes me her one of the rarities in what I learned ten years ago is a cutthroat business.

I am honored and indeed blessed to have found a home here at Muse It Up and Muse It Hot. Never thought I'd find sizzle at my age =^..^= Thanks Lea.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Lea is the type of person who easily brings forth the best in those around her. I'm very pleased to have her as my publisher. It will be a real treat to see Muse Publishing grow before my eyes under her guidance.

Craig Gehring said...

What a wonderful interview!!!

bbockman said...

Lea, You just keep adding feathers to your cap. Believe it or not, some of your unbounded energy comes through to us via the cyber waves.
Roseanne -- thanks for a great interview.
As a moderator of one of Lea's critique groups, GradingPens, for kid lit, I am especially grateful to have gotten to be friends with a really special group of writers.
Barbara Bockman