Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

As the old year passes I a little saddened. 2010 was a fairly good year for me. I'm blessed with family and acquired a new grandson as well as a great grandson. What more could a person ask for. I still have my health for the most part. Yes, I'm overweight and need to do something about it, but I feel fairly good. No, I can't do as much as I used to, but I do what I can. I contracted eight new books with Muse It Up Publishing. And, I also acquired a new puppy. What a monster, but cute as a button.
So, why am I sad? I'm always sad at the end of a good year. Partly fear of what the new year holds, and yet I look forward to the new year and what it holds.
Yet, I look forward to the new year and pray it's as good as 2010.
I wish all my  blog followers a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Welcome, Heather Haven

I Can’t Keep up With My Life

Several years ago, when I discovered my husband was becoming a working musician on top of having a day job as a teacher, I knew I had to get a life that didn’t revolve around him. It was hard to wait up several nights a week for the one highlight of my day to show up, bleary-eyed and exhausted, only to give me a quick hello and kiss, and then stumble to bed, snoring not five minutes later. My plight was another form of the Empty Nest Syndrome, known as the Empty Spouse Syndrome.

I had always been a writer but I decided to become more serious about it than ever. I joined writing groups, took writing classes, and finished the novel I’d been threatening to finish for nearly ten years. I was no longer a Woman of Procrastination. I was a Get It Done Gal. And I am a Mere Shell of My Former Self.

Three years later, I am in the midst of writing my fourth novel. Two are being published by MuseItUp Publishing (shout Hosanna from the rooftops and pass out the bubbly). Murder is a Family Business, the first in the Alvarez Murder Mystery Series, debuts in less than a week. The second of the series, A Wedding To Die For, I am now editing. To Die For is out in May.

Another novel, not of that series, is on the back burner waiting for my last round of edits before I send it off to a publisher. Aside from my writing projects, such as a three-act play and a 5th mystery novel, I’ve had short stories published, entered and won writing contests, had two one-act plays mounted, created a website, and write a blog -- when I can remember. In short, I have become the person I’ve wanted to become only I’m having a hard time keeping up with me.

Add to that, I am a gourmet cook, which is fun but shopping, prep time and cooking take a lot of time and energy. Hubby Norman is a gourmet eater, so we get along just fine. But have you seen my kitchen lately? Where is Mr. Clean when you need him?

Then there are my two cats. Now most people might ponder how much trouble a cat can be. I am proud to say I am known for turning the average alley cat into a neurotic French Poodle. Putting the basic care and feeding of my pets aside, there is playtime, treat time, grooming time, picking up the toys from all over the floor time, and huggy-poo, kissy-face time. For me, having two cats is a time-consuming bit of business. But frankly, when I die I want to come back as one of my cats.

Also, Norman sings and plays the guitar in a group called Nigel and Clive and the British Invasion. They are sort of a Beatles Tribute rock and roll band and have taken the Bay Area by storm (curious? Go to Norman is “Clive” and I often go along on the more fun gigs, another venture that bites into my time but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

And somewhere in all of this, I do have to clean my house. If I don’t, the two cats, Ellie and Yulie, have threatened to call the SPCA and lodge a complaint. Even Mr. Clean occasionally protests.

Did I leave anything out? Probably. My mother says the people in China don’t know how I suffer. But not to worry. She sent them an email about it just the other day, so it’s covered.

Happy New Year, everyone. May the coming New Year bring you all you want and need.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I love Christmas

I love Christmas. I mean I really really love Christmas - or rather the holiday season in general. I love the period of time betwen Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love everything about it, the preparations, decorations, even the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking and baking.  I especially love the time spent with family.
It begins just before Thanksgiving for me. I put my tree up and decorate inside and out the week before Thanksgiving, but I don't light anything until Thanksgiving day. It's become a tradition for me. I used to decorate the day after Thanksgiving, but since my family doesn't spend Christmas day at my home and they are here for Thanksgiving, I decided to do it before.
This year, I decided to have my traditional Christmas Eve supper the Sunday before. Partly because we spend Christmas Eve with my brothers and sister and this year my sister decided to have it earlier than the usual six thirty, seven pm time. It made more sense since we always serve food - we alternate the day between us, by the way-so this left little time to have our dinner. The other reason I decided to have it the Sunday before is because most of children couldn't join us for dinner on Christmas Eve.  This worked out so much better this year. I love being surrounded by my children and grandchildren. Unfortunately there were still a few who couldn't join us. I guess that's always going to happen, but most of them were there. It made for a much more relaxing day. We had all day to enjoy each other's company and didn't have to rush to clean up after dinner and hurry off like we usually do on Christmas Eve. Not only was that day and dinner more relaxing, Christmas Eve itself was more relaxing. I didn't spend the day in the kitchen cooking like I usually do and I had plenty of time to get ready to go. No cleanup, no muss, no fuss.
Christmas Day we spent at my son's this year. It's nice not having to prepare dinner for everyone. Usually, I pay for the main course and everyone brings a dish to share. It works out well. This year, my son bought and paid for the main course, so I brought a dish to share. Well, two actually. I made noodles from a recipe my mother in law gave me and my kids love and homemade cranberry sauce. Again, it was a relaxing, but fun filled, noisy day.
Since my son's home is on the small side, we had to open gifts in shifts - the young children first, then the older children and finally the adults. I love the joking and teasing that goes on between the family. We're  a large family and our get togethers are very loud. Someone once called us obnoxious. Maybe we are, but we enjoy it.
There's always a let down feeling when the day is over, or maybe it's more of a sadness. The long awaited day is over. In another week or so, everyone will have their trees down, outdoor lights will no longer be lit. The cheeriness of the season will be gone. The anticipation of the day will pass and the long winter doldrums of January will set in with only Spring and Summer to look forward to. Days, weeks, and months will pass slowly. The fun and activity of the holiday season will turn into memories.
Maybe it's because I'm getting older and I know my days are numbered that I feel this more so this year. I look back on Christmases past and remember the fun we had when I was a child and the Christmases when my children were young. Thank God, I still have enough young grandchildren to still enjoy.
I love Christmas and I guess I always will.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Welcome Becca Cavington - from Santa is a Lady

I want to thank Roseanne Dowell for inviting me to speak on her blog site.

And I’d like to thank you, Becca Cavington, for joining me. It’s always a pleasure to have one of you from Santa is a Lady on my blog.

It’s Christmas time in Northeringale, and let me tell you—there’s no place in the whole world I’d rather be at this time of the year.

Oh My. Here I am yakking away and I haven’t even introduced myself yet. My name is Becca, Beck for short, Cavington and I own the best confectionary shop in the entire tri-county area, called Sweets and Treats. My deliciously scented store is a favorite with all the children living in and around Northeringale. ‘Course it helps that I am also the place to go to if you want to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him all the magical things you hope to find under your tree Christmas morning…or at least it was—until last night.

Last night, just five days before Christmas, Santa was arrested!

Yep, that was my Santa you saw being carted off on your news in handcuffs and burying his head in his furry jacket trim!

The minute I saw the early edition of the local news, I learned the true meaning of PANIC ATTACK! The Northpole Throne without Santa is just about the sorriest sight you’ll ever see…but it gets worse.

The last four shopping days before Christmas are crucial to my store’s blackening bottom line. I immediately dug out the phone number for Santa University where “professional” Santas go to earn their “letters” in Santaology, but every degreed Santa is already “on-the-throne” so to speak. There’s something so totally unfair about that. Don’t you agree?

I had to do something! When my store opens tomorrow morning, the good little girls and boys, not to mention their harried parents, are expecting to find the Jolly Old Elf sitting where he belongs!

Let me just take a second here and explain…panic sometimes makes you do crazy things—so I am claiming Temporary Retail Insanity for what happened.

My best friend, Angie Brightwell…yes THAT Angie Brightwell, mystery writer beyond compare…fought against my suggestion with the tenacity of a miniature rottweiler, but when you are up against the wall, who you gonna call? Your absolute best friend even if she does sound like a mouse on helium.

I can trust Angie, and with only four days to go nothing more could possibly go wrong…right?

Famous Last Words!

To find out what happens you need to get your hands on LJ Holmes’ Muse release SANTA IS A LADY at the Muse it Up Bookstore.

You can also follow LJ Holmes at

She also has her very own AUTHOR page at the Muse It Up Publishing website

Again, I want to thank Roseanne Dowell and wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Welcome, Mavis Dasef


Marva Dasef

Eternal Press PDF

Amazon Kindle

(Q) Thank you for joining us today. Why don't you tell everyone a bit about your book?

(A) ULTIMATE DUTY is space opera with a bit of romance. From the cover:

Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

(Q) Where did the concept for the book come about?

(A) I wrote a short story titled "Pressure Drill" years ago. I got a good response from my critique group, but back then, submitting was entirely by snail mail. I didn't pursue publication. When I retired from real work, I hauled out the story, along with a few others and gave them a fresh look and rewrite. That first story, plus one more with the same main character were published. From that I expanded the story and it eventually became a novel.

(Q) How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

(A) Only thirty years in the making, but I was busy doing other things most of those years.

(Q) Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?

Mark Twain, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov. Plain, simple stories well told.

(Q) Do you have any favourite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

(A) I always write at home. I have a great setup in the family room, right next to the kitchen for quick snacking. I'm one of the few non-listeners. When I write, I find any music distracting. I've become used to the sound of the dishwasher, hubs running power equipment, and my cat vocally worrying about what's going on outside.

(Q) As a writer, what is your greatest fear?That I actually suck, and I'm wasting my time.

(Q) What normally occupies your desk while writing?

(A) A stack of scratch paper, two pens, a ruler, a calendar, a calculator, my cell phone, stack files...Okay, this is boring. Just the usual desk stuff.

(Q) Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?

(A) Mostly, I'm wrapping up a lot of projects. I have a mystery/suspense, "Missing, Assumed Dead," coming out in July 2011 from MuseItUp, a tween fantasy titled "Bad Spelling" scheduled for October 2011. I'm also waiting on a response from MuseItUp to the two sequels of "Bad Spelling." I sure hope they take the whole series. Having books 2 and 3 without a publisher is worrisome. I'm in the note-taking stage of a sequel to Ultimate Duty.

(Q) What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?

(A) Get your web presence set up RIGHT AWAY. Start with a blog, but I strongly encourage you to snag a website with your name as soon as possible. Get on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, but don't make enemies by expressing strong political or religious views. If you want to do that, use a pseudonym. You want to be prepared to jump out of the gate running when you sell your work.

I spent a twenty-five year dryspell without writing fiction. Since I wrote technical documentation for a living, I could hardly face a computer after work. But I'm sorry that I let it go for so long. Don't wait to write!

(Q) Please tell our readers where they can find you.

(A) All over creation and beyond.

My website:

My blog:

I'm a member of SCBWI and maintain pages on Facebook, Twitter, Jacketflap, MySpace, and a variety pack of writerly websites.

How about an excerpt?

With the protective helmet off, they could now talk. Remy pulled down the rebreather mask. “You guys ready to get the hell off this planet?”

Her mom patted her on the shoulder and her muffled voice answered, “More than ready, sweetheart.”

“Well, hang on. This is definitely going to be a bumpy ride.” Remy replaced her rebreather over her face. Once they got moving, the shuttle’s environment equipment would kick in, and they could take off the masks.

Remy clicked on the communicator and tuned to a close-range channel. She set her infopad near the spare headset and switched it to an electroid number. She could hardly call it music since the robotic instruments reprogrammed themselves at random, making a weird variety of sounds. Remy shrugged. “I guess I just don’t get modern music.” Bill and Ted were monitoring the frequency though and would know that Remy was ready to take off. They’d come in for another diversion run so that she could escape the planet unnoticed. Anybody else who picked up the sound would, hopefully, ignore it.

Her father looked out the passenger side screen and tapped Remy’s arm. “Would three guys holding blasters running in this direction be of interest?”

Remy nodded and goosed the shuttle’s back jets to get them moving across the bleak landscape and into the sky. She boosted out of atmosphere so hard her mom suppressed a squeak. “Slow down!”

“Can’t, Mom. Just try to hang on.” Her mother nodded, her eyes wide with fear. Her dad, on the other hand, was grinning like a kid with a new toy. Remy thought he might not be too old to take pilot training.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ginger Simpson's Christmas Memory

Sleigh Bells and Reindeer

“I think I hear sleigh bells,” my dad would say every Christmas. We’d scurry to our bedrooms and pretend to be fast asleep. Being the oldest of four, I knew Dad was the one who went outside and attempted to make reindeer tracks in the dirt. We didn’t have a fireplace, so Santa had to come in through the door. The important thing was that he came.

How my mom and dad managed to give us such joy and the very thing we wanted when the raft shop where my dad worked at the local air force base paid ninety cents an hour.
We thought we were in hog heaven when he brought home the canned rations every now and then. Each one had a candy inside, and the crackers weren’t bad either. I can’t recall a Christmas that didn’t put a permanent smile on my face and joy in my heart.

Although Dad was Jewish and didn’t believe in the reason for the season, he was always the first to shake the presents beneath the tree. We always vowed to wait until Christmas morning to open gifts, but he was the culprit behind the “let’s open just one.”

Sure, one turned into two, and before we knew it, we sat amongst opened boxes and a landslide of wrapping paper, happy with what we’d received, but disappointed that once again we’d failed to wait until morning. So the tradition continues. Christmas eve is our time to celebrate, and I’m always urged on by my father’s voice in my head, telling me now from heaven, “just open one. What harm can it do?” Oh, we still have our Christmas dinner on the day of, and as a Christian, I celebrate the birth of Jesus, and I will be forever thankful for the parents he gave me.

We weren’t rich in the financial sense, but in love we were millionaires. I’d give anything to have one of those Christmas Eves over again, and hear my Dad’s sweet voice talking to me for real. He’s been gone for over twenty years now, but if you’re listening Daddy, your little girl loves you with all her heart, and I miss you still. You’ll always be in my heart.

I wish all a "let's just open one," Christmas. Happy New Year, too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Barbara Bockman’s Wonderful Christmas

I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, near Asheville. When I was young, it sometimes snowed at Christmas. I loved to watch snow falling and to go out and play with my cousins. Once Billy and Nancy and Frank and I attempted to make an igloo.

So many of my wonderful Christmases were just alike that it’s hard to single out a special one.

Of course, I always got a doll. That was necessary because the one from last year was always missing a limb or an eye (the kind that fell backward out of the eye socket into the head of the doll). Also, if I had left her out in the rain, the paint of her face washed off. By the next Christmas, that doll was an eyesore, so Santa Claus brought me a new one.

For years, after breakfast, I proudly marched out the road to visit the relatives. I showed off my new doll and admired the gifts Santa had left my cousins. If I hung around the kitchen doors, my aunts gave me cookies or candy; it didn’t even require a hint.

A special Christmas does come to mind. One year, my aunt Gladys gave me a Brownie camera. What a treat! I wanted to go out immediately and take pictures even though it was snowing heavily. My mother bundled me up in my coat with matching leggings and cap and boots. I slung the little black strap around my neck and out I went to take pictures. The little black box was easy to focus, with its two-inch square aperture under the flip-top. Since there was no such thing as a flash attachment at that time, all my photography took place outdoors.

It’s strange how the white world of a snow-filled sky seems to take color out of regular objects. I walked in whiteness, sometimes sticking my tongue out to capture snowflakes, hardly feeling the cold.

Some of the neighbors had hedges of evergreens or boxwood, and that special Christmas day, snow piled inches high on the limbs and weighed them down. I was ecstatic with the beauty of it all, and took up a whole roll of film.

That Brownie camera was one of the best gifts ever and one I remember fondly to this day.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Barbara Ehrentreu's Favorite Christmas Memory

My Favorite Christmas Memory

Whitesboro, NY : Christmas lights on Main StreetWhen my husband and I got married we moved back to Cortland, NY where I had just graduated from SUNY Cortland. I had never really appreciated the town itself, since I was from a big city and the town had very little to offer me. When I had been a student all I knew about the town were the bars, a restaurant and the only diner.
When we moved back we didn’t really explore the town. I was teaching every day and the only trips we took to town were to go to the huge, cavernous movie theater, the supermarket and the laundromat. It would have been very lonely for both of us, but my husband had school during the day and work. My teaching took me to the neighboring town of Cincinnatus, which was so small it would have fitted into Cortland with space to spare. The weather was cold and snowy, since Cortland is right in the middle of the snowbelt. We were both feeling a little down at the holidays, because we hadn’t been able to get back to the city where all of my relatives lived.

So my husband decided we would try to have our own holiday celebration. Of course we celebrated Chanukah, but he remembered when he was a boy and had celebrated Christmas. He went out and got us a tree. It was more like the tree in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, but it was a little fuller and half the size of a normal tree. We put it on a stand and decorated it with brand new ornaments we bought together complete with the lights. I was delighted, because I had never had a tree in my place before and this had been such a dream for me.:) Then we decided to give each other presents and allotted one day for the shopping.

We walked over to Main Street, which was a few blocks away. We couldn’t have driven there anyway, since we didn’t have a car yet! We were living in a tiny one and a half bedroom apartment and paid only $65 a month for it.:) This was back in 1965 when prices like this for rent were the usual in small towns. So when we got to the Main Street we divided and went our separate ways. We had each given the other a list of the things we might like. I explored the possibilities for shopping and found a department store where I could find everything I needed. I also found a few other specialty stores as well. Having had each gift wrapped for me, I met my husband again and we walked back home. Each of us had a secret smile on our faces. But we had to put our gifts under the tree. It wasn’t Christmas yet and we didn’t want to spoil the surprise.
Finally Christmas Eve came and we couldn’t wait any longer. Our tree was there in the middle of our living room with its pine scent and bright colored lights. We unwrapped each other’s presents and the only thing I remember from it is a beautiful dress with a design of a Mondrian painting on it. It had big squares colored red and blue and white with black lines surrounding each one. I had also knitted my husband a sweater and he loved it.:) Standing in the middle of the gift wrapping wearing my dress I finally felt like we were a family and that someday we would be surrounded by our future children. I didn’t realize that this would be the last Christmas that we had a tree, but I will never forget it and it was the best Christmas I ever spent.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Memories

There are so many Christmas memories that I find it difficult to know which ones to  But this one came to mind for some reason.
We'd been married for about five years and it had always been our tradition to put up our tree the beginning of December. My mom always put her tree up on St. Nicholas Day, December 6th. Later, once we bought artificial trees we began putting them up the day after Thanksgiving, a tradition started by my sister that everyone copied. I love Christmas and everything to do with it, so it only seemed natural to put it up then. Besides, back when I was a child the holidays started for our family the day after Thanksgiving with baking cookies and such.
But, I digress from this particular memory.
We lived in a small community that Santa came down all the streets in a sleigh(with wheels) pulled by horses every year around the middle of December Everyone came out to greet him and he passed out candy canes to the kids, no those little candy canes either, those big, thick, long ones. Anyway,  we still didn't have our tree. Money was tight and other things took priority that year. Besides that, our car was broke down and we didn't even have a way to get one.
But that didn't stop me from whining. I wanted my tree. It was getting late in the season and already people were decorated and trees showed up in everyone's windows. Everyone's but ours. I missed the bright colored lights and the warm glow. So, of course one weekend I complained endlessly.
Either tired of hearing me or just being a terrific guy (I'm still not sure which) hubby put on his coat and shoes and walked up to the corner. Let me describe walking to the corner. We lived on a main street and there were several houses between us and the next cross street. That's not the corner I meant. Between that cross street and the corner was a very large cemetery, maybe three quarters of a mile away.
Hubby bought a tree and dragged it home behind him in the snow. And I'm not talking a three or four foot tree, I'm talking about six feet. So... he comes home and he's cold and out of breath, but about.
Amazed at his good mood, I asked him what was so funny.  Apparently, while he was walking home, a lady stopped him and asked if he knew when Santa was coming. Not stopping to think about it, and not in the best of moods, he looked at her and answered, Christmas.  After she pulled away, he thought about it while walking and realized she meant the Santa who went around the neighborhood. 
Bet she never stops and asks a man dragging a tree down the street that question again.  I wish I had a picture of that. It must have been an awesome sight.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review of Santa is a Lady

I recently had the pleasure of reading Santa is a Lady by L J Holmes.
After Beck Cavington convinces her best friend, Angie Brightwell, to play Santa for her candy shop against Angie's better judgment, all kinds of hell breaks loose. Not only does a handsome single father bring his daughter into see Santa, the 2 year old manages to entangle her tiny fingers in Santa's beard. Yep, you guessed it, the beard comes off. The father is so angry to see Santa is a woman, he gives her and the shop owner a piece of his mind.

To make matters worse, the next day the town hellion approaches and after stomping all over Santa's lap, manages to pull of her wig. Beck blames Angie for the whole mess and the scene is witnessed by Cam. LJ Holmes weaves a magical Christmas tale. Treat yourself to a story filled with humor and emotion.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Welcome, Christine Verstraete - 10 Tips for Better Writing

Welcome,  Christine Verstraete, author of  The Killer Valentine Ball

Bio: I grew up with my nose always in a book, so it seemed a natural progression that I wanted to be a writer. A prophetic wish, it seems, judging from my favorite baby photo as seen on my website of me with a newspaper and a pencil behind my ear. I studied journalism and continue to do freelance writing for newspapers.

I also enjoy writing all kinds of fiction, with stories appearing in several anthologies including the recent Steampunk'd from DAW Books (coming out Nov. 2).

My kid's mystery, Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, was #1 on Kindle for Miniatures books and was a 2009 EPPIE Award finalist for best YA/children's ebook by the Epic Foundation.

You can learn more about Christine at:
Book page:

10 Tips to Better Writing
1. Start Small

Big projects can sometimes be overwhelming. Break them into bite-size pieces. I'm guilty of stressing over not writing the 20 pages a week I'd planned. Setting goals smaller, say three pages a day, will get almost the same results, with less stress. And if you don't get the exact amount done, don't beat yourself up. Even one paragraph or page is one more than you had before, and 500 or so words closer to your final word count.

2. Believe in Yourself
A bad review can hurt, but the pain is temporary. But that inner critic that tries to hold you back and tear down your efforts (you're a lousy writer, you'll never get anywhere, why are you wasting your time?...) can be worse. Believe in you. Think on what you've accomplished and move forward. One rejection is just that. It's not the end. Don't let rejection stalk you. Send that story or project to another publication and move on to the next one. Having at least a few stories circulating (some say 10 or 12 if you can) will prevent you from obsessing over one.

3. Learn From Others

Success comes from listening to others who have already been there. Check out the experiences of other writers in your genre. Study the works of writers you admire to see how they did it. No matter how many years you've been writing, there is always something new to learn.

4. Review Yourself

A little self-evaluation can be good to gauge where you are in your writing goals and progress. Be honest; don't be afraid to point out your shortcomings, but also decide on how to improve them. Maybe you've only been published in lower paying markets and are afraid to move to the next level. Pick a market you haven't written for; study the content, and work on a story to submit. Becoming a better writer doesn't mean treading water; test the waters in new markets.

5. Make Goals
Goals keep you from stagnating, but make them reasonable. Start with one goal, like planning to get published in a new magazine in your genre, or working on a story in a different genre or field. When that goal is accomplished, make a new goal. Keep moving forward and don't stress over how long achieving that goal may take. It isn't a race. Work at the pace you feel comfortable with.

6. Seize the Day!

Swallow your fears. Some opportunities only come once. Don't be afraid to take a chance. You never know where it will lead.

7. Don't Fear Mistakes
You'll make mistakes; you'll write less than stellar stories. We all have. It's one mistake. Even if you make the same mistake, it's not the end of the world. Learn from them. Every mistake only makes you stronger.

8. Don't Be a Victim
Self-pity leads to depression, which leads to inactivity, self-doubt and can be a vicious spiral that robs you of your energy and happiness. No matter your circumstances, there is no reason to sit still and be unproductive. Don't make excuses, do something. There are tons of free resources available. Use the Internet and computers at the library. See if there is a niche in your community where you can volunteer or provide a service. See #5.

9. Be Happy

We all can't be Rockefellers or live like them. Always thinking the grass is greener on the other side will never make you satisfied. Look closer and you'll find crabgrass and weeds there, too. Enjoy your faith, friends, family, pets, and hobbies. Shut off the computer and make time to exercise and have some fun. You'll feel better and be more productive.

10. Think Positive

It takes less energy to think positive and will add more to your life and your writing.

The Killer Valentine Ball

Author: C. A. Verstraete

Cover Artist: Delilah K. Stephans

Word Count: 3,094

Pages: 15

ISBN: 978-0-9865875-6-6

Price: $0.99

Release date: October 1, 2010

Warning: Light gore


A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day. Can you say loser?, Jess thinks. But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.

A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day. Can you say loser?, Jess thinks. But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.


As they walked into the shadows, Jess noticed that things weren't quite as they appeared. Sections of the room lightened for a moment before being cast again in deep shadow. What Jess thought she saw in that split second made her heart race. On the dance floor, the same three couples stood, clasped to each other. Jess stared. She swore they never moved.

The music played quietly in the background. When the shadows brightened, Jess caught a quick glimpse of one of the couples. The young man's mouth gaped open. His partner's gown glistened with streams of dark ribbons. The light flashed again and Jess gasped. Those weren't ribbons! The girl's dress shone with dark glimmers. Like-like blood, she thought. No, it can't be! She looked back at Dylan, who shook his head and urged her on.

"Light tricks," he whispered. "It's not real. It's Halloween stuff, like the movie. Don't worry."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Muse Authors

I had the pleasure this week of meeting a couple of Muse Authors. Saturday, my hubby and I had dinner with Rebecca Ryals Russell and her husband, Mike, Marsha Moore and her husband, Steve and Barbara and Barbara Bockman. Rebecca graciously offered us the use of her cabin home for a couple of nights. We had dinner at Carraba's in Gainesville, Florida. Barbara was an added surprise, that Rebecca sprung on us. We had no idea she was coming. What a treat. We spent the time discussing Muse Publishing. We all agreed Lea Schizas was a top notch publisher.
Tonight, I had the pleasure of meeting Ginger Simpson. Hubby and I met her at Shoney's for dinner. Unfortunately, her hubby couldn't make it. Maybe we'll get to meet him next time. We think both hubbys will have a lot in common, both being truck drivers and married to a couple of nuts.
It was such a thrill meeting these authors.  I hope someday to meet more of them.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Welcome, Sameena Bachmeier

Thank you so much for being here, Sam do you write? Historical Fiction, Young Adult.

2: How long have you been writing? I have always loved to write since I was a child. Recently in the past four years, I really began diving into writing and sending out submissions like crazy!

3: What do you like the most and least about writing? I love getting lost in the stories and the characters as I write. It's such relaxing creative outlet for me, like a zone I can get obsessed in. I least like edits. Thank God for editors!

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing? I have three school age children so really anything from games to movies as a family with my husband as well and I'm a happy girl. We love to camp and fish as a family as well.

5: Which authors do you like to read? Roald Dahl since a young age has been and remained an all time favorite, now I read his books with my children. Also I enjoy Shel Silverstein a great deal.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you? I am dedicated in everything in my life. Dedicated to being the best mother, wife, daughter, auntie, friend, writer I can possibly be in my life.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it? Banyan is a historical fiction novella.

It is a tale about a teen named Kannie Irnest. She had the picture perfect life as a child until her father left her and her mother alone. It wasn't long before the world as she knew it began unraveling and creating a web of misery around her. Her mother was no longer the loving mother she knew, she had become bitter by the lonely days and Kannie sank into a depression. The only joy Kannie seemed to find was with her friend Kristopher. They were like two peas in a pod since a young age and when they were together it was as if the world around them didn't matter. Mysteriously one day on Kannie's way to school she is given a Banyan tree stick. She learns that it is a wishing stick. Although skeptical, Kannie is desperate to experience a happy life and she wishes on the Banyan stick to be anywhere but in that moment in her life. She awakens to everyday thereafter to a different historical event that lead her to experiences, places and people she had only heard about in books. The journey she embarks on teaches her to believe in herself, forgive others and appreciate the path that is laid out in front of her. She also now, must find her way back home.
8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors? Take all rejections as simply not the right fit, nothing more. Keep sending submissions no matter what, I have hundreds of rejections and before some of the submissions finally found a home. Persistence is the key!

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

For the particular book, Banyan I did. I actually spent a great deal of time researching historical events and people involved and then threw in my spin and characters intertwined within the historical fiction story.

10: How did you come up with the idea for this book? I don't really brain storm in any way, I just have an idea or thought pop into my head and begin writing off of that one thought.

11: What are you currently working on?

I am currently sending out submissions for another children’s picture book I have written. I also am beginning my research for Banyan 2.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you? Banyan is set for release August 2011 it will be my first YA, novella publication.

13.Where can we find you? Website? Blog?

Sameena Bachmeier on Facebook & is a link solely dedicated to my children's picture book entitled Fairy Tales for Tucking in set to release January 2011. Also on Museitup's website under the authors section you can also find me.


UNEDITED- Banyan excerpt date of release Aug 2011

Kannie was taken to the dining quarters of the ship. Her and colonel Montgomery sat around a wooden table and awaited the cook to come dish them out. As they sat Kannie was admiring his rifle that hung gallantly around his chest.

“You like this?” He asked, pointing this rifle. He held it up towards her so she could have better look. “This is my baby. It's a musket rifle.” Kannie reached out and ran her fingers along the grooves that spiraled down the length of the entire rifle. “The groves create the mini balls that I load to spin, it makes them bullets go faster and shoot further than normal.” Kannie smiled at him in understanding.

The cook entered the dining room from the kitchen doors, which when opened alluded a heavenly smell. The cook bowed as he placed two cups of in front of each of them. “Beef Alamode in a musket.” he stated waving his chubby hand over the cup,

“Tea to quench your thirst too of course.” Kannie smelled the steam coming from her musket. She had never smelt meat so divine. Her stomach growled again with anticipation. It smelt heavenly compared to last nights hamburger surprise. “Thank you so much.” she nodded at the cook. “You are both very welcome. Enjoy.”

And with that the cook hurried back off to the kitchen. “So, this is a musket?” Kannie asked Colonel Montgomery as they began to eat. “You must have hit your head or something. Of course that's musket. We use it for drinks, cooking, and as a bucket even. Don't tell me you've never seen one of these?” he chuckled. “Oh, yeah, of course.” Kannie quickly played along, not wanting to look like a total idiot. “I think you're right, I must have hit my head or something.” wanting to change the subject she decided to ask him more about Harriet Tubman.

“So, Harriet. Can you tell me a bit more about her?” He continued to eat as he answered her, dribbling his Beef Alamode into his beard. “I can tell you what I know. I think she was born as a slave around 1820 in Bucktown, Maryland. She managed to escape from slavery around 1849. She worked as a conductor for the underground railroad you know. She did about nineteen trips.” Kannie continued to eat as she listened.

“What was the underground railroad.” questioned Kannie as Colonel Montgomery squished his thick eyebrows together forming one. “You sure you're alright? You really don't know about the underground railroad?” Kannie shook her head.

“Well.” he began “The underground railroad runs from South America you know, to North America. The slaves ride to escape from slavery, it's a dangerous ride but worth it for freedom. Some even go on all the way to Canada.”

Kannie was amazed. All this was really going on. Why hadn't she heard of this before. She'd studied history in school but it was never this interesting. Suddenly, the colonel Montgomery stopped eating. He scratched at his his profusely. “Damn lice.” he grumbled. “Where's my gosh darn haversack?” he reach down to the ground and grabbed a pouch that he had sat down on the ground next to him. He carried that pouch where ever he went.

He spoke aloud as he rifled through it pulling out miscellaneous items as he set them on the table. “Praise the Lord God Almighty for my trusty housewife.” he giggled to himself as he set on the table what appeared to be a sewing kit. 'Ah ha, here it is!” He smiled proudly as he pulled out a comb and began to comb his hair.

Kannie was suddenly not hungry anymore. She sat repulsed, suddenly questioning the sanitation of the table she was dining on as she watched him comb the lice out of his hair at the table. Suddenly a man rattled his was into the dining room. “I have to report sir.” he said looking at the colonel. “Go on” allowed colonel Montgomery, still combing away.

“We are near destination, and have picked off many confederate ships already. Also we have spotted a temporary platoon bridge that my just be our key to passage.” “That is perfect! Inform Mrs. Tubman at once!.” ordered colonel Montgomery.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Has Definitely Arrived

The colors are really popping out. The reds and rusts finally joining the yellows. Many of the yellow trees have already lost most or all of their leaves. While beautiful, Fall is a sad time of year for me. I'm not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with the cooler temperatures, jackets or maybe because I know what is to follow. I don't much care for the bare trees and the colder temperatures. Not to mention the snow that's going to follow. I hate having to put on a jacket to go out.  I especially dislike wearing socks and heavy shoes.
Not that I like the heat of Summer. I don't. You can keep the 90 degree temperatures.  To me that heat is as bad as the freezing cold. You have to close everything up and although you don't have to wear a jacket, there's only so much you can take off.

Nope, give me Spring,  early Summer and early Fall any day .  I like when you can open windows, smell the fresh air and go outside without a jacket. 

But, alas, it's Fall and Winter isn't far behind. That's the way life goes and there's nothing I can do to change it. I'll live with it the same way I always have all these years.  And I'll actually enjoy the first snowfall and the beauty of a blanket of white. But I will soon tire of it. Winter lasts way too long.

I'll spend my time writing and waiting for Spring.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Welcome, Tonya Renee Callihan

My Road to Publication
Every writer has a path they take to become published. Whether they are still on that road to discovery, have just reached the top of the hill, or are basking in their glories at the top of the mountain.

Every writer has their own struggles, obstacles, triumphs and joys on that road. And every writer has a goal.

What has my road to publication been like?

A long one, a tough one. At times I felt like giving up. For about eight months I had given up.

I started writing during my Christmas break in 2000. I was thirteen years old at the time. At that point in my life I had only read children’s books and books for school. I’m not sure if I knew what a romance novel was. I can remember my mamaw would always bring my mom a box full of books every now and then. Whether she picked them up at a yard sale or they were given to her, as soon as she finished reading them she would bring them to our house.

I can remember my mom always had her nose in a book as well. She made sure us kids had books to read. I have to thank her for that and dedicate my writing career to her for that very reason. Without her pushing us to read and to be the best we could be…and for reading those romance novels, I don’t think I would be the writer I am today. Thanks mom!!

I snuck two books from her collection. One was a Harlequin Superromance, something about a Montana man and Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. I loved that book and to this day it is still one of my all time favorites to go back and read. I stayed up late at night reading both of these books and I feel in love before I was half way through the book. When I finished reading the novels I announced to myself, ‘hey I’m going to grow up to be a romance writer’.

For the past ten years I have been writing, pouring my heart and soul into these stories and my characters. It’s been my passion. I knew if I worked hard I would accomplish my goals.

But of course you have that road block that pops up from time to time. For a while it was hard to juggle everything and fit writing into the mix, but I somehow managed to set aside time a couple of times a week to write.

Then I discovered the online world of writers. At first no one would acknoweledge my presence. I was new, I had questions, I had never been published. Obviously I was a nuisance. So, I hid on the sidelines and read the other posts and learned from what ‘experienced’ authors had to say. Yes, I’m still a little bitter in this area. But I later learned I was definitely in the wrong groups and hanging with the wrong writers. I also learned that over half of them weren’t published themselves.

So I gave up for about eight months. Every now and then I would write, but mainly I wrote ideas, scenes, plots etc. I never really put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and wrote another story. One night I had a dream…or more a nightmare. Twenty years down the road I was having a conversation with who I am assuming was my daughter, I was telling her how I regretted never writing again and telling her to never give up on her dreams. She told me I shouldn’t give up either that I should start writing again.

The next day I woke up and decided my dream daughter was right I shouldn’t give up. Therefore I began to research Yahoo groups and publishers and joined their groups. I asked questions I got answers. I made comments I got responses. I had problems I got encouragement. I was finally in the right place.

Within two months of starting to write again and believing in myself and my goals once more I got a contract with Secret Cravings Publishing for my book series, ‘Night Pleasures’. My first book Night Promises will be out January 5, 2011.

My advice to you as a writer is to never give up. Don’t be afraid to get out there and follow your dreams. No one can stop you but yourself.

My Links

Thanks so much Roseanne for allowing me this opportunity. I love to hear from readers, writers, etc. If you have any questions

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Welcome, Barbara Ehrentreu

Until last February I lived in New York State except for one year in California. Now I live in Stamford, Connecticut with my family. I have over seventeen years of teaching experience and certification in Reading. When I got my Masters degree, I began to write seriously and have several stories published online. Currently I'm  still shopping my first YA novel. I've written two more YA novels. During NaNoWriMo last year I completed  my third YA novel and this year I wrote an adult romance novel. I recently became the NY Literature Examiner for and have written several articles for them. I also write a blog, Barbara’s Meanderings,, which is networked on both Facebook and Blog Catalog. I host Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages on Blog Talk Radio every 4th Thursday,

In addition, my children's story The Trouble With Follow the Leader and an adult story, Moondance  are published online. I also write book reviews for, and several of my reviews have been on Ace Writers and Celebrity Cafe. I guess you can say writing  is my life.

Excerpt from: The Trouble with Follow the Leader - Story Station/Learning and Leisure

"Move it, you flat leaver," Charlie poked Terry in the back forcing her to move faster. "Follow the line or we'll lose them."

Terry felt the sharp pain from Charlie's finger and the worse pain caused by the words he said. Flat leaver, that stupid expression they called you when you left the game too early. Gee, it was only follow the leader and she couldn't always do the stupid things the gang decided.

"See they're climbing onto the ledge and we're not there." Charlie said.
Terry hoped Charlie wouldn't poke her again. She turned to tell him not to poke her, but his size made her shiver and she kept quiet.

"Terry, follow me," Sally the girl in front of her said. Sally's hands were up in the air and she was getting ready to climb onto the ledge. In the distance Steven, the leader, was jumping down and running through the alley. Everyone else did the same thing.
"Come on, Terry, jump after me," Sally called out to her as she jumped. Terry gritted her teeth and leaped. Her feet hit the hard cement and for a second it hurt a lot, but she ran through the alley behind Sally.
"Run, Terry, or we'll miss them," Sally said panting and turning around to see Terry.
Sally ran onto the sidewalk and there in front of them was the whole gang. They had stopped in front of the scary apartment house in the middle of the street. The house had a big iron gate in front of it with sharp spikes on top of each railing. The kids played "Red Light, Green Light", and "Giant Steps" inside the gate all the time. Terry remembered the day she was walking by this place alone. An old woman who looked creepy had stuck her head out of the first floor window. She had straggly gray hair and a big sharp nose. Terry quivered and waited for her to go back inside before she walked past.
Why were they stopping at the gate? Terry hoped the game would stop so she could have lunch. Her stomach was rumbling and she wanted a tuna fish sandwich from Jake's on the corner. She looked up at the first floor window. It was closed. She let out her breath. There was an opening with a gate to let them in. But today they didn't use that gate.

"Hey, Terry, hurry up," Sally said as she ran to catch up with the rest of the line.
"What are we doing?" Terry couldn't see anything at all. She worried that her turn would come and she wouldn't be able to do what everyone else was doing. She wanted to leave, but then everyone would call after her, "Flat leaver, flat leaver," like the last time when she left before the game was over and the whole gang had yelled at her so loudly she could hear them halfway up the street. Today it had been her turn to be the leader, but the rest of the kids wouldn't let her go to the front of the line. So here she was stuck between Sally, the new girl, and Charlie, the loudest and toughest boy in the group.
"Hey, flat leaver, move it, the line is moving," Charlie was pushing her to go.
They were almost up to the gate and Terry still didn't know what they were doing. Then she saw one of the kids slide through the corner part of the iron gate. It looked easy. You slipped yourself through the little space and got into the inside of the gate where there was plenty of room for the whole gang. It was Sally's turn and Terry tried to watch, but Charlie kept poking her in the back to move and she had to turn around to tell him to stop. Again, no words came out of her mouth when she looked back at Charlie. But this time she managed to scrunch up her eyes and glare at him.

It was Terry's turn and she walked up to the corner of the gate. Almost all the kids were inside the gate except her and Charlie.

"Let's go already. " Charlie pushed her up to the gate. Terry could feel the scratchy metal on her fingers as she gripped the bars. How can I get through this little space? Terry thought in a panic.
Terry tried while everyone inside the gate yelled at her to get through.
She put her head through first and it just fit. Terry tried moving it a little more so she could get her body through too, but it wouldn't budge. She tried getting her head out of the gate, but nothing moved. Her head was stuck there.
"What's taking you so long, loser?" Charlie sounded angry and Terry was silent. The gang would never let her play with them again if she didn't do this and left.
The kids inside the gate continued to shout to her.
"Come on, you can do it. Just get your body in. You're almost there."
Terry wiggled her body as much as could, but she couldn't get through the bars. She was stuck. The iron bars were on both sides of her head and she could smell the bitter iron. Her stomach growled more. Her heart was pounding.
"No, I can't do it," Terry yelled to the crowd.
"You're just a big baby," Charlie mumbled to her and tried pushing her through to the other side.
"Leave me alone," Terry finally said to Charlie. Now that she was stuck in this gate, she wasn't as afraid of him. She had more important things to think about than Charlie.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Author Beware!4This page is dedicated to all the authors who have been screwed, and it’s for the up and coming writers seeking publication. Maybe you can avoid some of the mistakes other authors make.

“Pirates pilfer our work outright – We handed it to her on a silver platter and came back for more.” –Unknown Author

Unfortunately this statement is true of a lot of “publishers” out there. Your contract is only legally binding for your publisher if you can afford to take them to court. That’s right, I said it! There are some publishers out there that won’t abide by their own contracts, and what can you do if you can’t afford to take them to court? Not damn much.

So the trick is to not get caught with an awful publisher. You can’t always prevent it, but here are a few tips that will hopefully help you.

Google them. It’s easy to punch in a name and look at a couple websites to see exactly what you’re getting into, but you’d be surprised how many authors don’t do it. I understand, it might be your first offer for a contract, but do a quick celebration and then sit down and do some research.

Check with authors of that publisher or agent. I’d say ask a minimum of five authors if they have complaints. There is no maximum. Check until you feel comfortable signing that contract. And if after all that checking, you still don’t feel comfortable, then don’t sign. Go with your gut.

I’d love to be able to make my own site dedicated to giving the dirt on publishers, but I don’t have that kind of time. Here are a few resources to check to. They’re pretty reliable and spending five minutes looking up your prospective publisher can save you a world of pain in the long run. You might know about some of these, but I didn’t know about them until after I’d signed my first contract, so its possible you don’t either.
Piers Anthony

Preditors and Editors


I also suggest that you invest in a good author legal book. There are a lot out there. Just search ‘authors contract law’ on Amazon and you’ll come up with quite a few. I haven’t read any, but as soon as I have I’ll put some suggestions on this page.

To all authors with websites: Feel free to steal this page. You can copy it verbatim, I don’t care. Maybe if more authors had them then their fans who are just starting out would take these warnings to heart.

If you have any suggestions for this page, like resource sites or good author legal books that you’ve read, feel free to contact me at:

copied with permission from

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Welcome, Floriana Hall

1: Thank you so much for being here, Floriana Hall. First up is the obligatory

question. When did you first begin writing?

I was inspired in church when I was 68 years old to write my first published
poem LOVE NEVER DIES, which won the Editor’s Choice Award. It literally popped into my head when the pastor was giving his homily. Since then, I have won many prizes. I have written over 700 poems and have been published all over the world. It seems that most poems just pop into my head at 5 AM and I have to put them on the computer right away so as not to forget them. It usually takes me 20 minutes to write a poem.

2: What inspired you to write?

After I wrote some poetry, my fifth grade teacher daughter asked me to write
my first nonfiction children’s book. She could not find an exciting true story
about The Great Depression that included history and prices. I typeset SMALL
CHANGE and it sold well. The printer passed away a few years ago. THE
ADVENTURES OF FLOSSIE, ROBBIE, AND JUNEY During The Great Depression took its place and is read in many schools and libraries. I speak to the students after the fifth grade teacher reads the book to them. I have over 200 letters from the students saying that they learned not to take life for granted after reading THE ADVENTURES.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

I love to write and have two new books in the making. Perhaps I am not too
fond of promotion because I cannot, at almost 83, travel far.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

I love to get together with family and enjoy our great-grandchildren
immensely. I just had a total hip replacement so I continue to go to water exercise five days a week to help rehabilitation. I have always loved swimming, too. I love to read but mostly autobiographies and memoirs. I used to hike and perhaps will be able to do that next year. I have twenty-five shields for the Hiking Spree. I belong to several clubs including the Red Hats.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

As I said, I prefer autobiographies and really enjoyed Kirk Douglas’ THE

RAGMAN’S SON and Lauren Bacall’s JUST ME.Also, I like Debbie McComber’s style of writing, Lisa Wingate and Maeve Binchy for fiction.

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

That I am a strong and positive person and always have been, even as a child growing up without enough food to eat or the necessities of life. I learned to work for what I have. My wonderful mother was a positive influence because she taught us morals, manners and cleanliness and to live each day to
our best ability with a smile on our faces.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

FRANCIS, NOT THE SAINT is the true story of my family’s struggle to overcome
adversity during The Great Depression and World War II. Our dad left our wonderful mother many times for jobs and for other women. We found out he had three families when I was sixteen years old. He had trouble juggling all three and constantly begged our mother for forgiveness. She, being a staunch
Catholic, would never have asked for a divorce. Francis lied about everything and we all learned that he could not be trusted. However, none of his children
wanted to be like him, and are not. FRANCIS, NOT THE SAINT has been translated into Spanish, FRANCISO, NO EL SANTO.

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

It takes a while to have your name known so be patient and keep on writing. The first book may never be picked up by an agent or publishing company, so try to publish it yourself.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

Most of my books are nonfiction. However, I do change names in most of my stories in order not to be sued.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

After I wrote the first book, the children’s book, people asked me to write the continuation of the first book. Thus DADDY WAS A BAD BOY was published by Sterlinghouse Publishers.

11: What are you currently working on? asked me to write a new memoir, which will be titled

MISS FLOSSIE’S WORLD - Coping with Adversity During The Great Depression Then and the Recession Now. It should be on the market in 2011.

I have a trilogy of three young children’s books in the process, also. The trilogy is called SIMPLE PLEASURES.Twelve years ago, I founded and still coordinate THE POET’S NOOK a group of
local poets at the Cuyahoga Falls Library once a month. I am putting together the fifth book of poems by twenty poets titled POEMS OF BEAUTIFUL OHIO – Then and Now.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

My husband and I have been married for 62 years on Dec. 31, 2010. We have five children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

My priorities in life are church, family, friends, and helping people. My motto is THE SECRET TO LIFE IS NOT TO TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Welcome, Jessica Chambers

First, Roseanne, let me say a huge thank you for inviting me on your blog today to talk about my debut release. Now available from Red Rose Publishing , Voices On The Waves is a sweet women’s fiction novel set against the stunning backdrop of rural Cornwall. When nine individuals from all walks of life win a two-week stay at a beautiful farmhouse retreat, they’re each hoping for some rest and relaxation away from the outside world. In fact, what they get is a holiday that will change their lives forever.

In this scene, Leah Shaw has an uncomfortable encounter with one of her fellow guests, the charming but unscrupulous Marcus Armitage.

urled in the arbor, Leah attempted to lose herself in her book. She stumbled across this spot during her first tour of the grounds. It struck her then that this would be the perfect place to come when she wished to be alone to think or to read, luxuries her home life permitted little time for.

Her attention kept drifting to that morning’s episode. How could she have let her guard down like that? The combination of the sunrise and Will’s drawing must have bewitched her. Yet, however talented Will might be, it made him no more trustworthy than any other man. She couldn’t afford to make that mistake again.
Lost in her own thoughts, she only became aware someone had approached when a voice murmured in her ear. “That book must be particularly riveting if it causes my presence to go unnoticed.”

Alarmed, Leah dropped her book to the grass and stared around.

Marcus chuckled. “I’m flattered. I’m used to having a certain effect on women, but as far as I know, I’ve never been responsible for making one drop anything before. Allow me.” Bending, he retrieved the book and held it out to her.
Leah took it from him and sagged against the bench, flushing at her foolishness. For one terrible moment she’d thought… But no, the very idea was ridiculous. And yet, that caressing tone had seemed so familiar.
“Angel, are you all right?” Marcus asked, sounding concerned. “You’ve gone almost as white as my teeth.”
Leah gathered her composure. “I’m fine. Sorry, I was miles away. You startled me, that’s all.”
“My fault entirely. I should have made myself known to you sooner. Do you mind if I join you?”

“Of course not,” Leah lied. In truth, she would have liked some time alone to recover, but she could hardly refuse.
Marcus draped himself over the far end of the bench, and for a while they sat in a silence Leah found rather discomforting. Gradually, as she breathed in the rose-scented air, her shock receded. She picked up her book again, though more for the solid comfort of it than from a desire to read.

“A pleasant spot this,” Marcus said at length. “Don’t you think?”
“Yes, very.”
“Hmmm, so peaceful and secluded. When Tiffany and I came across it a couple of days ago, it struck me how it seems to have been built purely with lovers in mind. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“I … I really wouldn’t know.”
“Come now, Leah, surely you’re not immune to the aura of the place? Can you not feel the magic in the air, the tingle of romance all around us?”

Leah grew hot with embarrassment. Without needing to look, she was conscious of Marcus’s gaze on her. She buried her face in her book to conceal her blush. What was she supposed to say? At that moment, the sound of hurried footsteps saved Leah the trouble of answering. As Tiffany walked towards them, Leah didn’t think she’d ever been so relieved to see anyone in her life.
“This looks cozy.” Tiffany threw herself into Marcus’s lap and kissed him. “Didn’t expect to find you here.”
“No, well, I was looking for you.” Marcus tugged playfully at an auburn curl. “But instead I came across young Leah here. Don’t worry, she’s been taking good care of me in your absence.”
“Not too much care, I hope. I don’t want competition.”
“A little competition might do you good. Keep you on your toes. So what did you want me for?”

“Who says it was you I was after, Mr. Vain? Actually, I came to borrow Leah.”
“Me?” Leah looked up in surprise. “How come?”
“You have to help me choose an outfit for tonight. Marcus is taking me out for this really posh meal and I ain’t got a clue what to wear.”
“I’m not sure I’m the right person to ask. I’m no expert on fashion.”
“You’ll do.” Dismissing Leah’s words with a wave, Tiffany stood. “Come on, we’d better get started if I’m going to look my best.”
“Angel, you’d look lovely in an old sack,” Marcus said.
Tiffany colored prettily.
Gathering up her book, Leah allowed Tiffany to link her arm through hers and lead her towards the house. She hadn’t gone far when the feeling of being watched made her glance back. She met Marcus’s eyes for an instant, and something about their speculative gleam filled her with unease.

Buy Voices ON The Waves now from Red Rose Publishing
Thank you again for having me, Roseanne, and to all of you for stopping by. Anyone kind enough to leave a comment here, or at any point during my blog tour, will automatically be entered into the draw to win a $15 gift voucher for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, so don’t forget to provide an email address in case I need to contact you. I’ll be announcing the five winners at the end of my tour on October 31st over at my blog
Tomorrow, the Voices On The Waves Blog Tour continues over at the home of Franny Armstrong’s character blog, where Leah will be telling her story. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm being interviewed

today at MuseIt Up publishing - by Bonella. This is something you really don't wan tot miss. I mean seriously. Bonella is something else. How Lea allowed this skeletol bag of bones to interview everyone is beyond me. Bonella is rude, nasty and downright mean. And darned if I'd take her crap. No way. She actually had the nerve to call me a Bad A$%.  Even said my picture looked like a Bad A$% Momma. Ha! She ain't seen nothing yet. Worse than that, she picked on Lea. Leas is the publisher of MuseIt Up publishing and was nice enough to let Bonella conduct these interviews and how does Bonella repay her? She picks on her. I mean seriously how rude can you get?She keeps it up and I'm gonna fix her bony butt but good. 
I found a picture of her, yeah a full length picture. Not too bad, if I must say so myself. But still a skinny bag of bones. Wonder what she was like in real life. Bet she wasn't so skinny then. This one shows a bit more of her hat too.And check out that dress. Wonder what trash bag she found it in. But hey, it suits her, so what the heck. Besides, I'm not a fashion plate myself, so far be it for me to pick on her choice of clothes. I guess you wear what you can find. It's not like there's a shopping mall for skeletons, is there? At least I wouldn't think there was. But never being a skeleton walking this earth, I really wouldn't know would I.  So I asked Bonella if she'd agree to an interview with me.  Here it is. I'd say I hope  you enjoy but....well I think by now you all know Bonella.

So, Bonella, It's my turn to ask you some questions. HEHEHEH
BONELLA: Give it your best shot, Toots, I'm all bones...or like you 'alive' folks would say, I'm all ears.
How come you're so rude all the time? Didn't anyone ever teach you manners?

BONELLA: You're gonna make me seem to forget I live six feet under, walk around during October as a stretching period, and no sockets with eyeballs to allow weeping. Human emotions don't exist for the living night folks like me.
You mentioned I looked like a bad A$% momma. I'm curious, just what specifically in that picture makes me look that way? And by the way, have you looked in a mirror lately? Sweetie, your looks leave a lot to be desired.
BONELLA:Those glasses. You're covering the evil squint that only folks like me can see. There's that glint of trouble emanating through those specs humans can't see, but I clearly see the red pupils, Miss Devil Horns...oops...did I let the cat outta the bag now? Geez, sorry, no really...NOT! And as a matter of fact the mirror loves me. How many have you broken?
Why are you so interested in us authors and our thought process or how we come up with ideas? Are you thinking of writing a story yourself? Are you, huh? Or are you thinking of stealing someone's story? I wouldn't put it past you, you skraggy skeleton.

BONELLA: First, thank you for the compliment. Skraggy is in as opposed to...
LEA: Bonella!
BONELLA: What the heck are you doing here? It's my interview, my time, my...
LEA: I have the eraser and delete button.

BONELLA: Well, the truth be known it's that whacky publisher of yours who resurrected me for a book she's writing. From all things, a children's book. Can you picture me in a children's book? All those snotty kids telling me the right way of doing things. I'd rather stay in the fiery pit than have those goodie goodie two shoes teaching me virtues. YUCK! YUCK! AND DOUBLE YUCK!

Don't you think you owe Lea an apology? I mean seriously, she was nice enough to allow you to conduct these interviews, and you have the nerve to pick on her. Picking on me is one thing, Heck, I'm used to it. People do it all the time. Besides I grew up with three brothers and two sisters, if you want to see picked on, Ha, you ain't seen nothing. But Lea, well, she ain't done nothing but helped people, you shouldn't be so nasty to her.

BONELLA: And this deserves an answer because? By the way, my heart bleeds for you... oh wait, I ain't got a heart. HEHEHEHE But going back to your publisher. She knew exactly what she was doing. Drumming up interest for readers and, baby, I'm DA BOMBSTERNATOR of hosting. So no apologies. I ain't putting on no facade for no one. And if you think I'm bad...oh boy oh boy oh boy...wait until later this month when my pals begin to hop on. The show's about to begin!!

Well, folks there you have it. This skinny bag of bones just doesn't quit. But  what can you do? I tried. But there' just no being nice to this creature. Devil red eyes! The very idea! My eyes happen to be brown - very pretty brown matter of fact. Those were prescription transition glasses  and it was sunny.  Geez! The mirror loves you. Yeah right. What kind of mirror is she looking into? It's probably already cracked.  All I can say, is I'm glad my interview is over. I feel for the poor victims yet to come. Bonella is getting meaner and nastier with each interview and those friensds he's planning on brnging in. Well good luck to everyone.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Welcome, MuseIt Up Author, Janie Franz

First, let me apologize to Janie. She was supposed to be on my blog, Sept. 30th, but I never received her blog. So Ihad to reschedule her for today.

Hello, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Janie Franz and I’ve been a published novelist for almost a year.
Though I’ve lived in North Dakota more than half my life, I still think of myself as a Southerner. I was born in east Tennessee, but raised in Cincinnati, and still have a trace of an Appalachian twang. Currently the place I live is probably one of the flatest and coldest places in the country, it is a rural state and that pervades everything, including commercials for farming equipment or Round Up during the news.
Recently, I went back to Ohio to spend sometime in Hocking Hills, a very magical place in the south central part of the state, full of gorges and waterfalls. That area reminds me of places I used to explore when I was a child visiting relatives in Kentucky and Tennessee. I snapped a lot of pictures and used them for two of my book trailers this summer. (You can find them at my new website—still under some construction—at:

The soundtrack for both book trailers was composed by Chris O’Brien of Enchanted Ape and Matthew Probst of Gyspy Lumberjacks, two Minneapolis bands. These talented musicians have offered to write the soundtracks for all of my trailers, including those that I’ll have published next year through Muse It Up and Muse It Hot! I’m just thrilled by their willingness to do that.
I met these musicians several years ago through my work as a freelance journalist. I have written thousands of articles over the past decade for over a hundred regional, national, and international publications (print and online). I’ve written about medical diseases and science, massage, yoga and relaxation, organic gardening, food and drink, paving and pavement maintenance, landscaping and irrigation, art and dance, ecological issues, writing, and, always, music. I’ve interviewed CEOs, chefs, contractors, manufacturers, scientists, environmentalists, doctors and therapists, artists, dancers, writers, and musicians. And, I do my own photography and was a prolific music and book reviewer.
Because I was so invested in music (I married a musician and booked and did PR for my son’s groove/funk band, booking two large national tours), last year I launched my own online music publication, Refrain Magazine ( And I still have a regular column, Music Up Close with Janie at Over the years, some of the people I’ve interviewed have been essayist Sam Pickering, Pulitzer Prize writer Robert Olen Butler, and musicians Arlo Guthrie, Marc Cohn, Charlie Musselwhite, Martin Simpson, John Doyle, Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir (Hart, Lesh, and Weir were original members of the Grateful Dead), Dewey Bunnel (America), Jonny Lang, Tom Paxton, Peter Rowen, Gordon Lightfoot, Ralph Stanley, Ladysmith Black Mambasso, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), and BB King (for a radio interview).
I also co-wrote two books with Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox (The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book), and self-published a writing manual, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid! I also wrote seven chapters in Rick Baker’s 7-Minute Organic Garden book last year and have multiple entries in a number of Gale medical encyclopedias.
While I was building this career, I was still toying with the idea of polishing up some fiction and submitting it. Though encouragement by the Muse Online Writer’s Conference last year, The Bowdancer, was picked up by Breathless Press. That book launched the Bowdancer Saga, which now includes The Wayfarer’s Road (released August 6) and Warrior Women (out on November 5). I’m currently seeking another publisher to continue the saga because of the themes developed in the series.

On the coattails of that, I have new books coming out with Muse It Up and Muse It Hot! next year. Ruins: Discovery, the first book in her archaeology romance thriller trilogy, will be out April 1, 2011 under the Muse It Hot! division, first as an ebook and then in print. The other two books in the trilogy hopefully will past muster and be out shortly afterward. Sugar Magnolia, a contemporary romance about the music industry, will be published by Muse It Hot! in July 2011 for the ebook and print later. And, The Premier, a sweet contemporary romance, will be published as an ebook by Muse It Up in November 2011.

I’m very excited to be part of the new Muse It Up/Muse It Hot! family.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome Diane Scott Lewis

Originally from California, Diane Scott Lewis grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has written since a small child and published poems and short-stories in school magazines. In high school she had a short story submitted to a literary festival. Diane joined the Navy at nineteen and met her future husband while stationed in Greece. After living overseas and raising two boys, the family settled in Virginia where Diane again pursued her love of writing. She joined a chapter of the Virginia Writers Club and works as a free-lance editor. Besides being a great friend, she's a treasured resource for author, Ginger Simpson and others for whom she critiques. You can find out more about Diane at


Forced from France by her devious guardian on the eve of the French Revolution, Countess Bettina Jonquiere must deliver an important package to further the royalist cause. In England, she discovers the package holds nothing more than blank pages. The address is false and she's penniless. Stranded in a Cornish village, Bettina toils in a bawdy tavern and falls in love with a man who lives under the shadow of his missing wife.


“Trethewy isn’t going to be much help, I’m afraid. He never is, unless it benefits him. But he’s the only law in the area.” Everett assisted her into the curricle, his grip on her arm almost painful.

“I must agree.” The Justice bringing up Stephen upset her. But Everett had little reason to kill him and he’d been away, in London…hadn’t he? She rubbed a hand over her brow as if she could wipe away that thought.

The curricle and horses lurched up the steep grade to the main road. An edgy silence lingered between them. Bettina’s aggravation and confusion over the events boiled over. “I must find my horse. I planned to give him to—”
“You have to be careful from now on. You simply can’t go off unescorted. And never approach that man alone.” Everett snapped the reins and his team tossed their heads. “Trethewy should be reprimanded to do his duty.”

“I am leaving here as soon as I can arrange it, so I will not be a burden to anyone.” She struggled to keep her voice firm and shifted on the hard bench. “I wish that I had never come to Cornwall.”

Everett glared at her. “Don’t start sounding like Miriam.”

“Stop this carriage at once!” Bettina slid from the seat, forcing him to rein in the horses. She jumped down and ran toward the cliffs, not wanting him to see her angry tears.

Everett leapt from the curricle and chased after her. He caught her arm and swung her around to face him. “I didn’t mean that, I'm sorry. You don’t understand everything.”

“I do not understand anything!” She thrashed to free herself, but he wrapped his arms around her and pressed her to his chest. She refused to look at him. “I wanted you to love me.”

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Welcome, C.K. Volnek

Thank you so much for being here, C.K. Volnek

1: what genre do you write?

Thank you for having me. I write mostly MG, Tween and YA. My middle son hated to read and it challenged me to come up with stories that could entertain, encourage and inspire my readers.

2: How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was in my teens. But my dream of writing novels was put on hold for many years while I raised my family. There just weren’t enough hours in the day, or enough energy in my body, to crank out my novels. But I wrote newsletters, articles and short stories all along, even getting a story picked up for Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

I love to tell stories. Always have. I remember being the designated story teller around the camp fire when I was young. I love to take my characters and make them come to life, watching them go after their dreams and persevere even though obstacles try to stop them.

What I like least, is my internal editor. She seems to raise her head at times she shouldn’t causing quite a ruckus between her and my muse. She also likes to inflict the seeds of doubt at times when I can be very vulnerable, my own worst enemy.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

I’m lucky to have a lot a hobbies. Mostly I like to spend time with my family. I also love to travel, especially hiking in the mountains. I like to draw and paint, play with my flower garden, make jewelry, take my Papillons (all 4 at once) for long walks, and relax with a good movie like Pride and Prejudice.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

I really like the voices of Jane Yolen, Deb Calleti and Edward Bloor. But I admit, I also love the stables of Anna Sewell and Jane Austin.

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

I’m nobody really special. Just an average person. Wife, mom, employee...but I have a passion for writing and with hard work and keeping my dream alive, I’m excited to accept my first two contracts. If I can do it, anyone can, if they want it bad enough to work for it.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it?

I have two novels coming out with MuseItUp Publishing. Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island will be released in September, 2011 and The Secret of the Stones will be shortly thereafter. Both are tween novels. Please check out my author page at

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Two elements stand out to me when one is first writing. 1. Believe in Yourself and 2. Never give up!

1. It’s so easy to doubt yourself, believing that you cannot compete with the likes of J.K. Rawlings or Stephen King. But don’t believe it. Your story is important and if you don’t write it, no one else will!

2. It’s also easy to just give in and go on to do something else, especially at the first hint of criticism. But if you give up, you’ll never know how your story could have touched the people it was meant to touch, maybe being the lifesaver of just one person...

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

I do take bit and pieces of real people. The MC of ‘The Secret of the Stones’, Alex Ramsey, is based quite a bit on my middle son, down to the ‘middle child syndrome’ my character reacts with.

10: How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I have an overactive imagination. Seems I read anything and my muse automatically asks... ‘what if...’ That’s how ‘The Secret of the Stones’ came about. I was reading a short story about Merlin and Vivienne. My muse reflected on the movie The Sword and Stone and how Merlin changed him and Arthur into squirrels and fish. My muse automatically wondered what would happen if a boy today had that same power. It’s a rather humorous tale and one I delighted in writing as most of my stories or on the more serious side.

11: What are you currently working on?

I am currently working two books... ‘The Secret of the Wood’, the sequel to ‘The Secret of the Stones’, where Alex will continue his magical adventure. And I am also working on a YA titled ‘The Three O’Clock Hour’. It is a fiction story based on the school bus tragedy of my home town.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Hmmm... I’m a Christian. I love my family and hate it when we’re apart. I love dogs and horses, traveling, hiking in the mountains and strolling on the beaches. I love pasta and tulips, gardening and making jewelry. I am a night owl which works out great for my muse since my hubby is an early bird.

13. Where can we find you? Website? Blog?

I would love to hear from readers and writers alike.

My e-mail is



Thanks for having me. Have a wonderful day!

Unedited excerpt of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island

A hurricane has hit Roanoke Island earlier than expected, catching twelve year-old Jack Dahlgren at home...alone. Thinking he’s heard his dad calling for help from the boat dock, Jack heads out into the storm. But his dad isn’t back from town. The only thing out in the storm is a giant tan and black Mastiff. Wanting to get the dog to safety, Jack follows him up the bluff next to their beach house, the very bluff his little sister had fallen off of, the bluff he’d been forbidden to go up.

And the rest of the chapter...

Jack’s stomach knotted as he reached the top of the bluff. The massive white oak stood like a sentry, its dead, leafless branches reaching so high they seemed to spear the dark clouds. It groaned as the winds battered its gnarled branches, twisting and turning as though possessed.

The storm was getting stronger.

Jack stopped and wiped at the rain on his face as he scanned the bluff. Where was that dog?

A sharp bark from the shadows on the other side of the tree made him jerk. He blinked, staring into the blurred shrubs, their branches whipping back and forth like swords.

But as if he were an apparition, the dog was gone, melted away. Jack pushed his wet hair out of his eyes and looked again. He searched the bushes and vines; checked the slope that led down the back to the forest. There was no sign of the Mastiff.

The wind pressed hard against Jack’s chest, forcing him to step back. Soggy leaves slithered into the mud with a sucking noise under the weight of his foot. He tipped unsteadily; tripping over the oak’s crooked roots and fell against the rickety fence on the edge of the bluff. A weathered rail jerked up and down in the wind, jumping at Jack like an angry animal. He pushed himself upright again, his eyes widening as he stared at the missing section of fence to his right. This was where Kimmy fell.

The normally shallow water below the cliff exploded as black water beat at the narrow strip of rocky beach. He stared south, toward the long point of the island. Frothy whitecaps topped the enormous waves making them look like giant rabid sea-monsters. The coast line blurred into a haze of grays.

Rain whipped sideways across the bluff, stinging Jack’s cheeks and ears. The wind whirled around him like giant arms, tossing him back and forth, shoving him toward the tree; to where the water pooled into a bowl-shaped gap between the roots, swirling and churning like a witch’s brew.

His feet slid in the mud, gripping at the tree, but the smooth trunk offered no hold. The wet soil slipped beneath him and tossed him into the whirling mire.

He thrashed about, struggling to get out of the pool. But the slimy sludge only pulled harder. It sucked at his legs and arms. It filled his ears and coated his hair. It swirled him around and around, inching closer and closer to the void in the fence, toward the edge of the bluff, until the river of mud slithered over the edge … carrying him with it.