Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featuring Penny Estelle Author of The Bearded Dude in the Puzzle

It's been awhile since I have posted, but I have been busy. Today I have the pleasure of presenting a new book from author Penny Estelle. Penny has been my guest before, but I will remind you. She is the author of The Wickwire Sagas, Hike Up Devil's Mountain and A Float Down the Canal all for MG/Tween readers. In addition she writes for adults and has several romances and dramas available.

She is here to talk about her new book for MG/Tween, just released, The Bearded Dude in the Puzzle. Let's find out more about this book. I already like the title. Who is this bearded dude and why is he in a puzzle?


Many years ago, in the land of kings and knights, Dozer, a powerful wizard, casts a spell over Scartin, and changes him into a tiny toy wizard and puts him inside the box of a puzzle.

Centuries later, Shelly Taylor, and her two kids, Bobby and Andrea, find their lives in turmoil. They are uprooted from their home and friends and moved to a small town in Idaho.  Their parents’ marriage falls apart, and to make matters worse, for some reason the kids at their schools are shunning them.

Shelly, once an advertising executive, starts cleaning houses to make ends meet.  It is in one of these old homes where the ancient puzzle is found.

As the family works on the puzzle, strange things start to happen.  An evil presence is making its way to the Taylor house, intent on making sure that puzzle never gets put together, no matter the cost, and it’s up to Bobby and Andrea to make sure that it does!

Penny, I love to do puzzles, but I have never seen a puzzle that can affect your life!!! Here is an excerpt:


       “Bobby,” Shelly knocked as she opened his bedroom door, “it’s raining.  I have to leave early today, so I’ll drop you off at school.”
“Okay, Mom.”  Bobby rolled over on his side covering his head with his blankets.
“I believe your mother wants you to arise.”  Scartin’s muffled voice came to Bobby.  
Throwing his covers off Bobby sat up in bed, scratching his head, yawning.
“You look weary, young Bobby.”
The boy jumped up and locked his bedroom door.  “Ya think?” he asked trying to use his best sarcasm.  More than once, during the night, thunder had crashed, rattling the windows.  “A few times the thunder had woke me up and I find Rip Van Winkle staring down at me scaring know what out of me.”
Scartin sat down on the chair, eyes wide with wonder.  “I think you might have been dreaming.  I didn’t see Rip here last night.”
“Ugh,” Bobby groaned.  He pushed himself off the bed and got clothes out of his drawers.  “I was talking about you.”
After a few minutes a smile lit up the wizard’s face and then a deep belly laugh escaped from deep inside.  “You are jesting.  Now I understand!”
“SHHHHH!” Bobby whispered urgently waving his hands.
Andi pounded on the bedroom door.  “Who are you talking to?”
“Uhm…nobody.  I’m singing!”  Bobby pushed Scartin toward the closet door.  “Joey and I will be here after school to work on the puzzle.  Stay hidden.”
Scartin was still smiling as he put up a hand to stop the closet door from shutting
“What?” Bobby asked.
“Rip and I don’t resemble each other very much.  He’s much shorter than I am.”
Stunned with the realization there really was a Rip Van Winkle, Bobby stuttered, “O..okay.  Dude, just stay out of sight.”

This looks like a great book full of adventure and fun and you can find it on Amazon.

My name is Penny Estelle and I was an elementary school secretary for 21 years. I heard every excuse and story in the book when kids would be sent to the principal. I promised myself when I retired I would write stories about kids and that is just what I did.  

I am retired with my wonderful husband and we live on a fifty-four acre ranch in Arizona on solar and wind. I am the "greenest" person and I know, even if I don't want to be!

I am so excited to have stories out for kids and adults. Hike up Devil's Mountain, A Float Down the Canal, and five stories in The Wickware Sagas - Billy Cooper's Awesome Nighmare, Ride of a Lifetime, Flash to the Past, Bumped Back in Time, and soon to be released, Riches to Rags! All for the tween in your life

I also write under P. A. Estelle. These are stories for the older crowd. At What Price?, Her Cracked Heart, and Dugan's Creek.

Though, a few of my stories are light romance, I would love to take a crack at erotic stories, but I told my hubby I would probably have to go have a few know, for research!!!!

Thank you so much for being my guest today, Penny Estelle, and I wish you all the best with this new book!!

Until the next time, my next guests are going to be featured in the next month. Also, today, Thursday, March 26th I have my show, Red River Radio Tales from the Pages with my very special guest, J. Todd Underhill, radio host, poet and author and Cynthia Sharp, author of How to Write Poetry. Please tune in at 4PM EST for a really fun show!!

For anyone who is following my progress on the sequel to If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Jennifer's Story, I am on Chapter 15 and close to finishing it.

Happy Passover to those who observe it as I do. This year for the first time in years I will be hosting the seder. Happy Easter to those who observe that. Happy Spring to everyone who doesn't observe either. It seems like it might be coming soon after all. Happy writing too!!

We welcome your comments so please let us know what you think.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Another Blog Swap. This Time with Iva Valentino

Well it seems that I kind of missed the month of February on the blog!!! Sorry to all who visited and found the same post. At least it was a very short month. LOL Seriously, I was busy all month doing home things and getting involved in some pretty awesome things too!!!

Awhile ago I found out that I am going to be a panelist at Imaginarium 2015, which is an awesome convention taking place in Louisville, KY in September. I will be talking about this a lot more. Meanwhile, I can't wait to do this!! I am looking forward to being there, since I have never been to Kentucky and I love conventions. I will also be able to sell my books there too. It is a convention for all the arts including film, screen writing and books.

Anyway, getting back to the blog, I hope you were able to learn about Susan A. Royal who was also on my Blog Talk Radio Show, Red River Radio Tales from the Pages last month. I left up the blog post so people could read all about her.

Now I would like to introduce you to another MuseItUp Publishing writer, Iva Valentino. It seems I am going to be having a lot of these blog swaps, because once again we are swapping. For anyone who is interested in seeing her post about me please visit:                 
Iva's  Head:

Something Iva didn't tell you is we are both giving away a free copy of our book to a lucky person who wins the comment drawing. So please leave a comment here to win a copy of Black Cats and Ballet Slippers. Leave a comment on Iva's blog to win a copy of After.
Now let's learn more about Iva Valentino:


Iva Valentino lives in Arizona with her husband and their dog, Lupo. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Education. She loves living year-round in the warm desert.

Iva spent many years as a middle school teacher, where she enjoyed teaching her students all about science. She currently works as a science editor at an educational publishing company. She loves travel, yoga, and photography. There is nothing that brings her more happiness than a good dance class! 

That's interesting, because I was also a teacher, but science and I were not great friends!! I like teaching reading and writing so much more!!! 

Iva, you are new to MuseItUp Publishing and this is your first book so I am very excited to let all my readers learn about it. I know I am intrigued about the title and would love to learn more.

Gemma Mayfield feels like middle school is a lot to bite off and chew. School, ballet classes, and planning on how to get Trevor Davis to ask her to the Halloween Dance are a tough balancing act. On top of that, Gemma is convinced that her science teacher, Ms. Pruett, is a witch.

When things start getting fishy at school, Gemma knows that Ms. Pruett is behind it all! Students are getting spells placed on them and start to go missing. Gemma and her best friend, Izzie, vow to stop Ms. Pruett from doing any more damage. Will they be able to save Middleton Middle School from witchcraft?

Oh, I had some teachers I thought were witches, but they never did anything like that!! This is a big task for middle school kids. 

Okay, so something REALLY strange is going on. Boys are from a different planet, but right now a few of them at Middleton are acting like they’re from a different universe. (Wait. Does this make sense? Is there more than one universe? Ugh. Maybe I should have paid more attention last year in Astronomy.)
So, by the time I got to Ms. Pruett’s class, I had already worked myself into a super version of “I Don’t Wanna Go To Class Because I’m Creeped Out!” mode. I walked into the Science Laboratory, and I swear I felt the cold of Building 400 smack me right in the face. I’m not kidding.
Of course Ms. Pruett was at the door, acting like her sweet old lady self (ha ha, I know better), and was welcoming all the kids into the classroom. I just kept my head down and muttered a hello as I passed. Staying below the radar was the goal. Then I sat down at my lab table and shivered a bit.
Joey sat down at the table just a second later. Normally he is really loud and obnoxious, cracking jokes, and calling to the other Soccer Jocks across the room. Today he was quiet.
“Hey,” I said, trying to be friendly. I thought maybe we could commiserate on us both having spells cast on us. Joey responded with a “hey” but didn’t say much else. Hello? Was this the Joey I knew?
“So, Joey, are you feeling okay?” I asked. “You know, after yesterday…”
Joey didn’t say anything, but began writing on a piece of paper. He folded up the piece of paper and passed it to me. I gave him a questioning look. He gave me a weird look back that I couldn’t decipher. The note was as follows:
     Hey Gemma,
     Sorry I gave you a hard time yesterday about the “Cute Boy” list. It was kind of rude of me.
That’s when it hit me that Joey hadn’t recovered from Ms. Pruett’s spell. For me it was just temporary, like a few minutes. But Joey was acting weird. It had to be the spell.
“Um, thanks,” I said. “Don’t worry about it.” I then started taking out all my school stuff so that I could look busy and not have any more awkward moments with Joey until he felt better. He was taking longer to recuperate.
After class I headed straight down toward the lunchroom. On the way there, I saw Trevor going in the opposite direction past me. Our conversation went like this:
            Me: “Hi Trevor!” (with a big smile and enthusiasm)
            Trevor: “Oh, hi Gemma.” (with zombie-like attitude)
            Me: “Okay, have a good lunch!”
            Trevor: “Okay, thanks. Bye.”
            I wondered where he was going, in the opposite direction from the lunch room when it was lunchtime. It took me another couple of moments to realize that the ONLY classroom in that part of campus was Ms. Pruett’s room. He was headed back toward Building 400!
            Yikes! I turned myself around in mid-stride and turned back the way I came. I knew there was no way possible that Trevor would be going to Ms. Pruett’s. Why would anyone in their right mind be going there by themselves?
            I didn’t want Trevor to think I was stalking him, because of course I would never do that. But just in case that’s what it appeared to be, I used as much stealth as possible. I walked in the shadows and stopped to peek out behind bushes and building walls. I saw him up ahead…just before he ENTERED MS. PRUETT’S CLASSROOM.
            My mouth fell open, and I just sort of stared at the door for a while.
            Weird things are going on here at Middleton. And I think Ms. Pruett’s behind it all!

After reading this, Iva, it certainly seems so!! I'm sure everyone is wanting to know what is happening at that school!! I know I do!!

Here is where you find Iva Valentino and her book:

Purchasing links for Black Cats and Ballet Slippers:

Iva, it has been a pleasure getting to know more about you and your book. I hope one of my readers will be lucky enough to win a free copy of Black Cats and Ballet Slippers. Thank you for being my guest. 

Until the next time, it is ten months since my husband passed and I am feeling a little better each day. I still miss him very much, but at least I am able to feel sad and move on to take care of things. I am getting out alone more and it is easier and easier to do it. And I am still exercising and it makes me feel so much better!
I am also getting to work on the book I started at NaNo, "Jennifer's Story" and I hope to have it finished by the spring. Then I might be looking for beta readers.
My Blog Talk Radio show this month is getting me very excited to do it. My special guest for this show on Thursday, March 26th at 4PM EST is the renowned radio host and acclaimed poet J. Todd Underhill who with the help of JT Gunter and Michael Amidei hosts World Poetry Open Mic on Friday nights at 8PM Mountain Time. These guys who are located in Denver have created a community of poets who span the entire globe. You can call into the show and read your poem and there is no judgement except their applause when you are done!! For anyone who writes poetry and would like to share it with a very supportive audience, this is the show to share it. Being one of those poets who tentatively called into the show and stayed to tune in almost every Friday night, I wanted to bring you J. Todd Underhill who is also a poet in his own right. I think you are going to love this show!!! 
Also on this same show is Cynthia Sharp who I met as a participant in the chat room on World Poetry Open Mic. Cynthia is a brilliant poet too and she has written a book called How to Write Poetry. Even if you are an experienced poet this book will definitely be for you. There are many exercises to help poets and to help teachers who are teaching poetry. I think the discussion between us three should be so much fun. This is another show you won't want to miss!!
Remember to leave a comment so you get a chance to win Black Cats and Ballet Slippers.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Blog Swap with Susan A. Royal

First of all, I wanted to let everyone who didn't know that After received 6th Place in the Preditors & Editors Poll for Best Young Adult Fiction novel for 2014!!!

I was very excited and happy that it received such a finish!! Thank you to all who voted for it.

Today I have swapped blogs with Susan A. Royal, author of multiple novels and fellow author in MuseItUp Publishing. I am delighted to be swapping with her so that you can learn more about her and her books. You can read all about me and my books on her blog: Susan A. Royal If You Could Read My Mind.

     Born in west Texas and raised in south Texas, Susan makes her home in a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town that comes complete with a ghost who has been known to harmonize with her son when he plays guitar.  
     She is married and the mother of six (she counts her children’s spouses as her own) and five grandchildren who are all unique and very special. Her family is rich with characters, both past and present. Her grandmother shared stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory with three sisters and three brothers and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century.  She heard about growing up in San Antonio in the depression from her father, and experienced being a teenager during WWII through her mother’s eyes. 
    When she isn’t writing, she still has a day job working as a secretary in the public schools in east Texas. She also does her best to keep up with her grandchildren. Music and painting are two of her passions. Susan is a firm believer in getting what you want without breaking the bank. She loves to bargain shop anywhere there’s a sale and began repurposing long before it was popular. She paints, crafts and sews. Her office/craft/sewing room is littered with her latest projects. 
     Susan loves to take her readers through all kinds of adventures with liberal doses of romance. So far, she’s written two books in her It’s About Time series, Not Long Ago and From Now On. They are time travel adventures with romance about two people who fall in love despite the fact they come from very different worlds. In My Own Shadow is a Fantasy adventure/romance. Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N. You can also find Odin’s Spear, one of her short stories featured in a Quests, Curses, and Vengeance anthology, Martinus Publishing, available on Amazon.

     Want to know more? Visit or for a peek inside this writer’s mind and see what she’s up to. You never know what new worlds she’s going to visit next.

  Susan, you have some interesting thoughts about your books our readers would love to know. Please tell us about your experience with your first book and why you decided to make it a series.

Not Long Ago was published in 2012. While writing it, I pictured a young woman in her twenties hurrying down a busy city sidewalk. One her way past a coffee shop, she notices a handsome stranger through the window. Their eyes meet and what she sees leaves her reeling. Not only does she recognize him, she knows things about the man…but how? Who is he?

From there, the story could have gone anywhere. Turns out it did. The idea of time travel has always fascinated me. Imagine getting up close and personal with history. Experiencing what life is really like in another time. My main characters, Erin and Griffin, meet and fall in love in a medieval world. I didn’t expect to be writing a series, but my daughter insisted the story wasn’t finished, and she was right.     

From Now On came out in June 2014, and it takes up where the first book left off. Some of my favorite characters are back. Arvo: the tall gangly young man with a disreputable shock of red hair who becomes Erin’s good friend and confidant. Sir Edevane: Griffin’s fellow knight and friend. Kat: Griffin’s fiesty little sister.

Sir Griffin travels across centuries to find Erin, the woman he loves. Before they can begin their new life together, he’s sent on a mission to a strange island. When he doesn’t return as planned, Erin assembles a group of his friends to search for him. Followed by his strong-willed sister, Kateryn, they travel to Swansea and secure passage with the notorious Captain Akin.
Erin discovers firsthand how the island has earned its dark reputation when she battles freakish weather, encounters a race of little people known as “Prowlies” and experiences ghosts of the long departed.  Even worse, she discovers there are “ley lines” crossing the island’s mountain peak, creating all sorts of strange phenomena.  Yet these obstacles pale in comparison to the secrets she uncovers while trying to rescue the man she loves.

If you love a time travel adventure with a twist (and a love 
story) and haven’t read Not Long Ago, please do. You can continue Erin and Griffin’s story with From Now On. As for what’s going to happen to them in Book 3? It’s too soon to tell, but here’s a hint. As the relationship between the two love birds grows, they’ll have more obstacles to overcome. In addition, you’ll likely see something about the caves in Wales, blood moons and ghost stories.

The It’s About Time series is available at MuseItUp, 
Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads.

Now I'm sure everyone would like to know more about each of these books.

Not Long Ago:


Erin has met the man of her dreams, but as usual there are complications. It’s one of those long distance relationships, and Griffin is a little behind the times-- somewhere around 600 years.  

Erin and her employer, March, are transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Something is not quite right at the castle, and Erin and March feel sure mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. But Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping and death before the truth of her journey is revealed.

Forced to pose as March’s nephew, Erin finds employment as handsome Sir Griffin’s squire.  She’s immediately attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility and devotion to duty.  Yet, she must deny her feelings.  Her world is centuries away, and she wants to go home.  But Erin can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armor.    

From Now On

Griffin has traveled across centuries to reunite with the woman he loves, but he and Erin may not get their ‘happy ever after’. Not if Lady Isobeil has anything to do with it. She forces Griffin to leave Erin behind and travel to eerie Manx Island. When he goes missing, Erin and his friends set out to find him. Followed by his strong-willed sister, Kateryn, they ride to Swansea and secure passage with the notorious Captain Akin.
     Erin sees firsthand how the island earned its dark reputation when she battles freakish weather, encounters a race of little people known as “Prowlies”, and experiences ghosts of the long departed. She discovers “ley lines” crossing the island’s mountain peak and making time travel possible. 

     Yet these obstacles pale in comparison to the secrets Erin uncovers while determined to rescue the man she loves.


     I am a stranger in this world, even though I’ve traveled this way before.
     Fate and not design brought me the first time. It hurled me into a distant future, with no idea how or why, taking me from an existence dependent upon modern technology to a place where people fear such things and those who use them. While searching for my way home from this harsh and sometimes violent world, my admiration for its inhabitants who valued honor and duty above all else grew into admiration and respect. I found myself drawn to one in particular, a man who saved me more than once. Only I never expected to fall in love with him.
      Torn between my feelings and a longing for home, I returned to my time with only vague memories of my experience. My life went back to normal, but part of me sensed the loss of something more precious than anything I’d regained. Until one day, I saw him again.
     This time I’ve come by choice, and it is where I’m going to stay.
     Fate willing.

Here are some links where you can find Susan's work and website:

Xander’s Tangled Web (fantasy, mystery)
(Due out in Fall, 2015)
In My Own Shadow (fantasy, adventure, romance)
Not Long Ago (time travel, adventure, romance)
Not Long Ago book trailer
All books available at MuseItUp, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads

Thank you so much, Susan for being my guest and for swapping with me. Your books sound so good. Who doesn't love a good romance with time travel!! 

Until the next time, my February guest for Red River Radio Tales from the Pages is going to be Susan A. Royal. She will be talking at greater length about her books and her life. Also on the same show will be Amy McCorkle, a good friend of mine and an awesome blogger and writer as well as a film producer and TV writer. Amy will be talking about her one woman show: Letters to Daniel, which will be performed by her in June. Amy's accomplishments are too long to list here. You should definitely visit her blog: Letters to Daniel which has been made into a book and is being shopped to several publishers. Amy is a multi published author and film maker. She is an Epic Book Awards Finalist and her films have been Official Selections for several film festivals. You won't want to miss this show. 



Discover Writing