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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.


  1. My first comment disappeared after I signed in. Seems to be very appropriate after reading the excerpt from Avas book. Sounds very good for a young adult or even an oldie like myself.
    Barbara you have come a long way since we met in Kew Gardens. Bravo to you and of course Ava.

    1. Actually, I moderate comments. So unless I saw it you won't have it published immediately.

    2. Thanks for stopping by the blog, Caryn!

  2. Barbara, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog! The blog swap is tons of fun! It was great to learn more about you, especially that you were a teacher, too. :)

  3. Caryn, thank you!! We met when I was a young mother and our children were toddlers. Yes, it has been a long time!! It's more than 30 years, Yikes!! I'm sure you have too!! Wish we could meet.

  4. Iva, thank you for hosting me on your blog too!! Ditto here!! Hope to one day speak with you on my show.

    1. Barbara, that sounds like a lot of fun! I'd love to be on your show. :)

    2. Let's do it!! Contact me by email and we'll set it up.

  5. How exciting, Barbara.Have fun in Louisville.
    Your book cover is adorable, Iva. Wonderful interview. I enjoyed my visit on your blog. Looking forward to hosting you on Monday.
    Have a great weekend, ladies.

    1. Beverly, I'm looking forward to being on your blog on Monday!


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