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Friday, December 30, 2011

Keeping a Secret to be Popular!

In If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too heavy for fashion body and not being a cheerleader. When Jennifer, the girl who bullied her all through middle school, is the only student who knows why she fell in gym class, Carolyn is blackmailed into doing her math homework in return for Jennifer’s silence. Jennifer takes on Carolyn as a pity project since she can’t be seen with someone who dresses in jeans and sweatshirts. When Jennifer invites Carolyn to spend the night to make her over and teach her to tumble, Carolyn learns Jennifer’s secret and lies to her own friends to cover it up. Will Carolyn become a cheerleader and popular? Does she continue to keep Jennifer’s secret? Or will she be a target of this mean girl again?


Barnes and Noble:

MuseItUp Bookstore:

Yes, I'm sure many of you know the story of my novel, but this is for a special year end blog for Roseanne Dowell, a good author friend of mine. She is showcasing all of our promos on her blog. Thank you Roseanne. Everyone should go to Roseanne Dowell's blog. If you have a book this is a great place to let everyone know about it. I'm going there right now to post this blurb. 

Happy New Year everyone. I will probably be doing one more blog post before the New Year, but if I don't, thank you all for following me and hope you all have a healthy and peaceful New Year!! Anyone who has read this blog from two years ago, knows why this time of year might be a little bit rocky for me. If you haven't you can read all about it here. Needless to say, this time is very hard for my whole family. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Announcements after Christmas


There's nothing like scheduling something a long way in advance, because you never remember it until a day or two before and then you wonder how the time got away from you! At least that's what always happens to me.:) So when I got the announcement that I was scheduled for a chat I recorded it in my brain and on my calendar and said that is weeks away. Well the day is finally here and I am announcing here that I will be chatting on my own on the e-chatters loop for Coffee Time Romance & More tomorrow night at 7:00PM - 8:00PM EST.

For all of you followers of this blog, you will have the upper hand, because I am doing a scavenger hunt from my past blogs. I will also be asking some questions about me and to all the lucky winners I will be giving away free ebooks. One of these will be the memorial anthology, Lavender Dreams, in which I have a story. Also, I will be talking about little known facts concerning both the story and the history of the book.

I would love for you all to come and be part of this chat. In order to do this you need to be registered here:

Hope you all had a great holiday. We spent it quietly and then went to the movies to see "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" which was fun and full of action. The photo above comes from the movie. Both my daughters and I agreed that it was one of the best action movies we have ever seen. Some of those scenes are crazy!!! See it for yourself and let me know if you agree. Of course, before the movie began we had to have some problems. I had told my husband that we were going to be at Port Chester and he heard it as The Majestic, which is a theater in Stamford. Meanwhile, we were at Port Chester waiting for the movie to begin and my daughters were waiting in the lobby with his ticket. When he called me I was in the theater holding the seats for everyone. I texted my daughters, but he had already called them and we all had to go to the later movie. Luckily the manager allowed us to exchange the tickets. We all agreed after that this was the reason cell phones were invented. In a previous world my husband would never have been able to get a hold of us and we would have had a lot of aggravation wondering where he might be.:) The joys of modern life!!!

Until the next time, I hope to see a lot of you at the chat tomorrow night.

If you didn't see the comment on the last blog post, the winner of the free ebook from my last contest is:

Donna McDine

She has another day to contact me or I'll do another drawing!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meet Guest Author Michelle Pickett

Welcome to my blog, Michelle. Michelle is also part of the MuseItUp team of authors I have been proud to be introducing to you. She is relatively new to the Muse, and her book Concilium, which is an urban paranormal fantasy is being released in April. This is her very first guest author appearance anywhere and I am thrilled she is making her blog debut here!! Please give her a warm welcome and write lots of comments. The poor thing informed me she fell down the stairs and injured her ankle. So she is on pain killers and must keep her foot elevated. So she will be checking in here frequently.:) To make it worth your while to comment, since Michelle doesn't have any edited copies of her book yet, I am going to give away a free story to the lucky winner of the comment drawing.

So here she is and I know you are going to want to read her book after you have learned more about her and the book.

Michelle has been an avid reader since a young child. She began writing for personal enjoyment in college, where she earned a degree in accounting. Deciding she’d like to share her passion for reading and writing with others, she wrote her debut novel, Concilium, in 2010. The sequel Concilium: The Departure soon followed.

She hopes her writing will show her four children, as well as other children and adults, hard work can result in the realization of dreams.

Michelle was born and raised in Michigan. She now resides in a small community outside Houston, Texas with her wonderful husband, four children, a 125 pound lap dog, and a very grumpy cockatiel.

Michelle has graciously consented to an interview.


You grew up in Michigan. Was it hard to adjust to living in Texas?

Yes! When we moved to Texas my husband and I were living in a small town about two hours northwest of Detroit. It had two red lights downtown. Our subdivision had three roads in it. I was very much a small town girl!

Houston is the fourth largest city in the US, it is very different from the small town in Michigan I was in love with.

Another thing I really miss is autumn in Michigan. I loved watching the trees change colors and smelling fires burning on the brisk fall nights.

I felt the same way when we lived in LA for ten months. You never know how much you miss the changing of the seasons until you live with only one the whole year.

When you were younger you read a lot. Who were your favorite authors as a child?

Shel Silverstein, anything by the authors of Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys, Wilson Rawls who wrote Where the Red Fern Grows. There are so many, it’s hard to list them.

Were you influenced by any person or author in your writing?

Yes, my grandmother influenced my writing. I never saw her without a book. When I’d spend the night with her, she’d always take me to the library and we’d read all weekend eating blueberry pancakes. She’s passed on now. I wish she could have been here to see Concilium get published. I like to think she’d be proud.

When did you start writing seriously? Tell us the reason you began writing.

As a child I kept a diary. As I got older I’d write in my journal nearly every day, but it wasn’t until college that the “voices” really started demanding I let them out. I’d write a chapter or two of something, but never pushed myself to stick with any of the stories until Concilium.

Do you have a set writing routine?

I try to keep one. I work on marketing in the morning; although I have trouble knowing how and where to market. I find it the hardest part of the writing process. In the afternoon I take care of everyday things. I write mostly at night when everyone is in bed and the house is quiet.

Now that all four of my children are in school all day I’m trying to write more during the day and actually sleep at night!

I ask this of all authors who visit here. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?

I think I fall somewhere in between. I know where I want to start and where a story will end, but the middle is usually a blur so I’m definitely a pantser when it comes to the middle. I get an idea and run with it.

What was the reason you decided to write Concilium?

I think the characters made me write them. That’s hard for some to understand, especially those that don’t write. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could finish something.

Tell us a little about your favorite character in the book.

This is an interesting question. My first thought was Leslee or Miller, the two main characters. Although I love them, I’d have to say Brooks is my favorite. He’s a supporting character and Millers best buddy. He’s a happy-go-luck type and likes to tease the others, but he is a hard worker and fiercely loyal. He and Leslee become close in the book. Their relationship becomes even stronger in the sequel.

How has your life changed since you got your contract for Concilium?

Actually I’m still waiting for someone to pinch me and wake me up!

The major change is now people know I write. I was what I call a closet writer. My husband didn’t even know I wrote until I began writing Concilium. I finally had to tell him what I was doing so late at night. My parents didn’t know until Concilium was finished and I was nearly finished with the sequel. And friends didn’t know until I signed the contract for Concilium.

How are you promoting your book?

Right now I’m trying to build my following by blogging and visiting other’s blogs. I have a facebook page (, twitter (Michellekp), Linkedin and Good Reads accounts.

I have a website solely for Concilium ( where people can watch the book trailer and read the first chapter. They can also sign up for email notifications of things like blog interviews, release dates and so forth.

I also promote the book, as well as others, on my author website:

Did you use a critique group to help with your book? Do you think writers need critique groups?

I did not use a critique group or beta readers while writing Concilium or the sequel, Concilium: The Departure. I was so new to the writing community I didn’t know they existed.

Since I didn’t use them I’m not sure how much they help or hurt an author. I am doing a beta read for another author and enjoy it a lot.

Do you have an agent? Do you think authors need agents?

I do not have an agent, although I’m looking for one. I think agents probably have some pull in the publication process, but I don’t think it is essential for an author to have one, especially with the growth of indie publishing houses and e-publishing.

Concilium is an urban fantasy. Do you write in any other genres?

I do! I’ve written a middle grade adventure, Chess Club Superheroes. I’m currently trying to decide the best way to publish it.

I’m putting the final touches on a young adult sci/fi romance called PODs. I’m excited about it.

I’m also dabbling with an adult mystery/romance.

Do you have plans to release a sequel to Concilium? What are your other WIP’s?

Yes. MuseItUp Publishing, the publisher releasing Concilium, just accepted the sequel, Concilium: The Departure. It is scheduled for release in November 2012.

Congratulations!!! I don't think anyone knows this yet, so this is breaking news!!!

My current work in progress is titled Little Flowers and is an adult mystery/romance. The first chapter is posted on my author website. I’m excited about it, but it’s been challenging. Not only is it the first time I’ve written in the genre, it is the first time I’ve written in third person.

Tell us one thing no one knows about you.

Well, I’m going to cheat a little on this question. My family knows this about me, but I don’t think anyone else does. I am a firm believe that the book is always better than the movie. I make my children read a book before seeing the movie. My daughter had to read the four Twilight books before she was allowed to see the movies. My ten year-old son is reading the Harry Potter books so he can watch the movies.
That being said, I sure would like to see Concilium made into a movie!

Concilium Blurb:
The forest was her sanctuary – now it holds her nightmare.

Leslee hit a strange animal with her car. Now she’s marked for death.
It was a simple car accident – the animal didn’t even die – but it drew the attention of other dimensional creatures, the Cruor Imbibo. Driven by their insatiable need to feed, they have secretly devoured the dregs of society for centuries. Afraid Leslee will expose them, and put an end to their meal ticket, the Imbibo want her dead.

The Concilium is Leslee's only protection. Guardian of the ancient secret and the protector of humans, the Concilium fights to control the Imbibo and end their feeding frenzy. Miller works for the Concilium. Keeping Leslee alive is his next assignment.

Now Leslee is on the run, and the only thing between her flesh and the snapping jaws of the Imbibo is Miller. He and Leslee quickly form a bond, but will falling in love make Miller’s job more difficult? Because if Miller fails, Leslee will be the next human on the Imbibo menu.
Because the Cruor Imbibo are coming, and they're coming for Leslee.

There is no excerpt, since the story is still unedited, but the story looks very unusual. I'm looking forward to reading about Leslee and hope she does escape from the Cruor Imbibo!!

Thank you, Michelle, for being my guest and please leave a comment for Michelle to win a free story from me.

Until the next time, thank you to all who continue to follow me. The contest for a free book of my YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is now officially over. I will be announcing the winner by tomorrow. Thank you to all who left a comment on both blogs. It's been a lot of fun!

My Blog Talk Radio Show, RRWL Tales from the Pages is on this Thursday afternoon at 3PM Central (4PM EST) with past guests reading their own holiday stories. Please tune in to hear this special show!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sharing my joy!!!

This is going to be a very short post, but I had to let everyone know the joy I feel reading words like these. This reader has written a glowing review already, but still she continues to post these beautiful words. I had to share them with everyone here.

"I read Barbara's book early on and honestly, one always feels a little trepidation when an author is "known"... Mhmm what if I didn't 'like it?' I "know" Barbara's writing as we all do, as a poet and some as a blogger but I really did not know her fiction writing. I read the first page fell in love with her main character Carolyn Samuels and my interest never flagged and continues beyond the last page. Great characters, terrific 'coming-of-age issues ... no gratuitious salaciousness - simply a wonderful book as I've said I would and have recommended it to anyone who is a girl, was a girl or likes girls! My husband even enjoyed! So another testimonial for Barbara's excellent YA novel - it is no surprise to me that it has been honored."    

Pearl Ketover Krilik
Pearl is the editor of the anthology, Prompted: An International Anthology of Poems by my poetry writing group, The Anthologists. Pearl is also a psychologist and an amazing poet. As the editor of this anthology she maneuvered the group through treacherous waters as we came together and managed to create this beautiful volume. it is a truly collaborative effort of us 40 poets and I have three poems in it. Pearl has poems in it as well and her poetry is unique and flowing. She kept us together and bridged the gap between publisher and writers. She is my number one fan and I am hers.

My post on DowntownYA today says it all, but once again these words made me cry! So here they are on my blog for all my readers here to see. I would paste them in 48 inch font in Amazon and Barnes and Noble if I could!!! But for now this will have to do.

Please continue to leave comments on Book Launch Party for C.K.Volnek's A Horse Called Trouble, and The Holidays Are Coming. On Monday, my guest will be Michelle Pickett who will be talking about her soon-to-be-published book by MuseItUp Publishing, Concilium. Drop by and leave a comment to welcome her. Have a great rest of the weekend.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Launch Party for C.K.Volnek's A Horse Called Trouble!!!

Yay!! Cue the fireworks and sound the drums the official Book Launch Party for A Horse Called Trouble by C.K.Volnek has begun!!!!

I am so excited to be able to host this party for her, because she is such a giving person and a wonderful author. Her first book, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island got excellent reviews and not content to enjoy this success she has come out with another book for children.

Oh, I see our guest of honor has arrived. I'll let her tell you all about herself first:

Author Bio:

Greetings. Thanks for allowing me to visit your blog today, Barbara. It is such a treat to be able to visit and I’m so excited to be here and announce my newest tween novel, A Horse Called Trouble! Today I am celebrating its Book Birthday! And I would also love to offer a FREE copy of my e-book to one lucky reader who leaves me a comment! (I hope you love free stuff as much as I do.)

A Horse Called Trouble

Abandoned by her mother at a young age, Tara Cummings has been passed from foster home to foster home; not wanted anywhere by anyone. At thirteen she’s skeptic and suspicious, with no family, and no friends. 

Horse therapy “will teach trust, perseverance, respect, and the value of teamwork,” or so says the program’s instructor. Tara is unconvinced. Trust only broke her heart, perseverance meant more failures, and no one respects or wants to team up with the misfit foster kid. 

At the farm, Tara meets Trouble, an angry and defiant horse, bent on destroying everything and everyone around him. Tara is frightened of the enraged horse, until she realizes Trouble is as misunderstood and untrusting as she is. Pushing aside her fear, a special bond is formed, much to the surprise of everyone at the farm. Trouble trusts Tara, and Tara in turn finds hope and acceptance as well as the will to love and trust again herself. 

But, Tara’s confidence is shaken as an even greater challenge looms ahead. Trouble’s mean and manipulative owner is the one and only Alissa, Tara’s nemesis. Can Tara overcome her own limitations and fight to save the horse who freed her heart and gave her life value and meaning? Or will Alissa destroy them both?

Thank you for being here and I'm thrilled to be sharing this special day with you. I have some questions, though.

Q) What inspired you to write this story?

I have always loved horses. Such marvelous creatures they are. Proud, elegant, powerful yet gentle and compassionate. I was so fortunate to be able to call several of these wonderful creatures my friend and confidant as I grew up.

I knew I wanted to immortalize some of my treasured equine friends but I never expected to write the story of Trouble in such a fashion as I did. It was after visiting a horse farm that also entertained a horse therapy program for troubled youth that the story sky-rocketed. Tara came to life and shared her entire sad story with me and I couldn’t help but oblige and put it down on paper. And Trouble? He’s a mix of several of the horses I knew. Full of spunk, spirit, trust and devotion. It’s a horse story, full of conflict, with antagonists you’ll love seeing get what they deserve.

Q) Tell us about your characters?

A Horse Called Trouble has many characters my readers will be able to identify with, from those who are picked on and put down, to the bullies and followers. And I hope my readers will discover one thing from my story—not to judge people before they really know them.

My main character, Tara Cummings is a bright girl, but due to her situation—her abusive mother abandoning her and throwing her into foster care—Tara is left vulnerable, picked on and put down. She tries to become invisible, staying under the radar of the bullies and teachers, doing only enough to survive.

Accused of a crime she didn’t commit, Tara is placed in alternative school and forced to enter a horse therapy program. There she meets Trouble. Trouble is exactly her opposite. He is defiant and spirited. He refuses to be broken and will not succumb to the cruel treatment used to try and force him into submission. He is strong and willful, yet Tara sees his vulnerable side, knowing the inner conflict only too well.

Trouble is a book about growing and believing in oneself to overcome what the world presumes of you. It’s easy to feel put down and unaccepted by the standards set by society today. But by believing in and staying true to oneself, the future can only offer the stars as the limit.

I love that message and it is so important these days when so many kids who are a little different are being bullied. Bullying has many effects and I'm so happy you have written about the ways that horses can help in therapy. I have seen horses used to help kids who have physical disabilities and it's wonderful that they can help those who are mentally disturbed. Tara sounds like so many kids who have been caught up in a world not of their own making.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?

My first tween novel, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island made its debut in September and is available in both print and e-book versions now. It is a tween ghost story with a twist of Native American folklore and based on the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island.

My next novel, The Secret of the Stones is the first of a series called The Lost Diaries of Northumberland and will make its debut in April of 2012. The Stones is a much lighter story and is a Harry Potter meets Merlin the Magician kind of story. A Merlin-loving tween is thrust into magic mayhem when the gift he’s been entrusted to protect turns out to be the enchanted object detailed in a mysterious prophecy.

Q)  Where can readers find you?

My readers can contact me at
They can join me on my web page:, or visit me at my blog:
They can also find me on Facebook (C.K. Volnek) or Twitter (CKVolnek), Good Reads and Jacket Flap.
My book trailer is on youtube:
My books are available at the MuseItUp Book Store as well as Amazon and many other fine book locations on-line.

Thanks for allowing me to join you today! And remember everyone… I’m offering a FREE copy of my e-book to one lucky reader who leaves me a comment!

C.K. Volnek

Thank you, C.K. for launching your book on my blog. The party is going to be going on all day and of course all of you want to win a free book, so come down and comment and grab a few goodies. I've baked my own delicious chocolate chip cookies and we have champagne to toast the launch. Besides we have other goodies and perhaps some forbidden ones too!! Bring your friends and come on down. We'll be open all day and partying until we drop!!!

Until the next time, Happy Holidays to all and my next guest will be Michelle Pickett, who has written a very interesting YA paranormal book called Concilium. Her book is not available yet, but authors are always welcome here at any time!

I wanted to mention that my book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is now in print and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords as well as almost all other book websites including Books A Million. It is an excellent holiday gift for the teen in your life. I have to say, even girls in their twenties are enjoying it according to my latest conversations with them.

On my Blog Talk Radio Show, RRWL Tales from the Pages, I am having my annual Holiday show on Thursday, December 22nd where I invite all the authors who were on the show to come back and read a holiday story. So far we have quite a few and I am looking forward to it very much. I will be posting the link as soon as I can.

Back to the festivities and please leave a comment while you are sipping your champagne and tasting the goodies. There are some savory dishes too. Browse along the table and see what you like. Above all have fun and comment, comment to win a free copy of A Horse Called Trouble.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Holidays are Coming!

It's been awhile since I've posted, but real life has been interrupting my days. I'm thinking about the coming of the holidays and hoping that this year will end with some fun. I haven't been too happy about the actions of the people around me. It seems almost every day I hear about someone who has shot another person and lately it's been mostly around traffic violations. As someone who lives in Connecticut where the drivers seem to have no idea of yielding the right of way, it frightens me to see how many people are having difficulty on the road.

There was that shooting at Virginia Tech over a traffic violation and again in LA the person who got out at the intersection of Sunset and Vine and shot someone. Each of these incidents shows that there is only one problem we have in America. There are too many guns!! For years I have advocated that guns be taken away from people and that we need to regulate the sale of them much more. Yet, here we have three separate incidents in two days that show that this is not the case.Until we take guns out of the hands of private citizens there will continue to be this continuance of violence.

As I mentioned earlier the holidays are coming and the stores are buzzing with shoppers. I like to see people out shopping, since it means more money into the economy. I am drawn to stores at holiday time with their decorations and music and I find it difficult to not buy inconsequential items because they are on sale. As I walked into Target there were three rows of items priced at $1.00. When my kids were younger I would have grabbed a lot of these to fill their stockings. I saw lots of people grabbing these items. There were miniature notebooks with familiar characters like Cars and Disney princesses and puzzles and miniature calendars also with the same characters on the front. It brought me back to those days when I ran out to grab anything to throw into my kids' stockings and to find Hanukah presents.

As my daughters got older they started having envy issues, so I devised a grab bag and put all their toys into it with their names on the wrapped packages. We had a ceremony on Hanukah when we would light the candles in the menorah and afterward each girl got to put her hand into the grab bag for their present. This way if the presents were unequal they couldn't do anything about it. Then on Christmas they would way to find a big present and stockings filled to the brim! I always liked to put a stuffed animal peeking out for them.

We never failed to follow this ceremony even when we were away from home one Christmas with my younger daughter and I sick with the flu we had our Christmas morning. My daughter had a high temperature so we had to give her a tepid bath and it wasn't your usual Christmas morning in a hotel. I collapsed afterward and all of us stayed inside the room for the rest of the day. But still we did celebrate the holiday.

As a Jewish girl growing up in Brooklyn, NY, I can only remember one Christmas when my parents let me celebrate. I woke up and there were toys under my bed. I was so excited I couldn't believe it. I think I believed Santa Claus put them there. But the next year there were none and though I looked every year afterward there were never any more toys under my bed. We did celebrate Hanukah and I got little presents like a dreidel and socks. There was never the wild profusion of gaily wrapped presents or a Christmas tree. For that I had to go to my friend's house where her family gave up their living room to this giant tree covered in tinsel and fake snow and garlands and with those bubbling lights I haven't seen in awhile. It was a fairyland for me. There was the Hanukah party from my father's lodge that we went to every year that was basically eating a few cold latkes and then waiting to see if I won the drawing. When you arrived they gave you a ticket and then called out numbers to give kids presents. There were great presents that I always wished to have and never got and there were the cheap ones that I always got. I didn't realize, but corruption was going on there. The kids of the top officers got all the good presents. Their parent just picked their tickets. So they got the beautiful big dolls and I got the coloring book. My father, an honest man, was a big whig too, but he never cheated.

Enough reminiscing. I have a contest running where I am giving away a free ebook to the winner of the comment drawing. All you need to do is write a comment and you will be in the drawing. My book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is about envy and what happens when you get what you wanted. What price do you have to pay? If you are looking for a gift for a girl 10 -14 this is an ideal book. However, older kids like it and several boys and men as well as older women have read and enjoyed it. If you don't win you can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and The Muse Bookstore.

The Muse Bookstore is offering a number of holiday specials with several bundles of great books. Check it out. You might find something you want.

So please leave a comment and tell me about your holiday traditions.

Until the next time, thank you for the people who continue to come over here and read my meanderings. In the coming weeks I will be having more guest authors so keep checking.

For December, RRWL Tales from the Pages will be having my holiday show. Guests from the previous year or years will be on the show reading their holiday stories. I always enjoy this show the best!! More later. It will be on Thursday, December 23rd at 3PM Central time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thoughts on the Day After Thanksgiving

There is that moment after you have finished dessert on Thanksgiving Day that reality settles in and you realize you have stuffed yourself to the point of no return. You feel you will explode if you take another bite. You retreat to the comfort of the soft sofa and sit back against a pillow. Your stomach is distended and you think you can't eat another thing. Yet at the same time there is a serenity and a relaxation. Your eyes are heavy and your brain can't accept more than TV or playing mindless games on your IPhone. Such a moment happened to me last night after Thanksgiving dinner at my brother's place. The amount of dishes there was dizzying. But here was tradition with the mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and of course, the turkey. I'm a dark meat person, but I always like to taste the white meat too. And oh, yes, the stuffing and the cranberry sauce. The food was delicious and likewise the company was also wonderful.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on your blessings and this year I have had many. As I sat at the table with my family and guests I could look over to the coffee table in the living room which held a pile of my print books, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, ready to be signed. My husband, whose health has been in question for several years, sat at my side and two of my soon-to-be-readers were seated at the same table. I am thankful for so many things this year besides the publishing of my book in both e-book and print. I am thankful to have met so many amazing authors at MuseItUp Publishing. My life has been so enhanced by becoming part of this spectacular group of people. You know I don't usually single people out on this blog unless they are being interviewed or there is another good reason. I won't do that now, but you know who you are. You are the people who keep me sane every day by reassuring me that whatever it is that has bothered me can be taken care of by a hug or a smile. You bring your own aggravations and I see that everyone goes through the same thing I do.

Writers are not like normal people. I have accepted this as I read about the same insecurities and worries we all seem to have in common. Yet on Thanksgiving many of you shared your joy and gave thanks for being in the group. I am honored to be in the presence of many of you. Meeting some of you has given me so much joy! I am thankful for that too!!

Anyway, back to the sofa and the discussion after dinner. Two of the guests were in high school and it was fun hearing about their experiences. Then the discussion came down to my book. My brother had just finished reading it and my husband and one daughter have read it too. It was fun hearing how my husband and brother enjoyed reading it. My husband said he couldn't put it down and my brother enjoyed the ending. I guess that was the moment I was truly thankful for, because I realize my book appeals to men and boys too! When a writer sees that your words affect people there is a connection that makes you feel it was all worthwhile. The hours and hours of writing and rewriting and then editing and re-editing and finally the joy of bringing your words out to the world were all worth it!!

Finally, I am thankful that people still read this blog.:) I haven't been great about posting, because I don't write unless I have a real reason to do so. On this note, I have decided to share with you a flash story I wrote. You can call it my Black Friday Special. I hope you enjoy it!!

The Carnival

“Step right up and play the game. Three shots for a quarter and you can win a prize for your girl if you hit the bulls’- eye three times.”

The carnival barker handed a gun to the teenager.

“Yes, Billy. Come on do it. Win me a panda, please!” Billy’s girlfriend said.

“Oh, what the hell. I’m a good shot.” He aimed the gun and hit the bulls” eye.

“Lucky shot, kid.”

Billy shot at the target two more times and hit it every time.

The barker handed Billy's girlfriend the panda. He came out of his booth and grabbed the boy. “You are the chosen one. Take this and wait here.” The barker handed Billy a shiny red gun that looked like a toy. “They will come. You must shoot whatever comes.”

“What’s this?” Billy said.

“It’s a ray gun. A spaceship is coming to get me and I don’t wanna go. You’re the best shot I’ve found.” The barker took Billy by the shoulders. "Listen kid, I like it here on Earth. Don’t make me go back to my planet. I’m on the run from the law.”

“Why should I do it for you?”

“I’ll give you all my prizes if you do.” The barker said.

Billy’s girlfriend jumped up and down and said, “Do it sweetie. Do it for me.” She batted her eyelashes and gave him kisses all over his face.

“What’ll this thing do?”

“You’ll see.” The barker said backing up to his booth.

The spaceship arrived and a chartreuse figure stepped out of the door. Billy aimed the ray gun and shot it. The figure vaporized and the spaceship disappeared.

“I’ll need all your stuffed animals and prizes now.” Billy looked for the barker. He was gone. Billy and his girlfriend raided the shelves and carried the stuffed animals and prizes back to their spaceship parked behind the trees.

“You were funny pretending you’d never seen a ray gun.” Billy’s girlfriend said.

“Yeah, and so were you. The travel agent was right. Earth is a great day trip.”

Billy and his girlfriend unzipped their skin and headed back to their own planet.
copyright, 2007 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Until the next time, I hope everyone who celebrated it had a great Thanksgiving. Thank you to all the people who continue to follow me and read my meanderings. If you notice I added a page for Readers/Teachers who might want to discuss the book. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need any clarification or would like to discuss the questions with me. I am also available for school visits as well.

My next Blog Talk Radio show will be on December 22nd, a little change from my usual scheduling. I hope you will join me to hear all the guests from the previous year read their holidays stories to you. This is one of my favorite shows and I hope you will join us. Don't worry, I will remind you.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

What Comes After Publishing Your Book?

This weekend I had a discussion with my daughters. One of whom believes I should have gone with a larger publisher and the other who works with figures related to the book industry. Both of them told me I wasn't doing enough to promote my book. This got me thinking about last year at this time. All I wanted was to see my book in print and I knew it was going to be an ebook. So I also knew I wouldn't have the thrill of holding it in my hand and leafing through its pages. Yet I was filled with a euphoria that didn't seem to wear off for months. After years of trying to get my book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, published it was going out there to the world. On Thanksgiving I gave thanks for my being accepted for publication. This Thanksgiving I will give thanks that it was published!!!!

No, it wasn't going to be published by a big six publisher and I knew that there would be differences. The biggest one being I wouldn't get an advance, but so many of my friends had published with the so-called big publishers and their books didn't sell enough. So they had to give back part of their advance or their books were pulled out of print fast. What I did know was that I was going to get a better royalty for having an e-book and I thrilled at all the stories touting the success of e-books. Mine was going to be part of the growing trend to read on Kindles and Nooks and IPads.

So I promoted myself by appearing on blogs and I took part in an online reading. I amassed lots of friends on Facebook and Twitter and soon people started wanting to be my friend without my doing anything at all. I joined lots of writing groups and became vocal in some of them. I became a part of my publisher's author loops and made friends with the authors there. On my radio show and on this blog I invited many of the Muse authors and in September, the month in which my book was published, I took part in a month long blog fest! On the day of my book launch I held a day long blog party here on this blog where I gave out a free copy of my book to the lucky winner of the comment drawing. Later in the week I held a private book launch in the lobby of my apartment complex and printed up postcards, which I signed, for the event. I also gave out book marks and had a drawing for a free e-book. On my radio show I invited more Muse authors and interviewed and was interviewed by several different authors on my blog and on radio all summer culminating in the giant blog fest. I took part in an in person book signing at my sister-in-law's Fall Cleaning party and I signed more postcards and gave out more book marks.

Just an aside for a minute, my sister-in-law is part of a wonderful group called Happy Doll that brings dolls to kids in the hospital and in schools. The kids then decorate these dolls and send them on to other children around the world. She has expanded this group from a few dedicated people to where they have their own office and travel everywhere for this amazing cause. The other night I had the privilege to be part of the doll stuffing team and it was so great to know that these dolls were going to bring joy to so many children. I thought you might enjoy seeing the lovely Happy Doll website and reading the stories of these children.

Okay, now back to what I was saying.

Meanwhile, in my every day life I gave a signed postcard and a book mark to anyone with whom I had any personal contact including my doctor and dentist and his receptionist. If I spoke with anyone about my book I gave them a signed postcard and a book mark. Then a chance to meet more Muse authors came about as I took part in the Retreat in Montreal. I haven't really said much about it here, since so many other authors who were there chronicled it so well, but it was an amazing experience. I met so many wonderful authors and best of all I met my readers. The best thing about this was that after three years of writing and revising the book and five years of trying to get it published I was able at last to hold it in my hand! The night before the book signing we had a dinner where we were all introduced to the books in print. I held the print book in my hand and at last had the feeling I had been waiting for all my life. I was finally able to leaf through the pages and feel the concreteness of it. The feeling was indescribable. Signing my book to the children and teens who were the focus of it was another incredible feeling. Their smiles and excitement assured me that I was on the right track. The print book exceeded my expectations and I was able to sell all the copies I had except for one, which I took back to my family to show them.

Finding I needed to read my favorite part of the book again, I did. My eyes welled with tears at the end as they always do. I am very proud of the whole experience of this book. It isn't about a werewolf or a vampire. It doesn't have any dead parents or anyone with an incurable disease. No one commits suicide in it and there is no violence whatsoever in it. It isn't a fantasy or a sci fi or a paranormal story. There is no world building or armageddon in it. Maybe that's why it had such a difficult time being accepted. But my publisher loved it and took a chance that other people would love it. So far I have six really great 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon. Has it rocked the universe? Am I a bestseller? Not that I know of, but my publisher says to be patient, because it is only out there a couple of months.

Now I am wondering. Do enough people know about my book? Does anyone have any ideas on how I can get more reviews without spamming my friends? I have gotten those releases that ask you to read the book and review it from different people and I have seen the promotions on Facebook and the mass mailings from Goodreads and even LinkedIn. What do you think of these? Should I do that? Or should I send a mass mailing to all of my friends on Facebook? I haven't done any of these. I would love your thoughts on this:)

Until the next time, I noticed I keep gaining and losing a follower. I am very sorry I didn't post for a few weeks, but I have been busy every day. Like any writer I don't like to sit down and put anything on this blog. If I have to search for something to write I'd rather not write anything at all.:) For my loyal followers who check all the time, I hope you understand and will forgive me. I have been posting on DowntownYA each week every Saturday, though.

Also I would like to remind everyone that my story, "Cancer Didn't Get Him" is in Lavender Dreams, an anthology in the memory of cancer victims. All profits go to cancer research. Three of my poems are going to be an anthology called, Prompted, which will be available soon. It is something very special, because we as a group, The Anthologists, conceived and put this together in a very harmonious fashion. We had the help of the talented Dr. Pearl Prilik and Laurie and Michelle. The profits from this are going to literacy research. While I was in Montreal I found out my flash stories were going to be in "The Book Breeze", which is a magazine that is distributed to authors at festivals and conventions in print. It is also available online if you want to read them. Anyone who has followed me for awhile or even read my other stories will enjoy the change in writing here. There might be an alien or two!!

My Blog Talk Radio show, RRWL Tales from the Pages will be on Tuesday, November 22nd. My guests will be Janie Franz and Amy McCorkle. I am sure there will be other people who might pop in too!  My December show is going to be filled with guests from previous shows reading Holiday stories. I love my Christmas show and we usually have a great time! I hope you will be able to join me on either of these dates. On my Christmas show I will be bringing back the funny and delightful Mr. J, whose book, Meet Mr. J  has brought tears of laughter and frustration to many. He is someone you will not want to miss.

Don't forget to leave a comment about how I can get more reviews. I am giving out a free e-book to the winner of the comment drawing. Of course I will expect you to review it.:) Just kidding! No pressure:)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Going to the MuseItUp Publishing Retreat in Montreal!!

I haven't posted in awhile due to my very busy real life, but I wanted to let everyone know that I will be at the MuseItUp Retreat in Montreal this weekend. I will be one of thirty or more authors from MuseItUp Publishing who will be signing books at Zeller's, a big bookstore in Montreal.

Since my book was released in September I have been trying to let everyone know about it. But I haven't had a chance to do any real book signing, because my book has been an e-book. Much as I love the idea of that and how convenient it is for so many people, I long to have a book in my hand, turn the page and sign my name for a reader. I have signed postcards and given out book marks, but I can't wait to hold the print copy in my hand this weekend!!

Yes, if you didn't already know, my book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is now in print and will be available soon. I am very excited also to meet all my fellow authors, since we have only met over the internet. As rewarding as that can be, there is nothing like meeting someone in person!!!

In honor of my book getting into print I am posting a free chapter!

On my radio show my publisher, Lea Schizas and her business partner, Litsa Kamateros have been copied on an interview they had with a big Montreal station. You can hear part of Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages if you play it on your own player. For some reason it cuts out after a few minutes. But you will hear the interview on here.

If you live anywhere near this event, please come out to meet me and support all of our fantastic authors!! There are prizes and food too! Here is another ad for the retreat in The Gazette: West Island.

It will run from 1PM to 5PM. I would love to meet all of you!!! I will be leaving tomorrow morning and come back on Sunday evening. Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Until the next time, thank you to all my followers who have been patient and I will be back blogging next week. I have a lot of great authors lined up for then.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Meet Guest Author Pat McDermott

My guest author is Pat McDermott whose new YA novel, Glancing Through the Glimmer is releasing in November. In keeping with my highlighting MuseItUp authors, Pat is also a Muse author.


I’m from the Mission Hill section of Boston, which, during my childhood (I’m not telling when), was a mostly Irish neighborhood. My earliest years were spent on the top floor of a three-decker house owned by my O’Brien grandparents, who occupied the first floor along with my mother’s two sisters. Another aunt and two cousins lived only a few doors away. Sadly, that close-knit way of life has changed for most American families these days. My kids are both married and have moved to different states, and I now live near the New Hampshire seacoast with my husband and three vocal Tonkinese cats. I spend most mornings writing, a pleasure I couldn’t indulge when I was “Mom on Call.” When I’m not writing or trying to finagle another trip to Ireland, I’m usually reading or cooking. I love to cook and have my own cooking blog. On Monday evenings, I host a casual but effective writers’ group, and for most of the year, I attend a weekly writing class to help keep my imaginary story friends under control.

One of my short stories received an Honorable Mention for children’s fiction in the 74th Writer’s Digest Annual Writing competition. That award gave me the confidence to complete my first full-length novel, A Band of Roses, the first in a trilogy scheduled for release in 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing. The stories are set in an Ireland that might have been, and Glancing Through the Glimmer is the young adult “prequel” to that trilogy. I’m currently working on the sequel to “Glimmer.”

Pat, I have to agree with you. We used to get together every Sunday with my relatives. Now, unfortunately many are gone or they have moved away. Now we see each other at weddings, funerals and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.

I asked Pat a few questions. Here are her answers:                                                                                     
Your book is about the problem the fairies have because people don’t believe in them.
Do you believe in fairies?  
                              I've read and heard enough about them to give them the benefit of the doubt. My grandmother once told me that when she was a child in Ireland, her father would seek the fairies' permission before making any changes to his farm. He did this by setting out rows of stones at night, and he would check them the next morning. If the stones weren't disturbed, he would build his new fence or storage shed. If the stones had been disturbed, he would pick another spot and try again.                                                   

Please tell my readers how you decided to become a writer.

When we were growing up, my siblings and I enjoyed the tales of our talented family storytellers. My father made up the bedtime stories he told us. His tales often kept me awake for hours, they left me so enchanted. I wanted to tell enchanting stories too. I’ve attended writing classes over the years, but my own children were nearly grown before I started putting ideas on paper seriously. I entered one of my short stories in the 74th Writer's Digest Annual Writing contest and received an Honorable Mention for children's fiction, an award that gave my confidence a big boost.

Have you ever visited Ireland? If you did visit where would you go?

I've lost count of the number of times I've "crossed the pond." My grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from County Sligo in the 1920s, and I grew up hearing the stories, loving the music, wanting to go. I finally went after my kids were in college, and I’ve been visiting at least once a year since. As for where I'd go, if I'm looking for new books or want to hit the museums, I visit the cities, and always manage to get to Dublin (just returned from a week there). If I want to chill out and see some gorgeous scenery, it's the fairy-infested countryside. If I'm going to write, I visit a retreat on the Beara Peninsula, where the only sounds are the mooing cows and the waves rolling in from the ocean. Wherever I am, I'm never far from the sea, and the castles and abandoned homesteads dotting the land are constant reminders that Ireland has been around for a long, long time.

In keeping with the last question, did you do a lot of research for this novel?

For this story, based primarily on Irish mythology, I went straight to Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts to visit my O'Brien aunts. Over the years, they've amassed a spectacular collection of Irish books, and more than a few are over one hundred years old. I also did some digging into the duties of the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. My heroine, Janet, is his sixteen-year-old granddaughter, and I had to know where she lived, why she hated it so much, and how her grandparents' formal social life affected her.

What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm a little of both, though mostly a pantser. I start a story with research, which I now know will give me plenty of ideas for subplots. The outline approach helps organize my thoughts, but outlines aren't written in stone, and they become quite useless when my characters take over the story.

Please describe a typical writing day for you.

I try to write every day, usually early in the morning when it’s quiet and my only interruptions are a cat or two in need of a hug. Whether I’m struggling with something new or revising pages I've already written, I find that quiet time of day most productive. I spend time in the afternoon reading for research and/or pleasure, usually with a cat or two in my lap. On Monday evenings, I host a writers’ group, which gives me an incentive to spruce up a chapter or two each week. For most of the year, I attend a writing class on Tuesday nights to polish those pages. Then there are the usual household chores and family and social commitments. When my children were younger, I doubt I could have managed all this. I have great respect for writers with growing families who find time to write, and write well.

What was the inspiration for this novel?
Glancing Through the Glimmer is the young adult “prequel” to my “Band of Roses” trilogy (A Band of Roses, Fiery Roses, and Salty Roses), coming in 2012 from MuseItUp Publishing. I’d already written the trilogy when an acquaintance suggested the YA angle, and I found I loved writing about my characters as teenagers. The Scottish legend of Tam Lin and the myths surrounding Finvarra, the King of the Connaught Fairies inspired many of the story's scenes.

Do you write in any other genre? Which genre is your favorite? Why?

My stories include all sorts of genres, fantasy, action/adventure, sci-fi, and romance. If I had to choose, I'd say I like the action/adventure aspect of writing best. I would like to try writing a straight romance one of these days, though I'm betting it would end up romantic suspense.

What kinds of books do you like to read? Which is your favorite genre?

Depends on my mood or why I'm reading. Having just written "The End" on my current WIP, I'm rewarding myself by reading for pleasure. I'm halfway through The Mark of the Golden Dragon, the 9th and newest "Bloody Jack" book by L.A. Meyers. I love his adventure series starring Mary/Jackie Faber, a street urchin in 18th century London who dresses up as a boy and joins the British navy.

Do you have any WIP’s ready to publish?

As I mentioned earlier, MuseItUp Publishing will release my "Band of Roses" trilogy in 2012. I am currently tweaking Autumn Glimmer, the YA sequel to Glancing Through the Glimmer.

Explain why you decided to go with a small press like MuseItUp Publishing.

Not only is MuseItUp rapidly becoming known as an author-friendly company, the publisher, Lea Schizas, is an old editing friend. She and her staff are responsive to my questions, amenable to my opinions, and more interested in good stories than in genre formulas. I feel quite at home with MuseItUp.                          

Is there anything else you wanted to say about yourself?        Only to thank you, Barbara, for hosting me on your blog today. I've enjoyed visiting!

Well, I have enjoyed visiting with you too and now for a little about your book. Here is the book cover:

It looks really spooky with that castle on the hill. I can't wait to see what this book is all about!!


In the modern Kingdom of Ireland, few mortals believe in the fairy folk. Without that belief, the fairies are dying. Finvarra, the King of the Fairies, would rather dance than worry—but he must have a mortal dancing partner.

When Janet Gleason’s grandfather becomes the new U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, the sixteen-year-old orphan must leave Boston and her friends behind. Janet is lonely in Dublin and unused to her grandparents’ stuffy social life. An invitation to a royal ball terrifies her. She can’t even waltz and dreads embarrassment. Finvarra’s fairy witch overhears her fervent wish to learn to dance.

Seventeen-year-old Prince Liam Boru loathes the idea of escorting another spoiled American girl to a ball. In fact, he detests most of his royal duties. He dresses down to move through Dublin unnoticed and finds himself on his royal backside when Janet crashes into him. Intrigued, he asks to see her again, and she willingly agrees. Unaware of each other’s identities, they arrange to meet. When they do, the fairies steal Janet away.

Liam’s attempts to find her trigger a series of frustrating misadventures. Can he and Janet outwit a treacherous fairy king who’s been hoodwinking mortals for centuries?

Ah, it's a love story too! I hope you have brought us an excerpt too! Yes, thank you!


      The first time Liam slipped and fell, he cursed the rain-damp grass. He blamed his second tumble on his haste to catch up with Janet. What on earth had possessed the girl to run off like that? She couldn’t possibly want to find music that badly.
      Music only she could hear.
     The third time he lost his balance, he’d swear someone had pushed him, but no one was there. He landed on his hands and knees and cursed again. He might not be a muscleman, but he was far from a clumsy dolt. A lifetime of sports and outdoor treks had surely left him fit enough to climb a scrubby little hillside.
      Something strange was afoot.
      I’m being ridiculous. The breeze must have kept him from hearing the music she heard. She’d likely gone after the owner of whatever was playing the tune to learn its name.
     Yet the Nose of Howth seemed deserted. How odd for a sunny Sunday morning. Even if Janet had gone off seeking the source of the music, no amount of rationalizing could explain why she’d left so abruptly. The chilling sense that she was in danger had Liam’s heart thumping high in his throat.
Should he call his cousin? If Kevin was still on the pier, it would take him a while to get here. And practical Kevin would surely think Liam astray in the head.
     Maybe he was, but something told him he had to find Janet, and fast. Keeping close to the ground as if he were dodging radar, he clambered monkey-like up the hill. This time he reached the top of the rise. Lumps in the landscape surrounded him, clumps of rock and rolling masses of heather and gorse that encircled the level spot where he stood. He knew the place well. Except for the curious lack of weekend hill walkers, nothing seemed amiss.
      He listened hard. A seagull cried in the distance. Otherwise, all was silent. No, wait! Music drifted toward him, a plucky harp tune he might have enjoyed under different circumstances. Was that what Janet had heard?
      Where was it? He turned in a circle, squinting in the sunlight, scanning, straining to hear. When he returned to the spot where he’d started, a jolt of fear set his pulse racing.
      A round stone hut had appeared on the highest part of the clearing. Its low thatched roof rose to a ridiculously high point. It resembled a roundhouse, the sort of dwelling that belonged in a prehistoric ring fort.
      Or a fairy fort.
      Liam swallowed hard. He’d seen replicas of such huts in Ireland’s folk parks. He’d also viewed ruins of the original ring forts, all that remained of the structures built by the mysterious peoples who’d lived and died in prehistoric Ireland thousands of years ago.
     Where had this one come from? Why was it on the Nose of Howth? Liam had never seen it before, nor had he heard of any gimmicky tourism plans for the cliff walk. Of course, he didn’t know everything.       Convincing himself that he’d failed to see the hut at first because the sun had blinded him, he ventured toward the structure.
      He spotted a doorway and relaxed. Janet was there, speaking to a woman wearing a period costume, medieval or older. That’s what it was, he thought: tourism come to tarnish Howth. How could Uncle Peadar have allowed such nonsense?
      Liam called Janet’s name again, but neither she nor the woman showed any sign that they’d heard him. The wind must have carried his voice away. He stalked toward the roundhouse. As he approached, the costumed woman placed a necklace over Janet’s head.
     The roundhouse flickered, faded, and reappeared. Alarmed, Liam stopped. This was no tourist gimmick. As his thoughts scrambled for an explanation, the woman grabbed Janet’s arm and pulled her into the hut.
      “Janet, no!” His ferocious roar proved useless. Unbelievably, the roundhouse began to dissolve. No longer doubting his horrified senses, he dove at the hut and charged through the disappearing door.
The world around him melted away.

Are you going to leave us wondering whether or not he finds Janet? I know I am going to want to read more to know this. Good luck with your book launch in November, Pat. It has been a pleasure having you as my guest and learning more about you. Thank you for being my guest author. Are you giving away anything to our readers?

Readers can find you on your Author Page and in The Muse Bookstore.

Until the next time, I have posted all of the reviews I have gotten for my book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, which you can find on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CoffeeTime Romance, The Muse Bookstore and a few other ebook sites. The exciting news is this will be out in print in November!!! So everyone who has wanted a copy but did not have an e-reader can enjoy it.

Also, my Blog Talk Radio Show, RRWL Tales from the Pages will have Roseanne Dowell and Nancy Bell, two other authors from MuseItUp Publishing. Nancy is also my copy editor and both of them are delightful! I hope you will tune into the show at 3PM Central Time, 4PM EST on Thursday, October 27th.

Thank you to my new followers and of course, to the people who continue to come over here to read my meanderings. I haven't been posting as much, but it isn't due to any real problems. Yay!! My husband's feet are healing and he is getting back to work again. Any of you who have followed the problems he had will understand what a big change this is. He is now on Facebook if you want to see what he looks like. Just look for Harold Ehrentreu. There is only one and even now he still doesn't understand why I can spend so much time online.:) 

One more thing before I go. I want you all to know about the Muse Retreat, which is happening on November 4th, 5th and 6th in Montreal, Canada. We are all getting together to celebrate the first anniversary of this awesome publishing company. I will have photos to let you all see. We are going to have a mass book signing at Zeller's too. Very exciting!!! I will be signing copies of my own book and as a special addition I am going to be giving away a copy to the lucky winner. More about this contest next blog post. Have fun and enjoy the fall days that are coming our way.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Meet Guest Author, Karen Cote!!!

For the entire month of September this blog was devoted to bringing you only writers of MG/YA. Today my guest author is a very dear friend and author from MuseItUp Publishing who is on the brink of publishing her book, Erotic Deception from the MuseItHot division.

Here is her bio:

I live in a Southern California Castle with Prince Charming and a Magnificent Black Stallion.

Okay, it’s a bungalow, my husband works in a corporate environment and my horse is a small black pug with a sense of humor and a lot of attitude. But my address is Cloud 9, CA.

I grew up in a small town in Missouri sharing years of romance novels with my mother. We laughed together, cried together, and thoroughly enjoyed our favorite authors. My mother has since passed but her gift of memories will always remain through the pages of each novel I write.

Thank you, dear reader, for the precious time you will use in journeying with my heroes and heroines. May the echo of their laughter and tears create special memories within you as I have enjoyed from authors past. My gratitude to MuseItUp Publishing is one I am still trying to articulate.

Actually Karen, the gratitude should be from all of us authors at MuseItUp Publishing who you have helped in so many ways. Karen's website is very unique. Anyone who hasn't been there should go there immediately and check out its many features. When you first get on the website you are greeted by this lovely avatar of Karen

 telling you all about the places you can visit on the website. She invites other authors to come and prepares a custom made avatar for each author. I had the pleasure of being interviewed along with my character, Carolyn Samuels. She treated each of us with care and panache. Her choices for wardrobe and hair were excellent and she continues to make every author who appears on her site very special.

I'm sure Karen is now blushing, because she is not one to heap praise upon herself. On the contrary, she usually is there helping someone else and rarely thinks about herself. She is a benefactor in so many ways. For this Thanksgiving Karen has added another dimension to her website. Here she is to tell us about it in her own words:

Coffee Time Romance…Proud Sponsor For…2011 Thanksgiving Project

Hello darling Barbara. I am EXCITED to be here today and I thank you so much for the opportunity. You know, in this world of hearts, there exist few that are bigger or more generous than yours.

Okay, now I'm blushing. Can you all see it??

You’ve been a friend, role-model, and such a solid support; not only of my own endeavors but everyone who enters our Muse house or comes into contact with you. As such, I didn’t have to ponder too much about what I wanted to discuss here. Of course, it’s what you do most. Give to others.

When I first mentioned the efforts of Coffee Time Romance, (another big heart) you embraced it with that unique spirit of yours to jump in and get involved. Barbara, I’m grateful for the person you are and the platform you’ve provided to express this need.

Thank you, Karen! I feel the same way about you.

As you know, Coffee Time Romance is a sponsor for a very special project for those in need. I’ve listed all the details below and I hope anyone visiting today will join us in our efforts and step forward to nominate a family and give hope to someone who may need a helping hand in a time of need.

I actually did nominate a family and it gave me such a warm feeling to know that I was giving a family a chance to have a real Thanksgiving dinner so they could use those funds somewhere else. You shouldn't have to make the choice of paying bills or having a real Thanksgiving dinner. Many families are in situations this year they would never have imagined. Nominating a family only requires you to go the website and follow instructions. Think of their faces on Thanksgiving.

Your Part:

We need you to help us select a needy family this season.

Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings and holiday meals - for sharing and spreading happiness. A time to be thankful for the people, experiences, and gifts we receive in our lives. Unfortunately, there are some people who have a tougher situation than we do. Regardless of the hardship in their lives, whether it's a family crisis, lost job or other unforeseen circumstances, they are unable to truly celebrate the holidays because of their financial situation.

In hopes of helping these families share in the holidays, last year, Silver Publishing donated two $500 Gift Certificates to grocery stores local to two needy winners. The recipients were nominated by family, friends and coworkers who witnessed, first-hand, the hardship these families experiences day-to-day. They nominated each family via a forum post. It was heartbreaking to pick only two families, but we chose and they were able to join others in the holiday experience.

We want to expand that further this year and try to help more families during these difficult times so we’ve joined forces with other publishers, review sites, authors, and others in order to spread the holiday message and allow others to truly enjoy the season which would otherwise be too difficult to do on their own.

This year, Silver Publishing is going to repeat the project and offer another $1000 in gifts to needy families. Additionally, we are going to add a percentage of royalties earned during a special sales week to be announced. Others joining in the sponsorship will contribute other gifts of their choosing – whether it’s food, money, gift cards, or another gift, we are getting together in a joint effort to help more families during this special time.

If you’d like to help us, please nominate a family you feel needs a little help this Thanksgiving. Let us know ‘why’ you feel they should get a sponsorship. And don’t forget to let us know how to contact YOU, the nominator. This way, if the family mentioned is selected, the sponsor can contact you for more info on how best to send them their holiday gift.

We are accepting nominations July 1, 2011- October 31, 2011.

To nominate a family, please follow the link to complete the entry form.

Thank you.

ONE MORE WAY TO GET INVOLVED…In addition to nominating a family there’s another way you can help feed a family at Thanksgiving. All you have to do is go to the following site and tell us your favorite coffee beverage or tea, if you prefer. Your preference will be logged as a comment and for each comment $1 will go toward feeding a family at Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for your caring and participation. Here’s the link to comment:

Again, thank you so much, Karen, for bringing this to our attention! Now didn't I hear that you were about to publish a novel?

Yes, I will be publishing my first novel from MuseItUp  Publishing on October 14th. Look in The Muse Bookstore for more information, the cover, the blurb and an excerpt.

I am thrilled for you, Karen!! Good luck with all your ventures!!!

Until the next time. thank you to my new follower! More news about my book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor.  I now have three reviews on Amazon and two are 5 stars!!! I'm not sure about the rank, because it varies so much! If anyone knows about how they determine the rank on Amazon I would love to know.:)

I am still going through the various blog comments you left in September and soon will be posting the results of the drawings and the comment contest. The month of October is going to be like a vacation for me, so I will be blogging less and trying to relax before November when it all gets crazy again. I will be posting on two blogs on Saturday: DowntownYA, my usual Saturday column, and on The Muse blog where I will be talking about Halloween experiences.

My guests for RRWL Tales from the Pages on Thursday, October 27th will be Roseanne Dowell and Nancy Bell, two authors I love from MuseItUp Publishing and who just published MG/YA novels. Also we will be joined by a dear friend, Donna Marie Merritt who will be talking about her recently published book of poems written while she was taking care of her husband who has cancer:

Cancer:Poetry for Tough Times v.2: A Caregiver's Guide

Where I live it's brilliant sunshine and blue skies. I think I will venture outside and enjoy this. Also they came and painted today and I'd like to be able to breathe.:)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Launching Galaxy Games Blog Tour 2011!!!

An old friend and critique partner, Greg Fishbone is launching his blog tour today for his new book, The Challengers, part of the Galaxy Games series. Here is a little bit about the book and Greg.

Book Synopsis

The Galaxy Games series is written by Greg R. Fishbone and published by the Tu Books imprint of Lee & Low Books. In this hilarious middle-grade romp through space, eleven-year-old Tyler Sato leads a team of kids representing all of Earth in a sports tournament against alien kids from across the galaxy.

Book #1: The Challengers is available now! Read more here!

Book Stats

Series: Galaxy Games
Title: The Challengers
Hardcover ISBN: 978-60060-660-1
Author: Greg R. Fishbone
Illustrator: Ethen Beavers
Scheduled Release Date: September 2011
Publisher: Tu Books / Lee & Low Books
Ages: 9-12

Author Bio

Greg R. Fishbone is an author of galactic fiction for young readers, including the Galaxy Games series of humorous middle grade sci-fi novels from the Tu Books imprint at Lee & Low Books. Greg also serves as an Assistant Regional Advisor for the New England regions of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, is a two-time NESCBWI conference co-director, and founded of the Class of 2k7 debut author group. This summer he participated in the NASA and NSF-funded Launch Pad program at the University of Wyoming, intended to provide authors with better knowledge of astronomy and theories of science literacy. Visit his website at for more information.

Book Trailer


Puzzle Piece #1

Now here is the cool part about this tour! I am giving you Puzzle Piece #1 and you need to follow the tour to collect all of the puzzle pieces!!

Visit these blogs to have more chances in the Launch Day Contest

Greg will be holding contests and offering prizes, including copies of The Challengers and chances for him to Skype into your classroom, library, or reading group. The first contest is the Launch Day Giveaway, which you can enter in a variety of ways during the first week of October.

Until the next time, thank you to all who have bought my book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor released by MuseItUp Publishing on September 16th. We had a great party on that day and thank you to all who attended!!

The MG/YA Blog-A-Thon is officially over and everyone will know the winners by the middle of October. We will be posting winners as soon as we get the names.

My next blog guest is Karen Cote of Karen'sTV.  Some may know her from Twitter as Karen's Romance. She will be here October 6th. Don't worry, I will be advertising and don't miss this interview with this unique and lovely Muse author.
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