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Friday, June 24, 2011

Some Things You Didn't Know About Lea Schizas!

It isn't an easy task interviewing a Goddess, but our publisher of MuseItUp Publishing,
Lea Schizas, although she is knee deep in work, managed to take the time out to answer a few questions. In this interview you might find out things about her you didn't know. I am honored to present to you my interview of Lea Schizas, who makes everything she does seem easy.:)

Questions for Guest Author, Lea Schizas

Barbara: 1. Where were you born? How has where you lived as a child influenced your writing?

Lea: I was born in Montreal and the proximity to a small bookstore influenced my writing. I was a local 'sit by the shelves and pull a book and read' type of a kid. Most of the time I purchased comic books that have helped me hone my cliff-hanging chapter endings in all of my books.

Barbara: 2. You are a writer, publisher of MuseItUp Publishing, founder of the Muse Online Writer’s Conference, author of MG and YA books. You have a radio show, two blogs, and continue to keep tabs on your Muse authors. Do you have any secrets you can share about how you do all this?

Lea: Yes, you need to be a tad nutso/crazy/psycho...or simply love what you do, and I absolutely love what I do.

Barbara: 3. Earlier in your writing career you were involved with Apollo’s Lyre, an award winning online literary magazine. Would you tell us how and why this was founded?

Lea: I have to say that Apollo's Lyre was a launching pad for my career. It helped me build my career as an editor but also taught me how to really analyze submissions and pick and choose which articles/stories to add to each issue. It was originally founded by three of us, Bret Wright, and Dr. Patricia Ferguson who has since passed on. We wanted to create an ezine that appealed to various readers, offering a bit of poetry, writing articles, fiction, book reviews, and more. And since 2003 we're still around but with new editors along to maintain the quality we've began with.

Barbara: 4. When did you begin to write? Was there anyone who influenced you?

Lea: I joke that I began to write while still in my mom's womb, mistaking the umbilical cord for some neat writing implement. hehehe Actually, no one influenced me other than the comic books but later, as I grew up, I found out my dad played a short stint as a journalist and read some of his greek stuff...very prolific man so I guess his genes were a big factor.

Barbara: 5. In your bio you say you are called Mother Hen. Would you please tell our readers about your family and how you got the name?

Lea: Mother Hen has been donned on me by writers, not my family, because I have a huge soft spot for writers who are eager to enhance their writing, who want help, or guidance, or anything else that I may be able to be there for them. I also carry a mean wet noodle with me but that's only out of love. LOL So basically Mother Hen is because I try to protect and help writers that they felt the need to give me that title.

Barbara: 6. The Muse Online Writer’s Conference has revolutionized the idea of conferences. How did you get the idea for this? What does it take to continue to bring this conference to us?

Lea: This year, in all honesty, I'm behind with the preparations of the conference, but the idea came about when a question was posed to writers: How many attend writers conferences? There were three distinct answers that came back: 1- can't afford it 2- live too far to justify expenses 3- have a disability that prevents me from attending. I thought, along with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, how sad so many can't get involved in this amazing mingling and mentoring arena. Thus, the FREE Muse Online Writers Conference was born in 2005. We host it every October.

Barbara: 7. Please tell the readers what books you have written and a little about each book.

Lea: You can go to my temporary website, The Writing Jungle where you can find all my books and a few words about each of them.

Barbara: 8. You have written both fiction and non-fiction books. Which do you prefer to write and why?

Lea: I prefer fiction because in all honesty I am not a fan of research. I allow my characters and their imagination to lead me to disasters.

Barbara: 9. Your latest book, Libby the Odd Squirrel is being published by 4RV Publishing as was Bubba and Giganto. Why have you decided to go with a publisher other than MuseItUp Publishing?

Lea: These were books submitted before MuseItUp Publishing came around. I do have two books that were accepted by MuseItUp Publishing, and yes, I had to go through the same submission assessment as everyone else, and one other story was actually rejected. LOL Nothing at MuseItUp gets through unless the writing shines, and the plot is strong, and I knew that third story was lacking but tried it anyway and very pleased to see the editors unanimously rejected it.

Barbara: 10. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?

Lea: Oh, a pantser for sure. The characters whisper or yell or scream or drag my writing pen in the direction they want. I have to allow them to lead me otherwise the funny farm won't give me day passes.

Barbara:11. With MuseItUp Publishing expanding, how do you keep up with the amount of work this entails?

Lea: Like in any other business where one cares to make sure the product and satisfaction of all involved maintains at a high degree, I have to be on the computer 24/ to speak. I allocate an hour here, an hour there for various jobs, like editing, reading submissions, formatting, uploading to vendors, maintaining websites, answering emails, etc. This past month, however, I've had severe internet woes that has backlogged me so now scrambling to catch up.

Barbara: 12. Do you have any hobbies? How have you incorporated them into your writing?

Lea: I used to crochet dolls and sell them at craft fairs, or give them away to charities. It's an art form that has helped me tweak my writing because each stitch is similar to a tweak on a page--you perfect each stitch like we perfect each scene with clarity and precision.

Barbara: 13. There is a standing joke between you and another writer that you want to know if any other writer has a notebook in the john. Do you really have one there and how important is it to you?

Lea: I have notebooks all over the house because while cooking a splash of oil from the stove might remind me of a scene in a WIP so I need to write it down right away. As for the john...hey, what do you want me to say...the john is a place of escape where I can stay a bit longer without being a 'mommy' and answering questions and yes, I have a book in the john and jot down notes as they come to me. LOL

Barbara: 14. How do you manage to promote your own books while promoting all of your Muse authors? Have you ever run into any conflicts while doing this?

Lea: I need a wet noodle because even before I was a publisher I spend more time promoting other authors than my own books. The only conflict I run into is that when asked to be a guest, I procrastinate only because I know I need to promote others. Otherwise, promoting is simply part of being a writer/publisher. While I'm out on the social networks promoting Muse authors I try to promote my own work, too.

Barbara: 15. Where do you see MuseItUp Publsihing in five years? How many authors do you plan to add?

Lea: Naturally, my goal is to see MuseItUp Publishing as one of the top five ebook houses. This takes a lot of work, consistency playing a major role, and what do I mean? Consistency to make sure I am there for authors, consistency to make sure the quality is there for readers/buyers. Without authors there wouldn't be a publishing house, and without satisfied readers there would be no need to maintain a house. So authors, staff, and readers are the top three things of importance to me and Litsa, my partner. As to how many authors we plan to add...that's a hard question because we don't go by a set number but by the quality of submissions we receive and like and contract. Muse is geared to go more toward hosting our authors works and opening up to new authors during certain periods of the year. We'd like to help our authors grow in-house.

Barbara: 16. There are three divisions now for Muse, MuseItYoung, MuseItUp, and MuseItHot. Are you planning on adding any new ones?

Lea: That's it for now. MuseItUp hosts our mainstream, MuseItYoung all of our tween books, and MuseItHOT hosts our erotica romance books. If there will be any in the future there's one category I'm looking at right now but will be for specific themes--non-fiction.

Barbara: 17. Do you have a WIP? Will you be publishing it?

Lea:I have about 30 WIPs and at this point my goal is and has been to get an agent. But first I need to finish my WIPS.

Lea, it has been a pleasure spending time with you and I'm so happy I was able to drag you away from your work to speak with us. You deserve an agent and I don't know why they aren't begging you to become their author.

Until the next time, thank you for continuing to follow my meanderings and hope to bring you more excellent guest authors. I will be doing a guest spot on Viviane's blog (link later) and my next guest author is Marva Dasef, whose book Missing Assumed Dead is being published in July.

Please leave a comment for Lea. She hasn't said if she is giving away anything free, but I'm sure she would love to answer your questions when she can.

For those who are following the saga of my husband's wound, he is going for hyperbaric treatments starting next week. He is also walking much better on his own and should be back to normal soon. Thank you to all who have prayed and continue to pray for him. Your prayers have meant a great deal to me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Winner of the Book Drawing from David Normoyle

I always love it when a friend is picked in the drawing and I am happy to announce that the winner of the free book of Crimson Dream from David Normoyle :

Charlotte K. Volnek

I can assure you my daughter drew the name sight unseen!!!


This is going to be a short post. Lots of great things are happening for me and most of my friends know about them, but I'll put them here anyway. Last week I learned that my poem, "Broken Balloons" is going to be in an anthology, The Long and Winding Road, which is a book with poetry from and about the period of the late 60's and early 70's. Since I went through that period I decided to enter the poem and I was thrilled when I heard it was going to be included.:) It's being published by Dzanc Books, which is a non-profit publisher with a good heart. I'm very excited!!! The book will be available in the first quarter of 2012.

The other good thing is that I am going to be reading an excerpt from my soon to be published YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor on August 14th. I will be with two other authors on a webinar to bookstores and other members of the publishing community. Here is the flyer they sent to me advertising the reading:


Sunday, August 14th 2011 @ 8pm EST

Join Authors:

Billie J Garrett (Non-Fiction/Self-Help) Escape from Crazyville – A collection of poems, essays & stories about surviving domestic abuse.

Barbara Ehrentreu (YA Fiction) If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor – A story about memorable protagonist Carolyn Samuels, whose freshman year in high school becomes a series of lies to cover Jennifer Taylor's terrible secret in return for popularity. &

Host Talitha K. McEachin (Adult Science-Fiction/Fantasy) The Elements Trilogy – The tale of the Kishnu & Lungi people of Nchiyamolekuli or Pangea as we call it in modern times, who have to come together to fight a common foe, whom they both loathe but need in order to survive.

This is a completely FREE (virtual) event that will take place via a webinar & a simultaneous conference call line, so feel free to join us from wherever you are! The reading will last approximately from 8-9:30pm (EST) to include a brief Q&A session. Please visit and click “Events” for registration. If you have any questions or if you are a writer who would like to share your work in this forum please send an email (with a brief bio & excerpt) to for consideration.
All are Welcome & We look forward to having you!

I hope some of you can tune in to hear this. It's also very exciting.:)

Until the next time, my guests for RRWL Tales from the Pages are Beth Reinke and Salvatore Butacci. Beth was my guest author here as I mentioned last time. Salvatore is a poet and short story writer. This should be a great show with some surprise callers as well. Please call in to talk with either of these guests.

The day after the show, a real star is going to be here, Lea Schizas, my publisher. She is also a celebrated and many published author and I am looking forward to having her here. Then later in the week I welcome Viviane Bretanos to the blog with a post of her own.

I hope you will be able to join us for these exciting posts. Thank you to my new followers. I am so happy you found me and of course, thank you to everyone who continues to enjoy my meanderings.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Welcome David Normoyle Guest Author

Welcome, David. It’s so nice to be hosting another Muse author.

1. I noticed you were born in Australia, but you moved to Ireland. When did you move and how did this affect you?

I was three years old, so I was possibly kicking and screaming. My parents, who are Irish, got engaged in Ireland and went to Australia to get married where I was born. My father inherited a farm back in Ireland so we all returned. I've done plenty of travelling since I hit my twenties, not sure if the early globe crossing caused the wanderlust. I used my Australian citizenship to spend a year there; it's a beautiful country.

2. What was it like growing up with nine siblings on a farm? Do you have a story or two you can share with us?

It was interesting growing up in such a big family. Nowadays, when everyone is back for Christmas, it's a madhouse. There's always about twenty conversations going on at once. If we put on a movie, we need subtitles to follow what's going on over the hubbub of ever-present noise. And that's after the younger generation have been put to bed. There's certainly many interesting stories from the old days. I can remember putting my two year old sister in a dryer and turning it on. I was very young and had no idea how dangerous it was. She later pushed me out of the milking parlour attic onto a herd of cows.

3. Do you ever use your experience in your writing?

I don't consciously use my experience of growing up on a farm. But I'm sure most writing comes from the subconscious, so who knows how much of what happened when you were younger affects later artistic works.

4. Your bio doesn’t say where you are living now. Please let our readers know and why you decided to live there.

I live in Dublin. It's a young and vibrant city and I've always liked it. (It doesn't rain as much as the west coast of Ireland, only every other day.) It's a good job I'm happy here because my house is in severe negative equity right now due to Ireland's economic woes.

I'm so sorry to hear that. Our housing market is severely depressed now, but there is hope it will improve.

5. Please describe a typical writing day for you. Do you have a set writing routine?

A writing day generally consists of me thinking of ways to put off writing. Then eventually I'll run out of things to do and be forced into putting fingers to the keyboard. Then I'll start writing emails. Not sure how I finished anything, to be honest. Some times I'll have huge enthusiasm and make create great progress, other times I can't motivate myself to write a word.

6. Here is a question I have started to ask all my guests. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?

I think I'm a combination. I'll plot out some ideas and once I know roughly where I'm going, I'll start writing. The pantser writing sessions determine the personalities of the characters and some of the minor twists and turns. After I've written a few early scenes, I'll flesh out the major plot further. So the pantser part of my writing drives the plotter part, and vice versa.

7. How did you get the idea for Crimson Dream?

I'm not sure. I just decided I wanted to write a novel and started thinking of ideas. I kept the ideas I liked and ignored the ones I didn't until I had enough to start writing. The ideas evolved during the writing process, but the core idea that drove the novel remained the same. What would someone do if they dreamed their sister would be killed? How would they protect her?

8. How long did it take you to get this, your first novel, published?

It took four years from when I started writing to when I finished, a very on-off process, which also included plenty of learning about how to write. Then another year and a half of shopping the manuscript around until I was accepted by MuseItUpPublishing. Then almost another year before it was finally published.

9. How did you find out about MuseItUp Publishing, which is my publisher too?

I found it through online searching. I got lucky, in that MuseItUp is proving to be a great place with fantastic writers, editors and cover artists. It's still new but I'm sure it'll be a success.

Wow, that's fantastic that you found us through online searching. Do you know about the Muse Online Writer's Conference? Lea is in charge of this too and it is a great place to meet publishers and editors as well as agents. I knew Lea a long time, but I did pitch my novel to her at the conference. Yes, there is a pitch session for each publisher there too. All of this is done completely online and free of charge.

10. How long has your book been out and how have you promoted it? Are you planning to do any book signings or appearances?

My book has been out for four months. I've created a webpage and tried a bit of social media but I haven't had much success building a platform. Does keeping your fingers crossed that people will buy it count as promoting? Perhaps when the print version comes out, I'll make more progress.

If I could suggest something to you, it might be a good idea to have a personal page on Facebook. I saw you only had an author page. Also, it's a good idea to friend people who are writers. I usually only friend people who have mutual friends with me. This helps build your presence. Also this blog post should help you a great deal.:)

11. Do you have any WIPs ready for publishing?

My current WIP is close to completion and should be ready for submission within a few weeks. It's another YA fantasy. I'm really excited about it and hopeful that it can land a good publishing deal. It's called 'Odin versus Zeus' and contains real myths with the idea of being educational as well as entertaining. Here's a taste:

The Norse and Greek Gods take Joseph on a journey through some of their most famous myths. Joseph has to survive failing out of college, a thunderbolt from Zeus, the threat of being committed to a mental home and sinister drug dealers. All while judging who has the greatest mythology. The Norse or the Greeks. Odin or Zeus.

12. Where can we find your book? Will it be out in print soon?

I've just found out that there's a good chance the print version will be out in the next month. I can't wait to hold the copy in my hands. At the moment it's available from many ebook stores, including:


You can read the first three chapters and find out more details at my website:

Thank you for being my guest and here is an excerpt from Crimson Dream.

Book Blurb:

Centuries ago, Deren's people fled to a hidden valley deep in the mountains chased by the Domain, whose powerful Seers could not find them.

Deren’s safe world disintegrates when his vision foretells his sister’s death by a Domain soldier. Deren can't defend Bennie because of his asthmatic attacks, so he trains her in archery and prepares his people for war against their ancient foe.

As the invasion advances, Bennie's mastery of the bow leads her along unexpected paths. Although she hates killing, she must make hard choices. Her loved ones will die if she doesn't help them.

Will Bennie’s encounter with an enemy prince prove the key to survival? Can Deren overcome his physical weaknesses and the doubts of his own father to lead his people?

With fate and overwhelming force stacked against them, it seems their best efforts will be in vain.

Excerpt from Crimson Dream

Deren tried to get up to help Oso and Bennie and fell onto his back. He began to gasp, his breath labouring through his lungs, fighting for every mouthful. He took deep sucking drags of air, clutching his neck with his hands. His own lungs were drowning him, refusing to breathe. He looked into the sky, thinking he would die. Although it was only twilight, a ghostly moon peeked over the trees.

Whistling noises crept up and down his throat. He prayed to the Goddess of the Moon. Yenara, help me. Please, don't let me die. Bennie needs me. Please.

A face swam across his vision. "Deren, are you okay?" the face asked. "Deren, try to calm yourself."

The voice was laden with worry. A hand touched the side of his face. Warm drops landed on his forehead. "Don't give up on me," the voice said in a fierce whisper.

I asked David to send us more, but this is all he wanted us to read. If you are hooked on this story please head over to The Muse Bookstore and grab a copy of Crimson Dream.

Until the next time, thank you to my new followers and a big thank you to the people who continue to enjoy reading my meanderings. This month is going to be full of guest authors and one author/publisher our own Goddess of Publishing, Lea Schizas will be gracing my blog. She will be here June 24th.

On my next Blog Talk Radio Show, RRWL Tales from the Pages my guests are Beth Reinke, a past guest author on this blog and Salvatore Butacci, poet and short story writer I know from Poetic Asides. It should be a great show. Tune in on Thursday, June 23rd at 3PM Central time, 4PM EST and please give me a call if you can. I put everyone who calls on the air, so be prepared. :)

Please leave a comment for David. At this moment I am not sure if we are giving anything away for commenters, but I might offer something of mine. Of course, you will have to wait until September to get it.:) We'll see. Meanwhile, have a great week and keep writing too. I don't get to do that much, but I'm going to get back to it as soon as this thing with my husband gets better.

He is still in the hospital and waiting results of the culture to determine if he still has any infection left in that wound. I hope he will get out tomorrow and then a visiting nurse will help him with the bandages. It was hard just before he went into the hospital again, because I had to do all the bandaging. Anyway, it should be a little easier when he gets back.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Congratulations, Winners of the Drawing

Found on: The Beantown Bloggery

In honor of this great prize I am creating it's own post to announce the winners of our latest drawing for commenters on "Meet Guest Author, Nancy Bell". Nancy is giving away both a goody basket and a free book.

Here are the winners:

Winner of the goody basket:

Wendy Laharner

Winner of the free book either Through This Door, a poetry book or wait until September for the release of Laurel's Miracle. It's up to this winner:

Karen Cote

Thank you to everyone who left a comment. We had the second highest traffic of the year for this post!! Also thank you again to Nancy who was a wonderful guest author and who continues to delight me with her writing.:)

My next guest author is going to be:

David Narmoyle, author of Crimson Dream, MuseItUp Publishing

Look for the post soon, probably this weekend.

Until the next time, I want to say thank you to all the people who sent me such wonderful supportive comments, good thoughts and prayers for my husband in the hospital. He is resting fairly comfortably with the aid of painkillers and will probably be home by Monday. You helped me get through a very iffy time.:) Thank you to my followers and if you happened upon any of my blog posts while blog hopping or finding me some other way, please leave a comment. I love meeting new people.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Meet Guest Author Nancy Bell

Barbara:Welcome Nancy to my blog. I am very excited to have you here, since you were my content editor for my upcoming YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, and I have great admiration for you.:) You were my content editor and it was a really great experience working with you.

Barbara:Your new book, Laurel’s Miracle is also YA . Please tell our readers a little about yourself:

Nancy:Hi Barbara and thank you for hosting me on your blog. I am a pretty ordinary person, I always find it hard to think of something interesting to say about myself. I have been married for 34 years (to the same man LOL), I have two grown sons who are married and have gifted me with two granddaughters each. I am a country girl, I have loved animals as long as I can remember, especailly horses. You can be assured in most of my novels or stories to come across a horse or two mixed into the plot. Writing and painting pictures with words has been a part of me forever, as early as grade three I was scribbling down poems and horse stories. Words pop into my head and won't leave me alone until I allow them to manifest in this world by giving them substance with my pencil and paper, although now it is my keyboard. I love words and the magic of creating with them.

Working as an editor allows me the great priviledge of interacting with talented authors and sharing in their creative processes. I enjoy all the authors I work with very much.

Barbara:1. Why did you decide to use the name, Emily Pikkasso?

Nancy:I use Emily Pikkasso when I write genres other than MG/YA or Sweet Romance. I needed an alter ego. Emily is my horse's stable name and Pik Kasso is her father's name. Her registered name is Pik Kasso Premiere, I know there really shouldn't be an "e" at the end but I liked the way it looked. There you have it: Emily Pikkasso. My YA release is under my given name, Nancy M Bell. I added the M in the middle because there is at least one other Nancy Bell who is an author and I wanted to make it easier for people to find me.

Barbara:2. How did you come to the idea for Laurel’s Miracle?

Nancy: Laurel's Miracle grew out of my research on spiritual places in England and my interest in dowsing and earth energies. I have always been fascinated by Glastonbury Tor but never had time to read and learn as much as I would have liked. In 2005 I had a wreck with my horse and ended up spending months with very limited movement. Going from full tilt to full stop in matter of seconds is quite frustrating, let me tell you. Suddenly, I had tons of time to fill and I used it to pursue my research into the magic and mysteries of English legends. I was aware of the idea of ley lines and earth energies, but only in a very superficial way. I read hundreds of books, scoured the internet and contacted people to ask questions. I have met some wonderful people from all over the world, who have become friends. Once I had a good grounding in the subject I sat down and Laurel flowed from my fingers. This is the only manuscript I have ever worked on which I didn't write in sequence so it was a bit of a challenge sometimes. I wrote the last chapter in one six hour stint, I just couldn't let it go. Often, I would wake up in the middle of the night and have to get up and put the words down on paper since they wouldn't let me sleep. It took over a year to write the story, longer than that to research it. I have to be honest and say I didn't come up with the idea for Laurel's Miracle, it found me and demanded I write it. The title is interesting, we owned a Fell Pony/Thoroughbred cross named Laura's Miracle. She came to us as a three week old orphan and we raised her and kept her until her death at 19. Lamorna, the Fell Pony in the story is Laura. I wanted to use names from the Celtic Tree Ogham for my characters, so Laura became Laurel. There is more information on how I chose the names of the characters on my website if anyone is interested in that.

Barbara:3. Please tell our readers how long it took for you to get this published?

Nancy: A long time , I sent it out to a few places and then sat back and licked my wounds. I edited and edited, but you can't do justice to your own work. An author is too close to the material and no matter how objective I thought I was being it wasn't good enough. I attended Lea Shcizas' MuseOnLineWriters Conference and cyber pitched Laurel to a house which asked to see the whole manuscript. Then I waited....and waited.... In the meantime I wrote a spin off novel called A Step Sideways featuring one of the male leads from Laurel. I submitted it to another publisher and surprisingly enough, and to my great amazement I was offered a contract. I withdrew Laurel from the house where she was beng considered and this novel was also contracted by the house which took Laurel. However, due to some creative differences I bought my rights back and started shopping Laurel's Miracle again. I was lucky enough to be contracted as a content editor with the new fledged MuseItUp Publishing during this time and thought I would see if they were interested in Laurel. I knew if the work wasn't up to par it would not get accepted. That fact was very important to me. Happily, Laurel's Miracle and A Step Sideways have both found a home at MuseItUp. Laurel's Miracle releases in September of 2011 and A Step Sideways in December of this year. I am so happy with the house and the quality of the cover art ( I haven't got mine yet, but can't wait to see it).

Barbara: 4. Do you have any other books published?

Nancy: I have a self published book of poetry called Through This Door which I am very pleased with. Sales have been so so, but then nobody is going to get rich from a book of poetry. I have had some short stories published, For "Jesse's Sake" in Knowonder Magazine, which is a horse story, and R.E.A.L. Magazine for Kids has contracted "Patches the Pony goes to the Fair" and "Fairies in the Garden" for publication sometime this year.

Barbara: Congratulations, Nancy! I will be looking for your announcement when they are published.

Barbara: 5. Please take us through your writing process. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?

Nancy: Usually, I am a pantser. A character or a situation presents itself and pokes me until I sit down and release them unto paper. There have been many times when I call my writing partner Lynne and say "You're never gonna guess what (character name here) did now!" My protagonists constantly surprise me with their originality, or in some cases their perverse stupidity. LOL It all works itself out in the plot.

Laurel's Miracle is the exception to this, as she has been many times before. I had to have a map and a plan. Her quest takes her across SW England, from Lands End Cornwall to Glastonbury Somerset. Somehow I had to figure out where she would get the clues to her riddle and then where the clue would take her. I also created an involved, intertwined cast of supplementary characters which I needed to keep straight. There was some pantsing though, a couple of creatures showed up to help drive the plot along which I wasn't expecting or planning on. Belerion, the fire salamander with his bright blue eyes and Morgawr the sea monster who apparently can also fly should he so wish. It was quite an enlightening experience working on this novel, and very magical.

Barbara:6. How much research did you have to do for Laurel’s Miracle?

Nancy:Tons of research, most of which didn't make it into the novel. However, the knowledge gave me a deeper understanding of what was behind things Laurel was experiencing in the novel and it made it easier to persent the situations in the correct context. Research is invaluable and for me anyway, very enriching t my own life and world view.

Barbara: 7. As I read through the synopsis of Laurel’s Miracle I noticed you have both reality and fantasy in it. Was it difficult to intertwine these two different genres?

Nancy:Sometimes mixing the two was a little dicey.My husband, who read only a little of the rough manuscript requested I make a supplementary "Doug's Notes" so he knew what I was talking about. Laurel meets a selkie who is quite important to the story, a selkie is a shape shifter, changing from man or woman into a seal and back depending on the gender.

Barbara: 8. What does a typical writing day look like for you?

Nancy: I get up, walk the dogs, check on the horses and one remaining cow, feed fish, gather eggs and take care of hens. Then I turn on my cd player which has celtic music, country and orchestral on it. I love Ian Tyson, The Travelling Mabels, Corb Lund, Enya and harp music. Sometimes I light incense, I love sweet grass and Dragon's Blood. Then I read a bit from where I left off and away I go. My husband is happy if I have remembered to come up for air and make supper when he gets home.

Barbara: 9. When you wrote Laurel’s Miracle, did you have a particular person in mind? Have you ever gone through the experience of having a parent who has terminal cancer?

Nancy: Laurel is her own person, I didn't model her on anyone at all. My husband's mother died of cancer and my grandfather ,who lived with us when we were growing up, died of cancer when I was thirteen. I think I chose cancer because while I was writing and researching Laurel I spent a lot time at the Foothills Medical Centre here in Calgay in the physiotherapy department. The Tom Baker Cancer Clinic is part of the hospital and there was one young woman in her thirties who lost a leg to cancer and had young children. I never really met her and I don't know her name, but she resonated with me somehow and that is where the germ of the idea for Laurel's mother's illness came from.

Barbara: 10. Do you have any WIP’s you are getting ready to publish? Would you please tell us about them?

Nancy: As I mentioned earlier, A Step Sideways will come out in December. I have a sweet romance set in Longview, Alberta which I am very excited about. I am also working on the story of Laurel's grandmother Arabella.

Barbara: 11. Since Laurel’s Miracle is an ebook, how are you planning to promote it? Do you have any book signings planned?

Nancy:I am twittering and Facebooking about Laurel and I am planning a book launch party for September. There will be a book signing at the Muse Retreat in Montreal in November and I am hoping to be able to participate in the Surrey Internation Writers Conference in Surrey, British Columbia in October.

Barbara:12. Where can we find Laurel’s Miracle when it is released in September?

Nancy:Laurel will be available at MuseItUp Publishing book store, I don't have a buylink yet, and also Amazon, Smashwords and whereever MuseItUp books are sold.

Nancy, thank you for being a great guest author and how exciting we are both releasing in September. It has been my pleasure to be your host. Check out Nancy's Contact information:

Contact information:

Until the next time, my next guest author is going to be David Narmoyle so please come back and check him out. Meanwhile Nancy's interview will be up until June 10th so please everyone come and leave a comment.

Thank you to my new follower. And of course, thank you to the people who continue to follow my meanderings. If you want to hear me in person you can tune into my Blog Talk Radio show, RRWL Tales from the Pages on Thursday, June 23rd at 3PM Central, 4PM EST where I will be interviewing my last guest author, Beth Reinke and the fabulous Salvatore Butaci, a really splendid poet and short story author who I know from Poetic Asides or PA as we call it. The show should be a lot of fun. Enjoy the sunshine and you can contact me on Facebook: barbara ehrentreu or Twitter: @Barbehr.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our Goddess of Blogging Previews If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor!

Nancy Bell, author of Laurel's Miracle

How many of you remember The Price Is Right? Bob Barker stood on the stage and called names. He said, ".........Come on down." So when I saw this subject line: BARBARA EHRENTREU COME ON DOWN, I was expecting to be part of a game show. Instead I found this beautiful blog post dedicated to my upcoming book, which for those of you who are just meeting me, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is the name of my soon to be published YA novel. Lin transformed the time that might have happened before the story begins into a picture trailer that captures the sheer angst of my character and even gave me a little more knowledge of who my character is. So please go over to Lin's Own Book Lounge and see for yourself. She is truly THE GODDESS OF BLOGGING!

Thank you, Lin for such an outstanding stationary book trailer.

I was supposed to have Nancy Bell on the blog yesterday, but due to problems with my husband and his ever unfolding health dilemmas I haven't been able to get that posted. I promise it will be here by tomorrow. She is definitely worth waiting for and you should enjoy her interview very much! You can see her photo at the top of this post.

My husband will be having an angiogram next week on his legs to determine his circulation and if he has any blockages. He is miserable, because he can't work and of course that means losing money for a lawyer. He has had to move his cases and I am the one who has to do all the faxing and typing of his affirmation letters. Plus, this is the end of tutoring for the year and I have to figure out the cheapest way to ship the workbooks to my boss.

Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow. So have a good weekend and then come back to read Nancy Bell's interview. I promise you won't be sorry you did.:)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My first Blog Hop

I have decided to participate in the Author Blog Hop from Alternative and Sassy Brit.

Here is the question for the week:

THIS WEEK'S AUTHOR BLOG HOP QUESTION FOR THURSDAY, JUNE 2nd IS ABOUT: Writing scenes(Part One): How would you define a 'twist'? Do you use a twist in every scene or just at the end of the book? Question provided by affiliate author L. P Robinson (Part two is next week!)

When there is a "twist" in a story you are talking about a plot twist. You are going along reading about the story and you are able to predict what is going to happen most of the time. As a reader you are lulled into believing you have predicted the ending. Then suddenly the character does something totally different and you no longer can predict the ending. Sometimes it comes at the end of a chapter and it a very effective hook to move a reader to go onto the next chapter. Or it might come at almost the end of the story where suddenly two groups who had been enemies make a 360 degree turn and become friends. You as a reader are stunned and it makes for very effective writing.

I wouldn't use a twist in every scene, but sometimes you want your reader to be shaken up a little, so you will use it at the end of a chapter. Probably a twist is most effective at the end when the reader coasts along and then suddenly there is this big change and the reader flounders around a little uncertain how to handle this. Of course, good writers find a way to ground the story and end it in a way that will be satisfying.

Actually, this goes beyond the question, but one of my pet peeves is getting to the end of a book and nothing has been settled. I have found this in many, many books that have been given great reviews. Yes, the writing has been good and the world building in a lot of them is good too, but at the end you are left with this desolation, because nothing has been resolved. None of the things you thought were going to happen have occurred and you are left with the question: Why did I read this? I like a story where there is some resolution of the problems a character has had to face. Or when a character in which you have invested your time is able to find happiness. This is not necessarily a happy ending, but at least it validates the time you spent reading some of these extremely long stories filled with useless adventures going nowhere. One example of this is The Passage by Justin Cronin. I won't tell you the ending since it would spoil anyone else's reading it, but once you read it get back to me and tell me if you didn't have this same reaction. This is not taking away from the writing, but even well written books suffer from this problem.

This was fun and Sassy Brit, and Roseanne Dowell, thank you for pushing me to participate. Welcome to all the new people who have found me. I hope you enjoy my ranting and meanderings.

Until the next time enjoy.
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