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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rolling Toward Publication Date!

In the course of one week I have filled out four different interviews and I am now being interviewed on two different blogs. As the time gets shorter until my book comes out it seems that I am doing more and more online. It feels like it's building to a giant crescendo which will turn into a marathon in September when we have our MG/YA Blog Fest.  Here are the places where you can find my interviews and posts:

Linda Barnett-Johnson Editing and Virtual Assistance


On Linda's blog you can find out even more about me that you didn't know. On Downtown YA done by Sandra Cox, I have a post about the inspiration for my novel.

In the middle of all of this I also prepared for an interview in October and I am keeping track of the voting on the prompts for PA Friends, a group I am a member of on Facebook. PA Friends are poets and that is my second writing love. We are in the middle of putting together an anthology of all the awesome poems all of us have written for the website Poetic Asides and we have voted on ten prompts to place in the anthology. I am honored to be in the company of these poets and I hope to be able to bring some more about this anthology to your attention. We are very new at doing all of this, but that is what is making it so exciting. We call ourselves The Anthologists.  The PA community has primarily been one of sharing and artistic endeavor.  We have placed our poems side by side for years and the group we formed is one that has bonded together over shared love of each other's poems. it's a group formed from love of poetry and I'm hoping that soon I will be able to bring you the completed anthology. Meanwhile I will try to introduce you to some of the poems of this group with their permission. :) Actually, I have added some of their websites to the Blogs I Follow on the sidebar. So you might want to browse those.

Here are the poems I wrote for last week's Wednesday prompt:

Write a poem about the beginning of school:

Teaching Revisited

School for me was the scent of blackboard chalk dust
which settled on my clothes like drops of rain might
after a long day of cramming information and values
into the heads of vacant eyed students who would
rather be doing anything else but sitting in a hard
wooden chair listening to me talk about long division
or verbs

Their locked heads faced me with derision
Dared me to unlock the TV soaked part that
only responded to the slight bump of the familiar
when they slit open like a clam and you could
squeeze in a few nuggets until they snapped closed

School loomed each summer like a monster
waiting to devour me with its useless trivia
The hordes of students awaiting me caused
terror as if I were facing an angry crowd and
not the untried brains of the very young

School was my dragon
and each year I arrived with plan book and
decorated classroom to slay the disinterest
and lack of concentration and finally be victorious
Finally be the one to open these empty minds
to the joy I had found at their age
to the yearning for more – the insatiable unending
desire to learn.
copyright 2011 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Perfect Teacher

Her stern look quieted the children
As they sat in tight rows hands clasped
tight – so tight the knuckles were red
They sat awaiting her commands
Quiet enough to hear the random sounds
in the classroom
The on and off of the heat and the hum of the
not quite broken fluorescent light above one of
their heads.

She ordered they listened
I watched mesmerized by the obedience
I longed to see from my own class
For I was not like this perfect teacher
and allowed the expression of their childish
wonder and excitement
Allowed the chatter during writing when they shared

Instead of seeing the neat rows of children their
hands clasped tight
my students whispered and moved their eyes around
the room
roving to the window and beyond riding on their imagination
and I rode behind them hoping to guide their paths
Not the perfect teacher.
copyright 2011 by Barbara Ehrentreu

For anyone who didn't get a chance to attend the Live Book Reading webinar last Sunday we are making it available in archives. You can hear and see me on this webinar. I am the first to read after the Introduction. Many thanks to Talitha K. McEeachin  who put this all together and to Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor for all his support. We will be reading again next Sunday and I will be choosing another excerpt to read.  I hope you can join us then. Meanwhile, here is the link to the recording:

Until the next time, thank you to all of my followers and also, hello to any new friends on Facebook who might have wandered over here. I have been so busy that I can't say Hi to everyone, but I am very happy to know all of you!! My guests must be on vacation, but I am planning to bring you more authors during the next week.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blog Jog Day - Deciding on a Cover

Welcome anyone who has wandered over here. I hope you will browse the archives to learn more about me:

When you go to the bookstore or you browse through the thousands of titles on Amazon and Kindle you see all of the book covers for each author's work. We all know that most authors do not do their own book covers unless they are self-publishing and even there many of the covers are done by professionals. At MuseItUp Publishing we are blessed with extraordinary award winning cover artists. So when the process of deciding on a cover began for me I though it would be easy.:)

As I said in the blurb to my blog, nothing is ever easy with me, but I keep hoping it will be. The process began when my cover artist sent me three possible covers. One is the cover I have today, actually, the first cover I ever saw and even then I did get a little jump of excitement. The next two were not what I had hoped to see and I rejected them, but I kept the first one asking for a few font changes. But still I thought the first cover too dark and intense for my story, so I asked the cover artist for a few more and suggested my own ideas. She sent me more and they didn't work. Then she worked very hard on a totally illustrated one and that didn't work either. She didn't have the secondary character, Jennifer, looking like I wanted her to look. This went back and forth like this for about two or three weeks. Finally, after much deliberating and soul searching and after my publisher and the head cover artist had discussed this with me, I had to admit that my idea was not going to be done and I had to make a decision.

I'm never good at deciding anything when there are too many choices unless one of the choices is exactly what I want. In this case, I still had reservations about the first cover, but according to everyone else on the publishing team, this was the one I should choose. I agonized over the choice. Examining it and then leaving it to go back to later. Each time I looked at it, I started to like it more. Then I sent it to a few of the people who had helped me with my book, both of my editors and the person who is doing my book trailer. All of them said they liked it. So I had to admit this was the final decision and finally picked the cover you see now!!

Everyone was so thrilled the whole cover debacle was over, and my publisher, who thank goodness knows exactly what works and doesn't work, told me next time to leave it in the hands of the cover artists. Good idea!!! I was reminded of the times when I went shopping for different items of clothing, especially over coats and I tried on one coat and really didn't like it. I didn't discard it, but it wasn't my favorite. Then I tried on many more coats which didn't excite me at all. I wound up going back to the first coat and suddenly I loved it!! That's what happened with my cover. As soon as I chose it I fell madly in love with it as others were doing!! Crazy, right?

Anyway, so glad the whole thing is over and I'm just waiting for my galleys for the final process for publication. From November to the present this has been such a long and educational process from the copy editing to picking a cover. I learned so much about my own writing and in the process I have made some great author friends from the author's loops. My admiration for writers and the job we have to do has increased since I first found out I had a contract and my manuscript was accepted at last!! I don't think I will ever have the joy I had then except of course when I got married and the birth of both of my children.:)

So until the next time, thank you to my new followers and of course, a big thank you to the people who have continued to come over here to read my ramblings.:) This is a special post for Blog Jog Day. My next guest author will be Kim Bacellia. Stop by to learn all about her and her new book, Crossed Out

Welcome to Blog Jog Day! Please enjoy my site then click over to
to see what the next Blog has to offer! Lost in the links? You can always go back to the main Blog Jog Day Blog at and find a new link to jog from. Thank you for stopping by my site!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Preparing for my Book Reading

When I found out I was going to be reading excerpts on a webinar I was thrilled. Unlike the ordinary book reading, mine is going to reach hundreds of people who have signed on to this free reading to listen to us authors. It's a big responsibility, so we had to rehearse. If you think being a reader at a webinar is easy, then you have never done it. First of all, you will be seen by anyone who has a video feed. Also, you need to make sure your voice is clear and you are able to read your excerpt at just the right pace. It's very exciting and I have had two rehearsals already. One was to make sure we knew how to do all the basics. Now we are fine tuning the handing off of the speakers from one to the other. There are only four of us, but it is still tricky to do it right. So much so that we are having another technical rehearsal for this tomorrow.

The digital world of e-books has created a whole new reader who expects to have all the services of a book store without leaving their home. This webinar, I think, is part of the new wave of how authors will be able to get to people who may not be able to go to book stores and who are genuinely interested in learning about new authors. I am posting the flyer here for everyone to see. There is still time to register for the reading:

Until the next time, I want to thank my new readers and of course the ones who continue to read my meanderings. For anyone who is interested, my husband is in the hospital again, but we hope this will be the end of it. On Monday the doctors are going to clean the space where they took the toe and hopefully this will help it heal. The Achilles tendon wound is almost completely healed, so that's good! Meanwhile, he is happy to be there, because it is his favorite hospital and he gets treated very well including the food for those who read about his distress at the last hospital.:)

I also have some amazing guests for my show on August 25th: Eric Luper, a multi published YA author, and ComedyWriterMrJ, who is becoming more and more of a presence with his quick wit and laugh out loud humor. This should be a really great show. Also I will be making up last month's show sometime soon when I am not so busy. This month I hope will be a time to catch up and get ready for the huge month of September when my book comes out and we have the MG/YA Blog Tour. All the tour stops are on the MG/YA Blog Tour Page and also more detailed information is on My Scheduled Appearances. I will be giving away a free copy of my book at each stop and then a grand prize to be announced.



Sunday, August 14th 2011 @ 8pm EST

Join Authors:

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. ;

Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor (Literary/Historical Fiction) Sugaree Rising - takes place in the mid-to late Depression years, and is loosely based upon the Santee Cooper Project, where more than 900 families-most of them Black-were dislocated from their homes and community as part of a national rural electrification project. Visit

Todd Fluhr (Fantasy/Horror Fiction) Saint-James – A spectacular Vampire tale whose setting is an old parrish church in modern day Mexico.Visit ;

Host Talitha K. McEachin (YA/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 especially invite all my Facebook friends and all the authors, editors and amazing cover artists from MuseItUp Publishing including my esteemed publisher, Lea Schizas and the wonderful Litsas Kamenetros who keeps it going.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Meet Marva Dasef - Virtual Book Tour for Missing Assumed Dead

Usually I interview my guest authors, but due to circumstances beyond her control, Marva is unable to be present for this stop on her virtual blog tour. Instead she has sent her information and would like everyone to know how sorry she is she can't be here.

Marva Dasef is an author I met through the author's groups from MuseItUp Publishing. Her new mystery novel, Missing, Assumed Dead came out on July29th. Here is a little bit about her and a few excerpts from her excellent book!


Marva Dasef is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation. Marva has published more than thirty-five stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with her stories included in several Best of anthologies. She has several already published books and a few more scheduled for 2011 and 2012 from her publisher, MuseItUp.


When Kameron McBride receives notice she ís the last living relative of a missing man she has never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she ís the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.

En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn't seem . . . accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man ís worthless property.

Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge's henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town's secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch's help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn't like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief ís office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.

Excerpt 1:

The sky had turned a deeper blue as the sun continued its trip behind the mountain ridge. The shadows lengthened on the east side of the scraggly shrubs. The faint hum of a car engine drew her eyes southward. ìGood, I could use some directions.î But she was alone on an otherwise empty road. Maybe the approaching vehicle held a friendly soul, but it could just as well carry a serial killer.

Using her shirttail as a hot pad, she gingerly took hold of the door handle again and climbed back into the car. Goose bumps rose on her arms when the still blasting air conditioning hit them. She turned on the emergency flashers then opened the glove box, looking for something to use as a weapon. "Ah ha!" Kam pulled out a two-inch canister. "Pepper spray? Crap, just hair spray, but that shit burns eyes. Better than nothing." She tucked it between her right thigh and the console to hide it from view, her finger ready on the button.

The vehicle grew larger and revealed itself to be a Ford Expedition SUV painted Oregon green. The lights on its roof flashed blue and red for a moment then went off. "A cop. Excellent." On the other hand, sheíd heard of guys who decked out their rides to look like cop cars.

The SUV pulled up behind her and stopped. After a long pause, the door opened. A man in khaki climbed out and walked forward. He stopped behind the car and wrote something, probably the plate number, on a pad. Aviator glasses hid his eyes, but the rest of him looked pretty good. Tall. Well, maybe not too tall. Slim and dark, just how Kam liked them. Watching him approach, she wondered idly how he managed to keep the razor-sharp creases in his uniform in this heat.

When he reached her side window, he gestured for her to roll it down. Kam cracked the window a couple of inches. She noted the badge and the Smokey Bear hat. "I don't think I was speeding, Officer."

The man chuckled, showing fine smile lines at the corners of his full mouth. He had great teeth. "No, you weren't, but I wondered if you might be lost. A lot of people get themselves turned around out here."

Kam gave him a rueful grin. "Yeah, lost isn't the half of it. I'm looking for Cork Hill Road." She hoped he was the real deal, but she sure as hell wasn't opening her door. Tin badges were easy to buy on eBay.

"License and rental agreement?"

"Sure." She opened the center console and pulled out the papers with her left hand, then shoved the rental agreement through the two-inch opening. She couldn't figure out how to extract her license out of her purse without letting go of the spray.

"Your license?"

"Why don't you just direct me to Cork Hill, or if that ís too hard, how about Rosewood."

"I'd be happy to, miss, but I really do need to see your license. Paperwork, you understand."

Kam released a deep breath breath. She stretched her arm across her body trying to reach her purse on the other seat. She grabbed the strap and pulled it toward her. It slipped out of her left hand. She automatically lifted her right to grab it. "Sh-t!"

Instantly, the officer's manner changed. The smile disappeared, and he took a step back, pulling his gun from his left-handed holster. "Drop the canister out the window," he ordered. "Do it now."

Kam squeaked and threw her hands up. The canister flipped out of her hand and flew at the windshield. It bounced back and landed in her lap. "Now what?"

"Pick it up and push it out the window. Slowly."

"You already said that." She picked up the spray with two fingers and dropped it out the window. "Hey, I don't know if you're a real policeman. Anyone can play cops and robbers."

"Please step out of the car. Use only your left hand to unlatch the door and keep your right hand where I can see it."The barrel of his pistol never wavered from her torso.

"Take it easy. I'm opening the door." He stood outside the reach of the door's swing. Kam decided she'd rather fight outside the car, than be shot inside it. She got out with her hands still raised.

"Now move to the rear of the vehicle," he ordered. When Kam obeyed, he took a step forward, never taking his eyes off her, knelt, and picked up the canister. Straightening, he glanced down at the canister then back to her. The corner of his mouth twitched as he re-holstered his pistol. "Sorry, but hairspray?" He took off the aviators and smiled.

Now here are two more excerpts as a special treat:

Excerpt 2

Salvadore didn't recognize either of the men. The driver was in his forties, the passenger younger, maybe thirty. When they opened the pickup doors and stepped out, they hitched up their gun belts in unison.

It wasn't unusual for men to wear guns in these parts, so it didn't worry him. Salvadore noted the rifle rack in the back window of the truck. Most likely hunters. Both wore their hair close-cropped and dressed in khaki camo trousers and black T-shirts. The outfits reminded him of uniforms. Tattoos covered the bigger one's arms. Salvadore stared at the spread-winged eagle on his upper arm. It seemed familiar. "Howdy, fellas. Can I help you?"

The driver looked at the other man and smirked. "Anybody up here, old man?"

"What do you mean? I'm up here."

"I meant any other people, old timer. We're lookin' for somebody. Thought he might have come up this way."

A chill crawled up Salvadore's crooked spine. "Nope. Haven't seen nobody but you two." He instantly regretted his too honest answer. Now they knew he was alone. He pointed north. "If you're wantin' the best place to hunt bighorn, you should head that way."

The driver moved closer. Salvadore took a step back.

Excerpt 3

The front yard, if the flat space in front of the house could be given that much honor, was a mass of sharp gravel. Kam was happy to have her tennies on. The bottom of her foot was still sore from her impromptu foot race along the creek.

"Let's look in the house first. Mirabel said the body was in the shed, so I'd just as soon put that off."

Kam tried the door. It swung open easily. The single room held only a cookstove on one side and a narrow cot on the other. A small table on the kitchen side had a single chair. Kam opened a wooden cupboard to find it lined with metal an icebox. Desiccated carrots and shrunken potatoes hung limply on the wire racks that served for shelving.

Kam hunted for evidence of an electrical supply. Not so much as a two-prong socket adorned the walls. Two kerosene lamps stood on either end of the room. But the shack was neat and homey. Salvadore hadn't had much, but what he had, he kept clean and tidy.

"This is awful," Kam said, picking up a tin plate from the table. Something had congealed, and petrified itself to the plate.

Mitch was on the other side of the room examining the bookshelf. He held up a photo album. "You wanted to find photos or records. Is this what you're looking for?"

"Yeah. Mom will definitely want that. Would you fetch the box off the porch and load it with everything from the shelf?" She leaned over one of the kerosene lamps. "I know a guy who collects these. I'll snag them too." As an afterthought, she added, "I hope Salvadore doesn't mind."

Kam opened the album to the first page. A stern-faced couple stared out of the sepia-tone pictures. She worked her fingernail under the edge and lifted carefully because of the brittleness. She could just make out a faint scrawling on the back. The writing was spidery and elegant, very turn of the century. The name Vasco was clear, but the rest of the notation was in a language she didn't recognize. Her brief studies on the Basques revealed their language, Euskara, was not at all like Spanish. She decided that when she got back home, she'd help her mother research this side of her family.

Mitch brought back the box with the metal cup inside. "That might be a collector's item."

"Maybe." She put her hands on her hips and stared around the room. "Damn! I feel like a thief, but it ís better for Mom to have these things. She'll cherish them rather than letting them rot out here." Kam put the album and a few other books in the box. The titles and authors were in both Spanish and Euskara. They packed everything and put the box in the back of the Expedition.

Mitch closed the hatch, put his finger under her chin and lifted her face to his. "When this is all over, we need to talk. Seriously. About us."

"What? Well, hold that thought." Kam took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Okay, let's look at the shack now."

She followed Mitch. She didn't want to admit she was afraid the two rednecks might be lurking out here. Perhaps the judge had contacted them. Maybe he knew she'd found out what happened. The whole situation tied her stomach into a knot. When they rounded the corner of the house, Kam pointed. "The shepherd's crook. I guess the judge put it there."

"Why do you think he did that?"

Kam shook her head. "Mirabel said she'd carried it back here from the porch and dropped it. He probably propped it up unconsciously. It ís practically a signpost saying "Look Here for Evidence."

Brown grass and a couple of loose tumbleweeds obscured the bottom of the wood door. Mitch shoved the dead vegetation aside with his boot and reached for the door handle. He stopped abruptly. Kam followed his gaze to the ground. A rusted axe and shovel lay on the ground almost hidden by the weeds. Kam stared at them. "Rust or blood?"

Mitch shrugged and pulled open the door to the shack. Two dusty windows, almost hidden by the shelves, lit the inside with a diffused, dim glow, just enough to make out the interior. The eight-foot square space had shelves lining every wall where Salvadore had neatly arranged a variety of tools, ropes, and cans. At the far end, a workbench jutted from the wall.

"I don't see anything suspicious. Looks neat as a pin,î Kam examined the cans and bottles. "Paint, turpentine, weed killer. Just the usual stuff people keep in a shed."

Mitch knelt down and examined the floorboards. There's a dark stain over here. It's different from the rest of the floor."

Kam bent to examine it. "The judge cleaned up, but it could be anything." In her heart, she knew it was blood. A chill raised goosebumps on her arms despite the heat. She rubbed them. "This is really creepy, Mitch. Let's go outside."

"We'll take the axe and shovel."

"Can you get them analyzed? For blood, I mean?" Kam reached down to pick up the axe, but Mitch blocked her hand.

"Let's not contaminate the evidence. I've got gloves and some plastic garbage bags in the truck."

"Of course."

Mitch went back to the SUV for the bags and gloves. Kam crouched in front of the shed for a moment, searching the ground for footprints or whatever. With a snort, she straightened. "Huh. That ís dumb," she muttered. After seven years, the weather would have washed away anything left out in the open.

The growl of a truck engine startled Kam. She was about to follow Mitch, who had already disappeared around the house, but stopped abruptly when a voice called, "Howdy, Deputy Caldwell. Remember me?"

I know that after reading these excerpts I want to read the rest of the book!! I have it, but I haven't read it yet.

Please leave a comment for Marva, because she is giving away free gifts to people who win the drawing on each blog. There is also a prize for the whole blog tour.

Here are the prizes from Marva's blog:

If you're the grand prize winner, you will receive:

  • A copy of  Missing, Assumed Dead in any ebook format you'd like.
  • A print copy of any one of my books that are available in paperback (US only, non-US folks will receive an ebook package of several books. US commenters can opt for the ebook package.) See my Published Books page for a list of all the books from which the winner can select.
  • A $10 gift certificate to buy any books you like from my publisher MuseItUp Publishing.
The good part about this contest is you can enter as many times as you would like. Visit all the blog stops and you will be in the drawing for that many times.

Until the next time, thank you to my new readers. I hope you get to browse the older posts. Also thank you to the people who continue to follow my meanderings!!! For anyone who has been following my husband's health, he is back in the hospital again to take care of the infection that seems to be in the location where they took his toe. He is getting IV antibiotics and since the hospital is a good one this time, he loves the food and no complaining.:) We're hoping he comes back feeling much better!!

I heard from my publisher that the publication date is September 16th. I am changing my countdown clock to reflect this change!!! Oh, and for anyone who hasn't been on Facebook and seen the new cover, I have it on the sidebar for all to see. You can't miss it!!! Don't forget to leave a comment for Marva so you can be in the drawings!!! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meet Dale Thompson (AKA Pat Dale) Guest Author

There were some great comments for C.K. Volnek and it was a pleasure to host her here. The drawing for the free gifts is done. The winner is:

Rosemary Gemmell

She will be getting her choice of either a custom made tee shirt or a free copy of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island when it is released in September. Congratulations to our lucky winner and thank you all for the comments. Rosemary will be notified so she can decide on her gift. 

Today and all this week I am hosting Dale Thompson aka Pat Dale. He is a very unusual writer and I think you will be as charmed with his answers as I was when I interviewed him. He is also giving away a free book to the lucky winner of the commenter's drawing. So please leave him a comment or question and I know he will be happy to answer it.

Interview with Dale Thompson(AKA Pat Dale)

Thank you for being my guest.

1. First of all, which name do you like to be called, Pat or Dale?
I like to keep folks guessing. Actually, my first name is Louis, but just don’t call me late for dinner.

2. How did a music teacher become a writer? What made you want to be a writer?
Good question. I was a prodigy with my trumpet, and almost made it into a service band. A broken tooth kept me from my audition, and so I became an electronics tech in the Air Force. Later, I majored in music with a minor in English. My English profs tried to convince me to write fiction, but I saw a hot music career beckoning and went that way. Years later, I sat down one day with an idea for a novel. Three months later, I had a 130K monster staring me in the face. I haven’t stopped writing since.

3. Where do you live and does this influence your writing?
I live now in Missouri, but I’ve written novels set in various states where I resided at one time or another. And, yes, my environment plays a big part in how I write my tales. I’ve set stories in Colorado, northern Nebraska, Mississippi, and all over the scenic state of Missouri.

4. You have written in several genres including tween. Which genre is your favorite? Why?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I started writing mainstream but changed to write several romantic comedies. Romantic suspense intrigued me, and that led to my current WIPs, mystery. I have to say, though, that my romance work still creeps into the darkest, grittiest stories I pen.

5. Please take us through a typical writing day for you.
When I’m hard after one of my books, I start early in the day and do not check eMail until I’ve hit a rest spot; sometimes three or four hours later. My normal output is 1,000 to 1,500 words a day, though I’ve written as much as 7K in a good day. When my brain kicks in, I hang on for dear life and hit the keys as fast as I can. When my brain doesn’t kick in, I delete whatever dribbled onto the screen and write it off. (see #8 below)

6. Do you ever use people you know in your stories? If you do, how do you deal with it?
Yes (he he) but please don’t tell them! Seriously, I do use characteristics from many persons who’ve influenced me one way or another. That monster book I referenced above was inspired by a waitress in a café I frequented. Her hair was magnificent, chestnut brown and glossy long wavy locks that were her crowning glory (literally). Her name was Molly, and I named my character that. Normally I keep more separation between reality and fiction in my work.

7. Who has influenced your writing?
William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Allen Poe, among the classic writers played a part in helping me craft a style. Among contemporaries, Robert B. Parker, though I do not try to emulate his inimitable style of prose, and Lisa Jackson, whose mysteries I find fascinating.

8. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?
Oh, boy. Here we go! I’m a definite pantser, and I have a theory on this that some folks will not appreciate. I wanted to be a painter in my youth, but my work resembled ‘paint by numbers’ if you’ve ever done that. That, to me, is what plotters do. I know, I know; there are lots of excellent plotters who have fantastic books to their credit. I still maintain that those books could have become ‘classics’ with a bit of ‘pantsing’. It has become something of a cliché to say that our characters write themselves onto our pages. I’ve had that happen, and had several books completely revolutionized by details I’d never have pre-plotted.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! LOL

9. Please tell us the path to publication for your first book.
Long. Crooked. Treacherous. Rife with danger! Sounds like one of my mysteries, right? The first book I thought I had a publisher for, finally got published seven years later. I had an editor who loved my book. We met at a conference after she’d read it, and she confirmed that a contract was on the way. Unknown to me, at that same conference, she had an interview with a different publisher and took a great offer, leaving me and no telling how many other writers in the lurch. Her new home didn’t publish the kind of book I’d written. Years later, an unknown but promising editor bought it and brought it to publication, along with two other romantic comedies. That wonderful lady now has her own publishing company and I’ve found a great new place to send my work. Oh, her name? Well, it’s a secret but her first initial is Lea!

10. Do you have an agent? Do you think authors need an agent?
I do not have an agent. I’d like to have found one when I really needed her, but the one who picked me up had a bad habit of submitting my work along with another writer, and sending her results on scraps of paper. I swear, that lady was the world’s worst when it came to saving the forests.
Because the world of publishing has gone through such a massive change, I think it is less necessary to have an agent now. Having said that, I would love to have a good publicist. I can write, create fascinating characters and plot points, build believable settings for the most amazing tales, but I can’t promote my own work worth a ____ (fill in the blank).

11. Tell us if you have any other books ready for publication? What are they and when will they be available?
Yes. My middle grade ZACH’S AMAZING DREAM MACHINE is coming out from Muse in September. A crazy novella, OUT OF THE BLUE is due out in November, my family saga THE EVIL WITHIN comes out next January, and the first in a new mystery series, St. Louis Blues Mysteries, TOCCATA makes its debut next April. I have another romantic suspense novel A PERFECT STRANGER, to be released by Awe-struck Publishing late this year as well.

12. Are you working on any WIP’s?
Currently, I’m hard after the second in the St. Louis Blues series, BLOOD LUST, which will reach readers next August. I have another mad-cap romantic comedy, LAST COWBOY IN TEXAS and a wild dog story MUST LOVE LARGE DOGS in the works. And that monster book I mentioned, is now ready as a two book set, but hasn’t found a publisher yet. Saving the best for last…LOL.

13. You have three books published with MuseItUp Publishing. How can people find these books? Besides the Muse Bookstore, where can people find your books?
All my Muse books mentioned above, along with, SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY and DANCE WITH THE DEVIL can be found at:
My romantic comedies, GOLDIE’S BEAR, FOR THE LOVE OF HATTIE, and DON’T BET ON IT are at:
My international romantic suspense, A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND and my psychological suspense, CROSSED LINES, can be found at

14.Are you going to be having any book signings or blog tours? Please let us know where we can find you. Do you have a blog and a website?
Don’t I wish. Our local bookstore, the one where I’d long since befriended the manager, is going out of business. I’m in a fairly small town and miles from urban centers, so I guess I’m whistlin’ Dixie on book signings for now. I have an idea though, and I’m working on it. I’d love to do a blog tour if somebody will tell me how. Remember, be nice to your elders, but you can teach new tricks to old dogs.

One last note on my name. Pat is my life partner of forty two years and counting, and is my biggest fan and harshest critic. Without her, my writing would never have matured, so I felt it proper to honor her in my pen name. Ah, those romantic Irish rogues’ll get you every time. Cheers, all.

Here are the links you provided:

Zach’s Amazing Dream Machine.

Zach Mason, a precocious seventh grader who idolizes his grandfather Gentry, writes interesting short stories for his English teacher but gets into trouble by insisting they’re true. Enrolled in entry level college classes, Zach puts his brain to work to convince his teacher and classmates his stories are true. The result is Zach’s dream machine. After contending with pal Wally, nemesis Kenneth, and sister Liz, Zach learns something about life when his scheme goes awry. He’s up to his eyebrows warding off one intrigue after another, including a sneaky science teacher who tries to steal his handiwork.

“That’s better,” our seventh-grade English teacher said. “I’m pleased we have enthusiasm for our short stories. But, we must not lose sight of the fact that they’re only stories. And,” she glared directly at him, “we must remember to show courtesy and respect for each and every storyteller. Isn’t that right, Kenneth?”
He nodded and turned away, staring out the window. I gave her a big smile, my eyes reflecting admiration for her. I’d always thought she was a pretty lady, but now my favorite teacher glowed like an angel who’d just come to my rescue.
She turned to me and said, “As for you, Zachary, I’ve told you before, you must stop claiming that your stories are true. Three times, if I’m not mistaken, I’ve told you this, and still you persist.”
So much for angel to the rescue. I glanced down at my desk when she put her hand on my shoulder. I tried to shrug it off, but she only tightened her grip on me.
“You have a remarkable grandfather, Zach. I realize that. I think we all do. But he couldn’t have possibly experienced all the wi — uh, rather unusual things you’ve told the class in your stories about him. No one person could have done all that.”
I stared up at her, wanting her to understand. “But he did. Really. I’m not making this stuff up, Miss Sorensen.”
“That will be quite enough, Zachary Mason.” Her voice had gone stern, telling me I’d better keep my mouth shut. “I am very impressed with your storytelling ability, though, something you no doubt acquired from your illustrious grandfather. These are valid short stories and will be graded as such. In fact…” Her smile came back. “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you turn out some day to be another Mark Twain.”

I know I'm looking forward to reading more about this unusual boy.:) Again, thank you Dale for being my guest and hope all my readers will want to read more too!!

Until the next time, thank you to my new readers and of course, thank you to the readers who continue to follow my meanderings.:)

One last thank you to the too many to count birthday wishes I received yesterday on Facebook! Hearing from all of you made me feel very special. My birthday is over, but I will treasure all of those beautiful messages.

My next guest on the blog will be Nick Giannaras at the end of this week and on my radio show, which had to be canceled from last week and will be on the usual 4th Thursday of the month, August 25th at 3PM Central Time and 4PM EST are going to be: Eric Luper and ComedyWriterMr.J. This should be a great show and I am looking forward to speaking with Eric Luper and Mr.J again. Eric was a guest on this blog last year. You can read about him here. Have fun, it's summer!!!
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