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Friday, September 30, 2011

MG/YA Blog-A-Thon Finishes with Guest Author Marva Dasef

The end of the MG/YA Blog-A-Thon is almost here and I am happy to say the organizer of this amazing blog tour is here as my guest today!! Marva Dasef is also the author  of her own MG fantasy, Bad Spelling, which will be released this October from MuseItUp Publishing as an e-book. I want to thank Marva for her daily tweets telling everyone about the Blog-A-Thon. I think it is fitting that with all of her work she is the last guest on my blog for the Blog-A-Thon!

Let's find out more about Marva Dasef:

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 forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several already published books of fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. A few more are scheduled for 2011 and 2012 from her super duper publisher, MuseItUp.

Please tell us about Bad Spelling:

BAD SPELLING – Book 1 of the Witches of Galdorheim
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home.

Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.

The young witch, accompanied by her warlock brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way. At the Troll Kingdom, a young troll, Andy, joins the siblings in their quest to find the shaman and kill the curse.

Learn more about magic:


Crystals, water, fire, clouds, steam, chicken bones. All of these objects have been used to see into the past or future. Well, that's the story anyway. You recall the Penseira from the Harry Potter series. That, too, is a scrying object, but recalls memories of the person using it.

In Bad Spelling, the witches use a scrying crystal. They can see the past only, but the past can be just a seven-second delay behind.

Kat wants to find out about her father's family. Boris was a marooned Siberian fisherman who happened to get stuck on Galdorheim Island. Kat's mother liked his looks, rescued him, and they hand-fasted. Kat was the result of the union. Shortly after her birth, however, Boris was trapped in an ice cave collapse. His body remains encased within the glacier.

Kat asks her mother to trace Boris's path back to his origins. Ardyth had never done this before because it was against witch code to scry a person without their permission. When Kat points out that Boris could hardly object, Ardyth agrees to scry Boris's past.

The crystals I describe aren't the standard Gypsy crystal ball, but natural morganite crystals. Out of the rough crystal structure, the witches shape a scrying crystal from the pure morganite.

EXCERPT from Bad Spelling:

Ardyth rummaged through a box on the floor and extracted a large chunk of Morganite beryl. “Ah, here it is. I haven’t used this in years.” She placed the pink, six-sided crystal on the table. She opened a crate standing near the worktable and rummaged through it. “Did you know the Druids used beryls for scrying? Morgan Le Fay learned how to use them from Merlin. He was a Druid, you know.” She pulled a white cloth from the crate and laid it flat on the bench, setting the beryl precisely in the center.

Ardyth lit two candles and placed one at each end of the table. “You don’t want the candles so close the flame reflects off the crystal.” She explained each step to her daughter, who hadn’t participated in a scrying before. Ardyth held her hands, palms facing inward, on each side of the crystal, close yet not touching. “There. Now, I can take a peek and see what reveals itself. Sometimes it’s stubborn and doesn’t want to cooperate.” Ardyth leaned closer and peered into the beryl. “The idea is to look into the center of the crystal, not the surface.”

Kat whispered, not wanting to distract from the rite, but eager to learn. “It’s so rough, how can you see—?”

“Shush,” Ardyth hissed, her eyes rolled back under her lids, revealing only the whites. It made Kat queasy when she tried to do the same.

“O Crystal, show me what I seek.”

Kat held her breath. Would she be able to see the vision, too?

“Ahem, Crystal, let’s get a move on. I haven’t got all day.”

Kat smothered a giggle.

“Ah. There it is. Uh huh. Yes. Okay, a bit south now. Further east. There! Stop.”

“Are you giving it directions, Mom?”

“Of course. The witch directs the crystal; it does not lead the witch.”

“Um, okay.”

After several minutes, Ardyth turned her gaze away from the crystal and looked at her daughter. “I didn’t see anything specific, except some people who looked like your father. I got a vibe that they’re family. It seems they live in the northern part of Siberia. Sort of east of Finland, but…wait, I’ll show you.” Ardyth murmured an incantation; then sketched in the air. As she moved her finger, a trail of light stayed suspended in the air, forming an outline.

“Oh, I see. That’s Russia, right?”

Ardyth sketched some more lines, and the map filled in. The border of Finland appeared in the west, and a wavering line across the rest of the map sketched a vague outline of Siberia.

Kat frowned at the vast shape on the map. “That’s a pretty big area, Mom.”

“Wait. I’m not finished.” Ardyth drew some more lines. “We’re only interested in this part; that’s the West Siberian Plain.” Ardyth sketched an inlet at the top of the map. “Here’s a fjord, coming in from the Kara Sea.”

“Fjord? I thought they were only in Norway.”

“Not necessarily.” Ardyth pointed at Kat’s temple, the dictionary definition and a picture appeared in her mind: a long, narrow inlet with steep sides flowing into the sea; formed from glacier melt.

“Your father,” Ardyth said, pointing back to the floating map, “came from around there.”

Kat stared at the map and frowned, trying to recall her geography lessons.

Ardyth’s brow furrowed. “I also saw the word Sami. I’m not sure if it’s a name of a person or a place. I couldn’t find it on the map.” Kat frowned, and Ardyth touched her arm. “I know. It’s not much to go on. I’m sorry, but I can try again another time. Maybe when there’s less interference.” She glanced up at the roof of the cavern. “I think we’re having sunspots now.”

“Yes, we’ve got great polar aurorae this week.”

Ardyth removed everything from the table and stored it away. She returned to the stairwell and began the long ascent. Kat followed her silently, but her mind whirled with possibilities. Now she knew the general area her father came from, perhaps she could find his family.

Find out more about Marva Dasef:

by Marva Dasef
Twitter Handle: @Gurina

Book Trailer:
Release date: October 14th MuseItUp Buy Link:

Now for the best part.

Win a free ebook drawn from comments. Select either MG fantasy "Bad Spelling" or adult mystery "Missing, Assumed Dead." 

Marva, I have enjoyed having you as a guest and I can't wait to see who will win the free book!!

Until the next time, thank you to all the people who continue to follow my meanderings. Now that the month is over I will be going back to more of a normal routine, but tomorrow don't miss this blog!! I am helping a very good friend, Greg Fishbone, launch his new book, Galaxy Games: The Challengers and The Great Galactic Blog Tour. I think you will enjoy this very much, because there is a puzzle involved too.

Also, I have been given a couple of blog awards and haven't been able to do anything about them. I will be posting these in the next week. 

Thank you to anyone who has bought my book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. If you have a copy and would like it signed, please go to You have to register first, which is easy. Then you click on my cover and I will send you a personalized autographed message. 

Finally, congratulations to MuseItUp Publishing for their 1 Year Anniversary!!!! 

I hope a lot of you are planning to attend The Muse Online Writer's Conference. I will see you there!!!
Don't forget to leave a comment so you can be in the drawing to win a free book!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

MG/YA Blog-A-Thon Continues with Guest Author Lawna Mackie!

Sorry for the delay in posting today, but real life got in the way again!! I had to go get two shots, not one at once - my flu shot that everyone should get, and a shingles shot that they give to us old people.:)

Anyway, I am very happy to introduce to you a very unusual and beautiful woman, Lawna Mackie and her very unusual character, ThreeO.

Here is a little about Lawna:

I have always believed in fairy tales and when I got tired of the old ones I made up my own. Each story would have a hero and heroine, but they were anything but typical.

I devoured my first romance novel when I was a teenager. I couldn’t read them fast enough. Years later I stumbled across my first paranormal romance…an injustice would be done if I tried to explain my joy when I found this genre of romance. My passion was finally in print.

Now, with the help of my bizarre dreams and crazy imagination, I have started to write and intend to share my stories with you. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

I am truly blessed. My husband is my inspiration and soul mate. We live on a small acreage in Didsbury, Alberta, with our most beloved companions, Dozer, Daisy and Mandarin.

Happy reading everyone and please stop by to visit me.

IMPOSSIBLE TO HOLD – December 19, 2011 released through Liquid Silver Books
ENCHANTMENT – January 13, 2012 released through Muse It Up Publishing

Lawna, tell us about your books:


What not to do? Well, for starters, DON'T render yourself unconscious by falling out of your canoe while trying to grab onto a beaver dam. Secondly, don't wake up in a world that outlaws strangers, and, above all, DON'T fall for a guy whose main job is to banish you from the world.

Meeka is searching for peace, a magical reprieve from the heartbreak of her past, perhaps even a dashing hero, and she finds it all – for a moment. The world of Enchantment she blunders into is certainly peaceful, until Meeka discovers her dormant magical abilities. Furthermore, there is a gorgeous knight in shining armor – Kerrigan – but he turns out to be a part-time dragon sworn to protect the intoxicating land of Enchantment, a duty that includes removing all foreigners, the fascinating Meeka included. To further complicate matters, sparks literally fly between Meeka and Kerrigan. An undeniable attraction continually forces them together in a riptide of unleashed passion, but evil forces are determined to destroy the dragon, take control of Meeka’s newfound powers, and use her as a weapon of mass destruction.

Meet Threeo

Who is Threeo? Why is he here? Let's find out from the character himself. He is being interviewed by his author.

We have a new character for you to meet today…and a very interesting character at that.
Welcome, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself, and where do you come from?

Hello everyone. My name is Threeo and I’m a Hippo-Dog-Burrowing Owl from the world of Enchantment.

Well Threeo, that’s quite a mouthful. Exactly what is a Hippo-Dog-Burrowing Owl?
I resemble all three earthly creatures. I have a small hippopotamus body, and fluffy dog tail, and my head is the burrowing owl. I was created by magic.

I see. Can you tell us a little about your world of Enchantment?
Enchantment is a great world, or at least it was until she arrived. I have visions, so I knew she would come. Enchantment doesn’t allow foreigners of any sort. My master is the Enforcer for the world and he was supposed to get rid of her.

Oh my! That sounds harsh. How was he to “get ride of her”? And who exactly is she?
Meeka came to Enchantment from earth. She fell in the water and some how managed to cross the dimension and into Enchantment. Most creatures die. Kerrigan, my master should have sent her back, but he was scared she’d perish. What he didn’t know at that time was that she is a very powerful sorceress.

Tell us more about your life Threeo.
Okay, well, like I said Kerrigan is my master, I’ve been with him for a very long time. Oh…I also have babies. Baby Threeo’s! They are born in glass tubes and I raise them. When they are old enough they go to live with others like Kerrigan. The babies really like Meeka. Kerrigan’s parents Todd and Paddy Beaver are my favorites to visit. Paddy always has treats for Threeo.

“Beaver” you almost make that sound like they are Beavers?
Yes, they are beavers, but not like your human beavers. They adopted Kerrigan as a baby. Kerrigan is actually a dragon.

So what is happening in Enchantment these days?
{He shakes his head} It’s very scary in Enchantment. I’ve had a dream that Meeka kills Kerrigan, and she destroys the world.

Really? Is Meeka that type of person?
No, she’s not that type of person, but an evil Enchantment Counselor is going to try to capture her. If my vision is correct she will become a weapon of destruction. Kerrigan will try to protect her. They have feelings for one another.

It sounds scary Threeo. I hope your visions don’t come true. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Enchantment?
I think everyone would like our world. It’s beautiful. We have seven moons, which are actually like your sun, but the seven moons are a different color each day, making our world change color daily. We have pixies in Pixie Field, and we also spend time at Funny Fish Lake. We have Itchits and Fur Balls…everything is magical. Thanks for talking to me I do have a tendency to talk a lot. I really hope you’ll enjoy Enchantment.

So happy to have met you, Threeo, and I am hoping your world will not be destroyed.  Thank you, Lawna, for visiting and for bringing Threeo. I believe Lawna is giving out a free copy of her soon-to-be-published YA fantasy, Enchantment to the lucky commenter who wins the drawing.

Until the next time, thank you to the people who continue to follow my meanderings. I am on various blogs for the MG/YA Blog-A-Thon and you can find where I am with this schedule.

My next guest will be Marva Dasef, who has been the person who has organized and kept this MG/YA Blog-A-Thon rolling along! Come back to see her post. You won't be sorry.

One more thing before I go. I did my book launch for If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor on Saturday and here is a couple of photos of me:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

MG/YA Blog-A-Thon Continues with Guest Author Meradeth Houston

The whirlwind of the MG/YA Blog-A-Thon is coming to a close, but we still have some great guests planned for the next week. Today I welcome Muse author, Meradeth Houston, whose YA novel Colors Like Memories will be released May, 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing.

Hi Meradeth and welcome to my blog. Here is a little bit about Meradeth:

Meradeth Houston is finishing her degree-to-end-all-degrees in anthropology. Don’t ask her how long she’s been in school:). She is also an instructor at her university, and spends most of her time working in a laboratory. Please drop by her blog or website!

Meradeth, I used to love anthropology.

Now what is your book all about? I love the title.

Colors Like Memories


Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of. In order to save her best friend's life, she's going to have to face her past, but her ghosts won't make it easy. Especially his.

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

When Edison arrives at school, Julia's plan to focus on her work is thrown into chaos. Somehow, he knows way too much about her past. To make matter worse, Edison sparks more than just her curiosity. But he's one more distraction, and Julia has no time, especially when she accidentally reveals her true identity to her assignment. To help her grieving friend, she'll have to face her past—it’s the only way she, and her best friend, will heal. But to do so she’s going to have to return to the scene of crime and relive every vivid detail of what happened the day of the accident. If she can’t accept what happened, she’ll be forced to leave the Sary and lose any chance she had at saving her assignment’s life. It’ll take learning to trust Edison, and herself, to face the true color of her memories.


(a little further into chapter 1, where we first meet Marcy):
Marcy’s house was the only one on the block that already had its Christmas lights up. That was how she described it, at least. No one had taken them down last year. Or the year before. Last Christmas, I’d helped her replace the busted bulbs so the strands would work over the holidays, but neither of us was up to the job of removing them. Neither was her father.

The front of her house looked just like the one across the street. The faded sign on the door, proclaiming a cheerful welcome to all who entered, was the only thing that distinguished it. Marcy left the sign up, even though it had obviously seen better days, because her mother had put it there two days before she had been killed.

On the sidewalk, I stared up at the dark windows of the brown stucco house, the blinds on the second story half shut, making the whole place look like a half-asleep giant. Standing this close to the house made the tiny hairs across my back—where my wings were when I was in my Sary form—stand at attention.

Oh, so she is a kind of angel! Sounds like a really cool book to read. I can't wait until its release.

Meradeth has brought Julia with her and she is going to ask her a few questions. I am looking forward to learning more about this unusual character.

Interview with Julia, the main character in Colors Like Memories:
Julia: First off, let me make sure of one thing: anything I say here is under strict confidentiality. References to the Sary, or anything else aren't to be passed around. I could get into way too much trouble for saying anything! But, I’ll do my best to answer some questions. Just don’t get mad if I plead the 5th, okay?

1) What's your name?
-Right now, it’s Julia. I like the name. But I have to change it when I’m in other countries. Or if it gets out of style. Have you ever tried to answer to another name? Not so easy. But not changing it can lead to a whole lot of complications if I’m not careful.

2) How old are you?
-Old enough. Seriously. It’s rude to ask.

3) Who do you live with?
-Currently, I live alone. I didn’t always, but right now, I’m by myself. Next question.

4) What's the best day of your life?
-Without going into way too much detail: it’s the day Derek and I had between assignments in Paris. I can’t even remember what year—sometime around the turn of the century? Anyhow, I’ll spare you the sappiness. It was great though.

5) When have you had to act strongest when it hurt?
-When Derek died. I don’t want to talk about it.

6) Are you in a relationship?
-Not currently, no.

7) What's your favorite color?
-Green. Dark green.

8) What's your favorite animal?
-I’m going to go with birds. Honestly, I’ve never really thought about it!

9) Do you have any pets?
-Nope. As much as I move around, it would be impossible. 

10) Do you have a job?
-My life is my real ‘job’ if you want to call it that. But other than that, I work at the small bookstore in town where I sell too much caffeine to people and make handmade signs for the windows. I like doing that.

11) What is your relationship with your parents like?
-Going for all the sore spots, aren’t you? Well, I never knew my parents. I used to wonder about them, sometimes, but now, they’ve been dead so long that they hardly ever cross my thoughts.

12) Are you human? If not, what are you?
-Haha! That’s rich. Nope, not human. I once was, in a way. I’m a Sary. I can’t give more details than that.

13) What's your favorite song?
-I’ve always been partial to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. If I had to go with something more modern, I’d say most anything by Linkin Park.

14) What do you do in your spare time?
-Fly. Any chance I have to get up in the sky, that’s where I’ll be.

15) When is your birthday?
-Don’t know. Really. Derek and I used to sometimes pick dates and go out, pretending to celebrate. But if you look at my license today, it would say January 1st. Creative, I know.

Thank you so much for coming, Julia. We all look forward to learning more about you when Colors Like Memories is published in May, 2012.

Thank you, Meradeth and did you say you had a contest? I love to give away free books here.

If you’re interested in a copy of Colors Like Memories when it comes out, please leave a comment here or any of the other blogs I’ll be visiting this month. Or leave a comment at each of the blogs, for more entry chances! I’ll draw a winner from comments and announce it on my blog at the end of the month. Please leave me a way to get in contact with you!

Until the next time, thank you to all who continue to follow me. I am still not quite over our party last Friday for my book's release, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor.  I want to thank all the people who congratulated me and please, if you do read it, leave me a review on amazon or the Muse Bookstore. Also if you can, listen to the show from yesterday with guests C.K. Volnek and Sameena Bachmeier on Blog Talk Radio. Here is the link:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

MG/YA Blog-A-Thon with Guest Author Rebecca Ryals Russell

The MG/YA Blog-A-Thon is still going on and you can see the schedule at the blog of the person who planned and organized all of it, Marva Dasef.

I am continuing to present to you MG/YA authors and today I am very happy to be presenting a very accomplished and amazing author, Rebecca Ryals Russell. Rebecca is the author of multiple published books and I am very happy to know her.

Welcome to my blog, Rebecca. It's so nice to host another MuseItUp Publishing author. Tell us a little about yourself, please.

Here is my bio:

Rebecca Ryals Russell writes MG and YA Dark Fantasy and Horror while living with her family in a Victorian house on five acres of North Florida countryside. She also runs a Vacation Rental Log House on the property: Florida Black Bear Cabin. ( )
She is a fourth generation Floridian. She was born in Gainesville, grew up in Sunrise, lived in Orlando and Jacksonville before moving outside Lake City to care for ailing parents.
The daughter of an Elementary-school principal and secretary, for fourteen years she taught Middle Grades, preferring English and Creative Writing. She had several students’ works published in anthologies as well as her own poetry, photography and stories. Her main interests are her four children ages 22, 19, 17, 11 and Irish hubby of 35 years. She enjoys spending her time writing, drawing, going to movies, reading, discussing philosophy with her 17-year-old son.
Over the course of the next few years she has several books being published.
Be sure to check out the special interactive Middle Grade Reader website for tons of information about Stardust Warriors as well as the other projects Rebecca has in the works.

More about Rebecca:

Where did the concept for your current book come from?
The concept for the Seraphym Wars Series and Stardust Warriors Series has been brewing for about thirty years. I started it several times but finally sat down and let it pour into the computer about four years ago.

How long have you been working on your latest book (concept to editing)?
Book 1 Odessa took about four from start to finish of actual writing, rewriting, editing, submission. The next book didn’t take nearly as long. I guess I was pretty much learning my way through the process.

How many books do you have published?
Odessa was my debut novel. Odessa came out April 2011, Zarena, part of the MG series Stardust Warriors, came out July 2011, Prophecy, Seraphym Wars, comes out September 2011, Don’t Make Marty Mad comes out Oct 2011, but it’s a horror story and not intended for teens or children, and Jeremiah, Stardust Warriors in November. Then in 2012 I have Harpies, Seraphym Wars, in January; Mercy, Stardust Warriors in April, Magaelbash, Stardust Warriors, in June. So far.
What classic literature would you recommend teens to read and why?
Having raised three teens so far I had an opportunity to do just this. They read 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, A Brave New World by Aldus Huxley, Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, Edgar Allen Poe, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee , Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger, Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. My son even read Dante’s The Divine Comedy as a sophomore in high school. There are probably more but these are what come to mind. Having them read these classics gave us something to discuss and broadened their horizons. Since reading them they have found references in movies, magazines, commercials and conversation.

What one book do you think everyone should read and why?
That would be a toss-up between 1984, The Giver and Lord of the Flies. Each of these explores the human condition.

What would you tell teenaged writers about the submission to publication process?
Don’t give up. No matter how many rejections you receive, rework the submission until it gets accepted. Take each rejection as a lesson that the manuscript needs more work.

Why do think teenagers are so fascinated by the paranormal and fantastic? (vampires, werewolves, ghosts, faeries, elves, demons)
Teenagers feel immortal. Their brains tell them they can’t die, so they search out fearful images to test themselves. That’s why slasher films are marketed at them. But this fallacy in thinking is why there are so many teenaged driving deaths/accidents, suicides and pregnancies.

You’ve been asked to choose 5-10 books for a space capsule. What would you choose and why?
1-1984 by George Orwell, it shows what can happen to society that is too tightly controlled; embodies the Dystopian novel
2-Brave New World by Aldus Huxley, it embodies futurism in literature
3-Harry Potter by JK Rowling, helps give kids hope they can make a difference; interesting use of magic overlapping with the ‘real’ world
4-Lord of the Flies by William Golding, shows what happens to society without controls
5-How To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, demonstrates man inhumanity to man
6-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mead, historical about the Civil War, hopeful about overcoming oppression
7-anything by Shakespeare, incredible use of language, structure, symbolism
8-Dante’s Inferno, amazing imagination and use of language
9-Fairy Tales by Brothers Grimm, classic stories that change as you grow

Rebecca's books:


Blurb: 105 words
14-year old Zarena spends time with a Holy Order of Clerics on their hidden world of Revrum Natura, while she receives training in Martial Arts, Herbology, Astronomy, Weaponry and Mind Control. Destined to become the leader of the Vigorios, child warriors, who will assist the Seraphym in the war against the demon-dragons of Dracwald, Zarena grows up in a hurry. Lonely and homesick, she meets a Mermaid who encourages her to talk about her training. Is this new friend too good to be true? Zarena learns a valuable lesson about trust and betrayal—a lesson that will serve her well as leader of the Vigorios.


Suddenly, Zarena noticed they were no longer alone in the huge hall. People were coming and going. Everyone dressed similarly in variously colored plain robes over loose-fitting pants and tunics or full-length tunic dresses. She wondered if the color designated a job or power level.

A statuesque woman, her green robe and yellow tunic dress flowing behind her like angel wings, approached them. Zarena glanced down at her stained T-shirt and bare feet. They all looked so elegant. She wished she hadn’t stepped out of the room so abruptly and quelled the urge to dash back inside. She didn’t want to be rude to these lovely people who obviously meant her no harm. Her cheeks flamed with embarrassment, but she managed a tight smile.

“Hello, Zarena,” the stately thin woman greeted with a wide toothy smile. “I’m glad to see you out and about so early.” The white-haired woman’s friendly gray eyes wandered across Zarena’s T-shirt, and she leaned close to whisper, “I believe I have a robe and gown that will fit you just fine. You’re about my height.”

She gently took Zarena’s hand in hers and led her back into the room. It dawned on Zarena this was the woman’s bed chamber.

“I’m so sorry to have taken your bed last night,” Zarena stammered, and looked down at the floor. Why did she feet obliged to these people? They had kidnapped her from her bed in the middle of the night, for Laud’s sake! But she did feel grateful. Why?

“Think nothing of it, my dear. You had to finish the night somewhere. My name’s Divinor. I’m the one who brought you here, so it was only natural you stay in my room.” As she spoke, Divinor opened the door to a tiny armoire located in the corner of the very small room.

Zarena took the occasion to further study the room. Poorly furnished, a narrow bed was centered lengthwise on one wall with a small nightstand at head and foot. Centered on the wall directly opposite stood a narrow desk and chair. The small armoire sat to the right of the desk, barely large enough to hold five or six outfits and a coat. It was beside a small door leading into another room, which Zarena guessed to be a bathroom.

She opened her mouth to ask, when Divinor motioned toward the door and said, “Of course, dear, right through that door. I’ll have a robe and gown on the bed for you when you come out. I do hope the sandals will fit.” Divinor stooped to the bottom of the armoire and lifted out a pair of simple, brown leather sandals.

Before she pulled the bathroom door closed, Zarena noticed the only comfortable piece of furniture in the small bedroom. Squatting on the other side of the desk, in the corner behind the door to enter the room, an overstuffed white armchair, with a tall floor lamp beside it and a green blanket throw draped over one of the arms, looked inviting—as if it were meant for someone to curl up in and read, listen to music, or just think.

The bathroom was just as simple as the bedroom. The furnishings provided just enough to live comfortably without luxury. They must be religious people, maybe monks or something like that. Are there women monks? She wasn’t sure.


Blurb 151 words
For centuries the residents of Solsyl lived in peace and harmony with the planet. Then the dragon-demons arrived, causing the Great Shuddering. Majikals from everywhere scurried to find shelter from the evil while humans hid. Laud regretted his rash decision of exiling the demons on Solsyl and asked one of his advisors, a member of The Conscientia, to protect his people. Jeremiah Holyfield agreed to leave the peaceful world of Revrum Natura for a life of constant strife and fear on the newly renamed planet of Dracwald. But Narciss, ruler of Tartarus and King of the demons, desperately wants what Jeremiah has sworn to protect—a Prophecy of Narciss’s future doom. And Narciss refuses to take no for an answer. But Jeremiah discovers allies along his path and even true love, which he never dreamed possible.
But forever is a long time to protect something without ever letting down one’s guard.

Excerpt from Prophecy:

Shadow launched into the sky like a blow-dart.

“This is not a good idea,” Lucy whispered.

“We’ve come this far—she did save us from the storm and dragon.” I glanced out at the still raging storm. In the close distance, a flare of fire proved the dragon’s search continued. Continued searching for me.

I followed the girl inside the tree. Once inside, the door shut. A loud click as though a lock had been sprung echoed throughout the space. I wondered if Lucy might be right. Had I gotten us deeper into trouble? But another part of my mind questioned whether a tree could even have a locking door, so I disregarded it and followed her further into the tree. As we progressed down a black corridor, gas lights flared long enough for us to pass then blacked out again, leaving the path before and aft in complete darkness. Although a bit unnerving, I had trusted her thus far. I saw no reason to back out now. Even if I could.

Passing beneath another arched doorway, we entered a round room with gas lights evenly spaced on the walls and a high, domed ceiling. I surmised we had passed through a small tree and were now inside an even larger one than where we entered.

“Are all of the trees connected somehow into a—I don’t know—community of some sort?” I turned slowly to survey the round smooth inner bark walls. The room featured a roaring fireplace built of stone. Furniture, constructed of woven grasses and smoothed wooden discs or bent branch framework, lined the walls.

“This is Glithmeera,” she said softly, pointing to a table and chair. “It is our home. Please sit. I shall bring food and drink.”

The chair of woven rushes wrapped me like a second skin floating, somehow, above the pine needle floor. A polished disc of wood with a narrow-diameter wooden pedestal sat beside the chair. Rich golden lamplight glinted off the incredibly beautiful graining and glossy surface of the table.

“My name is Jeremiah Holyfield.”

She placed a clay cup filled with thick amber liquid on the table. Beside this, she set a polished wooden disc covered with slices of various fruits and bread with a hunk of white cheese.

“I know. I am called Remira.”

As the sweet liquid eased past my lips, they curved into a smile. “I love mead.” The fermented honey slid down my throat, thrilling my senses. So much tastier than burned fish or dried out bearlish meat. I spread a bit of cheese on a chunk of bread and with eyes shut, savored the mellow creamy flavor.

“She said she knew your name. How is that possible? Jeremiah, this is beyond frightening.” Lucy’s concern bounced around in my mind. Seduced by the comfort and food, I ignored her warning.

“What do you make cheese from around here?” I asked through mouthfuls of sweet red and blue berries I couldn’t identify.

“We collect milk from Andergryphs. They live on an island in the Bluquor Sea but come here for milking once a week.” She sat down opposite, watching me eat with iridescent purple slanted eyes. Her features looked odd. With large, slanted eyes inside a small, heart-shaped face, pointed ears that stuck out through brilliant red hair hanging to her waist, I wondered if she was a Majikal. She had to be. I’d never seen a normal person with ears like hers. Or purple eyes at such an upward slant.

“What are Andergryphs? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one.” I spread more cheese. Although full, it had been so long since I’d eaten this well, stopping now wasn’t an option. Apparently my appetite had returned, as well.

“They are hard to describe as they possess attributes from several species of creatures,” she said, popping a red berry into her small pink mouth. “They are large with a furred wide body, short strong rear legs, very large feathered wings, beaked head, and front legs of a large predatory bird.”

“I’ve never seen one of those for sure. Are they friendly?”

“If your heart is good. But if they don’t like your aura they will ignore you. They can also be vicious in a battle.”

“When are they due to return? I would love to see one of these creatures.” The last drop of mead slid down my throat followed by a loud burp. The room titled momentarily before straightening again.

Remira grinned, showing small even teeth with sharp tips. I realized it was the first time she’d smiled showing teeth. The contrast of her petite features against such malicious teeth was jarring. My smile slid away like butter off hot toast.

“Everything taste good?”

I nodded, looking around the room. I didn’t like thinking about the purpose of pointed teeth in such an innocent face. And now that I thought about it, her tone was sickeningly sweet. Like there was something she didn’t want me to notice or think about.

“Thank you. I was hungrier than I thought.” My eyes roved the walls, searching for the arched opening we’d come through. I couldn’t see it. Shadows danced along the walls between each lamp, which threw out barely any light at all. Fog seemed to settle across my thoughts—haze across my vision. Lucy had been right. We should have chanced the dragon. Like trudging through thick mud, my eyes dragged from the shadows to focus momentarily on the elf’s face again.

“The Andergryphs are due back in a couple of days. Perhaps you could rest, see one in person,” she smiled and again I stared at the jagged teeth.

“I knew something was wrong.” Lucy sighed.

“I suppose a day’s rest might help.” My speech slurred, even to my own ears. “Must have had too much mead.” As I stood to leave, the ground rose and smacked my face.


Blurb 190 words
17-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, struggling with inner demons resulting from an attack when she was 15, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s recent murder as well as many other atrocities in the news. She meets sweet and sensitive Michael, who explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen warriors with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island. He accompanies her on the quest, but harbors a secret past that ironically would destroy all the faith she has placed in him. A handsomely roguish Scientist with suspect motives haunts her dreams and makes sudden appearances in unlikely places, while a sensual dragon warrior defends her against her will.
Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?


“Did anything…uh…traumatic or horrifying happen to you lately?”

I shuddered, nodding.

I sat cross-legged on one end of the sofa, facing Michael at the other end.

“Yeah. You could say it was horrifying.”

I was so glad today was Saturday. It was the one day of the week I didn’t have school or work. I sat cross-legged on the sofa, watching my favorite classic movie, The African Queen, and munching on a bowl of popcorn resting in my lap. Suddenly my body went rigid. I sat bolt upright. My vision spun in circles. The room became kaleidoscopic. A rushing roar echoed in my ears. Then I saw my brother Quinn running around in circles, screaming. Wide-eyed, I stared, transfixed and mute. A boy with blond dreads, wearing a black leather jacket and ripped jeans, chased him across a field. Once close enough, he threw some kind of liquid from a small red can on Quinn. A smaller boy with spiky red hair tossed something small that glowed in the dusk. It landed on Quinn’s chest.

Flames shot high into the darkness as he screamed and continued running around the grassy enclosure. Insane laughter echoed in the still darkness. The crackling and popping of the flames snapped like firecrackers. Quinn’s arms flailed wildly, like he was trapped in a giant spider web. My hands balled into fists, wadding my skirt in my hands. I smelled the acrid, sour stench of burning flesh and hair but couldn’t scream. I was frozen—watching. Three teenaged boys, all wearing black leather jackets, surrounded him, laughing hysterically and pointing. An oddly metallic odor of sweat mingled with the bitter odor of searing flesh. Trees closed in like spectators, hovering in the blackness of night. Mute. Unemotional. Uncaring.

Quinn rolled on the grass, screaming a banshee wail while trying to put out the flames. Then he lay still. Silenced. The red-haired boy poured more of the flammable liquid onto Quinn’s back. The black-haired teen threw a match and Quinn flashed into flames again. This time there was no movement. There was no screaming. The laughter and pointing stopped. The three boys sneered at the flaming, blackened corpse at their feet.

“Too fast,” the smallest boy said, his hair the color of fire.

“Too easy,” the black-haired boy declared with a kick at Quinn’s head. “Whatcha gotta say fer yerself? Shoulda paid me back, slacker.” His voice slithered slowly like the snake his boots were made of.

“Not enough fun,” said the third. He stared at his feet, his long blond dreads falling across his face until he turned his head to look at the smallest boy. A port wine birthmark covered his cheek and part of his neck.

“Yeah. What video game did ya buy anyway? Sumthin’ with demons, I hope!” the small boy squeaked, his high-pitched voice grating on my nerves. All three of them roared with laughter.

“Loser,” the black-haired boy said. A wad of spittle flew onto Quinn’s back and sizzled.

Finally I screamed. As though released from bonds, I leaped up from the sofa. The stainless steel bowl of popcorn flew through the air, scattering kernels across the beige carpet and clattering upside down on the coffee table. Tears streamed down my face. My parents ran into the TV room. “Oh, my God! NO! This can’t be happening again…” I wailed, holding my head.

“What’s the matter?” my mother, Ashley, said, as she pushed my long hair back from my sweaty face.

Gasping with hiccups, I took a deep breath and, between bouts of crying, told them everything I’d seen. In unison they turned their heads and looked at the television. A Katharine Hepburn film danced on the screen.

“Are you positive?” Dad asked.

I stared my dad in the eyes and nodded. “Absolutely. You know my visions are always right. Mom.” I looked at Mom’s white face. “We have to try and find him. Maybe it didn’t happen yet. Usually it’s a warning. Remember Jarrod? And Marcy when she was three?”

Dad’s face went ashen and Mom’s hand, still resting on my back, began to tremble as it flew to her mouth.

“Oh, my God,” Mom said, “we would have lost both of them had you not seen.”

“I’ll try to call him on his phone,” Dad said, leaving the room in a hurry.

Moments later he returned. “No answer. Should I call the police?”

“We don’t even know where he might be,” Mom cried, holding her face in her hands and rocking back and forth on the sofa beside me.

Dad knelt down and made eye contact with me. At first I didn’t see him. I saw Quinn again, running across the grass in flames.

“Where was he? Could you tell?” he asked.

His eyes, too, were already red-rimmed, as if they knew the truth.

“All I saw was grass. Like a park, maybe. But it seemed small. They took their time.”

I hiccupped, crying again as images of Quinn, much younger, flashed through my mind. Trying to pedal his red bicycle as I held it steady for him. Crawling into my bed in the middle of the night because he’d watched a scary movie. Rolling around on the grass in flames, screaming.

“I can’t just wait until we hear something. Cops won’t do anything based on a vision. I’ll drive around and see if I get lucky.” Dad looked at me, his face long and eyes sad. “I hope this time you’re wrong, hon.”

“Me too, dad. Me too.” I shook my head, rubbing weeping eyes.

Still hiccupping, I sat on the sofa and shut my eyes. Maybe there was a detail that would direct Dad. My head throbbed and my nose was stuffed up from crying. I hoped another migraine wasn’t starting. The scraping sounds of Mom scooting around on the floor picking up the popcorn irritated my brain. I’d noticed before that my hearing was super acute during and after a vision. But I knew she had to be doing something, so I pretended not to notice

When Dad returned without news, we all sat in a huddle on the sofa, crying and praying. Jarrod, eleven, and Marcy, fourteen, came home and learned of my vision. Since I’d seen him die, they knew there was no hope. My visions were always true.


April 2011-Odessa, Seraphym Wars YA Series-available at Amazon
July 2011-Zarena, Stardust Warriors MG Series
September 2011-Prophecy, Seraphym Wars
October 2011-Don’t Make Marty Mad (adult Horror story)
November 2011-Jeremiah, Stardust Warriors
January 2012-Harpies, Seraphym Wars
February 2012-Laman, Stardust Warriors
April 2012-Mercy, Stardust Warriors
June 2012-Magaelbash, Stardust Warriors

Rebecca it has been a pleasure hosting you today. Lots of luck with the new addition to your series. Anyone who enjoys reading fantasy will love your books!

Until the next time, I will be on the radio today doing my show, RRWL Tales from the Pages at 3PM Central, 4PM EST. My guests will be Sameena Bachmeier, C.K.Volnek, a guest on this blog a little while ago, and maybe Karen Cote. Tune in to join in the fun! We are all celebrating our publication!! Sorry for the late post. This month has really been hectic!! Thank you to Rebecca for being so prompt! My next guest will be Meradeth Snow on September 25th. Who knew September was such a long month?

Thank you to all the people who have commented and I will be deciding on the best high school experience comment soon.:) Thank you to my followers too!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

MG/YA Blog-A-Thon with Guest Author Barbara Bockman

Today I have as my guest another Barbara. She is Barbara Bockman, or BarbaraB as she is known in the author's group. For some reason we seem to be paired in many things and that's okay, because knowing Barbara has been delightful. She writes MG stories and I write YA, but we have enjoyed learning more about each other. By some quirk of fate we are switching blogs today. She is guesting on my blog and I'm guesting on her blog: Stories a la Mode. 

Here is her bio:

Barbara always loved stories and the interesting way certain people have with words. So she majored in English and Library Science in college, and later, with a Master’s Degree in English, she taught her subject at Pensacola Junior College. Having long wanted to try her hand at it, she started writing stories for children.

Story ideas are all around her. One of the fun things about traveling is learning new facts and feeling the lives of people who lived in those exotic locales. She especially loves folk tales and myths.

She also enjoy stories about contemporary children and situations and likes to turn them into mysteries. Her family has been indulgent enough to allow her to write about them, as well.

Welcome Barbara! It's so exciting to have another Barbara here and thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I am a little late with this posting and I apologize.:) Running from one blog to the other is a little tiring. Over the weekend I wrote two blogs, one for DowntownYA and the other for the Muse blog. Also I was partying a lot and finally the last stragglers have all gone home!!! Thank you to all who came to the party and celebrated with me. It was so much fun. Unfortunately, all the cookies are gone and we went through too many bottles of champagne to count.:) Anyway, Barbara is here to talk about her book, Wounds, which coincidentally was released on the same day as If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor!
And like my book, Barbara has a wonderful review. I think it's great that we are so twinned. Barbara wrote about that on her blog too!!

Barbara, tell us about your book, Wounds. How did you get the idea for the book?

Hi, Barbara. Thanks for this opportunity to talk about my middle grade novel, my first book which was published by MuseItUp Publishing in the MuseItYoung division. I have been writing stories, articles, and poems for children’s magazines for several years. Before that, I used to put together little books for my grandchildren. Some of them were wordless, such as the one about the five senses, and the one with a big red circle on each page. Others were inspired by the actions of the children themselves and were dedicated to them personally. That was all a lot of fun, but I’m especially happy now to have a novel published. My novel, Wounds, started as an assignment with the Institute of Children’s Literature. Before submitting, I had to cut almost five thousand words. Wheeeeu! I’m looking forward to writing my ICL instructor to tell her about its publication.

Tell us a little bit about the book:

Throughout the story, several accidents happen that result in various people and objects being injured. The central character, Craig, is wounded when he tries to cut down a giant oak tree with a chain saw. He doesn’t succeed as the tree is much too large, but the tree is badly damaged. A series of events lead up to Craig becoming so angry that he tries to cut down the tree. First his mother dies from an accident and his father can’t cope. Craig’s dad becomes abusive and this leads Craig to vandalizing things at school. Both Craig and his dad are wounded emotionally. Craig becomes an outcast in the community. Because of his actions, Craig is taken to Juvenile Court. The man who owns the tree asks for custody of Craig. The judge tells Craig this is his chance to “make amends.” Mr. Ark and his wife and son, Nelson, take Craig in and befriend him; as does the family dog, a dachshund, Siegfried. Mr. Ark hires a forester, Logan Raxter, to work on the tree’s wounds. Nelson’s volunteer group, the K’BeTs, decide to raise money for the care of the tree and Craig is allowed to help. It is through the power of community service that Craig is accepted and forgiven.

I think many people, even youngsters, have done things they are ashamed of and sort of want to melt into the floor when they realize they've damaged something valuable. Guilt is hard to bear, but it's nice to know one can get forgiveness and even forgive oneself.

You are right. Guilt is something many people carry with them throughout their life. Your book looks like it examines another part of being a teen.


The youth group, K’BeTs, stands for “Kids for a Better Tomorrow.” One of the members is a cute, spunky girl named Carson. In the first excerpt below, the K’BeTs get permission from the forester to help with the tree. The second excerpt takes place after a shelter has been erected around the trunk of the tree, called the ICU.

An excerpt from Wounds:

            “That’s a great idea you have there, Nelson,” Carson said.
            “You convinced me,” Jean said.
            “Yeah,” Shaquan said. “I wish I had thought of it myself. We can build a skateboard ramp for our next service project.”
            “Hey,” Carson said, “aren’t you getting ahead of yourself, Shaquan?”
            “Now, we’re through arguing,” Jean said. “We’ve all agreed that the tree should be our service project. Let’s go talk it over with Mr. Raxter.”
            The K’BeTs rushed down the steps and sprinted over to talk to the tree man. “Hi, Mr. Raxter,” they each said.
            “Hello, there, K’BeTs.”
            “Mr. Raxter, we want to ask you something,” Shaquan said. “Can we help you with the tree?”
            “What he means is,” Carson said, “we want the tree to be our service project.”
            “That is,” Jean said, “if there is anything we can do.”
            “I’m sure we can find something for you to do. You were a big help to me after Hurricane Daisy.”
            Craig was astounded. That bunch had a lot of nerve! The tree was his project. Who invited them? He hobbled over to the tree.
            Mr. Raxter seemed pleased with the offer of help from the club. “We’re going to have extra help, Craig,” he said. “And believe me, we’re going to need it.” He didn’t even give Craig a say in the matter. The prospect of working with that bunch of do-gooders put Craig in a glum mood for the rest of the day.
            After walking around the tree several times, Mr. Raxter said, “I’ll let you guys know what to do as soon as I figure it out myself. Right now, I need to go to town to get some supplies.”
             Mrs. Ark called the young people into the kitchen for lunch. Afterward, she insisted Craig get some rest before any more activity. Craig whistled for Siegfried, and as the two headed for the stairs, Craig heard Carson say, “I can’t see why Siegfried wants to hang around that Craig.”

The day after the ICU was completed, the heater arrived. The utility crew laid a special electrical hookup from the road and one of the electricians installed the heat pump. Everyone crowded into the greenhouse to watch Raxter throw the switch--Craig and Siegfried, Mr. and Mrs. Ark, Nelson and Carson. Lately, Carson often came home from school with the boys.
            “That heater’s humming like a ’57 Thunderbird crusin’ down the highway,” said Mr. Ark. Everyone laughed.
             “Now we’ll see if we can make the tree believe it’s spring,” said Raxter.
            After Raxter left, Mrs. Ark called everyone to dinner, inviting Carson along. Craig stayed behind. “I’ll turn out the light,” he said. He wanted to be alone with the tree. It was hard to say what he was feeling, because there were so many thoughts jumbled up in his head. Everyone had big hopes for the tree to survive the trauma. But why had they been put in this position? Why was everyone forced to work so hard? It’s because of me, Craig thought. Oh, I wish I could go back and undo all the damage. And he walked to the tree and put his hands on it the way he had seen Raxter do that first day. He let out a long, loud sigh.
            When he turned to go in to dinner, he saw Carson standing in the doorway of the ICU. Her animosity toward him had blown away, and now her eyes held a softness he had not seen before. They exchanged a brief but understanding look before Craig reached up and pulled the chain on the hanging light bulb. Then they walked silently into the house.

Barbara, thank you again for being my guest and I wish you lots of luck with Wounds! Where can we find more about you?

You can find more about me and my book at:

The Muse Bookstore
Twitter: @babs22582

My own book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is now on Amazon too and if you want me to sign it go to Find my book cover and request it be signed.

Until the next time thank you to all my followers. I will be visiting these blogs this week: Shellie Neumeier, Sue Perkins. On Thursday, September 22nd I will be hosting Rebecca Ryalls Russell here. Also this is the week of the 4th Thursday of the month so it's time for RRWL Tales from the Pages. I'm hoping to have as my guest, Karen Cote of @Karen's Romance whose book Erotic Deceptions is being released from MuseItUp Publishing in October. Have a great week!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Launch Party!! Come Meet Shellie Neumeier

This is a book launch party for my first YA novel:

           If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor    

There will be champagne and I am giving away a copy to the person who has my favorite comment! Please help yourself to the virtual champagne and the virtual homemade chocolate chip cookies freshly baked! 

Joining me today for the party is Shellie Neumeier, who is telling us about her new book, a YA novel, Driven available from Risen Fiction. You are all invited to join too and please grab a glass of champagne and a cookie.

Hi Shellie. Welcome to my blog and you are here on the right day!! Our new books have something in common. They are both about high school and the kinds of things that can happen to a teenager there. Let's find out a little more about you:

Shellie Neumeier holds a degree in Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a minor in Psychology, Sociology and Social Studies. A devoted mother of four, Shellie previously worked on staff with Northbrook Church as the King’s Kids ministry assistant (serving children in grades 2nd through 5th), developing and writing curriculum, involving families and volunteers in King’s Kids programs and encouraging the spiritual growth in school-aged children. Shellie’s YA novel, Driven, is available from Risen Fiction. She is an active member of SCBWI and ACFW as well as a contributing author at various blogs including,, and Married for over 20 years, Shellie and her husband have four wonderful kiddos and two goofy greyhounds. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, she went on to acquire an early childhood education certificate. Shellie also served in youth, children’s, special needs and family ministries for over twenty-two years. Now she enjoys teaching her teens how to drive and chauffeuring her preteens across the Wisconsin countryside. And once in a while, she loves to read big people books (you know the kind without pictures). Shellie writes because it keeps her away from her husband's power tools and because every now and then, she doesn't have the choice, it just takes over. Her best inspiration comes from the occasional walk along a country road with her greyhounds.

Shellie's novel for MG, The Wishing Ring is being published by MuseItUp Publishing.

 Here is a bit about Driven by Shellie Neumeier:

Robyn can’t help but notice the handsome new guy at her school. She ignores, however, the arrival of another being at Brookfield Central High School—a demon assigned to destroy her…
Robyn loves her friends, enjoys her youth group, and looks forward to meeting cute Caleb Montague. But when a caustic news reporter challenges her school’s prayer team, Robyn must choose: defend their right to meet on campus and pray for whomever they wish or back down at the principal’s request.
Now she must learn what God wants her to do. And she had better learn fast, because there’s a supernatural enemy in town whose sole mission is to stop her—no matter the cost.

Excerpt (first page):
"From a comfortable height above the trees, Sebastian circled the abandoned paper mill, drinking in the atmosphere of dereliction and decay surrounding the property. This place has more character than most of the humans I know. Half broken windows winked like the evil eyes of wayward souls, while snow drifts gathered in the corners. The wind toyed with the snow, whipping trails that could chill his feet and ankles. If he had feet and ankles, that is.

Slipping through a second-story window, Sebastian watched a rat scurry across the dusty floor in a dash for the shadows. Like an angry cloud—black as asphalt, thick as cigar smoke—Sebastian floated after the rodent, watching with mild interest as it raced for another shadow and nearly collided with an old tom cat whose eyes glowed bright with hunger. The tom sprang, but Sebastian turned away. He didn’t have time for these cat and mouse games today, no matter how much he enjoyed them. He had bigger game to consider, and as he moved over the room, he thought about the girl he’d come to destroy."

Wow, as if high school isn't bad enough, this girl has a demon after her!!

Please tell us about the novel you are publishing with MuseItUp Publishing, my publisher too! It's so great to have you here with the Muse family.

Here is a little about the book. Shellie doesn't have a cover yet!

The King’s castle stands alone atop Grand Ur Mountain, but even that does not match the solitude surrounding Princess Ali. With a carrot-shaped nose, she trudges through her princessly duties with the most unfortunate face. With her pet greybar (a creature with the head of a greyhound, body of a polar bear, and wings of an eagle) as her only friend, Ali dreams of becoming a beautiful princess.

When Cory, a ninja-in-training, drops through the royal chimney, he does not intend to enlist the help of anyone, much less a girl, but she holds the key to the Creator’s map. The ancient map marks the secret hiding place of the magic Wishing Ring, a ring grants the wearer one wish.

Cory’s mysterious need for the ring and Ali’s dream of a beauty send the pair to a forgotten land. Only the war ravaged clan of Odana can translate the map’s key. But even if they manage to find a translator, the question remains—can they beat the Ogre who guards the ring?

Excerpt (first page):
             "Did she dare? No, she didn’t. But she really wanted to.
Princess Ally tugged a small wooden box beneath the castle’s window. They might see her. Oooh. With a stomp of her slippered foot, she spun around and sat on the crate. Her chin sunk into her palms and then a whiff of something delicious flitted through the window. Cooked pork, yeasty breads, and baked pies—pumpkin if she wasn’t mistaken. Oh. She had to peek; it was Market Day after all.
She climbed upon the crate and lifted her eyes above the sill.
The noise alone made her curious. Shouts and squeals from human and animal alike, filtered through the iron bars of the open window. But the sights beat it all. Chicken feathers and children flew this way and that. Women in torn sackcloth sold wares to ladies in silk and satin dresses. Oh, what she wouldn’t give to be able to move freely among the stalls."

Thank you, Shellie for joining the party and I wish you the best with both of your books. Please find more about Shellie at her website: Shellie is part of the MG/YA Blog-A-Thon and she has Lawna Mackie as her guest today. Leave a comment during this month on any of the participating blogs and you might get the grand prize. Anyone leaving a comment here might win a free copy of my book, today's star: If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. Leave me a comment telling me about your high school experiences and make it good!!

Until the next time I am hoping you will come by and toast our new star novel. Thank you to my new followers and of course, thank you to the people who have continued to follow my meanderings.:) I am so happy to be celebrating with all of you!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MG/YA Blog-A-Thon with Sue Perkins

My guest today is Sue Perkins, who writes YA fantasy and romance. She lives in New Zealand, so I have left her spelling here, since it is her native language. Her book is releasing in October and I am very happy to have her here to tell us all about it.

Sue Perkins' Bio

Sue Perkins grew up in Devon, England. but emigrated
with her young family to New Zealand.
Sue and her husband live on a three acre property at the top of
New Zealand’s South Island. She works as a graphic artist for a
local trade paper. Her interests include writing, reading,
genealogy, zumba and line dancing.

Sue’s first romance novel was released in May 2007 quickly followed
by her Sky Castles fantasy trilogy, available at Whiskey Creek Press.
These books will also be released as a Megabook on 1st September 2011.

A contemporary romance Three Hearts is available from
Desert Breeze Publishing. A free read prequel Broken Heart is
also available from this publisher.
Blitz, a 20th Century Romance is now available
from this publisher. A free read companion book
Santa's Present will be available Christmas 2011.

October 2011 Spirit Stealer, a Middle Grade book,
will be released by MuseItUp Publishing.

January 2012 Reva's Quest, a Middle Grade book,
will be released by MuseItUp Publishing.

January 2012 Dragon Flame, a Young Adult book,
will be released by Desert Breeze Publishing.

Hi Sue. Thank you for joining me with your busy schedule. I can't wait for you to tell my readers all about your new book!

My thanks to you, Barbara, for inviting me to visit your blog today. The MuseItUp Publishing Young Adult and Middle Grade Blog Tour has really taken off and gives readers of this genre an exciting look at many different styles.

I agree. I don't think my blog has seen so many different genres in such a short period of time. You know this is all due to the efforts of Marva Dasef who helped us organize it. You can check the schedule for the tour on her blog.

One of the most important things I think an author needs to do is read. How can I know what my readers like if I never read a book? Lucky for me the only problem I have is whether to read or write.
My mother always said I’d read a telephone book or cornflake packet if there wasn’t anything else to read. I have to blush when I admit she has been proved right. I have resorted to reading both those articles. In my defence the phone book has a rich supply of surnames and some first names too. I seldom use them but an unusual name will kick my thoughts onto a new path for my character’s name.

Which brings me to the subject of this post. The names I use in my books.
If I have difficulty naming a character, I have difficulty writing the book. I may start off with one name, but as the plot progresses a little voice in the back of my head nags me, telling me the name isn’t right.
For instance Fader in Spirit Stealer was originally named Faker. I wanted him to be poor and honest, but Faker sounded like a shifty person who might be tempted to steal. As I drifted off to sleep one night the name came to me. Fader - a person who fades into the background.

Amelia and Tyler - the other two characters in Spirit Stealer fit their names perfectly. Tyler always had the same name, but Amelia answered to Mary at one stage. Or didn’t answer I should say. After a few pages she objected and demanded to be renamed. Amelia fitted the little girl, and the lady she hoped to become.
I’m not going to tell you the real name of the green phantom who the book is named after, it would spoil the story. Suffice it to say I didn’t know until the end the importance of his name. I hadn’t even thought to call him anything but his original titles until a few chapters from the end of the book, but his name fitted in so well to the story.

So what is Spirit Stealer about? The easy answer is the nighttime world of the library. The doors are locked and darkness falls - then what happens? The phantoms come out to play. Fader is the first person to see them. He lives on the streets and the warm library building provides him with a perfect place to sleep. The green phantom arrives and traps Fader in the library but when Amelia is also trapped he tries to help her with disastrous consequences.

The book covers over one hundred years. Tyler arrives later in the book and helps in the fight to get rid of the spirit stealer.

I found Spirit Stealer an interesting book to write with the story developing in its own direction no matter what I did. It will be released by MuseItUp Publishing in October 2011 and I invite you to visit their bookstore to read an excerpt.

Thank you Barbara for hosting me today.

The pleasure has been all mine. Please leave a comment for Sue. She will be letting us know if she is giving away anything. Still, she will be available to answer any questions or comments. Here are her links:

Until the next time, thank you to all who have been reading and commenting during this month-long Blog-A-Thon and thank you to my new follower. As you know there will be a grand prize at the end of the month. Meanwhile, in two days on Friday my first YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is going to be released by MuseItUp Publishing. I am going to have a giant party all day Friday on this blog. Come over and help me celebrate and drink virtual champagne. Yes, I will have my virtual homemade chocolate chip cookies too. Maybe there will be a guest or two dropping in as well. I'm giving away a free copy of my book to the person who leaves my favorite comment!!! Also I will be celebrating on Facebook too!!! It has been eight years coming and I'm going to celebrate!!! Come party with me!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

MG/YA Blog-A-Thon Continues with C.K. Volnek

C.K. Volnek appeared here not long ago, but today she is back as part of the month-long MG/YA Blog-A-Thon. Her book, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, is being released by MuseItUp Publishing in September as an e-book.

Welcome to my blog once again, C.K. It is good to have you back here.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your book.

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
by C.K. Volnek

Thanks to Barbara E for having me here today! It’s so nice to meet and greet so many new friends. To celebrate the MuseItUp MG/YA blog fest, I’d like to begin by introducing myself. My name is C.K. Volnek and I live in small-town USA in the upper plains state of Nebraska, where I share my home and time with my husband and four Papillon fur-kids. Our three children have flown the nest for college or career. I’m a graphic artist and meeting planner by day, but now keep myself busy writing and blogging by night.

I am proud to announce my debut tween novel, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, will be available September 23, 2011. It’s a tween ghost story with a twist of Native American folklore and based upon the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island.

And to celebrate my book birthday, I am offering a free copy of the e-book to one lucky reader who leaves me a comment. Good luck!

Here is the book description:

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
In 1587, over 115 colonists disappeared from Roanoke Island…disappeared without a trace, leaving behind not only unanswered questions, but a terrifying evil. 

Now it’s up to twelve year-old Jack Dahlgren to unravel the age-old mystery and save his family from the hateful beast that haunts the island. 

With the help of newfound friend, Manny, a Native American shaman, and an elusive Giant Mastiff, Jack must piece together the clues of the Lost Colony to discover what really happened. Shrouded in ancient Native American folklore, it's up to Jack to uncover what the evil is and why it haunts his island. But can he destroy it...before it destroys him?

The Mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island

To be honest, I don’t remember studying the Lost Colony in school, so it was with great interest when I read an article about it a couple of years ago. My muse instantly became intrigued. How could a whole colony of people just disappear? No one knows what happened and it has remained a mystery ever since.

The story actually begins a couple of years before the Lost Colony came to the island 1587. In 1584, the explorers, Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe were believed to be the first white people to set their sights on North Carolina. Having been sent to the area to scout and investigate the land by Sir Walter Raleigh, they returned with glowing reports and two Native Americans, Manteo and Wanchese. The Queen and all of Britain were enthralled with the glowing news of this New World’s wonders.

Queen Elizabeth granted Raleigh a patent to this new land and named the land Virginia. The next year, 1585, Raleigh sent a party of 100 soldiers, craftsmen and scholars to Roanoke Island.

This first colony of men was doomed from the beginning. They arrived too late in the season to plant and their supplies dwindled rapidly. Upon the supposed theft of a silver cup, Sir Richard Grenville and Ralph Lane led a march on the native village of Aquascogoc and burned it to the ground in retaliation, thus alienating themselves from the natives. In 1586, the men had had enough and returned to England with Sir Francis Drake, abandoning their settlement.

Despite the misadventure, Sir Walter Raleigh was not deterred. He recruited over 117 men, women and children to form a more permanent settlement and sent this new colony to Roanoke Island in 1587. John White was appointed Governor and among the colonists were his own pregnant daughter, Eleanor Dare, and her husband Annanias Dare. She gave birth to a daughter, Virgninia, on August 18, 1587, the first English child to be born on American soil.

Unfortunately the colonists did not arrive to Roanoke Island until July and by the end of August supplies were already dwindling. The ships were returned to England, along with an anxious John White, to restock and return with supplies. Upon their arrival in Britain, White and his ship found themselves stuck in England, the invasion of the Spanish Armada imminent.

Finally, three years later, White was able to return to Roanoke Island. Arriving on August 18, his granddaughter’s third birthday, he found the fort deserted and no trace of the colonists. The only clue found was a single word “CROATOAN” carved into a post and the letters “CRO” carved into a nearby tree.

White knew the Croatoan natives were a friendly people, but despite a search of the area, no further clues were found. There were no bodies or signs of war with the natives. The colonists of Roanoke Island had simply vanished.

Today, the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island still remains a mystery. So, my muse decided to come up with her own idea what happened. I threw in a ghost and a twist of Native American folklore to complete the story. I hope you’ll check out Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island.

Thanks again to Barbara for hosting me here today. And thanks to all our readers for stopping by. I would love to hear from you. I always enjoy meeting new friends.

You can contact me at
You can join me on my web page:, or visit me at my blog:
You 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 will be available at the MuseItUp Book Store beginning September 23, 2011:
as well as Amazon and many other fine book locations on-line.

Remember to leave me a comment. And to celebrate my book birthday, I am offering a free copy of the e-book to one lucky reader who leaves me a comment. Good luck!

Excerpt from Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island:

Heavy footsteps pounded across the ground, the earth quaking with each step.
Jack peered into the gloomy dark, praying it was the dog. But he knew it wasn’t.
The sound grew louder and quicker. It was running straight for him. He stepped back, his muscles taut, hands twitching, staring into the shadows. A horrid stench filled the air, and a pair of yellow eyes emerged, seeming to float in the blackness of the woods. Jack gasped and backed up, pressing against a tree, trying to hide as best he could. His heart pounded. The tree bark dug into his arms, but he stayed quiet.
The eyes came closer and narrowed, staring into the dark. A low growl rumbled, swelling into a loud roar. Even the leaves on the trees seemed to tremble as the creature screamed into the night air. Jack clamped his hands over his ears, squeezing his eyes closed as the forceful shriek threatened to pierce his eardrums.
Moments felt like hours before the scream faded. Jack lowered his hands and inched farther away, his hands and knees trembling. A long, pointed snout emerged from the shadows, into a sliver of willful light. A crop of gray-brown hair stuck up and out from above the yellow eyes. The mottled nose dripped globs of saliva. Its jaws opened and closed, biting at the night, long white fangs gleaming against the darkness. Jack took another step. A stick broke under his foot.
The creature growled, low and menacing. With a mighty leap, its gaunt arms thrashed at Jack.
Jack spun around, sprinting as fast as he could through the trees. Pain from his knee seared up his leg. Tears clung to the corners of his eyes and he blinked, forcing his vision clear. The beast roared and pounded heavily across the dirt after him. Branches trembled in its wrath.
Jack veered to the right, swerving around the spindly fir tree. Soft branches batted at his face. He didn’t dare look back, only prayed the monster went the other way. With a jerk, his toe tangled in the tree’s gnarled root. He crashed to the ground, his backpack flying into the air. For a moment he lay still, catching his breath, willing the drum echoing in his ears to silence. As a branch snapped in the trees in front of him, he realized it wasn’t the pounding of his own heart. Something else was coming, charging at him from the other direction. He was trapped!
Here is Charlotte's book trailer for Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island. it's late, but you must see it. Sorry, Charlie for leaving it out of the original post:

Thank you to C.K. Volnek for visiting and please leave a comment so you can be in the drawing for her free e-book!! Also don't forget to check the schedule for the MG/YA Blog-A-Thon to see who is appearing and where. Leave a comment on as many blogs as you can to be in the running for the grand prize!

Also please check my own appearances for the month.  On Wednesday I will be on Lawna Mackie's blog as a guest.

If you checked the Countdown Clock you know my book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is coming out in less than 4 days!! I have the finished copy now and I can't wait for Friday!!! Then it will be everywhere: Kindle, Nook, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple, and amazon. Also you can find it on the Muse Bookstore, Coming Soon (until 9/16)

Until the next time, have a great day and come back on Wednesday, September 14th when the MG/YA Blog-A-Thon will feature Sue Perkins here on this blog.:)
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