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Friday, December 30, 2011

Keeping a Secret to be Popular!

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


Barnes and Noble:

MuseItUp Bookstore:

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

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

Monday, December 26, 2011

Announcements after Christmas


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

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

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

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

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

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

Donna McDine

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

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meet Guest Author Michelle Pickett

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

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

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

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

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

Michelle has graciously consented to an interview.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a set writing routine?

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

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

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

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

What was the reason you decided to write Concilium?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How are you promoting your book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us one thing no one knows about you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sharing my joy!!!

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 16, 2011

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

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

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

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

Author Bio:

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

A Horse Called Trouble

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

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

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

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

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

Q) What inspired you to write this story?

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

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

Q) Tell us about your characters?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q)  Where can readers find you?

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

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

C.K. Volnek

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Holidays are Coming!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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