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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Contest Winners and Upcoming Events

Sometimes posts get a lot of comments, but sometimes as in the case of these two posts, there are only one of two commenters and if there is a contest these people are very lucky!!!

Here is the winner of the Valentine chocolates:

        Alexis Greer Heidenberg

who has received her prize and enjoyed it very much!!

For Janie Franz's post the contest winner by default is:

         J Q Rose

She will receive a free e-book of Verses!!  Congratulations, Janet!!!!

        Upcoming Events
Thursday, February 28th at 3PM Central and 4PM EST 
Kate Lynd/Amy McCorkle will be my guest on RRWL Tales from the Pages. Please tune in to hear my guest speak about her new book and her writing. She has co-written her book with Missy Goodman. Also we hope to have Janie Franz to discuss her new book, Verses.

Tuesday, March 5th I will be holding a chat with Jo Linsdell on my Author Barbara Ehrentreu Facebook page. Please stop by for this international experience to learn more about writing and marketing from one of the internet's favorite writers, Jo Linsdell!
All you need to do is come to my page at 3:30PM EST to live chat with her!!

Thursday, March 14th I will be reviewing picture books written for toddlers by Hazel Nutt, What Squirrels Do When You Are Not Looking, What Squirrels Do: The Squirrel Olympics and What Squirrels Do: Just For Fun. If you have young children these might be the right books for you.

Just a note about myself and my writing. I am still, repeat, still for long time readers of this blog, working on getting my second novel, When My Life Changed, ready to be sent out to my publisher. I am reading through it and have only gotten to Chapter 10. This spring is my absolute final deadline for this!! I hope to be able to say to all of you that yes, I have sent it out!!! Hope to have more time to myself to do this.:) 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Janie Franz Returns!!!

One of the most popular guest authors for this blog has returned to talk about her new book: Verses, the first book in The Lost Song Trilogy released by MuseItUp Publishing. Janie is the author of numerous other books and I am thrilled to have her return during her multi month  blog tour. Lucky for us she will be here all week, so please leave a comment to win a free book.

Here is a little bit about Janie Franz. If you are interested in learning more see the very popular blog post for Janie Franz from last year and the review of her second book, The Wayfarer's Road,The Bowdancer Saga: Book 2.

About the author: 
Janie Franz comes from a long line of liars and storytellers with roots deep in east Tennessee. Honed by the frigid Northern Plains and a degree in anthropology, her writing skill and curiosity have generated thousands of feature and cover articles over a vast range of topics for more than a hundred regional, national, and international publications for over a decade.  
She has co-written two books with Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox (The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book), and has self-published a writing manual, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid!  
She runs her own online music publication, Refrain Magazine (, is a book and music reviewer, and was a radio announcer, a booking agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, and a yoga/relaxation instructor

Welcome back, Janie!! Since the last time you were here you have written so much more!! So happy to be hosting you today for your big blog tour. Your new book, Verses starts another saga that is very intriguing.

Tell us about it, please:


Eleven summers after Jan-nell the bowdancer left her daughter Mira-nell with the sisterhood of hunters on the mountain and came to live with Khrin to raise their son, Bearin, she is called by the sisterhood to find their origins. 
The first clue is a bit of song Jan-nell learns at the deathbed of the oldest woman in the sisterhood’s village. Jan-nell and her companions seek the origins of the mysterious women on the mountain through the verses of a song.
Master hunter Bekar and master trackfinder Chandro accompany Jan-nell and Bearin on a quest for the lost song that takes them from their local inn out across the landscape of their world as they meet bee spinners and kings and risk their lives to achieve their goal.

Oh, this looks like another winning story!! I have followed Jan-nell through many different adventures and I can't wait to read this!!! I am so glad you have a long excerpt for us!!


Jan-nell frowned into her tea. “I never did craft the story-song of your history.”
“Well, that is one of the reasons Leyton sent me down in the middle of hunting. She wants you to hear Dekla’s gossip before the old woman passes into the winter snows. Leyton says there is a song that no one has heard.”
“Is Dekla dying?”
“Not yet, but she is ill, and at her age, we do not know if this might be the time the Maker will take her.”
A hail interrupted their conversation, and they looked up to see young Bearin, coming across the meadowland with his bow and quiver across his back. Striding beside him was another tall woman in hunting leathers like Chandro’s, also bearing a long bow and quiver and something suspended from a cord over her shoulder and falling behind her back. The woman’s dark hair had been shaved on one side of her head and hung down to her mid ear on the other side. She moved with a catlike grace, and young Bearin was making a good show of copying her agile movements. 
Jan-nell stood and ran to meet Bearin, stopping short of enfolding him in her arms.
“Is the old woman failing?”
“She is ill, and Leyton worries that she may pass before she can tell Jan-nell the gossip from the first mothers about our coming to the mountain.”
“She wants a story-song then?”
Chandro nodded again. “She has finally agreed.”
Bekar bit into a crisp cucumber, relishing the new taste. “Hmm.” Then she turned to Jan-nell. “I would like to know how we came here and why. I feel there is something we should all know, but it has been kept from us. We did not have feasts and music before you and Mira-nell came, or ways to mark our life passages, except for when we have our first moon and become women or when a few take their places among the hunters.”
“At least Mira-nell has that affirmation. She would not get it here.” Jan-nell cast Khrin a look. “They would be plotting who she should wed by now—if not preparing the ceremony as we speak.”
Khrin held up his hands. “It is not my doing. My mother likes weddings and babes.”
Chandro’s eyes rested on Bearin. “Do they plot who you will wed?” she asked the boy.
“If I would listen,” he said. 
“What?” Jan-nell turned to him. 
“I do not bother you with their talk. Granddame’s sister has a girl my age that she thinks is fair.”
“But she is kin?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “They do not count kin that far from Granddame. Besides, though she is fair, she cannot think. What would I have to say to such a one?”
“There will be a time where thinking is not what is most in your mind when you look upon a girl,” Chandro counseled. 
Frowning at the trackfinder, Jan-nell continued. “You have seen her?”
The boy gave a nod. 
Bearin looked confused. “What?”
Khrin shook his head, grinning “I do not know if your mother is more shocked that she did not know about this or that she does not know what instructions you have been given about girls.”
“Well, it is obvious somebody has been filling his head with something!” Jan-nell snapped. “I do not wish him to have a houseful of babes before he has explored the world and found what lies in his heart.”
Bekar chuckled, and Jan-nell turned her growing anger on the hunter, glaring fiercely at her.
“Forgive,” Bekar said. “Be at peace.” She turned to the boy. “Tell us what you have learned about girls.”
Jan-nell raised an eyebrow at Bekar’s words. 
Bearin looked up at his teacher. “It depends on the girl. Some are silly though they may be beautiful. Some are wise though they may look like a goat. Some are noble and kind, and some are devious and can never be happy no matter how much is given to them. Some have talents, though they may be in the domestic arts, while some are clever and strong and know men’s work. Both kinds can work alongside any man. Girls—women are as diverse as men.”
“And what of pairings—wedded or not?”
He shrugged again. “Just as varied.” He looked at every face. “As are families. Are we not a family around this table?”
“Yes, we are,” Khrin stated and reached for his mug of tea. He held it up as if to give a toast. 
Bekar smiled and held up her mug. Bearin hoisted his aloft. Chandro looked at Jan-nell and raised her mug. Moving her eyes from face to face, Jan-nell finally raised her mug. “To our family,” Khrin said in firm tones. 
They all drank. When they had replaced their mugs, Khrin asked Bearin another question. “These pairings? Are they between boys and girls—er, men and women only?”
“Khrin.” Jan-nell gave a warning in her tone.
Bekar leaned away from the table as if to watch what would unfold and allow the boy a clear view of his mother. 
Bearin did indeed study his mother’s face and then passed his eyes over Chandro and finally rested them on Khrin, who looked worried. He shot Bekar a glance that was more question than observation. Bekar nodded once. The boy looked again at his father’s face. “Be at peace, Father. I know where you go, and I know that Mother’s heart has not been here but up on the mountain. There is love here, though, and I feel it from both of you—and from Bekar, who is my mother-kin. But as for me, I do not know who will capture my heart. I cannot bother now because there is too much to learn, and I do wish Granddame would stop trying to make a match for me. I do not think my heart could stay for long with one of these girls, though I might one day wish to give it.” 
Bekar clapped the boy on the back and dug once more into her mashed parsnips and prairie hen.
Chandro cleared her throat. “So, Jan-nell and I will leave on the morrow to go up mountain to hear old Dekla’s gossip. Will you be coming, Bekar?”
The hunter shook her head. “I am showing Bearin how to lay traps along the animal trails. We need to check them on the morrow.” 
“How long will you be gone?” Bearin asked. 
Still thinking about Bearin’s words, Jan-nell struggled back to the topic of her trip up mountain. “I would think several days.”
Bearin frowned. “I wish I could travel with you. I would like to meet my sister one day.”
Bekar closed her eyes as if she had heard the request before. 
Chandro tried to comfort. “She will soon take her place among the hunters as a trackfinder in one or two more summers. Perhaps then I will bring her down mountain.”
The boy nodded but was not appeased. Bekar put her arm around the boy’s shoulders and pulled him into the briefest of hugs. “Some day,” she said, and he nodded again.

Thank you for coming to visit today, Janie and as I said, I am very excited about reading this new story, Verses.

Here are Janie's links:

Also available for speaking engagements.

Book Trailer:  Coming soon

Until the next time Janie Franz will be on this blog all week. Please leave a comment.

My Blog Talk Radio Show, RRWL Tales from the Pages, will be on next Thursday, February 28 at 3PM Central Time and 4PM EST with both Amy McCorkle and Janie Franz as my guests. I know you will want to listen. If you are unable to join us at the scheduled time you may listen at your convenience.

Happy President's Day to all people in the United States!!! For anyone who doesn't know what this holiday means, we are celebrating the birthdays of two of our greatest presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. They were both born in February. Lincoln was born on February 12th and Washington on February 22nd.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Kindling by Brandi Schmidt Release Party

Yay, it's a party today!!! This is especially great, because it's Valentine's Day too. If you happen to be in or near New Orleans, then you have probably been to Mardi Gras, one of the largest parties ever!!
I have never been to Mardi Gras, but my older daughter had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans a few years ago before Katrina. She came back with loads of beads and told us stories of begging for beads on the street as the floats went by. Now with the show, Treme, I would really love to be down there in New Orleans to be part of Mardi Gras.

Anyway, we are having a party here and please bring virtual food when you comment. We will be taking comments through the weekend, so you all have a chance to win. First of all, I want to introduce you all to another MuseItUp author, Brandi Schmidt. She is the author of The Kindling which will be released in March. You are going to get to know her and also you will get a sneak peek at this very unusual paranormal romance.

Hi Brandi. We are all really excited about this contest and Happy Valentine's Day to you!! I hope you are enjoying the party. I baked my famous virtual chocolate chip cookies to start and also have virtual drinks!! Let's get to know you.

Getting to Know Brandi Schmidt:

  • What one thing helped you to decide to become a writer?
Reading the Twilight Saga...I know it's totally chiche - but I've never loved books more.

  • Were you influenced by anyone to pursue your writing?
My mother is a great influence. I can't remember a time in my life when she wasn't working on a novel.
  • What inspired you to write The Kindling?
I believe it was a few factors that brought THE KINDLING to me. I have to thank God for giving me the story, I never thought I would EVER be a writer. Also, my loving husband, our romance inspires me everyday.
  • Did anything cause you to write The Kindling as a paranormal romance?
I would call it a Paranormal Christian romance. It's a new twist on finding love and just maybe we aren't always in control.
  • Please describe a typical writing day for you.
What? People write everyday! LOL. I squeeze it in every chance I can, but with 3 kids, a full time job and keeping a happy house and husband, it's difficult.
  • In what other genres do you write, and which genre do you like the best?
I love to read YA and I have a YA book in the works called SINNERS. Hopefully one day it will see publication
  • How long did it take you to publish The Kindling?
FOUR YEARS! Yes, four years. I really thought "hey I can do this, no problem" (very naive). It was allot of work but more learning about myself as a author and the "business" of books. In the beginning I had no idea what I was in for, but it's been a great ride.
 Barbara: That's shorter than it took me to publish mine. It took me FIVE YEARS to publish mine with seven rejections!
  • What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
Well...I have children! 15 year old boy, 4 year old girl and a 2 year old girl, they keep me pretty busy. I also co-own a hair bow business called BB bows. We have two patents on our new interchangeable hair accessories. I love to read (of course). My husband and I have a "date night" each week, to keep that "spark" alive.
  • Do you base any of the characters in your writing on real people?
Yes and no, there are traits in my characters that can be seen in some friends and family.
  • Please let our readers know if you have any WIPS ready to be published.
THE FLAME book #2 of The Sparkler Series is in the works and hope to get it out this year.
  • How are you planning to promote The Kindling? Will you be doing any in person appearances?
I have a schedule of appearances...I will be at the Missouri Writers Guild in April, The RT Review Conference in Kansas City in May, and the RWA Conference in Atlanta in July.
In addition to my current blog tour. I have been featured in MORWA (Missouri chapter of RWA) this month in the Rumpled Sheets newsletter and will be featured in the RT review in April "New Author Section" . I will also be featured in WOW! (Women on Writing ) Feb 22nd, you can read all about how I have became The Accidental Author. March 1st I will be interviewed

  • Please tell our readers about your own sweet love story. I know we are holding a contest for the best sweet love story, so I would be interested in knowing yours.

I met Thommy in collage. We were in Chemistry class together and happen to be assigned lab partners and their certainly was "Chemistry". We became fast friends for almost a year. I remember telling my roommate, "Thommy will be a great husband one day, not to ME of course, but he'll make some girl very happy." She just nodded and smiled. I didn't see anything but friendship with him, others could see more growing in the background. Call me clueless!
One night I was at a local coffee shop studying Calculus III (oh-BTW I am a total nerd). Thommy called to see how it was going. I broke down, frustrated and exhausted. He hi-tailed it to the coffee shop to help me study. It was loud so we sat shoulder to shoulder huddled over textbooks and equations. I was nibbling on a banana nut muffin when it happened.
The entire coffee shop seemed to fall away, I could hear anything, and I all I could see was him. That was the MOMENT I completely fell in love with him. It was like a dream, a fairytale, and I was totally freaked out. I didn't know what to do or what to say, suddenly I loved one of my best friends. We hugged goodnight and went our separate ways.
It took a month of heavy duty flirting to get him to realize I was completely his. Sometime boys need a little more time to We went on our first date (no kissing) I met his family and we saw a movie and had subway. Our second date was March 28 almost eleven years ago. We went to the Powell Symphony and had our very first kiss in the lobby at intermission. I still remember every moment of that night. We have been together every day since.
Fast forward, I am still in love with him as I was that night at the coffee shop. He is my soul mate, my spark and I am blessed to have been "accidentally" paired up with my lab partner/love of my life.

So since we are sharing sweet love stories, I will share my own, but I am not in the contest.:)

I met my husband at a party the summer before I went to college. I was only 17 and he was two years older than I was. He had just enlisted in the Army and was stationed nearby. He was my friend's sister's friend and she was having the party in her room. When I met him I hated him. I thought he was obnoxious and loud and he barely paid attention to me. Fast forward to New Year's Eve of that same year and my friend set me up with him for New Year's Eve. However, I had a date already with a boy from Harvard who knew my cousin. So I told Hal, my now husband, that I had to babysit for my brother, who was only 6 years old. He believed me, but he wanted to go out with me during the week. So we had three dates and he told me he wanted me to write to him. He didn't even kiss me, except on the cheek. I had been impressed by how he had treated me, so unlike the boys I had been dating. So I wrote to him for three years and the summer before my Senior year he returned back to the United States. He had been stationed in France. This was the '60s so we were just getting into the Viet Nam War. When he returned I met him at the door and after we had talked a little while sitting on my mother's sofa, he kissed me. I had never been kissed like that before and I realized I didn't want him to leave. He went up to my school and enrolled there. We were inseparable while he was there and after a semester he had to leave to go to work. We continued nightly phone calls and he came up to visit me on weekends. By spring we were engaged. He asked me to marry him on the horse path in Central Park by going down on one knee. We got married in August and we have been together over 47 years through good times and bad, sickness and health. Just like the marriage vows say. We have two children as most of you know from reading this blog and I hope that they can find the love we have had for so long!!

Now let's find out about Brandi's book: THE KINDLING

Tru Darling is a Sparkler. She didn't choose to be almost electrocuted, inherit otherworldly powers, and fall for the hottest evil guy in St. Louis—but that's exactly what happened. Her power to see true love spark in the eyes of strangers, to watch it flicker with excitement, fuse with it's perfect match, or witness it burn out from despair, is a wonderful curse that drains her emotionally and physically. But she can't afford to be weak while she's hunting down soul mates, saving others' faith in love, and contemplating if her new hot boyfriend is her guardian angel or the angel of death. Being a Sparkler may have its perks; enhanced vision, intuition, and physical beauty. But what of the personal costs that come with Tru's destiny? Constant danger, unbearable pain, and lost souls she just can't save. Tru must choose between a normal life without love or a birthright that comes with great passion, danger, and responsibility.

Mini Excerpt:

"We are like these branches. They kindle the flame and allow the fire to grow. When the fire can sustain itself, they disappear into the ashes. You can try to start the fire by holding a flame to the logs, but it's a difficult and timely process, if you complete it at all. Most of the time you would give up, exhausted and frustrated." He paused to look deep into my eyes. "You can try to force a fire, pretend it's there, but eventually you will come to know the truth. A pretend flame doesn't have any heat." He stood and moved toward me with his beautiful blue eyes sparkling in the light of the fire that had already begun to blaze beside him. As he neared me, I could feel my heart race and my face flush.

He knelt at the couch and continued, "You see, we are the kindling for love. We facilitate the fire that burns between two people." He was whispering now, only inches from me. "Can you feel the heat?"

About the Author:
Brandi Schmidt lives outside St. Louis with her husband, three beautiful children, and one lovable Golden Retriever. She is in love with love and admittedly cries at anything sappy. She graduated from Washington University with a BA in Biomedical Engineering Science, but soon found statistics and facts were too confining for her creative mind. Thus, writing became her release into a new and wonderful world of words. 

Sweet Love Story Contest:
Brandi is planning to give away a box of chocolates to the person who has the best sweet love story.

To be in the contest all you need to do is leave a comment. Please leave your email so we can contact you if you are the winner. 

Also, since we are having a party to celebrate the release of The Kindling, please bring all the virtual food you can find or make. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Welcome Back, Jo Linsdell with Fairy May!

                                                                   Jo Linsdell

Today I welcome back Jo Linsdell to the blog. She is probably one of the most popular authors ever to visit here!! I can't wait to learn more about her new book, Fairy May.

Fairy May

Written and illustrated by Jo Linsdell

Fairy May dreams of one day becoming a tooth fairy but she struggles at school and always seems to get things wrong. With hard work and determination she prepares for her test. Will she realise her dream and become a tooth fairy?
Release Date: 1st February 2013

Product details:

Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1481951424
ISBN-13: 978-1481951425
Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.1 inches

Purchasing links:

About the author:

Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator, award winning blogger and freelance writer. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Rome, Italy with her husband and their two young sons.

Author website:
Contact details:
Social Media Links:

1) Please tell us a bit about Fairy May.  
Fairy May is a rhyming children's picture story book about a fairy called May that dreams of one day becoming a tooth fairy. She struggles at school and always seems to get things wrong but with hard work and determination she prepares for her tooth fairy exam. 

2) What lessons does this book carry for the reader?

The story carries two main lessons for the reader; 

A. To follow your dreams. Just because it isn't easy doesn't mean it can't be achieved. 

" But Fairy May tried and tried for she had a special dream;
one day she'd be a tooth fairy, the best you've ever seen."

B. The importance of dental hygiene. The text subtly introduces the reader to how to take care of their teeth correctly.

"She learnt how to brush and keep teeth clean
and how to floss right in between."

3) What was your inspiration for this book?
This book is dedicated to my niece who, after seeing that my last book Out and About at the Zoo was dedicated to my two sons, asked if I'd write a book for her too. 
It needed to have fairies in it and so I brainstormed on ideas and came up with Fairy May. I wanted her to be a little girl fairy and to show that it's OK to not be perfect. I wanted young children to be able to relate to her and to encourage them to go after their dreams. 
The tooth fairy part came about because several of my 5 year old's friends have recently lost their first tooth and he has been full of questions on the subject. My 17 month old is also teething at the moment and so the topic of dental hygiene comes up a lot in our house at the moment.
4) What did you learn while writing Fairy May?
The importance of having the right direction for my story not just a good text. In the original version the text worked fine as a story and rhymed nicely but the overall message wasn't as strong. After rewriting the last part I was much happier with the focus of the story. Simple changes can make a big difference.
5) What projects are you working on now?
I'm busy with several projects at the moment. "The Bedtime Book" which is another rhyming children's picture book. "The Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media" and "Virtual Book Tours" which are two non-fiction books. 2013 is going to be a busy year for me as I have lots of other ideas too.

Jo, I can't wait to read this book!!!
I see you have something more you want to tell us about how to use video successfully to help market your book.
How authors can use video as part of their marketing strategy

By Jo Linsdell

Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator, award winning blogger and freelance writer. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Rome, Italy with her husband and their two young sons. Her latest release is Fairy May, a rhyming story about a young fairy called Fairy May who dreams of one day becoming a tooth fairy but she struggles at school and always seems to get things wrong. With hard work and determination she prepares for her test. Will she realise her dream and become a tooth fairy? You can find out more about Jo and her books on her website

According to the experts, 2013 is going to be the year of video. It's easy to see why too. Youtube is in fact the second most popular search engine in the world (after Google). The popularity of social media and the increasing use of smartphone and tablets provided the perfect conditions for online video marketing too.

All the big players in social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest) have all increased their abilities to feature and share video content in the past year.

As an author you might be asking yourself how this effects you. How can authors use video as part of their marketing strategy? Here's a few ideas to get you started:

1) Video book trailers.
Just like movie trailers entice viewers into going to see the film, book trailers create interest for new releases. Although there are now many companies out there offering video book trailer services you can make a simple trailer yourself using a program like Windows Movie Maker right on your own PC. Here's one I made for my new children's picture story book Fairy May:

2) Interviews.
Video's are a great way to build stronger connections with your fans and potential readers. Being able to see and hear the person behind the book helps create the feeling of knowing the person more and thus builds a stronger relationship. 

Interviews can be done either by having someone ask you questions like in this video interview I did:

Or you can answer a set of questions in a self interview like this one:

3) Presentations.
Video presentations are a fantastic way of building your online reputation and strengthening your author brand. Here's an example of a presentation I did about virtual books tours.

There are many other ways you can use video in your marketing efforts too. All it takes is a bit of creativity. I'd love to hear how you're using video as part of your marketing strategy too so please leave a comment below and maybe we can feed ideas off each other.

Thank you so much for this excellent presentation. Jo Linsdell and I will be participating in a wall chat on Facebook. I am announcing it here first and it will also be on my Author page. I hope to see many of you there on March 5 at 3:30PM EST. This will be fun to coordinate since Jo lives many time zones later than I in Italy.:)

Jo it has been so much fun to learn more about Fairy May and thank you for the excellent tips on how to use video. I am looking forward to people commenting to thank you themselves.:)
Until the next time, tomorrow, February 14th, Valentine's Day, I will be hosting Brandi Schmidt, who is asking for you to tell her your own sweet love story. She is giving away a box of chocolates!! We are also having a party to release her new book coming in March, The Kindling. Brandi will also be on my radio show on Blog Talk Radio, RRWL Tales from the Pages. I will post the link tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Guest Author Kate Lynd Visits

Today I am welcoming back our guest author, Kate Lynd (Amy McCorkle) who visited here a few months ago. She is going to talk about her new book, Gunpowder and Lead, written with Melissa Goodman. 

Hi, Kate. Or should I call you, Amy? We had a big discussion about pen names awhile back and since you go by both names, today, since you use this name in your book, I will call you Kate.:) Sorry that Melissa couldn't be here, but I am anxiously awaiting more about this new book that is not yet released. 

Kate, you are taking over, so I am going to step aside for a bit.:)

My message is short and really has nothing to do with the book. It has to do with writing and the publishing in general. And it’s a lesson I learned in film school. Success comes to those willing to work for it. Sometimes success looks different to different people. What looks like success to some doesn’t look like it to others  and in the end the publishing world doesn’t look like it did even ten years ago so listen and listen.

Success has nothing to do with passion and talent, if you don’t have those things you shouldn’t be at the game in the first place. Everyone in the game as it. Some have more talent than others. There are absolute hacks who have passion, it doesn’t mean a publisher is going to choose your work and pay you for it. Although anyone can self-publish, and it’s a viable option. But I don’t have the money to pay an editor (and you do need one, fresh always help a book) and a cover artist, and frankly, I don’t have their skill set.  I could in here and give you this long winded pep talk. But truthfully, the one quality you must have to survive and succeed is PERSEVERANCE.

I’m thirty-seven. I didn’t get my first contract until I was thirty-five. Now everything is in fast forward and I’m running to keep up. I have 22 contracts. A speaking career is opening up to me, I’m receiving guidance from an Emmy winning, Edgar nominated, and bestselling author on how to adapt my book Sin Of My Father to a screenplay. I’ve won awards. Both for my books and for my blog. Not because I’m the best at what I do but because I didn’t quit. I didn’t give up. I knocked on that door for a long time and people were placed in my life and I capitalized on the opportunities they presented to me. 

People call me lucky. Luck is the place where preparedness and opportunity meet. I worked very hard for this insanity engulfing my life. There are people who gave me a hand up still waiting for their moment. I believe their moment will come if they keep the faith and do not allow their success to be defined by others.

People say I don’t have time. That’s crap. You no more time than 24 hours in a day. You got kids? Get up two hours early and write 10 pages. You got a crappy husband who runs you down, cut the bastard loose. Your favorite show come on a certain night? DVR it and watch it once you’ve finished writing for the night. You work a corporate job and it sucks you dry? Save money that you spend on shopping for clothes or eating out and collect a nest egg. Then quit and move in with your parents. PERSEVERE.

Will people look at and call you crazy, yes. But this published author thing demands everything from then some. Anything and everything that does not support you needs to cut. Is it easy, maybe more so for some than others. But until you make it your first priority the success dream of will elude you. And just a note I’m not a fan of Twilight but I respect Stephanie Meyer for what she’s done. Don’t allow envy or jealousy of another’s success hinder you in your pursuit of the American Dream. I look at it and say, I want that. Then make a plan to get it. PERSEVERE folks. Next stop for me is New York I hope to see you there.

Wow, Kate!! I certainly agree with this!!! My break came way later than yours so I am a big advocate for this word!!!

How about something about the book?


Daniel Walker left home twice. Once as a teen to serve in a second civil war, the second to get away from a murderous and violent father. He returns eighteen year later to bury the the woman who forced him to flee the second time, his mother. He runs into Abagail Brice who saved his life all those years ago the night his father shot him, but now she's all grown up and offering him shelter in her preacher father's home for the night. It seems the connection a young girl shared with him all those years ago remains even now and when her mother inflicts violence upon her he is compelled to intercede.

Abagail Brice is a tough girl. A hunter, a fisher, and a protector of her younger siblings she is content to remain with her family until Daniel Walker returns. And when he offers her shelter from her family with the proximity to her siblings she takes him up on it. He has a reputation as the doctor with an appetite for liquor and women. But when he brings a married woman home and her husband comes looking for her intent on killing Daniel Abagail is forced to grow up when she is forced to kill in self defense. Their feelings for one another exposed they consumate their love.

But they come with a past. Their lives are entangled with those of their parents who hide behind a wall of silence about a night of horrible violence inflicted upon the mother of a third family, Sophia Hamilton. Can they over this and rush to their happily ever after, or will the darkness engulf them and their budding relationship? Gunpowder & Lead is Hatfields and McCoys meets Mad Max and is a 5 book series encompassing the lives of the children of three families, the Walkers, the Brices, and Hamiltons and what happened the night Sophia Hamilton died.

Okay, you have me hooked. Here is an excerpt:


Daniel Walker hadn’t been back in Craft’s Colley since the war had ended. The United States, once the most powerful country on the planet, had degenerated into a second Civil War, this time between the East and the West. Eighteen years later, the nation still had factions that believed the War wasn’t over yet. 
          At fifteen Daniel had run off to fight for democracy. At first they put him on the front lines. But after two years of service they made him a medical apprentice. It was bloody, it was messy, and it was harrowing. Now he spent his mornings in Louisville, running a clinic for those caught in the crossfire of those zealots who still couldn’t let go of the past. He spent his nights drinking, smoking, and gambling for medical supplies. He traded on the black market to help civilians get what they needed. He slept with women who had money to give, or who were lonely and wanting to forget the horrors of the war.
Part of the reason he’d left home was to get away from his drunkard, violent father. Vance Walker was a ruthless moonshiner who had a nasty reputation for getting pleasure out of inflicting pain on others, especially those closest to him.
Daniel had spent many nights locked in battle with him, defending himself, his sister Vanessa and their mother from Vance’s drunken rages. And then the War broke out. He believed in the fight. But after a while, all he saw was death. When the end of the War came and he returned home, all he found were more kids to defend and a feckless mother who was willing to let them take the heat for her. He’d begged her to leave with him and come to the City. 
          Not only had she refused, but she’d tipped Vance off to his plans. He’d sustained a gunshot wound that night, and had it not been for a little girl dragging her preacher father out of bed that night, he may not have survived.
The Brice girl. Sometimes when he was drunk enough, he thought of the courage it must’ve taken for her to run out into the mountain night. Most women he knew now didn’t have that kind of courage. As he rode toward his childhood home he couldn’t help but think she would be an adult now, and that her father was probably overseeing his mother’s burial.
He wasn’t sure why he was going home at all, other than to see his siblings. He’d heard Vanessa had been wild as a buck in his absence. But then, what chance had she had? With Vance for a father and Lillith for a mother, the dice were loaded against them.
As Daniel arrived at the Small Frontier Church of God he heard the cocking of a double barrel shotgun behind him. He held both his hands up and said, “I mean no one any harm. I’m just here for my mother’s funeral.”
“Daniel Walker?”
It was a woman’s voice asking the question. It was clear, it was strong, but it was soft at its edges. He looked over his shoulder and answered, “Yes.”
He heard the safety catch click into place. “I’m sorry. You can’t be too careful around here.” She walked around to the front of his mare and stroked her nose.
“She’s beautiful,” the young woman looked up at him.
He made eye contact with the girl and her bright brown eyes caught him off guard. 
“Yes, she is,” he said, his eyes locked on the long-haired brunette.
She smiled and chuckled. He noticed she was carrying a knapsack. He hopped down off his horse and tied the bridle to the post in front of the church. 
“What’s that you got there?”
“Food supply for the next week. I’m sorry about your Mama.”
“Don’t be.” The snow crunched under his feet as he walked around to feed his mare. “What’s your name?”
“Abagail Brice.” He felt the wind go out of him. “And I remember you. Daddy says your daddy does the devil’s work.”
“All men do the devil’s work eventually. It’s why you’re doing it that sets you apart.”
Daniel noticed her gaze dim a little bit. “C’mon, I’ll see if Momma will feed you and give you a place to stay for the night.”
“I can make my bed beneath the stars. It wouldn’t be the first time I slept outside.”
“I remember the last time you stayed beneath the stars in Craft’s Colley, your Daddy shot you. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen someone shot, but it was the first time I’d seen someone shot by someone they loved.”
“Your Daddy made it clear he never wanted to hear from me again.”
Her gaze softened, and if it was possible she looked even more like an angel to him. “Your momma’s just passed. I’m sure he’ll make an allowance.”
“I don’t know Abagail, your father didn’t much care for the fact his seven-year-old daughter was harboring a Walker in her room the night my Daddy shot me.”
“Let me work on him a little bit. I’m his favorite.” She placed her shotgun in the same hand as her knapsack and held out her hand.
The kindness in her eyes was something he didn’t see very often. Compassion was in short supply in his current life. He dealt with people who either needed or wanted something from him. He forgot that sometimes people just did good things because they wanted to. It just wasn’t something he’d learned from his family.
As they walked into the sanctuary and the parquet creaked beneath their feet, he was struck by how quiet it was. “You know, I’ve always wondered what happened to you,” she said shyly.
“You wouldn’t like the answer to that.”
“I hear from your sister Mariah that you run a medical clinic for civilians. If that’s true, it’s much better than anything I do around here.”
“And what do you do?” he asked as they stepped into the Pastor’s quarters. 
“I hunt. So the family doesn’t starve.”

Kate/Amy's Links 

More Books by the Same Author:

Gunpowder and Lead is due to be released this month by Hydra Publications. Kate/Amy will be on my Blog Talk Radio Show, RRWL Tales from the Pages on February 28 at 3PM Central and 4PM EST. Melissa Goodman, her co-author might be stopping by too. 

Coming up this week on February 13th a very popular guest author, Jo Linsdell will be visiting and talking about her new book, Fairy May. The next day, Thursday, February 14th, Valentine's Day, we will be having a book release party for Brandi. More about that later. The following week, Janie Franz will be visiting. 

Hope any of you who live in the northeast escaped the horrors of power outages and any other storm related occurrences. We were lucky and , no problems. 

Finally, thank you to all my new followers. I am very lucky to have such loyal followers and I apologize for not posting as much as I could in January. This will all be changed now.:)

Tomorrow my husband is undergoing cataract surgery so we have to get up early and go there. I had it twice, but you know men. He doesn't remember how I reacted at all!! Keep your fingers crossed and a few prayers for a successful operation, please. I'll keep you all posted about it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Hair Fairy

In a few days I am going to have Jo Linsdell here as my guest. She has written a children's book called Fairy May, which is about the Tooth Fairy. So I started to think about my own experience with this story and remembered a story I wrote for two very sick little girls to cheer them up called "The Hair Fairy". I am talking about this on my post for Downtown YA, Borrowing from Other Stories, so I thought I would pull it out and post it here. So here it is and I hope you enjoy it:

                                                               The Hair Fairy

Every night the hair fairy steals into the rooms of little girls and boys in all of the hospitals and gathers the fallen hair from their pillows. 

“It’s a tough job. It’s a sad job, but someone has to do it, “ the hair fairy says.

Then she sings her little song:

La, la, la, I gather the hair
Of boys and girls while they are asleep.
La, la, la, they are never aware
As I slip into their beds without even a peep.  
She hovers over the beds of the sick little girls and boys and scoops up the hair singing her special song.

In place of the hair she leaves a special tiara for the girls and a crown for the boys custom-made, with their name on it in glittering letters.  

One night she saw a little girl named Hannah who had just started her treatment a few days ago. Hannah was crying.

“Mommy, my beautiful hair is starting to fall out. I see it on my pillow every morning. It makes me so sad.”

“Hannah, your hair will grow back. In the meantime we have bought you a lovely hairpiece.”

Hannah’s mom fumbled in a shopping bag and unwrapped a big package. She showed it to Hannah who looked at it and tossed it as far as she could throw it.

“No, I will not wear anyone else’s hair. I want my own hair back. “ Crying she lost energy and laid back in her bed.  “I’ll never be a princess again.”

Her mom put her arms around Hannah and held her tight. “You’ll always be my princess,” her mom said. Hannah closed her eyes and Mom kissed her forehead, unfolded her from her arms, and tiptoed out of the room.

As soon as Mom left The Hair Fairy hovered over Hannah’s bed and gathered the fallen hairs in a flash, her bag vacuuming them until the surface was clean. In a twinkling she found a tiara with the name Hannah and placed it under the pillow singing her little song to herself the whole time, sprinkling happy dust as she worked.

In the morning Hannah awakened and felt a bump under her pillow. She looked underneath and with wide eyes and a big smile she found the tiara. 

The nurses came running when they heard the screaming.

“Look what I found,” Hannah yelled when the nurses hurried into her room ready to help her.  “Who put this here?” Hannah said.

On Hannah’s head was a beautiful glittering tiara with her name in big letters. The nurses all dropped their equipment and stared at her.

“This is why you screamed?” They were not angry. They were happy that Hannah was not sicker. “Why, it must be the Hair Fairy,” one of the nurses said.

“The Hair Fairy?” Hannah wondered who this was. 

“Yes, she brings either a tiara for a girl or a crown for a boy for each child who is in the Chemo ward. “  

“Is she like the Tooth Fairy? “I wonder what she does with the hair?” 

Hannah wore the tiara all day. It made her feel like a princess again.

That night when Hannah’s mom brushed Hannah’s hair more came out in big clumps. Mom threw it in the wastebasket. Tears came to Hannah’s eyes. She wanted to save her hair, but how could she when Mom threw it out.  

Thinking she had to lose her hair to feel better Hannah drifted to sleep. The Hair Fairy came again that night and vacuumed the hair from the wastebasket and from her pillow. She added a star to the tiara.

Hannah continued to gain stars on her tiara while losing almost all of her hair, which Hannah never found. In the end they had to shave her head to get rid of the last straggling strands. Hannah wore her glittering tiara with all of its stars and was happy to be going home tomorrow. Her stomach felt better too.

She went to bed wearing her tiara and never felt the Hair Fairy lift if from her head while singing her little song, 

In the morning when Hannah awoke she felt her head. The tiara was gone!

Tears replaced her smile until she looked under her pillow. There wrapped in gauze was a brand new hairpiece in exactly the color of her hair. She even noticed a spot where some of it was cut because Mom had to get gum out of it. 

She placed the hairpiece on her head and carefully moved out of bed to see herself in the bathroom mirror. She couldn’t believe it. Her old hair was back. 

Later when her mom came to bring her home Mom also couldn’t believe it. 

“Did your hair grow back?” Mom couldn’t figure out what had happened.

“No, I’m pretty sure it was the Hair Fairy, Mom.” Hannah guessed this morning that it wasn’t her mother or the nurse who gave her the tiara and stars. “She gathers the hair of all the children who have Chemo and gives us the tiara. Then she weaves it back into a hairpiece to wear when we get out of the hospital.”

Mom smiled and hugged Hannah. “We have to go now. Are you ready?”

Hannah asked her mother to wait a minute. “I have to do something first.”

Hannah took the picture she had made with the words THANK YOU HAIR FAIRY, LOVE HANNAH and put it on her pillow.

That night the Hair Fairy stopped into Hannah’s room and seeing the drawing folded it into small squares and placed it in the third bag she carried that contained more of the same squares. Then she flew around the hospital hovering, vacuuming and leaving her tiaras and crowns for the others still there. 

Of course, the little girls I had written this for loved the story and they sent me a beautiful letter thanking me. I am looking forward to hosting Jo Linsdell with her new book, Fairy May next week on this blog. I hope you will come and enjoy it too!!
Also next week on Monday, February 11th I will be hosting Amy McCorkle with her new book. More about that soon. 

Until the next time, hope all of you who live in the northeast are preparing for the big storm coming here. I am no stranger to snow, so I am ready!!

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