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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Welcome, Guest Author Penny Estelle!!!

I am happy to welcome Penny Estelle to my blog. Penny writes MG novels and she is here to share her books and her unusual experience with teaching. 

Hi Penny. I am looking forward to reading about your teaching experience. Most of my readers must know by now that I was a teacher for over 17 years, but I substituted so long that I got credit for 3 more years of teaching!! Being a substitute teacher is not an easy job as you will see in Penny's story. I never asked her if it was true or not. Maybe some of you might comment and ask her that question.:) Penny is giving away a free book to the lucky commenter who wins the drawing. Remember you've got to be in it to win it!!

The Day I Subbed For Miss Wickware

I was substituting the other day at Langdon Middle School.  Miss Wickware, the 7/8th grade history teacher was sick and I was called to cover her class.  It was a weird experience for me.  I had never subbed for the older kids, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Some of the students, during the morning classes, started talking about strange things that have happened in all of Miss Wickware’s classes.  Though I got everybody on task, deep down, I wanted to know what they were talking about.

According to Miss Wickware’s instructions, I had a lunchtime duty on the playground.

It was there I overheard two boys talking.  “Dude, I’m sacked out at home, in my own bed, and the next thing I know, I’m dressed in these weird clothes and am in the back of an old brown cart, being driven by a man that was at least eighty years old.  Lucky he was still breathing!”  The boy leaned in so nobody could overhear.  Of course, I took a step closer to hear what he was saying.  “This old guy says my mom has paid him to bring me to my uncle’s house.  I look around and have never seen anyplace like this. Green rolling hills as far as the eye can see. I’m starting to freak out and he says that my aunt and uncle live in the house that he is pointing at.  Are you ready for this?  It was the house of William Tell.  Dude, William Tell lived in the fourteenth century!”

“That’s pretty freaky, but I can beat that one.  Old lady Wickware made me stay after school.  Man, it was my first day and all ready in trouble.  Anyway, she gives me a bunch of crap about how my attitude better change in her class.  Here’s the weird part.  Her skinny, old hand was holding my arm and I couldn’t budge.  No joke!  It wouldn’t move!  When she finally let go I run out of the classroom and I’m in a forest.  There is no school, no buildings anywhere!  I meet this girl and her name is Sybil Ludington.  I had just drawn her name in class to do a report on.”

Both of the boys were a pale color and their eyes were wide with disbelief.  One said to the other, “Have you told anybody?

“No way!  You?”

“Nope and never will!”

The bell rang and the boys were up and running to their next class.  I just laughed, shaking it off.  Boys say the strangest things!

Okay, Penny. I have to admit I never had an experience like this when I was subbing. 

So I see you have some books you have written. You have published your latest book with MuseItUp Publishing and I am happy you are part of the Muse. Let's learn about your books and about you.

I am a retired school secretary.  In my twenty-one years working for an elementary school, I heard excuses of every kind as to why Kindergarten through eigth grade students were sent to see the principal. Everything from, “It wasn’t me. It was my evil twin!” to “I went to take an aspirin and I took my mom’s medication by mistake! It’s made me crazy!” I enjoyed working with children of all ages, which got me started on writing short stories.
I now live on a 54 acre ranch in VERY RURAL, NW Arizona, with my wonderful husband.  It is a constant work in progress. We live on solar and wind, which has been a real adjustment! On any given evening, the stars are an awesome sight and can be seen as far as the eye can see!

Billy Cooper’s seventh grade class has been given a last minute, weekend assignment.  An oral book report, due Monday, on some stupid historical figure, he draws from a box.
Billy’s weekend is way too full to worry about some legend – that is, until he meets him face to face!

Billy turned to William, “Dude, it’s a hat….a stupid hat. Really? Go to jail? You don’t even have to bow all the way,” he whispered, “just bend a little and call the guy a jerk under your breath.”
“I am a free man. I will not bow to a hat!” William stated loudly.
A booming voice rang out behind them. “Your disrespect for me will not be tolerated and you will be punished!”
William turned to see the Governor and several guardsmen behind them. “We do not live in Altdorf. I knew nothing of your proclamation. Still, you expect people to bow down to an empty hat?”
“Oh crap,” Billy muttered.
“What is your name?” Gessler asked.
“William Tell.”
“I have heard of you, Tell,” Gessler said, looking down from his horse. “Your skill as an archer is known far and wide.”
Tell did not respond, but Walter was quick to pipe up. “That is true. My father is the very best archer in all the lands!”
“Bro, ix-nay on the alk-tay,” Billy whispered.
“I am not an unreasonable man,” Gessler sneered. “I will make you a proposition, Tell. At fifty paces, your son will have an apple placed on his head. If you shoot if off successfully, you may go. If you miss, or you refuse, you both die!”

Wow, Penny! You can't leave us like this!! I know MG kids will love this book!


Ten-year old Andy Thompson disobeys his mother and sneaks into the basement of an old abandoned house that’s due for demolition. He stumbles upon a mysterious box under an old cabinet. And his troubles begin when he looks inside. The Crew brothers, twelve-year old Jason, and ten-year old Danny, also find their way to the basement. New to town, Jason has established himself as the school bully. A struggle ensues between Andy and Jason and the bully ends up as a toad. Somehow, the boys must reverse the magical spell. And that means hiking up the dread mountain: fast pace, fast action and just a few scares and surprises on the way! The lives of all three boys seem destined to change forever, if they survive…


Twelve-year old Pam Simpson gets dumped on when her mother is called into work. She has to babysit her brother and his friend, and entertain her prissy cousin, Candy, whom she doesn't even like. They are going to the public pool and floating down the canal to get there, much to Candy's frantic dismay. Pam's day goes from horrible to the best day of her life, thanks to A Float Down the Canal.

I know you have one more book that is a short story, At What Price. Here are the links for all of Penny's books, her website and her blog:

A Float Down the Canal
Billy Cooper's Awesome Nightmare

Penny, so happy to have you on my blog today. Summer is the perfect time for reading and mothers and fathers who are looking for exciting page turner stories for your children, why not get one of these books? 

Until the next time, it's only about a week until my operation and I can't wait. I've been icing my knees for a couple of days now and the result is truly amazing. I can't say I have less pain or that I am walking better, but my ankles have shrunk back to their normal size. The nurse said to use frozen vegetables, so I  have been doing that, but I put writing on one of them to make sure no one uses it for food! I'm switching off between four packages so if they get defrosted and then frozen again that wouldn't be healthy.:)

I'm planning to go to the pool soon before my operation, but my legs look awful. I need that cellulite cream to make them look halfway decent and I don't think it works in a day.LOL. What I can't wait to do is workout again. Since I can't bend my knee I haven't been able to do anything. I can't even do the stationary bike. Not sure if I'll have rehab or not after the surgery. Not sure about anything except there will be pain.:) 

Still waiting for my daughter's take on the last draft of my manuscript to send it in. Can't wait to sub this already.:)

Enjoy the good weather if you have it and buy lots of books. My novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is a great idea for beach reading for both you and your children ages 10 and up. Don't take my word for it. This is the feedback I have gotten from past readers. Click on the cover on the sidebar. Or go here:

Friday, June 14, 2013

How Do You Develop an Audience for Your Blog?

I want to introduce you all to Sara Stringer, who has several tips for my blogging friends on how to gain an audience. You may find a few you haven't tried yet.:)

Welcome, Sara. I know I have tried many things to gain an audience including joining several traffic websites. However, you have many new ideas here.

Developing an Audience for Your Blog

My blog started out as a pet project--a way to feel connected to the wider world during those first few months of motherhood. I wrote to collect ideas, process feelings, and maintain a grip on my adult language faculty between 3 AM feedings. 

At first, the act of blogging itself proved satisfying. I did not even push my first few blogs out to my friends and family. The act of posting proved catharsis enough. A few posts later, however, I decided to stop using the blog as a diary. 

Many of my friends asked for advice on safe and natural alternatives to household cleaners. My blog seemed like the perfect medium to communicate recipes for baking soda scrubs to my group of friends. I posted a tip, shared the link, and went about my day. 

When I came back to my blog during nap time, I found multiple comments from my friends--and even one from a friend of a friend. The response was modest, but I swelled with the gratification of finding my little audience. Finding readers propelled me further. I sought to expand my reach beyond friends and family. 

The internet is full of eager readers. Finding an audience for your niche blog is often as easy as looking for it. However, to develop and maintain traffic to your blog, it is important to keep a few tips in mind.

The quickest way to generate initial hits is to mine your social network for readers. Friends want to hear what you have to say, and will readily click your links. Use social networks like Facebook and Twitter; you can even push links in the comments of social photo programs like Instagram. 

Be sure to post links during a time of day when most of your friends list is online. For awhile my core crew hung out around 10-noon, right  smack in the middle of nap time. I made sure new posts went up on my Facebook feed when they would find their biggest audience.

To expand your readership beyond your personal circle of friends, read other likeminded blogs and share comments. Actively engaging in online conversations will help you develop new online relationships. Most commenting systems allow you to link back to a website when posting. Be sure to include your blog. 

Participate in online forums and groups relevant to your subject matter, and be sure to provide the link to your blog in any profile and signature information. Feel free to actively post on bookmarking sites like Reddit or Digg. If your blog has a post relevant to the discussion, do be afraid to share the direct link. Don't post links willy nilly like a spambot, but do actively direct traffic to content others will find interest in.

Once you gain a larger following, consider posting on a schedule. Reliability in posting means that audiences know to check back on Wednesdays for new tip or every other day after 10 am for a new blog. Posting on a regular schedule helps your audience stay connected to you. Whether you are just posting funny GIFs of your baby or directing readers to the early released coupons for Black Friday special 2013, posting on a schedule keeps readers clicking back to your blog with regularity.

Add value to your blog by directing readers to relevant links for great promotions, products, or articles your find online. Providing information and access to things beyond just your posts ensures that readers will keep coming back to utilize your blog as a directory. For instance, I found that Nerd Wallet has great coupons for BJ's and other retailers that my readers use. I always share the best ones that I find. This keeps readers clicking back to my site to check for fresh coupon links when they are shopping online.

Also consider hosting contests or offering giveaways. This method will drive a lot of initial traffic to your site, but it is up to you to hook them with your content. Be sure to follow through on any freebies you offer!

Finding an audience for my blog was exciting, and definitely helped propel me through the babytalk years by keeping me connected to the adult world. I wish you the best of luck in your blogging endeavors!

 After reading your ideas I can't believe you were able to keep blogging while being a mother to young children. I know that I was not thinking about blogging when I had young children. So I have a lot of respect for you. Let's learn more about you:

Sara Stringer Bio:
Sara is a freelance writer who most enjoys blogging about lifestyle, relationships, and life as a woman. In her spare time, she enjoys soaking up the sunshine with her husband and two kids.

Well, this was a lot of fun. You are one of the few people who is not an author who has come on this blog. I hope my readers have enjoyed meeting you as much as I have.:)

[I want my readers to know the ideas and opinions of this post may or may not be like mine and I am not supporting any of the links in this article. They are all the creation of the writer of this guest post.]

Until the next time,  I don't have any authors scheduled, however, I will keep you all posted on my life. Now I am concentrated on getting through my knee surgery at the end of June. It seems lately that my days are filled with doctor visits for either myself or my husband. He had a consultation about his toe and the news is not great. He will probably have to lose it. If you follow this blog you know that two summers ago my husband had a toe removed from his right foot. Now he will probably have the same toe on his left foot removed. It's complicated because of all his health issues. But it will probably be in July. 

Anyway, you can follow all of the news on my Facebook page too. I am hoping to send my finished second novel by the end of this month too. We'll see. Enjoy the sun when it shines. Here it only shines every two or three days. Stay dry.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Meet Rae Hachton, Guest Author

Welcome Rae!! I was a bit late getting this post up here, but the real world causes these things to happen.:) Great having you here and I'm sure my readers can't wait to learn all about you and your books. It isn't often that I have someone on my blog who is so linked with the paranormal. Let's find out about you:


Writes Dark Romanticism-sometimes with gears and clockwork. Has cemetery obsession. Misses Victorian London and ancient Rome. Believes in vampires and magic. If imaginary, she would be an automaton fairy. Corvidophile. Content.

We didn't get a chance to talk yet, but I am very interested in how you got involved with cemeteries to such an extent that you are obsessed with them. Maybe you could answer that in the comments for us.

Meanwhile, let's learn about why you decided to write the Pretty in Black series and the first book, Pretty in Black. It started it all, didn't it? By the way, that is a very cool title for a book and a series.:)



Pretty in Black is the first book in the Gothic Romance series. The story behind how the series came to be is just as haunting as the story itself. The idea came to me late one night in March 2011 while I was hanging out in an old cemetery with some friends, on a Ghost Hunt.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of an apparition. Sitting on top of a grave, were two lovers— a guy and a girl. I watched their interactions with one another and immediately, I wanted to know two things: What were they doing in this cemetery so late at night and Why did their embrace look so tragic?

They were leaned against the stone, in their own little world. And to this day, I still do not know if they were real or not, but they became the characters of this story. I remember the ride home clearly. I was intrigued. I sat in the backseat, writing notes to myself on my phone about what I'd just witnessed. Two days later, I began writing the story. It just hit me. And after hearing My Time's Up by The Raveonettes—a song off their album Raven in the Grave, the rest of the story just fell into place.

Marcus Marble began as a regular dead guy. I never really liked vampires, but a daydream I had back in high school led me to the idea of creating the Evermore. Vampires who can come out in the sunlight, have no desire to drink blood, and are warm to the touch.

Edgar Allan Poe also played a major role in the creation of the dark worlds of Nevermore and The Land of Naught.

Pretty in Black is just the beginning.


The vampire in Pretty in Black  is named Marcus Marble.



(Aside from the fact he is a vampire)

BORN: December 31, 1892
DIED: November 17, 1911

Plays the violin, drives a white 1958 Mercedes Benz with red leather interior, frolics about in cemeteries.

Oh, this is one vampire I would like to meet.:)

You have an excerpt to share with us from your upcoming new book in the Gothic Romance series, Secret Garden:


Secret Garden

EXCERPT. © 2011 Reprinted by Permission. All Rights Reserved.
From: The Secret Garden

"Welcome to the secret garden, My Lady."

An extremely old cemetery lay neglected before me, but it was tranquil. The gate was frail and rusted, and the ivy vines that twisted around it also stretched out and wrapped themselves around the stone wall. Marcus reached into the backseat to retrieve his violin. In an esoteric way, the violin case slightly resembled a coffin.

He carried his violin and walked with me into the cemetery. The headstones were weathered and unreadable, and flowers, or what may have been flowers, dead. A cool wind blew through the trees. He rested his violin against a stone and before I knew it, he swept me off my feet and tossed me over his shoulder.

I squealed. "Marcus Marble, put me down now!" He just laughed and twirled me around and carried me over to the stone wall and sat me atop.

"Be right back."

I glanced around the cemetery and could've sworn I saw or felt someone watching me. Someone other than Marcus. But Marcus returned before I had time to analyze it any further and he noticed my expression had shifted.

"What's wrong?" He looked concerned.

"I'm cold," I lied. He quickly removed his coat and tossed it up to me. It was extremely warm and the scent was intoxicating—like sleeping on a bed of flowers on the first night of Spring.

I felt safe with Marcus, but there was also an intensity about it--an excitement from being near him, and often times it would even linger when he wasn't around, and make me want to be with him more. The feeling was becoming more and more addicting and I wasn't sure I could live without it.

Marcus raised his violin into position, looked up into my eyes and then...a bewitching tune melded onto the airwaves and spread over me like the afternoon sunset that flared through the trees and sank into the graves of the dead, never to be seen again.

Even with his coat on, I felt chills. The tune he played was sad at first. And then it flirted with a tune that sounded like love. Those two frequencies made a bittersweet melody that burst into a cry of pain, a wailing of war. Finally, the heartache subsided and silently imploded onto a string of notes that were unsettling. The sound that ended the melody was a sound that was unsure of itself. It was equivalent to reading a book and coming across a page that abruptly stopped in the middle of a paragraph and did not continue on. This sound was definitely not the ending of his tune. It wasn't happy nor sad. It was just unwritten.

I realized tears trickled from my eyes. I quickly wiped them away. The sun faded and night began to descend. The sky was a deep navy blue. Marcus sat his violin aside and dropped to one knee, as though he were about to propose. His eyes flickered with seriousness. He took my hand into his. "Ellie, would you frolic in the land of forever with me?"

"What's the land of forever?"



Okay, so do you have anything published other than this series?

Frankie's Monster. by Rae Hachton—From Teen Pulse
A Standalone Title about a xombie and the girl he loves. 

Links for Rae Hachton:

Rae, I want to thank you for stopping by and acquainting us with your books and one of your characters. I know after reading that excerpt I would like to read your books.:)

Until the next time, I will be on the Muse blog on Thursday, June 13 talking about writing. I'm not sure exactly what part of writing I will be talking about, but it may be about the revision process. I will be posting about this next week.

Also, at the end of this month I will be getting knee surgery for a torn meniscus and arthritis. The doctor assures me that it will not take me away from my daily activities and believe me, I can't wait to have more mobility in that knee. Right now, it is very difficult for me to walk long distances. By that, I mean by the time I have walked around a department store I am in real pain. So I'll keep everyone posted about how I am doing afterward. I don't have to spend any time in the hospital, I hope. The actual recovery time is 6 weeks and everyone who has had this kind of surgery says I'll feel one hundred per cent better!!

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