My Guest: Marva Dasef

Hi Everybody,

You are going to find today’s guest, Marva Dasef, to be a prolific and original story teller. I suspect that her home in the Pacific Northwest had a lot to do with her choice of subject matter for her supernatural/historical fiction novel, Bad Spelling. The book is to be released on October 14th, but the trailer is already out. It’s beautifully done and I will try to give you the link. If it doesn’t work from this blog, you can always paste it into your browser. And I highly recommend that you do.

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWgjP4szkh0

This blog post relates information about the Shamans of Northern Siberia, the setting of the story.

Leave a comment for Marva to be entered into her drawing.

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

I asked Marva if she has any hobbies. Here is her answer: No hobbies. I never comprehended the concept since I quit collecting horse pictures, statues, etc. when I was around 11. I like to watch old TV on Netflix. I went through all the Doctor Who episodes available, and I’m now working my way through Young Indiana Jones. I wish I could hook Netflix to my TV, but our TV is too old to do that. Maybe someday.

BAD SPELLING – Book 1 of the Witches of Galdorheim

A klutzy witch, a shaman’s curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

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

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

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

THE SHAMANS AND THE SAMIS

Andy is a troll…sort of. Stolen at birth by the Trolless Gorm to replace one of her newborn triplets, Andy is through and through troll. He loves his brothers Endy and Indy, respects the troll King Ole, and is overall pretty happy being a troll.

However, when Gorm is near death, she tells Andy that he’s bortbyting, a changeling. His real family is the Sami tribe of Siberia. Well, we already know that Kat’s father is a Sami from Siberia. Hmm. Coincidence? I think not.

Let’s talk about the Siberian side of the family.

The Samis (also spelled Sámi or Saami) are a widespread extended clan of people closely related to the North American Eskimos and Aleutes. You’ve heard of Samoyed dogs, the breed of sled dog bred by these northernmost indigenous people. The Lapps are the same people just a little further west. There is lots of interesting information on the Sami people out on the internet. I discovered them by trundling around the web looking for an indigenous people living in Siberia. I wanted Kat’s father to be completely different from the Euro-Nordic witches of Galdorheim. I hit the motherload with the Samis. These are the perfect folks to be the middle link between witches and trolls. The Free Encyclopedia is a treasure trove of information. I spent a lot of time following links and reading. These are people not widely known by the “civilized” world.

The Samis of Siberia are primarily hunter/gatherers with fishing being a major food source. You can imagine that near the Arctic Circle, farming is not possible. Russia pulled the same dirty trick on the Samis as the US pulled on the indigenous tribes of North America: relocation. They moved them all next door to the Barents Sea, which, naturally, is not a desirable piece of real estate. I know we could all go on and on about the injustices of the world, but that’s not what I’m doing here. I encourage you to follow the links from the Free Encyclopedia. It’s an addictive trail of fascinating information.

But the central idea in the Witches of Galdorheim books is the existence of this type of people exactly where they are in Siberia. Worked out great for my story. In “Bad Spelling,” Kat has to deal with a shaman of the Sami people. First she has to find him, and that’s a pretty long journey in itself. Along the way, she meets Andy and they travel to the Siberian north to find him.

The Samis practice shamanism with various shamans handling different parts of life.

The Tadebya advises on the right time to go fishing or move the village (the Samis are nomadic). He handles the practical day-to-day needs of the people.

The Vidutana deals with the heavens so is the go-to guy if you’re in need of heavenly guidance.

The Sambana is more like the crazy monk living in a cave somewhere. Everybody around knows he’s got some kind of power, but he’s also dangerous. He can cast evil spells, deals with black magic, and is an all-around unsavory character.

This is very simplistic, and you won’t have to try very hard to find differences in my interpretations of shamanistic matters with real-world examples. But, hey, I’m writing a fantasy here and am allowed to mess with all things magical to my heart’s content.

Excerpt (the Shamans)

Ivansi rocked from one foot to the other and then rubbed his right mukluk against his left calf. He had much to do before leaving, and he wanted to get on with it. He’d never say it to anybody, but he didn’t think his grandfather was that good a shaman. Even so, it wasn’t his place to question shamans of the tribe. For now, all he wanted to know was whether or not his hunt would succeed, but his grandfather never hurried things along. None of the shamans ever did.

The hunt he proposed was dangerous; that he knew all too well, since his own son, Borisi, disappeared many turns of the sun before. His chances of success were good, for he was a seasoned hunter, and would not be going alone. But even a large kayak could easily disappear into the fierce Barents Sea, never to be seen again.

Ivansi’s mind wandered to Borisi. A few months after his son disappeared, Ivansi had steeled his nerves and gone to seek the assistance of the Sambana, the village shaman who could contact the dead. Unlike the Tadebya, who sought the guidance of the gods in everyday matters, or the Vidutana, who could provide information on the heavens, the Sambana lived alone and away from the tribe. The very nature of the Sambana’s talent made him a fearful presence, so the tribe avoided contact with the old man unless absolutely necessary, which seemed to suit the ancient shaman just fine. The people were convinced the Sambana had gone crazy years before. The rumor was the Sambana’s wife had run away with a witch man. Some said the Sambana had lived for more than a thousand years, but nobody could prove it one way or the other.

Ivansi had feared his son was dead but wanted to know for sure. The Sambana sought Borisi’s spirit in his seeing flame but could not contact him. Usually, the purpose of contact with the dead was to aid the soul into the afterlife. Since he could not speak to Borisi, the Sambana decided the young man must still live. He was lost, obviously, but not dead. The Sambana told Ivansi not to worry; he would protect his son against evil. The Sambana sent a magic shield to seek Borisi wherever he was and surround him.

Ivansi’s attention returned to the present when the Tadebya snuffed out the flame and looked up at him.

“Your hunt will succeed, but you must return within seven days. Stay not one day longer, no matter how good the hunting.”

“Yes, Tadebya, I will.” Ivansi exited the shaman’s tent and went to tell the rest of his hunting party they could leave right away. The five other hunters had prepared the two kayaks and loaded the gear needed for the week-long trip. With twenty hours of dark each day, it made no difference whether they began the hunt during the day or at night, although they preferred to travel during the dark times and hunt in the twilight hours.

Marva, this is very interesting reading. It’s clever the way you have interwoven the two different cultures by placing Kat in the middle.  I’m looking forward to reading the whole story. And congratulations, also, to Kaytalin Platt for the beautiful book cover.

It’s been a pleasure having you on my blog today, Marva. Thank you.

My Guest: Meradeth Houston

Our Blog Hopping Guest today is Meradeth Houston, the author of Colors Like Memories. Meradeth has an unusually fine imagination and her book sounds very interesting. It is not only a story of redemption, but is layered with historical references to the American Civil War. She is sharing some actual photographs of the Civil War with us.  Welcome, Meradeth.

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Barbara!

Tell us a bit about your book, Colors Like Memories:

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

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

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

Cover TBA J. Release by MuseItUp in May 2012!

I can be found at my website (www.MeradethHouston.com), and my blog (http://meradethhouston.blogspot.com/). I’d love to have people stop by!

Contest: comment here for a chance to win Colors Like Memories when it releases. Please leave a way for me to get in contact with you! Winner will be announced on my blog at the end of the month!

A bit about me: I’m a scientist by day, writer by night (well, really, whenever I can sneak it in). In my spare time, I like to travel with my husband and have recently gotten into photography more. I’m a pretty crazy-busy person, but writing is my passion, and I love books!

Excerpt:

I greeted his tombstone the way I always did—with a swift kick. The release of frustration was more than worth the sharp pain in my toes. The polished marble tilted to the left because of all my visits; a crooked tooth in the rows of pearly white graves.

            I folded my legs under me, shuddering as the chill of the damp grass seeped through my clothes. “I keep hoping one of these days you’ll be here waiting for me.” The words were tradition. Some small part of me still clung to the hope I’d come over the hill to find him leaning over his grave, wearing a sly smile. He died so very long ago, but I couldn’t stop wishing.

            Leaning forward, I rested my forehead against my knees and closed my eyes, longing for a few minutes of rest. A few minutes to pretend it was someone else buried beneath me. I tried to explain this to him, but tonight I didn’t have the will to pretend it was more than starlight that listened.

            It took a long time to notice, building imperceptibly until I finally looked over my shoulder. Someone was there, watching me. It hadn’t been a sound that alerted me so much as the feel of their gaze, heavy in the darkness. After so many nights spent here, I knew the difference.

Civil War era Women

Nurses and Officers at Fredricksburg, Virginia

A word about research: I haven’t mentioned this much, but about a third of Colors Like Memories is set during the past—the Civil War, actually, when Julia loses Derek. (The Sary can be kind of old, though they generally don’t act that way.) Anyhow, when I first started writing the historical part, I was really nervous. I mean, I know how much of a stickler I can be about facts in other books, so making sure I had things correct in my own was a big concern.

So, what’s a writer to do? Well, first, I wrote the historical part J. I know, a little backwards, right? Well, I knew what I wanted to have happen, so I started out there knowing I could layer details in later. Then, I turned to books and the web. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how much information was out there on the Civil War! I spent a lot of time pouring over lists of names, tiny details, random information, anything you can imagine.

There were a few things I knew I’d need: the state of medical knowledge and practice at the time (Julia’s a nurse back then). Thankfully I know how to work with chloroform myself (thanks to my time in the lab), so I could use those little details, too! I also found as many pictures and other sources to try and get the clothing right. I’m writing in the Gone With The Wind era, but Julia would never be caught in one of those get-ups. (Well, maybe, but certainly not while she’s working.) Anyhow, those made for some fun times.

The hardest part about this was working out which battle to set things in. I knew I needed a couple of things: a big fight where one of the armies was camped in an area for a while ahead of time; a place for Julia to work nearby; a early morning battle; a forested area; a cemetery where they buried the dead; and I had a general year in mind. This item took forever! I finally settled on the Battle of Fredericksburg (which I found a little ironic, seeing as Derek’s full name is Frederick). Anyhow, more information about this cool site can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fredericksburg. From there, it was easy to pick up more details about the time and place (like, it was foggy on the morning of the battle, which played in perfectly to the story).

I still worry about whether or not I managed to get everything right! Still, it was a blast to write, and I learned a whole lot in the process!

Meradeth, I know all the history buffs and historical fiction buffs are going to love reading your version of the Civil War. And with Sarys, yet! Sounds like a winning combination.

Thanks for being with us today, Meradeth, and especially for the photographs. When you get your book cover, let me know and I will display it for the enjoyment of my readers.

 

My Guest: Rebecca Ryals Russell

Let me introduce you to Rebecca Ryals Russell, another guest hopping along the Muse Blog-a-Thon Trail. After you read about her writing, you will be treated to an interesting and surprising aspect of her life.

Rebecca is well known as the Yellow Hat Writer. Hey, Rebecca, where’s the yellow hat? Never mind, the one you’re wearing is lovely.

Rebecca writes MG and YA Dark Fantasy and Horror while living with her family in a Victorian house on five acres of North Florida countryside. She also runs a Vacation Rental Log House on the property: Florida Black Bear Cabin. ( http://flablackbearcabin.com )

She is a fourth generation Floridian. She was born in Gainesville, grew up in Sunrise, lived in Orlando and Jacksonville before moving outside Lake City to care for ailing parents.

The daughter of an Elementary-school principal and secretary, for fourteen years she taught Middle Grades, preferring English and Creative Writing. She had several students’ works published in anthologies as well as her own poetry, photography and stories. Her main interests are her four children ages 22, 19, 17, 11 and Irish hubby of 35 years. She enjoys spending her time writing, drawing, going to movies, reading, discussing philosophy with her 17-year-old son.

Over the course of the next few years she has several books being published.

Be sure to check out the special interactive Middle Grade Reader website http://tweenwordquest.com for tons of information about Stardust Warriors as well as the other projects Rebecca has in the works.

Leave a comment for Rebecca’s posting. One commenter will be chosen at random to win a FREE ebook or other PRIZE, such as an illustrated calendar, keychain, cover art notepad. You can’t win if you don’t comment. More details available at http://rryalsrussell.com/september-blog-a-thon/

Rebecca is adept at creating complete worlds (steam punk) for her fantasy series, The Seraphym Wars. Here are glimpses into some of Rebecca’s books.

Zarena:

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

I regret to say I could not get the cover of Prophesy to download.

Prophecy:

For centuries the residents of Solsyl lived in peace and harmony with the planet. Then the dragon-demons arrived, causing the Great Shuddering. Majikals from everywhere scurried to find shelter from the evil while humans hid. Laud regretted his rash decision of exiling the demons on Solsyl and asked one of his advisors, a member of The Conscientia, to protect his people. Jeremiah Holyfield agreed to leave the peaceful world of Revrum Natura for a life of constant strife and fear on the newly renamed planet of Dracwald. But Narciss, ruler of Tartarus and King of the demons, desperately wants what Jeremiah has sworn to protect—a Prophecy of Narciss’s future doom. And Narciss refuses to take no for an answer. But Jeremiah discovers allies along his path and even true love, which he never dreamed possible.

But forever is a long time to protect something without ever letting down one’s guard.

Odessa:

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

Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?

Links: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/

http://events.linkedin.com/events/784054/clickthru

 

BOOK RELEASE INFO:

April 2011-Odessa, Seraphym Wars YA Series-available at Amazon

July 2011-Zarena, Stardust Warriors MG Series

September 2011-Prophecy, Seraphym Wars

October 2011-Don’t Make Marty Mad (adult Horror story)

November 2011-Jeremiah, Stardust Warriors

January 2012-Harpies, Seraphym Wars

February 2012-Laman, Stardust Warriors

April 2012-Mercy, Stardust Warriors

June 2012-Magaelbash, Stardust Warriors

 

You are going to enjoy reading about the memorabilia Rebecca would put in a garage sale.

I just can’t believe she could really part with this stuff. It’s worth more than money; although, some of it is probably worth a lot of moola. 

Both of my parents died recently, as in the last seven years; so I’ve had to deal with getting rid of a lifetime’s accumulation of their stuff. And both were ‘collectors’, so there was A LOT of stuff. I still have some I haven’t been able to sell, but will soon because I’m tired of dealing with it. So one day I thought. “What about having a Teenaged Garage Sale? How fun to recall the things that were so important to me at the time.” And so, here’s my list. Now remember, I grew up in the 1960’s, graduated from high school in 1974. So some of this stuff will sound completely alien to you and some of it, I realized while making the list, is popular again. How funny is that?

Mounted 1000 piece puzzle of Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings

12-string acoustic guitar

Several notebooks filled with poetry and short stories

A few old 35mm cameras

Several photo albums of black & white photos, artistically shot

Brown leather wedge chunky high-heeled shoes, quite worn

Dark purple hip-hugger double-flared bell bottom jeans with a wide brown leather belt

Nylon multicolored halter top that ties behind the neck and at the waist, worn with white hotpants and no bra

Black fishnet stockings and shiny black knee-high boots

Wild and colorfully flowered button-up tunic with a split from bottom to bellybutton and matching hotpants (short shorts)

Pucca shell necklace just like Drew’s (who sat in front of me in English Lit and I had a major crush on; he was a surfer and wore sandals to school!)

Flower-Power sheer bedroom curtains and matching bedspread; neon pink, lemon yellow, lime green flowers the size of my hand

Iggy Dolls (trolls) with neon hair and brush

Clip-on roller skates and key (These clipped to the bottom of your shoes, then slid to fit and tightened with a key. But after going about three feet would have to be tightened again; over and over.)

The Monkeys, The Beatles,  vinyl albums and portable record player

Homemade, quilted, full-length skirt with elastic waist. (Made by my mother for Christmas when I was about 12, I lived in this skirt all winter—it was like a blanket. I think I still have it someplace in the closet.)

Buick Special painted turquoise blue with a black roof, no AC (rubber-bladed fan on dashboard),  family owned (bought from Grandpa for $800 earned on my first part-time job working Saturday mornings as a claims taker for Allstate Insurance Co.),  3 foot-long ‘Go Turtle’ decals on both rear fenders (ordered from Turtle Wax car wax company), Ooga horn installed by Daddy.

*************

Rebecca, thanks for visiting us at Stories a la Mode today. This blog is certainly in a different mode.

My Guest: Barbara Ehrentreu

Today we have with us on the Muse Blog Tour—Barbara Ehrentreu. During this past year, I have been getting to know and like Barbara, even though it is an online friendship. We aren’t just sisters in the Muse Family. Our books were accepted at the same time and Lea announced that the Muse “was being invaded by the Barbaras.” So we have kept up with each other through emails and on the Muse Gab Room and the Muse Author’s Site. We were both biting our nails hoping we would get permission to use quotes from Dr. Seuss in our books. And we did get the permissions. Wheeeeuuu!!! Welcome, Barbara.

 

Barbara lives in Stamford, Connecticut, with her husband and two grown daughters, but she spent most of her life in New York State. She is a retired teacher who now tutors children who have learning difficulties. Since she was a little girl, she has loved reading and writing. A few years ago, she received her Masters in Reading and Writing K-12 and became a certified Reading teacher.

Barbara stays very busy and wears lots of hats. She hosts Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages on Blog Talk Radio every 4th Thursday. In addition, her children’s story, “The Trouble with Follow the Leader” and an adult story, “Out on a Ledge” are published online. She writes book reviews for Authorlink.com. and several of her reviews have been on Acewriters and Celebrity Café. She is a member of SCBWI.

When she wanted to attend a workshop with Paula Danziger as the leader, she wrote three chapter of a YA story that just popped into her head. When Paula took an interest in working with her story, she was thrilled and decided it had merit. So in the next two years, she worked on finishing it.

The book became If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor and it has recently been published by MuseItUp Publishing. This is what Barbara says about Muse:

Being a part of MuseItUp Publishing has brought me another online family and I am thrilled to be one of the increasingly large members of this warm and encouraging group.

Well, mates, I’m here to tell you that Barbara has a winner here. I have just started reading the book and am just getting into the conflict. Already I can tell that Barbara knows a lot about the teen mind and the situations that come up in high school. There are issues and also some romance.

  

Here is an excerpt from Barbara’s novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, a young adult novel about the trials of being high school students.

 “If you have been checked on your somersault, you can jog around the gym until the bell rings.” Miss Gaylon is going to be nominated most annoying teacher in the whole school soon.

Why do we have to run now? Did I have any energy to do this?

Jennifer and I start to run, but soon she forges ahead of me. Is this a race, I wonder? Or am I so slow, she can pass me anytime she wants to? We’re halfway around the gym when suddenly I see Jennifer starting to slow down. She stops running and starts to walk. She looks almost white, and I wonder if she is really sick.

“Jennifer, are you okay?” I pass her at a slow trot.

“Just tired I guess. All of a sudden I felt a little faint. Don’t laugh. It can happen to anyone.”

“Did you forget to breathe as you ran? That could cause it.”

“Very funny, Carolyn; did I forget to breathe?”

“I thought it was. Do you need to see the nurse?”

“No, I’m fine, but I’d like to sit down.”

“There’s Miss Gaylon. I’m sure if you tell her you don’t feel well, she’ll let you.”

“This is funny. Now it’s me who needs to go to the nurse, but I’ll be okay. Just need to sit down. Once I do, I’ll be all right.”

Jennifer slows down, and soon she’s stopped completely. I look at her, and she looks way too pale. I grab her around the waist and walk her over to the bleachers. Miss Gaylon notices and comes over immediately. Jennifer looks dazed.

“Jennifer Taylor, are you sick? You don’t look good at all.”

“Miss Gaylon, I think she hurt her foot, twisted her ankle, but she’s okay now. I’ll stay here and check on her.”

“Let me see that ankle. Hmm, it doesn’t look swollen. You will be fine in a few minutes. The bell is going to ring soon. You stay there, and in a few minutes go get changed.”

“Thanks, Miss Gaylon. I’m feeling much better now.”

Jennifer looks at me with surprise and happiness.

“You are always amazing me, Carolyn. I guess I should have eaten a little more at lunch. Now I remember. I got sick after breakfast today, too. No wonder I have no energy. Thanks for helping me. I might have fainted if you hadn’t brought me over here.”

Across the gym, Becky and her partner are staring over at Jennifer and me. Becky mouths to me, “What happened?”

I mouth back, “She’s sick and needs to rest.”

“Are your plans off?” Becky keeps miming to me.

“No, she’s feeling much better now, must be her period.” This is the last lie I want to tell

Becky today. All of the lies I have told seem to be lying in a puddle at my feet.

The bell rings for the end of the period, and I race toward my locker. I change in a flash and run down the hallway to my other locker. I grab my books and streak down to the front door.

Meanwhile, I scan the halls for Brad. I don’t want to bump into him again.

I’m in a fog racing toward the front door. Brad comes from the staircase, and we are

separated by a hundredth of an inch. This time we meet face to face in the middle of the front hallway. Jennifer walks out of the gym looking a little frazzled. Jennifer Taylor looking frazzled?

The end of the world is coming. Brad sees her and walks straight over like a guided missile. “Jennifer, you look awful. What happened?”

“Brad, I’m so glad to see you. I felt sick in gym, but it’s probably not eating enough for

lunch. We had to run, and I couldn’t keep going. Do you know who helped me though? She’s like my savior—Carolyn. She got me over to a seat, and I didn’t even have to go to the nurse. What a girl.” She smiles at me. Even better, Brad smiles at me, too.

“Jennifer, it’s the least I could do for you,” I say. “Now we’re even, right?”

“Yeah, I guess we are. See you outside in a few minutes. You’re ready I hope?”

“Yes, I zoomed over and got my stuff. How about you? Are you feeling okay now? We

could postpone this you know.” I keep my fingers crossed.

“No, I’ll be fine. You’re coming over, and we’ll study, okay?”

I look at Jennifer and wonder why she didn’t tell him about the makeover.

“What do you mean you’re studying? I thought we were going to spend tonight together.”

Brad sticks out his bottom lip and pouts.

“Tomorrow night, I’ll go out with you. Remember, my parents only allow me one night a

week for dates.”

“Okay, I’ll call you tomorrow and see you tomorrow night.”

“Thank you, Brad. You do understand don’t you?” Jennifer purrs to him, rubbing her hands up and down his arm. Brad puts his arms around her and gives her a big hug. Jennifer gets up on her tiptoes and kisses him on the cheek. I’m way too jealous to continue watching this sappy scene.

I walk outside and try to forget what I just saw. Brad will never like me the way he likes

Jennifer. I don’t think she cares about him as much as he likes her, but she can sure twist him around her finger. I want to learn how to do that, too. One minute he’s angry and sullen, the next he’s hugging her. For the fifty thousandth time in my life, I wish I could.

Barbara, that is a teasing example of your story that leaves us wondering what is going to happen to these three youngsters. We just gotta find out!

Thanks for being with us today. And hey, everybody, I’m over at Barbara’s blog, also. Please drop in and learn about an aspect of Wounds—the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com/

 

My Guest: Pembroke Sinclair

I’m happy to have on my blog today versatile writer Pembroke Sinclair. She writes an eclectic mix of stories ranging from western to science fiction to fantasy. Just look at all the various places where her stories have been published: including Static Movement, chuckhawks.com, The Cynic Online Magazine, Sonar 4 Publications, Golden Visions Magazine, and Residential Aliens. Her first novel, Coming from Nowhere, is now available at eTreasures Publishing and Amazon.com. Her story, Sohei, was named one of the Best Stories of 2008 by The Cynic Online Magazine. If you would like to contact Pembroke, she can be reached at pembrokesinclair @ hotmail.com or pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com.

Today, Pembroke is going to tell us about her paranormal novel, Life After the Undead. If you love blood and gore, you will relish this story. Here is a little taste for you.

The world has come to an end. It doesn’t go out with a bang, or even a whimper. It goes out in an orgy of blood and the dead rising from their graves to feast on living flesh. As democracy crumples and the world melts into anarchy, five families in the U.S. rise to protect the survivors. The undead hate a humid environment, so they are migrating westward to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors are constructing a wall in North Platte to keep the zombie threat to the west, while tyranny rules among the humans to the east. Capable but naïve Krista is 15 when the first attacks occur, and she loses her family and barely escapes with her life. She makes her way to the wall and begins a new life. But, as the undead threat grows and dictators brainwash those she cares about, Krista must fight not only to survive but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately those she loves.

Buy Link:

httpa://etreasurespublishing.com/products/Life-After-The-Undead-by Pembroke-Sinclair.html

I tried to insert and also type in the link to Pembroke’s trailer. But since I can’t get it to work, I will put it in my email announcement.

 I’m sure many of you are into Social Networking. Here is Pembroke’s account of how she got into social Networking.

I fought marketing on the Internet for a long time.  When it became apparent I wouldn’t sell any books without a presence, I started a MySpace page.  After that, a friend of mine told me I should get into blogging.  I didn’t think I’d have enough time, but I thought I’d give it a go.

My intention was to only do it a couple times a week, but I found myself doing it every day (except for the weekends).  I tried to keep up with my MySpace page, but I couldn’t figure out how to use some of the features.  I never had any intention of getting a Facebook page.  I was going to fight that for as long as I could.

When I finally signed up, it was amazing how many people found me.  At first, it was a few close friends, but then I found other authors and networked with people in the publishing industry.  I don’t have tons of friends, I’ve only recently broke the 100-people mark, but the ones I have are fabulous!

So what’s my point with all of this?  You’ve heard the expression “It’s a small world,” right?  Well, the Internet makes the world smaller.  It helps you get in touch with people who have the same likes you do.  It gets you in touch with readers and mentors.  I even found my cover artist with social networking.

I have met so many wonderful people using social networking.  As an author, it’s gotten me in touch with people who’ve been there, done that, so I have a support system when I have a problem.  It helps readers find me so they can stay up to date with what I’m doing.  Plus, I wouldn’t have as many sales without the Internet. 

There are still some things I like to do in person, such as going to conferences and workshops.  But, after meeting people from around the country at these things, we can still interact online.  The one thing I’m still fighting against is Twitter, but I’m sure I’ll eventually cave with that program too!

I’m sure you will, Pembroke; I will tweet this interview and more people will get acquainted with you and Krista. And thanks for sharing with us today.

My Guest: Lawna Mackie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m pleased to welcome Lawna Mackie today, continuing the MuseItUp Blog-a-thon of young adult and middle grade authors. Lawna has written a fantasy titled Enchantment with some very unusual characters.

Lawna, suppose you tell us about yourself.

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

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

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

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

Happy reading everyone and please stop by to visit me.

IMPOSSIBLE TO HOLD – December 19, 2011 released through Liquid Silver Books http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com

ENCHANTMENT – January 13, 2012 released through Muse It Up Publishing http://museituppublishing.com

Interview with character, Threeo 

We have a new character for you to meet today…and a very interesting character at that.

Welcome, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself, and where do you come from?

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

Well Threeo, that’s quite a mouthful. Exactly what is a Hippo-Dog-Burrowing Owl?

I resemble all three earthly creatures. I have a small hippopotamus body, and fluffy dog tail, and my head is the burrowing owl. I was created by magic.

I see. Can you tell us a little about your world of Enchantment?

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

Oh my! That sounds harsh. How was he to “get rid of her”? And who exactly is she?

Meeka came to Enchantment from earth. She fell in the water and somehow managed to cross the dimension and into Enchantment. Most creatures die. Kerrigan, my master should have sent her back, but he was scared she’d perish. What he didn’t know at that time was that she is a very powerful sorceress.

Tell us more about your life Threeo.

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

“Beaver” you almost make that sound like they are Beavers?

Yes, they are beavers, but not like your human beavers. They adopted Kerrigan as a baby. Kerrigan is actually a dragon.

So what is happening in Enchantment these days?

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

Really? Is Meeka that type of person?

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

It sounds scary Threeo. I hope your visions don’t come true. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Enchantment?

I think everyone would like our world. It’s beautiful. We have seven moons, which are actually like your sun, but the seven moons are a different color each day, making our world change color daily. We have pixies in Pixie Field, and we also spend time at Funny Fish Lake. We have Itchits and Fur Balls…everything is magical. Thanks for talking to me I do have a tendency to talk a lot. I really hope you’ll enjoy Enchantment.

Threeo, how could we not enjoy Enchantment with such an amazing cast of characters? I’m so glad you and Lawna came to visit us today. Have fun on the rest of your blog tour.

I’ll see you tomorrow on Lawna’s blog:  http://www.lawnamackie.ca/wordpress/

My Guest: Sue Perkins

My guest today is Sue Perkins, a middle grade author who is taking part in the Muse Blogathon for the month of September.

Thank you Barbara for inviting me to visit your blog today.

It’s my pleasure, Sue. You are very welcome. I want my friends to get to know you and your book. Isn’t it great hopping to all these blogs. We’re getting the name of our publisher, MuseItUp Publishing, before the public.

I’m quite overwhelmed by the speed of this blog tour. It seems I no sooner visit a blog – or had another author visit my blog – when the next one appears over the horizon.

A little bit about me. My name is Sue Perkins and I live in the South Island of New Zealand. I love to read and write fantasy books. Reading favorites for adult fantasy are David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, Terry Pratchett and Naomi Novik. For Young Adult or Middle Grade I love Brian Jacques, Jenny Nimmo and Terry Pratchett. I know Terry’s in twice but his Wee Free Men series on Discworld is hilarious as is his Bromeliad about the world of the gnomes.

Sue, I think many of us are familiar with New Zealand from seeing The Lord of the Rings series which was filmed in your beautiful country. It has such varied topography; many of the scenes were breathtaking.

Now tell us about your writing.

My writing career has encompassed contemporary and historical romance and I have written several adult fantasy books. I am now stretching my wings and my first Middle Grade fantasy will be released by MuseItUp Publishing in October.

I love creating worlds. Usually alternate worlds to Earth, but sometimes I imagine a hidden part of our own Earth. It’s fun to take a familiar location and weave a story around it until it shows a different face to the readers.

Spirit Stealer is set in the nighttime world of a library. After the library closes the characters emerge from the books and float around the library, scaring any children who have been accidentally locked in. These phantoms are playful but the evil green Spirit Stealer lurks in the basement. He takes control of the nighttime world, using the phantoms to drive the children into his evil clutches.

Don’t forget to visit my blog and leave a comment, you’ll find several of my fellow MuseItUp authors have visited with entertaining articles and interviews. See you there.

http://sueperkinsauthor.blogspot.com

http://www.sueperkinsauthor.com

http://museituppublishing.blogspot.com/p/muse-bookstore.html

Thank you for stopping by today, Sue. Your book, Spirit Stealer, is right after the heart of this ole librarian. Reading your synopsis reminds me of working in the public library in my hometown when I was in high school. The oldest and dustiest books were stored in the basement. Fortunately, I never ran into anything as scary as your character seems to be.

And to my readers, I’m Sue’s guest today, so please visit her blog:

http://sueperkinsauthor.blogspot.com

Interview with Margot Finke

Hello Everyone,

Let me introduce you to Margot Finke, a writer with varied experiences and a great imagination.

Today we are going to get acquainted with Margo and her latest book, Taconi and Claude: Double Trouble, published by Guardian Angel Publishing.

 

 

Margot is an Aussie transplant who writes midgrade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family.

Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between writing. Her husband is very supportive, though not interested in children’s books . Their three children are now grown and doing very well – especially in giving her  7 grandkids. 

Margot didn’t begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, “I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs.  You are my heroes! “

 

 

Outline: Taconi and Claude – Double Trouble”

My Taconi and Claude Double Trouble, a midgrade adventure, is a coming of age story set in the Australian outback of the mid nineteen hundreds. Beginning on Coorparoo Cattle Station, the story takes readers into the heart and mind of Taconi, a young aboriginal boy and his chatty cockatoo mate, Claude. Taconi has a bunch of serious problems: his upcoming man ceremony, a scary Medicine Man, his dad’s crazed ideas,  and a wild emu that turns Taconi into a hero of sorts.  Not to mention a walkabout for snake, witchetty grubs and yabbies. Taconi wonders how he can fit into both his tribe and the world of the white man? And his feathered mate Claude is a mixed blessing.  The mischievous bird offers great one-liners, but almost gets Taconi eaten alive by green ants. Taconi’s future is resolved when Dreamtime Spirits descend on a huge tribal gathering, and Taconi discovers his calling.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Taconi and Claude – Double Trouble. Taconi’s thoughts about enduring the man ceremony – his fear and apprehension of the unknown – fell very real. It’s probably the way boys in many different cultures have felt over the centuries. Aside from its being specific to an Australian aboriginal boy, it has a universal feel of any youngster’s fear of growing up and finding out what his life’s work will be. And Claude is an amazing sidekick. He has an uncanny sense of knowing what’s going on, and his quips are sometimes hilarious. He’s pretty bossy. The book is like a travelogue for people who’ve never been to Australia.

Margot, when you were living in Australia, did you have personal experience with any of the native people? Just wondering how you became so familiar with the rituals and customs.

Not personal, one-on-one so much, as seeing them around the towns and learning the history in school, as well as from my dad.  He had to go outback sometimes, in the cattle and sheep season, to supervise the slaughtering for the government.  He brought back many fascinating tales.  In those days most of the aboriginals lived in the outback, far from big cities. Some drifted to the smaller towns and fell into drinking and petty crime.  Like the American Indian strong drink is very addictive for them. 

Their sacred rituals are still secret – not shared with those outside the tribe.  Each tribe has a language and traditions that is their own.   In Taconi and Claude, I kept to the simple and well known things about most tribes, not wanting to upset any of them by pretending to know more than I did.  I adapted the Dreamtime Stories told around the fire into my own words, so they would be easily understood by kid readers.  The internet offers a huge amount of detail about Australian Aboriginal lore,  so that, combined with what I saw for myself on trips to the outback, plus what I read and studied, was enough to work with.

Have you visited Uluru? Is it awe-inspiring, like the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls?

Yes, I have visited Ayer’s Rock, Uluru as the tribes call it.  It is a sacred place for the local tribes, and the caves there have wonderful and ancient drawings.  Set in the middle of a vast flat land of blazing heat and fierce blue skies, it an awesome sight. An eerie feeling comes over you as you feel time drifting backwards.  Because for thousands of years these ancient people have been worshiping and treating this giant monolith as a sacred place.  Like a chameleon, it changes colors, depending on the time of day and the cloud cover – reds, oranges, yellows blacks and grays, all slowing shifting around to form different patterns and shapes of colors.  An extraordinary experience that makes you sense the mystery of the Dreamtime that seems to hover just out of sight.

I happen to love opals. My poem, “Opal,” was published in Cricket Magazine. Have you been to the opal mines? Maybe slept in an underground hotel?

I love opals too, and I have read about the underground town where they live and mine opals.  My brother-in-law went there when he visited us in Queensland – before we moved to Oregon.  Hot as Hell he said, and not pleasant at all – unless you stayed underground 24/7

      Have you ever known a cockatoo personally? Do they really talk?

I have seen flocks of them in the wild when I lived up on the Atherton Tablelands,  south of the Daintree rainforest area.  However when I was small, Mum lived in a flat that was part of a large sub-divided house.  The owner had a pet cockatoo that talked up a storm.  It exactly copied the lady’s voice calling to my mum, so mum couldn’t tell if it was the bird or her landlady calling out to her.  They are well  known as great talkers.

            It sounds as if Australia is a very varied country, with deserts as well as a rainforest.

            I looked it up on Google Earth. The Daintree rainforest is way up at the Northeast. 

Was it hard for you to adjust to life in the US?

Not really.  Home is where the heart is. So as long as I am with my husband and kids I am happy.  Getting used to things being named differently was another matter.  For a long time I wondered why so many people advertised  Garage Sales.   Why would they want to sell their garages?   Lots of ordinary foods had different names here, so grocery shopping took quite a while, until I learned all the new names for things.  Our eldest daughter had the worst ( or funniest ) experience though.   She was thirteen at the time, and one day put up her hand in class and asked, “Can anyone lend me a rubber?”  Shocked silence became huge sniggers and giggles.  She will never live that down.  You see Down-under, they call erasers, rubbers.

      Did you ever eat any witchetty grubs?

NO.  I have looked at them and touched them.  However my religion and politics prevents me from eating anything that is alive and kicking – especially kicking!!  If they had been cooked I would have taken a nibble.  I have eaten tiepin, a  large and deadly snake from the Daintree rainforest. Tasty, tender, and rather chicken like.  I also ate snails in France, and rabbit too  – yum!  Duck eggs make wonderful cakes, but they  are a little strong for omelets.  The same goes for emu eggs!  I will try anything that is cooked and won’t run away.

Tell us about your “time travel” story? You have Ruthie, from Ruthie and the Hippo’s Big Fat Behind and Horatio from Horatio Beats the Big D.

I thought it would be a fun idea to put the characters from my three latest books into a time-travel adventure together.  Ruthie and Horatio have to help Taconi and Claude find their way back home to the Aussie outback of the nineteen fifties, where they belong.  Everyone who leaves a comment + their e-mail, gets a FREE copy.  SAFE Sample: mfinke at frontier dot com

Here is where you can find Margot, Taconi and Claude, and her other books.

“Musings,” – http://www.underdown.org/finke.htm  
 
Her columns for children’s writers can be read in The Purple Crayon.

Her Website –   http://www.margotfinke.com  
Showcases her children’s books
, Manuscript Critique Service, pages of writing help +  helpful links.

Margot’s Magic Carpet lists all 11 of her books –  http://perfectmagiccarpet.blogspot.com/

HOOK Kids on Reading  –  http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/  
Is for parents and writers, listing  books with a WOW Factor that get kids reading –

Margot is also a writing coach for the Children’s Writers Coaching Club (C.W.C.C,), and offers advice and a monthly Teleclass workshop for members.  She is also guilty of Twittering, and can be found on Facebook, JacketFlap and Linkedin.

Taconi and Claude Double Trouble
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-61633-130-6; 1616331305
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61633-131-3; 1616331313

Autographed Copies:
http://mysite.ncnetwork.net/restbcm8/Margot%27s%20Books.htm#other
Guardian Angel Publishing:
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/double-trouble.htm
Powell’s Books:
http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=1616331305
Amazon:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/4o2bmyk
Kindle:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/3r4h9e4

Thank you, Margot, for being with us today. This has been a lot of fun. And Folks, don’t forget to leave a comment for your free PDF copy of Margot’s time travel story.

And thank you Barbara for introducing me to your wonderful readers.

*  *  *  *  *

Disclaimer: I bought a paperback copy of Taconi and Claude and Margot provided me with a copy of the time travel story. All of my comments are freely given.

Review of Liam Maher’s picture book Mr. Topper the Lucky Potbellied Pig

I’m happy to introduce you to Liam Maher a Guardian Angel Author who lives in Ireland.

Liam Maher grew up in the beautiful gardens of Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland. This and the surrounding picturesque countryside coupled with the old beliefs during his boyhood days of leprechauns, ghosts and fairies were to inspire his children’s stories that were to come in later life and originally written for his grandchildren.

As I told Liam in our correspondence, he seems to have led a charmed life. No wonder he writes about Leprechauns and Lucky Pigs.

Liam spends his time gardening, keeping fit, entertaining his grandchildren and searching for leprechauns.

Liam has had three children’s illustrated books published with Reader’s Eden, well received by reviewers, one of which ‘Blue Paint’ received the prestigious EPPIE Award nomination.

His two recently published picture books with GAP are The Golden Daffodils and Mr. Topper the Lucky Potbellied Pig.

Mr. Topper the Lucky Potbellied Pig is illustrated by Vanda Lavar, showing Mr. Topper as a beautiful, sweet-looking pig, wearing a handsome red scarf.

As Janet Ann Collins observed in her review of the book, Mr. Topper the Lucky Potbellied Pig has the flavor of a folk tale, with the narrator sometimes speaking casually to the reader.

Well, at first it doesn’t seem as if Mr. Topper is lucky. He is caught in a blizzard with no owner, no food, and no shelter. He goes in search of “Someone who will pet and pamper me, and feed me whenever I go Oink! Oink!” This is the kind of refrain children love to join in when a story is read to them and it is repeated several times throughout the story. Hoping to find such a person, Mr. Topper has the idea to pass himself off as a lucky pig.

The first two people Mr. Topper approaches, a billionaire man and a billionaire woman, are selfish and stingy. The man reminds me of the villains in the old melodrama movies; I can fairly see him twirling his mustache. The woman looks much nicer than she is. She is more concerned about keeping her carpets clean than in helping a cold and hungry creature.  

Finally Mr. Topper finds a kind woodcutter who takes him in. Their life together is happy until the woodcutter loses his job. And to beat all, the pig gets a tooth ache and has to go to the animal dentist to have his tooth pulled.

Will Mr. Topper be able to come through on his promise of bringing good luck to his human friend?

Now — it appears that Mr. Topper is more clever than lucky — unless you can call getting a tooth ache lucky. He uses his brains to help the woodcutter out of his difficulties.

The ending is fun and very satisfying. Readers 4-8 (especially those who have lost a tooth) will enjoy the surprise ending.

The book is available through these venues:

Guardian Angel Publishing Bookstore and Amazon.com

Disclaimer: I purchased a PDF copy of the book and I have been uninfluenced in my opinion of the story.

Talking with GAP author Kai Strand about The Weaver

My guest today is Kai Strand, a writer whose tween novel has been published by Guardian Angel Publishing.

 

Welcome, Kai. I’m eager to see what you have to tell us about yourself and your chapter book.

Barbara, thank you for hosting me today. I’m thrilled for the chance to talk with you and your readers about my tween novel, The Weaver, as well as myself. Let’s start with my family.

I am a wife and mother of four. We all live in Central Oregon, except my oldest daughter who has moved away to go to college (a new chapter in parenting that I’m still editing, quite frankly). We are a very close family and do a lot together.

One of our favorite outdoor activities is goecaching. It is like a modern day treasure hunt. Though you can geocache with just a compass and map, it is better to have a GPS. You find cache locations online (www.geocache.com is the site we use). There are different levels of caches, from simple to very difficult. When you decide which caches you want to try to find, you plug the coordinates of the cache into your GPS and make note of any clues the owner of the cache may have given.  Then you drive, hike, and/or climb your way to the location of the cache.  The search is fun and the discovery of the cache is even better. You usually bring a ‘trade’ item. The cache will have things like dog biscuits, stickers, or happy meal toys in it. You get to trade an item for an item. We’ve left a recipe, a dollar bill and a spinning top for trade in the past. It is such a great activity for the family and we’ve been known to pack the car with the kids’ friends, too.

 

Here are Kai’s kids Finding the Cache.

What age group did you write The Weaver for, Kai?

The Weaver is written for kids 9 – 12 years old. 

About The Weaver: In a town of word weavers, Mary suffers through her third year of Novice Word Weaving. Mary thinks her troubles are over when she meets a gnome-elf who grants her a wish.  But instead of weaving a better story, she’s weaving strange yarn charms to accompany her still pathetic tales.

If you read my Monday Metaphor this week, you might recall that I used The Weaver as an example of a book with APTRONYMS. Mary and her mother are surnamed “Wordsmith.” And the village they live in is “The Tales.” And there are other aptly named characters.

The Weaver is a lyrical tale with a little magic and a lot of storytelling. It has been nominated for the Global eBook Awards in the category of children’s literature. Here’s hoping it goes all the way. The print and ebook versions are available through the publisher, Amazon.com, B&N.com, Powells.com. Libraries and independent bookstores can purchase through standard wholesale distributors.

Have you visited any schools or libraries to gi book talks? If so, what was the reaction of the children?

I love to do classroom visits. It really inspires me to continue writing. The one thing that astounds me each and every time is how astute the children are. Usually I read and then take questions. There is always a question or two that strikes me as mature beyond their years (whatever their age may be) and really makes me consider my response. Classroom visits are a great reminder to never underestimate your audience.

Do you write with paper and pencil, or exclusively on the computer?

Really it is exclusive to the computer, anymore. Occasionally I’ll be hit with inspiration when all I have available is paper and pen (not a fan of the scritch-scratch of lead on paper). Unfortunately, the transfer of the idea to computer puts me into edit mode sooner in the story than I like and it messes with my creative process. Pen and paper is fine for shorter things, like blog posts.

Do you have an editing tip you could pass on to other writers?

Well, honestly I think editing is my weakest area in the writing process. However, something I can’t do without is reading aloud. I tape myself reading the story. This is especially helpful in novels, since it is so easy to get pulled into the story when editing. When I listen to the recording later while reading through the text, I can see where I’ve made natural word changes and I can hear where I stutter over choppy sentences or where the story line skips a beat.

I know you have said your main character, Mary, has great determination and uses that to solve her problem. Once you knew what you wanted to write about, how did you decide to make Mary a storyteller rather than have a different talent? Or could it be that you wanted to write about storytelling before you created your plot?

What a great question. A “chicken or the egg” type of thing.  I think the storytelling came first.  I wanted the town to be filled with storytellers. But it wasn’t until my third draft or so that I realized I needed the secondary characters to have their own unique storytelling voice.  So, for example, I went back and really considered how Philip might tell his story, “Shame is a powerful discipline,” and what kind of stories the most revered word weaver, Abigail Wordsmith, would weave. So, even though I wanted the story to be about storytelling, I didn’t really figure out how to make that happen until I was going through and editing.

Did you make up the quotes at the beginning of each chapter?

I did. They still really make me smile. It was so much fun coming up with them and then refining them. The only one I didn’t think up myself is “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” That has always been a favorite phrase of mine and fit that chapter so well. I couldn’t find a source for the quote, though.

Do you read your drafts to your husband and children? Have they made any significant contributions to your writing?

I do, over and over. I wait until the first time I think the story is ready. Which, of course, is never when the story is ready! But they are very supportive. Thank goodness my children are so enthusiastic. I’ve written (and read aloud a few times) the first book in a series and they keep hounding me for the second book. That kind of encouragement is really, really good for a writer! My husband is great at resolving plot holes. If I’m not happy with a resolution or a character motivation, he is so good at fleshing it out and helping me to make it more impactful to the story.

Thank you again, Barbara for having me today. I’ve really enjoyed the interview and I hope your readers will enjoy The Weaver.

It’s been my pleasure, Kai. (Now I’m spelling your name right and pronouncing it “K”). Best of luck in the Global eBook Awards.

Now Readers, let me tell you more about The Weaver. You already know the setting is a village of story tellers and you know the main character’s name is Mary Wordsmith. Although Mary’s mother is one of the best story tellers, Mary’s stories are not interesting. She’s way too old to be in Novice Word Weaving, but there she is. All she wants is to weave a yarn as beautiful as her mother’s. When Mary meets a gnome-elf, he gives her a wish. (That’s a cute story in itself). And her wish comes true. But not in the way Mary expects because of the way she worded her wish. (This little parallel theme illustrates the power of words—you better say exactly what you mean, or else). “The else” is what happens to Mary. She is confused when significant little knitted charms start popping up mysteriously when she speaks. As the mystery unravels, Mary’s stories become more interesting.

Both Mary and the gnome-elf feel out of place in their environments. In fact, the gnome-elf’s name is Unwanted. Though Mary thinks the wish went wrong,  the two eventually become friends. I’m sure you want to read the book to see if Mary’s wish comes true.

Another nice thing about this book is that other characters get to tell stories. This is a thoroughly enjoyable and fun book.

Get your copy of The Weaver at these locations:

Guardian Angel Publishing, where you can read an excerpt;
Amazon, where you can read some nice reviews.
Or Barnes & Noble, if you are a member.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this book.

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