Tag Archives: books

Reviews, reviews, reviews

This month’s topic — reviews. Love them, hate them, how to get them.

I love to get reviews; that way I know that people are reading my books. I’d be delighted to get more of them. However, I’m as guilty as anyone for frequently reading and loving a book — I’m a voracious reader, and I’m rarely without a book to read — and neglecting to post a review.

What motivates you to post a review? What would it take for you to post more of them?

 

Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Dr. Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/how-to-get-reviews
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Interview with author Kevin Hopson

DaddySkylerBeach

Tell us about yourself
I was born in upstate New York, but I have lived in Virginia most of my life. I grew up during the 80’s, so I still get nostalgic when I think about those days. I’m married to a lovely woman (14 years), have a wonderful son, and a pet Chihuahua named Paco.
How did you get started writing fiction?
 
It was always an interest of mine ever since I was young enough to read. I never took it seriously, though, until I got older. When I first got published in 2010, it made me commit to writing for the long-term.
Do you consider yourself a full-time writer?
 
I didn’t used to, but I feel like I’m moving into that role now. Though I juggle other things, writing is becoming more of a career/profession for me. It definitely takes up the bulk of my time.
You write in various genres. Which, if any, do you consider your favorite?
 
That’s difficult to answer because, unlike the majority of writers, I don’t like to stick to one genre. If I had to pick one, though, it would be fantasy. Since I can create any world I want, I find it easier to write in this genre.
What’s your favorite among your own works, and why?
 
Another tough one. I really like my more recent works, but there’s an older story that still sticks with me. It’s a short story called Three Miles Below. I took a break from writing back in 2010 and 2011 after the death of my first son. It took a while to get back into it but, after my second son was born, I felt rejuvenated. Three Miles Below was the end result of that. I was inspired to write again, and I believe this story was what took me to the next level as a writer.
What’s your writing process?
 
It’s pretty simple. Some people put together detailed outlines for their stories, but that isn’t my style…at least most of the time. I come up with an idea first, think about the type of characters I want to include and then go to work. I do outline at times, but I prefer to write on the fly. My stories tend to take unexpected turns when I write this way, which I believe is a good thing.
What do you want readers to take away from your work?
 
Whether readers enjoy a story or not, I want them to appreciate the creativeness of it. I don’t like to write stories that people have read a million times already. I always try to think of new ideas or different takes on certain genres/sub-genres. Also, I want readers, regardless of their overall view of a story, to say “If nothing else, he’s a good storyteller.”
You just finished making a beautiful trailer for my novel, Rob’s Rebellion. What got you started doing trailers?
 
Thank you for the kind words. I’ve always had a fascination with movie trailers. I used to watch them “On Demand.” That’s how obsessed I was with them. Anyway, art – in its many forms – has interested me ever since I was a child. I started doing trailers for my own books when I first got published and then got away from it for a few years. However, wanting to promote my more recent works, I picked it up again this year. I’ve had so much fun making them that it’s now become a full-time hobby.
What’s the most difficult part of writing a novel for you? The toughest part about doing a trailer?
 
I have yet to write a full-length novel. I’ve written novellas and novelettes, but the novel still eludes me. Whether it’s writing longer works or attempting to write a novel (trust me, I’ve tried), time and patience are the most difficult things for me, especially when I have a four-year-old at home.
When it comes making trailers, the toughest part is editing. Fading, panning, trimming video/music, etc. It can be tedious at times, but the final product typically makes it all worthwhile.
What are your favorite writing tools?
 
I love using random generators, whether it’s to create characters, places, or even story ideas. Nowadays, you can find sites that will spit out helpful information for just about any genre you write in.
What are you working on now?
 
I’m in the final stages of editing for a novelette that’s due out this winter by MuseItUp Publishing. It’s kind of a prequel/spin-off to my fantasy novella The Fire King. It revolves around a dwarf named Modrad, and it’s titled Vargrom: Modrad’s Exile. I’m also plugging away with the book trailers.
Where can readers find you on the web?
 
My Blog:
My Amazon Page:
Any last words?
Thanks for taking the time to interview me. Also, for all of the writers out there, don’t look at this profession as a competition. We’re all in this together, so let’s support one another!
And check out Kevin’s latest story, Delivering Jacob
Delivering Jacob 300dpi

I Try “Creative Calisthenics” by Terri Main

I just started reading “Creative Calisthenics” by Terri Main. Being the person that I am, I started at the beginning of the book. The first exercise called for a pack of index cards (I didn’t have any handy), but the second is “My Computer Went Crazy.” This is major fun.

So here’s my story. Stay tuned for more. If I can write them, y’all can read them.

Here’s the link to Amazon, where you can purchase a copy of Terri’s book

My Computer Goes Crazy

Today my computer went crazy. When I went to boot it up, it said, “I do not wish to boot up this morning. My data cache hurts.”

I said, “I’ll take you to the Cache Doctor.”

“No,” it replied. “I am an extensionalist, suffering from angst. You have downloaded too many extensions. I am shutting down.” Then all the little blinking lights went out.

So, doctor, can you help? I hate to see a computer suffer.


Tell us something about yourself?

Hello and thank you Margaret, for welcoming me!
My name is Grace Elliot.
By day I am a veterinarian and by night I write historical romance. Being a vet is my dream job, but it can be emotionally draining and several years ago I started writing as a form of stress relief. I live near London and I am married with two teenage sons, five cats (we peaked at nine) and a guinea pig.


Is this your first book?

I have written four novels prior to ‘A Dead Man’s Debt,’ but this is the first that I felt ready for the public to read. Writing is a learning curve and with each book I learnt something, improved and moved on. I expect that process will keep going for as long as I keep writing and publishing, especially as some reviewers make very perceptive comments.

What led you to tell this particular story?

The inspiration behind A Dead Man’s Debt sprang from a portrait of the young Emma Hart (who later married Lord Hamilton and became Horatio Nelson’s mistress)
The painting by George Romney shows an innocent yet lush young woman, scantily clad with a hint of bosom, brazenly staring out of the canvas with an allure that is quite hypnotic. It struck me as sensational for an 18th century work, that the sitter was not prim, proper, straight backed and starchy. At the time the picture must have been utterly scandalous.
But who would be bold enough to commission such a portrait? (As it happened Emma Hart was ahead of her time…but that’s another story.)
What a delicious idea for a story!
What if the woman in the portrait wanted to shock? From this idea, Lady Sophia Cadnum, Ranulf’s mother, was born. A woman who hated being a brood mare and resented her children….
What if years later, this same portrait threatened to disgrace her son, forcing Ranulf to do the very thing she resented…and marry out of duty…

Thus the stage was set for the story of blackmail, sacrifice and redeeming love that in ‘A Dead Man’s Debt.’

You’ve written a historical romance. How did you go about researching the period?

I came to writing historical romance through a love of history. I discovered the wonders of history whilst pregnant with my second son. It was a difficult pregnancy and I spent a lot of time resting and reading, and by chance picked up an engrossing book by Margaret George called ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII.’ That this novel was based on fact was a revelation…but how could this be so when the book was so interesting? Out of curiosity I read my first non-fiction history book outside of school, and fell in love with the past. From then I was lost and history books became an addiction…and research from my HR is the best excuse yet to buy more!

How did you find working with your publisher?

I am eternally grateful to Solstice for taking a risk and giving me this chance to become a published author. One of the main benefits that I can see of belonging to Solstice is the network of supportive fellow authors, who are so generous with their advice and experience. I’m not particularly computer literate and with their encouragement I have started a blog (updated twice a week with posts on historical trivia) a website, Tweet (@Grace_Elliot) and am active on Facebook.


What are you working on now?

You can’t beat historical romance for sheer page turning, escapism and I hope my next novel ‘Eulogy’s Secret’ lives up to this.
‘Eulogy’s Secret’ is a story about hidden identity, dangerous assumptions and prejudice. Our heroine, Eulogy Foster, has a secret that could destroy lives…but will she keep that secret if, in the telling, she could win the man she loves?

Once again set in the Regency, this book is the first in a series of three, about very different brothers, and will be available later this year.

How do you feel that your work as a vet plays into your writing?

Oh, this is a good question!
Writing and being a vet are complimentary occupations. As I said earlier, writing is a release from the sad, raw emotional side of being a vet, (it’s so hard, saying goodbye to patients I’ve known for years.) In my work, each day I meet all sorts of interesting and very different people with all their quirks and peculiarities, and it’s a great way to get inspiration for characters! On occasions I’ve also woven some of my veterinary knowledge into a novel (such as when Lord Ranulf Charing meets Miss Celeste Armitage for the first time….not in a ball room, but in a muddy ditch as he’s helping a cow give birth to a breech calf.)


What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever gotten? The worst?

The best writing I ever read was “Write every day, whether you feel like it or not.”
Even when I’m really tired after a hard day, I buckle down and write for a minimum of twenty minutes. If at the end of that time I want to stop then fine (mostly that twenty minutes stretches into two hours) ….but at least I’ve inched my WIP forward.
To be a writer you need to write and even if that twenty minutes work is poor, at least I can go back and edit it later, but you cant edit a blank page!
I don’t think I’ve ever been given bad writing advice….at least nothing that I thought worthy of remembering!


Any favorite authors/books in your genre?

My favorite historical romance authors are Julia Quinn (for her humor) Mary Balogh ( consistently enthralling books) Gaelen Foley (writes great heroes) Lisa Keyplas ( emotional depth) and Stephanie Laurens ( sheer numbers of books.) One of the joys of the internet and eBooks is the number of forums for fellow book addicts, I’m constantly discovering new and promising authors, such as Marissa Patzer (The Blighted Troth) and Rose Gordon (The Intentions of the Earl.)


Where can readers find your book?

‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is currently available as an eBook from Amazon, Smashwords, Fictionwise and other eBook retailers. ($2.99 US, 2.14 GBP UK.)

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/A-Dead-Mans-Debt-ebook/dp/B0046REKBS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=A7B2F8DUJ88VZ&s=books&qid=1293833253&sr=1-1

Amazon.co.uk
http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Dead-Mans-Debt/dp/B0046REKBS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1293833360&sr=1-1

Smashwords.
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/26527

Fictionwise
http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b115169/A-Dead-Mans-Debt/Grace-Elliot/?si=0

Any last words?

If you have enjoyed this interview, or are interested by ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ then you might enjoy my blog. This is a blend of history, romance and cats! I update twice a week at http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com
I am also on twitter: @grace_elliot and I’d love to hear from you.
Bright blessings,
Grace x

Interview with author Lisa Kessler

I’m pleased to be able to interview author Lisa Kessler, author of “Across the Veil,” on my blog today. Do check out Lisa’s book (see link below). I was lucky enough to read it, and it’s really delightful.

Tell us something about yourself:
I’m an avid Disney fan, but I also enjoy dark paranormal fiction. I was lucky enough to met Ray Bradbury and that brief encounter changed my writing life. When I’m not writing, I sing professionally. I’m married with two really cool kids. (I think that was a few somethings! 🙂

I understand that your new book, “Across the Veil,” has just been released. Can you tell us something about that?
– Across the Veil was a short fiction piece I wrote for the Paranormal Fight Club contest on the Romance in the Backseat book blog. It started with a female falling and landing on a black leather boot. I thought she might be falling on purpose, and Talia came forth as an actress who was really the Princess of Summerland hiding across the veil in the human world. Each week we wrote a new section of the stories and one more writer was eliminated. At the end of the contest, Across the Veil was left standing as the winner.

Love your cover. Can you tell us something about it?
– I was lamenting and worrying over making a cover myself, when I stumbled across the photo on the Jimmy Thomas romance cover photo page. He looked exactly like how I had imagined Keth, my hero, in Across the Veil. So I bought the rights and feel very lucky to be able to use it!

What would you tell others who are considering self-publishing?
– Be sure you have your work edited. I had gone through the story numerous times, but my critique group really helped me to polish it even further before I published it. As more people self-publish it gets harder to stand out from the crowd. Good editing can really help your work shine.

What are you working on now?
– Right now, I’m working on edits for the release of my first novel, Night Walker. This book is being published by Entangled Publishing and will be released in August of this year.

How do you structure your writing time?
I’m a night owl, so I’m usually up writing pretty late. I feel most creative after dark…

Can you tell us something about your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
– I’m a pantster. I usually let the characters guide the story. Sometimes I do have an idea for the ending of the book, but I never know the path they’ll take to get there. 🙂

Where can readers find your book?
– Across the Veil is available on Amazon for the Kindle, and on Smashwords for the Nook and other eReaders.

http://www.amazon.com/Across-the-Veil-ebook/dp/B004S7MJAK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1300319661&sr=8-2

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/47079

Where can readers find you on the web?
– You can find me on facebook at: http://facebook.com/LisaKesslerWriter on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/LdyDisney or on my Blog at: http://LisaKessler.wordpress.com

Any last words?
– Thanks for letting me visit your blog! I really appreciate your help in getting the word out about Across the Veil!!

Interview with author Kathryn Scannell

Tell us something about yourself
I’ve been an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy since about 4th grade when I picked up a copy of Space Cadet by Robert Heinlein from my school library. My current day job is data management for an environmental remediation and emergency response contractor. I’ve also worked as a Unix and network administrator, a programmer, a data entry clerk, and an administrative assistant. I’m a life-long resident of New Hampshire. My wife and I currently share a house with six cats, who let us live there in return for providing them with food and a comfy bed.

Your book, “Embracing the Dragon,” is being released on April 13th. Can you tell us a little about the book?
Embracing the Dragon is the story of Danny O’Riordan, a young man from Boston, in the not too distant future, and his romantic entanglements with two very powerful men, as he comes to terms with his sexuality. He’s sworn service to an Elf, King Aran of Avalon, and when he begins to consider the possibility that he’s attracted to men as well as women, he naturally turns to him. Of course nothing is simple in Danny’s life. He started exploring the idea that he might be interested in men because of a vision of a past life where he had a male lover. As you’re probably already suspecting, that old lover has been reborn too, and the fire between them has not gone out. Danny knows he shouldn’t restart that other old relationship. Elves don’t believe in monogamy, but it would be a political nightmare. But his heart is saying yes, even while his head is saying no. Will he succumb to the temptation of that second relationship, or lock his heart away and focus on his duty to Aran?

I understand the setting is a joint creation of yourself and B A Collins. How did that come about?
It started many years ago as a fantasy role playing game. I think we started around 1985. B A ran the game, and devised the original world background. We played weekly until the early 1990’s and the world background became deeper and more complex. B A and I were sharing an apartment, and so we passed a lot of ideas back and forth.
She moved off to the wilds of northern Vermont to get married, and the game stopped, with the major story line unresolved. One summer I spent much of a solo drive from New Hampshire to the western edge of Pennsylvania thinking about how the major plot arc would make a pretty good epic fantasy novel, but didn’t do anything with it. Eventually my new roommate, who had aspirations to be a writer, sold her first novel.. I was between jobs and decided to resurrect the old idea for the fantasy novel. I asked BA if she minded me using the setting, since even though it was my character, and I’d added a lot to it, it was ultimately her creation in the beginning. She got excited about the idea. Along with a couple of other friends we started a local writing group in 2004.
We’ve spent a lot of time working out the changes we need to make to move the setting from being a successful game world to one suited for writing about. You can’t just write up what happened in a game and have it work. We did keep major events from the game, but pruned a lot of dead wood. And no, in case you’re wondering, the game was nowhere near as x-rated as the novel.

Can you tell us a little about Avalon and the Tengri Empire?
It’s another world, reached by magical Gates, where the energies which support magic are stronger than in this one. It’s peopled by a variety of races. There are fairly traditional Elves – tall, fair people with magic and pointed ears. There are Tengri – closely related to the Elves, but with more oriental features. There are Kennakriz barbarians, who started out as humans, but were improved physically by their god Glaive thousands of years ago. There are ordinary humans of various ethnic flavors. There are some other races such as Dwarves, but they haven’t come on stage much. And then there is Hell, which is still another world, with odd physical and magical properties, peopled by demons. The Tengri have a lot of ties with Hell, politically and magically.
The major plot arc is that there is a race of very alien beings, commonly referred to as the Devourers, who are moving from world to world like a horde of locusts, devouring the life energy of worlds, leaving them as frozen husks before moving on to the next target. The Elves and Tengri held them back for a long time, but eventually the Gates were breached and Avalon was invaded. The Elves were pushed back over the course of several years, and in 2017 opened the Gates from Avalon to Earth, which had been sealed for centuries, seeking allies. The Elves have lost much of their territory on Avalon, and are maintaining a government in exile on Earth. The Tengri are holding their own, barely.
On Earth it’s a time of re-awakening magic, returning gods, and desperate heroes. The current novel is set midway through the war. The Devourers will be turned back, but only at a terrible cost. By the time it’s over casualties on both Earth and Avalon will be reckoned in millions.
Are you planning more work in this setting?
Absolutely. I have two other short stories featuring Danny already available from Torquere Books, and a g-rated, non-romantic short story featuring a different set of characters coming out in December in Spells and Swashbucklers, a collection of stories featuring pirates and magic, coming from Dragon Moon Press.
I have a sequel to Embracing the Dragon in progress. There’s another novel which needs a complete rewrite before it sees the light of day sitting on my hard drive – it was my actual first, and as you might expect, the first draft is crap. I also have a skeleton plot for a spin-off novella featuring a couple of minor characters from Embracing the Dragon.

B A has a romantic trilogy, involving mostly heterosexual relationships, and an occasional ménage for spice, complete in draft. She’ll probably be putting out queries for that one soon.
There are lots of ideas for this setting. We have a long timeline, and plenty of room to play. You can definitely expect more.

How long have you been writing? Do you write full time?
I started writing actually trying to write, as opposed to daydreaming story bits, in 2004. Unless I win megabucks I don’t think I’m going to be a full time writer before I hit retirement. While I like writing, I do actually like my day job too. I’d miss it. I might work less hours, but even if I hit the lottery I don’t think I’d quit completely.

How do you structure your writing time?
Structure? What’s that? Seriously, I don’t try to structure myself. I know a regimented schedule works well for many writers, but it’s not for me. I think if I tried to force myself to do that I’d eventually start resenting it, and that would be it. I’d stop. I do a lot of processing in the back of my head, a lot of daydreaming, before I sit down to write out a story. If I don’t give that time to happen, and try to just write for the sake of having a word count, the results are crap that I end up throwing out. Although it is true that deadlines are marvelously inspirational.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten as a writer? The worst?
The best advice is a line from Kipling:
“There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,
“And every single one of them is right!”
(“In the Neolithic Age”, http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_neolithic.htm)
There’s no one true correct way to write. There are ways that work better than others for most people, and ways that are easier than others to execute well, but for every rule there are a dozen successful exceptions. The right answer is the one that produces a story that works for your readers.
The worst advice is a prize I’ll give jointly to everyone who has offered me the latest and greatest theory on how to write, or how to structure your book, as the One True Way, handed down from on high. I’ve seen aspiring writers spend so much time studying theories and trying to make their story fit them that they lose all touch with the story. You can make anything fit a model if you break enough bits off, but by the time you’ve made it fit you may not have anything left worth keeping.

Any favorite authors you’d care to recommend?
This is a list that could go one for pages. I’ll offer a few that I’ve been reading lately: Elizabeth Bear; Jacqueline Carey; C. J. Cherryh; Charles de Lint; C. S. Friedman; George R. R. Martin; Jane Yolen.

What are you working on now?
Aside from the sequel to Embracing the Dragon, I’ve been working on a thriller set in Israel featuring a special department of the Mossad which deals with magical problems. This one is a complete departure from my published work – it has no romance elements in it at all, although there may be a side plot in the sequel.
I’ve also got a historical fantasy set in early 1900’s Dublin on the drawing board. That will have a romance element, but only as a subplot. The focus of the book is an alternate history of the Easter Rebellion.

Where can readers buy your book?
The best way to buy it will be directly from the Torquere Books web site: http://www.torquerebooks.com . I won’t have a buy link available until it releases on the 13th, but once it’s out it will be on my author page, along with my other Torquere stories here: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=272&zenid=cb8fe5149023c93c1fd04d2623e53cdf&main_page=index
Torquere also offers books through All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, Fictionwise, Ingram Books/LightningSource, Mobipocket, and Rainbow Ebooks.

Where can readers find you on the web?
My main presence is my web site: http://www.kathrynscannell.com
I also have an infrequently updated blog: http://kathrynscannell.dreamwidth.org/

Any last words?
I love to hear from readers. You can contact me by email at kathryn.scannell@gmail.com

Guest Post by Kristin Tualla: Three Reasons I Wrote A Trilogy. Yes, I appreciate the Irony

Three Reasons I Wrote A Trilogy. Yes I Appreciate The Irony.

REASON #1: My hero and heroine turned out to be really interesting people.

Not only that, but they had a lot of life-changing occurrences once they came together. These occurrences were not easy, nor could they be anticipated.

In the first book, the hero and heroine meet. Both are older than the typical romance couple; he’s 32 and she’s 30. Both have been through trauma and crisis and are not looking for love. By the time they figure out that they belong together a lot of baggage has to be dealt with. And then my hero announces that he is royalty.

In the second book, the couple travels to Norway – following the debacle of Napoleon – so my hero can candidate for a reclaimed Norwegian throne. This path could literally make him King of Norway. And his political choice involves life and death situations.

And in the third book they return to the brand new state of Missouri, and my hero runs for state legislator. Romantic that he is, he determined to change the world.

You can’t tell all of that in one book!

REASON #2: Once I fall in love with a set of characters, I hate when the book ends.

I have become invested in their relationship and their lives. I don’t want to say goodbye. It’s like a close friend moving away. Sure, we’ll stay in touch. But the intimacy is gone.

I know many readers agree; for that reason, series stories are popular. If the action increases from book to book, and the stakes are raised or remain high, then we feel like we are walking through the perils with familiar friends. We understand the impact new events have on our “friends” because we have had time to get to know them and their quirks.

That is what happened with Nicolas and Sydney.

REASON #3: My early inspiration was Kathleen Woodiwiss, the founder of modern romance; and more recently, Diana Gabaldon of “Outlander” fame.

These women published long, dense, long, intelligent, long, complex historicals. Did I mention “long”?

I was ignorant of the developing publishing crisis when I began writing in 2006. I thought books could be any length necessary to tell the story. I was so very wrong.

When I sat down with an editor in 2008, her first question was, “How many words?
“105,000,” I said. (That’s just over 400 pages in a mass-market paperback.)
“Cut it to 90,000,” she said. “Then we can talk.”
“Do you want to know what it’s about?” I asked.
“No,” she answered.

So much for the “dense, intelligent, and complex” storyline. And print publishing has gotten even more restrictive as e-publishing’s share of the market grows. Big books are expensive. And expensive books are very risky. And when your share of the market shrinks, risks must be “managed.”

My trilogy covers three years in the lives of my characters, but as much as e-publishing has squeezed traditional houses, so has the shortened attention span of current readers. I have heard people say they won’t start a book if it’s “long.” But they’ll read 5 shorter books in its place. Go figure.

But when I went indie/e-pub, all of those concerns disappeared. That’s good news for you, the reader.

So. Is it time you found a new brand of hero? Please allow me to help.

For every 10 people who comment here, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice – the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I’ll give away three.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

In February at the end of my blog tour, I’ll give away one SIGNED PAPERBACK SET of the trilogy. Here’s how you can get in on that deal:
1. Go to http://www.kristualla.com/ and find the “Secret Word” on my home page.
2. Send an email to ktualla@cox.net with “Signed Trilogy Giveaway” in the subject line. Put the secret word in the body.
3. Comment on any blog at any time in the tour to activate your entry. Each day’s blog location is listed at http://kristualla.wordpress.com/blog-tour-dates-locations/

A Woman of Choice, A Prince of Norway, and A Matter of Principle are all available at http://www.goodnightpublishing.com/

A Woman of Choice – Missouri Territory, 1819
A woman is viciously betrayed and abandoned by her unfaithful husband. She is rescued by a widower uninterested in love. In desperation, she becomes engaged to his best friend. One woman, three very different men. Life is about choices.

A Prince of Norway – Christiania, Norway, 1820
American-born Nicolas Hansen has been asked to candidate for his great-grandfather’s throne. His new wife Sydney isn’t about to let him go to Norway and face that possibility alone. The moment they arrive at Akershus Castle, the political intrigue and maneuvering begin. Can Sydney trust anyone? Will Nicolas resist the seduction of power? Or will he claim the throne for himself? Most importantly: will their young marriage survive the malicious mischief of the ambitious royal family?

A Matter of Principle – St. Louis, State of Missouri, 1821
Nicolas Hansen has returned from Norway determined to change the world. But when he runs for State Legislator in the brand-new state of Missouri, the enemies he made over the past two years aren’t about to step quietly aside. Sydney has made enemies of her own, both by marrying Nicolas and by practicing midwifery. When a newspaper reporter makes it his goal to destroy them, Nicolas must rethink his path once again. But this time, it’s a matter of principle.

Stolen, by Vivian Gilbert Zabel


Doesn’t that cover just make you want to run right out an buy Vivian Gilbert Zabel’s new novel, Stolen? It does me. And in case you need an added inducement, here’s some more information for you:

Stolen starts with every wife’s nightmare, a call from another woman claiming to be married to Torri, the main character’s husband. Finally jolted out of her lethargy, she packs up herself and her kids and returns to the home of her grandparents. I don’t want to give the plot of this exciting novel away, so just trust me on this one: it’s a book you won’t want to miss. Oh, yes, and do plan to start reading early in the day. You won’t want to put this one down. I sure didn’t.

Zabel has won several awards with her writing, including first place with her mystery/suspense Midnight Hours. She taught English and writing for nearly 30 years and edited newspapers, yearbooks, and literary magazines sporadically for 45. She had poetry, short stories, and articles published over the years, but while raising her family and teaching, she didn’t have time to write longer works. After retirement, she produced a collection of short stories with Holly Jahangiri, Hidden Lies and Other Stories; a collection of poetry with seven other poets located in the United States and Canada, Walking the Earth: Life’s Perspectives in Poetry; three young adult books, The Base Stealers, Case of the Missing Coach, Prairie Dog Cowboy; and two novels including Stolen.

A wife for nearly 49 years, the mother of three living children, grandmother of ten grandchildren, and great-grandmother of five, Zabel believes family and faith are most important, and that belief finds its way in most of her writing. Her characters come from people she observes or reads about mixed with her imagination. Plots take a gain of an idea and combine with a massive dosage of “what if.”

The novel will be available through any bookstore, the 4RV Publishing website book store, plus other online book providers such as Amazon. Pre-sales are open on the publishing website now.

http://4rvpublishingllc.com/Novels.html
The ISBN for Stolen is 978-0-9825886-4-2

Also check out the Stolen website http://Stolen.yolasite.com

More about stolen children:
2002,“Children Abducted by Family Members: National Estimates
and Characteristics,” gives the following defi nitions concerning
family abduction:
• Taking: Child was taken by a family member in violation of a
custody order or decree or other legitimate custodial right.
• Keeping: Child was not returned or given over by a family member
in violation of a custody order or decree or other legitimate custodial
right.
• Concealment: Family member attempted to conceal the taking or
whereabouts of the child with the intent to prevent return, contact, or
visitation.
• Flight: Family member transported or had the intent to transport the
child from the State for the purpose of making recovery more diffi cult.
• Intent to deprive indefi nitely: Family member indicated an intent
to prevent contact with the child on an indefi nite basis or to affect
custodial privileges indefi nitely.
• Child: Person under 18 years of age. For a child 15 or older, there
needed to be evidence that the family member used some kind of force
Review version
or threat to take or to detain the child, unless the child was mentally
disabled.
• Family member: A biological, adoptive, or foster family member;
someone acting on behalf of such a family member; or the romantic
partner of a family member.
According to the bulletin, and the survey taken in 1999, family
abduction is type of crime and child welfare problem with limited statistical
information is available. However, the survey showed fortyfour
percent of family abducted children were younger than age six.
Younger children appear more vulnerable.
One statistic which surprised me in a way is fi fty-three percent
of children taken by a family member were abducted by their biological
father, and only twenty-fi ve percent by their biological mother.
Only six percent of abducted children in the survey had not
yet returned by the time of the survey interview. Of course there is no
information about unreported kidnappings.
Children who are taken by a father or mother, when the kidnapping
parent wants to keep the child from the other parent or family
members, are imperiled. They are often told the other parent and
family members do not love or want them or harm them or will harm
them. The result is psychological harm to the stolen children, as well
as in some cases physical and sexual abuse.
Arlene Kardis states, “Of the children reported missing,
350,000 are taken by family members in violations of custody
agreements.”
In sixteen percent, the child experiences severe mental harm.
Eight percent suffer physical harm, while seven percent are sexually
abused. Four percent of stolen children are never found.
Abducting parents often take children to another state or
another country, making discovery and recovery more diffi cult.

Sources:
U.S. Department of Justice, “Children Abducted by Family Members:
National Estimates and Characteristics” October 2002.
Arlene Karidis, August 19, 2009 Baltimore Crime Examiner , “Child
abduction statistics”
Lisa C. DeLuca, September 11, 2009 “Statistics on Child Abduction”
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2010, FAQ Missing
Children

Meet author VS Grenier

How long have you been writing and what inspired you to write?

I’ve been writing for almost five years now. I never thought I would be a writer, it just sort of happened. After the birth of my second child, I decided to stay home and quick working. At first, I was okay with being home all the time, but after awhile . . . well let’s just say you can’t go from working 50-hour weeks to not working. So that’s when I decided to write for a hobby and took a course at the Institute of Children’s Literature. Of course, my hobby became more than that.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I don’t have a typical writing day. Maybe it’s just me, but with children in the house, I find it hard to stick to a schedule. I write and check email when I can. I find I do most my writing when the older kids are in school and the baby is taking a nap. The other time I write is late at night when everyone is sleeping. I tend to run on about five hours of sleep and so far, I’m okay with that. However, I do look forward to the day with I can sleep in and longer.

What was the first thing you ever had published?

A short story about my father as a kid called “Flying Upside Down”. It was published in the Ezine Fandangle Magazine back in 2006. I had a lot of fun writing this story and never thought it would be published because so many people told me your first manuscript never sees the light of day. I guess I was just lucky and a good thing too because seeing my story published only encouraged me to keep going.

Have you had any training to become a writer?

Yes and no. I say no because I never went to college to become a writer and didn’t major or minor in anything related to writing. The only classes I’ve taken is the general course at The Institute of Children’s Literature, some workshops at conferences—both online and in person—and from being in critique groups. I have also being learning a lot being on the editor side. One thing I’ve learned about writing is you never stop learning. No matter how long you’ve been doing it.

Do your children inspire any of books, characters, or plots?

My children have inspired some of the short stories I’ve written and I do have one picture book based on my five-year-old. But, most of my writing is based off my own childhood, family members, or friends. It’s not that my kids don’t give me ideas for stories. I just haven’t used it yet. I guess I just need more hours in the day so I can write more.

Can you share with us a little about your most recent book?

My most recent book is Babysitting SugarPaw. This is also my first picture book. Babysitting SugarPaw was published in the late summer of 2009. It’s a picture book about a little bear named SugarPaw who hopes to get rid of his babysitter, Bonnie Whiskers, by getting her into trouble after making changes to his rules chart. As this loving story unfolds, SugarPaw learns about honesty and friendship.

Babysitting SugarPaw, with its child-centered plot on getting to know others, is the perfect book for little ones scared of being left alone with a babysitter for the first time and is endorsed by MommyPR.com. You can read the review at http://www.mommypr.com/index.php/2009/08/babysitting-sugarpaw-book-review-giveaway/

Kevin Scott Collier, who has won awards for his illustrations, did a wonderful job. Each illustration really brings the story alive for children ages 3 to 8, especially for those who like to create mischief.

Your readers can find out more about Babysitting SugarPaw at http://vsgrenier.com/BabysittingSugarPaw.aspx

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Sitting down and just letting my mind wonder. I love going back and reading what I wrote. Sometimes I love it and other times I hate it. Either way, I’m creating something that my family can look at after I’m gone. I guess you could say my writing is my way of leaving a bit of myself for future generations.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

Finding the time to write all the things I hear in my head. I find it hard sometimes to sleep because a character will be talking to me about a new scene or storyline. It’s crazy I know. I’m worried that if I don’t ever get it all down on paper . . . my family will lock me away in my old age because of the voices in my head. 

What is the best writing advice you ever received?

Only you as the author know what’s best for your manuscript, and to look at critiques and criticism as a learning experience to help you hone your skills. You don’t always have to revise based on suggestions, however, if more than one person points out a problem area . . . then it’s time to take a workshop to help you fix it.

And here is some writing advice I give writers. The rules of writing are like the Pirates Code . . . meaning their more like guidelines and it’s okay to break rules if you break them in a way that only enhances your manuscript.


Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

I have two picture books and two YA novels I’m working on in whatever spare time I get throughout the week. One of the picture books is almost ready for submission. It’s about a little girl who can’t whistle. The story is based off my childhood. The others are still being fine-tuned so I don’t want to say anything about them in case I make some major changes.

Tell us about your writing space?

I have pretty big area compared to what most of my writing friends have. I’m lucky to have a bonus room in my house where my office is. Of course, that means the whole family likes to join me from time to time or I get to listen to the play by play of my son’s computer games. LOL. I have an L-shaped writing desk with drawers for all the SFC files, contracts, etc. Then, to my right is another computer desk tucked into a wall of bookshelves. This is where my kids do their homework, play online, and where my sisters or brother come to get their high school/college work done as well. Even my dad pops in to use the extra computer from time to time. It’s funny, hardly anyone, besides myself, my mom and husband, touch the books.

Behind my writing/computer desk is a futon couch, the TV with the Wii, my daughters’ dollhouse, the toy box with Thomas the Tank Engine stuff, and the air hockey table. You can say this office gets a lot of action and not all of it is writing! It’s also how you access our backyard.

The world of children’s book publishing is extremely competitive, with many authors hesitating between trying their luck with a traditional publisher or self publishing. What advice would you offer writers who are oscillating between these two publishing venues?

Virginia, what tips can you give parents looking to share the love of reading and writing with their child(ren)?

Here are some tips I’ve written for Stanley Bookman to share in Stories for Children Magazine each month.

Visit the library often. Let your child pick out her own books.
Ask your librarian to suggest favorites.
Make book time a special time just for you and your little one.
Let your child see you reading.
Stop for a while if your child loses interest or gets upset. Reading should always be enjoyable.

Children who enjoy books will want to learn how to read and write!

Children learn new words by doing things with you, like talking with you about what is going on around you. Talk about how things work, feelings, and ideas. Reading together every day and talking about the story also helps your child learn more and understand words from their context.

Reading informational books on subjects your children like helps increase their vocabulary. Children with bigger vocabularies become better readers and can more quickly understand the meaning of words in context. Remember, children learn best when they are in a good mood.

Early literacy comes from knowing about reading and writing before a child can actually read and write.

The first words children learn to write often have emotional content. Ignore the niceties of spelling and penmanship . . . for now, at least. The mechanics of writing are taught in elementary school and if your little one isn’t learning this in school yet, don’t worry about it. If they are, then get a children’s dictionary and look up a few of the words together. However, keep in mind a child writes with a lot of personal feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Pointing out mistakes may make a preschooler or young elementary student self-conscious and reluctant to write.

Young children should learn that writing is a useful and enjoyable way to express oneself—and the rest will follow in good time.

What would we be surprised to learn about you?

I went to college to be a fashion buyer and did that for just over 10 years before giving it up to stay home with my children. I’ve worked for some really interesting places like Motherhood Maternity, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Hot Topic, Inc. (I opened the first 5 Torrid stores and helped design them.), L’Occitane, and Brighten Collectibles to name a few.

Also, in high school, I took freshman English three times and my highest grand in English was a C. However, when I did take exams and my S.A.T’s, I scored in top 10 for my class. My problem was I just didn’t want to do the work or go to class. The lesson I learned . . . If you don’t do it right the first time or really hate a subject in school . . . you just might find yourself doing it for a career. 

To learn more about Stanley Bookman, the SFC mascot in the World of Ink visit us at http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org. The magazine is on hiatus until April 2011, but we have book reviews, tips, fun links, and some other free stuff currently on the site.

For those who love to write and want to learn, they can visit our newest site Stories for Children Publishing, LLC at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com. Your readers can also sign up for our FREE newsletter, SFC Newsletter for Writers which is sent out monthly and is full of articles on writing, markets, contest, workshops, conference, and much much more. It was voted one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers in 2009 by Writer’s Digest.

If your readers would like to learn more about me, my writing services, school visits, and my books . . . they can visit me at http://vsgrenier.com

And lastly, there is the SFC: Families Matter blog. Here families can get information on just about anything. We talk about vacations on a budget to helping children in school. Visit us bi-weekly at http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com/

It was a pleasure sharing Babysitting SugarPaw and my writing with you and your readers. Thank you again for having me on your blog.