September 28, 2011

Welcome to Rebecca Ryals Russell, author of Zarena, Odessa, Prophecy... and a Collector Extraordinaire!

For the last post on my blog for the MG/YA Blog Tour, author Rebecca Ryals Russell is not only sharing about her books, but what she does when she's not writing...

(** Start YA Ebook Tour: Barb Ehrentreu, "If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor")

A Home Filled with Collections of Love

When Chris asked what I collected, I had a hard time figuring out which collection to talk about. After all, I collect old cameras, with some from my father’s childhood in the ‘30’s; then there’s my treasured Vintage Florida collection with 1950’s ash trays, dishes, tea towels with cheesy flamingos, tablecloths with colorful maps of Florida, an open-mouthed ceramic gator ash tray that holds a handful of ancient postcards; or my Precious Moments collection begun when my daughter was two and looked exactly like a Precious Moment.

Now she’s 20 and while still adorable, it’s just not the same.

Or perhaps my large collection of Vintage Toys—including my original black-haired Barbie and Midge in their original black vinyl case full of 50-year-old clothing, and Tess with the tresses that grow or shrink; Fisher Price pull and push toys, stacking wooden doughnuts; Wedding Doll in original plastic dome; fuzzy-haired Trolls of all sizes.

I could go on and on. Then I mentally shuffled through the hundreds of AWESOME Vintage Rock 'n Roll Vinyl Albums and 45’s I’ve collected and inherited. We love spending a rainy afternoon sitting in our "music" corner, listening to these scratchy old treasures.

I’ve been collecting vintage Christmas decorations for about 20 years, from thrift stores and eBay. Then when my Mom died I inherited a boatload! All of which I had grown up with. Now, each Christmas is a walk down memory lane as I decorate the tree or mantel with the same ornaments and paper Santas or pinecone Elves that I’ve seen for the past half-century. I can only hope at least one of my children has inherited my love of collecting and valuing the nature of Vintage.

* Visit the Odessa book blog
* Visit the Vigorio series Facebook page

The Books:

14-year old Zarena spends time with a Holy Order of Clerics on their hidden world of RevrumNatura, 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.

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 RevrumNatura 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 - Seraphym Wars Series
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.

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?

* BUY: Click covers for Amazon links:

September 27, 2011

Ebook, MG/YA Blog Tour: Barbara Bockman, author of Wounds

Today is a reciprocal day - I'm at Barbara Bockman's blog, and she's visiting here so stop by both places. Be sure to leave a comment here to be eligible to win a PDF copy of WOUNDS.

Barbara Bockman got a degree in creative writing and then went into teaching. She is no longer teaching English at the junior college level, but says she's far from retired. She is the author of WOUNDS from MuseItUp Publishing.

About the Book:
An abused boy learns that accepting help from friends is better than running from his problems or destroying things.

After Craig’s mom dies, his dad becomes abusive. Craig reacts by vandalizing others’ property and becomes an outcast in the community. He runs away like his father, whose disappearance remains a mystery.

Though he tries to cut down his neighbors' tree, the Arks open their hearts to him and take him into their home.

Craig makes a friend in Nelson Ark's dog and when the community and a youth group raise money to "mend" the tree, Craig begins to mend his own life.


What got you started in writing?
When my grandchildren were very small, I put together little books for them. I laminated the pages and tied them together with colorful shoestrings. When the little ones came to visit, they chose those books off the bookshelf. They were more craft projects than books, but those and the books from the library that I read aloud to the children created an itch in me to write real stories of my own. I’m glad I pursued the project because it has led to my first published middle grade novel from MuseItUp Publishing.

What inspires you to write?
Many things inspire me. The antics of the grandchildren and children around me, newspaper and magazine articles, chance encounters with people and with ideas I run into in books. WOUNDS was inspired by an attack on a tree that I read about. I didn’t want to write about adults, so I created a situation with children that fit rather loosely to the circumstance I had read about.

When I'm not writing, I...
Stay busy. From June to December I’m taking care of my caterpillars and releasing butterflies. I plant lots of milkweed and the mother monarchs lay their eggs on the leaves. I also have a long fence covered in passion vine with stunning purple flowers for gulf fritillaries and zebra long wings to lay their eggs on. I attract swallowtails with parsley and citrus trees.

In the house, I have a tubular net to keep the caterpillars in while they grow, pupate and emerge from the chrysalis to protect them from lizards. It’s a fascinating process to watch and there is nothing more beautiful than the green monarch chrysalis with its specks of gold. Both butterflies and hummingbirds love to drink nectar from the butterfly bushes and bottle brush tree and other flowers. I can’t think of a better way to bring beauty into my life while helping Mother Nature.

How does your writing influence your life - and how does your life influence your writing?
My writing has brought me many writer friends, both at home with my SCBWI group, and online. That is probably the best influence it's had on my life. Much of my life experiences are included in WOUNDS. The dog, Siegfried, is patterned after the Dachshund my husband gave me as a Valentine once. Her name was Daisy, and she is honored in the book; I named a fictional hurricane Daisy. The story is set in the North Florida panhandle where I once lived. I mentioned the Biophilia Nature Center that is located in Alabama. That center is the brainchild of my friend Carol Lovell-Saas. Carol and I met as members of the Pensacola Native Plant Club.

What do you want people to take away from this book?
I hope people, especially teen readers, will realize that spur of the moment decisions made in the heat of a moment of crisis can have far-reaching consequences. It’s best to be calm and reflect before taking any action out of fear or hatred or jealousy. And I hope they can see the beauty of the non-tropical part of Florida with its oak and pine trees, not the palms people usually think of when they think of Florida.

Excerpt from WOUNDS:

Craig looked around at the people in the courtroom. They looked as puzzled as he felt. But Craig knew he was the most stunned of all. When he looked at Mr. Ark their gaze met and locked. With the specter of the tree hovering between them, Craig saw a co-mingling of intense pain and tenderness on Mr. Ark’s face.

How could I go live with him? I’m his worst enemy.

“Your Honor,” said Mr. Ark, “my wife and I don’t want Craig to get into the state system; nor do we want him returned to his father—at least not yet.”

“Let me get this straight, Mr. Ark.” Judge Borosky’s gaze bored into Mr. Ark’s eyes. “You are offering your home to the vandal who tried to destroy one of your most prized possessions?”

“I know it’s bizarre, Your Honor. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m no Goody Two-Shoes. This is just common sense. I don’t want to put this boy in a place where he can learn to become a real criminal.”

“Oh, I suspect there’s more than common sense at play here…but we’re not sending him to prison, Mr. Ark.”

“Yes, sir. Nevertheless, the foster home circuit is simply unnecessary in this case. Why burden the state and place the child with strangers, when there is a family he knows who will take him in?”

** NEXT on YA Ebook Tour: Rebecca Ryals Russel, "Zarena"

** GO To Link 1 in tour

BUY: MuseItUp Bookstore


September 26, 2011

Ebook Tour: Welcome to Sue Perkins, author of Spirit Stealer

Another MG/YA Guest Author!

Welcome to Sue Perkins, author of the intriguingly named SPIRIT STEALER, coming in October from MuseItUp Publishing. Read on for an excerpt and contest!

What inspired you to write this story?
I love reading and writing fantasy. The middle part of this book came to me full blown and was easy to write, but the rest took a little longer. The inspiration came from a need to keep providing entertaining books for Middle Grade children. It’s not exactly difficult to keep in the age group but it is something you have to keep in mind.

How did the story evolve?
The middle evolved before the rest of the book. I entered the middle in a competition here in New Zealand but the comments were it was too short. Another competition with the same comment made me decide to spread the story a bit wider. I finished it about the same time as I discovered MuseItUp, and to my delight they accepted it.

What's coming next?
More Middle Grade, more Young Adult but definitely fantasy. Reva’s Quest another Middle Grade fantasy will be published in January 2012 by MuseItUp. A Young Adult fantasy will come out the same month with another publisher. My adult fantasies will also keep appearing. At the moment I’m writing one of each age group.

Visit Perkins's blog and comment to be entered to win an eBook copy of SPIRIT STEALER when it is released.

Excerpt: Spirit Stealer

Dark eyes glared down at Tyler. He could see orange lights flickering in the bottomless pits of blackness. The huge gaping mouth loomed closer until it swamped his vision. He wanted to run, but at the same time, he couldn’t move. Sweat dripped into his eyes, blurring his vision. He blinked.

His sight cleared, and the front of the old building returned to normal. The dark eyes changed to large, windows reflecting the late afternoon sunlight. The gaping mouth resumed the shape of the open library door. Tyler glanced around to see if anyone had noticed him behaving so stupidly. No one nearby had paid him any attention. Mum kept telling him he had an over-active imagination, but the face on the library had seemed so real! He took a deep breath and walked into the building to the Chief Librarian’s desk.

** NEXT on YA Ebook Tour: Barbara Bockman, "Wounds"

September 25, 2011

Ebook and Blog Tour: Today I'm talking characters....

Today I'm talking characters and making them real at Shellie Neumeier's blog. Stop on by!

September 22, 2011

New Miniatures: In Miniature Style II

Just because a pattern looks one way, doesn't mean that is the only way to use it.

Experimenting, I took the tote bag pattern from my book, IN MINIATURE STYLE II (eBook and print), and decided to make a shoulder bag instead.

By changing the shape slightly and adding rings for the handles and for the front decoration, plus a new "fabric," I had a completely different bag--or two. I used two different fabrics, a brown faux leather and a fun red pebble paper. Stay tuned for more styles!

September 21, 2011

Ebook Tour: Welcome to CK Volnek, author of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island

My kind of book! Well with a dog-oriented blog, a "ghost dog" book is a perfect fit! The true-life history makes for a fascinating background for this book.

Today I welcome CK Volnek, author of the new eBook, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island.

About the Book:
In 1587, 121 colonists disappeared from Roanoke Island, NC, never to be seen again.

Something evil is haunting Roanoke Island and it’s up to 12-year-old Jack Dahlgren to unravel the mystery of the lost colony and stop the hateful campaign of revenge. But can Jack solve the puzzle in time to destroy the beast, before it destroys him?

Interview with CK Volnek:

How'd you start writing?

Hi Chris. Thanks for letting me visit your blog today.

I have always loved telling stories. I remember sitting at the campfire when I was a kid and my cousins would all turn to me to spin the scary tale that would keep them up all night. I couldn’t help but oblige.:-) I also loved to read and after reading Black Beauty, I decided I wanted to be the next Anna Sewell.

My passion has always been to write for children. I love their imagination and thirst for stories. I never want to grow up and lose that.

What inspires you to write? What inspired this book?

I have a very fickle muse. She loves to spin a story and will whisper into my ear with ideas for stories on just about any news article I see. GHOST DOG OF ROANOKE ISLAND was inspired after reading a news piece about the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. To be honest, I don’t remember studying the Lost Colony in school so the story truly intrigued me. I was fascinated by the mystery of what happened to the missing 117 colonists and my muse went wild coming up with a story of what she believes happened to them.

When I'm not writing, I'm....

I have to grin at this question. I dabble in so many other things than writing…spending time with my family, flower gardening, jewelry making, hiking, teaching 5th grade CCD (Sunday School)…but one of the main things I am known for around town is being the ‘dog woman.’

I have not two, not three, but four Papillon pups. I spend a lot of time with them and have trained them to do an array of tricks from the usual sit, down, stay to roll over and play dead, crawl like a marine, wave hello and good-bye and take a bow. Noah, my biggest trickster of the bunch, is quite a ham-bone and is actually a certified therapy dog. We have visited nursing homes, outdoor events, as well as being a regular at my CCD classes. But he goes to my classes with a lesson, such as unconditional love, patience and obedience.

How does your writing influences your life - and how does our life influence your writing?

One major way writing has influenced my life has had to do with the marketing of my books. At a workshop I attended, a speaker said that marketing with Twitter, Facebook and the like is about 80 percent promoting others and 20 percent promoting yourself. To accomplish this, you have to put yourself out there, reach outside your comfort zone and meet people. I’ve always been rather introverted so this was a challenge for me. But because of it, I began connecting with people and creating such an abundance of friends, I feel I have a whole new extended family. I’m so much happier and confident for having stepped outside my comfort zone.

How much of 'you' is in your books, and what?

I heard someone say once that an author writes for the genre that affected them the most. And so I write middle-grade/tween. The emotions evoked within my stories can be raw and cutting as well as positive and uplifting; the gamut of emotions every tween experiences. I may have grown up poor and in a small-town, but it created a world of emotions I think many kids can identify with.

What do you want people to take away from this book?
I hope my readers will retain the valuable lesson of tolerance and the power of forgiveness after reading GHOST DOG OF ROANOKE ISLAND. Though I did not intend to write a story with such a prominent lesson, my muse deemed it important to bring about. As the book unfolded for me, it created this story of acceptance and tolerance in hopes to stop the eternal flame of hatred and revenge.

Thanks Chris, for allowing me to join you today!
C.K. Volnek

About the author: CK Volnek has an associate's degree in art, thinking she'd write and illustrate children's books. Instead she focused on raising her family and continues to do computer graphics and layout to help pay the bills. She's excited to now focus on her writing and happy to come home after work to her small town in Nebraska where all she has to deal with are three stoplights and an occasional tractor.

* Visit her blog.

* Check out the book trailer.

** NEXT on YA Ebook Tour: Sue Perkins, "Spirit Stealer"


MuseItUp Bookstore or see Amazon link below.

September 20, 2011

Ebook Tour: Meet Pembroke Sinclair, author of Life After the Undead

Today, I welcome Pembroke Sinclair, author of LIFE AFTER THE UNDEAD.

About the Book:

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 na├»ve 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.

How did you start writing?
I've always enjoyed writing, ever since I was little. I tinkered with it on and off, but didn't get serious about it until about six years ago. A coworker really encouraged me to get my butt in gear!

What inspires you to write?
Everything. I will overhear a snipit of a conversation and think, "Hmm, that would make a great story." My dreams also play a big role in what I write, as I have some dooseys. This particular story was inspired by a dream, and it started out as a short story. From there, it grew.

When I'm not writing, I'm...
...Taking care of my children and working two part-time jobs. Really, my only hobbies include writing and editing. Occasionally (more often than I should), I spend my time on the couch in front of the TV!

How does your writing influence your life - and how does your life influence your writing?
Writing is what I really want to do. I don't want it to be a hobby, I want it to be my career. I'm constantly trying to make time to do it and wondering how much vacation I have saved up to take off work!

How much of 'you' is in your books?
I think authors always put themselves into books, whether its just the time and effort, or their actual soul. As I mentioned previously, I write to figure out how humans react to certain situations, and I like to look at it from different perspectives. Sometimes the reaction is what I'd do, and other times it's not.

What do you want people to take away from this book?
Fun. I want you to read my book for enjoyment and think: "Wow. That was one hell of a ride!"

What is your favorite part of writing and of your book?
This is hard to answer because I'm my own worst critic, and I kinda think everything stinks. I like how my character grows throughout the book, but I don't know that I have one favorite part.

My favorite part of writing is the initial process. I enjoy creating a new world and writing it down, then going back and editing it.

About the author:
Wyoming author Pembroke Sinclair has had stories published in the Cynic Online Magazine, Static Movement, Sonar 4 Publications, and Residential Aliens. Her story, “Sohei,” was named one of the Best Stories of 2008 by the Cynic Online Magazine. She also is author of COMING FROM NOWHERE, available in ebook and print. She is a staff writer for Serial Killer Magazine and works as an editor for an environmental consulting firm. Contact her at

** NEXT on YA Ebook Tour: CK Volnek, "Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island"

September 19, 2011

Miniatures Monday: Witch's Greenhouse Preview!

Halloween is coming!

Finally I decided to spruce up the Witch's Greenhouse (one of the Houseworks' Street of Shops) and get it finished. (I should've done that before and wrote a story on it, well... next time.)

The plants were all done, everything was piled inside, so all I had to do was organize. Easy? Well not when you're deciding on where to place tons of plants. (Have to count them yet and I realize some are still missing... Yes I made that many.)

So here's a preview of a small section. I'll detail the whole project during my annual 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature, beginning Oct. 20. (Third year!) here on the blog, so be sure to come back. It'll be fun and I'll have some prizes, too!

The floor is painted egg carton stones, same as on the bottom outside. Stray leaves have sprouted from the fertilizer shelves. A cute skellie dog is eating (ugh you don't want to know!) - (from Marie Gattis, Marie's Minis).

The scene's had more added since this pic, so check back later for more.

(Off to find the witch and her new employee. Remember my Flamingo lady doll? (See her here.) Well, she overdid the garage saling and had to get a job... yes at the creepy greenhouse! haaa! (How mean!) Stay tuned for details!)

* See early pix: Inside and exterior. (I still love that weird wallpaper, it was holly scrapbook paper.... Christmasy? Yeah if you're Tim Burton. haa! Perfect background for the greenhouse.)

September 17, 2011

Ebook Tour: Welcome to Shellie Neumeier, author of DRIVEN, a paranormal tale of good vs. evil

Today I welcome Shellie Neumeier, author of DRIVEN... Find the good inside....

Now for something a bit different - paranormal with a twist. It's good vs. evil... and I gotta say I love how Shellie describes her character, Robyn, in the line I'm stealing from the interview below: You take all the hits, all the trials and still your inner strength and faith shines through. Sounds like someone worth knowing...

About the Book:
Robyn can’t help but notice the handsome new guy at her school. She ignores, however, the arrival of another being at Brookfield Central High School—a demon assigned to destroy her…

Robyn loves her friends, enjoys her youth group, and looks forward to meeting cute Caleb Montague. But when a caustic news reporter challenges her school’s prayer team, Robyn must choose: defend their right to meet on campus and pray for whomever they wish or back down at the principal’s request.

Now she must learn what God wants her to do. And she had better learn fast, because there’s a supernatural enemy in town whose sole mission is to stop her—no matter the cost. (And don't forget to read the excerpt at the end!)

And now a word from the author... Oh wait. I guess Robyn Stanley, the main character in DRIVEN wants to say something....Let's see what she and Shellie are talking about....

Robyn: So why me? Why write about my life?

Shellie: You seemed like a good kid to write about, especially since you’re always getting into trouble.

Robyn: Am not.

Shellie: Are to. Have you read the book?

Robyn: **blushes** It’s on my Goodreads shelf.

Shellie: Seriously? I gave you a copy eight months ago and you haven’t read it yet?

Robyn: Hey, who are you, my mom?

Shellie: **raises hands** Okay, okay. Let’s get back to the interview. What’s your next question?

Robyn: I don’t know if I want to continue.

Shellie: I could always write your sequel…

Robyn: Fine! What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Shellie: **arches eyebrows** Favorite ice cream flavor?

Robyn: Yup.

Shellie: Your English teacher wants to know my taste in dairy treats?

Robyn: My Advanced Composition teacher doesn’t really read these papers; she just counts the pages and reads the first paragraph. I want to know your favorite flavor.

Shellie: Really? Why?

Robyn: Just tell me the flavor. Geesh you’d think I was asking for national secrets or something.

Shellie: **snickers** Vanilla.

Robyn: Well that’s boring.

Shellie: Gee. Thanks. Actually vanilla rocks when you put chocolate syrup, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and whipped cream on top. Next question, please.

Robyn: Hmm. **thumbs down her spiral notebook** Why’d you stick a demon in my story and why’d you make him target me for destruction? Kinda uncool, I’m just saying.

Shellie: **grins** Robyn, if anyone can handle a destructive demon, it’s you. You’re strong-willed, determined, DRIVEN—

Robyn: Nice marketing.

Shellie: You liked that?

Robyn: Just finish the question.

Shellie: Okay, sorry. Sebastian, the demon, may spend over two hundred pages trying to bring you down, but you spend the same two hundred pages figuring out who you are and how you can triumph over public humiliation, loneliness, dueling crushes, serious friend issues—

Robyn: Wow.

Shellie: Yeah, wow. Look, I wrote your story cause it’s a lot like my favorite ice cream.

Robyn: Vanilla? Plain, old vanilla? Gee, thanks.

Shellie: Hey, don’t knock vanilla. Vanilla ice cream takes on all the other flavors and toppings and makes them better. That’s you. You take all the hits, all the trials and still your inner strength and faith shines through. That’s better than any hot fudge sundae, if you ask me.

Robyn: Well, I couldn’t have done it without God. I have my favorite verse posted on my bathroom mirror, you know. 1 Chronicles 16:11 “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” I’m glad I’ve got God on my side. I can’t imagine how messed I’d be without Him.

Shellie: True. Some of those nuts have sharp edges. Get it, sundae…nuts **grins, sheepishly**

Robyn: Very funny. Hey, thinking what I’m thinking?

Shellie: Ice cream?

Robyn: Oh yeah.

** Get DRIVEN on Kindle: click cover:

*Check out DRIVEN on Facebook. - ** See the book trailer.

** Excerpt from DRIVEN:
From a comfortable height above the trees, Sebastian circled the abandoned paper mill, drinking in the atmosphere of dereliction and decay surrounding the property. This place has more character than most of the humans I know. Half broken windows winked like the evil eyes of wayward souls, while snow drifts gathered in the corners. The wind toyed with the snow, whipping trails that could chill his feet and ankles. If he had feet and ankles, that is.

Slipping through a second-story window, Sebastian watched a rat scurry across the dusty floor in a dash for the shadows. Like an angry cloud—black as asphalt, thick as cigar smoke—Sebastian floated after the rodent, watching with mild interest as it raced for another shadow and nearly collided with an old tom cat whose eyes glowed bright with hunger. The tom sprang, but Sebastian turned away. He didn’t have time for these cat and mouse games today, no matter how much he enjoyed them. He had bigger game to consider, and as he moved over the room, he thought about the girl he’d come to destroy.

Sebastian peered through the panel of small rectangular windows overlooking the town of Brookfield, fifty in all, though most were broken, and he yawned as he watched the town stretch with morning life. Humans filtered in and out of the corner diner, scampered about in their shiny cars, and huddled against the wind in mindless oblivion. Sebastian’s mouth curled into a sneer.

** Shellie, thanks for stopping by and sharing your book with us!

**NEXT on YA Ebook Tour: Pembroke Sinclair, "Life After the Undead"

September 16, 2011

YA EBook Tour: Christine Verstraete

Today I'll be at Rebecca Ryals Russell's blog talking books and other stuff and a fave topic, "When Writing and Collecting Collide." Stop by!

September 15, 2011

Miniatures Thursday: In Miniature Style II - What else to do with those tote bags...

Another idea for what else to do with those tote bags from In Miniature Style II....

September 14, 2011

Ebook Tour: Welcome to Marva Dasef, author of the paranormal book, Bad Spelling. What's this about witches and werewolves?

Today I welcome Marva Dasef, author of the spooky-sounding 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?
** Coming October 14 from MuseItUp Publishing. **

About the Book:
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 warlock 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.

(** Check out the book trailer!)

In keeping with the book topic, read on for what Marva has to say about... werewolves! And be sure to comment to be entered in the contest, see details at the end!

WEREWOLVES: Alternative Transportion

The most well-known werecritter is the werewolf. At this time in the cycle of what’s hot, what’s not, werewolves are getting great press via the Twilight books and movies by Stephanie Meyer.

I have to admit it. Werewolves can be totally sexy guys (gals) in human form. Meyer finally got one legendary being right. Well, she agrees with my concept, which I used before I read any of the Meyer saga. To tell the truth, I still haven’t read any of the books, because the first movie put such a bad taste in my mouth. OMG, Edward loves Bella because she SMELLS good?!?!? Gimme a break.

As we all know, werewolves are shape-shifters. When the full moon rises, your normal guy (or gal) changes into a werewolf. Sometimes, they are portrayed as mindless beasts who’ll rip the throat out of anybody they come upon. Other portrayals show that the maintain their human intelligence when shifted. Since the legends vary so wildly, I decided to not only have my werewolves remain intelligent, but also able to shift from human to wolf form at will.

How do I justify this turning away from the legend? I don’t need to. Some folks will howl in disgust with my tampering with the myths. Let ‛em whine or even bark. I’ve seen authors do just about everything with the tropes: weres, vampires, demons, fairies, angels, ancient gods. That, I believe, is perfectly okay. You want a half-vampire, half-demon? I’ve seen that in paranormal more than once. Gods less than god-like? Yup, been done.

Anyway, I have a six-pack of werewolves in BAD SPELLING. Here’s a taste (ha ha, get it?) of my werewolf mashup.

Excerpt from BAD SPELLING:

Rune joined them. “Are we going to stand around here all day? Where’s the alternative transportation you told us about?”

Andy tore his gaze from Kat and scanned the slope. “There it is.”

Kat looked where Andy pointed and gasped. “What—?”

“Don’t worry. They won’t hurt us,” Andy said with a confidence Kat didn’t quite trust.

“But werewolves?” There was no mistaking them for regular wolves. Besides being twice the size of the largest of the wolves, the eyes gave them away. Even from a distance, Kat could see them gleaming with intelligence.

“Look behind them,” Andy said.

The big wolves loped along easily; they were harnessed to a sled, bouncing along behind them. The speed with which they approached told her they would have no problem pulling a heavy load.

The wolves came up the slope and stopped in front of them. The lead werewolf looked at each of them with some interest. Kat felt like an item on a menu, like when they faced the polar bear.

The lead wolf said, “Good morning. Hmm. Humans, not trolls. Interesting.” The wolf looked over his shoulder at the others. “Remember, King Olaf hired us to deliver these people to where they want to go. You are not to eat them.” The other wolves nodded, but their long tongues hanging over gleaming, razor-sharp teeth was not a reassuring sight; their mouths dripped saliva in a most disconcerting manner.

The lead werewolf turned his pale yellow eyes back to Andy. “So, where are we going?”

Andy briefly explained what they wanted. The werewolf nodded and said, “If I understand correctly, we are looking for the Sami tribe. Do you realize they’re nomadic?”

“Sort of. All I know for certain is they spend much of their time on the northern coast.” Andy glanced at Kat. “Anything else?” She shook her head.

The wolf stared at Andy for a moment and then said, “Well, come closer so I can smell you. The girl, too.”

Kat hung back. “Why do you want to—? Oh, I understand. You can find the Samis through our scent.”

“Very good, young lady,” the werewolf answered and sniffed at her outstretched hand. He licked it once. Kat jerked her hand back. “Taste helps, too,” the werewolf answered, with a hint of humor in his gruff voice.

“What’s your name?” Kat asked.

“I call myself Mazi in my wolf form. I try to keep my human life separate.” The werewolf raised his head and howled. The other wolves joined in the chorus. Goose pimples rose on Kat’s arms. Then, they all fell silent and pricked their ears, turning their heads this way and that. From off in the distance, Kat heard a faint answering howl.

“Hop on the sled. It’s time to go,” Mazi said.

* Want more? Check out Marva's blog.

** CONTEST: ** Win a free ebook drawn from comments. Select either MG fantasy BAD SPELLING or adult mystery MISSING, ASSUMED DEAD.

* Marva, thanks for stopping by. Can't wait to read the book!

** Next YA Ebook Tour: Shellie Neumeier, "Driven"

September 13, 2011

Ebook Tour: Meet Meradeth Houston, author of YA Paranormal: Colors Like Memories

If you like eBooks, then stay tuned for a selection of great reads!

Today I welcome Meradeth Houston, author of the upcoming young adult paranormal book, COLORS LIKE MEMORIES (MuseItUp Publishing May 2012). * Cover coming! Be sure to comment to be eligible to win a copy!

About the Book:
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.

New school arrival Edison knows too much about her past. Now after revealing herself to her assignment, she'll have to trust that past, and learn to trust Edison, and herself to help her friend heal and face the true color of her memories.

Interview with Meradeth Houston:

How did you start writing?
Reading a lot is what really got me started. I remember thinking that I really enjoyed a particular book and didn’t want it to end. The concept that if I wanted to see something different occur in a story I could write it myself just kind of came to me when I was a kid, and that led me down the path to being a writer.

What inspires you to write? What inspired this book?
Music is what really gets the writing juices flowing for me. My book, Colors Like Memories, really came from listening to “Shadow of the Day” by Linkin Park (yeah, I know it’s an old song, but it was very recent when I wrote the first draft!).

When I'm not writing, I ...
...spend most of my time in the lab, and I also run when I can. I guess, in many ways, writing is my hobby (though using the word ‘hobby’ doesn’t really encompass the word well). Anyhow, I’m an anthropologist, and I work with the DNA of ancient peoples, which is pretty cool . I’ve always wanted to study people, so that fits in pretty well with both writing and anthropology!

How does writing influences your life - and how does your life influence your writing?
Writing is a big part of my life, mainly because it keeps my imagination under control—or maybe just gives it a focus. I’m always reading and studying the world around me for a new story idea, or some fun line of dialogue to fit into my stories.

What element do you try to use in your work?
I think a lot of my stories are about understanding why certain things (both good and bad—mostly bad because those make for more interesting stories) happen to people. I don’t always start out with this concept, but it works its way into almost everything I write.

About the author:
Born and raised in California, Houston left for college and moved back eight miles from her hometown. While finishing her doctorate, she works as a lab researcher and instructor at my university. A great job, she says, because "it allows for a lot of day-dreaming."

Contest: Leave a comment (with an email or link to contact you) to be eligible to win a copy of Colors Like Memories when it's released. Winners will be announced on Meradeth's blog at the end of the month.

** Next: YA Ebook Tour Post 3: Marva Dasef, "Bad Spelling"

September 12, 2011

This Week's Upcoming Blog Guests

Stop back this week for several authors coming by for the MG/YA (Middle Grade-Young Adult) Ebook and Blog Tour.

Tuesday: Meradeth (Snow) Houston, author of the upcoming fantasy/paranormal COLORS LIKE MEMORIES

Wednesday: Marva Dasef, author of BAD SPELLING, talks werewolves

** Friday: I'll be at Rebecca Ryals Russell's blog talking about the real "big boom" - When Writing and Collecting Collide.

Saturday: Shellie Neumeier, author of the paranormal-Christian book DRIVEN lets her character do the talking.

September 11, 2011

Remembering the Human, and Canine, Heroes of 9-11

Today we remember the brave men and women, the firefighters, police and rescue personnel, who answered the call for help during the horrendous attacks on the NY World Trade Center on 9-11.

Not to be forgotten are the hard-working rescue dogs who helped in search and rescue at the site, many suffering injuries in the process.

The American Kennel Club continues to offer funds and ongoing support to make sure that these working animals will be there to help and will also get the care they need.

* See 9-11 Memorial
See the video....

September 10, 2011

YA Blog Tour: Welcome to Barb Ehrentreu, author of "If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor"

Today I welcome YA author Barbara Ehrentreu, author of the intriguing-sounding, IF I COULD BE LIKE JENNIFER TAYLOR. Keep reading for the contest at the end.

About the Book:

Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too-heavy-for-fashion body and not being a cheerleader. When she's paired for a math project with her middle school tormenter, Jennifer Taylor, Carolyn's sure it's going to be another pain-filled year.

Homework blackmail, lies and a chance to be made over make for an uneasy friendship, especially when Carolyn uncovers Jennifer's secret. Can she keep a secret and become one of the popular crowd - the cheerleaders - or will she be a mean girl target again? EBook available 9/16, MuseItUp Publishing.

Interview with Barbara Ehrentreu, author of IF I COULD BE LIKE JENNIFER TAYLOR.

What was the inspiration for IF I COULD BE LIKE JENNIFER TAYLOR?
I wrote this book, because my daughter had the beginnings of an eating disorder and she also felt bad about her body. I needed three chapters for this children’s workshop led by Paula Danziger, so I wrote them. In the story, the main character is being bullied by a girl named Jennifer Taylor, whom she both hates and wants to be like. She actually says, “If only I could be like Jennifer Taylor.”

Which authors have most influenced your own writing?
Lewis Carroll, Jane Austin, Paula Danziger, John Irving and too many others to list.

What's your ideal writing spot? Have any special writing rewards?
I can write almost anywhere, but right now I’m happy writing at my desk on my laptop. When I’m writing I like to have chocolate cookies available and caffeine free diet Coke.

Describe your writing style.
I just start out writing and have no idea where it's going. When I have a good sentence I write that and usually the story moves along by itself. Dialogue writes itself if I have fleshed out the character enough before I write.

What's next for you?
I'm working on an adult novel, as well as two other YA novels. WHEN MY LIFE CHANGED is almost ready to send out. This is also a YA novel about a 15-year-old girl whose life changes when her father has a heart attack and bypass surgery.

Comment about your experiences as a freshman in high school to be entered in a drawing for a copy.


I spot him walking toward my locker with a small box in one hand and a plastic fork in the other. My Crush! He hands me the box, and I open it. Inside is a piece of luscious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

I look up into his blue eyes and give him the box so I can touch his cheek as I smooth his dark hair. “You always know just what I like.”

He smiles and feeds me a forkful of cake. I don’t have to worry about eating it because I can eat anything I want and not gain weight. He places the cake box in my locker so he can put his arms around me. The first bell rings in my ears. I ignore it because I’m thin and blonde and floating in the arms of my dark-haired crush. The other cheerleaders run up to us laughing and kidding around, and I’m about to speak. The ringing gets louder.

The dream evaporates, and I realize it’s the darn alarm piercing my sleep. Slamming my fist onto the snooze button, I get this nagging feeling. Then I remember. I have something to do. Worse luck, I have to do it, not as the slender blonde beauty in my dream, but as the real Carolyn Samuels with my brown curly hair hanging like shriveled spaghetti, mud brown eyes, and a body too large for fashion.

** TO Post 2 on YA Blog tour: Meradeth Houston, "Colors Like Memories"

September 08, 2011

Miniature Art by Anna Hardman - DOTY Winner

The October issue of Doll Reader Magazine includes the January winners of the Doll of the Year Awards for 2011.

Congrats to miniature doll maker Anna Hardman for her People's Choice award for Miniature Artist Dolls. This is her second win. She's getting miniature dolls the attention they deserve! And her doll - hand-sculpted and an original design - is indeed a work of art! Simply beautiful!

September 05, 2011

Miniatures Monday: New AIM for Sept - Fantastic Food and Make a Coat

The fantastic Sept. issue of Artisans in Miniature (AIM) Magazine is now out. Wow, dine in style with all kinds of wonderful food!

And... Kathy Mendenhall of Mini Patterns (who made and contributed the pattern and how-to for the wonderful yellow dress on the cover of In Miniature Style II) has a great coat pattern and how-to in the issue.

Download here free.

September 03, 2011

It's Alive!! New website, new minis, etc.

Finally! It works. yay! My new website is up! My worrying is over!

Well a few things have to be added yet, but I can do it at my leisure now. Do let me know if anything does not go to the right page or something.

** Got In Miniature Style II? -- I added a pdf for the Halloween printies to make the screen in my book. See miniatures page at site. Btw, if you have the book linked, the page has changed.... to Stop by!