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Viewing Blog: Katie Hines- Walking on Water, Most Recent at Top
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As writers, we often strive to do the impossible, to create the "perfect" book. To walk on water...
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1. SCOTUS Ruling & Individual Freedom

I have not used this forum as a springboard for my personal political beliefs, but rather have stuck to writing-related issues. However, I find today that not only can I not abstain from speaking out, but that I am constrained to speak out.

Our nation is teetering on the precipice of blatant socialism, as evidenced most recently in today's shocking decision by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to uphold the individual mandate of the so-called Obamacare legislation through the ability of Congress to tax.

Throughout his presidency, Obama has time and time again made decisions based on personal, socialistic beliefs and counsel from his socialistic advisers. One cannot find a more obvious example than Obamacare. Basically, we are headed toward a system where insurance companies (or exchanges) will determine which tests or procedures they will approve reimbursement for and which they won’t. They already do this to a certain extent, but what will increasingly happen is that a well-off individual can afford to pay for the non-reimbursed procedure privately, whereas others cannot, the latter not getting the test or procedure. Don’t be fooled: this is essentially health care rationing. For more information on the effects and ramifications of today's SCOTUS ruling, there is a plethora of information available online and through news media.

The larger issue is this: do we sit by and do nothing, while an increasingly liberal Congress continues to give more and more of our individual rights and freedoms away to oversight by an “all-knowing” government, who thinks they know better than we do what is good for us as individuals? Or, do we stand up and say, “Enough is enough. I refuse to allow my country to continue it’s distressing slide,” and we get out and support our local politicians, and barring that, register and VOTE!

Voting is not only our right, it is our duty. I have heard so many people complain about governmental issues and politicians, about what the complainants agree with and don’t agree with. Then I find out that these same people didn’t exercise the privilege of voting. How can you complain when you didn’t even share your opinion through voting?

Let’s mobilize! Let’s take our country back! Let’s refuse to stand idly by while our freedoms and rights are tromped on and stripped away. Give financially or with your time to your chosen political candidate. If you haven’t already done so, register to vote! Let your voice be heard in a meaningful way. This is such a pivotal year in our country. Don’t allow the rise of socialism; don’t allow Obama to have another term in office.

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2. Wondered about Writing Humor?

Writing humor is often perceived as being difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. It is not that you write something that is fall on the floor funny, but it is that you take a fresh perspective on old things. For example, I wrote "Red Hot Scooter Mama" (available here) after going to the grocery store and encountering little demon kids from alien planets with non-existent parents. The article begins with a bow to the width of my feet. I could have just said, my feet are really wide, and because of that I have to ride a scooter around the grocery store.

But that wouldn't have been near as effective as, "Some woman are blessed with slender feet. Not me. Mine are as wide as the Mississippi, and have never sported an arch as lovely and delicate as the one in St. Louis." Immediately, you get a visual image with a spot of humor about my feet. But, by gosh and by golly, who even CARES about my feet? Yet, this article garnered more hits and comments than most of my other posts. Not only that, but it was taken off the blog and posted about on the different groups as a lively conversation ensued.

All about feet and little bratty kids!

The point is, humorous writing can be about anything. You may be thinking, I'm not Erma Bombeck. Exactly. You're who you are, and you write humor with your own bent.

Is there even a market for humor? The answer is a resounding "yes!" For about a year, I wrote a humor column for our local newspaper. If you're willing to write for free, most of the smaller newspapers are open to publishing humor written by local authors. You can post your humor on your blog, or personal website. Additionally, your humor column can grace almost any others website. Google "humor columns" and you'll see where others have marketed their humor.

Some people are under the impression that to be humorous, you have to be a Jay Leno or David Letterman. No, you don't have to tell jokes, you don't have to write cartoons. All you have to do is write about something that is humorous from your point of view. Perhaps about a trip where you lost one of your kids? How about the family cat that got caught in the tree? Or a baby who is just beginning to walk? Humor can be about anything! And once published, you'll find that a lot of people are interested in that spot of humor, too.

So dispel the myth that you cannot write humor. If you find something funny, chances are someone else will find it funny, too.

1 Comments on Wondered about Writing Humor?, last added: 6/8/2012
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3. Critique Groups - A Writer's Best Friend

Some writers will say they don't use a critique group; others wouldn't consider their manuscript polished without the input from one. There are both online critique groups and face-to-face groups. Whether you use a critique group or not is up to you, but there are ways to get the most out of your critique group.

First, a critique group should be comprised of fellow writers who share common goals, and it works best if they're writing in the same genre. For example, if you write children's picture books, and another person writes memoirs, it fits best if you join a group that writes picture books and let the other find a memoir group. Look at it this way: if you have a forest green couch, and your partner buys a bright orange floral couch, there won't be a good fit in the living room!

Second, a critique group should be comprised of a small group of people, usually no more than five or six, who are committed to each other and helping each other polish their manuscript. Most online groups work that one writer submits a piece to the rest of the group and expects a critique back by the end of the week. Face-to-face groups can work the same way as well, with the piece to be critiqued sent via email a week prior to the next group meeting. Obviously, in either of these situations, it wouldn't work well to have more than five or six people because of the long time between critiques.

Third, when you join a critique group, you have the right to expect honesty in the critique from your fellow group members. Honesty, however, does not equal brutality. Just as there is always writing in the submission that needs addressing, there are good points in that person's writing as well. The good critiquer will point out not only errors, but also the places where the writer did a great job. Brutal honesty has no place in a critique, as it can damage and discourage fellow writers.

Fourth, as a group grows and changes together, relationships develop between the writers, and these relationships can foster a sense of comradeship and security. I have been in groups where the writers have bared their souls to each other in their writing, and did so knowing they wouldn't be slammed. The development of these relationships can extend beyond the critique group, and are an important part of networking with others.

Critique groups can help polish a manuscript and further the career of any writer, often times resulting in relationships that will carry through the rest of the writers lives. Whether or not you join such a group is your decision, but membership in a good critique can be a writer's best friend.

1 Comments on Critique Groups - A Writer's Best Friend, last added: 1/26/2012
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4. How to Get Your Work Into an Anthology

Here's a great article by Karina Fabian that will help those of us who are interested in getting our work published in an anthology.

I’ve been on both sides of the anthology fence—having had stories published in several anthologies from Firestorm of Dragons to The Zombie Cookbook—as well as having edited three anthologies, the latest of which is Infinite Space, Infinite God II. (www.isigsf.com). I enjoy anthologies for a number of reasons—I like having my stories in a book, I like reading anthologies myself, and they are a lot of fun. However, they are a competitive market, just like all writing markets these days. Here are some things I’ve learned from being on both sides of the fence that can help you get in.

#1 Network: Join some writers groups that are tied to your genre or interest. Most of the anthologies I’ve been in, I’ve heard about from Yahoo groups or The Writers Chat Room. It’s also been an aid, since the editors are usually members of the groups, too. Duotrope.com and ralan.com also list calls for submissions, so check them out regularly.

#2 Read the Guidelines. You’d think this would be obvious, but it isn’t. I see editors complain about it, and as an editor, I’ve tossed out stories after the first paragraph because the writer sent me a fantasy for an SF anthology. Sorry, guidelines are there for a reason.

#3 Understand the SPIRIT of the anthology. Anthologies are not like magazines, that can take a wide range of stories. They usually have a specific theme or purpose. If you do not address that theme or style, it does not matter how good your story is. A bad fit is a bad fit. Here’s a good example for ISIG II: We stated that our intention in the anthology is to show the positive portrayal of the Catholic faith and science, and of them interacting in concert. Naturally, non-Catholic Christian stories didn’t fit. But even worse was the story that started out painting priests as evil and the Church as uncaring. Now, I’m not going to argue anyone’s personal beliefs here, but how in the world is that the POSITIVE?

#4 Be ready to accept some editorial direction. Editors are interested in making the stories the best they can be. Editors of anthologies need to think not only of the story but how the story fits the whole. That may mean some changes—in length, in prose, in style. 6 Comments on How to Get Your Work Into an Anthology, last added: 4/19/2011

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5. What's Up, Holmes, says Dr. Watson

There’s No Holmes like Holmes

I read my first Sherlock Holmes story in my junior year of high school. I hated high school, was longing to be rid of it, and I was going through all the books in the house simply looking for something interesting to read that would take me away for a little while. I’d read all of my mother’s Agatha Christies, so she suggested reading The Hound of the Baskervilles. And….in a fashion uncharacteristic of most teenagers, I did.

In the opening pages, Holmes asks his friend Dr. Watson to analyze a walking stick left behind in their rooms by someone who had visited while they were out. Watson makes some observations about the stick, guessing about the owner. Holmes then takes the stick and shows Watson how he was completely wrong in all of his deductions.

I loved this character already!

But it only got more interesting when that visitor returned and told the Holmes and Watson about the legend of the hound of Hell who haunted the Baskerville family, and how the late Sir Charles Baskerville was found dead with footprints of a giant hound beside the body. I couldn’t put the book down and was utterly frustrated when Holmes “vanished” partway through the book, leaving Watson to investigate the situation in Dartmoore, only to appear suddenly later having been spying on the whole situation from afar.

Now – I relate a bit of the play-by-play on my first reading of Sherlock Holmes to make a point. Teenagers and sometimes pre-teens (if they have a decent vocabulary or the tenacity to look up words in the dictionary) can read the original tales written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Teenage boys were, after all, his intended audience, and most of his readers at the turn of the last century were young people.

And yet there are new young-adult series starring the Sherlock Holmes character. I’ll mention specifically the Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer as well as the Young Sherlock Holmes books by Andrew Lane. While both of these series have received critical acclaim, and I don’t fault the authors for writing Holmes books (I mean…I just have to look in the mirror), I just have to wonder, why not simply offer kids the original Holmes stories first? I have freshmen in my high school classes who have read and en

3 Comments on What's Up, Holmes, says Dr. Watson, last added: 4/16/2011
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6. Writing Books for Children and Young Adults that Will Sell

I'm pleased that Jacqueline Seewald has come to share some of her expertise with us today. Jacqueline is a multi-award winning author who writes for adults as well as teens and children. She has taught creative, expository and technical writing at the university level as well as high school English. Ten of her books of fiction have been published. Her short stories as well as poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies. Her adult mystery novel, THE INFERNO COLLECTION, was published by Five Star/Gale in hardcover in 2007 and Wheeler large print in 2008. Another novel, THE DROWNING POOL, was published in 2009. The third mystery in the Kim Reynolds series, THE TRUTH SLEUTH, will be published in May 2011. A young adult novel, STACY’S SONG, was published by L&L Dreamspell in November 2010.

Even before J. K. Rowling's tremendous success with her Harry Potter series, publishers were searching for fantasy and horror fiction for children and teenagers that they hoped would top the bestseller list. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it does not insure success as a writer. Not every juvenile book needs to feature werewolves, vampires, witches or goblins.

Books set in the "real" world still have appeal for teens and children. Young readers are not necessarily trying to read books that provide a total escape from reality. Even fantasy books need to be believable, provide an element of reality through character development to which readers can relate.

One of the most important things in writing a successful young adult novel or children’s book is to develop a unique voice. That does not mean that you must write from a first person point of view. However, teen readers often respond well to a first person narrative.

It is important to create a central character that young readers can both sympathize and identify with. Whether writing realistic or fantasy fiction, if the reader can't care about or relate to the main character, than he or she won't believe or accept what follows.

Teens as well as younger children enjoy an element of mystery. Every good work of fiction should have a plot that keeps the reader turning the pages, wanting to discover what is going to happen next. It's important to set up some sort of a question that can't be easily or immediately answered, a secret of the human heart that must be delved into.

A word of warning: If you are going to write about teens, you must know about them. Do some research. Besides raising two teenagers, I taught English and later Library Science. I taught at all le

12 Comments on Writing Books for Children and Young Adults that Will Sell, last added: 2/18/2011
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7. My Road to Publication by Debra Shiveley Welch

I'm pleased to have Debra Shiveley Welch guest blogging today about her road to publication with Cedar Woman. Debra...

Cedar Woman
is finally out after two years of intensive research, and a lot of fun in the writing. Launching a book is like raising a child in many ways: you have great hopes, are very proud, and worry about how it will survive out there in the big, wide world.

Paramount in my creating Cedar Woman was the wish to, not only write a book that my readers will enjoy reading again and again, but the desire to represent The People, the Lakota Sioux, with all respect, and with absolute truth to the best of my ability. I also wanted to show that their customs, beliefs and desires are universal in many ways, and deserve the respect any people deserve. To be able to write about these things intelligently, and with honor, I had to immerse myself into their culture as much as possible.

My sister, Julie Spotted Eagle Horse Martineau, was invaluable in the process of researching and understanding The People as far as their culture, beliefs and ceremonies were concerned. She spent endless hours on the phone with me and wrote many emails explaining everything from, what it is like to be struck by lightning, to how to build a sweat lodge.

With Julie’s help, I also learned a lot of the Lakota language. I’ve always loved listening to and learning new languages, and speak some Spanish and read a little French. Now I was learning yet another, word-by-word, and enjoying the flavor of the words of the Lakota Plains Native American, or NdN as The People prefer.

I had personally been through an Hunkapi, or Making of Relatives Ceremony, a Naming Ceremony, Sweat Lodge and Wopila or Thank You ceremony, and could draw from those experiences, but living in Central Ohio as I do, I needed to get to know my heroine, Lena Cedar Woman as well as I knew myself.

To get started, I set up character sheets. To make them come alive to my readers, my characters had to be living, breathing people to me.

On each sheet I wrote the character's name, appearance (hair, eye color, height, build), when and where they were born and when key things happened to them. Also included were likes, dislikes, any hobbies, quirks, basic personality, etc. They were ongoing reference sheets. That is, when something key happened to them, I added what it was, and when, and any other information

5 Comments on My Road to Publication by Debra Shiveley Welch, last added: 1/27/2011
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8. Cheryl Malandrinos on "Sometimes Change is Good"

Sometimes, Change is Good by Cheryl Malandrinos

I didn’t start out my career planning to write for children. Not that I didn’t think I would enter that market at some point; God knows the children He has blessed me with give me plenty of inspiration. I just wasn’t interested in writing for young people when I left Corporate America in 2004 to pursue my dream.

Reading mostly non-fiction for years, I decided to enter the Breaking into Print program offered by Long Ridge Writers Group and focus on article writing. I graduated in December 2005 and began writing time management and organization articles for monthly online magazines. Time management and organization always came easy to me, so it was a natural fit.

I also picked up a women’s fiction manuscript that I had been working on for the last decade with my sister and committed to finishing it. It felt great to type, “The End”. Then the project stalled during the editing process, my sister moved out of state, and we couldn’t seem to hook up and get the edits finished.

So, I moved on.

November 2006 arrived and I was ready to try my hand at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time. I had an idea that stewed in my brain for a few years and I was going to make it a reality. Preliminary research done, I steamed ahead on November 1st. Made it through seven chapters, but couldn’t quite move forward without additional research. This wasn’t the kind of book a pantser could pull off easily.

NaNoWriMo came and went, but I still thought my idea was good: a shepherd who leaves home to seek out the apostles after the Resurrection of Jesus to find out if He was the Savior he had met on the night of the Messiah’s birth.

I started talking to my pastor about the story and he said, “This is a kid’s book?” I told him it wasn’t, but my mind just wouldn’t let my pastor’s words go. Why couldn’t this book be about the night that Obed meets Jesus? That doesn’t mean I couldn’t write my original idea later.

And so, Little Shepherd was born. It tells the story of five-year old Obed, who is in the hills outside Bethlehem when the angel appears. He wants to see the newborn King, but is afraid to leave his flock unattended. Some wise words from his father, meeting the Holy Family, and what he sees upon his return to the fields, leads Obed to know it is a night of miracles.

I’m currently at work on a middle grade historical and came up with 30 new picture book ideas during Picture Book Idea Month in November. I am also putting the finishing touches on a first chapter reade

12 Comments on Cheryl Malandrinos on "Sometimes Change is Good", last added: 1/20/2011
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9. Guest post by Lorrie Unites-Struiff

Hi Katie, Thank you so much for the invitation to your blog.

Well, it’s a New Year folks. I wish all of you a good one.

I imagine everyone is recuperating from the holidays, thinking about the resolutions made.

I didn’t make any. Did you?

Where do you live?

Here, in Pittsburgh, PA, the weather is at its worst in January, February and well into March. I dislike cold weather and all the white stuff that falls from the sky. I’d love to fly south for the winter. Does anyone want to donate to my “Get thee to a warm place fund?”

I don’t like to drive on our hilly roads, breathe in the icy air, shovel and salt the walks and driveway. So, how do I try to get through each freezing day?

I get the “have to do’s” over with first. Then I put on my warm sweat pants and shirt, curl up in my favorite tilt-back chair, have a hot pot of tea on my little table, wrap myself in an afghan, and either work on my story with my computer on my lap, or read a good book. Now, that is enjoyment on these cold winter days. I’m all snuggly and warm.

Yes, yes, yes, I know some people like winter, I’m just one of those that don’t, so don’t smack me, please.

When I sink into a good book, I am lost within the pages, escaping the blustering wind outside and yes, looking at that white stuff. An adventure, a mystery, a paranormal, a romance or maybe a space trip into the realms of a far off universe sweeps me out of my misery. I’m with the characters, and I live their adventures and forget about the frost on my windows.

Or, I write new adventures, getting lost in my characters, and wondering how the heck I’m going to get them out of the trouble I have put them into. I make the setting a warm climate-- it helps.

I like to take odd characters, mix them together and see how they will react to each other. What fun. When I’m lost in my writing, I lose track of time, and can ignore the salt trucks rumbling up my street. And when I write “up” I do mean “up.”

So, are you a winter lover or hater?

And, of course I mean people that live in snowy, cold season places.

8 Comments on Guest post by Lorrie Unites-Struiff, last added: 1/5/2011
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10. Origin of the Christmas Tree

Popular legend says Martin Luther began the Christmas tree tradition. The story tells us that around 1500, on Christmas Eve, he was walking through snow-covered woods and saw a beautiful group of small evergreens. The snow-dusted branches shone in the moonlight. Impressed by its beauty and light, he hurried home where he set up a small fir and decorated it with candles, lit in honor of Christ's birth.

Although some Christians claim the symbols of the Christmas tree originated with their faith, history tells us these symbols may actually have the origins in the belief of ancient peoples. Norse, Romans, Egyptians--all believed the sun was a god and that winter came every year because their god sickened and weakened. Thus, they celebrated the winter solstice because from that day forward, the sun god would begin to get well. The use of evergreens in their celebrations reminded them of the new life to be found in the coming days.

Martin Luther aside, the earliest written record of an evergreen Christmas tree was in the 1500s in Germany. It was then that during November's feast of Yule celebration, Yule trees were first planted in pots and brought into German homes.

It wasn't until the 11th century European religious plays (called "mystery plays") came came into being that trees became more popularly accepted. Performed outdoors and in churches, the most popular mystery play was the "Paradise Play" which told the story of Adam and Eve. The only prop was the "Paradise tree" which was typically a fir, adorned with apples. During the play, Eve would take the apple, eat of it and pass it to Adam.

In the 15th century, "immoral" behavior crept into these plays and they were forbidden by the Church. However, by that time, people had already begun the tradition of putting their own Paradise trees in their homes on December 24, the beast day of Adam and Eve. The tree was decorated with apples as the fruit of sin, and with homemade wafers, representing the fruit of life. In later years, these direct symbolic connections to the Christian faith became diluted as decorations expanded to include candy and sweets.

By the mid-1600s, the use and decoration of Christmas trees had spread throughout Europe, with decorations to include paper roses, apples, communion wafers, gold, foil, sweets, and dolls. It is at this time that the use of candles is first mentioned.

The Christmas tree, in the form of the "Paradise Tree," came to America as Germans immigrated to western Pennsylvania in the 1700s. Puritans banned Christmas itself in New England and in 1851, a Cleveland minister almost lost his job for allowing a tree in his church.

In the mid-1800s, the Christmas tree arrived with style in England as the English queen, Victoria, visited relatives in Germany, where she fell in love with Prince Albert, whom she married. Returning to England, Prince Albert continued the Christmas tree tradition and decorated it with fine, German hand-blown glass ornaments. Impressed English citizens began putting them up in their homes as well.

In the early 20th century, ornaments included ore than apples as nuts, cookies, popcorn, and berries became popular. With electricity came lights, and Christmas trees began appearing in town squares.

It was in 1851 that a farmer named Mark Carr hauled two ox sleds piled with trees into New York City, selling them in two days. And so the Christmas tree market was born. By 1900, one in five Americans had a tree, and during the depression when nurseries were unable to sell evergreens for landscaping, they cut and sold them as Christmas trees.

Despite the various stories that abound regarding the origin of the Christmas tree, its evolution can be traced from ancient times and today it remains as one of the most popular and pervasive holiday traditions in the world.

11. Fantasy & Ebook Author, R. L. Copple

I’m pleased to welcome young adult fantasy author, R. L. Copple, to my blog today. R. L. Copple's interest in speculative fiction started at an early age, after reading "Runaway Robot" by Lester Del Ray. Many others followed by Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein, Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, among others. He has written for religious purposes but started writing speculative fiction in 2005. “Infinite Realities” marks his first book, a fantasy novella. His second book, first full length novel, “Transforming Realities” hit the shelves March 2009. He has been published in several magazines.

R. L., I love fantasy and I love the young adult audience. Can you please give us a brief synopsis of “Transforming Realities?”

R. L.: Sure. When Sisko refuses the demon Beltrid's request to use his miracle-producing ring for selfish purposes, Sisko's world is turned upside down. Trapping Sisko's wife, Gabrielle, inside the "Crystal of Virtues," Beltrid sends Sisko and his two teenage children, Nathan and Kaylee, on a journey to find seven virtues that will free her. Simple? Not when a demon is involved. The trip takes several twists and turns leading to a showdown at the steam house where it all started. They discover that the reality of the ring transcends healing sicknesses—they discover a transforming reality.

Katie: I see you have read many of the same fantasy/science fiction authors I have. Why do you write fantasy, and more particularly, young adult fantasy?

R. L.: Fantasy makes the impossible, possible. The ultimate "what if" scenario can be laid out and find out how it would affect people. While a fantasy world will have its own internal rules, the author is free to construct that in any way he or she wants. That opens the doors of an unlimited and interesting source of story ideas. The interesting spark is how some reality not currently available will affect people, relationships, and lives, whether individuals or a society.

I tend toward young adult, maybe on the upper end of young adult, because I find my writing style is more in line with that age group. I like some action, a little romance, but always something interesting happening. I would say that much of my young adult writing is also enjoyed by adults. I think that is because I don't write it to sound like I'm focusing on, as one editor said it, "teen aghast," but on issues that affect all of us. Because as adults, we never really stop learning and growing. If we do, we're dead. To me, the young adult period of life is the perfect storm for fantasy. Someone seeking to discover their place in the world, and unusual events that push them to learn more about themselves and others.

Katie: Many fantasies deal with world creation. How much of that did you do in “Transforming Realities” and how easy/difficult did you find it?

R. L.: Honestly, it evolved over a period of time writing the stories and books. The first story in "Infinite Realities" was a short story, "Steamy Realities," that I wrote for a contest using the theme "h

10 Comments on Fantasy & Ebook Author, R. L. Copple, last added: 12/4/2010
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12. Meet YA author, Lindsay Below

I’m pleased to welcome young adult author of “Head Over Hand-Bought Heels,” Lindsay Below. Lindsay lives in Iqualuit, Canada, whether she writes young adult and middle grade fiction. Under L. K. Below, she publishes adult romance and speculative fiction.

Katie: Can you please share with us a short synopsis of “Head Over Hand-Bought Heels?”

Lindsay: When Katie meets Courtney, everything starts to change… When I marched into Vivian’s Boutique for my first shift, I didn’t expect to walk into a screaming match — or to make three new fiercely loyal friends just for comforting Courtney after her breakup. But I did, and now they’re set on coaxing me out of my temple of nerdery and onto their fashion-forward roller coaster of social interaction. And now, after all the time we’ve been spending together, I think I might be falling for Courtney...

Katie: This is a young adult book, which will be published in ebook format in December by Etopia Press. What inspired you to write this young adult novel?

Lindsay: I woke up one morning from a dream, in which Katie and the gang were vividly imprinted on my mind. This was a few days before my first National Novel Month. Since it was so close, I decided to give my characters free reign. I’m definitely glad I did because they led me on one crazy journey of friendship and self-discovery.

Katie: You write under a couple of different names. Why did you choose to do so?

Lindsay: Let me start by saying that I love to read. Pretty much anything. That love for stories eventually bled over into my writing. Because I write for both adults and young adults, I felt that I needed to keep those separate by writing under different names.

Katie: Do you find it difficult to write in different genres?

Lindsay: Not at all. I find it more liberating to do so. If something seems drawn-out or stiff, I can easily switch to something so completely different that it helps to unclog my writing mojo.

Katie: How many writing projects to you have going at a time, and how do you juggle them so you get to work on them all?

Lindsay: I have too many. My main problem is that I get so many ideas, all the time. If I’m not at least a quarter of the way through a novel,

Katie: You have said this is an ebook coming out in a few days. Why did you choose to write an ebook as opposed to trying for a traditional publisher in print form?

8 Comments on Meet YA author, Lindsay Below, last added: 11/30/2010
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I’m pleased to have author, Barbara Forte Abate, as the guest on my blog today. After graduating from high school, she married young and promptly launched into the joys of family life. While home and kids kept her busy, Barbara never considered abandoning her dreams of writing. Stealing moments throughout the days, she composed her stories on yellow legal pads while babies napped and supper simmered. Her debut novel, "The Secret of Lies," was released on June 30, 2010.

Katie: Can you please share a brief synopsis of your book?

Barbara: The crux of my story takes place in 1957, the last summer Stevie and her sister Eleanor will spend at their aunt and uncle’s ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic. A season that had unfolded with abundant promise, it spirals horribly out of control--torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered in fragments upon a family’s soul. It is only now, a decade later, when Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are at last unveiled.

Katie: What motivated you to write this book?

Barbara: I started writing this story twenty years ago, but even now, all these years later, I clearly recall how it came about. I was in the midst of finishing up some mundane household task, when the proverbial “lightning bolt” arrived from nowhere to plant the seed of an idea in my mind. It was originally just the idea of someone walking away from everything familiar--the how and why coming later. That’s all I had when I started writing: that single concept of a person so tormented they believed that the only way of surviving the unhappiness of their life was to get up and leave it. I had no plan for where I was going with it and certainly no ending, but even so, the story felt very important and I just jumped into what would become the ride of my life.

Katie: What is your writing day like?

Barbara: I am a woman of self-imposed tight schedules, and am very possessive of my limited writing time. So I try and take care of all my routine drudge stuff in the morning so that I can plant myself at my desk in the afternoons. I find it difficult to sit for long uninterrupted hours of writing and sometimes it’s the brief distractions that clear the smoke of thinking too hard, and allows me to reboot and start the cogs turning once again. I know I’m more or less done for the day when I hear my teenage son come in from school and begin rifling through the kitchen cabinets.

Katie: This is an adult, mainstream literary fiction. Do you plan on writing any more books in this genre?

Barbara: Mainstream fiction truly does feel like my niche. I’ve written four other novels (all currently unpublished), and without consciously aiming, they’ve all landed in this genre. Mainstream literary is also what I generally read, so maybe it has something to do with what I put in my head comes out in my pen! (You know – you are what you eat!)

Katie: Do you belong to a critique group? Why or why not?

4 Comments on , last added: 11/20/2010
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14. "Haunted Vows" paranormal romance author, Lynn Hones

I’m pleased to have paranormal romance author, Lynn Hones, on my blog today. Lynn is the author of “Haunted Vows.” She is a busy wife and mother, who, when laid off from the banking industry left the world of cubicles for the world of creativity and writing. She enjoys putting down on the page the worlds she creates in her head, and hopes others enjoy reading them. And no matter what her kids say, the bank didn't "fire" her!

Welcome, Lynn. Can you share with us a little what “Haunted Vows” is all about?

Lynn: Sure. “Haunted Vows” is an ebook about a New York socialite and a down-on-his-luck farmer who work together to save a 150-year-old antebellum mansion in Virginia. The wrecking ball is waiting to tear down the walls of the house, while the house is trying to tear down the walls built around their own hearts.

Katie: You say this is a paranormal romance. What is the paranormal aspect of this book?

Lynn: The New York socialite, Jaylyn Withers, and the farmer, Eli Jacobs, have strange things happen as they are fixing up the mansion. Mists and voices seem to be attempting to communicate with them. In the end, we find out an astounding secret. A secret that binds these two strangers together forever.

Katie: What led you to write not just a romance, but a paranormal romance?

Lynn: My first book, Those Who Wait, is a paranormal romance and I enjoyed writing it so much, and it received such wonderful reviews, that I wrote another one. I love ghost stories and movies. My favorite being, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

Katie: Would you consider writing more in this genre?

Lynn: Absolutely. The possibilities are endless when dealing with otherworldly manifestations.

Katie: I see your book is targeting younger adults, but also older adults. When you began to write your book, did you “automatically” target this age group?

Lynn: I wrote the book with every age in mind, I guess. The protagonist, Jaylyn, is thirty-five, so she is not too old for the younger generation, and not too young for the older. lol

Katie: Your ebook is published with Devine Destinies. Why did you choose to publish an ebook? Do you plan on writing more ebooks?

Lynn: I heard that ebooks were really taking off. More and more people are purchasing Kindles. Devine Destinies seemed to be a wonderful publisher and they have been proven to be so and much, much more.

Katie: What ebook reader formats did you use with your book? Was that successful for you?

Lynn: My books can be downloaded onto

3 Comments on "Haunted Vows" paranormal romance author, Lynn Hones, last added: 11/19/2010
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15. "The Ketchup Bottle & the Takeover" author Maggie, Grinnell

It’s great to have Maggie Grinnell, author of “The Ketchup Bottle and the Takeover,” on my blog today. Maggie has been writing since 1992. She writes poetry, short stories and article. She is also a book reviewer/staff member for Poetic Monthly, and a member of SCBWI.

Katie: What a great sounding name for a book! It’s got me intrigued already. Can you please give a brief synopsis?

Maggie: Sure. Tommy Tomato, a ketchup bottle with an ego, moves into the refrigerator with plans to take it over. When he goes missing, everyone in the fridge forgets his ego and searched for him because they want him back.

Katie: Is this your debut children’s book? What was your motivation behind writing this book?

Maggie: This is my debut book. My motivation for this book and idea was seeing the biggest ketchup bottle I had ever seen in a fridge. I then wondered if this ketchup bottle had an ego and what would happen if he tried to take over a fridge.

Katie: How did you happen upon writing for the earlier reader group?

Maggie: I use to write suspense stories. Then one day, I wrote a poem about my inner child and I thought about writing a story about childhood and there it grew.

Katie: What did you learn, as you wrote, about writing for the early reader group?

Maggie: I learned that just because the reader group is younger, it doesn’t mean that they are any less educated. These kids are smarter today then I was at that age. Writing for children isn’t any easier than writing for adults.

Katie: I wouldn’t think so, but did you have to do any research for this book?

Maggie: Laughing. No I didn’t have to do any research for this book. All I had to do was look inside a refrigerator.

Katie: What about the early reader group as a whole makes it interesting for you to write for that age group?

Maggie: I have always felt like a kid at heart. I sometimes even feel that I haven’t quite grown up yet. I am always looking for that next adventure, that next story which I feel that the early reader does too.

Katie: Do you think you will continue to write for this age group? Why or why not?

Maggie: I feel as if I will continue to write for this age group. Because I feel that I can relate to always wanting to go on an adventure and see what is out there, to have my mind constantly being engaged.

Katie: Why did you decide to self-publish this book?

Maggie: The publ

4 Comments on "The Ketchup Bottle & the Takeover" author Maggie, Grinnell, last added: 11/17/2010
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16. Crypto-Capers Author Renee Hand

I am pleased to have children’s author, Renee Hand, with me today. She writes because it is a passion in her heart. She homeschools and likes to create books that educate and inspire. She has written a series of chapter books (ages 9-12) known as “The Crypto-Capers Series.” Her latest is “The Chest of Mystery.” These books encourage children to read by incorporating several topics of interest, and the reader also solves cryptograms and puzzles to solve the case.

Renee is an award-winning author, receiving awards such as a Best Book Award, a National Literary Awards, a Preferred Choice award, and a Seal of Excellence Award in Storytelling for her children’s series and adult books.

Katie: Can you share a brief synopsis of the series?

Renee: In my Crypto-Capers series the reader helps solve the case by solving cryptograms and puzzles, so the reader is actually a part of the story, which makes this series interactive and so much fun to do for children. There are 4-5 cryptograms and word scrambles in each book that the reader needs to solve. On my website I give examples of the kinds of cryptograms I use and how to solve them. They may look intimidating at first, but they’re really quite easy. All of my books are history and science based as well, so the reader is always learning something educational throughout each book. The puzzles also become more challenging as the series progresses, more that the reader gets to do. These books are really a great tool to educate and interest readers.

Katie: Can you share a brief synopsis of “The Chest of Mystery?”

Renee: In The Chest of Mystery the team will travel across the globe to Pisa, Italy where they will have to fight for their freedom, or be captured by the enemy as they search for two unique pieces that will open a treasure room. Their fate drops in the hands of one boy, Emmanuel Watson, whose history is tied to the chest. When so close to accomplishing their goal, obstacles arise, and the scent of betrayal is in the air. The Chest of Mystery is the other half of book 3, The Legend of the Golden Monkey.

Katie: Did your role as a homeschooling mom, and your background in science influence you a lot in writing the Crypto-Capers series? How?

Renee: Of course! I love finding great ways to ed

5 Comments on Crypto-Capers Author Renee Hand, last added: 11/14/2010
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17. Scifi/Fantasy author, Rosalie Skinner

I’m pleased to have “series” author, Rosalie Skinner, on my blog today. Rosalie’s love of the ocean, nature, history and horses has enabled her to give her books an authentic air. She is the author of a series of eight books called “The Chronicles of Caleath.” Book one, Exiled: Autumn’s Peril will be released in September, 2011.

Rosalie, tells us a little bit about your first book.

Rosalie: Caleath is a star traveler, a surveyor of planets and champion of virtual reality games, who is abducted and stranded on a planet where magic happens and science and technology is regarded as alien. He has a plan to escape using a survey beacon he knows landed on the southern continent. Things get complicated when a wizard saves his life and in return Caleath promises not to kill another of his rangers, alas, they are the assassins. They are programmed by the same man who abducted him, and they determined to kill him. To stay alive he must stay ahead of them. He takes a hostage who turns out to be a woman who makes his life even more complicated. Book One Exiled Autumn's Peril, chronicles the journey to find the beacon and Caleath's one chance of escape.

Katie: I want to read this book, and I’m an adult. You say your book has been read and enjoyed by young adults and adults alike. When you were writing the book, did you write with that slant, or were you pleasantly surprised at the varying age group of readers?

Rosalie: I was very surprised. One of my proof readers is a young girl who was still in school. She was one reason I kept writing. When I self-published the first book I found the few copies I had were read and loved by my friends, their fathers and even grandmothers, so I had stumbled on a story that appealed to most ages.

Katie: You created your own world for this sci-fi/fantasy book. What special challenges did you face in world creation?

Rosalie: Creating the world was fun. Although a fantasy world I wanted readers to be able to visualize and empathize with the terrain, so I based the world on familiar settings.

Katie: Why did you decide to write in this genre?

Rosalie: I have always loved reading science fiction and fantasy and wanted to use ideas from both areas of interest. The story evolved before I thought about genres.

Katie: What sort of research did you have to do for this book?

Rosalie: When writing Fantasy I believe the reader needs to imagine or understand why things happen and think they are almost possible. Research is vital to achieving this. Of c

10 Comments on Scifi/Fantasy author, Rosalie Skinner, last added: 11/11/2010
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18. Warrior Women trilogy author, Janie Franz

I’m pleased to host trilogy author, Janie Franz, to my blog today. Janie Franz is a successful freelance journalist with a degree in anthropology, and has recently turned to novel writing. Her debut book, The Bowdancer, launched the Bowdancer Saga, published by Breathless Press. The third book, Warrior Women, will be released November 5. The rest of the series will be published by Muse It Up Publishing, along with another series and three other books, next year as ebooks and print.

Katie: I see that Warrior Women is the third in your Bowdancer trilogy. Can you briefly synopsize the two previous books?

Janie: The Bowdancer launched The Bowdancer Saga, a series of books about the life of Jan-nell a village healer and spiritual leader. The Bowdancer begins the story in her village on the horse plains where she despairs of every finding the child who she will train to take her place. A handsome rogue enters her village seeking healing for one of his men and fate intervenes. The Wayfarer’s Road finds Jan-nell traveling with her precocious young daughter, plying her skills as healer and midwife. Here she meets dashing bard Khrin who offers her and her child belonging.

Katie: And share a brief synopsis of Warrior Women?

Janie: Sure. Jan-nell the bowdancer, now pregnant with her second child, and her daughter, Mira-nell, trek up a mountain where bards’ tales have said a village of warrior women exists. Jan-nell makes this trip in winter—and in her condition—in order to find a place for Mira-nell where the child’s precocious abilities will be accepted. The women on the mountain, though, are not fighters or even man-haters. They have chosen to live apart from the world in a village of only women, led by a sisterhood of hunters. Chandro, a beautiful trackfinder, rescues Jan-nell and her daughter, offering them a home and the promise of love.

Katie: When you started out, did you intend to write a trilogy, or is it “what happened?”

Janie: It just happened, Katie. I had an idea of writing another book and sketched out the first scene of The Wayfarer’s Road but I wasn’t exactly where it would lead me. Then a chance line of dialogue in that book sparked Warrior Women. I have since written another companion trilogy called The Lost Song Trilogy that continues Jan-nell’s story. It will be published by Muse It Up Publishing, and I’m working on another three books that will start at the same scene but will present not only more of Jan-nell’s story but that of her two children.

Katie: What kind of research did you do for Warrior Women?

3 Comments on Warrior Women trilogy author, Janie Franz, last added: 11/5/2010
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19. Paranormal/Fantasy Comedy Author, Krista D. Ball

I’m pleased to host author Krista Ball on my blog today. Krista has written an 11,000 word novelette entitled, Harvest Moon. She has published several short stories in a variety of markets, and is a co-editor of 4 Karma RPG books. Her favorite topic is turning stereotypes on their head, as in this story.

Katie: Can you tell us more about Harvest Moon?

Krista: This story follows Dancing Cat, a Canadian First Nations young woman, who angers an ancestor and is turned into a man as her punishment. While in exile, she rediscovers both friendship and love and finds an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed.

Katie: You certainly have a lot of publishing credits to your name. How did you get started in your writing career?

Krista: I just sat my butt down in front of the computer and started working. It's hard to get published when you don't write. Once I figured that part out, the rest was pretty easy!

Katie: How long did it take to establish a reputation and following?

Krista: I'm still working on that J

Katie: In Harvest Moon, how do you go about turning “stereotypes on their head?”

Krista: A couple of ways. First, there is that entire "damsel in distress" trope. I decided to make the damsel undergo a gender change. Then, I changed the sexual orientation of the avenging man. It makes things a lot more interesting.

Katie: What was your motivation for writing Harvest Moon?

Krista: I was working at an inner-city agency at the time. Jim Thunder, who later passed away, would tell traditional Cree stories. I decided to write my own, with a gender bending twist.

Katie: This novelette has magic in it. Have you always written with some fantasy elements, or does your writing cross a variety of genres?

Krista: I generally write speculative fiction, yes. I enjoy science fiction and fantasy, so I tend to write more in those genres.

Katie: Do you anticipate ever writing full-length novels? Why or why not?

Krista: I have a completed high fantasy novel that is currently being reviewed by a publishing house. I am editing a science fiction novel and should be done in a couple of months.


3 Comments on Paranormal/Fantasy Comedy Author, Krista D. Ball, last added: 11/5/2010
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20. Ghost Dog of Roanoake Island's author C.K. Volnek

I’m pleased to welcome children’s author C.K. Volnek to my blog today. She says, “Everyone has a story. Happy, sad, good, bad, all rolled up in the simple truth of who we are. We may think we are nothing special, but in fact we are everything to someone. I grew up in Nebraska, enjoying life in small town USA; riding horses in summer and sledding the ginormous hills in winter. I am married to my best friend and together we have three children. I am proud to announce my first two novels, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island and The Secret of the Stones, will be released in 2011.”

Katie: Please tell us a little bit about your book, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island.

C.K. Sure, Katie. Thanks for allowing me to join you today. Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island is a modern day ghost story with a twist.

Twelve-year-old Jack Dahlgren has discovered an incredible secret outside his new home on Roanoke Island…a secret that could ultimately unlock the age-old mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. The mystery of how, in 1587, 117 colonists disappeared without a trace. But the secret Jack has found is terrifying. A horrible evil creature is haunting Roanoke Island and it’s up to Jack to stop it.

Shrouded in Native American folklore, Jack must piece together the clues surrounding the missing colonists and how this evil came to be. With the help of newfound friend, Manny, an Indian Shaman, and an elusive Giant Mastiff, Jack accepts his task to uncover the secrets of the horrible evil and find a way to destroy it, before it destroys him.

Katie: Is this your debut novel? What is the motivation behind writing this novel and future novels?

C.K. This is my first contracted novel, Katie. And I’m pleased to have two more following close behind it. All three are Middle Grade novels.

I love writing for this age group. Kids are so open and ready for adventure…if you can keep their attention. I understand this dilemma first hand. My middle son didn’t like to read; too many other distractions to pull him other directions. So, my muse decided to make it my mission by motivating me with fun adventures that tweens will enjoy reading, and if they learn something along the way, then that’s just icing on the cake.

Katie: What made you choose to write about this historical time frame?

C.K.: My story takes place in modern day; however the reader does get to relive the history of the early colonists as my characters experience what life was like during 1587. It was, and still is, an incredulous mystery. Just how does Jack Dahlgren get to experience the past? I can’t give away too many secrets, but if my readers like ghost stories and Native American folklore, they’ll enjoy Jack’s adventure.

I have

11 Comments on Ghost Dog of Roanoake Island's author C.K. Volnek, last added: 11/4/2010
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21. Shhhh...Corpse Whisperer

I'm pleased to have Chris Redding, author of "Corpse Whisperer" share about character names on my blog today. Let's see what she has to say:

Thank you Katie for having me on your blog.

I’ve very conscious of my character’s names. Especially now because I’ve read a critique partner’s manuscript without names in it. Just Hero, Heroine, etc. A little unnerving.

But I love naming characters. It’s like naming children. And I did name my children as my husband will tell anyone who will listen.

Jennifer was the name of the heroine in the first book I wrote. She had to have an Irish last name because she has red hair. I used O’Grady and her real father was a cop in Philadelphia. My father had many uncles who were cops there and if you get stopped by an Officer Redding in the City of Brotherly Love, I am probably related to them. But it won’t get you out of a ticket.

She isn’t my favorite heroine, but it’s the first book I published so it will always have a special place in my heart. Her hero was Sean. That’s a strong name. He was a strong, silent type so it fit. His last name, Guadette, is my mother-in-law’s maiden name. It’s French.

When my kids were younger I was involved in a Mom’s club. I used some of the kid’s names in my books. I asked the parents first, of course, and the character didn’t resemble whose name I used.

I have a manuscript called Blonde Demoltion. The heroine is Mallory Sage. This is the daughter of a good friend of mine. We’ve known each other since her Mallory and my son #2 were probably two years old. They are twelve now. The character Mallory’s hero is Trey. I have no Earthly memory of why I picked that name. But he’s McCrane, a good Irishmen. See a trend here?

Incendiary’s heroine is Chelsea. Remember On Golden Pond. Jane Fonda played a Chelsea and I really liked that name. I’ve kept it all these years and finally used it. James is her last name. I think that was one of those flipping through a phone book moments. Her hero is Jake, another strong name. Campbell is his last name. Uh, Irish?

Stone Feeney is a minor character who is a hero in another book. Stone. Probably Stone Phillips. I thought he was cute on television.

9 Comments on Shhhh...Corpse Whisperer, last added: 10/23/2010
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22. Football and Writing
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By: Katie Hines, on 10/17/2010
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It's football season, and I for one am really glad. I like football. I have teams that I root for, and teams I'd just as soon shoot...well, maybe not really. Still...

Okay, so what's the scoop here? Why I am using football and writing in the same sentence? 'Cause they're so similar! Really. To be a professional athlete, whether it's football or another sport, requires dedication, time and hard work. It also means you do a lot of preliminary stuff before you get to journey's end: the regular season game, or the story or nonfiction piece you're working on.

Football players work out...hard. They lift weights, they spend time in the gym strengthening the muscles they need for the task at hand. They run wind sprints, they practice receiving the ball, kicking and working on footwork with the tires.

So do writers work out...just as hard. We read about the right way to use plot, point of view, conflict, and so forth. And we practice what we read. We let our writer friends help us see what we're doing right and what needs work.

And, hopefully, the end result for both the professional athlete and the writer, is a slam dunk score, i.e. finished, polished novel.

What about you? What are the preparations and practices do you utilize to create and polish your piece of writing? I look forward to hearing about it.

3 Comments on Football and Writing, last added: 10/19/2010
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23. Children's Author, Connie Arnold
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By: Katie Hines, on 10/13/2010
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I have the distinct pleasure of presenting children’s author, Connie Arnold, to my blog today. Connie is the author of “Animal Sound Mix-Up,” a children’s picture book that is traditionally published, and is available in print and ebook versions.

Here are two blurbs from book reviews:

“Venture along in this fun rhyme as you discover what the world would be like if animal sounds got mixed up. You have to admit, it would be quite interesting to hear a roar from a mouse and a squeak from an elephant.” (This quote was from Lori Calabrese, if you want to include that, and her blog is http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com )

“The beautiful illustrations by Kit Grady are sure to delight that young animal lover in your life, while the book overall is a great resource to teach preschoolers about animal sounds and to encourage a discussion about what makes each of us unique.” (This is also from Lori’s review, perhaps you might want to use either the one above or this one with credit to her and one of these I’ve added below)

"Unlike many rhyming picture books, the rhythm and meter flow naturally and the message that God made animals the way they really are is a positive one." Janet Ann Collins at http://onwordsblog.blogspot.com
"Get ready for giggles and belly laughs as you enjoy the absurdity of animals uttering the wrong sounds. Don’t be surprised if kids ask to read this one again and again." Beth Bence Reinke at http://blogs.bethbencereinke.com/bethsbooksbasket

Katie: Connie, share a little bit about yourself.

Connie: In talking about myself, I always start with the fact that I’m a wife, mother and grandmother, since those, to me, are my most important roles in life. I have two children with great spouses and three delightful little grandsons. My husband, Tom, and I live in North Carolina. He has recently retired, and we travel frequently to be with our loved ones. Animal Sound Mix-up is my first children’s book, but I have written three books of inspirational poetry. I’m glad to be able to share the talent God has given me with others through uplifting, encouraging and inspiring poetry. People can read some of my poems on my website blog at http://www.conniearnold.webs.com and some poems and other fun stuff for children at http://www.childrenbooks.webs.com

Katie: How long have you been writing for children?

Connie: I’ve only been writing for children the last thr

5 Comments on Children's Author, Connie Arnold, last added: 10/15/2010
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24. Steph Burkhart's The Giving Meadow
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By: Katie Hines, on 10/8/2010
Blog: Katie Hines- Walking on Water (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I'm pleased to have Steph Burkhart guest blog today. Learn more about her and her children's book, "The Giving Meadow."

I just want to thank Katie for having me today on my blog tour for my children's book.

Just a little about me: I was born in Manchester, NH but live in Castaic, California with my husband, Brent, and two sons, Andrew and Joseph. I have fond memories of Manchester, but have made California my home. I earned a BS in political science from California Baptist University in 1995.

I have been writing since I was 5, first making homemade comic books. Now, I work on creating short stories and novels. I spent 11 years in the US Army and over 7 years in Germany. Writing is a passion that still challenges me. The Giving Meadow is my first children's book and my first book with 4RV Publishing.


The Giving Meadow is about a caterpillar who hatches from his egg in the middle of a meadow. As he travels through the meadow, he meets new friends who learn the value of sharing.


I go to Blessed Kateri Catholic Church (in Santa Clarita, CA) and I'm involved in our Sunday Preschool program. We call it Little Church. The program works with 3, 4, and 5-year-olds. I help to teach the 3's along with 3 other talented ladies, Shirley Chang, Maureen Dunahoo, and Mary Tesselaar. Every year I help to write the Easter play for the children. In 2009, "The Giving Meadow" was our Easter play.

After I wrote it, I showed Vivian at 4RV. She's also a moderator at Writing.com and I wanted her feedback on the story. She offered it a contract! I was tickled pink. It was a nice, unexpected surprise. I can't thank Vivian (Gilbert Zabel, publisher, 4RV Publishing) for believing in the story and wanting to bring it to life.

"The Giving Meadow" is wonderfully illustrated by Stephen Macquignon. Stephen primarily works in the medium of pen and ink and color digitally. He has had the privilege to work with Director Michael Sporn of Michael Sporn Animation Inc. He is also a monthly contributor for Stories for Children's magazine.

5 Comments on Steph Burkhart's The Giving Meadow, last added: 10/9/2010

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25. Have You Had it With Marketing?
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By: Katie Hines, on 9/24/2010
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What?! That shouldn't even be, you say, a question most published authors would say, especially those represented by small, traditional publishing houses, where most if not all marketing efforts are done by the authors themselves.

Well, a few months ago I would have said the same thing. I was in the throes of heavy marketing, doing all I knew to do: book signings, library visits, a heavy online presence including Facebook, Twitter, my blog, guest blogging, book reviews, etc.

It wasn't getting the job done! At least as far as sales were concerned.

After several months of frustrated marketing attempts, I crashed and burned. I'd had it with marketing and promotional work! I took off the months of July and August, and barely registered a presence at my groups during that time and even into September.

But all those emails from the different Yahoo groups kept coming through my inbox, and I had to spend time reading and clearing those. Finally, I got to the point where I quickly scanned them, and deleted most of them without reading them.

I--finally--realized what the problem was: I'd lost my joy with writing and writing associated projects. More to the point, I was burned out.

"Oh, this isn't me," you may say. And I say, "good for you!" But perchance it is you, what's the next step?

Become less obsessed, and take it easy.

That sounds simple, and perhaps wrong. I mean, how are your books going to sell if you don't promote them, right? Right.

But, if you're burned out, like I was, you simply have to take a break, lean back, breathe deeply, and learn to enjoy once again the simple act of writing, of being less intense, and doing what you know to do, and quit stressing about the rest.

I mean, really, once you've done all you know to do, and can reasonably do, why should you obsess about what you can't do, which markets you have or haven't already found, and so forth?

So, what was my prescription? Lighten up. Make it a goal to be less intense. Unless you're superwoman or superman (and we know some of you are, right?), you're going to flounder under the stress and pressure of marketing. Rediscover the joy of writing and writing related activities, and realize the world isn't going to fall in if you aren't stressing about marketing and promoting your book.

21 Comments on Have You Had it With Marketing?, last added: 9/28/2010
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