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1. A Horse Called Trouble - Book Birthday!

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It's finally here!
A Horse Called Trouble
is NOW AVAILABLE  


Buy it here:
e-book - Muse It Up
Print - Amazon


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So, grab a piece of cake and a glass of punch and raise your glass with me to celebrate! 

In celebration, I'm also going to give one lucky reader who leaves me a comment a FREE e-copy of 

A Horse Called Trouble
So, just say 'hi' and you may WIN! 
Good Luck.

Thanks for stopping by!
C.K. Volnek 


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  A Horse Called Trouble

A troubled teen must overcome her abusive past to save the defiant horse that has taught her to love and trust again.

Tara Cummings hasn’t had an easy life. Abandoned by her mother at the young age of seven she’s been passed from foster home to foster home; not wanted anywhere by anyone. At thirteen she finds herself skeptic and suspicious, with no family, no friends, and forced to participate in horse therapy. 

Horse therapy “will teach trust, perseverance, respect and the value of teamwork,” or so says the program&rsq

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2. Letters From Al - Inspired from true life connections with Al Capone

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Today I am happy to have Kathy Pieper on my blog, introducing her book, Letters From Al, a story inspired by her great-aunt and her connections with Al Capone. Welcome Kathy!

Thanks for having me on your blog today, Charlie. I'm a born and bred Nebraskan and have always loved reading and ultimately writing, my first contemporary romances were published back in the 80's. I love a good mystery and romances seem to never go out of style, and altho' the technical world seems to be taking over, I still love to hold an actual book in my hand. One of my writer friends had a good point too, how in the world do you autograph an e-book? Made me laugh, but there's room for all. My favorite character is always the one I'm working on. 

As a teen my favorite book was Adventures of the Black Stallion(I was very horsey at that age) and "Christy" by Catherine Marshall, but I was also developing my love of mysteries and romance. Nancy Drew was fun and the old Jane Austin classics. In grade school I loved "Peach Tree Island" by Mildred Lawrence, and I just found a hard copy online which I snapped up and immediately read. Ahhh, contentment and getaway time just like before. Reading still affects me like that.

I write contemporary romance and romantic mystery for young adults, what used to be called 'sweet', I enjoy telling a story that makes my reader use their imagination and every sense. When you get so lost in a story you smell the flowers and hear the hoofbeats, you've succeeded. 

Letters From Al is my newest novel published by Treble Heart Books. It was submitted and rejected several times before I finally found a publisher. I never was tempted to give up because I was very wrapped up in the story. The photo on the front cover is actually my own great aunt Sophia who lived to be 104! I had admired the photo of a cute 'flapper' girl in my grandmother's living room for years and she finally gave it to me. While the story is not about her, her photo inspired my story of Madeline Morris and her connection with the infamous gangster Al Capone. One of my favorite scenes is the prologue where she must use her street smarts to get out of a precarious situation, then decide if she will warn the criminal to protect her friends and co-workers. How she handled it sets the tone for the rest of the story and the future of her own great niece. I like to think she would have approved. 

Writing has given me an outlet for my creative side, plus entertained me and others. My favorite part of being a writer is seeing the finished product, seeing my characters come to life and the enjoyment others get by reading what I put down on paper. 

My best advice on writing is, WRITE. Don't think too much, don't procrastinate but plan! Get up early, stay up late, write on your lunch hour or whenever the mood strikes you but if you don't pick up the pen or sit down at the computer, you won't write. And don't forget, if a laptop isn't available, plain old pen and paper always is. 

It's tough writing for publication these days if you don't study your markets and learn the craft. With all the technology out there available to us now, it pays to learn all you can from groups like the Nebraska Writer's G

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3. The Circle of Sorcerers, a New Epic Fantasy Series by Brian Kittrell

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Today I'm introducing Brian Kittrell and his novel, The Circle of Sorcerers, a new intriguing fantasy series. Hi Brian, welcome to my blog. I have to say, I am extremely captivated with your book The Circle of Sorcerers. This wonderful fantasy world sounds exciting and spellbinding. Can you tell your readers a little about the book?

Sure thing, but first, I must say thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it!

The Circle of Sorcerers is the debut novel of my epic fantasy series, and it involves the early life of Laedron Telpist, a boy who hails from a small village but who is trained in magic by his mother. To continue his training, he must go to a formal environment and study beneath a skilled sorcerer. It seems simple enough until the winds of change come and shift the course of the Heraldan church—the largest religious organization in the world. When the new leader of this church swears to rid the world of free practitioners of magic, all of the Circle mages are endangered.

Excellent conflict. Tell us about your favorite character/s in your series.

Oh, there are so many in this book. Laedron, the young mage and main character, comes from humble, comfortable beginnings in the peace and solitude of Reven’s Landing. Marac, his best friend, enjoys ‘long nights and drinking from a tall cup’, to quote the book, but he has cause to be that way. Ismerelda, the Uxidi sorceress, was a very interesting character to explore throughout the book, and she is one of my favorites—complex, dangerous, but also kind and protective.

You mention your main character embraces old friends, consorts with unlikely allies and confronts potent enemies…can you share a few of the Laedron’s greatest challenges?

Without giving too much away, the premise of the book is based upon a battle of supremacy between the worldly sorcerers and the divine priests. Both use magic in one form or another and largely tolerated one another in the past, but with the appointment of Andolis Drakar as Grand Vicar of the Heraldan church, things change quickly. No longer are sorcerers safe; they become outnumbered and targeted once the church issues its declarations against them.

This sounds more exciting by the minute. What is the world like in The Circle of Sorcerers? It sounds so very unique and mystifying. And not a world that is very accepting to one spinning spells.

The world in the book consists of the Bloodmyr Isles, three large islands which are host to a variety of people and cultures. The story begins on the central island (the Midlands to the locals) in the nation of Sorbia, Laedron’s home country. Sorbia is quite accepting of magic and sorcerers, but the eastern island—the home to Falacore and the Heraldan theocratic lands—is far from being accepting. Mix in the appointment of a Grand Vicar hostile to sorcerers, and you have a war.

Different parts of the world are known for different things, and many of them draw heavily from our own history—such as the Al’Qarans being very much like the Persians while the Qal’Phametines draw heavily from Egypt. The Falacorans are similar in many ways to the Holy Roman Empire, and the Heraldan the

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4. Seasons of Reading Blog Hop

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Today I am happy to be a part of Jo Ramsey’s Book Blog Hop. For a full list of participants and blogs sharing our thoughts on books, please see Jo’s blog.

The written word has always been special to me. I still remember so many of my favorites growing up…Follow My Leader, My Side of the Mountain, Pippi Longstockings, Black Beauty, and the list goes on and on. And because of my love of the written word, I’m a big believer in giving books as Christmas gifts. How else can I send my favorite people on a trip to another time or place? Adventures, romances, historicals, paranormal, mysteries…stories to entertain and excite. So many books, true and fiction, to make everyday a vacation.

A few years ago I gifted my daughter one of my favorite books, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This delightful tale combines mystery and intrigue in a charming children’s story. Mary is a complex character—spoiled and orphaned, angry at the world after being sent to live with her elusive Uncle in England. However, after discovering her cousin, Colin, Mary changes, learning to encourage and support her cousin as she helps him strengthen his muscles and move from being debilitated and  broken  to a healthy and joyful child. Important subjects intermixed with a great story, showing tremendous growth and personality. 



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It’s because of stories like The Secret Garden that I love writing for young people. And I can only hope my stories will one day inspire my young readers as so many books have inspired me.  In my first novel, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, I have mixed a true historical mystery with a fast-paced ghost story while sneaking in a lesson on forgiveness and prejudice.

My main character, Jack, is much like Mary in The Secret Garden. He is angry and upset, having been ripped from the only home he ever knew to live on Roanoke Island. His relationship with his father is also strained after his sister’s accident and Jack is stressed as he tries to prove himself to his father once again. Enter a horrendous monster, a demon remnant from the time of the Lost Colony, determined to destroy Jack and his family and my ghostly adventure begins. I hope you’ll give Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island a read this Christmas.

In celebration of the Book Blog Hop, I am happy to offer one FREE e-copy of my story, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island to one lucky winner. I am also supplying one print copy to my local library. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and may all your holid

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5. Historical Romances Lady-In-Waiting and Mirror Mirror, Just in time for Christmas!

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Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz is my guest today. She is excited to offer two historical romance stories set in medieval times. I’m already swooning. Nothing sets my heart to patter more than a good castle complete with handsome princes and lovely ladies in waiting.

Welcome Penny. I have to admit, I love stories set in medieval times. I have a great love affair with castles and knights and fair damsels. Where did you come up with the idea for your historical romance, Lady in Waiting?

When I first started writing Lady-in-Waiting, I wanted to write it as a fantasy. I imagined Madoc would be a wizard, but he decided he didn’t like that and the story took a different turn.  I enjoy writing fantasy, and I was somewhat surprised when it turned into an historical romance. 

There seems to be a great angst between Alana and Mabriona. Can you tell us why Alana was so mean to her cousin?

Alana is a princess, raised to expect that everyone should do exactly as he or she is told to do. Alana resents the fact that Mabriona doesn't have to marry someone she doesn't like just because her father wants her to.  Further, she sees Mabriona as someone beneath her based on her darker coloring.  In the north where Alana lives, people are fair-skinned and blond.  Mabriona's side of the family comes from the south and have a dark olive complexion and raven hair.  Mostly, I would say, Alana is a bit of a brat.

Tell us more about Mabriona. She must be a strong, loving character to endure all the cruelty tossed her way and not come out broken.

Mabriona has lived with Alana since she was a child. Her parents sent her to the castle believing she would have a better life.  As Alana's lady-in-waiting, she meets fascinating men at balls, eats well, is dressed in finery to suit her station.  She is a romantic and longs for true love.  A sense of rivalry developed over the years between the cousins, much like it does between siblings.  Mabriona knows her life isn't her own, but she also appreciates what she has been given.  Despite it all, she does love her cousin, and like a younger sibling, wants to please her older cousin.

I first thought Prince Blayne was the answer to all Mabriona’s problems. What a great twist to add his brother, Madoc. Tell us about Madoc. He seems like a character all women would swoon over.

Madoc is the shy, retiring, book-loving younger brother.  Since his father, the king, doesn't expect much from him, he was able to devote himself to the things he enjoyed doing.  He didn't have to learn to rule a kingdom or fight from atop his horse.  Instead, he learned to write poetry and play an instrument.  He is soft-spoken and also longing for true love.  Unlike Prince Blayne, Madoc will be allowed to marry for love.

Your book, Mirror Mirror, sounds like another fun medieval read. How did you come up with the idea of this time-travel story?

I live in a small rural area, and we don't often get outside events coming to our community.  However, a few years back, a Renaissance Fair happened in one of our local parks.  Of course, I had to go!  It was so much fun to wander around and watch the re-enactments, sample the food, listen to the music, and watc

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6. Why Is Your Book NOT Selling?

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The world of writing and selling books is an ever changing chameleon these days.  There are many ways to get your book into the public hands, whether publishing with big publishers, small press or even independently. And it’s been my joyful experience that today the author has so much more input into the look and marketing of their book. (Though not always as much as they’d like or want. lol)

Sometimes, however, we find our sales not as we, the author, would like to see. Though some of this could be due to marketing shortcomings, other elements could also come into play as well…the cover, blurb, price, and the writing itself.

Enter…Why is My Book Not Selling - http://booknotselling.blogspot.com/ … a blogspot started by Victorine Lieske, author of best-selling novel Not What She Seems. This is an extremely helpful tool to help authors examine these very elements.

Authors can submit their books, offering the cover, blurb and the beginning chapter of the book and receive critiques from Victorine as well as from her loyal followers. This site is not for the author who cannot take criticism, as the critiques are honest and quick to point out the flaws they see. But for the author who only wants to produce a better product and enhance his or her sales, this is a valuable tool, definitely worth of a look.

Visit Victorine at http://booknotselling.blogspot.com/ and either offer up your own critiques on our fellow author’s work or submit your book to find out how you could sell more today!

Thanks for stopping by.

C.K. Volnek


This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.

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7. Upcoming Tween Spook Story, Ebenezers' Locker by Anne E. Johnson

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Anne E. Johnson has published many types of writing, including feature articles about music for the New York Times, non-fiction children’s books for the Rosen Group, and children’s short stories for Spaceports & Spidersilk, Underneath the Juniper Tree and elsewhere. She also has short stories for adults in a number of anthologies. You can see the details on her publications page: http://www.squidoo.com/anne-e-johnson-publications

Due to the differing speed of operations at different publishing houses, her first three novels are all coming out within the first six months of 2012!

Her middle-grade paranormal mystery novel, Ebenezer’s Locker, will be published by MuseItUp in June, 2012.

I’m so excited for you, Anne. Can’t wait to read Ebenezer’s Locker.  Can you tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character.

Although I do love Rhonda Zymler, the first-person protagonist in Ebenezer’s Locker, the character who was the most fun to write is an octogenarian psychic named Tallulah Radley. She ends up being the kids’ link to the world of spirits that are haunting the school. All her dialog and behavior, and even the things she keeps in her house, are based on thorough research I did into spiritualist practices from over a hundred years ago.

What fascinating research. What was your favorite book as a child? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.

The best middle grade novels I’ve read recently are Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smek Day. The two books, although they’re both speculative fiction, are in very different styles. Yet they both combine humor, imagination, and pathos in a way that I really admire, and both to a tremendous job of developing intriguing, lovable characters in an original and surprising plot.

Humor and unpredictability are two of the most important elements to me when I read fiction, and I hope I include them when I write.

I agree. Love a story that twists expectantly. Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?

Although I write many genres and for many audiences, middle-grade fiction is very special to me. I think that’s because my own imagination must have blossomed when I was between eight and twelve years old, and I often feel like I see the world through the eyes of a child, but not a little kid.

The great thing about writing for that age is that tweens still have a wacky sense of humor and a healthy sense of wonder (they haven’t yet been waylaid by the hormonal angst of the teen years), yet they can deal with pretty sophisticated ideas and complex plots.

I love the tweens. I feel this is the best age to challenge, mold and encourage. If you grow their thirst for knowledge and adventure now, no telling where they’ll go as an adult. Tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.

When I was in third third grade, I loved

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8. Happy Halloween with a little story - The Burberry Scare

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Happy Halloween!

I love a good  ghost story. As a child I was the one everyone looked to as we sat around the campfire. Blessed with a most active imagination, I would spin a scary tale sure  to keep everyone up all night.

Hope you enjoy this little story as you venture out to ‘trick or  treat.’ Enjoy! And Happy Halloween.


The Burberry Scare
By C.K. Volnek

Eugene eased his  make-shift hoe next to the large round pumpkin, careful not to snag anything he  shouldn’t. He clipped the stray weed invading his patch and leaned back, his  chest puffed out with pride, thumb hitched in the frayed rope he used as a belt.  Any time now, the Governor was bound to drive by.

He spat at his hand  and smoothed the greasy black shock of hair down against his head. “I must  remember to thank Maeva for the special pumpkin seeds,” he said to himself,  swiping a dirty hand across a mouth full of discolored teeth. “Josiah will be  one jealous lout this year after I win  the prize for the most bountiful pumpkin patch.”

Eugene could almost feel  the jingle in his pocket—accolades from the Governor for tending his field so  well. It was a bumper crop, thanks to Maeva. Five times as large and four times  as many as last year. Yup, the Governor would be most pleased. A scream  cut through the still evening, followed by the crashing of tree limbs. Willow  Harrison charged toward the patch like a scared rabbit, her eleven-year-old face  white
as a ghost, her long skirt billowing about her legs.

“No! Stop!” Eugene yelled and threw up his arms. She was rushing right toward his pumpkins.  No telling what kind of damage she’d do.

Willow continued running,  staring back into the trees lining the patch. She shrieked again, but her voice  cut short as she crashed to the ground, her black boots entangled in the prickly  pumpkin vines.

“You darn, fool brat,” Eugene raged, running down the  narrow trail he’d maintained in the center of his crop, stepping gingerly through the creepers. He gasped as he gazed down at Willow, her elbow pierced right through the thick rind of a pumpkin. A thick orange liquid puddled on the ground next to her leg. Eugene’s mouth gaped open and closed like a mud-loving catfish, his face turning beet red. “Lookee here what you done! You dang no-good  monster.”

Willow jerked to stare at Eugene. “What?” She pushed herself  up, staring back at the woods. “But something is...” With a sickening crack, she  stepped on a thick pumpkin vine, breaking it in two.

Eugene shrieked and  grabbed her arm. “You’re gonna pay for that,” he sneered, pushing his face in  front of her so their noses almost touched. “I done told you dang
kids to stay  outta my pumpkins. And now, you’re gonna pay. The Governor’s gonna 
want his  due.”

“I, I don’t have any money,” Willow croaked, trying to pull her arm  free o

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9. Do You Fear Writing?

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Fear. Terror. Panic. Do you have things you’re afraid of? Today I have a guest post from Chris Henderson and she has some great tips for writers with fears (especially since Halloween is right around the corner). I definitely enjoyed this and needed this post to face my own fears…I hope you enjoy Chris Henderson’s…

         Fear of Writing

This past weekend my friends needed my husband and I to watch their child for the night. I don’t like using the word “babysit” as the young boy who was in our care would detest the term since he is ten years old. My kids are grown so it’s been awhile since we dealt with the nuances of childhood.

Since it’s near Halloween I thought it would be fun to watch “Nightmare Before Christmas.” It’s one of my favorites and I even have several of the toy characters from the movie. If you’re not familiar with the movie, it’s an animated puppet/claymation style movie with a wonderful soundtrack by Danny Elfman. As our young charge is a budding musician I thought he would enjoy it. He seemed to enjoy it and didn’t cringe or hide anytime while watching it. When it was done, he even said he liked it.

Soon after the movie he washed up for the night and got ready for bed with all going well. Then it was lights out. Not less than five minutes after I turned out the light he was there at my office door telling me that he couldn’t sleep because the movie scared him. When I questioned him about what it was that scared him, he told me it was Oogie Boogie. He didn’t like the fact that this character was trying to kill two of the characters and when he was defeated his stuffing of zillions of bugs fell out.

Now I’ve got to admit I don’t like that part of the movie either with all the wiggly stuff; however this same child wanted to read his picture book on the world’s deadliest poisons as a final nightcap which I would not allow. He also likes talking about deadly insects and playing video games where he trounces stuff.  This confounded me that an animated movie would then cause him a problem.

I tried my best to reason with him and give logical ideas of how he could overcome his fears of the creature. Each time I gave him a new suggestion or idea he just kept telling me it wouldn’t work, he’d just keep thinking about the scary character. He wouldn’t even try to work it through but just kept saying nothing would work.

This reminds me of how as writers we might also keep saying nothing will work when we get those ghastly rejection letters. Why even try if no publisher will like them? Or why go through the work to self-publish if no one will buy except a few loyal friends? Why let anyone critique your writing when you know they probably won’t like it anyway? Why not just pretend that you really only want to write for yourself?

Well it’s time to buck up and take the rejection. Life and writing isn’t meant to be easy. Here’s a short list of once unknown but now famous authors whose books didn’t get acce

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10. Internet Book Fair Blog fest - October 25, 2011!

We see book fairs in schools all the time. Well, there's no reason we can't have a Major Book Fair on-line -- Virtually! Join us as we present bunches of books for your liking. 
Shop to your heart's desire!

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11. Enjoy 'Tall Tales with Mr. K' by Kathy Sattem Rygg

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Kathy Sattem Rygg is a children’s book author, corporate freelance writer/editor and active member of SCBWI. She earned a degree in  magazine journalism from Iowa State University and has worked for the  McGraw-Hill Business Publications division in New York City and was the editor  of Women’s Edition magazine in  Denver, CO. 

She is also the author of the children’s iPad app “Magic  Story Factory,” which helps young children create an interactive ebook. She  currently lives in Omaha, NE with her husband and two young boys where she  loves shopping, wining, dining and cheering for the Huskers! Her children's  young middle grade book "Tall Tales with Mr. K" is available both in print and  as an ebook in all formats.
 
Kathy will also give away a FREE  ebook copy of “Tall Tales with Mr. K” to one lucky person who leaves a comment! 

Welcome Kathy. I’m so glad to have you here. Can you tell  your readers something interesting about your favorite  character?

I loved school as a child and admired all of my teachers. One of my favorites was my fourth-grade teacher, and the character Mr. K is loosely based on him. He was a former major-league baseball player for the New York Yankees and was incredibly tall! Some of the methods Mr. K uses in the book were derived from him. For example,
Mr. K’s “sticky seat” was taken from my teacher who actually used tape to prevent one student from standing up all the time. My teacher was rather mysterious like Mr. K, as well as kind and funny and students loved him. Not to mention he could hit a baseball clear out of the school playground and across the street!


How absolutely fun to have a Major League Baseball player as a teacher! And so wonderful you carried this into your story. Love it. So, what was your favorite book as a child? Tell us about it and how it influenced you as a writer. 

One of my favorite book series was “The Borrowers” by Mary Norton. I loved the creativity behind the idea that little people lived in the walls and actually borrowed everyday objects. To this day, if I misplace something I say “the Borrowers” took it! 

I also loved the “Mrs. Piggle Wiggle” books by Betty MacDonald. Again, it was such a creative, humorous premise. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle was a lovable woman who helped “cure” children of their bad habits using very unconventional
methods!


These types of books grew my love for reading and became my points of inspiration as a writer of children’s books.
 
I too loved the Borrowers. What a great storyline. Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?

I love writing for young middle grade (ages 7-10) because they have made the transition f

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12. Meet the Creator of Blood Chronicles, SB Knight

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SB Knight has seen his poetry and short stories published in both books and magazines. Now, with the publishing of his first novel, Born of Blood, he has achieved a goal and dream set many years ago. Currently he is working on the second novel for the Blood Chronicles series.

SB Knight is the creator of ‘
The New Author;’ a blog that starter as a learning tool but has since grown into a community of friends and peers. He is also co-owner of Premium Promotional Services where authors can find the help they need to promote their book on the Internet.

Hello, SB, why don’t you tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character.

You know, I could say I have six toes on my right foot but I’m not sure that would be interesting. Yes, I’m just kidding. Something interesting about me…I truly enjoy spicy food. I grow my own peppers and hope to make my own hot sauce one day.

It is hard to pick just one character in a debut novel. I’m connected to all of them in one way or another. I will say the character that intrigued me the most was Reba. Why is that? Reba is a product of the story. I had an idea and picture of all the other characters and what role they would play but Reba developed out of a simple scene. She then grew into a main character but what really interested me was the role she would play and the impact she would have on the story because there wasn’t a plan or idea for her.   

Sounds like Reba had a plan for you! Ha. What was your favorite book as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.

Believe it or not I did not read a great deal of novels during my teenage years. I focused more on comic books unless you want to count the reading assignments from school. I have to be honest I actually enjoyed Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. Edgar Allen Poe captured my attention as well. How they affected me as a person is a little harder to pinpoint. The comics speak for themselves…I mean you have good and evil fighting it out. Shakespeare and Poe showed me the power of words. They demonstrated their ability to form pictures in the readers mind like a movie.

Reading truly captured me in my late twenties. I read The Fellowship of the Ring and my love for fantasy novels began. Soon I was reading more and more from that genre. Now I read anything that lands in my hands but fantasy remains my favorite.  

Interesting. From comic books to Shakespeare. Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?

I would say that the genre chose me. When I began writing I had no intention of writing dark fantasy novels. That genre did not appeal to me at the time. I was more leaning toward action/adventure. It is strange really because as I was brainstorming

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13. Win a FREE e-copy of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island

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You Can Still WIN a FREE e-copy of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island! 
Winners will be selected 10/18. 
Leave a comment on any and/or all of the blogs below!

9/22 - Shellie Neumeier 
9/23 - Pembroke Sinclair
9/24 - Sue Perkins
9/25 - Meradeth Houston
9/26 - Marva Dasef
9/27 - Rebecca Ryals Russell
9/28 - Kim Baccellia
9/29 - Barbara Bockman
9/30 - Lawna Mackie

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14. Meet Award-Winning Author, Ellen Jackson and THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG

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I’ve always loved picture books. I spent many a night reading these lovely tales to my children, enjoying the beautiful illustrations and relishing th. Today, it’s my honor to bring to you Ellen Jackson. Ellen is the award-winning children’s author of more than 55 fiction and nonfiction books for children. She was a Psychology/History/Philosophy major who graduated with a B.A. in English (UCLA), Teaching Accreditation (UCLA), and later acquired an M.A. in Counseling (California Family Study Center) with a specialty in early childhood development. She’s worked as an elementary school teacher, curriculum specialist, curriculum author, editor, and award-winning author of children's books.  

One of her picture books, SCATTERBRAIN SAM, received many accolades, including a starred review from Kirkus.  The review said, in part: “Belly laughs and bravos will punctuate every reading of this fresh, funny recasting.”  This book was also a Parents’ Choice Fall 2001 Gold Award Winner and received a storytelling award from Storytelling World Magazine (out of 3000 entries).

Her picture book CINDER EDNA has now sold more than 100,000 hardcover copies and was featured in GREAT BOOKS FOR GIRLS and LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE GIRLS.  It was also nominated for a Young Reader’s award in Nevada, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, and has received other awards as well.

Her nonfiction picture book, TURN OF THE CENTURY, received a starred review in Kirkus, a pointered review in Booklist, was named a Booklist Editor’s Choice and was short-listed for the Texas Bluebonnet, Charlotte, and Children’s Crown awards.

Ellen currently lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her family and enjoys hiking, beach combing, reading, playing Renaissance music with a local music group, and doing volunteer work in the community.  To learn more, visit Ellen’s webpage at: www.ellenjackson.net.

Welcome Ellen. Can you tell your readers something interesting about yourself and/or your favorite character from your new book, THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG?

I’ll start with myself–and I’ll tell you a ghost story because you’ve written a book about a ghost (and because it’s October). Neither my husband nor I really believe in ghosts, but we’ve had some strange experiences in our current house. For about ten years, I’d hear strange noises, footsteps on the roof, and once there was an explosion in the kitchen. Also, the rocking chair in the living room would sometimes rock by itself. Another time, our shed was mysteriously locked–and I was the only person who had the key. My very skeptical husband, at first, thought I had an overactive imagination when I’d report these things–until he heard and saw them too. Even our stepdaughter heard the noises, so I know it wasn’t my imagination. A few years ago, all the strange occurrences stopped. Nothing unusual has happened since. Was it a ghost? Was it something else? I guess we’ll never know.

That’s both creepy and intriguing! (smile)  Now tell us about the main character in your ne

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15. Meet Award-Winning Author, Janet Lee Carey

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I posted  my review and now I would like to introduce the author with a most delightful writing voice…Janet Lee Carey. She is an award-winning fantasy author and author of The Beast of Noor and The  Dragons of Noor. School Library Journal's starred review says of her work, “Verdict: This is quite simply fantasy at its best–original, beautiful, amazing, and deeply moving.” Janet links each new book with a charitable organization empowering readers to make a difference in the world. She tours in US and abroad presenting at schools, children’s book festivals, and conferences.

 
http://www.janetleecarey.com

Leave A Comment to WIN a FREE copy of The Beast of Noor, or The Dragons of Noor! TWO winners will be selected on 10/10. Good Luck!

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Do not wander in the deeps

Where the Shriker’s shadow creeps
 
When he rises from beneath
 
Beware the sharpness of his teeth.


 



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Teens Read Too Gold Star for
  Excellence


C.K. Thank you for visiting today, Janet. It is a  treat to have such a wo

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16. Book Review - The Beast of Noor, by Janet Lee Carey

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I’ve always loved the magical legends of norse folklore, to be pulled into the mystical realms and feel the very breath of the enchanted characters. And I was not disappointed with Ms. Janet Lee Carey’s tale The Beast of Noor.

Set in the country of Ennes Isle, just outside of Shalem Wood, young Miles and Hanna Ferrell find themselves in middle of an age-old thriller; embarking upon a quest only they can complete, to stop the supernatural rampage of the beast, The Beast of Noor.
 
The beast had once upon a time been a dog, a loyal dog to his master, Rory Sheen. But when death ensnared Rory, Rory bargained with death and gave death his dog in return for his life. Ever after, the dog was doomed to an eternity of shape-shifting. Its hatred for mankind grew because of Rory’s treacherous deed, killing to quench its vengeance upon every full moon...until now. Miles and Hannah (distant relatives of Rory on their mother’s side) are the only ones left who can stop the beast’s eternal hatred and save the villagers from sure death. 

Within the beautifully crafted and vibrant scenes, Ms. Carey’s readers will find themselves transported to another world, a charming world or folklore, with fantastical creatures and characters you can almost reach out and touch. From the eccentric fairy queens, to the wind woman and sprites, the wise and devoted healer, and the dark  creatures of trolls and the Beast of Noor, the characters come alive, sprinkling their magical dust on you, compelling you to keep reading chapter after chapter. Miles and Hannah pull you into the story as they weave their tragic tale from their modest home in the hills where they shepherd their sheep to how and why they must stop the creature that haunts their family and their country. 
 
Brother and Sister embark upon their quest, sacrificing all they would have in order to right the dreadful wrong of their long-dead relative, learning as they go that love, loyalty and forgiveness are worth more than all the riches of the troll king. 
 
The Beast of Noor is a delightful tale, one that you will not soon forget. Ms. Carey spins a  deliciously imaginative story and I highly recommend
The Beast of Noor for your next YA read.

C.K. Volnek

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17. Mind The Signs, Rebecca Ryals Russel.

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

Our MuseItUp MG/YA September blog is winding down. My last guest for the month is my friend, Rebecca Ryals Russell. Rebecca writes MG and YA Dark Fantasy and Horror while living with her family in a Victorian house on five acres of North Florida countryside. She also runs a Vacation Rental Log House on the property: Florida Black Bear Cabin. (http://flablackbearcabin.com )

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

The daughter of an Elementary-school principal and secretary, for fourteen years she taught Middle Grades, preferring English and Creative Writing. She had several students’ works published in anthologies as well as her own poetry, photography and stories. Her main interests are her four children ages 22, 19, 16, 11 and Irish hubby of 35 years. She enjoys spending her time writing, drawing, going to movies, reading, discussing philosophy with her 17-year-old son.

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

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

Welcome Rebecca. Now tell our readers why you like to write Fantasy.

Growing up I read one fantasy book after another and watched every episode of Lost in Space, Star Trek (every episode at least 3 times), Star Wars, anything Sci Fi. I devoured Lord of the Rings, every Anne McCaffrey book written, the Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks, I loved the Dark Tower series by Stephen King and read many of David Eddings series. In fact, it was while finishing a David Eddings book the concept for my first book was born. It then took me thirty years to finish writing it. I love writing Fantasy because of the room for invention. World building is so much fun I could just keep building and populating worlds. Does that give me a ‘god’ complex? Only on paper.

<

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18. Meet Sue Perkins and her MG Novel SPIRT STEALER

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Today MG/YA Blog Tour takes us to visit Sue Perkins, author of the MG novel Spirit Stealer. I hope you enjoy her delightful post.

Where has the month gone? This is my last visit on the MuseItUp Young Adult/ Middle Grade Blog Tour. I’ve visited a lot of lovely people and so many different blogs and enjoyed every minute of it. I’d like to thank CK for inviting me to visit her blog today.

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

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

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

Excerpt
The clock in the market square struck half past eleven. Fader stopped reading as a whooshing noise welled up the stairs. He shivered when he heard an eerie wail. Something invisible brushed past him. He heard groans and clanking of metal from further along the back wall. He crept from his hiding place, keeping the last bookshelves between him and the rear of the building.

Fader stuck his head round the final barrier, ready to pull back. Swirls of white mist appeared and disappeared in the air. He’d forgotten about the book in his hand. A misty vapour shot from the pages to join the other swirls of white. Fader dropped the book with a gasp.

The clock in the square struck midnight, and the mist vanished. A hollow groan heralded its departure.

Fader shook his head. The mist and noises appeared harmless. They showed no recognition of his existence. What were they doing? A new library building shouldn’t have the ghosts found in an older building.

He watched the same thing happen night after night, but the mists grew denser and the noises more intense. They sharpened, allowing Fader to see the shapes making the noises. One night a fascinated

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19. Passionate About Paranormal...Author Kim Baccellia

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As a fan of ghost stories and all things that creep, I’m happy to introduce my next guest in our MuseItUp MG/YA Blog-a-thon...Kim Baccellia, author of CROSSED OUT.

Kim has always been a sucker for the paranormal. She blames it on her families' love for such things such as having picnics at cemeteries, visiting psychics, and reading her mother's copies of the daily horoscope. She even had her own horoscope column in middle school, which was a big hit!

Kim is happy to announce her YA multicultural fantasy, Earrings of Ixtumea, will be re-released by Muse It Up and will be out March 2012. Her light YA fantasy No Goddesses Allowed will be out early 2012 and published by Zumaya Publishing.

A member of SCBWI and YALITCHAT, Kim is currently writing the sequel to CROSSED OUT. She's also putting the finishing touches on a multicultural dystopia. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Welcome Kim. Please tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character.

Hmmm, let’s see, I’m a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan.  Yes, I bought all of the season 8 comic book series and plan to buy the first one of season 9 this week.

I admit I like carob.  I know, I’m weird. 

I love all kinds of animals and when I was little wanted to become a vet only I get sick at the sight of blood.  Not a good combo!

Too funny. I was the same way. A friend’s burn took care of me wanting to be a nurse. What was your favorite book as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.

Forever by Judy Blume.  It was very controversial when I was in high school and the school library banned it but that didn’t stop me or my friends from getting a copy to read.  Blume ‘got’ us and didn’t do the whole preachy thing which only made me want to go out and do that.

I also loved The Insiders too.

Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?

Right now I’m writing YA because I guess I’m still a teen inside.  I love the raw honesty.  Also when I started writing, my books ended up with teen protagonists.  It just felt ‘right’.  Maybe it’s because I’m an educator and work with children and teens.  This doesn’t mean I won’t branch out later.  I know I will but right now this genre is the one my Muse is listening to.

Tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.

Crossed Out is about Stephanie who’s a rescuer, someone who helps murdered girls go to the Other side.  She makes talismans like crosses and decorates them with the essence of that girl and places them at the site where the girl was murdered.

Here’s an excerpt:

I couldn’t deal with Mom and her holier-than-thou attitude about decorating crosses. If she had any clue why I needed to do this, maybe she’d back off. I pushed my hair aside and looked down at the wooden beams. My b

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20. Shellie Neumeier is DRIVEN

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Do you like to read good vs. evil? Do you like paranormal? Then you’ll love Shellie Neumeier’s book DRIVEN. I’ve been following her blogs this month of September and am so intrigued by her YA Novel. Today we’re going to find out more about her. 

 Shellie holds a degree in Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a minor in Psychology, Sociology and Social Studies. A devoted mother of four, Shellie previously worked on staff with Northbrook Church as the King’s Kids ministry assistant (serving children in grades 2nd through 5th). Shellie’s YA novel, Driven, is available from Risen Fiction and her middle grade chapter book The Wishing Ring will release February 2012. She is an active member of SCBWI and ACFW as well as a contributing author for various blogs. Shellie is located in southeastern Wisconsin.

Welcome to The Mind’s Eye, Shellie. Can you tell us about your book?

Hi, C.K. Thanks for having me here today. My book is about a girl, Robyn, who loves her friends, enjoys her youth group, and looks forward to hanging with the new guy, Caleb Montague. But a caustic news reporter challenges her school’s prayer team, forcing Robyn to choose between defending the group’s right to meet on campus and pray for whomever they wish or back down at the principal’s request.

She must learn what God wants her to do. And learn fast, because there’s a supernatural enemy, a demon named Sebastian, whose sole mission is to stop her—no matter the cost.

Sounds great. Who did you write your book for?

I wrote the book with my 17 year old daughter in mind. I’d been reading a series she got hooked on, just to see what it was like and it was so discouraging. I mean life is discouraging, but to leave someone there, just seemed depressing. That’s when I decided I wanted to write something for her. Something that would lift her up and encourage her.

What is the biggest headline in your book?

Robyn can’t help but notice the handsome new guy at her school, but she ignores the arrival of another being—a demon sent to destroy her.

Why a young adult Christian novel?

That’s easy. I still think like a kid. Always have. Young adult is a world of possibilities. They’re willing to go places the adult reader just isn’t so it makes the adventure more unpredictable. And since God is the director of my life, it had to be Christian. One way or another, He was in.

I admire that. It’s wonderful to see someone holding onto her faith and sharing it in their writing. What inspired you to write this book?

What inspired me to write this book was the desire to encourage the next generation. To let them know that God does have a plan for them and it’s a good one, even though it may not seem that way right now.  This generation of young adults has almost unlimited access to their world with the ease of travel and the internet. The

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21. Romancing With Mackie, In Fantasy and Imagination

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I love a good romance. Nothing warms my heart like feeling that true love still exists in the world. And when you couple that romance with paranormal, the hair on my neck stands in anticipation. What a great combination. And so, today I’m happy to introduce Lawna Mackie, author of ENCHANTMENT, a magical romance, set to make your heart tingle.

Hi, Lawna. Can you tell us something about yourself?

Hi, C.K. Thanks for sharing your blog with me. A bit about me? Well…I have always believed in fairy tales and when I got tired of the old ones I made up my own. Each story would have a hero and heroine, but they were anything but typical.

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

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

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

Happy reading everyone and please stop by to visit me.

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

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

The books sound wonderful, Lawna. So what got you started writing paranormal romance?

My love for reading inspired me to write a story. When I discovered paranormal romance as a teenager, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Many years later while my husband and I were on summer holidays, which included a trip to the Enchanted Forest in British Columbia, I took the leap and started writing. That was the start and I haven’t looked back. I was hooked.

What inspired this book?

That’s easy! Mountains, water, camping, animals and my husband…not necessarily in that order. Surrounding myself in all those things typically causes me to dream. My dreams are creatively crazy and I always have to write about them. For my novel ENCHANTMENT, I somehow created a creature called a Hippo-dog-burrowing owl. Go figure! I called him Threeo because of his three parts and now he lives within my world of Enchantment.

When I’m not writing I work fulltime and love spending time with my family. I have three furry critters: Dozer, my Alaskan Malamute, Daisy, my Bichon Shitzu, and Mandarin the Bengal cat. We love to go c

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22. Count Down!

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Less than 24 Hours til the debut of

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island!

Please come back tomorrow and raise a glass of virtual punch, grab a cup cake and help me celebrate the Book Birthday of my MG Novel!
See you then.
C.K. Volnek

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23. It's My BOOK BIRTHDAY! Happy Birthday Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island.

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It's finally here!
 Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
is NOW AVAILABLE  Here:
MuseItUp Bookstore
Amazon

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So, grab a cupcake and a glass of punch and raise your glass with me to celebrate!
In celebration, I'm also going to give one lucky reader who leaves me a comment a FREE e-copy of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island. So, just say 'hi' and you may WIN! Good Luck.

Thanks for stopping by!
C.K. Volnek 

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
In 1587, 117 colonists disappeared from Roanoke Island, NC,
leaving behind not only unanswered questions, but a terrifying evil.

Now, it's up to twelve year-old Jack Dahlgren to unravel the age-old mystery and save his family from the hateful beast haunting his home.

With the help of newfound friend, Manny, a Native American shaman, and an elusive Giant Mastiff, Jack must piece together the clues to the disappearance of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island to uncover what really happened. Shrouded in ancient Native American folklore, it's up to Jack to discover what the evil is and why it haunts his island in a horrifying campaign of revenge. But can Jack stop the beast...before it destroys him?

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24. September MG/YA Blog Tour Continues with Barbara Ehrentreu

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Whew, I'm partied out! We had one heck of a Book Birthday party yesterday! Thanks to everyone for coming. I am so humbled by your kind words and good will.  Please come back on Sunday when I will reveal the winner of my contest…a FREE e-copy of Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island.



But today, our MG/YA Blog Tour continues with my next guest and dear friend, Barbara Ehrentreu.  Barbara’s YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, was just released last week and is already claiming five-star reviews. Congratulations Barbara.  Welcome to The Mind’s Eye.

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

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

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

The book became If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor and was picked up by MuseItUp Publishing. This is what Barbara says about Muse:

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

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I’m happy to host Barbara on my blog today. Here is an excerpt from Barbara’s novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, a young adult novel about the trials of being high school students.

 “If you have been checked on your somersault, you can jog around the gym until the

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25. And the Winner is...

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Friday was a grand day.
We celebrated the Book Birthday for
Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island
...and I offered a FREE e-copy of the book to one of my lucky visitors who left me a commetn.
So...
Drumroll Please....
The Winner of the FREE e-copy of
Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island is...

Rebecca Ryals Russell!

Yay! Congratulations Rebecca.
Thanks to each and every one who attended my Big Birthday Blast. I was truly humbled and honored to have so many people stop by. What a great group of friends, peers and readers! You rock!

Thanks again.
C.K. Volnek

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