Thursday, 28 June 2012

Esprit De Corps...

Group spirit. Group loyalty. A common bond. Morale. This is the essence of Esprit De Corps. You’ve seen it happen during the playoff season. You’ve experienced it watching the Olympics. It’s like this invisible thread that connects everyone with a vested interest in your cause or plan. And it’s the solid foundation of any strong relationship.

Esprit De Corps makes people indispensible. These people are the needles that thread through the fabric of ideas, share the news, innovate, experiment, and learn from their mistakes. They are the tweeters, sharers, bloggers, and cheerleaders who go the extra mile to open doors for others. Without group spirit there would be no heart in any community, business, or organization.
As an author in these changing times where you must build an online presence, create a platform, garner reviews, social network, guest blog, and a multitude of other marketing ploys, it’s tough to go it alone. In fact you can’t. Humans are social beasts. We need connection. We need to share. And we need a shot in the arm every now and then.

So the next time you find yourself on your favorite social network – go the extra mile and give someone a boost. Share their wares. Like their post. Tag their books. Tweet their stuff. Comment, friend, follow. Trust me — you’ll get it back in aces.

Oh, and in keeping with Esprit De Corps, please check Musa Publishing's About Us page to see how morale is built in the publishing world! Cheers!
Image: 123RF Stock 9248393

Monday, 25 June 2012

What goes around, Comes around...

In the spirit of giving back, young adult author Patti Larsen has graciously agreed to interview me on her virtual home today. If you have a moment, please stop by and check out what Patti has to offer readers of young adult fiction. She’s got some fabulous series! Plus, find out what I can’t do without with when I'm planning a novel. Cheers and keep smiling!

Image: 123RF stock photo 10520974

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Authors In The Limelight: Mary Cunningham

I want to thank and welcome author, Mary Cunningham for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Cynthia’s Attic: The Legend of Lupin Woods, and her other Cynthia’s Attic books in the series can be purchased from Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you been writing, Mary?
Pretty much all my life…a good long time! From the time I was in elementary school, every teacher said, "Mary, whatever you do, keep writing." Sure enough, 40 years later I wrote my first book! I began writing non-fiction—mostly family memoirs—then wrote my first tween fantasy/fiction about twelve years ago.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write the Cynthia’s Attic series?
I was in the middle of telling my best friend about the recurring dream I had for almost 20 years involving a mysterious attic, when a "light-bulb" moment occurred. I realized the dream took place in the home of my friend, Cynthia where I had spent many enjoyable childhood days playing and exploring. Strange, but as soon as I verbalized the dream, I never had it again, but writing on my 5-book ‘Tween series soon began.

At first, I thought it might be fun to write a "little" story about the dream and my fond memories. Should it be a memoir, a picture book. Maybe a song! (Good grief) Nothing seemed to strike me, so I just wrote. A four-page memoir eventually turned into a 33,000-word ‘Tween (9-12) novel, Cynthia’s Attic: The Missing Locket, and took more than two years to complete.
What sets the Cynthia’s Attic series apart from other books in the same genre?

While similar to some series books (It's been compared to a slightly older version of The Magic Tree House), I haven't seen a series that take twelve-year-old best friends back in time to meet and have adventures with their twelve-year-old grandmothers. The relationships time-traveling duo, Cynthia and Gus, experience with their ancestors sets the series apart from most.
As an author, Mary, what is your writing process?

I have no writing process! Seriously! When I feel like writing, I write. When I don't, I do something else; like spending waaay too much time on Facebook, Pinterest, etc. I know this flies in the face of what we're told, but I don't find writing every single day to be productive the way many writers do. I have to be in the mood which is probably why I don't churn out a book every three months or so. Oh, and I don't outline, but I do tons of research.
Research, eh? We’re on the same page there, girl! So, how long did it take for you to start and finish your newest tween adventure, Cynthia’s Attic: The Legend of Lupin Woods?

Ha! Good follow-up of the last question! It took me more than a year to write the latest story. I hit a wall once or twice and put it aside for several weeks at a time. If the words aren't flowing out of my fingers, then I'd rather not have to delete bunches of text. In my experience, it's much more fun to be inspired by the storyline. I find it much more exciting to kinda let the characters tell me where they want to go, and what they want to do.
Do you have any advice for other writers, Mary?

The best early-on advice I ever got was, write what you know. This may seem simplistic, but it really works. Think about how much easier it is to be able to visualize and to have experienced what you write. I set the stories of Cynthia's Attic in the small town where I grew up, in Southern Indiana, and write about family stories and ancestors.
What’s next for Mary Cunningham the author?

I'm contracted to write another tween series, but haven't quite settled on the storyline. It will be five separate stories initially published as Ebooks, and then a sixth will tie all stories together to be published in paperback. I'm also working on two adult mysteries. I find that changing genres keeps my writing fresh and challenging.
Okay, here’s one for me, since like you, I’m writing a time travel series too —If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

I'd love to go back in time to the mid-1800s and try to find out what happened to my great-great grandfather. He headed down the Mississippi River with a boat load of produce and disappeared. Although a search party, made up of friends and neighbors, tried to find him, no one ever heard from him again. I'd love to meet him, along with other ancestors, especially since Curse of the Bayou (Book Three) is loosely based on his disappearance. I send Cynthia and Gus back to a Louisiana bayou to see if they can find some trace of him. Did they? Hmmm…you'll just have to read the book!
About the Series: Magical costumes, disappearing stairs and a spooky attic filled with dusty antiques–what more could two, adventurous, young girls ask for?

Best friends, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, or Gus, as she prefers to be called, are as “different asbubble gum and broccoli.” They are, however, equal in their ability to get into trouble without much effort.
In trying to escape the boring summer of 1964, the adventurous twelve-year-old girls find a trunk in Cynthia’s attic that has been in her family for three generations.

They discover its magical qualities when they're whisked back to 1914. Along with perilous escapades, they make important and sometimes humorous discoveries about their ancestors, and even manage to change history–for the better–along the way.
Mini Synop: Cynthia's Attic: the Legend of Lupin Woods

Aunt Belle is missing…again! Cynthia’s great-grandfather, Beau, was never found! And now they are wondering if Blackie is still making life miserable for Lilly and Annie? This time, the twelve-year-old girls journey into a strange woods full of frightening creatures and dark secrets in search of answers.
From Aunt Belle’s cottage to a small village in France, they meet new friends and discover a connection to New Orleans that may lead to the devious source behind these alarming developments. Or bigger trouble.

Mary Cunningham Bio:
Like Cynthia and Gus, my childhood best friend, Cynthia and I grew up in a small, Southern Indiana town…the setting for the series. Not one summer day passed that we weren’t playing softball, hide and seek, badminton, or croquet with friends in the vacant lot behind Becky’s house.

In my attempt to grow up, I joined The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Creative Writers Club. When giving my fingers a day away from the keyboard, I enjoy golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where I live with my husband and adopted furry, four-legged daughter, Lucy. Together we’ve raised three creative children and are thrilled with our 2 granddaughters.

At last count, I’ve moved 9 times to six different states (all after the age of 36), and aside from the packing and unpacking, it’s been a great experience, having made some very dear and lasting friendships. My non-writing time is spent showing power point presentations, on gathering ideas and the writing process, to schools and libraries.
Mary Cunningham Books

Buy all books on Amazon including Ghost Light, Christmas With Daisy, and WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty.

Buy: Cynthia's Attic: The Legend of Lupin Woods
Amazon (paperback)

Barnes & Noble

Books are also available on Amazon in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain

Monday, 18 June 2012

Authors In The Limelight: Cordelia Dinsmore

Michaela's GiftI want to thank and welcome author, Cordelia Dinsmore for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Her book, Michaela’s Gift, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

Welcome, Cordelia! How long have you been writing?
Truthfully? My brother taught me to write my name when I was four. I carved it all over the back screen door with a butter knife and got in major trouble, even though I lied and said the boy next door did it. So that sort of killed the desire in me for a while, but not too long. My mother was a writer, mostly of poetry, so I spent many evenings sitting at the kitchen table scribbling down little rhymes. It was mostly a way of gaining attention. I’m a middle child, you see, just as Michaela is, and we middlings have to go out of our way to make our mark in the world.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Michaela’s Gift?
The idea for Michaela’s Gift originated with Blackie. She was my grandmother’s dog, and everyone was terrified of her. Everyone, that is, except me. I’ve always been a lover of animals, and I couldn’t keep my hands off of her. I know after the last answer it may seem like I was a bit of a sneaky kid, but I just knew Blackie wanted a friend. She lived with two old people out in the middle of nowhere! How much fun could that be? So we became friends. And I never forgot her. So one day I just decided to write a book in her honor. It turned out to be someone else’s story, but she still ended up with a great part.

What sets Michaela’s Gift apart from other books in the same genre? 
Hmmmm. I really hate questions like this. You know, the ones where you have to be thoughtful and philosophical. I guess it’s the fact that there are a lot of surprising little twists to the story. There’s also a lot of depth.

Ohh, I love surprises! As an author, Cordelia, what is your writing process?
I’m definitely a pantser, although for some reason I always want to call it a pantster. Either way, I have forever hated outlines. When I was still in school, a million and a half years ago, I hated assignments that involved an outline. I would always have to write out the entire assignment and then go back and make an outline from my completed work. I never got the point. Now I realize that an outline can help keep your work focused, but it’s still an effort in futility for me.

I know what you mean! How long did it take for you to start and finish Michaela’s Gift?  
It probably took me about six months to write it initially. Then it took me two years of repeated edits and tweaks before I felt confident enough to share it with other eyes. Then there were more edits, of course, before it was accepted by Musa Publishing. Fortunately, my editor was very kind to it from there, and the final editing process was relatively fast and painless.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Cordelia?
Ha. I have to laugh because I never took myself serious as a writer until I’d spent many years convincing myself that I was pretty much useless. I had to quit working in my early thirties because of a crippling illness. I couldn’t even hold a pen in my hand for several years. And typing was murderous on my hands. But then my brother told me to check out a site called Absolute Write. That experience renewed my interest and gave me new purpose. So I guess, in a very roundabout way, I would say that anyone who wants to write, and feels that they have a story to tell, should do everything they can to make the time and effort to do so.

Well said! So, what’s next for Cordelia Dinsmore the author?
I have several things in the works. My current WIP is giving me fits right now because my MC does not want to deal with the inevitable. Her life has been one huge disappointment, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. We fight almost daily, and right now she’s winning more of the battles than I am. I’m also in the process of a rewrite on another YA that takes place in the 1960’s south. I’m changing it from third to first person, and that’s a new, but interesting, challenge for me. I also have a couple of picture books out on sub to a small publisher. She’s promised some more feedback soon.

Best of luck! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why? 
I would go back to the early 1920’s, but only if I could watch my parents grow up. My favorite times as a kid were when all of our relatives got together and talked about their past. I listened, but not closely, so there is too much that I missed. Imagine how wonderful it would be to know what your parents experienced, and what formed their characters, on a first-hand basis. That would just be so totally awesome! Plus, my parents were great entertainers. They were forever telling stories and filling my head with wonderful ideas. I would love to go back and tell them stories of the world as it is today. I would love to see their faces when I told them about the technology we have available to us now. It would be a great science fiction novel.

Thank you, Sharon, so much for having me here today. I really appreciate your many efforts to support and promote fellow authors.
Here’s the blurb for Michaela’s Gift:

Michaela Cochran and her family make the trip to her father’s ancestral home every year, but this year is special. Michaela is now twelve, the age when every girl in the family receives a special gift. When Aunt Sharon explains that Michaela’s gift is a magical ability to bring one of her drawings to life, Michaela begins making plans. What she wants most is a castle high on the mountain, where her family can live together. But if she can’t figure out how to resolve the growing hostility between herself and her mother, her gift is meaningless.
Michaela’s Gift is available as of June 15th at

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Thursday, 14 June 2012

Author In The Limelight: Liz DeJesus

I want to thank and welcome author, Liz DeJesus for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Her book, First Frost, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you been writing, Liz?
I like to think that I’ve been writing my whole life, but in reality I started when I was twelve years old. Writing short stories here and there, nothing serious. Although I remember writing a mystery involving a diamond or something along those lines. Then at thirteen I moved on to writing poetry and I stuck with that for a long time. Sadly though, I haven’t written a poem in YEARS. When I was eighteen I decided that I wanted to be a novelist and I haven’t looked back since then.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write First Frost?
I was watching a commercial for a local children’s museum. I was feeding my son his bottle and I remember thinking ‘Why don’t they have themed museums? Like a pirate museum or a fairy tale museum. Hmm, how would that work? I guess they could get fake items and get kids to think they’re real.’ And then it sort of took off from there. It was almost like being struck by lightning once I got to thinking about it. I was still holding my son in my arms and my notebook was on the other end of the couch. LOL I was so desperate to get to it but I didn’t want to interrupt my son’s feeding (I was giving him a bottle at the moment). Anyway, I managed to grab my notebook and I jotted down a few ideas. It sort of wrote itself once I had the pen in my hand.

What sets First Frost apart from other books in the same genre?
The thing that sets First Frost apart from other books in the same genre is that it’s not a rewrite of the original fairy tale. I’m not retelling the story of Snow White (although I do alter a few things here and there to make it work with the story). This is about what happens to all of the fairy tale characters after they lived they’re happily ever after. We are now telling the story of their great-grandchildren.  What happened to Cinderella the day after the wedding? What happened to the seven dwarves after Snow White left? What happened with Rapunzel’s hair? I’m having a bit of fun answering those what ifs. I think people will like what I’ve done.

As an author, Liz, what is your writing process?
I talk to my characters. I try to think about what they would say and do. Every once in a while I take over and put certain obstacles that will help them grow (or move the story along) but there really is no outline. I actually envy authors that have outlines; at least they know where their story is going. I sort of make it up as I go along.

How long did it take for you to start and finish First Frost?
About nine months, which is funny because it’s almost like having a baby. LOL. That includes first, second and third drafts. And then I sent it to an editor friend of mine so she could edit it for me before I start submitting it to different agents and publishers. I like to make sure my story is in tip-top shape.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Liz?
Yes, please learn how to write a proper query letter and a synopsis. It’s annoying, I know. I’d rather write a brand new novel than write a synopsis but it’s something you have to do. You also have to learn the fact that there’s a business side to the publishing industry. Don’t take rejection personally. Sometimes an agent or an editor is looking for something else. It doesn’t mean that another agent or publisher won’t like your work. Don’t give up!

What’s next for Liz DeJesus the author?
I’m currently working on the sequel to First Frost (tentatively titled Second Frost) and I’m already jotting down ideas for the third book in the series (which will definitely involve a visit to Wonderland…so you all have that to look forward to.) I also recently got the rights back to a couple of books I wrote a few years ago. I’m going to revamp and resubmit them. But I’m definitely going to keep writing and working on new material.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?
Hmmm…excellent question. I would definitely travel back to the 1830’s and I would visit France. Why? Because I would want to meet my favorite artist of all time Vincent Van Gogh and once I was done meeting him (and hopefully getting some art) I would talk to different authors that were popular at that time just to pick their brains a bit. ;)

Musa Publishing buy link

Official blurb for First Frost

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”
Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.
She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

Excerpt for First Frost
Bianca got out of her car and ran inside the house. She called for her mother as she searched for her upstairs in all of the rooms. Nothing. She quickly ran downstairs and was ready to go down to the basement when a strange turquoise light caught her eye. She looked out the kitchen window; she couldn’t believe what she saw. Her mother was throwing what Bianca could only describe as balls of turquoise fireballs at a woman wearing a black hood. Bianca couldn’t see the woman’s face, but she could see her pale hands and slender fingers.

Bianca tried to make sense of it all. She kept expecting to see a special effects crew to come out from behind the trees and tell her that it was all part of an elaborate prank. But no such thing happened. All she knew was that a strange turquoise flame was coming out of her mother’s hands.

She knew that her mother sometimes read old dusty books on witchcraft, but she didn’t know she had actual powers. She thought about all the little quirks her mother had. Things that Bianca thought were essentially Rose. Her mother talked to plants and trees. She would sometimes stare off into space as though she were looking at something in another world. Something only she could see. She read tarot cards to random people and would tell them things about his or her life as though she were reading an open book. Bianca always thought she just made really lucky guesses. She chose not to believe in this other world and everything it stood for. Magic represented a life out of the norm, and Bianca desperately wanted to be normal. Just like everyone else.

Bianca pulled herself out of her thoughts. As she looked at the blue and green flashes in the backyard, she quickly realized that this was something she couldn’t escape. Normal was no longer a part of her world. Normal was no longer an option for her.

Bianca didn’t know what to do. She was frozen in place. She was afraid to distract her mother for even a second. She ducked behind the screen door; at least this way she could still hear what they were saying to each other.

“Did you really think I wouldn’t come?” the witch shouted.

“Oh, I knew you’d be back,” Rose replied.

Bianca slowly lifted her gaze and peeked above the screen. She saw her mother standing behind the shed on the left side of their backyard. The witch was still too far away for her to get a good look at her, but Bianca could tell that she was on the far right corner of their yard.

“Where’s the book?” the witch demanded.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Rose replied with a smirk.

“Don’t be coy with me. You know very well what I’m talking about.”

“Sorry. I can’t help you.” Rose’s breathing was becoming more labored and she was drenched in sweat…obvious signs of exhaustion, but Bianca could tell by the look on her mother’s face that she wouldn’t give up.

“The wards in the museum are impressive. I couldn’t get past them. But maybe…she’ll know where the book is,” the witch said as she looked in Bianca’s direction and threw a sickly olive-colored fireball at the screen door.

Bianca shrieked and jumped out of the way. The screen door fell off its hinges and landed on the kitchen floor with a loud thud.

“Bianca!” Rose screamed.

Monday, 11 June 2012

The 80-20 Rule for Writers

Apply the 80-20 rule to everything you do. Especially when it comes to your writing. What’s the 80-20 rule? It’s a simple formula. The basic idea is that 20 percent of the things you do will account for 80 percent of the value of your work. For optimum performance in any job, it’s essential that you work on the top 20 percent of the activities that account for most of your results. This rule is also known as the Pareto Principal or Power Law.

How this law applies to writing:
·         Time Sucks: You know what I’m talking about. Facebook. Twitter. TV. Email checking. Web surfing.  These activities can be gigantic time sucks. Get a timer or set an amount of time for yourself for these simple pleasures. If you do this, you'll free yourself up to dedicate time for your writing. Do it. Be ruthless.

·          Great Writing Sessions: Some writing sessions are more productive than others. Know when is the best time for you to write, and when is not. Are you a night owl or an early bird? Know yourself well with regards to this advice. You will generate roughly 80% of your writing in the best 20% of your writing sessions. When you have a great day of writing, take notice on the factors that make it productive, and try to repeat those factors in all of your writing sessions.

·          Not-so-great Writing Sessions: A small number of your writing sessions will be far more wasteful than the rest. What happened in these sessions? Distractions? Wifey or hubby knocking on your office door? Pets demanding attention? Do the math and figure out the factors that prevented great writing sessions. What can you do to fix these sessions in the future?

·          Writing Quality: Pretty much 20% of your writing will be of a high quality. That's the good stuff you should publish. The other 80% will be crap. Buck up. It happens to the best of us.

·          Know Your Audience: What’s selling for you? Your audience will vastly prefer some 20% of your writing. Know this. Embrace this, especially the enthusiastic reviews. Then create more stories like it. It should drive more success your way.

·          Creating Ideas: You'll think up 80% of your best ideas in 20% of the time you dedicate to creative activities. Figure out what puts you in these highly creative states and try to recreate those conditions every time. Was it the music you were listening to? The tea or coffee you sipped? Perhaps it was incense you were burning. On the flipside, you'll trash 80% of your time spent generating new ideas. Maybe that time would be better spent on editing, reading or other activities.

·          Productivity: Some days will be more productive than others. Period. Exploit those days by pushing yourself to write as many hours as you can. Make the most of it and you may complete more work in one day than in several average days.

·          Book Sales: A cold, hard fact. 80% of book sales will come from 20% of authors. This explains why the publishing industry tosses huge amounts of money at a small number of authors while it ignores great work from everyone else. Life’s not fair for those in that 80%.

·          Success and Failure: Some 80% of your written work will likely fail to gain an audience. However, all it takes is one major success to turn that percentage around and claim your stake in the publishing world. Grow a thick skin and keep trying.
Image: 123RF stock photo 12485192

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Find out why I write for YAs...

Hey, all! Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I’m guest posting at Liz’s Blog…a way with words today. Just click on the link below to find out why I decided to write for the wonderful genre of young adult. Cheers and have a happy day!

Image:123RF stock photo

Monday, 4 June 2012

Authors In The Limelight: Linda Benson

Six Degrees of LostI want to thank and welcome author, Linda Benson for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. This is Linda’s second appearance on my blog. Her book, The Girl Who Remembered Horses was featured on October 31st, 2011. Please click HERE to read it. Her new book, Six Degrees of Lost, a contemporary story set in the Pacific Northwest, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Six Degrees of Lost?

There were two characters floating around in my head, both wanting their story told. One was a girl, Olive, suddenly transplanted to live with her aunt in a new state, and feeling lost and alone. The other was David, a boy with a great family and home, but feeling the restraints of his family’s expectations for his future. Besides that, many of the elements of this story, the rural location, the neighbors that help lost animals find their way back home, and even the peacock, were inspired from my own life.

What was the most challenging part of writing Six Degrees of Lost?

I wanted to challenge myself as a writer to tell this story with alternating points of view. It’s set in first person, present tense, with each character telling part of the story from his or her point of view. Olive and David meet at one point, which eventually changes the course of everything for them, but it takes awhile for that to happen. Meanwhile, I had to make a chapter-by-chapter timeline, noting what happened and where each character was at that point in time, and fitting the pieces together like a giant jig-saw puzzle. It was occasionally tricky, but I hope I pulled it off.

The Girl Who Remembered Horses – a YA post-apocalyptic fantasy – was your first release with Musa Publishing. What made you decide to switch genres?

Actually, I have two previous middle grade novels, The Horse Jar and Finding Chance, which are both contemporary realistic novels, as is Six Degrees of Lost. This is a genre I’m comfortable writing in, and The Girl Who Remembered Horses, set several generations in the future, was a bit of a departure for me. Of course now I’m writing a sequel to that book, and the futuristic world that I created is a bit more familiar to me.
A sequel! That’s great news to hear, looking forward to reading it! How long did it take for you to start and finish Six Degrees of Lost?
I think it took about a year for me to finish the first draft. Then it went to my critique group, and several other beta readers helped me make sense of it, with lots more drafts and revisions along the way. So, I would say at least three years, maybe more, from start to publication.

Do you have any advice for other writers like yourself, who like to work in different genres?
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Constantly challenge yourself.
Love that advice! It offers growth and potential! What’s next for Linda Benson the author?
I have another novel due for release in September 2012 called Walking the Dog. I’m working on a sequel to The Girl Who Remembered Horses, which I hope to have out by next year, and I’m also writing a YA novel in free verse.

Other than believing in yourself, Linda, what else would you suggest a new writer needs?
A new writer needs a critique group, I believe, to help them see what’s good and bad about their writing. Whether you belong to one that meets in person, or find online writing buddies to exchange manuscripts with, writers need other writers – for help and also support in what basically can be a very lonely endeavor.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel and meet anyone throughout history, who would you meet and why?

I’d love to meet Rachel Carson (1907-1964) author of the non-fiction books Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us. An author, biologist and conservationist, she was a woman ahead of her time, who not only cherished the natural world around her (like I do) but made a difference by writing about it. At a time when DDT and other pesticides were widely used without knowledge of the dangers, she took on the government and huge chemical companies, and made the general public aware of the disastrous consequences of such practices. She is one of my heroes.

Linda Benson has written several young adult and middle grade books, including the post-apocalyptic THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES, also available from Musa Publishing.  Her passion for nature and animals often finds its way into her writing. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a variety of animals – all of them adopted. To find out more:
Visit her website:

Her blog:

Find her on Facebook:

On Goodreads:

Purchase Links for SIX DEGREES OF LOST:

Here’s a short synopsis of Six Degrees of Lost:
Olive’s mother is headed to jail and her brother to join the Army, so thirteen-year-old Olive is uprooted from sunny California and dumped in Washington State like a stray. That's exactly what she feels like surrounded by her aunt’s collection of homeless dogs, cats, and horses.

Fourteen-year-old David’s future is already carved in stone. From a military family with two brothers serving overseas, he’s been pointed towards the Air Force Academy his entire life - but a rafting trip gone awry might ruin his chances.

When a runaway dog is almost hit by a car, the search for its owner leads Olive and David, two kids from entirely different backgrounds, to an unlikely bond. Will their growing attraction to each other be enough to keep Olive from a foolhardy journey to find her mother? Will David risk his family’s plans to save her?