Monday 30 April 2012

Authors In The Limelight: Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman

I want to thank and welcome collaborating authors, Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman for sharing their personal writing journey with us on my blog today. I can honestly say, I loved the dynamics and humor of this writing team! Sirenz, and Sirenz Back In Fashion can be purchased from Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you each been writing, Charlotte and Natalie?
Nat: I've been making up stories forever (LOL). I actually started writing and keeping a journal in high school. It was mostly poetry.

Char: I think we all started out writing sappy poetry (at least I did!)
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Sirenz?

Nat: I joined Char's critique group--and through that we found we had quite a bit in common and became friends. I'd started out in the group with picture books and wanted to do something with "more words." I started writing a novel (Char already had a couple of finished pieces at that point), and one day, at one of our meetings, we started talking about Twilight (just coming into the spotlight then), and we were like, "we could do that!" And we started batting around ideas for a vampire novel... (gonna let Char take it from here)
Char: But then everyone was doing vampire novels; bookshelves were stuffed with them. So, after a bit of searching, we hit on Greek mythology (at this point only Percy Jackson was doing it, and his novels were younger teen). The idea of Sirenz just seemed to jump out as unused story possibilities.

What sets Sirenz apart from other books in the same genre?
Nat: The same year that Sirenz debuted, several other mythology themed books came out--all centered around Hades. The Goddess Test and Abandoned come to mind. I know there were others. There was also at least one about Sirens. The thing that sets Sirenz apart from these books (fab books, I might add) is that we took the comedic road. Sirenz and Sirenz Back In Fashion are funny, light-hearted books.

Char: Plus, we stayed true to the mythology, just tweaked it into the modern era. I mean if you're a woman, would you wear the same old dress for thousands of years? Why shouldn't Hades be hot just because he rules the Underworld?
As collaborating authors, what are your writing processes?

Nat: Char and I plot together, and then we take turns writing chapters. When we get a "chunk" of chapters done (usually 5), we mark up the chunk individually, then get together to go over the changes. There's only one rule... (gonna be preemptive here--the editor got rid of Char's chapters too!)
Char: (Nat makes me laugh...) The rule is that if you like it, and it's in your chapter (unless you're killing off my character), it stays unless the agent or editor says it goes. This all came about because of a tampon box in her chapter that I edited out, she put back in (we went back and forth) so we call it the Tampon Box Rule. (I claim victory because editor took it out, along with 15 of the 20 chapters of the book.)

How long did it take for both of you to start and finish Sirenz?
Nat: We worked on the first Sirenz book for at least two years, going back and forth with different editors and agents, making adjustments and revising until we landed our contract with Flux. After that, we had our writing and revising system down, and we knew what direction our editor wanted. The initial draft of Sirenz Back In Fashion was done in about 3 months.

Char: We foresee about that time for Sirenz 3.
Do you each have advice for other writers?

Nat: You can't give up. Ever. It'll be hard sometimes, and you'll want to, but you can't. If you're going through a particularly rough patch, give yourself a day to cry, a week's break... but then have a date for when you start up again. You CAN do this.
Char: Be persistent and consistent- Finish a project, even if you suspect it probably won't go anywhere; you may use chunks or ideas from it for another work, and you'll never know if it's worth anything if you never finish it.

Well said! What’s next for Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman the authors?
Nat: Char and I are working on getting Sirenz 3 together--and we're doing an exciting project over at the book's website, with students at an art school to illustrate some of the other characters, and perhaps the next cover! There *might* be something more that we can't talk about just yet, and we each have individual projects we're working on.

Char: Plus we're doing signings, appearances/workshops at the NJ Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators annual conference in Princeton, NJ, and we'll have the Sirenz Back In Fashion book launch. And I'd like to get my meditation garden whipped into shape. I go there when I feel the need to scream...
Between the signings, screaming, and students, it seems you’ve both got plenty on your publishing plates! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you both could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

Nat: Tough one, as there are several places I'd like to go... but since it's on the brain, I'd pick Victorian England. Both the manuscript I'm working on, and the one that's out on sub now have steampunk elements. And I'm such a sucker for pocket watches!


Twitter:!/Natalie_Zaman @Natalie_Zaman

The Sirenz Website:

Char: Hmmm. I like my modern conveniences and the freedoms women enjoy, but if I could be a duchess (and not a kitchen wench) I'd say Edwardian England. The future just might be too scary!
My blog:

Facebook: Charlotte Johnson Bennardo

Twitter: @charbennardo
Mini synop:

Sirenz: A pair of red designer shoes comes between frenemies Meg and Shar- with tragic results. Only Hades, dark, seductive Lord of the Underworld, can undo it--for a price. The two must become his sirens and lure reclusive fashion icon, Arkady Romanov, to a portal and send him down under. They might succeed--if interfering gods don't thwart them and they don't kill each other first...
Sirenz Back In Fashion: Hell on heels- again! When Shar tries on a ring gifted from Hades, it activates a 'fine print' clause in their contract and they're back to work as his sirens. This time around, Hades has different ideas; even though Shar is sent to the Underworld to act as his hostess and Meg is stuck in the mortal realm to lure yet another soul, they must work together. Fashion was never so deadly!

Thursday 26 April 2012

Authors In The Limelight: Alan Tucker

I want to thank and welcome author, Alan Tucker for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Mother’s Heart, and his other books in the series can be purchased from Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you been writing, Alan?
Oh, gosh! Off, and on, since I was little. The first writing project I remember really finishing and doing something with was a play I wrote in fifth grade. A few members of my class played the roles and I directed. It was a big hit for a very select audience! I majored in English Literature in college, but didn't really get back into writing seriously until a couple of years ago or so.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Mother’s Heart?
 This book is the third and, for now at least, final in the Mother-Earth series that starts with A Measure of Disorder. It wraps up the story which begins with a class of eighth graders being transported to a new world called Mother. When I started writing the first book, this was actually the ending I had in mind, but as the story and characters grew, I soon realized the journey was going to be longer than one book.

I've always believed that there is a kernel of truth within every story. Thinking back to popular fables and fairy tales, I wondered what that bit of truth might be within them. Maybe those creatures really did exist in some way and, if so, where would they have come from and where did they go? Those ideas became the basis for Mother and how it interacts with the Earth we are familiar with.

My younger daughter was in middle school when I started the series, so it was natural for me to write a story with characters that same age. The story has a great deal to do with growing up and how we deal with the changes and difficulties that process presents.

What sets Mother’s Heart apart from other books in the same genre?
After I'd finished the first book and decided to look into the process of having it published, I discovered it was difficult to categorize. It is fantasy, but with a lot of contemporary elements. There is very little romance, which is rampant in the Young Adult genre, but lots of adventure, which I think is often more associated with Middle Grade works. I've had readers as young as nine and ten enjoy the books, but they are longer and more involved than most MG stories I've seen. My experience so far has been that people just have to read it to find out, which is why I ultimately decided to offer the first book for free everywhere in ebook format. Once people get started with it, they seem to want to continue, so I guess that means I'm doing something right!

You certainly must be! As an author, Alan, what is your writing process?
A great deal of it goes on in my head before I ever sit down at the keyboard, or with a notebook and pen. I generally start out with a rough outline, but I don't go into a lot of detail with it. To me, the characters are much more important to get to know and understand. Once I have them established, I can throw any number of obstacles in their way, then figure out through the characters how to over come them. So, in the industry, I'd be referred to as a "pantser" I suppose. :-) After the first draft is finished, it goes out to a handful of alpha readers for their feedback. I then revise and edit, and it goes out to another group of readers as well as my editor.

That’s quite a process! How long did it take for you to start and finish Mother’s Heart?
This one was about nine months all together, though I had a month or two during that time where I was busy with other projects and couldn't devote much time to it.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Alan?
Read. Write. Then read some more. Try different styles. Take a story you’ve written and try it from another character’s perspective. Or write it third person if it was in first. Or take an existing story you enjoy from another author and write it a different way. Just experiment. But always be reading to find things you like and don’t like so you can eventually develop your own voice. And make sure you have your work edited thoroughly before you publish. There will always be the odd typo here and there, but don’t present your work to the world without having someone who isn’t your mom or best friend read it. Make sure you take any suggestions or criticism and look at them honestly before you cry or get angry! :-)

Authors certainly need to grow a hard skin! So, what’s next for Alan Tucker the author?
I'm currently ghostwriting an historical fiction, which I hope to have finished this summer. I'm also working on a YA science fiction that I think will be quite different and fun.

Readers can actually have a gander at the first chapter on Wattpad here:
I haven't decided if it will be a traditional novel or if I'll release it as several short stories, but look for something on it by the end of the year.

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?
Hmm. Has to be in the past, huh? If I were a time traveler, I'd much rather visit the future! But, okay, I'll play by your rules. I suppose I'd go pay a visit to old Bill Shakespeare and find out once and for all if he really wrote all those plays, or if Roger Bacon had a legitimate beef. :-)

Book Blurb for Mother's Heart:
United we stand … divided we fall.

The cunning and powerful Mogritas and his allies, like a pride of ferocious lions, maneuver and toy with the citizens of Mother, before moving in for the kill.
Scattered across not one, but two worlds, Jenni and her classmates struggle to reunite for a final battle against the centuries-old shapeshifter. Can they band together in time? Or will old frictions and new threats tear them, and their adopted world, apart?

Ruin or salvation, the answers lie in Mother’s Heart.


You can download the first book in the series (A Measure of Disorder) everywhere for FREE!

Monday 23 April 2012


My wonderful author friend, Amaleen Ison, has taken the time to post a blog to reveal my  book cover and blurb. Please surf by and check it out, and if you could do me a favor and 'like' Amaleen's blog, I'd really appreciate it! Cheers!

Here's the link:

Thursday 19 April 2012

Authors In The Limelight: Beth Barany

I want to thank and welcome author, Beth Barany for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Her featured book, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, can be purchased from Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you been writing, Beth?
Thank you Sharon for having me as a guest on your blog to chat about writing and my YA fantasy novel, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer!

I've been writing for a long time! LOL I started writing stories and poems, mostly limericks, as a kid, but I didn't start writing novels until I hit the big 3-0, and had to really get serious about my life!
Up to then I'd been a journalist with a huge wish to be a novelist. When I didn't get into journalism school, I realized that I better get cracking, and sat down to write my first novel. An experiment really. Since I learn by doing, this first novel took me five years to write, and will forever remain in the drawer.

After another experiment, in which I wrote my second novel in six weeks! I settled upon my third novel and the first one published: Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, Book 1 in The Five Kingdom series.
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Henrietta The Dragon Slayer?

I wrote what I wished to read! When I was a child I loved reading fairytales and folk tales, but there was never a girl going on adventures, going after the giants or ogres or dragons. So I had to write my own. But since I actually really like dragons, I pick up Henrietta's story after she's already become the legendary dragon slayer.
What sets Henrietta The Dragon Slayer apart from other books in the same genre?

Well, first off, no dragons were harmed in the making of this story! Second, unlike lots of young adult fantasy there are no werewolves, vampires or zombies. Also, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer features a heroine unlike many out there. She's strong and a kick ass heroine, and she has to learn how to open her heart and stop being such a loner.

Good twist! As an author, Beth, what is your writing process?
Every book is different because I'm constantly evolving as an author. For the next book in the series -- I'll be drafting Book 3 this summer -- I plan to do a bunch of character sketches on all the main and secondary characters in the book. So some planning. Then I'm a pantser. I write from the seat of my pants! And I write fast, IF I've made the time to do that. I can write a first draft in six to eight weeks. But then I take about six months to edit the book. As they say, writing is rewriting, and that is so true in my case.

How long did it take for you to start and finish Henrietta The Dragon Slayer?
Oh boy! With all my starts and stops, it took me seven years from outline of the novel to release of the novel in 2011. I actually wrote a three-page version of the story when I was 20 years old. The story stuck with me. When I was searching for the kind of story I really liked to write I resurrected the tiny scene and expanded the story to novel length. The scene I originally wrote all the years ago got cut, unfortunately.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Beth?
I have lots of advice! Wearing my other hat, I'm a Creativity Coach & Consultant for Authors, helping other authors succeed in their careers. I help authors actually get their books completed and out into the world and into the hands of their readers.

My biggest piece of advice is write. Because as I like to say, Writing begets writing. Second, I'd say, Get feedback on your writing, when you're ready. Third, Get thee to a community of writers who are supportive.
If you'd like to know more, you can find me on most of the big social media sites or at my site, and I'd be happy to engage in a conversation with you!

Love those three pieces of sage advice! So, what’s next for Beth Barany the author?
I'm exited to share that Book 2 of The Five Kingdom series will be out this summer, Henrietta and The Dragon Stone. I also have a nonfiction book coming out at the end of the summer, Twitter for Authors.

Sounds like a solid plan! 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'd love go to around 600BC in Central Asia with the women warriors Jeannine Davis-Kimball shares about in her book, Warrior Women: An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines, and seem to be the historical basis of the Amazon women stories. I'd love to hang out with them, ride horses, get trained, and see what their life was really like.

About Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, The Five Kingdom #1:
2012 Grand prize winner at the California Fiction Writers Book Contest!

Award-winning novel at the Hollywood Book Festival!
Lara Croft meets Lord of the Rings!

Henrietta, the legendary Dragon Slayer of the Kingdom of Bleuve, can’t stomach the thought of one more kill. Yet, in order to save her dying mentor, she must go on one last quest. But will misfit companions, seasickness, and an ego maniacal king derail the quest for the healing stone? And will she be able to cut past her conscience and kill the dragon?
You can find Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, The Five Kingdom #1 at these retailers:

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble print & Nook



Indie Bound

Where to find Beth Barany online:
Author site:




Monday 16 April 2012

Authors In The Limelight: Jack Hillman

I want to thank and welcome author, Jack Hillman for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. His book, There Are Giants In This Valley, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you been writing, Jack?
A really long time.  My first published piece was in 1969, but I made the mistake of listening to people about “getting a real job” and stopped until about 1990.  Then I got serious about it and my first short story was published in 1992 in a very early electronic magazine.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write There Are Giants In This Valley?
We had been having some trouble with skinheads in my local area for several months and I was doing some research on the group and discovered the connection to Norse mythology. It went on from there as I tried to give it a twist.

What sets There Are Giants In This Valley apart from other books in the same genre?
I wrote this for my grandson, who wasn’t old enough to read at the time, because I saw very few books for young male audience members. My intent was to try and recapture the fun I had found myself as a boy with the Lucky Star books by Paul French and the Tom Swift books.

As an author, Jack, what is your writing process?
Usually an idea hits me from one of many sources, and I sit down and see what research I need to do or I begin developing characters. Somewhere during this time I begin writing the story, with breaks for character development or research as needed.  Since I work in the middle of a library (personal) and an armory, I have a lot of inspiration for my works.

How long did it take for you to start and finish There Are Giants In This Valley?
Probably about a year, since I was working a full time job at the time as well as acting as vice president for my local writing group. Toward the end of the project, I met my agent, Cherry Weiner, at a conference and after a few kicks in the right direction she accepted me as a client and pushed me to complete the project.  As well as a second project she wanted at the same time.  We talk and she likes some of my ideas and the next thing you know, I have a deadline to finish a book.

Sounds like you know how to juggle many projects at once! Do you have any advice for other writers, Jack?
Yes, keep writing and keep reading.  The more you write, the better you get.  When I look back at that first short story I had published, I cringe.  It’s not horrible, but I can do much better now.  And keep reading what you want to write, Unless you know what’s already been done, it’s too easy to go back over the same ground. I now teach writing classes and I’m amazed when I talk to green writers about how little they know on the background of their own genres.  You MUST know what came before you or you’ll wind up rewriting the easy stuff and not giving the hard stuff the depth it deserves.

I agree. You better your best! So, what’s next for Jack Hillman the author?
I’m currently working on a YA hard SF project, first book in a series, a hard SF novel for an adult audience and a mystery, also for an adult audience. As well as doing edits for MUSA Publishing on my books.  And still working a full time job on top of all that.  So I’m pretty busy. Luckily, my wife is very supportive of my writing, since she likes to read too.

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?
Probably the Jurassic Period.  I want to find out what color dinosaurs really were!  And also find out what happened to the dragons.


Thursday 12 April 2012

Authors In The Limelight: HL Carpenter

The SkyHorseI want to thank and welcome authors, HL Carpenter—a mother (Helen) and daughter (Lorri) writer team—for sharing their personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Their book, Sky Horse, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you both been writing, Helen and Lorri?
Aww ... do we have to say? Whether you count in horse years or people years, when you combine our careers it’s been a LOOONG time.

Where did the idea and inspiration to write The SkyHorse come from?

You know, this is a great question, Sharon, and one we could probably write a(nother) book about. In fact, we did our new release post for Musa at the Euterpe blog on this topic. In short form, The SkyHorse sprang naturally from our love of horses, and our firsthand experience owningor is that being owned by?great steeds over the years. And we’ve both always thought it would be marvelous to be able to fly. So what could be better than a flying horse?

What sets The SkyHorse apart from other books in the same genre?

It’s a horse story with a twist. The twist is the way the horse comes into our heroine’s life. Not too many horses hatch from an egg. Especially an egg with a shell that—if we may take a line from our book—is sand-sharp white, with very faint black and silver speckles that shimmer in the sunlight.

As collaborating authors, how do you approach your writing process?

Something tugs at our imagination; a newspaper article, a poem, a picture. When that imagination-tugger makes us wonder what if, we figure out what character the story belongs to, then we write an outline of each chapter. From there we take turns writing the chapters and passing them back and forth until we're done with the book. It’s great to reach a stopping point, pass the book on, and get it back with the next scene written—sometimes with an unexpected twist, but always following the general direction of the story based on the outline. Once a book is done, we let it “cool off”, then we revise, revise, revise.

Boy, those words what if certainly hold great power. How long did it take to start and finish The SkyHorse?

This is one of those questions that should be easy, yet turns out to be more difficult than expected. The truth is, we’re not sure. How should we count the time? There’s time spent thinking about the plot, actual writing time, the cooling off period, and of course, the revisions, which sometimes lead to re-writing entire chapters...well, add it up and the answer is probably similar to the one we gave for the first question you asked—whether you count in horse years or people years, it’s a long time.

Do you have any advice to share with other writers who are thinking of collaborating on a novel?

Be flexible. Have fun. Be kind to each other. If you don't agree on the wording, compromise. If you can't compromise, delete and write it over. In one interview we gave, we said that last is our main rule—when in doubt, delete.

Be flexible—I like the sound of that! What’s next for HL Carpenter the co-authors?

Right now we’re in the middle of writing a first draft of a young adult novel with elements of time travel. We have three other young adult novels cooling off and waiting for revision. We also have a couple of completed cozies for older readers that we’re thinking of as a series, along with some novellas featuring the same character. And then there are the notebooks full of ideas that are at the moment only a gleam in our eyes and waiting for a feisty heroine to step up and take over. That’s just the fiction—we have tons of ideas for nonfiction, too, as well as several in-progress manuscripts.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If each of you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

Helen has the answer to this one—I'd travel back to Germany, 1904. First I'd go south to the small town where my mother grew up. Then north to the place of my father's birth. I'd like to see them both as children and young adults. And I'd like to meet their parents—my grandparents, who I never knew.

The SkyHorse, a young adult novel by
HL Carpenter

Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck - until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter writing team. Their young adult novel, The SkyHorse, is available on Amazon and at the Musa Publishing web site. Read an excerpt of The SkyHorse at

Book Blurb:

When fourteen year old Tovi Taggert moves to Honeysuckle Hollow to take care of her grandmother, she has a hard time fitting in. For one thing, she’s been tagged with the hated nickname Too-Tall Tovi. For another, everyone at Honeysuckle Hollow High believes Tovi played the Choking Game with someone else’s boyfriend – and made out with him besides.

As if she doesn’t have enough problems, after the latest stand-off in the school hallway, Tovi finds a gorgeous speckled egg nestled in a feather lined nest.

She takes the egg home – and mysterious visitors begin appearing almost immediately. Even more worrisome, whatever is inside the egg starts chipping its way out.

When the egg hatches, revealing a winged horse, Tovi’s troubles multiply.

As she struggles to return the horse to the magical land where he belongs, Tovi must make a courageous decision – and accept what that decision will cost her.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Easter Eclectics...

·         Easter has deep pagan roots and was originally the festival of Ostara, named after the Teutonic Goddess Eostre. She was the Goddess of Spring and fertility.

·         Under Constantine in the 4th century AD, the Christians assimilated this festival and called it the Resurrection. The Easter parade dates back to Constantine the Great, who ordered the people to adorn themselves in lavish colors and clothes to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

·         Hot cross buns come to us from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of Eostre, named after that fruitful goddess. It is believed that the buns were marked with a cross to symbolize the four quarters of the moon. Others claim that the Greeks marked cakes with a cross, much earlier. Here’s a recipe for hot cross buns to help celebrate the season.

·         The Easter egg originated in Persia more that five thousand years ago, where they used colored eggs as a celebration of spring and a memento of good wishes. The Greeks continued this tradition, later adding the symbolism of fertility. In ancient times, eggs were sometimes left in tombs as a charm to aid rebirth, or given to children to keep them healthy.

·         Easter rabbits have also been popular in many cultures, including those of Japan and China, where the rabbit is associated with the moon. Since the full moon is a symbol of fruitfulness, the rabbit (which happens to possess the ability to reproduce prolifically) delivers eggs and is a sign of fertility.

BTW – Ever wonder how they come up with the date for Easter every year? It’s all about the moon. Easter lands on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. And that’s good info to know when playing a trivia game. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Image: stock photo 4357893

Thursday 5 April 2012

Authors In The Limelight: Natalie Star

I want to thank and welcome author, Natalie Star for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Her featured book, The Keeper, can be purchased from Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

 How long have you been writing, Natalie?
Not as long as most, I started writing two years ago. Writing was never something I aspired to do. I wrote my debut story, The Keeper just to see if I could. It was a personal challenge. As the story came to me I remember thinking “Hey, this is pretty good, I would buy this.” And so my journey began.

Two years ago? Wow, you’ve come a long way in such a short period of time! Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write The Keeper?
It all started with a dream. I woke up really freaked out, and it stuck with me for days. I couldn’t shake it. I kept thinking about it, and decided to write it down.I’ve heard people say, if you write down what’s on your mind, you can deal with it better. After writing it out and reading it back, I decided to keep on going with what might have happened next. The dream is what fueled my idea for the story, and is part of the prologue in The Keeper.

What sets The Keeper apart from other books in the same genre?
The Keeper is a young adult paranormal romance, and there are a lot of those around.
I kept that in mind while writing, because I wanted it to be different. One key point in
feedback from the story, states how different and welcoming it is in a world of typical
paranormal creatures such as, vampires, were’s, angels, and ghosts. There are none of
those in The Keeper.

As an author, Natalie, what is your writing process?
Some may refer to me as a Panster. I get an idea in my head, and I write by the seat of my pants. I did stop half way through The Keeper and wrote a very brief outline to keep me on track. The Keeper is a complex story with a lot of twists and turns, and I wantedo be sure and give them all closure by the end of the story.

My writer’s cave consists of; a big comfy chair, total silence and dim lighting. This way I can hear the voices in my head better.

How long did it take for you to start and finish The Keeper?
From the first typed word days after my dream, to the last word, it took me
approximately six months.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Natalie?
Sure, first I would say, read, read, read, and read, and then read some more. Write
every day, no matter what the topic, or how long. Remember, no one has to see it, so
write anything. And who knows? This simple exercise may turn out to be something

What’s next for Natalie Star the author?
Before I finished The Keeper, my characters let me know that I wasn’t finished with
them yet. They kept nagging at me until I started the next story. There will also be a
third and final Keeper story if it all works out.

I also have a novella that I started writing in November for NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) I plan on finishing that up when I am done with The Keeper stories.

Sounds like a great plan! 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?
Egypt! Back when Cleopatra was alive. I LOVE all things Egyptian. I even took a
weeklong vacation in Egypt and that didn’t squelch that. If anything it fueled my
fascination more. It is a beautiful, fascinating place. Seeing it in person was far more
than I could have ever imagined – The Great Pyramids of Giza, the Nile River, the
Sphinx, and Luxor. There are so many grand things there that can never compare to
anywhere else in the world.

Sharon, thanks so much for having me! Your questions were a lot of fun!

Book blurb:
The Keeper, by Natalie Star

The morning of her sixteenth birthday, Billie feels blessed despite the reoccurring nightmare that wakes her. Loving parents, a caring boyfriend, and great friends surround her until an heirloom necklace throws her into a world she never imagined.
“Gifted” with supernatural powers and an unexpected destiny as the Keeper, Billie and a mysterious boy from her past must work together to find answers. But, as they begin to discover feelings for one another, he disappears leaving her to fight evil alone. Her life spirals out of control. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Tony, and alienates her best friends Arianna and Jocelyn to protect them from the truth.

As dark forces pursue her, Billie longs to run away from it all, yet a need to do what’s right compels her to face the future as the keeper of more than her own fortune.

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The Keeper is currently only available in eBook format.!/iamjustnatalie

 Three years ago if you told me one day I would love to read and write, I would have told you, you were crazy-out-of-your-mind. Since then I have read 150+ books and written two complete novels (one being The Keeper), and I have 3 more in the works. When I'm not reading or writing, I can be found with my husband supporting my two children on the soccer fields. Or maybe running around with my camera taking photos while camping and/or hiking. Or lastly, and most probable I'm watching movies on Netflix while simultaneously perusing Facebook.
Our family resides in the state of Virginia along with our old-unintelligent-diabetic cat named Lucky.