Sunday 30 September 2012

Happy, Happy First Anniversary Musa Publishing!

It’s been one wild ride this past year! It started with signing my book contract for my MG/YA book, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis last September. High fives! Then moved to many revisions and rewrites. Ugh. Then switched to edits. Groan. And then more edits. Flinch. Moving along to line edits. Sigh. Hitting the mark with book cover approval. Thumbs up. Getting my website launched. Cheers! Activating a Twitter account. Grumble. Then finally my long-awaited book release. Yay! Followed by my book release party. Double yay! Then onto book blog tours, blog hops, and contests. Followed closely by receiving my promotional paperback books. Doing library readings. And continually promoting and marketing on the social media and my blog. Boom, boom, boom! The life of a newly published author never stops, and certainly never surrenders! Whew!

And now my publisher, Musa Publishing celebrates their first year as a full fledged epublisher. The fact that this new publisher gave me a chance to spread my wings and fly into the publishing world is awesome. They took a gamble on me. They rolled the dice on this new author. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity they’ve given me. If you haven’t had time to check out, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, here’s the blurb:
When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Contest time! All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog, and a way I can contact you. That’s it. And if you feel inclined to follow my blog, then that’s a double entry! At the end of this week-long blog hop, you’ll be entered in a draw to win an ebook of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. Oh yeah, did I mention the Kindle Fire you could also win?
Double bonus! Every time you comment on any blog in the Musa Blog Hop, you’ll be entered to win a Kindle Fire (US and Canada only), compliments of Musa Publishing. International winners will receive a $50 Musa Publishing gift card. That’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned!  

Here are the Musa Blog Hop Rules:

1) HAVE FUN!!!

3) THIS TOUR STARTS: October 1, at Midnight (PST)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, October 7, at Midnight (PST)

Winners will be drawn and posted October 9th! ***

5) Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire is for US and Canada mailing addresses only. International winners will receive a $50.00 Musa Gift Card. Winner will be announced on October 7th 2012 at 11 EST at The romance review forum.
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE FUN? ***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***


Thursday 27 September 2012

Authors in the Limelight: Ralph Hartman

Rat RodI want to thank and welcome author, Ralph Hartman for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. His book, Rat Rod, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.
How long have you been writing, Ralph?
I started many years ago, then pushed it aside as things like building a career and a home shouldered to the forefront. Pushed aside but never pushed away. About ten years ago I got to looking through all the bits and scraps and manuscripts and thought…maybe? Write, polish, query, submit…manage the rejection…learn…repeat. Eventually my third novel was accepted by a small Canadian publisher. Oh joy! Now, I’m hooked – I have a plausible reason to do something I love. I now have two novels on current lists and three soon to be released.

Sounds like you’re living the dream! Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Rat Rod?
Rat Rod is purely a response to an inquiry I received from an editor on another piece I submitted. She wondered if I'd be interested in doing a story specifically for one of their imprints; something edgy and on the raw side of real. Something about drugs, or bullying, or poverty, or gender bending. Hard to imagine, but this is how Rat Rod was born, it was to be a story about a fatherless young man and the alternate male influences in his life. Couldn't do it. The whole desperate character in a desperate situation was just too damn depressing. Well, I kept some of that, but the story and the characters demanded more. Ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstance. Yeah, this I can do. Soon enough, what was supposed to be, faded into what was meant to be.

What sets Rat Rod apart from other books in the same genre?
I think young readers want to see reality and possibility merged. I believe a story can be both enlightening and entertaining. That it can be real, and surreal, with heroes and villains and imaginings and secrets. That ghosts flit figuratively within our minds and fugitively upon our world. In Rat Rod these elements are not assumed or assured, simply presented as the story unfolds for the readers to interpret as they will.

As an author, Ralph, what is your writing process?
First the story has to lurk in my mind, nothing big, just an idea building until it’s large enough I can see it. Then write it down, print and save, and put it away for a few weeks or months and let it steep. When it’s ready, pull it out and read it. At this point it goes back in the trunk or becomes something possible. Rewrite, edit, revise, edit, proof, and off to the beta readers. Revise, edit, and submit. And wait.

Patience is truly a virtue! How long did it take for you to start and finish Rat Rod?
First draft took about three months, if remember correctly. Revisions were about nine months, and another six months to find a publisher.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Ralph?
Learn the craft; an education is invaluable. Learn the industry. You are one of a million-plus, do not be discouraged or disillusioned. Set goals and know the difference between your goals, and your dreams.

Wise advice! What’s next for Ralph Hartman the author?
Shaw’s Consequence; a mainstream mystery / thriller with Musa Publishing, will be released later this year. I’ve also written a MG urban fantasy, book one in the forthcoming series False Ridge: Creatures will be released in spring 2013 with MuseItUp Publishing. I’m working on the next False Ridge book, hammering out a dark psychological horror, and experimenting with some shorts.

Whew, sounds like your days will be filled from here on end! 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?
Wow. This is a tough question. I don’t know. There would have to be music, and I’d need philosophy. Peace would be nice, and freedom essential. The sun would need to be warm and the earth fertile, no want for food or shelter. I’d want free thought and free speech, and government by representation. Guess there are really only two places that come to mind: Ancient Mesopotamia in the time before the Sumerians, or that place John Lennon imagined in a song. Yeah—take me there.

Rat Rod will be released September 28th. Here is the pre-release link to Musa's site:

Connect with Ralph Hartman:

Amazon Author Page:

Monday 24 September 2012

Looking Good...

Cathy Olliffe Webster, graphic artist and blogger-extraordinaire of Life on the Muskoka River, tagged me with The Look Challenge. Apparently, this game is a relatively painless one: find the word look in your work in progress and post the neighboring paragraphs. Hmmm. Not so painless, it seems.

After clicking a few buttons in word find, I was surprised to find 121 occurrences. Not bad, since I figured look is a pretty popular word. So not to be outdone by Cathy’s Lookie-loo post, I thought I’d pick a paragraph that had to do with excrement too. Great minds do think alike, after all!

Here’s my work-in-progress contribution, which is the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series:

The boy stumbled. Lilith pushed her coiled snake bracelet back up her arm for what seemed the millionth time, smoothed out her plain white robe, and showed him her angry face.

He laughed. “Your face looks like a date about to pop in the heat. Do you need relief?”

Lilith’s jaw dropped. “Relief?”

“Yes, relief. I don’t know what you people from Atcha call it. Pass water? Do a dung drop?”

Lilith scratched her slender nose before realizing what this pest was trying to ask her. Then, she smirked. “No. Do you?”

The boy wrinkled his brow. “No. Why would you ask?”

She pointed to what he was wearing—a white linen loincloth held in place by a simple knot on the side. “Because you’re wearing that baby’s cloth, and by the smell of you, it’s about time you change it.”

And now, let the tagging begin! Okay my choices for The Look Challenge are…drum roll…

Lauren Hunter is a writer of Regency and paranormal romance novels, with plans to write in a variety of other genres, including time travel, angel, ghost, and contemporary romance.

Sloane Taylor is a true romantic and a sensual woman who believes humor and sex are healthy aspects of everyday lives. She loves to cook, garden and read.

Paul Stansfield is an archaeologist, author, and tends to write anything that will scare the pants off of you.

Linda Benson is the middle-grade author of Six Degrees of Lost, The Girl Who Remembered Horses, Finding Chance, and Walking the Dog. She is an animal lover, horsewoman, chocolate addict, and book worm.

Cordelia Dinsmore is the writer of young adult fiction and the occasional rhyming book. When she’s not writing, she trains her dog, volunteers with kids, and plays in the dirt.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Victory is Normal(ish)

Well, the Back to School Extravaganza with my YA imprint Euterpe is over, and winners have been picked. I somehow lucked out and won a copy of Normalish by Margaret Lesh. Outstanding! First, I wanted to send a ginormous thank you to Susan Sipal personally for having me as a guest on her blog last week when I wrote about the Nottingham Caves. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, clink on the link. Cheers to you, Susan, and thank you for your generosity and kindness! Harry Potter fans may want to check out Susan’s blog, Myth, Magic & Mystery.
I also want to congratulate the winners of the Back to School Extravaganza personally. First, the winner of my prize pack, which includes a signed paperback of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, an Ionic Power watch, trading cards, and wrist bands, is…Ruth Walker! And the winner of an ecopy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis is…Laura Pauling! High fives to both the winners and thank you for entering the contest!

And now, I’d like to share the excerpt of Normalish, a young adult read which will be released through Musa Publishing this October…
Fifteen-year-old Stacy questions the strange world of high school, family, friends, love, and her role in the universe.

People tell you high school's so great and wonderful, but they're lying. It's mostly horrible and full of disappointment. It sucks. Your best friend abandons you. The jerk you're in love with pretends to be into you, and then the big dump. The boy you've really clicked with as a friend decides to go all crushy over you, so you break his heart just like yours was — smashed into little pieces. Your sister goes mental, and you get involved with an older guy who’s even crazier than she is (who you know is a very bad idea, but you do it anyway). Math only adds another stink of failure to the whole thing.

High school blows. Just ask freshman Stacy. She’d want you to know.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Authors in the Limelight: Anne Marie

I want to thank and welcome author, Anne Marie for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Her book, La Dame à La Licorne, can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you been writing, Anne?
If I said birth, I’d be lying, but as long back as I can remember I’ve been telling stories. I remember the first story I wrote in second grade by myself about Tom the Turkey who was saved from Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been writing with publication in mind since 2010 when I attended my first writing conference.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write La Dame à La Licorne?
In 2004, my friend and I went to Paris, France. While there we visited the Musée de Cluny where I saw the famous “The Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries. Being close enough to touch them put that “What if” question in my mind immediately. However, it wasn’t until 2010 that I actually wrote the first draft of this story.

What sets La Dame à La Licorne apart from other stories in the same genre?
Most YA stories have a heavy romantic element. This story’s focus isn’t romance. It’s about a daughter and her father, a daughter and a stranger, and her internal struggles. The novel version would explore more of the historical fantasy genre elements, but the short format gave me a chance to play with another kind of relationship. It still has action, drama, comedy, and danger.

As an author, Anne, what is your writing process?
I get tiny seeds of ideas everywhere, but seeds don’t make a story. I sit on these seeds until characters form in my mind. Then I write a first draft. What follows next mirrors the Five Stages of Grief. There’s Denial when I realize this isn’t the best thing ever. Anger when I can’t find the right words and turns of phrase. Bargaining to keep things I love that really need to be cut. Depression because I’m the worst writer ever. And finally, Acceptance. It’s as good as it’s going to get, and I have to send it on and work on the next project.

I never thought of the writing process like that! Genius! How long did it take for you to start and finish La Dame à La Licorne?
The first draft took about thirty minutes. Good thing first drafts aren’t published. I wrote that in 2010, sent it out to get feedback. Rewrote some parts. Sent it out again. Rewrote some more. Submitted the final draft in 2011 for a contest. Then it went through a few more revisions. Musa published it this summer. So that’s two years from first draft to publication. But I worked on a dozen or more different things in the interim too. I’m getting better at juggling my projects. 

Juggling projects is a tough gig! Do you have any advice for other writers, Anne?
There are no new ideas, but there are new ways of presenting those ideas. Find your voice and put a spin on an old idea. Like the Barenaked Ladies say, “Everything old is new again.”

Great. Now that song is gonna be stuck in my head! What’s next for Anne Marie the author?
More conferences and workshops. I’ll continue to hone my craft. There’s so much I still have to learn and practice. I want to finish a novel I’ve been working on for a long time. And, of course, I’ll continue to write short stories. They’ve taught me so much.

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?
This is really hard to answer! I absolutely love cultures, languages, and history. If I could ensure my safety and that of the animals, I would totally go back 78 million years and see dinosaurs. I’d love to see how Stonehenge was built. I’d love to see the Seven Wonders of the World that are no longer in existence. I want to go back to the night that Versailles was stormed. I want to be on a Phoenician ship. I want to do a ghost dance with the Sioux. I want to see it all and try everything.

Thanks for the interview questions, Sharon!

Anne Marie attended the University of Colorado for a BA in English Literature, where she fell in love with folklore and myths from around the world. She adores languages, great white sharks, and the impossible. Her work usually includes one of those three things. She currently lives in Aurora, Colorado with her beagle Brody. Anne posts a themed story once a week at Cimmerian Tales (

You can follow Anne on Twitter @annemariewrites.

Always obey your father. That’s what Katherine’s done her entire life. She studies dead languages and practices knife-throwing. Now Pappa’s listening to a virtual stranger, and she’s convinced the stranger cares more about killing monsters than her own safety. Pappa won’t even tell her what they’re going after. He says it’s because if she knows too much, then she’s tainted by that knowledge and it will spoil the hunt.
Can she trust Pappa’s judgment or leave her future in the hands of the stranger? With only her wits to protect her, she joins them in the most terrifying night of the year.

You can purchase La Dame à La Licorne for only $0.99 on,, and (you can read an excerpt here).
Photograph © Copyright, Mica Studios 2012. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


Monday 10 September 2012

Back to School Extravaganza!!!

This is what I'm offering to one lucky reader!
What do you call nine fabulous young adult authors together for one whole week? A ‘Back to School Extravaganza’, that’s what! Prizes, giveaways, book club prize packs, and fun blog posts are on the agenda for this week. To find out what’s up for grabs, here’s the link:

Euterpe Blog Schedule:
Link for Euterpe Blog:
Monday, September 10th: Summer Adventures by Mindy Hardwick (includes a prize pack)
Tuesday, September 11th: My Summer Vacation by H.L. Carpenter & Back to School with Kaitlin Bevis
Wednesday, September 12th: School Days by L.K. Mitchell (includes prize)
Thursday, September 13th: My Dog's Tail by Cordelia Dinsmore (includes a prize pack)
Friday, September 14th: New School Year Top 10 Rules to Live By, by Dusty Crabtree

Guest Posts:
Monday, September 10th: Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing by Martina Boone: The Things That Travel With You by Jennifer Mason-Black
Wednesday, September 12th: Muse, Rant, Rave by Melinda Collins: Stacy York's Top Ten Teen Movies by Margaret Lesh (includes a prize pack)
Friday, September 14th: Myth, Magic, & Mystery by Susan Sipal: Ye Olde Caves of Nottingham by Sharon Ledwith (includes a prize pack)

That’s not all! Euterpe is giving away two book club prize packs. It’s a chance for your book club to win a free copy of a novel for each member of your book club, plus a discussion guide, and a Skype interview with the author! Just click on the rafflecopter entry forms below for a chance to win:

Stained Glass Summer
a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday 6 September 2012

Drawing the Line...

Author integrity. This is what separates the hacks from the professionals. Presently, the publishing world is in the throes of authors behaving badly. I’m talking about fake reviews. I’m talking about unethical behavior between peers. I’m talking about writer exploitation. Put all those ingredients in a pot, leave it to putrefy, and eventually it’s bound to start stinking.

This is a total wake-up call for the publishing industry. The stench of writers cheating on this new publishing system is slowly catching up with them. There’s egg on their faces. And it makes many authors look bad. I for one, shake my head in disgust, and promise my readers I will never act in such a manner, and I will make a pledge and draw the line when it comes to my ethical boundaries as an author.

So here’s my pledge to my readers:

·         I will personally never pay for a review. This industry is filled with enough businesses that exploit new (and seasoned) authors. Be careful what you buy from these businesses. Remember, during the gold rush, there was always someone willing to sell you a pick or shovel, and they were always the people laughing to the bank.

·         I will never, ever fake a review. Ever. What you see on review sites like Amazon, Goodreads, and even my publisher, Musa Publishing, are honest, heartfelt reviews.

·         I will never, ever bash or dis other authors. In reviews or the social media. If their story doesn’t hold water, than they’ll be the ones who will get all wet. Let their readers decide for themselves.

·         I will always invest in the best – in myself, and in my readers. Delivering great, entertaining content is something that I will always strive for, and it’s always a team effort. This also means continually learning about the craft of writing to better my best.

·         I will always have my work professionally edited, my book covers professionally designed, and the book formatting professionally formatted. You get what you pay for and my readers deserve top notch. Period.

·         I will not cut corners. There’s too many ‘authors’ out there trying to make a quick buck. Proper businesses are built over time, not over night. Remember, patience is a virtue.
What these so-called professional authors seem to forget is ‘what goes around comes around’. My guess is that their writing careers will spin out of control until they hit bottom, forcing them to find their integrity, and redraw their own ethical lines.

Image: 123RF Stock Photo 11386554

Monday 3 September 2012

And the Winners are...

Before getting back to the books (literally) I’d like to cap off this awesome summer by announcing the two winners of my first Goodreads Giveaway!

Drum roll…and the winners are:
Malyssa Latta and Teri DeGeorge! Congrats to the pair of you!

Other news on the author front is that I’ve finished the first draft of the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series and will be working diligently on rewrites and edits throughout the month of September. I also will be part of the Back to School Extravaganza through my publishing company’s young adult imprint, Euterpe, and have a few new Authors in the Limelight interviews up my sleeve. Keep posted for announcements on other giveaways and prizes offered in this new fall season, as well as the Blog Hop I will be a part of to help celebrate Musa Publishing’s first Anniversary during the first week of October. Cheers all!