Wednesday 30 October 2013

The First Timekeepers...

Here’s a Halloween treat for my readers, straight out of the pages of Legend of the Timekeepers guaranteed to chill you to the bone:

 “W-Where are we?” She-Aba asked, crawling out of the plant.

“I-I’m not sure,” Lilith replied. Her nose flared. It smelled fresh, almost pure to her.

“Well, we’re not in the desert anymore,” Tau said, wiggling and huffing. “Could you two get me down?”

She-Aba smirked. “What’s the magic word?”

Tau stopped squirming between the branches. “Huh? Magic word? How would I know, I’m not a magus!”

“You’re not very bright, either,” She-Aba replied. “What word would you use if you want something?”

Tau snorted. “Now!”

Lilith rolled her eyes. She passed the record keeper to She-Aba, then stuck her foot into the closest, deepest crevice in the tree. She pulled herself up, found another crevice, and pulled herself up again. She looked down at She-Aba. “Go cut a vine for Tau to use to climb down.”

“What’s a vine?” She-Aba asked, frowning.

Lilith sighed. “Over there, hanging from that tree. It looks like a rope. Haven’t you ever seen one?”

“No. I live in the desert. In fact, I find it quite warm and damp here. Not the best place for my hair.”

“There is no place for your hair, fire-head,” Tau said, indignantly.

She-Aba grunted. She opened her satchel, slid the record keeper in, and pulled out the metal clipper she used to cut and style hair. Lilith hid an emerging smile as she observed her friend. Walking proved to be anything but easy for She-Aba, as the forest floor appeared to want to swallow her shoes. Reaching for a long, strong vine that crept around the base of a tree, as if it were a snake, She-Aba sliced through it with ease, untangled it, and hobbled back to Lilith and Tau.

A rancorous scream permeated through the forest. She-Aba froze in her tracks, the vine she cut hanging lifeless in her hand. “W-What was that?”

Lilith’s whole body prickled. No, it can’t be, can it? That would be impossible.

She turned to scan the area. Tau wouldn’t quit wiggling. She reached for his arm and squeezed. “Stop that, I’m trying to—”

Another scream, this time closer, rolled out through the leaves.

“Oh, Poseidon, it is,” Lilith said, feeling her heart start to race. “Quick, She-Aba, throw up the vine and go hide! Now!”

“What’s going on, Lilith?” Tau asked. “Why do you sound so frightened?”

Lilith looked around again. “Because a wyvern is hunting us.”

“A…what?” She-Aba asked.

“A wyvern. It looks like a huge snake with wings, feet like a hawk’s, and a tail like a white crawler.”

She-Aba huffed. “Excuse, me, Miss Bossy, but I think I proved that I can handle a snake just fine.”

“For once would you just do as you’re told, fire-head,” Tau said. “Throw up the vine!”

“You mean this vine, Tau?” She-Aba swung it in her hand.

“She-Aba, you don’t understand, wyverns aren’t like cobras,” Lilith explained. “You’ve never seen one before, so you have no idea what they’re capable of.”

“So enlighten me, then. How do you know so much about these snake-like creatures?”

Lilith scanned the area one more time, before she said, “They’re native to only one place on earth.”

“And where’s that?” Tau asked, grunting, as he gripped the tree branch.

Lilith licked her dry lips, and said, “Atlantis.”

Monday 28 October 2013

6 Steps to Bolster your Self-Esteem…

Set Big Goals! I’m not kidding. Make plans to carry out how you’re going to achieve your humongous goals. This is so important. Think about it. If you’re going on a trip, you enter all the info in your GPS or purchase a map to mark out your destination. Businesses need business plans or the bank manager will look at you sideways when you come asking for a loan. What’s the difference when it comes to planning out your life goals?

Mark down your Values and Ideals! Set your big goals based on your values and ideals. Don’t make your goals to easy to achieve, instead aim high, and the higher the better. For example, some authors I know (me included) would love their novel or novel series to be turned into a movie. Or some authors would love to sign with a traditional publishing company, while others would rather go it alone on the self-publishing route. A word of caution—know thyself—don’t set your goals so far out of reach that you give up before you even get started.
Measure your Successes! This is so important. Define what the standard is for YOU, and no one else. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, and use both to help you accomplish your goals. Form alliances with other like-minded individuals or groups and delegate when necessary.

Stop comparing yourself to others! This is so hard NOT to do. But if you continually compare your successes to other people’s successes you’ll find that there’s always one person doing better than you. Better sales. Better book covers. Better stories. Better life. STOP IT! Your plans are not their plans. Stick to YOUR plan, and keep positive. The best thing you can do for yourself is to develop a positive mental attitude, and keep moving forward with purpose.
Recognize your Accomplishments! When someone you admire pats you on the back, don’t shrug it off. Take it. Embrace it. It’s good for you. People have a habit of fluffing off compliments, especially when they’ve earned it. So my take advice and savor that pat on the back for a job well done. Besides, it’s good for us to stand in the spotlight—it makes us shine all the more brighter!

Reward yourself! This is the icing on the cake. Make sure you select a reward that is consistent with the goal you have just achieved. Signed a book deal? Go out for supper to celebrate or buy those beautiful shoes you keep passing in the store window. Graduated university?  Car keys please! You get the idea. When I have a book release, I usually reward myself with an expensive bottle of cognac and a cigar (and I don’t smoke!). Go figure.
So, how do you bolster your self-esteem? Love to hear your voices…

Friday 25 October 2013

Guest Post: Playing the Name Game with Eleni Konstantine....

Many writers write under a pen name and I decided I was going to do this as well. Firstly, I had been working as a librarian and I had wanted me the writer separate from that identity.

So why did I choose Eleni Konstantine?

Well, Eleni is actually my real name. Confused? When dad registered me at the Australian consulate (I was born as an Australian overseas as my dad by this stage was an Australian citizen), they used the Anglicized version of my name – Helen. So Helen I became as well as Eleni and I’ve been answering to both all my life. I believe if you’re going to pick a pen name, pick one you will respond to. If someone is calling your pen name and you don’t respond, that doesn’t bode too well for your brand name.

Hence, Eleni was a good fit.

But why Konstantine? Believe me when I tell you it took me a long time to find the right last name. I went through variations of different places, names, and influences. But nothing seemed to fit. Then one day I happened to look upon an icon we have at home (being Greek Orthodox, we have some of the Byzantine styled icons) and I had an ‘aha moment’. It was one of Saint Konstantinos with his mother, Saint Eleni (Konstantine and Helen). My godson’s name is Konstantinos (Kosta for short) and we celebrate the same name day, and so whammo, there it was. My name.

Eleni Konstantine.

What’s a name day?

Those in the Greek Orthodox faith, baptize their children using the name of a saint. When the saint has their religious day in the calendar, it is said to be a name day (yiorti). All those who have that name celebrate that name day. Konstantinos and Eleni are May 21st.

So belated happy name day to me and all the Elenis (Helen, Helen, Helen, Elena) and the Konstantinos’ (Kosta, Con, Kon) out there.

Hronia Polla!

So, my small name day gift to you is a little from my latest release to tease your imagination. I hope you like it.

STORMY DIVIDE Thom may be used to the dangers of the forest, but nothing has prepared him for this. When he stumbles across a woman dressed in weird clothing lying on the ground during a storm, he has no choice but to help her. Ellie finds herself in another world, having traveled through time and space thanks to what Thom calls The Rifts. The question is whether she will ever be able to find her way back, or if she will be stuck in this new world forever. Or if she will even want to go home… 

ANGEL EYES Vera’s dreams are haunted each night by a man she only knows as Angel Eyes. He feels more real to her than anything else in her life, including her fiancĂ©. Vera must try to forget her childish dreams of soul mates and happily ever after… but are they really only dreams or can she find a way to be with Angel Eyes forever?

To read an excerpt from Enchanted Realms, please click HERE.

Eleni Konstantine is Fantasy and Paranormal fiction writer, with a number of shorts published. Her stories range from flash fiction to novels. She blames her mother for her writing bug because as a child she was given many books, including illustrated fairytales. That and a love of Greek mythology, and Eleni was destined to become a writer.

Eleni lives in Adelaide, Australia, with her family and feisty American Staffy.

Learn more about Eleni Konstantine on her website and her blog Eleni's Taverna.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Tween the Weekends: Creating the Perfect Author Presentation

I’ve been blessed with an abundance of retired teachers as neighbors on the lake where I live. Their brains are fresh for the picking. Yeah, I know, sounds like something out of a Zombie novel, but the fact is that teachers can be an author’s best friend. I recently corralled two friends —a hubby and wife team—one is a retired elementary principal and the other taught teachers to give presentations. My mind went to mush. It needed to in order to be sculpted into the perfect author presenter. So what did I learn?

First—engage the class—draw them into your presentation. Bait the kids—in my case, upper middle grade and lower YA is my target audience. Then I hook them into thinking that it’s all about THEM. Actually, it is all about them, they just don’t need to know that! So I dusted off my fishing rod and began to create an author presentation that would lure them in by asking these specifically designed questions:
“What’s your favorite video game or game App?”

“What happens in the game?”
“Who are the characters in the game?”

“What makes this game interesting to you?”
Then once I get enough responses, I reel them in with:

“What’s your favorite book?”
“What do books have in common with video games?”

Do you see what I did? Hook, line, and sinker! Engagement first, then I went into the actual presentation. From there, I ask the class:
“When a teacher gives you a writing assignment, how do you come up with ideas for your stories?”

“What’s the hardest part of it?”
“What do you think about before you write your story?”

More engagement ensues before I get to share my writing process with the class, which I start by telling the class to remember that the heart of storytelling is to write what you know or like. For me, I love all things time travel, paranormal, and the mysterious, so that’s where my imagination goes. My writing process is always the same for every book…
First, an idea for a story can come to me through a dream (like The Last Timekeepers), or something as simple as a ‘what if’ question. Asking ‘what if’ is a very powerful question for a storyteller. What if a teen with a psychic ability was sent to a small, rural tourist town? What if a group of adolescents found an ancient time portal buried in an overgrown backyard? Once I’ve got the seed idea, I’ll write notes in point form until I have the bones of the story.

Second, I create a cast of characters and build the story around them. I begin by writing out character tracking sheets (stats on characters appearances, clothing, likes and dislikes, etc.) which helps keep the characters organized. I do this even when I’m writing a short story. Once I’ve accomplished this, I add the sheets to a binder that I use as a guidebook for my entire series, where each book has its own section. BTW – I make sure I have a character tracking sheet handy to show the class.
Third, it’s on to research, research, and more research! I find this process is the biggest investment of my time, but it’s a necessary evil. When you’re writing time travel, you’ve got to know your facts to create the fiction.

Fourth, only when I have enough facts, and I feel my characters are sufficiently fleshed out, then I begin to write the first draft. Sometimes I’m a panser (writing by the seat of my pants), sometimes a plotter (outline entire storyline or chapters)—it all depends on the tone of the book and where my muse directs me.
Then it’s on to the best part of an author presentation—the reading. I set up what has happened in my book so far before I read the selected chapter, and ask the students to imagine my story as if they were playing a movie in their head. My teacher friends suggest that the whole presentation should be no more than half an hour (unless you’ve prepared a workshop), and to make sure you have enough time to take questions from the students. When the presentation is over, I have signed trading cards and rubber wrist bands available to giveaway, and leave my book order forms with the teacher.

That’s it! A made-to-order Author Presentation created with the help of two wonderful people who have shaped the minds of both children and adults. Now that’s what I call passing the baton!

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Winners and Victors…

Jennifer's destination
Congratulations go to Jennifer Loiske as my winner on the Inspiring Teens Blog Hop! She commented that if she could time travel, she’d head for Scotland in the 1700s. All kilt-wearing Highlanders beware! Jennifer scores an ecopy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and Legend of the Timekeepers!  Kudos, Jennifer, and don’t forget to time travel responsibly!
Also a big hug and pat on the back goes to Debra Jameson Smith for hosting me on her blog and facebook page. It was touch and go for awhile, but Debra preserved and got my post up and running on the day I was featured. Cheers, Debra!

The winners of Jennifer Loiske’s ebook entitled TALES OF AN OLD WIZARD—which is a collection of short stories for 9+ readers—goes to Maria Savva, Wendy Siefken, and Sonya Faugno! Congrats gals, and enjoy your new read! BTW—if you’re looking for good stories about dragons, warriors, and sorcery, all the profits from this book go to charity.
Tales of an Old Wizard Buy Links: AMAZON US ׀ AMAZON UK

On a personal note, I’d like to introduce you to another kind of victor who applied perseverance, hardwork, and effort to get him to where he wanted to be—my son, Brandon. Over this past weekend Brandon graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. His father and I couldn’t be more proud, and it felt like we were graduating right up on the stage with him! So that’s what success feels like…

Cheers everyone, and don’t forget to DREAM BIG!  



Sunday 13 October 2013

Inspiring Teens Blog Hop...

Before I introduce my guest author, a list of participating MG/YA authors and terrific bloggers for this week long Blog Hop can be found HERE. Please visit to meet and greet others who inspire teens to read. There’s also a chance to win some great reads, plus you can enter the Rafflecopter to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Cheers, good luck, and most of all have FUN!

Now, without further ado, put your hands together and give a ‘bring down the house’ welcome to YA author Jennifer Loiske! If you’ve never heard of this fantastic and prolific writer in your neck of the woods, here is a little about her…
Jennifer Loiske lives in Finland in Naantali, which is a small sunny town on the southwest coast. She has written six books, which can be found on Amazon worldwide, Barnes & Noble and Waterstones (among tens of other places). She has three different series, Shape Shifter series for YA readers, Immortal Blood series for Mature YA readers and McLean Twins series for Teen/YA readers. Jennifer is a workaholic author who is always writing. If she’s not writing blog posts to her own blog, guest post to other blogs, articles to the magazines or her novels, she can be found in the forest with her two dogs or surprise…reading PNR stories.

Jennifer is very keen on charity work and a big part of her royalties go to the charity. She’s also a part of the team that makes Epilepsy Finland Magazine and international charity alliance Authors For Charity.
On Reading…

Why do you think Teen Read Week is important?
It is a great opportunity to introduce teens to a bunch of new, awesome books in a fun way and show teens that books can be as cool as teen movies.

How do you think we could encourage youngsters to read more?
By taking them to the libraries, participating in their world and staying updated of great new books and movies for teens.

When you were a teenager what books did you like to read and did you have an all-time favourite character?
Oh, I loved Tarzan, The Chronicles of Narnia and comic books.

On Writing…
Were you writing as a teenager? If so, what were you writing and what inspired you? Did a person inspire you to write?

Yes. I was always writing all kind of stories and my teachers were encouraging me by letting me write even on recesses. I enjoyed writing poems but as I wasn’t very good at them I always ended up writing adventurous stories with strong characters.
Do you think today’s teens are in a better position if they want to be a writer than you were all those years ago (hee hee)?

Maybe as there are a lot of ways to get published now. However, one thing hasn’t changed; you have to work really hard to success!
What advice would you give a youngster who enjoys writing?

Just write. Don’t think about publishing or if readers love or hate your work. If you enjoy writing and just let go I guarantee it shows in your text.
On Your Books…

What is your latest book about?
My latest book, Lucas (Immortal Blood Series book 2), is a vampire book for mature young adults.

Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Oh, yeah! I have always several writing projects going on. I just finished the final part of Immortal Blood Series, Blood Master, but my mind is already on the second part of McLean Twins Series. The story is called Demon’s Touch and I’m so, so excited about it! Oh, and if you haven’t read the first part, Black Diamond, you can get it for free between 14th-16th of October!

What do you love about being an author?
Freedom! Every choice is mine (as well as every mistake). Sure, there are deadlines and all kind of marketing projects but at the end of the day it’s really up to me how my schedules are arranged.

On Your Giveaway…
I’m giving away Tales of an Old Wizard which is a short story collection for age 9 and up readers.

Book description:
TALES OF AN OLD WIZARD is a collection of short stories for 9+ readers. All the profits from this book go to charity.

The world has forgotten the real, old magic and no one remembers how to make a fire by snapping their fingers, or how to raise waves with a whisper.
Greum is an old wizard. He used to rule the elements but now he doesn’t bother. The only magic left in his life is that in the stories a young boy delights in tricking out of him. Stories of dragons, warriors and sorcery.

Here are the links to both Black Diamond (which is free 14th-16th of October) and to Tales of an Old Wizard which I’m giving away:
Black Diamond Buy Links:

Tales of an Old Wizard Buy Links:

Learn more about Jennifer Loiske on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Stay connected on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions

·         This Blog Hop begins midnight on October 14th and runs until midnight October 19th, 2013. The draw will take place October 20th, 2013.

·         The winners will chosen by Rafflecopter

·         Jennifer Loiske will contact the winner via email and give the winner 72 hours to accept his/her prize. Sharon Ledwith will not be held responsible for any prizes not received.

·         Prize as stated—no alternatives will be offered.

Thursday 10 October 2013

A Tasty Offering…

This cookbook is a collection of 80 tasty recipes provide by 39 awesome and creative Musa Authors!
To continue the month long celebration, Musa Publishing is offering ALL their readers a FREE copy of Cooking with Musa with the purchase of any book. This is a $2.99 savings! And trust me when I tell you that there are many great recipes to make your life a whole lot simpler, including a few from yours truly. Simply add the cookbook to your cart. At the checkout the savings automatically appears on your invoice.

BTW—for Speculative Fiction fans, Musa’s Penumbra EMag is included in this fantastic offer.

Don’t forget, each week of October, a different imprint is featured on sale for 30% off! Here’s the schedule:

Oct. 1 - 7 Aurora Regency & Clio

Oct. 8 - 14 Calliope/FEA/Wiccan Haus

Oct. 15 - 21 Erato (GLBT)

Oct. 22 - 28 Euterpe & Pan (YA)

Oct. 29 - 31 Melpomene/Thalia/Urania

Friday 4 October 2013

Conjuring a great Breakfast and Book Combo by Sara Daniel...

Scones are a specialty of The Scot's Mansion in my novel Mr. Forever. Olivia Wells makes plain scones and several flavors of the day, and serves them with jam and hot tea. All her guests rave about them. Then Dr. Caleb Paden shows up. He insists that scones are dry and heavy and not to his liking at all.

Well, if he thinks that, he certainly hasn't tried her scones. Ethan Paden knows exactly what his brother is missing out on. The moment he bites into one of Olivia's scones, he is enraptured. He dubs her a "scone sorceress" and asks to marry her on the spot.

I can't guarantee instant marriage proposals and a sorceress-level following, but these scones are sure to inspire devotion from all who try them. And hey, if you've been waiting for years for a marriage proposal that hasn't come yet, they're certainly worth a shot.

The Scone Sorceress's Almond-Poppy Seed Scones

1 cup flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup unsalted butter
3 tbsp. sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tbsp. milk
Powdered sugar
Sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Chill butter and cut into pieces. Combine dry ingredients in bowl. Add butter pieces. Use pastry cutter to mix butter and dry ingredients, until mixture is coarse.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, egg, almond extract and milk. Pour into dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula.

Finish mixing by kneading the dough with your hands. Pat into a 5-inch circle.

Set circle on cookie sheet and use a pizza cutter to cut into 8 triangle wedges. Spread pieces apart.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Dip warm scones into powdered sugar and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Enjoy! (optional but highly recommended) Serve to the person you love. Watch them kneel in front of you. Savor their vow of love and devotion. Accept proposal. Live happily ever after.

The discovery of a secret baby threatens Caleb's professional reputation. Falling for the woman who loves this baby would ruin him.

Marriage therapist Caleb Paden has just found out he has a son from a one-night stand, making a mockery of his core belief of stable relationships--"friendship above all physical encounters." On his way to take the child for a paternity test, a snowstorm leaves him stranded with single mom Olivia Wells, who blames his advice for breaking up her marriage. Caleb finds himself fighting the urge for the most basic of physical encounters. Olivia would like nothing more than to destroy the career he spent a lifetime building, but her maternal instincts draw her to help Caleb bond with his child. Soon, she finds herself falling for both of them. Nowhere in any of his advice does Caleb have an answer for how to make a relationship work if he loses his heart to love.

To read an excerpt from Mr. Forever please click a vendor's name: Musa Publishing Amazon Barnes & Noble All Romance eBooks iTunes

Learn more about Sara Daniel on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Be sure to subscribe to Sara’s newsletter for updates on her latest books and contests.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday, Musa Publishing…

I can’t believe it’s already been two years since Musa Publishing—who saw enough in me as a good investment to add to their stable of writers, have opened their doors to the world. It’s a blur really. And I’m grateful for Musa Publishing to take a chance on me. So, Happy Birthday, Musa!

To celebrate this milestone, Musa Publishing has an offer readers simply can’t refuse. For the entire month of October, each week different imprints will be on sale for 30% off!
Here’s a list of their imprints, so you can check out the books you’d like to download during the weeks of the sale:

Terpsichore – Contemporary (please go to main website under categories)

Urania – Speculative Fiction (please go to main website under categories)

So there you have it, many imprints to choose from for every reader’s wants and needs! BTW—both my books are under Euterpe with many other amazing middle grade and young adult authors. Please click HERE to visit my author page at Musa Publishing. Come celebrate the entire month of October with us! You just might find you next favorite author! Cheers!