Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Final Blog Stop for Susan Breen's The Fiction Class

The final blog stop for The Fiction Class by Susan Breen is at Escape to Books. Please stop by and leave a comment or question.

Susan's tour was the inaugural virtual tour co-ordinated by Blog Stop Book Tours. It's been a lot of fun and what a fantastic book to cut my teeth on! Thanks so much, Susan!

There are no tours scheduled for May, but there are three for June and one for July (so far). Please visit Blog Stop Book Tours in May, as I add new information.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Help a reporter out...

Help A Reporter Out is sort of like profnet. Check it out.

Another new site for writers is Mike's Writing Workshop and Newsletter .

Monday, April 28, 2008

Reading for fun! The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan this weekend. It's fantastic! I've been meaning to read it for a while now. It's been sitting on the bookcase for months, but I just hadn't gotten around to it.

From Rick's website -

What if the gods of Olympus were alive in the 21st Century? What if they still fell in love with mortals and had children who might become great heroes -- like Theseus, Jason and Hercules?

What if you were one of those children?

This is the first in a series of books called Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The second and third books are out in print and the fourth is due to be released in May. For more information, click here.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Murphy is a... what?

Today will be distracted, with smatterings of momentary focus. Watch for the environment to clear in about 48 hours.

The kids have today off from school. And, it's raining. And, the weather dudes are predicting snow flurries late tonight into tomorrow morning. Does anyone happen to know Murphy? And if they do, could they deliver a message to him for me? Message as follows...

"You're NOT funny!"

I think today will be a cross between Betty Crocker/Martha Stewart and what my friend Jenn refers to as an "artist's date" (stepping away from writing to recharge creativity). I'll make chocolate chip cookies with the youngest boy. I'll clean up the paperwork in my office. I'll read some more of Percy Jackson (The Lightning Thief), which is the only book on my bedside table today.

Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eighth Blog Stop for The Fiction Class by Susan Breen

Please stop over at A Mama's Rant to see what Anne-Marie had to say about Susan Breen's The Fiction Class!

Interview - Lisa Daily, author of Fifteen Minutes of Shame

Today's 5 Q&A is with Lisa Daily, author of Fifteen Minutes of Shame.

1.) Who are you?
About me:
I'm the author of STOP GETTING DUMPED!, a columnist, and real-life TV dating expert on DAYTIME, a syndicated morning TV show.

Official bio:
Lisa Daily can tell you why he didn’t call, the color you should never wear on a first date, and even where to snoop for evidence if you think your guy’s been fooling around. Millions read her dating advice column or tune in to see her every week on Daytime, and the early buzz on her debut novel Fifteen Minutes of Shame says it pops with the same signature quirky humor and fresh, irreverent voice that made her dating advice book, Stop Getting Dumped! a bestseller.

Women from 16-60 flock to Lisa’s popular Dream Girl Academy at the Learning Annex in New York City and events across the US. Lisa is a dating coach, speaker and popular media guest -- she has done more than 2000 interviews on top radio and television shows, including iVillage Live, MTV Live, Entertainment Tonight and she appears as a real-life dating expert on the HITCH movie DVD starring Will Smith. A frequent source for reporters, Lisa has been quoted in hundreds of publications, from the New York Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune to Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Men’s Health, Christian Science Monitor and US Weekly Magazine. For more on Lisa, visit

2.) How did you come to write Fifteen Minutes of Shame?
Right before my dating advice book, STOP GETTING DUMPED! was being published, a really prominent dating expert was going through a very nasty divorce, and the media was really going after her. I remember having two simultaneous thoughts -- first, it really hit me that any of us are one step away from public humiliation, and second, how painful and challenging it would be to go through one of the most difficult times in your life with the whole world watching -- some of them rooting for you to go down in flames.

I thought it would make an interesting start to a novel -- what happens when America's favorite relationships expert finds out her husband is cheating on live television? And how do you come back from that?

3.) One of the things that really stuck with me about the book is Darby is incredibly strong in the face of adversity. Do you think that women are born with an inner reserve of tenacity that only shows itself when the going gets tough?
I do think most of us are stronger than we know, and usually it takes something really awful to bring out that inner strength. But some people are weaker than they expect -- adversity hits and they end up in a puddle. Those people make pretty interesting characters too. (Although you don't really want them in charge when the going gets tough.)

4.) Tell us about Dreamgirl Academy.
The Dreamgirl Academy is a class I teach for women that is a fun mix of dating strategy and female bonding. What's always been interesting to me are the women who attend -- they're everyone from 16-70, at every stage of their lives. I love meeting the women, helping them spot problems in their love lives.

5.) What's next?
I've just finished a new non-fiction book, HOW TO DATE LIKE A GROWNUP, which will be out in January 2009, and once I'm back from my tour, I'll be working on my new novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT GOSSIP.

Thank you, Lisa!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cacophony of silence

I tend to do my best work under one of two extremes - either a complete absence of sound or a dull roar of discordant noise. If there is one source of sound, it distracts me, but if there's a blend of many audial sources, I can tune it out.

Luckily, I live with my two extremes. During the day, my office is quiet. In the evening, I'm surrounded by sound.

I'm curious as to how other people deal with noise and work. Please leave a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

AW April blog chain

I signed up to be part of the Absolute Write April blog chain. The theme is beginnings, but this is the last post in the chain, so it's an ending, too.

I've experienced a lot of beginnings in my life - three (yes, that's right)marriages, three children, jobs, friendships, love affairs and seasons. For me, every morning I wake up is a new beginning. What will today hold for me?

The thing is, I'm much more comfortable with the middle of things. When I start a new venture, I'm always thinking to myself "All of this newness will be worth it a few months from now." No matter what I'm starting new, there is almost always a learning curve, and it always requires a burst of focus and energy.

That having been said, I will be experiencing a huge beginning, and simultaneously, an ending on May 31st. That's the day my daughter graduates. I can remember the moment the doctor put her in my arms. I was just 20 years old. She was beautiful and I was frightened. I expect I will feel much the same when she receives her diploma. Her graduation is the beginning of her life as an adult, and the beginning of my life seeing her as a woman.

And so ends the chain.

Auria Cortes

Polenth's Quill

Unfocused Me

Spittin' (out words) Like a Llama

Food History

Fantastical Imagination

Life In Scribbletown

For The First Time

Polyamory From the Inside Out



A Wayward Journey

Virtual Wordsmith

Review - Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Lisa Daily

Fifteen Minutes of Shame
Lisa Daily
ISBN # 978-0452289130

"What happens when America’s favorite dating expert finds out on national television that her husband is cheating on her? Darby Vaughn’s fifteen minutes of fame quickly becomes fifteen minutes of shame when the story of her divorce is splashed across supermarket tabloids. If Darby takes her philandering husband back, her career will be over. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose the only man she’s ever loved. As she rebuilds her life with help from her girlfriends, Darby has to make some tough choices, but she stays true to her heart every step of the way."

Darby Vaughn is the unluckiest woman I've ever read about. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong it seems, at least regarding Darby's life. Fifteen Minutes of Shame is a book that I couldn't put down, because I had to know what was going to happen next. This book is one mortifying experience after another for Darby, but she hangs in until the not-so-bitter end.
(March 25, 2008, pp 304, $14.00)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Special guest review of The Fiction Class by Susan Breen

I first learned of Susan Breen’s The Fiction Class as a subscriber to the Virtual Wordsmith blog. I have always wanted to be a teacher. I also want to be a writer, an English major, and a fire truck (ok, not really a fire truck). So the idea of getting a behind-the-scenes look of an adult fiction class by reading a well-written novel piqued my curiosity.

Arabella, as “the teacher”, Breen’s main character, appealed to me the most. I felt like one of her students, and found myself absorbing writing practices, participating in class discussions and completing assignments while I read. I also enjoyed the students in the class, and wanted to know more about them, specifically, I wanted to know what they wrote for the assignments.

Arabella, as “the daughter”and the relationship with her parent’s individually, appealed to me the least. As the wife of a man with a chronic illness (Hepatitis C), I have enough sickness in my real life - I don’t like it eating up the little time I have to read. Also, the thought of someone always wearing gray is too pitiful and self centered for me. I almost stopped reading about half way through.

Vera, Arabella’s mother, is what kept me reading. The things she said would make me laugh out loud. Like me, she was the caregiver to the person she loved more than life itself, which made us instant comrades. I wish I could visit her on one of the other 6 days of the week. I would love to have her as a friend. I also had to find out about The Miracle.

I finished the book with mixed emotions. The final mother-daughter connections were touching. Vera’s interpretation of The Miracle made me extremely sad for her. Arabella’s relationship with Chuck was predictable, if not unnecessary. Would I read it again? Sure. Will I read it again? Probably. It will be interesting to see what Breen has for us next.
- Lori Schneider

For more information about The Fiction Class and Susan Breen, please stop by Blog Stop Book Tours.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Our windows are open and there is a lovely breeze coming through the screens. The irises and tulips are stretching their leaves to the sun. My neighbors' lilac bushes are beginning to leaf out. Warm weather is definitely here to stay! (until at least the the end of September)

My husband and son were outside earlier, turning over the dirt in the gardens. We're itching to plant, but it's NOT time yet. Just a few more weeks and we'll get tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash started.

I love this time of year. The way the air smells, the change in light and the chance to get outside and visit with our friends. I hope the weather is good where you are!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Why Facebook?

If you've been putting off joining Facebook, or you have joined, but don't know exactly what to do now, you should listen to this.

FREE Teleseminar hosted by Ben Mack
Mari Smith, Facebook Business Coach

I listened to it earlier this morning, and I learned a lot. It really is free.

Sixth Blog Stop for Susan Breen's, The Fiction Class

Stop by Mom is Just a Nickname to read Beth's thoughts on The Fiction Class by Susan Breen!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Outrageous Brownies Recipe

Outrageous Brownies

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

When I make these, I use salted butter and leave out the kosher salt. I serve French Vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce alongside the brownies. This is definitely a special occasion dessert.

Another fantastic writer's resource!

I've discovered a new blog, Mike's Writing Workshop & Newsletter. It's chock full of information for freelance writers. And Mike sends out a newsletter with great articles and resources for writers. Check it out!

Today is my son's 11th birthday, so I'll be busy getting last minute details taken care of. He doesn't know it yet, but instead of a birthday cake, he'll be eating Outrageous Brownies, with a side of French Vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce for dessert tonight. He's been asking me to make brownies, off and on, for the last 2 weeks.

I'll post the recipe a little later today.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Interview went well!

If you're interested in listening to what Lisa Fredette and I talked about, click the link below.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lisa Fredette - Womanly Insights - Blog Talk Radio

Lisa Fredette will be interviewing me about Blog Stop Book Tours on Blog Talk Radio at 1 Eastern time tomorrow.

I met Lisa at the Virtual Woman's Day Celebration a month or so ago. She is CTA Certified Life Coach, licensed Relationship Coach through the Relationship Coaching Institute and owner of Passionate About Life Coaching and Passionate About Life Coach Divorce Recovery Coaching Club. We chatted about Life Coaching and Virtual Book Tours. And then she asked me to be on her show, Womanly Insights, at Blog Talk Radio. How could I refuse?

It's a call in show, so feel free to listen and ask questions!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Interview with Patricia Fry, author of The Right Way to Write, Sell and Publish Your Book

I've posted a fantastic interview with Patricia Fry over at Blog Stop Book Tours. Please come by and see what she had to share!

Fifth blog stop for Susan Breen's The Fiction Class

Please drop by Something She Wrote to read Janna's thoughts regarding The Fiction Class!

Review - The Right Way To Write, Publish And Sell Your Book by Patricia Fry

The Right Way To Write, Publish And Sell Your Book
Patricia Fry
Matilija Press
ISBN # 978-0977357628

"The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book is a definitive guide to successful authorship whether you're writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry a children's book or a memoir. It details critical information about the publishing industry in frank terms and includes numerous anecdotes and examples to illustrate the processes involved in successful authorship."

The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book is quite possibly the most honest, clear, comprehensive book on writing, publishing and selling books I've read yet. And, I've read quite a few in the last few years. I love how Patricia gets right down to the bones! She shares the harsh realities of the publishing world and then offers great information to those who want their book to be successful. I consider this a must read for anyone who is writing a book!
(October 2007, pp 366, $19.95)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fourth blog stop for The Fiction Class by Susan Breen

Mosey on over to Writing from Kiddom to see what Andrea McMann has to say about The Fiction Class by Susan Breen!

Review - Birthing the Elephant: A Woman's Go-for-it! Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business by Karin Abarbanel/Bruce Freeman

Birthing the Elephant: A Woman's Go-for-it! Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business
Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman
Ten Speed Press
ISBN # 978-1580088879

"Customized for the female entrepreneur's unique psychological experience of launching a business, BIRTHING THE ELEPHANT goes beyond logistics to prepare women for the emotional challenges they will face, with expert advice on reshaping one's business identity, giving up the paycheck mentality, anticipating problems, and avoiding costly mistakes. This supportive handbook gives the small-business owner the staying power to survive and succeed in the business of her dreams."

Birthing The Elephant is an excellent resource for women dreaming about, thinking about or in the process of starting a business. In a conversational, no-nonsense style, it touches on the realities and logistics of entrepreneurship. There is no magical formula to creating a successful business, but there are some prevailing themes.

  • Passion
  • Drive
  • Tenacity
  • Creativity
  • Resourcefulness

If you are thinking about starting a business or just into the start up phase, pick up a copy of this book. You are not alone.
(March 2008, pp 211, $15.95)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Book Review - Freelance Copywriting for Work At Home Moms and Dads

Book Review
by Erika-Marie S. Geiss
Freelance Writer

The two-disk set Freelance Copywriting for Work At Home Moms and Dads is part of the critically acclaimed Bob Bly's Copywriting Success and Freelance Writing program. It is a casual yet professional discussion with Diana Huff, a 10-year veteran as a B2B professional copywriter. Bly and Huff discuss how to be a successful freelance professional as a WAHM.

Dianna Huff has done what many parents dream of doing—transitioning from a corporate career to achieve a better work-life balance—and has done it successfully. Through her personal story, Bly and Huff discuss such pivotal topics as:

  • Understanding why you want to work from home and if you are really cut out to do it
  • Treating your freelance career as a business
  • The key financial mistakes that many WAHMs make and how to avoid them
  • The essential steps for setting up your business
  • Identifying how you work and when you work best
  • Maintaining personal and professional boundaries
  • Managing your time and filtering out distractions
  • Marketing yourself and your business
  • Understanding why "School is never out for the pro."
  • Advantages to working from home and working around some of the pitfalls and through the challenges
  • Negotiating feelings of guilt that many WAHMs have

A real slice of life
While on the telephone interview with Mr. Bly, Ms. Huff has bread in the oven and dogs to tend while her 10-year-old son is at school. While interruptions during the interview are minimal, save for having to quiet the barking dogs and sign for a package that the mail carrier has delivered, Huff and Bly give a realistic glimpse into the life of a WAHM. For established WAHMs who listen to Freelance Copywriting for Work At Home Moms and Dads, they will recognize the scene and will gain valuable information, insight and advice for how to take their freelance business to the next level. For women considering becoming WAHMs (because they want a change in their life-work balance, or because they are planning a family) the audio book will put them ahead of the game by learning what to do, what not to do and how to prepare adequately not only for the life of a work-at-home professional, but of WAHMs specifically.

Huff is candid and frank about the realities of work-at-home life and what is necessary to truly make it work. Both Bly and Huff also share resources that they have found to be pivotal in their respective careers, and present an informative and educational program that is easy to listen to, understand, and for many WAHMs, will be easy to relate to.

If time is money and investing in your business and your education are keys to business success, Freelance Copywriting for Work At Home Moms and Dads is worth every moment and every penny. Freelance Copywriting for Work At Home Moms and Dads is a resource that no freelancer, person who works from home or is considering working from home should be without.

Freelance Copywriting for Work At Home Moms and Dads
(CTC Publishing, 2008)
by Bob Bly with Dianna Huff

Available at:

Two disk set:
Disk 1: 56 minutes
Disk 2: 56 minutes
Cost: $97.00 (USD)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Interview - Sheila Roberts, author of Bikini Season

Sheila Roberts is back, visiting us today with a 5 Q&A about her new book, Bikini Season

1.) What's been happening with you since On Strike For Christmas was released?
I have been busy. I am really enjoying being at St. Martin's. It's a great publishing house and my editor, Rose Hilliard, is simply fabulous. We've worked hard on getting Bikini Season ready for public consumption and I'm happy to say it's an April selection for Target's breakout author program. So, that's exciting. I'm almost ready to turn in another book and then it will be time to start book number four. Wow, I'm making myself tired just reading this! But it's a good kind of tired, the kind you have after you exercised.

2.) If you say "bikini shopping" to a group of ten women who are in their 30's, odds are at least 9 of them will groan and respond negatively. What prompted you to write Bikini Season?
My editor actually suggested writing a book that deals with that famous four letter word: diet. And I was all over that because most of us women can identify with weight issues. I deliberately included one character who saw herself as less because of her weight, since I think we women often beat up on ourselves needlessly. While I believe it's important to stay healthy, ten or twenty extra pounds doesn't make us ugly. Now, having said that, it is easy to fall into bad eating and exercise (or lack of exercise) habits and drift along fat and happy and unhealthy. And that's not good. This is the only body we get. We can't turn it in for a newer model. So it's important to take care of it. Not easy, that's for sure, but important.

3.) Which do you prefer - one piece or two?
One piece. One very big piece.

4.) You seem to have a really good understanding of the friendships among women. Are your books based on your circle of friends?
I think girlfriends are the best asset a woman can have. I am rich with amazing friends, but in my books most of the characters simply spring from my imagination. There are some that bear a resemblance to a real person, though: me. And this book is no exception. The chocolate cravings, giving in to that ice cream temptation, diet pill disasters - those are all me. But probably many other women, too! For the last year I've been fighting the battle of the bulge with two girlfriends. It's a slow, hard fight, and with three weeks left to go before the big book signing party where we were going to appear all hot and skinny, well, let's just say that there's a lot of panic going on right now.

5.) What's next?
Next spring, watch for my book "Love in Bloom" about three women who meet at a community garden and become friends. Pretty ironic that I'm writing a book centered in a garden since I have the world's biggest black thumb, but with a new house to landscape I have caught the gardening bug big time. I'm hoping I get the hang of this gardening thing before I kill everything I've planted. But that's the beauty of fiction, isn't it? You can do things in a book you'd never be able to manage in real life. And maybe that's why I enjoy writing so much.

Thank you, Sheila.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

And now, for something a little different...

I've wanted to post about the mother/daughter day I had last Saturday, but I had a reason to hold off. I wanted to surprise a friend of mine, and he reads my blog. Now that I've seen him, I can share here.

My daughter and I both needed eye exams. I've been having a hard time looking at my computer monitor for the last month or so, and really wanted to get contacts, again. She needs glasses to practice driving. So we scheduled our appointments for the same day, same time. Our eye doctor du jour was fantastic. Funny, engaging and highly entertained by our quirky personalities, he made the appointment fly by.

Afterwards, we stopped at Target and bought (gasp!) hair dye. Yep, I caved. I decided I'd had enough of the haphazard and plentiful white streaks in my dark hair. We arrived home, ate dinner and then headed over to my neighbors house. She cut my hair, and then kindly offered to do the dye job for me.

I've been calling the color of my hair chocolate covered cherry. Indoors, it looks very rich, dark chocolate brown. In the sunlight, it glows burgundy. I love it! I also love the fact that I can see without having to slap glasses on my face. And, oh yeah, sunglasses are so much fun!

My friend's reaction to my appearance changes was a little anti-climactic, but that's a real friend for you. They see the you, inside, before they ever notice the outside. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Third blog stop for The Fiction Class

Today, you can see what Jenn thought of The Fiction Class by Susan Breen. Please stop by her blog at Jenn Hollowell: Working Writer!

Review - Bikini Season, by Sheila Roberts

Bikini Season
Sheila Roberts
St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN # 978-0312370800

"Erin Merritt has returned to her scenic hometown of Heart Lake to plan her wedding, but when she repeatedly runs into her childhood crush, she wonders if she’s engaged to the wrong man. To make matters worse, all the stress is making her eat, and now she can’t fit into her wedding dress.

Erin enlists the help of her cooking club--Angela, Megan and Kizzy--and the Teeny Bikini Diet Club is born. The women make a pact to get slim enough to wear their bikinis to the lake by summertime, a pact that changes their lives forever. With a little help from her friends, Angela faces her fear that her marriage is crumbling. Megan confronts the self-esteem issues that have always held her back. Kizzy deals with her husband’s efforts to sabotage her diet and keep her overweight. And Erin learns some important truths about love."

I reviewed Sheila Robert's On Strike For Christmas a few months ago. Now she's back with Bikini Season. I love the way Sheila writes. She invites you in and then shows incredible skill as hostess to the world she has created.

Bikini Season is no different. I could relate to the characters. I've struggled with my own body issues and body image at times. And what woman hasn't cringed when she hears the words bikini shopping?

I really liked the book. I liked that the characters grew, stereotypes were represented, but not overblown and Sheila uses humor more often than not. Bikini Season is just in time to stash in your beach bag and enjoy while lounging on a blanket, sipping lemonade!
(April 2008, pp 304, $13.95)
Reviewed as part of the virtual book tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book Promotion

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sixty degrees of separation

I don't have any new books on my bedside table today. I'm still in the process of reading the ones from last week.

I'm getting my work cleared from my desk this morning, so that I can go play this afternoon. The projected high temp for today is 60! And sunny! I'm playing hooky this afternoon. Even if it's just running errands, I will get outside and soak up some Vitamin D.

The second stop of Susan Breen's blog book tour is today. Head on over to Blog Stop Book Tours to see where she is appearing.

Have a great day and a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New magazine sources

If you're just starting out in the freelance writing world, or you've been doing it forever, new magazines are something you want to keep track of. Here are the links to websites, if you're looking for more information.

Another way to break in to the world of writing for magazines is to search online, using the search terms "call for submissions" or "calls for submission". You'd be amazed at what will turn up.

That's all for today. I'm off to work.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Interview - Christine Norris, author of The Crown of Zeus

Today's 5 Q&A is with Christine Norris, author of The Crown of Zeus

1.) Who are you?
I'm a substitute teacher looking for a permanent teaching job who writes because she loves it, living in New Jersey. I also love reading and making crafts and movies and Ugly Betty.

2.) Have you always had an interest in Greek mythology?
Pretty much. Not just Greek mythology, but all mythology appeals to me. My next book relies on the mythology of Ancient Egypt, and I've been researching ancient China lately for the third book in the series. I love to see how the mythology is woven throughout the culture that supports it.

It's not just mythology, but folktales too - I'm a huge fairy tale fan.

3.) How did the idea come to you to incorporate magic, adventure and mythology for young adults?
I love fantasy, and I wanted to do something different. I'd written two 'high-fantasy' books already - plenty of wizards, dragons and fairies - and I was looking for something outside the usual 'stuff' that's in the bookstores now. I started with the idea of the big manor and the secret library, and the rest sort of fell into place. I'm not an outliner, I let the story come to me. But once I started, I couldn't stop. I have ideas for the rest of the series, and I can honestly say I know how the last book will end. I don't know everything, but I do know that.

4.) Have you received any feedback from kids who have read your book?
Not yet, mostly because e-books are still sort of new, and I don't know that many kids read them. I like e-books, almost as much as paper, and I think kids, who are always into the techno stuff, would like them too.

But I know at least one YA reviewer has a copy and I'm waiting to hear what she thinks. All the adults who've read it have liked it, which really makes me think I've hit the mark. My first two books were well received by kids, though, so I'm hoping this one is as well.

5.) What's next?
The Ankh of Isis. Tentatively scheduled to be released in e-book by Samhain in July. It's the second in the series. I'm working on the third as we speak.

The Crown of Zeus will be out in trade paperback on Dec. 29, 2008.

Thanks so much, Christine!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Stuff and such...

The Blog Stop Book Tour of The Fiction Class by Susan Breen begins today. Head on over to Thursday Bram to see the first of ten reviews. The nine other blog addresses are listed at the Authors On Tour page.

The book reviews and interviews scheduled for April here at Virtual Wordsmith are as follows:

  • April 2 -Interview - Christine Norris, author of The Crown of Zeus
  • April 7 - Review - Bikini Season by Sheila Roberts
  • April 9 - Interview - Sheila Roberts
  • April 11 - Review - Birthing the Elephant by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman
  • April 14 - Review - The Right Way To Write, Publish and Sell Your Book by Patricia Fry
  • April 16 - Interview - Patricia Fry
  • April 22 - Review - Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Lisa Daily
  • April 24 - Interview - Lisa Daily

There may be a review and interview the last week of April, but you'll have to stop back to see.