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Saturday, 8 March 2008
Getting to Know Jennifer Gladen
Jennifer Gladen the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

I'd say: quiet, busy and .... short.

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

That's hard to say. Those who I'm close to would describe me as silly. I can't help it, I'm a kid at heart.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

You mean there are other things besides writing? Spending time with my family tops the list.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Are you sure you want to know?

We have three cats:

Mickey: This is our first cat and the "diva" of the family. She thinks she's the only animal that lives here and everyone else is passing through.

Lucky: He's  the only male cat. His favorite activity is dashing out of the house every time you open the door. He usually returns sopping wet from the rain he hadn't considered before his wild dash. 

We named him Lucky because my daughter was lucky she talked me into buying the cat. Turns out the name fits him well, since he manages to return safely from his adventures.

Mittens: She's our third and final cat. She was a stray that my stepfather found on a road. He thought she was hurt and pulled his car over to check her out. She was very young, in need of a bath, and in need of medical care. My stepfather couldn't take care of her, so I offered her a home. She is the most affectionate out of the three. Mickey is very jealous and doesn't take well to Mittens.

We also have a dog:

Scooby: he looks nothing like Scooby-Do. In fact, he's a black, 10 pound chihuahuah/rat terrior mix. He was a Father's Day present to my husband. Scooby is very affectionate and follows me everywhere. He won't even go with the kids when they help let him out. No. Yours Truly is the only one who has that job.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

My most precious memory is our family trip to Disney World in April of 2005. My middle child, Jacqueline, is a liver transplant patient and the Make a Wish Foundation granted her wish to go to Disney World.  Everyone from the M.A.W. Foundation to every staff member at the village we stayed at, to every staff member at Disney World made Jackie feel like a star. For once, her illness caused her joy instead of pain.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

I was a teacher at an elementary school. All the teachers were to make an appearance at the 8th grade dance. While I was getting ready, I put a hole in my last pair of stockings. There was no time to hit a store. My only option was to wear knee-highs. I wore a long skirt - but a-hem - unfortunately a student noticed.  *blush*

7.   If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

More housework! In essence, that's true. I wouldn't be able to work outside the home because I'm needed for Jacqueline's medical care (also her brother Anthony is a kidney patient).  

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Jennifer Gladen, children's author, is survived by her husband and three children. She loved to write and has an extensive collection of stories, articles, poems and books for children. When she couldn't teach children by working as a  teacher due to her obligation to her children's medical conditions, she chose to teach children through her writing. Family members say that she can rest peacefully because her work will continue to reach and teach children.

Jennifer Gladen the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I realized I was a "real" writer once I allowed myself to think it. My first publication was a poem in a Pro-Life newspaper. The editor gave my poem a half -page spread and included my bio. Once I saw that in print, I thought, "Wow - just like a real author!"

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

My first e-book, A Star in the Night, is awaiting publication from Guardian Angel Publishing this summer. My latest story, "Mrs. Martin's Marigolds" appeared in February's issue of Stories for Children Magazine.

11.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

First I get on the computer and check any mail (could there be an acceptance this morning?) I check my calendar and make sure there's no appointments for the day. I've missed many of my own doctor appointments because I've gotten too wrapped up in the writing world.

Then, to get my brain working, I check to see if I have anything new to update on my website or blogs.

I then move on to revising a current work in progress.

I'm in three critique groups, so I usually have a manuscript any given day to critique.

After lunch I review one of my "almost ready to go out" manuscripts. I begin market research to find out which publisher might best fit my book.

On days that I'm ready for a submission, I prepare my cover letter, envelope and manuscript for mailing.

12. Why do you write?

I write because I love it. There's nothing more satisfying to me than creating a world, characters and situations.

13.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Currently, I must admit, I'm most inspired by J.K. Rowling. She created a whole entire world and characters that you just love. She stuck with her creativity, stayed true to her story and characters, and her books did well for it. T

14.  How do you define your writing?

My writing is a writing for children. The kid at heart comes through once I get into my characters' heads.

15.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

I'd be happy if someone came across one of my books, and nostalgic feelings arise.  "I remember that book. What a great story."

Jennifer Gladen the details:

16.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?



17.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Sure. Readers can reach me at

18.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

A Star in the Night

Check back at my website often for updates on news about my current works in progress.

19.   For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

You will hopefully experience the story along with my characters. A Star in the Night provides a unique experience for Andy, my main character on a special Christmas Eve.

In conclusion:

20.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I write with a purpose: To share my characters' world with my readers. The stories the characters provide are gateways to the imagination. I do write nonfiction also. So far, it has only shown up in articles. But again, I write these not to just write about something. I write to share what I've found fascinating.  My article, "Fulfilling a Destiny," is an article about caterpillars turning into a butterfly. I wrote about that when I saw how wondrous it is for life to change right before our eyes. To fully understand what my writing is about, feel free to visit my webpage:

Thank you Joyce for this amazing opportunity.



Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 8 March 2008 1:08 AM EST
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Friday, 7 March 2008
Getting to Know Margo Finke
Topic: Author Interview
Margo Finke the person:

1.      What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Loving, loyal, and focused

2.      How do you think others would describe you?

Probably as someone who knows what she is doing, and is very confident of herself and her abilities.  If only they KNEW!!!

3.      Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My personal and intimate relationships with my three children and my husband. My children are all grown, with lives and families of their own, and their choice of partners makes me happy. My husband is the rock I lean against, and the only one who sees the cracks in me, and shores them up as needed.  My kids are now old enough and mature enough for us to be friends.  I can ask their advice, and they can ask mine, without worrying about either parties stepping on tender toes.  Slowly developing peer-like relationships with your adult children is wonderful.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Don't get me started on pets, mate.  At one time we had 3 pygmy goats, 7 cats, 3 dogs, a couple of dozen guinea pigs, a caged bird or two, and a well stocked fish tank.  The fish were because that was my husband's business: likewise the guinea pigs.  Small goats and a lot of guinea pigs are great for keeping the grass mowed.  I would put the g.pigs outside on the grass, inside a large circle of wire mesh, and move them every half hour - great little mowers!!  The goats were staked at various spots, away from all the gardens and shrubs, and they mowed for us too!  The pet parade slowly diminished as the kids left home.  Now there is just the two of us, and one cat.  My husband has to mow the grass himself these days.  Oh, these days we have a family of deer who are partial to my roses and my spring bulbs.  The roses are now dressed in fine black mesh to keep the deer away from them.  We also feed a big variety of wild birds.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

This one is a snap!  When each of my three kids was born, of course.  I always felt wonderful during a pregnancy, and overflowed with love when each of them was born. Just as well, too, because that made up for the teen years, when a couple of them put gray hairs and wrinkles where once all was red (hair) and smooth.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

You have time for this?  I guess this is a "family" interview, so I had better give you my third worst event instead.  This involved sending a very personal post, with anything but flattering things to say about someone, to a large online list I was on.  Of course, I had meant to send the post privately to only one person.  My shame and embarrassment was overwhelming.  This taught me check the address before I clicked SEND.  And my dear mother's advice also comes to mind: "Never say or write anything you wouldn't want everyone to read on the front page of the newspaper."

7.      If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Who knows?  Dying of boredom I suspect.  I love my computer, and if I had been born later, I would probably want to learn everything about how they work their devious magic - as well as their bad spells.  A website designer would work for me.  I love tinkering with my website and my blog.

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Oh dear, this is a poser, mate!! 

Margot Finke, a writer of children's books, died in her sleep last night of natural causes. She died too young: with many projects planned, and many still to be completed.  Writing was her joy, her woe, and her earthly anchor.  She will be sadly missed by her husband and children, one or two smart publishers, and an agent who was probably more interested in percentages. Children will remember Margot's books for their cool characters and adventure driven plots.

 Margot Finke the Writer

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

Am I a real writer?  I am often unsure.  Rejections make me feel inadequate - as of I missed one of life's major learning classes.  Is a real writer one who writes, one who is published, one who takes lots of classes, reads lots of books on writing, and has a great website?  I am still waiting for someone wise and superior to tell me if I am a real writer.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

At the moment, I am polishing some mid grades I wrote, and researching agents and publishers.  The fun part was the writing. This part is the pits!!

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

To publish every one of the books I have finished, and then spend time riffing on some rhyming pieces I have stored in my head.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I usually have breakfast and do household chores until about 11am.  My husband has taken over our almost acre of gardens, so I am now able to write all afternoon, have dinner, and then write again until 8pm.  The deal is that I finish up at 8pm every night, so we can spend time together. It might not all be writing. First there is usually a raft of e-mails to be attended to, my critique client's manuscripts to be worked on, and don't forget that perfect procrastination tool - blog and website tweaking!!

13.  Why do you write?

Because to not write is absolutely unthinkable.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I think the author of The Lovely Bones ( Alice Sebold) drew me in more than any writer in a long while.  In my teens and twenties, I devoured all the classics - in fact, I became so absorbed in the fate of those in A Tale of To Cities, that I missed my train station, and had to walk 4 miles home in the boiling Aussie heat, in high heels!

15.  How do you define your writing?

Something that gushes out of me in a torrent -  then, I have to go back and tame it.  I love verbs that paint powerful word pictures in children's minds.  For me, verbs trump adjectives every time.  I like to use words the same way a painter uses colors.

16. In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Margot Finke's stories were great:  I still remember all her characters.

Margo Finke the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

It's all on my Website: 

and my new Blog:

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

YES. My e-mail addy is

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

On Home Page, you can listen to me read two of my books while watching slides of the illustrations.  NOTE: Anyone buying a CD of my book gets a link to where they can hear me reading the story while watching slides of the illustrations.

MY BOOKS: Available on CD and download from various sources + my website.  - See covers & sample verses!

Below, find my 6 book series of rhyming stories about animals from the US and Australia.  They are fun as well as educational:


DON'T EAT PLATYPUS STEW and 2 other Aussie rhymes

+ Koala Capers & Kooky Kookaburra

NEVER SAY BOO TO A FRILLY + 2 other Aussie bush rhymes

+ Rainbow Birds and Tasmanian Devil Dance

PRAIRIE DOG'S PLAY DAY and 2 more fun rhymes.

 + Bald Eagle Rules & The Stinker (skunk)

EXTRA INFORMATION for teachers kids and parents, is on either :



OUT SOON - available in SOFT COVER and CD

RATTLESNAKE JAM (Guardian Angel Publishers)  Fun rhyming frolic with Gran, Pa, and a pot full of rattlers! 

Go to my OTHER BOOKS page:

To see wild and wacky illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier.  Use any you like.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

I like to be sneaky, and offer learning snippets with my fun rhymes: the same with my mid-grade novels.  I like to use authentic settings that blend in with the story and the fictional characters.  Several of my books have Australian or Oregon settings.  These are places I know well.  My two adventures for boys are set in the Aussie outback, and although the characters are fictional, the setting and many of the happenings are based on reality and facts.  Kids learn things as they become involved with the plot and the characters.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

Writers who become published are the ones who stick with it and don't let rejections discourage them.  If you want to succeed at writing for children, you have to treat it as a business and not a bobby.  Write, write, write, read lots of books and join a really good critique group.  Rewrite and rework your manuscripts until they are well polished.  Go to writing conferences as often as possible.  This is where you get to network with other writers, and mingle with editors and agents - your chance to send a few chapters to an otherwise closed house. Study writing and publishing trends.  Research publishers, and read their submission guidelines.  Make sure your book is right for their current list.  Join a good online list where other writers are supportive and share their knowledge.  Be a sponge: soak up every drop of writing information that comes your way.

This Musings column tells it like it is:

Enthusiastic Hobbyist or Dedicated Writer:
Which One Are You? 

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008 1:17 AM EST
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Thursday, 6 March 2008
Getting to Know Shari Lyle-Soffe
Topic: Author Interview
Shari Lyle-Soffe the person:

1.      What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Christian, caring, impatient

2.      How do you think others would describe you?

Outgoing, friendly, caring

3.      Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Suffering in any form, whether it is people or animals. I volunteer at a food pantry and I am amazed by the number of people suffering and hungry in this country. Good people, grateful people, some of them homeless. I am also appalled by the animal abuse that takes place in this country.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Ah yes! We have a Shih Tzu  named Dallas and a tortoise shell cat named Amber. Amber keeps me company while I write. I have always loved animals. At various times we have owned a horse, pygmy goats, chickens, ducks, parakeets, hamsters, and goldfish. We have owned many cats and even more dogs.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

My daughter's wedding three years ago. Her two daughters were flower girls. Our best friends came. It took place outside, overlooking the Rogue River. It was a beautiful, joyful day.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

In second grade the teacher made me stand on a table in front of the class and pose while the other students drew my picture. I needed to use the restroom but the teacher wouldn't let me go until recess. I couldn't wait. I don't think anyone noticed but I am sure the teacher must have seen the puddle after I squished out to recess.

7.      If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I would be gardening more, and doing a better job of keeping house. I would probably volunteer more too.

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Sharon Soffe was born and raised in California. She and her husband moved to Southern Oregon in 1984. She was married to husband, Robert, for 48 years. She was a mother of two and grandmother of four. She volunteered at her church and the church food pantry. She was the volunteer newsletter editor for the local chapter of AARP. She was a professional crafter for four years before taking up writing for children. Her work has been published in many of the best known children's magazines. She wrote the "Rooter and Snuffle" picture/storybook series published by Guardian Angel Publishing, and illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier.

Shari Lyle-Soffe the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

When my article "Baby Steps" was accepted by Once Upon A Time Magazine. We had company when I received what I assumed was a rejection. When I saw the acceptance I burst into tears. I am sure our friends thought I was nuts.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I am trying to learn to promote my books. I will soon have three books in print. THE MISADVENTURES OF ROOTER AND SNUFFLE, ON THE GO WITH ROOTER AND SNUFFLE, and TROUBLE FINDS ROOTER AND SNUFFLE. I have my first book signing  coming up on March 15th from 11:00AM to 2:00PM at Oregon Books in Grants Pass, Oregon.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I want to have more books published. That means finishing some manuscripts and sending them out. I have to learn to juggle activities better.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I sit at my desk at about 8:00 AM and work until about 3:00 PM. However I have many interruptions and other things to tend to so that is not all writing time.

13.  Why do you write?

I love writing and reading. I want to inspire children and show them what is important in life. I want to entertain them and make them giggle. I remember how I loved being read to as a child.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I have two favorites and both write wonderful rhyme. Lisa Wheeler for her humor and Dori Chaconas for her sensitivity.

15,  How do you define your writing?

It's a work in progress.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Shari Lyle-Soffe's books really touched me.

Shari Lyle-Soffe the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?  

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?





20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

They can expect to follow two brother raccoons, Rooter and Snuffle, as they venture out with their many animal friends in Cathedral Woods. Like any children they find themselves in difficult situations and have to find their own way out.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I was the oldest of four children, and spent part of my childhood living in the Redwoods of Northern California. My writing is a reflection of my childhood and events that I have witnessed in the lives of others.  I was a loner as a child. That is good preparation for being a writer.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:15 AM EST
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Wednesday, 5 March 2008
Getting to Know Carol Parsons
Topic: Author Interview


Carol Parsons the person:


1.      What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Sensitive, Loving, Friendly

2.      How do you think others would describe you?

(I asked my daughter and she said (can you believe it?): Smart, nice, friendly

3.       Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My kids, my family, animals

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

I have a pet rat named Happy Feet. He is white with pink eyes. I saved him from being snake food.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

After my first novel came out, I started lecturing at schools. Some newspapers got wind of it and came there to interview me and talk about my book. I was selling quite a few books then and lecturing at a lot of schools. My mom, sister, and kids were really proud of me. I think that's my best moment so far.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

When my son was a baby and my daughter was three, we were out in the yard so she could play. I was holding my son in my arms. I was wearing a skirt with an elastic waistband at the time. My daughter came up to me, yanking on my skirt, "Mommy. Mommy..." She yanked so hard that both my panties and my skirt came down. I had to gently lay my son on the ground so I could pull them up. I have no idea if anyone saw.

Another time I was working on the military base. I wore another skirt and walked out of the building. The wind caught my skirt just right and it flew up. There was a bunch of Army guys right across the road laughing at me. You'd think between the two, I'd learn to give up skirts. J

7.      If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I am in college to be an elementary school teacher. I am pretty sure that's what I want to do with the rest of my life.

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

I hate to be superstitious, though I admit that I am, but I feel like if I write this, it will happen a lot sooner than it's supposed to.

Carol Parsons the writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I think when I considered myself a "real" writer was when I was first published with the Bay City Times. I had been published many times before, but that really did it for me.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I have two children's novels out ("Mystery at Eagle Harbor Lighthouse" and "The Winchester Mystery") that I am selling to schools. I am also working on a third novel about killer raccoons with laser eyes called "The Final Stare". I just started writing articles again that I hope to get published.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I really want to be able to make enough money to live on with my writing.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I went quite awhile without writing after my last novel was published. I've been studying a lot for school, and trying (and succeeding) in getting straight As in school. So I have been concentrating on that more than my writing lately. Since restarting writing, I write for an hour or two during the day and a little while at night after my kids are in bed.

13.  Why do you write?

I love to tell stories. I love to write anything at all. Mostly I love to impress people with some of the things I write.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

When I first started writing, it was Danielle Steel. I read a lot of her books and kept telling myself that I could do that. That was my dream. As I've gotten older and started writing children's novels, my new inspiration author is J.K. Rowling. She started out a broke, single mom, as I am, and used her writing to become "rich and famous". She has lived out my dream, and I use her to tell myself that my dreams can still come true and never to give up hope.

15.  How do you define your writing?

I think I can tell a good story. I keep people interested for the most part. I do think I still need to work on the flow of my writing, and character building.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

My favorite thing has always been people say, "Wow!" That's what I hope they will still be saying then.

Carol Parsons the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog? and

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Mystery at Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

The Winchester Mystery (both at

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

A fun mystery that teaches a little bit about the past.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I have been writing ever since I can remember. I was very young. I always wanted to tell people stories. When I was real young, I would tell my friends stories and tell them it was a dream that I had. As we grew older, I told them I made it up. After that, they wanted me to tell them stories. When I started putting them on paper, my friends and family liked them. My favorite thing for people to say about my writing was, "Wow!" Ever since the first, "Wow", I knew that I would always write.

My dream is to become a "rich and famous" novelist, though being able to pay all my bills would be good enough. I have never given up this dream, and I never will. The best thing I could ever tell anyone is not to give up, no matter what anyone tells them.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
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Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Idea Creation
Topic: Writing Ramblings

Today I have an idea creation challenge for everyone!!!  I want you to go to your bookshelf and choose a book.  Got it?  Okay, now turn to page 123 and, starting with the first full sentence, count down until you reach sentence 5.  Now...write down sentences 5, 6 and 7.

 You obviously know the context of the sentences, but view them as someone who did not know their origin would.  What scenarious can you come up with?

As an example, I chose my own book, Storm. The 5, 6 and 7th sentences on page 123 are:

"Storm could see the mixture of wanting to believe him and feel comforted, yet the fear of being hurt was so strong.  She pulled back and Storm didn't force the issue.  She was like a wild animal that had been captured and tortured."

What scenarios do I see wih this? Let's look at the she:

a.  a  woman  (Was she raped. beaten or just heartbroken?  Is she a war victim? A homeless woman?  A victim of an auto accident or natural disaster?)

b.  a child (Is she lost?  Has she been abused? Is she hurt?  Was she raised by jungle animals?)

c.  a  animal (an orphaned bear?  a lost dog?  a feral cat? Was she hit by a car?  Found in a cave? In a pet store?)

The possibilities are endless.  Let your mind ask questions about these sentences.  Allow it to form a story.

I would love to see the passages each of you chose.  Please leave me a comment.  Maybe your comment will light another's creativity.  Maybe theirs will strike a spark in you!!!


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:47 AM EST
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Sunday, 2 March 2008
Lea Schizas--She's Everywhere!!!
Topic: Author Interview

As promised, below is a list of all the places you can find Lea Schizas.  I've enjoyed sharing information on this inspirational author, friend and woman these past few days.  Check out her sites--there's something for everyone!!


Lea Schizas-Children's Author

Editing Services

Apollo's Lyre

Branches of Life

Lea's Interview Blog

Rock Kingdom's Citizens

The Amazing World of Children

The Muse Book Reviews

The MuseItUp Club

The Muse Marquee

The Muse Online Writers Conference

The Writing Jungle

Teen Writers Mentorship Group

Bragging Rites Unleashed

Coffee Cramp Magazine

Join me on Authors Den



THE MUSE UNLEASHED (more info on homepage)

Have a publishing brag?

Then join us at Bragging Rites.

Readers and writers are encouraged to join and read:

Excerpts/interviews/reviews of upcoming releases.


THE MUSE MARQUEE is a monthly column/zine dedicated not only to

writers but readers, as well. To find out what our eZine is all about, link here.



A special project was launched: Musing Our Children and the response

has been awesome so far. Our mission is to invite writers from around

the world to visit schools and either read to the younger grades or talk

to the older students, in both the elementary and high school levels,

what writing is all about. We want to educate our children on the

benefits of reading and writing. If you're a writer, storyteller,

illustrator, parent, or school educator, please check out our site for

more details.



Posted by joyceanthony at 12:45 AM EST
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Saturday, 1 March 2008
The Rock of Realm by Lea Schizas---A Review
Topic: Book Review
The Rock of Realm
By Lea Schizas
YA Fantasy
ISBN: 1-932993-08-8 (Trade Paperback)
ISBN: 1-932993-09-6 (E-Book)
Release Date: April 2005
Price: paperback -- $12.95 
Price: e-book -- $6.95
What happens when you mix two teenaged girls, one large dog, a squirrel and a magical rock?  Answer--an adventure that will keep you glued to your seat reading.  Alex and her best friend, Sarah, live normal teenaged lives--getting in trouble for not doing chores, going to school, babysitting.  Walking home from an evening of babysitting, the two girls, along with Alex's German Shephard, Butch and Butch's "pet" squirrel, Pops, find an innocent-looking stone and some gold glitter.  Within minutes, the whole group is transported to a magical world full of talking trees, an ice castle and a six-legged hamster names Jinx.  Together, this unlikely group embark on an adventure full of danger, revealed secrets and self-discovery. 
Lea Schizas has penned a tale that will delight and entertain both young and old.  The Rock of Realm has surprises around every bend and even the most well-read among readers will be kept in suspense as they travel with Alex and her friends on the adventure of a lifetime, in a land where nothing is as it appears and there is danger lurking in every shadow.
Ms. Schizas' characters are so realistic and humanlike, you will soon find yourself forgetting that most of them are animals.  Your emotions will run the gamut from laughter to tears, from anger to wonder.  Whatever the current emotion, you can be sure it won't last long as you wander through the pages of The Rock of Realm.
If you buy your child or grandchild just one book this year, make it The Rock of Realm.  Be forewarned, however, that you may want to read it first--otherwise, you may never get it away from them again.  This book is destined to become a classic in children's literature!!

Posted by joyceanthony at 6:26 AM EST
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Friday, 29 February 2008

As promised, today Lea Schizas shares an article with you guys.  Don't forget to join Lea in chat tonight at 8 PM EST--just click on the chat room link on my home page at Lea will answer questions about her book, writing and projects!!!  Stop back tomorrow for my review of The Rock of Realm.  Now, here's Lea's wonderful tips for writers!!



Ten Tips for Writers

By Lea Schizas


At times all we need is someone to point the way, to motivate us when we’re feeling as though our writing world is crashing down on us. Before I offer you the tips below let me just add that there will always be naysayers around you while you are climbing your writing career. It is up to you to weed and discard these naysayers and not allow them to take you down. Always remember why you entertain. Remember the passion you feel when writing and place these naysayers in the back of your mind. No one can understand a writer more than a writer.

Here are my simple ten tips to help you:

  1. There’s a reason why you keep reading this over and over again in almost every writing how-to book: read, read, and then read some more. The fact is the more you read the more you pick up various authors styles, the way they string words together, the way they use most of the five senses, the way they bring their imaginary world to life by their descriptive details. Reading is part of the educational process in order for you to grow as a writer.
  2. When you feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall (avoid clichés-do as I say and not what I do) then put down your manuscript and walk away for a spell. A bit of distance to clear your mind allows you to come back refreshed and hopefully unblocked.
  3. When looking over your manuscript, look at it objectively. Put away your writer’s hat and wear your reader’s chapeau. Is your work fully fleshed out? Are your characters believable? Does the setting make an impression on you? Can you tell what period the story is set? As a reader, you know what a good book entails so jot down several questions you’d like to have answered once you’re work is done as a writer, sit down, and answer them honestly. Best tip is to get someone else to review it and answer those questions, as well.
  4. Don’t wait until your book is published to begin marketing yourself or the book. Build yourself a website and begin promoting yourself, or rather, brand yourself as a writer. Write articles/stories and sub them to various outlets. Get some publishing credits. You need to begin the hype about your book before it hits the bookstores
  5. Begin researching various publishers suitable for your book now. At the same time, begin to research agents who deal with your genre. Don’t waste your time and theirs by submitting a manuscript not suitable for their guidelines. READ guidelines carefully and adhere to them.
  6. Rejections are part of a writer’s life. Get over it.
  7. Did I mention to read, read, and then read some more?
  8. Remember why you write and have fun. Don’t give yourself ridiculous deadlines or goal plans. Think through your commitments before you accept them.
  9. Join a writer’s group and a critique group. They are valuable areas to help you finetune your writing.
  10. Don’t sit and think too much about what to write next. There are different methods for different writers and you need to figure out if you are:

A- the type who needs to outline the whole story before you write or

B- the one who writes the whole story down while it’s fresh in your head and then worry about the filling in stage and editing.

I fall in the B category and it's worked for me so far.

As you write more and more you will discover your own writing voice, your own writing habits, your own sense of what your surroundings should be in order to help you write in peace.

As a mother of five, there is no such thing as 'peace and quiet' in my household. Yet I managed to secure a four book deal in January with two publishers. What I have is determination, persevrance, and a deep passion for writing. Possess these qualities and no matter how many times kids yell in the background for one thing or the other, a dog who needs to go out for a walk, a husband who needs his will always find time to write if you avoid the naysayers and possess those three attributes.

Author’s Bio: Lea Schizas is an award-winning author and editor. She is the author of the award-winning young adult fantasy/adventure, The Rock of Realm, and the young adult paranormal suspense/thriller, Doorman’s Creek.

Posted by joyceanthony at 1:06 AM EST
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Thursday, 28 February 2008
Lea Schizas On Tour
Topic: Book Review

Isn't this cover wonderful!!!  This is the latest YA book by Lea Schizas and I must tell you I have some treats for you over the next few days!!!!  THis woman is an nspiration to writers everywhere.  For that reason, you will get to experience the incredible woman behind this book and read some of her work.  You'll also get a chance to meet and talk with Lea!!!  Read on to see what I have in store for you!!!

Today you will get a chance to meet through her biography and read a brief excerpt from The Rock of Realm.  Tomorrow, February 29, Lea shares her ten top tips for writers here and then will join us for a live chat at 8 PM EST in my chatroom.  Just go to and scroll down to the Chat room icon and join us for what promises to be a lively and fun experience.  On March 1, I'll feature my own review of The Rock of Realm.  On March 2, I will give you some links to all the wondrous projects Lea Schizas has going on in her life.  When it's all over here and you want to learn more about Lea Schizas--and you WILL want to know more--hop on over to her main website at and plan on spending a bit of time.

 This is Lea :-) 

Lea Schizas, a short story competition winner, livesin Montreal, Canada with her husband Jimmy and five children. She is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of two Writer's Digest 101 Best Writing Sites of 2005, "Apollo's Lyre" and "The MuseItUp Club". She is a member of The Writing Village University (WVU), Senior Editor of the print magazine Coffee Cramp Magazine, founder of the column zine The Muse Marquee, and The Muse Online Writers Conference, Editor and co-author for The Muse on Writing(a writer’s reference guide) and Aleatory’s Junction.The Rock of Realm is the first in a series of quests and adventure for her heroine, Alexandra Stone, Princess of Rock Kingdom.

Here is just a tiny peek into The Rock of Realm:

as a loyal subject to my Queen. But first, a feast, and all will be explained.”He

gestured them towards the table. From underneath it, he plucked up an extra

stool for Sarah, several plates, platters and goblets and placed them on the

table. Pops strolled underneath the table, inspected it, came out, and then went

under the table once more. “There’s nothing here! Where you getting all this

stuff from?” Pops asked, scratching his head with his little paw as he emerged

from underneath the table.“Curiosity killed the cat, remember?” Butch joked as

he plopped his weary body heavily beside Alex’s stool.Alex spotted the

concentrated gaping stare Butch was giving Larok. This made her uneasy. She

had never seen Butch react to anyone the way he did to Larok. Larok’s eyes

were kind yet there was a faraway coldness to them that puzzled Alex.“You

are a feisty one, aren’t you, just like Jinx. I have my means for survival, little

one.” Larok reached over, picked up Jinx and placed him on the floor. He

placed a bowl for each animal filled with corn, roast beef and sunflower seeds,

something for each of their liking. The girls were treated to a succulent entrée

of what appeared to be spinach pastries, roast leg of lamb, mashed potatoes

and peas. Their goblets, along with the animals’, brimmed to the hilt with water,

always filling magically on their own.Pops shoveled the food in his mouth, little

bits escaping by the side of his lips. Butch sniffed his plate before eating.True to

his word, when the meal was over, dishes cleared and placed under this

enchanted table, Larok began to answer their questions. “The Princess you

most certainly are because only an enchantress could have opened up the

passageway to our dimension. You also have your mother’s deep blue eyes,”

Larok said.Alex was taken aback. “I don’t understand,” she uttered, shaking

her head in disbelief. How could he possibly know what colour my mother’s

eyes are?“Let me start from the beginning. You know of Dread’s plan to exile

the Queen, Sappy informed you of this much. When Dread supposedly was

vanquished of all his powers by the council he was confined where he could do

no more harm.”“What is this Tunnel that Sappy mentioned?” Sarah asked.

Alex surmised that it wasn’t a joy ride in some amusement park. Sarah leaned

forward on her stool, pushing a long tress of red hair behind her ear that was

tickling her nose.“It’s a place deep within the underground of the outer regions

of the Wall, a cavern full of mazes and creatures of the earth, where the

condemned are sent, never to return, for there is no path out.”“Sounds cozy,”

Pops murmured.“Please, how do you know for certain that I am the Princess,

like you claim?” Alex was still troubled with this thought. For some unexplained

reason, Alex felt familiar with this world. But she flustered with this feeling and

pushed it out of the way, reasoning that the surroundings were similar to her

parent’s country place. That’s all. After all, her parents would have confided in

her that she was a Princess, wouldn’t they? she thought.“I was there the day

you were born. There is a pink raised marking on the back of your neck

shaped in a circle,” Larok revealed, pointing towards her nape.This revelation

amazed Alex. She, indeed, had a birthmark like the one he described. “All

enchantresses possess this marking, your moLAROK REVEALS THE

TRUTH Alex stood, flabbergasted and confused, staring blankly at Larok.

”There must be some mistake. I am no Princess,” Alex mumbled, feeling as if

someone just knocked the wind out of her.”I can vouch for that,” Sarah added.

“I’ve known her all my life.”“Have you?” Larok questioned with cynicism as he

grinned, revealing perfectly aligned teeth. “Would everyone like something to

eat?”“Hold on, freak, you can’t spring something like this and then expect us to

eat? On second thought, I am a little hungry.” Pops began to rub his stomach

as it gurgled. He scurried towards the table.“Why would you think Alex is a

Princess?” Butch insisted, nearing Larok threateningly. “And I do want an

answer!” He continued his stride; closer and closer he approached Larok. His

smooth brown fur prickled upwards, his tail flagged up and down with such f

ury it was obvious he was not pleased with their host.Larok stood his ground,

his eyes never wavering from the challenging stare-down. The falls echoed

musically in the room breaking the steady rhythmic panting coming from Pops

and Jinx.Finally, Larok raised his hands in defeat. “All right, my dear defender,

I will explain, my word ther, too.”Alex watched as Larok studied her reaction

carefully. She shuffled her feet as his intense stare made her feel

uncomfortable.“How can my mother be the Queen when she lives somewhere

else?” Alex asked, defiantly, stepping back a few steps as if Larok had just

slapped her across the face.“Good question. Before his exile, Dread had one

more surprise. He had retrieved and hid your mother’s Rock of Realm. Fearing

he might one day use it, the only way to protect our dimension, and yours, from

the evil that had possessed her brother was for her to enter your world and live

within its confine as a protector.”“Can’t Dread just use this rock and enter?”

Butch asked. Alex began to pace the room.“Your companion is as wise as

you, Princess. No, to your question. Dread must have sensed your presence

and transported your mother’s Rock of Realm and the Glory Dust to lure you

in.”Alex let out a long, slow breath as she upped her pacing trying to absorb

this overwhelming discovery she was hit with. Sarah maintained her stooped

pose, her gaze bouncing back and forth from Alex to Larok as if watching a

tennis match.“Lure me in for what purpose?” Alex demanded, clenching her

fists in frustration.“By luring you here, I suppose, and I am assuming his

intentions, his purpose is to capture you and try to incite your mother to find

you. This way, your dimension is free to enter.”“Why didn’t they say anything t

o me? All these years and not one word.” Alex meant for this to be a quiet

thought but her outburst was born of anger.Larok’s cloak dragged behind him

giving the illusion that he floated towards Alex. Tenderly placing his hand on

her shoulder, he said, “How could they explain all this to you, a child?”“Ah,

hello, have you checked the mirror lately? You’re no man yourself, you know,”

Pops said, severing the tension that began to smother the room.Larok laughed.

“I suppose you’re right, in a way, my little friend. My body is of a lad, but I am

over 200 of your Earth years old.”“How can that be?” Alex shrugged off

Larok’s sympathetic touch to her shoulder and marched by the ice wall. She

was angry and since he was the one who had enlightened her as to who she

really was, she projected this rage towards him. “And why is this room so

boring compared to its exterior?”“Dread imprisoned me here with a spell when

I revealed his plot to the council. The Qulany birds are my eyes since I cannot

step out of this room. The Qulany birds warn me of any danger approaching.

The ice palace I’ve conjured is a force field, a protection against Dread sensing

my presence. I am able to transport from place to place, but, I have to admit, it

is getting harder and harder to avoid him. His powers are getting stronger but I

don’t know who is helping him.”“If he captures Alex,” Butch asked, “what will

he do with her?”Larok walked away toward his cot, sat down and with weary

eyes looked at Butch. “He will vanquish her to the Tunnel,” Larok said

despairingly, averting their stares.Alex marched out the ice door leaving the

others behind.“Shouldn’t we go after her?” Pops was jumping up and down,

agitated by this whole affair.“Leave her for a while,” Sarah replied. “Let her

work things out for herself.”Jinx comfortably nestled by Larok’s feet, while

Pops continued his jumping from table to stool to table and back. Butch paced

the floor, contemplating whether or not he should go and comfort Alex. Sarah

sat down, cross-legged on the floor, with a book she removed from one of the

book walls. The title had caught her attention, “Legacy of Rock

Kingdom”.Alex stood, alone, glowering about her. How can this be? There has

to be a mistake. Yet, the moment she had heard Sappy utter the Queen’s

name, Miranda, her gut told her that her déjà vu might be right. Softly tracing

its outline with her fingers, Alex felt her birthmark. “It must be true. It has to be

or else I’ve gone crazy with Sarah and this is all a dream.”All sorts of emotions

rippled through her; unmistakable anger at her parents for keeping this from

her, and fear for her parents in case they come for her and are captured by

Dread. She felt as if someone had just punctured and trampled all over her



Now, doesn't that make you want to read more?  Take my word for it--I have and you will love this book no matter what your age!!!

Join us tomorrow for Lea's Ten Tips for Writers and don't forget to stop by the chat room tomorrow evening to say hello!!!



Posted by joyceanthony at 4:56 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008 11:25 AM EST
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Monday, 25 February 2008
Promo Paks by Janet Elaine Smith (A Review)
Topic: Book Review

Janet Elaine Smith has released an updated version of her Promo Paks which is availalable here:

I was very excited to have a chance to review this book.  Janet Elaine Smith is one of the very best when it comes to book promotion and now she is sharing some of her most valuable secrets.

 Set up in an easy-to-understand format, Ms. Smith takes you through hundreds of ideas you can put into action immedicately.  Nothing costs an arm and a leg to do and most can be done sitting in your pajamas at home.

 For anyone just starting on their book marketing adventure, this is a must-have book.  You will want to start putting everything in action immediately with the enthusiasm that radiates from within the pages of the Promo Paks.  I caution you, however, not to stop reading or you will miss a multitude of sales just waiting for you.

I can guarantee you will want this book kept beside you on your desk--and may want to order two copies, as it won't be long before you've worn the pages out with use!!


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