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Friday, 30 January 2009
Thoughts on Motherhood and Writing from Phyllis Schieber
Topic: Blog Tours

I would like to thank Phyllis Scheiber, author of The Sinner's Guide to Confesion, for taking the time to visit with us the past few days!  Phyllis has kindly agreed to share with us her thoughts on motherhood and writing.  Sit back and enjoy (and remember to leave your comment for a chance to win--details below the post!).


As I was considering topics for this post, it occurred to me that one of the subjects I have neglected to address is how motherhood figures into the subtext of The Sinner's Guide to Confession. As a preface to that discussion, I must first address how motherhood has shaped my life. I am the mother of a twenty-four-year-old son. One of my dear friends, the mother of five daughters, once told me that, "It doesn't matter how many children you have. Once you're a mother, you're a mother." I believe that is true.  Motherhood has empowered and defined me as nothing else in my life ever has, not even writing.

Many years ago I read "One Child of One's Own," an essay by Alice Walker. In the essay, Walker discusses her decision to have a child, but "only one" because more would make it difficult for her to move about with ease. She also points out that it is unlikely that the question of whether or not to have children is even asked of men who are artists, but that is a whole other discussion. Nevertheless, when I was pregnant, I worried about how I would balance my need to write with my responsibilities for my child.

Needless to say, I was not prepared for the emotional impact of motherhood. I don't know how anyone can be. Nothing can prepare someone for the intensity of such love. In truth, I did not feel that immediately, and I worried that perhaps something was wrong with me. When the nurse handed me my baby boy, he looked rather perplexed and not at all certain that he liked me. But that first night alone with him in the hospital room, I was enraptured. I pulled the curtain around my bed and peered down into the bassinet He stared at me as I unwrapped his blanket and removed his diaper. I smiled at his naked little body and ran my hands all over him. He relaxed under my touch and wriggled about a bit. As I changed his diaper, I introduced myself and presented my plans for our future. He listened with interest before he began to wail. He was hungry. After a rocky start and the help of another new mother in the bed next to mine (by some miracle, she also happened to be a maternity nurse), I nursed him. I was in love. I knew by then that from henceforth, he would tell me what my plans would be. I acquiesced without complaint. Once we were home and eventually settled into a routine, my life was defined by his needs. His father left early and came home late most every day, and I spent long, mostly happy days with my baby.  I learned how to strap him to my chest and write. He slept to the sound of me banging away at the typewriter keys. If I stopped, he opened one eye and looked up at me, questioningly, but with understanding. I often rested my chin on his downy head, inhaled his unique scent, and rubbed my cheek against his soft hair. I had never been as in love with anyone as I was with him, and that love persists.

 It is true that I am not a real baby-person. Some women just adore infants. I am not one of them. Give me a two-year-old, and I am there for the duration. The emergence of language thrills me. I am intrigued by the surfacing of thought processes; I am captivated by their play, and by their creativity. I invented games to play with my son that involved little more than our imaginations. I grew as a writer because he challenged my vision and my originality as nothing else ever had. As he got older, I enjoyed the time I had with him even more because I knew it was short-lived. I welcomed school holidays and snow days because it gave us more time to be together. I stashed away little art kits that we could do on these days. We baked and cooked. We painted. I introduced him to mishmash. From time to time, I would allow him to empty the kitchen cabinets and pour a little of everything into a huge bowl. He delighted in this game as only a child could. With his sleeves rolled up and a big wooden spoon clutched in his hand, he stirred the ingredients as he explained what he was making. Each time, it was something else. Years later, when he told that he had chosen to write about mishmash as one of the topics for his memory piece during his six-week Language and Thinking orientation at Bard College, I was moved to tears. He remembered. My time with him had been well spent.

When I write about motherhood, as I often do, it comes from a place that is still a source of wonder to me. How is it possible to love someone so much? In The Sinner's Guide to Confession, each of the main characters is a mother. Barbara, the mother of three grown children, recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of each of her children. She deftly navigates those relationships, trying not to play favorites and working hard to be what each of her children needs while still retaining her independence and her privacy. When she eventually decides to reveal her secret, she is most worried about how it will affect her children. Kaye has two children and though they are adults, she is unable to disregard how her decision to leave their father might affect them. Even Kaye's relationship with her own mother, Gertie, explores the push and pull of mother and child. However, Ellen's loss of her infant daughter and the inability to conceive again play the most significant role in the novel. Ellen's need is so profound and so palpable that I cried as I wrote the section where she imagines what it would have been like to raise her daughter. Ellen's situation is heartbreakingly sad. Her loss defines her forever. I loved writing the scene where Ellen and Joy meet for the first time. They are each so full of expectations. Joy, already a mother herself, can really understand what Ellen must have felt and continues to feel. Both women have suffered unimaginable losses, and this brings them closer.

My role as a mother has enriched me as a writer. I can go to a place inside myself that understands what it means to split yourself between your own needs and dreams and your role as a mother. Of course, after so many years, I have a better grip on how to balance the two. Clearly, I have written consistently throughout these last twenty-four years. Still, when my son is home, I turn my days over to him whenever he wants me because now there are weeks and months that go by without seeing him. Although I cherish the time I now have to myself, I often miss those endless days of being wrapped in a cocoon with my baby. And like the women in my novels, I continue to create a life for myself that is separate from my child's life because that is natural and best. Sometimes, however, I long for just one more chance to experience another day of the chaos and fatigue that defined those early months. I want just one more day of the newness  and the thrill of such never-ending love.


Win A Free Book from Phyllis Schieber – Its very easy to be entered in a drawing for a FREE book by Phyllis Schieber. Post comments on any blogs during the virtual tour and you will have a chance to win a book from Phyllis. One random person will win – but we are also asking visitors to share a secret and one secret will also win a free book. As a bonus the blog owner that hosted the winning comments will also win a book. Share some interesting stories and questions with Phyllis Schieber during her tour – and have a chance to win a book.
For full details about Phyllis Schieber's virtual tour, visit her tour home page -
Order Your Copy here -
Visit Phyllis Schieber or

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:57 AM EST
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Thursday, 29 January 2009
The Sinner's Guide to Confession -A review
Topic: Book Review

We all hold secrets.  Sometimes they sit inside us and cause no harm, but often they eat away at us, causing  fear and pain.  We long to confess, but doing so seems completely out of the question--even to our best friends.

Phyllis Schieber examines these types of secrets in her novel The Sinner's Guide to Confession. Three friends who believe they know everything about the other, yet years go by and each woman holds within her a secret she finds impossible to share-or to let go of. 

What happens when you hold a secret that refuses to let you go?  Phyllis Schieber weaves a story that will make you stop and think of your own secrets and the consequences that might arise from keeping them hidden inside.  Her grasp of human emotion and interaction is excellent.  Each of these women handle things differently, but secrets tend to be the same no matter who holds them.

I would like to have seen more action in this book, but Phyllis Schieber tells a good story that will bring hours of leisurely pleasure to readers. You will find yourself looking deep inside and wondering about the secrets you hold.  The ending will both surprise you and yet make you feel like you should have seen it coming.

On the Rainbow Scale of Excellence, The Sinner's Guide to Confession earns five colors.


Win A Free Book from Phyllis Schieber – Its very easy to be entered in a drawing for a FREE book by Phyllis Schieber. Post comments on any blogs during the virtual tour and you will have a chance to win a book from Phyllis. One random person will win – but we are also asking visitors to share a secret and one secret will also win a free book. As a bonus the blog owner that hosted the winning comments will also win a book. Share some interesting stories and questions with Phyllis Schieber during her tour – and have a chance to win a book.
For full details about Phyllis Schieber's virtual tour, visit her tour home page -
Order Your Copy here -

Visit Phyllis Schieber or

Posted by joyceanthony at 3:28 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 29 January 2009 3:41 AM EST
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Wednesday, 28 January 2009
The Sinner's Guide to Confession -an excerpt
Topic: First Chapter

In this excerpt, Ellen offers to help teach English to Marisol, the young Dominican woman who cleans for her weekly. Far from home and alone, Marisol welcomes Ellen's kindnesses and the two women soon find themselves in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Mostly, however, Ellen maternal instincts are fueled by her relationship with Marisol.  When Marisol leaves, Ellen is bereft.

Marisol was recommended to Ellen by one of the buyers in her office. Although quite young, Marisol was reliable and hardworking. She had been cleaning since she left home in the Dominican Republic two years earlier at seventeen, often working seven days a week to save enough money to go to school. She wanted to learn to read and write English fluently since she was practically illiterate in Spanish. Her father had denied all his daughters any formal education, claiming that learning to read and write would only enable them to exchange love notes with boys. And everyone knew that boys were only interested in one thing. Marisol giggled behind her hand when she told this to Ellen, and Ellen surprised herself by giggling along. It was hard to resist Marisol's expansive nature. Every Monday she came to clean the apartment, and every Monday Ellen was newly struck by Marisol's beauty. She braided her curls into a single plait that hung down her narrow back almost to her waist. Her only jewelry was a pair of small gold hoop earrings and a gold cross on a gold chain that nestled in the hollow at the base of her throat.  A starched white blouse and ironed jeans were her unofficial uniform. Her sneakers were always clean, and her unpolished nails noticeably manicured. What really struck Ellen, however, was that Marisol always wore makeup. It seemed odd at first that she would wear lipstick, eye shadow and a light touch of mascara. At first, this meticulous grooming effort to clean for six hours worried Ellen, and she expected to be disappointed in Marisol's performance. However, not only did Marisol's work surpass Ellen's expectations, but Marisol won Ellen's heart. The gentle grace of this young girl was humbling. Soon Ellen understood that Marisol's preparations gave her work dignity. She might have been illiterate, but she had a job and was sought after because of her efficiency. Several months after Marisol had been working for them, Ellen offered to give her English lessons. For a moment, Ellen thought she might have offended Marisol. She hung her head and stared, motionless, at the floor. Concerned, Ellen touched her arm and said her name very softly. In excruciating slow motion, Marisol lifted her head. The perfectly smooth dark skin on her cheeks was streaked with tears. She clasped her folded hands to her chest and mumbled in Spanish, a prayer it seemed. With her usual dignity, she offered to pay Ellen who thanked her but refused, saying that it would be good for her own soul to do something for someone other than herself. Marisol shook her head vehemently, adding that Miss Ellen was a wonderful and kind person. Pleased, Ellen impulsively hugged Marisol who seemed desperate to be held. It was a telling moment. Marisol so clearly longed for her mother, any mother really at that moment, and Ellen so clearly longed to offer a mother's comfort.

Bill, of course, disapproved. He maintained that Ellen would be crossing a line that would have dire consequences. Ellen regarded him with cool disdain. Dire consequences? She thought good deeds brought spiritual reward, not the wrath of the Almighty. They sparred in this manner for weeks until Bill finally withdrew. It was evident that Ellen's mind was made up. She searched the Internet for appropriate materials, pored over educational catalogues, and visited several bookstores until she was satisfied that she had enough to begin Marisol's lessons. Ellen planned for the first lesson as though she were planning a party. She bought marble composition books, pencils and index cards. Although it was prematurely optimistic, Ellen bought several easy readers to tempt Marisol once her confidence was firmly established. Their first lessons went extremely well; so well, in fact, that Ellen found she had underestimated Marisol's determination and ability. In no time at all, Marisol was combining sounds and forming words, moving from basic primers to more complex exercises. She grappled with grammatical constructions, wondered over how little phonetics governed the rules of English spelling and was elated when she met success. Ellen matched Marisol's excitement and pleasure with heady enthusiasm. There was something about the sight of Marisol poring over a blank page in her composition book and filling it with words and then full sentences that made Ellen feel she had finally accomplished something worthwhile.   

Every Monday Ellen timed her arrival home to coincide with the end of Marisol's workday. Ellen quickly changed out of her business clothes, and fixed them sandwiches. Marisol especially liked it when Ellen placed a few potato chips alongside the sandwich. The first time Ellen did this Marisol clapped her hands and said it was fancy, just like in the diner. The flush of pleasure that this gave Ellen was even more touching than Marisol's delight. Such a small gesture, and yet it was one of the countless niceties that Ellen had imagined she would have performed as a mother. A note in a lunch box, a book of poetry with favorites checked in the index, homemade marshmallows on a wintry afternoon, tiny foil hearts spread over a red tablecloth on Valentine's Day. Ellen knew they were silly fantasies, but she could not escape them. The idea of her own little girl, doing homework at the kitchen table, chattering about her day while Ellen prepared their dinner was an image that she had permanently etched into her consciousness. The evenings Ellen spent with Marisol did not make up for what had been lost, but they allowed Ellen to practice the maternal feelings she so longed to share.

The day that Ellen had been alternately working toward and dreading finally came. She knew it would. Marisol shyly announced that she had started taking a class at the local community college. "Oh?" Ellen said in her best surprised voice. Marisol wanted to learn to read and write in Spanish, and Ellen spoke only enough Spanish to say hello, goodbye and thank you. The boy's name was Carlos. He was twenty-two, and he had a Green Card and a job. He planned to go to college and become an accountant. Marisol said he was very smart. And handsome. When Marisol said that her father had been right after all, she giggled. She and Carlos passed each other notes in class, and now they were in love. Ellen said how wonderful that was, and gave Marisol a congratulatory hug. Wonderful. Ellen wished her all the best. Really. Marisol and Carlos were getting married next month and moving to New Jersey. He had family there. She was so grateful to Miss Ellen. Really. The next time Marisol came would be the last. There was so much to do before the wedding. Ellen gave her an envelope with an extra one hundred dollar bill and pretended that she was really, really happy though once again, she felt that terrible emptiness that comes with an irreplaceable loss. Bill could not believe what he heard. Irreplaceable? There were millions of young illegal girls out there looking to clean for cash. And Ellen said that, of course, that was true. How foolish of her. Later that night, after Bill's snores signaled a deep sleep, she got up and sat at the dining room table, arranging and rearranging the pencils, pens, index cards and miscellaneous school supplies she had kept in a blue plastic box marked Marisol.


Win A Free Book from Phyllis Schieber – Its very easy to be entered in a drawing for a FREE book by Phyllis Schieber. Post comments on any blogs during the virtual tour and you will have a chance to win a book from Phyllis. One random person will win – but we are also asking visitors to share a secret and one secret will also win a free book. As a bonus the blog owner that hosted the winning comments will also win a book. Share some interesting stories and questions with Phyllis Schieber during her tour – and have a chance to win a book.
For full details about Phyllis Schieber's virtual tour, visit her tour home page -
Order Your Copy here -

Visit Phyllis Schieber or

Posted by joyceanthony at 2:51 AM EST
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Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Sinner's Guide to Confession
Topic: Blog Tours

Great title, don't you agree?  Sinner's Guide to Confession is the enwest creation of author Phyllis Schieber.  Over the next few days, we will be visiting with Phyllis, learning more about her and this book.  Tomorrow, we will have an excerpt from Sinner's Guide to Confession.  Thursday, Phyllis share her thoughts on Motherhood and Friday I offer my review.  Please come back for each post--and feel free to leave a comment!

Kaye and Barbara are longtime friends, now in their fifties. Ellen, who is several years younger, develops a friendship with the other two women years later, solidifying this close-knit group.  The three women are inseparable, yet each nurtures a secret that she keeps from the others.

Barbara, a widowed mother of three grown children, is an accomplished romance writer, who also has a secret persona as a celebrated erotica writer-an existence she feels compelled to keep from everyone. Kaye, a practicing psychotherapist and the mother of two, finds her marriage stable, but joyless. When she becomes involved with another man, she keeps her affair secret from her friends, too conflicted about her duplicity to expose herself. Ellen, a successful interior designer, childless and the seemingly perfect modern woman, harbors the most profound secret of all.

After her beloved husband betrays her, leaving her for a woman half her age who is also pregnant with his child, Ellen must face all her losses anew. First, there is the pain of the children she could never conceive with her husband. More importantly, however, there is the haunting memory of the child she had at sixteen and was forced to relinquish at birth. Estranged from her family, Ellen is reluctantly thrust back into contact after the death of her father, and learns that if she is ever to find her lost daughter-now a grown woman herself-she will have to confront her shame--and share her secret with her two closest friends.



Phyllis Schieber Author Bio

The first great irony of my life was that I was born in a Catholic hospital. My parents, survivors of the Holocaust, had settled in the South Bronx among other new immigrants. My mother was apparently so nervous she barely slept the entire time she was in the hospital, fearing her fair-skinned, blue-eyed newborn would be switched with another baby. When my paternal grandfather, an observant Jew, came to see his newest granddaughter in the hospital, he was so uncertain of how to behave around the kindly nuns that he tipped his yarmulke to them each time one passed. It was in this haze of paranoia and neuroses, as well as black humor, that the makings of a writer were initiated.

In the mid-fifties, my family moved to Washington Heights, an enclave for German Jews, known as "Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson." The area offered scenic views of the Hudson River and the Palisades, as well as access to Fort Tryon Park and the mysteries of the Cloisters. I graduated from George Washington High School. Among its famous graduates was Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State (my grandmother played cards with his mother at the YMWHA on Nagle Avenue).

I graduated from high school at  sixteen, went on to Bronx Community College, transferred to and graduated from Herbert H. Lehman College with a B.A. in English and a New York State license to teach English. I earned my M.A. in Literature from New York University and later my  M.S. as a developmental specialist from Yeshiva University. I have worked as a high school English teacher, a special education teacher, and as a learning disabilties specialist  in several college programs.

Reading was the first line of defense against anything I did not want to do. "I'm reading," was an excuse my parents never challenged. Education was paramount in our home. There were weekly trips to the library, and the greatly anticipated Friday afternoon story hour. Everything about  words seemed interesting and important.. I could make sense of the world if I put it on paper. I could even make the world better; people could become smarter and more attractive, and I could make people laugh and cry at will. Writng was powerful. I thought in stories, answered questions in my head and added, "she said" at the end of a sentence. I still do.


Win A Free Book from Phyllis Schieber - Its very easy to be entered in a drawing for a FREE book by Phyllis Schieber. Post comments on any blogs during the virtual tour and you will have a chance to win a book from Phyllis. One random person will win - but we are also asking visitors to share a secret and one secret will also win a free book. As a bonus the blog owner that hosted the winning comments will also win a book. Share some interesting stories and questions with Phyllis Schieber during her tour - and have a chance to win a book.

For full details about Phyllis Schieber's virtual tour, visit her tour home page -

Order Your Copy here -

You can visit Phyllis Schieber at or

Posted by joyceanthony at 2:03 AM EST
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Monday, 26 January 2009
Bubba & Giganto: Odds Against Us by Lea Schizas--
Topic: Blog Tours

Bullying is a subject we don't often talk about, but it is real--and many of our children face it daily. Lea, Schizas, a mother of five, knows well how this can make school a place of horror for a child.  She has written a book that addresses this subject through a story of two boys.  Let's explore.

First, the details of where you can find this book:

 4RV Publishing LLC

PO Box 6482

Edmond, OK 73083-6482

ISBN: 978-0-9797513-6-3



Available at:

4RV Publishing

Barnes & Noble

The Reading Warehouse



E-Mail Author :



Who is Lea Schizas:

Lea Schizas is a mother of five and tenderly referred as ‘Mother Hen' by many writers.

Many have asked me where I find the time to do all that I do. Easy, when you have a deep passion for your work, you will always find time to complete your projects.

Lea Schizas is the founder of The MuseItUp Club, an online critique community, the Muse Online Writers Conference, and co-founder of Apollo's Lyre. Each of these venues has consistently been in Writer's Digest 100 Top Writing Sites since 2005.

For more information on her blogs, upcoming books, zines/newsletters, go here:







Bubba & Giganto: Odds Against Them

By Lea Schizas

About the Book:

Bubba  hates it when his dad gets a contract for a new project. That means uprooting the family from one city and moving to another. Attending a new school is a major pet peeve of his. His smart alecky nature attracts the bullies in every school he's attended.

On the first day of school, Bubba bumps into this rather large student. Fearing a confrontation, he wears his tough guy attitude and waits for the punches to begin. Remarkably, the new student apologizes, and Bubba and David (aka Giganto as Bubba eventually nicknames him) become best friends.

Bubba and Giganto try out for the high school soccer team, and that's when trouble begins. Bubba knew eventually he'd meet the bullies of the school, and he was right.

In the first initial weeks, Bubba learns about a death that occurred the previous year; faces the bullies on several occasions; helps Giganto practice soccer before tryouts; and challenges the bullies to a scrimmage.

Little does Bubba know Giganto holds a secret - one that will place Giganto in a deadly situation.


Chapter One


Ever wonder if parents really listen to you? Try adding, "and the alien  scooped me up" and see their reaction. If they turn around and look in a weird way,  they paid attention. My parents just say, "Uh-huh, that's nice, dear."

But I've gone off topic here. My story has nothing to do with parents but everything to do with accepting a challenge. Starting at a new school and meeting friends is hard, really hard. Factor in that my parents decided to name me Bubba - not Bobby, not Brendan, but Bubba - and anyone can understand why I hate going to any school. This would be my fourth nightmare in a brand new setting.


Getting off the bus, I bumped right into this huge student. Couldn't avoid it. The kid, who must have been over 200 pounds, hogged the whole sidewalk. His oversized blue T-shirt looked more like a tent. Well, call me silly, but I turned to the circus freak and told him, "Move out of my way." Almost in slow motion, he started to wobble out of my path.

As I tried to pass, he yanked me back by my collar. My gut told me I may have made the biggest mistake of my life.

Putting on my ‘tough guy' face (the gnarly grin and uplifted eyebrow), I looked him squarely in the eyes. "What's up?" I asked, while my legs screamed RUN. Anticipating a nasty hit on my body, I squeezed my eyes shut.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to block your way."

Unsure if my ears heard right, I opened one eye and checked where his pudgy hands were. Although the tone of his voice sounded angelic in my head (with both eyes shut), I may have mistaken sarcasm for sincerity. To my astonishment, his hand waited for me to shake it in greeting. The other hand held on to his brown leather school bag. It reminded me of what a spy carrying Top Secret documents would use.

"My name's David Montana," he said, clasping my hand in a tight grip and shaking it. His ‘tent' wobbled with every shake, rattle, and roll he did with my hand. A childish grin spread across his cherub features.

"H-hey. I'm B -" No way would I tell him my name in front of everyone circled around us expecting the first fight of the school year. "Nice to meet you." My racing heart resumed its normal beat. I'm not normally the queasy and frightened type of a guy. I'm usually smarter in the sense I pick fights with guys my own size. So knowing my body would continue its healthy state, I let out a very inconspicuous sigh. Besides, I felt lower than a deflated punching bag for thinking him a circus freak.

Everyone dispersed once the warning bell rang, obviously disappointed I didn't get my teeth knocked out. My newfound friend and I entered the ugly, red brick building, similar to all my other schools. I wonder if it's like a secret school code to keep schools as monotone as possible in order to have students remain nice and quiet ... well, bored is more like it.

I looked around and felt like puking. The walls, lockers, doors, ceilings - everything was clean, not a mural anywhere, made me a bit nervous since every other school had those artistic imprints. Those schools allowed their students to decorate the walls with paintings and feel at home. So, I wondered if I had just stepped into boot camp or what, because it was blaringly obvious to me the kids here either had no artistic qualities or the school's administration felt they shouldn't decorate the walls. Great!

Could this day get any worse?

Yes. I couldn't help but feel as though I walked in a dank tunnel. Then it hit me as I looked around. There were no windows. The only sunlight streamed from the corridor windows. I stopped for a second and peeked inside a classroom. No windows. Yikes.

Even the Titanic had more windows.

"Yio, David." I ran to catch up with him. "What's up with the lack of windows?"

"Oh, you'll get used to it. We really don't notice. Students are less distracted."

"Yeah, but how will we know when we're nearing an iceberg?"

He looked at me as though I was off my rocker.

"Never mind." I didn't feel the need to explain my weird sense of humor to him.

David and I hit it off. Six foot plus David, and five ten and a hundred-sixty-five pound me shared every single class. Luck knew I would need David somewhere down the line.

And, boy, was Luck ever right.

Here is a brief interview with Lea conducted by Donna McDine:

What or whom inspires you to write?

I've joked on several interviews that I mistook my umbilical cord as a cool writing implement and that's how my writing career began. In all honesty, it was my dad's love for the penned word that set me on my path. As a young girl I remember hearing dad's speeches at weddings, meetings, get-togethers, and how he captivated the audience with his words.

Along with dad's talent, it was my collection of comic books that really moved me to write. I loved the cliff-hanging endings, pushing me to buy the next comic book to find out what was going to happen. And that is exactly how I set up each of my chapter endings, thanks to comic books.

Where do you work?  What is your ideal writing environment?

I've worked wherever I can get peace and quiet, alone time with my laptop. Right now I'm in a corner in my living room. The ideal writing environment would be my own office, where I can close the door to the yapping of my five kids and friends, to have my own shelves in front of me with my stack of writing books instead of having them spread throughout the house. But, this is one lesson writers need to adapt to - writing whenever and wherever you can, regardless of your surroundings. So, I've adapted quite nicely.

How many hours do you devote to writing and how long does it take you to write a book?

Donna, I am involved with many writing commitments so I work looonnng hours on my laptop. My day usually starts at 6:30am and doesn't finish until midnight strikes. Now, I do clean, cook, and all the other motherly things so my time isn't spent leaning over my laptop constantly.

Each day I devote to moving my own writing and editing forward, and then give one or two other writing aspects (updating sites/blogs, preparing zines/newsletters/reviews) my devotion as well. This slows down the time to complete my own work but I can safely say that I can finish three books in a year.

What do you most enjoy about the creative process?  Are your characters based on people in your life?

I enjoy the freedom of no fear. What do I mean by that? I don't fear being locked up in a nuthouse for stepping into my characters shoes while penning their stories. I become a teen with visions of past murders; an alien who finds himself tried for treason; a girl who discovers she is a princess to this whole new world she never knew existed. Writing allows you an escape, along with your reader, to leave your own safe domain and live another person's life. This exhilaration can't be felt in another profession as it is felt by those who write.

My characters are not based per say on anyone in my life but each do possess characteristics of family members. By keeping it ‘in the family' it's easier for me to flesh out their personalities, reactions and actions, to their fullest potential. And it doesn't matter if my characters are human or animals; characters need to ‘feel' real.

Do your characters crowd your conscious and sub-conscious thoughts?  If yes, does it become difficult to keep them quiet?

In my previous answer, I wrote that I step into my character's shoes so my answer would be yes, they do crowd my conscious and sub-conscious thoughts. How can they not? Until their story is finished, they are my buddies, telling me where they want to go, what they want to do. Some who are in a series have started their own blog, and quite popular as a matter of fact. They've now jumped out of my head and communicating with readers. And this is what it's all about- leaving a memorable impression on your reader, connecting them to your characters.

Please provide us with a glimpse into your current project.

I have one big project that needs thought to successfully pull it off.

"Rock Kingdom" is the first in a series of books based within the land of Rock Kingdom. This is an unusual piece of work for me in the sense the villain is given as much attention as the main character, Alexandra Stone, a young teenager who discovers she is the princess to this whole new world her parents kept from her for a reason. The villain has a dilemma, and in each book not only will I offer glimpses into his past life to discover this ‘dilemma' but also offer the panoramic portrait of Rock Kingdom, each book hosted in a different part within this world. So I am mapping out each book, each area holding a purpose and revealed secret to the ‘villain', and introducing new citizens of Rock Kingdom along with the regular cast of characters in the whole series.

But this isn't the only book I'm fleshing out. I have eight books in the works right now and each one is given equal time for me to complete. Every book needs to stamp its mark into a reader so I try not to rush anything.

What do you find to be more challenging: editing other writers' manuscripts or developing your own?

I don't have a hard time developing my ideas into penned words, nor the editing stage. I do have a hard time figuring out if I'm objective enough and deleted inconsequential passages to the fullest extend. That is why a critique partner or an editor comes in handy. We need another pair of eyes to catch things we are too involved with to see.

I have absolutely no difficulty editing other manuscripts because I am totally objective to this work and can spot plot holes, passive writing, weak dialogue easier than its creator.

Do you maintain your numerous websites on your own?  Or do you have assistance?

I've been accused of being twins, possessing a magical wand, or totally nuts. I agree with their last sentiment. I have no assistance. I do them all as I wrote earlier, devoting/splitting my time each day to one or two projects besides my writing and editing. I always say determination and perseverance are two qualities a writer must possess in order for them to complete their projects. Passion has to be, however, within you, as well, and I do possess passion for the written word.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Editing, reading...oh, you mean ‘out of the writing sense'. with my three-year-old dog, Daisy. She's in one of my books, naturally. Go to the movies, visit Chapters for a good book (they must think I'm the owner with the amount of times I visit), garden, or sit outside and do absolutely nothing. Rare but it happens.

What has been the most memorable experience in your writing career?

Besides being published, there are many memorable experiences in my career but two stand out for me. Kathe Gogolewski, a MuseItUp member and dear cyber friend, surprised me for the Muse's second year anniversary. She went behind my back and contacted several writers I know and they made a tribute to me, each writing a small thank you as to how I touched their writing life in her site,  It wasn't the tribute nor the thank yous that touched me than the fact they went to the trouble of doing something special for me. This meant the world to me.

The other total surprise was when I met with another Muser, Shelagh McNally, at a café here in Montreal and she presented me with a plant and a very special card that I treasure to this day. It was from all the writers in the first anthology project I set up, co-authored, edited and had published by Double Dragon Publishing, "The Muse On Writing"-  These writers live all over the world but each one signed, wrote a special note to me, then sent it off to the next person to sign until it came to me. We're talking this card went around the world until it finally came into my possession. And I had no clue. Again, this gesture, I can't tell you what it meant and continues to mean to me.

My parents taught me that you never do something if you are expecting thanks. You do what you can for others within your means and time constraint. And that's what I do so whenever an email of thanks comes my way, or the above two gestures, these are my favorite toppings to add with my ice cream. They move me to pay it forward to the next writer.

Thank you, Donna, for the wonderful questions and opportunity to meet your readers.


If you have children or grandchildren, you will want o share a copy of this book with them. 

Posted by joyceanthony at 3:43 AM EST
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Sunday, 25 January 2009
Wake Up Your Life by Doris Roper -- A Review
Topic: Book Review

Before I get into my review of this book, I'd like to extend an apology to Doris and all my readers.  This should have been posted Saturday, but I was having connection trouble on and off and it is late :-(  It seems ice and cable lines don't always mix.  Now, to the review...


Life transitions are notoriously difficult for many women--lacking both self-confidence and financial independence, many stay in situations that are far less than ideal.  Doris Roper has created a book for that helps women through these transitions, building self-confidence as well as financial knowledge. 

Wake Up Your Life isn't your typical advice book, although there is plenty of that included!  Ms. Roper has included smart women quotes to encourage and illustrate her points.  She has added interactive exercises, both in dealing with the transitions and in self-evaluation.  Using down-to-Earth language, Doris Roper explains how and why each step is important, making it possible for the reader to more easily follow the steps.

I was impressed with the amount of information included in this book.  I felt it was worth the time and effort to read.  Personally being a strong, independent woman, I figured it would be a light read, but I found myself learning and discovered some things I never realized. 

This is a book to be read by every woman, no matter where you are on your life path.  Once you have worked through the exercises and reached the end, you will feel as though someone has gently taken your hand and led you through the darkness into a new light of self-confidence and independence.

This book definitely gets seven colors on the Rainbow Scale of Excellence--a Perfect Rainbow.


Posted by joyceanthony at 4:52 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 25 January 2009 4:53 AM EST
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Friday, 23 January 2009
Doris Roper tells Why she wrote Wake Up Your Life
Topic: Blog Tours

WAKE UP your life! Why I wrote the book

I wrote WAKE UP your life! for women, particularly those dealing with transition. We go through many of those during our lifetime; break ups, career change, widowhood, retirement, moving and more. We don’t really grow or change our lives unless we are dealing with something painful or challenging.

My unique story involves three men (my primary relationships) and one woman who had a relationship with all of them. I know it sounds like something that only happens in a soap opera, but it happened to me. At the time I could not believe it – it seemed surreal, but I realized after many years of personal growth that I had needed something really unusual and dramatic to wake me up and grow.

I was a strong and independent woman and a tough cookie. Dealing with my husband cheating on me was not enough to trigger real personal growth. No, the next man in my life had to cheat on me with the same woman before I took real notice and to further my growth, my third man had to marry the woman a few years later!

The traits that helped me deal with the pain were my great sense of humor and practical, optimistic side. It is that sense of humor that caused me to call the three men Tom, Dick and Harry and add some amusing yet helpful quotes to my book.

We generally live our lives in a semi-conscious state, blissfully unaware of all the underlying issues and beliefs that govern our actions and choices. I hope that my book helps readers to become aware of some of their own limiting beliefs and unresolved issues so that they can heal and change their lives.

I welcome your comments and hope you will share some of your own insights and revelations

Posted by joyceanthony at 1:56 AM EST
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Thursday, 22 January 2009
Wake Up Your Life by Doris Roper--and Excerpt
Topic: Blog Tours


Introduction The beginning of the beginning. 1

Chapter 1 Getting clear on my quest. 9

Chapter 2 Pain is a blessing, not a curse. 17

Chapter 3 Forget rejection, think redirection. 23

Chapter 4 Give up your power, give up your life. 31

Chapter 5 Focus on your limitations, and you will only see brick walls. 43

Chapter 6 Remember the Butterfl y Effect – your view of things affects others. 59

Chapter 7 Forgiveness is for you, not for them. 67

Chapter 8 You gotta have fun! 83

Chapter 9 Get ready to rock and roll! 89

Appendix Purpose Finder & Debt Reduction 103


The beginning of the beginning—how one day changed everything.

December 19th, 1991—the date that my journey began. It was a day of great emotional pain, the day I started to wake up and regain my personal power. I was 32 years old.

I have a story to tell that I know will help you. It is about how I came awake and fi gured out how to have the life that I really want. In some ways, my story is similar to those of many other women; in other ways, it has some angles that are unusual if not unique.

The main part of the story takes place in George, Western Cape Province, South Africa. A tourist destination any time of year, it became home for me when my husband Tom and I moved there in my early 20s. It was a move prompted by a lifelong desire to own my own business. George was one of the two fastest growing towns in South Africa and the only one near the coast.

I had trained to become a goldsmith in the executive capital, Pretoria, and was fortunate enough to learn my trade at avery reputable jeweler whose owners happened to be good friends of my parents. Just like us, they were Viennese and it was at their suggestion that I tried on goldsmithing for size and found an instant connection with it. Tom was not qualified at anything and had been working at the weather bureau when we met. I heard that an old school colleague, Peter, who had also become a goldsmith (and who I knew was not a very good one) had moved to George to open the first manufacturing jewelry shop there. He was doing well (being the only one) and I thought that I needed to give him some competition.

Because of the training I had received, I was considered a very good goldsmith and designer, so that was the catalyst for our move to George. It was not a surprise when, shortly after we moved there, Peter sold his shop.

I had met Tom at a nightclub and we had had a one year courtship before getting married in 1980. Looking back, I realize that the feelings I had for Tom had nothing to do with love. At the time, however, it seemed like love. He was a terribly handsome man who was very smitten with me. I had never experienced such intensity from a man before and thought he must really love me. Being 20 years old did not make me an expert on love.

When I did have niggling feelings of doubt and try to pull away, Tom would be so intensely needy that I felt sorry for him. I confused that feeling with love. Whatever it was, it was enough to push me into a new life in a new town with a new husband.


When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.  ~ Adrienne Rich

George is a small city or a big town, not quite 100,000 inhabitants. It is a vacation destination for South Africans, sitting along the Indian Ocean coast in a perpetually mild climate. The environment suited me, and I enjoyed establishing myself in the jewelry business as well as in the community at large.

Social life in George was limited, and the “friendship pool” among permanent residents was finite. Tom and I liked to socialize, and we joined the local tennis club shortly after taking up residence, seeking like minded souls with whom to socialize, play tennis, and generally serve as our friends’ network.

One of those souls was Candy, wife of Martin, another club member. A quiet, apparently delicate woman, in many ways she was my antithesis. Where I was strong, assertive, and ready to converse on any topic, Candy was shy, unassuming, and more comfortable listening than talking. However, she was an excellent tennis player and golfer, and the men found her physically attractive.

In some ways, Candy was a “traditional” woman, a helpless waif who looked to men to guide her through life. Her self-esteem was so low that when a man paid her attention, she blossomed. Of course, the novelty wore off after a while and she would become demanding and draining. I had no idea when I first met her how powerfully attractive that kind of woman can be to a certain kind of man—the kind of man I chose.

Candy and Martin were our first close friends in George, and we got to know each other very well. Apart from playing tennis once or twice per week, we also spent each weekend playing cards and socializing together. Actually, Candy and Tom got to know each other well— very, very well. I discovered that they had fallen in love with each other less than two years into our marriage and approximately six months after we moved to George.

Frankly, I took the revelation calmly—relative, that is, to how I took similar news a few years later. Tom admitted that he had fallen in love with her, but that he did not know what to do about it because he loved us both. My overriding feeling was one of hurt pride. I had married a weak man, someone who leaned on me for the simplest things, and that weakness made him vulnerable. According to him, his feelings for Candy “just happened,” he loved us both, and he did not know what to do.  Candy, a married woman herself, apologized to me, saying how sorry she was but that there was nothing they could do about it, and a lot more in the same vein.

My decision about how to handle the situation was more or less made for me when I fell pregnant in the midst of all the hubbub. We stayed together through the birth of our son, and less than two years later, our daughter. We stayed married, in fact, for another five years after the big revelation.

Enter Dick

Tom and I divorced when I was 29 and I entered another relationship. Dick was a much better person than Tom (or so I thought), and I was confident that this time there was a solid foundation for a bond that would last for years. This new (and improved) man in my life was a very good tennis player and a life-of–the–party type. He regularly arranged barbecues, games evenings and parties.

Dick moved in with me about five months into the relationship, and this man who was so different from my ex-husband enriched my life. The difference in my relationship with Dick was that we connected well intellectually and had great fun sparring verbally – something I had not had with Tom at all! I found it very stimulating and exciting to stretch my intellectual muscles.

Dick created quite a large social circle—a circle that included Candy and Martin (yes, Martin had stayed with her after her fling with Tom). In such a small community, it was impossible for me to distance myself from my ex-husband’s ex-lover, so I made the best of the situation.

Actually, as strange as it may seem, I really liked Candy. Our relations were cordial, we played tennis periodically and all socialized together, with Dick organizing most of the parties. Martin was more of a golfer, so did not hang out at the tennis club that much.

Déjà vu all over again

I was sitting at a Bridge table the night of December 18th in 1991, with Dick, Candy and Martin. We were engaged in a sociable game, accompanied by a nice red wine that all of us were fully enjoying. I do not remember now what prompted me to look under the table—perhaps I leaned down to get something out of my purse, or I dropped my napkin—but whatever it was, what I saw shook the foundations of my world.

Candy and Dick were playing footsie under the table, bare feet caressing each other. I could not believe what I was seeing at first. Then events took a Hollywood turn, as we all behaved like characters in a nighttime soap opera. My wine-sparked emotions spurred me as I stood up and began a tirade that did not end until we got home.

“So now you’re at it with another of my men,” I remember saying to (or rather, shouting at) Candy. “What’s the matter with you?”

There was much protestation and apology, both at the Bridge table and on the way home in the car. Dick assured me that this was all a tempest in a teacup, that nothing was going on, that he was sorry. I listened to everything he had to say, then took myself off to bed in an attempt to get some distance from the situation before discussing things further.

Predictably, I did not sleep well that night. It was the eve of the worst day of my life, the day that everything fell apart and the day I began to put it all back together again.

Waking up

My life is the reflection of the realization of my internal quest over all those years, and I find that now is the time to share my journey with others. That is what this book is about. It is a guide for waking up, based on my own journey from sleep to full consciousness. My story is meant to resonate with you, to inspire you, to show that any woman can reach the place where life is full and healthy and relationships are fulfilling rather than dramatic.

Ladies, let’s get rolling…and start turning around the things in your life that are sapping your power and aliveness.

The Power of 3

Sets of three have a special power to the human brain. I do not know why, but it is so. To tap into the “power of 3,” I will include a question at the end of each chapter that asks you to think of three of something. To start things off:

What three situations or challenges in your life need resolution?

About Doris Roper

Doris lives in Carlsbad, California with her husband Arlen. Between them, they have four grown children and three grandsons.

Doris is a Financial Life Planner, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, partner in a wealth management firm and trained mediator.

Her life experiences, many of which are mentioned in this book, have given her a passion to help women become empowered. Doris therefore created the W.I.T Institute a one-stop resource and membership site for women in transition where they can get support, education and advice.

Contact details:

Click below to get to order page


Don't forget the giveaway:

Each time a blog visitor comments on any or all of the blog stops, they will be entered in a random drawing for a 6 month Gold membership to The Smart Woman’s Success Connection

This membership has everything you need to know for money management including information about having a financial plan and starting a business and includes a copy of her book in audio and PDF. It also offers a resource for women who want to stop their divorce..

Share your thoughts and comments with author Doris Roper. She will check in throughout the day to answer questions. You’ll learn more and have a chance to win a Gold membership to The Smart Woman’s Success Connection. If you haven't already read her book pick up a copy during the tour at

For more information about Doris Roper and her virtual tour, check the schedule at

Posted by joyceanthony at 4:41 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 22 January 2009 4:51 AM EST
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Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Teaching Women to Claim Their Own Power
Topic: Blog Tours

Our guest over the next few days is Doris Roper.  We will be exploring some of her work, especially her book, Wake Up Your Life!


WAKE UP your life! combines Doris ’s story with sage insights about how to turn on your life’s alarm clock and get going in the direction of aliveness and fulfillment. In these pages, Doris tells her “one of a kind” story about the day her life crashed down around her and what she did about it.


Consider this book a ticket for your journey to an amazing life. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to:


  • Consider how you can wake up your own life.
  • Change the way you perceive the pain you encounter in your life and relationships.
  • Turn rejection into redirection.
  • Experience the enormous power of forgiveness in making the life you want.
  • Distinguish between your limiting beliefs and that positive inner voice that propels you forward.

What would you do if you had three major relationships in your life and the same woman interfered in all three of them? How would you handle it? This is what happened to Doris Roper.. First, her husband of two years fell in love with this woman (*Candy) and in the midst of trying to decide what to do about it, Doris fell pregnant with her first child and the decision was made to continue with the marriage. More than 5 years later, the marriage ended in a very difficult divorce, and Doris entered her next major relationship with *Dick. Two years into this relationship, Doris discovered that he was cheating on her with Candy. Shocked and devastated, this became the starting point of an inner journey that woke up her life.


The growth and insights gained as a result of her experiences, put Doris where she is today—with a fabulous marriage, a challenging and fulfilling profession, and a story that inspires and motivates other women to follow her example.


Doris focuses on working with women dealing with a transition to build a solid financial foundation. Her experiences of going through a difficult divorce, rebuilding and running a business as a single mother with young children, her mother becoming a widow at 41 and transitioning to a new continent and successful career, give her an understanding and compassion for women dealing with transitions of their own. Doris found a large percentage of women don't feel competent when it comes to managing finances and investments, because women undervalue themselves and lack confidence.


Doris is the founder of The W..I.T. Institute, an educational and support organization for women to master their financial lives. Doris helps women to change their belief systems about life, money and success as she knows that it’s their limiting beliefs that keep so many women from being successful.

Doris is offering a wonderful giveaway. 

Each time a blog visitor comments on any or all of the blog stops, they will be entered in a random drawing for a 6 month Gold membership to The Smart Woman’s Success Connection This membership has everything you need to know for money management including information about having a financial plan and starting a business and includes a copy of her book in audio and PDF. It also offers a resource for women who want to stop their divorce..

Share your thoughts and comments with author Doris Roper. She will check in throughout the day to answer questions. You’ll learn more and have a chance to win a Gold membership to The Smart Woman’s Success Connection. If you haven't already read her book pick up a copy during the tour at

 For more information about Doris Roper and her virtual tour, check the schedule at

Posted by joyceanthony at 3:44 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 21 January 2009 3:46 AM EST
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Saturday, 17 January 2009
Meet the Multi-Talented Dehanna Bailee
Topic: Blog Tours

Dehanna Bailee is a multi-published author who shows an author does not need to stick with only fiction or non-fiction, but can be equally talented at both.  I will be featuring a few of her books today, and you can visit to see even more--and get a free download! I also invite you back on Tuesday for an in-depth interview with Dehanna!

True Nature
ISBN 0975509519
Paranormal Romance


An inspiring novel about a courageous woman who seeks the truth of her soul and finds it's not just who we are, or were, that matters. It's who we will become. Readers are invited to accompany the author on a journey to explore the wilder side of our own nature through the eyes of her heroine, Kailen James. Haunted by her dreams and an unknown future, she travels to New Orleans and beyond where her deepest fears are revealed and the answers prove more startling than she ever imagined...


Calypso's Revenge: A Traitor's Heart"
Genre: Sci-Fi/Futuristic with Romantic Elements

Cover Blurb:

Former Brigadier Teah Valtamise is wanted for killing her partner and abandoning her post. Eight years since she fled Calypso, she thinks she’s out testing her newest protégés skills however the solid sensation of a gun to the back of her head tells her otherwise. Now in the hands of an old comrade, as Teah works to save the life of an innocent oblivious to the depth of one man’s vengeance, will she be prepared to sacrifice everything--a chance at love, an old friendship, and possibly, her own life--to do what she knows is right?


Title: "For Better or Worse"
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance


All Sandra ever wanted was a simple life with some sense of normalcy--what she has is a home invasion gone terribly wrong, an old boyfriend hot on the prowl, and one very, very angry husband. Will this werewolf in hiding be able to prove she isn’t going to leave her husband while trying to protect him from the consequences of an unanticipated slaying?

In “For Better or Worse,” a modern-day woman struggles to keep the truth of her identity hidden from the mortal man she wed while the bonds of marriage are tested by a long lost love.


Dehanna Bailee also writes extensively on the subject of POD publishing.  For details on those books, please visit her website.

Posted by joyceanthony at 1:16 AM EST
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