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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!!


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:06 AM EST
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Sunday, 24 February 2008
Getting to Know Steven Wand
Topic: Author Interview

Steven Wand the person

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

caring, perceptive, visionary

2. How do you think others would describe you?

intelligent, loving, wise, healer

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

being a great father and growing my spiritual power and assisting others to evolve spiritually as well

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

the family cat - Buddie (grey & white long hair - very mellow)

5. What is (one of )your most precious memories?

our wedding reception, climbing into the Rolls Royce and joining friends at a club

6. What is your most embarrassing memory?

peeing my pants in the dentist chair (about 8 years old)

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

what I’m doing now - residential painting contractor and/or healer/health practitioner.

8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Steven Wand came into this life to cross the final finish line. His struggles and his loving family guided him to discover his greatest truth. Steven found the light of God within himself and inspired others to do the same. His love for his daughters and wife filled him to the point where he could finally love himself.

Steven’s love for becoming more inspired and touched the lives of thousands of people and this planet is transformed because him. He has now joined thousands of other beings of light and will remain faithfully in service to all of us growing our light and love so that we may share it with the world.

Steven Wand the writer:

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

when an article I submitted to the Salt Lake Tribune was published ( ten years ago)

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

just published first book, writing weekly articles, setting up a blog, starting a sequel journal to go along with first book.

11. What are your future goals for your writing?

syndicated column, screenplays, more personal development books, a children’s book or two.

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

nothing too typical yet. I write when I can squeeze it in. To do the book I took 3 months off from my painting career.

13. Why do you write?

It allows me to become clearer about who I am and where I am going and I believe my voice will assist others in their path of self discovery.

14. What writer most inspires you? Why?

Neil Walsh - he’s breaking down the old spiritual paradigm.

15. How do you define your writing?

It’s heartfelt, simple and to the point.

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

I connected with Steven’s writings, because he seemed to know exactly who I was and where I truly wanted to go - my life was greatly altered for the better because of him.

Steven Wand the details:

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

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

email through website

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

we have just the one. Living the Heart Life...letting go of the Hard Life

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

Sincere, heartfelt insight into what it will take for them to live an empowered, abundant life and to be inspired to expand who they think they are.

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?

That I truly care about them. That I know their pains and I know the truth of how powerfully constructive they can become. That my writings are intended to be a catalyst for them to look at their disempowering beliefs and begin to find ways to love themselves and others so that they may step towards their spiritual freedom and fulfill the purpose of life and that is to raise our consciousness and live and vibrate from a place of divine love, not human, conditional, part-time love.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 25 February 2008 12:53 AM EST
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Saturday, 23 February 2008
Getting to Know Zahra Owens
Topic: Author Interview
Zahra Owens the person:

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

Open-minded, eccentric, free-spirited

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Unfathomable, kind (hopefully), imaginative

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

I can't stand injustice. I'm usually fairly soft-spoken, prefer to blend into the background, rather than stand out, but when some small or larger injustice is done to me or someone around me, I'll stand up and fight, even if it's for a stranger.

I often wish I had time to go into politics, but then I'm probably too much of an idealist for that.

Other than that, I'm a movie buff and if I had more money, I would certainly spend it on travel.

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

Nope, sorry.  Even plants die in my house, so...I'm not risking it.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

Meeting someone I admire very much.

It was a fairly impersonal meeting and by no means private, but he, being the kind and generous person that he is, made it special for me in a very personal way. He signed his book for me and with a few words made me feel that he appreciated me being there. I was amazed at how much was said in that short conversation - we each exchanged only a few sentences - but he made me feel like for those few minutes, he was there only for me.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

That's a tough question, because I don't feel embarrassed easily. Either that or I have very selective memory!

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

Haha, I'm actually doing something else with my life, apart from being a writer, although I'd love to be able to write for a living! Sadly I need to work fulltime to stay alive. I have changed careers though and I may change again. I'm not the type to sit still, so what may work for me today, will seem boring or unappealing to me tomorrow.

If I'd have to choose, I'd say, my dream has always been to be a movie director, but I seriously doubt that will ever happen.

8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Zahra Owens, a bestselling romance novelist, died on Saturday in her East Sussex cottage where she did most of her writing. The 97-year old author  had moved there from her native Belgium after her first novel reached the top of the New York Times Bestseller list more than 55 years earlier, allowing her to become a full time writer.

Although not a native English speaker, Ms. Owens was at the forefront of a group of female romance writers who collectively swayed  public opinion, ultimately carving the way for worldwide acceptance of same-sex marriage and who, through the subject matter of their books, almost completely eradicated homophobia and gender bias.

She is survived by many generations of loyal fans and will be cremated after a non-denominational ceremony at Brighton beach.  Her remains will be scattered in space by the next passenger ship to the moon colony.

(I'm sorry, it's 3 paragraphs. I'm not known for writing short stories)

Zahra Owens the writer:

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

When I finished my first novel length story and couldn't wait to start a new one.

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

I'm still slaving away behind my keyboard and both trying to finish the three or so stories I have going through my mind and trying to rework some of my already finished ones into a novel to offer for publication.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I'd love to publish more, but I'd also like to stretch my writing muscle a bit and venture out into undiscovered terrain, by changing the genre I write in.

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

I don't have one really. There are days when I can't get a letter on paper and days when I write 2 or 3000 words in one sitting.  I try to write every day, but I also need to work for a living and I'm easily distracted.

13.  Why do you write?

To get the stories out of my head. It's a compulsion almost. When there are outside reasons why I can't write, because I don't have the time or because work is very stressed out, that's when I feel that compulsion most.

It's also escapism of course!

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I'm not going to name names, because it really depends on my mood.

I love writers who can take me on an adventure and make me feel like I'm there with the characters.  I also like writers who challenge my way of thinking, who make me see a different side of the story.

I don't appreciate writers solely for their literary value. Because I was never schooled in English, I never read ‘The Great Works of Literature', so my response to novels and books is usually purely emotional.

15.  How do you define your writing?

From the heart. And it doesn't always follow ‘the rules'.

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

She opened my eyes to a different way of thinking.

Zahra Owens the details:

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

Website :


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

Yes, they can comment in my blog or email me at

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

I only have one novel available so far: Diplomacy from Dreamspinner Press, but there are two short stories of mine available as E-books at their site as well.

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

I write homo-erotic romance stories with often flawed male characters who don't follow the rules.  They are rarely alpha males, but never cliché sissies, in short, they're the type of man you could easily meet in real life. Most of my work is contemporary, but my next novel may well be a mix of contemporary and historical romance and somewhere in my future is at least one sci-fi story.

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?

Talking about yourself is hard, because it means you need to analyze your work and I really try not to do that too much. What I write comes from my heart and my stomach, more than from my head and should be read that way too.

When you read (any books, not just mine) you should open yourself up to the stories that are told and take the characters into your heart, where you can give them a warm, safe place to live. That's where my characters come from, from my heart. They've lived there and I nurtured them and let them grow and now they're on the page waiting for another heart to accept them and keep them alive.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 23 February 2008 1:17 AM EST
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Friday, 22 February 2008
Getting to Know Randi Clarken
Topic: Author Interview
Randi Clarken the person:

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

Caring, affectionate and funny

2.   How do you think others would describe you?

A good listener.  Also...



Outgoing and friendly (read: talkative)

And... some folks think I'm a pretty good cook and baker.  Also, my writing group (who totally rock, btw!) think I'm a pretty good rhyming poet, too. 

Let's see - what else?  Oh yeah...

Procrastinator and full of disorganized chaos. (Actually, those characteristics are mostly thought by my husband.  Sadly, it's true.  Fortunately, people outside of my house seem surprised when I say that!)

Dependable and cheerful.

And last...

My kids think I'm cool, but I am quite sure they will outgrow it. And probably fairly soon, too.   (Heavy sigh.)

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

My family first and foremost, followed by my friends.  I'm a very, very, very lucky lady! 

About the other stuff:  I love to cook and bake, read, sing in the shower and celebrate any holiday that is fun.  I love to do portrait photographs of children, see Broadway musicals and collect pins from places I've visited.   I'm an inveterate doodler.  I'm also a chocoholic of the first degree.  I love teddy bears.  I would be passionate about music if I had any musical talent.  I'm a Sudoku maniac.  I love to wrap presents with beautiful, elegant bows.  Talking...Ummmm...although the list goes on, I'll shut up for now...

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

Yep!  Corky the Crazed Cairn Terrier.  She is sweet, funny, incredibly smart and she thinks she is the boss in our house.  (And I'm slightly ashamed to admit she's right.)

5.  What is your most precious memory?

That would have to be one of three things (or all three, if I can squeeze in three most precious memories): 1.) the day my husband and I got married.  It was beautiful.  The funny thing about that day, however, is that just before I was to walk down the aisle, my mother told me how beautiful I looked, which made me cry - so I told my sister to tell me a dirty joke, and that was enough to get me to regain my composure (sort of) and walk down that aisle. 

2.)  How my husband proposed: He flew me to Washington D.C. on the Friday night before Christmas.  Nothing happened that night.  The next day, we went to the Smithsonian where we spent most of the day at the Air and Space Museum (something which he really wanted to do.)  Finally, he asked me where I wanted to do - and I practically shouted, "The GEMS!  I want to see the Hope DIAMOND!  [Hint!  Hint!}  After we did this, we went back to our hotel to change for dinner.  Since it was unseasonably warm that December, and we still had some time before our reservations, we headed over to the mall in front of the White House.  All around the mall were 50+ Christmas trees (one for each state and the rest for US territories.) There was a band shell, too with carolers - and at one end of the mall was the National Christmas Tree. In front of the National Christmas Tree, he popped the question!

2.)  those wonderful moments on the first day of Spring when my twins babies were born.  My son and daughter were tiny little preemies, but they were gorgeous.  It was magical!

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Kind of a long story...

When I was 17, I visited a friend who had moved to Tennessee with her family.  One day while I was visiting there, a bunch of us took a boat to a small island in the middle of a nearby lake.  On the island, there was a small cliff (maybe 30 feet up or so? - I don't know.  It seemed HIGH!)   There was a tree branch at the top of the cliff which over hung the water and the branch had a Tarzan rope tied to it, which had several old bandanas tied to it for the ‘swinger' to get a better grip. 

I was (and still am!) very afraid of heights, but I finally decided to climb up the rocks to the top of the cliff, like everyone else was doing. 

Once I got up there, there was that proverbial GULP!  You know the GULP! I mean: that not-so-distant relative to the AAAAARRRRRGGGH!

I saw there was no way I could climb back down all those steep nasty rocks, so I realized I could either stay there for the rest of my life (not an appealing proposition, to be honest) - or - I would have to use the Tarzan swing to get back down.

So...I grabbed the rope and swung out over the water - and let go. 


After I came up from the water, I thought, Hey, this isn't so bad.  In fact, it's kind of fun!  I think I'll do it again. 

Bad idea.  Really bad idea.

As it happened, that day I was wearing a two piece bathing suit.  The top of it hooked and tied in the front.  Now, I'm not quite sure how it happened, but when I attempted the Tarzan swing for the second time, one of the old bandanas, which was quite faded and frayed, got caught in the front hook of my bathing suit top.  Unfortunately, at the exact moment the bandana decided to entangle  itself with my bathing suit top, I chose to let go of the rope, and the result was that the bandana and my bathing suit top were yanked up to my neck, leaving me suspended there, ‘with my goodies hanging out," as my friend's older brother told everyone.  And I do mean everyone.

I did manage eventually to get myself free, but not before a boatload of kids came by and saw the whole thing.  And cheered.

Yep - my face was really red!  Without a doubt, that was my most embarrassing moment.

And I cannot believe I just shared that.

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

Probably a portrait photographer and graphic artist. 

8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

You're kidding, right?  Hahahahahahaha! about an epitaph instead?

Here lies RJ Clarken

She penned a fun poetry collection.

Let's hope the senior editor in the sky

won't send her a letter of rejection.

Randi Clarken the writer:

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

When I got my first ‘real' rejection letter. 

Okay...truthfully, I think I always thought of myself as a writer, but it wasn't until much later in my life that I really made a commitment to it, joining a critique group, attending conferences and lectures and classes and trying to write at least something every day.  This was probably around the time my kidlets were born.

Not that long afterwards, I actually got paid by a literary journal for a short fictional piece I wrote.  It wasn't a lot of money, but it was REAL.

And later on, getting some awards for my poetry didn't hurt my ego either!

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

I'm working on the pre-press end of things for Mugging for the Camera, a collection of humorous, off-beat, quirky poetry.  It'll be out later this year.  Also, I'm working on a MG/YA fantasy series, a MG novella, several picture books, and a collection of rhyming anthropomorphics (something ‘they' apparently say one shouldn't do!)  I also may start another blog. 

And...I've also written a couple of children's pieces with my kids.  It was a lot of fun - ‘cause they're so creative!  I'd love to do more of that, too.

And...for the second year in a row, I am the editor of Goldfinch, the literary magazine for Women Who Write, which is a not-for-profit statewide collective of women writers in New Jersey.  I get to read first-hand some amazing work by some extraordinarily talented writers.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

To be rich and famous.  Isn't that what everyone wants?

Uh huh.   Yeah, right.

Really, I would just love to make my living from writing fiction for kids and also from writing poetry.  And I'd love for people who read my work to say that I put a smile on their faces or made them laugh.

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

Truthfully, there is no typical day.  Some days I can accomplish a lot and some days, I'm just trying to squeeze it in wherever I can.  No method whatsoever to the madness.  But I don't beat myself up about it either.  Just go with the flow - and carry a big mop.

13.  Why do you write?

It's something I feel compelled to do.  It always has been, and I guess it always will be.  It fills something within me.  Kind of like chocolate cake, y'know?

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

For poetry, I love Ogden Nash, Dorothy Parker, Wendy Cope and Paul Muldoon, for starters.  I love their cleverness and humor and the showmanship with their command of the English language.  Brilliant! 

For fiction, I adore JK Rowling because she proved that anything is possible - and she got kids to read.

The books that influenced me when I was a child were Harriet the Spy (of course!) plus The Funny Guy, The Ghost of Dibble Hollow and Katie John because they all were very character-driven and I'm still, to this day, drawn to character-driven books.  It's probably why I love Martha Grimes so much.  Her stories may be the murder mystery kind, but you just have to fall in love with her characters!

15.  How do you define your writing?

Oh goodness!  This is a running joke with my writing group, family - and just about anyone else who knows me.  I write like I talk.  My fiction is way too wordy, so I really need my writing critique group to beat me into submission (literally!) I started writing poetry - and particularly the kind which employs poetic form - , because the constraints forced me to be succinct and to the point, while still being able to say what I needed to say.  My poetry is usually funny or clever, although there is another side to me that's more serious, but it doesn't get to escape too often.

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

She made me smile.

Randi Clarken the details:

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

I used to write a blog, but I haven't done much on it in a while.  Once I finish the pre-press work on Mugging for the Camera, I will probably start a blog or website again.

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

The grocery store. 

Just kidding.

Actually, that's something which is currently in the works. 

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

Well, since none of my books are published [yet] you can find some of my stuff at Sol Magazine, AsininePoetry and Trellis Magazine.  These are all literary e-zines. 

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

What can readers expect?  Umm...the unexpected?  Seriously...

Poetry?  Mostly quirky, offbeat, clever and humorous


My kids' books? That they were a good story, and the reader got something out of it.

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?

With all the negative news events happening in the world today, sometimes you just need to laugh.  From the little giggles and chuckles to full blown guffaws and snorts!  And everything in between.

It doesn't necessarily mean you think about the issues any less or that you don't have strong opinions on any number of subjects.  (I know that I do.) 

It's all important.

But you know, if folks agree with you, you're singin' to the choir, so to speak.  And if they don't agree with you, you're generally not about to convince them any more than they can convince you.  That's life.

So what do you do?


...for one thing, on the whole, it's not such a bad thing - but I think life is too short to stay angry or even sad for any real length of time, and while you can take your life's work seriously, you shouldn't always take yourself too seriously.  Sometimes, you can, but not always.

I think if everyone had a good dose of the tee-hees each day, it would go a long way in making things better.

Now I know that might sound naïve and Pollyanna-ish, but the truth is, for myself, I believe I've led something of a charmed life.  (Knock wood that the trend continues!)  I know that part of it is a bit of good luck - but I also know the rest is the way I look at things.  It's probably why most of my poetry is not angsty or emo.  I go for the laughs.

And in the end, it's how I want to go, too.

Leave ‘em laughing - and wanting more.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 23 February 2008 1:05 AM EST
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