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Friday, 26 September 2008
Feng Shui Ghostbuster Anna Maria Prezio
Topic: Blog Tours

The next four days sees me bringing together two of my favorite topics, feng shui and ghost-busting.  Author, Anna Maria Prezio is visiting us.  Today, we get to meet Anna Maria and take a look at her book, Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghostbuster.  Tomorrow I will share an excerpt from the book and Sunday I'd like everyone to join me as I talk with Anna Maria Prezio.  On Monday, I'll share with you my impressions and review of Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghostbuster.  Please visit often and I know Anna Maria would love to hear your comments!

Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster is the result of a lifelong journey that begins in a tiny village in Italy and has yet to truly end. To help you understand this journey – and benefit from the lessons learned along the way – the book is divided into three parts.

Part I will capture your attention with a ghostly first experience of an intuitive and vulnerable 6 year-old child. The culture and experiences of the author growing up in a rural and mystical village in Italy where ghostly occurrences and stories were part of every day life serve to set the stage for what would be a life long study of the mystical and the Divine.

Part II describes Feng Shui, like medicine, as both an art and a science. Here, the definitions and different sects of Feng Shui are discussed to provide a backdrop for the connection between environmental balance and the appearance of ghosts. You will learn how mastery of Feng Shui helps us to understand the occult, or hidden knowledge, as it applies to all aspects of our life here on earth.

With the formation of a solid foundation and understanding of this art and science, Part III delves deeper into the correlation between environment and entities with ideas, cures and stories about ghost-busting as a result the author’s direct and extraordinary experience.

This book – part memoir, part guide – promises to intrigue you from cover to cover. However, the price of admission to this world is an open mind. In return, you will not only better understand yourself, but the metaphysical world in which you live.


Anna Maria Prezio, is a professional Feng Shui Consultant and Practitioner with an advanced graduate certification from the American Feng Shui Institute, Chinese Metaphysical Studies, and the Imperial School of Feng Shui.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Villanova University as well as a Business Graduate Degree. Her expertise is in the communication arts, visual arts and entrepreneurship. She is a certified entrepreneurship instructor for the Executive Entrepreneur Institute and has held positions as a marketing executive for multinational corporations.

As a marketing consultant in health care, entertainment, and the non-profit sectors she has incorporated her knowledge of Feng Shui and its effects on personal environments to enhance people’s lives. Ms. Prezio’s mission is to help people gain the knowledge and tools of Feng Shui to improve and enhance their wealth, health, creativity and relationships.

Anna Maria Prezio has audited hundreds of Feng Shui sites. Her clients include: Hollywood casting directors, costume designers, actors, writers, directors, engineers, airline executives, business owners, doctors, real estate agents, building contractors, architects, corporate executives and brokers.

Ms. Prezio is a writer. She has published screenplays, articles and books. Her love for the visual arts has led her to produce feature films, film shorts, music videos, and photography. Her experience, Feng Shui knowledge and highly intuitive talent gives her the ability to sense people, places and things which help to nurture and facilitate her clients’ lifestyles.

For more information on Anna Maria Prezio and Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghostbuster, please visit  and please come back tomorrow when we take a look inside this book!

Posted by joyceanthony at 1:05 AM EDT
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Thursday, 25 September 2008
Bobby's Diner--An Excerpt and a Review
Topic: Blog Tours

Bobby’s Diner©
Susan Wingate

Chapter One

For the reading of Bobby’s will, the attorneys sat Vanessa – the ex, Roberta (Bobby and Vanessa’s daughter), and me in a conference room together. I was instructed to bring a lawyer, as were the other two ladies. I didn’t. That sort of thing isn’t in me. Vanessa did. The lawyer read Bobby’s will. It was pretty much as I expected. I got the house we shared, most of the money accounts, Roberta received two hundred thousand dollars in a fund her father had set aside for her upon his death. Then, the lawyer read further. Bobby did something none of us expected. He gave me half the interest in the diner and Vanessa, the other half!
Just like Bobby to be equitable. Finally, the lawyer read a statement Bobby had hand-written before he died. The note said something about his guilt for leaving Vanessa, but his great love for me, about Vanessa’s interest of nearly half her life spent building the diner, and my creativity to keep it going.

Have you ever heard the term ‘livid’ before? Well, Vanessa’s face turned every shade of livid I’ve ever seen. I remember sitting there and imagining her head filling up like one of those water balloons at the fair and exploding right off her shoulders. Her lawyer patted her hand and told her “not to worry”. I giggled to myself at the mess of it all, said my “thank yous” and “goodbyes” to his former family and the lawyers, and I left feeling pretty good too considering what had just happened. Financially, I was solid and didn’t need to worry about money for a while, anyway.
I closed the diner for three weeks.

When I went back to re-open, Vanessa was there waiting outside the door. She offered to buy my interest. I told her I had no intention of selling and offered to buy hers. She fumed at my boldness and told me she’d never sell. Bobby knew I was stubborn as a mule in a blizzard and he knew his former wife had some of my same shortcomings.

“Well, isn’t this a fine mess.” Vanessa threw her hands up and when they came down, they landed on her lap as she sat hard against the window’s ledge.
“Guess Bobby had the last laugh, huh?” I looked out onto the day with one hand protecting my face from the bright sun. It was early spring then and the cacti were putting on a show that would embarrass the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, gorgeous.

“Since this place is now legally half mine, I want a key.” Vanessa was indignant.

“Fine. After José gets here, I’ll have him run up to Charlie’s to get his copied.”
Vanessa let out a small huff and stood back up. “What are we supposed to do now?”

“Well, the diner needs managing. I guess we manage it.”

“Together?” She put her hands on her hips.

“What else can we do?”

“It just won’t work.”

“Why is that, Vanessa? After all these years, do you still hate me so much?”

“Oh, hell, I could care less about you.” She turned away and looked out over the burgeoning desert. “How’s this gonna look to the folks around here? Did you ever think about that?”

“I just put my husband in the ground. I guess I haven’t had too much time to worry about what people are thinking.”

“He was my husband too.” She scowled when she looked at me. I couldn’t very well argue her point and decided by the look of her, saying nothing was best. Vanessa turned her head away. “Fuck.” She spoke it like a tire going flat.
We looked at each other for a few seconds. I’d been sitting on the planter outside the door across from Vanessa the whole time and my ass felt numb, so I stood. Face-to-face with her, it was uncanny how much Vanessa and I looked like each other. She was older, of course, and had severely short, dark copper-colored hair. Her eyes were almond-shaped and emerald green, like mine. She was tall and had some meat to her, like me. Her skin was radiant pink with freckles. Here, standing in front of me, was the only other woman Bobby had ever loved. We stared into each other’s eyes. I can only guess what she was thinking. The scowl on her face was worth a thousand words. Time seemed to stall out and we began to feel ill at ease.

Through it all, a strange feeling welled-up deep inside me. For the life of me, I don’t know why I did what I did at that moment. I stuck my hand out like I was making a deal.

“So, what d’ya say, partner? Shall we give her a go?” I said it emphasizing my Georgian drawl like an actor in an old western.

And, Vanessa did quite the unexpected thing. She grabbed my hand and gave it one hard shake downwards.

As we walked together toward the restaurant’s door, she shook her head in disbelief and grumbled, “Dear God, help us.”


A Review

Bobby's Diner. When I read the title, I had the idea this would be another one of those books describing the everyday details of small-town America.  Truthfully, I thought I'd find the book rather boring.  I was completely wrong!

Susan Wingate has created a unique situation with this novel, bringing together two unlikely women--an ex-wife and the woman who stole her husband--and placing them in a situation where they have to deal with each other on a daily basis.  As the new co-owners of Bobby's Diner, these women must learn to work together or give up--and both are too stubborn to give up.  Adding in a scalaway bent on taking over the diner, and the situation gets even more intense.

Moments of humor mix with deep emotions in this book.  Susan Wingate shows an understanding of human nature well beyond what is normally seen in a novel.  She has a mastery of dialogue that I find refreshing--I felt as though I was right there, listening.  It isn't often I find dialogue so true-to-life. Between her mastery of dialogue and understanding of human nature, Susan Wingate held me captive  with this book.

Can these women come to terms with past hurts?  Can they work together to save Bobby's Diner from dying?  Is it possible for these women to understand that there was a reason they both earned the love of the same man?  You will have to read Bobby's Diner to find out. 

Give yourself several hours to read this book.  You will find yourself saying "Just one more chapter" over and over again.  It is one of those rare books you won't want to put down.  I look forward to reading more of Ms. Wingate's work.

Posted by joyceanthony at 3:19 PM EDT
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Stop Believing in Your Own Weakness--A Special Message
Topic: Miscellaneous
Stop Believing in Your Own Weakness

It is our fear of being alone and in doubt, of wanting to feel certain that
what we are doing is right, that compels us to seek the approval of others. So this tells us that the chief cause of why our lives so often wind up in the hands of others is not that they are superior or that the world is too strong for us, but that we don't want to face the uncertainty and aloneness we think we are too weak to bear. This is the real cause of all of our wrong relationships in life. We have been betrayed by a belief in our own weakness.

The conscious refusal to go along with what our weakness wants us to do to escape its uncertainty is what invokes and finally delivers real inner confidence. This new kind of strength gradually becomes the
cornerstone of a true individual existence -- the life we've always wanted. The stakes are actually eternal -- but self-victory is as
certain as the fact that light always triumphs over darkness.

Use the following ten key lessons to help strengthen your understanding of these vital ideas. Think about them; welcome their healing insights as "lights along the way" to true self-liberation.

Special Study for Lasting Self-Possession

1. When you don't know what to do with yourself, someone will always be happy to tell you.

2. Why seek the approval of someone who doesn't even approve of himself?

3. Fawning before an angry person is like asking a rabid wolf for its

4. The more approval you get, the more you have to have.

5. Keeping any person or circumstance in your life that demands you
surrender your right to be a whole and happy human being is wrong for everyone involved.

6. When you are out standing in a storm, don't blame the weather.

7. Real strength always follows uncovering one of the roots of weakness.

8. Don't seek yourself. Dare to be yourself.

9. If you were really doing the right thing with your life, you wouldn't
need anyone to tell you that you were.

10. Permitting your life to be taken over by another person is like letting the waiter eat your dinner. (Vernon Howard)

No human being has any authority over you. Your life belongs to you and to you alone. No scowling face or irritated manner, no challenging posture or threatening tone, has any power to make you feel nervous or anxious, frightened or angry. Your true nature answers to no one. This is a fact, and anyone who is tired of letting someone else tell them how to feel can use this self-liberating principle to win true and lasting independence.
                                                                 -- Guy Finley

Posted by joyceanthony at 2:07 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 24 September 2008
A Talk With Susan Wingate
Susan Wingate The Person:

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

Loyal, generous, sincere.

2.   How do you think others would describe you?

In three words? Weird, funny and helpful. Usually, when I say something, people give me that doggy-head-tilt-look, like "what?" Scooby-doo does it best. So, I think they think I'm a bit off-kilter. Oh well.

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

My animals. I love my animals. My husband too, Bob, he's a doll. He puts up with all my animals!

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

We have two lovely dogs, Robert and Rocky. Robert is a Westie and Rocky is a Cocker. Robert is white and Rocky is black. They are the outnumbered kids in our household. We have fifteen cats - Winky, Pinky, Twinkle, Serena, Raspberry Jam, PNut Butter, Apricot Jelly, Vincent, Tabatha, Marmalade, Midnight, Audrey, Marilyn, Sinatra and Humphrey. We also have about twenty-five birds. I'm not listing their names. Suffice to say, they are sweet and love it when I sing to them.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

Being with my father when he died.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Showing up at school naked. Oh wait, that was just a dream. Phew! Good lord, there are so many embarrassing moments - I'll have to just grab one out of the hat. Okay, here it goes... I was dancing in this show, a glitzy nightclub act, and someone spilled a drink on the stage in the exact spot I was supposed to do a full-on leg extension - a high-over-the-head kick. Needless to say, I slipped and fell right on my bum in front of about 200 people. That was pretty embarrassing as I recall.

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

Eating. I have no idea. I'm certain that I'm completely unemployable at this stage of my life, what, with the looks I get when I speak and all. I really don't know what I'd be doing. Maybe I'd still be an accountant. I was once an accountant long ago in a land far, far away in another galaxy.

8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

It's funny you should have this in here. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I've been planning my own funeral for about six months now. I want to have the perfect party so that people just kind of forget why they're there. So, it's going to be fabulous. I'll put you on the guest list. Okay, here's my obit:

Susan Wingate, leaves this world for the great beyond at age eighty-eight. She also leaves many cat boxes behind. She is survived by Tweedle and Dee and Tweedle and Dum, her twin cats and twin dogs. And, we mustn't forget Tweedy the cockatiel. Because of her illustrious writing career, her country home (on Peter Pond) is set to be transformed into a writers' colony. Only animal-lovers need apply. They have much work to doo doo.

Susan will be remembered as a writer who wrote, strangely enough, stranger than fiction not to mention one who put words into other people's mouths with her many plays and scripts. Her agent, who will remain nameless, stated, "I have an empty spot in my heart and an empty slot on my client list." Services will be held in Phoenix and Friday Harbor - red wine and ashes will be served.

Susan Wingate The Writer:

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

It was the year my father died. He was a writer and part of me feels like his soul passed through my body on his way to Heaven.

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

Tons. My second novel, "Bobby's Diner," was released on September 1, 2008. I'm very busy with its eTour but also, I've begun my fourth novel and hopefully will sell my third novel within the next couple of months. I'm a feature writer for the AZ Authors Association newsletter and a contributing writer to the emagazine Literary Magic, to mention a couple of sidelines. I'm working on a two screenplays and I hope to write another play for the theatre in the near future. I'm teaching three weekly writing classes this September and four weekly classes starting in April 2009 that will repeat quarterly.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

To keep writing novels, primarily. I love to teach so I hope to spend more time at writer's conferences giving presentations.

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

First, I answer my emails and if I'm into a story, I'll edit in the morning and write new material after that. If I'm in-between books, I usually do a lot of self-promotion and publicity. You hear how agents and publishers want to be able to pick up a writer with a platform, well, that's what I work on. I try to increase my reader base, get speaking and teaching jobs, write magazine articles, and write short stories, poems and plays. But, generally, I spend anywhere from ten to twelve hours a day working.

13.  Why do you write?

There's nothing else I want to do. I used to love to cook and play around with decorating the house - all creative outlets. But, once I landed on the writing, it was all over. I never looked back and don't regret one day of the heartache and frustration that is inherent to this job.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Jeez! There are so many great writers out there. But, I'd have to say, right now, at this point in my life, I love W. Somerset Maugham. His writing goes to the core of human emotion. I love his conflict - it's never bombs blazing or cars crashing - that surface stuff. His conflict is universal and gut-wrenching, like leaving your family in search of a dream, like taking your spouse into a plague to stop her from cheating, like a little deformed boy losing his mother at age eight and being placed in the home of a cruel uncle. Maugham uses heart-breaking themes that are very plausible.

15.  How do you define your writing?

My writing seems to bounce back-and-forth between mainstream and women's fiction. "Bobby's Diner" is what I would categorize as women's fiction but my third novel would be better categorized as mainstream. The themes found in each of my three novels describe that special brand of conflict that arises between a woman and her mother. I think this is a very universal theme, one in which half the people of the world - the women - can relate to.

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

She was a great storyteller.

Susan Wingate The Details:

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

Yes! My website is at and my blog is I also have information posted on Poets & Writers, Romance Writers of America, Pacific Northwest Writer's Association, Author's Den, Authors & Experts, MySpace and FaceBook, Xing, Ning and a few others that I can't remember now.

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

Yes. They can contact me from any of the above location. It's always nice to hear from people.

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

My first book is a compilation entitled, "Ravings of a Mad Gentlewoman" and it's available through My second book is my first novel, "Of the Law." You can get "Of the Law" at or through My third book and second novel is called "Bobby's Diner." You can get "Bobby's Diner" through the publisher, (, or at the following: Mobipocket, or FictionWise. Oh, you can also get "Bobby's Diner" by connecting through my website at

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

Well, I hope I've created believable characters, detailed settings and juicy conflict. Some people have described my work as gritty and honest.

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?

Writing is my passion. Reading is my passion. Writers make me smile. I love meeting other writers because we're an odd group and it's nice to sit and talk with others of the same cloth - it kind of feels like experiential therapy!

Thank you, Joyce, for allowing me this time to visit with you. -Sincerely, Susan Wingate.

Susan Wingate's website -

Susan Wingate's blog -

For more information about Susan Wingate's virtual book tour and her full schedule at

To order your copy - For more information visit -

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Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Introducing Susan Wingate
Topic: Blog Tours

Website Address:   


Primary Blog Address:   


Author’s Bio (complete bio):


Susan Wingate, novelist, poet and playwright, received a BS in Accounting from AZ State University. Wingate brings a rare and diverse background to her creative writing. Presently, she lives in Washington State and writes full time. Wingate has written three novels. Her second book, BOBBY’S DINER, just received a book contract with and will be released in the fall of 2008. Her short story, “The Lion of Judah” received 1st Place honor (a monetary award and publication) in the August 2008 Fantasy Gazetteer Short Story Contest. One of her most recent accomplishments comes on the heels of completing her third novel, The Last Maharajan, with an excerpt selected for publication in literary journal the Superstition Review, an ASU press publication. She is a contributing writer for several magazines. Since the 2007 publication of her mystery novel, Of the Law, Wingate has kept busy teaching at writing workshops and at her studio. Her short stories and poems consistently receive awards and articles can be found in many magazines, journals and reviews. Wingate publishes an online newsletter called, “Sincerely, Susan” which has a readership of close to one thousand subscribers. She is also a co-founder of the San Juan Island Creative Women's Group. Currently, she organizes a series of reading events for her local library. These events spotlight the community’s writers and provide a wonderful venue in which to hear their work. For hobbies, Wingate likes to read and paint.

Please stop back tomorrow for an interview with Susan!!!

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Monday, 22 September 2008
Susan Wingate and Bobby's Diner
Topic: Blog Tours

Over the next couple of days, four to be exact, we will be visiting with author, Susan Wingate and talking about her newest release, Bobby's Diner! 

About Bobby's Diner:

Georgette Carlisle explains a tale of events that lead up to this morning's funeral. Fifteen years earlier, searching for a place to call home, Georgette accepts a ride from a philandering trucker who offers to take her from a bus stop in Kingman, Arizona to Phoenix but she never makes it. After an abrupt stop along the highway, Georgette jumps out of the truck and heads off on foot until she comes to the small town of Sunnydale.

The day Georgette first arrives in Sunnydale her life is empty. When she saunters into town she meets a married man, Bobby, who owns Bobby's Diner. After he leaves his wife, Vanessa, for Georgette, Bobby marries her.

Fifteen years later, after Bobby has died, Georgette's life is about to change. During the reading of the Bobby's will, his last wish is to leave his diner to both women - his widow and his ex-wife. Each refuses to sell to the other or anyone else for that matter. They decide they will try to make the restaurant work with both managing it.

However, Bobby's Diner sits squarely on a corridor property through Sunnydale. Sunnydale has caught the eye of a large developer in Phoenix. Zach Pinzer, an up-and-coming executive at Chariot International Incorporated, envisions Sunnydale as a flourishing boutique tourist location - the next Sedona. With the underhanded help of Sunnydale's mayor, Pinzer can acquire the land he needs for his pet project - to develop the land and incorporate the spot where Bobby's Diner sits. When Zach offers to buy the diner from Georgette and Vanessa, they flatly refuse him.

Infuriated, Pinzer takes matters into his own hands and hires a thug to frighten the owners. It doesn't work. In fact, the damage he inflicts upon their property only fortifies the women's mettle and their relationship.

During Pinzer's second attempt to scare the women, their beloved busboy and gardener, José is murdered. Later that evening, after she's looked all day to find Vanessa, Georgette happens into the diner and finds Roberta (Vanessa's daughter) slipping into unconsciousness from a gunshot wound to her stomach. Roberta has lost a lot of blood and she's rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. Georgette still cannot find Vanessa. Finally, while Roberta is resting quietly in recovery, Vanessa shows up.

After years of living with his dishonesty, the mayor's wife decides to help Georgette and Vanessa successfully bring down Zach Pinzer and foil his attempt to seize the land in and around Sunnydale.

Now, as Georgette reflects on Vanessa's funeral earlier this morning, she understands the true meaning of "home" - home is family. She sees how family can come in all the shapes and colors. She understands family isn't something to contain in a pretty bottle and put away on a shelf. Family is the bottle, one that doesn't always contain rose oil. Sometimes it contains vinegar also. Georgette finds that every once in a while, if we give the bottle a few good firm shakes, the contents will fuse and become a beautiful creamy miscellany of all the parts. Georgette's reflection of her life in Sunnydale makes her realize that she's learned the true meaning of home.

For more information on Susan, or to purchase this book, please visit


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:17 AM EDT
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Sunday, 21 September 2008
Getting to Know Jordan Vinyard, Illustrator
Topic: Blog Tours
Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you a talk I had with Jordan Vinyard, the talented artist that took a picture in Holly's mind and brought it to the surface for all of us to see and love. 
1.  First, can you tell us a little about yourself?  Who is Jordan Vinyard? 

Well, I am 25 years old. I am a studio artist, mural painter, and of course an illustrator. I am married to a sculptor, so I am really in an art friendly environment. I work like a maniac, but it feels more like play because I so love what I do. I have a twin brother, who I am very close to. My entire family is amazing and they have all believed in what I do from the get-go. 

When I first saw this question, I e-mailed a few of my friends to see how they would describe me. Lol, I got some pretty funny answers : highly energetic, trouble, and funny. Those are probably all pretty accurate :)

2.  How do you become involved in book illustration?  Was it a dream you worked for or did the opportunity just appear and you went for it?

To be perfectly honest, it kind of happened upon me. I didn't know a lot about illustration before I really got into it. 
It all began when one of my professors called me about a posting she had seen from Vivian. 4RV needed an illustrator. I thought about it, and decided that I would give it a shot. I have always been a studio artist, so I really didn't know what it would be like, except that it involved art. That being said, I figured there was no way I could dislike it. What I didn't know, is that I would love it.  I continue to work in several areas of the art world, but to add another was quite a thrill. I have a real passion for doing artwork. I love everything about it.
3.  Writers so often have a picture already in their mind of characters, how do you work with them to bring those characters to life?  Is there some process you follow to draw their image out?

With Holly, it was easy! I felt like the images of the characters popped into my head so vividly right from the beginning. I wanted them to be extremely expressive. I achieved this by making about a billion sketches. I like to work and rework the character until they feel fluid, until they have a real sense about them. Once I am attached to a character, I feel that I can pass this "attachment" on to the readers. 

Also, when I was working with their expressions I looked in the mirror a lot. I will do whatever it takes to get the emotion of a character right, even if it means making goofy faces in the mirror!!! My husband happened upon this action several time, often asking me what on earth I was doing. lol.
4.  Have you always wanted to be an artist?  What steps did you take along the road to get where you are now?

I have always wanted to be an artist. From the time I was about 5 years old I was drawing and painting. 
As far as steps along the road, practice. Lots and lots of practice. I had some amazing and inspirational teachers. All of them have been so encouraging. To get where I am now I knew that it would take hard work. All through college I worked my tail off. I even worked so hard on one drawing that I had to go to the doctor because my finger had swollen up so big. He said he had never seen someone with a drawing injury before. He put a splint on my finger and I was banned from doing art work for 2 whole weeks. That was not easy for me to do.  
In addition to hard work, I firmly believe in asking questions. I have called artist and literally hounded them about how they go about a certain technique. Fortunately, all of them that I have encountered admired my persistence, and I learned a lot from them.
5.  What advice can you give to young artists who may be considering book illustration as a career?
In response to this question, I will pass along a quote that one of my professors  gave to me:

" You don't ever need the tricks of the trade, if you actually learn the trade."

I firmly believe this. Learn everything you can about what you are doing. Know the ins and outs of it, even if it means hounding people with questions.

6.  Is there anything you would like to share with our readers about yourself, your life or your work?  

I think all in all, I love my work. I think that is the common denominator in everything I do. I am passionate about it, and I love for others to be excited about art. I feel like with everything I do, I put myself so completely into it. I hope that the passion for my work comes across to the viewers, and most of all I hope they enjoy it!!!


Please don't forget to leave a comment for one last chance to win a Trockle totebag here.  I want to thank Holly, Jordan and Vivian for allowing Trockle and Steven to stop by and visit with us.  I wish you ladies's the best of luck!!

Starting tomorrow, we will be visiting with Susan Wingate, author of Bobby's Diner.


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:27 AM EDT
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Saturday, 20 September 2008
A Talk With Holly Jahangiri
Topic: Author Interview
Today we get to talk with Holly Jahangiri, author of Trockle. Her friend, Vivian Zabel, who knows her quite well, put in her opibion on a few questions :-)   We hope you enjoy the interview!!
 1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Honest, empathetic, imaginative

From Vivian: Excellent insight on Holly's part.
2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Intimidating. I'm very direct and not shy about speaking out on issues I feel passionate about.

From Vivian: Many people are intimidated by Holly, but under that tough exterior is one tough woman. Seriously, her exterior is more intimidating that the person she is inside, but she is not shy about speaking her mind (and she's very often completely right).

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

My husband and my children. Freedom of speech. Civil rights. You know how kids will stomp a foot and yell, "That's not fair!"? I have always had an overactive sense of righteous indignation – I may not stomp my foot and yell, but dismissing injustice with a shrug and saying, "That's life" just doesn't do it for me.

From Vivian: Believe her when she says she does not take injustice lightly, and the anger at injustice or unfairness is not limited to her family only. I know of times when I'm glad she couldn't reach some people who were not "fair."

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

Right now, we have a green anole named Bob and a whole slew of tiny crickets that ultimately belong to the lizard. Bob's a little shy; I'd introduce you, but he goes all brown and skittish around strangers.
5.     What is your most precious memory?

You ask such impossible questions, Joyce! I have to choose just one? If forced to choose, it's going to be the obvious cliché answer – childbirth. But now, if my kids read this, they're going to ask, "Which one of us?" How about the day I walked down the stairs on my father's arm, and saw my husband smile from across the room as he waited for me to join him in taking our marriage vows? How about the moment I first held Trockle in my hands? Don't make me choose just one, Joyce – life's too full of precious memories to play favorites.
6.     What is your most embarrassing memory?

When I was ten, I got a tape recorder for my birthday. I used up a whole hour of tape singing, "Happy Birthday to MEeeee!" and running a sort of radio show in which I sang, announced that I would "never be nine again," and generally babbled nonsense. My parents found it, played it, declared it "adorable" and put it in a safe place - basically, any place where I couldn't find it and destroy the evidence in later years.

My mother said that she knew J.J. was destined to be her son-in-law the day I had her dig up the tape and play it for him. The only other people I let listen to the tape are my kids, to demonstrate to them that even the most mortifying moments can be cute, laughable, silly, and totally harmless in retrospect. So they'd know, next time they're feeling humiliated, that they'll survive – even look back, some day, and laugh.
7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I probably would have chosen one of my fall-back options: volcanologist or lawyer.
8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Holly Jahangiri died today at the age of 105. She is survived by her husband J.J., her daughter Katie, and her son William. She finally ran out of words and turned the page. She will be missed by a generation of young readers who remember learning to love reading with her books.
9.     Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I should have realized it in middle school. My English teacher, Lee Thorsten, assigned an essay. I took my dog for a walk by the lake, and while we rested on a log, I wrote the essay. Mrs. Thorsten liked it – she wrote all up and down the margins, correcting this, praising that – I learned to love the red pen. I started writing unassigned essays and short stories, and Lee Thorsten read every word. She took the time to comment on all of them. I loved being able to convey my thoughts and ideas to someone else, to form pictures in their minds using nothing but words.

Along the way, I got distracted; for a time, I wanted to be a volcanologist, an actor, an archaeologist, a veterinarian, a lawyer. I even went to law school. And then it hit me – I was already a professional technical writer. I loved writing fiction and poetry. And I was pretty good at it. I didn't have to "practice" like lawyers and doctors. If I made a typo, no one was likely to go to jail or lose their home or family. And I didn't have to work eighty hour weeks unless I wanted to. I don't think I ever doubted I was a "real" writer, but it took a while to accept that that was what I was going to do for a career.
10.      What is going on with your writing these days?

I have a contract for the second book with 4RV Publishing – its working title is A Puppy, Not a Guppy – and I'm mulling ideas for a young adult novel.

11.     What are your future goals for your writing?

I'd like to be the Judy Blume for boys. Seriously? I don't think there are enough novels that appeal to middle-school aged boys. I'd like to see more of them become bookworms.
12.     Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

There's nothing "typical" about it. I come home from work, have dinner with my family, and then, if the characters are talking to me, I write.
13.     Why do you write?

To entertain readers, for the most part. To teach them how to do something, or to make them think, or to transport them to another world for a little while. I don't write just for myself. That has always struck me as a bleak and lonely thing. I love it when someone tells me that they enjoyed reading what I wrote.
14.      What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I've always thought my writing was what you'd get if you mixed a little Edgar Allan Poe, Erma Bombeck, and O. Henry. Poe, for the chills; Bombeck for the wry humor; O. Henry for the impatient urge to quickly wrap up loose ends in a surprising twist and bring it all to closure.

I have been told that some of my writing is like Spider Robinson's. At the time, my reaction was "Spider WHO?" I've since read his books and banged my head repeatedly against a desk – Spider does Spider better than I ever could. There are shades of Douglas Adams in there, too, but less so now that I've read his work and Robinson's.
15.     How do you define your writing?

I don't. I think that's for others to do. I just hope that they find it worth reading and defining.
16. In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

"Wow, this is a great book! Have you read it?"

When I was in college, majoring in Rhetoric & Writing, I was nearly scared off a career in writing by my graduate level Lit courses. There are few things I dread more than the thought of a bunch of college students picking my brain, my life, and my stories apart posthumously, playing "Let's Psychoanalyze the Dead Author." The speculation we indulged in regarding D. H. Lawrence and James Joyce would make your hair curl.

From Vivian: There is no way anyone could psychoanalyze Holly now or in the future. She is unique, and doesn't follow any drummer but her own.

I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to the nonsense students and professors might utter trying to "find" the real Holly Jahangiri.

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

I have my own Web site at and a blog at
18.     Is there a place where readers can reach you?
19.     Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Hidden Lies and Other Stories
Walking the Earth: Life's Perspectives in Poetry
Lost Souls, Restless Spirits
Dealing with the Demon…and nine other short stories
Mood Swings
20.  For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

I hope that NEW readers – kids who are fairly new to reading – will find an engaging story that they can enjoy having read to them or reading on their own.


Please don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a Trockle totebag--and come back tomorrow when we talk with Jordan, the one who did so wonderfully with the illustrations in this book!

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:50 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 September 2008 2:06 AM EDT
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Friday, 19 September 2008
A Chat With Trockle and Steven
Topic: Blog Tours

Just as I promised, folks, Trockle and Stephen dropped by to have a talk with me :-)  Please leave them a comment.  Trockle informs me that one commenter who leaves a comment and their emails will win a totebag with him on it!!! 

This is Trockle:

  1. Can you tell us your name and the title of the book you live in?

    Trockle. The book was named for me! I don't know why Ms. Jahangiri named it after me, since it's mostly about Stephen.

  2. Describe to our readers what your role in the book is.

    Mom said it was to go to bed and get some sleep, so she could finish laying out the dust bunnies.

  3. How did you convince your author to put you in this book?  For example, did you visit a dream or make yourself known some other way?

    Ms. Jahangiri was writing a story about a little human boy who was afraid of monsters under his bed. As soon as she thought to wonder what my name was, I yelled out, "Trockle!" and insisted she tell MY side of the story. Little monsters aren't so different from big ol' smelly boys, you know.

  4. Is your author easy to work with or controlling?


    Does she tell you what to do?

    Oh, no. I just send her the story in thought pictures and she writes it down. She makes me do all the work.

  5. Would you tell us about one of your favorite friends from this book?

    Stephen, of course. He's this big, huge human boy – I used to be scared of him, too. Did you know he had TWO eyes? And TEN fingers? And zillions of teeth? I don't know why he was afraid of me. Our moms helped us get to know each other and to realize that we're just as much alike as we are different. We both snore! We both like fart jokes, too.

  6. Do you plan on appearing in another book or are you happy to be where you are?

    I want to be in a movie! Or maybe a video game. Ms. Jahangiri's son might put me in a video game, some day. He says he wants to be a video game designer.

  7. What would you like our readers to know about you?

    That I like to get fan mail at I'll answer it, too! My mom monitors what I do on the Internet to keep me safe, so don't write anything you wouldn't want a great big scary mama monster to read.

    Oh, and I like chocolate. And monster trucks. I want a toe sock, so I can store chocolates at the foot of my bed. And…um…

  8. Did you learn anything during your adventure in this book?

    Yes. I learned that the big scary boy over the bed is…REAL. But he's not really scary, you know? Just big. And funny looking. Like you. What, Mom?

    I'm sorry. Mom said that was rude. But why do you have two eyes instead of one great big one?

  9. Can you tell us what you think is the most exciting thing that happened to you in your book?

    Exciting? When you live under a bed, you can't even fall out of it! It was kind of scary when Stephen's mom was spraying the Monster Repellent all around Stephen's room. HE knew it wasn't going to work, but I thought I was going to DIE.

  10. Is there anything in your story you wish you had not done? Why?

    I wish I hadn't dripped ice cream on my truck. Because the dust bunnies stuck to it, and they don't taste so good.

  11. What was your main motivation?

    To go to sleep and not get eaten by the humans.

  12. Introduce us to your main adversary?

    I thought it was Stephen. He's the boy over the bed. He's got red hair and he's really, really tall. But the funny thing is, he was just as afraid of me as I was of him. Stephen's mom said something like, "The only thing you have to fear is fear itself." I guess fear is my main adversary, but I'm trying to be braver.

  13. Is there anything you would like to have done but your author stopped you?

    I wanted to stay up all night and watch Naruto. My author wouldn't let Stephen do that, either. She's a lot like my mom.

  14. Here's your chance to speak your mind.  What do you want to tell everybody?

    Read Trockle!! Tell George Lucas I want him to make me a STAR!!

    Um, okay, seriously? Don't let your fear and worry keep you awake at night. But if you can't sleep, read a book. Read Trockle! Use the time to do something other than worry.

  15. Please tell everyone where they can find out more about your story and where they can purchase it.

    They can visit Stephen and me at and they can buy Trockle at

This is Stephen: 

  1. Can you tell us your name and the title of the book you live in?

    My name is Stephen. The book I "live in" is called Trockle. Trockle is the monster who lives under my bed.

  2. Describe to our readers what your role in the book is.

    Mom said it was to go to bed and get some sleep..

  3. How did you convince your author to put you in this book?  For example, did you visit a dream or make yourself known some other way?

    Well, she couldn't convince her son William to be a character in the book, so she created me.

  4. Is your author easy to work with or controlling?


    Does she tell you what to do?

    No! Well, yes – she told me to go to bed and brush my teeth.

  5. Would you tell us about one of your favorite friends from this book?

    Trockle, of course. Our moms helped us get to know each other and to realize that we're just as much alike as we are different. I wish he'd quit stealing my chocolate bars, though.

  6. Do you plan on appearing in another book or are you happy to be where you are?

    I guess I'm happy. No one asked me if I wanted to be in this book. It's kind of embarrassing – I mean, I don't want the kids at school to think I'm afraid of monsters under the bed. That's silly, right? It's been fun, though! And Mom says everyone's afraid of something, even if they don't admit it. She says that being brave doesn't mean being fearless – it means not letting your fear stop you from doing things you want to do, or have to do.

  7. What would you like our readers to know about you?

    You can write to me at Trockle will make sure I get it. He likes to explore the Internet and email people. I'll answer emails, but I'd rather be playing video games, watching cartoons, or hanging out with my friends! Trockle's mom keeps a close eye on everything either of us does on the Internet, so don't write anything you wouldn't want a great big scary mama monster to read. That'd be MY mother, not Trockle's. Trockle's mom is about the size of a stuffed Pooh bear.

  8. Did you learn anything during your adventure in this book?

    I learned that just because someone's different – or even weird, like Trockle – doesn't mean they're scary or mean or not fun to have around. Trockle's cool, even if he does have one big eye in the middle of his forehead, three fingers on each hand, and shiny green claws. That growling sound that used to scare me and keep me from getting to sleep at night? That was just Trockle, making armpit noises. He's such a clown.

  9. Can you tell us what you think is the most exciting thing that happened to you in your book?

    Exciting? Isn't this supposed to be a bedtime story? I guess the most exciting thing, to me, was making a new friend.

  10. Is there anything in your story you wish you had not done? Why?

    I wish I hadn't forgotten to throw out my Choco-Taco wrapper. When Mom saw Trockle licking it, I got in big trouble for leaving it under the bed!

  11. What was your main motivation?

    I was tired and Mom was making me go to bed. I didn't want her to be mad, but I was really scared. I thought at first she didn't believe me, about Trockle. I didn't want her to leave me alone with monsters.

  12. Introduce us to your main adversary?

    That would be Trockle. He's about the size of a Beanie Baby. Reeeeal scary. Not. But when it's dark, and you hear "phlibbit" and "glurp" and "snorffelgrup" coming from under your bed, and you feel things that go "bump" in the night, you can't help but think of scary monsters. It doesn't help that Trockle's got little pointy teeth and claws and one big eye blinking away in the middle of his forehead. Turns out he was just as afraid of ME – can you believe it? Am I scary looking to you? We have a lot in common, in spite of all our differences. We like to play with trucks, we both like Choco-Tacos, and we both have moms who care about us. Oh, and according to our parents, we both snore and talk in our sleep.

  13. Is there anything you would like to have done but your author stopped you?

    I wanted to stay up all night and watch Naruto or play Kingdom Hearts. My author wouldn't let Trockle stay up to do that, either. She's a lot like my mom.

  14. Here's your chance to speak your mind.  What do you want to tell everybody?

    Read Trockle!! But don't show it to the kids at my school. That's just embarrassing.

    Oh, and if you can't sleep – take a book and a flashlight and read under the covers. It's really hard for moms to get mad at their kids for reading.

  15. Please tell everyone where they can find out more about your story and where they can purchase it.

    They can visit Trockle and me at and they can buy Trockle at

I want to thank Trockle and Stephen for taking time to talk with me today--weren't they wonderful, folks??  Join metomorrow when Holly Jahangiri, the author of this wonderful book, stops by to chat with me.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:21 AM EDT
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Thursday, 18 September 2008
Trockle Has Arrived!!!!
Topic: Blog Tours

I am so pleased to tell everyone about the wonderful guests who will be visiting us over the next few days.  I'll introduce you in a moment to Trockle, a wonderful book written by Holly Janhangiri and illustrated by Jordan Vinyard.  I was fortunate that not only did Holly and Jordan stop by to talk with me, but so did Trockle and Stephen, he main characters in this delightful tale.  Please stop by each day over the next three days as I speak with these lovely people (and monster!).

Stephen doesn’t like to go to bed because he knows a monster is underneath. Even when told that Monster Repellent was sprayed under the bed, he knows it didn’t work.

Under the bed, Trockle doesn’t want to go to sleep because he’s afraid of the huge monster above.

Stephen’s parents and Trockle’s mom try to help their children no longer be afraid.


Please come back tomorrow as I talk with Trockle and Stephen!!! They are such delightful little ones!

 In the meantime, when you leave here, I'd love to have you visit The Book Views, where my good friend Lacresha Hayes interviewed me.  All those who comment have a chance to win copies of both her book, The Rape of Innocence and mine, Storm! 

Posted by joyceanthony at 1:39 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 18 September 2008 1:41 AM EDT
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