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Thursday, 23 October 2008
The Forbidden Daughter by -Shobhan Bantwal-A Review
Topic: Book Review

When Isha finds out the baby she is carrying is a girl, she fears the reaction of her in-laws.  Girl children are not acceptable in their eyes, or that of the doctor, who suggests she have an abortion rather than give birth to the a second female child.  When Isha refuses, she has little idea just how drastically her life is about to change. Just how far will some people go to see that Isha does not "disgrace" her in-laws name? Who all is involved and why has nothing been done to stop the selective abortions that are taking place regularly?  Can Isha make it on her own?  Will her efforts to expose the truth result in her losing everything she lives for?  Who can she trust with her secret, life and heart?

Shobhan Bantwal takes her readers into a world most of us can't even imagine.  I continually had to remind myself that this story was not taking place in some long ago dark age, but instead in modern times.  It tore at my heart to know that in some parts of the world, female children are still considered unwelcome--to the point of actually being killed rather than loved and cherished as they should be.

It is obvious that Shoban Bantwal knows her subject and the country of which she writes.  She doesn't pad the pages with a lot of fluff, but instead uses every word to draw her reader in--and make them care for her characters.  The only thing that kept me from reading this book in one sitting was my eyes giving out--but I found myself dreaming of the characters.  Before I finished, I had not only cried, but  found myself angry and wishing I knew how to stop this archaic practice.

You can't read The Forbidden Daughter with no emotion.  It is considered women's fiction, but I would suggest any man who cares also read it--he won't be disappointed by the depth explored by Ms. Bantwal.  I can see this book being made into a movie.

Posted by joyceanthony at 5:57 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 22 October 2008
A Talk With Shobhan Bantwal
Topic: Author Interview
Shobhan Bantwal The Person:

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


Easy to anger as well as easy to humor

Family oriented


2.    How do you think others would describe you?


I think most people would describe me as extroverted, outspoken, and intelligent-a woman of too many words and strong opinions. But I always feel people give me more credit than I deserve for smartness and efficiency. Deep down, I feel very inadequate and afraid I'll never live up to their expectations.


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


My family is my passion-mainly my husband, daughter, and granddaughter. They are my whole life and I often worry about their health and their futures.


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

I'm not a pet lover, so I have no pets, although my husband adores dogs and would love to have one.

5.  What is your most precious memory?


My most precious memory is of holding my grandchild for the first time. It was only last year, but already it feels like such a long time ago, because she's already walking and talking. Somehow, grandchildren feel more precious than children, perhaps because I'm older and wiser now than when I became a mother many years ago.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?


Some years ago, at a large New Year's Eve party at a friend's house, I slipped and fell on the slick tiled kitchen floor, right in front of several people. Of course, they were very solicitous and kind, but secretly I believe they thought I was drunk. I hadn't had a drop of alcohol because I don't enjoy it. All evening long I had nursed one glass of coke, but I still think people thought I'd had too much to drink. A few of them kept looking at me suspiciously. To this day I recall that episode and my cheeks get warm.


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

Actually, writing is only a hobby for me, which has somehow turned into a second career. My full-time job is with the government, so I'm a bureaucrat all day, five days a week. I put on my writer's hat on weekends and weekday evenings. Most often, I struggle to make the time to write, because my day job can be quite demanding.

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.


Shobhan Bantwal was a woman of great courage. With no experience of any kind, or any visible talent, she took up writing at the age of 50. A half century of living had apparently failed to teach her that merely dreaming of something does not necessarily guarantee success. The amazing thing was that Shobhan did dream of becoming a published writer and did manage to succeed (to some extent). Despite rejections earlier in her quest for an agent and publisher, she managed to find both at 54. She was a bit crazy but she died a happy woman.

One thing can be said about Shobhan: she was passionate about everything she took up, her family being her main project in life. She loved them with no expectations in return.


Shobhan Bantwal The Writer:


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


When I started to write short stories I wasn't very confident that my tales with Indian characters and cultural elements would be of interest to anyone. But my first short story competition entry, sponsored by Writer's Digest, won Honorable Mention. That same year, another story won Honorable Mention in a contest run by New York Stories magazine. That was the moment when I realized that I had some potential, and that I could perhaps write a full-length novel.

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


I'm working on my third novel, because Kensington, my publisher, offered me another two-book contract. I am not allowed to discuss its theme at this time, but I can safely say it will be a story about Indian culture and features mostly Indian characters. I prefer to stick to what I know.


11.  What are your future goals for your writing?


Since I have a fairly demanding day job, I prefer to think in terms of one book at a time. Anything beyond that is much too ambitious, given the constraints on my time and energy.


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


I don't have a typical day. Each day is different. However, on weekday evenings, I generally get about an hour of writing done after dinner. On weekends, I get slightly more time, but housework and the daily demands of running a household and socializing cut into weekends as well. But I try to pack as much writing as I can into my weekends.


13.  Why do you write?


I have a lot of ideas and stories swirling in my brain. I have to vent those, and if I can express my opinions on certain social issues that bother me (remember I'm opinionated), then weaving them into fiction and making a story out of a real social-political issue is a great way to say what I want. Also, Indian culture is very rich, with plenty of fodder for fiction, and I try to draw from it as much as I can.  Educate, Inform, and Entertain are my main reasons for writing.


14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?


Although she is not my absolute favorite writer, Nora Roberts inspires me greatly, mainly for her prolific writing. She literally churns out books by the dozen each year, and good quality ones, a feat no other author seems to be able to emulate. And every book turns into a bestseller. She is truly amazing, and an inspiration to many writers, including me.


15.  How do you define your writing?


I call it mainstream women's fiction with romantic and ethnic elements.


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


Great entertainment with a delightful dose of spice, romance, and drama.


Shobhan Bantwal The Details:


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


I'm not a blogger by nature but I have a nice website, with information on my books, my other writing, links to my non-fiction articles, my bio and award-winning short stories, Indian recipes, photographs from India, book reviews, and contact page. The website is


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

Yes. Readers can reach me through my email address on my website contact page -


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


THE DOWRY BRIDE - Released September 1, 2007

THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER - Released September 1, 2008

Both are available at all nationwide and Canadian bookstores and online booksellers.


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


They can expect to read very entertaining mainstream fiction filled with drama, intrigue, and romance, and at the same time learn a lot about Indian culture and some hot-button social issues that are significant in contemporary India. I get a lot of email from readers who thank me for opening their eyes to certain issues that they had no knowledge of. They always tell me they found the idea of using a real life social issue combined with fiction a great way to bring it to people's attention.


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 love receiving feedback from my readers. Hence I have created a contact address on my website where they can reach me (indicated in question 18).


My writing, as I mentioned, is to educate, entertain and inform, so I hope they pick up my books so they can have all three. Not many American and Canadian readers are aware of the real India, which lies somewhere between the glitz and glamour of Bollywood (Bombay Hollywood) and the poverty and bleakness portrayed in documentaries and serious literary novels about India. In my books, readers can get a middle-of-the-road glimpse of Indian life.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:14 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 21 October 2008
The Forbidden Daughter--An Excerpt
Topic: Blog Tours


An excerpt

Oh, Lord, I beg of you. I fall at your feet time and again. In my next incarnation, don't give me a daughter; Give me hell instead . . .

Folk Song from the State of Uttar Pradesh, India


April 2006

Today was the day! Today Isha would most likely have an answer to that single question she’d been obsessing about for weeks—ever since she’d found out she was pregnant: Was it a boy, or . . . God forbid . . . a girl?

Nonetheless, she wasn’t sure if she
wanted to know. Even if she did, would her doctor be willing to reveal the fact, since it was illegal to discuss the sex of an unborn child with its parents? For Isha it was a case of mixed emotions and desires. There was a popular Americanism that described her feelings perfectly—damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Nervous anticipation made her stumble a little as she stepped out of the car to walk toward her obstetrician’s comfortable and well-appointed medical office.

Nikhil, her husband, quickly grabbed her arm to steady her. "Are you all right, Ish?" he asked with a slight frown. He was the only person in the world who called her Ish.

She nodded. "Just a bit tense, that’s all," she replied and lifted the hem of her cream chiffon 2

sari a bit, so she wouldn’t trip over the long, trailing pleats while climbing the single concrete step leading up to the front door.

"You’re not dizzy or anything?" Nikhil’s deepening frown and gently solicitous voice told her he was worried—more so than usual.

"No. I’m feeling fine," she assured him. No point in scaring him by saying she had huge butterflies, the size of bats, flitting around in her tummy. She was jittery enough for both of them.

She stole a brief sidelong glance at Nikhil. Dressed in elegant gray slacks and a blue designer shirt, he was the picture of polished good looks combined with affluence. But he wasn’t his usual confident self today. He seemed edgy—almost as much as she.

He kept a protective hand curled around her arm. "Good. Let’s keep it that way."

The black and white sign outside the single-story brick building was both prominent and impressive. Karnik Maternity Clinic—a proud testimonial to the doctor’s professional success. Beneath it were his name and credentials:
Dr. V. V. Karnik — Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist.

Although male OB-GYNs were still rare in small towns, this particular doctor had an outstanding reputation; consequently, he had acquired a large and exclusive clientele.

Isha was at the clinic to get an ultrasound test done—one of the most brilliant inventions in the medical field since the discovery of antibiotics. It could reveal whether the baby was healthy or not, and the most interesting thing was that one could see the fetus as a three-dimensional image on a computer screen. How fantastic was that!

Although she wasn’t sure if she wanted to find out the sex, she still couldn’t wait to see her unborn child. It would be thrilling to have a chance to be introduced to the tiny person growing inside her.

"Nervous?" asked Nikhil, after they’d announced themselves to the receptionist and settled down on the blue-and-gray upholstered sofa in the waiting room. 3

"Very." She searched his face. "Are you?"

He smiled at her, his hazel eyes warming up. "A little, I guess."

little?" she asked with a wry chuckle. She knew her husband well. He often covered up his negative feelings with that attractive smile. He rarely fooled her, though. And he hadn’t slept well the previous night. "I think you are more anxious than I am."

He took her hand and rubbed his thumb over the wrist, the laughter fading from his eyes. "Everything’s going to be okay. You’ll see."

She knew he was trying to reassure himself while doing the same for her. They were both pulsing with tension. There was a lot at stake here.

Twenty minutes later, it bubbled up like a fountain, warm and effervescent—the emotion that could be experienced only by a mother-to-be. Her baby! With damp palms and a racing heart, Isha observed the fuzzy movements on the monitor. The word
amazing hardly described it. It was like watching a fantasy show on television.

That funny little glob was the living, moving baby in her womb. But even at this early stage of pregnancy, the little arms and legs were identifiable. With its oversized bald head and a protruding forehead it resembled some alien creature in a science fiction movie.

But the elation quickly dampened when other thoughts began to crowd her brain. Oh no! What if . . .? She said a quick, silent prayer.
God, please let it be a boy. Please! If I don’t have a son this time, I’m finished. Her in-laws had made such a ruckus about her giving birth to a girl the first time. Her mother-in-law, supposedly an enlightened woman, with a college degree and an interest in music, world affairs and literature, had wrinkled her brow when she had first learned Isha had given birth to a girl. "Arré Deva, moolgee!" Oh, God, a girl!

Dr. Karnik allowed both Nikhil and Isha to gaze at the image on the screen for several more 4

seconds. Isha looked for the small but significant part of the baby’s anatomy that would establish its gender. So far there was no indication of it on the screen. Was it something that didn’t appear until the fetus grew a little bigger? She studied the image more closely. What she desperately hoped to see wasn’t there.

The doctor looked at her and Nikhil by turns. "So, do you want to know the child’s sex?"

Isha closed her eyes for an instant. Did she really want to know?

But then she heard Nikhil say, "Um . . . yes." He sounded hesitant.

"Are you sure?" The doctor gave him a pointed look.

Nikhil glanced at Isha and she nodded, albeit reluctantly. Was the doctor serious, or was this his idea of injecting a little levity into a grave situation? But he wasn’t smiling. And it was common knowledge that some doctors did manage to reveal the sex of the fetus discreetly, despite what the laws dictated, perhaps to accommodate the parents’ natural curiosity.

They exchanged brief glances. It was an unspoken agreement that the three of them would keep this confidential.

Deep down, she already knew the answer. The tiny image on the screen was plain enough.

"It’s a girl."

Silence fell over the examination room as Isha and Nikhil tried to digest the doctor’s casual announcement. Nikhil stood motionless, his gaze fixed on some unknown spot on the wall.

Another girl! That was all that went through Isha’s mind over and over again, although she’d known it in her gut. Official confirmation just made it harder.

Assuming their silence indicated disappointment, Dr. Karnik said, "It is not the end of the world, you know."

Isha rolled her eyes. "Maybe not to you, doctor. My in-laws will be devastated."

Dr. Karnik shrugged. "So . . . we can fix that." 5

"Excuse me!" Isha stared at the doctor. Had he really meant to say what she thought he’d meant? Or had she misunderstood him? She looked toward her husband, wondering if he had read the same message. All she saw was a puzzled look on Nikhil’s face. "What does that mean, doctor?"

"We can easily perform a clinical abortion," the doctor replied. "You’re only in the beginning of your second trimester, and it is a fairly simple procedure."

"Fairly simple!" Isha felt like she’d been punched in the stomach.

"Simple, safe, and fast, with today’s techniques," assured the doctor.

"No!" Glancing at the screen again, she saw the fetus move. The baby! "That’s not an option."

For more information, please visit

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:18 AM EDT
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Monday, 20 October 2008

I have the pleasure over the next several days of visiting with Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Forbidden Daughter.  This book is not your ordinary relaxing read, but is packed with subjects so often hidden from the public view, hidden but still very much existent.  These topics include:

*Gender-Based Abortions in a Male-Centric Society

*India’s vanishing girl babies

*Selective abortions 

*Female infanticide 

* Gender-based abortion

*Female Feticide

* India’s Unwanted Children

When a young widow refuses to comply with her in-laws' dictate to abort her unborn child, will her rebellion turn out to be the greatest mistake of her life, or a blessing in disguise? This is the story of one mother’s valiant fight to protect her daughters in a society that often frowns on female children, and the only man who will help her in her battle when the stakes become impossibly high.


THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER is woven around the hot-button social issue of vanishing girl children in contemporary India, where gender-based abortions and female infanticide continue to be practiced in some areas despite laws to ban the practices.




Shobhan's Bio

Shobhan Bantwal is the author of THE DOWRY BRIDE and THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER. Both novels are set in India and released by Kensington Publishing Corp. Shobhan’s short story titled WHERE THE LOTUS GROWS is scheduled for publication in an anthology in spring 2009 and the proceeds will be donated by the publisher, Freya’s Bower, to a battered women’s shelter.

As a freelance writer, Shobhan frequently writes columns for India Abroad. Since 2002, Shobhan’s articles and short stories have also appeared in a variety of other publications including The Writer magazine, Little India, U.S. 1, Desi Journal, India Currents, Overseas Indian, New Woman India, Kanara Saraswat and Sulekha. Her short stories have won honors and awards in fiction contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest, New York Stories and New Woman magazines.

For more information about her books, stories and articles, visit her website at

Please return to learn more about The Forbidden Daughter and Shobhan Bantwal.

Posted by joyceanthony at 1:54 AM EDT
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Sunday, 19 October 2008
The Ethnic Presidency Revisited
Topic: Blog Tours

A short time ago, I had the opportunity to feature Earl Ofari Hutchinson here at Books and Authors.  This election is an historice one, no matter who wins.  For that reason, I wanted to tell readers again about this wonderful book, written by a man who is extremely well-versed in politics.

A New York Times Poll released July 15 found that the prospect of an Obama presidency has deeply divided black, white and Hispanic voters. A majority of Hispanics and blacks say an Obama White House will improve race relations. A majority of whites say it won’t. In his book, The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House, noted political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson predicted that race would be a decisive factor in the presidential race.

Hutchinson said that the New York Times poll validated many of the key points and predictions in his book, The Ethnic Presidency. The poll found that a majority of whites are skeptical about Obama’s competency, experience and political beliefs. While a majority of blacks and Hispanics believe that Obama is best able to bring racial harmony and hope to the poor and dispossessed.

The racial divide that the New York Times poll found on everything from black and white views of racial progress, political expertise, immigration, and the future of the country under the first African-American president,” says Hutchinson, “echo the points detailed in The Ethnic Presidency.”

Hutchinson goes much further and tells how racial messages, images, stereotypes and code words impact and influence presidential elections past and present. The New York Times poll found African-American, Hispanic and Asian voters will play a major role in the presidential election. Hutchinson tells why their role and importance in presidential elections has grown immensely in the past decade and will continue to grow in future presidential elections.


Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author, syndicated columnist, political analyst and commentator. He is a frequent guest on Hannity and Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, The Big Story, EXTRA, and numerous CNN News and Talk Shows. He is associate editor of New America Media. His op-ed columns appear in the Baltimore Sun, Huffington Post, L.A. Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Christian Science Monitor, and other major newspapers. He is the author of ten books.


Posted by joyceanthony at 2:49 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 19 October 2008 2:53 AM EDT
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Saturday, 18 October 2008
The Greatest Writer's Conference On Earth
Topic: Writing Ramblings

How much would you be willing to pay for a writer's conference that allowed you to attend workshops on everything from Faith in Fiction to Writing Sex?  What if it included being able to meet and mingle with eleven publishers that represented every genre this is?  Wait, there's more! How about if they threw in over sixty--yes sixty!--week-long forums where you could get hands-on experience in various writing areas and all your questions answered?  We're talking character building, writing your bio, comedy, world building, website creation and cheap or free book promotion--just to name a small number. 

Okay--we have over sixty WEEK-LONG classes and direct contact with publishers--let's add some more.  How about thirty-five hour-long chats where you get a chance for even greater understanding of the subject matter?  How much do you think all this would be worth if you also had a chance to tons of handouts and the transcripts from all the various one-hour classes--a well as the ability to access all sixty week-long forums and have the information to peruse as many times as you wished?

Okay, I know what you are thinking--Joyce has either gone completely delusional or is giving us a glimpse of a fantasy novel.  Neither--this actually exists and I've been able to attend three years now--without spending a penny or leaving the comfort of my home--no hotel bills or food expenses, no pet sitters or childcare required.

For the third October in a row, the Internet has been the home of The Muse Online Writing Conference--and it has steadily grown.  I finish the week exhausted from all the activity--but a good exhaustion it is.  I spend the following months going over all the material, letting the information sink in and aid me in my writing career.  I have made contacts and made friends.

The Muse Conference has all I described above--and every year there is more--and it is offered at no cost to those who attend (although I have no doubt any donations would be more than welcome!).  This conference was the brainchild of Lea Schizas, an incredible woman who puts endless time and energy into bringing everything together and seeing that it runs smoothly.  Where she finds all the energy is a mystery to all--we just know she has more than earned all our love, respect and thanks.  Why does she do it?  Maybe she'll stop by and leave a comment telling us why.  All I know for sure is she sure gives all the rest of us a wonderful role model to look up to.

Watch here for your chance to sign up for next year's Muse Online Conference--I can guarantee you will never miss another one willingly!!

Posted by joyceanthony at 2:55 AM EDT
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Friday, 17 October 2008
Meet Sister Grace, mage of Our Lady of the Miracles of the Faerie Catholic Church
Topic: Character Interviews

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

The book I live in? That's an interesting way of putting it. I'm Sister Grace, mage of Our Lady of the Miracles of the Faerie Catholic Church, and the book I'm here to talk about is Magic, Mensa and Mayhem: From the Case Files of DragonEye, PI, written by our transcriber, Karina Fabian.

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

Vern, my partner, likes to call me the "magical tank." In most cases, that is my role. This time, however, I mainly kept an eye on the Magicals from our dimension as they attended a Mensa convention in your Mundane world. Of course, things didn't go quite as easily as we'd hoped, but magically, it wasn't overly taxing. I'm very grateful for that, incidentally, as being so far from the Gap that connects your world to Faerie meant I could not have replenished my magic.


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?


Karina came to us, actually. She was interested in our cases and asked if she could make them into stories and novels. It's been a fun process. She had a very vivid imagination.


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


Very easy to work with--though she and Vern had to have a discussion about his narrative style. It does give me pause that she's rather open about our lives. She tells more than I'm comfortable with revealing sometimes. However, she does her best not to embellish just for drama's sake. She lets us tell the story.


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


That would be Vern, a Faerie dragon working to earn back all his dragon abilities through service to the Church. When I first met him, I thought he was insufferably smug and lazy. (Sometimes, I still do, actually.) It was a difficult time for me; I was recovering from a sickness of the soul. Your doctors called it Post traumatic Stress Disorder; they helped me to be able to function again, but Vern has helped me come back to life. He has a sarcastic sense of humor that makes me laugh more than it probably should. When I am afraid or upset, he's there. He's my protector and my Simon--but he's also the one to make me push out of my comfort zone when the need arises.  And heavens! Does it arise often in this business!


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


Karina has already written a second book, Live and Let Fly, that will be coming out by Swimming Kangaroo sometime in late 2009. (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem comes out in February.)  In addition, she has several stories coming out in various anthologies:  Mother Goose is Dead (DragonMoon) and The Book of Tentacles, (Samsdot). I suspect she'll be writing stories and novels about our adventures for a long time.


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


That everything I am and everything I do is by the grace of God.


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


We learned some very interesting things about Brownies. We call them quantum creatures, but they're really more understandable with string theory--and I'm very good with strings.


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


It depends on what you mean by exciting. I most enjoyed making some new friends, especially Shirley Stark, a fellow harpist and a Mensan. But if you mean action-exciting, I guess that would be the magical "tussle" I got into with Euterpe. No, I won't give you the details. Let's just say she was putting on airs--as usual--during Shirley's Magic in Music panel and I felt it was my duty to humble her a bit...and things got out of hand. No one was hurt, except her pride, which may as well be a living thing.  I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say that. As you can see, Euterpe does bring out the worst in me.


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


Well, I probably shouldn't have gotten into such a fight with Euterpe.


11.  What was your main motivation?


Overall? I just wanted to relax. Attend the convention, listen to the speakers, make a few friends. Neither Vern nor I expected to have to stop an Interdimensional war. Truth to tell, though, Vern did the most of the real work this case. He's very resourceful.


12.  Introduce us to your main adversary?


In Magic, Mensa and Mayhem? Personally, I guess that was Euterpe, though she was a minor distraction, really. The main "adversary" in this was an ages-old tradition of the Elvesthat caused the trouble in the first place. That and Mundane colas. You'll have to read the story to find out what I mean by that.


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


Oh, no!  Karina writes what we tell her.


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

Go to Church. Learn about our Lord, accept His love and give him the praise and devotion He deserves.


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


You can learn more about Vern, me and the DragonEye, PI world at our website, We encourage you to sign up on the website and participate in the forums. Our books are listed on the right column. In the meantime, you can find out more about Firestorm of Dragons, which has one of Vern's earlier cases, at  "Magic, Mensa and Mayhem" comes out in February 2009 from Swimming Kangaroo.

Posted by joyceanthony at 1:27 AM EDT
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Thursday, 16 October 2008
Getting to Know Susan K. Schank
Topic: Author Interview

There has been an unavoidable change in schedules for the next few days.  I apologize to those who was looking forward to Truth and Intimacy--hopefully I can do that at another time.  I do have an interview with a wonderful author to share with you today--I hope you enjoy it!!

 Susan Schank the person: 

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

 honest, passionate, advocate

2.      How do you think others would describe you?

Talks ALL THE TIME!  But is a good listener, too.  Caring, a cynical optimist, stands up for what she believes in.

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

My daughter and husband.  Without them I am nothing.

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

Yes, I have a chow/shepherd mix dog named Cossette, a corn snake named Ruby, and a zebra finch named Zeke.  My daughter has a fish named Molly.  No, it is not a mollie.  It is a beta.  A male.  Whatever…… 

5.  What is your most precious memory?

The birth of my daughter.


6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Stumbling over my chair in college Lit class while making my exit on the last day of class.  Right after I had told the professor, as well as the entire class, what I thought of his teaching and grading techniques.  Not a graceful moment, but certainly an impressive one.

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

I would be a lawyer.  I love to research and debate.

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary


Passionate is how you would describe Susan.  Susan worked hard to be the best mother, wife, and teacher she could be.  She was passionate about children, about the goodness of people, about education truly being the path to freedom and independence.  She was an advocate for those less fortunate and for causes she believed in.  Susan tried to make a difference with her words and wrote to inspire.  Her passion will be missed.

Susan Schank the writer: 

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

Absolutely!  It was the day I received my box of “Tera’s Dawn”, my first picture book.  “Tera’s Dawn, Author, Susan K. Schank” was printed on the side of the box.  VALIDATION!  From a BOX!  I still have the box.

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

I am working on a couple of picture books, finishing an article in which I interviewed a young TV celebrity, and making character profiles for an adult novel that seems to be banging around in my head.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?



I would like to write full time, for both children and adults.  And find a great agent!


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



Working as a full-time librarian in an elementary school doesn’t leave much time for a typical writing day.  I often write on my lunch break, especially if I have a deadline on a project.  I also work writing in while waiting for my daughter during her tumble and gymnastics classes.  Weekends and summers provide time to write, too.  I just fit it in when and where I can.


13.  Why do you write?



I write as a way of speaking.  I write to inspire, to share, to entertain.  Sometimes I write simply to vent, which often turns out to be some of my most passionate work.  But mostly, I just write to get the stories out of my head!

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?



I can’t pick just one!  But TWO I can think of are Jane Yolen and Cynthia Rylant.  I adore Jane’s writing and how diverse her topics and styles are.  Also, I spent a week with her in a picture book workshop hosted by the Highlights Foundation.  Just Jane and eight participants.  A PHENOMENAL experience.  She is such a wonderful, warm, sharing person.  I admire Cynthia Rylant’s writing.  It is so lyrical.  I enjoy both her picture books and chapter books.  And who doesn’t love Henry and Mudge?!

15.  How do you define your writing?



Depends on what I’m writing.  Funny, contemplative, informative, thought provoking.  Sometimes full of pathos….


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



“She wrote good stories.”

Susan Schank the details: 


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



Sure!  Please visit my website at  And my Face Book page.

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

Yes, there is an email link on my site.


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


* “Tera’s Dawn”, Purple Sky Publishing, 2008.

* “Gilda Can’t Gallop”, Living Waters Publishing, forthcoming.


*Poem-“Grow a Story” is the second-place national winner featured in the national Half-Price Books Store “Say Goodnight to Illiteracy Bedtime Story Book”, 2006. 

* Poem-“Just After You Were Born” featured in Miracles of Motherhood: Poems and Prayers for New Mothers, June Cotner Books, 2007.

* Devotionals-“Love Her” and “Respect” featured in A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers Adams Media Corporation, 2007


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


It depends on which book they are reading.  My picture books tend to be either quiet, soft stories, or situation comedy.  The adult books I have contributed to are all prayerful. 

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 am mom, wife, teacher, singer, librarian, Girl Scout leader, volunteer…..

My life is very full and extremely rich.  Family is the most important thing in the world to me.  Without them I am nothing. 

As for my writing, my life provides the soil from which my words grow.  Sometimes they grow tall and strong, sometimes they need a bit of fertilizer to help them along.  My critique group provides invaluable advice, encouragement, and LOTS of laughs!  Writing isn’t easy, it takes time and dedication.  But it IS worth it!

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 16 October 2008 12:47 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Truth and Intimacy--A Book for All Couples and Those Who Hope to Be
Topic: Blog Tours

Over the next couple of days, we will be visiting with Lacresha and Lensey Hayes:




They have written a wonderful book for all those who want to create a more loving relationship with their spouse.

It is a must-read book for all those who are married or who hope to be. 

Let's take a look at:



 Truth and Intimacy: A Couple's Journal
Authors: Lensey and Lacresha Hayes
Publisher: Living Waters Publishing Company
ISBN: 978-0-9814532-3-1
Publication Date: September 2008
Page Count: 180 pages
Price: $19.99

Truth and Intimacy  fosters closeness and understanding between couples, helping them to overcome common marriage issues for a longlasting, healthy and happy marriage. With interactive activities, this book will become a close companion for you and your spouse.


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:51 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 14 October 2008
True Wealth (Video from Quest For Success
Topic: Blog Tours

As we finish up our coverage of Quest for Success, I'd like to share with you a short video on the subject of True Wealth.  Please take the time to let these words invade your soul.



For additional information visit

To learn about all of Lili Fournier's products, visit

The complete list of tour stops is available at:

Posted by joyceanthony at 1:15 AM EDT
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