Today we have with us a good friend and colleague, Penny Ehrenkranz, author of A Past and A Future and more. I met Penny at the first Muse Online Conference way back when and today we both are editors for Muse It Up Publishing. It is my pleasure to have Penny here today.
Penny recently released a picture book, Boo’s Bad Day, through 4RV Publishing. She has three short romances, Love Delivery (contemporary), Lady in Waiting (historical), and Mirror, Mirror (time travel) available from MuseItUp Publishing. She also has a collection of short fantasy and science fiction stories, A Past and A Future available through Smashwords and Sam’s Dot Publishing.
So without further ado let’s welcome Penny.
PE: Gloria, thank you for hosting me today.
GO: You’re welcome, Penny. My pleasure. How do you inspire yourself?
PE: I find inspiration for my stories in many places. I get ideas while reading magazines or news articles. I might overhear a conversation or be told about an event, and it will become fodder for a new story.
My focus right now seems to be children’s stories, although I also write for adults. I have to admit my grandchildren’s love of stories is definitely an inspiration to me. When I start a new story, I wonder how they will relate to the story and if they would enjoy it.
GO: What is your proudest writer moment?
PE: The first time I received an email from a reader letting me know she found an error in a published work. Here I am an editor, and still errors slip through.
I’m always amazed at what the brain will see even though it’s incorrect. Reminds me of those messages written without vowels, yet they can be read.
GO: What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
PE: My biggest challenge is marketing my work. For many years, I focused primarily on short stories and articles. I found it easier to sell those and receive an immediate payment for my work. Now that my focus is on books, both print and eBook, I actually have to get out and encourage people to buy my books. It’s difficult to “toot one’s own horn.”
GO: What is your writer life philosophy?
PE: I try not to stress about writing. As a child I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to achieve this life goal.
If life gets in the way of my writing, that’s okay with me. When I do have time to write, I make the most of it. My family comes first. I’ve never felt I have to write every day to consider myself a writer, although it certainly helps if I can do that. I do know most experts tell you that if you are to be successful, you need to set aside some time every day to write. While that may work for a lot of people, it doesn’t always work for me. I don’t want to feel guilty if I can’t get to my WIP. There is enough stress in life without worrying about whether or not I’ve written a page.
GO: When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
PE: I’m retired and enjoy spending time with my family, especially my grandchildren. I also enjoy crocheting, gardening, and cooking. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time reading!
GO: What advice can you give new writers?
PE: The best thing you can do is have faith in yourself. I found a long time ago, it often comes down to being in the right place, at the right time, with the right story. Of course, that being said, it’s important to understand the English language, grammar, and spelling rules, and the basics of good storytelling. Be sure to be professional and read submission guidelines.
GO: What are you currently working on?
PE: Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time promoting my children’s picture book released through 4RV Publishing, Boo’s Bad Day, rather than writing.
I am, however, working on a fantasy novella. I’d also like to do a sequel to my middle grade novels, Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch, too, so that’s a back-burner project.
GO: What drives you to write?
PE: I’ve always been comfortable writing and would rather receive a letter than talk on the phone! I’ve written stories for my own entertainment since I was a child and had dreams of becoming an author since I was in my teens. I finally realized my dream when I had my first short story published. I love to read and get lost in a story. I think the ability to share a story with someone is just an incredible high. The first time I saw my byline, I jumped for joy.
GO: How do you deal with obstacles in your work or places where you feel stuck?
PE: I tend to write in a lot of different genres and for different age groups. I write both fiction and non-fiction. I’ve written stories for adults, teens, middle grades, and picture books. I believe that kind of diversity helps me from really getting stuck. If I find myself at a place where I can’t think of what to write, I switch gears. Eventually what was presenting itself as an obstacle will clear up. Taking a break and then coming back later works for me.
and many more…So let’s stand up and celebrate our survival. How? Add your name, type of cancer and year of occurrence in the comments. How many can we get? As they say reach for the stars – so should we go for 10,000? 100,000? 1 million? Help spread the word – Tweet, post on FB, LI, Google+, anywhere else you can think of. Let’s see how long this list can get. Are you with me?
As we approach June which celebrates cancer survival, I am privileged today to host a special guest Linda Kedy. Her book Cancer Is Great for Your Health published Dec. 2012 tells Linda’s story. Linda, like myself, is a cancer survivor. Linda wrote her book because she wanted to help support others diagnosed with the big C and to show them that survival is a possibility.
Linda graduated with a degree in engineering. Left with a four-year-old daughter after an unsuccessful marriage she and her daughter moved to Israel where she lived for about ten years. She was offered a position in the U.S. and made her way to Florida as a single mom of two, now, and became a home-based business trainer. Today she is also a life and health coach.
Join me in welcoming Linda to Gloria’s Corner.
GO: What drives your stories?
LK: Personal experiences.
GO: Do you start with the characters or the plot?
LK: I start with the outcome I’m looking to achieve, and then break it down into the actions (plot).
GO: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
LK: Think about what really inspires you, and then commit to a daily practice to write, preferably in a different location from where you do the rest of your activities.
GO: Why does career envy seem to be more of a psychological burden for writers than for those in other occupations?
LK: I believe this is true when writers feel thet must produce a #1 best seller.
GO: What is your definition of success?
LK: The gratification of knowing I have made a positive difference in the lives of my readers.
GO: How do you describe your style of writing?
LK: Simplistic, so my readers can say, “Oh, that makes complete sense–I can do that”
GO: What is your writing process?
LK: A commitment of two hours a day at Starbucks.
GO: What was your path to publication?
LK: Sharing the draft with friends I respect, many of whom are authors, and asking them for publishing suggestions.
GO: What is your favorite self-marketing idea?
LK: My personal database of 7,000 + who have been reading my e-zines for fifteen years and Facebook.
GO: What are the biggest surprises you’ve encountered as a writer?
LK: My ability to write! Creative writing was my worst subject in school!
Another book you might consider while over there at Amazon is Lavender Dreamsan anthology put together by several MuseItUp authors in memory of one of our editors who lost her battle with this disease. I am one of these authors. The purchase of this anthology will help these authors contribute to cancer related institutions and organizations annually by way of dedicating their royalties from this book for that cause.
Linda, thanks for stopping by today. It was a pleasure having you here.
Hello again, this week I am welcoming Heather Greenis to Gloria’s Corner. Heather left the corporate world after fifteen years in the world of finance. Her inspiration came from the stories her clients shared during those years.
Her book, Natasha’s Dream, to be published by Muse It Up Publishing, is due out June 21, 2013.
So let’s get to the interesting part – the interview.
GO: What was your path to publication?
HG: My husband actually suggested I write. I have an active imagination, and dream most nights. We normally discuss the dreams the following day, just like my character Keeghan does. Once I got started, writing became an addictive hobby. I love it. The entire 4 part series took 10 years to write. Lots of editing and rewriting. I’m still editing the final book in the series.
GO: What is your favorite self-marketing idea?
HG: Friends – I’m involved in my community so I’m hoping they spread the word on my behalf. So far, they’ve made announcements on my behalf, something I couldn’t do.
GO: What were the biggest surprises you’ve encountered as a writer?
HG: The required time for responses. I sent my original manuscript to three publishers. I heard back from the first after six weeks. They were interested in my style of writing, not this book. Not enough of a romance for them. They asked me to keep them in mind for future manuscripts.
After nine months of waiting I’d given up on the other two publishers. I told my husband I’d wait until after Christmas and start sending out my manuscript again. What an amazing shock when I received the e-mail from the publisher at MuseitUp in November, nine months after submission.
GO: How do you inspire yourself? What are your sources of creativity?
HG: So far, life inspires me. Events that happen around me. My husband will read a section in a book and say ‘I remember that.’
I don’t watch a lot of television but enjoy programs that are educational. Programs that discuss current events. I listen to a lot of talk radio.
GO: What is your proudest moment as a writer?
HG: During my last communication with my editor, Teale told me she made a note requesting first dibs on future manuscripts from me. That made my day. I enjoyed working with my editors. It was a far better experience then I expected.
GO: What’s the best advice you were given about writing?
HG: The best advice came from my husband. At the beginning he told me ‘Don’t worry about the beginning. Just start writing.’ The ending of ‘Natasha’s Dream’ inspired the book. It was the first thing I wrote although it saw a lot of edits. If it hadn’t been for my husband, this book/series wouldn’t exist.
GO: What was your most embarrassing writer moment?
HG: I sent a not so friendly letter to my publisher before I received my congratulations email telling my they accepted my submission. Ooooops. Thanks Lea for having a heart and signing me!
GO: What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
HG: Time. Time to spend marketing. I’m shy, so bragging about something so personal is difficult to impossible. Thank goodness for social media. I get to do it from the comforts of my home.
GO: What is your writer life philosophy?
HG: Life is short. Do what you enjoy, for as long as you enjoy doing it. I hope I continue enjoying this passion for many years to come.
Write when you’re inspired to do so, take breaks to clear your mind when needed. Play with the dog. Our little fluff-ball keeps us smiling and laughing.
GO: When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
HG: I love gardening. Living on an acre of property, it isn’t hard to find something to do.
We love to travel. Throw a dart at the globe and count me in. My camera is charged and ready to go.
During the winter, I’m actively involved in our local Curling club. I play on social leagues, a competitive league and I head our ‘juniors’ program. Classes are once a week for two hours running late October through March. The winter months fly by. Last year three other coaches and I taught a group of 30 kids ranging in ages between 6 and 16. We had a blast with a great group of kids. Someday I will be watching a major curling event on television and say, “There is … I taught him or her.
Last month I learned how to golf. Now I know why curlers golf.
I’m involved in the Healing Cycle – Hospice Palliate Care.
I plan to begin volunteering at my local hospice, dedicating a few hours a week to support this cause even further. Our goal is to ensure every person, regardless of wealth and status has access to a dignified death surrounded by people that love them. Jack Layton’s last hours were a perfect send off.
To wrap up today’s visit, I will leave you with a blurb from Natasha’s Dream that Heather has shared with us.
Noticing the sun was lowering in the sky, Natasha announced it was time to depart. Stewart jumped up and extended his hand to assist her to her feet. She stared at it, unsure how to react. Given her royal status, it wasn’t proper to allow any young man, especially a commoner, to touch her.
“Natasha,” he pleaded. “Allow me to assist you.”
Natasha looked into the compassionate glow of his eyes. She debated on the wisdom of allowing a commoner to touch her. It would be far more civilized to rise with his assistance. She moved her hand, allowing it to rest in his, and rose to her feet. Stewart crouched and retrieved his school book.
“I’ve intruded upon your studies,” she groaned, ashamed of herself. “I’ve been inconsiderate of your time.”
“Not at all. I welcome the company when it is accompanied by such a beautiful face and pleasant conversation. No regrets. I’ll complete my reading this evening. Will I see you tomorrow?”
Natasha looked up, glad to see white fluffy clouds. It would be difficult to justify a day outdoors if it rained or became nasty.
“Unless the weather becomes inclement.”
“Mind your manners,” he ordered as he tilted his head upward.
She chuckled. He was lecturing the sky.
“I will be praying for a drought,” he admitted, and then winked. “Allow me the privilege of walking you home.”
Sighing, she knew that was one request she could never allow, for she could not divulge her true identity. If she did, and her father discovered the truth of how she spent her time, she would be confined to the castle. Nothing could be more dreadful.
“I regret, I must decline. I enjoy the solitude of the walk, and you could use the time on your studies.”
She turned and began her journey back to the castle.
OMG! Karina is back again. Welcome back, and what is that I’m hearing…Vern is back with you this time. Well Vern welcome back, too. Oh, let’s see, we have a blurb so why don’t we take a look and see what Vern is up to this time around. Won’t you join me?
Winner of the 2010 INDIE for best Fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem), Karina Fabian has imagination that takes quirky twists that keep her–and her fans–amused. Nuns working in space, a down-and-out Faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, zombie exterminators—there’s always a surprise in Fabian’s worlds. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars, but mostly is concerned with supporting her husband, Rob Fabian as he makes the exciting leap from military officer to civilian executive, getting her kids through high school and college, and surviving daily circuit torture…er, circuit training. Read about her adventures
Blurb: Being a private detective in the border town of the Faerie and Mundane worlds isn’t easy, even for a dragon like Vern. Still, finding the wayward brother of a teary damsel in distress shouldn’t have gotten so dangerous. When his partner, Sister Grace, gets poisoned by a dart meant for him, Vern offers to find an artifact in exchange for a cure. However, this is no ordinary trinket—with a little magic power, it could control all of mankind. Can Vern find the artifact, and will he sacrifice the fate of two worlds for the life of his best friend?
GO: Karina, how do you get yourself in the mood to write?
KF: I sit in whatever chair and tell myself to do it.If that doesn’t work, I either dink around on Facebook awhile or get a shower while I think on the next scene.Sometimes, I switch to a different writing instrument, like pen and paper.Some stories want to be on paper first.
GO: How much do you know about a book when you begin writing it?
KF: Depends on the book.Sometimes, the characters lead me scene by scene; other times, I know the entire thing, minus some details.For Greater Treasures, I had the characters, location, and basic plot worked out.As I started writing the rest made itself known, or gave me enough hints that I could go and research, which of course added to the ideas.
GO: Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, how have you dealt with it?
KF: Give myself permission to write junk until I get past it.I might also take a shower to think out the scene.I don’t really believe in writers’ block.
GO: Do you enjoy promoting your books?
KF: Yes and no.I enjoy book tours and I enjoy talking about my books.I’m less enthusiastic about posting to ask folks to buy my book.I like signings and having booths at conventions, but I’m always disappointed when I don’t make a lot of sales.I’m an introvert who doesn’t like to toot her own horn, which makes it difficult.
GO: If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the publishing industry, what would it be?
KF: Quality control.There’s a lot of badly written stuff on the market now—badly written, badly formatted, in dire need of editing…It’s not good for readers, and it makes it harder for writers who are doing the work to get noticed.With millions of books on Kindle, it’s easy for a good one to get lost in the shuffle.
GO: Are there any books you find yourself going back to and reading again and again?
KF: Not lately.I have too many friends who are excellent writers, and as I’ve gotten older, my eyes tire easily.Having said that, Madeleine L’Engles’s Wrinkle in Time trilogy will always be with me, as will Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, Pratchett’s Discworld universe, Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar stories, and the Myth, Inc books.
GO: What types of nonfiction do you plan to publish?
KF: I published a short devotional with my father, Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life.Right now, however, I don’t have any plans for more non-fiction books.I write articles now and again, and writing workshops.
GO: In today’s market, how well known must a writer be to succeed?
KF: I think that goes without saying.However, popularity does not mean success, and many folks have succeeded in making themselves well known though hard work once they had a book out.
GO: How do you make ordinary characters extraordinary?
KF: I give them a few quirks, but mostly, they do it themselves as they come alive on the page.It’s an organic process, a creation patterned after God’s creation of our extraordinary world.It’s surprising and humbling and not fully of my conscious control.
Take Vern, for example.I knew I wanted a unique dragon, and decided to make a noir-style detective dragon with a cynical side and a good sense of humor.I knew he neededreason to be cynical, so I put it on the Faerie version of St. George, a holy mage of their Catholic Church.That was pretty much the extent of my plans when I started writing.He came alive on the page.His cynical superior side was tempered by a compassion he didn’t always like himself.He started calling people silly pun-based names; I didn’t plan that; it grew from his personality.I had such fun with him, I had to put him in other stories, and over the years, he’s shown the ability to do slapstick or heavy noir. He is an extraordinary character, but all I did was give him a rough structure and opportunities.
GO: What does your family think of your writing?
KF: I’m blessed by a family that not only supports my writing but loves it as well.Rob and the kids are always ready to listen to my latest ideas, give me suggestions, and hear my stories.The kids have copies of all my books, and the oldest especially comes back to them time and again.
About Greater Treasures: Most people associate the DragonEye stories with high humor ranging from puns to slapstick, and in fact, the first stories and the novels have certainly been crazy fun. But the life of a cynical dragon PI isn’t all laughs, and Vern has had a few chilling stories to tell me. Some of these, I’ve sold to anthologies, but some are too long for that. Thus, I’ve decided to start publishing them on my own.
One thing I like to do for DragonEye stories is watch old noir films. Greater Treasures came to me while watching the Maltese Falcon. If you’ve never seen it, I recommend it. (Then, reread the story to see if you catch the in jokes.) I needed something with more “oomph” than a bird statue, and since Vern has some history with the Lance of Longinus, it made a good fit. I enjoyed looking up all the conspiracy theories about the use of the Lance by Hitler, which is where the neo-Nazi angle came in. To say more would be spoilers, so please, enjoy the story.
Wait, don’t leave yet. Vern gripes about the junk in his warehouse in Greater Treasures, but he and Grace have started going through boxes, and they’ve agreed to send something to one of my readers. Leave a comment or question for Karina, Vern, or Sister Grace.
Well, another week has gone by and the sun is finally shining. Join me today in welcoming Kay LaLone, author of Ghostly Clues, published by MuseItUp Publishing.
Kay lives in Michigan with her husband and a teenage son (two older sons live nearby). She has two dogs and a cat. She loves writing about ghosts and the paranormal. An avid reader, Kay will read just about anything and posts reviews on her website.
Here’s a blurb about Ghostly Clues:
The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower, and they’re not even in bloom.
Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another, uncovering a secret that Mom never wanted Sarah Kay to know.
Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave. As the evidence piles up, Mom still refuses to accept the possibility Sarah Kay’s father is alive.
Sarah Kay finds Dad’s parents. A set of grandparents she didn’t realize existed. They make it clear her father is alive but days and miles separate the father and daughter reunion because Dad is a truck driver on a long haul.
Sarah Kay waits. The news reports a fatal car accident involving a semi and Sarah Kay fears the worse. She runs away which leads to Dad and the truth, Mom wanted Dad to remain dead.
Dad had faked his death so why not just stay dead. The ghostly clues of Grandma wouldn’t allow Dad to remain dead to Sarah Kay.
And now I’d like to ask Kay some questions and have her share with us her responses. Thanks for coming today Kay.
GO: Does writing help better you as a person? How?
KL: I think so. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I think if you have a passion for something, it is something that you are meant to do. If you don’t do what you are meant to do, than you become an unhappy person.
GO: What advice can you give a new author?
KL: Try to find time to work on your next project. As a new author myself, I find that hard to do. I never thought a writer’s life would be so busy with promoting, blogging, and trying to connect with your readers. Sometimes i forget I need to find time to write.
GO: How has networking both online and offline, played a part in your advancement as a writer?
KL: Networking is great. Through networking I’m able to connect with my readers as well as other writers. Writing can be a lonesome job, but networking helps me make friends and learn from other writers.
GO: All good stories originate somewhere. How did this one start?
KL: When I was Sarah Kay’s age, my main character in Ghostly Clues, my grandmother passed away. One night I saw a ghost hand crawl up my bed and take a doll off the bed. I believe it was a visit from my grandma. Now I’m not saying my grandmother was a ghost, but I always thought that would be kind of cool if she was. So that is how Ghostly Clues started.
GO: Can you share your most frightening nightmare with us?
KL: Besides seeing a ghost hand? But I don’t consider that a nightmare. I don’t have nightmares very often, but I remember one I had just the other night. It was about a ghost boy. I don’t know who this boy was and I don’t remember what he looked like. All I remember is that he was running up the stairs. When I woke up, it left me with a frightened feeling. I don’t know why. I’m thinking about using this ghost boy in a story. I’m just waiting for him to visit me again.
GO: Where did you begin your research? What sources were of most benefit to you? And did you do all the research yourself, or did you have any assistance?
KL: I don’t think I did any research when I was writing Ghostly Clues. In the past, I’ve done research on ghosts. I usually like to do research on the internet.
GO: If you were not writing would you return to your previous career, start a new one, and what would that be?
KL: Writing is the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do. I’ve had other jobs. Currently I’m a stay-at-home mom who likes to sell on ebay and at the flea market. I also blog and do book reviews. Writing is my career.
GO: What do you enjoy the most, and the least about writing as a profession?
KL: The thing I enjoy the most about writing as a profession is sitting at the computer and just writing without any interruptions, to just let the story flow out of me. (which doesn’t happen very often) My least favorite is revising. I never seem to know when to stop revising.
GO: Are there any books you’ve read in the past six months that you’d recommend to my readers?
KL: I love to read. Most of the books I have read in the past six months I would recommend. I post book reviews on my website http://kaylalone.weebly.com and on my blog http://kaylalone.blogspot.com if you want to check out the books I have read.
GO: Can you tell us anything about your next project?
KL: I have several projects in the works right now. But I have sent a manuscript to MuseItUp. Family Secret about a boy who discovers secrets that could put him in danger. This story has witches, demons, and ghosts in it.
To learn more about Kay or to purchase her book visit the following links:
Join me in welcoming Mary Waibel, author of Quest of the Hart, to be published by MuseItUp Publishing very soon. Her companion novel to this one, The Lost Princess should be out in a few months.
Mary lives with her husband, son, and two cats. She loves twisting fairy tales. When she’s not writing, Mary enjoys reading, playing games, watching hockey, and camping.
Mary wants to share a blurb about Quest of the Hart today.
A reverse Sleeping Beauty tale where the princess goes on the quest to save the prince.
Princess Kaylee has never had to fight for anything. Her entire life has been arranged, even her marriage. But when Prince Devlin falls under an enchantment, she finds she is willing to do anything to save him, even if it means fighting a dragon.
Devlin’s own sister, Princess Arabella, is behind the deadly plot. She wants the throne and will use any means necessary to gain it. Her perfect plan unravels, leaving Devlin caught in a magical sleep that is slowly spreading through the kingdom of Breniera. All Arabella needs to finish her spell and claim the crown is a drop of Kaylee’s blood, but obtaining the single drop is proving more difficult than expected.
To save her betrothed, Kaylee embarks on a quest to find an ancient sword and gather a drop of dragon’s blood, while trying to stay out of Arabella’s traps. But Arabella’s traps aren’t the only danger. Time is everything. For once the last inhabitant of the kingdom falls asleep, the spell will be sealed, and not even true love’s kiss will break it.
GO: What do you like to read?
MW: Anything. Romance, suspense, fantasy, mystery. I do find myself strongly drawn to romances with a mystery/intrigue plot, too.
GO: What’s your advice for new writers?
MW: Keep writing and keep reading. You’ll learn from what you read, and the more you write, the better your skill develops.
GO: What are you currently working on?
MW:I am currently working on getting the third novel in the Princess of Valendria series ready for submission. I have a paranormal romance out for feedback from my CP’s (critique partners), and am beginning a romantic comedy.
GO: Where did you get the idea for your book spotlighted here today? What inspired you to write it?
MW: A friend told me I should write a book where the girly-girl saves the prince, and Quest of the Hart was born.
GO: Why do you keep writing?
MW: Because I have stories that come to mind and I want to share them with others.
GO: As an author, how do you want readers to view your book?
MW: I want my readers to be able to escape to another world, spend time characters they want to root for, and enjoy their time in that world.
GO: What are your writing achievements and goals?
MW: Quest of the Hart is releasing from MuseItUp Publishing on Friday, 4/19/13. A companion novel, Charmed Memories, will release from MuseItUp Publishing in August. I hope to have at at least 2 more companion novels in this series, as well as one or two in a related series. I am hoping my paranormal book will turn into a 2 book series. And, there are several other books I have waiting in the wings.
GO: You must belong to at least one writer’s group. How does/do such groups benefit you and your writing?
MW: I have a close group of CP’s that I work with. We exchange work (sometimes a few chapters at a time, sometimes entire books) and read for each other, looking for flow, character issues, timeline problems. Things that we see that work really well for us, and things that don’t work at all. Sometimes my CP’s understand my characters better than I do, and they make sure I stay true to them. It’s great learning when something worked really well, and (even when it’s frustrating) it’s extremely helpful to learn what didn’t work.
Join me in welcoming a lady I met online not too long ago. Her debut, an autobiography titled A Life of Many Colors: From Israel to America has just come out and is available on Amazon.com Miki is a fascinating lady who says she’s “79 years young.” With an attitude like that how can you not want to read about her?
GO: Tell us a bit about your book.
MB: My book is an autobiography. I have had a life similar to a roller coaster ride. I thought it would be inspirational. Every person has a book within them, I wanted to share mine.
GO: What is your writing schedule like?
MB: It took me approximately three years to complete my book. During the three years I had periods that I did not write, however towards the end I would sit by my computer about eight hours a day just typing away, and not feeling
the hours pass by.
GO: Where can readers learn more about you and your work?
MB: The readers can check my web page: http://mikizbell.com, or they can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to my FB page. I am now retired and am a young seventy-nine year old lady who just wrote her first book.
GO: What were the best and worst bits of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
MB: The best advice was to just start writing and also to create chapter headings, and then fill in the info. I had no worst advice.
GO: Who has inspired you in your writing?
MB: My life inspired me to share my story.
GO: Did you choose the writing profession or did it choose you?
MB: I did the writing myself, and had it edited when it was complete.
GO: What is your background?
MB: My background is quite unconventional. I was born in Israel, which was Palestine at the time in 1934. My parents were divorced when I was five and a half, was kidnapped by my father and molested by an uncle. At the age of twelve I decided to quit school and became an adult.
With a seventh grade formal education, life became my school. I worked as a seamstress, hairdresser, police officer, an air hostess, a Realtor, a business owner serving the convention industry, and a director of a homeopathic enterprise. I was elected a Georgia Delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business during Reagan’s presidency, and on and on.
I am told that my book reads like the reader is having a conversation with me. It is an easy read and is inspirational. The reader learns that a determined mind coupled with a positive attitude can accomplish much at any age.
My story ranges from Tel Aviv to Atlanta, noting public and historic events en route.
GO: When did you “know” you were a writer?
MB: For the past fifteen years I had wanted to write my life’s story, I started several times, but stopped after the first fifteen pages. I did not know I was a writer, but am so happy to have written my book, and hear how much people enjoy reading my story.
GO: How would you describe your style of writing?
MB: I would describe my style of writing as Conversational.
GO: What is your next project?
MB: My next project is promoting my book, and networking with other authors.
Today I’d like to welcome a long-time online friend and another fellow Muser, Cheryl Malandrinos.
Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author, and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer, and blogger.
Her blog is The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection. In addition to interviews and guest posts, Cheryl reviews books there from board books up to YA novels. She also uses this blog to post news about her upcoming projects, like 12 X 12, which I am participating in now. Writers commit to writing one picture book a month for the year, so 12 books over 12 months. You can find out more about this at the blog.
Cheryl also writes under the name of C. C. Gevry. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.
Cheryl, I have a question for you. Have you ever considered doing a board book for young adoptees?
Please leave your questions, feedback, or comments below. I hesitate to say once again that you may be chosen a winner by doing so. Seems my first three winners have yet to step up with their contact info. Either they don’t want the free gift or some other reason I just don’t get. So here again are the three winners still waiting to be heard from:
J. Q, Rose
and our star of today Cheryl Malandrinos
Have a nice weekend! Stay safe! See you all next week here at Gloria’s Corner
Today on Wednesday Writer Spotlight we have with us Heather Haven, an award winning author, a fellow Muser and a good online friend. Heather has written short stories, novels, comedy acts, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and two one-act plays. She even ghostwrote a book on running an employment agency, ironically, while she herself was unemployed.
Her first novel in the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Murder is a Family Business won the Single Titles Reviewers’ Choice Award 2011. The second and third books in the series, A Wedding to Die For and Death Runs in the Family, made the finalist list for EPIC Best eBook Mystery of the Year for both 2012 and 2013 in that order.
Her stand-alone noir mystery, Death of a Clown, published by The Wives of Bath Press draws on her real-life experience with the circus. No she wasn’t in one, but she comes from a family that was. Her mother was a trapeze artist/performer and father, an elephant trainer for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
So with no further ado, join me in welcoming Heather to Gloria’s Corner.
GO: So Heather, can you tell us what draws you to metaphor?
HH: Metaphors are such fun!! I mean, something like “His words left me feeling like a squashed eggplant lying on the side of the road” is more fun to write than “He hurt my feelings.” Don’t you agree? Of course, that really isn’t a very good choice, but we need to move on. Hmmmm. Wait a minute. Maybe a squashed kumquat. How about a squashed banana? Never mind. I’m becoming obsessed. Squashed toad. Oh, no! I hate that. Nothing happening to animals. Never mind AGAIN.
GO: Does autobiography have a role in your creative writing?
HH: Not any more than any other writer. Often my voice reflects a lot of who I am, but it’s also fun to think and write outside the box, to become somebody else rather than yourself. For me, that’s real creative writing.
GO: Describe your research and writing process.
HH: I tend to do my research along with my writing, if it’s quick and easy. If it’s just one fact, I Google it. However, if it’s something more involved, I don’t want to stop the process, so I table it for later. Also, a lot of the time, I do the research ahead. Sometimes that spurs me on to a better path than I was originally taking. Truth is often stranger than fiction. It’s a weird world we live in. Just tap into it.
GO: What advice do you have for new and aspiring writers?
HH: Write! Write, write, and write. You can’t be a writer unless you write. People often ask me how I do it, and when the first thing I say is, “I sit down at my desk and start writing around 8 a.m.,” they often respond by saying, “Oh, no, I can’t do that. I don’t have time.” Well then, pal, it’s going to be pretty tough to become a writer. You need to sit down and start writing. Anything. You don’t have to show it to anyone. It’s yours. If you use it, fine. If you toss it, fine. It’s all a learning process. Don’t be afraid. You can do it. Just sit down and WRITE. Soon you’ll have something of which you are proud. And don’t let anyone take that away from you, either. Tell yourself you can do it. Give yourself permission to write.
GO: Where do your story ideas come from, and what is your process like for developing them?
HH: I read the papers. Honestly, I get most of my ideas from articles in the newspaper. My second novel of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, A Wedding to Die For, is based on an article I read about an Egyptian family that had been pilfering artifacts from a little known Pharaoh’s tomb for decades! Over 60 family members were involved. It intrigued me no end. I moved the idea over to Mexico – made it the Aztecs – and was off and away.
GO: What are your most unusual sources of information?
HH: I listen to conversations on the train, plane, bus and in restaurants, and all public places. I love what I learn! Once, when I was very young, my mother and I were sitting in a crowded Chinese restaurant in New York City. Everyone was talking and laughing and the din was unbelievable. Suddenly, as is often the case, it went stone quiet. Everyone stopped talking in this packed Manhattan restaurant…except…this one couple. The woman turned to the man and said, “It’s not the eggroll, Harry. It’s the past six-years.” Clear as a bell. The entire restaurant began to giggle and then went up in smoke. Years later, Woody Allen used that incident in one of his movies. I can only think he must have been there that afternoon, and why not? It was a very popular restaurant. I can’t imagine that couple went from Chinese restaurant to Chinese restaurant having the same conversation.
GO: What did you not know about writing when you started out that you know now?
HH: How wonderful it makes you feel when you get it right.
GO: Where do you continue to find inspiration and ideas?
HH: Life inspires me. People inspire me. Once again, I read the paper, listen to news stories; try to absorb the world around me. We live on a very fascinating planet!!
GO: What has been your single best experience as a writer?
HH: The appreciation of the fans who take their hard-earned money and buy my books. Also, spend their precious time reading them. I am very grateful.
GO: What is the most rewarding part of being a writer?
HH: See above, Toots.
GO: Well, that brings us to the end of your visit today. Thanks for stepping in with such short notice.