Thursday, 29 December 2011

Happy New Year Readers!

Here’s the thing. I’m so grateful for 2011! It was my break-in year. 2012 will be my break-out year. Allow me to explain – last September, I finally found a home for my young adult time-travel series with MusaPublishing. In April of 2012, years and years of hard work will pay off with the release of ‘THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS AND THE ARCH OF ATLANTIS’. It took years for the breaking-in process to finally yield results, and under nine months to break-out into the world. Yes, it sounds like a pregnancy of a sort, and it is. That’s what it’s like to be a parent – you raise your ‘child’ to the best of your abilities, then set him or her free to do their thing.

So without further ado, I want to post links to young adult authors who broke-out this past year. If any of you received an ereader as a gift, please check out these talented writers and their books. You may just find a new author to follow for years to come.

Arley Cole:
Linda Benson:
Stephanie Campbell:
Cornell DeVille:
L.K. Mitchell:
Mandy Hardwick:
Amaleen Ison:
Kevin Craig:
Sandra Clarke:
S.G. Rogers:

Image: 123rf Stock photo 11529216

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Fictional Christmas Baddies

Scrooge. The Grinch. Mr. Potter – not Harry – the miserable old coot in the wheelchair from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. These are a few of my favorite Christmas Baddies – those characters who challenge, set up road blocks and create a swill of holiday ‘uncheer’ for the heroes of their stories. They’re fun to watch and read about, these naysayers of Christmas crank. Can’t they possibly see how wrong they are? That they are creating their reality? No. No they can’t.

My favorite character to date has got to be Ebenezer Scrooge. He’s like a fly in a spider’s web that keeps struggling against his true self until he gets all wrapped up in what he’s created (thoughts, beliefs, attitudes) that it’s almost too late to save himself against himself. I mean, it really takes a meeting with the Grim Reaper to jar that tightwad into a philanthropist? Really?

Then there’s Doctor Suess’s ‘The Grinch’. Stink. Stank. Stunk. That little green creature makes the Martians in H.G. Wells novel ‘War of the Worlds’ approachable, cute and cuddly. Thank goodness for people like Sue Who. She knew what this Christmas ‘stuff’ was all about, and influenced that miserable green Grinch’s heart to open and expand three times its size. You can take away the presents, decorations, candy, and that roast beast, but not the true meaning of Christmas – not the love. Cheers to all you Sue Whos of the world!

Finally, there’s bad old Mr. Potter. Kind of like a Mr. Scrooge, but much worse. He had no ghosts of Christmas past, present or future to visit him. He only had plucky George Bailey, who really didn’t want to stick around Bedford Falls anyway. Let’s face it, if George had left, then Mr. Potter’s life would have been a hell of a lot easier. But it took an angel like Clarence to set George straight and stand up against all those ‘Mr. Potters’ of the world. Kudos Clarence!

So even storybook Christmas Baddies have something to teach the world, and continue to do so throughout their ‘fictional’ lives. And with the advent of ebooks – that’s a long, long, long time. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday. Bah Humbug and Cheers!

Image: 11226648RF Stock Photo

Thursday, 15 December 2011

A Writer's BFF ... The Timer

Ready, set, write. Phone rings. You check call display. It’s Mom or Dad or Uncle Conrad from Louisiana. Don’t stop. Keep writing. Let the answering machine pick up or ignore the call. You can call back later. Keep writing. You’ve slotted out one precious hour of uninterrupted time to write by setting your timer. This is YOUR time. No one else’s. Use it to your advantage.

Time is something of a luxury to writers. Time for writing. Time for marketing. Time to social network. Time for self-improvement. Time for your family. Time for yourself. It’s a never ending cycle that we have to manage. So much is written about time management, you could full dozens of shelves. Time is a multitude of multitasking, and sometimes writers feel there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done. And guess what? There isn’t. So what to do?

Go to the dollar store and buy a timer. It will be one of the most important investments (and cheapest) as a writer you will make. For less thans two dollars you can purchase a piece of sanity to help you organize your writing life. Set your new BFF to check emails. Fifteen minutes? Twenty? Then do the same for Facebook and Twitter. But keep in mind which activity will help you as an author in the long run. After all – social networking is a marketing strategy – as long as you treat it as such. Then, once you have laid the timer law down, set it for how long you want to sit and just write, with no interruptions (unless the dog really needs to pee).

And when your BFF goes off, make sure you get up and stretch. Writer’s bodies need a time limit too!

Image: 123RF Stock Photo 9655766

Monday, 12 December 2011

Who's Your Role Model?

Sometimes it’s a tough question to answer. Most times it requires some thought. Was your role model your grade seven teacher? Or your parents? What about the person who gave you your first job experience? The author whose book you couldn’t put down? Superman, Spiderman or maybe Wonder Woman? Hey, fictional works too.

Who has inspired you to grow? To help you push the boundaries and move those obstacles out of the way so you can bloom, be all that you can be. My guess is that, like me, you’ve had many role models over the course of your life. And hopefully, you’ve become a role model to others.
That’s called passing the baton. It’s also called living by example. To be a role model in this world is a tough gig, but well worth it. That’s why I love to write and create characters that are as flawed as I am, sharing my story of struggle and perseverance. I research, report and hopefully receive results. The pay back is in making some kind of difference to others. To give a piece of yourself away. To offer something of lasting value. To be the change I want to see in the world.

So figure out who your role model(s) is/are, and then honor them by passing on their legacy. 
Image: 123RF stock photos

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Authors In The Limelight: S. G. Rogers

I want to thank and welcome, Suzanne Rogers for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Her book, The Last Great Wizard of Yden, is now available at your favorite on-line bookstore.

How long have you been writing, Suzanne? 

Since I was a little girl, really.  Writing was one of those things that helped get me through school.  I was an avid reader as well, and I used to read stories and think about what I’d have done differently if I’d been the author.  Now I get to write the stories I’d like to read.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write The Last Great Wizard of Yden? 

Yden started out as a screenplay in a writing workshop, and thereafter I decided to turn it into a novel.  I’ve always enjoyed the idea of alternate universes and fantasy worlds, and I wanted to tell the story of a young artist who discovers his inner magic. I also wanted to fashion a role model for my own son.

What sets The Last Great Wizard of Yden apart from other books in the same genre?

The book has frequently been compared to the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series, and of course that’s great.  But the biggest difference might be the world-building aspect of the magical planet Yden.  It’s got its own history, political upheaval and rules for working magic. Wizards grow up in clans and there is a lot of conflict between them.  Add to the mix some bloodthirsty warlords and magical creatures, and you’ve got the perfect world for a cracking good story.

As an author, Suzanne, what is your writing process?

I begin with the characters, always.  Then I test out pivotal scenes in my head until something begs to be written.  Some stories lend themselves to plotting and others seem to want to write themselves.  I enjoy the latter far more because that sort of writing feels the most like creative discovery.

How long did it take for you to start and finish The Last Great Wizard of Yden? 

The original novel took me about five months to write.  But it was written in 1st person point of view.  For my publisher to consider publishing the title, however, I had to rewrite it from 1st to 3rd person point of view.  That painful process took me another month.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Suzanne?

Don’t quit.  Let criticism help you write better.  Don’t ever stop trying to improve your craft.  Oh, and after that learn how to market your product because writing is a business.

Agreed - authors need to be prepared for the business end of writing. So, what’s next for S. G. Rogers the author?

2012 will be a very busy one for me!  I have several fantasy novelettes being published, a romantic fantasy novella, and two fantasy adventures coming out loosely based on Nordic mythology.  Then there are the two sequels to The Last Great Wizard of Yden to publish.  It’s a very exciting time.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

I think living in Europe during the Renaissance would have been something special.  Was there something in the water that sparked so much creativity?  Ancient Rome might have been cool, too, for much the same reason.  I suspect when it comes right down to it, people who lived in these ancient societies weren’t too much different than they are now.

After his father is kidnapped, sixteen-year-old Jon stumbles across a closely guarded family secret--one that will challenge everything he has ever believed about his father and himself.  A magical ring his father leaves behind unlocks a portal to another dimension, but in using it, Jon unwittingly unchains the forces of evil. A crisis develops when a malevolent wizard transports to Earth to kidnap Jon’s would-be girlfriend.  With the help of some unlikely schoolmates, and a warrior princess from Yden, Jon embarks on a dangerous quest to free his friend and his father from the most vicious wizard the magical world has ever known.  In the end, Jon will be forced to fight for his life as he attempts to rescue the last great wizard of Yden.

$2.99 e-book at Astraea Press:, Amazon:,

To follow S.G. Rogers, visit her blog at
Twitter @suzannegrogers or visit her on Facebook:

Monday, 5 December 2011

Be Outstanding!

There’s so much for an author to do nowadays. Writing, rewriting, polishing, promotion, marketing, networking, and the list goes on. So much to do and not enough time, it seems. So how can an author in today’s publishing market survive? The answer is easy – be outstanding. However, the process is a little bit more complicated than that.

As a writer, you need to develop the constant urge to innovate. Understand what the best writers and exemplars in your chosen field do well and figure out why, then mix, match and reconstruct these elements into something new and better.

Another great piece of advice is to stay diligent in the one field of writing you’re trying to master. Focus on that one specific point on your map or plan, and go for it. Make it your single quest and saturate yourself in it. Become like an alchemist and dilute these desires to fill the gap.

The trick is not to compare yourself with other writers in your field who have had success. Go beyond that and work toward being so good you can’t be ignored.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you” – Steve Martin, comedian

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Authors In The Limelight: Cornell DeVille

I want to thank and welcome, Cornell DeVille for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. His book, Lost in the Bayou, will be released through Musa Publishing, Friday, December 1st, and will be available at your favorite on-line bookstore, including Musa Publishing.

How long have you been writing, Cornell?

The first story I remember writing was in the third grade, Miss Carmichael's class. It was called Flipper the Fawn. It was a wonderful story, according to Miss Carmichael. And she should know. So, based on her favorable opinion, I decided to become a writer.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Lost in the Bayou?
It's hard to tell where inspiration is born. When I was ten years old, we took a family vacation to New Orleans. I remember seeing the Spanish moss hanging from the trees in the bayou country. It was scary at night, and very memorable. Perhaps that's where the atmosphere for Lost in the Bayou originated. As far as the story is concerned, I think kids are always a little freaked out with missing body parts. That's why Uncle Conrad has a metal claw for a hand.

What sets Lost in the Bayou apart from other books in the same genre?
I think one thing that sets it apart is the impossible task that Robin has to accomplish and her determination to see it through, despite the obstacles. Also, in addition to her courage, there's her ingenuity that plays a major role in allowing her to do what needs to be done. Even at fourteen, she's no dummy, and she knows more than a little about human nature and how to manipulate people in the right direction.

As an author, Cornell, what is your writing process?
I typically start with an idea. It may be an object, a character, or a setting. In Cannibal Island, it was the concept of time travel that started the wheels turning. In Skullhaven, it was the pitiful little orphan, Lily White. And in Lost in the Bayou, it was the spookiness of the bayou and how scary it would be to get lost in there. If you read any of those three books, you'll notice that the opening of each has the particular item just mentioned as the focal point.

How long did it take for you to start and finish Lost in the Bayou?
Well, let's see. It was July of 1959 when we made the trip to New Orleans. So it took me 51 years to get started. Once I began, it only took me about six months to write it. Another three months to rewrite it. And another three months to edit and polish it to a respectable form. So 51 years to start and one year to finish. That's why getting started is the important thing.

Do you have any advice for other writers, Cornell?
I do. First of all, if you want to write well, you need to read as much as possible. I would recommend spending the majority of your reading time in the genre you wish to write in. Go to your library and browse the Newberry Winner section. Reading is key to good writing. And, of course, you need to write every chance you get, too. Join a writing group and get some peer reviews of your writing. Learn to take criticism as a valuable tool for improvement.

Agreed – a writer’s support system has helped me tremendously. So, what’s next for Cornell DeVille the author?
I'm currently in the middle of a sequel to Cannibal Island. The working title is The Rings of Time. It picks up where Cannibal Island leaves off, with Richie home at the Armstrong Estate in Southampton with the Golden Disk and figuring out how to use it. I'm hoping to get the first draft completed by year end, but that remains to be seen.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?
Oh, my goodness. That's like asking me if I could have any sports car in the world, which one would it be. There are so many wonderful choices. I think if I had such an opportunity, it would have to be ancient Egypt. I'd like to see how they built those pyramids.

Lost in the BayouCornell DeVille’s blog is
Lost in the Bayou website at

Lost in the Bayou book trailer on YouTube at