Friday, December 19, 2014

This week we're celebrating...

It's Friday again so we celebrate whatever we can think of that happened during the week. Thank you VikLit for starting this group. Stop by to check things out.

Here's what we're celebrating this week:

  • My book, Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog is at the publishers! If you'd like to preorder it, you can email me at;
  • I had an interview this week with my friend, Amb. Claire Power Murphy. I think it went well,but haven't been able to listen yet. It's posted at random times here: They broadcast her programs at 6PM EST and 6 AM EST, but it may not be this week's episode.
  • Christmas is almost here! Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it and Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends.

Friday, December 12, 2014

This week we're celebrating...

On Fridays we write about things we're celebrating this week. Please stop by to see what everyone is cheering about.

  • Hoping that today's the day our new book goes to the publisher
  • Small snowstorms this week, but a big rainstorm that would have been 3 feet of snow if it was colder.
  • A nice Skype chat with my mom
  • A chat with my sister
  • I'll be a guest on a show called "Blessed Hope" hosted by Amb. Claire Power Murphy on Wednesday night Dec. 17. You can listen in here if you like:
  • Interviews with my author friends Janice Spina and Ann Morris. The interviews are posted on this site so you're invited to check them out.
That's my news for now. Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Interview with Talented Author, Ann (Ana) Morris

"Today I'm delighted to be interviewing Children's author, Ann (Ana) Morris. Thank you so much for spending time with me so that we could learn more about you and your children's picture books. We'll get right to the questions now.

How did you become interested in writing?
I have always loved writing. When I was young, I wrote a lot of letters, diaries, poetry (two poems published when I was 10 and 12 in Wee Wisdom magazine).

 As I got older, I loved writing papers for literature classes and began writing letters to the editor about topics that touched my soul. I have written and translated newsletters for work and volunteer organizations.

 My parents, especially my mom, always encouraged me to write. She loved the letters I wrote home from Spain and said I had a gift.
How do you get ideas for your picture books?

The ideas for my picture books come from memories: experiences with young family members and my own experiences as a child and as an adult.
How long does it usually take you to complete a book?
Some books nearly write themselves in a few days. Others require more thought to tie in events and to be certain that something pivotal happens in the story. I must admit that sometimes the stories have some fictitious elements for interest and clarity.      
Who illustrates the books for you?
“Mommy and Mikel Go for a Walk”/”Mami y Mikel dan un paseo” was published originally by Authorhouse. I had it republished by Mascot Books. Both times I used in house illustrators.

“Surprise in Auntie’s Garden!”/”¡Sorpresa en el jardín de la tía!” was illustrated by talented Heather Brown Varkarotas. I was fortunate to find her on LinkedIn and Facebook! She is also a children’s author and illustrator in her own right.

My new work in progress, “Everything Is Different!”/”¡Todo es distinto!” is being illustrated by Melissa Wright of Bee Scene Studios.

The next book will probably be illustrated by an in house illustrator, as there is such a variety of styles of choice.
Would you please tell us a little about your books?
I write my books in English and separately in Spanish. I find they are wonderful reads for native-speaking children and readers as well as a challenge to language learners. They usually include an inquisitive child, a positive adult role model, and a “teaching moment”, including an opportunity to show the child how to learn information.

 “Mommy and Mikel Go for a Walk”/”Mami y Mikel dan un paseo” is about a nature walk I took with my son when he was very young and curious. I answered many passing questions for him until he discovered an animal that I could not identify. We went to the library to resolve that mystery.

“Surprise in Auntie’s Garden!”/”¡Sorpresa en el jardín de la tía!” is about a shared love of my flower garden with my niece Erin. One day she discovered a colorful “worm” eating milkweed in my garden. That led us to my office to identify the caterpillar on the Internet. We followed the progress of the caterpillar through its dormant stage and witnessed its debut into its new world.      
          Do your books usually have a central message you’d like to share with children?
            Yes. The message I always wish to portray is that learning is fun. We can learn in many ways. Life is full of marvels. The message is portrayed in such a way to be fun for children and interesting to adults also. The purpose of writing in two languages is also a message about communication. The better we can communicate, the more we can learn.
          Please share how we may purchase your books.

Thank you! My books can be purchased online with major book companies, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I also have my own website that provides an opportunity to purchase books as well as information about my activities.

My books are also in other local Des Moines, Iowa and other Iowa bookstores and libraries.
          Are you working on a new book now?
“Everything Is Different!”/”¡Todo es distinto!” is actually about a trip my ex-husband and I took to the UK (England in particular). As he had not traveled abroad, he was the one noticing everything different. I chose to portray him as my nephew with my brother-in-law on a short visit. The big message here is that being different is normal. Not everything is the same everywhere, and that’s part of life.

My newest book done in English, yet to rewrite in Spanish is “Let’s Go Take a Hike”. It is also a memory, but this time from my childhood. We used to have annual summer picnics with another family of cousins and loved the fun we had. We went to the same park each year. The lesson here is modified. There are parental instructions with more child interaction and learning experiences.
         Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am full of memories and ideas from other people. I love to write, and as long as I can, I will continue. I love reading to school children. They are completely engaged and I love to relate to them in a comfortable and casual way. I love their feedback, questions, and hugs!
         Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am full of memories and ideas from other people. I love to write, and as long as I can, I will continue. I love reading to school children. They are completely engaged and I love to relate to them in a comfortable and casual way. I love their feedback, questions, and hugs!

I've reviewed all of Ann's books and they're lovely. I heartily recommend them! It was fun chatting with you today, Ann.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Presenting Hunting Mariah A mystery thriller by award-winning author, Janice Spina

“Hello everyone, today I’m delighted to have another interview with my extremely gifted author friend, Janice Spina. We’re going to discuss her new novel, Hunting Mariah.

Thank you so much for spending time with me to discuss your intriguing first novel, Janice. I know everyone will love learning more about it so we’ll get on with the questions:

·        Tell us something about the story, Hunting Mariah:
Here is the synopsis:
 An insane killer, obsessed with blood and death, seeks revenge with those he perceives wronged him. He is now on the loose. His next victim may be Mariah. 
Mariah has lost her memory. Will she remember what has transpired in her past? Can Mariah escape this deadly killer's grasp? Will she finally be safe? Will the killer be apprehended?
·        How did you get the idea?
It just came to me. But I should explain a little more about when I first came up with the story.  My son was in college at the time and I remember reading about college rapes and this concerned me. The story just came to me after that.
 The story evolved over the years, about twenty years by the way, from more of a love story to what it is now a crime/mystery/thriller.

·        How did you get the idea?
It just came to me. But I should explain a little more about when I first came up with the story.  My son was in college at the time and I remember reading about college rapes and this concerned me. The story just came to me after that.
 The story evolved over the years, about twenty years by the way, from more of a love story to what it is now a crime/mystery/thriller.
·        Is there an underlying message to the story?
When I wrote it I didn’t have any message but at its completion now it would be – watch over your daughters and tell them never to walk alone on their college campuses. Stay safe.
·        Did you have a process to write this book? I don’t have any particular process except that I always have the title before the story. When I get into my zone I let my fingers fly over the keys and tell the story through the developing characters that take over. The story seems to be flow better that way. I don’t usually outline a story but I have a good idea where I want it to go.
 When I was writing this book the killer frightened me. He seemed to take over the story. Creepy! Ha ha!
·        What genre do you think it’s best suited for?
I think of it as a crime/mystery/thriller. Fans of this multiple genre would enjoy it because it has a few surprises to offer. The killer may frightened them as much as he did me.
·        Are you working on a new project now?
Yes, I wrote two children’s stories and my husband is presently illustrating one of them. I like to give him my input on each page much to his chagrin. It keeps him on his toes.
 I recently wrote a short story, my first, with a Christmas theme for a friend’s blog, Loretta Livingstone, which is on December 12th. I may publish this story next Christmas.
 Also, I have a middle-grade series based on my two grandsons running around in my head which I need to write down and publish next year. Three novels are in the need of editing which will also be published in 2015 and 2016. With all this to do I will be very busy over the next year or so.
 I am also a copy editor, avid reader, book reviewer, blogger and supporter of other authors.
 There is so much I want to accomplish since I started so late in life doing what I love to do – write. 
·        Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I want to thank you, Deanie, for having me on your blog and letting me share my books with your readers. Your support and friendship is greatly appreciated. It was a pleasure to answer your wonderful questions and spend time with you.
·        Please share the links where your book can be purchased.
Hunting Mariah – Amazon:

Goodreads Giveaway: Ends on December 16, 2014


“We had a great time together today, Janice, and I know everyone will be enthralled by your book, Hunting Mariah. Naturally, I wish you tremendous success with it and with all of your future projects.”

"Thank you, Deanie, for your kind words. I had a fun time too."

Friday, December 5, 2014

This week we're celebrating...

On Fridays we celebrate little things and bigger ones in our lives. Thank you to VikLit for starting this group. Stop by to check  on everyone's adventures.

  • This week we're cheering about:
  • My new book almost ready for the publisher, Yay! We've got the pictures ready and just doing the final check on it.
  • Brendan helped solve some annoying technical issues this week. He's our hero!
Guess that's all from here. Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Advice for writers, insecure and otherwise

It's the first Wednesday of the month so we write about what we're feeling anxious about, or we offer advice to other authors. I have my same little anxieties so this time I'll just give you a tiny bit of advice. Before I start, be sure to stop by Alex Cavanaugh's site to see what everyone else has to say.

  • If you're an author or an aspiring writer, it's often hard to plunge in and take the first step on the journey. I remember that feeling of panic wondering if anyone would like the story enough to publish it. Take a minute to ponder on this question; What's the worst thing that could happen? Maybe the story would be rejected, but you'd find ways to improve it. Or you might submit is somewhere else. Keep in mind that famous authors like Dr. Suess, and Jack Canfield were rejected countless times. If you don't take the first step, will you get to your destination?
  • If you love writing, don't let anything derail you from reaching your goal of becoming author. If you persevere, you'll get there. If you quit the only sure thing is you're not moving in the right direction to realize your dreams.
Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

An Intriguing Interview with Author, Andean White

"Good morning, Andean, it's so kind of you to spend time with me today to discuss your book, Winter's Thief. 
"You're welcome, Deanie. I'm excited to be here with you today. Let's  get on with the questions now."

Tell us about your book Winter's Thief:
Winter's Thief is a medieval story of a secretly adopted baby destined to become queen-if she survives. The story takes us into the lives of the characters providing security, and those who wish to see her dead. Oscar, the captain of the guard was instrumental in the success of the king's scheme, has second thoughts when his farmer son meets the princess several years later. Their budding romance struggles as they battle treason, spies, revenge, assassination, kidnapping, abduction, ambush, social class, beasts and parents.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
Writing was a relatively new adventure for me. My career path had been manufacturing management until about three years ago when health forced me to retire. a few years previous I began writing travel journals with a humorous undercurrent-recording observations of cultural differences, language mishaps, and other travelers. Several journal readers suggested I try writing. It has become a fun and rewarding occupation.
How did you get the idea for your book?
Kathryn Elizabeth Jones, mentor turned editor, asked me if I would write a page and a half story inspired by a card pulled randomly from a deck. The card contained a reproduction of the Bernardo Martorelli painting titled Saint George Killing the Dragon.-a castle, princess, knight, and a dragon.
 I was not thrilled with the assignment. I put it off until a couple of hours before our meeting. With little time to proof, I had to be at my best. It turned out pretty good. Over the past month Kathryn talked me into five pages, ten pages, couple of chapters, then a book.
How long have you been writing?
It's been about three years as a writer. If the travel journals are included, about five years.
Is there a central message in your book?
The first goal with Winter's Thief was to write a good entertaining story. Along the way, a central theme crept in--good guys eventually win. If your heart is true and your intentions are good, life will reward your efforts.
How long did it take you to complete the story?
Winter's Thief took about ten months.
What genre is your book best suited for?
It's a heroic fantasy with a seasoning of young adult.
Can you describe your writing process?
My first step is developing a general story line- typically five to eight-word sentences that represent the chapters. For example, Oscar sneaks baby into castle. The next task is providing better descriptions and key details to a section of chapters. The work of writing turns these notes into the story. When I am satisfied with that part of the book, I move on to the next section. Previously, I attempted to outline the whole tale, but found that the characters and the story sent me "off script."
Are you working on any projects now?
I have started the second book, Saraton Summer. It is planned to be a trilogy, but the series might turnout to be four books-one for each season.
What are your goals for the future?
I hope I can continue to write entertaining stories. I have a few short stories that I think could be turned into books. But for now, my focus is finding out what happens to Kendrick, Althea, Oscar, and Quentin-the cast of Winter's Thief.
Where can people purchase your book? Please share your links.

  • soft cover books are available on and your favorite internet bookstore:
  • The e-book version is only available on
  • Soft cover book: 
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Winter's Thief" is a fun engaging read. Early reviews have included phrases like Wow-Just Wow, Bravo, I loved it, and so on. I hope other readers find the book very entertaining as well."