One of Our Stars, Penny Ehrenkranz, Talks About Her Life and Work

Okay, I’m prejudice. Penny is not only a fine writer but also a first-rate editor. I should know, I’m lucky enough to have her edit my Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series. Penny is knowledgeable, insightful, knows what I’m trying to say (only better), and just plain tops! I absolutely love working with an editor of her calibre. But enough waxing poetic and on to Penny’s writing, of which I personally know is crackerjack stuff, having read much of it. Below, Penny answers some questions and we get to know this talented woman a little better: 1. How old were you when you were first published? I was 47 when I had my first official byline in a magazine. I had certainly written for a lot longer and started when I was a child. Unfortunately, life got in the way and my writing was put on a back burner for more years than I would have liked. 2. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?) I generally use my PC when I’m writing because my office is quiet and away from the hubbub of the house. When it comes time to edit, though, I transfer my work to my laptop, which is a Mac, and go out to my garden or my favorite easy chair if the weather outside is too rainy or cold. 3. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript? Isn’t it the same as everyone’s? I am going to be rejected and get back a nasty letter from the editor telling me I should find a new career.4. In what era do you wish you’d been born? I am actually quite happy having been born when I was (I’m 65 now), since I…

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Maggie Lyons, Children’s Writer and Editor

We are nothing if not diverse writers at Muse! Join me now in welcoming Maggie Lyons, best known for her work in the field of children’s books and magazines. Maggie is also an editor and is sharing some of her editing tips with us today. Thank you, Maggie!See below for some grammatical advice from this charming lady from Wales. Not only are her examples helpful and insightful, some are downright hilarious: Dangling Modifiers and Other Painful Grammatical ErrorsMy editing career grew out of writing and producing marketing, PR, and fundraising materials in a motley variety of professional environments in the UK, Europe, and the USA, from orchestral management and college development to litigation and the coffee trade. As an editor I spend a lot of time fixing dangling modifiers and other painful grammatical errors that are easy to avoid. Being aware of pitfalls of grammar and style and taking a wide berth around them should reduce any copyediting costs you may incur, help improve your chances of finding a publisher, and reduce the risk of damaging your literary image. I’ll share some of them with you here, and I hope they’ll prove useful. I’ll start with a classic example of the importance of punctuation in these two versions of the same letter: Dear John,I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy—will you let me be yours?Agnes and Dear John,I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior.…

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Dale Thompson’s Back, and We’ve Got Him!

What’s a blogging event without another visit from our Dale? More from this diverse and talented author, writing under the pen name of Pat Dale. Dale reveals a lot more about himself this time around. By the way, this is PG13, for sure! Second Session with Pat DaleThe Evil Within will be released next week, January 27, 2012, and this book is a real departure for me. Most of my writing is pretty happy feel-good stuff. This is none of that. What it is, is a sad tale of a gallant soldier back from battle suffering from PTSD. Adam Watson retreats to his Ozark home, believing he’s seen the worst of mankind, only to find the same evil lurking in his town, his family, and in his own heart. Perhaps the best way to give a sense of what is in this novel is by way of three excerpts. Warning: adult only. Excerpt 1:Blending into the dense foliage, he zeroed in on his target. Fat and furry, the big cottontail stopped foraging and looked his way. With his eagle vision locked on the prey, Adam’s finger tightened on the trigger.Before he could squeeze off a round, raucous sounds and smells of battle echoed in his brain—cries from his buddies!The harsh metallic thump of an RPG slamming into the Bradley. Explosions! Agonizing screams! The acrid odor of gunfire, melting rubber, cooked flesh; the nauseating stink of death…Beads of sweat dribbled into his eyes. He blinked, clearing them, and realized the rabbit’s eyes had changed.Green. Advancing rapidly.He wanted to fire, but frozen in panic, he couldn’t.“Adam! Don’t shoot! It’s me,” a man’s voice cut through the static in his brain. He wiped sweat from his face and blinked again. No longer the rabbit he thought he’d targeted, his uncle approached with his…

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Welcome Wendy Laharnar, author of The Unhewn Stone

I’m pleased to say Wendy’s book, The Unhewn Stone, placed in two categories in recent the Preditors and Editors Poll, 3rd in Young Adults and 2nd for e-book Cover Artwork (done by Tiger Matthews). For more on this delightful lady and her book, see below: Thank you for inviting me to your place Heather. I’m delighted to be here. Wendy LaharnarThe Alchemist Whether planting characters in a modern romance or trapping them on alien planets or in prehistoric caves, writers create worlds and situations to tell their stories. Some see themselves as gods. I don’t. I see myself as the Alchemist. I love symbolism, so it is natural I should gravitate to the art of the ancient alchemists who used physical symbols as metaphors to hide their spiritual philosophies which conflicted with the Medieval Church. As the alchemist, my aim is to create my Opus Magnum or Great Work, so in my novel, The Unhewn Stone, I focus on the alchemist’s three prime elements: sulphur (fire), mercury (water) and salt (form). The Alchemist strove to find the right balance between these minerals to produce the sacred elixir (philosopher’s stone) that would transmute base metal into gold. The process led him from ignorance to enlightenment. So I take a blank page, add verbs, nouns and prepositions, and strive to do the same.Ideas bubble and boil in the apparatus in my laboratory. Characters and conflicts fuse into scenes and bake in the self-feeding furnace of my imagination. The result is a jumble of words like chemical experiments. Some work, some don’t. So I seek the sacred elixir, which I call creative juice, to transform chaos into order. To do this, I turn to the alchemist’s symbols for direction. I become sulphur, the Sun, the omnipresent spirit of life. I am mercury, the…

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Welcome the Prolific Writer, Marva Dasef

Today we’re meeting two of the central characters from Marva’s book, Missing, Assumed Dead, which is a Top Ten Winner of the Preditor/Editor Readers Poll in Mysteries, 2012 Isn’t Mitch a hunk? The only thing I’ve ever found in the desert was sagebrush. MITCH My name is Mitch Caldwell and I’m a deputy Sheriff in Malheur County, Oregon. There are only two us stationed in the Jordan Valley office, so it’s lucky not much happens out here. We do have a lot of territory to cover. Our usual business isn’t crime fighting, but hauling in drunk cowboys, ticketing speeders, and helping the occasional lost hunter. That’s how I found Kameron McBride. I doubted a Chrysler 300 parked on the side of the road belonged to any hunter, so I guessed a tourist. I pulled up behind the car and ran the plates. Turned out to be a rental. I had a hunch the lady behind the wheel was lost, so I moseyed up and asked for the usual license and rental agreement. She acted pretty nervous, and had a smart mouth to boot, but I kept my cool until she reached for her purse and something flew out of her hand and bounced off the windshield. Following procedure, I drew my weapon, told her to put her hands up, and drop the object out the window. I covered her while I squatted down to pick up the canister. I nearly cracked up. The lady was threatening me with a travel sized can of hairspray! I let her know she shouldn’t be traipsing around in the desert or she’d end up a pile of bones being picked over by the buzzards. I couldn’t help teasing her just a little. Something about those eyes… Yeah, I thought that she looked pretty good…

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Welcome Brian Knight, author of Born of Blood

Here’s a chance to get to know Brian better. He writes a thought provoking interview: 1. What is your favorite book? Well, I would say my favorite series is The Lord of the Rings. My favorite nonfiction book is the Bible and my favorite novel is The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. 2. What writing style do you most abhor? To be honest, I don’t abhor any of them. I think it comes down to the author’s voice. If I read a novel and it is evident the author is struggling or the story is not flowing it makes for a difficult read. Maybe if the author wrote with a different style that would not be the case. Granted, some styles are harder to write than others but it still boils down to the author’s ability. I have read many books written in different styles and the one thing I do notice is it takes a little time to get adjusted to that style. 3. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?) I write on my laptop just about every night for 2 to 4 hours. I favor writing late at night starting around 8 or 9 o’clock. 4. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript? I’m not sure. Rejection is part of publishing but I would say my greatest fear is having my manuscript accepted only to be shelved and never released. That is kind of like winning the lottery and never getting paid. 5. In what era do you wish you’d been born? Oh wow! I’ve thought about this one a few times in the past. I guess you could say this comes from me reading so many Fantasy books but I…

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Welcome The One, The Only, BarbaraE (Ehrentreu)

This is a personal treat for me. Barbara was a real pal in Montreal, shuffling my cousin, Grace, and I around almost all the time in her rental car. We had a lot of laughs that weekend. BarbaraE is a talented, fun woman and it is my pleasure to have her on This and That. Without further ado – whatever that is – here’s BarbaraE answering a few questions: 1. What is your favorite book? That is really hard to choose. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorites, The Dresden Files series, any book by Dennis Lehane, Emma, the first book of The Dark Tower series. 2. Who is your favorite writer? Again, I find it hard to choose, because I like so many. They would be: Jim Butcher, Dennis Lehane, Jane Austin, Barbara Kingsolver and Stephen King. 3. If the answers to 1 & 2 are different, why?I left out Lewis Carroll, because I’ve only read one book of his. 4. How old were you when you were first published? A poem of mine was published in the School District Newsletter when I was eight in third grade. 5. What writing style do you most abhor?I don’t like endless paragraphs describing things with very little dialogue. When I was younger I would skip over those in novels like Moby Dick.6. What is your favorite writing cliché? That’s a hard one. I guess the whole girl meets boy cute and then falls in love. 7. What is your favorite word? serendipity 8. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?) I write at my desk whenever I can on my Mac laptop. 9. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript?The obvious one. Will it be…

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Welcome Rosemary Morris, author of Tangled Love Child

There’s nothing like an historical novelist to give a blog a little class. Rosemary is using names I can’t even pronounce. But, hey, what is a day without learning something new? And having read an excerpt of her novel (see chapter one below), she’s a terrific writer! But first, her interview: 1. What is your favorite book? The Bhagavadgita As It Is translated by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 2. Who is your favorite writer? A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who has translated the great Sanscrit classics which rival those of classical Greek mythology. 3. How old were you when you were first published? 21 4. What writing style do you most abhor? Historical fiction in which the characters act like 21st century people and the research is inaccurate. 5. What is your favorite writing cliché? Eyes which do peculiar things such as fix, dart etc. 6. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?) Mostly on computer, in my office i.e. the spare bedroom from 6 a.m.to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. if I’m not out and about. 7. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript? Rejection. 8. In what era do you wish you’d been born? In the golden age of India. 9. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind vies with the Duke of Avon in These Old Shades. 10. How would you like to die? In full consciousness remembering God.—————- Tangled LovePrologue1693 Richelda Shaw stood silent in her nursery while thunder pealed outside the ancient manor house and an even fiercer storm raged deep within. She pressed her hands to her ears and, eyes closed, remained as motionless as the marble statues in the…

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Welcome Kristen Battestella, One Gorgeous Author!

Can I call ’em or what? Kristen is also quite a writer. Here’s a sample of what she can do:Humanity: A Letter from Gaston, Book 6 in my Fate and Fangs: Tales from the Vampire Family series with Muse It Up Publishing, is available Now from Muse It Up Publishing! Happy Friday the 13th Indeed!!!! http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=307&category_id=64&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1 http://www.amazon.com/Humanity-Letter-Gaston-Fangs-ebook/dp/B006TZ0FE6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325813465&sr=1-1 Blurb: Welshire brother Gaston is trying to move on with his life now that the Vampire Family is human again for Professor James’ sixth chronicle. Unfortunately, Gaston’s sister Victoria cannot cope with the change and turns to her former fledgling Caine for unfulfilling excess and access. Should their pregnant sister Samantha risk the journey to London- and the lives of her unborn children- to save what’s left of The Vampire Family? Got a buck? Treat yourself? Need to fill up that new Christmas e reader? Shop Fate and Fangs!! Excerpt: The surgeons wrapped Samantha in a canopy of blue sheets and hooked her up to machines.“Scalpel,” The masked doctor ordered. The shiny silver glinted in his hand, then it dove in. Blood soaked the sheets and dyed them purple. Through some of our lost magic still remaining, I spaced out of the operating room. Memories not my own, thoughts and recollections of my Father I still held. From his dying breath to his most treasured moment, I saw my Mother. I saw my mother giving birth to me. Antonio had been there, and there I was small and bloody and screaming. The vision was black and white, but red blood was everywhere. My mother’s eyes were fading, yet she was lovely, angry, happy, and sad all at the same time. She gasped her last breath, and I heard my own baby cry. Which are you, human or vampire? ————————- Kristin Battestella writes for…

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Welcome Diane Barr, author of Out of the Shade

One look at Diane’s author picture, and you know this a woman who is colorful, imaginative and lives life to the fullest. Just my kinda gal! She gives a great interview, too! See below: 1. What is your favorite book? Guilty Pleasures and A Kiss of Shadows (both by Laurell K. Hamilton) 2. Who is your favorite writer? Laurell K. Hamilton and Agatha Christie 3. What is your favorite word? Believe 4. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?) I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go so I can write whenever I get an inspiration, idea or I have a scene pop in my head. Or sometimes I’ll write in the evenings after my second job. Weekends is when I get on my laptop (windows 7 with Office 07) and type all the weeks handwritten stuff. 5. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript? It’s very daunting to put yourself and your “baby, your precious” out there for people to criticize and cut up, but it’s how things are in the process of publishing a book. So I try not to dwell on the awesome scene that might get cut and focus on making the manuscript incredible. 6. In what era do you wish you’d been born? Egyptian time of the Pharoahs 7. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Dude and seriously – we won’t talk about swearing – lol 8. Which talent would you most like to have? To be able to sing and to be immortal. 9. What do you consider your greatest achievement? My two children and having my dreams come true; publishing my book. 10. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? This one was very hard…

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