Welcoming S.J. Clarke, author of Mind Over Matter

A short story about Sandra (S.J.). We both attended the Montreal Retreat this past November, and the day of departure, Sandra insisted I take some of her goodies to munch on for the plane ride home. The bag was sealed with a darling fabric flower, which I have to this day. She was this way with everyone she met. Sandra is a generous, thoughtful lady and it all comes through in her writing. But on to our guest’s bio and interview, which are most enlightening:S. J. Clarke is the author of Mind Over Matter, a romantic suspense with paranormal elements. She has published over fifty articles as a columnist and regular contributor for a variety of lifestyle and human interest websites. She is a grateful member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region, and proud to sit on the Board of Directors for The Ontario Writer’s Conference. Sandra also co-authored Touretties, a touching tribute featuring testimonials from patients and and their loved ones living with Tourettes. Mind Over Matter, released in November, 2011 through MuseItUp Publishing, is her first novel. 1. Who is your favorite writer?I’d have to say Nora Roberts (also writing as J.D. Robb). As a reader, her works hit all of my hot buttons. It’s romance at heart, with lots of mystery, intrigue and suspense thrown in, and often contains elements of the paranormal. As a writer, she demonstrates one individual can reach a wide audience and master more than a single genre if they do it right. 2. What is your favorite writing cliché? I love a Happy Ever After ending, but it doesn’t have to be a romantic one. I just want to be left with the impression the lead character reached a turning point and things are looking up from here. 3. What writing…

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Welcome Margay Leah Justice, author of Sloan Wolf

What a gal! Margay offers this interview, and is it fun! Here’s a chance to learn more about this talented writer. 1. What is your favorite book? If I could only pick one, it has to be Pride and Prejudice. I know everyone says that, but it truly is just a brilliant piece of work and I’m constantly amazed by it. 2. Who is your favorite writer? If you’re talking about a modern author, the first one that always comes to mind is Julia Quinn – I love her Regencies, especially the series about the Bridgerton family. If you’re talking classic, it’s Jane Austen. Amazing. 3. What is your favorite writing cliché? To love or hate – or love to hate? The ‘write what you know’ one always gets to me. If you only write what you know, you’ll have a short career and a very narrow field to focus on. I think the whole idea of writing is to write what you want to know. If at first you don’t know anything about a subject you’re interesting in writing about – well, that’s what research is for. How many people who write science fiction have actually lived in outer space or went to battle with a Death Star? 4. What is your favorite word?Quesadilla. I don’t know why, but I just love saying that word – usually when I’m grocery shopping and see them in the freezer. Drives my poor daughter crazy. 5. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript?That people won’t like it. When I write, I tend to fall in love with the characters and the stories they reveal to me, so I tend to take it personally if people don’t respond to that. I guess it’s just an overall fear of…

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Welcoming Larraine AKA Larion Wills, Author of Tarbet

Join me in welcoming wonderful Larraine. She’s has some very interesting things to say, especially about the word ‘that.’ See below: THAT!byLarraine AKA Larion Wills Deep into editing something of my own the last couple of days, I am astounded by my use of that. When editing for others, I pick the single word up when used as filler and stalling in a snap. In my own, phew. My editor highlights the word and my pages look like confetti. How can this be? I am certain that when I speak I don’t use that word that many times no matter how often that seems to fit in. Ummm, confetti time again. Not too sure highlights would show in a blog. In case it doesn’t, how about some samples of how not to use that too many times. We’ll start with the sentence I just used. I am certain when I speak I don’t use the same word so many times no matter how often the particular word seems to fit in. You will notice how often the particular word was simply deleted without hurting the sentence at all. Other times substitutes were used. Of course substitutes lead to other overused words such as it, that horrid undefined pronoun. The is another favorite. To avoid those, often times a complete rewording of the sentence is required.Using what I’m working as examples: 1: Too much confetti. The only thing that distracted him from those emotions was curiosity. That did indicate some level of intelligence. That was not, however, her first thought on waking. The sound was continual, and standing on the outside of the bathroom door, she was sure of what it was. Why would he be flushing the toilet time after time? Much better. The only thing to distract him from…

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Welcoming Karen Cote, author of Erotic Deception

Romance may be complicated, but it’s not so complicated as to why we adore Karen Cote. This talented author and champion of MuseItUp Publishing and all who reside within, has won us over with her heart, warmth and humor. Witness her interview below: Hi Heather and thank you so much for having me today. Today is a very special day…not only is it my publisher’s birthday, Lea Schizas, it is also Elvis Presley’s birthday and I’m so excited to be here to celebrate. 1. What is your favorite book? The Halloween Dino Trip by Lea Schizas (it’s her birthday today as well as Elvis Presley’s so I thought I’d mention it and give her a little gift.) 2. Who is your favorite writer? Lea Schizas (sticking with that birthday gift scenario) Besides Elvis only wrote songs so there’s no conflict. 3. How old were you when you were first published.Oh no…not touching that one. I’m more curious on how old my publisher is today…Lea Schizas. In case you didn’t know, it’s her birthday today. She shares it with my favorite person of all time, Elvis Presley. 4. What writing style do you most abhor?Not sure if I abhor any writing-style but I do prefer third person and tons of dialogue. 5. What is your favorite word?Elvis 6. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?)I write on my iPad or Laptop while listening to Elvis Presley. (It is his birthday today). 7. In what era do you wish you’d been born?The same time as Elvis so I could have spent more time with him. (today is his birthday) 8. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?Thank you…thank you very much. (Elvis quote) BTW my lip does quiver when I say…

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Presenting The Incomparable Ginger Simpson

They broke the mold when they made Ginger. She is one of the most versatile writers I know, plus one hulluva gal. And she’s quite funny, too. See below if you don’t believe me: Resolutions, Smezolutions by Ginger Simpson First, I’d like to thank Heather for allowing me to join the crew blogging on her site this month. Finding her friendship has been one of the highlights of becoming a Muse author, and I absolutely love her writing. BTW, I received no compensation for my endorsement of her. (smile) Back to why I’m here. Some are probably blogging about the goals or resolutions they’ve made for 2012. That’s one habit I avoid since it never works for me. I simply set myself up to fail, then feel horrid about it. Take for instance the year I resolved not to eat candy. I was trying to lose weight of course and figured eliminating sweets would be most helpful. After two weeks of success, then failing when someone offered me a piece of See’s candy, I feel into a funk and went on an eating spree. After I came out of my sugar-induced coma, I’d gained seven pounds. So, you see why I don’t make resolutions. Oh shucks, maybe I’ll be a sport and try five this year I’m pretty sure I can I keep. 1. Don’t adopt a cat this year. (I dislike cats…or they dislike me.) 2. Turn down any offers to be a runway model. (Obviously, this shouldn’t be too tough.) 3. Don’t win the lottery. (I’m Caucasian and don’t buy tickets…this is a snap.) 4. Absolutely refuse contracts to race for Nascar. (Reasons too many to list.) 5. Don’t apply to be on Survivor. (I go crazy over one mosquito bite and hate bugs of any kind.) Whew,…

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Welcome Gail Roughton Branan, author of Miami Days and Truscan (K)nights

Gail is a wonderful southern lady, who challenges the beauty of the magnolias — or should I say daisies — with her prose. Her website, Flowers on the Fence, is worth a visit. http://flowersonthefence.blogspot.com/ I might also add the fence is dedicated to the memory of her good friend, Gloria. You gotta love a gal who does something like that, y’all! You’ll also love her interview: Q. What is your favorite book? Don’t have one. I have favorite books in different genres, now. For mainstream realism, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee will forever hold a special spot in my heart. For Time travel, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and I think the first one in the series, Outlander, is the best. For PI/Crime Writers, the Spenser series by Robert Parker, but I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite and in fact, I also love the Jesse Stone series by Robert Parker and I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite out of that one, too. For sheer comic entertainment, the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich, and I don’t know which one in the series it is, but it’s the one where Lulu was on the special protein diet, they ended up in Vegas and Lulu caused Tank to break his leg, and then got chased by a pack of dogs (Lulu, not Tank) who smelled the pork chops in her handbag. And the list goes on…… Q. Who is your favorite writer? Same answer. See above. Q. How old were you when you were first published? Well, I haven’t actually been published yet. First one comes out in April, and depending on the date in April, I’ll be either 57 or 58. Though close enough to 58 as to make no difference. Q. What writing style do…

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Welcome Dale Thompson, author of The Evil Within

Welcome, Dale! This talented and versatile writer starts off by answering a few questions. Below is quite a tantalizing interview: 1. How old were you when you were first published? I was too old when my first book came out. That’s all you need to know about that. LOL 2. What writing style do you most abhor?The whole paranormal shtick as currently practiced is a terrible bore. I love paranormal elements in romance as regards magical surroundings, clairvoyance, and folks who can do the impossible. As for werewolves, vampires, and the like, I hate it. 3. What is your favorite writing cliché? The overuse of mirror images to give an alternate POV to the protagonist is a cliché, although I’m guilty of using it once or twice. 4. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?) That’s easy. However and whenever. Well, I guess that isn’t a very satisfactory answer, is it? I started my fiction career using a pencil and spiral notebooks. That worked when the only computer I had access to was pretty limited. Starting in the middle of my fourth book, I began to compose directly onto the screen. Now it’s all on the computer, but sometimes I long for the good old days. As for when I write, I prefer the morning but have done some good writing later in the day recently. 5. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript? I always worry that I’ve done all I can do with the story. Of course, we get a chance to make minor adjustments during editing, but I’m not at peace until the book is published. 6. In what era do you wish you’d been born? I came close. Still, I wonder…

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Welcome Laura Novak, author of Finding Clarity

Laura Novak is a talented writer who has written a funny, poignant book called Finding Clarity: A Mom, A Dwarf and a Posh Private School in the People’s Republic of Berkeley. Visit her blog at http://www.lauranovakauthor.com/blog.html. It is unique! This is one fun writer. If you don’t believe me, check out her interview below: 1. What is your favorite book? Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert and Suzanne Masse. 2. Who is your favorite writer? Harrison Salisbury. He was the author of The 900 Days about the siege of Leningrad. I lived there and studied Russian language all through college. Once I had the opportunity to join Salisbury for dinner. He was my absolute hero in terms of journalists and writers. I was in awe of his work and his life experience. I’m sure I would have said the same had I ever met either of the Masses. 3. What is your favorite writing cliché? “No word is ever wasted.” I tell that to my students, and myself, as often as possible! 4. What is your favorite word? May I ask for permission to cite two? The first is pneu, which is French for “tire.” The second is “chai” only the way it is spelled in Russia. It means “tea” and the particular letters that form the word are adorable together. 5. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?) I write at my desk, in my quiet home office, on a Mac. My most productive time is when I’d drop my son off at school or camp, and then work a full 6 hours a day until pick up time. I’m not good at rising early or tossing off an hour of work here and there. For me, I need to…

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Welcome Grace DeLuca, author of Betwixt and Between

Originally from New York, my husband and I moved to Florida when our three children were young. I’ve worn several hats in my life—started out working as a legal secretary while studying art, taught painting and drawing for a number of years, then worked for my church until I retired. During that time I obtained a degree in marriage and family therapy and did individual and family counseling as my ministry. I’m an avid reader and soon discovered I love writing too. My first book Betwixt and Between was published last May. An e-book for tweens (ages 10 to 14), it’s a fantasy/adventure story about the spiritual journey of a 13-year old boy named Michael, who is sent on a Quest by his Guardian Angel. I’m currently writing a sequel to it called Above and Beyond and recently completed the rewriting of a mystery titled Long Shadows. Q. What is your favorite book? A. Haven’t got a favorite, but I love cozy mysteries.Q. Who is your favorite writer?A. Can’t pick between the following two: Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark.Q. When and how do you write?A. I try to write in the morning for an hour or two, take a break for lunch and go back to work for a couple of hours though I don’t always succeed. Q. In what era do you wish you’d been born?A. In spite of all our current problems, I’m glad I was born in this era. After all, we have antibiotics, cars, trains and planes, frozen yogurt and chocolate chip cookies. (They must be milk chocolate chips). Q. Which talent would you most like to have?A. A beautiful singing voice. Q. What is your favorite word? A. Love. Not just romantic love, also parent love, friendship love, grandparent love—the list could go on…

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Welcome Terri Lynn Main, author

The very talented Terri Main, author of Dark Side of the Moon, gives us some tips today on dealing with the New Year: Beyond Resolutions: How to Prepare an Action Plan for 2012It’s the first of the year and that brings with it New Year’s Resolutions. We decide we are going to lose wieght, write a novel, learn a language, stop smoking and do a hundred other things we said we were going to do last year. So, why didn’t we do them last year? Because resolving doesn’t work. Planning Does! It is time you substitute your New Years Resolution with a New Year’s Action Plan. An action plan includes a reasonable goal and a set of steps in achieving that goal. How Does a Goal Differ from a Resolution? Resolutions tend to be vague, ill-defined and usually overly ambitious. For instance, I see resolutions like:  I’m going to write more this year I’m going to lose weight I’m going to be more careful with my money I’m going to improve ____ skill Immediately, questions jump to mind. How much will you need to write to “write more”? What will you need to do to lose weight? What does being “careful” with money mean? How will you know you have improved a given skill? Even more specific resolutions often have problems. Consider these:  I want to write and publish my new novel this year I want to lose 40 pounds I want my writing business to increase it’s profits by 30% These resolutions, though specific, are not entirely under my own control. They state an end result and not a specific behavioral change I need to make. While writing my novel is under my control, finding a publisher or agent to represent my novel is not (unless I…

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