Today I’d like to welcome Jo Ramsey, author of Vengeance is Sweet.
A Human Demon? Huh?
In Hell, each demon was created for a specific purpose. They are not supposed to vary from that purpose. They aren’t even supposed to be able to consider it. And they definitely aren’t supposed to swear, bend rules if not outright shatter them, or be sympathetic to humans.
Which is why Omara, the heroine of my latest novel Vengeance Is Sweet, is often accused of being too humanlike. Her boss and the other demons aren’t impressed by it, but her friend Ghast finds it an endearing trait. And when Omara chooses to travel to the human world, being “too human” serves her well, since she has to pretend to be a human to save Alejandro Ruiz, a man slated to be “venged” for something he didn’t do.
Creating a demon like Omara was fun. That’s the only way I can describe it as an author. She’s humorous, snarky, and flat out not what people expect, and that’s the entire point of the character. I enjoy taking perceptions and preconceptions and turning them upside-down, inside-out, and a few other ways, and that’s exactly what Omara’s story enabled me to do. Omara isn’t a typical demon; her friend Ghast isn’t a demon at all, though she believes he is. The climax of the story caught even me by surprise, which is part of the fun of writing.
Vengeance Is Sweet is available from MuseItUp Publishing, http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=360&category_id=177&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1. You can find out more about me and my books at http://www.joramsey.com.
Omara is a demon of vengeance. Working for Hell, she deals with humans who have killed or harmed children and other innocents. When she bends the rules once too often, Omara is placed on probation, but is brought back to work after a battle between two factions, one of which wants to destroy the largest human city to prove a point, wipes out nearly half the vengeance department.
Omara’s first assignment after probation is to “venge” Alejandro Ruiz, a man who allegedly drove his ex-wife to suicide. But when Omara visits the human world to observe Alex, she realizes he is innocent. With the help of her friend Ghast, an angel who didn’t so much fall as choose to relocate, Omara must prove Alex’s innocence to save him and his six-year-old daughter Keeley–a child who holds the key to the survival of humanity.
Ordinarily I’d have been at least a tad bit intimidated. Not this time. The frown lines between his eyebrows told me he didn’t believe me, and one thing I wouldn’t stand for was being considered a liar. “Two demons breaking into my apartment and trying to force me to go outside with them was a pretty big clue,” I said sarcastically. “They had other plans for me too, but the going outside part is the only relevant one.” My stomach still turned at what Sarch and Horath had wanted to do to me first.
“They shouldn’t have been able to break in,” he argued.
“Especially when I told them they couldn’t enter,” I agreed. “It didn’t stop them. I think more power backed the renegades than you guys have figured out. Have you even tried to figure out everyone involved, or did you just take the most obvious ones?”
He sighed and sat again. “That’s beside the point.” Meaning it was higher-up business, and he either wouldn’t or couldn’t answer me. “Technically you haven’t fulfilled the terms of your probation, though I suppose the break-in constituted harassment by others.”
“It darn well better.” I pointed to one of the fading bruises on my arm. “It hurt enough to count.”
I thought I saw him flinch, though indication of physical damage didn’t usually faze the bosses. “As I said, it may constitute the harassment part of your probation. Even if it does, you haven’t remained on probation for the required length of time. However, our hands are somewhat tied at this point.” He paused, studying me. Just as I started to fidget, he said, “We have no choice except to allow you to return to your duties. We’re already backlogged.”
“It seems to me that isn’t Omara’s problem,” Ghast said firmly. Startled, I looked at him. He winked again. “What does she gain by saving your collective asses?”
The boss turned to face him, fortunately missing the wink. Good thing. I wouldn’t have wanted to see the expression on his face right then. None of the higher-ups appreciated being questioned, not even by Ghast. “Omara is a vengeance demon,” the boss said, enunciating each word. “She does as she is commanded. She is compensated for her work. She doesn’t need to gain anything.”
“What’s stopping you from putting her right back on probation the second you have what you need from her?” Ghast asked evenly. He didn’t seem at all bothered by the boss’s anger. Come to think of it, I’d never seen him the least bit flustered by anything to do with any of the higher-ups, not even The Boss.
My boss took a deep breath, and I almost heard him counting to ten before he replied, “Omara, should you agree to return to your duties, you have my word that there will be no further consequences for the actions you have performed thus far. However…” He turned back to me. “If you break any additional protocols: if you choose, again, to ignore the rules, if you are out of line in any way in the performance of your duties, you will be subject to additional penalties; and the fact that you’ve already been on probation will be taken into account. Is that understood?”
“Yes, Lord.” I bowed my head, which I hoped looked suitably deferential. In reality, though, I wanted to hide my smile. I never would have thought to ask for a guarantee that I wouldn’t wind up finishing out my current probation. As he so often did, Ghast had saved me.
“Very well, then.” The Boss rose from his chair. “I’ll expect to see you first thing tomorrow. You will not, let me repeat, will not, be taking on any assignments for a few days. You’re stuck on paperwork duty so we can sort out what assignments remain, and can determine which ones we can trust you to handle.”
“All right.” My heart sank. Despite my loose interpretation of the rules and regs, I’d developed a reputation for handling the hard cases. The ones no one else wanted to deal with, the ones that made even demons cringe. Like the guy who’d thrown his kid in the lake. The higher-ups had come to count on me to deal with those people, and I’d come to thrive on the thrill of taking care of those who didn’t even deserve the name “human.”
If I would only be allowed to sit at a desk, I’d go bonkers within the first half hour. And if the Boss planned to hand-pick my assignments to make sure he could trust me, I’d wind up with the spray cheese cases. The ones that required just a quick visit and no real vengeance at all.
That would suck mightily.
Today I’d like to welcome fellow Muse author Marysue Hobika, author of Nowhere, a YA romance.
A girl named Mike is transplanted against her will to the middle of Nowhere—a town so small that cow tipping is considered to be a fun pastime for teens on a Saturday night! Sure that life as she knows it is over, she meets a boy named Dooner who’s never lived anywhere else and can’t wait to get out of town on the football scholarship that’s going to be his ticket to a better life, away from his father. Sparks fly between them, but it’s not exactly love at first sight.
Will they find a way into each other’s heart despite the fact that they come from very different backgrounds? Will it change how they both feel about Nowhere?
And will Nowhere become the somewhere they’ve been searching for?
Marysue Hobika has a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Buffalo. She spent several years teaching Spanish and getting to know real teens. Currently she lives in Pittsford, NY, with her husband and three children. She spends her free time reading, writing, and enjoying the great outdoors.
When and why did you begin writing?
When I was in third grade I wrote a Mother’s Day play. I assigned roles to my friends, and my cousin. My front yard was the stage. I remember how proud I was that I had written, directed, and produced a play. I have been writing off and on ever since.
I began Nowhere three years ago, when my son went to kindergarten. As soon as he got on the bus every day, I would rush to my computer and begin typing. Mike, short for Mikayla, had been bouncing around in my head for over a year and finally I had time to figure out her story.
What inspired you to write your first book?
One summer I was browsing through the children’s section with my kids, and I saw the biography of J.K. Rowling on the shelf. I decided to check it out just for fun, thinking my kids might be interested in it. I ended up reading it that afternoon, and felt inspired. It was at that moment, I decided I was going to write my own novel. I’m an avid reader, and I spend a lot of time reading other people’s work, and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be so cool, if people read something that I wrote?” So, I sat down and wrote, and wrote, until Nowhere was finished.
How did you come up with the title?
Deciding on a title was actually difficult for me. I researched how other authors came up with their titles, and discovered that some even knew the title before they started to write the book. This didn’t happen to me. I wrote the book first, then chose a title. I chose Nowhere, because Mike moves to the middle of Nowhere, the last place she’d ever want to be, and then soon discovers, maybe it’s not as bad as she thought. The town almost becomes like a character, and the story revolves around it, so I thought Nowhere was appropriate. Plus, I like one word titles; they tend to stick with me.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The setting is similar to the small town I grew up in. Kids did hang out and party on dirt roads, where they were sure not to be discovered. I did attend these gatherings a handful of times. The story about the teacher throwing out the real plates after a dinner date, is a true story my uncle liked to tell. All of the other events in the book aren’t based on any experiences in my own life or in anyone else’s. However, one of the main characters, Pop-Pop, is a lot like my own father. He does do crossword puzzles, he doesn’t cook, and he always says he’ll do the dishes when we’ve eaten off of paper plates.
What books have most influenced your life?
“Tuesdays with Morrie,” by Mitch Albom. I read this book many years ago with my book club, and it really influenced my life. I love Morrie’s out look on life, and I have found that I have changed how I see things because of it. For example, Morrie enjoys his birthday, and he doesn’t mind getting older. He said it’s like being 60, and 35, and 16, and 8, all that the same time. We are every age we’ve ever been all at once. I thought that was such a unique and empowering perspective that I have adopted it. I look forward to my birthdays and I embrace getting older and wiser, yet always remaining young at heart!
What are you reading now?
Right now I am reading “Ghosted,” by Laura Sue Gardner. She is a fellow Muse author. I was excited when I realized that “Ghosted” takes place in a town along the Erie canal, like the town I currently live in. I felt an instant connection to the book.
Do you go out of your way to kill bugs?
I do not. I go out of my way to save them, even the ones I’m not particularly fond of. I’ve been known to save spiders I have found in my house by placing them back outside where they belong.
What is your favorite drink?
Coffee. I love coffee. I remember drinking coffee as a kid with my grandmother, with lots of cream and sugar. Today I still drink it with lots of cream, but without the sugar.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
I think it would be fun to trade places with Sookie Stackhouse from the Trueblood series, which is based on the books by Charlaine Harris. I haven’t read the books yet, but they are on my TBR list. However I am a fan of the show. Sookie is always having an adventure, albeit a dangerous one, and she always comes out on top, often surrounded by hot mythical creatures, like vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters. It would be fun to read people’s minds and have a little magic of my own.
If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?
I’d be Stargirl from “Stargirl,” by Jerry Spinelli. She is one of my favorite fictional characters. I loved her from the moment she walked into the cafeteria playing a ukelele and handing out gifts. She is a girl to be admired. She has a big heart, she is smart, and she isn’t afraid to be herself.
Today I’d like to welcome Kathy Rygg, author of the middle grade novel, Animal Andy.
Tell us about your most recent work.
ANIMAL ANDY is a middle grade magical realism novel about a zookeeper’s son, who discovers a magical antique carousel and must use it to save the zoo animals and the zoo. I wanted to write a story that could transport kids to another world—the world of animals! Our city’s zoo has a beautiful menagerie carousel, and it was during a zoo outing with my kids that I decided a carousel would be the perfect device—each time Andy rides the carousel at the zoo, he turns into whichever animal he was riding at the time.
What are some other current projects you have going (or are planning to work on)?
I’m currently writing the sequel to my children’s chapter book TALL TALES WITH MR.K, which is about an eccentric teacher who takes his third-grade on adventures in the teacher’s lounge. Before that, I completed the first book in a children’s middle grade adventure series that involves the sport of geocaching.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Every writer has strengths and weaknesses—some are naturally good at dialogue, others are great at descriptions, etc. I’m a very succinct writer and spend a lot of time during the revision process adding rather than deleting text. I blame it on my journalism background where I had to adhere to strict word counts!
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I absolutely love Tracy Chevalier’s books. Her ability to take an obscure event in history and creatively turn it into a wonderfully interesting story is so inspiring. I’d love to write a historical fiction middle grade novel in the same fashion.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
This was a fun book to write because the research I did revealed some great animal stories! I interviewed zoo keepers to get behind-the-scenes information, learn about animal behavior, and discover some pretty funny things that animals do. It’s all stuff kids will love!
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
“Conservative with an Alternative Edge.” The really sums me up and applies to every aspect of my life including politics, fashion, home décor, and the type of books I enjoy writing.
What’s your favourite line from any movie?
I love the quote, “You’re killing me, Smalls!” from the movie The Sandlot. It’s a great middle grade movie, and I say that line all the time!
If I wasn’t afraid, I would love to be a performer—sing, dance, or act. Unfortunately, I’m a terrible singer, I can’t dance like I used to, and the last time I acted was in a school play. But I think it’d be fun!
Someday, I want to take a hot air balloon ride. There are several that fly right over our house on a regular basis, and I always think, that looks like fun! The tricky part is finding someone to go with me, because my husband and kids always say, no way!
What is your favourite quote?
I love the quote “shopping is my cardio” by Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw, from Sex and the City. I think it’s fun and love it when people can laugh at themselves (which this quote is meant to do)!
Book description: Ten-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is curator. There are rumors the city might close the zoo due to budget cuts. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique animal carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. Andy’s doubtful that an old kiddie ride will make a difference. He doesn’t see what’s so special about it. But when he takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo.
Andy’s knees wobbled and buckled as he stumbled off the carousel’s platform. He thrust forward, collapsing into a heap on the ground. Shaking his head a few times, he flinched when a snort escaped his mouth.
A flash of turquoise caught his eye. He scrambled up as a skinny-necked bird with short legs and a long, plump body strutted over. It stopped a few inches away and let out an ear-splitting squawk. Only a peacock could make that sound.
“What are you doing over here?” the bird asked. “Are you out of your mind? Don’t you know this is the kind of thing that gets all of us into trouble?”
Andy froze. He was sure the peacock had just spoken to him.
“Well, don’t just sit there, zebra, we need to get you back to the pen,” the bird snapped.
Andy whipped his head from side to side. Nobody was around, and he didn’t see a zebra.
“Did you just talk?”
“Don’t get all high and mighty on me,” the peacock said. “It’s socially acceptable for a peacock to speak to a zebra.”
“Why do you keep calling me a zebra?” Andy narrowed his eyes at the bird.
“Well, I don’t see any other escaped animal standing in front of me,” the peacock said. Andy lowered his gaze and saw four black and white striped legs beneath him. He craned his neck and saw a thin, black tail swishing behind him. Puzzled, he glanced at the carousel and saw an empty brass pole where the zebra had been.
He stumbled backward. “No, no, no,” he said, shaking his head. “How…it can’t be,” he breathed.
“There’s just no way. I…I…I’m a zebra!”
ANIMAL ANDY is available as an ebook from Muse It Up Publishing and the print version is available on Amazon.
View the ANIMAL ANDY book trailer!
You can follow me online at: http://ksrwriter.blogspot.com
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Goodreads: Kathy Sattem Rygg
Kathy Sattem Rygg is Editor-in-Chief for the children’s online magazine Knowonder!, and an active member of SCBWI. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Iowa State University and has worked for the McGraw-Hill Companies’ business publications division in New York City. She was also the editor in chief of Women’s Edition magazine in Denver, CO. She currently lives in Omaha, NE, with her husband and two children.
I’d like to welcome Ethan Jones, author of Arctic Wargame. It’s now available on Amazon.
Bio: Ethan Jones is a lawyer by trade and the author of Arctic Wargame, a spy thriller available on Amazon as an e-book and paperback. He has also published two short stories: Carved in Memory, a prequel to Arctic Wargame, and The Last Confession, both available on Amazon as e-books. His second spy thriller, Tripoli’s Target, will be released in fall 2012. Ethan lives in Canada with his wife and his son.
Canadian Intelligence Service Agent Justin Hall—combat-hardened in operations throughout Northern Africa—has been demoted after a botched mission in Libya.
When two foreign icebreakers appear in Canadian Arctic waters, Justin volunteers for the reconnaissance mission, eager to return to the field. His team discovers a foreign weapons cache deep in the Arctic, but they are not aware that a spy has infiltrated the Department of National Defence.
The team begins to unravel a treasonous plan against Canada, but they fall under attack from one of their own. Disarmed and stripped of their survival gear, they are stranded in a remote location. Now the team must survive the deadly Arctic not only to save themselves, but their country.
Q: Tell us about your most recent book.
Arctic Wargame is my debut spy thriller and the first one in Justin Hall series. It explores a situation when Canada’s security comes under threat from an Arctic power through its northern borders. Two foreign icebreakers appear in Canadian Arctic waters. Justin Hall, a Canadian Intelligence Service agent, is dispatched with a reconnaissance team. They discover a large stash of foreign weapons and fall into a trap set up by one of their own. Left for dead in a remote area of the Arctic, Justin and his time must survive the elements and fight back for their country.
Q: Do you have any writing projects you are currently working on?
I’m working on revising Tripoli’s Target, which is the second book in Justin Hall series. This time, Justin and his partner, Carrie O’Connor, return to North Africa to meet with one of the masterminds of a terrorist network. The man in question has promised them high-value intelligence, related to an assassination plot against the US President during her visit to a G-20 summit in Tripoli, Libya. The US Secret Service is informed about this plot, and they take all necessary measures to protect the President. However, new intelligence points at a large flaw in Justin’s and Carrie’s plan. Now, they must scramble to avoid the disaster. Tripoli’s Target will come out in fall 2012.
I’m also working on Fog of War, the third book in Justin Hall series. Justin infiltrates Iran to help extract a defector, a nuclear scientist who can provide information on Iran’s uranium enrichment program and its plans to build a nuclear bomb. Easier said than done. The release of Fog of War is tentatively planned for spring 2013.
Q: How do you go about creating villains?
I try to make villains real and multi-dimensional. Their actions are justifiable in their own logic. The villains are just the dark copies of the hero, the main protagonist of the story. They have feelings, they reason, they act logically, only their goals are completely opposite to those of the hero. My villains are usually very powerful people, invincible at first sight, but my heroes are too stubborn and do not take ‘no’ as an answer.
Q: Are your characters ever based on people you know?
I avoid doing that, since I don’t like defamation or slander lawsuits (being a lawyer, I know about such things). However, some of my acquaintances or friends may find their name or a similar name in my books. Some of their favourite expressions or their gestures or one of their pet peeves may also appear in the personality of a character.
Q: What are some of the things that inspire your storylines?
My spy thrillers are in a sense inspired by current events. Not a dramatized version of true stories, but an imaginary development of a ‘what-if’ scenario. What if an Arctic power decided to take some unilateral military action in that sensitive area of the world? What if an assassination plot happens while the US President visits one of the rogue states of the world?
Another driver of my storylines is the desire to entertain the reader, to take them away from the ordinary and into an imaginary world where they can follow a great story and take a break from their daily routine. If I have accomplished that, my job is done.
Q: How much research do you do (if any)?
I do extensive research, since that’s necessary for the spy thrillers. The setting of the locals needs to be true and factual. The same about weaponry, gadgets and other equipment used by the characters. I learn about the geo-politics of a certain region, the main players and the relations between the different countries. I explore the background of current and past developments in that area, so that the storylines I create do not appear in a vacuum and do not come across as contrived.
Q: What was the most interesting trip you have ever taken? Why?
I was blessed with a great trip to Belize a few years back and it was wonderful. My wife and my son visited the Great Barrier Reef, snorkeled with stingrays, turtles and sharks, and enjoy the sun, the sea and the great beauties of this peaceful (and English-speaking Caribbean country. For Canadians, burdened by five months of snow, a break to the warm climate in the winter is a much-needed escape.
Q: If you had a million dollars how would you spend it?
I would give a large chunk to charity. I would invest some of the rest in writing full-time and hiring people to do most of the things that I have to do now, like publicity, marketing, and so on. Take another trip to Belize and stay for a longer period of time. Do some landscaping around my house.
Q: Are you a spring, summer, fall or winter person? Explain why.
I’m a Canadian, so we don’t really get a spring or a fall. I like winter, because I can dress in layers and get warm. I can turn up the heat in my home and feel comfortable in a t-shirt. I don’t like snow shoveling that much, but then, it’s great to have a son who does that.
Q: Sitting alone in a field, staring up at the stars, what do you feel?
I feel how blessed we are to have what our Creator has given us. A great beauty, a wonderful gift.
Exclusive Excerpt from Chapter Four
Pond Inlet, Canada
April 11, 11:25 p.m.
“The pilot was shaking so hard, I thought he was gonna die.” Kiawak raised his voice in order to overpower the shouting of his drinking mates. One of them, a skinny man who seemed to be losing his balance, slammed his beer jug on the table, splashing his buddies. They cursed and shoved him, and he cursed and shoved them back.
“So, you were… were you… man, you wanted to kill the pilot, ha, ha…” the skinny man pointed his empty jug at Kiawak and raised it to his thick lips. Disappointed that no happy portion flew down his throat, he yelled at the bartender for another beer.
“No, no,” Kiawak replied, the only one sober in the wild bunch. “I wanted to put him to sleep for a few hours, so we could clean his wounds. He was allergic to the drugs or something.”
Their chuckles echoed again throughout the small but crowded bar. Kiawak was telling some old hunting adventure, which became more entertaining when embellished with exaggerated details over a few drinks.
Qauins Bar and Hotel, at the southern edge of Pond Inlet, provided the overnight lodging for Justin’s team. In the bar, Kiawak grilled his unsuspecting friends for information on anything out of the ordinary in and around town. With a little more than twelve hundred people, everybody knew the affairs of everybody.
Three tables down from Kiawak’s, Justin kept an eye on the rest of the thin crowd. Earlier in the day, interviews with some of the residents and the courtesy visit to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment produced no results. About two hours earlier, Kiawak had moved to Plan B: the Bar Operation. In vino veritas. Justin remembered the Latin expression he learned while attending McGill University. Vine, or whisky and beer in this case, the saying went, always brings out the truth, even in the best of people.
The wooden door of the bar squeaked as Anna rushed in. The little man at Kiawak’s table ogled her figure, although she was wrapped in a thick Gore-Tex jacket and a black balaclava.
“It’s… it’s so… bloody, freezing cold out there.” Anna sat at Justin’s table, still shivering. She wiped the snow off her gloves and the hood of her jacket. Her nose was strawberry red, and tiny icicles adorned her thin eyelashes.
“Well, yeah. With the wind chill, it probably feels like minus twenty five out there.”
“More like minus one hundred.” She placed her balaclava on the table and straightened her hair. “The inside of my noise is frozen solid. I can’t feel my nostrils any more. All this happened while I was out for no more than five minutes. Oh, I need some hot coffee to warm up.”
“It’s almost midnight. Will you be able to sleep?”
“I know I won’t be able to sleep without warming up.”
Justin called the waitress and ordered coffee. He noticed Kiawak gobbling a whisky shot, his last one. Five drinks and two hours were the agreed terms of the Bar Operation. Kiawak was getting close to his endgame.
“Where did Carrie and Alisha go?” Anna asked.
“Alisha whined about a terrible headache and left at about the same time you took off. Carrie wanted to get a good night sleep before tomorrow’s long day. Did they know anything at the co-op?”
Anna blew carefully on the hot cup of coffee the waitress brought her and took a small sip.
“No, nothing useful. They wanted to talk to me about everyone and everything, but they knew nothing about icebreakers. The food prices were so crazy. I wanted to buy a can of pop and it was five dollars. Five freaking dollars.”
“Well, do you think your coffee will be less? Everything is very expensive here, since most of the year they have to fly in the food.”
The barman, a bald, middle-aged man, approached Kiawak’s table and exchanged a few words with its patrons. Some loud cursing followed, and Kiawak picked up the tab. He escorted his buddies to the bar door and exchanged a bear hug with each of them.
“You’re gonna lock up, Kiawak?” shouted the barman after he had cleared the rest of the bar from its drinkers, with Justin and Anna the only remaining customers.
“No, he will.” Kiawak pointed to Justin, while meandering toward their table. “I’ve got to hit the sack right away.”
“All right.” The barman flipped a switch behind the counter, turning off the main ceiling lights. The bar sank into half-darkness. Justin’s and Anna’s shadows danced under the flickering lights of two floor lamps at the far end corner, near stairs leading to the hotel rooms on the second floor. Another faint blue light glowed behind the bar counter.
“Oh, Justin, always the unrepentant romantic,” Kiawak said as he dropped in an empty chair next to Justin. Kiawak rested his hands on the table. They were now the only three people in the bar. “Enjoying some female companionship, eh?”
Justin chuckled. “Anything good come out of all that drinking, beside your sarcasm?”
“Nothing. Well, almost nothing.”
“What is it?” Anna asked.
“This guy from Grise Fiord, a well-known con, is trying to fence some guns. Big guns.”
“What caliber?” Justin asked.
“They didn’t know. This guy and his partner, well, girlfriend, buy or steal weapons in the south and sell them here, all over the place. Usually, it’s handguns and the occasional semi. This time, according to Mike, the little guy, it’s large cal.”
Thank you, Helene, for having me here on your blog today. I’m turning this post over to a character in my novel The Mall Fairies: Exile. Grace is feeling guilty and I’ll let her tell you why. And she shares one of my favorite recipes, yum!
Who could have possibly have known? And if I’d known, how could I have believed a word? I mean, really, those little birds and bats we spotted flying around in our shopping mall are fairies? Really? REALLY? Turns out, yes, really. And even if Grandma MacDougall is the wonderful woman who raised me—she does drink a bit. Okay more than a bit … So I never did believe my tipsy grandmother when she talked about a one-winged fairy (not only fairies, but one-winged too? I mean, come on) riding around on the huge music box Christmas carousel. You know—the one that sits in the display window of our shop in the mall, Christmas Fairyland. I wonder if I should apologize—naw, I think I’ll just bake our favorite cake, that way Grandma and I can both have some delicious fun—without those silly fairies mucking up our lives. They do that just by showing up. And if they do show up, well …
MOLASSES CAKE, THE BASIC RECIPE (This is one you can play with a lot, very forgiving.)
1/2 c. molasses (light or dark, your choice)
2/3 c. water
1/2 c. raisins (can be omitted, other dried fruits can be substituted, or added to raisins. Or nuts are also good.)
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/2 teas. cloves
1/2 teas. baking soda (I use more, a teaspoon.)
1 and 3/4 c. white flour
Boil water, combine with molasses and raisins, boil 5 minutes (to soften dried fruit) let cool.
Combine other ingredients together, add mixture.
Spray 8″ by 8″ pan (or oil and flour) bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Plain, this makes a good breakfast cake.
GRANDMA MACDOUGALL’S VARIATION for Molasses Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Orange Frosting:
Use more of the spices listed above and you can add ginger and nutmeg, sometimes even a touch of chili powder. Add a half cup of chocolate bits and/or a half cup of nuts. This cake is a little dry and not terribly sweet, so sometimes I melt chocolate bits on the top for a quick frosting and sometimes I frost the cake, depending on mood.
Chocolate Orange Frosting:
1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ to ½ teaspoon orange extract
In a large bowl, cream the butter and add the cocoa, vanilla and orange extract and then slowly beat in the sugar by half cupfuls until desired consistency is reached. Frost the cooled cake.
For more adventures of Grace and her, ahem, sorta, fairy friends, read The Mall Fairies: Exile, the first in Conda V. Douglas’ Mall Fairies trilogy.
Today I’m happy to welcome Jan Fischer-Wade, author of Veiled Virtues!
Thanks for having me on your site today Helene! I am having lots of fun with the Summer Teen Reading Party and I am so excited about this month long event! We’ve got lots of great books and authors there – many for $1.99 or less. I hope everyone visits! Make sure to read the rest of this post to find out how you can enter to win a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card!
I know a lot of teens out there are done with school until fall – yay!!!! I hope everyone enjoys this holiday weekend with fun in the sun! The thought of summer reading takes me back to when I was in high school. It seemed each summer I was hooked on a particular author or subject. After my junior year, I spent the summer months reading lots of Stephen King. If you’ve seen any of my other visits on other sites, you will have noticed I like books in many different genres – romance, true crime and mysteries! The first work I read of Stephen King was his book of short stories. I think “Thinner” was in there and some others. I recall reading them over and over, because when I got to the end of each story the first time, I was like, “Huh?” Yes, totally confused sometimes. So, I’d go back and read it again – usually with a much better understanding of what was going on. King’s work is just so creative and well written! He must let his mind get so twisted at times (which I totally admire by the way.)
What books is everyone out there excited to read this summer? As for me, I will be working on the finishing touches to the sequel to Veiled Virtues. It is entitled Latent Legacy and you can read more about it on my website listed below!
Here is a bit about my novel, Veiled Virtues:
When Paige Stewart left America to house-sit in England, her only thoughts were to get away from her controlling mother and to have fun. Little did she know that her working holiday would find her hearing eerie voices, experiencing alarming dreams and bleeding from old scars. Although Paige’s differences confuse and disgust her, she opens up to the shopkeeper of a strange metaphysical store in town, where she finds much more than tarot cards and crystals. Soon, Paige is stalked like prized game. Relentlessly pursued, her holiday takes a turn for the eerie and dangerous. Her only saving grace may be a modern-day English knight who sweeps her off her feet and recognizes the true virtues the American teen unknowingly possesses.
Veiled Virtues is available at the following sites: Amazon OmniLit Smashwords MuseItUp Publishing Diesel Kobo BookStrand AmazonUK
Coming soon to Barnes & Noble and iTunes!!!
About Jan’s giveaway:
Enter to win a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card!!! One lucky winner will be chosen from the commenters on her blog (including emails to her from non-Book Blogs members), “Likes” and “Shares” on Facebook and Tweets about her book, Veiled Virtues, or the Summer Reading Party site (include @veiledvirtues in your tweets!). It’s that easy!!! She will be having other giveaways during the month on her blog as well, so make sure to visit it!
Jan Fischer Wade can be found online at:
Author Bio: Kim Baccellia was a bilingual teacher in Los Angeles County for eight years and during that time she didn’t find many books for Latinas that were upbeat or dealt with their heritage. During the time she wrote this novel, she was learning about her own Mexican heritage and decided to write a novel that was set in a Mesoamerican world.
Kim has also written Crossed Out, a YA paranormal and her YA fantasy No Goddesses Allowed has a tentative release date of Fall 2012.
A current member of SCBWI, Kim is currently writing the sequel to Crossed Out and a YA multicultural Sci-Fi. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.
- Blurb Fifteen-year-old Lupe Hernandez dismisses the legend about her Mexican grandmother’s magical earrings as a silly fairytale, despite recurring nightmares of human sacrifice. But when the earrings thrust her into the parallel world of Ixtumea, she must confront the very thing she shuns the most — her cultural heritage.
“How often do you hear a girl saves the world?” The melodic hush of Abuela’s voice downstairs in the kitchen woke Lupe. Darkness filled her room. She peered over at her alarm clock, six o’clock in the morning.
She pulled her pink blanket over her head and moaned. Oh, here we go again. Couldn’t Abuela let me sleep in? The blanket might cover her, but she couldn’t escape the sounds of her grandmother reciting yet another fable from the mystical land of Ixtumea. She’d been forced to listen to that stupid tale last night. And even worse, downstairs in their kitchen, listening and encouraging were Abuelita’s amigas.
Lupe stumbled out of bed, kicking aside a collection of navy-and-white uniform clothes on the floor. Throwing on a faded flannel robe, she cracked her bedroom door open. The voices grew louder.
“Si, tell us more!” The ting of spoons against the tiny teacups sounded like a battle cry. Didn’t those women know it was way too early? Jeez, no way am I going to sleep. I might as well see if they made some hot chocolate or tea. Maybe then I can stomach this whole nonsense of Ixtumea and Super-Girl before I go to school.
She had long outgrown the silly tales. Though she hated to admit it, the tale of the girl savior fascinated her. Never had she heard of a teen-aged Latina battling evil forces and saving her people, in a world not unlike the land of Lupe’s Mexican ancestors.
No, the only stories of teen heroes she’d heard starred thin beautiful blondes. Everything she wasn’t.
Still, Abuela’s voice cast a spell on her. Lupe knew she shouldn’t eavesdrop on the chismes, but she couldn’t help herself.
She crept down the stairs past the pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Pope John Paul II, and one of the mysterious Mayan gods.
“Ay, too bad she couldn’t have come sooner,” Coco, their next-door neighbor, sighed. “Too many cosas modernas in our world. Now who believes? No one but us.”
Who are they talking about? Lupe wondered.
“Now that’s one story I’d like to hear,” an unfamiliar gravelly voice replied. “Not another pobrecita guera who steals the ranchero’s heart. How many poor blondes from Mexico do you ladies know?”
“You mean real ones or ones that appear with la magica of the bleach?” asked Esperanza, the acknowledged gossip of the apartment building.
Laughter filled the small condo. Lupe couldn’t help but smile. These ladies loved those telenovelas almost as much as Abuela’s tales. She thought it funny her grandmother got on her case about her Anglo pop idols. Maybe the ladies weren’t different from her, after all.
Lupe crouched down and hid behind one of the banisters. Ixchel, the spider goddess, smiled down on her from a painting on the wall. Red gems sparkled from Ixchel’s earlobes, similar to the earrings Lupe’s grandmother had tried to give Lupe last night.
From this position Lupe saw the usual group of amigas sitting around the Formica table, sipping café de leche or manzanilla—chamomile—tea in delicate small cups. Vivid crimson, yellow, and orange housecoats brightened the kitchen. The women sounded like a flock of lively parrots.
Next to the stove, Abuela worked her magic. She pinched off a bit of dough, rolled the soft masa into the size of a golf ball, and flattened the dough between her earth-colored hands. Quickly she threw the pancake-shaped masa onto a sizzling black pan.
The other women helped. Esperanza scrambled eggs, the vivid red housedress she wore fluttering over her round figure. Esperanza’s large gold hoop earrings bounced with every movement.
Coco stood in the far corner, one large embroidered rose peeking out of her simple rebozo. She cut the tortillas into thin strips to mix in with the eggs, chorizo, and cheese. “Oye, espera un momento. Tell me more about this niña who’ll save Ixtumea.”
“Here, let me finish.” The scrape of a metal chair dragged across the wooden floor and one of the women took over cooking the tortillas.
“Ay, where was I?” Lupe’s abuela asked as she settled down in one of the chairs. She wiped her hands on her apron, sealing in the roasted scent of tortillas.
“The prophecy. How does it go, again?”
“Oh, yes.” Abuelita took a deep breath. Then she began.
“She will come,
Descending through the sacred web,
To vanquish the great deceiver.
Many will be her name:
“Cipriana, do we know this niña?”someone asked.
Lupe leaned down closer to the stair, curious to find out if her grandmother would reveal the name of the person. Wouldn’t it be a real hoot if it were someone she knew?
“Let me guess.” Esperanza turned off the stove. “She’s tall, thin, and has blonde hair.”
“You sound as bad as my Lupita. Nadie está contento con su suerte. Always dreaming the other side is better.” Her grandmother let out a deep sigh. “If only she’d listen and take the earrings…”
“So she hasn’t taken them?” Coco asked. “Does she not know how importante they are?”
“You know the young. Never listen.” Her grandmother let out another sigh.
“If I was her, I’d be dying to use them…wait, maybe, your Lupita is this niña!” Esperanza laughed so hard she snorted. “Wouldn’t that be something?”
Startled at hearing her name, Lupe leaned back against the wall. An old picture of her mother wearing those same earrings shifted above her.
Lupe felt a strange foreboding. The tips of her ears burned. What was wrong with her?
She got up and went back to her room. Quietly she closed the door to block out the voices. A prickly sensation covered her body, along with a sick feeling, maybe Esperanza was right. She thought back to last night and her grandmother’s attempt to give her a pair of earrings, identical to the ones in all the pictures in their apartment. She’d started up again with the legend and refused to let Lupe leave the room. “No, this is muy importante,” she said. She talked about a web between the worlds fraying and the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy was now. How Lupe needed to be prepared.
Author Bio: When Stephanie’s not writing, she works full-time as a Corporate Educator and Curriculum Designer. She also works as a freelance instructional and graphic designer, along with her husband of ten years. My most important job of all, however, is being a mom to two little boys under the age of six. When she’d not working, mothering someone, or writing, she is an avid reader. Naturally, her favorite genre is Fantasy, but she’ll read just about anything given the chance! Stephanie holds a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Instructional Technology from Duquesne University and a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Robert Morris University. She is a classically trained clarinetist, but also plays the saxophone and sings. Stephanie’s first novel, The Star Child, willl be released in September 2012 by Inkspell Publishing. She is now currently at work on the second book in the trilogy, The Fallen Stars.
- Blurb: Kellen St. James is just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, but with a Yale degree, a photographic memory, and an addiction to everything 80s. But what’s not so average about Kellen is the girl who’s been haunting his dreams for the last eleven years. When the sudden death of his grandmother takes him from the East Coast to the Irish Coast, he finds himself face to face with his own personal ghost and finds out that she’s just as real as he is. Plus she’s come spinning a tale about an ancient prophecy in which Kellen plays a key role. Together they will travel through an underworld of faeries and demons, angels and gods, not to mention a really ticked off pack of wild dogs, all in order to save the world from darkness. But will they make it in time?
Stephanie is a featured author on http://www.loveahappyending.com. You can visit her at http://www.stephaniekeyes.com
Q: What are some other current projects you have going (or are planning to work on)?
My current work is the sequel to The Star Child, The Fallen Stars. I am current knee deep in the project and have given myself a very strict deadline to adhere to. So right now, no one is allowed to talk to me, during my scheduled writing time. It’s head down, all the time!
Q: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part has been finding the time. My schedule has been a challenge. I work in a corporate environment, which requires me to travel around the company, teaching and facilitating. The role is also deadline-driven, which sometimes requires late nights. Since I try and impact my family as little as possible, I usually stay up late or get up early to meet work deadlines. It’s about to get easier, however, as I will soon be leaving my job to work as a freelance graphic designer. So this may no longer be a challenge!
Q: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I think the most important thing that I learned from writing The Star Child was to just enjoy it and have fun with the characters. When I was writing the TSC, I was working about sixty hours per week and had my first child, a one-year-old. So I had very little time that I could devote to writing. As a result, I tried to get as much done during the weekends as possible, always cramming it in. I don’t know that I enjoyed writing it nearly as much as I could have. Now, with The Fallen Stars, it’s like walking back into a room of old friends and just picking up where I left off. I’m having a blast with it.
Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The best advice that I can give is one, to be as educated as possible. Join a group that supports writers, like The World Literary Cafe, or something similar. Attend conferences if you can, they are all over the country, and often in your own backyard. Two is to try to make as many connections as possible. I attended a conference in New York and I’ve kept in touch with those writers, asked them questions when I needed input. There is something to be said for meeting people that are going through the same things that you are, that understand writing as a lifestyle, so to speak. Building relationships and doing research have both been invaluable to me.
Q: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes! There are so many wonderful authors and books out there. So to all of you who’ve stopped by to read this post, thank you for your time.
Q: Are you a morning or a night person?
I am a middle of the day person. I cannot function in public well until after 10am and I start shutting down at 9pm. I’m really good at faking it and making people think I’m awake, however it takes alot of coffee for me to keep up the ruse!
Q: Does Prince Charming exist?
Yes, I’m married to him! Sorry ladies, I know you were hoping to meet him, but I snapped him up. I think there is more than one Prince Charming out there. Mine is my Prince Charming because he does things like make me a cup of coffee in the morning and take care of the laundry on the weekends. I think that Price Charming is a guy that doesn’t ask you to be anyone other than yourself, doesn’t ask for more than you’re willing to give, and is proud of you, no matter what. That’s what Prince Charming looks like in real-life and he’s totally cool.
List five adjectives to describe yourself. Creative, quirky, energetic, humorous, passionate
Q: What is your favourite quote?
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt When I was in elementary school, I was at the bus stop with a girl who would pick on me, call me names, try to bring me down. One day she tried it and i responded with “I don’t talk to teenagers”. I have no idea where that came from and I was convinced that I was going to be beaten up. However, nothing happened, she didn’t bother me because I stood up to her. I realized then that the only one who has the power to make me feel bad about me, is, well, me! Life’s too short to do that to yourself.
Today I’m pleased to welcome Kate Fuentes, author of the Elements series.
In a nutshell, what is your most recent book about?
ELEMENTS: Veil of Darkness follows the first book in the ELEMENTS series, The Beginning. The sequel focuses on the challenges the twins must face and how they struggle to put their family back together after the untimely separation that created a vast wedge in their tight circle. Veil of Darkness teeters between the fantasy realm and the realistic earth realm and introduces new characters both pleasant and villainous. Their elemental abilities of fire and water are a main focus and can be a curse as well as a gift throughout the story as they learn to harness the supernatural characteristics.
The third book in the series, Kingdom of Aqueous, is scheduled for release the beginning of summer 2012 and continues the saga with a new whimsical land and fantastical characters.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?
Stay true to yourself and write what you believe in, not what you think will sell. An author must have a hard exterior and the willingness to lay it all on the line, even though it seems vulnerable. Diligence and determination area must have, most of the time you are your own cheeleader, marketing strategist, literary agent, bookseller, and public relations guru. Follow through with your dreams even if it seems like a dead end, the next answer might be a ‘yes’.
What do you think makes a good story?
I think any subject could be turned into a great story. The fine line between a good story and a great story is the way the author portrays the subject. For instance, any headline in a local newspaper could be turned into a novel, it just depends on the creativty and imagination that is poured into the pages. Key elements: intrigue, mystery, love, good vs. evil, heartache, challenges, adventure, truth… these qualities draw me in.
Do you believe in outlining?
I have several author friends who I talk with on a regular basis and we like to chat about the differences in our writing styles and the similarities we share. One thing that always differs is how we construct the novels themselves. Personally, I am one who is diligent with outlining on paper prior to logging on the computer. This may sound ‘old school’ to some, but it works for me. I jot down notes in a book, on scraps of paper, on my laptop and a journal. Either way, it ends up in the computer at the end of the day…
What was your favorite book as a child?
I didn’t have one particular book that was my favorite, but several. I can remember reading Ferdinand the Bull, Black Beauty, Ann of Green Gables, amongst others, but my true passion came when I started reading Greek Mythology. I loved the legendary heroes, the fantastic adventures, the animalistic creatures and people, the stark contrast of gladiator brutality versus admiration and love. It was a harsh world without mercy, but a world where a mere mortal could flourish triumphantly. These are the stories that inspired me to write my own series, to continue the legacy with a modern twist.
If you had to compare yourself to an animal, which one would it be? Why?
A dolphin… I like to have fun, but I also enjoy solving complex situations and finding a resolution. I like to work with others in a group setting, but I can hold my own if the occasion arises. I’m an advocate for those without a voice and will defend those who are in need. I like to travel and I’m extremely loyal to my family. To me, that is what a dolphin encompasses.
Do you have any hobbies outside of writing?
I am quite passionate about photography and take several pictures throughout the week. I’m not a fan of ‘posey-posey’ shots. I look for the unintentional picture of person who is unaware or the naturalistic photo of mother nature. I prefer black and white because its classic and beautiful and shows the simplistic allure of shadows.
Name one piece of clothing that describes you and explain why.
SHOES…. I am crazy about shoes! Shoes can be comfortable and sensible, sweet and sassy, flirty and feminine, heavy and somber, classy and sophisticated, traditional and safe, colorful and vibrant, sharp and confined, drab and uneventful, sleek and modern… depending on the day, I think this describes my different moods as well as some of my shoe collection.
Author Bio: Kate Fuentes
My name is Kate Fuentes, author of a young adult fantasy series called Elements. I modeled the characters after my two sons and created the fantasy realm as a story to read to my children at night. I’m fascinated at the enormity of endless imagination that we humans are capable of having, and enjoy being able to write fiction for others to appreciate as well.
My series includes: Book one, Elements: The Beginning, Book two, Elements: Veil of Darkness, and soon to be released in the summer of 2012, Book three, Elements: Kingdom of Aqueous. I plan to continue the installments and have not decided how many books will complete the series. I, like so many of my author counterparts, aspire to create more books and characters for my readers to enjoy. I have two projects currently in the beginning phases of conception and will release details in the fall of 2012 on my webpage KateFuentes.com
I attended college in Arizona and transferred to California where I finished my studies in business marketing and advertising while progressively composing short stories in the foreground. Research and development is one of my favorite aspects of writing along with the actual creation of the story from imagination to the novel itself.
I am quite passionate about writing but also enjoy helping those that are underprivileged, forgotten, and oppressed by working in a global reach department during the week in the hopes that I may bring attention to the causes which will, in effect, inspire others to volunteer or champion for those less fortunate both locally and around the world.
On a personal note, I am happily married to my junior high sweetheart and we have two glorious children. We appreciate our time spent with one another and always make sure we set aside a day for family fun night.
To contact the author, Kate Fuentes, visit the following social media sites:
Kate Fuentes , Twitter , Sired Scribblings , Facebook , Pinterest
Elements: The Beginning, Book One
AMAZON BARNES&NOBLE GOODREADS SMASHWORDS
Elements: Veil of Darkness, Book Two
AMAZON BARNES&NOBLE GOODREADS SMASHWORDS
Elements: Kingdom of Aqueous, Book Three
Helene, thank you for the wonderful opportunity to answer some questions and be a guest on your blog. I am grateful to be a part of the May Summer Teen Reading Party and look forward to seeing all the other authors participate!
Elements Series, YA fiction
Today I’m pleased to welcome Barbara Ehrentreu, author of If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. Barbara is doing a giveaway of her book, so please leave a comment for a chance to win!
Q. What are some other current projects you have going (or are planning to work on)?
Currently I am polishing a manuscript I wrote for NanoWriMo called When My Life Changed, about a 15 year old girl whose life changes completely when her father has a heart attack and needs to have triple bypass surgery. It deals with the changes to her family, to her and her friendships and to her outlook on life. It is based on a true story about what happened to me and my family when the same thing happened to my husband. I am planning on sending it out very soon.
Also, I have five poems in an anthology called: Beyond the Dark Room, which is a collaboration of 21 poets and will be published soon by Really Love Your Book Publishers. We are donating all proceedings from this book to Doctors Without Borders.
Q: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes. I was in third grade and my teacher had us write poems about Spring. Mine was chosen to be in the school district’s newsletter. As I got older I wrote only for myself and showed my poetry to my friends. I did not start writing prose until I was at a Writers’ Workshop at Manhattanville and my memoir was chosen by the group to be read. I read it to an audience that included several published authors and afterward they came up to me to congratulate me on my writing. I knew I wanted to be an author at that moment, because it all felt so right.
Q: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here is a little bit of the first chapter. Remember this is still not ready for publication:
Excerpt from When My Life Changed:
The phone rang as the ball left the pitcher’s glove and in a second as I saw Mom’s tears, I forgot all about the game. My life changed while the TV blurred and turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope. The moment was indelibly pressed in my thoughts.
My sister, Diane, was upstairs hunched over her computer as usual. She’s not a baseball fan at all. But I lived and breathed for the Mets that Fall. They had such a great chance of getting the pennant and maybe even winning the World Series. I obsessed about the Mets and of course, Joey.
Joey, my best friend from kindergarten, was always there for me. It’s hard to imagine a recess without him by my side. He’s bigger than me and always looked a little older than he was. Mom liked Joey, because he reassured her he would obey her rules. So, she let me and Joey stay alone, even though she never let me do that with any of my other friends. She’s always worried we’ll get into the liquor or find a way to watch porn on TV. She’s got that block on the TV, but my friends know how to get around it. But with Joey she had this confidence based on things I couldn’t name. It might be Joey and his way of getting parents to trust him. Maybe it’s his easy smile or his clear gray eyes.
But all that was pre-phone call. Pre-pc my deepest thoughts centered on the Mets and finding the sweet spot for the ball in my new baseball glove. Pre-pc my world was worrying about homework getting done and wondering what lunch would be like on Monday.
Let me go back and tell a little bit about myself. First of all you might be thinking I’m a boy, but you’re wrong. My name is Lauren. I’m 15, and my sister is 17 and I’m one hundred percent female. We learned about stereotypes in social studies and thinking sports can be only a boy’s thing is one of those. The teacher used blondes and how people think they’re dumb or playing dumb. We had to come up with a few stereotypes of our own as our ticket to leave that day. It was then I realized that my own parents thought in stereotypes.
I go against the stereotype for girls. I’ve always loved baseball and Joey loves it even more than me.
Our friendship goes against the stereotypes too. He and I clicked in kindergarten when on the first day Joey and I sat together and didn’t stop talking the whole morning. My parents told me when the teacher tried to separate us we both put our feet on the ground and refused to be moved. She let us sit together for the rest of the year. But the next year the teachers were onto us and separated Joey and me for the whole year in different classes. We’d see each other in the hallway and wave. Sometimes I’d have a little tear in my eye when I saw Joey and it didn’t go away for a long time.
Q: Who designed the cover?
The cover for my only published book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, was designed by Kaytalin Platt. People really like it and it has won an award.
Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?
My only advice for other writers is to keep writing about what you love. When you write from your heart people will want to read it. Also, never give up trying to get your work published. There is going to be someone who will love it as much as you do.
Q: If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Barbara Ehrentreu: The Girl From Brooklyn Who Never Gave Up!
Q: If you were a type of food, what would you be?
I would be an Almond Joy bar. Soft and yummy outside with a hard nut inside.
Q: If you won $20 million dollars in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
First of all I would pay all of my debts to everyone and also I would pay my children’s debts and my husband’s debts. Then I would buy a house for my husband and I and one for my both of my daughters. I would give money to all my favorite charities and political campaigns. Then I would invest some of it. Probably I would take a trip around the world with my husband, since we both love travel and bring along our doctors and of course, my hairdresser. My guess is we would do it on our private jet. Then we would just go back home and enjoy our life without any pressures at all.
Q: What kind of people do you dislike?
I don’t like people who lie or are hypocritical.
Q: What makes you angry?
I don’t get angry easily. Anyone who knows me, knows it takes a lot to really make me angry. But lying to me or doing something that is unjust will make me very angry. Not listening to me makes me very angry too.:)
Q: Are you a morning or a night person?
I am most definitely a night person. I love the quiet and peace of being totally alone and many times I write the best at night. I do love seeing the dawn, though, but I like sleeping late. So I see it before I go to sleep sometimes.
Q: What is your favourite quote?
My favorite quote comes from a Roy Lichtenstein painting: (please link)
“That’s the way it should have begun, but it’s hopeless.”
We had that print our walls since we were married.
Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages