Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Savings offered by author Mark McGinty for his book "The Cigar Maker"

Mark McGinty joined me on Page Readers a few months ago to talk about his novel "The Cigar Maker."

Today he sent me an email offering this Holiday Special:

From now until Christmas “The Cigar Maker” by Mark McGinty is 30% off at the official site. Makes a great gift for the book lover, history buff or cigar smoker in your life!! 10% of the proceeds will be donated to the United Way.

I hope you all stop by his website and support this fabulous author!

Aggie Villanueva author of "The Rewritten Word"

Hi everyone!  I have something a little different for you all this time, a Video Interview.  Isn't technology wonderful?

My good friend and best selling author, Aggie Villanueva has written a how to book about an all important part of writing, rewriting.  In "The Rewritten Word," Aggie explains the importance of rewriting what you've created.

I hope you like the video!  And if you've like to do a video interview for Page Readers, send me an email.  I'd love to host your smiling face on the blog!

Here you go:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Liliana Badd discusses "EXIT"

Author Liliana Badd joined me on Page Readers to discuss her novel, "EXIT."

Interviews with authors like Liliana Badd are what make doing Page Readers so much fun.

Lilana is not just an author. She is more than a survivor.  She is someone who lives life with passion and compassion, never giving up no matter the circumstances and sees the silver lining in every cloud. 

Her book "EXIT" is one of her many accomplishments in life.  She dreamed of becoming an author like so many other do, but she has done it, and done it with passion.

Visit Liliana on the web at

Nancy Lynn Jarvis author of "Buying Murder"

Author Nancy Lynn Jarvis stopped by Page Readers to discuss her latest work "Buying Murder."

The real estate market is a mess. What’s a Realtor® to do? One twenty year veteran of the industry, Nancy Lynn Jarvis, is writing murder mysteries set in Santa Cruz County instead of selling houses.“Real estate is an interesting business,” the author says. “The stress level involved in buying or selling a home ranks right after death and divorce. People reveal a lot about themselves during the process. The business attracts its share of colorful practitioners, too.” Their stories and Nancy’s experiences provide the settings where her realtor and part-time sleuth, Regan McHenry, works while she unravels mysteries. Find her online at
Nancy is one of those people who did something she dreamed of doing after someone told her she couldn't possibly succeed at it.  I love that kind of spirit!  Taking on that challenge has paid off in so many ways too.  Not only does she write wicked murder mysteries, she's reading them to a seniors group who hang on every word!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Guest Post by Johnny Tan, host of BTR show From My Mama's Kitchen

This is a wonderful Holiday piece written by author and Blog Talk Radio show host Johnny Tan. 

Some of us already realize this, and others will experience it for the first time: The kitchen will be the most important room in the house in the coming weeks.

Regardless of whether it is a modern-day designer’s kitchen or just one of the so-called “timeless” efficiency kitchens, it is time for it to claim center stage, as it will serve as the hub for the transformational loving energy that will bind families and friends alike during this holiday season.
Known as the heart of any home, the kitchen is the place that will serve as a wonderful backdrop where you will always find an abundance of joy and laughter from family and friends reminiscing and sharing meaningful communication, from knowledge gained to lessons learned.

As you already know, you do not have to know how to cook to be drawn into the kitchen as your five senses will eventually draw you straight toward it once the mouth-watering aromas start to fill the air.

My late Southern Belle mom, Eleanora, once eloquently described to me that being in the kitchen is like being a mother; it is about creating something special. It requires patience, a happy attitude, and a touch of love. It is the perfect blending of all these ingredients that ultimately produces a signature dish.

Since we now live in a global village, with the lifestyle to match, where families can only get together during special occasions, the holiday seasons have become more meaningful than ever. Although there are many of us who are fortunate to have a family to spend the holidays with, there are those of us who are less fortunate due to various reasons. We are the ones that, over the years, are able to find home from within our own hearts. Then, there are those among us who are fortunate to have the opportunity to experience the family holiday spirit thanks to the generosity of our friends.

Whatever the situation may be for you, if we can all take a moment to be mindful, perhaps we can truly experience the true holiday spirit as it is meant to be experienced.
For mothers — They cannot wait to have the family back home together to break bread with.

For children — Believe it or not, your mom will always be more excited to see you than you are to see her.

For singles — For those who are fortunate to have the generosity of a friend’s invitation to be with their family, be very thankful for the love you are receiving.

For those who will be by themselves — Always remember that you are never alone. Home is where the heart is, and be very thankful that you have made it this far. Happiness and glee are always generated and experienced from within.

For the families who will be celebrating this holiday season together with their loved ones — I would like to share with you what my Cajun mom, Ginger, told me a long time ago: “The natural life can always be funny and humorous. The most ordinary events usually end up being the sweetest memories. Being present during the small moments will always make us appreciate the happiness when it happens.”

For the families and individuals who have graciously opened their hearts and homes, and to those who are contemplating doing so — I would like to share with you what my German mom, Dianne, told me a few years back: “Every once in a while, a situation may occur that requires us to radiate our energy of positive goodwill, compassion, and love for others. Until we try to put ourselves beyond our comfort zone, we will not realize we have what it takes to make a difference in that person’s life and in ours.”

For those of us who will be spending this holiday season by ourselves – I would like to share with you what my Malaysian mom, Nyah, told me just before I left home to come to the United States: “Since childhood, you have been and will continue to be exposed to all kinds of experiences. Some experiences, good or bad, will stay with you for the rest of your life. However, it is how you manage them that will ultimately determine your idea of success and happiness, or failure and sadness, in your life. Always remember you are never alone, and although food may fill your tummy and the camaraderie of friends gives you a sense of belonging, it is the loving energy you generate from within you that will nourish your mind, body, and soul. This spiritual grounding is what will ultimately touch the heart and move the soul of others.”

Finally, here is my wish to everyone during this holiday season:

Health — makes all things possible.

Wealth — makes all things work.

Love – makes all things beautiful.

May you have all three.

Johnny Tan

Leadership Speaker
Talk Show Host: FMMKTalkRadio
Award-Winning Author: From My Mama’s Kitchen-”food for the soul, recipes for living”
(Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient – Inspirational/Motivational)

Thank you Johnny for sharing your work with the Page Readers audience. 

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Debra Christenson author of "Hairy Harry"

Children's author Debra Christenson joined me on Page Readers to discuss her book "Hairy Harry."

Debra is not only a gifted story teller, she is also a very talented artist, having done all the artwork for her book "Hairy Harry." 

Stop by her website to see the wonderful drawings she's done for this book.  And be sure to check out her Kids Pages.  There you'll find several wonderful games to play with the younger kids in your life.  Great stuff!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Richard Buzzell author of "ZombieStop Parade"

Fun interview with Richard Buzzell author of ZombieStop Parade on Page Readers.

Richard Buzzell has an interesting sense of humor.  While we did talk about his latest book "Zombie Stop Parade," he also talked about a guest post he did for Joylene Butler on her blog, giving his take on a "Jersey Shore."  Funny stuff!

Back to his book.  ZombieStop Parade is written in diary form, which gave him a lot of room to write in a less formal style to tell his story.  I enjoyed how easy this was to read.  It's a short novella (164 pages on my iPad) and a good story, so I was able to get through it in a little more than an hour. 

During our talk on Page Readers, Richard said he wasn't working on anything new, yet.  I hope he gets back to more story telling, he's definitely got a talent for it! 

Visit him online at

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kathryn Rose author of "The Parent's Guide to Facebook"

Kathryn Rose joined me today on Page Readers to discuss her latest book "The Parent's Guide to Facebook."

Face it, everyone is on Facebook.  If they're not, they're thinking about it.  And if you are, you need to know how to guard your personal information and that of your children.

In her easy to follow, understand and more importantly - put into use, guide to Facebook, Kathryn gives us the information we need to protect ourselves and our kids from the unknown that lurks beyond our computer screens.

There is so much we don't know, and so much we just assume to be normal or even mandatory.  Just because there is an empty box waiting to be filled with your phone number or email address, doesn't mean we have to turn over that information.  Be careful of what you share!

Read through the privacy settings on your account, and your kids accounts.  It really is an eye opener when you begin to see all the little boxes that are automatically checked for you, that gives out your information because you didn't read the instructions!

The game and rules are always changing, so as a player you've got to know what's happening or before you know it you'll be out of the game, and possibly so much more.  Get Kathryn's book NOW, get and stay informed!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cori Jones author of Hanging Wasp

Cori Jones joined me on Page Readers to discuss her yet unpublished novel "Hanging Wasp."

This is one book I can't wait to read.  Cori has an obvious love for "the dark side" of story telling, mixed together with her background of being a teacher and all the craziness that goes on in the world of academics. 

After listening to Cori introduce her characters, giving us a little background about each one of them and a bit about the part each one of them plays in her story - okay, that alone had me hooked. 

But wait until you hear her read from her story, a couple of emails sent out by one of her twisted characters - too funny!

Visit Cori on the web at her schools site  She's going to be doing a Podcast soon, which will be a lot of fun.  And she promised to get working on her own site so we can keep up with her journey of getting her book published. 

What do you think - should she continue searching for a traditional publisher or go the self-published route? I'm curious to hear what you writers have to say about that!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Today my guest is author Peter Clement, who is going to tell us about his latest book, "The Darkness Drops." 

Welcome Peter!

First a little about Peter - 

I’ve always been fascinated by story telling, especially when my imagination is free to provide the visual narrative. Novels, radio plays, audio books—these have played a role in my life since I was a boy. Ours was a home without TV, and I spent summers with extended family in a small town where the aural tradition was strong, and weaving a good yarn was an art form. As I grew older, the books ranged from science fiction to thrillers to classics to contemporary literature. Anything good that took me away to an exciting new reality could capture me for days, and I’ve never lost that love. In my case, much later in life, it morphed into a love of telling my own stories. One of the truisms I often hear quoted is you can’t be a writer without having been a reader. The ironic reality of becoming a writer is that, while creating my own stories, I must refrain from reading other novels, or I start imitating the author’s style. Editors can tell. Out would come their red pen and they’d not only slash away the offending pieces, but identify the source. “Reading Chandler again!” “Leave Nabakov to Nabakov!” “Too much Lehane!”

Besides writing, I practice medicine. I spent over two decades working as an emergency physician and family doctor in an urban hospital at a major teaching center. I now divide my time between writing and private practice. While I always guard patient confidentiality, those ER years infuse my novels with an insider’s take on the world of medicine.

The Darkness Drops has been described as a “taught, richly-plotted thriller.” How does it differ from your previous Earl Garnet and Richard Steele series for which you have also received very high praise, and without giving too much away, might you give us a taste of what’s in store for the reader?

The Darkness Drops takes the reader outside the hospital into the murky world of bio terror prevention and secret laboratories where doctors are already venturing well beyond the cutting edge of known science.

The story begins in the morgue at an isolated Siberian hospital during the last days of the Soviet Union two decades ago. A clandestine autopsy is underway, and a young physician, Anna Katasova, keeps watch for intruders while her husband, Yuri Raskin, does the cutting. We jump twenty years ahead to present times, and through the eyes of Terry Ryder, the President’s Chief Advisor On Bio terror Preparedness, experience the emergence of a mystery illness that sweeps the globe in a matter of days. His instincts—what he calls his Eureka circuits-- make an intuitive leap. “It’s an attack, stupid!” Health organizations from around the planet scramble to mount a coordinated effort that they hope will penetrate the secrets of this disease entity and determine its source, but traditional scientific method, even if it moves with the speed of light, won’t provide answers fast enough to stop this outbreak. Already attempts to treat ever-increasing numbers of victims have overwhelmed existing medical resources. The only timely solution rests in finding who is responsible, then making them reveal the causative agent and how to destroy it. But where to start? Terry’s desperate race to find answers reaches into the realm of rogue scientists, arms merchants, and events of his own past, including a former love affair with Anna Katasova, until he must question even his own innocence.

How did this story come to you?

My inspiration for The Darkness Drops arose from two separate conversations.

The initial one involved two physicians from Russia who had witnessed, and survived, the first and only known leak of anthrax from a bio weapons facility in the former USSR. Their account fascinated me, and set the back-story for Anna and Yuri.

The second developed from a restaurant dinner I attended with a group of doctors who were experts in bio terror preparedness. It soon became evident that they did exactly what a writer of thrillers must do--namely, put themselves inside the mind of a fiend, and dream. I don’t remember what we ate, but all the other diners within earshot began to talk in hushed tones and study us most warily. I came away wondering how any of us would sleep that night. Yet what fascinated me more than the plots they hatched were the people themselves, all of them veterans of drops into hot-zones and level-four virology lab work with the most deadly organisms on earth. How do you walk home and kiss your kids goodnight knowing that one slip-up in a protective protocol might expose them to hemorrhagic fevers or fatal toxins? Worse, after listening to some of the scenarios they cooked up involving bio engineered organisms, I began to wonder how I’d respond in ER if confronted by a mystery outbreak for which known treatments do not exist. Once started down that path, I had the beginnings of a story I couldn’t get out of my head, and Terry Ryder was born.

What compelled you to write The Darkness Drops?

I had to. Once the story began to present itself, Terry, Anna, and Yuri were so compelling I had no choice but to let them come alive. Part of the allure had to do with the opportunity to take these characters through the complexity and subtlety of transformation that can occur over the better part of a lifetime. As a writer, I found this challenge irresistible.

Who is your favorite character?

Many of the people involved in the development of emergency countermeasures to a biological attack are emergency physicians. Terry Ryder is one such man. What makes him exceptional is his ability to think visually and actually see disease patterns the way a master chess player can read a board twelve steps ahead of his opponent. This allows him to foretell possible risks way ahead of anyone else. In ER this ability is a gift that makes him a miracle worker. In the world of bio terror, it is a curse that summons up nightmares. The cost to his personal life and the women he’s loved is particularly heavy. Nevertheless, it also affords him an advantage over those who would weaponize microbes, an edge that is indispensable in a world where arms merchants peddle such means of mass murder to any group with a VISA card, and he remains a reluctantly ruthless warrior against such unthinkable horrors.

What was your favorite scene to write?

I loved creating a pivotal moment where Terry’s special imagination lets him, and readers, peer into the visually stunning works of our cells on a molecular level never before accessible. There I let my own very visual imagination rip.

How long did it take you to write the story?

I knew going in that it would be my most complex novel to date and would require more time than anything I’d attempted previously. It took me three years before I had a draft that was at all presentable, and then another year of editing, cutting and shading until it was finished in its final polished state.

When was it released?

June 2010 as an e-book exclusive in all formats at and It was released on Amazon Kindle in August of 2010, and will soon be available at the Apple store.

How is it available?

It is available in multiple formats for all electronic readers:

1. At PDF-MSReader-Mobipocket-ePub-Palm-HTML-Word-RTF-Rocket-Hiebook

2. At Kindle

3. At eReader [-er.PDB] 
ePub [.EPUB] 
Adobe [.PDF] 
Microsoft [.LIT] 
Palm Doc [.PDB] 
Rocket/REB1100 [.RB] 
Franklin [.FUB] 
Hiebook [.KML] 
Sony Reader [.LRF] 
Isilo [-is.PDB] 
Mobipocket [.PRC] 
Kindle [.MOBI] 

4. And in the very near future, perhaps even by the time of this posting, the Apple Store for users of the iPad and iPhone.

Publishing experience- you are a best selling author with eight novels to your credit, and have been highly praised for your work by many reviewers and other well-known authors. Yet the Darkness Drops is an e-book exclusive. Tell us about this experience, and any words of wisdom you might have for writers.

I hesitate to offer any words of wisdom, as the publishing world is changing so fast, as is my relationship to it, through the advent of electronic books. In my case it is too soon to draw any worthwhile conclusions. However, a few weeks ago I was asked a similar question, and had a few thoughts that some writers found helpful.

Back when I wrote my first novel it was as difficult to find an agent as to get published. These days, what with the fall-off in sales of traditional publishing, the task is even harder. And with these new realities, as writers, published and unpublished, I think we are all struggling to make our stories available to readers. I think growth for the industry lies in e-books, and, with the emergence of reputable and discriminating e-book publishers who deal directly with authors, thereby bypassing the need for an agent, new writers and established writers alike have another route to follow. If a book does well, the agents, and traditional publishers will find you, though for an unknown writer that is still a thousand to one long shot. Still, even with limited exposure, this venue offers a chance to be read, and that, for some, may be preferable to not being read at all. Please note this is not the same thing as self-publishing, as it still necessitates winning a publisher’s approval, and involves a contract in which the publisher agrees to do the work of formatting the book, placing it with the various on-line distribution outlets at no up-front cost to the author and paying the author a royalty based on sales. However there are some drawbacks compared to conventional houses. For example we all need editors, and as far as I know, most e-book publishers don’t provide this service. That was the case at Belgrave House with The Darkness Drops, but I still work with my former editor at Ballantine, and we’d gotten the book into its best possible shape before I submitted it, so for me that was not a problem. Nor need it be with other writers. With all the cutbacks at the big houses, there are excellent experienced editors who now work freelance, and some authors may find that an option. E-book publishers also do not provide publicity in the way traditional publishers might. There again, I had a bit of an advantage having already published seven novels, so hopefully The Darkness Drops will attract existing fans as well as new readers. However, all writers, novices and pros alike, are turning to social networking as an efficient way to increase exposure. Social-networking mavens tell me that current research indicates more people trust online reviews and recommendations than they would commercial advertising. Of course I wouldn’t knock the power of TV adds on Larry King and CNN or radio adds on NPR, all of which I’ve been fortunate enough to benefit from in my early years with Ballantine, but that doesn’t happen today unless you are already a mega seller. Instead, even the big houses are directing their authors toward the potential to attract readers through blogging and Twitter as tools with an as-of-yet untested upside. Obvious advantages to e-book publishing include such factors as a far better royalty and a lower priced, more competitive product to generate higher sales. But what most lured me to this route for The Darkness Drops was that the process granted me the absolute freedom to write the book I wanted and liberated me from all deadlines but my own. I knew going in that The Darkness Drops would be my most ambitious work to date and was on a scale in terms of multiple characters and points of view that I had not yet attempted. It was definitely going to take longer to get it right than any of my other novels, and I was hungry for the challenge. I set to it with no one but myself keeping me at the keyboard. As a physician, I’m used to disciplining my time, and this story had its own urgency to be told. The resulting process was a wonderfully creative three years. Then came the far more efficient turnaround time from my handing in a completed manuscript to the release date, namely two weeks compared to the two years that I was told I’d be in the cue waiting for a paper copy to hit the stands through a traditional publisher. As one editor at a major house warned me, “It’s a buyer’s market. We can pick and choose the authors we wish to publish, and our list is set for the next twenty-four months.” But in the end, what’s most important to me as an author is to be read. If the initial e-book route succeeds, hopefully The Darkness Drops will also be released in paper, the form many readers still prefer. I would also predict that this will be a trend for most traditional houses, putting a book out first as an electronic edition, then following it up with the paper version if initial sales and responses indicate there is sufficient interest. This approach ought to help more struggling writers get in the door. So my final advice to other authors would be, keep your options open. An advantage with a publisher like Belgrade House is that they don’t lock an author in, and after six months all rights revert to the writer. In other words, after six months of sales, I’m free to invite any publishers interested in acquiring all digital and print rights for The Darkness Drops to make contact with me through my webpage. Though such generous terms may not be the norm elsewhere, and most of us would sign away our own mothers to get our first book in print, I strongly caution novice writers to check out any contract with a lawyer. Overall, one publisher likened the e-book phenomenon to that of pioneers setting out for the west back in wagon train times, loaded with their hopes and dreams, their futures uncertain. For myself the process is still an experiment and it remains to be seen how this all works out. I can say sales of The Darkness Drops are keeping abreast of the e-book versions of my previous books published through Ballantine and, in some cases, exceed them. That means the story is bopping around in the top 10% of rankings at Amazon, and for at least a few minutes from time to time, tests its top 1% tier. And though it’s early days, month over month the numbers are improving. At Amazon UK, it is doing about the same. I also note that sales for every one of my electronic books formerly published by Ballantine are beginning to grow year over year. This increase is probably a reflection of how the many new types of electronic readers are becoming ever more popular and creating a demand for fiction of all sorts. My conclusions? In the digital world, at this moment in time, the future looks modestly positive for new and former works. One thing is certain for all writers. Whether our stories thrive or fall into obscurity, be they in paper or e-book formats, it’s the readers who will decide.

Where we can we find you online? This site links with all my books, where they can be found, my Twitter page, an e-mail contact where I welcome your comments plus offer replies, and much more. Please feel free to visit, and I hope you will enjoy my stories.

Thank you Peter for stopping by Page Readers and sharing your book with us!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Janice Clark author of "The Door In The Sky"

Janice Clark first appeared on Page Readers to talk about her book Mountains of the Moon. Today she joins us to discuss her latest book, The Door in the Sky.

First Janice, tell us a little about you.

I grew up in a house full of books; I was reading before I started kindergarten. I savored the sounds of words and their wonderful shades of meaning. When a teacher told me I was a poet, I gladly accepted that label. I’ve written, or attempted to write, most of my life. Of course, the necessity of earning a living led to many jobs, most of which involved numbers more than words. I did a lot of data processing, was a draftsman, and spent nearly thirty years detailing and estimating rebar (reinforcing steel). Now that I’m retired, I have more time to play with words, when I’m not baking cookies, playing with grandchildren, or chasing deer out of the garden.

What is your story about?

The Door in the Sky is the second book in my Hall of Doors fantasy series for children. Sammy returns up the moonbeam path, where she’s off on a roller-coaster dragon ride, then has to summon all her courage help Princess Selena open a spellbound treasure box. Solving Selena’s problem gives Sammy the key to dealing with her own situation.

How did this story come to you?

In book one (The Mountains of the Moon), Sammy followed her cat, Princess Buttermilk Biscuit, up a moonbeam to a magical world. In Princess Selena’s castle she encountered the hall of doors—magical portals that connect to many places. I was so delighted with artist JW Kalin’s painting for the cover of book one, that I had to send Sammy and Selena out that door in book two. So how do you get down from a door in the sky? By dragon, of course. The rest of the story just grew. I tend to start in the middle, then ask myself “how did we get to this point, and what happens next?”

What compelled you to write it?

Besides the magical adventure, this is a story about dealing with fear. I think we all have hidden fears, and sometimes the fear of being embarrassed or exposed to ridicule is worse than any fear of physical danger. There’s a lot of me in Sammy, and I wanted to share what I have learned. Courage isn’t absence of fear; it’s doing what has to be done in spite of fear. There are coping mechanisms that help, but sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and “do it scared.”

Who is your favorite character?

Sammy’s always my favorite, but I really liked Kalindra the dragon in this story. She doesn’t have much to say in the main story, but I gave her a bigger part in the “extra scene” which, like all the extra features, will be posted on my website.

What was your favorite scene to write?

That’s a difficult question. I think maybe the part with the spell-bound box, because there’s a bit of suspense there, plus I tried to make the box really scary.

How long did it take you to write the story?

I don’t keep track, and I’m usually working on several things at once. It was sort of simmering in the back of my mind as we went through the process of moving, buying a house, moving again, and all the complications that went with that. Actual writing time, including getting critiques and rewriting, was probably a few months.

When was it released?

Orchard House Press says the book was released in April 2010, a year after they initially planned to release it. However, they haven’t yet updated the pre-release information on Amazon or on their own website. I first received books in September 2010.

How is it available?

The book is in print. It’s an early reader chapter book, a transition between the picture book and regular chapter books. It has short, easy-to-read chapters, with a black and white illustration for each chapter.

Where can we find it online, or if print, where?

At the moment, it’s only available from me. The publisher tells me they’ll be doing Amazon updates soon, and their website is going offline for a couple of weeks for a major overhaul. I’ve put purchasing information on my website. I’ll probably donate a few copies to local schools and libraries, as I did with The Mountains of the Moon.

Tell us about your Publishing experience.

This series has not been a text-book experience. I sold the first book to Orchard House Press (then called Windstorm Creative) at a “pitch-it” session at a science fiction convention. Out of that came a contractual obligation to give them first chance at subsequent books in the series. So the four books I’ve completed so far have never been submitted anywhere else. I have made lots of submittals of other writing to various agents and publishers and continue to do so.

With OHP, like most small presses, suffering heavily in the economic downturn, it’s been difficult to get books in a timely fashion. I like my publishers and admire their vision, but I’m considering self-publishing (POD) for a picture book that JW Kalin and I just finished.

Where we can we find you online, include your website, facebook, twitter or anywhere else you reside online.




I’m also on My Space and Live Journal, and probably several other places I’ve forgotten, but almost never go there. Too much social networking eats into writing time.

Any words of wisdom for our readers?

Read a lot, write a lot, and find a writers’ group where you can get unbiased feedback. Local face-to-face groups are great. Critters ( is a wonderful online workshop with lots of writing resources. They’ve mainly focused on fantasy, science fiction and horror, but they’re adding other genres now. I’ve learned a lot from dissecting other people’s writing to determine what worked and what didn’t. Don’t be afraid to have your own work critiqued. There are no bad critiques, even if you totally disagree with what’s said. It still tells you how one person reacted to your work, and that’s valuable information. Be tactful in critiquing others.

Research before you submit. Be sure to follow all the publisher’s guidelines. Then tell yourself it’s just practice. Rejections are part of the business. It’s not a personal thing. It just means they didn’t need this piece of writing at the moment, for a great many reasons that may have nothing to do with the quality of the work. Put on your clerk’s hat and send it out again.

Some fun/exciting things about being an author:

…Handing out bookmarks and talking to kids in restaurants and stores (with parent’s permission of course) and having people get excited because they met a “real author”

…Signing books at craft sales and other sales venues

…Getting to talk to kids (and sometimes adults) about writing and encouraging them to be creative

…Having someone tell you that something you wrote touched them personally.

Thank you Janice for stopping by Page Readers again!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Betty Auchard author of "The Home for the Friendless"

Author Betty Auchard discusses her latest book "The Home for the Friendless" on Page Readers.

What a fun interview.  At 80 years old, Betty Auchard talks of being an actress, "when she grows up."

Her first book "Dancing in my Nightgown" was written as her way of dealing with the loss of her husband Denny.  "The Home for the Friendless" is a collection of stories from her childhood, growing up during the depression with parents who had their own troubles.

While the title of the book may sound like it holds a scary story inside, really the book is full of funny, thoughtful and sometimes sad memories from Betty's life.

Visit Betty on the web at

Monday, November 1, 2010

Guest Blog by author Cheryl Snell on Boosting Creativity

Today my guest, author Cheryl Snell shares her insights on boosting creativity.  Thank you Cheryl for some great words of wisdom. I hope all my readers are able to learn a little something new!

Seven Ways to Boost Creativity

by Cheryl Snell

After the obvious—caffeine— I can offer a few personal techniques that keep me writing:

1.  Don’t vamp for time: there is no perfect clutch of hours in which to write. Establish a schedule and stick to it. "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work," Flaubert told us. A corollary to this might be, “Don’t wait around for inspiration to strike. It’ll only hit you when you’re at your desk.”

2.  If I didn’t believe that writer’s block was a hoax, I’d break it by switching genres. When I was composing my novel Shiva’s Arms, I’d work on it until I stalled, then switch to Samsara, the poetry collection I was making at the same time. Similar themes (cultural identity, the meaning of home, metaphysical conflations of mortal and immortal) in both works made the overlap easy, and added a layered richness to each. And I never suffered whiplash.

3. Read widely and deeply. If you can take classes or workshops that are slightly over your head, do so. If not, when you read a novel, Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, for example, also read criticism on the same book. In this case, I’d choose Pierre Bourdieu’s Rules of Art.

4. Stay connected to your work. I carry a small notepad with me everywhere and let my mind wander to my work-in-progress while I’m doing other things. Joyce Carol Oates once said that housework helped her concentrate. Repetitive movement loosens thinking. Remember how your little nephew would spill all the family business the moment you put him on a swing? Resting my case…

5. Let your routines and rituals assist you. As soon as they stop helping, change them. Fickleness is its own reward! When I was younger I’d write after the house had been put to bed, when everything was quiet. I insisted I could think better surrounded by the dark. Now I do better with shorter writing stints throughout the day, the sunnier the better.

6. Utilize psychological distance. When you change your way of thinking about a character in concrete terms to abstract ones, new connections occur. You might develop empathy for an unlikeable character, and drive your story in a new direction, for instance. This happened to me with the mother-in-law, Amma, in Shiva’s Arms.

7. At the end of the day, leave yourself hanging. If I stop writing in mid-sentence, I’m encouraged to plunge in at that spot the following day. No checking e-mail or fiddling with the lamp. Just me and the words, wrestling again.

About Cheryl : Cheryl Snell's books include fiction and poetry. Published widely online and in print, she won the Lopside Press competition for Prisoner's Dilemma, and has had work included in the Best of the Net Anthology. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, Cheryl collaborates frequently with her sister, the artist Janet Snell.

Her work is available on Amazon, click here to learn more!