Wednesday, 17 October 2012

“The Next Big Thing” Blog Hop

I'm honoured to be chosen to be part of this blog hop and I’d like to thank Marva Dasef for tagging me to participate. This gives us all a chance to view new releases from authors we admire as well as introduce us to some works in progress.

 Why - oh why - oh why do I always go about things the hard way? It would have been so much simpler to talk about my published YA Historical novel, The Unhewn Stone, or my Sci fi short story Happiness Guaranteed or the MG animal short Billy the Bonsai Bull, but I’ve chosen to talk up a work in progress. I know why. I’m trying to get a handle on it and convince myself this story is still a worthwhile endeavour.

 So, here are my answers to the ten interview questions:

What is the working title of your book?

Titles I’m considering for my work in progress are Motive for Murder or Fisherman’s Row.

 Where did the idea come from for the book?

 At the Muse Online Writers Conference a couple of years ago, I attended a course on ‘Writing a Cosy’ by Kim Smith. I developed a précis around a group of tourists, a crabby old fisherman and a seaside murder. Since then I have demoted the fisherman to an important minor character and made the three girls Uni students who have returned home for the summer holidays. The three young men are new to the area.

 What genre does your book fall under?

 Mainstream Murder Mystery or Romantic Mystery.

Since this story is character driven it has a lot more to do with relationships than with the mystery so I will need to study the Mystery genre more to tighten it up. I think six friends trying to solve the mystery might be too many main characters. If it had more humour it could resemble ‘Friends’ but I haven’t managed that yet.

 Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

 For the moment I’ll stick with the cast of ‘Friends’ but will need to add a couple who can play at being manipulatively sinister.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I don’t have one yet and this is my main problem. Apart from the characters getting into heaps of trouble while trying to solve the crime and falling for each other, I don’t have a good grip on the story yet. Oh, this might do:
Sun, sand and surf at holiday time and an impossible mystery to solve brings a group of friends much closer together.

 Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

 If my book isn’t worthy to be accepted by a publisher, I wouldn’t expect it to be worthy to be purchased by a reader. Besides, it will need the input of the editors, the cover artist and the publisher to prepare the layout and production before it is as good as it can possibly be. I’m grateful to MuseItUp Publishing for bringing my first novel, The Unhewn Stone, up to the acceptable standard for the reading public. And for doing the same with my short stories Happiness Guaranteed and Billy the Bonsai Bull.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

 This was a NaNo project. Write 50,000 words in a month. I just made it with 50,623 before I ran out of puff. During the month I had a lot of fun making my sinister character really nasty and placing my goody two shoes in lots of danger. But the first draft is a mess. I have character arcs but no real story arc. So the second draft is taking a long time and taking its toll on my dedication. For me, writing is a more pleasant task when I plan thoroughly first. Still if I hadn’t jumped in to Nano empty-headed, I wouldn’t have the good solid foundation for Fisherman’s Row story now.

 What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

None I can think of. What I’d like to compare it with when it’s finished would be…gosh, I still have no idea, something written by Tami Hoag, I guess.  She’s one of my favourites.Mine is too heavy to be a cosy and too light to be a thriller, so somewhere in between.

 Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to follow up with another book when my first novel was published by MuseItUp but I needed to write a story that could be researched at home, here in Australia. Having my YA historical novel The Unhewn Stone, set in modern-day and medieval Switzerland, I knew how difficult it was to travel to the location and do my research so far from home. I had already decided my next novel would have a setting nearby and already familiar to me.

Also, I’d never written a mystery before and since this is my favourite genre to read, I wanted to try my hand at one. I have discovered it is more difficult than I imagined to get inside a contemporary’s head and show modern society as reality. I’m still happiest writing in the middle ages or creating a fantasy world to escape in.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The mystery in Fisherman’s Row centres round an Aussie beachside village. Older readers might remember what having a crush on a boy or girl was like, and younger readers will realise that when it comes to falling in love the generations aren’t all that different. Also one theme, ‘change is not necessarily a bad thing’, should resonate with the modern age.

What I would like to know is, does this story sound interesting enough to finish? If not, I can always go back to working on the Elfin Bride trilogy J

On October 24th, my dear friends will be answering the questions about their fabulous novels. So for a treat, hop over and visit them.

 Rosalie Skinner
 Laurel Lamperd
 Rick Bylina


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Top 10 in Omnilit for Happiness Guaranteed

I'm so excited - 'Happiness Guaranteed' has reached the Top 10 in Omnilit Best Sellers. I can't believe it! At the time of posting it is also No 1 in Best Selling Short Stories ebooks and No 1 in Highest Rated Short Stories ebook. I have to thank Lea Schizas MuseItUp Publisher, my editors Anne Duguid and Nancy Rafter Bell for their wonderful input and Tiger Matthews, cover designer, for this captivating cover.
This is a millionare moment :) I know it can't last but...while it does it will be here. OMNILIT  


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Six Five Star Reviews

cover designer Tiger Matthews

I just popped over to Amazon to check on my short story Happiness Guaranteed.
 What a lovely surprise to find six 5 star reviews. And these reviews are so beautifully written they took my breath away. I'd love to share them with everyone I know and thank Edith, Laurel, Rosalie, Michelle, Lin and Rochelle from the bottom of my heart. 

These heartwarming reviews are here on Amazon Kindle.             

Friday, 24 August 2012

YA 1st chapter & 24hr Q&A giveaway

D. Renne Bagby Presents --  the 1st chapter of The Unhewn Stone. One person who answers the simple question will receive a copy of the ebook.
One Day Only

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

In Conversation with Marva Dasef

We are in for a treat today. My guest is
Marva Dasef
the multi published, award winning author, well known for her popular middle grade Fantasy series Witches of Galdorheim.

Welcome Marva,

Let's take our cushions to the garden seat behind the hedge and sit in the sun. Fresh lemonade? Good. Now tell us:

What's the most interesting thing about you that you believe helped you grow as a writer?

In college (English major, what else?), I got a part-time job at the Computer Center assisting the programmers in documenting a new operating system. I took a few computer science courses and a technical writer was born. This gave me over 30 years of paid experience writing and editing documentation before I began writing fiction full-time. This is only interesting considering that I would never have taken any computer courses except for lucking into that student job. Kismet.

It's strange how we are given the tools to fulfill our dreams. The trick is in recognizing them and using them. The reading public is grateful you did.

Are you comfortable in one writing space or do you move about to change the atmosphere?  

I write at my desk since I have a desktop computer. I have a laptop, but I hate the keyboard. I use an ergonomic keyboard to keep carpal tunnel away. You can see it in this pic 

Your desk looks like mine, nice and big, placed in front of a similar sized window. Mine faces north, though. Lovely view over the rooftops but the glare of the afternoon sun makes me close the blind.

     What is it about MG & YA Fantasy that stimulates your muse?

I love fantasy for all ages, and I’m drawn particularly to stories based on various mythologies. I love when an author takes a standard Greek myth such as Perseus and turns it into something else. A great example is the Rick Riordan series in a ‛what-if’ Poseidon’s son lived in modern times (Percy Jackson series).

 I don’t get my specific ideas from any famous books—I am not a fanfic writer. I have run into a couple of instances when my idea turned out to be in another book I’d never read. Great minds, and all that. My granddaughters clued me into a location used in a famous book. I changed my location when I found out, otherwise people would think I took the other writer’s idea. I don’t do that. Any resemblance of my fantasy to any other writer’s fantasy is purely coincidental.

Great minds...I know. Writers and other creative people do tend to tap into the Universal Unconsciousness. Just take the story of Noah and the Flood. Almost all cultures had a version of that before they ever came in contact.

Can you give us some examples of how you used mythology in your books?

Setara’s Genie is based primarily on middle-eastern mythology. The genie is obvious, but I found a few things to add to the various legends. Researching a general area of myth invariably leads to at least one character and a plot line or two.

Cover artist: Kaytalin Platt
In the Witches of Galdorheim series, I begin with traditional Norse and Celtic mythology. I then abuse them terribly. I hate to leave anything well enough alone. I’ve always loved Edvard Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite. I’ve always wanted to write about trolls, but make them the good guys.

You 'hate to leave anything well enough alone', LOL I love that, hahaha.

Are you writing for a specific person?

My granddaughters. I like them to read everything I write as early in the process as possible. As I mentioned above, they once saved me from a fanfic faux pas.

That's nice. I found my grandchildren were wonderfully helpful, too, causing me to make major changes which worked much better.

Do any of your characters, settings or situations turn up in your other books?

 I deliberately use characters and settings in more than one place if I can fit it in.  I’ve researched my butt off and always have tons of spare ideas related to those I use in one book to pass along to another book. It’s just efficient use of material. In Setara’s Genie, I have one cross-over character and the general setting in another book, which I hope to have published in the future.

It's easy to love your characters and settings, Marva, so I'm glad to hear they will continue for our reading pleasure.

 Does your own fat white cat influence the personality of any of your characters?

 Ha! Dusty spends 90% of his time sleeping, so not much personality to use. However, we feed a feral stray (don’t tell anybody; we’re not supposed to do this) who we tried to adopt, but she’s too skittish and cranky. She’s also loud and demanding. We named her Bitchy. She’s the model for Cait Sidhe (the cat fairy) featured in Scotch Broom, the 3rd book in the Witches of Galdorheim series. 
Cait Sidhe

Oh my! Cait Sidhe has attitude and personality to boot. I can imagine her ruling any story she inhabits.

Do you listen to your muse, do you trust her, or does she get in the way of your stories sometimes?

She must be manipulating my subconscious. I give credit to her for whispering ideas to me so subtly that I mistake them for my own. So, yes, I trust her or I don’t trust myself.

I envy you. Mine is so timid. She wastes my time and leads me into brick walls. So I send her outside to play in the sand while I have fun wreaking havoc in my stories.

  How do you juggle your writing with family life and promotion?

 Family life is easy. I make dinners for my mom, but she gets whatever we have. She lives close by so I’m sort of the meals on tennies service. Other than that, promoting is the big time drain on even attempting to be creative. Look at me right now, conversing about my writerly ways and my upcoming new release.

Having your mum living close by and being able to help her must be such a blessing.  I'm so glad you found time to converse about your writerly ways with me today. I love to talk 'writing' with writers. Wish it really could be face to face.

Your new book is soon to be released. What is it about?

Cover Designer: Charlotte Volnek
Setara’s Genie is scheduled for official release from MuseItUp Publishing on August 17th. Most of my releases showed up on Amazon before the official release date.

Since I sweated over it, I’ll plug the blurb here. I hope it piques the interest of MG/YA fantasy readers.

Setara’s Genie

A girl, a genie, a few demons. What could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.

As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.

He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

I would like to mention that I use the frame story technique similar to 1001 Arabian Nights. Everybody knows Scheherazade has to start a new story every night, then leave it unfinished so her husband won’t kill her. It’s more complicated than that, but you can look that up. My book uses the frame story of Abu Nuwas, the story teller, relating the adventures of Setara to a poor spice seller. The frame story has its own plot, while Setara’s tales are a series of seven interrelated stories interspersed within the frame story. How clever is that? Or complicated?

Very clever! A wonderful frame for a feast of stories. I love your book trailer video and the music.

We can learn more about Marva Dasef and her books at

 MuseItUp Link: Setaras Genie - MuseItUp
*Note there’s a 20% pre-order discount until 8/16.

Amazon Link: (coming soon, watch Marva's blog)

Twitter Handle: @Gurina

***Be sure to leave a comment below because...

 Marva will be giving away free ebooks to a randomly selected commenter on each of her blog tour stops (this is a pre-release stop, but still part of the tour). Be sure to leave contact info, or some way to get hold of you if you’re selected. If she can’t find you, she can’t give you a prize. Marva will also include all comments on all her blog tour spots for a grand prize including a gift certificate to   MuseItUp Bookstore.

Another lemonade, anyone? :) Any Questions?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Party winners are

Congratulations to the winners of the ebooks at the book launch party.
Pat McDermott; Rosalie Skinner; Mary Andrews; Margo Sorenson; Karen Cote; Killarney Sheffield; Alix Richards; Breezy-E; ediFanoB.
The winner have been notified.

Thank you to the participating authors and the wonderful guests who made the Book Release Party a resounding success.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Party Time! Ten New Releases from MuseItUp July 27th


Rosalie Skinner

Invaded: The Darkest Day

Cover Designer: Delilah K. Stephans

A Novel: Sci-Fi Fantasy
Book Five in The Chronicles of Caleath

Trapped on a dying planet by friends he trusted, Caleath falls into the hands of his arch-enemy.

Trapped on a dying planet by friends he trusted, Caleath falls into the hands of his arch-enemy. Fortunately, viewing rights make the Deathbringer a valuable asset. More torture, better ratings. Nobody suffers as well as he does.

Sent back to Allorn, Caleath is the only one able to stop the invasion of his former Karadorian masters. If he keeps a cool head, accepts the help of those who betrayed him and the power offered by the dead planet’s spirit, dare he unleash the ferocious warrior lurking within?

Wrath has been waiting for his chance to take revenge far too long. His time has come--for better or worse.

Available from MuseItUp Bookstore


Michelle K. Pickett


Cover Designer: Winterheart Designs

A Novel: Urban Fantasy/Romance/Horror
Book One in the Concilium series.

The Forest was her refuge…now it’s her nightmare.

“A tale of deadly creatures
and forbidden romance”
Leslee hit a strange animal with her car. Now she’s marked for death. It was a simple car accident--the animal didn’t even die--but it drew the attention of the Cruor Imbibo. Driven by their insatiable need to feed, the secret society of Imbibo has devoured the dregs of civilization for centuries.

Afraid Leslee will expose them, and put an end to their meal ticket, the Imbibo want her dead. The Concilium is Leslee's only protection. Guardian of the ancient secret and the protector of humans, the Concilium fights to control the Imbibo and end their feeding frenzy. Miller works for the Concilium. Keeping Leslee alive is his next assignment.

Now Leslee is on the run, and the only thing between her flesh and the snapping jaws of the Imbibo is Miller. He and Leslee quickly form a bond, but will falling in love make Miller’s job more difficult? Because if he fails, Leslee will be next on the Imbibo menu.

The Cruor Imbibo are coming, and they're coming for Leslee.

Available from MuseItUp Bookstore


 Erick D. Burgess

Darker Than Night

Cover Designer: Mike Zambrano

A Novel: Thriller

I come from a place darker than night.

In Darker Than Night, secrets and scandals are served up daily in a world where no one is safe, either sinner nor saint. The brutal predator whispers his chilling signature line to each victim before he strikes: “I come from a place darker than night.”

Reluctantly reinstated to the force, seasoned yet troubled homicide detective Carter Williams is assigned to investigate the death of a reputed child molester and murderer. The gruesome murder upsets no one, but as the killer goes on to torture and slay numerous victims, he surprisingly wins favor with the public. As the case becomes more and more personal, Williams’ own reputation is threatened as he deals with department politics, a young partner, and a fragile home life. Williams struggles to unravel the gruesome mystery while trying to hold onto everything he has so carefully strived to protect.

Available from MuseItUp Bookstore


Joyce Holland

Murder by Design

Cover Designer: Suzannah Safi

A Novel: MysteryThe Tito Prescott Mysteries

The most dangerous predator in the Okefenokee swamp is a man, and he’s hot on Claire’s trail.

When Claire hires Tito Prescott and his partner, Harry, to find her missing father, love was not on her agenda. But a hot-shot, ex-mercenary pilot has different ideas. One look at Claire and it’s love at first sight. Unfortunately, Jake is not the only one chasing her, and the other guy isn’t looking for love, he’s looking for blood. Claire’s.

Available from MuseItUp Bookstore


Cheryl B. Dale

Set Up

Cover Designer: Nika Dixon

A Novel: Romantic Suspense

When a woman cons a man, she finds out too late that she's been conned, too.

Three divorces should teach a man something, but hotel heir Cal McIntyre can't figure out what. Then a flashy redhead – the kind he adores – shows up. Since he's off women, he reluctantly takes a bet to seduce her. One more hook-up won't matter. Especially with this temptress. But Amanda’s hair is dyed and she’s not about to be seduced.

Her younger sister gambled with an heirloom engagement ring, and Cal won. If Amanda has to drug him to retrieve the ring and save her sister's marriage, so be it. She doesn't count on Cal's kisses awakening a long-banished sexuality. Lucky for her, he passes out before she gets carried away. She escapes with the ring and virtue intact. Now to forget him.

But Cal tracks her down. And tells her he bought the ring. From her sister. Worse, someone stole diamonds worth millions after she knocked him out. Cal wasn’t the only one set up. There must be an explanation, but her sister can't give it; she's vanished. 

Now Amanda must help Cal find her sister or go to jail. She's determined to protect her sister, and he's determined to recover his diamonds. Sparks are about to fly.

Available from MuseItUp Bookstore


Mary Andrews

The Fireborn Chronicles: Revelations

Cover Designer: Marion Sipe

Novel: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Book Three in The Fireborn Chronicles Series

Prophesy said they would save the Oracle Planet but it never said how and now it’s up to the Nemesis Team and their uneasy allies to figure that out. 


The inevitable fusion of Man, Machine, and the Paranormal

After Earth's destruction, humans have scattered and spread across the universe. The peace is kept by a universal government. Four rogue talents unite to become an invincible Government Dark Ops team—the Nemesis Team.

But an unknown planet has turned up; a planet ruled by Oracles whose agents may be usurping the Government and suddenly, nothing is what it seems.

Follow the Nemesis Team and their uneasy allies as they race to unravel a reality not of their making before the strange world is annihilated by an asteroid.

Available from MuseItUp Bookstore


Joanne Elder


Cover Designer: Marion Sipe

Novel: Sci-Fi Thriller

Book Two in The Spectra Series

It was created, but can it be destroyed?            

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be changed. The chilling question for Dean Weston is: into what? By the time Dean comes face to face with the foreboding truth, it is too late. A mad man’s quest for ultimate knowledge and power has spawned true evil; an evil capable of tearing down moral barriers and leaving one thirsting for vengeance and retribution.
As this evil consumes those closest to Dean, he becomes unknowingly vulnerable, leaving him and the woman he loves in immeasurable danger. Struggling to destroy a malevolent energy life form he barely understands, Dean finds his own humanity coming into question. As his moral fibers start to unravel, Dean grasps at one last thread of hope and does the unthinkable.

Avaliable from MuseItUp Bookstore


Margo Sorenson
Island Danger

Cover Designer: Kaytalin Platt


Novel: Tween mystery Action Adventure

What danger will Todd find in the Hawaiian ravine?

 When fourteen-year-old soccer star Todd arrives in Hawaii, he hears that radical, militant Hawaiian activists have hidden weapons in a nearby ravine to use for their rebellion against the U.S. government to gain Hawaiian independence. Even though he’s warned that people are raising marijuana or “pakalolo” in the ravine, guarding their crops with rifles, pit bulls, and explosives, Todd plans to scout the ravine and find the weapons, hoping he can finally earn his family’s respect and find some adventure to offset his boring summer. What will Todd discover in the ravine that could force him to rethink everything he’s believed?

Available from MuseItUp Bookstore

Alix Richards

Twin Flames: Soul Bound

Novella: Erotic Paranormal
Book One in The Twin Flames Series
ADULT CONTENT:18 and over

Dreaming of happily ever after is easier than living it.

Joy lives in her dreams, but no longer lives there alone. In an effort to escape the reality that steps from the deepest recesses of her mind, she runs away for a long weekend alone in a friend’s cabin. She hopes to use the time to gain a logical perspective on an impossible situation. Her dream man can’t be real and part of her doesn’t want him to be.
Jay needs Joy to be happy, even if it comes at his expense. Forcing himself to be patient, he walks away from the woman of his heart and soul and confines himself to his family’s cabin to give Joy the space she requests. Dreaming with Joy isn’t new, but waking with her in his arms, sexy and wet kicks his desire for her into a new stratosphere.

Confusing dreams and reality lead both to attack, neither quite ready for what destiny pushes at them. As the cold light of day closes in, nature and destiny collide, but for Joy and Jay, nothing will be the same.

Available from MuseItUp Bookstore


Heather Kuehl

Love and Consequences:
 a White Wolf story

A Short Story: Paranormal Romance Erotic
 ADULT CONTENT:18 and over

Will Kalia and Sophia escape the deadly discrimination of the Seffmoyer Clan?            

Kalia Seffmoyer is a rarity within her paranormal world; she is an albino werewolf. Mated to the beautiful Sophia Stone and alpha of the Stone Clan, Kalia Seffmoyer hoped that her life was starting to turn around. Then, news arrives that her parents are coming in town. Kalia’s parents are known to obliterate Mates of the same sex. Will Kalia’s parents do the same to their only daughter?

Releasing a little later but
Pre-Order Now from MuseItUp Bookstore


Kristy Brown

Kiera's Quest: Sacrifices

Cover Designer: Kaytalin Platt
Novella: Tween Fantasy
Book 2 in Kiera's Quest Series

The Witch Queen’s back, more twisted and determined than before. She wants to rule Earth and Kiera is the key.

After almost beating the villainous Witch Queen, Kiera’s triumph is tainted with sadness for the loss of Joe and Daz. When the handsome Prince Zakk asks Kiera to re-enter his world in order to save her friend, she does not hesitate. On their perilous journey Kiera realizes that she is there to save many lives. As she comes face to face with her evil nemesis once again, Kiera comes closer to finding out the truth to why she has been chosen. Will she succeed? Will this be the end to Kiera’s quest?

Releasing on August 10th
Pre-Order Now from   MuseItUp Bookstore


All book -- Available from MuseItUp Bookstore and all the main online bookstores.


Hey good friend! We have passed the 200 comments mark, Yeah! No problem though. We just have to hit 'newest' right at the bottom of the comments page to see the next lot, or 'oldest' to see the earlier ones 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Invitation to the Party on 26th and 27th July

I'm excited to be hosting  a Book Launch Party in the Magic Garden for TEN Muse Authors on 26-27 ... + July. ie. 27th Aussie & NZ time but we are at least 8 -16 hrs ahead of the rest of the world.

Let's all celebrate with

Rosalie Skinner, Michelle Pickett, Erick Burgess, Margo Sorenson, Kristy Brown, Joanne Elder, Heather Kuehl, Joyce Holland, Cheryl Dale, Mary Andrews and Alix Richards.

Pop in and out of the gate via the comments, at your leisure to mingle with strange fictional characters, eat fabulous cyber food and drinks, dance and chat.  Just one thing, or two. Don't venture behind the hedge and Do Not drink the water. hehehe.

Everyone is welcome to this Aussie Party where Chubby Bubby Blue is our mascot, and the gates remain open until the last tired guest finally departs. Time is irrelevant in cyber space, so are calories. :)

BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND/OR BOOK CHARACTERS AND YOUR OWN FAVOURITE FOOD TO SHARE. (Right now I can smell the real  Duck à l'orange my husband is cooking for dinner. I'm bring a tray load of that. mmmmmmm)


Monday, 9 July 2012

Christmas In July Fun HUNT. Win ebooks from MIU

Christmas in July Contest at MuseItUp. Fun and Easy. Read all about it! Muse Bookstore on 9th-23rd.
 Ebooks to win in fun hunt, including the medieval adventure The Unhewn Stone and 14 others in a wonderful variety of genres.

 You can be a Winner! Just find the 15 Christmas trees located somewhere in the links found beneath the book covers listed at Muse Bookstore.

But wait...there's more...

From the Publisher --

We want to thank everyone who continue to support our authors by adding a little something to say THANK YOU.
Everyone who participates will walk away with a prize.
Located in our Muse bookstore (only on July 9 so don't start searching now) are 10 christmas trees. Find one of them and you win that ebook.
Only one free THANK YOU ebook per person. So if you want to locate all ten and pick and choose which ebook to win, go right ahead.
Send me the title of your free ebook to: publisher AT museituppublishing DOT com and I'll send you your prize at the end of the month.


Monday, 2 July 2012

Congratulations to Rosalie Skinner

Exiled: Autumns Peril, Book 1 of the Chroniclres of Caleath

 #1 on Amazon UK,
#1 on Amazon Germany and
#3 on Amazon USA      for Best Selling Anthologies free.

And . . . #16  Best Seller in Epic Fantasy, after her free day.

Congratulations Rosalie. I'm sure your new readers will love the rest of your series as much as they love the first book.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

.Happiness Guaranteed on Sale

My sci fi short story  Happiness Guaranteed is On Sale for Limited time at MuseItUp

Bianca, a beautiful Epicurean Supremo from a privileged futuristic society has a flaw which, if discovered and reported to the Rulers, will threaten her life and that of the man she loves. Unable to pinpoint the cause she tries to hide her anxiety until an ingenious birthday present from her husband provides a respite. Now, on her thirty-third birthday, her primitive behaviour and thought patterns return; stronger and more dangerous.

Bianca’s bed swayed in gentle rhythm with her floating condominium. Smiling, she opened her eyes and reached across the white expanse for Derek. He wasn’t there. Damn. She’d overslept; very out of character. What if he noticed? No. He’ll return soon and find me on the balcony exactly where he expects me to be, especially today.

She rolled onto her back, stealing a few extra minutes in bed and glanced up at the domed ceiling high above her: Derek’s masterpiece. The wide, stained glass panels let shafts of coloured light sprinkle life into her sterile world. She watched the lazy sunbeams paint murals on the milky walls. They tinselled the buckles on the two pairs of shoes and spotlighted the confusion of clothes on a moulded chair.

Flinging back the covers, she stretched, letting the sun energize her skin. “What a glorious morning,” she murmured. Only Penthouse Dwellers, like Derek and herself attained this privilege. According to Derek, sunlight symbolized their status. For a moment she revelled in true contentment.

An image of her grandfather snuck into her mind. He’d told her of a time when sunlight shone on everyone, but he’d been a storyteller, a bad influence. On her seventh birthday her parents forbade her to visit him any more, and placed him out-of-bounds. Years later she heard he’d died.

Her happiness shrivelled. “Unimportant.” She scowled, jumped out of bed and slipped into clear, tensile slippers. A filigree tunic lay on the floor where she let it fall the night before. She picked it up, grabbed yesterday’s clothes off the chair, hurried to the primping room and dropped them all down the trash-chute. “There!” She stabbed her finger on the Restyle button.
With her fingertips, she massaged her cheeks and studied herself in the mirror. Thirty-three, today. No obvious flaws, not yet, apart from that one little glitch Derek inadvertently fixed last birthday.

Friday, 22 June 2012

In Conversation with SS Hampton Sr.

I'm delighted to introduce my guest and fellow Muse author

S.S. Hampton Sr. author of

               Better Than A Rabbit's Foot

Welcome Stan,
We are keen to learn more about you and your writing.
So, I'm putting you on the spot now.

Okay, Wendy, I can tell you something about me. 
I'm a full blood Choctaw from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather, and a member of the Army National Guard. I'm nearing retirement from the Guard, unless I can get a deployment to Afghanistan before the war ends. I'm a published photojournalist, photographer, a fiction writer, and an aspiring painter.

I'm studying to be an archaeologist. Actually, my interest is underwater archaeology, but I need to learn to swim better first, and become scuba qualified – in Cancun, hopefully, which is far better than an oily, land-locked lake. On a more personal note, I often wonder if there is an afterlife – after all, I'm middle aged, and though not obsessed with death, I sometimes feels a cold shadow fall across me.

You certainly have a full life and such diverse interests. Quite inspirational. No wonder you are a writer. This makes me wonder, who inspires you?

As this blog is focused on fiction writing, then, Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Frederick Forsyth, to name just three. King is a great horror writer, though sometimes I think his novels are a little long. Clancy writes military fiction, which is one of my favorite genres; I enjoy the way he weaves technology into the story of people. Forsyth was a journalist first, and his writing is a wonderful blend of journalism and storytelling, as well as blending fact with fiction.

I can see how those writers reflect elements in your own career.  So, you are a full blood Choctaw.  I find that fascinating. Would you say your childhood provided you with a wealth of story material?

No. I was adopted and raised by my Anglo “grandparents” who had raised my mother and her twin sister. I’m what’s called an “Apple” – red on the outside, white on the inside. I really knew nothing of my Native heritage, beyond the stereotypical media image, until I started exploring it in my 30s.

'Apple', what a great expression. I hadn't heard that before. I'm betting the result of your 'exploring' will find its way into a future story. What about photography? Your expertise in photography must give you an exceptional eye for detail. How does this transfer into your writing?

Photography is about composition, lighting, and contrasts – in B&W, shades of light and dark, or in colour, complementary, or even complete opposites. Describing clouds for example, especially when setting a mood, I remember how a red lens filter brings out the contrast. The sky is darker, the clouds are darker, the whites are a little whiter, and the way they blend from one to the other is interesting.

I try to capture that feel, when describing clouds or anything else for a story. It’s the same when photographing, for example, a woman dancing at dawn in sheer, flowing clothing. It’s the way the dawn provides a backlight that is flowing across the horizon and the sky in that time when the night is yielding to morning. It’s the way her form is silhouetted by the rising sun, and the way the sunlight is muted by the folds of cloth, and even the shape of the cloth as it “flies away” from her, or wraps around her, as she dances. Trying to describe something like that is difficult for me, but I hope I manage to accomplish such detailed descriptions.

 I think you described these examples beautifully. Being able to hone in on unique details such as these is a real talent. Now, looking at the broader picture, as a soldier, are all of your stories related to the military or do you address other topics?

I had to double check, and amazingly, I do address non-military topics. I wrote The Ferryman (Melange Books), which is a take on the Greek myth of Charon, the ferryman who carried the shades of the dead across the Styx into the underworld.  I wrote The Mumbai Malaise, which was included in the anthology “In Poe’s Shadow” (Dark Opus Press), a collection of stories inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. I was inspired by “The Masque of the Red Death,” which I’ve always enjoyed, and placed the story setting on the moon.

So your short stories have been published in anthologies. Congratulations! Is there something about the short story that makes you prefer this form of expression over the novella or novel?

It’s faster! It’s shorter, faster, and (hopefully) I can produce more writing. I still want to write novellas or novels, but I don’t have the patience to devote the time to writing and editing. I’d probably feel like I’ve wasted time if I only produced two or three per year. And being middle aged, not that I feel like I’m in a race with time, but…

Producing more than two or three short stories a year is pretty impressive, to me at least. It takes me a year to write one short story before I'm happy enough to send it off. I guess that's why I tend to live inside my novels - working on one major idea for a long time. But you have to find so many ideas. No doubt your bank of interests and accomplishments makes this possible.  Do you ever find writing is a chore? 

Yes! I should write every day, but I don’t. I generally write when the mood strikes me, or when a deadline looms, meaning a submission deadline, or I promised a publisher something by a certain date. If I try to write every day when I’m not in the mood, it’s difficult to do so. And yes,  like I said above, writing only when I’m in the mood is a waste of time, but hey, I’m human, and middle aged.

About the main characters in your stories, are they based on particular acquaintances or a composite of many?

Generally, at this stage, neither. Once in awhile I may add an actual personality trait to a fictional character, but never enough to where someone could say a fictional character is based on a real person. It’s hard to explain, but even though I’m writing fiction, if I base a character on a friend, or if a character is a composite of several friends, and I write that that particular character is killed or crippled, it gives me an uneasy feeling.

I can understand that. It's probably for the same reason I don't like writing in the 1st person. I become too protective of my main character when it's I. :)  In Better Than A Rabbit’s Foot, your newly released story from MuseItUp, your sergeant ponders the benefit of carrying a lucky charm. Did you carry a charm?

Yes. Our unit was tasked with providing security for supply convoys headed into Iraq. I only went north from northern Kuwait into southern Iraq three times, on short, day-long missions. I never “heard a shot fired in anger.” When I crossed the border I always wore a Celtic Cross on my “dog tag” chain (the identifying metal tags that Soldiers wear in case they’re wounded or killed).

Do you draw on personal experience in your stories or stay with what you observe in others?

I draw on my personal experiences insofar as it concerns living a military life. From those who’ve actually experienced combat, I try to remember how they described it. And of course, there’s research, reading books, magazine articles, and newspaper articles in which combat is described. I think the greatest compliment a writer can receive is when someone says the story captures the feeling, and describes “it,” as to how things really were. I read somewhere once, that after Stephen Crane wrote “The Red Badge of Courage”—he never served or observed combat, if memory serves me right—veterans and critics praised the realism of his writing, meaning capturing the fear and confusion inherent in any battle. Apparently he appreciated the praise.

Yes, he would appreciate that kind of praise. We'd all like to reach that level. Stan, would  you like to introduce your main character from your latest release? Has he appeared in any other short story of yours?

In Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot, Sergeant Jerry Stanton is a young, ordinary soldier deployed to a convoy support center in northern Kuwait. He’s a gunner on a gun truck, and as he gets ready to go out on a mission, he learns that a gunner up north has been killed. The news is a kick in the stomach, and it reminds him of his own mortality. Though not actually scared, he’s not happy either. But like all soldiers, he’ll go because his buddies are going—he can’t stay behind while they head north. And, no, Stanton has not appeared in any previous short stories.

If there was something Jerry Stanton could request of you, the author, what would that be?

If Stanton felt like talking, he’d want me to listen. I wouldn’t have to say anything, just listen.

I remember late one night I stepped outside of my air conditioned tent to have a cigarette before turning in. A Soldier I knew from my first days in the Guard (I joined in 2004, and about 120 of us volunteered to deploy in 2006) came up and sat down on the concrete traffic barrier. It was just small talk, but then he started doing most of the talking while I listened. There was nothing profound, he was just talking out loud—but he mentioned the IED that struck his gun truck a few days before. Our battalion was less than three weeks into the mission; a Soldier from the battalion we were replacing had been killed. Then, a Soldier in one of our other companies was killed. A gun truck in our company was hit. Then, his gun truck was hit—he was knocked out but otherwise uninjured, and another Soldier had been lightly wounded. But still… So I lit another cigarette, and listened. After awhile, the kid sort of smiled at me, said “Good night,” and went off to get some sleep.

Ah, now there's a good answer from a writer.  That's how you become a sponge to all sorts of knowledge as well as being a good friend. Thank you for your open answers, Stan. It's been a pleasure conversing with you.

SS Hampton's short story Better Then A Rabbit's Foot is available at

MuseItUp Publishing   and  Amazon

and learn more about Stan at  MuseItUp publishing  Author Page