Monday, December 19, 2011

The Ninja is Having a Giveaway!

Head over to enter. it is awesome, I tell ya. And you know I only speak the truth. The Ninja is giving away stuff. You heard that right! Here's the linkage: Alex J. Cavanaugh  And if you haven't joined the army, join up! :-)

I am going to take a break. (I will be lurking about, though) Homeschool has gotten the better of me this semester and I have lots of writing time to catch up on. Plus family stuff. Please have a beautiful Christmas everyone.
Remember the reason. Smooches!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Welcome Jenna Gustafson!!!!!!!!

             Please join me in welcoming Jenna. She is here to talk about her book, Saving Fort  Smoky. It's lovely to have you here Jenna.

           What is it like being a 15-year-old author?

Jump into your hot-tub time machine and fly back to your years of high school.  Ah, yes.  I’m sure you remember those days of hardwood desks, the smell of notebook paper, the wacky, weird, and wonderful teachers, the hours spent up to your eyeballs in homework every night.  Don’t forget the sports (that’s not sweat, it’s your fat cells crying!), all the daily encounters with peers whom you’ve known since kindergarten.  Maybe you even remember the books you read, your best friends, and your rivals.
            In the midst of it all, you are managing to sell and promote your book, Saving Fort Smoky, throughout your community and the web.
            That is what it is like being a 15-year-old author.  No, I probably don’t spend as long as I should on it, and no, I’m not the next Christopher Paolini.  However, this challenging experiment of mine has been exciting, and has taught me a lot about being an entrepreneur.  Luckily, working hard has been burned into my brain by my parents.  The work doesn’t bother me, and in fact, I enjoy it.  Finding the work is the challenge.

            Tell us about your book:

My book, Saving Fort  Smoky, began as a seventh grade English assignment.  We were to write children’s books, and our teacher showed us one a girl had gotten published.  That sparked an idea, a challenge to myself.
“Well,” I thought. “If she can do it, I can do it better!”
I wrote my book quickly in three weeks, working on it night and day.  My story was spun partly through a haze of Louis L'Amour westerns, and partly my wild imagination.  The story just seemed to flow out of me.  The story line is quite simple, really, but I think it is one that kids will enjoy.  This is what the final product is about:
“After a devastating fire ravages the homes of Fort Smoky, it’s up to young Ben Clearwater and his sister and friends to help the residents and get to Fort Futureland to save the people before the harsh, cold winter sets in.  To get there, they will have to trek through unknown mountains, relying on Running Wind’s compass and Big Jim’s maps of the land while struggling against the harsh forces of Mother Nature.
Fort Futureland is a place of new and interesting contraptions, like cars and computers, the four children have never seen, and they are captivated.  But the children soon uncover a sinister plot to destroy their beloved Fort Smoky.  Will they be able to stop the evil leaders of Fort Futureland?  Will they ever make it home?  Will they be heroes for Saving Fort Smoky?”
Though I look back on my writing now and see how it could be so much better, I think that saving Fort Smoky is a good start to my writing career.

           What would you tell other kids who are trying to write?

Dear Other Kids of the Universe:  My love for writing came through journaling.  My journals are where my thoughts can flow freely and expressively, where it doesn’t matter what other people think or how they react.  In writing, it is important to find that place.  Dip your pen in the passion of your heart and write purely, wildly, in a way that only you can.  Don’t worry about punctuation and grammar.  A person’s writing is often not defined by their perfect English, but by the feeling of soul in the piece.  Later you can refine it into a masterpiece.  Once you are satisfied with your work and many people have had proof read it, rejoice, for your finished product should make you proud!
I highly encourage that you then look for places to publish your work.  Be brave, be creative.  Publish your work in the newspaper, Teen Ink or other magazines, enter contests, or even find a publisher like Tate Publishing and sell your work.  This will not only make you a better writer, but you could earn some cash!
Lastly, never give up.  Don’t let anyone tell you you aren’t good enough.  All success takes is determination and a big heart.

Did any adults help you along the way?

Many! Sheryl Stansbury, the librarian at my middle school whom I was an aid for, helped me proof read my story, gave me heart, helped me dream big, and never deplentished my supply of good books.
Mrs.  Knudson, my English teacher who was the the first to spark my inspiration.  Her humor was always a highlight to my day.
My parents, especially my mom, who spent hours with a dictionary and forty or more pages of manuscript to edit.
Of course, the mighty staff at Tate Publishing who coached me and treated me like an adult through each production phase, which I appreciated.
Recently, Shannon O’Donnell, a blogger who graciously extended her hand and helped me explore the wonders of web marketing.
All of you, readers and bloggers, who are supporting me.  Thank you.

Do you have any hobbies?
I like to do things in my spare time like reading sci-fi/adventure books, journaling, dancing (ballet, tap, jazz), drawing/illustrating, galloping across the countryside with my best friend and her horse, Dakota, running cross country, hiking, and creating challenges for myself.

1 thing I want people to understand about my book and I through this interview:
People, please realize that anything is possible through God and perseverance.
Also, QUIT DREAMING and make your dreams something real!
Go ahead, dive off the high board, ride with the top down, and write with a voice all your own. :) 

Thank you for joining us Jenna. I can tell you will go far in this world.  It is a privilege to cyber know you.

Peeps, please go buy the book. Support this lovely young author. 


            Barnes and Noble:

 Visit Jenna here:


           My website:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Julie Hedlund's story and contest

Please click over here and vote for Julie's story, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys. Her story is excellent and she can win the chance to be published. So let's all gather round and support this beautiful lady. Then enter her awesome contest right here and have a chance to win some mighty lovely prizes. The grand prize being mine. *ahem* Providing my name gets chosen. *snort*

Have an beautiful day, folks.  :-)

Monday, December 5, 2011

This Is For You Em! :-)

My pal Emily Ann Benedict, mystery writer extraordinaire, is giving away, yes, I said giving away a story she wrote called, The Father Christmas Confessions. This story is awesome! I don't want to give away any of Megan's story, you'll have to trust me. This is excellent! And it's free. Just because she is who she is! A super woman! So follow the link and get your copy today. Right now. This minute. The Father Christmas Confessions You'll be so glad you did. And while you're at it, buy Emily's book, Only Angels Are Bulletproof. Get it here: Amazon

Click here to visit Emily's place  And here to visit her blog: Emily's blog

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ideas and More Ideas Actually, Fifty-Five of Those Suckers!

PiBoIdMo sent my brain, sight, ears, tongue, touch, and of course my nose into a flurry of activity. Ideas popped up everywhere. Ideas from pictures, from fellow writers blog posts,  from my kids, from my hubby, ideas from signs on the road, a sign in a yard, colors, textures, my horses and assorted farm buddies. Little pieces of paper in a basket. Little pieces of paper that will be become stories this coming year. I even have a couple non-fiction ideas. Now there were many more than fifty-five. But alas, these were not scribbled down fast enough and something took my mind off the thought and it vanished. *boohoo*

I have some exciting, fresh, promising, lovely, ideas that I plan on turning into exciting, fresh, promising, lovely picture books. How about you?

Did you see with all your senses in November? Did a certain food you tasted give you an idea? A smell? A picture? An unusual bug? Ideas are all around us. We as writers have to 'see' with our whole body, not just our eyes. Smell with our entire being, not just our noses. Btw, do you realize how crazy toes look? I was staring at my families toes and had a perfect idea for a funny picture book. It involves noses too. But it has a different take on the subject. I'm raring to go. As a matter of fact, now comes the organization. Which one do I tackle first?

So right now, I'm kicking back and resting. Then next week I start planning, structuring, seeing these books in my minds eye. I will scribble more notes about them. Hear the stories they want to give me. I have joined Julie Hedlund's 12 x 12 in 2012. Go here.

If you haven't heard about this Cow Poke, I invite you to mount your bronc and take this ride with me. (Cowboy talk. Another idea.) I've been walking around the house talking like this for a week. People around here are getting a little tired of it too. I say it's research family! Sheesh!

Let the stories begin!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fantastic Giveaway, Peeps!

Click over to Stuff & Nonsense and check out the book giveaways. And do a little following while you're there. I personally know Anne. She is an awesome homeschooling mom. *waving*

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today Is The Day!

*panic-stricken* Please visit my pal Stacy and read my post. And follow her if you don't already. She is awesome. Poor her. She said I could guest post. *hoping she doesn't lose any members to her blog*

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Someone Was Actually Brave Enough To Have Me Write a Guest Post.

What's up with that?? *wink*

It's over at Stacy Jensen's place tomorrow. And if you don't follow her, you will want to now. *begging for support* Here's the link: Stacy S Jensen (The courageous one) I heart y'all.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cool Contest At Len's Place!

Head over. Awesome Len. She really is, yanno? Lots of books to be given away. You know you want to win one. Did I mention the word free?? Head to Len's house .

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fantastic Giveaway

I'm back to tell you about the giveaway over at In Time. Michael is a great person and a fantastic writer. Head over and throw your support his way! You'll be glad you did. (Geez, you can't get rid of me.) *waving*

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm taking a break for the Thanksgiving holiday. *munch munch* Be safe and have a wonderful time with your family and friends. *wipes crumbs from mouth* See you soon! Hugs and smooches all around. *waving*

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Welcome Theresa

 Please welcome my pal and yours, the wonderfully (oops, naughty adverb there) talented author, Theresa Milstein. I am privileged to be on her Fangtales blog tour.

Thanks for interviewing me, Robyn.

Tell us about your story in Fangtales:

Fangtales is a YA vampire anthology that had the criteria to be as true as possible to the rules in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  I had to do some research to see what that meant before writing my short story. 

My short story is called “Allured”.  Shalom is a new student who has been trying to snag the most popular boy in her high school.  A couple of people in her new town have been murdered, one in a graveyard.  She’s trying to convince this popular boy to visit the graveyard with her. 

That’s all I can say… 

How did you get the idea for it?

I got my idea with a sentence or two.  That’s usually how it starts.  I don’t know more than that.  Often, I don’t know the ending until I get there.  I just have this vague sense of where I’m going. 

Here’s the edited version of the beginning, which is pretty similar to my rough draft:

“I twisted a golden curl in my usual alluring way. Guys loved it when I did that. I lowered my voice, so Reid had to lean in to hear me, his elbows propped on his knees.”

After I wrote those lines, I had to figure out what she wanted and why.

How did you feel when you got the email saying they accepted it?

This was my first accepted short story, so I was thrilled.  I submitted the story last fall (just about a year ago).  The decision was supposed to be decided in the winter, but got delayed until spring.  After writing for five years, it felt good to be validated.  I wish I’d tried to write short stories sooner because I’ve gotten three of my three short stories accepted into anthologies.  If only I had that kind of success with my novels. (Note from Robyn: she will, she will!)

Tell us about your other publications.

After I submitted “Allured”, I heard about a call for stories to be included in an anthology to raise money for flood victims in Australia.  The criteria:  stories should be upbeat.  In my story “Daisy”, Debbie plucks the petals off a daisy to decide whether or not to tell her boyfriend a secret. I was worried it wasn’t upbeat enough, but it was accepted. 100 Stories for Queensland was published in May. 

The same editor who put together, 100 Stories for Queensland is the editor for Literary Mix Tapes.  She invited me to submit a story for an upcoming anthology, Tiny Dancer.  All of the stories are to be speculative fiction, inspired in some way by Elton John’s song “Tiny Dancer”.  My piece is about being a futuristic society that upholds a twisted version of the 1950s idea of domesticity.  Girls aren’t allowed to be traditionally educated and need to win beauty pageants in order to snag a good husband when they come of age.

All of my three short stories have a twist, which I hope the reader isn’t expecting.  

Thank you Theresa for stopping by today. You know I heart you, girlfriend.  People please. Go buy it! Smooch!

Linkage peeps:

Theresa's place:

Fangtales (go buy it): 

100 Stories for Queensland (go buy it too, if you haven't all ready and I know you have. Right??):

Yay Theresa!!!!!!!!! We love you soooooooo much!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Be Here Tomorrow For a Little Chat With Theresa Milstein!

Don't forget tomorrow is my interview with YA author Theresa Milstein. You gotta stop by and read about her short story "Allured" featured in the YA anthology, FangTales.
She's so cool! Uh-huh!

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Interview with Jessica Bell On Her Blog Tour!

Please join me in giving Jessica Bell a warm welcome. Jessica’s book String Bridge was available November first. I extend my hand (after reading the story and feeling her voice, my heart)  thank you for coming to visit with us on your blog tour. 

About Jessica:  
Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.

She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.

In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.

From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.

 How long did it take you to complete String Bridge?
It’s a little embarrassing really. I started writing it six years ago and finished the final draft at the beginning of this year. It being the first ‘real’ novel I’d written (I wrote another one before this that I discarded. It was horrible), it went through seven rewrites. But I’m glad it did. It finally got the quality of writing and love it deserved after all that practice.
How do you carve out creative space in the midst of life?
With great difficulty. It’s probably one of the reasons I don’t believe in the “we must write every single day” mantra. To be honest, I can’t write every day anyway. I don’t even allocate specific hours. When I have time and feel inspired, I write. I think it’s perhaps because I write slowly and edit as I go. I can’t move on unless I’m satisfied with what I’ve written. It’s just my way. And it works for me. I’m now on to my third novel. Now it takes me about a year to finish that “first draft,” which is still a relatively long time, and then another year to revise, but my first drafts are more like the quality of a second draft when I’m finished with them. So I don’t mind being slow.
What was your favorite childhood book?
The Faraway Tree, by Enid Blyton.
Are there any books that you re-read?
There is only one that I’ve ever re-read. And I’ve re-read it four times. Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson.
Is there a book that changed your life?
That’s actually really hard to answer. I think every book I’ve read has changed my life, even if in the smallest way. I do know that the 2nd time I read Housekeeping, it changed the way I approached writing. It made me want to be one of those writers whose prose is savored rather than rushed through to “find out what happens next.”
Where did the idea for Melody come from?
I got really sick and tired of the “glorified” image of women in popular fiction. Every book I read, the women were successful and gorgeous and just so … “fictional” :-) I wanted to write about a “real” woman.
Did you write the music for the soundtrack?
Yep. All except the song for the book trailer, Famous, my mother wrote that one.
Is there a word or phrase that you overuse in your writing?
Ha! I don’t know … is there? Did you spot any? I think I used “gritted teeth” a lot, no? Haha.
Guilty reading pleasure?
Marian Keyes, Jodi Picoult and anything related to Madonna. :)

Do you want to attend Jessica's writers retreat and workshop in Greece, people?! *wishing* 

Buy String Bridge here:
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Visit Jessica:
Jessica's house
String Bridge (a novel) 
Jessica's Place For Coffee and Tea 
Retreat and Workshop
Connect With Jess on Facebook
Follow Jess On Twitter 
String Bridge Book Trailer
String Bridge Merchandise

 Jessica is also an accomplished poet. She is filled to the brim with talent, folks.
 Thank you Jessica and I wish you much success with your writing, future novels, poetry and music.

Friday, November 11, 2011

String Bridge Chart Rush and My Review

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit
the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrack
Melody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free! And please read my review of String Bridge at the end of this post. Also, my interview with Jessica will be here on Monday.

All you have to do is
purchase the
book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and
then email the receipt to:


She will
then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!

To purchase the paperback:

To purchase the eBook:

To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.

If you are
not familiar with String Bridge,
check out the book trailer:

Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my
veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.
~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and
musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge
is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion Thrust and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult
scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones
Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!

From the back cover:
Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her own shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a 'proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage -- and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits, and she realizes she's been seeking fulfillment in the wrong place.

My review:
String Bridge explodes with emotional conflicts to the very end. Melody’s story is an exercise in decision making, guilt, and in yearning.
Melody’s bipolar mother and her own self worth all threaten to send Melody off the deep, deep end. She believes that she is living a socially acceptable existence. But the strong desire to play her guitar is overwhelming at times. From panic attacks to believing there is a family curse, Melody must come to terms with what she really wants out of life and with her insecurity. Her husband Alex agrees that she should start playing her music again. This makes their marriage stronger until, you guessed it; Jessica throws a hammer into Melody’s happiness.
I loved Jessica's descriptions; they made me feel as if I was standing inside the book covers walking through it with all of the characters. Her voice is amazing. I found myself wishing and hoping that I could develop my voice as well as she has. The characters are flawed, but isn’t that what we want when we read a novel? They are real people with real problems, not some perfect smerfect types.
I do have to mention that this is a book for adults. It does contain swear words which I had to skip over. But her story, her music, her poetic voice are exceptional. The original metaphors made me want to start adding them to my own WIP.
Jessica is a powerful writer who intends on keeping her readers glued to their seats or bathtubs or wherever they do their reading.
On Monday please come back and enjoy an interview that I did with Jessica. You’ll be glad you did.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Welcome Project Mayhemmers! I Heart Middle Grade Historical. How'z About You?

I'm not the only one. Head over to my writing pal, Michael Gettel-Gilmartin  and check out all these fabulous middle grade novels. Click on over now. Read mine. Purty please.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day tomorrow. What is that, you ask? 

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

What are YOUR favorite MG historicals? Do tell! 


Friday, October 28, 2011

Uh, er, yeah, I'm slack. As a matter of fact, I'm slack bad! Or bad slack! Whatever way we say it we know what it means. *sigh*

The Halloween Hop started early this morning. *double sigh*

What I wanna know is, what is your most favorite monster movie in the whole wide world?? And what is your most favorite costume in the same whole wide world. Do tell. Please.
My favorite monster movie has to be The Night of the Living Dead. I'm here to tell you that movie scared me so bad. Cool!

Now I write for children so my favorite costume? Tigger, of course. Who else?? He's not scary, but he's awesomely cool. Don'tcha think?

Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza= Halloween! Bwa ha ha ha ha

Here are my picks. I mean. It is Halloween, yanno?

Er, what a pumpkin.

I just fell for this pic. He's so, well you know. *wink*

Go visit the other participants in Fun Friday.

Catherine Johnson

Stacy S. Jensen

Susanna Leonard Hill

Happy Halloween everybody. Please don't let the ghouls and goblins get ya. Eat candy! Mmmmm chocolate.

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's Time For Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza

Here are some more places to visit to see some fun photos:

Catherine One of the awesomely talented authors who started this fun fextravaganza.

Susanna The other half of this delicious design.

Stacy   She's just cool. Let's face it!

Go visit their photos. Happy weekend. *waving*

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Someone Is Having A Birthday Today

Pop on over to my friend Lenny's house and wish him a super duper birthday today. He's twelve!!!!! So let him know just how precious he is. *waving*

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay It Forward Blogfest

What a super fantastic idea that my ol' pal MacNish (The Quintessential Questionable Query Experiment and Alex J Cavanaugh had. A Pay It Forward Blogfest. Cool, huh?

The three blogs that I have recently found that are completely made of awesome and I want you to visit and follow are:

Will Write For Cookies Peggy Eddleman just signed with an agent! Go check her blog out, follow her, and dump confetti on her head! :-)

Christina Lee YA author

Sher A Hart   MG author

Okay! Go follow these and everyone else on the linky list (the links to which are at top of this post), which has over 200 peeps on it. So cool! Oh. And if you came from the linky list, click the follow button to your right. Will give chocolate for followers. *wink*

Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza: Migration

I'z pooped! This migrating is for the birds!

Wanna join? Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza is the brain child of Catherine Johnson and Susanna Leonard Hill