Thursday, October 31, 2013


Photo by: lobo235, courtesy of Flickr

Watch a short video!

Find out who won the Fear Not contest:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


How does a college student find time to write other than writing those dreaded college papers? Find out in my next author interview with Bayley Paharik.

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I have been writing since I was about nine. I believe the first thing I ever wrote was a short play based upon one of my favorite children’s mysteries. I have always enjoyed writing, but did not really take it seriously until I was either eleven or twelve which was about nine or ten years ago. I am currently studying Communication in college right now and am in my third year. I believe that has really helped me expand my writing career. When I hear that I inspire people through my writing, I am even more encouraged to continue to write. It is easy to be discouraged through writing, but if I can write to honor God than I believe I've lived my life well.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

Since I am in college full-time my writing is mainly limited to the summer and when ever I have free time. I usually write either at my dining room table or at the desk in my bedroom before I go to sleep. I prefer a laptop to writing freehand, but I do both. The reason I prefer writing on my laptop is it is most convenient and faster. I usually only do freehand if I want to write a story idea down before I have time to type it.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favorite part about writing is the joy it brings to others. By hearing how much someone, mainly complete strangers, enjoy my writing, I am filled with immense satisfaction. I also enjoy the freedom I have to use my imagination in order to create new characters. I do not really think I have a least favorite part about writing except maybe the editing of it. I do not mean changing the grammar or spellings of words when I am referring to editing. I mean mostly the deleting of my work, as I do not want to get rid of any of it. It is my “baby” in a sense.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

I come up with my characters mainly through my own experiences and sometimes they seem to come to me when I least expect it. I do not really plan the characters out much, but just know in my head that this is the character perfect for my story. I believe readers would want to get to know them because they are interesting and relatable. They are the kind of characters everyone would want to sit down to a cup of tea with.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I use word of mouth as well as social media and Amazon to promote my writing. I do not spend too much time marketing my writing except through Facebook.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I try to write a little bit each day with about one hundred words each. In reality, I probably write only once a week mostly on the weekends or a couple of times a month in the summer.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I have a ton of story ideas right now, but right now I am trying to get a collection of poems published by the end of this year. I do not have a new book out right now.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I have several projects on the back burner at the moment. I have a story I published on the Voice4Society Blog called “A Utopia in my Heart.” It follows the story of Alicia Tucker, an African American girl, who lives a life filled with lots of hatred and prejudice. Throughout the story, she is trying to rediscover herself and find a “utopia”, a perfect society, in her heart when there seems to be nothing, but perfect around her. I am hoping to expand the story, so that I can publish it either traditionally or self-published.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

I just turned twenty-one in the middle of this month and self-published my first book, “The Mystery of the Eiffel Tower and Other Stories” in December 2009 when I was only seventeen. I believed I did not have enough talent to publish, but I did it. If you just believe in yourself and have hope, you too can publish a book. Nothing is impossible when you believe! Have faith and do not give up because great things happen when we least expect it.  

Learn more about Bayley and her short story writing by visiting the following links:
A Utopia in my Heart (Part One):

A Utopia in my Heart (Part Two):

A Utopia in my Heart (Part Three):

A Utopia in my Heart (Part Four):
A Utopia in my Heart (Part Five):

A Utopia in my Heart (Part Six):
A Utopia in my Heart (Part Seven/Final Part):

The Springs of Salvation (Part One):

The Springs of Salvation (Part Two):

The Springs of Salvation (Part Three):

The Springs of Salvation (Part Four):
The Springs of Salvation (Part Five/Final Part):

Thanks, Bayley!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

When Spooky Stuff Creeps into Your Writing

Anyone that knows me, probably also knows that I don't write


But that I do write


And for those who have read Scrambled, they have quickly discovered that even then the gory scenes really aren't all that gory. In fact, you may just find yourself being a detective without having to deal
with all of the gory details.

Picture by pugg71, courtesy of Flickr

Still, there are times when spooky stuff sort of creeps into my writing (other than when I'm writing a mystery). And at these times I look closely at what I've just penned because the last thing I want to do is to bring the 'wrong sort' into the room, if you know what I mean.

Suffice it to say, there needs to be tension, a bad guy or girl, or some sort of opposition. Nothing, and I mean nothing, not even a Christian fiction book can be all smiles and a perfect life.

There's no such thing.

But having said that, I think it's important to look at your writing and feel what you've written. If you like the creepy stuff, fine, but if you want your readers to go away feeling as if they still know you, (because you've written other books with a similar feel) double check what you've written before you send it off to be published.

I can usually handle scary scenes

1. If they are coupled with humor, as in A River of Stones and the vampire and Doberman scenes.
2. If they aren't too dark or too detailed. My readers can know there's a dead man, but they don't need to know the specific details of the dead man's body.
3. If the 'spooky' stuff really isn't 'spooky' but sort of eerie thoughtful. In Scrambled, the main character thinks she's hearing the voice of a spirit, though she's not sure if it's the voice of the dead man or just her own mind. 

When spooky stuff creeps into your writing, just take a second look. That's all I'm asking.

Photo by Ben Spark, courtesy of Flickr
You never know who will be trying to slide through your office door.

Happy Halloween!


Monday, October 28, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Marilyn Stewart Osborne

Imagine living in the outback of Australia. Using scraps of paper to record your thoughts. And selling at craft fairs. Marilyn does all of this and more. Discover for yourself!

Tell me about yourself.
I left the USA when I was two and returned at 17. In between those years I lived in the outback of Australia amongst a primitive tribe. Their language and culture I thought was mine. Next I lived in boarding school in Canada. I was saving to go back to Australia when I met my husband. 
We live in Arizona. I like to travel, make crafts, write and enjoy nature.

What got you started in writing?

I guess, for me it was the season ... I had only written a few poems for friends at work and family.
I was no longer caring for elderly parents and had time to do something for me.

How and where do you write?

I have scraps of paper all over the place with jotted thoughts. I like to write at a table and prefer our large kitchen table to spread everything out.

Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

For my three books I have always begun with paper and pencil. My latest endeavor, my first novel, has been written 85% on the laptop. 

What's your favorite part about writing?

The excitement of something new - an adventure and how it will unfold.

Your least favorite part about writing?

Making sure the grammer is correct. 

How do you come up with your characters?

Writing fiction is a new experience. I have been surprised how in the middle of the night I wake up and have to rename a character.

Why would readers want to get to know them?

They are emotional, challenged, funny, stoic, conflicted. Their lives reflect bits of all of us.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I enter craft shows where I can also sell my books and hand out a fan fold flyer. I speak wherever invited - senior centers; churches; libraries; women's retreats.

Aboriginal artifacts, my books, & Aussie food go over well on Australia Day at a nearby Arboretum.

How do you schedule your writing time?

After all my other things - house, yard, dr. visits, exercise, volunteer, playing with our dogs. :)

When do you write?

Any time. Early or late. Sometimes for hours and others a few minutes here and there.

What are you currently working on?

This is my first attempt at fiction and am really enjoying seeing the characters develop. I had bits of two novels and have merged them into one. So far a little over 30,000 words.

Do you have a new book out?

Sorry - No.

Do you have a project on the back burner?


Tell me about it.

My two back burner projects are:

A Bible Study with Welcome as its theme.

Stories about animals and what they have taught me.

I have about 12 finished so far and several have pictures of the event.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

I have struggled with self-confidence and being good enough. Write, write, rewrite and enjoy yourself.

Do not permit yourself or others to demean you. Listen to what people say, but do not believe everything. Neither all the praise or all the criticism. Grow a thick skin. Stay true to yourself. Be uniquely you.


Thanks, Marilyn! Learn more about Marilyn here:

Footprints & Fragrance in the Outback
Child of The Outback       

Created to Celebrate  - not online


Friday, October 25, 2013


Fear Not Blog Hop



This is her entry:

Have Halleluiah House where it will be a maze of angels, different people from the bible like Esther, Ruth, David in the lions den, Jonah in the whale, etc. And at the end of the maze you enter into a Holy Ghost Party where you just relax and have people dressed as angels(they can be servers, DJ) and have fun so they won't miss out on events but it just will be in uplifting God.

I chose this entry because it was not only creative but carried on with the theme of "Fear Not" in a most unusual but inspiring way. Congratulations, Litany!

The Feast: A Parable of the Ring: (book 2)

A GRAND PRIZE, as well as other additional book prizes (including mine) will be given at the site hosting the Fear Not Blog Hop.
Win $95 and other book prizes!



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Time Out for Gathering Story Ideas

Because it's October, and typically folks are gathering in their harvest, I can't help but think of other gatherings in which I participate.

One such gathering has to do with writing.

Photo by: N-I-C-O, courtesy of Flickr
A writer can't always be writing. She must be researching and walking the leaf filled lane if you will. She must take some time to breathe in the season and capture the moments that might just find themselves in her next book...

I am reminded of a story I heard about yesterday on the news. I can't remember the man's name now, but he played some of his own music at a recent piano concert. Though in his 80s or 90s, this was his debut, and every one of his songs had been written and played (I believe by harmonica) previously in a prison camp.

How could he write such beautiful music in such a terrible place?

Talk about lifting others with his music; calming their fears. But he must have seen something beyond those camp walls. He must have noticed the trees changing their colors in the fall.

I have to admire a man like that.

Today, as you gather, think of all the beauties that surround you, even though they might not at first appear obvious. Take them in, gather. And continue to gather.

You never know when you'll need to use them.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Doria is a traveler and adventurer as well as a writer. Find out why a book on Mount Everest is her all-time favorite.

Doria J. Garms-Sotelo
How long have you been writing?
Since the summer of 2012. 
Why did you decide to write? 
I had an internship with a newspaper company in Seoul and decided I loved writing about my experiences in Asia.  I then realized I had a story to tell about my high school days during the war in Sri Lanka.
What does your writing day look like? 

Most morning I go to the gym.  In the afternoons, I usually write.  In the evenings, I am usually at writing workshops. 

What do you do to study the craft? 
Read many books on writing and using others as examples. 
Do you have a goal when you'd like to be published?  What is it?  If you don't have a goal, why haven't you set one? 

Dec 16 if I am back in Korea from Sri Lanka and all editing is done.

Are you thinking to go the self-published or traditional route?
Self-publishing for now.  I do not like the idea of a traditional publisher owning my work.
Tell us about the genre(s) you write and why you like them.

I like to write mostly nonfiction for children and young adults.  The reason is that I grew up mostly in Africa and Asia and want to share them with other young readers.
Why is Into Thin Air your favorite?  What have you learned from it to help you to be a better writer?
  Product Details
This book is nonfiction about the personal account of a journalist who climbed Mount Everest.  Mount Everest has already been a dream of mine as I continue to travel the world.

What would you tell a writer like yourself, struggling to get published?
Get involved with social media and make as many postings as you can.  You need a big presence to be noticed.  Also, join as many writers groups as you can.
Thank you, Doria! Learn more about Doria at:

Contact her at:



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

SIMPLE TREASURES usually come in small packages

Simple treasures.

I often think of simple treasures as those thought-felt gifts, items not given for practicality, but for a purpose.


In the midst of the upcoming festivities we may miss the true spirit of the holidays in favor of stress related duties, including shopping. And though I frankly admit that setting up a booth and preparing for a book sale creates a bit of stress, you also need to know how terribly exciting this particular experience is for me. 

Allow me to share a little about what I'll be doing a couple of weeks from now.

Come and have some fun!
Last year I had a booth at this boutique and had a wonderful time selling books. I met some great writers and readers; you could say I felt the spirit of Christmas during these four days.

This year I will also have a booth space, and I would love for you to join me. FREE gifts is a definite. And I will have two new books to share with you.

If you have to shop, (and what shopper during the holidays doesn't have to?) consider coming to the Simple Treasure Holiday Boutique in Farmington and getting some of your heartfelt shopping done.

I hope to see you.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Come and spend a few moments with Sylvia, and you'll find your time well spent. Sylvia is not only a deep thinker, she has a positive attitude about life and what can be accomplished.

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
Briefly, I would say that I
·   See the glass half-full rather than half-empty.
    Expecting good things to happen will lead to taking actions that produce positive results
·   Think, "Everyone has a gift. [You just have to be able to find it and follow your calling.] and
·   Believe the Chinese Proverb,   "If you give a man a fish and he won't starve for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he won't starve for his entire life."
I can't remember when I didn't write. One early memory of writing is about my high school days. I wrote a monthly column for a Chicago magazine [can't remember the name] on the “happenings— sports, academics, social events, who doing what, and etc.” at Parker, my High School.

What got my to start writing again? I guess you could say happenstance. My three realities converged. I had [1] a granddaughter who loves books, [2] a son who is fluent in three languages—English, Spanish and French, and [3] a burning desire to give appropriate entertaining instructional materials as gifts.

Before I realized it, the gift search had turned into a conceptual design for a book manuscript, just as quickly went through various stages, and finally was a bound book, Tri-Alphabets for Greer—English, Español, Françai. After prodding by family friends and colleagues, it was revised and published as Dr. Little’s Tri-Alphabets and More   English ·  Español  ·   Français.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I keep a pen and paper near when I'm working around the house and jot down ideas as they come to me. Lately, I have tried dictating into my iPhone and then transferring it into a document later. I use a Mac. So I guess you could say that I use both old school and new school methods.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

Seeing the piece takes shape is what I like best. My least favorite part about writing is editing.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

The type of writing that I tend to do is not character driven. By that I mean, in one of my books, the ABCs are the main characters.  In my next project, the main characters have been determined by the book subject matter--early African American inventors.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
Because marketing is my weak area and is extremely important, I recently began looking into how to develop a marketing campaign. I know that one can write what many call an outstanding book, receive numerous awards, get outstanding reviews, and sell very few books.   Which has been the case with my first book. You can write a terrible book, have an outstanding marketing campaign, and become a best seller. Need I say more about the value of marketing?

Recently, I started implementing a marketing plan based on Lorraine Phillips' book, Online Book Marketing; The Least Expensive Ways to Create Book Buzz.  For Step One, Your Author Website, Blog, and Facebook: Russell Kyle, my website designer [ has been invaluable. He is redesigning my website and creating a matching Facebook Author cover.  The redesign website is not up. If you would like to compare the old website with the new, then I suggest viewing as soon as possible. Wait a week, and then view again. This revision speaks for itself. My blog will share my marketing plan's updates.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

That's a weakness of mine. I tend to work best in the a.m. or late at night. However, it often is when an idea or thought comes to mind.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I’m editing poetry that I wrote years ago into a picture book series on early African-American inventors. Their background and how their inventiveness makes life wonderful for you and me. The series is entitled  "Thank a Black Man".

Kimberly and Tom Goodwin words best delineate why I chose this project.
"It is said that history repeats itself, but we are only doomed to relive our past if we fail to learn from it. The past is not a map to where you are going; it’s a record of where you have been. Its purpose is not to drag you back through emotional muck, but to serve you best by reminding you of lessons learned so you can avoid them in the future."
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I have an outline for book that uses humor to remind parents to [a] become more invested in their child's education, [b] understand the self-fulfilling prophecy and [c] raise their children as if they were geniuses.

Joseph Joubert once said that, "Some superior minds are unrecognized because there is no standard by which to weigh them."                                                
  What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to 
  but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Go for it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 1.    Learn as much as possible about your target audience and use this information to structure your writing.
 2.    Whether you self-publish or choose an agent, edit, edit, and edit your manuscript or have someone do it for you. Think of editing as putting the shine on shoes if you were a shoe shiner or putting the glow on a clients' check diamond if you were a make up artist.
Thank you, Sylvia!

To learn more about Sylvia contact her at: