Thursday, August 27, 2009

Review of "Ghost Light" by Mary Cunningham

Mary Cunningham, author of the delightful, middle-grade Cynthia's Attic Fantasy Adventure series, has just written a short story for young readers ages 10 and up: "Ghost Light".

Eleven-year old Jake McMillen is a bit annoyed when his mother forces him to visit his grandmother, who is very sick. Sure, his grandmother is a sweet old lady and he loves her dearly, but he would rather be practicing basketball and preparing himself for the upcoming game.

After all, basketball is his passion and he must make up in practice for his lack of height. Jake wished he could be tall like his grandfather used to be. But we don't always get what we want, right?

The day he visits his grandmother, she gives him some wise yet unusual advice. Impatient and distracted, he listens. Later, on the day of the game, things don't turn out as good as Jake had hoped. Depressed by his lack of 'good genes' he goes to bed almost in tears... but something startles him, a light in the window. He alos hears a familiar voice. The supernatural experience fills him with hope and the strength to follow his dreams.

I read the story (20 pages) with great interest from beginning to end. Having read all of Mary Cunningham's books, I was intrigued by her short fiction writing skills and I was not disappointed. The prose and suspense will appeal to young readers. The author makes every word count, making the story come to life without too much narration and description. Dialogue and action move the story along. This is a well-written short story that will be particularly enjoyed by boys who like basketball.

You can purchase your copy of "Ghost Light" from the publisher's website. For a limited time, if you buy the ebook you get a free copy of The Missing Locket, book I in the Cynthia's Attic Fantasy Adventure series.

www.tips-fb.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009


A Horse Of Course
by Shari Lyle-Soffe
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
publisher@GuardianAngelPublishing.com
www.GuardianAngelPublishing.com
ISBN 13:978-1-935137-82-5
ISBN 10:1-935137-82-4
July 2009
Paperback, 20 pages, $10.95

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani

Aaron is thrilled when Grandpa Roy gives him a horse for his birthday. After all, that's what Aaron wanted more than anything in the world. However, living with Horace the horse isn't as easy as Aaron predicted. To start with, Horace eats Aaron's strawberry cake and is incredibly messy. He spills food and drink all over the place. To make matters worse, Aaron has to clean up after him. But that's not all... Since Horace has the remote control, now they're all stuck watching horse racing. Aaron would rather watch cartoons! But sweet Horace pushes this further, stealing Mom's toothbrush and even Aaron's bed. Poor Aaron must now sleep on the floor!

Perhaps keeping a horse at home isn't such a good idea, after all. Or is it? You'll have to read the book to see all of Horace's naughty antics and to find out what Aaron decides.

A Horse of Course is the latest children's picture book by talented Oregonian author Shari Lyle-Soffe. Soffe really knows what appeals to young children and this is portrayed in her delightful books. The story is cute and quirky and will keep children's eyes glued to the pages as Horace's antics grow from silly to outrageous. I loved the artwork in this book, it just goes so well with the story. The illustrations, done in colored markers, pens and crayons, have a cartoonish style and are as whimsical as the tale. This book will not only be enjoyed by children who love horses, but by all, young and old, who love a good humorous story.

To learn more about this book, visit: http://book-ahorseofcourse.blogspot.com/

www.tips-fb.com

100 Best Blogs for Homeschooling Moms

Children's author Kathy Stemke brought this list to my attention:

100 Best Blogs for Homeschooling Moms

This list might be helpful for children's authors who are seeking reviews and interviews to promote their work.

Kathy was included in the list. She has a great educational blog at Educationtipster.

Cheers! www.tips-fb.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to teach your child to write a novel

Latina author and Examiner columnist Lara Rios brought to my attention another columnist, Lydia Netzer, who is offering a free writing course on how to write a novel for young writers.

You can find out about her free course HERE.

"You'll start a young novelist club, teach eight weekly lessons, and prepare your students to take on one of the toughest creative challenges out there! Make better writers and better readers in eight easy lessons," writes Netzer.

Be sure to take a look! www.tips-fb.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Interview with YA Author & Internet Radio Host Deborah Copeland


Deborah J. Copeland is a native New Yorker from the Boogie Down Bronx. She captures her memories and experiences coming of age in her North Bronx neighborhood in her books, The Kids at Latimar High and Spring Fever, Pink Snowballs, and a Splash of hater-aid. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Library Science from UMA and a MFA in Creative Writing from UCLA.

She currently resides in Southern, California, where she works with troubled-teens and enjoys writing contemporary/Hip Lit fiction for the young adult market. She is currently working on the third book in the Latimar High series,"4ever and 4always, 4real."

1) Please tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

When I was little I started writing plays. I took it so far that I hand-picked my childhood friends to play the actors. We rehearsed on the stoops and in our backyards, taking turns with our meeting spots. One summer we performed our first play that I had written, "Little Miss Broadway," in my parent's backyard. We made tickets: $.50 cents for the adults and $.25 cents for the kids. My friend's parents donated chairs and before you know it, neighbors filled my parent's backyard, and we had a show going on! We made about $45 dollars that summer. It was a great feeling! I remember my friends' parents shaking my hand and calling me Miss writer/producer. I fell in love with writing after that. Not to mention that every summer my friends and I put a show on and made money every time! We did everything from variety shows, beauty pageants, puppet shows, and original plays. By the time I graduated from high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

2) Thanks for being my guest at the Dark Phantom, Deborah! Tell us about your YA novel. I hear it's the first in the series and you're already at work on the second one.

The Kids at Latimar High is a YA novel that follows a close nit group of friends coming of age in the Bronx, New York, all through their high school years. The two main female characters, Lauren and Rosalyn, couldn't be more opposites. Lauren is the bookworm, who writes for the school paper, and Rosalyn is the pretty and popular cheerleader. When Lauren gets a hot assignment to interview Kevin Johnson, Latimar High's star quarterback, she's suddenly in competition with just about every girl in the school vying for his attention, including her best friend Rosalyn. And suddenly, the two find themselves breaking their sacred "Girlfriends' do's and don't codes to live by." The girls must come to terms with their friendship and decide what's more important: the love of a boy or a friendship that can last a lifetime.

I just wrapped up the sequel, Spring Fever, Pink Snowballs, and a Splash of Hater-aid, and I'm shopping it around for an agent. I'm in love with my characters so it was hard for me to take a break. I'm currently working on the third book in the Latimar High Series.

3) How was your trip to publication?

I decided to self-publish. I did my research and read a lot of stories of how hard is it for first-time writers to get picked up by a traditional publisher, so I decided to self-publish. I must say, it's a lot of work, because as a writer, you can't just sit back and say, "Wow, it's done! I finally finished my book!" You have to market and promote your book every day. You become the writer and the promoter rolled into one. In some ways, it's gratifying because you have total control of your novel and planning book signings and marketing events,
especially when you get positive results. The downside is marketing a book can become very time-consuming when, as a writer, you just want to write. I have to balance the two every day.

4) What are your working habits like? Are you discipline?

I'm like an oxymoron. There are days that I wake up and my day is completely structured and organized: Shower, coffee/breakfast, turn on laptop, check emails and Blogs, more coffee, water the plants, write three hours straight without a break, ignoring phone calls, IM's until I full-fill my three hours of "creative zone time." But some days I totally deviate from my own rules and find myself packing to go on a road trip to San Francisco with some friends, like right now! Lol...We're leaving on Friday, hitting the road for some adventure and fun!

5) You also interview YA authors on your own radio show, The Teen Zone. What compelled you to start your own show?

One of the main reasons that I created The Teen Zone was to spotlight Indie and self-published books. It can be very difficult for self published and Indie books to get maximum exposure to the market like traditionally published books. There are a lot self-published gems that are flying under the radar and readers don't know anything about the author or their books. In addition to promoting self-published books, I also look for multi-cultural books written by Latino authors and authors of color that need more exposure to the market.

6) How may authors get in touch with you about an interview?

I just launched The Teen Zone in February of this year and since then I've interviewed several YA authors, such as, Sheryl Mallory-Johnson, author of L.A. Summer: Friends ‘Til The Blood End, Sandee Sgarlata, author of The Day After Tomorrow, author, Christina Hamlett, of Movie Girl, and Jo Ann Hernandez author of The Throwaway Piece. I am happy to announce that I've been receiving requests from authors, as well as, recommendations from readers about certain authors and their books.

7) Many authors are shy and nervous about being interviewed on live radio. What tips would you give them?

Well, first off. Being the people-person that I am, I always talk with the author that I'm about to interview over the phone a day before, or the morning of the show. It puts them at ease about any questions or concerns they may have about being on the show. Usually we end up chit-chatting about What's Poppin' in the YA Lit World, which totally breaks the ice, and by the time the show airs, the author is very relaxed and ready for a great interview.

But I do recommend the following tips:

1) Log in at least ten or fifteen minutes early before the show starts to get accustomed to the chat room.

2) Have your interview questions on hand during the live show.

3) If you're reading from your book, have the book handy and a bookmark between the page that you're going to start reading from.

4) Have a glass of water or beverage by your side.

5) If you have any websites or Blogs that you want to share with your readers, make sure that's it written down and handy.

6) And finally, just relax and enjoy being interviewed.

8) Tell us about your sites and blogs so readers may find more about you and your work.

I have a couple of sites where I interact with readers and post book news.

1) www.latimarhigh.com

2) www.whirlaboutpublishers.com

3) http://hermitwritersandcozynooks.wordpress.com/

4) http://www.blogtalkradio.com/TheTeenZone

9) Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

I will be launching an online teen site called The Teen Zone in August. Teens, authors, and readers can interact with one another, read book reviews, get the latest news on new books, and more. URL: http://www.theteenzone.net (coming soon!)

Also, I am a panelist in Sormag's online writers conference this month, August 23-29th, discussing Self-publishing and Promotion for authors. www.sormag.com

Thanks, Deborah! www.tips-fb.com

Monday, August 17, 2009

Picture Bookies Showcase

Hi all,

I just discovered Picture Bookies Showcase. If you're searching for an illustrator, you might want to take a look. There's some amazing illustrators there.

Cheers!

Mayra www.tips-fb.com

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Six Tips to Help You Break Into the Children's Magazine Markets With Your Non-Fiction For Kids! by Suzanne Lieurance



It's no secret that one of the best ways to break into the children's magazine markets is with nonfiction. So follow these 6 tips to have the best chance of acceptance with your short articles for children:

1. Study the markets - Each children's magazine is different, with a different style, voice, and variety of subject matter. Take time to study the markets you wish to submit to and you'll know which ones are the most appropriate for the articles that you wish to write.

2. Study Past Issues - Besides studying current issues of each publication you wish to write for, look at several past issues of each publication. Make a list of the various nonfiction article titles in each issue to get a "feel" for the way various authors narrowed their focus for each topic they wrote about. One of the big mistakes most beginning children's writers make with their nonfiction articles is that they don't narrow the focus of the article enough. If you want to write about camels, for example, don't propose an article that tells anything and everything about camels. Instead, focus on just ONE aspect about camels and develop your article around that.

3. Include subtopic headings when writing your article - These will break up your article into "chunks" which are easier for young readers to read. These subtopic headings will also "lead" the reader through your article. They will also make your article "look" more like nonfiction instead of fiction.

4. Give your topic an unusual slant that will appeal to kids and editors alike - When you do this, your article won't sound so much like a textbook. And articles that sound too much like textbook material are NOT in big demand with magazine editors.

5. Consider topics that will relate to themed publications - Many children's magazines have themes for each issue. And, even for publications that do not have themed issues, editors still look for topics that can be used for holiday issues as well as other seasonal issues. For example, most publications feature some sort of back-to-school articles in their August or September issues. In the summer months, these same publications tend to feature articles that give vacation tips or crafts ideas and games to keep kids occupied during the summer. So, be sure to include some of these types of article ideas in your queries.

6. Look for lesson known publications - Competition is fierce for Highlights, Spider, Cricket, and most of the very popular publications for children. You'll automatically increase your chances for acceptance if you query publications that don't receive so many queries.

Try these 6 tips and it shouldn't take you long to start receiving acceptances from the children's magazines that you query.

For more tips and articles about writing for children, visit the National Writing for Children Center and join the Children's Writers' Coaching Club at http://www.cwcoachingclub.com

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, children's author, writing coach, and founder and director of The National Writing for Children Center at http://www.writingforchildrencenter.com


Suzanne Lieurance - EzineArticles Expert Author
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On the Spotlight: Tree House in a Storm, by Rachelle Burk


Today on the spotlight is Rachelle Burk's lovely children's book, Tree House in a Storm, just released by Stemmer House Publishing.

I recently had the chance of interviewing Rachelle and reviewing her book for Suite101.

Read my interview with Rachelle Burk.

Read my review of Tree House in a Storm.

About the book:

Kenny climbed trees as soon as he could walk, and a few years later, with the help of his little sister Allison, builds a tree house where the two of them rule as king and queen. But their reign promises to be a short one. Located in New Orleans, Kenny and Allisons tree house stands directly in the path of Hurricane Betsy!This touching tale about the devastation from severe weather events is sure to warm your heart. Learn with Kenny and Allison that even the worst storm can end with a rainbow.

Visit the author's WEBSITE to find out more about this book and its author. www.tips-fb.com

Friday, August 7, 2009

Interview with YA adult Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Today I'd like to introduce you to young adult author Diana Rodriguez Wallach. She's already written three novels in her young adult series. The first one, Amor and Summer Secrets, just won 2nd Place at the International Latino Book Awards. In this interview, the young author talks about her childhood, her books, writing habits, and her wonderful road to publication, among other things.
Thanks for being with us today, Diana! Tell us a bit about your childhood. What type of kid were you?
Overall, I was pretty good kid. My parents did a good job. But I think my classmates would probably remember me as one of those students who flew under the radar. I was a good student (National Honors Society, thank you very much), but I wasn’t one of the “smart kids.” I played sports, but I was mostly second string. I was a cheerleader, but it had nothing to do with popularity. And mostly I think I was in the “background” of the social scene.
Looking back, I can now recognize how insecure I was in middle and high school (what adolescent girl isn’t?). But I think that’s why I enjoy writing for teens. I still vividly remember how I felt during those years, and I hope teens today can relate to that voice in my writing.
When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
I’ll warn you, this is kind of a strange story. I started writing my first novel because I had a dream one night that I was a young adult author, and I dreamt the concept for an entire series of books. Seriously. When I woke up and told my husband, he reminded me of a vacation we took five years earlier through New England.
We had stopped in Salem, MA to see the witches’ houses (obviously). While there, I decided to visit a psychic (when in Rome, right?). So I sat down and the psychic immediately said, “You’re a writer.” And I was; at the time, I was a reporter. I told her this, and she asked what I wrote about. Intentionally trying to be cryptic (I mean, she is a psychic, shouldn’t she already know?), I told her that I wrote about “business.” She swiftly said, “No. I see you writing books, little books, like children’s books.”
I had never considered writing a book before. But after the dream, and my recollection of that psychic encounter, I figured it was “a sign.” So I sat down and started writing my first novel.
Tell us a little about your books and writing style.
Part of the inspiration for Amor and Summer Secrets was derived from my first trip to Puerto Rico after I graduated from college. I met my relatives there for the first time, and I got to see where my dad grew up. I really was impacted by that trip and decided I wanted to share some of those experiences in my novel.
So like me, my main character, Mariana Ruiz, grows up feeling very disconnected from her cultural heritage. She doesn’t feel anymore Puerto Rican than she does Polish. And when she’s shipped off to Puerto Rico for the summer, she experiences a huge culture shock. She doesn’t speak Spanish. She spoiled, she’s very close-minded, and she has no interest embracing her relatives.
But ultimately Mariana learns to open up. And that newfound sense of self comes back with her from the island. So you see a very different Mariana in Amigas and School Scandals and Adios to All The Drama. She’s more worldly, more accepting, and eventually more assertive. Plus, there’s also lots of boys, friends, and drama.
I’d say my writing style is more conversational. I like to write the way I believe Mariana thinks and avoid injecting any type of disconnected narrative tone. I want her to sound like a teenager.
What do young adults like to read about?
Well, as a teen, I know I liked to read a lot of Christopher Pike. I devoured every one of his books as soon as it was released, like: Remember Me?, Fall into Darkness, Chain Letter, you name it. A major component of his novels is suspense, which is something I try to incorporate into all of my books. Even if I’m telling a summer love story, I want suspense in every chapter. That’s what keeps not only teens, but readers in general, turning pages.
So in my first book, Amor and Summer Secrets, Mariana discovers a hidden secret as to why her family left Puerto Rico 30 years earlier. In the second book, Amigas and School Scandals, one of Mariana’s best friends is acting strangely and the truth behind her actions isn’t revealed until the end. And in the final book, Adios to All The Drama, Mariana is having boy (and friend) troubles rooting in issues that don’t fully unravel until the final scenes. Personally, I think it’s suspense that makes a good book.
Your road to publication was a first-author's success story. After you wrote the novel, you submitted an equery and 24 hours later, you had an agent. Were you surprised?
Yeah, I had a very atypical experience. But it wasn’t as easy as it seems. I spent a lot of time (months) on author message boards before crafting my query letter (www.writers.net, in particular). So I got a good sense of what works and what doesn’t in a query. I also really targeted my search, choosing agents I knew represented books similar to my own. And then I sent off the letters. I think in all, I probably sent about 20-plus queries within a two-week period.
My agent, Jenoyne Adams, accepts e-queries, which is why I got such a quick response. She let me email her my manuscript and read it in a single day. I think my novel was on submission with editors less than a month after I started querying. The whole thing was a whirlwind, so I was surprised to say the least. That said, my first novel never ended up selling. So I took my fair share of licks—just more on the editorial side than the agenting side. No author can escape rejection—don’t we wish!
How is your creative process like? Are you disciplined? Do you write everyday?
It depends on my mood, but typically I’m not much of a procrastinator. Typically, when it comes to the first draft, I write about 3,000 words per day. And I almost always write at the desk in my house and listen to music on Comcast TV (during the first draft, I often listen to heavy metal because I don’t know the words and pounding beat keeps me motivated. During revisions, I either listen to the ‘90s channel or ‘adult alternative.’). Also during revisions, I’m more likely to get out of the house. Since I live in Philly, I’m a slave to the seasons. So when it’s warm, I’ll work on my patio. And when it’s cold, I’ll move to a coffee shop.
What's on the horizon?
I am hard at work on a new work-in-progress. It’s a complete departure from my Amor series—lots of spies, suspense, fight scenes and, of course, a love triangle. I’m really excited about it. Plus I get to travel because I’m setting some scenes in Europe. And the main character is a lot of fun to write. She’s much cooler than I am, all about girl power, and her dialogue is very punchy. I hope to have it ready for the publishing world soon!

Thanks for the great interview, Diana!

www.tips-fb.com

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On the Spotlight: Adios to All the Drama, by Diana Rodriguez Wallach


Today I'd like to feature Diana Rodriguez Wallach's latest novel, Adios to All the Drama, which is the third book in her young adult series published by Kensington. The first book in the series, Amor and Summer Secrets, just won 2nd Place at the International Latino Book Awards. That's quite an achievement for this young author. Congrats, Diana!

Don't miss my interview with Diana this Friday!

About the book:

Mariana Ruiz thought she left her summer fling in Puerto Rico, that is until she finds Alex sitting across from her at the breakfast table. Living two doors down from her visiting old flame isn’t easy, especially given the unresolved sparks still lingering for her locker buddy Bobby—and they don’t exactly go unnoticed.

Her best friends are little help as Madison deals with her IM-only “boyfriend” and Emily sinks into secret mode after her parents’ recent breakup. The only relationship that seems to be working is her estranged aunt Teresa who’s tying the knot on New Years with Mariana and her cousin Lilly as bridesmaids. But the last wedding detail left unplanned is who will Mariana kiss at midnight?

Strained friendships, stolen kisses, and secret loves create plenty of surprises to unfold before the New Year’s bells start ringing…

About the author:

Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s debut novel, Amor and Summer Secrets, is the first in a young adult series published by Kensington Publishing in September 2008. The sequels to the series, Amigas and School Scandals and Adios to all the Drama, were released in November 2008 and January 2009, respectively.
Born to a Puerto Rican father and a Polish mother, Diana has experienced the cultures her characters inhabit, and many of the multi-cultural themes expressed in her novels are based on her personal background.


Diana holds a journalism degree from Boston University, and has worked as a reporter and as an advocate for inner city public schools. Her first novel, Amor and Summer Secrets, sold to Kensington Publishing on Fat Tuesday 2007 while she was at Mardi Gras wearing beads and a feathered mask.


She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband Jordan and her cat Lupi, who was rescued from a shelter in Harlem. Diana enjoys traveling, watching bad TV, reading great novels, practicing yoga and cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles.


Watch the book trailer...




www.tips-fb.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Adriana Dominguez joins Full Circle Literary


August 4, 2009 For more information, contact:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Stefanie Von Borstel

stefanie@fullcircleliterary.com

858-824-9269

Adriana Domínguez, Former HarperCollins Executive Editor,

Joins Full Circle Literary

Adriana Domínguez has joined Full Circle Literary as its newest agent, effective immediately. Ms. Domínguez has over ten years of experience in publishing, most recently as Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children's Books, where she managed the children’s division of the Latino imprint, Rayo.

Prior to her work at HarperCollins, Ms. Domínguez was Children’s Reviews Editor at Críticas magazine, published by Library Journal. She is also a professional translator, and has worked on a number of Spanish-language translations of best-selling children’s books.

At Full Circle Literary, Ms. Domínguez will continue her strong list of children’s picture books, middle grade novels, and literary young adult novels. She will also represent authors writing for adults in the following genres: literary fiction, women’s fiction, and historical fiction. For her adult nonfiction list, she will seek women’s interest, multicultural, pop culture, and how-to books.

Full Circle Literary founder Stefanie Von Borstel says, “We are very excited to have Adriana on board. Her eye for spotting and developing authors is unparalleled and we feel her taste is very much in tune with our global interests. Adriana and I met while working on Latino-interest projects at Rayo. I was impressed by her detail-oriented editing and her strength as an advocate for authors throughout the publishing process. I am certain that those skills, among others, will make her an excellent agent.”

“I am very much looking forward to helping published and unpublished authors develop their work and navigate the complex world of publishing from concept through publication, and beyond,” adds Ms. Domínguez. “I am particularly excited about having joined an agency that shares my interest in publishing the work of Latino authors, and that has the awards and recognition to prove that it does it well.”

Ms. Domínguez will be based in New York City and will serve as Full Circle Literary’s

East Coast representative. She can be contacted by e-mail at Adriana@fullcircleliterary.com.


Full Circle Literary is a California-based literary agency. Founded in 2004 by Stefanie Von Borstel and Lilly Ghahremani, the agency represents a wide range of children’s and adult authors. For more information, visit their website: www.fullcircleliterary.com.

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www.tips-fb.com

Monday, August 3, 2009

Interview with children's writer and artist Iliana Metallinou


1. Writers are told to write daily and find their voice. Do you feel you have more than one voice in your writing?

Yes, I do, as I enjoy writing a variety of mss from a different angle and mood, depending on my own personal attitude at the time of writing a piece. I believe that a ‘voice’ should develop and expand into many ‘voices’ over the time, as the outcome will be more appealing to the reader.

2. When did your passion for writing begin?

It dates back to school time, primary school actually, when I was writing the lyrics for my own songs. I even created illustrated short stories for the English class I was attending, a sort of a diary. I was also fascinated by comics and tried to write my own stories then.

3. What inspired you to keep writing while getting rejection letters or struggling with writers block?

I think I have got that ‘bug’ that cannot go away whatever happens! I used to get very upset at the beginning when I received rejection letters, but later on I realized that each rejection was a step forward to success, and I just did not allow myself to stop writing. Writing is a way of feeling alive for me, and I will never give it up because I just …love it!

4. How do you come up with ideas for your writings and why do you feel you choose some over others?

Ideas come at any time, usually by observing things and people around, but sometimes come when I relax or I am ready to sleep. This is most annoying as I have to write down a couple of notes to make sure I remember them the next morning. I usually choose the ones that seem feasible for me to realize, after some thought, but I always pick up those that will make me feel good and happy with!

5. Are you a daily disciplined writer? Do you find it difficult to stick to your schedule? Do you have certain tricks you use so that you don't stray from your writing?

Sometimes I have to follow a schedule, depending on my day time job. I try to write every day so as not to lose track of my thoughts. I also don’t mind the noise of the background or some music. I can perform quite well in front of the TV! Some distracters make me concentrate more on my work. I always keep a note pad so that I know what I have to do every day. For example, I write down ‘Interview to Dallas’, so that I know that next time I sit down to write, this will be my first task to complete.

6. How much time do you devote to marketing your book/s and what kind of marketing do you recommend?

I wish I had more time to market my books, so I’m afraid I don’t do much about it. I only use my websites at http://lianametal.tripod.com and at http://liamet.tripod.com, and my blogs http://lianastories.blogspot.com and http://lianaskerkyra.blogspot.com where the readers can find my books, and the sites they can purchase them at www.lulu.com or www.amazon.com.

From time to time I write articles for newsletters and I send reviews of other writers’ books to a variety of sites so that I can have free promotion. I think this is the best way to promote your work online. Just make sure you add your site address and your email at the bottom of each piece.

7. How do you prepare for a writing idea for fiction? Do you outline the characters, setting, plot, etc. before you begin writing? If you only write non fiction books, how do you prepare for your book idea?

For Fiction, first come the characters as it is important for me to know who will be the basic person in the story and which is h/her relationship with the rest of the characters. So, an outline is essential. Then come the setting and the plot, as these two elements can be often modified during the course of the story. For non fiction books it is best to write an outline of the contents of the book first, so as to see what you can add or omit beforehand.

8. How many rewrites do you usually write before submitting it to a publisher?

One or two, but it all depends on the kind of work.

9. Have you had any bad experiences in working with a publisher/agent or failed publication/payment of writings done? If so, how did you handle it?

I had once found a publisher who, after a very long waiting time, was still unwilling to decide whether he wanted my mss or not. So, I had to give him a deadline, but this ended the deal. Regarding agents, the only time I contacted an agent was last year and I must admit I almost fell into the trap of a fake agent. While at first everything seemed fine and legal, then he sent me a contract that demanded a ‘disguised’ fee for their work. Of course that made me stop the deal, but, till today, I am not sure if they have used my e book which was sent to them beforehand. Therefore, I prefer publishing my books myself.

10. Who are your favourite authors, and why do they inspire you?

Life inspires me, but still, some authors’ stories can ‘touch’ me and influence my thought. I am an avid reader and I review a lot of books every year, so I believe that each author has got their own unique style. But it depends on the readers to decide if and how much they get affected by the story.

11. Tell us about yourself!

I am a Language teacher (MA in Ed.), artist, reviewer and writer living in Greece. As a mother of two, I have spent most of my time raising a family and working full time at my own Language School, while painting and writing in my free time. When my kids grew up I decided it was high time I followed my dream to become a writer. I have self published several e books and several print books for my students, and a great number of my articles have been published both in print and online magazines. I started my career by writing children’s stories and educational material, and then created e books of both fiction and non fiction. My articles, reviews and books can be found at http://lianametal.tripod.com, at http://liamet.tripod.com, and at my blogs http://lianastories.blogspot.com and http://lianaskerkyra.blogspot.com.

I am a member of the authors’ group at OU University, UK, and many writers’ groups online. You can contact me at lianametal@yahoo.com .

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