"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." ~E.L. Doctorow

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekend Inspiration

A great many of you know that I post more than my fair share of songs on this blog. Songs, that I hope somewhere along the line, will offer you some inspiration during your writing. Well this song...this song is far beyond phenominal. I adore this song, and I honestly hope that you get goosebumps like I did.

Enjoy Peoples! And have a many splendid weekend. :D

Monday, October 3, 2011

Inside the Author’s Studio Interview: October

Please help me welcome...

Juliet Greenwood
Debut Author of Eden’s Garden

1.) Can you tell us a little about your debut novel EDEN’S GARDEN?

Eden’s Garden is a ‘time-shift’ novel, with two intertwined strands of the story taking place in different eras, as in Kate Morton’s ‘The House at Riverton’. Eden’s Garden follows the Meredith family of Plas Eden, a dilapidated mansion with a collection of mysterious statues in its overgrown garden, and the servants who once served there. If you love ‘Downton Abbey’, this is the book for you!
In the present day, 34 year old Carys returns home to look after her ailing mother and finds herself drawn once more to Plas Eden, home of her lost love, David Meredith.
In late Victorian London, a woman wracked with loss and guilt stands on Westminster Bridge, preparing to end her life in the dark waters of the Thames. At the last moment she turns, making her way instead to the nearby Meredith Charity Hospital.
Slowly, the long-buried secrets of the Meredith family are revealed, while Carys begins to uncover unexpected secrets of her own. And as she and David pursue the trail to the coast of Cornwall, Carys begins to realise that it is not only the fate of a long-ago love story, but her own future, that is at stake.

2.) When is your release date?

My lips are sealed! But I can tell you it will during spring 2012. Watch this space!

3.) I see EDEN’S GARDEN has been contracted by Honno Press, a fantastic independent publisher that is run by women and whose main goal is to publish the best of Welsh women’s writing. How do you feel about being a part of this group?

I am so excited about becoming part of Honno! I still can’t quite believe it. When I first sent my manuscript to them, they didn’t accept it straightaway, but instead gave me the opportunity of working with one of their editors to bring the book up to publishable standard. I knew there was no guarantee that Honno would then take the book, but that the experience would be like gold dust. And it was! It was like having a personal trainer who pushed me further than I would have believed and has changed my attitude to my work forever.
I’m proud to be published by Honno and to join such an awesome group of women who really believe in women’s writing.

4.) How did you come up with the concept for EDEN’S GARDEN?

My original inspiration for the book was Celtic myth of Blodeuwedd, the woman made out of flowers to be a perfect wife. Blodeuwedd doesn’t stay the ‘perfect’ and the dutiful woman she was made to be, but falls in love with someone else. She tries to get rid of her husband and is punished by being turned into an owl, to spend the rest of her life ugly and despised.
The story has always fascinated me, especially as I’ve grown older. It seemed to symbolise the way we as women are valued when we are young and wish to please others, but this changes as we gain life experience and develop minds of our own. While men are venerated and rewarded as they show signs of growing older, our society still sidelines older women, and our life experience is still not recognised and celebrated, let alone respected. I feel passionately that it’s time we women claimed our right to wrinkles as a badge of honour! For, if you look really look, an owl is a creature of the most exquisite beauty. So the story of Eden’s Garden is about women growing older and wiser, and the true beauty that they gain.
And the garden? I love gardens, large and small. When I was beginning Eden’s Garden I had just read a book about the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall and how Heligan was brought back to life after being abandoned when the gardeners went off to fight in the First World War. There was no way that was going to stay out of my book!

5.) Favorite character?

Ah. A bit of a tricky one, this. I don’t want to spoil the central mystery. All I can say is that it’s the character who goes on the longest inner journey of all during the book. And you’ll know who I mean when you’ve read it. (So you’ve just got to buy it now, you see)

6.) When, where and how did you get into writing?

I began writing seriously about ten years ago. Five years before that, I’d moved back to Wales after living in London, bought a house and started a new career. Life seemed to be sorted. But then I contracted glandular fever. Fool that I was, I battled on without realising how ill I was, until my body began to fall apart, and by then the damage was done. I was very ill for twelve months and then left with years of debilitating M.E.
Going from a fit person who climbed mountains to being scarcely able to walk to the end of my garden was a life-changing experience. It made me look at my life and what I wanted to really do. When you only have enough energy to do anything for a couple of hours each day, it doesn’t half concentrate the mind! So, strangely, the thing that broke me, was the thing that made me. Without M.E I would never have found the courage to attempt to become a writer.
It took me a while to get my energy back and find part-time work. I started writing slowly, entering short story competitions and getting feedback. Some of it swingeing, and deservedly so. Gradually I built up to selling stories to magazines, then novelettes and a short novel. I had lots of false starts, and I’ve plenty of novels stashed away that will never, ever see the light of day. It’s been a long, gradual process. But I’ve learnt so much along the way, met so many wonderful and supportive writers and had so much fun I wouldn’t change a thing (Well a few million in the bank and a housekeeper, maybe).

7.) On your website, you’ve have some absolutely gorgeous photos of the landscape of Wales.

How has living in such rural beauty influenced your writing?
Thank you! I think it’s influenced my writing mainly by giving me the mental space to write. I loved living in London, and I still enjoy going back there and the buzz of city life. But to be creative I find I need stillness and a lack of distraction. Because I am still building up my fitness after my illness, I walk for miles with my dog through the landscape, and it’s this that is my thinking time.
Plus living amongst mountains and ruined castles just has to bring out the romantic in you! It’s probably why I haven’t concentrated on crime!

8.) What is your favorite book?

Jane Eyre. I love following the inner life of such a passionate, independently minded woman struggling against her society’s pre-conceived ideas of what a woman should be.

9.) Can you tell us about finding your agent and everything you went through signing with her/him?

I’m still looking for an agent. Honno takes un-agented submissions and I’ve sold my stories and serials to magazines myself. I know I’ll need an agent in the future, but I’m happy to wait for now until I find one who loves my work and who I really ‘click’ with. It’s such an important relationship I feel it’s worth waiting.

10.) How was dealing with the contract negotiations from the writer’s standpoint?

Because I’d been working with them for so long, and they are such a supportive small press, I found the negotiations very civilised. The contract was a bit daunting, even though I’ve had ones for my novelettes and my short book, ‘Elissa’s Castle’, but once I was sure I understood the legal language, it was fine. The bit that worried me was the e-book rights, but that’s fine as ‘Eden’s Garden’ will be coming out as an e-book as well.

Lipton’s Questionnaire

1.) What is your favorite word?

Cariad’. It’s the Welsh word for ‘love’ or ‘darling’ and is used as a general term of endearment.
I was nearly wicked and claimed it was the name of a nearby village, which is: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Only we call it Llanfair PG. And that’s not quite the same!

Hahahaha. Wow that’s a mouthful! Well I thank you for saving me from having to try to pronounce it. Although, I do have to wonder exactly what other names the Welsh give to their villages.

2.) What is your least favorite word?

‘People’, when used by (usually middle-aged male) historians as ‘the people’, meaning general assorted peasantry who can’t think and don’t count for much. Unlike kings and lords who do. Being one of the general assorted peasantry, I object!

3.) What turns you on about writing?

Oh, it has to be the buzz when suddenly a scene comes together and it’s all clicking and you’re in The Zone. It’s better than sex. It’s even better than chocolate.

4.) What turns you off?

The start of the day, or coming back to a book after several days in the day job. When you are most definitely not in the zone, and you haven’t a clue how you ever got there in the first place or if it even exists. And even housework suddenly seems far more appealing … When my house is tidy, my friends know not to even mention the Work in Progress.

5.) What sound or noise do you love?

The pull of the sea over pebbles. On a quiet summer’s day, that seems to me like the sound of eternity.

6.) What sound or noise do you hate?

I live on the edges of a village built around a slate quarry. I hate the sound of blasting, because it is always a reminder of how many men died in the past, when they had to place dynamite into holes in the mountain face while dangling precariously from a rope.

7.) What is your favorite curse word?

‘Sod’. Actually, my ultimate favourite is ‘rats’. But I’m not sure if that counts as a swear word!

8.) What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Archeology. I love the idea of finding out about lives of ordinary people in the past. I’d want to be the kind who lives in roundhouses and reconstructs how Iron-Age people cooked or wove clothes and told stories round a central fire. (And then goes home for a shower)

9.) What profession other than your own would you not like to attempt?

Anything to do with selling stocks and shares. Making a load of money while risking others’ – no thanks!

10.) If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“Welcome to the garden. Please choose your selection of seeds.”

Thank you so much, Juliet, for coming to share a little of yourself and your experiences! It has been lovely getting to meet you and I wish you all the best!

P.S. If you meet Prince William at any point, do me a favor and say "HI" for me. :D

If you'd like to know more about Juliet and her works please feel free to visit her site here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Helllllllllllo Weekend

We started this week with Sara Bareilles, and I figured we could end this week with her too. Plus its a very happy, upbeat, get your butt out of your chair and start dancing song. SO ENJOY PEOPLE!!! I'll see you on the flip side.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Monday Morning Woo!

Hope this brings a little woo to your Monday. I was cracking up laughing, so I had to share. :D

P.S. These are the outtakes of everyone trying to lipsync it. With all the trouble everyone else had, got to give Sara credit...


Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Morning Remedies

Since I haven't posted one for a while here is a Monday morning inspiration. Hopefully it will make your Monday a little more palatable.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blog Award

The fabulous Kelly Hashway has bestowed upon me the Liebster Blog Award and I just had to say thank you, so THANK YOU!!!

The Liebster Blog Award is for blogs that have under 200 followers. This award is a great way to share some blogging love, get people’s names out there, and help bloggers build up their followers. There are some rules that come with the Liebster Blog Award

1. Thank the person who gave you this award and link back to them


2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'll get to that in a minute. :D

3. Copy and paste the award on your blog


4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers


5. And best of all - have blogging fun!

Double Check!

And now for my own Bloggie Award bestowing. :D

3.) Samantha Sotto.com (not sure if this one is still admissable)

Okay that's it. And thanks again Kelly! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How bad?

The other day, Beverly Diehl brought up a good discussion point and I thought it would be fun to ask. Exactly how bad does a book have to be for you to stop reading it? Also if it is bad or you just aren't feeling it - would you stop reading or do you finish it to see if it gets any better?

Personally, I have an extremely hard time just stopping in the middle. I would rather be disappointed with the story than not know how it ends! haha. I will definately say I'm a bit nurotic in that sense.

So what about you? Do toss it across the room or do you muddle through?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Parent Pick up line

So I've decided that a perfect test for how great a book is, is if you smuggle it in your purse so you can read it (in peace) while you wait in the parent pick-up line at your child's school. If the teacher opens the door to put your kiddo in the back and you get startled by the interuption.

So here's the question of the day,

What was the last GREAT book you've read?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Author Hunt!

Hey Everyone,

I need some help. I'm on the look out for a new Inside the Author's Studio author for next month. I'm not ashamed to say that I've become very attached to the Studio, and enjoy connecting with other authors. I hope that I can continue it.

So if you, or one of your friends, is an author who has a book published by a traditional publishing house, or one that will soon be released, and would like to participate, please feel free to contact me. cmvillani.blog@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


This morning, I'm feeling like Mike Myers in that old Saturday Night Live sketch - Coffee Talk. "I'm a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourself. I'll give you a topic...Discuss! "

So my Question: Which did you like better as your bookstore of choice, Borders or Barnes & Noble? (I know... I know... What about the Independent book stores? you say. But Indies are a horse of a different color, I think... and I will get into those at a later date)

But I've got to say I'm curious because a group of my writerly friends and I were having a discussion about this very topic and it seemed to be the consensus that we all liked Borders better. I found that odd given the fate of the poor book dealer.

And I know its fate had a lot more to do with the evolution of Ereaders and EBooks than it did with the fact that it was a favorite/ or not-so-favorite hang out for many of us. But I was interested to see what other peoples' opinions were.

So what about the rest of you? What is your preference?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Inspiration for your Weekend!

Happy Weekend Peoples! Hope you all are planning yourselves a good one. I will be ocean-side for the Lovely Labor Day weekend. How about you?

Here is a little piece of inspiration I thought I would leave you with.

As most of you know the East coast was busy getting slammed by Irene while the VMA (Video Music Awards) were airing on MTV. So I didn't exactly get to watch it right then and there. However when everything was righted again, and there was time to breath, I heared that the one performance that you have to check out was Adele's. And I have to hand it to that girl, she can belt out heartbreak like no one's business! So here is the video of Adele's "Someone Like You." Enjoy!!

Thank You

I just wanted to take a moment to thank Kelly Hashway for agreeing to let me put her on the spot for this month's Inside the Author's Studio. She was such a sport and by the look of all those comments, you all really enjoyed getting a glimpse inside her life. :D

Thanks Kelly!

And if you would like to find out more about Kelly and her book, please visit her website.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Inside the Author's Studio

This Months Inside the Author's Studio introduces

Kelly Hashway

Author of

1.) Why don’t you tell us a little about your latest publication MAY THE BEST DOG WIN and the adorable puppy Dash who stars in it?

Sure. May the Best Dog Win is the story of Dash, a mixed breed dog who has the perfect life until the Sweeper arrives. Dash thinks Sweeper is a strange new breed of hairless dog and he’s getting all Mom’s attention. But Dash isn’t about to give up his title as the favorite dog without a fight. (And yes, Sweeper is a vacuum. But don’t tell Dash that!)

2.) Why did you decide to get into Children’s Lit?

It was never really a choice for me. I’ve always written stories, and they were always for kids. I just consider it part of who I am.

3.) For those of us not familiar with the writing process that penning a picture book entails, could you tell us a little about it? How did you team up with your illustrator Valerie Bouthyette?

Well, picture books are a 50/50 between the author and the illustrator. My publisher paired me with Valerie, and she’s amazing. She blew me away with her illustrations because she really captured Dash and his emotions throughout the story. You wouldn’t believe all the revisions a picture book can go through since it’s so short, but every word counts. I even had to make revisions based on some of the illustrations. It’s a lot of work but also a lot of fun.

4.) I know, as it stands right now, you are working on a YA novel. Do you enjoy the freedom of switching genres? Is your agent supportive of your choice to switch?

My agent knew upfront that I loved middle grade and young adult and that I wrote across genres (fantasy, contemporary, horror, paranormal). She’s very supportive of me writing what I feel inspired to write, and I love that. Crossing genres keeps my writing fresh, and that’s important to me.

5.) Tell us a little about your agent and how the two of you joined forces?

I’m represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management. When I queried her, she got back to me very quickly with a request for the manuscript. And soon after she called to offer representation. It was kind of surreal how we just clicked. I had full’s out with three other agents, but after talking to Lauren, I knew she was the agent for me. She has been absolutely amazing since we signed together in February. She was so enthusiastic about my middle grade novel she signed me with, and since then, her excitement has helped me write two more novels. She motivates me like no one I’ve ever known.

6.) Do you have a favorite genre?

Fantasy is definitely my favorite. But I prefer books that are grounded in the real world. I think of it as reality with a touch of the fantastic.

7.) Which came first? The Book or the Pen? Meaning which enticed you into the literary world first, the reading or the writing?

Reading. I remember wanting to learn to read more than anything else. I loved bookstores more than toy stores, and I always had my nose in a book.

8.) If you had a chance to work with one author – dead or alive – who would it be and why?

Ooh, that’s a tough one! There are so many. I’m going to have to go with Rick Riordan because I love his voice. Reading his books really helped me with my own writing.

Lipton’s Questionnaire:

1.) What is your favorite word? Magnanimous (I’ve never used it in my writing though.)

2.) What is your least favorite word? Then. In most cases, it’s a useless word.
3.) What turns you on about writing? Escaping the real world.
4.) What turns you off? Revising a piece for the 100th time.
5.) What sound or noise do you love? My daughter’s laugh.
6.) What sound or noise do you hate? Teeth clinking together. Ugh!
7.) What is your favorite curse word? Damn. Does that even count?
8.) What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Literary Agent
9.) What profession other than your own would you not like to attempt? Waste removal--I have a very sensitive sense of smell. ;)
10.) If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say with you arrive at the Pearly Gates? That my family is waiting to greet me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Inspiration for your day

I just wanted to let you all know that no I haven't fallen off the face of the planet. Not yet at least. :) Life has just gone crazy with the start of school coming up for my two little ones. (I keep thinking its going to get easier as they get older, Boy was I wrong.) Anyway, while I am manically trying not to let my head topple off, I figured I would leave you with this little inspiration.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Inspiration for your Day

This little tune floated into my ear almost unnoticed this morning, but something pulled my focus to it and I realized. It reminded me of a certain book I'm reading at the moment. Let me know what you guys think?

Monday, August 8, 2011


I hope everyone had a happy weekend. By the sound of it, most of you were really looking forward to it. :)

Hubby and I took the kids Peach picking at an orchard this weekend. (Can anyone say peach cobbler?) I'm telling you ...there is nothing like the smell of fresh, juicy peaches, rippening on the trees in the summertime. Its one of those things you really hope your kids remember when they grow up. :) (Oh and I made blueberry jelly too. )

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that I've added an "Advice for Authors" Page to the site with a couple things I've found on the web. I'm hoping to add to it frequently. So if any of you have links to helpful writing/publishing hints, ideas, or lists, please feel free to share them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Inspiration for your day

Happy Friday Peoples!
I just wanted to share this one before the end of the work week, so there was a smile in place as you started your weekend.

This song is all about


All of which, I think we need to make the most of.

So I hope all of you have a great weekend and make sure you find something fun to do for yourselves. :D

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Release Day

Okay so first I have to apologize. I was incapacitated by something that was comparable to the Bubonic Plague for the last two days, so I didn't get a chance to give a huge congratulations to our spotlight author - Samantha Sotto - on the publication of her debut novel BEFORE EVER AFTER which had its very special release day yesterday August 2, 2011.

Please help me congratulate her on her great accomplishment and by all means hit your local bookstore to pick up a copy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Comedy vs Tragedy

So I thought I would pose this question today...which do you find harder to write, Comedy or Drama? Personally I think Comedy is so much harder. More specifically, I lack the confidence in my sense of humor translating well to a public audience. Or in layman's terms, how do I know that other people will think what I think is funny too?

With the adverse, I seem to be proficient in writing angsty dramatic goodness. That's what I like to write. (Although I love memorable, funny, and sarcastic characters but I don't seem to be good at writing them - not that I don't try).

I know there are other people who are out there that have fantastic senses of humor that never fail to put people into hysterics, but can't write a tear jerker scene worth a damn.

So I can't help but wonder which happens more ofter? Which do you think is easier to write? Which is harder? And I guess more importantly - have you ever tried to improve on the later and what helped turn it around for you?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pen Names

So what do you guys think of Pen Names?

Lately I've been contemplating whether or not I should use a pen name or not. I know, I know cart before the horse and all that but unfortunately (or fortunately which ever way you look at it) that is how my brain works.

In the end, I think I came to the realization that the only reason I would choose to use a pen name would be for my kids' sake. For whatever reason - good, bad or indifferent - I wouldn't want my kids to be intruded upon because of my literary life.

So for you authors out there - how did you decide what to put on your by line? Do you use your real name or a pen name? What made you decide?

A Balancing Act

So I was wondering the other day if an author could balance two projects at the same time (more specifically an author without the benefit of a staff, editor, or agent to help them out). Do you think you could give equal attention to two different stories at once? Do you think you could keep the characters from melding into the other story? Would you ever attempt it? Or do you think sticking to one story at a time is the way to go?

What would you do?

Monday, July 18, 2011


Today I just needed to post up this inspiration. It was just something that tugged on my heart this morning and I hope you all find the inspiration in it that I did.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We authors are a weird bunch.

Okay I just had to say it, but let me expain before you start yelling at me for being rude.

So I was having a conversation with my best friend and she asked me how my writing was going. To which I said, it was going very well. I loved the new character that I flushed out. And the dialogue was just flowing fabulously. All in all, it was great! (which it hasn't been for a while)

Then this exact sentence came out of my mouth, and I realized exactly how odd we writers are in general. I said, "I finally figured out how to kill them! Its going to be great and I can't wait!!"

Yup..... just let that sentence sink in for a second.

Hahaha. I then proceded to say "Geez, if anyone who didn't know me, just read that they would think I was a murderous psychopath!" Where else could you get away with saying that and not have the police busting down your door. :D

So have you every said or done something in regards to your writing that suddenly struck you as being sincerely weird?

Inspiration: This man just screams Summertime so I decided I needed to share a few.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Did you ever...

Did you ever have one of those days where you just want to disappear from your regular life for a couple hours so you could just do something fun? Just for yourself?

Today is one of those days. However here I sit at my desk of boredom, staring out the window and wishing... So since I can't get away, I'd love to hear about where you guys would go if all your responsibilities could suddenly be put on hold (and kiddos were at grandma's house).

Personally chilling out at the local coffee house with air conditioning, a frozen, heavily-caffeinated beverage and a laptop sounds like heaven right now. :D What about you?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Children and books

If there is one thing that I love about my daily mommy responsibilities, it would be those precious moments that I can snuggle up with my kiddos and read a bed time story with them. Just me and them without any deadlines, to-do's or anything else. I love it!

Anyway, recently, my five year old son asked me to start reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to him - I was thrilled to say the least. You see the Harry Potter series holds a special place in my heart, so the fact that my kiddo wanted me to share it with him had me overjoyed.

So just out of curiosity I wanted to ask all of you...Do you have a book/series that you are just dying to introduce to your little one? Or were excited about sharing with them?

Read for a Good Cause

For those of you who have been around this blog for a while know that I'm all for supporting a good cause. Well today I found a good cause.

Goodreads is hosting a reading event on their site in conglomeration with First Book. For ever 10,000 people that add "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan (their current Book Club book) to their shelves, they will donate 1,000 books to children in need. They are up to 2,000 books already!!!

So head on over and add their book to your shelves. And give the kids a better glimpse at the literary world we love so much.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Inside the Author’s Studio

Inside the Author’s Studio

Samantha Sotto

1.) So your debut novel – BEFORE EVER AFTER - is due out on August 2nd. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

BEFORE EVER AFTER is a modern fairy tale about true love, happy endings, new beginnings, and everything in between. It follows the story of Shelley, a young widow who discovers that her dead husband may in fact be very much alive—which would be wonderful if the bearer of this news wasn’t her thirty-two-year-old husband’s thirty-two-year-old grandson. Shelley’s search for answers takes her from revolutionary Paris to medieval Prussia to ancient Venice, and finally to a place where she discovers whether love is truly everlasting.

Three years after her husband Max’s death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max’s long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.

As outrageous as Paolo’s claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn’t he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max’s stories of bloody Parisian barricades,medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her “happily ever after.” And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.

2.) Where did your inspiration for this novel come from?

There are two ways you can deal with traffic: you can sit in your car and slowly go insane, or you can plot out a novel.

It might have been the Dr. Who marathon I had just emerged from or the “hangover” I was nursing after reading the Time Traveller’s Wife (I couldn’t stop crying about Henry!) or a combination of both that made Max, my main character, hitch a ride with me that afternoon. I didn’t know much about him then, except that he had a talent for staying alive, had a soft spot for chickens, ran an offbeat European tour, and was not a vampire. I began to wonder more about his “lifetimes” and the people he had met along the way. That’s when I discovered that he had a wife, or rather, a widow – who had no idea who he really was. I knew then that I had to hop aboard Max’s Volkswagen van and take a detour into his and Shelley’ s story.

You might say that the research for this book was done years before I even had the idea to write it. I lived, studied, and traveled through Europe and have always been drawn to its crooked cobblestone alleys and tucked away corners. These forgotten nooks whispered stories that the history books left out. The “gaps” I found between by my travel scrapbooks and formal research became the places and times Max filled in with his secrets.

3.) That sounds amazingly fun to both read and write. So I guess since your settings are based on real life places you've visited, the question is are your characters based on real people in your life? And if so, which ones?

I wish ;-)

4.) Hahaha. Okay fine be that way. So who’s your favorite Character then?

Ugh. Do I have to choose? I love all of them! Well, okay, since you twisted my arm (ow).

Max. He believes that you can get through anything if you have a chicken. What’s not to like? (Don’t tell the others. They may never speak to me again.)

5.) Sooooo when were you bitten by the writing bug exactly?

During the Great Infestation of 2009.

6.) Can you tell us about your publishing process? How long was it first word to printing press?

Hmm. Let me see…it took me one year to write the book, a couple of months to find an agent, about a month to get a book deal and a year and a half to get the book to press…*converts glacial time*…so that comes out to a bazillion years, give or take a trillion.

7.) Feels that was some times doesn't it? :D Well we are all excited to read your book, but we have to wait! However, I see you've had many authors review your book already. So what was the ARC process like?

I’m still saving up for therapy…

8.) You mention that BEFORE EVER AFTER is inspired by your experiences traveling through Europe, I can't imagine picking a favorite place in Europe, but give us your top 5 must sees on a European dream vacation?

This is a TOUGH question. You’re trying to torture me, aren’t you?


Okaaaaay…here it goes:

1.) Museé Rodin, Paris, France - If you’re looking for a nice quiet spot to escape, have a coffee at the nice little café in the museum’s lovely garden.
2.) Keukenhof, Lisse, The Netherlands – It’s the world’s largest flower garden. Need I say more?
3.) The Roman Baths, Bath, England – Unless you’re a fan of lead poisoning, I wouldn’t recommend taking a dip in the ancient spring. The building that houses the spring however, has been voted the most romantic building in Britain.
4.) Venice, Italy – I don’t have a specific favorite spot – which is exactly why I love Venice. There’s no better place to wander aimlessly.
5.) Herculaneum Excavation Site, Ercolano, Italy – Luckily, you don’t need a Tardis to travel back in time to see this “frozen” Roman town.

And for those of you who are familiar with Inside the Actor's studio, here's the part where I break out my James Lipton mask and start with my own version of the Proust Questionnaire. For those of you who aren't familiar with the show - this is a rapid fire interview.

Harry Potter Finale - opening night or wait?

Opening night!!! The sleeping bag is packed and ready.

Sci-Fi or Fantasy?

Let’s put it this way: If I ever found myself in the same room as Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling and David Eddings…my head would explode from glee.


Waiting for the next Doctor Who episode and the next season of Game of Thrones is all the anticipation I can handle in my life right now.

Home cooking or Take out?

Nothing beats my husband’s cooking…unless it’s movie night and I have a craving for garlic and cheese pizza.

Happy or sad endings?

Give me a memorable and satisfying happy ending and I will love you forever.

Thank you very much, Sam, for giving us a little bit of your time. I hope the count down to the release date goes smoothly for you. And for the rest of us - Be on the look out for BEFORE EVER AFTER due in stores on August 2nd!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So long story short, after reading everyone's comments from yesterday I found that the general consensus is that in the end Readers read and writers write. But those of us that are a little of both are screwed. :)

Personally I think it is all about focus. Movies are great because they are done and over in two hours (more or less) and you feel satisfied (hopefully) in the end, ready to move on. Reading books take a bit more of a commitment - depending on how life goes for you, you can usually get one done at least within a week or less and again - satisfied.

When you're writing however - the commitment is a whole lot greater. It can take months or years to finish writing a novel and that doesn't even get into the editing process. (Querying and everything else I will get into on a later date) The lack of instant gratification that we are all used to in this golden age of technology is just not there. I know I've blogged about instant gratification before but I really think that this is a very important thing for us writers. And we don't get it very often.

I actually ended up having a conversation with my husband last night about the lack of progress in my writing and how sad it makes me. And God bless him he really tries to understand but doesn't fully get it.

In all honesty I don't really have anything to equate it too for him. Nothing that will really show him what it feels like. It is my dream to get a book published and yet I feel like I'm falling further and further behind on accomplishing that goal. I need to push myself ad whole lot harder and strengthen my resolve to stay focused. If I don't drift off to watch tv or scan the internet then the progress will hopefully prompt some of the enthusiasm that I've been missing so desperately.


So long story short, after reading everyone's comments from yesterday I found that the general consensus is that in the end Readers read and writers write. But those of us that are a little of both are screwed. :)

Personally I think it is all about focus. Movies are great because they are done and over in two hours (more or less) and you feel satisfied (hopefully) in the end, ready to move on. Reading books take a bit more of a commitment - depending on how life goes for you, you can usually get one done at least within a week or less and again - satisfied.

When you're writing however - the commitment is a whole lot greater. It can take months or years to finish writing a novel and that doesn't even get into the editing process. (Querying and everything else I will get into on a later date) The lack of instant gratification that we are all used to in this golden age of technology is just not there. I know I've blogged about instant gratification before but I really think that this is a very important thing for us writers. And we don't get it very often.

I actually ended up having a conversation with my husband last night about the lack of progress in my writing and how sad it makes me. And God bless him he really tries to understand but doesn't fully get it.

In all honesty I don't really have anything to equate it too for him. Nothing that will really show him what it feels like. It is my dream to get a book published and yet I feel like I'm falling further and further behind on accomplishing that goal. I need to push myself ad whole lot harder and strengthen my resolve to stay focused. If I don't drift off to watch tv or scan the internet then the progress will hopefully prompt some of the enthusiasm that I've been missing so desperately.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Choice

Like many of you, carving out some time for myself during my manic week is a pretty difficult thing...okay to be truthful its damn near impossible - especially as of late. And on the rare occasion that I do snag some of that precious spare time, its a staggering effort to choose what to do with my time.

  • Do I go out with the friends I haven't seen in forever?

  • Do I go out with the hubby to watch a movie that I've been dying to see?

  • Do I go out to dinner?

  • Do I stay in and Read?

  • Do I stay in and Write?

  • If write, what story should I choose?

It's extremely aggrivating - so much so that I get to the point where I can't settle on one thing and end up not doing anything fruitful!! Aggrivation city, people. Aggrivation city. So my question for you fine peeps is...DOES THIS HAPPEN TO YOU???!

And if so how do you deal?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Girl Pride

So those who know me, know that I'm all about a girl having pride in herself at any stage of life, and so I thought today would be a good GIRL PRIDE day.

Today, I give you this inspiration which comes from my daughter. Hearing her sing it at the top of her lungs up in her bedroom makes me smile everytime. Personally, I think it is the best message we can give to our little girls.

You should never - EVER - give anyone the power to make you feel bad about yourself. You are EXACTLY how you should be, and that will always be FABULOUS!

So this one is dedicated you are you girls out there. Sing it with me!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


So I was thinking about this yesterday and thought I would put it out there for opinions. When it comes to movies, I really don't put any stock into a critic's review. I go to a movie purely for the fascination factor - if it looks intriguing then I'll go to see it. The critics' opinions be damned.

I just find that they don't have a clue what they are talking about when it comes to the tastes of the general public.

That being said, I find the complete opposite is true when I'm talking about books. Well maybe not the complete opposite. Let me explain.

I still can't really stand the "professionals" that critic books either. The ones paid by the industry because ...well ...they are being paid. It just feels like they are backing the ones that come with the biggest paychecks.

However, if I have two books that I really want to get but can only pick one, I'll check out the jacket cover, maybe the first page or two, and then see if there are any good reviews about it on Goodreads. You see the reviews on Goodreads, I will pay attention to because they are written by normal, everyday, rabid readers. The people who read for enjoyment, not just to seem like they are intellectual elite.

Do you know what I mean?

So what do you guys think? Do you pay attention to what the critics are saying? or do you prefer to go with your gut on books?

And for the Inspiration For Your Day: Ke$ha's Blow - Purely for the randomness of the video... :D

Friday, June 17, 2011

Inspiration for your day

I haven't heard this song in a while and thought I would post it as a tribute to all my friends that entered the armed forces after school. They make me so proud every day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What If...

I figured I would play the "What if..." game today. What if you could choose any one author (living or dead) to work with on a project, who would it be?

Honestly, I'm not sure I have an answer to this myself. There are too many authors I would love to pen something with that I can't really pick one. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? J.K. Rowling? Dan Brown maybe? hmmm....

What about you? Do you have an authorial hero you'd give anything to work with?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How Awesome is this?!

I've been looking for something uplifting to post on the ole' blog today and my bestie sent me this link. It's got to be the coolest thing I've seen in a very long while and I wanted to share.

So backstory: USA Today wrote an article deeming Grand Rapids a "Dying City" and in an effort to prove them wrong, the awesome people who live there put together this video that not only shows off how beautiful their fair city is but also breaks the world record for most people involved with Lipsyncing a song. It was also shot in one continuous shot - no editing - which given the fact that it is close to 10 minutes long, running thru the majority of the city streets while filming and has more than 5000 people involved is pretty damn impressive.

Hope you guys enjoy it. :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Inspiration for your day

I'm sure I posted this one before, but today just felt like it should be a "Jump Rope" day. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Inspiration for Your Day

Here's something to put a little smile on your faces on this fine Friday afternoon. :) Hope you all have a great weekend!

Yael naim_new soul by djohar_75

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Inspiration for Your Day!

I love upbeat songs, don't you? Especially after a long weekend. There is really no other way to start up your work week on a good note ...no pun intended. :p

Friday, May 27, 2011

Inspiration for your Day

So I found this song for the first time yesterday and I just knew I had to post it. Its country but I love it anyway. And as for the video...more to come on that after you watch it.

I know I don't typically mention poety, but today I knew I just had to. I'll give bonue points to the person who can tell me the name of the poem simply from the painting above!
Any Guesses?

That's right!
It'sThe Lady of Shalott by Lord Alfred Tennyson (Okay I know they told you in the video but still) This is by far one of my all time favorite poems. Its just so damn sad and beautiful and everything great poetry should be. :)

Hope you all enjoy it!

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly;
Down to tower'd Camelot;
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott."

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot;
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes through the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two.
She hath no loyal Knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armor rung
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, burning bright,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining.
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And around about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance --
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right --
The leaves upon her falling light --
Thro' the noises of the night,
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame,
And around the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the Knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."


Side note: I hope all of you from The United States have a great Memorial Day Weekend! I know I will. :) Peace out!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blogger Issues

Sorry Peeps, Blogger is STILL being a pain. For some reason it isn't letting me log-on to respond to your comments. :( Same thing happened yesterday; I was just hoping they would have fixed it by now.

Anyway, THANK YOU!!! in advance for all of you who post comments. As soon as I can I will respond.

Summer Reading

So I'm looking for books to add to my summer reading list. What are you all really excited about getting your hands on in the coming months?

Monday, May 23, 2011


Lately, my kiddos have been heavy into the Harry Potter movies (well the first three - too young for the later ones) and today, we were watching the bonus footage for Chamber of Secrets. There was an interview with JK Rowling and Steve Kloves, the screen writer.

And it hit me just how much she inspires me as a writer. No not because of the whole rags to riches story (that sort of success is a one and a million shot), but because the fact that she was a normal person, a mom, and she became one of the most successful authors in history. It took her 10 years to finally land an agent, and that whole time she never gave up on the story. She kept crafting it, kept perfecting her skills and the story. And that's what inspired me. Her devotion.

What about you guys? Which author inspires you?

Your ExLover is Dead by Stars

Sing by My Chemical Romance (For Japan)

Head, meet Wall

Have you ever head a song that you absolutely love, and then the radio stations get a hold of it and plays it so many times you would rather rip your own eardrums out before you listen to it again? There is nothing, I hate more than that. (well not literally there are plenty of things I hate more than that but you get the drift - big Petpeeve )

Anyway, this morning I made a decision to take a step back from my current work in progress. I've been stuck for a couple months, and I just keep pushing and pushing, trying to break through it but I'm getting nowhere. Hence the title of the post Head, meet Wall (over and over again). Its just time to take a step back and give myself a breather.

That being said, I'm not taking time off from writing I'm merely changing my focus. My plan is to work on outlining a different story I'm been fumbling around with in my head. It is completely different than my current wip. And when I say completely I mean COMPLETELY. I'm hoping the drastic change will help get the juices flowing again.

So my writerly peeps, has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had to make the decision to keep pushing or to take a step back? I only ask because this was a hard decision for me to make. I kind of feel like I'm surrendering and I don't like it. :/

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hello my name is....

When I was a kid I was one of those people who thought it would be cool to name my future children unique and exotic names, something beautifully elegant that no one else had.

Well as luck would have it, I married a man who was rather down to earth so my children were spared the therapy sessions that would have accompanied such names.

That being said, when naming my characters everything was fair game and I love being as ostentatious as possible. Its one of the good things about writing, you don't have to worry about emtionally scaring your characters. Well I suppose you could but they can't blame it on you. :D

So how do you go about naming your characters? Are there any particular things that you look for?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

100th Post!

Just because today really feels like one of those days, here is the Inspiration for your day.

Colbie Caillat - Magic

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Balancing Act

Piggybacking on my post from yesterday, I started to think about different writing styles and how writers seem to have their preferences.

More specifically, I find that there are two styles that most writer's align themselves with - visual or emotional. But I also realize that the best authors can blend the two seamlessly.

Personally, the first story that I wrote was all emotion. All. While writing it, somehow I didn't notice that I was severely lacking in the opposite side of the spectrum...but then again it was my first story. This time around I'm trying very hard to keep a good balance between the two.

So my question for you is ...Do you find it hard to keep an even balance in your writing? Or do you find yourself leaning more one way than the other?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Finding Beauty in the Small Things

Have you ever looked out on a rainy spring day to see the beauty hiding in the underlying green landscape, instead of thinking about miserable commute it was going to pose or how it was going to completely ruin your hairdo that you spent an hour on that morning? (just to be clear -no,
i've never spent that long on my hair in my life. )

Have you ever sat in the car, staring at the windshield while the rain drops landed, and saw the lights of the house infront of you reflecting like a million pools of light?

(Can you tell its raining here?)

Anyway, I bring this up because I think that this is one of the most admirable traits we author's have. The ability to find beauty in the small things of life. The things that a lot of people don't bother to give two seconds to rethink or see in a different light. We find the little nueances of this world and bring them into a beautiful exsistence on the page.

Okay I'm done waxing elloquently now. I just wanted to say "we be cool" :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Show Me Your Mug

Today, I thought it would be fun to have everyone share.

Every coffee/tea drinker I know has a favorite mug - the "go-to cup that even if its in the middle of being washed in the dish washer, you'll dive in and get it out just so you can use it " mug.

This is mine...

Yup that's right...its Winnie The Pooh, Purple, and large enough to hold enough coffee to wake my butt up in the morning.

What more could a girl want?!

So let's see yours, my friends! Show me your Favorite Mugs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Working with Blinders On

Now I know not all writers think alike or even work alike but I was wondering if anyone else has an itching to wonder while they're working on a story. See I get these ideas for other stories or scenes that I'm dying to write down, sometimes I go ahead and do it, sometimes I stick with what I'm "supposed" to be working on - but I can't help but think that I shouldn't allow myself to be distracted. (as you can tell I'm not all that good at keeping myself focused on one project.)

So am I the only one that has ADD (not literally) when it comes to their stories? or is this a common thing?

p.s. they should sell "Writer Blinders" so we can keep our focus where its supposed to be. :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Going International

Now I'm not sure about WordPress or other blogging sites, but on Blogger there is an "Audience" tracker under the Stats which shows the different countries that people are looking at your blog from. This is an incredibly humbling concept for me.

Seeing people from across the world - China, India, Russia even! checking out my blog is just mind blowing. And so then I was thinking about what the diversity would be like when (if) a publishing deal comes along.

So now I must ask you, what do you guys think about the sweeping scape of this modern world of publishing and marketing? The fact that your book may not only be sold in multiple countries around the world but also that people might be following your news feeds, updates, Facebook page and tweets?

Personally I think its both amazingly cool and holy intimidating. Either way, bring it on!

Monday, May 2, 2011

No I Did Not Fall off the Face of the Planet...

Good morning Bloggie-verse!!! Well incase anyone noticed my long suffering absence last week, I was on vacation with the fam. We went to the fabulously sunny state of Florida and I'm as tan as a pale person with Irish heratage can be (which is to say not much but enough for me):D From the white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico to a REALLY long day at the House of Mouse we had a Grand time.

Oh and I got a brand new favorite coffee mug - Purple and white with Pooh Bear on it!! Photo will follow. :D But now I'm back and ready to Blog.

So I thought I would start off your Monday morning with this ...

Catchy isn't it? :D

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Inspiration for your Day

Now this is a fun new Inspiration. Its called "My Body" by Young The Giant. It had me grooving in my swivel chair this morning (which is not easy to do while staying under your boss' radar!) ;) Anyway, I hope it gives you guys a funny little jolt to your morning too!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Post

Today is my best friend Nicole's birthday, and I thought I would celebrate by posting a few of her favorite songs.

But just so you know, this feet is a whole lot more difficult then it sounds. If you look at my music files on my computer the one marked "Nicole's Music" is about three times the size of the rest of my files. She sends me so many great songs and I wouldn't have half of the Inspirations if it weren't for her.

Now some of these are old ones that I have posted in the past, but they are so good they are worth repeating. So I hope you guys enjoy them and help me wish her a

By the way...is this not the cutest video ever?!

Sorry...I forgot one. Its her all time favorite. :D