To begin the MuseItUp MG/YA month-long blog fest, I’d like to begin by introducing Marva Dasef. One might remember her interview from last month where she presented her newest adult novel, Missing, Assumed Dead. Marva is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat.  Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation.  Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several already published books of fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. A few more are scheduled for 2011 and 2012 from her super duper publisher, MuseItUp.

Today, Marva is introducing her newest MG fantasy...

BAD SPELLING – Book 1 of the Witches of Galdorheim
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?
Release date: October 14th MuseItUp Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/3daem4r

Enter to win a free ebook drawn from the comments. Select either MG fantasy "Bad Spelling" or adult mystery "Missing, Assumed Dead."

If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home. 

Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo.  A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.

The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way. At the Troll Kingdom, a young troll, Andy, joins the siblings in their quest to find the shaman and kill the curse.

Readers and fans can find Marva Dasef at

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/MarvaDasef
Twitter Handle: @Gurina

Enter to win a free ebook drawn from the comments. Select either MG fantasy "Bad Spelling" or adult mystery "Missing, Assumed Dead."

Read excerpts from Bad Spelling below the trailer....


She (Miss Mariah) faced the class. “Now then, please take out your chalk and wands for today’s lesson, which is,” she shot a semi-annoyed look at Rune and Dalton, “transformation.” The Wiccan students rustled bags and whispered to each other while they did as told.

When the witches and warlocks in training looked up, she continued. “Although some students can transform without benefit of pentagram and wand, those of you who are beginners, or less motivated—” she paused and gave Kat a hard look, “must practice first with the proper equipment.”

Kat’s face warmed, and she sank lower into her chair. Heaving a sigh, she set her brown bunny, Teddy, on her desktop and fumbled in her bag for her spell book, yew wood wand, and chalk.

Merry, the curly-haired blonde witch sitting next to Kat, waved her arm in the air.

“What is it, Merry?” Miss Mariah asked.

“Can you make Katrina sit somewhere else? Whenever she’s near me, my spells don’t work right. She’s a jinx.”

The class snickered. Kat grimaced at Merry. If I got my hands on her…aw, what’s the use?

“No, everybody stays right where they are,” Miss Mariah snapped. She pasted on a fake smile and continued in a treacle-sweet voice. “Now, class, draw the pentagram on your desktop and place your familiar in its center.”

The younger students practicing their first transformations looked to the board where, under Miss Mariah’s control, the chalk drew a practice pentagram stopping short of completing the last of the five points. She tapped the board. “An unattended pentagram can cause all sorts of problems, the least being a tusser or tomte taking advantage of an open gateway. They’re harmless for the most part but like to play tricks. So be prepared with your spell before completing the pentagram.” More than one kid smudged an opening in their already drawn star.

“Children, you must focus. Don’t let yourselves get distracted.” Miss Mariah adjusted a child’s grip on his wand as she walked by.

Merry curled her lip and hissed, “You’d better not screw me up. If I can’t work this spell right, it’ll be your fault.”

“Tough luck, Merry,” Kat snarled. “If you’re such a great witch, my being here shouldn’t make any difference.”

Turning away from Merry, Kat finished the final leg of her pentagram and set the bunny in the center. “Stay right there, Teddy,” she whispered to her little brown rabbit, setting a chunk of carrot in front of him. He made a dash for the edge of the desk. Kat hauled him back. “Cut it out. You’ll smear my chalk lines.” She stroked his soft fur for a moment. “Hope this works.” He twitched his nose twice, closed his eyes, and hunkered down.

Kat checked her spell book one last time, took a deep breath, and completed the spell with a loud “Fullgerður!” and a dramatic sweep of her arms, just missing Merry’s head with her wand.

Merry shrieked and jumped out of her chair. She glared at Kat while wiping green goo off the side of her face. “Your rabbit stinks. Just like your spellcasting!”

Excerpt 2:

“All aboard!” the driver shouted. Rune climbed into the car behind the driver’s. Kat thought of it as the engine, something she’d read about in her history book. However, it didn’t appear to have any motive power, just the troll holding the brake.

Andy hugged his brothers, Endy and Indy, for the last time. They patted him on the back and murmured in his ear. Kat assumed they were wishing him a good journey. When she saw tears in their eyes, she turned away to give them some privacy. Maybe Andy would never have left the trolls if it hadn’t been for her. Yet Andy seemed eager to find his original family in Siberia.

Kat asked Rune for cushions. He shook his head and said, “Wimp. It’s only ten minutes. You’ve got plenty of padding already.”

Brothers! However, she realized she’d never have gotten this far without Rune. She swung a leg over the edge of the same car as Rune had hopped in. Not sure what to expect, she sat in the back corner and braced herself as best she could. Andy climbed in and sat kitty-corner from her at the front. Rune wedged himself in the opposite corner from Kat.

It was a good thing she was holding on tight. The driver released the brake, and the train shot forward. Her head snapped back and hit the side of the car, making her very glad she’d also thought to pull up the hood on her parka. She had a certain grim satisfaction seeing Rune wince when his head bounced off the backside of the car.

The train picked up speed until the walls of the tunnel became a blur. As the train rushed forward, spirit lights flicked on before them and winked out once they passed. Kat wondered whether she wouldn’t have preferred to travel in the dark; the motion and the flashing lights were making her dizzy. Besides moving at a horrendous speed, the cars rocked back and forth on the track. Her tailbone suffered in earnest within a minute.

Then it got worse.

The train pitched downward at a frightening angle. Feeling herself slip, Kat pushed her feet out away from the wall. She scrabbled trying to find a foothold to keep herself from tumbling forward. Unbelievably, the ore train picked up even more speed as it raced down the rails. Kat risked lifting her head enough to peek over the edge.

She immediately wished she hadn’t. The troll who was supposed to be controlling this headlong rush into oblivion was standing at the front of the engine car with his arms waving in the air! Andy wasn’t holding his hands up, but he still had a big grin plastered across his face.

“Brake! Brake!” Kat tried to scream, but the wind pushed her words back down her throat. Her eyes wide with fear, tears streamed from the corners. She looked at Rune in the other back corner of the car. He, too, had his arms stuck up in the air. His mouth was open, so he must be yelling something, but Kat couldn’t hear anything except the clattering of the wheels and the horrible rush of wind as the car barreled down the slope.
Thanks for joining me today Marva...and for our readers, be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win a free ebook. Select either MG fantasy "Bad Spelling" or adult mystery "Missing, Assumed Dead."

Thanks for stopping by!
C.K. Volnek
I'm excited to announce a special MG/YA Blog-A-Thon beginning September 1 thru the 30th.  You'll meet new Muse authors, be introduced to new books and be elgible to win lots of great prizes, including free books and lots of other give-aways...  So come one, come all and meet and greet our authors and win some great gifts. We want to get to know you.

I'm also super excited because my tween novel, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Isalnd will make celebrate its book birthday, September 23.  So please visit me and all my friends to find out more about us and our upcoming books.

C.K. Volnek

Here is the Day by Day Blog schedule. Can't wait to see you all there!
Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on C.K. Volnek
Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Barbara Bockman

Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on Kim Baccellia
Kim Bacellia - “Crossed Out” on Shellie Neumeier
Barbara Bockman - “Driven” on Pembroke Sinclair
Meradeth Houston - “Colors Like Memories” on C.K. Volnek

Meradeth Houston - “Colors Like Memories” on Lawna Mackie
Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on Meradeth Houston

Meradeth Houston - “Colors Like Memories” on Marva Dasef
Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on Rebecca Ryals Russell

Barbara Ehrentreu - “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” on Kim Baccellia
Pembroke Sinclair - “Life After the Undead” on Barbara Ehrentreu

Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on Marva Dasef
Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on Lawna Mackie
Chris Verstraete - “Killer Valentine Ball” on C.K. Volnek

Kim Baccellia - “Crossed Out” on Barbara Bockman
Barbara Bockman - “Wounds” on Kim Baccellia
Pembroke Sinclair - “Life After the Undead” on Shellie Neumeier
Barbara Ehrentreu - “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” on Rebecca Ryals Russell

Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on Kim Baccellia
Kim Baccellia - “Crossed Out” on Barbara Ehrentreu
Barbara Bockman - “Wounds” on Shellie Neumeier
Chris Verstraete - “Killer Valentine Ball” on Marva Dasef

Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on Barbara Bockman
Barbara Bockman - “Wounds” on Sue Perkins
Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on Rebecca Ryals Russell
Pembroke Sinclair - “Life After the Undead” on C.K. Volnek

Meradeth Houston - “Colors Like Memories” on Shellie Neumeier
Kim Baccellia - “Crossed Out” on Rebecca Ryals Russell
Barbara Ehrentreu - “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” on Chris Verstraete
Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on Pembroke Sinclair

Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on Kim Baccellia

C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Barbara Ehrentreu
Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on Shellie Neumeier
Barbara Ehrentreu - “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” on Lawna Mackie
Pembroke Sinclair - “Life After the Undead” on Sue Perkins
Meradeth Houston - “Colors Like Memories” on Rebecca Ryals Russell
Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on Pembroke Sinclair
Barbara Bockman - “Wounds” on Meradeth Houston

Barbara Ehrentreu - “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” on Sue Perkins
Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on Rebecca Ryals Russell
Meradeth Houston - “Colors Like Memories” on Chris Verstraete

Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on Barbara Ehrentreu
Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on Shellie Neumeier
Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on Chris Verstraete
Pembroke Sinclair - “Life After the Undead” on Meradeth Houston

Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on Marva Dasef
Barbara Bockman - “Wounds” on Lawna Mackie
Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on Sue Perkins

Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on Barbara Bockman
Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on Barbara Ehrentreu
Chris Verstraete - “Killer Valentine Ball” on Rebecca Ryals Russell
Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on Pembroke Sinclair
Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Meradeth Houston
Kim Baccellia - “Crossed Out” on C.K. Volnek

Pembroke Sinclair - “Life After the Undead” on Barbara Bockman
Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on Sue Perkins
Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on Chris Verstraete

Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on Marva Dasef
Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on Shellie Neumeier
Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on Rebecca Ryals Russell
Barbara Ehrentreu - “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” on Pembroke Sinclair

Barbara Ehrentreu - “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” on Barbara Bockman
Barbara Bockman - “Wounds” on Barbara Ehrentreu
Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Pembroke Sinclair
Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on C.K. Volnek

Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on Barbara Bockman
Barbara Ehrentreu - “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” on Shellie Neumeier
Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Sue Perkins
C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Rebecca Ryals Russell
Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on Meradeth Houston
Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on C.K. Volnek

Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Barbara Bockman
Barbara Bockman - “Wounds” on Marva Dasef
Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on Pembroke Sinclair
C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Chris Verstraete

Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Barbara Ehrentreu
C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Shellie Neumeier
Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on Sue Perkins
Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on Meradeth Houston

Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on Kim Baccellia
Kim Baccellia - “Crossed Out” on Marva Dasef
Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Lawna Mackie
Pembroke Sinclair - “Life After the Undead” on Rebecca Ryals Russell
C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Pembroke Sinclair

Meradeth Houston - “Colors Like Memories” on Barbara Bockman
C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Sue Perkins
Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on Meradeth Houston
Barbara Ehrentreu - “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” on C.K. Volnek

Pembroke Sinclair - “Life After the Undead” on Marva Dasef
Meradeth Houston - “Colors Like Memories” on Barbara Ehrentreu
Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on Lawna Mackie
Chris Verstraete - “Killer Valentine Ball” on Shellie Neumeier
C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Meradeth Houston

Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Kim Baccellia
Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on Barbara Bockman
C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Marva Dasef
Shellie Neumeier - “Driven” on Lawna Mackie
Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on Chris Verstraete

Chris Verstraete - “Killer Valentine Ball” on Barbara Bockman
Lawna Mackie - “Enchantment” on Barbara Ehrentreu
Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Shellie Neumeier
Barbara Bockman - “Wounds” on Chris Verstraete

C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Kim Baccellia
Barbara Ehrentreu - “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” on Marva Dasef
Pembroke Sinclair - “Life After the Undead” on Lawna Mackie
Meradeth Houston - “Colors Like Memories” on Sue Perkins
Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Chris Verstraete
Sue Perkins - “Spirit Stealer” on C.K. Volnek

C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Barbara Bockman
Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on Meradeth Houston
Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on C.K. Volnek

Meradeth Houston - “Colors Like Memories” on Kim Baccellia
Rebecca Ryals Russell - “Prophecy” on Marva Dasef
Marva Dasef - “Bad Spelling” on Barbara Ehrentreu
C.K. Volnek - “Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island” on Lawna Mackie

I’m so lucky. I’m interviewing a good friend and successful author today. Victorine Lieske is a best-selling author and self-published her first book, Not What She Seems, in April of 2010.  In March of 2011 the book hit the New York Times best-selling ebook list, where it stayed on the list for six weeks. By May 2011 she had sold over 100,000 copies. She is represented by literary agent Rachel Vogel of Movable Type Literary Group. Today, she is proud to be promoting her second novel, a YA titled The Overtaking.  Victorine and her husband live in Nebraska where they raise their four children. They manufacture rubber stamps for the craft industry.

I’m so pleased to have you here today, Victorine. Can you tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character.

I’m a habitual crafter. I love rubber stamping and scrapbooking. I could spend hours in my craft room creating cards or fun decorations for a party.

I am a crafter as well. My husband has given up ‘just’ watching a movie with me. If I’m not on my computer, I’m making a necklace or something else, even while watching TV.

Tell us what was your favorite book was as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.

I read a lot as a teen. I’m not sure how old I was when I read A Wrinkle in Time, but that book opened up a whole new world of science fiction and fantasy to me. I probably wouldn’t have gone on to read Asmov or Bradbury had I not enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time as much as I did.

A Wrinkle in Time is a great book. Now, tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do you write specifically for them?

I’ve written in a few genres. My first book, Not What She Seems, is a romantic suspense novel. I wrote that because I was in the mood to read something romantic but didn’t have anything in the house. I also wanted the romance to be light and clean, so I decided to write my own story. My second book, The Overtaking, is a young adult romance with a science fiction back drop. That was fun to write and it was a challenge to write people with powers. And my novelette is a young adult romance, just a fun story I wrote while on vacation, mostly to entertain myself.

I’m excited to hear more about your new book. Tell us about it. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.

The Overtaking was an idea I had come up with years ago. I had wondered what it would be like to find out we weren’t really living on Earth, that our memories had been altered, and that we’re living our lives not knowing who we really were. This idea grew, and it came to life in the Maslonian and Dyken races, one taking over the other and putting them in a fake environment. And then I thought it would be great to have members of the opposite races fall in love. That’s when Shayne and Danielle were formed.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite scenes:

They slowed as they neared her dorm. Some students were tossing a baseball back and forth on the front lawn. She stopped walking and looked up at him. “Shayne, I think we need to talk.”

He frowned. “What about?”

“Us. I don’t think this is working out.” She tried to swallow, but the lump in her throat wouldn’t let her.

“I’m not being a very good fake boyfriend. I understand. I can do better.” He took her hands in his, but she pulled away.

“I’m serious, Shayne. I can’t see you anymore.” She turned away to see a baseball headed straight for her face. She didn’t have time to duck. The ball was coming at her too fast. Two inches from her nose the ball stopped in mid-air, as if someone had caught it right before it hit her face. But no one was there. She stared, unbelieving, at the ball suspended in the air.

Shayne reached out and plucked the ball from where it had halted.

“Sorry about that,” one of the students yelled. “Nice catch, though.”

“Thanks,” Shayne called, throwing the ball back.

Alarm flooded through her. Shayne’s powers were manifesting. She stared up at him, fear inching its way down her neck. He stared back at her, his eyes wide.

Her gut twisted. She had to go inside and report the incident. He would be taken, and she had no idea what they would do to him this time. It killed her to do it, but she had no choice.

He reached out and touched her shoulders. “Danielle…”

She squirmed away from him. “I have to go.”


Waiting was out of the question. She ran down the sidewalk and up the steps to her dorm room. Only after she opened the door and entered did she realize Shayne was right on her heels. She tried to shut the door, but he stopped it with his foot.

A very exciting read. Can you tell us how writing has affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being a writer?

I’ve found writing to be a wonderful part of my life. It’s a release. A part of my day where I can leave the world behind and crawl into that other world I’ve created. I get to feel the emotions of these young people who are just falling in love. I get to have adventures. And I love hearing from people who have read my books and enjoyed them. That totally makes my day.

What advice can you give regarding the writing process?

My best advice is to join a critique group. It is invaluable to learn to get and give critiques. I wouldn’t be successful at all had I not taken the time and made the effort to learn the critique process.

I remember you recommending Critique Circle at a presentation I went to. It is a wonderful site. Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers?

With the power Amazon and Barns and Noble gives the author, I highly suggest becoming your own publisher and putting your books up for sale yourself as ebooks. The royalties you will earn are phenomenal and you can be in charge of every aspect of your publication. You can even create your own paperback version on CreateSpace. If anyone tells you that self-publishing is a trap, and that you won’t sell any books, have them look up Amanda Hocking, John Locke, or David Dalglish. As for myself, I sold over 100,000 copies of my first book, Not What She Seems and made the New York Times best seller list. Agents emailed me and I signed with Rachel Vogel of Movable Type Literary Group.

I’m so happy for you. I know our readers will want to know more. How can your fans find, follow or friend you?

My website, victorinelieske.com, has a contact page where fans can email me. I love getting emails, so if you enjoyed my book please feel free to send me an email. I try to answer all of them.

My facebook fan page is http://www.facebook.com/victorinelieske. Feel free to friend me on facebook! I’m the only Victorine Lieske on there. :)

Thanks so much for joining me today, Victorine. It’s been my pleasure to get to know you even better and I wish you much success with your new book.

C.K. Volnek

I’m welcoming Heather Cashman to my blog today. She is the author of The Tigers’ Eye Trilogy. Tell us a little bit about yourself Heather.

Thank you C.K. I graduated with a degree in biochemistry from the University of Arizona and proceeded to use my education to make Polyjuice Potion with my children’s Harry Potter Potions Set. I live with my husband and three teenagers near Wichita, KS. Our dog Jasmine looks very much like Toto but refuses to go to Oz, even though I promised to “procure” the slippers from the Smithsonian when we were there last year. I have written several YA novels and recently published Perception, the first book in The Tigers’ Eye Trilogy. You can find out more at my website, www.heathercashman.com.

You have quite a sense of humor, Heather. Would you tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character?

Perhaps I compare myself too much to the characters in my books. The fact that they have been genetically altered and can now speak with intelligent animals is more fascinating than anything I have ever experienced, including my near death experiences. My favorite characters are the tigers. They are powerful creatures endowed with intelligence far beyond their predecessors and have a way of looking at life that is simple yet profound. Their views can clash with their human companions, which can create problems, but I really want one.

What was your favorite book as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.

I’ve probably said this before, but my favorite author as a kid was Anne McCaffrey. I fell in love with her fierce, female protagonists and wanted to be just like them. I can’t count how many times I read her books as a ten year old, and have reread them several times since. I already knew from my own reality that life was difficult. The characters in her books all clawed their way out of obscurity, and it made me feel like I might have a shot in life.

Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?

I never chose a genre. The stories were there, and I wrote them. Occasionally I steer the story a certain way, but more often than not, the characters dictate what will happen next.

That’s an interesting thought. Can you tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.

I don’t really know where the idea for The Tigers’ Eye Trilogy came from. I know the idea of telepathic communication was inspired by The Dragonriders of Pern. Other than that, my mind refused to be idle during the mundane, household chores. One day when my children went back to school, I sat down and began to type.

My favorite scene—that’s a tough request. I suppose it might be the last page of the novel, but sharing it would spoil everything.

How has writing affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being a writer?

Writing has turned my life sideways. My house isn’t nearly as clean as it used to be. I now have a twitter account. I actually check my email. Other than that, writing has become necessary. Sometimes I can’t think until I get the words down in print. There is nothing like creating a world. The only experience that surpasses it is having a child, a real human that can live and breathe and make choices all on its own.

What advice can you give regarding the writing process?

Find what works for you. There are so many people out there giving advice, and that’s good. But you are unique. Your style of writing will be unique, and so will your methods. Writing on napkins may work for some people; writing ideas on your hands with a borrowed pen might be required. Use your kids’ waterproof crayons in the shower if you have to. Do whatever it takes and don’t worry that it isn’t like someone else.

Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers?

Slow and steady. I have found that the most success comes from real people who care. Having a thousand twitter followers from China who never tweet one thing isn’t going to help sales. If you find a reader who loves your work, then give them the attention they deserve, and you will have a reader for your next WIP.

How can your fans find, follow or friend you?

The easiest way is to go to this (http://www.heathercashman.com/contact.html) page of my website. You will find links to Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, GoodReads, and my email. If you would rather use these:

My twitter handle is HeatherCashman
My facebook fan page is
My GoodReads author page is http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4919548.Heather_Cashman
My email is

Thanks for joining me today Heather. It has been a joy to get to know more about you. I wish you the best of luck with your stories and look forward to reading more from you.

C.K. Volnek

In keeping with Martin King's #100Blogfest... (if you've been following him on Twitter~and if you haven't, check it out) I'd like to welcome Martin to The Mind's Eye. I'm glad you're here... 

 What is the most random thing you have done when you were a child? One of mine has to be wearing my snorkel jacket all day with my hood up, in the middle of summer. And why? All because I was in a bad mood. It wasn’t my fault though; parents have a knack of winding us kids up. This mini protest was the only way I knew at making them see what they had done.

But this isn’t what today’s story is about. This is far more random. Because we didn’t have much money, my parents decided to take us to the zoo, in the winter! It was half price you see. And the reason it was half price is because nearly all the animals were tucked up for the winter. I’m sure we were the only ones there.

So there we were, wandering around trying to find any animals that were in their cages when we stumbled across some monkeys. Well when I say some monkeys, it was only one. None of the others wanted to brave the cold.

I soon discovered that this particular monkey had an amazing skill. It was a brilliant mimic. That is right, everything I did and the monkey would copy me. It was one of the most bizarre moments of my childhood, prancing up and down outside a monkey cage doing silly things and then watching the monkey imitate me.

These blogs are all about fun and sharing. Thank you for reading a ‘#100blogfest’ blog. Please follow this link to find the next blog in the series:

Today I have as my guest, Christine Irene Steeves. Her novelette, Midnight Find makes its debut the end of this month at MuseItUp Publishing. Off the cuff…Chris claims she is quite is odd. Never ask her for the common focal point because she’s way out in left field from everyone else’s norm. Meet her online and you can’t shut her up. Meet her face to face and her shyness will either yak your ear off worse than online or you’ll need a crowbar to break her quiet.

Maybe that’s why her family does so much smiling and nodding?

Book tag: Broken plans plus Vegas risks equal Tina’s dreams

Book Blurb: Left at the alter, Tina decides to take her Vegas honeymoon.  Her orderly life plans of marriage, motherhood, and togetherness in shambles, she throws caution to the wind and checks out the dating service, Distinguished Dates.

A midnight dinner with a bald, red-bearded, cartoon dog-sneakered stranger brings more than her dreams alive.

Welcome Chris. Tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character.

Me? Interesting? Are you serious? I’m an odd nutcase who talks to herself and has multi-personalities trying to get out of her brain…oh wait, those are voices of characters trying to get my attention. But, are they the characters I’m supposed to be writing or the characters that got locked in via all my reading?

Hmm, not sure even Nancy Drew could figure out that mystery.

What was your favorite book as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.

Nancy Drew. Hardy Boys. Famous Five.  Most likely, they all feed my imagination and ended up creating my daydreams of being ‘them’.

Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?

I didn’t exactly choose to write a sweet romance, it was a call for an anthology I blindly answered. I tend to do that…answer some challenge without really thinking. Okay, that needs rephrasing. I don’t answer stupid life-threatening dares. Every so often someone in the online writing world puts out a request and some little voice in my head answers before my sane, controlling brain cells kick into over-worry/self-doubt mode. Then, before I realize it, I’m writing a romance with a different not-quite-happy-ending-but-the-ending-that-works.

Tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.

Lea Schizas is to blame. Yup, she put out the call for the romance with a slight twist story and MIDNIGHT FIND was born. Favourite scene? Hmm, being a short story…just slightly over 4,000 words…I’ll use the one from my blog and MuseItUp Publishing’s bookstore:

He looked around the room before settling his gaze on me and walked over. That's when I noticed his cartoon sneakers. Sneakers?  Cartoon sneakers!  I was going to have dinner with a bald, red-bearded, Grizzly Adams-looking, cartoon-sneakered man. Someone picked from a photo. I hadn't even read his biography. Just picked up his photo and walked out to Marie. Of all the choreographed choices in my life, this was the most unplanned decision. So, why was I tingling?

"Hi, I'm Patrick. Yup, a descended Irishman with red hair and an Irish name. And double yup, I love cartoons, good food, and being comfortable. I also tend to laugh at myself, your pick. Since I couldn't grow hair on my head, I grew it everywhere else. At Halloween, I'm Pirate Pat, and at Christmas, they call me the 'before he ate cookies and milk Santa.'  I'm not loud, just my hair is. Figure no one sees the sneakers under the table, and if you're under the table you're probably already seeing pink elephants so why not a talking cartoon dog. I don't believe in luck, but I do believe in Leprechauns.

How has writing affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being a writer?

I need more hours in the day. Okay, who doesn’t need more hours in a day, LOL. Writing is just part of my life, part of who I am. Truthfully, I cannot imagine not writing. Whether it’s just my journal or a review or silliness. It’s who I’ve always been…reader/writer. Favourite part? All of it.

What advice can you give regarding the writing process?

Sometimes the hardest part…just sit your fanny down and write. Do Not Edit as you go, just write.  Hmm, do I follow my own advice? Not answering, LOL.

Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers?

Read the guidelines. Ask questions of your reading friends; your writing friends; people you read. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself…even if that’s the hardest part. Step into your spotlight and support your words, after all you wrote them for some reason

How can your fans find, follow or friend you?

Chris Speakman,
and at FMAM, where she is the eBook Review Coordinator: Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine
ChrisChat Talks Creativity
Editor for: MuseItUp Publishing
http://museituppublishing.com/ and formerly 4RV Publishing http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com/
Author Home: http://christineisteeves.blogspot.com/ and https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/
Twitter: @MuseChrisChat

Thanks for joining us today, Chris. We enjoyed finding out more about you and your book.
C.K. Volnek


Today I have a special guest...Ms. Lauren Bruni from The Black Chronicles: Cry of the Fallen by Joel M. Andre. Welcome Lauren. We're so glad you joined us today.

Thank you C.K. It's a pleasure to be here and be able to answer some of the questions I am so often asked. Hopefully, you find this setup a little entertaining and it will prove to be a good read for you.

One of the most common things I am asked is why trouble always seems to seek me out. My personal belief is that each of us has a calling in life. While your job might be to crunch numbers in accounting, mine is to set out and save isolated places in the world. While it does make for an interesting read, I will admit that I am jealous of all you accountants. You guys have a great job and for the most part no one is trying to kill you in a single day.

Another question that often comes up is why I would let Magnolia go to live with her father and not put up more of a fight. Well, I knew she would be safer in the long run. As a mother, I love my daughter more than anything in this world. But as any parent understands, you do what you can to keep them protected. I did what was best for my daughter at the time and we are reconnecting and she even sent me some recent photos of herself.

So knowing all this, what is in the near future for me? Well, I can say that there are plenty more of my adventures that readers will have the chance to read. They are still filled with mystery and horror, but the experience is a bit more bearable. Why, you might ask? Because as readers of this post are going to learn, I do have a love interest in the next book. While Joel M. Andre won’t let me say much more than that, but I do promise that it will help to tone down some of the darkness that this book had in it.

Now, I started the conversation and I want you guys to continue it. For the remainder of the day, I will be dropping in to answer any questions you have. If you’ve read the book and have been wondering why I acted a certain way or pretty much anything else related to this book or A Death at the North Pole, please feel free to ask it. I will be more than happy to answer your questions and we can have a blast.

Happy Reading,
Detective Lauren Bruni

Thanks for being here today Lauren. Can you share some information regarding your book and author?

Okay, since you asked. Readers will find out most everything they need to know about my book, my creator, Joel Andre, and where you can find us on the web. I look forward to meeting all my wonderful readers....

Book Details:
Publisher: Darkcountry Publications 
September 2010
Genre: Suspense/Horror

All around her Lauren Bruni is faced with destruction. Her marriage has ended, and her professional life is at the breaking point. For Lauren, this is only the beginning of her pain.

In the small town of Cottonwood, AZ everything seems to be headed in the same direction. A serial killer is on the loose, and his trail of victims holds no connection. His rampage escalates and becomes far more brutal with each murder he commits.

As Lauren attempts to prevent her own life from collapsing down around her she must stop a killer with supernatural strength. But there is something far more sinister in the works than she could ever imagine. In the end it is up to Lauren to make the ultimate sacrifice to save a community from the purest form of evil.

Author Info:

Joel M. Andre was born January 13, 1981. At a young age he was fascinated with the written word. It was at fourteen that Poe blew his mind, and Andre began to dabble with darker poetry.

Between the years of 1999 and 2007 Joel was featured in various poetry anthologies and publications. In 2008 he released his first collection,
Pray the Rain Never Ends.

Knowing there was something deeper and darker inside of his soul, Joel decided to take a stab at commercialism. Releasing the dark tongue in cheek, 
A Death at the North Pole, created a dark world among the death of Kris Kringle. Ultimately providing a tale of redemption.

October of 2008 saw Joel release his second book, 
Kill 4 Me. A tale in which a woman is haunted by a vengeful spirit through text messages and instant messaging.

Taking some time off and doing a lot of soul searching, Joel took things in a new direction and dabbled in the Fantasy Genre with, 
The Pentacle of Light. The tale dealing with five major races battling for control of Earth, and the acceptance of their God.

Finally, after missing his detective Lauren Bruni, he released the book 
The Return in October 2009, this time moving the action from the North Pole and placing it in the small Arizona community he was raised in.

Andre’s latest book is The Black Chronicles: Cry of the Fallen about a dead man who seeks revenge on the woman that tormented him in peaceful Northern Arizona.

Currently, he resides in Chandler, AZ.

Tour Participants:
July 25: Character Interview~April @ 
Cafe of Dreams Book Reviews
July 26: Guest Post ~Roseanne @ http://roseannedowellauthor.blogspot.com/
July 27: Review~Giovanni@Gelati's Scoop
August 1: Review~Michael@ The Book Shelf Review
August 4: Guest Post~Nicole@ Tribute Books Blog
August 5: Character Guest Post~Charlotte@ ckvolnek.com
August 8: Review~Stacey@ The Write To Make A Living
August 11: Guest Post~Cheryl@A Good Day To Read
August 11: Interview~Cheryl@The Book Connection
August 12: Guest Post and Review~Darlene@Darlene's Book Nook
August 15: Review~Laurie@Lauriehere.blogspot.com 
August 16: Review~Stephanie O @Romancing The Book
August 17: Review~Molly@Reviews By Molly
August 18: Review~Cheryl@ A Good Day To Read
August 18: Spotlight~Cheryl@Books, Products, And More
August19: Review~Dave@blog.elenchera.com
August 22: Interview~Blog Talk Radio's G-Zone
August 24: Review~Rick@Rhodes Review
August 25: Interview~ Chris@Chrisreddding.blogspot.com
August 25: Review~Cindy@Oodles Of Books

Today we're visiting a newly released book! Missing, Assumed Dead is a new thriller by Marva Dasef. Marva is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat.  Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation.  Marva has published more than thirty-five stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with her stories included in several Best of anthologies. She has several already published books and a few more scheduled for 2011 and 2012 from her publisher, MuseItUp.

Missing, Assumed Dead
by Marva Dasef
MuseItUp Author page: http://tinyurl.com/MIU-MarvaDasef
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDa0LT7EhZg

Back Cover:
When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.

En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem . . . accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.

Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge’s henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn’t like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief’s office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.

Excerpt 1 ...

Kam gasped and jumped down the embankment toward the creek, stumbling through the underbrush. She heard the pickup tires screech and glanced back. Scruffy had gotten out and headed down the slope behind her. She moved faster, gripping her hair spray. A strap broke on her sandal, and she kicked it off. Ignoring the brambles poking into her legs through her jeans, she moved as fast as she could, the terrain preventing her from flat out running.

She heard the crashing of bushes behind her and put on more steam. She knew the pickup would have reached her car by now, but she’d be coming up on the passenger door, slightly downhill from the driver’s side. She switched the hair spray to her left hand and pawed into her purse for the keys. Finding them, she dropped the bag on the ground to free her hands and kept moving.

When she reached the Chrysler, the driver had already skidded down the embankment and was standing on the driver’s side. Thin compared to the other man, but his arms were solid muscle under the tats. She rushed to the passenger side, jerked open the heavy door, dived in, slammed the door and hit the lock button on the key fob.

The driver pounded the window with his fist. The scruffy one had caught up and pulled on the passenger side door handle. Kam hit the panic button on the fob. The deep and seriously loud Chrysler horn went off with honking bursts. Both men jumped back from the car.

The driver yelled, “I’ll fetch the rifle.” He scrambled to climb up the embankment.

Kam’s heart almost stopped. Even the shatterproof windows wouldn’t stand up against a hunting rifle. She looked around the car wildly, her breath coming in sharp rasps, and then launched herself over the console and into the rear. Sweat ran from her armpits, soaking her blouse. She ran her shaking hands across the top of the seat back hunting for the latch. She hoped the Chrysler had fold down back seats. If she could just reach the tire iron, she’d have a weapon. If this stupid car even had one that is.

She felt the latch pin, grasped it and pulled it up. It clicked. She grasped the seat back in both hands and pulled it down. On her belly, she crawled halfway into the trunk searching for the spare tire well.

Excerpt 2 ...
Salvadore didn’t recognize either of the men. The driver was in his forties, the passenger younger, maybe thirty. When they opened the pickup doors and stepped out, they hitched up their gun belts in unison.

It wasn’t unusual for men to wear guns in these parts, so it didn’t worry him. Salvadore noted the rifle rack in the back window of the truck. Most likely hunters. Both wore their hair close-cropped and dressed in khaki camo trousers and black T-shirts. The outfits reminded him of uniforms. Tattoos covered the bigger one’s arms. Salvadore stared at the spread-winged eagle on his upper arm. It seemed familiar. “Howdy, fellas. Can I help you?”

The driver looked at the other man and smirked. “Anybody up here, old man?”

“What do you mean? I’m up here.”

“I meant any other people, old timer. We’re lookin’ for somebody. Thought he might have come up this way.”

A chill crawled up Salvadore’s crooked spine. “Nope. Haven’t seen nobody but you two.” He instantly regretted his too honest answer. Now they knew he was alone. He pointed north. “If you’re wantin’ the best place to hunt bighorn, you should head that way.”

The driver moved closer. Salvadore took a step back.

Excerpt 3...
The front yard—if the flat space in front of the house could be given that much honor—was a mass of sharp gravel. Kam was happy to have her tennies on. The bottom of her foot was still sore from her impromptu foot race along the creek.

“Let’s look in the house first. Mirabel said the body was in the shed, so I’d just as soon put that off.”

Kam tried the door. It swung open easily. The single room held only a cookstove on one side and a narrow cot on the other. A small table on the kitchen side had a single chair. Kam opened a wooden cupboard to find it lined with metal—an icebox. Desiccated carrots and shrunken potatoes hung limply on the wire racks that served for shelving.

Kam hunted for evidence of an electrical supply. Not so much as a two-prong socket adorned the walls. Two kerosene lamps stood on either end of the room. But the shack was neat and homey. Salvadore hadn’t had much, but what he had, he kept clean and tidy.

“This is awful,” Kam said, picking up a tin plate from the table. Something had congealed, and petrified itself to the plate.

Mitch was on the other side of the room examining the bookshelf. He held up a photo album. “You wanted to find photos or records. Is this what you’re looking for?”

“Yeah. Mom will definitely want that. Would you fetch the box off the porch and load it with everything from the shelf?” She leaned over one of the kerosene lamps. “I know a guy who collects these. I’ll snag them too.” As an afterthought, she added, “I hope Salvadore doesn’t mind.”

Kam opened the album to the first page. A stern-faced couple stared out of the sepia-tone pictures. She worked her fingernail under the edge and lifted carefully because of the brittleness. She could just make out a faint scrawling on the back. The writing was spidery and elegant, very turn of the century. The name Vasco was clear, but the rest of the notation was in a language she didn’t recognize. Her brief studies on the Basques revealed their language, Euskara, was not at all like Spanish. She decided that when she got back home, she’d help her mother research this side of her family.

Mitch brought back the box with the metal cup inside. “That might be a collector’s item.”

“Maybe.” She put her hands on her hips and stared around the room. “Damn! I feel like a thief, but it’s better for Mom to have these things. She’ll cherish them rather than letting them rot out here.” Kam put the album and a few other books in the box. The titles and authors were in both Spanish and Euskara. They packed everything and put the box in the back of the Expedition.

Mitch closed the hatch, put his finger under her chin and lifted her face to his. “When this is all over, we need to talk. Seriously. About us.”

“What? Well, hold that thought.” Kam took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Okay, let’s look at the shack now.”

She followed Mitch. She didn’t want to admit she was afraid the two rednecks might be lurking out here. Perhaps the judge had contacted them. Maybe he knew she’d found out what happened. The whole situation tied her stomach into a knot. When they rounded the corner of the house, Kam pointed. “The shepherd’s crook. I guess the judge put it there.”

“Why do you think he did that?”

Kam shook her head. “Mirabel said she’d carried it back here from the porch and dropped it. He probably propped it up unconsciously. It’s practically a signpost saying ‘Look Here for Evidence’.”

Brown grass and a couple of loose tumbleweeds obscured the bottom of the wood door. Mitch shoved the dead vegetation aside with his boot and reached for the door handle. He stopped abruptly. Kam followed his gaze to the ground. A rusted axe and shovel lay on the ground almost hidden by the weeds. Kam stared at them. “Rust or blood?”

Mitch shrugged and pulled open the door to the shack. Two dusty windows, almost hidden by the shelves, lit the inside with a diffused, dim glow, just enough to make out the interior. The eight-foot square space had shelves lining every wall where Salvadore had neatly arranged a variety of tools, ropes, and cans. At the far end, a workbench jutted from the wall.

“I don’t see anything suspicious. Looks neat as a pin,” Kam examined the cans and bottles. “Paint, turpentine, weed killer. Just the usual stuff people keep in a shed.”

Mitch knelt down and examined the floorboards. “There’s a dark stain over here. It’s different from the rest of the floor.”

Kam bent to examine it. “The judge cleaned up, but it could be anything.” In her heart, she knew it was blood. A chill raised goosebumps on her arms despite the heat. She rubbed them. “This is really creepy, Mitch. Let’s go outside.”

“We’ll take the axe and shovel.”

“Can you get them analyzed? For blood, I mean?” Kam reached down to pick up the axe, but Mitch blocked her hand.

“Let’s not contaminate the evidence. I’ve got gloves and some plastic garbage bags in the truck.”

“Of course.”

Mitch went back to the SUV for the bags and gloves. Kam crouched in front of the shed for a moment, searching the ground for footprints or whatever. With a snort, she straightened. “Huh. That’s dumb,” she muttered. After seven years, the weather would have washed away anything left out in the open.

The growl of a truck engine startled Kam. She was about to follow Mitch, who had already disappeared around the house, but stopped abruptly when a voice called, “Howdy, Deputy Caldwell. Remember me?”

Thank you Marva for allowing us a sneak peek at your newly released book, Missing, Assu. You might also enjoy Marva's book trailer for her book Tales of a Texas Boy... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZI_8LgOIb4
Thanks for stopping by.
C.K. Volnek