Saturday, July 30, 2011

Interview with Author, Marva Dasef

Today, my guest is multi-published author, Marva Dasef.  While Marva writes in a number of genres, she's here to discuss her latest release, Missing, Assumed Dead, available from MuseItUP Publishing.

AUTHOR: Marva Dasef
BOOK TITLE: Missing, Assumed Dead
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing
My Author Page at MuseItUp:
Please tell us about yourself?
I’m a full-time writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat.  Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry,  I have turned my energies to writing fiction and find it a much more satisfying occupation.  I have more than forty published stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with some included in Best of anthologies.  I have a few other published books, including an SFR release from Eternal Press, “Ultimate Duty,” and an anthology of my short stories titled “Mixed Bag II: Supersized.” I have a few other books, both by small publishers and self-published in ebook and print format.
Tell us your latest news?
Other than this month’s release of my murder mystery, “Missing, Assumed Dead,” I’m looking forward to a cross-tour of middle-grade and young adult authors for the release of my MG fantasy series, The Witches of Galdorheim. The first book is “Bad Spelling,” which is scheduled for an October release.
When and why did you begin writing?
Other than the usual short stories and poems (gad, I’m an awful poet) through my teen years, I seriously studied writing in college, taking a variety of courses on everything from expository to short stories to plays to poetry. I knew I was going to write, but I just didn’t know what it was. Being practical and having children, I used my skills in the software industry writing technical documentation. Throughout my thirty-five years in the industry, I didn’t find much time to write fiction. But when I retired, that was my goal. I’ve succeeded in switching from user manuals to fiction pieces.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I became a professional writer in college, but only became a “real” writer in 2007 when I retired.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Nanowrimo. Up til 2008, I wrote a lot of short stories and had good success with publishing. I honestly didn’t think I could write a longer work until forced to do so through the National Novel Writing Month program. 50K words in a month. When I accomplished that, I felt ready to continue to write longer work.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I write to entertain, not to instruct. If somebody gets a thought or two from reading my books, then that’s just a bonus. I just want readers to enjoy what I write.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Mark Twain’s works. I like his style. My love of fantasy and science fiction started with reading Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.” I quickly added fantasy to the great SF writers like Clarke, Asimov, Niven, and many others. From there it was a short step into the fantasy genre as well.
What are your current projects?
I’m working on a fourth book in my fantasy series, The Witches of Galdorheim. Other than that, it’s promotion, promotion, promotion.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Description. I tend to internalize and my characters do too. They’re not always making faces, gasping, sighing, or any of that stuff. My alpha and beta readers keep reminding me to add those descriptions into my text. Maybe I should write plays, which only have stripped down stage direction. Stephen King once advised that when you’re finished writing a book, cut 10% of it. I have the opposite problem. I need to add 20%.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Neal Stephenson. I’ve really loved nearly everything he’s written, and he’s one of the few whose works I re-read. I’ve read Snow Crash at least twice, Cryptonomicon three times, and I going through my second round on The Baroque Cycle (three volumes adding up to about 2500 pages). He’s had a few duds, but when he’s brilliant, he is simply the best writer I’ve ever read.
Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
The MG/YA cross-tour on several writers’ blogs. Mine, of course, plus whoever else signs up. I expect to have fifteen or so authors hosting each other in September. It ought to be both fun and confusing.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
MuseItUp Publishing is a small, startup Canadian ebook publisher. Lea Schizas has past experience with the publishing industry, so she does not what she’s doing. I believe all her authors who have released books are very enthused and thrilled to be with the MuseItUp family. I don’t know exactly how I found them, possibly through Duotrope or one of the authors I already knew, but I’m glad I did. My first submission to them was “Missing, Assumed Dead.” When I got that contract, and I saw the professional way the company was run, I had no reservations about sending them my Witches of Galdorheim series. There are three books in the middle-grade fantasy. The first one, “Bad Spelling,” will be released in October.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

Twitter Handle: @Gurina

Logline: Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its deadly secrets.

Book Description:

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.


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?”

Marva is giving away prizes during her tour!  Check it out at

Be sure to leave a comment and contact info to be entered.


  1. Thanks for hosting me, Penny.

    A drawing for a free book from people who comment on this post. Say 'hi' to win!

  2. Wonderful interview and excerpts. Marva, you're an inspiration. Thanks Penny.

  3. Very nice & very informative blog. I like this information, you have done fantastic job.It will help a lots of people.Great Keep it up!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Salini, I'm glad you've found the blog informative. Hope to see you here again.

  5. Hi Penny! Hi Marva! Great interview. Marva, your MG series sounds like it will be lots of fun to read. Best wishes on promoting/touring your current release.

  6. Susanne, thank you for stopping by and commenting.