Thursday, May 31, 2012

Returning Guest, Author Heather Haven

Today's guest is Heather Haven, and I'm pleased to welcome her back.  I've had the pleasure of working with Heather, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the Lee Alvarez series of which Death Runs in the Family is the latest. 

Author name: Heather Haven        
Book Title: Death Runs in the Family
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Website/Blog:           Twitter@HeatherHaven; Twitter@PILeeAlvarez

Please tell us about yourself with the following favorites:
Food? I will eat anything, and you can tell the truth by looking at me, except for okra. I HATE okra.

Drink (non-alcoholic)? Martini, bruise it, baby, and don’t spare the olives.

Flower? Plumeria, reminds me of Hawaii

Day of the week? I love Sundays. I get to read the entire paper, if I want!

Time of day to write? First thing in the morning, when I am freshest. I can go until early afternoon, tho, or as soon as my back gives out!

Place to write? It doesn’t make any difference to me. I can write anywhere. I even wrote a story once on the back of a horse, riding a trail. Sure, it was a short story, but I did it.

Season? I like Spring, although it doesn’t like me. I have a lot of sneezing and wheezing going on but I do love the pure colors, blossoms, and that new greenery. Life renewing. It’s wonderful.

Holiday?  Christmas. I like to sing all the carols, buy presents, decorate my home, bake goodies. I also like the symbol of what Christmas is about. Hope for mankind. Peace.

Color? Aqua. Almost any shade of green/blue.

Animal?  There is no animal I don’t like. If I could, I’d have a farm and be just like Noah, invite in every living thing two by two, only without the flood waters, thank you.

Hobby? Walking. Wait a minute. Is that a hobby? Here’s one, but I don’t know what it’s called: I’d like to get into taking broken glass mosaic and gluing them in a design onto walls and pottery, stuff like that. Once again, I have no idea what it’s called. Thingie. Let’s go with Thingie.

Sport? Reading. Isn’t that a sport?

Song? "What a Wonderful World", but only with Sachmo singing.

TV show? Get ready for it, the old sitcom from the 90’s, The Nanny. Broad comedy and I love it. That said, I think The Good Wife is wonderfully written and acted.

Movie? Yowser. No can do. There are too many of them. Although, Jaws was great. I saw one of the mechanical Jaws hanging on the wall of a bar down in southern California recently. Big. I understand they didn’t save many of those plaster of Paris monsters at the time, and there were dozens of them. Each one did one thing. If somebody has one, they are supposed to be worth a fortune. Check out Ebay. Of course, you need room the size of a parking lot to put them in but still. Wait a minute. Did I get off the track again?

Book? “Hamlet”…no, no, Animal Farm…no, no, Right Ho, Jeeves…no, no. Never mind; I’m starting to stress. I can’t do this.

Author? Shakespeare, without a doubt. The man was a genius.

Word? DO!

Quote?   “The difficult is done at once. The impossible take a little longer.”

Now some easy one-word answers:
Coffee or tea? Coffee

Veggies or fruit? Fruit

Cat or dog? I have two cats. We’d better choose a cat, even though I love dogs. Sorry, more than one word.

Plot or not? Yes! What are we, a dictionary? A story requires a plot of some sort, not just a bunch of pretty descriptions. Uh oh, more than one word again.

Desktop or laptop? Both

Pencil or pen?  Both

Rain or sun? Sun

Mountains or ocean? Both

Plane or train? Train

Car or motorcycle? Car

Run or walk? Walk

Casual or dressy? Dressy. I sparkle well.

Indoors or outdoors? Indoors.

Reading: EBook or paperback? BOTH

Reading: Short story or novels? BOTH

Theater or rental?  Rental

Vampire or shifter? Neither

Horror or romance? Romance

Tell us about your new/latest release:

Title: Death Runs in the Family – Book Three of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries
Genre: humorous mystery

Blurb: Lee Alvarez’ ex-husband, Nick -- a man she divorced with joy in her heart and a gun in her hand – sprints back in her life only to disappear again. She’d love to leave it at that, but could he be responsible for the recent death of her cousin, who keeled over at the finish line of a half-marathon in front of hundreds of spectators? As PI for the family run business, Discretionary Inquiries, Lee follows the clues to Vegas, where she joins forces with Shoshone PI, Flint Tall Trees.  Together they uncover a multi-million dollar betting syndicate, a tacky lounge lizard act, and a list of past but very dead runners, plus future ones to off. At the top of the ‘future’ list is the love of her life, Gurn Hanson. Hoping to force the culprits out in the open, Gurn and Lee’s brother, Richard, vow to run San Francisco’s famous Palace to Palace 12K in only a few days. Can Lee keep the two men she loves from hitting the finish line like her cousin? With more at stake than she ever dreamed possible, Lee is in a battle against time to stop the Alvarez Family’s race with death.

Short Excerpt:
Chapter One
Another Mrs. Papadopoulos?

                  I threw back the covers and staggered to my front door, commanded by the insistent ringing of the doorbell. Ordinarily, after the night I’d had, and it being eight o’clock in the morning, on a Sunday no less, I would have just let it ring; hoping whoever it was would go away or fall into a sinkhole. But this ringer wouldn’t stop, and the bell sounded more and more like an air raid siren to my hung-over eardrums.
My name is Liana Alvarez. Everyone calls me Lee except my mother and the less said about that the better. My email reads, but I don’t always respond in a timely fashion, especially when I’m in the middle of a case. D.I. stands for Discretionary Inquiries, the family-owned investigative service, and everybody knows what a PI is. I’m thirty-four-years-old, five-foot eight, 135 pounds on a good day, with thick, brown/black hair. The love of my life, the gorgeous Gurn Hanson, says my eyes are the color of twilight. At the moment, however, they mostly resembled a beady-eyed hippo’s.
The previous night, Lila Hamilton Alvarez, mother and CEO, fobbed off a last-minute job on me, one not so good for my California lifestyle. Due to our close relationship, my designer-clad mom knows she can do this. So, instead of being at home playing with my cat and sucking down a mango-orange-guava yogurt shake, I was imbibing huge amounts of Tequila Slammers. This slamming was in an effort to get the tipsy girlfriend of a software thief to reveal where he’d gotten to. Said girlfriend dished, but my liver will never be the same.
                  Me being about as hardboiled as a two-minute egg, the following morning found me sleep deprived, alcohol poisoned, and feeling enormously sorry for myself. But I still remembered to look out the peephole instead of throwing open the door because L.H. Alvarez did not raise a stupid child. Not seeing anyone, I leaned against the framework in a hangover-induced quandary. Was someone there or not?
But the ringing continued, so shrill and loud that it had to be an affirmative unless my front door’s electrical system had gone wiggy. I squinted into the little round circle of glass again, strained my eyeball downward, and spied what looked like the back of a curly, platinum blonde, female head. I left the chain on when I opened the door, because my mother did not raise…never mind.
Facing away from me, the blonde female continued to lean into my doorbell for all she was worth, oblivious to my presence. A serious shrimp, she wore a pair of fire engine red spike heels and still didn’t clear much over five foot two. Looking pretty harmless unless she came at me with one of those six-inch spikes, I undid the chain and opened the door.
“All right, all right. I’m here. Get off the bell.”
Startled, red stilettos wheeled around and faced me. “Hi,” she said in a voice with no bottom to it, reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe, but not nearly as sexy. “I was beginning to think you weren’t here.”
As self-confident as her body language had been earlier, she seemed to become unsure of herself, shy almost. Although how anyone could pull off shyness in that getup I’ll never know. The killer heels were a perfect complement to the red satin miniskirt, scanter than a Dallas cheerleader’s costume, and the plunging neckline of the yellow and green floral blouse emphasized cleavage aplenty. A thin, black polyester sweater, way too small, was buttoned haphazardly below her breasts. Clanking gewgaws hung from her ears, neck, wrists, and fingers. She looked like a walking display case of gaudy jewelry. Before me stood a young lady who could send any self-respecting fashionista screaming into the night.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jenna Storm, The Burning Seal

Please tell us about yourself?
First off, thanks for inviting me to guest on your blog Penny I appreciate it. It’s always nice to visit with fellow Muse authors. A little about myself hmm...I have two daughters, ages 14 and 9, and a Chihuahua/Dachshund (Chiweenie) mix dog who chases our Calico cat around the house. Between my girls and the pets our house is noisy which is one of the reasons I write somewhere else. My favorite writing spot is a local Starbucks where I am able to focus because all the noise, chaos and demands are not directed to me at all!
Tell us your latest news?
In March my Paranormal Romantic Suspense, The Burning Seal was released by MuseItUp. This is my first novel length ebook and the first in a series.
When and why did you begin writing?
I remember writing Edgar Allan Poe type stories when I was in my early teens and pretty much just dabbling in writing until I had my first child. After Cassie was born I started writing again with the ultimate goal/wish of having my work published. 
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The moment I took it seriously and started writing daily. It didn’t take signing a contract for me to recognize myself as a writer. I got the contract because I was a writer!
What inspired you to write your first book?
I dabbled in genres when I first started writing with the goal of getting published. I started with a middle-grade story that I never finished (lost the floppy during a move), moved to romantic suspense (I swear one day I will rework and finish it) and finally settled into paranormal romance. 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Don’t lose faith in yourself. 

What books have most influenced your life most?
Honestly, the books in the genres I read. Suspense, Mysteries, Paranormal Romance and Romantic Suspense. 
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I don’t have a mentor but I admire any writer who is able to take the ideas and glimpses of characters spinning through their head and create a story.
What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
I just started reading Jeaniene Frost’s books with Cat and Bones. I know they’ve been out forever but  I’m not a fan of first person point of view writing so it took me a while. It’s difficult for me to read first person stories and then work on my WIP which is written in third.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are so many talented authors emerging that I’m unable to name anyone specifically. Muse authors impress me constantly and I consider myself lucky to be part of the same publishing house. 
What are your current projects?
Right now, I’m working on book 2 in The Elements series. The Burning Seal is book one.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I could always play with words and try to find newer ways to express a character’s emotions and thoughts. 
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I don’t recall how it originated but I know why I continue to sole purpose is to entertain and provide readers with an escape from their reality which is usually weighed down with stress, work and responsibilities and pull them into the world I’ve created for my characters. 
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’m a plotter so I like to have a firm idea of the scenes that will play out in the book. However, I do have a problem allowing myself to just write the rough draft and not critique my word usage, or watch my showing vs. telling. Like many authors I have trouble turning off the internal editor!
Do you ever have problems with writers block?  If so how do you get through it?
Usually when I’m blocked it’s because I’ve been working too much and need to take a day or two off. If that doesn’t work then I need to sit and really think about the book because odds are something is wrong with the plot or an idea I have and my subconscious is not letting me move forward. 

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I watch movies and read. However, when I’m doing both of those I’m still thinking about my current WIP. I don’t think I ever stop thinking about it.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favorite but I do like Lisa Gardner’s suspense novels. I admire the way she twists a plot so the reader is constantly surprised. Anne Frasier also writes a great suspense. I love Nalini Singh’s Archangel series. Leslie Parrish’s Extrasensory Agents books. 
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Not complicating the plot and keeping the threads flowing. 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep at it. If you love writing it will show in your work. And finally, just tell the story.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy The Burning Seal and feel connected to the characters, Danni and Chase who are about to have their worlds turned upside down.
Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?

My publisher is MuseItUp Publishing. I pitched in an online session to Lea who requested the manuscript. Lucky me, she read it and offered a contract. Thank you!

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

Detective Danni Keegan is plunged into a dark, demonic world where survival depends on deciphering the connection between ritual killings, and a demon terrorizing her for a “gift” she wasn’t even aware she possessed. She must unravel her dreams of another woman who lived during ancient times and battled a bloodthirsty demon—the same demon who now hunts Danni. The loss of her body and soul looms imminent as her only chance to destroy the demon depends on changing her new partner’s convictions. He is a sinfully sexy man, who exudes power and self-assurance with the ease of breathing and has an iron-willed determination not to believe in the paranormal.
Danni Keegan pulled back the wispy curtain to peer through the thick rivulets of rain and search the swaying trees and bushes. She put her fingers to the glass and welcomed the chill as it traveled through her body. Maybe the cold would paralyze her tragic thoughts, end the feeling of dread, the vengeful tide that sought to drown her.
Her hand came off the glass and returned to the curtain where her nimble fingers fidgeted with the lace. For weeks now, the doomed feeling had fed on her, no better than raging piranhas hungering for fresh meat. She was the fresh meat. Every day the fear escalated, chewed off more of her flesh; exposed more of her vulnerability.
Get control of yourself. You didn’t make it as a cop by fearing the dark, or letting a feeling rule your head. Yet, her uneasiness gnawed, the cause was elusive, unsupported by evidence. Were Lucy Brighton’s and Chelsea Marlin’s unsolved homicides warping her sanity?
No matter how tough she acted, it was impossible to view ravished remains and not mourn lost lives. Question your own mortality and blame yourself for not stopping the homicides. Was she confusing her edginess with guilt that the killer remained free to hunt new victims?
Her fingers beat the glass in a staccato tempo which matched her heart’s unsettled rhythm.
No. This evil feeling, it was blacker.
More menacing. More...enduring.
She cast a wishful glance at the wide-cushioned sofa and the television. Her bagel and cream cheese lay neglected on the coffee table along with the horror novel she was reading. Anchored to the window, she scanned the looming trees and thick darkness for a shadow that didn’t fit. A forceful wind scraped tree limbs against the condo's roof and the windows wept from the torrential downpour.
She leaned forward and focused, as if she could frisk the shadows with her eyes. The bushes along the sidewalk shook in a way that was at odds with the direction of the wind. A clump of white bolted from tangled branches and frost-burned leaves. Realization dawned and the sight of the familiar lithe body made her smile, partly from relief, mainly from her foolishness.
The porch was clear except for a very drenched, very vexed cat. A stray who sporadically allowed Danni to mother her.
She hurried to the door and twisted the bottom lock, but when it came to the deadbolt she wavered,  her fingers refusing to close over it.
Don’t. Open. The. Door.
A warning slithered through her body, stroked her apprehension and added high-octane fuel to her fears. More like a premonition. Blood. Destruction. Innocence lost. She stared at the top of her fluffy-socked feet and scrunched her toes against the hardwood floor.
"This is stupid. Letting poor Independence drown in this storm because of a feeling."
Flexing her hands, she thought of her gun tucked in the nightstand drawer; thought about getting it. To what, shoot at trees and darkness?
She twisted the lock and stepped out, playing hopscotch with the growing puddles on the small cement porch. Frigid wind and freezing rain pushed at her. She sucked in a breath, pulling her robe tighter. The sensation of standing on solid ice seeped through her socks. Before she could cajole Independence inside, the cat darted to the right, into the heart of the storm.
“I’m not chasing you,” she called out and shoved her hands into her robe’s pockets, shuffling from side to side on cold, wet feet.
Damn. Now she’d have to change her socks and throw her damp robe into the dryer.
A warning sparked from the rustle of dead leaves. Overgrown bushes at her left shook.  Branches snapped. The cautionary spark exploded into a bonfire of fear. Her breath halted. Thoughts seized. Everything froze except time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Born of Blood, S. B. Knight

BOOK TITLE: Born of Blood
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing

Please tell us about yourself?
I am a passionate, driven individual. I like making goals and achieving them. My faith and family are top priorities in my life. I can honestly say I have a hard time doing nothing but I do slow down every now and then. I like to help others succeed just as much as I want to succeed. In the end, I’m pretty much an open book, what you see is what you get. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told “you really are like this, you’re not pretending or anything.” I take that as a compliment.  All of these aspects came into play when I first started writing Born of Blood and still hold true now.

Tell us your latest news?
My latest news…well, the sequel to Born of Blood is in editing right now and is scheduled for release in October. I would love to be able to share that my third novel is under contract but I’m waiting to hear on that. Born of Blood has been out for just about two months and I’m very hopeful that it will soon be released in paperback.
Born of Blood is doing very well as a debut novel and I continue to promote that. I have another week long blog event scheduled for July on the Vampire Book Realm that I am looking forward to.

When and why did you begin writing?
I began seriously writing about 5 or so years ago. I played around with writing for about 3 to 4 years before that. When I first started writing it was little sayings and short poems just for the sake of writing. I found it therapeutic at a time when life was more than tough. My first novel was more venting with words than actually writing to entertain. That was a tremendous help as it flushed out all of those thoughts, memories, and possible distractions so my true voice could come through and be heard.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
This is an interesting question. I suppose some would say when my poetry was published for the first time. That was quickly followed by a short story. Many considered me a writer about six months into my blog, The New Author. To be completely honest, you can disregard everything I just wrote for this question. I considered myself a writer when I penned a poem about my dad and it was read by the pastor at his funeral. That was the first time any of my work had ever been shared with an audience of any kind. That poem is special is so many ways.

What books have most influenced your life most?
The Bible would be first on this list. In regards to fictional work that influenced my storytelling, that would be The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Shannara Series by Terry Brooks, and The Wheel of Time by the late Robert Jordan.

What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
This is an exciting time for me because I am a beta reader for J. Thorn’s current novel. I consider it a privilege to be in a group that gets the opportunity to read a novel first and provide helpful feedback. It is still a work in progress but he has a really good story developing with this one.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
LOL, there is a large number of up and coming authors in MuseItUp Publishing. As I mentioned above, J. Thorn is another to watch for.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
A large number of people told me a portion of my life would make for a great book. That planted the seed but during that time I was writing in a journal and I noticed that some of my entries had a rhythm to it. I played around with it until poetry came forth. Regarding novels and short stories, that came about when my son constantly asked me to tell him stories of when I was young while we went on family walks. My wife suggested that I write those down. In a way I have, they are incorporated in my novels.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
Oh I do the normal husband, handy man stuff around the house. I play basketball and I’m a Cub Scout leader for my son’s pack. I read and watch movies. I enjoy gardening (especially the eating part of it). Did I mention that I have a full time job as a Civil Engineer? Yea, that keeps me busy during the week.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Absolutely! I learned that I can, indeed, write a complete novel. That is an accomplishment in itself. I also learned what I am strong at writing and what I need to work on. I noticed my voice and where it can be heard the loudest and weakest. All these things help me improve my craft while writing the next novel. I don’t think I will ever stop learning about my writing.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
First, thank you for reading Born of Blood! Second, get ready because there is more from SB Knight just over the horizon.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
May 30th I will be on the Scifi/fantasy writer blog talk radio show. From July 2 through July 6 I will be conducting a week long blog event on The Vampire Book Realm website. I will have other dates that you can find out about on my website.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
My publisher is MuseItUp Publishing. I first connected with Lea during her online writer’s conference a few years ago. I admit to lurking in the shadows for the first 10 or so months she started the publishing company to see what was going to happen. I saw really good things and wanted to be a part of it.

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

Twitter - @thenewauthor


Born of Blood

Book One of the Blood Chronicles

Chapter One
~Year 1573~

The rider’s head swiveled as she searched the hillside for any sign of pursuit. Wet mud flew high in the air from her horse’s hoofs as they thundered down the rutted trail. She shifted her eyes for a split second to look at the bundle snugly bound against her midsection.
“Just a little further now,” she whispered.
The cold night air whistled past her ears, but sweat continued over her brow. The barren trees reached out with their finger-like limbs, threatening to rip her off her mount. At the last second, she swerved her horse down a side path. A glimmer of light in the distance called to her, and a burst of speed brought the weary rider to a ramshackle farmhouse with a single light glowing from a lone window.
            The smoke from the fire was a welcoming sign of warmth as she approached the door. A soft knock, and it cracked opened. An old woman gazed beyond the traveler’s shoulder for a moment until she stepped aside and waved her in.
“You sure you weren’t followed girl?” a gray-haired man asked from a seat in the corner next to the fire.
“Yes, I’m sure,” the rider replied as she dropped her saddlebag on the table.
The old woman shut and latched the door. “Now, Pa, leave her be. She’s been on a long ride.”
“Well, if’n she was followed, it will be for naught.”
“I said I wasn’t followed.”
Pa stared at the girl for a moment and nodded before repacking his pipe with tobacco. “Then move over here to the fire and warm your bones.” He indicated the hearth.
Elizabeth stood close to it and absorbed the warmth into her stiff fingers. As she warmed, she removed her hat, scarf, and cloak, but the bundled blanket remained against her midsection. I hope I’m doing the right thing. She turned to the old couple.
“I know this is a burden on you. There are some supplies in the saddlebag. It’s not much, but it will last a few days.”
“That witch has done enough horror in these parts, so it’s the least we can do.” Pa spat.
“Well, let’s have a look,” requested Ma.
Elizabeth detached the bundle and handed it to her. With experienced hands, she pulled back a portion of the blanket. The angelic face of a sleeping baby girl greeted her.
“Oh, isn’t she darlin’.” Ma cooed at the babe. “Come look, Pa.”
Pa moved around the table and stared at the baby.
“I’d say that’s a baby, all right.” With that, he moved back to his seat.
“Never you mind him. I know him like my own hand, and he loves this little bundle already.”
Elizabeth gave a slight smile. “I knew she would do well here, but mind the countess will never stop looking for her once she figures things out.”
“You think she will?” Ma asked.
Elizabeth bundled up for the journey back. “I’m positive,” she exclaimed as she walked out into the night.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sandra Cox, Minder, plus contest

AUTHOR:  Sandra Cox

To celebrate Minder's release, Sandra will be running a month long contest at:
One randomly drawn commenter will win:
A set of butterfly pins
A Starbucks gift certificate
A book dedication
And a download of Minder
Just leave a comment, mention Minder and include your email addie.

Please tell us about yourself?
A bit about myself...hmm..... I work as an Admin Assist during the day and write in the evening and on weekends.  I’m a vegetarian. I kick box. My husband and I are empty nesters, except for the five cats and one dog. On weekends, I love to sit out on my porch with a good book.

Tell us your latest news?
Minder a crossover YA has just been released at MuseItUp publishing.

What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
Children of the Mist by Hywela Lyn. I’ve barely started it but I can already tell its going to be a good read, very descriptive.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes. Rhobin Courtright, another Muse author. She writes Sci Fi and is excellent.

What are your current projects?
I’m working on a vampire novel.

Do you ever have problems with writers block?  If so how do you get through it?
Unfortunately, yes.
I try to push through it and get something down on paper even if what I’ve just written makes me cringe.  To paraphrase another writer, you can always rewrite junk, but you can’t rewrite a blank sheet of paper.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
Shopping, watching movies, kickboxing and as mentioned above, I love to sit out on the porch, listen to the birds and read a good book or work on my current wip.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m going to have to list three: Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins. They make their stories and characters come alive.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Writing is tough. An author’s emotions are on a constant roller coaster. Persevere through the bad times, they’ll pass.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
 I’d like to say thank you. You keep me going.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
I’ve got a contest going on starting 25th of this month. One randomly drawn commenter will win butterfly jewelry –butterflies are drawn to the Minder princess—a  Starbucks card, a download of Minder and their name in the dedication of the next book I write. To enter: just leave a comment and mention Minder at

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
My current publisher is Muse. I learned about Muse from Rhobin Courtright. She had so many good things to say about them, I was intrigued. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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

twitter: Sandra_Cox


Among the northern tribes there is a legend passed down from generation to generation about shape-shifting Minders—guardians of the innocents—and how they came to be. 

It is said that nowadays only a handful of Minders exist, hunted to near extinction by a fearsome beast. Of the remaining Minders, only one wears a garnet-studded collar, the symbol of protection and royalty.  

Even when my aunt told me the story, and handed me an ancient garnet-studded band, I had no idea the tale applied to me.
After all, it’s only a legend…

A movement along the edge of the cliff caught my attention. A small rabbit nibbled at a tuft of clover growing between the rocks. I came to attention like a pointer. My nose began to quiver and my mouth water. I twitched my butt.

Without thought, I bolted out of the house after the rabbit. My blood raced and I breathed in short sharp pants. I could hear the creature’s heart pound and smell his warm vibrant flesh.

He took three frightened leaps and disappeared into the forest. I skidded to a stop, trembling so hard my teeth rattled. What’s wrong with meI wanted to take a bite out of a poor defenseless little bunny. I pursed my lips and screwed up my face. Gross doesn’t begin to cover it.

This is way past PMSing.  Tears welled up and spilled down my cheeks.

I turn eighteen tomorrow. Surely, there’s no connection.

A sharp wind blew off the water. My eyes closed. I stood perfectly still, except for the shudders that racked my achy body as fear and revulsion washed over me like the loud pounding waves below.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kristine Ong Muslim, We Bury the Landscape

AUTHOR: Kristine Ong Muslim
BOOK TITLE: We Bury the Landscape
PUBLISHER: Queen’s Ferry Press

Please tell us about yourself. I have been writing and publishing actively for years.  My stories and poems have appeared in hundreds of literary journals, genre magazines, and anthologies. I live in the Philippines.  I am an eldest child. And I love to garden.

Tell us your latest news. On April 20, my flash fiction piece appears in the latest issue of Ellipsis. I also have a poem in Inkscrawl,  a poem in The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry from Aqueduct Press, flash fiction in Dadaoism (An Anthology) from Chômu Press, and stories in two anthologies edited by Filipinos.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? The first time that I got paid well for my writing – that was the first time I felt like a real writer. It was the literary journal, Turnrow, many years ago.

What inspired you to write your first book? My now out-of-print first book is a collection of poems. The publisher folded years ago. We Bury the Landscape is my first fiction book. It consists of 100 mini-stories about 100 different paintings and photographs. The bulk of the inspiration came from Edward Hirsch’s “Edward Hopper and the House by the Railroad.” I discussed my research notes for the book in the Necessary Fiction blog.

What books have most influenced your life most? Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles.” Nothing comes close to it.

What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it? I am currently reading Theodore Carter’s first book, “The Life Story of a Chilean Sea Blob.” I am on the third story. What’s amazing about the stories is that they incite nervous laughter. The well-written stories are absurd and at times, hilarious, but deep down, I find them to be incredibly disturbing.    

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? He is not a new author, but recently I’m drawn to the work of Michael Meyerhofer. I “discovered” his writing after I read his fine analysis of James Valvis’ poem.

What are your current projects? I am working simultaneously on two book manuscripts this year. They are both collections of interrelated stories.  

Do you ever have problems with writers block?  If so how do you get through it? To deal with writers block, I go ahead and just force myself to write. I never had any serious problems with writers block. All my long dry spells of zero output had nothing to do with writers block; I was simply busy doing other things.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing? I read a lot. I read like crazy. In fact, I read more than I write. I tailor my writing hours so I am left with more hours to read.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about his work? As far back as I can remember, I have always loved Ray Bradbury. All his stories have the air of “I love what I’m doing right now, and whatever I’ve left on the page for you to read is a product of what truly makes me happy!” That’s how I want to write.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? The writing part was relatively easy because I enjoyed it. The most difficult part was to get the whole manuscript published. Fortunately, it did not take a year for me to do that. I had already moved on to another project during the proofreading stages with Queen’s Ferry Press.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? A ludicrous yet well-executed idea is always bound to get published.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Write really well, and write something new. I am incredibly old-fashioned, and I believe in hard work. I believe in a writer’s long and tortuous publication history. I also believe in the value of a community of writers. My advice: write the best you can and support other authors whose work you believe mirrors what you want to accomplish in your writing.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention? My poetry chapbook, “Doll Plagues, Doll Lives,” is forthcoming from Thunderclap Press this year. So is my full-length poetry collection, “Grim Series,” from Popcorn Press.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them? My publisher is Queen’s Ferry Press. I found their listing on Duotrope.  I wrote a short query to accompany the manuscript, waited, and that was it.

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

Short Excerpt or blurb:

We Bury the Landscape is a collection of 100 little stories about 100 different paintings and other works of art. It is a carnival of the absurd and the macabre -- a carnivorous sunflower, a boy with a propeller head, and a boy who is forever wedged in the floor of his bedroom. Read the complaints of our dear Aunt Mimi who is addicted to cosmetic surgery. Feel sorry for a resurrected minotaur.
Or look at some online excerpts: Revenge of the Goldfish │The City is Landing 
Finally, here are teasers from Mixer Publishing: Bug Chairs The Village of the Mermaids