Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

October 26, 2016

Did you know that we are smack dab in the middle of the fall book festival and writing conference season! Yes, that’s a thing—but I didn’t know it until I made writing my primary profession. I was thrilled to be a guest author at the Sheboygan Children’s Book Fest—especially when they were kicking off their new TEEN BOOK FEST. What a blast! This festival was a fabulous three days of fun activities, great author talks, and book signings. Make plans to attend this wonderful event for book lovers (of all ages). I promise it’s worth the drive if you don’t live in the area.

They made trading cards for each visiting author. How cool is that?

... Continue Reading
October 18, 2016

We do judge a book by its cover. That’s why authors often agonize over this step (and they should!) Indeed, it’s the first impression the reader has of what the inside might contain. As an independent author, I have complete control over this image. And while this takes more work on my part, I am happy that I do.

My cover artist is Kelsey Curkeet. She’s a professional artist in my hometown and just happens to be my niece. If I didn’t have access to a professional artist, I might utilize one of the many online book cover creators. There’s a ton of stock footage out there and that is definitely one way to go. I’m lucky that I can work with an artist to create exactly what I want.

Circle of Nine – Sacred Treasures will... Continue Reading

October 4, 2016

I’m so pleased that middle-grade author Gayle Rosengren has stopped by to talk about her writing adventure with us. Gayle is the author of two novels, Cold War on Maplewood Street and What the Moon Said. She’s recently won the 2016 Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature Award for Cold War on Maplewood Street. Additionally, What the Moon Said was a Jr. Library Guild selection and an Illinois Reads title for 2014. Yay!!

Gayle, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to publish your first novel?

Hi Valerie.  Thanks so much for having me on your blog! 

My writing journey has been quite an adventure.  In fact, when I visit schools, the first image of my power point is a path zig-zagging up a mountain.  I ask the students if they can... Continue Reading

September 27, 2016

I received a fabulous gift this summer, an advance copy of Barbara M. Britton’s “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.” All the elements of great storytelling are present in this compelling novel. From the first page, I felt as though I was truly on the journey with Hannah as the author created an immediately likeable and sympathetic character in addition to writing incredibly vivid descriptions that placed me firmly in each scene. The book’s suspenseful plot is interwoven with the wonderfully rich history of the Bible along with all of the cultural expectations of the time. Britton’s storytelling skill makes it hard to believe that this is her debut novel.

I am so glad to know that in addition to the release of “Providence: Hannah’s Journey” (available now on... Continue Reading

September 13, 2016

I’m so pleased to announce that the official release date for Circle of Nine – Sacred Treasures will be November 16!! Just nine weeks from now! You all have been very patient and for that I am VERY grateful. And you should be glad that I didn’t write this book a year ago. Really! I had a completely different plot line in mind and let’s just say . . . 

It would have been the wrong story to write. It wouldn’t have done justice to Brigit’s story or her family’s magical heritage. Sometimes the creative process takes an interesting turn. 

The first novel in the series (Circle of Nine – Beltany) was released in October 2014. (I can’t believe that was almost two years ago now.) It took... Continue Reading

September 6, 2016

I am a huge Outlander fan—and not just because the Starz series is crazy great, I have read all of the immense books by Diana Gabaldon, too. So, I was feeling a wee bit dowie (that’s sad for you non-Scots out there) when the most recent season ended. I found myself aimlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed when BAM! an advertisement popped up. It said Finding Fraser — my pulse quickened and I thought, What’s this? Dare I hope it was for a day with the actor who plays Jamie Fraser?? Nope, that wasn’t it. (big sigh) Instead, with a click (or two) I was the proud owner of a funny and engaging book entitled Finding Fraser by K.C. Dyer.

If you are in this same melancholy state and needing... Continue Reading

August 9, 2016

It seems that I only have two books to share with you from my July reading. How is that possible? Oh, yeah. I was finishing writing the rough draft of my current novel. I did read one unpublished novel for a writer friend. (It’s really, really great, but I can’t talk about it yet!) And I read two Celtic mythology books for research, but those are likely not going to be of general interest to you all.

So on with the show . . . the two books I’ll share with you here were wonderfully engaging stories. The first was a non-fiction book by an author who was gracious enough to talk about her fiction novel (A Mistake of Consequence). But long before that book came out, Terri Karsten wrote... Continue Reading

August 1, 2016

One of the eight Celtic festivals or holidays, Lughnasadh or Lammas is celebrated on August 1 each year. Lammas means half loaf and this festival day represents the first harvest day of the growing season. In Ireland, this date is known as Lughnasadh. According to Irish mythology, this festival began as a funeral feast and athletic games hosted by Lugh, the Celtic god of light, to honor his foster mother who is said to have died from exhaustion after clearing the fields of Ireland for crops. Still thousands of years later this day continues to be celebrated.

Many of the festivities have shifted to the Sunday closest to this first day of August and this year that was yesterday July 31. The pre-Christian custom of climbing the highest mountain or hillside on this day has changed... Continue Reading

July 7, 2016

I hit the local library for my June reads . . . I love to buy books and I buy a lot of them. I would never say too many, but I do have a bin of books in my closet waiting for me. We will not talk about the size of this bin—that is irrelevant (at least to me, possibly not to my husband). Anyway, in June I decided to save a few shekels and request some books from the library and utilize the daily bargains from Bookbub. 

I have been intrigued by the success of the indie published book The Martian by Andy Weir. Yes, it is that book which went on to be published by Random House and was made into the epic movie starring Matt Damon. In fact, author Andy Weir scored the book and movie deal in the same week! (There’s a great article about his journey you should read . . .... Continue Reading

June 13, 2016

I am finally recapping the books I read in May! There were a lot of dead bodies in my May reading. A LOT! The murder and mayhem began with Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan, definitely continued with A Winsome Murder by James DeVita and The Obsession by Nora Roberts, and finished up with just two in The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield.

First, where have I been?? Hank Phillippi Ryan’s first novel Prime Time, which garnered many wonderful awards, finally made its way onto my reading list. I had the pleasure of meeting the author at the Writers’ Institute in April and gleefully brought my signed copy of her novel home. This suspense/mystery novel introduces us to the multi-faceted, well-written character of Charlotte... Continue Reading