Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

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

May 31, 2016

Last month I read the BEST BOOK EVER -- Hello? by Liza Wiemer! What made this experience even better was being able to reach out to the author and tell her how much I loved her story. She was incredibly gracious and agreed to an interview. I think it's such a treat to hear directly from an author about their novel and hope you think so, too.

I’m so excited that I get to interview you! As I told you, I loved, loved, loved your novel Hello? for so many reasons. But before I start peppering you with questions about the book, would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thank you so much for your fantastic questions and for having me on your blog! It’s an honor!

When I was a teen, I wasn’t thinking about becoming a writer. Actually, I was interested in becoming a... Continue Reading

May 20, 2016

When I present sessions to writers about promoting their books, I necessarily include a section on social media. Rarely is anyone aware of the 80/20 rule. You’ve never heard of this either? It refers to the formula that 80 percent of your social media posts should be informative, educational, or entertaining. That leaves 20 percent of your posts for marketing your books. 

This means you’re using your social media to be – well – SOCIAL!

(And that's the fun part. I like to post other author’s successes or good news, new book releases, cute writing tidbits, or things that make me laugh.)

While our ultimate goal is to connect with people who may eventually be interested in buying our books, you don’t do that by ONLY selling to them.

How many of us have “... Continue Reading