Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

January 20, 2017

The answer should be NEVER – but it appears that both portions of the literary community and now the film community are embracing an author who describes her use of others’ work in her bestselling novel as a type of “mixing” and that “there is no such thing as originality anyway, there’s only authenticity.”

Let me start at the beginning. In 2010, 17-year-old Helene Hegemann’s debut novel Axolotl Roadkill climbed up the bestseller lists and earned a nomination... Continue Reading

January 6, 2017

For the last few years I have taken the Goodreads website reading challenge. My goal for 2016 was to read 80 books but I read fewer than that. (Big sigh.) I had high hopes for the year, but writing and editing three novellas as well as one full-length novel took away a lot of reading time. In my defense, I did finish the year strong by reading a lot in December and tallying in at 55 books for the year.

The best books of December included the Nine Minutes series by Beth Flynn and an incredible memoir of hope, strength, and survival, My Sister’s Mother by Donna Urbikas.

I had the pleasure of meeting Donna Urbikas at the Writers’ Institute sponsored by the... Continue Reading

December 21, 2016

Now, I know that we all sing about the Twelve Days of Christmas, but you might not have realized that the pagan celebration of Yule is twelve days long, starting with the winter solstice on December 21 and ending on January 1.  

As we begin Yuletide I wanted to learn more about these traditions and share them with you!

Initially, it’s important to note that back when people followed a lunar calendar there were twelve days “leftover” at the end of the year.  These twelve nights became a special time where the veil between the worlds was thin and celebrations abounded. Yuletide dates have varied just a bit through the years, but were almost always twelve days in length. Some articles say the pre-modern... Continue Reading

November 29, 2016

I haven’t gotten to write anything much lately other than shopping lists. Shopping lists do not count no matter how creative they get! I have been able to keep up with reading some of my favorite blogs and some fabulous books in the past few weeks. A recent blog post has had me thinking these past few days about the books we enjoy—particularly those novels which are not considered literary gems but are widely popular.

Of course, to enjoy a story it must resonate with us on some level. We all have heard and possibly participated in conversations about books that we felt were not particularly well written but somehow became a sensation, selling millions of copies and eventually movie rights. (The Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight series come to mind immediately.) There is much... Continue Reading

November 15, 2016

My newest novel (which launches on Wednesday, November 16!) is titled Circle of Nine – Sacred Treasures. It’s the final installment in what turned into the three-book Circle of Nine series. But what the heck are these treasures and what made them so sacred? Let me tell you . . .

When my initial inspiration hit for this series I was in Ireland and admiring the handiwork of people who lived about 3500 years ago. They built stone structures like portal tombs, dolmens, and really awesome stone circles. How they did this without modern tools remains somewhat of a mystery. Why they built them is also up for debate. Oh, we know that the tombs were just that—a burial place of honor for their dead... Continue Reading

November 8, 2016

The Circle of Nine series concludes with the launch of Circle of Nine: Sacred Treasures (Book 3) on November 16! As we countdown the days to the launch, I’m celebrating with a great book giveaway contest. The Grand Prize is a $20 gift card to either Amazon or B&N (winner’s choice.)

Two second place winners will receive a paperback copy of the book: Circle of Nine: Sacred Treasures. (US addresses only.) Three third place winners will receive an e-book copy of Circle of Nine: Sacred Treasures.

Entering is easy. Click below HERE to go to the Rafflecopter entry page. (Note: Rafflecopter only shares the relevant contact information with me, so you can find out if you are a winner!)

I’... Continue Reading

October 30, 2016

Yes, these three things do occur at the same time and if you are a follower of the Celtic Wheel of the Year, Samhain (pronounced saah-win or saa-ween) marks the beginning of the spiritual new year. Samhain comes from the Gaelic word “samhuin” which means summer’s end. It’s the traditional start of winter and marks the New Year as one of the eight annual Celtic festivals.

The Celtic Wheel of the Year plays a predominate role in the lives of the characters in my Circle of Nine Series.

I spent a lot of time researching these holidays before writing these stories and was amazed at how our Halloween traditions derive from this pagan holiday. The Celts believed summer ended on October 31 and... Continue Reading

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