Author Spotlight with Karen Kostlivy

K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

K.K  Thanks, Katie for having me here with you today. I was born and raised in Northern California. I currently reside in Yuba City, California. I am married and have two grown sons that are the lights of my life.  

K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

You might call this a quirk, but I call it a major annoyance that really bugs me. I make my family leave the house very early in the morning when I’m ready to sit behind the computer to write. I don’t understand why I make them leave, but they need to be gone or I can’t write. The odd thing is that my outline and characters are all ready created in my notebook, just waiting for me to transfer them to the computer. Can you say weirdo?…LOL

K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

K.K.    I realized I wanted to be a writer when I wrote parts of a story I created years ago for an English assignment. The story would not leave me no matter how much I tried to flush it from my mind, it just kept coming back to me. It was like I had no other choice but to write, so I began to write. 

K.S.  What genre do you write?

K.K.    I write middle grade fiction, fantasy adventures, however, I have numerous ideas that I want to put my pen to paper and see where it leads me.

K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

K.K.    I’m truly blessed in this arena of my life. My family is very supportive and encourages me to do what I am passionate about and that is writing. So they are okay when I make them leave the house. My husband will listen to story ideas and proofreads my drafts.

K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

K.K    What was very surprising to me was how much I enjoyed creating the characters and plots.

K.S.  Can you share an excerpt from your novel?

K.K    I love this part of the story it is from the second chapter when Mason is magically transported to Africa:

Mason stopped reading.  "Teeth," he said with a groan. He threw the blankets off of his head and jumped out of bed, landing on something cold and spongy. 
"Ugh! What is that?" he cried.  Green moss and rocks surrounded him. The walls of his room were beginning to melt away like candle wax.  Screeches of monkeys, laughter of hyenas, chirping of insects, and trumpeting of elephants resounded in his ears.    
"What the heck?" he shouted and jumped back onto his bed, landing on Jamie's bow and arrows.  He shut his eyes as tight as he could.  "Wake up, wake up," he frantically whispered; but the sounds persisted.  He could feel his bed starting to dissolve away from under him.  Clutching the toys, he rolled onto the ground. Slowly opening his eyes, he could see that he was no longer in his bedroom at all. He was griped in fear and thought if he could just stay still, not make a move, he might wake up, and it would be all gone. Just some weird freaky dream … you know because he just read that message from Lutalo.
He opened his eyes. He looked around some more. Still there, he thought. Everything had changed.  His bedroom walls, his desk, dresser, skateboard and laptop were all gone.  Even the bow and arrows in his hand had changed. Instead of Jamie's plastic toys, Mason held gleaming golden arrows and a shimmering ivory bow.  Mason had never seen more beautiful weapons in his life – not even in a museum.  "Wow," he whispered, as he ran his fingers over his weaponry.  He staggered to his feet and began to walk, looking for people.
He reached out and touched the jungle brush. Felt real. He then tentatively looked up at the canopy of overgrown foliage that shielded the jungle floor from direct sunlight. He looked around and wasn’t sure what to do. Should he stay or go? A distant “screech” startled him, and a big, brown hairy bug flew right in front of him. He waved his arm to protectively drive it off. He was disoriented and stepped forward, “crunch,” as he tried to make his way through the thick overgrowth. He touched a smooth tree trunk that was buttressed for support in the absence of deep roots. He curiously pulled down a broadleaf that was big, flat and thin. He looked around some more – everything was big and overgrown and damp, with vines dangling everywhere and in his way to climb through. His curiosity moved him to explore his surroundings.
At last he came to the edge of the jungle.  Barren, dead land stretched out wide in front of him.  Far ahead, in the middle of the lifeless environment, he could see what looked like a large village.  "What is this place? How did I get here?" he thought.  He suddenly saw a small figure racing toward him and shouting. 


K.S.  Where can we find your novel?

K.K     Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life is available at Barnes & Noble  (www.barnesandnoble.com ), 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com), Amazon (www.amazon.com) and Borders (www.borders.com/online/store/Home) It will be distributed to major bookstores nationwide in late summer 2010.

K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

K.K.    My website is www.cyberwriters.net and I have a fan/like page on Facebook under Cyber Writers.  

K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

K.K.    Keep writing! If a person is passionate about writing I would recommend that they keep writing and not give up. Remove the clutter from your mind and finish what you start.  Also, have someone review your writing that you trust. Hire someone if you can and be open to their suggestions in regards to polishing your work.

Bowker Manuscript Submissions ....Hmmmmm

Got an interesting email the other day. Being the paranoid person that I am, I hit Google for a bit of research.

Thankfully Writer Beware Blog had already seen this email and did a write up on it.

This is a must read for all of you aspiring authors out there who might be considering this.

WRITER BEWARE BLOG

If you haven't seen the email, here is a copy...

From Bowker Manuscript Submissions bms@bowker.com

BowkerManuscriptSubmissions.com is now live!

Authors and publishers alike are encouraged to visit www.bowkermanuscriptsubmissions.com to register and start connecting.

BowkerManuscriptSubmissions.com is an online system that lets authors present their book proposals to the leading publishers in the industry – all from one central location. The site also provides an efficient method for book publishers to sort through the “slush pile” of unsolicited manuscripts and turn their attention to those ideas they find most interesting.

Built off of the success of ChristianManuscriptSubmissions.com, Bowker will now provide this service to the trade and higher education publishing communities.

Click here to read the full press release.

Best regards,

Bowker Manuscript Submissions team

Author Spotlight with Meredith Cagen

K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself. 

M.C. Hi Katie!  I am a typical working wife and mother who wrote an extraordinary book about a typical working wife and mother.  New York City is my home and around every corner is an adventure.

K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

M.C.  My book Size Eight in a Size Zero World reflects a lot of my life living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan but it is a work of fiction. A lot of my friends and family think that the book is my story.  They ask if my husband know about “my” affair?  Who is The Man Upstairs?  Is he still single? Can they meet him?

I’ve done should a good job telling a story, my friends and family think the story is true!!

K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

M.C.  I returned to school to obtain a Bachelors of Science in Nursing.  Finding the subject dry, technical and boring, I had a difficult time focusing on studying. Easily distracted, and prone to daydreaming and fantasizing I starting writing and didn’t stop until Size Eight in a Size Zero World was finished.

K.S.  What genre do you write?

M.C.  NYC – lit, Chick-lit and Woman’s Romance.

K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

M.C.  My inspiration is me………and taking the common relatable thread that runs through my experiences.  Then I elaborate, exaggerate or twist.  I find when people know someone else feels the same way, a shared universal experience they want to know how someone else handles things.  Once they identify, they want to know more.

I love James Hilton.  His books moved and motivated me.

K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

M.C.  My children are surprised that Mom has become an author.  They ask my help for writing school papers.  My husband is amused.

K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

M.C. Humor, I can find humor in embarrassing personal situations.  My background and imagination is storehouse for material.

K.S.  What inspired you to write your novel?

M.C.  Laughing at myself for all the mistakes I have made.  What was I thinking?

K.S.  Can you tell us a little about your novel?

M.C.
Lindsay Chandler—a 32 year-old New York City working wife and mother with old-fashioned values who thinks she’s living a fairy tale life (she’s not). She's too busy navigating between her job, husband, home, children, friends and other obligations to acknowledge her loneliness. Then an unexpected friendship with her upstairs neighbor (he is smart, successful, sophisticated and sexy— she’s not) unleashes her passion and re-ignites her sparkle.
This liaison causes her to realize what she is missing. Yearning for a storybook ending, she decides to make changes in her life, embarking on a quest for self re-invention in this hilarious, witty, heartfelt story.
In the tradition of Sex and the City, Size Eight in a Size Zero World, is a modern-day story of a good girl trying to do the right thing and the wrong thing simultaneously, while remaining true to herself, whoever that is.
With the help of a believable cast of characters, Lindsay embarks on a plan to better herself and plight. This novel is a wickedly funny social commentary on the lives of average women in New York City’s posh Upper East Side.
What happens when the road to happily ever after takes an unexpected detour?

K.S.  Where can we find your novel?

M.C.  Size Eight in a Size Zero World is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, BN, Borders and through my website, www.sizezeroworld.com

K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

M.C.
www.sizezeroworld.com, www.meredithcagen.com, www.faceook.com, www.sizeeightinasizezeroworld



K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

M.C.  Write whatever and wherever.  Carry paper and pencil, you will never know when you will get a great idea.

Author Spotlight with Keidi Keating


K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

K.K. I’m known as The Word Queen because I work with writers to bring their books to life via editing, critiquing, publishing and marketing support. I’ve lived in Malaga, Spain, for the last six years, where I started my own magazine aimed at British expats. Now my sister runs the magazine while I concentrate on The Word Queen writing and publishing business. I’m also a developing psychic!


K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

K.K. The most embarrassing thing that has even happened to me is when I fell all the way down the steps of a double decker bus and straight out the door. Luckily, I had wanted to get off at that stop, but perhaps in a more ladylike manner!


K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

K.K. I’ve known since the age of five. Even back then I’d sprawl myself on the kitchen floor daily, armed with a pen and a large notepad. I wrote tones of mini stories and I’ve kept most of them in my ‘Memory Box’. My favourite is called The Black Cat and when I read it back now I can’t help but laugh – most of it focuses around what food the characters ate that day!
My first novel, Sol Searching, is all about my move to the Costa del Sol, from a young female’s perspective. I’d kept a diary since moving here and as I read it back one day I found myself laughing and crying, so I decided to transform it into a book.


K.S.  What genre do you write?

K.K. Sol Searching is chick-lit, but I’m writing a young adult fantasy book next, called The Path.


K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

K.K.  One of my favourite authors at the moment is Philip Pullman. I love his writing style and his ability to whisk the reader into new and exciting worlds. I’m hoping my YA book, The Path, is at least a patch on his books!


K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

K.K. My parents have always encouraged me to follow my heart and write. My boyfriend likes reading my work too, but it takes him a little longer as he’s Spanish! Over all I feel very privileged to have a great support system around me.


K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book/s?

K.K  I learnt that writing a book is a real journey. It’s not just a case of churning something out and hoping people will read it. It needs careful thought, planning, tweaking, rewriting and a great deal of stress at times!


K.S.  What inspires you?

K.K.  Life inspires me! Emotions, feelings, colours, images, sounds, the way people are, what they say, how they say it, their appearance. All of this wrapped up in one big parcel, and more…


K.S.  Can you tell us a little about any of your novels?

K.K. This is taken from the chapter entitled ‘Adios Old, Hola New’

I had left it all behind. Everything I had grown to hate, but there were also the parts I loved, and I had left those behind too. I had waved goodbye to it all to live a deep-rooted dream.

Life in England was never my cup of char. I hated having to pay sky-high council tax bills, while swerving around potholes in the road. I loathed inhaling BO-soaked armpits on the London Underground. I cringed at office politics, which involved leaving work thirty minutes after “going-home time” just to score brownie points with the boss.  I even hated drinking like a fish on Saturday nights, just because there was nothing better to do. I detested seeing Anne Robinson’s wink every time I switched on the box. I despised grease-drenched fish & chips, and I couldn’t stand the way Mr Blair’s mug plagued the daily rags. One thing was for sure. I was certainly not a patriotic kind of girl.

Some may say I had an easy life, as I scraped my way on to the housing ladder at the tender age of 19, even if that did mean living in Dratford (oops, Dartford)!

“Isn’t that where there’s a tunnel?” was a frequent speculation.

Apart from the famous tunnel, all Dartford offered was a Co-op and an assortment of ‘Everything for a Pound’ stores.

I even had a boyfriend, who had an unhealthy liking for satirical American TV programmes I can’t stand. Despite this, he loved my wayward brown hair with a mind of its own; my dark eyes, which watered too much around onions; and my thin body, which I thought looked scrawny. He even loved my determined nature, my erratic moods and my dangerously high energy levels.

I was a writer for a corporate communications company in the West End of London. Sounds glamorous, but in reality it meant writing constant bullshit to make companies appear better than they really were. The words ‘strategy’, ‘initiative’ and ‘incentive’ had to feature in every story. Most of the staff of these companies (including management) would fold their free newsletters into aeroplanes before propelling them into the nearest bin.

I felt that life had gone stale. I felt that I had gone stale. I needed a change and I needed one pronto! Fortunately, the events that followed led to a fateful path of opportunity, adventure and insight.

 “We’re flying to Spain to look for a property,” said my Dad out the blue. He had taken early retirement and was looking for an investment opportunity.

“You may as well move out there,” I said, without looking up from my book.
“At your ages you should be enjoying life, not stuck living in the same house for another four decades.”



K.S.  Where can we buy your novel?

K.K. Sol Searching; A Fun-Filled Tale of a Modern Girl’s Move to the Costa del Sol, is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com


K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

K.K.  Yes my blog site is at www.sol-searching.com – you can also find out more about me at www.TheWordQueen.com


K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

K.K.  Never give up on your dream and pay attention to your thoughts and your mind-set. I release energy blockages, such as fear of failure, writer’s block, etc, on a psychic level should you need it

Author Spotlight Kim Upstone

Kim Upstone
All I Want is Everything
Genre: Self-Help/Women’s Issues
Publisher: Infinity Publishing
ISBN:0741458195


Bio
Kim is one of 9 children born to a business entrepreneur father (still living) and a housewife (deceased). She has been married 32 years to her husband, Doug, who is a sports writer. She has I has two children, Melissa who lives in Hawaii, and Brent who is married and lives in Tempe, AZ and his wife.  They are expecting their first child, Grace, in August. Kim and her husband care for her sister, Debbie (who is 5 years older than Kim). She has special needs and they have Frank, their 4 year old cocker spaniel!  They  moved to Arizona seven years ago to get away from the cold.

Kim Upstone is the owner of A New Day A New Vision which is not only the name of her company, but her life philosophy. Kim believes that each new day we can create a new vision for ourselves, home and environment. As an author, motivational speaker and intuitive designer she resides with her family in Scottsdale, Arizona. With a background in interior design and interest into the effects of environment upon individuals, accreditation in staging and feng shui soon followed. In addition, she has studied  neuro- architecture. Her first book Step by Step To Sold and Feng Shui to Sell are reflections of those principals. Both books were written as guide for home sellers looking to prepare their home by combining Feng Shui and Staging techniques.

Feng Shui for Special Needs, her second book, is given out as a free ebook for people with life and learning challenges. Based on her own personal experience, the books  help those who work with special needs children and adults to make enhancements to their environments all in an effort to allow them to flourish.

Her new book All I Want Is Everything released in December 2009 is drawn from her life’s journey of searching how to find her everything and learning to dance in the storm. All I Want Is Everything is a guide to help women reclaim happiness and peace in the search for their everything.



K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself. 

K.U. Well if we begin with what I am, you can say that I am a married, mother of two grown children, I care for my sister who is special needs and of course there is Frank, our cocker spaniel. My professional background in intuitive design and feng shui lead me to write my first book “Step By Step To Sold”. Which is a step by step guide to preparing your home for sale using Staging and Feng Shui . My second book is a free ebook on Feng Shui for people with special needs. It is drawn from my experience of working children and adults that need assistance with life and learning challenges. Environment plays a huge part in their ability to function and concentrate.

 If you want to know who I am that is a different story. I am all those things wife, mother and daughter, designer, stager etc. But who I am is so much more than those labels. My life early on was blessed with things that from the outside would appear was everything you would need to be happy and fulfilled. But on the inside I found myself searching for something, a missing piece. I believed that piece, once I found it, would hold the key to all the answers, and those answers once discovered would allow me to feel complete and happy. What I found was so much more. My latest book “All I Want Is … Everything, A Guide to Love, Peace and Happiness” is my journey to find “my everything” but it is also a guide for others to follow. Through journaling and contemplation I can help people find their “everything” too.


K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

K.U. The way I write my books is somewhat unique. I write with notebook paper and a pen but I write the width of the paper across the lines from edge to edge. I also instruct all my readers when journaling to do the same. I think for conventional thinkers it puts you a bit uncomfortable and forces you to think outside the box slightly. When writing from emotion it feels better than writing on a computer or on the lines.




K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel  book?

When I was very young I wrote lots of poetry. I stopped writing after my third grade teacher called in my parents and they were told that I was writing things that were much too old in subject matter – war, life after death, and sadness. At that time, I was very obedient so I stopped writing outside of school assignments and tried to keep those lighter so I wouldn’t get in trouble again. I began journaling in my 20’s when I started my journey and continue to this day.


K.U. I wrote my first two books as a result of a constant stream of requests by realtors and homeowners to teach them how to transform their houses.

I realized after both my son and daughter began asking questions about why we are different in our thinking and attitude than other people and families, they were meeting. It was then that I realized my children had lived almost their entire life in the brightness of the light from what I learned on my journey, but they did not know about my journey. So “All I Want” really began as a letter to my children. It was important for me to explain it to them, so that they could share with their children. They needed to understand how to get back to the trail that would lead them back to happiness, should they ever lose their way.

After writing that letter to my children it occurred to me that writing this series of books would be the fulfillment of the guidance I had received. I was told to go where there was no path and leave a trail. I became aware that the trail was my original journey and the path was writing the books for others to share, a trail to happiness for those who choose to venture with me.


K.S.  What genre do you write?

K.U. You could call it inspirational, informational, self help, or motivating.

K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

K.U. I read almost exclusively non-fiction. I rarely get any time to read uninterrupted so I find it easier to pick up and read self help and motivation. On vacation however I always try to get at least one fiction in and it usually is an action thriller. Mostly Robert Ludlum and Sidney Sheldon.



K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

K.U. My husband is a pretty successful sports writer and believe it or not we are not into telling each other how wonderful we are. We just do what we think is best for ourselves and can serve the world at the same time. That is what propels us forward, it became our motivation. It’s may be hard to understand but those of you who have worked through “All I Want is …Everything” can grasp what I am trying to explain. When the ego is not involved and you know that you are loved and that you can love unconditionally, everything becomes uncomplicated and purpose and passion becomes your inspiration. What others think, including family, just doesn’t affect you all that much.  



K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

K.U. This book was a very personal experience for me. I was surprised how very painful it was to reread all my old journals. They were written prior to and then during my journey, but reading them again was an important part of being able to create that path for others to follow. To go back and see how the darkness of unhappiness and negativity encompassed my world at that time was a sobering experience. What if I had not asked for guidance or missed the message the angel delivered to me, I understood quickly that my life would have been very different than the life I have lived.



K.S.  What inspired you to write your novel?


K.S.  Can you tell us a little about your novel?

K.U. This is an excerpt from the first chapter.

I believe there are no coincidences.  In my heart I know that if you have this book in your hands you have it for a reason.  Perhaps you came upon it by chance, or a friend gave it to you.  Maybe someone was speaking about it and you overheard the conversation.  A power greater than you or I is at work.  Maybe it is not meant for you but for someone you care about, and you want them to have the happiness and joy in their life they deserve.  Maybe by your reading it first, you will realize there are changes you can make to your life that will not only enrich your life, but will enrich the lives of everyone around you. 

Do you want to be one of the lucky few who know what it really means to live?  Do you want to learn how to live without placing conditions on your life and allow happiness to fill your spirit?
I can tell you with all the love in my heart that you too can have “your everything.”  You have all that you need within yourself to find inner peace, and it is not reliant upon external conditions.  But please don’t confuse being content with what you have, with not striving to have more.  Human nature is to always look for something more, which is why you are reading this book.  Understand that there is nothing wrong with wanting more or better.  The problem occurs when we make the absence of what we want and the lack of appreciation for what we have mutually exclusive with our happiness.  This is not a rehearsal for the life that we want; this IS your life, so please read on and make the most of every moment of the gift of life we have been given. 
My wish for each of you is that when we reach the end of this book together you will realize, as I have, the power in living each day with…
…love for all, and be able to truly love everyone, including yourself without restrictions.
…grace with gentleness towards others, and     acceptance of their limitations
…and gratitude for all that we have been given. 
“A life is like a piece of paper on which everyone leaves their mark.” – Chinese proverb
    
My wish is that the mark I leave on your paper is one that will carry you to the end of the journey with the light of your spirit shining brightly and peace and contentment in your heart. 


K.S.  Where can we find your novel?

K.U. It is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon but I hope readers will go to my website and purchase it. A portion of the proceeds of all products purchased at my websites go towards my goal of building an orphanage and sustaining it for 3 years in South Africa in 2011 with the Global Orphan Project.

K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

K.U. Sure I have a couple of websites
www.alliwantiseverythingbook.com where my blog is located.
www.anewdayanewvision.com is my company website.
www.stepbysteptosold.com the website for my first book.

They can also sign up for my newsletters and information updates at my A New Day website, which will also send them an alert for my blog update.

To receive the free eBook Feng Shui for Special Needs just send me  an email at kim@anewdayanewvision.com

They can also follow me on Twitter, FaceBook and I have a You Tube Channel and they can get a link to those at any of my websites.

K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

K.U. I believe that everyone has a story to tell, whether it is fiction or non-fiction. Just write your book tell your story, and once it is written decide what you want to do with it. Even if you or your family are the only ones that ever read it you will have left a piece of yourself. I believe in the end that is all we really have to give to the world, a small piece of ourselves.





Website
http://www.anewdayanewvision.com
Kim's book is also for purchase on her website. Kim will give a donation for each book purchased to Global Orphans Project.

Purchase book on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/All-Want-Everything-Guide-Happiness/dp/0984077227/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277916440&sr=8-1-catcorr