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If you’d read my last post I’d a hectic few days in which I became the Manager of a LinkedIn group, “childrens book authors” [this is now the group’s name is spelled]
Now, a week later everything is running smoothly for this group, in fact, the changes I made here I also applied to the two LinkedIn groups I already own.  The interesting thing now is managing these three groups is taking me less time than when I only had two.

We have no children which meant we enjoyed the long holiday weekend just taking care of things which had been put to the side for some time now, and going out to our favorite restaurants.

One of my major achievements since my last post is finally writing another chapter of my still untitled Contemporary romance.  I haven’t thought of a title yet, however I’m going to try to have the last words of the story be the title as well; just like I did with my YA Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss romance entitled I Kissed a Ghost.

My next post, which I didn’t get to do when I originally had wanted to, will be later on in the day, and probably be after dinner.



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You’ve probably noticed that for the past sixteen plus days aside from posting two interviews and a guest post about writing I haven’t done any postings and there are several good reasons for it.

First, the KINDLE version of my first YA Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss romance novel entitled “I Kissed a Ghost” became available on May 12, 2013 which meant I’d been quite busy with the pre-release and post release marketing/promotion for it.   The book is available of Amazon at  with the paperback version currently available with a 10% discount.

As most of you should know by now I’m the owner of two LinkdedIn groups for some time:

Authors/Writers Helping Authors/Writers                                 http:/

Young Adult Book Authors                                                   .

And on May 19 I agreed to become the Manager for another LinkedIn group:

Childrens Book Authors                                                   

I officially took over the position pf Manager on May 22 and have spent almost all my time cleaning up the discussions there by removing countless posts most of them made by single individual where the vast majority of the posts made look as if they were actually Tweets for a Twitter account.  I’ve set up automatic messages when someone asks to join the group, when they get their requests denied, and of course a automated message the moment I approved a request to join the group.  I set up rules for the group and posted them on my other two groups. I also post four discussions in an attempt to revitalize the group.

It might still take a few days for me to finish working on my groups before I can resume posting on this group on regular basis.

My next move is to the same with my other two groups.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to check out my three groups and hopefully decide to join them.  I’d also appreciate if everyone could take the time and check out my book.

THANKS for being here and for your on-going support.



Hi everyone. I’d like you to join me today as I interview Joyce Strand who’s volunteer this week to be on the proverbial HOT SEAT as I ask her questions about her , her writing, and of course, herself.

Robin Leigh Morgan: Please introduce yourself.  Joyce T. Strand: Please meet Joyce T. Strand, author of the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries On Message and Open Meetings, and avid reader of mysteries and suspense thrillers. I LOVE Broadway musicals, and attend as many as my budget can support.  

I served as a PR professional in high tech and biotech companies for more than 25 years in the San Francisco area. I live in Southern California near San Diego with my two cats, my collection of cow statuary, and my muse, the roadrunner.

Robin Leigh: Tell us about your latest published novel. Joyce: Open Meetings is a Jillian Hillcrest mystery. PR Executive Jillian Hillcrest is having lunch with a reporter colleague when a woman enters and begs him not to print anything she’s told him because they will kill her if he does. A few days later, the reporter tells Jillian that the woman was killed in his hometown in the California wine country. Police ruled her death as an accident in a car crash caused by driving while under the influence of alcohol—except the woman had vowed never to drink again. Jillian joins with the reporter to investigate the suspicious death, and they both uncover far more than anticipated.

   Robin Leigh: What are the two latest books you’ve already published? Give us about a five sentence description for each? Joyce: In addition to Open Meetings, which I described in the previous response, I have also published On Message, the first Jillian Hillcrest mystery. Jillian, the head of corporate communications at Harmonia Therapeutics, is eagerly staying “on message” to inform investors, the media, and the community about her company. 

A call from a homicide detective interrupts her routine when she learns of the murder of a friend. She encounters a determined San Francisco police inspector who is convinced she is the key to her friend’s murder, which he subsequently connects to another killing. With the help of her ex-husband–whose attentiveness to her suggests he wants to amend the “ex” status–and a retired middle-aged intrusive motherly neighbor, Jillian fits together disparate pieces of the puzzle to help solve the crimes.

Robin Leigh:  What can you tell us about your current writing endeavor?  Joyce: I am currently finishing the third Jillian Hillcrest mystery, Fair Disclosure, which is going through the editing process. Jillian and her ex-husband are enjoying a play at a local community theater when a scream interrupts the production upon discovery of a bludgeoned volunteer. When it turns out that the victim is someone Jillian interviewed for a job at her company, she becomes involved in another crime, drawn ever deeper by a second murder, an irate investor, and suspicious stock trading in her company.

Robin Leigh:  Can you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite scenes in your latest novel?  Joyce: From Open Meetings

Chapter 1

“You absolutely cannot print anything I told you. They’ll kill me.”

Jillian Hillcrest looked up from the lunch menu. She saw a non-descript, thin, brown-hair-in-a-bun, middle-aged woman dressed in jeans and a white V-neck top frantically approaching her lunch companion, a local reporter. Jillian watched as the reporter quickly stood up, uttered a brief “Excuse me” to Jillian, and put his arm around the woman, leading her outside. He appeared to be trying unsuccessfully to calm her along the way. She continued to plead with him that he must never repeat what she had told him. 

Jillian was interested in what the woman was saying to the reporter. Somewhere in his late 40s, the tall and slightly stooped Miles Smith was a stringer for a local newspaper and also had a blog focusing on city, county, and state government. He had a history of investigative journalism that impressed and fascinated Jillian. For example, he had uncovered a county assessor’s officer who collected for property value assessments that weren’t done, and then funneled the money into personal bank accounts. So she was intrigued about whatever it was the frightened woman did not want Miles to print.

Robin Leigh:  What was the inspiration for your latest novel?Joyce: All of the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries are inspired by real California cases. Actual events of the murder of a former biotech executive in La Jolla, Calif. led to On Message. A series of crimes committed by a network of former and current police officers in the San Francisco bay area suggested the core plot for Open Meetings.

I based my protagonist, PR Executive Jillian Hillcrest, on my more than 25 years serving as the head of public relations at high tech and biotech companies in Silicon Valley.        

Robin Leigh:  How did you decide what the title of this book would be? If this book is part of a series, then the books in the series.  Joyce: Open Meetings refers to the California Brown Act that guarantees citizens’ rights to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies. As part of her responsibilities as a PR executive, Jillian works with local communities as a representative of her company. In Open Meetings much “not-open” corruption draws her into trouble as part of her community relations duties.

On Message is a phrase used by public relations practitioners to indicate communicating a particular point, or message, and continuing to reinforce it through repetition in various situations. Since Jillian is a public relations practitioner, it seemed like a good title to connote the book’s environment.

Robin Leigh: Would you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser?  Joyce: When I start writing a new mystery, I know the main characters, opening chapter, the crime—which is based on a real case—and the conclusion. Jillian and her friends guide me through the bridging chapters. Frequently, the antagonists gets an upper hand, and another murder occurs, or Jillian disappears and her ex-husband has to track her down. I let them guide me as I write as long as we are headed toward the intended conclusion.

Robin Leigh: What made you decide to become an author?  Joyce: As an out-of-work public relations professional, I was spending a frustrating time trying to find a job – for more than a year. My husband, who I’m sure was tired of my moping, suggested I write a mystery. I had always been a writer. Throughout my career, I wrote my doctoral dissertation (which I consider my first book), dozens of by-lined articles, hundreds of press releases, lots and lots of white papers, fact sheets, and many other documents. To become an author, I had to learn how to write fiction—and I’m still learning.

Robin Leigh: In your latest novel, who’s your favorite character male/female? Tell us why.  Joyce: In Open Meetings, I tend to favor Jillian’s friend and neighbor, Cynthia Anderson, a retired SFPD police officer. She is friendly most of the time, but we gain insight into her police persona as she helps Jillian and her reporter friend to track down the truth about a dead informant and her own husband’s death 20 years earlier. I like her because she is a strong—but understated—woman who chose a typically male career of a policeman, and someone who still engages in solving crimes when presented with them. She also loves to cook.

Robin Leigh: Do you set aside a specific amount of time to write, write/answer emails, and market/promote your book[s]?  Joyce:  Setting aside a specific amount of time sounds so organized. I’m really a “just do it” kind of person, although when I set goals I typically achieve them. When I’m in the middle of writing a mystery, it becomes my primary driver, and I usually devote more time to it than marketing. However, I also like to see results. So I gear my marketing efforts to achieve a certain number of likes, followers and hits.  That helps guide my input so that my efforts are effective. 

Robin Leigh: Do you read books outside the genre you write in? What are they?  Joyce: I read mostly mysteries and thrillers. However, my favorite book is Shogun a historical novel about medieval Japan. I do enjoy historical fiction especially if a mystery is involved. So I guess you could say that I read historical fiction, which is outside my typical mystery/thriller genre.

Robin Leigh: What must you have around you when you write; food, drink, music, etc?  Joyce: Above all, coffee in the morning. No music – I need silence. (Yes, I was one of those students who had to go to the library to study.) I definitely need my computer—not just for writing but to research. Having a cat on my lap can be helpful, but also distracting. I use food as a way to take a break and bribe myself to write just one more chapter.

Robin Leigh: When you were an aspiring author you needed advice. What advice would you give to those aspiring author in those shoes today?  Joyce:  First – if you want to be a writer, just write. Don’t worry about your first words being perfect. You’ve got the editing process to re-write as much as you want.                                                          

Second, if you self-publish, make sure your book or short story is error-free. You can control errors and typos. Do not allow your output to be posted as an e-book with formatting errors, typos or spelling and grammatical errors. Readers deserve perfection, and they expect it.

Third, help other authors. You can learn much from them.

Fourth, market, market, market. Be prepared to learn more ways to market, and market some more.

Robin Leigh: Is there anything else you’d like to briefly tell us about your book, your writing, or yourself.  Joyce: I’d like to ask readers to please show your appreciation for a book by posting reviews. Aside from the fact that it takes us authors years to bring a book to market and so we appreciate hearing from readers, our sales and marketing efforts rely on reviews.  We really need them to be successful.

Thank you so much, Robin Leigh, for the opportunity to do this interview.


Where can we find your book?

Open Meetings  Amazon:



Barnes and Noble:


On Message  Amazon:



Barnes and Noble:


Where can we find you on:

BLOG: Strand’s Simply Tips




Are there any other internet sites you would like to tell us about where we can find you?


Joyce: THANKS for your time in allowing me to interview you.  Robin Leigh: You’re quite welcomed, it has been my pleasure. I believe my readers as well as yours will be pleased with this informative interview.

If you have any comments or questions for Mandy, I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear from you or answer your questions.

If you’re not already following this blog. I’d like to invite you to consider following it.



Hi everyone. I’d like you to join me today as I interview Nicky Wells who’s volunteer this week to be on the proverbial HOT SEAT as I ask her questions about her , her writing, and of course, herself.

Robin Leigh Morgan: Please introduce yourself. Nicky Wells: Hi! I’m Nicky Wells, your ultimate rock chick author. Signed to US Publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, I write Romance That Rocks Your World, featuring the rock star and the girl next  door.

My books offer glitzy, glamorous contemporary romance with a rock theme ~ imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting Hill! If you’ve ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity ~ rock, pop, movie or other ~ you’ll connect with my heroes and my leading ladies! 

Like my first leading lady, Sophie, I love listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When I’m not writing, I’m a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant. Rock on!

Robin Leigh: Tell us about your latest published novel.   Nicky: Sophie’s Run. My second book baby… *sighs wistfully* Bringing you glamour, glitz, intrigue, romance, betrayal, a fire, an exploding cake, a dashing male nurse and, of course, the gorgeous rock star! What a labor of love. Here’s the blurb:

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even?  Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.  

So she has finally found the man of her dreams! Well… she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet.  But she misses her opportunity, and then her life goes crazy.  Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful.  A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.

Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change.  Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey and eventually gets her life back on track.


Robin Leigh: What are the two latest books you’ve already published? Give us about a five sentence description for each.   Nicky: Well, I’ve given you the blurb for Sophie’s Run above. Here’s the blurb for Sophie’s Turn, my first published novel. 

So the rock star wants to marry her, but she’s already engaged… 

One fine day in Paris, Sophie Penhalligan suddenly finds herself engaged to her teenage crush and love-of-her-life-from-a-distance, rock singer and star extraordinaire Dan Hunter.

But there is the small matter of her very recent, but very prior, engagement to Tim. Reliable, honest, trusting Tim, her boyfriend of two years stashed away safely in his mews house in South Kensington while Sophie is drinking rather too much champagne with Dan in Paris. This contemporary romantic fairy tale describes how Sophie gets into her impossible situation and how she turns it around.

Robin Leigh:What can you tell us about your current writing endeavor?Nicky:   Ah. Interesting! See, I’ve just finished the third book in my rock star romance trilogy. Sophie’s Encore will be published on 5 September! So that makes my current writing endeavor my fourth novel. 

So, my current WiP. It is a completely new story; no more Sophie and Dan; instead, you’ll meet Emily, Nate and Mike. Don’t worry, this isn’t a love triangle. It’s way more sophisticated than that but I don’t want to give too much away until I’m confident that the plot develops how I want it to. Suffice it to say that there’ll be a rock star in this book; possibly two!

Robin Leigh: Can you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite scenes in your latest novel?Nicky:  Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from Sophie’s RUN:

Abruptly, he handed me four dresses. The magical blue one wasn’t among them. “Try these on,” he commanded. Fingering one of the dresses lightly, I sighed heavily. They looked divine. And expensive.

I stepped back, my arms folded across my chest. “I don’t think I can afford these.”

Dan rolled his eyes as though to say, “Not that old chestnut again.” Grabbing a random dress off the rack, he disappeared in a cubicle and pulled the curtain shut behind him. This got the personal shopper’s attention. She jumped up from her chair and walked over to me swiftly, eyes swiveling between me and the cubicle. She cleared her throat, uncertain how to handle this. 

“Did he…did he go in there?” she confirmed unnecessarily.

“It looks that way,” I offered, trying not to laugh at her disconcerted expression.

“He’s not—is he trying the dress on?”

“Err, yes.” I breathed. “Why, is that a problem?”

Meanwhile, Dan had run into trouble in the changing room.

“I need some shoes,” he shouted woefully. “Could you get me some shoes to match? Size ten please, for me, and size six for the lady as well. Please?”

Confronted with a direct request, the personal shopper sprang into action. “Schuhe…” she murmured. “Size forty-four and size thirty-nine…. Hmm…” She bustled off.

Finally erupting into laughter, I bounced into Dan’s cubicle. I was going to ask him what he was doing, but the words stuck in my mouth. There he was, in a bright orange, low-cut, floor-length dress with a big bow at the front. He had filled in the missing curves using his socks, and he hadn’t managed to do up the zip. He looked disturbingly attractive in ladies’ fashion.

“Will you do me up?” Dan turned his back to me and tugged experimentally at the fastening. I swatted his hands away and closed the zip to halfway up Dan’s back.

“It won’t go any further,” I informed him dryly. “By the way, did you know your dress is called GaGa?” My eyes had caught on the flashy black-on-orange label sown inside the back.

“I didn’t, but it makes sense. It’s a wild dress.” He gave a little twirl. “What do you think?”

“I think you’re nuts,” I snorted. “You be sure not to ruin this dress or else we’ll have to buy it.”

“Never fear,” he grinned wickedly. “It would look much better on you, though.”

I shook my head. “I don’t do orange. Not if you paid me.”

A discreet cough disturbed our whispered conversation.

“Excuse me, sir? Madam? I’ve got your shoes…”

“Great,” Dan enthused and stepped out of the cabin. “Let’s have them.” He took a pair of orange flats out of the assistant’s hands and regarded them critically.

“I was hoping for heels,” he announced with a straight face, and I almost peed in my pants with laughter.

The assistant was now in professional mode. “I can’t offer you heels in this style in your size,” she announced, “but I do think we have some silver-colored shoes that would work with the dress. The heels are—” She looked attentively at Dan. “The heels are probably about six centimeter stilettos. Would you like to try them?”

“Why, yes!” Dan enthused. “I most certainly would.”

The personal shopper went off to fetch the silver stilettos, and Dan grinned his wicked boy smile at me.

“Do you reckon she’ll let us take a picture?” he wondered out loud.

“Hm…possibly, why?” I wondered back.

“It’d be cool to stick up on our website, don’t you think?”

I regarded him critically. He was most probably joking, but with Dan you never did know.

“Yeah. But perhaps you ought to tuck those socks in more carefully,” I suggested, tugging playfully at a black-and-pink striped heel that was protruding from his chest area. “It does rather kill the look.”

He peered down his front appraisingly. “D’you reckon?” he asked. “I think it has something, this unexpected flash of black sock.”

“Well, it does rather go with your hairy chest,” I conceded. “If you’re serious about the dress, you might consider shaving.”

“I thought you liked my chest hair?” Dan mock sulked.

“Yes, but it doesn’t work with a dress. It’s just wrong.”

“That’s sexist,” Dan declared, then changed the subject abruptly. “Here, try this.” He handed me the divine-looking blue silk creation. “It’s perfect for you.”

I gave in.

Robin Leigh:What was the inspiration for your latest novel?Nicky:  Let me tell you about the inspiration for the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. You see, this is all my husband’s fault. He knows I have a ‘thing’ for rock stars. He’s made his peace with the notion. Yet sometimes, he can’t resist teasing me. So imagine the scene. Here’s Nicky, over eight years ago, heavily pregnant, watching something on the telly involving one of her favorite stars. Nicky swoons. “Cor, if he ever proposed, how’d a girl turn him down?” Nicky’s husband, deadpan: “Good job you’re married to me then.”

We had a laugh about this but it got me thinking. What would I do if Jon Bon Jovi knocked on my door tomorrow? Well, nothing, is the answer. But in a different life… and there, the story was born.

Robin Leigh:How did you decide what the title of this book would be? If this book is part of a series, then the books in the seriesNicky:  Interesting question! Sophie’s Turn was born under the title “Full Circle” and lived as such for nearly six years. It was only when I was trying to figure out a cover design that I realized the title didn’t work. It lacked a certain… panache. My husband pushed me and pushed me, trying to distill the nugget of the story—which, in essence, is about choice. Well, the title “Sophie’s Choice” was very much taken so I opted for “Sophie’s Turn” and the title works on so many levels… it was just perfect.

“Sophie’s Run” and “Sophie’s Encore” followed on naturally, both playing on the key ideas of the respective book. Although my personal favorite is, I have to say, “Sophie’s Encore”. You’ll have to read the book to find out why… Did I mention it’s out in September?

Robin Leigh: Would you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser?Nicky: Plotter. Compulsive, obsessive plotter. Iterative plotter! From nugget to hand-drawn plan on one-page, to hand-drawn page on two-meter piece of paper, to Word outline, to detailed chapter-by-chapter crib sheet and research notes. I use colored post-its to track character development and sub plots. Yes, I am a plotter.

Robin Leigh: What made you decide to become an author?Nicky:  Um. I didn’t really decide that, it kind of happened. Maybe I was born that way, because writing in some capacity or another has been the core professional theme in my life. Maybe I simply got lucky and had the opportunity, when the time was right, to get writing fiction… and keep writing. Either way, it’s a life-long ambition, a dream come true. And it gets me excited to ‘go to work’ every day!

Robin Leigh: In your latest novel, who’s your favorite character male/female? Tell us why.Nicky:   That would have to be Dan, the rock star; referring back to the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. I want one of him. Kind, caring, highly talented, good-lucking, powerful, musical, smart, funny, not to mention sexy… with just a hint of naughty in there for a bit of excitement. *swoons*

Robin Leigh: Do you have a set aside a specific amount of time to write, write/answer emails, and market/promote your book[s]?Nicky:  Oh yes. I can only pursue my authorly existence during the school day, between 9 am and 3 pm during term time. Holidays are a different matter and I won’t bore you with the detail.

So, between 9am and noon, I write. I don’t do anything but. No phone, email, Internet. Just write. (Oh, and I drink copious amounts of tea!). After lunch, I catch up on emails and do all the promotion I can squeeze into the available time; yes, that means Facebook, Twitter, blog and so on.

Robin Leigh: Do you read books outside the genre you write in? What are they?   Nicky:  I read almost anything. I don’t particularly like science fiction or horror, but apart from that, I’m game. Firm favorites outside of the romance genre are crime and travel books.

Robin Leigh: What must you have around you when you write; food, drink, music, etc?Nicky:  Tea. Milk, and two sugars please. Biscuits. And a cardigan; my office is an ice box, even in the summer!

Robin Leigh: When you were an aspiring author you needed advice, what advice would you give to those aspiring author in those shoes today?  Nicky:  LOL, Robin, in many ways I’m still an aspiring author. Yes, I have books published, but I still want to write more, grow my readership, improve my craft… I think it’ll take another twenty or so years before I consider myself ‘accomplished’! J

But in answer to your question… here goes.

1) Build an author platform as early as you can. Blog, Facebook, Twitter—you have to have a presence, a means to connect with readers.

2) Build a brand. What is it you write? What makes you unique? Be clear about your brand—it tells your readers what to expect.

3) Don’t oversell. In fact, don’t sell, as such. Build relationships. Make friends. Let your friends know about your books. Honestly! Think about it. When is the last time you bought a book because an author told you every five minutes in your Twitter stream,                  

Buy My Book? Exactly. It turns you off. So don’t sell. Be you, live your books, your  excitement, and share that with your friends and potential readers.

4) Write, and keep writing. The ONLY way forward is to keep writing, to show the world what you’re made of.

Robin Leigh: If there’s anything else you’d like to briefly tell us about your book, your writing, or yourself.Nicky:   Did I mention I love rock music? Ha ha ha, I bet I did. Robin, I think I’ve said enough and I can’t thank you enough for your time. I hope your readers enjoy meeting me here today!


Barnes & Noble


Barnes & Noble

Where can we find you on:


Robin Leigh: THANKS for your time in allowing me to interview you.Nicky: THANK YOU, Robin, it’s been a pleasure!

If you have any comments or questions for Mandy, I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear from you or answer your questions.

If you’re not already following this blog. I’d like to invite you to consider following it.



I would like to THANK Kathryn Elizabeth Jones for taking her time to write something for us regarding writing.  Kathryn like myself has transitioned from writing non-fiction to writing fiction; the only difference is while she has returned to her roots in writing I haven’t.

My Journey from Non-fiction to Fiction and Back Again


Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Take it from me. The journey of a writer is fraught with all sorts of perils, not all of them obvious to the casual reader. A book that is selling well today, more than likely traveled through a myriad of rejections before it was accepted by a publisher. Or it may never have been accepted by the traditional publishing crowd but for awe-inspiring reasons is doing a stand-up job today as a self-published book. 

And non-fiction? While it may have started me out on my journey of writing–I wrote true stories and published journalistic articles before I ever got my hands on writing, A River of Stones, a YA fictional novel, there was something about non-fiction that prepared me for fiction and drew me back again. 

 If truth be told, and I’d like to think that I focus on truth in both my fiction and non-fiction pursuits, it is both easy and difficult to write the truth, especially if the truth is part of your life.

Take for instance a fictional story that surrounds a girl named Samantha. Her parents have divorced and her mother has remarried. She has a ‘blood brother’ and one new brother that her new father has brought with him to the marriage that she hates. The truth of the matter is that the girl is me, my parents have divorced and my mother has remarried. I have one ‘blood brother’, two half brothers and two step sisters, or is it the other way around?

Frankly, it was difficult growing up in such a household with steps, and half’s and a ‘full blood’, though today much of the angst I once experienced has smoothed over. But as a child I learned to share, (to really share), to keep bad thoughts to myself, and to cry whenever I was alone enough to do so.

Sharing this new life with new siblings was tough. But the truth eventually made it’s way into A River of Stones, and, along with a bit of fiction (as well as friction), shares the truth of what it means to be a young girl when your parents have divorced.

A few years passed before I returned to non-fiction, though I was reading it more often than the fiction variety. But I suppose the dream of non-fiction returned when I realized I didn’t have to write school papers anymore, and that the love I had for the truth could manifest itself without the corrections only a professor could bring.

Let me just say that Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five stones, was a good place to start, and that the guidebook and the eventual release of  Marketing Your Book on a Budget, only showed that I could write spiritual as well as more technical books.

Me, technical?        Sure. I’d started with the journalistic type of article; articles that demanded facts and charts, and the sort of stuff that was real and true, (no matter what you might have heard about some journalists and what they write) and here I was again, sharing with writers how to get reviews, interviews, even speaking engagements. And how to do it all for free–or almost free.

So I have come full circle, and I suppose it was the only thing I could do, in this wonderful realm of writing the truth, whether it is fiction–or not.


Kathryn has been a published writer since 1987.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in Mass Communication and a minor in Creative Writing. Her studies included work in creative writing, public relations and journalism. In 2012, she opened the doors to Idea Creations Press, a publishing services company that caters to writers and their writing, publishing and marketing needs. Her newest book, Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013, can be found at:  http/  .

WEBSITE: http/

I know Kathryn THANKS you for stopping by, and she’ll appreciate hearing your comments.


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I’d have posted my response to Lillie McFerrin’s prompt for this week of FESTIVAL [ ] earlier but I got side-tracked with other activities. I thought for a while and finally came up with the following, which is totally different from what I usually post, So please leave your comments about my endeavor for this week:


As planned Xanderplu and his young wife Pluderxan took this private ship to the planet Zang. It was a trip neither them really wanted to make, but it was the FESTIVALof Plung, and all newly couples were required to participate or be expelled from their home planet. The reason for their reluctance came from all the stories they overheard their parents told since the moment they began to speak; stories which used strange words which they still didn’t understand. We all know what know what they’re going through since we’ve all experienced it growing up until we’ve experienced our own FESTIVAL of Plung and found out what those words actually meant.  Now once the FESTIVAL is over and Xanderplu with his young wife Pluderxan have returned home more happy than they’ve ever been, they can continued the tradition of the FESTIVAL of Plung and have their own children dread it as much as they did when they did at that young innocent age.





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Hi everyone. I’d like you to join me as I interview Mandy Eve-Barnett who’s volunteer this week to be on the proverbial HOT SEAT as I ask her questions about her novella The Rython Kingdon, her writing, and of course, herself.

Robin Leigh Morgan: Please introduce yourself.  Mandy Eve-Barnett: As a fairly recent resident of Alberta, Canada from my native England, I found a fresh passion in my new home – writing.          A chance discovery of a writing group had me attending one meeting. I’ve never stopped going from that day on. In the 3 years 48 weeks as a member of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, I have become the secretary of the foundation and published two books.

Robin Leigh: Tell us about your latest published novel.  Mandy: My latest novella, The Rython Kingdom is set in medieval England following the adventures of a troubadour, Guillem Ruet. He answers the King’s command to relay his fantastic stories to the court. Unaware he has been bewitched Guillem will tell a story containing a release spell unleashing the vengeful witch, Malgraf. Guillem’s curiosity is aroused by a strange servant at court, whose real identity shocks everyone. Help comes in the unexpected form of an old groan and her beautiful granddaughter.

Robin Leigh: What are other books you’ve already published?      Mandy:   A previously published book was Rumble’s First Scare. A children’s story about a young monster experiencing his initial All Hallows Eve. Rumble follows his mother from his underground home to the bright, hard surfaced world above. With his mother’s guidance, Rumble is able to scare several children with his monster growls and bag of pets.

Robin Leigh: What can you tell us about your current writing endeavor?            Mandy: Currently I am in the midst of a couple of projects. One is a collaboration with two friends creating a ‘how to’ memoir book. The other is writing another children’s book with a magical forest theme.

Robin Leigh: Can you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite scenes in your latest novel?    Mandy: Excerpt from The Rython Kingdom:

The mysterious servant entered a small copse and disappeared into dappled shade. The trail was partly overgrown, Guillem would have to tread carefully so as not to break any twigs and alert Stephen to his presence. He had observed Stephen floating several inches above the ground confirming Guillem’s suspicions that the young servant had indeed ‘acted’ walking in the castle corridor. Deeper into the copse, a thin veil of blue mist hung like a curtain. It shimmered as Stephen passed through it and was no more. What magic is this? Guillem hesitated. To follow alone would be folly, no-one knew of his whereabouts. He would inform the king of his findings and direct the soldiers to this place. As he had surmised there was more to Silent Stephen than met the eye. There was magic here as yet unown whether it be of evil intent or not.  

    Guillem retraced his steps to the rose garden. The hour was later than he had expected. Had the veil changed time? Upon entering the great hall, all heads turned toward him expectantly.

“Guillem, I have sent scouts to all corners of my grounds in search of you. Where were you hiding?”

Your majesty, forgive me. I was in yonder copse. I have a matter of some urgency I must relay.”

“Matters can be relayed later, Guillem, my guests and I are anxious to hear the rest of your wonderful tale.”

“With all respect, sire, I feel the tale must wait.”

“Wait? I think not, Guillem, we have waited patiently for your appearance. The tale first, then we shall speak.”

Not wanting to displease his sovereign, Guillem took his place beside the king’s table and began.

Robin Leigh What was the inspiration for your latest novel?   Mandy: My current writing endeavor, Ockleberries to the Rescue, was inspired by a lifelong love of nature and a whimsical fascination for magical creatures.

Robin Leigh: How did you decide what the title of this book would be?    Mandy: The title came about when I misheard someone talking. What I thought I heard was ockleberry but  of course it was something else entirely. However, the ‘name’ stuck with me and I knew it would be perfect for this particular tale.

Robin Leigh: Would you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser?    Mandy: Without a doubt I’m a panster! Once an idea pops into my head I give it free rein to go in whatever direction it wants to. The thoughts are channeled down to my finger tips.

Robin Leigh: What made you decide to become an author?    Mandy: I didn’t actually purposely decide to become an author. When moving to Canada I promised myself a creative outlet. As I mentioned before attending a writing circle ignited my creative self. And there I have stayed finding a wonderful circle of friends and supporters and the spark that sees me totally obsessed.

Robin Leigh: In your latest novel, who’s your favorite character male/female. Tell us why.   Mandy: In The Rython Kingdom, although I am fond of Guillem, my favorite character is Juliana. She is a mysterious woman with hidden talents. Her fragile frame belies her inner strength.

Robin Leigh: Do you set aside a specific amount of time to write, write/answer emails, and market/promote your book(s)?     Mandy:  As I work full time, have a teenage daughter, a husband and a home to run as well as assisting with a friend’s company and my role as secretary of the WFSC. I try hard to maintain regular posts on social media and my blog as well as attend book festivals and events.

Robin Leigh: Do you read books outside the genre you write in? What are they? Mandy:  As with my writing, I am not limited to one particular genre when I read. From Stephen King to Kate Morton to new authors. Reading is an adventure for me and I hope my writing gives my readers the same experience.

Robin Leigh: What must you have around you when you write?    Mandy:  A perfect writing atmosphere is a silent house and a cup of tea or a glass of wine; depending on the time of day. On occasion I listen to classical music too.

Robin Leigh: When you were an aspiring author you needed advice, what advice would you give to those aspiring author in those shoes today?     Mandy:  My mission is to help other writers in any way I can that is why I share my journey on my blog. When anyone asks for my help I oblige. My advice to anyone beginning their writing journey is not to give up and believe in yourself and your work.

Robin Leigh: If there’s anything else you’d like to briefly tell us about your book, your writing, or yourself.    Mandy: I have several projects on the backburner at the moment, two of which were the culmination of NaNoWriMo’s in past years. One has a reincarnation theme, The Twesome Loop and the other a speculative fiction, alternative future novel, Life in Slake Patch. I’m currently pursuing representation for them both.  I post a Saturday writing prompt on the Writers of Strathcona County website and am currently in the midst of a ‘post a day in 2013’ on my blog.

Robin Leigh: Where can we find your books?   Mandy: Both of my books can be purchased on

The Rython Kingdom e-book can also be purchased on:

SMASHWORDS:    as well as on


Robin Leigh: Where can we find you on the internet?

Mandy: Blog:




I can also be found on – Google +, Jacket Flap, LinkedIn, Canada Arts Connect and in November – NaNoWriMo!

If you have any comments or questions for Mandy, I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear from you or answer your questions.

If you’re not already following this blog. I’d like invite you to consider to do so.



About the Author:

Kyra Halland is a  wife, mother, and full-time homemaker living in southern Arizona. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for 29 years, and they have two sons ages 24 and 17. They also have two cats, who are really the ones in charge of our house. Kyra always loved reading and also telling stories to herself, but it was a long time before she thought of actually being a writer. She went into music through high school and college, and eventually earned a Master’s degree in Music History. As soon as Kyra finished her degree, she found herself transitioning to life as a stay-at-home mom of her first baby, and decided it was time for a new intellectual challenge.

Kyra has always loved reading fantasy, and thought it wasn’t fair that in the books she read, wizards never got to fall in love, or, if they did, they never got to do anything about it. So she decided to start writing fantasy novels with a strong romantic element. Kyra wrote off and on for about twenty years, then participating in National Novel Writing Month gave her the creative burst to really dive in more seriously. Not long after that, she started learning about the new opportunities available for independent authors to publish directly via Amazon, Smashwords, CreateSpace, etc, and decided the right time had come for me to turn pro. She released her first novel, Urdaisunia, in February, and has many more novels to come!

Book Description:

For two thousand years, Urdaisunia, the Land of the Two Rivers, was the greatest civilization in the world. But now it lies in ruins – conquered by the barbarian Sazars, wracked by famine and drought, threatened by foreign invaders, abandoned by the gods who once favored Urdaisunia above all other lands.  

   Rashali, a young Urdai widow, struggles to eke out a living in her plague-decimated village while mourning her husband and daughter. With the local rebel group, she dreams of overthrowing the hated Sazars and restoring Urdaisunia to freedom and its former glory, but victory for the starving, destitute Urdai people seems impossible.

   The Sazar High Prince Eruzasharbat believes that the Sazars’ oppression of the Urdai will one day lead to an uprising that would be disastrous for Sazars and Urdai alike. However, to his father the king and his two brothers, who are both eager to take Eruz’s place as heir, his fears are an unacceptable weakness, bordering on treason. Eruz walks a dangerous line between loyalty to the Sazars and doing what he believes is best for all the people of Urdaisunia.  

    Then a chance encounter between prince and rebel and a wager between two of the gods set Eruz and Rashali on intertwining paths of danger, intrigue, love, and war – paths which will change their destinies, the destiny of their beloved land of Urdaisunia, and even the fate of the gods, forever.

Book Excerpt:

(This is Rashali and Prince Eruz’s first meeting)

   As Rashali started back across the dusty trade road that lay between the river and Moon Bend, she bit back the anguish that still, after all these months, threatened to overcome her at the thought of her husband and daughter. They were gone, Araskagan had sung them into the House of the Dead. Her grief would not bring them back. Even if she knew the Name of the Mother of the Gods, she couldn’t bring them back. All she could do was go on living, and somehow, someday, see them avenged.

   Without warning, there was a rush of pounding hooves from her right, and a voice shouted, “You, Urdaina! Watch out!”  A wall of black struck hard against her right side. She tumbled to the ground, the yoke sliding from her shoulders, the buckets spilling their water onto the thirsty ground.

   Rashali got to her feet, stumbling on a twisted ankle. Three Sazar warhorses stood in front of her, a huge black beast flanked by two slightly smaller dark brown horses. From their mounts, three Sazar warriors clad in silver-trimmed black stared down at her.

   Hate and rage clouded her senses. These sallow-skinned, narrow-eyed barbarians had degraded and destroyed her people. They were responsible for the deaths of her husband and daughter and countless others. And they had spilled her water. She drew up precious moisture into her mouth and spat at the man in the middle, the man whose black horse had knocked her down.

   The three horses danced and snorted like demons. Two long, curved, gleaming-sharp swords suddenly loomed above her head. The man on the right jumped down from his horse and grabbed Rashali in a choke hold. The point of a knife pricked the skin beneath her chin.

   Tears of terror filled Rashali’s eyes and her heart raced painfully, but she refused to look away from the warrior in the middle, whose richer silver trimmings marked him as superior to the other two. She would not bow down, she would not give way, she would not grovel before a Sazar, even if it cost her her life.

   The moment seemed to hang suspended as the warrior gave her a long, hard, searching look, as though he were trying to peer into her mind and discover how she dared to defy him. Then he sheathed his sword.

Links to my book:



Barnes & Noble:





You Can Also Find Me:




Book review on Goodreads:

Book page on Goodreads:

Kyra would love to hear your comments. so why not leave one.



 I would like to THANK Wendy McCance for taking her time to write something for us regarding writing. As you can quickly tell from her first paragraph her topic is making writing a career possibility.

When I was asked to write a guest post for Robin Leigh Morgan’s blog, I had no idea what to write about.  Robin suggested I write an article about writing itself.  After doing some soul-searching, I decided to write about the questions I am often asked.  I hope the following information is useful to anyone looking to enter into a career as a writer.I began a blog called Searching for the Happiness back in February of 2012.  I fell in love with writing and have never looked back, I was hooked.  Along the way a second blog called Adventures in Real Estate was born.  At the time I was a real estate agent and I felt that anyone looking to get into the real estate field would benefit from knowing what being an agent was like.  I took readers through the process from the beginning when I was taking classes through to the day to day grind of the career itself.  Both blogs landed in the online version of our local newspaper, The Oakland Press where they still are to this day.

Along the way, I realized that writing was the career that I wanted to have.  I began to look at writing as a business and realized I needed to get the word out.  I have over 50 social media sites that have information on me as a writer.  Many of these sources also have links to my blog as well as articles I have written.

I began to have some small successes by posting articles in different groups and participating in the conversations that would follow.  I began getting noticed and developed a significant following. 

I think the secret to success as a writer is thinking of the business aspect of the business as much as the writing.  You need to prospect for clients daily.  I have been known to write 30 emails a day to people I felt might be in need of a freelance writer.  Participating in local networking groups is another great way to drum up some business.  People like to hire locally.  Knowing someone personally only ups your success rate.

Having two blogs has also been incredibly significant.  I get to practice my writing skills, get to know a bunch of fabulous readers and get a feel for what type of articles really speak to my followers.

The best sites I have found for submitting articles and getting my name out there have been: Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Twyla, Quora, Google+ and in my case Mommy Blogs.  If you go to I have written several articles on blogging and writing with tips for setting up relevant social media profiles.  My article, Increase the Traffic to your Website (for instance) has over 60 places you can create a profile and submit your work.

I am a firm believer in submitting your writing wherever possible.  If you google my name, you will see that I have several pages of information.  This is key when you are trying to get work as a writer.  A company might not know much about you, so they google you.  Seeing your name pop up several times helps give the company confidence that you have the experience they are looking for.

In the end, I am thrilled to be a writer.  Between writing and prospecting for new clients, I am very busy, but it’s what I love.  When I start work each day, I feel like I am getting away with something.  I mean, I love what I get to do each day.  It doesn’t feel like work.  I believe if you find that thing you are passionate about, if you are able to create a career around it, you have hit the lottery.  Life becomes exciting and incredibly fulfilling.

I’d like to thank Robin Leigh Morgan for this opportunity to guest blog on her site.


Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer with two blogs featured in The Oakland Press.  Wendy has had articles published by Associated Content and several online publications.  Wendy has also written press releases, blog posts, profiles and articles for several companies.  To learn more about Wendy McCance, please visit any of the following links:


Searching for the Happiness

Adventures in Real Estate-

Social Media



The Oakland Press-

I’m sure Wendy would like to hear your comments/questions so please leave them.

And if you like this blog, why not consider following it.