Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shortcomings by Ginger Simpson-cover

by Ginger Simpson
Cover art by Delilah K. Stephans
Young Adult
Coming March 2011

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Why E-books?

Why E-books?

E-book sales are rising according to many reports such as the one on Newsweek

For those new to e-books here are some reasons why e-books are becoming very popular:

  • Environment-friendly- no need to cut down trees

  • You get instant gratification with a download within seconds after your purchase.

  • Prices are way lower than print books. At the Muse our prices will range between .99 for short stories to 5.95 for full length novels

  • There are different reader apps that you can download for free suitable for your computer or phone to enable you to read some of the many formats e-books are delivered

  • No waiting for books to be ordered. As mentioned above, download comes within seconds of purchase

  • With an e-reader (Sony, Kindle, Nook, Ipad, etc) you can load a year’s worth of books in one little handheld machine, plop it in your bag, suitcase, sit on your bed/sofa and not have to lug around a case of print books. So if you’re planning a vacation, you can take as many books as you want with you—50? 100? 300? Hey, load up the full library and have reading material for the whole family to enjoy

    If you’re like me and love your big fonts, e-readers have that capability to enlarge the print and read comfortably instead of sticking the book right up to your nose

The above are just some of the reasons why e-books are here to stay and why I know you’ll truly enjoy them (and their low cost) once you give them a chance. I love my print book but after experiencing my Sony e-Reader...wouldn't part with it for nothing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Norman by Craig Gehring-cover

Norman (Sci-fi)
by Craig Gehring
coming February 2011

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Boys Upstairs by Jane Lebak

We'd like to welcome our newest author, Jane Lebak, to the Muse.

The Boys Upstairs (Christmas novella) coming December 2010.

Invite a crippled priest, a jaded cop and a struggling waitress into your home this Christmas.

Meet Jay Farrell, a former wild youth on the rocket train to a lifetime in jail, injured during the war in Iraq, converted while in the hospital (a la St. Ignatius Loyola) and afterward ordained a priest in an impoverished church. He’s been housing homeless children in the underused rectory.

When his estranged brother, formerly his partner in crime and now a cop, brings him three more children, Jay must not only find room for the kids, but also begin to make amends with his brother. As the children take their place at the church community's heart, Jay and Kevin both witness how hope can transform the heart when a person is able to see the potential inside those deemed beyond saving.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Shameless Horn Tooting

Like my horn?
I'm a shameless hussy of a horn tooter...and please do not think about NOT...
.......underscoring the absolute SHAMELESS part.
My incredibly talented daughter, the stellar, top-ten author known as KAT HOLMES...toot-toot, just received her SECOND Muse Publishing contract and the first here at the MUSE IT UP side. (yeah, she's already managed to get the MUSE IT HOT side percolating around her.)
Her new contract is for the first in her brand new ARTICA'S LIGHTS series, aptly entitled, FROZEN.
With this contract, Kat now joins me, her unblushing, proud as a mother-hen maternal-ship in romping around both sides of the duplex house that is MUSE IT UP PUBLISHING.
Welcome Kat to and congratulations. I am so proud of you, Angel!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Two new covers

Hurricane Warning
by Ginger Simpson
Contemporary Sweet Romance
Cover art by Delilah K. Stephans
Release January 1, 2011

Winter's Soul
by Patricia Harrington
Gothic Mystery
Cover art by Delilah K. Stephans
Release January 1, 2011

Strange Phenomenon

Did you ever have a feeling something bad was about to happen? Kind of a premonition, intuition, omen or whatever you want to call it? I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve experienced ESP. I mean we all have, haven’t we? Especially with a spouse, sibling or best friend. I bet sometimes you even finish each other’s sentences. Nothing unusual in that, is there? Not at all.

But I experienced something even stranger. Oh, sorry, I’m Rebecca Brennan. I guess I can’t expect you to read my mind, can I? Anyway, I have this rare connection with someone’s mind. It’s kind of strange, but I feel what he feels, hear what he hears and sometimes I even know what he’s thinking. Not all the time, just sometimes. Thank God for that. I’d hate to know what he’s thinking all the time. I even feel his pain. Trust me, that’s not good. In fact, none of it’s good. I mean seriously, how would you like to wake up in the middle of the night, screaming in pain, feel blood oozing from your shoulder and there’s absolutely nothing physically wrong with you? Trust me, you wouldn’t. Neither do I. Some might think it’s a unique gift. Believe me, it’s not.

But that’s exactly what happened to me in Connection of the Minds. I have these strange visions about someone else’s life. Worse, I didn’t know who it was. But I was bound and determined to find out.

Connection of the Minds is due out September 2011.

Visit me at my website – and/or my blog

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Meet Christine Rollins

What a thrill to be here.
Let me tell you a little about myself. I’m ... uh… let’s just say a bit past middle-aged and recently divorced. Okay, divorced for two years, that’s fairly recent.

My friends and my daughter have been trying to fix me up with every available man they know or meet. Like I can’t live life alone. They have no idea how much I’m enjoying my new found freedom. Men complicate things. I don’t need a man in my life. . I mean seriously what do I need a man for? My  ex left me for his dental assistant. Can you believe that? After 35 years of marriage, he up and walked out. I wasn't good enough for him. I sacrificed my life so he could go to dental school, helped him build his practice and raised his kids and just like that, poof he's gone. Sure it was rough for a while. After the divorce I was pretty torn up. But I’ve recovered now and I have a good life. Between my job, classes at the local college and my family, I lead a very fulfilling life. Thank you very much.

At least I thought I did until I came home from a visit with my son. My daughter introduced me to Steven Payton, her husband’s uncle who just moved back to the states from New Zealand. Sexy hunk, too with his salt and pepper hair and his drooping mustache. Tall, dark and handsome. The kind of guy women drool over. The kind if you were smart, you ran away from. Confirmed bachelor type. Oh no, that wasn't what I needed in my life. I can tell you that.   Persistent too, I soon discovered, and very attentive. More so than my ex ever was. He actually listened when I talked about school or work. He asked questions too. Okay, so he won me over. I'm a sucker for guys with mustaches. We started seeing each other. Not that I could avoid it, he was staying next door with my daughter.

Then out of the clear blue my ex showed up. Just like that. No warning. Didn't even have the decency to call and see if it was okay. I don't mind telling you, I was floored when Tony asked me to take him back. For two years I’d been waiting to hear those words. Prayed for them. Suddenly, there he was – begging me for a second chance. Tony never begged for anything before.

Well what could I say? After all we’d been married for 35 years; he was the father of my children. Didn’t he deserve a second chance?

Second Chance will be released in June 2011.

Visit me at my website – and/or my blog

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Want to 'play' witch?

Join Larion Wills tomorrow, Wednesday 14 at Coffee Time Romance's KarenDevinKaren's yahoo group.

The theme for the day is 'do you want to be a witch.' so put on you pointed hat if you have one and come join the fun. There will be some prizes, trivia questions, recipes, and whatever else I think of. Maybe even a spell or two for you to try out, all in fun.

Method Writing

I have been writing today. I am working on a part of the character arc of my main character. It has been emotionally draining. You see, the only way I know to write characters is to find them inside myself, and this particular scene means drawing on some intense personal emotions. 

Maybe I should explain that a bit. I believe the only authentic characters a writer writes are those drawn from the personality of the writer. I discover characters inside of me. If I didn't, then I couldn't write them. Either that or I would base them on other fictional characters and just be derivative. That doesn't mean every character is factually autobiographical. What it means is that every character shares something with me whether it is a good trait or a bad one. It may even be a bad tendency that I keep in check.

It's kind of like the actor who tries to find authentic emotions within his or her own life. If they are to portray someone who is grieving a loved one, they go back and remember a time when they lost someone close to them and use those emotions to inform the character they are playing.

So it is with me and writing characters. I find those emotions within me. They may have a different source than that of my character. For instance, I might not have solved a murder, but I've solved a puzzle and that shares some of the same emotions. I might not fear for my life from a killer on my trail, but I have feared for my life in a car crash. So, I tap into the emotions I had at those times.

But, you say, what about the villains? Indeed, what about them? Don't you have a bit of villainy in you? I may not have stolen anything, but I've wanted to do so. I can remember that desire and simply remove the moral component which kept me from doing so. I have not killed, but I have believed that certain people would make the world a better place by leaving it. The fact that I don't believe that it is my job to arrange for that exit, doesn't change the emotion.

The scariest villains are the ones we understand. When I see myself reflected in the eyes of the monster and I know that just a few different decisions and I would be the one doing those terrible things is much scarier than the villain who does bad things without any seeming purpose.

This brings us to an important part of method acting. It's finding motivation. Why does this character do what s/he does? Once the actor understands that portraying that person authentically becomes easier.

The same is true of writing a character. In each scene I must not ask "what does this character do?" I must ask "what does this character want to accomplish and why?" When I answer that question, then I know what the character is going to do. It will make sense to me, and, if it makes sense to me, it will make sense to my reader.

By taking myself into the character, I hope to bring authenticity to my writing.

What are some ways you create authentic characters? Chat about it below.

The Killer Valentine Ball--C.A. Verstraete

Jess was like any girl: young, pretty, looking for a good time. But... a blind date, and on V-Day yet? Can you say loser?

Jess thinks she's sunk to the depths, but her date, Dylan, isn't such a bad guy. Better than his Facebook pic, actually. A little Kid Rock, a little Depp. Some tats. Hmm.

He thinks she looks better than her FB mug, too. Maybe, just maybe, things won't be as bad as she expected. There might be a chance to resurrect the night. She'll ignore the fact the party's at a day camp. After all, every girl wants to go to a party she'll remember... a Killer Valentine Ball, right?

Of course, things happen when we get our hopes up too high. Murphy's Law always seems to kick in.

Then there's the theme, Jess thinks. The axe in the sign. A twisted Valentine legend about a girl finding her boyfriend with an arrow stuck in his heart. Playing it up kind of big, aren't they?

Looking around, she soon realizes things aren't at all like they appear. The dancers... those ribbons on the girl's dress...


As they walked into the shadows, Jess noticed that things weren't quite as they appeared. Sections of the room lightened for a moment before being cast again in deep shadow. What Jess thought she saw in that split second made her heart race. On the dance floor, the same three couples stood, clasped to each other. Jess stared. She swore they never moved.

The music played quietly in the background. When the shadows brightened, Jess caught a quick glimpse of one of the couples. The young man's mouth gaped open. His partner's gown glistened with streams of dark ribbons.

The light flashed again and Jess gasped. Those weren't ribbons! The girl's dress shone with dark glimmers. Like-like blood, she thought. No, it can't be! She looked back at Dylan, who shook his head and urged her on.

"Light tricks," he whispered. "It's not real. It's Halloween stuff, like the movie. Don't worry."

Okay, he had to be right. It wasn't real.

Nothing here was real.

Nothing... right?

** Christine Verstraete has written several short stories appearing in different anthologies and a children's book, Searching for a Starry Night, now on Kindle. Visit her at or at her blog,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

An Interview with Jax and Ken

Interviewer: We’re here today with Jax and Ken, a couple of gents who have had the pleasure of working with up-and-coming author Kevin Hopson. Jax will be starring in World of Ash, which is slated for a January 2011 release, while Ken has signed on with Earthly Forces– due out next April.

What initially attracted each of you to your respective scripts? Let’s start with Jax.

Jax: Well, when I first read the script, I thought there were a lot of different directions that World of Ash could go in. The unpredictability makes things intriguing for the reader. Also, the ending opens things up for a possible prequel, sequel or even a full-length novel, which is why I wanted to get in on the ground floor. More than anything, though, it is an entertaining adventure that will hopefully leave the reader satisfied.

Ken: I think, with me, the main attraction to Earthly Forces was the mystery element of the story. There are subtle clues peppered throughout, but not even I pieced them together until the very end. When you add in the science fiction and paranormal components, it makes for a pretty diverse story.

Interviewer: These are debut works for both of you. How does that feel? Ken?

Ken: To be honest, I have worked with several authors over the years, but – up until this point – none of them were successful at getting published. So, in that regard, it doesn’t feel like a debut for me. However, unlike other authors, Kevin was triumphant in effectively utilizing me, which I am very grateful for. I couldn’t be happier.

Jax: It feels great. I’m only 29 years old, and I snagged this job on my first try. I have always been very confident in my abilities, so I would not be surprised if I come across as a seasoned professional when people read this story. I mean no disrespect to Ken when I say this.

Ken: None taken, Jax.

Interviewer: What is it that makes you a strong character, or the right person for the role? Jax?

Jax: A number of things, in my opinion. Though I never finished college, I picked up a lot of things when I was in school, and I also possess street smarts. I am a natural leader who is not only outgoing, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to achieve my goals.

Ken: I consider myself a more balanced person, which I feel was critical for the role. For example, I can take charge when I need to, but I am a sensitive guy who will also display compassion when the time calls for it. Furthermore, since I am a middle-aged man, I bring both wisdom and experience to the table.

Interviewer: What do you think of your story’s ending? Did Kevin do it justice? Ken?

Ken: Without giving too much away, I like the fact that Earthly Forces leaves the reader wondering. Even though I have my own theory, it does not mean my assumption is correct. It is up to the reader to decide.

Jax: All I can say is “Wow!” In World of Ash, I definitely did not see that ending coming. Also, you are left to ponder other uncertainties relating to the plot, which were never meant to be resolved. As I said before, this story could branch out in so many directions if given the time. I hope you see me again further down the road, possibly in future installments.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cody and the Elf

Cody and the Elf
by Antonia Tiranth
Cover art by Delilah K. Stephans

coming 2011!

Myrna Ashlin Watts, Main Character of Seraphym Wars Book 1: Odessa

Hi, I’m Myrna. Myrna Ashlin Watts. I live in Jacksonville, Florida, United States of America, Earth. You might think that’s a little extensive for an introduction, but after you hear my tale, you’ll understand. See, I don’t live there anymore. I don’t even live on Earth anymore.

Let me start at the beginning. I was born 18 years ago, September 16th, actually. That makes me a Virgo-- which explains my proclivities. I’m outgoing and driven, but anxious and super critical. I plan far in advance then get really pissed when my plans are screwed over, like a storm rains out my perfectly-planned picnic with my boyfriend. I’m also really protective of my younger siblings.

I have three. Quinn is a year younger than me. Or was, I guess I should say. He won’t be getting any older, ever… Then there’s Marcy who’s 14 and Jarrod is 11. That makes me the oldest, which sucks. I get all the babysitting. Well, I used to get the babysitting chores. They’re not actually babies anymore. I still can’t wait to get out of here and go to college in the Fall. I’ll probably have to go to UNF, the university here in Jacksonville, so I can save money by staying at home. But at least I’ll have a little more freedom. I haven’t a clue what I want to study.

Mom is an English professor at the community college, although I don’t think they call it that anymore. And Dad owns an advertising agency. It’s the biggest agency in Jacksonville and maybe the Southeast. All I know is he gets me out of traffic tickets and DUIs when I’m stupid. I think he knows everyone who lives here. Everyone of importance, that is.

You know how I said I’m not on Earth? Well, the group I’m hanging with where I am I never would have even spoken to in high school. I mean, they’re such a collection of nerds and weirdoes. I was one of the cool cats in my senior class. There were six of us girls who hung together, ate lunch or at least picked at the tray of crap the school served us, skipped classes, shopped… You know, hung out together. We called ourselves The Funbox Crew. And if you don’t get it, I’m not explaining it. I miss those cretins. These yahoos are fun and all, if you can call what we’re doing in Hellsville fun, but they aren’t the Crew. I suppose everyone has to grow up eventually and it seems now it’s my turn.

I suppose you’re wondering where exactly I am and what I’m doing. I’m wondering the same thing. I know this isn’t Earth. I haven’t seen the sun shining in so long I’ve forgotten what a blue sky looks like. The sky here is constant gray drab. Not cloudy, like a storm is coming—just gray, all the time. I’m told the sky used to be bright blue and the sun shone every day. The grasses were forty shades of green and flowers bloomed everywhere. You’d never know it by the looks of this place now, though. It’s all thick forests as dark as your closet at night and steaming desert as far as you can see. Except for the occasional inland sea or gulf, or swamp or massive surging river system – and not to mention the oceans surrounding this landmass. And did I mention there are sea serpents, double-headed poisonous snakes, zombies and a bunch more awesome attractions? Great place to be stuck in, huh?

Well, I suppose that’s about all the time I have right now. I see one of the demon-dragons flying this way and I need to find a place to hide my crew. See ya…I hope.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Some Revelations from a "Wicked" Computer Program

Some of you may already know about Dr. Wicked's Write or Die program. For the uninitiated, you enter a word count and a time limit. Then you hit "write." If you stop writing for more than a few seconds, the program flashes bright red warning lights and sounds an ugly sound. If you use Kamikaze mode, it also begins erasing what you wrote. Dr. Wicked lives up to his name.

The funny thing is that I can write much faster using this thing than on my own. No "writers block" no "de-mused" moments. And it isn't all drivel either. It is good solid writing. It's first draft writing, to be sure. It's writing that needs editing, spell checking and proofreading, but it has words on a page that make sense. Using Write or Die I get about five hundred words or more written in fifteen minutes. Sure, I can, and have written that much in that period of time without using the program, but those times I was in a word war with other writers.

Now, here comes the revelation. The word wars and Write or Die share one thing in common - focused short burst writing. When I am not using the program or competing with another writer to see how much I can get done in fifteen or twenty minutes, I get easily distracted. I stare at the screen. I dust it off. I watch the cats play. I sip a soda. I stare off into space trying to look profound for the cats. I write a few words and then think about them. In other words I don't keep writing.

If I set an hour to write "normally," twenty minutes or so are spent not writing at all, but pondering, daydreaming and feeding my face. I get more work done in a focused fifteen-minute write than in a half hour of unfocused "writing" mixed with other activities.

There is another factor, I believe, that plays a role in the increased productivity - energy. Usually, when I come to a Write or Die session or a word war, I am fairly rested up and fresh. Writing, even at top speed for ten, fifteen, even twenty minutes means I am writing all the way through at maximum energy. After about twenty minutes of writing, my energy begins to wane.

Just to give you a comparison. Writing straight through for an hour, I can get out 1000-1500 words. Writing four fifteen minute "sprints" I can get out 2000 words of the same quality. Also, it is a whole lot easier to find four fifteen minute slots in your day.

I don't know that this will work for you, but you don't know unless you try. The online program is free, but there is a $10 download which will also match people up for word wars. If you download the program and want to play, bring it on!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Coming in October 2010

I'd like to thank my 17-year-old daughter, Alex, for putting together this promo YouTube together, showcasing our five books to be released October 2010.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

To all of our Canadian authors, staff, and supporters, this one is for you.