Monday, August 27, 2012


Alan's Arrival
The Erotes Series
by Dana Littlejohn
Genre: Erotic Fantasy Romance/MMF
Tags: Multiple partners, romance, erotic, Greek gods, contemporary
Cover Designer: Delilah K. Stephans
Pages: 51
ISBN:  978-1-77127-120-2

Back Cover:
Kia Sanders recognized her husband Dale’s past urges were resurfacing in their present and something had to be done. At first she didn’t know what, but after meeting Alan, what she needed came to her like a gift from the gods.

Bonds of Time
by Larion Wills
Genre: Sci-Fi Time Travel Romance
Tags:  Time travel, end of the world, woman dominance, male enslavement, gladiators, survival, immortals, war, Arizona, White Mountains, apocalypse
Cover Designer: Delilah K. Stephans
Pages:  242
ISBN: 978-1-77127-137-0
Back Cover:
Judith gave up on the world long before those fools destroyed it. She didn’t run out of her forest looking for survivors, didn’t seek out those she knew of. She wanted nothing to do with any human until Garth fell out of the sky. He aroused one emotion she had left, curiosity. Where did he come from and how did he get there? Why did he have a perfect adult body and the mind of a child? What terrified him? To get the answers she must first educate him and then protect him from the survivors down the mountain, wanting a healthy, mature male to rebuild the human race.

Rings of Paradise
by Maxine Douglas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tags: Professional wrestling, Bret Hart, WWE, Hawaii, Maxine Douglas, Muse It Up,  #amwriters, #wwe, #wrestling, Maui,
Cover Designer: Winterheart Designs
Pages:  138
ISBN:  978-1-77127-136-3

Back Cover:

Dear Reader,

I’m not much on putting words to paper, action is more up my alley. I’m Flame, the reigning champion in the Universal Wrestling World (UWW). So why am I here?
I grew up in a wrestling family and cut my teeth on the squared circle, which by the way is the only “lady” I trust any more.
I’ve gone and bought out a small press magazine in Madison, Wisconsin that was going nowhere fast, hired a woman by the name of Khristen Roberts, who according to the editor-in-chief is untrained and wants nothing more than to be a journalist.
Okay, I’m a sucker in helping people out, it’s my one weakness, if I have any. Problem is she’s on vacation in Hawaii. I’ve got to catch up with her somewhere along the line for her to join up with me and the UWW. I just hope Khristen is up for the ride…it’s always a trip.

Yours truly,
The Flame

The Silver Seahorse
A Novel by Judy Joyce Winn
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Cover Designer: Nika Dixon
Pages:  168
ISBN:  978-1-77127-112-7

Back Cover:
Nessie Polite has everything figured out.  She’s about to graduate with a master’s degree in architecture, has a job in the wings and a longtime boyfriend who is a lawyer. Then her mother, Kaylynn, is killed in a nasty auto accident that may have been murder…a murder meant for Nessie.
She inherits a special seahorse necklace Kaylynn always wore and a half interest in the “Silver Seahorse” gift shop.  But now someone is stalking her, her supposed dead father is a fantasy, and to top it off, her boyfriend is cheating on her.  Who is her father? And who wants to harm her?  Will she find answers in her home town of Beulah Beach – or must she travel to the island of St. Thomas?  Will she find true love or true danger in her quest for answers?

Animal Andy by Kathy Sattem Rygg


Animal Andy
A novella by Kathy Sattem Rygg
Genre: Tween Fantasy Magical Realism
Cover Designer: Charlotte Volnek
Pages:  80
ISBN:  978-1-77127-135-6

Back Cover:
Ten-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is curator. There are rumors that the city might close the zoo due to budget cuts. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique animal carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. Andy’s doubtful that an old kiddie ride will make a difference. He doesn’t see what’s so special about it. But when he takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo.


A huge, circular carousel with gold-framed mirrors around the top filled the grounds between the petting corral and the picnic area. Red and white painted stripes colored its pointed canopy above the mirrors. Small, clear light bulbs covered the carousel’s ceiling. Long, brass poles placed in the wooden floor were attached to large animal figures. But not just horses. Each pole was attached to a different zoo animal. Curvy, gold lettering painted in between the mirrors read Magical Menagerie.

Andy slid between the short barricades surrounding the carousel to get a closer look. Other than a few areas of chipped paint, the animals looked brand new. He thought his dad had said it was really old.

“Isn’t she grand?”      

Andy jerked. He hadn’t heard anyone come up behind him. A gray-haired man with tiny, round glasses perched on the bridge of his nose appeared next to him.

“Yeah, I guess. I’ve never seen one with gorillas and rhinos on it though.”

"It's called a menagerie carousel because it has more than just horses. It's also why I thought it belonged in a zoo." The man stared at the carousel.

“You donated it?” Andy turned toward him.

“Indeed. The name’s Zeb." He bowed his head. "My family owned a zoo in Europe, and this carousel was a part of it. When I was about your age we moved to America. The carousel has been stored in an outbuilding at our family farm all these years, and I thought it was time to bring it out. The animals were getting restless.” He winked.

“Are you sure it still works?” Andy said, spotting a broken light bulb.

“Oh, it works when it needs to."

“Why did you give it to this zoo?” Andy thought it seemed more like something one of the larger zoos would have.

“Because I think your zoo really needs it.” Zeb started walking away. “Make sure you take it for a spin when you get the chance. The zebra’s nice and smooth.”

Andy glanced at the frozen zebra in front of him. He turned to ask Zeb another question, but he was gone, as if vanished into thin air. Goosebumps prickled Andy’s arms. He rubbed them away and turned back toward the carousel.

He stepped up onto its worn, wooden platform and walked around the edge. As he passed each animal, he ran his hand over its glossy back. Their saddles were smooth and firm, like the old-fashioned rocking horse at his grandparent's house.

Pausing in front of the zebra, he placed one hand on the brass pole that ran up through the black mane on its neck. He admired the painted bright blue and green saddle. Making sure no one was around, he placed one foot in the stirrup and threw his leg over the other side. The curved seat was a perfect fit. Maybe Benny was right. The carousel didn’t seem so bad.

Andy relaxed in the saddle when, all of the sudden, every light bulb in the ceiling blinked to life. Blaring carnival music spilled from hidden speakers. The platform began to turn, and his body rose upward. He tried placing his foot in the stirrup to get down, but it was like his arms and legs were glued in place.

Confused, he glanced around. Had Zeb turned it on? He didn’t see anyone. The carousel picked up speed. Fear rose inside him as the zebra rotated up and down on the center pole.

Everything blurred as he continued to spin, so he focused on the zebra’s black stripes. When that didn’t help, he closed his eyes. The tighter he squeezed them, the less his stomach churned.

The carousel slowed down and came to a complete stop. The carnival music shut off, leaving an abrupt silence. Andy exhaled and opened his eyes. The whirling in his head faded. Then he heard a fast, high-pitched braying sound, like a donkey. Had it come from the nearby petting corral? The zoo didn’t have a donkey. The sound came again.
He was horrified to realize this time it sounded like it came from his own mouth!

About the Author:
Kathy Sattem Rygg is an author, freelance writer and editor. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Iowa State University and has worked in corporate marketing for several Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, she worked at the McGraw-Hill Companies’ Business Publications Division in New York City and was the Editor in Chief of Women’s Edition magazine in Denver, CO. She currently lives in Omaha, NE., with her husband and two children.

Author's Other Works:
“Tall Tales with Mr. K”—published through CreateSpace, available on Amazon

Sunday, August 26, 2012

An Avid Reader's Haven: Interview with Romance Author Maxine Douglas

An Avid Reader's Haven: Interview with Romance Author Maxine Douglas: Join us in Paradise as we chat with Romance Author Maxine Douglas. We have leis for everyone to wear and ice cold pomegranate and m...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

DEEP POV by Joylene Nowell Butler

New Guy in Town
By Joylene Nowell Butler

There’s a new guy in town and his name is Deep POV. I know what you’re thinking: Omniscient, Third, First, and now Deep! Give me a break!
Honestly, Deep POV is actually a kewl guy who will give your scenes new life. Remember when you were a kid and you’d be sitting on the toilet trying to pee and your mum would yell through the door, “Hurry up!” And because you were all due for Sunday dinner at Grandma’s (or someone equally important), exasperated mum would burst in, turn on the faucet--and voila! Wonder of wonders. My mother is gone now, but when she visited, I locked the bathroom door. 
Many good writers struggle over POV. But they needn’t. It’s like peeing whenever you hear running water. In time it becomes a natural process. It’s like riding a bicycle; once you learn, you never forget. In order to trust your instincts and pick the POV that best suits your particular story, you need to understand your choices. Deep POV is just one more choice. 
To recap, let’s agree that Omni is a god-like character for a reason. Like God, Omni knows everything. Where writers make a mistake is thinking Omni means head-hopping. It doesn’t.
Omni is the novel’s camera. Omni shows you, he doesn’t tell you what’s happening. Imagine what it would be like if every single time you watched a movie and the camera moved to a new character, there was a new voice over. It would drive you nuts. And like everybody else, you’d do one of three things: leave the theatre, switch the channel, or eject the DVD. 
That’s why when I work with writers who choose Omni, I remind them Omni shouldn’t never appear in the story. He’s the narrator/host who takes us on a journey and shows us what happens.
Unlike the formal Omni, Third person draws the camera closer so that we experience intimacy with the character. We hear what he hears, see what he sees, feel what he feels, and taste what he tastes. The best part, we get to read his thoughts. If the protagonist doesn’t experience it, we don’t. That simple. “Jump inside the head of your protagonist” effectively describes the technique. 
Today on television Deep POV is nicely illustrated on Dexter and reruns like Veronica Mars. Voiceover makes the experience of watching those shows more intimate. We’re privy to information directly from the star of the show, or in the case of novels, the protagonist.
Deep POV, a combination of 1st person (intimate) and third (limited) lets us experience the pure expression of a character’s presence without anything being filtered. There’s no he felt, he thought, he said. It’s all immediate and personal. 
Why bother using Deep POV? I promise you nothing pulls your reader in faster and allows him to instantly appreciate and care about your character. You’ve made them forget they’re reading a book, and instead, they’ll be immediately drawn right into the heart of the story.

Here’s some crude, but simple examples:
He felt his heart break … becomes:
She spoke, and inside his chest – snap! His heart broke in two.

“Kiss me, baby,” she teased, and grinned widely. … becomes:
“Kiss me, baby.” Ouch, if she grinned any wider her cheeks would crack.

Joylene is the author of the suspense thrillers Dead Witness and Broken But Not Dead, which won the 2012 Independent Publishers Award for Best Regional Fiction Canada – West. Dead Witness is a finalist in the Global eBook Awards. 

Dead Witness
by Joylene Nowell Butler
Mystery Thriller

The Reign of Terror

By and large Europe regarded the democratic fervour in France with profound suspicion. In England, the Prime Minister, William Pitt, welcomed the new French government’s renunciation of war and aggression. However, the attitude toward the French monarchy, princes and nobles alarmed Europe with its kings, princes and aristocrats.
In June 1971 when King Louis attempted to flee anarchy he was captured on the way to the frontier and returned to Paris, by which time Leopold, the German Emperor was aware of the insults to his sister, Marie of Antoinette, Queen of France. Yet Leopold did not want to become involved in French affairs. However, after the royal family’s flight from Paris and their forcible return to Paris in summer 1791, he suggested joint European action to free “the most Christian King and his Queen.” Subsequently Leopold issued a Declaration “to place the King of France in harmony with the rights of sovereigns and the well-being of his people.
In October, the *Girondins forced the king to accept a new Constitution. When the Assembly met for the first time it confiscated the √©migr√©’s property, and passed sentence of death of those who did not return to France by the end of the year.
The Girondins clamoured for a crusade against Leopold, the Austrian despot On January 11th, 1792 to the tune of “Liberty or Death” the government declared that if the Emperor did not relinquish his threat against France, his country would face invasion.
The French government sent agents to the Netherlands to promote rebellion against Austria. In the meantime, William Pitt, the British Prime Minister, pursued the path of peace. In his Budget Speech in February, 1792 Pitt stated that he believed “Europe was on the threshold of a long period of peace and prosperity.” In order to appease those who feared war, he made economies in the Army and Navy.
On the 20th of April, France declared war on Austria. The **Jacobin clubman, Robespierre, leader of a small group, declared war would assist the growth of tyranny. The Girondins refuted Robespierre’s argument on the grounds that the army’s revolutionary enthusiasm would lead to triumph. They were mistaken. The French rabble of an army fled from the Austrian troops.
King Louis attempted to veto a bill to, amongst other things, dismiss the Girondin Ministry. Jacobins and Girondins united and chose Danton, a 32 year-old lawyer from the Champagne to be their leader.
All too soon the great bell of the Cordeliers tolled at night. It signalled Danton had seized the Hotel de Ville prior to an attack on the Tuilleries. While Napoleon Bonaparte, who was writing a history of Corsica, watched the mob storm the Tuileries.
The Swiss Guards were massacred. The royal family fled. By that night Louis VII had been deposed and confined in a small cell.
The Prussians invaded France and took Verdun. Only the ill-equipped French army, energised by Danton, blocked the way between the Prussian army and Paris, where the Prussians boasted they would free the royal family. While Danton called for volunteers to swell the army, amongst whose elected officers were seven future marshals of the Napoleonic Wars, 1,600 prisoners were massacred; most of them liberally minded aristocrats.
To the east of Valmy, Brunswick, the Prussian general, defeated by the rain and mud, sickness and division in his army, called off his men. Goethe who accompanied the army discerned the truth. “From this day and this hour dates a new epoch in the history of the world.”
On the following day, without news of victory, the monarchy was abolished and the statement “the Republic was one and indivisible” was made.
The Prussians retreated. Led by Custine, the French army pursued them to Speyer and Worms. The nobility fled before Custine’s battle cry. “War to the tyrant’s palace! Peace to the poor man’s cottage.”
            From the other side of the Channel the English regarded events in France with increasing bewilderment. Their reactions were slow but in time they would act.

*The Girondins were radical democrats, a faction of the Jacobins. The Girondins forced the declaration of war against Austria, which began the Wars of the Revolution that would result in the Napoleonic Wars.

**Jacobins derive the name from the Jacobin Club of the French Revolution, which was formed in 1789. After the fall of the Girondins the Jacobin leaders instituted The Reign of Terror.

* * * *

Available from MuseItUp publishing, Amazon kindle, kobo and elsewhere.

Sunday's Child a Regency Novel. Despite quixotic Major Tarrant's experience of brutality, honour,loss and past love, will it be possible for him to find happiness?
Tangled Love set in England in 1706. The tale of two great estates and their owners, duty, betrayal, despair and hope.
New Release. 27th October. False Pretences a Regency Novel. Will Annabelle escape an arranged marriage and discover who her parents are?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Communication: Before You Click Send

Communication: Before you click send

By Christine I. Speakman

There once was a time when we would sit with pen and paper crafting our words. Sharing ourselves with someone through carefully written thoughts and expressions. I remember writing to my brother and sister-in-law in Scotland, talking TO them through my letter, certainly not AT them.

As a secretary, I wrote letters to businesses all the time. Even if I had a friendly relationship with these men and women, each letter was formal, precise, and above all polite. More so if information or money was being demanded.

Now we have emails, text messages, tweeting, facebooking, any number of social networks in which to reach family, friends, co-workers, customers, anyone. Some businesses, the eBook Publishing industry, are done almost completely via computer technology. Our individual worlds are enlarging as the world draws closer. Communications are reaching us faster, anywhere, any time, and they’re becoming blunter.

Has the art of communication been lost? Have our communication skills been irreparably harmed by technology?

Let’s take a side trip to phone calls. I love call display. As soon as I see the person’s name I’m ready to answer. If it’s someone close to me, I’ll sometimes jump in with a laughing voice of…whatcha want? Or, hey you. Business or my child’s school calling…little more formal, little more curious. Telemarketers…polite witch-mode.

Same when an email arrives. I see the sender’s name and that sets my reaction. Reading the words, their phrasing, will either drain, lighten, heighten, or set my response on fire. Surely, the sender didn’t mean to come across cold, condensing, holier than thou? That snide remark was an attempt at humour, right? Was that an ultimatum?

Text has no expression; no tone; no life. Text is exactly how you see it…words on a screen. Words have power. They are uncompromising and clear. They’re a two-edged sword.

Let’s take the simple line: That’s stupid.

How do you read this? Do you add weight to one or both words?  THAT’S stupid. That’s STUPID. THAT’S STUPID. Do you read in a monotone? that’s stupid.  Is there a lilt to your inner voice which gives this a light-hearted tone? Or was your last communication filled with anger?

The recipient or multi-eventual recipients will read governed by the words, the phrasing, their directness.

Earlier I typed “to” and “at” in capitals. This was for emphasis. Normally, in writing, emphasis is either with italics or quotes, something to set apart that which you want noticed. In today’s cyber communication caps, words typed all in capital letters, mean yelling. How many times have you used caps without realizing you’ve just yelled…screamed at someone?

Pay attention. Remember when fingers fly across the keyboard, they’re not just words racing across the screen.  


Chris Speakman is an Acquisition Editor for MuseItUp Publishing,

Reach her at or Tweet her @MuseChrisChat

Christine Irene Steeves – writer:
by Christine I. Steeves
Sweet Romance

Treating your query letter like a sales letter

Treating your query letter like a sales letter instead of a summary by Jane Lebak

A common complaint of writers is (accurately) that it's impossible to summarize an entire novel in a 250 word query. Which is the absolute truth: any novel that could be summarized in 250 words wouldn't be a novel worth reading. But this member was upset at how many unique and intriguing aspects of the novel's worldbuilding were going to get glossed or omitted. No doubt when writing your own query you got frustrated by the limits of the form, the character shading that got stripped down to stereotypes, the careful setup that got reduced to a trope.

Take a deep breath and play a game of pretend: your next door neighbor called you, frantic, begging you to take her to the emergency room. You grabbed a copy of your novel off the shelf, where it was magically just sitting there bound and printed and with a cover, and drove her there. When you got there, you realized you didn't have your wallet, and the ER staff told you it would be five hours. You're hungry. There are vending machines, but you don't have any money.

You start re-reading your book and loving it. While you're doing that, I come sit down in the waiting area. Finally I say, "Are you reading a book?"

Instead of telling me, "No, I'm sewing buttons on pickles," you humor me and say, "Yes."

I say, "Is it any good?"

That's when you have a wicked idea: if you can SELL me your book, you'll have money for the vending machines and you won't be so hungry. You have a stack more books at home, so it's not a big deal to sell me this copy. The only thing you'll need to do is convince me to buy it.

Now, given that, how are you going to pitch me the book?  Well, first you'll want to get me excited about it, and then you'll want to slip in the idea that I'll want to read it, and then you'll make the generous offer that well you could let this copy go... 

But what you're not going to do is something like this: "Middle Earth is the home to five major races, each of which explores a different iteration of the human spirit."  And you're not going to say, "The underlying theme of my novel is death, but it's explored slantwise by showing the nuanced ways in which individuals respond to the lure of power."

This stuff may be vital to the story (and in fact, it is vital to the novel I'm talking about) but it's not vital to the pitch. The pitch needs to be a separate entity. Because queries are not synopses or Cliffs Notes. They're sales letters.

With that in mind, I think you would say, "It's about an ordinary guy who just wants to live his life, but instead he's forced to protect, and ultimately destroy, the one artifact an evil wizard wants most in the world."

I'd probably sit up and and say, "How'd that happen?"

You'd say, "Well, he had no idea what this ring was when he accepted it, but it was forged three thousand years ago by the Dark Lord in order to enslave the different races that live in Middle Earth, only now this guy Frodo has it. It will give him a really long life, but it's going to turn him into a horrible person if he tries to use it. And the only way to destroy The One Ring is to carry it right into the kingdom where that Dark Lord is. And he knows Frodo is coming."

It's not about giving an accurate portrait of the story. It's about teasing us and making us just as hungry as you are. You don't really care about conveying the nuances of Frodo's relationship with Sam as much as you care about making me shell over five bucks so you can get a sandwich.

Make yourself feel better: look on your bookshelf at your favorite books. Re-read their back cover copy. Think about how much it leaves out. But those few paragraphs still interested you enough to get you reading, right? Even if they didn't convey the subtleties of the character's growth?

It's okay. Take a deep breath. Sell your book.


Jane Lebak's first novel The Guardian will be re-released this September by MuseItUp Publishing! She is also the author of Seven Archangels: Annihilation (Double-Edged Publishing, 2008) and The Boys Upstairs (MuseItUp, 2010). At Seven Angels, Four Kids, One Family, she blogs about what happens when a distracted daydreamer and a gamer geek attempt to raise four children.

The Boys Upstairs by Jane Lebak