Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meet Young Adult Author Barbara Ehrentreu

Today I'm happy to introduce a fellow author with Muse It Up Publishing, Barbara Ehrentreu, who wrote the YA novel "If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor." Welcome, Barbara!

Tell us a little about your background and how you became an author.

I started out as an elementary teacher and taught for 13 years. Then I stopped to have my children and stayed home until they were old enough to be by themselves. I started going back to substitute and finally decided to take my Masters degree in Reading and Writing. So I got my Masters in Reading and Writing K-12. One of the things we needed to do at Manhattanville College where I took my graduate work was attend Writers’ Week twice. On my second Writers’ Week a workshop was offered with Paula Danziger and she required us to have 3 chapters to get into the class. I have spoken about this before, but she told me to cut most of what I had written. She rewrote the first chapter for me and told me it had potential. That was enough for me. I took her advice and went home and rewrote it and finished the novel. After much critiquing and rewriting and 5 years of submitting and hoping it was finally accepted by MuseItUp Publishing and I became an author at last!

What is one of your favorite books and why?

It’s hard to pick just one book, but I love the whole Dresden Files series. I also love anything by John Irving, John Russo and Barbara Kingsolver.

What inspired you to write this book?

My daughter was on the brink of becoming bulimic and she had a very bad body image so I divided this and made one character with a body image issue and the other one with an eating disorder. The idea that Paula Danziger thought my idea had potential kept me going.

How would you describe your writing process?

Most of the time I am what is known as a “pantser." That is, I pretty much sit down and write whatever comes into my head. After awhile I stop and think about the characters and do a character sketch for each one. At one point in the book I just published I had to stop and figure out the plot lines for each character. In the book I have not submitted yet, I ran into trouble on a certain chapter and I had to outline the chapter. Otherwise, I just write and then I have to revise and usually cut a lot of what I have written.

How have you marketed your book?

I had a book launch both online and in person and I gave away free copies of my book from a drawing. I had postcards made up and I was part of a month long Blog Fest for YA/MG writers. In addition I have been the guest of many different authors and I have both a blog and Facebook page as well as being on Twitter. Also I blog twice a month for DowntownYA. I am a member of several different writing groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and I am a member of Goodreads. Before my book was published I took part in a very large reading of several chapters which was international and helped to get my name out there. I have a large amount of Facebook friends and I have become involved in following a lot of writers and authors from my group on both Facebook and Twitter. Also, I am planning to try to get my book into some independent bookstores here in Connecticut where I live. I take advantage of any free advertising I can get!

What advice would you give to other authors?

With only one book published I’m not sure I’m the right person to do this, but for other writers who are looking to be published, my advice would be to keep trying. Put your ms in the best shape it can be and send it out often. Be persistent and don’t give up, because you never know who will see it. Also, attend writing conferences. Those are excellent for contacts and even online ones are good. In fact, I got published from the Pitch Session on the Muse Online Writers Conference.

Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.

Chapter One

I spot him walking toward my locker with a small box in one hand and a plastic fork in the other. My Crush! He hands me the box, and I open it. Inside is a piece of luscious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I look up into his blue eyes and give him the box so I can touch his cheek as I smooth his dark hair.

“You always know just what I like.”

He smiles and feeds me a forkful of cake. I don’t have to worry about eating it because I can eat anything I want and not gain weight. He places the cake box in my locker so he can put his arms around me.

The first bell rings in my ears. I ignore it because I’m thin and blonde and floating in the arms of my dark-haired crush. The other cheerleaders run up to us laughing and kidding around, and I’m about to speak. The ringing gets louder.

The dream evaporates, and I realize it’s the darn alarm piercing my sleep. Slamming my fist onto the snooze button, I get this nagging feeling. Then I remember. I have something to do. Worse luck, I have to do it, not as the slender blonde beauty in my dream, but as the real Carolyn Samuels with my brown curly hair hanging like shriveled spaghetti, mud brown eyes, and a body too large for fashion.

I see my new book bag is packed and ready by the door with the initials C. S. in blue, my favorite color. Suddenly it hits me, and I get this dizzy let-me-plop-on-the-pillow feeling. Freshman year of high school— first day. My brain is ready, but my body isn't. Jennifer will be there. Math class and Jennifer; gym class with Jennifer. My body curls into a fetal position, and I throw the covers over my head. Don’t faint Carolyn, I tell myself, panting.

Dangling over the chair are those size twelve jeans, clown pants— hardly a fashion statement. I groan. Paired with the red long-sleeved T- shirt, they looked so good on the mannequin; I’ll look like a stoplight. What was I thinking? How could I possibly go to school looking like such a freak?

Actually, the real reason I can’t go is Jennifer, with her long straight blonde hair, perfect body, and clothes from magazines like Teen and Seventeen.

Yuck. I feel sick, sick with Jenniferitis.

I hear Mom's footsteps on the stairs.

“Why are you still in bed?” She comes upstairs and peeks into my room with a puzzled look on her face.

Moving the blanket up to my nose, I say, “Mom, I can't stop shivering, and my stomach and head hurt.”

She feels my head and looks at me with mother vision. “Carolyn, did you think I'd fall for your tricks?”

I cringe. Now my stomach and head ache for real. Defeated, I climb out of bed and get washed. I slip the hated outfit onto my body and glance at my bloated reflection in the mirror. It's too late to change. I’m stuck with this. If only I could be like Jennifer Taylor.

After picking up my book bag, I race down the stairs, take a couple of bites of a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin and a few sips of non-fat milk. I almost trip over a lump blocking the door. Max, our five-year old Newfoundland raises his massive bear-like head, sniffing like he’s never eaten a thing in his life when he sees my muffin. I glance at his empty bowl and throw the rest of the muffin into it. He sees it and licks my face; now I’m going to smell like dog food all day. Grabbing a paper towel, I wipe my face and lean to ruffle his soft fur. At least Max doesn’t care what I wear. Feed him and rub him under his chin, and he’ll cover you with slurpy kisses.

Mom is already in our three-year-old silver Malibu that, like my jeans, doesn't quite make a fashion statement.

On the drive to school, I'm looking forward to seeing Becky and Janie my two best friends from forever. Don't want to see Jennifer's face on the first day of high school.

Where can readers find you and your book?


Barnes and Noble:

My blog, Barbara’s Meanderings:

Facebook page:


 Thank you, Barbara! This is definitely going on reading list!!

--KSR Writer

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meet Children's Book Author Jennifer Campoverde

Today I'm happy to introduce the author of this beautifully-illustrated children's picture book, "Aku and the Magnificent Color Scheme," Jennifer Campoverde. Jennifer is giving away a free copy to one lucky person who leaves a comment. Welcome, Jennifer!

Tell us a little about your background.

There is nothing in life that I love more than being a stay at home mom with my three year old son Samuel and work from home where I am able to unleash my creativity.  Music was a predecessor and turning point before I began to write.  I placed first in the state of Minnesota for young composers at the age of 18.  I hope some day to return to composing, but for now writing satisfies me and gives me the opportunity to explore my imagination on a new level.  I have written several books for children and young adult.  I am currently working on a young adult novel that deals with bullies and the loss of a parent but Aku, is my first officially published character.  Aku is a colorful, young and adorable parrot that lives in the rainforest.  His imagination questions why the sky is blue and not green.  As Aku unfolds the mystery behind God’s creation, he discovers the value of his own uniqueness.

What is one of your favorite books and why?

Favorite for me is quintessential so undoubtedly, I would have to go with the Bible.  Where else are you going to find history, poetry, love sonnets, revenge, forgiveness and the ultimate sacrifice of love all rolled up into one book?  It is the only book that I can go back to time and time again and always discover something new, something encouraging, and something wise.

Why did you decide to write this book?

Stories come to me like my music did-they just pop into my head and I go with the flow of it, however I strongly felt while writing Aku and the Magnificent Color Scheme that it would be pointless to write a story without a special meaning.  When I was twenty years old, I volunteered for Africa Inland Mission.  I taught sex-education/aids prevention as well as the Bible to children within the prison compounds of Luzira, Uganda.  That is where I met two little girls that would become the inspiration behind Aku.  As they escorted me home one afternoon, one little girl said she wished she could be white so she could be beautiful.  I was reminded how we as parents, teachers, and mentors… have neglected to instill in our children the value of their own self-worth, the foundation for self-esteem.  Aku teaches children that uniqueness is the reflection of God’s artistry.  Everything is created for a purpose for perfect harmony including the color of our skin or in Aku’s case, his colorful plumage.

How have you marketed your book?

Luckily I have a Marketing Representative to book events such as book signings but the real work comes from me, the author.  In order for me to be able to do readings and presentations within the school district, I have to build relationships.  I extend that relationship further to book readings and events for book clubs, libraries, independent bookstores, and churches.  Social networking is its own empire; I connect with the world through my blog: You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and my author website:  Being an author, means you are an entrepreneur.  You have to invest in your business in order to see the results.  I always keep a copy of my book with me because you never know when the opportunity will arise to make a connection or sale.  Bookmarks, business cards, posters and flyers are also great marketing tools.  You get a free audio download when you purchase Aku and the Magnificent Color Scheme, which makes a great incentive!  You can also purchase an exact replica of the book in coloring book format!

What advice would you give to other authors?

You have to believe in yourself in order for others to believe in you.  It’s easy to get used to sitting in front of your computer alone and write, but it’s essential to socialize.  Introduce yourself to people, tell them who you are and about your book and make a connection.  I find people are a lot more inviting then you give them credit.  One connection leads to another and you have to start somewhere so start within your community and work from there.  I booked an event by handing a card to someone with information about my book. 

Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.

Deep in the rainforest under a canopy of trees, Aku, a parrot of many colors watched the animals curiously while perched on the highest branch close to his nest in a hollow tree.  Many animals were sleeping or gathering berries and nuts while a great and mighty python slithered under the leaves and monkeys swung from tree to tree. 
  Aku looked up into the great big sky and asked his mother, “Why is the sky blue and not green?”

Where can readers find you and your book?

Aku and the Magnificent Color Scheme is available for purchase at (amazon is having a great sale),, and   You can also purchase an autographed book and coloring book on my blog.  To book an event, feel free to contact me at

Thanks for being here today, Jennifer! Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of this colorful tale!

--KSR Writer

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop: $5 Amazon Gift Card

Congratulations to Linda H. on winning the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop! Thank you to everyone who entered and watch for my next participating blog hop soon!!

It's time for another giveaway hop! This time I'm giving away a $5 gift card to Amazon! To enter, follow the instructions and fill out the form below. This hop runs from January 13th through the 18th, and the winner will be announced on January 19th. Thank you to I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Martha's Bookshelf for hosting. Once you have entered my giveaway, be sure to scroll down and visit the other blogs to enter more great giveaways!!

--KSR Writer

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Meet Marilee Brothers, Author of the Unbidden Magic Series

Today I'm really pleased to introduce you to a talented writer, Marilee Brothers, who is the author of the Unbidden Magic series. Her current book is called "Shadow Moon," and is the fourth book in the series. Welcome, Marilee!

Tell us a little about your background.

In the publishing arena, I’m a late bloomer. Married at 19, I soon became the mother of 3 sons. I finished college juggling family and work, all the while scribbling away in my spare time. Fast forward 35 years. The kids were grown and gone. My career in public education was over. Time to get serious about my writing. Since 2008, I’ve had six books published and have a contract to write two more for my current publisher.

What is one of your favorite books and why?

My favorite book is always the one I’m currently reading and right now, it’s Rena’s Promise, Two Sisters in Auschwitz by Rena Kornreich Gelissen with Heather Dune Macadam. Rena and her sister, Danka, survived three years in Nazi death camps against incredible odds. The book is a testament to the human spirit and, in spite of the horrific subject matter, uplifting and inspirational.

Why did you decide to write this book?

My current book, Shadow Moon, is book 4 in a 5 book series called Unbidden Magic. Books 1-3 are Moonstone, Moon Rise and Moon Spun. The first book in the series, Moonstone, was loosely based on a distant relative who grew up with a dysfunctional single mother and lived in a 24 foot travel trailer parked next to a cow pasture. I thought, “If ever a girl needed a little magic in her life, it was her!” Therefore, my protagonist, Allie Emerson, receives a magic moonstone on her fifteenth birthday.

What was your experience like with publishing?

I write for a wonderful independent publishing company called Belle Books. It was started by a group of women writers and, at first, focused on Southern fiction. They have now expanded to a variety of genres and are always looking for opportunities to promote their authors. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of the Belle Book family.

How have you marketed your book?

 Marketing is not one of my strengths. However, I do have a website and a blog called Book Blather. I also do the social networking thing. I’m on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I love hearing from readers via the contact form on my website and always answer my emails promptly.

 What advice would you give to other authors?

Don’t give up on your dream (see question 1) and learn your craft. I thought because I could tell a story, I was a writer. I wasn’t. I took classes. I reached out to share what I’d written. I entered contests in order to receive feedback. I learned the elements of craft - point of view, how to write dialogue, story arc, plotting, etc. I’m still learning.

Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.

Shadow Moon – Chapter One

“For the first time in months, Anna Starr Emerson, my newly-discovered, long-lost twin was the last thing on my mind.

Picture this: me boogying my buns off at the Peacock Flats H.S. winter formal with . . . are you ready? Cory Philpott! Yeah, that Cory. Pimply-faced, pudgy-around-the-middle, butt ugly inside and out Cory Philpott, who had once delighted in shaking a can of soda so it would explode in my face and make a mess out of my only decent outfit and then brayed his donkey laugh.

If I’ve learned one thing in my short life, it’s this: people are not always what they seem.”

Where can readers find you and your book?

My website is My blog is Book Blather, I have an author page on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter @MarileeB. My books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on the Belle Books website,

Thanks Marilee, I love your blog and look foward to reading your books!

--KSR Writer

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Noteworthy Web Sites for Authors and Readers!

The New Year is off to a great start! I have two pieces of news I'm incredibly excited about and want to share with both authors and readers.  The first is that my new middle grade novel, Animal Andy, is being published by Muse It Up Publishing in August 2012! I am already so impressed with the folks at Muse It Up and want others to know what they have to offer.  Even before this recent turn of events, I was introduced to Muse It Up through a fellow author. I've read several books by Muse It UP authors, and I'm very impressed with the quality of the writing, the amazing book covers and the community Muse It Up has established for both its authors and readers.

The website does a great job outlining what the Muse It Up editors are looking for, and the submissions guidelines are clearly outlined. Please note that submissions are only accepted during certain times of the year, but they do respond in a timely manner when submission are open.

If you're looking for some great new reads in 2012, I encourage you to check out the Muse It Up bookstore. There is is the mainstream publishing division, Muse It Up Publishing; the tween division, Muse It Young, and even an adult division, Muse It Hot. There is also a blog with posts from authors and editors and great tidbits of information. All of the books are available for immediate download in a variety of formats, and many books are also offered in print. And if you're already a fan of Muse It Up, be sure to vote for them and your favorite authors in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll (open until Jan 10th!)

My second piece of news is that I've joined the children's emagazine knowonder! as a staff writer. This is an amazing web site dedicated to providing quality, readaloud bedtime stories for kids ages 3-10. They post a new story each day, and are always looking for new readers and authors! If you are a parent or grandparent, I encourage you to check it out! (You can click on the knowonder! logo on the right side of this page).

Here's to a wonderful 2012 for all the authors and readers out there!

--KSR WRiter