Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Character Wednesday10

Does anyone have a family tree? Of course you most likely do, but the question is how many people do you have on there? How far have you gone back into your history? The reality of this all is that there are records for every person who ever lived on this earth (well just about every one, back to a certain era anyways) so if you search enough - on the internet - everywhere - you'll find the person that you are looking for... eventually. Starting out I only knew all the way up to my grandparents, but with a little help from the grandparents and internet resources, I have over 600 people on my family tree... and counting. That's when you start finding out that your grandfather married his sister - no! Just kidding! Anyways, on to the character!

Calvin Barker is our character for today. Celia's "real life angel" in the flesh. The litting boy who turned her world around. Anyways, here's the story:

Calvin Theodore Barker was born in Monroe, Utah his parents (Justin and Claire) were young (23 & 22) so his grandparents (Sally and George) were always a big part of his life. He had an older sister, the more louder and spoiled-er of the two. Calvin was always a part of one group or another, at the age of 5 he joined a little baseball team. At the age of 6 he joined a joined a kids football team. At the age of 7 he joined a soccar team, he actually stuck with that for a few years. When he turned 8 his mom was taking him and his sister to school, when they started fighting they got into a car accident. He recovered within a few weeks and was able to go home. His sister's leg was broken, and her arm sprained. His mom had some head trauma, and a few broken ribs, but they all recovered just fine.


And basically, that's all. Hope you enjoyed this week's character wednesday.

Be sure to visit me on September 1st, I will be featured on so be sure to stop by to see what I have to say. It's going to be a good one! See you all soon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Character Wednesday9

Yesterday I had to jot down a list of all of my characters the ones that I have done a profile on, and the ones that I haven't. I've done most of the important characters, and I was just starting to think that I was running out of characters to do Character Wednesday with, but then I realized, there are so many characters that I've mentioned and created just for the characters' bios, so I took some characters from there. And wha-la we get this weeks Character Wednesday - Brandon Hanson (Tommy's father).

Brandon Jonah Hanson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio with four sisters, himself being the only son - and the youngest of Fred Hanson and Georgia Thompson. With his dad being a farmer, Brandon spent many of his days as a youngster helping out on the farm, tending to the cows, horses, and the crops. At the age of 18 Brandon took a vacation to Hawaii and met Gloria Trent, the following years they grew closer and eventually married and moved out to Monroe, Utah.

At the age of 32 his father died and Brandon inherited the farm. But, not wanting to move back out to Ohio he declined it and his oldest sister, Hannah, recieved the farm.


And that's basically it. Thanks for reading, don't forget to come back next week - mark your calendars!

~If ever you are encountered with Writer's Block, go to Google, type in "Writer's Block" and you'll be instantly cured.~

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Earlier this morning I was so pleased to find out that I was sent the "One Lovely Blog Award" by none other than the wonderful Karen Coiffi-Ventrice at .
It was such an honor! Being a new, young, author, and having a new blog, why would I be chosen. But, I was, basically for those reasons, and it was just wonderful. It really made my day!
So, I suppose it's my turn to pass on the award. For those individuals I choose, just follow the instructions below.
The rules are simple:
1) Accept the award, and don’t forget to post a link back to the awarding person.
2) Pass the award on.
3) Notify the award winners.
Right away, I knew of one very inspirational person that I would send it on to: Vivian Zabel. Then I thought of someone whom makes quite a difference everywhere, Helena Harper. Then, Toni Andrews came to mind almost as suddenly as Carolyn Howard-Johnson came to mind, and here I'll tell you why I chose these people -
Vivian Zabel - Vivian is the most talented person that I know, as well as her awesome publishing and writing abilities she has had a fantastic life! And there are so many different occasions that I can think of where she has helped me get to where I am today. She is like a wikipedia of writing knowledge, one time I spent days looking for an answer, finally I asked Vivian and she had the exact answer that I was looking for. She's absolutely an amazing person, I could go on for hours...
Helena Harper - Helena is such a good friend, and a great person all around. She most certainly has what it takes to be the next #1 bestseller. She's a different kind of author and has a heart of gold.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson - Carolyn does so much going out and beyond what she has to. With so much on her plate, newsletters, books, writing, promoting, she always makes time to help anyone and everyone that crosses her path.
Toni Andrews - Toni is an inspiration to all authors out there, her book series is phenominal, she has talent, she has brains, she has it all, and even still she shows everyone that authors are "ordinary" people. She's friendly, strong, and has a really cool cat... LOL! Seriously though, Toni is an inspiration to all. Step aside, Toni will show you how it's done!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Character Wednesday8

After a hectic week with a number of surprises in it, I thought this would be the perfect week to take a more in depth look at Aden Meyers. For those of you who have read the book, you know who he is and I’m sure you’re laughing at the ironic-ness of it by now. For those of you who haven’t read it, Aden is Celia’s little brother, a trouble maker. Though quite a bit of Aden’s life is in the book, you’d be surprised at how much wasn’t mentioned. Due to him only being alive 8 years (so far, he’s not dead, so don’t gasp), it’s a short story, but still, it’s interesting. It’s probably better to show you rather than tell you. So, here goes –

Aden Trevor Meyers was born in Monroe, Utah with one sister (Cecelia Meyers). At the age of 2 his mother took him to a play group every Friday at noon, until he turned 5 and started school instead. At the age of 7 Aden joined the Cub Scouts, and came out of it with 15 badges. At the age of 8 Aden became a “teacher’s pet” and also got in the local paper because he climbed a 14 foot tree to get to a friend’s cat, which was stuck between a couple of tree branches.


As you can see, I have added a new feature to my blog, "Shelfari" it's basically a shelf filled with books that I'm promoting, and also books that I have read. I thought it was a cool new feature, you can get your own shelf too, just make sure you add "A Gift From Above" to your list of books. ;) If you go to twitter you'll see that I'm running a contest type of thing, where I'm trying to get 1,000 views of the excerpt of my book, you can go here -

Monday, August 3, 2009

More About Margaret

On Saturday we took a look at Margaret, what she does, how she started doing it, and her characters, today, we’ll be taking a more in depth look at what Margaret writes, plus an extended interview!

So, here we go! First, here are a few questions that I asked Margaret –

Heather: Every writer has at least one thing in the works, what are you working on now?

Margaret: Well, there's my chapter book, “The Angry Little Boy.” I'm also working on a rhymed picture book and a series of math poems.

Heather: Those sound like quite creative works! Now, here’s a question that made me chuckle – If there was a character from someone’s book that you could take on a date, who would it be, and where would the two of you go?

Margaret: Oh, good question. Some of the characters from Marion Zimmer Bradley's darkover series come to mind. If I could take them anywhere, I think I'd opt for the San Diego Museum of Science (as opposed to the one here in Boston). I was there once for a conference and fell in love with the place.

Heather: Good answer. I’ve never been to a museum before, but chances are if I went once I’d get addicted, that’s just my kind of thing if you know what I mean. If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would ask and why?

Margaret: Lewis Carroll, because I have a soft spot for his poetry, or James M. Barrie, because my favorite book as a kid was Peter Pan.

Aren’t they just great answers? Now, we’re going to take a look at the first chapter of the book mentioned above, “The Angry Little Boy” Margaret’s work in progress. I must admit, when I read it over I was quite impressed, it has a great setup for a story. Anyways, read on for yourself –

The Angry Little Boy Chapter 1 -

Chapter 1: At Grandma's House

Alvin’s eyes burned and his chest felt tight. The last time he'd visited Grandma he'd driven there with Mom and Dad. Now Mom was dead and Dad still in the hospital. Alvin peered out the window of Grandma's car as they passed through Millbank and down the tree-lined road leading to Pine Crest Point. As Grandma drove past the lake with the community beach, down the street, and into her driveway, Sam, Alvin's collie mix, put his front paws on Alvin's lap and barked.
"Yes, Sam, we're here," Alvin said, ruffling Sam's soft ears as they all climbed out of the car. He turned and noticed how thin and frail his grandma looked from the last visit. Her once vibrant gray curls were now faded and wispy looking.
Sam bounded down the hill ahead of Alvin and Grandma. They followed him down the flagstone path, down the hill, past the rock garden. The marigolds, petunias, and geraniums lifted their faces to the sun. Alvin's nose tickled as he breathed in the spicy scent of the flowers, and remembered how Mom loved to work in the garden whenever they'd visit.
The stained brown ranch came into view once they'd cleared the large trees. Sam waited by the porch.
Grandma unlocked the door, and Alvin followed her into the big living room. Paneled in pine, it had windows on both ends, a dining table to the left, couches and chairs on the other side, and a large fireplace in the middle.
Sam trotted up and dropped a ball at Alvin's feet.
"Grandma, Sam found a ball."
"Sam always manages to find a ball." Grandma stared at Sam, who opened his jaws and grinned a doggy grin. "You two go outside if you want to play catch. No playing ball in the house."
"That's what Mom always said." Alvin's throat felt tight. He frowned and rubbed his eyes.
Alvin pushed open the door and went outside. Standing on a flat spot in front of the house, Alvin threw the ball up the hill and Sam chased after it.
An hour later, Grandma called, "Alvin, time for dinner. Come in and wash your hands." By that time the now deep red sun hung just over the horizon.
"Grandma, when will me and Dad have our own house again?" Alvin said, when seated at the dining table.
"I don't know, Alvin. I don't know whether your father will try to rebuild your old house when he gets the insurance money." Grandma handed Alvin a hamburger and put one on her own plate. Alvin took a big bite. His throat felt almost too tight to swallow.
"I miss our house. I miss Mom and Dad. I wish everything would go back the way it was." Alvin's lips trembled. He swallowed hard to get rid of the big lump in the middle of his throat.
Grandma looked at him. "Alvin, you're nine years old. That's old enough to know your mother isn't coming back."
Alvin ate a few more bites. Grandma put down her half eaten hamburger and stood up. "I guess we aren't very hungry tonight. Let's clear the table and wash the dishes. Then you can brush your teeth and get ready for bed."
Alvin picked up his plate and glass. He followed Grandma into the kitchen, Sam at his heels.
Grandma put the dishes on the kitchen counter. "Scrape the hamburger into the trash and then put the dishes into the dishpan. I'll wash and you can dry."
"We could give the hamburger to Sam. I'll bet he's still hungry." Sam sat by Grandma's feet and panted hopefully.
"Hmmph," said Grandma. She broke the hamburger into pieces, put them into a bowl and placed it on the floor. Sam grinned, then started to eat.
"At home Dad always did the dishes. All I did was clear the table." Alvin looked out the kitchen window at the front yard. He could feel the soft breeze through the open window. The sky was a dark blue with a few fluffy white clouds. Grandma's flowers swayed back and forth. It looked very peaceful. "I wonder if Mom can see the flowers from Heaven?"
Grandma didn't say anything for a long time. Finally, she said in a brisk voice, "I'm sure she can.”
Then Grandma continued, “Here we both clear the table, I wash and you dry." She handed Alvin a blue and white striped dishtowel. "Stack the dishes on the counter and you can put them away when we're finished. You're as tall as I am now so you won't have any trouble reaching the cabinets.”
"At home Mom always left the dishes in the dish drain and put them away in the morning."
"I like my dishes in the cabinet," Grandma said as she pressed her lips together. Alvin remembered when Grandma came to their old house she always dried and put away the dishes and Mom would get annoyed. It made him smile to remember. Dad always used to stay out of the kitchen when Grandma visited.
"All I have is one pair of pajamas, Grandma," Alvin said later when they walked out of the kitchen.
"We'll go shopping tomorrow," Grandma said. It made Alvin feel funny to think that his beloved quilt and all his clothes and books were gone forever.
"Mom used to read to me every night. We'd just started The Fellowship of the Ring." Alvin glanced at the full bookshelves as they passed through the living room.
"We can buy you another copy. Or I might have an old one of your father's around somewhere."
"No thanks, Grandma. It wouldn't be the same. When we stopped, Mom said we'd read more tomorrow. That was the last thing she said to me. Except goodnight and stuff." The image of his Mom sitting beside him in bed reading to him made his chest tighten again.

Great way to start a story Margaret!

And I also got a poem of hers a very clever poem, which shows her enormous amount of creativity, check it out –

Prices Reduced by Fifteen Percent
by Margaret Fieland

There's a giant price reduction,
it says prices are a fraction
just a teeny, tiny fraction
of the price they were before,

but I don't know how to figure
what the price is and how big your
really really big reduction
from the price it was before.

Since I didn't pay attention
when my teacher came to mention
how to figure a percent on
any item in the store,

now I do not know my fractions,
so I don't resist attractions
of the really big reductions
on the items in the store.

I succumb to the seduction
of their really big reduction,
but I wish I'd paid attention --
then I wouldn't be so poor.

And of course, at the end of the poem, you’ll want to give a little laugh at the ironic-ness of it all. Great poem, Margaret! And as always you can read more about Margaret’s works here –

I’ll see you all again Wednesday for yet another Character Wednesday, be sure to stop by then!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Extraordinary Writer Margaret Fieland!

Today we’ll be taking a look at a significant and quite inspirational author, Margaret Fieland.

Born and raised in New York City, Margaret Fieland has been around art and music all her life. Daughter of a painter, she is the mother of three grown sons and an accomplished flute and piccolo player. She is an avid science fiction fan, and selected Robert A. Heinlein's “Farmer in the Sky” for her tenth birthday, now long past. She lives in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and seven dogs. Her poems, articles and stories have appeared in journals and anthologies such as Main Channel Voices, Echolocation, and Twisted Tongue. In spite of making her living as a computer software engineer, she turned to one of her sons to format the initial version of her website, a clear illustration of the computer generation gap. You may visit her website – .

She is a very special person, as you can well see. I think that everyone has something to envy about Margaret. She is new to writing stories, but no stranger to poetry, as she has some of the best collections of poetry that I have seen, I’ll show you a piece of it this coming Monday so be sure to stop back in then to take a look. For now, I have some Q & A’s for you to learn even more about what fuels Margaret’s fire.

Heather: You have been writing more of a variety of things lately, I hear, tell us about what you write:

Margaret: I'm a professional Computer Software engineer – BA in mathematics, MS in computer science, but I've written poetry as far back as I can remember, though not with publication in mind and not with any level of dedication.

Heather: Very impressive. What really got you interested in writing for publication?

Margaret: What really propelled me into writing for publication was organizing my poetry. I used to keep the poems, when I kept them, in notebooks. They were totally unorganized, and I could never find anything. Then I wrote a poem I wanted to keep, so I got off the stick and put them up, first on my computer, and after that online, originally in Yahoo briefcase, and later in Google Documents.

Heather: I’ve done that a few times myself, if I have a poem somewhere that I can find it makes it easier to say “hey why don’t I put it in this contest, or that contest” I can definitely relate to you there. Why was the organization such a key factor in moving your writing forward?

Margaret: Once I had the poems organized and findable, I could finally submit, and I could look them over and gain perspective on how I was doing. What ended up happening was that I submitted a poem to a contest on a whim and ended up a finalist. This was so encouraging that I started writing more; working more seriously on growing as a writer, joined critique groups, etc.

Heather: Ah, I see. How long is that you have been writing?

Margaret: I've been writing poetry since my teens, but only with publication in mind for the past three or four years. As a story writer I'm pretty much of a novice, as I only started writing stories after I hooked up with Linda Barnett Johnson after the first Muse online writer's conference three years ago and joined her writing forums. I'm 62 now, so that's a lot of years of writing.

Heather: That definitely is a lot of years of writing, a lot of experience behind your belt. What is it that made you want to start writing?

Margaret: Good question – I started and became addicted. I really love writing -- and I just plain enjoy writing poetry, rhymed and unrhymed. I've developed my own algorithm for generating rhymes, which means that I often don't have to use a rhyming dictionary at all. Besides, if I don't write it down it stays stuck in my head.

Heather: Writing is addicting, I’m afraid I came down with the same syndrome as well, one time I went about 6 months without writing anything at all, and I tell you, I went absolutely insane, I HAD to write. I’ve heard a lot of authors say that their parents were supportive of their writing when they were young, while others needed to sneak and hide, what was the case with you?

Margaret: When I was young I was studying music, not writing – I play the flute and the piccolo. My mother was an artist and while she was supportive of my music, her advice was “Always be able to support yourself,” so for that and other reasons I didn't become a professional musician.

Heather: I see. That is a good reason, I mean, there is a reason why there are “starving artists” *laughs* though I’m sure you would have been successful in whatever you did. Proofreading is completely necessary, as is critiquing. Who proofreads and critiques your work?

Margaret: I belong to a couple of (online) critique groups and I also exchange manuscripts with other writers.

Heather: There are a couple of critique groups that I trust online, as well as author writers. They are quite helpful. Where is it that you write at? Any particular place or just anywhere?

Margaret: Wherever I happen to be. I have pads and pens everywhere. I even write in the car. At home, my two favorite spots are the dining room table and my bed.

I understand, I have pads and pens coming out the yin-yang too. Do you have a set time when you write, or just whenever you get the urge?

Margaret: Since I have a full time job, whenever the spirit moves me, and I have (or can make) the time. The nice thing about poetry is that a lot of it is short and taking a couple of minutes to jot down poetry is pretty easy to do. Waiting for appointments is a favorite time to write. I've had good luck being "inspired" by those articles you find in waiting rooms.

Heather: I find myself writing in the weirdest places sometimes, definitely at appointments though. When you need to check facts do you turn to the internet or the library?

Margaret: Are you kidding? The internet. I'm an online kind of gal. My favorite resource is, which has an online dictionary and thesaurus. I make heavy use of the thesaurus when writing poetry, even rhymed poetry. Though I do occasionally resort to a rhyming dictionary, I usually generate the rhymes myself.

Heather: I’ve never been to the library to check facts myself; I’m internet all the way. I love , is one of my favorites too, good for poets. When you're not writing, what do you like to do?

Margaret: Read, listen to music, play my flute and my piccolo, walk our dogs, do crossword puzzles.

Heather: What about writer’s block, ever had a problem with it?

Margaret: Not so far, thank goodness {pauses to knock wood}.

Heather: Neither have I in my short little writing years. Everyone seems to have a favorite author who is yours and why?

Margaret: My favorite author for a long time was Robert Heinlein. I am a 'way back sci fi fan. I picked out his “Farmer in the Sky” as my tenth birthday present.

Heather: I understand that you just began to write stories, how do you invent your characters?

Margaret: They just sort of come to me -- and often they surprise me. Jane, the little girl who's Alvin, the main character in my book's, friend, was one of those. I thought she was going to be a real stuck-up goody-goody and, well, she wasn't anything like that. I had this image of her (I get very visual images of my characters) standing with her hands on her hips and lecturing me, "You've got me all wrong."

Heather: I’ve had that happen with a lot of my characters, I get this idea of what I think they should be like, and they’re nothing like that at all, they really shape themselves. I know a few authors who keep records (almost like police records) of height, weight, background, etc. of their characters, do you keep tabs on your characters, and if so, what do you usually make note of?

Margaret: {grin} I'm much too disorganized to keep background notes -- in fact, so far I haven't even done much outlining. What happens is that the bones story takes shape in my head and then I just start writing. I get visual images of my characters -- but no, I don't keep notes. For "The Angry Little Boy," I do have a lot of back-story that isn't in the book itself. Some of it was in the first version of the story, some just evolved as I continued writing and revising.

Heather: I got so many characters in this one book series that I’m writing that I had to start keeping tabs on those characters, other than that I don’t really keep background notes either. Some authors say that they feel as though his or her characters are real, do you feel this way, and what do you think about this?

Margaret: When I was younger I had this sense that I was creating the world of the characters as I read -- that my reading was literally bringing my characters into existence, and that when I stopped reading, they were stuck at the point I stopped. It made for some pretty late nights. Now, as an author, I have this sense even more strongly -- that my writing about them has given them life. However, I kind of get the feeling that they are continuing on and that I might need to catch up with them at some future date to see how they're doing.

Heather: If you think about it, that was a really awesome way that you thought about things, that your reading actually brought them to life. While I was reading stories I used to kind of create my own character in the story, if you know what I mean, so that I was my own character. Out of all of the books that you have read, who is your favorite character?

Margaret: Good question. Two of my all-time favorite childhood books are "Alice in Wonderland" (favorite character Alice) and "Peter Pan" (favorite character Peter Pan). I haven't read anything as an adult that's nearly as compelling, though I am fond of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series. I especially like both Camilla and Magdalen Lorne.

Heather: “Alice in Wonderland” is definitely a classic, love that one. Thank you for giving me the chance to interview you, Margaret, it certainly was a pleasure.

Come and visit again this Monday for a more in depth look at Margaret’s writings. Including a poem of hers, and the first chapter of “The Angry Little Boy”. Can’t wait to see you there!