Friday, October 29, 2010


My guest is women’s fiction author Sheila Roberts. She writes things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate (oh, I love this woman!).

Before she started writing about those things, she wrote music (still does), was in a band, and—are you ready for this? —She owned a singing telegram business. Yep, she was the perky person who sang them to you. I’m not sure if she wore costumes or not, but kudos to her. I can sing to you and no problems from a stage, but in person and at your door, restaurant, or in your office? Um, that would be no.

Sheila sent me an Arc of Snow Globe (did I mention I love this woman?) and it was my first (but certainly not my last) introduction to her writing. I reviewed the book here and on Night Owl Reviews.

Sheila says she originally wanted to create a story that would become a Christmas Classic, “serious and heartwarming and a real tearjerker.” But I’ll let her tell you about that.

Don’t you love snow globes? I sure do! There is something peaceful about that charming scene frozen under glass that simply fascinates me. And I’m not the only one. These pretty ornaments are highly collectible (especially some of the Disney ones) and can go for a small fortune on eBay. I understand how that bidding fever can take over a girl, believe me.

Last year at a girlfriend party I got, well, let’s just say highly competitive over a gorgeous snow globe that someone had brought to our annual Christmas party. We were playing the old steal-each-other’s- presents game and, wouldn’t you know? I was the first to pick the package with the gorgeous globe. Needless to say, I didn’t hang onto it long. I tried every sneaky strategy I could think of to get it back. And failed. And complained loudly. All to no avail. There SHOULD NOT be a limit on how many times you can snitch a gift when you’re playing that game, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. Oh, except that I actually found an even prettier one at TJ Max on the way home from the party. My reward for (almost) being a good sport! :-)

Not only do I enjoy snow globes, I also love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday. And I wanted to write a book that could become a Christmas classic, something people could read and enjoy every year. I wanted it to be serious and heartwarming and a real tear-jerker, like The Christmas Box. And I had a big, dark, tear-jerker plot all figured out. Well, somehow the book morphed from big, dark, and tear-jerking to sweet and funny. But also, I hope, encouraging. And I’m very happy with it.

Maybe someday I’ll write Snow Globe 2 and get to write my deep, sad, story. But for now I’ll simply be happy with the tale I’ve told and celebrate the season of miracles. And bring out my snow globe!

  • Snow Globes do seem to make me think of winter and Christmas. What makes you think of Christmas?

Snow Globe:

On a blustery afternoon, Kylie Gray wanders into an antique shop and buys an enchanting snow globe. “There’s a story behind that snow globe,” the antique dealer tells her. The original owner, he explains, was a German toymaker who lost his wife and son right before Christmas. When the grieving widower received the handcrafted snow globe as a Christmas gift, he saw the image of a beautiful woman beneath the glass—a woman who would come into his life, mend his broken heart and bring him back to the world of the living. For years, the snow globe has passed from generation to generation, somehow always landing in the hands of a person in special need of a Christmas miracle.

Kiley could use a miracle herself. This year, all she wants for Christmas is someone to love. A hopeful shake leads her on an adventure that makes a believer out of her. When Kylie shares the story of the snow globe with her best friends—two women with problems of their own—they don’t believe it. But they’re about to discover that at Christmastime, sometimes the impossible becomes possible and miracles really do come true. Excerpt

Discover an unforgettable holiday treasure in Sheila Roberts’ heartwarming tale of love and laughter, magic and miracles, friendship and coming home…


Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. She’s happily married and has three children. She’s been writing since 1989, but she did lots of things before settling in to her writing career, including owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. Her band days are over, but she still enjoys writing songs. When she’s not speaking to women’s groups or at conferences or hanging out with her girlfriends she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

Be sure to check out Sheila's Contests, Blog (she talks about MAKING snow globes) Facebook.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Life After Acceptance

My guest is fantasy fiction author Glenda Larke.

My first experience with the wonderful created world of Glenda was book two (Stormlord Rising) of her Stormlords Trilogy. I loved it. Rich believable world, strong, but flawed, characters, and a wonderful story. The plot is multi-layered yet she effortlessly weaves all the pieces together in a real page turner. A very satisfying read and one I couldn't put down until the denouement.

I enjoyed it so much I wrote to her and asked her if she'd be a guest on Over Coffee. I'm honored she accepted.

Glenda is a fascinating woman. Why? She’s the wife of a Malaysian scientist with a job with the UN, raised two children while traveling the world. Glenda has in lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Borneo, Tunisia in North Africa, and Vienna, Austria. She’s worked about every job you can imagine and probably some you can’t. She’s a passionate defender of the rainforest and a field ornithologist. She tells us:

“[While in South-East Asia ] I learned to tie a sarong, cook with chillies, speak the language, clean squid, make curry, eat politely with the fingers of one hand, get rid of cobras in the house and explore the rainforest…

We returned to Malaysia where I turned more and more to environmental work, earning a living as a field ornithologist. I've waded through mangrove swamps, been followed by a tiger and attacked by a king cobra, been caught in a flash-flood and stung by a colony of irate wasps, studied birds on tropical atolls and swum with turtles. I've survived an open boat in a tropical thunderstorm and been eaten alive by leeches, mosquitoes, sandflies, ticks, chiggers and things that don't even have names. Would I do it all again? You betcha! In fact, I still do. My love of the rainforest is boundless, and I feel obligated to do my best to save it…

[Through all this] I kept on writing—in tents, at home, on boats and beaches, in swamps and mangroves, in national parks and logging camps, in airports and on planes.”

Boy, am I glad she kept on writing! Glenda shares what it's like as author after being published.

The day I heard my first book had been accepted for publication was also the day before my mother’s funeral. I was standing in my sister’s house after flying in from overseas, ripped by grief and feeling guilty because I hadn’t been there, when I was handed a fax. It was from my agent. I read it several times before the words even began to make sense. After almost seven years of various story rejections, there it was: Havenstar was to be published, chosen as one of three launch novels for a publisher’s new fantasy and science fiction imprint.

I was torn in two. The moment I had waited so long for, worked so hard to achieve – it had finally arrived. I wanted to be ecstatic, yet I was swamped with despair. I wanted to scream and dance for joy, yet I was weeping inside. My mother would have been delighted for me, but she died not knowing that her youngest daughter was achieving her lifelong dream. She would never know. I was devastated, conflicting emotions churning inside. Even now, thirteen years later, I can feel the raw anguish of that moment, the sense of Oh, why didn’t I know this a few days ago while she was alive?

Most authors – fortunately – don’t experience quite that mix of pain and joy when they get the news. They think they’ve reached the mountain peak where the view is great, and from now on everything will be wonderful … What they don’t know in that perfect moment of joy is that all they are doing is standing on a bump along a very long road.

They’ve probably spent years perfecting that first book. It’s their baby. They’ve thrown out a number of other attempts, but not this special one. This one they’ve nurtured, rewritten, polished. They’ve had it critiqued, it’s been rejected numerous times by publishers and agents - but still they’ve maintained their faith in it. And now that faith is vindicated.

Imagine it: standing there on the pinnacle of your career as a writer. You envision a lovely new book with your name on a shiny cover, loads of money, bookshops asking you to come and do a signing, fanmail stuffing up your inbox…What you get instead is a contract you don’t understand and a request for a rewrite from an editor you’ve never met – help, she even wants to change your baby’s name. Worse, she doesn’t like your name, either! She wants a pseudonym.

If you haven’t got an agent, you scurry around trying to find one because everyone says you ought to have one before you sign a contract. And that contract: horrors, it talks about your NEXT book as well. The one you haven’t started yet. And what does “at a discount of 52.5% up to 57.5% inclusive the royalty payable will be four-fifths of the prevailing rate…” actually mean? You’re not a lawyer! And where’s the bit about the date of publication? Oh, that’s on page twelve…Nooo - you have to wait anything up to two years? Two years? Your family’s already planning the launch party!

About then you realise this pinnacle of your career is really more like a road hump and you still have to negotiate the potholes of contracts and re-writes and copyedits and proofing and back page blurbs. Not to mention starting a website, and blogging and all those other things that authors are supposed to do. Publication day may well be ages in the future, but somehow everything has to be done in a hurry. Worse, you not only have to write a new book, but you’ve made a crazy promise to hand it in within twelve months - even though the first one took you six years to complete.

You want to drop your daytime job, but you can’t do that. Your advance is hardly enough to buy the cat food; it’s certainly not going to pay the mortgage. Everyone agrees: stopping work is madness for a new writer. So somehow you learn to juggle job, kids, spouse, leisure, getting the flu and carpel tunnel syndrome – while writing to a deadline. And suddenly the bump on the road begins to look more like an abyss.

Never fear, though. One day, in the mail, there comes a book. You rip open the packaging, and there it is: your creation. It has your name (or pseudonym) on the cover. There’s your dedication to your long-suffering family. Those are your words there in chapter one, your story, your blood, sweat and tears, paragraph after paragraph. (Probably a typo or too as well, so don’t too look closely right now.)

And that’s the mountain top. You’ve arrived. Some time soon you’ll have to deal with the deadline again and all that other stuff, but right now you really are standing on the peak, smelling that new book smell, and the view is magnificent.

Better still, sometime very soon, someone, somewhere, is going to ask you, “So where do you get your ideas?”

Stormlord Rising

Shale Flint has skills needed in a world in which water is worth more than gold, yet he can't control his own destiny. Circumstances force him to continue helping the devious rainlord, Taquar Sardonyx, to create rain—even though Taquar is using his control of water to further his own lust for power…

Terelle has been forced to leave the Scarpen with her great-grandfather, Russet; his painting of her future has trapped her into doing his will. Russet will not give up until he has regained his status as a Watergiver lord in his homeland—but Terelle is determined to resist, no matter what the price.

Meanwhile, Ryka Feldspar has been captured and taken as a concubine by a Reduner tribemaster. She discovers her rainlord husband, Kaneth, in the slave lines, but he has no memories of their time together. She is desperate to flee—but how can she leave him to his fate? Excerpt

As I said, I read book two first, but there were things I had to guess at--not hard, but a lot to absorb. So I would highly suggest reading Book One: The Last Stormlord, Synopsis and the excerpt, first.

BOOK GIVEAWAY Glad to do this, and the book will come from me, posted to anywhere. Choice of The Last Stormlord or Stormlord Rising.

~ * ~ * ~

Glenda was born on a farm in Western Australia, and moved to Malaysia after her marriage. She has been at various times in her life a housemaid, a high school teacher, a university tutor, a field ornithologist and a designer of nature interpretive centres. Besides Australia, she has lived in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysian Borneo, Tunisia in north Africa and Vienna, Austria. Her passion (when she is not writing) is rainforest conservation. Sometimes the two things get mixed up and she has been known to do copyedits in logging camps, or to read proof pages by candlelight in a tent in a peat swamp. Aged eight, she decided she was going to be a writer, but her first forays into print were all in non-fiction. When she was forty-five she submitted her first novel to an agent and she now has nine books published worldwide, with the third book of the Stormlord trilogy due out next year.

Glenda working on her writing in the field

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Musings "I'm Late, I'm Late, I'm Late"

I got a bit of a late start on this article. Blame it on insanity and an incredibly busy life of late, lol! Today’s sort of a hodgepodge of stuff. I have some great guest visiting over the next couple weeks.

This past Saturday, I had the chance to spend time with a friend, Olivia Cunning, part of my incredible online writing group, The Writing Wombats. I’ve met quite of few of the Wombats at conferences and events.

Saturday was Olivia’s first book signing with Backstage Pass, and the first book in the hot new series, Sinners On Tour. What a great time! Olivia had wonderful hosts (Doug and Shannon Wilson) at Village Book Store in Columbia. Doug Wilson was hamming it up in the store—I get the impression he does this on a regular basis, in fact I have it on good authority he can be a lovable dork. I loved meeting him. I did see him with his semi serious face recommending various books to an avid reader and was impressed with both his love and knowledge of various genres and authors.

The fabulous Becky is standing
Becky Asher was fabulous as well. She had read Backstage Pass, not once but several times. She not only talks it up but also was able to pull together a huge group to stop by while Olivia was there, some from online (like Facebook), the Village reading group, and the normal walk in customers that stopped by to see what was going on in our section of the store. I’m sure all the laughter and high-jinx drew some as well. And we did have lots of laughter. She was a grand hostess, running for drinks and goodies, making sure everyone had something to munch on or drink. I took a wrong turn getting to the store and had to call—only to find out I was merely a couple of blocks away—but she waited outside the door for me to arrive! Wow! I have a great deal of respect for her knowledge of genres and authors who write them and book industry in general. Part of the Village reading group was there and the discussion that ensued was remarkable as was the span of ages of the visitors in addition to having both males and females participating in the lively discussions.

Olivia knows well how to handle a crowd but I brought her chocolate just in case she needed an extra boost. I’m thinking I should have brought some Motrin or Aleve to for her arm and hand. She signed so many books it’s a wonder it didn’t fall off. The good news was she sold all the books the store had on hand and the extras ordered in for the signing event. The only thing that would have made this a better event was if we could have had the Sinners with us, lol!

If you you’re anywhere near Village Book Store, do stop by and visit with the amazing staff. It’s well worth the trip!

Upcoming guests: Glenda Larke, Stormlord Rising, Sheila Roberts , The Snow Globe, Donna Grant, Wicked Highlander, Nina Bruhn, Shadow of the Sheik (Immortal Sheiks Trilogy), Caridad Piñeiro , Stronger Than Sin.

So be sure to stop by and visit with us!