Oh Henry – dog detective Henry Houdini no.1 is now available!

So exciting… the first in my dog detective series is live on Amazon:

The fabulous Sarah Hardy at Book on the Bright Side is arranging my blog tour to run w/c 29th July.

Here’s more info…

Tagline: Henry, a nineteen-month-old Jack Russell, has been given the ability to talk and now they can’t shut him up! Family Guy’s Brian with just as much attitude but better sleuthing skills.

Blurb: Henry, a talking Jack Russell, is part of a small team researching a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. He is the target of several dognappers but can he use his wit or guile to outwit them and, with the help of laboratory assistant Gwynne Davies, find the proof needed to convict the criminals. Thus begins a series of adventures for the unlikely pair. This is Family Guy’s Brian meets Poirot meets My Fair Lady.

USP: There have been amateur sleuths, there have been talking animals – Henry is both.

Length: c. 72,000 words.

Location: Northamptonshire, England.

Note: I’ve been told ‘Oh, Henry’ is young adult but the main human character is a woman in her early forties so a more general appeal, I feel. ‘For the young in all of us.’ 🙂

Keywords: dog detective, dog detective novel, comic crime novel, cozy animal mystery, cozy animal mysteries, dog detective series, animal novels, humour, humor, humourous stories, humor novels, humour novels, humorous novels, Oh Henry, O Henry, Henry Houdini, Harry Houdini, William Sydney Porter, Gwynne Davies, lab assistant, Multiple Sclerosis, cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

Purchase links:

Do let me know if you’d like more information.

 

Author Spotlight no.143 – Anthony Miller

webbadgesponsorComplementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and forty-third, is of second-place winner of the fiction Shirley You Jest! Book Award (of which I’m a sponsor) Anthony Miller.

Anthony Miller is a trial lawyer who spends most of his time helping corporations fight about widgets, self-cleaning kitty-litter boxes, and talking light switches.  He has a personality disorder that makes him think it’s fun to stand up and talk in front of people, and realized early on that juries are among the best and most readily-available captive audiences in the world.

amillerauthorphoto

After years of getting paid by corporate benefactors to make up stories, Anthony decided he ought to branch out and try his hand at not getting paid for it, and so wrote a profane and offensive (his words :)) book about Satan called ‘What Would Satan Do?’

He’s currently hard at work on a sequel called ‘Bjørn Again’, in which Scandinavians, having grown tired of making safe cars and flat-pack furniture, decide to return to their Viking roots of sacking and pillaging.  When he’s not writing, Anthony says he “heads up the Pave the World Campaign, which is a for-profit organization created to fight vicious, man-eating polar bears by promoting the cause of global warming”.

And now from the author himself:

wwsdcover‘What Would Satan Do?’ is a silly book that might be appropriate for anyone who liked Christopher Moore’s ‘Lamb’, or anything by Douglas Adams (in particular, ‘The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul’).  It’s the story of what would happen if Satan decided to skip the whole End Times thing to retire on Earth.  I was in a Bible study class (don’t even ask), reading Revelations, which is basically this wild prophecy that tells what’s going to happen at the end of the world.  As I understood it, Satan’s job would be to get the ball rolling, only to have God show up all triumphant at the end to case Satan into the Pit of Despair.  It occurred to me that if God is omniscient, and He is the unmoved mover, and if He came up with the whole plan for Judgment Day, then Satan is little more than a pawn, and that just seems kind of unfair.  I figured that if I were Satan, I’d blow off Judgment Day and take off for a holiday somewhere nice.

I then invited Anthony to provide an extract of his writing and this is the short, short story ‘Love With Connected Heads’…

connectedheadsJames and I are in love.  We’re also Siamese twins, and have been connected at the head since birth.  I once heard a woman say, talking about our love, that we’re “connected at the hip”.  I had to stop right there and correct her.  No, lady, you’re wrong – our craniums are fused together.

But our connection runs deeper than our blend of bone, sinew, and flesh.  In fact, I can actually taste what he eats.  We love soup.  And though we have two, separate hearts (along with all the other vital organs), they really do beat as one, because we share a circulatory system.

Lately, though, I’ve been worried.  I think James is starting to look at other women.  It’s hard to tell, because the way our heads are connected means his eyes actually point in the opposite direction from mine.  We have to cooperate to turn around, which makes it pretty tricky to catch him looking.  By the time I speak up and say, “Hey, let’s turn around so I can look at something,” and he goes, “What?” and I’m like, “Just something I want to see,” and he’s all, “What is it?” and I go, “Can we just turn around already?” it’s usually too late.

I don’t know what to do.  I trust James like I trust myself, but I know there’s something going on.

You can find more about Anthony and his writing via…

WWSD? Blog: http://www.robotsandlava.com

Satanic Magic Eight Ball: http://www.robotsandlava.com/apm/index.php?page=8ball

WWSD? on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/whatwouldsatando

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Would-Satan-Do-ebook/dp/B005MKZEJ0

***

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with novelist, philosopher and writer for children (and translator) Will Buckingham – the five hundred and seventy-sixth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

Author Spotlight no.137 – Robin O’Bryant

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and thirty-seventh is of non-fiction author and first-place winner of the non-fiction Shirley You Jest! Book Award (of which I’m a sponsor) Robin O’Bryant.

Robin O’Bryant is a humor columnist and stay-at-home-mother to three daughters born within four years. She finally figured out where babies come from and got herself under control.

Her first book, Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves, has been rated #1 by reader reviews on Amazon in two genres: Humor Essays and Parenting & Families since December 2011.

Robin won the South Carolina Press Association’s award for Best Humor Column for 2012. She was a Circle of Mom’s Top 25 Funniest Moms 2011 and 2012. Babble has listed Robin’s Chicks as Top 10 Funniest Parenting Blog and her work has been featured on Huffington Post.  She uses her blog and newspaper columns to teach women helpful tips such as: how to breastfeed behind your back (only applies to lactating women with a DD cup or larger), how to talk to your daughters about man parts, and how to write a proper gold fish obituary.

And now from the author herself:

I’ve been an avid reader and writer my entire life. As a child it was common for me to have dark circles under my eyes from staying up into the wee hours to read. I’ve journaled since I could write a complete sentence and throughout my life I have been told repeatedly, “You should write a book.”

I wanted to, I really did. I wanted to be a writer but I had no idea what to write about. I was good at expressing myself in words but I wasn’t creating new worlds or going all J.K. Rowling in my free time. Reading and writing were private passions until my third child was born. Three daughters in four years, it’s all a blur. Do the math, people. That’s a lot of crazy.

I was writing about my kids extensively, because that’s what I do. I am compelled to write about my life. But because my husband and I lived hundreds of miles from our families, I was also sending out mass emails on a daily and weekly basis to update our families on our shenanigans. And I heard it again and again, “You should write a book.” (Please note: this doesn’t always mean you should and I realized that this was my mom and she might be a little biased.) I realized I might have an audience when my family members started forwarding my emails to everyone in their contact lists and I began receiving feedback from people I didn’t know. I started a blog and somehow convinced the editor of our local paper to let me write a weekly family humor column.

I started outlining Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves and wrote like a mad woman. I signed with Jenny Bent in July of 2009 and began the arduous process of editing and revising. Because platform is so important, I had a lot of work to do in building my blog readership and expanding my humor column. Jenny has been a great source of information, an editor, advocate, writing teacher, butt-kicking motivator for me for the last three and half years.

We decided to take a calculated risk and self-publish Ketchup (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble) to further expand my platform. It worked. I’ve sold a fair share of books and Ketchup has spent almost 11 months rated #1 by reader reviews in two categories on Amazon: Humor Essays and Parenting & Families.

Due to the success of the book, we published a separate e-book only collection of my best humor columns titled A Second Helping (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble). I’m currently working on the proposal for my third book.

You can keep up with me online by reading my blog, Robin’s Chicks, liking my Facebook Author page or following me on Twitter. November 30th is Ketchup’s first birthday and I’ll be giving away signed copies on my Facebook page for the next few weeks!

Morgen: Congratulations. Thank you, Robin.

***

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with writer and publisher Rosemary Kind – the five hundred and fifty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

My debut novel is out!

I’m finally doing something with the novels. 🙂 I’ve written four and a bit, currently writing my sixth for NaNoWriMo 2012. The ‘bit’ by the way is a conversion of a 102-page script I wrote for the now-defunct Script Frenzy back in April 2010.

The first one, which is my one and only chick lit novel, and the third novel I wrote, has now gone live. The Serial Dater’s Shopping List’s tagline and synopsis go like this:

  • 31 men in 31 days – what could possibly go wrong?
  • Isobel MacFarlane is a recently-turned-40 journalist who usually writes a technology column for a newspaper based in Northampton, England, but her somewhat-intimidating boss, William, has set her the task of meeting 31 men, via a local internet dating site, all within a month. Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend and ‘Health & Beauty’ colleague Donna, she knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts, and starts ticking them off as she meets Mr Could Be Right Except For, Mr Not Bad, Mr Oh My Goodness and Mr Oh So Very Wrong. Follow the ups (there are a few) and downs (there are many) of the dating process and intertwined with her experiences, get to know her colleague and family, including her niece Lola who, apart from being an amazing storyteller, can eat ambidextrously whilst wearing a Princess glove puppet on her right hand, and Baby, William’s non-too-healthy African Grey parrot.

It’s now available on Amazon.co.uk (c.£2), and Amazon.com and Smashwords (c.$3) and will be on iTunes, B&N etc. shortly.

My other novels are:

  • ‘After Jessica’ a general fiction novella about a woman’s death – and her complicated life (this will come out later this month)
  • ‘Hitman Sam’ a lad-lit novella about a trainee hitman (hopefully due out by Christmas)
  • ‘The Personal Trainer’ a lad-lit novella about a very personal trainer (which will be out next year)
  • ‘Once Perfect’, the current (dark crime) novel-in-progress (which will be out next year)

Author interview no.419 with humorous romance writer Barbara Schnell

Welcome to the four hundred and nineteenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with humorous romance author Barbara Schnell. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.

Morgen: Hello, Barbara. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.

Barbara: I’m married and living in Los Angeles. I’ve worked as an actress (still a member of SAG) and started writing to keep myself occupied as I waited by the phone. I found that I prefer writing to acting—and as a middle-aged woman that’s a fortunate discovery to make—so I’m focusing on that.

Morgen: I’ve never acted (unless you count two lines in a school play and a dress rehearsal stand-in in May this year) but do imagine there’s a lot of hanging around so an ideal scenario for writing. 🙂 What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?

Barbara: I consider my novel to be literary mainstream but it’s also romantic and humorous. I’ve decided to push the romance because I read that 70% of book buyers are women and women like romance (I know I do). But it’s more of a serio-comedy, slice-of-life novel. The fact that it’s hard to pigeon-hole makes it difficult to market but let’s face it; in life as in literature, one size does not fit all. It’s my niche and I’m happy with it. I thought of trying science fiction but it’s not a good fit. My raucous sense of humor doesn’t lend itself to alien invasions.

Morgen: I don’t read sci-fi so I tend not to write it although one of my Story a Day May 2011 pieces was sci-fi and one reader said it was their favourite story, and another said the same about my one and only western so maybe I should broaden my scope. 🙂 What have you had published to-date?

Barbara: I’ve had one short story, Grandma’s Straw Hat, published in an anthology. And I’ve just put my first novel, First Year, in eBook format (available on Kindle, Nook, iTunes). First Year is also available in soft-cover hard-copy.

Morgen: I love the title of your story, it sounds really sweet. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?

Barbara: Oh Lord, have I had rejections. With a first novel that’s pretty much to be expected. But I worked as an actress so rejection was a way of life. It’s not meant personally (usually a rubber stamp saying “Sorry. Not for me”) so I don’t take it that way. Just chalk it up to experience and move on.

Morgen: Exactly – right thing for the wrong person. Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions?

Barbara: I’ve won 6 “Will Write for Food” flash fiction competitions sponsored by the Southern California Writers’ Association and had my stories published in the SCWA collection.

Morgen: Well done. 🙂 Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?

Barbara: I had an agent. She was supposed to be the biggest West Coast agent and people were surprised when she took me because she didn’t accept first-time novelists. She told me she’d never heard her top reader talk about a book like he talked about mine. He was “over the moon!” So she shipped my novel off to the big five publishers in New York. Then she told me Creative Artists wanted to represent the movie rights. There was much excitement. Well, it’s a first novel, nobody had ever heard of me, so all the New York people ‘passed’. Then the agent fired most of her staff (including my White Knights), told me she’d never really been behind my project, and dumped me. Now I’m gun-shy about agents. I self-published (because I had to), got myself some great reviews, and have been selling First Year myself with some success. The advantage of not having an agent is you don’t have to pay someone 15% of your earnings. Plus you keep the rights. The disadvantage is being unable to submit to a publisher (agents still serve as gatekeepers). And if you don’t have an established publisher it’s hard to get reviews from respectable sources. It can be done but it’s hard. The internet and birth of eBooks have turned publishing on its head which is interesting. I just attended a seminar where the lunch speaker was an agent. He said that agents were a dying breed but he wasn’t surprised; agents and publishers had been abusing writers for years. He felt that writers should be nurtured not insulted and ripped off. Another agent attending the meeting wasn’t too happy to hear that. He got all red in the face and raised his hand to argue but was ignored.

Morgen: I love that. As eBooking isn’t as scary as it seems, so many authors (including myself) are going that way. So your book’s available as an eBook… do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?

Barbara: It is and I loved being involved in the process from start to finish—great if you’re a control freak. I do read eBooks. I find them convenient. But I love hard copy too–especially with a glass of wine in a comfy chair.

Morgen: 🙂 I agree with you on the control thing. Apart from first readers / my editor, I have full say, and of course I do overrule them on some thing if their suggestions will change the work too much. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?

Barbara: I do everything. Maybe not well but I’m learning.

Morgen: I think every writer, regardless of their support team, has to. Most hate it (OK, hate’s perhaps a strong word) but see it as a necessary evil. The worst thing is that it takes so much time away from the writing, and we’re writers after all. Do you have a favourite of your characters, who would you have playing him / her as the leading actor/s?

Barbara: I like my lead character, Stevie. I can see Jessica Alba playing her.

Morgen: Please tell us a little about the cover of your book.

Barbara: I have a friend, a political cartoonist in Phoenix, draw the cover based on my suggestions. He picked more vivid colours than I would have but I think his choice of colour is more impressive.

Morgen: 🙂 What are you working on at the moment / next?

Barbara: I’m working on a two-part novel tentatively titled I was a June Bride. It’s the story of a young woman’s search for independence from her mother while she plans a wedding that she isn’t sure she wants to go through with, can’t afford, attended by feuding relatives…you know, reality. The sequel is a continuation.

Morgen: Happens all the time, I’m sure. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?

Barbara: I’ve been on hiatus dealing with life issues but intend to get serious soon—like tomorrow. I’ve done the chapter breakdowns so it’s just a matter of fleshing things out. I find I have to write daily to be productive. It’s like exercise; you have to do it regularly to get any benefit.

Morgen: Absolutely, a pianist would, athletes do. I write a short story (mostly flash fiction) for my 5PM Fiction slot and it’s easy to find the time when I have to (usually scribbling on my morning dog walk). 🙂 Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?

Barbara: I start out with a beginning and an end. Then I break it down into three acts (theatre training), then break it down more into chapters. I do character back-stories then start writing. Things usually take on a life of their own and I have to throw a lot out the window but at least I have a framework to start with.

Morgen: 🙂 I found that with my first novel (a lad lit – still to be honed and eBooked) that regardless of what I plotted, it would go off at a tangent… usually for the better. You mentioned Stevie earlier, do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?

Barbara: I look in phone books of the areas the characters are from to get names. And my characters are all amalgams of people I know.

Morgen: It sounds like you’re very thorough, although you did say that you throw a lot away (which is a shame), do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?

Barbara: I had 1,000 pages of First Year that I edited down to around 450. The manuscript looked bloody by the time I got done with it. Now I self-edit as I go along. Saves a lot of time.

Morgen: Ouch. 🙂 Do you have to do much research?

Barbara: My books are contemporary romantic comedies so I use places I’ve lived for settings. I just have to get dates correct.

Morgen: What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?

Barbara: I like writing in first person—my first three books will be first person. The book after that will be third person. I’m told it’s easier. We’ll see.

Morgen: Without wishing to state the obvious, you’re not limited to one person’s point of view. In first person your protagonist can only recount what he or she thinks someone else is doing, not what they’re thinking. Some novels are first / third alternate chapters so that could be an option. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?

Barbara: A science fiction story. Just can’t seem to get it to work. Maybe after this book I’ll look at it again.

Morgen: The more practice you do the more (in theory) you’ll see holes in that story. I have LOADS (100+) of stories I’ve not done anything with so I hope that when I go back to them I can do something with them all. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?

Barbara: The discipline is my least favourite part of writing. You have to put pants to chair and plug along. Sometimes my mind takes flight and it’s pure joy but until the first draft is done it’s pretty much slogging for me. I’m surprised sometimes at the finished product. I think, “Damn, that’s good. Did I really do that?” I guess that’s what we call the muse inspiring us.

Morgen: I love that. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Barbara: There are a lot of negative people out there. Ignore them. They’ll sneer and tell you that you need an agent and that you have to have an established publisher. What they don’t say is that while agents and publishers make life easier, you have to have a proven sales record before they’ll take you on—very much of a Catch-22. Writers are like actors; you have to be in the union before you can be cast and you have to be cast to get in the union. Just keep plugging away. Have lots of product so when someone finds you, you’ll have lots to sell. Until then pursue writing as a hobby. You won’t drive yourself to drink that way.

Morgen: Some authors are being ‘found’ online so it’s definitely changing… hopefully for the better for us authors. If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?

Barbara: Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and Patrick Rothfuss. We’d have three centuries to discuss. I hope they like lasagne.

Morgen: I’d say most people would. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?

Barbara: That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But didn’t Nietzsche die in an insane asylum?

Morgen: Almost, according to Wikipedia. Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?

Barbara: I belong to GLAWS (Greater Los Angeles Writers’ Society).

Morgen: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Barbara: I sing (mezzo), I play flute, I’m learning ballroom dance. I have a 1921 CA bungalow that needs a lot of work so that keeps me busy.

Morgen: I love D.I.Y. but have little time to do any (she says looking out on to her jungle of a garden). Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?

Barbara: Check out the GLAWS website (www.glaws.org). Tony did a lot of work on it.

Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?

Barbara: I’m on LinkedIn, twitter, Facebook–just starting to explore them so I don’t know how helpful they are.

Morgen: I love them all for different reasons. LinkedIn helped me tremendously earlier this year when I was running out of interviewees… and still helps (mostly via their Published Authors Network group), I’m now in eight months in hand. 🙂 What do you think the future holds for a writer?

Barbara: I think we’ll always need writers. The nuts and bolts of book publishing will change but they’ll always need the people who dream up new worlds and write about the human condition. Entire industries depend on the imaginations of storytellers. The movie people made the Potter books memorable but they needed Ms. Rowling to give them a world to interpret artistically.

Morgen: Absolutely. Stories started in caves so I can’t see people losing interest any time soon. Where can we find out about you and your work?

Barbara: Go to my website at www.bagmlit.com. I’ve included two sample chapters as well as reviews and links to online merchants.

Morgen: 🙂 Is there anything you’d like to ask me?

Barbara: What do you write?

Morgen: I say I write ‘dark and light’ (crime and humour) but it tends to be more of the former, although recently I was asked to write a love story and had fun with that, although I still managed to have a dead body in it. 🙂 Thank you, Barbara.

I then invited Barbara to include an extract of her writing and following is a “Will Write For Food” winner. Writers were given a picture and asked to write a 250-word story about it. I can’t show the cartoon presented due to copyright issues but imagine a depressed skunk in a bed complete with floral-decorated linens (you can see it here). 🙂

Release

It all started with that damn deer, Flower thought mournfully as he surveyed the horticultural wreckage his life had become.

He’d been a lonely little fellow. Nobody would play with him because he tended to expel nasty gases when he got excited. He’d been hiding in a flowerbed, enviously watching the other kids play, when Bambi caught sight of him and mistakenly called him ‘Flower’. So, to make himself acceptable to herbivores he’d adopted the name and buried himself in all things floral to mask his natural scent. He finally had friends. Unfortunately, none of them were skunks.

The friends grew up, as friends do, and gravitated to others of their kind. Except for Flower. Other skunks thought his fixation with plants (for decorating, not eating) was odd. Some whispered that he was gay.

Now Bambi had a mate and Flower had pansy-motif bed linens.

He was an adult skunk, dammit! It was time to accept what he was, find a mate, and get on with life. He released long pent-up flatulence with a sigh of relief. What freedom it was to be able to quit worrying about personal odor! He looked at his bedroom critically. Tomorrow he’d lose the foliage and get striped sheets and a leather daybed. He rubbed his paws together in anticipation. Little skunky odors escaped from under the covers and he inhaled them in appreciation.

But first he’d change his name to Stinky.

***

Barbara Schnell has dedicated her life to full-time employment avoidance. She’s been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. Barbara lives in Los Angeles with her patient husband and two cats.

***

If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.

If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.

Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have http://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008E88JN0

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books (including my debut novel, which is being serialised on Novel Nights In!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.

For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.

As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. I welcome critique for the four new writing groups listed below and / or flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays. For other opportunities see (see Opportunities on this blog).

The full details of the new online writing groups, and their associated Facebook groups, are:

Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group

We look forward to reading your comments.