Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Did You Ever?

The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.

-Walter Bagehot

Doing what people say you can't. Hmmm. Did you ever do something just because someone told you you can't?

I have. For sure. As soon as I turned 18 and I knew I had a say about myself and I didn't just have to do what my father said, I definitely did the opposite.

For example. My dad said I couldn't join the Marines. I think his exact words were something along the line of "I won't let you." or "You're not allowed." So, what did I do?

I joined the Marines.

I think it was a good decision. I learned a lot about life and myself. I didn't stay in long. Only a few years. But those years as a Marine gave me confidence I didn't know I had and taught me that I could do things on my own.

What was the next thing my dad told me I couldn't do? Oh yeah. Get married. So, what did I do?

You guessed it!

I got married. To another Marine. Yep. Did I do it just because my dad said I couldn't?

Oh, that's a good question. Looking back, I think I did. My dad said the marriage wouldn't last six months. Well, I showed him.

The marriage didn't last, but it lasted a lot longer than six months. And I had three great kids from it so it couldn't have been all that bad in the beginning.

Did I learn my lesson about arbitrarily doing the thing someone told me I couldn't? Not really. I guess it's in my nature. I hear those words "you can't" and they grate on me. Why can't I? I'll show you!

I'm like that with my health too. In 2002 and 2003 I was using a cane and in a wheelchair. People telling me I can't do this or can't do that. That life as it exists at that point was as good as it was going to get. It wasn't good enough. I wanted more. I wanted to be out of that wheelchair, walking and not with the cane. So, I did it. I refused to give up, so my doctor refused to give up as well.

Where's my wheelchair? Gathering dust in the garage for the last three of four years.

Do I recommend this kind of attitude for others? Not for someone to do blindly. No, I've definitely learned my lesson on that regard. I think about my decisions now. Weigh the consequences. Then make up my mind. I do use some common sense. If my husband says I can't lift that 200 pound table top, I agree with him. I'm not an idiot. I know my back will never be the same again, and I'm going to be careful about how I take care of it. Lifting 200 pound stone tabletops is not on the "can do" list.

So, my advice to you is this: Be your own person. Be smart. Give yourself some credit for knowing what's good for you. Take other people's suggestions on advisement, weigh your options. Then make up your own mind. Live your life. Don't let others live it for you.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blog Guest - Christine Norris, Children's Author

Christine's latest book, Return to Zandria, sequel to Talisman of Zandria, will be released July 28, 2007 so we have an exclusive here, folks.

Here's the blurb: Ivy Peterson was not ordinary. Ivy was More-Than-Ordinary because once she found herself in a very special place and had a very special adventure.

But Ivy was far too old for fairy tales...wasn’t she?

It has been three years since Ivy recovered the Talisman of Zandria, and her life is very different. She is no longer the shy young girl who chased a fairy through a magic gate, but a teenager, concerned with clothes, friends and school. She has nearly forgotten about the special world that exists on the other side of a thin magical veil.

But they have not forgotten her.

Now a crisis is brewing in Zandria, and only Ivy can help. They implore her to come to their aid, and Ivy’s memories of adventure pull her once again into the enchanted world of mermaids, dragons and wizards. Reunited with old friends, and bringing a new one along for the ride, Ivy must now lead them into the wilds of her own world, and not only keep them safe but stop an empire from falling into the clutches of evil.

Would you like to read an excerpt? Click here

I had an opportunity to ask Christine a couple of questions.

How has writing affected your life?
It really hasn't affected my life...it's sort of taken over! I spend most of my free time now writing, and other things have been pushed aside - home projects, my son's scrapbook, cleaning...LOL. I would much rather write than clean my house.
I've also developed a good freelance career as a re-writer. I take books that have been translated from other languages and clean them up so they read properly for an American audience. I get to work from home, so that's been a blessing.
What are your writing goals?
Oh, to be able to write books for a living and not have to do anything else. I love substitute teaching, and I love the freelancing work - I've been incredibly fortunate to have both in my life, and they allow me time to write my own books, but being able to concentrate solely on my books would be wonderful. I want to have a large readership, too, which is what I think most writers want. I would, well, I wouldn't kill, but you know what I mean, to have the amount of readers that J.K. Rowling has, or Jane Yolen, or Tamora Pierce. That's really the goal.

What's one thing you'd wish people would ask you and don't?
Oh, my, let me think about that one a minute. I guess I would have to say that no one asks me about my school visits. Everyone asks about what I like to read and where I get my ideas and all that, but no one really asks me about the author visits. I do have a program that is geared toward about grades 4-7, and I talk about being a writer - what kinds of things writers write, and where I do get inspiration from, and all the stuff everyone asks me about all the time. But it's really one of my favorite things to do, because I find that children are really interested in talking about writing, even if they don't like to actually do it.

That, and my favorite food. No one ever asks about that. Cheesecake. I love cheesecake.

Thank you, Vicki, for allowing me space on your blog and hosting me for this part of the tour. The rest of the stops on my month long Virtual Book Tour for RETURN TO ZANDRIA can be found on my website and at my blog.

And, thank you, Christine for visiting us today and sharing your new release with us. The paperback version is available from her publisher, LBF Books and from Amazon.com. Look for the electronic version from LBF Books and Fictionwise.

If you'd like to read more about Christine and her books here are some links

Christine's Website
Christine's Myspace Page
Christine's Live Journal
Christine's Blog
LBF Books

Friday, July 06, 2007

Pamela K. Kinney's Haunted Virginia

I have a guest on my blog today. Pamela K. Kinney will tell us about her book Haunted Richmond, Virginia.

The back of the book reads as follows: Richmond, Virginia is chock-full of ghosts and haunted places. This city names Edgar Allan Poe as its native son, and it is rich in ghostly lore, legends, and tales. Join this tour to:
• Learn why Virginia's governor shares his mansion with ghosts;
• Dine with ghosts at Ruth's Chris Steak House and Crab Louie's Seafood Tavern;
• Discover that the Byrd Theatre has more than movies to offer customers;
• Visit the prison in Powhatan (it might not be safe, even for those working there);
• Call on the Lady in Red who roams the corridors at Wrexham Hall.
These and other interesting and scary stories will transport you beyond, to a Richmond that most mortals never see!

Pamela is on a Virtual Book Tour and we were lucky to be one of her stops this month. So, sit back, relax and prepare for a peek into the supernatural.

Take it away, Pamela!

Hi, I’m Pamela K. Kinney. I’m here to talk about the supernatural, especially as I have a nonfiction book out on the subject, Haunted Richmond, Virginia.

The supernatural and paranormal pertains to entities, forces or powers regarded as beyond nature, in that they cannot be explained from the laws of the natural world. Religious miracles are typical of such “supernatural” manifestations, as are spells, curses, divination, the notion that there is an afterlife for the dead, vampires, werewolves, spirits, and innumerable others. Supernatural themes are often associated with magical and occult ideas.

Let’s talk about one of those themes: ghosts or spirits. A ghost is usually defined as the apparition of a deceased person, frequently similar in appearance to that person, and encountered in places he or she frequented, or in association with the person's former belongings. The word "ghost" may also refer to the spirit or soul of a deceased person, or to any spirit or demon. Ghosts are often associated with haunting, "the more or less regular occurrence of paranormal phenomena associated with a particular locality (especially a building) and usually attributed to the activities of a discarnate entity; the phenomena may include apparitions, poltergeist disturbances, cold drafts, sounds of steps and voices, and various odors."

Ghosts are controversial phenomena. According to a poll conducted in 2005 by the Gallup Organization, about 32% of Americans believe in the existence of ghosts. The term ghost has been replaced by apparition in parapsychology, because the word ghost is deemed insufficiently precise. Another word used a lot these days with apparitions is paranormal, which means: beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation.

In historical accounts, ghosts were thought to be deceased persons looking for vengeance, or imprisoned on earth for bad things they did during life. Most cultures have ghost stories in their mythologies. Many stories from the Middle Ages and the Romantic Era rely on the macabre and the fantastic—ghosts are a major theme in literature from those periods. But even though real ghost phenomena were still discussed by mid-twentieth century doubters would try to bring up reasons why this happened, by natural means.

Today, interest in the paranormal and supernatural is back in “vogue”. People want to know that there is more to death than just a big, black nothingness. Television shows like X-Files and Ghost Hunters have spiked this interest, along with many, many paranormal films on the movie screen. And so do books like my Haunted Richmond, Virginia. Especially those that are regional—like cities or states. Even if there are some stories that can be explained away, like the Richmond Vampire, still there are many more that can not. Like the Lady in Red at Wrexham Hall. Or the last chapter of my book, that happened to my husband and me—with proof being a cell phone number of mine on the caller ID the next morning.

Do I believe in ghosts? I’m not ashamed to say, yes, I do. My question is: do you believe in spirits? Have you any stories of your own to tell, of phenomena that happened to you? If you do, I hope you leave comments here about it—share those stories. And please do check out my book. You can get it directly from Schiffer Books at http://www.schifferbooks.com/newschiffer/book_template.php?isbn=9780764327124 or up at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Haunted-Richmond-Virginia-Pamela-Kinney/dp/0764327127/ref=sr_1_1/103-0687312-5804636?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1181040113&sr=1-1 . Soon it’ll be available through Barnes and Noble, Borders, and independent bookstores too. In it are stories of ghostly phenomena that happened at the Governor of Virginia’s Mansion, the Capitol, historical homes and museums in Richmond and surrounding counties, restaurants, prisons, Civil War batteries, and even Richmond’s beautiful and unusual cemetery, Hollywood Cemetery. Edgar Allan Poe is Richmond’s native son literally, and with a town rich in its own lore, one can see where Poe’s beginnings could have given fruit to his storytelling.

Pamela K. Kinney has always loved making up stories since she was a child. At age 17, she submitted three poems to Hyacinths and Biscuits Magazine. She was surprised as all three were accepted and published, but she got paid for them too. Since then, over the years, she had poetry, an article in True Story Magazine and stories published in both print and electronic form. Besides writing as Pamela K. Kinney (horror, fantasy and sci-fi), she has published erotic and non-erotic paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi romances as Sapphire Phelan.

Works include Beyond the Four Walls, Crimson Promise, Wedded Magic, Iridescent Invasion, "Azathoth is Here" in Cthulhu Express Anthology, "Werewolf for Hire" online at ScienceFictionFantasyHorror.com, "Cold Blood, Warm Flesh" in Dark Gothic: Resurrected, "Dangerous City" in Werewolf Magazine, and "Soul Seduction" in Forbidden Love: Bad Boys, “Being a Predator is a Bitch” in Forbidden Love: Wicked Women, both published by Under the Moon, His Girl and The Curse published by Twilight Fantasies Publications, an super hero romance Amazon Short called To Save the Day, and her first nonfiction book on the paranormal occurrences of Richmond, Virginia, Haunted Richmond, Virginia, from Schiffer Books.

She is happily married and is owned by a cat.

She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house and the husband sometimes suffers for it!

Find out more about her at her website: http://FantasticDreams.50megs.com . Also check out her MySpaces at http://www.myspace.com/PamelaKKinney

http://www.myspace.com/SapphirePhelan and her blogs: http://pamelaKKinney.blogspot.com and http://SapphirePhelansPassionCorner.blogspot.com

Thank you, Pamela. You've definitely got me spooked. If anyone has any questions or comments, leave them here and Pamela will get back to you as soon as she can.