Sunday, February 26, 2012

From Russia with Love

In case you haven't heard, I have a serious obsession with fanfiction. In fact, I am seriously considering writing a book on how to use fanfiction to help writers get published. I know that my work in fanfiction was instrumental in getting me over the hump with submitting my original works so that I have a book out right now with Musa Publishing--The Blacksmith's Daughter (in case you didn't know.)

One reason why I just love writing and reading fanfiction is its truly international audience. I have made all kinds of online writing friends from literally around the world. Right now, I'm writing a Lost fanfic called Grace Period that has readers in Australia and now in Russia. Yep, one of my wonderful readers, Natasha, like it so well she is translating it into Russian for her community of Russian Lost fans!

It never ceases to amaze me when I pull up the traffic stats and check out the number of countries represented. In the month of February, I have had visitors from 37 different countries, including sixteen different visitors from Nigeria. I wish to goodness I knew what they were reading and how well they like it!

Because sadly out of the 611 worldwide visitors and 2000+ hits to the site, only a handful left a review! However those few reviews were all positive and encouraging.

The internet is such an amazing creation. Only a few years ago, the only way to be read was to land a publishing contract with a traditional print publisher and hope somebody somewhere picked up the book in a store. Only a select few authors managed an international readership.

Now, anybody anywhere in the world can log onto this blog or check out my fanfic page or download a copy of The Blacksmith's Daughter. And if you are one of those people reading, please oh please let me know! Comment here! Review on my fanfic page! Review The Blacksmith's Daughter on Amazon or Goodreads, etc!

When I sit here in my living room, scraping together every second of my spare time to work on my various works in progress, it sometimes feels like I'm working in a vacuum. Sometimes I want to throw up my hands and despair that I'll ever truly reach my audience.

Thank goodness for fanfiction traffic stats. I know my readers are out there--literally around the world. And I hope to reach every one of them with my original works too. So if you are reading, thank you. That's the only reason I keep writing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Great S. G. Rogers: An Interview

Hey, Suzanne, I’m glad you stopped by my blog to answer a few questions!  First maybe I should reveal how we met.  We’d both sold books to the same publisher and were in a chat room, promoting ourselves to readers.  We ended up promoting ourselves to each other and buying each other’s books!

I remember that, Arley!  That was a lot of fun, actually. I loved the cover and blurb for The Blacksmith’s Daughter. I really enjoyed your book, and I can’t wait for the sequel.  Neither can my thirteen-year-old son, who glued himself to my Kindle and read it in one sitting.

Thanks!  So I’m dying to know…what’s your latest release?

The Magical Misperception of Meridian is coming out on February 17, from MuseItUp Publishing.  It’s a fantasy novelette in which a beautiful commoner and a stammering prince form a magical friendship that can survive almost anything—except the queen’s disapproval.

Ooh, that sounds cool.  What’s the elevator pitch?

Great Expectations meets The King’s Speech maybe. I never actually saw The King’s Speech, but I understand Colin Firth stammers in it.  I guess that’s close enough! 

Magical Misperception sounds a lot different from The Last Great Wizard of Yden.

It’s a romantic fantasy for one thing, and a far shorter story. Also, I usually write characters who are wizards or magical in some way.  In Magical Misperception, the only thing magical about Jona and Lee is their friendship.
Does that mean there’s no magic in the story? I will miss that if there's no magic!

Not at all!  The Wizard Farland pops in and out to provide plenty of magic.  Although he’s one of the secondary characters, the old goat is one of my favorites.

Have you got anything else on the burner at the moment?

I have another romantic fantasy coming out on Leap Day, from The Wild Rose Press.  In Clash of Wills, when an unconventional princess meets a footloose prince, a battle of wits begins.

Awesome! And didn’t you just release another romantic fantasy?  How did you manage to get them all published in February?

Yes, Minna & The Valentine came out February 1st.  I wrote Minna specifically for a February release, but I had no control over the release dates on the other two.  I guess it’s sort of like traffic—sometimes it bunches up for no apparent reason.

Thanks for the interview, Suzanne!  Where can we find you?

My blog is at  There’s a Twitter link there, as well as one to my author page on Facebook.  Thanks, Arley, for having me on to your blog! It’s always so much fun talking with you.

Same here, Suzanne!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Love Musa Books!

Welcome to my stop on the I Love Musa Books Blog Hop! I am so glad you stopped by!

Since coming on board with Musa Publishing last fall, I have had a chance to read some excellent books coming out under their banner. What impresses me most about Musa is the commitment to quality writing that the editors have established. In this brave new world of e-publishing, anybody can put a book out and sell it online. But Musa has set a goal to become the brand that readers can come back to time and again for great fiction in a wide variety of genres---and I've read several books in several genres! So here we go!!!!

First of all, let me recommend to you The Lost Heir of Devonshire by Grace Gibson! In a blog post, Grace admitted that part of her inspiration for her wonderful hero, Robert, Marquis of Denley, was Robert Plant as a young, blonde, sexy jaded rockstar who'd seen it all and done it all. Robert is just that kind of guy, already cynical at a very young age. But when he meets Miss Mary Fanley, his world gets turned upside down in a very wonderful way.

Musa Publishing's Aurora Regency line still publishes those classic Regencies full of wit and memorable characters like Robert and Mary. I adore a good Regency (Georgette Heyer junkie!) and have not been disappointed by any of the books that have come out of this imprint. By all means, go here for great books!!

But maybe romance isn't so much on your list. In that case, let me recommend the Melpomene line and Martin Bodenham's The Geneva Connection. I don't know how many times I talked back to this book! This financial thriller follows the incredible tale of investment banker John Kent as he tries to save his firm from bankruptcy by making one of those deals that indeed was too good to be true. His new partners, he discovers to his shock and horror, are fronting a violent drug cartel. Before he knows it, he is neck deep in all kinds of trouble with no way out he can see.

But John Kent isn't the only man with issues. The CIA intelligence operative who is trying to stop the cartel is also neck deep in trouble of his own. I promise you, I was on the edge of my seat the entire book and finished it feeling like I'd been watching an intense thriller movie---car chases and everything.

I don't know how Martin made the world of investment banking so exciting, but somehow he did! This is a top pick of mine!!

Finally let me give a shout out to a fellow Euterpe imprint YA author, Linda Benson for her book The Girl Who Remembered Horses. This book was described to me as a "beautiful story" and I cannot agree more. I was hooked on Sahara and her tale from the beginning. Linda shows us a post-Apocalyptic world where the few remaining people scavenge the desert wilderness of the ruins of the modern world for anything of value to trade with other clans. But Sahara has dreams of riding horses, dreams that the rest of her people think are nonsense. Horses are wild animal like deer, in their opinion. No one could ride one.

As Sahara tries to reconcile her growing passion for these beautiful and mysterious animals with her growing interest in knowledge of the old days and with her expanding role as a young woman in her community, I found myself cheering and worrying along with her. So many dystopian and post-Apocalyptic books these days are so dark and foboding. This book is full of hope! I loved it and do not hesitate to recommend it to anybody!!!

In brand new release YA Euterpe territory, we also have Dusty Crabtree's book Shadow Eyes. I have heard great things about it. The premise sounds very enticing and I've got to get me a copy now!!

Another YA new release is a book many reviewers are calling seriously "goosebumpy"! It's The Detention Demon  by Samantha Combs which asks the question all kids want to ask: Is my teacher really human or something that crawled up from the bowels of hell? Oh, please, go check this one too!

Also, let me give a shout out to S. G. Rogers and her upcoming Musa novel The Druid: An Asgard Adventure. Here's her teaser for you until the release April 20th!!!

There is mischief afoot in Asgard, but Odin is not there to stop it. A powerful immortal bent on revenge devises a plot that accidentally ensnares a mortal on Earth. It’s a good thing Dani Avery enjoys fantasy and fairy tales because she’s about to find out the truth behind the legends. Norse mythology gets a modern twist in The Druid, the story of an ordinary mortal who meets a hero from the pages of a book–bigger than life and twice as Elvish.

I love everything I've read by S. G. Rogers and can't wait for this one! Plus, she's got an upcoming interview here in a few days, so keep tuned in!!


In fact, to win a FREE copy of my novel The Blacksmith's Daughter , out now at Musa, please follow my blog and leave a comment with your email address that you did so. At the risk of sounding greedy, I would really love it if you also friended me on facebook at and followed me on Twitter as @arleycole. I swear to follow you back.

Here's a little bit of promo for mine too!

She believes she is only a blacksmith's daughter, but he must discover the truth or risk losing his land---and his life.

Acwellen Lex'Magen rules as liege lord of a small country bounded by forbidding mountains and powerful neighbors. When the neighboring baron, allied with a powerful wizard, attempts to take over his land, first by political, then by covert means, Acwellen finds an ally of his own in Enith Roweson, an unassuming blacksmith who possesses powers he's only known of in legends. As he attempts to unravel both the plots against him----including the nature of the monsters sent to assassinate him----and the mysterious powers Enith is only beginning to understand she has, he also finds himself falling in love with the blacksmith's daughter.

Musa Publishing has something for everyone! So go there now and start reading!

Thanks for dropping by!

To go back to the Linky List go HERE!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Snoopy, Come Home -- Please!!

The other day I was working on a piece -- okay, okay, it was my Lost fanfic Grace Period -- and one of my characters -- okay, okay, it was Sawyer -- was having a childhood flashback that involved Snoopy and it came back to me in my own flashback just how much I LOVED Snoopy when I was a kid.

When I was an elementary school child, I won a plastic Snoopy wallhanging by selling magazines or something in school. That piece of modern art hung on my wall until I left home whereupon it went missing in my mother's storage building. But writing that piece made me remember my Snoopy and how much I loved that thing. So I went on a search for it.

Snoopy was my childhood hero. I didn't just think he was cute or funny. I wanted to be Snoopy -- not the whole sleeping on top of a doghouse thing -- I wanted to be that incredibly inventive individual who was writing the Great American Novel, It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. I wanted to have the kind of imagination that enabled him to be the World War I flying ace shot down behind enemy lines one moment and a vulture in a tree the next.

Snoopy was whoever and whatever he wanted to be whenever he wanted to be it. He wasn't just a dog on a house. He was Joe Cool. He was on a quest to find his brother Spike in the desert Southwest. He was unstoppable. But he was also Charlie Brown's loyal beagle.

I never found my Snoopy wallhanging. That bummed me out because I had a sudden vision of it hanging on my wall in the nursing home somewhere around 2042. I figured I'd hang it in my closet safe until then.

So I got on ebay and found a new one -- well, actually two, so I have a backup.

When it arrives in a few days, I'm going to open it and hold it in my hands and remember. I fully expect to burst into hysterical tears. I wanted to be Snoopy, a writer, an inventor of outlandish tales. Man, I still do! I still want to be that! Maybe The Blacksmith's Daughter isn't the Great American Novel, but it is longer than It Was a Dark and Stormy Night and contains all kinds of wild creatures and magic. And a real publisher has published it so you can buy it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Smashwords and such. So that makes me a writer too.

And you know, just like Snoopy, I'm still rocking my day job. Maybe I don't sleep on a house all day, but I too have my mundane life. Snoopy didn't resent his job as Charlie Brown's beagle and I shouldn't resent mine either even thought it cuts dramatically into my creative writing time.

So, Snoopy, when you get here, I'm going to pull you out of your packing, cry hysterically, and probably hang you on my bedroom wall. You won't match, but I won't care. As long as I remember my hero, I'll be able to keep the creative fires burning.

Finally, here's a big "Curse you, Red Baron!" from me to all you other Snoopy lovers out there. Keep the fires burning!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Interview with Jeanne Bannon

Everyone please welcome my first guest, Jeanne Bannon!!! I feel like David Letterman! Jeanne's new book Invisible is just out and the first chapter sounds wonderful.

Hello Jeanne. Your latest release is called Invisible. Where does the inspiration for this story come from?
Hi! The inspiration for Invisible came from two sources. My 8 year old daughter hated swimming lessons and one Sunday afternoon while watching her, I had the thought that I bet she wishes she were invisible ... and that how the plot for Invisible was born. The second source came from my own life. There was a time when I was bullied. I remember thinking that if I could just vanish - be a fly on the wall, then I’d be happy.

What was the hardest part of writing the story?
On the whole, writing Invisible was not really hard. I wrote it in four months and that included a few rewrites. That said, there were a few scenes I cried over. But it was in a good way. It was very cathartic.

Can you tell us about your research process?

There was not much research needed to write Invisible. It’s a story about a teenage girl who’s bullied and finds solace in her relationship with her grandmother and best friend. Most of it came from my imagination with a bit of my own life sprinkled in.
Do you feel that you grow more as an author with each book that you write?

Yes. As a matter of fact, there are times when I contemplate rewriting Invisible just one more time because I’ve grown so much as a writer since it’s been published. I don’t there will be a time when I stop growing as a writer.

To date, which of your own works is your favourite and why?
I love Invisible because the story is so close to my heart. The novel I’m working on now, Dark Angel, is pure fantasy and although I love the intricate plot, I don’t feel as close emotionally to the characters as I do to those in Invisible.

Do you have any hobbies away from writing that you would like to tell us about today?
I used to make jewelry. I loved using Swarovski crystal and sterling silver to make beautiful bracelets and necklaces but with all the promotion for Invisible and trying to finish Dark Angel, I don’t have time for jewelry making anymore.

Thank you for joining us today, Jeanne!!
It was entirely my pleasure!


 Excerpt from Invisible
Chapter One
“Lola, get your suit on and help supervise the pool. The more eyes the better,” Justine, the athletic, sun-kissed, twenty-one-year-old camp director orders once we’re off the bus.

Immediately my heart takes off in a sprint. “What? Why?” I try to hide the wobble in my voice.
Curious, expectant gazes turn to me as my fellow counselors wait with evil half-smiles for my reaction. Although I haven’t told a soul, except my best friend Charlie how I feel about wearing a bathing suit, they know my private horror. It’s the horror of every fat girl.

Justine flips through the sheets on her clip board, running a finger down the column of names. “No campers will be sitting out today.”

The impossible has just happened. Not one kid is sick, or has left their bathing suit at home. In my three summers as a counselor, not once has this happened.

For a long, awkward moment, I stand frozen in place wondering how to get out of this. A sudden migraine? My period? My mouth opens, but no words come. Justine leaves and with her, my chance for escape. I’m left teary-eyed, searching through my bag for my black one-piece. Stuffing away the panic, I march past the onlookers, who I’d never consider my friends despite working with them the entire summer. In the change room, I find an empty stall and with great reluctance, pull on my suit.

It’s my last day of work as a camp counselor at Inglewood Day Camp. My group of kids consists of eight six-year olds — four boys and four girls. On Thursdays we take the campers to the local outdoor swimming pool. It’s a short ride, only five minutes on the creaky old school bus and my job is to watch the kids who won’t be swimming, either because they don’t feel well, or they’ve forgotten their swimsuits. Believe me, this job suits me just fine, as a matter of fact, I volunteered for it.

Not only am I fat, I’m freakishly tall. God only knows why, since Mom’s petite and Dad’s on the short side. My older sister, Eva is the spitting image of Mom, fair and fine boned. I take after Dad’s side, bulky, dark and thick. Dad says I must have gotten some of Uncle Sammy’s genes, the giant of the family, who tops out at 6’ 4”. Anyway, I’m sure you’re getting a good mental picture right about now.

My insides drop as if I’d placed a foot on a step that wasn’t there when I peer down at the coarse dark hair creeping from my calves to just past my knees, where it gradually peters out. Then I run a hand across the tops of my thighs. The triple bulge of my belly prevents me from a good look at my sorely neglected bikini area. Even in the blazing August sun I wear baggy cotton Capri pants, never exposing more than an ankle. There’s never been a reason to shave. My eyes mist with tears, but I pinch them away. It’ll be hard enough to go out in public like this, but I won’t give them the satisfaction of seeing me cry. I lift my chin in resolve and open the door.

The whistle blows, signaling the beginning of the session. Screams of delight fill the air, as the kids begin jumping into the pool to find relief from the 90-degree heat.

I fasten a towel around my waist as best I can. Towels never seem large enough to wrap completely and comfortably around the bulge of my belly. To the pool I go, treading silently so as not to draw attention.

“Where’s Lola?” Sonia, a fellow counselor, asks.

At first I think she’s joking because I’m right in front of her. I toss her an annoyed look and don’t bother to answer as I trudge past to the edge of the pool, where I pull off my towel and slip into the cool water.

“She’s probably taken off,” Jerod replies. He’s a year younger than I am, but looks older with his muscular build and chiseled jaw line. The girls love him. “I hope she doesn’t show,” he continues, “who wants to see a hippo in a bathing suit anyway?”

Sonia laughs, a little too hard and places a hand on Jerod’s shoulder.

Puzzlement and anger compete on my face. I’m standing not more than three feet away from them. I’m used to rude comments and know what everyone thinks of me, but this is way beyond mean. The tears standing in my eyes spill down my cheeks and I slip under the water, hoping to wash away the evidence of my pain. Not that anyone would care, but crying could give them more ammunition; just another reason to taunt me.

Kids bounce around me, laughing and playing. Justine stands like a sentinel, looking like a Bay Watch babe in her red suit, one hand gripping an emergency flotation device. Her steel blue eyes are focused on the activity in the pool.

Jerod jumps in, nearly landing on my back. I barely have time to leap out of the way. My anger boils; blood rushes to my temples and pounds there, giving me an instant headache. I hurl myself at him, pushing with all my might, elbows aimed at his chest. I hit nothing but air and fly into the rough concrete wall of the pool, scraping a hole in my one-piece and rubbing raw a patch of skin. Blood pin-pricks to the surface.

“Hey,” I scream, bewildered about how he’d maneuvred out of the way so fast.

Jerod slips under the water and emerges at the other end of the pool in one long, slick glide.

The steel in me comes up, anger replacing humiliation. I pull my bulk out of the water and march over to Justine.

“Did you see what that asshole just did?” I bellow.

Justine brings the whistle that hangs from her neck to her lips and blows two sharp blasts, making my ears ring. “Stop horsing around,” she calls to a group of boys, who offer sheepish grins and stop instantly.

I step forward so she can see me. “Justine?” I reach to touch her shoulder but impossibly, my hand falls through her.

“Justine?” I call again, louder, my voice panic-laced. With both hands, I grab her, or try to. Again, it’s as if she’s not there. My mind is swept along in a current of anxiety. What’s happening?

Then it hits me . . . it’s me who’s not there.
All About Jeanne Bannon
       I’ve worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. I started my career as a freelance journalist, then worked as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada and currently work as a freelance editor and writer. I’ve had several short stories published and won first place in the Writes of Caledon Short Story Contest. My novels, The Barely Boy and Dark Angel were finalists in the 2010 and 2011 Strongest Start Contests. One of my short stories “Thom’s Journey” is part of an Anthology entitled A Visitor to Sandahl and is available at
Invisible, my debut novel, is about a teenage girl who isn’t happy with herself and wishes she could disappear. And one day she does. Invisible is available on Amazon, Smashwords, and the Solstice Publishing website.
When not reading or writing, I enjoy being with my daughters, Nina and Sara and my husband, David. I’m also the proud mother of two fur babies, a sweet Miniature Schnauzer named Emily and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.