Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Upcoming Blogfest For September

Everyone has a favorite movie or band that no one else has ever heard about. For whatever reason, they remain undiscovered and underrated. Now is your chance to tell the world about this obscure treasure! 

On Monday, September 22, post about your favorite unknown – MOVIE – BAND/ARTIST – TV SHOW – BOOK

Post about one or all four – dealer’s choice! 

This blogfest is being hosted by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. This link will take you to the original post where you can sign up.

 I'm signed up!  Are you?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What is your PAST?

By Dallas Woodburn

By all rights, I should not be writing this. I should not even be here at all. I was born three months prematurely, weighing a mere two pounds, six ounces. For the first few months of my life, I was in the hospital, kept alive by feeding tubes and a respirator. My harrowing entrance into the world is a daily reminder for me of the fragility of life, and to pursue my dreams with both joy and urgency. Dreams are too important to "put off" till tomorrow!

I have loved to write for as long as I can remember. When I was in fifth grade, I self-published my first book, There's a Huge Pimple on My Nose: A Collection of Stories and Poems. It received a glowing review in the Los Angeles Times: “If you simply want to enjoy some remarkable writing, it would be hard to find a book more satisfying.” Now, more than twenty years later, it is still popular among young audiences and is even being adapted into a song-cycle by a composer at Carnegie Mellon University!

My second book, 3 a.m., also received high praise and was featured on the national book talk show “Between the Lines” on PBS. In addition to fiction, I have also written nonfiction for publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Los Angeles Times, and more than a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Yet, along with the successes I have been fortunate enough to enjoy, there have been plenty of disappointments. I believe the most important component of being a writer is not artistic talent or creativity or storytelling ability (though all of those things are valuable!) However, I think the most crucial trait of a successful writer is perseverance.

The night I was born, a doctor who was caring for me told my father, “Your daughter is a fighter.” Still today, I draw strength from those words. My mantra has become “PAST – Preemies Are So Tough.”

Whenever I feel down or discouraged—whether it’s from writer’s block or a story that goes nowhere or yet another rejection letter—I remind myself of my PAST. Compared to being kept alive by a respirator and feeding tubes, nothing seems insurmountable. 

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two collections of short stories and a forthcoming novel. A 2013-14 John Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, she has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and her work is forthcoming in American Fiction 13: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by American Writers. Connect with her at and

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Interview with Martha Ramirez, Author of Broken Heart

Hi, Martha.  Would you tell us a little about yourself?

Let's see... I love to write, love to bake and did I mention I love to write? I'm a word nerd. What else? Oh, I'm a YA junkie and a gift basketing addict. And I absolutely love making jewelry. Pretty much anything that allows me to create, I'm there.

Could you describe your desk or workspace?

My workspace involves a kitchen table, my ever faithful laptop, and a candle. And yes, because I work literally in the kitchen it's an easy pantry escape but getting lost in words makes for a great distraction.

I also keep my two precious stones a few dear friends of mine gifted me (THANK YOU Liset & Melissa!) close to my side. One is a carnelian stone and the other a Happiness silver stone. Love my stones!

If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?

My mother. I only had the honor of having her in my life for thirteen years, but I've been blessed by her spiritual presence immensely. It would mean the world to me to have her here today to share my memoir with her.

Do you have a favorite quote?

Inspirational quotes are another one of my addictions. :D

"Rejections are often gifts of direction."
―Paul Young

"When you get give, when you learn, teach." 
―Maya Angelou

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Follow your heart. 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I've always loved to write. Always. Those who know me best know I'm addicted to writing by the long letters I used to write back in junior high and high school. However, it wasn't until seven years ago I realized writing for publication was an option. I have absolutely no idea why it never dawned on me until then. What I do know though is my journey, just the way it is, is definitely meant to be.

Do you write full time or part time?

Full time. Over time. All the time :D

Can you tell us what your latest book is about?

Inspired by my own heart story, my children's book, Broken Heart is about a brave girl who learns doctors have to mend her broken heart. Seven-year-old Julia goes on an unforgettable heart journey and takes her twin sister along for the ride. And because it's very close to my heart, its debut was on the 13th month of my open-heart surgery anniversary.

What inspired you to write it?

Broken Heart was inspired by my experience of open-heart surgery and having to stay strong and pray for the best.

Broken Heart has a really nice cover. How much input did you have in the cover art?

Thank you! I am very blessed to have had the amazing Mary Jo Prado work on the illustrations for Broken Heart. She was able to bring my story to life and add special touches such as the actual hospital doors at the children's hospital I was admitted. We brainstormed three cover options and when I saw this one, I knew it was the one.

Where can people find your book, Broken Heart?

You can find Broken Heart on Amazon here:

What would be the best way for readers to contact you?

Readers may reach me at my website
All my social media links are listed on my home page (come on over and connect!) and I also have a Contact page if they'd like to send me a note. I love hearing from readers so don't be shy.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes, there is. So glad you asked. Life is truly an adventure and sometimes things don't always go as planned. To all of those who are facing their own heart journeys, stay heart strong. Always believe. Whether it be an unexpected diagnosis or a big bump in the journey of life. Every experience, good or bad, is never wasted.

And don't forget to count your blessings every day! It truly makes a difference. 

Martha, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend some time with my readers and me.

Broken Heart Blurb:
When seven-year-old Stephanie learns her twin, Julia, has a broken heart and the doctors have to mend it, she tries to make sense of things. Doing her best to stay strong, she helps Julia face her fears.

It's up to Stephanie to be Julia's biggest cheerleader. If she had only one wish, it'd be that doctors would fix Julia's heart and make it all better.

Will Stephanie get her heart's desire?

In addition to writing, Martha is a 2012 Genesis Semi-Finalist, a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), YALITCHAT.ORG, the Muse Conference Board, CataNetwork Writers, and American Author's Association. Her articles have appeared in various places including the Hot Moms Club and For Her Information (FHI) magazine. In 2012, her blog was nominated website of the week by Writer's Digest.

She looks forward to expanding her career and is hard at work on her next young adult novel. She currently resides in Northern California where she enjoys gardening and kickboxing (not simultaneously).

Visit her blog at:


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