Happy New Year!

And to all my Scottish friends and family…

Happy Hogmanay!

I spent the second last night of 2011 in the best way possible. My girlfriend from South Wales arrived in Canada just before Christmas and is staying with her cousin. We’d talked all along that we must find time to meet up somewhere between where we live and her cousin’s home. Last night was the night! We decided to meet at a restaurant in Cornwall, ON. What fun! I can’t believe we’d not been together since 2005! First us at her cozy bungalow in late June and then she came to us (her first trip to Canada no less) that October.

But back to last night… it was wonderful to see her again. Our rendez vous was at Kelsey’s on Brookdale Avenue at 6-ish. I was afraid when we arrived we’d have a long wait because no one had made reservations and the car park was packed. They had arrived before us and when I told the girls at the hostess station we were meeting friends and didn’t know if they were there yet. She asked us if our last name was King and immediately took us to the table. Once I got around the corner, I immediately saw Anne at the table and rushed to see her. Her cousin took many pictures of her and I together, some with my husband, too, and her daughter took one of my husband and I together. I must get them to e-mail the photos to me.

The food and service were excellent but what impressed me the most was they had their menu available in Braille! You see my friend, Anne, is blind.

Long after we’d paid the bill, we were still sat around the table laughing and talking. Our waitress came back once and asked if she could get us coffee or soft drinks and there was no problem with us staying there and being silly longer. Finally between 9:30 and 10:00 we bid our farewells and made our way back home.

What will my plans be for tonight? After last night, it’s going to be hard to top so I don’t think I’m going to try. Still, I have nibbles in the freezer that can be warmed up and champagne chilling to wash them down. So that will be this afternoon then a glass or two of bubbly tonight. And if I can get a streaming webcam facing the right direction, I’ll watch the New Year arrive in Edinburgh or Glasgow or some other city in Scotland.

I hope Anne enjoys her first New Years in Canada as she has her Christmas. Cheers my friend and Happy Hogmanay!

SHOULD auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.—For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a
weary fit,
Sin’ auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin’ auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

Robert Burns

2011 is almost over

Another Christmas has come and gone. The next big thing on the calendar is New Years. So do you make resolutions? Better yet, if you do, do you keep them? Do you go out and celebrate New Years Eve?

Here, where I live, they have concerts in the churches beginning early in the evening and continuing to “the hour”. I’ve watched the celebrations online in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London and on those nights I’ve managed to stay awake, the big “do” in Time Square in New York City, and in Toronto. This year’s celebrations in Niagara Falls look like they’ll be quite interesting. There’s only been one year in my memory that my town did anything huge for New Years and that was 1999 when we were flipping into 2000. For the entire year, a countdown clock had been affixed to one of the downtown stores, then on the big night, a ball was raised down at the waterfront followed by fireworks. It was a fun night.

If this year is like any other, we’ll stay in, maybe watch a movie and be in bed long before midnight.


Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours

To all my friends and family who are scattered throughout the globe, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas!

The angel on top of the Christmas tree is new this year as is the tree itself. I didn’t buy the treetop ornament because it was an angel so much but because her red “velvet” long coat trimmed in white fur reminded me of the gorgeous clothing the women wore in the movie White Christmas.

Things will get going here in earnest tomorrow. Deliver Christmas gifts to a few folks in the morning, last minute cleaning since I have a dog who sheds enough hair to grow another dog on any given day, so making one last pass with the Hoover is in order. Roast beef, potatoes, carrots, Yorkshire puddings are on the menu for tomorrow night followed by a Yule log and perhaps some pumpkin pie (if I remember to get it out of the freezer in time) with whipped cream.

The father-in-law will be joining us for supper so the two grandsons will get to open their gifts from him while he’s here. Our daughter and her youngest son, her partner and his daughter will be with us, too. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a three-year-old in the house – let alone a three-year-old girl. Sure they come over and visit but not at meal time and this will be the first time she’s been with us at Christmas! Once everyone is gone home, Santa snacks laid out, and the dishwasher running, then it’s time for our Christmas Eve movie – A Christmas Carol. And it has to be the black & white version with Alastair Sim as Scrooge (good thing I have it on DVD).

Christmas morning, the chaos begins. Our daughter and her entourage will be heading over after they’ve done their thing at her place. Her oldest son lives here and at fifteen it’s not quite so frenzied in the morning. I’ve been led to believe that he’s spending the night at her place Christmas Eve, so we’ll have even more downtime in the morning to prepare for the onslaught.

There’s usually an endless pot of coffee going starting sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 (the alarm dog won’t let us sleep past that) so there’s Kahlua and Baileys for it for those who are feeling so inclined. Once the presents are opened, I start our Christmas morning fry-up – bacon, eggs, tattie scones or fried bread, mushrooms, and the piece de resistence – sliced haggis!

About the time I start cooking breakfast/brunch, the champagne comes out along with the orange juice and we have mimosas. Clean-up from this over with, the kids go home for a while, I crash because Ifinally get a chance to sit down and my two Christmas Day movies get played – Holiday Affair with Robert Mitchum and Christmas in Connecticutt with Barbara Stanwyck. Love them both! And again, I have them on DVD so can watch them as and when.

The kids come back later in the afternoon and we have more champagne along with munchies. Sometime during their absence, I’ll get the feast on for our supper. Ham and turkey, sweet potatoes and squash along with potatoes and stuffing are the meal this year for Christmas Day – probably about 6:00 – followed by pumpkin pie with whipped cream or my favourite – plum pudding with caramel sauce.

I think my shopping is done. At least I hope it is. If not, I’ll walk downtown to the supermarket at the far end of our High St and pick it up there and there are plenty of other shops along the way if I need any last minute loot.

Sometime between now and gift delivery tomorrow, I need to make a start at wrapping presents! The bedroom is stacked with them but not a one wrapped. Well, two were and both delivered – one for our gift exchange at work (took place last week) and one for the venue where we hold our local writers’ group meetings.

And that folks is the insanity that is Christmas at The House of King!

Happy Christmas to everyone! And as Tiny Tim says in A Christmas Carol – God bless us, everyone.



Our Jake is back home…

Jake, along with his pharmacy, came home from the animal hospital today after spending the night in their ‘deluxe’ accommodations wearing his clear cone and a pretty blue bandana.

Jake - Post Op

The pharmacy consists of steroids, pain killers and antibiotics (all pill form) which they told my husband he took right out of their hands. The medication we got for pain on the weekend can’t be administered because it reacts with the steroids and not in a good way.

Then there are the drops to be put in his ears. That should be fun with him wearing his cone and his right ear flap full of stitches. We’ll find a way. It might require taking the cone off but then when we’re here, he can have it off anyway. It’s beginning to look pretty rough. Have no idea how he did it but he managed to chew it sometime between the time he had his breakfast this morning and when my husband picked him up this afternoon.

Jake surprised them, too, this morning with how clean his ‘deluxe’ accommodation was. It was almost like he’d not been there at all. He would be well and truly shamed if he did his business inside. And when we’re home, we’re his slaves. He can run in and out as he pleases (huge fenced-in back yard) and almost always waits until we’re both busy to scratch at the door.

Glad to have our boy home.

How to turn a life crisis into a bestselling novel from loveahappyending author Bonnie Trachtenberg

LAHE logo

How to turn a life crisis into a bestselling novel

After independently releasing my debut book, Wedlocked: A Novel this past June, I never would have believed it if you told me the book would hit Amazon’s bestseller lists by November—but it did. And it’s still going strong.

Turning my biggest life crisis—impulsively marrying into a disastrous and very short-lived marriage—into a funny, engaging novel seems to be resonating with the public. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only dunce out there. And that’s the key to the whole idea. Chances are good that many others have experienced similar catastrophes to yours or know someone who has. Either way, they will want to commiserate with you and happily, that means buying your book.

It’s probably not imperative that you transform your crisis into comedy like I did, but if possible, I highly recommend it. Being able to laugh once you get some distance from the dark event is incredibly cathartic for the writer and a great way to entertain readers. Also, note that feelings of exhilaration and immense satisfaction come when you get to rewrite history, punish villains, reward good-dead-doers, and create heroes to save the day. Never underestimate the therapeutic power of the pen!

So, to turn your crisis into a bestselling novel, here’s what you have to do. First, start journaling! If possible, start while the crisis is exploding or shortly after. Journaling gets all your raw emotions down on paper. Don’t try to make sense of them. Just write. The journal will be a great source during the actual writing of the book.

Next, give yourself some time to recuperate from the catastrophe. Each person is different so only you will know when you’re ready. I knew when I stopped crying and began fantasizing innovative ways to torture my ex. That’s right. You don’t have to be completely over it, just over it enough to be functionally creative.

Then, start writing and hold nothing back. You’ll want to share every sordid detail, humiliating incident, and colorful thought that went through your head at the time (here’s where the journal comes in very handy). That’s not to say you will use all of this, but it is great raw material to pick through.

Get the whole story down, but not necessarily as it happened. You are a writer creating an alternative universe where things that actually happened can be tweaked, amplified, diminished or cut entirely to enhance the story. Now you have the luxury of saying the things you didn’t think to say then. This is your big do-over, so have fun with it! And if you’re having fun, chances are good your readers will be to—and they’ll spread the word.

Create an author website and sign up for Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads to start. Then spend every minute you can, networking and cross promoting with other authors, offering your book up for contests, and finding bloggers who will review your book, interview you, or allow you to guest blog for a day. Interact with bloggers, readers, authors and everyone who shows the slightest bit of interest in you or your book, and take advantage of every offer to promote with others that comes your way. If social networking baffles you, and finances allow for it, hire a social marketing expert to teach you the basics. I did, and it was worth every penny. Tweet and post relentlessly and provide links to all your guest posts, interviews and good reviews on your website. Combine all that with a bit of luck and poof…your calamity is on its way to bestsellerdom!

Wedlocked by Bonnie Trachtenberg

Thirty-six-year old Rebecca Ross has finally tied the knot… and it may be the biggest mistake of her life.

On what should be the happiest day of her life, Rebecca Ross is panic stricken. Rebecca has just wed Craig Jacobs, but she realizes she put more thought into choosing her florist than she did in choosing the man she’s just pledged to love for the rest of her life.

Before Craig, Rebecca, a talented Long Island girl, dreamed of following in her grandmother’s footsteps with an acting career. Unfortunately, she was cut down to size by years of disappointment, and by her first love—a Hollywood director. She returned to Long Island a lost and broken woman, and ended up in the last place she ever wanted: her old bedroom at her parents’ house.

But Rebecca’s mother, an overzealous convert to Judaism, has a long held dream too: marry off her three daughters to Jewish men. So no one is more thrilled than her when Rebecca meets and marries bon vivant Craig Jacobs, the man who has won over the whole family. Too bad they’re all about to discover that underneath his charismatic shell, this Prince Charming is anything but!


Publisher: iUniverse.com (June 16, 2011)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1462022677
ISBN-13: 978-1462022670

Kindle Edition: File Size: 1471 KB
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1462022677

Hardcover: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1462022685
ISBN-13: 978-1462022687

Author Website: http://www.bonnietrachtenberg.com/
Novel Website: http://www.Wedlockedthenovel.com
Amazon US (to buy):http://amzn.to/tkOsh4
Amazon UK (to buy):http://ning.it/sEStFV
Barnes and Noble (to buy):http://ning.it/pPRGvC
Author Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/BonnieTrachtenberg
Novel Facebook Page: http://ww.Facebook.com/Wedlocked
Twitter A/c @writebrainedny: https://twitter.com/#!/writebrainedny


Wedlocked speaks to so many people…Trachtenberg’s appealing wit and ability to create characters that jump off the page and into our hearts has a lot to do with it…I highly recommend this book.”—Long Island Tribune

Wedlocked is a wonderful, amusing escape. I really enjoyed it….you will find yourself laughing throughout the book and also being enraged along with Rebecca. Don’t miss the read….it is splendid!!! You will love it….I certainly did.” Five Stars—Silver’s Reviews

Trachtenberg’s story is not only moving, but inspiring. Her novel is a beautiful story about friends, family, dreams and most importantly second chances in love and life…I thoroughly enjoyed reading Wedlocked and I don’t think you’ll find a more unique or ‘one of a kind’ story than Rebecca’s. I highly recommend this novel and I look forward to reading Trachtenberg’s future stories.” Five Stars—Boekie’s Book Reviews

Bonnie Trachtenberg is T-A-L-E-N-T-E-D! WOW! LOVED this one! This is a story that will have you smiling, frowning and everything in between!…DEFINITELY highly recommend with 5 Books and two thumbs up! I can’t wait to see what Ms. Trachtenberg has in store next for her new found fans!”—ReviewsbyMolly.com

Bonnie Trachtenberg has written a fun, likeable and very vulnerable character in Rebecca. You basically will want to adopt her, keep hugging her, and telling her things WILL work out for her because you want them to so badly…Wedlocked is a transformational novel, filled with family, friends, love, heartache, and redemption, just like real life—only much, much funnier! Enjoy!”—PopcornReads.com

This book has everything – drama, humor, sadness and even some adventure tossed in. Wedlocked is a fast-paced book that makes you giggle and cry at the same time. Readers will be cheering for Rebecca and wanting to see things turn out right for her. For me, Rebecca is the star of the show and I didn’t want this book to end. I do hope to see more of Bonnie Trachtenberg’s work and, hopefully, another book with Rebecca. I want to make sure everything is going right for her.”—Five Stars (Kitties)—Socrates Book Reviews

I can’t quite put my finger on what makes Wedlocked so special. Is it the strong characters, the author’s ability to get into their heads and make them jump off the pages, or is it the universal story of trying to live up to other’s expectations while staying true to your own dreams? Whatever it is, Wedlocked is a fun, emotional and intensely satisfying read that I would highly recommend.”—Hands and Home

Wedlocked showcases an author that has grasped the importance of sinking her readers into the unfolding inner lives of her characters, particularly that of her strong central character, Rebecca, who does things that most of us would only dream about. And this is what makes this novel a worthwhile read, leaving us with a lasting impression and impact.”—American Chronicle

I laughed out loud at this story. Got a tad teary here and there and I also loved every page I read. Ms. Trachtenberg is a hoot! If you’re looking for a gift novel, here it is – give it to yourself first!!”—Cheryl’s Book Nook

Wedlocked is a perfect late summer escape from reality. Fast-paced, full of eclectic supporting characters…a romantic romp with both heart and a message about self-worth and not allowing oneself to be swept along by others’ expectations and hopes for us. It is a well-crafted first novel and I look forward to reading more of Trachtenberg’s work.”—Janie H. Siess, Colloquium

Ms. Trachtenberg has written a great debut novel. I definitely recommend it. It grabbed my attention right from the beginning. It also had some great laugh out loud moments. I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.”—Kari Boardman, From the TBR Pile

Wedlocked is a funny, warm, and engaging story about life, love, marriage and family. This page-turner is the perfect summer read!”—Wendy Walker, bestselling author of Social Lives

Wedlocked is a delight, filled with humor and heart. You’ll surely cheer as you follow Rebecca Ross’s trials and triumphs as she navigates her way to finding her true self—and true love—at last.”—Francine LaSala, author of Rita Hayworth’s Shoes

Trachtenberg has crafted a sweepingly readable tale with a carefully drawn protagonist who is immensely appealing, and despite dashed hopes, continues to survive in a world where complex interpersonal relationships can sometimes prove to be catastrophic.”— BookPleasures.com

About the author

Bonnie Trachtenberg is the award-winning, bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel. She was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She has also written for three newspapers and penned countless magazine articles. Trachtenberg lives on Long Island with her husband, four cats and a dog. Her second novel will be released in early 2012.

The Post-Op Update

Compared to Saturday, Jake travelled well in the car this morning. Not much fussing. Pretty much sat looking out the side window or with his head between the front seats looking to see where we were going. Hardly any whining or crying because he was in the car.

I called the animal hospital about 3:00 this afternoon to see how things went (he was scheduled for surgery around 2:00) and he had just gone in but the girl put me on hold and went to get an update for me. Things were going well, he was doing fine and the vet would call me afterwards.

About 3:30, the vet returned my call. The surgery had gone well. He was awake and sitting up but very groggy. Because of the time of day, she preferred to keep him overnight. His ear had a bandage on it and he had a cone on but still the first 24 hours after the surgery to completely drain the hematoma in his ear flap can be quite messy. Yes, the cone will stop a lot but there is still the finer blood spray that would escape. Who wants that mess just before Christmas? Not me. If he came home, he might be a bit too excited and run around, and cause himself undue pain. She also mentioned she didn’t know how he’d adjust to the cone. As long it’s the same one he went in wearing – the one they put on him Saturday – he’d be just fine. He had no difficulties adjusting to it whatsoever.

It seems strange not to hear him scratching at the backdoor to get in or see him lying on his bed but he’ll be home tomorrow night.

I’ll post a post-op photo of Jake tomorrow night but in the meantime, here’s one of him from a happier occasion.

The Halloween Hound

Hope he enjoys his night at “the spa”.

If it’s Monday – it must be surgery

Today is the day. I go back to work after being on holidays for a week. Jake goes to the vet to have his ear surgery. Poor wee beggar doesn’t understand why he can’t eat this morning. He’s following us around like we’re pork chops. He’s finally settled on his bed again but for how long?

Jake - Pre-op

You can see in this photo how swollen his right ear flap is. When we took him on Saturday, we were told he’d broken the blood vessels in his ear and it was bleeding internally. There are plenty of blood vessels in there so even though they drained it, they weren’t able to get all of it and by yesterday, it was every bit as engorged with blood as it was before we took him and maybe even worse.

I’ll post another picture of him tonight after I get him home. Hopefully, with the exception of some post-op swelling, his right ear will look like his left.

T’is the Season…

I can finally say that I got my Christmas tree up and decorated, although things didn’t go quite as planned. I ended up moving all the furniture out of its’ normal position so I could have the tree out far enough I could walk around it as I decorated. This distressed the dog to no end because his bed wasn’t in its usual location and worse still, it was rolled up! I managed to move a few things around a bit more and spread out his bed onto which he promptly settled on. A couple of bruises later, as a result of bumping into things, I had the lights strung and the angel on the top. Phew.

As the tree took shape, after each string of lights, I paused and took a photo. It was on one of these passes across the room that I rubbed against the dog the wrong way and he let out a huge hound yelp. It didn’t take long to discover the reason for his discomfort. The entire flap of his right ear was engorged… with what, we didn’t know. I called the vet and luckily they had an opening. So we made a flying visit there. The poor beast has had chronic ear problems for as long as I can remember. It was explained to us at the vet’s that he’d broken the blood vessels in his ear shaking his head. But with his history, and the size of it, it was going to require surgery. They were very good with him and drained what they could out of his ear, and sent us home with the same pain medication he’ll be on post-op. So tomorrow, I’ll take my poor wee conehead and drop him at the vet’s on my way to work and then pick him up after.

You can really see in the bottom photo how swollen his ear flap is and they’d drained it. Basically, it will continue to swell until they can get in there and repair the damage. Poor boy. The cone they put on him yesterday is clear and he hasn’t tried to pull it off – not once, unlike the opaque one he had after a previous ear surgery.

Thankfully, the pain medication is keeping him comfortable. We gave it to him yesterday afternoon at 5:00 and he won’t get any more until the same time today.

His biggest problem right now is he can’t drink out of his dish with the water bottle. He tried yesterday and knocked the bottle off and we had water all over the place! All is not lost, we keep the bottle filled and on the counter so we just have to make sure his dish has water in it.

What is going to bother him the most is not being allowed to eat in the morning. Nothing after 8:00 tonight. He’s not going to be best pleased so say the least.

After our flying visit to the vet’s, I finally was able to finish decorating the tree. You can view the video I created here.

Celebrity Chefs – culinary pirates and adventurers of the chrome surfaces…!

Bestselling Scottish author Janice Horton launches her latest book ‘Reaching for the Stars’ to Amazon Kindle this week in the wake of her ‘Wish I Was Here’ themed online launch party, when many Bloggers and Tweeters posted a photo or picture of their own perfect escape, in keeping with the theme of Janice’s novel about a celebrity chef who disappears to avoid media frenzy.

Reaching for the Stars is published in e-format to Amazon for Kindle.

Janice, tell us what inspired Reaching for the Stars and what the novel is about?

Hi Melanie – thank you for having me here today – ‘Reaching for the Stars’ was inspired by my own fascination for celebrity chefs. I find the passion displayed by the rock stars of the culinary world to be very appealing indeed and with their sharp knives and skilled moves, I see them as culinary pirates, adventurers of the chrome surfaces, who battle through flames and the intense heat of the kitchen. That kind of dedication to duty is very powerful and so I wanted to create a hero-chef for my novel who was an amalgamation of all the chefs I find attractive. In the writing however, and as the story develops, it becomes apparent that great success can only ultimately bring about the realisation these gastronomic gods are, after all, also just human beings.

Reaching for the Stars is a romantic novel about a disillusioned Scottish celebrity chef called Finn McDuff, whose third wife leaves him just as he wins his third star. The irony of this is lost on no one, except one particular newspaper journalist called Raine Sanderson, who falls in love with the chef’s worn out gorgeousness when she interviews him at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.

But soon after she writes up her story in The Thistle to expose the man, the myth and the legend behind the chef’s star-studded façade, he decides he’s had enough of all the food campaigns, the TV cookery shows, the constant frenzy surrounding his private life and gives back his accolades, closes his restaurant, and disappears.

With the enfant-terrible of the kitchen missing, two rival newspapers, The Thistle and The City News, having lost their media meal ticket, compete against each other to whip up further public curiosity in the missing chef.

What follows is a media manhunt, a press feeding frenzy, a phone hacking scandal followed by speculation and supposition. Love him or hate him, everyone is out looking for Chef McDuff. Who will find him first? Will it be Raine, or her nemesis at The City News, Ross Campbell?

Buy ‘Reaching for the Stars’ now at the special launch price of just 95p from amazon.co.uk and for $1.30 US from amazon.com

Janice Blogs at: http://janicehortonwriter.blogspot.com/
Janice is a www.loveahappyending.com author
Follow her on Twitter @JaniceHorton
Facebook Author Page: Janice Horton

About the author:
Janice lives in Scotland and writes romantic novels with humour which are, for the most part, inspired by the beauty of the heather-filled glens around her country cottage. When Janice is not writing novels, she write lifestyle articles and has had work published in national and international magazines and regional newspapers. She is the bestselling author of humorous romance ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’.

The Star Child Blog Tour with Stephanie Keyes

I’m thrilled here at Celtic Connexions to host debut YA Fantasy novelist, Stephanie Keyes, on her blog tour for her launch of The Star Child.

So, over to you Steph. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Sure Melanie! Let me start off by saying thank you for hosting me on your blog! It’s very exciting to be here. So, let’s see, I am a Corporate Learning and Development employee by day and a wife and mother at night. My husband and I just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary and we have two little boys, one 4 1/2 and one 2 months. We also have a little cock-a-poo who thinks she rules the house. Actually, I think she does, who am I kidding?

Did you always feel compelled to write? Yes, I’ve always been writing. I wrote my first novel at 14, which was a dedication to Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Brian Boitano, that detailed a fictional romance between the pair of us. Did I know how to live or what? Needless to say we never got together. However, I moved on to different topics and have spent the time ever since writing – short stories mostly.  When my father was diagnosed with Cancer in 2007, I found that I really needed an outlet for all of my emotions. That was when I started the Star Child. It wasn’t even a book in my mind for a while, I just called it “The Project”. However, a book it was.

Who were your favourite authors growing up? My favorite book was “Gone With the Wind”, which I remember reading about fifteen times in the seventh grade. I loved Margaret Mitchell. Aside from that I think I read every book in the Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables series. I also read classical fiction, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Victor Hugo. It really didn’t matter what was put in front of me, I would read it.

What authors do you prefer to read now? Well, because I am writing for a YA audience, I’ve been reading alot of that genre to keep in touch with what that audience is reading. Some of the authors that I’ve really enjoyed are J.K. Rowling, O.R. Melling, Cate Tiernan, Melissa de La Cruz, Carrie Jones, and PC and Kristin Cast.

Do you think they influenced your writing in any way? Absolutely. JK Rowling really intrigues me because she takes figures in history and mythology and gives them a real place in her stories. You think that they’re fictional when you read the books but then you find that they actually existed and they’ve just been placed in a context to suit the story. You’ll see that influence in The Star Child. Although it’s fiction and weaves in quite a bit of Celtic folklore and mythology, I’ve included many figures in the storyline and simply placed them in another context.

Cover design by Cathy Helms, Avalon Graphics

What made you decide on the YA fantasy genre? What really got me hooked on Fantasy is the idea that there could be an entirely different world co-existing with our own. Any story that blends reality and fantasy is interesting to me. The thought of something magical happening in between the day to day activities, for example, Kellen attending his graduation and stepping through a portal into another place, that’s something I would love to have happen to me. Imagine going to pick up milk and you find there’s a gateway to another universe in the dairy section below the sour cream.

I understand the idea for The Star Child came to you in the shower. Can you elaborate? Definitely. I was getting into the shower in the smallest bathroom in the world (smiles) when I looked out the window and saw a single star. Two words popped into my head: star & child. I got into the shower and started to think about a young woman who lights the stars every night. I didn’t know her name and I hadn’t even made a connection to Celtic mythology yet. However, I knew there would be a girl. Calienta and her immediate family, with the exception of Lugh, her father, are all fictional – they don’t even appear in legend.

In addition to your blog tour, what other methods of self-promotion have you employed? I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In. but I also have my own blog on Blogger, Stephanie Keyes and my website Stephanie Keyes. This month, the trailer for The Star Child came out on You Tube. I am also a featured author on loveahappyending.com and there will be a promotion there. Finally, I’ll be targeting local bookstores and book clubs.

Where can we buy The Star Child?  The Star Child is available in paperback and ebook format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Smashwords.

Thank you, Stephanie, for dropping by Celtic Connexions today. You are very welcome! I appreciate the invitation and good luck on the release of your own novel next summer!

Stephanie says she got the idea for The Star Child in the shower. What’s the strangest place you’ve been when a brilliant idea struck you? Use the comments section below and you could win a Starbucks gift card! Then use it to buy your coffee to accompany your read of The Star Child! Only comments posted on December 15th are eligible.