Friday, July 26, 2013

Featured Author: P.S. Bartlett

I'm starting a new feature on authors, because let's face it - there is so much talent out there and I want to introduce others to it! As our first featured author, please read a little below about P.S. Bartlett, the author of "Fireflies." I read this book over the past week because I love stories about people with unusual gifts. Since childhood, I've always researched the paranormal and been thrilled with the idea of mystical powers.

It was an excellent book, undoubtedly. I love that it has to do with an Irish family. The author focuses the story on a child, and I think being a mother I find myself gravitating towards stories like this. You really fall in love with the characters and their sense of family, and find yourself thoroughly interested in what is going to happen next. There were several moments when I was not able to put the book down (reading well past my 1 a.m. bedtime) so that I could learn what was coming next. I don't want to say too much, as I always like others to discover story points themselves, so instead I will leave you with a blurb about the book provided by Ms. Bartlett, as well as an interview with her. If you like the idea behind the book, you can find it on Amazon at Check out the links at the bottom of this post as well for information on the book trailer, her Facebook page, and more! (Check out the cover of this book - I adore it! Doesn't it remind you of chasing fireflies as a child?)

"However peculiar Ennis Whelan has been for the first six years of his life, not until the day he found the bird, did the degree of his strangeness become so tangible. Dr. Owen Whelan and his wife Sarah, both Irish immigrants, have been living the American dream, as well as raising seven bright and expressive children. Their youngest Ennis, however, has since birth, been a bit of a mystery. Ennis was always small, meek and frightfully odd but there is so much more to him than anyone could have imagined. His sister Teagan grows increasingly suspicious of his behavior but their mother dismisses her claims, until the day he starts healing people. When Ennis  ultimately reveals the gift of sight, he questions his father about visions of his past, including his voyage to America in 1844. Owen prayed he’d never have to share those tragic memories but he will share them, when he realizes he has no choice. Ennis’ life may depend on it."

Name: P.S. Bartlett (Pen Name)

What is your background in writing? I’ve been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil but in recent history, I’d say most of my writing has been for commercial and advertising purposes for my day job as an office manager. I do all of the brochures, ads and marketing materials for the company I work for. The job that keeps my lights on.

What books have you written? FIREFLIES is currently my only published novel, however I am almost halfway finished writing the prequel and I also have another novel two thirds of the way finished which I’m hoping to release once the FIREFLIES series is complete.

How did you go about your publishing journey? I started out with no knowledge what so ever of the book publishing industry. I just wanted to write a good book. I asked a lot of questions and did a ton a research and once I believed my manuscript was ready, I began to query about 10 literary agents per month. After quite a few rejections, I decided to change my focus and began to query small publishers who were looking to build their author base. I was extremely lucky when I found GMTA and in turn, they found me. However, had they not picked up my book, I had set down a goal of 1 year. If I wasn’t either contracted by an agent or picked up by an independent publisher, I was going to self-publish.

What you love most about writing? Creating worlds that I find fascinating. Writing to me is like dreaming while I’m awake but I am in control of the dream and can go wherever I want. I have these amazing daydreams and instead of forgetting them and moving on to the next one, I write them down, stretch them this way and that way and dig as deep as I can until I hit granite - and then I share them.

What is the best book you've read? Oh my, this is really difficult because I probably have several in each category. Today the first one that came to mind was “To Kill A Mockingbird.” I read it in the sixth grade and it is still a stand out.

What types of books you normally read? I love mysteries, paranormal, fantasy, romance and of course historical; fantasy or biography.

What or who inspires your writing?  My mother was always an inspiration to me and now, my whole family is. They are so encouraging. You’re never tooold to hear how proud people are of you.

Where do you come up with the ideas for your books? It could be a song on the radio, a painting or a photograph. Honestly, I drive the same two lane road to and from work every day and see the same buildings, trees and houses and yet some days, I can barely remember the commute because of ideas hitting me while I’m driving. Luckily my truck knows the way to work! ;)

What are the genre's you write and why?  I am currently writing historical fantasy but I have books in my head for every category. I’ve decided I only have about 20 years left on earth to write so I’m certainly not going to limit myself. ;)

What does a book need to be considered great? A GREAT story that moves people. That is all.

Who are some of your favorite authors (Indie and otherwise)? Stephen King, William Shakespeare (although technically a play write), Jane Austen, George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowling just to name a few. When I’m writing, I can’t read anything by anyone else but I’m trying to find time to read these: The Night Life Series by Travis Ludke and The Godling Chronicles by Brian D. Anderson. I’ve also a couple on my Kindle waiting for me by Seumas Gallacher; The Violin Man’s Legacy and Vengeance Wears Black. I’m sorry, there are just too many! ;)

Thank you P.S. Bartlett for taking the time to let us interview you! I look forward to reading your next novel - let us know when it is available!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

40 Before 40

It's just about time to share my "decade list"; aka feats I want to accomplish each decade. For the most part, they are not gigantic, hard-to-achieve goals, but rather simple and exciting things I want to do. And most of them are close to home, since I live near Chicago and there is still so much of this great city to see.

Do you have any goals you'd like to reach? I'd love to hear them!

40 Things to Do By the Day Im 40

1.      Take a dance class.

2.      Take the kids horseback riding. DONE March 29, 2013

3.      Write a complete book. DONE May 2012

4.      Publish that book. DONE August 2, 2012

5.      Go to my first Bulls game ever.

6.      Visit Nancy in Idaho.

7.      Open my own store. DONE, March 28, 2011

8.      Take the kids to a big show at the Rialto or Paramount (or somewhere like that)

9.      Go to Disneyworld. DONE September 2012

10.  Go back to New Orleans with friends.

11.  Go on an anniversary trip with Jaime. Somewhere. Anywhere.

12.  Win a raffle. DONE – St. Paul’s Bourbon Street Bash – Diamond Earrings, February 9, 2013

13.  Go to my first Blackhawks game ever.

14.  Learn how to make cake pops.

15.  Take a picture at the top of the Sears tower on that scary glass lookout thingy DONE July 19, 2013 with the Breakfast Club girls

16.  Take Alex sledding.

17.  Get Jaime’s artwork displayed at a gallery.

18.  Tip a good waiter $50 on a $10 bill.

19.  Create a really awesome photo display somewhere in the house.

20.  Enter a large competition.

21.  Fix something big in the house myself, with tools, without asking for help.

22.  Publish the story about mom’s journey with brain cancer. DONE May 1, 2013

23.  Sing karaoke. Sober. Okay, maybe just mostly sober. DONE May 24, 2013. And I was sober. Ha!

24.  Decorate one room in the house so that it looks like a showhouse!

25.  Go wine tasting with the girls in another state.

26.   Start writing each kiddo a book about my best memories of them growing up.

27.  Travel to 5 states. (so far: Wisconsin, August 2011, Kentucky and Tennessee, August 2012; Florida, September 2012)

28.  Fly in a small plane.

29.  Go to Italy or Ireland.

30.  Get a song I’ve written sung in a public venue.

31.  Take each kid to their first concert.

32.  See every major museum in Chicago in one summer.

33.  Take each kid on a ditch day from school and do something totally fun.

34.  Ride on the back of Jaime’s Harley.

35.  Be on television somehow (for something good, lol)

36.  Go ice skating on State street

37.  Take Alex and Pey on a rollercoaster.

38.  Go to a Cub’s game in Milwaukee.

39.  Own a Dodge Charger.

40.   Organize all the bins sitting in storage.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Take a picture at the top of the Sears tower on that scary glass lookout thingy. Decade Bucket List Goal #15

Thanks to the lovely Breakfast Club - my mom's group of girlfriends who are like mothers to me - we headed into the city of Chicago for the day to accomplish #15 on my decade list - go on the glass lookout thingy at the Sears Tower (I refuse to call it the Willis Tower. It is the Sears Tower. Hmph.)

Great day with great women who are some of the sweetest and best people you could ever hope to meet. ;) Thank you ladies for helping me accomplish this goal!! :)


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