Exploring Etsy: Totes, Bags, and Purses

So every girl has a craving for purses and bags, right? I mean, you can put stuff in them. They're like pockets, but better (because they don't give you Wallet-butt).

Here are a few of my faves.

Flowers Summer bag, by Zolayka

I love the sorbet and pastel colors! it just looks so summery!

Taco Kitty bag by Ms Spanner

Tacos plus Kitties? yes please. meow!

Vintage Tote with doily by AliceJDesign

Leather Laptop bag by Sabrina Tach

Laptops need to be carried in style. This bag looks comfy and sturdy! check out Sabrina Tach's shop for more really awesome handmade leather bags!

Felted Handbag by GalaFlic

This is the kind of bag you carry if you like to have people look at you like this:


Personally, the only thing keeping me from this bag is $74. because that's how much it costs, and that's how much I don't have.

(^also kind of swooned when I saw that one. ahhhh pretty. how do you say "I'm a fairy in disguise but you can tell because I carry my home around with me like a purse?")

Whale beach bag by Nani Originals

SWO CUTE. Check out her other bags too! They're all really cool. Like, I'm loving the peacock bag set.

Bird on a Wire reversible cotton bag by Sister Onions

Love the prints!

Zipper Tote bag by Ringopie

This? This is just downright stylish. And kind of sexy. Think of how many books you could fit in there! Look at Ringopie's shop for more classy bags!

Dragonfly String Purse by CJs Heartstrings


And of course I couldn't resist putting in another kitty bag. Sorry. but this baby is cute.

Kitty Cat bag by Frute Juce

They've got a bunny bag too!

Visit the etsy shops to see more awesome handmade stuff. If you have an etsy shop and would like to be featured, or if you have a favorite shop, leave me a link in the comments and I'll try to use it one week!

Interview: Kahlen Aymes

Today I have Kahlen Aymes visiting The Life and Lies for her book tour The Future of Our Past!

Why and when did you begin writing?

I started writing as a means of networking with women. I had designed a coupon website and I needed a way to reach them. One day, at a salon, my hair dresser went on and on about Twilight, so after my daughter and I went to the movies and read the books, it came to me that this was the way I would reach out to women. I started writing Fan Fiction for Twilight in May of 2009. My stories, however, had little to do with Twilight, other than the character names…even the characterizations were different. And…none of them were about vampires or werewolves.

What inspired you to write your book?

I had a good amount of success with my fan fiction. There were several awards in the Twilight fandom for stories and authors, and most of them reader nominated and voted on. I march of 2010, I won the Indie TwiFic Award for Best All Human story that Knocks You Off Your Feet for a story I wrote called Don’t Forget to Remember Me. The award was for a story readers think deserved more attention and it was voted on world-wide. That was very overwhelming and amazing to me because I was nominated with almost 70 other authors! I based my novel series on DFTRM.

How did you come up with the title?

The Future of Our Past is what this first part of the series is about, the beginning of a relationship and the building of a shared history between the two main characters. The incredible connection and the memories of how they came to be are treasured beyond anything else. I don’t want to give too many spoilers to book 2, but suffice it to say that the importance of Ryan and Julia’s past had to be securely established.

What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

Hmmm….this is a tough to give credit to specific people. I read a lot and have done my entire life. I’ve read the classics from The Odyssey to Jane Austin and Emily Bronte and then some great romance authors. Great stories inspire great stories. Not in that the plot gets mirrored, but reading something great is a great teacher to a writer, and a true inspiration to aspire to be better at the craft. And maybe even more importantly, my readers have been very inspiring. I received literally thousands of reviews for my stories and each one is like wind beneath my wings.

How do you go about researching for your books?

I research things on the internet and speak with people that have knowledge or expertise in a certain field or if it’s about a location, I either visit it, or speak with friends who live there.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

Yes, but not in this series, specifically. There are little bits of me in all my stories, but not the sum of all at once, if that makes sense.

What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

Seeing the book and holding a hard copy in my hand is the most amazing thing! I wrote that; those are my words and I can literally hand them to someone else to read. It really is an incredible feeling.

The hardest part? It’s the time I spend NOT WRITING. I’m not to a place where I can write full time and I sometimes feel resentful that my full-time job and real life invades into my writing time. The characters don’t shut up, and it’s hard not being able to just sit down and write whenever I feel the need to do it.

Do you have any other books planned in the future?

Are you kidding? :) I have two others finished to the point of editing, beyond the Trilogy, and three others outlined. It’s a sickness. Really, it is. LOL!

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I love Ryan. If you read the series, I hope you’ll fall in love with him, too. I’ve had reviews that said “Ryan is truly the love of my life!” I love that! Sure, I dislike some of them! I dislike are those I want the readers to dislike. Simple. :)

What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Don’t stop working at the craft of writing and don’t ever stop reading! Don’t take no for an answer and don’t let anyone make you feel like you are not as good as you really are.

Reading is subjective. Not everyone will like your story or the way you write; you have to accept that going in. Your readers are the people that love to read what you love to write. Listen to your heart, your head and your readers; the story starts with you, but it belongs to them, too!

Just for fun:

What are your ten most favorite things?


1. My daughter

2. My dogs

3. My readers and writing

4. My family and friends

5. My iPod/Music/Art

6. Cooking/baking

7. Movies/ Live theater

8. Roller skating

9. Pepperoni and cream cheese pizza

10. Um…did I mention writing? :)

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Mostly working, but I like to spend time with my daughter, Olivia, and my dogs, Sophie and Riley. I like to entertain for my friends and go for long walks with my iPod.

Do you have any pets?

Yep. Two Golden Retrievers (Sophie and Riley) and a Black Lab (Gem). [I love Goldens! I've grown up with one]

What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

I don’t like Chinese food very much. I’m not a picky eater really, but I like Mexican and Italian best, I think. And salad. :)

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I have a little office downstairs, but I do most of it on my lap top in the middle of the night. That would be in my bed. I listen to music while I write.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

I don’t usually eat while I’m writing.

If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?

I’d like to spend a month exploring Europe. It’s my ancestry, so I’d like to go there.

What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

I loved my art teacher and I was good at it, so that was a favorite. Music, Math and Science were right up there, too. I loved my literature classes, go figure. I’m a nerd, so I liked school in general. Nebraska History was dull as hell and I couldn’t stand my American History teacher. I got 100% on everything in that class because I wasn’t giving him any room to wiggle in regard to grades. J True story.

What book are you reading right now?

I just finished Bared to You by Sylvia Day and am currently reading Poughkeepsie, by my good friend, Debra Anastasia.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

Only one? :) Okay…I taught ballroom dancing!


About the Book

Julia Abbot and Ryan Matthews had been inseparable best friends since the moment they met. Each of them fight an internal battle, unwilling to risk their incredible friendship, but unable to quell their deep longing for the other. On the verge of Ryan’s departure to Harvard Medical School and Julia’s for a new job on the opposite coast, they are forced to face the undeniable truth of their deeper feelings and find themselves enthralled in a passion like neither has ever known.

The lovers are faced with forced separation, great distances and other people who try to sabotage their relationship as both of them work to build the shared future they both dream of. When their lives begin to finally gel, Julia is offered an opportunity that will jettison her career to new heights. In light the sacrifices she has made for him, Ryan can hardly deny her, but then something happens to completely change the course of their future. Will Julia choose the chance of a lifetime or the love of her life?

This is a story filled with the powerful and passionate connection we all dream of...a love so transcending, that even if the mind can't remember, it's impossible for the heart to forget.



I'm a single mother of one daughter, Olivia. She's amazing in every way.
I was born in the Midwestern United States and educated at a private university where I received a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Business Administration.
I've always been creative with art, music, theater and writing.  I decided to write a story as a way to build a network for a business venture.  The reader support of my stories and my overwhelming desire to find out where my characters would take me, soon had the writing morphing the business. No one was more shocked than I.  When readers began nominating my work for online awards, it took my breath away and only made me love it more.  It soon became clear that writing was, and should be, my focus.  

Click here to enter a goodreads giveaway for an autographed copy of The Future of Our Past.

Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook

Waiting on Wednesday

Here are some books I'm dying to get my paws on:

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed "Daughter of Smoke and Bone," Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

I'm so excited for this book! I tore through book 1, and loved every second of it. It's one of those books where you don't have to re-read the first one because it stuck with you so much that you remember the plot perfectly, but you'll probably re-read it anyway because it was that awesome.


City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

I read the first three books of the Mortal Instruments series in a weekend, then promptly re-read them, then re-read them again in college one weekend in anticipation of book 4… then I got my head back on straight and realized I'd better wait for all 3 of the next ones to be published, or I'd be subjected to those horrible cliff-hanger endings! So I'm waiting for book 6, so I can read books 1-6 all in a row. Call me crazy, but I'm secretly in love wit Jace, so that should answer your questions. :)



Link your WoW posts and I'll visit!

Take My Paws project

So there's this hymn I grew up singing called "Take my life" and one of the verses says "Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love."

And it's no secret that I love kitties.

It's also obvious that you knit and crochet with your hands.

Which is why the ministry I'm starting is called Take My Paws. I've been knitting like a mad-kitty (<--- haha, see what I did there?) and making stuff to donate instead of sell.

What I'm going to do is make hats, scarves, cowls, baby blankets, mittens, and anything else I can make, and donate them. That's it. just give them away to people who need them.

I'll also be collecting them from other people if you want to contribute. I'm working with another girl from my on-campus ministry who is doing the same thing.

So if you want to make stuff to donate or send yarn (which is obviously appreciated since we wouldn't have to buy yarn to make stuff for people) email me at haleymathiot@yahoo.com and I'll send you all the info you need.

And if you can't help physically, please pray that God will give me the opportunity to serve Him with my talents and open doors to make things, give things away, and teach other people to do the same.


Interview and tour: Vasant Davé

Today I have Vasant Davé visiting The Life and Lies for a virtual book tour!

Why and when did you begin writing?

I began writing during my first year in secondary school in Kenya. My parents had emigrated there from India before WWII. We had gone on a school trip during my final year in primary school, wherein we had visited Mt. Kilimanjaro and two wild life sanctuaries. We enjoyed it so much that I decided to record it so that I could mentally re-live the experience again and again. I wrote an account in my mother tongue Gujarati, and embellished it with black and white photos that I had taken using my father's Kodak Brownie box camera. My effort was lauded by my class teacher Mr. BC Patel and Head Master Mr. Hassan Ali. That encouraged me to write beyond what was required in school, and by the time I reached School Certificate, I was writing short spoofs in English.

What inspired you to write your book?TourLogo_HighResolution

Although a technical person, I am very interested in archaeology. India and Pakistan are el-Dorado of archaeological discoveries, starting from the Bronze Age culture of Indus Valley. I was awed when I read about the structures of granary and great bath discovered on the sites of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan. I saw the water conservation techniques used by the Indus Valley people in Dholavira in the Rann of Kutch, and the remnants a port in Lothal. The engineer in me cried out to tom-tom about them to the Indian youngsters, most of whom are blissfully unaware about these achievements of our ancestors. I thought that the best way to get them interested was to inform through entertainment, to write an interesting story about a young man and his girl in the Bronze Age. With that inspiration, I commenced writing Trade winds to Meluhha, but when I finished I discovered that the novel held a wider appeal on international level.

How did you come up with the title?

Two matters went behind the title Trade winds to Meluhha. The port that I mentioned earlier, Lothal in Western India, used to trade with Mesopotamia where they knew Indus Valley as 'Meluhha'. I was excited that commercial and cultural links between two ancient civilizations offered a breath-holding plot. I imagined a Mesopotamian youngster traveling to Indus Valley, overcoming obstacles and falling in love with a local damsel. During the Bronze Age, only a reed ship which could sail with the seasonal winds could take him there.

Secondly, it appeared from the available evidence that trade was skewed in favour of the Indus Valley. I reasoned that some mysterious 'product' might have balanced it off but it was not recorded in history for some reason. I imagined that 'product', and when I sought the opinion of experts, they unanimously rubbished my suggestion. I told myself "I'm a story teller, not a historian," and went ahead with 'balancing' the trade with the hypothetical 'product', which was also essential to make my narrative interesting. Those are the two reasons behind how I came up with the title of my book.

What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

My English teachers in secondary school, particularly Mrs. HC Davies and Mr. A. Bullock, improved my writing in no small measure. Constantly encouraging, they made the learning of a foreign language enjoyable for the entire class. I remember that once while discussing John Buchan's Thirty-nine Steps, Mr. Bullock remarked in our Literature period: "If you ever write a narrative, create suspense at the outset just as the author has done in this book." I still wonder how that casual comment sprang up in my mind when I decided to write Trade winds to Meluhha.

How do you go about researching for your books?

I read as much about the specific historic period as possible, and jot down points which interest me. I go deeper into those aspects and collect more details. I visit archaeological sites and museums, and try to understand how people lived then. I try to find roughly similar people who might be living today, e.g. the 'adivasi's of India many of whom still live in forests and probably follow certain customs which our common ancestors did four millenniums ago. I also try to find co-relations between past events and places. All that goes into creating a convincing backdrop against which my characters push the plot forwards.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

You simply can't escape doing that, can you? You see, the reader expects the fictional character to be far more interesting than any real person could possibly be. So I mould different characteristics of various real people into a composite character. Something like those pictures we all enjoyed deciphering in childhood -- an exotic animal having an elephant's trunk, a lion's mane, a giraffe's neck, a camel's hump, and a kangaroo's tail.

What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

The most exciting part about being a published author is when people start discussing your work in blogs and social circles. You feel a deep sense of satisfaction that your writing is making readers sit up, shake with laughter, or reach for a hankie.

The hardest part is the realization that book reviewers see a room for improvement in certain aspects of the narrative which you considered was your best output. They know well the pulse of their segment of readers, and an author would be missing an opportunity to polish his narrative further if he were to brush them off lightly.

Do you have any other books planned in the future?

Before embarking upon another three years of research and writing, I wish to know how much the readers like Trade winds to Meluhha. All the same, I have formed a rough idea about a sequel. It would be a similar adventure-thriller-suspense story set in two ancient civilizations. In the sequel, it would be Egypt instead of Mesopotamia. Some characters from the first narrative might reappear.

Just for fun:

What are your favorite foods?

I am a teetotaler and a vegetarian, so readers might find my tastes a bit eccentric. My favorite dish is one called 'Handwo'. It is a sour cake concocted from a mixture of rice and gram flour, curd, fine potato chips, fried onion pieces and all the spices of the Orient. A whiff of its aroma makes me leave everything and head for the kitchen like one under spell. I relish it with tea, but not the wishy-washy drink that's prepared by adding milk and sugar cubes to water boiled with tea leaves. The 'proper' way is to mix everything together and boil till the concoction attains a reddish brown tinge. Then strain it, finally squeezing the tea-leaves to ensure that no trace of tenin goes waste! Try it, and you'll agree that 'Handwo' and hard boiled tea imparts an exotic kick :)

What book are you reading right now?

I am re-reading 'Older & Wiser' from the Chicken Soup series. Each of those real life stories is so inspiring that you never regret your retirement and advancing age.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

Our five-year old grandson is a fan of Enid Blyton's Noddy. He shares his toys with me. He plays Noddy and has Big Ears and Mr. Plod in his team. I play Sly cum Gobbo, and we battle on land, water and air. Needless to mention, Sly cum Gobbo always gets thrashed ;)

Thanks Vasant!


About the Book

In the year 2138 BC, circumstances bring compelling characters together in Babylon and discover the stark reality of trade between Meluhha and Mesopotamia, and the brain behind it. A trial before Babylon's Council of Elders ended in a serious counter-allegation that jeopardized the lives of the judiciary itself.

Amazon | Facebook | Tour Page

Interview: E.J. Stevens

Today I have E.J. Stevens, author of Shadow Sight, visiting The Life and Lies! Shadow Sight comes out in July 2012. Stay tuned for my review!

Q. How did you come up with the title?

A. The Shadow Sight book title is based on Ivy Granger's unusual psychic gifts of psychometry and second sight, and her tendency to solve cases from the shadowed streets of Harborsmouth.

Q. How do you go about researching for your books?

A. Each series requires a different approach to research.  The most notable difference in my research for this series was the development of the physical city of Harborsmouth.  The world building necessary to the Ivy Granger series meant many days and nights examining maps and exploring city streets.  Before writing Shadow Sight, I needed to create a map of Harborsmouth that made sense in a three-dimensional world--a world populated by both monsters and humans.  Every location within this city, and its environs, has been mapped.  I felt this was necessary in order to ensure continuity throughout the series and to make the city of Harborsmouth a tangible place that I can roam with my characters.

Q. Did you base any of your characters on real people?

A. Rather than being based on any one person, my characters are a collage of physical attributes and personality traits created from a collection of my own knowledge and experiences.  I have a degree in psychology and worked in the mental health field prior to writing full-time.  I also enjoy people watching in a totally non-creepy, non-stalkerish way, though I do occasionally take notes.  Hopefully I never become a suspect in a murder investigation.  Explaining those notebooks would be...awkward.

Q. What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

A. I love hearing from readers.  Your kind words inspire and motivate me to write every day.
In my opinion, the most difficult aspect about being a published author is self promotion.  I don't mind being in the public eye when it means having an opportunity to connect with readers, but sometimes I do feel uncomfortable promoting myself and my books.  Self promotion makes me cringe.

Q. Do you have any other books planned in the future?

A. Yes.  In the Ivy Granger urban fantasy series, Shadow Sight releases July 24, 2012, Ghost Light in 2013, followed by Burning Bright (release date tba).  Brush With Death, the fourth novel in my young adult paranormal Spirit Guide series, will release Fall 2012 and will be followed by The Pirate Curse, scheduled for a holiday 2012 release.

Q. Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

A. The Ivy Granger series has so many loveable characters.  In Shadow Sight, my favorite characters are Jinx, Ivy's accident-prone roommate and business partner, Marvin, an orphaned bridge troll whose hygiene problems are eclipsed by a heart of gold, and Hob, the resident brownie at Madame Kaye's Magic Emporium.
There are plenty of evil characters in Shadow Sight, but the only characters who I truly dislike are the twisted each uisge.

Q. What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

A. Make time to write every day.  No excuses.  Setting aside time to write can be difficult at first, but you don’t need to take over your entire day.  Begin with taking a half hour each day for practicing your craft.  Soon you will be surprised by the increased quantity and quality of your writing.

Just for fun:

Q. Do you have any pets?

A. Yes, I have an adorable corgi furry baby.

Q. What are your favorite foods?

A. I have been vegetarian for many years and recently made the transition to eating vegan, so I am enjoying many new vegan recipes.  My current food addiction is lentils.  Lentil tacos, curried ginger lentils, and Moroccan lentil salad are a few of my favorite dishes.

Thanks E.J! Watch for my review, coming in July near the release date!

About the Book

Shadow Sight Ivy Granger Psychic DetectiveSome things are best left unseen...
Ivy Granger's second sight is finally giving her life purpose. Ivy and her best friend Jinx may not be raking in the dough, but their psychic detective agency pays the bills--most of the time. Their only worry is the boredom of a slow day and the occasional crazy client--until a demon walks through their door.
Demons are never a good sign...
A demon attorney representing the water fae? Stranger things have happened. And things are about to get very, very strange as a bloodthirsty nightmare hunts the city of Harborsmouth.
There's blood in the water...
Kelpies have a reputation for eating humans. Unfortunately, Kelpies are the clients. When an Unseelie faerie this evil stalks the waterways of your city, you have to make hard choices.
The lesser of two evils...


Shadow Sight by E.J. Stevens
Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal
ISBN:  9780984247585
Sacred Oaks Press
Release Date: July 24, 2012

About the Author

E.J. Stevens writes poetry, urban fantasy, and young  adult paranormal novels. E.J. is the author of the haunting collection of dark poetry From the Shadows, the chilling collection of paranormal poetry Shadows of Myth and Legend, and the young adult paranormal Spirit Guide Series, which includes She Smells the Dead, Spirit Storm, and Legend of Witchtrot Road, and the Ivy Grangerurban fantasy series.

When E.J. isn't at her writing desk she can be found blogging at From the Shadows, a paranormal book blog, or hanging out on Goodreads or Twitter.

E.J. is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is an active member of the Paranormal Romance Guild. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.

**Enter the Goodreads giveaway to win one of 3 signed copies of Shadow Sight!**

Exploring Etsy: Geeky Stuff

I'm a nerd. If you haven't already figured that out, it's about time you knew.

Ministry of Magic Toilet Decal by Good Mommy LTD (by the way, she's given me a coupon code to share with you! use FRIENDOFHALEY for 20% off of anything in her store!)

Oh. My. Gosh. I would do this.

Magic the Gathering pins by Cherriesama's gifts and designs


I seriously might have to get these and wear them around campus. They bring me so much joy.

Nerd fingerless mittens by Mouthy Mitts (also, these are hilarious too.)

Quite—the entertainment pack (set of 4) by Rage Paints

Hey. I'm a professional writing major. We spent three class periods watching a documentary about the type face Helvetica. I love it.

Helvetica button by Bean Forrest

All I have to say is… How many ears does Spock have?…a left ear, a right ear,and a final front ear… haha, get it? maybe? no. okay.

Spock I-phone case by Graphic Pals (dude, they have all sorts of wild i-phone covers!)

Deathly Hallows earrings by Twysted Crystal


Lastly, I didn't find this on Etsy, but I did find it online somewhere. I really want to crochet an afghan like this!

I'm also working on a pair of DFTBA Nerdfighter mittens :) Pictures when they go live. ;)

Teaser Tuesday (on Wednesday)

Today's TT(OW) comes from Shadow Sight by E.J. Stevens

This TT comes from Chapter 1. Ivy, the main character, is filling the reader in on why she'd rather live with her friend named "Jinx" than with her parents, after explaining that every time she touches anything, she can feel and see the terrible experiences of the people who have handled it in the past.

Living with Jinx meant being able to unburden myself of the guilt I always carried back home.  Why the parental guilt?  Good question.  After four years of intense therapy, I had a perfect macaroni Jesus (I liked to use our art therapy sessions to make religious icons out of pasta.  It totally freaked out my therapist), but only an inkling of why I felt so bad about my relationship with my folks.  I guess I figured it must be tough to have a daughter who started screaming and drooling when you handed her a birthday present, Christmas gift…or the mail.

Shadow Sight by E.J. Stevens

Some things are best left unseen...
Ivy Granger's second sight is finally giving her life purpose. Ivy and her best friend Jinx may not be raking in the dough, but their psychic detective agency pays the bills--most of the time. Their only worry is the boredom of a slow day and the occasional crazy client--until a demon walks through their door.
Demons are never a good sign...
A demon attorney representing the water fae? Stranger things have happened. And things are about to get very, very strange as a bloodthirsty nightmare hunts the city of Harborsmouth.
There's blood in the water...
Kelpies have a reputation for eating humans. Unfortunately, Kelpies are the clients. When an Unseelie faerie this evil stalks the waterways of your city, you have to make hard choices.
The lesser of two evils...

ISBN 9780984247585 | Published July 24th 2012 by Sacred Oaks Press | Amazon | Goodreads | Website | Author

Interview: Meira Pentermann

Today I have Meira Pentermann , author of Firefly Beach, visiting The Life and Lies today!

Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Why and when did you begin writing?

Hello, Haley. Thank you for inviting me to The Life and Lies of an Inanimate Flying Object!

I have been writing since I was twelve, mostly journals and poetry. During my thirties I had several story ideas, but I never got past a couple of chapters. In 2003, I sat down and wrote an entire novel in one month! At least I thought it was a novel. It was barely 50,000 words – not long enough to qualify as a novel – and it was frankly quite dreadful. Thankfully I had no clue at the time. That first manuscript, which I shelved in 2007, allowed me to believe I could write a full-length novel. Faith in one’s self is a powerful thing.

What inspired you to write your book?

FIREFLY BEACH developed in stages before it tookfb off in my brain and wouldn’t leave me alone. I first envisioned the firefly in 2004 when my husband and I were on a retreat. We participated in a relaxation seminar. The instructor asked us to imagine a very safe and quiet space – a room, a meadow, whatever came to mind. I pictured a small beach secluded by high cliffs. But, honestly, relaxation exercises and I do not do well together. Thoughts run around in my brain in spite of my efforts to quiet them. Shortly after arriving at my special beach, a firefly joined me dancing around the cliff. Then a diary and the idea that it belonged to a long-lost girl.

That concept drifted to the back of my mind while I worked on another manuscript from 2004 through 2007. As soon as I declared that manuscript finished, the firefly returned to me, flooding me with ideas. I could not write them down fast enough. I realized that Beth’s story was far more compelling than the words I labored over for three years. At that moment, the old manuscript found its way to a shelf in the back of my closet, and I passionately dove into FIREFLY BEACH.

How did you come up with the title?

The title was originally THE FIREFLY, but since I was having trouble getting past the query letter stage, I decided to poll some other writers. Maybe the title would make a difference. Why not? After a few rounds, the consensus was to try the title FIREFLY BEACH. I did receive a contract from Lyrical Press shortly thereafter, so who knows?

What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

I have so many favorite authors as well as individuals who have inspired me over the years, but I will choose one woman who recently inspired me to self-publish FIREFLY BEACH after it went out of print (the first edition was released in March of 2009). I believe many of your readers will have heard of her – Tracey Garvis-Graves. Tracey and I met on a writer’s forum called AbsoluteWrite. She had this interesting story idea about a teenager and his tutor trapped on an island in the Maldives. I sent her a message asking if I could read it. She wanted to finish the novel to cross it off of her “bucket list”. We became writing buddies (call each other cyber-sister). Now she has a best-selling novel called ON THE ISLAND. She is delighted to be an indie author. In fact, she has turned down some interesting proposals, saying it is not worth it to have someone else choose her covers, set her deadlines, and tell her what to write. This really inspires me to embrace the personal power of indie publishing.

How do you go about researching for your books?

First, I do a lot of research on the Internet, especially following the roads by using Google Maps. I bookmark phases of the moon charts and sunrise/sunset calculators. In the case of FIREFLY BEACH, I researched slang and products available in the seventies, flowers and vegetation, the unique governing practices in Maine, models of cars, housing styles, sailing terms – everything I thought might need double-checking.

I also did extensive research on lighthouses, but during the editing phase I cut the lighthouse-related story elements from the manuscript. I had a chapter about Rod Thompson’s parents and grandparents managing the lighthouse, but it was difficult to follow and didn’t add much to the story.

Finally, the fun part, I get to visit the location! I dragged my hubby through the underbrush in Maine. Literally. I did. . . drag him through the underbrush in Maine. And he’s quite pleased to remind me of that fact if I complain about the mosquitoes in our backyard.

Enjoying the hospitality of the gracious women from the Wildfire Inn in Searsport, Maine, we traveled the coast during its most rainy, least flattering season, but it was one of my favorite vacations. Virginia Point was primarily inspired by two coastal towns – Camden and Searsport, Maine.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

I think there is a blend of people I’ve met in all of the characters I create. Still, they are definitely hybrids. For instance, I wouldn’t say, “Mary Schmidt is exactly like so-in-so,” because Mary Schmidt has a little bit of several people I’ve met or encountered as well as my imagination of what a boisterous b&b owner might be like.

What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

I am thrilled to receive a heartfelt email or read an enthusiastic review. I cherish each reader and appreciate every review. That is definitely the best part. The hardest part has to be when I suddenly, out of nowhere, doubt myself. It is sort of a crippling feeling and I’m not sure where it comes from. My guess is that knowing there are hundreds of people out there somewhere reading the book, I feel like I’m naked on a stage; something like that. So I have to practice belief until the doubt dissolves.

Do you have any other books planned in the future?

I recently published NINE-TENTHS, a dystopian science fiction, and I am currently working on a grade 3-6 novel called SARAH AND THE MAGIC MAYONNAISE JAR. I have genre-commitment-phobia. I can’t seem to help myself. The novel should be available by the end of 2012. I am working with an outstanding new illustrator, Rachel Loftus, and I am excited to bring my daughter’s favorite story to life.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I like them all. . . Well, I enjoyed writing all of them. Most of the characters are flawed or damaged in some way as well as gifted or insightful in other aspects of life. My favorite character is Kenny McLeary, the jeweler. The character I dislike the most is Mack McLeary, Kenny’s father.

What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

I could give aspiring authors pages of concrete device about editing and querying, but there are thousands of websites and blogs which give excellent advice in more detail than I could do here. So I’ll focus on the one thing I know. You must first believe that it is a very real possibility.

The achievement of any dream begins with the assertion, “I will do this.” Dreams that remain sheltered under words like “I wish” or “I’m not sure” will never see the light of day. I’m not saying a doubt or two won't rear its ugly head from time to time, but it is important to swat that doubt away as soon as possible. It is a pesky little gnat, a poisonous distraction.

Practice belief. Dispel doubt. If no one comes to your aid in a moment of despair, you must be strong and hold out until the doubt passes. Write your goals on paper. Post them on the wall. Declare them and never give up.

Just for fun:

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Read, read, read!

Do you have any pets?

Yes. One black lab who is my best friend. Two cats who often sit in my office while I’m writing :)

What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

I love Mexican food and don’t care for Thai food. They are both spicy, but I prefer peppers and cilantro.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

Most of the time I write in my home office, but I actually really enjoy taking a laptop to the library. Also, my family has treated me with several writer’s weekends. I go to a hotel on Friday night and return on Sunday morning. Both of my published books were launched during a writer’s weekend.

If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?

London. We visited last year and I would love to go again!

What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

My favorite subject was astronomy and my least favorite was P.E.

What book are you reading right now?

My daughter (12) is obsessed with a fantasy series called FABLEHAVEN, and every day she asks me, “Where are you in FABLEHAVEN?” There are five books in the series, so I will be reading it for a while. It’s very clever – a fun read.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I’m afraid of clowns ;)

Thanks for visiting Meira!


About Meira

On slow, snowy days in her Colorado home,mp Meira Pentermann enjoys cozying up on the couch with a novel. Naturally, snow is not a requirement; neither is the couch. In fact, she sees no reason not to indulge in reading three-hundred-and-sixty-five days a year. Apocalyptic science fiction, mysteries, and young adult titles top her Kindle list, but legal thrillers and chik-lit make an appearance now and then.

When not absorbed in writing or reading, Meira enjoys life’s little moments with her family – the love and devotion of her black lab, the quiet wisdom of her artistic twenty-one-year-old, the trials and triumphs of her petite sixth grader, and the unlimited encouragement offered by her Dutch husband.

Meira strives to write stories that deliver the unexpected. She prefers down-to-earth characters that look and behave like regular folks. The prom queen and Adonis take a backseat to reclusive, soul-searching heroines and quirky, introverted gentlemen.

Facebook |Twitter | WordPress | Website


About Firefly Beach

When Beth LaMonte rents a cottage on the coast of Maine, she wishes only to withdraw and paint. A mysterious ball of light disturbs her peace and leads her to a secret beach where she finds the diary of a girl who disappeared in 1975. Now Beth is on a mission, not only to bury her own past, but to put to rest the spirit of Firefly Beach.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Car Thief

The Car Thief is known as “one of the best coming of age novels of the Twentieth Century,” and has been re-released by Astor and Blue!

About the book

Theodore Weesner’s modern American classic is now re-launched for a new generation of readers to discover.

It’s 1959. Sixteen year-old Alex Housman has just stolen his fourteenth car and frankly doesn’t know why. His divorced, working class father grinds out the night shift at the local Chevy Plant in Detroit, looking forward to the flask in his glove compartment, and the open bottles of booze in his Flint, Michigan home. Abandoned and alone, father and son struggle to express a deep love for each other, even as Alex fills his day juggling cheap thrills and a crushing depression. And then there’s Irene Shaeffer, the pretty girl in school whose admiration Alex needs like a drug in order to get by.

Broke and fighting to survive, Alex and his father face the realities of estrangement, incarceration, and even violence as their lives unfold toward the climactic episode that a New York Times reviewer called“one of the most profoundly powerful in American fiction.”

In this rich, beautifully crafted story, Weesner accomplishes a rare feat: He’s written a transcendent piece of literature in deceptively simple language, painting a powerful portrait of a father and a son, otherwise invisible among the mundane, everyday details of life in blue collar America. A true and enduring American classic.

ISBN 9781938231018| Published: May 1 by Astor+Blue Editions (first published 1973)| Amazon | Goodreads


Theodore Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as a “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community.  His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and Best American Short Stories.  His novels, including The True Detective, Winning the City and Harbor Light, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine and The Los Angeles Times to name a few.

Weesner is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel—retitled Winning the City Redux—also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions.  He lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.



What The Car Thief is really concerned with emerges between its realistic lines—slowly, delicately, with consummate art. Perhaps Mr. Weesner himself put it best: ‘In my work, I guess I wish for nothing so much as to get close enough to things to feel their heart and warmth and pain, and in that way appreciate them a little more.’ Judging from this book, his wish has been fulfilled…and then some.”

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

A remarkable, gripping novel.”

–Joyce Carol Oates, Professor of Humanities and Creative Writing, Princeton University, Pulitzer Prize Nominee, National Book Award Winner, Author of Black Water, What I Lived For, and Blonde

“Theodore Weesner has written a story so modestly precise and so movingly inevitable that before I knew what was happening to me I felt in the grip of some kind of thriller.”

Joseph McElroy, New York Times

The Car Thief is a poignant and beautifully-written novel, so true and so excruciatingly painful that one can’t read it without feeling the knife’s cruel blade in the heart.”

Margaret Manning, The Boston Globe

Check out The Car Thief today!

Exploring Etsy: Mother's Day

If I had unlimited funds and time, these are all the things I'd get for my awesome mom.

Garden of Earthly Delights by Delight Worthyn


Goat Milk Soap by Larson Farm Naturals


Pink Roses teacup set by Fabricated Family


Rainy Street teapot with sugar jar by Elephants Corner


Soap samples by Lippincott Soap Co.


Green Swarovski crystal earrings by Jewelry by NaLa


padded Nook case by Dory Designs


Watering can by Nice Pots


Sadly, I am both broke and will be out of town on Mother's Day, so I'll have to mail mom something… I'm thinking about that goats milk soap, and maybe a crochet necklace.

Got an etsy shop or favorite product? leave a comment with a link!

Miracle Pre-Order Contest

Elizabeth Scott, author of many YA novels, is having a pre-order contest for her newest novel Miracle. Win a $500, $100, or $50 gift certificate, and get your name in the acknowledgements of her next novel!

As you may know, I'm running a pre-order contest for Miracle (in
stores on June 5th) in an attempt to get 1000 pre-orders.

It's super easy to enter--just pre-order the book and send me the
order confirmation email! Once you do that you'll automatically be
entered into the contest, with a chance to win a $500 gift
to the bookstore of your choice! Other prizes include
five $100 gift certificates and twenty  $50 gift certificates.

Now, for the super special mailing list contest! In addition to being
entered into the regular contest (which, bonus!, is open to any
international mailing list member) every single one of you on this
list who pre-order Miracle will be thanked in the acknowledgements of
my next Simon Pulse book!

So, if you're interested, just pre-order Miracle, send me the
confirmation email, and let me know what name you'd like me to use in
the acknowledgments :-)

Sign up for the mailing list on Elizabeth Scott's by clicking here, and filling out the comment form with "Join Mailing List." Visit Amazon.com to pre-order the book.

Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

Megan survived the plane crash—but can she survive the aftermath? An intense, emotional novel from the author of The Unwritten Rule and Between Here and Forever.

Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.

Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved...

Unspent Time Launch Party!

Unspent Time Launch Party

Get free books and win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch

Warning: reading this novel may make you more attractive and elevate your random luck by about 9.332%* (* These statements have not been evaluated by any person of consequence!)
From the award winning author of ‘No Hope for Gomez!’ comes a collection of impossible tales. Permeating the cracks between the past and the present is the realm of Unspent Time; time that was allotted but never spent. This is where we find the stories that could have been true. Such as the story of Kiala, whose caretaker disappears one day, leaving her as the sole Huntress to battle the giant octopi to feed her village. Or the revealing tale of Goki Feng Ho, the ancient Chinese art of decoding the meaning of car license plates. And the heartbreaking story of the man responsible for choosing the colors of the insides of your shoes. And let’s not forget the story behind Unspent Time itself, the metaphysical ramifications of which will leave the scientific community feeling mostly indifferent about it for decades to come… For the launch of the new novel I decided to discount it to $0.99 for today (PC and eBook), give away some exclusive content, and raffle off two Kindles. All entrants will get:
  • An exclusive spin-off novelette (not available for purchase anywhere!)
  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook
  • Signature for their paperback or kindle edition
  • Chance to win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch
(Prizes can be traded for Amazon gift certificates if you already own them.) Just email your receipt to nohopeforgomez@gmail.com to enter. Each purchase counts, so stock up on birthday presents (for people you don't like that much, for instance) The discount ends today, but be sure to send the receipts no later than June 1st.


(Or order the books from any bookstore.) Coupon code for today: ZB77D And then get by ing about your purchase and another by mentioning it on facebook

Sound bites from Unspent Time

“I'm looking into my past lives. I'm convinced some of them still owe me money.”

“I'm very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences.”

“I didn’t actually want to do it,” Kiala told the boy. “The universe just kind of conspired to force me to make a fool of myself. It does that quite a lot, actually.”

“Sadly, my socks are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.”


"A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs!" -- Reader Views

"An unputdownable read. a Coens Brothers' film in book form." -- BookReview.com

“Extremely witty and clever writing.”—California Chronicle

"A Party for your Brain!" -- Warren Baxter


Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.