Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interview with Author Daniel L Carter

A few days ago Daniel Carter, author of the Unwanted trilogy, interviewed me on his blog. You can click on the link to read what we said. Daniel was kind enough to let me interview him too, though I'm by no means as expert an interviewer. Here are his replies to my questions:

I should probably start by asking you to introduce yourself and tell us the name of your blog

My name is Daniel L Carter and my blog's name is A Christian Man's Perspective.

What do you usually blog about?

I don't know that there is any one topic that I write about but more often than not I write book reviews, about society in general and relationships. I'm doing a lot of interviews with both bloggers and authors which has been a lot of fun. On occasion I'll throw in a movie review or a fun video or article I find interesting.

I really liked your article about Cellphone Zombies. But what led you to start a blog?

The reason I started blogging was due to my interactions with friends I met on Myspace. I see so many hurting people that are suffering through life, wounded and afraid. The majority of them have had bad relationships or life has just been plain hard on them. I wanted to write articles that would give them hope and to let them know they are not alone in this world. Once I started getting feedback from some of my Myspace friends that they were being touched and encouraged by my posts I kept writing.

So how long have you been blogging?

Like I said I started with Myspace which was about four years ago but I've only really started getting serious about blogging the last five or six months.

Besides writing articles, do you have special features on your blog such as blog tours, book reviews...ect? I guess I already know you've done some author interviews.

I wanted my blog to be about others and not "All About Me". So all the features on my blog are mainly to promote others. I have monthly book giveaways from featured author interviews, I have a regular feature for interviewing other bloggers as well as other authors. Plus I will do book reviews for anyone who wishes me to give them an honest opinion of their work. All the guidelines for each feature are on my blog. But my favorite feature that I just started is Prayer Requests. I wanted to have a place where people can share their prayer requests and I could be a part of seeing God work in their lives.

Prayer requests sounds an interesting and helpful feature. And I just might ask you for a book review one day. Meanwhile, what is the most rewarding aspect of blogging for you?

The most rewarding aspect of blogging are those rare occasions when I hear from one of my readers that an article touched them in a personal way. I love all the comments and truly enjoy meeting all the people who visit but I'd have to say my heart is to help others. That's the most rewarding.

I enjoy meeting people through my blogs too, and I'm very glad to have met you here. What topics do you like blogging about the most?

My favorite topics are science fiction/fantasy movies or books. I'm a huge geek and a movieaholic. I geek out over silly things like realizing Eric Bana (the bad hulk movie dude but I liked it anyways) was the bad guy in the new Star Trek film. I hadn't realized that when I saw the movie originally and turned to my wife to point that out. Yeah I'm that geeky. LOL

I remember my guys pointing that out to me too. How often do you blog?

There are days that I miss posting a blog on my site but as of late I've been blogging everyday pretty much. Sometimes multiple postings in a day.

That's a lot of posts. Do you have more than one site?

I don't have more than one blog however I do have my official website for my sci-fi series The Unwanted Trilogy.

It's a neat website; well worth visiting. Do you have any professional experience such as journalism or published author?

I am a published author through OakTara Publishing run by Ramona Tucker and Jeff Nesbit. My first book The Unwanted came out back in May of this year and my second book Children of Anak I just signed a contract for only a couple months ago. Hopefully it will be out in the next six months or so. (crosses fingers)

That's great. Congratulations, and good luck with Children of Anak. I guess I have to ask (I ask all the authors this one), how did you get from "there" (reading, writing, whatever) to being a published author?

This is a very interesting question and to answer it thoroughly would take multiple pages which I won't do to you. Let me sum up a little. Back in 2007 I shared my story idea with my wife about The Unwanted. I had recently stopped leading worship for my church and had a lot of time on my hands. My wife Margo kept telling me to write it down. Now I had no experience in writing full length novels before. I've only written short skits and plays for ministry prior to this but... I prayed about it. The more I prayed the greater the desire to write this story grew inside of me. I finally caved in and delved into writing this book. Oh my goodness did I mess it up royally! lol I had a great friend who was one of my pastors and I asked him to read my manuscript. I knew he liked science fiction and was a writing buff. He gave me the critique of a lifetime. When I say critique I mean he let me have it blunt, honest and forthright. It was the greatest thing that could have happened to me. Over the next year I bought books and did internet searches on writing techniques. I taught myself how to write correctly. Then I brought my manuscript back to my pastor. Better but not quite there. This went on for another six months and by the time I was done writing the last draft I had found my writing style. After that it was submitting my manuscript until I found the right publisher. I know this was still a long answer but it truly could have been much longer. lol

It's an interesting answer. It sounds like your pastor gave you a great critique, and you did a great job of learning from it. We should all do that.

So, back to blogging... In what way does your blog standout from other blog sites?

My goal is to promote others and to genuinely connect with people. Thus the reason for the prayer request feature and the blogger and author interviews. Ultimately it does promote me but only in as much as I'm helping others share about what is near and dear to them. The Biblical principle being to give and not expect anything in return. Now do I get blessed by others?...yes...Do I do it to see what I can get from people? Absolutely not. If you want to promote or share about me with others, great but it's not about me. It's about being a blessing to others and see their work put into the spotlight.

Are you currently running any promotions?

Other than the on going free interviews for authors and bloggers I do have my October 1st giveaway of The Last Cordate by a fellow author from OakTara by the name of Alison Winfree Pickrell. She was my featured author of this month and her fantasy/allegory story The Last Cordate I did a book review on. I'm going to try and do this monthly with different authors that I've reviewed.

I've inserted a link to the competition and the book review. It sounds an interesting book (and it's not quite October 1st yet!) I guess I should ask if there's any other links you'd like to share.

If you'd like to check out my sites you can visit me on my blog at
or if you are interested in my book series you can visit and download the first three chapters for free of the first book in my series The Unwanted.

I want to thank you Sheila for taking the time to do an interview with me. You are a blessing and greatly appreciated.

And I want to thank you Daniel. I've really enjoyed meeting you and learning more about you and your writing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Squid Sandwiches for Lunch?

Squidoo invented a new type of lens, aimed at lovers of pets. Okay, I couldn't resist.

My pet lenses:

So why do Squidoo games, with trophies, points and encouragement to read and comment (participate I guess) have such an attraction for me while I continue to overwork the "ignore" button on all Facebook's games?

On a similar note, what's with this that I've just joined? It looks great for book reviews (and everything else reviews too but I only do books), and it looks like kind of an interesting community. There's a "similarity network" gimmick that purports to tell me who I have interests in common with; I suspect most of my reviews haven't made it into the calculations yet, or else my reviews display such varied interests there's nobody like me. Whatever... Lunch also has trophies and encouragement to read and comment (participate), and it promises to be similarly addictive.

Perhaps it's the things that ask me to write that addict me. But perhaps it's time to get back to writing novels if I want to get sold as well as published...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Interviewed by Daniel L Carter

Daniel L Carter, author of The Unwanted Trilogy, has just interviewed me on his blog. He's produced a really neat picture of me for his post and says I can use it---so I will:

See, Featured interview with Sheila Deeth to read our conversation. He's a really good interviewer. And if you click on his newer post you can read about zombies on cellphones!

That drabble blog...

I've nearly finished a year's worth of drabbles--100-word stories and poems on my drabble blog. I'm not quite sure what possessed me to start. Maybe there was a challenge somewhere, probably on gather, last October. Anyway, I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself and wondering what to do next. There's always dribbles I suppose--stories told in 50 words--or there's snippets told in 30--or, whatever...

Meanwhile, I've collected those 365 pieces ready to release them on my lulu store. And I've got a set of home-made "birthday books," one for each month, with a drabble for every day--sort of a readable birthday card. I didn't manage to sell them at the summer fair, but I'll try again at Christmas... or you can email me for more information.

So... drabbles, dribbles, snippets... what do you think I should do for my daily writes next month?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dancing Round the Room again!!!

I got the email this morning. Gypsy Shadow have said "yes" to my second ebook! Black Widow: a story of passion, love and betrayal, set against a backdrop of historical England and legendary spiritual powers.

So I'm dancing round the room again, and even the gray and the rain can't dampen my mood.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Denise and Charlotte, and Gypsy Shadow!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not writing a memoir

The speaker at our writers' group was Ellen Urbani, author of When I was Elena, published by the Permanent Press. She gave a wonderful talk, about what makes a memoir different from a journal,  choice of characters and creation of voice, how an agent or publisher might define truth as fiction, how hard it is to sell books that cross genres even though crossing genres might be what makes your book unique, how current events effect sales and the questions asked in interviews, the need to have answers even when your interviewer hasn't read the the book, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of small publishers over big ones. She was fantastic!

Of course, I'll never write a memoir, but I can't use my favorite reason anymore. Ellen said she didn't like keeping a journal, and there was I thinking memoir writers couldn't exist without one. Ah well, so much for that excuse.

We led into Ellen's talk by all answering those three questions about our writing lives. And yes, it was hard keeping our answers to single sentences. So now I'm writing the longer version on my Refracted blog. But it's not a memoir. Memoir has to rise above similar tales, and has to have something unique to offer the reader. I'm not sure my notes fulfill either requirement, but it's kind of fun setting them down in writing all the same. If you feel like wandering over to see my Refracted Muse, I'd love to know what you think.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hitting that LibraryThing Limit

I was trying to catch up on posting all my reviews yesterday. All went well till LibraryThing suddenly stopped talking to me. It took a couple of failed attempts before I gave up and read the error message. But now I know I'm only allowed 200 book reviews there unless I pay for premium membership. Not that premium membership's expensive, but it's the thought that counts... How could I only read 200 books?

So now I'm wondering if I should delete some old reviews to add new ones, or just stop bothering to post to LibraryThing. Any suggestions? Would anyone care?

Of course, I could pay them, but who wants to do that? There's always Goodreads and Shelfari, Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc... They're all free and they haven't told me to go away yet. And Goodreads has some pretty fun book groups too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Still reading, still writing, still reviewing...

It must be time for another list of books from my reading journey, so here goes...
As usual, click on the links for my Gather reviews. I've certainly enjoyed my reading time this week.
And if you want to know more of my writing journey, just click on the link to visit my "Refracted" blog: I'm blogging this week there about how I learned to write.

God and Dog--the most amazingly simple, fun and uplifting tale of unconditional love for dog-lovers everywhere, and don't forget to visit the video too; there's a link on my review.

Underground and Vanished--the next two in Kat Richardson's Graywalker series. I think I'm hooked. Great female protagonist. Nicely imagined paranormal world firmly anchored in the real, and fun tours of historical London and Seattle underground.

The Poet--next on my list of Michael Connelly books--yes, I know, I'm way behind. I really enjoyed this one and have just started reading the Narrows, which might be called a sequel.

Simon's Choice--a powerful haunting story of family tragedy, human interactions, and eternal hope.

The Wedding Gift--haunted in a much more everyday way, with ghosts and mystery and curiously annoying but intriguing protagonist.

All Hallows Eve--thirteen scary and surprisingly varied tales for teens of all ages.

Sharing Sam--a teen story with serious depth. Family tragedies again and how we deal with each other and lives of our friends.

Tending to Grace--another teen story with depth, as a young girl gradually comes to terms with her mother's leaving her behind, and an elderly aunt learns to be comfortable with the past.

Princess Sheeba--a delightful children's story about animals in the Australian outback. The author very successfully creates voices and characters for all his cast of animals, and plots a fine tale.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Still swimming with the squids...

Should be writing...
Should be making the dinner...
Should be phoning youngest son to make sure he's still there (youngest son probably more than happy not to hear from nagging mom)...
Should be answering emails...
Should be adding to my blog...

So what am I doing? I'm adding another "lens" to "my squidoo."
Yes, it's definitely addictive.
(Please let me know what you think of the picture if you should head over there. I'm still trying to learn how to use the new Microsoft Paint since I got my new computer.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Writing Exercise

Our local writing group meets on Sunday and it'll be my first time pretending to be the new "fearless leader." Not that I'm in any way fearless (I shall hide my hands under the desk so they can't see them shaking). But I know there's going to be some new people there, so I guess we'll have to start by going round the room introducing ourselves.

I thought I'd add a new twist to the introductions this time--sort of a mental writing exercise to get us in the mood. I'm going to ask everyone to give us their name then say three sentences--no more; no less--that tell the story of their writing.

Sentence 1: How did you start out writing? There's probably lots of things you could tell; tons of remembered anecdotes about how you took up the pen (or keyboard perhaps). But you're only allowed to pick one detail and fit it in one short sentence, because brevity is the soul of wit, and details should be used sparingly.
Sentence 2: Where are you now in your writing? Again, one sentence--a simple sentence, not a three-page marathon. So if you have lots of irons in the fire, just pick one. Detail selection again. And...
Sentence 3: Where would you like to be? Out of all those dreams and desires, just tell us one in a simple sentence.

I'll probably have to set the ball rolling, so here's my sentences...

I'm Sheila Deeth. I started telling stories before I knew how to hold a pen. I've just had my first eBook published. And my dream is to be able to tell people I'm a writer and expect them to find my books in stores.

It's probably a hopeless dream, but where's the harm in that? What about you?

Next week, I plan to start posting a longer version of my writing journey on my Refracted blog. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Refracted on Amazon !!!!!

My eBook, Refracted, just went on sale on Amazon! That's so cool! Well, it feels pretty cool to me anyway. I'm looking at the picture and my thoughts are refracting and darting in different directions. Thank you, thank you Gypsy Shadow for putting it there.

Second Wind Publishing's mystery anthology, Murder in the Wind, is on Amazon too, with my story, Jack, lurking inside. I just bought my copy at last and can't wait to read it.

And three of my Bible story books are there too (though you have to go to Lulu for more Bible fiction):

Christmas! Genesis to Revelation in 100 words a day goes through the Bible in full-color bite-sized pieces with one story for each day in December, Easter! Creation to Salvation in 100 words a day includes mini-meditations as well, telling tiny Bible stories all through Lent, and Genesis People is a book of three-minute read-aloud childrens' stories bringing some of those familiar and less-familiar characters to life from the Book of Genesis. (Do you know who Katurah was?).

Okay, lots of shameless self-promotion there, but hey! I'm excited. I'm really, really excited! (Can you tell?) My first real publication's just gone on sale on Amazon! I can't help dancing round the room just a little bit, and adding lots of exclamation marks to my post!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I feel like a genuine book reviewer!

I just found Martin Shepherd's latest blogpost at The Cockeyed Pessimist where he writes about book reviews, anonymous and otherwise, and their effect on the opportunities available to authors. He mentions a new Publishers Weekly program, called PW Select, which will provide a service that, for some unspecified registration fee, will include self-published books and reviews in a quarterly supplement. It sounds interesting, though fees always scare me. But what was even more interesting was reading the quoted reviews for a few of the Permanent Press's recent releases.

If you've followed my book review posts, you'll know I'm kind of a fan of the Permanent Press. I know their editors pick and choose the best, because every book I've read of theirs has enthralled me. Martin Shepherd writes (quoting the late James Agee) how a good reviewer should try to identify what the author was intending to achieve in writing the book, then judge how well the author seems to have succeeded. I think (I hope) that's what I do when reviewing the sort of book that I read from them--so far, their books have always intrigued me enough to make the author's goal feel like a vital and rewarding part of reading.

The blogpost continues with quotes from a number of reviews, and there, among them, are ones from Sheila Deeth on!!!! Suddenly I feel like a genuine book reviewer! Thank you Martin, for your comments, and for the wonderful books I've had the privilege of reviewing from the Permanent Press.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Squids, sea-monsters and other distractions

Squidoo didn't used to be so addictive. I'd read a few excerpts of friends' books there, wandered round the odd page, decided I liked blogger better, then made myself a web site. A little while later I was clicking that dreaded "publish" button on Lulu and they brought up a "market your book" link. It seemed like a good idea to follow it, my marketing skills being singularly negligable. Then suddenly, without knowing how, I was creating my first Squidoo "lens." sat looking lonely for a while, till I discovered quizzes. They're kind of fun, easy to make, and very useful for preparing Bible studies. I've been posting my New Testament quizzes for several months now at And yesterday, as I struggled to catch up, I found all these curious sea-monsters swimming around. Apparently squidoo has changed a bit. Now there's points and not entirely pointless quests, which help you learn to do more with your site. There are friends and favorites that were probably there before but I never noticed them. There's real people really doing my quizzes, and hey, this is kind of fun.

It's also seriously distracting. But today, to fulfill a "quest" unlocked by my 25th "lens," I posted my first "music lens." I even gave it a different skin - sort of spring-like since it's a "Growing up with Christian Music" lens. Now, if I could just get to 50 lenses and become a grand squid, or something similarly fishy...

Monday, September 13, 2010

A time to write

I've read all these great blogposts, author interviews, books on writing, etc. that remind aspiring writers how they have to "make time to write." Sometimes I feel like I'll never be a real writer because I'm too disorganized. Time to write? Morning, unless there's something else going on. Afternoon, unless I'm too busy. Evening, unless I'm cooking or we're watching a movie or maybe even playing a game. Weekend, unless we're shopping, or sorting out plans and trips and scheduling more... Time to write's the reward when everything else is done--better than coffee; better even than chocolate. I can't imagine not writing. But scheduling time for it just seems impossible. (Could I schedule time for chocolate?) Ah well, I'll continue to read and write randomly, leaving half-read books all over the house (or the computer hard-drive) and story ideas all over the messy shelves of memories. Then, when the day's work's done and all's right in this tiny corner of my world, then I'll sit in front of the computer and enjoy a happily unscheduled "time to write."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What I'm reading, writing, dreaming, maybe doing...

I'm reading "The Poet" by Michael Connelly. It's a long book--well, relatively long--but I'm enjoying it; It has an interesting mix of first and third person writing that really works! And my husband enjoyed the story--a genuine mystery with complicated thrills--which is why I'm reading it.

My husband's visiting family and carrying books to while away hours of traveling. Would he take a kindle if we had one? I'm not sure. There's something safe about dog-eared books; cheap to replace; forgiving when you spill the airplane coffee on them; and they don't mind being dropped while you frantically search through your bag. Besides, if his Dad likes something my husband's reading, it can always get left behind.

What will I read next? I have a couple of ebooks on the computer waiting for reviews, so probably them. Though I'd rather curl up on a sofa--those aching legs and arms and neck after that fall.

And what will I write next? I'm editing Black Widow Blue, hoping and dreaming she might see light of day sometime. Meanwhile I'm trying to create a whole new website for my Refracted Muse. And I'm enjoying playing with Blogger in draft.

Then there's that dear friend who suggested I ought to try a virtual book tour. Now there's a thought... I even have a few uncorrected ARCs of Refracted that I could offer as incentive or awards. (Only one major typo, and it looks really cool just like a real eBook.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

That reading journey continued...

Wow. Did I really not post a list of books I'd been reading in August. I guess it really was  busy month. Anyway, here's a list of books recently read and reviewing on that continuing Reading Journey.

Children's fiction: A delightful tale told in verse
A Boy and His Wizard, a read-aloud book by M. A. Smith

Paranormal... Breaking Dawn finally came out in paperback!

Deception, a Haunting Emma novel by Lee Nichols
Breaking Dawn, by Stephanie Meyer
Immortal, edited by P.C. Cast

Sci fi...Mockingjay was everything I'd hoped it would be! Dream War was well worth the wait (but only available on kindle--I downloaded kindle-for-pc)
The First Dragoneer, by M.R. Mathias
Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
Dream War, by Stephen Prosapio

Historical. Crooked River was a great young adult novel with well-researched detail and a powerful feeling of reality. Hotel on the Corner was just haunting.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford
Crooked River, by Shelley Pearsall

Real world: Aura Imbarus' was the best memoir I've ever read--I loved it. Tending to Grace is a great contemporary YA novel. Cataclysm children gives a wise and interesting perspective on school dangers. And Returning Injury and The House bring the realities of life and love to vivid and forgiving life.
Out of the Transylvania Night, by Aura Imbarus
Tending to Grace, by Kimberley Newton Fusco  
Returning Injury, by Becky Due

Cataclysm Children, by Paul Nemeth

The House, by Anjuelle Floyd

Almost real world: I loved Sing Them Home.
Sing Them Home, by Stephanie Kallos

Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger

Books from series: Always a good way to relax
Decaffeinated Corpse, by Cleo Coyle

A drink before the war, by Dennis LeHane

Books from the Permanent Press: I love the Permanent Press.
How to Survive a Natural Disaster, by Margaret Hawkins
The Last Estate, by Conor Bowman

And finally, non-fiction. Yes, Grammar is great, fantastic, every writer should read...

The Glamour of Grammar, by Roy Peter Clark
Words for the Taking, the Hunt for a Plagiarist, by Neal Bowers.