Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Inside

As night approaches

And I feel like a howl,

The moon is so distant,

I can’t help but growl

So low, barely heard,

Still honest and true,

Whatever you think of me,

Whatever you do.

My thoughts are my cave,

My soul is my shrine,

My moods are my windows,

My sadness is mine.

Your mind and my own

May not always be one,

But I must chase my fury

Or I’ll be undone.

My demons need voicing,

In stories or verse,

Or they’ll take me over,

My dreams will disperse.

So let my beast be,

Its tale needs a bark,

And when light returns,

It will mellow my dark.

Versus Verses – Love

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Another gem!

Finished reading this phenomenal book today and already facing withdrawal symptoms. Isn’t it amazing how, once you’ve finished reading historical fiction, you feel as if someone stripped you of those historical robes, tore you away from the scents and sounds of those times, and left you in the technical reality of now, with all those amazing people (to realists, characters) left behind in the book? Good to know book 3 is out there for grabs. 

Take a bow, Jean Gill! Review coming soon.

#amreading 

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​And what do YOU have to say? – ELLEN L. BUIKEMA

Due to popular demand, my first author interview series is continuing. I hope it gives you a chance to meet some interesting new authors, or to find out more about the ones whose books you have already read. Today we are joined by Ellen L. Buikema. Thank you very much for your time, Ellen.

Ellen L. Buikema

I am a writer, speaker, educator, and mom. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, received a M.Ed. specializing in Early Childhood, and have post-graduate studies in special education from Northeastern Illinois University. I worked as a teacher for 23 years.

During the school year I have the pleasure of being a visiting author, either in person or via Skype. I usually visit with students in Pre-K through fourth grade, although I have spoken with students through eighth grade. For Pre-K through first grade I bring Sock Puppet Tim along to help. He is a well-loved addition to author visits as he is funny and helps maintain students’ attention.

IDENTITY CARD

Name/pseudonim: Ellen L. Buikema
Book(s): Parenting . . . A Work in Progress, The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon series, currently working on The Hobo Code
Genre(s): Self-help, Children’s Fiction, Young Adult Historical Fiction
Day-job: Writer
Likes: Dark Chocolate and wine
Dislikes: Yelling
Favourite virtue: Sense of Humor
Fault: Very Stubborn
Favourite movie genres: Comedy, Suspense/Thriller
Favourite song/band/musician: I have an eclectic taste in music, so there are too many to mention.

INTERVIEW

1. Welcome to Anita’s Haven. Pull up a chair, relax and fire away. Firstly, tell us five things about yourself that you think matter the most.

Patience, persistence, love of children and animals, creative, humorous.

2. ​When you were a kid, what did you want to do in life as an adult? ​Can you remember the moment you realized you had become an author? How did it feel to transcend from that point when you just wrote for yourself to the point when you realized this was what you wanted to do full time?

My mother told me that when I was three-years-old, I lined up all my dolls and conducted school. However, I didn’t become a teacher until after I had my own children and decided that kids are awesome.

I knew I was an author when I held my very first proof in my hand. Until then it wasn’t real. The physical book made it truly real for me. It felt great!

3. Why do you write?What’s the most challenging aspect of your genre? How do you feel when you write? Is there a special ritual to it, a playlist, place, company, technology?

I write to get the ideas out of my head and to keep the characters quiet. I’ve had characters request name changes, as odd as that might sound. One insisted on being named Hugo.

I write on a laptop on our dining room table. A foot tall, plush dragon named Nom Nom, as in nom-nom I just ate another faerie, sits across the table as I write.

Currently, I am writing my first YA historical fiction novel after writing a children’s chapter book series. Two more are written, making it a series of five. I find the change in genre isn’t as difficult as the age change. This genre requires a great deal of research, so I am having fun talking to people all over the country about trains, hobos, and specifics about some cities and towns. I spend an hour on the phone with the owner of a bar in Wausau, Wisconsin, the location of the story’s beginning. She was able to give me details that make a huge difference in the setting for one part of the story. My list of acknowledgements is growing all the time.

4​. Tell us more about your book characters. Who is your favourite character and why?

There is a little bit of me in the majority of my characters. My favorite character in The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon series is Frankie, the worlds most obnoxious goldfish. He is the main character’s pet and a wonderful comic relief. Of the characters in The Hobo Code, so far I am most fond of Hannah. She begins the story as a feisty, eight-year-old who loves art, puts up with her older brothers, and is quite stubborn.

5. We all know typing those special words, the end, gives us a priceless feeling, but that is when the actual work begins. How do you deal with the editing process? Are you your toughest editor and beta-reader or do you rely on someone for that?

Wow! Editing is so important, too much for just one person. I go to two different critique groups, have beta readers, and use professional editors as well. I do not mind editing and find many of my errors when I read the chapters aloud, but I never, ever find all the errors myself.

6. How much do praise and positive reviews help to fuel your creativity and keep you writing? How do negative reviews affect you?

Positive reviews are awesome and appreciated. They do keep me writing.

When I get a negative review, I read it with an eye towards making a better story if the comments are constructive. If the comments are a bit off-the-wall, I read the reviewer’s comments of other authors’ works to see if there is a pattern. Sometimes people don’t like my work, preferring other genres and writing styles, and that is fine. Differences of opinion are to be expected. No one that I know of enjoys all genres and all styles of writing.

7. What do you do when you are not writing books? Any hobbies or projects you are particularly passionate about?

When I have a bit more time, I plan to go back to drawing and painting. I love art in its many forms. I can carry a tune and love to sing. Maybe some day I’ll learn how to play the guitar. Right now I am working on fluency in Spanish. I feel it is important to speak more than one language.

8. What’s the funniest or most interesting reaction you​’ve​ had from people when you told them you were a writer?

I have been looked at in awe and asked for my autograph. A few students have asked me if I am wealthy. I find that amusing.

9.​ ​Would you like to add anything, share a brief sneak peek into your book, or send a message to the readers?

Here is a snippet from The Hobo Code. Most of the story is in Jack’s perspective. This is a Hannah chapter.

John Schmidt opened the front door and herded his children into the largest building they’d ever seen. They entered a cheerless hallway of bare, drab-colored walls. I think if people stared at those walls long enough, they’d lose their imagination. Wooden cane chairs and a few stark benches leaned against one wall.
“Sit here while I speak to someone in charge.” Their father walked into the main office, directly across the hall from the uncomfortable bench Jack, George, and Hannah occupied.
The three children sat together, carpetbags on the floor in front of them, and waited to learn their fate.
“Jack, I think Hannah is right,” said George. “We shouldn’t be here. I feel like we’re being watched.”
The three huddled together, Jack speaking quietly so no one could overhear. “If all of us feel the same way, something has got to be wrong.”
They were being watched. A man dressed in dark pants and a blue work shirt, washing the floors, whisked his mop in their direction with a practiced rhythm. Every now and then he’d flick his brown hair back and sneak a peek. He licked his lips. The corners of his mouth tilted up into a leering grin.
I don’t like how that creep is staring at me. The closer he came, the greater Hannah’s urge to either smack him or to grab her brothers and run.
The creep was a few arm’s length away when John exited the office of the headmistress, followed by a tall, silver-haired woman in a waist-cinching, long black dress that swept the floor has she walked. The creep looked away and mopped in the opposite direction and down another hall.
John held his hat in his hand. “Children, this is the headmistress. She’s in charge of the orphanage.”
They sat frozen on the bench.
The willowy headmistress bent down and shook their hands. It was like shaking a fresh-caught fish—moist, droopy, and cold.
“Welcome to your new home, children. I’ll give you a few moments to say goodbye to your father, then I’ll have someone show you to your rooms.”

QUICK  POP-QUIZ

Dogs or cats Cats
Ice-cream or fruit
fruit
Meat or salad
salad
Fact or fiction
fiction
Music or silence
music
Indoor or outdoor
outdoor
Ocean view or mountains
Ocean view
Books or movies
Books
E-book or print
print 
Teach or learn
learn – this keeps the brain young so-to-speak
Romance or crime
crime

AUTHOR LINKS

Books:

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Charlie-Chameleon-New-Beginnings/dp/0990897931

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Charlie-Chameleon-School-Days/dp/0990897966

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Charlie-Chameleon-Summertime/dp/0990897990

https://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Work-Progress-Ellen-Buikema-ebook/dp/B00R2807X8

Website:

http://ellenbuikema.com

Social networks:

https://www.facebook.com/ecellenb/

https://twitter.com/ecellenb

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellen-buikema-b289a661/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJugScmUYKs6L3NH9oyYn2A

https://www.pinterest.com/EllenKidsAuthor/pins/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+EllenLBuikema

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12592731.Ellen_Buikema

https://www.amazon.com/Ellen-L.-Buikema/e/B00THGTSA6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

(All images and replies provided by author Ellen Buikema herself.)
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Writer’s Gift 4U from Phoenix Rainez

To end this challenging year, there is nothing like having a guest over. A romance author with a kind heart, Phoenix Rainez will make this transition from 2017 into 2018 smooth and gentle! Here she is, sharing with you some of her latest poetry:).

AUTHOR : Phoenix Rainez

GENRES : Romance, Erotica, Poetry

BOOKSITE LINKS : http://www.amazon.com/dp/1501022539

                                http://www.amazon.com/dp/1515302156

SOCIAL NETWORK LINKS : http://www.facebook.com/phoenixrainez2

                                             https://phoenixrainez.wordpress.com

                                             https://twitter.com/phoenixrainez

1. Do you have a favourite winter holiday story?

No favourite winter holiday story, but my favourite holiday film would have to be LOVE ACTUALLY.  I have so many books in my collection still to read, I honestly don’t have time to re-read any of the books I’ve already read.

2. Which character from a holiday story would you like to be?

I think I’d love to be Elsa from Frozen.

3. What is your ideal way to spend Christmas Eve this year?

Curling up with a good book all day in my pj’s and a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

4. If you could travel anywhere this winter, where would it be and why?

I’d love to visit Lapland during a winter holiday season.

5. What would you like to ask your readers?

I’d like to ask my readers if they think a companion novella is a good way to introduce other characters in the story.

Do share a sneak peek into your current work in progress.

My present work in progress is my poetry book.

Give us a riddle to your wip. 

When you need to share a secret quietly you ….

Where can we follow your progress? 

 http://www.facebook.com/phoenixrainez2

What’s the blurb for your work in progress?

No one asks to fall in love, but sometimes it happens, and the timing is all wrong.  So, they wish upon stars for a love they can’t hold, and whisper their love on the wind, across oceans that keep them apart.

Sneak peek, please?

1st poem from my new poetry book:

You’re the whisper on my mind

Wrapped around my heart

I see you in my dreams

And touch you when I sleep

Your love is like a whisper

From a time so far away

Caught in a moment of silence

On the tail of a shooting star

We dare in dreams to share

A whisper of love so soft

Like the feathers on a breeze

Of a lover’s dream in thoughts

Sailing those intimate waves

Of a secret love lost in thought

We touch only in dreams

Our love just a breath

A whispered I love you

MY HOLIDAY WISH for my readers is that they find the time to read all the books they want to, not only over the holidays, but all year through.


Thank you, dear Phoenix. May your 2018 be a happy beginning to a new adventure!

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The Power of Words

The power of words has always fascinated me. There are limitless possibilities in the use of only one of them, because its power stems not only from its lexical meaning but its historical connotations and changes, its previous contexts, media and user, its audience, location and timing. And, as is always the case with a superpower, it can be used for good or evil, and alas, misunderstood or misused as well. But whatever the effect may be, the desired one or its complete opposite, effect takes place, and it makes a change or a difference, or both. 

It never ceases to amaze me how many emotions and ideas can stem from just one word. When you see it, hear it or say it, regardless of whether its effect is immediate or delayed, it is simply unbeatable and irresistible. It’s like magic, and I do like magic, just like any other child trapped in an ageing body.  

One such word, hidden within a bundle of other wonderful and horrible, yet all impressive words, as I read it in one of my all-time favourite stories, grabbed my attention instantly. It was ‘threshold’. Mind you, in the story I was reading, it was completely unimportant, and simply denoted the entrance to a house in a description. But to me, it was that word which stopped me from reading and forced me to pick up a pen and write this story. 

As soon as I started writing it, a new world opened up before my eyes, like in those science-fiction TV-series, when a starship goes into warp and everything changes at light speed. The world becomes different and bigger, and you are transported into a place so far away from home that it seems you will never go back. Till the story is finished and you warp your way back, with the merciless blow of disappointment at your story being over, and still, quickly psyched up again over another new word and another adventure, beyond our world, yet so much part of our world. 

The Threshold is about change, which is different for everyone, no more or less than we deserve. The change is eventually always consistent with our decision on how we choose to react to that change. The threshold is always open, but what we choose to do with the door is our choice, and ours alone. 

(From the foreword of The Threshold)

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Reading with Children

To parents, friends  and educators reading to children

The actual process of reading, sitting down with somebody you care about, whether it is your child, grandchild, student, or even an adult, is a wonderful experience – you share time, place, dreams, worlds… Children are especially open to gratitude. After a busy day, having their parent sit down and set this time aside only for them… there is nothing better than this! There is no better gift that you can give your child than your time and attention. 

Of course, if you read and comment along with children, ask for their opinion and challenge them to think, it is even more worthwhile, but it is not always necessary. Sometimes you are tired, you skip words and they correct you, they stop you with questions, and you really don’t feel like reading at all. But their questions, their corrections, their hillarious comments, all this will just magically wipe away your stress, make you smile and forget about everything else. 

It is the love they share with you in those moments. 

The same goes with reading to and with adults. If you read with your partner, to your mother or father, to people who can no longer read to themselves, remember – we are all children at heart! Stories have that mysterious power of waking up that honest, non-constricted, free and imaginative child, dormant but present within us. 

I have seen the magic of reading stories to all age groups, and would never trade in its power and positive effect for any technological device there is, much as I respect and use them in my teaching. Reading awakens playful freedom, sets emotions free and channels them, challenges the mind into critical and creative thinking, and lets us grow, develop and express ourselves. 

So yes, children, meaning all of us, associate books with love and affection, because this is what we share when we read together. 

And if you are ever lucky enough to have your child read to you, relish every second of that love. 

(From the afterword of Mimi Finds Her Magic)

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Filling the Void

The paper is empty.

It looks at me blank.

I feel I have nothing to give.

Then letters come pouring.

Stories unwind.

The book people begin to live.

 

The canvas is white.

It looks like a shroud.

Will my colours help it survive?

I pick up a brush.

The strokes reveal all.

Emotions and dreams are alive.

 

The room is so silent.

It haunts me to pain.

If only a sound helped it heal.

My thoughts echo sounds.

My lyrics are true.

I know what I want and feel.

(Image source Pixabay)

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The Long Sleep

“Snowflakes were doing their gentle wintery dance, like ballerinas twirling to an inaudible melody, falling on the already icy ground and disappearing into the deep carpet of white. The streets were still empty and only the occasional delivery van or the early morning bus passed through the sleepy town. The previous weeks had painted the scenery pristine white and the night cold added that sparkling crust on top. Tillsworth was all tucked in, snoring under the white covers, dreams and nightmares bubbling beneath the surface.”

This is a sneak peek from The Forest of Trees.

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THE WRITER’S GIFT FOR YOU FROM Michael R. Stern

We are joined today by an amazing history teacher who turns history into amazing time travelling adventures. Enjoy his pre-holiday post. Thank you for dropping by, Michael!

Author: Michael R. Stern
Genre(s): Time Travel

Booksite links: amazon.com/author/michaelrstern

Social network links: https://www.facebook.com/michael.r.stern.5

Twitter @sternmike5

1. What is your favourite winter holiday story you have read and like to go back to, and why? 

A Christmas Carol is an annual tradition in my home. It’s the perfect holiday feel-good story.

2. Which winter holiday character, custom or decoration would you like to be and why? 

A caroler. Nothing puts you in the spirit like an evening of Christmas songs, friends, and egg nog.

3. What is your absolutely the most favourite thing to do during the winter holidays?

Spend time with family. Really.
4. If you could travel anywhere in the world during the winter holiday season, where would you go and why?

Nothing gives me more pleasure during the holidays than traveling through the pages of a good book. I wouldn’t go anywhere if I could avoid it.
5. What would you like to ask your readers?

I would ask my readers to enjoy their own holidays, however they choose to celebrate. (And tell your friends about my books.) Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy choose your holiday, and Happy New Year.)

Sneak peek & riddles:

step 1: I have asked authors to give us a riddle about a character, place or key word in their book

My name is Fritz Russell. Where did I go to college?

step 2: Here is the link where we can follow Michael’s wip progress) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y6GZXFD

step 3: short blurb for the story

A North Korean missile launch. A naval base attacked. Does the nation face a new menace? Or is an old one taking a treacherous turn? A plot to destroy any possibility for peace moves into high gear just as the president negotiates an end to war in the Middle East.

step 4: sneak peek “Merry Christmas, Mr. President.”

“Merry Christmas, Fritz. I’m sure you have a busy day ahead, but I wanted to invite you here for New Year’s Eve. You could stay a day and we could look around this place together.”

Michael’s message to you all:

To all you special people who have followed Fritz and friends through the harrowing times brought about by travel through time and space, I want to thank you for your reviews, and your continued support. I send my best wishes for a happy holiday season, and a New Year full of wonder, delight, and friendship.

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THE WRITER’S GIFT 4U FROM Karen J Mossman

The Writer’s Gift is a little present that keeps on giving – my blog feature gift to the authors you should know about, and their gift to you as their (potential) readers. Find out more about some wonderful authors you may not yet have heard about, and enjoy a free sneak peek and riddles for their latest book or even a work in progress. Feel free to leave a comment and share the posts during the upcoming holiday season.

Here is a very kind lady and prolific author – Karen J Mossman.

Author: Karen J Mossman

Genre(s): Multi Genre author

Booksite links: https://magicofstories.net

Social network links: https://www.facebook.com/karenjmossmanauthor/

Chat with the author:

What is your favourite winter holiday story you have read and like to go back to, and why?

I read so much and so many that I don’t have a favourite and I rarely go back to something I have already read. I did read a series of crime cooks by Gillian Hamer recently. They were all divided into seasons and I loved the winter one where everything was frozen. It was set in the area that I live and we don’t get a lot of frost or snow in this part of Wales. So it was interesting reading about it.

I don’t generally take holidays in the winter and it’s usually a lead up to the Christmas season.  

Which winter holiday character, custom or decoration would you like to be and why?

Holiday characters, that’s a tricky question, and I can’t think of something I would like to be. I’m quite happy just being me!  

What is your absolutely the most favourite thing to do during the winter holidays?

Winter holidays, I suppose I could say Christmas because when I was working we would refer to it as a holiday away from work. My favourite thing to do would be getting together with my family, which of course, is tradition during the Christmas period.

If you could travel anywhere in the world during the winter holiday season, where would you go and why?

I’ve never considered taking a holiday during these months. I’m a sun and warm weather girl. I suppose if I did, I would go to see my sister as she lives in Massachusetts.  We have been before and it’s a beautiful place during the autumn season.

What would you like to ask your readers?

Which one of my books is your favourite and why? I always like to know which they like as it makes me think of my reasons for writing it. It’s also good having people discuss us and hearing their interpretation.

Sneak peek & riddles:

I have asked authors to provide a riddle about their book for the readers.

step 1: Sarah has a secret. She is telling no one and won’t even admit it to herself. What is it?

step 2: your book and book link

myBook.to/TTWO

step 3:  Book Description – Kelly needs to escape from her abusive and controlling boyfriend, but she’s terrified to leave. She’s then given a chance to start a fresh, but is the cost for her freedom too high?

Sarah is happy in her life. She has a dream job and a perfect roommate. But when a brick is thrown through the window, followed by a letter containing razor blades, her life starts to spin out of control. Detective Ryan Andrews is on the case and the two quickly form a close bond.

Will Kelly pay that price for freedom? Can Sarah’s secret past be kept from Ryan?

step 4: sneak peek, pls

Did I mention the silent phone calls on the house phone recently? Then, of course, the brick and razor blades and now this; I couldn’t ignore it anymore. It was happening, and I was scared. My stomach twisted and my ears pounded. Not again, I couldn’t do it again.

Karen’s message for the readers:

Enjoy your holidays and enjoy the Christmas and New Year festivities – Karen x

Thank you so much for dropping by, Karen!

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