Sunday, December 16, 2012

It’s Embrace’s Book Birthday and to celebrate the success of her debut novel Cherie Colyer is giving away a copy of her book plus swag. Before we get to that, here is a brief excerpt and some information about Embrace.

We walked at a fast clip to the gates. I told myself to keep my eyes forward, not to let on that I could feel the eyes that watched us. I looked back as we stepped onto the sidewalk. Tombstones reached up like crooked teeth, laughing at me, daring me to come back.

by Cherie Colyer

How far would you go to save the people you love?

Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve.

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him.

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.

To view the book trailer click here. If you’d like to curl up with Embrace today you can download the eBook on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

To win a copy of Embrace or swag, all you have to do is fill out the form: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find Cherie: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter 

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Challenge - Tag You're It!

My friend and fellow writer, Cherie Colyer, tagged me in the Next Big Thing Blog Challenge. The rules are simple:

I must answer 10 questions about my current work-in-progress. Then I tag other writers (up to 5) and link their blogs so readers can hop over and read their answers.

Here are the questions:

1.  What is the working title of your book?
2.  Where did the idea come from for the book?
3.  What genre does your book fall under?
4.  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
5.  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
6.  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
8.  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?
10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

And here are my answers.

1. The title of my WIP is: On The Brink

2. This book will be the sequel to my historical fiction novel, Merely Dee. Originally, I'd written this book as a stand-alone, but readers pressed for answers to the love triangle. Which man does Dee Pageau choose--Karel Koznecki or Lars Nielsen? So I guess I have to say that you, my dear friends and readers, gave me the idea for the sequel.

3. On The Brink is Young Adult/Adult Historical Fiction

4. Check out the cast below. What do you think? Any other suggestions for the main characters?

5. As Dee Pageau wrestles with the desires of her heart, her life becomes complicated by new responsibilities, new friends, and new experiences.
6. I'm going to try for an agent with this book.
7. I don't know how long it will take to write the novel, but I'll work as hard and fast as possible. Please hang in there and don't lose faith. The sequel is coming.
8. I'll get back to you on this one.
9. My grandmother's story inspired me to write these two novels. (For those of you who don't know the tale, Grandma Manseau had a ticket to the 1915 Western Electric Employee Picnic. The night before the big event, Great Grandma Savageau had a premonition of danger and begged my grandma to remain at home. Grandma Manseau listened to her mother and didn't go to the picnic, thus avoiding the terrible tragedy of the SS Eastland.) 
10. Dee's world will expand as she explores the wonders and horrors of 1915/1916 Chicago. There'll be encounters with now-famous people and visits to historic landmarks.  
Now it's my turn to reciprocate. Tag you're it:
Terry Flamm
Susan Kaye Quinn
Terri Murphy

Hailee Steinfeld as Dee Pagaeu
Ashley Judd as Momma

 Holland Roden as Dolly

Andrew Garfield as Karel

Kellan Lutz as Lars

Elizabeth Olsen as Mae

Thanks for visiting today, and I hope you find time to check out the blogs of my three amazing friends.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Blessing of Alzheimer's

Right about now, you're saying 'what'? How could any sane person find a blessing in a disease that takes a once-capable mind and turns it into mush? Well, I am sane (at least I think so, the kids in my life may have other opinions). But I'd discovered that when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease our whole relationship changed. For the better.

How, you wonder? Well, to be brutally, painfully honest, my mother and I always had a difficult relationship. Towards the end of her 'aware' years, our relationship had deteriorated to such a pitiful state, I felt we were on the brink of termination. That's precisely when the signs of Alzheimer's began to appear. Mom would leave the stove on, she'd lose her keys, she'd forget what she'd been talking about. The right words would just not come out no matter how hard she tried to deliver them. Once, we had to call paramedics, her thoughts and speech were so choppy and disconnected, we'd thought she had had a stroke.

When it became clear that she couldn't live safely on her own anymore, my sister and brother and I made that painful decision to move her into an assisted living apartment. It was a beautiful facility and an even more beautiful apartment, but Mom hated it and us for putting her there. That first year in her new apartment was the worse year of my life. Yet as her memory faded and the disease took more and more control of her mind, a strange thing happened. Mom mellowed! Her doctor explained to me that Alzheimer's bring out the patient's 'true' personality. If a person has always been mean and angry, then they'll become even more canterous. If a patient is sweet and quiet, then the outcome is blissfully childlike and easy to manage. So, what was happening to my difficult mother? Why was she softening and not growing mean-spirited and troublesome to handle? Her doctor did not have an answer for me. Mom's sitution was unusual--even for this seasoned professional.

But I was not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. I believed then as I believe now that her disease was a gift from God. A special blessing that could heal our torn and tattered mother/daughter relationship and bring us around to a better place. If Mom had not gotten Alzheimer's, then we might not be speaking to each other now. And that would be a terrible shame.

But do not get me wrong, dear reader. Our relationship is still difficult, but in new and different ways. Now I'm the parent and Mom's the dependent child. I worry about her constantly and I'm on call 24/7 for any emergency that might pop up. I have to put other family members in place before I can go out of town. But now, Mom appreciates my visits. She's always happy to see me and sometimes cries when I have to leave. The woman who had once criticized and scolded and bossed, now simply says, 'Thank you' and offers a kiss. It's a gesture that never fails to surprise and thrill me, and one that I'll never take for granted. I know the high price Mom has had to pay for this stunning change of heart. She sacrificed her mind, but gained a loving heart. And a loving daughter who is eternally grateful for the blessing of Alzheimer's.


- 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's.
- One in eight older Americans has the disease.
- Alzheimer's is the 6th-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death among
  the top 10 in the country that can't be prevented, cured, or even slowed.
- Based on mortality data from 2000-2008, death rates have declined for most major diseases
   while death from Alzheimer's Disease have risen 66% during that same period.

For more information, contact the Alzheimer's Association
Step-daughter Amber Cheatham and I at the 2012 Walk to End Alzheimer


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ROADTRIP TO RESEARCH or How I Started the Sequel to Merely Dee by Driving All Around the Great Lakes

I apologize, faithful readers, for neglecting to post a new blog til now, but I've been overwhelmed this July with family concerns (the death of a dear aunt and getting two kids settled in college apartments). But even more to the point of this blog, I've been anxiously researching a sequel to Merely Dee. This Eastland novel was supposed to be a stand alone, single book. I had no plans to continue Dee Pageau's story, but readers wanted answers to her lovelife dilemma. So I started jotting down notes, and before I knew it, I had an entire novel plotted out. All I have to do now is flesh out the historical details.

I began at the beginning, or should I say, at the end of Merely Dee. It's months later, the winter of 1915. The Eastland has been righted and raised and towed by tugs away from the disaster site at the Chicago River. Western Electric is at full-staff again, and Dee is thick in the middle of a love triangle. But what else is going on in the world?

Chicago has become a fast-growing industrial city, the working class poor hobnobbing it alongside the Palmers, the McCormicks, and the Marshall Fields. Jane Addams's Hull House is a thriving settlement nearly a block long. Suffragists hold meetings to address the issues of women's rights, the every-growing problem of neglected street children, and the concerns for drunk and abusive husbands/fathers. Prohibition is just around the corner. The Great War has already broken out in Europe. And a fictious Eastland seaman, named Lars Nielsen, has joined the crew of the SS Theordore Roosevelt.

I started my research of that exciting time period with books, but that answered only so many questions. I needed to know about a Merchant Marine's life on a Great Lakes steamer. What was it like to live on a ship day in and day out? What did mariners do for money when the ice settled in on the lakes and their ships were dry docked for the winter? To find the anwers, I set out in my SUV. Fortunately for me, I was able to drag my husband along for company (and a little R&R for him).

Our first stop: Millburg, Michigan, burial place of Eastland's notorious captain, Harry Pedersen. By the winter of 1915, Pedersen was all over the news. He, and five other men, had been arrested and charged with conspiracy to operate an unsafe ship. He stated--in no uncertain terms--that he would not be the scapegoat for the disaster and continued to change his story to suit his circumstances. I was never a fan of the man, and so I wanted to go full circle on my Eastland research, and dance on his grave. But the reality of his final resting place was humbling and sad. I could no more dance upon his decaying, unattended headstone than I could beat a dog. Pedersen's long life came to a pathetic and lonely end, and I left Millburg satisfied for the victims.

Harry Pedersen's headstone set in the ground alongside his wife's.

Me and Bob Bowersox
At the wheel
Onto happier things! Our next trip took us to Toledo, Ohio, to visit a 1911 steamship freighter,the SS Carl Schoonmaker. The freighter has been restored to its original brillance and is now a floating Maritime Museum. The Eastland and the Teddy Roosevelt were excursion ships, not freighters, and their design and purpose were different. But all three ships were from the same era and just seeing this freighter, climbing her narrow steps, staring out her wraparound bridge windows, took me back to a bygone time. I imagined Lars Nielsen on those decks and my book came alive. But this ship was not the biggest surprise of the day. Our tour guide was a retired Merchant Marine, with 40 years experience on the Great Lakes. Bob Bowersox, Vietnam Vet, and lifelong resident of Toledo, told me stories that would add depth to Lars's fictional existence. Bob fielded every question I had and then went on to answer some that I didn't even know I needed. I left Toledo with a page of scribbled notes and a huge smile on my face. Thank you, Bob Bowersox, from the depths of my heart!

Curator Laura Shields, docent Jackie Glidden, and me.  
Before heading home, we stopped for a two-day rest in Michigan City, Indiana. For those of you familiar with the Eastland story, you know that the ship was heading to Michigan City the morning she capsized. The picnic grounds at Washington Park along the beautiful southern shore of Lake Michigan were a favorite amusement spot for Chicago tourists. For just seventy-five cents, the tired and over-worked citizens of the crowded city could take a round-trip adventure on a steamer for a relaxing day of sun and fun. Washington Park has changed over the years, but Lake Michigan and the sandy beaches are as beautiful as ever. I had an appointment with Laura Shields, curator of the Old Lighthouse Museum, an actual working lighthouse on the shore of the Great Lake. I'd emailed her in advance of my visit, asking if she had any information on the SS Theodore Roosevelt. She invited me to take a seat in the basement library and presented me with a folder two-inches thick. For the next hour, I was in heaven, going through old postcard pictures, newspaper articles from the early 1900's, and family photos of passengers on decks of the Roosevelt.  
The Old Lighthouse Museuum as it stands today.
I still have much more research to do. Soon I'll take to the highways again, this time to visit the Hull House Museum on the campus of the University of Illinois in Chicago, and another museum in Elmhurst that is featuring an exhibit on the history of chocolate in Chicago--including the Brach's Candy Company where Karel Koznecki works. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures for you, dear readers. Until next time... happy and safe travels to you and your families this summer!

One last thing before you click off! I need a favor that only you can provide. If you've read Merely Dee, and you have some free time on your hands, please consider writing a book review for me. You can write one review and download it in several places:,, and Goodreads. If you don't have any extra time, please just make a quick visit to these sites and rate my book from 1 to 5 stars (one being bad and 5 being great) and then hit the 'like' icon. I would really appreciate it and so would Merely Dee! Thank you for your continued support this year. You've been more than awesome!  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Shake, Rattle, and Let's Roll (Or How I Made It Through My First TV Interview)

Thursday, May 31st, 2012 was a day unlike any other. After years of writing in quiet obscurity, I was invited into the light of WGN TV for an interview on their Midday News program. Needless to say, I was excited, but beyond that, I was terrified. The interview was going to be broadcast LIVE. No rehearsals, no video editing, no second chance to take back the bloopers. I would say what I would say, and the whole world--well at least the areas of the US that picked up the WGN superstation--would see me for what I was. A trembling, nervous wreck.

The day started out on a sour note. After a week of sunny, warm weather, Chicago had suddenly turned rainy and cold. The outfit I'd scoured the stores for, bought coordinating jewelry and sandals for, would not work. I'd look like a fool in a summery dress and beige sandals with big, flouncy flowers. So with a sigh, I left outfit A in the closet and slipped into Plan B--a dress with a sweater and closed-toe heels with pantyhose. But at least, the jewelry was coordinating.

After a forty-five minute drive into the city, my entourage and I arrived at the WGN studios. (Really, I was accompanied by my sister-in-law, Barb Manseau, and my aunt, Phyllis DeCicco, but they were as good as any entourage out there. I'd bet my bottom dollar on that!) Barb had graciously offered to drive and I was so glad she did. If I'd been behind the wheel, we probably wouldn't have made it on time. Or alive. But we were safe and sound and ringing the buzzer for our grand entrance. The security guard asked me who I was here to see, and I stammered. Who was I here to see? What were the names of those news anchors? What was the name of the program? I stared at him with wild, frantic eyes, trying to remember my name. He calmly checked his clipboard and said, "You must be the Eastland author?"

Yes! I nearly screamed.The Eastland author. Thank you for reminding me. He chuckled and buzzed us into the lobby. "Green room's third door down on the right," he called and we started on our way down the yellow-brick road to the 'green room' where stars wait for their on-air cues!

We dropped our wet umbrellas and raincoats and purses and bags, and grabbed our cameras. We took turns posing in front of the blue-green door under the Green Room sign. My aunt snagged some guy in the hall and he took a picture of all three of us under the infamous sign. "Would you like a tour?" the nice man asked.

Of course we would! And off we went to the legendary Bozo the Clown's studio across the hall. Bozo's no longer on the air, but the nearly vacant studio elicited 'oohs' and 'awwws' from all three of us nonetheless. Cameras snapped, flashes popped. We circled the cavernous room, delirious with excitement when I spied Bozo's Buckets.

"Tom's favorite!" I cried, snapping a photo for my husband. We tore ourselves away from Bozo and the staffers trying to have a meeting in the corner and headed back to our room to wait and watch WGN's morning programs on the fuzzy, outdated TV mounted on the wall. The television may not have been a state-of-the-art flatscreen, but the coffeemaker was top of the line. We sorted through the Keurig cups while my aunt flagged down another guy in the hall to bring us some water for our empty coffeemaker. We rummaged through the empty fridge, disappointed there weren't any bottles of Perrier or Smart Water, and tried to relax.

Barb and my aunt relaxed, I sweated and fussed and coughed. It was 11:00 am and the Midday News had just started. In forty minutes, I would be on live TV and I couldn't catch my breath. My knees were quaking and I knew I might faint if I didn't calm down. TV thankfully provided some momentary respite for my over-wrought nerves. It was White Sox day at WGN and the building was abuzz with baseball players and giveaways and food catered by Cellular One Stadium. An all-black Smart Car emblazoned with the White Sox logo had been parked in the hallway. Up on the screen, the Sox's newly acquired relief pitcher was being interviewed by the two Midday News anchors--Dina Bair and Steve Sanders. Addison Devon Reed was young and vibrant and chatting happily away while I watched in fascination and admiration. Could I pull off something like that? I didn't know, but I'd find out in twenty-five minutes.

My aunt wrangled the young pitcher as he was leaving the building and he gave her an autograph and a big smile. A few minutes later, the producer appeared. "Which one of you is Marian?" she asked, glancing around at the three of us. I stepped forward. The pretty, twenty-something producer shook my sweaty hand. "I'll come get you at 11:30," she informed me. "You'll be on at 11:40, but we need a few minutes to set you up with a mike. Steve Sanders will do the interview. He read your book already."

"Great," I said. "So what kind of questions will he be asking?"

I held my breath, waiting for the answer when she said, "Oh, he has all kinds of questions."

"What kind? What specifically does he want to talk about?"

"You're the expert," the bubbly producer said. "Who knows your book better than you?" She patted my arm. "You'll be great. Just be sure to look only at Steve. Like you're having a personal chat with him. Ignore the teleprompters and cameras." She smiled, hugged her clipboard to her chest, and turned to leave. "Be ready at 11:30 when I return to escort you to the Studio 3."

She never came back. Instead, a gangly young man with a clipboard knocked on the opened door. "Ready?" he asked in a voice that seemed too small for such a tall person.

I stopped pacing and gulped. "Sure," I said in a voice that matched his. "Okay," I said to Barb and my aunt. "Wish me luck."

"Oh, they can come too," my willowy escort said. We scooped up all our belongings before he changed his mind and  followed him to the studio at the end of the long hall. "It's only my second day," he whispered to me. I stared at him for a frozen moment. Second day? I was being summoned by a kid with only one day's experience? What was going on here? Where was my bubbly producer? Did this kid even know the right way to go? Before I could have a complete meltdown, we walked through the doors marked with a huge number 3 and fell silent. Steve Sanders and Dina Bair were behind the anchor desk reading from teleprompters. A director was standing directly in front of them, pointing to one of three cameras. Red lights flicked on and off as cameramen took turns shooting the anchor desk from left, right, or center. A short guy in a white jersey hooked a mike to my sweater lapel and wrapped a wire around my waist and through my belt as a clip of a BBC news blooper played on the screen.

"We all make mistakes," Dina Bair said, laughing when the BBC story ended and the cameras returned to the anchor desk.

"Yep," Steve Sanders said with a chuckle. "We've all been there." And then his expression turned serious and the cover of my book appeared on the screen. "The author of a new book about the 1915 Eastland boat disaster is in the studio today." Or words to that effect and the screen went to commercials. Steve got up and walked a few feet to a tall round table. I was directed to the chair next to him. I hopped onto the stool, adjusted my skirt, and looked over at him. He smiled and my heart slowed. Steve asked me a few questions and told me what he wanted to talk about. I was thrilled with the direction this interview would take and grinned heartily. "Take a deep breath," he said as the camera turned on us. "You'll be fine."

I never took my eyes off of him. Later, Barb and my aunt told me they were standing only a few feet away, watching as one camera shot me, another camera was aimed at Steve, and the third camera caught the image of both of us at the table. I hadn't noticed a thing. I didn't see my entourage. Didn't see the cameras. Didn't notice the director pointing his finger at one cameraman or another. The only thing I remember when the interview ended was Steve saying, "I hope you sell a million copies."

I hope so too, Steve. Thank you very much for helping me through this! You're a scholar and a gentleman. You can check out the interview in its entirety on the sidebar. If you have any problems, you can always find the video on Just type my name in the search bar. And thanks for watching!   

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Act of Kindness (RAOK) Pay it Forward!

I was all set to write a new blog about mothers today when I received the most amazing email from my friend and fellow writer, Cherie Colyer (Embrace). It seems that the blog, The Bookshelf Muse, is sponsoring a Randon Act of Kindness Blitz for writers, and that Cherie chose me as someone who has touched her writing life. She even went so far as to offer me a gift. A personal, private critique of one whole chapter of my next novel! What a generous offer considering how valuable her time is these days. (She's hard at work on the sequel to Embrace, Hold Tight). I'm honored and thrilled by this unexpected surprise, and I thank Cherie from the bottom of my heart. When we met many years ago in our SCBWI writer's group, I was the one who was touched by her kind nature and generous spirit. As a co-chair of our group, she is always quick to make new members feel at ease. Her critiques are honest and heartfelt, and I've come to trust and depend on her opinion for my own work.

So, as my own way of thanking Cherie, I'd like to continue this ROAK Blitz by selecting two fellow writers who have made a huge difference in my life—the dynamic duo of Terry Flamm and Mike Kelly.

Early last summer, our group attempted to gather for our bi-monthly meeting at our local Barnes/Noble. For some unknown reason, only three of us showed that night—Terry, Mike and myself. Terry Flamm had brought a brochure from the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago announcing the productions for the 2011-2012 season. The three plays had a theme. They would each tell a story about an incident that had changed history. The first play would be about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the second about the hiring of the first-ever black baseball player, Jackie Robinson, and the third would be a musical about the Eastland boat disaster of 1915. Now as most of my readers know, my novel, Merely Dee, is set against the drama of the little-known Eastland disaster. What great good luck! A respected Chicago theatre group was going to tell the story of the capsizing. The city would hear the details in a new light, and maybe, just maybe the Eastland would finally come out of the shadows. But what about my as-yet-unpublished novel? I had to get it out there, but how?

In what I can only call a magical moment of serendipity, Mike Kelly handed me an article from Time magazine. The article was about the boom of self-publishing and highlighted several self-published books that had become best sellers. Some authors had even signed movie deals. Why don't I self-publish Merely Dee, Mike had inquired. Yes! Terry Flamm echoed. Why don't I?

I didn't have an answer that night. But I did go home with the Lookingglass Theatre brochure and the Time magazine article and talk to my husband. We discussed the money, the risks, and the opportunities, and made the momumentous decision to self-publish my book. That decision changed my life in so many wonderful ways, and it all came about because my two friends cared enough about my work to get involved. For over a year, Terry and Mike, and all the other members of our writer's group, critiqued my manuscript and helped me to shape the novel. Terry and Mike are particularly adept at critiquing and I truly value their opinions and insights. They're tough, but honest, and their suggestions for revisions are always right on target. And so was their suggestion to take a chance and self-publish, and for that, I'm forever in their debt. As a small token of my affection, I'd like to buy you guys a 'thank-you' cup of coffee at our next meeting.

You can find Terry Flamm's stories, commentaries, and reviews on his blog, Mike Kelly writes and illustrates graphic novels. Check out his Barker the Beagleman series and his soon-to-be-published GN in the Night Stalker Series. And of course, you'll always discover new and exciting stuff on Cherie's blog, Information on Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre is at: So how about you, fellow writers? Who would you select for your Random Act of Kindness? Join the Blitz at

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Interview with Author Susan Kaye Quinn

Merely Me: Thank you for joining me today and congratulations on the success of your latest novel, Open Minds!
Susan Kaye Quinn
Open Minds is being called dystopian sci-fi. Can you explain your take on dystopian literature for my readers of historical fiction?
Susan Kaye Quinn: The classic definition of a dystopia is that it's the opposite of a utopia. Instead of the world becoming a perfect place with perfect humans in a perfect society, it becomes a fun-house mirror version of that, a dark place where oppression rules the day. I think of dystopian stories more like thought experiments: what would happen if robots became sentient? What if everyone could read minds? What if...? They are really speculative fiction, where we take one element of the world, twist it into something new, and see what would happen. In other words, they're lots of fun for geeks like me.

MM: Yeah, and thrills for geeks like me too! In Open Minds you've created a world of mind readers but with a devilish twist. How did you come up with the idea for the Mindjack Trilogy?
SKQ: It literally just popped into my head one night as I was drifting off to sleep. I wanted to enter a 1st paragraph online contest, but I didn't have a suitably snazzy paragraph in my then-current works, so I decided to create a 1st paragraph for a novel that didn't exist (yet). I played around with a couple ideas, including a story about a boy who was a touch-empath (who was very isolated because of his ability), but then this image of a girl sitting in a classroom of mindreaders popped into my head. She couldn't read minds, so she was painfully isolated (like the touch-empath) in a world that had gone silent because no one spoke anymore. I didn't win the contest, but I was compelled to write her story after that.

MM: Would you like to be able to read minds? Or would you like to live in Kira's world? Or both?
SKQ: Neither. Way too scary for me in Kira's world.

MM: What kind of books did you enjoy as a child?
SKQ: I was a HUGE (monstrously gigantically huge) science fiction reader. I read all the classics by Asimov and Heinlein, and they had a big impact on my young aspirations to be an engineer/astronaut, but also in how to live my life. They fed my philosophical leanings as well.

MM: You have a very hectic life. How do you fit writing into that schedule?
SKQ: I write when my kids (ages 8, 11, 13) are in school, which I'm very fortunate to do. I know so many writers with full time jobs or little kids, and I have no idea how they do it. The only reason my life is hectic is because I try to stuff an elephant's worth of work into a teacup sized amount of time.

MM: You are very involved in an online group called The Indelibles. Please tell us about them.
SKQ: The Indelibles are "fun, fierce and fabulous indie authors, hoping to leave a mark on MG and YA readers." It's a tremendously supportive group of 25 indie-published authors. We're not a regular writer's group that exchanges critiques (although we do that sometimes too), but rather we support each other in our indie-publishing journeys with cross-promotion, joint events like #indiechat every Tuesday 9pm EST on Twitter, and general support in navigating the indie publishing world. We have authors who are soon to publish their first work up to authors who have sold over 50,000 copies of their novels and landed TV deals with 20th Century Fox. I'm proud to be part of this amaziing group of talented ladies.

MM: I saw Open Minds as a movie in my head as I read your first book of the trilogy. If (or should I say when) the Mindjack Trilogy goes Hollywood, who do you see playing Kira Moore? How about Raf? Who should play Simon?
SKQ: I'm seriously bad at casting, so I'm not even going to try. I'll trust the movie guys to take care of that (someday).

MM: Who is your favorite character from fiction? If you could, would you trade places with her (or him) for a week?
SKQ: I was just saying on Twitter that Cassel from Holly Black's White Cat is one of my favorite characters (I'm reading the third book, Black Heart, right now). He's a tormented boy, a con man in a world where spell workers are part of an underground magic mafia, but he wants to save the girl he loves and, maybe, someday, even be one of the good guys. Tormented, I tell you! Love that boy. Wouldn't want to be him though. Possibly date him if I was a reckless 17-year-old that didn't mind being cursed.

MM: You've just completed work on Closed Hearts, book two of the Mindjack Trilogy. Congratulations! When can we expect to see it on Amazon? And what about book three?
SKQ: Thanks! Cloased Hearts will be released May 23rd, which will be Virtual Party Day and all kinds of fun, but there will be contests and giveaways leading up to the launch, so your readers might want to stop by to check out upcoming events. As for Mindjack #3, I don't have even a tentative release date, although I have already started working on the book.

MM: What's next for you after the Trilogy? What kind of book can your fans anticipate?
SKQ: This is a great question, one I've been wrestling with. I have a story idea that's been haunting me for over a year, which is a good sign that I need to write it, but I need to make sure it can support a whole novel, preferrably another trilogy. Whatever I end up writing next, it's safe to say it will be more young adult speculative fiction, so hopefully fans of the Mindjack Trilogy will enjoy it.

MM: Your fans and I will look forward to hearing about that next project. So, tell us about your workspace. What's on your desk as you write?
SKQ: Diet Pepsi, Writer Mouse (stuffed), and a whole lotta junk. I really need to clean my desk.

MM: One final thought before you leave us. Writing a trilogy is a major commitment in your life. How will you celebrate the completion of the Mindjack books?
SKQ: A date with my pillow. And there might be wine involved. Thanks so much for hosting me! 

I hope you've enjoyed our visit with my friend and fellow author, Susan Kaye Quinn. You can find more about Susan at:

For a light, romantic read, check out her novel: Life, Liberty, and  Pursuit 

You can also find Susan's stories in the anthologies:

You can find The Indelibles at: