Friday, May 31, 2013

Wendy & Charlie Siefken Visit Nadia's Desk

I'd like to welcome Wendy and Charles Siefken to the desk today. They are the mother and son writing team behind Kai's Journey. Kai's Journey has been polished and is being rereleased by Master Koda Select Publishing after its original run as an indie book.

Exciting things are happening with the Siefkens including a great online release party at Facebook. Come over and join the fun with the Wendy, Charlie, friends, readers and the Master Koda Team at Kai's Journey book launch party. 

Kai's Journey is the story of a young man who lives in an apocalyptic world that his father created by accident. Faced with zombies and werewolves, how will he handle this world - seven years of adventure and lessons.

You can purchase the book at Amazon, here.

Now, lets hear what Wendy and Charlie have to say.


Charlie will be attending college this fall for auto mechanics. He loves to read and create stories. He works full time at a local auto shop now. Charlie’s inspiration to become a writer and who got him hooked on reading books is Christopher Paolini who also started his writing career while in high school as well. 

Wendy is a wife, mother and also works as a tier one tech at a local call center. She has always loved to read books and when her children were small she loved to tell them stories she would make up with the kids being the main characters. Together Charlie and Wendy create worlds and people who live in them. 

Our journey started as a school project back in 2009. Charlie was given the task of writing, editing, and publishing a book. He was always writing stories and the teachers had a difficult time getting him to do his homework or doing the writing topics they wanted him to write on. Since then we have tried our hand at finding an agent with the big publishing companies before going the indie route. We had found someone to help us edit the book but they didn't quite have the same vision for the story as we did.

We had also found someone to help us create a book cover but again, they didn't quite see it as we did. Since we have joined with MasterKoda Select Publishing we have had wonderful help with editing the book to make it the best story possible with characters that will stay with you long after you finish the book.

Dan Peyton who is a very talented author is also a gifted artist who helped us by drawing the characters Kai and Clover for the cover. His amazing talents and beautiful work can be seen on the cover along with Rebbekah White's background that helps bring the story to life. Together these two wonderful people have created a beautiful work of art that we are proud to display for our book cover. 

So please join us on May 31st for fun, games and prizes! 
Just follow the link below and invite your friends as well!!/events/379479385502512/


Monday, May 20, 2013

Welcome Dianne Gardner

I'd like to welcome Dianne Gardner to the desk today. I'm excited that she's joining us to share her fascinating story with my readers.

We've all met them, those people who seem to have lived several lifetimes in one. Dianne Gardner is one such person possessing many talents. She shares her creative side with the world through her painting - she's an accomplished artist - and storyteller. Though certainly not the limit to her creativity, we'll focus on these at the desk today. Let's get right to the questions, shall we?


Q & A with Dianne Gardner:

Life experiences mold us as human beings and it would seem moreso for the creatives among us. Your creativity seems to have many veins reaching out into the world around you, Dianne. Tell us, was there a particular life event or series of events that set you on your creative journey?

What I have learned from writing.

When I was young I wrote poetry in order to express my deepest thoughts, make sense of them, validate them, and understand them. Through the years, reflecting on those poems and the moods that inspired them taught me something about the creative process, and creative people

When I was a teenager I used to tell my friends that their (and my) mood swings and depression were the key to creativity. Instead of fighting them, I’d say, we should embrace them. See those dark moments for what they, that is, a time to soul search.

As a much older and hopefully wiser person, I still embrace my moods. They don’t have nearly the swing they used to probably because I have a brighter outlook on life than I did when I was a teenager. But they certainly come in handy during the writing and painting processes.

Having published my first work a year ago I have to say I’ve learned more about writing lately than this teenage tidbit I still hold on to. Though mood swings might be a catalyst to sitting down and writing my heart, I’m finding other avenues of inspiration as well, such as walking in the woods, music, and brainstorming with friends.

I’ve also learned that patience is a top priority to good writing.

I’m on my fourth book now. Each book has been a product of more and more patience than the one before. Not just with editing, but with developing. I’ve found that resting after a scene, taking a walk in the woods, really thinking about the story and the possibilities, can prove to be extremely fruitful.

I have a portfolio now. I’m happy with it, especially since the last of the trilogy is finished. Now I can spend more time developing the craft of writing and story telling than I did when the excitement of being a newly published author was way too overwhelming to contain.

What is one of the most unusual things you have done in your life? 

I lived in a Hogan in the southwest desert. A house made from cedar poles and adobe, we built them ourselves and the Navajos thought ours were so much better than theirs, several of them had us travel (by wagon) to their homes and build a Hogan for them! In trade they would feed us a steady diet of fried bread and mutton stew. While the men were building, I helped herd sheep. Back on our 80 acres of land in an area known as “desolation flats’ we kept 25 horse. Our property was adjacent to BLM land, so it’s like we had the whole blast red-coated dirt laden country to call ours. We herded cattle for the rancher who lived a few miles away.

Do you write a specific genre? Do you have a targeted age group in mind when you write your stories?

I write fantasy, but a lot of it has my own crazy experiences in it. I target teens (especially boys for the Ian’s Realm trilogy)  9 to 90 fantasy.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Study!!! Hone your craft. Join a critique group. Get beta readers. Learn and don’t think you are the best author in the world.

Are there other tips you could give that you learned on your sojourn to your first published novel?

You can’t ever learn too much. Really! You can always get better at your craft so don’t stop learning!  Go to conferences, workshops, find people who write that you admire and learn from them. Read. Read books on writing too.

Another tip is research. I'm a hands on kind of person. In the Ian's Realm trilogy Ian travels to a mountain and eventually has to enter some dark and loathsome caves. My husband and I took a trip to Ape Cave, a lava tube under Mt. St. Helens where you walk a mile in pitch black. What an experience! And it helped to write that part of the story! You see the photographs I took in The Dragon Shield trailer nicely animated by my videographer Alex Chandler.

Another research project I did was help construct a yurt with some SCA reenactor friends.
They made this yurt, the walls and everything
and were excited to set it up for me.

I put the step by step raising of it on my blog for you to see. In the short story Meneka, the native people are shown how to erect a yurt for the first time in their lives by the young wizard. The Realm habitants live in yurts.

I was excited to have my granddaughter invite me to chaperone a field trip on The Hawaiian Chieftan, a tall ship that berths in our waters alongside The Lady Washington (the Intercepter in the Pirates of the Caribbean). That was so much fun and so educational. And it was also so timely because I was in the process of writing about Ian's tall ship adventures with the pirates in Rubies and Robbers!

I love making my books my story.


Dianne Gardner's Bio:

She's been a painter all her life having started at the age of 12 under her mother's supervision. Her first private art lesson was with a sculptress in California. Excelling in art in school and on to college, her portfolio includes portraits, inspirational works, and plein air landscapes. She was the portrait painter for the Washington Renaissance Fantasy Fair for several years painting 20 minute oil paintings during the fair. She has just recently started illustrating books, beginning this endeavor with a 9' triptych of Stenhjaert the Dragon, the antagonist in Ian's Realm.

Dianne is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. Besides the Ian's Realm Saga (Deception Peak, The Dragon Shield, and Rubies and Robbers which will be released in 2013) she boasts authorship to four short stories titled A Tale of the Four Wizards Series which interweaves with the Saga.

She writes for middle grade and young adults targeting boys and adventure loving girls, but adults are some of her most zealous fans of all. Her writing definitely falls under the 'family friendly' category!

You'll find Deception Peak, Book I in The Ian's Realm Saga here. 


If you'd like to connect with Dianne, please click on the links provided below.

Publisher’s website:
Official book blog:
Dragon Shield Trailer:

Finally, to see the book trailer for book 2 in The Ian's Realm Series, "The Dragon Shield" that Dianne mentioned above, check out the video below.

It's been a real pleasure having you here at the desk today, Dianne. Thank you for coming by and sharing your experiences and work with us. It's been informative, enlightening and fun, fun, fun! 

*Please note that the photos on todays blog are copyrighted by Dianne Gardner and may not be taken from this blog without her express written permission. Thank you for your integrity.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Revisions - A First

It's a beautiful Wednesday in my part of the country. I hope y'all are enjoying some of this lovely weather where you are, too.

I want to share a 'first' with y'all. Although I've been writing fiction for years, I have never had any of it professionally edited. No, I haven't published any of my stories. I knew that publishing a story  without the keen eye of an editor would be a mistake, at least for me. So, my stories have found their way into boxes for years. They've lived in dark, dusty places while I lived my life without *much* thought of publication.

As many of you know, I recently signed a contract with Master Koda Select Publishing for the first book in my trilogy, "Rough Hewn". I've also written a short story that won entry into the Master Koda "Literary Treasures" anthology, due out this summer.

Of course, having a story to tell does not equate to a story that is shined up and ready to publish. Unless you are an editor by trade or extremely well-versed and accomplished in the art of fiction writing, of course.

Here are a few things I learned from my first-ever professional editing process:
  • Show, don't tell - I am too wordy.
  • I need to pay closer attention to details so as not to turn 'a' into 'b' within the story.
  • No head-hopping allowed - POV (point of view) is really important!
  • A professional edit is not so scary after all.
  • Working with an honest, trustworthy and compassionate team of people is imperative to a comfortable working relationship.

"Ziggy Returns", a ghost story with a little humor and a tad bit of romance, has been edited. I dreaded having edits/revisions to do. As it turns out, I was pleased with the process. When I received the edits from my publisher, I was surprised to find a few things that I should have caught before submitting the manuscript. I learned quite a bit from her suggestions throughout the manuscript, as well. I sent my revisions back on  Monday night. I'm not delusional enough to think that one round has 'fixed' the story. I fully expect that I'll have to go back into it again. If so, I'm ready. If not, all the better for us both. *smile*

The book cover to the left may not be the final cover for "Ziggy Returns". It is one I created using two separate Microsoft Office programs. My publisher works with a great cover artist who may decide that she can improve on my version of the cover. Improvement is a good thing.

I'd love to hear about your first ever revision stories.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Getting to Know Author DeEtte Beckstead

I'm happy to have the author of Victory and The Christmas Visitors, DeEtte Beckstead, here at the desk today. She's a wonderful wordsmith who tells stories filled with hope and love. If you've read her books, you already know how special she is and if not, you're in for a treat as DeEtte shares a special promotion with us today. The links for both books are below with the cover images.
Now, let's learn more about DeEtte.


     What is your genre of choice? Why did you choose this genre?

I write mostly in Christian fiction. I didn't intend to write this genre, it sort of just happened as I wrote the story. I like it because that is how I think. There are more popular genres, but this is my niche!

     What are you working on now?

I am working on a short story using a section that was cut from another book I wrote. That's why I like to keep the sections that are cut. They may not work for one story, but can in another.

     If you have published something, tell us about it.

Last November The Christmas Visitors was published. It's a short story about a family who gets caught in a blizzard on the way home for Christmas. They have a paranormal sighting (a demon) and have a car accident. They then meet an elderly couple at the farmhouse they go to for help. What they experience there changes their lives forever.

Victory was published in December 2012. It's the story of a little girl, and the town where she lives. The town has a history of patriotism, faith, and friendliness. The little girl, Brown Eyes, orphaned when her missionary parents were killed in a fire, lives with her only known relative who does not want the girl. When The Guest comes to town, the people open their hearts and town to him, without knowing who he is or what his motives are. Shortly after his arrival, The Stranger appears, much to the discomfort of The Guest. Slowly, the town loses its freedoms as one of the men takes over little by little. When they have a face to face showdown on the mountain, the life of the child and the future of the town are at stake.

     What did you like to do while you were growing up?

I was privileged to have a loving family as I grew up. I am the youngest of 5 children, and 18 years younger than my oldest sibling. My oldest sister was in the University of Utah marching band when I was 2 to 5 years old. They made me their mascot, and I even sometimes was on the field with them, twirling a small baton. I learned to read early, and was read to daily. I remember my mama reading Five Little Peppers and How They Grew and many others.

I loved to go fishing with my dad and my grandpa. I used to get scared when we were out in the boat and both would move to the same side when someone caught a fish. I just knew we were going to capsize! We never did, of course. They were careful, but I was little!

We also went camping as a family. We didn't have a sleeping bag for each person, so some of us slept under the stars on huge camping quilts. I still remember their musty, camp smell!

My parents loved to travel, and I usually got to go with them. We went by car, and with no air conditioning, either! Crossing the desert of Nevada and California was hot! And it seemed that we would get a flat tire somewhere in the desert!

I had a few friends growing up, but I enjoyed playing alone, too. My dad built me a puppet stage, and I would put on shows for the dogs or my nephews and niece, who were closer to my age than were my siblings!

I was in Girl Scouts and had many wonderful experiences with them, including winter camping in a Pony Express station!

     Who are your biggest supporters?

My biggest supporters are my kids and some of my close friends.

     What is the message you want people to get from your current work or work-in-progress?

In The Christmas Visitors, I want the reader to know that God always sees them and loves them. In Victory, the message is that God loves them. Period. It's about forgiveness and faith and freedom. Freedom is precious, and we must NOT take is lightly.
     Do your stories come more from your own experiences or from observation of others?

There are some of my own experiences in my writing, and some from others I know or know about. Some of them are purely the creation of my imagination. I do people-watch and sometimes use people I see as characters.

     Anything you would like to share with us about you and/or your writing?

I didn't start writing seriously (meaning with the possibility of publication) until I had raised my family. I had written many things over the years, and some were published in group newsletters, but I don't really count those. When I write, I write from my heart. I try to share my characters in a way the readers feel they know them. I don't know if I succeed at that or not, but I try!

     When you aren’t writing, what would we find you doing?

Crocheting, watching old movies, being with my kids and grandkids, reading...or maybe taking in a museum or concert!


Author and blogger, DeEtte Beckstead started writing in 2007 when her son challenged her to get involved in the National Novel Writing Month, known by the acronym, NaNoWriMo. The manuscript sat untouched with several others until January of 2012 when a good friend encouraged her to seek publication. The Christmas Visitors is her first published short story, and her current novel, Victory is also her first.

DeEtte spent much of her childhood playing the piano, clarinet, and guitar, reading, and making up stories. She was active in Girl Scouts, which gave her a variety of experiences. While in college, she was on the University of Utah Synchronized Swim team, and taught winter camping and survival skills for Girl Scouts. She has spent many years working with people with disabilities.  

Originally from the state of Utah, currently DeEtte lives in New England where she writes full time and works on the editing team of Master Koda Select Publishing. Her other interests include swimming, crocheting, reading, traveling, history, and her grandchildren. In addition, this devoted mother of six and grandmother of twelve has been a concerned participant in dog rescue services for many years.

DeEtte's books would make great Mother's Day gifts.
Victory is on sale through the 19th for 99 cents!
If you haven't read this 5 star rated book, grab a copy for yourself now. 
The Christmas Visitors is also on sale for 99 cents right now.
I know you'll be blessed when reading DeEtte's stories.
She has a wonderful way of touching the hearts of her readers.

Would you like to connect with DeEtte Beckstead around the net? It's easy to find and connect with her.
Check out the links below.   


Amazon author page:

AuthorsdB page:





Thursday, May 2, 2013

May Writing Exercise on Hold - Temporarily

Here it is the second of May and I've not written a single word.

Lightning struck the power pole at my place on Monday and took out my computer and everything else plugged into the power strip at my desk.

Lightning photo by JohnGlenn513

I'm using a borrowed laptop right now but will be out of commission until I am able to replace the computer. I'm hoping that will happen before the weekend is out. Until then, those of you who are writing with me in May, please carry on and I'll catch up (hopefully) when I get the new computer.

I'm eager to hear what you are writing this month. I know there are some great stories simmering away in you. Let's get them out there!

Down but not out