Monday, November 30, 2009

Welcome Margaret (Peggy) Fieland

Born and raised in New York City, Margaret Fieland has been around art and music all her life. Daughter of a painter, she is the mother of three grown sons and an accomplished flute and piccolo player. She is an avid science fiction fan, and selected Robert A. Heinlein's “Farmer in the Sky” for her tenth birthday, now long past. She lives in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and seven dogs. Her poems, articles and stories have appeared in journals and anthologies such as Main Channel Voices, Echolocation, and Twisted Tongue. In spite of making her living as a computer software engineer, she turned to one of her sons to format the initial version of her website, a clear illustration of the computer generation gap. You may visit her website,

Q: Tell us about what you write:
A: I'm a professional Computer Software engineer – BA in mathematics, MS in computer science, but I've written poetry as far back as I can remember, though not with publication in mind and not with any level of dedication.

Q: What got you writing for publication?
A: What really propelled me into writing for publication was organizing my poetry. I used to keep the poems, when I kept them, in notebooks. They were totally unorganized, and I could never find anything. Then I wrote a poem I wanted to keep, so I got off the stick and put them up, first on my computer, and after that online, originally in Yahoo briefcase, and later in Google Documents.

Q: Why was the organization such a key factor in moving your writing forward?
A: Once I had the poems organized and findable, I could finally submit, and I could look them over and gain perspective on how I was doing. What ended up happening was that I submitted a poem to a contest on a whim and ended up a finalist. This was so encouraging that I started writing more, working more seriously on growing as a writer, joined critique groups, etc

Q: What are you working on now?
A:Well, there's my chapter book, “The Ugly Little Boy.” I'm also working on a rhymed picture book and a series of math poems.

Q: Almost every writer is inspired by someone else. Does anyone inspire you?
A: Lewis Carroll. My all time favorite book is “Alice in Wonderland,” which I reread every exam time when I was in college, as I made it a habit to avoid the library during exams. I'm also very fond of Carroll's poetry. I've got several stanzas of Jabberwocky and You Are Old, Father William memorized.

Q:How long have you been writing?
A: I've been writing poetry since my teens, but only with publication in mind for the past three or four years. As a story writer I'm pretty much of a novice, as I only started writing stories after I hooked up with Linda Barnett Johnson after the first Muse online writer's conference three years ago and joined her writing forums.
I'm 62 now, so that's a lot of years of writing.

Q: What made you want to start writing?
A: Good question – I started and became addicted. I really love writing -- and I just plain enjoy writing poetry, rhymed and unrhymed. I've developed my own algorithm for generating rhymes, which means that I often don't have to use a rhyming dictionary at all.
Besides, if I don't write it down it stays stuck in my head.

Q: When did you start writing?
A: Like many teens, I started writing (bad) poetry in my teens as an outlet for my teenage angst. Then later on I started writing poetry for the people I was dating, and after that for family birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, -- basically everything.

Q: What's the strangest thing you've ever written? Why
A: I don't think anything I write is strange {looks innocently up at ceiling}. I have written several surreal poems, and I have one I really like called “Machine A Ecrire” (French for typewriter), unpublished, in the shape of a typewriter. The sentences are “variations” on the stuff they had us all typing when we were in school.

Q: Some authors have said that their parents were supportive of their efforts when young, and some have said they had to sneak around and hide. What was the case with you?
A: When I was young I was studying music, not writing – I play the flute and the piccolo. My mother was an artist and while she was supportive of my music, her advice was “Always be able to support yourself,” so for that and other reasons I didn't become a professional musician.

Q: Who proofreads and critiques your work?
A:I belong to a couple of (online) critique groups and I also exchange manuscripts with other writers.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: Darned if I know. Some of the poetry is “inspired,” some is in response to exercises or prompts I dig up, some is from lines that come to me as I'm falling asleep, some from events in my life. Lots of places. One poem I wrote this week was inspired by some words in the comments in the "spam" folder on my website {grin}.

Q: Where do you write?
A: Wherever I happen to be. I have pads and pens everywhere. I even write in the car. At home, my two favorite spots are the dining room table and my bed.

Q: When do you write – set times or as the mood moves you?
A: Since I have a full time job, whenever the spirit moves me, and I have (or can make) the time. The nice thing about poetry is that a lot of it is short and taking a couple of minutes to jot down poetry is pretty easy to do. Waiting for appointments is a favorite time to write. I've had good luck being "inspired" by those articles you find in waiting rooms.

Q: If you could take a character from someone else's book on a date, who would it be and where would you take him/her/it?
A: Oh, good question. Some of the characters from Marion Zimmer Bradley's darkover series come to mind. If I could take them anywhere, I think I'd opt for the San Diego Museum of Science (as opposed to the one here in Boston). I was there once for a conference and fell in love with the place.

Q: If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would ask and why?
A: Lewis Carroll, because I have a soft spot for his poetry, or James M. Barrie, because my favorite book as a kid was Peter Pan.

Q: Do you use the Internet to check facts, or the library?
A: Are you kidding? The internet. I'm an online kind of gal. My favorite resource is, which has an online dictionary and thesauraus. I make heavy use of the thesauraus when writing poetry, even rhymed poetry. Though I do occasionally resort to a rhyming dictionary, I usually generate the rhymes myself.

Q: When you're not writing, what do you like to do?
A: Read, listen to music, play my flute and my piccolo, walk our dogs, do crossword puzzles.

Q: Do you ever have a problem with writer's block?
A: Not so far, thank goodness {pauses to knock wood}.

Q: Who's your favorite author (other than yourself)? Why?
A: My favorite author for a long time was Robert Heinlein. I am a 'way back sci fi fan. I picked out his “Farmer in the Sky” as my tenth birthday present.

Q: What's your favorite book (other than one of your own)? Why?
A” Alice in Wonderland, which I reread every exam time in college.

Peggy, thanks so much for stopping by and letting us get to know you a little better. Don't forget to check out Peggy's website:
Dec. 1st, tour with new and famous authors – books, tips, and more.

Mystery Site Giveaway!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Interview with Darcia Helle

Please welcome Darcía Helle, this months author in the spotlight. She is a fiction author of mystery/suspense.

What makes you want to write?

I write because, "My head gets cluttered with characters that demand their story be written.
She currently has four books published and is at work on number five. Darcía also writes a monthly nonfiction, crime-related newsletter called ...
Guilty As Charged.
Words are Darcía's addiction. She will read just about anything: novels, biographies, history, sociology, ingredient labels...

"What can you tell me about your life?"

"I grew up in Massachusetts but have lived in the Tampa Bay area of Florida since 2002. I am married and have two sons." An animal lover, Darcía has two very spoiled dogs and two equally spoiled cats.

Let's take a look at an excerpt from 

Hit List
Sanity is not something you lose, like your car keys or that elusive sock in the dryer. That's what Ian believed before his mother stepped over the edge from sane to crazy. No one is able to give Ian a reasonable explanation. Corinne suffers from severe memory loss, odd behavior, and paranoid delusions. Or at least Ian had been told they were delusions. After all, who would be hiding outside watching his mother? And why? Ian hires private investigator Lucianna Martel to retrace the events of his mother's last sane day. During Lucianna's investigation, she and Ian learn that Corinne may not be so crazy after all.

Make sure you check out...Darcía's website - - is her own creation. There you will find excerpts from her books,newsletters, monthly contests, blog, and a few pages of things to make you smile.
Order her books on Amazon: Enemies and Playmates, Hit list, No Justice and Beyond Salvation

Thanks Darcia  for taking time out of your day to stop by and give us a glimpse into the life of a mystery/suspense writer.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Book Reading Video

Here is an example of how my children's books get kids up and moving. It brings the love of books and  moving together. Each page has the children listen to fun rhymes, move to developmentally appropriate movement skills and answer questions to get their brains activated. It's a book that's fun for all.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tell Your Story

I recently went on a trip with 38 people. I only knew one other person went I set out on this trip to a foreign land. But by the end of the 10 days I had gotten to know the others. Some I got to know better than others, some were more fascinating, some were funnier, some were more serious but all in all it was a wonderful group of people. The group was made up of couples, sisters, mothers and daughters, younger, older, some from Australia, Italy and all over the U.S.
What I realized (I’ve known this, but once again it was proven to me) is that everyone has a story to tell.
As I sat and listened to each person, whether it was over dinner, a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the afternoon, they all shared moments of courage, regret, heartache, love, joy, hope and some amazing adventures. The one thing that saddened me the most is that these stories, these people with so much to tell and to share, may be forgotten. Everyone is an author, a story teller, and a weaver of tales. Everyone has a story.
Years ago I encouraged my mom to tell the stories of her childhood. She grew up in South Carolina in the 40’s and 50’s and she had wonderful stories to share. She took pictures and videotaped them and narrated the stories. This will be passed down for generations. I cry every time I watch it; it turns my mom into someone I never knew, a child, a teenager in love and a beautiful bride. Without her telling the stories I could have never met those women. It brings to life my great Aunts and Uncles and great grandparents I never knew. But because of this gift I know them now, I know their stories and I have come to love them.
My father a young man growing up in Charleston around the same time has started to tape record his stories for me and my children. He used to put us to bed at night telling us the stories of his childhood. Oh, what wonderful memories! Such amazing things he got to do and places he got to go as a young soldier in the army. I love hearing his voice and imagining him as a young boy in his adventures around Charleston with his friends.
Reading books or listening to stories can transport you to different times, places and create magical moments. I was given the great opportunity to do this while listening to my travel companions.
On this trip I met...
A lady who shared the funniest tales of her family members; I laughed and laughed each time she told another tale.
Another has a story of a breast cancer journey. What an amazing strong woman she is.
One is a librarian with seven children, imagine the stories there.
Two people had been on an African safari and had great tales to tell. I kept bugging them to tell me more each night.
One man’s mother was a sex therapist when he was growing up. Wow, the stories there were too funny.
One man has lived in the Arctic and travelled all over, his tales of adventure, courage and strength, were amazing. What a wonderful gift he gave each time he told a story, but how much more wonderful if he wrote them down for his son.
I loved meeting these people, listening to them talk, they made me laugh, they inspired me to pursue these things I’ve been dreaming of and they made me hopeful that if they can survive what they have been through I too can survive hardships and heartache and come out a better person. Some, because of the time I spent with them ignited a passion for things I had forgotten were inside of me.
Although they may never read this blog I want to thank each and every one of them for sharing a little bit of their life with me. I’m a better person because you shared your stories.
My wish is that these amazing people, the ones I travelled with, the ones reading this blog, the people I meet every day and those that I’ve met before will find a way to tell their story.
Don’t worry about grammar, getting it published, or what it sounds like.
Know this...
Your stories are interesting, they are funny and motivational, and will be appreciated.
You don’t have to write it, you can video tape it like my mother did or tape record it like my dad does.
Whatever you do, don’t let your story get lost and forgotten; instead let it be remembered, let it be heard.

About Me

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Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States