Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Image: Prague, Czech Republic



Photo by Jason Jack Miller

This tilt shift photo of a Prague trolley was taken by my husband when we visited the Czech Republic two years ago.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book: Red Ranger Came Calling


Red Ranger Came CallingRed Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed

Damsels in Regress had a recent poll about favorite Christmas books. Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed is mine. My husband and I read it every year.

If you've never read it, it's a guaranteed true Christmas story.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

EVENT: Official Kissing Day Blogfest - The Excerpt


Official Kissing Day Blogfest

The following is an excerpt from the spy thriller I'll be finishing by New Year's called Sin City Zion:

Phoebe stood in front of the highrise window looking out over the strip. She hugged her arms around her as much from the air conditioning as from the chill of fear. Nick came up behind her and rubbed the goosebumps from her arms.

“How are you doing?”

“I don’t know,” she said, surprised by the honesty of her response. Her stiff upper lip was failing her. She put her head on his chest. “Do you think they’re all right?”

“Sure. Don’s probably got the Detsois holed up in a place even swankier than this.” His voice managed an upbeat tone, but Phoebe felt the hard thumping of his heart.

“What are we going to do, Nick?”

“I don’t know yet.”

He always knew.

She felt tears welling. To push them away she did the first thing that came to mind. She kissed him.

To find the other writers participating in this blog carnival, visit Sherrinda's blog:

Event: Official Kissing Day Blogfest


From Sherrinda"s blog:

WHAT: Official Kissing Day Blogfest

WHEN: Monday, December 21st

WHY: A Writer’s Tribute to Mistletoe

HOW: Here is what to do if you want to participate in the Official Kissing Day Blogfest:

1. Write a post telling about the Official Kissing Day Blogfest. This way more writer/bloggers will get the word and be able to participate on Monday, Dec. 21st.

2. Tweet about it, using the hash tag: #kissingdayblogfest (I don’t know if this will help get the word out, but I thought it might be fun to try).

3. On Monday, December 21st, post on your blog an excerpt from your current WIP, or write a new scene that spotlights a kiss or an “almost kiss.”

4. If you are not a writer, or are uncomfortable sharing your work online, post your favorite kissing scene or almost-kissing scene from any book or movie.

**Please note that you do NOT have to do #1 or #2 to participate. I was trying to think of a way to get more writers to join in on the fun, but it is NOT mandatory! Just post your kissing scene on Monday for our reading pleasure!

Swiped from Kaye Dacus's blog.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

News: Seton Hill and Mike Arnzen in The Writer


The Writer_January 2010The Writer (January 2010)

In the January 2010 issue of The Writer, which is on stands now, Seton Hill mentor and Humanities Chair Michael A. Arnzen has an article about writing horror, something the four-time Bram Stoker Award winner certainly knows about, plus Seton Hill's WPF Program is featured in an article titled "10 MFA programs that offer a specialty focus" by Melissa Hart.

And, mentor Randall Silvis, also an award-winner (Drue Heinz Literature Prize and three National Playwrights Showcase Awards) penned an article in this issue as well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Event: 2009 Light Up Night in Uniontown


Uniontown Light Up Night 2009Light Up Night 2009 in Downtown Uniontown

PHOTO BY Jason Jack Miller

We ate popcorn and drank hot chocolate with our friend Laura Tebbitt as the Holiday Parade went by on Main Street in downtown Uniontown. Though a rainy night, the large crowd still seemed full of spirit.

Afterward, we had dinner at J. Pauls and won the trivia contest.

Very enjoyable evening and a great way to kick off the Christmas season.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Appearance: Women's College Club of Pittsburgh


College Club of PittsburghCollege Club of Pittsburgh inside the Pittsburgh Athletic Association

I recently had the honor to lunch with the Women's College Club of Pittsburgh. The meal was incredible: roast pork with porcini mushrooms, wild rice, and green beans, and for dessert, a generous piece of apple pie.

Diane Owen gave me this opportunity to share a meal and a slideshow presentation about Kentuck Knob with these gracious ladies and gentlemen. I took Diane and her husband, Dave, on a private tour of the house and grounds at Kentuck Knob in September. Both retired educators, she from a Pittsburgh high school and he from Carnegie Mellon University, they have that lifelong learner attitude that I subscribe to myself, one of the reasons I head a continuing education program at a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

I was able to share a bit of Kentuck Knob with the club through a wonderful photo slideshow provided by Jason Jack Miller. The group was so enchanted by the home and Sculpture Meadow that they are planning a Spring visit.

Many thanks to the members for making my presentation a delight.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

News: The Authors Guild VS. Google Settlement


The Authors Guild filed the amended settlement in Authors Guild v. Google. The official documents will be available at at some point over the weekend. In the meantime, to see the big changes you can visit here:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Event: 2010 Pennwriters Conference


The 2010 Pennwriters Conference is scheduled for May 14-16 at the Best Western Eden Resort in Lancaster PA. Prior to the conference, on May 13, they'll be hosting four preconference classes specifically designed to give attendees an in-depth, interactive experience.

Details on these classes are now posted on the Pennwriters Web site. Follow these tiny URLs to go directly to each class, or go to and click on Conference then Intensives to browse the categories.

Plotting and Subplotting with Loree Lough
For all writers who need hands-on experience with plotting; no class limit.
May 13, 2010, 1 pm to 4 pm

Crafting a Fiction Query Package with CJ Lyons
For writers who have a finished draft; class limit 16.
May 13, 2010, 9 am to noon

Fiction Writing with Tim Esaias
For writers who have a finished draft; class limit 15
May 13, 2010, 9 am to 4 pm

Nonfiction Writing with Jonathan Maberry
For writers who have an idea for a nonfiction book; class limit 15.
May 13, 2010, 9 am to 4 pm

If you have any questions, please email

Friday, November 13, 2009

Celebration: 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall


One would say I am lucky enough as it is to work at a Frank Lloyd Wright house, but Kentuck Knob is also home to two pieces of the Berlin Wall. We have had recent guests visiting just to catch a glimpse of this history, so I try never to take it for granted.

Kentuck Knob_Berlin Wall1Berlin Wall at Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob - PHOTO BY Jason Jack Miller

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shows: RAIN and The StepCrew


This season Jason and I subscribed to the University Arts Series at WVU.

Last month we saw RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles which was so exciting since we bought The Beatles Rock Band as soon as it came out. Sitting further away from the stage allowed me to imagine I was seeing Paul, John, George, and Ringo up there. RAIN's multimedia stroll through the ages completed the illusion for me. If you ever have the opportunity, I recommend seeing RAIN. This is a tribute band which goes the extra mile for a memorable show.

Rain: A Tribute to the BeatlesRain: A Tribute to the Beatles

Just last week we saw The StepCrew, a Canadian troupe featuring dancers, musicians, and vocalists: some of the troupe had a combination of these talents. I loved the dancing best, probably because I took thirteen years of tap as a child and teenager. Jason, of course, loved the music, probably because he has been playing guitar for over twenty years. Certainly something there for us both.

The StepCrewThe StepCrew

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Event: Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau Annual Dinner


Kentuck Knob LHVB 3BACK: Patricia Coyle, Laurie Bryner, Heidi Ruby Miller, Marianne Skvarla; FRONT: Robin and Monica Jackson

The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau held its annual dinner on Thursday, October 22, 2009, at the Fred M. Rogers Center on the St. Vincent College campus. The theme IT'S A WONDERFUL DAY IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD played not only on the meeting's locale, but also the bureau's new tourism campaign: Laurel Highlands Pennsylvania - A Place of Wonder.

As most of you know, I am a huge proponent for pride of place, so I smiled the entire evening, being among hundreds of like-minded people from Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties, all working toward the same goal as defined in the LHVB mission statement:

"To promote and support tourism, tourism development, and the interests of the travel and hospitality industries in Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands region..., thereby contributing to the economic growth and quality of life for the area."

With delicious offerings from the local wineries (Christian W. Klay Winery, Glades Pike Winery, Greendance - The Winery at Sand Hill, Greenhouse Winery, and Stone Villa Wine Cellars) and tempting items on the silent auction tables, the perfect way to top off the evening was with an entertaining speaker.

That would be James Kane.

His talk "The Secret to Creating Loyal Customers, Members, and Guests" and its multi-media musings kept my interest and taught me something along the way.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Celebration: Uniontown Arts and Heritage Festival 2009


Our friends Dave and Kris Buchanan had a booth at the 2009 Uniontown Arts and Heritage Festival. Dave was showcasing his Windy Hill Honey and his gorgeous pottery.

Buchanans_Arts Festival_2009

Dave and Kris Buchanan

Photo by Heidi Ruby Miller

If you are looking for some new dinnerware or a wonderful gift, you can contact Dave at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Research: Frank Lloyd Wright by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer


My job as Educational Marketing Director at Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob provides me access to myriad sources regarding architecture, art, history, and especially Mr. Wright.

No surprise I've used those sources to research my next novel.

Here's what I'm reading now to brush up on some general Wright knowledge and specifically information on the prairie style of architecture, which I need for a scene in my fourth chapter.

For those of you with an interest in architecture, you'll recognize the publisher Taschen, and if your interest is specific to Frank Lloyd Wright, you'll certainly recognize author Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer.

Frank Lloyd Wright_Bruce Brooks Pfeifer

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Celebration: Uniontown Italian Heritage Festival


Uniontown Italian FestivalStorey Square in Uniontown, PA

Photo by Jason Jack Miller

The ethnic diversity in our home town of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, allows for wonderful multicultural experiences such as the First Annual Uniontown Italian Heritage Festival. The celebration was held downtown from August 28 -29, 2009.

Thousands of visitors enjoyed food and craft vendors along Main Street, as well as live performances, which ran both days on the beautiful Storey Square stage.

As we walked home Saturday evening the fireworks were just beginning. Watching them from our own porch reminded us of when we lived in Orlando and could watch fireworks several times each night.

The little things always inspire pride of place. That's what it's all about.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Event: Kentuck Knob Teacher Training Session

Kentuck Knob_Heidi and ValerieValerie Cortis and Heidi Ruby Miller in the Kentuck Knob Greenhouse Cafe Photo by Rich Miller


This summer I hosted teachers from all over the state of Pennsylvania for the Educational Outreach Program I created at Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob. Among them was my good friend Valerie Cortis, with whom I taught on the same floor at Uniontown Area High School for seven years.

During the six-hour training days, I gave teachers an in-depth, private tour of the Hagan House and the Sculpture Meadow, then they created lesson plans to take back to their classrooms based on the touring experience and our discussions. And, best of all, each participant received 6 free PDE-Approved ACT 48 Continuing Education Hours.

It was so successful, we are going to expand the 2010 teacher training dates. You can find more information about it on the Educational Events Page of the Official Kentuck Knob Website or the Kentuck Knob Blog.

Friday, August 21, 2009

News: Seton Hill Switches to MFA


The Writer_September 2009The Writer September 2009

An ad for Seton Hill University's new MFA Program is in the September 2009 issue of The Writer, and I'm honored that my face is a part of it! ;)


If you haven't heard about Seton Hill's switch from MA to MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, you can find out the details here:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Because I've interviewed so many authors over the years, I decided to post this list with links to individual author interviews rather than listing them all in the sidebar.


* A. G. Devitt
* Adele Cosgrove-Bray
* Alan Dean Foster
* Alexa Grave
*Alistair Langston
* Alma Alexander
* Amanda Sablak
* Amy Grech
* Ana Quinn
* Angeline Hawkes
* Anne Harris
* Barbara O'Connor
* Barry Lyga
* Ben Rome
* Brian Butko
* Brian Keene
* Bruce Hale
* C. J. West
* Catherine Mulvany
* Charles Coleman Finlay
* Charles Stross
* Charlotte Boyett Compo
* Chris Dolley
* Chris Roberson
* Chris Stout
* Christine Norris
* Christopher Fulbright
* Christopher Paul Carey
* Chun Lee
* Cynthia Owens
* D. Harlan Wilson
* Dana Marton
* Danielle Ackley-McPhail
* Danny Adams
* Darren Moore
* Daryl Gregory
* Deidre Knight
* Ed Lynskey
* Elaine Cunningham
* Elizabeth Coley
* Elizabeth Zelvin
* Eugie Foster
* Fran Friel
* Gary Frank
* Geoffrey Girard
* Geoffrey A. Landis
* Gerard Houarner
* Gerri Leen
* Irene P. Lynn
* J. A. Konrath
* J. C. Hay
* Jack Skillingstead
* Jaleigh Johnson
* James T. Durkin
* Jane Wenham-Jones
* Jason Schmetzer
* Jeff Houser
* Jens Rushing
* Jeremy C. Shipp
* Jeremy Yoder
* Jeri Smith-Ready
* Jerry Ryan
* Jill Myles
* Jim C. Hines
* Joel A. Sutherland
* Johanna L. Gribble
* Jon Sprunk
* Jonathan Maberry
* Jordan Lapp
* Joshua Palmatier
* K. Ceres Wright
* K. D. Brogdon
* K. D. Wentworth
* K. J. Howe
* Karen Lynn Williams
* Ken Rand
* Kealan Patrick Burke
* Kristopher Reisz
* Lawrence C. Connolly
* Lee Allen Howard
* Leslie Davis-Guccione
* Lindsey Duncan
* Linnea Sinclair
* Lucy A. Snyder
* M. D. Benoit
* Maria V. Snyder
* Mark Deniz
* Mark W. Tiedemann
* Mary SanGiovanni
* Maryann Miller
* Matthew Cook
* Michael A. Arnzen
* Michael Swanwick
* Michelle Klein
* Mike Brendan
* Mike Resnick
* Murray J. D. Leeder
* Nalo Hopkinson
* Nancy Kress
* Paul S. Kemp
* Patricia Bray
* Patricia Gulley
* Patrick Picciarelli
* Patrick Thomas
* Paul Melko
* Penny Dawn
* Rae Dawn Carson
* Renee Stern
* Rhonda Mason
* Richard Jay Parker
* Robert E. Vardeman
* Robert J. Sawyer
* Robert Tinnell
* Robin Wasserman
* Sally Bosco
* Sandy Lender
* Scott A. Johnson
* Sean Williams
* Shannon Esposito
* Shelley Bates
* Sherry A. Peters
* Sheryl Nantus
* Simon Haynes
* Steve Nagy
* Steven Piziks
* Susan Crandall
* Susan Sielinski
* Susan Sullivan
* Susanne Saville
* Thomas F. Monteleone
*Tim Powers
* Tim Waggoner
* Timons Esaias
* Tobias S. Buckell
* Tom Piccirilli
* Valentine Brkich
* W. H. Horner
* W. C. Keesey
* Win Scott Eckert

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Event: Uniontown Prom 2009


Heidi Ruby Miller and Jason Jack Miller

Jason and I chaperoned the Uniontown Area High School Prom this May. This photo, taken by Principal Tom Colebank, was on the top deck of the Gateway Clipper and shows part of Pittsburgh's beautiful night skyline in the background.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Signing: Preston and Child in Pittsburgh


jason jack miller, heidi ruby miller, douglas preston, lincoln child

Over the weekend we went to Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Pittsburgh's South Side Works to see Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

We took several of our books from home and bought their latest Pendergast Novel The Wheel of Darkness, as well as Child's new novel Terminal Freeze.

This was special for me because these guys, along with Clive Cussler, Michael Crichton, and Arthur C. Clarke are why I started to write in the first place.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009



Saved by the Monarch_Dana Marton
Saved by the Monarch by Dana Marton

Many years ago, I had a job as an afternoon receptionist at a company. The morning receptionist was a Harlequin reading maniac. We shared the same desk and every drawer was filled to the brim with Harlequin novels. Since work was slow, I began reading those little books in between answering the phone. (Romance writers must learn to multitask.) Soon I was reading them faster then I could find them. Then one day in the library I came across Kathryn Falk’s How to Write a Romance. I suppose I haven’t considered the authors until then. They seemed mythical creatures born with this extraordinary knowledge. But the very existence of Kathryn’s book suggested that romance writing could be learned! That was a stunningly new concept to me at the time, almost too good to be believed.

So I took How to Write a Romance home and read it, and began to write a historical romance set in Ancient Egypt. I had a couple of hundred pages when the floppy disk that held my only copy got corrupted. I just didn’t have the heart to start all over again. When I overcame the disappointment of losing my early masterpiece, I began a sci-fi romance. This one I even sent to a publisher! (Optimism is very important for a romance writer.) I got a very nice letter back, but they weren’t interested. The next book was an inspirational romance. This time the publisher (a different one) loved the partial and asked for a full. Sadly, no sale. Then I wrote a straight romance. Then a western historical. (Romance writers need lots of resilience.) Then a romantic suspense that actually won a couple of writing contests. I might have meandered along like this endlessly if I hadn’t found Seton Hill University and their Writing Popular Fiction program. (Romance writers ask for help when they need some.)

I tried more romantic suspense there along with epic fantasy. I was told by knowledgeable people that I had a category voice and romantic suspense was my strength. Only one publisher publishes category romantic suspense so, yay, I had a target. Harlequin Intrigue was one of my favorite lines anyway. I started reading even more of them. And wrote a novel specifically with them in mind. And sold it. Just like that. After only thirteen years of trying! Piece of cake. (Romance writers don’t give up. Ever.)

Holding that book in my hands was so much fun that I have done it since again and again and again. I have twenty novels so far and my books are published in eleven countries in eight different languages. Some have been turned into audio books, some you can download to your phone chapter by chapter. One was even turned into a comic book in Japan! I’m a Harlequin author at last. And I’d like to think there are some receptionists out there with my books in their desk drawers. (Romance writers are optimists. Oh, right. I’ve already said that.)

-Dana Marton
May 2009

Dana Marton’s TALL, DARK & LETHAL is a Rita finalist this year. You can find out more about her and read excerpts from her books at Her most recent release is SAVED BY THE MONARCH.

–Forget kissing frogs. Meet Prince Miklos of Valtria. And if the crown fits….--

Email me at with the subject MONARCH CONTEST and include in the body the names of five other Dana Marton novels, your name, and your address by 12:00 PM EST on May 14, and I'll enter you in a random drawing to win a signed copy of SAVED BY THE MONARCH.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Project: Kentuck Knob Blog

Photo by Jason Jack Miller


Part of my duties as Educational Marketing Director of Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob are to create and maintain a blog showcasing the culture surrounding the house and sculpture meadow, including the many events and programs offered.

Here is the brand new blog:

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Monday, March 02, 2009

Interview: M. D. Benoit on Meter Destiny


The following is an account of how M. D. Benoit came to have her third novel published in the Jack Meter series:

"As far as I can remember, I’ve always written and told myself stories, but it took the death of a very dear friend to convince me that it was futile to hold down a job I hated instead of doing something I’d always yearned to do: write full-time.

Once I had taken that decision, I took a few creative writing classes at our local community college but it was an online writing course that opened the doors for me and convinced me I could do this. In 1995 I joined Writelab, run by a wonderful writer named J. R. Lankford. It was a structured writing course with constructive critique from other would-be writers enrolled in the course. There, I met two wonderful people who eventually became part of my critique group and who still support me and occasionally (virtually) hit me over the head when I’m not meeting my potential.

It was also at Writelab that Jack Meter was born.

I used him for exercises on point-of-view, dialogue, characterization, flashback, internal dialogue, etc. When I was finished with the course, I thought I was finished with Jack. I was wrong.

Like a best friend who had moved to a distant city, I missed him. I realized that during the time I had used him as an anchor for my writing exercises he had become important to me. After several months of resistance, I put together the bits and pieces I had written during Writelab and fleshed out the story. Originally entitled ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings, it was published as an ebook in 2000. When the publisher folded, I sold it again to my current publisher, Zumaya Publications and the title changed to Metered Space.

Metered Space was supposed to stand alone. I went on to write two other novels (Catalyst, tentative pub date 2010), and Synergy, published in 2007.

But Jack had other ideas. He kept insisting that his story wasn’t over yet, that we had a lot more road to walk together. From his insistence were born Meter Made (2005) and the Jack Meter Case Files series. Meter Destiny (2008), the novel showcased here, is the third one in the series, although it can be read as a standalone book. Two more Case Files are under the editing block.

If I talk about Jack as if he were a real person, it’s because he is real to me. When a writer lives with a character for years (albeit only in his or her head), developing a sense of intimacy is inevitable. And no, Jack is not me, nor is he the me I’d like to be. He’s simply Jack Meter, someone who lives a pretty bizarre life and who struggles with who he is.

Here’s a summary of Meter Destiny:

Destiny. Friendship. Family. Jack Meter hasn’t spent a lot of time on these ideas and has avoided them completely since Annie’s violent death three years before. But the claim of a strange group calling themselves the Fates from Mythology that it is still controlling Life on Earth and the Fates’ allegation that one of them was kidnapped, force him to review where these concepts fit in his life.

As Jack Meter unravels the kidnapping mystery by wading through a series of riddles and lies, and as he realizes his new clients are using him and his friends in a game of their own, he finally understands he must accept his own destiny. But will that understanding come in time to save his friends’ lives and stop a sociopathic alien from destroying everything Jack knows and believes in?"

-M. D. Benoit
March 2009

Meter Destiny is available online both as a trade paperback (e.g., amazon, Barnes and Noble) and as an ebook (e.g., amazon, eReader, Fictionwise, Mobipocket). During Read an eBook Week, March 8-14, M. D. will give away the first two ebook versions of the Jack Meter Case Files in the series if you buy the third. Check out details during that week on her website ( and her blog (

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Celebration: Eugie Foster's Virtual Book Launch


I'm sipping mimosas in my favorite Kenneth Coles and mingling with guests around the world at Eugie Foster's virtual launch party for her debut short story collection, RETURNING MY SISTER'S FACE: AND OTHER FAR EASTERN TALES OF WHIMSY AND MALICE, co-hosted by Facebook and LiveJournal. And, I brought my Mum with me - that's us in the photo.

If champagne isn't your tipple, of course Eugie has sake too.

And, she has party prizes. The grand prize is an autographed copy of RETURNING MY SISTER'S FACE, which will be awarded by a random drawing to be held at the end of today. To get your chance to win, either:

• Tell others on your blog about RETURNING MY SISTER'S FACE with a link to Eugie's LiveJournal party co-host page (; or
• Join Eugie's Facebook group.

See you here!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Excerpt: Moon Pennsylvania Camping


In the Author's Note to Moon Pennsylvania Camping, Jason and I wrote,

"Green plateaus protruding through a dense fog. Pink and white laurel petals falling into a clear, cool stream. Rushing rivers spilling through a mountain gorge. These are the images that welcome us back to Pennsylvania after we've been away for too long. And when we hit the trail again, inhaling the scent of fallen pine needles and air charged with the mists of cascades, we know we are home.

A thousand times we've felt the pull of wanderlust, and a thousand times we've driven into the ancient Appalachians and been reminded why we couldn't leave. Our forests and wilderness areas are the fuel that keep us running."

Though we offered this sentiment for the entire state, especially after our extensive travels in 2005 throughout Pennsylvania to gather experiences and photographs for our guide, we admit that our small corner of PA with its borders along West Virginia and Maryland were the images we held in our minds as the book went to press.

Here, the flowing waters of the Youghiogheny River and Meadow Run serve in an oxymoronic capacity to soothe and energize at once, as if the errant electrons passing from the water to us replace any stagnant air, thoughts, and emotions with fresh perspective and refueled lungs. Melodramatic? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely. That's why we continue to return.

(edited from the original Field Notes by Heidi Ruby Miller newsletter, April 2008)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Friday, February 06, 2009

Beginning: My New Job at Kentuck Knob


I am officially the new Educational Marketing Director at Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob.

This is a dream job for me because it combines my degrees in Anthropology, Geography, and Writing, and my experience as an educator, archaeologist, and travel industry worker.

Neil Gaiman once mentioned something about each one of us connecting to certain energy centers around the world: that's how Kentuck feels to me.

The photo to the left was taken by my good friend Darlene Martin when I was still a guide in June 2008. Those beautiful white hexagons on the terrace's flagstone floor come from skylights in the cantilevered ceiling. They migrate depending on the season and time of day. In early summer, they make a path straight through the dining room and out to the back patio.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

News: Seton Hill Writers Update


Here are some Seton Hill Writers updates from the past couple of months:

#1: Kerri Mountain's WPF thesis novel The Parson's Christmas Gift is still available at some online sites even though it sold out at the publisher's site, Steeple Hill Books.

#2: Shelley Adina's second book in the All About Us YA series is out in bookstores. It's called Be Strong and Curvaceous. The third book Who Made You a Princess? is due to hit stores in May 2009.

#3: Monica Spence was elected as President of the Long Island Romance Writers, Chapter 160 of the RWA.

#4: Maria V. Snyder's novel Poison Study made the 2009 YALSA "Popular Paperback" list.

#5: Traci Castleberry has a short story titled "Rent Girl" in the Valentine's Day anthology Lace and Blade 2. Also, as her alter-ego Nica Berry, she has a new e-book out from Loose Id titled Consort.

#6: Dr. Ellen Spain was selected as a judge for the 2009 Young Voices Awards.

#7: A new community on Facebook honors one of Seton Hill's horror writers and mentors - "What would Mike Arnzen do for a Klondike Bar?"

#8: Irene L. Pynn has a revamped site -

Monday, February 02, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Irene L. Pynn

Irene L. Pynn_Heidi's Pick SixIrene L. Pynn


1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Everyone is always surprised to hear that, in From Light to Dark, Balor is my favorite character. He's technically the antagonist, but I just love the guy. Come on, world. Give him a chance. :)

2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4.What else can you do besides write?
Let's see... I can't juggle. Math is out. My cooking's a bit like poison. Um... O.O

5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
There's a fight scene in From Light to Dark that was not only emotionally-charged, but also confusing for me to write, since I have never actually been in a fight myself. I had to call several friends who had been in more unfortunate situations than I and conduct interviews with them about what exactly a punch to the nose feels like. After that, I resolved to never be punched in the nose.

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Anywhere. One of my short stories, "God Corp.," came to me after several people tried to kill off my (obsessive) love of Shakespeare by pointing out that he might not have written the plays himself at all. Inspiration for another short story, "Mind Reader," came when I was surfing the web and found colorful images of brain scans online. Don't ask me how I found that, because I haven't a clue. In any case, it led to something fun!

9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
Honestly, my stories wouldn't make it without outlines. There's nothing wrong with taking detours when something interesting in the distance catches my eye, but without a general guidemap, I would get lost in a dark forest somewhere and end up stuck in a ditch. And there'd probably be no cell reception, and I'd start getting hungry...

13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?

15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Compulsively. Noggin is one of my favorite television channels, and that's a station only for preschoolers or hard-core cartoon lovers. I also love tons of anime and watch Cartoon Network (both daytime and Adult Swim) whenever I have a chance. Simply put: yes, I do still watch cartoons. And, yes. I am comfortable with that fact. :)

Irene L. Pynn has been a writer her whole life. Coming from a family of writers, it was inevitable!

She has taught everything from Creative Writing to English Literature at both the high school and college levels, but before becoming a teacher, Irene worked as a reporter at a small newspaper while she finished her Master's degree in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. Her thesis novels there were a work of speculative fiction for children about time travel, and a strange little thing about a hedgehog.

When she isn't writing or teaching, Irene loves to spend time with her supportive parents, her talented brother, her incredible fiancé, and Othello, Sprocket, and Coretta (cat, dog, and cat, respectively).

The theatre is another of Irene's great loves, and she has worked in almost all areas – on stage, back stage, writing for the stage… or just sitting in the audience, she's always at home in a play. One of the geekiest things about Irene is her deep affection for Shakespeare since elementary school, but she has come to terms with that by now and sees no reason to hide it. ("Hamlet FTW!")

Irene is also an avid reader. It doesn't matter whether she's reading a novel, a short story, or a comic book, Irene enjoys the same genres that she writes: speculative fiction, magical realism, or just good, old-fashioned fantasy and science fiction.

Every November, Irene can be found red-eyed in front of her computer, trying to meet the challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Through this experience, she has stretched her writing muscles and made some wonderful friends who inspire her every day. Her NaNo for 2007 is currently in the revision process.

More than anything, Irene likes to believe in magic.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CELEBRATION: Seton Hill WPF Graduates for January 2009


Congratulations to the following Seton Hill University students as they graduate today with their Master's in Writing Popular Fiction and become part of the WPF Alumni:

Mary Ann Aug (Mystery/Romantic Mystery)
Patrick Cobbs (Young Adult)
Rebekah Cramer (Young Adult)
Matthew Donahue (Science Fiction)
Gale Holt (Young Adult)
Susan Isola (Women’s Fiction)
Sherry Peters (Fantasy)
Daphne Riordan (Urban Fantasy)
Krista Russell (YA/Historical)
Stephanie Splater (Women’s Fiction)
Alexander Spoerer (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
Jennifer Stuttle (Chick Lit)
Betsy Whitt (Fantasy)
Tracy Wilson-Burns (Romance)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Susanne Saville

Susanne Saville_Heidi's Pick SixSusanne Saville

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
(evil laugh) Coffee, of course. Always coffee. Forever coffee. Although I do like English Breakfast and Glengettie tea. And I must have milk in both my tea and my coffee. So maybe just pour all three into a big swimming pool and I'll float about in them.

4. What else can you do besides write?
Catalog. Used as a verb. I could create both Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal numbers for books. You want travel to Britain? That's 914. Biography? 921. I think movies are 798.... It's a useless talent now because most cataloging is done by a central source these days and distributed by computer, instead of each library having its own cataloger. So I'm rusty now.

5. Who are you reading right now?

6. Pop culture or academia?
I studied pop culture when I was part of academia. Seriously. Ask about my paper on Disney. Ask about my book on how pug dogs saved civilization. No, on the other hand, don't get me started... :)

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?

9. Food you could eat everyday.
Chocolate. Especially Cadbury or Galaxy chocolate. I could live on chocolate. Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar - there's my protein and vitamins for the day. Think all I'd have to worry about would be scurvy. I wonder if the orange Aero bar has Vitamin C?

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
Horseback riding. I love horseback riding - Western style. I'm not so good at English style.

If you mean *watching* sports, then Red Sox. Go Red Sox Nation! :)

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?

13. Celebrity crush.
John Barrowman. Totally John Barrowman. And I actually got his autograph - squeeeeee!!!! He is a sweetheart - and very patient with fans who go completely blank and can't think of anything intelligent to say. (Yes, that would be me.)

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Susanne Saville has earned a Master's Degree in History and a second Master's Degree in Library Science. The casual observer might suppose that this primarily qualifies her to dispense fries at fast-food restaurants. However, Ms. Saville has worked as a Reference Librarian in California and as a History Instructor at Georgia Military College. She currently resides in New England and, along with writing, delights in researching, spending quality time with her cats, and eating fries at fast-food restaurants. Susanne's most recent novel is The Secret Hunter.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Submissions: 2008 Submissions and Responses


I always like to look back on my submissions record for the previous year right around this time, so here are my statistics for 2008, along with commentary:

68 total submissions
*The total is 58 less than 2007 and much less than the Buckell 150 I've been striving for annually, but the results of these meager submissions were encouraging.

15 rejections
*These are from various sources for a variety of projects, some agented, some freelance (mags, agents, online media, editors).

3 withdrawals
*All withdrawals were for online publications, 2 of which turned out to be of questionable integrity.

1 other
*I created the "other" category for circumstances which cannot be covered under the usual headings; in this instance, it was a bad e-addy with no way to find an alternate one.

20 non-responders
*This isn't as cut and dry as it would seem because either my agent or me are still in direct contact, negotiations, etc. with 5 of these sources.


30 acceptances
*The most I have ever gotten within the six years I have been keeping submission records. And, on 4 of these occasions, I was asked to submit my work based on my online presence and past publications.

5 rejections
*So the longer they have it doesn't necessarily mean the better your chances? :)

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