Showing posts from 2009

Image: Prague, Czech Republic

Images 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.

Book: Red Ranger Came Calling

Books Red 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.

EVENT: Official Kissing Day Blogfest - The Excerpt

Events 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

Event: Official Kissing Day Blogfest

Events 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 t

News: Seton Hill and Mike Arnzen in The Writer

News The 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.

Event: 2009 Light Up Night in Uniontown

Events Light 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.

Appearance: Women's College Club of Pittsburgh

Appearances College 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 Me

News: The Authors Guild VS. Google Settlement

News 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:

Event: 2010 Pennwriters Conference

Events 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 M

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

Celebrations 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. Berlin Wall at Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob - PHOTO BY Jason Jack Miller

Shows: RAIN and The StepCrew

Shows 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 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 StepCrew

Article: Uniontown in PA Pursuits Spring 2010

Articles I sold an article about my hometown of Uniontown, PA . You'll be able to read it in the Spring 2010 issue of PA Pursuits magazine . I also have a large lay out about the Pennsylvania Wilds in the 2009 PA Insiders Guide .

Event: Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau Annual Dinner

Events BACK: 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."

Celebration: Uniontown Arts and Heritage Festival 2009

Celebrations 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. 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 .

Research: Frank Lloyd Wright by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer

Research 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 .

News: Seton Hill Writers in Person and on the Shelves

News ON THE SHELVES: New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Mallery has two books out this month: Hot on Her Heels AND The Sheik and the Bought Bride IN PERSON: Ellen Spain will be discussing her new novel Secrets in the Fog: the Invisibility Project on October 6th at 7:00 PM in the Gallery Room of The Monroeville Public Library.

Celebration: Uniontown Italian Heritage Festival

Celebrations Storey 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.

News: Kentuck Knob on Pittsburgh G20 Summit Site

News My article about Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob is now up on the Pittsburgh G20 Summit website: The photo below was originally supposed to accompany the article. Entrance to Kentuck Knob as seen through the carport Photo by Jason Jack Miller

Books: New Releases from Seton Hill Writers

Books Writers from the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction MFA Program had releases this month in Fantasy , Mystery , YA , and Inspirational : Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder Tidings of Great Boys by Shelley Adina Secrets in the Fog: The Invisibility Project by Ellen Spain Breathless by Jessica Warman Fantastical Visions IV edited by W.H. Horner

Event: Kentuck Knob Teacher Training Session

Valerie Cortis and Heidi Ruby Miller in the Kentuck Knob Greenhouse Cafe Photo by Rich Miller Events 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 .

News: Seton Hill Switches to MFA

News The 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:


Here is the list of authors I've interviewed in my PATHS TO PUBLICATION series so far: Chester D. Campbell Chris Stout Christine Norris D. Harlan Wilson E. J. Rand Ian Rogers Jim C. Hines Joanna Campbell Slan Ken Rand Lawrence C. Connolly Liana Laverentz M. E. Kemp Maria V. Snyder Marta Perry Mary Reed Michael Laimo Michael Stanley Pearl North Peg Herring Penny Dawn Pike Lake Tammy Swoish Vicky Burkholder Wanda C. Keesey


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. Enjoy! * 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

Event: Uniontown Prom 2009

Events 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.

Signing: Preston and Child in Pittsburgh

Signings 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.


PATHS TO PUBLICATION 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 w

Project: Kentuck Knob Blog

Photo by Jason Jack Miller Projects 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:

Image: Salzburg, Austria

Images Even in the rain, walking around Salzburg is wonderful. July, 2007

Interview: M. D. Benoit on Meter Destiny

Interviews 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 Jac

Celebration: Eugie Foster's Virtual Book Launch

Celebrations 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!

Excerpt: Moon Pennsylvania Camping

Excerpts 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 Mar

Musing: Jason Jack Miller Has Paneranoia

Musings Jason Jack Miller got a word accepted at Urban Dictionary - paneranoia . Stop by and give him a thumbs up! (Yes, I'm allowed to campaign for him because he is my husband.)

Beginning: My New Job at Kentuck Knob

Beginnings 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.

News: Seton Hill Writers Update

News 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

Interviews: Leigh Singer

Interviews There is a reel of film journalist Leigh Singer's Hollywood interviews up here: Thanks to Tam Singer for the heads up!

News: 22nd Annual Pennwriters Conference in Pittsburgh

News Online Registration is open for the Pennwriters 22nd Annual Conference A Writer's Tool Chest . WHEN: May 15 - 17, 2009 WHERE: Pittsburgh Airport Marriott KEYNOTE SPEAKER: New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline PENNWRITER SPEAKER: Asimov's Readers' Award winner and Seton Hill mentor Timons Esaias I'll post continuing updates about the conference, guests, and events. Pennwriters , Heidi Ruby Miller , annual conference , A Writer's Tool Chest , Pittsburgh , Lisa Scottoline , Timons Esaias , writing , Seton Hill Writers

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Irene L. Pynn

Irene L. Pynn HEIDI'S PICK SIX 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

CELEBRATION: Seton Hill WPF Graduates for January 2009

CELEBRATIONS 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)

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Susanne Saville

Susanne Saville HEIDI'S PICK SIX 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

Submissions: 2008 Submissions and Responses

Submissions 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: 2008 SUBMISSIONS AND RESPONSES: 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,