Valerie’s world is turned upside down when she meets smooth-talking Lex Kendal. #readinglife #romcom @IndieWriterSupp #dryhumour

First up in the ‘middle line from the middle of your book’ promo is… Oh No, I’ve Fallen in Love! by Louise Wise. Continue reading

Whose A$$ is That? Marylu Zuk explains…

If I were a man would I still obsess, ’bout the size of my can every time I undressed? – from Whose ASS Is That?

I reviewed Marylu Zuk’s book Whose ASS Is That? over on Ugly Reviews and it fetched a 4/5 star-review. It’s a book that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I put a few questions to Ms Zuk, feel free to ask your own in the comment section below.
Barnes and Noble

Is Whose ASS Is That? your first published book?
Yes! I have a mental dartboard with a variety of topics I’m narrowing for my next book.

Will your next book be in the same vein as the first? 
Yes. My plan is to do a series of life’s moments from a humorous perspective. Successful comedians (I’m not one) have found that people laugh at real life scenarios because they can identify with them. I believe I communicate things best using lyrical type poetry and humor. I’ve had more than one male suggest I do the same topic from a man’s perspective. Others have suggested they would love a book on menopause or empty-nesters to give as gifts.

How did you find your publisher?
Finding a publisher posed a bit of a challenge as my book didn’t cleanly align with standard genres. Researching publishers I often found ‘no poetry’ noted at the very end of submission guidelines. My book rhymes, but I don’t consider it poetry per se. It is an illustrated storybook for grown-ups. How many of those are there? Go The F#*k to Sleep was gaining popularity at the same time I was starting to query so I had a lone, slightly similar in genre, compadre for purposes of comparison.

Ultimately, I found my publisher through a casual introduction by a mutual friend. I had previously heard of her company, but threw up my own roadblock by thinking she only published children’s and middle-grade books. I did further research, saw that she had recently published an adult novel, made a mental note that she was open-minded and queried. To my good fortune, my book made her laugh and she believed we had a winner.

Sherry Kaier, (my publisher) of The Artists’ Orchard, and I have had a wonderful working relationship. She listens to grasp my vision, then injects her expertise to either affirm my direction or explain why it would be better to do something differently. I would most definitely recommend her as I found that our styles complemented one another.

When I complete my next book, I hope she’ll be willing to continue our working relationship!

How do your juggle a writing schedule? 
I wait until everyone’s bellies are full and they are otherwise occupied, and I begin.

What’s the best/worst part of being a writer? For me, the best part of writing is that it’s therapeutic. I can write about things I wouldn’t typically discuss or make public. The worst part? I have not answer for that one. I’m a natural Pollyanna. I find a silver lining in anything.

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
My works starts with pen and paper. And post-its. And more paper. Because I write in rhyming verse, I’m constantly rearranging the order of things and creating long lists of potential rhymes.

Do you have a critique/editing partner? 
Partners, plural. Once I broke the silence and shared with others that I’d written the book, I sought experienced writers and editors for feedback. When certain feedback became consistent, I began a working relationship with a developmental editor that I would, without a doubt, collaborate with on future projects.

Was there anything you struggled with during writing Whose ASS Is That? 
Early on, I feared the possibility that readers/reviewers might overlook my fundamental message: the importance of appreciating and embracing one’s individuality.

It’s quite expensive for a short book. How is that value for money?
The book is written storybook-style, with short rhyming verses that resonate with women. I have repeatedly had readers tell me they keep it on their end table or by their bedside and read it again as a pick-me-up when they might be feeling blue. As a gift that will bring a smile to a friend, for under $20 (paper) or under $30 (hardcover) – I think it’s priced appropriately.

What was that spark (defining moment) that made you put pen to paper?
Aha, this I remember vividly. I was getting dressed for a promotional event that would be held at an outdoor concert venue. We were asked to wear jeans and a t-shirt promoting our new logo. In my day-to-day work life, I typically wore a conservative suit – then rushed home and jumped into my pj’s. Before I ran out the door, I grabbed a hand mirror and stood with my back to the full length mirror to catch a glimpse of how I looked in my outfit and I literally said out loud, ‘Oh my God! Whose ass is that?’.

For years, the phrase spun in my head until I started to add to it, and it eventually became the illustrated storybook length version published by The Artists’ Orchard.

How did you find your illustrator? 
I started by looking through hundreds of online portfolios, and approaching creative acquaintances. Some backed off immediately based stylistic or media differences. Others provided samples for review, but I ultimately found my illustrator through word of mouth. The more I spoke about my vision for the book, the more people stepped in with suggestions and referrals. Once I saw Traycee’s initial sample, I knew we were on the same page. I provided her with my vision for most of the verses, we brainstormed together on others, and she hid herself away and waited for the words to speak to her on a few that stumped us both.

How long did it take you to write Whose ASS Is That? 
This is difficult to answer. From my initial idea to published book, we’re talking 11 years. But, from the time I seriously sat down and decided to write the book… it took two years to bring it to life.

So, it your bum really big?
Big is a relative term. I’d describe it instead as wide, and square, and fat, and flat!

Whose Ass Is That?

Every woman or so I’m told, whether in her twenties or many years old, has a love-hate relationship with her hiney, be it extra-venti or teeny-tiny.
Filled with whimsical illustrations and witty rhyme, ‘Whose ASS Is That?’ encourages women to laugh at our collective selves. 

Author Marylu Zuk reassures us that we are indeed perfect regardless of the size or shape of our buns. ‘Whose ASS Is That?’ permits every woman to relax her abs, exhale and laugh at what we rarely see – our own backsides!

Marylu Zuk 
Having spent the early part of her career in the sometimes-friendly skies, author Marylu Zuk perfected the art of smiling through anything – at least until she was out of the passengers’ sight. (Really sir?  You actually need me to buckle your seat belt for you?)  Her career path has taken her from babysitter, to playground supervisor, flight attendant, road warrior, workshop presenter, sales manager and enrollment VP. The titles have changed, but the job responsibilities did not – maintain order and keep people happy. 

An avid people watcher and eternal optimist, Marylu always finds the silver lining.  While getting ready for a promotions event a few years ago, Marylu used the two-mirror trick to see how she looked in her jeans.  ‘Oh my God! Whose ass is that?!’ she exclaimed… and the idea for her first book was born. A storybook for women with illustrations by Traycee Bosle, Whose ASS is That? –  invites every woman to relax her abs, exhale, and laugh at what we rarely see – our own backsides!

Joy Givens is my NFA!

Or New Favourite Author, for those not in the know. Let me explain…

On my review blog I rates books from a no rating up to NFA, and those I reward with a 4*, 5* or a NFA rating I want to share here. I’ve enjoyed them and I want you to, as well, and how better than a book spotlight on WWBB? Ugly Stick was rewarded with a NFA rating because I found the writing smooth, engaging, the premise original and I couldn’t put the book down. It’s that simple. Check out the review on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Reviews. 

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Joy Givens the author of the excellent YA fiction novel in question … 
Ugly Stick
Fifteen-year-old April Somerfield is a shy, self-loathing misfit who would blend in with the wallpaper, if only the wallpaper were a little less attractive. In a family line of gorgeous, successful women, April’s a fluke. At Prescott High School, she’s a walking punch line.

A school project sends April on the hunt for her mother’s mysteriously missing yearbooks, and upon finding them she uncovers a big secret. It turns out that being “hit with an ugly stick” is a surprisingly literal occurrence in April’s family tree—a curse has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries. But when April sees a chance to finally ditch the family curse, she must decide if becoming beautiful on the outside is worth giving up the person she is meant to be.

Joy Givens
Joy Givens is the author of Ugly
Stick and a co-founder of Tributaries Press, a publishing company
dedicated to “books that edify, educate, and encourage young

Joy’s childhood nickname was “Belle,” due to her
penchant for walking around “with a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in
a book.”  

Joy’s favorite authors include Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis,
L.M. Montgomery, Mark Dunn, Markus Zusak, and J.K. Rowling (and, of course, her
delightful publishing partner Samantha Bennett), and her preferred genre of writing
is middle grade and YA fantasy, leaning towards the fantastical and the

Joy and a young reader, Joshua.
Born and raised with four siblings in
Columbus, Ohio (GO BUCKEYES!), Joy now resides in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, with her fantastic husband David, their remarkable son Joshua,
and their impossibly lovable dog Riley. 

Joy tutors high school students and is
currently pursuing a master’s degree in higher education. She is also a grammar
ninja, Dickens fan-girl, a cappella enthusiast, and veritable Starbucks