Day Three of Blog Tour

Thank you for reading this blog entry! This is the third post on the blog tour. If you have just joined the tour, welcome! If you read the first two postings on Chelle Cordero’s and Zada Connaway’s blogs, thank you for following the tour! In the first two posts, I mentioned what a wonderful book Forever Friends is and promised readers that they would not be disappointed if they bought the book for themselves or as gifts for friends and family. I talked about the short stories in the anthology and the breadth and depth covered: from science fiction to mystery and romance. I also mentioned some of the poems in the book, which are just as diverse and equally entertaining. All, whether tear-jerking or raising a smile, will give the reader new insights into human relationships and the different kinds of friendship. Within these poems, there is something for everyone!

When I began setting up the blog tour, I invited the blog hosts to send questions for me to answer. Mary sent a list of interesting questions and these are my answers:

1. What inspired you to publish Forever Friends?

The idea came from a discussion on the when one of the members, Pam Robertson, suggested that a group of members on the forum should get together to produce a volume of stories. I had set up Mandinam Press in January this year to publish The Power of Persuasion, so I offered to publish an anthology of short stories and poems written by members of the Published Authors Network and forum.

2. Will there be another Anthology in the near future?

There are no plans at the moment for a second anthology. The book has been entered into a competition for Best Anthology of 2008. If the book placed in the top three, it would certainly inspire me and everyone else to consider at least one more book.

3. Where will the tour start and end for Forever Friends?

The tour began on December 1st on Chelle Cordero’s blog and will end on December 17th on Tiziana Rinaldi Castro’s MySpace blog. If, for any reason, a blog venue could not host a blog posting, that blog will appear on my wordpress blog. I will be posting a duplicate blog to all the ones I send out on Shelagh’s Weblog.

4.What did you enjoy the most from creating Forever Friends?

I enjoyed the challenge of it. The submissions arrived randomly. Sometimes two or three short stories arrived together followed by a poem or two or three poems before another short story arrived. At the beginning it seemed an easy task as I sorted the stories into sections. I left all the poems to be inserted once the sections had been set up and the stories had been inserted into the sections. I concentrated on the editing, which was quite a task in itself. Submissions arrived in the body of emails and as attachments. The word attachments had all kinds of weird and wonderful formatting. Some submissions that must have looked fine on the contributors’ computers had been stitched together from various files and looked like patchwork quilts on my computer. I even had to download some software from the Internet to open one of the attachments.

As the number of stories and poems increased, the task became more and more difficult, until there were thirty three selected short stories (eventually reduced to thirty-one) and twenty-three poems. I had to remember the contents of every story and poem so that I could slot the poems to not only fit into the relevant sections but to lead into the next story or follow on from the previous story. This was quite a challenge and, although I was very pleased with the way everything came together eventually, I made numerous changes throughout the period of compiling the book. I even changed my mind at the very last minute, making an enormous reshuffle of the sections and their contents just days before the anthology went to press.

I also felt pressured to get the book out and available to buy online for the upcoming holiday period and the book has only recently been added to, and all the other leading online stores. Maybe if there is to be another anthology, I will take more time to put the book together before it finally goes to press.

5.How long did it take to finish and was it a task getting authors to join in?

The first submission arrived on May 21st and the last submission arrived on September 5th. The book was uploaded onto on September 21st, exactly four months after I received the first submission.

It was more difficult to attract contributors than I had initially thought it would be. I do not have an explanation for this. The network had over five hundred members at the time but less than one tenth of those members were willing to take part. I will leave readers to make up their own minds as to why the response was so low.

6.Where can you be reached for book signings?

Book signings will be set up by the individual contributors and you should check their blogs and websites for information about these events.

I would like to thank Mary for inviting me to say more about Forever Friends. I was delighted to include Mary’s poem, Our Friendship, which has a gentle rhythm, soft imagery and words that lilt and flow, conjuring up a world of peaceful reminiscence. Mary is an accomplished writer as well as a poet. One of her books Love Laws has been nominated for a Cyblis award in the Young Adult Fiction category. The Cybils are an international series of book awards selected by a talented panel of children’s and young adult book bloggers. The award seeks to find books that strike the balance between literary quality and kid appeal. A panel of experienced children’s literature bloggers for each category will be reading the nominated books and selecting a shortlist of 5 to 7 finalists for each category, to be announced on January 1st 2009. After that, a separate judging panel will read the finalists and choose a winner, to be announced on February 14th 2009.

Congratulations Mary!

If you missed the first blog posting on Chelle Cordero’s blog. Check it out here:

Chelle Cordero

Forever Friends is available now from

Forever Friends

Thanks again for reading this and best wishes for the holiday season!

Shelagh Watkins

December 3 Mary Muhammad


3 Responses to “Day Three of Blog Tour”

  1. Chelle Cordero Says:

    Shelagh, I knew you had undertaken a monumental task and yet you still made it go so seamlessly. Kudos to you foa job well done! And a super huge thank you for letting me be a part of this.

  2. shelaghwatkins Says:

    Thanks Chelle! There’s still time for me to screw this up! LOL!

  3. Pam R. Says:

    Shelagh this tour is a great idea, and I love the way you are tying the posts together with the story of how the book took shape – marvellous!

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