Interview: Lea Schizas

Lea Schizas has been in the writing world for over twelve years. She’s edited for several publishing houses, founded The Muse Online Writer’s Conference and the MuseItUp Publishing epublisher. She also founded Apollo’s Lyre. Best thing about her in my opinion? She’s Canadian too, and she agreed to let me interview her for Fictional Worlds.

Thanks for agreeing to do this interview.

~When and why did you decide to become a writer?

I really didn’t decide. I remember being in mom’s womb and writing with this cool implement on organs that were soft and mushy. Okay…not really…but I’ve always loved to write as far back as I can possibly remember. Entertaining readers with words, giving them an opportunity to laugh, cry, connect with my characters is a thrill that nothing – other than having my five children – compares to. I love to give readers a chance to escape their everyday life’s troubles and woes.

~How did you go from being just a writer to running the Muse Online Writers’ Conference?

I’m still a writer, regardless if I’m crazy enough to organize the conference and now publishing houses. These are all the same thing to me – giving writers an area to learn and expose their amazing writing voices.

~What can you tell us about the Muse Online Writers’ Conference in 2010?

Well, we’re proud to offer again this year pitch sessions with various houses and agents. We have another long list of weeklong forum workshops and chat workshops.

There’s a long list of workshops and presenters so the easiest thing would be to offer our 2010 workshop line up so far, and I say so far because this year I’m a bit behind in posting everyone so far:
Really Long Link

~Can you tell us a bit about the MuseItUp Publishing house you opened earlier this year?

Yes, I’d love to because I am so proud of the staff and authors we have so far.

First off, the publishing house didn’t just materialize. It’s been a goal of mine since I made my very first list of goals to achieve in my career. Over the years I’ve been blessed to have worked with fantastic editors and publishers who mentored and were there when a question was asked. Kim Richards (Eternal Press/Damnation Publishing) is one publisher who continues to help me with any question I may have along with Vivian Zabel (4RV Publishing).

The whole goal behind our house – and I’ll explain the ‘our’ shortly – is our motto: building the team to achieve the dream. We want to go back to the roots of the publishing world when authors, staff, and publisher were one unit, a family so to speak, who helped each other achieve their goals with a respect and honesty so many nowadays seem to have forgotten. We’re author-friendly, there every step of the way in the author and staff groups answering questions, and basically having fun.

The ‘our’: every decision or website implementation is passed through our writers and staff to get their input and thoughts because we feel that any decisions made by us (this includes my co-partner Litsa) affects everyone so it’s very important that the authors and staff have a say before a major decision is made. It’s not that we can’t make a decision but in order to make everyone feel welcomed, we need to have an open book policy and it’s been accepted and appreciated so far by all.

~What are three things you’re looking for in potential books for MuseItUp Publishing?

That’s easy:
1 – Thoroughly fleshed out stories
2 – Memorable characters
3 – Out of the box twists to surprise us and tie in the whole storyline at the end.

~What do you think are the three most important steps for writers to take when improving their craft?

We hear ‘read, read, and then read some more’ and there’s truth to that. The more you read the more you begin to understand what goes into a genre to make it an interesting read. Study famous authors, their characters, what hooks you into the storyline, how they end each chapter or begin them, how they lure you to continue the read, etc.

Next would be to join a critique group to have several pair of eyes looking over your work. As a writer you know your story and might miss areas that still need further fleshing out, or plot holes that need to be plugged. Be objective and open to suggestions. That’s the only way your manuscript can be honed to the best it can be.

And the last step is to put that manuscript away for a short spell before you submit it. Sounds odd, I know, but at times the yearn to be published forces writers to submit work that they believe is fully developed but it’s really not. So by putting it away and coming back to it with a fresh pair of eyes you will notice things you missed the first time. So before you submit your work, put it away and then go back to it and really go through it with a fine tooth comb.

~What would you recommend writers do to get the most out of your Muse Online Writers’ Conference?

Simple enough, participate in the forums, and meet the publishers and presenters in the weeklong forums that have given their time to answer questions from writers and offer workshops. If you don’t participate you won’t get the full benefit.

~What projects are you currently working on that you’re excited for?

Besides my own work I have to say working on the Muse authors’ projects, editing, preparing the galleys, sending out for reviews, and getting their blog book tours set up has to be the most exciting thing I’m doing so far. Helping writers in any way possible to get their names out there is not only beneficial to the publishing house but to the writer as well. And by helping the
writers, it’s not only promoting the Muse books, but mainly to promote the authors as writers that is more important because in all honesty, readers follow authors more than they follow publishing houses, so our goals is to promote our authors and all of their books.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about the Muse Conference and the publishing houses. I really appreciate it.

Registration for The Muse Online Writer’s Conference ends August first. Register here.

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About Dianna Gunn

I am a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. My first YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is available now through The Book Smugglers Publishing.

Posted on January 5, 2011, in Author Interviews, Reading Related. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Great interview, Dianna and Lea!

    I just want to say that, as a member of MuseItUp Publishing, I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it. There’s a sense of family with Muse that I’ve found no where else. Not to mention there are some great books!

  2. Great interview. I am happy to say I am part of the Muse family and loving every minute of it. Thanks Lea!

    Nancy

  3. Great Interview. I’m one of the many lucky authors (L.J. Holmes) with Muse and want only to say, nowhere have I found such respect and consideration for authors than at Muse.

    Unlike so many venues, when Muse rejects a manuscript, you are shown where the weaknesses are, and what you need to do to tighten it up. You are also encouraged to make those changes AND resubmit in thirty days.

    Many publishers do NOT want you to resubmit let alone in thirty days for another chance…but if you are willing to do the work the rejection outlines, you have an immediate chance to earn that coveted contract.

    I have eleven contracts to date…and yes I am still walking around with my jaw scraping the ground in absolute awe…but I want it known, just because I have contracts does not earn me auto-acceptance of my future subs. Quality is not tossed by the wayside no matter what your author’s name might be.

    I thank Lea and the staff she has put together for that. No matter how many of my works are out there, I do not ever want antyhing less than the absolute best of my words to make it through and out into publication. With Lea and Muse I NEVER have to worry about that.

    I wanted to also express my awe of Lea. While she was putting together the Muse Online Writer’s Conference 2010, she was also helming the launch of the Muse Publishing House. The Muse House is a multi-pronged effort. There is Muse It Up for the mainstream fiction, Muse It Hot, for the erotic, and Muse It Young, for the YA fiction we release.

    Again, there aren’t words grandiose enough to describe the truth that is Muse in all of its presentations…but Lea is the bedrock and we all thank God for that!

    • Lin,

      Hello and thanks for your wonderful comment. I’m really glad to hear about your success with Muse. Lea is an amazing woman who has done a great job, and I am sure that she has only hired the best writers. So far I haven’t read much from Muse but I can see that it’s high quality and I would love to read more.

      ~Dianna

  4. Enjoyable interview, ladies. How great to see a new publishing house set up by someone who understands all the nuances of writing and its various aspects! I’m glad to be an author with MuseIUp.

  5. Great interview, Dianna! I thought I knew a lot about Lea, but it was wonderful learning something new.:) I am also an author with MuseItUp Publishing and have a book coming out in September. I agree with Lindsay that I feel so welcomed and part of a family as well. Lea and Litsa have created this wonderful place for authors where we feel comfortable and respected.

    • Barbara,

      Thanks and welcome to my blog 🙂 I’m glad you’ve learned something already.

      I really like the idea of MuseItUp Publishing, and when I first heard about it I thought it was a great idea. Having attended the Muse Online Writer’s Conference, I know that Lea is a very trustworthy person really devoted to helping writers. I don’t know too much about Litsa, but I do know that she’s doing a good job. I hope someday I will join you on the MuseItUp team.

      ~Dianna

  6. Great interview Dianna, thanks for giving us an opportunity to learn more about our fearless leader Lea. Like the other authors with Museitup Publishing, I feel the family atmosphere and support make a huge impact on our combined enthusiasm and will reflect in the success of the group. With Lea and Litsa at the helm we are filled with confidence and given loads of support. It is an exciting time for all of us as we look forward to 2011 and the release of more great titles from the three Museitup houses.

    • Rosalie,

      Thanks for reading 🙂 I am very honoured to have so many visitors from Muse, and I am also very honoured to have had the opportunity to interview Lea as well as several authors. It’s been very exciting to work with Muse in this capacity and I hope that someday I am able to work with Muse in another capacity as well-with any luck, as an author ;).

      Good luck with your book and thanks for reading,
      ~Dianna

  7. Awesome interview, Lea! I’m also an author of Muse It Up Publishing and have attended most of the Muse Online Writer’s Conferences. I’ve been a member of Lea’s Muse It Up Critique groups as well.

    Lea, you have such an honest, genuine way of helping authors…I’m so glad to be part of your wonderful Muse It Up world.

    Thank you for sharing this Diana.

  8. Just want to say your article is as surprising.
    The clarity to your post is just excellent and i can think you’re an expert on this subject. Well along with your permission let me to grasp your RSS feed to keep up to date with imminent post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  9. Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I
    was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

    • Hi Sabrina,

      I actually do use WordPress and I’ve never had an issue. Often security issues come from using public wifi networks or leaving yourself logged in on a public computer by accident. There’s a good chance it wasn’t WordPress which caused your hacker problem.

      Thanks,
      ~Dianna

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