Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tell Me About it Tuesday Welcomes Denise Bartlett!

This week's Tell Me About it Tuesday guest is VERY special! She's my very own Editor from Gypsy Shadow Publishing!

Without futher ado, meet Denise Bartlett!

Denise Bartlett is a former IRS tax auditor who has been writing since 1962, in the third grade. She has written short stories, novelettes and poetry and is working on several longer works. She published newspaper columns on gardening and preparing for and handling tax audits in 1980-83, and has been a contributing writer for many online groups since the ‘80s, including Writing.Com and multiple role-playing and other Yahoo! groups. She has reviewed and edited manuscripts of every genre and from many sources since the ‘70s. She is an avid reader and a prolific writer with a vast command of the English language.

Q. How has your journey in publishing been?

Surprising! Lots of things in my life prepared me to be a writer, but nothing in my youth prepared me for the possibility of personal computers and the prospect of co-owning a publishing company! I love to read and teach, so it turns out being an editor is an excellent occupation for me. Unbelievably, Gypsy Shadow’s owners have published almost 250 works by a hundred authors in four years!

Q. Anything you would or wouldn’t do again?

No regrets! I’d do it all again, letting the pieces fall where they may. The freedom to help my fellow authors improve their writing and become more confident as writers has meant so much to me. I love watching each one mature with every new manuscript.

 Q. What advice do you have for someone who wants a career in writing?

Write. Share what you write with others. Find other writers and enjoy yourselves by building up, tearing down and rebuilding until it’s just write. If you want a career in writing, take yourself seriously. Get a website, create a Facebook fan page for you as an author and one for each series or stand-alone book. Get on Twitter and Good Reads. Look up your favorite authors and see what they are doing. Remember, readers like to buy from people they know something about. Share your hobbies and be creative.

Q. What other interests or hobbies do you have outside of writing?

I’m interested in everything. I love to listen to people tell me about experiences and explain things to me, so I spend quite a bit of time with my Mom’s generation. I love to sing and have sung in Sweet Adelines choruses and in quartets. I am intrigued with the healing arts and love working on spiritual growth. I am learning wildflower and creating habitats gardening from my mom and am a huge fan of nature. I love animals and walk my dog around our neighborhood twice a day when I’m home. I love scuba diving and traveling.

Q. Do you have a favorite story of the ones you’ve written, either published or not? Why?

Through the Flames, my most recent novel, is a young adult story about a high school football quarterback battling with the always tough years of growing up, building relationships, discovering how to communicate, while playing a game he truly loves. It’s a labor of love, tough to finish while running another business as well as working at GSP.
I love athletes and athletics and have gotten very positive feedback, especially from women who had never really spent time inside the brain of an athlete and from athletes, both men and women, who know how it feels. Since the book also delves into sports injuries, especially concussions, it definitely touches on a hot topic.
Okay...enough with the business questions! How about some fun stuff?

Q. If you won the lottery, what is the FIRST thing you’d do? What would you buy and why?

The first thing? Scream, yell and laugh, because I don’t buy lottery tickets very often. I’d buy acreage somewhere in central Texas with a spring and a spring-fed pond and a house with a gorgeous office for Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Then I’d buy the GypsyMobile and drive around to meet all our authors within driving range.

Q. When YOU read, what do you like to pick up?

Oh gosh, I read everything. It’s a weakness of mine. I read the cereal box, the fine print, booklets, pamphlets, billboards and anything else that crosses my path. I came home from the library with two books about the Alamo (I am a Texas historian, focusing on the forty years before the Battle of the Alamo) and a fantasy book by Cornelia Funke. While I was in the library, I read part of an autobiographical book where the author gave a short biography of several people he had met in his lifetime.

Q. Tell us one thing about you that might surprise us...it can be a secret...we won't tell. :)

I spent several years driving a ¾ ton delivery van in Houston, Texas with no accidents.

What an AWESOME INTERVIEW Thanx! Now tell us about that book!

It is absolutely amazing how little awareness there is in the general public about head injuries/brain injuries/concussions. As a result of writing Through the Flames, which focuses on a household where domestic violence has become the paradigm, I have spoken to many individuals about the causes and symptoms of these injuries.

In Texas, contact sports, especially football, are so much a part of the lives of a large number of individuals, injuries are brushed off and stopping to recover is seen as weak. Men and women of all ages 'tough it out' rather than confess to experiencing headaches, dizziness, balance problems and nausea.

A teen I spoke to recalled a four-wheeler accident where he hit his head and had headaches and dizziness for weeks. The leg injury he had prevailed to receive all the attention of surgery and rehab while the head injury was ignored, since he was diagnosed long ago as ADHD and they expect him not to remember things and to complain about headaches.
That is only one example—domestic violence, pick up games, extreme sports, even instances of working with horses where the rider lands inelegantly all lend to the problem.

Education and awareness are important. It's an uphill battle and it's only just begun. Through the Flames is my effort to start some conversations about sports injuries, especially concussions, and their long-lasting, life-changing impact.

Through the Flames is a novel about a promising high school quarterback with a bright future in football. He has the adoration of his team, his school and his girl. Who could ask for more? True, Larry Allen's family is a shade on the dysfunctional side, but who has a perfect home life these days, right? His dad is away playing pro ball and training half of the year, his mother is a basket case since his older sister died (Book One if the Fire Series: Into the Fire) and his older brother has lost his drive to go anywhere in life. But Larry has it all together and is determined to be a success and take his team to the championships one more time before he graduates and signs with the college of his choice. 

Things are just great . . . until Dad gets badly injured in play and Larry gets taken out by a member of the opposing team who has it in for him. The plot thickens from there and Larry finds himself suddenly uncertain what the future will hold for him. Denise Bartlett has worked with people with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) over the years and has seen some of the devastating effects of TBI. Her experience with TBI survivors is what fueled this story, and she has done her homework to make this tale a realistic, gripping glimpse of what goes on in the sports arena. The hope is that Through the Flames can help raise awareness about concussion in contact sports, particularly for young athletes, and the consequences of not taking head injuries seriously enough.

Buy it!


  1. Great interview, ladies. Denise, you really drove a truck? That gives me an idea. LOL

  2. Thanks, Chrissy! It was fun to take a little time to share 'me' with 'you'. I was so happy to meet you at the Lexi-Con Writer's Conference and look forward to meeting more of the authors face to face in the future.
    Yep, Jeanne, I drove a truck! Ran delivery all over the Houston area, up to Austin, even met a few tug boats docked at the tip of the Louisiana wetlands. I've done a lot of exploring in my life and have had a variety of ODD jobs.
    It's an honor to be featured on your blog, Chrissy.

  3. I loved this interview! All of your odd jobs must be great fuel for story ideas you plan to explore! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Molly. I've done a little bit of everything and LOVE being an editor and working online!

  4. Of course, having known Denise since 1980, I knew all these things, but it's really cool to read what she writes when she opens up about the things she loves. Her work with TBI survivors has been a labor of love and has opened up lots of avenues of expression for her as well as for them. Denise at one time planned to be a teacher in the school system, and her ability to communicate with "children" and adults of all ages shines through in all her dealings with the TBI people. Through the Flames is a compassionate and knowledgeable look at what can happen with concussion and the aftermath of repeated injury. I recommend it!

  5. What a lovely interview. It was cool to learn more about Denise. Life experiences definitely have a way of adding to the stories we write. Congrats to Denise and Charlotte on all of the success of Gypsy Shadow Publishing!

  6. I agree it was a great interview. I was especially glad to learn that even if you win the lotto, Denise, Gypsy Shadow Publishing will continue. (huge sigh of relief from numerous authors and countless readers!)