Thursday, July 19, 2012

Interview with Becca Puglisi - The Bookshelf Muse

Hi Becca! It's so great to have you as a guest today! I am a HUGE fan of your site. The Bookshelf Muse was created by you and the fabulous Angel Ackerman. How did you two meet?

Well, let me start by saying in my best Forrest Gump voice: As far as writing goes, Angela and me was like peas and carrots. We both started writing within a month of each other and both joined an on-line critique site called Critique Circle at virtually the same time back in 2004. 

Somehow, among the thousands of members there, we stumbled into each other and discovered that we were both at about the same place on our writing paths and had similar goals in mind. It was, as you might say, meant to be.

The Bookshelf Muse
It was years before we were able to meet in person, but that’s an entire post in itself. The Cliffs Notes version can be found here, if you’re so inclined.

What an awesome story. So tell us, how did the idea for The Bookshelf Muse come about?

Fast forward to 2008, when Angela was starting a blog and asked if I’d be interested in teaming up. Despite being rather pregnant, I said, Yes, please. In discussing what kind of blog we'd like to have, we decided that we wanted to offer resources to other writers in a format that would keep people coming back for more. Years earlier, we had cobbled together a list of bodily cues--a thesaurus, of sorts, consisting of physical indicators for different emotions (because our characters were constantly biting their lips, smiling, and shrugging). 

We figured, if we both were struggling with this area of descriptive writing, other writers probably were too, so we decided to start by sharing our list of emotional indicators on the blog. This became The Emotion Thesaurus, the first of six descriptive writing resources.

Ah, yes. The good old constantly smiling characters who can't stop shrugging. For those who may not have stumbled upon the pot of gold yet, can you tell us a little bit about The Bookshelf Muse’s online thesaurus?

Each thesaurus was created to aid writers in some area of descriptive writing. The Setting Thesaurus describes the different places an author might use for a scene, such as a bridge, a medieval marketplace, or the teacher’s lounge.  

Colors, Textures, and Shapes is intended to help writers come up with natural and man-made comparisons for the way an object might look or feel. The SymbolismThesaurus consists of common themes and the objects or images that might represent them. Weather covers all types of weather and earthly phenomena, and our latest thesaurus, Character Traits, explores ways to flesh out characters and keep well-used traits from becoming cliché.

How do you and your co-host Angela come up with all the great content? 

Besides the Mountain Dew keggers and lack of sleep? Actually, for each new thesaurus, we try to think of areas of our own descriptive writing that need work. More often than not, we’ve found that writers tend to struggle with the same things, so if Angela and I are both weak in a certain area, it’s likely that others are, too. Once we zero in on a problem spot, we come up with a template for a new thesaurus that we hope is unique and beneficial.

How long did it take to write your debut release, The Emotion Thesaurus? 

(FYI if you all haven't heard about the book, I highly recommend it! I always refer to the Emotion Thesaurus at The Bookshelf Muse when writing, and the book/e-book has so much more content.)

Well, we started discussing the book in its published form last fall, but all of the fleshing-out and revisions began in January. We had hoped to release it in April, but everything took a little longer than we anticipated and we had to push back to May. 

So, all told, it took about 4 months before it was off to the printer’s. And now it’s a real life, honest-to-goodness book. We couldn’t be prouder!

And we are so glad you two did! Thank you for coming up with such an awesome writing tool. Greatly appreciated.

Becca and Angela are giving away a PDF copy of The Emotion Thesaurus to one lucky commenter! To qualify, all you have to do is:

 Follow my blog (click on the blue JOIN THIS SITE button in the sidebar).
And leave your email and a comment by Sunday, July 22nd. 

I'll announce the winner on Tuesday, July 24th. (Winner will be randomly chosen by

Want to earn extra entries? 

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and blog it -- each social media post is worth an additional entry.

**Please note in comment which entries you shared and to where. 
***And please don't forget to leave your email address in comment box if you would like to be entered in the drawing. Thank you! Best of luck.


Maryellen said...

I am a HUGE Bookshelf Muse fan :)

joined the site, love your blog BTW, and tweeted and facebooked the contest.

I'm super excited about the book!!

Unknown said...

I love the Emotion Thesaurus! And was excited that you turned that great site into a book.

Great interview, ladies!

Flowerlady_23 at yahoo dot com

AnnaClayton said...

I actually got my copy of The Emotion Thesaurus on Monday and can't get enough of it! You guys are awesome.

Unknown said...

Brilliant idea and emotion thesaurus!
I drop into the Bookshelf Muse - quite often.
Great post ladies.

Unknown said...

Gee Mart, I hadn't realized I wasn't following you - am now!

Brenda said...

You two are Godsends.
I love the emotion T.

I am a member of C.C. I haven't participated there for over a year now, but I met a very good friend of mine there.

Heather said...

It's cool to hear how the ladies came together, I never knew that. The Emotion Thesaurus is now among my must-read books for authors. Love it!

Becca Puglisi said...

Thanks for all the kind words. I'm still so amazed and grateful that Angela and I met. And thankful to the awesome people like Mart who let us tell our story and go on about The Emotion Thesaurus. ;)

Good luck on the giveaway, everyone!

Brenda said...

I totally forgot to leave my email addy.

Carol Kilgore said...

I have this book. It's awesome!

Melissa Limoges said...

This is a book I am way overdue picking up. Such a fabulous book, and I can't imagine why I haven't picked it up yet.


Sheri Fredricks said...

Every book I write, I visit your site at least a dozen, if not more, times!! I love it!!

Christina Tarabochia said...

I'm a new follower. Yippee! Would love to win this, and will recommend it to all my editing clients if it lives up to expectations. :)

Michelle Massaro said...

I love this list! I need this book so bad! =) michelle_massaro @

I tweeted and facebooked about it, too. =)

Lillian Duncan said...

I love the website and I'm sure the book will be great as well. I tweeted and put on my FB for 2 extra entries! Thanks

Joanne Sher said...

So wanting/needing this book! Joined here, tweeted, and FBed for extra entries. Thanks SO much!

JackiAnne said...

Like so many, I've struggled with finding the right descriptives. It sounds like your book is the answer to my prayers. I'll definitely be letting my FB friends know about it (2 entries for me!) jackianne1020 @ Thanks so much!!!

Olívia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olívia said...

I just found your blog and would love to win a copy. Tweeted about it for an extra entry.
I love getting to know the people behind my favourite blogs, and The Bookshelf Muse is definitely one of them, so thank you for this interview. :)

Sorry, forgot to leave my email in the previous post:

Pencildancers said...

oh please pick me. :) Pathetic, I know. It will be a great addition to the winner's library. I look at the site often, it's nice to see who is behind it.
dlbrandmeyer @

Laury said...

I would love a chance to win a copy! Great idea:)

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

I would love to win a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus. Thank you for the opportunity.

Cheri said...

I would love to win a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus. Thank you for this opportunity.

In Him,

Cheri Swalwell

Meghan Carver said...

I almost bought this book a couple of days ago and just wasn't sure it would get here before we left on a trip. I followed, so maybe I can just win it now! Thanks!

Mart Ramirez said...

Thank you ALL for your comments and for entering the drawing.

*Drum roll please*

Ready for the winner?

Congrats to Michelle Massaro!

Michelle you are the winner of The Emotion Thesaurus. An email has been sent to you to confirm your winning.


Until next time....