Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Interview with fantasy author Scott Muller, creator of the "Legacy of Ten Saga"...

Today, in the Forum, we have fantasy author Scott Muller. Creator of “The Legacy of the Ten Saga,” Scott has already released two amazing novels and is now working on the third. I’m excited to learn where his in-depth world building will be taking him (and us) next.

Tim Greaton: Scott, it would be great if we could start off with a quick bio of you. Be sure to give us a little “dirt” about you while you’re at it. 

Scott Muller: I’m a mutt, the best of Russian, Polish and German heritages. The grade school I attended was in the country, had less than 100 students, and I still remember the names of all the kids I grew up with. It was the sixties, a time of war, music, drugs and protest. I watched the Beatles arrive in the US, and Kennedy be assassinated from our school gym floor. I witnessed Glenn being shot into space and the Apollo landing on the moon in the same room. By Junior High, I found that I had a gift for math and science, probably an artifact of the times, and went on to accumulate three engineering degrees, including a Masters in Science from Colorado School of Mines. I lived in Brazil for a little over a year and spent my twenty-first birthday in Rio de Janeiro. I have stories of Carnival and those days on the beach which I still cannot share. I love to travel and have enjoyed the hospitality of many countries. I flew into London on the day Princess Dianna was in her car crash and stayed for eight memorable weeks, seeing the funeral, visiting castles, drinking ale and perusing museums. For the last decade, I’ve worked as the Tech. Lead of a Quality organization, breaking things for a living. I eventually grew up and married, then remarried a wonderful understanding woman and we hatched two brilliant kids who challenge me daily.  

Tim Greaton: As time goes on, do you find the time you spend writing has changed your lifestyle or scheduling in a notable way?  

Scott Muller: I try to write a bit every day. It takes less time away from my family. The writing comes quickly because I have mulled over the story in my dreams for weeks. The other side of the business—social networking… well, it consumes time like the government spends money. I take periodic days off from my day job and spend them working on my novels in a small Einstein’s coffee shop in Westminster, Colorado. On a good day, I can put 20,000+ words down on paper. People ask if I’m driven to write all the time. No, not really. My wife and kids come first. If my writing schedule needs to slip a bit, so be it. Kids only grow up once and I intend to make the best of it by cherishing and building those relationships. I missed out on much during my first marriage, worrying too much about career and business. I’m fortunate in that, at this time, I do not have to make my living at the craft. Someday, I would like to escape the cube and make this my full time gig! I have found that my author friends, whether romance, erotica, paranormal or fantasy, are a close-knit and supportive group of people. Everyone pulls together. I’ve made some great friends. I also try to find time to build guitars. I’m currently working on a Torres 1937 Segovia Concert replica for myself.  

Tim Greaton: It seems that most people have a hero or model that they look up to. Which writers have inspired you and have impacted your life and your work?   

Scott Muller: Models? I look up to Irina Shayk, she’d have to be my favorite. Oh, you meant those kinds of models… Sorry! I’ll carry on now… I have a couple heroes and each has brought something special to my writing. Twain and Steinbeck had a way with everyday folk, how they speak, and how they lived. I try to keep my characters real. Poe was the master of the macabre. His work still gives me chills. I try tried to incorporate Poe in my writing of the dark mage and Lich. Dickens could describe a scene so vividly that you could see, smell, hear, and taste it. His influence shows up in scenes in the Keep, the dining room, and the library. Tolkien was the first fantasy author to blow my mind by creating an entire world of myth, language included. I was hooked. He was the main reason I began story-telling. Tolkien opened up my imagination. I try to be as creative in my development of mythical creatures as Tolkien, but his shoes are very big and I’m afraid I am but a student in comparison.  

Tim Greaton: Do you have a great personal story you tell us?  

Scott Muller: I met Bob Hope in the Denver airport back in the 70s. It was very late in the evening after an exhausting day spent in L.A. I walked up to him, extended my hand, and said something to the effect of—“Mr. Hope, Thank you for all the laughs and good work you do for our boys at war.” We shook hands, I turned and walked away. He yelled back, “Don’t you want an autograph?” I said, “No thank you! The memory of meeting you is enough.” He snorted and followed us down the concourse and insisted we take an autograph saying—we’d regret it someday if we didn’t. All I had was my luggage. He signed the garment bag with a pen he kept in his pocket—which, I suppose, he kept for just such a situation. He seemed a bit dismayed that I didn’t want his signature. I can’t imagine that happening in this day and age. There was also this run-in with a group of supermodels in London in 1997 at the Hippodrome, but that story will have to wait for another time. I was such a brash American, didn’t even know who they were. Apparently that was quite charming…  

Tim Greaton: Have any difficult people from your past motivated you to write about and possibly abuse them…fictionally, of course.  

Scott Muller: I really haven’t made many enemies; I’m a very social and easy going guy. There were more than a few kids I went to high school with who have never grown up. I remember my 20th high school reunion. I couldn’t go, so I sent a short one page bio with pictures of me, the family, and the kids, so that people could see what I was doing. They apparently thought it would be funny to use an unkind picture they pulled off the WEB in the yearbook instead of one of my pictures. My kids were excited to see the pictures and their jaws, as well as mine, fell open when we opened the yearbook and saw the picture that my name was under. It was in very poor taste. I burned my yearbooks, figuring that part of my life was over, and that I had no reason to ever go back. I’ve come to the realization that in life, you meet a lot of people who are not worth getting to know. I put my effort into getting to know those that are. None of my characters are based on people from my junior high or high school days, but I’m tempted. Please note, that there were also many incredibly nice people from my school.  

Tim Greaton: There’s a lot of buzz about your books right now. Could you tell us a little bit about them? 

Scott Muller: I have two books out. The first is titled, Eyes of the Keep, Book 1, from The Legacy of the Ten Saga. It is a story of a group of wizards who have lost their way, and the original wizards (long dead), known as the Ten who may have facilitated the calamity they are now facing. They have forgotten their heritage, their skills, and have become irrelevant. They inadvertently discover that the world needs their help and unfortunately, they are ill equipped to deal with the dark forces ravaging the realms. Everything they believe is challenged, most of what they know is wrong. The second book was released in January and is titled the Third Sign continues the Saga. I am working on book 3, Darkhalla and have committed 137 pages to ink so far.  

One of many underlying themes in the series is a lesson in complacency. Another is how those with ultimate power try to repress and control by weaving plausible lies. Finally, it is about teamwork and fellowship when faced with insurmountable odds. I’ve attempted to create a rich world populated by people real enough to be family. I also built a system of magic with complex rules that I hope are as believable to the reader as they are challenging to the characters.    

Tim Greaton: What part of this story fascinated you and made you want to write about it?  

Scott Muller: We tend to think of Grand Wizards as all-knowing and infallible beings. I wanted to explore how a group of wizards, who were once considered gods, would react if everything they prided themselves in knowing was wrong. What if their heroes were not what they believe them to be? What if they needed the help of other, common men? Could they swallow their pride? I also wanted to explore the shades of gray between right and wrong. In my book, the sides are not clearly delineated, and often-truth depends on which side of the fence you are standing. I like to ask myself what I would do when faced with two equally bad choices. I also drew from my experience with savants (as defined in 18th century English—expert). I picture these wizards as being savants, brilliant in a single narrowly-focused area (i.e. magic of potions) and yet in others—clueless and ignorant.  

Tim Greaton: You call yourself a storyteller, not a writer. Can you explain?
Scott Muller: Sure. I think of myself as a bard. I can weave incredible yarns. Storytelling is a gift, writing is a skill, and some call it a craft. I am still learning the craft. I make mistakes. My typing is crap. Most people have a bucket list, I have a… screw-up list. A list of things I get wrong. Things like two spaces after a period (old manual typewriter habit), forgetting my comma after said—things like that. I am still learning the craft. I thank people for being patient with me.

A storyteller makes you feel like you are in the scene, know the characters personally and are witnessing the action firsthand. The difference is the degree of engagement. A book can be well-written, the prose—beautiful—and yet it can leave a hollow feeling of incompleteness in the reader. A storyteller pulls the reader in and makes them forget that they are reading a book. I have had people read my book from cover to cover staying up all night to finish. When readers write and ask questions about personality quirks of the characters—it lets me know they are more than engaged. They care enough about the characters that they wish to more fully understand their personalities. It is almost cultish.

As Yoda would say, “Dialect writing he does—from the dark side it comes. Enjoys it, he must!” 

Tim Greaton: One of my rather famous past writing instructors taught that something about a book should always be over-the-top…because that’s what will make a story memorable. Describe a character or setting in your story that is over-the-top.  

Scott Muller: It is humorous and hugely entertaining how much of a bumble these wizards have inadvertently become. They know as little about this fantasy world as the reader, and the two groups take a journey of discovery together. Two of my main characters are more like a squabbling pair of married folk. They have been together so long; they know each other’s buttons and finish each other’s sentences. They are in fact, the medieval equivalent of the odd couple. One character jumps before looking. The other will push someone over the cliff first to see what happens. There is a scene where they are arguing over diner about magic, that several readers have pointed out as a lot of fun, complete with spittle flying, arm waving, fist slamming and almost incoherent talking with mouths full. One reader said they felt the need to clean the food off their clothes when the scene ended. I’m flattered to know my scenes make readers feel as though they are there.  

Tim Greaton: You have some wonderful descriptive segments in your story. Did you learn your storytelling skills from a family member or someplace else?  

Scott Muller: Someplace else. I enjoyed reading Dickens and Michener as a teen. I guess it rubbed off. People have told me I have a gift for describing a place without weighing down the dialog. It is a great complement, and I hope I can continue to live up to their praise.  

When I was growing up, my grandfather used to tell me stories about the old country and what it was like growing up in Eastern Europe in the late 1800’s. He would pace his stories and digress into details that left me wanting for more. My Dad is an avid reader and has thousands of paperback books. I used to raid his collection (‘60s and 70s) and read Cooper, Heinlein, Asimov, Z. Grey, and L’Amour. Many of these were written to describe places people had never been. They had to be good at their craft. My grandfather used to only read a few pages a night, then close his eyes and visualize what he had read. I once asked him why and his explanation caught me off guard. He said something to the effect of, “I know what I read, but I am not sure that I have interpreted it correctly. Did the author mean for me to take the simple explanation he provided, or is he trying to distract me like a magician. There may be more to what has been written, this I need to ponder. I need to visualize the scene and fill in the details from the hints I have been given. I need to understand if he meant what he wrote.” He taught me to do the same.  

Tim Greaton: Do you plan a sequel or is your book part of a series?  

Scott Muller: It is part of a series. I have the books planned in the series, however, I can’t fully predict how many there will be. Suffice it to say, I will write as many as need be to tell the story. My outlines are fairly detailed and tend to be about 60-100 pages long. I have also considered taking some of the characters off into side stories. They deserve their own stories and my fans have very receptive to the idea.  

Tim Greaton: That’s definitely a serious length for an outline. Can you tell us more about your writing method?  

Scott Muller: Sure! I worked on the full outline for the series, broken into books based on my average chapter length of 20 pages. I usually work on two books at a time, trying to keep the story consistent across the book boundaries. For a series, I find I have to be extra careful not to leave omissions or open plot lines. I plan all the arcs and subplots out in detail. I try to answer all the questions left hanging as I move through the series. I find that writing detailed outlines, timelines, and character sheets help me keep my facts straight. I also keep a list of unresolved issues, which I know I will need to address at some time in the future. Once in a while, my characters develop a mind of their own and go off and do something unexpected. I just go with the flow, and let them tell their own stories when they feel the need. These little happy accidents can lead to entire new twists that I never would have thought of had it not been for their help!  

Tim Greaton: Just for fun, which of your characters would you want to spend a week with in the real world…and why?   

Scott Muller: Sheila, but my wife would never allow it. She knows me well enough to keep us apart. Sheila is a battle elf, 5’7”, 110lbs, dark hair, green eyes, fit, and very physical. She’s an outdoor girl with attitude. Think of a cross between Jolie (Laura Croft), Dushku (Doll House) , and a bit of Summer Glau. Throw in a bit of biker attitude and a good dose of living on the edge, and you have Sheila. We would end up pounding shots and getting into trouble.  

On the guy side; Zedd’aki, because he seems to have some repressed issues, he’s wickedly clever and has a dry wit. I’d like to pick his brain while hoisting a mug of mead, and gnawing on a few meat pies or turkey legs. His understanding of magic comes from a different place from the other wizards in the Keep. He is the only mage that both fears and respects the magic. He knows far more than he lets on.  

Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly purchase your books.  

Scott Muller: My website is Everything can be found through the site: autographed softcovers, eBooks, and the blog. My books can be found at Amazon and CreateSpace. They are part of the Amazon Select program, so you can borrow them for free if you are a member. There are direct links from my website to most of these places, here is the Amazon link to book one: I can also be found on Facebook, with tags, or EyesoftheKeep, TheThirdSign, and soon--Darkhalla. My Twitter ID is @ScottDMuller.  

Tim Greaton: Thanks for spending time on the Forum today, Scott. I have no doubt that a number of our readers are already scanning online bookstores for a copy of your book. 

Scott Muller: Tim, everyone, thanks for having me by. I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. Now, I suppose I should get on with it. As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently working on “Darkhalla,” the third book in the “The Legacy of the Ten Saga.” The goal is to have it out around September.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A fun and candid interview with Norma Budden, author of "An Affair to Remember" and "Anticipation"

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Today, in the Forum, I’m very pleased to welcome Norma Budden, author of “An Affair to Remember,” and "Anticipation." Norma is usually refreshingly candid, so I have a feeling we’re in for not just an interesting visit but also for an unadorned glimpse inside the life of a very special writer.

Tim Greaton: Could you tell us a little about what you do when you’re not entertaining the rest of us?

Norma Budden: Well, Tim, my non-writing background is almost as entertaining as the fictional worlds I create. I've spent most of my adult life in the retail sector (employed by The North West Company) working throughout various departments for nearly 20 years. From maintaining a fabric section, to working in the food service sector and, finally, to administration, it has provided much entertainment, not to mention, frustration along the way. Of course, because teamwork plays such an important factor, any day could see me serving customers in the post office, being a cashier or stock clerk and even working in the produce section of the store. Let's just say that it pays to be flexible, in more ways than one.

Tim Greaton: What was it like growing up in the huge country north of the United States?

Norma Budden: When I look back to those days, despite having seen many places because of living in different provinces of Eastern and Atlantic Canada, it seemed I was always saying, "Good-bye." I learned to adapt rather quickly each time we moved but, as I grew older, moving had become a two-edged sword: I looked forward to new adventures but hated leaving great friends behind.

It shaped my life in ways most people might never imagine; to this day, I cannot say, "Good-bye." For almost two decades, I've remained in one Arctic Canadian town. Others come and go but I've learned not to become too attached to transients, shall we say, for fear that someone will leave and not keep their promise to be in touch. However, when someone has taken the extra effort to become a friend, that friend is treated with the utmost respect and I love him/her beyond what words can relay. After all, each friend is a gift from God and, with these select few, there'll be no need to part company for, even if friends pass from this life into the next, they'll forever remain within my soul.

Tim Greaton: I understand that two very special men strongly influenced who you have become. Could you tell us about them?

Norma Budden: Since I can remember, Dad has always encouraged me to shoot for the stars - that, even if I only hit the top of the fence, it was OK because I gave whatever I was doing my best shot. That has lingered with me as well as him teaching me that, when in doubt, it was best to say, "No," that I could always change my mind later. I've lived by those words, too.

Pastor John Dueck of Saskatchewan, Canada, influenced my life just as deeply. He believed in me and, despite the times I've disappointed him, he has never reserved judgment, nor turned me away. Loving me as a man would love his child, he helped me through some of the most difficult periods of my life, for which I'll always be grateful.

Between Dad and John, and my faith that God will never ask me to bear more than I'm able, I know I can face whatever life throws my way. Sometimes it's an enormous challenge but I know it's not impossible.

Tim Greaton: How do the memories of other people and places from your past influence your life and your writing?

Norma Budden: The places from my past that I'll never forget revolve around relationships - one of which, according to God and society, should never have taken place. Even so, its demise created a void in my life, crippling me on the inside even as my outer shell continued to exist. The circumstances of that time were those I would never want to live through again; in fact, I'm surprised my heart withstood the pain and pressure.

In retrospect, despite having met one of the most understanding people I'd ever know, the ensuing heartache, the angry words and glares by others make me question whether it was worth it. In one sense, it was a period which taught me invaluable lessons I'd remember for the rest of my life - for which I'm grateful. However, from another perspective, inwardly, I continue to feel the need to prove that I'm so far removed from the fragile person I used to be.

Conversely, the relationship I had that was sanctioned by God turned out to be a nightmare from which I have to wonder if I've truly healed. Most times I think I have - until another wave of sorrow hits.

I could go on, but won't. Suffice it to say, when I'm writing, I like to write about characters with hope of loving each other and staying together despite the storms life presents. It hasn't happened in my own life so I live my hopes and dreams through fiction. That's not to say I don't lead a full life! I have three energetic children and a grandchild, wonderful friends, a job I enjoy and a budding writing/publishing career. Each night when I go to bed, I thank God for all of the above. I couldn't imagine my life feeling more complete.

Tim Greaton: Norma, I know that you don’t care much for TV, which is understandable for someone so creative, but what do you do when you need to take a break from writing? I’m betting you have one or more fascinating hobbies. would be beautiful if I didn't have so many because then I might actually get more of an opportunity to dabble in those things I enjoy so much. Nowadays, when I think of my hobbies, it gives me an increased level of stress because I have to set so many of them aside, for the time being.

For example, I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles but, with a little pipsqueak (4-year-old son) who likes to help and then hide some pieces away, sometimes forgetting where he has put one, or two...well, this is a puzzle it won't take you long to put together.

I also enjoy cross-stitching but rarely get the time to sit unless in front of a computer or eating a that rules out so many other things. Perhaps I should begin watching television so I can do more of these things, but sitting for hours in front of a television just doesn't appeal to me.

Photography - I'm passionate about taking photos of subjects and landscapes from different angles. I'd do it more often if the temperatures in Arctic Canada were reasonable during winter months. However, they are far from reasonable and there are only so many photos I want to take inside the house. As a result, most photo opportunities must rest until the warmer months of the year and during annual vacation.

Thank God I enjoy reading! That is a hobby I can enjoy anywhere and dabble in before going to sleep. There's no setup involved, no materials to gather, no mess involved and it's easy to set aside for another day. I just have to find more hobbies of this nature. Perhaps this will become my newest hobby - finding hobbies of this nature.

Tim Greaton: Of course, you and I run in a lot of the same publishing circles, Norma. And in those circles I constantly hear how detail-oriented and forthright you are in your work. Where does that come from?

Norma Budden: I’m a self-admitted, bona fide perfectionist! Does that mean my books are perfect? Heck, no! I'm not sure that any book ever is. Even when a book seems perfect, when I read through it again, I'll think of a different word I'd like to use instead and - you got it! If the new word seems SO much better, I make the change. People wouldn't notice these changes however, so I have great debates with the perfectionist side of my personality. You should hear us sometimes!

However, I like to think my efforts to make things perfect help people to enjoy what I write. I hope they continue turning pages, wondering what will happen next and enjoy not requiring a dictionary, because I write in language everyone understands. Don't get me wrong! I enjoy consulting my dictionary but I don't want ANYONE consulting it when reading my books; I want them to get lost in the story they're reading.

One of the comments I've received most regularly, since writing An Affair to Remember, is that readers admire my honesty. They enjoy that I can write about episodes of my own life and how it relates to my writing, which is something most of them admit to not being able to do. These comments alone make it worthwhile.

Are most of your works available or do you have a backlog of projects you plan to circle back to?

Norma Budden: Unlike my friend, J.C. Allen (author of M.O.D. and some great YA titles), I don't have a drawer full of unfinished projects or stories just waiting to be finished and published. Most every work I've ever written has been published, whether a poem was posted on my web site, a book was published or I'm in the process of writing a book with immediate intentions of publishing it.

That being said, there are three stories I have partially written - basically setting the stage for things to come - and I do intend to get to them again, if ideas for future stories can take a back seat for a while. I even get inspiration from typos; go figure!

Tim Greaton: We all tend to borrow personalities and circumstances from people in real life. Have you ever fictionalized a real person? And, if so, did you find yourself changing or exaggerating them?

Norma Budden: When I started writing “An Affair to Remember” there was a cop that I, loosely, based the story around. Granted, in reality, this cop loves his wife and family, putting them above everything else in his life. However, I imagined how he might feel if his wife or family was threatened and, from there, sprang some of the emotion contained within the confines of the story. His dedication to seeking justice and protecting his family would prevail. However, the part where the cop strayed from his family was pure embellishment as it's something he'd never do.

Tim Greaton: I’m always amazed at the variety of methods and writing habits that my friends have developed. I especially enjoy your take on all of that. Would you be willing to share your “writing system” with our readers?

Norma Budden: Writing system? What writing system? I fly by the seat of my pants most times when I sit at the computer. Granted, my intentions are to write but that's not always the case. By the time I check into social networks, respond to e-mails, post a few things I discover onto social networks and respond to additional e-mails, my time is often used.

Even so, I seem to be able to meet my deadlines. How do I manage? All I can say is thank God I've never experienced writer's block. When the time comes that I open my file and sit down to write, the story just writes itself, often taking me on the same journey as my readers.

Tim Greaton: I understand that your latest release is a very long story or a novella. Could you tell us about it?

Norma Budden: “Anticipation” was created from an impulse idea - and the story gets stranger as I tell it. With the intention of sitting to write about a couple who struggles with infertility issues, I started writing about Janet Elcott, a single woman, whose uncle intended to leave her with a mansion, as long as she promised not to live alone. She gave in and her life, and challenges, with roommates began. I certainly strayed off course, didn't I?

Tim Greaton: Will there be a sequel? Or do you plan on exploring other realms or even other genres next?

Norma Budden: To date, I've published “When Love Abides,” which is the sequel to “An Affair to Remember.” “Soul Confessions,” the third book of my Freedom in Love series will be released June 30, 2012. I have a sneaking suspicion there will be a fourth book; if so, I'll be sure to let my readers know - in the back of “Soul Confessions” and through promoting it online.

Tim Greaton: I’m always fascinated by authors with impressive and growing libraries. Do you plan your stories in detail or are your works more organic in structure?

Norma Budden: Unlike many authors, I can't sit with a detailed outline. If I did, no story would be published - or, if they were, chances are I'd hate them. I have to follow as inspiration strikes because, fortunately for me, I'm created from a different cloth. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction because I don't know how any of my stories end until their ending has been written.

Tim Greaton: Did you have a point in one of your works that was particularly hard to write? Why?

Norma Budden: The most difficult part of writing An Affair to Remember was the Author's Note at the back. I labored over it for hours, even days, revising and setting it aside, revising it again. I came to Arctic Canada to start life anew - to be surrounded by people who didn't know me. By publishing this note at the back of my book, I knew I was taking an enormous risk in having people shun/berate me. However, even when I'd delete it, it would find its way back there. I knew it was meant to be written by the sense of enormous release I felt when I clicked the publish button.

I guess I've grown over the years because now I look at things more simply: if friends were to shun me for an episode from my past - from a time when they didn't know me - they were never friends at all. Besides, if I ever do become a popular writer, I wouldn't want to have this skeleton in my closet. Wouldn't that be something? I'd rather tell the story myself.

Tim Greaton: If (or I probably should say when) your ebook “An Affair to Remember” is released in print, what will the back cover say?

Norma Budden: The last thing Monica Townsend expected when leaving her little office was to be kidnapped and held captive in an abandoned warehouse. She definitely wasn't prepared to meet Chase Travers - family man, devoted cop - who came to her rescue then refused to leave her side - even as she stayed in the hospital overnight for observation. Soon after the sound of a gunshot explodes in the hospital corridor, the two flee into the night.

Chase and Monica become an inseparable pair embarked on a mission to save their lives. Dark forces are at work that neither could've imagined; danger lurks around every corner as they race to find the answers. Someone is after her; he is her only ally - and the enemy draws closer every second.

Can they safely run from a handful of the deadliest men in the world or will their enemy overtake them when they least expect it? Will they be able to get back to their normal lives or, when all is said and done, will they be able to say, "Good-bye?"

Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly communicate with you and purchase your stories.

Norma Budden: I have multiple blogs/sites but they can all be found through visiting my personal website at

My books can be purchased at different sites online but each title can be purchased at Amazon. The link to my author page is:

Tim Greaton: Thanks for taking the time with me today, Norma. I’m fortunate to have some of the greatest forum readers in the world, and I have every faith that many of them will be looking up your stories as soon as we finish up here.

Norma Budden: Thanks, Tim. It was my pleasure and what a great unexpected surprise - and treat - it was! I do want to take the opportunity to thank your readers for taking a few moments of their valuable time to learn more about my work and my life.

“Despite the candid review, I do hope there were a few times when I've, at least, made you smile.”